Skincare for Mask Wear

Wearing a mask sucks but it’s necessary right now. And by necessary, I mean NECESSARY. Don’t be one of those people. Ok — I’ll step off my soapbox now.

Because of all this mask wear my skin is sufferiiiiing. Taking it off everyday feels better than taking my stupid bra off, and that’s saying a lot. Luckily, I learn lots of great info about skincare in my day job that I’m excited to share with you!

One of the main issues I’ve dealt with is how it’s causing more breakouts for people. Yes, there are many different types of acne. However, I’ve found that wearing a mask has given me a lot more issues than I normally have. Things like cystic acne, a city of tiny whiteheads, and heat bumps have set up camp all over the lower half of my face. RUDE.

I know I’m not alone! So I’m diving into some of my favorite products that have been helping my face adjust to this new normal.


First things first — cleanser. Washing your face at least once a day is crucial to maintaining a healthy skincare routine. And you MUST take your makeup off at night! This absolutely cannot be argued.

**Pro-Tip if you have to/choose to wear makeup every day: only wear it on the upper half of your face that’s not covered by the mask to prevent more bacteria from creeping into your precious pores**

Now, I have dry skin, so I normally only wash my face at night and do a quick rinse in the morning to prevent over-drying. If you’ve got more oily/combination skin, that might not be the case for you.

Either way, this is my current holy grail cleanser:

YOUTH TO THE PEOPLESuperfood Antioxidant Cleanser, $36

This gentle, fairly fragrance-free cleanser is great for makeup removal as well as being a badass every day face wash. It’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins C, K, and E, and more. Plus it’s alcohol free so it doesn’t leave your skin feeling dried out.


If you’re balling on a budget, I feel you. This Clean Skin Gel is an amazing cleanser + toner that also removes makeup while leaving your skin feeling nice and clean. The best part: it’s only $10!


Next I’d recommend either some type of toner or serum to apply after cleansing in the evening so your skin can soak in all that goodness overnight.

DRUNK ELEPHANT – T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum, $90

I absolutely love this stuff. It’s pretty powerful, so I only use it 2-3 times a week. It’s main focus is to resurface congested skin — but it also targets fine lines and wrinkles. I’d say a face covered by a mask all day definitely merits a serum for congested pores!


A budget-friendly alternative to this would 100% have to be Sephora’s Clarifying Serum for only $20.

It helps tame oiliness, uneven skin texture, and pores. The salicylic acid will exfoliate your skin overnight all while the hyaluronic acid moisturizes.


I could talk about skincare for ages, but I’ll end on the last step: MOISTURIZE, BITCH!

You don’t want crusty skin hanging out underneath that mask of yours. And listen up OILY-SKINNED SISTERS, you need to moisturize too! I don’t care if you think your skin oils keep you *moist* enough — that’s not the case and also that sounds gross, and you’re not gross. You just need a light-weight lotion that won’t clog your pores.

Remember, I’ve got more dry skin. For that I’d recommend:

PHILOSOPHY – Renewed Hope in A Jar Water Cream, $39

I will forever sing it’s praises. Once you rub it in, it literally melts LIKE WATER into your skin! It’s like a science project on your face.


For my loves with oilier skin, might I recommend:

OLEHENRIKSEN – C-Rush™ Vitamin C Gel Moisturizer, $46

Vitamin C lightens, brightens, and tightens your skin! This is a light gel cream that not only will keep you glowing, but also improves the look of your makeup over time.


There are plenty of other moisturizers you can choose that won’t break the bank as well. One of my most used:

SEPHORA COLLECTION – Nourishing Moisturizer, $17

This lotion smells sooOoOoOo good. It’s got avocado, marula, and rose hip seed oils included to keep you moisturized and nourished! Also, it’s good for all skin types because of the light and creamy formula.


I hope this helps! Keep in mind that a healthy skincare routine is v important all of the time, but especially right now while we’re all enduring #MaskGate.

Stay hydrated. Stay moisturized.

Winnie’s Story: Young and Diagnosed

On the outside, Winnie H. looks like any 27-year-old woman: beautiful, thin, tan and well put together. She works two jobs, like any other twenty-something, tries to go to the gym as often as possible, has an enormous library on her kindle and is completing a job certification. However, on the inside, she is in constant pain. Winnie has Fibromyalgia.

I met Winnie at the age of 14. I, like most other teenagers, was full of energy and eager to do anything for fun. I knew that Winnie had some sort of illness, but I never fully understood why she hated giving me hugs or why some days she felt like she couldn’t get out of bed. As I got older and talked more with her, I learned more about the “disease” Winnie had and why it affected her the way it did.

