Posh Beauty // 8 Ways to Keep Winter Skin Moisturized & Eczema Free




A few months ago I had a real breakdown over the condition of my skin. Like, 'uncontrollable scratching, real tears, go directly to Patient First without passing go' kind of breakdown. I had to cancel a business call and drag the teen out of the house on a school night, and even wearing my clothes felt painful. That experience was enough for me to finally decide that, well...enough is enough.

I've set a beauty goal for 2015 to be vigilant about getting control over my extreme eczema. I'm waging all out war on it: the dry, dark, itchy patches of skin; the unexplainable rashes; feeling self-conscious about marks on areas like my face and neck; sometimes being unable to sleep because of the inflamed skin and irritation--all of it. Thankfully, through proper diet and caring well for my skin, I can minimize the effects. If you're dealing with something similar, here are a few ways we can combat it together: 

Internal



Detox
Starting each day with lemon water or hot water + apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a great way to naturally detox. ACV helps to restore our bodies to their normal PH balance which often gets thrown off throughout the day when we consume things with high acidity, like coffee (I consume a lot of coffee y'all. It's like, my last frontier of dietary vices. I haven't been able to kick it for more than a few months at at time). 

Hydrate
Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated daily is key for supple moisturized skin from the inside out. I try to spice up my regular water with lemon or lime; and I alternate still water with coconut water and sparkling water so that I don't get bored. I am absolutely obsessed with VOSS water, as my girl AB can attest. It's hard to find in my neighborhood, but plentiful in hers, so I'm constantly asking her to stock up on my behalf. 

I also really dig Yogi Teas for all things internal healing. They've got a yummy Cinnamon Vanilla Healthy Skin and a Skin Detox tea that I get often. 

Supplement
Taking a Daily Multi, Vitamin E, Fish Oil Pills and/or Niacin (Vitamin B), can help boost the internal properties that contribute to healthy, supple skin. 

Go Green
Lots of veggies like kale, spinach, Swiss chard and avocado (which is technically a fruit, but it is also green) are packed with antioxidants and Vitamins A and C which skin gets lots of lovin' from. Experiment, taste test and figure out what options work best for you. 

External



Store-bought Lotions
I have to moisturize about every two hours (literally) to really stay moisturized and I've found that the lotions that work best for my whole body are Shikai Borage Therapy (which I first mentioned here and it's still going strong) and Cetaphil moisturizer. I've also become a big fan of Nubian Heritage; though I try to stay away from too many things that are fragranced or scented, their products work wonders on my hands and feet, where the skin is less sensitive. 

Essential Oils
Essential oils are the Holy Grail of skincare, and it will be vital for me to continue with a regular regimen using oils like Calendula oil (for calming inflamed skin), Rosehip oil (for stimulating cell regeneration and reducing the appearance of scars), Sea Buckthorn Berry Oil (which has Omega 6s--I talked a bit more about it over at COCOTIQUE.com), lavender oil, tea tree oil and almond oil. They’ve been my saving graces. 




Cold Water/Short Showers
Cold water or mist is really great for calming the inflammation that comes with eczema. I did not know this, and I am one of those people who showers with the water temperature on "scalding", so I was quite literally setting my skin on fire every single day. Lesson learned: take lukewarm to cool showers that last for no longer than 15 minutes; and I'm passing along the gospel because maybe I'm not the only one who didn't know....hopefully. 

Emotional

Don't Stress!
Another thing I've learned the hard way is that the rashes on my skin become more heightened and uncontrollable when I get stressed out about them--or about anything really. I break out in hives, and the whole mess is anything but posh. So if you're anything like me and your skin is even sensitive to your emotions, let's both learn to keep calm and moisturize. 


Do you suffer from severe dry skin too? What are some of your tips for keeping your skin healthy? I showed you mine, now show me yours (in the comments). Merci!




How To // Be Both Warm and Well-Dressed This Winter



Last week my cousin Tionah asked me for a quote about winter style--specifically dressing stylishly and safely, during the winter months--for her journalism class, and of course I said yes. Then, after writing it and sending back to her I thought, "This is totally blog post worthy! What woman who lives where it's cold out isn't currently engaged in the epic battle between being warm vs. being well-dressed?!"

