​Embrace Your Scars

​Embrace Your Scars

They're beautiful, just like you.
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I remember that day like it was yesterday. The day that I learned to embrace my scars was the second best day of my life, the first being the day I got them.

When I was 14 years old, I was burned, leaving scars on 20 percent of my body. It was very difficult for me to accept my scars. I tried to put on a brave face and act like everything was fine, but I was truly breaking inside. I completely hated myself because of my scars.

For some reason, scars are ugly, according to society. I was ugly. I didn't feel worthy of anyone's love, not even my family. I didn't want to spend time with my friends because I didn't want them to have to be seen with me. I was trapped behind my scarred skin.

I was able to attend a retreat called Angel Faces shortly after my burn injury. It was there when I realized how beautiful my scars are. Everyone had some sort of scarring, whether it was from a fire or car accident or a dog attack. Everyone had a story to tell. Everyone was the same situation. Everyone was "normal" (whatever that means) for the first time in months, even years. There was no staring or teasing or being ashamed of who we were. I was able to see the true beauty of everyone around me and I began to see myself as beautiful. I began to realize that the day I went through the fire was not the worst day of my life, but it was actually the best.


I realized that I shouldn't be ashamed of my scars. I beat the fire. You see, scars show the battles you've been through. The battles that you've won. Whether your scars are from a fire, like mine, or surgery or self-harm or even emotional scars, you're stronger because of them. You overcame whatever it was that tried to hurt you.

The scars become a part of who you are. They become a part of your story. Your journey. Your triumph. Your life. Don't hide them. Share the story behind your scars. You never know who you will impact.

I truly believe that my scars are beautiful. I'm beautiful. There's nothing I can do to get rid of my scars and honestly, I would never want to. I get to look at my scars every single day and remember how strong I was. How strong I am. I can't imagine my skin without my beautiful scars.


So please, if you're struggling or trying to cover your scars, just remember that they are beautiful. Remember the battle that you fought and won. You survived the battle. You are a warrior. You are beautiful. Hold your head up high. Be proud of yourself. I'm proud of you.

Embrace your scars. Embrace your journey. Learn to love yourself. Every single flaw and scar.

Cover Image Credit: Tiffany Bates

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An Honest Review Of ItWorks! From Someone Who Doesn't Sell The Products

No, I'm not looking for you to "join a team" or begin any challenges.
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I'm sure you've seen your friends on Facebook transition from friend to salesman. Whether it be for Scentsy, LipSense, or AdvoCare; multi-level marketing companies are on the rise thanks to social media. ItWorks! remains one of the most prominent.

ItWorks! is a health and wellness company using primarily plant-based ingredients without any artificial sweeteners or coloring. Their "number one seller" is the famous body wraps but the company is mostly weight loss supplements and vitamins. The company has a passion for the natural over the synthetic. Co-founder Mark Pentecost states on the site's Our History page that "you want to know that you're putting the very best things in your body."

Since most reviews of these products come from distributors, who are therefore biased, I have reviewed three of their greatest products and one I believe you should avoid.

1. Greens™ Blend Chocolate

As a vegan, I sometimes have to double check that I'm receiving the proper nutrients. ItWorks! Greens have been saving my life lately. It contains 52 herbs and nutrient-rich superfoods as well as 34 fruits and veggies. It is meant to alkalize, balance, and detoxify.

This is my favorite product! It gives me energy and even fills in for breakfast sometimes. It honestly makes me feel great. Then again... they always said eating all your fruits and veggies would!

ItWorks! gives you those healthy servings in a delicious chocolate flavor (which is bomb with almond milk). Make sure you use a blender bottle or blender. Like many powdered supplements, it can have that grainy aftertaste.

2. Advanced Formula Fat Fighter™

The idea behind this supplement is that it’s "okay to indulge if you have your Fat Fighters." Basically, if you just must have that sweet treat or piece of bread then you can take this pill within an hour to prevent your body from absorbing the carbs and a portion of the fats. If you're anything like me, you eat what you want when you want, so you'll end up taking these pills on the daily.

The main reason I like the Fat Fighters is that they reduce cravings and I normally have such a sweet tooth!

