Thank You, Dra. Paula of Gatan Clinic

Oh yes, finally! An update on my skin story!

So, to give some of you (or all of you) a quick background: I have been struggling with acne since high school. But I have only started documenting after college.

You can read my journey in detail here:
Part 1 – The Thing About Facial Care
Part 2 – The Thing About Facial Care aka Derma Days
Part 3 – The Thing About Facial Care: The Results

I have been managing well, for at least 2 years after my last blog post. But early this year, my breakouts have been so unbearable that I had to seek help from my dermatologist, Dra. Paula Edna Reyes-Gatan of the Gatan Clinic. Working from home has its limits and sadly, I was hit with stress with a dash of anxiety and lack of sleep. Yes, I have been an irresponsible young lady–sleeping late, eating junk food, not washing my face at night, dirty hands, popping my own acne, etc. You name it, I did it. Haha! #sorrynotsorry

Anyway, I needed help… and I needed it badly because I am starting to see a stressed version of me and it ain’t cute! Here are some photos for reference:

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And of course, you all know the drill: Dra. Gatan had to thoroughly clean my face after assessing the damage and poof! Puffy, tomato Karen is back!

As always, I was dying to go home after the procedure. I just wanted to sleep for a week and wake up to a new me. But of course, I have to see my darn, puffy red face for at least a week or so. Argh!

Scabby Situation

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After cleaning, scabs will appear the next day and they will be extremely irritating and itchy. I wanted to get rid of it fast so I resorted to these 3 solutions:

1 Hot towel compress – I googled DIY ways on how to make scabs disappear and most of the articles I have found recommended a hot towel compress. It wasn’t a quick solution but it surely alleviated the itchy situation on my face. Helped removed dead skin cells, too.

2 Baking soda paste – This can give your skin a little reaction but don’t worry, it’s harmless. Also helped remove dead skin cells from the scabbing but made my skin a little reddish during the process so I only used this for 2 days.

3 Tea Tree Oil – This can sting but you can feel it working wonders on your face. Better if you dilute this with a little water. Use clean fingertips to apply on your scabs. I wouldn’t really recommend using cotton buds since it would be a waste of tea tree oil. I use this twice a day–once in the morning and once at night. This also helped banish/lighten blemishes from scabbing.

Cover Up for Confidence

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Unfortunately, a week after my cleaning, I had a weekend out with friends so I had to cover up the whole situation. I wasn’t exactly proud of my appearance at the time and I wasn’t ready to ask questions on what happened and whatnot. The truth is, I didn’t need that much coverage after a week but I needed to cover the reddishness and blemishes left by some scabs. It was summertime back then so I had to control oiliness and humidity as well.

Truthfully, my makeup is as simple as it can be:

1 Skincare (cleanse-tone-moisturize-protect)
2 CC Cream
3 CC Cushion Compact
4 Blush
5 Brow Mascara
6 Mascara
7 Lip Tint

Done!

My skin was getting dry as well especially around the cheeks and chin area due to scabbing after-effects so I just make sure that I get my skin moisturized. I also make sure that my cushion compact has moisturizing effects so that I don’t look as dry as I feel. LOL!

Bad Habits Die Hard

Just when I thought I am on my way to getting my good skin back, I was troubled with excessive stress again. Bad habits do die hard, and I have to learn how to be more optimistic and less resentful. My face was loaded with hormonal acne just about 3 months after my last cleaning. I had to see Dra. Gatan again. You know what comes next.

Oh la la la laser!

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Your girl needed a confidence boost and she needed it right away. I wanted to feel happy about how I looked, and didn’t want to deal with massive breakouts, blemishes and scars no more. I asked Dra. Gatan for possible solutions and I chose to get a RevLite Laser treatment a month after my cleaning session.

It was my first time to try RevLite. The laser treatment that I used to get at Dra. Gatan’s wasn’t available anymore so there I was. Her laser clinic was located at Pasig, so we had to set an appointment there. I was late for a good 20 minutes because of heavy traffic that I was unable to anticipate. Anyway, good thing Dra. Gatan was understanding (hehe!) and I got my laser treatment started right away.

