Monday, March 2, 2015

Clouds and Fun Things

Happy Monday. I did not want to get out of bed this morning. I was so warm and comfortable. Who is with me?? So to motivate myself to get out of bed I picked out a simple bun up-do to rock this Monday and my favorite pink sweater. It is the little things that keep me going I swear. Take that Monday!! (I got the hair style idea from The Freckled Fox)

(Next time I need to split the top piece more but not bad for the first try)

I finally got rid of all my face irritation. If you don't have any Aquaphor in the house, get some. I am telling you, a few days of using Aquaphor and everything cleared right up. I am going to stockpile it for future episodes. 

Now, about this weekend. I moved from a small town that was abundant in beaches, redwood forests and hiking trails to the city 8 years ago. I love the city for so many different reasons but I have a confession, after awhile I get burned out on pavement and traffic. So I make it a point to get all my adult responsible stuff done Saturday so on Sunday's the husband and I can go on an adventure. Something that involves getting fresh air and escaping the city a bit. Whether that's hiking to waterfalls or driving to the beach on a day trip or going for long walks by the lakes. Anything that involves taking fun pictures, stretching my legs and beautiful nature, you have my attention. Luckily most of those things are a short drive away.

This weekend we decided to explore gold mining country because the husband is history obsessed and me, well I am cloud obsessed. 

I have a ton of cloud pictures on my phone and camera. Don't judge. They are so fluffy!!

We walked around every mining town we drove through. Peaking in antique stores, chatting with the friendly shopkeepers, taste testing olive oil and stumbling upon some really great little free museums. As well as a very neat cemetery. Another little obsession of mine, historical cemeteries. 

I try not to worry too much about food when I am out having fun. As long as I am not emotionally eating or over indulging, it doesn't matter to me. Plus who can resist a candy store chock full of my childhood favorites?? Or a road side stand with their versions of juicy twists?? I know I can't.

My legs hurt from all the walking up and down hills in the little mining towns. So I would say I got a pretty good exercise in as well. 

It was a good day. A lot of fun AND exactly what weekends should be. Fun. With a bit of adult responsibility thrown in for balance.

How was your weekend??

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lift all the Weights

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It is no secret that I like lifting weights. I prefer swinging a kettle-bell or doing squats over anything cardio. For some reason I feel leaner and meaner when I lift weights. I actually feel like this spare tire around my middle (again, thanks PCOS for that one) shrinks more when I lift all the heavy things. Besides all that I would rather be toned than skinny any day!! So when I stumbled upon this gem of an article recently from breakingmuscle about how women with PCOS SHOULD be lifting weights, I got all kinds of excited. Excited enough to want to share it with YOU lovely readers.

Go ahead, click the link, read the article. I'll wait right here.

Done? Good!

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My favorite part of the article was...

"Progressive strength training increases the size of skeletal muscle and might enhance the muscles’ ability to manage glucose. Researchers believe that these adaptations result in increased insulin sensitivity independent of a woman’s weight. So, even if regular visits to the weight room don’t move the numbers on the scale, a woman with PCOS can still improve her overall health." Source

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Now with that in mind, of course I am still run training. Hello, I want one of those metals you wear around your neck for completing a 5k. I just have never found that I particularly like cardio. For me it is a evil necessary to get over with as soon as possible. Like waxing or doing the dishes. It is the thing I do so I can do the fun stuff, like lifting all the weights. Basically if I don't run train, which is a mixture of walking, running and cussing, I do a 15 minute HIIT cardio workout and then call it even. I will always spend way more time lifting weights because that is what motives me to work out.

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So my question for you, which do you prefer, strength training or cardio?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sensitive Skin

Technical Difficulties. I am attempting to transfer my blog over to WordPress with a different name. So you will have to forgive some of the technical difficulties. So behind the scenes right now I am trying to teach myself to import my old blog posts from this blog and make the transition as flawless as possible. Bear with me! Changes are coming!

