Tuesday, November 1, 2016

43, Chronic Illness and C-Section Tidbit

In speaking to someone who was about to give birth via unexpected c-section, I decided that although this was not a scent-free or food allergy discussion it merited a quick blog post. 

I was 43 1/2 years with a chronic illness when I gave birth to my daughter.  Three weeks before my due date I had to make the decision to have a c-section or allow the doctor to turn her in the womb. Whether, I was ready or not she was coming out butt first. With the seasoning of my age and a few chronic illnesses under my belt, I thought best to have the c-section done. By that time, I was due I was ready to cut her out myself with a butter knife. I was done. I actually started having contractions the day the c-section was scheduled. 

In retrospect, one of the mistakes I think I made was sleeping in a recliner. Sleeping in the bed was very uncomfortable.  The recliner, however, allowed me to pop myself up and out and pee for the 100th time in a day. Nevertheless, I don't think this allowed my baby to properly turn during gestation.  Again, this is my take on it.

During the c-section, it was apparent she was stuck (under the rib cage, I presumed) because she had a line in her head diagonal which did go away with the gentle rubbing of her head.  It appeared that the doctors had difficulty getting her out.. both doctors needed to tug. She came out... and is beautiful I might say. That was 12 years ago. I have nothing to compare healing time to as she is my first, my last, my everything... (ok, Barry White said that, but it fits).

Don't deny yourself the help of family and friends. It still takes a village. Two things.... First, as soon as you get the Dr's ok to exercise do it.. work on the abs... . you will be sorry later. I realize I am older and many a body part has taken their decent to South America, but a little exercise...might have kept the decent from seemingly permanent.

Secondly, the ride home from the hospital is the worst. If you can find something to brace up what remains of the belly, you will be all the wiser and in less pain. My friend told me about the ride home as she also had a c-section and she was right, every bump, nook and cranny of the road you will feel. ok... 3 things... figure out the car seat, stroller and any other contraption ahead of time. You almost need a PHD in baby gear.  

This list is up to 4. Tell someone to check your hair before photos and make sure your hair does not stick up like a Velociraptor... you will be too drugged out, post birth, to know what is happening but mad later when you see the photos. Ok that is my 2 cents worth or more. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Fragrance Free Company is Hiring!

Isn't networking great!  Through networking, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blogging ... a networking source found Holy Lamb Organics, a Fragrance Free Company, and they are hiring!  

Photo provided by Holy Lamb Organics

Last month Scent Free Savvy's blog made a plea HERE looking for Fragrance Free Connections that  included a search to find Fragrance Free Employers.  Through networking, Facebook, Twitter and blogging ... a networking source found Holy Lamb Organics, a "Fragrance Free Company", and as of this blog post they are currently hiring!  We are happy to know there are fragrance free companies out there that do exist.  Holy Lamb Organics states on their website and Facebook page as to their choice to be a Fragrance Free Company. 

Photo provided by Holy Lamb Organics

If you are seeking a fragrance free position with a company that state their commitment "to an enjoyable, diverse, safe, and scent-free working environment" here's your opportunity.

We hope to find other companies with this commitment...we'll keep searching, keep your eye opened and be savvy and scent free.

Disclosure:  Scent Free Savvy Life intent is to connect potential employee candidates with potential fragrance free companies and/or companies that have a fragrance free policy in place.

Scent Free Savvy Life including its originator, contributors, administrators, and sponsors (Scent Free Savvy Life) makes no claims about the accuracy of a company's policies or employment positions that are available.  Scent Free Savvy Life will be held harmless as to the said outcome of a potential employee's hiring opportunities. Scent Free Savvy Life shall not be responsible for any employment decisions, for whatever reason, made by any company or entity posted on this site.

