Influenster #Staycation Unboxing and thoughts

Who remembers way back when I used to get influenster boxes on the regular? Unlike a lot of free sample box services, influenster has actually managed to stay afloat and has really grown their site a lot. The site works basically by giving you an “influencer” score and provided sample boxes to those with good scores that opt in.  If you have a profile, or make one go ahead and give me a follow to see the reviews I randomly post on things.

So lets talk about what came in this box:

  • Kiss Impress Press On Nails
  • Crest Gum and enamel repair toothpaste
  • completely smooth moisturizing no-bump shave gel
  • Mane magic 10 in 1 primer
  • shea moisture african black soap bamboo charcoal gelee moisturizer

I’ve tried everything this box except for the press on nails but I have used this exact brand before so I’m gonna skip talking about them for now.  I’ll of the things were kind of “meh” for me so I’m just gonna be super brief when talking about them.

The toothpaste – it has a very underwhelming minty flavor which is nice if you don’t like overpowering mintness in your toothpaste but I personally like more mint than that. I haven’t used it long enough to attest if it helps with gum issues or whatever so I can’t speak to those claims. It does contain fluoride, so cavity protection is there.

The shave gel – okay so, I don’t know if this will be an unpopular opinion or not but I think shaving creams for legs and shave gels are kind of a waste of money. I find that using conditioner or a nice body wash works just as well for me than spending extra money on girly printed items. This shave gel has a scent that reminded me of a perfume sample I’d smelled in Seventeen magazine in middle school – like a serious throwback. It’s extremely thick which was kind of nice and lathers like a body wash. I don’t think I would reach for this for my legs over other things I use but I definitely think the thickness of the gel would make it really good for shaving the bikini area that is typically more sensitive to razor burn.

Primer spray – it didn’t realize until I read the back of the package that this product was a hair product and I really think they should have included that in the name somewhere lol. It claims to: detangle, reduce frizz, strengthen, soften, reduce drying time, add shine, nourish, smooth and protect against heat and UV. It kind of sounds like a miracle product. I’ve actually been looking for new heat protectant spray as well as a good detangling protect because thats an issue I’ve been having a lot now that my hair is longer. I want to do more research on this as I didn’t notice anything stark on day one usage but I really like the idea of it. It has a distinct scent that I can’t tell if I like or not but am leaning towards yes? Also apparently its on sale as Cosco for 2 full size bottles for $10. If I had I costco card still I would probably take advantage of it because its something I think I will actually use.

The moisturizer – I haven’t ever tried anything from Shea Moisture but I’ve always been interested in their products in the store. I’ve also heard great things about African Black Soap so I was excited for this. I used an entire packet on my face and neck after cleansing and immediately didn’t really like it. It has a very serum-y texture and leaves that slick, slightly sticky effect on your face after you rub it in as if you’d just used a sheet mask. It also didn’t leave my skin feeling soft or smooth. I don’t see myself ever purchasing things just because I don’t think the gel is for me. I would happily try this out of there was a cream version though!

That’s it for my quick thoughts on the Staycation box, overall I think I’ll end up getting the primer spray somewhere and skipping the rest. Thanks influenster for letting me try these things out!

 

xx

 

 

Finally an Iced Coffee I actually Like

) So I am not a big coffee drinker. I can’t stand most coffee drinks unless they have so many additives that the coffee taste is minimal. I only like two coffee drinks on this planet – Starbucks Caramel Macchiato and McCafe’s Caramel Iced Coffee. So many coffee drinkers will put up a huge thumbs down and McDonalds iced coffee because its a lot more watery than other places but I’m all about that dilution! I could easily drink a McDonald’s Iced Coffee everyday if I could. Since going keto I’ve tried th

eir sugar free vanilla iced coffee but its still too many carbs for my taste and I’ve pretty much decided that I’m not really a fan of vanilla syrups with coffee. They just don’t blend with the coffee taste well for me for whatever reason.

I’ve tried to make my own iced coffee in the past pre-keto but it was never exactly right. I think I always just attributed it to not having the right syrup. Now, that I am an avid keto-coffeer I realized I was missing heavy cream! The richness and thickness of heavy cream makes a HUGE difference in diy iced cofffees. A good syrup is a plus too but honestly the heavy whipping cream is the star ingredient here. I imagine half and half would be okay also but straight up milk just does not work for me.

