My Fight Against Acne with DMH Aesthetics
Photo by Jennifer Wu
When did this start? How did this happen? I have no idea. All I knew was that whatever I tried, wasn't working.

I woke up one morning, walked into the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I looked myself dead in the eyes and started crying. I grazed my right hand across my cheek, feeling the bumps underneath my skin, before moving my hand across my chin. Nothing but bumps. My smooth skin was no where to be found and in its place was redness, irritation, acne that had slowly taken over my face. I couldn't recognize myself anymore and the only thing I could rely on was the abusive amount of foundation to partially cover up this ugliness. I woke up every morning for the next three months, utterly depressed and in fear that this was permanent.

From facials to heavy acne products to pills, nothing worked. In fact, every solution suggested was just making it worse. Comments came in left and right from family and friends, with intentions of helping me get rid of the acne. However, the more they spoke about, the more it teared me up inside. I fell into depression, in which I wanted to avoid human contact; making plans only to cancel over and over again.

When it came to photos, I shot with my hair purposely covering half my face and the camera was not allowed to shoot any close-up's of me. I actually had to crop in on the photos below to show the severity of my face since I was only taking scenic shots (those shots where you can't really see me but hey, there's a pretty view). 

When it seemed like all hope was lost, Celeste reached out to me and suggested I try the ResurFX™ treatment at DMH Aesthetics (where she works). Of course I was skeptical, as I did a laser treatment at another place earlier that month and saw no progress. However, I had nothing else to lose at that point so I scheduled an appointment and it turned out to be the best decision I ever made.

I know you won't believe me when I say that DMH Aesthetics saved my life, so just look at the photos below and you'll see what I mean.

*None of these photos are retouched and I am only wearing brow powder in the shots; no other make-up. Photos were all shot on my iPhone after each treatment.

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With make-up on | Photos by Jennifer Wu

With make-up on | Photos by Jennifer Wu

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No make-up; just brows | Photos by KSOLE

No make-up; just brows | Photos by KSOLE

After just three treatments, I saw a major change in my skin. Not only was the acne disappearing, but the redness and texture of my face was also getting better. To be frank, I did see progress after the second treatment, but the third one was the one that made me and everyone around me go "WOW." 

I couldn't believe what I saw in the mirror and the only thing I could think of was, "Holy fuck. It worked.

My treatment did not end there as I received a total of six sessions as of today, and I believe I have one more to go before we switch our focus to the acne scars. Yeah, that other thing you deal with when you have acne (ugh). 

Now, in addition to the ResurFX™, I also made a huge change in my beauty routine that also helped. I threw out ALL my previous products (foundations, concealers, skincare) and replaced them with organic and clean beauty items. You can find out what I'm currently using here and a additional products here. 

I know you're wondering if this treatment hurts and honestly, a little. You are numb before each session and it doesn't take longer than an hour. However, around the eyes and jawline is where I'm most sensitive so I definitely felt a little more pain around there. Other than that, you're fine.

There is redness right after the treatment, which goes away in a couple of hours. You cannot be exposed to direct sunlight and I would suggest not putting anything on your face for a few hours. 

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Celeste-TrueSpoon

To further help you understand the treatment, I've asked Celeste to do a Q&A for you guys and if you have any other questions, please feel free to leave it in the comments below! 

Hi Celeste, please introduce yourself.
"Celeste Wilson RN, BSN wellness blogger, creator of The True Spoon aesthetic Nurse with 5 years of experience in the field."

L: What is Laser Resurfx and what does it target?
C: "It is a non ablative facial laser targeting textural imperfections. in essence it creates micro heat injury in the epidermis to promote natural collagen and elastin production to improve skins texture"

L. Who can receive the treatment?
C: "Anyone with skin types 2, 3, and 4 can receive benefit and improvements with scarring, large pores, and aging skin."

L: How long do the results last?
C: "Permanent but natural again will still occur."

L: Are there any side effects?
C: "Potential hyper pigmentation if they expose their skin to the sun."

L: Are there any special post-care procedures that are needed? Any medications or products needed?
C: "Sunscreen and nourishing moisturizer" 

L: What is the standard price range for the treatment?
C: "For full retexturing 6 treatments is required but treatment amounts may differ per individual needs prices range from $500-$2500 but we sometimes offer specials online."

L: Please list any other benefits of the treatment and/or your personal experience and thoughts.
C: "The heat associated can help with active acne! This is a great preventative anti aging treatment!"

L: Lastly, how can people schedule and is a consultation required?
C: "Call DMH Aesthetics to book 323-450-9234 and a consultation is required."

This post was sponsored by DMH Aesthetics, however all opinions are of my own and I truly cannot thank them enough on saving my skin (and sanity)! 

6 Skincare Products That'll Change Your Skin

I woke up one day, walked to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I bursted out crying, staring at myself - my face. My skin had taken a turn after last summer, in which I couldn't recognize myself anymore and the comments about how bad my acne had gotten was eating me up. I had no idea what happened, when it happened, or how to even change it. I kept asking myself, how could I get my skin back to normal?

I consulted with my dear friend Celeste, who is not only gorgeous on the outside but is just as beautiful on the inside. Her passion for food, creation of inspirational content, and knowledge of beauty/skincare blew me away. Celeste was raving about DMH Aesthetics and their laser resurfx treatment, something I was skeptical about because I'm a huge baby when it comes to pain. However, she ensured me that it was worth trying and doesn't hurt. I decided to take the chance and I cannot share the results with you next month :) So stay tuned.

In the meantime, let's talk about Credo, a website that Celeste had recommended to me and has changed my life.

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When I learned about Credo, I literally shook my head and wondered why it took me so long to find out about them. Carrying only clean, organic products that are healthy and good for your skin - this place is the best kept secret of all time. I quickly stocked up, played around with several brands and eventually fell in love with 6 products that I now use every single day.

1. Osea Ocean Cleansing Mudd: I've tried quite a few cleansers in the last couple of years and none of them have ever left my face feeling fresh. After a long day, I crave Osea Ocean Cleansing Mudd and my face doesn't feel clean unless I use this. I guarantee you feel the difference. It's gentle enough for any skin type but strong enough to remove all your makeup off before you sleep.

