Five March Favorites: Skincare and Haircare

This year has started out pretty well for me. Despite the small obstacles that I had to get through every now and then, I’ve been eating my vegetables, taken good care of my skin, getting enough vitamin D, and pamper myself with some extra love. I can honestly say that […]

Adventures Through the Lenses

Adventures Through the Lenses started my Junior year when I was looking for a good slogan to go along with my newly made website. It was an exciting time for me. I had recently just changed my major to Communications and Digital Studies and re-introduced to the world of creating […]

Getting Rid of Blackheads

For years, I’ve struggled with blackheads on my nose. I never really took care of it either because I wasn’t a very so they just kept getting worse at the years by. Eventually, I decided that enough was enough and I finally made the choice to do something about it.

The first (and only) thing that I use were nose strips. I used the one from Bioré and they worked pretty well the first few times I used it. Eventually, after a while they weren’t as effective anymore because they mainly focus on the most visible blackheads on your nose, not the ones that are still deep under the skin. However, they are fairly easy to use and I still use it from to time to time, just not by itself. There are directions written on the box but basically, all you have to do is put the nose strip on your nose or the area with blackheads and leave it on for about 15 minutes.

So, nose strips are great investments but not enough by itself – especially if you’ve had blackheads for years. In order to completely get rid of all of your blackheads, here are a few more things that you can add on to your skincare routine:

  1. Understanding Blackheads: Have you ever heard of the saying “understand the problem before finding the answer”? That is crucial. Blackheads are small dark and black bumps that appear on your skin due to your hair follicles being clogged by dead skin cells and oils. They start out as white when the bump is still closed and turns black when exposed to air. So now that you understand what blackheads are, let’s get down to business.
  2. Salicylic Acid Gel: Salicylic acid is an oil soluble meaning, it can penetrate into the pores of your skin and that is exactly what you need. Your blackheads are basically just acnes and salicylic acid helps fight pimples and its family. It can be found in over-the-counter acne treatment products like: Clinique, Proactive, Philosophy, Neutrogena, and Paula’s Choice. Salicylic acid can also be used for acne treatment, dandruff, and to remove corns, calluses, and warts.
    1. **Tip: use a leave-on product rather than a cleanser or soap. Keeping the product longer on your skin will allow the ingredient to fully activate.
    2. **Tip: might not be the best product if you have dry skin.
  3. Enzymatic Exfoliator: Enzyme exfoliation is a type of chemical exfoliation that breaks down the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together. This can also be found in a few over-the counter products such as: Dermalogica, Mario Badescu, and Raya. Look of other masks that contain papaya, pineapple extract, charcoal or clay – those will help wash away the surface skin cells. Enzymatic exfoliation can also be used for breakouts, clogged pores, dull skin, and hyperpigmentation. Use this at least twice a week.
  4. Retinol Cream: Retinoid is also a great treatment for blackheads. In addition, they are often used for wrinkles, aging, and acnes. If you have moderate to severe acnes that usually doesn’t get better with treatment, this might be great two in one cream for you.
  5. Moisturize: The most important thing is to keep your face moisturized and hydrated. Whatever method you are using to get rid of blackheads, it will strip away oils from the skin which causes skin dryness. Find the right balance of hydration for your skin. Salicylic acid causes your skin to dry up really fast so keep that in mind. Don’t forget to wash your face in the morning and at night and use a non-comedogenic moisturizer – products that are oil-free and lightweight. Aveeno, CeraVe, and Philosophy all have noncomedogenic moisturizers. They are usually written on the label so keep an eye out for that.
    1. **Tip: Some comedogenic ingredients to look out for: cocoa butter, pigments & dyes (red in particular), coal tar, and isopropyl myristate.

That Island Ting: Madagascar

Akory ê!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now but there were some… technical complications when it came to my website. Long story short, I accidentally deleted my databases and it led to the destruction of my website. Literally. But, somehow ya girl managed to bring it back from the dead and recreated everything – except the contents. I’m still working on that. So far, it’s looking pretty great.

I got back from my trip to Madagascar in early January and can I just say, I had the best time of my life. So many memories were made and I feel a much deeper connection to my little island than ever before. While the main reason we went back home was to show my bother in law what Madagascar look like, we were also all given the chance to discover a place we’ve never been to – aka the north. I guess you could say that it was a new experience for all of us. The trip started at the capital, Antananarivo – that’s where I grew up. We stayed there for a few days, went to visit the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga (probably was the fourth time for me, but it never ceases to amaze me each time) – and of course, the jet lag hit me harder than a truck. The first three days consisted of visiting family members, buying food that we’ve all been missing, trying to fight the jet lag, and visiting all the hot spots of Antananarivo. Once it was the first Sunday, we hoped on a “taxi brousse” and left for the north, making Ankarana our first (one night) stop.

Ankarana was beautiful. It’s a very small village located in the north west of Madagascar. With the help of our agency, we were able to find a nice place to live in and completely immerse in our environment throughout the whole trip. We spent the next morning hiking at the National Park, went inside a bat cave and looked at the different tsingy of Madagascar. Unlike most National Parks in the US where we would usually walk on grass or mud, Ankarana has a very unique landscape. “In places where the calcific upper layers have been completely eroded, the harder base rock has been etched into channels and ridges known as tsingy.” The first few hours, we were walking in a forest then our path gradually changed rocks. Pictures are worth a thousand words so below are some pictures of how the view and ground looked like. The hike itself took the whole morning to complete, we walked for 13 kilometer (8 miles) and let me just say, the cold shower after that hike was heavenly.

But our main destination was in Nosy Be, which was also my favorite part of the trip – mainly because I’ve seen many pictures of the island but never in real life. When it finally, happened we could believe it. After leaving Ankarana, we arrived in Diego and from there, we went to the port that took us to Nosy be, one of the most touristic place in Madagascar. It’s a little island up north that is surrounded by other smaller islands. Nosy Be is a magical place to be. Words can’t explain everything .

I spent most of my days on the beach, relaxing. At times when I found myself not doing much, I read. For Christmas, My sister, Mani, got me Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Mastery of Love (along with a Le Petit Marseillais Body Wash and Clay Face Mask – you know, the essentials.) I’ve been meaning to get my hands on one of his books for the longest time and I can honestly say that it was worth the wait. Before I left for Madagascar, I wasn’t in the best state emotionally. As I was pretty open about it, I also struggle a lot letting go of certain things and seeing my worth. My primary mistake was depending my happiness of someone else and holding them responsible for it. It easily led me believe I wasn’t going to be able to live without them so I couldn’t let it go. From that point on, I was questioning a lot things about this person, where we stood and if I wanted to keep coni I never realized how lost I had been feelings until I started believing I wouldn’t be able to live without them beside me. Essentially, reading The Mastery of Love helped me get through that faster than I had anticipated. There were times when things weren’t going so well and I craved that sense of comfort he would always give me with his presence or times when I would think about all the good times we spent together and wishing things weren’t the way they were. The best part of it all was me always finding God in everything that I did. Believing that, through the darkness you will always light, just like with God, you will always come out alive.   Going home was just what I needed to clear my head and remind myself of who I am. I never realized how lost I had been feeling until I started believing that I couldn’t live without a particular person’s presence. Before I knew it, I invest more time trying to keep them around rather than putting myself first. While I felt Through all of this, I made a promise to myself that I would never allow myself to let someone become a priority before myself


November Reflection

November has been a hectic month. Not only was it the day that I started this website, but it was also the start of my commitment to change myself into a better person. For a while now, I haven’t been feeling like I was myself anymore. I’ve completely lost myself and everything that I was …