The other day I went to Marshall’s for the first time in forever and was stoked to find Jordan’s Skinny Syrups marked down the $3.99. (Buy them on amazon here: https://amzn.to/2wNUaJ9) They had several flavors at my store including vanilla, pumpkin spice, vanilla almond, and salted caramel. I picked up a couple and can already tell you I’m going back for more of the salted caramel ASAP. These syrups have 750ml bottles which is a lot larger than the SF syrups you can buy at Walmart. They have zero carbs and are flavored with sucralose. Some strict keto-ers may not be a fan of sucralose but I don’t have a problem allowing it in my diet – YMMV.

For the last week, my go to morning routine has included a keto-friendly iced coffee. Here’s how I do it:

I use about 16 ounces of chilled instant coffee (yes instant, I’m not a coffee snob and its just easier to make it and let it cool down.) I typically make a larger batch and just keep in in the fridge for the entire week. Next I add some ice and about 2-3oz of heavy whipping cream. Then, I add 2 tablespoons of the salted caramel skinny syrup.  Sometimes if I’m feeling it, I’ll add a tablespoon or two of MCT oil to get some extra fat. The MCT oil has roughly 100 calories per serving though so usually I only add this if I’m going to be low on calories for the day.

This iced coffee is just sweet enough that it covers the bitterness of the coffee without completely overpowering it. I also think the caramel syrup blends so much better with the richness of the HWC and coffee flavors and doesn’t have that fake vanilla aftertaste.  I usually drink one in the morning but I’m definitely considering getting some decaf coffee so I can have it more often. This isn’t true bullet proof coffee as I don’t use butter and don’t always use MCT oil but the HWC still gives you a good boost of fat in the mornings.

Depending on the amounts and brands of things you use, your nutrition stats may different but my recipe has about 206 calories, 21g of fat, 1.7g of protein and 1.6 net carbs.

This is going to be kind of a “duh” post for a lot of people but if you’re like me and coffee has never been a big part of your life until now, maybe you’ll enjoy the tips. Its so much cheaper to do it yourself instead of spend $5 at Starbucks everyday, not to mention its like 3 ingredients so its super simple.  This little boost of caffeine has helped my mood and made me way more productive this week so, I’m pleased.  Life is all about the little pleasures.

 

Keto Journey with PCOS: One Month Update

Hello friends! As promised, I am coming to you with an update regarding my first month on the ketogenic diet as a woman with PCOS. I’ve attempted a little outline so as not to ramble but I apologize if this gets lengthy because the last month as been eventful and kind of rough. I’ve put headers for each of the topics I will discuss so you can skip around to what matters to you if you’d like.

Let me just start off by saying I practice “lazy keto” so don’t go shaming me in the comments because I eat something you personally wouldn’t eat (ie: sucralose, dairy, or processed foods). I heard a doctor youtube say that if the way you can keto is by eating a hotdog and mustard its still better than the snickers you were eating before. FYI, I hate hotdogs, so that doesn’t apply to me, but you get the gist and I think thats something important to keep in mind for dieters who get too bogged down by trying to be perfect I first. I definitely want to make even better choices as I continue on my journey but right now, everything is an improvement.  I keep my carbs between 20 and 30 per day and aim for calories at 1200 to 1500. I was tracking everything the first week or so and then stopped which I will get into why later.

Mental Health
The first thing I want to talk about is mental health. As a little bit of background I have a history of OCD and currently am diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and major depression and its been a battle for years. Before keto for the last six months, I had got into a depression phase where I had a terrible sleep schedule and was experience something similar to selective eating disorder. I didn’t have the energy to make anything or care because of depression and the list of foods I was willing to eat was extremely short. This resulted in me eating one, usually lower calorie, minimally nutritious meal per day. I was taking a medication that had drastically improved things for me and at the same time started keto so that when I did start to eat meals again, they would be healthier and I would actually lose weight. (The eating habits before did not result in weight loss due to PCOS and the food choices). Fast forward to two weeks into keto and my mental state had plummeted as evidence by the lack of posts between week one and now. I was angry all the time, weepy, an anxiously fixating on things that didn’t matter at that point, and just overall no motivation to do anything. Eating got hard again because nothing sounded good, I was disgusted by everything, and I just didn’t care. Now, I attribute this change to one of three (maybe a combination) factors: PMS, estrogen released from fat cells, and/or electrolytes.

