Monday, February 10, 2020

The Epilepsy Effect: My Story

I am writing this post on February 7th which means we are only three days away from International Epilepsy Day (the day this post will go live). I always do my best to post on Facebook during November because that is Epilepsy Awareness Month, but I've never actually done anything to recognize International Epilepsy Day. There are so many things that I could say and would like to say about epilepsy, in fact in 2016 I wrote a post on here that I titled The Epilepsy Effect. I talked about all of the hurtful and insensitive comments that people have made over the years and how I felt about that but I never really touched on what it's like to have epilepsy. I never touched on the fact that it comes with limitations, a huge set of emotions, and feeling like no one can ever understand what you're going through. Today I want to be completely open and talk about my life with epilepsy.

Having epilepsy is scary and sadly it's also somewhat of a taboo which is why it's harder to talk about or even tell people that you have it. I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was eight years old and am now getting close to being three years seizure free which blows my freaking mind! When I wrote the first part of this post, I was having seizures about every other week (that had been my seizure schedule since probably middle school) and a few months before I wrote that post, I had just finished testing to find out if I was a candidate for brain surgery. A few months after I wrote the post, I was put on a new medicine that actually caused me to have seizures more frequently. Long story short, I was taken off of that medicine and put on the one that has now blessed me with no seizures.

It took 13 years for me to reach the point of being seizure free and that felt like the longest journey I have ever been on. Of course I had the love and support of my family and friends but there were also people who weren't so accepting and would make jokes about it which really definitely did take a toll on me. Just like any other teenager, I didn't like that I was "different", I hated that I couldn't participate in certain activities that my friends could, I hated that I couldn't drive, I hated that I had trouble with school, but most of all I hated that I didn't have anyone who understood what it was like to have epilepsy. People will say "I get it" (keep in mind that I know when people say that it is coming from a good place) but no one can actually get it unless they have it.

I now do feel more at peace with the fact that I have epilepsy and I think that in a weird way it has shaped parts of who I am. When I became seizure free that came with another set of challenges. I was now able to get a job and I was eligible to get a learners permit. Getting a job wasn't a huge challenge, what's a challenge is deciding whether or not to tell anyone that I do have epilepsy. That's a choice that I still struggle with and it's far from easy. While I do feel better with at least one person around me knowing, I don't want people to think of me as just "Alison the girl who has epilepsy". I want people to get to know the real me.

The being able to drive thing became more of an emotional thing. Since I was 13 years old I had been told that I would never be able to drive so I would have to rely on those around me or public transportation. Relying on others for transportation became my normal and I never realized how much that would actually hurt me. Even though I am now eligible to get a learners permit I have chosen not to because I'm not ready for that. This is something that so many people have brought up and it really gets to me. I get so defensive because no one can understand why it's a difficult decision for me and how the only thing I can think about when I do think about driving is the fact that I could have a seizure while driving and end up hurting someone. It's a horrible way to think and I wish I didn't think like that but I do and it's something that I'm going to have to find a way to deal with and overcome.

Last year I read a book called A Mind Unraveled by Kurt Eichenwald. It's an amazing book and if you haven't read it then please do because it really will give you at least somewhat of an understanding of what living with epilepsy is like. He talks about how he was told to hide the fact that he has epilepsy (sadly this is something that most people, myself included, are told), how a neurologist kept telling him that he didn't actually have epilepsy and that it was all in his head, how he was forced out of college, and how he was fired from his job all because of his epilepsy. Reading this book felt like I had a friend who just finally understood everything which is all I've ever wanted and I felt like I wasn't so alone anymore.

I know that this post was very long and if you got to this point then I applaud you because it's a lot. I'm hoping at some point to make a part three to this but if I do then I'm going to save it for a time when I really need to talk about it or want to raise more awareness. Hopefully I'll soon post something that's a bit happier but until then I hope that this post helped at least one person. My goal when posting anything about epilepsy is to help people. I don't feel sorry for myself and that is something that I can not stress enough. Life is too short to spend feeling sorry for myself for having a medical condition. I can either feel sorry for myself or live with this in the best way possible and be grateful that I'm able to live the life that I have. Good news is that I'll always choose to be grateful for this life that I've been blessed with. Happy International Epilepsy Day!
Saturday, November 24, 2018

