Archive for the ‘Lotions and Potions’ Category

Tried + True at You Can Call Me Chris

February 24, 2009

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Do you have a best girl who you love to dish with? The one who knows exactly what you’re going to say before you even open your mouth? The one you would have planned matching outfits with had you known each other in grade school? I’ve been fortunate to encounter several such wonderful ladies in blogland—and one of them is Chris Williams. She writes the fabulous blog ‘You Can Call Me Chris‘ and also makes the most ingenius paper creations under the label Christina Williams Designs.

Chris asked me to share my Tried + True beauty products today and I happily gabbed away! In true gal pal form she already uses some of them herself, but perhaps they’ll be new to you? Pop over and check it out here!

Image Credit: Ellen von Unwerth

I’m Everywhere Today!

February 17, 2009

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I don’t often post about beauty products, simply because I’m such an addict that I’d have to start a whole other blog to fit in all my favourites. So I was thrilled to get my beauty gab on when Tina of the fabulous Luphia Loves asked me to participate in her Beauty Tuesday interview series—please pop over to read my top beauty picks!

Also check out the terrific article that Lynne (of Tea for Joy) wrote for the Times of London. It’s a really insightful piece on food blogging—I’d recommend it even if I didn’t have a cameo!

And speaking of food, don’t forget to enter the cookbook giveaway below!

Image Credit: Amy Neunsinger

Best Kept Secret: Emaelle Skincare

February 3, 2009

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My skin is finicky even under ideal conditions. But by the time February hits, overexposure to indoor heating and fluctuating outdoor temperatures have my poor complexion seriously stressed. First it grabs my attention with some peeling and flakiness. So I moisturize in hopes of calming it down. Then it overreacts and throws a breakout my way. So I treat it accordingly, only to send it back into Gobi desert mode. For years I have searched for a solution to this never ending cycle of epidermal confusion. Enter Emaelle.

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I first learned of this miraculous product line when the wonderful Lynne of Tea for Joy sent some my way. These magical elixers are made by hand from 100% natural ingredients, and they’re packaged in the most precious amber glass bottles. I’ve been using the Green Clay Face Scrub a few times a week–the clay cleans and tightens pores (no more breakouts!) while nubbly bits of oatmeal gently exfoliate and soothe at the same time (bye bye lizard skin!). For extra pampering I follow with a dab of super-rich Rose Moisturizer. And while I know that our groundhog buddy has predicted six more weeks of cold, I can’t wait for spring to arrive so I have an excuse to try out the Lime Body Scrub and Peppermint Foot Salve—sandal season here I come!

Tell me, what are your winter skin savers?

UPDATE: For more skincare gossip be sure to check out Tina’s awesome interview with beauty editor and designer extraordinaire Mary Jo!

Gee You Smell Great: Tom Ford White Patchouli

January 27, 2009

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Have you ever caught a whiff of something so enchanting that you sniffed around madly to determine the source, only to discover that the smell was emanating from you? No, me neither. In fact I generally have the opposite problem, especially since I switched to an all-natural deodorant.

But on Saturday I was at Bloomingdale's and—like a magpie attracted to a shiny object—I was inexplicably drawn to the glowing white bottle of Tom Ford White Patchouli. I doused myself quite generously, and the huz and I commented all day on how terrific I smelled. Then I showered and all was forgotten. Or so I thought.

This morning in the car, the sun warmed my leather jacket and caused the residual White Patchouli molecules to drift upwards. I spent the rest of the drive burying my nose into my sleeve to catch the scent. I didn't just smell good; I smelled (and felt!) like a sexy cool girl. I have never in my life felt like a sexy cool girl.

Long story short, I gotta get me some. Tell me, do you have a sexy cool girl scent?

Birch Bark Soap: The Etsy Monster Strikes Again!

January 13, 2009

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One of my favourite moments of the day is my post-workout shower. The feeling of warm water hitting your aching muscles after a killer cardio circuit is the best thing going. And because I’ve done such a good job sticking to my fitness resolutions so far this year, I decided to break my ‘no impulse spending’ resolution and get some special soaps for the gym! I can’t wait to see if these all-natural ‘Cafe Mocha‘ and ‘Cherry Almond‘ soaps smell as good as they look…I’m especially intrigued by the exfoliating grains of real coffee in the mocha soap. I hear that caffeine works wonders on cellulite—and even if it does nothing for my wobbly bum, it sounds like the ultimate bath time pick-me-up!

