The Emerging Me

There are many people, like myself, who believe we change every 7 years. (click here for more detailed information on this) The point is that who we are at any one point in our lives is not who we will be forever. We are constantly evolving and hopefully for the better. It is not healthy for us to remain static. Who we are at 17 is not the person we are meant to be at 30 or 40. However, there are some people that do not like change and cling for dear life to their old and comfortable ways. These people may feel frustrated, fearful, anxious, unhappy, stuck in a rut (because they are), or may become emotionally stunted. We need change to grow. We must step outside our comfort zone in order to learn and evolve along this journey we call life.

These changes can be emotional, physical, appearance, career, relationships, location, etc. I personally have had a series of careers that have created a beautiful journey to where I am now. Physically my body, hair, face, and skin are different and continue to change as I age, requiring me to change how I care for myself, season by season.

JeffKim copyOne of the things that has been on the forefront of my mind lately is how I am changing internally and how that feels and looks externally (fashion-wise). I am not very fashion conscious, preferring to be comfortable over fashionable, but I still want to wear clothes that are flattering (as much as I can and still be comfortable).  In the past, I tended to dress pretty conservatively. I have mostly plain sold shirts and simple bottoms. However, this part of me is changing too. I still love the classic Ann Taylor tailored look but I am also drawn to some aspects of the free flowing bohemian look, the sporty look, a sexier style, and/or a more casual whatever goes look. I want to rock my flirty, feminine side and my tough, sensible or rock ‘n roll sides.  I want to feel carefree while at the same time the responsible, hardworking, dependable me.  We all have these different sides to us and I think it’s important to honor them, in whatever way we are comfortable.

Because my body is changing with age and hormones, I have to find new brands and styles that fit this new body and this “new” me that is also emerging. In the process, I guess I am also re-defining my style. As I re-enter the workforce, I find myself being drawn automatically back to the more classic business casual look but wanting to add some flare and personality. I have even starting purchasing patterns….ooooooh! I find myself mixing different styles and wondering if I look silly or if am presenting as a confused style bomb. I do believe clothes can be an outward expression of what’s going on internally. Since I am in the middle of a lot of change…confused…well, yes I am.

So it may not seem weird to people who dont know me that I show up in designer pants, a cheap Old Navy shirt or consignment shop designer shirt, mala prayer beads, diamond earrings, strapped with a FitBit, and orthotic sandals. To them, this is Kim. To me, and maybe those that have known me awhile, this the confused evolving new Kim who is still figuring it all out. I also may or may not do my hair and wear make-up all the time, as this all depends on my mood too.  But this is who I am. I am mood-driven and ever changing. I am somewhat fashionably conservative, spiritual, nature-based, lazy, sporty, with falling arches and growing bunions, who cares and does not care all at the same time.

I remember Iris Apfel, the 93 year old fashion icon, recently saying something about taking fashion risks and allowing your creativity to be your guide. In her mind, there are no rules….”more is more” and she is the queen of more. Do what you like. Own your style. After this, I started thinking about my fear of taking fashion risks, which was really just an attempt to avoid being judged.

So now, when I get dressed in the morning I try to dress according to what moves me and not what others may think. This is hard for me, to rid myself of self-judgement. At 45, I am trying to say to myself…”let them judge” and “if they are going to judge me, who cares what they think”.

Recently, I took a major step in that direction when I got my nose pierced. I LOVE IT! I don’t regret one minute of it. I am so proud of myself for not allowing fear of judgement to stop me from doing this. Every time I look at it, I am reminded that this new Kim is in the house!

I am going to emerge the woman I am becoming, free from judgement and free from doubt; confusion and all.

I am a freaking 45 year old woman….hear me freaking roar!

 

Long Hair Tip

_MG_6388-EditSo today I have a hair care tip to share. You know how they say you shouldn’t wash your hair everyday? Well, I am one of those people who can only skip one day before my roots get greasy and my scalp breaks out. However, the ends of my hair get dried out.

If this is also you…keep reading.

I saw a something that said just wash your scalp and condition your ends occaisonally. Do you know how hard that is if you don’t have mile long hair? Mine is pretty long and its hard.

Here is what my awesome hairdresser, Erica, suggested….put conditioner on your ends before you attempt to wash your scalp and roots. It will help to prevent the shampoo from stripping your roots. You know what…it works!

