Tuesday, April 22, 2014

PCOS -my acne journey

It is very difficult for me to put myself out there in this way. In person (specifically one-on-one), I'm very outgoing and can talk about PCOS, my acne, weight loss and gain etc...but really, my acne has always been a very embarrassing thing for me. There have been times I've brought it up just because I felt like it was an elephant in the room, and some of those times (as I supposed) the person was dying to give me "advice" on what to do for my skin. "Wash it every day!" they'd say. Better yet, they'd suggest I put toothpaste on it because the one time they had a pimple it dried it right up. Apparently, if you don't have acne and never have had it, you are the ultimate authority on problem skin, but I digress.
Check out beside my nose, to the right of my mouth, on my chin, and underneath my chin. This is a horrid pic someone tried to take of me that I must have forgotten to delete from my camera.

I was somewhat relieved when I found out PCOS aka hormone imbalance was the cause of mine. It gave me a seen enemy to fight. I didn't know yet how to fight it, or how long the road would be, but it was a starting point. I was ready to arm myself with info. Of course the first thing I did was ask my doctor. She told me to take birth control for the hormones to balance, eat-at most- two desserts a week and drink only water (part of PCOS is insulin resistance hence the "no sweets".) She said that if that didn't work she had some more drugs to throw my way. I asked if there were something natural I could do, and she said no. She told me that the birth control were gonna be something I did for the rest of my life, because there is no cure for PCOS. I was not happy with this, but decided to see what happened with the birth control. I took it for a few months, but I wasn't okay with the havoc it wreaked on my body and stopped.
I began to research and am now on two supplements, and have changed the way I eat as well as the way I care for my face. My breakouts have diminished, but not completely stopped; at least now it's only about once a month that I get a breakout. Years of acne have resulted in hyper-pigmentation that is so hard to get rid of. I would like to help others who struggle with this. It's not fun. It can really mess up your self-esteem. If you don't think you have someone in your corner cheering you on, think again; I would be happy to. Here are pictures of me now. I took close-up pictures with good lighting to show the dark marks on my face.
Haha, I was so busy making sure I got clear selfies without moving that I forgot to look pleasant. My eyes look completely glazed over. 

There is no way I can completely go over all of this in one post, so some of it will have to be saved for later. Feel free to contact me if you just want to talk about PCOS and acne, or if you have questions. 
Oh and I almost forgot...I started this conversation in a previous blog post. Find it here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Beginners Guide to Thrift Store Shopping

Last week my mom sent me to go shopping for my younger sisters. I went thrifting...and while I was out I thought, "I really rock at this! What I need to do is write a beginners guide to thrift store shopping!" Actually, I was taking pictures in my mind also, but I didn't take them on my camera so it doesn't matter. Let's begin!

1. Chronicle what you have in your closet that needs a match or know what you want in generalThe best way to do this for the first part, is to take pictures using a camera OR your phone. I pull out whatever I need a match for, and then snap a picture and then stick the camera or phone in my purse. If you're just looking for something specific that isn't a match for anything, make a list! You don't want to come home to realize that you never even looked for those vintage earrings!
2. Dress wellWear a top that's not too loose. Some thrift stores don't even have fitting rooms so a tank top or fitted t-shirt is best. On bottom I find it best to wear a skirt preferably with an elastic waist and plenty of flare. I like these because you can easily slip it off or even slip things on underneath it with minimal time wasted. Clearly I was thinking of chicks here, but generally guys don't go through as much when shopping because the sizes are much less complicated. Not only that, but they don't wear clothes that take ten years to remove.
3. Take your allergy meds. I put this here for laughs, but on the other hand, I have dust allergies and I'll itch and sneeze the entire day if I forget to take my allergy pill. 
4. Be focused. Thrift stores are not the same places they were when I was a child. They are-because they still have some of those same clothes lol-but they're not. Now, it's not unusual to see clothes at least sloppily color coordinated, and arranged by type. Don't go through all the shirts if you specifically want a pink one, and if you're looking for a vest, come away from the pants! 
5. Get dirty. Sometimes treasures are hidden. If you're looking for a perfect vintage suitcase, don't be afraid to pull out a few and see if there is one underneath. In second-hand shops, it's the norm for things to be piled up on top of each other. The pros also use this handy knowledge to hide things to come back for if they can't find it cheaper elsewhere. 
6. Be picky. Remember where you are. Check for tears, stains that may not come out, and missing components to items. If you're okay with sewing on that button or that tear at the seam, go for it! If not. Leave it.
7. Keep your eyes open. If you want to move on to pro status, know what tags are a percentage off for the day and specifically pick up items under that color. Victory will be all the sweeter for your work. 
8. Take a second glance. There are times when you see a shirt and it looks "ehhh" on first glance...Occasionally on second glance it looks better. Once in awhile try on things that you're unsure of and come out of your comfort zone. I've done it before and got compliments all over the place :-)

I hope this was helpful to you! Are there any tips I left out that you'd like to add? Let me know in the comments! 

Elisabeth Arona