Shedding My Security Blanket: the reasons why beauty, health and this detox are important to me.

The last email I received from my primary doctor read; “You may be too in tune or quite possibly not in tune at all with your body”.

Over the past ten years I have been suffering from Mucosal Candida, Cystic Acne, Asthma, Hair Loss and chronic Inflammation + Pain throughout my body.

I have been on so many drugs to calm my acne and asthma. My doctors thought it was just a typical case of hormonal acne and since I was diagnosed with “exercise induced asthma/wheezing” in middle school they didn’t look any farther.

Mucosal Candida was a crazy experience. For years my doctors told me that it was just cystic acne but between the strange fluid filled welts all over my body and other symptoms [swollen gums, white tongue, bubbles on cuticles etc.] I knew that it had to be something more than just cystic acne. After a full course of Accutane and years of trying every antibiotic on the market I finally found a doctor that wanted to test for the root of the problem. Sure enough – the tests concluded that I indeed had Mucosal Candida.

Mucosal Candida is a yeastlike fungal infections involving the skin and/or mucous membranes, including the mouth. The infection is caused by Candida species, typically, Candida albicans.

Once I got the diagnosis I was so relieved…then I started thinking- How in the world did I get this obscure infection???

Wellp, in short,  I have allergic reactions to certain foods and other foods my body just doesn’t want to digest properly thus allowing the yeast to overgrow. Gross right?

By not eating right and ignoring my body’s reaction I allowed this infection to permanently scar me with white patches all over my body.

I have been free of mucosal candida for almost two years now, however I still have food allergies/intolerances and inflammation issues galore.

Within this past year alone I have had 7 sinus infections which I was prescribed rounds of azithromycin [zpacks] and prednisone for. I also was told I need to have a sinus surgery. My ENT suggested that my deviated septum be straightened out and swollen turbinates be shaved down to help my breathing and sinus problems.

Oversleeping and lack of energy have been a constant issue since college, which my doctors have attributed to my breathing problems. The only way I could get a semi decent night sleep is to keep the air on in my house at a brisk 65 degrees, which I still wake up sweating from.

The only thing that brings me back to life has been Prednisone. I sleep great, wake up rested and with no alarm clock, I’m more focused and actually have energy throughout the day. My skin even clears up while on Prednisone. That’s what got me thinking – maybe I need to take my diet more seriously because Prednisone clears up allergic reactions- not acne. The side effects of being on Prednisone are pretty gnarly. As much as I wish I could take Prednisone every day – it’s not practical nor good for me in the long run.

I’m finally at a point where I can focus on finding the right diet and lifestyle alterations to avoid any more food allergy related issues and get my body to a happy, healthy balance.

While getting my body healthy is a priority of mine – I still can’t help but to have insecurities and feel less than confident from my issues.

Makeup tricks and hair extensions have been my best friend.  I’ve been hell bent on finding ways of covering up my scars to avoid being asked “what are those white patches” or “why do you look like a leopard”.  I used hair extensions, long sleeve clothing and makeup as a safety blanket- something, anything to draw attention away from my scars.

When I walk into a room and my hair/makeup/outfit is on point I walk in a completely confident person. No one would ever think I was really insecure- borderline ashamed- about my skin.

This week Annie and I have started a detox diet. This is a reset for me for a few reasons:

  1. finding out exactly which foods are causing which reactions in my body [good and bad]
  2. healing my gut from years and years of antibiotics
  3. managing my inflammation for long term success rather than quick fixes like Prednisone

At the start of the detox I even took out my hair extensions…..it’s time to give up the safety blanket and start living my healthiest life.  This is my complete lifestyle detox.

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Health is Beauty – The Challenge that helped me find my Passion. 

To care about beauty so much sounds pretty vain, right? Well to me, health and beauty are the same. Healthy is beautiful. And what if you grew up with health and/or skin issues that didn’t always make you feel so beautiful? That was the case with me. 

My skin has been an issue since birth. Covered head to toe in eczema and no one could figure out why so they just kept putting topical lotions all over me. But like beauty… it starts from the inside.  
After getting my master’s in nutrition and working in children’s hospitals with severe food allergies, I realized that my issue was actually really common, they just weren’t that familiar with it then. I was allergic to milk. And having not been breast fed, I was having a reaction to the only thing I was drinking. And when a milk allergy goes untreated, by the age of 3, you start getting asthma and a whole lot of other allergies with the potential for hives, puffy eyes, and all kinds of fun stuff. I was even allergic to diaper for F’s sake… yeah, that’s a real thing. Nothing but cloth diapers for this bum. 

The eczema got better as I got older, but I still remember getting it from time to time and being embarrassed to wear shorts in the summer like all the other pre-teens that had just started shaving their legs.

But as I got older, my pasty pale French/Scottish skin started getting more and more freckles, moles, and beauty marks every year. That to me, was even worse than the eczema! I wore an unusual amount of turtlenecks and sweaters for a small person right up until my freshman year of college, when I realized that boys could actually care less. Lol. So why did I?