Is FabFitFun Worth It? Winter 2018 Box

Christmas has come early this year! What do I mean by that? Well yesterday I received my Winter 2018 FabFitFun box. This is by far my favorite subscription box. Each box contains 8 to 9 full size products with each box valued at $200+. If you have a seasonal subscription then you will pay $49.99 four times a year and you'll be able to customize certain items in your box. If you have a select subscription then you will pay $179 for four boxes, for example I switched from the seasonal to the select subscription last month and paid the $179 so now I won't have to pay again until the Winter 2019 box. With the select subscription you also get to customize your entire box! Now I'm going to stop my rambling and go over what I received in the Winter 2018 FabFitFun box.

I'll start out with the item that I was most excited for which is the Mark & Graham Colorblock Throw blanket. You could have gotten this in either Gray/Ivory or Natural/Ivory. As you can see I chose the Gray/Ivory and I'm so glad that I did. This is so soft and cozy I just want to cuddle up with it all night long! Believe it or not, this throw retails for $49 so just this item covers the cost of the box. Select members had the ability to chose which color they wanted.

Another item that I chose for my box was this headband and pop-top glove duo. This is made by the company BearPaw. I really needed some ear warmers and some gloves so I was super excited to see these as an option. I've already tried these on (see picture at the end of this post) and they are so warm and soft. I love that FabFitFun introduces me to brands that I wouldn't normally try. This combo set retails for $45. Seasonal and Select members were able to choose between this and the Moroccan Gold Series Treatment Mask ($49).

Jewelry isn't something that I buy a lot of. I would much rather spend my money on clothes or makeup, but when I saw this necklace I thought why not. I really love the simplistic design and it's not too flashy. I haven't tried it on yet but since it's silver and it's simple, i'm sure that i'll be able to wear it a lot. This retails for $49. Select and Seasonal members were able to choose between this LeLe Sadoughi Silver Circle Necklace, Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo ($44), and the H Halston Jewelry Portfolio ($48).

This item I chose is the PUR Be Your Selfie eyeshadow palette. I love makeup so obviously when I saw that an eyeshadow palette was an option I selected it without even giving the other two items a second thought. The palette has four matte shadows and five shimmer shadows which is the perfect mix for me. I'm really loving more purple shadows right now so I'm very excited to try this out. This palette retails for $36. Select and Seasonal members were able to choose between this eyeshadow palette, Sherrie Matthews Acupuncture Jade Stone Roller ($45), and Richer Poorer Reina Over the Knee Textured Socks ($24).

Now we're getting into the items that only Select members were able to customize. These items were actually one of the mystery items this season. I am in love with Spongelle so I almost started jumping up and down when I saw this in my box. I received a Spongelle body buffer in my Spring Edit box and I loved it so much (that's how I was introduced to the brand). I can't wait to try this scent. The second item also got me really hyped up because I have a mascara obsession and I've been wanting to try something from Doucce. I wore the mascara today and I thought that it did add some volume to my lashes. The other products that Select members could have chosen from were the BiteBeauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in the shade Meringue ($26), Chic & Tonic I'll Coast to That! 4 piece coaster set ($18), the Brooke Burke Body Sliders ($18), or a mystery item with an unknown price value. Seasonal members did not have the chance to receive the mystery item and did get to choose.

I've never been the type of person who loves oils but I took the plunge and chose these Way of Will Elevate Essential Oil Set which includes Sweet Orange and Eucalyptus. When I read the description of these I knew that I needed to have it in my box. Sweet Orange helps ease stomach cramps and headaches while Eucalyptus helps with sore muscles (my feet after work) and cold symptoms. This set retails for $31. The other option was the Anthropologie x Mer-Sea & Co. Sea Whip Body Cream ($24). This was another item where only Select members got to choose.

We've finally gotten into the products that come in everyones box. Each box comes with a few items that everyone will receive. This time one of those products was the Ahava Hydration Cream Mask ($33). This mask is supposed to provide intense hydration which is exactly what my skin needs this time of year. My skin is basically like a desert this time of the year. You can leave the mask on for 3 minutes or overnight if you prefer. The Ahava hand cream comes in the FabFitFun starter boxes.

