The Allergista Made an Appearance in Allergic Living!

Woohoo! Check it out!

the allergista
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If you haven’t heard of Allergic Living, head on over to their website now! It’s a great magazine focused on, you guessed it, allergies! I actually made my debut appearance in their print magazine (the U.S. version) last year.

This time around, they were looking for people with severe nickel allergies so I couldn't resist reaching out to them. The woman who interviewed me asked about the sort of struggles I deal with... from nickel in razors (and a zillion other items) to my hunny making me a guitar just so I can learn to play. Needless to say, I had plenty to talk about with her. This mini article was actually featured in one of their cover stories called "A Rash on the Digital Age" which is about modern technology containing nickel and the allergic reactions people have had because of it. These days, you can find nickel in cell phones, tablets AND laptops. 

A big thanks to the awesome people at Allergic Living for featuring me!

Pick up a copy here!

The Engagement

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you know that...

MY HUNNY ASKED ME TO MARRY HIM!!!

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It was so magical and awesome and thoughtful... he made me feel like the most special person ever :-) :-) And he actually surprised me! It's pretty hard to surprise me.

He did it on a day that he was at home all day and I was at work. This gave him the time to get everything ready...

When I came home, I noticed a red glow which struck me as odd. When I walked up to our door, I saw this in our trees:

Isn't it SWEET? I still haven't had the heart to take it down (no pun intended)!.

That's when I knew something was up ;-)

When I opened the door, there were flowers and lights everywhere, a record playing, and my hunny stood there all dressed up with a new haircut. He was holding both of our pets - one in each arm... and the little guys were dressed in matching tuxedos!

Then, he got down on one knee and popped the question:

And of course I said YES! He also VIDEO TAPED the whole thing! That photo above is a screenshot from said video :-) After this, he swept me off to a nice dinner which is where we took the photo of both of us and the ring. The restaurant was quiet as it was a little later in the night and we had a great time celebrating with just the two of us. It was perfect :-)

And this is what the boys were wearing:

Aren't they adorable?!? It all just melts my heart <3

I can't wait to marry the the most awesome person that I've met - ever. We've been together for five years and have been living together for four and a half... and it's been everything I thought it could be - and more! I'll be marrying the sweetest, most honorable and interesting guy on the face of this earth... There's nobody else I'd rather fall in love with over and over :-) I knew from the first night we hung out that this was going to be something special... something unlike any other relationship I've been in. Turns out, he's got every single trait I'd want in a partner... and I never really kept a list! He continues to amaze me as a person and I'm grateful for all the time I've had with him. I also have him in all my dreams for the future... I love love love him!

And before I start sobbing happy tears, let's get onto the ring ;-) Here's a closer look!

Isn't it beautiful? He did very well, eh? ;-) And it's exactly what I wanted! It's hard not to just stare at it all day...

As far as the metal content and my nickel allergy, nickel is in most gold since gold is so soft. Nickel make it's harder. Platinum rings are reeeeally expensive and I'd rather have a bigger stone than a platinum band, so this was the route to go. This is white gold coated in rhodium. The jeweler said I should get it re-dipped in rhodium one or twice a year depending on the severity of my allergy. We'll see how my skin does. Either way, it's so nice to have the option of rhodium!

So, yeah... we're engaged :-) And I literally couldn't be happier to marry the man of my dreams. I think we're going to do something outside this summer, but we'll see! I don't want to leak too many details at this point. This early in the game, venues and all of the other decisions to be made are still kinda up in the air!

Let the games begin, though... I'm ready! <3 :-)

Introducing... Skintifique! Products for People Allergic to Metals

A few months ago, I received an email from one of the owners of Skintifique. The email was actually all the way from Paris! I dream of Paris, so that was kind of exciting for me :-)

She told me that her and her husband had been working on a line of products that have proven to help people with metal allergies such as nickel and chromium. Since nickel has been such a problem for me (see a day in the life of my nickel allergy here), we both agreed that I seem like a perfect candidate.

On October 11th, I did a video chat with her to learn a little more:

Her adorable son took part as well - popping in every now and then :-) We had a great talk and she said she'd send me some products, which I was very grateful for!

After dealing with my post office telling me my p.o. box was closed, figuring out that it wasn't, losing and then finding the package, I finally got my hands on their products. It might have been a month later, but I got them. I also may have gone slightly insane in the process.

From left to right:

How it works: You apply the protective cream and rub it in. I was told that the results vary from person to person, but that people have been able to go hours with this barrier and had no reaction! Seems miraculous!

The cleanser does just what it sounds like it does - cleans your hands of metal irritants. The lotion is also said to have protective qualities and the hydrating gel is for battling dry skin (which we all know about if you have to keep washing irritants off your hands). The owner also told me that people have used the protective cream with earrings with success. Pretty impressive!

I'm actually doing my last test with the protective cream as I type this. I have two nickels (which are actually 25% nickel per The United States Mint) strapped to my arm. One with protective cream underneath and one without. When you're allergic to tape and synthetic fabrics, you come up with ideas like this. Stylish, right?:

It's a 100% cotton sock and a rubber band. YUP.  I'm still trying to decide whether or not to rock this bad boy at the grocery store... So far, it's been on for two hours. I'm not itchy, so I guess I should leave it on for a while longer.

I'll keep you posted on my results, but either way, you should definitely check out these products! People have had success with them and I haven't seen ANYTHING else like it on the market. It's worth a shot!

You can buy the protective cream online for $28.24 right here on their website. Here are the ingredients:

Aqua (Water), Calcium Carbonate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Bisabolol, Ceteareth-20, Carbomer, Chlorphenesin, Tocopheryl Acetate

Get in contact with Skintifique through the links below:

Official Website

Facebook

Twitter

Stay tuned...

