My quest for all-natural skincare 

This post contains affiliate links; the author may receive payment when you purchase through these links. All relationships to each product reviewed are fully disclosed below.

A quest for all-natural skincare involving:

  • Acnedote by Alba Botanica (I paid for)

  • Tree of Life Retinol Serum (I paid for)

  • Alaffia African Black Soap (I paid for)

  • Yeouth Vitamin C&E Serum with Hyaluronic Acid (comped product)

  • Pacifica Vegan Hot Mask (I paid for/discontinued but seemingly available on this Amazon link at the time of this writing).

  • Pacifica Alight BB Cream (I paid for)

  • Pacifica “Contact High” perfume oil roll-on (I paid for)

  • General reference to LaRoche Posay products, which I no longer use (I paid for)

  • Mention of Hotworx workout studio (I pay for my membership)

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Yeouth

Vitamin C & E Serum with Hyaluronic Acid

I’ve used 2/3 of the bottle in two months, so you get a good amount for a low price.

(Around $20).

My first question is, "how natural can I get?"

Am I going to have to make my own lip balms in my kitchen, or am I simply decreasing my exposure to harmful chemicals?

Secondly, will this make a difference in my skin?  

I've narrowed it down and one or two bath products are making me rash out...either it's a bag of epsom salts that are churched up with essential oils -- it it's some bath bombs that I'm sure are far from "natural" or "organic." 

Here are the issues I must resolve: 

*Aging facial skin

*Breakouts

*Dryness

*Clogged pores

*Keratosis pilaris (arms)

Will natural products do it? Let's find out. Here's my motivation: 

*I realize the stuff I'm using has all kinds of chemicals in it. Preservatives, endocrine disruptors, things that cause cancer, breakouts? Who knows? 

*Minimalism in ingredients will help me narrow down what I am reacting to

*I have been trying to "dry out" my acne but my skin is aging and drying out on its own. Oh, but the top of my forehead still thinks it's 15 years old... 

Hits and misses so far on skincare products both natural and synthetic: 

First of all, Acnedote does work really well. It's popular and the lady at Whole Foods tells me they sell a lot of it. I picked up the last one on the shelf. That was over a month ago. I recommend it but with the caveat that it can be drying.

Second of all, the lady at Whole Foods recommended Alaffia African Black Soap, which is only $4. She said it was really clearing up people's skin. I tried it. Meh. Using that along with Acnedote was far too drying for me. Using it without Acnedote was no different than using any other soap or cleanser. There was nothing special about it. 

Third, I discovered Pacifica Vegan Hot Mask at Sprouts but I got the last one and it was on closeout. I love this stuff! I hoped wasn’t not discontinued, so I emailed Pacifica to ask. They told me it’s gone and not coming back. Sadness. (Again, I did find it on Amazon for however long that lasts. Don’t buy them so I can buy them all).

I am quickly falling in love with Pacifica products. 

I just started using Alight BB Cream. Holy Wow, what good stuff! The tone is deceiving on their products, something that was clearly evident from Amazon reviews. Most of those said it was too dark for light skin tones and I'm pale. So I tried it in store at Sprouts. Tone matching? The Alight BB Cream actually does it. 

The alternative to the Alight BB Cream comes out way too dark on my skin. I found this to be true to the Amazon reviews. Yet there is nothing dark enough for BIPOC. Interesting disparity, Pacifica. I hope you work to increase what’s available for ALL skin colors. 

Finally, I found a really great product I love and highly recommend. It's an all-natural retinol that had great Amazon reviews. It's a small skincare company, Tree of Life Age Defying Beauty, started by a woman and they don't pay for marketing so they pass that savings onto you. 

Can you tell I'm visiting ALL the stores for research? Ulta, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Amazon online so far…

Prior to this all-natural bender I started, I've been a Walgreens girl. I've been using LaRoche-Posay a friend recommended. (Which btw isn’t sold at every Walgreens store, so check the LaRoche Posay website before you go). These products are great, but I was still breaking out. It's a great line of affordable, dermatologist-recommended skincare products. It did clear up my skin for a while. 

The next part of this wellness & beauty blog is diet and supplementation.

