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Bath time: post-yoga soak

3 Nov

One of my favourite activities is talking about how much yoga I do and making people feel my triceps. Most of time, people are nice and pretend to be impressed. If they don’t act impressed, I’ll usually flex a thigh or two as well.

I do enough yoga on a weekly basis to result in very sore muscles and having a hard time lifting my arms above my head for a few days. Lucky for me, I only wash my hair once a week.

What? Short hair is better when it’s dirty. Otherwise it’s all floofy and in my face.

With winter on its way, despite my massive denial, a post-yoga bath can ease the pain from 29 slow-moving chaturangas . It can also be a skin-soothing soak with the right ingredients.

Epsom salts. A bath is not complete without them. These days, I’m partial to Hawaiian Ginger Rejuvenating Epsom Salts from Calgon. It smells like vacation. And who doesn’t want vacation in their bubble bath? Crazies, that’s who. You get out feeling like jell-o, and if you did 90 minutes of yoga earlier that day you totally deserve a lie-down. And even a nap if it’s a Sunday.

Bubble bath. There is only one bubble bath I use. Because it’s the best. Skip any of the bubble gum scented stuff and go straight to the natural smells. I channel my Nanny Ferne and use Ombra Lavender Extract Foambath. My grandmother loved lavender scented everything. It’s been associated with stress-relief and relaxation. Maybe Nanny Ferne knew something we didn’t.

Body oil. A long soak in the tub can be drying on your skin. Some people like to reach their maximum pruniness before getting out. Not me. I have a window before I start sweating profusely and have to get out. I don’t fill the bath with super hot water but I still like to add a few drops of Aveeno Skin Relief Show and Bath Oil. Aveeno pretty much does everything right, especially when it comes to dry, sensitive skin. So I just do what they say.

Body wash. Those soap commercials have it right. I only use soap if I’ve been the gym or if I’m particularly sweaty and gross. Otherwise I’m body wash all the way. I just discovered this gem from one of my new favourite brands, Weleda. Pomegranate Creamy Body Wash. It foams up very satisfyingly on a pouf but it’s like showering with a dollop of foamy body lotion. You don’t get that soapy feel. And it has a sort of spicy scent that is the result of vanilla, blood orange and neroli.

Weleda makes all kinds of organic and natural stuff and have a really neat company philosophy. And they have gardens! And farmers! And sheep. You can buy their products at your local health food store or on if you live in Canada.

Oh, and don’t forget to follow your bath with your favourite moisturizer and someone to make you dinner.


Like buttah’: Almond hand & nail butter

14 Oct

When it starts to get colder outside, I generally like to have a hand cream within five feet of my person at all times. Much like lip balm. If you live in Canada, you know what I’m talking about. Nothing is worse than dry, cracked hands in the winter. Especially if you do your nails as often as I do. And take pictures of your hands. It just won’t do.

I wandered into The Body Shop after yoga the other day, and immediately fell in love with their Almond Hand & Nail Butter. Mostly because I love the smell of almond anything, but also because it actually moisturizes my cuticles. Which is a difficult feature to find in a hand cream. For real.

I keep a jar in my desk drawer at work and slather my hands with it at least three times a day, and definitely after each time I wash my hands. Which is a lot. Because I’m a bit obsessive compulsive like that.

What’s old is awesome: Kiehl’s 160 years

26 Sep

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending an event at the Kiehl’s store on Ste-Catherine Street. Which, if you’ve read my blog, you know I’m no stranger to.

My can’t-live-without Kiehl’s products include the Lip Balm #1 in Coconut, the Creme de Corp Soy Milk and Honey Body Polish (hello super smooth baby bottom skin) and the Creme de Corps All-Over Body Moisturizer. I use all of these items on a daily basis. And if I let you touch my arm right now, you’d understand why.

So, of course I was delighted to stop by last Tuesday for a celebration. Did you know Kiehl’s is 160 years old? I didn’t either. And old stuff is always good. Like, parmesan. And wine.

I sat down with one of the Kiehl’s consultants and we talked about my skin concerns. Mostly wrinkles around my eyes which I promptly showed her by squinting my eyes really tight. To which she promptly responded “Well, everyone has wrinkles if they scrunch their face up like that.” She was super nice and she suggested the Açaí line of products. Which is great for me, because I’ve never tried it AND it’s so fun to say. AH-SIGH-EE.