Electrolytes
Focusing on the electrolyte issue for a moment – if you’ve been doing keto for very long, you’ll know that electrolytes are so so important when avoiding keto flu during your first week on the diet. In my one week keto post, I attributed my lack of keto flu to the electrolytes I was getting from powerade zero. This was false. After doing more research later, I realized Powerade Zero has basically nothing compared to the amount of sodium, potassium and magnesium you need daily (2-4g, 2-3g and 500mg respectively). While I was probably coming pretty close to sodium from regular food, magnesium and potassium have been no where near where the should have been for the last month. This had to be a contributing factor to my mental state decline. I have since been tracking those levels and supplementing so hopefully, things will go back to normal. I definitely want to do a post about supplements for electrolytes in the future once I’ve got everything tweaked because clearly its a super important topic.

Shark Week
Next I want to talk about periods. So if you don’t want to read TMI stuff, then skip ahead haha. In my one week post you’ll notice I mentioned my period had started on day 9. This was also false. I spotted for one single day and went back to being dry as a desert, much to my dismay, but! around the end of week two well into week three I noticed I was having light cramps. Like so light their were barely there. I saw someone on a reddit post refer to them as phantom cramps which felt spot on. Over the week and a half of experiencing them they progressively got worse until I had actually convinced myself that I probably just had a UTI. About 6 days ago I was out of this world emotional and ragey and the next day experience the worst cramps I can remember since I had my period over a year ago. I also noticed sore breasts which had never really been a PMS symptom of mine. My period started that day – not spotting, barely there, false alarm-ness but a real, open the flood gates kind of period. I had a few days of heavier than normal but it does seem to be tapering off now to my relief and the cramps are gone. So between normal hormonal fluctuations, electrolytes and this period stuff, no wonder I was depressed. Things can only get better from here.

Weight Loss, Gains, and Stalls
Now, I’ll talk about weight, the big one that everyone wants to know about.  I can confidently say I lost about 9 pounds during the first two weeks and I was glorious. Week three rolls around and I stalled, even gained a few pounds which, of course, triggered a huge emotional break down. I’ve heard ladies talk about how fluctuation is perfectly normal, especially around the time of your period but at that time, I wasn’t aware it could be a PMS thing so I took it pretty hard.  I also cheated some during this week which probably didn’t help. As of yesterday, my total I went back to my pre-period weight minus another pound. My total weight loss for month one is 11 pounds and to my surprise, I also experienced a loss in inches.

Cheat Meals
Cheating is like a huge no-no in any diet, especially keto just because of how ketosis and becoming fat adapted works, BUT, we are all human and sometimes its hard to get over cravings. From day one, my husband and I had decided we would have a cheat day after one month of keto. It was completely planned out down the meal and drinks and it kept us motivated during that first month. Admittedly, I had some cheat meals in the middle which I attribute to depression and PMS and just general lack of willpower during that time. Obviously, I don’t recommend cheating but it happened, I still lost some and I didn’t die. Would I have lost more if I hadn’t cheated this month? Sure, maybe. But I’m always looking to improve and now I know that cheat meals really just aren’t worth it in the future. What happened after my cheat meals/day you might be wondering? Nothing. I didn’t gain ten pounds of water weight, I didn’t feel crappy or spend all day on the toilet. I may have gotten a little tired at one point but thats definitely it. So while you should try really hard to stick with your carb goal, its not the end of the world if you make a mistake and you definitely shouldn’t give up and binge because you feel like a failure. You’re not a failure and it will be okay. Just pick up where you left off and keto on. If you’re going to have a cheat meal or cheat day, I definitely recommend planning it out in advance and sticking to your plan because I think this really helps prevent binging and negative feelings about yourself afterwards.

Conclusion
One month of keto is down, several more to go. While I haven’t seen the massive initial losses others have seen, I am at my lowest weight since probably the end of 2017 (I gained *all* my weight in the last two years thank to PCOS). Any progress is good progress and I’m definitely going to keep moving forward. Maybe next month their will be enough of a difference to post before and after pictures. Here are my official updated measurements.

Bust: 42.5 in –> no change
Waist: 37.5 in –> 36.5 in
Hips: 44 in –> no change
Arms: 14 in –> 13 in
Thigh: 28 in –> 26.5 in
Calf: 16 in –> 15.5

Weight: 205 lbs to 194 lbs

I waited an entire month to measure and was pretty darn sure I wasn’t going to show any changes so I’m awestruck at these numbers. There’s a NSV (non scale victory) for you.

Are you starting your own keto journey? Let me know in the comments below! Lets keep each other accountable!