2. Osea Sea Minerals Mist: I don't know about you, but my skin certainly needs hydration and with the Osea sea minerals mist it neutralizes surface impurities and diminishes the appearance of inflammation. A good spritz after applying my makeup and another mid-day is all I need to feel hydrated again. There's no smell to it at all and there's also a travel friendly size that I never leave the house without.

3. Osea Blemish Balm: No daily routine starts without my Osea Blemish Balm. I use this as my daily moisturizer because it's so lightweight, has no scent, and doesn't leave your face feeling sticky or oily. It helps reduces shine throughout the day doesn't clog pores either. My face definitely feels weird if I don't apply it on every morning.

4. Nu Evolution Complete Coverage Foundation: With 8 color selections, Nu Evolution Complete Coverage Foundation is my holy grail. It's hard to find a foundation you can truly rely on, but this one has nothing but good ingredients. Totally clean, long lasting wear, and goes on flawlessly (with a brush). I don't even feel it on and there's no reapplication required throughout the day. 

5. Nu Evolution Pressed Powder Foundation: On days I'm in a rush or don't feel like putting on the Nu Evolution Complete Coverage Foundation, I use this. The pressed powder foundation is perfect to carry with you, dabbing just a bit all around is enough coverage for the whole day. I actually use this on most days unless I'm shooting a special editorial. 

6. In Fiore Calme Complexe Face Oil: The last item isn't pictured above as I recently ran out, but this product is my life saver for dry skin. On a few occasions, after my resurfx treatment, my skin gets really dry and the only thing that helps me is In Fiore Calme Complexe Face Oil. Yes, pricey for a small bottle but it lasts for a few months. I think I had it for almost 5-6 months before I ran out, using it twice a day - just .a couple of drops. 

I didn't believe in oils before but In Fiore has made me see that I cannot live without it. It makes a huge difference in my skincare routine and my favorite thing about it is that it's absorbs quickly into your skin. This soothes sensitive skin and is suitable for all complexions. 

All of these products above replaced all my prior beauty go-to's from Tarte to Nars. I didn't realize that the things I was using before was making my skin worse, attributing to the problem and not resolving it. As soon as I threw out all the other items and started using just these 6 items, my skin started getting better. Of course, in addition to the resurfx treatments. The key to clear skin is to truly watch what you're putting on, along with what you're putting into your body as well but that's for another time.

For now, I trust these items so much that I refuse to put anything else on my skin for fear that I'll break out badly again. Big thanks to Celeste for introducing me to Credo! Stay tuned for my resurfx review. 

Bring Your Hair Back to Life with Hair Food

It was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon and she was in the best of moods as she sat down, grabbed her iPhone, and began answering emails. She was about 10 minutes in when she was interrupted by the hairstylist who had been blow drying her hair.

Did you just dye your hair?” the hairstylist asked.

“No, I bleached it last summer but I know it’s still damaged and I’ve been working on it,” she replied, a little embarrassed at the condition of her hair.

“Oh I see. Yeah it’s really dry…you should probably do something about it” The hairstylist responded, as she continued to work.

She nodded in agreement and continued with her emails, ignoring the comment as she had heard it hundreds of time but she just hadn’t had the time, energy, or money to truly work on it. She figured it’ll just grow out, cut the damaged parts off, and move on. The problem was, her hair was damaged, therefore it wasn’t growing at the pace she wanted it to.

The next day, she met her friends over at Simply Stylist to chat all things fashion and beauty, and that’s when they introduced her Hair Food, the secret to better hair care. She made a Target run right after the meeting to check out Hair Food for herself.

Perfect for coarse, dry or damaged hair. Jasmine and vanilla fragrance, and sulfate free. I mean, it’s only $10 each so why not?” she thought to herself. She grabbed a shampoo and conditioner and moved onto the next aisle.

A few weeks later she went in for another blow dry session and happened to end up with the previous hair stylist. She braced herself for another comment about her hair but to her surprise, the hair stylist kept quiet the entire time. It wasn’t until she reached for her bag, about ready to leave the chair, when the stylist asked her, “What have you been using on your hair?”

She replied, “Oh this brand I picked up from Target called Hair Food.

This post is in collaboration with Simply Stylist and Hair Food.

Clean Beauty with Credo
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” 
- Buddha

She sat down in front of the mirror and glared at herself. She poked her forehead, ran her finers across her lips, and pulled a strand of her hair. She let out a huge sigh and closed her eyes as tears started running down her cheeks.

"What happened?" she murmured, "How did I get to this point?"

She hated what she saw, the acne scars, the discoloration in her skin from her battle with adult acne and the bags under her eyes. She's lost sleep, she's lost weight, and through the last few months she also lost her self confidence. 

As we get older, we begin to understand that what we put into our bodies and what we put on our skin, is in fact important and should be carefully examined. Rewind back to my high school years where junk food was a necessity and I did everything I could to avoid going to PE. I hated working out; I even faked being sick a few times when it came to running days. 

In college, I worked full-time while attending school, on top of having part time gigs such as club promotion and was a server at a sushi restaurant at one point. Needless to say, I had a shitty sleeping schedule and never once took care of myself during that time. Unfortunately, what goes around comes around and I've finally realized how important it is to not only take care of yourself from within, but with the products you put on yourself. (P.S. if you want to check out my work out routine, click here). 

In a digital world filed with pop-up advertisements, bombardment of sponsored posts claiming that this is the next best thing, and a thousand variations of skincare and beauty products, it is hard to figure out who to trust. I spent last summer trying out a few different skincare lines without paying much attention to what was in them. I also tried them out all around the same time so I cannot pinpoint what caused the adult acne I am currently fighting but that outburst certainly gave me a reality check.

Thankfully, I have found a one-stop shop that is wholesome, organic, and full of variety so there is something for someone. Credo is latin for "I believe" and at Credo, they believe in clean beauty. Not only was I able to find the perfect foundation, powder, and lip cream, but I have also been referring my friends over to them and they are loving Credo

 

Everything you find at Credo is clean, from the ingredients in the products they carry, to the transparency between the brands, them, and the consumers. I've been using the below combination for the last month and have seen the difference in my skin. Not only me, but my boyfriend, friends, and family have noticed the significant difference this switch has done for me. I threw out all my previous make-up, including my all-time favorite Tarte foundation, and once I stopped using those products, my skin started getting better. I was shocked and surprised what a difference a minor change in routine can make.

