#pcos, Mental Health, Self Love

How Kicking Coffee Out Of My Diet Improved My Acne | PCOS

I struggled with acne a lot when I hit puberty. It was truly horrible. Wait let me see if I can find a picture. I had this particular picture in mind and finding it meant deep diving on my old external hard drive. It was bad. Really bad. I’ve seen things.

Here is a picture of my mom and I when I was about twelve or thirteen. As you can see my entire face is covered with acne. I felt so self conscious about it, we went to the doctor and I was placed on the pill which I stayed on all the way till I turned nineteen. It helped with my acne a lot. I was in no way perfectly clean skin but outside an occasional acne pop up here and there my worries was behind me. Of course I scratched at my acne like crazy and now have scars on my chin that really comes out when I’m getting hot. They’re a nightmare in the summer. Is this even making sense? Anyway my point is I’ve had my fair share of acne problems that didn’t go away even when I was on the pill. Wait before I continue here is the picture.

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When I came abroad as au pair I had to go onto a new pill and  my body just didn’t respond well to the pill at all. My periods were all over the show and really bad. My acne was flaring up like crazy and after about three months I decided to stop taking the pill all together. At this point my logic was well like I’m single and my hormones should be all together now that I’m older so let’s see how it goes without the pill. The acne was a bit better without the new pill and my periods took two months to return to normal but otherwise it felt like the best choice. I was regularly washing my face and never slept with my make up on (I only started to wear make up around this time anyway). The acne wasn’t as bad. I could handle it. Anyway I met my now husband and went back onto the pill for two months before I just couldn’t take it anymore. My body responded horribly to this pill (why I didn’t go to the doctor and asked for a different kind is beyond me). There is a point to this. You need to know my back story with acne. Also I’m too far in to go back now. To get to the point though, I always had acne on my face but once I went off the pill I had a little more here and there. It was controllable and I didn’t mind it too much. Flash forward to a few months and suddenly my acne was just ten times worse. I was basically two pimples away from my thirteen year old self but throw in back acne in the mix. I was still in South Africa at the time without a medical aid so I figured I can wait till I’m in the Netherlands.

Once I got here and returned to my healthier lifestyle, some of the acne approved but not all of it. When I started to gain weight like crazy out of the blue, my acne flared up again. This time it was horrible. I felt so self conscious and dirty about it and I tried everything. I started using face masks once a week (which made a difference) and a face scrub and cleanser everyday but the back acne, boy that girl was here to stay. No amount of greens and products changed that.

After I was diagnosed with PCOS, I did a lot of research. Some of my research showed that coffee (or well caffeine in general) is horrible for our hormones and can make our acne worse. At this point I was desperate to feel more like myself and just feel attractive again in any shape or form I can, so I kicked all coffee out of my diet. I immediately saw a response. My back acne completely disappeared and my face cleared up. Now I do have to add that around a month after I stopped drinking coffee, I started drinking supplements for my PCOS which also cleared up the last bit of lingering pimples. I now only get pimples when I’m on my period or when I eat too much junk food.

For those who would be interested in why coffee is so bad for those with PCOS here is a section from the main PCOS book I follow, Natural Solutions to PCOS by Marilyn Glenville (—https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-pcos-book/ — ).

*If you have, by now, made the switch to unrefined carbohydrates, you will already be working hard to keep your blood-sugar levels on an even keel. It is the energy dips and troughs and long gaps between meals that trigger the adrenal glands into action, encouraging them to pimp out the stress hormones that are so harmful to sufferers of PCOS. But if you are serious about getting to the bottom of your PCOS symptoms, you really need to try to keep those adrenal glands as happy as possible. The key to adrenal health is to cut right back on caffeine. Anything containing caffeine acts as a stimulant that will make your body release more of the stress hormones and cause blood-sugar-levels to fluctuate. We know that women with PCOS have increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, so it is vital to help reduce these in order to reduce insulin levels. Like alcohol, caffeine also acts as a diuretic, so if you drink a lot, you risk losing valuable nutrients like zinc (which is crucial for hormone balance) through your urine.*

I do need to add that in the same breath that I’ve seen other websites on PCOS disagreeing with the no coffee statement of Dr. Marilyn but if you have PCOS and your struggling with acne, I recommended just trying it for a month. I tried it, saw I benefited from not drinking coffee and now I only drink coffee every now and again. There is a lot of options out there for those addicted to coffee so not all is lost. I hope this helps. I will share the face products I use another time.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Body & Soul, Body Love, Self Love, Story Time

Why I Stopped Wearing A Bra

I haven’t worn a push up bra in over a year. 18 months to be exact. The reason why I decided to ditch the boob holder was pretty simple. One night, after a very long and exhausting day I came home and the very first thing I did was take my bra off. I can bet some good money that most women who wear or have worn a push up bra or a bra in general know exactly what I’m talking about. That incredible feeling of pure bliss as the bra goes flying through the air.

