Dull Skin…Let’s Perk it Up!

Has the Winter weather got your skin looking down? Well, let’s perk it up!

When our complexion is looking dull and the cold days are a drag on our skin, what do we do? We reach for some all-natural remedies in our refrigerator.

Here are some fun “perk-it-up” tips for the skin that you can try at home…

  • Avocado Mash – As you know, we’re strong proponents of using avocado on the skin. It’s chock full of vitamins and omegas (the good fats) that feed the skin, and an ideal remedy for those skin-drying days that could leave your skin feeling rough to the touch. Smash up some avocado flesh and apply onto skin. Rinse off after approximately 15 minutes.
  • Cucumber and Potato Eyes – Lack of sleep, stress, allergies…all of these can cause dark under eye circles. While we will not be able to help when it comes to genetics, potato and cucumber slices can help minimize these conditions. They have astringent qualities to reduce the appearance of under eye circles and hydrate the skin. Place some thinly sliced cucumbers or potatoes on the eyes and sit back and relax.
  • Citrus “Peel” – Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! Get rid of dead skin cells to reveal younger-looking skin and help promote skin-cell regeneration. We love rubbing smashed strawberries on our face as its natural salicylic acids help remove dead skin cells and fight breakouts. You can try this with oranges and lemons as well which could also brighten skin. The vitamin c in fruits offer antioxidant benefits that can help fight free radicals and minimize the signs of aging, rebuild collagen, and repair sun-damaged skin.
  • Sweet Honey – If your skin is feeling a bit toasty, spread a thin layer of honey on your face and let it do its magic. Honey softens and moisturizers the skin and its antibacterial and healing qualities are a welcome boon!
  • Wear Your Coffee – We support the wearing of coffee on your face instead of on your shirt! Caffeine can give your skin a well-deserved boost. Energize it with a thin layer of coffee grounds applied as a facial mask. Avoid scrubbing your face as the grounds can irritate sensitive skin and cause breakage.

So, when the cold, and snowy Winter days keep you indoors, get some pampering in and make cabin fever fun! Thanks for being kind to your body!

In the NS Parlour Spotlight: Kay Habana of SweetHabana Catering

Full Name: Kay Habana

State of Residence: New York

Occupation: Catering Business Owner

NS: Briefly describe your role at SweetHabana.

A: I own SweetHabana. I’m the cook. I don’t really call myself “chef” as I didn’t go to Culinary School. I’m in charge of everything — from grocery shopping, to cutting, to the end product, and the books.

NS: How long have you been in this role?

A: I started this business 11 years ago in California. I initiated by preparing lunch boxes for my clients. I delivered to nearby hospitals and health facilities. Most of my clients were nurses. Back then I would sell each box for only $5; it had 1 staple, 2 side dishes, 1 dessert, and a drink. I made 50-100 boxes per day.

NS: Describe SweetHabana products and offerings?

A: I am Filipino, but my clientele consist of different nationalities, therefore I cook dishes of different cuisines. It really depends on what a client wants. Although I really love cooking heavy dishes, I also enjoy making desserts. Especially cakes. I used to make custom cakes, but I don’t have the time anymore. And, now that the weather is getting warmer, I’m experimenting on new flavors for my SweetHabana ice cream line. I cannot possibly describe the excitement when I’m concocting new and different flavors…or modifying a classic recipe. There’s magic in taking something raw and making it into a product that is unexplored, unique, and simply delicious. So, it doesn’t matter whether I’m cooking lumpia, adobo, a roll of sushi, or baking muffins…I cook from the heart. Always.

NS: What inspired you to pursue this entrepreneurial path?

A: My son, Kael.

Truth is, I never really thought of myself as a business-minded person. Growing up, I was surrounded by family and relatives who did so well in their respective business(es). But, to say the least, money doesn’t always bring people together.

However, when I gave birth to my son, I fell in love with this little angel and it was so hard to be away from him even for a mintue. My educational background is in Journalism, but working an 8-to-5 job was not an option at the time. I didn’t have a problem with being employed, but I realized that it meant that I was not in control of my time. I detested the thought of missing my son’s milestones. So, catering…it had to be.

