If I Could Turn Back Time

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If I could turn back time, if I could find a way, I’d bring back all the vintage denim or I’d probably stay. These jeans were my mom’s in the 1980s and I always laugh when I see them – the brandname is Fancy Ass – it just doesn’t get better than that. A huge thank you to Larissa Uy for her photography & for capturing the moment.
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Top: Simon Chang / Jeans: Fancy Ass / Jacket: Levi’s / Leather Bag: Creature Leather / Jewelry: vintage
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– Tiara

Living with Endometriosis (part one)

On Thursday November 2nd, 2017 I went into surgery to have a Laparoscopy to remove multiple cysts, endometriomas (chocolate cysts) and scar tissue which resulted from severe stage 4 Endometriosis. This has been a difficult time in my life. I decided to write about my disease and experience, with the hope that I can provide an informative read for those who might also have the same disease or know someone with it.


WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS

Endometriosis is a disease of the endocrine and immune systems that is under-researched, not well-known, and misunderstood. It is a chronic disease which causes unbearable pain, due to similar tissue to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, growing on the outside of the uterus. The misplaced tissue grows and attaches onto other organs in the body. With each period, all of the tissue outside of the uterus fills with blood, however the blood and tissue in the endometrial growths have no way of draining. Instead, internal bleeding, inflammation and scar tissue develop and cause severe pain, infertility, bowel issues, adhesions and other side-effects, including chronic fatigue, immune disorders and allergies. The only way to determine if endometriosis is present is by a laparoscopy, which normally includes a camera being inserted through a small incision to allow the surgeon to look around the internal cavity.


ROAD TO DIAGNOSIS 

2012: My symptoms started to begin. I kept getting sick or getting infections that I could not fight off and I would need multiple treatments of antibiotics. Several other symptoms blossomed. I went through a point where I would make a doctor’s appointment every month and I would sit there and explain all of my symptoms, begging to be listened to. I was told I had an anxiety disorder that caused me to develop “health anxiety” or “illness anxiety disorder” and that I had painful periods, like any other woman, and that I should take more Advil. My doctor told me that my health anxiety would cause me to believe that the symptoms “in my head” were real and that I actually did not have anything wrong with me.

2013: I started to experience a great deal of pain and other disturbances within my intestines and lower abdomen. Multiple symptoms lead me to have an iodine test, which resulted in specialists discovering that I had a multi-nodular thyroid goitre.

2014

2014: In my first year of university, I had to leave class because I had fainted due to the extreme pain. I went into ER only to have a doctor tell me that I probably had a cyst rupture and that all women have cysts that rupture – that it was a natural process. I was told to take an extra-strength Advil.

2015: I experienced even more extremely painful periods and for the first time I was experiencing pain in-between my periods as well. My periods lasted for 8 to 9 days and were very heavy. I started to experience extreme fatigue even though I was sleeping 8 hours a night. My hormone blood-work was getting unusual flags, which resulted in getting an MRI of my brain to see if I had any tumors that were impacting my pituitary gland. Nothing was found, so I was told that it was a mystery as to why my hormones were so out of whack. I also had a colonoscopy done to determine what was causing all of my intestinal issues – from the inside, my intestines were reported to look normal.

2016: I complained about pelvic pain so often that a urine test was always ordered. There was blood in every urine sample I gave, however since my kidney blood-work was fine, I was told that might be “my normal” to have blood in my urine. I started to realize that I was not able to hold my bladder for longer than 30 minutes and it started to be a huge inconvenience.

I hit my low in the end of 2016. I was so depressed that I would curl up in bed and cry for hours at a time. Horrific thoughts and feelings followed me everywhere. My hair was falling out, my skin was peeling, I had no energy whatsoever, my abdomen would bloat so severely that I had a walk-in doctor think I was 8-months pregnant, I was getting sick all the time, my stomach and intestines constantly hurt and I truly believed that I was going to die. I was told that all of these symptoms were a result from my depression. However, I knew something was wrong with me. I knew that something was causing my anxiety and depression, and not the other way around. I have never felt so lost and scared as I did during those months. I decided to go off the pill, which helped with my depression (and it was not helping at all with my growing cysts anyway). I decided that as a last resort I was going to pay to see a naturopath. I brought a 2-inch thick binder full of all of my previous tests and blood-work and in a very short time my naturopath had put the entire puzzle together. She sent me for a detailed blood allergy test – it came back saying I was highly allergic to dairy, gluten (both of which I knew already) but also nuts, seeds, all grains, legumes, eggs, soy, potatoes and corn. She told me that these were the allergies that she would normally see in someone with an autoimmune disease, (Autoimmune Paleo AIP diet) and she thought that with all my other symptoms that I might have Endometriosis. I quit eating all of those foods cold turkey – I felt a difference the next day. However, I was still not feeling 100%, so she told me to set up an appointment with a gynecologist, and so I did.

