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HEALTH & BEAUTY

Amy Darland's Top 5 Sustainable San Francisco Picks

International Orange
Darland's Zen-like yoga space
at International Orange.

by Mollie Chen

Amy Darland opened San Francisco wellness center International Orange seven years ago, naming it after the color of the Golden Gate Bridge. Since then, Darland and her co-founders Melissa Ferst and Kary Chendo have gained a cult following for their top-notch yoga classes and all-natural spa services. Their gorgeous (and sustainable) Pacific Heights space has seven treatment rooms, a light-filled yoga studio, and a front desk fringed with bamboo. In addition to handpicking all the products that are used at the spa, Darland has her own line of organic products made from ingredients her parents grow on their New Mexico farm. Below, her picks for enjoying San Francisco's sustainable side:  

* Rainbow Grocery, a worker-owned co-op in the Mission for the best in sustainable, fresh foods.

* California Academy of Sciences, especially Thursday night after-hours fun.

* Eco Citizen for "eco-couture" and clothing in Russian Hill.

* Spring eco-home store: one of International Orange's exclusive SF retailers of IO organic products, located in Russian Hill.

* Pizzeria Delfina in Pacific Heights: Just around the corner from IO, this pizza joint adheres to admirable sustainable practices and sources ingredients locally.

Further reading:
* Responsible Traveler Brook Wilkinson is also a fan of the California Academy of Sciences.
* Rooms at San Francisco's newly opened Good Hotel start at $89 per night--and the green details are impressive.

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Robin Coe-Hutshing's Five Travel Must-Haves

JetLag
JetZone to the rescue.

by Mollie Chen

A couple weeks ago, we brought you Studio BeautyMix founder Robin Coe-Hutshing's new Go-Go bag for keeping your can't-live-without-'em products organized when they're stashed deep in the belly of your suitcase. Here, Roe-Hutshing tells us the five must-have items she takes when traveling:

* Memoire Liquide Nudité Absolue Perfume: Coe-Hutshing's own creation, a sheer fragrance that smells like "nude skin"--freshly bathed, we hope

* KaplanMD Lip20 in Berry: "SPF, lasting moisture treatment and easy-to-wear color in a genius tube"

* BURN VOYAGE candle (Azure Seas Fragrance): "Perfect small candle for adding instant atmosphere," it also works as an emergency hostess gift and makes "hotel rooms feel like home"

* JetZone: Coe-Hutshing takes this homeopathic combination to relieve jet lag and "symptoms of insomnia, exhaustion, irritability, and anxiety"

* Orlane Morning Recovery Serum: "Serious help for travelers who face an unflattering mirror too early after being up too late"

HEALTH & BEAUTY

L.A. and Online: Studio BeautyMix

GoGo Bag
The travel-friendly Go-Go bag.

by Mollie Chen

What Space NK is to British (and now, New York) beauty addicts, Studio at Fred Segal is to L.A. product fiends. Founder Robin Coe-Hutshing was in town last week (during a blizzard, no less) to share a few exciting announcements, starting with the shop's brand-new name, Studio BeautyMix. In the 25 years since she entered the business, Coe-Hutshing has become known as kind of a beauty oracle, with a knack for finding the best niche brands and for divining the trends light-years before anyone else. Dr. Hauschka, REN, Kiehl's--she found them all when they were just babies and got thousands of L.A.-ers hooked.

Lately, Coe-Hutshing has been hard at work on her own beauty products. Last month, she launched Burn Voyage, a line of destination-inspired candles--I'm in love with Pink Sunset, which smells like summer in Hawaii. She's also working on a body-softening collection (not moisturizers, mind you, but softeners; she promises they'll be the ultimate creams) and the new Memoire Liquide Reserve fragrance. My favorite Coe-Hutshing creation, though, is her "Go Go" bag, which she designed with a friend from Japan. The black travel-size cosmetics case can both expand to fit a passel of products and squish down to hold only the essentials. It comes with a foldable tote that can double as a laundry bag, and there are a million pockets for storing floss, nail clippers, razors, and anything else you might need. The case will be available in April, which, incidentally, is also when Studio BeautyMix will finally go live with its retail Web site.

