Health and Wellness: Scotland Announces Ruling that Menstrual Products Are Free in Public Spaces

While women’s bodies have been heavily policed via legislation as of late in the States, across the Atlantic, Scotland is passing laws that make more sense. Women now have the legal right to free menstrual products in public spaces including schools and universities. This is all due to the Period Products bill passed by a unanimous vote back in November 2020. However local authorities and education providers will be responsible for ensuring the products availability. Big shout out to Monica Lennon who proposed the bill in April 2019 (CNN).

Having worked a stint in community outreach in a local education system, period poverty is absolutely real and I, along with a few teachers, held discreet fundraisers to keep our storage stocked.

Also, word to handbag designer and stylist, Sonique of Saturday House, for raising period awareness through her designs for years now. Hopefully, one day the U.S. will catch up with the rest of the world.

Until then…

Try These 3 Luxe Experiences That Are Completely Free

We are living in a time of luxury, and “you deserve” and yes, I agree that you do. However, all luxury experiences do not have to cost you money. Trust me. Most of these experiences I engage in on a regular basis and you will be shocked how beneficial they are to your overall peace and well-being.

  1. Quiet Mornings

My personal philosophy is that when you get up and get ready for work, that is not your time. That is time you are still giving to your employee in order to arrive on time to begin the work they paid you to do. I like to rise in enough time where I can ease into my morning. I find that rushing leaves me feeling stressed and frazzled and I do not want to start my day that way.

2. Give Yourself 30

Thirty of what you ask? Thirty minutes. I admit I did not come up with this on my own, I read it in some obscure article in a magazine years ago, but it goes like this. When you come home from work, before you rush into the next thing on your to-do list, put your things down, get comfy and give yourself 30 minutes to decompress from your day. Take this time to read a few pages in a book, a magazine, the news, take a cat nap, anything, but the key is to relax.

3. Go to Bed Early

Speaking of relaxing, most of us have a million things to do that will leave us up late at night with few hours of sleep in between rising to do the whole routine over again. When you spot an opening in your evening, don’t fill it with things that will still keep you up, get a few extra zzz’s. Your mind and body will thank you.

4. Change of Scenery

Whether is getting some fresh air with an evening or morning walk or eating away from your desk, changing up my environment for a bit helps me not to feel “stuck” or in a “loop” of the same routine. During the summer, I love sitting outside with a glass of wine and watching the sunset. That time is just *chef’s kiss*.

These are just a few things I like to do to inject some free luxury into my life. Yours doesn’t have to look like this, but if you are looking for a place to start, try these. Let me know how they work.

I Tried Always Infinity Flex Foam Pads and Here Are My Thoughts

When it comes to trying new feminine products, it is hard to get me out of my tried and true box. If you menstruate, you understand. Thankfully, I have a friend who is a little adventurous with trying new period protection products and after a successful trial run of the Always Flex Foam during her cycle, she alerted the group chat of her new favorite pad. After her rave reviews, I temporarily deviated from by current favorite brand to see what the hype was about.

Always Infinity Size 4 Overnight Pads with Wings, Unscented
Image Credit: Always

Product Description:

Always Infinity FlexFoam Overnight Absorbency pads feel like nothing and protect like nothing else. FlexFoam pads are unbelievably thin and flexible so your pad moves with you, not against you. Zero Feel protection is possible with form fitting grooves that conform to your shape, and super absorbent holes that pull wetness away from your skin. Always’ driest top layer is breathable, so you can say goodbye to hot and stuffy. With Always Infinity FlexFoam pads your period is the last thing on your mind. ( Always)

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.

I can attest to the zero feel protection claim. That was a gripe of mine with previous pads. The foam pads were also very absorbent, which surprised me because they are thinner and I wasn’t entirely convinced they would hold. They were so absorbent point where I was almost fooled into thinking I didn’t have that much menses but when I changed napkins on my regular schedule I saw just how much was absorbed on the underside. I also had no leaks. I have tried the FlexFoam twice and my first batch did not have the stickiest of wings. It almost made me not repurchase, but the absorbency and comfort are what convinced me to fork over my dollars.

Throughout the week, I had no leaks and discomfort. Sleeping was a breeze. My sleep routines in the past were always disrupted because I was so concerned with avoiding nighttime leaks. I did not have that issue. Suffice to say, Always Infinity FlexFoam lived up to its claims and will be a part of my menstrual care routine.

To try out FlexFoam for yourself, look for them at your local grocer or big retailer wherever menstrual products are sold or

Take Aways:

  1. Zero Feel: No stickiness on your skin.
  2. Lightweight and not bulky feeling; comfortable.
  3. They past the overnight sleep test.
  4. Very absorbent.
  5. Wing adhesive could be a little stronger, but did not take away from the function.
  6. Various sizes are offered because we are not one size fits all :).

