Topics and conversations on beauty and what beauty means.

Mothering Lessons From Season to Season

Just as trees, flowers, soil and water change from season to season so does a mother. Nobody can tell you how to be a mother. It’s a part of you that manifests itself in little ways each day. Whether you had a great role model in your own mom, or not, have read books by baby and parenting experts, mothers can look to the natural world and their own natural essence for insight and respite.

If you don’t already, pay attention to the seasons for mothering lessons from the natural world.

Winter
A tree in winter may look ugly and bare but its branches will soon grow buds, leaves, and fruit. Every situation will change. You may want to force a change, but that will often backfire when the conditions are not right. A group of trees does not become a forest because someone said: “grow, grow, grow.” Like the forest, a parent can only show patience, acceptance, and diligence when progress seems slow. Share winter’s wisdom.

Spring
Watch if your children hesitate to bloom. Be curious. Listen, the way you would to crickets chirping. You will hear a chorus of sounds and rhythms. Spring is about promise. What do your children need to overcome their reluctance? Maybe a story about a time you felt hesitant. Maybe a story of a time when they overcame an obstacle in the past. Share what you know about spring.

Summer
Feel the joy of summer – its long hours of daylight, warm sun and blue sky. When we are most comfortable may be the best time to get out of the box and travel somewhere new even if its around the block or across the world. Novelty is great for our brains and a change of scene sparks the imagination. To swim in lakes, rivers and oceans rekindles our connection to what sustains all of life. Climbing hills, watching the night sky, and walking prairie paths refreshes our sense of wonder. Share summer’s shimmer.

Fall
Fall is a time of letting go. The tree sheds its leaves with a bright canopy of color. As mothers know, letting go is part of the job. Birds, bears, fish and other members of the animal kingdom know instinctively when its time to let go. But it’s sometimes hard for moms. I read a story by Madeleine Albright, the first woman to become U.S. Secretary of State, about when her overprotective mother sent her away to a Swiss boarding school at the age of 10. Ms. Albright cried all the way there (her mother probably did too). But of that year away, she wrote: “I learned French, I learned to ski, I learned to be in a place that I wasn’t at all comfortable in, and I had to make it comfortable for myself. I learned to be independent. That year has stood me in good stead forever.” Share fall’s favors.

Throughout the seasons go ahead and be simple, natural, and confident with your kids. When a friend of mine had a miscarriage the doctors posed biological reasons, her husband assured her they would try again, but it was her mother who said: “Pregnancies are like flowers. Some bloom and others don’t, even when they are planted side by side with the same amount of sun and water.” This simple thought from her mother brought my friend great comfort. We all aim to hit the right chord at the right time. Sometimes, like turtle doves, we do!

To say “Good job” to all mothers, we are offering a free vegan hand cream this week with the purchase of YASOU’s vegan face cream set.

A Positive Approach to Healthy Eating and Skin Beauty

What you eat and how you eat are important to maintaining good health and beautiful skin. One approach to reaching this goal is to make a list of foods that nurture the skin – from green tea to salmon to colorful vegetables and Greek yogurt. Or you may make a list of foods to avoid – sugar and refined carbohydrates. Limiting your self to only “good” foods and denying yourself any alternatives, may be too narrow of an approach to meet your wellness goals.

Before embarking on a wellness quest Elyse Wagner first wants to know what your beliefs are. She partners with clients to understand their personal goals and helps them achieve them. We talked to Elyse to get her take on how food and our beliefs about food can nurture or disrupt our path to wellness. She is a certified nutritionist and positive psychology professional. As a wellness coach, she incorporates both science and what she calls “body wisdom.“

YASOU: Where do you begin with a new client who wants to make healthier choices?

EW: People may say they want to lose weight or improve their skin. I ask ‘Why?’ to understand what it means to them. What is the motivating factor – is it health, beauty, wellness or something else?

