Category Archives: relaxation

summer wine

July was wild. It’s my favorite month because we make our annual trip to Hilton Head, the days are rife with summer storms, the gardens are overflowing, and there are many celebrations. This July was particularly full, as we enjoyed the beach, drove into Savannah, toasted a friend’s engagement, and then I flew off to Philadelphia and New York for the DNC and to see two of my best friends. Now that I have a month off from the 2nd of my 4(!) jobs, I will have some time to catch up and actually write! While I get everything in order, here’s a sneak peek through photos of what is to come.

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sunsets at Hilton Head

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sunday morning tea blending

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trespassing through a nearly demolished recording studio in Savannah

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vegan blueberry banana bread

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twilight hour engagement parties

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the shakespeare garden in central park

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celebrating the success of nominating HRC as the first female candidate of a major party

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thrift store finds & birthday surprises

Fingers crossed I can get on a regular schedule here! ūüėČ

 

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Review: Soft Focus Mask by Wildcare

It’s no surprise by now that I love a good facial product. When¬†Wildcare¬†announced they were introducing a new face mask made from pineapple extract, coconut milk, and pearl powder, I just had to try it! With each purchase of this new release, they were offering a sample of their¬†Wild Melon¬†facial oil, a little potion created from watermelon seed, black currant seed, ylang ylang, and other intoxicating scents – a perfect follow up to lock in the benefits of the face mask. One of the things I love about the face mask is that it contains only FOUR natural ingredients!

The¬†Soft Focus¬†face mask has a fragrance to it that takes you back to bright summer days, lounging by the pool, freshly-squeezed juice in hand. It’s a nice little pick-me-up for a grey, rainy day but also a splendid way to refresh on a hot, sunny afternoon.

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Pearl powder has been used in China for thousands of years as both a dietary and beauty treatment. One of its benefits is that it can prevent the development of melanin, which is what causes freckles and dark patches due to sun exposure and aging. This is particularly helpful to me, as my Eastern European heritage has left me developing some¬†hyper-pigmentation on my face as I age, and while I don’t hate it – it’s a symbol of who I am -, it’s nice to have a product that will help prevent it from getting out of control. I’m also a Leo-a fire sign, and a July baby, so summertime is one of my favorite seasons. This means spending as much time outdoors as possible, especially at the beach, and while I take precautions to protect my skin, one can never do enough. The pearl powder in this mask will help reverse any sun damage from those afternoons at the JCC and Hilton Head! It’s also extremely beneficial in preventative practices now, as I’m constantly out in the sun, tending to my gardens.

Combine this with pineapple extract, organic coconut milk powder (an added plus: it’s dairy-free!), and white kaolin clay, and you’ve got a face mask that will leave your skin feeling porcelain smooth.

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herbal tea, vintage peignoir, a weighty book, & a face mask = perfect evening!

As for the Wild Melon oil: I’ve added that to my morning routine, in between washing my face and smoothing on lotion. There’s always a bit of apprehension when applying an oil – will it leave my face looking greasy? But this one is quickly absorbed into the skin, leaving your face lustrous and soft.

I love that Wildcare is based on the therapeutic qualities of indigenous plants in the PNW, and a dedication to herbalism. That’s just another of the many things I love the most about the Pacific Northwest – everyone out there is so encouraging of their community, and creating & sustaining a beautiful environment. Being able to support brands like this is the best feeling – and now their¬†Golden Hour¬†body oil and¬†Lemon Light¬†hydrosol are next on my list of goodies to try!

 

Sweetheart Day, pt. 2

I’m very lucky to have a partner who humors me when I say that we should go to the Korean spa and get naked with a bunch of strangers. Being a nude model, I don’t mind shedding my clothes around people, and this is a far more relaxing (and warmer!) way to do it. Naturally,¬†Jeju¬†has segregated locker and bath areas, so we were only able to go to the large saunas and restaurant together. Even then, I like to be as warm as possible, so while I spent much of my time in the Rock & Salt sauna & the steam rooms, he prefers cooler temperatures and enjoyed the frigid meat locker known as the Ice Room. Off our separate ways we went!

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restoration in the Jewel Sauna

Once most people pulled out their mats to go to bed, we headed back to the hotel. At only $25 for 24 hours, I’d have no qualms about staying overnight! But, it was nice to fall into that big king-sized bed, replete with fluffy pillows and hotel amenities. The hotel in which we stayed was a childhood favorite, full of gardens inside and out – including a little Japanese one! We overslept, but still had plenty of time to get in all of our planned excursions before heading home. We hit up¬†The High¬†first, where we were pleasantly surprised to find free admission due to a big family festival they were having that day. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the museum that crowded! It’s nice to be able to go there and the¬†Columbia Museum of Art¬†and experience all the different events both museums have to offer.