Living with Fibroids: The Big Day

As the days closed in on the day of my scheduled myomectomy, I had to get my personal affairs in order. These included ensuring I did not leave any loose ends at work, making sure I had everything I needed for the hospital (socks, magazines, crossword puzzle, toiletries, etc.) and my post-op living arrangements were made. I recuperated at an aunt’s house as not to strain myself in the first few days out of the hospital. I foolishly thought I could go home and camp out on my couch as if I didn’t need any help. A good friend talked some sense into me (Thanks, D!) and told me I will need assistance, and she was right.

The day of surgery finally arrived. I was to report at 6 a.m. for my scheduled surgery at 7:15 a.m. Due to recent changes in the hospital’s COVID guidelines, I was no longer allowed anyone in the hospital with me. My sister could only go as far as the lobby and I was left to make this journey alone, save for the (exceptional) care of medical staff. When I checked in, I sat in an empty waiting soon to be accompanied my another woman, who I assumed was a patient as well. We were both whisked off to get ready for the operating room.

Once in my pre-op room, I had wipe down again with antibacterial wipes, swab Betadine in my nostrils for antiseptic purposed and dress in an operating gown. The (not so) fun part of locating a vein for my IV port commenced and then I waited for seemed like the longest fifteen minutes. I wondered if I would be wheeled back on time. Then in a wave, a RN came in and confirmed my identity and the procedure I was having, then the anesthesiologist, followed by by OB/GYN’s nurse, the my OB/GYN, ending with the nurse anesthetist coming in to administer the anesthesia. I remember talking to him as he administered meds via my IV and being wheeled in the direction of the operating room. When I came to, I was in recovering thirsty and in pain. An hour and a half had passed.

Everything seemed so loud and everyone seemed to by moving so fast. The lights were suddenly terribly bright. My sore throat and intense thirst was the result from I later learned having a breathing tube down my throat. Once redressed on a hospital gown, I was wheeled to my room where I would be bed-bound until the next morning. I was hooked up to a catheter, leg compression sleeves, and received IV fluids and antibiotics once in my room. I was receiving shots of pain meds every four hours, and had to strategically and mentally prepare myself to roll over. I had an ice pack and a small pillow that did help, especially when the meds were wearing off.

I learned that I had just one fibroid that encompassed my entire uterus. The nurse told me that once they were inside, it looked just like a pregnant uterus. They were able to get it out in it’s entirety and the benign fibrous tissue weighed in at 524 grams which is a little over a pound. I am happy that this part is behind me and I can start the road to healing. I am aware that I can very well develop new fibroids, which is why I have to be stricter about how much weight I allow myself to gain and balancing eating for socialization and learning new cultures with eating for my health.

I am currently back in my own apartment enjoying the off time and taking it easy. I move around pretty well, with caution. I had a very lazy and enjoyable Christmas holiday. I still do not do any bending or heavy lifting. I haven’t cooked anything yet. The same aunt I stayed with a few days after surgery came over and made food for met to eat over a few days. A friend got me a Hello Fresh gift certificate so I can have meals sent to me. I likely won’t get the okay to drive until my appointment after the New Year. Until then, I will continue to heal and nest.

Living with Fibroids: The Decision

To read the first post in the Living with Fibroids series, click here.

I arrived at my consultation with my mind already made up about how I wanted to proceed. I decided on a myomectomy, which is the surgical removal of the fibroids. I decided this over embolization due to the size and location of my fibroid (s). Before I diclosed my decision, I got the feedback from my physician, and luckily we were on the same page.

He mentioned again since I did not have kids, he wanted to preserve my fertility. I found this was a common conversation amongst OB/GYN’s and patients according to women I spoke with who had the procedure. I am on the fence on children and leaning towards the ‘no’ end. I have no plans to have any and that has been my mindset since I was about 25. I told him if it comes between my health and fertility, I choose my health. He reiterated that our minds change (I’ve heard that before) and he still wanted to do what he could to preserved my uterus. If I should change my mind, I would have to give birth via C-section since I would have been cut open once before.

I am well aware that with any procedure I chose, I know there is still a possibility that new fibroids can appear. I will likely have to make diet and lifestyle changes post-op. I eat fruits and veggies, but I also have indulgences in other good eats, and there isn’t always balance. I can also be more active and have a consistent routine beyond walking and light excercise. It is believed abdmoninal fat, or weight gain in general increases estrogen levels which makes women more suseptible to fibroid growth, and even stress (Source). There also may be a link between fibroids and the consumption of red meat, alcohol, and caffiene, though that data has not been conclusive (Source).

