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Monthly Archives : May 2015

Your Beach Body Courtesy Of Charlotte’s Book

your beach body courtesy of charlottes book

As soon as I booked my family’s beach vacation, I ran out to buy some new bathing suits…as any woman would, right? Now, being of a certain age, and having had two kids, I can’t complain much about how I look in a bikini. That doesn’t mean, however, I don’t see some room for improvement here and there! If bikini season has got you thinking about some physique tweaks, I cannot recommend Charlotte’s Book enough as an invaluable resource for all your aesthetic options.

Here are a few of Charlotte’s recent posts on protocols and procedures to optimize your body. If you are looking to stock up on some of the best luxury body care products, shop now at Travel Beauty.

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#ASKCHARLOTTE: WHAT ARE THE BEST TREATMENTS FOR CELLULITE?

Bathing suit season is here and it’s no wonder cellulite is on the minds of many. One reader reached out asking how to deal with the dimply issue: 

“I’ve tried all sorts of anti-cellulite creams and massages, but nothing has really worked yet. I think I want to try a procedure. What are the best treatments for cellulite? Read more.

#ASKCHARLOTTE: WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DRY SKIN BRUSHING?

Dry skin brushing has long been a staple of many spa treatment menus because it works wonders on your skin and is a great way to prep your body for a wrap, mask or moisturizer. Dry skin brushing is a form of body exfoliation and lymphatic drainage using a dry natural bristle brush to gently brush the skin all over your body. Read more.

ARE GUMMY BEAR BREAST IMPLANTS THE SWEETEST?

Gummy bears may very well have been your favorite candy as a kid, but if you’re now considering breast augmentation, you’ll soon be talking a lot about them once again, just not the fruity, chewy edible kind.

The newest generation of breast implants is made of a firmer form of silicone gel which bounces back to its original shape after being touched, just like the consistency a gummy bear…hence, their popular nickname: gummy bear breast implants. Read more.

THE ABCC’S OF BREAST IMPLANTS

People throw around the phrase “boob job” very casually these days, which is no surprise as breast surgery has become the most performed plastic surgery procedure in the United States. But even though it seems like everybody and their mother is trading up, the reality is that getting breast implants is still a serious surgery and not to be taken lightly. Navigating and researching the decisions that need to be made can be overwhelming. Read more.

Hungry for more? Subscribe to Charlotte’s Book.

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Tips for Beautiful, Ageless Skin

tips for beautiful ageless skin

Creating a new habit requires constant repetition. We thought we’d review our top tips to beautiful, ageless skin. May they become your new skin care habits.

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A question that comes up frequently in the beauty industry—whether it’s beauty editors, news publications, blogs, founders of beauty brands or friends asking me for advice—is “What is your top beauty secret?” or “What is the most important thing that I can do to keep my skin looking great?”

There is No Magic Bullet

The truth is that there is no one THING, product, practice or secret that will keep you looking like you are 19 through your 90s. Like everything else in life, looking—and more importantly, feeling—great takes work and consistent care. If your skin is really important to you, take care of it by going for regular facials, even if you only go quarterly. Preventative care is essential. Also, commit to some kind of a regimen. You don’t have to spend endless hours with masks and all types of steps, but commit to cleansing, and toning; Lavido Purifying Face Cleanser and Hydrating Facial Toner are great choices for the summer. And find a serum and moisturizer that works for you and use it. Establish some type of ritual for morning and evening. If you are lazy like me, your night ritual might consist of using an Ursa Major Essential Face Wipe and following it with Emma Hardie The Midas Touch Face Serum. It takes about 60 seconds. The point is, just do something!

Tuning Into What We Need

Whether we are talking about hair, skin or body, the first step to taking proper care of ourselves is tuning into what our bodies need. If you have been to a good nutritionist, (I was lucky enough to find Joy Bauer) she will go over basics of what are and are not good food choices, but she will also tell you to listen to your body. If we take a moment to sit still with ourselves and listen, our bodies will tell us what we need. It is really remarkable. Have you ever been thinking about what you wanted to eat for dinner and felt like a big juicy steak and spinach? Now, I am not a physician or nutritionist (and vegans, please cover your ears), but it’s possible that at that moment, your body was in need of iron and animal protein. Similarly, ever notice on really hot summer days, we tend to gravitate towards salads and fruits and eat a little lighter? Those foods are mostly water based and our bodies are likely in need of hydration. In the same way that we should be listening to our bodies to know what they need on a given day to perform optimally, we also need to learn to listen to our skin.