NS: Is there any advice that you can offer to those interested in a similar path in this industry?

A: Passion. Love. It might sound cliche, but it’s true. Catering is a very demanding kind of business/work — physically, emotionally, and mentally. You have to have a love for cooking. You have to be passionate about doing the strenuous work. It’s good and it helps if you’re a skilled cook from an expensive Culinary school, but I believe there has to be so much more than just skills. I mean, really, how does one figure when he/she has provided superb gastronomical experience to their consumer(s)? It’s easily seen in their facial expressions. It’s obvious in their smile. A fulfilled smile just doesn’t lie. You have to have a burning desire to see that child-like smile after a client has tasted your food. Oh! The sight of it still elates me. And, I get inspired more and more. All in all, cook with love and be realistic about your goals.

NS: What are your objectives this year with Sweet Habana?

A: Over the years, I relied on word-of-mouth marketing. But with the abundance of social media nowadays, I have extended my style of advertisement through different platforms. So, for now, I’m in the process of building my clientele within the tri-state area. It’s been very good, most definitely. On a more ambitious note, I’m trying to see how I can put a SweetHabana “best-seller” in grocery freezers. My fingers and toes are crossed.

NS: What’s your secret to success?

A: Candor and sincerity toward people. Not just my clients/consumers, but people in general. I don’t believe in the saying, “it’s just business.” For me, true success in any business means getting personal with your clients. Clients can’t be visible only at the time that they order something from you. You have to keep in touch, build a relationship, and show them that you truly care. What is gaining money when you can’t gain friends? What is having money when you don’t share it? How can you enjoy success when you see hungry mouths to feed? It doesn’t make sense.

NS: What does beauty mean to you?

A: Beauty is, in all honesty, something that comes from within. Peace of mind and a joyful heart influence so much what others see on the outside. No matter how I accessorize myself or how much makeup I have on, when I don’t have peace of mind or a joyful heart, I feel like the ugliest duckling. True story. Whatever is inside is always bound to come out. The more you mask it, the cakier it looks.

NS: What’s your favorite beauty routine?

A: Simple. Washing my face and putting on moisturizer.

NS: Do you have a beauty tip that you would like to share?

A: Hydrate. For so many years, I replaced the necessity to drink water with drinking 12 cups of coffee a day. Not good. Now, I know better.

NS: How can we stay connected with you?

A: My email address for my catering is sweethabanacatering@gmail.com or sedokg@gmail.com

Website: www.kayhabana.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sweethabanacatering

Blog: www.justcliqit.com (Kay Habana)

Special thanks to Kay for sharing!

HEALTH & BEAUTY: What’s in Your Lipstick?

We’re minimalists when it comes to wearing makeup. Often opting for makeup-free Mondays and makeup-free Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays….okay, pretty much makeup-free everyday :). The only cosmetic we always keep in our purse is lipstick.

Statistics indicate that we “eat” about four pounds of lipstick every year. While that statistic is debatable, there’s no doubt that we ingest a lot of toxic chemicals including those that may be in the lipsticks that we put on our lips, on our bodies.

We’re always in search of the right shade of lip color. And, it’s taken us some time to research and find the right lipstick that’s free of as many toxic chemicals as possible. Our NS Fans have expressed similar frustrations in finding 100% artificial chemical-free lip stick. So, we suggest weeding out as many as possible.

We discovered several major lipstick brands that we like. The following are ones that we discovered at Sephora (we love that store!):

  • Bite – Our go-to brand for lip color, offering smooth and silky coverage that we like.
  • Tarte – Some of the lipsticks felt a little chalky and drying to our lips, yet we like their shades.
  • Fresh – Sugar lip tint provides a shimmer of color, for when we just want some sheer coverage.

There are many out there and we love playing at Sephora’s cosmetic counters :). We encourage you to find the right lip color for you and, most importantly, find ones that are free of as many artificial chemicals as possible.

