Making Sun Safety Sexy

Annnnnd the DC heat is back for the season. Just last week, I was reaching for a coat in the morning, and now I’m sleeping on top of my covers, waiting for my apartment building to turn on the AC. While the weather has me dreaming about grilled corn on the cob, frozen swirl margaritas at Lauriol Plaza after work, and weekend road trips to the beach, it’s also a reminder to stock up on products that will protect your skin from sun damage. Not only do I want to help you avoid peeling and tightness after a day of laying out unprotected, but skin cancer rates are up among young women–young as in 20’s. 20’s! Nobody likes a lecture, so why not make sun safety sexy and fun? Why not think of it as an excuse to shop for some beach accessories? That way, you can still go and out and do everything you want, but your body won’t be suffering. A few things on my sun list this year are new sunscreen (check the expiration date on yours, or throw it out if you’ve had it for more than three years), a cute sun hat, and a chapstick with SPF in it for each purse so I’m always covered. I’m looking for a sunscreen that is light but contains Titanium Dioxide, which is crucial for blocking UVA and UVB rays. I’m thinking of trying Origins Sunshine State ($24.50), as I have yet to try anything from Origins and not fall in love with it. This Juicy Couture floppy hat is a bit outside my price range ($68) but I do have a birthday coming up…but at only $1.89 apiece, I will be stocking up on Chapstick Ultra with SPF 30.

What’s on your sun shopping list this spring?

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Philosophy Passover/Easter treats

Happy Passover and Easter week! Our apartment was filled with delicious aromas last night as my roommate prepared kugel and charosas for a Seder, and I am looking forward to Easter brunch this Sunday at Birch & Barley. I have been dying to brunch there ever since I read about their Grand Marnier french toast on one of my favorite DC blogs, Bitches Who Brunch. Mmmm! Speaking of delicious…I don’t think there is any other word to describe Philosophy skin care products. Whenever I make a trip to Sephora, I can be found lingering in the Philosophy section, smelling the melon daquiri body wash or coconut frosting scrub. It is amazing how true-to-life these scents are, and every bottle reflects the creative, playful spirit of the company by offering a fun recipe or words of wisdom. If you’re thinking of putting together a Passover present or Easter basket for one of the lovely ladies in your life, you might want to brighten it up some mouthwatering Philosophy products such as the orange jelly bean, sugar chick, and chocolate bunny shower gel trio, peppermint lip glosses (with SPF 20), or dark chocolate three-in-one shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath. Can you imagine anything better than soaking in hot chocolate? Shop online and sign up for emails to receive a free gift with your first purchase over $25! Now that is sweet.

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Cool as a Cucumber


Leave it to DC to jump from 40 degrees and overcast over the weekend straight to 80 degrees and sunshine today. Rapid fluctuations in weather leave my skin feeling confused, but fortunately I had booked a Sunday afternoon free mini facial at Origins. I like to make appointments about once a season so I can spend some one-on-one time with a consultant going over any new concerns and of course trying out some new products. Origins consultants are always so friendly and professional, helpful without laying on the guilt trip. This time I met with Lindsay, who picked out some products that she thought I’d like to play with. Although I am a faithful user of Origins GinZing eye cream, Lindsay recommended I try Eye Doctor, available at Origins for $32. This cucumber-based eye cream is extremely gentle, and is perfect for when your eyes are feeling a little dry  and puffy after a long night out (nothing will dehydrate your skin like alcohol) or a weekend of walking around in the early spring cold air. It’s more than just soothing though–Eye Doctor also has ginseng in it, giving your eyes a kick of energy while nourishing at the same time. The scent has light, earthy undertones from the cucumber. Imagine if cucumber spa water came in cream form. Now imagine gently caressing your eyes with this cucumber spa water cream. Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? While GinZing will wake you up, Eye Doctor will cool your eyes down after a long day and restore the moisture to the delicate skin in the area above and below. I also learned this trick–let eye doctor chill in the fridge while you are at work, and you’ll come home to an even more refreshing DIY cucumber spa treatment.

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Cheat Sheets

Unfortunately, there is no simple way to make traveling completely stress-free. No facewash will hold your jacket for you as you’re putting on your shoes and belt on the other side of security. No toner will de-ice the plane any faster. No moisturizer will keep the baby from screaming for all. five. hours. But Clean &Clear’s Oil Absorbing Sheets, available at CVS for $5.79, did make my trip to Boston this past weekend significantly more enjoyable. Between the hassle of security, stale airplane air blowing in my face, and donut or pretzel dog that I’m usually scarfing down during my layover, my skin tends to acquire a greasy sheen to it. That’s why I picked up a pack of these sheets on the way to the airport. Dabbing  just one sheet  on my t-zone, nose, and chin was surprisingly effective in removing the excess oil. It left my face feeling so much lighter and smoother without leaving any patches of dryness. Along with drinking plenty of water, these sheets are the secret to looking effortlessly refreshed after a long day of travel. And when your college roommate or long-distance honey is waiting for you on the other end of your flight, the last thing you want to be thinking about is rushing to wash your face.

