Good morning, my fellow sick little monkeys!

So today, I thought I’d start a little series of posts on what I, personally, find essential for my survival as a Sick Chick. Let’s face it – chronic illness, whether you have an autoimmune disease or suffer from depression, can suck the joy right out of a person’s life, and it can be difficult to find the energy to do even the simplest of things.

So while talking about beauty may seem frivolous in the face of crippling anxiety or a Lupus flare-up, that’s really not all this blog is about.  To me, it’s a quality of life question.  It’s a part of a whole life view that includes a lot more than just lipstick.  It’s about finding the joy in the things that make you happy – and I find that for most people, taking care of oneself and looking good, even when one feels like microwaved death, can make a big difference.  When I’m in the midst of a flare-up, or I’m feeling depressed, if I can manage to just take a quick shower, brush my teeth, then take the time to enjoy the feel of my skin cream on my face soothing my parched and probably achy flesh, then take the 5 minutes to dry my hair (it’s short for a reason), I find I feel better.  Just a bit. Maybe even enough to get dressed.  But if not, at least I’ve done some kind of self-care, and maybe now since I’m up, I can go to the kitchen and eat a little something while I take my meds (I keep them in the kitchen for this purpose).

So I’m starting off with my three favorite things that i find essential to make my life just a little bit better when I’m having a crap day – when I’ve got to get my sorry arse up and get to work (or even just the short walk to the grocery – ALWAYS live within walking distance of the grocery store if possible!), and I feel like I just don’t have the energy to put the effort into my usual routine:

  • Pets:  When you’re a Sick Chick (or Dude), sometimes you are wracked with pain, home for days on end, without seeing another human being if you live alone like i do – and sometimes even if you don’t live alone, you may not always be surrounded by understanding people. Pets will give you unconditional love, and are generally pretty intuitive as to how you are feeling. For instance, last week when i had a pretty bad bout of pain and was vomiting (sorry for the overshare, lol), my felines were following me around, hanging out with me in the bathroom, gently patting me on the back as i was retching, (Fritz even sympathy puked, lol) and then laid next to me, purring, keeping me warm as i shivered for the next several days.  Pets will also keep you from staying too much in your own headspace – they need you. To feed them, to love them, to play with them, and keep them healthy. For those of you with depression, this can be a lifesaver. If you have anxiety, they  can calm you like nothing else.

Also, they can  make you laugh when nothing else in the world can. My boys, Calvin and Fritz, are friggin’ hilarious with their endless goofy antics! They all have their own personalities, no matter what sort of pet you chose. A lovely woman and fellow photographer i know has a pet snake, and it’s obvious that it has its own distinct personality from the photos she takes of it, the way it interacts with her cat, and the way she talks about it.  It all depends on what sort of pet you are attracted to, and the level of care you can handle.  For some, the neediness of a dog (walking, etc) may be too much – which is why i have cats.  But for others who don’t have as many cyclical physical issues, the schedule of being forced to get out and take a walk can be key.

Lastly, they’re super considerate! They’ll try to party with you when you’re feeling down. Why, just this morning, my cats tried to get me high – i found catnip floating in my coffee cup.

So get thee to the pound, people!

                                                                             Me and Fritz, the witchy black beast


        Meet Calvin the Maine Coon – he likes to eat my Pat McGrath Beauty Junkie lipstick when it’s on my face


  • Perfume:  Ah, perfume!!  I have quite the collection. In fact, i used to have my own Indie company – however now, i’m far too limited on space. Now it would be Perfume a la Cat Hair, unfortunately.  I find perfume can be so uplifting to the spirits when i’m feeling sick. I literally wear perfume every day of my life, whether i’m leaving the apartment or not.  And as an asthmatic, with all kinds of weird sensitivities, i’ve managed to find my niche with perfumes that use only high quality, natural ingredients, which tend to also be expensive, niche houses (i used the word niche twice in one sentence). I can’t wear things like Este Lauder or Lancome, because my lungs will shut like a rat trap. And a lot of Sick Chicks (and Dudes) will find that they have sensitivities as well; you just need to shop around. There are SO MANY Indie and Niche houses out there, you are sure to find something you can wear that won’t trigger a reaction.

I actually have a massive collection of perfume – some of my favourite houses are Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, Serge Lutens, Carnival Wax, Tom Ford, Annick Goutal, among others.  A really great resource is the website Fragrantica – i am really into Gourmand and spicy/musky perfumes, so all i do is browse the notes i like or the forums, and i can find all sorts of goodies on there!  Aromatherapy is an actual thing – and i find scent can seriously affect how i’m feeling, particularly mentally.  And one’s mood can certainly effect how one deals with physical illness, as well.  I find it to be a very useful tool in my arsenal against chronic illness.

                                                                           Meet part of my perfume collection!

  • Painted Lips:  Ah, the brightly painted lip. It just cheers me right up! You know, i used to be more of the Edie Sedgwick persuasion – heavy black eyeliner all around, and a pale, nude lip..  But when you are running on 4 hours of sleep because your cats wake you up at 5 am and you work that day, or you just plain don’t have the energy for all that eyeshadow and liner, the bottom line is, eye-makeup takes a Hell of a lot more energy than swiping on some lipstick.  Also, a nice, bright shade of lipstick or stain or gloss can brighten up the most tired, haggard looking face – the trick is simply to find the right shade for your complexion. And trust me, it exists!  I used to be scared of bright lips, i was a neutral girl all the way – but no longer.  These days, especially when i’m tired as f*ck and know that i’ll pierce my cornea with my beloved black liquid liner, i just break out the Pat McGrath lippie, throw on some shades, and look like a million bucks. It brightens up the complexion, and makes you look pulled together even when you feel like the arse end of a warthog.  Trust me on this. And there are so many formulations, you don’t have to be scared of not being adept at putting it on.  Stains, glosses, gorgeous mattes, cute little pots of stuff you can put on with a finger…the choices are endless!

Lately i’ve been really into Pat McGrath’s MatteTrance lipsticks – they’re super easy to apply, and stay like 8 hours without needing to be touched up (i’m not kidding, in the pic below i had that on for about 8 hours), and it’s literally the first matte lipstick i’ve ever worn that felt velvety and comfortable on my lips and didn’t make them dry out or peel. They come in nine gorgeous, unique shades, as well.  I highly recommend. Chanel also has tons of formulations and colours that are super gorgeous.  If you riffle through my lipstick collection, those are the two brands you’ll find the most of.  I’m not, i admit, much of a Mac fan when it comes to lippies, because their formula makes my lips peel, every time. That’s just me, though.

So, in the pics below, i recall that i was feeling pretty crappy that day – as you can tell from the gross hair, ha! But i slapped on the bright lips, and looked not quite so much like the Bride of Death for work. It looks like i managed mascara as well. Go, me!

                                                                  Pat McGrath MatteTrance Lipstick in Obsessed!

So, there you have it, my little Kumquats!  Part one of my Sick Chick Essentials – i hope you enjoyed this post, and if you have any essentials to add that get YOU through the Mean Reds, please feel free to comment!

XO, Monday