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The Selectivor App, A Meal Planning App For People With Food Restrictions & Allergies – A Complete Review

Symbol for the Selectivor App


Something I have talked about here on the blog a lot is my Balsam of Peru allergy and how it affects me as a contact allergen. What I have not talked about as much is that for me, and a lot of people with this allergy, it also causes reactions from various foods. This can be for two reason, just the same as with the contact allergy, the plant can be used as an additive (either as a flavoring or preservative) or I can react to the many foods that are chemical twins. To make choosing food even more difficult for me, I by choice follow a pescatarian diet.

Sometimes finding food to eat really can be a challenge. What is even more challenging is having food with other people, especially if other people also have food issues and dietary restrictions. So what do you do? Well now there is an app that is here to help. The app is called Selectivor and you can download it for free on IOS or Android in the App Store. If for some reason you do not want to download the app, you can access a web-based app to use. Look for this symbol for the Selectivor App.

Symbol for the Selectivor App

According to Selectivor’s description they are “a social food app designed to be a better way to eat together”. The simplified versions of what that means is that you can make lists of your allergies, food restrictions, diets, and any foods you just don’t like. From there you can meal plan and invite others to plan meals with you.

So who is this app meant for? Well pretty much everyone and anyone. But it will be most helpful to people who have food allergies or sensitivities, and those who have dietary restrictions (either by choice or lifestyle necessity). It could also be helpful for people who have friends and family that have food restrictions that they dine with often or wish to dine with more often. I also think there are some other great uses for this app, but I will talk about that more towards the end. Lets take a look at some of the basic functions of the app and my experience with it first.

Once you sign up for an account/log in, the first step will be creating your food profile. The app opens to this page:

Opening page of the Selectivor App

This is your dashboard, and the app always opens to this page first. As you can see this is the main page that will have links to all the things you can do in the app. From here you can edit your profile, add people, create events, etc… I think the app is pretty user-friendly and self-explanatory in how to use it. As I said the first step will be creating your food profile so for the most of this post we are going to focus mainly on just that.

First you will want to click on “FOOD PROFILE” button near the top that I have circled in the picture. Filling out your food profile is a three page process. Lets start with the first page.

page one of filling out the food profile on Selectivor

One page one they ask your diets, foods you are allergic to, and anything you avoid eating. You can see I have already filled in Pescatarian under diet.

If you scroll further down

List of foods I avoid in Selectivor

You see the list of foods I avoid (not finished with my list, still working on that). Now you may be wondering why I made this list but didn’t put anything in the allergy box since I do have an allergy. My allergy as I have said before is very complicated, and not everyone reacts to the same things or in the same way. I have been dealing with my allergy for years, and I am pretty well versed in what causes me to react.

Choosing Balsam of Peru Allergy in the list of option on Selectivor App

They do have an option for Balsam of Peru Allergy, but its more of a long list of possible things that can cause reactions. So for me picking individual items seems like a better way to go. But going with the pre-made list will be a really great option for anyone that is maybe newly diagnosed or perhaps having a hard time figuring out what is causing them to react.

You can see in the image above that “Balsam of Peru and food that may cross react with BOP” pops up as an option with just the first few letters typed in. Of course Balsam of Peru is not the only option. The Selectivor App will let you choose lots of various foods, diets, and allergies. Some of the options for diets and allergies are Kosher, Low Carb, FODMAP, Nut Allergy, and Shellfish Allergy. There are many more options and the list is growing. However, because they are still growing and developing the app, there may be things missing from the lists. But don’t worry, they have a solution for that too. If you look at the second photo up, you will see that at the bottom of my food list there is a link that says “I Don’t See What I Am Looking For”.

How to add an option to the food list in the Selectivor App

If you click that link a box like this pops up. From here you can make the suggestion to add anything you can’t find. So far in my experience they are quite responsive and quick to research and add what is needed.

When I first talked to the people at Selectivor about reviewing their app, they did not have Balsam of Peru listed. They had it added within a couple of days after we talked. Once I started playing with the app I noticed there were something missing from the list that I react to, so I submitted using this form on the app. Again it was taken care of within two days. I am sure there will be some variation in response time when there are higher volumes of people accessing the app and making requests. But so far I have no complaints in their responsiveness.

Once you have finished filling out the first page and submitting anything you need added through the suggestion box you will hit the next button.

Page two of the food profile form on Selectivor App

On page two there isn’t a lot to fill out for me. This page should be slightly different for everyone. You can see they just offered me a suggestion based on one of my choices. I did not add the suggestion because I don’t react to everything with carbonation. After you make your decisions on any suggestion you want to add or not add, you will then hit next.

Page three a review of your choices on the food profile of Selectivor AppAnd here on the third and final page you should have a review of your choices. If everything looks right you will simply hit the button that says “That looks correct”. That is all there is to creating your food profile. It is unbelievably easy to do.

