#ittakestwotothompson Wedding Recap

Adulting, Relationship, Wedding

Now that it has been a couple weeks since our wedding day and after processing LOTS of emotions throughout this time, I figured I’d write about it. Writing is healing for me, but I also thought my reflection might help future brides!

Let me start off by saying that I have had the most content week ever! Because we aren’t wedding planning anymore I feel 30 pounds lighter. I am floored by just how much anxiety I was carrying around with me everyday. It’s not that our wedding was super stressful to plan, but it is A LOT no matter how simple you make it. The pressure to communicate with vendors, staying up to date with COVID requirements, making sure family and wedding party had the info, making sure I was put together and dozen of other little things! So, y’all I am feeling good! We finally get to work on some little house projects. I get to actually enjoy Kyle instead of our date nights consisting of wedding meetings. We get to plan our next travel adventures AND most importantly, I can actually focus on my business!!! I haven’t felt this productive regarding my dance studio in forever! I have a renewed energy and motivation to give it everything I’ve got.

But, I didn’t always feel this way. The couple days following our wedding, all I could think about was everything that went “wrong.” I put that in quotes, because looking back now, nothing went wrong. It went exactly as it was supposed too, but I did NOT feel that way two weeks ago. Let’s get into it shall we:

Our day was hot, like hot as hell. A couple weeks before the wedding it looked like it would be about 80 degrees and partly sunny….perfect! Nope, it turned out to be 95 and our outside ceremony was right in the blazing sun, zero shade. I am currently writing this post in beautiful, 75, slightly breezy weather and I can’t help but be a little bitter at stupid Nebraska. Anyways, the heat was a distraction for me. I get lethargic, cranky, and almost sick. I’ve always been this way, so I had to power through that. Unfortunately, I was so uncomfortable and I was worried about my guests being uncomfortable that I do think it took away from the magic a little bit.

On top of that, one of our vendors got stuck in an accident traffic jam, so 45 minutes before the ceremony, a key component was missing. I could feel the tears and panic well up in my chest. I couldn’t get a hold of the vendor at first and I had a mini meltdown where I said a lot of swear words in front of most of the family, love that for me! Right after, we realized that no one had my veil. It was still at the hotel, 15 minutes away! Thank GOD for my sister-in-law’s in-laws. They went back and saved the day. They deserve the world for how much they helped out on our wedding weekend. I am forever grateful. Also, The whole flower/bouquet situation was a bit disorganized. They were placed on and given out a little too last minute. That was my fault, not the vendor! We should’ve made a better plan there!

We’re not done. One more thing…our ceremony speaker overheated. Once again, not the vendor’s fault. The damn heat! We had no music at our ceremony, besides when I walked down the aisle. I don’t know if it was a God thing or what, but the most important part (my walk) is when the music worked, so pretty cool! Honestly, we barely noticed because I was so focused on Kyle and our ceremony was intimate anyway. It worked out just fine and Kyle’s vows were the most romantic, meaningful words I’d ever heard. There was not a dry eye in the room and no matter how hot is was, time stopped for that moment and all I thought about was how much I love him.

From that point on, it was incredible. The party bus was perfection. We got the biggest one they make, so there was plenty of room. We snapped some kick a** pictures and I can’t wait to see them! After the bus, we walked into the reception and when I say that my jaw dropped….the decorating, the flowers, the marquee letters, the drapery, the lighting, the cake table. Our vendors KILLED IT! It was the prettiest wedding reception I had ever seen. I know I’m biased, but it wow’d me and in that moment, nothing else from earlier that day mattered. It was time to PARTY!

After the dinner, amazing speeches, it was time for the most special moment of our whole day. I remember contemplating not even doing this. Kyle and I weren’t sure if we’d have enough time to make it happen, but our ballroom lesson and every single practice after was worth it. Our first dance was a choreographed (by me with help from Omaha Ballroom), slow, waltz and lyrical style inspired routine. It was the best time we had ever performed it and for 3 minutes, I forgot we were even at our reception. Just him and I. Ugh I can’t even explain how incredible it was and we even got a standing ovation! 😉 So proud of Kyle for taking it on, giving it his all, and making me feel like a princess!

