At age 40…

On October 2016, I just turned 40-years-old. The third decade of my life has finally ended and I reached yet another decade of living. Hopefully.

My name is Adrianne. I am a web development boot camper nerdette living in the very vast and competitive land known as the San Francisco Bay Area. It is also one of the regions in the country who strive for perfection with health and beauty.1 After all, California is seen as one of the most health-conscious states in the country, after all, dishing out many of these health and beauty trends all over, and the Bay Area is no different. Some of the top 100 healthiest cities in the U.S. are located in the Bay Area: San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, and San Jose, as of early 2017.2 I live in a suburb right next to Fremont, up north.

When I’m not busy looking around while worrying about my health, aside from working, I build and make a number of things: websites (blogs, especially), sample web apps from class projects, art, food, and others. I’m quite a hands-on person, although I also love to relax with a good (e)book, listening to old school music, making some zen art, or write babbles, stories, web development tutorials, and this one. I also spend some time in front of another screen aside from my desktop and laptop: the TV screen. I sometimes watch Netflix with the parents and I casually play video games. I also like to experiment with food: in particular, coffee and tea beverages.

I have somewhat of a long history of health and beauty ailments, so to speak. My American/Western upbringing somehow blinded my Filipino/Asian lifestyle as I grew up until the woes of health and beauty finally woke me up and reach out to my Asian roots and find different approaches to return my balance. After going through different experiments and explorations, I may have found what I have been seeking as my route to regaining my symmetry.

If you’re interested in getting to know my crazy stories related to health and beauty, just keep on reading.

My Story about health

I have been living as a Type 2 diabetic since my mid-20s through family genetics and my very careless American/Western-style diet with a mix of the traditional Filipino diet, with an early peer pressure of trying to look good, both weight-wise and outer beauty-wise. I have gone through struggles of trying to perfect myself and restore my glorious youthful days in order to make myself look and feel better as an adult. Sugar level out of control, weight also going out of control,3 I literally went through health hell.In addition to that, I realized that at my mid-20s that my skin was losing its youthful form, and plain soap and water

In addition to that, I realized that at my mid-20s that my skin was losing its youthful form, and plain soap and water and moisturizing cold cream aren’t helping as much. I knew there was something missing there, but with my skincare ignorance and a low budget, I was completely stuck. More on this later.

Because of this rising level of peer pressure, as well as pressure from my parents and their own definition of perfection, I went through different types of (almost dangerous) methods that many women of this competitive Western world have gone through in order to achieve that so-called perfection: doctor-prescribed diabetic pills that gave me a major struggle on trying to get in the habit of taking them,4 minimal dosage of natural diet pills from green tea weight loss pills to detox pills, diet shakes, crazy ideas of crash dieting, turning myself into some kind of a quasi-Vegetarian/Vegan for a short period of time, South Beach Diet, 10-Day Detox Diet, Paleo diet, diet plans of I don’t know what the hell I’m doing now, etc. etc.

Throughout all those numerous methods, it was very difficult for me to get motivated and getting myself in the habit of following these diet meal plans and even getting used to taking these doctor-prescribed pills. I pretty much self-destructed without even realizing it. I had to follow my out of control biological clock and answer to my unending hunger pangs. The worst part of being a diabetic of any type is the fact that I love food, food responds to me, food and I are one.

I can never forget this particular Christmas Day in 2011 when I made my first stay at the hospital when days prior to Christmas Day that I ended up vomiting everything I ate, ever since I started my usual monthly period. The menstrual pains certainly were bad enough, but throwing up everything I have eaten and drank, even water, was a major bad sign. My father5 rushed me to the emergency room, and after going through tests, the doctor detected that my sugar level completely spiked so much that my body could no longer take any more food and nutrients,6 causing me to vomit all of it. I missed my Christmas Day and stayed at the hospital for about four days. Luckily, I recovered back to my stable self again just before New Year.

