Three Things To Consider Before Getting Breast Augumentation




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I am pretty open when it comes to getting breast lifts or implants. However today I want to talk about a couple of things that you should seriously think about if you are seriously considering getting breast surgery.

Have you tried wearing a perfectly fitted bra?

Several women wrote to me and said that after discovering my blog they did not need or want breast surgery any more. Finally wearing a bra that fitted them perfectly not only relieved them of shoulder and back pain, but made clothes fit better and their figure look more proportional. When the breasts stopped being a source of discomfort and frustration, most women felt that their feelings towards their breasts changed, and they began to accept and even like them. It also helped to realise that their bra size was normal. Previously regular lingerie stores that didn't carry their size made them feel like mutants (if you have trouble understanding this, imagine you needed a shoe size than no shoe store in your town carries).

Since roughly 80% of women wear the wrong size, chances that you, dear reader (especially if you have just stumbled onto this blog) are not wearing a perfectly fitting bra, are pretty high. To see all the basics on bra fitting, check out the Bra Matrix tab on top of the page. Chances are that issues like back pain will go away once you try a bra that does it's job.

How do you feel about your body, in general?

Consider these two real scenarios for a moment:

Scenario one: a woman is unhappy about her belly fat, she feels ugly. She decides to lose weight and work out, and after months of hard work she loses most of the excess fat and has a trim athletic figure. However instead of being happy about her body and celebrating her success, she now obsesses about the cellulite on her thighs. She feels ugly and unhappy. This is a common scenario. It's also the reason why people get "addicted" to plastic surgery, always wanting to get the next thing "done". They dislike their body and don't feel happy in it, and at the root of this usually are deeper issues. This hate and unhappiness gets focused on one body part, so when this body part is "fixed" but the deeper issues remain unresolved, the hate just finds a new scapegoat.

Second scenario: in the book Psycho Cybernetics, the cosmetic surgeon Maxwell Malz was really bewildered by this: many of his patients got plastic surgery to fix scars and other physical flaws, yet after the surgery they complained that the didn't look any different. They still felt as ugly and disfigured as they felt before. Malz realised that although their exterior was improved, their self-image remained the same. And this self image was so powerful that even a dramatic cosmetic surgery could not change it. (The book is amazing, everyone should absolutely read it).

If you feel that you have strong issues about body image, you should really consider seeing a professional about it -- even if you do plan on going through with the breast enhancement (or other cosmetic surgery). At least it will help you get the best out of your surgery.
It might seem to us that if only our body way X instead of Y we'd feel beautiful and happy, but in practice fixing the body part will not change our ingrained attitude towards our body.

Finding correctly fitting bras after surgery can be a challenge

This is something a lot of women don't realise before getting them. Of course there are tons of different kinds of breasts procedures out there, but especially implants make it more difficult to find a correctly fitting bra. There seem to be a lot of "bra for women with implants" companies popping up, however in practice it's not so simple. Implants can be so different and there is no one fits-all-implants bra style out there. Secondly the size range of such companies is usually very limited.
Obviously in the big scheme of things bra shopping might not be your biggest problem, but in case a big reason for getting a boob job is: "I can just waltz into any lingerie store and buy cure bras", it might not work like that.

I mean to write a couple of posts about bra fitting for implants. Stay tuned!
Photo credit: Gabriel Nunes via Unsplash

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Face Massage And Exercises To Slow Aging



My whole understanding of wrinkles was turned upside down when in a pub one night an older acquaintance showed me ampoules of what is known as "botox in a jar". Me and my friends tried them out on the lines around the eyes. After a few minutes we felt a tingling and a numbness. The whole eye area suddenly was smoothed out, the lines and valleys all looked as if someone had ironed them. The ingredient responsible for this was Argireline, a muscle relaxant.

This was mind-boggling for me. I had thought that botox worked because it paralysed the muscles which stopped you from continually creasing the skin (kind of like when you don't sit down to prevent linen pants from creasing). I thought that the repeated creasing somehow made the creases permanent. But here I experienced how lines and valley were smoothed out in a matter of a few minutes. I realised that the lines and creases were caused some kind of tightness and tension in the deeper layers.