Erin Ren Photography

Our night ended with a firework exit and a little too much fun at a bar down the street! We had the time of our lives and I can’t thank our families, friends, and vendors enough for making it possible. We had a few hiccups, but nothing that could ruin our special day! Before I end with some tips, I want to say if I sounded dramatic a couple paragraphs above…just know that those things don’t bother me whatsoever anymore. Mostly because, just like life, nothing is perfect. I’m listening to a podcast right now called “Wabi Sabi” by Candice Kumai which means perfectly imperfect. They say this in Japan, I believe. Our wedding was a great parallel to Kyle and I’s relationship. We get over things quickly, we don’t hold grudges, we love each other through it all, and ultimately is works out exactly as it’s supposed. Wabi Sabi!

Erin Ren Photography

Hopefully helpful tips. Brides:

  1. Make sure that you leave plenty of time to get flowers handed out and try to enjoy them a little bit before the busyness starts. It sounds weird, but I feel like I didn’t enjoy the flowers as much as I wanted to. Thank gosh we have pictures/video where I’ll be able to stare at them as much as I want! 🙂
  2. Have your transportation plan SOLID and delegate! Think about the things you’ll need when & where. Forgetting the veil could’ve been avoided if I would’ve delegated that job out to someone. There was way too many people with way too much of my stuff. We had one mom with this and the other mom with this. It should’ve been more organized on the front end. Having family come from out of town makes this more complicated.
  3. Spend a moment with your bridesmaids. I see other brides doing a first look with their girls and this isn’t something I requested, but I regret not doing it. Time just started to go by way too quick and having a very large bridal party makes it hard to keep everyone in the same area together especially in hotel rooms that are all strung together. It’s not that I needed a first look with them necessarily. I just wish for 15 minutes we could’ve all spent a little time together in our dresses before the busyness started.
  4. My fellow empaths or sensitive humans, it is alright if you don’t have super connected conversations with every single one of your guests. Did I feel incredibly guilty because I felt like I ignored people too much and didn’t have 25 minutes for each person? Yes I did! I got over that thought because your guests understand. They are there to witness you and your partner’s love. They are not there for a dinner date with you.
  5. Things will go wrong. Someone told me this before our wedding and I did listen, but didn’t truly understand until I went through it. It’s okay if it’s not perfect. Roll with it, breathe, and remember what the day is really about.
  6. You plan your wedding for your guests, not you and your partner. This sounds kind of obvious, but I didn’t really get to see a lot of our day. As a bride & groom you are behind the scenes. I didn’t get to see the decorations before everyone got to the venue. I didn’t get to see the flowers girls walk down the aisle. Things I didn’t realize I’d miss. BUT, that’s why you hire a talented, quality videographer and photographer!
  7. Hire a talented, quality videographer and photographer!!!! I can’t say it enough. The day goes by way too quick. You don’t get to enjoy half of what you think you’ll enjoy. Your adrenaline is pumping so much that your brain can’t physically comprehend and take everything in. I felt like I was pretty relaxed on our day overall, and we even took a moment to step back and just look around the room. That still wasn’t enough, so spend the money. Hire both! You won’t regret it.
  8. Lastly, and this may be controversial, but lets stop saying weddings should be the most perfect day of your life. No, the man I am marrying is perfect for me and we will have a lot of perfect and amazing days in this life. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on your special day. It is absolutely going to be highlight and this marks the start of our forever, but married life with Kyle should be the main focus. The wedding day is just a bonus!

Thanks for reading my wedding recap. It took a little work letting go of the shoulda woulda couldas, but I did and I am filled with joy thinking about our wedding day. I am also filled with peace and contentment knowing that it’s over and I get to enjoy this life with my sexy HUSBAND!

Much love,

T

Are We Showing the ‘Shinier’ Versions of Ourselves?

