Makeover/Mask Monday

I cut my hair in Naples, Italy, this March after a sleepless night that started when I didn’t know when to stop drinking grappa.  To say the least I was hungover and tired.  And Naples is a wild city where I pounded cups of strong espresso and looked for a dark church to rest my eyes for a few moments.  And then I decided to cut my hair.  I had been thinking of cutting my hair for a few weeks.  I was in the process of changing my life, and that process undoubtedly requires one to change also their appearance, right?  I don’t know what I was thinking.   I know it grows back.  Just very slowly.

Now I am trying to make it grow a little faster.  This is what I do every Monday:

Apply for 1 month, once per week.

Hair grows about 10 centimeters.    (I don’t want my hair this long, but . . . ) Apply for 1 month, once per week. Hair grows about 10 centimeters. Mask recipe is very simple and is based on the fact that mustard powder warms the skin of the head and causes a rush of blood to the hair follicles. 2 tablespoons of dry mustard powder (available from the department of spices) with hot water to dissolve 2 tablespoons, 1 egg yolk, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of sugar (the more sugar, the meaner).

Mask recipe is very simple and is based on the fact that mustard powder warms the skin of the head and causes a rush of blood to the hair follicles.

First, I rinse my scalp with full-strength Apple Cider Vinegar.  I’m trying to treat my dandruff this way.  I use a squeeze bottle, like for lotion, in my shower.

For the mask:  2 tablespoons of dry mustard powder (available from the department of spices) with hot water to dissolve 2 tablespoons, 1 egg yolk, 2 teaspoons of olive oil  (I also use coconut oil), 2 teaspoons of sugar (the more sugar, the meaner).    Massage the mask into your scalp–this isn’t for your hair as much as for your scalp.  You will feel a tingling sensation.  I wrap my head with Saran Wrap to keep it neat.  I’m so clumsy that this mask mix would end up everywhere.  You can also wrap it again with a hot towel.

Use the egg white as the base for a facial mask.  Or make an omelette.

While my hair is growing as fast as . . . mermaid hair

    . . . . I treat my skin to a facial.  I fell in love with Sumbody when I lived in California.  Based out of Sebastopol, they serve as a major inspiration for my plastic-free skin care mantra.  Deborah Burnes, CEO and founder, has a terrific book Look Great, Live Green that I carry with me when I go shopping for skin care products.  She gives great advice, has a list of ingredients we should all avoid, and shares recipes for making your own (safe) products at home.  Slowly, I am replacing my makeup and beauty products with her line of amazing, effective products.

Deep Sea Face Mask  I am using the Sumbody Deep Sea Face Mask to help detox my skin of the crappy products and silicone-based ingredients that I’ve been using for way too long.  It takes time to detox.  This is a powder mask that stays fresh until you activate it with a liquid.  It lasts for a long time.  Sometimes I whip it up with the egg white.  I’ve also done fresh-cut aloe gel and honey, banana, and lemon juice.  This last week I paired pineapple juice with fresh whey that I had left over from making ricotta cheese at home.  Fruit acids plus lactic acid help to gently exfoliate dead skin cells.  Also, try apple cider vinegar for oily skin, avocado for dry, or cranberry juice for a boost of antioxidants.

I use the Coal Train detoxcleanser from the same “detox” line of products.  Detox Cleanser 2oz

I alternate this cleanser with honey or olive oil with brown rice flour.   Here’s hoping for mermaid hair and clear skin!

makeup brushes

Fall Makeover: the make-up brushes

I’ve been “spring cleaning” this season, which I find to be more therapeutic and rewarding than when real spring hits.  I love nesting for winter.  It’s nice to cleanse the emotional, physical and material world to make room for productive hibernation.

Today I cleaned all my make-up brushes.  Twice.  The first batch of water was so gross that I let the brushes sit for just a minute before I had to rinse them and start over.  The water turned gray.   The (super easy) recipe:  one tablespoon dish washing liquid, one tablespoon white Continue reading

gaga applause

DIY Beautiful Body Products

This past week I’ve been refilling and remaking my stock of hand-/homemade bathroom supplies.  I quit using conventional deodorant, shampoo and conditioner earlier this year, and opted instead to make my own or buy products that don’t contain chemicals or aluminum, in the case of big business deodorants.  Aluminum has been found in breast cancer tumors and in brain autopsies of people who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.  The proximity to the lymph system, plus application on broken (shaved) skin makes the absorption of aluminum especially potent for women.  There are conflicting reports about this possible causal relationship, and supports the uncertainty of what exactly causes cancer.  It seems like everything causes cancer!  And to single out one specific thing would be nearly impossible.  So I choose to err on the side of caution and pick products that don’t contain aluminum. Continue reading

oil cleansing

Oil Cleansing for Sensitive Skin

I’ve been a huge fan and advocate of using oil to cleanse your skin on a daily basis.  Oil breaks down oil without stripping the skin of essential moisture. Often times for me it’s simply olive oil and brown rice flour to gently exfoliate.   I use it on my upper arms, letting the oil rest for a few minutes before I shower. On “spa night,” I exfoliate from head to toe with this, and then rinse.  It’s great for circulation, fighting cellulite and stimulating the lymphatic system.  Another  product that I’ve come to love is BIO-BIO BABY cleansing oil/Olio DetergenteContinue reading