Also, my Ayurveda friends recommend putting natural oils, like Argon, Vata, Pitta, Sesame or Olive Oil, or whatever fits your constitution. You can massage into the ends of your hair before bedtime. Then in the morning, wash as normal or I sometimes try to wash my scalp and only mildly wash the ends so the oil is not completely washed out – just the excess. This also works great!

Try these suggestions. Play with them a little. As we get older our hair naturally gets drier and all the products women use can strip our hair of natural oils.

One more thing….drink lots of water!

 

 

Micellar Water

I wanna talk about Micellar Water. What’s micellar water? Well, from what I understand it is the best thing since sliced toast. Just kidding. It’s a face cleanser, toner, and mild moisturizer all in one. Supposedly, it is all the rave in France and is part of the reason for their apparently beautiful skin. Now I know nothing about French women and their skin but I am always willing to try something new. So I did.

IMG_1874 copyThere are many different brands and versions of this new skin fad. I chose to purchase the brand Simple at Target or on Amazon because it was inexpensive and claimed to be good for sensitive skin.  The basic premise is that the ingredients combined with a simple cotton ball or pad swiped gently around your face will remove dirt and make-up and leave your skin clean, fresh and hydrated. There is no rinsing.

List of the best brands of micellar water according to Vogue. Check out

Currently, I have a routine of Dr Hauschka and Pai Skincare products that I really like for my dry and sensitive skin but the summer gets tricky for me because of the humidity. I tend to break out like a hormonal teen because of it. So I followed my regular night time cleansing routine but used the Simple micellar water in the morning and then once or twice during the day. My skin definitely improved. Being able to easily clean my face during the hot humid day really reduced my break-outs and that greasy feeling that humidity can bring on. Because there was no rinsing involved, I could clean my face anywhere…at the beach, in the car, at work….etc.

I have to tell you that I have very sensitive skin and cannot use a lot of products. This product by Simple did not bother me. I really liked it. I am not sure how well it will work for me in the winter when my skin is very dry but I will try and see. It will definitely be a part of my summer routine. I have read that it may not be ideal for people with very oily skin but it’s worth a shot.

Now the best part…  You make micellar water at home. (See ingredients below) Since I know that I like it, I will definitely try this because I do not like to use some of the ingredients found in commercial products. Doing it myself, allows me to tailor it to my needs and the ingredients that work best for me.  If you are interested, check out this article on XOvain.com which list ingredients (as seen below) as well as a step-by-step guide on how to make your own custom-made micellar water.

Want to know more about how micellar works? Check out this article on Lab Muffin or just google it. There are lots of articles on it.

Here’s What You Need To Make Your Own Micellar Water by XOVain

  • Lecithin (soy or sunflower work well)
  • Oil (must be liquid at room temp)
  • Face wash of choice
  • Glycerin
  • Heated distilled water (not boiling)
  • Optional water-based ingredients (hydrosols work well here, including rosewater and witch hazel)
  • Non-metal mixing bowl
  • Non-metal stirring implement
  • Measuring jigger
  • Measuring spoons (⅛ tsp., ½ tsp.)
  • Funnel
  • Bottle to store formula (at least 16 oz.)

The Evolving Human Brain

Last week I watched a 15 minute TedTalk by Juan Enriquez entitled “Will our kids be a different species?“.  According to his bio, “Mr. Enriquez, bestselling author, businessman, and academic, is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the economic and political impacts of life sciences.” In this video, he brings up the rising prevalence of Autism and that the increase is so great that it cannot be a coincidence. Something is driving it. This, I think is something we can all agree.

Some have linked the increase in autism to vaccines and other environmental causes and I am sure there is validity in this. BUT Mr. Enriquez premises that autism, and I would argue other brain changes such as ADHD, is the brain evolving right in front of our eyes. Our lives are no longer about survival in the traditional sense. Therefore, our brains do not have to worry about predators and initiating a flight or fight response as they were initially created to do.  I would think that this has to impact our brains somehow.

Now add in technology and the speed in which we gather data and in which are brains are exposed to digital information.  Maybe these autism and ADHD-type diagnoses are really just the brain adapting to the new way we live and receive information. Maybe these brains are just really ahead of the game, which is only unfortunate right now because our education system isn’t really set up for these types of learners and we don’t know enough about it. But what an opportunity! There is a real opportunity to develop an academic setting where these types of brains thrive, I mean really thrive!