Once your food profile is complete you can share it several way. You can use Facebook, Whatsapp, or by a link that you can paste anywhere. And as mentioned earlier you also have the option of directly inviting people to the App. When you share your link, people do still have to sign up for an account to view it. During my time testing out the app this has been the only hindrance I have come across. The function part works fine, however getting others to download the app was a struggle. I think between just being busy and not being motivated by an allergy of their own, it was a hard task to get some to download the app. So meal planning with others hasn’t really happened for me yet. I have suggested they look at a way to share food lists to Facebook event pages so that people who don’t want to download the app can still access it. They said they will be looking into this as an option, but this might be a bit of time away.

But even if you are like me and can’t get anyone else to download the app I still think I see a valuable use for this app. For some allergies and diets, like mine that are more complicated there are long lists of foods to memorize that you can’t have. It can be very overwhelming, and to date there hasn’t really been a website created with an empirical list of foods you should avoid if you have a Balsam of Peru allergy. So having an app on your phone that is easy to access, that is so valuable right there. People who are newly diagnosed often feel lost and don’t know what to eat. This app can be a real life saver and time saver for them.

If you have any sort of food restrictions because of allergy or diet, I highly recommend that you check out Selectivor. You can also check out their companion website for special information and tips on dealing with food allergies. And because they are new and still growing, I really encourage to reach out to them with any feedback you have and let them know of any foods or diets that need to be added to the list.

Let me know in the comments below if you plan on trying this app out.

 

 

This post was sponsored by Selectivor. However all opinions and thoughts about the product are my own. I was only asked to share the product with my viewers, and any thoughts shared beyond that are of my choice.

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What It’s Like To Be A Fat, Sick, Woman In The US – Part 2 I Am A Pre-Existing Condition

In my previous post ‘What It’s Like To Be A Fat, Sick, Woman In The US – Part 1 Why I Am Speaking Out About My Disabilities‘, I think the title speaks for itself on content. Today I wanted to actually talk about my personal diagnoses and what they may mean for me, as well as other people with the same illnesses, in daily life.

I have only ever sat down and made a list of everything I have been diagnosed with once, and that was quite a few years and diagnoses ago. I found it quite overwhelming at the time due to how many there were at the time. I think that has a lot to do with why I was so hesitant to write this post as well as why it took me so long to write it. If I find it overwhelming and hard to understand it all, how are you suppose to understand it?

Rather than try to go into the complete definition and all of the symptoms of each ailment, I will link everything I can to places you can get more information. I will just talk about what I feel bothers me the most and do my best to talk about the challenges caused by each illness. I have put everything in order of most disruptive of my life to least, or most difficult to deal with to least. Please keep in mind that is completely subjective to my personal experience and my experience does not represent everyone’s experience with an illness.

My Diagnoses

Fibromyalgia (a.k.a. in the past as fibromyalgia syndrome,fibromyositis, and fibrositis) – This is both the most difficult illness that I deal with and the one of the most difficult to explain to other people. It’s so complicated, and there is so little known about it even by doctors. However, I will do my best to describe what I go through to you.

I have lots of pain. There isn’t a moment of any day that I am not in some sort of pain. And it’s not just one type of pain or even located in one place. One moment I might have a random pain in my foot and the next my shoulders are hurting. Sometimes it might be a stabbing pain and other times it feels like someone has taken super hot rubber band and put it around an arm or leg and tightened till the circulation has been cut off. Sometimes even the lightest touch becomes painful. This one is a unique pain though. The best I have ever been able to describe it is like this; think of that feeling you get when someone runs their nails down a chalkboard, now times that feeling by ten and instead of it being triggered by sound its triggered by touch.

The next biggest thing I have to deal with when it comes to fibromyalgia is what is often referred to as brain fog. This means I often have memory loss, but it’s not like the kind of memory loss you think of with amnesia or Alzheimer patients. With brain fog you don’t actually lose the memory so much as you can’t access it for a brief period of time. For instance you might be in the middle of saying something and then just can’t get a word out. Or maybe you constantly can’t remember people’s names, even the ones you have known for years. But then ten minutes later you will remember what you were about to say. You continually have that feeling of having what you were about to say on the tip of your tongue. I personally find this symptom distressing, especially when dealing with people who haven’t known me for long or don’t know how my illness works. This is because it in a way strip me partially from my identity. I feel like the intelligent and creative mind I have is hidden behind constant pauses with me saying uh I can’t think of the word I was trying to use.

In addition to the pain and brain fog I deal with fatigue, temperature sensitivity, sleep disturbance from the pain, and numerous other issue. There are also many other illnesses that go hand in hand with fibromyalgia as well as some have similar symptoms. It can get really complicated to tell what is causing what. But I will talk more about that as we go.