Yes, I now demand wellness with my beauty — not just one or the other! 

By no means am I a medical or nutritional professional and this blog isn’t mean to diagnose or treat any disease. 

I've upped my Zinc and Vitamin A intake as well as my consumption of essential fatty acids. I'm also making an effort to stay hydrated due to my workouts at Hotworx. (More on that in a previous blog). 

What about Vitamins for the skin applied topically? 


Vitamin C products are all over the store shelves in ALL the aforementioned stores. So what will applying it topically do for my skin? 

Plenty has been written already, like this article about Vitamin C products being the most-searched for beauty items of 2017.

Sure, I want to boost collagen! I want my skin to be more luminous! I want to repair damage. 

Will it give me enough of a collagen boost to fill the lines? I gave up smoking but the lines at the side of my mouth remain. Using all those acne-drying products didn't help... 

I’ve been trying a Vitamin C Serum being sent to me by Yeouth skincare. (In full disclosure, they aren't paying me but they have comped me a bottle of product in return for a review). 

I’ve tried it since May and I love it! I put it on my face right when I get out of the shower in the morning, put on an eye cream, then the Alight BB Cream. I find the Alight is a great moisturizer as the Yeouth Vitamin C serum is a clear serum — NOT a moisturizer. Unless you’re really oily, you will likely want something moisturizing to put on after it. Alight works for me.

I chose to try retinol first to get rid of the acne and scars from it. Just know it's still a bit drying. I do love this retinol product though! I tend to put some natural skincare oil on my face after the retinol at night that I still have leftover from my direct sales days… I’ll most likely replace it with argan oil when it runs out. 

What are your experiences with all-natural skincare products? Superior or not? Hit up the comments with your experiences. (Plugs for direct sales stuff will be deleted). 

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Faves:

Pacifica Alight BB Cream, Pacifica “Contact High” scent, Alba Botanica Acnedote, Yeouth Vitamin C & E Serum w/Hyaluronic Acid, and Tree of Life Beauty Retinol Serum

Side notes on natural scents:

Pacifica scents are amazing and I have been loving "Contact High" roll on perfume oil. A scent without drying alcohol in it? YES to that. I love all the Pacifica scents I tried at Ulta, so it was hard to settle on just one but this was my clear favorite.


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Some personal reflections for spring so far on health & wellness

I've been somewhat quiet online lately. This is what healers do... We step away, go within, and...well, heal.

Things are running a little late in my Patreon community this month -- which is OK since I (at the time of this writing) have zero Patrons joining in. Good news is, it's only my second month on Patreon. So if you join today, you'll get last month's stuff plus all the stuff I am about to post!

I'm healing my body.

This body of mine has been doing some strange things and I'm not totally sure why except for the obvious like age, hormones, diet, and rest...all of which are a bit erratic.

I've said forever I could do health and wellness without a gym. I stand by that. I didn't join a "gym." I joined a bizarre and different new "studio," shall we say. It's called Hotworx here in Wichita and you do short workouts inside an infrared sauna.

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Hotworx

I am admitting this sounded absolutely psychotic when I first heard of it online. (I believe I first saw them on Facebook). Work out in the heat?

I hated Bikram yoga. HATED it. So at first, I figured this was like that. But it's not! I am glad I tried it. The infrared heat makes exercise easier and this is what I feel I need. My knee is making noise now, I feel terribly inflexible and sedentary...

But I am busy! So I can go to Hotworx and do a 15-minute row in the infrared sauna and it burns around 700 calories. The whole process of getting ready to go work out, driving there, doing the damn thing, and driving home takes me an hour. It's good for time management. I am told Infrared heat is healing...

A word about using the word "calories."

I am NOT a fitness coach or instructor. I'm a life coach and a Reiki Master. I give a sh*t about counting calories. I wouldn't mind losing weight, but it's not my main focus. I want more energy, strength, and flexibility. Plus, I want to feel better. I want to move. I don't vibe with "gym" culture, diet culture, and all that triggering crapola.

