health

Fibro Fridays: Magical Magnesium

Happy Friday, friends! We’ve survived another week and I’m happy to give you some more tips and insights into the fibromyalgia (and chronic pain) experience.

Magnesium is a great tool to have in your pain relief kit

Recently, I spoke to one of my friends that has also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and she commented on how achy she’s felt recently. When I asked her if she has been taking a magnesium supplement, she immediately went and took her daily dose. As it turns out, she’d been neglecting this supplement (this is very easy to do when you’re taking a handful of prescriptions and supplements daily). She felt relief rather quickly and thanked me for reminding her.

As I shared in my May empties post, I take chelated magnesium daily. I’ve found magnesium to be somewhat magical. This element is crucial to a multitude of biological functions and works extremely well in relieving pain in the chronically ill. Magnesium is one of the most powerful elements that our body needs, yet roughly 70% of Americans are magnesium deficient. Magnesium deficiency contributes to poor utilization of calcium, fatigue, mental disorders, nerve and muscle dysfunction and, of course, chronic pain.

What’s amazing about magnesium is that it may be even more effective when applied topically than when consumed orally (I’m still doing research on that, though several websites have confirmed that topical application is preferable). So, along with the oral magnesium supplement, I keep a topical magnesium cream nearby for especially painful days. The cream I use is Frida Botanicals Magnesium Cream (fyi this is not an affiliate link or a paid endorsement: I purchase this product with my own money).

I want to share this tidbit for anyone that is trying to improve their overall health and to help reduce pain in the body. Try magnesium and see how it works: you may find that it really helps your pain levels!

art · culture · travel

Throwback Thursday Travel: China, Part 2

Happy Thursday, friends! I first posted about my trip to China several years ago, and then I shared a Throwback Thursday Travel post highlighting my time in Beijing. But my trip to China didn’t end with Beijing: I also traveled to Hangzhou and Shanghai. Today, I’m sharing some pictures from Hangzhou, my favorite city in China. I loved West Lake, and I learned that many Chinese citizens love Hangzhou for weekend getaways. It’s such a picturesque city: I can’t wait to return!

At The Ramada in Hangzhou: such a beautiful lobby!

Touring the Dream Town Incubator

At beautiful West Lake

Shopping at Hefang Old Street

Riding around in Hangzhou

Visit to a tea plantation

beauty

May Empties

It’s time for another empties post! I’m still committed to using all of my excess/duplicate products and documenting my progress in minimizing my “stuff” and only replacing items as I completely use them up.

Yesterday, I discussed the Pixi Rose Tonic that I enjoyed, so that empty won’t be discussed here. However, there are several other empties that I’m going to mention today, as some of these are items that I will purchase again, while others are items that have been discontinued or that I don’t need to replace.

I’ll start off today’s post with a supplement that I’ve been using for several weeks now. I’ll be discussing this supplement in this week’s Fibro Friday post, but for now, just know that I have already purchased another bottle of chelated magnesium. Magnesium is essential for normal body functions and nearly 70% of the population are magnesium-deficient. I have enjoyed using this supplement to support my fibromyalgia relief regimen.

Country Life Chelated Magnesium

Next, I FINALLY finished off this ancient jar of moisturizer LOL! I found this unopened jar of Far Away by Avon among my mom’s old products and decided to use it and see if it was still fresh/uncontaminated. The product worked just fine and I used it up in less than a month. I typically do not like Avon fragrances but due to the age of this product, the scent had faded tremendously and I enjoyed the much lighter concentration of the fragrance.

Avon Far Away Perfumed Skin Softener

Hourglass Cosmetics Vanish ™ Seamless Finish Foundation Stick in the shade Almond was my go-to face product in 2016. I loved how it looked on my skin and I really liked the fact that a little product went a long way. While I love the product, I won’t be replacing it soon, as I already have a TON of foundation and concealer that I need to use before I justify an additional purchase. However, in the future, if I decide to get another stick or cream foundation, this is the one I will purchase.

