careerpath

My career path has been an interesting one. Looking back I never thought I’d be doing what I do now. It’s funny to think that in my early 20’s I had my whole life planned out. My thought process was that by age 28 I would have my dream career as a psychologist. If there’s one thing life has taught me over and over has been that things don’t always happen the way you expected or even planned. In my case it has been a blessing in disguise. My path has not been an easy one, but it’s definitely been worthwhile. I’ve heard similar stories of people struggling with finding their path or not feeling great about where they are in life, I’ve been there and I’m still learning as I go through life (the learning and the journey never stops), so I thought I would share my experience and what I’ve learned.

Soon after graduating college with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, I got a job as a case manager at a foster care agency. I was young and excited and couldn’t wait to start my career. I quickly experienced burnout and decided that perhaps moving on to a different job within the social work field was what I needed. So I did that, again and again until I finally realized that psychology, though I loved it, was not the career path for me. It’s a great career for those who do love it, but it just wasn’t for me. Coming to terms with this was not easy of course. There was so much guilt on my part and a sense of failure because I thought the time spent in college and in my short social work career was a huge waste of time. I felt that I failed my dream and it took a while to realize this was not true. Eventually after coming to terms with it, I quit my job and took time off to do some soul searching.

I researched careers and thought about how I could make what I already loved into a career. The trouble with that was that I’ve always loved beauty and interior decor. As a little girl I remember being so into beauty and curious about achieving healthy flawless skin while I also decorated and constantly rearrange furniture in my Barbie house and in my bedroom. So deciding which one to go with was the hardest part. What helped me decide was my battle with acne. During my time in social work, I developed cystic acne which took me about two years to clear. It was one of the worst two years of my life. Acne can have severe effects on your self esteem and I never knew this until I experienced it myself. I became obsessed with skincare more than I had ever been and decided to pursue Esthetics and become an Esthetician. Don’t get me wrong I still LOVE interior decor and get to experience this passion in decorating my home. Just wish I had more space to decorate! Anyone need help with decorating? anyone? 😉

So after I finished Esthetics school, I had a hard time finding a job because most places don’t want to hire someone without experience. It was frustrating and i’ll be honest I had many doubts about my new career. I didn’t want to loose everything I learned in school, so I decided to start a small skincare studio in my apartment which was nice at first but it wasn’t the best solution long term. Soon after I got a job at a Holistic spa, then I moved on to a medical spa and now I recently started at a organic and natural skincare studio (which I absolutely love!). My doubts and fears did not end during my time in social work. Throughout my skincare career I’ve had doubts and setbacks (when the medical spa I worked at closed) but life always kept reminding me that this is what I’m meant to do, at least for now. So here I am.

What I’ve learned

Nothing is ever a mistake, going to college for one thing and ending up going a completely different route is totally okay! In life there are only lessons. These lessons help you grow and lead you to the path that you’re meant to be on. Your life/career path may change throughout the course of your life and that is also completely okay. Imagine doing the same thing over and over and over again, day in and day out for years on end? It can get pretty boring. Part of growing up and experiencing life is learning to get out of your comfort zone so that you never feel stagnant. Sometimes you might not know what your true path is and who really knows anyways right? Just do what calls to you. If it makes you happy, if it creates passion in you, do that and do it well. Passion paired with a great work ethic never goes unnoticed and it does pay off!. If there’s an industry that you love, experiment with different areas of it. I experimented with the natural and medical side of the skincare industry and I can tell you that I’m all about the natural holistic skincare because I’ve seen the huge difference it’s made on my skin and in that of my clients. The more experience you have, the better it is to figure out what you want to do and what you don’t. One last thing I’d like to add is about fear. Fear can often times stop you from going in a certain direction. Just pay attention to what the fear is really saying. Are you afraid because of the unknown? or what could happen? That’s completely normal, just don’t let it stop you from moving forward. As I’ve mentioned before there are no mistakes or failures in life, only lessons. The important thing is knowing that you tried. Not trying would be a mistake. Just keep going, everything will fall into place.

Hope you enjoyed this post.

x, Juliana

acne

Acne is the bane of anyone’s existence and it’s a skin condition that can have detrimental effects on those who struggle with it. For those of you who may not know, I developed adult cystic acne when I was 25. Getting the acne under control was a process, a trying learning experience and having acne had a negative effect on my self esteem. It was also the reason why I decided to become an Esthetician. I wrote about my acne story here, if you’d like to read it. The thing about acne is that it’s not a simple one size fits all skin condition. There are different types of acne and different causes so I thought I would talk a little bit more about it. Let’s get into it:

First, let’s talk about what acne is. Acne occurs when pores become clogged with oil, bacteria and debris. When pores are clogged, inflammation happens and the skin reacts with breakouts. Acne falls into two categories, non-inflammatory which includes blackheads and whiteheads (milia) and inflammatory which includes papules (the raised bumps with no pus), pustules (small bumps filled with fluid), cyst (the big painful bumps under the skin). The big mystery and what can be hard to know for sure is what causes acne.