 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – I think that the name of this makes this sort of deceptive to people. People hear fatigue and focus on that. You can’t imagine how many times I, as well as other people, with chronic fatigue have people ask something like “so your just tired all the time right?”. But it’s more than being tired. I have periods of time that I am so fatigued I literally can’t move to get out of the bed. Or I try to get out of the bed and my whole body will just shake and I can’t function. If I try to push myself past this point it actually triggers my fibromyalgia to get worse and I can get sick and stuck in bed from a flare up. This may last a few hours or a few weeks.

This is one of the illnesses with tricky to distinguish symptoms because I have so many other things wrong with me that may cause fatigue. For example one of the symptoms you can have with fibromyalgia is fatigue, but for me I have found the level of fatigue is very different. And it is very different from the feeling of just being tired from not sleeping. It took me a while to really figure out the differences and what to do to handle my illness.

 

Chronic Insomnia – I suffer from both Primary and Secondary Insomnia. The difference between Primary and Secondary is that Primary Insomnia does not have any underlying medical reason like pain or sleep apnea that is causing the insomnia, and secondary does. You might wonder how I have both Primary and Secondary, and how I distinguish between them. Well, I have dealt with Primary insomnia since I was a very young child. It wasn’t till I was older and started dealing with pain conditions that I had Secondary Insomnia, and you can very easily tell whether you are awake for no reason or if you are awake because of pain.

If I had made this list ten years ago, maybe even five years ago, insomnia would have been much farther down the list on things that bother me. As I said, I have dealt with this since I was a young child. It was never unusual for me to run on three or four hours of sleep. Sure I felt a little tired at times, but for the most part I usually just dealt with it and no one could ever tell. But in the last five years or so, it’s become increasingly harder and harder to deal with. I just can’t recover from it anymore.

 

Ruptured Disc (a.k.a. slipped or herniated disc) – When I was 24 years old I woke up one day and I was in immense pain. I was in so much pain I couldn’t walk without assistance, and I was barely able to move my legs. I was told I had a ruptured disc at L5/S1 and that it was one of the biggest ruptures the doctor had ever seen without the disc completely breaking. (I later found out I had another much smaller ruptured disc in my upper back, but this one is the one that causes the majority of my problems).

I was in college and working two-part time jobs, so I had no health insurance and had little money. I was fortunate that I had a chiropractor that was willing to work with me till I figured out how to pay. And I knew the right programs through the hospital to help pay for the expensive tests I needed. I ended up being in this severe of a condition for about six months, though I still have problems with it till this day. And as you will read further in, it caused other problems as well.

During that time I essentially went from someone who was very active to almost a completely sedentary life. Beyond the pain it had numerous ramifications on my health , my mental well-being, and my body. Typically people who have issues with a ruptured disc that are as severe and that last as long as mine have would have surgery. Even if I wanted surgery, it is not an option for me, and you will understand why as you read further.

Sciatica – Sciatica causes pain to radiate from your lower back or buttocks down your leg and to your feet and toes. Where the pain ends has depends on what the cause of the sciatica is and how severe the problem is. It typically is only on one side of the body, however for me due to a hip issue making my ruptured disk move back and forth, the pain can be on either side. But most of the time the pain is on my left side. My sciatica was long lasting. This was one of the many problems caused by the ruptured disc I have.

 

Endometriosis turned out to be Adenomyosis – You may be far more familiar with Endometriosis, or at least heard of it, than you are with Adenomyosis. There are many similarities and differences between these two conditions. The biggest distinguisher between the two is that with Endometriosis the Endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus and can grow anywhere in the body, and with Adenomyosis the Endometrial tissue grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. Also, since Endometriosis can spread throughout the body, it can never be definitely cured, however Adenomyosis can.

Both conditions can be extremely painful, and because they have so many of the same symptoms and treatments they often are both diagnosed as Endometriosis. And from my understanding, Adenomyosis can only truly be diagnosed when a hysterectomy is performed, which is what happened to me. So for years I was treated as though I had Endometriosis.

From the time my period started at the age of 12 they were heavy(in a way that is not explainable unless you have experienced it), painful, and embarrassing. I tried to find out what was wrong for years and had gotten many other misdiagnosis like PCOS, but I will talk about that more in another post. When I was in my mid 20’s I finally got a diagnosis of Endometriosis, and that finally made sense. After using various treatments on and off for about ten years my symptoms finally got to a place that it was necessary to have a hysterectomy.

As a woman, the word hysterectomy can be quite frightening in and of itself. So I think its needless to say there was a bit of stress I went through over the decision to have a hysterectomy. But I found the support of other women and much-needed information through the website Hyster Sisters, and it really got me through the hardest points. I can now say it is one of the best decisions I have made for my health, and I actually wish I had done it earlier.

