Friday, September 7, 2012


Do you hear the scrunching of fallen leaves as you walk on them?  Do you smell the smoke of burning leaves or fireplace logs that permeate the air?  Can you see your breath as you exhale in the chilly crisp air?  Can you taste the juicy goodness of that first caramel apple as you bite into it?  Okay, maybe it’s still a bit early for all of that, after all, in the Northern Hemisphere, the autumnal equinox (a.k.a. the first day of fall) doesn’t officially begin until September 22 at 10:49 A.M. EDT. 

As I write this, the week’s temps forecast in my area will be in the mid to upper eighties, with high humidity.  I’m sure you’re still walking around in flip-flops and slathering on the sunblock, hoping to squeeze a little more out of the waning summer before fall finally brings you back to reality. Be that as it may, summer still lingers for a few more weeks.

My last two articles offered a variety of product reviews that were ideal for summer, but would also transition nicely into fall.  In this edition, I continue that theme and present a few more product reviews for your consideration.  These are also ideal products to pack in your bags for your daily routines or those last minute getaway weekends.  Enjoy reading about these products, and don’t forget to visit their websites.

Auspect MD Collection ~ Australia’s number one selling cosmeceutical skincare line for eighteen years is now available in the U.S.  The formulations are based on the latest skincare technology that combines the best of nature and science to treat the skin gently and restoratively.  The products I tried included their Pro Clean Daily Facial Cleanser, X-fol-ator Exfoliating Serum, Pro-C Skin Brightening Serum and Resveratrol Pro Daily Moisture.  The Cleanser was gentle and eliminated surface dirt effortlessly and left skin feeling hydrated; the slight fruity aroma wasn’t too overpowering.  The Exfoliating Serum is another gentle product that exfoliates the skin with AHA technology and without assaulting the delicate tissue; skin felt hydrated and very clean.  The Brightening Serum not only protects the skin from the sun’s harmful rays, it also aids in eliminating hyperpigmentation over prolonged use; contains vitamin C, peptides for collagen production and antioxidants.  The Daily Moisture had a subtle tint and when applied, appeared to even-out my skin tone.  It’s mousse-like consistency was light and airy and didn’t weigh heavily on my skin; was quickly absorbed, without leaving any residue; the anti-aging wonder ingredient, Resveratrol, an antioxidant, is a key ingredient to this treatment product; peptides also help to stimulate collagen production.  With the exception of the Daily Moisture, all the other products had a fruity aroma, which fortunately quickly dissipated after product use (I’m not a fan of fruity aromas in my skincare products).

Comodynes ~ If you experience tired, jet-lagged or burning-the-midnight-oil skin Beauty-Flash Lifting Effect is just what you need fresh and lift lackluster skin.  A spritz or two on the face will give you an instant and firming lift to tired skin.  Using firming and toning plant extracts, the product also sets makeup for up to eight hours.   Key ingredients include mushroom extract and oat extract; non-drying and non-irritating; the aroma was subtle.

Crabtree & Evelyn ~ The newest fragrance line, Himalayan Blue is exquisite and sophisticated.  Formulated with the prized and elusive Himalayan Blue Poppy, each product is an aromatherapeutic discovery and an adventure in luxury.  The Himalayan Blue Eau de Toilette Spray has top notes of blue poppy, smoked black tea, warm ginger and golden champaca, with base notes and dry down of patchouli and exotic woods.  The aroma is subtle, complex and heady, but not over-powering.   The Bath & Shower Gel is also infused with the same aromatic formula base as the Himalayan Blue Eau de Toilette Spray, plus the added benefits of incredibly gentle and hydrating cleansing properties; leaves a beautifully subtle veil of aroma to the hydrated skin.  Both products were outstanding.

Olivia Garden ~ Known for their innovative hair care tools, the latest NanoThermic Brush makes styling effortless.  Overall design is lightweight with a soft-grip handle; the wavy configured bristles are also soft and help to conduct heat more evenly, eliminating hot spots.  The open barrel design allows for quicker drying and styling; bristles deliver hydrating Tourmaline Ion Technology to the scalp, maintaining scalp’s moisture mantel, while adding vibrancy and luster.

