Month: April, 2014

skincare: SPF and the battle against UV rays

it seems safe to say that summer has finally arrived, at least for the south, and after all the cold we’ve had the first thing a lot of people want to do is get out in the sun, take a vacation to somewhere sunny, or head to the tanning bed to get a “summer glow”. I wanted to talk about proper sun care because it is the most important thing you can do for your skin.


there are three types of uv rays- uva, uvb, and uvc. uvc rays are blocked by the earth’s atmosphere in most places, so they are not a huge concern. however, the other two types are responsible for nearly all of what is considered “normal aging”.
uvb rays are very strong but do not penetrate as deeply as uva rays. they are the type of rays strongest during the summer from 11 to 4 and are responsible for sunburns.
uva rays penetrate very deeply into the skin, damaging cell dna, collagen, and elastin. tanning beds can emit two to five times the amount of uva rays than the sun! (source)


melanin cells are what give skin color. they reside in the deepest layer of the epidermis, the stratum basale. they are the immune system of the skin, and whenever damage occurs they produce more melanin than they would normally. this is very, very important because it means that when the skin gets darker, damage has already occurred. even if it isn’t from a tanning bed, a tan is a sign of skin damage. when melanin cells are severely damaged they can either malfunction completely, creating an absence of color in one place, or produce far too much color, creating a dark spot. this is referred to as hypo or hyperpigmentation.
(just as a side note- everyone has the same number of melanin cells. people with darker skin have melanin cells that naturally produce more melanin than the melanin cells of people with lighter colored skin.)


sun damage creates weakness and destruction of collagen and elastin, the framework of the skin. when collagen and elastin are damaged, they create sags and cracks in the “trampoline” holding up the skin, creating lines, wrinkles, and sagging. uv rays also damage the dna of skin cells, which leads to cancer. it is true that people with more melanin naturally occurring in their skin are less likely to get skin cancer, and in many cases, age more gracefully than those with comparable skin containing less melanin. however cases of skin cancer in darker skin are usually much more serious and more likely to result in death. read more about skin cancer here. if you develop any type of mark or spot on your skin that appears suddenly, will not heal, or begins to rapidly change, please see a dermatologist. it is also important to visit a dermatologist yearly to ensure skin health.

staying out of the sun isn’t always possible of course, and even if you don’t plan to be outside at all during the day, it is still paramount to wear some form of spf daily. even driving, walking to and from the car, and being near windows will expose you to uva rays which can penetrate glass (unless it is uv protected, which is available in some cars now). here‘s a great illustration of how important it is to protect yourself, even if you don’t plan to be in direct sun.


the best types of sunscreens contain the physical sunblocks zinc and titanium dioxide. these minerals create a physical barrier between the skin and the entire spectrum of uv rays. they won’t absorb into the skin or break down in the sun. some people are sensitive or allergic to titanium dioxide, so in the case of an allergy stick to a sunscreen with only zinc. zinc is anti-bacterial, soothing, and anti-inflammatory. these products probably won’t be as user friendly as conventional sunscreens, but it is worth it to keep unnecessary chemicals of and out of your skin and bloodstream. chemical sunscreens also have a high rate of allergic reaction. it is not fun to relax on a towel after a nice swim in the ocean and suddenly begin itching uncontrollably for half an hour, or to apply sunscreen and immediately begin sneezing and have a runny nose for the rest of the day- trust me!


since these physical sunscreens rely on minerals as uv protection, a product is lying if it calls itself organic with these ingredients in it, since obviously they are inorganic. however it is important that the complementary ingredients in the product are organic if possible, and a good sunscreen contains anti-oxidants and other calming ingredients to treat and protect the skin.

if you are concerned about your vitamin d levels, here is a list of foods that contain lots of it. this is a post for a different time, but I do NOT support or recommend dairy products as a source of calcium- dairy products actually leach calcium from the bones as they are so acidic the body has to use its own store of calcium to balance the pH of the blood. (article, article)


etsy éclat


the unofficial title of this post is “brilliant blue”, for obvious reasons. isn’t turquoise fabulous?!

these pictures of the new zealand coast will answer that question, in case there’s any dispute. they’re unabashedly gleaned from google images so click through for links.

etsy sources, left to right: 1./2./3./4.

new zealand - bay of islands

New Zealand


made: astronaut art



last week, I saw the cutest thing on sale- this retro card game from restoration hardware! for some reason I loved how the cards looked, and I got the idea to frame them in different ways.

luckily my mom had a bunch of old frames she didn’t want anymore, so it was just a matter of spray painting them black + matte krylon (like I did here) and adding the cards. the biggest one is just cards framed on a sheet of black construction paper.


this little guy is just a single card framed. I used it in my bathroom beside my other “made” art, along with a black and gold framed poem.


for this one, I printed a black and white picture of the moon to use as the background. (these pictures were taken at night on my kitchen counter so regrettably this one is a little crooked!)

the two smaller ones I hung beside my thermostat on a little chunk of wall next to my pantry. my house is heated by a gas fireplace, and the men who installed it hung the remote control right at eye level instead of next to the two sets of light switches that were already there… it looks kind of funny to have a single picture hanging next to it, so I used these two different sized ones to camouflage it.

