Okay, first group of things that are excellent comes from the Body Shop. I had a Body Shop party at my house a little while ago, and wound up with a bunch of cool stuff...you may also remember that I have waxed poetic about Body Shop items before. Every semester, I play this hilarious game with myself, during which I decide I Am Not Going To Drink So Much Coffee This Time. Then, about four days after the start of the semester, I'm asking Awesome Patti at Charlie's to inject a cafe Americano directly into my veins. I've kind of embraced this cycle of denial and eventual willpower collapse, so I continue to look for supposedly energy-producing stuff in the feigned effort to get off the coffee. Item number one up there is a collection of "Total Energy" well being products, which are full of good stuff like guarana and bergamot, which do in fact perk me right up. Are they equivalent to a stiff cup of coffee? No. But they do make the morning shower and prep time more revitalizing, and they smell good. The body wash is a great exfoliator, which I always need, and the body gel is fantastic. It's not like a lotion or a body butter, which I tend towards normally, but it's a more fluid gel that feels...not unlike aloe going on a very light sunburn (i.e., cooling and soothing, not that "ohmigodohmigod please make it stop" shock of putting aloe on a burn you got from falling asleep for four hours at high noon. Not that I have done this). The smallest container there is a pulse point balm, which is a nice pick-me-up in the middle of the day. There is a certain citrusy aspect to it, and again, it's not a Red Bull, but it does perk me up. Would that I could have had this during my 2.5 hour Ideology and Revolution class.
Item number two is a Deep Sleep pillow spray, which I totally love. Rich loves shopping at places like CVS when he's sick, and is much more willing to medicate himself than I am, for all manner of things. When I do give in and turn to drugs, I prefer to go for a more organic approach, and for this reason I decided to try this sleep spray out. It really does knock you out faster, and I find it helps me to better sleep through the night - I am the locus for a lot of cat activity (they like to be with me, sometimes under the covers...I kneed poor Flyboy in the head this morning because I didn't realize he'd wormed his way under there), and this means that I often am woken up and thus look like death the next morning. The active ingredients in the spray are jujube date, geranium, juniper and patchouli oils, and I'm not sure why it works so well, but it does.
Number three is Hemp Hand Protector. I have skin that's prone to occasionally ejecting every drop of moisture for no apparent reason; my feet get calloused very quickly, my elbows sometimes could be used for Brillo pads, and my hands do this thing that LOOKS like leprosy but as far as I can tell is not. Now, I'm also extremely judgy about people's handshakes, so as a result, I assume everyone is like this, and this turns into extreme neurosis about the whole pseudoleprosy thing, which means I'm always looking for really intense moisturizers. The Hemp Hand Protector fits the bill, not only by moisturizing extremely well, but it also seals in its work, so the moisture STAYS there. The smell...is not my favorite. It's very earthy and planty, but it's not aggressively so, which for me makes it well worth the benefits.
Number four is Monoi Miracle Oil, which I use for...everything. I put it on my feet, I put it on my hands, and I use it to finish my hair, which tells you everything you need to know about the lightness of it. It has this wonderful, super-light floral fragrance, and it makes your hair really shiny and soft, as well as moisturizing everything you put it on. I am particularly loving its addition to my Morning Hair Extravaganza, because I am fairly rough on my hair, and it rights all the wrongs I perpetrate on it. I usually throw some Humectress conditioner in, then some mousse (whatever I have, currently something from Garnier), and blow dry it upside down a little. I then set it in thermal rollers, and blow dry some more. Previously, that was it...I'd take the rollers out and gave it a little run through with a brush, etc., but now I put some of the oil on my hands, rub it around, then run my hands through my hair, and it makes it all shiny and stuff, and I usually finish by going in and harassing Rich to touch my hair. I am kind of an annoying fiancee.
Finally, we have a Moringa body scrub. One of the many things I like about Body Shop stuff is that they tend to last a really long time. I tend to find that a lot of scrubs and exfoliants require giant dollops of the stuff to really work, but with this one, it takes the teeniest scoop. The scent is really pretty and floral, and has some staying power, which I like. I tend to choose products on scent fairly often, but with shower stuff, I frequently find that the scent is going to wear off as soon as my foot hits the bathmat, and that's always disappointing. Not the case here, plus the exfoliating particles are hardcore without being excessive.
My Aunt also gave me body stuff for Christmas (YAY CHRISTMAS!), and it is fabulous. Origins does such a great job with their scents and quality of products, but there isn't one immediately convenient to me like there used to be in DC, so I tend to forget the extent of their awesomeness. I had never smelled this particular scent before, but I am stoked about it. It's a very light floral, and according to Origins, it's comprised of Tahitian tiare, jasmine, petitgrain mandarin, bergamot and basil. It's really lovely and unusual, and the specific items are fantastic as well. The body cream is moisturizing without being oily or pasty, the bubbly bath syrup (NB: Is "bubble bath" too low-tech?), and the perfume comes in a ROLLERBALL, YAY, which makes it nice and portable without risk of damage. Fabulouso!
So let's talk about my awesome coworkers. We've had a lot of shifting around over the past year or so, and now that things have settled, I am sharing a desk with the woman I work opposite days from. I have a fairly strong nesting instinct, so I put up a bunch of pictures and such on my side of the desk, one of which was a print of Alphonse Mucha's Princezna Hyacinta lithograph. Upon seeing that print, my coworker a.) recognized it as a Mucha work, and thus that b.) there were more of them, and proceeded to c.) find a stunning Mucha pendant for me for Christmas! How freaking cool is that? I love my coworkers. She picked the print above, which is one of Mucha's "Summer" works, and the photo above does no justice to the vibrant color of the print. Plus, the backing is a MIRROR, so you can check your lipstick, blind your enemies with reflected light, whatever. Awesome. It appears to be from Etsy Person Oliviamoon, who has a ton of different patterns and shapes.
In other awesome coworker news, my boss also gave me jewelry, in the form of a beautiful glass pendant on a steel cord, both from Happy Owl Glassworks. The above is just a sample of what they do. Mine is a rectangular bead that's white, with a sparkly, swirly green over the bottom two thirds or so, with a little spray of black on the edge of the green...it's an abstracted horizon line with the outline of a tree! It's so fly. Plus, as we all know, my desire to have things other people do not is extremely strong, and this is a one-of-a-kind item, per the Happy Owl folks.
More posting soon...Christmas, ice storm and follow-up snow storms threw me off big time, but I promise, more to come. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!