 

Nerve Damage – One of the long-term repercussion of the ruptured discs I have is nerve damage. I have nerve damage of varying degrees in my lower back, down both of my legs, and down my left arm. This means I have varying degrees of numbness in some areas, decreased reflexes, and occasional issues with motor functions.

 

Migraines – I have had migraines since I was thirteen years old. In the beginning I would have them occasionally. I really just assumed it was going to be like my grandmother who also gets them but she gets them maybe once every other month or so. When she gets them she ends up in the bed for a day or two and then she is better. And in the beginning that is how mine were as well, or because I had a lot to do I would typically push through the pain.

As I got older the migraines got more frequent. By the time I was in my late teens I was having at least two migraines a week and I had started to figure out some of the things that triggered them, but also realized because of the world we live in it is hard to avoid. Again, because of a lack of health care and living in extreme poverty I didn’t actually get the official diagnosis until about the age of 25.

After I was diagnosed I was put on a preventative medicine called Topamax. There are various preventative medicines on the market, not all of them work for everybody. I was fortunate enough to hit a home run with the first one. Topamax does have some pretty heavy side effect, so if you don’t have a well-informed doctor helping you it can be dangerous. It is definitely not the medicine you want to go on and off of on a whim, but side effects are something I will talk about in another post. Lets just say that this was like a miracle drug in many ways for me, but it does have some drawbacks. And once I really got to a point where my headaches were under control that’s when I realized how bad they really were and how much they were really interfering with my life.

 

Interstitial cystitis (a.k.a. IC, irritable bladder, or painful bladder syndrome) This is one of those odd illnesses that you probably never heard of unless you either have it or have thought you had it at some point. IC is one of those illnesses that are not uncommon to have if you have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue. I think people are far more familiar with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, however it works very similarly just with your bladder instead. However, IC can be more dangerous than IBS. Left unchecked IC can actually cause your bladder to explode. The good news is there are things you can do to help with you bladder. So if you suspect that you have IC, I urge you to see your doctor to have testing done.

 

Cluster Headaches – I thankfully don’t get these often, I don’t think I would survive if I did. And they would be much further up the list if I did get them often. When I do get them, the pain is intense. I often feel like I have a hot poker pushing through my eyeball. Not much more to say than that.

 

TMJ Disorder (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) – This is another disorder that is often associated with fibromyalgia. Don’t get me wrong, you do not have to have fibromyalgia to get TMJ, but if you have fibromyalgia it’s not unusual to have it. TMJ can be caused by a few things, mine caused by the alignment of my jaw not being correct at times.

When that happens some of the things I can start having issues with is opening and shutting my mouth, my jaw clicks when I open and shut my mouth or even chew, pain in the jaw joint, pain in the ear area, and facial pain. Thankfully my TMJ has been reasonably easy to treat as of yet.

Allergies to:

  • Balsam Of Peru – This is one area of my health I have talked a lot about here on the blog. Since I cover a lot of beauty issues and part of this allergy verges into that arena, it’s kind of relevant. So rather than linking you to an outside source for this one, I have linked to a previous article that I wrote about my allergy. It links to plenty of reference articles. All I will say here is it is one of the most complicated allergies you can have. It causes you to have reactions to hundreds of items in beauty items, food, and medicine. I may have reactions in the form of Contact Dermatitis, blisters in my mouth, or a migraine.
  • Dust and Dust Mites – The only time I seem to react to the dust and dust mite allergy is when I am cleaning. I am guessing this is because this is when they are stirred up into the air. I range from having a brief sneezing fit to a full on sinus infection after.
  • Mold – This is my most recent diagnosis. I haven’t had any treatments yet or leaned a significant amount about it. I had suspected for a while that I was allergic to mold, but went to get tested because I had read there was a possibility that some people have been misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia who actually have an allergy to mold. However you can also be both allergic to mold and have fibromyalgia. But the symptoms are very similar. This is of course something I am still looking into, so don’t put too much stock into it.

Raynaud’s Disease – This is another one of those odd diseases that you probably haven’t heard of unless you or a loved one has it. It only bothers me about half of the year, but if you live somewhere with a colder climate then you might have issues year round. What happens to people with Raynaud’s Disease can be a little different in each individual, but here is what happens to me. Anytime I am exposed to temperatures below forty degrees my fingers (sometimes my toes and nose as well) start to go numb and they ache. They even start to turn blue, sometimes they turn white. Then as they start to warm back up I get painful tingly sensations, like the sensation you get when a limb falls asleep and you are trying to get the circulation back, but its twice as painful. And the area turns red and swells.

This has honestly happened to me for a long time. I just never knew it was anything but normal until I read an article someone posted on Facebook about this condition a few years ago. I then asked my doctor about it, and then I was diagnosed.