So in the mean time I will talk about skin. Specifically the skin on my face. It is PISSED off lately. I had the weird rash chemical thing that took almost a week to heal. Now I have another rash from waxing my eyebrows. Holy crap face, can we talk about this??? Where was the warning that you were suddenly going to have a melt down??!! I don't know if it is the hormones are a little wacky, OKAY they are ALWAYS wacky with PCOS but maybe I am off balance more than I thought I was.

I remember in my 20's (I am making it sound like I am way into my 30's instead of just 30), we shall say early 20's, I barely had a lick of acne. Maybe one thing here or there but nothing major. I never used face cream and I was lucky if washed the make-up off my face every night. Ever since my late 20's and now early 30's, I am locked in what feels like a never ending battle of what won't piss off my face today? It would appear my skin decided it was a little sensitive and now everything is irritating it. Does it help that I am under a lot of stress lately, not getting 8 hours of sleep every night and not drinking enough water? Probably NOT!

Aquaphor has become my best friend. I don't know if you have ever used Aquaphor but this stuff is the rock star of hydration. Every single time I get a rash, I dab a bit of Aquaphor on my face and usually overnight the rash starts to clear up. Today I even got brave, didn't put on cover up and am now sitting at work with just Aquaphor on my face. I consider that very brave with all the rashes I am currently sporting. Luckily according to the husband he said you can barely see them, he is either talking me down from the ledge or he honestly doesn't see them. You never know!!

So I have waved my white flag. I am doing a reset of sorts. I have made some goals for myself over the next couple of weeks...

Drink plenty of water

Keep to my strict bed time

Cut out dairy, sugar and anything else that could be irritating my skin

Stop stressing so much- take it all one day at a time

Wish me luck! In the mean time leave me your skin tips in the comments. I could really use some right now!!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Coping with Stress

I took this last week off from workouts so my face could heal from the angry chemical rash. I tried a few times but it was amazingly uncomfortable to have a sweaty face or any kind of heat. So I left it alone and wallowed in self pity. Which basically translates into I ate whatever was in front of me and didn't bother to track my calories. Bad weeks happen. I am not going to beat myself up over it. 

I noticed that I was getting snappish for no reason. That things were getting to me that normally don't. That I was 100% moody this whole damn week. It wasn't a particularly bad week so I was baffled. Then the right side jaw pain started and it spread to my head in the form of headaches. By the end of the each day I would lay in the dark trying to relax my jaw. What the hell body??

I couldn't take not working out anymore, so on Friday I convinced the husband that walking to get our dinner would do us both good. My face has mostly healed and feels much less sensitive to everything. After the first 15 minutes I could feel the pain in my jaw start to ease up a bit. By the end of our 45 minute walk, my jaw was sore but not hurting sharply anymore. I crashed into bed at 9 p.m. and passed out immediately. I guess I needed a long walk and a good sleep. This morning I got up right out of bed and went for a run training session with Arya. After I got back I was feeling so good I decided to throw in a kettle-bell workout for fun as well. No jaw pain. Slight headache but nothing like I was experiencing over the last couple of days. 

I guess I am still learning how much exercise keeps me sane. But it is the first thing I want to do when I am dealing with stress. I want to sweat it all out of my pours till I feel better. I would say these days I use exercise to cope with MOST of my stress...

Get a bad text, call, email... go for a run training session

Have a bad day at work... lift all the heavy weights

Someone is being exceptionally irritating... go dance it off till I've calmed down

I am having a bad PCOS day... take a walk

When I quit smoking, stopped allowing myself to binge eat and was diagnosed with severe anxiety I had to find some healthy ways of coping with it all. My PCOS couldn't handle my old coping mechanisms. So I did, I started working out every day except for rest days.  I guess when I take that away from myself (even if it is for a good reason like to heal) I am left with jaw clenching and snappish moods. It is a good lesson to learn.