3. ThermoFIGHT™

This product is meant to increase calorie burning, boost the rate of your metabolism, and boost your energy. Like with Greens, I definitely feel energized when I take this supplement. Not in a jittery or wired way, either.

They say "abs start in the kitchen" but I'll try and cheat the system when I can!

4. Ultimate Body Applicator™ and Defining Gel™

This is the ItWorks! claim to fame... and that ASTOUNDS me.

I used to be so skeptical of this company because of the wraps. I tried them three different times and was not impressed each time. The ultimate body applicator and defining gel are meant to tighten and tone the skin to redefine the appearance of your body’s contour. Sure, you'll receive those results... just at an outrageous price. It's an expensive product that requires a lot of re-purchasing in order to receive any drastic results. Not to mention the most drastic results are just reduction of water weight.

They're really just an overpriced skin firming lotion. I suggest finding a nice cream from Target and sitting in the sauna instead.

If your facebook-friend-turned-salesman pushes for you to buy the wraps, just remember that I warned you.

I would like to give an honorary mention to KetoCoffee (probably their second most popular item). Because it is not vegan, I have not given it a try. I have heard amazing things from multiple women, though. Most keto coffee recipes give people the shakes and amp them up too hard. I've heard that ItWorks! has perfected the recipe.

I have used the first three products for a little over three months now. Sometimes I am inconsistent and miss servings. However, I match these products with a vegan diet (mostly whole foods based) and 3-4 days of exercise. I do not have drastic results but I have lost a little over ten pounds and feel great each day. I plan to remain a customer with this company (I have Greens on Autoship!).

I feel so blessed to be a Loyal Customer with ItWorks! because I receive up to 40% off and free shipping after three months. Without this discount, I probably never would have given this company a second thought. I highly recommend going that route because, well...

Cover Image Credit: Savanah Garcia | Instagram

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I'm Chronically Sick And It Made Me Appreciate The Little Moments In Life

My doctor's office became a second home to me, but never gave me the answers I needed.

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People get sick all the time, a cold here, the flu there. It doesn't seem like anything out of the ordinary to get sick a few times a year - I wish that was the case for me.

I have always been the kid in class who seemed to get a cold every couple weeks. It never caused an issue in school, I always pushed through.

As I got older I got sicker.

If I look back at the last year and compare the times I was sick to my friends, you would be amazed. One of my friends would get a cold and it would pass in a few days. I would catch the same cold, and it would stay with me for multiple weeks. This happened every time someone around me was sick, it didn't matter that I had had the same virus two weeks prior. My body couldn't shut out illness.

I remember the day I came into the editor's office at the magazine I was working for and everyone froze at the sight of me. I had mono, strep throat, and a sinus infection - all at the same time. I looked like a walking ghost. To make it worse, I had already had mono and strep throat previously that winter.

My doctor's office became a second home to me, but never gave me the answers I needed. Everything was just a little annoying until it got serious.

Halfway through fall semester at Washington State University, I faced the scariest medical moment of my life so far. I started getting stabbing pains in my left side. They escalated over the next couple weeks, but I didn't have the time to get it checked out. School, work, my friends, and my boyfriend at the time kept me busy.

It got to the point I couldn't stand it anymore.

When I finally went into the hospital the doctors were amazed I was still as active as I was. I had developed a massive infection in my left kidney. My doctor ordered a rush CT scan to ensure I didn't have to have surgery. In the meantime, I was on multiple painkillers and medications, bedridden for over a week. The results finally came back and I was in the clear. With that said, I now only have half of my left kidney function and it is unclear if I will gain it back.

I was lucky that I didn't lose my kidney from that infection. With that said, I lost my job, my depression levels rose and I barely passed my classes last semester due to the complications. My sickness had finally caught up with me, and that was the final straw.

Once I recovered from my infection I started seeing an immune specialist. We discovered that my sinuses had been stripped of all needed particles that filter out viruses and that my body was a boundaryless breeding ground for bacteria.

I'm defenseless against getting sick.

To this day we still do not know what is going on, but we are constantly doing testing to try to make my life as easy as it can be medical wise. I will always be sick, but the experiences I have had have only made me appreciate the little moments in life more. While I hate the fact I'm getting sicker, and it makes me struggle with self-love, it is something I'm constantly learning from.

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