Today, I sat down with Winnie to ask her more questions about what Fibromyalgia was and how it affected her.

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How old were you when you realized something was wrong? What kind of symptoms were you feeling?

I was 10 years old. It was after I had my appendix taken out and I figured all of the pain I felt was because of that, but then it started to get worse. The pain got to be unbearable. I didn’t like the feeling of my clothes on my body. I couldn’t let anyone touch me at all. Even when family would try to hug me, it hurt too much, so I’d run away from them. I pretty much avoided “goodbyes” at family gatherings.

To describe the pain…on good days it feels sort of like body aches from the flu. On bad days, it feels like pins and needles, like when you sit on your foot for too long and it falls asleep– that numbness and needle-prick feeling. My legs were the worst back then. Sometimes they’d randomly give out on me.

The pain all over my body would get so bad that it made me vomit or would send me into panic attacks. I didn’t know what was happening or how to handle it!

How long did it take for doctors to diagnose you with Fibromyalgia? Were you wrongfully diagnosed at first?

Before they figured it out, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, really anything mental because they thought the pain was all in my head or I was faking it. One doctor would say it was one thing and the next doctor disagreed and said it was something else! I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at 13, almost 14, years old.

What different kinds of tests or treatments have you tried over the years?

I went to many different therapists, like VERY different. One was super peppy and was all like “LET’S COLOR,” and another was just like, “here’s your meds, ma’am.”

I also tried these breathing treatments for awhile at the children’s hospital. It was actually kind of fun though, like a video game. They hooked me up to this heart monitor that was attached to a screen and I’d stare at a tree or build a bridge with my breathing patterns and heart rate.

In middle school, I had to wear a heart monitor for a week because apparently I had a heart murmur too, so that’s really cool. They had me wear this helmet thing too to measure my brain waves or something.

My back doctor wanted to try giving me shots in my spine but I was like, “HELL NAH!” That’s kind of funny though because now my back is where my worst pain is.

I tried a lot of physical therapy and massage therapy. Massage Therapy was my favorite. I also tried hydro-therapy where they change it from really cold to really hot but that was the worst! Extreme cold makes my muscles tense up. I can’t handle temperature changes very well.

What about medications? Did you experience any bad side effects?

Once I was on an antidepressant that made me hallucinate! I saw all kinds of weird stuff. I saw a glowing, blue, f***ing bird everywhere! It swooped down at me once at Walmart and I looked like a lunatic trying to dodge that damn bird. I always tried to laugh it off though.

The thing about medication is that if it has possible side effects, I’m probably going to get them. I guess I’m really sensitive to meds. Even the antidepressant I’m on now makes me so nauseated that I’ll usually throw up once a day. I just have to try a lot of things to see what works.

The biggest problem I had though, was that I went to like 5 different doctors at once and they never talked to each other. I took so many medications at once that I had these things I’d call “mini overdoses.” I’d be awake but lying there, unable to move or speak, and it was really hard to breathe! Those were the scariest moments of my life. As soon as I came out of them I’d run down to my mom, freaking out about how something was NOT right.

What kinds of medications or treatments do you use today?

By the time I was 18, I was on 22 different pills a day. My boyfriend at the time cheated on me and our breakup gave some sort of wake up call. I decided to go cold turkey on all my meds at once. I was withdrawing so bad that I was hugging the toilet and shaking for what seemed like forever. After that, I chose my own medications.

Now I’m taking a new antidepressant. There’s no “happy pill,” but this one really helps. I honestly didn’t plan on living past 18 years old. I had plans to kill myself. I still have some passive suicidal idealizations, but I want to live now.

Aside from that, I’m now taking Vyvanse, which is usually for ADHD, so it seems weird that I’d take it with Fibromyalgia. It helps with the brain fog, I call it “fibro fog.” I can sort of handle the pain nowadays, but I can’t deal with the fog. I literally have fallen asleep from it, standing up, at work!

“Fibro fog” is where you can’t think clearly or remember anything. It’s like my thoughts are moving through oil in my head. Answering simple questions like “What did you have for breakfast today?” are too difficult. I’d be like, “did I even eat today?” The fog is the hardest thing for me, even though my pain is still at an all time high. I hate it because I need to work; I need to study and think. It’s all too hard to do with the fog.

I also occasionally will take a muscle relaxer. My spine swells and locks sometimes at night and the pain keeps me from sleeping, so a muscle relaxer helps me get to sleep.

How does Fibromyalgia affect your mental health?

For so many years, people told me my disease wasn’t real and people still think that today. It really f***s with me. Even doctors who are educated on the disease have written me off like I was faking it.

