Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

It's been a little chilly here in sunny L.A. ~ and since it's Christmas, I thought I'd remind all of you who do not have your own fireplace, that there is always the virtual experience. At a holiday party last night, my friends had a cracking fire blazing away - on their computer screen! It was kind-of cheesy... but mostly just fabulous!!
Here is a good one I found on You Tube - but there are many to choose from. Just try to pick one that is long playing (don't want to have to "stoke" the fire every two minutes...) and that has actual crackling sounds.

Stay warm, pretties, and enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

And here is a link to a great one that plays 20 mins (wasn't able to embed it but it really is great:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Super Scary

That faux leather bag may be vegan and all, but just make sure it's not poisoning you with high levels of lead. Yikes!

Here are a couple articles to read on the topic:

Your Purse May Be Contaminated with Toxic Metal

Faux Handbags Carry Real Lead Hazard

And a News Report:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Super Info

Because I am interested in natural health, I subscribe to Dr. Mercola's Natural Health Newsletter. And what do you think I read about today? Natural Skin Care!! In fact, he's got a whole Healthy Skin mini site and has posted some great stuff.

If you're anything like me, you may be interested in signing up for his newsletter yourself. There's more info coming into my inbox than I can keep up with, but there are plenty of gems in the mix that I find truly informative. You also have to take the information in without feeling you have to go and order all of his products. Although, I hear his products are very good.

Today's newsletter was about skin care ingredients to avoid. I always recommend that my clients check the labels of the products they're currently using for parabens or fragrance (two big offenders) - but there are even more things to watch out for. Here's what Mercola says to avoid:

Heavily used preservatives in the cosmetic industry; used in an estimated 13,200 cosmetic and skin care products.
Studies implicate their connection with cancer because their hormone-disrupting qualities mimic estrogen and could disrupt your body’s endocrine system.

Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum
These petroleum products coat the skin like plastic – clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They can slow cellular development, creating earlier signs of aging. They’re implicated as a suspected cause of cancer. Plus, they can disrupt hormonal activity. When you think about black oil pumped from deep underground, ask yourself why you’d want to put that kind of stuff on your skin…

Sodium laurel or lauryl sulfate (SLS), also known as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES):
Found in over 90% of personal care products! They break down your skin’s moisture barrier, potentially leading to dry skin with premature aging. And because they easily penetrate your skin, they can allow other chemicals easy access. SLS combined with other chemicals may become a "nitrosamine" – a potent carcinogen.

Acrylamide: Found in many facial creams. Linked to mammary tumors.

Propylene glycol: Common cosmetic moisturizer and carrier for fragrance oils. May cause dermatitis and skin irritation. May inhibit skin cell growth. Linked to kidney and liver problems.

Phenol carbolic acid: Found in many lotions and skin creams. Can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma, and even death from respiratory failure.

Dioxane: Hidden in ingredients such as PEG, polysorbates, laureth, ethoxylated alcohols. Very common in personal care products. These chemicals are often contaminated with high concentrations of highly volatile 1,4-dioxane that’s easily absorbed through the skin. Its carcinogenicity was first reported in 1965, and later confirmed in studies including one from the National Cancer Institute in 1978. Nasal passages are considered extremely vulnerable, making it, in my opinion, a really bad idea to use these things on your face.

Toluene: May be very poisonous! Made from petroleum and coal tar… found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage…May affect a developing fetus.

Remember the skin is an organ. What you put on it affects you as much as what you put in your body. So opt for natural and organic products - and check the ingredients before you buy!

Don't know what products to use? Come in and visit me at Petite Spa where we carry three product lines that are great for your skin. I can take a look at your skin and give you my recommendations. Better yet, schedule a facial and get your holiday glow on!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cultured Vegetables

As you know, I'm a huge fan of probiotics. And one of the the best ways to get 'em into your body is by eating homemade fermented foods. Sauerkraut and Kimchee are examples of fermented vegetables, but the flavors and possibilities are endless. Wild Fermentation,by Sandor Ellix Katz (aka Sandorkraut), is a phenomenal book on the subject. Their website is full of great information, like this excerpt from his other book,The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved.