My decision to move forward with surgery meant surgery prep. Filling for time off from work, and actually finding time to fit it in my schedule. Since I am in grad school and did not want to miss a semester, I chose to get my procedure during my winter break. This means I’ll be recovering during the Christmas and New Years Holidays.

The step is to prep for the big day.

Living with Fibroids: The Confirmation

In August of this year, I received confirmation from my OB/GYN of what I had already suspected; I have fibroids. Well, one big one that is almost the entire size of my uterus. That is what we know now before I undergo surgery. I wanted to get checked for fibroids as they are a common occurrence in my family, on my mom’s side. They seem to appear in the early thirties. That, and my increasingly heavy menstrual cycles over the years let me know I had joined the rest of the women in my family in living with fibroids.

Not a depiction of my uterus.

Studies have shown that between 80-90% of Black women will be diagnosed with fibroids before the age of 50, compared to 70% of White women (Source). Living with fibroids definitely affects your way of life and can weigh on you mentally. I began to loathe the arrival of my period because I knew I would be a week of sleepless nights due to having to sleep on a towel to catch any leaking that my doubled up, super, extra-long, overnight pads couldn’t hold. The constant insecurity about messing up my clothing at work, and carrying backup underwear because some months were even heavier than others, the anemia, and fatigue caused by anemia compounded with the fatigue caused by having lupus. It was too much! My body laughed at my taking iron pills. I take them just to get in the normal range of anemia and to keep from having to get a blood transfusion. I was always pushing through the fatigue because I want to enjoy life in spite of the monthly turmoil I go through. I work full time and am in graduate school, and I run this site and still try to spend time with friends and family, but something had to give. I couldn’t keep bleeding like this.

My doctor told me that my uterine growth was the equivalent of me being five months pregnant. Yes, I was walking around looking as if were in my second trimester. There was no baby, just one (or more) tumor that measured at approximately 9 cm in a 13 cm uterus, though I suspect there is more.

While I wasn’t thrilled I was just diagnosed with uterine fibroids, I was relieved to have a cause for my excessive bleeding and discomfort as well as my fluctuating weight and self-esteem.

So, what was next?

I set up an additional appointment for a consultation with my doctor to discuss treatment options. He voiced his concerns about wanting to proceed with caution as I have never had children. I went home to do a deep dive into treatment options and consult with friends and family who have had various procedures to gain info on their experiences, so I can make the best decision for me.

Beauty Myth: “I’m Too Dark for That”

This article originally appeared in a May 2017 post of Diva Chronicles while I was working a short stint in retail. I am no longer at that place of employment, but my feelings expressed in the article are the same. They were reignited when Melissa Fredericks, better known as Mrs. Kev on Stage, and is the wife of comedian Kevin (Kev on Stage) Fredericks posted a loving PSA to brown skin girls who were told they were too dark to wear bright colors. I felt the need to help her amplify this message.

Source: Melissa Fredericks aka Mrs. Kev on Stage

While I acknowledge my privilege in that I did not receive that messaging in my own home. My parents both wore colors and patterns proudly and my mother dressed me the same way in my youth. I recognized that everyone’s complexion wasn’t embraced as it was in my home when I went to school or elsewhere. So when I came across a customer one day who refused to try an orange blouse because she thought she was too dark, I was inspired to write this article for her and women and girls who have been fed such lies. You’re beautiful, in every shade and pattern.

Quick story: My day job is in retail. While I was assisting a customer with options to wear with a pair of pants she recently had purchased, I mentioned the color orange and she shook her head and said, “No, I’m too dark for that.” She was a dark skinned black woman who believed she was too dark to wear vibrant colors. If it is your preference no to, that is one thing, but to believe you cannot because of your complexion is problematic. I tried to convince her she would look beautiful in orange and any other bright color, but it was obvious she had internalized the belief that her complexion limited her to what colors she used to express herself through her clothing, so I dropped the conversation. Well, I dropped the topic with her, but not with you all.

To my dark skin beauties, you can wear orange and any other bright color. Take a look at the fabulous dark skinned women wearing orange below.

Et Moi!

Cover Image Source: Claude Kameni

Pantone Partners with Feminine Care Brand, Intimina for New ‘Period’ Red Hue

The shade is simply called “Period.” It was created by Pantone in partnership Swedish healthcare brand, Intimina to support their global campaign to make menstruation more visible and normalize it.

