Well, I’m writing this to you early since I’ll be away on Friday (getting ready for our April 1st wedding!!!!!!!)…so here’s to hoping the “schedule” functions works correctly and this posts Friday morning 🙂
This Friday’s quote is by Australian author, Nikki Rowe, inspired by my great long weekend with my Mom in town; being with family; being amidst nearly 100 EndoSisters, family, friends, and strangers; and a general thought that needs to spread like wildfire:
“I don’t want fleeting friendships or relationships or passion in life, give me fleeting moments in coffee shops and walks by the water but I will never be satisfied with empty kinships that are fleeting & undecided. Those connections are what make us all human and I dare not settle my wild little heart for something of so little depth.”
Have a GLORIOUS weekend! Spend it with those people that matter most to you. Rekindle old relationships that may have fallen stagnant. Evaluate those that may be toxic to your life. Grasp onto the meaningful and loved friendships.Find your passions and pursue them, overcome with madness and a desire to achieve. But most importantly? Find those qualities deep within yourself first…love who you are, or who you can become.
Blogs I’ve updated this week:
Endometriosis & the Bowel – added a 2017 study published in the ACG Case Reports Journal of a woman with an endometriosis mass within her intestine, which required excision.
Links – added EndoStore.org to our lists of businesses that donate a share of their sale profits toward helping women with Endometriosis.
New to San Diego, Sarah was diagnosed with Endometriosis when she was 38 years old, after seeking help for over 20 years. Today, a year later, she shares her long and difficult Journey with us.
Sarah’s Journey: I’m home from this year’s Endo March. I met some lovely people, reconnected with new friends (I’m new to San Diego), and learned a lot. One of those lessons was hard. It’s not as simple as saying Endometriosis changed my life or changed me.
It’s that it, along with other health problems, shaped me and, as all of this runs its course, my identity is changing. Parts of what I value about myself have shifted and this time the change is so deep that it may be irrevocable. I don’t know if I can get those pieces of me back. I used to be strong. I used to be fast. I could paint a painting in a day, code a website so that your head spun, learn a skill and build a 16 hour class around it and teach it inside a week.
When I was a kid, I was the *fasted* kid in the fourth grade. I outran everyone regardless of their height, gender, or age in the fourth grade. And I worked on my grandparents’ farm in the summers. I lifted hay bales. I carried things bigger than me! I was strong. I was fast. And then my body started changing. My weight shifted. My period started.
When I was 15 the pain of it became unbearable, I thought at the time. It lasted 8 days and it was heavy for most of them. I would throw up or pass out sometimes because of my period. I was anemic. I came home from school frequently because of my period. My mother was irritated and didn’t think it was real. And don’t get upset with my mother!
It turns out she had Endo, too. She didn’t get diagnosed until she was in her 50s. So, it’s no wonder she looked at my suffering and thought it was normal–it’s what she was told about her own suffering. And she’d never heard of Endometriosis.
Something else that happened when I was 15 was that I managed to subluxate some of my ribs and score a compression fracture in one of my thoracic vertebrae. The simple action of getting dressed for school is what made this happen. So, in addition to period pain, there was constant pain in my upper back–constant and chronic as in every single day, every single minute, there was pain. The doctor my mother took me to accused me of trying to get out of gym class and didn’t even order an X-ray. I found out about the bone damage 9 years later when I was getting X-rayed for something else.
This set the stage for doctors not believing me about any of the pain I was in.
It also kept me exercising no matter how bad the pain got because I was told that exercising would make my “imaginary” pain better. I took myself to a gynecologist because that was my only option. Thanks, Planned Parenthood, for being a thing. They didn’t diagnose endo. To be fair, no one diagnosed it or considered it for another 23 years anyway. So, I still only have love for them. At least they listened.
I first learned about Endometriosis from a high school friend who had been diagnosed. Her suffering was worse than mine, so I never considered that I could have it. I assumed I was being given accurate information and that my pain tolerance must just be low. I kept my head down, took ibuprofen everyday for my back and more for my period, and kept on not getting any better. I took ibuprofen every day for about a decade. I took lots of ibuprofen. Every day. It didn’t stop the pain but made it manageable, tolerable.
I also started taking birth control pills at some point. Some brands helped with my period pain, some made it worse. All of them had side effects that kept me switching or stopping altogether. Benefit to detriment ratios became nearly daily contemplations. At some point, I decided The Pill wasn’t worth it. Pain was a better option.