Here is my method, but have a look around the ol' internets (there are even some You Tube videos), and you will find lots of variations.

1. Combine shredded or chopped cabbage and other veggies (like kale, carrot, daikon... experiment!) in a large bowl (clean the bowl first with soap and water, then rinse a few times with boiling water to make sure it's super clean).
2. Remove several cups of this mixture and put into a blender.
3. Add filtered water (enough to make a "brine" which will cover the veggies once they're in your jars).
4. Add a couple of tsps of high quality Sea Salt.
5. Blend well and then add some of the brine back into the bowl of veggies. Stir well.
6. Pack mixture down into super clean glass containers or a fermenting crock if you have one! I don't have a crock yet, but I do have various sizes of this type of jar, which seem to work very well. Use your fist, a clean wooden dowel, or a potato masher to pack veggies tightly... packing down and adding more veg as you go...
7. Fill jar almost full, but leave about 2 inches of room at the top for veggies to expand. Add enough brine to just cover the veggie mixture.
8. Roll up several cabbage leaves into a tight "log" and place them on top to fill the remaining 2 inch space. Clamp jar closed.
9. Let veggies sit at about a 70 degree room temperature for at least three days to a couple of weeks. Refrigerate once you start a jar. Yum!

It's normal for there to be a little bit of mold on the top cabbage leaves. Just pull the rolled up leaves out, and discard. And spoon away any that might be just at the top. Then stir up the yumminess, and enjoy!!

Natural probiotic foods are great for your health, and help to keep the skin glowing and beautiful!

Do you make your own? What's your favorite recipe?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Picky, picky...

Okay. This is a big one. Skin picking. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about already. I mean, you already get that feeling in the pit of your stomach, because just hearing those words triggers a whole slew of vague but undeniable emotions. If you're a picker, you get it.
Those of you who don't get that feeling - consider yourselves lucky. Spared...!

Skin picking comes in various degrees of severity. And in its more serious forms has been referred to by more serious names:

Neurotic Excoriations
Acne Excoriee
Psychogenic Excoriations
Compulsive Skin Picking (CSP)
Self Injurious Skin Picking (SISP)

I am a reformed picker. I remember - back in high school - being curled up on the floor in my room crying because of what I had done to my face. I really shouldn't have been left alone with a magnifying mirror in those days!! Fortunately, I was eventually steered in the right direction by my first esthetician who said to me, "Juliana, you're a picker. Go to school." And I did. I channeled the bad into good. Now I use my attention to detail and my knowledge about the skin to help make your skin require less picking! But I deeply understand that compulsive need to get rid of the pain and imperfection of what sometimes pops up on the skin.

I don't recommend picking at your own skin. Especially if you have a tendency to overdo it. Most times when clients come in, I can see the damage done, and I know how much better their skin would be looking without the gouges. The key, I think, is understanding that ultimately you are causing more harm than good. Did you know that there is a little tiny sac under the skin where the pimple is that holds bacteria? And that you can burst it under the skin when you go after that zit? This leads to the spreading of bacteria and more pimples. Best thing to do is apply ice to help take down swelling and kill bacteria. And use something medicated to spot treat... perhaps a dot of salicylic acid, some tea tree oil, or a bit of Volcanic Clay (Epicuren Volcanic Clay Mask). And come in for a facial. We do extractions under ideal and sanitary conditions without causing damage.

If you are a serious skin picker, there are some good resources online. You may need support. And you should not be ashamed to seek it out. Read some stories that other pickers have shared. And realize you are not alone. It is more common than you might think.

Here are a couple of online resources:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Voting is Super Pretty.