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Etsy seller Sherrie from Birch Bark Soap is a one woman soap-making machine. Added bonus: I got to keep my ‘do right by the planet’ resolution because her soaps are all free of preservatives, parabens, and other nasties. Plus she donates a percentage of her profits every month to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Finally, she’s based in Nova Scotia, and you know I’ve gotta give a shout out to a fellow Canadian girl!

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I also picked up a cake of Bay Rum shaving soap for the huz—contains real rum!—and some seaweed soap to detoxify the skin (sadly needed, as I’ve not kept the ‘no ice cream’ resolution…). If anyone tries the Star Anise Bath Bar let me know how it goes; I’d have bought the whole shop but a girl can only take so many showers!

Chakra Check-Up

July 17, 2008

I have a love-hate relationship with Aveda. Love because their stuff
smells gorgeous, works great, and turns my shower into a mini spa. Hate
because it’s expensive (sour grapes!), and because in spite of the
company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and
cradle-to-cradle ingredient sourcing, they still formulate their
products with potential nasties like dimethicone and phenoxyethanol.

But like a lover spurned, I always go back for more. Today on my lunch break I popped into an Aveda store to try their new Dry Remedy line
so I could review it here (having a blog is a great excuse to shop, as
if I needed one!). The summer sun fries my hair  and leaves it
scratchy as straw, which in turn leaves me susceptible to the promise
of a penetrating ‘Deep-Moisture Complex’…

Av_a414_162_3

After I
chatted for a moment with the sales rep about the benefits of buriti
oil, things got interesting. The rep asked, "Do you have time
for a moment of wellness?"

As if I would say no to a question like that! Of course I had
time for a moment of wellness! Though I wasn’t sure what sort of moment
and what sort of wellness she had in mind…

She guided me to a comfy chair and proceed to introduce me to another new product line they’ve just released: Chakra Balancing Body Mists.
It’s a collection of seven different blends of organic essential oils,
combined in such a way as to stimulate the seven energy centers of the
body. I know a bit about Chakra theory through my yoga practice, and I
love the idea making this abstract (airy-fairy for us Westerners!)
concept more accessible through something concrete like smell.

Bnr_chakra_2

(image courtesy of the Aveda website)

According to my girl at Aveda, each spray has been blended by
Ayurvedic masters in India, and all the plant oils are grown and
harvested sustainably at small farms. She presented me with seven
cards, one for each Chakra, and asked me to choose three that appealed
to me based on color and on the word written on the card. I chose
"wisdom", "insight", and "groundedness". She then let me smell the
scents associated with those three words and I picked the one I liked
best, a subtle, soothing scent belonging to the Crown Chakra.

My work in the moment of wellness was done. She had me close my
eyes, spritzed the air around my body with the Body Spray, and gave me
a heavenly neck and shoulder massage. I repeat: a FREE MASSAGE. I can’t
remember the last time I got anything for free, let alone a massage!

Av_a2yy_162_2

Free-ness aside, my ‘moment of wellness’ has me wanting to collect all seven Body Mists. I’d keep number
five–grapefruit, rosemary, ylang ylang–at my desk to spark creativity
and self-expression. Then I’d sprinkle sandalwood, orange, and geranium
on my bedsheets to stimulate the second Chakra, the center of vital and
sensual relationships. Plus I adore the thought of those medicinal
brown glass bottles sitting neatly in a row with their labels arranged
in rainbow order.

And my on-again/off-again thing for Aveda? Maybe it’s the freebie
massage talking, or maybe it’s the enlightening angelica oil balancing
my seventh Chakra, but I think I’m in love.

Chakra Check-Up

July 17, 2008

I have a love-hate relationship with Aveda. Love because their stuff
smells gorgeous, works great, and turns my shower into a mini spa. Hate
because it’s expensive (sour grapes!), and because in spite of the
company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and
cradle-to-cradle ingredient sourcing, they still formulate their
products with potential nasties like dimethicone and phenoxyethanol.

