Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Accutane Week Two

Good morning, friends! It's so good to see you :)

Today I'm doing just a quick update post on my Accuntane journey (Part One here). I'm now officially one week down on my treatment! Hooray, I've survived so far!

Something really important to note about Accutane is that when first starting the medicine, you WILL get worse before you get better. After a bit of internet research, I'm finding most people begin to see results about 4 weeks into treatment. So, if you're just starting Accutane, don't get discouraged when you see your face break out more! It's going to happen, but I promise it will get better.

Week Two photos

You can definitely see a notable increase in inflammation on my face. It's hard to be patient when taking such drastic measures to rid your body of acne, but my skin will be so clear in just a few weeks! Think positive thoughts...think positive thoughts.....


Dry Skin:
I'm just starting to notice the beginnings of dry skin one week into the treatment. I'm washing my face twice a day with CeraVe ultra gentle cleanser, as per my dermatologist's recommendations, and using CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion for normal to dry skin. At night, I will use Aquaphor healing ointment on any dry patches, as well as my lips and as an eye cream (the skin around my eyes is the most dry part of my face, pre-Accutane, oddly enough!), after I've put on the CeraVe lotion. Dry skin is most definitely the biggest battle you will face on Accutane.
I'm also chugging water like CRAZY! This is crucial. Your body is being depleted of hydration because of this medicine, so water needs to be your BFF.

I sometimes get a very dull headache in the morning, and I notice it will happen about 20 minutes after I take my medication. Self-diagnosis tells me this is simply dehydration, as the ache will go away after I drink a big glass of water (See above on hydration).

I'm a bridesmaid in my very best friend's wedding this weekend, and I can't wait to update you on that amazing adventure! I'll also be documenting how to keep my face looking clear while needing to be photo-ready. Should be quite the challenge, but I'm up for it! :)

Love and hugs,

Monday, June 23, 2014

Accutane - Part One + Week One

Happy Monday, everyone! Long time, no blog!

It's been quite the week for me! Although I'm currently unemployed, I am still keeping busy. Mr. Justin and I spent the whole weekend planning, and organizing, and cleaning his room, as a recovery from his first week on a new job. I've been building my professional portfolio, reading tons of books, knitting, and loving on this blog more :)

The biggest change that happened for me this week, however, was that I started my first of five months on Accutane, to treat my acne. I've been battling acne for about the past 9 years of my life, and this is actually the second time I've been treated with Accutane. My acne improves and worsens in "phases," however recently my dermatologist and I decided that the medicine I was on was just not doing it's job, and it was time to zap this acne for good (again). If I feel the need for it I'll do another post that is full of information on Accutane itself, however I don't feel comfortable doing so because I'm certainly not a doctor, and I am not qualified to publish thoughts and advice on such a controversial medicine.

(On the note of controversy, I do accept the fact that this is a very serious and potent drug, and am taking it with full awareness of the repercussions I could reap from it. My acne is simply not manageable without some form of medicine, which I have been taking the good part of the past nine years, and Accutane is a solution that could prevent me from needing to continue medicine in the future. Please, please PLEASE talk seriously to your doctor or dermatologist about the pros and cons of this drug).

So, why am I blogging about this you say? Well, when researching tips and advice on how to "deal" with the symptoms of Accutane, I found my internet searches to come up disappointingly low! So, I'll be posting an update every week on the first of the "medicine week" (Wednesdays, which was the day I started the prescription). I'll be showing you how my skin is looking, as well as talking about any symptoms I'm facing and how I'm attempting to battle those symptoms. Makeup tips will be included too, as well as some healthy body, healthy mind advice.

 Hopefully if you're going through treatment we can help each other out! If you see any ways I could be better battling my symptoms, PLEASE leave me a comment. Hang on you guys, because this may be a bumpy ride!

Week One

Here is my face, makeup-free, on the day I started my prescription:


As this is my first week, I don't have any symptoms to report from the medicine itself. However, a month before you begin the prescription you must get a blood test done, as high blood pressure and cholesterol is a concern when on this medicine (I'll be getting 7 blood tests, one a month before I start the medicine, 5 for every month I'm on the medicine, and one the month after I finish the prescription. This is mandatory for Accutane, as well as monthly pregnancy tests if you're a woman).