We couldn't always. Let's be sure to exercise our right to vote on Nov. 2nd!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Beauty is an experience, nothing else. It is not a fixed pattern or an arrangement of features. It is something felt, a glow or a communicated sense of fineness.
~ D. H. Lawrence

(I would very much like to credit this artist, but can't find any info. Isn't it great?!)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Super Product

I love Epicuren's Acne Cleanser~ formerly known as Medicated Acne Cleanser. I guess they took out the word medicated because it makes the cleanser sound harsh, and it's not. And it really doesn't have to say acne on it either, because it's great for any skin type that may be prone to breakouts or congestion and is slightly on the oily side. As long as your skin isn't dry or's a perfect, very mild, yet gently exfoliating cleanser. I think it should be called Acne Prevention Cleanser. It's just a touch medicated with 1% Salicylic Acid, yet it's got moisturizing and anti-inflammatory ingredients. Paraben free. Fragrance free.

We carry it at Petite Spa (where I work) - stop by for some and say hello!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Smells Pretty (but not too pretty)

As you may have gathered from an earlier post, I am not fond of artificial fragrance. That includes any kind of synthetic perfume, perfume-y lotions, scented candles, and most incense. Most. But not all. There is one type of incense that I absolutely, positively love. I'd like you to meet Tara Healing Incense.

Original Tara Healing Incense

I find most incense to be cloyingly sweet, headache inducing, slightly nauseating, and generally irritating. Probably because it's toxic. An occasional whiff of Nag Champa is nostalgic - and doesn't bother me too much. But really, this is the only incense that not only agrees with me, but kinda rocks my world.

It is made by Tibetan refugees living in India, and this is what it says on the box:

"Tara Healing Incense which has been used for centuries old is a traditional Tibetan medicine for stress, depression and tension. It is prepared by hand according to ancient Tibetan medical system and is composed of 31 different pure and natural herbs. It is effective, non-toxic and non-addictive."

I always have a stash at home. And a few extra boxes on hand to give as gifts. A delightful little thing. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Probiotics. Skin.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria.

Good bacteria help keep the immune system healthy. Your diet and lifestyle largely dictate the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria hanging out in your body. Things like antibiotics (which kill ALL the bacteria, the good with the bad), long term use of birth control pills, stress, diets high in sugar, wheat, and processed foods all diminish your body's good guy count. Sometimes the bad guys can take over and cause other problems (like yeast and other fungal infections). That's why doctors often recommend eating yogurt when you take antibiotics - because yogurt contains acidophilus and acidophilus is a probiotic.

It is optimal to take a high quality probiotic supplement. You can buy probiotic supplements at any health food store. If you ask where they are, you will most likely be directed to the refrigerated section, as most probiotics need to be in the fridge to stay alive. Here's the deal though: there are several brands of probiotics that are stable at room temp and don't need to be refrigerated. I prefer these. That way, I can simply keep them in my purse and take them at my convenience.

Here are a few brands I like, but there are many:

Jarro-Dophilus EPS

Dr. Ohhira's

PB 8


It's important to have various strains of probiotics in your supplement, too. Some brands have just one strain, some have a bunch. Go for the ones with a bunch and switch them up from time to time, so your body gets lots of different good guys.

In 1964, Dr. R. H. Siver conducted a study using probiotics to treat gastric and intestinal disorders. He discovered that, in addition to improving his patients' gastrointestinal conditions, facial skin cleared up in 80% percent of his patients with acne. And the skin improved within the first two weeks of supplementation. Wow, right? Isn't it crazy that that was in the 60s and to this day most dermatologists still prescribe antibiotics (to teenagers, no less) for acne. The antibiotics only really appear to help while you're taking them, and when you stop, the acne comes back - only now your body is more resistant to antibiotics and probably completely wiped clean of good bacteria.

Here is an article you can read for a little more info.

The skin is the body's largest organ. Your skin looks the best when your body is thriving and healthy. Good bacteria help keep bad bacteria in check which leads to better health. I take them every day. Just sayin'.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Epsom Salt Bath


What could be better than a nice, hot soak after a long, hard day of.... anything?! How about a nice, hot soak in a bathtub with Epsom Salt? That is, if you're not walking distance from a natural mineral hot spring. And, since I am no longer residing at a hot springs retreat center in the Sierras, I take a lot of Epsom Salt baths.

