I Review So You Don’t Have To…Fitbit Charge

As the responsible adult that I am, the moment I get paid I decide that I need to treat myself. So, to celebrate the new year and help myself in my fitness goals, I bought the Fitbit Charge 2.

As someone who is constantly trying to be more mindful and conscientious of personal wellness, I thought that a fitness tracker would be a good tool in helping me quantify my health. At the time of this review, I’ve been using the Fitbit Charge 2 for a month and these are my thought.

Essentially, the Fitbit model I have tracks sleep, heart beats per minute, steps, how many flights of stairs you’ve gone up, and fitness. How well it does each of these things is up for debate (according to some people the bpm tracker is not super accurate, but it’s fine for me).

It retails from a variety of places for about $150.

Here’s how the Charge 2 is described on the Fitbit website:

Make every beat count with a fitness wristband built with PurePulse® heart rate, multi-sport modes, guided breathing sessions & interchangeable bands.

In addition to the aforementioned attributes of the Fitbit, they also talk a lot the heart rate monitor, multi-sport tracking & GPS, cardio fitness level, and guided breathing sessions as stand out features.

The Fitbit isn’t my first jaunt in the fitness tracker realm. Before using the Charge, I had the Jawbone UP 2. The Jawbone was a fine tracker with a nice app interface, but the strap was pretty flimsy. In less than a year of having the tracker, the band broke, but I was able to return it and have a new one sent my way.

Continue reading →

I Review, So You Don’t Have To…The Diva Cup

I REVIEW, SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO... (2)

Probably one of the worst things about traveling with a uterus is the inevitability of having my period at the worst given opportunity, whether it’s when I’m on a plane, on a bus, don’t have access to a bathroom, etc. My period is an absolute troll, so I get it usually right before I go on a trip.

As I write this blog post en route to Dubai, guess what? My period started a few days ago.

In the past when I’ve traveled, my contingency plan to make sure I don’t end up bleeding all over the place is to shove a ridiculous, embarrassing amount of pads shoved into any place I can fit them in my suitcase. Pads and tampons pretty much suck for traveling. In many places around the world, there isn’t ideal locations to dispose of menstrual supplies or to get your preferred brand on appropriate hygiene products. Especially for me someone who prefers pretty strongly a certain brand/type of pad, not having access to my brand is a huge bummer.

Many people with periods who travel a lot, have busy lifestyles, or want to decrease their amount of period related waste have started using menstrual cups as a solution to address the issues they’ve experienced with traditional menstrual supplies.

In this post I’m going to describe my experiences using one of these menstrual cups, the pros and cons of these kinds of products, and if I recommend them.

What is the Diva Cup?

The Diva Cup is the menstrual cup that I have chosen to utilize during this summer as I travel to the U.A.E., Jordan, Greece, and Italy, The Diva Cup is a medical grade colorless silicone cup that is inserted in the vagina (similarly to a tampon) that sits at right at the base of the vaginal canal to collect menstrual blood/ejected materials (sorry that sounds really gross). The Diva Cup can be left inside the body for up to 12 hours.

Why did I buy the Diva Cup?

I bought the Diva Cup because I hate having to deal with my period when I travel. I hate the struggle it is to find pads that don’t feel like diapers, I hate the difficulties in finding places to dispose of pads in a way that is both sanitary, culturally sensitive, and environmentally friendly.

Menstrual cups greatly appealed to me for this summer because I’m going to be gone abroad for about 3 months, I didn’t want to have to somehow shove that many months of of pads into my luggage.

Also, since the Diva Cup is reusable for like up to 10 years, it’ll pay for itself pretty fast. For example, on average I spend around $144 a year on pads. If you count the amount of laundry I have to do to get blood out of my sheets, clothes, and underwear I’m sure the cost would get much closer to $200. The Diva Cup costs $45 at Whole Foods, so it ends up basically costing $3.75 a month, compared to the average $14 a month I spend on pads.

Benefits of the Diva Cup

The main benefits I’ve identified in my times using the Diva Cup are that it’s a really effective method of having a period, but not having your period affect your life too much. Once the Diva Cup does its sealing/suctioning action, your risk for a leak is pretty low. This gives me a lot of peace of mind/freedom to go out without worrying about what pads I’m going to bring, where I’ll store them, etc.

Additionally, it’s pretty easy to deal with the Diva Cup compared to pads…however there are some cons with this that I’ll discuss in the next section.

If you’re someone who cares about the environment and is interested in minimizing their impact on the Earth, the Diva Cup/any menstrual cup is a winner. Honestly, even if you try the Diva Cup for one day and then do one day of wearing pads/tampons, you can see very clearly the dearth of waste you’re creating.

