6 steps to beautiful skin

My treatment room

I am writing this post because I have gotten numerous emails asking me about this subject of skincare. I am a 52 year old esthetician with sensitive, aging skin. I am not a dermatologist. I'm telling you what I have learned and what works for me.

I believe beauty is an inside job. Beauty first starts as a belief in oneself, that I'm ok just the way I am. At my age I don't feel the need to use botox or restalyne or even foundation to enhance, plump or cover who I really am. This is my personal beauty revolution. Acceptance is key to being beautiful inside and out. There is enough stress in normal day to day living and I don't want to add any more to my life through unreal expectations that are sent my way via Madison Avenue's airbrush system. So first and foremost, I accept who I am and what I look like. Secondly, what I put in my body is vitally important as to the condition of my skin. A diet that is rich in plants and whole grains helps skin function better than one that is full of meat, dairy and processed food. Our bodies were not designed to eat meat or overly processed food and it shows in a vast array of skin conditions, from allergies to poor skintone. So if your daily diet contains food that comes from animals or out of a package and you have any skin problems whatsoever, I'd fix my diet before thinking any product is going to help. The third thing on my list is fresh air and exercise. For years I got dressed in special clothing got in my car and drove to the gym to work out. I now put on a pair of comfortable shoes and walk out the door. I walk briskly outside, rain or shine for 40 minutes each day. The fresh air and sunshine help me relax and release tension I may be carrying. I also include a daily yoga/meditation practice that takes about 10-15 minutes. While these steps take care of the inside (my psyche, my digestion, my muscles) they also have a huge effect on the outside (my skin.)

So what do i put on my skin? It's really very simple.

Step 1 ~ A gentle cleanser. I use Dermalogica Ultra Calming Cleanser. It gets a rating of 3 on the skin deep website, but any gentle cleanser will do.

Step 2 ~ I put on a good sunscreen/moisturizer for daytime and at night switch to a good moisturizer w/o sunscreen (I use Aveda's Green Science.) Honestly I use Dermalogica and Aveda brands because I like them and because I get them at a discount. I don't use Retin A or any glycolic products because I'm just too sensitive. I don't like being red and flaky all the time. I love the way my skin feels after a gentle cleansing and a nice moisturizer.

Step 3 ~ A monthly facial. Because of my sensitive skin, once a month I let a professional carefully exfoliate, extract and slather me in goodness. I could do this myself but it is not as relaxing as having someone else do it.

Step 4 ~Make-up. I wear a non-petroleum based mascara and lipstick from Aveda. Ironically, as my skin ages it looks worse with more make-up on, so I keep it light. I suggest that you wear the least amount that you can get away with.

1. Acceptance.

2. A clean diet.

3. Fresh air & exercise.

4. Daily gentle cleansing & protection/moisture.

5. A monthly facial.

6. Light make-up application

So this is what works for me and many of my clients. I'm sure your beauty routine is wonderful but for those of you who asked, this is what I live by.

day 30 & flowers

Today is day 30 of me simply stopping shopping. I thought I'd sprinkle random thoughts about that with pictures of my front garden that I took this morning.

I'm really proud of the way this border is behaving.

These white roses mix well with the lambs ear.

I really like this horse trough planted with flowers in front of the RRL store in Malibu.

I went there yesterday to visit #2 son and have a look around. There are 3 RL stores in a row. This is his store. Inside it is exquisite, they all are. Ralph has always been a favorite of mine. He has always influenced my design/style choices. These are the only 2 photos I took, I wish I had taken more. I met his boss, Melissa and she was beautiful and so lovely as were all his co-workers. I think you have to look like a model to work there. I left without making a purchase. An amazing accomplishment.

Do you know that I can't stand that my house is red?

A heavenly bamboo branch in a clear cylinder looking very zen.

