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July 2020 Accountability Challenge

Together-we-can-do-so-much

July 2020 Accountability Challenge

Together-we-can-do-so-much

Welcome to the 2020 July Accountability Challenge:

Recently, I read some words that stroke a chord.  Some Spanish celebrity was speaking about humankind and some of the challenges that we have been facing lately.  She stated something to the effect that “at the end of this crisis, we are going to all end up being the same or worse. That nice people will remain being nice and the a$holes are going to remain the same or become bigger a$holes.”

My first instinct was to agree.  For many reasons that are not relevant to this post, you and I both know that human nature is to resist change and resist being uncomfortable.  No fault on that but man, haven’t we learned by now that change does not happen without sacrifice and mobility? Then my next thought was wait a minute: do I truly agree? What can I do about this? Can I make a difference?

You know that cliched phrase about change coming from within and yada, yada? Yep, that still applies and I know it dang well.  I learned a lot time ago that my comfort zone is not the place that I want to remain, and that us, just like plants, must grow, in order to evolve.

So let’s talk about the challenge and go straight to it. I am going to try to make this as simple as I can and hopefully, I can interest at least one person to join me.  I need an accountability partner because sharing with someone else cheering me on, is what can make this a success.

The Plan

  1. Starting on July 1st, I will add exercises to my walking and swimming activities.  The plan is to do it daily.
  2. At the same time, I am going to make better food choices.
  3. Going to use a checklist to track items 1 and 2.
  4. Will be using my IG stories to post about the challenge and my own tracking, on a daily basis.

NOTE: I am not a doctor, or expert so please consult with your doctor, prior to attempting any exercise or diet change.

Below are the pdf. forms which will provide some the checklist and the visual aid on the activities and the foods.  As you can see, this is not a fitness challenge, this is not a diet challenge, this is not a lose weight challenge, this is a challenge to show you how capable YOU are to make changes for yourself. You are welcomed to modify the pdfs. to accurately reflect your own plan.

We are NOT going to jump into hoops, to be doing long and sweaty sessions or fad diets, with complicated routines.  We are going to prove to ourselves that we are capable to control our own lives and our happiness by introducing small changes to what we have been comfortably doing and is not working for us.  Because like me, if you have read this far, something is not working for you.

I am committing to keep track with you and to guide you through the process.  I am eager to hear about positive results but want to do it midway so no need to weigh or measure yourself.  I don’t want the challenge to be attached to a fitness goal.  The intent is to came out of this challenge, more motivated and eager to work on the only person that you can control, and that is yourself. Also, this is not a all inclusive challenge.  You can do both (the workouts and the healthy food choices or you can pick which one you wish to do). The more important part is continue checking the boxes from the list.

Warning: research shows that when you change, everything changes and that may or may not include your jeans size.

Let’s do this, shall we?

xo Kathia
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My Multi-Step Beauty Routine

Multi steps beauty routine
Multi steps beauty routine

my multi-steps beauty routine

Lately, I have been learning about a new method to treat my skin. I seriously want to exhaust all the possible options that I may have to continue showing my skin a little bit of love.  The best part is that now I am making the time and several weeks into this routine, and I can report that my skin is absorbing everything! What I did here is some sort of redesigned method of the 10-step Korean Skincare Routine and with trial and error, I found ways to adapt it to my own skin concerns.  The steps here are for my night routine.  My morning routine is a little more simple.

So follow along and see if I can give you any ideas or food for thought of what you could do for your own skin?  Here you go:

Step 1: Double-cleanse.  I use a cleansing balm and an anti-aging gel.

Step 2: Apply tonic.  Currently using Good Molecules Toner. 

Step 3: Essence. Tatcha has a great one.

Step 4: Eye-cream. Elemis collagen eye-treatment is my favorite right now.

Step 5: Serum. Ahh, the possibilities! There are so many and for so many possible treatments.  I have been loving using trial and error but leaning toward a couple of favorites to deal with dullness and aging skin.

Step 6: Moisturizer. Need we say more.

Step 7: Acids/Spot-Treatments. The Inkeylist are inexpensive and seem to be effective, thus far.

Step 8: Sleep Mask. I like to use one delicious one made by Shiseido.

As mentioned earlier, my morning routine is super simple: rinse the face with water only, tonic, moisturizer or moisturizing pads topped with SPF lotion. The dots on the face print are to keep track by assigning a color to each product and check off from my daily spot on the weekly section of my planner. I track effectiveness of the products by checking how often and how long I have used them.  

If you are still with me, thank you for reading and as always, please let me know what you think?

xo Kathia
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My 12 picks for the Sephora Spring 2020 Beauty Insider Event

My 12 picks for the Sephora Spring 2020 Beauty Insider Event

There is a Sephora VIB event coming and for some of us, online shopping seems to be the new “normal”.  Sephora only has this event twice a year so right now is a good opportunity to stock-up on those products that you love, wish to love, need or want and much better if they come with a great discount. Also, remember to shop through your Rakuten link. You will get some cashback for each purchase.  If you are not registered with Rakuten, please use my referral link above. It gives both of us, a cash perk for your registration.