Hourglass Vanish ™ Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

Another Avon product that I found in my mom’s old product box was the Sunny Splendor Hydrating Shower Gel in the Strawberry & Guava fragrance. I loved this light, fresh fragrance and I really enjoyed the fact that it didn’t leave my skin feeling too dry and stripped. I don’t know that I’d go as far as calling it “hydrating” – I didn’t feel that significantly added moisture to my skin – but I feel that it worked well and didn’t aggravate my somewhat dry skin. This isn’t an item that I’d seek out to use again, but it was fine and performed as expected.

Avon Naturals Sunny Splendor Hydrating Shower Gel in Strawberry & Guava

Finally, I used the last of my Mary Kay (MK) Timewise Night Solution. MK has changed their product lineup and this item is no longer available, but since I enjoy using gels and serums, I continued to include it in my routine along with my many products from The Ordinary. I like how it kept my skin hydrated overnight without making my skin feel greasy. If it ever becomes available again, I’ll certainly repurchase it.

Mary Kay Timewise Night Solution

Those are my May empties! I’ll be back next month with a whole new bunch of empties to discuss. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

This post contains affiliate links.

beauty

Review: Pixi Rose Tonic

I will be showing a bunch of my May empties tomorrow, but today, I wanted to spotlight one noteworthy “empty”. This is a product that I’m certain I will purchase again.

The Pixi Rose Tonic is a refreshing product that I tried for a few days in May. For those that have been here for a while, you all know that I use a slightly modified version of the Korean ten-step method, which calls for a toner (to balance the skin and remove any traces of makeup or cleansing product) and an essence (to add additional nourishment to the skin). So this rose tonic was intriguing to me: I wanted to see whether it was more like a toner or if it was more similar to an essence.

Pixi Rose Tonic

This gentle, alcohol-free product combines the features of a toner with some of the benefits of an essence. Yes, it is a toner: it will help to balance the skin, neutralize the skin mantle (this prevents the mantle from being compromised, which can result in damaged, more sensitive skin), and remove any remnants of makeup or previously applied skin products. However, the product contains aloe vera, chamomile, elderberry, tea extract, and the extracts of several different rose variations (including Rose of Damascus and dog-rose). These act as skin soothers to leave the face feeling clean yet hydrated and nourished.

One of the ingredients in the tonic is dog-rose essence

My bottle was a sample size, so I didn’t have enough product to use for longer than about 10 days. However, I LOVED the way that this made my face feel. My skin felt hydrated and not stripped at all. I also love that this product didn’t conflict with any of the other products that I use on my face.

My sample was teeny-tiny but I was still impressed with the product

Would I recommend this? Absolutely! I intend to purchase another bottle as soon as I’m done with my current toners. I looked at a few vendors to see who had the best price, and the cost on the Pixi website is significantly less than Amazon, and a bit less than Ulta. This is NOT a sponsored link, so if you’re curious about the product, please know that I’m endorsing it without any personal motivation LOL!

That’s my review on Pixi Rose Tonic. Have you tried this product before? I’d love to hear all about your experience with it!

life curation

Hope for a Better Tomorrow

Hello friends. The past week or so has been a tense time in the United States. Many are frustrated, sad, angry, outraged, and ready to see substantive changes. I acknowledge and understand the pain behind the actions that have occurred, and I continue to hold a space of hope and love for all people. No matter who or where you are, please continue to hold HOPE for a better tomorrow. If you can spend a moment just sending your good energy toward the US population, that would mean a lot to me.

Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

health

Fibro Fridays: Why It’s Hard to Get a Diagnosis

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! It’s been a fantastic week, and I’m positive that the weekend will be full of even more JOY and delight!

One of the things that I consider when reflecting back on my fibromyalgia journey is how long it took to get an accurate diagnosis. For years, I had symptoms of fibro yet it took me being completely out of commission (in bed for weeks at a time, unable to sleep for more than 2-3 hours, intense physical pain) before I got close to an accurate diagnosis.