Everyone is different though, so what works for you does not necessarily work for me, and vice versa. However, you can never go wrong with organic, clean products especially when it comes to your skincare and beauty routine.

I cannot wait to see how this goes in the long run and will certainly keep you guys updated.

Have you dealt with a bad reaction from a product before? Tell me your story in the comments below, I'd love to know what worked for you and how you resolved it!
Get It Right, Get It Tight

It was a gorgeous afternoon in Long Beach and she had just finished her lunch, and was headed to the snack bar to grab a bag of Hot Cheetos drenched in hot nacho cheese. An afternoon delight she always looked forward to. As she waited in line, she overheard a couple girls behind her whisper, "She's so skinny. Does she not eat?" She looked down at herself and stayed quiet, proceeding to the counter and ordered her snack. As she started to walk away, she hears another girl say, "Jeez she eats like that and is so skinny. What the fuck?" She pretended she didn't heard and headed to the basketball courts to watch her friends play for the remainder of lunch. 

FAST FORWARD // Thirteen years later, I still get comments about being too skinny and/or am asked if I starve myself. I've learned to drown out that noise after writing this post in 2014, which became a top 5 favorite of that year. 

I've had a fast metabolism most of my life and relied heavily on it, but things changed after I hit 25 and at 29, I'm regretting that I'm just now starting to work out. 

At the beginning of this year, I promised myself that I will commit to working out on a weekly basis. It's been mostly consistent with a bit of slacking off here and there. However, I've gotten quite a few questions about my routine and diet lately so I decided to share my fitness schedule with you all. 

I've also included tips and advice from experts in the fitness and food areas so that you can make the most of your workouts too!

"You have a big butt because all you do is sit all day."
- My Mother
....If only it was that easy mom.

HANDSTAND // Find a fitness trainer in your area or have them come to you

PERSONAL TRAINING : TONING ABS AND BUTT | THE JYIM 

I found out about Handstand through a collaboration I did with Reebok at the beginning of the year; Reebook is one of their partners. I found the app super easy to use and found a trainer who doesn't try to kill me, but rather pushes me just enough each session - plus the music is always on point. My goal with personal training is to tone up, get some abs and get that booty in shape. 

Personal training is not cheap, but it's worth it if you need someone to guide you through workouts, encourage you, and help you through your journey.

I attend training once a week right now but plan on amping it up to twice a week in the next month. Will have to sacrifice eating out for awhile (hah). 

Each session is an hour with warm-up and stretches. The Jyim is located in the Arts District and has several class offerings including boxing, yoga, circuit training, and more. Ask for Jyim! 

Use code "FREE10" to get $10 in credit on the app.

SOULCYCLE // A feel good workout

FULL-BODY WORKOUT : FAT-BURNING CARDIO, HAND WEIGHTS, AND CORE WORKOUT

Anyone else hate running? I rather cycle but only if the music is good, and yes, that's how I pick which instructors to take. 

I got introduced to SoulCycle from a blogger event; yes, bloggers have workout events. I got hooked immediately from the vibes, the music, and the energy you get after you finish. You just feel great after each class and I love it! 

45-minute cardio workout, which allows includes hand weights, core workouts, and a bit of choreography. It goes by fast and remember, once you get to the hand weights, that's when class is about to be over. 

I go to SoulCycle twice a week, with a goal of going 3 to 4 times a week by April. Like personal training, it isn't cheap but SoulCycle is by far my favorite workout, so I'm willing to pay $30/class for it (they also have membership packages available with discounts!)

FYI - not sponsored but Soulcycle, if you are reading this, please sponsor me. 

WORKOUT WEAR // Outfit details

 

For reference, I'm a small for sports bras and leggings. Medium for jackets because I prefer a lose fit and a size 7 in the Ultra Boosts. 

"It's all about 80% nutrition and 20% fitness."
- Sheridan Street of Street and Spice

CRATEFUL // Meal plans delivered to your doorstep everyday

For the last two weeks, I was given a free trial of a meal plan service called Crateful. You can read all about it here, but it's basically a delivery service that offers 4 different meal plans customized to your needs. They are made fresh and delivered daily and offers the option of adding breakfast and dessert to each meal. 

I tried out the Chef menu for 10 days, with a medium portion selection, including breakfast and dessert while noting my dietary restriction (lactose). Each meal was delivered between 8M to 6AM Sunday through Friday, in a cooler bag with ice packs that ensures freshness up to. 24 hours. You leave your cooler bag out every night so they can take it and so you don't end up with 10 cooler bags - unless you collect them.

I'm going to be honest, I didn't like some of the meals they sent me and I wasn't able to stay consistent because I'm always in and out of the house. I ended up eating while I'm out (and often have blogger brunches, dinners, and dinner with friends) so the only meal I did eat most of the time was breakfast. These meals can stay in your fridge for up to 4 days, so that's where they stayed -until KSOLE ate them. He loved it, but for me personally, it just didn't work as I'm a picky eater and wasn't home often enough to consume the meals in time. Also, some of the entrees repeated themselves 2-3 times and they were usually the meals I liked the least. On top of that, it does add up as it starts at $30 per day.

But of course, this is my own opinion and I do recommend you try it out for yourself! 

TIPS & ADVICE // From the experts

When it comes to working out, many of us don't have a clue on where to start and need help. Trust me, I still do! I sat down with my girl, Michelle Carigma of Modern Fit, to get some of her pro tips for working out. 

What are your top 3 tips to getting started?

  1. Identify what your goals are.

  2. Explore! Not everyone is a runner, a yogi or a weight lifter. Explore all your options till you find something that is enjoyable to you, so it will stick with you!

  3. You're not always going to be READY or MOTIVATED. You just have to get up and do it. 

What is your favorite workout to do?

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Work outs! HIIT boosts your metabolism while burning fat and a ton of calories in a short period of time. It builds endurance, challenges you and no equipment is necessary. 

Would you suggest getting a personal trainer?

