Part 1: The Natural Remedies That Got Rid Of My Acne

Let’s talk about acne, everyone’s best friend. I’ve been sharing my experience with skincare for a few years now and have mentioned a couple of skincare products that have helped me but I’ve never really shared the natural remedies that got rid of my acne, so here go! There’s a lot to cover to be ready to take notes.

To give you some insight, I have combination skin and would mostly get acne on my forehead, also chin and neck area and I know the last two are more hormonal but these steps helped with that as well. My type of acne is mostly white heads with the occasional cystic acne on my cheeks and chin.

Okay so I did a few different things but I truly believe that the combination of all of them was key to getting rid of it. The first 3 are diet based and the next 3 are natural topical treatments so make sure you carefully read them all:

  1. I took a Food Intolerance Test + went Dairy free. I wrote a blog post last year on how and why I changed my diet so you can give it a read HERE to find out more details. But basically by taking this test, my doctor and I where able to pin point which foods were causing problems in my body such as Dairy, which turns out was a big contributor to my acne. There were many other foods that where causing me issues such as nausea, fatigue, rashes, among others and clearing those out of my system undoubtedly helped my skin, but I’ll focus on the one that helped the most with my acne. After I went diary free, I noticed my skin was less inflamed after the first week, I was shocked. The longer I kept staying away from dairy the less and less acne I started getting, and the ones I already had where healing so much faster so now I make it a priority. But whatever your trigger might be, I think a Food Intolerance Test is a good way of finding out which foods to avoid to have healthier skin.
  2. I cut Meat out of my diet for 6 weeks. Okay so this one was hard for me, but the results where crazy good. By eating tons of veggies, fruits, some legumes and Seitan and Tofu to get my protein, I got the healthiest looking skin of my life! I am not kidding or exaggerating, I’m no expert so I’m not sure of why this worked so well, but trust me it was like a re-boot for my skin. I started seeing results closer to 2 weeks in, of course it was specially good for my hormonal acne. My plan was to do it only for 4 weeks but after seeing how good my skin was doing, I decided to extend it for as long as I could. Obviously as you can tell, I only lasted 2 more weeks because I actually do love meat. But now knowing what I do, I’ve cut way back on red meat and eat mostly fish. Honestly my skin isn’t as nice as it was without meat in my diet but for now I can live with it.
  3. I incorporated Probiotics. If you eat tons of processed foods or those lacking in probiotics then you’re more prone to have gut problems. Gut health has an important role to play when protecting your skin from the damages of the outside world so again, you want to heal and nourish your skin from the inside out. For me it was a natural step to take because I went from consuming a lot of dairy products to none and my body was definitely feeling the change. That’s when I decided to update my probiotic source and found a daily supplement I could take. Now, I know there are many food sources where you can get probiotics but personally I’m not a fan of them, however if you find some you love go for it! But for those who prefer a pill like me, I bought some at Target and it’s worked great.
  4. I used Witch Hazel as Toner. I buy Thayers Witch Hazel Alove Vera Formula “Original” at my local market, it’s cheap and so soothing. It works as a natural astringent because it helps to remove oils (without getting that super dry feeling afterwards). It also calms down inflammation and acne areas, my skin even feels way smoother but one of the biggest changes for me is that evens out my skin tone! I feel like my SK-II Treatment Essence is also amazing at making my skin smooth and to even out my overall tone but at a MUCH higher price. I’m still a fan, but I mean it’s $99 vs $9.50 so it’s your choice. HOW TO APPLY: I use a cotton pad and moist it with Witch Hazel, then I gently pat all over my face, neck and chest. I leave it on just like I would any other toner.
  5. I used Tea Tree Oil as Spot Treatment. I’ve mentioned this before on the blog but I’ll officially say it again, this is the best natural way to spot treat acne. You should definitely dilute it with coconut oil or something similar before you apply it to avoid damaging your skin as it is strong, but it works wonders! HOW TO APPLY: I mix a bit of coconut oil and a drop of Tea Tree oil and apply it directly on my acne with a cotton swab and leave it on. Don’t over do it, just enough to cover. I realized that it helps to get rid of acne faster. Sometimes it will help it pop if it needs to and sometimes it simply takes it away before it even gets to that point. But either way it never fails to speed up the process. Also if the skin did brake I apply a bit extra afterwards to clean it and help it heal quicker! After doing this I saw that acne started to recur less and less.
  6. I used Raw Manuka Honey 15+. I buy this at my local Sprouts Market. Raw Manuka Honey is very moisturising on for the skin, it also has beneficial antioxidants and works as an antibacterial, so it leaves your skin feeling smooth and with fewer bacteria which means less chance of infected pores, which means less acne. BUT you do want to pay attention to the grading system so look for the UMF or MGO rating on the label. For acne purposes make sure you’re using a minimum of UMF 10+ or MGO 261+ (attention: not just a +number, it has to say UMF or MGO so you know it’s certified). I personally used UMF 18+ (in MGO grading it would be 692) to make sure I had enough levels of antibacterial properties and it worked great. HOW TO APPLY: Start with a clean face, wet your hands and lightly dab your face and neck so the honey applies easier. I used it as a mask on my face and neck 2-3 times a week for about 15-20min and rinsed off with water.
  7. Turmeric Drink before bedtime. I started making “Golden Milk” but used Oat Milk instead of dairy. You can also drink Turmeric Tea, I just like the Golden Milk recipe better, but the point is to fight off acne from the inside. Turmeric is well known as an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial and I found that by consistently drinking it my acne started looking much better. *I buy my Turmeric powder at an herb and spice shop in LA because I feel that it’s more reliable and potent than the ones you find in supermarkets, plus it’s cheaper. But I’ll leave that to your discretion. DIRECTIONS: 1) Pour 1 1/2 cups of the milk of your choice into a small pot on medium heat. 2) Add 1 tsp ground Turmeric, a pinch of black pepper (this activates the turmeric and helps your body absorb the curcumin), add 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (also an anti-inflammatory) and add honey to your liking. 3) Let it simmer for about 10min. Enjoy nice and warm! I would make this every night. Now that my skin is better I drink it about 3-4 times a week for it’s other benefits and to help me sleep.
  8. Staying consistent with a remedy. The thing with skin is that you have to give it time for things to work! The human body is AMAZING and it works really hard everyday to fight off infections, inflammations and basically to regenerate itself so naturally aside from needing to be properly nourished, it also needs TIME to adjust to a new skincare routine. So whether you’re trying these steps above or your own or any skincare product, please don’t give up after a week or two, try to be more patient. Believe me, if you’re switching remedies and products every week, nothing will work for you. I’m a firm believer than you have to give things at least 3 weeks if not a month to see and feel results. So staying consistent and simple with your remedies/routines is key, it truly helped me.

