When Life Hands you Lemons

Life constantly brings changes and sometimes when least expected.  Recently due to circumstances that were beyond my control I had to move my skin care studio.  Not only did I have to move but I had two weeks to find new digs and that is no easy feat.

I would be lying if I didn't say I was worried.  A Massage Therapist associate of mine had downsized some time ago to a one room studio that she shared with an Acupuncturist and Esthetician.  Luckily, I remembered that the Esthetician recently left and I contacted her regarding the space....and the rest as they say is history.

I am back working with a fabulous massage therapist that I worked with  for many years. The space is lovely and very convenient for my clients.  So as you can see, life handed me some lemons but I made lemonade.  So what does this mean for my clients?  Well, except for different hours nothing will change.  Same facial services, same handcrafted organic skin care products. So if your are in Baltimore, come in for an appointment and share a glass of lemonade with me...seriously.



The definition of a milestone is a significant event in your life.  I certainly am experiencing that.  In a few days I turn 65.  Wow, that is mind boggling to me. But it has been a great and interesting 65 years and I look forward to more experiences on my journey.

While not technically considered milestones, I cannot help but reflect that this year marks 26 years practicing esthetics, 12 of those years as a solo Esthetician, 10 as an Aromatherapist and Herbalist, and 9 as a formulator of organic skin care products.

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Certainly I am more than just my career as an Esthetician.  I am a strong, passionate woman that is a wife, daughter, sister, a gardener, a foodie, avid reader, and so much more.

And since most milestones are celebrated, I will be celebrating mine with my husband, family and friends but I also want to celebrate and give something to my clients, many who have been with me a very long time.  So while I rarely discount my services or put my products on sale I decided this was the time.  Each of my regular clients coming in for a facial this month will receive a goody bag.  In addition they will be automatically entered into a drawing for a prize.  There will also be a drawing for anyone who purchases products in house.  A surprise discount on a facial to be announced and last but not least on June 3, there will be a BOGO Sale for all online purchases.

From 12:01 am until 11:59 pm June 3 purchase any Renew Botanicals Organic and Vegan moisturizer and you will get a free cleanser of your choice.  Simply choose your moisturizer and cleanser and use the code sixtyfive at checkout 

or choose the special BOGO for Aging With Attitude by purchasing the Aging With Attitude Facial Serum and Elixir and receive of free Oil Cleanser.  Use code birthday at checkout

I look forward to many more years or bringing you healthy radiant skin.  And I wish you all a happy journey and enjoy your milestones.

Renew Botanicals Organic and Vegan Skin Care Now Available

Born out of my love of aromatherapy and all things plant related, my passion for providing my clients with the best holistic skin care, and my deep respect for the planet, in 2009, I created my customized organic and vegan skin care line, ReNew Botanicals. Using my 25 years experience as a Master Esthetician, I formulated a unique blend of predominately organic, all-natural, vegan ingredients that allowed me to truly provide my clients with the absolute best in holistic skin care.  These products, loved by my clients are now available to purchase here

Because everyone of us has our own unique skin type just as we each are unique, the standard cookie cutter skin care products do not always work for us. That is why I formulated a wide variety of cleansers, toners and moisturizers to address your individual needs.  If you are not sure of your skin type or what products would be the best for you please contact me and I can help you decide.

A perfect example are these two moisturizers.  The first Soothe Moisturizer  is for an sensitive skin that is dry, which is how most product lines formulate their sensitive skin care products.

However, what if you have oily sensitive skin,  or acne that feels irritated.? You still want to soothe and calm your skin but you don't want a heavily moisurizing product.  That is when the Herbal Soothing Moisturizer comes into play.  This moisturizer has many calming and soothing herbs but is very lightweight and penetrates the skin fast.

You can have healthy radiant skin by using the right skin care products for your skin.  Today can be the beginning of your journey to healthy radiant skin.  

Herbal Profile: The Often Maligned Dandelion

The Herbal Profile is a new feature to my blog posts.  Once a month I will feature an herb, and what better way to start then with the first herb to pop up in early Spring.  Notice I call it an herb, though many refer to it as a weed. It is the bane to the suburban dweller who considers a pristine green lawn sprayed with pesticides a thing to be admired.  But this wasn't always so. 

