Posts filed under ‘Health & beauty’

Facials, cool Brookline Village boutique, and artsy library visits for kids

Far too much time has passed without a post…so I’m going to try something new: mini-posts on mini-experiences. I haven’t written much about life in Brookline – how great it is in general, how especially great it is for families. After 3 years, it seems it’s time to start chronicling the things that make me want to stay here, try as my husband might to get us more space in the ‘burbs.

Three things for today (two for big people, one for little people):

1. A facial at Lavinia Borcau Skincare on Harvard Street in Brookline Village (which seems to become significantly more interesting every time I go). I’ve been coming to Lavinia’s on an off for years, ever since I worked reception at the very cool, art-loving hair and beauty spot HC Studio down the street and heard about her aesthetic talents. Organic products (her own line!) are a plus. And you can choose what you like and need – a pure-pleasure experience or a deeper, more intense one – the pleasure from that comes about a day later and looks beautiful for weeks.

2. After Lavinia’s, I popped into Abeille just down the block – what a transformation that little corner jewel has undergone. The owner, Lisa, is lovely and her shop is brimming with a carefully curated collection of jewellery, kitchen and bath things, pictures, clothes… It’s a perfect place for gifts – for, say, Mother’s Day (I loved their modern teapots and beaded bracelets). And gifts for yourself, of course.

3. This Tuesday afternoon, I’ll be taking the kids (now almost 3 and almost 5) to the Coolidge Corner Branch Library for their weekly arts-and-crafts and storytime with Paula (3:30 – 4:30 pm). It’s been a sanity-saver much during this insanely long winter. They can do the artsy stuff they love (Paula comes up with ingeniously simple crafts – often courtesy of Pinterest – like cotton-ball-sheep or paper-plate-caterpillars) – and I don’t have to scrub paint off the walls and floors. Win! They have special programming during vacation weeks, too – some great events coming up over April break.


April 8, 2014 at 5:23 pm Leave a comment

Going natural: how I mom-stocked my beauty shelf

In all my 28 years, I never thought organically. Not in the kitchen, not in the bathroom. I never saw the point of paying more for organic foods unless there was nothing else around, and thought Clinique and Estee Lauder were great because of their free gifts. My life was so simple.

But then I got pregnant. And the moment that happened, I went into mad hormonal research mode. I found Skin Deep, a site that shows the risks of various ingredients – and then, much to my amazement, discovered that my bathroom was filled with garbage!

My cosmetologist had been going on and on about awful parabens for months – but it had never crossed my mind to look into it as I honestly just figured it was part of the usual cosmetologist “buy my line” marketing ploy. But alas, it appears that parabens have estrogenic effects (my interpretation: what you put on your face messes with your hormones, freaky) that could have something to do with cancer. I put that info together with the constant newsfeed about increasing cancer rates, and figured I might as well go natural.

And “natural” is key here. Not “organic.” Because as far as I can tell, organic products can still have loads of garbage in them (as in 92% organic ingredients, 8% nightmare). Anyway, whatever the label, the trick is to learn about the biggest culprits and make sure they’re not on the label.

Come to think of it, one of my reasons for avoiding the natural cosmetics isle at Whole Foods is I was wholeheartedly convinced that stuff didn’t work. But then I bought some Zoya nailpolish on Amazon (awesome stuff, stays on and comes in a dizzying range of colors). And after over two years of inexplicable face horrors exacerbated by the pregnancy hormones, I found a German line called Lavera Faces that has been doing no less than wonders for my destroyed skin in just a matter of days. “It’s not the product,” my cosmetologist friend asserted, “it’s just your hormones changing.” So I went back to Clinique for 3 days – and with it right back to what my Dad affectionately called my “Pepperoni Pizza Face” back in the chicken pox days.

So I’m convinced. No parabens. No salicylic acid. And a whole bunch of stuff that they say you shouldn’t use when pregnant that I’m quite sure you shouldn’t use when you’re not pregnant.

Note of warning: the ladies at Macy’s and Nordstrom’s cosmetics counters won’t tell you a darn thing about ingredients. Before I knew what was good for me, I let one of their smiling faces convince me to get this wildly expensive brown Estee Lauder glass bottle with a pipette that’s supposed to restore your skin to baby butt quality (“and is used by burn victims!”) I came home and discovered that just about every ingredient was in the danger zone. With the $70 or so I got back, I could buy about 3 months’ worth of my Lavera calendula stuff.

Just don’t ask me for before/after photos just yet. While my skin might be improving, my expanding “baby fat” face is not the stuff of web posts.

November 22, 2010 at 3:47 am Leave a comment

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