Degenerative Disc Disease – Even though this is called a disease, it’s not a disease in the sense you typically think of a disease. Degenerative Disc Disease is really just the normal breakdown of the disc in our spines that happens as we age. However when it happens at a normal rate it usually doesn’t get referred to as Degenerative Disc Disease, it is only described this way when things happen to cause it prematurely. I was told at the age of 25 that my spine looked like that of a 80 year old woman’s.

There are many things that can cause it or at least contribute to it. This is one of the few cases in my health where being overweight really can be harmful. It does put extra pressure on your spine, so it can contribute to how fast the discs deteriorate. In addition injuries caused from falls or car accidents may cause the start of Degenerative Disc Disease as well as bone spurs.

Arthritis – When I was in third grade my school gym class often had days where we had indoor activities due to weather. One of those many days our gym teacher decided we were going to have relay races. When I was running into what was our home base for the race, I fell and slid in. Had this been outside it would not have been that big of a deal. However, it was a big deal because it happened on a concrete floor. I ended up cracking my knee caps, of course we didn’t know that is what happened at the time. Since we didn’t have insurance my parents held off on taking me to the doctor. To be fair I didn’t complain a lot. I told them it hurt but I wasn’t crying in pain. I don’t think they understood the severity at the time. It ended up being two weeks later when I made it to a doctor. The bone had already started to heal wrong by then. All they could do at that point was give me exercises that would hopefully help. But of course being a kid I didn’t do most of them.

Depression – I think most people suffer from some form of depression at one point or another in their life. But not all depressions are created equal, there are different types and degrees of depression. For some it is a short-term issue and for other people their depression is a lifetime issue. During my teen years I often felt down, but not fully depressed. I think the best reference would be I felt melancholy.

When I got older and my initial major health issues hit, that left me feeling majorly depresses. More than that I had feelings of rage and of morning. The type of depression I was going through, I now know is not unusual for someone who has become newly disabled, but it really scared me. After experiencing years of dealing with a parent who had bipolar disorder and refused to get treated, I didn’t want to be that person. So I went as soon as possible to go get myself a therapist. I got checked and thankfully I do not have bipolar disorder. But I did get a lot of help for what I was feeling at the time.

I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to seek out a mental health professional in a time of crisis or if you just feel like you need someone to talk to. It doesn’t mean you are crazy. It doesn’t mean there is something horribly wrong with you. Your just human, and we all need some help sometimes.

 

Sialolithiasis (a.k.a. Salivary Duct Stones) – This is once again one of the odd illnesses that I have that you just don’t hear about unless you have it yourself or someone you are very close to. You may even already be thinking what the heck is Salivary Duct Stones(I am pretty sure most of us can’t even say the other name for it, or at least I know I can’t)? Just like you can develop stones in your kidneys or gallbladder, you can also develop stones in saliva ducts. Some people are just more prone to it that others.

Imagine going to sleep one night and everything is fine, the next morning you wake up and notice you have a small knot on your neck. It was so tiny at first it gets dismissed as a large pimple. But throughout the day it increases in size and starts to become tenser to the touch. By the next morning it’s the size of golf ball. Obviously you go to the ER at this point. Now know what this is, and as funny as it sound, it is still not something you would want to play around with as far getting checked out by a doctor. I was lucky and the simplest treatment available worked for me, and has continued to work the other two times it has happened. But this can become serious, especially if it becomes infected.

 

Chronic Dry Eye – I think everyone understands what Chronic Dry Eye is. What most people don’t know is there are a ton of things that can cause it from other illnesses to medication side effects, or even the way you eye is shaped. My chronic dry eye is a combination of having a very severe keratoconus astigmatism  causing the tears to evaporate quickly and my contact dermatitis clogging my tear ducts. The type of treatment used for your Chronic Dry Eye depends upon the what the cause is.

 

Sleep Walking – Apparently its unusual for adults to sleep walk. So yeah, I know, Its amazing I have something unusual. It actually runs in my family. My father is worse than I am when it comes to sleepwalking. There are various things that can cause sleepwalking in an adult. I actually attempted to find out what is the cause of mine and if there is any way to stop it. However the place I went was not very helpful, and I never found out what was actually causing it. My sleepwalking seems to happen in spurts, so if it ever gets to a place where it is problematic again I may go to another sleep clinic to try to find the cause.

 

Keloid Scars – Keloids only develop on people who are genetically predisposed to them. They are overgrown scar tissue that cause very massive growths after a cut or scratch. If you remember back to me saying I was not a candidate for surgery on my ruptured disc, this is why. Keloid scars in general just cause cosmetic issues and maybe some itching, however there are exceptions like me not being a candidate for surgery. While most of the scar is topical, there is a small bit under the skin. Because they are so large and dense, and because of where my ruptured disc was located, the thought is that if a keloid were to form after the surgery it could cause worse problems than I already have.

