Tamanu Oil – GOLD

tamanu oil

This stuff is gold! I swear, it has done some miracles for me (and literally it is quite expensive) haha! As you know from this post, I am all about natural beauty products and this one fits in just splendidly.

While we were in Bora Bora on our honeymoon, my husband and I got tattoos as a memory of our time together. It was a really neat experience, the tattoo artist came to our bungalow on our last day and we got matching tattoos designed which say, I give all of my love to you in Tahitian. It was a spontaneous decision which we had both thought of at separate times, EVERY ONE in Tahiti has tattoos (the locals) so we wanted to do something which tied in our love for each other and our wonderful time in Bora Bora.

Okay, back to Tamanu oil, long story short, the tattoo artist told us that since it is so humid in Tahiti, not to cover it, let it air dry and use Tamanu oil on it. We actually thought he was talking about coconut oil, but we went to the gift shop at our hotel and asked for Tamanu oil, they handed us this odd green colored oil and we were shocked at the price. I cannot remember exactly how much it was but it was more than $60 for this tiny bottle. Of course, everything in Bora Bora is expensive, but after looking into buying some more, what we paid isn’t outrageous by any means. 30 ml of this stuff sells for around $45, as I said, it is gold!

So, not only did the tattoo artist tell us to use it for our tattoos, he also told us (through broken English and French) that the locals use it for everything. Literally EVERYTHING! He told us to use it for any insect bite and the itching/stinging would stop, use it on sunburns to heal them and in the sun to prevent getting one, women use it on their face to get rid of acne/prevent it (their skin was flawless), parents use it on their children when they have rashes/issues, he named so many ways to use it and told us it was the best thing to come out of Tahiti and I agree with him.

We used it on our tattoos and our tattoos were completely healed after 2 days, I am not joking. I have had 3 other tattoos done in the past and never have I had a tattoo heal that fast! I also used it on a heat rash that I had on my shoulder, again, it cleared up in about a day and instantly brought relief, my husband has used it on a chemical rash he got on his hand and of course, it helped. I am telling you, there is nothing this oil cannot do.

Of course, when I got back home, I did some research and found even more uses and benefits of this wonder oil.

So, it is also beneficial for:

  • scars
  • stretch marks
  • minor cuts and abrasions
  • rashes
  • eczema
  • burns
  • insect bites and stings
  • acne and acne scars
  • psoriasis
  • diabetic sores
  • anal fissures
  • sunburn
  • dry or scaly skin
  • blisters
  • herpes sores
  • reducing foot and body odor

Tamanu oil is a topical healing agent with skin healing, anti-neuralgic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties. It is best known for skin rejuvenation, it is one of the most effective agents in promoting the formation of new tissue, thereby accelerating wound healing and the growth of healthy skin (HELLO anti-aging oil).

So here’s how it’s made; Calophyllum inophyllum is the name of the tree it grows on. The tamanu branches are covered with shiny, dark green oval leaves, and small white flowers with yellow centers. The fruit of the tree, has a large nut hull inside. Inside the fruit is the blond nut. This is removed and dried on a rack for a month or so, it turns a deep, chocolate brown, and becomes sticky with a rich, oil. The oil is then pressed from the dark kernels. The resulting oil of tamanu is dark green. It takes 100 kilograms of tamanu kernels, the amount that one tree produces annually, to yield just 5 kilograms of oil. Natives believed the tamanu tree was a sacred gift of nature and that gods hid in its branches. It was their answer to skin protection from hot sun, high humidity and ocean wind.

The smell is somewhat strong and very earthy, so if you’re looking for a delightful oil to use everyday, this isn’t it. However, if you can get past the smell, which isn’t so bad (I used it all along my pregnancy, even with EXTREMELY sensitive smell in the first months), you will reap its benefits, which are A LOT!

If you’re interested in trying it, here are a few I would recommend!!

 

  

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Fitness during pregnancy

Before I got pregnant, I was on a mission to drop weight for our wedding. I worked out every day and was able to loose a significant amount of weight for the big day. Over our weddings and honeymoon, I didn’t work out (my husband actually went to the gym at the hotel everyday, including our wedding days) and I allowed myself to eat what ever I wanted in moderation -I didn’t want to look back on our wedding time in a negative perspective because I was hangry hah.