Mental Health

As most of you know, I am a lifestyle blogger and I partner with brands and do paid collaborations with brands that I actually use (for the most part). I also love to write my truth and things I am struggling with or going through whether that’s here or within an Instagram post. I think it’s important to be as real as possible and I really want to show my followers the authentic ME!

But….lately I am just not so sure. I am feeling the pressure to be a shinier me. I read the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle this summer and it ROCKED my world. Throwing my mind in places I didn’t realize I needed to go. I felt my body physically reacting to the realizations of how much I have been “tamed” through religion, my family, where I live etc… Most of that is great. I love who I am and the village that raised me, but I have some work to do.

With these realizations, it’s made me question where I stand within the Instagram world. It’s made me question the Instagram platform in general. I have some thoughts and they may be controversial, but here we go… I am sick and tired of the inauthenticity on Instagram. The fake comments ladies make to each other just to boost engagement without even reading the caption. The money we pay to be a part of giveaways knowing darn well that we are essentially buying followers. The follow loops where we blindly follow a bunch of people that we genuinely aren’t interested in, but pretend to be. The madness of trying to like every single person’s photo throughout the day, so you’re not even reading their caption. The anxiety that comes from not answering DMs. The time it takes to gather all the right hashtags and link the correct items. AHHHH my inner self is like WTF. But, I do it. Apparently I don’t do it well enough, because my following has not increased like other bloggers and if you’re trying to make money on Instagram, followers matter, simple as that.

It’s a circle of anxiety and stress for me to be honest. My main career is owning a dance studio and truthfully I don’t wear makeup very often, so I rarely feel photo ready. Half the time, I have no idea what to post or talk about like “hey guys, today I woke up around 10:30am, had some coffee, answered emails, caught up with a friend, and then finally decided to brush my teeth around noon and also, I paced around the house slowly putting laundry away and taking breaks to pet my dog. Then Kyle came home for lunch and I still was in my PJ’s.” YAY, how exciting and glam is that?!

The other part of this is when you are becoming an “influencer” you usually have a niche whether that’s fashion, travel, food, or fitness. I have NO CLUE what niche I am. I’m a dog mom, who likes barre workouts, but also loves fried food and wine along with cute clothes, but most days are spent in sweats, because I’m always sweaty and dancing. Apologies for the run-on sentences!

Most of you reading this might think? “Well, Taryn you fit into lots of niches and how cool is that?” Yes, it is fun to be the jack of all trades (haha) but it has not been ideal for Instagram as a “business.” I look at so many bloggers and envy their artsy aesthetic or effortless coolness. I wish I was more edgy. I wish the rush of doubt didn’t come every single time I posted something. I wish I loved every single photo of myself, but mostly I wish I could actually be ME on Instagram.

I feel as though I may owe my followers an apology for putting out there that I am transparent and authentic. No I’m not. Not really. I am a shinier version of me on social media. I struggle with content, because I don’t feel as though my life is interesting enough. I struggle with anxiety and past trauma, and talking about it too much on Instagram might push people away. I want to be honest, but a lot of times it’s heavy and dark. I would rather be a light for people. I use humor to cover up all the bad, which a lot of times makes it look like I have my shit together. Having your “shit together” is all relative and very subjective anyway. I have a bucket load of family stuff that has been eating me alive for years, but many of my followers don’t know that. The anxiety of trying to make sure I stay engaged with my following literally makes my stomach hurt. Anxiety causes me to not eat! NOT OKAY and here I sit, still trying to make it seem like this Instagram business is a great thing for me.

Alright, so what’s the point? Am I giving up Instagram? Am I going to continue to stop working with brands? No, but I am strongly thinking about what’s next for me and assessing what I want my page to look like in the next upcoming months/years. What’s the goal here? What do I want my “niche” to be? Do I need one? Why do people come to my page? What do they want to see? What do brands want to see? The shinier version of me or the REAL me?

