Why a blog... the long story

Bane of my existence.

Hi there.

First of all, I'd like to say thank you.  Of all the things out there on the internet, here you are reading my blog.  Pretty cool! So this is my first ever blog post and I thought I'd start at the beginning without assuming you know me or what I'm all about.

I've been a licensed esthetician in the state of California for 6 years now.  I went to school at the Aveda Institute in San Francisco; this is where the idea of "cleaner" skincare started for me.  I was lucky enough to have an educator that came from a holistic background and really helped create the foundation of what's become a life passion. Thanks Lara.  

I knew if I was going to put product on people's faces it had to be plant based, it needed to be result driven, but most importantly, it needed to not freak their skin out.  With these products I, unfortunately, ran into a few problems with that last part which led me toward the next stage of my skincare journey.  

After passing boards, I moved back home to the Napa Valley (I know, I know... The beautiful Napa Valley. I like saying that in the most pretentious voice I can muster. But pretty great place to be from, right?) Here I met a woman who took me under her wing and began to teach me everything she knew from homeopathy, to aromatherapy, to movement and massage techniques.  She taught me about the lymphatic system and how to calm and coax it back into movement in peoples bodies.  She showed me how diet directly affects the skin and how certain foods can actually treat skin disorders.  Ultimately, she showed me how to work with skin as opposed to against it - that a gentle touch could be just as affective as antihistamines. She also happened to be the North American Educator for Dr. Hauschka and I later had the opportunity to go back and receive an intensive training while earning my certification with the brand.  I was introduced to not only Dr. Hauschka's products but to Elizabeth Sigmund and her Wala remedies, to Rudolf Steiner and biodynamics, I even took a course up at the college. Ultimately, this woman blew my mind and I am forever grateful for the knowledge she shared and the techniques she passed on to me. If you're ever in Napa and want to receive the most beautifully relaxing full body treatment or are an esthetician interested in adding Hauschka treatments to your repertoire, I highly recommend Pam Reeves at Aware Care.   

I then made my way down to Los Angeles.  I had seen an interview online with a woman who ran an organic skincare boutique in West Hollywood called Green Line Beauty.  I researched the brands she carried and was determined to work for her.  Ha, there might have even been some light stalking involved. But I got the job and immediately started to work, absorbing anything and everything she could teach me. She has since become not just a mentor but one of my closest friends.  Her generosity and compassion helped me pave a way for myself in a city where I knew few people.  It's these same attributes paired with her in-depth ingredient knowledge that has created the cult following for which the store is known.

While working there I gained invaluable knowledge of formulation and ingredients.  I learned that you could still get active results with natural skincare.  I was introduced to stem cells, peptides and super antioxidants.  With a store filled with multiple brands, I began to develop a deeper understanding for skincare and all its many parts.  I created my own style of consultation, familiar yet professional and deeply rooted in facts.  Here again we focused on the idea of diet as a treatment for skin, however, this time focusing specifically on Dr. D'adamo's vast research.  I had my own personal breakthrough with his Blood Type Diet (It's a long story and one I might dedicate a whole post to) and was able to share my story with clients who were looking for answers to their own issues that were manifesting in their skin.

Since the boutique was more of a retail store than spa, I took an esthetics position at a luxury hotel to gain more hands on experience.  Working in a high volume spa taught me how to make the most of a 50 min treatment, affecting as much change as possible in the skin of my guests during a limited time while also providing a relaxing service.  Through the hotel's extensive training I honed my customer service skills, something I pride myself on, and learned new techniques. I was lucky enough to have a Spa Director that was as excited as I about new trends in skincare and had the opportunity to work with some cutting edge modalities like microcurrent, LED light therapy and the Hydrafacial machine.  I love gadgets, as you will soon see.  There are some incredible upsides to working at a hotel spa with such a high volume of clientele.  However, the downside of that kind of high volume is where I have learned my biggest lesson.

One morning I woke up and couldn't move my wrist without excruciating pain. (Not just any morning. Four days after my 30th birthday. Officially old and officially broken.) I worked through the day and luckily it was slow.  I prayed that tomorrow it would go away. I woke up the following day to find my range of motion was still incredibly limited. This, inevitably, sent me to a physician at a clinic, an acupuncturist, a physical therapist and lastly, a hand specialist. I've had nerve conduction tests and cortisone shots.  I've been diagnosed with cysts (don't have any), Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (not conclusive), Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (the IBS of arm pain - a diagnosis for when doctors have no idea whats actually wrong with you) and (my personal favorite) an Over Use Injury (you just use your hands too much). It's been seven months since that morning and four since I stopped working completely.  I have pain every day (even at this very moment).

I've been through almost all five stages of grief.  At first there was denial, it couldn't be that bad. Anger, why is this happening to me?! Bargaining, how can I keep my job? I identify so wholehartedly with my career, it is who I am. Who would I be if I were no longer an esthetician? That might seem dumb but this injury was devastating. That's where depression came in and I hung out in this stage for a VERY VERY long time. I had panic attacks. I would cry every day. My left eye twitched for 4 months straight from the stress. I'd like to think that I'm past this part but it's really day by day.  I accept that I'm injured and, at this point, it's hard to believe it will get better.

Since the initial injury, the pain has spread to both arms, wrist to elbow, and has at times affected my shoulders, neck and chest.  There's nerve pinching in both elbows and wrists and my left pinky and ring finger go numb at least once a day. If I hold anything in my hands for too long they begin to throb and ache.  It really is THE WORST. But how long can you feel sorry yourself?  I think about five months.  I have officially watched all of the TV, quite possibly every show that has ever been created.  Thanks Netflix.  

So that brings us to the present day.  I'm over feeling sorry for myself and am trying to counteract all the damage of the five months of sitting on the couch.  My brain is officially mush. So, haven't I always wanted to start a blog? Wasn't I always putting it off because I didn't have enough time?  Look who now has all the time in the world.  

At most, I've found something to do with my days in addition to PT at the gym.  Hopefully, someone will read this and, even more, benefit from the knowledge i've acquired over the years.  I promise future posts will be lighter and less long winded.  There will be brand reviews, how-to's, possibly some videos (if I can figure that out) in addition to The List of my product recommendations, and hopefully some progress on my recovery.  Feel free to comment, ask questions (my availability = a very quick response) and please subscribe!

Talk to you soon,

Katie