What’s your go-to lipstick?

Thank you for being kind to your body!

In the NS Parlour Spotlight: Sharon Elezye of Elezye’s Elegant Cover-ups

© NayMarie Photography

© NayMarie Photography

Full Name: Sharon Elezye

State of Residence: New York

Occupation: Event Linen Rental

NS: Briefly describe your role at Elezye’s Elegant Cover-ups.

A: As Co-owner and Lead Linen Consultant of Elezye’s Elegant Cover-ups, I have one guiding principle: Curating linens and table accessories of the finest design and quality in a wide range of colors, styles, and textures that will complement any theme and enhance any venue. My main role is to provide personalized service to guide clients or event planners through the selection process.

NS: How long have you been in this role?

A: Elezye’s Elegant Cover-ups was founded in 2008.

NS: Describe Elezye’s Elegant Cover-ups products and offerings?

A: Elezye’s Elegant Cover-ups is an award-winning boutique linen rental company.  Inspired by our love for timeless elegance we offer a wide selection of stunning table and chair linens, and table top accessories – napkins, chargers, brooches, and napkin rings.  Our mix of chic, glamourous, and fashion forward designs infuse event spaces with style and elegance. Most of our linens are in-stock items, some are custom linens that are made to order.

NS: What inspired you to pursue this entrepreneurial path?

A: After a disastrous experience with the chosen vendors for our wedding reception décor, my husband and I knew that a venture into the wedding and events industry would be the right decision for us. Our goal was to fill the niche for availability of couture linen rentals in the New York outer boroughs and provide unprecedented serviceHaving a sibling who designed and sewed beautiful clothing also heavily influenced my love of fabrics, design, and a well-tailored product.

NS: Is there any advice that you can offer to those interested in a similar path in this  industry?

A: My advice would be to do your homework.  Learn as much as you can about both the financial and operational aspect of the business and then let your creativity take over.

NS: What are your objectives this year with Elezye’s Elegant Cover-ups?

A: The objective for this year is to showcase our capabilities and position the company to shine by continuing to increase the company’s visibility in the tri-state area through multi-media marketing and networking activities, and by conducting the first of many seminars on event linens for celebrants and wedding professionals.

NS: What’s your secret to success?

A: Simply put, commit to your dreams, work hard, and never give up.  

NS: What does beauty mean to you?

A: Beauty is self esteem, it’s the way a person carries him/herself, the kindness of their heart, and the honesty of their words and deeds. Beauty has little to do with looks or outward appearance, for that is superficialBeauty is priceless like you.

NS: What’s your favorite beauty routine?

A: I like to keep it simple…I exfoliate my face and use fragrance-free skin care products to avoid skin irritation.  For a night out on the town, classic light makeup for a natural appearance works for me!

NS: Do you have a beauty tip that you would like to share?

A: Don’t follow trends.  It doesn’t matter what is said to be “in style” or the latest fashion, follow your inspiration, do what you want, and you’ll realize that you’re beautiful no matter what.

NS: How can we stay connected with you?

A: We invite the readers to visit our showroom.  Until then, connect with us online at our website at http://www.eeclinens.com or on Twitter at @Elezyeinfo.

Special thanks to Sharon for sharing with us!

In the NS Parlour Spotlight: Yvonne Wong-Fein of Double Happiness Creations

Mother’s Day is around the corner! In this spotlight feature, get to know Yvonne, mother of two adorable boys and Owner/Creative Director of Double Happiness Creations.

Photo Credit: Simply Sweet Snapshots

Photo courtesy of Simply Sweet Snapshots

Full Name: Yvonne Wong-Fein

State of Residence: New York

Occupation: Creative Director/Graphic Designer of Double Happiness Creations

 

NS: Briefly describe your role at Double Happiness Creations.

Yvonne: I am the Owner/Creative Director of Double Happiness Creations.

NS: How long have you been in this role?

Yvonne: It’s been 16 years now!

NS: Describe Double Happiness Creations products and offerings?

