Papel Picado

Papel Picado

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

An Engagement Story, 3 Years Later

I briefly spoke with a friend a few days ago and she reminded me that it was three years ago that we were in Jackson, Mississippi on a mission trip. While I went with the anticipation of receiving something from God. What I never anticipated was coming home engaged. Especially since I was not dating anyone at that time.

While a lot of people get to tell an "engagement story", you know, like the couple climbed a mountain and right at sunset there was a proposal, that wasn't exactly our story.

If you would like to listen to the whole story, you can do so here:

For those who are still waiting, have hope, there is someone so perfect for you out there.

Our wedding day (September 2012): 

Leaving the hospital with our little one, Olive (June, 2014):


Sunday, May 17, 2015

My (Glowing) Coconut Skin

I think it started when I was about 14.  Christmas time.  I got chocolate in my stocking.  I ate all of it by week's end. My skin was never the same. It was probably hormones + an allergy, but whatever it was, it followed me into my 30s.

I have tried multiple harsh and various organic face washes, masks and toners. I've had facials and microdermabrasion, but while there may be a day or two of seeming like I had found a solution, nothing worked.

January 2014
Until about a month ago....

I began a beauty regimen of organic coconut oil + baking soda scrub, apple cider vinegar toner and lemon and raw honey to deep clean my pores.

Organic Oil + Baking Soda Scrub- morning + night

Organic, extra virgin coconut oil is the most common type mentioned in the various articles I've read.

My friend Brittany posted on Facebook that she began using coconut oil and the amount she gave me was "nickel size (of) coconut oil and a pinch of baking soda."

Another good resource is this blog I found via Pinterest: Bespangled Jewelry: How to Achieve Perfectly PolishedComplexion

I, personally wash my hands and then grab a teeny glob (probably about a nickel size) of organic coconut oil and then add baking soda until I like the "scrub" consistency. I do this without removing my makeup first!

After I have got in a good scrub, I take a wash cloth and wipe it off thoroughly with warm water.

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner-  morning + night

Next, to make Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) toner, I mix 1 part ACV and 1 part filtered water. Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar WITH The Mother (that stuff that floats around in it) is the best option from everything I've read.  

This is the stuff! Found in most grocery stores.
That is it! I bought a small spray bottle from Target and I fill it up halfway with water, then top it off with ACV. I spray a regular old cotton ball with it and clean off any excess dirt left on my face. I have also read that it can fade lines on your face too.

Found in the travel section at Target.
Raw Honey/Lemon Mask- nighttime 

The last step is something that I am still experimenting with. 

I tried one mask from this Blackhead Clearing Mixes post once. This is the specific one I used (subbing lemon for tea tree oil):

"Mix 2 -3 drops of tea tree oil with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of melted (but cooled) coconut oil. Mix this with just a bit of cool water — add a tablespoon of water at a time until you get a good, thick mask consistency going. Then scrub this on to your face. Leave this mask on for about 15 – 20 minutes and then rinse well with lukewarm water. The baking soda will dig deep into your pores and remove bacteria and buildup that can foster blackheads. The tea tree oil has amazing and natural acne and bacteria-fighting properties. The coconut oil will blend to smooth the whole mixture and deliver softer skin when you rinse it away.
An alternative to the tea tree oil is to mix lemon juice in with your baking soda and coconut oil. About a tablespoon of lemon juice added in to this mask base will help tighten up pores and penetrate the dirt that may be residing in pores. Allow this mixture to harden on your face, and then rinse well after it hardens."

To be honest, it was way too much and a little bit messy. It did work pretty well, and I will probably use it about once or twice a month. I have since began simply applying the lemon juice directly to my face using a cotton ball on a regular basis. I then usually rub raw honey on my face two to three times per week. Raw honey and lemon juice are both good for fading scars and can be used as spot treatment. 

Finish it off by using a tiny bit of coconut oil as moisturizer in the morning and at night. A small amount goes a long way. 

