Monday, September 20, 2010
I couldn't resist sharing my new find..... I'm thigh deep in moving boxes for the eighth time in just over two years. This time I'm hoping to stay put for a bit. In the mean time, chaos ensues.
And what better to soothe the madness than a bit of chocolate? How about a truly yummy little tub of rich, super creamy, ultra-delicious chocolate pudding... that just happens to be dairy free, gluten free, soy free, low glycemic, nearly raw (their organic coconut milk has been pasteurized) and at only 124 happy little calories - an awesome treat no matter what your lifestyle is.
I am absolutely a dessert girl, and a picky one at that. I will always go for the most decadent item on the menu and consider low cal/low sugar/low anything in the dessert world equal to low flavor... highly unacceptable for the meal course that is all about decadence.
Stinkey Monkey (yup, that's there name!) does not disappoint. The four ounce tub is small, but not too small. Not cheap, but far less than most super hoity-toity raw/vegan/gluten free foods ($3.99 at my local market). And seriously big on flavor and texture - hard to do in even standard dairy/sugar puddings.
I'm impressed. It's luscious. Go get some.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Fairy tales are full of maidens with luxurious hair - long and glistening, full of body, blinding with shine and va-va-voom... with not a split end or dry spot in sight.
We all want it. I want it without having to work too hard for it. I am a no-fuss woman with little interest in hair dryers and zero time for rollers, irons, straighteners and the latest styling gadget.
I am a wash and wear woman who just wants this lion mane of mine to be longer, stronger and slightly less out of control if I let it go free. I haven't exactly reached a peaceful agreement with my feisty mid-back curls, but I'm getting closer.
There are actually lots of things you can do to optimize hair growth and overall vitality. Here's a handful of my favorites:
* Eat more spicy food. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers spicy, has been shown to promote hair growth by mimicking natural human growth factors. As a pretty strong side bonus, this same compound causes an increase in your metabolic rate by raising body temperature, helping burn more calories immediately after a meal. Besides a slight uptick in metabolism, spicy foods also may increase feelings of satiety. Yum yum yum.
* Avoid shampoos with sodium laureth sulfate, benzophenone-3, benzyl alcohol, DMDM hydantoin, and sodium lauryl sulfate. These detergents and alcohols are hard on the hair, causing it to be dry and brittle. You want a gentle moisturizing or replenishing shampoo. My favorite is by Allafia, followed closely by anything from John Masters.
*Keeping your long hair moisturized is an absolute must. Commercial hot oil treatments are good depending on the purity of the oils used, but my preferred and super cheap natural alternative is a mixture of warm rosemary oil and olive oil worked into the hair and left for 45 minutes under a warm towel. Jojoba oil and coconut oil are also excellent options to moisturize dry hair.
* Have a bounty of biotin. Naturally occurring in nuts, oats, brewers yeast, rice, tomatoes, carrots, romaine, and chard, this vitamin's best-known dietary role is in hair and nail health, as a deficiency can cause hair loss and weak, brittle nails. Sometimes called Vitamin H, biotin is actually one of the B-Vitamins. It is very important in cell growth and the production and metabolism of fatty acids, also playing a solid role in maintaining blood sugar and the body's energy level.
* Give yourself a scalp massage. They increase circulation, helping to stimulate your hair follicles as well as easing stress which is a major contributor to slowing growth and a countless number of other ills. Take your time, enjoy the experience... or better yet, have a friend of lover lend a hand and do a trade!
Eat well. Breath deep. Love yourself.
And watch your own fairy tale self be revealed!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
At sunrise this morning I was neck deep in warm turquoise waters, dancing with the lapping waves that lick the shores here in the British Virgin Islands. I apparently have a one track mind, even here in paradise (and clearly that track is set full time to the celebration of healthy beauty!). Can I just remind you the wonders of sea salt for your skin!
I am only three days into my little getaway and already my entire self is rejoicing. There is simply something magical and healing about time spent in the ocean. On an emotional level, you cannot help but unwind, to let go and melt into the rocking embrace of the pulsing current. With this kind of release comes deeper breathing, increased circulation and blood flow and a flood of happy hormones.
The mineral dense salts from the sea can provide a great exfoliation for your whole body and the fine grains can be used as a polisher for your facial skin. As a soak, salts deliver relief to aching muscles and various skin conditions - dryness, itching, flaking, scaling, dullness. I've seen great results with persistent psoriasis, eczema, skin infections and irritations, even bug bites! And all of that, ladies and gents, says bring it on to a radiant complexion and a healthy and happy you!