This long standing folk remedy (the name comes from the mineral rich waters of Epsom, England - where the salts were known at least as far back as Shakespeare’s time) for aching muscles is very inexpensive and available at most supermarkets and drug stores.

The scientific name for Epsom Salt is magnesium sulfate heptahydrate (MgSO4·7H2O). And apparently, soaking in a tub with it increases the body's levels of both magnesium and sulfate.

According to the Epsom Salt Council (yes, there is one), magnesium, a major component of Epsom Salt, helps to regulate the activity of more than 325 enzymes and performs a vital role in orchestrating many bodily functions, from muscle control and electrical impulses to energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins.

Here are some more benefits of magnesium:

• Improves heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
• Improves the body's ability to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
• Flushes toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
• Improves nerve function by regulating electrolytes. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
• Relieves stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.

And of sulfates:

While increasing your magnesium levels, Epsom Salt also delivers sulfates, which are extremely difficult to get through food, but which readily absorb through the skin. Sulfates serve a wide variety of functions in the body, playing a vital role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the mucin proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. Sulfates also stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and are believed to help detoxify the body's residue of medicines and environmental contaminants.

That's a lot of info. All's I know is that the soak feels great, softens the skin, and it's cheap and easy to find.

Use at least 2 cups to a full tub, and soak at least 15-20 minutes. I recommend moisturizing with coconut oil after the bath.

(Remember, I'm not a doctor, so if you have any health concerns, consult a doctor before using home remedies.)

Bonus: you can also use Epsom Salt in the garden! Read this for more info.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Subtle. Pretty.

I'm not a huge nail polish person. Don't get me wrong... I love a nice pedi. I figure, since I wear Birkenstocks almost every day, the least I can do is keep my toes looking pretty. It's just that there are very few colors I feel look good on me - especially on my fingers. Recently, I've been liking the idea of a nice beigey, greigey, taupey color for my hands. Something kind-of neutral, and not too dark. I like a little bit of dark on the toes, but it looks too gothy on my hands. Here's OPI "You Don't Know Jacques" on my feet. (A few weeks in now, but still looking decent, no?)

But it's just too dark on my hands.

So. I started scouring the internet for a khaki beige I could wear on my hands. Found a few maybes. There was Chanel "Particuliere". A great mushroomy color. A bit more brownish than "Jacques", which I'd love for toes, but not hands. Plus, at $23 a bottle, you reaaaaally gotta love it. I would, however, plunk down the cash for Chanel "Khaki Vert" polish when/if it comes out for regular people to purchase - and if it's as perfect in real life as it appears online. It's some exclusive limited edition color that was made for Fashion's Night Out (Sept 10 in NYC). Those of you who know me are probably laughing, because you know how not hip to these things I am. I'm telling you, the search for the perfect polish can change you! How cool is this:

So... I went into Sephora last night. I usually feel like I need to wear a gas mask in that place - all the synthetic fragrance gives me a headache. But, alas, I was on a mission. I was told that Sephora's OPI line had a color similar to "Particuliere" called "Metro Chic". I checked it out - and it's great. Very similar to "Jacques", actually, but not quite what I was looking for. And that's when I found it... "Under My Trench Coat" ~ Where do they get these names? It's exactly what I was looking for - a light greyish-beigeish khaki with metallic gold just subtle enough for it to gleam, but not so sparkly that you feel like a teenager. I love it on my fingernails in a single coat. And it will be great on my toes with two coats.

Here's the best part: OPI polish is DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde free. Love it!

Here's an interesting article
a friend just sent me about "non-toxic" polishes. So, OPI doesn't contain the"big three" offenders... but that doesn't mean it's totally natural. Just not AS toxic!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Super Message

I recently came across this short video about the yuck in cosmetics. Worth watching!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sounds Pretty

There's nothing worse than going to get a massage or facial and having to listen to the not-so-soothing sounds of birds chirping, or whales whale-ing, or staccato piano music, or the kiss of death..... Enya! So, it is of the utmost importance in my world to provide my clients with a perfect aural ambiance. I've been a massage therapist for 14 years and an esthetician for six. So, I've listened to A LOT of relaxation music. And one artist truly stands out above all others.