YASOU: What role does food play in maintaining health, beauty, and wellness?

EW: “Food feeds us physically, emotionally and spiritually. It also contains little pieces of information for the body. Does this food contain vitamins, fats, proteins, carbohydrates? High quality food honors the body.”

YASOU: Modern nutrition science is uncovering insights about what we eat and how we look. What do you think?

EW: Our cells are meant to multiply and rejuvenate. Telomeres are strands of DNA at the ends of each of our chromosomes. They make it possible for cells to divide. The longer your telomeres, the better indicator it is for aging well. Fried, processed food decreases the length of telomeres and can speed up aging. Studies show that foods high in vitamins and anti-oxidants are strongly related to longer telomeres. Exercise and stress reduction are also cited for rebuilding telomeres.

YASOU: What are the biggest barriers that you see people confronting when trying to reach their wellness goals?

EW: They usually come to me with a surface complaint such as losing weight or looking younger. They don’t yet have the skills, strategy or self-confidence to make the necessary decisions that lead to a meaningful, sustainable lifestyle change.

YASOU: It’s hard to change, isn’t it?

EW: It is. I try to help people establish a mindset around their own value system. For example, if they are environmentally aware organic food choices may work well because it’s a part of what they value. The same goes for what they put on their skin.

YASOU: Why do you dislike the word “diet” so much?

EW: Healthy food choices are a lifestyle whereas diets are short-term and not sustainable.

YASOU: Why do you refer to how you eat rather than just what you eat?

EW: The digestive and nervous systems react to our state of being. If we are stressed, certain hormones are released. The nervous system goes into fight or flight mode, temporarily suppressing appetite. But if the stress continues cortisol is released and that increases appetite. Stress also seems to affect food choices with those high in fat and sugar being preferred. When we are joyful and surrounded by friends or family while eating that stress effect is countered.

YASOU: How important is being true to one’s self when on a wellness path?

EW: It’s so important to live your own truth. Life brings a lot of wear and tear to our bodies and minds. We need to give ourselves permission to move forward. What do you like? What makes you feel good? It differs for every person.

Thank you Elyse Wagner, you certainly offered us a positive perspective on reaching wellness goals. You can learn more about Elyse at www.MyKitchenShrink.com.

What do Eco-Luxe, Eco-Beauty and Eco-Friendly Really Mean?

Eco-Luxe, Eco-Beauty, and Eco-Friendly are terms that have gained a great deal of momentum and are becoming part of a new vocabulary for discussing luxury, beauty, fashion and our overall standard of living today. What do these terms mean and why have they become relevant?

Environmentally friendly or environment-friendly, (also referred to as eco-friendly, nature-friendly, and green) refer to goods and services, laws, guidelines and policies that inflict reduced, minimal, or no harm upon ecosystems or the environment.* This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy.

If we want to live on a planet with clean water, fresh air and a diversity of plants and animals, we have to do everything we can to protect the Earth’s health. Being environmentally friendly means choosing a lifestyle that helps the Earth more than it hurts it, and speaking up when you see the world around you being harmed. Conserving water, driving less often, gardening, and caring about animals are all good ways to start helping. The key is to make a concerted effort to live your life in a way that is conscious of the earth, it’s beautiful creatures and eco-systems.

Eco-Luxe means ecologically-friendly luxury. Some say that ‘Eco’ (design based in environmental sustainability) and ‘Luxe’ or luxury, cannot exist simultaneously and are contradictory. This may be true in the older definition of ‘excessive consumption’, however, the way people define luxury is changing. Today’s definition moves away from heavily marketed mass-manufactured brands put together in massive factories in foreign countries to local hand-made products created by artisans with love and reflecting the local culture. People want to relax in the knowledge of where, how and by whom their products were made. Today’s luxury is ‘guilt-free’ and tells its own story.

