The Medicine Cabinet Series: Denisse
Blogger and Photographer from Phoenix, AZ
You can find her at: Chasing Denisse
BINTO: How would you define wellness?
Denisse: It’s taking care of yourself. Mental health is something I talk a lot about on my blog and Instagram. I have anxiety and go through spurts of depression, which is really hard when you run a business. I work for myself full time, so for me wellness is listening to your body and mind and honoring what it’s asking for. If my body is like, “we’re not doing this today,” sometimes you need to listen to that and respect yourself enough to pull back when something isn’t good for you or your body. That’s what wellness means to me.
From someone who comes from a cultural background where talking about these issues is taboo, it’s so great to see people of color- especially women- talking about mental health. It’s also great to see women talking about postpartum depression. So many of my friends have dealt with this and no one ever knows anything about it. It’s almost like they’re told they have to feel ashamed for struggling with something like this. I’m so happy people are talking about [mental health] now- I hope they’re hearing it from the right voices and that they feel inspired by things they read and listen to.
BINTO: What does your daily wellness routine look like?
Denisse: I had weight loss surgery a couple years ago, so i have a lot of vitamin deficiencies. I take iron, a prenatal, and a daily vitamin. For beauty, I use a lot of drug store products only because I love makeup and I wear it so often it can be pricey. Sometimes I’ll throw in some luxury things like a nice highlighter or eyeshadow. I love SheaMoisture for skin care.
I’ve been getting more into organic beauty and skincare because my friend ( @hullosam on Instagram) is a clean beauty blogger. She’ll sometimes send me things, or talk about products that have ingredients that are bad for women. Then I’m like, crap- now I have to throw it away!
Now, I really like RMS Beauty and a few other green brands. The only trouble is, organic products can get more expensive. If you want to put better things on your face or your body, you have to do your research before investing in the product.
BINTO: What product can’t you live without?
Denisse: I’m going to say my Tarte Shape Tape Concealer. That thing will literally hide your sins! (laughs). It’s crazy- I’m pretty sure you could hide a tattoo with it. Even if you don’t wear anything else, you can just use that. It’s great for hiding dark circles or even just a spot.
BINTO: Was there a defining moment when you realized you could take your health into your own hands?
Denisse: I was very heavy four years ago- a little over 300 pounds. I was super unhealthy; I had leukemia when I was 18 and was on steroids for years. You gain a lot of steroid weight- you let yourself go. My mom is a nurse, and she was like, “ I don’t want to send you, but I do want to help you- you should look into weight loss surgery.” I had already tried being vegan, and I did a million Whole30’s, and nothing worked. So, I went to a consult and had a decision to make. At that point my wellness was in my hands because I chose to go ahead with the surgery and give myself a better quality of life. For some people it’s not that extreme-you can just choose to not eat or drink a certain type of thing- but for me it was. It really did improve my quality of life, for sure.
BINTO: Have you seen your wellness routine evolve over the years?
Denisse: The more I read about things, and the more people are having conversations about organic beauty, your body, mental health- I do a lot more research and listen to my body more. There are certain things I won’t eat, use on my skin, or even clean with because they’re bad for you or the environment. Being on social media and having a following, there are certain things you have to cut off. They will affect your mental health. I’m more sensitive to things now.
BINTO: Do you feel like there is something you’re still searching for in your wellness journey?
Denisse: For sure, it’s a never ending journey, but a good one and a successful one. You’re constantly learning from scientists and researchers. If you can grab something that helps you everyday, that’s great. Science, social media, society… it’s all evolving. You get with it, or you get left behind.
I’m always going to be looking for something-I’m always going to be looking for balance and to be at peace. I think that it’s great, if you become complacent you miss out on a lot.