I made a conscious plan to follow all of these steps within the same time period and around month 3 I felt like I had new skin. I still get a pimple or two around my period but of course that can’t be avoided! So far though, my skin has been feeling so much better. To whoever might be reading this, I know it’s frustrating to live with acne and you can feel so discouraged and tired of nothing working for you but there’s always a solution out there so please don’t lose hope! I truly wish you find this helpful and if there’s natural remedies that have worked for you that I didn’t mention please comment below so we can all help each there out. Part 2 of this post will be up soon, so keep an eye for that. I send you all my best!!

My 5 Favorite Travel Hacks

I don’t know if you’re a new reader or if you’ve been with me from the beginning (either way thank you for being here) but if someone asked me what’s the one thing that’s defined my life I would say without a doubt that it’s all the traveling I’ve done! I’ve been truly lucky to have been able to travel with friends and by myself too many times to count, but I also grew up all over the world with my family never really settling down in one place. We moved every 1-2 years, sometimes every 6 months and others we moved within the same month and that has taught me so much! I am grateful to my parents for giving me and my brother these life experiences that have made me who I am today.

So as I was writing down ideas for new blog posts the other day, I realized that I’ve never really shared any traveling tips on the blog so here are some helpful hacks I’ve learned one the years to keep in mind for your next travels:

*I’m aware that the first one runs long, but trust me you need to consider this…

Travel Hack No. 1: Rent a car to get from/to the airport. If you live right next to the airpot then obviously disregard this, but that’s not usually the case. I’m here to share that it’s cheaper to rent a car from your local Car Rental service provider and drop it off that same day at the airport than to pay for an Uber/Lyft or even worst to leave your car at the airport and pay parking for the week –that gets expensive fast. This of course also works from airport to home because again these car rental providers are everywhere! So it’s easy to drop off the car rental and take an Uber from there to your home or have a loved one pick you up at that nearby location.