Now I understand that the skin is a corset that keeps everything in place, rather it is just the thinnest layer on top of many other layers -- fat, muscles and connective tissue. Aging happens to all the layers -- even the skull changes shape as we grow older. Fat layers slide lower as we age. Certain groups of muscles become weak and droop, for example the nasolabial fold gets longer as we age, making the lips look thinner. Certain muscles become permanently contracted, for example the muscles between the eyebrows, which leads to drooping eyelids (you can test this at home). Also the lymphatic system does not work as efficiently as it used to, making the face puffy.

So what does all of this mean, practically? The best way to help your face stay in good shape as you age is working with all of the tissues, and not just the surface. There are a couple of ways to do this, by massaging and exercising the facial muscles. These methods are extremely popular in east Asia and other partis of the world. I remember an Iranian neighbour showing me a simple one when I was a kid.
As long as you are using a face oil or lotion for slip, you will not stretch your skin. It also stimulates the blood flow to the skin, so you might see improvement in colour and tautness.
Here are a couple of methods that I know of, you can find more instructions on the internet:



Tanaka face massage:

The Tanaka face massage is lifting as well as gently draining. It is really great for those who have issues with puffiness and fat in the face. However it is strongly slimming, so should be avoided by those who have issues with a thin or "hollow" face. This massage was invented by a Japanese makeup artist.



Facial Yoga

 Yoga has a deep understanding of not just muscles but the lymphatic system. I really wish regular Yoga classes incorporated a couple of minutes of face yoga. Also notice how she glows -- yoga does that to you.



Facercise

An oldie but a goodie. The biggest strength of Carole Maggio's facercise is that the exercises are very specific -- for example you can shorten your nose, or you can choose between widening or slimming the face. Don't let the 80s vibe put you off, the exercises are really effective.



Face rollers

These are an alternative to massaging by hand. These are really fun and relaxing. I own a jade roller like the on in the video, I got a really cheap one from Ebay and it's nice even though it's not perfectly oval and it's doctored jade. I feel that my fingers are a much more versatile tool than a roller, still I enjoy a the coolness of the roller. Also it's really great for puffy eyes.

Another variation of the roller is the Y-shaped roller which is great for slimming the lower face.

Finally there is the traditional Chinese gua-sha tools, which I'd really love to try out one day. From what I have gathered using them takes practice and an understanding of the the face, and is extremely effective when doe right.
Whereas a simple jade roller can be done by just about anybody.

Other methods:

 Then there are tons of other methods out there. I really would like to encourage you to try ones that look interesting.

When I feel my forehead tensing up, I do these massages to release the glabellar muscles. I already have hooded eyes, so I do my best to prevent any further drooping.


I especially like massaging the sides of the neck, it feels heavenly, probably because I have some lymphatic issues there:


This is a very simple technique for puffy eyes:




I suggest that you pick a video and try the techniques for a week or two. Later on you can mix and match techniques that suit you best. I like to massage my face when watching a movie or in the shower, it's so relaxing. If you are really in a rush, try doing the yoga lion face -- stick your tongue out, widen your eyes, activate each and every muscle of your face and neck, and try to hold for one minute!


Do you massage your face? What is your favourite technique? Do you own any massaging rollers or other tools?


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A Well-Fitted Bra Can Make You Optically Slimmer





   When women switches a badly fitting bra to one in her correct bra size, a very common reaction they get is along the lies of "wow, you look slimmer" or "have you lost weight?" or "your waist looks more defined". A correctly-fitted bra can change the entire silhouette, taking it from shapeless to defined.

  This is how that works:

   In a badly-fitting bra the band is too loose and not supportive, making the breasts flop over and below the band. I tried to show it in the little schematic drawing below. The difference here is just the fit, when I say a "supportive bra" or band I don't mean a special high-tech bra or a sports bra, just a regular bra but in the correct size. So the drawings could represent the same bra model, once in the wrong size and once in the right size.


    When the badly-supported breasts flop over like the drawing on the right, they optically merge with the belly and create a general impression of a heavy midsection. (You might also notice that with a loose band the point of contact between breast and ribcage below is big, and this often leads to chafing. And to clothes not fitting right.) But when the breasts are lifted with a snug supportive band, they reveal what is often the slimmest part of the torso -- the ribcage just below the breasts.
     This is not just true for bigger-busted ladies. I am small-busted but quite short-waisted (here is how to calculate that), and my waist isn't very defined. This means that if my breasts weren't lifted, I wouldn't have much waist at all (see my metamorphosis photos).

