Winter (Skin) Woes

If you have dry skin like me, wintertime can wreak havoc on your complexion. Drinking plenty of water and using a humidifier (or placing a water filled pot on your radiator daily) in your home is especially important during the winter months because the cold, arid air can zap your skin of its natural moisture completely. Adding extra moisture to the air can also keep you healthy – it speeds up recovery time should you get sick and can ward off sinus infections and colds.

Just as your wardrobe changes throughout the seasons, your skin care routine should as well. Layering hydrating skin products, just as you layer on clothes before you go outside, can help keep your skin looking fresh and dewy all season long.

The four major areas of focus (this goes for oily skin as well) for proper winter skin care are the following:

Cleansing

  • Properly moisturizing your skin begins here. If you use a cleanser that irritates or dries out your skin, it will be a lot harder to put moisture back in.
  • During this time of year, I like using a milk cleanser instead of a face wash.  If your usual cleanser doesn’t bother your skin, by all means continue to use it, but make sure to avoid bar soap!

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Exfoliation

  • Since your skin repairs itself while you sleep, the best time to exfoliate is in the morning. Using an exfoliating scrub is the quickest way to brighten your skin (for a DIY body scrub, check out my post here). However, make sure you don’t over-exfoliate!
  • Using a dime size amount, scrub your face in a circular motion for no more than 30 seconds and rinse, with lukewarm, not hot water.
  • Exfoliating a few times a week should be enough to remove any dead skin cell build-up. If you have really sensitive skin or rosacea, you may want to skip a scrub altogether and just use a washcloth instead.

Moisturizing

  • After exfoliation, it’s time to treat your skin. In the morning, I like to start off with a few sprays of Evian Mineral Water, followed by Mario Basdecu’s Vitamin C serum and then finish with a day cream.
  • For makeup, I skip foundation and use a BB Cream that I bought in China. Since it’s water based (more than 60%), it also helps to promote and retain hydration throughout the day.
  • At night, after removing any makeup with extra virgin olive oil, I use the After-Party Repair cream from Kaia House.

Protecting

  • Last, and maybe most important, finish with sunscreen. If your moisturizer or foundation is equipped with SPF 15 you’re all set, if not, make sure you use a sunscreen daily.
  • Just as you have to reapply your sunscreen several times during the day in the summer, if you plan on doing any outdoor activities – skiing, snowboarding, tubing or even sledding, make sure you bring along your sunscreen and reapply every few hours
  • It’s important to note, for those who don’t think using sunscreen is important in the winter, that if you’ve ever experienced a”windburn” it’s not caused by the wind at all – it’s actually a sunburn.

By following this regimen, you skin should look and feel younger and brighter. Let it snow!

Beyoncé + Jay-Z Vegan Challenge Day 11. Mine: Sleepy Tahini Bowl

mineOn my mind up past my bedtime, no rest at the kingdom.

In this song, Beyonce talks about not being able to get enough sleep because she’s away from Jay. 

Even with her hubs away from their palace, she may have gotten some more quality zzz’s with eating more tahini closer to bedtime. Continue reading

Tahini, the key ingredient in hummus, is simply ground sesame seeds. Sesame seeds contain tryptophan, the amino acid linked with promoting sleep.

To ensure a good night’s rest, choose to eat this steamed sesame veggie bowl, and you’ll sleep like a queen – Queen Bey.

jay-z and beyonce vegan challenge

Sleepy Tahini Bowl

Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Chickpeas:
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Roasted Veggies:
  • 1 large bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
Place the sauce ingredients into a blender and blend at high speed until completely smooth. Set aside.
Cook the chickpeas: Heat a large, non-stick saucepan. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until they soften and begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
 
Add the chickpeas, water, paprika, and cumin. Stir well, cover, and cook on low, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes. (Most of the liquid will evaporate, but if they get too dry, add water by the tablespoon.) Check seasoning and add salt to taste.
 
While the chickpeas are cooking, steam or roast broccoli and cauliflower until tender.
Assemble the bowl and drizzle tahini on top.

