Himalayan Pink Salt Candle Holders…

Where I go to take yoga class, there’s a beautiful Himalayan pink salt lamp glowing on the desk. The pink, incandescent hue is really calming, but I’d heard that the lamps can ‘sweat’ and the bulbs can be a pain to change. However, I ended up finding a beautiful pair of pink salt candle-holders at Bed Bath and Beyond for just $14.99, and am just so pleased with them! Not only do they emit that beautiful rose glow when you drop a tea light inside, they also (apparently) release negative ions into the air when heated, like an air purifier. I must admit, too, that it’s nice to have something so natural on my coffee table, rather than man-made. They have a heft and a rough hewn beauty to them, as well as a pleasant mismatched quality, that really speaks to me. You don’t have to meditate or do yoga to enjoy these candle holders.

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Weekend-Worthy Favorites: W3LL People, Matcha Tea Lattes, and More!

Hi all,

This isn’t going to be a super long post…my parents are coming to visit from England (yay!) so I’ve got a ton of cleaning up and work to do! (Fun).

However, I wanted to share with you a few of my weekend-worthy favorites, that I think…no, I KNOW you will enjoy learning about. A couple of beauty products, and a couple of lifestyle items. And, hold onto your hats, I won’t be mentioning Pacifica ONCE!!!! It’s a miracle! ūüôā

  1. W3LL People Bio Brightener Stick in “Moonstone.” ($29.99)

There’s been so much hype around this product in the green beauty world, that I knew I had to give it a whirl. At the W3LL People website you can buy samples of this product for $1.50, but I went all out and bought the full product. I’m not sorry I did – I’ll be honest, I have never used highlighter before. EVER. A brief flirtation with ‘illuminating liquids’ made me look sparklier than Edward Cullen at a disco. So I wasn’t sure what to expect from this product, nor how to apply it. However, a few beauty blogs later I had learned how to ‘strobe’ with highlighter – apply it above cheekbones, along the bridge of the nose, the cupid’s bow, and bottom of the chin (and/or inner corners of eyes) – and I have to admit, the result was pretty awesome! What I like about this product is that it’s not sparkly or glittery – it’s a light shimmer, or perhaps ‘glisten’ is a better word. No Edward Cullen here! It’s really easy to apply too; you just dab a bit on your finger, or you could even just apply it straight from the stick. I also wear it sometimes in place of eyeshadow. Big score. I also bought the much touted bronzing stick as a sample, and it’s pretty good – I’m not sure I like it as much yet, but I’ll give it a few more uses before reporting back.

2. One Love Organics Skin Savior Multi-Tasking Wonder Balm ($49.00)

Another darling of the green beauty world, I received this in a subscription box quite a while ago – I can’t actually remember which one ūüôā ¬†I’ve loved it from the get-go, but I think I love it more now that my skin is going through a dry spell. I apply this balm to my face either as a night cream or after showering. It’s got a light, citrus scent which isn’t my favorite ever, but it’s totally OK. When I learned the price of this I almost had a mild heart attack, and I doubt I’ll be repurchasing because 50 bucks is a lot to spend on a skincare product. Sob. Sob.

3. Rishi Green Tea Matcha ($6.30 at Vitacost)

For those of you who love those Starbucks iced green tea lattes, I kid you not, this tastes EXACTLY THE SAME and is like a gazillion times less expensive. The ingredients are awesosme – just matcha powder and cane sugar. I drink this iced – you just add a couple of teaspoons to cold milk, stir around, and add ice. To avoid lumps you can dissolve the powder in a little hot water before adding the milk. Delicious with almond milk too!

 

4. Headspace App and Podcast

I’ve been using the Headspace meditation app on my phone for a while now, and I really enjoy it. You can try a 10 session foundation course for free, and if you like it a year’s subscription is, if I recall correctly, $90.00. (I could be wrong!) which allows you to access all the courses. Each course is a progressive series of meditation sessions (you can choose between 10 minute, 15 minute and 20 minute sessions) and animated videos that teach you different meditation techniques. The themes are wide-ranging, from depression to balance. I also love how the company is evolving: they’re always adding to their library of courses as we speak: new additions include meditation for pregnancy, self-esteem and mindful eating. I personally enjoy the voice of the teacher, Andi Puddicombe (check out his awesome TED talk on mindfulness below!) and my only beef with Headspace is that once you embark on a course you have to finish it or you’re back to square one. Sometimes I’d like to pause a course and try another before returning to the first one. Oh well!

