Mangled Angles

Not the proof I was looking for, but I have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that I’m not winning awards for my photography. This most difficult part of this excursion into skincare transformation is taking before and after pictures.

 

 

 

Jordyn’s acne scars are fading, though you can’t tell by my May 29 and June 25 comparison shots. The lighting and angles don’t tell the real life story. I see the drastic changes. So does she.

 

 

But I can tell you how you can tell. All photos on the left side were taken by me on May 29th. Just look in her eyes how thrilled (NOT!) she is for me to be taking these shots. Let’s just say she’s about 100 steps below enthusiastic.

 

But the photos on the right are Jordyn’s. She took them unsolicited by me. Her skin is clear and bright. She’s happy with the improvements. She tells me so almost daily. In fact, it’s a toss up these days as to whose face has changed the most.

Who cares? It’s all wonderful!

Happy Sunday! Though my stomach says “NO!!” to whatever I ate yesterday (bleh!), I’m happy with this beauty’s face first thing in the morning.

 

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5 weeks

When Worlds Collide

Worlds collide, unimagined life pieces fit together, and the puzzle starts to look like the picture on the box. Now, I’m not a subscriber to everything happens for a reason, but I’m comfortable with neither absolute certainty nor complete possibility. Some would say that qualifies me as a wishy-washy relativist.  Maybe. Label me if you must.

Who would have thought I’d love skincare products and big (for me) parties? But I do.  The only reason that’s surprising is I’ve labeled myself as an introvert writer typecast.  Indeed, I’ve spent a long time performing that persona.

Big Parties

So big parties, which I measure as more than four people without dinner and wine as a pretext for being there, test me. I’m talking about socializing, talking to people randomly. Yes, I can do that, have many times, but it never fails that I’ll find myself several times during the event

  1. not knowing where to stand
  2. not knowing what to say
  3. feeling overwhelmed
  4. wanting to find the quiet place

But I enjoyed the big business launch at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. I finally got to meet people I’ve only known on Facebook or gatherings where music precluded conversation.

I also got to learn more about the products and how to educate others about them from my incredible team leader, Lisa. She amazes and amuses me–boundless energy, drive, and creativity.  The edge of admiration and envy teeters.

I get why she’s always pumped about this biz. The quick promotion this generous company allows fuels the fire in me to expand, to build a thriving business. I’ve caught the entrepreneurial spirit. I’m all grown up now.

Go Team! The Team is Me, and You and Me Make Three.

Ordinarily, I don’t like surprises. It’s a control thing. But I like that little bubble that pops at the surface of consciousness occasionally that says, “Hey, look at you having fun breaking out of your self-made chains!”

So hell yeah, I like when someone tells me my face looks great. I like when people love their own changing faces with lotions and potions I’ve shared. I like learning, team-building, overcoming fear, reaching, learning, teaching, and creating.

I especially treasure the opportunity to practice patience, open-heartedness, detachment (in a healthy way), and synthesizing all of what fulfills me, like writing and speaking about health, diet, exercise, technology, and beauty in all its incarnations. And all of this in one place, one occupation–for the first time.

Integrating all the pieces of the puzzle that are my life heals the splinters. How long can you live splintered with what you crave here, you love there, you need there, and you avoid somewhere else? We all crave the union and unity (Isn’t that why we still marry despite the seeming impossibility of that institution?).

Documenting the changes in my face concretizes the seismic internal shift emerging–slowly, immensely.  It helps me stop and take stock, like, “Hey, my face is here 5 weeks into this. What does everything else look like at 5 weeks?”

It’s a great doubling exercise–journaling the outside and inside to audit the match-up. So, without further ado, heeeeeeere’s my face after 5 weeks! Brought to you by the good doctors at Rodan and Fields.

 

Okay, so the face close-ups are not quite at the zen detached, non-judgmental stage yet. Getting closer, though. Better anyhow. The cringe is less visible, let’s just say. But that’s the price to pay for watching the transformation.

Come on now. Who wants to have this much fun watching their metamorphosis? I’ve bribed my family with product to take the plunge and be my living proof. Hit me up in the comments if you want to participate in “the experiment.”

You don’t have to do it here in public, so long as you send me your before and afters as you go.

Peace,

Pam

 

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I’m In

 

Today marks a day over four weeks since I’ve been using the Rodan and Fields Reverse skincare regimen and about two weeks since I added the Redefine regimen at night. So, I do Reverse in the morning and Redefine at night.

