Poison Ivy Care Guide

It's not contagious, relax!

If you see me in the next few days you might notice that I have 57 (just counted!) poison ivy bumps all over my lower legs and forearms. It is GROSS. I will spare you a picture for now but if you really want to see them let me know and I'll think about it!

This is the second time I've had poison ivy. The first time I got it was from a bike ride about five years ago through the pinery camp trails near our cottage. A few hours after the ride I noticed a large scab on my arm that itched like crazy. The bump was about an inch long and itched for about 5 days if that. At the time I thought it was just awful... but it turns out I didn't know the half of it! 

Over the long weekend I helped my mom out with our garden at the cottage. There was a huge ivy bed that was well over grown. I spend about three hours digging through what turned out to be a GIANT poison ivy nest. After taking a shower I noticed a few bumps on my arm, didn't think anything of it. Then about four hours later I was covered. The largest spot is on my right leg, I've called it the nucleus - it's about the size of a golf ball, the other 56 bumps aren't bad either! 

Here's what I've learned so that hopefully if you get poison ivy you're in the know right away:

1. Calamine lotion is very cooling and comforting, if your bumps are pulsing and oozing (gross) like mine this will feel awesome but it really won't do anything to make them better.

2. It is not contagious, the only way you can get poison ivy is from direct contact with the urushiol from the leaves. You can't even spread it on your own body except if you took a bath right after exposure. 

3. If you think you've come in contact with ivy have a shower with sunlight dish soap immediately. 

4. It changes colour! The leaves are reddish green in the spring, green in the summer and green-brown in the fall. Even dead poison ivy will transmit the oil and cause a rash! Don't think you're clear in the wintertime!!

5. Apple cider vinegar was a good home remedy for night one as was Benadryl.

6. Go to your doctor. Mine told me that cortisone cream really will not help speed healing because the reaction is internal. I'm now on prednisone for the next week to calm the inflammation. I'm normally not a pill popper whatsoever, we don't even have advil in the house! But if your legs looked like mine I'd bet I could sell you my pills for big bucks! So far it is helping, I'm on a large dose which makes me a little loopy but at least the itching has cut way down.

7. Try your best not to itch. It is almost impossible to avoid but this will lead to future infection, short term pain long term gain. Taking on and off my clothing feels heavenly! Haha!

8. This too shall pass. I'm on day 5, most websites say this will last from 5 - 30 days. I'm optimistic I'll be closer to the 5 mark!   

9. Let it breathe! As gross as you think you look it will help your bumps heal faster! Plus, nothing says hello sexy like a little poison ivy! 

If this is the worst thing that will happen to me all summer season then I will consider myself lucky! I hope you never need to make use of this information but if you do I'm sure you will make it through! Matt has had poison ivy 12 times!! And he's still here to talk about it!

More from Beauty and the Bod

Organic Skin Like Whoa

My gorgeous (on the inside and out) girlfriend Aniela has the most beautiful skin I've ever seen.

:: My girl with GREAT skin Aniela + twins playing with pincha ::

It just glows.

I, on the other hand, have LONG struggled with my skincare regime. I have tried at least twenty different skin brands on my quest for better skin. Everything from fancy french hundred dollar creams to drugstore staples. Nothing was totally perfect. 

One day I couldn't stop gawking at Aniela's skin and she told me about this new Toronto skincare line called Essence Organics. For $31 I bought the moisturizer! A good deal and if it could help me get half the glow she's got I'd be a happy camper.

At first the oil format had me a little worried. My skin has a tendency to break out with heavy moisturizers and I didn't know how the oils would react. To my delight the product  glides on and feels glowy right away, never greasy. My first jar is completely empty and I will absolutely be going back for more!

I reached out to the owner of the company, David and was able to speak with him! In our conversation it was clear he is very knowledgeable and passionate about helping people get great skin. David explained to me their three key points of difference:

1. All of their oils are organic
2. Their products never contain water. Water is often used as a filler and when there's water in a skincare product their usually also needs to be preservatives.
3. The amber jars are more expensive for them but they are critical for keeping the oils in an optimal state. 

That's why this product feels so great! It is by far my favourite skin system I have ever used. I recently bought the cleanser and also love it.

And even better news!! Beauty and the Bod readers are getting a discount! For the entire month with the code bod we will receive 15% off and any order over $50 will also receive free shipping! I will totally be taking advantage of this too!

This skincare line has remarkably improved my skin. I hope it does the same for you!

More From Beauty and the Bod

Winter Beauty Favourites

My skin hates the winter. I have learned the hard way that it's best to keep bundled up from head to toe outside to save face - literally! Here's what I'm loving lately to keep my skin and face at bay!

Here's what I'm loving lately

1. Anastasia Beverly Hills: Long Wearing Brow Tint - In the winter my skin goes almost white and my eyebrows are naturally light so everything starts to blend together. Keeping a defined eyebrow goes a long way! I have used a brown eyeliner to fill in my blonde brows for years. The problem with that in my life is it barely gets through my first hour of a day. This stuff really lasts! I love the universal light shade. 

2. Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment Mask - I have chronically red skin and I find a calming mask a few times a week really helps keep my redness at bay. This is by far the most effective mud mask I have ever used.

3. Aura Cacia Sweet Almond Oil - My skin dries out so fast in the wintertime. I find a few drops of this oil in a bath goes a long way to help restore my skin. If it's super dry I use it just like a moisturizer right on the spot. 

More from Beauty and the bod

Luxe Glow Spray Tan

When my friend Brittany told me she was going to start her own beauty business I was thrilled for her! Then she asked me to come try a spray tan and I was part excited part nervous. Before this I'd never had a spray tan. I'd seen them done - my beauty expert sister Lindsay did many in high school. Most of them looked awesome but a few too many left hints of an orange-y glow that kept me from going to try one. 