I’m pretty sure that decision came after I ended up in a neck brace/soft cervical collar from a little traffic accident followed by carrying something bigger than me incorrectly. I couldn’t get my doctor to believe how much pain I was in then, either. So, I took so many ibuprofen than I pooped blood for a few days. When I told my doctor that, she finally sent me for physical therapy, an MRI, and to a neurologist. Needless to say, that was the end of my love affair with ibuprofen. I can take other NSAIDs, but, even now, over a decade later, ibuprofen creates horrible abdominal pain and blood where there shouldn’t be any.
So what about those cramps? Aspirin was my first solution. It thinned out the clots, so that was a relief. It didn’t do nearly as much for the pain. I got really good at controlled breathing and pretending. And I had to pretend. About this time, I had to change jobs due to carpal tunnel and thoracic outlet syndrome. I couldn’t do my lame desk job. I couldn’t paint. I even had trouble cooking for myself. (I will be forever grateful to the Mexican restaurant down the street from me at the time and their mostly-healthy, affordable tacos.)
I started teaching. The classes were intermittent and the pay was good, which allowed me time to recover in between teaching stints. I didn’t always manage to schedule classes around my period, but I tried. Working from bed on the worst days is a luxury most of us don’t have. It’s a luxury I sometimes had. Eventually, my arms and hands improved so I could re-learn all my painting skills, but my period never got better. It was always something I dreaded. And still, no gynecologist gave the pain a second thought. Eventually, I stopped talking about it. I pretended.
Just like I pretended in front of my students. Most days I was behind a computer screen. Some days I was also behind them. So I could keep my voice level–or even happy–while I hunched over, massaged, turned green. And in a decade of teaching, very few students noticed enough to say anything or react. Every now and then someone would mention something about my voice not matching or seeming like I was acting. It’s true. I was acting. I was pretending to be okay. And once, a male student turned around to look at me while I talked…. He did the whole Warner Bros. cartoon shock face reaction and turned back around again. I kept on talking, joking, whatever. Even though my back hurt, my arms and shoulders hurt, my period was Hell on Earth, it was all fine as long as I could still go dancing and still go walking.
My health sometimes kept me away from dancing for months or more at a time, but I always got back to it. I performed a little, even. I spun fire. I belly danced. I even got to perform on the main stage at Rakkasah a couple times. It was a luscious and frivolous hobby, and it got me out of bed. Over and over again, dancing was the reason I got out of bed, left the house. There might be weeks at a time that I didn’t teach–that I didn’t *have* to leave the house. Dancing got me out. Going for walks got me out. And then I fell down hiking. With 3.5 miles to go and the sun waning, I messed up my left leg. No one believed how bad that was either. So I did the best I could. I limped for a couple years. No biggie. I went for shorter and shorter walks. I still danced as best I could. Then I twisted my sacrum. Finally, by lying about what happened, I convinced a doctor to get me into physical therapy. I limped less.
And my period ever so subtly kept getting worse. I had these horrible things called Essure coils put into my fallopian tubes as a form of permanent birth control. I’d given up on The Pill and the risk of pregnancy wasn’t something I wanted to continue facing. Sex became an experiment in torture after that. Any deep thrust was like a knife inside my gut. And my period, yup, kept getting worse. And slowly, I started to bleed in between periods a bit and have discolored discharge.
In November of 2015, I had a period every week. It wasn’t constant blood, just one massive clot every Wednesday. Seriously. Every. Wednesday. So I made an appointment with a doctor to talk about that and an increase in my lower back pain and the leg pain that just wouldn’t go away and about blah blah blah medical history. She was not amused. She was not terribly helpful. She also didn’t really believe me about the pain–except for my period/pelvic pain. She referred me to a specific gynecologist, for an intra-vaginal ultrasound, and for physical therapy. I don’t know if the physical therapy, the ultrasound, or just my body continuing to fall apart was the cause, but inside a few weeks I was barely able to walk at all.
I went back to the doctor–with husband insisting on coming along (yay!)–after literally falling down on the ground because my legs gave out. It wasn’t the first time this had happened, but it was the most shocking and the most painful. My left leg, in particular, felt like there were large hunks of twisted metal in it when I walked mixed in with the feeling of cleavers. The twisted metal and cleaver pains were new. An MRI, some x-rays, and a physiatrist appointment later, I was getting epidural cortisol injections to my spine. They helped a little. The physiatrist said that the amount of pain I was in didn’t make sense based on the testing. Then he added something wonderful. He said, “There must be something else going on.”
