Category Archives: headline

Self Lovin’ Patriot

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It’s Fab Friday where we give self love a little thought.  Today, I’m thinking about why so many people out there aren’t registering to vote.  I am willing to say that amongst other factors, one is they are low on self love.

People who respect and love themselves also respect and love others, such as their children, family, and friends.  They want what is best for themselves and those around them.  They understand that communication is a positive thing and by voting, one is essentially communicating on a grand scale.

Don’t like either of the top two candidates?  Did you check out what the other parties stand for?  If so, a vote in that direction isn’t pointless even though they won’t win.  It’s still communication.  When the results are in, the country is going to report on how voting went.  People will feel united to those anonymous fellow citizens who voted like them and they may feel encouraged or inspired.  Everyone else will ponder the thought process of neighbors who for some reason, decided the way they did.  It’s never a bad thing to ponder heavy issues from a different perspective.

I’m not saying who to vote for or who I’m voting for.   If you understand the importance of voting and communicating in this way and you don’t feel like voting, then perhaps you don’t value yourself enough.

Frankly, I care to find out where others’ heads are.  Their thinking matters.  Mine matters.  Yours matters.  Consider registering soon before the deadline of the 15th if you haven’t already.  Do it because you care what happens to you and you care what message you’re projecting.

Actions never stop once we’ve done them.  They go on and on, moving and changing things in their wake.  Whether that change is mostly positive or negative is up to us.

DOC Brides Infographic!

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Allison, April, Kerri, and myself are featured in a DOC Brides Infographic with tips and suggestions that we learned through trial and error.

This was put together by Sanofi and is shown on the Discuss Diabetes blog.  Click here to check it out!

Also see my guest post, “Diabetes on Your Wedding Day” for more things I wish I’d known before walking down the isle.

Happy Wednesday!

On the Radio

I’ll be on DSMA (Diabetes Social Media Advocacy) Live! tonight as a guest.  I’m so excited to talk to some DOC friends and actually hear their voices :)  Here are the details:

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Here’s the link:  http://dsmalive.com/2012/10/03/dsma-live-with-sysy-morales-on-1042012/

 

XOXO,

Sysy

No D Day Post-My Top 10 Beauty Products List

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You might hate me for this.  I might hate me for this.  But you know what?  I think most of us like beauty products.  It’s a billion dollar industry in the US alone and I’m not the only one buying ;)  So today for No D Day, where we don’t talk about our chronic condition, I’m going to stroll down vanity lane.  Don’t forget, I’m from Venezuela-land of what I like to call “Beauty Effort”.  In other words, people aren’t more attractive there-they just spend more time and effort making the most of what they’ve got.

So here is a list of my top 10 beauty products put together through countless, shameless hours of testing:  (share yours in the comments please I’m always on the lookout and ready to learn more!)

10.  Round boar bristle brush.  I don’t care so much about the brand name I just care that it’s boar bristle and easy to hold.  Works like a charm and is gentle on the scalp and distributes oils to the rest of the hair for maximum shine and hair health.  The round aspect is great for volume while blow drying hair.

9.  Lip Stain- Revlon makes a great one.  It’s a nice way to perk up lip color and make it look natural-looks like you just ate some strawberries!  It also feels like it’s not there which is a great plus.  I also like the natural, matte look of it.  Sometimes the shininess of gloss is tiring.

8.  Maybelline Color Tattoo.  Creamy eye shadow that doesn’t budge for over 24 hours.  Comes in the most gorgeous colors.  Perfect for Fall.  (Yes, I sound like a cheesy Allure columnist, oh well).

7.  Lacquer Liner 24 hour L’Oreal Infallible.  Amazing.  Seriously.  It’s the only eye liner that I’ve ever described as “success!”.  No smudging, no leaking into the eye.  And the brush is pure genius.  I’m really lousy with having a steady hand and even I manage this like a pro.  The black is really harsh so don’t be afraid of the slate or bronze-they are very bold and pretty but great for those of us who are no longer 21 years old.

6.  Neutrogena Make Up Remover Cleansing Towelettes.  I’m lazy about washing my face at night (how to keep water from going all over the sink, down one’s neck and elbows is beyond me) so I use these wipes.  They work so well and I think they help exfoliate, too.  I keep one corner of the wipe clear each night to use in the morning when the little remaining eye make up has smeared down under my eyes.  Ya know, just so I stay classy.

5.  Bronzer.  Used correctly, it works miracles.  Figure out how to contour your unique face shape.  This stuff is excellent when you feel pale and sickly, to just bring back some glow.  But don’t over do it.

4.  St. Tropez Self Tanning Mouse.  I don’t use it often so it lasts me well over a year (which is good because it’s the most expensive thing on this list).  It’s awesome though.  It looks great on all skin types-even really dark skinned girls, because it gives a warm and healthy glow.  It’s probably carcinogenic so I don’t recommend using it all the time.  But for example, for an event where there is a dress involved, this stuff makes getting ready seem more effortless.