   Breasts that sit higher also draw the eye upwards and make the whole figure look perkier and more youthful. Sag gives a tired look to the figure, and also drags down the fabric of clothes, creating unflattering lines.
   Also, a well-fitting bra smooths out the figure by dealing with armpit and back rolls. Yes, I said back rolls. Here is an interesting post about how a tighter band can minimise back fat (see how the looser band of the white bra digs into the back much more than that of the snugger black bra). Sounds counter-intuitive but actually isn't.

There is another reason why well-fitting bras improve the figure:
   A typical woman's reaction to an unsupportive bra is to tighten the straps, hoping to lift the cups that way. The straps only pull the back of the band even higher, and the front droops even more. A see-saw effect if you will. The straps start either chafing or slipping off (usually both) and often the woman ends up hunching her shoulders to avoid that.
    In a well-fitted bra the snug band carries most of the weight of the breasts and stays in place, so the straps stop being a bother. There is no more tension on the shoulders. And women unconsciously stand straighter when they feel they have a bra that lifts and supports.

     If you are new to the site, you will find the measuring guide and all the basics here.



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Rye Flour Hair Cleanser DIY




Rye flour "shampoo" is the easiest and gentlest DIY cleanser for the hair that I have tried so far. It has just one ingredient so it's really fast and easy to make. The starch is a mild emulgator and pretty effective in cleansing the hair. Most dry shampoos are based on starch! Rye also contains proteins, vitamin E and several B vitamins, and so it's also a hair mask. It also happens to be pH neutral unlike baking soda which is pretty harsh. It's also highly recommended for anyone with a sensitive scalp.

It is very gentle on the skin and after using it for a while your scalp will produce less oil. It keeps my hair fresh for several days between washings. It also gives me quite a bit of volume and texture. My hair feels very clean and soft. Interestingly most people say that the rye flour wash makes their hair very silky and smooth. In my case (my hair already has a coarser texture mainly because of all the greys and a fresh layer of henna) my hair doesn't look silky, however it is much softer to the touch and detangles easily.

Your mileage way vary, the results will depend on your hair type and on your previous hair care regime.

You need to use rye flour because other flours contain a lot of gluten which is very gluey. If your hair is thicker or curly, use full-grain rye. If your hair is fine, try a lighter (finer grind) rye flour, in Germany that would be type 1150.
Chickpea flour is also gluten free and has been traditionally used to clean the skin and hair in many cultures, but it has a weird smell. Rice flour is also an option, especially if you are histamine intolerant.

Rye shampoo recipe:

You'll need:
Rye flour 4 tablespoons (shoulder-length hair)
250 ml lukewarm water, enough to make it into a runny paste.

Mix really well and let is stand. The longer it stands, the more of the beneficial vitamins get released. However the longer the starch soaks up the water, the less fat and dirt it will absorb. 
In the beginning you might want to let the mixture stand for no more than 10 minutes, which will give you a paste that easily removes dirt and oiliness and product build-up from your hair. Over time you can try letting the mixture stand for several hours or even over night, then it works like a nourishing masque with mild cleansing properties.

The mixture can be stored in a fridge for a day or two, longer than that it turns into sourdough. You can use the rest of the mixture for cleaning the kitchen sink or the dishes, basically it's a great cleanser for anything greasy. Or you can make a bigger batch, freeze the rest in cubes and thaw when needed.



How to use the rye flour hair wash:

Apply on the scalp and massage it in. Apply generously on the hair, but do not rub. Leave it in for 5 minutes, during the time you can use the rest of the paste as a body cleanser. It leaves behind a nicely silky skin.
Rinse out very very thoroughly and turn on your shower head to full strength. Take your time with this step. Don't forget to clean behind the ears!
This mix will not block your bathroom pipes as the flour does not contain gluten and dissolves very quickly. 

Depending on your hair type you may or may not need to use a conditioner after the rye shampoo. I'd recommend going without the first time, so that you can see what effect the rye shampoo has on your hair.

If you have hard water, it makes sense to do an acidic rinse once a month (1/5 liter water + 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice).

If you find that after your hair dries some hulls are still on your hair, shake or comb them out. Next time try a finer kind of rye flour, or sieve the flour before use, and mix a runnier paste. The hulls are noticeable on darker hair. Another option would be to try washing your hair with rye tea -- you mix he rye with more water, let it stand, and then strain it. They you use the liquid to clean the hair.

