Once A Vamp, Always A Vamp

Cant’ take the goth or vamp out of me, no matter which way you spin the world…

As evidenced by my Pinterest pages…

Bella and ‘N Spice or really just the whooooole kit and caboodle.

 

fingerlickinevil.com

On Eating Disorders And Being An Athlete In The Midst…

I appreciated receiving this article, written by Karen Crouse, which speaks to a very real problem in sports. It is also – I should point out – scarcely relegated to figure skating (the topic of the article) and related performing or aesthetic sports such as dancing, bodybuilding, and the like.  Rather, it has a much broader (and frankly insidious) grip on athletes around the globe. 

Eating disorders were something I grew up knowing plenty about – I was classically trained in ballet for over ten years, competitively figure skated for about sixteen years, and danced competitively in International Latin and American Smooth ballroom for seven years. In those arenas, thin is ALWAYS in.

Yikes.

Can weight make a difference in performance? Yes, absolutely. When it comes to one’s joints, or one’s ability to do the particularly acrobatic and athletic jumps and spins, it’s important we are at a weight healthy for our frame. Figure skating, for one, is a high impact sport and that takes a toll even on a healthy body. When we are unhealthy, those negative side effects can be multiplied many fold. However, a lot of it – a sometimes far heftier percentage – is about the “look.” And, when it becomes about our appearance, things can go downhill very quickly…

It isn’t only that I, like many athletes, was “young and impressionable” at the time – top athletes generally ARE on the younger side (remember that part about impact on the body?) Athletes begin training early, so there is certainly danger in implanting these injurious notions early on.

What is also a real issue, however, is that a focus on a person’s “weight” can suddenly have bearing on whether or not you are even “considered” for a winning position – that will change your tune pretty quick if you have goals of any kind. (Deny politics play a role in results? You’re kidding yourself!)

In ballroom, for example, if you aren’t groomed properly, you simply aren’t taken seriously. Period. It’s as easy as that. I’m not putting it down, I was in it…and LOVED it. But it was a horrible hassle, and I knew I didn’t really have a choice. Before a competition I needed to be:

  • Spray tanned…TWICE (because my pale skin wasn’t in)
  • Have my nails done (as in, they needed to be long and noticeable)
  • Have my hair professionally done every time I competed (multiple days, means days of hair-doing)
  • Professional makeup (fortunately I did this myself, but then half my suitcase was makeup I had to lug)
  • Make sure I was as fit as could be (wearing next to nothing / very revealing costumes…yes, people would notice if you gained a little extra. And they wouldn’t be shy about mentioning it)

Those things were prerequisites.  Then you added to that judge preferences like wearing tan fishnets or stockings (okay, no big deal, that helped “pull me in” a little so I stayed slim in that tiny costume…) But it was rough because if you didn’t take those “suggestions” you often were out of the running…before you even took the floor. No, I’m not kidding. Figure skating was a little less harsh on that front, but the pressure to “lose a little” was definitely an undercurrent.

I remember going to skating camp at Simsbury’s International Skating Center of Connecticut. I was in my mid to later teens (definitely the mesomorph of the group!) and I recall – very clearly – the younger skaters being worried about gaining weight. They wouldn’t eat ice cream, they would ask for coffee (at that age?!) with skim milk… They wouldn’t have chips…. Even back at our dorms, some would skip breakfast because they didn’t want to have too much (more Lucky Charms and Golden Grahams for me?)

Let me be clear, I am ALL about healthy, clean eating – it’s not about how I look so much as how it makes my body feel. My body is a “finely-tuned machine,” according to my doc, and it tells me what it needs. But when you are FIGURE SKATING…for HOURS A DAY…you burn more than a Clydesdale! I mean, it was craziness!!! These kids were WAY too young to worry about weight, not a single one had any inkling of a problem (which could impact joints, as athletic as skating can be), and they couldn’t enjoy themselves as a result – it was heartbreaking!

Now a days, the pressures are – apparently – still there. It was eye-opening to read that Brian Boitano (an idol I watched win his gold when I was ten years-old) was very much subjected to this, and wasn’t actually at peak performance (very likely) at that time. Hard to believe if you saw those jumps! It’s also saddening to hear that Adam Rippon has struggled with this as well. I love that they are open about it because eating disorders carry a lot of shame with them – speaking up and making it known that we are not alone can be enough to save someone afflicted from a life of suffering.

My disorders – Anorexia and Exercise Bulimia / Anorexia Athetica – were a result of something very different, but they nearly devoured me whole too. I thankfully managed to cruise through my sports both unscathed and unapologetically…but I was acutely aware of the oft-unspoken-about illnesses in the background. Having suffered through it later, knowing full well how damaging and dangerous such sickness can be, was testament to how powerful these diseases are… 

For many of athletes, body image is tightly wound around performance. . .which is tightly bound to our identities. Sometimes – to add fuel to the fire – that can be perpetuated by the people we look up to or rely on in the sport, as well as tied to our future success.

It’s a struggle to see the “good” sometimes – to see how strong we are, how well we are doing… It’s even harder to recognize…and then ADMIT…when we aren’t fueling ourselves the way we need to. I recently took back to the ice (on a VERY minor scale) but I’ll tell you…my legs are different. I can see it, I can feel it, and my body is asking for more carbohydrates and food. And…that’s what I give it if I need to. But like Adam Rippon, the mind will make a point to call out that we are doing something different – It’s like an internal guilt trip from the Ghost of Athletics Past!

