Un, Deux… What?! Month Two of My Accutane Journey

Waiting for the other shoe to drop… this is a feeling that acne sufferers know all too well. As acne suffers, we know a thing or two about disappointment. We also know a thing or two about how to worthlessly spend our money, too. Just think of all the must-have, 5 star rated, highly recommended acne cleansers we’ve purchased. You know, the ones that were supposed to be the end all magical solution to our stubborn acne. How many facial masks have you purchased that have come highly recommended by your favorite beauty guru? Were most of them made of unicorn tears that magically lost their effect when placed on your skin? What new diet change have you implemented this month? Soy-free? Dairy-free? Raw Vegan? As we desperately look for the “cure” we are often left worse than when we started. We’re left with more acne, more hyperpigmentation, crushed hopes, and less space in our medicine cabinet.

I can personally go on and on about the different remedies I’ve used in the past but let’s get to the real reason why you clicked on this link (I won’t keep you waiting any longer *wink wink!) My second month of Accutane has come and gone and my skin has drastically improved. I have noticed a significant reduction in my acne and in the inflammation on my face. I’m attributing this to the incorporation of Clindamycin into my skincare routine. While the Accutane works from the inside, the Clindamycin has worked in reducing and preventing future bacteria and infection on my skin.

Now that you know the good stuff, let’s get to the hiccups. While on Accutane, your skin will become very, VERY sensitive. I am currently on 20mg and will be on Accutane for the next 8 to 10 months. I was very excited for an event that I had planned with my friends and decided to make myself a little homemade scrub to exfoliate. I wanted my new acne free (but scar-ridden face) to be smooth and ready for the next day’s activities and makeup look… moral of the story: DO NOT USE SCRUBS! Yes, my face was very soft. But now I looked like I had spent the entire day on Miami Beach in the middle of July without sunblock. Fortunately, I woke up the next morning and my skin had returned to its normal color and was not as sensitive as I had prepared myself for. I believe this to have been a warning from the Skin Care Gods.

A week later, after I recovered from my fake, but self-induced sunburn, I had yet another lack of judgment. I was rushing to leave the house when my mom reminded me to put on deodorant- forgetting to apply deodorant is something I frequently do and if you live in a humid city like I do, then YOU KNOW this is not something to be taken lightly. I rush back and realize that I should probably also shave my underarms, too. Like every other time I’ve ever done this, I grabbed a razor and dry shaved, put on my deodorant, and walked out the house. I thought nothing of my actions until I woke up the next morning with dry, irritated, itchy, and red underarms. I had no one to blame but myself. This was a bad call that took me two and a half weeks of coconut oil, minimal deodorant, and long sleeves to get over.

Yes, your girl is loving this new skin and all the confidence that comes with it but I failed to remember how important it is to really care for my skin during this time. The hiccups I had could have been very easily avoided and were a result of my overconfidence. I just have to be more mindful and take extra precaution while on this Accutane journey. As a severe acne sufferer for the past few years, I’m beyond excited to finally see something working and I truly believe that there might not be another shoe hurdling down to decimate my hopes this time around.

Tune in next month for my daily skin care routine! What has worked, what hasn’t, and what’s next!

 

 

Everyone’s skin and body are different. This is my story and journey with acne. I am not a medical professional. For any medical questions or concerns, please consult with your dermatologist. 

New Year, No Meat, No Drink: Going Vegan Without The Aid of Alcohol

That’s what my first month of 2018 is shaping up to be at least, as my roommates and I embark on a month of vegan eating and sober living.

Like most great things that happen in this world, this decision was brought on by a New Year’s Resolution, and my utter and complete lack of healthy living in the final months of 2017. For me, 2017, was a year that can be summarized as a year of “in flux.” Really going back to late 2016, I came home from traveling, didn’t really know what I was doing or wanted to be doing. I ended up getting a job that I actually enjoyed, only to be let go in the fall of 2017. So, I’ve just been freelancing and job searching since.

That time was marked by a series of highs and lows – and in each, I ate…and I drank. When I got home from my travels, I was a little low. I did not want to be back. Then I got my kick-ass job and I made some really amazing work friends that quickly transitioned into real friendships. We went out all the time and I loved it. We were modern ladies (and some men) going on work lunches to nice places, getting a few drinks after work. It was like everything the media had ever told me being an actual bonafide ADULT was like. And then…I got let go. In the wake of losing a job full of people I enjoyed and worrying about money/my professional life, I began to stress eat. Boredom eat. Depression eat. Happy eat. Treat yo’ self-eat. Ya know.

My roommates fared just as well. With a year filled with tumultuous inner-lives, not to mention the anxiety and fear of a seemingly incompetent, bigoted government weighing on our shoulders, 2017 was a year filled with stress and eating poorly and drinking with the ladies of my home. Being completely self-aware, we decided to change this. We decided to make a New Year’s Resolution – which is a binding legal contract. It always sticks, right? Right. Good.