When I finally got in to see the gynecology specialist, I had yet another intra-vaginal ultrasound. This one with saline because she thought I had uterine polyps. She was right. That experience was so painful I could barely stand afterward, let alone walk. I was scheduled for a hysteroscopic polypectomy. That also helped with a little of the pain. Again, I was told there must be something else.
After those two procedures, chiropractic and physical therapy visits were more useful. I could get from the bed to the bathroom with out resting. I could eventually walk from my car to my appointments without gritting my teeth or taking breaks. The blood in between my periods was gone, but my period pain was no better. It was still getting worse, and the rate of my cute little decline had increased as my physical activity had decreased.
In May, we moved to San Diego. In July 2016, I wept, yelled, and pleaded my way into laparoscopic surgery to remove the Essure coils (and my fallopian tubes because that’s how that’s done) and to look for Endometriosis. I was in so much pain–back breaking, mind numbing, fully crippling, life-hating pain–during my periods that I went in asking for a hysterectomy. She talked me down. During surgery, she found extensive Endometriosis. For whatever reason, whether it was all that exercise I used to do, my low-estrogen diet due to Hashimoto’s Disease, or just pain luck, I had very little scar tissue and no adhesions. She deemed it Stage 1 Endometriosis. When the pathology report came back, it verified Endometriosis, said that my removed fallopian tubes showed not only a bunch of endometriosis, but also evidence of a previous burst. It didn’t specify if that was from an Essure coil puncturing a tube or from something else.
23 years after first seeking help, I got it. My uterus prolapsed mild-moderately after surgery. Lupron wreaked havoc on my body after surgery. But, I’m figuring out how to walk again. It’s arduous. It’s frustrating. It’s painful. It’s also working–slowly. This is part of what was so hard about today.
All those little mentions of non-Endo pain mostly have to do with another health condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It’s a collagen disorder. People with Ehlers-Danlos are extra flexible and are prone to dislocations, subluxations, sprains, and the like. It also takes us longer to heal. And there’s a higher rate of Endometriosis among Ehlers-Danlos sufferers than among the general population.
And I’ll type this again for my own stubborn benefit: It takes me longer to heal. I am no longer fast. I am no longer physically strong. I have trouble lifting a gallon of juice, let along a hay bale.
And not only did I finish dead last today, I couldn’t even speed up for the photo at the end. I just couldn’t. It wasn’t physically possible for me to go faster. I was already hiding a limp and pretending to not be nauseous. Lisa said not to worry about it, to keep going at whatever pace I could manage (thank you for that). But I do worry about it.
I used to keep myself going because even if everything hurt, I could still walk. As long as I could walk, I would be okay. And I know it’s been less than a year since surgery. I know that I’m still clearing hurdles, even if they are only 3 inches tall.
I also know, as of today, that I have to find new ways to define myself. Because the effort to get well is more important than my notions of who I am.
I am no longer fast. I am no longer strong. These are things I need to accept because, in hindsight, holding on to those two identifiers so desperately probably did me more harm than good in my past recovery endeavors. Pushing myself to get to a goal is not something I can do anymore. The risk of long term harm is too real.
The difference between being able to physically get myself out of bed or not is as small as turning incorrectly or walking too fast. I have to be okay with just finishing. I have to be okay with not finishing. Because I have to be okay.
I want to send a special Thank You out to Sarah for being brave enough to share her personal story, struggle, and small victories with us today. You are a beautiful, brave, and strong woman. You’ve been an incredible support and inspiration, a driving force with our little circle. And I adore you for it. Your brutal honesty with yourself, and our readers, has brought me to tears today. Continue to embrace who you are. ❤
And if YOU would like to share your story, you can do so by clicking here. The best part about this disease is the strong network of love and support from our fellow EndoSisters, and our friends and family, too.
You may have noticed my regular absence from new blogs. Well, I’m making excuses!! Not really…but excuses! Our Endo Walk is TOMORROW!! YAY! And our wedding is one week away! So February and March have been jam-packed with prepping and planning and shopping…and very little time for anything else.