My intentions were that after the honeymoon, I would go back to eating clean and working out nearly everyday (intensely). However, as you saw from this post, we found out we were pregnant right after our honeymoon. Between morning sickness and fatigue the first few months, I was in no shape to eat clean, or go to the gym. I ate mostly bread and apple juice the first 2 months because it was all I could keep down.

Once I started feeling better (around the 2nd month) I tried to go to the gym with a revised workout plan (I was doing intense HIIT before I got pregnant) but found most days I was extremely exhausted by the end of the day and didn’t feel like going, or I was getting light headed while working out. I knew that my body would need energy to get through the next 9 months and birth, so I decided to drop the gym and doing other activities to maintain my energy, strength and avoid the usual aches and pains. I know there are women out there in their 9th month lifting heavy weights and that’s great for them! I believe everyone has to listen to their body and do what is best for them. The gym just wasn’t for me during my pregnancy and I am fine with that. Again, every one is different, so just because this has worked out for me, please consult with your doctor before starting any new excersice during pregnancy.

I tried to find other solutions which would keep me active but were easy on the body, which is when I found prenatal yoga. I found it so calming and great for my hips and joints. It relaxed me and has helped me keep the strength in my legs -which I will need for the labour. I do yoga 2-3 times a week (30 minutes each time).

Other than that I make sure to walk for at least 30 minutes on days where I don’t do yoga, whether it is around town, shopping or a night stroll with my husband, I make a conscious effort to get a walk in 4-5 times a week. If I know that one day we will be doing a lot of walking, I will skip a day to make sure that I don’t over do myself (I am in my 9th month and some days I also just don’t have the energy.)

Overall, I notice that walking and yoga has eliminated any hip pain I felt coming on as well as any swelling in my ankles/ legs.

While we all know that exercise is important during pregnancy, I also know that a lot of women have complications and can’t do any exercise (don’t beat yourself up if you are one of them). What I really despise, are the women who try to put other women down for not working out. It is a journey your body is on and you have to really listen to your body and do what is best for both you and baby. Heck, even if you don’t have the energy, listen to your body and relax. In the end, it isn’t worth stressing your body and essentially your baby about.

Life as seen through my phone

I have been wanting to post an update only with pictures as we have had so many things happen in the past two weeks. Of course, Christmas and New Years Eve, but one week after New Years Eve its my birthday, then one week after that it’s my husbands birthday, and of course in between life happens. So here is an update of our life these past few weeks as seen through my phone.

Enjoy!! xo

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This cake is AMAZING! I will post the recipe soon but I made this for my husbands birthday, it will not be the last time I make it!
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This was dinner for my Birthday. Ricotta gnocchi, recipe is from Araxi restaurant in Whistler, Canada, I will post this one soon!
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A little (alcohol free) champagne to celebrate my 27th birthday.
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Of course, without alcohol
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My delicious Angel Food cake birthday cake.
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This is THE funniest story!! My husband bought 27 candles to put on my cake for my birthday. While he was lighting them, some of them started to spark, I questionned why they were sparking and he chalked it up to faulty wicks. Then the flames got bigger and were going strong. I tried to blow them out and we realized, they are joke candles that you cannot blow out! Needless to say, I panicked, this is the only picture we got and had to through raging flaming candles in the sink while the icing on my cake was melting from the HUGE flames. I was so scared while it was happening (I hate fire) but we now laugh at it all the time! haha

 

Acupuncture -Part III

If you’ve been following along, part I here and part II here, I had another acupuncture session 24 hours ago.

In short, for those of you who haven’t been following, I’m doing acupuncture to hopefully induce labor as my due date draws closer, reduce labor by 2-3 hours and help with my swelling in my hands.

So, yesterday, we tried a few more needles to see if it would help at all. I had 28 in total, a few more than usual. The general ones in my feet, lower calves and ankles. She also put two in my baby toes, these ones got the baby really moving and pinched quite a bit.

She also put two in the sides of my belly and two in my lower back to induce labor.

And of course, the usual hand points to help with swelling.

