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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Let's talk bums... and Cottonelle!

Crowdtap gave me another exciting opportunity along with Cottonelle!  I received an amazing package filled with products from Cottonelle that included:

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to be picked for this sample & share!  My friends and I are are not shy when speaking about our bums, poop, bowel movements, freshness, and butt problems.  It is both disgusting, interesting, and natural.  Your poop can tell you a lot about yourself!  So when I posted I was going to get some samples and who would like the extras, I received a few posts in interest publicly, and even more messages privately.  Hilarity ensues as always.

I forgot one of the portable wipes and coupons was for me but I almost have a fear of pooping in public places so let me tell you that it comes in, or out, very convenient living so close to work that when I have an emergency butt problem I can go home to drop the bomb.  Ashley, Billy and Colleen were the lucky ones I sent the samples/coupons to as soon as I received them, and this is what I got in return.

Ashley said: "Love love love these!!! Thanks Amanda!!!"
Billy said: "Mmm it's a nice cool rush. Lightly scented. Simply divine, dahling."
Colleen said: "Good for sensitive skin, no residue or lingering scent. Of wipes that is, not poop."

And now for my thoughts...

Nestled among just some of my hundreds, maybe thousands, of bath products, I placed my dispenser conveniently on the top of my toilet.  I will be honest, I have never tried the wipes before.  Mostly because after pooping, I felt that applying wetness to my butt may feel like a bit too much and give off more of an unclean feeling.  Who knew how wrong I could be.

You've all seen the funny Cottonelle commercials with Cherry Healey talking about bums and telling people to have a "go" with the wipes.  Her idea being to wipe with TP first, then a wipe, then more TP.


I'm going to start off with the toilet paper.  (Literally.)  We've been using the Target, Up & Up Double Roll toilet paper because we felt it did the job just fine, and it was cheap.  I don't like waste and want to conserve so I want to get myself clean without using a lot of toilet paper.  After I started using the Cottonelle Clean Care toilet paper I realized just how much I was wasting!  I was using up to 3 TIMES MORE even with the flushable wipes!  Pictured below you can see the grooves in the Cottonelle on the bottom square, compared to how flat the Up & Up brand square is on top.  It really makes a difference!

After doing my business then using toilet paper 1st, I pulled a wipe out.  They are thick, moist, and have a nice, light, fresh scent to them.  I glided it across my, what I already thought to be clean, undercarriage and it picked up some more poo I thought I had removed with just the toilet paper alone.  This made me a bit anal about cleaning my bum as now I realize how much I may have missed over the years just using toilet paper alone!  I tried Cherry's routine (TP, wipe, TP) and for me, I found it unnecessary to use the toilet paper again after using the wipes.  They were moist enough, but not overly wet, where I didn't feel the need to use more toilet paper at the end.  The wipes contain no alcohol, oil, or soap.  They are made with mild skin cleansers and emollients, and are enhanced with a Quick Dry formulation.

The very 1st one I pulled from the dispenser tore apart but after that I was able to pull them out as needed without problem.  Which comes to their flushability!  I do admit I am concerned about this as it has become a national problem that flushable wipes aren't breaking down how they should be, as well as a whole other mess of flushable items.  Kimberly-Clark has a good video on how they make sure their products are safe for sewers and septic tanks, and tests they have done to make sure their products break down properly.  I've posted it below.

So in conclusion, I don't use them all the time, just after poops when I need that extra kick in the ass of cleanliness.  People love them!  My samplers and friends love them!  I loved them!  It's a must try & if you're all about cleanliness like I am, you'll be hooked!  You can get a coupon here!  Your butt will be happy!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New products from Influenster! Including Not Your Mother's Beach Babe #NYMBeachBabe

I received some cool products from Influenster for testing & review purposes.  Here's an overview, then reviews of that I received!

Surfs Up Vox Box! from Influenster Overview:

  • Both retail up to $5.99 for 8oz.
  • About the product: The texturizing shampoo and conditioner will condition, hydrate and add volume to your hair.  Its salon formula shampoo contains kelp extract, while the conditioner contains sweet almond oil, and both contain aloe leaf extract, coconut extract, and mineral oil to help give you that beach babe look. 
  • What I thought: It was definitely an effective product!  The formula conditioned my hair well and gave it nice, summery waves even for short hair.  Only a little bit is needed to lather in well.  The only thing I could not get past was the scent.  It was too strong of an artificial coconut smell for me and gave me a headache.      
  • I would buy them if they smelled better. 