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Wash and Go: Fekkai's New Dry Shampoo

Fekkai

by Eimear Lynch

Why downsize to shampoo dollops just to bypass finicky airport screeners? A big bottle of Fekkai's new Au Naturel Dry Shampoo is only 2.9 ounces, making it totally Ziploc approved. Free of sulfates, parabens, dyes and synthetic fragrances, it's not the chemically aerosol you'd expect from a waterless hair wash (my old favorite, Psst, now seems unforgivably synthetic). The silky white powder is lightweight and easy to blend, de-greasing and uplifting even the mangiest mane. It's the perfect grooming product for travels in planes, trains and automobiles, when hair washing is too tedious a task.

Further reading:
* Find this product at Sephora.com
* Health & Beauty: Looking, feeling good

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Bond No. 9 Wants You to Rep Brooklyn

Pico
No sleep till Brookyn
gets a better bottle

by Eimear Lynch

Brooklyn is not known for being a shy sort of place, which is why it's no surprise that perfumer Bond No. 9 is getting flack for its latest fragrance, released last month, that's supposed to rep New York's most outspoken borough. It's not the cardamom-meets-cedarwood scent that's the problem; the graffiti-emblazoned bottle is what goaded sweet-smelling Brooklynites into demanding a bottle design competition from the NY perfumery.

Here's the sitch:
* Create your design to fit within the outline of the Bond No. 9 superstar flacon and to include the company's circular "token" logo. (Read after the jump for a copy of the outline.)          
* Inspiration can come from anywhere in Brooklyn--DUMBO, Park Slope, Flatbush, Canarsie, Midwood, Bay Ridge, et al.--or from the very idea of Brooklyn. Go for any style, figurative or abstract
* Any medium is fair game: oil, acrylic, watercolor, house paint, pastel, crayon, Magic Marker, makeup--even a ballpoint pen or pencil will do.    
* Completed designs should be submitted to contactus@bondno9.com or Bond No. 9, 9 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012 by March 31, 2009.
* Note: The competition doesn't start until this Sunday, March 1, so you won't see any information on Bond's Web site before then.

After two winners are chosen in early April, the designs will be sent to get scented (couldn't resist). And artists, whose names will be displayed on the bottles, had better want to smell like BK, since both will receive one bottle of the fragrance per month for a year.

Continue reading "Bond No. 9 Wants You to Rep Brooklyn" »

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Fashion: When Politicos Travel to Sunny Climes

Jackies
The first first lady of fashion
Photo: Art Seitz

by Eimear Lynch

It's fashion week in New York and we're seeing lots of high-low mixing and matching, a la Michelle Obama. Channeling Mrs. Commander-in-Chief is not exactly new, and the first lady craze has recently hit a high (see Jason Wu, mrs-o.org, this month's Vogue cover story). But it's Jackie, not Michelle, who's got Nina Ricci seeing stars--and they're bright enough to need these oversize shades on, say, a getaway to the Kennedys' fave vacation spot in Acapulco, Mexico. Where to get these politico peepers? Come March, they'll be sold exclusively through Ilori boutiques.


Further reading:
* Follow Michelle's fashionable footsteps on firstlady.gov
* Obama's Oahu: Where the forty-fourth president eats, stays, surfs, and plays--and wears shades, no doubt
* Health & Beauty: Looking, feeling good

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Yes to Carrots

Carrots

by Mollie Chen

I may be a couple days late to the celebration, but there's no reason why every day shouldn't be National Carrot Day. Besides the fact that they taste good with peanut butter, carrots are packed with vitamin A, antioxidants, and heart-healthy cartenoids. They're also the inspiration behind my latest beauty find, San Francisco's Yes to Carrots. The four-year-old company makes all-natural, effective products that are carried by Target and Walgreens, as well as drugstore.com. In addition to using 95 percent organic materials and fair trade ingredients sourced from Israel and Africa, the company has a nonprofit Seed Fund that helps finance community gardens. I'm addicted to its organic lip butters, which come in subtle flavors like carrot, melon, and my favorite, mint; they're like grown-up versions of those Bonnie Bell lip smackers I coveted in middle school. And at less than $4 a piece, I can afford to stash them in my coat pockets, desk drawers, and handbags. This April, the line will also launch "C Me Shine" lip gloss, which sounds like something for tweens but works wonders on flaky lips without the waxy ChapStick taste.