Overall, I have to say while I am getting them, I feel that the baby moves more and I get some slight contractions. My hands swell up a lot for about 5 hours afterwards and are very tight and sore. At night there seems to be more pressure in my pelvic region and last night, I woke up every two hours (without fail)!to go to the washroom. My hands are actually feeling quite good! There seems to be a decrease in the swelling, although it may be a combination of the stinging needle tea and acupuncture but I am really happy with the results, they’re still swollen but not nearly as bad as before!

I also had an appointment with my gynecologist last Tuesday and this Tuesday (today). Last Tuesday was my first appointment since the holidays (2 weeks) and he had noticed that the baby had dropped, my mucus plug was almost gone and that labor was slowly starting to happen. I thought this may have been due to the acupuncture. Today, he informed me that I have not dialated nor has he drawn any closer. My mucous plug is gone but nothing has really progressed.

My conclusion so far is that, while I believe acupuncture has helped prepare a few things, it hasn’t influenced labor at all. I think this little boy will come when ever he feels ready, with acupuncture or not.

However, I am still going to do it regularly and see what happens. I am still hopeful that is helps with swelling and shortnens labor.

Another note, there was another mother there who had been having acupuncture since her 15th week, due to back pain and other issues, and she swore that it helped. She was now at 30 weeks and will continue it until the baby is here. So for those of you in a lot of pain, it may help you! For those of you keen to get that baby out, my advice is trust that both your babe and body know what they’re doing!

Thanks for reading along!

Raspberry leaf tea

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I’ve recently started drinking raspberry leaf tea and let me tell you, it is delicious!

A woman from my prenatal group told me about it so I got to searching (and asking my doctor about it) and started drinking it almost immediately.

Here’s why a few reasons why (for those of you not pregnant):

  • It helps with fertility, if you’re interested in that kind of stuff.
  • It treats diarrhea, no one has time for that.
  • It regulates irregular menstrual cycle and decreases heavy periods.
  • It relieves sore throats.
  • It can reduce fever.
  • It is packed with iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium, vitamins B1, B3 and E. So, it also contains nearly everything us women need.
  • It can be used as a paste for rashes, sunburns and eczema.

If that wasn’t enough, here are a few more reasons why (for those of you who are pregnant):

  • It promotes breast milk, I’m sure we’re all interested in having a heavy supply.
  • It stops excess bleeding after birth, yes please!
  • It eases the symptoms of morning sickness, wish I would have taken it in the beginning.
  • It soothes and prevents bleeding gums which many pregnant women often experience.
  • Relaxes muscles of the uterus when it is contracting.
  • Assists with the birth of the baby and the placenta.
  • Can calm cramping of the uterus.

While it hasn’t been proven, it is thought that raspberry leaf tea also shortens the duration of labor. It has been assumed that is relaxes the uterus causing contractions during labor to become more coordinated and efficient (yes please!) It has also been assumed that women who drink it (or take it in pill form) have had pregnancies without the help of interventions (c-section, forceps, etc. )

Some doctors advise only taking it after the 32 week of pregnancy (as it may induce labor) while others suggest that you can take it all throughout pregnancy. Please consult your doctor or midwife before taking it.

I have been drinking a cup of it daily for a week now (I regret not getting it sooner) and have noticed my contractions increase (although that may just be the stage of my pregnancy, 38 weeks) and the bleeding of my gums has stopped.

I am looking forward to seeing if it helps with my delivery at all.

Have you ladies tried it? Any experience with it?

Thanks for reading! xo

Acupuncture -Part II

24 hours ago I had my second round of acupuncture to induce labor (you can find my first experience here).

Obviously, my first round didn’t induce me, quite yet, and I will have it done once a week until he comes.

So, for the second round:

I ended up having a horrible headache all day leading up to my appointment, I really dislike taking medication (especially when pregnant, even though some medication is okay) so I figured perhaps some needles could help.

She put a few extra needles into my legs, 9 in each leg in total, as I am nearing my due date, I can have a few extra pressure points to activate labor. Almost immediately after putting them in my ankles and legs I got a contraction, it was quite a strong one at that.