RevLite felt like there were “sparks” on my face. It was tolerably hot but it was okay. It was only difficult to converse with Dra. Gatan because I didn’t want to move that much. Hahaha! All in all, it was a good experience. I looked in the mirror and I didn’t look red or puffy at all. You won’t see the results right away so I was excited for the next couple of days and weeks. RevLite is supposed to rejuvenate the skin and give it that youthful glow. Hence, my excitement.

After the treatment, Dra. Gatan slabbed sunscreen all over my face for protection. I was also given instructions to put on sunscreen everyday. A girl’s gotta protect her skin after all!

The Final Results

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I am very happy with my skin! A week after my laser treatment, I can clearly see the difference. My blemishes were definitely lighter and my skin got brighter and plumper for sure.

I had way fewer breakouts, too! I am so happy. I can take photos, aka “selfies”, without the need for filters and makeup. Just my bare face. Yas!

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Lesson Learned

Never ever neglect yourself. Always take care of yourself. No matter how stressful life can be, always choose yourself first. Do not give in to negative feelings of regret, resentment, failure, weakness and whatnot. Always choose yourself. Always love yourself. With that in mind everyday, you are one step closer to a better outlook and better skin!

Extras

This blog was supposed to be published 4 months ago but (messy) life happened and I neglected to have this posted. As I write this “Extras” section, I am on the second day of my period, suffering from hormonal acne, occasional but tolerable cramps, terrible mood swings and delightful food cravings.

Current facial situation is unbearable on the chin area, since this is where the breakouts are right now. If only I can pop them out but since they are hormonal, there’s no way but to hydrate, drink tea, enough sleep and proper diet. I promise to update more often, chingus (friends)!

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Thank You, Atomic Blonde

Let me start by saying that this was the first (and perhaps the only) movie I’ve watched on my own!

Don’t know if I should go “Yay! or “Nay!” on this but hell yeah, I made it to the cinema on my own and I feel no shame.

Well… at first, it was quite shameful. Buying a ticket just for myself seems alien to me but nah, I had to do it because I had plenty of time to kill in the mall. Not so much funds to kill, so why not watch a movie instead?

I was left with 2 choices: “Atomic Blonde” or “Baby Driver”. If given more $$$ and time, I would watch both on a single night. But no. I had limited funds that afternoon so I had to make a quick choice. It was already 5:07 in the afternoon and “Baby Driver” started at 5 sharp. I don’t want to be panting and all sweaty when I get to the cinema so I decided to go with “Atomic Blonde” instead, which starts at 5:40 PM (thankfully).

I chose the perfect seat. Right smack in the center. Two college girls were on my aisle, one of them seated on my seat. I quickly thought to myself that if I let them stay there and sit beside them, I won’t enjoy the film one teeny bit because of their utter “giddiness”. So I chose to be the “ticket police”, excused myself and told them off my seat. They politely left and found their rightful seats behind me, which was less infuriating than sitting beside them. Nonetheless, I knew I had no seatmates so I was basically living the thug life. LOL.

Now, enough of my experience. Let’s talk about the film!

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Photo courtesy of the Atomic Blonde Official Movie Website

“Atomic Blonde” captivates you right away with its 80s European disco music, immediately transporting you to its era. I fell in love with the soundtrack just 15 seconds into the movie. It was that good! It is worth noting that most of the 80s music weren’t in their original English language, but in German, which was the main location of the story after all.

Listen to the “Atomic Blonde” Spotify playlist HERE. It’s amazing.

Fight scenes and camera movement was superb and immersive. I felt like a true spectator, especially during that epic scene where our heroine, Lorraine, played by Charlize Theron, fought over 6-8 killers all on her own…all in one long take! For me, that was brilliant. To be able to execute something so intense and quick like a fight scene in one long moving take is GENIUS.

Watch a sneak peak of the action in this trailer!

Speaking of superb things, let us not forget our brilliant lead, Charlize Theron, who is amazing as always. I knew of her since “Aeonflux” and I loved her ever since. I was actually reminded of that movie whenever she had fight scenes, since she was so badass kicking the souls out of them bad guys.