My strategy to figure out the cost of my wish-list is to do a mock-up of my shopping cart by adding them all to the cart and then doing the math. Also, I compare the products that I currently have with the products that I am wanting, along with their ingredients list and their claims. More importantly, I check reviews and see how they fit to my current skin needs.

This list was made with research and reviews that I have collected on my own.  This is only my wish-list but you are welcome to borrow it. I may not get everything listed but will give me time to continue my pursuit of the ultimate beauty product. It will be definitely be added to my current wants, for future reference. As always, kindly let me know if you have questions or comments about my picks and by all means, share your top picks.with

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Clean your makeup brushes in a simple way

How_to_clean_your_makeup_brushes
How_to_clean_your_makeup_brushes

Clean your makeup brushes in a simple way

So you are done with the household chores? Your kitchen is cleaned, dishes are away, floors are shiny and now you are going to put time on the fun stuff?  If you are like me, I like to dedicate time to my hobbies and my makeup brushes need love, too!! Let me share a quick but more importantly, effective way to give your brushes a fresh and clean treatment.

All you need is olive oil, a gentle dishwasher soap, a couple of bowls and water.  Note: do not use hot water.  Hot water may affect the stickiness  of the glue that holds the bristles to the handles and can cause them to shed.  Also, note: all these suggestions and products are better for non-expensive brushes.  Most brands sell makeup brushes cleaners, so please keep that in mind if you baby your brushes .

Olive oil, the extra virgin kind, will help with softening up the residue of makeup, skin oils and dirt that could have built over time. Gentle dishwasher will break down the residue of the olive oil and remaining dirt.  I bought olive oil in a spray. You can also pour some in an empty and clean spray bottle.  Or pour a little oil in a bowl and swirl your brush on it until you see the oil changing colors.  For the dishwater soap, same concept: swirl and watch until it looks clear.  Then rinse and rinse well so to make sure that there are no residues.

The drying part is the easy part.  Once they are clean, gently remove the excess water and place them on a clean drying-mat or towel and roll them inside of it.  At some point, let them air dry. Drying time would vary depending on the temperature of the room where they are located but usually overnight is a good time to wait. Don’t dry them standing up. Water may affect the glue and loosen the bristles. 

How does this sound? Do you clean your brushes often? Do you use special remover or just whatever you can find? Let me know. Also, if you have any other ideas, I will love to hear from you!

xo Kathia
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On Wednesdays We Shop – Products Review

Chanel Review
Chanel Review

On Wednesdays We Shop – Products Review

Have been meaning to share Part A of my (morning) routine.  I call it Part A since I don’t use these products every day.  I am a firm believer on area treatment and that routines should vary depending on your current needs and progress. I do try to give the products, at least 4 weeks to decide if they are great for me or not, but skin, like anything else will adjust to those products over time and they may not do for your skin, what they are supposed to.  The only two items, that I don’t move around are my melasma fading cream and SPF.  Those are non-negotiable for obvious reasons. 

Also, I try to only post what works for me, meaning that they have already passed the 4 weeks test. Stay tuned for Part B and even C and of course what I use for my nightly routines.

  1. Step 1: Clean – Currently loving Youth to the People Kale + Green Tea, Spinach Vitamins Superfood Cleanser 

From their website: “Our powerful, but gentle daily face wash is formulated with cold-pressed antioxidants – kale, spinach, and green tea – to give your skin the ultimate cleanse. It works effectively to prevent buildup in pores, remove makeup, and balance pH without drying or stripping. This is the green juice cleanse for your face.”

My opinion:  It is light and it does clean well.  Very light fragrance and works great for lazy nights when I don’t want to remove my makeup with creams, so I go straight to YTP.

  1. Caudalie Concentrated Brightening Essence 

From their website:  Benefits : Visibly restores radiance and luminosity. Evens the look of skin tone. Moisturizes the skin

Formula :98% ingredients of natural origin. Oil-free formula and as with all Caudalie products, no parabens, phenoxyethanol, phthalates, mineral oils or animal-derived ingredients are used.

My opinion: Since I don’t use tonic in the morning, I replace that step with this essence.  Love the fragrance and how it wakes my face up and prepares it for moisturizing. After I use it (applying drops directly to the face with my bare hands) not with cotton balls since I think that it wastes product, my skin looks shiny with added softness.  Because of this, I am considering the whole line of Caudalie products.

        3.  Regarding the Chanel Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream and the Chanel Essentiel – SPF 50.  I stick to them because my face loves them.  It is amazing how both products are fast absorbed by my skin so there is no lingering product or white cast, prior to makeup application.

     4.  Eye Cream is Chanel Le Lift Eye Cream.  

From their website: “a delicate eye cream that delivers a combination of nature and efficacy for a smoother more youthful and radiant appearance.  83% of its ingredients are natural products.”

My opinion:  it is worth the shot and the price.  I bought it based on reviews and the fact that it is sold-out in some places.  Not disappointed.  I never knew how much my eyes needed a great eye-cream, until I started using Le Lift.

I have been fascinated with Chanel products and this one was a no-brainer addition because I am constantly looking for a fabulous eye cream.  I went from only night time use to twice a day because this great product does everything for my eyes that I need. 

