These are a Few of My Favorite Things
I had a breast cancer scare in early 2015. My right breast was aching one morning at work while sitting at my desk. Naturally, I touched the place of pain, near my armpit but still atop the breast in an effort to soothe the discomfort. I immediately felt a lump. Remaining calm, I touched the left side to see if they were symmetrical. Yes, I was giving myself a discreet breast exam at work. Surely, if both sides had the same lump, then it was just a lymph node or something, I told myself. The left side did not feel the same as the right side.
I made a doctor’s appointment. My maternal grandmother had breast cancer twice and beat it twice. I wasn’t about to take any chances. My doctor felt the same lump I did and promptly scheduled a mammogram for me. Turned out, I have really dense breasts, which could leave me more prone to breast cancer in the future. Thankfully, though, the lump we were feeling was a swollen lymph node likely due to the type of deodorant I was using, my doctor suggested. The crazy part is that I had been using the same deodorant for years since my pits reached that lovely time as an adolescent known as puberty.
I began researching natural deodorants. Tom’s didn’t appeal to me in the least – I bought a stick and it just did not do the trick. By day’s end, I smelled like a locker room inhabited by fourteen-year-old boys. I read countless Amazon reviews on a variety of brands, asked around, and made an impromptu visit to the local Sephora. It was there that I bought a sample size of Lavanila’s “The Healthy Deodorant” in vanilla scent. I loved it! I have since tried their seasonal scent, vanilla snowberry, and my current favorite, vanilla blackberry. I’ve loved them all. I do have to reapply at least once during the course of the day but I don’t mind because the scents are so heavenly and fresh. Lavanila deodorant is aluminum and paraben-free! Best of all, they don’t test on animals!
It can be very difficult to live a completely cruelty-free, paraben-free, all natural, non-toxic, and so forth and so on – you get the picture – life! I basically do what I can, people. I live as consciously as my sanity and my wallet will allow. This brings me to my next favorite product – Natrol’s 10,000mcg biotin.
I often take product advice with a grain of salt, sometimes dependent upon the source. But, when a well-dressed, well-groomed, eighty-some-year-old, intelligent gay man tells you that biotin is the solution for your brittle, peeling nails, you take heed. And I’ve never looked back. 10,000mcg is the highest dosage I have seen this come in and it’s the one I prefer. I don’t even refer to my nails as nails anymore. I refer to them as claws. If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or pescetarian, be wary of capsules made with gelatin. Gelatin is a protein matter gained by boiling a mixture of water and the skin, bones, and tendons of animals.
On that note, let’s talk about hair! My hair has gone through so many different phases. Its texture has changed with age and sometimes it’s oily and sometimes it’s dry. I used to be able to go days without shampooing. I shampoo almost every single day now. If I don’t – I get very oily hair. I began using a few drops of castor oil in my shampoo to combat dryness and damage awhile back and also because someone told me that it aids in hair growth. I wasn’t able to use it long enough to find out about the growth part before my hair became extremely oily. Enter Apple Cider Vinegar and Avalon Organics clarifying shampoo.
Awaiting the arrival of my new Avalon Organics shampoo/conditioner duo, I needed a quick fix. A bit of apple cider vinegar and baking soda worked their magic as a cleanser and clarifier. Who knew the ingredient I put in my homemade smoothies was also a good and natural remedy?
My clarifying lemon shampoo from Avalon Organics arrived a day or so after my homemade hair cleanser. It’s the best clarifying shampoo out there, especially for my bipolar hair. I rarely need to use the conditioner. I use the shampoo every day and don’t feel like it weighs my hair down in the least bit. Plus, it smells refreshing and again, cruelty-free!
Truth be told, my hair probably leans toward the oily side but because I apply so much heat to it, it tends to become dry and damaged. Split ends remind me of Medusa, two snakes forming out of one follicle. I don’t fancy looking like a mythological monster, so I recently began using Not Your Mother’s “Beat the Heat” thermal shield spray infused with sunflower and vitamins A and E. I opted for this brand, in particular, because they do not test on animals. It has come in handy when using the flat iron, curling iron, or the blow dryer. Sometimes I just spray it on my hair for the hell of it because it smells heavenly.
I was having dinner with a fellow vegetarian friend of mine one night when we got into a conversation about beauty products. She was gushing about using witch hazel as a toner. She’s fifty years old with fabulous looking skin so, naturally, my thirty-two-year-old self researched the best alcohol-free witch hazel out there. I stumbled upon Thayer’s infused with Aloe Vera. I’m currently using their lavender version but I must endorse the rose petal. I use it morning before applying my makeup and night before going to bed.
Almost done – I promise! I like ashy skin, said no one ever. This past winter, my skin was thirsty. I have eczema so if I do not hydrate my skin, the eczema will rear its nasty, red, unsightly head. I wanted something fragrance free, cruelty free, affordable, and as natural as body lotion can get. After weeks of research, I took a chance on BWC’s premium botanical lotion. BWC stands for “Beauty Without Cruelty.” It’s 100% vegan-vegetarian as stated on their bottle and I am not disappointed. I apply the scent-free lotion and I’m still able to spray on my desires perfume after.
“I like ashy skin,” said no one ever.
This brings me to my final favorite thing – my desired perfume! Last December, my best friend gifted me with some perfume. It came in a 1oz glass bottle packaged in a beautiful black box with a gold, foiled Egyptian pharaoh on the front. As if the attractive packaging wasn’t enough, the fragrant mix of iris, bergamot, vetiver, and musk from Spitfire Girl’s potion collection had me inhaling its aromas in complete reverie. I recently ran out and cannot wait to fetch me some more of this wonderful eau de parfum!
If any of my readers would like to share some of their personal favorite things, please feel free. I would love to hear from you! The first reader to sign up to follow The Road Linds Travels and then comment on this blog post with their favorite thing will receive Thayer’s witch hazel toner in rose petal directly from yours truly.