Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hugo Naturals Grapefruit Orange Bath Ball

Wow. What a long day. It's funny how I used to be the late sleeper in my household, and since I've been home the last few weeks, I am often the first one awake. My day began with a cup of coffee and a grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich (pretty much the most delicious way to PB&J...I can't help the rhymes, sorry) and then my sister, cousin, and I were off to the mall to squeeze out some last deals at our favorite stores. I checked out Express, the Limited, Forever 21, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Williams-Sonoma, Sephora, Victoria's Secret (semi-annual ladies!) and probably a few others that my mind just doesn't remember. I found a few deals on a few new shirts and a jacket and a couple of random gift items at Urban. Funny how I can never seem to like anything at Anthropologie. I hadn't even heard of it until four years ago when I started school back East, but it still just does not strike my fancy. After clothes shopping I hit up my favorite place to food shop, Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck or Heaven), and stocked up on a few goodies so I could eat well if we actually do get hit with a snow storm tomorrow!

One of the little items I picked up at Whole Foods was a Hugo Naturals Fizzy Bath Bomb:

The scent I chose was Grapefruit & Orange, because I wanted something uplifting. Any kind of citrus scent, whether it is in the form of a lotion, bath salt, bath ball, or room spray will be energizing and uplifting, which makes it a great choice if you are having a down day or if you are feeling low on the energy side.

All Natural
$5.00 at Whole Foods
Lasts for up to three baths
*For this bath I didn't use too much of it, and so I stored the rest in a ziploc bag. It produced a good amount of foam and a wonderful smell!

I've been taking aromatherapy baths every night for the last week or so and it has been so incredibly relaxing and healing. I usually put on a special play-list and just enjoy until the heat from the water is gone and the smell has dissipated. It's just enough to lift my spirits and put me in a good mood :)

I hope everyone had a great Saturday! I'm off to bed!

**In Memory of Claire

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Autumn Burst Pumpkin Pie Face Masque

I hope all of my fellow students enjoyed their Fall Break! As for me, it's back to Philadelphia tomorrow and although break has gone by too fast, I did get to enjoy my share of pumpkin ice cream (which tasted like pumpkin pie) and homemade chocolate chip pumpkin cookies! All of these pumpkin treats were inspired by the Pumpkin Pie Face Masque!! And it really is as easy as pie!

Pumpkin Pie Face Masque
-from the Sagestone Spa at Red Mountain Resort (as seen on

2 teaspoons canned pumpkin purée
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon milk or soy milk
*a squirt of Aveda's Intensive Hydrating Masque or pure aloe vera gel if you have really dry skin (I added this once I got in the shower and put the masque on)

The pumpkin

The honey

Pouring the honey (the action shot)

The milk

Mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl or cup and apply to clean (but dry) skin. Rinse off after about 10 to 15 minutes.

All ready to be mixed

The final product

I used this while in the shower and kept it on for about 8 minutes, but on days when I'm not pressed for time, I would definitely keep this on for the full 10-15.

Pumpkin enzymes are great because they get rid of dull and dead skin cells and help make your skin glow! It's also full of vitamins A and C, and Zinc, which all help to protect and heal your skin. Pumpkin is good for you both inside and out!

Have a great end of Fall Break (or beginning of it for some!) and for those of you pour souls who don't get a Fall Break, my thoughts are with you :)

Stay tuned for a great Autumn Sugar Scrub!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Product Review: Tom's of Maine Citrus Deodorant

Hello Everyone,
It's hard to believe it's October already! Here in Pennsylvania we've had a lot of rain lately...which usually I don't mind although my rain boots got a hole in them last spring and I haven't replaced them yet. I should get on that :) However, I love this season. Pumpkins, leaves changing colors, warm sweaters, apple cider...I love Fall!!

As for La Beauté, the month of October will begin my Autumn Burst Recipe Series!! In the upcoming weeks I will share homemade skincare recipes with a special fall twist that I promise will make you excited about all the wonderful little things that fall brings!

But for now...a product review!

