Friday, December 9, 2011



(Volume 2011.6)


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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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 Vinothérapie products, while also opening the first-ever spa (Bordeaux, France) devoted to anti-aging treatments based in the science and technology of Vinothérapie. 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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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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


(Photo credits as represented from the specific brand.)

Monday, November 7, 2011


(Volume 2011.5)


…I realize it’s been awhile since publishing my last article, but with your indulgence and understanding, I have been otherwise engaged…among the various creative things I'm involved in besides writing, I’m also a professional singer; I auditioned for and became a part of the cast of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies” at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (two understudy roles)…between rehearsals, wig and costume fittings, and performances, I had to re-prioritize my entire schedule…the production has now been extended, and also forced me to cancel my plans for attending the International Spa Association (ISPA) Conference in Las Vegas…I was to have attended this important industry annual event in my capacity as a member of the media representing my ezine...this year’s conference would’ve marked my fourteenth…I do plan on writing an article about this year’s conference for an upcoming edition…sometimes one’s passions converge…a mixed blessing, for sure…

This article continues my “FALL POTPOURRI” article, which reviewed an extensive array of spa, beauty and wellness related products. Dynamics of technology, ingredient accessibility, socio-economic and environmental consideration, professional and consumer demand, and aspects of competitiveness in a free market system, have contributed to a dizzying array of products available to both professionals and consumers, that are based on their own set of criteria, preferences, and needs. Factoring all of these aspects into one dynamic for choice can lead to the selection process becoming daunting. Hopefully my continuing product reviews represent options for you to consider that will address some of your needs.


Clarisonic Sonic Cleansing is preferred and recommended by many dermatologists and estheticians because it is more thorough in facial cleansing because it removes more pore and surface debris than conventional manual cleansing methods; over time, skin condition improves and pore size appears to diminish. I’ve been using the compact Mia Sonic Cleansing device for four weeks and have definitely noticed a more refined appearance to my overall texture. I love how clean and fresh my skin felt after using the device and found it gentle enough to use twice a day; the vibrating brush head is also gentle and non-irritating. I’ve been using the Sensitive Brush Head with my cleanser and occasionally will alternate and use the Normal Brush Head. The Mia maintains its charge for quite some time, making portability easier. Clarisonic Sonic Infusion is an extended step solely for the delicate eye area via the orbital bone.

The Clarisonic Opal is gentle enough for this delicate area, but is also recommended for the lip, eyebrow and even forehead area. The Opal infuses serum in the eye area more effectively than manual application of eye serums. The unit comes equipped with the recommended Opal Anti-Aging Sea Serum; a small-dispensed amount of the serum is applied to the vibrating head and then applied in small circular patterns to evenly distribute the serum on the orbital bone area. After use, I lightly tap into the tissue any remaining serum. The results include a more even distribution of treatment product, minimized lines, and improved overall texture; it also helps to reduce puffiness and dark circles. I was also able to apply my regular eye cream on top of the serum without any irritation. The serum is formulated with mineral rich marine extracts and botanicals and is paraben-free. The Opal also maintains its charge for some time and makes portability easier. Both products were outstanding and a must in one’s “arsenal” of skincare.

Joanna Vargas Skincare ~ This in-demand skincare guru and successful owner of Joanna Vargas Salon, Skin Care Sanctuary in New York City on tony Fifth Avenue, now offers her line of green, natural and organic skincare and body care treatment products. I got a chance to try the Daily Serum, Rejuvenating Serum, and Exfoliating Mask. The Daily Serum is formulated with Argan oil, green tea, vitamins A, C, E, and F, oat grass juice, and larch tree extract (aids the immune system). The formulation helps to reduce inflammation and irritation, while protecting the skin from the assault of environmental damage (e.g. sun, pollution); the base of oils in the formulation moisturized my skin effectively. The serum was quickly absorbed and didn't leave any tacky residue. I enjoyed using the product; its fresh aroma was somewhat fruity. The product also eliminated the need to use a moisturizer, as the serum provided sufficient moisturization; this helped minimize my overall skincare regimen by eliminating an additional step and product. The Rejuvenating Serum, which I used at night, is formulated with Argan, neroli, rosehip, olive, jojoba and rosewood oils, larch tree extract and vitamin C. The formulation helps reduce inflammation, irritation and photo aging, while also detoxifying. The combination of these oils didn’t leave any oily residue on my face, and was quickly absorbed. Its aroma was also fresh and somewhat floral. The Exfoliating Mask is formulated with larch tree extract, kaolin clay, volcanic rock, vitamin C, lemon and orange extract, pineapple enzyme, kojic and lactic acid. This gentle exfoliator is more like a polish and left my exceptionally clean and smooth; my skin glowed. The aroma was fresh and somewhat fruity.