After hours of wearing the wire and fabric concussion; it left a dent in my skin. It hurt like hell. My skin was bruised and sensitive. It wasn’t my first time nor would it be my last time (well it was but that’s not a part of my point) that this happened. Much like the eureka moment with my shaving habits my thought process followed along the line:” why am I wearing a bra?” I was around eleven when I started developing breasts. I remember my mom started to encourage a sport bra but at that point I didn’t see the big deal of it. Or well till an older boy in the neighborhood made a comment about my growing breast. So I started wearing bras but the comfortable ones. Eventually I switched to push up bras for more support and a day wouldn’t go by without a bra. Approximately six years the first thing I would put on in the morning is a bra. It would also be the first thing that goes.

Anyway back to my aha moment. Why am I wearing a bra? Well because I’ve been wearing a bra since my boobs grew. It seemed very logical. It was expected to wear a bra. If you have boobs and you go out in public you have to wear a bra. It’s something society enforces ever since I can remember. At this point in my life I was making conscious choices about my body. I didn’t want to do anything to my body that I truly didn’t want to do. Do I want to wear a bra? It was a big hard no. I can’t express the level of comfort I feel without a bra in my life.

Free the boobies and go braless!

Now it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the world of braless. I’ve gotten quite a bit of a response to my lack of bras.

“You can see your nipples.” Oh I didn’t know a nipple stand when it’s cold isn’t a natural body function. Insert a gasp.

“Your boob are saggy.” Maybe but what does that have to do with you?

“Your cleavage looks gross.” See the worry in my eyes.

There has been so much more but honestly my response is that this is my body. This is my choice. If you don’t like being braless than that’s you honey. If you don’t like seeing a women without a bra than that’s you sugar. If you think I look ugly or less feminine without a bra than that’s you honey. But here is the thing. This is my body and I will decide if I want to wear a bra or not. I have no idea if I will never wear a push up bra again. Maybe in a few years I decide to incorporate them again but for now I will stick to my sport bras.

I also want to add this as a little side note: there has been some scientific research about the subject. Here is a link to an article — https://www.women.com/shannon/lists/8-little-known-perks-of-going-braless-every-woman-needs-to-know

Otherwise my advice to you is to just take a second and decide for yourself if you want to wear a bra or not. Challenge what society expects from women. Take control and make your own choices when it comes to your body.

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Self Love, Story Time

My Husband Chose My Look For The Day | Bucket List

I’ve brought up my age and bucket list on here before, all in one title if I’m being specific. It’s been awhile since I’ve ticked something off my list and as we have quite an empty weekend I figured why not now? This is kind of a challenge floating around on YouTube but I’m also genuinely curious to see what my husband would put together.

So the challenge is basically my husband will go through my wardrobe, throw an outfit together but it doesn’t end there. He also gets control over my make-up, so what look I will be going for my eyes and lips. He also gets to choose how my hair is going to look; straightened, curled, up, down etc. He also needs to accessorize my outfit with some type of jewelry. Afterwards I need to go out and about in the public eye for a minimum of two hours.

The Outfit Process:

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We started with pants. I laid down all the long pants I own which I might add is on the low side and I asked Onno to pick his favorite three. He took his task very seriously and took his time choosing. “I don’t know the next round yet so I need to pick strategically.”

It was quite cute if I’m honest. The top three options was my black, dark blue jeans and my black leggings. Next up I took out all possible shirt options and asked him to choose his top three. It was interesting what colors he moved towards.

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He ended up choosing a three quarter sleeved light blue striped shirt – a shirt I often wore in South Africa in the colder weather. He also chose a long sleeved grey shirt which I have had for years now but I don’t wear that often. It’s a bit tight on my arms. Last but not least he chose a very summery and cool flow and large orange shirt that I stole from my mom. It’s one of those with the big little wings on the side. I then asked him to choose the actual outfit.