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As it turns out, my experience isn’t unusual. In fact, most fibro sufferers take more than two years to get diagnosis. This statistic is appalling, considering the pain and diminished quality of life that we experience while we wait to get some clarity on what’s going on with us.

I have a few theories on why it takes so much time to be diagnosed. I’m sure that there are more reasons why this happens, but these are the reasons that I experienced, and I’m sure that many others with fibro can relate to at least one of these scenarios.

  • Fibro symptoms often mimic other conditions. Many times, primary care physicians (PCPs) will diagnose you as being depressed (which is a frequent comorbidity of fibro), having muscle strains, or suffering from a viral infection (again, this can often occur with fibro patients). As a result, the PCP, in an attempt to make a conservative diagnosis, ends up “under-diagnosing” (yes, I know that isn’t a word, but bear with me LOL!) their patients. And when this happens, it creates a delay in getting an accurate diagnosis.
  • Primary care doctors are hesitant to refer to rheumatologists unless there is conclusive test results indicating some sort of auto-immune issue. When having blood work done, your primary care may see unusual results . . . Or not. And if everything looks “normal”, they will often doubt that you need to be referred to a specialist. I have a whole story about this, and I will share it in a future post.
  • Some PCPs deny the validity of fibromyalgia. The vast majority of physicians believe that fibro is a real condition, but there is still a minority that aren’t convinced of the seriousness of the condition. If your PCP doesn’t believe that your condition is real, how likely is it that you will get an accurate diagnosis?
  • Some PCPs are very unfamiliar with fibro as a condition, and, while well-intentioned, they may overlook this common but still mysterious diagnosis.
  • Using a variety of PCPs, or having more impersonal relationships with care providers, makes it difficult to determine your “baseline” condition and what symptoms are truly abnormal for you. This is especially relevant for those that have milder chronic pain symptoms or higher pain tolerances. If you aren’t experiencing major, life-altering discomfort and inconvenience, it may not be apparent to a new physician (or a physician that doesn’t know you well) that you are experiencing abnormal pain.

These are just a few of the reasons why getting an accurate fibro diagnosis usually takes quite some time. Even though my symptoms were mild at first, they eventually intensified. It took me becoming incapacitated to get diagnosed, and even that occurred nearly two months after I was in bed for weeks at a time. My advice to anyone that suspects that they have fibro is to get a referral to a rheumatologist as quickly as you can (if you have an HMO), or, if you have a PPO (like I do) contact a well-reviewed rheumatology office and schedule an appointment yourself. It may take some time, but an accurate diagnosis and the right medical team can make a world of difference in your health and quality of life.

That’s all for this Fibro Friday. Have a fantastic weekend!

art · culture · luxury · travel

Throwback Thursday Travel: Las Vegas

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Sin City. What happens there, stays there. The Entertainment Capital of the World.

Of course, I’m talking about none other than Las Vegas, Nevada. I went there in November 2019, and I loved it! Much like last week’s Throwback Thursday Travel post, I think I’ll have to break this one down into two (or maybe even three!) posts to capture all of the things that I saw and did. However, for today, enjoy these pics from what is sure to be the first of many trips to Las Vegas.

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We’ve arrived!

For this trip, I rode with my friend from San Diego to Las Vegas. On the way there, we saw Seven Magic Mountains, a vibrant art installation that offers a striking contrast of color against the desert backdrop.

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I couldn’t get a good picture of Seven Magic Mountains, but I still loved it

I stayed at the luxurious Bellagio Hotel. However, staying at just one luxury hotel would be a disservice to yourself: there are so many exquisite hotels in Las Vegas, so why limit yourself to one? The next time I go, I’ll definitely try either the Venetian, the Waldorf Astoria (formerly the Mandarin Oriental) or Caesar’s Palace. Here are some pictures as we drove to the hotel, as well as photos of the pool and courtyard area.

