Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On Acne + Skin Care

Acne is one of my favorite topics to address with teens at the clinic. Adding acne to the list of life events including going through the funkiness of puberty and all the awkward things that come along with being in middle or high school is not cool. Having acne at this stage in life is really difficult because self-esteem is such a big part of being a teen. You should see the smiles and the look of hope when I tell these teens, "well, let's take care of it!"

One of the reasons I love addressing acne is that I know what it's like to go through it. It sucks.  Although I had great skin and almost no breakouts in high school, when I started college my face decided to go its own way. It got so bad that when I saw an old classmate, she exclaimed "OMG, what happened to your face?!" (Don't worry, I made sure to give her the Awesome Friend of the Year Award afterwards.)

Don't get me wrong - I was secure in who I was as a person and I clung to Psalm 31:30 with dear life. But running around without makeup and exclaiming "I'm beautiful just as I am!!!" while twirling around on green hills Sound-of-Music style with my pimple and pustule-laden face didn't exactly happen. What did happen is that I finally went to a dermatologist and everything cleared up within a few months.

Some practical things that have helped me:

Eat healthy and exercise. I say this because everyone should do this. Also, don't wear makeup to exercise, let your pores be free to sweat out that funk.

Wash your hands. Wash them! Lots! And don't pick at your face. This not only helps minimize break outs, but also minimizes your risk of getting sick.

Use gentle soap. There's no need to spend a lot of money to use fancy pants facial cleansers that work just as well as ones you find at Target. Neutrogena and Cetaphil are some good brands to try.

Stop with the scrubbing. Especially if you have active acne. We all have bacteria that sits on our skin. It's good stuff - helps protect us from the nasty bacteria. However, sometimes the good bacteria can go a little crazy. Using products with physical exfoliants (the stuff with small grain-like substances) or harshly rubbing your face with a wash cloth every single day can be too much, causing tiny breaks in our skin which allows the bacteria to invade. 

Benzoyl peroxide. It's over the counter. Medically, it's considered an effective treatment. I think it's best to go for something that's 5.0% strength or less because this stuff can be strong. Also, this medication is very drying so you must follow it with a gentle facial moisturizer. Start applying every other day and then build up to once or twice daily.

See your healthcare provider. It doesn't have to be a dermatologist. I feel like this is something a lot of people don't do (especially parents of teens - bring them!) There are lots of different treatments out there to take care of acne and your healthcare provider has learned how to do so!

I know, I don't usually write about beauty or skin care, so just consider this some of my "other ramblings" ;)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sessions for Adoption

Another very lovely family is in the process of adopting 2 little ones and you can help!

Help a family adopt + receive photos you'll treasure.

Any one hour photo session $125 and all proceeds go to the Black family's adoption process. It can be a family, graduate, engagement, you-name-it session. Includes full resolution, edited files with printing rights meaning you can print and share to your heart's content. Give one as a gift or treat yo'self! Available in Las Cruces, NM and Atlanta, GA (see dates below).

Las Cruces, NM | now until 12/12

Atlanta area, GA | 12/16 until 12/31

Last year, many of you helped the Dwyer family with their adoption process to bring their 2 little ones home. I'm excited to share that they are home now! :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Importance of Reflection

We often talk about the importance of reflection in graduate school - learning from your experiences to improve your practice/yourself. This is especially important because I want to become a nurse practitioner that is super good at what she does and makes her patients feel cared for.

I've had a diary since I was about 12 years old. I loved writing in it and because it came with one of those really "sturdy" Sanrio locks, I knew that what I wrote in it would forever remain a secret. I wrote my deepest secrets like, "We had pizza - my favorite - for lunch today at school!" and "I'm so mad at Veronica because she took my pencil without asking me." You know, really juicy stuff.

As I grew older, the contents of my diary changed and became more of a prayer journal for me. I'm trying to be more disciplined these days when it comes to reflecting or keeping a journal, something I started doing since our mission trip to Monterrey, Mexico. I admit that it's difficult being consistent and things like "procrastinating from grad school work" and other important things get in the way. But, I know that maintaining a journal will help me grow because it makes me stop and reflect on life. Plus, sometimes it's fun to look back and think "who is this crazy lady?! oh wait, I wrote this..."

Monday, October 6, 2014

12 Rolls of Film | Roll 9 in September

September was - and I feel like I always write this - a busy month for us. Aside from the usual work/school agenda, we also had the blessing of going back to Monterrey, Mexico to work with an organization and create a few short films for a banquet they have coming up in the states. I'll write more on that later.

Although I'm still not a fan of the toy camera, I went back to using another one. This time I used the plastic Konstruktor that we put together ourselves last winter break. There were issues advancing the film and issues with the drugstore film lab not really developing film like they used to. (I figure that within a few months, since we're only down to one, there will be absolutely no place in town to develop film - so sad!). This time, I decided to play around with light leaks and opened the back of the camera to purposefully allow some light in to give a different effect.

  Lomography Konstruktor | Fuji Superia 400

Monday, September 15, 2014

12 Rolls of Film | Roll 8 in August

I think this roll is most appropriate as a goodbye to summer. We had the chance to spend some time in Destin, Florida with family along the crystal clear, emerald waters. With this roll, I learned a lot about metering because I completely messed it up! I forgot about the strong reflection of the sunlight on the sand and how that would affect the images. As with most things in life, I was disappointed that what came out wasn't perfectly lit (perfectionist, anyone?!), but then I remembered that this whole project is about learning film - sometimes you just have to mess things up to get better. Thankfully, film is very forgiving and so not all is completely lost!

Nikon F100 | 50mm f/1.4 | Kodak Portra 400

Saturday, August 23, 2014

12 Rolls of Film | Roll 7 in July

For the month of July, I had the chance to play around with medium format film again. I even had my first (well, accidental) double exposure. What made this roll even more fun was using an old camera from the 1930's that my dad had sitting on his shelf at home - which was very challenging to use, to say the least. I can't help, but wonder about the many different hands this camera has passed through, the different time periods, and the many different pictures that came from it. How amazing would it be to see all those photos and to meet those people?!

Rolleicord Ia | Lomography 100

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Monterrey, Mexico

Growing up in a church, I went on many types of short-term mission trips. Trips to inner-city Philly working in the projects, venturing overseas to work with the beautiful people of East Asia, and staying in Mississippi for a week to help with clean-up efforts after Katrina. I always find that at the end of these trips, my view of the world, others, and myself has changed, even if only slightly.

Our church group went to Monterrey, Mexico under the organization Back 2 Back who exists “to love and care for orphans and vulnerable children, by meeting their spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social needs that they might overcome their life circumstances and break free from the cycle of generational poverty.” 

We loved on children who lived in a children’s home, sweat a lot every day, and played soccer in 104+ degree weather at a squatters village. We met children whose stories would break your heart, and young adults who lived those same stories but because of the love of God and others were full of hope and joy. We saw poverty and we saw joy in the midst of what we thought was poverty.

I actually have no clue how to write and fully convey the experience our team had in Mexico. It’s like when you go on an amazing trip, see something you’ve never seen or experienced before and when people ask how your trip went, all you can think to answer is “good.” -__- And this trip was just that – it was good.

I know a few of us are still processing the trip and haven’t quite figured out what we learned or what was reinforced in our hearts. Maybe that’s a good thing - it will make us continue to think about those children, continue to search our own hearts, and to not forget.