Clumps of Mascara is a lifestyle blog from Brittany Minor. With features that include beauty and makeup reviews, parenting adventures, travel recaps and more, Clumps of Mascara is for the imperfectly perfect women and men of the world.
I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Novo Nordisk to write about the realities of obesity as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
A few weeks ago I dropped an Instagram Story where I showed that I had officially lost 11 pounds. It took me almost 3 months to lose all 11 of those pounds.
It also took me 3 months to even get the nerve to publicly admit that I was trying to lose weight in the first place. This may be hard to understand if you don’t have a social media presence or if you’ve never dealt with being overweight.
You see…I don’t always want to give the perception that by losing weight I hate my body. We had this conversation, remember? I don’t want people to assume that all of us fluffy, fat and overweight people are unhappy in our bodies and that we’re all mega stressed about it and want to lose weight.
And then I realized…do I really care what people think? No, I don’t. But the truth is…as great as it is being an overweight person who is actively losing weight, I feel so much pressure to keep it off. Not because people will notice if I start to regain the weight – but the devastation I feel will consume me.
The Med-IQ post that discussed obesity received so much love and support. So many of you could identify with my experience or knew someone who could. We’re out here, yo. With a large percentage of Americans being overweight, I am certainly not alone.
We are more than aware of our bodies. When we don’t notice it ourselves, the world reminds us of this by rarely featuring bigger bodies on television shows, in ads, on runways and in boardrooms. Airplane seats squishing our thighs remind us. Stores remind us when they don’t carry our sizes. Strangers remind us when they glare at us as we move about minding our business.
Though presenting these incredibly raw emotions hasn’t been easy, I’m glad that Med-IQ has given me the opportunity to have this discussion. In addition to educating myself about obesity, I’m grateful that such a platform exists to help educate our medical professionals on how to approach and consider people who have obesity.
The reality is…we cannot do this on our own. We love to throw out the “It takes a village” quote when it comes to raising kids but the same could (and should!) be applied to those with obesity. The support means absolutely everything – and I don’t mean supporting with messages on why it’s important to lose weight and how we can go about it. That discussion isn’t always helpful.
Oh no, girl.
The kind of support I’m thinking is being able to be that listening ear without judging. I’m thinking being able to be just as angry when someone you know has been judged, picked on or discriminated against because of their size. This means using your voice to speak up when you hear people picking on others or making assumptions about them. We are unable to do this by ourselves and having the support from those who love us means absolutely everything.
Instead of steadily suggesting ways to lose weight, consider asking friends and loved ones what would be helpful. Ask them how they’d like to be supported. If you’re one of those people who loves to go deep with the knowledge, I highly recommend checking out the Obesity Action Coalition. I don’t think I’ve found a better online resource for helping support, advocate for and educate others when it comes to the topic of obesity.
Med-IQ is currently conducting a survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes more education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are anonymous and will be shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide us with important information about your experiences with obesity and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives for healthcare providers to improve care.
Once you’ve completed the survey, you will be asked to provide your email address if you’d like to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $50 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will not be sold, kept, or stored; email addresses are used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize.
I’m hangin’ in there. And while I hope to continue to lose weight and keep it off, I will always do what I have to do to advocate for people of all body sizes. And I hope we can all do this.
I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Novo Nordisk to write about the realities of obesity as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own. The information provided through this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition.
The first time a friend told me she had HIV, she couldn’t stop laughing.
She didn’t laugh through tears.
She just laughed.
I stared blankly at the wall behind her. Rarely am I at a loss for words and yet there I was… wanting to find something, ANYTHING to say to my friend who had revealed something so personal to me. We were in college and living our best lives. We weren’t supposed to have to deal with things like…HIV.
“It happens, right?” she said as she shrugged it off.
Maybe she was attempting to be stoic. Maybe she had already done the dramatic fall-out wailing. And maybe she had already been a fountain of tears. Maybe she had processed and accepted and just maybe she was at peace.
She was right about one thing – it does happen. It happens far too often. It happens in record numbers. This was something I didn’t know then.
According to the CDC, compared to other groups of women, Black women are disproportionately affected by HIV.
If you’re a Black woman, were raised by one, know one, love one or see them on a regular basis, this should concern you. This is scary.
The good news is that the number of HIV cases is declining. This is, I think, something to celebrate but knowing that women who look like me have rates that are 16 times higher than that of White women and 5 times higher than that of Hispanic women, I mean…dang, y’all. This is TERRIBLE.
Anyway – after hearing about my friend’s diagnosis, I launched little meetups with friends where we’d all go and get tested and then go out to eat afterward.