So how do you cope with everyday stress?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Acne Face Wash

So I am here to tell you about my experience with a product. I wasn't given the product and asked to review it. I bought it on my own. I just want other people to know my experience so they don't end up with the same results I did.

Now you all know by now (hopefully), that I love trying new beauty products. Especially if they work. Recently I ran out of all my face scrub. I love face scrub. I do it once a week to just take off dead skin and help with the whole PCOS acne thing. So I ran to Wal-greens to see what I could find. I wasn't set on a certain kind of face scrub because I was going to see what I could find that was new. I found a Neutrogena oil-free acne wash pink grapefruit foaming scrub that looked fun.

It was referred by Allure according to the bottle, it said it was gentle for all face types, it was a scrub and it was supposed to help with acne. Now I am normally use Clean and Clear when it comes to face wash but I really thought I would give this one a try.

Now I don't consider myself as someone with too much of sensitive skin. I mean, my skin is a bit moody and when my hormones are off it causes acne around my chin. But I used a hair removal cream that for the most part doesn't really irritate my face, so I figured acne wash that said it was gentle enough for all face types wouldn't be too much of a stretch. My normal wash is a Clean and Clear sensitive skin face wash simply because I use it daily to get the make-up off.

So on Wednesday night I scrubbed my face, concentrating on my chin mostly and got out of the shower. Right away I noticed that there were all these red marks on my chin. I assumed it was the acne medication just bringing the pimples to the surface which has happened to me before with the Clean and Clear acne treatment I used to use. So I put on some extra moisturizer and went to bed. I woke up with still some red spots but nothing massive. So I skipped my morning face scrub and instead used it that night. Then I used it Friday morning. By Friday at work I started getting worried. My face was flushing a burning red and it felt super hot to the touch. Like I had gotten too much sun. So I went home and just washed my face with my normal sensitive skin face wash. I decided to stop using all products to figure out what happened.

By Saturday my skin was super sensitive and had a rash all over it. The worst being my upper lip which felt like it was dry and burned all at once. I slathered some sunscreen on for our hike but left my face bare until dinner. The minute I put make up on my face got hot and red. It eventually died down but it was weird to say the least. Now I do have an Irish complexion, when I get mad or sad or drunk you can see it in my rosy cheeks. But I was none of those things, so this was odd.

On Sunday I woke up with a red rash on chunks of my face and all over my upper lip. I was horrified. I looked horrible. Blotchy, red, hot skin all over my face. I started Google searching everything I could find. I upped my water intake (which I needed to do anyways) in hopes that it was simply dehydration or something along those lines. I kept all product off my face. On Monday my face started really itching and getting a rash. I had alligator skin everywhere and nothing was helping. So again, I left it with no product. By Tuesday I was almost in tears. My face was so horrible feeling, peeling and looked terrible. I sat under the fan in my bedroom with the a/c running to get some cool air on my face.

So I did some more research and carefully read the face scrub bottle. I decided to do some research on the salicylic acid that was in the product and wowzer. If you Google this product you get a ton of chat forums about how other people just like me had the SAME REACTION. Red, hot, rash, burned face. Turns out it is a superficial chemical burn from the acid in the product. Now I don't know why this product wasn't better tested but if there are THAT MANY complaints about it on the internet with such similar tales, maybe you should pull it for a bit till you can figure out why it is chemically burning people's faces. Nuetrogena is supposed to be a good company and I was shocked to discover that they would even continue to make this product.

Now that I know what is is I am keeping Aquaphor on it to keep it moisturized. I am drinking water like it is going out of style in hopes that my body will keep my skin moisturized from the inside out during the healing process. I haven't taken any overly hot showers, I keep the water cool on my face and don't spend too much time in the hot steam. I have been using cold compresses when it starts to really bug me. My lip still feels weird. My face itches like crazy. But it is at least starting to heal finally after almost 5 days of hell. Today I am at work with make up on and it feels heavy still. My face is still warm. My left side was definitely effected more than my right side. My upper lip got the worst of it. It is not a comfortable feeling at all. I am still itchy. I still feel uncomfortable. I don't like how my face is looking or feeling right now at all.