That being said, I miss researching and writing. And look forward to getting back into it after the festivities!
It’s Friday!!! And a lucky one at that! St. Patrick’s Day has always been one of my favorites! Why? I get to wear insane amounts of my favorite color: GREEN! 😀 So here I am in a gigantic puffy green top hat, my shamrock tank top, absurd shiny green eyeshadow, and a chunk green ring. I was giggling on my entire drive to work since my top hat had smooshed up against the roof of the Jeep. Just…FUN!
“It’s okay to be absurd, ridiculous, and downright irrational at times; silliness is sweet syrup that helps us swallow the bitter pills of life.”
EMBRACE your inner silliness every once in a while! Be a goof. Enjoy life. LAUGH! …and…
Have a wonderful weekend!
Blogs that have been updated this week:
Adenomyosis– added a Feb. 2017 study regarding imaging studies and diagnosing Ado, published in La Radiologia Medica.
Bladder & Endometriosis – added a Jan. 2017 study about a woman who suffered kidney damage due to Endometriosis on both of her ureters, published in Port J Nephrol Hypert. Also added Feb. 2017 study about a woman with bladder Endometriosis, published in International Journal of Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics and Gynecology.
C-Sections & Endometriosis – added a Feb. 2017 report of woman whose giant c-section lump had ruptured, published in Journal of Case Reports and Studies ! Also added March 2017 study regarding three new cases of c-section scar/abdominal wall Endometriosis, published in International Journal of Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Endometriosis & The Bowel – added Feb. 2017 study regarding excision surgery for colorectal Endometriosis and fertility issues, published in European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. Also added a Feb. 2017 study in Gastroenterology Research about a woman with Endometriosis on her colon, which was discovered because of rectal bleeding, followed by two colonoscopies.
Endometriosis & The Lungs – added March 2017 study about a woman who went to the emergency room due to pain and difficulty breathing two days after her period started – she collapsed while undergoing testing and was whisked away into surgery, published in the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports.
CS was diagnosed with Endometriosis when she was 34. Now a year later, she shares the story of her diagnosis with us.
CS’s Journey: I didn’t think I could have endometriosis because I didn’t have bad menstrual cramps or heavy bleeding. What I did have, were bouts of pretty severe-left-sided pelvic pain. I first started noticing it a few months after I had my child, and I don’t think I have to tell you that I was repeatedly misdiagnosed.
Eventually, an ultrasound just happened to spot an endometrioma on my left ovary. I had exploratory surgery, during which my surgeon removed the endometrioma – and found endo also growing on my ureter, sigmoid colon, and so forth. I’m feeling better since the surgery, with much reduced pain. Now I have to decide what I want to do next with my treatment
Words of Advice: I guess, don’t rule out endometriosis just because your periods aren’t bad. It can still be hiding in there.
I want to send a special Thank You out to CS for being brave enough to share her personal story, struggle, and victories with us today. Thank you for sharing your Journey!!! Hoping it helps others going through similar issues.
And if YOU would like to share your story, you can do so by clicking here. The best part about this disease is the strong network of love and support from our fellow EndoSisters, and our friends and family, too.
I was contacted by Juno Medical – they’ve released a new Endo Infographic for Endometriosis Awareness Month and I’d like to share it with YOU! Please feel free to visit their webpage (here) about Endometriosis for more information, as well as share their infographic all over the place. Like Tim said in his email to me, “All the effort is wasted if we don’t manage to raise awareness for the topic.”
Many of you may have read about parabens, dioxins, and endocrine disruptors that may play a role in influencing my Endometriosis symptoms (plus I’m a dirty hippy deep down inside). I’ve kind of been on this little crusade since last year to go through my personal products and read the labels and find alternatives that I like as much (if not better). Well, my little collection is growing and I figured I’d share what I’ve fallen in love with during this search. I’ve still got a few products in my cabinets that I’m looking to replace..but that’ll come eventually.
I’m not being paid or compensated to do these reviews. These are just products that I’ve discovered and truly enjoy and wanted to pass on the word. As I bump into more products that I love, I’ll continue to update this page with links and my thoughts…so feel free to come back and check it out. More info on the products, including their ingredients, can be found on their respective links!
AND if you have a natural product that YOU love, drop the info in the comments section below (maybe I’ll fall in love with it, too!) !
