All posts by P. L. McGroarty

Eclectic, Radical, Diamond In The Ruff Rough. A puzzlingly optimistic inspiration hunter fueled by all things adventure. Sailing, motorcycles, wake boarding, snowboarding and yoga are a few of my favorite things. Some of the countries I've explored so far include Greece, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Mexico, Portugal, France, Germany, Holland and Honduras; and I'm just getting started. Next on the list are Japan, Morocco, all of South American eventually, Italy, Russia, Spain... I can go on and on.

Maintaining Healthy Skin in Our 30’s

Niki Alsop shot by Lola Miche
Healer and Life Coach Niki Alsop shot by Lola Miche

At 31 my skin is changing in ways I’d never predicted. It seems to be getting drier, I’m getting way more pimples than ever before, specifically around my chin, and it’s not looking as bright and firm as it did a few years ago.

After perusing countless retinol night creams and eye serums claiming to have the anti-aging answers I never knew I needed, and the kind of price tag that made me feel weary of taking a risk, I decided it was time for some legit professional help.

The urgency to figure out what exactly my skin needs to stay young and fresh for as long as possible led me to Natural Feeling Spa on 3rd st. in Los Angeles, a beautiful space with an eco-friendly design founded by esthetician Adina Diaz.

Aside from word of mouth about Adina’s astonishing knowledge and skill as an esthetician, what drew me to Natural Feeling Spa was the fact that they only offer 100% natural holistically crafted products.  

“I’m very selective about my products,” admits Adina.

After a decade of working as a professional esthetician at a long list of places that included everything from high-end day spas to plastic surgery facilities where she felt her morals were being compromised, Adina went out on her own, opening Natural Feeling Spa in 2016.

“I was being asked at certain places I worked at to have girls as young as 18 to start looking into botox, it was against my morals and ethics because I don’t believe people should be told to do something without having alternative methods of preventative skincare before being pushed to do something so extreme,” Adina explains. “It’s nothing against people getting injections or laser treatments, but 18 I feel like you have so much to grow and to live… by just drinking more water and having a better skin care routine you can have better results, you don’t have to go so extreme. You can try different things first before going down that road.”

Adina Diaz
Skincare Guru Adina Diaz at Natural Feeling Spa (Photo Courtesy of Verite Woman)

Upon entering Natural Feeling Spa I immediately felt at home. I went for a Pumpkin Facial and after that, a much needed consultation about what will make my skin happiest. The facial was nearly an hour long and a lot of treatments went into it (an in depth post about the facial step by step coming soon). After the treatment I felt completely relaxed overall, while my skin felt more alive than ever. Adina’s upbeat personality made the whole experience fun, but it’s her gentle precision coupled with her encyclopedic knowledge of everything skincare related that’s made her stand out as LA’s go-to skincare guru. After an hour with her I learned a lot– far more than I would have if I’d devoted another three hours to researching skincare treatments on the computer without professional guidance.

As a woman in our 30s our skin is changing and there’s no way around it– but there are things we can do to slow the aging process. On the most basic level, Adina says, “Everyone should have a good cleanser, a good exfoliant and a good moisturizer, those are a necessity. What’s really good to incorporate into your 30s is having a high potency serum, something that’s going to have an AHA, a BHA and an acid that’s going to help buffer out fine lines and wrinkles and help with some of the damage you did when you were younger.”

How the skin changes from our 20’s to 30’s to 40’s

“It’s a drastic change. In the 20’s we get away with going to bed with makeup on, we get away with going to bed at 4 am and waking up for an 8-hour shift and still looking good, once you hit the 30’s that really does change. The elasticity and the collagen starts to deplete. We start to get wear and tear from how way we treated our skin in our 20’s, it starts to show in our 30’s. Hormones change. All these things combined together, plus environment, plus stress levels are different in our 20’s versus our 30’s.

So the things you want to do in your 20’s are preventative. You really want to start at a young age, start drinking lots of water, do your L-Ascorbic acid, which is vitamin C, do your hyaluronic acid, these are things that are going to help hydrate and stimulate collagen without any down time and give you that extra boost for when you get into your 30’s.

In the 30’s it’s all about the acids, it’s all about retinol, glycolic, lactic, salicylic, all of these things are going to help with the cell turn over, so it’s going to help minimize enlarged pores, fine lines, wrinkles and help kill bacteria and just really give that extra boost that most people in their 30’s need.

Once you climb over to the 40’s then there’s a lot of damage that’s settled in so you really need to have a deeper treatment, doing chemical peels, microdermabrasion and really having a rigorous skincare routine, that’s going to go a long way.”

Healer and Coach Niki Alsop shot by Lola Miche
Niki Alsop shot by Lola Miche

How Often Should We Get Facials In Our 30’s?