According to some sources, it wasn't until the 1800s that dandelions were removed from lawns. Recordings dating back to Roman times as well as Egyptian, Greek and Chinese show the reverence for this beautiful flower. In fact people migrating to different countries brought the seeds with them because of their medicinal benefits.  Every part of the plant is useful.  As mentioned it can be used for medicine, food and even dye.  Dandelions are more nutritious than most of the vegetables in your garden. Try them in a salad or stir fry.  Herbalists use the dandelion is aiding digestion due to its bitter principles. It is said the root can improve bile flow which would help alleviate liver congestion, bile duct inflammation, hepatitis, gallstones and jaundice.  Dandelion leaves create diuretic activity which can cause considerable weight loss.  In skin care dandelions provide a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, D and trace elements.  The root is is beneficial in promoting clear skin.

What is a bit ironic is that dandelions are good for your lawn. Their wide-spreading roots loosen hard-packed soil, aerate the earth and help reduce erosion. The deep taproot pulls nutrients such as calcium from deep in the soil and makes them available to other plants. Dandelions actually fertilize the grass. So there is no need to be spreading harmful chemicals all over your lawn.  So give them a try.  And even if you don't like the taste or plan to use them in healing, just admire these tenacious pretty yellow flowers. Bees love them too!  Would love to hear your comments, recipes and thoughts about the dandelion.

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The Does and Don'ts of Exfoliating

 Back in the 1990s it was thought the more exfoliation the better.  Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Retinol were popping up in every conceivable skin care product.  At that time it was thought, that causing inflammation by over exfoliating would stimulate the skin's natural healing responses. My views and many other professionals ideas on exfoliation have changed over the years.  I believe that exfoliation is a necessary component to good skin care. It removes dead cells, decongests the pores and allows important ingredients to penetrate the skin. However, too much or too aggressive exfoliation is counterproductive, unless undergoing a treatment to correct a skin condition. Before I go into the problems caused by over exfoliating let's look at the different forms of exfoliation used today.


Enzyme Peel – Predominately made from fruit enzymes. The most common, and what I use most often, are found in papaya (papain) and Pineapple (Bromelain) and Pumpkin. These enzymes dissolve the dead skin cells.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids – Simply put, these acids dissolve the “glue” that keeps the dead cells on the skin. These acids are derived from fruits, milk or sugar.  These are available in many over the counter products and are used for professional chemical peels. 

Retin A and Retinol - derived from Vitamin A acts very much like Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Mechanical Exfoliation – Dead skin cells are removed using friction with materials such as jojoba beads, bamboo powder, rice powder, ground nuts, etc. Only very fine powders or rounded material should be used because irregular granules may cause micro cuts and cause irritation or spread bacteria.

Clarisonic Brush - Clarisonic is a skin care tool sold at specialty beauty stores that uses a softbrush. Athough the company claims it is a makeup remover, to me, it is really another way to manually exfoliate the skin while removing dirt and makeup in the process.  My problem with Clarisonic is not with the machine itsef but with how often the instructions say to use it.  It would be bad enough if they recommended once a day, but they go so far as to say it is gentle to use twice a day.  As with any at home exfoliating product, once or twice a week is all that is needed.


Microdermabrasion -minimally abrasive instrument to "sand" your skin, removing the thicker, uneven outer layer.  My problem with microdermabraision is 1) it is very aggressive and it is not suited for all skin types 2) it is overused and 3) the training on this is minimal.  When I was trained at two different spas the training was less than one day and many of us never even had a chance to try it during the training.

So just what is wrong with too much or too aggressive exfoliation?  Well, it goes back to causing inflammation in the skin.  When the skin becomes inflamed it causes free radical damage, therefore, creating tissue destruction which ultimately leads to aging.   In addition this type of exfoliation removes the lipids (fats) barrier. This moisture barrier protects against invading microorganisms, chemical irritants, and allergens. If the integrity of the moisture barrier is compromised, the skin will become vulnerable to dryness, itching, redness, stinging, and other skin care concerns.

All the exfoliants I use, or recommend for home use, are made with the finest ingredients and will exfoliate the skin without causing any trauma.

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It is Not Just Your Face That Needs TLC during the Winter

Most articles and blogs tell us how to care for our skin during the winter but they focus primarily on the face.  But caring for the rest of our skin is just as important.  Many clients tell me their skin itches and is flaky. This is because the skin is dry, it is lacking oil.

But it doesn't have to be.  And it really doesn't take much time or effort to keep your skin feeling smooth and supple.