I have severe depression. If I go into a bad swing of depression, my fibromyalgia flares up, because my mental health and physical symptoms tie into each other.

I used to have panic attacks that were so bad I’d black out at school and my mom had to pick me up and bring me to the hospital. My anxiety is still very present in my life today, but I struggle more with depression.

Has Fibromyalgia ever affected your ability to live a “normal life?”

I couldn’t get my driver’s license when everyone else did because I was having absent seizures. When my seizures got better and I got the OK to get my license, I too afraid to get it. I was worried that I’d have a seizure while driving and kill a whole family! Fibromyalgia has made me fearful of so many things.

I used to drink a lot to numb the pain. In middle school and high school I’d drink a vodka and orange juice before school even! I continued to take my meds when I drank too. Alongside alcohol, I used to smoke pot a lot to ease the pain I felt.

Maybe this is TMI, but sex is very difficult with Fibromyalgia! Having sex on your bad days is nearly impossible. On your good days, you’re in a lot of pain, but you can still orgasm. Don’t get me wrong, I love sex and still do it! It’s just very difficult to enjoy it as much as you could without Fibromyalgia.

Tell me about why you decided to pursue massage therapy.

I had a massage therapist in middle school and high school named Nina. She helped me through SO much. When she first got me, I would tense up and squeal every time she touched me. She helped me build up a tolerance for physical contact. She also truly listened to me when I told her I was in pain and really worked with me.

One day on her massage table, I looked up and told her I wanted to do what she does and she told me that I could. All of my doctors shot down my dreams and said I wouldn’t be able to do anything. They said I’d be in a wheel chair by the time I was 45. Nina believed in me.

I want to help people that are like me or even older people. One time I got to help a special needs girl who was ready to live on her own and get a job, but she’d never been touched!

I want to help people the way that Nina helped me.

What advice do you have for anyone dealing with Fibromyalgia?

Cry as much as you need to, but make sure to laugh it off.

F*** the people who say your disease is just in your head. It’s real. Don’t let them make you second guess yourself. No one truly knows what you’re feeling except for you. Fight for yourself.

I think the the most important piece of advice I have is to find your support group and hold on tight. If I didn’t have my mom who did anything and everything she could to make me feel better, I don’t know where I’d be. If I didn’t have such understanding friends who supported me and never let me be alone when I was sad, I don’t think I’d be here today. Being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia is not lucky, but being blessed with my support group was the luckiest thing that happened to me.

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Winnie H. has been through so many trials and tribulations due to her early diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. Her mother did everything she could for her, but still worried that one day she’d come home to find her daughter dead. Thanks to Winnie’s strong soul, determined mind and loving support system, this inspirational young woman is on her way to change lives. She has overcome the odds and will continue to do so throughout her entire life.

Those of you who are reading this and suffering from Fibromyalgia, know that you are not alone. Your pain is REAL.

Dead Parents + Pandemic = Forgiveness

I’ve never been suicidal, but I have been incredibly sad. Like… so sad I wanted to die.

This is how I overcame that.

My mom died in 2005. I adored her. You know how kids sometimes ask each other, “who do you like more, your mom or your dad?” I chose her every time.

Some time before that my parents divorced and grandparents gained custody of little sister and me. My mom passed due to drug and alcohol overdose and my dad had his own demons: drugs and alcohol included. I never had any sort of stable father-daughter relationship, (but really, is that even a thing?). Long story short, I feel like I never had “parents”. My Nana and Pappaw were, and still are, my parents. And for that I will be FOREVER grateful.

Cut to October of 2019 — my dad lost his battle to cancer.

I felt the need to do a lot of forgiving before he passed but had no idea how. He was in hospice, and how could I sit in front of this comatose man to tell him that I truly forgive him when there could be no possibility of ever having a normal relationship again?

Yeah, he said he’d change. One, two, 500 times. But he couldn’t, and now it’s too late. There is no way he could deep dive back into his childhood, moving from toddler – to kid – to teenager – to grown man, and heal all of the wounds originally making him an addict. Making him what I thought he was for the majority of my life: a loser.

I can’t say he didn’t try to get clean. He eventually entered into rehab, but I honestly couldn’t tell you if he ever got better. When he started his rehabilitation I figured we’d finally have somewhat of a relationship, but in reality it plummeted even further.

So, I go through the motions. I sit in the hospital room with my sister and half-brother as we all say we love and forgive him. But did I really? The entire two weeks we had spent with him prior, I felt as if my brother and sister were truly making good progress. I felt like they did actually forgive him. I wanted to make it seem as if I did too, because I didn’t want to add fuel to this horrible fire. Just as I took my turn saying I loved him, my dad, who had been asleep for the past two days, meekly looks up at me and waves with a soft smile across his face. I think, “oh shit. He heard me, does that mean I really have to forgive him now?” It was then, for the first time in my entire life, that I truly felt seen by my father. But I still wasn’t sure if I’d experienced true forgiveness.