I haven't been able to work out since Sunday because sweating makes it hurt worse. I haven't been able to sleep really well because it is uncomfortable to try to sleep with a burning hot face. I am cranky. My anxiety has been high because when you have something like this and anxiety combined, it makes for a lot of jumpy nerves. I am hoping tonight when I get home, wash off my make up, put some more Aquaphor on it, it will finally feel better and I can get a restful nights sleep. This has been the adventure from hell and honestly it was a simple face wash, it shouldn't have these kind of results.

I am super disappointed and will never try anything with acid in it again. Especially nothing Nuetrogena. This is crazy. I have used Clean and Clear acne products before without these horrible results. I don't know if it is the scrub or what but my suggestion, don't use it. I am currently in contact with Nuetrogena through Twitter and their online complaint form to see if I can get my money back for this product but in the mean time I didn't want other women to go through what I went through. I would like it better if they pulled the product for now and did more research on it but I will settle for making a few complaints, writing a review and writing a blog post to try to warn others.

So have any bad experiences with chemical acid in your face wash?

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Little Sweat Mixed With a Lot of Sweet

Anyone else love Monday's off of work? I sure as hell do. I have already set a doctors appointment for next week, emailed a new dental office to inquire about services and set up an eye appointment in two weeks, all while still in my polar bear pajamas. Now that is awesome.

This weekend was pretty awesome in general actually. The husband and I for the first time in years ventured out of the house on Valentine's day for an actual date night. One of our goals as a couple is to spend more time dating each other and so far it has been pretty nice. So when Valentine's day fell on a Saturday and the husband was able to get it off work, we jumped on the opportunity to plan out a fun day together. Starting with a beautiful hike at a new place.

The lake is normally a lot higher but with the drought conditions the last two years it has dropped pretty low. So we started off at the beach area that was once underwater and spent an hour exploring.

It was a lot of fun, we took just Arya because the old lady dog Red has been sore lately and Bella Rue just came out of heat (we really need to fix her). There was a ton of fools gold to look at, funny rocks sticking out of everywhere that are normally underwater and of course it was a beautiful day. 

Next we drove to the same lake but the wooded hiking trails and explored there for an hour as well.

It was a quiet day without a bunch of people on the trails and we were able to take our time taking pictures of everything we saw. They had these signs every so often explaining the wildlife and plants.

I have to admit, my energy levels and endurance has gone up a bit. Hiking for two hours before was doable but hurt half way through before, but this weekend I didn't feel sore till that evening. I was running up the paths and taking pictures. It felt really great to get out in the sun. I really hope to be able to hike this area bit more before the heat of summer settles in, it really was a beautiful area.

After that we explored the historic part of the neighboring city and then went home to get ready for date night. I had made reservations at the husbands favorite place and boy was I glad for that, the wait times at 5:30 p.m. when we arrived were 45 minutes. 

After dinner we went to the movies, where I had bought prepaid tickets to see 50 Shade of Grey, withhold judgment please, I was mostly curious to see how they ended up making it. It was a very full theater and we had a good crowd. There were lots of couples our age and couples even way older than us. It was a little awkward to watch the sex scenes with a theater full of people because they showed a lot of boob, but all in all it was still fun. Honestly for our first Valentine's day out in a long time it wasn't so bad and I made sure to order somewhat healthy without a ton of splurges. I figured a little splurging was in order after a two hour hike anyways but I didn't want to go overboard of course.

The only crappy part is this random rash on my face. Luckily it isn't that noticeable but I can feel it. I am not sure if it was the hair removal cream I used on Wednesday or something else, but my face is angry. I am letting it stay lotion and make-up free for a few days and drinking a ton of water. I have a doctors appointment for next week if it doesn't get better. Weird skin issues suck. They especially suck when you have PCOS and eventually know you will have to wax your face again in the near future. 

