The Price of Beauty

I am a tomboy; always have been, always will be.  I have never been one for designer clothes, shoes, bags, hair products or make up.  My wedding dress was a white cotton dress that was $15 at Ross.  For every expensive, unnecessary “beauty” item, I can think of a thousand other things I could want or do with that money.  Why is all that considered beauty?  When did our society become so wrapped up in outward appearance?  Even if you can afford it, why?  Why is our self-image a thing? I won’t even go into how magazines and starving, airbrushed, inch-thick-make-up models continue to make us feel worthless.  I am not even talking about it in the sense of an art form.  Our self-worth somehow rides on what we look like, men and women alike. There are people that genuinely like make-up and clothes and it is a fun, artsy thing.  They just like coloring their hair, cutting it different ways, wearing different colors of make-up.   Then there are some that think, “I can’t leave the house unless I look like a million bucks.”  The word “make-up” is taken as that; making up for something.  No thanks. Thrifty shopping and homemade “beauty” products are my thing. Coconut oil is all I need!  I am not worried about gray hair or wrinkles, because guess what?  We all get old, we all wither and die.  A sad part of life, but life all the same.  No one cheats it.  I wear dresses…but only when someone gets married or dies.  Wait I lied, I do love a nice sun dress over a bathing suit for the beach or pool, but because it is comfortableComfort is key for me. I do not like nice dresses, and the second I put one on, I am counting down the minutes to when I get to change.  Give me yoga pants and Yankees shirts all day.  In heels, I am a baby giraffe learning to walk, so I don’t own any.  I absolutely hate tweezing my eyebrows and will let them get to the point right before a unibrow is visible before tweezing them.  I wear a little make up; concealer, eye liner and mascara, because I like the way it looks, and maybe foundation and eye shadow, again, if someone gets married or dies.  I leave the house all the time without make up and even the times we go out for family time or a date night, it doesn’t take me very long at all to get ready.  For a few years now, my hair curls naturally so I haven’t straightened it in years.  My hubby is a lucky guy, huh?  🙂

However, just liking the way something looked wasn’t always the reason.  I thought I looked bad.  Every time I looked in the mirror, it was all critical, and sometimes still is.  It is a constant struggle, but not so much with my face or hair, just the rest.  I started out growing up with self-esteem issues, and it morphed into self-image problems.  I am pretty confident in who I am as me, and also as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and so on.  We won’t even talk about the time in my life where the two overlapped.  However, the self-image started when I gained weight.  I was always athletic and active, but during that “I hate myself and don’t know who I am,” phase, I let that go.  I have never been obese, but overweight nonetheless.  I’ll take a cannoli over a carrot any day.  I have gotten A LOT better, though.  I started caring more right before my hubby and I got together, and although I never got back to the almighty “high school weight,” I was active and started feeling better about myself.

Then I got pregnant.  Which was crazy and awesome all rolled together.  The greatest thing I’ve done to date.  Having a baby is the single greatest and most bad ass thing the human body can do. Thanks to not-so-good genes, I earned my tiger stripes and even if I get in the best shape of my life, I will have a little pooch forever, and that is okay! I had a ways to go losing weight post pardum, even though I ate super healthy while pregnant, breastfed and lived on the third floor of an apartment her first year with no elevator (great workout). Then I started criticizing myself again.  The best thing is that I have a hubby who is crazy about me and compliments me all the time, but it makes it harder because he is still super attracted to me.  So yes, pass the cookie…he loves it so who cares, right?  Then I started really changing my perspective.  It isn’t about looks, it is about health.  It is about being there for my daughter and the next (and last) child.  It is about actually growing old with my husband and being able to enjoy retirement, not live it in pain and misery because I didn’t take care of my body now.  It is about feeling good, feeling healthy, feeling alive.  Then I thought about this the other day and it brought me to tears.  My daughter hears everything now.  She may not be able to say it all, but it is safe to say she understands the English language pretty well and has moved to mimicking EVERYTHING.  I will make jokes about being a “fat kid” or make a comment about myself that really is a joke and has no bearing on how I view myself, but she hears it and doesn’t understand other than I am saying something negative about myself.  I never want her to feel that way.  EVER.  Her Daddy compliments me all the time, in front of her, why would I counterattack that with insults, jokes or not?  It is bad enough society will break her, why should I not be her source of strength and a great example?  It isn’t even a woman thing, although we may take advantage of it more because we tend to be more emotional.  Every magazine, every commercial, bullies, the lot, constantly make us feel like we aren’t good enough.  Your hair isn’t good enough, you don’t smell good enough, your workout routine or diet isn’t complete without X, Y and Z products, your apparel isn’t good enough, your sex life isn’t good enough, etcetera, etcetera.  Screw that!  WE need to change.  WE are society.  Let’s get rid of this awful plague that we aren’t good enough for ourselves or someone else.  Your weight is a measurement of gravity, nothing more. Male body sprays smell AWFUL.  Too much make-up looks fake and bad most times unless you are really good at it.  Have a cookie once in a while as long as you are making the norm a healthy lifestyle, a cookie won’t kill you…we do only live once, so moderation of health and splurging is key. 

To the moms who think their body was “ruined” by having babies…STOP.  We did something so amazing and wonderful that we should think of the visible reminder as battle scars, tiger stripes, morphing from girl to woman.  We are women, hear us roar!  If someone isn’t attracted to you physically, it is okay.  Remember, there are 7 billion people in the world…kick ’em to the curb, on to the next one!  Everyone deserves to be with someone that wants to be with them and that appreciates who you are. 

Yes, be healthy, set a good example for your kids, teach them to take care of what they have, including their body, but for the right reasons.  Change your perspective.  It is about health, not beauty. 