No. Y’all, of course, I’m completely aware that resolutions don’t always stick and most people drop them after the first month. Of course, we’re hoping for a better outcome for ourselves. And in knowing ourselves we knew we just couldn’t make a vague declaration of “better living”. We knew we had to fully discuss the reasoning behind these changes, and then put into motion an actual plan. Reason + Plan + Support System = Trifecta of accomplishing your goals.

We decided to go vegan starting January 1. Not just vegetarian, but V-E-G-A-N. Yup! Living that no animal by-product life! One of my roommates was already vegetarian, so it wasn’t a hard leap for her, and we know none of us should have dairy (I won’t get too detailed but it destroys our insides). But no meat? No honey? No eggs? And a slew of other things I probably haven’t even encountered yet, and when I do, I’ll cry because I can’t have it!

I’m a big meat eater and I have eggs at least 3 times a week. I also put honey on my toast and in my tea. And I absolutely love to cook. But the decision to go vegan for the month of January was born out of a strong desire to overhaul the way I looked at food and thus my relationship with eating. To know that living on a whole foods, plant-based diet could be satisfying, fun, innovative, and a joy to cook.

I wanted to feel good again. I wanted to have a bunch of energy. I didn’t want to constantly be bloated. I also wanted to feel like I was doing something good for this world while I worked on myself. And reducing the amount of meat you eat has been shown to significantly reduce your carbon footprint and be better for the environment. Also, bees are dying, y’all. And we need them.

Now, I know one can still be unhealthy when eating vegan. After all, fries are vegan. Oreos are vegan. I could just live on those two things and call myself a vegan and I wouldn’t be lying – just extremely unhealthy. No, we’re making the conscious decision to not just be vegan but eat whole, healthy foods. A rich tapestry of fruits and vegetables and nutritional yeast! It helps that my two roommates are down to be vegan. It makes the transition and the meal prep and the going out a lot less challenging. If I only have vegan and healthy options in the house, well, I’m going to just have to suck it up and eat it.

It also helps that my roommates are down to clown with NOT drinking. We are a house of decadent indulgers. We enjoy good food, good company, and good wine. We also enjoy a nice night out, filled with socializing and booze. However, in the last few months of 2017, we indulged more than we abstained. We went out more than we didn’t. And I was hungover more weekends than I was clear and focused. And while I had a good time, the recovery was not ideal. My body did not thank me and my soul was on the fence.

In years past I’d scoffed at people who did sober January. Ok, Susan, you’re not going to drink for the month of January? Are you not an adult, can you not control yourself? Also, good for you for choosing a month where literally nothing happens, so you won’t really be resisting temptation. Hi, I am now Susan. The scoffer has become the scoffee.

I know. But we knew that A) Our drinking, while not catastrophic, was not exactly healthy and B) That eating healthy while still drinking and subsequently marinating in the constant bloat from that…well it kind of defeats the purpose.

I’ll admit. We did pick this month to do both, not just because it’s the beginning of the year but we also fully recognize that it’s a month where there aren’t really any holidays. There aren’t really any birthdays or events we need to celebrate, etc. It makes the transition and the positive outcome of this experiment a little easier to obtain. That being said, I’ve already met a friend out for drinks once this past week and had to order a club soda with lime over my usual red wine or Gin & Tonic, and I had to turn down her plea to go to A Tavola (local, delicious fancy pizza).

It’s only been a week or so, but I am happy with what we’re doing. I do feel good. I do have more energy, I’m not bloated, I want to get out and move my body, and I have a bit more mental clarity. Who knows exactly what it’s from – veganism, cutting out alcohol, both? Would I feel just as good on a diet consisting of lean protein and veggies? I don’t know. I just know I like it right now.

What do I hope to accomplish with this? Redefining my relationship with food, especially “healthy foods”, as well as alcohol. I want to really test my body to see what it can do and how it feels. Will I continue being vegan post-January? Probably not. But I might opt for more vegetarian options a few nights a week, and have a greater understanding of how to be truly dairy-free but not unsatisfied. Will I ever drink a drop of alcohol again in my life? Yes. I will definitely drink again. I love the pairings of alcohol with food and the simple elegance of a glass of red wine. However, I know this month off will be good for my brain and my liver (not that I drank an inordinate amount, but you get the point). It will also, I hope, redefine my relationship with alcohol and the need to go out and drink. I’m an adult lady, my body doesn’t like lots of alcohol, and I need to start listening to her. I just need to pull a Kris Jenner and pour myself a generous amount of red wine each night and go to bed. The simple life.

I’m excited to see what this month unfolds for myself and my roommates. I’m excited to not only feel better but to see how creative we get with our meals. I’m excited to see what we cook and how it tastes and how we’re communing with one another. I’m looking forward to how this community we’re building in our apartment and the healthy eating/drinking habits we’re forging will continue to manifest throughout the rest of the year. I’m wondering if at the end of the month, will I even want to eat meat or have a drink. Probably, but in lesser amounts.

