VIDEO: That healthy glow

My adorable husband has been giving me the best compliments recently. "You look amazing, I can't tell if you're wearing makeup or not." "I know you don't feel good but you look like you feel god." "I love you for your mind but you look so pretty." Etc. Etc. Obviously I has to determine what the trend was. There is my new favorite mask . I've been super diligent about using my devices. There's this fun thing. But the truth is really blush. Cloud paint to be exact. After a week of using the ethereal Puff,  I decided it was time to crack open a new flavor. The winner, chosen by random selection (I legit stuck my hand in the basket I just got, and now use to store new products I want to try out) was Cloud Paint in Haze.

This one is definitely a crowd favorite (see comments above) because while it looks almost purple in the tube, it imparts an incredibly sexy flush - like all the blood just rushed to your face because a hot boy (yes husband that's you) just checked you out. Like you just drank a gallon of water and took a facial after the best spin class of your life. Like you've been in a hot tub sipping wine for an hour but remembered to properly moisturize first. Like you've been making out, hard. This is definitely the sexy one of the bunch. It looks intimidating because it should be used with extreme caution.

Anyways, I paired it with this cinnamon organic lip balm that is moisturizing, sweet tasting and plumping. Some brown brow tint. Some blurs.  There's a super quick video you can watch on how to apply haze (crescent moon, all the way up to the eyes, weird I know but it works!) I think I will just let these pictures do the rest of the talking for me.

hydrating serum | MistMistMist | blurs | Cloud Paint | concealer | cinnamon organic lip balm | brown brow tint

I'm a Two Day Old Bagel

I'm pretty sure I've already told this story once before. I will probably tell it a million times in my lifetime. It's one of my favorite stories, and also very much at the core of my identity. It's something I return to over and over again when I feel lost, when I feel creatively drained, when I feel tired, when I want to give up. 

There was a 26 year age difference between my parents. My father, the older of the two, was taken to Auschwitz when he was 14. He spent almost two years in the camp before it was liberated. Although he ran a printshop by day, at night he hung out at City Light’s bookstore with the real bohemians, and worked for the Holocaust Center of San Francisco on capturing the stories of other survivors.

This is a story about the print shop.

Across the street from his shop was a famous bagel store. They left their two day old bagels on the street next to a side door for the large homeless population of San Francisco. They couldn’t sell the two day old bagels, but they were still delicious - having on more than one occasion bought a dozen for our family that we would munch well into the week.

There was also a trash problem on this busy, commercial street. One of the other shop owners decided that these two things were connected. The bagel bags were part of the trash - it must be the homeless people who were leaving them. It couldn’t possibly be the other more affluent customers.

A meeting was called of the neighborhood commerce association. A ballot measure was put to the floor to prohibit the leaving of the bagels.

My father stood up, in a crowd of his peers, and spoke in his booming, lightly accented voice.
“I was in a concentration camp. When I think about what I would’ve done for a two day old bagel it blows my mind. It’s clear to me that the people in this room have never known real hunger, because only someone like that would ever even consider standing in between hungry people and food that would otherwise be thrown away.”

Then he sat down.

The measure was unanimously shot down and everyone threw a few bucks into a pot to buy more trash cans.

In three sentences, I watched my father right an egregious wrong. I was 6 and I thought him to be a hero of immeasurable proportions.

It was only later I realized just how hard it is to be so open about the things that happen to you. Even harder still to tell a compelling story. Even harder to be brief. Hardest of all to use that story to galvanize some kind of action.

Lo and behold, I find myself facing my own horrible situation. This time it’s cancer. And suddenly, I find that when I tell this story to myself the character I identify with is actually the leftover bagels.

Because what I have to offer is not just my story, it is the very skin that I wear around everyday. It is my picture, my escapades, my product recommendations, my life. It's a little bit old, a little bit stale, but it's beauty comes not from the slow drying out that is aging, but from the gorgeous aftermath of being past it's prime and still being the source of something so useful. It's helping people, and being delicious.

I am not the gorgeous, lithe and idyllic beauty blogger - I am just me. But I am still moist, dewy and glistening with that egg rub. For a hungry person, starving for a beauty role model in a world of airbrushed, freckle-free, heavily contoured faces. I kind of like being the two day old bagel.