Kate Somerville ~ If you’ve been following my writings since the mid-nineties, you’ll know that I generally shy away from skincare that falls under the category of “cosmeceutical”. I wanted to try this line because of the accolades from consumer devotees I kept coming across. The products I tried included the ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, Quench Hydrating Face Serum, and Deep Tissue Repair Cream with Peptide K8. After using these products for about four weeks, I thoroughly enjoyed using the product and its effectiveness; I noticed an improvement to my skin’s overall texture, firmness, luminosity, and hydration levels. Absolutely no irritation resulted from using any of the products, which has been the primary reason why I tend to shy away from cosmeceuticals. ExfoliKate polishes the skin with microspheres while delivering a cocktail of high performance fruit enzymes that target pores and dissolve any of the “nasties”. The powerhouse ingredients include salicylic acid, papaya, pineapple and pumpkin enzymes, rosewood and cinnamon extracts, aloe vera, honey and vitamin E. After cleansing, the product is applied and left on the skin for only a half minute and then rinsed off; the skin is polished, renewed and scrupulously cleaned. The Face Serum is a fabulous product with key ingredients that includes retinol, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, wheat germ oil, and proprietary complexes that improve elasticity, firmness, while diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. The Face Serum was applied sparingly to my cleansed skin; after completely being absorbed, I then applied a small amount of the Repair Cream. I also loved the Repair Cream and found my skin’s texture smoother and luminous. The Repair Cream stellar ingredients include macadamia seed, jojoba seed, and hemp seed oils, plus silk powder; additional proprietary complexes also help to minimize hydration loss, as well as minimize fine lines and wrinkles; the skin was also firmer. Both products had a silky texture, were quickly absorbed and had no discernable aroma. While my skin type isn’t excessively dry, or laden with a lot of fine lines and wrinkles, overall, these products noticeably improved my skin’s overall condition. The skin definitely looked noticeably improved after use of products.

L’Occitane Divine Eyes ~ Organic Immortelle essential oil is known for its wrinkle and free radical anti-aging properties. A number of L’Occitane’s skincare anti-aging products include this precious organic essential oil. Divine Eyes contains organic Immortelle essential oil which also aids in collagen synthesis, organic myrtle essential oil for longevity, buckwheat wax to combat puffiness, ash tree extract to minimize dark circles and rose floral water to soothe the delicate tissue around the eye area. I fell in love with this product because it was gentle, non-irritating, moisturized well and minimized fine lines. It also made the overall eye area appear brighter and fresher and truly delivered on it performance promises.


L’Occitane Limited Edition Hibiscus Flower Shea Butter Hand Cream and Cocoa Flower Shea Butter Body Cream ~ Leave it to L’Occitane to one-up its Shea Butter line to include ramped up versions of one of its most popular ingredient and delivery system, Hand Cream and Body Cream. This time around they’re getting their inspiration from Africa with additional ingredients like Desert Rose, Hibiscus Flower and Cocoa Flower. The limited edition products also come in containers with indigenous designs that resemble vibrantly colored tribal cloth and unique patterns. I tried the Hibiscus Flower Shea Hand Cream and the Cocoa Flower Shea Body Cream. The Shea Hand Cream formula includes twenty-percent of the highly prized and super moisturizing shea butter treatment, along with the delightful fresh infusion of Hibiscus Flower. The Shea Body Cream formula includes twenty-five percent shea butter, along with the delicious fresh infusion of Cocoa Flower. Both products provide lasting moisturization without leaving any tacky residue, while naturally protecting and replenishing lost moisture to over-worked hands and tired feet.

red flower ~ red flower infuses global cultures into everyday lives with natural and organic derived products. I tried the japan sento set, a travel set which included travel sizes of their larger full-sized version of yuzu mimosa sea algae wash, ohana ginger grass bamboo scrub, wild cherry blossom rice buff, rose camellia plum soft-water mist, kinmoxei wild lime silk oil and plum blossom silk cream. The set comes in a lovely reusable bag. Overall, I enjoyed using the products, while letting my mind wander to distant Japan, luxuriating at an Onsen, while attendants catered to my every need. All of the products were gentle, non-irritating and performed well; I also enjoyed the fresh aromas for each individual product. Usually when I try skincare or body care products, I prefer at least a three to four week supply to gauge the overall efficacy of the product being tried over a consistent period of time. Because this was a travel set and I was only able to get about three to four uses, I wasn’t able to fully gauge longer-term effectiveness in terms of improving my overall skin quality.