If you have the money to do so or find a good deal, please do it! Personal trainers are a great way to keep you accountable while you learn new work outs and they teach you proper forms to avoid possible injuries. From there, you can learn more about getting closer to your goals. Once you know what you're doing and feel comfortable, you won't need a personal trainer! Even working out with friends can also be a great motivator and hold you accountable! 

What is one major misconception when it comes to fitness?

Lifting weights make women look bulky. "Bulky" is absolutely subjective. I've been lifting weights for years, and I don't look "masculine". Gaining muscle takes time and patience; you won't look masculine over night! Lifting weights has benefits like possibly burning more calories than cardio given the same variable time. Strong is the new skinny!

What is your suggestion for those who claim they don't have time to work out?

Absolute bullshit. Thanks to social media, there are thousands of people who publicly shared tips and tricks to get in a quick work out throughout the day, even with a busy schedule. A 1 hour work out is 4% of your day! You make time for the things you want. 

What do you recommend when it comes to athletic attire? (for a first timer who has no idea what to wear)

I highly recommend investing in shoes that will fit for your fitness goals. You don't want to cramp up on your runs because you wanted to stunt with NMDs on at the gym. Capris are a great alternative to stay cool but covered up. A dri-fit material shirt will be essential along with the proper sports bra. 

You don't have to spend a ton to get high quality active wear. Ross, Marshalls & TJ MAXX carries popular brands such as Nike, adidas & Puma for a fraction of the price.

What is your favorite work out shoe and why?

I absolutely love the adidas UltraBOOST Uncaged. It's perfect for a quick warm up jog but also great for HIIT. The Boost technology and the prime knit supports my feet and provides comfort without compromising style. 

Do you believe diet matters?

If I had to choose between eating healthy or working out, I would choose eating healthy! Reaching your fitness goals requires 80% diet and 20% exercise. Food could be our guilty pleasure, but I treat it as fuel for our body. We need the right nutrients daily, and I promise you'll see a faster progress in your overall journey. It's not about eating less, it's about eating right!

 

"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live."
– Jim Rohn

 

Follow Michelle on Instagram + check out her blog for more fitness & style tips!

As a chef, what do you think is the key to creating a balanced meal? 

A balanced meal is making sure you're doing exactly just that. Keeping a balance. Fruits, veggies, proteins and carbs. Sticking to portion control and not skipping meals. That's the key.

What are 3 tips you have when it comes to meal prepping?

Cook your proteins first, they typically take the longest. While those are grilling or baking you can prep your vegetables and cook your carbs like brown rice, quinoa, potatoes etc. Those things you don't want to overcook. 

Is it best to prep all at once and if so, what is your routine and/or guidelines for it?

It is best to prep what you can in the beginning. Get a head start on seasoning your proteins and seasoning them. Pre-heating your grill/ oven and starting that. Once that is done, you can start to chop your veggies as you boil your carb/ starch. Then you can steam your veggies and at that point your proteins should be almost done. Sounds easier that it is but once you catch a routine it's not so hard, trust me. 

What are 3 key ingredients you should always have in the kitchen?

Spinach/ kale, eggs, rice or quinoa. This combo can be subbed for any meal in any form at any time. You'll always have a meal and a happy face. 

How do you figure out the portion size for meal preps or what is the recommended portion size?

Based off of desired results whether it's weight loss or gain. Nothing more than variations of 1 to 1.5 cups of each items or 8oz of a protein. 

Do you believe getting fit is more about the diet or about the fitness?

Fitness is all about the diet. It's all about 80% nutrition and 20% fitness. Don't get me wrong, you won't shed pounds just eating lettuce (the right way) but you need to be able to give your body a fair chance by eating right. 

 

What is your go-to recipe that never fails? (AKA what is your go-to meal for when you're feeling lazy and/or tired)

Baked turkey meatballs, veggie pasta and marinara or grilled chicken, quinoa and green beans. Simple but so yum! 

What are your meal prep plans and what do you offer?

I offer tailored meal preps for all fitness and health goals. There are 10 meals which are meant for two a day for 5 days. Each meal is pre portioned and made with love. Natural and organic ingredients used while keeping the plan affordable for those who work hard and want to keep it affordable. Not all of us have $500 to spend a week on lunch. So I tell my customers, #EatWithStreet, they get why.

How can people order and/or contact you? 

All inquiries are through my website www.streetandspice.com where the link to the meal prep order form is available. 

Dove’s #SkipAWash Challenge

There’s no end when it comes to learning new tricks that will save you time throughout the day. As an entrepreneur, you are consistently on the go and want things to be fast and efficient including your beauty routine. There’s nothing I won’t try when it comes to cutting down on time in the morning so I’ve partnered up and have accepted the Dove Hair #SkipAWash Challenge and am challenging you!

New Year’s is around the corner and while you’re worrying about what to wear, I’m giving you my secret so you don’t have to worry about your hair. Dove’s #SkipAWash Challenge dared me to go an extra day (or two) without washing my hair and keeping my style a little longer. If you have processed hair, you know washing and drying your hair takes way too long. I end up spending over 45 minutes trying to blow dry my hair and that is literally just drying it! With Dove’s Refresh+Care Detox & Purify Dry Shampoo I can happily keep my beach waves another couple of days and save myself time when it comes to getting ready for my day.

Dove’s weightless formula cleans by removing oils from roots without leaving any residue so your hair isn’t dirty at all. No one will even notice you haven’t washed it and this works for all hair types and colors! Best of all, Dove’s Refresh+Care Detox & Purify Dry Shampoo is easy to use – just shake, spray and massage evenly through your roots and brush.

Tip - bring this with you on your travels to save you from that airport hair or when you are running late to a meeting. Quick spray and your hair will have life again! I usually spray before I shoot so my hair can look fab in my photos.


Stock up for the New Year and grab your Dove Refresh+Care Detox & Purify Dry Shampoo at Target, Walgreens, or CVS.

 

Finding A Strapless Dress for Small Breasts
LIKELY NYC Demeyer Strapless Dress by Lisa Linh
LIKELY NYC Demeyer Strapless Dress by Lisa Linh
LIKELY NYC Demeyer Strapless Dress by Lisa Linh
LIKELY NYC Demeyer Strapless Dress by Lisa Linh
LIKELY NYC Demeyer Strapless Dress by Lisa Linh

Raise your hand if you're a proud member of the itty bitty titty committee! Yes girl, raise your hand high and proud cause there is nothing to be ashamed about!