"So what does this do?"

[Photo by Guime Boudreau]

I’ve been using the products everyday since I got them, and the Açaí Damage-Minimizing Cleanser might be my favourite. It foams up and is really light on your skin. It also smells like lavender, one of my new favourite smells. My Nanny Ferne used to love the smell of lavender and I guess I inherited it. Lavender is known for it’s calming properties, so maybe that’s why I like it so much. I’m not always that calm, you see. I spray lavender water on my sheets now before I go to bed. It makes me feel fancy.

But what event could be complete without silly photos and this here video where I talk about my dad and my skin looks great? Of course my friend Nat and I hit the photo booth before leaving. And of course we took stupid photos of ourselves.

"Let's look cute in this photo!"

[Photo by Guime Boudreau]

"Now let's make an idiot face!"

[Photo by Guime Boudreau]

Millionaire weekend: Spa Scandinave

18 May

Yesterday I told you about part one of my millionaire weekend.

Part two of my millionaire weekend took place at one of my favourite Montreal hangouts. Scandinave Les Bains Vieux-Montreal.

If you’re fancy like me, this place is a must.

It’s like an underground cavern of relaxation and awesome with a hot bath, steam room, sauna and melty music and comfy places to lie down and do absolutely nothing.

I have a method.

First, I go in the hot bath. Then I do the cold plunge. Then I flop down into a Fat Boy and rest. Then I go in the steam room and breathe in all that eucalyptus. And then I stand under the cold shower and try not to scream. Then I find a new rest station and I lie there for a bit.

I skip the sauna altogether. It’s not my deal.

I repeat that until it’s time to get a massage.

And then after that, I never want to go home and sometimes I cry a little because I have to.

We went on Sunday and I’m not sure if it was a result of the company I was with or of our excessive lie-down weekend, but this particular visit was the most relaxing ever of all time. We went a couple hours early and really took advantage of the bath experience. I have never fallen asleep in a massage but Cindy, my therapist, was not only delightful but also magic and I might have dozed off for a quick second.

One-minute mani: more from Cake Beauty

22 Apr

I have a lot of tricks when it comes to doing my nails. One of my tricks is yet another product from Cake Beauty.

Before I do my nails, I take a spoonful of Milk Made Smoothing Hand & Cuticle Buffer, and rub it into my hands and cuticles. I promise. If you do this for about a minute, then rinse it off, pat dry and follow it up with your favourite hand cream, you’ll have the softest hands.

If you want to get even crazier, after you load up your hands with your favourite hand cream, invest in some cotton gloves from the drugstore and put those on. You’ll look like an idiot and you won’t be able to use your iPhone, but the results are divine. Just don’t forget to wipe your nails with a cotton pad soaked in nail polish remover before you apply your polish.

Now. Go forth and buff.

Sweet lips: bubblegum buffer from LUSH.

23 Mar

I’ve already given you my personal prescription to smooth away wintery skin as well as my favourite products to take your rough winter face to dewey glowing face.

So it should come as no surprise that I pay equal attention to wintery lips. When the temperature drops below zero, it’s no excuse to give up and live with dry, cracked lips until the tulips show up.

Sure, there are a number of us that have a lip balm addiction out there. I might admit to being extremely uncomfortable if I don’t have three to five different lip balms within a five-foot radius of my person at all times. But sometimes lip balm doesn’t do the whole job.

As I mentioned this week, I love to wear brightly coloured lipstick. It’s festive and puts me in good spirits. But if your lips are dry and flaky, neon orange lipstick is only going to shine a giant neon orange spotlight on it. And you know what that is?

That’s ew is what it is.

My sister, who likes to keep her beauty products as natural as possible, bought me this Whipped Shea Butter from Spa Sisters for Christmas. I keep it in my purse and slather it on my cuticles, hands, nose and lips whenever I feel like it. It’s great. If you slather either this, or any lip balm of your choice on your lips, you’re ready for the next step.

Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. I’m learning that moisturizing is not the only step in addressing dry skin. And if you have to exfoliate, why not do it with sugar?

Scoop out some of this Bubble Gum Lip Scrub from LUSH with two fingers, then bring your lips to your fingers. Instead of the other way around. Like eating soup. Rub it into your lips with your fingers, and when you feel like your done, or your lips have gone numb, you know what you do? Eat it. You lick this sugary, bubble-gum-y stuff on your lips.

Now feel your lips. Aren’t they smooth? And aren’t you glad you participated in this ethereal experience.

If you’re familiar with Snow Fairy from LUSH, this stuff smells the same. But Snow Fairy only comes out at Christmas. There’s also Sweet Lips Scrub, which is a chocolate flavour, and Mint Julip Scrub, which is like a choco-mint flavour. I suspect you could also make a concoction such as these at home, but will it be pink?

Probably not.

Putting your best face forward: winter skin savers

16 Mar

I’ve always wanted to start out a sentence with “My esthetician told me…” because it makes you sound fancy.

So, without further ado, my esthetician told me I had dehydrated skin. As opposed to dry skin. The first one requires water, while the second one requires water AND a moisturizing agent.

I learned that from Janine over at Beauty Geeks. Who pretty much knows everything.

She also helped me put together a beauty routine that would bust this dehydration business to smithereens.

Want to know what it is?

Too bad. I’m telling you anyway.

I’ve switched my cleanser from my favourite Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser to something milder. Trusty Cetaphil. I didn’t want to take any chances with drying out my skin. I will likely switch back to my regular cleanser in the warmer months.

I usually use a face cloth, because it feels like it’s exfoliating something. And it also feels like I’m at a hotel. Fancy. I have made it a habit to keep clean face cloths in my bathroom cupboards, rather than far away with my linens so I can change them up often.

After I pat dry with a towel, I give myself a spritz of thermal water.

I used to love these for traveling. Airplanes are so dry and nasty, a spritz of Evian Mineral Water Spray on your face when you land does wonders for your spirits and for your parched skin. Who says I can’t bring my jet-set travel ways home?

I’ve already finished a bottle of the Evian spray, another of Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray and am onto the Thermal Spring Water Spray by La Roche-Posay. I like the third one best. For both refreshing properties and spray action function. The spray gets good coverage with just a quick mist.

It’s important to spray the water, wait a few seconds, then pat dry with a towel. Another tip from Janine. Because leaving the water on your face can actually dry it out more. Who knew?

In the morning I follow up with THE greatest water-based moisturizer of all time. Aquasource from Biotherm. It’s got all kinds of spa-like ingredients, but the important thing is that it’s thermal spring water-based and doesn’t have greasy oils in it. It feels divine going on in a gel format and makes your skin super soft and smooth. It’s like a giant glass of water for your face.

No, really. It is.

In the evening I improvise.

If my skin is looking a little ragged and beat-up I stick with my regular nighttime moisturizer, Pure Perfection from Ole Henriksen. It’s got alpha-hydroxy acids which apparently exfoliate and increase cell turnover to decrease lines and wrinkles. All I know is that it takes my scaly, bumpy winter face and makes it smooth in the morning.

If I’m feeling adventurous, dry and particularly un-blemishy, I’ll use Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. It’s a serum and an oil, so it’s a bit thicker and greasier than most of the products I’ve mentioned – that’s why I only use it when I don’t feel a breakout coming my way. The times I’ve used it, I’ve definitely noticed smoother skin in the morning.

For really scaly and dry spots, I’ve resorted to another Janine suggestion. My nose gets cold easily and as it’s a rather, um, defined nose, the end gets super dry. I know. Super sexy. I slathered everything on that honker of mine and nothing would make it pretty. Except Cicaplast from La Roche-Posay.

The saleswoman tried to discourage me from buying it, telling me it was for people who have had face lifts, and suggested a heavy night cream. But I stuck to my guns. “No, lady. I’m not interested in your night cream. This is the product I want.”

Results? Amazing. It binds the skin together so my gross, dry nose is no longer. It also also silicone in it, I think, which prevents scarring. I might have to use it on my myriad bug bites. Which you can learn all about over on my other blog, Sometimes Icing. Gross.