It is described as “an active and adventurous red hue, courageous Period emboldens people who menstruate to feel proud of who they are. To own their period with self-assurance; to stand up and passionately celebrate the exciting and powerful life force they are born with; to urge everyone regardless of gender to feel comfortable to talk spontaneously and openly about the pure and natural bodily function.” (Intimina)

Cover Image and Article Credit: Intimina, Pantone

DC Kids: Dr. Charis Chambers Shares 6 Tips Young People Should Know About Starting Their Periods

Dr. Charis Chambers, or @theperioddoctor, as she is known on Instagram is working to #changethecycle. She works to equip young ladies and their families with factual knowledge about their bodies to end the shame surrounding natural bodily functions such as menstruating. Her video titled, I Started My Period Now What?: 6 Things You Should Know is a great informational tool for girls just starting or will soon be starting their periods and their parents.

Video and Cover Image Credit:Dr. Charis Chambers

My First Impressions of The Honey Pot Company’s Super Tampons and Overnight Pads

A woman’s relationship with her feminine care items is a tight-knit one. Once the right products are found, we hold on to them and they become a constant in our lives. Something we can always depend on. Until we can’t. Factors such as age, weight gain, and uterine fibroids can all impact our menstrual cycles from everything to how light or heavy our flow is to how long or short we mesntruate at all. With me gaining weight over the past few years, I chalked up my heavier flow to weight gain (Plot twist, it was fibroids). Because of this, I was back on the quest to find the perfect feminine items for me.

I had landed on wearing bulky super, extra long pads because they made me feel “secure” with my heavy flow, but they weren’t always comfotable. Plus, they still didn’t prevent leaks. I would still have to sit and sleep a certain way to avoid a crimson surprise. I knew tampons were an option, but they exacerbated by cramps, and I did not need those issues. So when this story broke, I decided to give another brand a try. I ended up reverting back to my bulky pads for a few months as they were sold out everywhere. Then I finally got my hands on Honey Pot!

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.

I ordered both the Honey Pot Company’s Overnight Pads and Super Tampons. I wanted to give tampons another try to see how they would treat my cramps and would use the pads for catching leaks and as a backup.

Both the pads and the tampons came in cute and compact packaging. Pads were 12 to a pack and tampons were 18. I ordered them ahead of my cycle, but low and behold, Ms. Rose came early. So for a day and a half I wore my tried and true, but “secure” bulky, super, extra- long overnight pads. When my Honey Pot package came, I tried the tampon while at home doing chores as a tester to see if I could make it at the office.

The super tampons claim to hold 9-12 ml of fluid. I was skeptical due to my flow, but went ahead tried it. It was in the late evening so I kept it in overnight as I slept and also wore the pad (which is light and not bulky, by the way) to bed. NOTE: I was aware I was wearing the tampon the max amount of recommended hours, which is 8. It is recommend to change out your tampon every 4 hours.

The tampon was easy to insert and had the traditional push up mechanism we are used to seeing. Once inserted, it was comfortable and I could not feel it. I slept comfortably and had tiny droplets on the pad as expected since I wore it overnight.

The next day for work, I tried the tampon alone. After about 4 hours, I changed and used the overnight pad to test it’s functionality. One gripe that I have, and it is not exclusive to the Honey Pot brand, is that many overnight and/or extra long pads I come across, especially in new brands have two sets of wings. I can’t speak for you ladies and your panties, but the symmetry doesn’t really align with mine. It is very awkward fitting as they don’t both wrap around the center. Maybe one longer wing on each side? Just a suggestion in case the good folks at the Honey Pot Company and other brands if they are reading this. The pad was thinner than was I used to but I went in trying to be as optimistic as possible.

After lunch, I changed into a freah pad to get the full experience with once since I had a full night and morning using the tampon. The double wings did not hold up, though I tried to be more careful with placement the next go round. I did feel the cooling mint effect that was advertised on the package. To be honest, I could take or leave it. I don’t wish to be “cool” down there. I did not have leaks! That’s the important part, right? Though leaks were likely because the wings did not stay attached. If I did leak, it would like be due to that and not lack of absorbancy. I saw no signs of bleed through on the napkin itself.

As the week went on and my flow gradually lightened, I resorted to using just the tampon. I slept in it again and have no leaks or other complications. I completed my week using the pads. All in all, I was satisfied with both products. So satisfied, I purchased back ups of both. I was especially impressed with the absorbancy of the tampons. As mentioned earlier, due to my cycle coming on early, I did not get to try the products on my heaviest day, which is the first day. I am curious to see how both the pad and tampon will hold up.

If you are interested in purchasing from the The Honey Pot Company, click here to check out their website and they are also available at Target.