When Did It Become Beauty Over Health?

When Did It Become Beauty Over Health?

At this point, I’d say every 3 out of 4 people has gotten plastic surgery, even if it’s something relatively minor. I have no issues with someone wanting to change their appearance to help boost their confidence. I’ll be the first to admit that I hate these giant “fun bags” I have attached to my body. However, we could all agree that people often take plastic surgery to the extreme. It’s to the point that people are trying to reach beauty standards that are extremely unhealthy and unattainable. What’s even crazier to me, is that most of the time it’s much easier for someone to get approved for a plastic surgery procedure than it is to get coverage to treat a life threatening health issue.

A dear family friend of mine has battled cancer TWICE. Luckily she has also beaten it twice, but each time she has also had to battle her insurance company for coverage. Meanwhile, I know several people who haven’t worked out a day in their lives or even held a job get approved for a whole body make over… tummy tuck, liposuction, facial reconstruction, everything… MAKE IT MAKE SENSE! I am all for feeling confident and people doing what makes them happy, but I’d like to believe that LIVING should be number one on that list. Because honestly, those people I know will NEVER be happy on the inside. Sure they may flaunt their new bodies on Instagram and pretend to be more confident, but everything else around them will still be the same.

Meanwhile, I ENVY how much my family friend lives her life to the fullest. She is always traveling to a new country every week. One week we’ll call her and she’ll be in Japan, then a few days later when we ask how Japan is going, and she’ll turn around and be in Cuba! She has always been such a bright light and an ambitious woman, it’s unfair to think her life may have been cut short.

Even I had a health scare of my own. I spent a year in and out of the doctor’s office trying to get a diagnosis for a lump that was eventually discovered to be a tumor. I’m grateful that it ended up being benign, but the process to find that answer was no easy feat. Because I had to visit several different types of doctors and get MRI’s to narrow down the numerous possibilities, not everyone took my insurance. Even taking off of work was frustrating because I only had a certain amount of paid sick days available. I ended up getting my operation a few days before Christmas, so I could get as much time off as possible. Thank goodness the surgeon was even available during that time, because there was a small window of time for me to get it done, otherwise my insurance would no longer cover it. Ironically, the day I checked in for my surgery I was told that my procedure wasn’t even completely covered. The fucking day of… was anyone going to tell me??? Unfortunately it was now or never, because the type of tumor I had would have kept growing for years which would’ve created even more issues for me.

It’s frustrating that the type of people I see getting unnecessary cosmetic surgeries all fit the same stereotype. Most of them are “influencers” with no real jobs besides flaunting their bodies. It’s different for women to enhance their body in ways that will improve their confidence about themselves, but I feel like most of these surgeries are only done to appease the male gaze. Some of these wealthy men even willingly pay for these ridiculous procedures. I get the constant patients bring in millions for these Plastic Surgeons, but it’s disgusting that society fuels this. I’m so tired of seeing people sprinting to get surgery every other week, meanwhile there are people who wait years for kidneys or have to spend their entire life savings to stay alive. And sadly it’s because society values beauty over health.

My Body Feels like a Prison, Not a Temple

My Body Feels like a Prison, Not a Temple

Women’s bodies are constantly under scrutiny. Whether we’re slightly overweight or like to show it off, society always has something to say. Because of this, I’ve never really been comfortable with my body. For years I’ve been told to appreciate my curves. All the girls in the locker room would say “OMG! you’re so lucky to have boobs!”, even my own family would say “you should be happy, people have pay to get a shape like yours.” But it’s almost impossible to do so when you never see yourself being represented anywhere.

When a model is anything other than 5’10”, and 120 pounds, they’re seen as “plus sized”. Some are even praised when they speak out about not fitting into those standards when in reality they still don’t represent the everyday woman. Even clothing brands mark their clothes “plus sized” for shoppers that are larger than a traditional size 6. I have one pair of pants in my closet that are a size 8, and another that are a size 14. So realistically where am I supposed to find proper fitting clothes if I’m not a size 0?

Anyone who knows me knows that I wear clothes that are three times my size. I love a good baggy sweatshirt and an oversized denim jacket. The reason for this is because I feel like my body speaks for me before I can speak for myself, so I try to hide it. The first thing people (especially men) see is my physical appearance. People wouldn’t look at me and think that I enjoy Star Wars and listen to Motorhead, because they’ve already put me in a specific category based on what I look like. “Hmm…big boobs.. round hips… she must like the Migos. And I’m sure she watches Love & Hip-Hop”. Incorrect! I even remember my college roommates would call me “bootylicious” all the time and asked if I could twerk. I’m still cringing. There’s a specific family that people love to hate, (I’m lost on the name… I think it starts with a K…?) because of them people now assume women with asses and tits are supposed to just show it off 24/7. And that’s not the case.