Thymes Bergamot Vert ~ I have always enjoyed this brand. It offers a wide variety of products for the home including fragrance diffusers, candles, soaps, hand and body washes, lotions and creams. Within the line, there is a wide range of fragrances that are subtle. I tried two of their newer products, Bergamot Vert Hand Wash and Bergamot Vert AHA Body Lotion. The Hand Wash ingredients included lemon peel extract, honey, and glycerin. The Body Lotion ingredients included shea butter, lemon and orange fruit extract, sugar maple extract, glycerin and vitamin E. Product was quickly absorbed and didn’t leave any tacky residue. The crisp citrusy aroma of both products was fresh and invigorating. The products are also paraben-free. No matter which product or aroma I’ve tried from this brand, I’ve never been disappointed.


emerginC Red Carpet Primer ~ This product is getting a lot of buzz because it delivers results it promises. I don’t wear much makeup, but when I do, I prefer a minimalist approach, wherever possible. As I age, I enjoy finding products that prep and prime my skin, despite it being in excellent good condition. The Red Carpet Primer, formulated with vitamin C, acacia plant-based filling spheres, hyaluronic acid, and hydrating micro-spheres, was an exceptional product. It delivered exceptional coverage in a neutral tinted base. My skin was incredibly smooth and glowed. I actually found that once the Primer was applied, I didn’t need to apply a foundation, only finishing powder. This was a very impressive product.

Talika Eyebrow Extender Light Brown ~ While my eyebrows aren’t plucked over, parts of them can use a little help. I fell in love with this product the first time I used it. The clear gel is infused with tinted volumizing fibers that fill in any sparse areas to the brows. The handy twist applicator dispenses just the right amount of product, which is then applied using the soft brush tipped applicator. The Extender keeps the brow beautifully groomed and is also non-drying. While I tend not to use even an eyebrow pencil, I couldn’t believe how much better my eyebrows looked after only one use of this exceptional product. Besides Light Brown, other tints include Dark Brown and Black. This is a must-have in your make-up arsenal.


While I don’t follow what celebrity-dom is doing and not a fan of TMZ or other celeb-tell-alls outlets, I do enjoy the opportunity of trying new scents. Two new scents hitting the crowded fragrance field include Celine Dion Signature EDT and Shine By Heidi Klum EDT. Celine Dion Signature is a light scent with top notes of mimosa blossom, guava and pink lady apple; heart notes include jasmine, rose and magnolia blossom; dry down includes musk, amberwood and sandalwood. Shine By Heidi Klum is another light scent with top notes of mandarin, pear, and pink peppercorn; heart notes include mimosa absolute, Muguet and sunflower; dry down includes vanilla, Tonka bean and musk. Both fragrances had a fresh fruity-floral aroma, without being cloying or syrupy sweet.


Neuma ~ The hair care company with a conscience that is committed to beautiful hair through sustainability and environmental responsibility. Product formulations are based on ingredients that include certified organic extracts, renewable plant-based ingredients, and are free of synthetic fragrances, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, carcinogens, formaldehydes, and other pollutants. I had the pleasure of experiencing some of their various shampoo formulations; I deferred trying any of the corresponding conditioners, only because I have oily and fine hair to begin with and conditioners just weigh the hair down more. That said, I found the overall properties of these shampoos added just the right amount of conditioning in their shampoo formulation, eliminating the need to also use the corresponding conditioner. Shampoo varieties I tried included their Volume Shampoo, which is geared towards fine hair, such as mine. I also tried Moisture Shampoo for those days when humidity levels were minimal and contributed to drying out the hair. I also tried Renew Shampoo, which is geared towards for those that need to revitalize their hair or just want to “perk” up their hair and refresh it. All varieties cleaned well and rinsed well, leaving my hair in a renewed and healthy state. And while I enjoyed all of the shampoo varieties, I especially liked the Renew variety; it contains organic peppermint, corn mint and coconut oil, and not only smelled exceptionally fresh, but also made my head of hair feel “bright” and fresh. I also enjoyed the refreshing aromas of the other two varieties. I tried one of their hair treatment products, Argan Treatment, which helps to restore, tame and strengthen the hair’s overall vitality, while giving it a healthy shine. All of the products performed exceptionally well.


(Restaurant Spotlight for the Health Conscious)

Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Pizza ~ This popular multi-location restaurant franchise ordinarily would pose some eating dilemmas for the health-conscious, especially when it comes to choosing from a menu of cholesterol and calorie-laden primarily deep-dish pizza choices; however, I recently had the pleasure of joining one of my dear friends at the Giordano’s in Oakbrook Terrace, IL for lunch. Perusing the menu and their selections of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pasta and pizza, we settled on several items to taste and share that included their Chopped Salad with balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette, Minestrone Soup, Thin Crust Spinach Pizza with Light Cheese, and Chicken Oreganato; the chicken was lightly sautéed and finished off in a sauce of fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, leeks, and oregano; it was served on a bed of linguine. We skipped the bread and butter, as well as dessert. The menu selections we chose were definitely healthier choices. The majority of today’s restaurants offer menu choices that include healthier options. Some restaurant menus are like mini books, and while it may take time perusing everything, and then making a value judgment, it’s worth the effort. And, when in doubt, always ask your server; our server was very helpful in clarifying aspects of ingredients and preparation. Although we didn’t go with the Stuffed Pizza, which this restaurant is known for, their varied menu and our menu choices added a new aspect to this restaurant, which exceeded the dining possibilities beyond the great Stuffed Pizza dimension. It is possible to enjoy healthy food choices in a stuffed pizza restaurant and leave without feeling guilty.