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Blue Q: "This Economy Sucks"

Blue Q

by Mollie Chen

The economic downturn has had many interesting side effects, from the sad tales of i-banker girlfriends having to curtail their spending sprees to amazing restaurant deals. But one of the best offshoot products I've seen is Blue Q's brand-new "This Economy Sucks" coin purse. The tiny bag, made from 95 percent recycled water bottles, is perfect for saving your pennies. And, at $4, it's the kind of retail therapy I can afford. 

Further reading:
* Check out Blue Q's Web site for a list of where you can buy their items
* A portion of the proceeds of this collection benefit The Nature Conservancy, the world's leading conservation organization working to protect ecologically important lands and waters across the globe
* Health & Beauty: Looking, feeling good

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Hitting the Slopes Sans Dry Skin

I'm skiing!
I'm not ready for Whistler just yet.
Photo: Whistler Blackcomb

by Mollie Chen

I'm headed to Beaver Creek this weekend, where I am going to make my first attempt at skiing. I've got my packing checklist, thanks to some slopes-savvy friends, and my lessons all lined up. Every other seasoned skier I know had additional advice for me: "French fries mean go, pizza means stop;" "Wear ski bibs (lest this happen);" and "Lots of hand warmers and Advil."

With the nuts and bolts taken care of, I had only one thing left to deal with: dry skin. Everyone warned me that high altitudes and wicked winds can turn you into a red-faced, peeling, not-so-happy ski bunny. Thankfully, the beauty experts in my life have come through with a list of the best new cold-weather creams:

* Darphin Fibrogene Nourishing Balm: I'm convinced Darphin is the reason why French women glow. This cult brand is pricey, but the products never fail. Windburn, be gone! 
* Molton Brown Ultrabalm: I'm already a fan of this brand's delicious smelling shower gels and hand creams, and recently I snagged a sample of its new all-in-one soother--the balm works on chapped elbows, lips, and cuticles. (Available in stores February 1.)
* Elemis Pro Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream: Elemis spas are always reliable (facials don't make you break out, scrubs leave you super soft), and the products are equally fantastic. Part of their anti-aging line, this cream is loaded with collagen-boosting ingredients.
* Peter Thomas Roth viz-1000: I've become kind of a serum junkie since I started covering beauty for Condé Nast Traveler. This brand-new product is 75 percent hyaluronic acid (most hover around five percent) and gives skin an intense moisture boost.

Now all I need are some Moon Boots.

Further reading:
* The 2008 Ski Poll: The best places to ski and stay
* Beaver Creek properties on the 2009 Gold List: Park Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, and Pines Lodge
* Argan Oil Gives Back
* Health & Beauty: Looking, feeling good

AMAZING, HEALTH & BEAUTY

Argan Oil Gives Back

Kahina

by Julia Bainbridge

For generations, Moroccan women have used argan oil to combat desert wind-chapped skin. Very different conditions in New York call for the same beauty regimen; after doing a no-glove test of Kahina--Giving Beauty's organic argan oil on my hands this morning, I finally caught up to these women's speed. Argan oil, packed with vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants, is just the thing to stay hydrated through the bitter winter.