With the Northeast portion of the country experiencing freezing temperatures, this is the perfect time for the woman who wants to look polished while keeping warm, to play around with texture, and to mix and match fabrics to create a composition of style and function. 

Try combinations like fleece lined tights under a tweed skirt, and topped by a long sleeved tee and chunky sweater. Shopbop, Nordstrom and H&M all carry styles of fleece lined tights in varying colors and patterns that will add interest and warmth to your ensemble. Cold Gear, generally meant for athletes planning to spend a great amount of time outdoors, can also work well under trousers if you use public transportation for your commute, since it's designed to respond to your body's movement and to preserve your body heat underneath your outer layers.




Standout coats in feminine cuts, bright colors and eye-catching patterns have been the outerwear of choice, styles we saw a lot of during winter's icy grip on NYFW. From pastel pink wool coats, to vivid royal hues to deep red fur jackets, the fashion crowd didn't let the cold cause them to miss a stylish step. 

Blanket scarves and ponchos have been a major trend for this season for protecting the neck and shoulders from blustery winds; and trendy beanies or fedoras have been great for adding a menswear-inspired touch as a topper. And of course, fur accessories--whether real or faux--have a timeless quality; they never go out of style. 

In general, the fundamental key to dressing stylishly in colder weather is in layering basic, warm pieces close to your body, and then going all out with statement outerwear and accessories on top.

There are more than a few marvelous pieces in my Winter Must-Haves Lookbook at Keaton Row. Head there now to peruse and shop!

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Still not quite sure what-to-wear to keep stylishly warm? I am happy to give you personalized style advice, one-on-one. It's super easy to get started: go to my stylist page at Keaton Row, fill out a short profile to help me get to know your needs and likes, and you'll be all set to start requesting Lookbooks and getting free customized advice from me on how to curate a style that makes you look good and feel good. 



Wine Tasting at Woodhall Wood Cellars



I have a confession: I love wine. But, that's not the confession part. My secret shame is that I sometimes have the palette of a 19-year-old, who wants to appear grown up by sneaking sips, but doesn't really know how to properly handle an adult beverage. That is to say, I likes 'em sweet. 

When I'm in my friendly neighborhood spirits distributor and purchasing purely for my own, in-home enjoyment, I usually go for a Moscato, a Riesling or a sweet red (this is, of course, when I'm not drinking champagne which is my absolute favorite spirit--and the champs does not have to be sweet. I know. Stay with me, though). 




So even though I prefer a sweeter wine, I can still appreciate a really good (and not so sweet) one as well, and even use adjectives to describe it like "dry" "full-bodied" or "smoky"; and make appropriate conjectures like "it has notes of..." and be accurate about all of this. It can definitely be fun to step out of my comfort zone and engage with vino in a mature and tasteful fashion. Wine tastings are the perfect medium for this (I even hosted one for my birthday a few years ago). 

Now that I have aptly confessed, allow me to bring you to the point of these ramblings: last Saturday's wine tasting at Woodhall Wine Cellars in celebration of ma girl LE's birthday. Woodhall is a 33-year-old boutique family winery, nestled in the rolling hills of northern Maryland (close to the Pennsylvania line). It's a quaint little place that presented us with excellent flights of both whites and reds, accompanied by a spread of cheeses, crackers, fruit and bruschetta. With lots of girl talk and giggling to boot, this was such a delightful way to spend a Saturday afternoon! The staff was friendly and kind as well!

Of the selections we tasted, I ended up bringing home two bottles to enjoy later: Gunpowder Falls White and Party Garnet. 



Gunpowder Falls White 2013 satisfies my adult palette, with a "citrus aroma that leads to flavors of white grapefruit, with a little orange". It's a crisp, unoaked dry white wine. 



Party Garnet, touted by Woodhall as "the original party in a bottle", works for my ultra sweet cravings. It's one of those that's made for summer sipping, but I doubt it will last that long (let's be honest). 

Looking forward to uncorking the fun on both bottles soon and, if you're local, I'd totally recommend you try them too. 

p.s. There are a few other times I gushed about good wine. If you're interested, you can go here, here or here for deets. 