Now that fall has arrived and the colder months are approaching, our inclination to hibernate and stay indoor, all cozy and warm also becomes inevitable. Consider trying some of these products to help pass the time on those dreary days, and serve as a nice diversion from feeling cooped-up. You may just discover a new product that will have you wondering why you hadn’t tried it sooner. Enjoy the new season and all it has to offer. 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


(Photo credits as represented from the specific brand.)

Monday, September 12, 2011



(Volume 2011.4)


I love the season of fall (and even winter) because it signals a time for nature to rest from her rambunctious summer and recuperate, preparing for a rebirth next spring. In my “TRANSITIONING INTO FALL” article, I shared some transitional tips going into fall from the summer. In this edition, I continue this theme, offering my takes on products that transition nicely into the season of fall.

Following are reviews of products for this transitional season. I’ve included a number of skin and body care, hair care, makeup, food and home care, reading resources and even a restaurant review. Be sure to check out the links to the product websites, or search for them on Facebook, YouTube and the like. Many of the sites offer very helpful videos and how-to sketches for product usage, and are another great tool and becoming more familiar with them and how they work and how they’ll work on you. So, enjoy my fall cornucopia, brimming with a bounty of product potpourri!


Guinot ~ I tried the Large Écran UV, a sunscreen with an SPF30, and Age Logic Cellulair Corps, an anti-aging body moisturizer. Year round sun protection is a must to stave off signs of aging and to protect the skin from the debilitating effects of sun exposure. I loved how the sunscreen product went on and was quickly absorbed into the skin without leaving any type of tacky or greasy residue; the lovely aroma was a plus; product suitable for face or body. The first time I wore the Sunscreen was on one of the hottest and most humid days in the Chicago-area; I’d be outside for at least two hours walking at a garden walk. The punishing and unrelenting rays of sun on my fair skin didn’t stand a chance with this sunscreen’s protection; I was totally unscathed from any sunburn. Key ingredients include vitamin E, horse chestnut, heliotrope, and a proprietary formulation of DNA, sun filters and moisturizers. The Moisturizer is dense, making for a wonderful level of deep moisturization; it was quickly absorbed, and didn’t wasn’t greasy and left no tacky residue. Key ingredients include their proprietary Cellular Life Complex, vitamins E and C, algae, shea butter and passionflower oil. The neutral aroma is ideal for fragrance sensitive individuals.

Infusion Organique ~ This relatively new product line is outstanding. Products tried included their Scent Diffuser and Roll-on Eau de Parfum in the Açai Rain scent; and the Parfum de Maison, Hand and Body Wash, and Candle in the Buddha’s Fig scent. Açai Rain is a beautiful scent made up of the açai berry, raspberry, currant, white peach, fresh greens and organic vanilla extract. The subtle fruitiness was mellowed out by the greens and vanilla; ordinarily I avoid fruity aromas, but this one was very sophisticated. Buddha’s Fig combines organic fig extract, rose geranium, organic lemongrass oil, wood and amber essences. The Acai Rain Diffuser emitted its gentle aroma throughout my hallway and into my living room without being cloying; it was crisp, fresh and delicate. I enjoyed the same benefits of this scent in the roll-on EDP. The Buddha’s Fig room spray added a fresh green outdoor scent throughout the rest of my house; the scent subtly lingered. The body wash, also in this scent, while it cleansed well without drying, the lovely aroma wasn’t discernable; the soy candle, also in this scent, burned clean and smokeless and imparted a very subtle amount of its fresh, green aroma. Formulations conform to strict state of California requirements for non-toxicity and sustainability; ingredients are organic wherever possible, or naturally derived.

Navitas Naturals Cacao Power Organic Lip Balm ~ This Lip Balm is seasonless, but really protects the delicate lip area from the assaults of cold weather assaults that can dry and cause cracking of the tissue. Ingredients include organic sunflower and jojoba oil, organic beeswax, organic raw cacao butter, organic chocolate flavor, vitamin E, rosemary extract and organic calendula. Pure, natural and smells scrumptious, while imparting a wonderful protective veil of moisturizing balm that has staying power, so long as you aren’t tempted to eat it.

