Skin Rehab Sessions: The diary of my journey from bad to beautiful skin

This past summer I went to rehab. Skin Rehab to be exact. I was looking for a holistic solution to my chronic problems with acne and scarring. I found one, and it worked. But it wasn’t at all what I imagined. Going into treatment I thought my skin was the one and only problem. I learned that it went far beyond that. To finally achieve clear, beautiful skin I had to heal my gut and digestive system, and deal with my emotional anxiety that was getting in my way. This is a diary of my journey……

Part 1 – My Skin Has Had It

I’ve always had problems with my skin: oily, enlarged pores and constant breakouts. As a model this is pretty much the worst thing. It’s painful and embarrassing, and has held me back in my work. I’ve tried everything from peels, to micro-dermabrasion, to Pro-active. But it wasn’t until I was given heavy doses of antibiotics for months at a time that I saw results. I knew that antibiotics would take a toll on my body but I didn’t care. I needed my skin to look better, and I didn’t think I had other options. I chose to sacrifice my health within so that I could be acceptable at the surface… that’s the honest truth and an interesting metaphor for me to understand as I later come to understand.

In the beginning they really worked. I’d never seen my skin look that good before. I had no scars and no blemishes anywhere. My pores were still big and I was still oily, but the breakouts stopped and that was what I cared about. After about 6 months of taking the antibiotics, I also started to explore a more holistic lifestyle. I changed my diet by spontaneously becoming pescatarian and even became super aware or the products I used. I started caring more about being sustainable, natural and more conscious and within months things really started to shift.

The crazy thing about antibiotics is that after being on them for a few months, they stopped working as effectively. So I went back to my dermatologist and she increased my dosage, plus added topical creams to my treatment – which if I didn’t have insurance would be expensive as hell(i.e. $900 a bottle). At one point I was on the highest daily dose of antibiotics that is considered safe. I took them consistently for over 4 months, which even I was aware is is a really long time.

I remember being in my kitchen one day looking at my bottle of antibiotics and I just couldn’t take them anymore. So I went cold turkey and threw them out. I started to look for a more holistic approach. My dermatologist was always telling me that my pores would never get smaller, that’s just the way they were. She insisted that antibiotics were the only way. She had no real long term answers. But I knew there had to be more than what she was telling me.

That’s when I reached out to Sandra Lanshin – an acupuncturist I met through SERENE. I emailed to ask her if she could treat acne and skin problems. Not only was her answer yes, absolutely – she had just launched a Skin Rehab program that was all about using acupuncture, herbs and other natural ways to heal skin from the inside out. Even within the first email, she suspected that something was off with my stress levels and digestion, which was throwing off my hormones. After all I had been through, this sounded the most on target of everything I had tried and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Here I was at the brink of making real changes inside and out, I hope you will join me on the journey to see that there is so much more to this than skin!

This is me the day I walked into Sandra's studio!

This is me the day I walked into Sandra’s studio!

This is AFTER I worked with Sandra for just a few weeks!

This is AFTER I worked with Sandra for just a few weeks!

 

Stay tuned for Part 2: When I check in to Skin Rehab

#GetTHANKFUL #2 Launching THIS Sunday!

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I would like to invite you on a journey that will bring fresh new energy to the new year! Its going to be a lot of fun and although I can’t promise you a million dollars or something so specific… I am SURE you will gain more than you imagined… spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially and more! Go to SERENEsocial.com/upcoming-events to sign up or email me at info@MillanaSnow.com

Feminine Weapon Feature… Millana Snow: The Calm and Cool Project Runway Winner

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FROM:Feminine Weapon Photographs by Manuela Rana

Feminine Weapon shoot with Millana Snow in Harlem.

With her shock of curly hair and long legs it’s easy to see why Millana Snow was crowned winner of Project Runway’s modeling competition. But behind her beautiful face is a woman constantly in pursuit of knowledge who actively seeks to grow emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. Through her company, Serene Social, Millana is helping other women do the same.

As the daughter of a hotelier, Millana moved frequently between Denver, Boulder, and Houston. That transient lifestyle allowed little time for creating lasting friendships so Millana turned to books. She took an especially keen interest to religious books – after all there’s a Bible in every hotel room – and began educating herself on all the world’s religions. Though she doesn’t consider herself religious, Millana believes in the lessons of the Bible and believes strongly in the Abraham-Hicks law of attraction. “If you seek that knowledge, or God or the Universe, it seeks you. If you seek spirituality, truth, or magic, those things will come to you,” she says.