I am all about any excuse for a good soak and there is nothing quite like hopping into the sea. However, you can easily replicate some of these benefits in your own home. My top three favorites:
1. A good old fashioned salt soak. Simply drop a few cups of good sea salts or magnesium rich epsom salts into your hot bathwater, give it a swirl and stew away.
2. Scrub it up. Fill a small bowl with a fistful of salt and a generous drizzle of olive oil, blend with your hands and then treat yourself to a full body massage. Either follow with a quick rinse in the shower (leaving the oils to do their job quenching your thirsty skin) or enhance the benefits further with a follow up tub soak.
3. For ocean spray on the go - fill a small spritzer bottle with a few teaspoons of fine salt dissolved in water (or a flower hydrosol is lovely!), shake rigorously and mist throughout the day (over your moisturizer) to revive skin and fool yourself into vacation mode. Try it before bed as a skin treatment or in your hair for the best beachy mane texture.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
One of the very first items I replaced in my bath and beauty arsenal when I started becoming more aware of the impact my personal care items were having on my wellness was toothpaste.
For years, I would develop a persistent redness and flaking around my nose and mouth that I eventually discovered was a sensitivity to toothpaste ingredients (as it turns out, this is a very commonly seen symptom in dermatology). I tried a number of health and planet conscious options - from straight baking soda to tubes of tasteless putty to soapy Dr. Bronners straight onto the brush.
My goal was to find a cleanser for my teeth that actually made me feel clean, tasted good (nothing that would prevent me from being kissed immediately after!), was uncomplicated and didn't break the bank. I also absolutely insist on no fluoride and no Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. It is quite the challenge finding a toothpaste without either of these two standard ingredients and to find one I actually like - a true feat!
Finally, success! I came across Jason Sea Fresh at Whole Foods Market, an all-natural sea-sourced toothpaste, this formula is made with certified organic blue green algae, sea salts and trace minerals. Not only that, it contains three natural whitening polishers to gently prevent plaque build up - bamboo powder, calcium carbonate and silica. Anti-bacterial grapefruit seed extract and perilla seed extract help block sugar acids and bacteria from forming in your mouth. Certified organic aloe vera gel soothes and relieves gums from irritation, and essential oils of mint bring the deep-sea spearmint flavor. Yum!
Monday, April 12, 2010
I am the first to admit that it took me a loooooong time to catch onto fashion; to care in any real way about it, despite my involvement in the industry - or perhaps because of it. I am not particularly excited by clothing, shoes, bags and so on and only recently have I begun to embrace this kind of design as an art form and to celebrate the ability to express yourself through your wardrobe. Somehow I stumbled upon this fascinating piece and it left me hungry. Is this where fashion is going? If so, I am wholeheartedly going to jump on board! Revelations towards revolutions...
Mae Yokoyama had a desire to turn “energy into beauty” She does that flawlessly here, bringing technology into the world of haute couture. One standout piece in her production is a collar made of solar panels, accumulating energy during daytime and illuminating as the sun goes down. In the dark, a string of pearls is illuminated, turning the functional look of the solar panels into a subtle and fashionable necklace.
Press images: 1 ⋅ 2 ⋅ 3 When publishing, state the following:
Student, work title and photographer.
Photographer: 1 and 2 Andreas Nyquist, 3 Mae Yokoyama
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Life is blossoming and expanding as it always does with such enthusiasm and today all I want to share is how grateful I am for the immense and powerful amount of good that surrounds and fills me. I am blessed. Enjoy your days, may you all be filled with infinite joy and inspiration.
With much warmth and love,
Photographer: Courtney Dailey
Model: Sarah Varacalli
Makeup: May Lindstrom
Friday, March 5, 2010
As many of you know, I am in the final stages of finishing my own signature line of luxury organic skincare.
There are no words that can describe just how excited I am about that venture and I simply cannot wait to unveil the final products soon soon soon. In the meantime, I feel like I must introduce you to a line that next to my own (I can't resist!) is absolutely my number one.
