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Lupus is Her Superpower


Meet Melinda Girard.

In our interview, we learned some interesting tidbits about this powerhouse of a bookworm and skincare addict! 

She's real, she's gorgeous and making an impact taking the fear out of Lupus- in fact, she's made it her superpower.
Share your health journey.
   

My health journey...oh man, it's been a long one. I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in my teens (I chose my first email address, and my longstanding "public persona" of lupus girl because I thought it sounded more like a superhero and less like something life-threatening).

Basically, your body becomes allergic to itself.

As the years went on, other health issues appeared - the question would always be, 'is that because of lupus', and the answer I always gave was, does it really matter?
My health waxed and waned, and then cancer entered the picture.
While I am firmly and absolutely a believer in science and thus obtain all necessary treatments and surgeries, the true turning point for my actual wellness was nothing related to doctors or medicine at all.
My husband threw all of his energy into studying what foods were better for me than others (with 20+ years as a former chef, it was a natural fit for him) and I threw all of my time and energy into yoga.
Again, take your medicine. See your doctor. But if your baseline isn't good, healthy, nourishing meals and time and care of your body...there's no point. You will not feel well and you will not look well and you will not be able to soak up all of the good in life.
Bonus: I don't need a gym, particular equipment or even tons of mobility to practice. On days I am having increased inflammation or fatigue and pain, there's still asana I can do that will ease my symptoms and make me feel better.
The one thing that I am always looking for is gentle skincare...that works.
I have tried many brands that promise gentle cleansing, or the diminishing of fine lines and yes, they are gentle, but they don't actually do anything!
When I saw your products were gentle and vegan and cruelty-free,
I was interested and as when I discovered that they actually WORKED, I was hooked. (Thank you!)
I can't tell you how many cleansers I have tried that result in my having to wash my face 4 times. So frustrating.
Thank you for providing products that work and that I know are not bad for my body.
(Thank YOU for entrusting us! We are NOTHING without clients and friends like you; your feedback is our foundation)

Melinda is also a Radiant Mirror coach; our program for women (and men) to help others create beautiful skin and a beautiful life through yoga, diet, and coaching.

We asked her about what brought her to this program.

My primary goal in life is to help other people, to lift them up and help them see the awesome person they are.
After a few tough years dealing with one crisis after another, I realized that I was falling into unhealthy patterns - looking at myself in a negative manner, not valuing my body and all it can do.
At the same time, I was looking to expand how I can help others, and boom, there was the Radiant Mirror training. It literally helped me realign myself while allowing me an additional avenue for helping others.
(aghghghg that's amazing to hear!)
What is a health struggle you see or know of with women, and you wish you could shake them and say " _______________"
"Your diet obsession is killing you and making you miserable!"
Carbs are not the enemy. The latest fad diet will fail like all of the others have. And honestly, sitting around a table at lunch while everyone details what they can or cannot eat is boring as hell. Love yourself, find a proper nutrition specialist and a therapist. You'll be happier, feel better, have shinier hair and better skin. Everyone wins.
What are 3 things in your fridge that we would find if we visited your home?
Root vegetables (fall and winter are my favorite seasons because yes, please, more turnips, beets, and stews). Warm, delicious, full of vitamins and minerals! What's not to love?
(We just started loving beets here at Paiva! Allie, CMO,  started the obsession with a strawberry-apple-beet salad, maybe she will share her recipe soon) meanwhile, I (Michele, the psychodermatologist) has found a passion for beet juice and tossing beets on my tempeh)
Eggs (you can always whip up a meal if you have eggs around).
3 different types of salad dressing: the one my husband loves that I can't stand, the one I love that he can't stand, the one we both agree on.
(As a therapist, I can tell you that Melinda just told you the secret of a happy marriage, right there!)
Favorite game?
Rock and Roll Trivial Pursuit and Backgammon.
On my phone, Words With Friends (my favorite uncle routinely destroys me in that game - as someone who writes for a living, I can think of nothing more embarrassing).
Favorite Retro TV show and why?
The Twilight Zone. One, I am all for the creepy and scary (but not TOO scary, and not gory). Two, anyone of almost any age can watch it and be entertained. Three, while you're being entertained, you're subtly learning lessons about racism, society, government, and war.
It was utterly brilliant and is just as extraordinary and relevant today as when it originally aired. 
We love love love Melinda's style. So we asked her about it.
Give us your style philosophy
If it doesn't make you feel good, you won't look good in it.
(truth!)
What is a look you think anyone could pull together right now, to feel more stylish... that they might already have in their closet? What should they mix or match? What might they add?
A pair of dark wash jeans that fit well (feeling good = looking good so make sure you're comfortable) and a pair of ankle boots are absolute musts. Depending on the weather and your personal style, you can throw on some layers to warm up or keep it sleek and crisp on top. Dark jeans and ankle boots can be dressed up or down in SO many ways, you can play with jewelry and accessories to really hone in on a look.
(I'm a scarf fanatic so I hear you about the accessories!)
What are a few songs on your playlist?
While my sing-along in the shower list varies depending on my mood and need to cheer up and or chill out, my go-to yoga music is Engima, MCMXC A.D., I just flow to it.
Gotta ask... what's your favorite seasonal Paiva item and why?
I'm not sure if it was seasonal, but the YouPhoria scrub was amaaaaaaazing. Perfectly balancing for my scalp and my face - brilliant.
(Bringing it back, just for you!)
What is something either shocking or head-turning that made you think that our company was a little odd or different - in a good way of course! LOL! 
The mind-body (skin) connection!
Everyone and their mother knows that if you're stressed, you'll see it manifest in poor health, but no one ever thinks stress (and trauma and abuse) will LITERALLY show on your face!
Scrolling through your website I was like, "Aha! They get it!!!"
(YESSSSS WE NEED WOMEN & GIRLS TO KNOW THIS!)
We feel Melinda has a great outlook and is always so positive. Sure, we all can waver in mood but overall, we see her as an excellent role model for all ages.
What is your advice to women who are struggling with self-image?
If you wouldn't say it to your best friend, don't say it to yourself.
Seriously, negative self-talk plays SUCH a big role in how we feel about ourselves. Also, the photos are edited.
All of them. Even the "so brave" makeup-free ones.
(That is so irritating that they DO call make-up free, "brave". Right????)
Well, that's the end of our interview with Melinda, but if you would like her to coach you, you can reach out to her directly on Instagram; do follow her regardless. She is incredible!

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