In my well-documented struggle with hormonal cystic acne, I think I've finally found two products that are actually effective in treating these embarrassing, painful bumps!

For a brief summary, I was on birth control pills during the entirety of my twenties, so my skin was mostly clear. I would get the occasional breakout here and there, but nothing major. However, once I went off of birth control a couple years ago, my hormones went crazy. I expected as much, but I had no idea how often I'd be dealing with cystic bumps on my chin. Add on extra stress from the pandemic, and this past Spring caused my skin to break out like I've never experienced before. I was diligent about my skincare routine, I changed my eating habits, I drank a lot more water, and I definitely kept my hands off my face. I also tried switching to oil-free products, but I was still getting one or two cystic bumps every month, usually a week before my menstrual cycle. I almost made a dermatology appointment in May, but I decided to try one last product first. If I didn't see any improvement, I'd go ahead with the dermatologist.

In my incessant research, I came across Renee Rouleau's blog and was happy to see that she has products that specialize in treating cystic chin acne. There are so many acne products on the market, but they're mostly for "normal" breakouts like blackheads and whiteheads. Cystic pimples are deep in the skin, and are much harder to treat. You really have to baby them, otherwise the risk of further damaging your skin and causing massive scarring can occur.

I was only going to buy the Anti-Bump Solution, meant as a spot treatment as soon as you start feeling the cyst coming on, but I noticed that she actually makes a chin breakout treatment kit. Hello! These two products feel like they were made for me. Used together, they are a powerful duo.

The Rapid Response Detox Masque is formulated with key ingredients like tea tree oil (which is a natural microbial that deep cleans and eliminates bacteria within minutes). It also contains lactic acid and salicylic acid. I use this masque once per week and leave it on for about 15 minutes. It feels nice and cooling.

About a week and a half before my menstrual cycle, I begin using the Anti-Bump Solution (which is clear) all over my chin and jawline before bed every night. What I find especially beneficial is that this serum doesn't dry my skin out whatsoever like some topical treatments do. If I feel any slight pain (a sign that a bump is forming), I use the solution right on that specific area, morning and night. I actually felt one the other night, and by the next morning, it was completely gone!

You can also use these products on other parts of the face, but my acne is concentrated on my chin. Sometimes I'll get a pimple in between my eyebrows, but that doesn't occur very often.

I'm not claiming my skin is perfect now, but since using this kit I haven't had a single massive breakout and these products are the only things I've changed in my routine. I'm going to continue to monitor everything. The safest bet if you do have any skin issues is to go see a dermatologist, and I'm keeping that in mind if the problem returns or worsens. But if you've tried other acne treatments and nothing has worked yet, try this!

This post is in no way sponsored...just my honest thoughts. Let me know if you have any questions and I hope you enjoyed my review.


The last few weeks have been really difficult, and that's why I haven't posted. I'm sure the last thing you want to read is any more bad news, so I figured I could instead use the time to collect myself, and forge ahead when I could blog about something fun for a change! These photos were taken over a month ago, after things started opening back up in California. It was my first time dressing up since March, and it felt absolutely amazing to put on a new little Summer dress, carry my favorite Summer bag, and enjoy an evening walking through a winery again. It was a glimpse of normal, though it was eerily quiet as Nate and I took photos along the path. Not a single soul was around, no sounds of wine glasses clinking in the background. Still, we made the most of it and took in the blooming scenery. We both laughed at our awkwardness doing something we'd done a hundred times. He forgot how to work the camera, I forgot how to pose (which let's face it, has never stopped me before). It almost felt like a first date.

Wearing a sold out MinkPink dress, Jeffrey Campbell sandals, Clare V. bag

Shortly after, California reimposed shutdowns, and that's where we stand today. Our state has been hit fairly hard, and I don't know where we will go from here. I'm praying for the best possible outcome, but I find myself worrying most days. I really miss everything about life before Covid. I apologize for my absence and for the haphazard way I've been running this blog. It's basically the way life is at the moment. Thankfully, I know you understand.


"Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?"
Henry David Thoreau

It's difficult to sum up the month of June 2020. It was challenging, heartbreaking, emotional, optimistic, a time for reflection, love, growth. I feel like everyone is learning a lot right now, myself included. I've read more in the past few weeks than I read all of last year. I struggled a lot with anxiety, but I had more tools in my arsenal to help me manage. 

I keep doing something I shouldn't do though, and that's replaying the past. This time last Summer I was on an epic road trip, making my way through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. I was virtually carefree, mimicking the winding open roads, hills, and rivers we chased down in our car. Last Summer wasn't that long ago but it feels like it happened in a dream. I don't know...I really don't think I'm handling things well. Most people are being cautious in regards to the pandemic, but they are still managing to live their lives as best they can. Some days I feel like I just put mine on pause indefinitely. When will I be able to press play again? 

I'm just being honest. That's where I'm at right now. But don't worry, I still have my monthly recap for you :)

I finished burning my first Homesick candle and decided to turn the container into a vase. These beautiful nude-pink carnations are sitting on the kitchen table. They may not be considered chic flowers (I know plenty of people steer clear of them) but I love carnations. They seem to last a long time too. 