High Cholesterol:
I have a family history of high cholesterol levels, and so my first blood test, pre-medication, already showed me having higher than normal cholesterol. To combat this, I've started taking fish oil gummies as well as eating more leafy greens and doing more cardio (which is something I should be doing anyway!) I'll let you know after my next blood test how my cholesterol changed.

I'll be posting my Week Two update in just a few days, so stay tuned! Thanks for joining me on this journey.

Love and hugs,

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Fun Stuff

Hey y'all, today's blog post is all about BUDGETING!!!

Get excited.

I've been using this blog as a way to get my thoughts out of my head, sort of like a diary. But the reason why I'm choosing to make this a "public diary" is so that (hopefully) my thoughts will be of some use to someone who stumbles along this baby blog.

So, as I began to start a budget today on paper I thought, 'hmmm, when was the last time I saw a blog post on budgeting?' I'm hoping this little budget workout will help you, and help me too!

I tried to loosely follow a budget that would be recommended by Dave Ramsey. You guys, this man is a LIFE CHANGER. If you are ever struggling in debt, or want to know more about finances, how to better manage your money, how to be a more devoted tither, anything budget related, he is your guy!

p.s. I tried a new almond butter today, and ohhhh baby. It's SO good. I found it at my local grocery store, I'm unsure if it's carried nationally. Barney Butter. Find it if you can!

(I really love the vscocam app, it produces great quality images, plus I'm a huge fan of their image filters)

OK, here we go!

First off, I want to show off my budget notebook. I purchased this from May Designs, which is a really awesome website that has customizable notebooks for a really great price!

May Designs offer a large range of notebooks, and this one specifically has "budget" formatted pages, which I am showing you below.

This notebook is simply a quick and easy way to write out in one place where all my money is going.
I'm going to do an example budget and include percentages, so you see where I got all these random numbers from!

Here's the easy percentage breakdown:
10% Tithing 
25% Rent
8% Bills
17% Groceries
15% Transportation
15% Savings
10% Personal Finances

And here is the percentage breakdown applied to a $1,500 a month budget (keep in mind that, ideally, $1,500 should be after taxes have been taken from your salary):

I am first a tither. There is no perfect percentage for tithing! Everyone must give what they are called to give. But I'll stick with the traditional 10% in this budget.
So, $150 to tithing leaves me with $1,350.

Rent, according to Mr. Ramsey, should be around 25% of your budget. If that's true, monthly rent should be around $375, excluding bills.

I'm guessing here, as my rent and billing situation is a bit different, but monthly bills, if we are looking at water, electric, trash, and gas, would run at a yearly average of about $120 a month (if you're as frugal with your a/c and heating as I am!) We're going to round that up to about 8% a month.

Food is my next big cost. You guys will know that I'm a foodie, and I also love to cook! I probably spend more on food than the average person. However, I'm going to try to change that! So, I'm going to say that 17% of my income goes to food-that includes groceries, going out to eat, coffee shops, etc. That's about $255 for a monthly budget of $1,500 a month.
Keep in mind that, although I hope this budget layout will help anyone who finds it, I am also catering this to my personal lifestyle. If you think this percentage is outrageous, by all means change it!

I drive a Jeep, so transportation can be quite a hefty part of my budget. I'm going to go with 15%, which gives me about $225 a month for gas. Hopefully you guys can save some wiggle room in your budget with this expense!

Alright, I'm getting to the end! I promise I'm working on getting these blog entries to be more concise.

I'm now left with 25% of my budget, which I'm going to split two ways. This now becomes a personal decision, and I'm sure this could fluctuate often in your budget, as I think it will in mine.
I'm going to choose to put 15% in savings, and use the rest of the 10% in personal finances. So, this means about $225 a month in savings, and $150 a month for shopping, concerts, or any other fun activities I want to do! For a girl on a college budget, that sounds pretty darn good to me.

Now, I beg you to keep in mind that I am not a financial planner. I have no experience whatsoever in professionally or educationally handling money. This is a budget that fits my lifestyle, and I really just hope that it will help those of you who are lost when it comes to starting a budget. This should be a stepping stone, if you will! Please don't take this post as a concrete suggestion, as I'm sure this budget of mine will be tweaked and changed in many ways until I can get it just right.

I hope this has been helpful! Leave a comment below with suggestions for what else you want to see on this new blog! I'm quite fresh at this, so tell me what the people want! :)

Love and Hugs,

*Post Disclaimer* I was not paid to sponsor any of these products; rather, they are a few of my personal favorites!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer Goals

Summer is a time of immense growth for my life, and I love that about summers!

