Tag Archives: skin

Summer Cravings

Some say January is the worst month of the year, with the post holiday letdown and freezing temperatures. February is just as bad, but at least has the decency to be shorter than other months. Then we have March, which I find the cruelest of all. March teases you into believing it’s spring. the sun sets later, the stores are full of pastel candy, and you keep getting e-mails about sandals and bathing suit sales. And then, just when you’re thinking winter is done, the assault of cold air outside snaps you out of your warm weather delusions.

Recently, I’ve been fantasizing past the spring and have jumped full force into daydreams of summer. You can probably expect more posts in which I complain about the weather and long for the joys of springtime. Also, once it’s summer you can bet I’ll be whining that it’s too hot. Anyway, just for now, here’s what I’ve been pining for these last few weeks:

I am so sick of dry cracking skin, every time I wash my hands all the moisturize seems to disappear leaving me with scary mummy hands and the need to slather on gloppy expensive creams. The same goes for my face, I can’t use soaps or scrubs at all, they reduce me to an ugly flaking mess. I long for the humid days of July when I can once again be lazy and achieve a dewy glow without having to spend time and money dosing myself in products. Sure, I’ll complain about my hair frizzing up constantly, but right now, unruly hair seems like a reasonable trade-off for glowing skin.

There are people who always wear shoes, even in the house, they wake up in the morning and even if they’re not going anywhere they put on shoes—it amazes me! My husband is one of those people, he thinks I’m the crazy one because I never wear shoes inside. As soon as I walk in the door I have to get those things off my feet immediately. If it weren’t considered taboo by society I would walk around barefoot all the time (and yes, I’ve stepped in glass enough to know this is not a good idea). I hate having my poor feet trapped inside heavy socks and constricting footwear all winter long, toes want to be free!

When it’s finally warm enough to liberate my trotters, the first place they’ll be going is into the sand. It’s not a far walk, just a block away actually, I could go right now. Unfortunately I would have to wear my parka and would probably catch frostbite and then be sad about it. Boo March.

Don’t get me wrong, I love apples, they might just be the most versatile of fruits. Apple pie, apple crisp, apple butter, apple strudel, apples with peanut butter—dear god please someone give me some strawberries! It’s so much easier to eat healthy fruit in the summer when it’s in season and delicious. I bought strawberries the other day and half of them were mushy and rotten after a day, then I felt guilty for buying fruit out-of-season and killing the environment all because I’m impatient. I’ll go back to apples for another couple of months and continue to daydream about strawberries, watermelons and avocados (especially when they’ve been smashed into a delicious bowl of guacamole).

Come to think of it, I’ve been craving summer food in general. Not only fruit, but BBQ, hamburgers, chicken wings, salads and being able to eat outdoors. I’m sick of soups and stews, and being too cold all the time to eat anything that isn’t piping hot. I can’t even tell you about the lustful cravings I’ve been having for ice cream recently. I have to remind myself that enjoying a bowl of creamy cold goodness will just force me to add yet another layer of fleece to my already bundled, freezing body.

Obviously you can wear bright nail polish anytime of year, but for some reason it just feels better to wear it in warm weather. Somehow whenever I wear bright pink polish in the winter I feel like I’m lying to myself. This season the beauty world is telling us that darker polishes are in for spring—like Chanel’s black pearl, but I’m not buying it. Give me brights (especially on my toes at the beach) and I’m a happy girl. Save the black pearls for Fall, or for Liz Taylor—since they’ve always brought her luck.

I’m not only craving flowers, but green grass and budding branches. The other day in the supermarket I found myself staring longingly at the flower section, which was kind of embarrassing. I was literally stopped in my tracks by a bouquet of zinnias. This time of year I find myself trying to remember what the trees look like with leaves and what it feels like to go outside without being wrapped in down. I can’t wait for the first crocuses and daffodils to poke their heads out of the dirt. They’ll be a true sign that winter is over and summer, dewy skin tasty food and all, is finally on its way.

Anyone else having summer cravings? Let’s hear ’em.



Filed under cosmetics, health

The Tricky Sun

It’s summer, which means sun, which also means sunburns, and they are never a good thing. For some of us they will fade to a lovely tan, but for a lot of us (like me) they don’t.

Yesterday I was the victim of an accidental sunburn. My friend Emily came over for a visit and we went to the beach. I then forgot the cardinal rule of sun protection—even when it’s cloudy you will get burned. I also had a beach chair with a canopy, so I was lured into a false sense of security, alas all the canopy did was give me a patchy, lopsided, sunburn across my arms and chest.

Gorgeous isn’t it? I think it’s a great new look for summer. I especially like the way my sloth necklace has now left a permanent impression on my chest, it’s just so flattering. What a great idea, you don’t have to worry about accessories when they’re permanently emblazoned around your neck!