To repurpose any candle: 
1. Burn the candle down to the very bottom, and then wait a couple minutes to scoop out the warm wax. You can also throw some hot water into it to soften the wax. I just used a large spoon and the wax/leftover wick came right out.
2. Using a large bowl with soap and warm water, wash the container out using a scrub brush. I let mine sit in the bowl for a few minutes as well. 
3. Dry the inside and outside with a towel and voila, a new flower vase, makeup brush holder, etc. is ready to be used. 

Getting outside is one of the only things I'm comfortable doing right now. My in-laws have a beautiful backyard with a pool that's been our go-to spot on the weekends. We always take Nettie. She's a great swimmer but is afraid to get in, so we make sure to strap a life vest on her and do our best to encourage her into the water with treats. 

I got my hair cut on June 12th, where my stylist took two inches off of dead, dry ends. It felt glorious! I'm going back in August for a color refresh. Although I love the warmth of my current balayage, I'm still planning on going a bit darker again. I want my hair to be even more low maintenance in the Fall. 

I finished reading Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. I don't do book reviews (you should check out my friend Rachelle's blog and Gina's blog for those) but I think I'm going to attempt a post about this one because there is just so much to discuss! Especially as it relates to mental health and therapy. 
I also ordered Heart Talk by Cleo Wade, and want to get her other book called Where to Begin. My goodness she has a way with words. 

I started following this account on Instagram and it has done wonders for my feed. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Reminder that you are loved, you are doing great, keep going. 


I bought most of these products in April, and since I've had time to put each of them to the test, I wanted to share my feedback. From now on, I will do monthly reviews on the beauty products that I have purchased from either a month or two before. I love sharing my honest opinions, and hope that some of you will find them helpful in case you are thinking of trying them too!

Tatcha The Silk Peony Eye Melt Cream:
I really wanted to fall in love with this eye cream, but after using it every morning and evening for two months, I don't think I'll buy it once it runs out. The formula feels thin, and I prefer a thicker, richer consistency. It absorbs very quickly which makes it ideal for daytime, but it doesn't provide enough lasting moisture. I also haven't noticed much of a difference in my under eye area, and for the price, I expected at least some change in puffiness and dark circles. I absolutely love my Tatcha silk canvas primer and was certain that an eye cream by the brand would blow me away, but I'm disappointed. I plan on going back to Origins or Kiehls in the Fall when I really need extra hydration.

Recommend: No

Drunk Elephant Time to Wake Up: 
These serums are bundled together and I use them as such, so it's hard to tell which makes more of a difference in my skin. I use one small pump of each, mix them in on my fingertips a bit, and then pat them onto my skin before my moisturizer/sunscreen. The C-firma is very sticky and smells unpleasant, while the B-hydra is smooth with not much fragrance. Once applied, the scent goes away and the texture of my skin immediately softens. They do provide some sort of a glow as well. I really love the idea of a "time to wake up" serum in the morning, but I wouldn't say that it's absolutely necessary. A good eye cream and an allover moisturizer with SPF does the trick!

Recommend: Yes, if your skin is dull and needs something extra

Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo: 
I initially loved this shampoo, but after a few weeks, I am now on the fence! It makes my hair incredibly soft, adds a ton of moisture, and smells like candy. You also need the tiniest pea sized amount! The only downfall is that because it's so thick, you really need to make sure that you rinse it out extremely well or otherwise it will leave a film. You also need to use a clarifying shampoo a couple times a month in order to get rid of any buildup, but I do that anyway because I've had some issues with my scalp in the past. It would be amazing to find a shampoo that takes care of every problem, but I have yet to discover one. I think if you have super thick, damaged, or color-treated hair then you will enjoy this shampoo. I'm going to keep using it.

Recommend: Yes, but don't use too much and rinse well

Blossom Nail Polish Remover Spring Bouquet: 
Since I'm back to doing my own manicures (even before Covid really), I was down to the last drop of my previous polish remover and was wanting one that didn't contain acetone. My cuticles are always dry, and acetone makes the dryness and peeling worse. I spotted this at Target and decided to give it a go. It's organic, acetone-free, and doesn't smell like a typical nail polish remover. The floral scent is okay, but the reason why I like it so much is that it feels like a cuticle oil! It's actually moisturizing which totally surprised me. It does take a little more patience to remove polish, but it does the trick! I haven't tried it on real gel polish (only gel-like such as Essie's gel couture), but I'm really happy with this safe, non-toxic formula.

Recommend: Yes

I hope you enjoyed these reviews, and let me know if you've tried any of the products! I have some good stuff to review next month.


I've gone through so many thoughts and emotions over the last few weeks. Name it and I've probably felt it. In my last post, I mentioned not knowing my place here anymore. I've gone back and forth over whether to continue blogging or to close it down, but ultimately I still have things I want to document, both fun and more personal. My voice may not always be necessary, I may hesitate when certain events are happening that I don't know how to process, let alone write about. But I do want to keep going, because I probably need this space and need you way more than you need me. I've been alone in quarantine a lot, and blogging has offered me a window to the outside world. While our state continues to reopen at a rapid pace, I'm still nervous about venturing out. While most people I know are heading to public spaces again, I'm taking my time and doing things very slowly. I mean, getting my haircut was a huge deal for me!