Chuck Wild (in addition to being a very accomplished musician, otherwise) has created a series of ten relaxation music albums under the name Liquid Mind. He originally wrote this music to heal himself from severe anxiety and panic disorder. Read more about his story here. He was determined to avoid taking prescription medication, so he created this ultra slow, atmospheric, healing music as a part of his wellness program - and in the beginning, listened to it 24/7!

Now you might think listening to something 24/7 would be crazy-making in itself... but that's the magic of Liquid Mind. You just don't get sick of it. The music is very slow and there really is no discernible beat, so nothing gets stuck in your head. And let me tell you... I have listened to the two albums I have over and over, all day at work, on a loop, for years, and I have yet to get sick of them. In fact, I sometimes forget the music is even playing. It just blends in, slows everything down, and creates a super peaceful environment.

I consider my Liquid Mind albums as much a tool of the trade as my massage table and my tweezers! My clients frequently ask about the music because they feel transported, so I figured it was time to share.

I recommend having at least one (my favorite at the moment is Liquid Mind IX: Lullaby), for those times when a little extra serenity is called for. It would be amazing help-your-baby-get-to-sleep music, a perfect adjunct to a yoga or meditation practice, or something soothing to put on when you're winding down and heading to bed. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cocos Nucifera

I'm inspired today by the coconut.

My friend Kristina, of Lovely Morning, one of my favorite blogs ever, mentioned coconut in her post about organic baby food. This led me to do a little research (as per my usual nerdiness) and voila - total blog inspiration.

There are so many uses for coconut in all its forms: meat, juice, milk, and oil, even coconut sugar (which i have just discovered after being warned that agave is no longer the healthy alternative sweetener, and am loving).

For years I have used coconut oil for cooking. Did you know it is the only oil that is stable enough to resist heat induced damage, so it's the least vulnerable to oxidation and toxic free-radical formation? That means it's waaaaaaay better for your health and well being than any other oil. If you're going to heat oil for cooking, use coconut oil. Seriously. And if you're like me, and you don't love the natural coconut-y smell (I don't always want my scrambled eggs to smell like the tropics), you can find Organic Coconut Oil that is refined, which equals no smell (but is not as totally awesome as pure unrefined coconut oil).

Pure coconut oil contains about 50 percent lauric acid, which is a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglyceride (MCT). MCTs are very easy to digest and are incredibly healing.

Nerd alert: When lauric acid is present in the body, it is converted into monolaurin, a monoglyceride compound which exhibits antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal and antifungal properties. It acts by disrupting the lipid membranes in organisms like fungus, bacteria and viruses, thus destroying them.

And guess what? I just learned from Kristina (mother of 5 month old Dashiell) that breast milk is the only other natural source that contains such a high concentration of lauric acid, which explains the drastic decrease of infections of all types in breast-fed babies.

If you want to nerd out some more about coconut, lookie here:
Coconut Research Center
or see what Dr. Mercola has to say about it.

And coconut is not just yummy, it is great for the SKIN!!

I have been using it for almost 14 years in my massage practice. It's got great slip and is so nourishing for all skin types. It is also considered a non-staining oil, so once it absorbs into the skin, it will not leave any residue on your clothes - or my massage sheets - bonus! It is phenomenal as an after bath moisturizer, too. Just use a small amount while your skin is still damp.

Remember my raves about RMS Beauty, Rose-Marie Swift's raw, organic makeup line? Well, guess what? One of her best sellers is her Raw Coconut Cream. It is a natural antioxidant (preventing free radical damage), is anti-aging, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and is, therefore, great for all skin types (including acne). Plus, it nourishes skin and lashes, and is the perfect make-up remover.

Last, but not least, coconut oil is an ideal hair conditioner. Work a good amount of the oil into the hair and leave it in as long as you like. Just remember to put a thick towel over your pillow if you sleep with it in, or you will get oil on your pillow. At Petite Spa where I work, we even do a Coconut Milk and Coconut Oil Hair and Scalp Leave-In Treatment. Pure Luxury!

