Archive for December, 2012

My New Favorite: Living Proof Hair Products

Best curly hair

Why don’t my curls look like this? Wait, they do!

I’m not going to BS you. I am constantly – repeat – constantly – looking for great hair products that don’t cost and arm and a leg, aren’t sticky, and don’t leave me with winter frizz. Since I travel a lot, beauty plays a decent size role in traveling light without looking like death warmed over.

Enter my latest find: Living Proof.

Living Proof No Frizz Hair Care Line

Living Proof No Frizz Hair Care Line

Living Proof was created with a simple ambition – challenge conventional wisdom to solve your toughest beauty problems. They invent and patent new molecules that completely change how hair behaves and say that they ‘stop at nothing short of products that keep their promise’. We like that kind of commitment and love their No Frizz line for curly hair like our own. Here’s why you can believe ’em: Dr. Bob Langer is an MIT Institute Professor and world-renowned biotech inventor, and he teamed up with Jon Flint and Dr. Amir Nashat, partners in the international venture capital firm Polaris Venture Partners to take a look at the beauty industry and what was actually in beauty products.

They discovered that, for both hair and skin products, the beauty industry has relied on the same off the shelf ingredients, most of them far too ineffective to make any real, long lasting impact. This inspired the founders to create new technologies that would offer women “proof in a bottle,” rather than “hope in a bottle.” So, they assembled a team of scientists from outside the beauty category-scientists from pharma, biotech and medicine – who didn’t have any preconceived notions of what could or couldn’t be possible in beauty. And so, beauty meet brilliant science because now Living Proof is born!

Retails: $10-$36

Holiday Must Have: Recycled Jewelry from Africa

Amleset of Ethiopia making jewelry for Raven & Lily

Amleset of Ethiopia making jewelry for Raven & Lily

Happy Holidays! We know it’s December 25th so it’s a little late to have something on our wishlist, but this lovely necklace features layers of delicate, beaded strands, cinched to the side with an antique-inspired silver tube. Designed in partnership with Tiffany Kunz, these gold and silver strands will add elegance to any outfit.

The best part?

Raven & Lily Necklace

Antique Tube Collection – Raven & Lily Necklace

The necklace is handmade from melted bullet casings and recycled metals (brass, silver, copper) by HIV-positive women in Ethiopia. In addition to providing sustainable economic opportunities, Raven + Lily returns proceeds to fund healthcare and literacy programs for women and children in this community. For example, Amleset, one of the designers, and her husband were able to move off Entoto Mountain and into the city in early 2011, thankful to be back in the city and not feel ashamed or discriminated against because of their disease. The purchase from the Entoto jewelry collection has brought them a better life that would have otherwise been impossible.

So we think these gifts are great for a belated Christmas gift or for the New Year!

Recycled Jewelry 

Tiffany Kunz: Antique Tube Collection Necklace

No Apocalypse? Head to the Mayan Riviera to Celebrate!

Dos Ojos Cenote

Dos Ojos Cenote

Well, since we all knew the world wasn’t really going to end, what better way to pretend you’re surprised and thankful than a trip to the land of the Maya? If you’re planning any spring getaway, the Riviera Maya is always a great choice. The region has cemented itself as a safe, culturally diverse and accessible region in Mexico.  Flowering with lush biodiversity, dotted with intimate hideaways within steps of the clear Caribbean Sea, and featuring gourmet restaurants serving up locally sourced fare, the Riviera Maya seems a world away, but is only a short direct flight from nearly every American city.

Here are just a few eco-chic ways couples can discover new wonders while connecting with nature and strengthening their bond, whether that’s…

Overlooking the sea and stirring up passion at an intimate hideaway, you can stay at any of the vibrant, beach boutique hotels and enjoy the drop-dead views from your room, wake up to the sunlight and the songs of tropical birds. Some ocean-front hideaways include:

o    Casa de las Olaswith sustainable practices ranging from solar powered energy and rain water collection to the use of biodegradable products;

o   Papaya Playa, a pop-up design hotel we’ve written about before, is ideal for those wishing to reconnect with nature. The hotel also features a kiteboarding school for those looking to learn a new sport.

Hartwood Tulum

Hartwood Tulum

–         Eat & Sip with a calm conscience at Hartwood TulumSet in an open-air environment, couples will enjoy the tranquil beauty of the beach under the night sky while indulging in bold flavors from local products and fresh ingredients used to prepare meals by hand. This restaurant is owned by Eric Werner, a Chef who left New York to pursue his dream in paradise.

–         Stay bee-utiful with products found only at the destination: Enjoy the benefits of honey from the native Melipona stingless bee at several spas throughout the region. Examples include: “Ritual Ixchel” at Esencia and “Honey in the Heart” signature service at Fairmont Mayakoba.

–         Awaken the senses at a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Visitors can delight the eyes with the picturesque vision of tropical species, float on mangrove-surrounded rivers while interacting with turtles and fish at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, which covers over 1.6 million acres of various ecosystems.  Other activities include sport fishing, kayak, hiking and snorkeling, while admiring 103 species of mammals, over 345 species of birds and 52 species of fish.

 So since the world isn’t ending quite yet, as Ke$ha says, might as well make the most of the night like you’re gonna die young!

The Hempel – a touch of Zen in London

The Facade of The Hempel

The Facade of The Hempel

By Erik Bigalk –

If you’re a fan of unique designer hotels, then you’ve likely heard of Anouska Hempel and her impact on London’s hotel landscape. She is famed for her “Dark & Opulent” hotel, The Blakes in Kensington, which earned global recognition as the world’s first luxury boutique hotel in 1978 with its dark, eclectic and sensual interior. Then in 1996, the Russian-born Australian-raised British designer went to the other end of the spectrum with her Zen-inspired Hempel hotel.

The Hempel Foyer

The Hempel Foyer

Located in Craven Hill Gardens, The Hempel was purpose-built behind a white-washed Georgian facade. Yet once behind the anonymous milky glass doors, the foyer offers a calm ambience with its open, clean lines and sunken sitting areas with bold cushions that lead toward the No. 31 Lounge Bar – a minimalistic, yet charismatic haven serving modern variations of all the classic cocktails. Highly recommended is the cucumber martini.

Among the Hempel’s best suites is the “Lioness’ Den”, featuring a caged bed suspended above the room. With stunning views over the garden, it’s surely one of the most unique suites to be found in London – unfortunately it was book before we arrived. Nonetheless, our Zen Room offered us a friendly welcome with its minimalistic white walls, blonde wooden floors and ultramodern furnishings.

Superior Room

Superior Room

Our bed sat elevated on a split-level and dressed in the finest Egyptian linen and feathery pillows, it swallowed us up like a fluffy cloud – providing the most comfortable sleep in all of England. All rooms at the Hempel overlook the Zen garden allowing a birds-eye view of the symmetrically trimmed lawns, pebble paths, water features and shaped scrubs. In case you missed it, the Zen Garden was featured in the closing scenes of the hit movie “Notting Hill” starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.

The Hempel offers 44 hotel rooms and suites of varying sizes from a small Zen room to an elaborate top floor penthouse as well as 6 full-sized apartments neighbouring the manicured Zen garden. Centrally located, quiet, arty and stylish, The Hempel remains an icon on London’s hotel scene and is well worth a stay…

Where – The Hempel, London
Rating – 5 Stars
My rating – 7.5 out of 10 pillows

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