Notice Patterns

In the winter skin tends to dry out from the cool frosty air and wind, so we might mix a face oil with a rich moisturizer, Cosmetics 27 Huile 27 with Baume 27 for example, to give our skin the protection that it needs. Whereas on a warm summer day, skin is more vulnerable to congestion as it produces more oil than usual. On days like this, mixing a few drops of a serum (Right now I am using Cosmetics 27 Essence 27) with a daily anti-aging sunscreen, such as Institut Esthederm Bronz Repair Face Cream SPF 20, or a light BB Cream (B. Kamins makes a great one), is all that is needed. (Side Bar: Institut Esthederm Time Technology Cream is a great moisturizer for summer evenings. It is light and contains just a bit of sparkle, which looks beautiful, especially on sun kissed skin.)

There is No One-Cure-Fits-All

In other words, there is no one best beauty or skin care tip that’s a one-cure-fits-all. Do your own research, see what the experts are saying, but then tune into your skin. Take a moment and look at your face in the mirror and examine its landscape. Is there a part of your face where blemishes tend to pop up with seasonal weather changes? For me its on either side of my chin and begins when temperatures change significantly, so at the beginning of the summer and then again when the temperatures really drop transitioning into winter. Start to notice these patterns and shift your facial care regimen slightly to accommodate your skin’s needs. There are no hard and fast rules for certain seasons, either. You may find during the summer that after a day in the sun, your skin is really dry and needs some TLC…have that rich winter moisturizer on hand!

A Word on Anti-aging and Massage

A tip that I picked up from both from skin care expert Yasmine Djerradine and Michele Evrard, the pharmacist that founded M.E. SkinLab, the company that manufactures the Cosmetics 27 skin care line, which I love…is massaging the face.

Massaging The Face

When applying product, morning and evening, take an extra 30 seconds or more (if you have the patience), and actually massage the product in. Whether you are using a serum, face oil or moisturizer, literally spread it on from the bridge of your nose in horizontal downward strokes toward your cheeks and press hard, then move your fingers up the bridge of your nose, between your eyebrows and smooth down those annoying lines that start to form in your mid-thirties. I do this at least 8 times. Next, spread your fingers, position them on top of your eyebrows and applying pressure, move them up to your hairline and repeat. Then do the same in your temple area. Just try it, it feels good. It will also release any tension that you may already carry in that area, which will prevent future lines that may appear as a result of scrunching your forehead.

Massaging The Eye Area

While applying under eye cream, apply pressure, and starting from the under eye area closest to your nose, sweep your fingers up the half moon shape of your under eye area all the way through where your crows feet might start. Repeat this 3-4 times. Apply even more pressure where the crows feet appear. Don’t be afraid to message it in. There is a myth floating around that applying pressure to this area will have a negative impact. It isn’t true! I’m using Emma Hardie Age Support Eye Cream right now. It’s all natural and extremely moisturizing. The under eye area is the driest patch on the visage. Using an eye cream is a good habit to get into, even if you are in your mid twenties.

Got Smile Lines?

Make sure to apply pressure in that area, horizontally intersecting the smile lines in an upward motion. If you are uncertain, moving your fingers up your face is usually a safe bet. You will wake up the dermis and muscles directly under it as well as get the blood flowing. Think of it as exercise for the muscles in your face.

Final Tip

Remember to smile, even if it’s just with your eyes; happiness always radiates beauty.

Stay tuned for more holistic beauty tips that actually work from our panel of beauty experts and us regular girls at Travel Beauty.

By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter @AlyssaBarrie

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Travel Beauty Travel Diaries: India

travel beauty travel diaries india

My latest trip to India was to show a dear friend the India I love. The palaces and forts of Rajasthan are Romantic India. Once kingdoms, these forts are now surrounded by towns that time seems to have forgotten. They are changing, but there is an ancient feel; the stone construction is built to last. The local stone in some cities has a unique color that gives the cities their names: Jaipur, The Pink City, Udaipur, The White City, Jaisalmer, The Golden City. Jodhpur is The Blue City, but it gets it’s name from the indigo blue that is added to the paint of the Brahman, the homes belonging to the priest class. From the fort looking down on the city it appears to be endless shades of blue.

