On Earth Day, Living Simply, and Going Natural

Live simply so that others may simply liveMonday, April 22nd was Earth Day. Put simply, recognizing Earth Day increases awareness and interest in all things natural.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a granola-eating tree-hugger to appreciate Earth Day, and this isn’t a preachy stop-doing-that-or-small-furry-creatures-suffer post. It’s a reminder that everything, from the food we eat to the beauty products we purchase, impacts us on a local and global level.

For me, Earth Day reminds me to step back from the constant barrage of media messages telling me to consume more.  It prompts me to make more mindful choices that allow me to live more simply. Choices that allow others in this world to simply live.

From purchasing locally grown food, when available, to making your own beauty and skin care products, living more naturally has its benefits.

On Friday, I’m dusting off my old Five-For-Friday format to share five natural beauty solutions that women at forty (or any age for that matter) can probably find right in their pantry. The solutions are simple, inexpensive, and most importantly, all natural. The post is actually a sneak-peak at an eBook I’m working on about natural beauty solutions for women at 40. The eBook, the first in my new 40 for 40 series, is tentatively titled, Radiance: The natural guide to radiant, healthy skin at 40 and beyond. It will include 40 tried and tested simple alternatives (or enhancements) to commercially available beauty products.

Until then, I encourage you to think about ways you can slow down, simplify, and incorporate natural alternatives in your lives.

If you’ve already incorporated natural solutions into your lifestyle, please share them in the comment section or on the Women at Forty Facebook page.

Kalin’s Chronicles: Spa Etiquette

MP900431114Close your eyes and say “aaahhh” — It’s Spa Week! Time to put in some serious R&R at your favorite spa. Through April 17, spas across the U.S. are offering specials on massages, mani/pedis, facials, and everything in between. So I thought I’d offer some tips on spa etiquette for first-timers, and as a refresher for spa veterans.

Spa Etiquette Tips

  • Arrive at least 20 minutes before your appointment to check-in, change, and relax.
  • Turn off your cell phone, and speak quietly to be considerate of the spa atmosphere.
  • Remove all jewelry – they’ll get in the way, and can be damaged by the oils used.
  • If you’re uncomfortable with nudity, leave your underwear on. A sheet is covering you at all times, and only the parts that are being massaged are exposed.

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Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair?

Titllong haire sound familiar? Those are the lyrics from the 1967 musical and song “Hair“. The question mark is my own addition. A couple of weeks ago, the topic of hair seemed to be popping up everywhere. From a father’s tribute to his daughter’s curly hair, to Willow Smith’s whip-lash inducing “I Whip My Hair” video, hair was hot. The hair indoctrination begins from the time we’re little girls. Popular culture teaches us that hair is an essential part of being a woman, and that the longer and straighter that hair, the better.

That hair indoctrination transcends race, ethnicity and culture, but as you can imagine, the message can be an especially difficult one for little girls whose hair grow naturally from their heads in crowns of tightly woven corkscrews. Within the African American community, women are dealing with hair issues including going “natural” or not, straightening, weaving, and yes, “the long hair” phenomenon as well.  I’ve learned that some Asian and Caucasian women use Thermal Conditioning to remove even a hint of curl or wave from their hair. And it wasn’t until Chris Rock’s visit to Oprah last year that I started paying attention to blonds with roots, and realized that an awful lot of blonds weren’t born that way.  But we’ll tackle those issues in a future post, today’s hair issue is about long hair and older women.  (Image credit: George Eastman House)

Continue reading Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair?

A Jamaican Beauty – Part 1

Jamaican Beauty I was twelve when my mother turned forty and started to disappoint me. There is nothing more painful in this life than disillusionment, but it happens to everyone and usually starts with parents. Up until I was twelve, though, my mother was everything. I can still feel her tender kisses on my cheeks, the press of her hand as she led me through traffic, the feel of her fingers drop curling my hair with a fine tooth comb and a bowl of ice water. She was strength and softness, tempered by intelligence and independence.

In my pre-twelve little girl eyes, my mother was everything I wanted to be. My memory paints pictures of my mother in swimming watercolor, like the paintings she’d made when she was a girl. Paintings that had been hung in Jamaica’s Devon House, a prominent government building where she had worked in the gift shop long before I entered her imagination. When I picture her in the early days of my childhood, I see a hard-working, determined student and superb mathematician studying by the singular circle of light thrown on the dining table from the lamp above. (Photo: my mother the Jamaican Beauty)

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WAF’s Five for Friday – The Facebook Edition

Dove campaign You never know what you’ll find on Facebook, and although we were holdouts for a long time, we’ve found quite a few fab finds through the web’s #1 social networking site. Here are five of our faves, and you don’t even have to be on Facebook to enjoy them, you can check them all out by visiting their websites.

1. Dove Self Esteem Fund – You may have seen the commercials on TV, but fanning them on Facebook let’s you see what other women are saying about raising their daughters in a society that often marginalizes them. The fund creates programs to help girls build positive self-esteem and a healthy body image. Their goal is to reach 5 million girls globally by 2010. Fan them here, and learn more about the fund on their website. (Image: Dove Girls – Campaign for Real Beauty

2. Revolution of Real Women – is a global movement advocating the empowerment of females in reclaiming their freedom of individuality, self-esteem and unique beauty. Why do we love RORW? This was a recent Facebook status “Skinny isn’t out. Curves aren’t in. Continue reading WAF’s Five for Friday – The Facebook Edition