I loved her hair, too, which is a very important key point in her character. How she manages to keep it beautiful even after kicking ass, I don’t know how she does it! LOL!

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Photo courtesy of the Atomic Blonde Official Movie Website

I won’t dwell too much on the story, as it may spoil you. Overall, it was well-written and well-executed. Every detail in the film was on point, even the spraypaint-ish headers in between cuts.

My rating: 5/5 stars Loved it!

If you’re planning to watch something jam-packed and kickass, “Atomic Blonde” does that and more. Definitely one for the books. I’ll be sure to watch this again (and again) once this comes in DVD and Blu-Ray!

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Thank You, Aveeno

Just a quick side note: I am sooooo glad to be back, finally writing all my well-hidden slightly disorganized collection of notes here on my wonderful blog for all you amazing people to read! But really, THANK YOU for staying and (still) reading through this inconsistent blog of mine.

And before I forget: HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!

So now, back to regular (and hopefully, consistent) programming.

A few months back, I kept seeing these homely bath products while doing grocery errands for the humble home. Apparently, the Oppa got curious and bought some products for himself and recommended that I try them, too.

What are these products I am talking about? They’re the Aveeno Active Naturals body wash and lotion.

Since I was fairly stressed, I chose the “Stress Relief” set, hoping that somehow it could help ease my soul from everyday stress. LOL.

Anyway, it was a fair deal. I even got myself a matching loofah (for more visual de-stressing + I also love the color of lavender and purple.

To start off, I was expecting a lavender-ish scent. But instead, I was greeted with a rather sampaguita smell that was neither relaxing nor annoying. I was just surprised since it wasn’t a de-stressing scent for me. It might be de-stressing for others, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea, or rather, my palm of body wash (LOL).

Though it wasn’t the scent I was expecting, it actually reminded me of my mom and her choice of bath soaps back when I was young. It was similar to the Aveeno Active Naturals stress relief set, and somehow as I scrubbed it all over my body, the scent actually grew on me. Maybe because it reminded me of childhood memories of my mom, making me feel secure and somehow, young again. But other that that, it didn’t actually give me that “stress relief” I was gunning for. It was more of so-so.

Fun fact though, it’s a Johnson and Johnson product so we’re assured that Aveeno products are definitely safe and gentle to the skin.

Body Wash

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Thankfully, the scent wasn’t strong and the texture was just right. Scrub it all over your body and it feels goooooooood! Without a loofah, it was pretty okay as well–but really, get your loofah and indulge in scrubbing all that stress away!

Probably a tablespoonful of this enough to cover your whole body, and even with a loofah, it felt so smooth and silky.

Body Lotion

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The scent was stronger on this one, and the consistency was bordering on thick. Indeed, it was quite sticky, especially when you use it just after taking a bath or shower! Make sure to dampen yourself first with a towel, though.

Not really fond of this, I would still choose any Nivea lotion in a heartbeat. But in terms of truly moisturizing your skin, I find it good. My skin wasn’t dry throughout the day and definitely didn’t leave that sticky feeling for more than 10 minutes – it absorbs well enough.

My rating

All in all, I would give it a 6/10. I wasn’t really fond of the scent – and I am into scents especially for bath products for I consider bathing as a tremendously calming activity. I’d like to consider myself a water element sort of person, even though I can’t swim. Haha! But nonetheless, I enjoy activities that involve water – bathing, washing clothes, washing the dishes, riding boats, watering plants, etc.

Planning to try the regular version of this or probably other body washes that smell good. Won’t be easily fooled by advertising this time around! If I get a chance to smell the product prior to purchase, I would!

Thank you, Aveeno!

Thank You, SL

So let me drop the bomb first: I have been suffering from anxiety and depression.

I am writing about this for the sole purpose of having an outlet.

I have talked to closest friends and have received a variety of advice ranging from spiritual, emotional, physical – you name it, I think I have heard everything I needed to hear.

Actually, I already know what I need to hear. I know what I should do and what I should not do.

I am just simply looking for VALIDATION from others on what must be done in order to feel better.

Let me tell you this: anxiety and depression can be a vicious cycle. It is to me, and it sure ain’t easy enough to handle. There will be days you’d wish you’d just felt nothing and cared for no one; that you’d just disappear while life is on pause and return when you finally get a grip of what’s going on.