I am here for accepting myself as I am and improving my health. I did take my measurements on my second day at Hotworkx so I can measure over time how my body changes -- if it changes. I like metrics and being able to measure what happens here. My blood pressure yesterday was 115/68, so I think I'm doing OK! (It was higher a year ago, MUCH higher).

So I am researching more into this. I am NOT a doctor or medical professional and this blog/website is not meant to diagnose or treat any disease.

Falling down the rabbit hole of health research

This new workout had me looking into infrared heat and saunas, then red light therapy...then I find Ari Whitten's writings and get his Kindle book, Red Light Therapy... Then I listen to his podcast with Dr. Trevor Cates...

Here is where I snapped awake!

She brought up a condition I've suffered with for years. NO doctor has been able to help. (I had Dr. Rodan as my dermatologist in my teen years in Fremont, California so you direct sales people back OFF; I have actually met her; I still have acne). Dr. Cates, “The Spa Dr.,” mentions that keratosis pilaris can be (again, this site isn't meant for curing or diagnosing anything) caused by a zinc deficiency! What?! NO ONE ever mentioned this to me before!

So fast forward to now...I am overhauling my diet, reading her book, and dosing up on supplements (again, I don't diagnose or treat anything, y'all, I'm a Reiki Master listening to the guidance of my higher self here). I've got zinc, vitamin A, essential fatty acids, probiotics, and vitamin D. Some of these I already had. But I had to really research and search online for a good zinc supplement. This is the one I selected.

In the process, I saw someone mention in a forum that an IUD can deplete the body of zinc...and I haven't found confirmation on that yet. I have an IUD but it's not made of copper, so I am wondering if that comment was only about copper IUDs? Does anyone know? Let me know in the comments if you do, or use the contact form if you want to be more private.

Switching to all-natural beauty and personal care products

I also found a cool, natural brand with great reviews, called Tree of Life Beauty on Amazon. I've ordered their retinol serum to try and get a handle on this acne. Now I am reading more of Dr. Cates' book and looking into organic skincare products with a pH of 5.5...

So here's a great example of congruency that I talk about often as a coach. Using myself as an example...

How in the hell can I join an exercise studio where I am working on healing through infrared heat and eliminating toxins...and still have a makeup bag, shower, bathroom, and a household full of chemicals?

I can't replace all the crapola overnight. But I am going to work on getting rid of all the harmful chemicals from my life. I'm a tad inspired by all the minimalism videos I've been watching on YouTube lately (more on that for another blog post).

I've touched on this very briefly on my Instagram feed too recently. I decided to work on cutting back on indoor air pollution as I discovered while traveling to Arizona in December that I need to wear a pollution mask to protect myself from PM2.5. I got rid of all my incense and candles for a TRULY smoke-free home. I purchased a sage spray, so I am no longer burning sage to cleanse the energy around me. (I love my spray! I featured it on Instagram).

View this post on Instagram

So here is the stuff! It’s made by @heritagestorenatural and it’s a sage spray. ⠀ ⠀ This is for those of us who don’t do fire. Or for whom the smell of sage is just too strong for. I actually love the smell of burning sage. I love the ritual. I’ve never been in a spiritual circle where we didn’t burn sage — especially in the Reiki community. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ The other day, my neighbor’s place burnt down. I mean dead ass burned down. I have trauma around fire 🔥 as I lost my cousin in a fire when I was 11. I’ve come to accept that I am still healing this wound — and that is ok. I keep finding myself and/around/affected by fires! Even as a reporter. If I see smoke, I drive the news vehicle toward it, not away. My soul needs the healing. ⠀ ⠀ But in my home, no fire. Also, sage smells like weed 🤣 I haven’t done drugs in 17 years. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ I also have respiratory trouble when there is high ozone and/or high particulate matter. I’ve begrudgingly been working slowly on indoor air pollution as well as wearing a mask on high pollution days. I got super sick in Arizona at Christmas, so I’m finally learning my lesson. ⠀ ⠀ The burning of things inside my home had to stop. For all of the above reasons. So I’m happy to use this sage spray! I used it on the recovery center, the radio station, and my home. I use it before I sit down to write and create coaching/Reiki content for you! ⠀ Much love & blessings!