I have to admit, I was embarrassed about my small chest for many years. I kept waiting for my body to develop and watched as all the other girls around me showed off their cleavage at high school dances. I wore push-up bras from Victoria Secret, the ones that boosted you up by two cups, and chicken cutlets, with my bras. I Googled for hacks and tricks to make myself look bustier than I am and at one point, became obsessed with the idea of surgery. To be honest, if the first week after the surgery wasn't so painful (from what everyone has told me), I'd probably get it. But I'm a big ass baby who refuses vaccinations at the doctor's office so I've accepted what I have and so should you.

This year has been about changes, risks, and doing things that I normally wouldn't. It's been a learning type of year to say the least. I'll be 29 next month so I wanted to make sure that this holiday season, I wear that strapless dress I've always wanted. Fortunately, I found the perfect one that literally works for all body types. Check out my blogger babes below who also styled the same dress -

LIKELY Demeyer Strapless dress comes in black and purple, I opted for the purple because I normally would choose black. This high/low dress is great for any occasion and is super versatile when it comes to styling. I opted for a black coat, OTK boots, and hat for a less formal look that allows me to be comfy throughout the night. The best part about this dress? It hugs you in all the right places ;)

LIKELY NYC Demeyer Strapless Dress by Lisa Linh
Gift Yourself with Must-Have Silk

When I was younger, I would sneak into my aunt's closet and browse her collection of dresses. I always gravitated towards the silk pieces, telling myself as I touched them, that one day I'll own a few of my own. Fast forward 20 years later and here I am, keeping that promise to myself and falling in love with Grana's classic silk styles.

Silk, one of the most comfortable fabrics to ever grace your skin. I can live in silk and with Grana, choosing just one piece is hard so I ended up with two outfits and no regrets. 

This year, I made it a point to focus more on myself, on what I truly want and my brand. Throughout this process, I found myself gravitating towards comfortably chic and timeless pieces and have been stocking up my closet with what feels good. 

With a soft touch yet sturdy promise, Grana's silk is from Huzhou and this Chinese silk has a luxurious sheen with a matte finish. I fell in love instantly as I slipped into the perfect little black slip dress and even more with the silk culottes and tank top. Despite my raving, these pieces are a must-feel and I assure you that it'll be one of the best things to touch your skin ;)

Fighting Your Fears

My heart started pounding, my hands became sweaty and my knees became weak like mom's spaghetti - wait that's Eminem's line. Oops!

I felt dizzy, I swallowed large gulps of water, and prayed that I would not fuck up. I walked out on stage, sat down in the first seat, and pretended that I didn't see the 50+ parents staring back at me. I waited patiently, rearranging my sheet, as the rest of the class came out. Mr. Nakahara (I hope I spelled that right), walked out on stage and the audience clapped. He raised his hands and in preparation, I raised my violin to my right shoulder. Everything after that was a blur, but when it ended, there was a round of applause and a huge grin on Mr. Nakahara's face. I did it, I finally performed at my very first orchestra concert as the first seat. 

Fast forward to some 15+ years later and I have forgotten how to read notes, lost my violin (some where at my parent's house), and am completely regretting ditching it back in middle school. I was heavily bulled during that time and to ease the verbal abuse, I gave up orchestra in 7th grade and told myself that it wasn't "cool" to play violin. Yes, it was one of stupidest thing I ever done - but who's to say that I can't start again right? One day. When I live in a home, not apartment complex, where my neighbors already hate that I vacuum my place at 10PM every other night. 

While there were plenty of things that scared me back then, there's equally more things that terrify me today. From being a little over a year away from the big 3-0 to realizing that I probably can't afford that 4-bedroom house by the beach that I've dreamed of. Don't you hate it when reality kicks you in the ass? Some things are out of our control, but there's always one thing you are always in control of and that's YOU. 
 

How you act and react under stress/pressure determines your outcome. I get anxiety every time I have to do a panel, but I'm also extremely happy for the opportunity and will never turn it down simply because I get nervous. You should never let your fears hold you back, from your doubts to naysayers, you are in full control of your actions.

Here are 3 ways to fight your fears before that big day (whatever it may be):

1. Be AWARE: If you Google "fighting your fears" you'll see the acronym "AWARE" pop up. It's self explanatory but I'll save you the search -

A: Accept the anxiety. Don't try to fight it.
W: Watch the anxiety. Just watch it and when you notice it, scale your level of fear and start to breathe longer on the out-breath.
A: Stands for 'Act normally'. ...
R: Repeat the above steps in your mind if necessary.
E: Expect the best.

Accept that you have anxiety and get anxiety because it's nothing to be ashamed about. Everyone gets anxiety and if you don't, you're either too full of yourself or full of shit. Pay close attention to your breathing and take short breathes when you start feeling the onset of anxiety. Breathing is key and doing this alone has helped me plenty of times. 

2. Do what makes you happy or go to your happy place: This sounds like something from a shrink's office but if you do something that guarantees to lift up your mood, why not? Before the big day, I love visiting the beach and staring at the ocean. That's my happy place, the beach. Not a huge surprise since I live in LA. Wherever your place to just think, relax, and be yourself is, go there and spend an hour or two (or until you feel calm enough to return home). 

When I can't reach the beach, I play my favorite album or songs - turned up and tune everything else out. We all have that one song that just makes us feel better right? Listen to it and if necessary, over and over again. 

3. Talk and act it out: Some people prefer the practice makes perfect scenario, which works for speeches and public appearances. Vent about your fears/worries, talk about your anxiety, and practice how the day will go for you. Visualize how you think it'll go and don't forget to imagine everyone in their underwear. (Just kidding, don't be a pervert). 

If for some reason, none of the above work, then click on over to these articles and read some more!

Life After Bleaching: A Hair Story

Photos by Jennifer Wu

This post is dedicated to all my hair enthusiasts out there who love dying their hair as much as I do.