At eighteen Millana booked a ticket to New York to expand the modeling career she’d begun in Houston. Initially, the five day trip was a trial run but Millana instantly felt at home. In the years since Millana has worked at Uptown and Vibe magazines – working at Vibe had always been a dream of hers – and continued her acting and modeling work while finishing school. Millana was on track to build her career at Vibe until a fateful casting for Project Runway changed all that. She spent the summer filming – which meant quitting Vibe – and won the modeling portion of the competition. From that success she began booking more work and continued modeling, acting, and serving as host of The Vagabond Project, a Webby award-winning travel show.

Over time Millana got the urge to do more than just modeling: she yearned to awaken the businesswoman within her. After reading The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer, Millana was inspired to focus on her new intention of starting a business. While at a yoga class she had the vision of doing a woman-only rooftop yoga class. She floated the idea to The James Hotel and seemingly overnight Serene City Retreat was born. The classes were a hit and garnered rave reviews – but Millana knew her company was meant to be more.

In late 2012 Millana met her business partner Erin Ralph. Together they’ve taken Serene City Retreat and morphed it into Serene Social, a community for women. “Women are becoming really successful now. There’s always been these good ole boy clubs where men sit around smoking and drinking and not caring how the business decisions they make impact people in a real social, emotional, spiritual way. Women have a different view of the world. We have an innate need to support people in a more nurturing way. We wondered, how can we harness that in a city like New York where there’s so many of these women? That’s why we created Serene Social, it’s a community of women that are empowered and united and building something together that can change the world.” Millana says.

Serene Social offers a multitude of events, from the “Heal Yourself” workshop which combines mantra, breathing exercises, yoga, and Reiki, to the three-sixty talks which are similar to Ted Talks but by women for women. It’s not all serious though. One recent event was a life-drawing class which had participants drawing a very attractive – very naked – male model.

In 2014 Serene Social will expand to Denver, LA, and London. In addition to in-person classes and events, Millana and Erin plan to expand their online hub and hope to unite more women internationally through that medium.

This interview is part of the Feminine Weapon Day photography series. Feminine Weapon Day is January 30th and has been designated to Honor Your Conscious Light + Beautiful Self.

Join us at The Cutting Room (44 East 32nd St.) at 6:30 for the photography showcase and Creeds of Love Pop-up Shop, 8p for concert with Margot B. (Boardwalk Empire), Nancy Danino, Syndee Winters and Dilia Jelen, and/or 10p for the Afterparty show with Coyle Girelli from The Chevin.

Tickets available at: feminineweaponday.com

Leap and the Net Will Appear

When was the last time you just said f@ck  it and just went for something without knowing how it would work out?! We all have a story of when we just blindly jumped into the abyss of the unknown hoping that all would be what we hoped. I have a few of those instances but the one that stands out most is when I moved to NYC! Long story short, when I moved to NY, I was a teenager and I had no family in NY let alone the East Coast. I knew only a handful of people who I had met just a few times while visiting a few months before. I had saved money but had no job and no place to stay. Little do even my closest friends know that upon my arrival, I went to Harlem for the first time ever and stayed in a hostel for the first few nights while I coordinated my stay with a girl that I met at a casting! There is even more color to that story that I hope to share some day. But what is important, is that almost 7 years later I am still in NY and loving it!! I see that although most people back then said it was the craziest thing I could have done… now everyone will agree it was the best thing I ever did!

Leap, and the net will appear.-John Burroughs

I JUMPED and the net appeared. After many years of many amazing ups and some painful downs, I can still say that I believe that the net that catches you after a big jump is the most rewarding kind! What is your heart telling you is for you? Where do you want to live? What passion do you want to pursue? You don’t need to know how, what or who. You just have to take the leap… not the little dip your toe in the pool, but a leap into full immersion. Often the answers and solutions only come when you take the leap. You have to be in it to win. You cannot experience the magic of the world if you don’t depend on it to show itself to you. TAKE THE LEAP.

I had my #GetTHANKFUL group share their stories of taking the leap and everyone had a powerful testimony that inspired and uplifted the group. Wont you share one of your stories with us in the comments below?