3.  L’Oreal Ellnet Satin Hairspray.  It’s not cheap, it’s not found in small towns sometimes, but it’s great stuff because you can brush your hair after applying it and have hold with neat looking hair that still moves a plenty!  Or you can do what I do and just use it to hold hair’s volume after a blow dry.  (I’ve lost lots of my hair over the past decade so this makes up for it!)

2.  Mascara.  Ya know, I don’t have a favorite brand.  I suppose I haven’t found it.  But, I don’t go without it very often, it’s just too fun.  In fact, I try a different brand every few months just for kicks.

1.  Lip liner.  If you’re like me, your lips are on the thin side.  Which is fine except mine are also not very defined and tend to just blend into my skin.  SO, nude lip liner it is.  Revlon Colorstay Natural to be exact.  It really makes a difference.  Just be sure not to go outside the lip line.  That look isn’t in and never will be.  And my dear fellow Latinas…please stop the light lipstick and dark liner thing.  Just stop.

Last but not least, a few lessons I’ve learned the hard way:

1.  Don’t over pluck brows.  Magazines constantly reiterate this for a reason-we all need the reminder.  Leave well enough alone!  Brows are most gorgeous when their natural shape is retained because that natural shape was made by nature for your face and your face alone.

2.  If you don’t like wearing make up, don’t wear it!  I say cheers to you, sister and don’t even begin to apologize.  Just do me a favor and be sure to moisturize.

3.  Similarly, if you do love wearing make up, don’t be ashamed.  One of the most calming things for me is to put on make up.  It’s like a creative outlet.  There are so many colors and techniques!

4.  There are a lot of rules out there.  Break em’.  Wear white after labor day, red lipstick to the grocery store, and no make up to a party.  If you’re happy with it, nothing else matters.

5.  A way to save skin from aging is to stay moisturized. And as much as I like to use natural products, unfortunately coconut oil or organic lotions don’t do much for my scaly dry skin so I use Vaseline Intensive Care.  That said, if coconut oil works for you, awesome.

Last comment:  Go out and learn what colors, make up techniques, hair color, and jewelry flatter you.  It’s a great way to love exactly who you are because it’s about supporting what you already have instead of trying to cover it up or completely change it.

My favorite website that has free info on how to figure out your best colors, make up techniques, hair color, jewelry, style, hats, etc, is thechicfashionista.com.  There you can get tons of guidance for free and take some time to appreciate your unique sense of beauty.

This post wasn’t so shallow, was it?

Read more No D Day posts by clicking here!

The Annual Sigh of Relief

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It’s Fab Friday and part of discovering self love is dragging ourselves to the doctor for important things such as:

Each year I get an eye exam.  And every time I go I’m anxious about the results.

I happen to be SO “uh oh” broke right now, but I’m nevertheless enjoying the finer things in life-like great eye health.

My doctor asked me to remind her how long I’ve had type 1.  I told her it would be 18 years this November.  She said, “hmm…wouldn’t it be nice if you were one of the 10% that didn’t suffer eye damage from diabetes?”

“Um, yes.  But it would be really great if that 10% were a much higher number.”

Wishing you all great allover health.  Have a great weekend.

XOXO

Diabetes Art Day 2012

Today is Diabetes Art Day!  Did you know art can be a form of healing therapy and that you don’t have to be “good” at it to reap the benefits of it?  Today, artists and non-artists make art about diabetes to express their feelings, make a statement, or just have fun.  You can view the Diabetes Art Day Page and check out all the wonderful submissions here.

My sister Ana, who has type 1 diabetes, is a studio art major in her fourth year at James Madison University.  She made this awesome piece:

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Happy Diabetes Art Day!

XOXO

Do Something You’re Afraid Of

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It’s Fabulous Friday where we celebrate ourselves or at least remember to.

When we’re afraid of doing something because of the possibility of failure, we don’t honor the incredible people that we are-capable of just about anything.

So today, I ask you to consider doing something you’re afraid of.  And diabetes will seem a little easier.  At least that’s what I have experienced this summer.

You know that movie with Jim Carrey where he says “yes” to everything and it changes his life?  Well, I kind of did that this summer.  I responded affirmative to everything that came up.  Did I overschedule myself a few times?  Yeah.  Did I freak out over some of what I was attempting?  Oh yeah.

But, it was so worth it.

Of course, I don’t mean trying something dangerous.  For me, it meant public speaking, doing more health coaching, participating in as many diabetes related projects as were offered to me even if they made me uncomfortable or seemed difficult.

