Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ailey Mae | Raw Chocolate

I may be a sucker for great packaging, but it is also extra sweet when the product is just as amazing. Ailey Mae recently sent me several of her handmade, raw chocolates to savor and nibble including Rose & Pistachio, Roasted Hazelnut and Himalayan Sea Salt. I am a raw chocolate convert and really loved that these taste like a straight up dark chocolate, minus most allergens (note some of her product do contain coconut and nuts) These raw chocolate are made in Scotland in small batches using raw cacao butter, raw cacao powder, raw coconut butter, agave nectar.

My favorite was actually the Himalayan Sea Salt! The delicate balance of a pink sea salt and the delicious cacao made for a perfect late night treat. Trust me when I say these did not last long. Rose & Pistachio is floral and light while the Hazelnut is also extra delightful. If you love dark chocolate, definitely try these or her equally scrumptious Raw peanut Butter Truffles. Ailey did send me one to try but, sorry I couldn't be bothered to document it when it was  too good to wait. I actually used a bit of the Rose & Pistachio in my cocoa, to give it an extra boost of flavor.

ailey mae raw chocolates

ailey mae raw chocolates

ailey mae raw chocolates

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Inspiration | Elemental Child

Gillian Chadwick is the alchemist behind Elemental Child her shop that features beautifully curated crowns and headpieces. Using semiprecious stones, metals, and an impressive background in jewelry design to create these works of art. My favorite is the Czarina crown, inspired by Russian faerie tales.

Photographed by Massachusetts based Courtney Brooke the lookbook perfectly showcases the crowns in their element. Gillian Chadwick and Brooke have collaborated before on the formers musical project Ex-Reverie and I am so grateful these two create such otherworldly art. Deprived of a proper autumn here in Los Angeles I have been eye-swooning this lookbook wishing it was possible to be transported in this realm of magic, light, and mystery. Shop Elemental Child 

Photographed by Courtney Brooke
Model: Kater Resler
Designs by: Elemental Child

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sequoia Beauty Review + My Skincare Ritual

Several things are true: every body is different, with our own facets and elements. Like everyone, I have had aspects I wish I could fix: sensitive/combination skin that doesn't react well to most skin care products, occasional bouts of acne, blackheads/blockages on my nose, a few sunspots & freckles scattered here & there even though I (always) hide from the sunlight. If we dared to, we could probably fixate on something and become victims to the cycle of so-called "imperfections"

But, as I get older I really want to avoid that view. Of course its not easy, especially in our culture - however it is not impossible. I'm not striving for some concept of "perfection". Instead I'd rather improve my skincare for overall wellness and health and for me I want to approach it in a holistic manner.

When Laurel of Sequoia beauty so graciously sent me some samples, I was excited on the basis of her  handcrafted ethics (100% organic, raw, wildcrafted free of alcohol/water & synthetics.) Keeping up the skincare ritual + routine morning & night was enlightening, as well as maintaining hydration and sleep (it doesn't matter what you put on your face if you're dehydrated and sleep deprived!) A few days into using Sequoia Beauty I saw + felt my skin change. My skin doesn't react well to most skincare products, they usually give me breakouts, inflammation or redness. With Sequoia Beauty I finally healed several skin issues and it has made my skin smooth and soft. (read below). Now, my favorite parts of the day are: at night when I get to treat my face to my regime of uncovering and revealing my skin as it should be: cleansed, loved by nature's alchemy, as well as in the morning when I awaken + bring rejuvenation to my skin back to life to greet the morning

*Sequoia Beauty will be going through a product rebrand (exciting!) sometime around January 2014, while the look will change the formulas will remained 100% pure organic mother earth derived ingredients and with love, as always. I cannot wait to see Sequoia Beauty bloom and grow

sequoia beauty

My Skincare Ritual

Purify and Realease Cream Cleanser* | Sequoia Beauty products do not use foaming agents, alcohol or water (read why here) I've tried cleansers in the past but they either left my skin parched or red. However this one is made with plants that help inflammation like Chamomile, Licorice, and Chickweed. The only "preservative" here is radish root filtrate which is a probiotic made from radishes (thats just awesome) This cleanser is for oil/combo/acne prone skin - and I think this goes beyond cleanser because it improved my skin quality immensely, it leaves mine smooth and baby soft. Even in the morning! It helped clear up acne along my oily spots (my jaw +forehead area) This is one is keeper. I love this cleanser so much. If I notice breakouts creeping up, I use this cleanser immediately to reduce the redness and banish them.

Sun Damage Repair Serum* | I am naturally drawn to non-sunlit areas, however when you live in a sunny place like California, you can't escape it. Sequoia Beauty serums may double as a moisturizer which for me is ideal since I hadn't found one that wasn't heavy.  This is fragrance free but contains essential oils (however contact Sequoia Beauty if you have a plant allergy) I really love this serum, it softens my skin but it is not oily, it seeps in. Read more about this wonderful serum from a Holistic Esthetician here. I use it on my whole face especially under my eyes and near the lash line.

