Blessing and a Curse – Part 1

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how great I had back when I was younger…or even just in my 20s…you know, before I hit my 30s and everything caught up to me.   I feel like I have a lot to talk about w/my blessings/curses so we’ll make Part 1 – Skin, Part 2 – Hair, Part 3 – Weight.   Maybe I should have renamed this series:  Yearning for the Fountain of Youth.

Anyway, I’ve posted before how I’m a late bloomer – especially when it comes to my skin.  I had porcelain skin in high school.  While my friends were learning how to apply make-up and learning how to hide their flaws with said make-up, being BFFs w/Oxy,  and trying every “zit-zapper” drug store brand under the sun, I would bask in my extra minutes of sleep because I wouldn’t have to do any of the above.  I would just shower and go.  At night, I never really washed my face either (don’t judge!).  If I did, it would just be water.

I felt like I had to start taking care of my skin though (???  I don’t know why, I thought I was missing out on something).  So, I started the Clinique 3 step program.  However, I was not consistent at all.  I remember throwing out cleansers and such over a year later.  I never learned how to pick the right foundation or concealer shade and therefore, never learned how to apply it either. All I would wear was powder.  I wore other make-up, eventually, like eyeliner and lipstick/gloss/balm/etc., but nothing to hide flaws or even my skin tone with.  I had it good…REAL good.  I was blessed with porcelain skin.

Fast forward to when I was 19.  A friend of the family, who was pretty much my Aunt, commented on how beautiful my skin was.  At this time, I went back to Clinique and even added a scrub as my skin was starting to get obviously oily.  I told her what I was doing (although still not consistently) and she said to keep up with it.  I don’t know why I didn’t listen.  Always listen to those old family friend/aunts who give you advice when they have a right too (she was in her 50s and not a pore in sight!).

Fast forward again to when I was 25.  I finally moved out of my parents’ house (I stayed home for college…wasn’t allowed to dorm b/c I was a girl – that’s a whole other story).  I moved to downtown Jersey City to a BEAUTIFUL luxury 3 bedroom apartment w/2 of my friends.  My skin had a hard time adjusting to the water (I guess it was hard water?), my stress level went up because of being on “my own” (with roommates, but still), more bills than usual (I paid some when living at home w/parents to help them out) and stress at work and I had my first bought of breakouts.  I mean, serious HUGE pimples popped all over my face.

I had no idea what to do or how to handle it. I didn’t even want to go out w/my friends at times.  I didn’t want to go to work.  I didn’t want to go anywhere, but stay in my room.  I didn’t know how to fix it or hide it.  I didn’t want to see a dermatologist because I didn’t want them to put me on something that would bring all the dirt and what have to the surface (I heard horror stories of how people broke out more, at first, before they got better).  I was in mid-20s and finally coming / blooming into my own.  I didn’t realize being a late-bloomer also applied to my skin.  I felt like a kid going through puberty.  At least when you’re in high school, you have others to commiserate with.  I had no one.  The curse of having beautiful skin while everyone else suffered – I never took care of it or learned how to.

Eventually, my skin cleared up, but I now had battlewounds (aka acne scars) to show what I went through.  Fast forward again to 27 when I was pregnant with my first, Beans.  After the shock of it all, I took motherhood to the extreme where everything was about her.  I don’t regret that at all.  I do regret not taking care of myself.  I couldn’t find that balance.  I didn’t know how to make everything about her, but not forget about me either.   This happened for ALL of my girls.

Fast forward again to 3 years ago – early 30s.  I finally started to stare at myself when I looked in the mirror.  Before that, I would do everything so quickly just to make sure my hair wasn’t all over the place, my clothes weren’t inside out and my eyeliner wasn’t smeared/smearing.  What I found, scared (vain) me.  My pores had gotten big and visible.  There is no reversing that.

Starting last spring, I have tried to really take care of my skin.  I can’t undo the damage, but I can try to hinder anymore damage from happening or at least slow it down.  I’ve gotten good with washing my face 2x /day.  I’ve been trying different cleanser lines, but haven’t quite found one that works well – all the time.  Clinique still works for me, but I’m trying to find something that will control my crazy oily producing face.  I swear sometimes I feel like I can fry an egg on my face (sorry for that visual).  It doesn’t help that I now sweat easily (happened after pregnancy weight gain than I never lost).  I finally went to see a dermatologist and she happens to also have oily skin so she understands my woes.  She’s got me on some retinoid and trying Cetaphil’s new line for acne prone skin (wash and moisturizer).  I ran out of my Clinique Acne Solutions line (lower your volume if you’re going to click on that Clinique link) so it was good timing.  So far, so good, but the weather has also started to cooperate (read as:  not 100 degree hot) so we’ll have to see.

Just an FYI though, I did like the Clinique line.  Right before I started using it again, I was breaking out around my jawline and cheek area…heat related?  I don’t know, but it cleared pretty much within a few days.  Cetaphil is looking like it’s working for me too, so far.  Maybe even comparable to Clinique or maybe it’s because I’m also using a retinoid.

I wish I had my old skin back, but at least now, I’m teaching my girls that it’s important to wash up every night – for now, I’m letting them just use a washcloth and water everynight…just to let them get into the habit of it.

What a blessing it was to have porcelain skin, but also a curse because I took it for granted and never took care of it and so never knew how to take care of it until later on in life… #firstworldproblems,Iknow

Buying/Selling Etiquette & a Poll

A friend approached me on this…When you buy a house, and the realtor has been great, do you buy the realtor a present or is his/her commission enough?  If so, what would you get?  What’s a good amount or percentage to spend?

Also, if the previous owners left you “gifts”, but could also very well be furniture that’s too much of a pain to move, do you give them something in return?