I’m just jazzed for 2018! The possibilities and hope a new year brings. The changes this year has already brought. 2018 is the year of the witch and I’m excited to get back to my roots…vegetables.

This Is Why I’m Judging You

I have never been a judgmental person. I’m usually the friend anyone can come to with anything and I will listen to whatever they have done, whatever they are thinking, or whatever it is that they are feeling. I’ve seen it all, I’ve heard it all, so nothing really surprises me anymore and regardless if I haven’t seen it or heard it before, it’s not my life to judge. As a friend, and as a fellow human being who has gone through their own fair share of hardship, I’m only here to listen, help, and comfort. However, my listening isn’t silent. I am that person who asks a million questions- only out of pure interest I assure you! I find other people’s logic, reasoning, and perspective stimulating. I love to understand people’s actions- good or bad. I love to listen, but I love to talk even more.

As someone who loves to talk, I’ve never been the type of person to push my opinions and beliefs onto other people. I will most definitely help you understand my reasoning and actions if asked- so be prepared, but if not then I keep those reasons to myself.

So, it was surprising to me when a friend recently asked, knowing I’m a vegan if I judge other people who choose to eat meat. Out of passion, love, and anger and without thinking I immediately said yes. We sat on my couch and discussed my answer for almost two hours. As I was digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole I didn’t want to be in, I realized once my friend left I really needed to evaluate what it was I had been saying and thinking in those past two hours.

I felt awful saying I had reined judgment on anyone and the way they choose to live their lives. I’m so open-minded and accepting of almost everything else, so why did I feel such anger when suddenly asked if I judge people who eat meat? Why did I immediately respond by saying yes? I speak without thinking probably 85% of the time. I have diarrhea of the mouth on a daily basis. I’m so honest and open with people that I never seem to know when too much information is just that- too much. So was this another diarrhea of the mouth moment? Was I speaking without thinking? I really didn’t think so. I had too much anger toward the question.

It hurts and saddens me to know that people turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of animals. I was raised in a household that strongly supported and respected the lives of animals. I was never allowed to go to the circus, zoo, or Disney’s Sea World. I was raised to eat meat, but I wasn’t raised to enjoy animals for entertainment or to wear animals as fashion pieces. I was raised to adopt and not shop. As I got older, it was a major adjustment for me to see that other people weren’t raised that way or that some people just don’t have the love for animals that I do. It was a major adjustment for me to see that my own brother, who raised in the same household, goes against many of the things that were instilled in us as children. I’ve always disagreed with his choices but I have accepted them and him as the person he is because we are all different in many ways- not by just body types, skin color, and religion. Our perspective makes us different. And we can’t judge each other because we see things differently. This is always something I’ve believed. So again, what changed now?

I quickly realized it wasn’t that I judge people who eat meat. Do I strongly disagree with them? Yes. Does it make me not like someone or think poorly of them because they choose to eat meat? No. Some of my favorite people choose to eat meat. However, I stand adamantly in my beliefs that an animal should not be killed or hunted for sport. I stand adamantly that an animal shouldn’t be worn as a coat or a belt. I stand adamantly in choosing to use vegan and cruelty-free products. But that’s just me, I’m pretty extreme in my beliefs and I don’t expect everyone else to be. I do, however, expect people to take the time to realize there are certain brands or companies they can avoid that severely mistreat animals. If you want to eat meat it, eat it! But does it have to be with a company that abuses their animals? If you want to wear makeup does it have to be with a company that tests on animals? If you want to wear a leather belt does it have to be from a mass manufacturing company in the states that kills an animal just for their skin instead of from a 10-generation owned farm that uses every single part of the animal?

My point is, I was too quick to judge. I was too quick in speaking without thinking. I was too quick in forgetting that some of the people I love and respect the most wear leather, eat meat, and adopt from breeders. Not everyone is like me and I don’t expect them to be. But I do expect people to educate themselves more so they can understand why eating meat can be unhealthy for us. I do expect people to gain better knowledge into understanding which companies and brands mistreat, their animals. It’s not only important to be educated on these matters because of the animals it’s important so we’re not being taken advantage of by these companies anymore.

I was filled with so much anger when asked the question by my friend. It’s not that I judge people who choose to eat meat, it angers me that people don’t educate themselves enough to understand what really happens and goes into the mistreatment of animals for the sake of our own personal enjoyment. There are so many little things we can do to make a difference and still be able to enjoy the things we love. When my friend asked me that question, I answered out of anger because I was angry. I answered out of disappointment because I was disappointed. I answered with judgment because for a brief moment I was judging. But now I would like to admit, I no longer judge and wholeheartedly apologize for the judgment I placed upon those who just don’t know better. But I do hope with this, if you are one who doesn’t know better, you are inspired to take matters into your hands and educate yourself because you deserve it and the animals deserve it too.