  • Retails up to $8.99 for 6oz.
  • About the product: This product will give you 24 hours of moisture with its shea and mango butters, and silk protein infused formula.  In addition, it refreshes, soothes and cools after-sun skin with aloe gel. Its papaya and coconut scented and goes on lightweight.  Apply generously and evenly after showering or whenever skin feels dry. 
  • What I thought: Boy was I happy to get this after I got a terrible sunburn on my shoulder!  I had been using a different after sun lotion but that was very light and didn't last long so I was constantly reapplying it.  This stuff is AMAZING! It smells fantastic and I even got a compliment on the scent.  I actually started using this around the time my burn started peeling and a small bit was able to cover a large spot and immensely moisturize it.  It really lasts but I wouldn't say it's lightweight, which is how they describe it.  It kept me from looking like a burned, peeling, dry skinned mess!This will be replacing my other after sun lotions & it's fantastic on burns! 
  • I will buy this. 

Nail Polish in Sage Rose by SinfulColors.

  •  Retails up to $1.99 for 0.5oz.
  • About the product: Sinful Colors is made in the USA without formaldehyde, toluene and DBP.  Up to 20 new and affordable collections are made every year.  They are known for vivid shades that pop, in cream, glitter, shimmer and matte finishes that provide full color coverage.  
  • What I thought: The color I got, Sage Rose, is actually from their "Spice It Up!" collection which came out late 2013.  So I'll be honest I was a bit disappointed in the fact I wasn't getting something new.  I was also afraid the color was going to streaky because you could see silver lines in the polish bottle where the polish had settled during shipping.  I was extremely surprised after applying just one coat, how streak free and beautiful the color ended up being.  In the picture above I only used one coat of polish and it looked great, though it could have used 2 coats.  It lasted a good week with the normal chips I see in the normal places they end up being before I decided to change it. 
  • I will buy their polishes in the future.

  • Retails  $29.99 for 12, 1.35oz bottles on Amazon.
  • About the product: With FDA compliant active ingredients such as choline salicylate, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain, and caffeine to increase alertness, decrease fatigue, and improve muscle coordination.  This berry flavored liquid shot will work quicker than most pills that need time to digest.  Open it up, drink it until it's gone, then wait for the pain to quickly go away! 
  • What I thought: It works and it works QUICK!  I took this at work at an onset of a headache and my pain diminished in mere minutes!  It smelled great, but the taste was awful and very medicinal.  I couldn't wait to eat or drink something else that would wash the taste away!  The caffeine made me very jittery also.  Unless they can fix the taste...    
  • I wouldn't buy this.

Another cool thing I got in my box was a coupon for a free Jamba Juice At Home Smoothie and $1 off another.  I'll be writing a separate post for that though.

Did I also mention I am on Pinterest now?  Well, if not, you know now!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Panic attacks and anxiety with thyroid problems.

When you aren't feeling well you should always entrust in your doctors for advice and treatment.  At least that's what I thought.  At the end of this month it will have been a year since my total thyroidectomy and I am still left to wonder if it was the right thing to do.

Should I still be having problems a year later?  Sure the surgery helped me with my Graves' Disease but now I feel like there's a never ending battle with hypothyroidism, or hyperthyroidism if I'm getting too much medication.  None of my other hormones were ever checked until after the surgery, 6 months later, and on my 3rd endocrinologist.  Could it initially have been an adrenal or pituitary gland problem?  Was there something else causing my thyroid to go haywire?  I may never know.

I posted previously that the last time my numbers were checked they all came back in the "normal" range. Thyroid, adrenal, pituitary, sex hormones... everything.  Even though I still feel anything but normal.  Lately, every morning I wake up at 6am and I'm shaking.  I take my medication and fall back asleep for another hour or so and then the shakes are (usually) gone by the time I am ready to get up.  Another odd thing I had yet to mention was that sometimes, right after I wake I get the sensation my vision is pulsating.  Reading up on all of this it could be the physical form of my anxiety coming out.

So this brings me to what I initially wanted to write about which are panic attacks.

I did have a terrible panic attack a few days ago.  I think I have mentioned before I am currently taking 5mg of Lexapro.  I was on 10mg but I was feeling worse on the higher dose and having regular panic attacks at that level.  Those of you who are familiar with medications like this may laugh considering 10mg is really a starter dose.  I've been on and off so many different types of these medications and I can say they have helped me remain calm when I was in stressful situations, but they have not helped me at all with the anxiety and depression caused by my thyroid condition.