It wasn’t until I was living in sunny San Diego about 6 years ago that I went in for a routine check up and the doctor wanted to do some skin biopsies on some of those freckles and moles. At that point, I had made peace with my skin and even thought it was kinda cute with a tan. A little extra character. Even with vampire white skin, I’ve always tanned easily and only really burned if I stayed out way too long, so I rarely wore sun screen.  

A few days later… all my biopsies came back abnormal. Okay, well, I am abnormal… but what does that mean? They sent me to a dermatologist for even more biopsies, which meant more big holes in my skin. I had some pretty good gashes out of my skin right on the middle of my stomach that I was not happy about. I didn’t know what was worse… moles or scars! 

But for my second round, they needed to do more testing and essentially is was going to be about three days before they told me whether or not I had skin cancer. I’m naturally a really positive person… but you wouldn’t have thought so those three days. Waiting to hear whether I had one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer. But, there are a million and one things that I haven’t done yet. 
I called my mom crying and asked, why am I the only one in our entire family with all these skin problems? No one had a answer for that one. 

It turned out to be pre-melanoma. I was safe for now. But, in those three days, I promised myself I would do more. I would eat better and take the advice I give everyone else, I decided to sign up for a fitness competition, scars and all, and I would make my skin and my health a priority. 

So, why do I love skin care, health, and beauty so much? Because I never want to repeat my mistakes and I don’t want other people to either. I’ve stayed mostly out of the sun for the last 6 years because I learned through all that… that sun damage shows up 5 years after the fact. And visits to the dermatologist are an annual thing.
Why do I love to model and host health and beauty shows? Because I never thought I could. 
I was wrong.
May is Melanoma Awareness Month. Make sure you’re having your skin checked every year with your routine physicals or by a dermatologist and wear sunscreen no matter what beautiful shade your skin is.   

Why am I the only one in my family with skin issues? Because it forced me to be where I am today… sharing all of it with you. 

Love,
Annie

Click Here to watch the Video! 
@SassyFitChick

@BirdsandBees.Blog

Perfect Lashes in 5 minutes for $5

I love big full lashes! But, I don’t want to spend the time or money for extensions. Gabby can fill you in on those… no pun intended.

I started doing strip lashes once in a while for special occasions. And once in a while turned into every day!

So, I did a step by step video for you below to show you how quick and easy it can be.

How to put on strip lashes 
1. Pick your lashes!

  • I LOVE the Ardell Mega Volume 250… they are big enough to look like extensions but not too big to wear every day.

2. Get the glue

  • I use Duo with the wand applicator making th whole process SO easy.

3. Trim the lashes

  • The lashes are generally a little too long straight out of the box so I trim the inner corners about 1/8 inch.

4. Put thin layer glue on the strip

  • You want to leave the glue on the strip for 30-45 seconds so it gets tacky before you put it on your eye.
  • Use this time to put mascara on your own lashes and curl them to match the shape of the strip.


5. Place strip on the upper edge of the lash

  • Center the lash and push the strip gently along the edge of the lash so they are nice and close to your own.

6. Fluff up the lashes

  • Use your finger to gently fluff up the lashes and make sure they are secure and dry.


That’s it!! Now you have perfect lashes for the day! AND… these lashes are totally re-usable if you take care of them. This means saving the box they came in and gently taking them off before showering or bed and placing them back in the box maintaining their shape.

 

Annie’s Makeup Drawer

1. Primer

  • NYX Studio Perfect Photo Loving Primer (Over Moisturizers and SPF, Of Course)


2. Foundation

  • L’Oréal Visible Lift Serum Absolute
  • L’Oréal Infallible Total Cover
  • L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Glo (blend 2 drops of each together)


3. Under Eye

  • It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye (My Must Have Product)

4. Contour

  • NYX Wonder Stick – Contour & Highlight


5. Finishing

  • NYX “Set it and Don’t Fret it” Matte Mineral Finishing Powder


6. Lips

  • NYX Lip Liner Pencil – Natural
  • Urban Decay – Midnight Cowboy (Center of Bottom Lip & Inner Corners of Eyes)
  • Sephora Glossy Gloss – Clear (Not Shown)

Gabriella’s Makeup Drawer

1. Base/Primers:

  • Purple primer by ELF 
  • Oil by Smashbox
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Pink Color Corrector 


2. Foundation: 

  • Mat Velvet by Makeup Forever (two colors for face and one color darker for neck) 
  • Naked Skin by Urban Decay
  • Flat top angled foundation brush by Ulta


3. Under Eye: 

  • Maracuja Creaseless Concealer by Tarte 
  • Weightless Naked Skin Concealer by Urban Decay
  • (Getting Tarte’s Shape Tape too) 

4. Contour:

  • Becca Brown Eye Shadow Palette 
  • Sephora angled multi texture brush
  • CoverFX blending brush
  • Eyeshadow brush

5. Brow: 

  • Anastasia clear wax
  • Anastasia dip brow 
  • Anastasia angled brow brush
  • Anastasia duo highlighter pencil
  • Anastasia clear gel


6. Setting: 

  • Cooling and Hydrating Urban Decay Spray 
  • Elf HD powder
  • Kabuki duster