The Body Deli (check them out here: http://thebodydeliaffiliate.com/134.html) has been wooing me hard since I first discovered their goodies early last year. I am a hard sell on skincare as my standards are beyond over the top. These guys are the real deal and we have moved into serious relationship status. We are not monogamous, but this goes far beyond lust and infatuation. :)
Disclaimer : they have just begun an affiliate program and I have happily joined in - which in theory means that if you make a purchase from them through me, a few pennies from the process will go into my pocket. I promise you in the most serious and genuine way that this has ZERO influence over my recommendations from this line or any other at any point in the present or future. I have been turning clients and friends onto The Body Deli's products over all else for months. My refrigerator and bathroom vanity contain nearly every product they have ever made and I have an ongoing wish list of the ones I have yet to sample. Mere talk of their formulations causes me to swoon and it was them who inspired me to take my own line to the next level and go over the top with my dreams and aspirations towards celebrating a healthier path to whole beauty.
Onto the company:
The Body Deli Philosophy:
Inspired by the concept of natural living and driven by the science of “living foods,” The Body Deli’s products are designed to provide nutrition for the skin -- inside and out. All of the products are handmade in small batches and incorporate raw, fresh, natural and organic ingredients, including organic yogurt, amino acids, fresh fruit and vegetables, and all-natural plant oils. The result is nutrient-rich products for the body, face and hair that deliver fresh vitamins, enzymes and minerals at their peak potency.
Their ingredients list reads like a fantasy menu of yumminess and I respect their "less is more" attitude to clean and gorgeously green formulations. A handful of my favorites that you should absolutely try (I promise to write full on reviews of all the items I am enamored with soon) :
Creme de la Rose:
Experience the fountain of youth in this luxurious and concentrated anti-aging treatment. Blended with the regenerating oils of pure Organic steam distilled Bulgarian Rose, Moroccan Rose Geranium and Sandalwood from India. Highly effective Marine Red Algae extracted Amino-Peptide chains help to diminish the depth and appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Plus this cream is synergistically blended with living Bio-Active Fresh Cells of fruits and vegetables that transform this cream into the ultimate anti-aging and regenerating facial treatment.
Sea Cucumber Gelee:
This extraordinary facial hydrator infuses the skin with pure moisture. Organic Aloe Vera is combined with skin toning Algae and nature's most potent moisturizer, Hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid has the ability to bind more than ten times its weight in moisture. This highly effective combination gives you the finest all natural moisturizer that imparts a dewy glow while it cools, soothes and hydrates the skin. Fresh Cells of cucumber and other powerful anti-oxidant rich fruits compliment this facial treatment and enhance its nutritional value for the skin.
Rose Geranium Cleanser:
Fresh Cell Rose Geranium Cream Cleanser is formulated to be gentle and soothing for sensitive skin. Rose Geranium is a very harmonizing and balancing plant extract. This is an excellent daily cleanser for sensitive skin that is easily irritated from environmental pollution, stress or hormonal changes. The benefits of Rose Geranium for the skin are profound. This unique botanical is known for it's balancing effect in helping to hydrate dry patches and also normalize oiliness in the T-Zone area. Bio-active Fresh Cells enhance the function and nutritional value for this highly effective facial cleanser.
Blueberry Fusion Scrub:
Indulge in this amazing one of a kind facial polish. This anti-oxidant rich Organic Blueberry facial scrub is the ultimate exfoliant to gently create a smooth as silk complexion. Fresh Blueberries are blended to keep the high levels of anti-oxidant activity intact and create a treatment that feeds the skin as it exfoliates. All natural fruit acids are added in combination with natural earth particles that create the perfect balance of exfoliating action to leave your skin feeling rejuvenated, soft and smooth. Bio-active Fresh Cells are added for their beneficial nutritional value.
Radiance Enzyme Peel:
Regenerate your complexion with this living biological plant derived peel. Fresh uncooked superfoods are combined with wild harvested therapeutic grade Manuka Honey. Manuka Honey is known and respected for its healing abilities and has high levels of enzymes which create unparalleled smoothness and softness to the skin. The Radiance Enzyme Peel will boost your natural glow and smooth out imperfections and visible signs of aging. Beneficial probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidum are also blended into this peel to create a profound treatment that has a lasting visible impact on the complexion.
Glacial Mineral Mud Mask:
This spa quality mud masque now makes it possible to give yourself a facial at home. This imported Canadian mineral mud masque is designed to deeply cleanse the pores. This mask draws out excess oil, debris and toxins from the skin, while it helps to shrink and minimize the appearance of the pores.