 In the next post I'll be talking about tweaking the rye flour shampoo to your hair needs.

Have you tried rye flour to cleanse your hair? Or any other no-poo methods?




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How Often Should You Cleanse And Scrub?




I think that there is still quite a lot of misinformation about cleansing. Women either don't cleanse regularly, or they completely overdo it -- especially if they have oily skin or breakouts. When you cleanse the skin, what are you actually cleaning off? Dirt from the environment, makeup, sebum and dead skin cells.

However cleansing your face also strips the skin of its protective oils and can disturb its pH level (if the cleanser is not pH neutral). This makes the skin more susceptible to bacteria and other problems. It can also make the skin produce even more oils. Also certain cleansing chemicals (especially sulfates) can irritate the skin. Many scrubs contain grits that are too harsh.

So how often is it ok to cleanse and scrub?

Cleansing your face thoroughly in the evening is something you should never skip. If you wear makeup or sunscreen you need to make sure you clean it off properly, usually in a separate step. I like to use oil to remove sunscreen and makeup, then clean that off with a gel cleanser. Or just do it all in one step with a Micellar cleanser. People usually cleanse their face before going to bed, but sometimes I like to cleanse as soon as I get home in the evening.
    In the morning you usually need to just wash your face with water or wipe it with a toner, unless your skin is especially oily. Our faces don't get dirty while sleeping.

And exfoliating ? Scrubs should not be used more often than twice a week. You can use the very gentle methods of exfoliation like Konjac sponges or Gommage. Facial brushes like Clairsonic have become very popular, but in my opinion lots of women overdo it, not realising that they are exfoliating rather than just cleansing. Use not more often than every other day, use a gentle brush and don't combine it with any other form of exfoliating, whether physical or chemical.
Always be gentle while exfoliating. Your skin is not the bathroom floor.

On the photo above you can see my current collection of cleaners and exfoliators. The only thing missing is my microfiber cloth.

What is your cleansing and exfoliating schedule like?
 









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My Favourite Oils For The Skin And Hair





I love oils because they are so versatile -- put them on your face, your hair, your body, into your bathtub, in your salad. I started using them when I got pregnant with my first kid, I wanted something more natural. After many years of trying out many oils, here are my favourites:

* Plum seed oil:

It smells divine, kind of almondy. My face loves it, but usually I end up smoothing a small drop on my hair and on the ends to make it smell good.

* Carrot oil:

It's very orange, so I add a few drops into most of my oil mixes to get a bit of colour onto my skin. Apart from that it's a very nourishing oil. Note -- it's hard to find pure carrot oil, so check the ingredients before buying.

* Jojoba oil

Basic and versatile. Light, gets absorbed by the skin easily, makes any oil mixture instantly less, well, oily.

* Argan oil

Like jojoba, but with much more nourishment. I love what it does to my skin. Argan oil has a very good reason for being pricey -- most of it is produced by women co-operatives in Marocco.
Cosmetic argan oil is unroasted and has almost no smell. The one for eating is roasted and smells nutty.

* Sesame oil

This is a grounding and warming oil, according to Ayurveda. I get cold easily and have dry skin on my body in the winter, so I base my body oil mixes on sesame oil. A foot rub with this oil before bed time calms and grounds me.

* Flax seed oil

 This works best for my air out of all the oils I have tried so far. I also love it in my salads, for the Omega-3. Flax seed oil starts tasting a bit bitter a couple of weeks after the bottle is opened, so using it on my hair and body is a great way to finish it up faster.


When buying oils make sure that you are buying the pure oil and not a mix. Cold-pressed is best, and I try to get organic when I can.

What are your favourite oils?


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My Best Cold Weather Skin And Hair Care Tips



via Mitya Ku

Central Europe has very distinct four seasons so every few months I have to reassess my entire skin care routine. My skin and hair react to the cold season by getting dryer and rougher. There is often some summer damage that I have to take care of as well.
Chances are your autumn looks very different from my dry and cold one. It really helps to know what kind of humidity you are working with. You can find the levels of outdoor humidity online; for the humidity levels at home and in your work place it's worth investing in a hygrometer. 50% is "average" and is supposed to be ideal for indoors. Lower than that means the air is dry and you should get a humidifier to counteract that. The skin usually likes higher humidity, but that makes the hair frizzy.

