Sunday, December 30, 2007

Who Needs Soy Lecithin? 'S.T. Lawder,' Naturally -

Origins Organics

Who Needs Soy Lecithin? 'S.T. Lawder,' Naturally from the December 28, 2007 edition of the Wall Street Journal discusses how Estee Lauder (get it? "S.T. Lawder"?) searched for a source that extracted soy lecithin without chemicals for the Origins Organics line.

Soy lecithin is an emulsifier, which enables oil and water to be blended together. Estee Lauder found its source through American Natural Soy Inc., a seed processor in Iowa. American Natural Soy Inc. faced special challenges in being a supplier to Estee Lauder: as the article notes, "Because the germ levels permitted in beauty products are stricter than those of food products -- given cosmetics' long shelf life and vulnerability to contamination -- Estée Lauder's technical requirements for the emulsifier were tougher than the two companies [American Natural Soy Inc. and its partner] were used to."

Other organic ingredients were sourced from around the world: "Organic palm oil ... in Brazil, clove in Indonesia, coconut oil in the Philippines, olive oil in Greece, thyme in Spain and lavender in Bulgaria." Is Estee Lauder also concerned about sustainable agriculture? As noted in the post about Lush, Lush is seeking to eliminate palm oil from its products, as some countries are clearing rainforests to make way for palm oil plantations.

NOTE Many articles are available for subscribers only.

Gossip drives this blog

My stats are running wild today! And it's mostly on account of this photo of burlesque dancer Dita von Teese (nee Heather Renee Sweet):

Could it be because her divorce from Marilyn Manson just became final? As with other celebrity marriages, Dita von Teese and Marilyn Manson had a long courtship (4 years), but their marriage imploded in a matter of months.

Another driver to this blog are rumors of Presidential candidate John Edwards's alleged affair with one Rielle Hunter. who was featured in an article in the now defunct yoga-cum-lifestyle magazine Breathe. Rumor has it that she's pregnant by Edwards. The story is in the December 31, 2007 issue of the National Enquirer - for enquiring minds who want to know! :-)

Odd - I haven't been one to dish on celebrities' personal lives, but it's celebrity gossip that has made this blog popular.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A bittersweet Christmas

On Christmas Eve, my husband and I leave for St. Louis to visit my mother. After my father died this past April, my parents' home was sold and Mom moved into an assisted living center. I never liked the house very much - it was a small brick home among nearly identical brick homes in a subdivision built post-WWII - and I resented the fact that we had the means to have a bigger home. But now it hits me that there's no home to which I can go.

When I call the assisted living center to inquire about Mom, the staff always tries to put the best spin on things. It was my Christmas wish to give her a night at the hotel, in a handicapped-accessible room, away from the center. Now I discover she's on oxygen all the time, and it would take 3-4 small tanks (each lasts for about 4 hours) to get her through the night. It doesn't seem likely that I'll be able to realize my wish. My husband and the woman I see for counseling advise me to take things one at a time.

Sometimes, I think that the Christmas spirit quite eludes me. I do derive comfort from listening to my favorite Christmas CDs - Handel's Messiah, Bach's Christmas Oratorio, and 'Twas on a Night Like This by folk performers Cathy Barton, Dave Para, and the Paton family. The last introduced me to the song In the Bleak Midwinter, which suits the rather somber mood in which I find myself. A Hallmark Christmas CD featuring contemporary Christian singer Sandi Patti would round this collection out, but it's probably in a box somewhere.

Christmas lights bring cheer, although my husband thinks that they are a big waste of energy. I like gaudy displays, but I found two elegant displays on my drive from Fauquier County to Fairfax County late this afternoon. One farm in Fauquier County had white lights along the enclosure fences all the way from the house on the hill to the road. Merrifield Garden Center on Hwy 29 had white lights tightly wrapped all around the tree trunks and branches. For a gaudy display, check out the house next to the shopping center on Nutley Street and 123 in Vienna before it's too late!

Another activity that has brought comfort is the Loving Hearts ministry of the church to which I belong. We send cards and make phone calls to people who are in need of comfort. I benefited from Loving Hearts after my father died. I began getting cards from people I didn't know. I was able to connect them to my church, but honestly, I couldn't connect names with faces. The care I received was gratifying, and I decided to volunteer this year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Myrrh is mine, it's bitter perfume ...

Twelve Oils of Ancient Scripture

Yes, I actually purchased something through direct sales. I expressed interest in the essential oils that a friend from church was selling from Young Living, a direct sales company based in Utah. And here's what I sprung for: the Twelve Oils of Ancient Scripture kit, which contains vials of essential oils referenced in the Bible.

The twelve oils are:
  1. Aloes/sandalwood
  2. cassia
  3. cedarwood
  4. cypress
  5. frankincense
  6. galbanum
  7. hyssop
  8. myrrh
  9. myrtle
  10. onycha
  11. Rose of Sharon/cistus
  12. spikenard
Frankincense and myrrh, of course, were among the gifts that the Three Kings gave to the infant Jesus.

The line "Myrrh is mine, it's bitter perfume ..." from We Three Kings of Orient Are alludes to the fact that myrrh was used in embalming and thus presaged Christ's death. Spikenard was referenced in John 12:

1 Jesus therefore six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus raised from the dead. 2 So they made him a supper there: and Martha served; but Lazarus was one of them that sat at meat with him. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, that should betray him, saith, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred shillings, and given to the poor? 6 Now this he said, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the bag took away what was put therein. 7 Jesus therefore said, Suffer her to keep it against the day of my burying. 8 For the poor ye have always with you; but me ye have not always.