Part of my fear was not having much downtime and having to multi-task.  But I learned I could mentally get myself to accomplish routines that would have killed my non-housewifey self a year ago.  I did treat myself to ice cream during times of panic, I’ll admit.  I did watch all 11 seasons of Frasier on Netflix (this was therapy because the incessant laughter the show gave me relaxed me and kept me sane-I swear!)  Yet, I realized by working almost every hour of every day that I had only been afraid of a little discomfort and no more.

Something I’ve also been doing that I’ve been afraid of is getting rid of a lot of my possessions.  The funny thing about that is the thought of doing it is what hurts.  Actually doing it feels totally liberating!

For the first time since I can remember, I’m looking forward to Fall and Winter.  This is a big deal for me because I struggle with cold weather and the emotional and traditional Holidays.  But, now I’m all sunshiny about it and I don’t recognize myself.

Doing something we’re afraid of sparks something really great in our minds.  It gives us a feeling of immense relief, “Oh, it wasn’t that bad!” and a major sense of accomplishment “OMG I did it!” and my favorite part, it gives us a feeling of wanting to push further and raise our personal bars to a new level.  Essentially, doing things that scare us help us dream big.  And if dreaming big turns into actionable steps…well, monumental joys await.

So I encourage you all to try something you’re afraid of.  Even if it seems insignificant.  If you’re afraid of it, it matters.  Try it.  It eases anxiety and paranoia that we people with diabetes tend to have extra amounts of.  And the confidence boost and feeling that anything is possible will lift your spirits.  And maybe you’ll get a renewed strength and motivation about your diabetes management.  I know I did.

What have you done lately that you’re afraid of?  Share in comments!

Thoughts on Diabetes Guilt

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I answered a few questions for a video project recently and wanted to get my thoughts out in written format.

The first question was if I had ever felt guilty about having diabetes.  Personally, I have never felt guilty about having diabetes but I have felt guilty about other things such as not eating right, not checking my blood sugars often enough, or skipping exercise.

The way I’ve dealt with this is to first recognize that I’m not perfect and second of all be brutally honest with myself about my efforts.  For me, guilt comes from not doing what I know I’m capable of.  So since I don’t make insulin, I don’t feel guilty about having diabetes, but I certainly try to be aware of what I’m doing in order to get what I want such as good health or great blood sugars.  If I feel guilty about how I’m eating, it’s usually because I know I could be doing better.  I view guilt as a sign that helps point me in the right direction.  And since I’m not a fan of guilt, I use it as a pointer and then banish it for productivity and dignity purposes.

I find that making a plan of action and setting goals is a really great way of diminishing guilt.  Once we are on a path towards our goals, we feel empowered and we know we’re working hard and then there is no room or place for guilt.

I have been treated differently in the past for having diabetes.  It’s understandable because of how most people have a certain level of ignorance about diabetes.  So I find education is key.  And when it’s not appropriate to lecture or teach someone about diabetes, I just smile and feel confident knowing that most people don’t mean to offend and those who do aren’t worth my time.  Walking around angry about the public’s ignorance about diabetes is immature.  I mean, are we saying everyone needs to know the ins and outs of our condition when we don’t know the ins and outs of hundreds of other conditions?  Yikes.

For those who don’t have diabetes, I do have a suggestion.  I’d suggest that they simply not assume when it comes to anything about anyone else and be open to learning, instead.  The great thing about this is it should work on just about anything!

The best tool I’ve found for handling misconceptions out there about diabetes is to put all my energy and focus on living my best life because I’ve found that when I do that, I look and feel better and that speaks volumes to people and sets them straight often before I open my mouth to correct them.

Many people feel that type 1 diabetes is easy and all about just taking insulin.  It’s been very empowering for me to write a blog that family and friends read because it’s allowed them to learn more about what diabetes is really like to live with, without being lectured.

So all in all I’d say that leading and teaching others by example and focusing on ourselves is a great way to fight stereotypes and misconceptions out there.  Placing much of our energy outside of ourselves is a bit of a waste, in my opinion.  And very importantly, I’d say that it’s important to decide that no one is going to make you feel bad about having diabetes.  If they get to you it may be that you have some feelings of your own to work through and if that’s the case, work through them.  My philosophy is to take responsibility for our own feelings and actions.

I like being in a place where guilt doesn’t weigh me down and other people have little power over me.  I think we all deserve that.

How I Just Be Happy and Manage My Diabetes

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The secret to happiness.  I’ve heard wise people say that we don’t find happiness, rather we simply be happy.  And I always scoffed at that because I thought, “um…easy for you to say, you don’t have diabetes or this or that or blah blah blah…”

And recently, despite being really short on finances, despite having type 1 diabetes, despite living in a world that feels more scary every day, I’ve been really happy.

And I suddenly understood that thing about just being happy.  How many of us think that once we change jobs we’ll be happy?  Or once we lose weight we’ll be happy?  Or once we find the one, we’ll be happy.  I did all three of those at one point in life and was hit over the head with the realization that life felt the same because I was looking at it through the same gray tinted lens.  I went back to thinking I’d be happy if I had this or that and so the search for happiness just went on and on.