My first experience with Tom's of Maine products was my freshman year in college. One September afternoon I noticed that I had come down with a fairly bad underarm rash, which continued to spread, swell, and get very red and itchy. One of my roommates suggested it was my deodorant that was causing this (it was one of those chemically-laden ones) and so I went out and bought a Tom's of Maine Apricot scented deodorant. For the most part, after a week or two, the rash was gone and hasn't made a comeback since!

I liked the apricot deodorant because it was entirely natural, smelled slightly sweet but not overpowering, and wasn't tested on animals. It also soothed my skin and actually made me feel good to be using such a "healthy" product. However, I didn't care too much for the exact formula, because the product itself seemed to have a pretty low melting point and got very mushy very quickly. After using that one tube, I tried other products and haven't turned to Tom's for my "deodorant needs" since.

However, before coming back to school this fall, I saw a new Tom's deodorant: the 24 hour Odor Protection Crystal Confidence one to be exact!

-Smells AMAZING!! The citrus zest scent is refreshing and uplifting and is the best smelling, non-synthetic deodorant I've ever tried
-NO WHITE RESIDUE!! One of my biggest irritations is when my black clothes get that white deodorant mark on them, but because this is a crystal liquid rollerball formula, there is no residue
-The product itself has lasted me from mid-August until now, and I'm only halfway through the bottle! (And yes- that's with more than once daily application folks!)
-All natural

-During the mid-August/early September heat spell, I found myself reapplying more than I would normally with another deodorant, but it wasn't too much of an inconvenience
-A little more expensive than "chemical" deodorants, but because of how long it lasts, it's worth it to me!

All in all, I give this product an A for it's natural composition, refreshing scent, and efficacy!

Stay tuned next week for the first Autumn Burst installment!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wata Wata

Not every important beauty message has to be long and convoluted! Want glowing skin? Want to flush out toxins? Minimize unnecessary food cravings? I hope the answer is yes!

I don't need to tell you the importance of water for your health, but I can tell you a few ways you can add some flair to your water to make it a little more interesting to drink!

Want a slightly sweet water? Try orange slices....

Looking for a tangy flavor? Freeze slices of limes and pop them into your water like little ice cubes!

Try cucumbers for digestion!

Lemon for detoxification!

Raspberries because they are sweet and pretty!

I even like to make my own "Metro-Mint" by adding some peppermint extract to my water- just a drop!

Get inventive!

Check out this site for a few "recipes" like Citrus Cucumber and Orange Mint:

Drink up!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Healing by Touch- What Massages Can Do For You

For part 2 of my mini-day spa series, I'd like to talk about the benefits and healing power of massage. Since I am not a trained massage therapist, I thought I'd ask a professional :) Laura Ellen is an amazing massage therapist and I asked her for a little insight regarding the health benefits of massage, and here is her lovely exposé on what massages can do for you!!

I wrote massage is for everyone as a working title but that’s not really true. Some people flat out do not like being touched and for them, it’s ok, you don’t have to get massaged and if you don’t want to be talked into it that’s fine. For the rest of us . . . oh my how we love a good massage.

Massage is beneficial on so many levels. Let’s start with the physical aspects. Massage keeps your blood flowing and helps to keep your muscles supple. This boosts your immune system. Less actual sick days at work, more “calling in sick” on good powder days in the winter and sunny bike riding days in the summer. Why waste a good sick day on being sick? Get massaged monthly. Massage can make your work outs more effective because your muscles are staying flexible and stretched. Less pain during work outs, more flexibility, and less recovery time from really pushing it. It’s no secret that if you have tight muscles getting a massage is a fantastic way to get them released and happy again. Massage releases toxins and lactic acid from your system. This helps keep your skin in good condition and your face will glow. The oil and lotion used during massage keeps your skin moisturized.

Massage also stimulates the brain. Children who were massaged as infants show greater mental acuity as they age, they have a much closer bond with their parents, make friends easily, and they are able to form and keep happy relationships.

Massage can be just flat out relaxing and pampering. Not every massage has to be after running a marathon or completing an iron man. Massage feels good and you should treat yourself. Be sure you’re treating yourself well in life and keeping you happy so that you can, in turn, be happy with others.

