Diary of Diva: From Homelessness to Menstrual Advocacy

NadyaHi there! I’m Nadya, an 18-year-old living in Oregon with my mom and my two younger sisters (and a beta fish). I also consider myself a loud and proud advocate and leader of the menstrual movement. In this post, I am going to talk a little bit about my story of how I became introduced to and passionate about periods.

Three years ago, in the spring of my freshman year of high school, my mother lost her job and within a few weeks we could no longer afford to live in our two-bedroom apartment. We had no choice but to move out and begin what I call our time of transition — several months of couch-surfing with our closest friends, who have since become family. My commute to school went from ten minutes to over two hours with two bus changes. I was constantly worried about my family’s financial situation. I questioned if we could afford food, and wondered how much longer I would have to fill in the bubble marked “no permanent address” on forms.

At that time, I became fascinated with other people’s hardships — probably to raise my own spirits, to distract myself, and to better understand what was going on in my own life — and I felt that I could relate in a way because at that same time, I found myself in an abusive relationship and without a place I could call home. During countless hours navigating my way to school or in staying at a shelter, I conversed with homeless women I met. I asked them what they found most challenging about their situation, and if there was anything I could do to help.

Their responses surprised me because until then I had never thought about menstrual hygiene as an issue. I kept a journal, and wrote down stories of using stolen pillowcases, toilet paper, and recycled brown grocery bags to maintain their periods. I became fascinated and angered by this unaddressed natural need, noticing how women’s shoulders rose in nervousness when I asked them questions about it, whispering when they said the word “period,” looking around nervously as if they had something to hide.

I began talking to different nonprofit organizations, and found that none of the organizations I spoke to openly supported menstruation, whether due to a lack of funds or a lack of displayed need. Thus, there was this never-ending cycle of organizations not prioritizing menstrual hygiene and women not feeling confident to advocate for their natural needs, leaving periods completely unaddressed. I also found it confusing that so many people were scared to talk about periods. After all, if basically every woman experiences menstruation for an average of 40 years of her life on a monthly basis, why was it such a hushed topic?! However, even though I felt myself being an advocate for periods, I still remembered the immense amount of terror that I felt when I was twelve-years-old and found blood lining my underwear — I remember screaming, crying, and convincing myself that I was dying.

These stories, coming from women who were in much worse living situations than I, tore down whatever close-minded and pessimistic perspective I had until that point. I thought about how lucky I was to have been given The DivaCup by my mother when I was twelve-years-old and angry about how much waste was being produced with all the packaging of the feminine hygiene products I was using on my period. I thought about how lucky I was to have access to clean bathrooms so that I could use the product, and how much the product helped my family save as we scrimped to save up money.

Suddenly I found myself waking up each morning with excitement, optimistic about the smallest things in my life at the time. I looked at my life with immense gratitude — grateful for the supportive network of family and friends we had to take us in when we couldn’t afford our home, for the camions of careeducational opportunities that I had, and most of all to have my mom in my life as she always inspires me with her intelligence, resourcefulness and strength.

I knew at that time in my life, I had the power and drive to make positive change. I began dreaming of different ways of addressing the need for menstrual hygiene, and when my family saved enough for us to move back into our home, in the summer of my sophomore year, I did something about it.

In the spring of my freshman year of high school, when my family saved up enough for us to move back into our two-bedroom apartment in Portland, I founded Camions of Care. What started as a personal project to use savings to buy and hand out feminine hygiene products on my way to school, with the help of an amazing and driven youth team of peers, is now an exponentially growing organization.

To read more about Camions of Care and how The DivaCup has partnered with this incredible youth-driven organization, click here!