So I would suggest these types of traits are probably caused by multiple environmental factors that are affecting our genetic output; not just vaccines or diet or technological advancements but all of these things are quite possibly having an effect. Without more research, we will never know.

However, if you accept these premises as true, then what some may consider to be abnormalities or disorders may really be the next generation of humans….the more highly evolved human. They may be the ones that are most able to take advantage of where technology is leading us. It’s a very interesting thought. Our species may be evolving and branching out right in front of our eyes. That is super cool!

So I would encourage that we change how we view people, especially children, with these conditions. They may actually hold the key to our future. As long as technology keeps heading down this super fast highway, our brains are going to continue to evolve to accommodate all that information and speed.  Human must be able to adapt with and to it.

Such an interesting subject to keep an eye on.

Grasshopper

Today I was sitting in the hammock when a grasshopper jumped on my shoulder and visited with me for awhile. My husband said he thought grasshoppers meant good luck in chinese culture. I do know that Native American culture believes all animals bring us messages. When an animal makes an unusual appearance in your life, it is time to listen and take note of their message.

Here is the Grasshopper’s message, according to the website www.spirit-animals.com:

If Grasshopper has sprung into your life;
You are being asked to take a leap of faith. Just go ahead and do it without knowing the outcome. Usually this is something that you have been avoided doing and is often linked to a large scale change in direction. This can be a change in relationship, career or a change in yourself. Know that you have the wisdom that you need to get past any obstacles in an efficient manner. For the most part all possible outcomes will be positive.

This is so perfect for me right now. This is exactly how I am feeling and what I have been talking to my friends and family about. I am headed into a new endeavor that I never planned on having but all the stars aligned and it feels right. The kicker is that I really have no idea where it will take me. I do not know what I will do at the end of this experience/education. However, I am truly comfortable in this not-knowing. I am ready to enjoy the ride and see where it goes.

It’s just such an odd sensation for me not to have a plan or definitive goal, other than just finishing what I started. But I know it will all work out.

For more information about the Grasshopper click here.

Image from Spirit Animal Totems

Image from Spirit Animal Totems

Additional Associations for Grasshopper

Good Omen

Luck

Intuition

Opportunistic

Patience

Leap of Faith

Patience

Moving Forward

Taking Chances

Courage

Achievement

New Leaps Forward

Motivation

Surrounding yourself with good people

“A good support network of friends and/or family helps too.  I could never have made it through some of my tough times without my husband and my dear friends. Who you surround yourself with does matter. So surround yourself with good, positive people who raise you up and help you be the person you really want to be, not who others think you should be.”

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I started this post back in June but didn’t have the time, heart, or whatever I needed to complete it until today. Last night, I spent a quiet, relaxing night with friends. After a long work week, Friday nights can be tough. All I want to do is relax at home. But there are some people in my life that I can be with and still relax at that level. Hanging with them is like sitting at home. I can hang out in my pj’s, no make-up needed, no fancy food, no entertaining required; just a simple relationship.

What’s nice about these comfortable and supportive relationships is that there is no drama, no work. These friends accept you for who you are, faults and all.  There is mutual caring, mutual sharing, laughs, acceptance, and a true level of connection. With these friends, you can just hang out and be yourself.

Humans are social animals and need social connections. Some may only need/want a couple special friends, while others thrive on a larger circle of friends. Either way, I think it is important to have these types of soul-filled connections mixed into your life. These special friends also don’t have to be friends you have known for a long time, it can be someone you just met. I know I have friends that I felt a deep connection to on our first meeting. These are those special friendships that feel like connections of the soul; like finding a long-lost friend.

Whether you are a social butterfly who enjoys all sorts of relationships or the private person who is fine with just a small group of friends, it’s important to surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself. People who tear you down, are insensitive, selfish, social climbers that compete with you, or stab in you the back are not good for your soul. Those type of relationships are work and only seek to wear down your self-esteem and steal your energy. Are they really worth it? I don’t think so; not for me.