Massage can be particularly beneficial for those who have body image issues, especially if there is some sort of malady involved. Women who have suffered a mastectomy, people with scars, missing limbs and digits. All of these people need to feel that they are still beautiful, inside and out. There is no greater way of letting them feel this than by literally touching them so they know they are not being judged.

Check out Laura Ellen's own witty and insightful blog "The Republic of Laura" at

My Own Reflection
My first massage was a not so great experience. I had received a gift card for my birthday one year for a massage at a small, non-Aveda spa in Littleton, Colorado, and it was a painful 50 minutes. The therapist didn't listen to my requests for pressure changes and I walked away feeling sore, uncomfortable (both physically and emotionally), and worst of all, confused about why anyone would want to be massaged in the first place. It wasn't until I had the first great massage of my life (at Tall Grass during the summer of 2008) that I realized how healing massages can be if performed correctly.

As Laura Ellen started off her post, not everyone likes to be touched, and at the end of high school and beginning of college, this was me. During a massage, I can feel a deep connection between my emotions and my body, and at one point in my life, I was too afraid and uncomfortable to be touched by anyone. During that first massage at Tall Grass, I flinched the first few times I felt the hands of the therapist on my skin, but soon her gentle strokes and soothing words eased me into a state of relaxation I had not previously felt. The disconnect between my body and emotions started to disappear, and I just felt...okay. Every massage I've had since then has made me feel more comfortable in my own skin, and leaves me walking away feeling a little happier with myself.

Communicating with the service provider giving your massage is crucial. The more feedback you give them about pressure and areas that need more work, the better you will feel. As a type-A, tightly wound stress case, it takes me a while before I can relax into my massage; but once I do, it's almost a transformative experience. My intention is not to make it sound as if massages transport me into some other realm where all I see is stars and swirls and love, because that just doesn't really sound credible. However, there is a sense of peace and self-love that I feel during a massage that I just don't feel anywhere else. It's hard to articulate the exact sentiments that I feel, but all I can say is that a massage heals my heart and soul as much as it does my body. With all the stress in this world, it's rejuvenating to take a step inwards and get lost in yourself. For me, this is what a massage does.

If you haven't tried a massage before, I highly recommend one! Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Some colleges offer massages to students as part of various events or ongoing stress buster activities (I've found that often times these occur in conjunction with eating disorder awareness or a body image event).
2. See if there are any spas or massage therapy offices near your school (sometimes they offer a student discount and massage therapy students might need someone to practice on!)
3. If you really want a healing experience, find a spa that is secluded (i.e. mountains, beach, etc)- the focus is taken off of the hustle and bustle of city and college life and placed on YOU
4. It sounds obvious, but spa gift cards are easy holiday/birthday gifts! Save them up and treat yourself to a day at the spa

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wonders of a Spa Day/Hair Salon Tips

Part of the serenity on your way to Tall Grass Aveda Spa and Salon in Evergreen, CO
(source: picture from TallGrass Aveda Spa and Salon Facebook page

I have to say that there is nothing quite like a day at the spa. Being greeted at the door, changing into a comfortable, plush robe, and then being pampered by wonderful service providers who want you to feel like a queen for a day...who doesn't want just want to live at a spa?

A few weeks ago I had the good fortune of being able to treat myself to a day at the most wonderful spa in Colorado and one of the best spas in the country. Tall Grass Spa and Salon quietly sits up in Evergreen and is surrounded by enchanting mountain scenery. On my drive up into the mountains I was greeted by deer, gracefully wandering around the trees next to the road, a beautiful, bubbling mountain stream that meandered through the pine trees and fields of grass, and snow capped mountain tops that seem to be strategically placed just for Tall Grass guests to marvel at on the huge comfy chairs while sipping a refreshing glass of cucumber water. Tall Grass is certainly worthy of many superlatives, but for me this particular spa is permeated with a healing energy that allows me to just focus on taking care of myself and leaving the rest of my worries behind. I believe that a day at the spa is much more than a luxury; it is a unique opportunity to heal your body, mind, and soul.

