Aging, Skincare and Hormones (pt 3)

Part one is here and part 2 is here! I’m glad I started doing this again, it’s nice to go back and see what’s worked for me overtime and what I gave up. My skin has gone through so much changing and catering to my skin care is one of the best things I’ve done. I was in Nashville for a few months in the late winter and there were days that were under 20 degrees and the next day, it was a sunny 70 degrees. The ups and downs of the temperature, plus pregnancy hormones have made me change my whole routine and here are my current favorites. As usual, don’t take my advice, go see your local dermatologist. I'm a licensed cosmetologist but that doesn't make me an expert on your skin, just mine! 

Mario Badescu Facial Spray is my favorite multi-tasker. It sets my makeup, cools my skin during a hot day, preps my skin before my skin care routine. Plus it smells like rose water, if you spray it on your body after a shower, the subtle stays with you throughout the day.

I discovered Youth To The People from Ashley. It’s a natural-skincare based company out of California. She sent me this bottle back in March as a birthday gift and it really is the gift that keeps on giving. A little goes a long way, I’m not even halfway through it! I love how it takes off all my makeup (even my eye makeup) and it’s concentrated. For days when I little bit more moisture, I still go back to Laura Mercier’s cleanser but YTTP has been my daily go-to. 

I loved the YTTP cleanser so much, I wanted to try their serum and moisturizer. They both contain hyaluronic acid with natural ingredients like kale and spinach. Pregnancy brings melasma if you’re not careful, and this has helped fade the few spots I have. It’s not heavy on chemicals so it’s safe for baby, too. 

I was careful about oils because I thought oils= acne. Herbivore makes an amazing product that has tackled my pregnancy acne, my dry skin, preventing wrinkles, and keeping my skin away from dry patches with Lapis. This oil will go bad before I even finish it, I’ve had it since the beginning of the year, i use it twice a day, sometimes three if my hands are dry, and it still looks like it’s never been used. It makes my makeup go on easier and when I want a little bit of glow, I mix my foundation with it. Every person has their one cult product they can’t live without and this is mine. 

I recently switched sunblock to cater to my acne/dry skin and this one from Cover FX sinks into your skin without messing with your moisturizer. 

If you don't get to a spa for monthly facials, invest in a great at-home mask. Herbivore makes Blue Tansy, which contains natural enzymes, it brightens my skin, renews my skin without redness, and so so soft. 

Bonus- Origins Zit Zapper. It won’t dry out my skin, but it will dry out my pimple overnight. La Roche-Posay Anthellos SPF 50 Primer. When I know I’ll be out in the sun a little more, I’ll switch out my regular primer for this primer with extra SPF. 

I’ll be working on an updated makeup soon. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to gloat about my favorite skin care products. 

Rainbow Baby

One of the reasons we moved to Nashville was for work but also because I needed a change. I was feeling antsy, bored, and just coming out of this haze of sadness. I also wasn't getting pregnant, and when I did, the pregnancy didn't stay for long. We had also been going through an adoption process with the county and because of a clerical error, we were turned down for adoption services. We spent months going through classes and the process only to be told it wasn't going to work and even though it was their mistake, we had to start all over again. It just felt like another thing to add to the list of things to deal with. 

So, we moved to Nashville temporarily, and it was a nice change. A change from constant dieting to try to get pregnant, a change from being creatively burnt out, a change from just life in general, an opportunity I'll never get and I wanted to make the most of it. I loved it. I met so many great people at my new work environment, I found my strengths and weakness' in what I'm good at, and most importantly, I was keeping my mind busy (which is one of the main reasons I haven't updated, all my energy goes to work and I haven't even unpacked from Nashville after being back after a month, oops!) 