 

 

Nadya with members of The Diva Team at HerConference in NYC

Nadya with members of The Diva Team at HerConference in NYC

Nadya Okamoto is an 18-year-old from Oregon. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of Camions of Care–a global nonprofit organization that strives to address the natural needs of women through advocacy, education, and service. Nadya founded Camions of Care after her family experienced a degree of homelessness, during which she discovered the unaddressed need of menstrual hygiene. Nadya wants people to understand that everyone deserves to have their natural needs met so they feel ready to achieve their full potential. She is also the Youth Director of Social Venture Partners Youth, is on the board of the Women’s Foundation of Oregon PLAN International USA, and is involved in many other school activities around law practice, politics, and gender equality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diary of a Diva: The DivaCup vs. a Marathon

The DivaCup vs. a Marathon

My name is Lindsay. I am a teacher, graduate student, and outdoor enthusiast! I enjoy hunting, kayaking, bicycling, riding horses, running, and I even volunteer at my local animal shelter.

I have always considered my periods to be normal to heavy, and I usually have to be prepared with back up supplies at all times. It’s not uncommon for me to leak or bleed out onto my clothing or bed sheets. There have been many times when I have changed my plans or rearranged my schedule due to my period because it was too much of a struggle to plan for bathroom breaks, find places to change, or imagine creative ways to stash feminine supplies. Purchasing The DivaCup changed my life!

Recently I ran the Gettysburg North vs. South Marathon. While packing for my trip I was feeling the normal anxiousness that the race weekend brings, but was more worried when my insides began cramping with pre-menstrual symptoms. I knew that my period was on its way, and I was not happy! I didn’t want mother nature to ruin my hard work and training.  I think these are usual fears for women, especially active women. Our periods still control and dictate what we can or cannot do. So instead of packing extra underwear, worrying about where I could stash tampons for my run, or trying to prevent myself from bleeding out onto my running tights, I packed my DivaCup and DivaWash.

The DivaCup vs. a Marathon

The next morning I performed my typical race routine of brushing my teeth, putting on extra deodorant, and lubing myself with baby ointment (my fellow runners will understand), but quickly decided to add The DivaCup into my ritual. I wore the cup for the entire marathon! I had no leaks, cramping, or discomfort! It is so very true that when inserted correctly, The DivaCup cannot be felt. I had to use a public locker room afterwards, so I kept my cup in for my shower without any problems. If that was not enough, I wore my menstrual cup for the two and a half hour car ride home! I felt free and confident without my typical period concerns. I did not have any discomfort or leaks and was able to use public restrooms, including port-a-potties, without the typical fears I would have had with changing a tampon in such dismal conditions.

I would like to thank The DivaCup family for all of your dedication to women’s health. I love your product and would highly recommend it to all women! Women all over the world would be blessed to enjoy life’s adventures without worrying about scheduled bathroom breaks, stashing feminine hygiene products, or devising a plan for battling embarrassing leaking accidents. I do not, and will not, fear my period any longer! I feel empowered with my body, and am confident to seek out more opportunities without limits!

The DivaCup is changing how my generation views women’s bodies, menstruation, and female reproductive health! Thank you again!

The DivaCup vs. a MarathonLindsay C.

I started running in the Spring of 2013 with the hopes of finishing a local 5K race. I quickly embraced the running phenomenon and competed in more races, including muddy obstacle courses, for the remainder of the year. I continued to challenge myself to compete in a variety of distance races such as a 10K, half-marathon, and marathon. Although I will never be the fastest runner, I do enjoy working toward accomplishing personal goals. Within six months of my first ever marathon, I ran the Gettysburg North-South Marathon. Despite of an injury, I was able to finish the race. I started running to lose weight, prevent diabetes, and strengthen my heart. Through the years I have met amazing people from all walks of life; I have been inspired and motivated to create a dog running program at my local Humane Society; and most recently I started coaching Cross Country at a local high school. Runners are not just people who wear tight neon clothes, blow “snot rockets”, or provide the slowest parade to unknown audiences. Runners are people struggling to balance careers, families, and various economical issues. I am thankful that The DivaCup allows me to continue discovering capabilities, opportunities, and inner strength without extra worry and stress. I am a runner, and I proudly use The DivaCup.