Beyonce Mine

Activity: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Beyoncé + Jay-Z Vegan Challenge Day 15. Heaven: Vegan Chicken Tenders

beyonce friendsThe first several times I watched the complete visual album, I skipped Heaven every time.

When I eventually did watch all the way through, I sobbed.

Beyonce wrote this song about a miscarriage she experienced before having daughter, Blue Ivy, but the video depicts two best friends enjoying life until one of them passes away.

Beyonce’s pain is evident in the video, and its content struck a deep cord with me. Since I lost my best friend the previous October, it comes as no surprise why I found this video so incredibly difficult to watch (and still cry when I hear/see it). Continue reading

beyonce heaven

Now that I’ve had some time to cope with my loss, I’m finally ready to share the recipe I created with all of you.

To celebrate Jena, Heaven‘s pairing is a vegan version of her favorite food, chicken tenders.

This is definitely not one of the healthier recipes I’ve featured, but sometimes we all need some comfort food – especially during the colder months and when going through strife. 

These tenders have the right amount of crunch and chewiness to replicate the real thing, and when paired with the dipping sauces, I challenge you to convert your favorite carnivore. 

Note: if you’d prefer to bake them, do so on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower to 350 and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Vegan Chicken Tenders

  •  1 tsp salt or seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • dash cayenne (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup prepared mustard
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lb seitan or other chicken substitute, cut into 1-2″ square pieces
  • oil for frying
In a medium to large bowl, mix together the salt, onion powder, garlic powder, flour, black pepper, cayenne and nutritional yeast.In a separate small bowl, whisk together the mustard and water.
Add 1/3 cup of the flour mixture to the mustard mixture and combine well.Add baking powder to the flour mixture and combine well.
Coat pieces of seitan or mock chicken with the mustard batter, then coat each piece with the dry flour mixture.
Fry chunks of “chicken” in the oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet for 3-5 minutes, turning once until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel, serve with ketchup or barbeque sauce and enjoy!
Tip: If your chunks are turning brown or black rather than a crispy golden brown, your oil is probably too hot! Reduce the heat a small amount and try again.

Beyonce veganHeaven couldn’t wait for you…

Activity: Hug your loved ones, and spend time with people who you truly care for. I miss you, J.

Ethical Writers Coalition

Ethical Writers

 

As you can probably tell from my recent promotion of the #JustOneRhino campaign, sustainability and conservation are two very important topics on my blog, and in my life.

So, I’m happy to announce that I have just been inducted as the newest member of The Ethical Writers Coalition.

A little about the coalition: Continue reading

“Ethical Writers Co. is a group of journalists, writers, and bloggers across North America who seek to support and further conscious and sustainable living, and share information and tips with each other and our readers. 

Together we collaborate on projects with brands and companies who share our vision in the fields of fashion, beauty, lifestyle, wellness, food, home, and music. We recognize that ethical and sustainable living is a journey, not a destination, and believe in collaboration, community, and making conscious choices. We are accepting as new members skilled creatives who share this vision.”

I will continue to share my easy ethical lifestyle tips on this blog, and by joining the coalition, I hope to continue to learn and grow in my knowledge of sustainable living from all of the members, so I never feel like Mr. Gordon does here: 

To learn more about Ethical Writers Co., and membership information, visit their website.

Mission — Ethical Writers Coalition

Christmas Eurostar Cocktail

Tea and Champagne Walter and I have commonly discussed a drink dilemma we face almost daily (and particularly on the weekends) – choosing another caffeinated beverage or going with the less jolting but more fun early evening cocktail.

Most of the time, I still need a little pick me up and swap my usual coffee for tea at that point and make a cocktail later on.

Since coffee and cordials have had a long love affair as Santa’s little helper on Christmas morning, I decided to give tea a cocktail upgrade with one my favorites, champagne.  Continue reading

This marriage of two iconic drinks bridges the gap between England and France in the same fashion as the popular Eurostar train.