A few weeks into it, I started feeling sick, and I had to work from my Nashville apartment a few days. I had a positive pregnancy test and as excited as I am to see it, I've also seen it fade. Besides 3 years of eating on strict lifestyle changes to get this positive pregnancy test was seeing someone for fertility acupuncture. I also had my dental metal fillings removed. It sounds random, but I had them taken out when I noticed a series of issues over the past months that lead to mercury poisoning symptoms, including infertility. Within 2 weeks of this, I got pregnant. I'm not saying that contributed but I noticed a lot of my rashes, and other issues went away within the week I got my fillings taken out. 

It's been an emotional 21 weeks. Every small ache and discomfort, I can't help but worry. But also, every time I feel great, I can't help but think I'm not pregnant. It's not fair to have the excitement taken away from this little girl but when the worst has happened, I can't help but wonder if it'll happen again. I'm so so grateful for the support I've received from strangers and friends. I know it was tough to love me, it's easier to turn away when I'm not fun, exciting or feeding needs to be constantly entertained. Thank you to the friends that stuck by me and loved me when I was most unloveable. They saw past my pain, and even during those awkward silent moments, they were there. It's like a really bad storm, I survived and now there's a rainbow waiting at the end. 

March 2016 Favorites

Let's take a look back at favorites for March! 

+ I am so emotionally and physically invested in the Lunar Chronicles. I've been feeling a little under the weather so it's the perfect opportunity to catch up and the amount of hours I'm putting in this series is intense. I am obsessed! It's a twist on fairy tales but even if the damsels in distress need a little saving, they do it with robots, starting wars to save mankind, diversity and saving men who would normally save them. I picked up this tote bag from this Red Bubble shop

+ This is my third month in Nashville and I'm still exploring the city! I feel silly recommending such a popular ice cream because it seems everyone knew about it, except me! Jenni's is a Nashville ice cream shop with unique flavors and they just came out with a churro flavor. I miss Disneyland churros all the time and this was a great alternative. The best part is when I go home, I'll be able to order it

+ I turned 35 in March and Scott surprised me with a weekly subscription to Bouq's flowers. Every week I go to Trader Joe's and try to get the brightest and prettiest bouquet but this beats it! I'll be able to switch addresses when I come home and it really is the gift that keeps on giving! 

+ Eloquii came out with the cutest sweater, or most "darling" sweater, ha. It's comfy, can be layered, but light enough to wear alone, it's PINK, I get a ton of compliments on it and it's on sale. I'm wearing the 14 in photo and fits well! 

Here's to April!

The Incredible Adventures of Another YA Heroine

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is one of most fun YA books I've read in a long time. It's a story about Alba, baker, artist, and comic book geek, and she's stuck in an apocalyptic world. There's a lot of comic book references I loved, and Alba's love for comics comes from her love for her father who passed away and passed down his collection to his daughter. She is a struggling artist and with typical angsty moments we've all found ourselves in (minus the end-of-the-world stuff). Their is a love story, but not a cheesy one that ruins Alba or her personal growth in the book.  Alba is young but her confidence is wise. Her long frizzy hair, her thick thighs, and smile are too good for most guys her age and she knows it. I wish I had her confidence at her age, it would have made my life so much easier. Melissa Keil, the author, wrote Alba so well, she could easily be my inner dialogue. She's funny, sarcastic, but also daydreams off into the characters she creates. At the end of the book, Alba's life doesn't magically come together like most YA books but she see's where her journey will take her next, and that's another adventure I can't wait to read. Buy the book here

Marvel Mondays: Black Widow (2016)

Black Widow is only one issue in, but it's one of the Marvel's most anticipated releases. Chris Samnee and Mark Waid work together again after Daredevil, and Natasha returns! Daredevil got his own Netflix series with a team like Waid and Samnee behind them, and the Ed Bruebaker editions,  I want to believe Black Widow will be a huge success as well. This is set in post-Secret Wars era, and it starts off with a very angry Maria Hill, who still manages S.H.I.E.L.D. Natasha is on the run and we read her dramatic escape. It's bloody, adventurous, and it leaves the reader wondering what will happen next. It's a strong, independent woman, running away from her dangerous past, not sexualized, beating up men who want to kill her, and that's a comic I want to read. Now that she's disconnected herself from the most powerful agency in the world, Natasha can be free, or can she?? Read the comic here!   