Even after losing 40 or so pounds, I feel uncomfortable showing my results off. When I would wear more fitting clothes, people (again mostly MEN) would gaze at me and think it was okay to approach me with sexual remarks. I really enjoy exercising, but I don’t feel comfortable doing it in public. As you could probably guess, things like jumping jacks and burpees are the bane of my existence because I feel like I’m putting on a show for the creeps at the gym. I’m just minding my own business, like damn let me do my thing BRAD. Brad Pitt however, could interrupt me any day of the week, okay?! Alright back to what I was saying. Just because someone fits the description of an overly sexual woman (which like what does that even really mean?) it doesn’t mean that’s who they are. Part of this is due to the Jezebel stereotype inflicted on black women, but we’ll get into that another time…

Not only am I curvy, but I’m also VERY short. I’m only 5’1″. I can fit into kids shoes but clearly I cannot fit into kids clothing. Designers don’t really think about short people when they’re making clothes. So if a pair of pants fits around the waist, theres a 99% chance they’re going to be a foot too long. The only word that comes to mind for this is… STUPID. Why would I want to pay extra money to constantly get things tailored? Some brands have started to make pants for people who are shorter or taller than the average person, but it’s a very small percentage. And most of the time, it’s not even good quality.

It’s pretty difficult to “love the skin you’re in” when all the different skin colors and shapes of the world aren’t even being represented the way they should be. When I was around 13 I used to love flipping through the pages of Vogue, until I began to realize I’ll NEVER look like these women. Nobody should look at these women as the standard of beauty, but especially not a 13 year old girl going through puberty. What makes matters worse, is that the plus-sized women I mentioned before are typically white women.

I know there’s not much I can do to change my physical appearance. It’s a hard pill to swallow some days, but I’ve accepted it. I have a few friends who have gotten breast reductions, and they say it’s boosted their confidence and even improved their ability to exercise, so that’s always an option for me!

I’m not writing this to get any sort of sympathy from anyone. My point is to show how damaging society’s standards are to women’s self esteem. What’s more important though is my physical health, rather than my physical appearance. Sure someone can be naturally thin, but if they don’t take care of whats on the inside the outside doesn’t really matter in my opinion. It’s upsetting to think that people will subject themselves to crazy fad diets and fall victim to eating disorders just because society sets such unobtainable standards.

The best way for me to boost my overall self confidence is to make sure I take time to appreciate the things I do love about myself. I love my thick hair and my ability to change the style and color from week to week. I love my strong arms and the ever growing collection of ink I display on them. And let’s be real, I would be lying if I said this face wasn’t easy on the eyes!!!

OOMPH Kickboxing + Fitness APP

OOMPH KICKBOXING + FITNESS APP

Once my initial fears of the pandemic began to subside, I started wondering how on earth I would stay fit now that the gyms are closed. I tried a few different apps, but honestly they all were a bit dated. Fitness is important to me not just for physical reasons, but for mental reasons as well. There are some days were I’m overwhelmed and don’t really feel like working out, but after I do I honestly feel so much better. Certain days when I’m feeling low, a good workout really boosts my mood. Exercise truly gives me peace of mind.

So once I realized that I would no longer have that at my luxury, I needed to find some options. I tried a few different apps, but they all felt pretty dated. I like to hike, but I’m not someone who will just go out on a run (plus these boobs don’t want to see me be great). So I was really having difficulties trying to find a high intensity workout that matched what I had been doing pre-lockdown. That is, until I came across the OOMPH Kickboxing Fitness app!

I LOVE this app! At first I was a bit reluctant to workout on such a small screen, but it’s truly worth it. OOMPH has their own playlists for you to use, or you can connect your Apple Music and make your own! There also is a new workout almost everyday. Monday you might be focusing on jabs and crosses, and Tuesday might be squats and lunges. Another fun thing about the app is that after every six weeks, you move up a belt. I started as a white belt, and now I’m almost at my orange belt! OOMPH is also the perfect app during this lockdown, because you can take it anywhere and it doesn’t require any additional equipment. Whether you decide to go back home and visit family, or are simply just hiding from your roommate, it’s the perfect portable exercise app. I highly recommend downloading OOMPH, it’s a great way to keep fit or to get a jumpstart on your fitness journey!

Support Female & Black Owned Businesses!

SUPPORT FEMALE & BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES

Most of us know that black people have been fighting oppression for hundreds of years. But recently the #BLACKLIVESMATTER hashtag began to trend more frequently than it’s initial inception seven years ago. Besides emailing all of the local legislators and donating to numerous go fund me’s, you can also support Black businesses in effort to show your support for the movement. I’ve compiled a list of a few Female & Black owned businesses below, check them out and give them some love!

1. BLACK PIN MAKER LEAGUE | IG: @blackpinmakerleague – This IG page features black and brown companies that create patches and pins. This is a great way to add a little flair to a denim jacket or a cute backpack!

2. DIME NAILS LA | IG: @dimenails_la – This luxury nail salon is loved by many in LA! Located in the trendy and deeply cultured area of Fairfax, their unique designs are truly a standout in the booming nail industry. I’m hoping to get in there soon and get these tortoise shell nails done, such a cool look!