Orglamix Dry Clean Daily Brush Cleanser: I use this pleasant-smelling spray to clean my make-up brushes after every use. It’s a way of keeping them ungunkified between monthly washes. It contains a lot of essential oils, and a smidgen of alcohol. Runs about $12.
Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner – Made with essential oils, this all-natural disinfectant is a nice way to keep our bathroom clean and germ-free. This is meant for non-porous surfaces and I can’t stop cleaning my toilet seat and counters anymore. 🙂 It smells great and makes me feel better about my home and health. Typically runs $4.30 a bottle, but you can find it cheaper at other sources.
Dental Floss by Desert Essence – I enjoy the Neem Cinnamint flavor, but they also make a Tea Tree version. Lots of essential oils to help kill the bacteria between our teeth and gums *yuck* And I hate flossing… so very much, but I feel better about doing it with this product. It’s about $4.
Tooth & Gums Tonic by Dental Herb Company – my amazing holistic dentist turned me on to this stuff! Herb extracts, water, and glycerin…and that’s it! And it’s wonderful! It lasts forever because a little goes a long way, and gives me incredibly fresh (and bacteria-free) breath. It’s about $30 for an 18-ounce bottle, but that bottle lasts me a few months. Seriously concentrated stuff. And you can have your dentist order you a free sample from their webpage!
Organic deodorant by Life by Recipe – oh man…ask anyone who knows me: I work up a sweat and I stink. Years ago I tried to switch to an aluminum-free deodorant. Um, no. No matter what brand I tried, I always sweat through my shirts and my funk prevailed. This deodorant is perfect for me. I rub it on my armpits with my fingers, wait a few minutes for the oils to soak in, and get dressed. So far, I’ve not sweat through my shirt (but then again, it has only been winter), and my funk is only overwhelming when I crawl into bed after a long day. It’s got baking soda and probiotics,too! I just love it! About $8 for a 4-oz jar, and I’ve been using this for the past three months (as of today, March 7, 2017) and the jar just now hit the halfway mark.
Probiotic deodorant by Silver Market Co – if you’re like me and have a sensitivity to baking soda (whoops, I learned that the painful way), try this deodorant. I’ve been using it for a few months since I had to stop using the Life by Recipe deodorant (baking soda isn’t my friend…) and I love it. Keeps me dry and odor free.
Pads by Emerita – These cotton pads are a God-send. I’ve been stepping away from conventional bleached cotton pads for over a year and have been on a crazy safari looking for an unbleached pad that a) was absorbent, b) didn’t have cute little printed designs or dye on the pad, c) actually stayed in place on my panties, and d) wasn’t as thick as a tree-trunk. These…do all of those things for me. Emerita also makes pantyliners, tampons, and an overnight pad. These run about $10 a pack.
Anders Farms wool dryer balls – All natural, unscented, undyed wool balls that replace those chemical-laden dryer sheets. They soften clothes and soak up moisture, so your clothes dry even faster! I toss 8 balls into the dryer with a large load…or 3 balls with a small load. Anders Farms sells these on Etsy for 3 balls for $10 or 5 balls for $15. They supposedly last about 1,000 loads of laundry! AND if you’d feeling really fiesty, you can add a few drops to essential oil to each balls a few hours before using them for a bit of scent (I haven’t tried this yet…).
Growing up, I never wore make-up. My cousin’s boyfriend did my make-up for my senior prom, my friend did my wedding make-up when I was 21, and I’ve literally owned the same tiny travel case full of crusty, well-expired make-up for nearly a decade. I’m a Tom Boy, but am now beginning (in my late-30’s) to embrace make-up and the fun of it all…plus I want to cover my zits…
Orglamix au naturel mascara – This is the first mascara I’ve ever tried that doesn’t make my eyes burn. I told you I’m sensitive! HA! Anyway – I bought it in “espresso” and it looks fantastic! It has great coverage (I usually only need one coat), it doesn’t clump or make those horrible little spider legs, and I don’t find it on my face in the middle of the day in little specks of mascara-dust! It’s not waterproof, so if you’re prone to turning on the waterworks, may not be the best choice for you. But I’m hooked. It’s $20 and it’s not a full-size tube (but it’s not small either)…well worth the money just so my eyes don’t burn and I feel good about what’s going onto my lashes.