A post shared by Heather Larson | Life Coach (@heatherlarson) on

This is where I am at now. Heading towards some kind of chemical-free health minimalism that I have yet to deeply define.

I will continue blogging about this journey for you! Maybe it will help someone else. KP sufferers unite & power to the people...not the overly-famous dermatologists...haha.

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In full disclosure -- this is NOT a paid blog post. I am blogging about my own experiences and spending my own money. I am not medically-trained, not a doctor or physician, and this blog/website and my social media accounts are not meant to diagnose or treat any disease.

I used my own money to purchase products mentioned above. Those products have affiliate links so I can earn if you follow/purchase from those links. I purchased all but the Sage Aura Spray from Amazon; that I purchased locally from Sprouts grocery store.

If you like my work, you can support it by making a purchase in the Destiny Architecture store, sharing this blog with others, booking a life coaching and/or Reiki session, joining my Patreon, or making an in-kind donation to my excessive dental care and personal care through Square at: $coachheather.

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Enter the Mid-Week Reset

This self-care weekend, it’s time to have a scary good time! Just don’t forget self-care!

This past week, I made a conscious effort for self-care Wednesday night. I need a mid-week reset. I did a facial, went to bed early, and read a favorite book. A friend also came over and we spent the last, warm early evening chatting on my patio. Reading novels relaxes me and my novels right now are all vampire ones! I’m reading Charlaine Harris’ Dead After Dark and also have Dracula on my list. As far as audio books right now, there’s nothing scarier to me than the deep darkness of The Handmaid’s Tale. I’m not big on movies with violence so I’m not a horror fan, but I’ll read Halloween-themed books like crazy!

Spending time with friends is also part of what I consider self-care. Keeping up with my friends and their lives is important to me. Getting some time to kick back and chat is one of my favorite things to do. As long as I have a living room and patio, the chats can happen!

For self-care this weekend, I attended my usual Reiki share.

I feel like I also need to fine tune my morning routine. The morning routine is so important to me and I have been skimping on it, waking up just in time to get ready and out the door. That’s going to be a weekend goal. (I”ll write a separate blog post on just that topic).

Whatever you do for self-care, remember it’s about taking time for you. It’s about not doing for anyone else. It’s time to do what you love. It’s the space you take to give yourself what you need.

So what do you need?

Self-care leads to better self-knowledge. Become aware of your wants and needs. Make sure you are meeting your needs. Make sure you aren’t working too hard to meet others’ needs — unless you take care of children, elderly, or those medically unable to care for themselves. If you’re a caretaker of someone who requires your help to live, then you need self-care more than most.

I work in a care-taking field. This makes self-care a top priority each day. In addition to time with friends this week, I also had a therapy session I call a “grief tuneup” as this is a time of year for me that can be difficult. I knew I needed it.

Sometimes I need a walk. Sometimes I need a green juice. Sometimes I need a pie with ice cream. Sometimes I need a nap.

What do you need today?

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Welcome to Self-Care Saturday/Sunday!

I've been so busy with self-care, I am posting this is the weekend ends...

Let’s do a fall-themed edition for this weekend. This came to mind after I couldn’t resist buying a fancy, pre-made candy apple at the grocery store the other day. It’s adorable. It’s caramel and chocolate decorated with orange frosting. I love all aforementioned ingredients. Plus, it’s a treat.

The point of self-care is treating yourself!

So, how can you treat yourself today?

Candy apples remind me of happy childhood memories from when I was really small. We’re talking elementary school here! There had been a tragic wreck one Halloween night in which a child was struck and killed.

(I may be dating myself here, we all know costumes are safer and more reflective now).

To avoid further tragedies, the community decided to hold a Halloween carnival as an alternative to trick-or-treating. Think of today’s trunk-or-treats on steroids — we built an annual carnival on our elementary school grounds. It was better than any traveling carnival — as I remember it anyway. I always bobbed for apples and got caramel apples.

Can you treat yourself to something that brings back great childhood memories?

A favorite food? What brings back a flow of positive memories and joy into your life?

How I spent the third weekend of October...

