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_ beauty detox: cleanser

April 7, 2011

To start with a confession, I still have a nearly full bottle of my old cleanser.  I ran out of toner and moisturizer, and since it would take me a year to finish the bottle, I thought it best to do a complete switcheroo to a clean skin care routine.

From this:


 To this:

Lavish Lavender Soap

I got a bar of this from my sister, who uses it for body, face, and hair.  It’s a great soap, but I started using it on my face in January during our 3 weeks of Dallas winter (remember the Super Bowl?).  With my winter-wrecked skin, this soap was just too drying to keep using on my face.

To this:

J’adore this XII Element Cleansing Milk from Galen Labs.  My face was completely sapped of moisture and all other signs of life when I bought a cleanser, so I was looking for a gentle milk-style formula for dry skin.  I picked it after seeing it on the Fig+Sage skin care awards.  It smells botanical and lovely, gives me just the right feeling of cleanliness, and leaves my skin so, so soft and supple.  I’ve been using it primarily before bed, and just rinsing my face each morning after its nightly regeneration/self-clean.  As the weather is warming up and the air will soon get springy and humid, I’m afraid that I may need something geared toward oily(er) skin.  Gross, but we shall see.

I got the Galen cleanser on sale at Nature of Beauty (no longer in stock).  It sells for $32 on the Galen Labs site, which actually seems to be a good price.  Many clean brands seem to sell at around that price or more but in a smaller bottle.  The Soap for Goodness Sake bar is about 5 bucks.



April 5, 2011

Heidi Swanson, who writes one of my very favorite food blogs, has just released her new cookbook.  I can’t wait to get my hands on it!  Can I ask for a Mother’s Day gift even though I haven’t procreated?

Super Natural Every Day: Published

See more from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks.  Love, love, love.

_ share

March 29, 2011

Leave it to a man in Vermont to make the case for clean beauty/personal care quick and concise.

The vast majority of skin care products in today’s marketplace –even if they say ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ somewhere on the packaging –are loaded with harsh synthetic chemical ingredients, including many known toxins.

…These chemicals can and do penetrate the skin, building up in the body’s organs over time, contributing to if not outright causing serious health issues such as cancer, infertility, birth defects, hormone disorders, etc

Get the whole spiel over at Ursa Major and tell everyone you know.

Their men’s products def look like they are worth a try, too!

_ beauty detox: mascara

March 27, 2011

From this:

To this:

Dr. Hauschka mascara.

Side note: The Dr. Hauschka girl at Whole Foods has quickly become my nemesis.  It doesn’t matter if I’m looking at vitamins, toothpaste, or body lotion, I can’t browse the personal care section without her harassing me every 60 seconds.  And she never seems to take a day off.  However, she did help me with my first few purchases.

Mascara was the first product that ran out and I needed a replacement bad.  I don’t look awake without it.  The Dirty Looks girls recommended Dr. Hauschka’s volumizing mascara, which I’ve also seen recommended elsewhere.  So why did I get the regular formula?  Because (a) I’m too dumb to pick a product other people like and (b) I’ve always tended more toward length and definition in my mascara.  Volume scares me.

The verdict: I hate this mascara.

It goes on very smoothly, no clumps or globs.  So that’s nice.  But it doesn’t have much oomph at all.  I’ve had to start curling my lashes and putting on two coats. (No more applying mascara while I drive to work.  Such a bummer.)  The real negative, though, is that this formula slips off my lashes and collects in the corners of my eyes, or worse, pools along my lids.  Eww!  I don’t care if it’s natural, I don’t want anything dripping into my eyeballs.

Of course, I’m going to finish it off.  No need to waste money and plastic, right?  I picked up a natural mascara on clearance at Target, which I’ll try next, but my ultimate destination will surely be Couleur Caramel, which is pretty much unanimously the best.

Dr. Hauschka is a reputable natural line based on holistic skin care.  You can find it at Whole Foods or online.  I paid 26 bucks for their mascara (sticker shock, anyone?!).

_ life is short, and you don’t always get to say goodbye

March 25, 2011


I hope I get to grow old and preoccupied with my best friend.

Today brought the sudden loss of a dear mentor who left us too soon. He will be deeply missed by many, and irreplacable in our lives.

From the Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty God, we remember this day before thee thy faithful servant…and we pray that, having opened to him the gates of larger life, thou wilt receive him more and more into thy joyful service


March 24, 2011

Remember Craigslist?

Missed Connections artwork from Sophie Blackall.  Some cute, some beautiful, all with a touch of longing.  I remember wanting someone to missed connect me.


(Via The Urchins, featured on’s Freshly Pressed on 3/22.)


March 22, 2011

While many give up sweets for Lent, I eat them for dinner.

Berries from Target.  Let’s talk.

I do not recommend getting produce at Target, the top three reasons being:
1. The prices are not what you’d think.  You’ll get a better deal at your regular grocery store.
2. While in Target, I have a hard time staying out of impulse-buy mode.  It’s look, look, look, cheap, cheap, cheap, buy, buy, buy…Meh, I’ll return it later.  Not a good state of mind for grocery shopping.  So yeah.  I saw some blackberries and raspberries.  Not a fantastic price, not yet in season, but I thought, “What the hell; I’ll buy two.”
3. These berries.  They taste like Target.  Not following?  Go smell whatever top or swimsuit or cute Designer Collective dress you just bought.  Yeah.

Sugar and pie crust were their only hope.

I haven’t baked in awhile, and have been nursing the urge for weeks.  Result: Two little berry pie cups.

I made this after work, down and dirty.  No ice cold crust perfectionism here, but it was still flaky and delicious.  I’m sure you know pies aren’t supposed to go in ramekins.  It was different in a good way.  The top crust gets crusty and the interior keeps a pleasing doughiness.

I used the basic shortening* pie crust recipe from Desserts that Have Killed Better Men than Me, a little volume with delicious desserts and perfect crust recipes by Jeremy Jackson.  I formed these with the hanging crust method he uses for the best rhubarb pie that any little baker has ever dreamt up.  I like a lot of crust, so folding the excess over top of the filling gives me that extra bit and looks super charming.

Make It:
+ Your favorite one-crust recipe, halved
+ About 2 cups berries
+ 1/3 c plus 1 T sugar
+ 1/6 c flour
+ Spritz of fresh lemon juice
+ Extra sugar for sprinkling
+ 2 small ramekins and some kind of sheet pan

Preheat the oven to 400.  Make the crust, wrap it in plastic, and set it in the freezer to chill.  Toss the berries, sugar, and flour together.  Squeeze a little bit of lemon over the mixture, stir, and set aside.  Roll out the crust and place in the ramekins.  If the crust is still warm and floppy, put it back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.  Put the berry mixture in each ramekin and don’t be afraid to pile it up.  Gently fold the dough over the berries and sprinkle with plenty of sugar.

Put the ramekins on a sheet pan (or be ready to smell the berry juice burning at the bottom of your oven for months).  Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until there is a nice brown color developing.  Turn the oven down to 350 or so and bake another 20-25 minutes, give or take, until the filling is oozing and bubbly and the crust is browned to your liking.  I’ll be honest.  I pretty much turn on the oven light and fiddle with the temperature every time I walk by, so I’m estimating here.

Careful not to burn the roof of your mouth.

*Even if a time comes at which everything else I touch is organic, I will still be making shortening crusts.