9 Cities In 21 Days

I arrived in New Delhi and went to the travel agent I always use. He arranged for car, driver, trains, planes, hotels and planned the best route to see 9 cities in 21 days. The first 15 days where with a car & driver. It’s important to interview drivers – they make the trip. Ours was great; he did much more than drive us. He knew the cities very well and brought us to important sights. A tip: there is a commission system in India, so any store someone takes you to gives him/her a commission on what you buy. It’s hard to work out great prices because of this. When you really want to shop, go out on your own.

Jaipur: The Pink City

Jaipur was our first stop – The Pink City. The old section is painted in a terra cotta color with details drawn on the walls in a lavender color.  Jaipur is known for jewels and handicrafts. It has several large forts, a lake palace and a city palace. You can get to the Amber Fort, the largest of the forts, either by car or by elephant. It’s a grand palace with gardens and water elements. The meeting places are tiled with mirror in very intricate patterns.

Jodhpur: The Blue City

Jodhpur is The Blue City. The stone there is brown and is carved into a lacework that covers the windows. This was done to allow the women to see what is going on without being seen. It sits on top of a big hill and from there you can look down on the city that is painted shades of indigo blue. Jodhpur is known for shoes and antiques. There are antiques, but most of what you see are reproductions or reworked wooden pieces into what the current market would be interested, like TV cabinets. The festival of color, Holi, kept us in our hotel; people throw colored powders on each other.

Jaisalmer: The Golden City

Jaisalmer is The Gold City. Gold stone glistening in the sun, the city fort sits on top of a big hill. It’s far out in the desert and you pass many camel farms along the way. It was a trade route, so there are lavish havelis (merchants homes) with intricate carvings on every surface. About 5000 people still live within the fort. It gets extremely hot, so go at cooler times of the year.

Udaipur: The White City

Udaipur, my favorite city in Rajasthan, is The White City. It has a large, wonderful city palace, forts in the hills for hunting and is known for it’s lake palace. There are several lakes, so it doesn’t have the same desert feeling. The current king here is very active and has made hotels within the palaces. You arrive via barge, and can easily walk this city. It has great shopping, especially gold.

Pushkar: The Holy City

Pushkar is a holy city. There is a tank and a small pond where priests dole out blessings. It’s completely vegetarian. It’s sort of a hippy town with lots of Israeli tourists who go there to party. There isn’t a fort or palace and the shopping is limited. I’ve been there 3 times and have never really related to it. It does have some nice hotels with gardens, though, so it can be a break.

The Taj Mahal

Travel-Beauty-at-Baby-Taj-IndiaAgra – the city of the Taj Mahal. The city itself is a mess but the Taj Mahal and Red Fort are like nowhere else. The Taj is a mausoleum for the King’s favorite wife. It’s covered in white marble with details inlaid with precious and semiprecious stones. It’s been taken over by the World Heritage so the gardens are well maintained. We missed our train to the next city so we spent the next day visiting less well known places in Agra. The best is The Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah better known to locals as The Baby Taj. It was built prior to the construction of the Taj Mahal and was the precusor for the inlay work found at the world famous monument. Wow! What a gem! Missing the train turned out to be one of our best days in India. When we arrived in Agra it was raining and we weren’t feeling our best. I’d met a taxi guy while trying to find a hotel for the night. He came early the next morning to take me to purchase train tickets and offered to take us around. We’d passed Fatehpur Sikri without enough time to see it so here was our opportunity to go.

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri was built and later abandoned due to lack of water. It is spectacular! The king had 3 wives: a Hindu, Christian and Muslim. Each had her own pavilion and kitchen to prepare the different food styles. There are so many interesting architectural elements here. It’s built of red sand stone.

Midnight Sleeper Train to Khjuraho

We made our midnight sleeper train to Khajuraho. I’d never traveled by sleeper train before and the experience is what I imagine prison might be like. Small compartments with fold down beds, 3 on each side and 2 beds along the walkway. The beds are so close together that you can’t sit up. You slide in headfirst and arrange your belongings so you can keep an eye on them. The conductor throws you a pillow and sheets and everyone goes to sleep.

Khajuraho

Khajuraho isn’t a usual destination. It’s a very small city that is famous for its 1000 year old Hindu temples. Like many other temple or cave cities the temples were carved by priests. Daily life, the gods and kama sutra are the subject of the carvings that completely cover the structures, inside and out. There is no other reason to go here, but it’s worth seeing.  The temples are spread out around the city but the best is a large group right in the city.