It’s tough. I don’t have the answers yet. Quite nervous and scared to publish this honestly, but I’d love to create some dialogue on this topic. I’d love to hear other blogger and influencers’ thoughts. Maybe it’s just not THAT deep and I need to chill. Who cares if I have 17 niches? Maybe the followers I do have appreciate that about me? Maybe it’s my own insecurities holding me back? Sometimes I wish I didn’t think so much. I wish I could just make Instagram a business and call it a day. I wish I could just pick a niche, stick to it, and make the damn money. But I have this urge to be and do more. I want to talk about the real s***. Trauma, addiction, this idea of “perfection” that is literally unattainable, depression, anxiety, sexual health, abuse, recovery, all of it! We are all battling something and if you aren’t, I think you’re the minority. Let’s normalize how tough the human experience is. Like Glennon Doyle says, “Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.”

It may take me another ten years to figure out what I REALLY want to say to this world. I may never be more than a “micro-influencer” on Instagram, but if I end up positively influencing and impacting hundreds of kids and people throughout this life, then everything I’ve said or shared is all worth it.

I want to end by saying I sincerely don’t mean to offend any other bloggers or influencers. The bloggers I follow have immense passion behind their work and they grind their butts off, probably more than 40 hours a week, to give their audience the best deals, links, content, etc…The authenticity in the community from many bloggers I follow is incredible. Most of y’all are real as hell…discussing motherhood, societal issues, and personal battles. Kudos! I am discussing the “influencing” community as a whole and some of the practices we do that rub me the wrong way. Straight up just isn’t for me sometimes and causes me lots of anxiety, but may work for you and that is okay!

Last thing, if you’ve followed my journey thus far, I hope you stay!! I don’t mean to push anyone away. Don’t think I’ll stop sharing my life, Beautycounter, tips, recipes, clothing from the boutiques, fun content/photography, or links to a variety of things, because I will always do that! Honestly maybe I’ll just continue doing what I do, share what and when I want, and take the pressure off myself to grow into this immaculate influencer. Maybe not having a niche is my niche! Who knows! Just putting out my very transparent opinion to you all, and sharing an internal battle I’ve been having for awhile and if my content does change a little bit, the above reasons are why! 🙂

Much love,

T

Compliments. Can They be Toxic Without Even Realizing It?

Adulting

“OMG you look so good.”

“You are amazing!! So proud of you.”

“Girl, you look better than ever. So happy for you.”

“Give me your secret!”

“WOW, you look great!”

“Good for you for taking care of yourself and sticking to this journey. So inspirational.”

I’ve seen these comments or comments similar under so many weight loss transformation pictures, even some of my own. It feels so damn good to transform your body. I know, because I’ve done it. It’s so incredible to see someone’s weight loss and it’s hard not to praise the crap out of them, because you know they most likely went through hell to get to where they are now.

I truly would not have thought anymore about this topic a year ago. It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind that there may be an underlying issue here. I have recently started to follow women on social media of all shapes and sizes, specifically body positive influencers like Mik Zazon. This is done intentionally to broaden my understanding of women and to break free from the social construct that we are put in as young girls. We are taught and shown that image is everything. Even if your parents showered you with compliments (mine did) and let you be who you wanted to be (mine did), it’s extremely difficult for us not to compare ourselves to the thousands of images we see daily of skinnier and prettier women splashed all over social media and Netflix. How can a few compliments from our parents or spouse combat that? They can’t, they truly can’t.

“Okay, Taryn. That is no secret. It is hard to feel beautiful in today’s society, but what’s that got to do with complimenting someone’s weight loss?”

Is has EVERYTHING to do with it. How many of us have looked at women who have gained weight and thought to ourselves, “Gosh, she let herself go. That’s too bad. How sad for her. I wonder if she’s okay?” Quite honestly, I’ve thought these things before. Now, how many of us have looked at women who have lost weight and thought to ourselves, “I wonder if she’s okay? I wonder if this weight loss was due to anxiety or depression? I wonder if she was feeling so shitty about herself because of society that the only way to be happy was weight loss? I wonder if she loves herself more now?”

The answer is no. We don’t think these things. We praise her. We are so proud of her. She is killin’ it! We want to be like her and she is now worthy of praise because she’s a skinnier (and better) version of herself. Before, all we saw was weight and we felt bad for her. So this is the BIG question that I want to pose to myself and all of us…Did her weight loss change all that was good about her on the inside? Is she now magically mentally more capable and/or smarter? Does she not have a million more qualitites to praise other than her appearance?