Getting tested together (whether we were sexually active or not) kept the entire experience causal and not as awkward. We’d joke around and laugh all up in the waiting rooms, load up on the free condoms and celebrate by eating out at restaurants and getting our karaoke.
I realize that not everyone has or grew up with that kind of support when it comes to the discussion of sexually transmitted diseases and getting tested. Even as adults, the conversation is hard. No one wants to talk about it. Even though this disease has affected so many of us…we still get all shy when we talk about it. That is IF we talk about it at all.
This is where PrEP comes in….
Now, girl…listen. I am not a doctor. I am still doing as much research as I can on PrEP and suggest that you do the same. As with anything, you absolutely need to talk to your doctor and your higher power on what is best for you and your body.
PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis is a pill that can lower the risk for those who do not have HIV but are at risk of getting HIV. In short…it is an HIV prevention tool. PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool that includes both a daily pill and regular visits with your doctor.
And we’re not talking…“Oh, so if I take this pill, I MIGHT not get it.”
If you take the pill every day, your risk drops over 90%, friend.
Who is PrEP for?
-People who have partners who may be HIV-positive -People who have multiple partners and especially if they have partners who have an unknown HIV status. ….and more. You can check out your HIV risk here. This will help determine if you’d be a good candidate for PrEP or not.
PrEP appears to be a great option for those who need it.
Is your mind blown a bit? Mine was too when I sat down to crank out thoughts for this post. The sheer discussion of heavy topics like HIV can be so easy to avoid. But avoid them we cannot, girl. Not this Black woman. I have no problem highlighting some of the struggles that affect my fellow sisters and will ALWAYS showcase some of the solutions.
That said, if you want to get more information about PrEP, I highly recommend visiting here.
Also, if you would rather listen to this conversation, chcek out this Med-IQ sponsored Facebook Live featuring Dr. Oni Blackstock and Dr. Joy Harden Bradford. They break things down so easily so you don’t have to worry about feeling lost in the conversation.
Don’t stop talking, y’all. Our lives quite literally depend on your ability, willingness and bravery to just open up and say something.
Med-IQ is currently conducting a survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes more education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are anonymous and will be shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide us with important information about how women communicate with their physicians about their sexual health. The insights gained from the survey will be used in an educational tool to provide information that may be useful in keeping the lines of communication open with healthcare teams.
Once you’ve completed the survey, you will be asked to provide your email address if you’d like to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 8 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will not be sold, kept, or stored; email addresses are used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize.
Oh, and my friend that I talked about? She’s doing just fine. She recently got married and honeymooned in Italy. For this post, I wanted to get her thoughts on PrEP and guess what? Her partner takes it and has had a great experience. That’s just one review but the fact that PrEP is even an option makes me marvel at modern science a bit.
I was compensated by Med-IQ to write about HIV. All opinions are my own.Links to external sites are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They are not intended and should not be construed as legal or medical advice; nor are they endorsements of any organization. Med-IQ bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of any external site. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.
Thank you so much for supporting sponsored content on Clumps of Mascara.
I’m not gonna lie to y’all.
I do not enjoy going to the dentist. I’m not one of those people who need sedation dentistry (and girl, I’m not judging you if you take this route because I GET it) but I cringe at the sheer thought of even a simple cleaning.
But I go anyway. I go kicking and screaming because if there is one thing I don’t play about, it’s my dental health.
I didn’t get all serious about this until I copped my first electric toothbrush and AFTER using said toothbrush for some months, my dentist marveled at how great my teeth were. How impeccable my gum line was and how polished and plague-free my pearly whites were.
I was feelin’ myself and vowed to always have an electric toothbrush.
Have you heard of them? Maybe they aren’t as massive as the big brands but after getting the opportunity to test drive their toothbrush, I will say…I am officially a fan.
I’m not picky in the electric toothbrush department. I have only a handful of requirements.
-Does it have settings? -Are the replacement toothbrush heads easy to find and purchase? -Is there a warranty?
CariPro rocks in all three areas. Their toothbrush not only has FIVE modes (Clean, White, Massage, Gum Care and Sensitive) but their brush heads are not only pretty affordable but they ship quickly, too. I love the option of being able to pick 2, 4 or 8 purchases at a time. This insures that you’re already a step ahead in case you need a new toothbrush replacement head at a moment’s notice.
And as far as their warranty? You not only get a 60-day trial but you also get a 2-year limited warranty. That’s what I’m talking about! When you’re spending more than $100 on a toothbrush, you want to be able to replace it in case it malfunctions or you decide that it doesn’t work for you anymore.
How much is this cariPRO, B?