“With family, friends, work, life our budget can be tight, but ideally once a month. The cell turnover is about 27 or 28 days, that’s the natural process that your skin naturally sluffs off the dead skin cells. Living in a place, particularly like Los Angeles, California there’s smog, there’s dirt, there’s pollution, so it is a different kind of environment that we live in, we are exposed to more pollution and free radicals than in other places, so it’s really a great idea to stay on top of your skincare routine and do it once a month for good results– I like to say to people: If you want a six-pack you wouldn’t go to the gym once a week, you’d go every single day. If you want good skin you would do skincare every single day, have a good routine down, and then follow up by having good skincare treatments done.”

And If You Can’t Afford a Facial a Month? Adina has advice on that too:

“If budget is an issue, you want to have your arsenal at home, you want to have your little soldiers ready in the cupboard. A good mask goes a long way, and a good enzyme peel, a safe one that you can do at home will go a long way. There’s  a lot of peels that I sell, a wild blueberry that’s an 8% lactic, a raw cacao peel that’s a 10%, these are light treatments you can do on yourself that will help prolong the lifespan of the facial, and also address the issues at hand, so you get a  little bit more bang for your buck and also feel like that when you do have some dullness creeping up or some hormonal breakouts you can address it, you have the tools at home. When in doubt spend the money on good skincare and when you can indulge, go for the deeper treatments.”  

But What Kind of Facial is Best for the 30’s? There are so many out there, how do I choose?!

Adina says, “The pumpkin facial is a go-to because there’s no downtime. It’s a light enzyme so it will eat away the dead skin cells, brighten, tighten and tone the area… It’s a really strong peel with a low pH so it will have a lot of effect on the skin, so a lot of people will do that before a red carpet event, a wedding, a speech, something where they want to have an extra glow to their skin. That’s a really good one for people to start with.”

**Again, this is the one I had, with the added boost of LED Light Therapy, and it is mind boggling how refreshed and active my skin still feels, and I left the spa 5 hours ago!

adina diaz
Inside Natural Feeling Spa (Photo Courtesy of Verite Woman)

What Chemicals Should We Avoid?

Parabens
Aluminium
Aluminoxide
Dimethicone
Silicone
Mineral Oil
PEGS
Dyes and Fragrances

Adina adds, “Though some of these are ingredients are not on the ‘extreme’ toxicity level in the blood, they’re still going to be toxic and clogging. For example, dimethicone is not “toxic” in the blood stream, however it weighs on top of the skin not allowing anything to go in or.  It’s basically like wrapping saran wrap around your face or body, so when your sweating and have makeup on it literally cannot escape, so in my opinion when your skin can’t ‘breathe’ you’re aging your skin faster and it is toxic because nothing is able to be expelled.”

So What is the Take Away?

The things that worked for us (and the things we could get away with) in our 20’s change drastically once we hit our 30’s. The normal aging process causes our hormones to change, the cell turnover rate to slow and collagen production to drop--ahhh so are we doomed? Not by a long shot!

There are so many things we can do to keep our skin looking bright and youthful. On the most basic level it’s vital that you begin a daily skincare routine that works for you. Find a good enzyme cleanser, moisturizer and exfoliant. In order to help the cell turn over rate, find serums and moisturizers that include retinol, and a glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid. If it’s within your means try to get facials every four to five weeks, and consult a dermatologist or esthetician to assess your skin type so that before you go spending hundreds of dollars on products, you can learn which ones are going to be the most beneficial for you.

***

Adina’s been featured on Better Nutrition, Green Beauty Love, Wallace and James, Beauty Banter, The Carat Diet, Wella Bella, Coco Perez, Kuyam, Bond En Avant, HelloGiggles, West Hollywood Lifestyle, Beauty Style Watch, and The Organic Life Blog. Some of her celebrity clients include actress Sundy Carter (“Soul Plane,” “Bringing Down the House”), actress and TV host Vanessa Simmons (“Project Runway: Threads,” “Run’s House”), vegan chef and blogger Jenné Claiborne, body positive model Dana Isabella and more.

***

Photos of Adina and Natural Feeling Spa are from a recent interview she did with Veritewoman.com which you can check out here: https://veritewoman.com/life-green-beauty-advice-from-las-favored-skincare-guru/

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Multifarious Skills Behind the Lens Make Zac Chia a Sought After Force in Entertainment

Zac Chia
Zac Chia on set of “Saptapadi” shot by Ran Ro

While the shot sequences and camera angles seen in a film or TV series are laid out by the cinematographer beforehand, capturing those key visuals falls on the shoulders of the industry’s skilled camera operators, those like Malaysian born Zac Chia.

Chia’s extensive skill in capturing visuals as both a camera and gimbal operator have set him apart from others in the industry and have led him to be tapped to work behind the scenes on a number of high profile projects.

