Green Beauty Review: Pachy by Rustic Maka (Part 2)

Patchy Deodorant by Rustic Maka (sample sizes)

Keep reading to get 15% off from now through December 10th, 2014!

If you were reading on Tuesday, I posted Part 1 of this Green Beauty review on Pachy Deodorant by Rustic Maka. I promised to post again yesterday, but I have a head cold that’s been getting the better of me this week, so I’m running a day behind – sorry. It might be a good thing to be running late, though, because I found out something so cool about Pachy in the mean time! It turns out that Pachy is pronounced something like “Pax-y”, and actually means “armpit” in Polish. If you’re a lingo geek like me, you’ll probably find this endearing. If not, well, keep reading to find out more about why you should love Pachy :-)

So you guys know that my typical go-to brand is Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant, though during the summer, there’s no natural product out there (that I’ve found) that can keep me staying dry enough to not get a rash within a few weeks of constant use. Most of the year, I use a natural deodorant and carry a jar of cornstarch or arrowroot powder with me to dust my underarms periodically throughout the day, and coconut oil to soothe skin irritations. However, by late August, when I received the samples of Pachy, I’d already returned to my yearly summertime habit of over-the-counter antiperspirant use (I know, I’m awful, but if it’s the choice between maybe getting cancer one day and definitely having red, burning, achey, and insanely itchy armpits today, I’m going to take the gamble).

Then it occurred to me: Let’s use this as a chance to do an experiment! I’d try Pachy in New Orleans’ hottest and most humid conditions, then try it again when the weather had cooled a bit and I wasn’t sweating buckets.

Trial #1: August 20th through 27th
Temperatures ranged from 94 degrees Fahrenheit down to a lovely, cool, 88 degrees (that’s a joke, btw), with average daily humidity levels in the 80% range. My daily activity level is pretty high – I walk about 2.5 miles to work every morning along a route that doesn’t offer much shade, walk another 2.5 miles back home in the evening, plus go to the gym for a few more miles’ run, weight lifting, etc. I also spend my day working in an un-airconditioned building. In other words, summer is an extremely sweaty affair.

Trial #2: October 20th through 27th
Temperatures ranged from 83 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, down to around 62 degrees at night. Humidity dropped a bit, too (thank goodness) – to only around 50% most days. My activity level didn’t change, but due to not feeling like I was trying to run a marathon under a heat lamp, I was sweating a bit less.

The results? I loved the way Pachy smoothed onto my skin. It’s not crumbly or dry, and it also wasn’t sticky and waxy the way a lot of natural deodorants tend to be. I love to be able to just put my deo on and go – no holding my arms up to let my pits dry out for a minute, like with a roll on deo, and no worrying about getting it all over your clothes if you’re getting ready to put a shirt on, etc. Pachy is perfect in that regard. I could easily put a bit on and walk out the door, and I loved it.

As far as smelliness on my part went, I found that the active ingredients in Pachy kept me from getting stinky for a long time. I’d put some on before leaving the house, get super sweaty on the way to the gym/work, then wash up a little and put on some more. I wouldn’t be stinky at all when I was reapplying, just sweaty (and sweaty to me means getting an underarm rash, so I always like to wash up, get dry, and reapply after an hour or so of constant sweating). Once the weather got cooler, I found that especially if I wasn’t doing anything strenuous, I could apply once and not have to “treat” for stinkyness for 24 hours or so. In other words, this stuff really works for odor prevention.

Pachy only fell short for me in two highly-personal regards. My personal preference is for spicy, musky scents. I prefer a scent profile that some might find more manly – sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, amber, balsam – and though Pachy smells lovely and clean, I like to be a little spicier. It’s wonderful if you’re looking more for a “fresh out of the shower” scent, though. My favorite of all of the scents was the Rough Rivers scent, which is sold as the men’s version of the deodorant. I’d recommend that if you want to try Pachy out and you’re also into something stronger/spicier, take Rough Rivers for a spin.