It was a big, huge week. I returned to broadcasting this week as I joined the news staff of KFDI. This filled my week and my house is a wreck. I either need a maid or free time. I think we all know the maid is coming first! HA!

In my head all week, I wanted to use my Sunday to un-wreck the house. But then today came along...

I chose to worship my Audible and Netflix accounts with mac n' cheese. Sometimes that is the best self-care! Who doesn't need a "do nothing" day? I sure did. It was the call of my soul. When I wasn't at the radio station last week, I was taking my cat to the vet. (She's fine now).

I also tried to purchase another caramel apple at the grocery store. They were all gone!

I'm glad I bought that treat when I did.

Have a great week!

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Happy Self-Care Saturday & Sunday!

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Ah, weekends!

The time for self-care. For me today, that means solitude! I have enjoyed today being lazy, having tea and soup, and watching Netflix.

In my weeks, I am talking to people all the time. When asking myself all day what I needed for my Self-Care Saturday today, it could only be one thing -- solitude. Quiet. Peace. Lack of doing. No phone, no interruptions.

What do you need for self-care this weekend?

I went into today thinking of my to-do list. I have a big week coming up and I want everything set up right. But that's not important today. My body wanted to nap. I spent some time with my kitty. She's finally feeling better after a rough week! This makes me so grateful! I played some video games. I tuned out. It was a day of downtime. The only people I talked to in person were my neighbors.

I'm a huge extrovert. To balance that, I need my downtime. This solitude time. It's just me having my own private time without a schedule. This lets me recharge my battery so I can get back to it tomorrow. Whenever I take a day like this, fresh energy follows the next day!

What about you?

Self-Care Saturday!

Let's get beyond scratching the surface of self-care now...

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I've been doing self-care Saturday for a minute now.

My daughter is visiting this weekend and I am proud to say she has no problem taking her own time to do what she needs in the way she needs to do it. She took off today to get her nails done, coming home later with fingers and toes all fixedup. She said she'd only meant to get her nails done but ended up getting her toes done too. To which I say, "Bravo, kid!"

Self-care means you take the time for yourself to do what you need/want to do

Even when you're staying at your mom's house for the weekend. She has a friend here she sees. She has no problem taking the time to have this friendship -- she's new to Kansas and those initial friendships when you move somewhere new are so important. It's the difference between feeling good about where you've planted yourself and feeling completely alone and isolated.

The opposite of self-care hurts society

This is a heavy topic to wade into and I feel it's important to bring up. I read a stellar blog about men and loneliness today here. The writer explores how society conditions men to be lonely and how that leads to violence. He suspects the Vegas shooter didn't play enough growing up and supports his theory with stats on serial killers who didn't play as children. He makes a scientific case for how play is so important for many reasons. 

Self-care isn't just about taking that long, hot bath

Self-care is also more than just a special thing you do on Saturdays. Self-care is a choice you make from moment to moment. Self-care is in your priorities.

Self-care means you have to always make yourself the priority!

Maybe that means more play in life. Maybe that means more hobbies. Maybe it just means saying "no" and meaning it. Maybe it means practicing better boundaries. Maybe it means quitting smoking and eating better.

What does self-care mean to you?

 

Self-Care is So Important!

So I am kicking off my own self-care weekend right now!

Why is self-care so important? I can list off a ton of reasons, some of them cliche:

  • Can’t pour from an empty well (cliche and yet ever-so-true)
  • We need to engage in self-care to set an example for our kids
  • Fights burnout, stress, and poor health
  • Improves self-esteem
  • You deserve it
  • It’s the antidote to codependency
  • Do you take care of someone else? Then you NEED self-care!
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How did we get to this place in society where self-care comes last?

Somewhere in the course of history, self-care took a backseat and we all cosigned on this.

As women became breadwinners as well as equal stakeholders in society (in my grandmother and mother’s generations) they didn’t take any duties off their plates. My grandmother worked at Motorola and gave up few house duties to my grandfather, who loved to mop floors. She cooked for all of us, held huge family dinners, and looked after all her grandchildren.

My mother set aside finishing college to go after her M-R-S degree, support my father in his business, and ultimately to raise me. She never finished college but supported my father in finishing his degree. By then, I was a teenager on my own way to college and she soon moved closer to her parents to take care of them.