But I can’t do that. Hahaha. How I wish I can, though. So what I do is… CRY!

Yes, I cry it all out. Crying is even an understatement. I mourn for myself. More like, self pity. Yes, it was self pity. I was feeling so pitiful that I looked and felt like a mentally challenged person who knew how to cry and laugh all at the same time. Oh yes, I have been there. I have been that low.

But you know what? It felt good after crying. After some self talk and prayers, I felt somehow “light”. I realize that it was a long, but good cry, and every tear was so worth it.

I pick myself up and get on with my day, because it’s only YOU who you can truly depend on. Friends and family will say encouraging words, some of them may give you some tough love that can make you awfully cry at times (it felt really awful but you get stronger, I promise), but only YOU can pull yourself out of the ocean you’d love to drown in.

It may recur a few times but you will get better, little by little.

It is not an easy path to walk through, and no matter how hard you wish to skip forward to the day you’d be emotionally free from anxiety and depression, it will not be that instant.

YOU NEED TO GO THROUGH THIS.

I ask myself, “Why?”

And this enlightening, hopeful voice inside me responds, “You need this in order to stand up STRONGER AND BETTER THAN EVER. There is nothing you cannot handle. You’ve been through worse, you can definitely pull this one off. I trust you and I love you.”

Let yourself be “down” for a day or two, but don’t let it take hold of your life completely. Pick yourself up, push yourself and work towards the promise of becoming better and feeling lighter. Take care and love yourself because it’s the only life we have!

Don’t let it go to waste just because some people or some circumstances are weighing you down. Don’t let these define you.

Love yourself. 🙂

Thank You, Oppa

To my Oppa,

Today might just be another day in your calendar, and just like what you said yesterday, we don’t “celebrate” it anymore… but for me, it is one special day in a month where I get to recall:

the times I had to see to you this day,

the days I prepared something special, may it be small and simple,

the long afternoons I had to endure at work because I badly wanted to see you,

the nights I spend thinking how awesome being with you is, and

the ungodly hours (just like this) when I think of you and count the days when I’d see you again.

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Because frankly and cheesily as it may sound, I love celebrating our monthsaries. We may not have it fancy all the time – for all I care, we may just be in the same room and binge-watch on Walking Dead or Haikyuu – but we still have each other all this time… and I love to recognize it, every 12th of the month.

31 months. 31 months of US. I am extremely grateful for everything that has happened since that fateful day, when we finally decided to start seeing each other. The 12th reminds me of that, and I want you to know that I feel the same giddiness, warmth and happiness since that day.

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I am sorry if I had been rough and unbearable these past few days. I realized I have been clingy and that I have built my life on a daily routine that highly involves you. This just needs some getting used to, I think.

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I know you don’t like to read a lot, so I will just keep this straight and simple:

I love you, my Oppa. With you, I feel the need to be stronger and the will to be better. With you, I walk into life every day knowing that I am loved by an amazing person, who sees me for who I really am, accepts me with all my flaws and shortcomings, and chooses to be with me at the end of the day. Sometimes I don’t realize how lucky I am.

With you, I feel like I am home. 

Happy 31 months and counting, Oppa. My apologies for being a little melodramatic and quite nostalgic in writing this. I just felt I needed to tell you in detail, and I just wanted to express it in writing.

To my partner in all things, I love you very much! :’)

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Thank You, PLDT

Thanks a lot, PLDT, I learned the value of utmost patience and perseverance.

After 12 gruesome days of pointlessly monitoring our modem and calling you guys day in and day out, FINALLY, you restored our internet connection for about 10 hours now.

I cannot stress how important a stable connection is to me, since I work from home. It was a struggle to rely solely on mobile data and pocket WiFi services which are both unstable and slow here in our country. It made me feel pity for my beloved Philippines, paying for expensive yet below-than-average internet speeds (yes, we have one of the slowest internet speeds in Asia and the world)! How appalling.

