My Skin History: Acne, Stress, and Feel Bads

When I was younger: no responsibilities, no stress, and baby smooth skin!
Warning: this is a very text heavy post. Haha. It probably doesn't need to be this long, but whatever, you're all gonna hear about my skin woes from beginning to now.

tl;dr- 1) my skin was pretty bad, but now it's pretty good. 2) stress sucks and might be the reason you're breaking out. 3) it might seem like you're never going to achieve clear skin, but it is possible and i hope you find what works for you! 4) what works for someone else might not necessarily work for you. in my experience, there is no such thing as a "cure." just try to nuture your skin and it will heal itself. i love this skin&tonics blog post about the moisture barrier. 5) bad skin can make you feel worse about yourself, which is a vicious cycle. try to be optimistic and don't let it stress you out even more. it can and will get better. treat yo'self (to a nap or a massage)! 6) maybe see a dermatologist! 7) asian skincare was a revelation!

While I was going through puberty, I didn't break out much. And I'm pretty sure that I had pretty "clear" skin when I was in high school. I used to get a pimple (or two! or three!) every month, but I think most people are that way (darn hormones!). If you don't, then you are truly #blessed. ;)

It wasn't until I started college that I started breaking out. I was majoring in engineering and I was overwhelmed from the very first semester! These breakouts would come and go throughout the five years it took for me to graduate. I amount I felt stressed out depended, more or less, on my coursework and whatever life circumstances were happening. And I didn't really know how to manage it at the time except for just pushing through and hoping for the best. (So much crying! So many existential crises!)

I remember feeling super awful whenever my skin would get bad. I would wear foundation to cover it up and sometimes I wouldn't even want to leave the house because I felt so bad. Typing that out just made me sad. Haha! The worst part about it is that I think some people assumed that I was using crap products or not washing my face or something intentional. I tried everything. I would research on the internet about "cures." The thing is that everyone's skin is different. And what works for one person won't necessarily work for another. (Cut out dairy! Apply tea tree oil or honey or apple cider vinegar or this miracle ingredient! Use this ONE brand of products! Make a blood sacrifice to the skin gods!). Sometimes it felt like I was pretty much doomed/cursed to live a life with acne. Or that maybe it was just the way my skin was due to genetics. Thanks, Dad! :) In retrospect, I should've probably seen a dermatologist, but you know... lack of insurance and money. *woo, college!*

Hello! It's been a while.

churaumi aquarium okinawa japan flowers display landscape manta ray flower
Hello! It's Me at Churaumi Aquarium (Okinawa, Japan)

Hello All! It's been a LONG while. The last time I posted was in May 2015, while I was still on vacation in Japan. Yes, I'm a huge procrastinator. I still have a few presents from my trip that I haven't sent out. I'm horrible! But anyway, I'm going to try to get back into blogging. If you noticed, I purchased a domain name, kind of as a spur of the moment thing! It was $12 for a year, which isn't going to break the bank for me (even though I don't think I need it). I was debating on picking a catchier name, but in the end I was like, "mehhh... I don't care!" Some might think, "what the heck is cathyahh anyway?" But it's a username I've been using for so long now, it felt weird to choose something else.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it in the past, but we have two kitties now! Wedge, a tuxedo cat, and a big ball of striped fluff named Dash. We took Dash in for his annual exam a month ago and the vet thinks he's part maine coon, which makes sense! He's not incredibly huge, but he is bigger than Wedge and he weighs a couple pounds more. Plus, he's so fluffy!

tabby striped cat part maine coon dash
Look at him in all his fluffy glory!

It's crazy to think that he used to be such a tiny kitten!

A photo posted by ���������� ���������� (@cathyahh) on

Anyway, I hope to write more soon and on a (slightly more) regular basis! I have some things that I want to share, for any of you out who cares! Haha.

I'll leave you with a picture of Wedge dressed up as a unicorn:
wedge cat tuxedo black white unicorn outfit costume

See you soon!

Okinawa Vacation!

I haven't been posting lately, obviously. I feel like there is not enough time in the day to do everything I need/want to do, especially after being at work for 10 hours. It's like, I want to blog, but I also want to relax on the couch and maybe do yoga. And then maybe cook dinner.

Anyway, I just started working almost a year ago, and I have been hoarding my leave days since then. I was scared that they were not going to approve my vacation because I'm going to be gone for 2 weeks, but they did! In fact, I might have been a little more stressed out about leaving than anyone else. Even now, it's a little hard not to think about what is happening at work and what sort of emails and voicemails I'm receiving... I'm trying hard to relax and have fun with my family!

My parents moved to Okinawa about a year ago for a job and my sister just graduated from college, so it just felt like the perfect time to go on a long vacation and see everyone again. And I'm very glad that my husband was able to come with me. It's been so nice to hang out as a family! My sister and I were actually born here while my dad was stationed here in the 80s. I don't remember Okinawa from that time, so it's super cool to come back. So far, I love it! It reminds me of Hawaii and Guam. I think I just miss that island life.

These are some pictures that I took during the first couple of days that we've been here:

View from my parent's balcony. They live next to a canal and a few blocks from the ocean. 
My sister next to a statue of a Shisa Lion-Dog. These things are everywhere here. I love them!
I thought this llama wearing an aloha shirt was super cute.