Votre Vu Très Magni-Feet Exfoliant Pour Les Pieds and Très Magni-Feet Crème Pour Les Pieds ~ I loved the gentle sloughing-off of dry skin on my feet from the Exfoliant; it was ideal using in the shower. It removed the dry stuff from my skin effortlessly, leaving my skin very soft and subtly moisturized. The Exfoliant ingredients included bamboo, wax microspheres, palmitic acid, panthenol and peppermint oil. This product made my feet happy with silky smooth skin. The Moisturizer ingredients included shea butter, verbena essential oil, arnica extract, panthenol, and menthol. This product had a lovely subtle aroma and drenched my feet with silky hydration. Product went on easily, was quickly absorbed and didn’t leave any greasy or tacky residue.


DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom Perfume by Donna Karan ~ This is a lovely subtle airy floral that imparts a fresh veil of just-blossomed flowers. While this fragrance is subtle, it's ideal to wear all year long. I enjoyed it as a pick-me-up. Ingredients include Apricot, Cassis, Grapefruit, Smooth Skin Accord, Blond Woods, Jasmine, Rose, Apple, and Muguet.

Jane Iredale “Naturally Confident” Fall Collection ~ I love this eponymous brand. It continues to define mineral makeup that’s great for the skin, while enhancing what nature gave each of us. With each new season, an exciting new collection of products and color is unveiled. These always capture the spirit and essence of that season. What I also love about this line is that the colors transition into any season beautifully. This season’s Fall Collection, “Naturally Confident”, is phenomenal. LIPS ~ There’s three new colors of Lip Fixation, the dual-tipped wands, where one end is a lip stain with a proprietary formula that is waterproof, anti-feathering and super moisturizing with avocado oil, and the other end is a lip gloss that’s also moisturizing and contains a hint of organic vanilla powder. This collection’s colors include Passion, Relish and Mania. Passion is a cherry red stain and clear gloss; Relish is a luminous aubergine stain and shimmery gloss; and, Mania is a golden bronze stain and shimmering gold gloss. HIGHLIGHTER ~ There’s a new In Touch Highlighter, Complete, in Pale Pink. This lightweight creamy highlighter will enhance any skin tone, while accentuating cheekbones, brow bones and the bridge of the nose. EYES ~ Then there’s the award winning Eye Steppes in two new color palettes of the popular PurePressed Eyeshadow colors, goCool and goWarm. These clever, all-in one tri-level swivel compacts include a flip-up mirror, a single shadow highlighter, and two duo eyeshadows. The goCool palette, based on rich jewel tone colors in the plum and violet family, includes Ice, Mittens, Cold Snap, Zhivago and Mulled Wine. The goWarm palette, based on warm earthtone colors in the family of golden brown and bronzed peach, includes Beach, Steamy, Sunshine, Mojito and Sandals. The colors are stunning and don’t require touch-ups; they also don’t fade or smudge. They look wonderful on any skin tone and can go from soft to intense, depending on application.

MUD “Fall Elements” Collection ~ This is another brand I enjoy using and looking forward to their new seasonal collections. This year’s “Fall Elements” collection lives up to my anticipation and doesn’t disappoint. This season’s collection includes a handy cosmetic case and a mirrored eyeshadow quad in autumnal colors like

Cashmere, Taupe, Concord and Tea Tree; colors can be blended to create a lovely customized look, or worn alone. To further enhance the eyes, there's also a soft eyeliner in Rich Brown completes the look. For the lips, there’s the popular Lip Glaze in the color Java, a rich and bold accent lip color with a hint of aubergine. All of these colors mimic the intensity of nature’s fall foliage and look beautiful on any skin tone.

ONE Solid Shampoo and Solid Conditioner ~ These environmentally, earth-friendly compact solids are great alternatives to bottled varieties; one solid is equivalent to three eight-ounce bottles of shampoo or conditioner, which means less packaging waste, a lighter weight product with concentrated formulations, which helps to avoid waste. Packaging is made of recycled materials; the Shampoo Solid comes with its own aerated tin, which helps air circulate and dry the product. I tried the Squeaky Clean for Oily Hair Shampoo and Hair Boost It Does It All Conditioner. The Shampoo key ingredients include almond oil, oat protein, tea tree leaf oil, and panthenol. The fragrance was fresh and left my hair feeling squeaky clean, but without stripping it of natural oils; my hair also had a nice healthy sheen to it. The Conditioner key ingredients include shea butter, Argan oil, oat protein, and macadamia seed oil. The fragrance was also fresh and I found that a little product was all I needed to gently condition my hair, imparting a healthy sheen to it. I also enjoyed rubbing my hands over the product while it was dry, and then rubbing the product into my cuticles and on my hands for hydration.

