Monday, August 27, 2007

New pooch, another year older and so much to share!





What an eventful couple of weeks. As you may have noticed, my blog has not been updated in over 3 weeks.

I have had so much going on and need some time away from the computer.

First off, many of you remember that our beloved 13-year old Cocker Spaniel named Buddy died just before Christmas. Losing him has been a very difficult experience. We have had so many losses in the past 2.5 years--my dad, Tom's grandma, and Buddy.

We have been so blessed with the most amazing little boys and know that our family is complete, but we finally have realized that we are ready for another dog to share our lives with.

Buddy was adopted in 1997 at the Humane Society, so we returned there on the 18th of this month and found a wonderfully sensitive, kind-hearted and gentle soul: a 75 pound, 3 year old German Shepherd with floppy ears named Cannon.

Cannon wormed his way into our hearts immediately, and while loving him has come so easily,
this week has not been without its struggles! First of all, Cannon has some major separation anxiety issues. I am not talking about barking and crying at the door--I am talking about jumping 4 feet up to a window, breaking through the screen and WALKING ON THE ROOF. He did this Friday night as we chatted with our neighbors in their yard. He missed us and thought by walking on the roof above the garage he would attract some more attention.

Keep in mind I am a stay at home mom and the longest period of time he has been left since we adopted him has been 2 hours.

Today, I had to take the in-laws to the airport. Nick, Ben and I dropped them off and were home in 30 minutes. When we arrived home, Cannon was sitting in the back yard next to the gate of the picket fence wagging his tail. Bear in mind, Cannon was INSIDE THE GARAGE when we left. He climbed on top of trikes and Tom's bike, broke a baby gate and jumped out the window.

Our vet says Cannon may require "pharmacological assistance", namely Fluoxotine. In other words, Prozac. Now I am all for Prozac and people needing it to treat illnesses, but haven't thought my pooch might ever need it! The vet also wants us to take Cannon to Cornell University to meet with their experts on the matter.

Needless to say, Cannon has brought some excitement to our lives! The most important thing, though, is that Cannon LOVES children. He adores both boys, but has a soft spot already for Nick.

In other news, it's birthday time in this house! I celebrated mine on Saturday. Nick will be FOUR one week from tomorrow. We spent the weekend getting all of his "Go Diego, Go" must haves for his party. It looks like I'll be headed back to the party store for the 4th time because I apparently forgot the pinata!

Next week also marks the beginning of preschool for Nick! He will go 3 days per week for 2.5 hours! He and I are both excited!

In business news, I am taking a brief hiatus until the weekend after Nick's preschool begins.

I will then have TWO Etsy shops: my self-named Facial Care Boutique and Northfield Road.

I am REALLY excited about Northfield Road's grand opening on 9/9. I have about 40 greeting cards, all handmade and dipped in coffee and cinnamon, oven-baked and then decorated in altered art fashion with an emphasis on shabby chic, prim and vintage styles. In addition to cards, this little shop will feature my soy candles and tarts!

That's the update! I am also working on a very thorough review blog of SULFATE FREE and PARABEN FREE hair care! I've tried and tried and will share my thoughts on the good and bad natural shampoos and conditioners on the market.

In the meantime, here are some pictures to share!

Friday, August 3, 2007

My Makeup Alley Notepad!

I have had some requests to publish my MUA notepad since I am no longer over there. I happen to have my homemade beauty recipes right here and other tips which were posted on my notepad. Here goes:


HOMEMADE SKIN CARE RECIPES:

My GREEN TEA & VITAMIN C toner recipe:

Chilled green tea (one cup of tea made with distilled water)

one drop of lavender

a drop of vitamin E oil

one crushed up 500mg vitamin C with rosehips tablet

Shake really well. I store it in an amber or cobalt spray bottle and spritz on.

Keep refrigerated and discard after 1 week.

My favorite serum (lasts 1 week in fridge):

This is my recipe. It is for a vitamin C/E and essential oil serum.

My skin is a Baumann type DSNT...I also have modified my original recipe as I have gotten older--I find if I use equal parts jojoba oil AND good-quality Olive Oil, it is better...the tea tree I add ONLY when I am oily.

Use a funnel and put everything through it into an amber serum bottle. Shake to blend. I refrigerate it and shake every half hour or so for 2-3 hours to make sure it's all incorporated.

