Monday, May 27, 2013

Make-Up Review: Velvet Eyeliner

     For awhile make-up was sooo not on my radar. I barely had the energy to walk up a flight of stairs let alone consider getting all cute and dolled up, but since I've been able to get my health on a more stable level I'm finding that I have more time and energy for the things I use to enjoy. Which leads me to my very first make-up review for an eyeliner that is pretty amazing!

     It's called Velvet Eyeliner and it's a liquid with a brush tip that can be used to apply thin or thick lines and works great to get that perfect cat eye. Now I know you're thinking there's nothing to extraordinary about that but here's the kicker, I got my first Velvet Eyeliner over a year ago and it still works! I've never had a liquid eyeliner last this long and it is so simple to use. Plus it's very study and compact so works great for girls that are always on the go as it is super simple to just toss in your bag and go. Also because of the way that it is designed, if you accidently forget to put the cap on it, no worries because it can not dry out! Simply put the cap back on and store it tip side down overnight and it should be good as new in the morning.
     This eyeliner has great staying power and the black (the only color that I have tried personally) is pretty intense which I love. It's water based so can be removed at the end of the night with simple soap and water rather than having to scrub your poor eyes to death, although I use my make-up remover anyway just out of habit. Overall I would give this eyeliner a 9 out of 10 stars and suggest every girl who uses eyeliner on a daily bases get one, you won't regret it!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A "Pinteresting" Idea

     Lately I've been busy using an app on my phone to keep track of everything that I put into my mouth so I can be sure I'm getting the right amount of calories and have come to realize that besides my colorful fruit snacks and jello, my diet is pretty "white." Grits, quinoa flakes, mashed potatoes, almond milk, white bread, crackers, just blah blah bland! All the foods I've listed I really do love and generally tolerate pretty well, but eating the same thing day in and day out gets boring really fast. Not to mention having little variety in the diet can easily lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, although I've been suggested an awesome liquid vitamin to take so that's not a huge concern for me.

     To combat this boring spell, I know I'm going to have to work at expanding my diet through quite a bit of trial and error, which can seem a bit scary and overwhelming so I decided to try and make it a little fun with a "Pinteresting" idea. I've found that when I just snack all day, I'm less likely to make good food choices and tend to be way under my calorie goal so having set times to eat and healthy mini meals preplanned is my new goal. True, some days it will be tough to stick to my planned meals or I may even have to make substitutions based off of how my tummy is feeling, but having a plan of action will help keep me moving towards my main goal of getting out of my food rut and increasing my calorie intake.
     Now, back to this "Pinteresting" idea. I love Pinterest because it is full of great ideas, and when my sister and I ran across this one I knew that it would be perfect. I'm a real arts and crafts kinda girl and decided why should I make my meal plans on a boring piece of paper when I could make my own interactive DIY Meal Planning Board! So off we went to our local Michael's Arts and Craft store, and I'm not going to lie, this was not the cheapest project we've ever done but was totally worth it and turned out great (not sure why the picture is so squashed, it's actually a pretty decent sized board). As I add more foods to my diet, I can make a meal card for it and add it into my food rotation. I know that watching the pile of cards grow is going to be a huge source of motivation for me.


     You can find the basic directions here, but I love how customizable this can be. You can pick any size board and the color and decoration options are endless. Also, it can be set up as a daily meal planner with six pegs for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a few snacks or with seven pegs as a dinner planner for the week. The best part? It so easy to put together! A good pair of scissors, a large picture frame or cork board, some glue, a ruler, and some decorative paper and you're basically good to go.

