Category Archives: opinion

Living Like a Local: Aftermath of Huracán Patricia

Saludos de Agua Caliente Nueva! It’s been about five days since I arrived in Mexico and I’m still getting adjusted to the suuuuper hot weather that is present even in the early AM. I am currently staying with a host family in Agua Caliente Nueva, an ejido in La Huerta in the state Jalisco. This pueblo was victim to huracán “Patricia” in October 2015, ripping away the roofs of many houses, including the one I’m staying in. My host mother showed me some of the photos after the hurricane and explained to me that it only took a matter of hours on one afternoon for this Category 5 hurricane with 150 mph wind speed to cause so much destruction within their town. Families stood within their living rooms or bedrooms in the photos with nothing covering the tops of their houses because their roofs had blown away from the strong winds and rain.

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This is a photo I took from the outside terrace/patio they have. Through the window, you can see the techo covering the carpentry shed. This was recently built after the hurricane!

My host family explained to me that their shed that housed my host father’s carpentry business had been destroyed and whisked away swiftly during the hurricane, and all of his materials and machines had been exposed to the elements and needed to be replaced. Other families’ roofs covered essential items, such as beds and other appliances, all of which had to be tossed and replaced. I can observe that this town’s residents are not affluent and this must have been detrimental to their livelihoods to have to replace all of their necessary furniture 😦 It’s been almost two years since the hurricane, and from my morning walks, I can see that all of the roofs have been replaced, but there is still much that needs to recover. Many fruit trees that were abundant in the region were uprooted and died in the process, and there are many empty pieces of land (but this could be an erroneous assumption since this could have been empty to begin with).

When I volunteered in Ecuador with UBELONG back in 2012, I had stayed with a host family for the first time and experienced a fraction of the hardships that people in developing countries face. In many parts of Latin America, there is no potable water to drink, and it must either be purchased by the barrel, or be boiled for consumption. My host mother in Ecuador typically spent every morning boiling large vats of water for us to drink for the day, which was in and of itself an inconvenient routine that she had become accustomed to. In contrast, my host family here in Mexico has the means to purchase about four barrels of potable water at a time for the family to drink, a luxury that other families in Mexico may not be able to afford.

Luckily for my host family’s business in carpentry, they’re finally able to start working on the roof of the house! They had reinforced the roof for the carpentry shed, but still needed to reinforce the roof that covers my room and other parts of the second floor. Right now, it’s only made of madera (wood) and some metal material, possibly aluminum that was nailed down. As a safety precaution and to prepare for any future hurricanes, my host father decided to make it his project to fix the roof this week while the weather is supposed to be good, since he has to pour cement on the roof to make it more durable. Unfortunately and fortunately for me, I get to experience what it’s like living as a local and going through the motions of what it takes to recover from the effects of a hurricane.

If I didn’t have allergies before coming here, I sure do have them now for dust! There is no amount of getting used to the ever-present thin film of dust that lingers on my desk space even after wiping it down five times, or needing to wash my covers three times a day because I can’t time the laundry with when they decide to work on my portion of the roof haha. At one point, someone’s foot went through the roof, leaving a gaping hole for any flying creatures to enter my humble abode (not fun, considering I really detest bugs and would not be pleased if a bird happened to fly in!!)

Being the clean, hygienic fanatic that I am (despite my mishap with eating contaminated food, hah!) it’s been quite an adjustment to the little creepy crawlies that visit me every now and then… imagine waking up to a tiny little beetle dropping onto your leg and starting to crawl, and then imagine me leaping with great agility to brush it off me and then immediately crush it so it doesn’t return 😐 I do miss my clean kitchen and bathroom, for we apparently have lizards that hide behind the picture frames and mirrors in the house, but they are utterly useless in eating the insects and mosquitoes and only leave little droppings as regalos by my bathroom sink -sigh-

Hope you enjoyed reading and stay tuned for my next post!

 

 

Tips: Precautions When Eating Foods Abroad (Water Safety)

I wanted to share some tips for food safety when traveling abroad, especially when you can get tempted with SO many good foods and drinks that are available in the country where you’re staying 🙂 Click on the link below to read more!