Giving Presence

Not sure why it is the way it is, but the holidays are stressful. It always feels like there isn't enough time to do all the things that we need to do. And perhaps we are under more pressure during these times with all the parties and cheer and shopping and presents. It's a reason why this December yoga challenge that I've been doing has been a blessing for me. I'll admit that I have skipped a couple days, but it has motivated me to do yoga a lot more than I would have done otherwise.

I'm also doing this thing where I try not to be on my phone all the time, especially when I'm eating dinner or my husband is trying to talk to me (he hates it!). I think that I use my phone to escape from life and what's currently happening, but I need to be give presence to people that I care about by listening and paying attention to them. It seems like such an obvious thing, but I have been guilty in the past of paying attention to my phone more than the people around me. SORRY!

Here are a couple pics from my challenge.

Love this passive hip opener.
Chaturanga Dandasana (low plank). This looks easy, but it's harder than it looks!
Tree pose in front of our Christmas Tree! It's fake and came pre-lit. I love it! XD
This is my first time doing this pose. It's easier than it looks, but still hard for me. but I'm so surprised that I was even able to do this!
I love that when I do yoga, I'm able to just be present in the moment and listen to what my body is telling me. I feel like it's super good for my mental health. I am prone to anxiety and I noticed that yoga has alleviated a lot of those anxious feelings for me. It has taught me to let go of things that I cannot change and I am thankful for that.

Also, I'm going to also admit that I have skipped the last two days (I still have to make them up!). I briefed the wing deputy commander and other command leaders and representatives about energy and water usage on the base this past fiscal year. It was incredibly stressful for me because it was my first time and I do not like speaking publicly. However, I survived. Then I jumped off the wagon by taking a nap immediately after work and just LETTING GO. Haha. Then Dash (who is our new kitty, btw!!! I guess I'll write about him later) had his first vet visit yesterday (which was my day off). I also mailed out my Christmas presents to my parents and sister (haaayyyy!). Then we had my squadron's Christmas Party last night! Today we have a birthday party and then a Christmas Pig Roast to go to... It's definitely been hard to find time to get on my mat these past couple of days. Apologies. But I finally feel stress-free now. Well, there are still a couple things that I need to get done at work before Christmas, but I'm not even going worry about it. :)

How are you all faring during the holiday season? I am so behind on reading my blog feed!

Christmas 2014 Wishlist

I am not sure about anyone else, but I've been so busy lately! A meeting at work has crept up on me suddenly and I had to scramble this week to prepare for it (I blame Thanksgiving). I was put in charge of this "energy watch" group when I first started and this quarter will be my first in-person meeting that I have to brief. Which is fine. But kind of stressful! My anxiety is through the roof! So, I compiled a list of things that I'm dreaming about for Christmas because it makes me feel a little better. My husband and I actually don't really exchange gifts. I'm not too big on presents. Plus, I like to buy things for myself if I want something, which sounds kind of selfish... What I mean to say is that I like giving gifts more than I like receiving them. After I am done buying presents for my family, I will look into buying stuff for myself. ;)

These have been on my mind lately:
cathyahh christmas 2014 wishlist w3ll people kate spade jo malone sk-ii madewell sonnet james

I have been using the NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder and it works well for me. However, I saw this Bio Brightener Duo set in the Birchbox shop and I have been wanting to try it! I will probably wait until after I finish my NARS setting powder though (which will probably take me FOREVER because it lasts a long time even though I use it every day!). But that highlighter... I've heard a lot of good things about it. And I like how both of these products are made with natural/organic, non-harsh ingredients. I got to choose one of my December Birchbox samples this month and I picked this. :) We'll see if I like it.

TWO: Kate Spade Bernadette Sunglasses
Have you all seen the Holiday Campaign ad that Anna Kendrick did for Kate Spade? It was such a cute video (you can watch it here). I thought that the sunglasses she was wearing were super cute. I might splurge and buy them after the holidays are over. Hopefully they're still in stock! :)

THREE: Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne
I saw reviews of this on a couple of blogs and I thought that it sounded so nice. I actually like the smell of salty air and people are saying that this is reminiscent of the seaside. SOLD!

FOUR: SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion
This has been on my radar since my friend, Michelle, mentioned it in the comments section of my post about my seasonal skin woes. It is pretty expensive ($70 for 5.1 oz), but she made it sound so awesome. I like that it has AHAs. Sounds like it works really well to remove impurities/dirt and to exfoliate dead skin cells.

FIVE: Sonnet James Margot Dress
I first heard about this brand on one of my favorite lifestyle blogs, Love Taza. Sonnet James dresses seem to be targeted towards mothers, but I don't care! I love all the dresses in their shop! A lot of them are colorful and fun, but I really like the simplicity of this grey one. Plus, I could always dress it up or down! Since it's meant for "playful moms," I feel like they must be pretty durable to withstand all the tiny, grabby hands. :)

SIX: Madewell Pinewood Pullover
I am grateful that it doesn't get too cold here in Charleston, SC. But my tropical island blood still causes me to shiver in temperatures less than 65 degrees! My cowokers are always teasing me about wearing sweaters all the time, even inside the building. I don't care; I like to be cozy. I like this sweater from Madewell in Willow Bough. I don't think that I have any pieces of clothing that are this deep hue of forest green, but I think it looks pretty and different (most of my sweaters are black, navy, or grey). Plus, those button-up sides are so cute!

What's on your wishlist? :)