I was still quite swollen in my hands so we tried them in my hands, once again. They weren’t as painful in my hands as they were last time, I figured my body is just getting used to it. My hands didn’t swell up like last time, however, it wasn’t an instant cure either, they remained the same while the needles were in (unfortunately).

I also mentioned my headache and she put 3 in my head which almost instantly helped my headache.

I had a few more contractions sitting while I was there (30 minutes in total) but nothing regular or, at least, what I assume labor contractions feel like. When I got home I did my usual night routine and went to sleep. This time, I really did go to the washroom a MILLION times throughout the night. While my hands don’t look nearly what they did before I got pregnant, I do notice a decrease in the swelling, hopefully it continues to go down after 48 hours. I also had some more consistent contractions throughout the night, again, nothing regular or increasing in strength, but I do think it is doing something. What I do like is I feel that it is preparing my body, while not pushing the baby out. I believe that my body and baby will know when the time is right (and I am all for that) but a little help never hurt a flee!

I had my weekly check up today at the doctor and there is still some time to go he believes.. but that can all change in a matter of minutes, so we will see.

On a side note, there was a woman there who was 37 weeks, had the usual needles inserted (that we all have) and after about 10 minutes, said she was feeling extremely ill, had the needles taken out and laid down on the floor, so if you are curious about acupuncture during labor, please speak with a professional, this is just my experience.

Anyone have any tips/ideas what worked for you to reduce swelling at the end of pregnancy? I am getting desperate!

Birthday thoughts

  
Wow, I cannot believe it is my birthday, again! It feels like just yesterday my husband was making me butter chicken in our kitchen while listening to me talk about what ever non-sense I was rambling on about.

My birthday doesn’t really feel like my day this year as I am SO looking forward to our babes birth-date. His birthday will be more fabulous than anyone of my birthdays, EVER! (Although, the birthday my husband proposed to me was quite spectacular!) So this birthday pales in comparison to what we have coming in the next few days/weeks.

Most people complain or say ‘sorry’ when they hear my birthday is so close to the holidays, I don’t get it. I ABSOLUTELY love having my birthday at the beginning of a new year, it feels so refreshing to start off a new year with a new age. Any other Capricorns with me?

Nevertheless, birthdays bring up so many thoughts and questions I ask myself. -What has happened in the past year, what have I accomplished/not accomplished compared to what I thought I would have accomplished, and most importantly, I always, always ask myself, how have I grown in the past 365 days.

Here’s my answer to these questions on this birthday:

In the past 365 days, so much has happened. To name a few, we got married, we had an amazing honeymoon in paradise, we found out we were expecting our little boy, I have decided to start an MBA, we celebrated milestones and events with family, traveled and have enjoyed being 26!

Of course, when I was younger, I thought at 27 I would be married, with a family, a dog and a house working a 9-5 job which I enjoyed (isn’t this what we all thought when we were 16-20?) Then as time crept up, I realized that life sounds so boring!! I want to explore, see the world, speak new languages, be ever learning and get the most out of my life. So with my 27 years of life, I am more than thrilled with what I have accomplished. I have a fantastic husband, who shares the same passions, interests and goals in life as I do. I have explored enough of the world to be content, of course my wanderlust is going to kick in in a few months and we will set off exploring, but for now I am very content with the corners and vast areas of the world we have experienced, again, so happy to do it with my main man (soon to be men) beside me! I have gotten an education in something that I am passionate about, and am working towards continuing it this year. I am starting my family going into my 27th year of life, which was initially older than I had anticipated, but it couldn’t have come at a better time, now I have more time to spend with my little boy. But beyond anything, I am happier than I ever thought possible. When I thought about my life 10 years ago, I wanted to be happy, of course, I just didn’t know that this kind of happiness was possible.

And for the last question, I have grown so much in the past year (and not just my baby bump, ha!). I have learned that things will happen no matter how much I plan or how detailed my itinerary is (this was a hard lesson but I really came to terms with it around the wedding time) and I have to roll with it, have a backup plan and let life do its thing. I have learned to accept the apologies I have never gotten from people and be at peace with the way certain relationships have turned out. This little boy has definitely taught me a kind of patience I never thought I would have. He also taught me how to reflect upon my actions, so I can be the best version of myself for him to look up to. Overall, this year has really taught me how to look at my life from a different perspective, that my actions don’t only just affect me now, and that I have a family that needs me as well.