Here is how to keep your skin and hair looking great throughout autumn and winter:

* Include oils rich in Omega-3 in your diet, and drink lots of water. Both will help against dry skin and lips.

* Physical activity is really important during the cold season. In the summer we spend time more time outdoors, walk and bike more. In winter I stay inside too much and I find that this affects my skin, hair and mood. Make a concrete plan -- sign up for classes, get a gym membership or try cold-weather bike gear.

* Drink warm (or at least room temperature) water. Both TCM and Ayurveda strongly recommend this. It tastes a bit weird at first but I got used to it pretty quickly. I drink much more water in the winter if it isn't cold.

 * Go to a sauna. In Germany a lot of people do it pretty regularly in the cold season and even doctors remind me to do it. Apart from all the other health benefits, it gives you the most amazing clean and glowy skin. I always notice when a friend has been to the sauna because of that rosy clean skin! 

* Autumn is a great time to start exfoliating with hydroxy acids to get rid of discolourations and fine lines. While the sun is still strong I'd suggest the gentle mandaleic acid, and a stronger AHA during the winter.

* Skin often gets more irritable when temperatures drop. Avoid irritating ingredients like alcohols and sulfates (especially in cleansers). If you are doing chemical exfoliants, be extra gentle with the rest of your routine.

* My skin flakes during the winter, I have found that konjac sponges and microfibre cloths are the best way to gently remove these flakes.

* The burning UVB rays are very weak in the winter, but you still want to be protecting your skin from UVA rays to slow down ageing, so be sure to pick up a sunscreen with UVA protection.

* I like to refresh my style in the autumn: I always get a haircut in September and I bleach my teeth at home. This time I also got my eyebrows done, for the first time ever.

* Self-tanner keeps my skin looking summery for a while longer.

* I like rediscovering my cold-season make-up -- this is usually berry colours and liner. I feel that the heavy knits, rich colours and scarves and hats let me carry off stronger colours.

* Swap your moisturiser for a richer one. Or add a few drops of oil (I like argan, rose hip, or jojoba oils for the face). At thicker products protects the skin from the cold when you go out.

* Hair gets a lot of mechanical damage in the cold season from all the scarves, zippers, caps and velcro. Natural fabric are kinder to the hair than made-made ones. Wearing your hair up when outdoors really helps minimise damage. If you don't want to do that at least lift it up carefully when putting on your outdoor clothing.

* Get a good, nourishing body butter (I love the ones from Alverde). Or a rich body oil, you can add something warming like sesame or cinnamon oil to a body oil that you already have. In the colder half of the year I swear by the Abhyanga method.

* Give your heels some care. My feet usually look terrible at the end of summer, and I need to soak them, exfoliate with hydroxy acids (more on this soon) and then do some heavy moisturising.


Finally, the most important thing for me is to stay on top of my skin and hair care. To start with richer products ahead of time. Not to wait before my skin and hair are dry and damaged.

How much do you switch up your skin and hair routine for the cold season?


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Packing Light With Small Kids



Here is a post that I wrote a while back, but it got buried in all the drafts that I didn't get around to publishing. I though it might be useful for someone, so here you go:

   When we backpacked to Turkey, our kids were 2 and 4. On the way we got into a conversation with some Americans and Aussies, who mentioned that traveling with kids is hard "because you need to carry all that stuff." This perplexed me and my husband a little, because this was all the baggage we had with us:

One of these is a carry-on.

  The personnel at the airport was also quite surprised that we had only one bag to check in. The big pack weighed only 10kg. Half of the smaller one was with food and water for the journey. Apart from this me and my husband had a messenger bag each. The kid stuff took up very little space, the bulkiest stuff was the electronics and the chargers / batteries. And the pretty stones my guy collects.

So what did we pack for the kids?


* Clothes:
    I packed 3 short-sleeved tops, 3 long-sleeved tops, 3 shorts and 3 long trousers for each kid. If we had planned to stay in one place we would have needed less, but being on the road constantly meant fewer laundry opportunities, and changes of climate. Each kid also had a jacket, 4 pairs of socks, 1 pair of sturdy shoes and one tiny towel. The small guy had a bib. The bib is very important if you don't wash a shirt after every meal. BTW I did laundry in the sink most days. I carefully choose the lightest clothes they owned (my fav are those lightweight cargo pants from HM)

* Sleeping bag
      For the small guy, who just cannot stay under the blanket.