Both of these women wore their caretaking as a badge of honor as they put themselves last. Both of these women are no longer with us, plagued by stress and poor health until their final days of degenerative brain diseases -- my grandmother succumbed to Alzheimer’s; my mother fell to CJD.

Personal Development Opportunities Lost

My mother watched countless cooking and travel shows, never once taking that trip or preparing that new recipe. My grandmother had no friends or social life outside our family. Her only hobby was hitting garage sales or flea markets. Needless to say, my mother followed in her mother’s footsteps with her lack of social life and hobbies. The last time I saw my mother have a hobby, it was the late 70s/early 80s when she did “tole painting.” (My mother was an excellent oil painter and I have her leaves tattooed on my arm).

Grandma had no self-care. None. My mother spent her evenings watching TV, reading magazines, and keeping her nails immaculate. Her only splurge in life was a regular haircut and color. No bottle jobs for my mother!

I am convinced both of these women could have benefited from mental and physical health services. They could have benefited from personal relationships outside of marriage and family. Each could have benefited from Al-Anon meetings, which I will mention because September is Recovery Month. Neither of them had a spiritual base like a church or a practice of prayer and meditation. Aside from personal grooming, there was no true uninterrupted “me time” for the women who came before me that I would consider “self-care.”

So let’s discuss then what true “Self-Care” really is!

Self-care is putting yourself first. Self-care is making your own needs a priority. I don’t know how we got into this way of life in which, “I’m so busy,” is such a prized statement. Busy is a drug. We use drugs to bury things and/or escape reality. We avoid self-care as an act of avoiding the self in the same way.

Let’s start a self-care revolution.

Let’s promise here and now to take care of ourselves first. This post is primarily aimed at women because I know mostly women who avoid self-care. My male friends seem to have no problems keeping hobbies, relationships, getting haircuts regularly --and most importantly-- saying no.

Self-care is saying no.

Self-care means saying no firmly and realizing the word “no” is a complete sentence. Guess what? Say “no” more often and you free up your time. What do you use that time for? Self-care! Boom! You set a boundary when you say “no” and then you stick to it. You don’t waver. You don’t take it back. You keep your “no” solid. It’s a wall. It’s a message that says, “my time is not for free and I am not on sale.”

Now that you have time for self-care...what to do?

Do you have female friends outside your marriage, family, and job? If that area is lacking, start there. Are you a caretaker for an elderly family member and/or small children? Then you require self-care time. You need quiet time with yourself. Recover your sense of self.

Opening the gates on a self-care weekend

This is my self-care weekend! I have counted the days and hours to it. I recently switched jobs within the company I work for, attended trainings two weekends in a row out of town, and worked overtime for our annual fundraiser. My previous job never, ever went beyond 40 hours a week. To say my routine has been blown out of the water is an understatement as I also had taken on some freelance work in the middle of this. Then my daughter made a surprise visit for 5 days! Whoa! The last month flew by.

Time to pump the brakes!

This weekend is my first weekend I get two days of straight me time! This weekend I have no work, no training, no overtime, no freelance work, and no kid! Self-care means I will indulge in sleep, but not too much. I’ve made plans for my own self-care and private time. I went home last night exhausted and decided to start self-care weekend early with Netflix and takeout. (My take the “Netflix and Chill”). Saturday, someone will do Reiki on ME for a change! Then I am getting the haircut and style I’ve been too busy to get.

Remember when I said, “Busy is a drug?” Being too busy to get a haircut is just plain wrong. It’s like cheating on myself. So that’s over. We all slip sometimes, but we have to reboot and reset! Sunday, I am attending a Reiki share I haven’t been to in ages due to my former work schedule. I had attended so regularly before! I also plan to read and relax. I plan to immerse myself in my study of “A Course in Miracles” and other spiritual texts. I also plan on yoga in my living room! I cannot wait because I know this effort is important to feed my soul this weekend. This is my idea of self-care. This is what works for me.

Do you need ideas on how to create more self-care in your own life? Not sure where to start? I can help; I’m a coach!

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