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a collection of things I find darling. 

+ I had the opportunity to photograph and interview Sara Lyons for Remedy Hair Shoppe. I'm so envious of her thick locks and her gorgeous mermaid hair color. She's planning a wedding, moving, and running a business. You can read about it here.  

+ The Rise and Fall of The Heart Shaped Bathtub

+ Why We Struggle With Change

+ Sprinkles Cupcakes has a rewards program now! When I signed up, I got a free cupcake and I'm saving them up for a special occasion. Sign up here. 

+ Ms Marvel wins Dwayne McDuffie award for Diversity in comics

+ on the topic of comics, did you know you can get an MFA in comics? Amazing. 

+ If you're as obsessed with Haruki Murakami, this article is a must-read. 

+ Vegan pizza pockets! 

Happy Friday! 

You Look Great for 60, Disneyland

The park has been decorated with diamond-themed all year, and on May 22, they'll be officially celebrating 60 years. It's the original park Walt Disney dreamed to life and every detail is in place to celebrate, including the castle. You can enjoy the diamond decorations all through 2016. 

The Sound of Depression

Apathy is the good friend of comfort. Comfort is a place where you don’t thrive. It’s atrophy for the soul. Sometimes I have to physically force myself to move, to get off the couch, to shower, to be human. Getting out of bed, putting on running shoes, eating for health over taste, these are things the average person does. When I rise out of the comfortable part of myself, I'm healing. When I just stop going through the motions and actually feel something, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. It's the difference between feeling alive vs just living.

For those that don’t understand what a person with depression goes through, the best analogy I can think of (and of course it’s with food) is a donut. Think biting into a warm donut, with extra rich frosting, and so many sprinkles they fall from your lips. It’s delicious and you make sure to come visit this donut place again to get the same delicious donut. For a person with depression, a donut has almost no flavor. We bite into it and while we know what a donut tastes like, there’s still something unfamiliar about it, even though we’ve had it numerous times. We know we’re supposed to love it, but we’re only eating it because we go through the motions. We don’t care where it’s from. We don’t care about the flavor. That’s apathy for you. 

Depression is a disorder. It can be treated but it can’t be cured. As much as I believe in the power of prayer, prayers aren’t always answered in the way we want it to be answered. I also believe in the power of medicine and it can’t be cured with pills. I’ve done diets, I’ve done workouts, I’ve done acupuncture, I’ve done all of it and it can’t be cured but I do have hope. It’s very uncomfortable but just like comfort is a form of atrophy, hope is oxygen for the soul. 

February 2016 Favorites

Let’s take a look back at favorites for February

Favorite album is Wet's Don't You. This isn't an album I would think I would love so much but it's a throwback to 90's all girl R&B but with synth pop and a little folk. There's something tragic in Kelly Zatrua's voice that's reminiscent of The Ronnette's, but backed with something you'd dance to. It's different and as I'm writing this, I have no idea how to describe the album other than it's amazing and I think it's going to be a favorite for a long time. Listen on spotify here. 

Favorite store in Nashville so far is Parnassus Books. I was lucky to hear a panel with founder Karen Hayes earlier this month and why she decided to open a book store at a time when Borders was closing it's business and Barnes and Noble, along with indie book stores were closing. There is a romance about physical books and it's a little section of Nashville that's become one of my favorite places. 

Favorite nail polish is Palate Polish. I've written about this brand before  and my collection is slowly growing. I was limited on what to pack and after getting rid of my acrylics with gel overlay, I needed some major treatment to my damaged nails. Palate is one of the few brands that doesn't have harsh ingredients and I'm using while my cuticles and nail beds are healing. 

Favorite lipstick is Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani's Rock Steady. It looks darker in the tube but it applies a little brighter on my olive fair skin. It's creamy, it doesn't dry out my lips and it doesn't bleed. It's lasted me through breakfast, lunch and dinner and it's not until the end of the day where I may need to brighten but it fades evenly. 

