The (Un) Caged Bird

"Let the beauty we love be what we do." – Rumi

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Life Without Cigarettes: Year One

Today,  I celebrate my one year anniversary of being smoke free.   Yesterday one year ago (April 5)  I smoked my last cigarette and swore that was the end.   (If you’re new to my blog and would like to read about how I quit hop on over to my post, “How I Quit Smoking Cold Turkey“. )  I had quit smoking at various points in my life in the past but always failed to make it past the year point, this time however I was mentally armed and that is what has kept me free from cigarettes for the past year.

How has my life changed without cigarettes?  First off, I have had more money in my pocket, I estimated that I’ve saved myself approximately $1050 dollars by not smoking last year, that’s a conservative number and it’s definitely not less than that.  (If I’d finished my taxes already I would have a much more accurate estimate based on my smoking habits from the first four months of last year.  I could have done a nice little estimate from the average.)   Considering I was saving money by not smoking I had extra money to join a gym, buy a pair of tennis shoes and work on improving the health of my body.

I also eat a lot more now and more regularly than I used to.  I’m hypoglycemic and instead of eating I could frequently use smoking cigarettes to give me a stimulant boost to keep my energy up.  I did gain weight by not smoking, in total I’ve gained about fifteen pounds and gone up a size in clothing.   I really struggled with that and had convinced myself that I needed to drop that weight and get back to the size I had been and thus spent almost all of last year berating myself internally for not having accomplished that yet. (Yes, I know I posted all those posts about self-love.  I need them just as much as everyone else.)  Last month as I was contemplating another milestone that I’m about to celebrate the self-love kicked in and I was finally able to appreciate this new shape that my body has settled into.  Now, I know I’m healthy and while I still would like to be physically more fit and active (for the sake of being strong and having the endurance to do activities) I no longer feel the pressure for my body to go back to the way it was.  I’m celebrating this more shapely form I’ve settled into because it represents who I am when I’m making healthy lifestyle choices like getting enough sleep, not drinking, not smoking, eating regularly and being more active.  I know that as I make more changes in my life and as time passes it will continue to change and each new transformation is really just an opportunity to celebrate the change and explore something new.

I’ve been a lot more productive because I channel my anxiety, nervous energy, fear, whatever it is into improving my life.   I’ve managed to make a lot of changes around my house and in my life and its been really rewarding to see the results of my efforts.

I gained faith in my own willpower and earned trust in myself that I could keep my word to myself and follow through with a promise I’d made to myself.   I gained self respect by honoring that commitment to myself and both of these things really helped to build my overall confidence in myself.   When you start out on a journey it’s always scary because it’s uncertain where the road will lead and what sort of dark patches you may have to stroll through and sometimes it’s more pleasant to only remember the rainbows when we’re on the other side.  I can tell you there were dark patches but I never once took a single puff from a cigarette.  It was not for lack of wanting to either, there were many, many days where for my own sanity and that of others I thought maybe I should just go buy a pack but didn’t.  I still wonder if I’ll ever have a cigarette in the future.  Time will tell.

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Influenster Sugar ‘N Spice Voxbox 2013

I just received my latest Voxbox in the mail and was so excited to unpack it and discover the goodies I had been sent.  I swear, Influenster must know my personality because all of the items in the box are right up my alley and totally fulfill a need I have.  I haven’t had a chance to use any of the products yet since I just unpacked them but thought I’d introduce them and then I’ll write a review at a later date.

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$6.99 for 5.9 oz. container or $3.99 for box of 40 packets

“Nectresse sweetener tastes like sugar but has zero calories per serving! 100% all natural, Nectresse is made primarily from monk fruit combined with other natural sweeteners. ”

I like all natural sweeteners, especially ones that don’t raise the blood sugar and affect insulin levels.

$5.99 for a 20-count box

“Introducing Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes – The soothing blend of Witch Hazel and aloe on these facial wipes rejuvenates your skin by gently lifting dirt, oil and impurities from you pores while nourishing even the most sensitive skin.  The result is a clean, refreshed and blemish-free complexion even when you’re out and about.

I’m an on-the-go kind of woman so products like these are a total lifesaver.   I frequently have to take a full face of makeup off after shoots and this makes it simple, two wipes in my purse and I’m set.

Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer Total Moisture
$7.99 for 6.5 oz. can

“New Vaseline Spray and Go Moisturizer Total Moisture is a continuous spray lotion that moisturizes and absorbs in seconds, and leaves skin feeling instantly soft – not sticky or greasy. ”

I am so excited to try this product I have needed something like it.  As a model it’s important that my skin stays moisturized and looking young, fresh, and healthy.  I have sensitive skin and typically choose to use all natural products.  However, for testing and fun and being grateful for gifts I will be using all of this product.  I’d like to research the ingredients as I’m always curious about that sort of thing but I don’t know if I’ll get around to it before the review.  We’ll see!  The lotion does have fragrance which is negative for me as I won’t be able to use it when I go on modeling gigs.  I hope they make a scent free version as that would be perfect!

Colgate Optic White Regimen
Toothpase: $2.99 for 4oz. tube
Mouthwash: $2.99 for 8 oz. bottle
Toothbrush: $2.99 per brush

“Use the Optic White toothpaste, toothbrush, and mouthwash together for whiter teeth in five days (vs. brushing with an ordinary toothpaste alone).

A bright white smile is important to me and I’m always willing to try something new.  You never know what you might discover! I just finished my tube of Crest 3D White today so I’m going to start my five day challenge tomorrow.  I’ve used Crest 3D White for a few months now and even though it’s not natural I use it because it works.

belVita Breakfast Biscuits
$3.69 for a box of 5 packets of 4 biscuits

“belVita Breakfast Biscuits are made with delicious ingredients and carefully baked to release steady energy that lasts all morning.  They are a good source of Fiber and B-vitamins, contain no high fructose corn syrup, have 18-20 grams of whole gran per 50 gram serving and taste great – perfect for on-the-go!

Again since I’m always on the move easy-to-carry food and nutritious food is important to me as well.  I’m a reactive hypoglycemic so I have to watch my sugar intake and make sure that I eat frequently to keep my blood sugar stabilized.  These biscuits don’t have high fructose corn syrup which is a huge plus.

Please note I received all of these products for Influenster for testing purposes.