Friday, December 9, 2011

'TIS ANY SEASON FOR GIFTING

SPA BITS

(Volume 2011.6)

~ ‘TIS ANY SEASON FOR GIFTING ~

Put the stress of the season behind you. Enjoy and treat each day as a special gift. This edition focuses on products that include skin, body care, and aromatherapy....just in time for the season!

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SKINCARE

Caudalie ~ Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid SPF15 ~ Since the mid1990s, Caudalie established itself as the first and foremost definitive company researching and identifying Resveratrol as a potent antioxidant within the grape (including all of its by-products and plant related) that benefited signs of aging by minimizing, diminishing or reducing them. They would go on to formulate the first-ever Vinoth√©rapie products, while also opening the first-ever spa (Bordeaux, France) devoted to anti-aging treatments based in the science and technology of Vinoth√©rapie. The Day Perfecting Fluid is the latest in the iconic anti-aging products. The formulation includes its proprietary Viniferine, which is derived from vine sap, papaya enzyme, Equatorial tree extracts, and UVA and UVB filters. The product was quickly absorbed, left no residue and wasn't irritating; it's aroma was very fresh and enjoyable. The hydration properties were phenomenal, and the product’s slight tint, evened-out skin appearance, leaving it radiant. www.caudalie-usa.com

Golden Ballet ~ Pearl Cream ~ This moisture cream contains powdered pearl, an ingredient revered by the Chinese herbalists for thousands of years because of its proteins, amino acids, trace elements and minerals that function as an anti-inflammatory, along with other pharmacological benefits. For skincare related, the specific benefits from pearl powder included aiding in tissue regeneration, while softening the skin; it was also said to have anti-aging properties and over time, would add luminosity to the skin’s appearance. The product had a pleasant aroma, was quickly absorbed and didn’t leave any tacky or greasy residue. I used the product for approximately three weeks; unfortunately, the texture of my skin felt grainy after each use. www.solsticemed.com

BODY & HAND CARE

Crabtree & Evelyn Gift Collection ~ Pomegranate, Argan & Grapeseed Oil Skin Replenishing Bars and Skin Smoothing Body Scrub ~ The combination of these ingredients results in an indulgent cleansing bar that tantalizes the olfactory with the crisp and juicy essences of pomegranate, citrus and fig leaf, while lavishing hydration to the skin from Argan and grapeseed oil and shea butter in both the Replenishing Bars and Body Scrub. Added bonuses with the Scrub include gentle sunflower wax beads that effectively exfoliate the skin without stripping it, and additional hydrating properties that include essential oils from pomegranate, sunflower, jojoba, peach kernel, pumpkin, and sesame seed. Antioxidant rich and your skin’s cold weather friend to combat the seasonal assaults on the skin like cold and dry air. Both products are formulated without parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, or mineral oil. www.crabtree-evelyn.com

Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Therapy Gift Collection ~ Rosewater, Gardeners, Citron, Honey & Coriander, La Source, Lavender and Summer Hill ~ This collection is ideal for the devotee of this iconic brand’s top selling Hand Therapy formulations in a mini version of 25g. Made with the finest ingredients like macadamia nut oil, shea butter, honey, vitamin E, and high quality extracts and essential oils, each variety delivers outstanding hydration, without leaving any greasy residue; natural aromas leave a fresh hint of fragrance, without over-powering. The special Gift Collection makes an ideal “stocking stuffer”, or break down the collection of six into individual “stocking stuffers”, along with another gift treat. Who on your wish list, including yourself, doesn’t need another easy to port dry skin rescue like one of these tried and true Hand Therapy varieties? I’ve used all of these wonderful formulations over the years and love them all. www.crabtree-evelyn.com