 

Sebaceous Cyst – Sebaceous cysts are caused by blocked sweat glands or hair follicles. The oil and dirt build up and cause a bump to grow under the skin. Usually they are larger than acne, and they can be anywhere on your body. Typically I would say that these are just bothersome and a cosmetic worry. However, while I don’t get them often, I do get them close to my spine. This seems to cause some discomfort because of the pressure it puts on my spine.
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I am not going further with the list and explanations. I didn’t include things that were one time incidents like the kidney stone I dealt with. I also didn’t include things that have long since healed like my torn elbow tendon. Nor did I include things that were chronic, but I have long since figured out what was the cause and put them to rest like my COPD from hAsthma and Chronic Bronchitis. I didn’t even include my many misdiagnosises, unless it was relevant to something I was already talking about, including the ear infections I was constantly diagnosed with as a child. And I am pretty sure there are even a few things that I wanted to talk about that I didn’t.

This post is already way longer than I wanted it to be, but I wanted to talk about as much of my diagnosises as possible. So if you have made it this far and read all about what is wrong with me, your probably for one wondering what any of this has to with being fat, and I promise I am getting to that soon. I actually wanted the next piece in this series to be about how being fat affects you when you go to the doctor and how being disabled affects you. And where the similarities are in those two things. But that may get pushed to the next one. It may all depend on how much information I can get on the upcoming vote on the Trumpcare Bill that Mitch McConnell is trying to force through a vote next month.

And Speaking of the Trumpcare Bill or the amended ACA, I said I would let you know where I stood as far as pre-existing conditions. I mean my title is I Am A Pre-Existing Condition. So here goes, based on the initial list released here are the things I have or have previously had that make me a pre-existing condition.

  1.   Acid Reflux
  2.   Acne
  3.   Anemia
  4.   Anxiety
  5.   Arthritis
  6.   Asthma
  7.   Depression
  8.   Heart Burn
  9.   Hysterectomy
  10. Kidney Stones
  11. Menstrual irregularities
  12. Mental Disorders (they say this includes Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Schizophrenia)
  13. Migraines
  14. Obesity
  15. Sleep Apnea

That is fifteen pre-existing conditions. And they aren’t even for the weird obscure things I have, its the everyday things that so many people have. Things you would expect your insurance company to cover. For the full list of pre-existing conditions you can find them here. (Note: as I awoke this morning, right before my final edit of this post, I read the Trump Care Bill as it currently stands has been scrapped. However, they will be back with another bill soon, they are going to be pushing for the ACA to be done away with completely and starting something new. I will try and have more details on that later)

Tell me in the comments below, what makes you a pre-existing condition? Also let me know if there is something you want me to talk about further regarding health or if there is something specific I haven’t talked about yet about being fat and sick.

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Product Review – Eye Soothing Mask by Magic Gel

Eye Soothing Mask by Magic Gel Package


I have recently had the chance to try out the Eye Soothing Mask by Magic Gel.

Eye Soothing Mask by Magic Gel Package

If you are thinking this is the eye mask like I use for my skin care, I am sorry to disappoint, but this is not that type. This more for medicinal use rather than for pampering. However I can certainly think of some beauty benefits, but we will talk about that in a moment when we cover what this is used for. But first let’s talk about what you get with this.

What you get with the Soothe Eye Mask by Magic Gel

With this get:

  •  1 Thermal lined mask
  •  2 Gel eye masks
  •  1 hook

When I first opened the box and saw the hook I had not read the box, so I was confused as to what the hook was for. Well both of the gel masks are made with a little tab out to the side, and they have a place to put the hook in. These are meant to be heated up by sticking them down in hot water. So you stick them on the hook and hook the other end on the side of the glass that way you don’t have to stick your fingers down in boiling hot water. It’s really a nice feature that you just don’t think about until you need it.

The next obvious question is, what do you use this for if it’s not for skin care. Here are the list of things they recommend this for:

  • Blephartis
  • Various ‘dry eye’ syndromes
  • Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
  • Chalazion
  • Styes and Cysts
  • Other Types of Eyelid Inflammation

And why did I want to try it? I have chronic dry eye that is caused by my tear ducts becoming blocked. It’s actually a complication caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. My allergy causes dermatitis to form, and the flakes can happen around my eyes and clog my tear ducts.

The way to treat this is to apply moist heat, then massage the tear ducts until they unclog. Typically I had been using wash clothes and hot water, as hot as I can stand. But they often just don’t stay hot long enough. But the nice thing about this Soothing Eye Mask is it stays hot for 10 minutes.

Me using the Soothing Eye Mask

I tested it out thoroughly. Though its best to use this laying down. I thought it did a fantastic job. I really have no complaints. It is a drastic improvement over me using the wash cloth method. The heat really does last at least ten minutes, but I would dare say it lasted longer.