Secondly, as I’ve already mentioned, I tend to get armpit rashes if I’m not really careful about keeping them dry and protected from chafing. For me, it felt like once the product soaked into my skin, it didn’t leave enough of a creamy barrier to protect my armpits from rubbing and creating a rash. Like I said before, though, I always carry around cornstarch or arrowroot powder for that, so it wasn’t that big of a deal – I just dusted some on. It’s just something to keep in mind if you’re also a delicate flower who has to pay way more attention to her armpits that she’d like :-D

Overall, I loved Pachy. I wish that they had a few more scents in the roundup, but the product itself was effective for long periods of time and generally felt great on. If you’re in the market for something new for your pits, try them out! Here’s an even bigger incentive – from now until 12/10/14, my readers can use code PACHY2014 to receive 15% off your orders at RusticMaka.com. Pretty awesome, right?

Green Beauty Review: Pachy Deodorant by Rustic Maka

Pachy Deodorant by Rustic Maka (sample sizes)

Keep reading to get 15% off from now through December 10th, 2014!

Recently, I found out about a new player in the vegan, organic, non-toxic deodorant market, called Pachy. Created by boutique brand Rustic Maka, Pachy is handcrafted and cruelty-free, two of my favorite things to see on a label when researching new health and beauty products. Kasia Rothe, one of the owners of Rustic Maka, graciously sent me a sample pack of the brand’s five deodorant scents, so I could try Pachy out on my (notoriously picky) pits.

By now we all know that drugstore brand deodorants and antiperspirants typically include aluminum, parabens, talc, propylene glycol, triclosan, TEA, FD&C colors, and DEA, chemicals that have been linked to dermatitis, Alzheimer’s, cancer*, liver disease, kidney disease, antibiotic resistance, and disrupted thyroid function. In direct opposition to the drugstore brands, Pachy’s formula is free of toxic chemicals, parabens, aluminum, gluten, corn, soy, GMOs, triclosan, and propylene-glycol, so I felt great about applying it to my delicate underarms and giving it a go!

Product Packaging: My first thought at seeing the samples of Pachy were that the packaging was adorable. The labels could be affixed a little better (I don’t believe this is the case for the full-sized containers, which look like they’re packaged differently), but the colors and design are pretty, and I love the idea of having deodorant samples in containers about the size of a tube of lip balm. Each container gives you enough to apply several times a day for four or five days, making these perfect for packing in your purse or saving room in your travel bag for a weekend getaway.

Product Scent: Pachy currently comes in five different regular scents – Calming Fields (primary scents of lavender and spearmint, with hints of coconut and shea butter), Naughty Butter (unscented, with hints of coconut and shea butter), Sweet Lemonade (primary scents of lemon, orange, and vanilla, with hints of coconut and shea butter – I thought it smelled a little like Love’s Fresh Lemon), Wild Meadows (primary scents of bergamot and vanilla, with hints of coconut and shea butter), and Rough Rivers (primary scent of bergamot, with hints of coconut and shea butter).

There’s also an additional special edition scent called Morning Breeze (primary scents of lavender, spearmint, orange, lemongrass, and vanilla), the sales of which benefit Angels of Hope, a family cancer foundation. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to smell the latter, but the other five smell amazing, so I can only imagine that Morning Breeze would be a great buy, both for scent and to benefit a great charity.

Test Parameters: I had the unique opportunity to test out Pachy in two New Orleans seasons – late summer (which is really our midsummer around here) and early fall. Tune in on Thursday to find out how it performed!

In the mean time, head over to Rustic Maka’s site to find out more about their company and products. While you’re there, use code PACHY2014 to get 15% off of your total order from now until 12/10/14.

*The FDA and the National Cancer Institute dispute the connection between deodorants and breast cancer, but studies have been inconclusive thus far.

Alarms In The Heart

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Last week, I went to one of the best concerts of my life. As far as stage presence and sound quality go, I’m putting it in my personal Top 5, along with Neutral Milk Hotel (NOLA – Feb 2014), The Flaming Lips (NOLA – Oct 2009), Gogol Bordello (NOLA – Apr 2011), and Ben Folds (NOLA – Oct 2002). Garbage, Ween, No Doubt, Tears for Fears, and Mouse On Mars (at the Chelsea, in Vienna – talk about great acoustics) get honorable mention.