     Although I plan on using this meal planning board to help me through my GP, meal planning is really a great idea for anyone wanting to be more adventurous with their meals (write meals you want to try on a meal card and have each family member draw one card until your dinners are all planned for the week) or wanting to eat healthier and save some money (with a little careful planning you can have all your meals packed and with you rather than eating fast food on the go). Hopefully this meal planning board can be as useful for you and your family as it will be for me, and if anyone has suggestions for more meal planning ideas feel free to share in the comment section below!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cooking My Fears Away

     Having a condition that severely limits the amount and types of food that I can eat left me with a real love hate relationship. On the one hand I love to eat! The fact that I was always sick after eventually lead to my fear of food. Surprisingly, cooking became like a form of therapy. I missed having food in my life, but didn't want to deal with the way it made me feel so I started cooking all the things that I missed for my family. I was able to take in the process, the smells, the colors, the textures, and mostly I loved the looks on their faces when the food would come out a success. By cooking for someone else, I was able to focus on the food in a more relaxing environment rather than the stress and anxiety that I normally felt.
     Between the cooking and finding the right medication and therapist, I'm finally getting to the place where food is not the enemy and lately I've been using my new found cooking skills on myself. I'm definitely starting slow with foods like toast with almond butter, creamy grits, egg white muffin cups, and homemade smoothies to build up the foods that my stomach is able to tolerate and also to get into a good routine of eatting healthy foods rather than relying on empty calories like juice, fruit snacks, and Jello which have become my staples over the past months.
    Now for all you Android lovers out there who also enjoy cooking, I have a great app suggestion for you! To keep all the new recipes that I want to try for me and my family organized I have been using a free app called ChefTap which takes just about any recipe online and puts it into an offline cookbook on your phone that is easily accessible. I love that it allows you to tag all your recipes so that they are easy to find. I use tags such as GP friendly (for all of my recipes that are easier to digest for my GP tummy), dairy free, gluten free, single serving, and quick fix but because you can make your own tags the options are endless. The app allows you to take your own pictures for the recipes or to import pictures from the original website. You can also add your own recipes so it's a great place to store all of those old family recipes that never want to be found when you actually need them. The designers of ChefTap do have plans of converting the app to be iPhone friendly at some point in the future, so all you Apple people will have to be a little patient but I promise you it will be worth the wait!
     As I try different recipes, I will be sure to post them because I know how easy it is to get stuck in a rut with having a few "safe foods." With careful planning and a little bravery, trying new foods can be very enjoyable and I've found that every successful food gives me the courage to keep moving forward on my path back to normalcy=)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Back to Normalcy!

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only option." -Unknown.

     Now, I know most people who come across this blog are asking themselves gastroWHAT?? You read right, GASTROPARESIS. Simply put, Gastroparesis is a paralysis of the muscles of the stomach. It can cause some pretty frustrating and debilitating symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, weight loss, and even malnutrition. It's mostly compared to having a stomach virus 24/7, and I would definitely second that description.
     Because there is no cure and the few treatment options that are available are generally ineffective, my initial reaction to this diagnosis was to sit around the house, nauseas and depressed. I eventually decided the best way to deal with the nausea was to stop eating and began losing weight rapidly. My health spiraled downward for quite some time, and I kept waiting for any doctor to find a way to fix me and give me my life back. I finally realized that although having Gastroparesis sucks, there was so many worse things that could have happened!
     Yes, I have Gastroparesis, but it's not nearly as bad as it could be. My stomach is slow, but it still works. Sure eating makes me nauseas, but so does not eating. If I'm going to be sick anyway, might as well enjoy some food! Although my diet is still very limited, it is definitely a work in progress and I'm confident that with trial and error I will find a balance that works for me. I've decided that not only do I need to focus on my eating and nutrition, I need to focus on my whole self and that is where this blog comes in.
     Me and My GP is like a life raft that serves two purposes. One, to help me document my journey back to normalcy. Although I have Gastroparesis, I'm still the same person that I was before and REFUSE to let this condition dictate what I will do with my life. So to get back to enjoying all the hobbies that I use to love, I will be writing lots of post about things such as arts and crafts projects, natural/DIY beauty remedies, drawing, cooking, and something new that I plan to try this spring and summer, gardening. Basically whatever I can do to stay occupied and keep my mind off of my physical symptoms will pop up here.
     My second reason for this blog is to hopefully help others who are struggling with GP and the effects that it can have in daily living. Eventually I'll get around to posting my whole story, but for now I want to focus on the present and how I'm learning to conquer this condition and be happy. (Now, I'm not a doctor so any advice that I give is based solely off of my own experiences and anyone wanting to try them should definitely check with their doctor first.) My goal is to show people that not only can you live with a chronic illness, you can actually have a life!