Ask Michelle Joni: Help My Unlawful Skin!

What’s worse… breaking laws or breaking out? For this aspiring ESQ, it’s debatable.

Dear Michelle,

Here is my dilemma… The added stress, increased caffeine, and long hours of studying for the bar exam next week are taking a toll on my skin (not to mention the subconscious picking I catch myself doing!!). My skin seems extra dry, my pores seem larger than usual, and my chin is breaking out!! Do you have any easy at home cures I can employ to make this situation any better?? HELP!!


Dry Delinquent (Jamie Randall)

I decided to send this question to my newest employee in the Social Media department at Spa Week (she started Monday) to bounce some ideas around. She comes from a spa background and happens to know a thing or seven. Expecting a few bullet points back, she blew my mind and came back with the full blown jurisdiction you see below. Readers, it is my pleasure to introduce you to… your newest Spa Week Daily blogger crush… Stephanie Cavataro!

Dear Dry Delinquent,

Spa Week Daily holds you in contempt–Your skin is out of order!

You have neglected trips to the spa to make time for case studies. The proof- Exhibit A: your dry and neglected skin. It is the recommendation of the Spa Week Daily court that you remain remanded to your study-sanctuary and complete the following homemade beauty remedies:

One: Sit on your hands! Picking and scratching blemishes will cause scars—not to mention infections from bacteria transferred from hand-to-face. To fight infection, reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process try applying Manuka Honey as a mask 1-2 times per week. Manuka Honey is a great organic way to promote new cell turn over to leave skin supple and glowing.

Two: For dry patches, apply Safflower Oil Before bed. Dr. Oz says it has the same hydrating qualities as olive oil – but you won’t smell like a salad all night. Avoid petrochemicals (like baby/mineral oil or Vaseline) on the face. These man-made products can clog pores. To exfoliate rough spots, mix 1 part Safflower Oil and 2 parts regular sugar and apply as a homemade scrub to get rid of dull skin and flakes.

Three: Fight dry skin from the inside out. Swap out a caffeinated, sugary soda for Coconut Water. It’s full of electrolytes and potassium (twice the amount of a banana).  Coconut Water fights bloating brought on by late night study binges. It helps rehydrate faster than plain water while giving you natural, organic energy.

You can get Safflower Oil, Manuka Honey and Coconut Water at grocery stores like Whole Foods, without breaking the bank or straying too far away from your text books.

Case dismissed.

Best bar wishes,

Stephanie (and Michelle)

Fragrance F-air-ytale: Scents to Belie Your Sky

Guest Post by Candy Silvasy, Spa Expert and CEO of Art of the Spa

Last week in our quest to help you create a spa home, we showed you how to detox your oxygen – we got the muck out.  Now it’s time to adorn your lair’s air.

Imagine lounging by a garden of jasmine, walking in a dense forest or having a massage by a beach.  Fragrance can take you on these escapes instantly.  I know what you’re thinking:  “I’ve got a candle for that!”

Blow out that match.  The stress- (and almost) maintenance-free way to aroma up your abode is a fragrance plan.  Otherwise it’ll end up smelling like the perfume counter at Nordie’s – sickly.

One very strong candle is like one superbright light – too much and not enough.  For a superspa nosefest, follow these steps:

1.  Emulate Euphoria

What would your ideal home smell like? Because spa homes are healthy & relaxed focus on that.  What makes you happy?  Dream vacation?  Your disses?  For instance, I can’t stand patchouli – so any fragrance with that is banned from my bungalow.  Some examples to get you started are:

Love the beach? –  go for aqua fragrances with citrus notes.

More of a skiing or hiking hottie? – woodsy tones will be your choice.

Trying to lose weight? – keep away from sweet foodie fragrances, while mint can help keep you from snacking

2.   Choose Your Base Fragrance

Shopping! Yay! Find a home fragrance that matches your pick.   AnthropologieBath and Body Works, TJ Maxx, are fun fragrant field trips.  Remember your base is the background the under note upon which you will layer other fragrances like candles.

Best way to waft?  Reed diffusers are low maintenance. Flip the reeds occasionally & change when the oil is gone. My favorite base: Agraria Golden Pomegranate it’s fruity for energy and earthy for a nature vibe.

Place one diffuser for each 900 square feet of house.

Another option is the Hush Air Diffuser System.  It lets you control the intensity and program the time of fragrance release.