It was a hot summer afternoon in LA and I had agreed to make a drastic change which involved bleaching my hair. For years I've dreamt of being a blonde and it was finally the right time to do it. I had several sessions to get to my desired color, attempting to go the safest route for my hair but the end result is inevitable, damage will occur and it did.

Despite the breakage, I was still a little slow when it came to purchasing products that would help my hair. I had a deep conditioner and shampoo for colored treated hair, but as time went on, my hair kept getting worse. To the extent that anyone who looked at my hair can tell how dry it is, talk about embarrassing!

After months of testing out different products, I finally can say that I'm starting to see results and surprisingly, it is from a brand that I've used when I was a teenager. Pantene's Pro-V Repair & Protect Miracle Repairing shampoo, conditioner, and Pantene Pro-V Airspray Flexible Hold hairspray have been my go-to's lately. Not only does the collection focus on repairing six months of damage in one use, it also helps reduce hair friction and tangles. It is a hydrating shampoo that's a perfect damaged hair treatment and will leave your hair shining from the inside out. For a great finish, I use the flexible hold hairspray, which doesn't leave my hair stiff or flaky.

I had my fun being blonde for the summer, but I'm ready for my 29th birthday in January and growing up means taking better care of my hair. With my recent return to the dark side, I will be giving my hair a huge and much needed break as it recovers from the damage I've done.

For all those looking for a high quality shampoo, conditioner and hairspray that's affordable and easy to find, click here to find it on Amazon and stock up now!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PANTENE. The opinions and text are all mine.

3 Things To Do Before You Work Out: In Collaboration with Dove

Let's make this clear, I can dance all night at the club but when it comes to choreography, I am the worst at following directions.

Last week, I spent an hour attempting to stay in tune with JJ Dancer. Coordination is not my forte and while I clumsily stumbled around, I must admit that I got one hell of a workout out of it. I was left sore for the next few days, which is my own fault as I've been a little too busy in the last month to keep up a steady exercise routine. However, despite all the hard work, I was still able to walk out of class and to my next event because Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant had me covered. 

As an avid Dove user, I already knew that I wouldn't be sweating like crazy (at least in my underarms area) and that the fragrance would last throughout the hour and beyond, due to the 48 hour protection the product offers. I also love how Dove Dry Spray goes on instantly dry and cares for my skin. I did a quick spritz afterward the class just to refresh the scent. You can never be too safe. 

Before taking your next workout class, here are 3 things you should do to prepare yourself:

1. Eat: One thing I totally forgot to do that day was to eat breakfast. It was the worst decision to make and I regretted forgetting to do so, as I barely survived class. You basically don't have any energy to work out or anything to burn if you don't eat prior to class so make sure to do this! Learn from my mistakes! Also, bring water (but that's pretty obvious right?)

2. Bring Wipes/Towel: If a shower is not available or you don't have time to shower after a work out, bring baby wipes and/or towel. I'm prone to breaking out so I always wipe myself down after a work out, especially my face and chest area, where I break out the most. The last thing you want is to allow all that sweat to build up *eek.

3. Put Your Hair Up, Take Your Make-up Off: I forgot to tie my hair up during class and it definitely got in the way of my work out. This tip is probably obvious to those who have been working out for awhile, but for those starting out, please note that wearing make-up is never a good idea. I did it when I first started, as I was pretty self conscious about how I looked but you quickly realize that no one cares and that everyone there is busy working out. So sweat it out, work that body girl, and just focus on you! 

So get up and get that body toned. Just remember the above and you'll be ok. I had a grea time with JJ and while I might have not survived the workout, I did survive the rest of the day, thanks to Dove

Disclaimer: While this post is sponsored by Dove, all opinions stated are mine. 

Getting Ready with Dove

On Saturday, I attended Simply Stylist Session at The Grove to learn all about beauty tricks, including Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant. Now, with my newly built vanity area, I’m ready to start tackling my mornings in a more efficient way, starting, of course, with Dove. Saving time and making my life easier, Dove’s Dry Spray Antiperspirant is always within reach and perfect for people on-the-go like me.

Every morning is a struggle, dragging myself out of bed and attempting to be as productive as I can be before I have to rush out the door for meetings, events, and photoshoots. Each day is different, so there’s no such thing as a set routine for me. I wake up between 7-9AM, depending on the night before. I could be up until 1AM for projects and deadlines or straight to bed at 10PM after a long, exhausting day out in LA. I typically try to get some work done, at least answer my emails before hopping into the shower and singing to my favorite tunes. 

While I’m not big on make-up, I am on skincare and hygiene. I’ve always been a fan of Dove, from their body wash to their antiperspirant, and love that their products care for skin in addition to doing what we all already expect. Not to mention, I got my friends and family hooked on it because it’s so easy to use! It goes on instantly dry, so no mess, no residue and I like that the scents aren’t overpowering. Just a quick spray under each arm and I’m good to go for 48 hours.

Just because I struggle to get up each day doesn’t mean my beauty routine has to be difficult too. Thanks to Dove’s Spray Antiperspirant, I know at least I won’t be sweating all day (just mentally stressing, hah).   

4 Tips for Creating "ME" Time
Phone case from Skinny Dip London

Phone case from Skinny Dip London

As entrepreneurs, or as I like to call myself a #BossB*tch, we often drown ourselves in our work. We become obsessive, thinking 24/7 about our careers, and how to take it to the next level. Slowly, our social lives disappear, keeping a steady relationship becomes impossible, and the idea of settling becomes non-existent.

Being your own boss means that we often face thousands of obstacles and challenges, without a safety net and sometimes without a backup plan. When I quit my job over a year ago, I never imagined that I would be where I am today. To be completely honest, I was scared and expected myself to run back into the corporate world a few months later. I guess I did something right, although I have yet to figure out what. 

Of course there are perks such as fun events and meeting/making new friends, but it is not a glamorous lifestyle. We're just really good at making it look like that, hah. While we get great opportunities, they are not handed to us. As influencers, we aren't just eating and partying all day and night. We sit behind our laptops about 5-7 days a week, answering emails, scheduling meetings, on conference calls, writing, editing photos, and plan our upcoming projects/blog/social posts. We spend at least 70-80% of our time working behind the scenes and I personally spend 20-30% of my time out in LA at events, and 10-20% sleeping/eating. By the way, I live about 45-60 minutes outside of LA so imagine my drive! If you want to know how I'm so skinny, it's because I don't have time to eat (LOL). But in all honesty, we work our asses off each and every day so we can keep our careers. For me, this is my life and this is just a stepping stone to where I want to be. To survive my lifestyle (that I chose and do not regret whatsoever), I had to learn to take time out for me.