It lasts 1 week in the fridge:

* 1/4 teaspoon of L-Ascorbic Acid (Vit-C) powder

* 5 ml distilled water

* 5 ml of glycerin (vegetable)

* 1/8 teaspooon vegetable stearic acid (to help mix the oil and water)

*5 ml Jojoba oil

*1 drop of tea tree oil (when I am more oily).

*1 drop of geranium EO

*1 drop of lavender EO

*1 drop carrot seed oil

*3 drops of vitamin E oil

My Favorite Sugar Scrub:

*Mix equal parts TURBINADO SUGAR to BROWN SUGAR. Add in desired amount of oils (some like a dry texture, some like really oily). In mine that I use every for bath, I use SWEET ALMOND OIL and AVOCADO OIL. Then add it ONE TEASPOON of warm HONEY. Mix well.

My COFFEE SCRUB (temporary firming/anti-cellulite):

*Mix equal parts dry coffee grounds to sweet almond oil. Blend it a bit of TURBINADO sugar. Mix in 1 teaspoon of HONEY (melted).Add a drop or two of vitamin E oil. Apply on thighs, belly, rear and upper arms....

I use extra virgin olive oil in this one. Add sea salts to EVOO, 2 parts salts to 1 part oil...

The Benefits of Oils for the Skin:GOTTA LOVE OILS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grapeseed oil, olive oil and jojoba oil make great pre-cleanser for the skin! They remove makeup very well, and without irritation. Grapeseed is the *least* oily of the 3.

OLIVE OIL ROCKS AND HERE IS WHY!!!!!!!!!

In my opinion, Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains the most beneficial ingredients! Here is why:I use the olive oil because there is so much research as of late when it comes to the skin benefits (in addition to the health benefits) of using it. Olive oil is full of vitamins--it has A, B1 and B2, vitamin C, E *and* K. More importantly, it also contains flavonoids and polyphenols which are both potent antioxidants. These help to prevent damage to skin cells and help to combat free radicals. I read a study not too long ago that shows that in countries where they apply a small amount of EVOO to their skin after being out in the sun, that it helps SLIGHTLY to prevent damage from UV rays... I also mix EVOO in my skin serums--even in soaps and moisturizers. It has never clogged my pores and I really think it's a miracleingredient!

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THE SKIN:


Oils for Oily Skin/Acne Prone Skin: BERGAMOT-TEA TREE OIL-LEMON-LEMONGRASS-ROSEMARY-CEDARWOOD-JUNIPER-LAVENDER-PEPPERMINT-PALMAROSA-NIAOULI
Oils for Eczema and Other Conditions:
BERGAMOT-GERANIUM-CHAMOMILE-SANDALWOOD-YARROW-LAVENDER

Oils for Wrinkle Prevention/Aging Skin:

FRANKINCENSE-ROSE-LAVENDER-NEROLI-PALMAROSA

Oils for Dehydrated/Dry Skin:

PATCHOULI-SANDALWOOD-GERANIUM

OTHER TIPS:


YOGURT is a great facial mask!

MILK is awesome, though, for the bath!!!! It contains lactic acid and is also wonderfully nourishing in the bath!

MILK OF MAGNESIA sure beats Smashbox Photo Finish and Laura Mercier Flawless Finish Primer! Looking for a cheap, yet effective way to help control oily shine AND make your makeup stay? Apply a VERY thin coat of MOM. I mix 2 parts distilled water to 1 part MOM, stir, and apply with a brush. Let it dry, and apply your makeup. I used to use this in clients prior to doing their makeup. I used it on my own skin when it was oily, as well!

OTHER KEYS TO BEAUTIFUL SKIN:


SUNSCREEN!!!!!!!!WATER!!!TONS OF FRUITS AND VEGGIES!!!DRY BRUSHING!!!VITAMINS...I believe that exercise and a proper diet are essential to healthy skin. I do pilates daily and love to walk. Since a severe fibula fracture last year after a fall down 13 stairs, these are the two forms of exercise that no longer hurt the injury.

I also feel (as do most) that a diet high in fruits, veggies and fiber is essential. I also add vitamins to my schedule: C, D, Calcium, E, B1, B2, B12...also evening primrose for the skin, rosehips, and fish or flax oil.I also take VITAMIN D daily. This is essential, as over 80% of Americans have a deficiency in this vitamin. They also recently discovered that this can contribute to many cancers. I take vitamin D/calcium tablets daily. You also NEED to get a couple minutes of sun daily. Yes, sunscreen is CRUCIAL, but a couple minutes not during peak hours is crucial for the immune system!