Kahina--Giving Beauty's argan oil gives more than just smooth skin. Ten percent of the company's profits go to the Berber women who, by law, are the only people allowed to extract the oil from the nuts of argan trees. For most of these women, such work is the only road to financial (and social) independence. "These women can't even write their own names, yet they produce the most amazing product," says Kahina--Giving Beauty founder Katharine L'Heureux. Now, though, many of them can write their names: Many Berber women have been learning to read through argan cooperative literacy programs, and their signatures now appear on Kahina--Giving Beauty's surprisingly contemporary-looking products.

Further reading:
* Alaffia's Bicycles for Education in Togo, West Africa
* The Samburu Project: Clean Water for Kenya
* Amazing: Simple ideas done right

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Teeth Whitening on the Move

90210
90210: Brighter than ever.
Photo: cwtv.com

by Julia Bainbridge

To be honest, I'm not one for the whole teeth whitening thing. I'd rather look like a normal human being who drinks coffee and red wine than one of the cast members of Beverly Hills 90210. But alas, I've caved. GO SMiLE has made the process so easy I simply can't not try it. (And to be really honest, as I look in my hand mirror, I realize my penchant for Joe's espresso is beginning to take a bigger toll than I thought two sentences ago.)

GO SMiLE's new system--on shelves in January--contains 14 single-use ampoules to whiten teeth in seven days. The serum has a high concentration of whatever ingredient does the whitening, but it doesn't shock the teeth with the usual zingy-cold discomfort. And it's safe to use on crowns and veneers.

After the week is over, I can touch up with FlashLiTes, which are like teeth white-out pens the size of perfume samples. The on-the-go stain removers are cute and effective--and they fit in my carry-on. Maybe I'll step up a shade on my next plane to Beverly Hills.

P.S. I also love GO SMiLE's lip treatment--and trust me, I'm an expert on glosses, balms, and lipsticks. This stuff contains retinol for plumping, cocoa butter for moisturizing, and vanilla for licking off.

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Pacifica's Solid Scents

Pacifica scents

by Caroline Yost

Call me a princess, but I like to make sure that the scent I give off is sweet throughout the day. On a similar note, maybe I'm paranoid, but it puts me on edge when I have a glass bottle of perfume floating around in my already over-crowded bag. Luckily, there are plenty of travel-friendly perfumes on the market, including Pacifica's brand-new, affordable solid scents. These tiny, 100% organic and vegan perfumes are made from safe materials and don't contain--wait for it--parabens. Because they are non-liquid, you can take them through security, and this fall will bring five new, fresh scents. My favorite is Avalon Juniper, a winter-inspired scent that's both sweet and citrus-y (and even better, it's unisex). Each brightly-colored, cheery tin is 100% recyclable. Plus, they're only $8.95 a piece, which means if you lose one it's not the end of the world.

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Travel Brushes on the Cheap

Travel Brush
Cute, compact, and cheap.

by Caroline Yost

If you're like me and barely wear any make-up, spending a fortune on brushes and compacts seems silly. Luckily, makeup artist Sonia Kashuk designs stylish, high-quality cosmetics at pauper price points. Kashuk's travel brush set, sold exclusively at Target, is one of my latest finds. It comes with six essential, good-quality brushes neatly packed in a cute silver case--plus it's less than $20 (the cost of a single high-end brush), so no fear if it's lost in transit.

Another one of my must-haves, since I need a little something to brighten my eyes in the morning (but mascara seems too much of a hassle), is the Sonia Kashuk Deluxe Travel Eyelash Curler. It's plastic, so it doesn't clip my eyelid when I'm curling in a hurry, and it folds in half so I can throw it in my bag for end-of-day touch-ups. Great for travelers, or just on-the-go, busy people.

HEALTH & BEAUTY

On the Green Wave: Intelligent Nutrients

Intelligent Nutrients
Intelligent products

by Caroline Yost

It took me a while to jump on the green wagon, but of course, as soon as I caved in and stocked my cabinets with organic edibles, the movement expanded into a completely new direction: beauty.

Beyond my freshly greened kitchen, I wondered what other parts of my apartment needed sprucing. The potential danger of conventional beauty products is arresting: Parabens (found in some deodorants) have been linked to cancerous breast tissue, as well as reproductive system damage and phthalates (commonly found in hairspray, perfume, or deodorant) have been linked to liver, kidney, and lung damage.