Most people complain or say ‘sorry’ when they hear my birthday is so close to the holidays, I don’t get it. I ABSOLUTELY love having my birthday at the beginning of a new year, it feels so refreshing to start off a new year with a new age. Any other Capricorns with me?

So for this birthday, I won’t be doing too much (I am terrified that my water will break while out in public, ha!) My husband will cook me dinner, while we listen to some music, talk about our dreams and ambitions (which we do on the reg) and just enjoy being present in my life, with my two loves. Oh and I am going to eat the angel food cake pictured above, with some alcohol free champagne to make me feel fancy! And who knows, maybe our sweet babe will want to share this day with me!

Thanks for reading! xo

Casual Pregnancy Pictures

I really love capturing a moment. I love candid shots as well as shots which have been staged, what I don’t love, are the endless photos of me while pregnant that are, well, needless to say, unflattering. Am I alone on this one?

Some days I don’t even feel like putting on makeup and other days I feel like the most gorgeous glowing woman in the world (mostly thanks to my wonderful husband). But I wanted some casual pictures of us to capture our special time together, the time right before our first born is here.

I didn’t want to make a fuss about it, you know, plan a date, get all dolled up (even if I didn’t feel like it that day) and pose awkwardly in front of someone we don’t know. So instead we opted to do our own pictures (thank you self timer) to get a few pictures. I am really happy with how they turned out, mostly because, I am extremely comfortable in something that I wear almost all the time, I had a good night sleep the night before and woke up well rested, which allowed me to spontaneously decide to take some pictures, and because it is my husband and I, in our apartment, enjoying our time together (yes, we have beautiful white walls and HUGE windows which gives us the perfect lighting).

So here are a few of my favorites of our little family.

Thanks for reading!

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Pregnancy Acupuncture-Part 1

Pregnancy Acupuncture

I have been waiting to try pregnancy acupuncture for a while now, well, since I was about 24 weeks and heard about the benefits. There are a lot of different kinds of acupuncture you can get while pregnant (to help with aching backs, headaches, any pain you may have, there’s acupuncture to help with) but I am not talking about that kind of acupuncture. I am talking about labor inducing acupuncture. Essentially what it does is prepares your cervix and helps you dilate, it brings on contractions and kind of gets the ball rolling. Please don’t be alarmed, you do not go into labor until your body and baby are ready for it -I am not trying to kick the little boy out! Another advantage it has is it has been proven that it can shorten active labor (the hard pushing part that we’re all looking forward to) by 2 hours! Uhm, YES PLEASE! Anything that makes the process easier on my body and little love is an absolute yes in my books!

Pregnancy Acupuncture
Do you see the excitement in my face! haha

In Germany (where we currently live) you are not allowed to start labor inducing acupuncture until you are full term (37 weeks). You can have it every week until the baby is born.

I started my first round yesterday evening and want to share my experience as I know on most mommy-to-be forums there are so many questions being asked and not many answers. I will post updates every week, 24 hours after having it done, as that is when you are most likely to notice any affects from it.

First, I have NEVER had acupuncture, not for headaches, muscle pain or anything, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but I was EXTREMELY excited!! I want to meet this little boy more than anything -but want him to be healthy of course, so I trusted that acupuncture could perhaps speed up the process while he is still healthy and ready to join us.

So she asked all of us (about 10 women) what kind of issues we we’re having. Most complained of the usual back pain, headaches, a few also commented that the had high blood pressure or were well past their due date. Those who suffered from aches and pains weren’t quite 37 weeks yet so they were only given some needles to help with their issues, not to induce. Those of us who were ready to get induced (or ever beyond) had needles put in our toes, ankles and lower calves (these are the points to induce or cause your uterus to contract).

A few of the points in my toes felt a little pinched but others, I couldn’t even feel. Overall, after she put them in my feet and calves, I couldn’t feel them at all.

I also mentioned that I had a lot of swelling in my hands and she offered to put some in my hands and wrists to help reduce swelling, however, she did warn me that this would come at the expense of several trips to the washroom through the night (what else is new with pregnancy?!) I gladly took the chance, hoping that I would be able to wear my wedding ring in the near future.