  • Try not taking very hot showers...I know, I know, it feels so good but that hot water strips oils from the skin faster than warm water. Long showers or baths actually dry out your skin.
  • Use a moisturizing shower gel or soap made with olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter or some other moisturizing ingredient.  No Palm Oil please....see my blog post on Say No to Palm Oil
  • Use a sugar or salt scrub.  It removes the dead skin, allowing your body lotion, butter or body oil penetrate your skin, which brings me to...
  • Apply a body lotion, body butter or body oil to damp skin.   Personally, I love body oils.  My skin leans to the drier side and I find the moisturizing with rich scented oils not only keeps my skin moisturized longer but hold the essential scents most of the day.

You may also want to add dry brushing to your routine.  Dry brushing helps to stimulate your lymphatic system which will eliminate toxins.  It also helps with exfoliation (though not as much as the scrubs).  Dry brushing also improves circulation to the skin, encouraging the elimination of metabolic waste.

It is just as important to keep well hydrated internally.  During the winter we tend to drink more coffee and tea and forget about our water intake.  Keep drinking your water and eating lots of fruits and veggies.

Follow these tips and I promise that itchy, flakey skin will no longer be a problem.

The New Year and Health Resolutions

I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.  Among all the resolutions many of us make, losing weight and eating healthier usually top the list.  I am no exception, since I am not one to deprive myself of the food and drink I love during the holidays.

And while eating healthier is always preferable, a detox cleanse diet is not the best approach during the winter months.  As an Herbalist and Holistic Esthetician my goal is to be in balance within myself and with nature and I recommend this to my clients as well; a healthy body means healthy skin (remember our skin is our largest organ). For me, as the seasons change, the foods we eat, the herbs we use change too. If you live in a cold climate like I do, winter is a time for rest and nourishment.  This includes more sleep, meditation, and nutrient rich foods.  Juicing and eating cold foods like salads are counter intuitive to what our body needs.  Doesn't it make sense to eat the foods that are in abundance this time of year,?  Root vegetables for example. And doesn't it make sense to prepare foods by using methods such as braising, soups, stews, roasting? 

Whereas in the summer we naturally want lighter foods, cooling foods and who wants to turn the oven on for hours and braise a roast or veggies when it is 90 degrees outside?

Here are some tips for getting back to a healthier you this winter:

  • In addition to root vegetables, add other seasonal veggies such as winter squash and leafy green. 
  • If you eat meat make sure it is grass fed and add bone broth to your diet.
  • Limit sugar intake and when you do use a sweetener make it raw local honey or maple syrup
  • Use warming herbs and spices.  Sip some Chai
  • Take time out to rest, meditate.
  • Take a bath with relaxing herbal bath salts

We can still get on track by gently detoxing and eating healthy this winter and save the cleansing/ juicing for the Spring.  After all, both Dandelion and Nettles are the first spring herbs and probably the best detoxifying herbs. If we look to nature, she has the answers.

A Cup of Cheer

The holidays are upon us.  You may be hosting parties or small gatherings for friends and/or family.  Over the past few years I have been serving my version of Mulled Cider, using my Chai spice mix, at my Holiday Shopping Events and to my friends at small gatherings at home.  It has become so popular with my friends and customers that they ask if I will be serving it again this year.   So I decided to share it with you all.  There are no exact proportions since I tend to cook to taste and rarely follow a recipe.  So use this as a guide and have fun with it

So first assemble your favorite chai spices.  I use 1-2 Cinnamon sticks, about 1 tsp dried Ginger (you can use fresh),  2 -4 Cardamom pods, 1 Clove (I don't care for too much clove).  I don't use Black Pepper but you can certainly add some Peppercorns. You can also add Star Anise, Allspice or any other spice you like.   I tie all the spices in cheese cloth or a muslin bag, this makes it much easier to clean up.

Mulled Cider

Chai Spices (see below)

½ gallon of organic unpasteurized cider

Orange peel (optional)

Rum to taste (optional)

Whipped Cream and nutmeg (optional)

I place all the ingredients except the Rum in a slow cooker and let simmer for 2-3 hours.  Add Rum to taste.  Pour into glasses and top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg or a simple cinnamon stick.  If you want to get really festive serve in martini glasses with a sugar and cinnamon rim.

Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday Season and Cheers!