On Sunday I got in a good kettlebell cardio workout and arms. Today, once I finally decide to get out of my pajamas, I will be doing some sort of outside workout with the dogs who didn't get to go hiking. My goals this week are at least 4 days of working out, stick strictly to low carb and drink at least 100 ounces of water a day. Hopefully this face thing will go away soon as well!!

How was your weekend? 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rest Days

A couple years ago I was a different person. A really different person. I would say even up to a year ago I was a different person.

It used to be that I would come home after a long day and sit on the couch where I wouldn't move again till bed time. I would eat dinner on the couch. Watch T.V. Veg out and basically use it has a reward for a long day spent out of the house doing adult things (work, school, errands etc). If I was being honest, I didn't have a lot of energy anyways. I was unhappy. I was frustrated with myself. Why couldn't I get up and make dinner or clean up the house? I would tell myself I was going to do it every night and every night I wouldn't. The husband and I used to fight over chores. Who did more. Who needed to do more. But mostly it was my own guilt over not doing much of anything except for my one day of deep cleaning a week. I would ask my husband to get me a glass of water or grab me random things, all because I was lazy and exhausted all the time. My PCOS symptoms were out of control. I was miserable on that couch every single day.

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Things are a little different now. Now I get home, throw open the windows, let the dogs run around outside, start dinner, put on some workout clothes and bust out a great workout. Then I sit down to eat but get back up afterwards to clean up the kitchen and do any light cleaning that I can get done. I rarely sit still these days. I rarely become a couch potato. I even find that most days I am not interested in watching T.V. The husband and I no longer fight over chores because it no longer feels like one person is sitting on the couch while the other cleans. I don't ask my husband to get me things, I get them for myself. I have been known to do squats and lunges while at work because I hate sitting for too long at my desk. I love taking a walk during my lunch break.

Yesterday was a rest day.

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Which meant no workout. I struggle with rest days now because I like working out. I want to throw on my workout clothes and bust out a good sweaty workout after a long day. But my body also needs days where I am not pushing it beyond its normal comfort level. So I ate dinner and sat on the couch watching T.V. for about 30 minutes before I got really bored. I was antsy. I wanted to move around. Do something. Anything.

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It all started with the spare bathroom. It was a mess because it is the main bathroom the husband uses. Normally I leave cleaning up to him but he has been working a ton of closing shifts lately. I scrubbed that bathroom till it shined.

Then I drifted into the office where I filed all the miscellaneous piles of paperwork and got my tax documents organized. Which lead into cleaning up the cat food area. Which lead into cleaning the rat cage area. Which lead into sweeping the floors and organizing the book shelf in there.

I wandered into my bathroom. I opened the cupboard underneath the sink and cleaned out all my old samples, cosmetics and crap that collects under there. I organized my shelf in there. Scrubbed my toilet. Swept and mopped.

I went into the laundry room/mud room/dog room and cleaned up in there.

I took out all the trash.

I swept and vacuumed all the hardwood floors (my whole house is hardwood floors and tiles).

I steam mopped.

I did the dishes.

I folded the clothes.

By the time I was done it was time for the husband to get home. His comment, "wasn't it supposed to be rest day??" HA, I guess it was!!

My point is this, it is still odd to me that I want to move around and be active. I spent a lot of years letting PCOS drag me under and being completed exhausted by the symptoms. I spent years being lazy and sitting on the couch doing nothing. I spent years making excuses for myself. Now I don't. I workout because I know it will make me feel better. I move around because sitting for too long makes me stiff and sore. I also fear falling back into couch potato mode. It was depressing sitting on that couch all the time. It was depressing only moving around when I was at work or school. It wasn't fun. I feel better when I stay active. I smile more. I don't struggle with my anxiety as much. I don't feel the PCOS symptoms as severely. Being active has done so much more for me than a number on the scale. It has changed my whole view point on the quality of my life and how much I value myself!!