Self care. It’s a buzzy term among the wellness set—but what’s the difference between that and just taking care of oneself? The way I see it, choosing clean products and healthy whole foods is great—but following health rules is not enough on its own to feel our best (in fact, sometimes being too strict has a negative impact on our health). True self-care means creating dedicated time for rituals that you do absolutely and only for you. Read, and repeat. Only for you.
Most of us have a tendency to prioritize other people’s needs over our own. And we think we’re doing the world a big fat favor by being so generous. But if you don’t fill your own tank, you’re not as helpful as you might think. In truth, if your own energy is low you’re probably unconsciously pulling other people down. C’est le truth.
I for one, have spent most of my life sucking at self-care in the way that I’m describing. But, ever the work in progress, over time I’ve incorporated certain rituals into my life that are just for me. I want to build out this list out though, so be sure to share yours!
What delightful things do you do just for yourself? Here are my top 5.
1. Airplane Mode: Bless this little button. That one simple swipe can give me a deep sense of relief (I’d shut my phone entirely, but I read my Kindle on it!). I think allowing oneself the luxury of being unreachable, even just for a short period, sends a message to the brain to chill. And amazingly, the world goes on without us when we disconnect.
2. Massages: Early research on the health benefits of massage therapy suggests that it helps with everything from anxiety to insomnia. I have never needed much convincing though, and living in LA makes regular massages accessible and affordable. But after years of trying out different spots, I finally found my holy-grail masseur deep in the Valley. While he looks like he could be in a K-pop band, this guy has some crazy healing hands.
3.Manicures: Bad for my nail beds but good for my soul. While never a totally clean practice, I have a salon that has none of the headachy odors with all of the trashy magazines. I go about twice a month and love the ladies there; it’s even started to give me that warm fuzzy feeling of community so often lacking in city life.
4. Home Yoga: I love going to a good yoga class with an inspiring teacher and a room full of sweaty practitioners. But there’s something about doing a home practice that just feels more inward and less fitness-goal-oriented.
5. Ashram Weekends: This is probably my most extravagant self-care ritual, and also my favorite. Despite the fact that I already travel on a weekly basis for work—and don’t see my husband nearly as much as I want to—I make almost-monthly weekend pilgrimages to the Sivananda Yoga Farm in Grass Valley where I did my teacher training. Just stepping foot on that property instantly hits the reset button for me, and ultimately makes me a better person (wife, employee, boss…). What I lose in time with loved ones, I am convinced I gain in quality.
What do you do just for you?
And just like that, summer is almost gone. It’s been one of great discovery for me—A Night For Green Beauty alone introduced me to so many new favorites—but we’ve been gabbing on and on about what we like…
We want to hear what made your summer hit list. What kept you feeling beautiful this summer?
It could be anything from ripe purple plums to a peaceful retreat. Of course we all love reading about the holy grail sunscreens and sweat proof lipsticks. Just kidding… lips don’t sweat. You catch my drift. Was it a rosewater lemonade spritzer? Paddleboarding? A killer new nail polish color or nighttime ritual?
Share your summer bliss secrets with us! Some things are too good to keep to yourself, right?
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
It would appear that aging happens in cycles. You start seeing a change—grays sprouting, a butt cheek falling—you fixate, then it kind of stops or slows, or maybe you just get used to it.
I remember being in my early twenties and noticing (nay, freaking out) about the first signs of marionette lines forming around my mouth. My young, vain self was very concerned about these! Now I don’t even notice them—they’re just a part of my face, a natural crease that comes from smiling. How could that be bad?
As I approach my 35th birthday this coming month, aging is more on my mind. Here’s the good I see about getting older: I’m mostly delighted with life and way more at ease with my looks. My skin is generally good and I’m a lot less stressed, though I do get the occasional what’s-the-point-of-it-all bug. I spend a lot of time with people who are a lot younger than me, and I have no envy for their youthful glow or the malaise that can come with it. For the most part, getting older is… an improvement.
The bad? My metabolism is slow as hell compared to what it once was and so is my recovery time from any bad behavior. There are definitely some new expression lines and, most noticeable to me these days, an small army of grays not-so-slowly taking siege of my scalp.
What does it mean to age gracefully? Linda Rodin (pictured above) comes to mind. A stylist, model (in her later life), and founder of the beautiful clean oil line Olio Lusso, Linda says that she never thought of dyeing her hair when it went gray at 35 (there’s that number again!). For a little aging inspiration I invite you to watch this video of her chatting about her life.
There are many gems but on aging, and anti-aging treatments, she says (around 4:45 in): “I don’t believe in anything other than what makes you comfortable… But I never fought my age.” She goes on to talk about some treatments she does, her motto being that you should do what you want, as long as you don’t end up looking distorted.
The question I have for you is this: What aspects of aging do you see as charming, or at the very least bearable? And which do you actively try to fight?
For now, I’m letting my grays do their thing. But you guys will be the first to know if I change my mind!
Early last fall Siobhan and I went to an event hosted by Tata Harper. At some point Siobhan turned to Tata and whispered, “Is it true that you’ve developed a love potion?”. My heart skipped a beat and all the other chatter faded away as I learned that come February, my pulse points would revel in a new Tata Harper blend.
The creation story behind the Love Potion is quite sweet. As told by Tata that evening in November, the Love Potion was inspired by a very pretty young lady who works at her laboratory. Despite all she had going for her, guys weren’t asking her out, so one of Tata’s chemists had an idea to create an aromatherapy blend that would help his colleague out in the love department. The seed was planted and the blend went into full development. Tata figured, what woman wouldn’t want a Love Potion? I have to agree.
Don’t let me mislead you. The Love Potion was created to do more than simply reel in the suitors. Its true purpose is to help you feel positive and radiant because as Tata knows, we’re most attractive to others when we are confident in our own unique beauty. The Love Potion was formulated with 10 aphrodisiac essential oils that are supposed to heighten sensuality, inspire an inner sense of beauty, and help you focus your body and mind on feelings of love and warmth. Judging by the essential oils included in the blend, I knew the Love Potion would do as promised as long as the composition of the fragrance was right.
I am an ardent fan of every Tata Harper aromatherapy treatment, but this new scent is more complex than the others. There are layers to discover, and they are well structured and balanced. Both sensual and energizing, the opening notes of jasmine, orange peel, grapefruit, and ylang ylang create a first impression that feels flirtatious, even tender, to my nose. The first moments are rich and sweet, though not cloying. It’s the headiness of the jasmine, the sugary ylang ylang, and enlivening spritz of the citrus at play. Then comes an undercurrent of a unique herbaceous aroma that again is rich and inviting — possibly the davana and cedarwood. This gives way to hints of soft dried grass and rose that get tangled in the timeless scent of sandalwood and frankincense, both of which dry down to a powdery puff of warmth with a faint floral finish.
To top it all off, the Love Potion is offered in two sizes: the standard 5ml green bottle with the roller ball top that can slip into the tiniest pocket or purse, and an ultra-feminine 10ml perfume bottle with a pink puffer that atomizes the blend with a glamorous flourish. Chic yet playful, the 10ml bottle comes with a tiny booklet that offers ideas on how to “inspire love every day” and includes a diagram that illustrates where you should apply the potion during moments of intimacy, ooh la la. If you really want to splurge, Tata Harper is offering a limited edition Love Potion gift set to celebrate Valentine’s Day. If you live in New York City, lucky you, ABC Carpet and Home carries it, too. Remember, Tata’s fragrance comes from flowers, not chemicals, and that alone inspires love in my book. The Love Potion is a beautiful addition to the Tata Harper aromatherapy line.