“I’m leaning towards the black with something colorful at top.” At this point I was really just hoping he won’t go for the orange shirt because well it’s raining and cold outside. He chose my leggings and the light blue shirt. Two things I would never put together as a public outfit. It’s very casual. Usually I go for a shirt that’s long in length that would cover half of my butt or a dress. Mostly because I want to hide possible canal toe or panty lines.

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For accessories I just asked him to choose one type so a necklace, bracelet or earrings. Onno leaned towards earrings and again he picked out his top three before making his final choice. I personally would’ve chosen the pearls or panda because it would suite the casual and natural look Onno was going for. Onno however chose the watermelons. I’m not mad. I love watermelons.

Unfortunately Onno had no choice when it came to my shoes and jacket. I only have one perfect jacket and shoes for this type of weather. It was cold and raining as usual here in the Netherlands in case I didn’t mention it before.

The Make-up Look:

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Next I gave Onno all my eye shadow pallets and asked him to choose his top three. He went for two very colorful pallets with the shirt in mind and one very natural earthy pallet. 90% of the time I always go for the earthy and warm tones for my eye look. He did the same thing with the lip products. He immediately leaned towards bright colors; red and almost all my pinks.

I think he played it very safe by choosing a pallet that I would use normally and matched it with a light brown liquid lipstick. I never match an earthy eye look with an earthy lip and I almost never really use this pallet mostly because it’s not so great.

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I used the bronzer shade on my lid in a oval shape and the purple metallic color in the outer corner of my lid to darken my crease. Now usually I would put a bright glittery color on my lid close to my lash line to brighten up my eye and have my eyes appear more open. I have hooded eyes so this is an important step I always take in my eye shadow routine. None of the light colors in the pallet was pigmented enough to show, so my eye look did turn out very dark.

The Hair Look:

Of course we can’t forget the hair. I really had to help Onno with this one because honestly the man is clueless when it comes to hair. I never really go all out with my hair. I have two looks I mostly rock when out in the public eye and I mostly have braided hair at home. So I just walked him through his options: my natural hair loose, my natural hair in a back pony, low pony, side pony, low side pony with the same options with straightened and curled hair. Two braids, one side braid, French braid, pony braid and all of those in a fishtail braid. Of course I brought up my messy bun which is my usual.

I never really straighten my hair or curl my hair with the iron mostly because I’m trying to grow out my hair and keep the damage to the minimal. Onno loves my straightened and curled hair and couldn’t choose between the two…so my hubby went for both. Bottom part of my hair straight with the top part in wavy curls. It took me a hour to do this. I would never think of specially styling my hair when it’s raining outside mostly because it’s a clear waste of time. What the hubby wants he will get.

Out And About In The Public Eye:

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With the jacket out in the cold I felt a little more comfortable with my leggings. We first ran some errands before going for a small date at a coffee shop close by. There I took off my jacket and I have to say the entire look was a bit too casual for me but because my hair and makeup was all done up it worked in a way.

 

Final Thoughts:

The experience was quite interesting and although I wasn’t entirely out of my comfort zone it was still something I wouldn’t easily put together. I do think we were quite limited with the cold weather so I definitely want to redo this little experiment/challenge in the summer. My summer collection is huge as you would expect from someone who is originally from a warm climate. All in all the experience was fun. It was great to tick something off my bucket list.

This next part is Onno’s final thoughts: “I had a lot of fun choosing the outfit of Cassandra today, it was very interesting to try and combine the different elements into a complete look. The final look was, mostly because Cassandra can pull everything off, stunning. It was also fun for me to think about parts of her look I don’t know a lot off, such as her makeup, and learn something new. Overall it was a cool experience to cross this off the bucket list together!”

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Body & Soul, Body Love, Self Love

Challenging Your Insecurities: Horrible Pictures

We all have that one picture or like fifty we just completely hate at first glance. Maybe it’s the expression on your face, or the triple chin you’ve having going on, or maybe your arms or to chubby, skinny and etc. The list goes on, it really depends on what your insecure about. I’m insecure about my face. I have a very long and oval shaped face and it is something I’m constantly aware of. I was teased about the shape of my face for years and compared to a horse. If I walked by someone would make a horse sound, it honestly was terrible. I would stand in front of my mirror, staring at my face at all angles. What angle do I like? What don’t I like? I eventually learned to pose my face in a certain degree angle as to make my face look less oval like.