All this is why I'm so excited about my introduction to Intelligent Nutrients. Created by Horst Rechelbacker, founder of Aveda, Intelligent Nutrients is a brand-new line of beauty products made almost entirely from certified organic ingredients. Now more than ever, green is the way to be.

Continue reading "On the Green Wave: Intelligent Nutrients" »

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Pure Yoga

Ashtanga
AP Photo

by Mollie Chen

I didn't get into yoga until I moved to New York but now, three years after writing my first astronomically large rent check, I know my downward dogs and my chaturangas and can chant om with a straight face. I'm convinced that over-stressed urbanites need yoga, lest they snap.

There is no shortage of studios in Manhattan but Pure Yoga, which opened last week, is the largest and glossiest yoga-only facility of them all. Founded in Hong Kong (an equally frenetic city), the company has seven studios in Asia, but this is their first foray into America. They've partnered with Equinox, known as much for its svelte, moneyed clientele as its top-notch gyms, and designed a sprawling 20,000-square foot facility on the lackluster stretch of East 86th Street. Marked by a verdant living wall (the first exterior one in the city), Pure Yoga is nicer than your average spa, with four oversized studios, two private practice rooms, and a comfy lounge area. Most studios are an in-and-out affair, but when I tried a class at Pure last week I found myself wishing I could hang out there all day--plus the sleek locker rooms are ten times nicer than my bathroom at home. There are 19 styles offered: everything from traditional Iyengar and Mysore to Pure Yoga originals like Zenyasa, a blend of Buddhist meditation and Vinyasa, and Pure Core, a targeted ab workout. Whats more, the brand has lured celeb yoga instructors away from other studios. Marco, who taught my class, counts Katie Couric among his devotees. Memberships are pricey (upwards of $130 a month) but that gets you unlimited access to all the classes--perfect if you want to try out different styles or just can't get enough.

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Pretty in the City of Lakes

JR Watkins
You can follow the Watkins
beauty routine, too

by Mollie Chen

Ah, Minnesota. The land of Target, the Walker Art Center, and arguably the world's best peanut butter. I made an ill-timed visit to Minneapolis this past January, and even with the negative 20-degree weather, I found plenty to love (and eat and buy). There are an inordinate number of talented graphic artists there; I spent a fortune on stationary at Letterbox Creative, a sweet stationary store that also sells cupcakes on Saturdays. Now I have a new favorite Minnesota export: J.R. Watkins Natural Apothecary, a 140-year-old line of good-for-you, good-for-the-earth beauty products.

Joseph Ray Watkins, an amateur remedy concoctor, launched the company in 1868 with a single product, red liniment, which is still available today. The company has maintained independent ownership (a rarity these days), and continues to operate out of its original building in Winona, Minnesota. They recently gave their entire line a complete makeover, tweaking formulas and giving the packaging a chic vintage look. Everything is 95% natural, and with most products coming in at 99.40% or higher, they're well on their way to getting certified by the National Products Association.

My picks: The super-moisturizing mango body cream, made from shea butter and a slew of natural oils (coconut, avocado, jojoba), smells good enough to eat and doesn't feel greasy at all, and the beeswax-based lemon salve worked wonders on my chronically dry hands. None of the products costs more than $14, which is incredibly reasonable considering the quality of ingredients (and how cute the packaging is--admittedly always one of my considerations). And if you need one more reason to hop on their bandwagon: Watkins, their gourmet spices and extracts sister company, recently held a healthy recipe contest. The winning appetizer? Spice-glazed bacon bites. Be still my heart.