Valeting at the Bellagio and views from my hotel window

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The entrance to the courtyard surrounding the pool area

The Bellagio’s pool area

My motto is ABS: Always Be Shopping!

Souvenirs for family members that enjoy novelty shirts

 

That’s all for today’s Throwback Thursday Travel post! Have you ever been to Las Vegas? How did you like it?

life curation

New Goals for 2020

Even before COVID-19 upended our collective plans and intentions for 2020, I knew that I was taking a completely different direction than I had for the past few years.

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Every year, I focus on very tangible goals. My goals could be easily quantified, because I believe in goals being SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound – and I tied my personal value to the achievement of a SMART goal.

But now, my goals are shifting . . . And I like it. Yes, to a degree, my goals are still SMART, but they all aren’t as dynamic as before. I will always have a couple of dynamic goals (that’s my nature) but some of my other goals are more fluid, and allow me room to be gentle with myself. I’m starting to fall in love with my “new normal”, which include practices that support my emotional and mental health, and goals that focus more on who I’m being as opposed to what I’m doing.

With that in mind, here are some of my new goals for 2020:

  • Practice yoga weekly
  • Finish writing and editing two of my books
  • Complete my herbalist certification (did that earlier this week!)

Have you had a chance to revisit and rethink your goals? What direction do you think you’ll be going this year? I’d love to hear all about it!

beauty · luxury

Review: Kandi Koated Finesse Concealer

Here’s another beauty review! I have a few items that I’ve purchased over the past few months that I’m eager to review, and I’m sharing one of those products with you today.

A few months back, I was introduced to Kandi Koated Cosmetics by local entrepreneur Mesha Cousins. She was professional and it was such a treat to work with her. These cosmetics are developed and branded by Kandi Burruss, singer and reality TV star. I ordered two items from the Kandi Koated collection: a lip product (that I’ll review in a future post) and the Finesse Concealer, the subject of today’s review.

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The stunningly beautiful Kandi Burruss

I was excited to get my products quickly, and in a gorgeous package to boot! I wish I had taken a picture of the packaging: it was girly, pink, and fabulous! In any case, I quickly tried the products and was excited that they performed well and looked great. The product itself arrived in a stunning rose gold tube, and it looked very beautiful and sleek.

In the case of the concealer, however, some disclaimers are needed. Yes, this product absolutely conceals well and the shade – Mocha Deep – was flattering on my complexion. But, it’s worth noting that Mocha Deep isn’t a deep shade at all: it’s more of a dark beige/light brown hue. When it comes to brown skin, this wouldn’t be considered a very “deep” shade at all. Also, Mocha Deep isn’t available on the Kandi Koated website, though it may still be available through individual cosmetic reps (like Ms. Cousins, mentioned above).

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Swatching the product

This product isn’t super-creamy like LA Girl HD Pro Concealer. Because the formulation is a little “drier”, it is a much easier product to control, though it probably isn’t ideal for delicate undereye skin (that generally needs a creamier formulation). I used this product to sculpt my brows, and I loved the subtle highlighting effect that it creates. I apply, gently tap around the edges to blend, then set with powder. It lasts all day and looks fresh without needed touch-ups. Though I haven’t tried it yet, it would also work really well for reverse highlighting the hollows of the cheeks, as well as providing a smooth, even colored surface for the eyes.

Do I recommend this concealer? Absolutely! I love it though I didn’t think it would work that well under my eyes. I also wish that the company had more colors available, so I could see if I can get an even better color match.

Have you used any of the Kandi Koated Cosmetics products? Let me know in the comments below!

Uncategorized

This Memorial Day

As the proud daughter and niece of veterans, I believe in observing the solemnity of Memorial Day. So many have dutifully served to protect us at home. In honor of those that served but are no longer with us, let us have a beautiful, benevolent Memorial Day. Let’s continue to keep them in our minds, thoughts and (if you’re inclined) prayers.

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I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care.