To give you an insight… Last time I did this, I rented a car for $26 (tax included) from San Diego to Orange County (about 90miles away). I booked it online because it’s cheaper than waiting to get to their facility and I had of course chosen the lowest rate expecting to receive a small Fiesta, who cares right? But instead I was nicely surprised that they gave me a new Jeep Renegade 4×4, more than enough space for me and my 2 pieces of luggage. I had checked UBER and LYFT and with either it would have been close to $100 one way. In this case it’s also cheaper than taking the Amtrak train, and cheaper than the expense of gas from driving myself back and forth and having to pay the parking structure for however many days –This of course varies depending on where you live, but you get the idea. It is also a better option than having to ask a friend or my boyfriend to drive the 2 hours down there (that’s if there’s no traffic) and then a 2hr drive back just to pick me up. This also is not taking into account that during peek seasons and even holidays, flights tend to get delayed and having to re-arrange pick ups last minute is just one more thing I don’t want to worry about when I’m already stressed. So truly, this is just so much more convenient!! Next time you need to head to the airport consider this option, I live by it.

Travel Hack No. 2: Avoid over packing by taking photos of the outfits you’re taking. I swear it’s not a blogger thing! It might sound over the top at first, but hear me out because I started doing this years before I ever started blogging and it 100% works! If you take a photo of exactly what shoes you’ll need with what outfit plus handbag and accessories included, then it inevitably prevents you from over packing. Simple as that! I do however always pack a dressier option regardless if I think I’ll need it or not, it’s just smart to be prepared rather than feel underdressed, right? So what I do is I wear the FULL outfit and literally take a full body mirror selfie and then roll the clothes. That way I know that every single item I’ve packed is worth the space in my luggage, plus it’s not like you have to make a cute face… Think of it as taking inventory so it really just takes a second! This also helps me see if I can re-style an item with several other outfits therefore saving me tons of space. *Don’t forget to pack several Fresh Scent Packets in your suitcase to keep things smelling fresh, you’ve probably heard this plenty but I always do it and feel so grateful I did.

Travel Hack No. 3: I use Muslin bags to protect my shoes inside the luggage. I bought a pack from amazon, but I know they sell them at Michaels and Joan’s and all of those craft stores. They’re cheap and so worth it! Because I don’t know about you, but it just kills me to put new shoes next to things inside my lugage that might dent and damage them or what’s worse, let the dirty soles touch ANYTHING else I’ve packed (I get anxiety just thinking about it). But these thin little bags with their cotton strings won’t take up any extra space, they’re easy to wash and really do keep your bffs safe.

Travel Hack No. 4: The Travel Pillow with Hoodie that actually works. Take it from me, I DO NOT sleep on planes, I have been flying since I was 1 year old and my mother can testify that my mind and body cannot relax on a plane. That is until she recently gifted me a Pillow with a Hoodie attached, I’m sure many of you have seen them but I’ve truly figured out what makes a travel pillow work! The hoodie part needs to be long enough where it basically covers my face down to the tip of my nose so I don’t feel claustrophobic and the pillow part needs to be the higher/taller memory foam one so I don’t feel like I’m choking, I swear this combo makes it easier to tune out the rest of the world. I know there’s eye masks but I get headaches and migraines ALL the time and sleeping masks always end up giving me a pulsing pain on the temples after a while, so no thank you! Of course, you could argue that you could just wear a normal hoodie with your travel pillow but there’s something about both items being attached that keeps your head nice and levelled allowing you to actually fall asleep without the annoying pillow slipping off or moving around. It’s been life changing for me. I guess you would have to go try a couple different ones to see which is your best fit because some necks might be longer than others but look for these details and you’ll never travel the same!

Travel Hack No. 5: I use Stopwatch on my iPhone. This one is simple but it keeps me from going insane. How? Well let’s say my flight will be 5 hrs and 20min, so the moment we are actually taking off (not a second sooner) I press start on Stopwatch, close the app and wait as long as I possibly can to peek at how much longer the flight will be (if you have an android you will find the option as well). I know it’s a mental game, but it really keeps me occupied on other things and distracts me from how much I do not want to be there. I also make it so the timer goes off about 25min before landing that way I have time to put myself together, freshen up my face with any face mists I have, fix my hair, put away my things, etc.

And lastly guys, there’s nothing more wasteful than coming home with foreign change in your pocket so why not donate it to someone in need? Before you leave a country do a good deed and think about giving it to a homeless person. It’s of little loss for you but a huge help to those who have nothing.