Minus 417 Aromatic Body Peeling and Aromatic Body Butter ~ Ocean Scent ~ All products are formulated without parabens or mineral oil. Formulations are based on a naturally occurring vitamin and mineral complex that includes Dead Sea salt, sweet almond oil, lavender oil and calcium pantothenate (also known as pantothenic acid, which aids in cell regeneration). The Body Peeling gently exfoliated the skin and wasn’t irritating. The Body Butter rehydrated the skin, was quickly absorbed and didn’t leave any tacky or greasy residue. The aroma, although pleasant, smelled more fruity, almost like mango; it didn’t really have an Ocean Scent. Products are fairly new to the U.S. and have a limited range of retail availability. The company takes its name from what they state is the lowest point on Earth, 1,373 ft., or -417 meters. www.minus417.com

White Flower ~ Analgesic Balm ~ It’s easy to over do it during the stress and crunch of holiday planning, shopping and entertaining. For all your effort, you just might end up with some stiff and sore muscles. This small bottle of Balm delivers a strong dose of relief and has a pleasant aroma without making you smell like a walking medicine arsenal. The product was non-irritating as a spot treatment; when added to water, it created a soothing foot soak for tired and achy feet. www.solsticemed.com

AROMATICS FOR SELF AND HOME

Crabtree & Evelyn Gift Collections ~ Golden Topaz and Smoky Amber ~ The Golden Topaz collection is fragranced with a blend of Clementine, frankincense, and myrrh, which were warmed with subtle notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. The Smoky Amber collection is fragranced with a blend of crystallized ginger, golden amber, and cardamom, which were warmed with subtle notes of mandarin and sandalwood. Aromas are long lasting, authentic and non-irritating, a sure indicator of the high quality of each fragrance formulation. Products tried included Golden Topaz Home Fragrance Spray and Candle, and Smoky Amber Home Fragrance Oil and Candle. www.crabtree-evelyn.com

golden earth essential oil ~ euphoria essence ~ More than a fragrance, it’s an organic essential oil that calms and brings some sense of “balance” into a person’s state of wellness. This particular essential oil is part of golden earth “Perfumes from Nature” offerings. Key ingredients include jojoba oil, rose and jasmine essential oil blend, and passion fruit oil. The rose and jasmine oils are believed to bring about a sense of wellbeing, happiness and creativity. While I found euphoria essential oil essence a lovely aroma, it lacked staying power. www.goldenearth.net

Thymes Pinecone Reed Diffuser Set ~ Frasier Fir ~ Nothing conjures up holiday childhood memories than a seasonal aroma such as Frasier Fir. The set includes an adorable shaped Pinecone vessel. I was impressed with the high quality of the oils used in the fragrance and its authentic aroma, which filled several rooms with holiday memories, while transporting me to a grove of evergreen trees. Every time I walk past my fragrant Frasier Fir pinecone-shaped diffuser, I inhale a bit deeper to enjoy the seasonal headiness it emits. www.thymes.com

MISCELLANEOUS

Waterleaf ~ This new fine dining restaurant is located in LEED Certified hotel, Inn At Water’s Edge, on the campus of the College of DuPage (Wheaton, IL). Focus is on fresh, local, seasonal and organic. Culinary students are on the frontlines, while their chef professors conjure up culinary wizardry that exceeds all levels of expectation. Fine dining Waterleaf Restaurant is a rare find in this part of Chicago-land. I was there for lunch and there were only a few patrons in the beautifully appointed dining room. Unfortunately, service was very slow and I viewed it as a spin on the trending “slow food” movement, and my lunch service was over two hours; fortunately I didn’t have any other appointments that day. That said, however, my menu selections were delicious and well worth the wait. www.waterleafrestaurant.com

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Anytime of the year can be a special occasion for gifting…whether the gifting is for family, friends, charity, or self. The beauty of this holiday time of Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year is that it’s a joyful time accentuated with gifting. It doesn’t necessarily matter what the gift is, so long as it’s genuine, sincere and from the heart. It can be gift wrapped in an attractive box and tied with a shiny bow, or it can be homemade. Whatever the gift and whomever you spend the all of the holidays with, may this special time bring you much joy, peace, health and the promise of a better year in 2012. Lastly, remember to be grateful for all the blessings that you have ...these are also gifts. Until the next time….

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. She also serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa. She also serves as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz. You can email her at terry_h60559@yahoo.com.

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(Photo credits as represented from the specific brand.)