C'mon, who doesn't love something you can feel great about eating AND slathering all over your body??

Monday, July 12, 2010

Best Eye Cream. Ever!

I never used to be that sold on the whole eye creme thing. I figured, if I'm using an amazing moisturizer, that will be enough. And there's some truth to that. But that was before I discovered Dr. Alkaitis Organic Eye Crème. This stuff is truly amazing!

It seriously feels like heaven on the skin. Rich, yet fluffy. Not sticky or gel-like. And some eye creams I've used actually make the skin around the eye feel tight... like it's being lifted. Which just doesn't work for me. Not this stuff. Dr. A eye cream feels creamy and refreshes tired eyes while reducing puffiness, dark circles and fine lines.

You can use it under make-up or pat it on over concealer for a dewy finish. I love how it looks on - super glowy, but not sparkly or anything. And the best part is it's 100% raw, organic, and biologically active. It's health food for your skin.

Dr. Alkaitis Holistic Organic Skin Treatment Products are made in-house in small batches with ingredients so pure you could literally eat them!

This is the only eye cream I have ever tried that I feel completely confident and enthusiastic about recommending to my clients and friends. I loooooove it!

We carry it at Petite Spa, where I work. If you come in for it, let them know you read about it here! And maybe I'll even be there.... come say hi! Better yet, come in for the Organic Skin Food Facial with all Dr. Alkaitis products. If you mention my blog, I'll give you a complimentary Organic Enzyme Treatment with your facial.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer Sun

Yay! It's finally summery here in Santa Monica... the June gloom seems to be burning away mid-morning, and it actually feels like it's supposed to in sunny Southern California!
Which brings us to today's topic: sunscreen.

There seems to always be some confusion when it comes to sunscreen. And it seems there's always some new warning or controversy surrounding sunscreen ingredients. So what to do?
Well, one great online resource is Environmental Working Group's Annual Sunscreen Guide. They rate most sunscreen brands for safety, and you can even type in your brand, and if it's in the database, you can find out what it's safety score is. You can also type in specific ingredients for more information.
I tend to steer people toward physical sunblock as opposed to chemical. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are minerals that sit atop the skin and physically block it's exposure to sun. I'm not too keen on chemical sunscreens (like Oxybenzone and Octyl Methoxycinnamate), which penetrate the skin, interact with the cells, and can cause things like hormonal disruptions and allergies. Scientists also recommend against using Oxybenzone products on children, and yet it is the most common active ingredient in most commercial sunscreens.
The latest data now indicates that sun protection products containing a form of Vitamin A, Retinyl Palmitate, may actually speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. A lot of sunscreens contain Vitamin A because it is an anti-oxidant that slows skin aging. Great for night creams, but not for skin exposed to sunlight.
While it's very important to be protected from sunburn, some minimal exposure to the sun is healthy. The skin actually manufactures Vitamin D in the presence of sunlight. So enjoy Summer, but do it wisely. Choose a safe, healthy sunblock, wear protective clothing, and avoid peak sunlight hours when UV rays are strongest.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Plenty of Pink!

This isn't skin care related, but it is super pretty! I came home the other day to beautiful, billowing puffs of pink on the patio.

My neighbor and friend, Terri Mussatti, of Come to Mama Vintage Couture, was in the process of creating her amazing vintage hand-dyed lingerie pieces. I caught them in the pink stage (most of them have since been transformed into gorgeous masterpieces of wearable art)! I just had to take some pix. It felt so lovely and feminine to be surrounded by lacy, pink things in the late afternoon sunshine.

Her fabulous shop is in Atwater Village, at the Smooth'n Purdy Art & Beauty Gallery Collective, just in case you need a beautiful, alluring summer sundress, a unique evening gown, or some super sexy underthings! They also have great art openings and fun events in the courtyard. Go see!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

RMS Beauty

RMS Beauty, created by NYC makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift, is formulated with raw, food grade, organic ingredients. It appears to be the perfect line for someone like me who doesn't want any chemicals at all in her cosmetics. In addition to being great for your skin, the colors are absolutely beautiful!