Scent Free Savvy Life cannot guarantee and does not promise any specific results from use of the Site. No advice or information, whether oral or written, obtained by a User from any potential employer or through Scent Free Savvy Life shall create any expressed or implied warranty.  User assumes all risks associated with applications, employment opportunities and hiring from any employer mentioned on this site. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My Fragrance Twin and I

Quite a few months back, I had the privilege of living with my fragrance twin and her family at their home. We have always teased each other that we were twins separated at birth. However, as it ended up a 4 month work stay, I found out that we were more fraternal than identical twins. Let me explain.
Illustration by Lana Willison
While someone with a fragrance allergy/intolerance are affected by fragrance, how the symptoms and reactions manifest can be quite different. My twin may encounter, eyes and lips burning, rosacea, headaches, and the all around "I need to get out of here fast" mode. I may encounter migraines, nausea, dizziness, irritability, spitting up, and of course, the all around "I need to get out of here fast" mode. We both have found that coffee can counteract some of these symptoms as it can act as a natural antihistamine.

Case in point, we went to Follow Your Heart, health food store, in the San Fernando Valley area near Los Angeles.  At the entrance of the store were candles by the register. Upon entering, we were both "hit" by the odors. Why "health food" stores display odor offgassing merchandise at the entrance is a wonder to me, but that is a blog post for another time.  

Follow Your Heart sells loose herbs, which I like to purchase to make my own hair products. I was able to obtain most of what I needed, but the effect of the fragranced merchandise in the store was taking effect on my ability to think. As I was attempting to pay, the closer I moved towards the front register, the onset of symptoms was evident. Not thinking clearly, I found my "fragrance twin" told her the situation and I left the store immediately before my symptoms entered the next phase. Usually, the next phase can consist of chest pains, throat closing and or losing my voice and the immediate need for a dye free antihistamine and/or a 911 call (definitely didn't want that).  

The checker at the counter was sympathetic, she came out of the store to check on me and ask if I needed anything, and supplied me with water.  Nonetheless, my body had entered crisis mode and I was afraid to re-enter the store. My friend paid for the products and she managed to stay a bit longer and look for her other needed items. How she was able to stay in there for longer is still beyond me. As I lost my voice, we went to another store and purchased coconut water as I was not in possession of a dye free antihistamine which would have slowed the reaction. Eventually, we made it to her house and I laid down.

On the flip side, if someone enters her house with hair spray, fragrance hair products, fragrance clothing from laundry detergent she has to escape to her bedroom for safety because those scents render her useless. Whereas, I have barely been affected, except for the fragrance laundry detergent (for me Tide and Gain are some of the worst odor affecting laundry detergents). 

She also can not tolerate some cooking oils, animal fat in meat, whereas I have no problem. It went to a point where I was confused as to what to cook for myself because I did not want to make her ill with food smells. I also have food allergies/sensitivities which make my eating choices limited. 

People with sensitivities to smells, odors, fragrance and the like, for safety, tend to be isolated. Least of all, with this sensitivity, being fully aware of the complexity of the situation, I did not want to be the person to make her ill. I know how it feels when people "don't get the issue" and are offended that it is their choice of product that we do not like.  

Many of us, like my fragrance twin have families, friends that stop by, or employed.  With that said, we risk daily our encounters with others, "count our spoons" and decide what task we can accomplish that day.  Amazingly, although we are similar in many ways, we were still quite different in the situations, products and odors that cause a reaction. 

It was a very enlightening four months, we were able to consort, brainstorm and assist each with our challenges. We both came out with a sincere and a better understanding of each other, a love and friendship I will cherish deeply as we both continue to be savvy and scent free. 

#fragrancefree, #perfumefree, #MCS, #fragrancesensitivity, #sensitivities, #scentfree, #allergenfree, #chemicalsensitivities, #foodintolerance,#chronicillness, #invisibleillness, #migraines, #spoonies

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fragrance Product Consumer Alert

I went to the paint department in one of my favorite hardware stores, found this and was horrified.

Is it not only a challenge to be assaulted by the scented plug-ins and candles now we have concern ourselves whether anyone has painted their house with a toxic additive outgassing toxic fumes.

Can you imagine walking into an environment where the walls are murderous coupled with trying to determine why you cannot breathe, eyes are burning, are vomiting, have a #migraine, #chestpain, fragrance induced #asthma attack? Whose marketing idea was this? This is NOT okay!