This new addition to my “holy shit, that concert blew my mind” is a band called Dry The River, out of London. I was introduced to them back in March, and fell in love within a few lines of the first song (if you’re interested, it’s called “No Rest”). So when I heard they were going to be playing in Chicago on the US leg of their tour, I immediately snagged a couple of tickets.

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The show was in a small venue called Schuba’s. They’re known for having intimate shows and great sound quality. Nothing about the space is too fancy – it’s just a solid little theater, perfect for getting to watch your favorite performers on stage. For certain songs, the sound was so on-point that it felt like standing inside of a record, somehow. I’m still impressed that I got to see what’s turning out to be my favorite band in such a tiny music club, because it feels like they’re going to get huge. So glad that this time I got to chat with them at the merch table after hearing/singing along to an incredibly emotional set.

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Ever since the show, the title track off of their new album, “Alarms In The Heart,” keeps going through my mind. When I was stuck in the airport the next night – Halloween – for about 8 hours longer than I should have been, the song kept me from losing my mind completely. The lyrics in the chorus are particularly catchy:

“Half the town is underground,
and half are halfway there,
and we’re the only good ones left.

If there’s a tremor in earth, love
a ripple in the water,
come back to haunt you,
keeping you awake,
I heard it before now,
that we don’t listen very much,
to alarms in the heart, love.”

Give them a listen. They’ll haunt you (in a good way).

Success Is Paleo

It’s the beginning of my 4th week as an Iron Tribe Fitness “athlete”. I’m putting that in parentheses because they actually do call us athletes, and though I know they’re trying to make us feel strong and capable, I’m not really feeling it yet. But that’s not their fault – I’m loving being a member of the gym. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for all this time. I really just needed somewhere that would tell me exactly what to do, show me how to do it (probably multiple times, because I don’t pick up physical movements really well the first few times around), then give me specific goals to reach and times in which to get those goals accomplished. So far they’ve done all of this, while being amazingly kind, patient, and accepting of my flaws. I love working out there, and can’t wait to finish up with the 101 program and move into taking regular classes four days a week.

Even though I’m not yet working out at full power, I did start something new today at Iron Tribe – eating meals from the Inner Fire Grill. I should have taken some snapshots today to show you what I was eating, but I forgot and gobbled it all up. Maybe I’ll start showing you a weekly roundup of eats – today’s meals were amazing. I think I’m really going to like not having to think about what to eat anymore. I can just open my fridge and pick the thing that strikes my fancy that day.

From now on, each Wednesday I’ll place an order for my meals for the following week. On Monday, I’ll pick up lunch & dinner for Monday/Tuesday, and on Wednesday I’ll receive lunch & dinner for Wednesday through Friday. The meals last a few days in the fridge, so if it turns out that I have dinner plans or a lunch meeting, I can always just save that meal for a later date. Minimum effort, but surprisingly delicious and filling meals. Today’s lunch was a half of a sweet potato filled with braised beef ribs and onions, served with this amazing paleo chive mayo. Dinner was chicken salad (who knew I could enjoy a non-mayo-based chicken salad?) and a side of mixed fruit.

This Saturday marks my last day of drinking until Thanksgiving, so between getting strict with my meals, not taking in any of that extra sugar, and working out 3 to 4 days a week at the gym, I’m planning on starting to drop some serious weight over the next month. Thinking about seeing if anyone at the gym wants to put together a running group to start training for some distance runs. I’m really excited about feeling like success is actually attainable. I haven’t felt this sure about my health journey for a long time, now.

A Study In Negatives

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Before I knew you, I knew your face. I’d seen you around for years. You stood out to me every time I saw you at a party or at the bar with mutual friends. Maybe that’s why it was always so annoying when we needed to be reintroduced. For years, I’d had people tell me that I looked different every time they saw me, but with you, this failure at recognition cut deeply. It makes it sweeter that I remember the exact moment when you recognized me. Seeing your eyes light up like that as you took my ticket at the concert…the memory of it still makes my heart hurt a little. I would have walked back through that line a hundred times to keep seeing you smile that way at me.

