Au Naturale Eye Essentials Kit

Graceful Aging, Curve Embracing

Sunday at the lake (Pultneyville, New York)
Glasses: Peppermint
Earrings: May and Birch
Dress: Universal Thread
Lipstick: Smashbox in Poolside -- on sale!

Happy Monday, readers!

Yesterday was a wonderful day. Tom and I like to spend our weekends taking drives and exploring the many wonderful places around us here in New York. We drove to Pultneyville, which is less than 30 minutes away, and spent time leisurely strolling by the lake. If you are new to the blog (welcome!), we live in a suburb of Rochester called Irondequoit, which is right up along Lake Ontario. It really is a beautiful place.

We first drove to Sodus to go to one of our favorite farmer's markets, Burnap's, and then went to Pultneyville for the rest of the afternoon. The picture above was taken yesterday. It is funny how one iPhone selfie can spark so much internal dialogue.

Normally when I am in a photo, I dissect every aspect. Do I have a zit? Is my skin looking oily? Is my hair windblown? Do I have lipstick on my teeth? Do I look old? Do my arms look fat? 

Something different happened yesterday when I was going through pictures. I didn't pick them apart. I noticed all of the grays (or greys if you prefer to spell the word that way) and smiled. My eyesight kind of stinks. Frankly, in the bathroom mirror, I don't see the grays the way I see them in the picture here. 

The grays gave me pause.

The old me would've come home and run to the cabinet to grab my Clairol Natural Instincts in Medium Cool Brown to make the problem go away for a couple weeks. Not now.

I have changed.

I do not know if it is because of the pandemic or because of all of the self reflection that I have been experiencing since taking my 200 hour yoga teacher training last year or the coursework I completed to be an EDIT-certified Eating Disorder Recovery Coach. There has been such a dramatic shift. One of my dear friends commented a few months back that I am really in tune with my emotions. I think that is a good thing.

My relationship with my body has completely shifted. I quit dieting last year. I was going back to very old unhealthy behaviors. I have regained weight. I know it. I see it. You know what? I embrace it. I am not addicted to my Weight Watchers app these days. Or to counting and tracking. I eat intuitively. I also have had to eat based on how my body feels due to my Hashimoto's, which means cutting gluten completely and eliminating my symptom triggers (goodbye fresh mozzarella and ricotta, for example). Goodbye craft beer. 

I started giving myself grace. It is enough needing to make dramatic changes in what I eat because of an autoimmune disease without trying to pressure myself to lose 20 more pounds. My body is the least interesting thing about me.

Quitting my diet was just the start of a major internal transformation. I have two book recommendations for you: Intuitive Eating and Body Talk. Both are total game changers:

Do I struggle? Sometimes. It is easier now. People can make comments without realizing the impact they have on someone who has had an eating disorder or who has body dysmorphia. Little innocent comments that can cut like a knife. I now say, "Hey, this is not something I can talk about with you" or "What if we didn't talk about how many carbs are in a serving of Grape Nuts?" People aren't mind readers. Nothing will change if you aren't honest about how you feel.

In addition to accepting the fact that I am NEVER going to be thin and the only time I was truly thin was when I was alternating between starving myself and throwing up my dinner, I accept that I need to buy an XL for pretty much everything I wear. I accept that I am the larger friend. I will tower over my 4'11" friend in pictures and look like a giant and that is okay. I accept it. I embrace it.

I also have decided that I am going to start embracing these gray streaks in my hair. I have been dying my hair for 30 years. My naturally dirty blonde hair has been platinum, deep red, chocolate brown, strawberry blonde, and its share of other streaks. I am DONE with the dye. I *like* the silver streaks. A couple years back, I believed that if you let your hair go gray, that you were "letting yourself go." I no longer believe that and I am truly sorry I felt that way. It was judgy of me and I do not like being judgmental.

Woah. I was part of the problem all along.

I also recognize that I have been part of the problem because I have written so many articles over the years recommending products to help people look younger. Or how to make your nose look smaller. Your eyes look bigger. Lift your cheekbones higher. Ugh. This makes me angry. These things sell magazines and they sell products. 

These "helpful tips" are also contributing to the ugly aspect of the beauty industry -- the notion that you are flawed and need fixing to look better. The preying on women's insecurities results are higher commissions for people selling beauty products. 22 year old me LOVED the women wanting to look younger. I was able to sell them the retinol products, the firming neck cream, and the concealers to "erase" their crow's feet. 

What if we just reframed things a bit? What if we focused on how your skin will FEEL softer and look brighter rather than, "It will reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles" as if there is something WRONG with you for having them? I mean, we ALL get older. Bodies change. Skin changes. These tell the story of a life well lived -- of days spent laughing, of time spent in the kitchen baking and sharing stories and memories.

I am going to be 46 next month. I pamper myself with my skincare routine because I always have loved the ritual of a skincare regimen. I have been in this industry since college. I love makeup and trying products and new colors. I love sharing products with you. I have enjoyed blogging about beauty for almost 15 years. But I am not going to talk about how you can look younger or thinner or things like that. I am comfortable in my skin -- complete with imperfections. 

Don't get me wrong. I am a product junkie. I always will be. I will never stop talking about skincare ingredients like the big skincare nerd that I am. I will never stop my quest for the PERFECT mascara or for slathering on that moisturizer that makes my skin glow overnight. I will always have my nails done, earrings on, and lipstick applied. That is just who I am. Embracing change is not a bad thing. It doesn't equate to "letting yourself go."

I welcome you along for this new blogging chapter and thank you for following along all these years. I am not the same mom to two toddlers that I was when this blog began. I will still be talking about amazing products and handmade finds, just as I have done since 2007. What is changing is that you are never going to come to this blog and think you aren't skinny enough or beautiful enough or young enough.