2017

2017: I had such immense pain almost all of the time in my abdomen and lower back. I had developed an unusual lump on the left side of my abdomen that had a burning sensation. I went for an ultrasound and I was told that I had a hernia. 5 months later I saw a physician specializing in hernias. She told me that she didn’t think it was a hernia and to try hot compresses because it was probably a strained muscle. I had to be very firm with her and I finally convinced her that she should refer me for an MRI. I was put on the end of a long waiting list and months later I had an MRI. A week later the hernia surgeon called me and said “Well, there is no evidence of a hernia, however I think I know what was causing the hernia sensation. There is a significant cyst in that area, as well as several others in your abdomen. You need to make an appointment with another specialist to get this removed as soon as possible, this is a severe case and I believe it is Endometriosis.” There was that word again. Luckily, my gynecologist appointment I had made nearly a year ago was a few days later. I told my gynecologist all of my symptoms and she said she was confident that I had endometriosis and she gave me a form to sign for the Laparoscopic surgery. I was then put on another waiting list, however once the MRI was sent to her, I had a surgery date set up within two months.

Pre-Operation Form: a week before my surgery, I went to my doctor to get a pre-op form completed. She told me that I would probably need one singular day off of school (for my case, this was very incorrect). There was no preparation for this surgery except I had to start fasting at 12AM.

November 2, 2017: 5 years later, at 22 years of age, I was finally going for surgery to remove the disease that had been negatively impacting my quality of life for so long. The surgery and recovery is the most difficult and painful thing I have ever gone through in my life. This disease needs to be taken more seriously and recognized quicker by physicians. [pre and post-surgery details will be discussed in part two]. 

NOV2017


WHAT CAUSES ENDOMETRIOSIS

There are multiple theories on what causes Endometriosis. The body is a very complex system and difficult to understand. However research has shown that exposure to dioxins, found in synthetic chemicals, is directly related to causing endometriosis to develop. These toxins are commonly found in pesticides, herbicides, all plastics, paint, fire retardants and some industrial oils. These chemicals are widely and continually distributed in the environment – and with the increased use of these chemicals, there has been an increase in the amount and severity of Endometriosis. it is clear, now more than ever, that they have negative impacts on the environment, humans and animals and the use of them must be limited or discontinued completely.

Pesticides, herbicides, plastics, flame retardants and pharmaceuticals all have one thing in common, they are all Endocrine Disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals, usually synthetic chemicals, that impact the endocrine system at very low levels of exposure. These endocrine disruptors are absorbed into the human body by the intestines, respiratory system and skin. These endocrine disruptors are also distributed to the fetus during pregnancy through the bloodstream and afterward through breast milk (dioxins bioaccumulate in the body). Endocrine disruptors severely impact the developing fetus and young children the most as humans are most sensitive during their developmental stages. The damage caused cannot be undone. Endocrine Disruptors mimic estrogen, have negative impacts on hormone levels, development & sexual characteristics, cause low reproduction rates or infertility, cause an impaired immune system, forms of cancer, and endometriosis


EXPOSURE TO ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS 

Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, humans are creating their own destruction however, they have the mindset that whatever is man-made must be a miracle. There seems to be no way to escape dioxins, as they are readily created, sold and companies even try to manipulate and lie to consumers about the hidden health concerns their products have. Dioxins are also very persistent. However, there are some ways to decrease dioxin absorption:

Since dioxins bioaccumulate, they are able to concentrate in the food chain. Limiting the amount of meat, fish and dairy products you consume and replacing them with organically grown plant products will limit the amount of dioxins our intestines absorb. If your budget does not include the purchasing of organic produce, there are proper ways of cleaning and removing the outside layers of fruits and vegetables to lower the amount of herbicides and pesticides ingested.

With the high amounts of air pollution that occur today, it is difficult to protect ourselves from air contaminated with dioxins (from pesticides, herbicides, chemical burning & much more). If you know an area has recently been sprayed with any type of chemical it would be best to avoid that area altogether or to use proper safety equipment.