DIY Spa Products

Everyone loves a relaxing spa night! Invite over your close friends, get into some comfy clothes, make some snacks and try out one (or all) of these DIY spa products below:

iStock_45007460_XXXLARGE v2Bath Bomb – For relaxing your sore muscles

1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup citric acid
1/2 cup Epsom salts
1 tsp. water
2 tsp. essential oil (such as lavender for relaxation, or eucalyptus for colds)
3 tsp. oil (olive oil)
Food coloring (any color you want)

Instructions: Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and wet ingredients in a separate bowl.  Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring as you go. Pack mixture into molds, leave to dry for 1-2 hours then remove. Use 1-2 bombs per bath. Relax and enjoy!

 

Coffee Scrub – To scrub away any blemishes and dry skin

1 cup Coffee grounds
1/4 cup Coconut oil
3 tbsp. Grapeseed oil
5 drops Lavender essential oil

Instructions: Grind coffee and mix with oils. Massage briskly on skin, leave for 5 minutes, then rinse. Follow with a mask and moisturizer.

 

Chocolate Face Mask – iStock_87482821_XXXLARGE v2Because who doesn’t love chocolate?

2-3 Tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. buttermilk
¼-1/2 of a banana, mashed
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. lemon juice

Instructions: Mix well (blend if needed). Apply a layer onto your face, avoiding the area around your eyes (you don’t have to really avoid your mouth, since this mask is edible!) Leave on skin for 15-20 mins then wash off your face. After mask is completely set, rinse off and follow with a rose water toner and a moisturizer.

 

Rose Water Toner – This toner has a comforting smell and is also great for all skin types

¼ cup rose buds
300mL distilled water

Instructions: Put rose buds in a bowl (you can also use a teapot for easy straining and transferring). Boil water and pour over rose buds. Allow to sit for 1-2 hours so the rose buds can infuse the water. Strain the water and pour into a bottle (you can use either a spray bottle to spritz directly on skin or a regular bottle and apply with a cotton pad.) Discard the rose buds.

 

iStock_91078925_XXXLARGE v2Relaxing Body Lotion – So that you can make your skin soft

¼ cup cocoa butter
1/8 cup coconut oil
1/8 cup almond oil
Drops of lavender essential oil to desired strength

Instructions: Mix ingredients and apply to skin liberally. Other scents can be used for desired scent.

 

Hair Mask – For soft and luxurious hair

1 ripe medium sized avocado
2 tbsp honey

Instructions: Mash avocado until smooth and add honey. Mix well and apply to hair for 15-20 mins (your hair can be dry or damp.) Rinse and follow with shampoo and conditioner.

 

While most of these products are ok for all skin types, it’s important to know what skin type you are! Check out our skin care blog here. What are your favorite spa products to use?

Victoria-Signature

 

 

 

 

Top 9 Road Trip Essentials

Top 9 Road Trip Essentials

Road trips are an absolute summer staple, especially for Divas who want a fun adventure without splurging on an expensive plane ticket. No one says you can’t have an amazing vacation on a budget and road trips make for a great opportunity to get away without breaking the bank.

At Diva, we love road trips for these very reasons and we thought we would give you our top 9 essential items for the ultimate summer road trip.

1. Your BFFs

A road trip without a BFF(s) does not classify as a road trip. That is just running away from home, adult style. Friends, or loved ones, make road trips so much more fun because remember, when it comes to taking a trip it’s not where you go, it’s who you’re with that matters.

2. Music

Music can make a road trip go from lame to insta fun faster than you can say Justin Bieber. So before you head out onto the open road, take some time to research new music and old favorites, then load up your iPod and you’ll be set for sing-a-longs and head bobbing from New York to LA.

3. Reusable Water Bottle

Driving can be a lot of fun, but being confined to a small space for hours on end can make you more parched than an ostrich head-deep in sand in a hot Arizona dessert. Don’t be that ostrich. Be sure to pack a water bottle with you for the trip so that you don’t have to stop as often… well at least not to buy water (though you may want to make note of where some restrooms are along your route)!  A reusable water bottle is your best bet as you can refill it without having to spend money on buying water and drinks every time you make a pit stop.

4. Snacks

Saving money on water is great, but don’t forget about food and snacks as well! Packing and bringing a few snacks with you means not only saving money, but also being able to eat snacks you love without having to depend on gas station and corner store grub.