With family support, I vowed to start over with re-balancing my healthy lifestyle all over again. No more to hell with it attitudes towards health, especially that I am a diabetic, no more fasting on the “bad foods” that can also be considered a necessity, no more health trend BS. I started taking my time to get back and get the habit of taking my diabetes prescribed medications, monitor my blood sugar attentively,7 and hit the local gym to take advantage of some exercise and workout plans. I discovered workouts based on hip-hop dances and even with Latin dances through Zumba. It was difficult to get in the habit of moving, considering that my past jobs required me to sit down in front of the computer for many days and that I’ve gotten used to being stationary and not move at all.

I also began to eat more properly now. It was then I realized that the only solution to a more balanced, healthier lifestyle is to take everything in moderation. When you think of the word moderation, it’s synonymous (closely) with balance, the whole not too little and not too much, but the just right mindset, have everything central, right in the middle. It’s synonymous with the Yin and Yang philosophy, the center of everything. I never felt so good going through the moderation method that I can eat plenty of good food without exceeding what my body needs, get my swag on when I can to keep active and sweat the radicals out, and my sugar levels and cholesterol levels have improved so much.

My Story about Beauty

The truth about beauty? In the beginning, I didn’t even think about beauty at all. I admit that I’m a late bloomer with a lot of these things.

I was born and grew up my first ten years living in the Philippines. If any of you have never been to the Philippines before, or at least not familiar with the very harsh Asian climate, I’ll be a bit more elaborate. The Philippines, like many Southeast Asian countries, are located quite close to the equator, which usually means, very harsh and humid climates. There are only two seasons known to us over there: the hot and humid “summer” season and the ongoing rainy season. Even with the rain, the ridiculous humidity still remains. The humidity and other harsh climates attracted many little, uninvited critters such as disease-carrying varmints, parasites, and a slew of bacteria and viruses living around the corner.

As a child growing up, I have suffered many ailments that pretty much affected my skin, both body and face: unending styes on my eyes8 and the worst ever, chicken pox.9 Those horrid skin-disease days may be gone, even though they took a while for them to disappear, but both the styes and the chicken pox left me with a few small facial scars here and there.10

And then came the United States. My mom introduced me to using cold cream11 every night after washing at a tender age of 13, still young enough to not even consider going through some skincare regimen, but as everyone says, nothing is too early. I started using it, even letting me borrow her jar of the cold cream. My mom probably thought that because of the genes that we would have the same body markup. Although this was supposed to help me keep a clear skin, the opposite happened. Starting at age 14, I started to get breakouts and zits and blackouts all over the place. Curious, I stopped using cold cream and just stuck with just soap and water.

I tried everything also, with the advice of some family members, such as chopping off a leaf/stem of an aloe vera plant from my dad’s garden, and use its gel to clear out my zits, and other home remedies. My dad grew up from a rural area to a family of farmers and educators and local politicians, and even though he had a successful accounting career,12 he still brought along some traditional home remedies and apply them to us. My breakouts stopped at around age 17, but my mom also advised that in the late teens to the early 20s is when I really need to get serious with the markup of my skin, especially with the face and the neck.

During my college/university days, I still stuck with just soap and water. My primary care doctor and a dermatologist that I had to visit one time before even noted that I still have that youthful glow for my age and that it was still too early for me to delve into a skincare regimen. I also experimented with makeup cosmetics for slightly semi-formal to formal events and some of those products found irritating to my skin. Plus, I can never find my “real colors” when it comes to makeup like eyeshadow or blush and simply stuck with just a compact powder or foundation and lip colors that are closest to my natural lip color. After that period of makeup experimenting, I found myself more appreciative of my natural look and just stuck with face powder and a tinted lip balm or lip gloss that still shows my natural lip color.

After graduation, and landed my first job, I started receiving ads of mail-order only skincare lines with two cosmetic lines: Japanese cosmetic company DHC and the French line CCB Paris.13 What attracted me to those lines wasn’t because they were on the luxury cosmetic level, but also because they were being sold at rather affordable prices. Until CCB Paris ceased to existence, DHC had become my premiere line. Through DHC, I discovered Japanese skincare in general, with the ingredients they would use for their brand14 and the skincare regimen and techniques that Japanese women (and men) would use for their daily routines. Their bestselling product, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, helped me discover the Japanese routine of double-cleansing.