And, since it’s the holiday season, I used a seasonal treat, Trader Joe’s vanilla cinnamon black tea, but you can use any variety of tea you like (such as Earl Grey, or an herbal tea like lavender).

Serve this drink warm, and picture yourself on a cozy train to Paris.  

Christmas Eurostar Cocktail

  • Trader Joe’s Vanilla and Cinnamon Black Tea
  • 1 ounce brut champagne

Brew tea according to instructions and top with the brut champagne of your choice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve immediately.

 

Wellies & Wine Tour in Long Island

Long Island FerryA few weeks ago, several New England-based journalists and I boarded the Cross Sound Ferry, for a wine themed day trip to the North Fork of Long Island.

The weather prediction was less than ideal, so we promptly named the trip our “Wine and Wellies” tour due to our matching footwear.

After a slightly bumpy ride, we arrived in Orient Point and our local guide for the day, Jo Ann, owner of Vintage Tours greeted us at the dock and we led us to our tour bus for the day.

Our first stop was The Candy Man, a small confectionary specializing in homemade chocolates, and hand pulled candy canes.

Candy ManSadly, it was too early in the season for peppermint sticks, but within the next week you should be able to catch a glimpse of them being made.

I did, however, get to sample their chocolates that are fantastic in any season. I saved one of my favorites, a chocolate covered maple-flavored marshmallow, and brought it to our next stop, Kontokosta Winery.

North Fork wineryKontokosta, named for the founding brothers Michael and Constantine, is the newest and easternmost winery on the North Fork, and arguably the most beautiful. A very large, light filled barn-style building serves as the tasting room, and is a grand ballroom in scale and elegance.

The buidling was constructed using mainly recycled and reclaimed materials, and the first to be LEDD certified in the North Fork.

Kontokosta is also the only winery to be situated directly on the the Long Island Sound, offering spectacular views from its backyard seating area.

Fortunately, the wines stack up to the gorgeous surroundings of the vineyard. I was pleased with all the varietals we tried, and most pleased by the 2007 Blum Merlot, named after a former vintner and Michael’s mentor.

I was also impressed by the small variety of sauces and salsas available for purchase that were made from the small, organic vegetable garden farm on premise.

Long island wine

Vineyard stop two was Jamesport Vineyards, where we had a truly unique tasting experience – newly fermented, unfiltered, unbarreled wine on its way to becoming a tasty rosé. Jamesport Long Island

I loved the rich hue of the wine in this state, and it was very palatable – a good sign of what’s ahead.

Inside the tasting room, we tried last year’s vintage and it was a delight.

Harbes Winery Long Island

The final winery on our tour was Harbes Family Farm, where there is truly something for everyone – adults and children alike.

The amenities are found on site include: a relaxing and inviting tasting room with several different options of wines (my favorite is the sparkling Chardonnay), a farm stand with fresh fruits, vegetables, and crowd favorites such as apple cider doughnuts and corn on the cob, and a mini theme park of sorts, with pony rides, pig races, an adorably named Bunnyville, and hedge mazes. 
Harbes Farm

After experiencing so much of the wine culture in the area, we ended the day with a ride on the whimsical, 100-year-old Greenport carousel and a visit to the East End Seaport Museum where we were able to see old maritime artifacts and a shining example of the old Plum Island Fresnel Lens.

Maritime Museum Long Island

With so much packed into our day, we boarded the ferry again full, happy, and culturally satisfied.

To book your year round Vintage Tour, contact Jo Ann Perry at (631) 765-4689, and purchase ferry tickets here.

Holiday Gift Guide, Under $100

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Happy Holiday Season! To make your shopping a bit easier this year, here my list of great gifts under $100 that are sure to please a lady of any age!

1. Merino Tights, Wolford

Quality never goes unappreciated, so my list begins with extremely well made and 100% merinowool tights, that add warmth without the bulk.

2. Live The Process Two-Tone Vinyl Clutch, Net-A-Porter

This super cool clutch not only looks great but doubles as a gym bag – perfect for both the stylish and health conscious.

