Summertime…and the livin’ is easy

Here it is, another grey and cloudy day in the ATX …but you’re not going to hear me complaining.  Why? Because as long as it’s cloudy, it won’t get up to 100 degrees! 

And because a tangerine-colored Cardinal just landed on the railing right outside of my window as I write this. I’ve never seen an orange Cardinal…have you?

Which brings me to three fun summer things I’ve been thinking about:

  1. A  citrusy way to create smooth, glowing skin.
  2. A mixture to get your feet sandal-ready that’s so easy you can sleep through it.
  3. And an ‘old-school’ cocktail that’s just perfect for our summer heat.Citrus

I’m sure you’ve seen the pretty sugar or salt scrubs for your skin that you can buy in jars…why buy them when they are so easy to make at home?  And, here’s the best part, you can customize them with your favorite citrus and oil!  The basic recipe is: 1/2 of a lemon + 1 T of olive oil + 1T of honey + 1/2 C of sugar. Mix in a break-proof jar or bowl and take into your shower with you. Gently massage over skin and rinse off. The fruit acids and sugar act as exfoliants, the oil and honey act to help retain moisture.

I have customized mine (sensitive, dry skin) by using an orange instead of a lemon and using almond oil rather than olive oil. I’ll bet an orange + coconut oil would smell delicious, too!  You can’t do this one wrong…experiment! (Caution: the shower floor can become slippery.)

For those sandal-ready feet I promised:  Be sure to use a pumice stone on your heels in the summer, but be gentle and do it consistently. Dry, cracked heels are unsightly and unsexy!  At bedtime once a week, slather your feet with your favorite moisturizing cream (I love Skin Trip from Whole Foods – it reminds me of my friend Teresa, and it smells like coconut!) and put on a pair of socks. When you awake in the morning, both you, and your feet, will be refreshed.  (Both the citrus scrub, and the overnight treatment for your feet, would be great to share with the man in your life!)

Down to the finish line – that summertime cocktail I promised.  The Whiskey Sour is a classic drink that’s back in fashion and never feels too heavy in our heat!  This is my favorite recipe from Ina Garten. (and if anyone of you knows her, I’ve always wanted to meet her!)cookworks_wk1B04_whiskeysours_lg

Ina’s Whiskey Sour

3/4 C Jack Daniels Whiskey (I’ve tried others, but this is best), 1/2 C fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 C fresh squeezed lime juice, 2/3 C simple syrup, maraschino cherries for garnish.

Combine the whiskey, juices and syrup in a pitcher. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full of ice, add drink mix to the 2/3 full mark and shake for 15 seconds then pour into chilled glasses. Add a cherry for garnish and enjoy the compliments!

Don’t know what simple syrup is? So simple; Mix 1C water with 1C sugar in saucepan. Bring to boil, stir till sugar dissolves, cool before using. Pour into jar and store in fridge.

Your skin is going to glow, your feet will be gorgeous in your sandals and you’ll have mastered a classic Whiskey Sour.  Invite friends to your home, mix up a batch and have fun!

Now for a little sexy music…Buddha Bar?  Electric Guest?  Martini Lounge?

XO  Donna


Here comes the sun

austinbigWe’ve had a remarkable spring here in Austin, Texas! It’s been cool, cloudy and rainy…some people are even complaining that it feels like Seattle. As if!  It feels like the good old days. The days before the drought that has lasted for years, began. The grass is green. The plants are flowering. The vines are snaking their way up trees, across fence tops and twining all through their trellises, and the smell of Star Jasmine fills the air. Pretty. Magnificent.

(Amazing photo by Debra Lineberger, 2012)

But…the sun will come out tomorrow. Or later this afternoon. It will burn off the clouds and will be just-what-everyone-needs, for a while. Then it will become hot. Unbearably hot.  XXX Texas hot!

The point of this is that May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and this is a friendly reminder. Skin cancer is the most preventable type of cancer…if you take precautions and protect yourself. Sunscreen is your friend! And avoiding the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest is a good idea. Get your exercize in early…which is when it’s coolest here, anyway.

For you younger people: Mr. Sun dissolves collagen and elastin in the skin. These are the elements that keep your skin smooth, full, and wrinkle-free. Working on your tan ages you faster. And trust me, it all comes fast enough!

For we ‘sexy-past-sixties’: let’s circle-the-wagons, and minimize any further damage.

For everyone: Remember to put sunscreen on your hands whenever you’re out. (We seem to remember our necks, faces and decolletage, but rarely our hands). They will give your age away faster than a jealous cousin!

A broad-spectrum, physical sun-block (containing zinc-oxide or titanium dioxide) is best at protecting you from UVA and UVB rays. (A = aging. B = burning).  You should wear sunscreen every day, whether it’s sunny, partly cloudy, or cloudy. Whether you’re running errands for a few minutes, or playing a game of tennis mid-morning!   It is NOT a myth that the left side of your face ages faster from driving because of accumulated sun exposure coming through the window of your car! And your hands – Mr. Sun is shining on them as they grasp the steering wheel to get you where you’re going – please protect them.

CLINIQUE CCThe easiest way I have found to protect my skin daily is by adding a CC cream on top of my sunscreen.  Yes, I’m still pushing BB/CC creams…if only I could get one of them to sponsor me!  I love them, I believe in them, I use them!  If you have a favorite make-up line, see if they formulate a BB or CC cream. If not, go to Sephore or Ulta and ask someone there for a recommendation based on  your skin type, and how you want the cream to feel. Dewey, (no, not Donald Duck’s nephew) and moist, or a powdery finish. Super lightweight, or more coverage. Try them on. A quick perusal of Sephora’s website revealed BB and CC creams from:  Clinique, Urban Decay, Sephora’s own, Boscia, Bobbi Brown, Dr. Brandt, Shisheido, Peter Thomas Roth and many, many more!  

What is the difference between a BB and a CC cream, you ask?  Well, BB creams are lighter (generally) than foundations, provide coverage + skin care benefits such as an SPF and anti-oxidants, depending on the brand. CC stands for Color Correcting – useful for correcting redness and sallowness by utilizing light-reflecting particles. They are generally more lightweight on the skin, with a fluffier feel. Think of them as an improved version of the BB creams that can be even better for mature skin!

Here’s a great link from Allure: http://www.allure.com/beauty-products/2012/best-bb-creams-and-cc-creams-for-all-skin-issues#slide=1  umbrella drink

For now, I will continue enjoying this cool weather and it’s verdant results…but I know, some like it hot!  Get ready by applying your sunscreen, adding some CC cream and a luscious lip gloss, find a shady spot and stick a little umbrella in your cocktail! 

XO Donna