Hope you found these hacks helpful on your next travels and if you do apply any of them you can tell everyone Erika shared it with you lol. And please don’t be shy and let me know, it would make me so happy! Safe travels everyone.

Thanks for stopping by at Wander With Love,

Travel: The Wayfarer Hotel Santa Barbara Experience

It’s been about 2 weeks since I got back from my Getaway in Santa Barbara, CA at The Wayfarer Hotel and I can’t stop recommending it! It was such a fun experience. The hotel is covered in fun and unexpected little gems in their decor like the rainbow colored book wall, the giant sized Jenga blocks in the leisure area and the old fashioned telephones in the rooms which I totally used as prop! It’s a fun and unique concept for a city that has so much to offer, I left inspired and with many plans to go back. I got to enjoy this stay with my Blogger friend Vicky from @fashionbyvicky, keep reading to find out all the cool spots we discovered together.

The Wayfarer Hotel_erikadvm

This is my first time staying at one of the many locations Pacifica Hotels has in their collection, which is over 25 hotels in California and I just found out they even have some in Kona, Hawaii —Is this a sign I should head back already?? I think so! But honestly though from the moment we arrived, everyone at The Wayfarer Hotel was beyond accommodating and on top of every little detail, which I really appreciated because its always the little things that make your stay that much more relaxing and memorable.

The room was so nice that we kind of slept in the first morning! The day before I had traveled back from Mexico just in time for this new getaway and these comfy beds just wouldn’t let me leave them! But you know I love my food, so eventually we made it into the communal kitchen for complimentary breakfast and enjoyed it vacay style!

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The Wayfarer Hotel Rooms_erikadvm copy

Farmers Market_SB_TheWayfarer

Prior to this tip I had done my research (like the control freak that I am) to learn the best restaurants to visit and best way to get around. I had heard that The Wayfarer Hotel had an amazing location, but it wasn’t until I was there that I realized there was so much to cover by foot, you wouldn’t believe but everything is literally so close by! They do offer complimentary bikes to take around the area but the weather was so nice that we decided to put on comfy shoes and enjoy the Funk Zone this way. And if you haven’t been let me tell you it is so entertaining! From distinct wineries and restaurants that draw you in by the decor alone! To fun little boutiques, beautiful landmarks, the farmers market in main street on a sunny week day stroll but again, all at a walking distance from The Wayfarer Hotel. Sounds nice doesn’t it?? Keep reading to make the most out of your next trip.

WINE Tasting SB

This hotel has an agreement with a local winery that is literally around the corner which is called Paradise Springs Winery that when you mention you’re saying at the hotel, they will give you a complimentary wine tasting. So of course we made sure to stop by! We were greeted by the kindest woman who let us take our time enjoying each glass of wine while we marvelled at the modern design this winery has and of course take the oppounity to capture some photos —-Two bloggers traveling together remember?? Of course we were clicking away every 2 seconds— I love a girls trip!! So anyways, don’t forget to stop by this little gem because it was really fun part of our day, I fully recommend it.

POOL DAY at The Wayfarer Hotel_erikadvm

Of course our trip wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t actually enjoy the hotel’s amenities and that calls for a Pool day or in our case two pool days…

The Wayfarer Hotel

THE WAYFARER HOTEL 2

the wayfarer hotel_travel blogger

The hotel has a lovely view so it was such a joy to come back from lunch and layout for a few hours until dinner time and then it was off to more exploring! We came across this beautiful little Spanish looking restaurant with bugamvillea flowers all over called Loquita which was SO DELICIOUS! We had dinner here and ordered way too many appetizers plus the Paella which is a good size for two people. Out of all the restaurants we tried in the area, I would say this was my favorite one so I’m definitely going back.

Overall I had a really fun time! I had only been to Santa Barbara once before on a day trip, but there is nothing like being able to stay at a comfortable Hotel to fully enjoy your surroundings! Pacifica Hotels offers the small hotel experience for a good reason, the service will always be a personalized one that will ensure a highly pleasant experience like the one I had but always at an affordable price, it’s a win-win. I encourage you to look into their many locations for your next trip! I hope you found this helpful. There is much more traveling I have scheduled for the rest of this year so check back for my next adventure!

The Wayfarer Hotel: https://www.wayfarersb.com                                                                        Phone: 805-845-1000 | Address: 12 E Montecito St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

As always thank you for reading,

xo Erika