3.  Take Your Nose up a Notch

With your base in place, you should feel happy whenever you arrive home.  But sometimes we need more.  This is where aromatherapy comes into play.    For example, in my office I burn Slatkin’s grapefruit candle to revive my brain.  Or at Christmas I burn the Thymes Christmas Tree to harken holiday cheer.

For more aromatherapy ideas check out The Little Book of Aromatherapy – it’s simple & you can take it shopping with you.

In addition to candles, consider room sprays, scented stones, like Esteban Paris’ Teak and Tonka (woodsy) below sachets and oil burners.  Most important, get creative and have fun.  That’s common scents!

Live, love and lounge, Candy

Candy Silvasy is CEO of Art of the Spa (, a spacentric brand that delivers home decor, beauty, cooking, style and living advice.  An internationally recognized spa expert, her latest book SpaHome: Makeover Your Maison from Blah to Ahhhhh will be released in February 2011.  Is your pad more stress than sanctuary?  Pick her spa brain at candace at artofthespa dot com.

The Home Spa You Deserve=Your Bathroom

Obviously we here at Spa Week endorse going to a real spa whenever possible. But real life, time, and money all conspire to keep us from heading to the spa as often as we’d like–so it’s nice to have spa-like touches in your bathroom at home! Check out these spa-inspired bathrooms featured on Apartment Therapy for spa touches to add to your own bathroom:

Try going monochromatic – varying tones on tones can help even small spaces open up and feel spacious.

Jars and bottles with chrome and silver touches look sleek and clean. Just make sure to pair them with fluffy towels and other cozy touches.

Rustic elements, like these raised bowl sinks, can feel very luxurious! To keep from feeling too “country”, choose 2 or 3 rustic elements and keep everything else simple.

Fabulous spa bathroom pics courtesy of Apartment Therapy

You Spoke Up! At-Home Facials

We all know that nothing beats a professional facial – but time and money may not permit as many visits to the spa as we’d like! Which is why we asked our friends on Facebook and Twitter what their very favorite at-home facials are.

Believe it or not, we barely got the same answer twice! Which means, at-home facial fans, that we just handed you a wishlist…you’re welcome.

To start, we asked two beauty bloggers who were kind enough to pass along their favorites!

Nancy at Orlane Paris Absolute Radiance Light Box or new LaMer The Hydrating Facial.
Ms B. at Beauty Schooled: I’m an esthetician so I generally give myself peels followed by a hydrating mask in preperation for a big night.

And without further ado…onto your picks!

Smells So Good
Shira Megerman: Mario Badescu Tonic and Rose water.
Eric Aho: mint julep bc it smells good and green feels healthy
@PhytoHairCare: Lierac Paris Comfort Peel :)
@amymartinG murad vitamin c at home facial kit!
@minkbeauty i love murad’s pomegranate exfoliating mask.

Hot Hot Heat
Caroline Benner: Warming mineral mask by the body shop!
Candice Cooper: Biore heated mask pods. Even gave my brother 1!

High-Tech Ladies
Adrienne Kolumber: oil of olay micro dermabrasion kit
Katy Edwards Jakus: SkinAgain Ultrasonic Massager and the new Crystal Conductive Gels (Zinc-kite and Mala-kite)
Lisa Gabriel: Ole Henriksen Micro Mini Peel system
Kara A. Barcelo: All Paula’s Choice products
Susan Winters: Sensé by USANA

Sharlene Ghorban: Yogurt and honey!!
@haselkorn Egg whites on the face! (Not the same as egg on your face.)

You Guys Are Lushes
Renee’ Hamp: I’m a LUSH”Y” too.
Tiffany Stano: Any of the face masks from Lush.
Jennifer Campbell: Another LUSH fan here.

 We’re Not Sure It Does
@ericanardello My favorite at-home facial? Leaning over a pot of boiling spaghetti on the stove! I salt the water, so that counts… right?

Thanks everyone! Stay tuned for next week when we’ll ask another question…

The SpaBerry

If you love indulging in soaks at the spa but don’t get the chance to do so as much as you might like, check out SpaBerry – colorful, two-person jacuzzis with all the amenities of larger tubs, including waterfalls and cup holders. Think the iPod of spas.

SpaBerry also capitalizes on this age of customization by offering a series of designed “wraps” that change the outer appearance of the tub. Choose from relaxing scenes like beaches and sunsets, or have one of your own pictures blown up and converted into a design – here’s the chance you’ve been waiting for to really embarrass a family member by choosing an unflattering picture. The SpaBerry will run you $5,000 and each additional wrap will require $399.

Do you own a hot tub? How much would you say you use it?

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