It is okay not to attend a social event if you feel uncomfortable or know you will find your energy drained. It does not necessarily mean the person/people are not good but the situation may not good for you. Before I attend any party or event, I ask stop and ask myself if I really want to go. Sometimes it’s yes, sometimes it’s no. It may have more to do with me at that moment than the party itself. I listen to my heart and my gut. Does the question elicit a tightening or a relaxation response.  When I go to something in spite of my instincts saying don’t go, I always end up regretting my decision. So I am trying to listen to my instincts more and avoid situations that will leave me feeling drained, for whatever reason. I never regret listening to my inner voice or my body.

Life is short, our free time is short. Some of us just have limited energy and need to pick and choose what we can spend that energy on. This may mean less social engagements but it can mean more meaningful engagements. Some of us may have lots of energy and love being surrounded by people all the time. There is no wrong way if it brings you happiness.

Surround yourself with good people who feed and support your soul. ❤

 

The Career Path

 

IMG_1801-EditAs you may know, I am heading back into the working woman’s world after 12 years of being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). The skills needed to be a success in the working world definitely come more naturally to me. Staying home was not easy for me and required that I change how I interact with and perceive my world. This transition was not an easy adjustment but I worked really hard on getting better at it. I feel like just as I am getting good at this SAHM thing, I am leaving it to return to the Working Mom World.  I am hopeful this transition will be relatively painless and that I can find the balance I thrive on. I know it won’t be easy but this next step in my life is important to me.

So many women have asked how I decided on a career choice. All I can say is that it was a journey. Here is my advice:

Background: Before kids, I worked in the healthcare and the veterinary fields. During my SAHM stint, I started a part time photography based business and volunteered… a lot. Although I wanted to be with my children, I really needed to maintain my sense of self and direction.  My brain needed the stimulation. During these 12 years, I had many ideas of what I wanted to do with my future. I was in a prime spot to take classes, especially with the introduction of online classes. But I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So how did I settle on becoming a health educator? How can you find your passion?

Keep a journal: From day one, I started keeping a list of all the careers I might like to do. The final 50+ item list consisted of things I was experiencing at the moment and included jobs like: Montessori teacher, psychologist, photographer, writer, doctor, entrepreneur, actuary, business analyst, physical therapist, naturopathic doctor, and medical engineer. As you can tell, most of these require lots of additional schooling and money so that wasn’t going to fly. Although I still would love to do many of these things, my commitment to them is not strong enough to spend the time and money, not with kids heading to college soon.

Get to know yourself: I think it is important to get to know yourself, well. What are your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes. What are you passionate about? Why are passionate about them? What type of things are important to you? What type of things are not important to you? Are you willing to go back to school? Do you have some traits or emotional baggage that you need to work on first? Do you like a 9-to-5 job or flexible schedule? With what type of personalities do you work best? Do you want to work alone or on a team? Do you like consistency or do you thrive on change? How well do you work with others? What is in your heart? If asked what you want to do, what is the first thing that pops into your head?

Take personality tests: I know this sounds crazy but you can learn about yourself by taking personality tests. Not those Facebook ones, but reputable ones or ones that align with your beliefs. For instance, in the 1990’s, I took a career interest test in a therapist’s office. Back then, there were no career counseling coaches. At that time, it said my interests aligned most with being an actuary. I did end up working in an acuarial department and really liked it but that was then, this is now. I am different and so I needed a more up to date inventory of myself. I have also taken the Myers-Briggs and “What Color is Your Aura” tests. By the way, the Aura color test I took was in the book “Life Colors: What Color is Your Aura” by Pamala Oslie. I am not sure about all the online tests but if you are drawn to that, go for it. Have fun exploring yourself…honestly exploring yourself. The more you know yourself, the better decisions you can make on your own behalf.

Take a career test: One of the most helpful tools I used to find my new career was the MAPP career test at www.assessment.com. After taking the test, you get a few basic ideas but do need to pay for more in depth information and carreer support. I think I purchased the lowest level which got me 5-10 careers in different categories. I then was able to get more details on a couple of those. There were some avenues I knew I could throw out so that helped to narrow things down. This is where I found Health Educator. I have never heard of this as an actual profession. I was then able to dig into the career growth potentials, education requirements, certifications/credentialing, and opportunities.

Hire a Professional: There are Life Coaches, Career Coaches, and Career Counselors that can help you with your goals. You may find the relationship and personal guidance very helpful. Life Coaches have skills and tools that are aimed towards helping people identify and achieve personal goals. They may or may not be licensed professional therapists. A Career Coach focus on work and career goals. While a Career Counselor tends to be a professionally licensed therapist (LISCW, Psychologist, etc) who specializes in career and work counseling.