All Dressed Up in Love // Valentine's Day Style


 Get Dressed for Valentine's Day


Red is my power color. I wear it whenever I want to feel fiery, powerful and unstoppable. I'm also a huge fan of pink; it's such a sweet, girly confection of a color and something about it just invokes fun. 

And while I'm not a huge proponent of wearing specific colors to celebrate holidays, Valentine's Day is, for obvious reasons, one day where I'm willing to overlook my normal objections! 

If you want to look warm and fiery on this Valentine's Day, go ahead and cozy up to the color red. Feeling more flirty? Get pretty in pink! If you're feeling classic and sexy though, an LBD is always a solid choice. 

Oh--and forget about a date. If you have one-super! I love love. But if you don't, get dressed up and have a girlfriends love fest! Or better yet, slip into your fanciest outfit, Carrie Bradshaw style (read: being fantastically overdressed for any and every occasion), and love up on yourself. To quote the words of J-Hud 's song from the Sex and the City Movie (the first one obvi, because the second one...*shudder*), don't be afraid to get "all dressed up in love". 


Valentine's Day Style


Oh, and I've created a Lookbook full of options for you over at Keaton Row (duh! That's what I'm here for). Head on over and fall in love with some amazing pieces to rock with your amazing self. 

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Need personalized style advice? I am happy to work with you one-on-one as your personal stylist. It's super easy to get started: go to my stylist page at Keaton Row, fill out a short profile to help me get to know your needs and likes, and you'll be all set to start requesting Lookbooks and getting free customized advice from me on how to curate a style that makes you look good and feel good. 



Posh Product Review: The Naked Bar Pit Cream



I've finally found my holy grail of natural deodorant: The Naked Bar Soap Co's Pit Cream. I won't dig into the perils of using traditional antiperspirants and why they're bad for you (there's a fairly detailed post at COCOTIQUE.com though, that you can read over if you want to know more), but they are really not good for us, and after finding this out a couple of years ago, the hunt was on for an all natural version. 



I tried several brands, including TOMS and Jason's, but they all failed and left me sticky, sweaty and generally gross under my arms. Then a few months ago, I got a sample of Pit Cream in one of my monthly boxes from COCOTIQUE so I figured, "What the heck? Let's give it a try". And it worked. My goodness it worked! The application was super smooth, it had a pleasant but not overwhelmingly fragrant scent and it kept me fresh while at work for several days in a row. 

The ultimate test came when I wore it while running the Annual Golf Classic for my then company--a 10-11 hour day, outside, in the hot June sun. I'll be honest, I did sweat a bit under my arms--but like...a dampening. Not flowing sweat that dripped down my sides. I just could tell that my pits had moistened, but still--no musty smell whatsoever. I've been using Pit Cream religiously ever since. And, another pleasant side effect: it doesn't irritate my eczema like "regular" antiperspirants, and the dark patches of skin that tend to result from my eczema? They lightened with continued use of the Pit Cream. 


So now to the nitty gritty details like the ingredients and how Pit Cream does what it does:



"One of the most important features of Pit Cream is that it is a deodorant not an antiperspirant. In commercial deodorants, active ingredients containing aluminum compounds clog pores to prevent sweating. {In Pit Cream} Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which kills odor-causing bacteria. The combination of baking soda and cornstarch makes for a naturally drying deodorizer. Shea and cocoa butter are used for healing and moisturizing properties. Pit Cream is lightly scented with Tea Tree essential oil, which is beneficial for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal functions. Combining all of these ingredients together formulates the ultimate odor fighting cream – Pit Cream!" - excerpt from an interview with the co-founders of The Naked Bar Soap Co.

Pit Cream comes in a cute little eco-friendly container, and the company even shipped me a bonus gift of a sweet little bath bomb. PLUS, the company was co-founded by two women entrepreneurs! Got enough reasons to love the idea of Pit Cream? Great--now go, buy, and try it for yourself. You can purchase Pit Cream through the COCOTIQUE site, or at The Naked Bar Soap Co. website.

Have you tried all-natural deodorants before? What was your experience?