WATER. I drink 10 glasses of water daily, as well as herbal and green teas. These are wonderful for the body and skin. I am trying to stop my caffeine habit. I am a coffee-fiend. I went cold turkey and had no caffeine for 2 months and then slipped up...I have cut back to 3 cups of coffee per day and have substituted my other cups with steamed skim or soy milk.

DRY BRUSHING THE SKIN.. I dry brush my skin daily prior to my shower or bath. You can buy a wonderful brush at Crabtree & Evelyn or The Body Shop for this. Dry brush your entire body from the feet up, working towards the heart. Do not dry brush your face or heart. Brush in circular motions, and do this for at least 5-10 minutes. This not only revs up circulation and helps eliminate toxins, but it also helps to remove dull and flaky skin.

SOME NATURAL HOUSEHOLD CLEANING TIPS:

I use lemons, distilled white vinegar and baking soda to clean my bath tubs...I cut a lemon in half, then set one half aside and put baking soda on the other half.I scrub the tub with the baking soda half.Then I wipe it down with a sponge/scouring pad with vinegar on it....I rinse that off, and then I use the clean lemon half and wipe it down again. Smells fresh, no chemicals, and it'll shine!

I use lemons for everything, LOL...I put lemon pieces in the garbage disposal for deodorizing....I put lemons in a bowl of water and the microwave it to deodorize the microwave....I put lemon essential oil in a small amount of white vinegar to clean my hardwood floors (no buildup, natural and safe for the kids to crawl around on)....Let's see.....I frequently add EOs to my All Free & Clear laundry detergent....and put essential oils or fragrance oils dabbed onto dryer sheets....I use these in the dryer and also put a dryer sheet with essential oils under my fitted sheets, then they always smell fresh from the laundry between washings each week...You can make it smell nice without spraying air fresheners by dabbing oil onto a light bulb (A COOL LIGHT BULB NOT TURNED ON!), and then when you turn on the light, you have a nice scent...These are some things I do around the house.

My Top 2 Offenders...


Over the past several months to several years, I have become more and more disillusioned and disappointed in certain cosmetics brands due to false claims and contradictory statements, as well as health issues.

There are many offenders, from Avon to Philosophy. My top two are the ones I will discuss at length today.

Today I will talk about Bare Escentuals and Philosophy.

Over the years I have watched BE's CEO, Leslie Blodgett, appear on infomercials and on QVC to sell her amazingly popular line.

Bare Escentuals has some fantastic products--my favorite being Well Rested and the Eye Brow Powder in Dark Blonde-Medium Brown.

What bothers me, and why I will no longer buy from this company, is the misleading information given to millions of viewers, as recently as her appearance this week on QVC.

BE is touted as an "all natural" line. Blodgett was on QVC promoting her products again this week and was talking about the ever popular MINERAL VEIL. Blodgett said that Mineral Veil was all natural and preservative-free. She then made what appeared to be a correction and said that the Veil was not "pure minerals" like the makeup, bu that it was still "free of preservatives".

Mineral Veil contains both methylparaben and propylparaben. These ingredients are preservatives. So Mineral Veil is neither preservative-free nor "all-natural".

What bothers me is that the general viewing public is trusting that these products are as advertised.

I called the 800-number to QVC's testimonial line with the small glimmer of hope that I might speak on the air with Blodgett to inquire about the parabens in Mineral Veil. Once I told the operator what I would be asking, I was told they did not have time for me to ask my question, but that I could "feel free to write".

Since I wrote asking about parabens and the claims of being "all natural" over 1 year ago and haven't heard back, I do not plan to do so again.

I am not saying NOT to buy Bare Escentuals. I am saying that we, as consumers, must educate ourselves if we are truly concerned about what we are putting on our skin and in our bodies.

Now I would like to discuss the brand PHILOSOPHY. I feel much more strongly about NOT buying this brand.


This is a greedy company. They are also hypocrites, in my opinion, when it comes to women's health issues. This company likes to say that they care about women's health. So, they designate certain products as pink ribbon products and say the proceeds will go to worthy foundations supporting breast cancer research. While they may give money away, they still continue to sell unsafe products under the guise that they are wonderful for you--that the products contain healthy ingredients. What they NEGLECT to tell you is that those EXACT products that we all buy to "help women" contain cancer causing ingredients. By buying these "pink ribbon" items and using them, you may be putting ingredients on your skin believed to increase the risk of breast cancer.