What would you do add a disclaimer before anyone enters, stating "these walls are painted with a fragrant additive,  enter at your own risk."  Seriously, whose idea was this?

In an effort to navigate this scented world, if you find any products that are ludicrous like this, let us know. All things considered, keep being savvy and scent free.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse and Plant

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse and Plant. @CalifiaFarms bottles are #bpafree and are perfect for reusing and planting. 

Here's my basil garden. I love it!  It is time to make some basil pesto sauce ... without cheese.  I hate that I love cheese.. but my tummy tells me I need to be dairy free.

The next Califia plant bottle will be used to plant lettuce which I hope to continue indoors through the winter season. 


While garage sale shopping, I found the perfect planter for these bottles.  What do you think?

#basil  #recycle #reuse #organicgardening  #herbgarden #myfavorite #almondmilk #vegan

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Seeking Fragrance-Free Connections

Many of us are isolated because of our allergy/intolerance to fragrance, perfumes, and chemicals, etc.  This allergy/intolerance, I embrace as my superpower. 

Although our illness does not define us, our lifestyles are greatly restricted compared to what they were formerly. Therefore, we find that we are home-bound instead of engaging in social activities or events such as going to the movie theater, mall, conventions, classes, and parties, etc. We want to be out and about but the repercussion of fragrance exposure impedes these social interactions.

Illustration credit to scent-smart.ca
We have friends that are sympathetic to our plight and are willing to change their lifestyle for us, removing air freshener plug-ins and fragrant candles, refraining from perfumes, scented laundry products, colognes, and those dreaded Axe products. To these friends and family members, we are truly grateful, nevertheless, many that have this superpower are somewhat isolated.

These same people who could be suitable employee candidates are in search of fragrance free workplaces and/or legitimate work-at-home professions and opportunities.

Additionally, we are in search of professionals that have fragrance free environments. Professionals you may be missing out on viable clients that need your service.  In light of these requirements, know that the reverse is also true. 

There are professionals that have fragrance free offices that do not allow patients and clients to enter their establishments if they are wearing perfume, fragrance or scented products, etc. We are in search of these people, as well. They could be realtors, doctors, attorneys, estheticians, massage therapists, salon owners, and tailors, etc.

In an effort to find these fragrance free events, professionals, employers, employees we need your help.
Contact information for these individuals/companies  are posted HERE on the Scentfreesavvylife blog and Scentfreesavvylife Facebook page. Like our Page on Facebook and post your information. 

Please tweet, blog, or email that Scentfreesavvy at the Scentfreesavvylife blog is searching for:

#‎fragrancefreeevents‬ #fragrancefreeworkplaces #fragrancefreeemployers #fragrancefreeemployees #fragrancefreeclients #fragrancefreeprofessionals

Can you help us find these events, professionals, job positions? 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Scent-Free Savvy Starts a Garden

First of all, my disclaimer: I didn't have a clue of how to get this garden started. Challenged with a chronic illness and food allergies, I have been working on healing my leaky gut so I knew I wanted this garden to be organic. I wanted food that wasn't sprayed or preserved with soybean oil or any  soy derivative and pesticides.  

There were so many questions. What time of the year is the best time to start? What are the best vegetables to plant in this area that can sustain this bipolar weather? 

I tried digging in the soil, digging didn't last long.  It was too difficult because the soil was partially clay.  So, then, I thought, do I till my yard?  Well the first year I decided to have a garden, it rained it seemed all of Spring and I found you can not till in wet soil.  So the time to plant came and went. Although, I did plant herbs in pots on the porch. However, this year I was determined to do more.

I decided to build a raised garden.  I YouTubed how to build a raised garden.  It seemed simple especially when I saw Vanessa on the Craft Gemini's YouTube video.  Don't ask why that didn't go forward.  I don't know.  

Then, my childhood friend, Kay suggested I go onto Craigslist and search for free bricks or concrete pavers, so I did and I found. All I had to do was pick them up. The photo to the left shows the raised garden bed I built. 