But seriously, what’s wrong with me? Why the heck didn’t I put on sunscreen? I rubbed some on my legs because they were out in the sun (update: even the legs got burned), I really thought I was safe under a flimsy beach chair awning, but no, the sun’s power stretches far beyond the protection of cheap nylon. And besides, it was cloudy, right? I guess there are no excuses, I now have the punishment of a humorously unattractive, painful, burn that will soon peel, and later turn into a blotchy and uneven skin-tone, all while I panic about whether it will even-out before my wedding.

Why do we continue not to wear sunscreen? It shouldn’t be so hard right? Is it the texture of it? The way it gets in your eyes and mouth, or how it makes magazines melt leaving you with unwanted, accidental tattoos of models faces on your legs (that happens to other people right?).

Sunscreen can be unpleasant, the spray bottles always leave you with patchy spots, and the creamy ones stick in every crevice. It is goopy, and sloppy, and it makes sand stick to your body, and if you wear contacts, when it gets in your eyes it can be potentially blinding. But, of course, we need to wear it. I know I certainly do, and usually I’m really good about it, sometimes though, you make a stupid mistake. At least it happened early in the summer and reminded me that I need to be more careful, and now I can also remind all of you!

Seriously, skin cancer is awful, and all that sunburns do in the long run (even if they might fade to a nice healthy tan for a little while) is leave your skin blotchy and uneven. I now pay way too much money to buy creams that even-out the skin on my face due to damage I suffered as a teenager. It’s so often the case that something we do to make us feel beautiful backfires and makes us feel ugly, and then we spend more money to bring us back to our original state.

I don’t know why we are all so resistant to something that seems so logical, maybe there is some collective need to worship the sun and let it transform our bodies in some way. I really don’t know, but if that is the case then the sun really is a tricksy devil, and I’m not very happy with him. More likely we just forget, or we’re lazy, or maybe it feels good, or we think it makes us look better. We usually also know that it could cause us great pain, both immediately and in the future from melanoma.

Now in case you’re thinking to yourself, “I’ll just stay inside” well, that could give you cancer too. Recently there has been new evidence that tells us how badly we need Vitamin D to prevent all sorts of other diseases that could kill us, and the sun is really the only way to get enough of it—but don’t burn, stay out just long enough to get what you need, then cover up.

According to most dermatologists you are supposed to get 15-30 minutes of unprotected time in the sun, and no more. I think we’re all learning the key to good health overall is “everything in moderation” fat, alcohol, salt, sun, coffee, chocolate. All these things that are constantly volleyed back and forth over the line from healthy to hazardous, are in part good for us, but only in small doses. So that’s the hard part then, knowing when to stop.

Coincidentally, there was a great article about Vitamin D and sun exposure in The Huffington Post yesterday by Dr. Frank Lipman. He clears up a lot of things, including that Vitamin D isn’t really a vitamin, but functions more like a hormone, and that it is nearly impossible to get enough of it through food. We need the sun. Unfortunately he also points out that sunburns are always really bad for you, but we all knew that already. So, maybe someone will invent a sunscreen that doesn’t kick in for half an hour and then lasts all day, that would be perfect wouldn’t it? Until that happens, I’ll be setting the alarm on my cell phone the next time I go to the beach, and then I’ll slather on one of these sunscreens:

I’ve been trying this one on every time I go to CVS, they have a special relationship with this company and are always promoting it, they’ve almost got me too. It seems to work pretty well, not cheap though.

La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 40, $32.00

This is my standard sunscreen for body, I always have some, It works very well, it is goopy yes, but it isn’t runny. They also sell it in bulk at Costco, so of course that is a big bonus for me.

Neutrogena Ultra sheer Dry-touch SPF 30 sunscreen, $9.99

This is one is a splurge, I have a sample of it and it’s pretty good, smells nice, dries matte, and isn’t greasy, not sure if I can afford it yet though.

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 55, $35.oo

My go-to sunblock for face, it is slightly tinted, which for me is good since it’s pretty close to my skin-tone. The one down side is that it isn’t so great under makeup.

Clinique Super City Block Oil-Free Daily Face Protector SPF 40, $17.50

Luckily the M.A.C. concealer I’ve been wearing for years now has an SPF of 35, so I can cover up my brown spots while also protecting my face from future damage.

Studio Finish Concealer SPF 35, $16.50

So don’t forget to go out and play in the sun, it’s for your own good!—just don’t forget to set that alarm so you don’t get burned.

Anyone else have sunscreen suggestions, what products do you use to keep yourself protected?


Filed under health

Beauty Bullseye: Summer cosmetics picks

So far I haven’t really posted about cosmetic products specifically, only about my love for them. So I thought my summer product picks would be a good place to start. I change-up my beauty routine in the warmer months, just like I have movies, music, and books that I only read, listen to, or watch, depending on the season, I also have certain products that I use during the summer exclusively (unless I choose to break my own rules which I do all the time).