I also use the Enhancement products like the Active Hydration serum, the lip serum, Lash Boost, and the eye cream. Though I drank one glass of wine too many the night before this picture on the right and the bags under my eyes prove it, but my skin is so much better!

 

 

There’s more to go on the skincare front, but at least now I don’t cringe when I see a photo of me. I remember how it was a couple of years ago when I had to find an updated profile picture for my professional writing site. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. My face looked so time-ravaged. That’s when I fully became aware of how awful my facial skin looked and made me feel.

I lost confidence. I’ve holed up for the last three years, not necessarily for my bad skin, but that didn’t help either. Now that I’ve forced myself (with the help of my business partner) to take care of myself, I’ve naturally evolved the urge to get out and talk to people, spread the good word, and share my story.

That’s not easy for someone who’s equally introvert and extrovert. The introvert gets overwhelmed while the extrovert keeps jabbering on. I mostly tell the story of and in my skin.

My face, like everyone’s, tells a story of where I’ve been. I’ve held my wrinkles out as the map of life on the soccer field or training circuit for running races.  The deep, pitted divots and creases signal painful anguish over the safety and successes of my children, the loss of my loved ones, and the possibility of failing people who entrusted their lives to me. But some of those deep ravines express loads of laughter and hard-earned wisdom.

Those disappearing lifelines strewn across a face once freckled and plump may not be legible to most people I meet–not even to those I know well.  Who really pays that close attention to my face, right?

I do.

We’re mostly invisible to others because we’re trapped inside minds and bodies that allow us to see only what our minds allow us. Mostly we see and hear our inner world, blind to much that surrounds us (or maybe that’s just me). Science tells us we don’t see reality as it truly exists (how can we know that if we don’t see reality as it exists?). I now see a face in the mirror that pleases me so much more, real or imagined. And that perception, that reaction of pleasure, has opened up possibilities.

We get opportunities, and we lose them.  The object is to grow the opportunities we dig up and those that get dropped in our laps more than we lose them. I’m not taking this progress of good skin, business opportunity, and expanded social networks for granted.

I’m all in.

Happy Father’s Day to my dad and husband. Love is not a big enough word.

 

 

I’m Hooked

So this happened today…

I’m way too excited to be part of the Rodan and Fields company! I appreciate all the support from my friends, family, and mentor/team leader.  I’m so fortunate.

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Cheers!

Pascal

This is Pascal, the other half of my marital entity. He’s a good sport and a great friend. We’ve been married for 37 years, just about grown up together, so we naturally support each other’s endeavors as much as we’re critical of one another. But, he’s a hell of a lot better at withholding judgment about my new adventures than I am about his.

We complement each other that way. When he’s adventurous but unrealistic, I jump to the cautious curb and question his ideas until I’ve parsed everything that could possibly go wrong. When I’m not pursuing my dreams hard enough or not dreaming enough–period, he pushes me to let go, have faith.

But I’ve also been his voice of reason and cheerleader as he has been mine. We’re as different and separate and independent as two roommates paying the rent, sometimes, and life-long friends when we’re sitting down to dinner with a bottle of wine–and share that identical glint in our eyes and slight nod of the head after the first sip that we mutually silently agree, “uh huh, yep, she’s good.”

We share so many of the same tastes and values even as he appears to be from Venus and I from Earth. I know everything and nothing about him. I wonder if he’d say the same.

Yes, he’s a good guy. He agreed to be my guinea pig too.

He likes the skincare products I’ve asked him to diligently apply day and night. He uses the Rodan and Fields Soothe regimen for sensitive skin and psoriasis he’s battled since I’ve known him.

Judging from this two week before and after shot, it seems to be working.

 

You can see the flakiness between his eyebrows from psoriasis in the first photo. His forehead is dry and rough. But after two weeks, the flakes are gone and his forehead is smooth. Even the laugh lines around his eyes are not as deep. His skin is brighter too.

I’d say Rodan and Fields has been good to him. His skin, which is always dry, is sucking up the hydrating goodness. Although, he says it’s harder for him to see the changes since he sees his face every day. I think he’ll be pleased when he sees these two photos.

Can you see the difference?

Two-week Trudy

Trudy started the Reverse Lightening regimen two weeks ago and already her skin looks brighter and smoother. In fact, all four of us (my husband, daughter, Trudy, and I) glow. It seems the earliest results of this skin care line is brightening and smoothing. Fine with me.

 

In only two weeks, her skin is less bumpy and less dry. Compare the forehead, cheek, and eye edges to see the emerging effects. I know she’s happy with results so far.