Yvonne: We design couture wedding stationery and birth announcements for our clients.

NS: What inspired you to pursue this entrepreneurial path?

Yvonne: I was always drawn to the wedding industry at a very young age. It wasn’t until I was asked to design a wedding program for my sister and for a bunch of her friends (all getting married around the same time) that the entrepreneur-bug bit me. But I was smart about it, it took me about 5 years working with clients via word-of-mouth before I was brave enough to quit my full-time day job.

NS: Is there any advice that you can offer to those interested in a similar path in this industry?

Yvonne: Customer service!! Have great customer service. If a bride emails you, write her back within 24 hours. She will appreciate it and often times, the extra effort will land you a new client. In this day and age, everyone wants instant gratification, so taking two days to respond will feel like two weeks.

NS: What are your objectives this year with Double Happiness Creations?

Yvonne: In 2015, I plan to keep on doing what I’ve been doing. Each year brings new and exciting projects and I look forward to what comes my way.

NS: What’s your secret to success?

Yvonne: My to-do list. I write everything down that I need to accomplish for the day and cross it off my list as I go. It keeps me organized and gets my work done. It sounds so simple, but it has always worked for me.

NS: What does beauty mean to you?

Yvonne: Beauty is happiness. If one isn’t happy on the inside, what difference does it make what you look like on the outside?

NS: What’s your favorite beauty routine?

Yvonne: Being that I am a mom of two boys running around like a headless chicken most of the time, I don’t have a specific beauty routine anymore. But I learned from my grandmother to never leave the house without lipstick on.

NS: Do you have a beauty tip that you would like to share?

Yvonne: Coconut oil is just awesome. I keep a container in my bathroom for dry skin.

NS: How can we stay connected with you?

Yvonne:

Website: www.doublehappinesscreations.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DOUBLEHAPPINESSCREATIONS

Twitter: @dhcreations

Instagram: @doublehappiness399

Blog: www.doublehappinesscreations.com/seeing-double-blog/

 

Special thanks to Yvonne for sharing with us!

In the NS Parlour Spotlight: Dana Williams of Sotheby’s Realty and The Funding Network

Our “In the Spotlight” series is back! We’ve met many friends and colleagues along our journey so far and it’s an amazing experience as we continue to grow together. Over the next several months, we’re featuring some of our NS Fans and fellow entrepreneurs who continue to pursue their passions and inspire others to live their dreams.

In this feature, get to know Dana and how she works with others in her role at Sotheby’s and at The Funding Network.

Full Name: Dana Williams

State of Residence: (and of mind) New York

Occupation: Sotheby’s real estate agent & director of The Funding Network (TFN) NY’s lively crowd funding for small non-profits.

NS: Briefly describe your role at Sotheby’s and The Funding Network (TFN).

Dana: Thank you for this opportunity Susan. I assist people with buying and selling in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I supplement my real estate income by directing TFN New York’s operations.

NS: How long have you worked in the real estate industry? And, with TFN?

Dana: I’ve been in real estate since 1998 and with TFN since July 2013.

NS: What led you to pursue a career in the real estate industry?

Dana: I had a business providing personal assistance. It included home management. After overseeing a client’s townhouse rental transaction involving a celebrity, the real estate firm who represented this particular celebrity offered me a position to start and direct a department screening and offering home services to their clients. I helped build the national corporate model and became well versed on staging homes for sale and vetting home services. It evolved into becoming an agent.

NS: Is there any advice that you can offer to those looking to pursue a career in real estate?

Dana: Consider yourself an entrepreneur and prepare as if you were starting a business. It requires solid relationships and navigating multiple nuances that take time to learn (every transaction is different). Have a year’s worth of income in the bank. The financial rewards (commission only income) take time as does the other big payoff — the satisfaction of helping a client(s) find their “home”.

NS: What is TFN? 