this was a very easy project, but I think one of my favorites so far!

dished: coffee caramelized croissant french toast sticks



okay, first and foremost a disclaimer: I haven’t made these yet! which is pretty awful, and I promise I’m dying to. this weekend I actually bought croissants for the purpose of making this recipe. however I didn’t get quite enough in the first place, and then once my boyfriend saw that the recipe involved coffee, he was completely against them no matter what I said. I’m resigned to making them in a few months when he’s forgotten about it and I’m 99.9% sure he’ll like them even though he’s kind of picky. I have to spring these kinds of things on him before he has time to think about them and decide he doesn’t like them.

anyways, this recipe looks completely heavenly and I hope that someone else can enjoy them for me! huge thanks to tieghan for this loveliness and her incredible creativity. recipe here.

made: ombré bottles



ever since I moved into my house, I’ve been collecting succulents and pots to decorate my mantle (inspired by this picture, taken at the ojai rancho inn). unfortunately I still don’t really have enough to make it work, plus the mantle in my house doesn’t get enough light for most of my plants. so I’ve mounted some glass shelves in a south facing window and moved them all to there. now I don’t have anything on my mantle other than a couple pictures, so I found this tutorial to use up all my extra bottles in a pretty way. I’m still collecting, but so far I love them, and at some point I’d like to add some fake flowers (real ones are too expensive for how long they last!), a different kind for every season.


painting the bottles is easy. just spray a coat or two of your base color over the whole bottle, and flip it upside down. next angle your second color towards the base of the bottle and adjust for any problematic ridges. check out the linked tutorial for more thorough instructions.




this was just a short stop my boyfriend and I made today. the weather was unbelievably gorgeous and we couldn’t resist all the greenery. now I may or may not have some new little friends to plant!


etsy éclat



these pictures remind me of light, with all their shades of white and gold reflecting one another. they are both delicate and sturdy, offering illumination, inspiration, physical support, and a comforting warm beverage. I believe it’s important to surround yourself with things you love, not for materialistic purposes, but for mental health, clarity, and happiness.

links from left to right.



post 3beach, sunroom

this house kills me. it’s pretty often that I will see a house and fall in love with it instantaneously, but I feel like this one is a level above that (and don’t be surprised if I say that often). there’s just something so clean and comforting about it. I love bright white spaces for how crisp and airy they are, but more often than not I wouldn’t actually feel comfortable living somewhere so blank… maybe because it would be too easy to mess up, I don’t know. especially now that it’s warm I’ve been leaning more towards a bohemian vibe, while still staying organized and avoiding clutter, which is very important to me. the abundance of natural linen color in chay wike’s home, featured on domino, softens the fresh white walls, keeping the rooms light but making everything seem more inviting. there are no shortage of sheepskin accents which are to die for, and the subtle southwestern patterns add color and texture. and those french doors along the dining room wall are absolutely priceless! how gorgeous would it be to open all those doors and let the breeze roll in off the coast. this home would make a perfect beach house appropriate for both everyday living and relaxing.

discovered: coastal cool

I recently began receiving emails from one kings lane, hoping to find some good deals on things that I needed. I successfully found a whole lot of things that I don’t need, but really want now (and I’m okay with that). yesterday they featured paintings in cooling, calming shades of blue. the beach has already been sounding incredibly appealing to me lately, and now I’m dying to visit a quiet villa beside the ocean somewhere. until then, I’ll just dream about having these paintings hanging in my home someday. you can view the whole collection here.


links from left to right.


made: bathroom art


this article on apartment therapy regarding art in the bathroom is pretty funny to me. whether or not there is art in a bathroom doesn’t seem to me like it should be a big deal under any normal circumstances. in any case, my bathroom has been looking pretty bare ever since I’ve moved in, and I wanted something to tie together my tenuous color scheme. I stumbled upon this site after seeing a post about a really neat piece of art that wasn’t strictly art at all- it was paper. paper mojo’s prices are very good, reasonable enough to make up for what seems like pretty high shipping costs just for paper. and the paper is so gorgeous!

my bathroom colors are black, gold, white, and light blue. in my dream house, the walls would be crisp white subway tile, the floor would be old wood painted white, and the bathroom vanity would be a vintage chest of some sort with a sink in it. and there would be a giant window or several windows, preferably looking out on a gorgeous private view. right now I’ve got candles and accents that all work together, but the walls in my house are an awful yellowish off white and the floor is a very old yellow-orange linoleum. there are also no windows, so it’s pretty dark, and there are some built in wood cabinets that are stained chocolate. in any case my colors don’t flow like I want them to with the preexisting fixtures.

I got this paper to try to bring in more light blue, gold, and white together. then I found some frames at Value Village for under $4 and spray painted two white, one black and cleaned the glass in them.


I cut out a square a little bit larger than the size of the frame and taped it onto the pieces of cardboard that were inside the frames- kind of like wrapping a present.



then I sprayed both sides of all three (and the frames, for good measure) with matte krylon. I’m hoping this will keep them from bubbling up/getting damaged from the humidity of the bathroom.


I’m planning to find some smaller frames to add to the grouping and do some other fun projects with this paper.