I’m a big fan of the American and Folk Art wings, and had to take the opportunity to snap photos of work by some of my favorite artists – Bill Traylor, Joseph Stella, and Howard Finster, just to name a few. I’ve got my eye on a Bill Traylor anthology, as well as a Walker Evans one they have for sale in the museum shop. They may have to come home with me on our trip to see the¬†Basquiat exhibit!

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“The Lion and the Bear”

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close-up of “Purissima,” Joseph Stella

After the museum, we grabbed a quick lunch from the food carts positioned outside of the Woodruff Arts Center (a veggie burger & plaintains for me, pasta and spicy meatballs for him!) and skipped down the road to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The Tropical Rotunda is just full of the most perfect plant species, especially all of the varietals of Philodendrons.

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I’ve never been one who favors photographing flora, but I have to admit that I do enjoy taking portraits of strange plants and curious leaves.

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a close-up from the High Elevation House

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your cliche “hand on plant/#liveauthentic” photo

During our visit, we delighted in the Nepenthes, or Asian Pitcher Plant, exhibit. I love love love carnivorous plants, and these were a sight to see!

carnivorous

heliamphora

 

brightcups

sweet nectar

 

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next painting subject?

I’m working on a couple of photo series’ right now, as well as some smaller watercolors for another project, and trying to decide which one I want to go with for an upcoming show in the Fall. Plant portraits are weighing heavily on my mind, and I certainly have more than enough photos from which to choose now!

Speaking of photography, my boyfriend is also a talented photo-maker, and he surprised me with an image of a really special moment. We went to a Clinton rally a couple of weeks ago, where we got to hear former President Bill Clinton speak, and I even managed to take a selfie with him! While taking said selfie, my sweet beau jumped on the risers and snapped a photo of us, and gifted me a print of it for the holiday. I ran around the station with it, proudly sharing it with everyone and anyone, and now have it hanging up behind my desk. It was such an honor to meet him, and to have that second captured in time truly is a treasure. #endgushing!

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You’re due for a Rosie post, so look for one soon highlighting the her souvenir from Philadelphia and her Valentine’s present. She’s also highly in need of a bath, so I may give you a glimpse into what a spa day looks like for her!

 

Self Care

A lover of natural, herbal, & holistic remedies, I stumbled upon PDX apothecary,¬†Duck Feather Herbs, a couple of months ago, and have had my eye on their Lavender lip balm, Sleeping Beauty tea, and an array of herbal tinctures ever since. Just after the new year, they hosted a giveaway with fellow herbalists, Tumbleweed Apothecary¬†&¬†Monarch Apothecary, offering a dreamy assortment of health and beauty goods. With a package full of soaking salts, perfume, incense, facial products and more, how could I resist entering?! I was fortunate enough to be chosen as their winner and I couldn’t be more enamored with all of their products. Even their packaging was perfect in its rustic simplicity!

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The¬†Love Manifest¬†perfume from¬†Monarch Apothecary¬†is altogether divine – a consummate marriage of various rose petal essences,¬†rose geranium, bergamot, and ginger lily essential oils, & topped with their own farm harvested roses, it’s a delightfully feminine and romantic bouquet. After a hot bath with their Turmeric & Calendula Soaking Salts, enhanced by the air of Lavender & Sage incense cones, roll on some love-filled perfume and be prepared for an amorous evening!

Keeping my face dewy and lips soft is super easy thanks to¬†Tumbleweed Apothecary’s¬†oil-based facial serum,¬†Stunner. With thirteen different oils, including rose hips, argan, frankincense, & jojoba (“you’ll love it – it has jojoba.” s/o to my theatre “sister,” Lauren!), I apply it after cleansing my face and before adding their ‘Spellbound’ Face Cream. Topping my lips with some Lavender & Mint ‘Peck’ lip balm, my skin is supple & kissable.

I stay busy between my full-time job at a local tv station, part time job at an art gallery, helping run a volunteer-based community art gallery, traveling, & my own artistic endeavors – painting, writing, baking, acting, & photography – so I’m always looking for new ways to relax and unwind. Sleep has never come easier with a cup of¬†Good Belly Tea¬†combined with some Have a Good Rest Tincture, care of Duck Feather Herbs.¬†Adding a couple of drops of this chamomile, catnip, lavender, & bergamot mint tincture to an already quieting cup of mint & lemon balm herbal tea is a foolproof way to end a satiated day.