The directions only mention using this eye mask hot. I was curios how it would work cold because I had a few things in mind that I thought it would help if it could be used that way. So I decided to test it out. I actually thought it worked equally well cold, and here is what I would personally will be using it for. Under eye puffiness, Migraine relief, cooling down. If you do use this cold don’t put it directly on your eyes, try it just above the eyes or below depending on what you are trying to do. And remember this is not what it is recommended for.

I did receive my Soothing Eye Mask at a discount for review purposes. However, all opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Tell me in the comments below if you have tried anything like this before.

 

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Product Review- Suave Professionals Refresh & Revive Dry Shampoo – Bonus Tips on Using Dry Shampoo

PRODUCT

Suave Professionals Refresh and Revive Dry Shampoo

I was recently sent the Suave Professionals Refresh & Revive Dry Shampoo to try in my Unilever Dry Shampoo VoxBox from Influenster.

This is one of nine dry shampoos that was sent out for people to try. Other options people could have received were:

I will be super honest here and say that the one I received is not the one that I would have picked out for myself had I been given a choice. Based on my personal needs, and keeping in mind I have no experience with any of these particular dry shampoos, I most likely would have chosen one of three. My first choice would have been the Dove Detox & Purify Dry Shampoo. I think that the Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Weightless Dry Shampoo or the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Color Care Dry Shampoo would have also been good options for me.

Before I tell you my thoughts about the product I want to tell you my personal history with dry shampoo, so you know where I am coming from and what I am comparing this too. I am a long time user of dry shampoo, way before the recent hype. With my particular hair type if I wash my hair too often my hair starts breaking, so I try not to wash my hair more than twice a week at most. When I have my hair colored, then I try to cut that down to once a week or less if possible. So dry shampoo has really been a beauty staple in my life.

Over the years I have tried a lot of different types of dry shampoo from salon level to just outright making it myself. For the last five years I have narrowed down to essentially three things I use on a regular basis depending on budget, my current hair and scalp needs, and what I want to achieve with the dry shampoo.

So I still sometimes use homemade dry shampoo. If you do a google search or even better a Pinterest search you can find hundreds of recipes for DIY dry shampoo. Personally I have found just straight up corn starch does the best for me, and its the cheapest anyway. This does a great job when you simply want to quickly remove oil from you hair, but it can be messy if you are not careful.

I have also found two retail brands that I have remained pretty loyal to. I tend to go back and forth between the two because they are very different in what they offer. I use Batiste Dry Shampoo Tropical Scent for the best oil removal. And as an added bonus it has a wonderful fragrance I enjoy. Most of you know I am very fragrance sensitive due to my Balsam of Peru Allergy, however this Tropical Scented Batiste has been the only scented dry shampoo I had found that did not bother me in one way or another.

The other dry shampoo I use is the Not Your Mothers Clean Freak Dry Shampoo. I find this one is best for when you want to get some volume in your hair. However I don’t feel its quite as good at removing oil. But it is unscented, so if you are fragrance sensitive this one might work for you.

Me using the Suave Professionals Refresh Revive Dry Shampoo for the first time.

So Influenster asked me to the three day dry shampoo challenge. No problem since I usually go longer without washing my hair and using dry shampoo, right? Well, sort of. I did do the three day challenge. I even hung in there the fourth day, but I couldn’t go longer with it.

Photo_012

Me and my hair on the third day of the three day dry shampoo challenge.

It actually did a decent job of taking the oil out of my hair (not quite as well as Batiste thought), and it gave a decent amount of volume to my hair with use. Performance wise it was actually quite close to the Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo. However, this dry shampoo put out more of a white cast than any dry shampoo than I have ever tried. I could have lived with that part but the fragrance was horrible for me. But if you like a very orange/citrus scent you may like the fragrance. But be warned the fragrance is strong and it never seems to dissipate.

I do not plan on purchasing this in the future. But since I never had a reaction from it, I suppose if I needed dry shampoo and that was all that was available I at least know its a useable option.

I did receive my bottle of dry shampoo free for review purposes, however all opinions are my own and are just that, opinions.

I do want to share a couple of tips on using dry shampoo while we are on the subject. One of the biggest complaints I hear about dry shampoo, even with the really good ones, is it leave a white cast on your hair. After some conversations with people I have come to realize there is some misunderstandings on how dry shampoo is supposed to be used.

The instructions should be printed on all the bottles, but I do realize some people tend to skip that. Anyway make sure you shake the bottle well before use each time. Hold the bottle about 10 to 12 inches away from your head when you are spraying. The closer you have the bottle to your head the more of a white cast you will get. Granted some brands are going to have more than others.