An example from my own life…

I struggle with anxiety and when I have anxiety I don’t have an appetite. I also swear that the anxiety butterflies in my chest and stomach (currently flying around as I type this) burn my calories for me. When I first had a big weight gain it was so embarassing. I was drinking way too much. I wasn’t working out. My mental health was in a horrible state. BUT, when I lost 10-15 pounds, everyone praised me for it. That initial weight loss was all due to a bad break up. I couldn’t eat and my axiety was through the roof. I also was still drinking too much. My mental health once again not great. But who cares right? Because I was skinnier, so I was better.

Flash forward a couple more years during the hardest time of my life, dealing with my mentally abusive ex. I once again dropped 10 pounds and I was THIN! My mental health…the worst it had been. I was drinking occasionally but not as often, because I was honestly scared too. I didn’t know what I’d do to myself or him if I got drunk. I needed to be clear headed in case I needed to call the police etc… but I remember saying “well, my lifes in shambles, but as least I’m skinny.” I remember feeling so sexy, but you guys I was broken and shattered.

I has been working out during this time and started to understand that going to the gym or praciticing yoga was a great way to cope. I still continue that to this day. It’s way more mental for me than physical. I am in the best place mentally I have ever been although some days, not really. Let’s just say I am in the place where I am starting to understand myself. I’m starting to understand that life’s hard just means I’m doing life right. Thank you Glennon Doyle (If you haven’t read her book Untamed, you need to). I’m human and it’s okay to be mad, sad, happy, disappointed, anxious, angry etc…it feels good to accept all that I am.

That being said, I am also in a very good place physically and trust me, everyone notices and everyone compliments. In fact, the first thing some famly members say to me when they see me is comments about my weight loss, because once again, I’m skinnier so I’m better. There’s more to be proud of, because look how good she looks! Guess what, I still have crippling anxiety that beats through my chest day in and day out. I still don’t have an appetite and have to force food down my throat sometimes. I am not better! I am still struggling, especially during these COVID-19 times when the future of my business and our wedding is unknown.

But anyways, the whole point I’m trying to make is that YOU are still worthy of love and praise and all the good things no matter what size pants you wear. YOU are not your weight! YOU are not fat, you have fat, which is perfectly normal! YOU have a beautiful wise mind and caring spirit. No matter how much your weight fluctuates, no one can take that away from you! The reverse is true too, if you are an ugly person, no amount of weight loss will heal the resentment and anger you feel towards others.

I do have a disclaimer though….my mental health and feeling confident on the outside does have a direct correlation to how I am doing on the inside. I’m also in no way saying that we should stop complimenting people’s weight loss completely. Compliments are an amazing motivator and quite frankly, they just feel fricken good! I’m still navigating how I want to move forward with my compliments on appearance. It’s tough and I don’t have all the answers. I genuinly appreciate compliments, of course, but I can’t help feel that if I gain weight will I be undeserving of them? Will I be unworthy of praise? Will people think I’ve let myself go?

We just need to be mindful of the ways in which we compliment. I think as a society, especially raising kids, we should compliment the person on who they are not always on how they look. Examples:

“Wow, you are incredibly resilient.”

“You have the most caring and loving heart.”

“You walk into a room, and it lights up.”

“I am a better person because of you.”

“You challenge me and teach me so many things. You are a blessing in my life.”

“You are an amazing human.”

This is a tough topic! I love feeling pretty and I love looking good to be quite honest. I personally feel better about myself when I’m toned, tanned, and working out. I believe in the power of moving your body. But there’s a difference between being skinny and being healthy. I always strive for health and whatever the result is physically, then it is what it is. This topic is also triggering and I apologize if I triggered you in any way. If you are stuggling with your relationship to food. I see you. If you are starving yourself to fit into that swimsuit. I see you. If you are obsessively worried about gaining weight. I see you. If you know that you’ll never look like the models and you can’t accept it. I see you. If you’re terrified of gaining weight. I see you.