I’ve added some Elderberry Syrup to my wish list from Duck Feather Herbs, as well as some tinted lip balm called ‘Smooch’ and the ‘Siren’ facial steam from Tumbleweed Apothecary, and a tin of Cacao, Rose, & Rooibos (decaf!) Chai & Herkimer diamond gemstone essence from Monarch Apothecary. My ever-growing Etsy cart is taunting my bank account!

While I’ve linked to each apothecary’s individual shops, they’ve all got Instagram accounts that are equally as tantalizing as their products. Take a peek for yourself at¬†@DuckFeatherHerbs,¬†@tumbleweed_apothecary, &¬†@monarchapothecary!

 

 

Jjimjil

I hope everyone’s holidays were wonderful! It was a VERY busy month in the lands of television and the arts – numerous gallery openings, luncheons, parties, & parades – I was definitely ready for a much needed break!

I ended up taking the afternoon off of work the Monday following Christmas in order to go to Jeju, the Korean bathhouse, and to get my hair done by my friend & stylist extraordinaire, Rami, of Ludlow Blunt in NYC.

Jeju was, for lack of a better word, amazing. While savoring a bowl of deliciously spicy ramen, I texted my boyfriend that we were just going to have to have a long-distance relationship; I was never leaving the spa.

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spicy ramen & kimchi!

Upon entering the bathhouse, one goes into the segregated locker rooms and undresses, either staying nude to go to the wet area or putting on the traditional Korean spa clothes in order to sit in the communal saunas. Attached to the locker rooms are the steam & cedar saunas, the massage, body shampoo, and hip bath areas, and the cold, medium, and hot tubs. I considered being brave and stepped into the cold bath first – quickly regretted that and went off to find much warmer temperatures. Few things are as liberating as being completely naked with a bunch of other strangers. Having posed nude for painting classes, I was already accustomed to it, but this was much more enjoyable (sorry, Tom!). Within the wet area, the steam jade sauna was by far my favorite part. A little hard to breathe at first, but once the steam started relaxing my ever-stiff and aching joints (hello, neuropathic pain & Gaucher disease), I was able to really inhale the aromatics and sweat it out. After realizing I was probably going to faint if I didn’t eat something, I threw on the regulations shirt and shorts and headed off for the common area.

As mentioned above, the ramen was straight up epic, and the side of kimchi didn’t hurt, either! And not only that, it was dirt cheap -$6! One of the best parts about the common area and restaurant was that the floor is heated. I am always, always freezing, so this was literally a warm welcome. After satiating my appetite, it was off to check out each sauna. The jade, charcoal, and baked clay saunas were slightly smaller and not quite as hot, though they each came with their own benefits – helping to increase¬†metabolism & circulation, relieve arthritis pain, eliminate toxins and build up resistance to disease, and flush out impurities & release dead skin cells.

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charcoal sauna

I then moved on to the larger, more intense kiln saunas: Rock & Salt, Gold & Silver, & Jewels. The Rock and Salt room, full of pure crystal rock salt, is  utilized to relieve stress and tension, the Gold and Silver room is supposed to help with nerve stability, and the Jewel room emits calmness and healing powers. I definitely felt some release in the Rock & Salt room, and the Jewel room helped me cleanse both my mind and body.  They were all so relaxing that it was hard to decide in which one to spend the most time!

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Rock & Salt room

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sweating out the toxins in the Gold & Silver room

Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought a bathing suit in order to take advantage of the heated, saltwater Jade swimming pool, but that didn’t stop me from dipping in a toe. I’ll be hitting it up next time, for sure! I also peeked into the Ice room -had to try it all, you know? That was definitely NOT for me. After a brief appearance there, I ducked back into the Jewel room to warm up again!

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how beautiful is that pool?!

Being on a deadline to meet Rami, I couldn’t spend as much time as I would have liked there, though those few hours were definitely magical. Next visit, I plan to stay overnight (it’s $25 for 24 hours -WHAT!), nap in the sleeping rooms, add on some extras, and really just let go. One of my best friends is flying into Atlanta next week and will be visiting Jeju while there – I am Jade green with envy!

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stone starburst

 

Detoxing and purifying at Jeju helped wash out the last bits of 2015 (I even washed out my hair color by having Rami dye it blonde!) and prepare me mentally, emotionally, and physically for 2016. So far, it’s been looking pretty damn good (even with Mercury Retrograde!) Happy New Year, friends! xo!