* Toys:
     I had one zip-loc bag full of little toys and little books. No, the kids didn't miss their toys: they had plenty of excitement on the trip. I also believe in letting the kids get bored a little bit, so that they aren't distracted from their environment. Also, in case we needed more playthings it would have been easy to buy the most gorgeous handmade stuff for very cheap in every souvenir store. In a pinch I whip out my diary and make origami or draw airplanes for them while we wait for a meal or the bus.
In Turkey whenever the kids didn't want to walk, I'd tell them to look out for the cats. In Istanbul there are cats at literally every corner, so that worked pretty well.

Find the cat
 
* Food:
    I had one lunch-box where I usually had some small fruit, nuts, or leftovers. I tried to always have a couple of bananas or apples as an emergency snack.

*Diapers and Hygiene:
     I was half-way to toilet-training small guy before the trip, sigh. If only I had started a month earlier... anyway we tried to buy the smallest available packs of diapers. We don't use talcum because of the health concerns. In case of nappy rash (which so far never happened) I would have used one of the oils in my cosmetic case, so I didn't bring any cream. The kids shared our soap and shampoo.

* Baby Carrier:
     We are huge fans of the Ergo baby carrier. It is light, rolls up small, is comfortable for the carrying person, and most importantly it keeps the kid in a healthy position (with a curved spine and the legs in a frog position, not hanging down from the crotch with the legs straight down like in the Björn --- which by the way was declared unsuitable for use by a recent Öko Test because this position pushes the leg bone out of the hip socket with every step).

* Other stuff:
     Tooth brushes, passports, health insurance papers and vaccination cards.

    In my days of traveling with a baby I would also pack a burp cloth, a sippy cup or a Sigg bottle with the sport nozzles, two changing pads (the disposable kind, they can be reused) and probably a sling (I had a Diddymos) which also doubles as a nursing screen and a blanket. We didn't use formula, bottles or pacifiers, so we don't own the extra stuff involved.


Obviously we were lucky that none of our kids needs special medical equipment, it's obviously a completely different story if you need to haul necessary stuff like that on every trip.
Still, my experience taught me that small kids are more flexible than we give them credit for, and actually need very little material things. They do need lots of attention though. Also, a little boredom is good for them, as that's the space where the child starts being creative. Sometimes a child needs a small nudge -- asking them questions about the things around them or giving them small tasks can help them give attention to the world around them, and learn to enjoy museums sight-seeing trips and concerts.
And you probably can leave the kitchen sink at home.


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Eight Years Of Wearing Well-Fitting Bras -- What Changed?






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It's been around eight years since I went from wearing a bra size that was a couple of sizes off to a correctly fitting one. How did those eight years affect the breast tissue? Obviously I have aged eight years, I also had a second child that I nursed for a year. In spite of that, the changes to my breasts have been extremely positive, and I owe it all to wearing well-fitting bras.

Breast tissue vs bras

If it comes down to firmness, perkiness and shape, I'd say that that it only got better over the years. The breast tissue has recovered from badly fitting bras and pregnancies and has gotten firmer; and apart from stretch marks it looks better in my 30s then it did in my 20s.
My breasts also go slightly closer together -- I used to have no cleavage to speak of, there was a flat plateau between the breasts, and I needed very wide underwires because they were very wide apart. Now I have a cleavage and need medium underwires.


There are thousands of boobs out there, these ones are mine.

Psychologically I have also become much more accepting and appreciative of my breasts and the rest of my body. This also has a lot to do with bras and this blog and all the amazing women who wrote to me and sent me their photos. I have seen so many sets of breasts that I developed a whole appreciation for the range of human bodies out there. And all the different ways a body can be beautiful. I'm happy with my size and shape and know which bras and clothes flatter me.


My boob routine
If you want to know what I do exactly -- I wear size 28E at the moment. I sleep in a comfy underwired bra with a slightly stretched-out band. I know that the topic of wearing bras at night in controversial, but I got very positive opinions about this from older readers of this blog. Every 2-3 years I do a week of the milk thistle supplement, when I feel that I lost a bit of fullness. I try to keep the skin moisturised, I use either my face cream or my body cream on my neck, décolleté and breasts. I try to dry-brush at least once a week, and I go over my breasts in light circular motions.


