I’ve always assumed that there were shower people and bath people. I’ve been in the former camp my whole life. Who has time for a bath! What will I do in the tub for that long? What if I drop my iPhone in the water?! Yet I’ll spend hundreds of dollars and travel thousands of miles to soak in someone else’s mineral baths. So silly. But a few weeks ago when I felt like I was coming down with that first cold of the season the only thing I wanted to do was crawl into a hot bath with a cup of tea. I added a generous scoop of Nell’s Remedies Champion Soak ($25) and, after an hour sans a single electronic device emerged a bath person. I also felt immediately better and slept like a baby that night. This is what happens when someone who understands the healing powers of salt and organic essential oils creates her own line of products. Nell’s Remedies is the earth child of Spot Spa proprietress and massage therapist Nell Rueckl. Her scrubs and soaks are intended to help heal skin and reset the body’s energy field. The Champion Soak actually draws lactic acid from tired muscles and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients including turmeric, balsam and fir and ginger and bergamot, to thoroughly revive and soothe. The scent is herb-y and exactly what you want from an aromatherapy experience. Baths for everyone!
More lovely gift ideas from our Indie Holiday series right this way . . .
Up until a few weeks ago I had never even heard of oil pulling. Then one day HuffPo ran a story about that ritual and my inbox and social streams flooded with inquiring minds. Even my mother, a dental hygienist, started fielding questions from patients. What sounded to me like something akin to water boarding or an enema (had to be said) turned out to be an Ayurvedic approach to oral health, with the added yet scientifically unsubstantiated benefits of preventing disease, relieving a hangover and detoxifying the body. All music to my ears. Except for the actual act, which requires swishing coconut, olive or sunflower oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes. Yup. Gwyneth does it while she packs gluten-free lunches for Apple and Moses.
I decided to give it a whirl while I worked. The key is to find a distraction, because once you start swishing it’s game on. The oil became foamy in my mouth after a few minutes, making it too easy to swallow—the last thing you want to do if, in fact, there are a bunch of toxins swirling around in there. I made it the full 20 minutes, then spit out the milky mess in glass. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but nothing really happened. I didn’t feel any different. My teeth didn’t look and different. I still needed to floss. Which brings me to the underscore of this story: Oil pulling doesn’t replace brushing and flossing. It’s a supplemental thing. And if I had more time and patience (or a personal chef and body double) I’d give it a month. Nothing holistic happens over night. I will, however, give it another go next time I have a hangover.
Have you tried oil pulling? Anxious to hear about your experience!
Time for a little honest confession: I am stuck in hibernation mode. If I owned up to how many nights I’ve spent tucked in on my couch with a plate of cozy comfort food, glass of wine and Netflix as my company, I’d be mortified. I feel sluggish, sedentary, and worst of all, stuck. Fortunately, as February officially gets rolling I’m making small moves to cut this loaf-like lifestyle short. One to the easiest changes I’ve adopted is adding dry-brushing to my morning skincare routine. An old-as-the-hills detoxifying technique, dry-brushing boosts circulation, increases lymphatic drainage, reduces cellulite and improves skin’s texture and elasticity. Before I started scrubbing down, I hit up Joanna Vargas, facialist to the stars and dry-brushing devotee, for advice on getting started:
What to use:Sonia Kashuk Spa Body Brush ($7) With natural boar bristles and a sleek design that won’t take up loads of space or clash with your bathroom decor, this brush is a total bargain.
How to do it: Using a bone-dry brush, start at the tops of the feet and sweep the brush upwards towards the heart, using long motions. Spend extra time on areas that tend to be more stagnant, like the inner thigh, and don’t forget to the backs of your arms, back and tummy.
When to brush: Try it before you get into the shower in the morning. With daily repetition, you will see a difference in your skin quality and cellulite in two weeks.
What to avoid: Don’t brush too hard. Skin should be stimulated but not irritated. And anyone with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis needs to be very cautious in the affected areas so as not to cause more sensitivity. Either skip those areas or if they cover larger areas of the body then perhaps skip this altogether.
After brushing: Post body-brush is a great time to moisturize. Vargas likes to follow with a nice body butter containing shea and cocoa butter.
Simple as it is, this two-minutes-at-most routine has given me a leg-up energy-wise, leaving my skin feeling awake, and my outlook invigorated. Though it’s just a small step, starting my day with dry-brushing seems to set me moving in a less-lethargic direction, which leads to better choices later on in the day. (Sorry Netflix.) –Meghan
Are you busting through the winter blahs this month too? From products that perk you up to easy detox remedies, we’d love to hear what you’re doing to get (or stay!) motivated.
You don’t have to do a full-on detox or juice cleanse to start incorporating some of their hallmarks into your daily life. I know it sounds SO cliche but I’ve learned that if I have a few healthy staples on hand—frozen berries, avocados and spinach for a smoothies; kale and apples for juicing; almond butter for sugar cravings—I’m less likely to reach for something questionable. I even keep a jug of Naked Green Machine in the fridge for snack or breakfast in a pinch. At the office I have a reputation for walking around with a swampy looking glass that’s filled with water and some powdered green drink. My current blend of choice is Aloha’s The Daily Good. Each individual serving is packed with 10 whole foods including spirulina, wheat grass, berries, vitamin d-rich mushrooms, and ginger for digestion boost. They’re dried using a special process that retains 100 percent of the nutrients. I like that there’s no artificial sweetener or flavors, but I also that The Daily Good tastes REAL. Not as grassy as some, making it mellow enough to drink straight with water and awesome added to fruit smoothies. It’s not only a super-convenient way to sneak in extra veggies, but it’s the most natural way to stay energized through the afternoon slump.
Good things don’t often come cheap and at $75 for 30 packets The Daily Good is no exception. But at $2.50/serving it’s a smart alternative to pricier fresh-pressed juices. Plus, you can try it for free for seven days from now through January 31. Bottoms up!
Friends, have you been to Arrow? It’s one of those gem of a boutiques in the North Loop, brimming with wildly cool indie fashion and grooming goods. I’ll be camped out there this Saturday from noon to 3pm for Arrow’s Clean Slate Club event. Our little local troupe, including Truce Juice, fitness coach Jenn Weldon and consigner Solidago, will help you get your mind, body and closet in shape. Stop in for some fresh juice, a gifts with purchase of Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics, and trade in your gently used designer clothing. Doesn’t it feel good to de-clutter?