Dana: The Funding Network began 12 years ago in London and hosts live crowd funding events. The idea is to make positively affecting a life — accessible, fun and greater as a group. TFN vets and, with a committee of TFN volunteers, selects three grass root organizations implementing solutions to complex problems. Each organization has six minutes to present and six minutes to answer audience questions (think Shark Tank). Audience members can raise their hands and give $100 or more. Events last exactly two hours, corporate partners can host events (to save TFN costs) and wine/food is served. At our recent and fourth NYC event, Macquarie Bank hosted and matched their employees’ pledging. TFN events take place around the world in Australia, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, the U.K., Turkey, Romania, and is growing!

NS: What inspired you to work with TFN?

Dana: I liked their no frills, no centerpiece approach. Their model to democratize philanthropy, support small, social impact innovators and their sense of fun, spoke to me. I also love the inclusiveness and diversity of our NYC events that bring people of all ages and backgrounds together — one of the many reasons why I love New York City.

NS: What are your objectives this year with TFN? 

Dana: To find at least two more corporate partners to host two more events this year.

NS: What’s your secret to success? 

Dana: Flattered that you would ask, but I consider myself a work in progress. Laughing and remembering that life is short helps.

NS: What does beauty mean to you? 

Dana: Not letting all that noise out there distract you from being yourself.

NS: What’s your favorite beauty routine? 

Dana: In the morning, washing my face with cold water and lathering on the lotion. It feels sooo refreshing.

NS: Do you have a beauty tip that you would like to share? 

Dana: Sleep, lots of sleep!

NS: How can we stay connected with you?

Dana:
Website: www.sothebyshomes.com/nyc/agents/Dana.Williams or www.tfn-usa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tfnusa
Twitter: @TFN_USA
Instagram: Geez…working on it.
My newsletters: sign up by emailing me dana.williams@sothebyshomes.com

Special thanks to Dana for sharing with us!

HEALTH & BEAUTY: Shed the Layers and Get Spring-Ready!

Short-sleeve season, skirt season, sandal season…however, you prefer to describe the season, Spring is finally here! Well…let’s overlook the first day of Spring when it snowed here in NYC. We think Mother Nature likes to keep us on our toes.

Anyway…we believe that Spring is here! And, it’s time to brush away Winter! We’ve been bundled up for so long that we’re more than ready to shed the layers. Not just layers of clothes. But also layers of dead skin. We’re talking exfoliation.

There are several ways to exfoliate our skin, to get rid of the layers of dead skin cells, to let our skin breathe, and to get our skin Spring-ready. Our skin is the largest bodily organ. It breathes. It sweats. It gets clogged up. So, taking care of our skin is critical for proper bodily functions.

Here are some ways in which to shed the layers and prepare our skin for Spring.

Lavender Organic Sugar Body ScrubBody Scrubs:

We love body scrubs! Specifically scrubs made with Dead Sea salts. While sugar scrubs may be gentler on the skin and naturally exfoliating, Dead Sea salts help to exfoliate and to purify and detoxify our bodies.  Body scrubs are typically used while showering. After cleansing, rub the scrub in circular motions all over the body, rinse off, and watch the layers wash away.

Dry Body Brushing:

Dry body brushing tends to be done before showering. Brushing the skin with a dry brush helps remove dead skin cells, allowing pores to breathe and toxins to be released. An added benefit is improving circulation. Begin by brushing the legs in upward strokes towards the heart, several strokes per section. As you move up the body, also brush your arms from the wrist towards your heart. Don’t forget the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands. And, remember to be gentle around the more sensitive parts of the body. Yes…please be gentle.

Loofahs & Sponges:

Use body washes with loofahs and body sponges. Similarly, while in the shower or bath, use circular motions to exfoliate the skin and aid in circulation. If you don’t have a loofah or body sponge, using a terry cloth in a similar fashion works just as well.

It’s important to note that when using body scrubbing accessories such as brushes and sponges, always clean them thoroughly and let dry completely to avoid bacteria buildup. Exfoliate once a week as over-exfoliating or exfoliating too often can damage sensitive skin.