But like a lover spurned, I always go back for more. Today on my lunch break I popped into an Aveda store to try their new Dry Remedy line
so I could review it here (having a blog is a great excuse to shop, as
if I needed one!). The summer sun fries my hair  and leaves it
scratchy as straw, which in turn leaves me susceptible to the promise
of a penetrating ‘Deep-Moisture Complex’…

Av_a414_162_3

After I
chatted for a moment with the sales rep about the benefits of buriti
oil, things got interesting. The rep asked, "Do you have time
for a moment of wellness?"

As if I would say no to a question like that! Of course I had
time for a moment of wellness! Though I wasn’t sure what sort of moment
and what sort of wellness she had in mind…

She guided me to a comfy chair and proceed to introduce me to another new product line they’ve just released: Chakra Balancing Body Mists.
It’s a collection of seven different blends of organic essential oils,
combined in such a way as to stimulate the seven energy centers of the
body. I know a bit about Chakra theory through my yoga practice, and I
love the idea making this abstract (airy-fairy for us Westerners!)
concept more accessible through something concrete like smell.

Bnr_chakra_2

(image courtesy of the Aveda website)

According to my girl at Aveda, each spray has been blended by
Ayurvedic masters in India, and all the plant oils are grown and
harvested sustainably at small farms. She presented me with seven
cards, one for each Chakra, and asked me to choose three that appealed
to me based on color and on the word written on the card. I chose
"wisdom", "insight", and "groundedness". She then let me smell the
scents associated with those three words and I picked the one I liked
best, a subtle, soothing scent belonging to the Crown Chakra.

My work in the moment of wellness was done. She had me close my
eyes, spritzed the air around my body with the Body Spray, and gave me
a heavenly neck and shoulder massage. I repeat: a FREE MASSAGE. I can’t
remember the last time I got anything for free, let alone a massage!

Av_a2yy_162_2

Free-ness aside, my ‘moment of wellness’ has me wanting to collect all seven Body Mists. I’d keep number
five–grapefruit, rosemary, ylang ylang–at my desk to spark creativity
and self-expression. Then I’d sprinkle sandalwood, orange, and geranium
on my bedsheets to stimulate the second Chakra, the center of vital and
sensual relationships. Plus I adore the thought of those medicinal
brown glass bottles sitting neatly in a row with their labels arranged
in rainbow order.

And my on-again/off-again thing for Aveda? Maybe it’s the freebie
massage talking, or maybe it’s the enlightening angelica oil balancing
my seventh Chakra, but I think I’m in love.

Simply Divine

July 1, 2008

A recent visit to my friendly local Raw Food Purveyor has turned me on to an outstanding line of skincare products. Simply Divine Botanicals was founded by Barbara Rogers, a master herbalist and healer in Las Vegas. I’m completely enamoured; they’re so pure you could eat them, and the ingredients read more like a grocery list than a chemistry project. Not only are they skin- and earth- happy, they smell amazing and have endearingly cheesy names—so they’re fun to use too!

The only formula I’ve tried so far is ‘You Can’t Zit Here‘ (told you the product names were groan-worthy!).  It’s muddy and murky–a little scary at first!–but foams gently and leaves your skin feeling deep down clean. The instructions say to massage into the skin for 30 to 60 seconds, which adds a nice experiential dimension to the product. I haven’t been using it steadily enough to testify to its power against my summertime breakouts, but it does contain a host of exotic oils (clove, neem, tamanu and leleshwa? huh?) to counteract blemishes.
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I’m such a fan of the cleanser that I’ve decided to take advantage of a very cool feature of the company’s website: ordering samples! In addition to the full sized containers, they offer small quantities for a fraction of the cost. Because don’t you hate it when you blow big money on something that irritates your skin? So far I’ve narrowed it down to…

Gypsy Rose Tea Toner‘: "Inspired by a 1500 year-old formula made by Gypsies for the Queen of Hungary. This blend is infused for six weeks." How seductive is that? Like fine wine for your face!
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Honey I Shrunk the Pores‘: I’ve indulged my love of masks ad nauseam, but this to be the perfect addition to my arsenal. This time of year my pores are so big you could drive a Mack Truck through them, and this product promises to "tighten skin" and "eat away dead skin cells" with its blend of wild-crafted honey and fruit enzymes. Maybe I’ll put it on my toast while I’m at it!