What an appropriate gift for marking the holiday and remembering "the reason for the season." Yes, Christmas is only four days away, but you can extend the holiday to January 6 (Epiphany), which marks the arrival of the Three Kings. You may order Young Living products online or through a Young Living representative.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour Collection

L’Oréal Paris has released a limited edition collection of its Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour compacts. The compacts feature floral and fruit silhouettes designed by up and coming fashion designers supported by CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund (CVFF). Below is the list of designers and the shades for which they created designs:

3.1 PHILLIP LIM- Phillip Lim - Apricot
BAND OF OUTSIDERS - Scott Sternberg - Azalea
ERIN FETHERSTON - Erin Fetherston - Cerise
KOI - Koi Suwannagate - Geranium
MICHAEL BASTIAN- Michael Bastian - Hibiscus
PHILIP CRANGI JEWELRY- Philip Crangi - Mulberry
ROGAN- Rogan Gregory - Persimmon
THREEASFOUR - Gabriel AsFour, Angela Donhauser, Adi Gil - Pomegranate
VENA CAVA - Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai - Rosebud
VPL - Victoria Bartlett – Thistle

I'm not aware of anything else on the market like L’Oréal Paris’ Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour. The compact consists of a tube of liquid lipcolour with wand and a gloss stick (a "conditioning topcoat"). There is a mirror on the reverse side of the compact. To use, push the lipcolour tube outwards, open the tube, and use the wand to apply lipcolour. The package recommends that you wait two minutes for the colour to dry before you apply the gloss (similarly, the gloss stick is pushed outwards). It also recommends that you remove the lipcolour from your lips with an oil-based makeup remover (baby oil or cold cream would work).

I like the results. The lipcolour dries to a lip stain, but as I have noted before, you need conditioned lips to wear lip stain well. But don't apply gloss immediately before applying Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour: the package recommends "clean" lips.

The limited edition L’Oréal Paris’ Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour collection is available exclusively at L’Oréal Paris retail stores or by phone. Call 888-270-7743 to order.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Angel Shadowbox pendant

This pendant in 14K gold relief against a sterling silver background really speaks to the Christmas season. It's by Texas-based jewelry designer Jeep Collins, who specializes in Christian themes.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Desert of the Heart

As I was browsing my feeds, I discovered this item from the New York Times: Jane Rule, Canadian Novelist, Dies at 76. Who was Jane Rule, you might ask? Jane Rule was a pioneer of lesbian fiction. Her best known work, Desert of the Heart, was published in 1964, long before there was a visible gay rights movement. Desert of the Heart is about Vivian Bell, a professor who goes to Las Vegas for a quickie divorce and bonds with with a younger woman who works in a casino. The book is really about human relationships, so it's accessible to all except those who consider same-sex relationships a sin or morally reprehensible.

The novel was made into a movie Desert Hearts over 20 years later. The movie starred Helen Shaver as Vivian, Patricia Charbonneau as Vivian's young lover, and Audra Lindley, as the owner of the ranch where Vivian stays - the last best known for playing Mrs. Roper on Three's Company! Likewise, the movie is about human relationships, but it also features an explicit lesbian scene. Madonna was so smitten with Alex McArthur, who played Walter, that she cast him as her boyfriend in her Papa Don't Preach video.

I saw the movie, then read the book. Both are worthwhile. Jane Rule's obit made me recall both.

Lush develops palm oil-free soap base

Lush, the purveyors of bath and body products with clever names, natural ingredients, and minimal packaging, is taking yet another step for environmental responsibility. It will switch from palm oil base for its soaps to base using sunflower, rapeseed and coconut oil. To meet the demand for palm oil, countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia have been clearing rainforests to build palm plantations. Lush claims that sunflower and rapeseed are sustainable products harvested in Europe, while coconut oil is sourced from sustainable plantations in Indonesia.

For more, see Lush develops palm oil-free soap base

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bond No. 9 New York - Bon-Bon Box

Bond No. 9 New York - Bon-Bon Box

I sampled Bond No 9 fragrances for the first time during a recent trip to Miami (at the gift shop at Loews Miami Beach Hotel, where I found the Cate Adair clutch). They're subtle, and even better, they didn't irritate my skin and make my nose twitch. I can't decide on just one, so I'd really like to get this Bon-Bon Box, which features 18 different fragrances .20 ml. pocket sprays, for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Olive Branch Menorah by Michael Aram

Olive Branch Menorah by Michael Aram
I discovered this beautiful piece at Carter & Spence, a gift shop in Warrenton, Virginia. I thought that the olive branch sculpture would be a great centerpiece for our dining table. Moreover, it would extend the Mediterranean theme we created by the display of all the pottery my husband and I bought in Greece.

Then I flipped over the sculpture and saw the holes for candles. Only then did I realize that it was a menorah, proving that you don't have to celebrate Chanukah to enjoy this piece.

Happy Chanukah to all our readers who celebrate the holiday!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sera clutch from Cate Adair

I'm a faddish shopper. Lately, I've had a craze for collecting small bags for stashing cosmetics, from quilted Vera Bradley signature print cosmetics bags to woven polyvinyl bags (which look like something Sandy Chilewich might do) from MacFABhome to nylon pencil cases from American Apparel to the Alisa clutch from Double Happiness. Now my heart's set on this Sera clutch from Cate Adair:

You may search The Style Page web site for links to Vera Bradley, Sandy Chilewich, and American Apparel. For links to MacFABhome, Double Happiness, and Cate Adair, visit Bags on MyWeb by Yahoo!