3. SATYA + SAGE | IG: @satyasage – We’re spending a lot of time inside these days, what better way to bring in the good vibes than with these products from Satya + Sage?! Everything is handmade and eco-friendly, take some time to “slow down + create your sacred space” as their page says.

4. VANILLA BLACK COFFEE | @vanillablackla – “Once you go black, you’ll never go back” is the catchy pun printed on all of their coffee cups. Coincidentally, this is something I say on my hinge profile as well. All jokes aside, if you need your daily caffeine fix, Vanilla Black Coffee in Echo Park is the spot! This quaint coffee shop is the perfect place to go if you want to start your day off right.

5. A A K S | IG: @a.a.k.s – I personally like to be able to standout in a crowd of people (pre-covid of course), and these colorful bags are the perfect way to do so! Each bag is hand-crafted in Ghana and available for purchase online with shipping available around the world.

6. POPPY + ROSE | IG: @poppyandrosela – Just looking at these photos made my mouth water. I miss brunch SO much, sigh. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day because of all the different options, luckily Poppy + Rose didn’t miss a single one! I can’t wait to make this my go-to Sunday brunch spot with the girls.

7. LAND OF GOLD | IG: @thelandofgold – Dainty jewelry, is the best type of jewelry. Especially when it’s layered! Land of Gold by Havilah is the perfect mixture of earthly and etherial. Plus, gold jewelry with ALL shades of brown skin looks bomb AF!

Check back in the next few weeks, I will be posting more black owned businesses. Until then… happy shopping!

Healthy Alternatives: Lentil Pasta!

I’m a New York girl at heart so I looove me some pasta… well all carbs, but especially pasta! I can eat pasta everyday and any way, but unfortunately that won’t keep my waistline slim for too long. Luckily there are options out there that taste delicious and are also healthy!

While there are so many different kinds of alternatives to pasta out there, my favorite is Lentil Pasta. In my opinion this tastes most like pasta, whereas some others may still contain a strong flavor from their initial ingredients. For example Spaghetti squash or “Zoodles” (aka Zucchini noodles). Don’t get me wrong they both taste great, however they still taste like vegetables and might have you still craving the intoxicating taste of pasta.

There are plenty of different brands of Lentil pasta that you can find at the store such as POW, but my favorite is TOLERANT. Their Lentil Pasta is included in their “Simply Legumes” products and only contains one ingredient… Lentils! All of their products are sourced from Canada or Turkey and are made in an 100% allergen free facility. This is great for someone like me with plenty of allergies.

Aside from just being healthier based on the fact it is made from pure “Legumes”, there is also more protein found Lentil Pasta.  In a 3oz plate of Lentil pasta, there are about 22 grams of protein as opposed to a 3oz plate of White Pasta, there are only about 3.5 grams. So if you are following a specific diet, good news, Lentil pasta also is Gluten Free and Keto friendly!

If you’re tired of eating salads and missing Pasta in your life, give Red Lentil Pasta a try!

Check Yo Health, Before You Wreck Yo Health

I consider myself a healthy person. About seven years ago I made the decision to start eating clean and exercising regularly. Since then my life hasn’t been the same! I went from eating McDonald’s and drinking sodas, to making smoothies and chopping up salads. Of course, I will treat myself to a little cheat meal here and there, but nothing too crazy. You must “treat yo’ self” occasionally!

About four years ago I felt a weird bump on hinge of my jaw underneath my skin. I thought nothing of it, at the time I was twenty-one and in perfect health. When I went in for my yearly dental exam and was told to get it checked out by an oral surgeon. I figured it would probably go away on its own and went on with my life.

Fast forward to spring of 2018. The ½ centimeter bump has now grown to be about 2 centimeters in length. At this point I still figured it was something minor like a cyst that would require a small needle to drain it. Once the dental hygienist saw how much the bump had grown she urged me to visit the oral surgeon.

I made an appointment for the oral surgeon. After taking x-rays of my jaw, I still did not get an answer as to what this bump really was. By the looks on their faces I knew it was not good. 

I grew frustrated going back and forth to the doctor and still being in the dark about what was going on with my body. However, my visit to the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor was about to change all of that.

He calmly told me that I had a tumor. It felt like time had stopped. Why and how would someone so young and healthy get a tumor? It did not make sense and almost felt unfair.

After getting extensive MRI’s it was confirmed to be a benign tumor in my salivary gland. But it would still require an intense surgery called a “Parotidectomy”(google at your own risk), to have it removed. 

Luckily, my surgery was a success! It has been almost three months, and the only after effects I have is a loss of feeling on my ear lobe (something my doctor had warned me about anyways).

That being said… It is very important to be on top of your health! I thought just because I ate healthy and exercised six days a week I was in perfect health. I was completely wrong!

No matter how healthy you think you may be, leave it to the professionals to determine how healthy you really are!