I know you want to smell this picture.  And you can…


Recently I wrote about palo santo, and how much I adore that scent.  When I learned that May Lindstrom incorporates it into a limited edition fragrance, I had to try it.  May is one of green beauty’s goddess-geniuses of scent, and I would happily dip myself in a vat of anything she’s made so far.  NMDL readers loved her morning skin and hair routine, and I bet you’ll love this scent.

Not that her line is just about scent – she makes high performing skin care products that also smell amazing.  But I’m hoping she’ll keep creating these special treats, too.

Jupiter combines organic essential oils of cocoa, coffee, palo santo, sandalwood, vetiver, nutmeg and valerian into a base of macadamia nut oil.  It’s appropriate for any gender.  Right now, May has a few left as part of a limited edition collection that includes classic favorites The Problem Solver, The Clean Dirt, and The Treatment Brush (read the NMDL love here and here).  It’s billed as “For Him,” but trust me ladies, there’s a high probability you’ll want it for yourself.  Maybe you can share.  A little.  Oh, and if you note the $180 cost of the package, you are getting Jupiter for free, lucky you.

The Scent Experience:  The first thing I notice with Jupiter is the coffee, then the chocolate.  After several minutes on the skin it evolves into a deep, creamy coalescence of EOs.  I am a huge fan of vetiver and sandalwood, and while they don’t stand out individually in this scent, they really make it stick the landing.  The palo santo lightens it up a bit.  I’ve been keeping the perfect little black glass roller bottle next to my workspace, and it’s my energizing and spirit-lifting reward after a morning of work.  Ahhhhhhh.

The LE collection is an amazing deal, no code required.  And, the new May L website is lauching today (July 4th)!  I can’t wait to see what it holds for us.  The lady has a gift for visual treats as well.

Have you had a sniff of Jupiter yet?  What do you think?

Palo Santo Tree (the oil comes from fallen branches or dead trees)

Despite my sensitive skin and nose, or maybe because of them, I am a lover of essential oils.  I’ve been playing around with my own blends for years, so I can’t believe that I didn’t know about Palo Santo until recently.  Also known as Holy Wood, it has quite a unique scent.  It’s somewhat comparable to a high quality frankincense, with the addition of an ever-so-soft woody edge.  Palo Santo is considered purifying, calming, and physically grounding, yet spiritually uplifting.  It’s good for meditation, creativity, and anything that requires sustained concentration.

I’ve been trying out ways to bring this wonderful scent into my life.  Here’s what I love…

R.L. Linden & Co. Ironwood Signature Perfume Oil:  Susannah has been loving this company for its skincare and tea.  I love a roll-on perfume oil!  I can’t tolerate alcohol-based scents at all, so I’m always happy to see companies making fragrance in this form.  On the website it’s characterized as a warm, unisex scent with woody, balsam, vanilla and anise notes.  It’s sweeter out of the bottle than what I’d normally choose for a fragrance, but it develops into a scent I really enjoy after several minutes on the skin.   ($38/.33 oz, $3 sample)

Rahua Hair Wax:  This vegan, gluten free, creamy styling wax is very lightly scented with Palo Santo.  The scent is so light that it will layer well with any of your other scented products and not create conflict.  The texture is much softer than I was expecting for something called a wax, and very easy to work with on wet or dry hair.  A teensy bit will give control, and more can be used for sculpting.  I use it to give a little hold and a modern matte finish to my messy, chin-length curls.  NuboNau is up and running again (yay!), and you can find Rahua there any day, but I think Fridays are particularly good shopping days, don’t you?  ($32/3 oz)

DIY sugar scrub:  A sugar scrub is such an easy DIY, even non-DIYers will enjoy this.  I choose my container, fill with sugar, add several drops of my EOs, cover with oil, and mix.  My favorite sugar is coconut palm, as it has a really nice scrubby texture and its own molasses-like scent.  I use these mainly for hand scrubs, so you may want a finer sugar if you will use it on more delicate skin.  My oil of choice is meadowfoam, but anything you like will do.  I just mixed a batch I absolutely love, with Palo Santo and Moroccan Blue Chamomile EOs.

Have you met Palo Santo yet?  How have you used it?

image via

clockwise from top: London, Godiva, Claudine, Dahlia, Rue

I’ve been a Zoya fan since I first came back to nail polish after going clean.  It’s the only brand I’m absolutely certain doesn’t make my knuckles swell up and give me rashy patches on my hands (gross, right?).  I just really think my girly tendency for pretty nails shouldn’t include a health hazard!  I’m working on an investigation of the offending ingredients, and hope to be able to enjoy some other great brands one day.  In the meantime, I’m quite happy in the massive universe of color and texture that is Zoya.  The matte PixieDust finishes (particularly London, Godiva, and Dahlia) are my favorites.  A couple of the standard shiny finish polishes have struck my fancy this season as well (Claudine, Rue).

Since I’m all about red shoes and red lips this spring, I’m keeping my nail polish palette pretty neutral.

Generally, I like paler colors on my toes and darker colors on my fingers.  But right now, I’m pairing my new love, Claudine, on my toes with bare, buffed fingernails.  Claudine debuted last fall, and is what I’ve searched for in a standard finish dark polish.  Zoya calls it a striking dark meteorite gray metallic.  Check.  It’s nearly black, but not flat, and not overly sparkly either.  When I tire of my bare fingernails, the sugary beige Godiva is up next to share the stage with Claudine.