Okay, off to soar over mountains...
Love and warmth to you all.
Friday, February 5, 2010
It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions. After eggs and bacon it says, "Work!" After beefsteak and porter, it says, "Sleep!" After a cup of tea (two spoonfuls for each cup, and don't let it stand for more than three minutes), it says to the brain,
"Now rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature, and into life: spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!"
~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat
I was thinking as I woke today that I would like to share more here in this space. With a full plate, endless deadlines, wonderful chaos and dots connecting like you would hardly believe (thank you, thank you, thank you!), my time has become precious...rather... I am learning to realize just how precious it has always been and to appreciate the moments I do take for myself more thoroughly.
I have a new morning ritual.
I have been starting each day with a mug of tea. This simple act alone stops the swirling of the world for a moment, provides the much needed motivation to just sit in silence and begin from neutral rather than pulling myself out of bed and catapulting frantically into my day, attacking to-do lists and endless emails and phone calls and responsibility without thought to what climbing these mountains actually means to me; why I live so big and fast and dispense all my energy with such relentless passion.
I believe there is power in stillness and silence, yet I struggle to embrace either. Wrapped up in my mug of tea, I somehow remember to breathe.
Now for what you really want to know.
Tea is a real treat for the skin!
The skin’s appearance is determined by its exposure to potentially harmful environmental influences such as sunlight and air pollution, in combination with diet and topical care.
Red, green, white, and black teas from around the world have been used for centuries in various medicinal remedies. There have been a number of encouraging studies of the skin benefits of green tea. Animal studies showed protection from skin cancer. Both animal and human studies have credibly demonstrated that topical green tea formulations reduce sun damage. Green tea appears to exert sun damage protection by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation rather than by blocking UV rays.
Considering their well-documented antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, topical green tea polyphenols are likely to slow down the development of some signs of aging. Green tea's gentle but powerful action is of immense relief particularly for those with skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, dandruff,and acne - all of which are exacerbated by inflammation.
The simple how to:
1. Brew yourself a cup of your favorite tea. I highly suggest organic green or white tea for their antioxidant goodness, but chamomile, rose and lavender are favorites of mine and lovely as well, particularly for calming sensitive skin.
2. Sip and think good thoughts. Yes, this is required. :)
3. Remove tea bag (warm, not HOT) and gently swipe over your entire face, neck and decollete for an incredible natural toner. This simple step calms skin, reduces inflammation and general puffiness, soothes tired eyes, balances excess oil and sweeps away any dry skin or flakiness. Did I mention it feels incredible and costs practically pennies?
- If you are feeling particularly in need of an emergency fix, keep a tray of green tea ice cubes in your freezer and slide over your face on especially puffy days when you need serious and fast acting relief.
Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it still sings!
Monday, January 25, 2010
In the meantime, please do feel free to contact me directly to schedule a holistic beauty consultation, green makeover, healthy skin treatment, or to answer any questions you may have about services, products, or whatever else you may wish to inquire of me.
If there is anything specific you think would be a good addition to my site once back up and running, I enthusiastically welcome your input and very much look forward to hearing from you.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I'll admit, I get asked this all of the time.
As an "aspiring to be former" model (on a great big mission to switch to the other side of the camera and give healthy beauty a whole new meaning!), I do not always blend in with the scenery. I worked for years in front of the camera, quite often as just a face, a blank palette for cosmetics and the vision of makeup artists and photographers and art directors and so on.
Needless to say, my SKIN has been a full time project for years. It has always been imperative that I be in the best condition possible or risk not having food on the table that month. In an industry as fickle as fashion, this was not vanity - it was survival in the career path I was skipping along.
When asked about my personal regimen now, it is often paired with "well, you're a Model -of course your skin is perfect!" or "Genetics, right? I'm sure you've always had great skin", etc. etc. etc.
Let me tell you something.
I work at it.
It has most certainly gotten easier over the years as I've learned to be healthier inside which is reflected outside, to eat properly, get off artificial hormones (birth control, animal products), lead an active physical life, practice self love (I am a glorious and glowing woman!) and other hippy-dippy things, and entirely switched over my personal care items and cosmetics to the squeakiest side of clean.
It takes all of this. No compromises. You have to tell yourself that you are worth it and then follow through with what exactly that means.