A bonus: I have also found that you can use aloe as a primer before applying your makeup! I apply a tiny amount on and then apply tinted sunscreen (I use an Aveeno variation, but there are many others out there). That is it for makeup... No powder or foundation! (Okay, a little bit of eyeliner and mascara... I am a Texas girl after all.)

Drinking water is definitely important. I have a personal goal of drinking 1 gallon of water per day, although different sources will recommend different amounts. If you aren't seeing the results you want, try eliminating items from your diet. Get rid of greasy foods, and foods that are high on the allergy list.  Stress also is a major cause of acne and no amount of face washing will completely clear your skin in these cases. In my case, dairy, wheat and potatoes as well as greasy foods give me bad skin days, but I always recover by drinking lots and lots of water. Detoxing helps, too! 

Various sites will tell you various different uses and benefits for each of the items above, and feel free to research any and all of the above listed treatments before beginning your skin regimen.  I am by no means a medical professional, just a girl in love with her skin! 

Today, May 2015- One month in!

I can't wait to see your results. Please share and give others with troubled skin the good news! 

Share your photos: #myglowingcoconutskin

Friday, May 8, 2015

Momunity, not Mompetition

She lost her baby weight so quickly.

I breast feed because breast is best.

She dresses her baby so fashionable.

I co-sleep with my child.

Her child is already reading at 3 years old.

I had a scheduled c-section.

We plan to homeschool.

Her child is in so many activities.

She gave birth at home.

Their son has already been accepted to a top state school.

Her daughter is getting married as soon as she graduates college.

I hear each of these statements quite often. Some now more often because I am a mother. Or maybe I have always heard them, but now they have meaning. What I wonder is: when you read each of the above statements, how did it make you feel?

I am going to be completely honest, there are a few up there that if I had read them before having a baby, and I had our perfect life plan, I would have felt different. For example: someone having a scheduled c-section would have made me cringe. Why on EARTH would someone not want to have their child naturally. Shouldn't they fight for their baby to be born naturally? Wow. How naive was I?

The one that really gets to me is the "I breast feed because breast is best." I never never never in 1 million years wanted my child to have formula. NEVER. Theoretical perfect child would also eat all organic and prefer vegetables.

Then life happened. I had a lot of complications during pregnancy. My daughter was born very premature via emergency c-section. As she grew and became stronger, we found out that her eating by mouth was not what was best. As the months of pumping went by, my supply depleted quickly. I proudly pumped for 15 months, but at around 7 months she needed formula to supplement.
I didn't even want to have my child in a hospital and she was in a hospital for 5 months. I am thrilled when my daughter eats anything now. Her favorite food is Lay's potato chips. I also am locked into future planned surgical births due to a second surgery I had after my daughter.

At some point I realized something. Had I delivered my daughter at home, naturally and breastfed until she was five, it would never have made me a better mother. What makes me a good mother is that I make decisions for my daughter with love, and the desire to do what is best for her

I am surrounded by other mothers. Some who (seemingly) haven't had to really make any radical decisions for their child(ren) and some who can't seem to catch a break.  They are all good mothers, and so am I.

I recently read one woman's account of her c-section. She let her audience know that she was, in fact, a very competitive person. That having to have a c-section had nothing to do with the actual experience of giving birth, but more with her wanting to prove she was tough. Her reason for writing the article was because someone referred to her having a c-section as being the easy way out.

Ladies, we have to stop doing this. We need to support each other. To encourage, empower and educate each other. We should never assume the path that someone took was easier or more importantly, the choice they wanted to make.

I once saw an idea shared between artists as a way to come together as a community and help each other grow and thrive. "Community not competition." If you look up #communitynotcompetition on Instagram you see artist after artist collaborating and helping each other out.

The creative in me saw an opportunity: what if we took out the "c" and added an "m"? (Okay maybe I also took out the second "m" in community.) My point is, we need to have MOM UNITY and not this silly "mompetition" going on. To collaborate and help each other out.

No matter how we became mommies; natural birth, adoption, c-section, assisted reproductive technology and so on, each of us have a beautiful story to share and can learn from each other.

#momunity #momunitynotmompetition