The new ‘luxury’ returns to products of quality that provide a unique experience of ‘immersion’- embracing the natural environment and the unique culture of a place, it operates in the face of globalization and its mono-culture. It is not necessarily showy – it’s all about details. Today’s luxury indulges the soul not the ego.

Eco-beauty. When it comes to beauty, we can ask as ourselves “how do the products I buy and the companies I support, contribute to the Earth’s well being, as well as my own?” Are these products good for me and good for the earth? Are these products cruelty-free, meaning the ingredients are not tested on animals or harmful to one’s health and the environment? Is the packaging eco-friendly and biodegradable? The answers to these questions are about wellness, for yourself and the earth. Many companies like YASOU natural skin care have emerged with this in mind.

The terms eco-luxe, eco-beauty and eco-friendly have become more than marketing terms, these are being embraced by eco-conscious consumers around the globe. It’s a new movement that is returning to quality and responsibility. It is not about ego but about ones beliefs.

Today’s well-off and eco-conscious consumers are turning to eco-luxe products, ranging from cosmetics to diamonds to cars that are beautiful, luxurious ⎯ and eco-friendly.

* wikipedia

Time for a Mother Daughter Skincare Talk

Proper skincare should be one of the things mothers and daughters and even grandmothers should take time to talk about. The wisdom of cross-generational experiences, concerns, and observations can often be very helpful. The key is to listen to each other, share experiences, talk about concerns in an encouraging and supportive way, and offer observations only if asked.

With those ground rules, let the conversation about skincare begin. You can start with these questions but feel free to add or ignore as you see fit. I’m including some answers we got from mothers and daughters on an informal survey we conducted.

The only advice I got from my mom about skincare was […fill in the blank]. But times have changed and I think we can do better than that.

Our survey showed that older moms received very little advice from their moms except an occasional warning to stay out of the sun. One mom said: “I have no memory of skin care advice from my mom other than beware of too much sun because it makes your skin leathery.”

There are some things I feel are important for ust to share about skin care. Can we talk now?

Some of the things moms and daughters shared included information about hereditary traits, proper cleansing, moisturizing, skin problems, protecting skin from sun damage, healthy eating and exercise. Also, how skin changes as one ages. One mom shared this about aging with her daughter: “I am open to more anti-aging, natural products as I age. And certainly I use more sunscreen!”

One mom said: “I’ve talked with her about the importance of proper skincare. I’ve gotten her facials and helped her get higher quality skin care since she was around 12.”

About proper cleansing one mom wrote: “My daughter doesn’t always remove her makeup at night and we definitely go head to head about that one.”

A daughter wrote saying: “I wish my mom would consider using natural organic skincare rather than the chemical based products she uses.”

What do you credit for your complexion?

This is a good question because it lets you know how each other thinks about your skin and your approach to healthy skin. Do you owe it to something fixed like heredity or current age? Or do you attribute it to skincare products, stress, healthy eating or other lifestyle choices?

How do you define beauty?

Listen to hear if she defines beauty beyond physical characteristics. If not, share with her your definition of beauty that includes deeper values.

One mom from the survey said: “Beauty is the aura that comes from living true to who you are.” Another said: “Self-assured grace that emits from the inside out.”

Do you disagree with anything I’ve brought up? Is there anthing you think I should know about?

Be ready to listen, because moms and daughters may have a lot to say to each other. Here is a memory one mom shared:

“My mom did something wonderful for me. She bought me a makeup lesson and facial when I was 13. She thought I was a little heavy handed on the blue eye shadow. I learned about skincare and how to apply makeup so I didn’t look like a hooker!”

Skincare can be a topic that brings moms and daughters together in a special way. This mom used it as a bridge for bonding.

“My daughter and I have gotten massages and facials together. It’s a bonding moment that we share a couple of times a year. Somewhat so that she takes care of her skin, but mostly so that she knows how important it is to manage self care and treat herself like a queen sometimes, even if no one else does. We all deserve some pampering.”