Just like my father’s story is about a printshop and bagels (as much or more than it is about the Holocaust) my own story is about beauty, self-care, redefining what makes me feel good about myself, and, as a framework, the Cancer that acted as a catalyst to all of these revelations. The cancer is not the story, what I helped to change because of it is…

May Lindstrom Honey Mud lives up to the Hype

Walking into Violet Grey is a combination of walking into the coolest person you know's apartment and walking backstage at a Paris fashion show. The carefully curated shop operates on their own code, The Violet Code, which means every product (not just the line, not even every color  of every chosen formula) make the cut! So when I mentioned I was congested, but need something that won't dry me out, but also please could it be "healthy and free from harmful chemicals" I was not surprised when the amazingly talented shop girl was like, "Ohhhh, try this! I'm obsessed with it." Enter the May Lindstrom Honey Mud. I put a little swatch on my arm, kept talking to her, and ten minutes later washed it off with a booming voice screaming, "OMG, I NEED THIS!"

She then gave me the amazing pro-tip that the mask/cleanser was currently being featured in a box that benefitted the local children's hospital, and contained several hundred dollars more of products (all of which were on my wishlist).... Do I even need to finish typing this out? I got it, OK. I got it.

That night, as my hungover, jetlagged and tired self waited for my husband to be done with his other things I slathered a rich layer on my face. Dear goodness me did it feel good. The smell is luscious, like chocolate, honey and something kind of smoky/sexy. I added water, turned into a milky "foam" - that's how you use it as a cleanser - and then did my normal stuff to my face.

HOMG. My skin was so smooth, my pores so gone, my blackheads vanished, my skin soft and plump and free from redness. Lest it was some kind of fluke I used it again as a face wash the following two days. Post airplane, post second hangover my skin was still feeling balanced. This might be the only product in my arsenal I use on my entire face. Then skipped it for a day, just to see... and um, things went downhill. So there you go. When I use it, even just for a quick cleanse, my skin is amazing... #addictedtomud

So what make's this $90 mud worth it? How does it compare to a less expensive mud. The "secret" in this case is quality and proven effectiveness of the ingredients - all of which are so natural you could literally eat a spoonful of this, all of which I had come across.

Formulated with raw honey, white halloysite clay, and pure plant oils, this silken pudding-like treat envelopes skin with healing enzymes and removes the day’s debris and pollutants. 

  • Wild-harvested raw honey is packed with active enzymes and antioxidants for antimicrobial and anti-aging benefits.
  • White halloysite clay absorbs toxins and impurities and gently clears pores.
  • Witch hazel and colloidal silver soothe and heal.
  • Made with organic and wild-harvested ingredients.
I have used manuka honey both on the recommendation of my doctor, and on my acupuncturist. It has incredible anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. So much so, it can be used to treat and heal MRSA. Colloidal silver is also prescribed in topical form for use on sever burns (it happened to me once when a curling iron ripped off a chunk of my thigh after sticking to it.) Halloysite is known for being particularly gentle and effective type of clay.

I've tried tons and tons of clay masks. I love them for their "natural" ingredients, but often they tend to overstrip my delicate, sensitive, old people skin. They work way better to prevent outbreaks from happening than trying to cure them after you've broken out. 

This mask worked on 4 lurking blackeads on my chin that used to 6, but two of them have already turned into cysts. I tried everything, every clay mask in my arsenal. Even extractions (hello 1 of 2 cysts.) There is nothing more frustrating than knowing something bad is about to happen and not being able to do anything about it.

I also want to make a note on price versus price per use. This is a big jar. So far I have only used what was in the cap when I opened it to do 1 full face mask and 3 full face cleansings. At this rate the cost per use will end up being pennies. 

I also think you pay for the luxury of the experience. This smells and feels amazing. It's a pleasure to put on and wear. That means it's good for your soul, and also good for results - because if you love something you will actually use it. 

I also trust May Lindstrom, because her story is one of personally surviving a horrible skin condition and then creating everything in her brand to be effective, but also natural and gentle. Trust and my skin is big. 

I hope this helps!  

And remember, I always try to respond to questions! (this parts for you Mel!) 
My skin the day after masking.... 

No Makeup - two days post regular mudding