Orglamix Chroma Lip Shift – I figured I’d try out this new product ’cause…why not? It’s pitched as a color-shifting iridescent lip gloss…and IT is! I purchased the color Bewitchment, which is a blend of mauves, roses, silvers, and blues. This handy-dandy pen-type dispenser works with a spin of a dial and product fills the brush. Word of warning: don’t add too much product to the brush! That was my mistake!! Smooshed it all over way too thick. Ha! BUT, just one or two clicks will suffice and a little goes a long way. I wear mine over my Fate lip gelee and it adds such a deep richness and subtle shimmer! And it feels super moisturizing and stays on well. I love it! And the little brush applicator is perfect! Keeps my finger clean, pop the lid back on, and keeps my purse clean, too 🙂 But at $19 a piece, the price is a little steep for me.
Orglamix eye primer – I had no idea what primer was…let alone that my eyes needed their very own primer! I tried bareMinerals eye primer, but found it gunky, hard, and sticky. Orglamix’s primer goes on smooth, isn’t sticky, and it’s natural (my favorite part!). My shadow stays put all day, looks vibrant, and my eyes feel great. $15 for a 10g pot.
Orglamix eye shadow – I’ve tried the loose mineral eye shadow – very different than the packed shadows I played around with over the years. Tap a little into a lit, transfer to your brush (or finger) and apply. They also offer pressed or cream shadows. You can leave it subtle, or layer it on for a *pop* of color! There are oodles and oodles of shades to choose from…it’s kind of a new addiction. $12 for a pot, or you can get a sampler (you choose up to 3 colors and get a brush set) for $22 here.
Orglamix HD powder – A finishing powder to lock make-up in place and make those fine lines and wrinkles disappear. This replaced my bareMinerals mineral veil. Also gives my skin an airbrushed appearance and smoothness. I love it! And if I get a bit of an oily sheen throughout the day, I just poof some of this on and *magic*…$24 for a 6.5g pot.
Orglamix Lip & Cheek Gelee – these two shades came to me as a gift. Incredibly smooth, creamy, hydrating lip and cheek tints. The colors are very, very subtle, despite their vibrancy in the pots…and I love them. And their scent is so light, yet pleasant. I’ve recently received the “Fate” color in an Orglamix Mystery Bag and I am infatuated with the color!! Runs for $18 for a 10g pot.
Orglamix lip balm -Okay…of all the products I’ve found since beginning my Natural Scavenger Hunt: these are my favorite. The most amazing lip balms I’ve ever tried in my life! And I consider myself a connoisseur of lip balms! These are incredibly hydrating, my lips feel rejuvenated and nourished, my lips don’t peel AT ALL anymore, they’re soft, supple, and movie star lips! The flavors are fun and incredible! You can get a grab bag of 5 random flavors for $16. I can’t shut-up about these!
Orglamix “plump up the volume” lip plumper – ooOOooooOoooh! This contains all kinds of oils that not only hydrate your lips, but puckers them up just a bit. Buyer beware: heavy cinnamon and anise flavors…and if you’re like me, you tend to lick your lips. I like to apply this plumper to my bottom lip, smoosh my lips together, wait a few minutes for the tingly effect, and I follow it up with some lip balm or tint. Kissably soft, a slight plumping, tingly-goodness, and masks bad breath. And my favorite tiny detail? The vial is glass! I’ve also had no issues with it leaking in my purse or pocket. One of these runs about $12.50.
Natural Value Bathroom Tissue – Unbleached, undyed, no fragrance added, AND made from 100% recycled product! What more could a pseudo-hippy chic ask for?! Figure if I’m changing my feminine hygiene products, may as well change my TP, too! Granted, it’s not as soft as Charmin, but it’s also not stiff and scratchy 🙂 Feels good, gets the job done, is two-ply (yes!!), and is safe for sewers and septic systems. Four double rolls ran me about $4.60 on Vitacost. I’ll keep this stocked!
Dr. Bronner’s pure-castile soap – I have loved Doc Bronners’ soap going on seven years now! It lasts FOREVER! It’s an incredibly versatile product (housecleaning and body cleaning!), and a little bit goes a really, really, really long way. AND minty-tingliness to wake me up in the morning.
Konjac sponge – this natural bamboo & charcoal konjac sponge has since replaced my facial brush and washcloths. It’s a nice way to exfoliate my dry and … blackheady face. It’s a vegetable fiber sponge, which I soak in water for a few minutes before using. It’s soft, yet scrubby, and can be used for 2 to 3 months (with proper care) before having to toss it. This one runs about $12.50.