“Spa Wars ~ The Ugly Truth About The Beauty Industry” By Lora Condon ~ This short read is a must-have for anyone curious about what it takes to make it in the industry as an esthetician and waxing expert, while being bombarded with challenges, difficulties and unique experiences. It takes more than talent, skill and know-how; perseverance and diplomacy are also needed. The author, Lora Condon, is an industry expert; throughout the book, however, she uses “salty” language to make her points, which was a minor distraction. Overall, I commend the author on revealing the truths about some within the industry, including owners, directors, managers, co-workers and especially some of the vile and disgusting clients she serviced over the years, who would challenge even a saint. This isn’t an easy profession, for sure, and I finished the book with a greater level of appreciation, compassion and respect for those in the spa industry. and


Ayala Sparkling Herbal Water ~ This brand is known for its delicious and refreshing naturally flavored “still” waters. They’ve expanded their line to include carbonated varieties that are infused with organic natural fruit flavorings and herbs. I tried the Sparkling Ginger Lemon Peel variety and enjoyed its overall taste, which had just the right balance of ginger and citrus; clean tasting and thirst quenching; a great way to enjoy some bubbly without alcohol. The Sparkling varieties also include Lemongrass Mint Vanilla and Cinnamon Orange Peel; the three varieties come in a frosted glass bottle (750ml). This all-natural beverage has no artificial flavors or ingredients, and has no calories.

Dave’s Gourmet Organic Pasta Sauce ~ These all-natural pasta sauces will make anyone a gourmet chef. Each flavor uses only the freshest vegetables from nature’s bounty, and taste like they were just picked and then immediately cooked. The Red Heirloom variety screamed of fresh off the vine taste. Some of the certified organic ingredients included heirloom tomatoes, carrots, and onions. I loved the simple sweetness that enhanced my sautéed ground turkey, served over meat angel hair pasta. The Butternut Squash variety was deliciously sweet and balanced with the wonderful texture of pureed squash, tomato paste, red bell pepper and other flavorful ingredients that enhanced the flavor of plain gnocchi, topped with a grating of fresh nutmeg. The Masala Marinara variety was more in line with Indian cuisine, than Italian. Indian-influenced ingredients included tomatoes, coconut milk, ginger, limejuice, lemon grass, and lime leaf. Lamb meatballs simmered in this variety complimented the meat, although most meats or fish would go well with this variety.

Esterházy Wines ~ When it comes to wine, I’m not a snob or a purest or a wine expert. I do enjoy the taste of a good wine, and if I like a red with my fish course, I’ll drink it, or a white with my poultry or meat course, I’ll drink it. I came across this brand of premier Austrian wines, which the Esterházy Family vintners have been perfecting since the 17th Century, at a special luncheon and thoroughly enjoyed their tastes. Following are my taste opinions for each of the varieties experienced: Estoras Grüner Veltiner 2010 ~ I found this white wine to be light, delicate and fruity, with a nice balance between dry and sweet. Blaufränkisch 2009 ~ This beautiful ruby red wine was rich, full-bodied, dry and had a peppery kick. Haydn Merlot 2007 ~ I found the taste to be very comparable to the Blaufränkisch 2009, but a bit drier and with more intense fruitiness. Beerenauselese 2009 ~ I loved this dessert wine, with its lovely rich consistency, beautiful amber color and sweet floral and fruity taste. I also noticed after drinking these wines that I didn’t have my usual headache or stuffed sinuses, which is often the case after drinking other wines. Wine, in moderation, is a healthy addition to any dining experience; I also enjoy cooking with good quality wines, which enhance the overall flavors.

Fernando Pensato Extra Vergine Di Oliva and Olio Di Oliva Mandarin ~ These varieties are exceptional and make for delicious dressings and vinaigrettes. The Extra Vergine Di Oliva had a bit of a bite to it, but was mellowed out when other ingredients were added to the vinaigrette. I loved the Mandarin variety, which isn’t an infusion, but rather the fruit is added along with the olive while it’s being pressed to extract the fruitiness of the citrus and olive. Every dish I made that contained either oil complemented and enhanced; both were lovely with sautéed salmon, and a simple salad of shaved fennel, frisée, shallots, roasted pine nuts, orange segments, flat leaf parsley and a splash of white balsamic vinegar mixed with orange juice and the Mandarin Oil.

Food Should Taste Good ~ I’m a snacker and when I can get my mitts into something that’s healthy, crunchy, tasty, less in fat and calories, I’m there. It’s no wonder why I fell in love with these extraordinary organic and whole grain chips. Some of nature’s healthiest ingredients in these chips include blue corn, quinoa, flax, sunflower, sesame seeds, brown rice, soy, hemp seeds, etc., making these one of the finest guilt-free and healthy snack chips to keep in your pantry. Whether eaten as-is, or dipped into a fresh-made salsa, or smashed and added to chili, or a hearty soup, or even on top of a salad, these delicious chips intensify the flavor of everything. Varieties I tried included White Cheddar, The Works, Sweet Potato, Jalapeño, Multigrain, Lime, Toasted Sesame, Cheddar, Hemp, Olive, Blue Corn and Chocolate. I promise I didn’t eat all of these at one sitting, although it’s tempting not to eat an entire bag in one day. I also enjoyed the fact that they weren’t overly salty and used sea salt, which I find has a more cleaner and more natural taste salt than conventional and over-processed table salt.