After taking her picture last night, I showed her the amp roller, which I use to till my skin before bathing my skin in the liquid gold, Active hydration serum. It’s a funny sort of toy-looking object with its own little case that I still can’t quite figure out.

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Yeah, that guy. Except I use the Active hydration serum after rolling instead of the Redefine Night Renewing Serum. This week, anyhow. I have to admit that I’ve been having fun just trying everything to see how it all works and feels.

Trudy likes the both products–roller and serum–and wasn’t deterred by the whole Medieval torture-like poking holes in her skin. The tiny pricklings have grown on me. The price, however, was a little startling

I have to admit I didn’t know how much the thing cost and would not have guessed it cost over a hundred bucks. I guess that’s because it’s not perishable but a staple (hopefully for a lifetime to get the most bang for your buck).

Then again, given that women spend 2.9 billion a year on anti-aging skincare products a year, maybe that shouldn’t surprise me. 

What absolutely stunned me was the cost of laser surgery. While I waited for my daughter to get her Rejuvederm several months ago, the esthetician visited me and my wrinkly-ass face to recommend a “procedure.” The awful one would confine me to solitary for something like five days, and the other one was not as life-altering but also not as deeply curative.

It costs anywhere from 2 to 8k to get face laser surgery.  A chemical peel costs about a grand to 3 grand. It all depends on your location and doctor.  Ouch, ouch, and ouch.  It’s not even so much the cost as the pain and pulverizing of a laser. I only endure pain when absolutely necessary (dentistry and childbirth). But that’s me.

As for my sister and me, we’ve got time to peel away the years sunken into our cheeks and jowls. Although, she’s got far less to repair than I do. She’s nearly four years older than I, and people have always asked if I was the older one, even when we were teenagers. She inherited the good skin and the good hair.

I’m grateful for my sister, not only for being my guinea pig, supporting me in this new endeavor, and knowing every lyric to every Beatle song ever written but for telling me the truth.  My skin has changed dramatically. Pictures don’t tell the true story. She showed me the real state of my skin before embarking on this journey.

The true picture: my skin is badly damaged. I always knew it. But hearing it from someone I trust looking from the outside, I was both confirmed and astonished.  You know how you’re sometimes shocked by a truth you’ve  always already known? I thought because it was my eyes surveying the damage on my face, my opinion was untrustworthy. But I was right. It was as bad as I thought.

Yes, I’m pleased to be on the road to repairing my skin so that I don’t look 15 years older than I am.  More than that, the pleasure of seeing and feeling silkier, brighter, and well-hydrated skin on and around me grows daily.

I can’t wait for next week’s check-in. Hopefully, with a new business partner too!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I see changes. People around me see changes. My skin is brighter, shinier, and healthier looking. I love that.

But not only outside changes. The subtle outer softening and brightening skin tone seeps inside. My inner tone is changing too. A new light emerges–slowly.

Lightness is a state of being more than weight, skin tone, or even mindset. It’s about choice.

For example, my encounter at Starbucks this morning rode the edge of a hostile or happy outcome. The place was crowded. I was waiting for a friend to arrive for our appointed chat over a cuppa Jo. I sat at a table with three seats and got up to order a coffee, leaving tote bag and keys on the table.

When I came back, a couple sat at two of the chairs at the table, despite my territory clearly staked out. Ordinarily, that would rattle me not just a little. I’ve got anger issues sometimes, no doubt. But today, I calmly spoke, “Oh, I was expecting to use two of the chairs.”

They both looked up and the woman said, “We’ll get up.” But they didn’t. I sat down in the vacant third seat, and my friend arrived. She asked if we should go somewhere else, but I told her that they said they’d move.

She waited in line for her drink; the couple at the table got their drinks and got up to go. I was struck at how civil and easy it was. I expected a confrontation at some point and braced myself for it somewhat while keeping passive and hopeful on the outside.

I’ve witnessed so much hostility in simple exchanges between people lately–let alone everywhere in the world–that I was genuinely grateful that they didn’t try to justify their behavior or project blame on me (probably not cool that I took the table before getting my drink and was prepared to give the table up to someone with drinks already).

I reached into my bag and handed the woman a mini facial packet and said, “Here, have a free mini facial on me, and thank you for being a decent human being.” She was happy to receive it, though her table mate asked, “Where’s mine?” We laughed, and all ended well.

Ordinarily, if I didn’t grumble something sarcastic, I would have tried to burst them into flames with my glare and hostile vibes. But that instinct stayed buried. And I’m pleased it did.