Let’s start with a summer staple, the blotting paper. I have only recently re-discovered these guys after forgetting about them after high-school. Summer means sweat, which means shine. Sometimes shine looks amazing and dewy, and other times it  makes you look hot, and not in a good way, so these are a nice little solution, and also very affordable.

(Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets $6.00 for 50)

Sticking to the realm of fighting off sweat (accidental pun), here is one of my summer splurges, Lush dusting powder. Lush makes a variety of wonderful dusting powders, as well as other all-natural products, but this one might smell the best.  Dust it on after the shower and the clean, natural, scent of cocoa butter and vanilla will last all day, very much worth the price.

(Lush Silky Underwear Dusting Powder $11.95)

So, after you’ve gotten out of the shower and dusted yourself off with powder, you might want to moisturize that skin. I’m sure there are lots of very expensive, fancy, body moisturizers out there, but I have no money, so I like this one that i get at the drug store which smells great and lasts forever. It also does a very good job of keeping legs and body soft, while smelling lovely. Also, despite being a Johnson’s product it doesn’t smell like baby oil, more like strawberries.

(Johnson’s 24 Hour Lotion $5.99)

I have sensitive skin, so I can only use certain moisturizers on my face, my go-to brand is Clinique, because it’s gentle and hypoallergenic. My new favorite product is their Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer, which focuses on lightening brown spots from prior sun damage. I never listened to my mother when she told me to wear sunscreen when I was younger, so I was so happy to find this product which moisturizes, corrects skin discoloration, and has the added bonus of SPF 20 for sun protection.

(Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer SPF 20 $42.50)

Moving on to the issue of bronzer/self tanner, I have long given up pretending I am anything but pale, but in the process I have tried many bronzing products. I must say as far as self-tanner goes, I haven’t found any oh-my-gosh amazing product. Everything streaks, blotches, or both. Even the lightest of formulas leave me looking zebra-like and consequently more embarrassed to show my skin. I do keep one tanning product around and that is Clarins Self Tanning Gel, I don’t use much of it, but I’m sure those of you with darker skin than mine (i.e. everyone) could put this product to even better use. However, I do like to dab it on my face in the summer, it gives a nice, natural, glow without looking too orange.

(Clarins Self-Tanning Instant Gel, 4.4 oz. $32.50)

For Fall and winter I like a rosy cheek, but in the summer I like things a little bit peachy. My sister gave me this Coralista blush from Benefit because her skin is even more sensitive than mine, and the scent is also very strong. It didn’t bother my skin at all, and I actually love the golden peach color it leaves on my cheeks, it’s very summery, I also happen to like the smell, although it’s perfumy. It comes with a little brush, but it’s cheaply made and the hairs fall out, so I would recommend using this with a normal blush brush.

(Benefit CORALista Blush $28)

I am so sick of hearing how Chanel always comes up with the hottest nail colors of the season when everyone knows it’s OPI and Essie who come out with the same color months in advance at one-third of the price. This season Chanel has delivered Nouvelle Vague, which looks very similar to one of my favorite colors, Greenport, from Essie’s summer line last year, only with a bit more shimmer. I’m happy that greens and blues on nails have gained popularity, it’s just fun and beachy for summer.

(Essie nail Polish in Greenport, $8)

I spend half the summer battling with my hair, which like the Grinch’s heart, grows three sizes each day. While in the winter I might try to tame my waves occasionally, in the summer I just give up and embrace the wildness. I have found that Fekkai’s Tousled Wave Spray helps encourage the crazy waviness that summer humidity can bring, while still keeping frizz to a minimum and smelling great.

(Frederic Fekkai Coiff Oceanique Tousled Wave Spray $23)

I’ve saved the best for last. These new lip stains from Tarte are my winner for summer. I have looked for something like these for a while, and was very happy to find them. I love lipstick, but I’m not a lipstick person, mostly because I’m lazy and forget to reapply it. These new stains go on like a lipstick, look glossy, and then stay on like a stain. They’re also minty and cute. The stains go on bright, which I like, and can be layered for an even brighter look. They’re on the pricey side, and I feel guilty for having two of them, but for a really great product, I have no regrets. I’ve been trying to get my hands on the Enchanted color for a while, but it’s always sold out everywhere. I have the Amused (bright pink) and the Lust (bright red) and I love them both!

(Tarte Natural Lip Stain with LipSurgence™ Technology $23 each)

So there you have it, that’s what I’ll be slathering on myself this summer. What are you guys splurging (or not splurging) on this year? I would love to hear what products help you fight the frizz and humidity, and keep you happy during the summer months, so let me know!


Filed under cosmetics