Source: Tips: Precautions When Eating Foods Abroad (Water Safety)

March for Science

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the March for Science in Washington, D.C. with my fellow Johns Hopkins classmates. This demonstration sends a clear message to the Republican Administration that science plays a role in everyone’s lives and has given us so much as a society and in the world. Without science, we wouldn’t have life-saving medicines or vaccines. Without science, we would not be able to discover new cures and treatments for diseases.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world gathered on April 22, 2017, Earth Day, to celebrate science! There were scientists, researchers, doctors of different disciplines, supporters of science (young and old) that came together for the purpose of advocating for science. The March for Science page states:

Science protects the health of our communities, the safety of our families, the education of our children, the foundation of our economy and jobs, and the future we all want to live in and preserve for coming generations. 

We speak up now because all of these values are currently at risk. When science is threatened, so is the society that scientists uphold and protect.

When I was growing up, I watched Bill Nye the Science Guy and ZOOM, and had the chance to create that ever cliche paper mache volcanos that erupts with baking soda and vinegar. I knew I wanted to be involved in helping other people, and ended up in Public Health. It was evident that science and research is paramount to making advances towards innovations that would lead to better health outcomes, even when I was a little girl and to this day.

I hope we continue this open dialogue about science and that my fellow colleagues will continue to fight the fight to promote science and support organizations such as the NIH and EPA to protect our planet and our populations’ health. I hope that PBS continues to get funded so the programs can continue to inspire the younger generation to be inquisitive, eager to learn, and get involved in STEM.

Check out photos from the march here!

DIY Toothpaste & Deodorant (Same Recipe Base!)

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Hey everyone 🙂 A loooong time ago, I wanted to write a review comparing different kinds of deodorant since I wanted to eventually move away from the ones that are filled with aluminum compounds, parabens, triclosan (FDA labeled this as a pesticide) propylene glycol (also known as “non-toxic” anti-freeze, guys!!), and more, many of which can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions, and have potential links to cancer… Not to scare you guys away from reading, but it’s important to be informed what you put on your body, especially since deodorants get absorbed through your skin and goes into your system! There are a whole bunch of lymph nodes that reside in the vicinity of your underarms, and can become inflamed and swollen from the toxic additives that are in your deodorant.

I’ve been following many zero waste vloggers and bloggers, and quite a few of them have switched to more natural, zero waste alternatives for deodorant, such as making their own! The tubes that your deodorant and toothpaste are packaged in are often made from plastic that can’t be recycled, so if you want to make a more conscious decision to produce less waste, you can consider making your own deodorant and toothpaste! I’ve just made my first mini-batch of both deodorant and toothpaste, and wanted to share my experience with you.

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Ingredients:

  • baking soda
  • coconut oil
  • essential oils (for scent) – the brand I use is Calily
  • Stevia (for toothpaste)

Steps:

  1. Mix 1 part baking soda, 1 part coconut oil into a container. **I had done 1/2 cup of each, but I would recommend using less coconut oil since it just sits at the top and doesn’t mix very well!**
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  2. Add an appropriate amount of essential oil (the scent of your choice) to the baking soda/coconut oil mix.
  3. Since I was making both toothpaste and deodorant, I separated them into two containers since I wanted different scents for each.
  4. I added peppermint essential oil into the toothpaste mix, and tea tree oil into the deodorant mix. **I put in about 6 drops in each set, but if you want to add more or less, that’s up to you! I’m not a fan of mixing scents, but if you’re adventurous, go for it ;)**
  5. (So I didn’t have Stevia…BUT I highly recommend you invest in some for your toothpaste)

When I tried using my toothpaste sans Stevia, I have to admit, my mouth just felt really greasy from the coconut oil, and salty from that strong baking soda flavor! If you can handle that overwhelming taste, then there’s no need to get Stevia, but I am going to hold off on using my mix for brushing my teeth until I get some… 🙂

For the deodorant, many bloggers have mentioned that your body will take some time to detox and get used to not having chemicals block your sweat glands from producing sweat, so I’m being patient and waiting for the magic to happen! It’s important to mention that sweat should not smell bad; it is the bacteria that would cause an unpleasant odor, so make sure you wash your underarms thoroughly and pat dry after you shower, before you put on the deodorant! Another important tip is if you’re going to transition to your own DIY deodorant, it’s best to do it during the fall going into winter, or in the spring before the summer, that way it’s still cool enough that you won’t produce much sweat, and your body gets enough time to adjust!