Firm and Tighten Toner* | I had never used a toner, and to be honest toners sound like a conundrum. They are meant to tone, but offer moisture & remove impurities (oils, dirt, excess makeup, etc) In a sense they sound like the probiotics of skincare. Initially I was skeptical because I am not kidding when I say my skin does not take kindly to much of anything, but main ingredients for the toner: non alcohol derived Witch Hazel, Aloe, Lemon Balm, Rose Geranium are great for sensitive skin (especially aloe) so after cleansing I apply a few spritzes of this and it does not dry your skin out since it does not contain any alcohol, water or foaming agents. I do apply the Sun Damage Repair serum after this. My skin (during dry weather) has the nerve to get splotchy so this is a nice product to have on hand as a refresher, even though the name is "firm and tighten" this toner is for dry, mature and normal skin-types.

 Anti-Oxidant Renewal mask* | This mask is my everything. I was mainly using the decadent honey mask (because, honey + berries) but I used this wonderful clay mask infused with nettle + red clover & more goodness and somehow this mask helped dislodge and clear up my nose from the consistent blackheads I have dealt with for years. I believe its thanks to the Rhassoul clay (which is organic and wildcrafted) With daily use they remain far, far away from my face. This is my new favorite product because it worked for me. I mix it with water in my palm & enjoy the tingling aspect of the clay. Yes it cleans your skin and leaves my nose spot free. I usually use it at night before cleansing.

More Sequoia Beauty I sampled

Honey Berry Enzyme Mask | This mask smells like a honey bear's dream. I think its perfectly universal because it's perfectly soothing. It features raw Royal Jelly and Strawberries, this mask is my favorite for blending with the clay masks and bringing moisture. The ground strawberries act like a gentle exfoliator. My two cents? Use it in the shower, especially a warm one so it seeps in easily and you won't get any in your hair, otherwise be sure to put your hair up in a bun!

Almond Mineral Exfoliant | All of Sequoia Beauty's masks are concentrated, they are in powder form to retain potency without preservatives. This one is good if you don't want to use clay, (clay masks do tingle) since this one you can leave on your skin without feeling any affects, and don't want to deal with the sticky consistency of honey *or you can mix them together.

Purity Balm* | Again, its a balm but since my skin varies from sensitive to an oily t-zone I apply this balm after cleansing on the more sensitive areas, avoiding places I break out, at night especially in the cooler months to help moisturize my skin, this features organic + raw unrefined Shea butter, Tamanu oil, Rosehip seed oil - do use lightly though (its concentrated!) If you have dry or sensitive skin I really recommend this balm. Beyond the face you can use it on your body too, and even your hair! Best for multi-use.

sequoia beauty

My thoughts
 I am so thankful to Laurel for introducing my mind (and skin) to her holistic skincare. I admire that Laurel & the Sequoia Beauty team do this research + alchemy, to create products are free of the majority of allergens, created 100% biodynamically and organically with our health in mind. There are no synthetic vitamins in their brand since all the vitamins an minerals are sourced from plants themselves. Overall, Sequoia Beauty products did an amazing job nourishing + repairing at a cellular level while healing/soothing my sensitive/combo skin. Proudcts marked with * are the ones I would purchase again because they worked for me. I highly recommend Sequoia Beauty feel free to contact Laurel with any questions!

Everyone has their own beauty, their rituals and routine, this is my own story - I'm simply sharing my own holistic discoveries and journeys that I find along the way. It doesn't matter who you are, as long as, at the end of the day you grow to love yourself. I have gone through health and immunological issues and never really thought to put myself first, let alone a beauty ritual! But as I began to heal myself by leading a healthier life, and acknowledging what I put on my skin, I have focused on growing happier from the inside out. My own routine is not "universally perfect" but it is what works for me. I hope no matter who you are, that you discover & build your own beauty +health rituals & find that happiness is more than skin deep; it's being over the moon content with who you are and healing + working with it

Monday, November 4, 2013

Autumn winds and sentimental journeys

Oh Autumn. I wish i could enjoy you. But a lack of overcast, grey weather, too many classes to keep up with is just interfering with that. These photos are from October. My dreams of pumpkin picking, apple cider making and rainy days didn't come into fruition however - we will always have November to fall back on. I am going to try to make time for myself and enjoy the days - and not just keep my face buried in school books.

old books and pomegranates
babycakes los angeles
fox sketch

i. sketch for a possible painting, pomegranate seeds & chai hot cocoa (with rose petals..)
ii. more sketches
iii. Babycakes in North Larchmont, my favorite bakery. I wen twitch Christine, she got me a Pressed juicer later
iv. practice...
v. I did bring in October with a allergen free pumpkin pie!
vi writing letters and playing with my new calligraphy set from Terrain.
vii Morning breakfast scenes. Apples caramelized with yummy pancakes