Purity On Your Face – Ilia & Kahina

Ilia & Kahina Skincare Lines

I wanted to share an exciting skincare discovery. I have extremely sensitive skin, especially on my face which is really easily irritated by makeup, lotions or cleansers with heavy chemicals and unnatural ingredients. Over the years I’ve used (and loved) MAC, Clinique, Benefit and Origins liquid face foundations and bronzers until each one developed reactions with my face skin. Similarly, my cleanser, toner, and moisturizer game has not been on point… I felt for months my skin was missing the oomph and glow it had – even recently.

The past 2 years have been a journey to rid my body and daily routine of chemically altered, corporately owned product lines with mysterious origins and practices and replace them with natural products. After trying many natural skincare contenders, I have found a routine that I am in love with!

The Ilia and Kahina – Giving Beauty skincare lines have really revitalized my skin. Each are completely natural lines that focus on purity for the skin. Kahina – Giving Beauty specializes in argan oil and rhassoul clay from traditional Moroccan skincare recipes while Ilia touts certified organic bio-active botanicals that nourish and rejuvenate the skin.


After cleansing, my daily routine is as follows:

  1. Kahina – Giving Beauty toning mist is the start. The aloe vera based mist cools and adheres to skin so it can completely absorb, and it does. It feels so refreshing and dries within a minute, which I then follow with my SPF moisturizer.
  2. Ilia Vivid Foundation – blend as base. Because this product is all natural, it lacks the binders/hardeners/drying agents we’re used to in traditional liquid foundation so the trick is to use a layer of Ilia Setting Powder with a fan brush. P E R F E C T I O N!
  3. Ilia Bronzer – final step! This loose powder has a rich, natural glow. Very attractive earthy tones that warm your face right up.

This coverage is so full that I often don’t even use under-eye concealer. And best of all, no skin reactions!

I’ve been using these products for about 6 weeks and I feel like my skin is recovering! Below are a couple shots in different lighting that show the coverage and skin quality.  I’m definitely a fan and will keep you posted on future products.

Do you use any natural skincare products? I’d love to know about them! Let me know below or @BlakeVmedia on all social media.




Continue Reading

What Even Happened? My Health Story….


For years I’ve been uncomfortable talking about my health. I’ve felt confused, embarrassed, helpless, in shock and ashamed – until now.

2 1/2 years ago my life changed when I suddenly starting experiencing chronic pain in my pelvis and lower abdomen. It has since affected every part of my life, personally and professionally. I’m hoping that by sharing my experiences, this blog may become a platform for anyone dealing with similar circumstances to connect. I really look forward to gaining any insights from others too!

My entire life I’d been relatively healthy and super active. I swam, surfed, hiked, biked you name it. All with no problems until June of 2014. After an “off” time in my life, I had begun a really intense workout routine accompanied by a clean eating meal plan, determined to tone up. I pushed myself extremely hard for approx. 10 days when I suddenly felt a sharp pain within my pelvis. The pain was something similar to a UTI (urinary tract infection) and I thought it was not a big deal and would be fixed in no time. I went to the doctor twice in that week following the sharp pain and nothing was found, no diagnosis was made, and the doctors refused to “treat anything they couldn’t see”. Turned away, I simply lived with the pain for about a week until one evening I was home from work, standing at the stove in the midst of cooking a deliciously clean meal when I felt something burst in my abdomen. I instantly felt a heated shock run through my body. My abdomen became immediately swollen with excruciating pain. I could no longer stand yet sitting was utterly unbearable. All I could do was lie down.

This pain was nothing I’d ever experienced in my life. I couldn’t even explain the sensations happening in my body. Although I didn’t know what had happened, I would never have guessed my life was about to change so drastically.

From that day forward, I continued to experience variations of this pain every single day. I began a 2 1/2 year long journey of visits with doctors and specialists in every field, countless treatments and procedures with absolutely no diagnosis or explanation of pain to date, and racked up thousands of dollars in medical debt. The pain continued to shift in my body and created new symptoms and sensations. After countless times of responding to family, friends and doctors with “What’s happening to me is really weird. The pain is really hard to explain…”, I’ve had to focus on studying and analyzing the details of the pain to even begin to describe what I’m feeling.