Finally, the Diva Cup is pretty darn great for travel. It’s just a wittle cup that can fit discreetly into a purse/luggage.

Cons of the Diva Cup

Most of the cons of the Diva Cup are applicable to any and all menstrual cups.

If you’re squeamish, not used to touching blood, or experience some discomfort being that uh…”involved” in a bodily process the Diva Cup may not be for you.

It also requires a learning curve in figuring out the most comfortable way to to it in the body and the most comfortable way to remove it. I’m still working on finding a way take the Diva Cup out that doesn’t feel like my insides are ripping apart.

The biggest thing that is a con along with insertion is dealing with the blood that will be collected in the Diva Cup. I recommend not using the Diva Cup in a public place because you need to: 1)wash your hands 2) dump out the cup in the toilet 3) leave the stall to wash your hands and maybe rinse out the Diva Cup/wipe it with a paper towel in the bathroom and 4) reinsert the cup. I personally would not do any of this in public because it’s a bit complicated. It’s pretty easy to plan though around using the Diva Cup, like emptying it before you leave the house, so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re out.

My last critic of the Diva Cup has very little to do with the product itself. If you look at the Diva Cup’s website, it’s incredibly gendered. There are a ton of people who have uteruses and experience periods who do not identify as women. I think that the heavily gendered language on the website, the name of it as “Diva”, and the heavy usage of traditionally feminine coloring/graphics could be a bit isolating for those who do not identify as women, but would still like to use the Diva Cup.
TL;DR

Overall, I would recommend the Diva Cup. It’s pretty convenient, works quite well, is cost effective, and minimizes the environmental impact of a period.

If you want more information about the Diva Cup, check out their website (http://divacup.com/) and Youtube has some pretty stellar reviews, I recommend this, this, and this. Also, if you’re interested in reading other people’s experiences with the the Diva Cup and other menstrual cups, the Menstrual Cup Live Journal has all the ins and outs of basically every brand.

What have your experiences been with menstrual cups? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @travelingcurl!

 

Running (or Why I Never Started, Quit, and Began Again)

I’m winded. Stumbling in a cross between a zombie-like lumber and the confident stride a way
less cool Usain Bolt. “I’m going to be really fit”, I say to myself trying to drown out my insistent inner dialogue that demands that I sit down right this instant. People weren’t meant to run for this long, especially not for 30 minutes. “Apparently they are” my inner voice says as the fit man in the very legit running outfit laps me for the third time stares at me as I try to run like a person who knows what they’re doing.

 Surprisingly enough, exercising is not my natural state. I didn’t spend my formative years involved in the sort of activities that give you the discipline to work out for any time more than necessary to pass your high school P.E. class.
I’m from the breed of kids that quit sports as soon as they got too difficult, too competitive, and too much work. I did soccer for a season in middle school and cross country to hang out with my best friend. I’m from the generation of girls who were too self-conscious to exercise because we feared that people we thought were better than us would make fun of us. They’d notice that our skin jiggled, that we weren’t fast, and that we weren’t pretty the way we were supposed to be.
It’s not shocking that I would develop a very strong case of situational anxiety that would result in panic attacks at the thought of someone seeing my exercise and noticing me. Those were the days of waking up early, putting work out clothes, and stopping the moment I realized that someone would probably see me.
I hid a lot when I was younger.
The first time I went running as a teenager, it was with my best friend. In in our senior year of high school fueled by the regrets of not having a noteworthy high school experience wanted to get to fit cool, popular, awesome, college girl status. Running was awful. It was burning lungs and tired legs and “no we have to keep going only 10 minutes left”. But in running I found clarity. There’s something about being in physical
anguish after a workout that helps clear a mental fog.
After that half year of running, I didn’t jog consistently again until college. It took the Summer of Absolute Stress also known as the summer I decided to work and take a hard class that I began to run a lot more. It was one of the few times in my life that I decided to stick with something that was challenging and not fun all
the time.
What can I say, running is strangely rewarding. It wasn’t just the running that was rewarding, it was the fact that I did it in front of people. People who could see me sweat and struggle and not be good, but it didn’t
matter because I’m happy and feel better when I run. It helps me feel less stressed throughout the day and makes me feel like I can do anything.
Maybe running is a metaphor for college. It’s really difficult when you start, but after a while it gets better. The more time you spend practicing and trying, the easier and more rewarding it gets. For all of you wonderful people out there, stay strong. College isn’t always sunshine, roses, and pumpkin spice lattes (I’ve never tried one so I don’t know if this is a good thing or not), but keep trying 🙂
Keep Up With the Traveling Curl | Bloglovin    Twitter     Instagram    Tumblr