I know a lot of other entrepreneurs have a hard time carving out time for themselves. Many haven't gone on vacation in months, let alone get enough sleep. I spent this summer revisiting the things that I used to love to do, prior to being a blogger, and reconnected with friends and family members. As Dawn McCoy said during this past Saturday's Simply Stylist event, "what you did between the ages of 3-10 are the things you loved the most so go back and do it again.

After speaking to a fellow blogger (thanks Naty!), and with last week's post, "Falling in Love with Yourself, Again" I realize that I needed to follow-up with tips for my fellow boss babes/dudes.

Here are my top 4 tips for creating me time -

1. Prioritize and Schedule Your Social Media Posts

You can easily schedule Tweets and Facebook posts ahead of time, and because I have 2 social media clients, I take advantage of this feature very often. After all, trying to post on 9 different social media accounts can be hectic. Now as for Instagram, I recently started using the draft feature that Instagram offers as well as Planoly. I'm probably super late to the game but I'm so glad I have finally started using it!

Planoly allows me to schedule posts, figure out what to post next as I can easily move around images on my feed, and allows you to schedule way in advance which helps with deadlines. It also gives you analytics, you can access it on your desktop, and you can comment back on the app too. 

2. Set Alarms for Breaks

This may sound weird but sometimes you just need to be nagged! We set alarms to get up every morning, to take our birth control pills/any meds for that matter (hah), and for other important things right? So why not force yourself to take breaks by setting alarms. For every hour to two hours, set an alarm that goes off mid-way to give yourself 15 to 30 minutes to stretch, get up, grab a snack, and/or relax. 

Another app I use to schedule in breaks, as well as keep me on track with my projects/to-do list is 30/30. It is easy to use, you can set up your entire to-do list and allot a specified time for each project. That way, you don't end up getting sidetracked (as I often do)

3. Designate an Off Day

After tackling your schedule, the next step is to designate a day you cannot be reached. My day is Sunday, in which I ignore all emails, majority of texts (that aren't important and can wait), and try to do something active outdoors. Getting fresh air and doing something you love, that feeds your soul, is the best way to reset and get ready for the new week ahead.

P.S. Hiking is the best excuse to get away since you can easily lose signal as you get higher up that mountain! 

4. Turn Up The Music and Turn Off The Phone

Last but not least, if all else fails and you can't just get away or make time during your busy day, then turn up the music and turn off the phone as soon as you get home. Perhaps you have a half an hour to spare before bedtime, take a warm bath and play your favorite tunes or read a book. The most important thing is to create that peace and quiet either before or after your day. Having a morning and/or nightly routine helps a lot! Reflect on what you are most appreciative for and allow yourself to feel good for all that you accomplished so far. 

It isn't easy when your job revolves around being on your phone and laptop constantly, but if you do not set boundaries then you will burn out. Treat yourself, you deserve it, and above all, don't feel bad for it! Good luck!

 

 

 

 

Staying Hydrated: From Your Hair to Your Skin

After a long weekend, the last thing we want is to be dehydrated. In preparation for the return back to normal life, I've decided to share my favorite beauty products that keeps me hydrated on a daily basis.

For Your Skin: Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer

Cut down your time when it comes to getting ready with Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer. Now you don't have to wait as this lotion is made to be used when your skin is wet. Hop out of the shower and rub it on. Keep your skin smooth, soft, and moisturized - and it doesn't leave any greasy residue afterwards like others do. 

For Your Hair: Bumble and Bumble Surf Collection

I'm sure you've heard of Bumble and Bumble and their amazing products, but I've recently fallen in love with their surf collection. It honestly has been the only line that has kept my hair silky smooth. In photos, my hair looks great but in person it's pretty damaged from all the bleaching. I was ready to give up hope when I discovered Bumble and Bumble's Surf foam wash shampoo and Surf creme rinse conditioner. I'm addicted and would recommend trying this if you've had some color damage.

For Your Lips: Burt's Bees Lip Balm

Ok, this one isn't new at all but I had to include Burt's Bees because they're a staple piece. Chapped lips aren't cute and you really don't have an excuse not to carry Burt's Bees around. It fits in your pockets, purse, and even some wallets. Don't get caught with dry lips!

For Your Face: Kate Somerville's Oil Free Moisturizer

I've tried numerous brands of moisturizer before, high and low, but I've never found one that was right for my skin. First off, Kate Somerville's facial treatments are a must and I try to go every month (depending on my schedule). I've never left without a smile on my face because I trust them so much and they haven't disappointed me! Secondly, they have a variety of skincare products that fits any skin type. I use my oil free moisturizer every morning and it keeps my face soft and hydrated all day long. I literally have stocked up on a 2-3 months worth of this thing, that's how good it is!

For Your Hands: LAFCO Hand Cream

Does anyone else's hands get super dry often? One of my fears is meeting someone new, shaking their hands, and having them notice how dry they are. Yikes! LAFCO's hand creams come in a couple different sizes but I love their tubes since they're travel friendly. I have one in my bag at all times and not to mention that the smell is amazing! Plus how cute is the packaging? Makes for a great gift too!

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend! Don't worry, it's a short work week so you'll get through it.

Stay hydrated!

 

 

Aveeno Daily Challenge: Like A Smooth Criminal


We all want it, beautifully smooth skin that’s soft to the touch, but the question is how do we get it? 

When it comes to beauty routines, I’m the worst at keeping to them. There’s always too many instructions or too many products to deal with. While I’ve always wanted soft skin, I felt that there was too much to go through to get it. Luckily for me, Aveeno came up with a solution that I can actually keep up with. 

I decided to join in on the #AveenoDailyChallenge and for the last three weeks, I’ve been using Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash and Lotion. Using both products twice daily for the last three weeks has certainly made a difference. I’ve unlocked healthy and beautiful skin and you can not only see the results, but also feel them! I’m not the only one that has noticed the difference as my boyfriend has too. Win-win for both of us!