It’s not cheap, girl. I’m not going to lie to you. The fact is – everyone isn’t in the position to spend a pretty penny on a toothbrush. I get this. I also feel like your dental care isn’t dependent on an electric toothbrush. Genetics and your current care play a huge role in that and an electric toothbrush likely won’t make or break you. However, I absolutely cannot go back to traditional toothbrushes after using an electric one for so long. The investment is absolutely worth it for me, time and time again. cariPRO has several packages with the most affordable package being $119. This includes the toothbrush, 2 replacement heads and 1 wireless charging dock. Your 2-year warranty and 60-day trial come with this package, too. That’s not too shabby, right?
So, break it down for me, B. And be honest. What were the Pros and Cons of this toothbrush?
It is super easy to setup and get started. No fancy tricks here. Just remove from the packaging, charge a bit and you’re ready to roll.
The most affordable toothbrush head replacements. Seriously! I’ve never seen any so cheap and I love that they give you more than one at a time.
Their warranty can’t be beat.
Comparable to other brands. cariPRO is up with the technology! They’ve got the waterproof design and the wireless charger as well as the auto-interval smart timer. What sets them apart is the 30 day battery. None of my other electric toothbrushes have ever lasted that long!
The brush modes/settings are all pretty great. No complaints from me. Gum Care was my absolute favorite and it was pretty consistent the entire time I used it.
No color options. If you’re a gal like me who wants funkier colors or more creative options with your electric toothbrush, you won’t find that with cariPRO. They only have the standard charcoal.
No options with brush heads. While I love the settings on the toothbrush, I would have loved to see more toothbrush options, especially for those who need softer bristles.
Their brush heads aren’t in stores or on Amazon Prime so if you’re in a pinch, you’ll have to order directly from their website and wait a few days.
In general, yeah…I like cariPRO. It’s hard to complain about an electric toothbrush that does what it’s supposed to do and has such an excellent warranty. If you’re ready to give this baby a whirl, get 20% off cariPRO Ultrasonic electric toothbrushes by using the code: clumpsofmascara20.
If you’ve been wanting to try out an electric toothbrush, now is the time to do one!
Be back, y’all. I’ve got to make an appointment with my dentist to not only tell her NO I don’t want my diastema closed and to show off how awesome my teeth look. Boom.
As always, thank you so much for supporting sponsored content. I received this toothbrush for review but all thoughts and opinions (and teeth) are my own.
I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Novo Nordisk to write about the realities of obesity as a chronic disease… All opinions are my own.
Does this title surprise you? I bet it surprises some of you. Pretending for social media has always been hard for me. It doesn’t feel good. I do much better when I can speak, write and present authentically. And so when we talk about weight and body image, I’m okay with calling myself fat and overweight.
Because I am.
It is what it is, girl.
This ain’t changing tomorrow and for ALL of my entire adult life, I have been fat. Like many, I’ve had my struggles. I’ve starved myself and rolled in and out of diet plans. I drank diet shakes in high school, did lemonade diets in college and yo-yo’d all up in through my 30’s. This is my norm. Being aware of my weight isn’t ideal but it’s my norm. In fact, I find that it’s other people who have a problem with my body more than I have a problem with my body.
Roxane Gay writes about this so poignantly in her book Hunger: A Memoir of My Body. Her book single-handedly changed how I viewed obesity and people with obesity. Writing posts like these, I feel, can help shatter the opinion many of us have when it comes to the conversation of weight, obesity and everything in between.
Perhaps one of the reasons I can easily talk about weight, weight loss, dieting and body image in general is because I’ve always been so aware of my body and the place it has had in this world. I mean, I’m a fat dark-skinned Black girl with kinky hair. I am aware that more times than not, I stand out. Talking about being overweight does not make me uncomfortable. I don’t enjoy how they feel but I’m also not working hard to hide my back rolls when I go to the beach. I have been a member of Club Cellulite since my teens, and stretch marks and I have been buddies since right around when I started puberty.
5 years and 30 lbs ago
Also – I need y’all to know that MOST people of all body types have stretch marks. If you have skin, you probably have stretch marks. This is normal. This is okay. If anyone tries to shame you for something as normal as stretch marks, please send them to this post.
I’m okay with admitting all of this and the biggest reason why I’m okay is—despite what society tells me—I don’t hate my body. In all of its imperfections and in all of my frustrations with not being able to find clothes that make me feel as confident as I feel on the inside, I have never once looked in the mirror and hated what I saw.
Annoyed with myself for not being able to quit binge eating?
But have I outright hated my body?