What is causing my acne?

This in large part is the trickiest part because there can be many reasons, from hormones, diet, stress to not properly caring for your skin. Sometimes it can be a combination of many things as well. So with so many possible causes how can we pinpoint what is causing our acne? The first thing is taking a closer look at your current lifestyle. How are your eating habits? Are you eating more junk food than nutritious whole foods like greens, vegetables and fruits? Are you exercising on a regular basis? Are you taking a new medication? or are you constantly stressed or not using adequate skincare? Once you start pinpointing triggers, it will be easier to find solutions to treat your acne. I’m a firm believer that our skin is a reflection of our  lifestyle as a whole, from the foods we eat to our overall well-being to how we care for our skin.

Treating acne topically

Once we develop acne and start pinpointing what might be causing it, it’s time to treat the acne itself. It’s important to note that every treatment will not work for everyone as each case is different but the most important thing needed when treating acne regular (morning and night) cleansing of the skin and exfoliation a few times a week. Exfoliation opens up the pores to get all the gunk out. Chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid work especially great for acne because it gets into the pores and unplugs them. Salicylic acid will break up oil and is also anti-inflammatory, making it soothing on the skin. I would recommend staying away from physical “scrubby” exfoliators because they aggravate the acne further and if a breakout ruptures while you’re scrubbing, the bacteria will then spread to the rest of your face. I also love antibacterial and soothing cleansers like this honey and oat one from Michael Todd organics. Honey is one of my favorite natural ingredients because it’s antibacterial, healing, hydrating and soothing. Oats are also really soothing on the skin. For a deeper clean, the charcoal detox deep pore cleanser from Michael Todd is also good. It contains tea tree oil which works as an antiseptic and will kill bacteria. Another important tips is to hydrate the skin. I know it might sound scary if your skin is oily, but when your skin is not sufficiently hydrated, it will produce unwanted oil which can then clog your pores. Look for oil-free, light weight non-comedogenic moisturizers.

More Skin Related Post:

Honey for the skin

Physical vs. Chemical exfoliants: Decoded

5 Steps to Better Skin

motivation

There are times when I’m bursting with ideas and the only problem is feeling like I don’t have enough time to do it all. Other times though, my mind seems to have gone completely blank and I don’t know where to begin and would rather chill out. The past several months I’ve been experimenting with different ways to stay motivated and have found four ways that have been especially helpful.

Write and keep a list of your goals – This has been a huge help for me. After I’ve made a list of my goals, I keep it somewhere I can see everyday. In doing this, I constantly remind myself of what I want to accomplish so I’m able to focus a lot easier.

Train your mind – This is the one I’ve struggled with the most and to me it’s the most important one. Training your mind is so important because I’ve realized that sometimes lack of motivation comes from bad habits that we have formed over the years. Normally when my mind has felt cloudy with so many thoughts, my response has been to retrieve, tune out and by the time I know it I’ve wasted time, which is never good. So instead, whenever my mind feels over-processed, I’ve been taking the time to meditate for a few minutes. I try to clear my head as much as possible of all the unimportant mind chatter and then I get my goals list. After reading the list, I have usually come back to focus. I also like to take this time to jot down anything else important that I need to do, that way I won’t forget anything. In changing how I respond to saturated mind chatter, I train my mind to find a way to refocus rather than tuning out.

Find inspiration – There are other times when for example, I’m thinking of blog post ideas and absolutely nothing comes to mind. When this happens, I know it’s time to get inspiration. I have been going for long walks lately and have even bought along my laptop so that I can work in the park. Fresh air just has away of sprucing up your inspiration levels. Going to a coffee shop or anywhere else that may be a nice change of scenery helps. Another good one I’ve been enjoying has been listening to podcasts, something as small as a few words that a person might say can instantly click and strike up an idea.

Attitude is everything – Keeping a positive outlook goes farther than we might realize. It’s easy to get discourage if something doesn’t go our way and if we have a small mishap. I always like to tell myself that any obstacle that presents itself is only temporary and it’s probably there to redirect me to something better. So just take a deep breath and keep going : )

Hope you find these tips helpful and I’d love to know, do you have any tips for staying motivated?

EXFOLIANTS

When talking about skincare, you will often hear me say that exfoliation is one of the most important steps in a skincare regime. Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells that are sitting on top of the skin preventing products from absorbing. Without exfoliation, your products will not be able to do their job and results will not be seen. Our skin naturally renews itself every 28-30 days, however as we get older this process takes longer so we need products that speed up cell turnover. Let’s talk about the different types of exfoliation.