Varanasi

We took another night train and arrived in the holiest city, Varanasi. The kings built palaces along the Ganges River so that if they died there they would go straight to heaven. At sunrise you can take a boat out on the river. As the city wakes, you see everything possible along the steps that line the river: people bathing, washing clothes, pilgrims praying, the burning of the dead – all next to each other. It’s very clean compared to 20 years ago. Cows are holy and some of the most beautiful cows are well cared for here. An essential oil producer had gorgeous cows living in the rooms of the first floor of his home right in the oldest part of the city. The alley ways are very narrow so you have to navigate around the cows. There is also a large Muslim community here that is famous for their silk weaving.

New Delhi

Back to New Delhi. As India is being globalized Delhi is impacted the most. It was not built for the amount of cars that there are now. People are leaving the countryside to work in the foreign communication businesses. Entire modern cities outside Delhi have been built to accommodate this industry. It’s taking its toll on India…the country is losing its culture. The young are all dressed in western style clothing. The color that made India famous is disappearing. The crafts that were done for generations have stopped being made as the young look for work in the cities. Delhi has all the western brands in Connaught Place, a circular series of buildings that remind you of the Raj era, when the British were in power.

India is still my favorite place to go, even though it’s changing so fast that parts are barely recognizable. For anyone interested in seeing India, I’d say go there fast. There is still some of the ancient India remaining, but another generation or two and it will be gone.

By: Fred Pirkey of Salon Ishi

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My History With India

my history with india

Fred Pirkey of Salon Ishi recently travelled to India, a destination he has frequented over the years. Here he shares his observations, experiences and personal connection to a land that has changed immensely over the years.

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Because I’ve gone to India so many times over the course of many years,  I have come to think of it as “Old India” and “New India”. Old India was a dream. It was nothing that I’d ever experienced elsewhere. All that I had ever been taught had to be thrown out the window because India was operating in the opposite way. It was an eye opener…and I couldn’t get enough of it. There was so much beauty…the people, the colors, the primitive life, the forts with their palaces, the pleasure pavilions, the land. Then, in what seemed like a very short time span, everything changed, the traditional garb, language and even the very landscape. Poverty was everywhere. But the poverty cannot be judged by our standards; there was always joy. The poor didn’t know what they were missing, so they found joy in what they had. The simplest things kept them smiling.

Old India

Over the years the gradual changes to the Indian style of life brought nomads into the cities where they lived in cardboard shacks along the roads. Through the doorways you’d usually see a TV powered by a direct wire to an electrical pole. The cities were smoke filled from the cow dung-fueled cooking fires. The walls of houses had a pattern of cow dung that the women had formed into patties and slapped on the walls for drying. Almost all of this has vanished.

New India

New India still has some remains of what I loved, but is fast losing itself to the western style of life. The streets of the cities are still unpleasant. Trash is dumped onto the streets where it’s left, driven oven, eaten by wild dogs and roaming cows and picked through by people who make their living selling recyclable paper. Highrise apartments now dot the landscape in fields that once grew crops where women in bright colored and metallic shawls would periodically break to stretch, their clothes glistening in the sunlight.  Men in dhoti, kurta and large turbans plowed fields with their water buffalo or teams of bulls. Now, the women still work the fields but in less color and the animals have mostly been replaced with tractors. Some of the older men wear their traditional dress but most are in western shirts and pants. In Rajasthan, mostly in the desert, the men – even though more western dressed – still wear their earrings and many rings. They wear their birthstones on their pointer finger as their astrologer has directed them to.

Poverty is Waning

Less women with their dirty children are begging at car windows at each intersection where you’ve had a stop light. Or waiting outside your hotel in hopes you’ll acknowledge them and give them 10 rupees. The biggest mistake you could make in old India was giving into your guilt and giving them something. They’d get the word out and there would be many more waiting for you. Even before cell phones, India had a communication system unlike any other. Still today, if you let someone know you are coming, other people that person doesn’t even know, already know when you get there.

my-india-through-historyThe New Guard

The young are moving into the cities to find work. The generational traditions of work are being lost. Entire modern cities have formed as offices for American telephone and call centers spring up. All the old arts and handicrafts are disappearing. The gemstones are now cut by machine. The embroidery work is no longer done. Weaving and block printing are being done by machine. Highways are under construction everywhere making access to tourist destinations more accessible. But this is at the cost of small villages where the roads have no provision for the locals to cross from one side to the other. People and animals are killed just trying to cross the street. In many places there are flyovers that form walls of cement tiles.

