October 26, 2009

Scrub - a - Dub

Let’s be real – our face gets all of the attention when it comes to skincare. We spend exorbitant amounts of money feeding our need to be blemish-free, wrinkle-free, soft, even-toned, becoming slaves to brightly colored bottles and jars filled with the latest lotions and potions…..whatever the endless stream of beauty propaganda from the fashion magazines, television and movies dictate we should do and be. Elbows and knees become afterthoughts in winter when we’re swathed in sweaters, leggings and boots. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Spring rolls in and we panic. When skin-bearing season’s right around the corner, we spend even more money to right the wrongs of neglect. It’s a vicious cycle that I choose not to participate. I am diligent all year long with all-body skincare. I find body products that work and I dedicate myself to using them religiously. Yeah, I'm a self-proclaimed beauty victim and I do a lot of testing (my bathroom shelves scream “help me”) but when I discover the right combination of body wash, lotion or cream, I become a lifelong devotee. A rich, luscious body scrub? You’ve uncovered my true beauty product weakness.

While on a month-long vacation this summer, I indulged in many fabulous spa treatments but none more decadent than the Carolina Cloud Nine at the Sanctuary Spa on Kiawah Island, SC. The spa describes the treatment as “a superb experience for your hands and feet, this Epicuren treatment starts with an invigorating full-body exfoliation and luxurious thermal steam. Your rain shower rinse leads to an application of facial quality moisturizer for soft and silky skin. Finish with a nurturing hand and foot massage. Choose from Mandarin Orange Scrub, with essence of orange, apricot, walnuts and almonds, or Papaya Pineapple Scrub, for more sensitive skin.” The 90 blissful minutes I spent in low country heaven were well worth the $250 price tag.

At home, I adore Bath and Bodyworks Aromatherapy Collection. I’m a fiend for the sugar-based body scrubs in Tranquil Mint for promoting stress relief and Orange Ginger (pictured above, left) for energy. I recently purchased the Moroccan Rose Otto Sugar Body Polish by REN Skincare. Roses are my favorite fragrance and this scrub does not disappoint. Not only do REN products treat your skin with tender, loving non-synthetic ingredients, they don’t contain sulfates, animal ingredients or paraben either. I’m going to make my next body polish purchase from a cool indie shop at 1000 Markets, Pink Bricks. Since Sugar-in-the-Raw is my absolute favorite sweetener, Pink Bricks’ Turbinado Sugar Body Scrub has got to be a winner!

So take my advice and start now. Treat your body right this winter and let exfoliation be your friend. You’ll be body-licious for Spring on Day 1!

Photo Courtesy of bathandbodyworks.com

October 5, 2009

Eating Royalty

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with cupcakes. I have them available at all times in my jewelry design studio for customers. That’s what I tell people but the truth is they’re there to feed my addiction. I serve them for dessert at all of my parties. I give them as gifts and when traveling to a new city or country, I research their availability before going. I just discovered Cupcakes for a Cause and I couldn’t be happier that eating my favorite food and giving can be mutually beneficial. I follow fellow cupcake fanatics like @cupcakeblog and @tweetmycupcake on Twitter. I’ve eaten so many of them, I consider myself a cupcake connoisseur. One thing I don’t do is bake them. I leave that to the true professionals like Crumbs in NYC and Cupcake Salon in Jersey City, NJ or Velvet Sky Bakery in the Philadelphia, PA area.

What makes a great cupcake and the best cupcake flavor combo (cake/icing) are always debatable issues. My manly man likes them very simple – a rich, ultra moist dark chocolate cake with a light layer of bittersweet chocolate frosting, no jimmies, sprinkles or other adornments. Pumpkin Carrot cupcakes have become very popular with my girlfriends since they found this
recipe. But I am in sugar coma heaven whenever I have a regal Red Velvet cupcake in my hand. Yeah, if you polled cupcake lovers everywhere, you’d probably get the same answer but there’s a reason for that. The combination of the special cocoa that gives the cake its great flavor and the majestic cream cheese frosting makes this dessert a royal treat. The best I’ve ever had came from a customer who made them using southern cooking diva Paula Deen’s recipe but added a secret ingredient that she swears she will never share. I'll be making jewelry for her forever just so she'll keep bringing me my fix.

They’re perfect with sparkling wine, a hot cup of medium roast coffee or an ice cold glass of skim milk. Because of their diminutive size, they can be easily transported but who are we kidding? Their smallness can lead to our largeness. I DON”T CARE! They look great displayed on fine silver platters or plastic plates. They come in infinite varieties and will put a smile on the face of little girls and grown men. They’re grand sweetness in small packages and I love them. Yum.

Photo Courtesy of The Food Network


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