Navitas Naturals ~ I tried the certified organic 3 Berry-Cacao Nib-Cashew Trail Mix. This trail mix all-natural, raw, kosher, vegan, gluten-free and certified organic trail mix was tasty, although at times, very tart. Ingredients include organic goji berries, organic mulberries, organic goldenberries, organic cacao nibs, and organic raw cashews. This is a great all-around treat.

Oila Green Tea Oil ~ I had never heard of green tea in the form of oil and found this oil an unusual “add” to my culinary oils. The oil has a neutral taste, is clean on the palate, and doesn’t leave any after-taste. It has a higher burn level than olive oil, has less fat grams, is rich in vitamins A, B and E, and has more healthy essential fatty acids, Omega 3-6-9 and EGCG than olive oil. This all-purpose healthy oil is also a moisturizer, natural antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal topical.

Oogavé – Agave Organic Soda Beverage ~ This all-natural carbonated beverage has just the right amount and balance between carbonation, Agave nectar and natural flavorings and essences. The variety of organic flavors is a welcome change to other overly sweet, or artificially sweet beverages. I found all of the flavors thirst-quenching, clean tasting and very delicious. I loved the eco-friendly glass bottle servings. Flavors tried included Cola, Rootbeer, Ginger Ale, Grapefruit, Mandarin Key Lime, Watermelon Cream, Vanilla Cream and Strawberry Rhubarb. All of these flavors were flavorful and delicious, while being healthier than conventional soda beverages. http://www.oogavé.com

Teatulia Organic Teas ~ The taste of these certified organic teas was clean and refreshing. I love the video on their website that beautifully tells the story behind these exceptional teas; the imagery and background music is also eye appealing. The video tells the story of people, nature and the passion for tea. The Teatulia tea garden is the only one in Bangladesh that has been USDA and SGS Certified Organic. Teatulia offers a wide range of full leaf white, green and black teas, in addition to flavorful tisanes. Some of the delicious and satisfying varieties tried included Earl of Bengal Tea, Tulsi Infusion Tea, Black Tea, White Tea, Green Tea, Peppermint and Lemongrass.


Dawali Mediterranean Restaurant (Chicago, IL) ~ Mediterranean cultures have always had a healthier lifestyle because of the types of foods that comprise their daily diets. The cuisine is based on healthy, fresh, unprocessed, high fiber, nutrient dense, and seasonal food; the cultures use land and sea to cultivate their cuisine, which explains why it’s so healthy. While the Chicago-area is a vibrant and multi-cultural major metropolitan area, the multiculturalism is especially predominant in the variety of global-centric restaurants. Dawali Mediterranean Restaurant has two prominent locations in Chicago that offer an extensive menu of Mediterranean cuisine, which is more representative of Middle Eastern and Arabian cultures. I dined at the newer, second location (North Halsted Street), which is in a trendy and bustling theater district. The menu was diverse and extensive, and the dining experience delicious, fresh, flavorful, and nutritious. Chef Samer Jabsheh, whose culinary background is impressive, worked his magic with delicious dishes such as Fattoush (chopped salad with toasted bread and sumac vinaigrette), Chicken Shish Kebabs, Lamb Shawarma (marinated and broiled), Kibbeh (bulgur wheat fritter) and a delightful sampler tray of Hummus, Baba Ganouj (eggplant), Ful Mudamas (fava beans), Masaka (grilled vegetable salad) and Falafel (chickpea fritters); the fresh made warmed Pita Bread was also delicious. A real treat was Chef Jabsheh’s special dessert creation using Knefe (baked shredded phyllo dough) shaped like a bird’s nest and filled with a luscious custard cream filling and then topped with seasonal berries. My only issue was that some of the dishes were a bit on the salty side, where the salt almost over-powered the delicate flavors of the dishes. While you may not live in the Chicago area, I strongly suggest you seek out similar restaurants in your own area and get acquainted with these fresh, healthy, and flavorful dishes. The variety of dishes will appeal to vegan, vegetarian, or carnivore.