Top 9 Road Trip Essentials

5. GPS or Map

Unless you’re able to follow the North star, leave yourself a trail of breadcrumbs, or know exactly  which lamp post marks the start of Narnia, you’ll probably need a GPS. It seems like an obvious essential, but sometimes the most obvious needs when planning for a trip can be overlooked. You may not always have internet access on the road so relying solely on your phone may not be the best choice. If you want to go full retro, buy an actual map… you know, those paper, foldy things that don’t tell you in a computer voice when to turn left and right? Maps can be super useful as a simple tool if you ever do get lost, especially since they never run out of batteries!

6. A Book and/or Games

You’d be surprised at how quickly you get bored in a car. Even though listening to your favorite tunes on repeat can be awesome sauce, eventually that sauce will go stale. So plan ahead, bring some games, and don’t get caught wanting to escape the confines of a metal box going 45 mph.

7. Cooler

You know that feeling when you first get into your car on a hot, summer day and it’s scorching hot in there? That’s how hot your trunk will be your entire trip. Now imagine packing all your snacks and food and water and leaving it in your trunk in that heat. Not ideal, unless you’re trying to slow cook a roast in there using the sun’s heat alone (note, we definitely do not advise trying this). Pack all your food in your cooler with ice and your food and drinks will last longer and stay fresher so you can focus on driving.

8. Comfy Clothes

This is totally the best time to bust out your favorite leggings, yoga shorts, and skorts. Get all athletic-geared up for optimal road trip comfort. The road trip is no time to show off today’s latest fashion trends, so you’ll want to be comfy while sitting in a car for hours at a time.

DivaCup

9. The DivaCup and DivaWash

As a general rule, I always pack The DivaCup when I travel, even if my period tracking app says I am not due to menstruate yet. The DivaCup is so easy to pack, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes you just never know when your uterus will decide to bleed on you.

DivaWash is amazing to travel with because not only is it amazing for your cup, but it can be used as a face wash, body soap, shaving gel, and more. It’s like an all in one soap for everything you need in one bottle.

So there you have it Divas, our top essentials for an absolutely Diva-tastic road trip this summer. Did we miss anything that you won’t road trip without? Let us know below!

 

Nina-Signature(1)

Diary of a Diva: Roller Derby Diva

iStock_10389630_LARGE v2At the age of 34 years old, I found the vibrant, welcoming and incredible world of Roller Derby. From someone who was never terribly athletic, I found myself challenging myself in ways I never knew I was capable of.

Roller derby is a full contact sport played on quad skates where each team fields 4 blockers and 1 jammer. Jammers make points by passing the opposing team’s blockers. As blockers, our goal is to not only help our jammer but to stop the opposing team’s jammer by any (legal) means necessary. We don’t have games rather we have bouts and instead of innings we have jams that can last up to 2 mins. Jams can be action packed and roller derby is all about the “pack”. Pack is defined by the largest amount of blockers congregated on the track from a mix of the two teams. We play in extremely close proximity to each other.

For those of us derby players who menstruate, our periods do not stop for bouts and navigating our periods through playing (and playing hard) is pretty important.

For me (and many of my teammates) The DivaCup has been a life saver. Derby for blogI mean seriously can you imagine playing a physically demanding and exhausting sport using abrasive cotton as your period support?? Not to mention, trying to change a tampon during half time while on roller skates? On top of that, the last thing I would want to do is to leak on another blocker when I am essentially “sitting” on them to stop them from moving forward.

With up to 12-hours of leak free protection, The DivaCup means I don’t even have to think about my period while I am playing, while I am up close and personal with other players, or while I making it clear to the opposing jammer that they “shall not pass!” For me, thanks to The DivaCup, leaks are a thing of the past, as is chafing from using cotton disposables.

Honestly, I may not have been an athlete for long, but I cannot imagine how athletes can use anything else to manage their periods while performing! The DivaCup just makes sense! I am so very happy that I made the switch and even when my derby career is over, I am never looking back!