March 29, 2010

March 22, 2010

'Tis the Season to be Moisturized

It's not that women don't think about some aspect of their appearance all year round.  It's just that Springtime usually elicits a more concentrated look at how the dry air and cold temperatures have reeked havoc on our hair and skin. My annual quest for the best body moisturizer picks up pace when the birds start to chirp and the flower blooms come out of hibernation. With its vital role as protector from damage to our internal well-being, skin deserves supreme pampering.

Brightly colored bottles and jars of lotions, creams and body oils line my bathroom shelves.  As
a confessed beauty junkie, I make it a point to try as many products as possible in search of the one potion that will keep dryness at bay and bring back the soft, suppleness of my younger days.  I've been known to fall for the hype on any number of outrageously expensive miracle serums but I've also seen tremendous value in some really effective drugstore brands.  I'm an equal opportunity beauty consumer but I'm keenly aware that no amount of pretty packaging or glitzy commercials featuring high maintenance Hollywood actresses or supermodels will substitute for quality, true-to-its-claims products.

So while I doubt that my quest for that one perfect body moisturizer will ever be over, here are 3 current favorites that have earned front row status on my bathroom shelf:

1. Not really a moisturizer, Dove's Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash (above right) is so creamy rich that you may find that you have absolutely no need to apply lotion after your shower.  The secret: an all natural moisturizer formula. All that and a budget friendly price. $8.99 at drugstore.com.


2. I'm normally not a fan of body butters in warmer weather due to their thick consistency but the
Sea Marine Triple Butter Body Cream by H2O+ (left) is an exception.  Don't let the texture fool you - it virtually disappears on the skin, hydrates like crazy and has a pleasant, fresh scent.  Available at h2oplus.com for $25.00.

3. The Big Kahuna.  The Piece De Resistance.  The Creme De la Creme.  All of these cliches apply to the absolute best moisturizer I've ever had the pleasure of dipping my fingers into. Fresh's Creme Ancienne fixes all that ails ya.  I saw increased firmness in my skin after using it for almost 14 days.  Blotchiness has gone and smoothness has reappeared.  I think it even healed a slightly above minor cut on my hand so completely that no scar was left.  (That's big for me since jewelry making can often be hazardous i.e. sharp pliers, metal wire) This moisturizer seems to do it all.  Here's the catch....wait for it....a 1 oz. jar costs $135 at Sephora.  Worth it?  You decide.  Me?  I have a little left in my jar.  I'm guarding it with my life and using it sparingly.

Bottom line: No matter how much money you can spend, you can afford to treat your skin with tender loving care.  Along with a few healthy habits like good nutrition and exercise,  our largest body organ will glisten, glow and remain up to its very important protective tasks.



Images Courtesy of Drugstore.com and H2Oplus.com 

Note: Product reviews are the opinions of the author and were not solicited in any manner.

March 15, 2010

Brunch, Anyone?


While it is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, weekend brunch is the meal I look forward to the most. Typically, it's the one meal that brings my favorite things together - the leisurely consumption of wonderful food and the amazing people I'm so fortunate to have in my life. Whether I'm cooking brunch for a group of friends, hosting a catered buffet in my jewelry design studio for my customers or enjoying a romantic dining experience with my significant other at a fantastic cafe, brunch always seems to be the meal that unifies us, de-stresses us and gives us a moment to just Be. 

And let's not forget about the food.

I'm fortunate to live very near New York City where dining
out is an art form. I do it so often, I now consider myself somewhat of a combination foodie/connoisseur/critic. My list of favorite restaurants for dinner are a carefully chosen, select group that I rarely stray from but I'm a risk-taking road warrior when it comes to finding new places for brunch. Right in my own neighborhood we discovered the classic American pub, Light Horse Tavern where you can get the absolute best Eggs Benedict around. My girlfriends swear by their Bellinis (made with pureed peaches) but I'm partial to the fresh Blueberry Lemonade when it's available. After a late date night with the man in my life, when all we want is a great cup of coffee and a place to "roll" into without much pretense, we cross the river into the Tribeca section of NYC and join the crowd at family-friendly Bubby's for Sauteed Banana Walnut Pancakes or Grilled Turkey Zucchini Burgers. Yesterday we were coaxed into leaving our dry, cozy home to brave the cold, drizzling rain by well-meaning friends just to try a new brunch place with a taste of French flair in the Meatpacking District called Paradou. Unlimited champagne was the original draw, yes, but I found the food to be very good, especially the Omelette Paysanne with thick bacon, creamy potatoes and flavorful goat cheese. Full disclosure: I initially had some doubts about spending money in this establishment because of some rough reviews it received on Yelp but our experience was pleasant, the service was attentive and overall I'd give it a thumbs up.

Whether it's the superbly posh gastronomic experience at Nineteen in the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia, PA or the comfort of family and friends in my home enjoying my favorite quiche, brunch will always be my quintessential happiness meal.

March 8, 2010

Deep in Color Therapy

I think one of the many reasons I became a Jewelry Designer is because of a life lesson my mother unwittingly taught me many years ago.  She said simply "Always surround yourself with color".  The context in which she made this statement had more to do with a lifeless outfit I was about to wear than some profound life change she was prescribing for me.  But I've always held those words close and have recalled them at various times in my life.  For instance, when things may have looked bleak.  Instead of wearing a shroud of gloom, I always try to fill my mind space or any room I'm in with a sunshine attitude or at the very least some of my favorite bright, cheery colors - lemon souffle yellow, tangerine orange, bubblegum pink - in the form of fabrics, flowers and/or food.  I've learned that even the smallest dose of color has the power to change the darkest of moods.


The alternative medicine practice of Chromotherapy makes claims that color can be used "to balance energy wherever a person's body be lacking, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental." (ref. Wikipedia)  While there is no real scientific evidence to support these claims, as a color specialist in my image consulting firm, I personally worked with clients who walked into my studio depressed for various reasons, with long held fashion beliefs that certain colors were not meant for them because of their auburn hair color or pale complexion.  They were "told" by TV, fashion magazines, their closest friends and family that they should stay away from that brilliant chartreuse green or royal blue but held secret desires to buck the naysayers.  The beauty of color is that it's multi-dimensional.  My own theory is that anyone can wear any color, as long as it's the right shade for their personal attributes and more importantly, it makes them feel spectacular.  I've draped color-filled fabrics around women who'd only felt comfortable and safe in sedate neutrals - beiges, browns, grays.  I've seen demeanors uplifted with the addition of a golden-bronze scarf, blue-violet sweater or cherry red lipstick.  I've seen introverts become extroverts, the risk averse become risque.  It may not be scientific, but I believe it's quite evident that color therapy works wonders on the fear of living out loud.

I design jewelry with colorful gemstones, using palettes that evoke rich emotional reactions and stimulate my senses.  My hope is that my work elicits the same spiciness for my customers.  I love getting inspiration from fashion trends and nature's bounty but also from my pencil box, fabulous foods, the COLOURlovers community, Pantone and good old Benjamin Moore paints.  I guess you can say I live my life deep in color therapy.

Art Stix Image Courtesy of DickBlick.com

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