Before I knew you, I studied your pictures for clues. This was after you’d finally sent me a Facebook friend request, but before we started writing clever comments to make each other laugh. I still didn’t know what I was looking for in the images; if you’d have asked me then, I might not have seen any difference in looking through your photos, and looking through those posted by any other friend. But still, I kept going back to a few of them to critique the curves of your smile, the way your eyes crinkled up when the photographer had caught you unaware, the casual way you shared your friends’ personal space. I looked for clues. What made you tick?

Before I knew you, I was the frequent subject of an amateur photographer. He liked to take me on vacation, then make me stand alone in front of scenic backdrops and pretty street scenes. He’d take artful photos of me examining artwork, making funny faces, walking down the street. After each trip, he’d proudly present me with hundreds of shots of “our vacation”. He was nowhere to be found in any of the pictures. Behind the fake smile of the girl in the photos is a sadness that can’t be viewed properly by looking through a camera lens. He couldn’t put it down. He couldn’t see the things that I saw. He couldn’t get excited over the little details, or wonder about the secret lives of the people we met, or get well and truly excited over the strange maladies that killed all of those mummies in the Met. He was too busy looking for angles to exploit. The girl in the pictures contented herself with going away into her imagination. Eventually, she lived there full time.

Before I knew you, I knew longing, and I knew you knew it too. It gradually became obvious that in many of your photos, your smile stopped before it reached your eyes. I could see that something was missing, because I’d seen it before, in line at that concert. I realized that the longing was something we shared; that knowledge changed everything. All at once, my guilt at not being able to smile for him lifted. How hadn’t he noticed, in all these years? Not that it was entirely his fault – after all, I hadn’t noticed him being happy on my account that much, either. The camera made him happy. The girl on the other side could be switched out like any other accessory – and should be. I had a better place to be. I wanted to keep watching your eyes light up. I wanted to keep feeling my heart skip a beat every time my eyes started to shine, too.

Rethinking My Methods

The facts:

I’m anxious, and regularly experience pretty drastic mood swings. My back, hips, and knees often feel inflamed, swollen, and extremely painful. Most mornings, my hips hurt so much that I have a hard time getting out of bed. I’ve outgrown almost all of my dresses and pants – I’ve gone up two sizes in the last year, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop of its own accord. It’s not like I’m a blimp or anything – I’m being rational about this, and I’m still a good looking woman. Nevertheless, I don’t look like “me” to myself anymore. I remember being in decent shape, and knowing that I was just being nit-picky when I was critiquing my cellulite, or a slightly less than firm tummy. That’s no longer the case. I’ve expanded to the point where I’m giving up and wearing yoga pants to work. That is not OK. Most people don’t think that I’ve gained weight, because I’m tall, and the new fat is all in my hips and thighs. However, over the past year I’ve gained over 40 lbs.

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The moment of truth (also known here in the South as a “come to Jesus” moment):

I took a look at my finance trends today using Mint.com, and realized that this past month, roughly 30% of my spending went to food and alcohol purchases. I’m not going to tell you how much money that was, but let it suffice to say that I could have substantially updated my wardrobe with the amount of money I just threw away on food that I know I shouldn’t have been eating in the first place. So…

The decision (Part 1):

My gym offers a service where they make all of your meals for you, five days a week. Everything’s paleo, and all you have to do is swing by the gym and pick it up each day. I just did the math, and even though it’s expensive based on what I *should* be spending on food each week, it’s a massive savings if I compare it to what I actually *am* spending on food each week. It would leave me with two days a week where I’d be forced to fend for myself, but maybe I can start using my weekends to actually learn how to cook, and wean myself off of pre-packaged meals.