The Oil Cleansing Method

A few years ago the Oil Cleansing Method or OCM became very popular, primarily due to the DIY bloggers.  However, oil cleansing goes back thousands of years.  The ancient Greeks and Romans woud smear their wet bodies with a mixture of pumice and ashes, and then apply olive oil over that.  They would then use a curved metal scraper called a strigil to scrape off the mixture, which would take the dirt and grime that had accumulated on the skin along with it.  The reason oil is so effective in cleansing is like attracts like. But back to the DIY bloggers on this cleansing method...after awhile mixed reviews started popping out.  I believe this is because different oils work for different skin types.  As I stress in many of my posts, there is no size fits all in skin care.  Each of us is unique as is our skin.


When purchasing your oil cleanser first check to see which oils are used.  If Castor Oil is listed be aware that it can be very drying to the skin.  If your skin is already on the drier side or even combination this is going to dry you out even more.  Coconut oil can also be problematic for a skin that is experiencing breakouts and clogged pores, because like Mineral oil, it can further clog your pores.  So for a oily skin, with or without breakout, chose a cleanser made with light fast penetrating oils such as Hazelnut, Marula, Grape Seed, Meadowfoam Seed and Jojoba.  For drier skin Avocado, Pumpkin seed, Apricot Kernel, Moringa and Argan are some of the oils to look for.  Renew Botanical's AGING WITH ATTITUDE's Oil Cleanser is perfect for dry/mature skin.


When the correct oils are used for your skin type it can be a luxurious way to cleanse your skin.  The Oil Cleansing Method, however, is not for the person in a rush.  It does take a little more time: First dampen your skin.  Then pour a small amount into the palm of your hand.  Add a little water and start emulsifying the oil.  Gently massage into your skin.  Then take a wash cloth that you wet with very warm (not hot) water.  Place on face and allow to sit a minute.  Repeat.  Follow with moisturizer.

Have you tried this method yet?  I would love to hear your experience.

SKIN NOURISHMENT: Showcasing Winter Squash and Pomegranate Seeds

The saying goes "we are what we eat"; and we are.  This is so true when it comes to our skin.  Since the skin is our largest organ it stands to reason what we eat will affect our skin.  We now know that an array of colorful vegetables and fruits are good for usMany are rich in antioxidants which help fight free radical damage (I will get into this in an upcoming blog post).  So with fall upon us, bringing an array of beautiful vegetablesI thought sharing a recipe for one of my favorite side dishes would be fun.

I found this recipe on Epicurious.com a few years ago and changed it up a bit to fit my likes. I replaced the Dandelion greens, which are a spring green, with the arugula; swapped out the delicata squash for the acorn and lastly switched the pine nuts for pumpkin seeds.  The change of the pumpkin seeds for pine nuts was done because I have found finding pine nuts that are not exported from China very difficult and costly.  The pine nuts from China seem to leave a metallic taste in my mouth.  Also pumpkin seeds seem to fit with the fall and are very rich in vitamin, antioxidants and protein.



3 tablespoons pomegranate juice

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoons butter, divided

 1 medium acorn squash, halved, seeded, cut intowedge

1 pound arugula greens, thick stems trimmed, leaves cut into 2-inch lengths (about 12 cups)

3/4 cups pomegranate seeds

1/4 pumpkin seeds, toasted


  1. Whisk pomegranate juice and vinegars in bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Rewhisk before using.
  2. Melt 1 teaspoons butter in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of squash wedges. Cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer squash wedges to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat 2 more times with remaining butter and squash wedges. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
  3. Preheat oven to 450°F. Transfer squash to oven; bake 20 minutes.
  4. Mix greens, pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts in large bowl. Toss with half of dressing. Divide among plates; top with squash. Drizzle with dressing.

If you are not Vegan adding some goat cheese or feta makes a nice accompaniment. 


This week, after two years in the making, I am so excited to announce that I have launched my new line, Aging With Attitude.  Not only is this line a labor of love but is a reflection of my beliefs regarding aging.

Aging With Attitude by Renew Botanicals

Aging With Attitude by Renew Botanicals

I really dislike the term" anti-aging".  Our society looks down on aging but in many societies it is considered a privilege and the elders are revered.   I think we all should consider it a privilege and a gift, after all what is the alternative?  So I embrace it.    Julia Louis-Dreyfus said to New Beauty Magazine (and I agree) “I hate that word, [anti-aging]! It should be something positive, like pro-aging.”  That is why I named my line Aging With Attitude.  I don't want to spend my life acting like a victim of aging.  Freaking out over every line, spot, or gray hair.  BUT I still want to look fabulous. 