Eating disorders are terrifying – like other addictive illnesses, they have the power to completely derail us, if not end our lives completely. While I refrain from “talking politics,” and don’t much care for celebrities shouting out their messages at the top of their lungs…there is some benefit in this particular arena. It is important to be honest and open because eating disorders are often highly isolating – we begin to decay on our own, and keep everyone at a distance while we whither away. The knowledge that we aren’t alone in our struggles it might help others find the strength and courage to seek treatment – one life saved is one life saved!

Truth be told, having had no one to look to during my own…? I would have LOVED to have this kind of hope to grab onto… 

 

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You Need SPF All Year Round

Sun protection is a must – all year, at all times. Frankly, I fall short of applying sometimes when I’m in short sleeves, but you better believe my face is covered. I am also getting better about neck and décolletage.

I have a few favorite brands (La Roche Posay takes the #1 and #2 spots), and I actually DO take this topic quite seriously. It isn’t just the ageless and ghostly pallor I’m after, taking care to protect our skin during sun exposure affects our health. BIG time.  

But to add a little fun to the conversation… I came across this photo and couldn’t help but take to the sassy branding. Red, black, and g o t h all over – well played, marketers.

Brilliantly, wonderfully, well played…

Summer 2017 – Garnier Skinactive Honey Flower

I often see new skincare crop up overseas before it comes to the States, which means that I at least get enough time to read reviews and see if it’s worth tracking down (before our stores decide to give us the option!)

As a Martial Artist and athlete – not to mention, a fair-skinned woman who is as subject to time and the elements as we all are – skincare is a big deal.  I’m pretty religious – and devoted – to my regimen and products, but I’m ever curious, as the skincare world is rapidly innovating (particularly with more and more exposure to other cultures and markets.  I have a plethora of posts (and there are more!) about Asian skincare, a personal favorite topic.)

Anyway, the Garnier Skinactive Honey Flower range appears to be in the UK presently – you can check it out here on superdrug.com and a variety of other UK web retailers. I learned about the newbies via Reallyree.com, where you can also read what the products are like.

Why bother with this new collection?  (Always the question I ask myself because I have a TON of products already. I am, essentially, my own store – but, ladies, the investment IS worth it.  Trust me.) Per superdrug.com’s description:

Garnier’s first toner made of 96% ingredients of natural origin, enriched with Honey Flower, known for its nourishing properties. 

reallyree.com

These products, therefore, are designed to be gentle with your skin, and less filled with things you can’t pronounce – both are big pluses. They are also specifically helpful to dry or very dry skin – come the colder months, that might be really important for most of us!

That said, if you already use such products, and find that they work nicely for you, I don’t know whether these are totally necessary.  But again, they’re out online at least, which means you can also snoop through the reviews and see if they make sense for you.  More and more companies are going the more-natural-less-harsh route so you certainly have a fair share of options.

Skin Ink Multi-Masking Treatment Mask

Only a matter of time for a skincare company to come out with a customizable sheet mask, right?  

We all have different skincare needs and, frankly, our own needs can change not only with seasons, but from day-to-day depending on climate, our activities, our cycles, etc…  

iloveskininc Instagram

I love that these masks – while not 100% customizable in the sense of whatever ultra-specific permutation you need – allow some freedom to mix between the lower jaw line and the upper face, two broad areas that often are doing different things. Instead of countless variations, there are only nine combinations you can create…but that’s 8 more than just any ol’ sheet mask!

I love seeing the continued innovations, and the taking-a-nod-from-overseas beauty by companies NOT originating there – I’ve been going on about Asian skincare since the 90’s, when I was in my later teens, so for me, it’s like a miracle the US and other countries are FINALLY following suit.  “Porcelain doll” skin has been on my radar my whole life and with the consistent drive for cutting-edge that comes from the East, it’s a lot easier to come by these days.  

Clearly Bronzed

Where was this when I was ballroom dancing! In ballroom, bronze is not only “beautiful” but begrudgingly a “must-do.”  If you want to be taken seriously – and I’m not exaggerating – you better believe you need to grace that floor looking like a golden goddess.  Pale skin is NOT in, much to my own dismay.  Protesting the fact won’t get you anywhere. . . 

Trust me on that.

allure.com

Enter – years too late (*insert expletive here*) – this phenomenally, brilliantly clear Hydra-Mousse from Tan-Luxe. It apparently delivers exactly what it claims to, minus all the horrendous “side effects” of a traditionally brown-dyed solution.  

Now I can’t be too hard on the brown-tinted selections out there – they DO make it easier to see and smooth out mistakes.  BUT…the prospect of using a self-tanner and NOT having overly-orange skin where you’re drier, OR clothing, sheets, and expensive costumes that have decided to tan along with you. . .well, that’s pretty damn fabulous.

I mean, dancers everywhere can rejoice finally.  No more brown streaks, overly glowing elbow, or horrific scent (thanks a lot, DHA!) It isn’t inexpensive necessarily but then if you’re saving on cleaning bills (and not freaking out about warming up and starting to smell funny!) this might be for you!