A large part of dioxins are absorbed through water intake. Humans need water to live, and our dependence on plastics has gone too far. Every time plastic is purchased, large portions of it gets deposited in the environment. Plastic sitting in soil or in waterbodies leaches dioxins. Also, every time a man-made fibre is washed (clothes made of polyester and the like), it releases plastic microfibres into our water systems. These plastic microfibres accumulate in our drinking water and the animals and plants that we consume. Then the dioxins are directly absorbed into our bodies. The age of plastic needs to end.

Any type of bleached product exposes us to dioxins. Tampons and pads made from bleached cotton or synthetic fibres contain dioxins. It is recommended that women start to use unbleached alternatives that do not have plastic applicators. When I used to get periods (now I have been artificially induced into menopause) I would purchase Natracare products only.


FUTURE HEALTH 

Treatment options for endometriosis need to be researched and improved. The current excuses for treatment of this disease are causing women more harm than good. I am still in the process of determining a treatment plan that I am comfortable with, as right now my “treatment” is to take the pill every single day until I am 65 (as children are not in the picture). This exposes me to incredible health risks that I am not comfortable with. Women with endometriosis also have a greater risk of developing cancer and autoimmune disorders. It is important to do yearly checkups and to make an appointment with your doctor if you are feeling off.


I am desperately hoping that more posts like this will bring a greater awareness to this disease and the toxic products that cause it. I truly do not want other women to have to suffer through this disease. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, we are natural beings that evolved from the earth, and we will return back into it. That is a natural environmental cycle that does not include synthetics. Let’s start looking out for one another and the environment. Pollution harms so much more than we know. Part Two can be found here.

 

– Tiara

Natural Makeup Products

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Why not replace products that you use every day with products that are not only safe, but also have multiple benefits for your skin? These natural makeup products are formulated without the usual chemicals and toxins that are found in most makeup. Instead these natural products are packed full of ingredients that work together to nourish and protect your skin. Here are a few of my favourite natural products – which I love to store in my cute makeup bag from True Leaf Collection.
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Powders

Pacifica Eyeshadow Palette 

  • Purchased from Dad’s Organic Market or here
  • Infused with coconut water
  • Long-wearing
  • Gluten & Cruelty-free

This eyeshadow is velvety-soft and creamy. With a primer the shadows remain pigmented and beautiful all day long. The “Skinny Dip” shadow is my favourite as I use it in the corners of my eyes and as a highlight on my cheekbones.

Sweet Leilani Cosmetics Eyeshadow 

This eyeshadow is even more pigmented than the palette mentioned above. This shadow is shimmery, soft and goes on like a dream. This eyeshadow is infused with green tea, grape seed oil and rose hip oil. I really like that this product has minimal plastic and a focus is made on more eco-friendly packaging.

Elate Clean Cosmetics Powders

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty 
  • Made with all natural mineral pigments
  • Made in Canada
  • Products are packaged in seed paper
  • Elate provides a reusable bamboo powder compact which helps to eliminate waste

The pressed powder blush is so pigmented that I only need a quick tap of my brush on  the powder to get enough colour on my cheeks. I know this compact will last me a very long time. I use a darker shade in the pressed powder foundation as a bronzer for contouring. I really love how these products are packaged in seed paper – I put the product packaging in soil and now I have a little herb garden growing!

Sweet Leilani Cosmetics Mineral Powder

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty 
  • Paraben, gluten, cruelty and fragrance-free
  • 100% vegan
  • Contains anti-inflammatory and calming properties

I have the Hawaiian Highlight Mineral Powder in “sky” and I use this as a foundation. It is very lightweight, however it has great coverage. I have been through 8 different natural powder foundations and this is the only one that plays nice with my oily t-zone and dry cheeks. This product has reflective minerals and looks incredible on and off camera (it is the product I am wearing on my skin in my previous 3 blog posts). This product is amazing for people with sensitive skin and it has never made me break out.

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Lipsticks

Axiology Natural Lipsticks 

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty
  • Made with organic ingredients
  • Cruelty-free and vegan
  • Sustainably made packaging

I have the shades “The Goodness” and “Infinite”. These are unique shades with a bit of shimmer & they go on very smooth. They definitely need reapplication throughout the day – however I would rather reapply a product that I know I can safely eat, rather than slather toxins and chemicals on my lips, which ultimately ends up in my body.

Sweet Leilani Lipstick

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty 
  • Made in Canada
  • Paraben, lead, gluten, fragrance and cruelty-free
  • the sales of these products help to support cancer & trauma patients

This was the lipstick I was wearing in my Lust for Life post. This shade has an incredible retro vibe to it that I cannot get enough of. It also has better staying power than the lipsticks mentioned above. This lipstick smells incredible because it is formulated with peppermint oil, green tea, rose hip oil and grape seed oil. It also contains a chemical-free sunscreen!