And you can and should look fabulous.  Accepting the fact that you are getting older does not mean you should neglect yourself.  Your skin is your largest organ.  So it stands to reason that we need to respect and care for it as we do the rest of our body.  As every article, and our doctors tell us, we should eat a healthy diet, get exercise, and keep our minds active as well.  Beauty starts from the inside, both in health and in our minds.

As we get older our skin and body go through many changes.  I want to help you embrace those changes by helping you look and feel your best. Using the correct products for your skin will keep your skin looking radiant. The correct ingredients for your maturing skin will keep it looking smooth and subtle.  Aging With Attitude will give you glowing beautiful skin for the woman you are now.  No false claims about erasing winkles; just the truth.  By taking good care of your skin you can be stunning at any age .  The key is to start now. 

Aging With Attitude available at www.renewbotanicals.com

Aging With Attitude available at www.renewbotanicals.com






Caring for Your Skin at Home: Pt. 3 Moisturizing

As its most basic function, moisturizing your skin prevents moisture loss or dehydration.  if you neglect to use moisturizer, even the most oily skin will become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to irritation, inflammation, itchiness and sensitivity as well as fine lines.

As I mentioned in the previous posts on caring for your skin at home; choosing the right products for your skin type is crucial to having healthy, radiant skin.  This is just as important, if not more, for your moisturizer, as this is a leave on product.  And while sealing in the moisture and creating a protective temporary barrier from environmental factors, is its most important function, moisturizers can also help bring balance and improve the appearance of your skin depending on the ingredients used.  The wrong ingredients for your skin type, even the incorrect essential oil blends for your type of skin, can make an oily skin more oilier or create a combination skin problem where your cheeks are dry but the rest of your skin is oily.  Therefore, as with any home care regime, it is always best to have your Esthetician make the recommendations for you.

Caring For Your Skin at Home: Pt 2 Using a Toner

First let us put aside the misconception that you need a toner to shrink your pores or to remove cleanser residue.  You cannot shrink a pore.  You can clean out a pore which will bring it back to it's original size but you cannot shrink the pore.  As for removing cleanser residue, that was true years ago when many cleansers were not water soluble.  Today, if you rinse properly you should have removed all traces of your cleanser. The only exception to this is if you are using the Oil Cleansing Method.  

So why do you need a toner?  Let me start off by saying there is no one toner for everyone.  Just like using the right cleanser and moisturizer for your skin type, the same is true for toners.  A toner is the second step to give your skin what it needs to become healthy and balanced.

Most toners will provide extra hydration which is important no matter what your skin type is.  In addition, many provide anti-inflammatory protection which is important in a variety of skin types such as acne, rosacea, and even aging skin. Some are more astringent which helps to balance an oily skin.  However, you must be careful when choosing the correct toner, especially for oily skin.  You never want to dry out your skin with a toner even if you have very oily skin.Stay away from any toner that contain SD alcohol, ethanol and isopropyl alcohol or acetone.  Of course, there should be no artificial colors, fragrance or other synthetic ingredients. 

Most toners can be used either as a mist or you can apply to a cotton pad and wipe your skin.  I love to include hydrosols also known as flower waters in my formulations.  They are distilled from plants, are pH balanced and smell lovely.  Like essential oils, each has different properties that can improve the appearance of your skin.  There is a hydrosol for every skin type.  Do you use a toner?


Caring For Your Skin At Home, Pt 1: Cleansing

When taking a shower, do you use a cleanser on your body?  Would you just stand under the faucet?  You probably answered no, yet it amazes me how many people will not cleanse their face, especially at the end of the day.  Cleansing your skin is an important step in keeping your skin healthy and radiant.  Just as important, however, is choosing the right cleanser.

If you choose a cleanser that is not appropriate for your skin type you may cause problems.  No matter what type of skin you have, you never want to use a cleanser that will make your skin feel dry and taunt.  Although it may be tempting to get that squeaky clean feel, that cleanser will strip your skin of the good oils — making your skin react by producing even more oil!  Always choose a cleanser that is pH balanced.  If your skin is sensitive choose a cleanser free of fragrance, even essential oils.  If it is dry, choose a milk or cream cleanser.  For those with oily skin and acne choose a gel cleanser but as mentioned above, make sure it does not leave your skin feeling tight and taunt.  Another cleansing method that has become very popular over the last few years is the oil cleansing method.  I love this type of cleansing but it is important that you are using the correct oils for your skin type, just as with any other cleanser.  I will be discussing the Oil Cleansing Method in an upcoming blog.  However, the best way to choose the perfect cleanser for your skin type is by an Esthetician's recommendation.  In the last number of years many companies have added alpha hydroxy acids or beads to their cleansers.  I strongly urge you not to use these types of cleansers.  While exfoliation is an important step in a good skin care regime, over exfoliation will cause inflammation, dry skin and possible irritation. And please never, ever use bar soap on your face, especially mass produced, even if it says non drying or moisturizing.

