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Beauty Therapy in Costa Rica

There’s something about traveling and walking on unfamiliar terrain amidst a new culture that ignites a real spark in me. I love getting lost in exotic locales all across the globe more than anything. I am so curious to see, taste and feel the dynamics of many world cultures that are otherwise too far removed geographically from my Los Angeles existence. To witness how another part of the world lives is truly a magical blessing that I feel fortunate to have access to.

While I love traveling, there’s a small feeling of fear that often creeps in from time to time. Let me share by telling you Beauties a bit about my Beauty Therapy in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is an adventure-junkie’s dream! From white water rafting to zip-lining to jumping off waterfalls to the incredible wildlife, Costa Rica has it all (and then some)!

While I’m all about adventure and experiencing new cultures, I wouldn’t actually call myself an adventure-junkie.

A fear that crept up for me: Fear of the unknown.

White water rafting was a fun-filled afternoon, but I’d be lying if I didn’t reveal that my heart was about to pop out of my chest throughout the entire experience. I was nervous, I second-guessed my own strength and capabilities, and I was more often than not incredibly scared of the next turn. Thankfully, I was surrounded by people who challenged me to stay strong and self-confident. They challenged me to grow, and most importantly, to do something outside of my comfort zone — to live a little larger.

One of my favorite quotes is: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” ―Eleanor Roosevelt 

This quote is a reminder for me to live in faith, not fear. It nudges me to be present in order to fully witness all of the beauty that surrounds me, and all of us. This world holds endless adventure, unique people & cultures, abundant nature and transformational experiences. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget to take a moment to truly take in all of this beauty. No matter where you are, beauty is all around you, you just have to look. You don’t have to travel thousands of miles away to appreciate what’s in front of you. Although, I would certainly encourage you to leave your comfort zone to take on a foreign adventure!

I challenge you Beauties to step outside your comfort zone, take a deep breath and try something new and exciting — something that maybe even scares you. Once you get to the other side of your fear, the experience is priceless. Pura Vida! 

XOXO,

PS. Costa Rica didn’t just spark immeasurable fear (which led to wondrous growth). It also sparked a huge love in my heart. While I’m not an adrenaline junkie, I am a total 110% head-over-heels in love animal lover. I love animals more than most humans, it’s my truth. And the wildlife in Costa Rica did not disappoint when it came to this deep love of mine.

So thank you Costa Rica, for softening the fear with some furry love.

Enjoy my photo diary of Costa Rica, Beauties!

 

 

From Beauty Queen to Bride

Planning for a wedding is a unique process —  a wild, and (if you’re lucky) a once-in-a-lifetime journey, filled with twists and turns and highs and lows. The preparations leading up to the momentous walk down the aisle bring out so many emotions and opportunities for growth for everyone involved in the planning process. It’s no wonder there are reality shows, magazines and a plethora of stores and specialty services dedicated solely to the world of wedding and wedding planning.

But I don’t need to tell you that, do I? I’m sure you’ve heard and seen and even witnessed first-hand the fabulous frenzy of a loved one’s wedding season, or the impact of your own.

I’m here to share my unique journey, as a has-been beauty queen transforming into a bride.

I grew up in the pageant world, which meant wearing lavish dresses, high heels and fabulous hair and makeup from an early age. The attention paid to picking the perfect dress is not a foreign concept to me, as I grew up with my mother scrutinizing every inch and fabric of each competition gown.

Most little girls dream about their wedding and their wedding dress, but not me. I dreamt about my Miss USA gown instead. Plus, coming from a divorced family didn’t lead me to daydream about the perfect marriage.

Being a former beauty queen and now a bride bare quite the resemblance:

  1. Pageants and weddings both have their BIG DAY, where a crowd of adoring people gather to witness the proceeding.
  2. Both have a special (and often nerve-racking) countdown, which require preparing  mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  3. Both require paying close attention to every detail, from hair to nails — and if you’re like me, you aim for perfection. I know, I know, but hey–I’m a work in progress too!  
  4. And, of course, both involve THE DRESS! That’s right, the big reveal, the make or break, the final wardrobe change has to illicit wild ooohs and ahhhs!

Within the challenge of carving out the differences between a pageant and my big wedding day, came some comfort. Having the experience preparing for many a competition actually made my transition into bride-hood a bit easier. I found myself looking at this challenge as my biggest blessing — I’ve been down this road many times, and I in fact know what emotional/physical/spiritual preparation I need to get myself centered. Self-care nudged its way to the top of my to-do list.

That being said, picking my wedding dress definitely pushed some familiar buttons. This dress better be the best, you need to look perfect, blah, blah, blah!  This particular dress wasn’t just any dress, it was THE dress of all dresses, and I had to get this right.

So, how did I handle the triggers?

  1. Self Love — Be Your Own Best Beauty Coach

I gave myself a lot of love, and time, and encouragement. I was patient with my little beauty-queen self, who was scared to “lose” and “not be perfect” and “disappoint.” And because of the preparation and awareness I gave to my insecurities, the has been beauty queen inside of me, I was able to coach her off her high horse when she came up to try and make me feel imperfect.

