Lovely Things: March 2016

March comes in like a lion... and is leaving like a lion, too. Perhaps April will give us the lamb-like climate we desire.

Even though this past weekend was Easter, a glorious holiday if there ever was one, I am still waiting for the emergence of life in my corner of the world: baby squirrels and birds, flowers emerging from the dirt, small green leaves budding from the old trees, children playing in my front yard, daylight past dinnertime.

I am also hoping and praying for the triumph of love over violence and hate, too, both here at home in Chicago and around the world. It was the cornerstone of my Easter reflections this year.

When I cannot tend to everything outside of myself, I focus on creating some luminosity within. This especially goes for this month of March, this year's Lion Month. I try to understand the lion by remembering that to roar like a lion is an outward expression of strength, and yet to be lion-hearted is to have a big, full, open heart of compassion.

Lovely Things™ for March 2016

RMS Beauty Living Luminizer: The magic of this little product is right in the name. This is an organic, coconut oil-based product made by Rose-Marie Swift (RMS Beauty - get it?!) that I have used for 2 years now, and it's one of my favorites. It takes my complexion from "no!" to "glow!" in a pearlesque highlight in seconds without an overwhelming, glittery mess that other highlighters leave. It is complimentary to all skintones, too. I just dab a bit on my cheekbones and the Cupid's bow above my lips. I will even use it as an eye shadow replacement on no-makeup-makeup days. Best of all, it's a green product - no junk in the ingredients!

RMS Beauty Oil : This is another Lovely Thing™ from RMS Beauty. I use the Beauty Oil in the evenings, after my toner and before my moisturizer - just 5 to 7 drops is all I need. Do not be afraid of using facial oils! They are all the rage and 100% worth it. I confess that I found this oil (and the Living Luminizer) because model Lily Aldridge mentioned using them in an article a couple of years ago. They are some of the best products I've used - thanks, Lily! I love the light vanilla fragrance of this oil, the organic ingredients, and how it makes my skin super healthy, clear, and radiant. The 1 ounce bottle lasts me between 4 and 6 months.

Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic: Lessons in Everyday Elegance: I love this author, Jennifer Scott, and share her love of all things French. I heard about her recently released book while listening to a French-inspired podcast and added it to my wishlist immediately. Ms. Scott has written a small series of books inspired from her experience and lessons from staying with Madame Chic in Paris, and this is her newest advice. In a world that seems to be getting the furthest from civility every day, these French-inspired lessons in poise from Madame Chic are quite welcome. Manners, attire, communication, hospitality and grooming are addressed with wit, wisdom and grace. All aspiring Parisiennes (me! me! me!) are invited to treat themselves to this book and enjoy! This is a staple reference in my life.

Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat: This is my every day cookbook. In fact, I have most of my favorite recipes memorized since I make them so often (my staples: Kale Salad with Creamy Cashew Chipotle Maple Dressing + Chocomole, i.e. Avocado Chocolate Mousse). Gena Hemshaw is a smart and compassionate nutritionist who details not only nutrition but also her struggles with an eating disorder. In her book, these spot-on recipes (no fails, ever) with their gentle nourishment are like my best friend in the kitchen. Despite the title, the recipes range from raw to cooked throughout the book - no extremes here. All these delicious foods and kind words really help brilliance come from within.

Navitas Naturals Organic Cacao Powder: Chocolate. Trust me, you need this. Not just to make the chocomole/avocado chocolate mousse from Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat but also just for life in general. Throw a spoonful in a smoothie with some banana and peanut butter for a healthy chocolate-peanut-butter-cup-inspired breakfast or snack. I'm never without some of this cacao in my fridge. It is high in iron and magnesium as well as antioxidants. Not to mention the mood-boosting effects of chocolate. *wink*

Note: all of these products are available on Amazon.com with 2-day prime shipping via the links above. Try Amazon Prime with a 30-Day *free* trial if you are not already a member.