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#ConfidentlyShittyServiceWithoutAHeart

The first 6 days were terrible. It started on the evening of January 25th, I thought it was just a minor and short-lived disconnection, but to my surprise, it lasted for about an hour or so. I called up PLDT to report this and gave me a ticket number. I called everyday after that, just so they know how easily frustrated I am for cutting my service like that. On the third day, they informed me that I was part of a “network downtime” within our area. I accepted defeat and continued to ask for follow ups 3-4 times a day, everyday.

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Sarcasm at its finest!

On the 6th day, I was told that my ticket has been closed because “network downtime” has been resolved already. I told them, “we would not be having this conversation if this was resolved”, so they gave me another ticket number since the previous one has been automatically closed by their system. How inconvenient.

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Handy dandy Smart Bro Pocket WiFi

As an alternative, I used our Smart Bro Pocket WiFi, which was a bit “moody”. Good thing, I have found a good spot near the window, just so I can enjoy a slow but stable connection. Thankfully, I was able to do work and coordinate with my employers and team mates. I fear that they may start to think how irresponsible I was with my tasks, because I was offline for most of the time recently.

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Smart Bro Pocket WiFi Speed Test

I remember back in college when I depended on a Sun Broadband Internet Stick at home to do school work and coordinate with my classmates. I would spend hours and hours patiently downloading and uploading edited video projects, and I was ok with it. I was really ok with it. But that was before! Now, I don’t have all the time in the world to wait. My employers don’t have time to wait for me. My job is in jeopardy.

I started to think of other alternatives, like applying for a Globe Platinum Broadband service, or getting an office job. I have been really frustrated and stressed out by this problem. What irks me more is that these agents and engineers cannot fully grasp the extreme hassle and stress this has caused me, my job and my life.

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Globe Platinum Broadband Plans

Yesterday morning (Day 12), someone from PLDT’s tech support team called me up to check if service has been restored on my end. I told them that the situation’s still the same, so they better act promptly and check again. By afternoon, I was informed on Twitter via DM that I was assigned a new ticket number (again!) because the previous has been closed already. Guess what? They have resolved the issue yet I still don’t have my connection restored. What in hell was that, right? So I got myself a new ticket number and was assigned for tech inspection by next week.

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I have my social media eyes on you, PLDT.

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Such fun!

Come evening, and I wanted to follow up. As I was about to call them up, I decided to restart my modem (just in case), and after 5 mins, I was surprised that all the lights are working (Power, DSL and Internet!). So it means, I have my internet restored? I switched my connection immediately from the Smart Bro Pocket WiFi to my PLDT DSL modem…and poof! Faster internet, at long last! But I wasn’t fully convinced still, so I wasn’t that delighted. I want to check it our for 24 hours more and see if this is the real deal – because they have this tendency to return the service for an hour and then it’s gone again. So much for reliable service, right?

Now, more than 10 hours have passed and PLDT’s internet connection is doing good so far. Please do not let me down, again. You have put me in so much stress already, I need a f*ckin’ break.

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Ping test – PLDT Home DSL (restored on day 12)

All that is left to do after 24 hours is to dispute the 12 days of internet with their billing and collections department. I have no plans of paying for service I was unable to use at all. Shitty service, rather. I just hope and pray that it doesn’t happen again, and if it does, I hope it won’t take longer than 3 days because UGH, this dried me up real good.

PLDT, get your act together.

Thank You, Mama

Dearest Ma,

Almost a week ago, you celebrated your 63rd birthday. I did not come bearing gifts or food this time around, and I felt so disappointed in myself. I just lost my phone the other day, and was still in a state of shock. It was the second phone I lost in a span of 6 months. I felt terrible.

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Yet you welcomed me with those warm eyes, served me with delicious Adobo you prepared yourself, and told me that everything will work out soon. I felt like crying inside because the past year has been rough on us yet you are still here, being the best mother I can ever have.

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We may have exchanged hurtful words in the past, I am your daughter after all. You may have been so stubborn to understand my life choices – may they be right or wrong or plain stupid – still, at the end of the day, you embrace me with open arms and still believe that I can be better.

Thank you, Mama. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for everything you have given us. You are the most generous person in the world I know, and for your unconditional love I am beyond grateful to the Lord for the gift of you.

I love you, Mama.

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