I have to say, the ones in my hands and wrist were quite annoying, in my wrists especially. The needles seemed to cause a pulsing effect in my hands and it was very uncomfortable. After about 10 minutes, my hands had gotten a little puffier, I was a little skeptical.

Overall, the feeling after she put them in was a sense of calmness. It was relaxing and I seemed to feel at ease (forgetting the pulsing hands). I also felt the baby move quite a bit and my uterus get very tight, something was definitely happening.

They were left in for about 35 minutes. Once she took them out, I noticed my hands had DOUBLED in size! I could barely move them or use them. My wrist were also so tight and uncomfortable, I was a little apprehensive. She told me that they would stay like that for the next few hours and then it would go down.

So, about one hour after the process we were back home, and I could barely walk. The pressure in my lower abdomen was so hard that I could barely move my legs. I have felt pressure throughout the pregnancy but this was intense! I had never had it so strong. So I relaxed and let the process happen. My hands went down to their normal ‘swollen’ size after about 3 hours, and I didn’t notice any extra washroom trips until about 7 hours after the acupuncture. I went to the washroom about 8 times in 5 hours throughout the night -which is a few more than normal. I also felt the baby get really active and my contractions pick up for an hour or two, nothing too drastic though. But the pressure in my lower abdomen was REALLY different.

Exactly 24 hours later, my hands don’t look any smaller, just their normal puffiness from pregnancy and my contractions have not increased since last night, in fact they have nearly stopped. My pelvic area is still quite tender but not nearly as uncomfortable as last night. I have notice the baby is a lot more active today, but that could be coincidence. Overall, it hasn’t induced me right yet, but I do feel that something is happening. I don’t know if I will try the hand pressure points again as I felt it didn’t do too much, but the rest, was great!

I will let you know how next week goes and if I notice another symptoms in the next 24 hours (6-48 hours is when you notice the symptoms).

And of course, this may not be for everyone. I am a new mom and am trying out different things to see how my body reacts. Please talk to your doctor or midwife before you do anything and make sure it is best for you -this is just my experience and both my doctor and midwife told me to try it.

Have you tried acupuncture during pregnancy? What was your experience like!?

Thanks for reading!

Just -leave it out!

One of my goals this year is to work towards using more powerful language in my business life. I have found over the past year, the way I write and speak seems to not minimize my own thoughts and opinions. I do this by incorporating (or to continue using) ‘weaker’ words. What I am talking about are words such as: I feel, maybe, perhaps, and the biggest culprit, JUST! I am not speaking of just as in the literal sense to be fair but rather the filler word.

When we use ‘just’, it tells our listener/reader that we are undermining ourselves, that we either doubt what we have to say or are addressing the point ever so cautiously, as if asking for permission.

Here are some examples, you’ll see what I mean:

‘I am just emailing you to address…’ vs. ‘I am emailing you to address…’

‘We just stopped by the office to check on things.’ vs. ‘We stopped by the office to check on things.’

‘I just have a few questions.’ vs. ‘I have a few questions.’

Do you see the difference ‘just’ in a sentence makes in the statement or power in the sentence? It really is amazing if you stand back and listen to people talk, truly hear the words they are saying. Anytime someone incorporates ‘just’ into their sentence, you may not know it, but they are losing credibility. I order to be assertive, respected and taken seriously, we need to be confident in what we say or write, therefore, leave out the JUST!

If you consciously pay attention to what you write/say, you will find these little buggers everywhere! I made it my goal for one week to take note of how many times I said/wrote it with a post-it on my desk, and was appalled at the number.  Now, when writing I consciously re-read trying to find ‘weak’ words and take them out. You would be surprised how much more effective my writing has gotten. I have noticed, colleagues and employees respond faster to those emails and messages without ‘just’ than those with it, and I get a more precise answer from them.

While we’re at it, take it out all together!

Instead of using just in the sense of immediacy, try using, a moment ago, or recently.

Instead of using it in the sense of exactly, try using the word, exactly, or precisely.

However, if you can’t stop using it in the literal sense, please do yourself a favour and eliminate the filler word.

Thanks for reading! xo