With summer around the corner, I’m challenging you to join in on the #AveenoDailyChallenge and try out both products for three weeks! Get healthy and beautiful skin by using Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash and Lotion twice a day. It’s just that simple!

Disclosure: I partnered with Aveeno on this post. All opinions are 100% my own. I’m participating in the #AveenoDailyChallenge for three weeks.

When Secret's Got Your Back

We all know that I’m always on the go and keeping up with me can be a little hard. From meetings to events to catching up with friends before hitting the gym, Secret Outlast Xtend is my reliable deodorant of choice.

I have to admit that there have been late mornings where I’m rushed out the door and forget to put on my deodorant, and it always happens on the warmer days in LA. Embarrassing sweat stains are certainly not a good look at meetings! Secret Outlast Xtend has 48-hour odor protection and saves me without leaving white marks (thank you, Clear Gel!) or residue on my black tops. That’s particularly important when 90% of your closet is black. I love the variety of scents offered and am especially a big fan of the Invisible Solid. My favorite scent is the “Clean Lavender” and KSOLE loves the scent too (hah!).

Between the Invisible Solid and Clear Gel, Secret Outlast Xtend is my BFF for surviving my seemingly nonstop days!

 

To score a free sample of Secret Outlast Xtend, head over to SecretStore.com and use the code PL76XS!

Thanks to the BFF for helping me out with this feature ;) Follow her on IG!

Finding Balance x Aveeno

Taking time out for yourself can be tough and when you’re consistently working, it can be hard to maintain a balanced life. The biggest debate I deal with is whether I should sleep or stay up longer to finish that last project. However, after several trials and errors, I’ve finally found a balance. Just like Aveeno’s Pure Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner, balance is finding the best of both worlds.

 

Just like how sleep refreshes your mind and body, Aveeno’s Pure Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner renews your hair to its naturally healthy and most balanced state with each wash. With seaweed extract, this sulfate-free duo will provide shine, moisture, and healthier looking hair. Bring your hair back to life and yes, it’s safe for color-treated hair! 

#TryDry | Dove Dry Spray

The alarm is ringing for the 4th time and your cat is meowing. Is it really 8AM already? Oh crap! You’re late!

We all have those mornings where we wake up late and rush to get ready in 30 minutes or less. The last thing we want to worry about is waiting for our deodorant to dry. Introduced by Simply Stylist, I’ve partnered up with Dove Dry Spray to give you a few reasons to sleep in a little longer. Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant is the solution to not only visible residue, but is the perfect option for those on the go!

With minutes to spare, you never have to wait for your deodorant to dry with Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant, it goes on dry instantly and provides odor and wetness protection for 48 hours. You won’t only get protection, but you’ll get softer, smoother underarms with Dove Dry Spray!

Before you start wondering if it’s easy to use, let me walk you through the steps:

1.     Grab your favorite Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant and shake it well

2.     Hold the can 6” away from your underarm and spray

3.     Double check yourself in the mirror and walk out with a smile because you’re ready to conquer your day!

Oh and guess what? One can lasts up to 8 weeks so you don’t have to worry about running out anytime soon.

So what are you waiting for? #TryDry today and never have to worry about your morning routine again!
Just That Simple with Simply Makeup

I'll be the first to admit that I would rather sleep in than spend 2 hours every morning to get ready. I've never had to spend more than 30 minutes to put my "face" on and I would like to keep it that way. Luckily, Simply Makeup has products that makes my life easier and allows me to get in and out of the bathroom on time. 

My daily look is simple: eyeliner with falsies, brows shaded in, bronzer, some blush, and underneath all that, my foundation. You can imagine how rushed I can get in the morning when I'm trying to snag every minute of sleep. Sometimes I have less than 30 minutes, including a shower! I've been in the market for a setting spray to ensure that my face doesn't get too messed up throughout my long days and I'm so glad to have found the All-Set Setting Spray by City Color. Yeah, I'll admit I've never heard of it before but can't judge a book by its cover because it works! I can run around LA for 12 hours and my face will still look good by the time it's dinner. I love it and the plus side? It's so affordable! 

So let's talk about how lazy I really am at night. I don't have a nightly routine, other than struggle to get to the bathroom to take out my contacts and wipe off the makeup. Of course I take a much deserved hot shower and brush my teeth before bed too. Luckily, I can use Skinlite Make-up Cleansing Tissues to speed up the process. With just one wipe, I can take off my entire face and it's gentle enough for the eyes. I love it when things are easy. 

From day to night, I got it covered but what about that lip color? There hasn't been an all day lasting lippie that I've loved lately until I found these. City Color Be Matte Lipstick in Felicia and Berry are my go-to lately. First, I like the packaging. It's slim and fits in my purse easily. Secondly, they last a good few hours before requiring touch ups. Who has time to keep reapplying every hour right? I think I reapplied it twice during a 10 hour day, that includes drinking 2 drinks! Not bad right? I'm kind of itching to get more colors now!

Overall, Simply Makeup makes it easy to shop all your beauty needs in one place. Shipping was super fast and the quality is amazing. Not to mention the affordability! By the way, beauty products are always a good gift giving idea ;) 

Smooth Moments with Veet

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Veet, however all opinions and written words/photography are By Lisa Linh.

With summer around the corner, that means more traveling and some much needed beach time. It’s been years since I took an actual vacation, so I jumped at the chance to hit Palm Springs for a weekend getaway. I was lucky to have chosen a weekend where LA was being hit with the gloom. Of course, I took advantage of the pool and you know pool time means showing off your legs and what better way to do it than with Veet?

 As a blogger, social media consultant, and photographer, I don’t have much time to spare when it comes to getting ready. Luckily, Veet has several time saving products to help keep your legs looking as smooth as ever. My favorite so far has to be the Veet Hair Removal Gel Cream, the skin sensitive formula. With its ease of use and quick response, less than 10 minutes, you’ll be out the door and at the beach in no time! Smooth and touchable skin, what else can you really ask for? For busy women on the go like me, Veet is a must have to create your smooth moments.

See the difference Smooth can make at www.facebook.com/veet or www.veet.us