Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Peace, Love and Happiness in a Soap

I think we all love the idea of getting a great product and helping out a good cause. So I love the idea behind the new Peace Soap by Kiss My Face. Ten percent of the profits for this line go to the Seeds of Peace organization, which is "dedicated to empowering young leaders from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to advance reconciliation and coexistence."

This soap is similar to Dr. Bronner's because it is a castille soap that is being touted as a multi-purpose cleaner. They actually list 101 uses for the soap on their site, including ideas for body, kitchen, home and outdoor. It is all-natural, vegan, biodegradable and all that jazz. I am also intrigued by the scents, which look a little more exciting than Dr. Bronner's. I am especially interested in the Lemongrass Clary Sage. My husband has a thing for this discontinued (I think) Crabtree and Evelyn verbena and sage body spray that I have, so I'm also checking out sage and/or verbena scented items to use as a replacement for when the body spray runs out.

Anyway, I'll let you know what I think of the Peace Soap as soon as I can get my hands on some. Let me know if you already have.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Memories of a Spa: Asha SalonSpa

Streets of Woodfield in Schaumburg, IL

I have been meaning to review one of my favorite salon/spas from my Chicago days. But I started thinking about how long it has been since I've been to this salon, and I realized that I can't really review (or recommend) a place that I haven't been to in about 6 years.

But I can share my memories. Anytime I move someplace new (which used to be pretty often), I struggle with finding a new hair stylist. I have very straight hair. And while it seems that this should be the easiest kind of hair to cut, it turns out that it's actually quite difficult. Or at least hair stylists seem to make it difficult. Anyway, after going to lots of expensive salons in the Chicagoland area, I finally found nirvana at Asha SalonSpa at the Streets of Woodfield in Schaumburg. 

I think my stylist was named Angela. (I can't believe I can't remember her name.) She was the best. I could totally trust her advice about such important topics as, hair length, hair color and how to get a baby to sleep through the night. She cut the first bangs I had in years. And they were the best bangs I ever had. But enough about what's her name.

Asha was also a just a great place to have any spa or salon service done. It's an Aveda salon (I know, I'm boring you with all of my praise for Aveda), and they offered all the best perks: cucumber water, hand massages while you wait and aromatherapy neck pillows. I thought the prices were pretty reasonable, considering all of the extras.

We moved from the suburbs of Chicago to our current location, which is a town much smaller than Chicago. In my current town the haircuts are a little cheaper, but there are no perks. And I cannot find anyone who can cut bangs the way that Angela could. I finally just grew them out. (Although in fairness, I have not asked my current hair stylist to try. Maybe this fall, I will see if she is up to the challenge.)

Anyway, if you are in the Chicago area, you might want to check out an Asha SalonSpa. Let me know if you do. I wold love a full report.

P.S. I was just playing around on the Asha website and noticed that they now have a Kids Care room. How cool is that?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Share the Spa

  1. Check out the Summer 2010 Beauty Guide on Style.com. It features a couple of my favorite bloggers, All Lacquered Up and Temptalia.

  2. The Daily Obsession announced that CLEAN perfumes have launched a new bath and body line. You know, I'm all over it!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Which Pajamas Are the Cat's Pajamas?

As a self-proclaimed pajama snob, I hate to admit this, but I am in desperate need of some new summer pajamas. My current nighttime attire: an old, gray cami that falls off of me because it's so stretched out and a pair of Target drawstring pants with pictures of pandas on them. Every time my sister sees these pants, she asks me what I was thinking. I guess I was thinking that pandas are kind of cute, and I'm too broke to buy some nice PJs.

Now, I know that at least half of you out there are wondering what the big deal is. Why don't I just throw on a tee and some sweats and call it a night? But from a young age, when my mom always bought me new pajamas for Christmas, I have been a big fan of real pajamas. I have all sorts of rules about the pajamas that I like, which I'm sure is way too boring (and weird) for me to go in to detail about. But the most important rule is no gowns. Also, I like both the tops and bottoms to be longish. I currently have some very cute Garnet Hill short pajamas, which I would recommend to anyone who wants to wear shorts to bed. Turns out that I don't.

So I'm on the hunt. Please help me out. Here are some options I've come up with, but I'm open to suggestions.

Simply Luxurious blogged about this pair of pajamas seen on Cameron Diaz in The Holiday. I am wary of any pajamas that I might have to iron, but I do like the nice, classic look. I think they would work all year round too, just wear the bottoms with a cami in the summer. But the price ($150!) is a little steep even for this pajama snob. Brooks Brothers has a similar pair, but they are only mildly cheaper at $138.

The Pioneer Woman (I know, my choices of pajamas and blogs may be a sign of schizophrenia) blogged about these pajamas. Punjammies are sold by the International Princess Project, which advocates for women who are enslaved in prostitution. The pajamas are made out of Indian Sari fabric by women who were formerly enslaved in prostitution.100% of the proceeds from Punjammies is used to support women who made them. I'm really leaning towards these right now. The pants are sold separately, but they also have some cute organic tees and camis for sale also. These seem a little more hip and fun (read: affordable) than the Frette pajamas. Plus who doesn't love shopping for a cause?

But I do have to say, that I love all things Garnet Hill. And I've been eying these PJs. Aren't they adorable? Blue and brown is one of my favorite color combinations. And they have butterflies. I think that's better than pandas, but I'll have to check with my sis.