In Love, and lipstick

I just moved to Saint Paul from Montana via Italy and  California and Oregon.  In the past year I’ve accumulated five! addresses.  I set out to change my life at the start of the year and little did I know that I would be living again near the Canadian border.  I thought I would be in California forever.  I will miss California this winter, I know, but I moved to Saint Paul with the love of my life, a man I’ve known for 17 years, since the “Freshman 15” of 1996 at Montana State University.  I’ve always loved this dear friend of mine, but now I get to be in love with him.  It gets better every day.

Moving is always like an anthropological process.  You touch most everything you own, and decide:  do I keep it?  Or, do I give it away?  You can re-invest in your things or start over with a new identity.   You can recall those phases of life, good and bad decisions, the trends, your geographical location and let the nostalgia set you into a sigh or a string of giggles.  Over the past five months, I had been living out of a suitcase or my car.   I had a roof over my head, but all my necessary possessions, including my cat, fit into my car.  So moving to Oregon for love, then to Saint Paul, was so easy.  I was really free.  Continue reading


Olive Oil + Brown Rice Flour = the best exfoliant ever!

I’ve been keeping a small bowl of olive oil and brown rice flour on the counter.  Every morning, I rub a little on my face and my upper arms–I have those annoying red bumps and discoloration that I’ve been struggling with for years.  Then I wash my face and use a washcloth to dust off my arms, or I jump in the shower to rinse it all off.    This has really been working to eliminate those pesky bumps, and I’ve tried a lot of different products and advice.   I will also try coconut oil and avocado oil, but I had the olive oil handy, and it has been working wonders.  Try mixing citrus juices and honey to help brighten skin, and the citric acids will help exfoliate, too.  I just finished the Master Cleanse, and I would rub my face and arms with the lemon peels after I had juiced them.  Now in the transition phase, I’m juicing grapefruit and oranges, and put the leftover pulp right on my face.  After five minutes, I rinse it off and wash my face.  I’m traveling to Italy this spring.  I’m packing a small bag of brown rice flour, and when I arrive, I’m buying a small bottle of olive oil.  This will be my face routine.  I’m leaving all my typical toiletries at home and buying new Italian products.  Nothing beats a foreign pharmacy for trying a new shampoo, local soaps and decadent oils.   And  I love a quirky international toothbrush.

winter skin

Winter Skin & the Luminous Look

I have to admit that even I get burned out on wine and writing about wine.  Since my sommelier exam I’ve been wanting to drink anything but wine.  Give me saké, pour me a Moscow Mule, cheers me with something on-the-rocks, anything but wine.  And in terms of writing and blogging, I want to write more about make-up and fashion and books.

The make-up look for the season (for me) is Hollywood Glamour:   luminous skin with a matte finish with red lipstick shades and black eyeliner.  I’m channeling Anne Hathaway and Rooney Mara.

Continue reading


Finally! Beach Hair!

beach hair recipe    From the wonders of Pinterest comes the best recipe for styling beach hair.  Believe me.  I’ve tried a lot of products to add volume and texture to my fine hair.  Bumble and Bumble just doesn’t cut it anymore, not at that price tag.  I used the recipe without hair gel . . . . do people still use gel? I might be tempted to add a teaspoon of leave-in conditioner to the mix, but the coconut oil I think adds just the right amount of weight.  It’s not greasy at all, and I haven’t had to wash my hair yet.  (It’s been three days now)  It actually seems to dry out my hair the same way hairspray does to hold style.  I mix a little dry shampoo that I also made via Pinterest at night before I go to bed for extra bed head in the morning.  I am loving this!  Plus, I can afford it!  xo


Emu Oil is the New Miracle Oil? I think so.

I’ve been using Emu Oil for a little while now and have fallen in love with its amazing benefits.  I love oils, and have written about their protective and restorative properties.  (I like coconut oil, too.  Half the bottle stays in the bathroom, the other half gets used in the kitchen.) But Emu Oil is where I am finding the most and best healing effects.

So many uses!  I mix it with my nightly wrinkle cream before bed on my face, use it on the second-degree burn/blister from the espresso machine, dab on insect bites, and smooth it over the rough pink bumps on my upper arms.   After a bikini wax, nothing soothes or helps prevent ingrown hairs quite like Emu Oil. For parents with babies, this would a great skin soother for the delicate skin of the diaper-wearing, rash-getting set. Continue reading