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Hippie Parenting 1: Breastfeeding

I have not always been a “hippie.”  Maybe the definition of the word is different for everyone.  In the dictionary, it is defined as what it originally was created for; a stylish, hip person from the 60s who was a freethinker and anti-establishment. They had a specific style, like flowing fabrics and beads and flowers as accessories. Sounds great to have your own mind and simple, natural style, right?  Nowadays, the term has broadened to people who are in touch with natural and earthy ways of doing things.  It is also used as slander, although the person using it as such doesn’t realize the original meaning or that it isn’t bad to be loving, peaceful, compassionate, empathetic, accepting of all people and cultures, natural and a critical thinker.  Yes, you can still shower and no, you don’t have to use patchoiuli!  What is sad to me is things like breastfeeding, making homemade food (especially for baby), cloth diapering, co-sleeping and baby-wearing are not more popular.  They are looked at as a new fad, yet they are things that were originally done before our society became a people of wanting things quick and easy in the WRONG ways.  A lot of my blog is about making things quick, easy and cheap while still doing things the right way.  Parenting is no exception.

I understand breastfeeding isn’t always possible.  Some women can’t produce enough, which is why years ago women had wet nurses.  Did you know a lot of women who have an abundance sell their milk?  Some people think that is weird.  If you feed your kids processed formula or cow’s milk, how can you think another woman’s breast milk is weird?  At least it is the same species!  Oh how I wish I could have taken advantage of that!  I made the mistake of not pumping right away after my little one was born. I was scared if I pumped and she needed to eat, I wouldn’t have enough and would need a bottle.  I went back to work when she was 2 months old and was working 3-4 nights a week and was pumping like a mad woman with little success.  I fought it, but finally caved to supplementing with formula when she was 4 months old.  I first tried organic, when I was still on that kick, but something in it made her break out!  I found a giant canister for $16 at Costco. By 6 months old, I was producing less and less although I kept pumping, hoping I could increase my supply.  I’ll never forget the morning she stopped wanting me.  By then, I was only feeding her in the morning, and one morning she realized she could get more from the bottle and pushed me away.  I cried so hard that day.  I’m getting misty-eyed thinking about it!  I wasn’t ready to stop completely and I realized right then and there that our special bonding time was over and it killed me.  So for awhile, we were going through 4-5 canisters of formula a month…do the math!  So expensive!  Even when it went down as she ate more regular food, it is an added expense. Even for working moms, pumping is still cheaper in the long run, and you have the pump forever.  I was lucky enough to be given the Medela system, the Cadillac of pumps!  I mixed BM with the formula for a while, but your body knows when you aren’t breastfeeding and your supply goes down.  I tried tricks to increase my supply and even after I was done found more tricks and products that increase your supply, so here’s to the next kid.  I beat myself up over it because even her birth wasn’t as natural as I had wanted.  I thought I was a hypocrite who talked all this stuff about being natural and couldn’t live it 100%.  Do you know what though?  I TRIED! Do you know what else?  My little one is healthy, happy and growing up beautifully. I have to be proud of that, right? 

It is so hard to be 100% natural and ecofriendly in the world we live in.  I know most people like me with the best intentions can’t do it 100%. Buying and using natural isn’t always easy, effective or feasible and sometimes we want to satisfy a craving over being mindful of health…that’s okay.  We only live once, so splurging should not be frowned upon, as long as everything is in moderation .  We must all try and influence society and companies to do the right thing, so when we want to splurge or have to buy things like formula and diapers to be quick and easy, there are better options.  We will leave our little ones a great legacy: do what you can and speak up for what is right, even if it is unpopular or “weird.”  Things can and will change.  Steve Jobs said it best:

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Multi Purpose Monday 1: Coconut Oil

I haven’t always been a big fan of coconut.  My mom and her mom, my Nana Lu, used to make magic bars, these amazingly sweet, graham cracker and chocolate bars topped with toasted coconut, and I LOVED them.  However, most other recipes with coconut were hit or miss (mostly miss).  I absolutely hate the smell of pina coladas, and I can’t drink coconut water unless it is in a smoothie.  Coconut oil, though…I love it because it works for so much!

It does a lot topically for our skin and mouth.  So far, I have used it for Therese’s diaper rash.  We cloth diaper, but the past 6 months have been part time cloth and part time Seventh Generation biodegradeable ones due to her getting nasty rashes, which is normal even in disposables because she eats so many new foods.  The oil works wonders on her bottom, as a buffer. I even use it on my heels!  Any oil works great for moisturizing and buffering baby’s skin on diapers, but you get more bang for your buck buying a big canister. I will be posting wipes I want to make soon too!!

The one thing I use it for is my hair.  My hair has been many different things over the years,  but the common denominator is frizz frizz frizz.  I wash my hair every other day unless I work or workout, so after rinsing, I put about a tablespoon in my hands, rub together and run my fingers through it, concentrating on the bottom where the frizz is bad.  My hair is so much calmer.  My hair goes almost to the middle of my back and is thick and a tablespoon was plenty.  The first night I did it I put too much in and looked like more of a greaseball than I already am! A little goes a long way.

An obvious use for coconut oil is food.  It makes a great non-dairy substitute for sauteeing and stir frying.  I’ve heard it being used as coffee creamer. It can be substituted in any recipe for any vegetable oil and is much healthier with more benefits.  I use it in smoothies.  It is a MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid) so it is in many smoothie recipes I have seen and tried. 

A canister at Costco cost me $15-16 and isn’t even half gone and I use it for smoothies, my hair and Therese.  Just thinking about what people spend on conditioners makes my head spin!  Buying the giant tub is so much CHEAPER AND NATURAL!

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