This, I realize, is a blessing. Not everyone feels that way. Men, women and gender non-conforming people of all body types struggle with how they look. Economic background, location and age do not play a part. If you are a human breathing in this world, it is very easy to hate what you see in the mirror. Just a scroll down Instagram can quickly help you realize how NOT okay your body is.
Which, by the way, how backwards is that? There are more people who DON’T look like the “standard of beauty” than those who do.
I wanted to partner with Med-IQ as their goals align with mine. They want to do exactly what I want to do whenever I talk about weight…educate. Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals.
I am so okay with helping to normalize this conversation. Let’s face it, if you’ve never been overweight or struggled with obesity, you can’t say what you would or wouldn’t do. It’s so easy to pass judgment to those whose lives differ from ours. It’s so easy to make assumptions about them.
“Just stop eating.”
“Just go on a diet.”
“Just work out more.”
…if only it was that easy, right? We’ve got to do better with how we approach this discussion when it comes to weight. People’s lives are on the line and if we can discuss this in a healthier way, we can quite literally save those lives. Obesity is a chronic disease. It isn’t about just giving up junk food. Obesity is layered, complex and incredibly challenging to tackle alone. Having the support of healthcare providers and a community of those who GET IT are absolutely instrumental for patients with obesity. And no two paths look the same.
I understand this because—despite how I feel about my body and despite how I am able to run at least half of a mile without stopping—medically speaking, I am considered to be someone who has obesity.
Do you have an extra 15 minutes in your day? If so, please oh please consider participating in a survey. This survey will not only include further education on the topic of obesity, but you will also be entered into a drawing to win 1 of 10 $50 VISA gift cards. Survey responses are anonymous and will be shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide us with important information about your experiences with obesity and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives for healthcare providers to improve care
Once you’ve completed the survey, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $50 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will not be sold, kept, or stored; email addresses are used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize.
So where does this leave me?
Well, I am still mindful of what I put in my body and try to move it to the best of my ability. In fact, by the time you read this, I’m on yet ANOTHERRRRR “lifestyle plan” to help manage my weight. I am grateful that organizations like Med-IQ exist to help support the healthcare community so that if I need the help, they will be well educated on how to support people like me.
More than that though, I am mindful with how I treat myself. Because fat or not, I will always work hard to treat my body well through loads of self-affirming activities and regularly acknowledging my strengths.
And I recommend you do the same.
If you or someone you know could use additional information and support regarding obesity, I’ve found this list of Education Links beyond helpful.
I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant to write about obesity and its status as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
I am so grateful to be working with brands like Zoya who have continued to provide me with press samples to share with y’all. Thank you for always supporting sponsored material, Clumps family!
Okay, my bad. I don’t mean to imply that nail polish can be provocative. I meannnnn, I suppose in some ways it can do this but I am always amazed at how brands like Zoya continue to push the button and change what we think about regular ole’ nail polish.
And lemme tell you. That’s not easy. We’re living in a different world. Gel nails are a big hit (well, for everyone except for me). Nail art is kickin’ and acrylics still reign supreme. Being a nail polish company with just nail polish ain’t easy. There are SO many brands. Still…after all of these years and dozens of reviews, Zoya continues to sweep me away. I will forever be a fan.
Especially since they are now giving us larger brushes. I’ve converted all of my favorite Zoya polishes to their new Z-wide brush. Game changer for folx like me with larger and longer nail beds.
Innocence is a considered a Spring collection but guess what? NO PINKS! I’m a pink hater so any time I don’t see pink, I’m happy. I’m so grateful Zoya didn’t give us a collection of standard pinky/yellow/Easter’y shades. Instead, they gave us something a little less traditional. I can rocks with it.
Fern is the first shade I swatched. It likely has something to do with the newest plant that I purchased. Green has been speaking to me so much and not only did this shade’s subtle gold shimmer draw me in but it’s also named Fern? STOP. Loooooove.
Birch is a soft lavender. The kind of shade that I think look so great on my nails. I love topping shades like this off with some glittuh, too.
Aire is like the bluer version of Zoya’s Danielle. I love when Zoya gives us nontraditional colors in their collections. This was so unexpected and so lovely.
Theo. Okay, I was kidding about Aire. Theo is truly the untraditional baby of this bunch. Gunmetal with some white glitter chips? Yes, girl! I loved this one layered over Aire but it looks okay on its own, too.
Agnes looks like an old lady shade but is described as a warm toned muted blush. Zoya is still the GOAT when it comes to cream formulas. They are dynamic at that!
Oh hi, Evette. You will never hear me complain about a grape colored nail polish.