Now it makes me beyond uncomfortable when I see a picture of my face dead centre or from the side. It’s stupid really. It’s my face. It’s my first impression. It’s something that carries so much for me. It holds my eyes and with this I can see the world around me. The bright colors of natures landscape. It holds my nose and with this I smell the world. The delicious smell of coffee in the morning or the sweet scent or roses. The smell of the man I love. It holds my mouth and with this I taste the world. The sweet taste of chocolate and pasta. The  mouth I use to kiss the man I love every day. It holds my ears and with this I hear the world. The clattering of the rain and the beep of the oven. All these things I love so what makes the shape of my face so much different?

There’s nothing wrong with the size, the shape or its silhouette from the side. What’s wrong is my ridiculous insecurity about it. Something I want to challenge and change with time.

So here is step one, a photo I hate.

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This photo was taken on my wedding day. At that very moment I was truly happy. Yet when I saw this picture I hated it. It’s heartbreaking to know that my insecurities has such a deep hold on me. This is one of the reasons why I’m challenging myself like this. 

 

Body & Soul, Body Love, Self Love

Why I Stopped Shaving For Society

Last year in June, Onno and I enjoyed the hot Greece sun. It was our first real vocation together and boy to this day I look back to that week fondly. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had. We just celebrated each other, there was no stress to document every move or connect to the outside world. Simply just quality time together. It was a dream come true. The entire vocation just got oh so much sweeter when he asked for my hand. Okay now that you know a little back story I can talk to you why my vocation was so important. It was my turning point.

I was lounging at the poolside when my semi hairy legs caught my eye. It was no surprise, it’s been four days since the last shave. It just never stops. I just stared at those little bristles. I knew I had to shave them ASAP. I mean how could I possibly lounge in my bikini with hairy legs? I was getting ready to quickly head back to our little cottage to shave when it dawned on me. Why on earth am I doing this? My bikini line was irritated at the constant shaving and my arm bits burned a little. Because god forbid I have hair on my body. I kept starring at my legs, wondering if I should just quickly go and shave them. I would hate to be ugly or imperfect in society eyes. Again I asked myself: Why on earth am I doing this? Do I want to shave my legs right at this very second? I’m pretty damn comfortable right about now. The sun is feeling great on my skin and getting up now would require standing up and that’s just too much energy. So I asked myself the next question that changed everything.

Am I shaving for myself or society?

I made a vow to myself. I will only shave my legs, arms pit, bikini line etc when  I want too. I won’t shave it weekly to make sure I’m baby smooth. Why would I? I don’t mind body hair. I stopped shaving and weeks went by. I grew comfortable with long arm hair (even though quite a few people felt the need to express their distaste) and hairy legs. I didn’t care. I still wore my spaghetti top and shorts. Why the hell would I care if someone gets uncomfortable because I have body hair. Today I shave when I want too.

Sometimes months go by before I shave again. It wasn’t always easy to embrace the body hair. Some days I felt self conscious about it and on other days it empowered me. Screw society standards. This is my body and everything I do with it is my choice.

My Body. My Rules.

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Body & Soul, Body Love, Self Love

Body Best Friends Forever / BBFF

You are your own best friend.

What I mean with this is quite simple. When you’re feeling down in the dumps and filling your own head with negative thoughts stop yourself and ask this question: “Would I say any of this shit to my best friend?” Over my dead body honey. I will never tell my best friend they’re fat or make them feel guilty about their binge. I will never judge them for something they’ve done that I maybe don’t agree with. That’s not me so why on earth would I say any of this crap to myself?

When I catch myself with any negative thoughts about my body I imagine my best friend’s face and that I’m saying these words to them. In two seconds flat I’m beyond angry and over protective. I’m like oh hell to the no! Who the hell do you think you are with saying this type of bullshit to my friend? It doesn’t take me long to have a big Ahaha moment and just like that I snap myself out of the negative thoughts. I then proceed to tell myself what I would tell my best friend if they were saying these type of things about themselves.

“I’m fat.” Fat is just a substance in your body and guess what without fat you won’t be alive. So what if you carry a little extra fat? You are soft and great to cuddle with.

“I’m ugly.” No honey those thoughts are ugly. You are anything but ugly. You are a wonderful human being so don’t you dare dill your sparkle.

“I’m a horrible person.” Are you kidding me? Serial killers, child molesters, rapist and puppy kickers are horrible people.

“I ate two chocolate bars. I basically ate all my hard work away.” What type of chocolate was it?

So snap out of it. Look at yourself in the mirror and repeat after me.

I’m WORTHY!

I’m BEAUTIFUL!

I’m FABULOUS!

I’m AWESOME!

I’m a magical unicorn…