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Keeping Abreast of It’: so crazy it just might work! It’s a natural underarm deodorant that also claims to promote lymphatic drainage. Sounds bizarre, I know. But if you’ve ever had a lymphatic massage, you’ll jump on board anything that offers the same ‘boy do I feel awesome’ benefits. And I’m always on the lookout for products that keeps me stink-free without using nasty ingredients like aluminum. 
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Simply Divine Botanicals are available not only from the company website but also from One Lucky Duck and High Vibe. For now I’m counting the days ’til my samples come; I’ll keep you posted on the results. And in the meantime I’m drinking more tea, eating more fruits and veggies, protecting when I go into the sun. Isn’t it funny how reading about healthy, good-for-you things inspires you to take better care of yourself in the big picture?

In hopes of finding more inspiration:

– Get a dose of wholesome country living with Farmgirl Fare.

– Cook up some DIY lotions and potions at All Natural Beauty.

– A summer of eating locally on Married…with dinner.

– Nutritional advice goes into overdrive at The World’s Healthiest Foods.

The Organic Beauty Expert: news and reviews straight from the grass-fed horse’s mouth!

   

 

Smells Like Green Spirit

June 30, 2008

Presenting my new favourite ‘Why didn’t they think of this before?’ product.

One of the world’s most distinctive smells is the one that hits you
when you walk into a flower shop. I love that heady blend of moist
greenery and ripe blossoms, with its subtle undertones of refrigerant.
But why should I have to go flower shopping to enjoy it?

Enter ‘Smells Like A Flower Shop’ Body and Room Spray. It’s like
someone’s distilled all those pails of woody-stemmed peonies and
hydrangeas, airy-leaved baby’s breath and maidenhair fern,
silky-petalled roses, mums, and orchids. You won’t smell like a flower
shop all day, because that first convincing whiff fades into a
delicate, barely-there floral blend. And because the ingredients are
all-natural, you can spray them on your skin or in the air.

Bodysprayflowershop

The best part? All the proceeds go to the Toronto Wildlife Center, which rescues and rehabilitates wildlife in distress.  Buy it online or in store at Teatro Verde or Mythical Matters.
If you’re not into the spray, check out the lotion and bath salts…And
prepare yourself for that first ‘OMG Why Didn’t They Think of This
Before’ sniff!

Other garden-inspired musings today:

– Housemartin makes magic with June’s loveliest offering, the peony.

– sfgirlbybay persuades us to ‘bring the outdoors in‘.

– All centerpieces all the time at Toast and Tables!

– Droolworthy outdoor spaces from Garden Rooms.

– Amazing cherry blossoms blooming, right in my very own backyard!

Crime Doesn’t Pay

May 30, 2008

Okay, the subject line on this one is completely unrelated to the
content. Tonight’s post is being cut short by my husband’s realization
that someone smashed the back window of our car to steal items of
value. Fortunately for me—and unfortunately for our hapless
thief—there was nothing of value to be stolen. But it’s still
annoying. Grrr!

So I’ll save the snazzy long post I had planned for tonight in
favour of a quick public health announcement. I was remiss yesterday to
discuss my outdoor exercise habits without putting in a plug for the
importance of sunscreen. I’ve been making a supreme effort to wear it
whenever I go outside. Though I wish I could say that my motivation
stems from my desire to prevent skin cancer, in honesty it comes from
my hopes that a high SPF will keep me wrinkle-free well into my
nineties.

Here’s where it gets tricky. My skin breaks out if I even look at a
greasy cream. And the smidgiest bit of product causes my eyes to sting
like nobody’s business. Sunscreen and a sweaty run do not kind
bedfellows make. But I’ve discovered Clarins UV Plus, and now all is
right with the world.

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Because it contains titanium dioxide as its protective ingredient,
it doesn’t burn my eyes the way a chemical sunscreen can. And it’s
oil-free, so it doesn’t cause blemishes; yet at the same time, it
doesn’t leave the dry, chalky film that other ‘no shine’ products do. I
use it on its own when I run in the park, or I apply it under make-up
for daily incidental sun exposure. Even when I wear contact lenses and
am therefore ultra-sensitive, I can go the whole day without a blind
dash to the sink for an emergency eye rinse.

The take home? Protect against UV rays, whatever your reasons. And
if you’re looking for a good sunscreen, this is it. Because even though
crime doesn’t pay, a liberal application of SPF 40 does.

Now I’m off to tape garbage bags over the hole where my window was…