Gratitude & the Resistance that Comes with it!

My #GetTHANKFUL 26 Day Challenge officially launched the Sunday before last. However, I have been doing the daily gratitude work for exactly 15 days! This is my second time around doing the daily work from The Magic, and it has definitely been different! Ironically, unlike last time, I am doing this in a time that is very difficult and full of unknowns. With a break up, an unexpected move and tons of life questions being brought to the surface in a very serious way, gratitude is honestly one of the hardest things to do right now! But I believe that is why my subconscious lead me to do this work again at this time!

One thing that I have learned this time around and with my group is that daily gratitude can bring resistance!! SERIOUS resistance! Sometimes I feel like its not working, like being positive is bullshit and that my life is even more out of control than I thought! Funny that resistance is the first thing that comes up when working on something as simple and pure as gratitude! But resistance and tension is often the first manifestation, with varying effects person to person. As I am starting to understand it more, it seems that the act of gratitude is very much like sifting through sand/dirt; similar to how one would sift through sand for gold in the Colorado river. When consistently working on gratitude as a daily practice, both the “good” and the “bad” become more visible. When I focus on what I am thankful for everything becomes more clear. And before clearing what is no longer wanted, useful or healthy, the sifting, separation and clarity can be painful. We start to see what about ourselves that we are moving away from, at the same time we can see a light at the end of the tunnel even though we have no idea how far away it may be.

So, what to do? KEEP DOING THE WORK. Its like working out, at first it really hurts, then you start to get fatter than when you started (I actually don’t know why but this something I know from experience when going in at the gym for about a week). THEN, after a few weeks you see results! The results really only come though when you deny the pain or in this case, resistance and negativity and keep focusing on what you have to be thankful for, consistently, until the resistance passes. We have to remember that we are sifting through the dirt and sand to find the gold that we are looking for. If we aren’t willing to do the work and sift through what we don’t want, release it and continue towards what we do want, then we will never find what we are meant to have! GRATITUDE really does provide CHANGE and THEN the TRANSFORMATION that brings you to the life you really want! The question is, are you willing to keep going until you see the results that you came for?

Natural Products That I LOVE!!

Nature has always been my refuge! Growing up in Colorado for most of my childhood, nature became the place where I felt most safe, free, connected and at home. Even when I went to college in East Texas for  a bit, the tall pine forests were my favorite escape! Now that I am a NY’er, nature is probably the one thing that I miss most in life. Funny enough, it has pushed me to seek a more natural and holistic health and body regime! Although I have promised myself to make it a priority to get into nature often, its also a priority to make my home and body a place that is connected to mother earth as well! I will be exploring this concept more, but for now, I would love to share some of the products that I LOVE that also show LOVE to MOTHER EARTH! That means NO ANIMAL TESTING, NO PARABENS, NO NASTY CHEMICALS and lost of great ways that the company gives back and returns the love to people and the planet!! 

I love Pangea Organics sooooo much that my company SERENE Social is now selling it! I love the fact that everything is natural (mostly organic) and all around good to humans, animals and mother earth! But what’s even better, is the fact that it everything smells AMMMMAZING and does wonders for you hair, skin and nails! To start this list off I chose a few of my fave Pangea Products that I personally use and love! Click the photo and you can buy it from the SERENE Pangea store on the spot!

This is the ultimate body oil! I feel so sexy  yet at ease whenever I put this on! This a beautiful oil that is perfect for massages as well! Pangea has two body oils and this scent in my opinion this oil is the best on the market!

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ITALIAN WHITE SAGE & GERANIUM BODY OIL

 

Words cannot express how amazing this hand soap is! Hand soap?! Really?! YES!! It smells like you just held the most amazingly fresh bouquet picked from heaven! Its that good! Want to have a beautiful hand soap in the bathroom that will make you excited to wash your hands? GET THIS!!!

Pangea Hand Soap

ITALIAN WHITE SAGE WITH GERANIUM & YARROW HAND SOAP

I love this toner for after the gyn! This is a great hydrator and beautiful way to refresh and tighten the skin! LOVE the scent!

ARGENTINEAN TANGERINE & THYME FACIAL TONER - OILY

ARGENTINEAN TANGERINE & THYME FACIAL TONER – OILY