There are some people who say that baking soda can be really irritating for their skin, but so far I’ve been okay (maybe it’s the coconut oil that protects my skin!)

Be sure to create only small batches since there’s really no sure-fire way of keeping out random bacteria from creeping into your products, and you don’t want to create a whole vat of this mix only for it to be unusable–coconut oil ain’t cheap, y’all!

Hope you all enjoyed reading 🙂

ALL PHOTOS ARE ©magnetically aesthetic. Please do not steal, edit, or use these pictures in any way without my permission. Thank you!

Stay connected with me: Pinterest | Instagram ❤

Women’s March: Reflections

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Hey everyone! Hope everyone’s January has been going alright. 🙂 I like to keep my blog mostly positive, but I do want to share my thoughts and hear yours regarding the events that occurred this past weekend. It’s been a rough first month of 2017 for me personally, as the US is now officially under the rule of someone who has demonstrated over and over that he is not capable of helping move us forward as a nation, and instead is sending us backwards from all the progress we’ve made under President Obama. Sometimes I think I’m in a really bad dream, and if I will myself to wake up, we would have a different outcome, but sadly, this seems to be the reality of today… 😦

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the Women’s March this past weekend, but it flooded my feed on every news and social media outlet I’ve looked at. I wish I was there to feel the energy from the crowd, witness the love and acceptance of the people who were at these marches, and stand in solidarity with them and for what they are fighting for. I’m trying to stay positive and after viewing so many speeches from the Women’s March that took place across the globe, I have some hope that we have changemakers amongst ourselves that will continue to fight for equal human and civil rights for all individuals. From women and men, old and young individuals alike, it’s heartening to witness so much solidarity amongst people of all ages and backgrounds come together to fight for equality and send a message that we will not accept bigotry in our country :’)

I hope that you all, no matter what country you’re in, will support this movement to prevent the US from regressing and help us by being vocal, and volunteering for civil rights organizations in your cities.

Here are some of the best signs that were seen at the Women’s Marches all over the world! I love their creativity and the message they are sending that females will not be oppressed, and neither will all the other groups that have been put down and ridiculed by the elected president.

Also, I just came across this post in response to a woman on Facebook who claimed that she didn’t need the Women’s March. Pretty good read and some reflection for females who thought that the march was unnecessary… take a look if you’re interested!

Note: If you are reading this, and you do not agree with my opinions, I respect that. I respect that we may be different and share different ideologies, so if you feel the need to unfollow me, that is your choice.

Review: e.l.f. VoxBox

Time for another review! I was super excited to be one of the first recipients of the e.l.f. VoxBox and try out some of their new products (especially that Hydrating Bubble Mask!). Shout out to Influenster and e.l.f. Cosmetics for allowing me to participate in this campaign to test the products for free! 🙂 I always enjoy testing these products out and trying new things!

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e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer: This is a very light primer, and almost feels like air when you apply it because it’s so light and once you apply it, it immediately disappears on your skin. It dries quickly, but my face doesn’t feel dry when I’m done applying makeup. I would think a primer helps foundation and makeup to stay on, but there is some makeup residue if I use a tissue. Rating: 3/5

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator: When I first took it out, it looked like a mint green lipstick. The directions say to dampen your lips before applying it, and then rub off any grainy residue once you’ve finished. It smells and tastes like a sweet minty flavor. I didn’t really think it “exfoliated” because I didn’t see or feel any of the grainy texture left on my lips; however, my lips did feel a lot softer afterward! Rating: 4.5/5

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e.l.f. Matte Lip Color in Wine

e.l.f. Matte Lip Color in Wine: This is definitely not matte! It’s more of a subtle satin appearance. Additionally, this was  richer, brighter berry color, and I was a little bit disappointed because I expected a deep wine red. However, it is very moisturizing so you won’t really need to exfoliate beforehand, and I can’t complain too much! It isn’t transfer-proof, but if you’re careful when you eat or drink, it should last you a few hours. Rating: 3.5/5