The most important time to cleanse your face is in the evening.  Even if you do not wear makeup your face is continually covered with bacteria, pollutants, and dirt. Many of us are so tired by the time we get ready for bed that we decide to skip cleansing our face.  Here's a little tip I tell my clients:  If you are not going out for the evening, as soon as you get home from work cleanse your face and apply your moisturizer.  This way it's done no matter how tired you are later.  Oh, and please remember, you must apply moisturizer after you cleanse....more about that in Part 3.

So, now you are on your way to beautiful, healthy radiant skin.  Coming next:  Toners

Don't Fear Facial Oils

Most of us, especially people with oilier skin will do anything to avoid using oil as part of their skin care routine.   Unfortunately, oils have gotten a bad rap.  Oils, or what we usually refer to as lipids when discussing skin, create a barrier protecting your skin against the elements.  Damage to this barrier occurs daily, so maintaining an effective barrier requires a continuous application of products containing lipids. . For example when oils are applied on the skin it prevents dehydration not only at the surface but at the deeper levels of the skin.  In addition, lipids increase the water resistance of the skin which is quite important as it obstructs water-soluble pollutants from penetrating into the skin.  Moisture loss may result in dry, scaly or even cracked skin, bacteria-related acne, eczema, rosacea-type inflammation, atopic dermatitis and/or skin congestion, among other problems. Lipids also help to soften the skin, to smooth it and to provide elasticity.The crucial aspect should always be the support of the natural skin regeneration. 

There are many different oils on the market.  And though all oils will create this important barrier, not all oils are necessarily beneficial to the skin such as mineral oil, which is a petroleum based oil.  I also recommend using unrefined, organic cold pressed oils when available.  Aside from the oils being free of pesticide residue, they will retain more of the important properties.  Different oils have different benefits and are appropriate for different skin types.  Therefore when I am mixing a serum for oily skin I would not use the same carrier oil that I would use on dry skin. This is a mistake commonly made, especially from the DIY blogger.  One person may get fantastic results from using Almond Oil and write that it helped their skin, however, it may not be the best oil for your skin. 

Here are a few of my favorite oils and the skin type they are best suited for.  Keep in mind that a synergy of two of three oils work better than one single oil, in my opinion.  In addition some oils such as Argan, Rose Hip Seed, Pomegranate, etc. can be very expensive so using 100% will break the bank.

Dry Skin:  Avocado, Pumpkin Seed, Apricot Kernel, Hemp Seed

Oily SkinAcne:  Grape Seed, Hazelnut, Marula

Combination Skin:  Jojoba, Almond, Apricot Kernel

Great additons:  Argan, Rosehip Seed, Pomegranate, Moringa


 So put those fears aside, try a serum or body oil you will be so happy you did.  Watch for the launch of my anti-aging serum, which will be available to purchase on my website, this winter.

How to Prevent Dry Winter Skin

It may seem strange to talk about winter when the leaves are only just starting to turn, but during the past 26 years I have observed that if we do not take preventative action against dehydration in the early fall, it becomes a battle all winter long to try to undo the damage.

autumn leaves.jpg

Cooler temperatures, wind, and of course turning on the heat can wreak havoc on your skin; drying it out, causing flakes and even redness. Dehydration can cause premature aging, sensitive skin, rosacea, and congested skin.  Now's the time to take steps to prevent dry flaky skin.

Here are some tips to help prevent dehydration.

  •  Continue to drink lots of water...We tend to turn to hot drinks in the cooler weather, more coffee and tea, however, both of these act as diuretics and can cause dehydration.
  • Use the proper cleanser and moisturizer, and make sure your moisturizer twice a day.  Keep in mind the cleanser and moisturizer you used all summer may not be what your skin needs now..

  • Exfoliate once a week.  It is important to gently remove the dead skin build up so that your moisturizer can penetrate your skin.  Keep in mind that over exfoliating the skin will have the opposite effect.  This means no AHA in your cleansers
  • Get a facial.  If you haven't had one in a while now is a good time to. At the same time you can discuss your home care and make sure you are using the best product for this time of year.
  • To counter the dry heat indoors consider buying a humidifier for your home and/or workplace.