I’ve come across some very disturbing encounters as well as some helpful tidbits during this time. The fact still remains that as of today, I am in that same boat I was in Jun of 2014 when this happened to me overnight – constant chronic pain with no cure in sight.

As defeated as I feel some days, I refuse to let this define me. Although it has affected every aspect of my life, I am now empowered with the idea of taking control, navigating this situation and bringing awareness to others who have been dealing with this alongside me OR educating those who have never heard of such a thing. I continue to live my life as positive as possible focusing on travel, fashion, music, fitness and the alchemy of wellness and happiness on the way to my cure.

This is a very brief overview of my story. There are much more posts, stories, pieces of information and advice to come. Have you experienced or do you know anyone with similar symptoms? Or if you have health stories you’d like to share, please do! You’re in fab company here.


Continue Reading

An Overnight in Riverside – The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

Recently, I went to a fantastic yoga event at The Yoga Room in Redlands led by the inspiring Yogi Cameron. Acknowledging I’d never spent much time in the area, I thought of The Mission Inn. I’d heard of it for years but had never been, so what could have been a day trip turned into a stay at this lovely hotel!

Atrium entrance to Kelly’s Spa

The hotel’s Spanish inspired architecture is really stunning, both grand and ornate. Opened in 1876, the wealthy flocked to this destination and it’s seen celebrity and presidential guests over the decades. After checking in, I perused the lovely grounds then enjoyed a gluten free Casey’s Cupcakes and glass of bubbly by the jacuzzi in the Spa area! While you can receive a number of treatments at the lovely Kelly’s Spa, there is no communal area (pool, jacuzzi, steam room/sauna room. etc) included with price of treatment or on its own. If you love that ish like I do, take note when you visit.

The wine and tapas were super delish at 54 Degrees at Duane’s, they have a great selection of enough tapas to get you full and reasonable to higher end wines. The ambiance is old-world grand within the marbled room with high ceilings. The live music was also a cherry on top.

The rooms were spacious and lovely with a retro flare, they even throw in robes! I bring my record player and various vinyl on my travels when I can. This time Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” produced hands down the perfect retro soundtrack to the evening. Sidenote: I’ve not heard or read this anywhere in my research but something about the hotel design/age/vibes gave me haunted feelings – do with that information what you will – but I enjoy that stuff so I’m throwing it out there. I most definitely have a haunted rating in my hotel reviews 😉

All of this coupled with an inspiring and educational yoga session on day 2 made for a successful getaway. Have you been to The Mission Inn? Tell me about your stay below!



Continue Reading

The Kindest Gift – Arvo Watch


“Be good, do good” – a phrase that made being kind to others the requirement for an Instagram contest entry and then deemed me winner of the recent #ArvoWatchWednesday giveaway! I’m absolutely loving my Arvo Rose Gold Awristacrat watch. The grey band and crafting of the day/date displays on the face make it both beautiful and versatile AND a portion of each watch sale goes to help fund different charitable projects around the community.

The best part of this giveaway was being able to gift an additional watch to lifestyle blogger Maria, creator of Chronically Chic. She does amazing things on her blog to inspire chronic illness fighters in the #spooniecommunity while delivering a peek into her personal world. In honor of the New Year, let’s strive to make 2017 the year of kindness. Cheers to those making each day a but better for others and thank you Arvo!


Items In This Post:

  1. Shades/Faux Fur Jacket – Forever 21
  2. Watch – Arvo
Continue Reading

Welcome to BlakeV.com. Let’s Hang in DTLB!

Well hello and welcome to the new BlakeV.com!

On this blog I’ll be embarking on some explorations of personal fashion favorites, fabulous travel points and destinations, and the alchemy of health, wellness and chronic illness so…thanks for hanging out! I’m eager to share the things that I love, that interest me and that bring awareness to various causes that touch my life.  Let’s connect – let me know what you think here and on Insta or Twitter @BlakeVmedia

I’m a resident of Long Beach, CA and a huge fan of the Downtown area. A massive rehab to The Pike and Shoreline area in recent years makes it an excellent hang, especially on a weekday when tourists are on the dl and you have all the fun to yourself!

Other things I’m about – fall and fall fashion. Of which we don’t get nearly enough in Southern California….

Items In This Post:

  1. Shades – Forever 21
  2. Shoes – Mia
  3. Jacket – Thalia
Continue Reading