Biggest thing I hope to do, is to at least start conversations about this. To pretend this dichotomy in our society doesn’t exist is ridiculous. Let’s keep talking about it! I hope to gain more insight on this by talking with more women. I hope one day I don’t have to rely on people’s compliments about my physical appearance to feel good about myself. I hope one day, I will believe I’m worthy all on my own.

Much love,

T

Beautycounter Hacks

Beauty, Beautycounter

During the course of my journey with Beautycounter, which is approaching one year and a half, I have come up with some “hacks” utilizing our products and/or packaging. The reason I label them “hacks” is because I may use products differently than the package states or I have insider tips that only the consultants usually know about. I would love to share them with you now! Let’s just dive right in, here they are

1. Re-using Containers

Beautycounter is trying to become more sustainable and it’s amazing! Because of that, they are switching from plastic packaging to glass. When I’m done with the glass Cleansing Balm container, I use it to store little things in our junk drawer. Side note…I use the Cleansing Balm almost nightly and it still lasts me 3-4 months! Another container I re-use is the Mattifying Powder. It’s perfect to store rings or the jewelry I wear often or when I’m traveling.

2. Baby Oil Combined with Body Lotion

One of the biggest issues I struggled with along with most of my clients is dry skin. We are always on the search for the most hydrating product. Harsh chemicals and petroleum-based products are NOT the way to go. This is a hack I learned from other Beautycounter ladies. After I shower, I put a few squirts of our Soothing Baby Oil with my body lotion and it mixes into this luxurious cream that leaves my skin hydrated until the next time I shower. I have not struggled with eczema since using this combo or since using Beautycounter in general.

3. Cleaning Brushes with Charcoal Bar

I’ve done a few tutorials about this on my Instagram already, but this definitely needs to make the list. I will not clean my brushes with anything else…it works SO well! The Charcoal Bar is made with green tea, coconut oil, and activated charcoal and NO toxic ingredients, of course. The bar is designed for oily or blemish-prone skin. I use it mostly in the summer when my dry skin seems to disappear and oil takes over. Not only is it just $26 but my first bar lasted me a whole year! I basically just wet the bar and my brushes. Rub the wet brush all over the wet bar and get it nice and sudsy. I continue to suds and rinse until it comes clean. The oil and makeup melt right off of it and it’s super quick. I love that I for sure know there are no toxic chemicals left on my brushes after I clean them.

4. Cleansing Balm for Sun Burn

I’ve previously written a whole post about all the uses of our Cleansing Balm. There’s a reason it’s called the “balm that does it all.” Not only is it a makeup remover, gentle cleanser, overnight hydrating mask, eczema spot healer, it also helps with sun burnt skin. I don’t mean like 3rd degree sun burn…I’m talking about the occasional pinkish-redish skin you get on your shoulders or cheeks when you should’ve applied that second layer of sunscreen. I have told multiple clients about this hack and they come back to me every time and say their burn healed way faster than normal AND they had almost zero pealing! So, from now on when my face or neck get a little red from the sun, I apply our balm and let it soak in overnight. Usually, I have very little peeling if any at all!

Hope this was helpful! Part TWO coming soon! These are the ones that I could think of off the top of my head, but as I continue to fall even more in love with Beautycounter, I will update you on the hacks I find useful.

Also, I would absolutely love to help you switch over to safer beauty. Please reach out with any questions! I can assist you on some great starter products or discuss which regimen would work best for your skin. Everyone deserves to be healthy, inside and out!

Shop safer beauty here: http://www.beautycounter.com/tarynwinter

Much love,

T

I'm Okay and Then I'm Not

Adulting, Dance, Mental Health, Womanprenuer

I wish this blog post was fun. I wish I was taking about fashion trends I’m currently loving or discussing ways to switch your old products to safer beauty, but I just don’t have it in me today.

A week ago I was hit with the reality that my business would be “shut down” until AT LEAST April 3rd. I own a dance studio and I make a living off of being there, in person, with my students. That’s my favorite part about this business actually is the personal connection I have with my kids. Yes, there’s other options and thank goodness we have technology, but it’s not the same.