I have not always been a model, or even considered beautiful in the traditional sense. I was an awkward kid like most I've found in this industry - Shy, introverted, socially inept, too smart for my own good and dancing clumsily to the beat of my own drum. In junior high I was the really uncool girl the popular guys would date as a joke to be funny. Oh yes, hilarious times.
And then at eighteen my family history of seriously awesome skin conditions decided to show me I was part of the crew - psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, mysterious rashes, blisters, scaling, itching, bleeding madness. I had always had little patches that hinted I too would have this battle to fight, but in 2001 all hell broke loose and I was covered literally head to toe with a hot, burning, itching, scaly rash that resembled red camouflage over nearly ever inch of my body.
In grocery store lines small children would point at my exposed alien arms and ask their mothers what was wrong with me. I would hide my deteriorating face and try not to cry because the salt would sting in my open wounds.
Doctors and dermatologists and expensive visits with specialists yielded no results and no answers. Finally, through a long process of blood and allergy tests (and rounds of antibiotics and steroids in high doses that provided immediate relief followed by a far greater return to an even worse reaction) and living practically in a bubble for a while as I learned through elimination, I discovered that the vast majority of my issues (beyond genetic predisposition) were largely environmental.
I was allergic to my life and the state of our planet. I had just moved to Los Angeles (from super green Minnesota) where my body was experiencing shock over the high levels of pollution and contaminants in the air, catapulting my immune system into a frenzy and sending my skin into a state of hypersensitivity where I was forced to become very aware of how all the little things in my world were contributing to my state of unwell - my cosmetics, cleaning supplies, shampoos and soaps and lotions and toothpaste, food I was eating, the paints I used when teaching my art class... Everything was making me sick, and giving due credit to vanity, making me feel and look far from pretty.
Over the next several years I switched out one product at a time, altering my lifestyle and slowly healing with each step along the way. Two years into the process, my once spiderweb patterned skin was unrecognizable. I still had red patches around my nose and mouth, occasional spots and flaking on my hands and tiny scars that whispered my secret... but I no longer looked or felt foreign in my own skin.
I started modeling as a celebration and as a way to move back into my body, to make peace with my skin and my outlook on my own appearance.
Now, fully healed and ripe with passion on this subject, I am on a mission to share what I know. What could be easily viewed externally on my skin is happening inside of yours. Just because you cannot always see it, does not mean it is not there. Direct links between an elevated risk of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, allergies, asthma, and so on and so on have been shown time and again with the use of standard cosmetics and beauty care items. This is no joke. It is no small thing. This is a terribly important subject that can no longer be ignored.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MY SECRET?
HERE IT IS:
IF SOMETHING CANNOT GO IN YOUR BODY, IT CANNOT GO ON IT.
IF YOU CANNOT EAT IT, YOUR SKIN SHOULDN'T EITHER.
I live by this. From my toothpaste to my mascara to my foot scrub, I only use earth and plant based products and ingredients that contribute to my well being rather than take from it. There are soooooo many good options available. There is simply no excuse to not make this transition.
I am absolutely amazed how many of my clients would buy organic fruits and vegetables, drink filtered water, work out in organic cotton yoga gear and then suds up with Sodium Laurel Sulfate, slather on paraben drenched expensive face creams and lacquer themselves in lead and mercury laden carcinogenic cosmetics. Seriously, you KNOW better. You do. So why the excuse when it comes to your beauty routine?
Please please please, I beg of you to take a closer look at why you continue to turn a blind eye to this. This is not ten years ago. There are safe cleaning products. There is a whole world of well formulated and decidedly non granola cosmetics. There are indulgent bath products with heavenly aromas and beautiful packaging. And as demand increases, the revolution rises and our options get better and better and better.
I have been researching products for years, testing and challenging and making demands with my dollar. I am still learning, each and every day. I make new discoveries about new companies, new brands, new innovative people coming up with truly delectable healthy beauty items on a constant basis. I got so excited about this whole process, I've even started formulating my own line of bath and beauty goodness (which I simply cannot wait to unveil sooooon)!
I was told recently that I light up when I talk about what it means to me to be a holistic beauty consultant and green makeup artist and eco potion mixing entrepreneur and overall natural beauty junkie on a happy healthy joy mission. (Phew. Big sentence!)
I was told I glow.
Passion fills me. I'm excited. I care. I'm invested in you and just as importantly, I am invested in myself.
Maybe that's my secret.
May it be yours too.
With all the love and gooey goodness in the word,