Bite Beauty Lipstick

  • Purchased from Sephora
  • Lipsticks contain nutrients, vitamins and omega oils
  • Paraben, sulfate and phthalate-free

These lipsticks are very smooth and pigmented. They definitely moisturize my lips while wearing them. They are definitely my go-to when I want options without shimmer. Only caution is that they easily transfer and smear.
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Eye Products

Elate Clean Cosmetics Liquid Eyeliner 

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty 
  • Made in Canada
  • cruelty and gluten-free & vegan
  • Packaging made of bamboo

I have the “Origin Liquid Eyeliner” and it is a great liquid liner. The brush took a while to get used to as it is very flexible, compared to more common applicators. It is also a really wet product so I usually wait longer for it to dry and pat a little black shadow over it. I can achieve a great wing with this liner and it is very pigmented!

Pacifica Stellar Gaze Mascara 

  • Purchased from Dad’s Organic Market or here
  • Gluten & cruelty-free
  • 100% vegan
  • The company is rooted in creating sustainable products 

This mascara is formulated with coconut oil and vitamin B to condition eyelashes. This product is long-lasting – however it runs easily when in contact with water. I am eager to try their water-resistant mascara because whenever I laugh my eyes water a lot and this product tends to run easily. This product layers really well and you can build it up to create well defined lashes. I accidentally bought the “stardust” mascara, which is dark brown instead of black, however I am really enjoying the shade – it is growing on me. Definitely an amazing colour for the lower lashes!
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– Tiara

Lust For Life

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I am continually searching for a lust for life – things that inspire me and motivate me to continue on with my journey. I am constantly wondering which path to wander down and which road to follow…. life is confusing at best, however learning what makes me excited to be alive is where I have tried to put the majority of my energy and flourish in. Bringing vintage items alive again and purchasing items secondhand is one way I am able to satisfy the desire to be a more sustainable blogger. Here’s to you in finding your lust for life.
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Jumpsuit: The Dress Form / Shoes: Aldo / Purse: Vintage / Scarf: Vintage / Glasses: Vintage-thrifted from Value Village / Earrings: Vintage / Lipstick: Axiology
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Thank you Lauren Greve for the photography

– Tiara

Blushing Blooms

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My favourite time of the year is when all of the trees and bushes are in full bloom. They look incredible – but I adore the aroma that the flowers give off the most. I wish the flowers lasted all summer long, but I figured why not dress like it all summer long?
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Shirt: Stay / Jacket: Levi’s / Jeans: Zara / Shoes: Winners / Necklace: Soulfari / First Ring: vintage (my grandmother’s) / Second Ring: Hunt of Hounds / Purse: designed and handmade in Bergen by Vanja Knezic /
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– Tiara

Seeing Flåm

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Hello from Flåm, Norway! I decided to take a solo trip to Norway for 10 days to treat myself because I worked really hard and had a really stressful third year of university. So here I am in Flåm – taking in all of these wonderful views with the help from my glasses from Glasses USA (because we all know that I am practically blind). These glasses help me to feel a little more hip, which is a godsend because everyone in Norway is SO stylish. Here are some photos of my adventures to and around Flåm!

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Glasses: Stepper frames from Glasses USA / Sweater: Value Village / Jean Jacket: Levi’s / Jacket: Steve Madden / Jeans: Levi’s / Shoes: Scarpa / Necklace: Audaviv

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My apartment in Flåm

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Hope you enjoyed seeing what I am seeing, with the help from these lovely frames! Here’s to going on spontaneous adventures!

– Tiara

The Jean Dress

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I drove out to this location after a thundershower – how beautiful is this scenery! We must push to preserve land like this from being covered with cement. When I first saw this vintage jean dress, I did not see it as a dress, instead I envisioned it as a cardigan. I put this ensemble together in my head, and I ended up really liking how it turned out.  All the jewelry I am wearing is locally made either in Saskatoon or within Canada! I’ve really been into layering denim lately – it creates such a unique look.
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Jean Dress: vintage
Crop TopAritzia
JeansCalvin Klein
Shoes: Franco Sarto (similar)
Backpack: Indigo (similar)
Antler Necklace & ChokerArtifacts
Amethyst NecklaceSoulfari
BraceletMichelle Ross
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– Tiara