Now here is the big thing after you spray it in, let it sit for a minute or two. Then use your hands to rub it into your hair roots. Then brush it out. Any white cast that was there should completely brush out, even with the worst of them. There are only a couple of dry shampoos on the market that are made to stay in your hair, most are meant to be brushed out. Dry shampoos are meant to control oil, some to give you volume. They are not meant to be used in hair that has product in it. So don’t use it over top of mouse, gel, or hairspray.

Additional tips, if for some reason you still can’t get the white cast to go away, you can get dry shampoos to match your hair color. Also, some people say that dry shampoos make their hair look too matte and shineless. You can use a dry hair oil spray to help give your hair some shine.

What are your favorite dry shampoos? Do you have any tips for using dry shampoo?

 

 

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A Look At Influenster & The L’OREAL Paris Revitalift VoxBox

Contents of the LOREAL Revitalift VoxBox

I recently joined a website community called Influenster. I briefly mentioned this a couple of post ago when I was doing an update on what’s going on with the blog. So let me start by telling you what Influenster is. According to Influenster they are:

A community of over 1.5 million social savvy shoppers that:

  • Stay on top of the latest product news & expert tips.
  • Review products, share honest opinions with brands and the community.
  • Test products for free based on social media influence.

And yes that is what they are, but that doesn’t really tell you everything until you really get there and see how it works.

influenster

My best description would be imagine Tripadvisor, Ipsy, and Instagram joined into one, but completely free and the only way to get products were dependent on you writing reviews and how many followers you have, then you have Influenster.

They do not require that you have a blog or a YouTube channel to sign up or to receive free products, though it certainly won’t hurt you. Anyone is allowed to sign up, and in order to get free products you only have to be active on social media. And you can not use Facebook fan pages to count into your social media usage. And if you do have a blog, all blogs no matter how big or small are treated equally in how much credit you get for them.

I personally do not have a tremendous amount of social media followers on my personal accounts, but I do really enjoy writing reviews. I probably would have participated whether I thought I would be getting a lot of freebies or not. But as it happened within the first couple of weeks of being a member, I got a notice saying I was receiving my first VoxBox. (VoxBoxes are what they call the various promotional boxes they send out to members for review.)

The first box I got was the L’OREAL Revitalift VoxBox. I received the complete volume filler part of the line. So lets take a look at what I got.

LOREAL Revitalift VoxBox

This is how it arrived in the mail. The shipping label being on the bottom side you can not see in the picture.

 

Contents of the LOREAL Revitalift VoxBox

Here are all the products I received in my LOREAL Revitalift VoxBox. In addition there was also a card with product information included in the box.

Here is the rundown on what there was in the box. I got the RevitaLift™ Volume Filler Eye Treatment, the Revitalift® Daily Volumizing Concentrated Serum, the Revitalift® Daily Volumizing Moisturizer, and the RevitaLift™ Volume Filler Night Cream.

Eye Treatment

Volume Filler Eye Treatment

Concentrated Serum

LOREAL Revitalift Concentrated Serum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Cream

LOREAL Revitalift Day Cream

LOREAL Night Cream

LOREAL Revitalift Night Cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have followed my blog for any amount of time at all you know I have to be really careful about the products I use due to the semi-rare contact allergy I have. And if you have no idea what I am talking about, and would like to learn more about my allergy or whether you or someone in your life should possibly be checked for it, the you can check out one of my older blog post about it here.

After careful examination of all the ingredients I was saddened that I was not going to be able to use the products. So what to do? Well, that is where one of my best friends Jenna comes in. She and I are close enough that I refer to her kids as my nieces. (we are both only children, so its the closest I will ever have to a sister and nieces and I love my friends like family anyway) She and I are similar in age and skin type outside of my allergy. And we both have maintained our skin over the years in similar ways, so it makes sense that she be the one to test it out for me.

So I gave her the products shortly after getting them, and this is what she had to say about them:

I’ve been using the Loreal Revitalift system for about a month now. The volume filler Eye Treatment, Serum and the Night and Day creams. I really like how the day cream feels on my skin, it doesn’t feel “heavy.” The night cream is ok, it does it’s job, but I like how the day cream feels better.

 

 

I haven’t noticed any significant difference in my skin in regards to the serum, but with the volume filler for the eye area, I have noticed a big change. The small “laugh line” wrinkles around my eyes are much less noticeable now than they were a month ago. That is great, as I will be 42 next week and I got carded for wine the other day. The person did not believe I was my age, they thought I was in my early 30’s. It feels great to be mistaken for a much younger person.

Here are a couple of side by side selfies from last month and this month of Jenna, and I think I can see a little difference, what do you guys think?

BEFOREandAfter

I think the biggest difference I can see from comparing the pictures is, like she mentioned, her under eye area and then maybe the texture of her skin appears to be more dewy or youthful looking.

Has anyone else tried this line? If so what do you think? What about Influenster? Are you a member? If so do you find it helpful?

 

 

 

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