“Great Easy Meals ~ 250 Fun & Fast Recipes” By Food Network Chefs ~ The one thing about successful chefs, whether they have their own cooking show on Food Network, PBS, or are successful restaurateurs, is that they always embraced the fresh is better concept, while also focusing on local and sustainable. This cookbook is a compendium of recipes that use the freshest ingredients, and are easy recipes to prepare, most in thirty minutes or less. Recipes utilize ingredients that are fairly staple to most pantries, or are easy to find at a local grocery or specialty store. The book’s pages are coated, so they’re easy to clean if something dribbles or oozes onto the pages. The book is broken down in main categories, with color coded page edge; there’s also a handy “Secret Ingredients” section with food-adds to consider when stocking the pantry that lists cross-references to the recipes the item was used in; and for the curious, there’s also a metric conversion section. Beautifully illustrated with easy step-by-step directions.

“Superfood Cuisine ~ Cooking With Nature’s Most Amazing Food ” By Julie Morris ~ As more an more people assess their overall lifestyle and conclude that their eating habits aren’t exactly healthy, now there’s an incredible food resource book that intelligently presents the how-tos, whys and ways to achieve a healthier lifestyle by changing various elements about their nutrition and going back to food basics that have stood the test of time for many indigenous cultures. I love the way the author thoroughly explains the food items, presenting a basic and logic journey in foods that have stood the test of time for generations. The informative guide of over twenty superfoods is also supplemented with a recommended list of staples of these healthy foods that should be in everyone’s pantry. The cookbook has delicious recipes, is beautifully illustrated and written by someone whose expertise and passion is all about good food that’s healthy food. and


Fresh Waves ~ The all-natural, non-toxic and eco-friendly product line offers exceptional and very effective multi-use odor neutralizing products. Ingredients in each product formulation contain non-toxic and natural odor eliminators, such as lime, pine needles, aniseed, clove, and cedarwood. Ideal wherever odor is a problem, and safe for people and pets. All of the products I tried were outstanding, and included their Spray, Pearl Packs, Crystal Gel, and Fresh Wash.

Green+Life Cookware/Green Pan ~ Finding a better and healthier way to prepare foods, without the dangerous toxins of so many traditional non-stick pans is easy when you switchover to this latest and most advanced technologically advanced cookware. With its thermolon ceramic coating, not only aren’t harmful toxins emitted and leeched into the food that’s being cooked, the thermolon ceramic coating, which can withstand much higher temperatures than other types of conventional non-stick coatings, it maintains the heat surface without any degradation, making for a more even and consistent distribution of heat. Foods cook cleaner, toxin-free, require less fat, and the pan requires a less intense heat source, since it maintains heat evenly and hasn’t any cool down areas; cleans effortlessly and is a safe non-stick alternative. and and

GrabGreen ~ This eco-friendly, non-toxic and natural home care product line covers all needs from dish washing to laundry detergent. Some conventional home care products make me sneeze, irritate my throat and eyes and have been known to bring me to tears. But, not this line. Their latest all-safe home care product is Garbage Disposal Freshener & Cleaner Pods. The product is available in two all-natural scents, Tangerine With Lemongrass and Thyme With Fig Leaf.


International Home+Housewares Show ~ This annual show attracts tens of thousands of trade professionals from all over the world to check out nearly two thousand exhibitors exhibiting the latest in all-things home and housewares. The multi-day, trade-only event, held in Chicago’s McCormick Place, offers concurrent professional development sessions, and lively keynote addresses. Major trends continue to include environmental, such as recycling, waste, re-purposing and sustainability. Next year’s event will take place March 10-13, 2012. The IHA (International Housewares Association) has been the voice of the $289B+ retail industry for over seventy-three years. [Brands reviewed for this article, which also exhibited at this show, include Oila Green Tea Oil, Fresh Waves and Green Pan.]

National Restaurant Association Show ~ This is another annual show that also attracts tens of thousands of trade professionals from all over the world to check out nearly two thousand exhibitors exhibiting the latest in all-things food. The multi-day event, held in Chicago’s McCormick Place, also offers concurrent professional development sessions, in addition to lively and topical keynote addresses. The major trends in the industry continue to be healthy eating and living; these trends cover the full range of natural, organic, dietary and related food trends, as well as consumer advocacy, recycling, re-purposing and environmental. Next year’s event will take place May 5-8, 2012. [Brands reviewed for this article, which also exhibited at this show, include Ayala Sparkling Herbal Water, Esterházy Wines, Fernando Pensato Monte-Carlo Olive Oils, Food Should Taste Good, Green+Life Cookware/Green Pan, Oogavé, and Teatulia Organic Teas.]


While the close of summer is fast approaching, hopefully that season was a great one for you and that you managed to make a lot of lasting memories to tide you over during the dark and chill of fall and winter. The change of seasons is a reminder of the cycle of life and how everything comes full circle. Take the time to enjoy the bounties of the fall. It’s a wonderful new season that also signals that winter, spring and summer aren’t too far away.

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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 credits as represented from the specific brand.)