Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter oil Viewing “The Ten Commandments” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” are two Easter rituals in my family and I’ve flavored the season with the Bib

Viewing “The Ten Commandments” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” are two Easter rituals in my family and I’ve flavored the season with the Biblical flavor of a Chilean olive oil with the personality of a good wine. Bread to dip in the oil is an upgrade from popcorn for these movies.
Atlanta-based Foster Fine Foods LLC is the first to import and distribute Las Doscientas, Premium Single Varietal, Extra Virgin Olive Oils from Chile, in America. If you’re lucky, you can look for it at the National Association for the Specialy Food Trade’s 57th Summer Fancy Food Show, in booth in Washington, D.C., from July 10 - 12. You can go online and try it in your home. Huerto Azul jams and chutneys will be there, too, and the photos look enticing.
Makers say Las Doscientas means "The 200" in Spanish. It represents the 200 plots of farm land that were joined together to make the current Las Doscientas estate in the Maule Valley in Chile. The olives are estate grown, handpicked and then, for maximum freshness, first cold pressed literally within minutes of harvest. The oils are then packaged in a uniquely shaped glass bottle with a wooden, drip-free pour spout, and are available in two single varietals: Arbequina and Picual. I enjoyed Arbequina, which is fruity and smooth for salads, vegetables, poultry and fish. Picual is intense and peppery and best used for roasted meats and stews.

Purple passion
I was like a raccoon distracted by a shiny object this week when our ad man Ed Kestler brought a purple Swarovski Crystal pen, filled with 160 crystals, to be photographed for an ad. Gladys Wojcik, owner of Nederland Jewelers, figured news of this perfect gift for Port Neches-Groves High School grads ought to go in the Port Neches RiverFest section. The pen looked like a glittery wand, or a rainbow contained or something to call unicorns.
“People just love it. They love the look, the love the color, they love the price,” Wojcik said.
At $35, shoppers can get blue, black, pink or white crystal pens to match their bags, she said.
Ordinary ball-point refills keep your pen in blue or black ink, she said.

Tape just got better
Scotch Magic Tape is hitting the big 50 and celebrating by making my favorite tape even better. Look for Scotch Magic Eco-Friendly Tape this month with a refillable dispenser and tape made from more than 75 percent renewable or recycled materials. A plant-based adhesive makes it “magic” and it’s still photo-safe and can be written on with pen, pencil or marker.
Confession: I know few people more cheap (I prefer the term frugal) than myself, but life is too short to get stuck on lesser tape. Scotch Tape makes for a happy desk and a more productive lifestyle, in my summation.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book it with Yats, bliss and hairy business

Less than a year ago I heard that some New Orleans folks are called “yats” based on the phrase “Where y’at?” Yvonne Spear Perret grew up a “yat” and didn’t know it, but she sure was taking in all the Mardi Gras etiquette, methods of proper beignet eating and jargon of her town as she grew up. In “Yat Wit: Chicken Gumbo for the New Orleans Soul,” this funny lady covers everything from the Tooth Fairy leaving doubloons instead of cash and newcomers alarmed that they’ll arrive at a crawfish boil with their dinner still alive to the nuances of catching the best beads and living with roaches. I love this book and I love that town. I’m NOLA bound as soon as possible.

“Bliss Every Day”
This book, dubbed a practical guide to find peace and happiness, reminds us that our lives can change completely over time, so we might as well imagine a more positive outcome. Deborah Fairfull wants us to do things that make our soul sing. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone we deal with was singing and we could form a choir? Little exercises help form her bliss lessons. Here are a few:
• Write down all the things that you are grateful for in terms of life lessons. What did you see as difficult and painful at the time, but now you understand the deeper meaning and appreciate the growth it brought you?
• Write an optimistic story about your future, covering all levels of your life, such as relationships, career, finance, spirituality and health.
• Write down things you love about someone else and give it to them.
• Do kind things for others and learn to love people as they are.

The book on hair
Curlies, straights and wavy girls can wear it well with ideas from a full-of-photos book called “Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girls’ Hair: The Cutest Cuts and Sweetest Hairstyles to Do at Home.” Order this book and organize a slumber party, because little girls in your life will want to braid, clip and flower one another’s hair all night long. Readers can learn about caring for each hair type and there’s more fun in store. Guests can make crafts at this party. Tips from the “Cool Ways to Keep Clips” list includes painting bread storage or tackle boxes, clip them on a decorated ribbon or make a fold-out hanging cosmetic bag all fancy.

Tubes, bottles and jars
Bazillions of dollars are made making women smell good, but I’m often asked “What stinks?” by my loving spouse who claims to be allergic to fake flowers. As soon as he’s gone I burn incense, but I do try to keep his zone as fragrance free as possible. Enter John Masters Organics Bare, a line with organic goods and natural extracts that do the lotion/shampoo/detangler/body wash jobs in a subtle way, offering luxury and confidence from discreet, white bottles. Scan labels for ingredients such as vanilla and coconut oil, but smell them not. This way, we’re both in luck.
Gehwol Med Salve for cracked skin is a trusted German favorite in a tube with healing power from chamomile, labeled suitable for diabetics. As sandal season approaches, this lanolin product with zinc oxide and eucalyptus oil will make Americans and Europeans beach ready. Gehwol’s “classic” packaging reminds me of creams found in my grandmother’s cigar box alongside medieval-looking hair clips. To me, that’s another indication that it works.
Epoch’s Sole Solution foot treatment comes in a bronze-colored tube noting its crushed allspice berry is what indigenous Central Americans grab for persistent dryness and cracking. Ice Dancer Invigorating Leg Gel glides out of a silver tube. As promised, the mint (favored by Southwestern Native American Tribes) blends with menthol, eucalyptus and Horse Chestnut in a fast-absorbing gel. I’d have loved this in my waitress days. There’s a clear warning to avoid eye contact but I confess I dabbed some at my temples to alleviate a headache. Those buying Epoch’s NuSkin Baobab Body Butter will enjoy knowing a tree will be planted to reforest Malawi. Their skin’s hydration can help the environment.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sounds Good: Inhale spring from allergy to luxury