Before I even knew I was having issues with my thyroid I started having panic attacks.  There was a lot of stress in my life between me being ill, my job, and my family.  Then one day they started.  Immense, immobilizing pain that would radiate throughout my upper chest and arms, almost like a burning and crushing sensation.  Then nausea, headaches, neck and arm pain usually followed along with a crash.  After the pain was over and done with my body becomes extremely exhausted and I could sleep for hours because the fatigue was so great. The attacks would last from minutes, to hours, and the worst of them lasted a few days.

When I 1st started getting them it was after my gallbladder surgery and after I had returned to work.  Like clockwork, a few hours after I would get into work they would start.  One a day, around the same time every day.  "Was it because of the surgery or what I was eating for breakfast?" I wondered.  I went to my primary doctor and gallbladder surgeon, was told me to see a GI doctor, was prescribed amitriptyline, had a endoscopy done and was told I had general dyspepsia.  Though when describing the pain, my GI doctor had even noted that where I was describing that the pain was and how it traveled, it didn't seem to be a GI issue.  The attacks got worse and worse and the medication was upped and upped and upped.  A few times they got so bad and lasted so long I went to the ER, only to be told that I'm absolutely fine.  All I could think of was, "No, I'm most definitely NOT!"  I stopped the medication and stopped seeing the GI doctor.

People joke about looking up stuff on the internet about your health.  If you're a hypochondriac I could understand as every symptom you have seems to lead to some sort of cancer, especially on the WebMD symptom checker.  Though I remember my primary doctor had mentioned something about anxiety a while back.  I searched pain with anxiety and this article came up.  I read it and thought, "OMG, this is EXACTLY what I am going through!"

I started seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist.  Medication after medication after medication I tried.  Terrible side effects of the medications along with the panic attacks persisting.  It caused me to believe that maybe I wasn't having panic attacks and something even more terrible was wrong with me.  Who would have known that I was partially correct?

Another year later & I was diagnosed with Graves' Disease.  The 1st endocrinologist I saw was not very helpful when I had questions and was one of those, "I'm the professional.  Don't question what I say and just do as told," type of doctors.  Now that I knew I had a life threatening thyroid condition and was most likely going to need treatment for the rest of my life, I had a million questions that I wanted answers to.  So I started seeking out others online who were going through what I was.  Graves' Disease & Thyroid Foundation has a forum where I spoke with many people going through what I was, learned a lot about my condition, and found resources to help me along my journey to recovery.  I also learned, from the help of others, that anxiety and panic disorders can go hand in hand with thyroid conditions.

So when that endocrinologist told me that my anxiety had nothing to do with the thyroid condition or medication I was on, and that I just needed to be thrown on an anti-anxiety medication, he lost my business.  Onto the new endocrinologist who agreed with me it could have to do with the condition, but suggested the medication may just help.

My thoughts on this were, if they didn't help before, how could they help now?  I want to fix the main problem 1st and refused additional medication.  I still had painful panic attacks up until the day of the thyroidectomy.  Then immediately after the surgery, the panic attacks disappeared.

I still had ongoing anxiety issues because of the healing process after.  Being extremely hypothyroid, the complications with the meds and blood levels because of that, gaining weight, having forms being filled out every month for disability and having doctors telling me, "Let's give it another month," month after month before they would release me back to work.  Then when I was ready to go back to work I was anxious about having to go through training process again and starting a new shift.  This is when I started the Lexapro to help with the anxiety I was feeling.  After starting that, the panic attacks started again, though mildly, when my thyroid levels were on the hyperthyroid side.

Please doctor, tell me again how these don't go hand in hand?  I can also tell you, with my medical history, I NEVER had issues with anxiety nor any panic attacks until 1-2 years before being diagnosed with thyroid issues.  Again, please doctor, tell me again how these don't go hand in hand?

I will see my endocrinologist tomorrow morning.  I can already anticipate how the conversation will go.  Him saying, "You are fine," and me saying, "No, not completely.  Let me show you a list of my current problems."

I also mentioned the terrible sore throat I had last month.  Well, my sore throat is back in a mild form so the gargling of salt water helped a little this morning.  I feel feverish though my temp was at 98.1.  I'll write a whole other post sometime about the terrible brain fog I have been having lately.  How can I be fine if my body feels like it's shutting down?  Maybe I'll have some answers tomorrow and maybe not.  I will get through this, though it's a bitch trying to.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

May 2014 Birchbox

May 2014 Birchbox Overview:

  • Body wash retails $18 for 11.5oz.  Lotion retails $22 for 8oz.
  • About the product: Caldrea focuses on plant based botanical ingredients and all of their products are vegan, free of phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, and artificial colors.  Linden flower extract provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, rice bran oil helps maintain skin tone and elasticity,  while chia seed oil hydrates skin and helps prevent free radical damage.  The scent combines top notes of white fig, plum, and coconut. 
  • What I thought: 1st off I LOVED the scent as it was very natural and fresh.  The lotion was more like a body milk, like The Body Shop's coconut milk body lotion spray, & a little goes a long way.  It seeps in quickly and gives long lasting moisture.  As far as the body wash goes, it didn't lather up as much as I would have liked it to, but it left me feeling clean and fresh when out of the bath.  The scent is light so you can become desensitized to it quickly but it's very comforting.  I'd love to use these at a spa or tropical resort.  They are perfect for summer!
  • I would buy these. 

  • Retails $19.99 for 1.5oz.
  • About the product: Made for all skin tones, fair to dark, this sunscreen is lightly tinted to enhance skin radiance.  Its hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic formula is mineral rich which includes zinc oxide that protects skin from irritants, and titanium dioxide which protects from UVA and UVB radiation.  Apply the product 15 minutes before sun exposure and at least every 2 hours, or after 80 minutes of swimming or vigorous activity that causes sweating.
  • What I thought: When I 1st saw the product I actually thought it was going to be too dark on my skin because of how it was tinted but it felt light and blended in well. I didn't notice any additional tint to my skin or steaks, and it didn't have that sunscreen scent most products with SPF have.  Usually products with SPF over 25 can make my face break out but it was so light I almost thought it was ineffective.  Until the day I wore it out, forgot to put sunscreen anywhere else as I ended up with my face being fine but an awful sunburn on my neck and shoulders!  Though it blended well at the tint it was, they also do make a CōTZ Face for Lighter & Fair Skin Tones.  This will be replacing my current SPF face lotion!
  • I will buy this.

  • Retails $8 for 0.141oz.
  • About the product: Ranging from clear to a ripe raspberry color, you should be able to find a shade that you prefer out of the 5 hues they offer.  This nourishing balm is packed with shea butter to moisturize, and vitamin E to protect your lips.  Apply by smoothing onto lips, layering for more color intensity. 
  • What I thought: When I 1st opened it I was put off by the color I received, which was Pixi Pink, as the electric pink color pierced my eyes.  Though after applying it, it went on sheer and gave a much softer pink color than expected.  It has a light, sweet shea scent and continuous use will keep your lips soft and healthy.  The color is nice for summer but maybe not the other seasons. Once this runs out I'll be buying more!
  • I would buy this.

  • Pre-Wash Primer retails $17.99 for 3.3oz.  Shampoo retails $11.99 for 13.5oz.  Conditioner retails $14.99 for 13.5oz.
  • About the product: For the pre-wash primer, add 1-2 drops and smooth into hair before washing by focusing on tips and massaging up into the roots.  This product shields hair by repelling water to lock in color.  For the shampoo and conditioner, work a generous amount into hair from roots to tips then rinse.  All products contain sweet almond oil and white orchid extract to moisturize hair and prevent breakage, coconut oil to give bounce and texture, and argan oil to improve shine.  
  • What I thought: I don't feel any of the products assisted in any way to the vibrancy of my hair color. Using just a little bit of the pre-wash primer left my hands feeling oily but I couldn't really tell if it was evenly distributed throughout my hair.  I feel the primer left my hair feeling more greasy and weighed down. They smelled good but I'm always looking for a product to "WOW" me and this didn't come anywhere close.  I've had much better results from brands much cheaper than this.  After drying my hair it even felt a bit sticky.
  • I wouldn't buy any of these.

Votive Candle in First Blush by Greenleaf.
  • Retails $1.92 for one 2oz votive.
  • About the product: Ensuring signature quality over 35 years, Greenleaf scents are specially formulated in-house.  Their candles are a blend of soy and vegetable waxes.  The First Blush scent is a blend of white musk and citrus, with notes of poppy and floral blossoms.
  • What I thought: I received a votive in the First Blush scent.  The scent is strongly perfumed and much too floral for me.  If you like Victorian floral scents you may like it.  Their site has many different scents to choose from & they are very comparable to Yankee Candle as far as price.  Though I usually stock up on YC when everything is 1/2 (or more) off.  I'll probably use this in my bathroom & maybe someday in the future I'll see how I like their other scents.
  • I'd be open to buying them in a different scent.
I do apologize as the reviews had been done a while ago & only now did I get everything put together.  Already working on my June Birchbox post with a few other exciting things.  I really hope everyone has a fantastic 4th of July!