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter & Bronzer: They bake this duo reallllly well; it takes more than a couple swipes with my brush to actually get any product on. When I do get the product onto the brush, the bronze is a nice color and blends alright, while the highlighter is very subtle and probably not ideal if you want to make your cheeks pop when you’re going out to party haha. Rating: 3.5/5

e.l.f. Hydrating Bubble Mask: I was SO excited for this product, guys. After seeing so many new products come out with this carbonated component and thinking about how my face would look with a mask of tiny bubbles, I was stoked to see that this product was in the VoxBox. The instructions say to pump the product and apply it to your face, and to wash off when the bubbles start to dissipate. The moment it touches your face, it starts to bubble, and gets tingly/itchy, depending on what you’d describe the sensation! It’s not itchy in the sense of an allergic reaction, but rather because these teeny, tiny bubbles are popping all over your face! I’m not sure if I just took too long to apply it, but when I had finished applying the formula around my face, more than 50% of the mask had already dissipated 😦 (I was hoping for a longer-lasting bubble-face look so I could take a photo and share with y’all, sorry) This mask is supposed to hydrate, but I felt like it should be named a tightening mask! My skin was very taut once I washed my face and air-dried, but it wasn’t peeling as if it was dried out. I just thought I should mention this factor. Rating: 3/5

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Hope you all enjoyed reading this review! 🙂

ALL PHOTOS ARE ©magnetically aesthetic. Please do not steal, edit, or use these pictures in any way without my permission. Thank you!

Stay connected with me: Pinterest | Instagram ❤

Review: ColourPop Out and About

It’s about time for another one of my reviews….. 🙂 This time, I’m excited to share ColourPop’s Out and About lip bundle in three super-cute shades: Viper, Baracuda (not sure why they spell it that way), and Times Square. I have heard such great things about this brand and some of my friends rave about their matte lip products, so I decided to join and give my two cents since I’ve kept my eye out for some pretty fall shades!

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I took some lip swatches for you to see how they look on an actual person (not those photoshopped lips you see in lip product commercials and advertisements lol) to hopefully give a better idea of what it could look like if you decide to invest! I would say I’m between light-medium skin tone with yellow undertones.

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Viper: a matte, deep berry/wine red with blue undertones

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Baracuda: a “satin” berry red with some orange undertones

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Times Square: a matte, dark nude beige

Initial Thoughts:

  • Viper and Times Square are definitely as “ultra matte” as you can get! Once you apply these to your lips, in seconds it will dry. Make sure you moisturize and exfoliate your lips beforehand! These dry so well that I don’t think they will transfer to your food or drinks.
  • Baracuda almost doesn’t appear satiny to me; it has a very subtle satin finish. It’s definitely more moisturizing than Viper and Times Square because of the different formula, and I would say this will definitely transfer to anything you eat or drink.

I put them to the test on different days and here are my thoughts:

  • Viper and Times Square, because they are ultra matte, really stays put as long as you keep your lips dry. If it’s really cold out, you’ll find that your lips will look extra wrinkly because the matte formula already dries out your lips, and the cold wind doesn’t help! I find that if I dab a little bit of chapstick or coconut oil, it’ll moisturize my lips, but the matte effect will go away and they will transfer to foods and beverages when you eat!
  • Baracuda is definitely my favorite in terms of keeping my lips moisturized while staying vibrant throughout the day. It can definitely transfer onto tissues or if you go out of your way to leave marks on your food or beverages, but if you’re careful, you can really eat or drink without messing up your lips! I was really impressed considering it wasn’t matte and glued onto my lips, and yet the color stayed and I could eat and drink with minimal issues.

Note: I didn’t get compensated by Colourpop for my review, but wanted to share my thoughts on these three colors if you were interested 🙂

ALL PHOTOS ARE ©magnetically aesthetic. Please do not steal, edit, or use these pictures in any way without my permission. Thank you!

Stay connected with me: Pinterest | Instagram ❤