He died a couple days later.

It took a while for me to come to terms with this, but my parents needed drugs and alcohol. They needed them to get by, to stay on this earth with my sister and me just a little bit longer. Without them, they may have been gone much earlier in life. Whatever pain it was they were trying to numb must have been excruciating. It breaks my heart that they couldn’t muster up the courage to slay their inner demons and make it right so they could live out all their dreams and desires as a family. They simply wanted peace and to mute all the bullshit going on inside. Who can blame them for that?

Yes, they could’ve gone the healthy route and gotten clean. I so wish that is what happened. But you can only get help from so many outside resources before it gets to a point you realize you need to help yourself first. That’s the kicker, that’s what my parents truly believed they needed to help themselves.

It wasn’t until March of this year that I was finally able to forgive them, and in turn forgive myself.

So, Coronavirus, am I right? Covid-19 came into this year HOT — ready to flip everyone’s lives upside down. I was furloughed from my job which ended up being a huge blessing in disguise. Sadly though, my now husband was considered “essential”, meaning I’d be by myself for the majority of the week. This scared the hell out of me. I’m a people-person, how could I possibly spend the entire day with only my dog to talk to?! Luckily I figured that out rather quickly — oh, and also changing my entire outlook on life in the process.

One day during my alone time I just so happened to stumble upon a 21-Day Meditation Experience led by Oprah and Deepak Chopra, called, “Hope in Uncertain Times”. I decided to try it out even though I had failed so many times in the past, something felt different this time. I was committed to seeing it through because I was fed up with my own bullshit. I was fed up with hating my parents and being unfulfilled in parts of my life that I could only blame myself for: getting a degree in something I’d been told I was never good enough in, thousands of dollars in debt, working meaningless job after job just because I needed money, now being furloughed from one of those current jobs, etc. etc. etc. The pity party was REAL. My spirit was broken, but little did I know my higher self had just arrived with all the glue I needed to put myself back together.

Literally the SECOND day of that meditation challenge I had a breakthrough that was 27 years in the making. The theme for that day was: “Hope is always available” and to that I can now say, uh, hell yeah it is. I’m sitting there in the meditation trying to focus on what Deepak calls the “centering thought”, which was, “The power of hope is here every day.”

Interpret this next part as you wish.

I get into the thought, when all of the sudden my parents show up at the forefront of my mind. I see the three of us laying in a field of daisies having a full-fledged conversation. They say how they’ve missed me and how they’re so proud of how strong I am to get to this point. They told me they’ve been waiting for me. We continue on speaking for a while and I’m watching it all happen from above. I see me having this conversation. Keep in mind that this meditation is only 20 minutes long, but it seemed like I was laying in that field for hours.

Deepak’s voice snaps me out of it wrapping up the session for the day and I proceeded to have… a panic attack? An awakening? What the hell? I started weeping, hard. Harder than I ever have. I couldn’t breathe, my whole body was trembling, but I felt this extreme weight lift from my body. Suddenly the phrase, “see with new eyes”, played very loudly over and over in my head. So I took some deep breaths and decided to let my body feel this intense emotion. I didn’t want to control it, it was time for me to release control. All of the tension, anger, resentment came flowing out of my body and I quietly say to myself, “I forgive them, I do. And I forgive myself for everything I’ve put myself through up to this point.”

Well, that happened. Then I sat there for a while wondering if I should tell anyone but decided against it. It wasn’t time.

About a month afterwards I continued working on myself every day (look out for upcoming blogs on what I did and am still doing). While in the shower, it hits me that I need to become some sort of life-coach. BOOM, THERE’S THE LIGHT BULB I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR! In a little less than a month I had been learning and learning countless numbers of ways to help myself, and now it’s time to help others. I’ve always wanted a career in helping others through laughter, but what if I could add helping people become their best selves in the process? Yes, this is it. I talked to my husband a bit about it and since he is a true angel in human form, he agreed I should go for it if it’s something I want to do.

So this is exactly what I’m doing. I want to be an open book because I am not perfect myself and never will be. But I want to walk beside you as we work together to achieve your wildest dreams. I’m going to talk about manifesting, affirmations, synchronicity, all of the good things! They’re coming your way because it came my way, and for once in my life I’m sticking to a goal and not looking back. Let’s build each other up to live the lives we were made to live, because light always finds its way through darkness. Together we can all see with new eyes.