Archive | January, 2009

REAL SIMPLE Part 2! How to simply adapt your skincare program to extreme weather conditions – Yoshiko Roth

29 Jan

I absolutely love my 1-2-3 basics (see my previous posting): Rice Facial Cleanser, Tamarind Toner and Sweet Black Tea & Rice Moisturizer. It is so simple, quick, easy, and it was spot-on perfect for my normal-to-dry skin before the crazy arctic temperature change in New York a few weeks ago.

When the arctic wave hit, my skin needed more! The dry, cold wind through the wind tunnels of NYC were wreaking havoc on my skin. I still loved my Sweet Black Tea & Rice Moisturizer because it boost my radiance and smoothes my skin and wears superbly under foundation, but it just wasn’t rich enough for this type of extreme cold. My mother, also a health and skincare nut, had a great idea. “Why don’t you just mix a few drops of facial oil with the moisturizer to make it more emollient?” How simple is that! I tried it right away the same night and a single drop added to my hazelnut-sized amount of moisturizer made ALL the difference. So I started incorporating it daily: 1 drop of oil in the morning, 2 drops at night. Perfect!

My mother knows I am obsessed with travel-sizes and mini-sizes of product. The smaller and cuter, the better! After she suggested the added-oil treatment for my skin, she actually found the tiniest, most adorable oil-capsules at our natural drugstore back in Germany and mailed them to me. These capsules are about half the size of a finger nail and contain 2-3 drops of pure rose-hip oil (Alverde Wildrosenoel-Kapseln) and are perfect for travel. They are tiny and never leak! Going back to my obsession of fitting my entire beauty regimen into a quart-size zip lock bag when I travel: Now, with my cleanser, toner, moisturizer and oil-capsules, I can carry around a skincare program in a single zippy bag that is good for hot-humid weather all the way to arctic-dry winter climate. It is my completely customizable skincare program in a zippy bag! In hot-humid weather, I just use the oil-free hydrating toner alone. In normal weather, I apply the toner and moisturizer. And finally, in really extremely cold, dry climates, I use the toner followed by the moisturizer mixed with a drop of oil. I could travel the whole world with this one small zippy bag!
-YOSHIKO ROTH

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The Art of the Cremebath. -Metta Murdaya

21 Jan

Now here’s a hair/spa treatment we are missing out on in the US. Imagine having big yummy bowls of creamy, dreamy, custardy botanical hair mask slathered all through your newly shampooed hair in a gloriously revitalizing head massage as you sit and relax in a comfy chair. After 20 minutes of head heaven, your hair is then wrapped in a warm, moist steamy towel as this massage wonderfully moves to your shoulders and neck, releasing all tension. Then moves down to your arms, forearms, all the way to your fingertips. Delicious olive oil and lotions are combined to create a massage oil that will give you that mmmm-give-me-more-just-right-there-oh-yes! feel as your muscles are released. (No dirty thoughts now, this is a family show!) Imagine this goes on for another 45 minutes. Try not to drool from bliss. I call this heaven. The Indonesians call it a traditional cremebath. Short of being a full spa treatment, this head-to-arm treatment is a traditional beauty ritual that you can find in many spas and salons in Indonesia. Convenient because it takes less time and doesn’t require you to disrobe, it nonetheless gives you release and pampering in just the right areas. And since we all need air hair washed, it also has a purely functional aspect to it too, rendering your hair clean, healthy and beautiful, so this treatment is very popular with the women there, myself included. After the treatment, you are served tea or Jamu, an ancient herbal health tonic, you can sip while slowly reconnecting to the world out there… where you can begin to dream about getting the next cremebath…

One can choose from a variety of conditioning masks with different traditional benefits. Their claims for the masks with following ingredients are:
Ginseng – energizing, for thinning hair
Candlenut – increases shine and darkens hair (what I chose!)
Avocado – hydrating nourishment for dry hair
Aloe Vera – straightens hair

I went with a friend of mine in Jakarta, Indonesia. Sometimes they’re in fancier salons, but ours was in a local salon with a simple Javanese theme, with batik chairs and traditional rotan furniture. We wanted to be in the same room so we could chat through the treatment, but once the fingers touched our heads, we both, as if on cue, became radio silent for the next hour, lost somewhere in “this feels so good” and “Calgon, take me away!” land. But definitely bring me back, especially after I saw the price tag on this ritual: $6. (It can go up to $15 in fancier salons/spas.) If you’re in Indonesia, I highly suggest you look for one in a salon/spa near you.
-METTA MURDAYA

Roasted Candlenuts – YUM!! – Metta Murdaya

7 Jan

My friend in Jakarta grew up eating roasted candlenuts with her family and affectionately calls them the “poor man’s macadamia nut,” but just one bite easily shows it’s anything but. The beloved candlenut, with its elegant and velvety oils infused in our JUARA products, is rooted deep in Indonesian epicurean culture. This nut, used in many of the dishes including almost all Indonesian curries you may come across, is normally ground up and mixed with other spices. However, a little known fact is that it also happens to be delicious roasted whole. It has a light, nutty texture and has an almost-floral nut smell, if you can imagine that. It’s not quite as buttery as a macadamia nut, but has the most delicate crunch and is full of nutrients – a healthy, tasty treat! Can you tell, I’m so enjoying this little morsel of nutty goodness.

The recipe is simple. Take approximately ½ cup of candlenuts, about 1 tbsp of olive oil, a pinch of salt (to taste) and pan fry/sautee it until it becomes a nice golden brown – about 3 shades darker than its raw counterpart. Make sure it’s cooked all the way through!

If you’re wondering where to get candlenuts in the US – if you are lucky enough to be in a city with Asian markets – go to one that specializes in South East Asian cuisine.They’re sold raw and are inexpensive, about $2.00 for an 8oz bag, at least that’s the price in NY. There’s a market in Manhattan which carries hard-to-find ingredients for the cuisine of Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia on Mulberry St. south of Canal, right north of the park, on the West side. (There’s NY directions for you…) I never did figure out the name of the store; only the words “Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia” adorn the awning. And in East Elmhurst, Queens in NY, the big supermarket which specializes in all of the above, and then some (Vietnamese, Chinese) is called Topline Supermarket, on 81–37 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373. Definitely worth a look-see and then some.

If anyone has other locations they know of that carries this delectable staple, please comment and share the good news with others!

Beware: Do not eat a candlenut raw unless you want an upset tummy…

-METTA MURDAYA