I also used to think I’d be happy if I could have well managed diabetes.  Just now, I sat looking at my kids happily squealing over a praying mantis (and petting it no less), and thought, why do I manage my diabetes well now and didn’t back then?  It’s not that I work harder than I used to.

You see, instead of trying to find happiness lately, I just be happy.  And it works.  And while I used to try to manage my blood sugars, I now just manage them.  Just like I am happy no matter what happens.  I manage my blood sugar no matter what it takes.  Being happy means making the choice to be happy, even under difficult circumstances (which are bound to be present).

Well, managing blood sugars, for me at least, means choosing to manage my blood sugars.  Managing my blood sugars even if I don’t want to eat right, even if I don’t want to give a shot, or check my blood sugar.  Even if I don’t want to make any of the sacrifices that non-diabetics don’t have to make.

Some say they don’t want to work that hard, give up that much, or strain to be happy while feeling hurt or anger or pain.  But what I figured out was that hurt, anger, pain, and hard work are inevitable and a part of life.  Those who try to escape these feelings are simply relocating them, losing control over their lives, and not even reaping the benefits.

So try choosing to be happy.  And choose to manage your blood sugars.  You know what to do.  You know what it takes.  You’re worth it.  And it’s not nearly as hard as dealing with the consequences of not doing it.  Ironic, but true.  And am I always happy and always managing my diabetes well?  Nah.  That would be non-human of me.

Now I know this was a big simple post and general and all that.  I’ll get in deeper soon, I promise.

Caring About Health is Patriotic

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“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

~Aristotle

This isn’t a political post.  It’s a post directed at you and me, the individual, who makes up our place and culture.  We have a lot of power in our hands and we should use it.

It’s always been clear to me that a holistic approach to all things in life is a good idea.  After all, holistic simply refers to an emphasis on the whole and the interconnectedness of all the parts.  It has nothing to do with shunning modern medicine or being a vegan.

When it comes to health, holistic just means that there should be an awareness on the whole.  So in the case of a person in terms of being a patient, it means that their emotional and mental state matters as much as their physical state.  It’s all connected and everything has the potential to affect everything else in the body, mind, and spirit.

Is a cheap and effective treatment somehow less than an expensive and equally effective treatment?

Our modern healthcare system seems to think so.  There are hundreds of equally effective, safe, inexpensive treatments for ailments out there but our system almost always defaults on the high tech, risky, and extremely expensive ones instead.  In the end, we’re bankrupt and unable to sustain any health.

So I think now, more than ever, do we need to recognize that grandma new a few things about preventative health and natural remedies and combine that knowledge with the fantastic information we have today.  It’s about integrating allopathic and alternative medicine for the best possible outcome for the patient.  It’s Integrative Medicine and we should have never been so cocky as to rely only on expensive drugs while forgetting all the simple tools for prevention.

I know it’s hard to learn about something that isn’t interesting.  I’m lucky in a sense because I love reading about this stuff but I know it’s not that way for everyone and I respect that.  But, I would say that it’s imperative that we all not only research on the presidential candidates as part of our good citizen job requirements but that we also learn more about health and wellness.

I don’t mean anything fancy or intricate, I mean, watch a few documentaries, learn about our food and health system.  The first step to better health is an increased awareness about how we live.  And think of how important good health is for a country.  Part of our duty as citizens is to do what each of us can to ensure good health for ourselves and our children.

This is all important to you because if you don’t feel well, good luck on reaching your hopes and dreams.  Feeling less than great or feeling ill really puts a damper on one’s plans.  And since life is generally challenging enough, we don’t need to add health-related obstacles into the mix.

I think much of our problems in this area stem from our culture and the way we tend to follow what is mainstream, feel a bit nervous about straying from the norm, and fail to question authority and common knowledge.  Common knowledge isn’t necessarily accurate knowledge.  And questioning isn’t harmful, it’s just investigating, double checking, being sure that something is the right way to go.

So I guess what I’m saying here is that I hope our state of affairs will inspire us all to take some time to educate ourselves about how people have stayed healthy over the years.  How did people manage before modern medicine?  Why do some cultures have much better health than ours?  What can we adjust in order to save ourselves and our kids?  Health-wise, our ship is sinking.  But rather than despair, we just need to be the spirited, proactive people we are, before it’s too late.

I grew up wanting to be a doctor, totally impressed by what they do.  I didn’t know how much power I had as one simple person. Once I educated myself a little and safely adjusted my lifestyle, I was blown away by how cheaply and simply I could heal my body and stay healthy.  If most of us could manage something like this, we’d all have a lot more health, happiness, and money in our pockets and then a lot more resources and attention to give those with more serious health issues.

And isn’t that what we all want?