Beautiful Skin Makes a Good First Impression

Whether you are a professional who spends the day in an office, a consultant working on assignments for clients, or a freelance journalist scooping stories on the street we are all jumping from one first impression to the next. We want to stand out for our work, and sometimes our look. It can bring us closer to those we want to know. When going for the look, get comfortable in your own skin.

People assume that what is beautiful is good. Physically attractive people generate favorable first impressions. If you don’t consider yourself one of the “beautiful people” don’t dismay. Research shows that nonverbal communication such as posture, eye contact, and tone of voice influence first impressions as well. Beautiful skin gives you an advantage.

Many people equate first impressions to one’s attire – the suit, shirt, leg wear, coat, or shoes worn. Others may focus on hair, eyes, voice and skin. It is here that everyone can succeed. When these are well attended to, the result is not only a “look” of confidence but a feeling of confidence. Your posture and sense of authority direct the look. The look doesn’t direct you.

The Daily Mail reported that 42-year-old actress Jennifer Garner was seen at dinner with her family in Santa Monica wearing no makeup. Casually dressed, with her hair pulled back in a ponytail, she sports a warm smile in the photograph. Garner wears her flawless complexion well and attributes it to avoiding the sun and her basic skincare routine.

How a woman feels in her own skin influences her style, approach, communication, decision-making, and energy level. All of these influence first impressions. The natural look is associated with authenticity. Natural skincare products are a perfect complement to the natural look. When women struggle with their skin and skincare products, the battle spills over to other areas.

The flawless skin of a 20-year old model may be a faulty goal for most of us. Get comfortable in your own skin. Moisturize, nurture, and pay attention to what your skin needs. Apply a body cream after a shower to keep your skin smooth in key areas including neck, elbows, knees and feet. Use morning and night face creams daily to hydrate, firm and reinvigorate the skin. Making good first impressions is where your skincare regime gets noticed.

Make your first impressions last. The more frequently you see someone, the more likely they are to develop positive feelings towards you. When you believe you are beautiful, you will be.

What’s Hot in Boutique Skin Care for 2015

Boutique skin care brands are offering unique products and services to people who are drawn to a particular experience that may include superb customer service and a specialized category such as anti-aging or natural skin care. Boutique brands are giving personal attention and educating customers much like a sommelier at a vineyard, a watchmaker or jeweler does. Small boutique skin care brands are relationship based with customer service continuing after a transaction is made. This will continue into 2015 along with several other trends I see coming in the next year.

Something new. Boutique brands will stay relevant by offering new product solutions that they know will aid and appeal to their customers.

Natural skin care. Hot for 2015 are anti-oxidant fruits to meet the increasing demand for more natural product ingredients.

Convenience. It is always an issue in our time-strapped world. Customers expect purchasing to be easy and seamless from wherever they are. Boutique brands will make this easy through online purchasing internationally.

Information. Customers want to know what the product does, its effectiveness and often what ingredients are contained in the product. This will all be spelled out either on packaging or through the brand website.

Partnerships. Boutique skin care products may be found at the local day spa. For example, a natural skin care brand may sell to spas that promise an all-natural experience for their customers.

Gender bridge. Men are paying more attention to skin care and expanding their toiletries to include moisturizers and body washes. Boutique skin care brands will be positioned to serve this target market.

DIY. Boutique skin care brands will be introducing products that re-create the spa experience at home.

Social responsibility. This will be seen in three ways – more social media activity from boutique brands on the Web as well as working with charities, and also providing recyclable sustainable packaging.

Global influences. Like chefs who travel to other countries to taste cuisine, boutique skin care brands will be adding ingredients and incorporating influences from across the world.

Friendly Approach. The sales pitch is replaced with solutions based on expertise that’s served with a smile. Boutique skin care brands will go beyond satisfying a need. They will spread joy through their appreciation of customers who choose quality products carefully designed for them.

Happy New Year!