  1. Patience — Every Experience Is Unique

I mentioned the advantage I have of pageant prep going into wedding season. However, I had to be careful to prepare for my wedding like I’d never prepared for a pageant stage. Pageantry wasn’t a marriage, it wasn’t one of the biggest decisions of my life. Love and marriage require an inner guidance and knowing that pageantry doesn’t. There aren’t judges and coaches. With marriage the ultimate guide is your very own intuition, and the honest communication between you and your partner. I had to be patient with myself as I travelled down some new and unfamiliar terrain.

  1. Joy!

The location, the invitations, the cake, the flowers, the dresses, who to invite, the seating, the registry. The list of to-do’s can feel as one-dimensional as a shade of foundation with no inner soulfulness to bring the honey beige to life. To plan without joy and love is no planning at all, an invitation without blissful intention will lack energy when opened by the recipient.

And then I had a little come to Jesus moment…that the very essence of both a beauty queen and a bride is this, we just want to be the best versions of ourselves, especially on the big day!

The process for me through my personal wedding season brought up a whole lot of stuff that I didn’t realize was still beneath the exterior. Growth never stops, in fact the opportunities for growth (often disguised as challenges during huge life transitions) bring up some of the unseen darkness that’s been waiting to see the light of day. And that’s all the drama that the shows catch, that the magazines expand upon and that so many of the wedding services cater to. With precious life moments come vulnerability, fear, and pain. It’s a normal part of life. But what we do with it is up to us.

And by the end of the second week of shopping, I was thrilled to have said a big YES to the dress of my dreams! Not because it was anybody else’s favorite but because it was mine.

Whew!

There’s more blooming to go in my personal wedding season. And I’ll admit, while challenges arise (and I initially attempt to avoid them), I’m so grateful for the opportunity to create a momentous occasion with my vulnerability in tow.

Why, Beauties?

Because I know this heartwarming event and all its trimmings will have the added fulfillment that hard work and transformation afford. And walking down that aisle will feel that much more magical if I can leave my jaded and bully of a has-been beauty queen at home.

Plus, it made looking at my mom with tears in her eyes, through tears of my own, such an everlasting memory that I’ll forever cherish. I’m lucky I was present, vulnerable and emotionally available to receive the moment in all its beauty.

I’d love to hear how you’ve navigated your own wedding seasons, and any tips you have for me and other soon-to-be brides trying to keep their head (and beauty) on straight?

Comment below, I can’t wait to hear from you Beauties!

XOXO,

The Beauty of a Birthday

Birthdays are beautiful, aren’t they Beauties?! A glorious 24-hour window in time dedicated to celebrating being YOU and only you!

Well, I’ll admit birthdays are slightly more conflicting for me.

Let me explain…

The most commonly asked question for me on my big day is “So, what did you get?!”

It’s not a bad question. Presents on my miraculous day of entering this magical Universe are appreciated, they’re generous tokens of love and affection. But, I think more importantly is the question, “So what did you give?”

A week ago I turned 32.

That’s 32 entire years of living, growing, learning, discovering, re-discovering — more importantly, that’s 11,680 days filled with opportunities to share. Wow! That’s a lot of days, Beauties. Seeing that number brings up a lot of joy in remembering some beautiful moments over the past year:

 

I got engaged!

My last full year with the last name I’ve known all my life, Barnette. And I really like that name, and all the memories that come with it! Making the transition to a new chapter as Mrs. Sanger was made so much easier by my handsome prince, who gave me the most beautiful, thoughtful proposal — something I’ll forever cherish. We’ve had almost five years together through thick and thin, and I am thrilled to step into this new chapter together.

 

I launched my dream brand and social platform — Beauty Therapy!

A virtual dream come true, but also a big leap of faith. I was scared, and admittedly still am at times, but I pushed and continue to push past the fear and into a medium of connection with all of you. Being able to relate and share with all of you makes my heart smile. Truly.

 

I traveled the globe!

Over the past year I traveled to Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong, England, Spain, French Polynesia, Dubai, Africa, Italy and Mexico. To uproot and regroup abroad has helped me to widen my own horizons, and learn so much about the world and my place within it.

 

I fulfilled some major professional dreams!

Co-hosting Super Bowl LI Live was a dream come true. Being able to work alongside talented and knowledgeable hosts on one of the biggest platforms in our country was a humongous high! I even managed to grace a few magazine covers, which is a dream I prayed for when I was a kid, a dream that’s coming true. The last year also saw me working as a Lagree Fitness trainer in West Hollywood, giving me the opportunity to share health and positivity with others.

 

I spent an enormous amount of energy working on myself, from the inside out!

I claimed last year as the year I would not only focus on internal strength and growth, but also share it with the world around me. That’s not an easy feat. I’m a private person by nature and public self-expression goes far outside of my comfort zone, but another part of me knew this public declaration was necessary and timely.

But at the same time, all of the moments and gifts I received above are nothing if not accompanied by moments of giving to others.

What am I getting at?

I dedicate this birthday and my entire 32nd year to giving to you, my Beauties.

And I’d love to hear what’s at the top of your wish list.

What gifts can I give to you, my Beauties (and to the Universe at large while we’re at it)? How can I  leave my mark and add more beauty in your personal life?

Is it beauty tips? Is it access to Hollywood experts and top level gurus? Is it an inside peek into my travels? Is it lighthearted content to bring a smile to your face and peace to your heart? What do you need?

And on that note, I bid a grateful farewell to 31, as I graciously welcoming 32 with open arms. And excitedly await to hear your beauty therapy needs!

xoxo,