I can't wait to try the "Un" Cover-Up, The Living Luminizer, and the Lip2Cheek in hmmmm... either Illusive or Rapture.
I passionately recommend checking out Rose-Marie's personal website, Beauty Truth, which is dedicated to educating women about toxins and some of the misconceptions in today's beauty business. She explains why she created RMS Beauty. Very inspiring!
Please let me know if you use it, and what your favorite products and colors are.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Dry Brushing the Skin

The skin is the body's largest organ and is so important in the elimination of toxins that it is often referred to as the 3rd kidney (the lungs are #2). One of the best things we can do to keep the skin healthy is dry skin brushing.

More than 30 years ago, a Finnish doctor by the name of Paavo Airola prescribed this technique for his patients to detoxify, exfoliate and stimulate the skin. It is still widely used in spas and cancer treatment centers around the world.

There are many benefits of dry skin brushing, including:

* assists the lymphatic system by moving lymph
* improves circulation and strengthens immune system
* increases oxygenation
* increases cell renewal
* removes dead skin layers
* tightens the skin and improves texture (=softer skin)
* helps improve the appearance of cellulite
* aids in prevention of varicose veins
* detoxifies the entire body
* aids digestion
* invigorating and improves nervous system functions

You can get a good natural bristled dry skin brush at your local health food store or here.
I personally find the short handled brush to be the easiest to maneuver.
There are numerous detailed instructions available online. But basically, you want to start with the feet and legs, then arms and torso - always moving toward the heart, as this is the direction the lymph naturally flows. Use gentle pressure and avoid very sensitive areas and areas with broken skin. I like to do long, sweeping strokes, but some people prefer small circular motions. Either one is fine. But always go toward the heart. And skip the face. Too harsh. The whole process takes about five minutes (but you can do it twice as long if you're really into it), and is meant to be done prior to bathing. You want to wash all those loose dead skin cells off.
Dry brushing is best done in the morning, as it accelerates blood flow and has quite an invigorating effect. And it can be done as frequently as once per day. Also, remember to wash and air dry your brush regularly.
It feels great and is great for you. So brush that bod!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Oldie, but Goodie

Many of you may have seen this already. In fact, I just read that this video was one of the most-linked-to videos amongst bloggers when it first came out. So very un-original of me. But it's always fun to watch again. It's such a powerful piece. And it may be the first time for some of you. In any case, I think it's brilliant. So I'm posting it.

It was part of Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. In addition to showing normal looking women's bodies in their ads, they have some pretty cool self-esteem building tools for girls on their site. So important in our beauty obsessed culture to teach young people to feel good about who they are, don't you think?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stop and Smell the Jasminas

I recently spent five days in NYC and loved every minute of it. I am now fantasizing about becoming bi-coastal. My friend Sarah took me to ABC Carpet and Home where, among many other things, I lusted for this:

Oh, my heavenly heavens.......

The scent is from Intelligent Nutrients, and is made with certified organic essential oils. It doesn't contain any petrochemically derived ingredients, only the plants themselves. So it smells like perfume, but is non-toxic and won't give you a headache.

Here's an interesting article from Environmental Working Group (the same folks who bring you the Cosmetic Safety Database, where you can type in a product and see how it ranks in terms of its safety/toxicity), about hidden chemicals in perfume and cologne.

In addition to Jasminas, I also fell in love with two of their other scents, Attune and Focus. I stepped away and decided I didn't need to buy three bottles of perfume. Now I miss them terribly, and wish I had gotten at least one! I don't wear synthetic fragrance (I'm one of those that gets toxed-out when I'm around regular perfume or artificially scented candles...), so I really don't own any perfume. But I know now that I should. The actual bottles on the product website are not nearly as beautiful as the ones in the apothecary section at ABC, for some reason. Wish I could show you. But I'm sure they smell just as gorgeous...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cure Acne with Your iPhone? Really??