I used to say I really hated summer, but really all I hate is the humidity! Curly-haired ladies, back me up on this.

Seriously though, the past few summers have just been full of life, and faith building, and friends, and love. It really doesn't get better than this! I finally have time to slow down and relish in the quiet moments that God invades my heart.

With that being said, my summer needs some goals! As much as I try to pretend that I'm a free spirit, this girl needs structure in her life to feel accomplished (this will be a later blog post).

Soooooooo, here are my summer goals, in no particular order:
This past spring semester has been full of eating out, eating carbs, eating emotional, sitting in front of a computer for 14 hours general this hasn't been a healthy semester. I'm going back to my roots, which means back to juicing, back to working out 4x a week, back to living an active lifestyle and getting my bum out of this chair! (you know, blogging really isn't good for that last one). I'm SO excited to get my life, and my body, back on track.
I'm still not tired of that happy song you's just got that beat that's infectious! There is NO reason why life shouldn't be full of happiness, because happiness is a gift from God, and he lives in my heart, and so I have no excuses for being a sour puss. I want to dwell in the beautiful moments of life, spending time with friends, loving on my loved ones, letting God invade my evert moment. I want that.
For those of you who know me well, you know that I'm a Procrastinator with a capital P. It drives my loving parents up the wall and onto the ceiling. It's quite ironic because I love knowing that I've accomplished things, and yet it's extremely difficult to get them started. So, I'll be using this lovely little blog to keep me accomplished, keep me accountable, and overall keep me working,
Y'all know that I'm in architecture school, and something that's immensely important for me to get a job is my portfolio/resume/business cards/takeaways/etc. Basically I need to create a ton of professional documents, which is really exciting, because that means I'll be getting creative this summer! But I don't only want to do architectur-y things. I want to knit, I want to water color, I want to sketch. I always find it's best to unleash all your crazy thoughts through art.
Velocity Church (Lawrence, KS-CHECK IT OUT!!!!) has my heart. It's full of people who love, people who support, people who challenge, people who care. And it's time for me to go above and beyond what I'm already doing there (which is volunteering once a month in the nursery/preschool)! I'm jumping into a pseudo-leadership position as assistant in Velocity Kids to the pastor's wife. Look out kiddos, I'm gonna make you WERK. Just kidding, but we are currently building a structured classroom setting, so y'all better recognize.

That's a lot of goals! Will you, my lovely blog community, help me stay on task?

I know you will.

Love and Hugs,

P.S. here's my happy picture for the day! Rachel, Jus's sweet sister, captured this photo of us a few months ago, and I adore it. Missing him dearly while he's on his business trip in Oklahoma!

Monday, June 9, 2014

(Almost) One Year Later...

Blog world, thanks for being patient with me!

After the school year started last fall I realized that this would be a crazy year, and needed to quickly prioritize my thoughts and schedule. Unfortunately, that led to me neglecting this new baby of a blog, which made my heart sad. This is such therapy for me to sit and pour my soul onto these digital pages, even if no one ever comes across them.

But luckily, I survived the year, and I'm BACK!
I'm so hoping this doesn't just become a "summer" blog, my dream would be that this litle blog would keep running year-long, but we will see.

I have to start with the biggest change in my life, this guy right here:

(Justin, second from left, with his sweet sisters and a random dude on their trip to Scotland. Are they not the most beautiful family you've ever seen?)

He goes by Justin, and he's the most loving, sweet, hilarious, hard-working man I know. My life has been immensely blessed and changed by him, thank you Jesus for opening my heart to a man full of God!

I just finished my junior year of college, which was by far the hardest year I've had yet. I still have two left (I'm in a five year master's of architecture program), but I'm immensely happy to be on a well-deserved break.

This summer is going to be full of bettering myself. I don't expect to magically be a better person come August, however, I do know that I'm laying a foundation of positivity over the next three months, to carry with me for the upcoming year.

To avoid a blog post that's just too long I'll be posting another one shortly of my summer goals.
Don't we all have those? And don't we all struggle with getting those accomplished?
Well NO MORE for this girl! I'm hoping this blog community will keep me accountable, and I'm hoping to get back to loving my entire self, in and out.

More on that soon :)

Love and hugs,

EDIT: I'm also going to be revamping the blog design soon! Pray for me, because I'll be trying this without a professional blog designer....
Blog design by labinastudio.