2016: My Year in Review, The Love Vitamin

Hello lovely Love Vitamins… happy 2017!

Okay I know I’m a little late on the mark there (what with it being the 9th of January already), but hey… I’m still getting back in the groove after my holidays!

I decided to start a little tradition: a yearly review post… a look into what went on with me last year personally, professionally and skin wise! A  little catch up party and a look to the future.

So let’s dive in. What happened for me in 2016?

Skin & Health

Caveman Regimen2016 was the year that I decided to end my nearly four year stint with the hardcore caveman regimen and venture back into the world of using skin care (just moisturizer, really).

I loved the caveman while it was on it. I loved the freedom of it, and I still love the principles of “less is more” – the less stuff you do to your face, and the simpler your routine, the better!

But there were a few reasons I decided to give up the hardcore routine and start moisturizing:

  • I learned a ton about external skin care this year (not in small part to the lovely Melissa Armstrong), and one thing I learned is that moisture, particularly from facial oils, is key to healthy, properly functioning skin. At the very least, moisturizing ain’t ever going to hurt.
  • I spent the first few months of the year traveling in South America, where the food was rather unhealthy and the climate quite dry… resulting in my skin looking not super great upon return and resulting in some breakouts as well. I also for the first time, took a long hard look at my face and started noticing some fine lines, and the now obvious fact that my face does indeed look different than it did at 20 (I turned 29 this year).
  • As a result of, or just as a co-conspirator of, the above point, I had a little mini quarter life crisis upon feeling confronted with the fact that I am, in fact, going to age. And become elderly. And die. This is something I preferred to pretend would not happen to me (ah, the privilege of youth). So I figured moisturizing with nourishing ingredients can’t stop it, but probably ain’t gonna hurt.
South America was fun though
South America was fun though

Tracy The Love Vitamin Machu Picchu

Anyway, once I started experimenting again with oils and all kinds of weird, wonderful skin care ingredients, I had a lot of fun!

I came up with this awesome DIY recipe and now I truly love slathering my face in it. It feels really good. I also got on board with papaya enzyme masks.

Anti-acne, anti-aging DIY moisturizer
Having fun with DIY

Anyway – backing up to the beginning of the year again. As I said, I had some breakouts when I came back from South America that I was none too pleased with.

In order to get my skin back on track (in addition to re-starting moisturizing), I did a candida cleanse and did some experimenting with my usual supplements (since they didn’t appear to be working that well at the time anyway). I quit Estroblock & Thorne SAT and tried turmeric, berberine, and zinc.

However, in the end, I went back to Estroblock & Thorne, and ditched turmeric and berberine. However, I did keep zinc, so the supplements I currently take every day are Estroblock, Thorne SAT, zinc, and probiotics whenever I’m home and remember to take them.

Either way, ever since then my skin has been fantastic!


Naturally Clear Skin AcademyProfessionally, I can’t say a lot happened. No major changes with The Love Vitamin… I mainly just concentrated on blogging and helping out my sistas in the Naturally Clear Skin Academy.

Something I’m happy about though is getting my programs updated with the new skin care information I’ve learned and experimented with this year. I finished this over the Christmas holidays in preparation for my big holiday sale that just ended.

And one idea I’ve been toying with this year is the possibility of making my own skin care line based on my acne-friendly DIY recipes. DIYing is such a great option (and I will always offer the recipes), but I realize the majority of people don’t want to DIY their skin care and would prefer to just buy a formulated product.

However, there is a lot of logistics involved with getting into a production based venture and shipping things all over the world. So I haven’t seriously started on this yet, but it does seem like a logical next step for The Love Vitamin.


As you may or may not know, 2015 was a little rough for me.

I went through an extremely lonely period where Luke was working out of town all the time, it seemed like most of my friends had moved away, and well, I work from home so I don’t exactly have a crew of work mates! I felt like I had no one at all and was feeling very miserable and isolated.

Anyway – this resulted in a bit of a mess, and culminated with Luke and I in Peru going on an epic ayahuasca journey last December.


I have very mixed feelings about the ayahuasca… on one hand, I learned a lot of valuable things from it, but the experience was also so intense and traumatizing that I’ve been left with a lingering, and rather nervous anxiety that I didn’t have before.

So 2016 has kind of been the year of trying to figure out the deal with this anxiety thing.

However the good news is that I’ve made huge strides with it from reading a few books and websites that helped me understand exactly what’s going on with my brain and how to effectively deal with it.

Those were:

Although I still feel generally more cautious in life than I did before, I have cut down the anxiety significantly, and well, hey… although the whole thing is frustrating, I think learning to effectively deal with anxiety is a pretty good life skill.

And despite the anxiety, life in general has been a lot better this year. Luke cut way down on the amount he was working out of town, and two of of my closest friends moved back to town in May and now live in our house’s basement suite.

So I’m not so lonely now, and I’ve also spent a lot of my time this year on personally fulfilling projects, like getting our house (which we bought in May 2015) painted and decorated, and just slowly transforming it into “our own”, as they say.


Another huge project I’ve been working on this year is opening a non-profit indoor rock climbing gym in our town. I’ve been working on this with Luke, and our two “basement” friends.

This isn’t really a business venture, and more of just a community based project. Our town gave us a huge grant of $200,000 to build this thing!

During construction
During construction

After. Well, except lights and climbing holds... still waiting for those...
All done. Well, except lights and climbing holds… still waiting for those…

It’s been an incredible amount of volunteer work but also really fulfilling. It feels good to contribute something meaningful to the community, and I am also just really excited to have a place to climb indoors year round! To me, it’s absolutely the most fun you can have while exercising.

Anyway, the year ended with Luke and I heading to Australia to spend Christmas with Luke’s family, who live just north of Sydney.

Our time spent down under is always fun and relaxing, because luckily I’ve been blessed with wonderful in-laws who live by a beach! Score!

Raftl family Christmas

For 2017

Well, I have the most cliché new years resolution ever:

Go to the gym.

I have let my regular exercise routine do a slip and slide lately, but what with the climbing gym not open yet, I need a bit more discipline. Home workouts are getting eclipsed by distractions, so I feel the need to venture out in search of focused exercise.

I could also be more disciplined about work. And food. But whatever. We’ll get the gym on track first.

My other huge goals are to simply get this climbing gym open, and also at least get our living room and kitchen painted!

Construction always takes longer than you think (so the gym opening has slowly creeped forward and forward), and somehow painting one room takes literally months when you have to fill in 90 years of dents in the walls and trim (I guess that’s what we get for buying a house built in 1926!)

Onwards! 🙂

What happened in your 2016 and what are your goals and dreams for 2017?