As you can tell, shedding the layers and getting Spring-ready is top-of-mind for us. We’re so ready for Spring! Are you?

Be kind to your body.

“Cures” for the Common Wrinkle

Laugh lines. Frown lines. Crows feet. However you refer to them, they’re wrinkles. Yes…we have them too. And, like many, we’ve searched far and wide for the fountain of youth.

Unfortunately, genetics plays a role in the onset of wrinkles, and while we haven’t found the cure for the common wrinkle, there are ways that may help to minimize and possibly delay their debut.

Here are some helpful tips to incorporate into your daily anti-wrinkle beauty routines:

Shield your skin with sunscreen. Not only during the Summer time. And, not only when the sun is shining. Wear sunscreen year round to protect your skin from harmful rays. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays that can damage cells and cause premature aging.

Yoga Gansevoort Plaza Meatpacking DistrictEmbrace the “ohm”. Some say that the jury is still out as to whether stress causes wrinkles. Yet, oftentimes stress can weaken our emotional and physical wellbeing. So, whether you practice yoga, meditate, or go for long walks, these are all great ways to manage stress and to help your body maintain a stronger immune system.

Slough off those dead layers. Exfoliation helps to rid your body of dead skin cells, allowing skin to breathe, new cells to regenerate, and beauty products to better penetrate the skin. Exfoliating once a week is often sufficient since over-exfoliation can damage the skin. For less abrasive exfoliants, try sugar scrubs and yogurt and oatmeal masks.

Eat your super foods. In addition to maintaining a skin-healthy diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant-rich foods are important in fighting free radicals that cause oxidative damage to cells that can lead to premature aging. Antioxidant-rich super foods include raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, pinto beans, apples, and our favorite…dark chocolate!

We confess that we have to work on embracing more “ohm”. But, we’ve got the other three well incorporated into our beauty routines. So, while we can’t promise you a cure for the common wrinkle or the fountain of youth, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can help keep you looking and feeling younger.

Be kind to your body!

~ Naturally Susan’s

A Common Skin Care Question…

Many of us are looking for healthier options in what we eat and in what we use on our bodies. When it comes to skin care, one of the most common questions that we’re asked is “What should I look for when reading product ingredients labels?”

The ingredients list on beauty care products can be daunting. So long and complex, they often include ingredients that we can’t pronounce. So, where do we begin when looking for products that are healthier for our bodies and that don’t include ingredients that are chemically derived? How can we avoid artificial ingredients that could be toxic to our bodies?

Here are some common product ingredients to be wary of:

* Parabens such as methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl parabens are used as preservatives and have been found to be carcinogenic.

* Sodium laurel sulfates are foam enhancers that create the lather in products such as shampoo and facial cleansers. Unfortunately, these synthetic components have been found to be skin irritants.

* Fragrances are a chemical cocktail and are often listed simply as “fragrance” or “parfum” on ingredients labels. More than 3,000 chemicals may hide behind these terms.

* Petrochemicals such as mineral oil, paraffin wax, and paraffin oil are pore-clogging ingredients derived from crude oil. They can be found in various cosmetic products.

So, if a product includes ingredients that you can’t pronounce, be cautious and look for product options that are free of artificial and chemical ingredients. Look for products that are healthier for your body, and your body will thank you.

Be Kind to Your Body ®

Our Ultimate Home Spa Cake!

4-Piece Home Spa Kit CakeThis cake includes a sweet Sixteen (16) of our 4-Piece Home Spa Kits.

We’re serving up some chocolate decadence! Enjoy skin-healthy indulgence with this home spa pampering kit!

Each 4-Piece Home Spa Kit includes our Chocolate and Oatmeal Facial Mask Minis and our Café Mocha Organic Sugar Body Scrub Mini…all snuggled in a cotton washcloth.

• Chocolate Facial Masque
• Café Mocha Body Scrub
• Oatmeal Facial Exfoliant
• 100% Cotton Washcloth

Contact us for custom orders at Info@NaturallySusansLLC.com.

www.NaturallySusans.com