So as this first month concludes I am finding myself more relaxed. Maybe it's because I'm not zipping around town with a to-do list these days, I'm not sure yet. It seems like the days are slower and longer too. I don't know if it's just the time of year or if it is related to not shopping, time will tell. I have not seen the inside of Target in 30 days and that in itself is some kind of record.


breakfast in a bowl*

My favorite meal of the day is by far breakfast. I love it so much, I technically have two each day! My first breakfast always consists of a cup of green tea and a slice of toast in bed under the covers. Then I go for my morning walk and come back and make breakfast #2. For the last couple of months I've been addicted to Homemade Granola Parfait slightly modified from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.

Homemade Granola
2 c rolled oats
1 1/4 c almonds, pecans or walnuts
1 c unsweetened coconut
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 c maple syrup
2 T safflower or canola oil
Arrange oats on large baking sheet and toast lightly at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile in a large bowl combine nuts, coconut and salt. In a small bowl mix maple syrup and oil.
Stir toasted oats into nut mixture and then add syrup, mixing thoroughly.
Spray sheet pan with non-stick spray and spread granola out evenly and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool. Makes approximately 6 cups.
Assembling the parfait is easy. In a bowl, I cut up about 2 cups of fruit, such as 1 orange, 1 banana and a handful of strawberries. Then I add 1/2 container of soy yogurt and sprinkle top with about 1/4 c of granola. This gives me about 4 servings of fruit, fiber, protein, calcium and omega 3's to start the day with.
*no animals were harmed in the making of this dish.

a french beach bag

A few weeks ago I won this beautiful beach bag from Melissa at Color and Light Atelier. The bag is made by a company in France called Les Toiles du Soleil. It is gorgeous and I will get a great deal of use out of it. Melissa is a very talented interior decorator who just completed a massive renovation on their historic summer home in upstate New York. Go see it here.
I decided to shop my closet and throw together a few outfits to go with my new bag...

blue brooks bros shirt, skinny cropped levis, silver hoops & sandals

crisp white shirt and dark skinny jeans

orange t-shirt with dark jeans and bangles

same orange t-shirt with white linen pants

same white linen pants with turquoise t-shirt and earrings

beach bag & bike

I'm off to the market to get some maple syrup for a recipe I think you are going to love!


my yoga room

entrance from the house

this path connects the yoga room to the rose garden

Contrary to popular belief, California does have four seasons. Lovely, lovelier, most lovely and the loveliest! We are currently in the loveliest, which is spring. So my yoga practice moves outdoors into my side-yard which I refer to as my yoga room or meditation room. The room is completely enclosed in bamboo making it very serene and private. It is green year-round (except for the grass) and very shady. Prior to my simply stopping shopping, I would have gone out and purchased a new yoga mat that would have matched this setting better. Something green, definitely not the hot-pink one you see. I've had this yoga mat for at least 7 years and there is nothing wrong with it so it has to do for the photos. These are little lessons I'm learning, accepting what I have as "good enough."


simply beautiful

What do you think of my neighbors rose garden? Pretty spectacular! Ms. Katherine is the best kind of gardener, she shares her knowledge and plant cuttings with other fellow gardeners. Walking past her little cottage is part of my morning ritual and a simple joy that brightens my day.


the beds now wrap around and connect

sparse but full of potential

back breaking work

Just because I've sworn off shopping for a year does not mean I cannot participate in my favorite pastime. I won't lie, the urge to drive to the nursery this weekend was huge. Larry had to "talk me down" and encourage me that we could do this. By dividing the perennials that I already have we created a whole new garden bed. It doesn't look very pretty right now, but I'm hoping that by the end of summer it will be taking shape. My goal is to slowly but surely eliminate most of the lawn. Each year or season we (mostly him) will cut the beds a little larger and allow the plants to expand and create a sort of English garden look. That would be my dream. Then after wandering through the front garden full of flowers and plants you would go inside to a very simple, pared down interior. White walls, old floorboards, a white slipcovered sofa, a few pieces of meaningful art, music playing. Maybe something good cooking on the stove. Not a lot of clutter or distractions. A girl can still dream on a budget.
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