 

Physical exfoliants work by the manual friction that is created when you move the product around on the skin. These include granular scrubs, washcloths and loofahs. Granular scrubs contain grains or seeds and even shells. These can be irritating on the skin and can cause micro tears. If you prefer a physical exfoliant, I would recommend one with round beads like jojoba beads that will not harm the skin. When using a physical exfoliator or scrub, be gentle on the skin. There have been so many times when I hear someone say they scrub really hard to get super soft skin. GAH! (insert the emoji with eyes wide open) No hard scrubbing is needed. The skin should be treated gently.

 

Chemical exfoliants work on the skin by dissolving the glue like substance that hold dead skin cells together. Chemical exfoliators consist of alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) like glycolic,  lactic, malic, tartaric and citric, beta hydroxy acid (BHA) like salicylic acid, retinol (Vitamin A) and enzymes. Although AHA’s and retinol have been spoken of as being specially great for anti-aging, these acids are great for everyone. Salicylic acid is use in products targeted towards acne because it does a great job of unplugging the pores of the dirt and bacteria that has been trapped. When it comes to AHA’s there are different strengths depending on the product or if you get a peel done professionally by a dermatologist or Esthetician.

 

Which type of exfoliant is best? 

It all about personal preference and your skin needs. Physical exfoliators are rinsed off while chemical exfoliants come in different forms; in cleansers, toners, serums and moisturizers. Chemical exfoliants are great for minimizing wrinkles, for acne, scarring and reducing hyper pigmentation. Over time using chemical exfoliants give a smooth, even toned complexion, however, if you have sensitive skin or active breakouts, facial scrubs may not be the best as they irritate the skin further. I would suggest an AHA like lactic acid or salicylic acid. Lactic acid is awesome because it’s gentle yet effective. Regardless of which form of exfoliation you use, exfoliating 1-2 times per week will give you the best results.

Hope you enjoyed this post!

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We put our hands through a lot on a daily basis; washing dishes, using cleaning products, you name it. Our hands take a pretty hard beating and unfortunately our hands are also one of the first places to show signs of aging. One of the ways I like to keep my hands nourished and smooth is with this DIY scrub. Let’s not forget about our bodies, they need love too! this scrub exfoliates the skin and gets rid of the dead skin cells that make our skin appear dry. It’s quick and easy to make and most importantly, it’s effective. I posted a similar recipe on instagram several weeks ago and realized I hadn’t posted it here. This time I added another favorite ingredient. Here’s what you’ll need:

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup Coconut oil (Unrefined. Unrefined coconut oil means that the oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat and no extreme heat is used in the process, making it pure). Coconut oil is naturally anti-bacterial, it contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that aids in skin cell renewal and keeps the skin looking youthful.

1/2 cup Raw honey (honey is an amazing humectant and is naturally anti-bacterial).

1/2 cup Extra virgin Olive oil (olive oil is anti-inflammatory, this makes it great for inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis. It is also loaded with antioxidants that protect the skin from environmental damage.

1/2 cup Sugar (can add more depending on how thick you want the paste) Sugar naturally contains glycolic acid, an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) that dissolves the “glue” that binds dead skin cells together)

Bowl for mixing

Spoon

Tightly sealed container

hand scrub collage

Add the honey, coconut oil and olive oil into a bowl. Add in the sugar and mix until you have a thick grainy paste.

Pour the mixture into the container and keep close to a sink or shower. Scrub away as often as you’d like. After rinsing, lightly pat your skin dry and let your skin absorb the oils.

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Happy scrubbing!

For more tips on how to get super soft hands check out this post.

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I often find that with our every day schedules and in trying to get as many things possible completed, we leave very little time for ourselves. We forget to set time to do the things we enjoy, that relax us and keep us feeling fulfilled, so I have been trying to make a conscious effort recently to change this. In the last few months, I’ve completely slacked on my workout routine and as a result have not been feeling like myself. So, yesterday as I was planning the errands I needed to get done for the day, I decided that instead of driving which would of been faster, to walk instead. I walked about 2 miles going to my destination and coming back home. On the way back, I stopped by my neighborhood park and just sat on a bench listening to the podcast life is a marathon by Bruce Van Horn. Really great motivational stuff. Then it started to rain and normally without an umbrella I would’ve ran home but instead I walked slowly enjoying being in the moment. It actually reminded me of my childhood in Puerto Rico and how I used to love going outside in the rain. I remember being so happy getting completely soaked in the rain with no care in the world.

When I arrived home, there was a sense of tranquility within me and a sense of accomplishment for that small conscious choice I made, to walk, something I love doing and don’t do nearly enough. I was able to incorporate physical activity while fueling my mind with creativity and inspiration. It only took one small decision and it completely changed the course of my day in the best way possible, setting me up to continue making conscious choices everyday that will support me in accomplishing my goals.