So moving forward, I will continue to focus on the things I love like beauty products, my style, and mental health posts. Please know that I'm very much aware of the history-making events taking place in our country right now, and that I stand in solidarity with black and brown voices. It's also pride month, and I stand with the gay community as well.

 I will only produce content that I truly love and am passionate about, and that sometimes will include heavier topics, especially as they relate to mental health. But, I'll also get back to talking about less important things like style and beauty. We could all use a little of that, right? I haven't used affiliate links since March, but I'm going to incorporate them again in case you're ever interested in the exact products I buy and use. I won't link similar products any longer, only exact because I want to provide more transparency with you...if I haven't actually bought the product or item myself, then how can I even recommend it? I do want to make some small changes to my actual blog (I'd love to ditch the name and just blog under my own) but that will come later. It's true the world has changed so much over the last few months, and as I struggle to keep up, I am doing my best to embrace it. I think if this happened a couple years ago, I would have completely fallen apart and gone into a full-blown depression. Thankfully, I have done some actual hard work on myself, and I am better equipped now to pivot and deal with the changes. If you have anything you'd like to discuss, let me know in the comments. I love hearing from you!

Thank you for reading,



Since my initial post about George Floyd's death and how I was feeling about everything last Monday, I've spent some real time engaging in difficult conversations with my family. Nate and I have also had some discussions that we've never had before in all the years we've known each other, and it became abundantly clear - we grew up in a bubble, and we have absolutely no idea what it's like to live in this country as a black person. The area we live in is finally becoming more diverse, we are surrounded by people who don't look like us in our neighborhood, but just a few short years ago that wasn't the case. When we went to elementary, middle, and high school, that was not the case. It wasn't until I got into college that I finally began seeing what diversity looks like, and it definitely opened me up to new friends, teachers, and colleagues. Then when I started counseling youth with "behavior problems" and especially kids in foster care, I began to see the inequities in our systems and it made me so angry. They were disproportionately BIPOC and LGBTQIA. I had some incredibly heartbreaking conversations with kids about the things they had experienced in their formative years, the violence they saw so close to home, their longing for a parent who was incarcerated or killed, cycles of addiction and poverty, abuse at the hands of adults, and their desire to break free and live a happy life. After six years of enjoying and learning from my role, the reality of the system began to wear on me emotionally and I left my job. I didn't know how to be of service to others when I was struggling to take care of my own mental health. There are days when I wish I hadn't left, feelings of guilt for not doing more. But regret does nothing to advance the causes I believe in. Contributing can start or re-start anytime. It's never too late. Why not now?

People often ask me what I did at the organization I worked for, and although I always tried my best to explain it (behavior specialist doesn't quite cut it) the main thing I tell people is that I listened. I worked with kids of all ages, allowed them to say whatever they needed to tell me, encouraged and supported them with their plans of care, visited their schools, talked with their teachers and therapists, provided them with resources...but listening was always my focus.

I'm still listening. I have so much learning to do, and instead of feeling shame in that, I'm actually excited to have the opportunity and the privilege to learn from others. I'm grateful that my mind is fully open, as I wish others would be opened as well. I've donated, signed petitions, have unfollowed people that aren't part of a solution, and am committing myself to doing more research before giving my money to companies and brands. But I know that the real work is within myself and my local community. That's where I can have the biggest impact. This year has been hard on all of us, but it's also been the big push that we needed in order to really change and grow. When I have moments of doubt, I try to quickly snap out of that mindset and focus on the gratitude that I am here with breath in my lungs and a beating heart. There's always room for more love, growth and understanding.

Part of having a little space on the internet is being able to share with you, and I want to do just that. Here are some creators, bloggers, and writers I want to spotlight for their amazing talents, experiences, and voices.

Tia Meredith is a powerful force. She is a writer, book coach, and all-around amazing woman. I briefly met her at an event in San Diego, and she is someone that any of us can learn a lot from. Her instagram is one you should follow. 

Rachelle is not only one of my favorite bloggers, she is also a friend. I'm learning so much from her. I've linked to her blog many times over the years, so I'm sure many of you know her, but if not then you need to! Also check out her fashion inspo account on Instagram.

Natasha is another blogger that I've followed over the years. She is such a genuine person and her positive energy and kindness always lights up my feed on Instagram.

Krystal Festerly is an artist and writer. She makes beautiful jewelry, trays, and coasters from hand pressed flowers. Her vibrance comes through in everything she creates.

Funmi Monet is a beauty enthusiast who has introduced me to some gorgeous products and brands. Her content is enviable, fun, and uplifting.

I hope you'll follow each of these ladies! Please share any of your recommendations below, especially if you know of more writers.

I will be back next week (I think). I'm not sure where my blog fits in anymore, but hopefully I can figure that out soon. I still enjoy documenting parts of my life and connecting with you. But sometimes, I feel like a dinosaur in this space and have had thoughts of moving on for longer than I care to admit. Anyway, thank you all so much for reading.