The financial side
I haven't bought many new bras in the past years. I'd say I added 1-2 bras each year as the older ones wore out and got degraded to sleep bras. The brands I pick make long-lasting bras that hold up beautifully if you take care of them. A shout out to Parfait Affinitas, Ewa Michalak, Panache and Masquerade for quality elastics and fabrics, their bras look beautiful even after quite a lot of wear.


Because I often get new readers that stumble onto posts -- you can learn about the basics of bra fitting at the *Bra Matrix* tab on the top left of the page :)

Obviously your mileage may vary, so now we'll talk about you.
How long have you been wearing correctly fitting bras? What changes have you noticed? Do you have any special ways of caring for your breasts and décolleté?




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Cold Weather Bicycling Essentials And Tips



A bunch of my friends are hardcore year-round bikers. It's not unusual for Germans to leave their car at home in the summer and bring their kids to school or go to work by bike, but recently I have been seeing more and more people doing it almost the entire year. Very rainy or snowy days seem to be getting more and more far apart in the winter, and biking paths are getting better.

Biking is a great way to slip in exercise during the day without investing too much time. I also notice that it leaves me much less tired than all other modes of transportation, it's probably the lack of people, noise and smells. It's also a great way to get to know your city better -- I love discovering side streets and small shops.

Summer biking is pure joy, but cold-weather biking takes a bit of extra preparation. From my friends I picked up a couple of very ingenious tips:

Image via Velovoice

Mud flaps

 A bigger mudflap on the front fender keeps your shoes from getting spritzed. I got the Bibia mudflap because it's one of the longest ones.

Furry seat cover

This keeps your fanny from freezing, particularly if your bicycle has to stand outdoors for longer periods of time. You can use faux fur as well, and you can probably easily DIY one from furry / sheepskin rugs from thrift stores.

Waist warmers

If you get cold around your kidneys, you'll love this. There are two kinds -- the neoprene ones for bikers are waterproof and can be easily put on thanks to a velcro closure. Then there are the regular ones made of wool or other fabrics, they can be worn underneath clothing or used as a layering piece (they look like the bottom part of a longer top). The warmest ones that also adapt to the body temperature are made of merino wool. Tube tops can be used as waist warmers in a pinch.




Ear Warmers

A really simple way to keep your ears warm while wearing a helmet. Unlike caps and headbands, they don't distort the fit of the helmet, and they don't get easily lost. They are threaded onto the strap of the helmet. The ones from Hot Ears come in two shapes for the two different strap types. Again, this can be easily DIY'd; I imagine that if you use real (wool) felt they would be even warmer. You could also try knitting or crocheting them.

Ponchos

I love ponchos for autumn biking. I get cold around my neck and chest area first, so when the weather isn't very cold a poncho is the ideal thing. It keeps the chest area toasty and lets the breeze cool down my back. I usually wear my ponchos together with:

Pulse warmers

I find that in the autumn my wrists (and ears) freeze during bike rides, even as the rest of my body heats up. For milder autumn days I love the combination of wear short sleeves + pulse warmers. For colder days, wrist warmers close that annoying gap between your gloves and your sleeves. Again, fabric plays a very important role here, silk and real wool warm much better.

Diver Spats

If you are biking in cold and wet weather, these will protect your shoes and ankles from getting cold and dirty. I got this tip from a guy that dives as a hobby. There are different kids available, with more or less coverage. I actually own a kid-sized pair too, and they are amazing for keeping snow from getting into the tops of boot of small kids.
These trap the heat in, so for extra toastiness try warming up your shoes by blasting them with a hair dryer or putting them near the heater.

Gloves

A pair of thin silk / warming-technology gloves can be worn on their own or layered under thicker gloves. You can find great ones in motorcycle stores.

Real wool jacket

Last years I biked a lot with a real wool jacket, and I was pretty surprised how it adjusted to whatever the temperatures were outside. I could wear it from anywhere between +15 to -10°C, and it wasn't even a very fancy jacket -- t was from Zara, thrifted. It ventilated my underarms and back in a way my Wolfskin jacket with the underarm holes didn't. This year I thrifted a very chic coat with Alpaka wool and am stoked to test it out.

What are your cold weather biking essentials?



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