Now Foods red Moroccan clay – this is relatively new to my regimen, but so far it’s fantastic! There’s one ingredient: Montmorillonite (a natural mineral silicate). Just add water and *poof* an amazing clay that tightens my skin and sucks out my blackheads. I bought mine for $5.
Orglamix Beauty Box – A monthly subscription box of that boasts between 4-6 Orglamix products! Each one is a full-size product! And every month the themes are different! I received the March 2017 beauty box as a gift (squee!) and it contained 1) pineapple & papaya enzyme mask, 2) a bronzing hair/body oil, 3) a bath bomb, 4) a little pot of solid perfume, and 5) an eyeshadow pot. Items found in the Beauty Boxes are often limited editions and not sold on Orglamix’s site. A subscription is $29 per month, but you get a discount if you pay for more than one month at a time.
Orglamix Milky Jelly Cleanser – I’ve recently replaced my Andalou 1,000 Roses foaming facial cleanser for Orglamix’s milky jelly cleanser. I love that I can pronounce all of the ingredients! It comes in a 1oz glass bottle (yay for not plastic!), and all I use is 2 squirts on my fingertips. It comes out a thick cream, but you rub it on your face and it rubs into an invisible oil. I gently exfoliate with a damp cloth and rinse will cold water. My skin is soft, clean, and well-taken care of. My first time trying this, I was doubtful…c’mon – it’s OILY! Um…nope. I tested it by following my face wash with toner…and the cotton pad was clean and perfect. Now I don’t even follow-up with toner. My skin is so happy! $12 for the 1oz bottle and one bottle lasts me about a month.
Orglamix Mojo– I received this Mojo as a gift as well. It’s a serum that’s packed full of good extracts and antioxidants to help fight sun damage and the signs of aging. I use 1 pump, and pat it into my face, and let it dry – follow it with my usual moisturizer. (Update: 3/10/17, After using it twice a day for seven days, I can tell you that my rock-hard, deep red zits have calmed down dramatically and are barely even visible and not painful at all!! My skin is soft. And it may just be the placebo effect…or the serum…but I truly feel like my crow’s feet are getting…softer…less dramatic.) This runs $52 for a 1oz bottle.
Orglamix Spot Remove Acne Treatment– Okay, I’ve waited a week before reviewing this product. And what a week: our Endometriosis Awareness Walk was last Saturday, I’ve started my period a few days ago, AND our wedding is this Saturday. Of all times to break out with stress zits…this is the time! So, I’ve been using this spot treatment (it comes in a roller) twice a day. My zits aren’t growing, their redness is gone, and they’re shrinking. It has my gratitude! One little glass roller-jar costs about $11.
Out of Africa lemon verbena hand cream – I’ve never been one to get into the habit of lotioning my hands. But this winter has been rough on my hands and my nails are peeling and it’s…awful. So I did some research and bought this hand cream. It’s luxurious heaven in a bottle…but man is it expensive! $10 for a tiny bottle…I may end up looking for something similar since my budget doesn’t enjoy that price tag…but man…it feels fantastic and soaks in so well into my hands.
Orglamix Cuticle Oil Pen – These self-contained little “pens” have a brush on one end, oil in the middle, and a clicker knob on the other end. Each click dispenses just a wee bit of oil onto the brush, which you then brush on your cuticles (or anywhere else that may need a little extra hydrating attention). I use this on my cuticles after I wash my hands – since my cuticles are dry and tearing. So far, so good! Each pen runs about $8. I received the Starfruit Pear scent in an Orglamix Mystery Bag. And since it’s self-contained, I can carry it around in my purse without any worry of spillage!!! *woot*
Products that I’m still using (or at least using up) that I may eventually replace:
bareMinerals: blemish remedy stick, blush, matte foundation, prime time primer;
Sensodyne toothpaste (although I need this for my sensitive teeth, so not sure will be able to replace. On the plus side: no parabens!);
Tizo facial mineral sunscreen; and,
**Updated August 9, 2017**
If you noticed, I’m a bit obsessed with Orglamix…I can’t help it : it’s run by this amazing stay-at-home mom named Cheri who offers incredible (and very personal) customer service! And amazing, all-natural products. I love supporting small businesses…and becoming healthier at the same time!