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Skinsational Product of the Week: The Grapeseed Company

I am so excited to tell you about this product! As much as I love time-tested companies like Origins and Neutrogena, I also love discovering smaller companies with innovative ideas and unique products. I stumbled upon the website for The Grapeseed Company and was so intrigued by their story. Kristin and Peter founded The Grapeseed Company in 2004 in the wine-rich countryside of Santa Barbara, California. Their products are derived from the byproducts of winemaking, (giving rise to the concept of vinotherapy) and many of the ingredients are organic and local. What is clear from their website is just how much thought they put into every step of making their products, from using aloe juice instead of water (water is more bacteria-friendly), to bottling their products in a color that will help keep the product fresh. This thoughtfulness and commitment to their customers is also evident in their excellent customer service. Kristin recommended that I try their lavender and rose toner when I asked about their products on their blog. When the package arrived, the toner was beautifully wrapped in green tissue paper, and was accompanied by several free samples. Down to a handwritten thank you on the receipt, their attention to detail and care is unmatched. I am absolutely loving this toner! The smell is such a therapeutic blend of florals, and it settles very gently on my skin after I have cleansed and before I apply moisturizer. I am traveling for work at the end of the week and I think this will be just the product to stick in my purse so I can spritz at the end of the flight, when I’m feeling tired and greasy. Pour yourself a glass of merlot and do a little browsing through their products or their blog. Who knew red wine could be good for your heart, your soul, and you skin? I’ll drink to that!

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Have a Nice (Mon)Day

This weekend was the official to start to DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival which means a few things: 1) the tourists are back in full force so be prepared at all times to offer directions; 2) restaurants and shops are putting themed drinks and treats on their menus (I had the most incredible cherry blossom cupcakes from Crumbs on Saturday!) and 3) you’ll be spending more time outside, so you’ll want to be extra sure that you’re applying moisturizer with SPF as part of your morning routine. I like to use SPF products even during the colder weather months to prevent damage from harmful UV rays, so I have quite a few products to recommend, and a few new ones that I’m excited to try this spring! I thought I’d start with one of my absolute favorites, Have a Nice Day from Origins ($37.50). What I love about this moisturizer in particular is that it is perfect for the late winter/early spring transition. Rich in texture, it evens out the dry skin that is left over from winter, while the Titanium Dioxide and Vitamin E protect your skin while you’re sipping a margarita at a patio happy hour or going for an early evening jog to admire the cherry blossoms. I find that many moisturizers with SPF in them make my skin feel a little greasy, but this–like so many Origins products–just feels light and refreshing. And when you start you morning on such a positive note, how can you not Have a Nice Day?

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A Double-Shot for your Eyes

The good news: after an excruciatingly long Thursday (meeting, lunch meeting, meeting, conference call…) Friday is just eight hours and one deadline away. The bad news: the weekend forecast is nothing but a mix of rain and snow. Did March come in like a lamb? Because it is certainly going out like a lion. A cold, wintry lion. I was looking forward to going for a run around the Tidal Basin to mark the official start of the Cherry Blossom Festival, but it looks like it might be more of a read in bed sort of Saturday morning. To brighten up my weekend, I am thinking of picking up some fresh spring flowers along with a loaf of  Atwater’s cranberry pecan or kalamata olive bread at the FRESHFARM farmer’s market in Dupont. To brighten up my eyes before work tomorrow morning, there is one product that I will be reaching for: Origin’s GinZing eye cream ($29.50). Origins is really great about letting you take samples with you, which is how I discovered this product. I had never faithfully used eye cream before, and was a little unsure about where to start, especially since the skin around my eyes is so sensitive. GinZing is light, but packs a very powerful punch. It actually contains caffeine! Massaging it into the tops of your cheekbones and right below your brow bones will wake you up with a refreshing tingling, and will lighten up the shadows beneath your eyes better than an actual mug of coffee (although the two go together quite nicely). I’d also suggest sticking a little sample of it in your purse and reapplying after lunch to get you through the home stretch. If we can’t have sunshine, we can at least have bright eyes!

What are your plans for the weekend?

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