Inhale spring: From allergy to luxury
I wouldn’t suggest you experience some fabulous bath product the way I’ve been doing it, but I don’t actually have a bath. I tried SheaMoisture’s Organic Red Bush & Sage Congestion Relief Bath as a scrub, and it felt cool and invigorating, until I got to my face. Burn notice! But the unlikely combo of healing shea butter and detoxifying, mineral-rich dead sea salts is a hit with peppermint, rosemary, thyme and eucalyptus. Please, use as directed, and you’ll probably love it as much as I do. Egyptian Musk goes into the actual body scrub, and I wonder if Cleopatra had product so luxurious. I’m also finding a big bar of this line’s sage soap to look very Biblical resting on the shower ledge.

Aura Cacia’s Soothing Organic Milk & Oat Bath with relaxing essential oil is a packet of luxury designed for the bath. I have a shower only, so I just rub it into the skin and breathe. It’s like inviting spring into the bath.

Bag of summer
Unlike women of leisure who can’t get enough designer handbags, my bag love is for the everyday functional, like Reisenthel’s sturdy polyester and aluminum foil loop shopper that lets you pack up 26 pounds of food, beach staples, Bible school prep or craft work in ultimate style. Oval handles padded with something akin to garden hose are the star, because they make the bag stay propped open, without pesky loops to flop over and get in the way. Even my husband was impressed with the “nubbins” underneath to keep your shopper elevated from the germy ground. Sling it over the shoulder or carry it by hand. Go for classic colors or patterns of colordots, marigold, I.love and birds. Reisenthel Accessories of Germany has a catalogue full of colorful totes for every haul. They’re new to me, but have been bagging it for 40 years.

Give ‘em 16 weeks
The paperwork talks a good game of science, but I love that it comes from nature. A foamy wash of aloe, rose, chamomile, rosemary and cucumber has been beginning and ending my day. Exuviance Age Reverse asks for 16 weeks to let its Bio-active wash, day and night lifts and eye contour deal with uneven pigment, deep lines and crow’s feet and produce firmer, younger looking skin and lighter age spots. I wish I’d had this wash, said to stimulate cell renewal, in high school. I’ve been waiting for it ever since. I admit it, I feel firmer, too.

Taking a shine
Microsponge technology comes in a tube from Paula’s Choice, with shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish you can take a shine to. This is how I plan to go from a YMCA workout or walking the seawall to some important news-breaking meeting while looking as good as I can in my fast-paced life of journalism. Doesn’t that sound exciting. Now on “slow” days in my real life, I can still keep the oil slick down on my face while I flit from laundry basket to weeding the back yard on my days off.

Sounds Good: Advice from Nurse Noni; what women dread

Advice from Nurse Noni and what women dread
New stuff to share this week includes “suckers” for the hung over and new ways to help with an old problem, the hair women do not want on their heads. Gosh, I love writing these columns:

Listen to Nurse Noni
Nurse Noni asks that you drink responsibly. If you are reading this on a Sunday morning and have overindulged, she hopes that her lozenges, dubbed Hangover Sucks, will make you feel better. She’s mixed in Vitamins B and C with essential oils of ginger, raspberry or lime with other natural stuff designed to help ease an upset stomach and dry mouth. The box says all this, and that’s about all, so I’ll stop here, too. Except to say, they taste really good, even if you don’t “need” them for the intended purpose.

My sister, who has ties to India, mentioned threading as a hair removal technique long before you could get it done at Central Mall. Slique is a clever, handy tool that allows you to thread up a scissors-like tool and thread yourself. I feel countless women across the globe have left me behind, because I can’t seem to get the results used in the demo, but I will gladly ask my sister to pass Slique on to her daughter, who will likely use it with optimum results.

I yelped loudly enough for readers to hear me when I tried a new product (for y’all) Confession: I hadn’t read the directions, which tamed the pain. Twist-n-Roll Tweezers is called a hair threading tool, but the threads are a metal spring that roll off tiny hairs. Just a few twists of practice made me an expert with this clever tool for “peach fuzz” or “coarse” hairs. Catch the demo at Facialwork.com.

Frankincense and Myrrh
Argan oil sounds like a “Lord of the Rings” beauty agent to me, but this rare stuff is collected from the nut seeds of desert trees around Morocco. Mix it with sea kelp, and resins frankincense and myrrh as components of healing shea butter and your hair styling and bath experience can become way more exotic than your vacation plans. Vitamins and fatty acids are what you want to treat eczema, psoriasis and stretch marks and Shea Moisture blends up the hard-working and good-smelling Raw Shea Butter Collection that includes body wash, lotion, soap and hair treatments that would have made Cleopatra jealous.

Gently, please
Papaya extract and aloe vera keep Envie De Neuf’s Gentle Exfoliating Gel a texture that’s new to me. It still feels soft as it “mildly dissolves lackluster dead skin cells, pore-clogging impurities and gobbles them up with no irritating friction.” I have heard women discuss their sensitive skin and imagine they could get results they like from this luxurious gel that comes in a tube with an eye-catching oval cap. It’s what I’d call fancy.