The properly entitled Great Room at Tall Grass
(source: picture from TallGrass Aveda Spa and Salon Facebook page)

**Check out the website for Tall Grass Spa and Salon:

My spa day included three services; an aromatherapy massage, a haircut and color, and a pedicure. My next two posts are going to focus on massage (stay tuned for a great guest post from an absolutely amazing massage therapist!) and nails, but for now I'd like to focus on hair salons and hair treatments. Everyone loves a day at the salon and a new haircut and color can really put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. However, it takes effort to maintain what a great stylist has done so here are a few tips and tricks to help you along the way!

Part of where the hair magic happens at Tall Grass
(source: picture from TallGrass Aveda Spa and Salon Facebook page)

When making an appointment:
1. Do some research! Many women have their favorite stylist that they have been going to for years, but at times, it's nice to have a change of pace and an injection of fresh ideas. When looking for a new hair stylist, talk to your friends, coworkers, or check out different salons and see if you like what's going on. It sounds a little weird to spy on a salon, but see if you like the set-up, the hairstyles, and the products.

2. Bring pictures!! Don't be shy about getting pictures of hair styles, cuts, and colors that you like and bringing them in as inspiration. Being direct with your hair stylist and giving them an idea of what you want will help them create a look that you love, as opposed to just giving them free reign of your hair and then being upset with the end result. The same goes when getting an updo for a special event. If you don't like what a stylist is doing, pause and let the hairstylist know what you like/don't like so you will be happy with the end result. I've spoken to many stylists who all concur that they would rather have a client be upfront and honest about what they want than one who keeps quiet and becomes unhappy. By the way, I've even used pictures of Miley Cyrus as inspiration for my hair-- have no shame :)

3. Don't be afraid to ask the stylist for tips on how to style or maintain your look. They are there to help you love your hair! Use their recommended products (ESPECIALLY when it comes to shampoos, conditioners, and hair treatments). Styling products are a personal choice and obviously no styling product is absolutely necessary to the health of your hair, but the shampoo, conditioners, and hair treatments that can help seal in color to newly color treated hair are worth the investment.

4. Check for deals for college students. Some salons around college campuses will have either a discount for college students or a special deal once a month or once every few months. Keep an eye out for flyers posted on campus, or ask around at different hair salons you might see.

Color Treatments:
Color treating your hair can be a lot fun, but it also comes with some extra responsibilities if you want to keep your hair healthy. When choosing a salon to color treat your hair, whether it's an all over color or just a few highlights, try an Aveda Salon (Aveda's colors are less damaging to hair) or one that offers some kind of healing hair treatment as well. Color treatments can damage and dry out your hair, so some kind of protein wash or intensive hydrating hair treatment is a good idea to help protect your locks.

To seal in your color, use a shampoo and conditioner specially formulated for color treated hair. Aveda's Color Conserve is great and I have seen the difference between women who use it and those who don't. It's meant to be used 14 times after your treatment and if you use it correctly, your color will be shiny, healthy, and vibrant! Be careful not to use a dandruff shampoo (like Selsun Blue or Head and Shoulders) right after a color treatment- the chemicals can dry out your hair and impact the coloring. They are ok to use sparingly with color treated hair as long as you make sure to wash them out really well.

Product to try: Argan Oil
Back in March I did a post about Argan Oil, which had been used as a post-color treatment/pre-styling product. It made my hair lusciously soft and silky smooth and ever since I've been on the search for a less expensive alternative. Most of the Argan Oils I have found run anywhere from $20 to $40, but I have found a fantastic drug-store alternative that is both natural and cruelty-free!

The product I found is called Hask Argan Oil Treatment. I happened to stumble upon it in Wal-Mart of all places. For $5, I got a package of 3 18 ml (less than an ounce) ampules. I am so excited about this product because it contains Moroccan Argan Oil that isn't tested on animals, is inexpensive, and has made my hair silky, shiny, and incredibly smooth for the last three weeks!! The product label reads, "Argan Oil Treatment: Silky Smooth Exotic Shine with Keratin enhancers to add strength and repair damaged hair". Keratin is the protein that makes up both our hair and nails (so if you are giving yourself an at home manicure, soak your nails in a mixture of water with a squirt of shampoo to soften them!).

