simple pleasures: un nouveau jour

Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.
— Socrates

avignon, a small town in the south of france is located on the rhone river and was the seat of the catholic popes in the 14th century. at the heart of the historic city sits the papal palace, a medieval gothic building. once a fortress, today it is a captivating museum housing religious artwork including centuries-old paintings, sculptures + frescoes.

simple pleasures: terrain des peintres

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An environmental human rights movement is the vision under which I labor and which may, if we all work together in concert, become a self-fulfilling prophecy. May it be so.
— Dr. Sarah Steingraber

the south of france is a marvel. here, the silhouette of saint-victoire, the solitary mountain painted by post impressionist painter paul cezanne from this verdant lookout circa 1887. my love of nature is a driving force in my desire to preserve our natural resources, protect our animals + ensure the rights of all people. i'm diving into the compelling book living downstream by activist, ecologist + cancer survivor, dr. sarah steingraber. check out this feature length documentary film in which she discusses “the web of connections between our bodies and the ecological world in which we eat, drink, breath and work.”

eco beauty: akamai basics for good clean fun

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try as you may, you’ll be hard pressed to find a gal who loves and lauds the benefits of botanical facial oils + natural skin oils more than me. akamai basics is an american, indie + small-batch skincare company, founded by vincent cobb and marni shymkus, and they’re bringing to life clean + green products for boys and girls who love the simple things in life.

akamai makes one of my new favorite vegan, cruelty-free and sustainably sourced face + skin oils, skin fuel.

i’ve learned over the years that oils can seem quite alien as a bath + beauty product; we cook with coconut, avocado and olive oil, but did nature intend for us to use these vitamin + mineral-packed oils on our faces + bodies? the answer is unequivocally yes!

skin and facial oils go beyond the daily duties of a traditional moisturizer, my friends: oils heal, repair and regenerate skin. of course, not all oils are created equal! a well-crafted oil supports the skin’s bicrobiome and the body’s ecology by delivering key nutrients to your cells and body. oils deliver peace and harmony by balancing the pH of your skin. you’ll find only natural, organic + unrefined ingredients at akamais.

weird science

We know far too many people who have died of cancer, or who have battled and won, at great cost to themselves and their family. While a small percentage are genetic, 85% of all cancer is caused by the environment and lifestyle choices.
— Vincent Cobb and Marni Shymkus

here i’m going to hit you with a little science, stay with me: the chemicals and synthetic ingredients that can be found in conventional, big-brand moisturizers have negative effects on our bodies, both short-term effects like psoriasis, and long-term effects like endocrine disruption, immune dysfunction, birth defects and cancer. if you can’t figure out what’s listed on an ingredient label, put the bottle down and step slowly away from the shelf. parabens, pthalates, sulfates {foaming agents, preservatives, dyes and synthetic fragrances}: you don’t need them and you don’t want them. parabens, a preservative found in makeup, shampoo, conditioners and lotions, mimic the hormone estrogen and have been found in breast tumor tissue.

just as ingredients are the starting point for a great meal, they’re also the foundation of a fantastic and effective product. skin fuel has six simple ingredients: coconut, jojoba, argan and olive oil; trace mineral/fulvic acid concentrate {for proper cellular metabolism}; and rosemary essential oil for a soothing and aromatic experience.

the oil

akamai's skin fuel is like a protein smoothie for the skin. it’s the first product i reach for after a shower, and the one i want by my side when i’m traveling because it does it all. i use it to moisturize my face, my hands and legs. fun tip: mix it with your fave lotions for a rich, hydrating experience + for the perfect amount of body glow. just a touch adds a healthy shine to my hair. i also swipe a bit across my lips as a light lip balm.

the toothpaste

i’ve been brushing my pearly whites with the akamai mineral toothpaste. first thing’s first: it’s a natural, clay-based paste; the color of the paste might surprise you. it’s a gray hue. i do not shy away from the new; in fact i was quite intrigued. i love this formula and i offer one small caveat: it’s not as sweet as those you might have used, so keep that in mind. i personally love it. i don’t like to wake up and have a slosh of extra sweet in my mouth. like all products in my green routine, i do rotate for variation. this paste will remain in the mix!

the bar soap

i really do love shampoo bars. i love any company that thinks outside the bottle. this is a 3-in-1 product: a shampoo bar that can also be used as a soap bar, and a shaving oil. i use this as a facial cleanser and shampoo. it’s grrreat for traveling. think no-spill magic. as a gentle reminder, i always use a conditioner along with a soap bar for best results {this combo is best for my parched hair + scalp}. this product adds volume to my hair, which i quite like on dry, winter days. i just ordered these as stocking stuffers because everyone deserves good hair days!

my goal is not to slow down the natural and beautiful results of aging, but rather to look and feel healthy, my very best every day. akamai allows me to feel confident about what i'm putting on my body each day. check out akamai for some of that natural glow.

don’t forget the tip: from no more dirty looks, “awareness about cosmetics [and personal care product] ingredients is on the rise. all of a sudden it’s ‘sulfate-free’ this and ‘paraben-free’ that. as consumers get savvier, so do cosmetics companies. in response to the chatter, many companies are reformulating to omit one or two of the ingredients that have become buzzwords, and then they mount advertising campaigns bragging about it. that is what we call marketing—but leaving out one ingredient and replacing it with a lesser-known or chemically similar substitute is not necessarily what we call clean. neither is boasting about its absence when your products are packed with a dozen other dirty chemicals.”

often healthy skin is a result of what we put in and on our bodies. follow the environmental working group to learn more about the important work that they do to keep citizens healthy and informed. akamai donates 1% of all sales to ewc to support their mission to empower people to live healthier lives.

eco mode: wearing boxy tee made of organic cotton from wildlife works with earrings from fair trade label abel. hair by akamai and facial oil by akamai.