Other pairings of late include the blush of Rue on toes with dark matte PixieDust shades on fingers (black Dahlia or grey London).  The choice of Rue was a bit of a departure for me, as I don’t usually do pinks.  Lots of different skin tones can achieve a similar rose/nude effect, with the subdued spring hues from the Naturel collection.

I think one could create a sweet twist on French tips with these colors, but I’m not that coordinated, and I always do my own nails.  I’m kind of over the painting one nail in a different color thing, too.  But there must be some other trends I’m not yet hip to.  So, school me, dear readers.

What nail polish looks are inspiring you this spring?  How do you pair up your polishes?  Any fun techniques?

This past January, I bought my first pair of red shoes*.  I quickly realized that I needed more.  Fortunately, I love to shop for a bargain.  With spring fully in gear, I have hunted and gathered my way to a few pairs.  For casual days, I love them with faded ankle-length skinny jeans.  And red lips.

The Red Shoes: I am insanely in love with my pointy-toe red flats and ankle boots (not pictured) from Frye.  The only eco-fashion thing I can say about them is they last for freaking ever.  Not cheap, but if you are patient you can find them on sale.  And this pair of Converse canvas sneakers does the red shoe thing in playground casual (more support than the standard Chucks, too).

The Skinny Jeans: I’ve long been a Levi’s kind of gal, but I recently discovered Henry & Belle jeans.  They make super soft, super stretchy, comfortable jeans, in lots of colors and styles.  And – bonus – a portion of every sale goes to a variety of good causes, such as Every Mother Counts and Girls on the Run.  I like to order from Melange, which has great sales, a cute blog, free shipping and superior customer service.  To top those jeans, they also carry great organic cotton brands like Prairie Underground and Raw Earth Wild Sky.

The Red Lips: Still working for spring are my fall reds – RMS Diabolique and Ilia Femme Fatale.  I’ve also recently discovered Alima Pure’s Lip Tints, which are immense chocolately improvements on the old peppermint formula.  I can’t tolerate peppermint on my lips, so I was thrilled to try the new tints.  Cranberry is a warm burgundy that really has enough pigment to wear as a lipstick, though it feels like a balm.  The glossier Holly Berry is a spiced rose that is super subtle.  I’m loving wearing the RMS or Ilia pressed into well-moisturized lips like a stain, with one of the Alima tints over as a balm.  I generally like to put a balm over my lipstick, but sometimes a clear balm kind of sucks the color away.  These tints are a perfect topper, and can handle a touch-up on their own when I don’t have time for a full reapplication.

Just some Ilia illuminator around my eyes and RMS bronzer on my cheeks finishes my barely-made-up spring face.

One More Thing: Those exposed ankles are going to need some glow…easily provided by my old favorite, May Lindstrom’s The Good Stuff, and my new favorite, Yuli’s Harmony.  Or, try one of my other favorite body oils.

What are your spring inspirations?

*actually, my first was a pair of Adidas sneakers in the mid-nineties, but I’m not counting that right now


Best Hand Cream Ever, No Kidding

Until recently, I’d given up on water-based hand creams.  I could never quite find what I was after.  Not enough moisture, too sticky, too stinky – nothing in a clean formula suited me.  I’m big on hand care, and for a long time I stuck with body butters or thick oils, both commercial and DIY.  These work well, basically.  Which is to say that as long as I carry my own Dr. Bronner’s soap around everywhere, and apply a butter immediately following every wash (and I wash a lot), my hands don’t crack and bleed.  I still enjoy the luxury of applying butters and oils at home.  But during a work day, or while out and about, it eventually became cumbersome.  In a rush to get back to my job, I’d slack on my rub-backs-of-hands-together application technique, and end up with greasy handprints on my folders.  Or in my hurry I’d not allow enough absorption time, and get oils on the sleeves of a jacket or sweater.

Having already fallen in love with many things Osmia, I finally decided to try what the brand had to offer my hands.  Cue the choir of angels, I’ve found the holy grail of hand cream – Osmia’s Vanilla Shea.

Here’s what’s to love:

  • Super light scent, vanilla with a touch of lemony citrus, kind of like cake batter
  • Quick absorbing, not at all greasy
  • Great for daytime and overnight use
  • Ultimate perfection in packaging, easy to handle, fits in your bag
  • A tiny bit goes a long way (a full pump would cover legs, no problem), easy to dispense the right amount
  • Elbows and feet love it too

But here’s the most impressive thing.  With regular use, I don’t even have to apply it after every wash.  My hands are simply healthier and more resilient.  This really astounded me.  I am just so freaking dry, sensitive, and reactive.  But my hands are soft and happy all the time now.

Oh, yeah.  It comes in another scent too.  The Linden Rose works just as well, and smells of spicy roses.  It’s still lightly scented enough to suit me, though somewhat stronger and longer lasting than the vanilla shea.  I keep multiples of both scents around.  My work bag, personal bag, bedside, and bathroom counter are all stocked, after multiple repurchases.  This cream got me through the winter, and I’m still finding it perfect well into spring.  I shall never be without it.

Have you tried this magical combination of aloe, shea butter, hydrolyzed oats and lovely oils and extracts?  Which hand cream is your favorite?