I've heard some pretty good things about Blaq and I enjoy the occasional eye mask so this was a win-win situation. These hydrogel eye masks are infused with hyaluronic acid and activated charcoal. They are supposed to help detox and de-puff so we'll see if they can make my under eyes look fabulous for winter. My favorite part is that this is a pack of five so you won't run out of them quickly. These retail for $29.

The last item that everyone received is this eye brightener from Thrive Cosmetics. I've never used an eye brightener before but I have used highlighters and I would classify this as a highlighting pencil. It is a beautiful champagne shade that looks so beautiful. I tested it out on my mom first (she also receives FabFitFun boxes) and it really brightened up her eyes. With my pencil I've only tested it out on the back of my hand to see if it would show up since it's pretty subtle and my skin is very fair. To my surprise it actually showed up! So to my fair skinned ladies out there, we now have an eye brightener that works. This retails for $24.

Overall the total price of my box was $321. That's pretty great for only paying $179 for four boxes valued at over $200+. I do have three starter boxes to give away so if you'd like to try FabFitFun yourself, send me a message on Instagram. Here a couple of pictures of me with these items for your own enjoyment.

Friday, March 9, 2018

My DevaCurl Favorites

 Hey everyone! My hair has never looked or felt better than it has now and I'm finally learning more about my curls which is why I am going to be telling you about the hair care line that jump started it all. The hair care line that brought me on my curly hair journey is DevaCurl. If you haven't heard of DevaCurl then you either don't have curly hair or you've been living under a rock. DevaCurl is the best line for curly hair. It is definitely on the more pricey side but it is completely worth it.

I have three DevaCurl staples in my hair care routine right now. For cleansing I use the DevaCurl Low-Poo, for conditioning I use the DevaCurl One Condition, for styling right after a shower I use the DevaCurl Arc Angel Gel, and for non wash days I use the DevaCurl Set It Free spray.
Friday, March 2, 2018

St. Ives Sheet Masks

Hi everyone! I can't believe that it has been so long since I posted on this blog. Time really does fly when you're busy with work and school. I was stuck in a bit of a rut for a while thinking about what to post until a few days ago when Influenster sent me three St. Ives sheet masks complimentary in exchange for a review. I was so excited to try these masks out that I opened one before I even started taking pictures for this review! I haven't used a St. Ives product before but I had heard good things about the brand so I wasn't so hesitant to try out these masks.

Now let me tell you about the masks. There were three masks, one soothing mask, one revitalizing mask, and one glowing mask. The directions on the back of each mask state to leave the mask on for 10 minutes, take it off and throw it in the trash, and then rub whatever is left on your face into your skin. So now here are my reviews on each mask.
Friday, September 8, 2017

Ulta Silicone Sponge vs Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

Hi everyone! It has been quite a while since I have done a comparison post here on my blog, so I decided to do one today. Recently I was watching some beauty gurus on YouTube test out the SiliSponge. I have seen this trend going around now for about a year or so and I was never able to get into it until now. Today I went to Ulta and purchased their silicone sponge and I decided to test it against my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. I really love the Miracle Complexion Sponge and use it quite frequently. Now here are my thoughts on these sponges.

Monday, August 21, 2017

My AncestryDNA

Hi everyone! Sorry that I haven't been posting anything lately. After my sisters wedding at the end of June, I fell down some stairs and was immobile for the month of July which meant that I wasn't able to take any pictures for this blog. Whenever I post anything new I love to include pictures to make sure everyone knows what I'm talking about. Today's post isn't going to be beauty related. Instead I am going to tell you a bit more about myself.

A lot of people who know me very well will know that I have been researching my family history since I was 15. That is 6 years of me digging up facts about a crazy amount of people. Researching my family history is one of my favorite things to do. I love finding out new information because it all tells the story of my family and how we got to where we are. Obviously I'm not going to sit here and tell you about every single person in my family tree (that would take way too long). I am instead going to tell you about the DNA test that I took a few weeks ago.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Top 4 Perfumes

Hi everyone! I have another beauty post for you today but this one isn't about any makeup products, it's about my favorite perfumes. I have tried many perfumes over the years so it was actually pretty hard for me to choose just four of them. Let's face it, when it comes to beauty products it's always hard for me to limit myself to a certain number of products. I hope that you enjoy this post!