I am a part of this network of dance teachers/studio owners on Facebook and while it’s been amazingly helpful at times…it has caused me so much anxiety through this process. There are thousands of members and among them are studios that have been around for 50+ years or instructors that have been teaching for 20 years or dance companies with hundreds and hundreds of students with the money/resources to tape professional, online lessons etc…. THIS as a beginner with a small town studio has made me feel inadequate and completely shaken my confidence. Gosh, I sound whiny, but it’s how I feel!

Here I am 100 miles from my studio. I have teachers that are amazing, but they are scattered around trying to still keep up with their own college classes, now online. I thought I knew how to lesson plan, but physically not being there has me stumped. Yes, I am aware of the Band App and Zoom. I’ve heard it all and I’ve read every suggestion out there. It’s a mess and today, I’m just not able to pull myself out of the negativity.

I have emailed out next steps to my WDC families. Even through my hopelessness, I do believe communication and transparency are key. I do have some solutions at the moment and I know for a fact everything will be okay…eventually.

I feel guilty for even throwing myself a pity party when there’s people out there loosing family members to this virus or the elderly who don’t have much time left and aren’t able to have visitors or the students with horrible home-life situations who rely on the schools for food and stability. It’s all too much right now.

The weight of it all feels so heavy. So heavy in fact that I want to lay on this couch and hide for awhile. I know my body needs to move and I have plenty of dancing/exercising I need to do, but I don’t want to. I’m tired.

If you know me, you know I try so hard to see the positive and keep the humor alive even in the midst of the chaos, but today I have nothing to give. I am nothing to laugh about.

I hate writing blogs like this…. where I have no advice at the end. No profound statement to give you all. No amazing words of wisdom or empowerment. All I have is sadness in my heart today and if that’s you too, you’re not alone.

Most days I power through, but I know it’s okay if there’s days where I can’t. You don’t have to either. Whatever inconveniences you may be feeling right now because of this damn virus, big or small, you are entitled to them. You want to cry? do it. You want to scream? do it.

Growing up, when I was stressed out, I remember my mom telling me to just do at least one thing or get just one thing accomplished that day. I’ve been overwhelmed since birth, I swear to god! But, I carry that advice with me especially in situations like this. One task at a time. One hour at a time. One moment at a time.

I will eventually be my motivated self again, I just know it, but for now negative Taryn is going to try to accomplish at least 1 more thing today. Positive Taryn will be back soon.

Much love,

T

Chemicals You Should be Avoiding

Beauty, Beautycounter

How many of you have seen the word “all-natural” or “derived from plants” or even “GMO” and “Organic?”

I bet everyone reading this and when purchasing those products didn’t you feel super good about that choice? You were like, “Yes, stepping up my non-toxic game and choosing better ingredients for my body or house.”

Unfortunately, you might’ve fallen into a marketing scam that’s created by corporations only wanting your mula. They jack up the prices a bit, hide ingredients under certain words, maybe take a few bad ones out, and slap a gorgeous green label on it….and they hook us.

This is actually a tactic known as green-washing. I’ve talked about it previously on my blog, and I’ll keep talking about it until I’m blue in the face. So let me be a helpful guide in listing a handful of ingredients you should avoid. Also, I’ll end with a resource that has been crazy helpful to me when figuring out which products are actually clean.

I also want to preface this and say, I am NOT perfect. Do I still have to use clinical strength deodorant sometimes because I really don’t want to be running around my recital, spreading my stench around the dancers and their parents? Yes. Do I occasionally use the cheap vanilla body sprays that I’ve gotten for Christmas every year since I was 15? Yes is the answer. Do I still use makeup I got in an Ipsy bag over 2 years ago? Not often, but yeah.

This is a judgement-free zone. Okay, guys? I just try to do better each day and that’s all anyone can do. Don’t panic after reading this and don’t get so overwhelmed that you say, “F*** it, we’re all dying from cancer anyway!”