Changes are emerging. I’m not suggesting the Rodan and Fields skincare products on my face produce miraculous personal growth. That’s happening because it’s time for it to happen. But all invisible forces converging at once–inner and outer–are peeling away the layers of unwanted ruts and ravines, habits and impulses, a microscopic layer at a time.

Time. I breathe the mantra over and over daily. It takes time.

On the wrinkles and age spots front, there’s still the problem of lighting, position, and angle for proper comparison, but I’m surrendering to my photography skills as they are. Sometime in a few weeks or so, I’ll return to the very spot and hour that the first photo was taken and have the person who took it do the final comparison shot properly.

For now, this is what I have:

 

 

 

What do you think?

Face Yoga

Face yoga is a series of exercises that promise to do for your face what yoga does for your body: relax and tone muscles. Is one of your eyebrows raised as you read this? That’s face yoga. (Kind of.)  totalbeauty.com

I’m researching this subject for a client. In fact, I’m writing a short book about it.  While most of what I’m finding is common sense–to remain firm, your face muscles need a workout too–I’m conflicted about some of the fantastic beauty claims some writers or practitioners make about face Yoga.

First off, what does that really mean? Doesn’t Yoga involve all of your body, including your face? You breathe. You bend. You lower your head down into gravity. It all touches your face somehow with blood and air flow. Ujaii breath is throaty breath. Does that count as your face?

Proponents of face Yoga as an anti-wrinkle solution, like Yoga instructor, Annelise Hagen, claim that face yoga exercises and relaxes your face muscles to counteract the wrinkle-causing grimacing we do all day.

But Jeffrey Spiegel, M.D., cosmetic surgeon, counters that all that moving of your face causes more wrinkles in the skin, which is where wrinkles develop, not in the face muscles.

I’m still researching in order to reach my conclusions. However, I do know health is beauty. Exercising, relaxing, strengthening, and nourishing well (depending on each person’s condition) affect attitude, cells, muscle, bones, and skin.

There’s no magic potion. You are a network of touch points for beauty. The journey from youth to maturity requires adjustments to create balance. As a teenager, I could skip lunch to burn the calories from the french fries of the night before.  At 25, that method didn’t work. I needed to add regular exercise to maintain my weight.

The same with cosmetics and skincare products. Soap and water worked until it didn’t. My skin was clear and wrinkle-free until it wasn’t. We’re fluid beings. Maintaining equilibrium takes constant recalibrations of the formula: diet, exercise, stress-reduction, hair products, clothing, and skin care. Even your car model changes to suit your phase.

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Jordyn

This is Jordyn. She’s my older daughter and, despite the look on her face in this picture, a willing participant in my skincare adventure and science experiment.

 

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Her eyes express the cringe she’s experiencing inside, I’m sure. She has little faith in my photography skills–and for good reason.

Jordyn suffers from acne, or, at least, did. Her skin is much clearer now, but she has the scars to prove her high school outbreaks from several years back. Most people who see her now wouldn’t know it since she’s mastered the art of natural-looking makeup. Her face is naked here.

What is Beauty?

My firstborn has taught me a thing or two about beauty. She gathers a lot of hair, makeup, and cosmetic enhancement tips and ideas from social media and the net. In fact, the before and after picture on Instagram that began her quest for a non-invasive nose job led to her undergoing cosmetic “surgery.”

She’s 21. I was against this injectable, Juvederm, that she wanted under her skin to even out the line of her nose and make her “bump” disappear. Shouldn’t she be old before she starts with cosmetic surgery?

My judgments and prejudices kicked in immediately. “Why do you want to inject a foreign substance into your bloodstream?” I asked (I wanted to make it sound dangerous). She assured me it was safe, she was fine with it, and she wanted to do it.

So she did. I watched the procedure after interrogating the doctor with my concerns. Apparently, the stuff is made from a substance your body produces naturally. I was assured.

Some dozen or so needle pokes, a few thousands of dollars, and fifteen minutes later, her nose was transformed.

Her nose looked straighter. But more importantly, I could see instantly that she felt wonderful looking in the mirror. Her appearance was that much closer to what she wanted to see. And she was happy.

In that moment–in her approving smile at her reflection–she taught me something about beauty. It’s not only in the eyes of the beholder, but we’re all beholden to it. Who doesn’t want to feel it, see it, and be it?

No More Acne Scars, Please.

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Jordyn just started the Rodan and Fields Unblemish regimen a week ago. I’ve taken before and after pictures, but, as usual, my angles and lighting are slightly off. Still, I can see changes already in her skin tone. The right one is the before.

 

 

The acne scars will take time to fade.  By then, my photos might improve too 🙂

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