Did you know there is an iPhone app that supposedly helps clear up acne as you talk on the phone? Yep. It's called AcneApp and was developed by Houston based dermatologist, Greg Pearson, MD. He says this app would have go through a lot more clinical study before he could "quantify its efficacy,” but that he was “fascinated by the concept..." Another derm said it takes at least 88 treatments to see results. But people seem to be giving it good reviews. Placebo effect, perhaps?
The principle is the same as that behind the red and blue LED light therapy you'd receive from a Licenced Esthetician to kill bacteria and promote collagen growth. In my experience, those machines actually do produce results. However, the effectiveness of AcneApp has not been proven. And apparently, there is also no way of knowing the specific wavelength coming from your iPhone or what kind of harmful ultraviolet rays could be emitted. That's a little scary.

In my opinion, the best thing to do with your phone to help control acne is keep it as clean as possible. Phones get dirty and greasy. And try not to mash it up against your pretty face too much. Yucky!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ice, Ice, Baby!

You would not believe the way people marvel when I reveal to them that one of the best skin care products is not only free, but sitting right there in their freezers. That's! Ice is cold. And cold is good for pimples. Not only can acne bacteria not survive in a frozen environment (think of the concept of refrigeration... invented to keep bacteria from fuzzing up your food), but it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory - it takes down swelling. So next time you have a big, angry pimple coming up... grab a cube and a towel (to hold it with) and apply liberally. People ask how long to keep it on there. I usually say, "a little longer than you want to, but not long enough to get frostbite!"

Last summer I was in my friend Melanie's wedding. And of course... what comes out to say hello a few days before, but a big, red, "under-grounder" on my cheek. This was so not okay. So I went to the freezer and I held that ice on so long that i got all red and puffed up all around Mr. Zit. So, I think 5 minutes was too long! Try a few minutes - until you get that cold "ache". Or do it on and off for a while. Then do it again an hour or two later. You can do the ice trick multiple times on the same spot. My ice welt went away in about 30 minutes and the pimple immediately shrunk and was gone within a couple days. No picking, scabbing, scarring. Just gone. While this may not work on every spot every time, it's a good first line of defense. It's available, easy, free, and contains no artificial fragrance and no preservatives!
Have you ever tried this trick of the trade? I'd love to hear about your experiences if you have or if you do!

Melanie's wedding:

Super pretty, no?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ta Da!

It's my first post! Yay!! Welcome. Both of us! I'm so excited about sharing the things I know and learn. And about learning from you. There is so much info out there, it's overwhelming!
So... you may have noticed that the header of my blog is a scan of a Post-It sticky note. This very sticky note was on my bathroom mirror for the longest time! I had one on there before that said, "Am I still breathing?" - I got that idea from Ekhart Tolle. He says, every time you read that note, it will bring you back to the present moment. It did, too. So, when that note lost its stick, I made up a new one: You are Super Pretty.
For your first beauty tip, I recommend putting a Post-It on your bathroom mirror. It should say something that makes you smile. Or breathe. Or think a loving thought about yourself that you wouldn't otherwise consciously think. Or just copy mine. It works! There are plenty of studies out there that show that positive affirmations really create positive change. And they can't hurt.
It genuinely breaks my heart when a new client comes in and says, "I hate my skin!" I know how that feels. Believe me, I've had my share of bad skin days. Bad skin years, actually. But the truth is that stress is one of the primary factors involved in skin issues. So, the first step is to learn to love your skin. Because it needs to heal. And things that are healing need extra doses of love. And positive affirmations are a good way to administer a therapeutic dose of self love. Sometimes we need to "fake it till we make it" and just say, "Hey, Self, you are super pretty. I think you're great. Thanks for all the good things you do for me." Even if we're not sure that today we believe it. I can almost guarantee that if you told your skin you loved it every day for a month, you'd look and feel better after that month than if you said, "I hate my skin" every day for that month. Try it. Let me know if it worked for you. More tips, tricks, ideas, and ramblings to come.