The perfect perk-me-up perfume!

Just a super short post today, but I couldn’t resist a quick rave about Pacifica’s Perfume in Malibu Lemon Blossom scent. This is described as a blend of “Lemon Blossom, Litsea Cubeba (don’t ask me what that is) and the salty sea air.”¬†There are also notes of Angel’s Trumpet and herbs. It’s very Herman Melville meets Jane Austen.

Well, if you’re not already sold, read on!

I’m not a scent person normally – for one thing, I can’t stand the underzing of alcohol in most perfumes. I usually wear vanilla or coconut scents if I wear anything, but I wanted something zippy for Spring. I first tried this out at Sprouts and I loved it immediately. I didn’t buy it though, because I wanted to see how it would wear. All day long it smelled fresh, light and citrusy (but not overwhelmingly so) and it just makes me feel…well…happy when I’m wearing it. It’s like aromatherapy. This one will definitely be in my March favorites! I bought the roll-on for $15.00 at Vitacost.

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Help! My Root Chakra is blocked!

I’ve recently been learning more about the chakras which, according to some Indian religions,¬†are seven energy centers located along the body. When one is ‘blocked’ it can impede or stagnate your growth or functioning in that area.

I don’t tend to take these things too literally, but I certainly believe that these energy centers, or vortexes (they spin!)¬†are a useful metaphor for considering how certain ‘blocks’ in our lives might manifest as a physical ailment or powerful emotion.

According to a short quiz I took, my most blocked chakra right now is my ‘root chakra,’ which is kind of unfortunate because if that one isn’t functioning well, all the other chakras are going to be out of whack as well. The root chakra is located at the base of your spine, and is associated with the color red.

How do you know if your root chakra is blocked? Well, you feel “ungrounded.” This could be due to physical or environmental stressors, but also just feelings of spaciness or forgetfulness. A good example: the other day I left my lunch sitting out on the counter at work instead of putting it in the fridge. Doh!

It makes sense that I’d feel this way and be kind of scattered right now, because my job involves using unstructured time wisely and trying to deal with a ton of different things at once, including facilitating lots of conflicting perspectives. Being pulled in so many different directions can make you feel untethered, even at the best of times when you’re feeling stable in your own sense of self. (For ¬†me, I think that’s when¬†I’m with close family, which is certainly when I feel most grounded).

Another thing I’ve noticed about my job is that, unlike when I was teaching, there are few immediate rewards. Sometimes “helping” means disciplining a student, or having a really tough conversation with a parent. These are not fun things to do. AT ALL. I’m the first to admit, it’s a blow to the ego.

And I think that’s a big part of why my root chakra is in need of some TLC. I’m renegotiating my relationship with my ego, and realizing that a lot of things are no longer about me. It’s about doing what’s right, for the long term. But that definitely takes a toll.

I’m getting there. In the meantime, I’m trying to rebalance myself by doing lots of oil massages and pranayama breathing techniques. I especially love alternate nostril breathing.

One of my green beauty lifesavers for helping me feel more grounded has been Nubian Heritage “Indian Hemp and Haitian Vetiver With Neem Oil Hand and Body Scrub.” ($12.99) It is thick and luscious with an earthy grounding scent that helps relax me before bed. I also really enjoy drinking Yogi Tea Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea.

Any other tips are always appreciated!

 

 

 

Julep’s “Love Your Bare Face”Age Defying Cleanser Oil Review

I was very excited to receive this in the mail yesterday, because it’s been getting rave reviews from Julep customers – plus, you know how I love my oils!

I might be off base here, but I think of Julep as a semi-green beauty company. Their products aren’t totally free of nasties, but the ingredients are pretty darn awesome. This¬† cleansing oil is a case in point. It’s chock full of lovely ingredients – grapeseed oil, rosehip oil, vitamin E, coffee seed oil, sunflower seed oil, and rosemary leaf extract to name a few. And then they go and spoil it all by adding PEG-30 Sorbitan Tetraoleate (cause for ‘some concern’ on EWG)¬†into the mix. Why, Julep, why?! So, if you’re a purist, best avoid this one. If, however, you’re willing to bend the rules a little when a¬†good product comes along, please read on!