3. Coco Shine Candle, Prosperity Candle

This candle is gorgeous, smells fantastic, made of recycled and eco-friendly materials, gives back to charity, and can be sent in for free refills FOR LIFE. Sold.

4. Made Nungunungu Necklace, Birchbox

Picking out jewelry can be tricky, but a simple brass necklace like this looks great with just about anything on anyone and gives back to women in Kenya.

5. Chemex Coffee Maker, WilliamSonoma

Give this fancy and effective coffee maker to a Starbucks addict, and see how quickly they switch to home brew.

6. Hug Scarf, Snow Sugar Shop

Aside from the adorable name, this scarf (that doubles as a full hood) really keeps me warm and is fluffy soft. 

7. Faux Sheepskin Throw, Pottery Barn

The most luxurious, cozy throw that can be compared to living inside an Ugg (without the foot smell). I’ve had mine for almost five years now and it feels as fleecy as the day I bought it and the cream color surprisingly still looks great.

 

Fall Travel Essentials

Fall Favorites
Although the autumn is quickly making way for the holiday season, my travels this fall were made easier, and more chic with these seven fun and functional essentials:
  • Bear Naked Wipes, Josie Maran – Makeup wipes are a must-have traveling, and because I have sensitive skin, find it difficult to find wipes that don’t burn my skin. Luckily these Jose Maran wipes are made with a gentle but tough makeup cleansing blend of aloe vera, chamomile, cucumber, and vitamin E oil. The wipes are free of fragrances, parabens, and petrochemicals, and he packaging is not just adorable – a portion of the proceeds is donation to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Polar Bear SOS initiative.
  • Original Demi, PocketBraPurse theft is so common among travelers we are constantly looking for other :ahem: areas to store our valuables. That’s why the Pocketbra is genuis. With several pockets placed along the band and cups, you can squeeze your cell phone, room key, money, IDs, and credit cards without anyone knowning they’re there.  Not only will your important items be within reach at all times, but the bra is surprisingly comfortable to wear and fits perfectly. If you’re worried about the items bugling through your shirt, rest assured, that I did not notice a difference.
  • Live The Process Two-Tone Vinyl Clutch, Net-A-Porter – This clutch came in a special edition box I ordered from Birchbox and I have been using it almost daily since. It’s beautiful, so luxe looking, and soft, and if that isn’t enough it doubles as a gym or bathing suit bag, keeping any smells safely concealed within the bag.
  • Silk Cream Lipstick, MAKE – A bright red lip is prefect for fall (especially in Paris!) and this shade, Scarlet, from MAKE matches my skintone with its blueish hue. I’ve been a fan of this New York City-based brand since its induction, for the quality of their makeup, and their dedication to giving back to women’s organizations.
  • Krochet Kids The Betty Beanie Birchbox -Speaking of giving back, this handmade beanie from Krochet Kids gives back to the people of Uganda by teaching artisans excellent knitting skills, and distributing their products worldwide.  I love that their is a tag inside each hat signed by the artisan who created it, so thank you, !
  • Cashmere Tunic, Everlane – I love Everlane’s brand concept of true transparancy. This sexy tunic is made of 100% grade- A Mongolian cashmere and was almost too warm for walking the Champs-Élysées, so I expect it to keep me cozy all winter long.
  • Pink Pewter “Allison” Silver Headband, Amazon - I jump at the chance to channel Daisy Buchanan, so when I spotted this headband, I purchased it almost immediately. It is a showpiece – I wore to a friend’s wedding and got compliments all night. Pair with a faux fur jacket for a truly posh look.
  • Pegasus Earrings, Stylemint – These cosmic cool earrings were designed Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and are a portion of the Pegasus constellation. Aside from the interesting inspiration, they acheive something quite difficult to master: they are edgy while remaining delicate. I plan on wearing them as often as I can.

What are your fall travel essentials? Have you tried these items before? Let me know below!

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Food.Fashion.Travel.Fun

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