If you follow these tips I guarantee your skin will stay radiant, soft and beautiful all winter long.

Tea Time

Let me start off by saying I am a coffee lover.  It is part of my morning ritual.  The aroma fills the house and gets me going.  I love that first sip.  BUT as fall approaches I think about cocooning in the evening with a cup of hot tea.  Through the dark winter months there is nothing more soothing, warming and nourishing to my soul than a cup of herbal tea. Of course herbal teas are so much more than that.  I will discuss different herbs and there healing properties in future posts.  Last fall I started experimenting with different blends.  My husband who has never been a tea drinker accepted a cup one evening of my Night Repose blend that I created using Chamomile, California Poppy, Oatstraw, Skullcap and with a touch of Rooibos.  He told me the next morning it was the best nights sleep he had in a long time.

We also love to drink a chai spice with astragalus, cocoa and turmeric.  Not only is it delicious, it is a great for your immune system. So I am now making my Night Repose tea blend and Chai Spice available at my studio.  I will be adding other tea blends in the very near future and don't forget my elderberry syrup kit to fight cold and flu.


So make yourself a nice cup of tea, sit back and relax!

10 Skin Care Mistakes Keeping you From Healthy Skin

Day after day people book appointments with me for facials.  Some have skin care problems such as acne, rosacea or pigmentation issues.  Others come to maintain healthy skin and slow down the aging process. But many come because they are having issues that can be quickly remedied by following these 10 easy steps.

1.Use the right products for your skin type.  Following the advice from a DIY blogger may not work for you, since your skin may be very different from theirs. One size does not fit all.  Get your skin properly analyzed by a professional.   

2.  Cleanse your skin properly.  First make sure you are using the right cleanser for your skin type.  If you wear makeup, you must cleanse twice.  Once to remove the makeup, second to clean the skin.  After cleansing, your skin should not feel tight or taunt.  If so your cleanser is too drying.

3.  Moisturizer.  This is very important for everyone, even those with oily skin.  Not applying moisturizer especially to wet skin will cause the water to evaporate leaving your skin dehydrated.  Your skin will overcompensate for the loss of hydration which can lead to break outs, and the most common condition; dry cheeks and oily t-zone.

Renew Botanicals Organic and Vegan Moisturizer

4. Over Exfoliating .  This has become one of the biggest problems in the last few years because so many companies are putting exfoliants into their cleansers such as jojoba beads or alpha hydroxy acids.  Even products that say "gently daily exfoliant" should not be used every day. That is not to say exfoliation isn't important because it is, but once or twice a week is enough.  Once or twice a week you are removing the dead skin but more than that you are actually removing the protective barrier which can cause inflammation, moisture loss and sensitivity.

5.  Sunscreen.  Wearing sunscreen everyday should be part of you daily regime.  Besides protecting your from skin cancer, nothing will age you more than too much sun damage.  It is important to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 25-30 (more is not necessary).  If you are going to be out in the sun all day, reapply.  Avoid sunscreens with chemicals such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.  Stick with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as your only active ingredient, although I prefer just zinc oxide.

6. Drink Water.  Keeping hydrated is important for your inner health and outer beauty.  Your skin is your largest organ and if your skin is not getting the sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky which may have the same results and lack of moisturizing (see #3).

7. Picking at Your Pimples.   When you pick, pull, squeeze your pimples you are causing damage.  This can lead to scars, which are far worse than the pimple.  It can also lead to irritation and inflammation and most of all infection.

8. Eat Healthy.  As mentioned above, your skin is your largest organ so what goes in your body will reflect on your skin.  Eat lots of fresh veggies, fruits, lean meats, healthy fats and complex carbs.  Cut back on dairy, sugar bad fats. Choose organic and grass fed dairy and meats, whenever you can.

9.  Clean Your Makeup Brushes.  Obviously dirty brushes will introduce bacteria into your makeup and on your skin.

10.  Throw away expired products and makeup.  Most products and makeup have a shelf life.  Using products that have expired can introduce bacteria into your skin.

In addition to following these tips, treat yourself to a facial at least 4 times a year, if you can do it more often all the better.  Make sure you are using the right products for your skin and check ingredients.  Remember glowing skin is healthy skin.

