Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Cure for the Wintertime Blues: Aveda's Tourmaline Mask

Has your seasonal affective disorder kicked in? Mine has. We know what we're supposed to do when we start to feel the blues (or the mean reds for that matter). We're supposed to eat right, get more sleep, exercise, blah blah blah. But I say what we need is a little bit of pampering and a little alone time to wallow in our sick-of-winter-already state.

So I recommend a hot bath. Throw in some Epsom salts to relax your muscles, and some bath oil so your skin doesn't get dried out. Light a candle and maybe play some relaxing music. My trick for blocking out sound from the rest of the house is to use the exhaust fan as white noise. And then treat your SAD self to a nice facial mask.

I am a big fan of Aveda's Tourmaline Charged Radiance Masque (French spelling is always a good sign). Here's the breakdown:

Packaging: It comes in kind of an icky green colored package, but that fits with the "natural" thing that Aveda is into. But it works well and it's easy to get the right amount of product out. Check out their Web site to read about their Responsible Packaging info. They do try to use a minimum of 80% PCR in their packaging.

Ingredients: The important ingredient here seems to be the tourmaline. But who the heck knows what that is? It's actually a crystal silicate mineral. Ok, that doesn't really help. What is it supposed to do to skin? Aveda claims that it is "one of nature's most energizing minerals—boosts skin's energy, while natural exfoliants help skin gently shed dull, lackluster surface cells—revealing new radiance." Paula Begoun, beauty product reviewer extraordinaire, says that there is no research that shows that tourmaline actually does any of these things, but she also says it won't hurt anything. Paula also states that this is a pretty good moisturizing mask.

Scent: There really isn't one, which is probably just as well because any scent could be problematic for your skin. Add a few drops of essential oil to your bath if you are looking for a little aromatherapy.

Function: I think this mask works great. I don't think it works miracles. But I try to use it once a week, and I have been very happy with the results. My face seems to look a little firmer and clearer after I wear it, and it does not cause breakouts. I recommend wearing it for about 10 mintues. The longer you wear it, the more moisturizing it will be. And don't forget your neck and decollatage when applying.

So I hope you get to take a little time this week to pamper yourself. Do you have any other ideas for keeping your spirits up when temperatures are down?

Daily Randomness: I know I'm late to the party, but my favorite Golden Globes dress was definitely Gennifer Goodwin. I don't know why these actresses don't do more color when they're dressing up. I get the black because that always looks good. But they rarely pull of those pale and nude colors that they seem to gravitate to. What did you guys think? Overall the dresses seemed a little lame.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Give Yourself a Break

Over on the New York Times "Well blog," there is a post about a book called, Live a Little! Breaking the Rules Won't Break Your Health. The author Dr. Susan M. Love argues that most of us are actually living pretty healthy lives and that we shouldn't let all of the rules about health stress us out.

Now, I don't know about most of us, but I bet if you are reading this blog and you think a lot about your health, you are already pretty healthy.

And I agree that trying to keep up with all of the latest information about nutrition and exercise can make us nuts. It certainly make me nuts sometimes. So I hope to read this book and I'll get back to you on Dr. Love's ideas about how to Live a Little!

Important Daily Randomness: My thoughts and best wishes to go out to the people of Haiti. If you can help out, please go to the Red Cross Web site and donate now. Every little bit helps.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Comfy Duds: Loft Lounge

I ran into Loft (the store formerly known as Ann Taylor Loft) the other day on my way out of town looking for some leggings or something comfortable to wear while traveling. And I hit the jackpot.

Loft has a new Lounge line of clothing. I got some great black leggings. They are a nice substantial, non see-through material and they have held up well to a few washes. I also got a great black, long, ribbed cardigan sweater that I wear everywhere. It is unfortunately no longer available online. But here are some other sweaters from the collection.

I've also noticed that Ann Taylor has a new Luxe Lounge collection. Love!

And get over to Loft (in person or online right now) for 25% all purchases!

Daily Randomness: Has anyone seen Men of a Certain Age? I have no idea why I enjoy watching middle-aged male angst, but I do. Maybe because it's interesting to see what the other half is actually thinking about.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Showdown: Burt's Bees vs. Neutrogena

I ran out of my favorite secret weapon against dry winter skin, Neutrogena's Body Oil. So I went to Target to get some more, but they were all out. (What's up with that?)