Preserving The Old While Making Way For The New

One great thing going on now is the recycling of items. Silk saris are being stitched together to make new saris, stoles and shawls. The embroidered, mirrored and beaded skirts and tops are being made into patchwork for wall hangings, table runners and handbags. It’s time to collect this work because it will not be done again. Even the saris industry is in the decline as women dress in western styles.

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Curly Hair Styling Regimen

curly hair styling regimen

Most women with curly hair seem to feel societal pressure to straighten it. It’s as if a message has been communicated – if only subtly – that straight hair is preferable. Is curly hair not good enough? I have observed this phenomenon in all types of woman: Caucasian, Afro-Caribbean, Asian, Hispanic…the list goes on.

Strong Anti-curly Cues

This message is so strong that demand has created not only straightening balms, industrial strength blow dryers and flat irons, but also more permanent solutions, like hair straightening processes – some taking 6-7 hours.

I’m OK, You’re OK

As a curly cue myself, it took me a long time to accept my curly situation. I realized I needed to commit to who I was and let my hair be. The truth is that soon as I started going with the flow of my hair texture, working with it instead of against it, my hair looked much better. Finding the right products is a huge piece of the puzzle, especially as we move into summer.

It’s All About the Products

Finding the right products for curls can be akin to a science experiment. You have to be patient and willing to try different combinations of products to see how they work together with your hair. I have tried so many different products in so many different categories! To some extent, I tweak my regimen depending on the weather or season and occasionally due to new product finds.

Here’s my current regimen:

Shampoo Daily

I either use Caretrico’s Type H Shampoo or Philip Kingsley’s Re-moisturising Shampoo. This shampoo can be found in Philip Kingsley’s Smooth & Shiny Jet Set. Make sure to shampoo your scalp ONLY and give yourself a 5 second scalp massage. (or 3 if you have zero patience like me) I recommend trying both for a period of 4 weeks each to see if one is better for your hair. If you like them both, rotate seasonally. You may find that one works better for you in colder weather, etc. Also, depending on where you live, one may react better with your water supply. Here in New York City we have hard water, which is tough on dry, curly hair. In the Caribbean, or other parts of the world where the water is soft, you may find that your hair dries nicer, softer and/or shinier.

Use a Leave-in Conditioner or Leave Your Conditioner In

This particular step is one that many hair care professionals will not advise. But if this is wrong, I don’t want to be right. It works! My favorite, absolutely can’t live without hair product is Caretrico Privy Treatment Slim Through. Ishi introduced this product to me. It is meant to be used as a conditioner or 10-20 minute hair treatment. Since there is not enough moisture for my hair (my hair is coarse, curly and bleached), I actually leave it in, and once applied, run my Du-Boa Scalp Massager through my hair to distribute the product.

Use a Scalp Toner

Right out of the shower, use Philip Kingsley’s Scalp Toner. Healthy shiny hair, starts with a clean scalp.

“Priming” Products

Start with a quick spritz of Vine’s Care Water. This boosts the efficacy of all the styling products that you use subsequently. It also adds moisture, defrizzes and adds volume to fine hair! If its good enough for NASA, its good enough for me!

  • Spring & Summer Hair Primers: Arimino’s Bamboo Moisture Veil .
  • After Coloring or Going to the Beach: If you have just colored your hair, or plan on going to the beach, use Arimino’s Aqua Moisture for this step. It’s super moisturizing and will get you through the 3 days after color application that tend to leave hair looking its driest. This product will also sand guard your hair at the beach.  (Yes, I am completely OCD about this entire process.)

Styling Products

I use Philip Kingsley’s Curl Activator followed by Ouidad Climate Control Heat and Humidity Drops.

What About Killer Humidity?

If it’s humid out, even with all of the above steps, I always seem to accumulate frizz close to the strands that frame my face. When your hair is almost completely dry (never use a hair dryer) take 5 drops of Cosmetics 27 Huile 27 and scrunch it around the dry areas. I also wrap it around particularly fuzzy curls.

On Hair Masks

Use Philip Kingsley Elasticizer treatment 2 x per week. It makes such a difference. For those with finer hair, and Claire has talked about this before, once a week should do the trick.

Uber Important Note

All these steps should be done separately and you must flip your head over and scrunch to make sure you coat every hair with product.

By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter @AlyssaBarrie

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