What I like about this cleansing oil is that it’s¬†really light and absorbs well. The instructions call for it to be rinsed off, and it doesn’t leave much residue which is nice – you can even use this in the morning. And I did! I used it in the shower (as always with oils) and my skin was soft and supple all day. I also tried using it as a makeup remover, just swiping it over my skin on a cotton round. Success here too – my makeup came off great, no eye stinging, and it’s lighter than using, say, jojoba oil. Oddly though, my skin felt a little¬†prickly afterward (which didn’t happen when rinsing¬†it¬†off).

The smell is pleasant – a pretty strong grapefruit scent. Which makes sense – one of the ingredients is grapefruit peel.

Since starting to use green products I’ve struggled to find an all-in-one cleanser and makeup remover. I’m not sure¬†this is¬†as good as the SW Basics Makeup Remover, and it’s got that one funky ingredient that gets my goat, but I do really really like it.

It’s available for $28.00 on¬†Julep’s website, but you can also find it at other online retailers such as Ulta.

If you’ve tried it, let me know what you think!

 

 

 

My Fail-Safe Dry Skin Beauty Routine!

Hello!

Even though I live in L.A and even though it’s a very pleasant indeed 80 degrees most days, for some reason the air conditioning at work dries my skin out like no one’s business. I have naturally dry skin, and since switching to a green beauty routine and using oils,¬†it’s drastically improved, but I still have bouts of extreme parched-ness. When my skin is feeling uber dry I turn to¬†two main products, both by the wonderful Brooklyn-based¬†brand SW Basics, and I have a little routine down for using them that works¬†a treat. There’s something Ayurvedic about these products too…I’m a ‘vata’ type (dry skin, flighty/nervous energy, on the thin-side: these are the vata clich√©s which I am happy to fulfill). When I was doing my PhD, many moons ago, I read somewhere that vatas should eat more oily and sweet/heavy foods when stressed to combat fatigue and anxiety. It worked! And I think this translates to skincare as well.

Let’s start with exfoliation. Peeps with dry skin should really avoid¬†extreme exfoliants, especially that microdermabrasion¬†malarkey. Just say no, my friends. Dry skin = sensitive skin, and you don’t want to mess with¬†your epidermis too much.¬†However, a¬†little exfoliation helps skin stay smooth and preps it for absorbing oils and such like. My favorite exfoliator right now is the calming and soothing SW Basics product “Exfoliant,” which is made with organic oat flour, almond flour and sea salt. You can buy this online for about $24.00 at places like Pharmaca, and also at some Targets. It’s a pretty accessible brand, and one of my favorites because of its emphasis on pure and organic ingredients¬†– of which there are always five or less…

 

 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. $24.00?! For that price I could just make this shit myself! Aha! That’s what I thought, but it turns out that SW Basics know what they’re doing when it comes to the perfect balance of ingredients. I’ve tried ‘mixing’ SW Basics products up¬† before, but somehow¬†it’s never the same. Unfortunately.

I apply this in the shower. It’s just really soothing. I can’t say it smells good – sorry. If you like scented products, this isn’t for you. SW Basics stuff just isn’t about smell, it’s about purity.

After a scrub-a-dub-dub with this I slather on SW Basics “Cream” (about $32.00, but worth it and often cheaper online). The key is to do this whilst still in the shower so your skin is damp.

 

I really can’t say enough good things about this cream – which really feels more like a thick scoop of solid¬†coconut oil¬†than a cream, texture-wise. It’s made with just shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil, and it’s perfect. Immediately after it’s sunk in my skin just feels super supple, looks smooth, and feels soft. Applying it to damp skin allows it to really penetrate, so that’s how¬†I always apply it. Again, it’s¬†not great in the smell¬†department.¬†But it really doesn’t matter because it’s THAT GOOD. Also, olive oil is¬†a much underrated skin product in my opinion, so it’s nice to see it championed in this product.

After about half an hour or so, after it’s absorbed, I slather on an oil – usually¬†prickly pear seed oil. I actually buy this cheaply¬†from my local TJ Maxx store. I love it – it’s thicker than, say, argan oil, although that would work just fine too. I have a bunch of other oils I will talk about in a future post.

That’s it! My dry skin routine – super simple, right? Like I said, the key thing is to apply everything in the shower. The steam helps soften the skin and allows the ingredients to really absorb and do their job.

Try it, and let me know if you have any great dry skin remedies!