For your convenience, I linked these beauties below. I’d love it if you leave me a message about this review and what you currently using! As usual, looking forward to your comments!

xo Kathia
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Embracing My Melasma

I love my melasma
I love my melasma

Embracing My Melasma

Hydroquinone (HQ) is not a permanent solution to treat melasma. After you stop using it, the spots will come back. Certain strength of HQ may be too much for our skin to bear and expecting it to work miracuously and make melasma disappear, is putting too much faith on a product that has to be used with caution. And let’s not forget the fact that it is not a safe product because its side effects are damaging to the skin to the point that it is considered a prohibited substance in several countries.

When I used it, I got positive results and although the dark spots faded, eventually my melasma reappeared. When I stopped using it for almost a year, I dedicated myself to using gentle products and slowly, I saw a difference, which is not much, but it has been effective and lasted longer. As we know, melasma is mostly hereditary and it is a symptom of hormonal disbalance and inflammation so as I get more seasoned (pretty word for older), I have discovered that my melasma spots are very slowly fading. I have spent lot of time learning my own skin and invested in basic non-abrasive ingredients, regular exfoliation, dermaplaning, microneedling, religious use of sunscreen, and lately, tranexamic acid, and finally, I am seeing a difference. More importantly, my 53 years old skin, is at its best. Most products, which promise the cure, cause stress to our skin and make it worse.

There is no miracle. This is an endurance race, there should not be any rush. It is not easy to accept this, but in our desperation, we are making companies very rich, but not seeing concrete results. I have stopped doing so, I rather put my money in a savings account so I can treat myself to something special. You are beautiful and you know what else? Most of our immediate circle (the ones who matter) don’t care about our spots, they care about us being happy and most importantly, healthy.  They think we are beautiful because we really are. I am going to leave you with this: I love myself, melasma at all. I hope that you do, too!! 

xo Kathia
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My Battle with Breast Implant Illness

Breast Implant Illness
Breast Implant Illness

My Battle with Breast Implant Illness

Happy Galentine’s Day to all of you! Today is also Breast Implant Illness Awareness Day and I found it appropriate to share my story on a day like today because I am honoring all my fellow survivors of this illness, honoring them for their support and courage for sharing their stories, which led me to believe that all the symptoms that I have been experiencing for years, were not in my head. They were real and frightening and debilitating and worse of all, undiagnosed. I was carrying poisonous bags in me, for years.
 
Years ago, I decided to change my body and hoping to change my life, I wanted to enhance my saggy breasts. Recently divorced, I walked in for a consultation to get a lift. I was talked into getting implants and did not do any research. I was assured that the pair that I was getting were “safer”. I was in a hurry, did not know better, did not do research and the term “explant” was not of my knowledge. I got them and my life completely changed. Not for the better.
 
Within the same year, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My hair was falling off in chunks and my skin was dramatically changing. Looking back, they NEVER gave me a sense of self-love. They were just getting on the way of my moves, my workouts and more importantly, my health. Three years after implanting, I developed the craziest type of “allergy” and was later diagnosed with Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria. I would break out in hives EVERYWHERE and for no known reason. They are harmful. Not because they are silicone or saline but because they are a foreign object in the body. Back to the hives, I was constantly taking pills to fight them. Went to doctors, allergists, several ER visits, emergency clinics and no diagnosis was given. For 7 years, I suffered from this rare skin condition and inflammation!
 
There was no telling and all I could do was take pills. Sometimes I was given shots of prednisone, which is a steroid and not good for long term treatment, so the side effects were sometimes worse than the symptoms. All this while trying to function on a regular basis, while going to work and trying to live my life. I was miserable. My diet was limited and all I could do was pray.
I had to completely stop going to the gym. Next thing was the brain fog. I could not think straight, see straight, was in a constant state of lethargy and exhaustion and giving up on the things that I used to enjoy. I developed chronic pain on my shoulders and thought it was the workouts and getting old. I was also terrified of driving at night because I could not see well in the dark.

For some miraculous reason, my last mammogram revealed some “weirdness” that ended in a recommendation for removal of the implants. I jumped on that train so quickly!! Removal because whatever weirdness was showing, was going to be undetected until the implants were removed. Short story: they were both leaking, one was flipped and the pathology from both came back negative from anything harmful. Praising God!!!

Happy to report that I took the last allergy pill on the night before of explant. I am 7 weeks post-explant and my health is at is best. My skin is shining, my hair is growing, I can make full sentences without forgetting what I was talking about and the best part: the hives are GONE.
I wish to stress on how important it is to do research on this topic.  Explanting is not a trend. Explanting is a method that more and more people are using to get their lives back. Please, if anything you can take from this post is my wish that you think about this thoroughly before making any kind of decision to surgically alter your body or put in an object that will chemically alter the way your body functions, please, please, please, do some research and always look for more than one source. Most surgeons, although skilled, make money on the implants that they put on you.

For any human out there looking at getting breast implants, because you think they will give you so much…please look at #BII and become aware of how much they could take from you in the process. Nothing external will fulfill you internally. N.O.T.H.I.N.G.