Years pass and I became one of the many who was laid off from their jobs and I ended up being unemployed for about two years. I could not afford any more of these skincare products that I ended up resorting back to soap and water again. I didn’t even think about aiming for drugstore brands should they ever have similar products as the ones I’ve used before. Aside from the health issues, I also began to look a whole lot more miserable and dreadful whenever I looked in the mirror. During my mid to late 30s, I was already showing some signs of aging from mini-wrinkles to impurities like blackheads and a few blotches of acne here and there. There even came a point where the skin around my eye area became swollen as if a bee or mosquito stung or bit on it. I did not look as healthy or as youthful and glowing as I used to be, plus my fluctuating weight, obesity, and diabetes were not helping.

Eventually, I finally found a part-time job that would at least give me some monetary support as I decided to enroll myself in self-learning online classes in my intended field of web development and computer science. Once I earned enough, I ended up looking back to my old skincare routine ways. I discovered new products from specialized cosmetic stores like The Body Shop,15 some drugstore brands like Biore and Neutrogena, and eventually, the booming of the Korean cosmetic industry in this country and around the world. I was skeptical with the latter at first as I was reminded that many of the Korean approaches to their own skincare routines are very similar, if not identical, to the old Japanese skincare that I was so used to during my younger days. However, as I made my own research further, the price and the innovative ingredients that Korean skincare has attracted me. Okay, mainly the price differences.

Today, I still reach out to my love of DHC and Japanese skincare altogether, while at the same time, I began to do some mixing and matching with The Body Shop products, a few drugstore products, and Korean skincare products. Ever since then, I still continue on with the experimenting and the exploring, and along with my new habits of maintaining my diabetes, I feel that I am finally reaching the right but a bumpy path to achieve my symmetry.

Now, at age 40…

I vowed to myself that at age 40 that I would be a whole lot more conscious with my current habits in taking care of my health and natural beauty. One way of recording my experiments and experiences leading me to my path of symmetry is to write about them right here. The journal blog will not just be about my personal experiences, but there will also be a bit of product/technique reviews, opinions about the hype and trends of health and beauty, and everything else related.

I don’t have any form of affiliate links, nor that I am being paid to do these things (although it would be nice as a side income of some sort). I’m not sponsored to do any of these reviews. This is one particular goal that I want to fulfill starting this year of 2017.  I also plan on making this ongoing as well. I may probably not be as super-active as my currently ongoing personal blog, but I would definitely try to be a lot more active than I used to.

There are sidenotes...

  1. with a bit of technology… []
  2. Source: WalletHub []
  3. at one point in my late ’20s, I almost reached 200 lbs., and that is even the BMI (body mass index). It was bad, really bad… []
  4. and I am one of those people who does not get addicted or get into a habit of taking medicines and necessary drugs… []
  5. today, he was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, but he is still standing… []
  6. and the carbs and the sugar along with them… []
  7. every morning []
  8. Styes are nasty little pus-filled pimples that grow on your eyelids or even at that delicate skin underneath the eye. They’re a whole lot worse than your normal zit on the face: they’re very painful, you can feel them being there, the leaking pus is a whole lot worse that you seriously need to protect your eye from it, and no, you do not use something like Clearasil to get rid of it… []
  9. Chicken pox spreads throughout your entire body including your face, which is why it’s a bad idea for you to even spend the time outside because the nasty nature will not be friendly to you with that disease inside of you… []
  10. Now you see why I’ve gotten serious about proper skincare routines and what not… []
  11. Pond’s Cold Cream []
  12. he’s retired now, of course. []
  13. No longer in existence, but I have read that L’Oreal owned the line. []
  14. DHC’s premiere ingredient is the olive []
  15. still one of my favorite stores and I still use some of their awesome products []