As always, Zoya polishes polish perfectly and last longer than any other brand I use. I can get a good 3-4 days of wear as long as I wear clothes when washing dishes and use their top coat. Each bottle goes for $10 and you can snag the entire collection for $60 here.
Get it, Zoya.
You’re still on top, boo.
FTC Disclosure: I received this collection for review but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Happy 2019, y’all! As I do every year, I’m sharing some of my book goals and aspirations. I love doing this every year as it not only keeps me accountable but you fine people always recommend such AWESOME reads.
But before we get into what I hope to be dabbling into, let’s talk about how 2018 went in terms of reading.
For one thing…I met my GoodReads goal of 50 books read. I actually went over by 4! Color me surprised! I didn’t think I’d make the goal considering I did very little reading between Spring and Summer.
Last year’s focus was biographies. I wanted to consume as many as I could. I read 15. Of all of the books that I read, many wanted to know what my favorites were. That includes the following:
Becoming – Michelle Obama
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers – Maxwell King
Allegedly – Tiffany D. Jackson
Anonymous Acts – Christina C. Jones
Heads of the Colored People – Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Educated – Tara Westover
B, what’s the key to getting through books quickly?
Sometimes when I tell people I’ve read over 50 books in a year, they step back in awe and question how I find the time. The thing is this – I make time. I limit my endless scrolling on social media and pick up a book. While I’m driving or cleaning, I’m listening to an audiobook. Before I get out of bed, I spend a good 10 minutes going through a book. So that I actually look forward to what I’m reading, I only read books that catch my interest quickly. If it doesn’t catch me in a few chapters, I pick something else. If it’s too slow, I move on. Datssit.
Books to read in 2019
Here’s my long list and I’ll be sure to update it throughout the year.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker – Damon Young
The Wedding Date – Jasmine Gillory
How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation – Maureen Johnson
If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi – Neel Patel
Black Listed – Jeffrey Boakye
Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive – Stephanie Land
Sing, Unburied, Sing – Jesmyn Ward
How Long ‘Til Black Future Month – N.K. Jemisin
In The Country We Love: My Family Divided – Diane Guerrero
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Michelle Alexander
The Great Believers – Rebecca Makkai
Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family – Garrard Conley
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think – Hans Rosling
Florida – Lauren Groff
Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
Miles from Nowhere – Nami Mun
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name – Audre Lorde
7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child – Naomi Steiner
Special thanks to Disney for sponsoring this delicious opportunity.
There’s something comforting about southern food. I don’t eat it often but girl, when I’m not worried about calories and just want some flavorful and fulfilling food, I always think about some good ole’ southern cookin’.
I meeeean, YES, you can absolutely have the same experience while eating raw vegan dishes but what can I say? I’m a diverse eater.
Can we talk about how much Disney Springs has changed over the years? Part of me gets weepy at the transformation that is the Downtown Disney that I grew up with to what is now Disney Springs. But, I have to admit…it’s pretty spectacular. Homecomin’ is nestled nicely in an area of the Springs that isn’t too far from the parking lots – right in The Landing.
If you love Florida-inspired (sans the seafood) meals and southern-centric dishes, you’ll find Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ appealing.
I do, however, recommend, you check the menu thoroughly if you have a very specific diet. While I find most Disney restaurants are great accommodating guests to the best of their abilities, this is the kind of restaurant that goes hard with gluten and dairy.
Unapologetically, at that.
We were able to try a spread of some of the delicious offerings and while it was pretty tough to nail down a winner, I will say Homecomin’ is SPECTACULAR at their appetizers – or, Sunrise Starters as they call them.
From the Church Lady Deviled Eggs and those homemade biscuits…my goodness! You absolutely can’t go wrong.
I think it’s a crime that so many restaurants in Florida don’t serve grits so when I saw Shrimp & Grits on the menu, I geeked out.
I’m not a lover of shrimp but lemme tell you about those grits…
Also, what’s a southern meal without fried chicken and macaroni and cheese?
I didn’t get around to dabbling in everything (I was actually limiting gluten during this trip…*weeps*) but so many of the menu items were so incredibly compelling.
-Hush Puppy Benedict
-Fried Green, Eggs and Ham
-Addie Mae’s Chicken & Dumpling Soup
-Fried Chicken Salad
Couple that with some of their Moonshine Mash, a Blueberry Mimosa or White Peach Sangria and you’ll be all set to spend the rest of your day in bliss.
I highly recommend visiting this spot if you enjoy some good southern eatin’. Also, be sure to save some room for their desserts.
Thank me later….
For more information about Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, visit here.
FTC Disclosure: Although this was a sponsored visit, all thought and opinions are my own.