Looking forward to share March favorites with you!

Tools To Help Grow Faith

I guess this should be titled tools that help me grow my Christian faith. I'll admit I don't like posting faith based stuff because it can come off cheesy, judge-y, and just annoying and I tried my best to share things that were neither of those.

I was looking through my journals and devotionals and trying to figure out which ones to pack on my trip. After looking through the most recent one, I noticed a big jump in the maturity of my prayers, my wisdom, even my writing. It threw me off because this is how I used to be before- not that good of a writer, prayers were pretty selfish (“Lord, please let there be fast wifi at this Starbucks. Amen.”), and my wisdom went as far as having gray hair. My devotionals were short and grew long and longer in notes. 

So why the jump? 

I connected. I grew. There are tons of tools out there to flourish, I used them and I met God halfway. He provided, and I took action. Okay, Apostles didn’t have apps and websites to connect and they did just fine. I also bet Apostles didn’t have wifi, TV, and books and the distractions that comes with it. 

Another thing I learned while reading my journals? No one is responsible to grow my faith except myself. Not my pastor, not my Bible study, not my more Christian friend, not even an app. It’s up to me to decide what I put into it and what I get out of it. 

Find a church. That seems obvious but you won’t get the same connection from a podcast or live streaming. When I hurt my leg and couldn’t leave the house much, I was partially feeling worse because I missed community. I missed gathering, I missed sharing. I can only get that from a church. A church helps you find a connection group to grow, and volunteer services. 

Find a connection group. A connection group is just a millennial term for Bible study. After being in a connection group for almost two years, I don’t really see the point of going to a church if I wasn't going to challenge myself with a study. Yeah, it’s great to be there and listen for an hour but what will I do with that message? I got out of my comfort zone and it helped me grow. I met with people I though I'd never talk to simply because we didn't have much in common but we have the most important thing in common that matters, our desire to grow. 

Join The Influence Network. Okay, so I’ll admit for awhile I wasn’t really sure what I was paying for when I first became a member. Look at the Influence Network like your smart phone- it does more than make calls and take photos. It can use apps and help you in your every day life but you just have to dig a little to find the ones that work for you. I logged in more often, I signed up for their book club, I listened to their podcast, I got connected to the forums that were relative to my spiritual and network needs, and I even discovered great blogs and people along the way. It’s a network full of endless possibilities and amazing women who are seeking and wanting to thrive as me. 

Glo Bible Devotionals- There are a million devotionals out there but I’ll admit I like this one for the UX and UI of it (for those that aren’t familiar with those terms, they basically mean usability and it’s pretty to look at). It’s free, and you can do one on the go. I don’t need to carry my heavy beautiful Bible around, as sentimental as it is, I know I’m not growing on sentiment. life gets busy and sometimes all I'll have on a commute home or a silent moment is my phone. 

Music and Podcasts- did you know Spotfiy has non-cheesy Christian music playlists? Some of my favorites are here, here and here. As for podcasts, The City Church, Cross Point, and Eastside are great resources. 

Inspiring blogs- do you ever have those moments when you read something at the right moment and the right time and that’s all you needed? I love reading blogs that dig a little deeper. My favorites right now are Ashlee Gadd, Casey LeighRachel Kincaid and Kriselle to name a few. While I'm barely touching base on faith based stuff, they worship Jesus loud and clear through almost every blog post. 

Inspiring books- Get a new perspective on how other’s deal with life, with struggles of faith. It reminds me I’m not alone and my problems aren’t that big, and if they authors can be moved enough to write a book about it, I can handle the ups and downs of life. Lara Casey's book, Make it Happen, shares her messy life and the redemption with it. I also started reading Savor by Shauna Niequist last year. I haven't finished it but so far, I really like it. Sex God, The Screwtape Letters, are ones I've read more than once over time.