Chia says, “I love so many things about film! It’s a business with the perfect blend of art, technology, human relations, and business in my opinion; and an art form with a lot of creativity, yet requires a lot of careful planning. And the collaborative aspect of it is absolutely amazing. Everyone brings their expertise onto the table, and creates a project together.”

Some of the projects he’s become known for include the series “Kore Conversations” and “Cupid’s Match,” which ranked as the CWseed.com’s second most watched show upon release, the films “The Shadowboxer” with Dalton Alfortish from “22 Jump Street,” the 2018 thrillers “Paracusis” with Chris Barry from “The Book of Life,” and “Monkey Man” with Richard Bulda from the series “Fashion House,” and more.

One skill that sets him apart from many camera operators is his seasoned experience using the gimbal to capture scenes with fluid movement, which is exactly what he did for the T-Mobile and Fox collaboration “The Four” aka “The Four: Battle for Stardom.”  The series, which premiered in January, is a music competition reality show where hopeful music groups vie for the chance to win a recording contract with Republic Records.

Arden Tse, “The Four” cinematographer, says, “Zac was extremely critical to the production, to an extent that our productions wouldn’t have been able to run and achieve the shots we were required to get without him. The expertise that he brought to the camera operating side of our production made sure that we could make our days and keep things on schedule.”

Always in the perfect position to get the shot the production depends on– Chia’s foundation in the industry and the vast repertoire of work he’s created over the years stem from his astonishing talent as a camera operator; but this has also led him to be tapped to take on multiple other roles in the industry where visuals are concerned.

Earlier this year Chia was called in to serve as both the cinematographer and camera operator on the “Bodytraffic” promo video for the 2018 Bodytraffic Los Angeles tour, which debuted on May 31 at The Wallis. Founded in 2007 by Lillian Barbeito and Tina Berkett, the LA-based contemporary dance company Bodytraffic has taken to stages across the U.S. being named as one of 25 to Watch by Dance Magazine in 2013 and Best of Culture by the Los Angeles Times.

As the cinematographer and camera operator on the project Chia worked with director Ran Ro to map out how to capture the entire choreography of one of the company’s dance numbers, which was what the client was looking for. Chia opted for a lot of wide shots and strategically figured out how to capture specific dancers during certain points of the routine using the lighting available in the space.

“I realized we had access to a lot of natural light with the big windows, and so I discussed the use of lighting to highlight the dancers and/or moments with Ran. She loved the idea, and so we got a hazer, as fog has the ability to catch light, and in turn cause the streaks to look more concentrated on screen,” explains Chia.

“When we got to the location, I hopped on the sun surveyor app on my phone to see where the sun would be at what time, and we chose our backdrop and which part of the room to shoot at depending on where the sun would.”    

Considering that the project contains so much movement, Chia’s skill as both a camera and gimbal operator proved integral to capturing the fluidity of the routine and including the dancers performance in the way the client and director envisioned. Using his gimbal, Chia was able to move with the dancers, syncing his movements in terms of speed and direction in order to ensure that they were the center of attention at all times.

“Zac was an incredible cinematographer and gimbal operator on the shoot… His role was crucial for the shoot as it involved filming energetic dance movements in a spacious location. It was a great experience collaborating with him,” explains “Bodytraffic” director and editor Ran Ro. “He came up with great ideas during the shoot and we were able to get shots with dynamic energy and movements although they were filmed spontaneously. He is also very patient on set and is a great communicator. I loved working with him.”

With the ability to move from working as a camera and gimbal operator to leading his department as a cinematographer, and the rare capacity to accomplishing both simultaneously, Chia brings a level of versatility to the table that makes him a unique talent for productions like this. Whatsmore, he’s earned quite a bit of praise for his work as a director as well, earning the Festival Award from the Atlanta Horror Film Festival for his 2015 film “Room 205” and the Diamond Award from the LA Shorts Awards for his 2017 film “Saptapadi.”

Zac Chia
Overwatch League Host Tutu (left) and Director & Camera Operator Zac Chia (right)

Chia has also been tapped to shoot, direct and edit numerous videos for the inaugural season of the Overwatch League, a professional eSports league for the game Overwatch created by Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor.

“I was tasked to pitch, create, direct, shoot, and edit shows for the Mandarin audience with OWL’s Mandarin Host, Tutu,” says Chia.

In April one of the video’s Chia shot and directed aired live at the arena in Southern California in between the Shanghai Dragons and Florida Mayhem game, as well as on the platform Weibo in China. He’s also directed numerous other videos for the Overwatch League over the last three months, including ones that aired during the Seoul Dynasty vs Shanghai Dragons game and others.

Chia adds, “I absolutely loved the opportunity to pioneer content for a show in its inaugural season, and I was blessed with a lot of creative freedom from Blizzard Entertainment.”

Up next for camera and gimbal operator, who’s proven himself as a formidable genius behind the lense, is the film “A Good Thing,” which he will also be directing.