So what do you all think? Like any of these? Or do you have other suggestions?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

You Don't Need to Go Any Further Than Your Own Backyard

Now that summer is almost here, the temperatures are warmer and the blooms are making our gardens colorful, I am longing to spend some more quality time outside. Of course, it's a lot of fun and good exercise to get our hands in the dirt and pull some weeds. But we should also take some time to enjoy what we sow. Here are some suggestions for relaxing in your own backyard:
  1. Wake up a little early and go outside when it's still balmy and quiet. This is a great time to do some outside yoga or meditation. If that sounds too ambitious, just take your morning cup of tea or coffee outside and listen to the birds.
  2. Take a nap in a hammock. This is something I've always wanted to do. I don't have a good place to put a hammock in my yard, and I always wondered if I could really fall a sleep in a hammock. But I could definitely relax with a few good books and some lemonade.
  3. Enjoy a backyard fire. If you have a portable fire pit, light it up (it should keep the bugs away). And if you want to be a little decadent, make some s'mores.
We all dream of travel to far away places, but I think we forget to enjoy the beautiful homes, yards and gardens that we have created. So remember to take a few minutes to enjoy your own backyard and let me know your favorite ways to relax at home.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bath and Body Deals

Here are some coupons and deals that will help you relax even if you're trying to be a frugalista:
  • L'Occitane's Summer Sale starts today. There are some great items that are up to 50% off and there is free shipping on orders over $80. Might be time to stock up!
  • Aveda is focusing on the dads. You can get free 2nd day shipping (in time for Father's Day) with the code DADFREE2ND. (I won't tell anyone if you use the code to buy something for yourself.)
  • Makeup and Beauty Blog just reviewed Jouer Bath and Body Oil and Body Butter. If you buy both, you can get a free candle. I haven't tried these products out, but I may have to soon.
  • This week at Sephora, you can get Basil Lemon Body Scrub for $8.50. That's half off!
  • You can get a free Coconut Foot Cream from Burt's Bees if you make a purchase of $35 or more. Great for sandal season.
If you know of any great deals that I've missed, let me know. Happy bargain hunting!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hamman: A Turkish (or French or Moroccan) Delight

 O'Kari Hammam

While playing around on the Internets the other day, I came across this post at Hip Paris Blog about Paris’ Hammam Scene. Turns out hammam are traditional North African or Turkish steam baths.

According to SpaFinder, 2010 is the year of the hamman (I've also seen it spelled haman). Basically, these are public baths (men and women bathe separately) that include a massage and exfoliation.

I'm not sure how I feel about public baths, and they don't seem to have caught on in the U.S. yet. But it sounds like they are a more economical and less chi-chi way to get a nice steam and massage. What do you think? Would you try out a hammam during your travels?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Share the Spa

Here are some relaxing links to help you get the week started out right:

  1. All Lacquered Up recently visited Isola Day Spa at Put-in-Bay, OH.
  2. The Beauty Counter blogs about Lafco's new House & Home candles, which have been designed to complement specific rooms in your house. I really want the Geranium Mint for the patio and the Grass for the laundry room. OK, really I want them all.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What I'm Using Now

This is my monthly update on the bath and body products I'm currently using:

1. L'Occitane Organic Lavender Gel: I have no idea how to pronounce L'Occitane, but I'm a sucker for anything French and anything lavender. So this works on both counts. My sister gave this to me for my birthday (OK, I told her to get it for me), but I think it's a great gift because it is simultaneously practical and luxurious. The scent is great, and it definitely does the job. Not super moisturizing though.

2. Aveda Foot Relief: This foot lotion is great because it moisturizes, exfoliates and deodorizes all at the same time. (Not that my feet need deodorizing! OK, maybe a little bit.) I am a strong believer that every day should end with exfoliation of the feet. This will really help you stretch out the time between pedicures.

3. Thoroughly Therapeutic Honey & Grapeseed Oil Hand Creme: I picked this up at my campus bookstore one winter's day when my hands were crying out for some lotion. This lotion works in a pinch, but I can't say it's my favorite. It's OK in the moisturizing department, but the honey fragrance is pretty strong. I don't hate honey, but I just don't want to be smelling it all day long (unlike lavender, see above). Also, my biggest gripe about this lotion is that there is no SPF. Hand lotion must have SPF people! Do you want to walk around with brown spots all over your perfectly manicured paws? I think not. Unfortunately I'm too cheap to just throw this away. By next month I hope to have a nice SPF product to share with you.

4. Aveeno Stress Relief Foaming Bath:You had to know I would be all over this lavender bath soak. But unfortunately it also contains chamomile and ylang-ylang oils. And something (I'm blaming the ylang-ylang) is overpowering the lavender. The first time I used this I decided I hated the scent. I tried again and it started to grow on me. But I doubt I will purchase this again. It does foam up nicely and it's not too drying, but I wouldn't say it's very moisturizing either. With the humidity in these parts, which is already out of control (people, it's only June!), I think this will work for me for now.

5. Olay Quench Advanced Healing Body Lotion: This lotion is a real workhorse. It's moisturizing without being greasy. And it smells like . . . nothing! That's exactly what I want in an everyday body lotion. No crazy scents clashing with my shower gel and/or perfume. I just wish it was in a cooler bottle since I have to have some next to my bed at all times.
So that's it! My go to products for now. What about you? Do you like (or hate) any of these? What have you been using lately to keep clean and supple?