The first time I used this product I used it as an intensive repair hair mask because I had just had my hair highlighted. Now I mix it with any of the style products I use to either straighten or curl my hair and it locks in shine and softness without being greasy. I absolutely love this product for both the price, cruelty-free aspect, and how I can already see a change in the texture of my hair. It is much softer and not as dry as usual, and my hair just feels healthier!

Try the Hask Oil! I promise you won't be sorry!

**Stay tuned for a special guest post on the benefits of massage therapy!!**

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lotion Candle

If you've ever been to a Renaissance Festival, you know that there is an assortment of people, food, clothing, and souvenirs to be seen. Yesterday I made my usual trip to the Colorado Renaissance Festival with some family friends. It's been a long standing tradition and we've been going every year together since I was probably about eight years old. Now what on earth does this have to do with anything beauty?

Well, the Renaissance Festival is home to a variety of vendors from all over the country, offering everything from cinnamon almonds to dried rose necklaces, and the newest item I saw was a Lotion Candle! Intrigued by the name I had to see what this was about and wandered into the store to find scents such as Cool Water, Mango Breeze, Dragon's Blood, White Tea and Ginger, Chocolate Raspberry, Angel Wings, Peppermint Vanilla, Patchouli, and my personal favorite, Paradise.

The store had several candles lit and one of the ladies who worked there, dressed in a corset of course, did a demonstration of how the candles work. The candles themselves are entirely lotion and made of natural ingredients (soya, shea butter, jojoba, avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and essential oils). She had us hold out our hands and then she dipped a few fingers into the melted lotion jar and put the lotion right on our hands and rubbed it in. I was a little weary at first because I assumed the lotion would be too hot to put directly on the skin, but much to my surprise it was not even as hot as a paraffin treatment and so the temperature was quite comfortable!

Usually I am very picky about lotions. For some reason, I am one of those people who gets annoyed by thick hand creams and lotions and I don't like anything oily or greasy on the palms of my hands, and so often times I don't use anything. I was hesitant to try the lotion itself because I didn't want to go over to ye old privie (that's what they call the toilets there, I didn't make it up) to wash off this candle gunk. HOWEVER, I was incredibly surprised to find that despite the presence of numerous oils in the ingredient list, the lotion gave my skin a touch of moisture without the grease!

At the end of the day, my family friends (knowing how much I love beauty products) surprised me with my very own Paradise candle :) They even got me the largest size, which lasts two years! The candle itself (while it doesn't list the specific blend of essential oils) has hints of passionfruit, mango, and possibly guava, and overall smells like a Hawaiian tropical smoothie!

When trying this candle at home, it's important to take lotion closer to the edge of the candle rather than right next to the wick (where it will be the hottest temperature). If you get too close to the wick you might burn your finger a little bit but the wax doesn't get that hot since it is really just solid lotion and doesn't have a high melting point.

I can't say that I will be using this candle on a regular basis because it is not the most practical of objects and open flame is prohibited in the dorms, so I don't think I'll be bringing this to school. It will however be a nice treat to return home to and I'd love to use this at a spa night for my friends. Either way, it is sure to get some love and last me for a long time!

The candle store had three different sizes of candles: a 3 month candle, a 1 year candle, and a large 2 year candle. The 3 month candle was $15, and for such a tiny jar I would not have bought it. Truth be told, it is not something I would purchase again just because of the price ($35 for the 2 year but it was on-sale for $25), but it would be a fun gift for someone who either loves candles, lotion, or a hybrid of both!

To find out a little more about this candle company, you can visit their website: It is not a very extensive website and only features the fragrances and contact information, but if you are looking to place an order or find out if they are coming to a town near you, check it out!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday! I'm off to take a Ylang Ylang and Vanilla scented aromatherapy bath and unwind from a very busy weekend.