ASK THE ALLERGISTA: How do you eat out/travel with propylene glycol and nickel allergies?

Q:

 My husband and I have a two week trip planned to Alabama in January. Since my skin is still so reactive to my allergies to propylene glycol and nickel, I am reluctant to go. I just don't know how I can eat at restaurants. Because PG is sprayed on produce, I can't order salads or items with peppers, tomatoes, etc. Milk products (except organic) don't agree with me, so cheese is out. PG is also in all kinds of marinades, dressings, sauces, baked goods, etc. At the family restaurants near my house, chicken breasts are already marinated when they are delivered. I can only think of one "safe" food--a plain hamburger with no butter on the bread. Any ideas for me?

I am also concerned with the cleaners used in hotel rooms. Do I have to respray faucets, sinks, etc. with vinegar and water to get off cleaning solutions that may have been used containing PG? What about the fumes in the room?

Any advice for traveling is very much appreciated--thank you!

A:

First of all - love Alabama!! I lived in the northeast corner for a couple years as a teen and still have people down there who are like family.

Moving on...I feel your pain. I have both of these allergies and at this point, I'm happy to say that I'm definitely comfortable with traveling. When it comes to food, I bring my own snacks and drinks. I talk to the hotel ahead of time and make sure they put a mini fridge in the room for me. This has never been an extra charge. Many rooms already come with one, but there was at least one time where they had to put one in for me. I also check out which restaurants are nearby. I look at their menus and usually decide what I'll get ahead of time. Hotel restaurants have been very accommodating with my allergies as well. My go-to types of food on vacations are Asian food or places with a grill. I can usually get plain food at places like this. When I go for Asian food, Japanese menus usually have the most simple options: sushi, steamed edamame, plain rice and steamed mixed veggies. At grills, if it's a nice enough restaurant, they have plain meat that can be brushed with something simple like olive oil and garlic. Plain meat and veggies can easily be thrown into a pan with olive oil... it all depends on how good of a restaurant it is unfortunately.

As far as the pg-being-sprayed-on-produce issue... this has never been a problem for me and I'm pretty allergic to propylene glycol. As long as the produce is washed, I don't worry about it. If you can find some organic produce, obviously go with that. I'd be interested to know if you react to produce that's been sprayed with pg, but washed before eating... that would mean that you are extra ultra sensitive.

If you really are reacting to pg on produce, I'd bring your own food. See if you can score a hotel room with a kitchenette and cook your own meals. When I went down to Alabama two summers ago, I stayed with people I knew, bought food at the grocery store and cooked. We went out to eat once and I ordered salad with extra virgin olive oil dressing. Actually, I went out to eat twice - the second time was at an Asian buffet, so it was easy to stick to rice, steamed veggies and stuff like that. 

When I've stayed in hotel rooms, I bring my own bedding (because of my allergy to synthetics) and I pretty much don't touch anything in the room... this sounds more difficult than it actually is. I can sit anywhere on the bed because I've changed the bedding and if I sit at the desk which is so often in hotel rooms, I just don't rest my arms on the chair or desk. If I'm wearing shorts, I put down a towel or blanket so I'm not actually touching it. In the bathroom, I use the small towels to turn on faucets and to touch other metal/possibly nickel objects. I also bring some bandannas and cotton gloves with me for stuff like this. It's good to have options! This nickel testing kit is useful as well.

I haven't had issues with fumes in hotel rooms... more-so with dust. Check around with the hotels and see if they offer any allergy services. A lot of them are cooperative when it comes to allergies. I always ask that my bed be stripped of all bedding and sheets before I get there because I A) don't want to touch it and B) don't want all that extra bedding taking up space in the room. Nobody has ever been difficult with my requests. You could ask that they wipe down with water after using their chemical products... that's a thought.

I hope this helps and that it's given you hope that you CAN travel and actually enjoy yourself. All it takes is a little extra planning and creativity.

Have a wonderfully awesome time!

Sincerely,

The Allergista

 

Coughing, More Coughing and a Glorious Haircut

Yup, I've officially become that person in our sea of cubicles that coughs all freakin day... sigh. I began to not feel so great last Sunday and was full-on sick by Tuesday. I took a day off and while I've gotten better, I cannot shake this cough!

So, this past week has been all about not working in my spare time... There will be some more blog posts coming soon, though - don't you worry ;-)

As those of us with chronic medical issues know... we have to put rest first sometimes in these busy lives of ours. In fact, I am vowing that when I get home today, I'm going to immediately shower and get into bed!

In other news, I did manage to drag myself to the hairdresser last week. I pushed my appointment back later into the day so I could sleep in (which ended up being thwarted by our dog, Bentley), but I couldn't cancel because my hair soooo desperately needed it. It had gotten so long it was just hanging there. It was beginning to drive me IN-SANE. I didn't want to go another week.

My hairdresser did a great job - check it out! I'm going for a smoother look these days:

Since I wake up at the crack of dawn to get downtown every day, I need a hairstyle that I can sleep on... one that doesn't look quite so messy. There's no way I'm doing 1-2 hours worth of work on hair every morning. No thank you.

I'm enjoying getting better at using a curling iron - it's nice to switch it up! :-)

Here's how she did the look: she blow dried my hair and then used a 1" curling iron. Pinning my hair up and starting underneath, she began curling at the front by my face - first curling away from my face, then alternating the curls toward my face and away from my face again. Every now and then she'd twist a piece of hair and then wrap it around the iron to throw in some variety. She repeated this until all of my hair was done and then used the iron to slightly bend my bangs away from my face.

She did this all with zero product except for some finishing hairspray which she applied after the curls were done. The finishing touch is running your fingers through the curls and then -poof- beautiful hair.

I love it!