The Real…#couchtalk01

Sooooooo, set your purse down, grab some soup of the day (champagne), and join me over here on my e-couch. It’s been waaay too long and we desperately need to catch UP!

As you know, my IG niche is lifestyle with a big emphasis on female empowerment, self-care, and motherhood. Why? Because I am THE person who easily neglects s e l f to care for others, i.e. family. IG is essentially a platform that functions as a stage to share, but also as my own self-reflective mini therapy sessions. Go figure…its free and fun…why not!? 

Recently, I stumbled upon an article, What To Do About Toxic Positivity—The Worst Type Of Advice We Give & Get by Jenn Selby. I must say the guilt immediately flooded my thoughts after reading the final sentence. So, let’s get real with each other. Let me fill you in with the nuts and bolts instead of a Bryant Gumbel play-by-play of Selby’s article. Bascially, Instagram is saturated with positivity: quotes, inspiring messages, motivational memes, cute cat videos, etc. While it’s lovely to know the sun will come out tomorrow, being so stinkin’ positive isn’t necessarily the most beneficial way to be of service to others. Sweeping negative emotions under life’s rug to focus on the good, stops people from expressing their truth. Selby calls it “toxic positivity.” I call it, my adult life. Probably, one of the main reasons I should see an actual therapist…but I digress.

The typical canned responses: “It could be worse,” “There’s something better on the way,” “But, what’s the silver lining here?” can make those cheerleaders sound unrealistic, disingenuous, and (insert any word that physically equates to an eye-roll). Hold on. I know what you’re over there thinking. Yes, these responses are all apart of my repertoire of friend language! (But, excuse me…let’s revisit our friendly reminder—this is a no judgment zone). Back to the recap. According to the experts, this type of harmless cheerleading makes people dread sharing their newest hiccups with you. Instead, they’d rather keep it to themselves, bottled up inside, which simply breeds all things bad for the mental health of human beings. 

Nobody can rid anybody of their problems with happy talk. Instead, offer folks a space to validate their feelings, normalize their problems, and just listen ( People are seeking help and support, they usually aren’t waiting for you to sprinkle positivity dust to rid them of their problems. We have to honor both our good and bad feelings and just sit with it. The bad ones give us vital information such as how to assess our safety, if we should challenge ourselves to accomplish something new, or if we should pause and focus on the now. Use those negative emotions to grow coping skills and resiliency for those future imminent low points that are an unavoidable part of daily life. 

What did I learn from Selby’s article? I will be adding more to my IG to acknowledge all feelings, be a resource, and communicate with more empathy. I can’t solve your problems, but I can offer similar experiences or feelings by highlighting my own and providing validation that your negative thoughts are OK.

When you know better, you do better. Stay tuned, IG tribe! #alwaysgrowing

*P.S. Check out this animated video by Brené Brown. Empathy goes a long way when someone is feeling “stuck in a hole.”

Pretty Poison

A few months back my nails were practically deceased from using gel nail polish off and on for the past year or so. My nails were literally the strength of cooked noodles. Shocking fact because my nails have always been super strong, which is why I secretly thought they were invincible. Surprise! Jokes on me…Hi, my name is Amber and gel manicures ruined my nails. I’m a recovering pretty poison user. How’d I get here? Gel nails are almost ever-lasting, ridiculously glossy, full of overflowing color options, and all the rage in the nail world. But, even more so, the real beauty and most addicting feature of gel nails is not having to wait for them to dry once your appointment has concluded. We women feel so helpless with wet nails. And since we truly run the world, everything basically stops until we can effectively use our hands again. Gel nails… save lives. So, that’s the backstory on how I became a loyal customer. 

However, this is what I unknowingly signed up for with gel: butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA), a known cancer-causing agent. The National Toxicology Program lists it as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” And, the so-called “Toxic Trio”: dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde. Something tells me you already had an inkling there were harsh chemicals in gel polish because literally everything we touch and/or consume, minus water (I think), causes harm to our bodies. Here are a few more fun facts:  1. It’s very difficult to file off the hard gel without touching the nail plate. This means the removal process can significantly thin the natural nail. 2. Soaking the natural nail in acetone temporarily softens the surface making it more susceptible to damage from any implements that separate, push or force the remaining residual UV coating (gel) from the nail plate. 3. Not only does the nail polish absorb into your skin but think of all the ways your fingers come in contact with your mouth (eating, whistling, nail biting, etc). Toxins are damaging, period. So, if I want healthy painted nails, what’s a girl to do?! 

I even gifted my daughter a set of gel nails. #momfail

After pumping my body with vitamins to bring my nails back to life, I recently stumbled upon the holy grail for me and maybe you too. I quote my recent IG post when I say, I’m so hyped about this nail polish! Now that I’m not up against your monster swiping thumb on Instagram, I have a little more time to elaborate. MiniLux is a California based nail franchise with three locations (West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Brentwood…the OG storefront). Their quest is clean self-care. “We stand for self-care and beauty with a clean conscience. It doesn’t take much to give yourself a little love, hit reset, and show up just for you. Together, we celebrate craft, creativity, and self-expression through mini moments that make you feel good.” Whoever wrote that…I respect your word craft! 

MiniLuxe offers two nourishing nail polish options. Pure Polish is free of the eight most toxic elements present in nail color. These stylish bottles with rose gold tops also contain strong pigmented colors. All made in the USofA. However, I tried and fell in love with their Performance Polish (aka Dazzle Dry). It’s vegan, cruelty-free, full of vitamins, strengthens, dries complete in 5 minutes flat, and removes like basic polish. Did you catch that? I’m basically saying it wears like gel, but removes like regular nail polish. No LED lights required, and it stays put for up to two weeks. Not.even.kidding!

If you suspect your nail relationship is toxic to your health, make an appointment at your local MiniLuxe or shop Dazzle DryThank you gel polish for all the memories, but next.