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An Ounce of Prevention

Flu and cold season is just around the corner.  If you are like me, you prefer to find a natural way to prevent yourself from getting sick, or if you do lessen the severity of the illness.  Which is exactly what my husband and I have done for the past few years.  Each year in the late summer/early fall I make a batch of Elderberry Syrup and take some each day.  I have not gotten sick (knock on wood) and my husband felt like he was coming down with a cold last year and increased his dosages.  He felt better within 2 days.

“Recent research from Israel and Panama has demonstrated that elderberry juice (Sambucus nigra) not only stimulates the immune system, but also directly inhibits the influenza virus (Zakay-Rones et al 1995; Mumcuoglu 1995)."  Paul Bergner, Herbalist.

If you would like to try and make your own syrup this is my favorite recipe


Ingredients:   2/3 cup dried elderberries,  1 cinnamon stick,  1 tsp -1 tbs ginger root,  1 cup raw local honey (you can add more or less depending on your taste)

Place all the ingredients in a pot, except honey, add 3 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-45minutes.  Smash the berries and strain.  Add1 cup Raw honey and brandy.  Refrigerate.  Will last 2-3 months.

Take 1 tbs daily to ward off illness or a tbs every 2-3 hours if you are sick.  For children use half the dose.

Optional Ingredients:

Brandy, Astragalus, Echinacea, Orange Peel, Cloves

Note: Please use only raw honey and add the honey after cooking...heat will destroy the important enzymes in the honey.  I would also recommend not replacing the honey with any other sweetener as honey has it's own healing properties.

                                                                                          Elderberry syrup simmering

                                                                                          Elderberry syrup simmering

Do you have a favorite recipe for Elderberry Syrup or any other cold and flu prevention ideas.  Please share and here's to a healthy season.

Please Say No To Palm Oil

Recently, I was on a quest to find some handcrafted soap that was free of Palm Oil.  It amazed me how few manufacturers, from the smallest to the largest are still using Palm Oil in the U.S.  I could find many handcrafted soap makers in Australia and Europe but not here.  I am happy to say I was able to find an amazing company, Unearth Malee.  Not only are their soaps free of Palm oil, but they use organic ingredients,  and no synthetic fragrance.   This is not a review of their products but I did want to give them a shout out. 

You may be asking yourselves, why are you so against Palm Oil?

Palm oil from the oil palm tree is a high quality versatile oil.  However, it grows only in the tropics where it has had a disastrous effect on the environment.  According to the environmental group Friends of the Earth, it is estimated that 87 percent of Malaysia’s deforestation was due to palm oil plantations.  Their researchers also estimated that if nothing is done to alleviate the rising rates of deforestation, orangutans could become extinct within 12 years.  The palm oil trade is destroying orangutan habitats, endangering other rain forest animals, contributing to the high levels of carbon emissions, and has placed Indonesia as possibly having the world’s fastest deforestation rate (Greenpeace sources estimate an area equivalent to 300 soccer fields per hour).  And according the the World Wildlife Fund "Large areas of tropical forests and other ecosystems with high conservation values have been cleared to make room for vast monoculture oil palm plantations – destroying critical habitat for many endangered species, including rhinos, elephants and tigers. In some cases, the expansion of plantations has lead to the eviction of forest-dwelling peoples."

In 2004 The World Wildlife Federation and teamed up with the Palm Oil Industry and launched RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).  Many manufacturers especially small companies proudly state they are using sustainable Palm Oil, however, this is not as benign as many of them think because the rules are riddled with loopholes. 

The environmental groups Greenpeace International and Wetlands International argue that such loopholes allows palm oil firms to join RSPO and improve their image despite the fact that very little palm oil has yet been produced according to the sustainability criteria. And The Jakarta-based Center for Orangutan Protection has directly opposed the certification scheme. The group said last year that it found two RSPO member companies clear-cutting forests that were home to orangutans, sun bears, and Borneo gibbons. "It has been six years after RSPO was put into operation but forests are still cleared and orangutans are continually killed," said Novi Hardianto, the Center's habitat program coordinator, in a press release. "All criteria on sustainable palm oil and certification process are merely public lies."

Because of it's versatility, Palm oil is used in so many products, ranging from margarine, cereals, sweets and baked goods, to soaps, washing powders and cosmetics. (If you are a vegan and use products by Earth Balance beware that they use Palm Oil in many of their products.) And you have to practice due diligence if this concerns you, because often times it is listed as an ingredient on product labels, with the term ‘vegetable oil’ often being used instead.

So, please practice consumer awareness and I hope that the next time you are shopping think about who and what will be affected by that product.