Anyway, I was desperate for a replacement. Not that I don't enjoy that awful itchy, parched skin feeling, but I thought others might not enjoy watching me do the entire body scratch that is necessary to stop the itching. I came across Burt's Bees Lemon and Vitamin E Bath and Body Oil, and I decided to give it a try.

So here's the comparison:

Packaging: They both come in easy-to-use plastic containers that aren't too exciting but aren't too offensive either. According to the Burt's Bees Web site, they are a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (sounds good), which means they "strive to use the most environmentally responsible packaging systems available that meet or exceed regulatory, product and customer requirements." Neutrogena doesn't really make any claims about their packaging, but it does come in a #1 bottle, which is easily recycled in most areas.

Ingredients: Again, Burt's Bees is marketed as environmentally friendly and all natural. I don't like to delve too deep into the issue of "natural" because it starts to make my head ache. The ingredients do include six different types of oils, including canola so it's heart healthy too. The main problem with all of these "natural" oils is that I'm sure some of them can cause allergic reactions, so be forewarned. The Neutrogena Body Oil contains one oil, sesame (I can't remember if that one is heart healthy, or not) and it contains four other chemical sounding ingredients.

Scent: Burt's Bees oil smells like lemon (hence the name). It doesn't smell like Pledge though. It smells fresh and it's not overpowering. But I think if you are putting it on your body after a bath or shower, you might want to be careful about the other fragrances you are wearing that might clash. I think the Neutrogena fragrance of sesame oil is more subtle, and I don't worry too much about it overpowering my perfume. I had a friend in college who swore that the smell of this oil attracts guys. I can't really vouch for that, but it is defintely the sexier of the two scents.

Function: You can really use body oils in two different ways, as an oil to put in your bath or as an after bath/shower moisturizer. In the winter it's definitely not overkill to do both. As a bath oil, Burt's Bees won me over. I put a couple of tablespoons in the bath and it definitely felt like I was getting moisturized but the bath wasn't greasy. But as a body oil, I still love my Neutrogena. The key thing with body oils is to put them on before you dry off. I really didn't feel like the Burt's Bees was quite as moisturizing as the Neutrogena.

Conclusion: Either of these body oils will get the job done and release you from the torture that is dry winter skin, but I think I would still pick the Neutrogean Body Oil, Sesame Formula over Burt's Bees Lemon and Vitamin E Bath and Body Oil. I like the more subtle scent and the after bath feel was just a little nicer. But if you are concerned about natural ingredients (or your stupid Target store runs out), the Burt's Bees is a great alternative.

Daily Randomness: I finally watched the finale of Iron Chef: Super Chef Battle. The battle was between Mario Batali with Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay with White House Chef Comerford. The secret ingredient was anything growing in the the White House garden. I was so jealous of the judges. All of the food looked great, and I think it is great that Michelle Obama is setting such a good example with the White House Garden. Maybe I'll plant one this summer. OK, I probably won't. But I will enjoy the tomatoes my husband plants. Does anybody else have plans to plant a garden this spring?

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Do You Detox?

Detox Diet Day 4Image by kahala via Flickr

Yesterday the Martha Stewart Show was all about detoxing. I like the idea of detoxing, but I'm pretty sure about 2 hours into it I would get a terrible headache and start eating everything sight. And yes, this would probably be a psychological reaction.

I'm a big fan of my juicer, and juicing is a big part of detoxing. But I'm not a big fan of eliminating food groups from my diet. I know all about how great I would feel if I quit eating meat or dairy or wheat or sugar or everything. But I just can't do it. Whenever I start one of these elimination diets (yes, I've tried), I just start to feel bad.

But maybe I'm doing it all wrong. So let me know if you have a detox plan that works for you. If you're looking for a detox plan, check out Martha's plan at Whole Living.

Happy detoxing!

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

Réveillon 2008-2009 na Avenida Paulista, em Sã...Image via Wikipedia

My New Year's resolution is to update my blog regularly. I want this to be a place where we can talk about "taking care of ourselves with joy." This is a phrase that I heard used in a loving kindness meditation, and it really describes what I am covering on this blog.

So often taking care of ourselves seems like a chore. We have to do more of this and less of that, and who can even keep up with the latest news on nutrition and exercise?

But really, most of this stuff is common sense. Michael Pollan makes this point in his latest book, Food Rules.

So during this new year (and decade), I resolve to take care of myself with joy. I hope you will join me!
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