Earlier in the May, I went to a local nursery and picked up organically grown seedlings.  As my crop grew, though, I found that should have spaced the seedlings as suggested on the identification tab which,  in some cases, should have been planted 6 to 12 inches apart.  I was trying to fit as many as I could in the garden bed and now I have a jungle, however the plants are still growing and I am harvesting.  

Another question I had was, what would I do if there was an infestation.  I certainly didn't want to use any pesticides.  I think one of the things I was afraid of were insects.  I hate spiders and bugs.  I decided as long as they didn't eat the plants "live and let live".  I was in their environment now and they deserved to live.  My reasoning is as long as they stay out of the house, I'm good, unless they want to pay rent.  So far I have had only one type of pest.  At first I thought it was a "cute" butterfly.  After the the upteempth YouTube video, someone finally revealed that this "cute" butterfly was actually a white moth and it was eating my leaves, or rather its offspring.

Moth eaten leaves
White Moth


At first, I used a food grade diatamaceous earth as suggested by a YouTuber as I thought I had a different kind of infestation.  Diatamaceous earth is a white powdery substance used on insects with an exoskeleton.  

However, this culprit seemed to react more from the mixture of neem oil, Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds and water. These moths are relentless. They lay eggs, that turn into larva and then caterpillars that eat your leaves.  
Growing this garden has been very therapeutic, as I check its progress and water early every morning, with the exception of rain, of course. It has truly made me appreciate Jehovah's creations and how plants grow.  

Zucchini in progress
I didn't know the bees had to pollinate the zucchini flowers or any of the flowers that preceded the actual vegetable that would grow.  I have enjoyed this experience tremendously.  I could almost find myself becoming a vegetarian.

Enjoying the fruits of my labors, eating green beans, grape tomatoes, juicing collard and brussell sprout leaves.  This is very satisfying.

The collards greens are not quite  ready to harvest for the typical collard green recipe. 

Lessons learned:  
  • Just do it.  Don't over think the process
  • Give your plants room to grow. Don't cram to much in an area
  • "Life will find a way" (yeah, I did just quote Jurassic Park) 
  •  Give more thought to fertilizer and follow packaged directions.  Don't over fertilize
  • Get enough trellises for your cucumbers to climb (I had a tragedy this morning)  
Certainly, I have a lot more to learn, however, there is no turning back for me.  Next year, I will continue on in my growth curve in  learning how to garden. Who would have thought that seeing the transformation through gardening would bring peace to my being.

Sweel Basil from the porch herb garden

First green bean and grape tomato harvest
First harvest with gluten free pasta by Rotoni with a pesto sauce I made from the sweet basil harvested.


Collards Greens


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Scented Crayons... Really!

It is back-to-school time and I was looking in the Sunday paper for back-to-school coupons and found this.

Is it me, or am I the only one that think this is a "bad" idea?

Whose bright idea was this...scented crayons!  With the influx of ADD, ADHD, OCD and asthma illnesses in our children.   Why would I hyper a child more with a potential phthalate exposure from scented crayons.  I don't know whether any of the Mr. Sketch's products contain phthalates or BPA, however, with my existing chronic illness, even if a product is labeled non-toxic, I do know scents make me ill and irritable.

Watch out parents and teachers it may be a bumpy ride this semester.  I won't be purchasing this product anytime soon. 

I'll be on the watch assisting you to be savvy and scent-free.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Down to the Wire to Attend the Gluten-Free Allergen Friendly Expo 2016

We are down to the wire for opportunity to attend the Gluten-Free Allergen Friendly Expo 2016 in Schaumburg, IL. 

Getting excited yet?  The Expo is almost here.  Below are few of the Exhibitors:

Fresh Thyme Logotype Chosen LogotypeVeggie Fries carrot wood 8-13-14

Wildtree-Donna Engelhardt


I have two (2) TICKETS* as a GIVEAWAY. Leave a comment and let me know if you're interested in attending the Expo.

*tickets are good for 1 day of the expo either Saturday OR Sunday (you can choose which day you want to attend)

20% off Tickets can be purchased here to the GF and AF Expo until May 13 in Schaumburg, IL (Chicago). 20% off expires at midnight May 13 (tickets $20 @ door). You can print tickets or have tickets sent to your phone.