Shea Moisture ~ Lavender & Wild Orchid Shea Butter Soap and Organic Lemongrass & Ginger Body Scrub with Orange Peel make bath time luxury-time and deliver functional therapy naturally.  Key ingredients in the Lavender & Wild Orchid Shea Butter Soap include African shea butter, lavender oil, calendula flower, vitamin E, and coconut and palm cleansing agents.  Left my skin hydrated; product was non-irritating and had a lovely aroma.  Key ingredients in the Organic Lemongrass & Ginger Body Scrub with Orange Peel include shea butter, cocoa seed butter, mango seed butter, olive oil, lemongrass oil, sugar, orange peel, tea tree oil, ginger root, ginger oil, vitamin E, and honeysuckle flower extract.  This product exfoliated thoroughly and gently, without leaving any greasy or tacky residue; the aromas were crisp and fresh and made for an exceptionally pleasant bathing experience; it was aromatherapeutic.  Products use all natural ingredients; no animal testing was done.
Back to the Roots ~ I first saw the Mushroom Kit at Chicago’s International Housewares Show this past March.  Since then, this grow-your-own-mushrooms-at-home kit has been a huge hit.  The growing medium is made from recycled and sanitized coffee grounds, making this a natural and sustainable way to grow quickly up to a 1.5 pounds of fresh and delicious tasting Pearl Oyster Mushrooms.  The Kit comes with growing medium, grow bag, grow box, fine mister and instructions.  This is a great product for kids and adults and gives a wonderful sense of satisfaction knowing that something was grown from your own hands.  Home grown Pearl Oyster Mushrooms are delicious and low calorie.  I enjoyed the product and especially enjoyed watching them grow; the daily growth spurts were incredible; I also enjoyed how the Mushrooms tasted.  After tasting these, I’ve concluded that conventionally grown mushrooms are inferior in quality and taste to these.

Little Duck Organics ~ Just right for tiny chubby hands just learning how to pick up and plop in their tiny little mouths little food bites.  Parents will be happy to know that there’s a healthy fruit snack alternative that’s all natural, organic and hasn’t any added sugar.  The Strawberry & Mango Tiny Fruits and Pineapple & Mango Tiny Fruits are delicious, although I found the Strawberry & Mango to be a bit on the tart and puckery side because of the strawberry bits; the Pineapple & Mango variety had just the right amount of sweetness; the texture is soft and just right for teething toddlers.  A great snack for kids of all age.

Pura ~ If you want to do your part for the environment, then consider the Kiki Bottle, Silicone Sleeve and Stainless Steel Bottle.  For adults, there’s the all Stainless Steel Bottle, which is reusable and naturally acts as an insulator to keep beverages hot or cold.  For the tiny ones, there’s 100% plastic-free bottle, the Kiki Bottle which is made of unbreakable stainless steel, and free of glass or BPA laden plastic; comes with a non-plastic, medical-grade silicone nipple and silicone travel cover.  Another ideal product for the tiny ones is a 100% Silicone Sleeve that covers most standard glass bottles; easy grip, and free of plastic and BPA; non-toxic.  Protects the purity of the container ingredients, so there’s no worry about leaching from toxic chemical found in traditional BPA plastic containers.  All products come in a variety of colors.

Thermal Aid ~ Thermal Aid offers the latest in naturally and effectively treating aches and pains, or relieving swelling.  For adults, there are the 100% Natural Heating & Cooling Pack, which comes in different sizes, depending on the area of relief being sought.  Then, for the tiny ones who also need soothing relief and comfort, there’s the adorable 100% Natural Bear, which comes in a variety of colors.  The key ingredient in both products is a heating/cooling element made of bio-engineered corn that has had any properties removed from the kernel that form mold and fungi; the result is a natural core element that can be heated or cooled, depending on the medical relief being sought; retains its temperature for longer periods of time; the outer fabric is 100% natural cotton.

Troquet Neighborhood French Bar By LM ~ This favorite Chicago neighborhood restaurant offers fresh and local food fare that changes daily.  The day I stopped in for lunch, my server assisted me in making a few choices; I enjoyed a delicious cheese plate accented served with apricot jam and a fresh made baguette.  I also enjoyed the cold carrot and ginger soup and a delicious entrée salad of arugula, mixed greens, grilled chicken breast, wine poached pairs, orange segments dressed with a delicate orange vinaigrette; both the extensive wine list and dessert offerings were tempting, but I exercised restraint and took a pass on both. Troquet didn’t disappoint and is definitely a place where culinary creativity and freshness are paramount.  While this particular restaurant might not be in your area, do consider checking your area for similar restaurants that serve freshly prepared food fare that’s healthy and more than likely delicious tasting; sometimes a smaller establishment with a smaller limited menu offerings often translates to higher quality service and food fare.

That’s it for this edition.  Until the next one, remember to take care of yourself and those you love.

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


(Photo credit, "forest in fall",

1 comment:

  1. Another comprehensive article on how to care for ourselves in all aspects of life. I always feel better after reading Terry's posts.--Pat Kummer


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