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Kopali's Healthy Sweets

Kopali
My detox-friendly fix

by Mollie Chen

My sweet tooth is legendary. In the sub-zero depths of Boston winters, I would trudge through the slush for ice cream with smoosh-ins at Herrell's, and in New York I have made a second career tracking down the city's best oatmeal raisin cookies. And so, when I decided to ease off on refined sugars, processed foods, and Splenda, I had to find something to replace all the granola bars and cookies in my desk drawer. My latest find: Kopali dried fruit snacks. Organic, fair-trade and, most importantly, super tasty, they're great for staving off afternoon sugar cravings. Dried mangos aren't quite the same thing as cupcakes, but they're a perfect balance between tangy and sweet, and delicious in their own right. On my desk right now: Kopali's organic goji berries, cacao nibs, mulberries, and pistachios. It's like trail mix on antioxidant steroids--and the perfect thing to throw in my carry-on, if only I had a trip coming up.

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Beauty in Transit With Space NK

Space NK
A bevy of bottles in Space NK.

by Mollie Chen

Earlier this week I had breakfast with Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird, who amazes me with her travel stamina. When I saw her, she was wrapping up three weeks of nonstop jet-setting: Barcelona, Bologna, New York (twice), Palm Beach, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and a few more places I can't remember. She is the best advertisement for her sleek beauty atelier because every time I see her she looks healthy and well-rested. Impressive, considering I have permanent bags under my eyes even when I stay put in Manhattan. Nicky has tons of exciting launches coming up, including a reformulation of her signature scent, Laughter, which was inspired by her childhood vacations in Gandia, Spain. The scent got a full organic makeover and is now free of parabens, synthetic colors, and artificial ingredients. It rolls out in early October, along with four brand-new fragrances, all of which are tied to specific destinations. I took advantage of our breakfast to quiz her on her tried-and-true favorites.

What are her travel staples? "I'm obsessive about antioxidants; I layer Kate Somerville Vitamin Antioxidant Complex under moisturizer. I [also] like her Quench cream. When you go to places like Hong Kong where the air quality is so bad, it's so important to have extra protection. I have been using Kiehl's extra-strength conditioner with coconut so long that I think the coconut scent is infused into my scalp. You can get away with bad shampoo on a trip, but conditioner is key. I also like Chantecaille Just Skin because it has mineral sunscreen in it: Having sunscreen in your makeup is essential because otherwise your skin gets fried."

HEALTH & BEAUTY

No More Parabens!


The seal of petrochemical-free
approval.

by Mollie Chen

The beauty products cluttering up my desk promise to clear my skin, smooth my wrinkles, erase my sun damage, quiet my mind, and tone my butt. (Never mind that I never thought I had wrinkles until I started working at Conde Nast.) I find it all utterly baffling. Even more baffling, however, is that increasingly many of these very expensive, very packaged products bear cheery labels professing their all-natural, organic, and sustainable properties. With all the talk about toxic parabens and petrochemicals, I am slowly trading out my old-school products in favor of green alternatives. But it's not easy separating the good green stuff from the icky synthetic stuff--even the Whole Foods beauty section can be a bit overwhelming.

As Burt's Bees' Mike Indursky said at the recent Natural Products Association press conference, "There are a lot of products out there claiming to be natural and a lot of them have nice flowers on their labels. But that doesn't mean anything." Something I didn't realize is that the term "natural" is not regulated. Anyone, even a company testing its paraben-laden shampoos on animals and filling up landfills by the dozen, can claim to be green. The NPA, which is helmed by industry big wigs like Indursky, Aubrey Organics' Curt Valva, and Weleda's Erk Schuchhardt, recently launched a new seal that aims to help befuddled consumers like myself. They will only certify the products that meet four simple criteria: They must be nonsynthetic (95 percent all-natural ingredients); safe; not tested on animals; and sustainable (biodegradable and environmentally sensitive). The bottom line, Josh Dorfman, the Lazy Environmentalist, said, "Is that we want to stop putting crap into our bodies and stop putting crap into the environment." Consumers can expect to start seeing the seal as early as midsummer. Some of my tried-and-true favorites: Burt's Bees grapefruit and sugar beet shampoo and lip balms, Dr. Hauschka sunscreens, and Kiss My Face tinted moisturizer.


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