Once I found the Health Educator (CHES) career and thought this could really work for me, it took a couple years to research and really sit with this decision. I eventually found an online degree that worked for me and that I could afford and the rest is history. Everything seemed to work out…that’s when you know it’s right.

When I look back, what I realize is that this new career encompasses all that I have done in my past “lives” and includes bits of those other career choices that I have always been drawn to. It has aspects of medicine, healthcare, pyschology, sociology, analytics, it’s process-oriented, requires good interpersonal communication skills, and requires some level of creativity. My life has sort of come full circle. There were no wrong ways, no mistakes. All that I experienced and learned was part of my path.

Now, the journey isn’t ever over. My career will continue to evolve and may or may not look like what I originally envisioned. That’s part of the fun of life. It is never boring! However, I know am headed somewhere that feels right for me.

Enjoy finding your passion and your place.

You never know where it will lead.

 

Healthy (peri) Menopause

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If you are a woman in your 40’s or 50’s, you may be starting to experience some changes to your womanly rhythms. It is around these ages that reproductive hormones in a woman’s body naturally start to decline. This process of changing is called perimenopause, the time around menopause. Menopause is when the body stops menstruating for 12 months. Prior to that the body is in the process of transitioning.

Some women may experience or notice symptoms earlier than others. Just because you don’t notice anything, doesn’t mean your body isn’t going through some subtle changes. Some say perimenopause starts 4-5 years before the onset of menopause. This is contrary to what I have been told. Perimenopause, from my understanding, can go on for awhile and you may not even notice right away. No two women are the same.

What are some of the symptoms of perimenopause?

1. mood swings

2. hot flashes

3. irregular periods

4. cognitive problems

5. low libido

6. vaginal dryness

To read more about these symptoms, click HERE to go to the Mayo Clinic’s website.

When should you see a doctor? According to the Mayo Clinic…

  • Bleeding is extremely heavy — you’re changing tampons or pads every hour or two for two or more hours
  • Bleeding lasts longer than seven days
  • Bleeding occurs between periods
  • Periods regularly occur less than 21 days apart

There are lots of things you can do for normal perimenopause symptoms. Remember that this is a natural progression, your body has to go through this change. I think the best way to approach this situation is in a supportive and nurturing way. Help your body get through the process. Don’t try to avoid or mask it. It’s not shameful. Yes, it is annoying but it’s a part of being a woman.

So, perimenopause for me so far is a series of bipolar periods and the occasional night sweats. (I may or may not be moody, crazy, and forgetful; you would have to ask my family) I normally have a 25/26 day cycle. Now, I can go from 42 days to 17 or 19 days. I call it my Emoji Swing (a tribute to the extreme blood sugar swings in diabetics).  In order to help my body settle down, I support it with my diet, natural herbs and tonics. I drink raspberry leaf tea (which helps tonify the uterus) and take Herb Pharm’s Healthy Menopause Tonic now called Menopause Health.

This tonic is not going to make your symptoms go away but it does help support the body and helps to bring it back to a more normal rhythm, or closer to baseline.  I usually only take it for a couple days. My nutritionist had me take it once for 30 days but advised no more than 30 days in a row. I find a couple days works fine. I do not know how well it will work for other symptoms since I am not having many of them on a consistent basis… or not strongly enough yet. What was I saying?

Also, when my cycle is very short (less than 19 days), I make sure to get extra iron and sometimes touch base with my doctor. However, they just want to put me on hormones, so I stopped calling unless I am worried about anemia, iron deficiency or that something else could be going on.

What else can you do to support your body through this change? Eat well, exercise regularly, surround yourself with good supportive people, and be patient with yourself. Really, that’s the key to a good life in general. I also keep a log of my menstrual cycle with an app called “Day After”. It helps me monitor my symptoms for myself and for my doctor.

For those of you who are reaching menopause, check out Kathy Elkind’s blog. She wrote an article about her “Queening Ceremony” and I think it is a wonderfully beautiful idea. What a great way to celebrate this womanly milestone. Thank you Kathy!

Be kind and loving to your body. It’s the only one you have and it does so much for you.

I would love to hear advice and stories from women who have gone through this change. What was it like? What worked for you? What can we expect? What not to do?