The major plus side is that it would mean that for the majority of the week, I’d be eating exactly what I’m supposed to be putting into my body to achieve optimum health. I wouldn’t have to stress about what I’m going to eat prior to finding whatever that thing is, and more importantly, I wouldn’t have to stress about I’ve already eaten after I eat the thing that I shouldn’t have (which is pretty much everything that gets poured down my gullet as of late). It’s not rabbit food, and from what I’ve heard, the options are pretty tasty. Best of all, a paleo diet, combined with four good workouts each week, would mean that the weight will start to drop off. I’d really like to be down by a pants size by the time I go home to see my family for the holidays.

The decision (Part 2):

I’m going to officially wean myself off of coffee and alcohol, and move into a phase in my life where drinking is for holidays and special occasions only. I love coffee, whiskey and wine so much, but that’s the problem. Mornings can’t = cup after cup of coffee anymore, especially with my anxiety issues. Likewise, evenings after work can’t = a few glasses of wine on the couch. I like drinking, and I like that it helps me through tough social situations, but I don’t like the way that it makes me feel the next day, and I definitely don’t like the thought that I’m adding even more sugar into a body that is crying out for help. Back to tea, water, and watching the weight fall off.

The decision (Part 3):

Yoga & meditation are a must. As I start getting my act together on the food & workout fronts, I need to figure out how to fit a weekly yoga practice back into my life. It’s not a luxury – it’s a necessity. Along with helping with weight loss, it will definitely help create a positive self image, as I see how graceful and strong my body can be if I let it. I love Anna the yogini. I miss her. If finding my heart self means giving up on something else – work, social life – then so be it. This is my journey. I can’t afford to skimp on the most important parts.

The bottom line:

I need to stop poisoning myself. It would be a little different, maybe, if I honestly enjoyed half of the food that I ate. But I eat absolute crap, and I feel like I’m doing it out of some perverse need to punish myself. That needs to stop.

As I start getting my body under control with food and exercise, the next step will be to find a doctor and see if I can get the thyroid stuff figured out, too. Hopefully this time the tests will cooperate, but it’s so hard getting a diagnosis, so I’m not holding my breath. While I’m doing that, I’m also going to find a therapist to help me get my head wrapped around loving myself. I’m too damned old not to. I deserve more from myself.

Notes On Getting There

One of those weird colloquialisms that I heard a lot growing up was the phrase “I’m getting there.” Normally uttered in response to the banal greeting “How’s it going?”, “I’m getting there” can mean a lot more than the three words initially imply. Read at face value, telling someone that you’re “getting there” means that you’ve been travelling (physically or emotionally) and you’re nearing your destination. Typically, however, the tone of voice changes the meaning of the phrase somewhat. A sigh, slight shake of the head, and an exasperated tone turn “my present journey is nearing a favorable completion” into “I’m overwhelmed, and don’t see an end” or maybe “I’m way behind in life, but I’m holding out a little hope”. The implication in most cases, of course, is that the hope isn’t well-founded.

My mother is an unrepentant optimist, and my father leans heavily towards pessimism. As a result of the blend, I became a realist, though I do have a slight optimistic streak. Every now and then, when I reflect on whether I’m actually “getting there” or not, my inner monologue channels my father’s voice. I feel that I will never actually get anywhere. But most of the time, I’m fair and balanced, and realize that though certain obstacles might seem insurmountable for awhile, there’s typically a way to break through. I will get there. In some ways, I’m already there.

The process of “getting” has nothing to do with trying harder, but rather with understanding that I’m already achieving, and that I’m allowed to reflect on that with pride. I can stop concentrating on all of the ways that I haven’t reached my goals, because I HAVE reached so very many of them, and am doing everything within my power to get to the rest.

In a few weeks, I’ll be 33. What will I do when I get there? Will I spend another year feeling down about being overweight, or will I take the necessary steps to finally get in shape? Will I sit down and write that book I’ve been talking about? Will I go on pilgrimage? Will I get control of my work/life balance? Will I find my spiritual center, and make a bigger effort to connect to the world around me? All I can say for sure is that I’m going to get there. I’ve been on my way for awhile now.