I used to say that and yes, cancer is so prevelant, it’s scary. But, a lot more preventable than one might think…Just a little tid bit here, “99% of breast cancer tissue contained parabens” (Dr. Philippa Darbre-University of Reading in the UK). My philosophy is…how about we try to take care of ourselves the best we can during our very short time here on earth? By doing so, we are teaching the next generation good habits as well.

NOW…into the chemicals…Here are 5 chemicals you should be avoiding (and here’s why)

1. Fragrance

This one actually makes me upset, because 9 times out of 10 I’ll see a potentially non-toxic product usually with the words, “made with essential oils” and I turn that bad boy around…BOOM there is it, “fragrance.” The word fragrance is a flavoring agent that could contain literally 3,000+ stock chemicals ingredients, including hormone disrupters and allergens!! “Fragrance” is protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets meaning that they don’t have to disclose what chemicals actually fall under that word. It’s in almost everything as well, so if you’re battling super dry, irritated skin, flip over your lotion, detergent, body wash bottles and see if that pesky word is there…

2. Parabens (Methyl-, Isobutyl-, Propyl-, and more)

Thank goodness, more and more products are becoming paraben-free. This chemical is more widely known as harmful, which is GREAT! Here’s why it’s being taken out of things…it’s a preservative first and foremost which I try to avoid as much as possible. It’s meant to protect products from mold and bacteria growth, so meant to stop Earth’s natural decaying processes (eye roll). The most concerning issue with parabens is that they’re endocrine (hormone) disruptors, which may change important, natural hormone mechanisms in our bodies. For instance, they may effect reproduction, cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. It’s found in shampoos, face & body washes, foundations, and lotions.

3. Oxybenzone

This chemical is actually in the moisturizer I used to use for years. It is also found in most sunscreens and people are spreading it all over the children having no idea why their child is having adverse reactions…oxybenzone is why. It’s a sunscreen agent and UV light absorber linked to irritation, allergies, sensitivity, and possible hormone disruption. This chemical is actually being banned in places around the world, including Hawaii.

4. BHA and BHT

These are synthetic antioxidants used to extend a product’s shelf life. They are likely hormone disruptors which as you read above…NOT good! They are also likely carcinogens and may cause liver damage. They are found often in lipsticks, moisturizers, and diaper creams.

5. Get ready for this one….Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone

These guys are chemical preservatives that are some of the most common irritants and causes of contact skin allergies. Even lab studies on the brain cells of mammals also suggest Methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic (poisonous to the nervous system). I wont name names here, but these preservatives are found in products from a heavily promoted Skincare brand. This brand claims to be “non-toxic.” If you would like to know which one, please feel free to ask me! They’re also found in shampoos, conditioners, and body washes.

So…now that I’ve freaked you out…what do you do to avoid said chemicals. Well, you’re not always going to be able to, but start by switching out one product at a time. For me, it was my cleansers and laudry detergents then soon after it was all my skincare.

I also want to highly recommend you use EWG Skin Deep (Environmental Working Group) as a resource. I have the app, but you can search on their website too. They rate products on a toxicity scale of 1-10 (10 being the most toxic). EWG has a strict criteria for transparency and health. I try to stick with products that are EWG verified or within the 1-3 range. Here’s an example of a product I looked up using the App (first picture) and the website (second picture) that has the highest rating of 10. Unfortunately, this brand is really popular. I personally used to use it for years. Not all of their products are rated highly, but there are A LOT, so this is why the EWG comes in handy!!


As you can see, this product contains 3 of the 5 chemicals that we should try to avoid. Key word here….”try.”

I hope this was helpful for you and didn’t put you in a panic, because that is not the intention. I believe in knowledge, education, and hard conversations. I want so badly to believe that the CDC, FDA, and all government regulated agencies have our best interest, but I’m just not so sure. Let’s dig a little deeper. I challenge you to research, research, research so you have confidence in the products you put on yourself and your families.

As a safer beauty advocate for Beautycounter, I would love to personally help you switch to cleaner beauty. It’s a GREAT place to start! Always here for questions!

Much love,

T