:: Seriously this tan would take me months to develop under the sun ::

Brittany assured me that technology has improved a lot in the last decade and that I wouldn't look orange at all.

I went over to her beautiful Forest Hill home on a snowy afternoon and came out looking like I'd been to the Bahamas. Four hours later I taught a Bod Squad and everyone was like, "Where did you go? We just saw you on yesterday!" Success!!

The process itself was super simple and really comfortable. Brittany is a lovely person to be around and absolutely knows her stuff. There was a tent set up in her basement and I was given some stick on footsies and a shower cap. You can wear a swimsuit if you want or just underwear or nothing, totally up to you. The entire treatment took about 20 minutes including drying time.  

The tan does look really natural and so far still going strong - 7 days in. I have super sensitive skin and there have been zero side effects because of that. The one thing I will say is the first few hours you will absolutely smell like you've had a spray tan. I showered after 8 hours and the smell was gone but the tan was still on! After the first day the smell completely went away.

I will absolutely check back in with Brittany before we go away over the Christmas break. I've learned the hard way that my skin takes MONTHS to tan and the great news is all of Brittany's products are organic, paraben and cruelty free. I love supporting small businesses, especially by entrepreneurial ladies and I'm looking forward to watching Luxe Glow become a huge success. 

For a full list of her other beauty services and spray tan info check out her website here.

 

Dry Shampoo Win

I am a dry shampoo fanatic.

batistenew-696x308.jpg

I need to be in this line of work! I normally take at least two showers a day and I could do with at least three more! 

I've tried MANY brands and came across this one last week at Shoppers. It was on sale and I decided to give it a go. I LOVE it. I get more complements when I'm wearing it than not because it makes my hair look 10x more blonde! Best beauty buy of the month!

Portrait of a Lady

  :: Portrait of a Lady online    here    ::

It's amazing how much smell really does have the power to re-create meaningful memories.

Anytime I smell garlic and butter I think of my friend Jen who is a wonderful person and amazing cook. Camp fire smells always remind me of Matt even when he's not around them with me. Balsam candles are my favourite at Christmas time because my mom had many of them growing up. 

One idea I really love for my wedding day is to have a special scent that you've never worn before that you absolutely love and will always remember it as your wedding day smell. Keeping a little piece of that day with you always.

I recently discovered Frederic Malle perfumes – they are amazing with a price tag to prove it! My favourite scent of his is called Portrait of a Lady. I tried it on last night just to see if Matt had an adverse reaction – normally he hates perfume but he actually loved this one. And on my way to Bod Squad a lady actually stopped me on the street to ask what I was wearing! It's a keeper. Luckily I had a lot of gift cards to spend at Holt Renfrew and I was able to bring the price tag down slightly!

Bridal Hairspiration

Today is my bridal trial hair appointment.

I've been asked to have some options ready so I decided why not share with all of my nearest dearest internet friends!?

Here are my overall thoughts on the topic:

1. I'm a very hot person, as in temperature. I sweat just looking at pictures of hot things. I love the look of soft flowy romantic hair but I know that likely it will end up in a nest by the end of the night. 

2. My hair is in a bun on the top of my head for 95% of my week. So I'm kind of looking for a little something softer for the day of.

3. No bird headpieces.

4. Considering taking the plunge and colouring my hair for the first time ever. But I'm a big baby and I'm not sure I want to get started on that train. I'm still blonde and hopefully our pre-moon trip to South East Asia will help my cause.

5. No butterfly clips.

Other than that I'm up for anything!

Here's a look at my suggestions for today:

:: Kate Middleton ::

I love the way she often wears half of her hair up and half down. It keeps it off her face and still feels romantic. The flowers in Pippa's hair are also nice for the ceremony part.

:: Classic beachy waves ::

I love the essence of this look, I just need it to be up and off my face.

:: Soft side part or full volume front ::

Both parts will be fun to try. Normally I'm a side part gal when my hair is down. 

:: Classic simple up-do ::

:: Also love the simplicity of this, I just hope I have enough hair for it! :: 

What do you guys think? Which style would you choose for your wedding day? I'll do my best to keep you updated on instagram with some samples. 

DIY Coconut Oil Hair Mask

After a long winter my locks are in deep need of a deep conditioning!

Besides leaving your hair silky smooth you will also smell like a candy bar during this treatment – dogs LOVE it! Coconut oil is pretty amazing, I find myself using it more and more lately. It's the new kale! Did you know that there are 101 uses for coconut oil?

What you will need:

  • Big scoop of coconut oil – I get mine at Whole Foods – it usually comes in a jar.
  • Hair cap – optional
  • Hair clip or tie

Directions:

1. Scoop out a handful of virgin coconut oil. The oil will begin to melt at the touch of your skin, there is no need to heat the oil before application. It will melt as you massage it into your hair. 

2. Flip your head upside down and slowly spread the oil through your hair. Saturate your hair completely, focusing on areas that are dry – for me that's the ends.

3. Once your hair is soaked with oil, twist your hair into a bun or ponytail. You can clip it in place by grabbing some hair from your scalp and part of the bun, or use a hair tie to keep it in place.

4. Cover your hair with a shower cap. You can choose to apply heat or not. Applying heat will open the cuticle of each strand so the coconut oil can penetrate the core faster. Leave the coconut oil on your hair for at least 30 minutes without heat, or 15 minutes with heat. I didn't heat my hair and it turned out great.

5. Once your time is up wash and condition your hair as you normally would. You may need to wash your hair twice to rinse away all of the oil. I really focus on my roots and try to shampoo my ends as little as needed. Style your hair and be amazed at your soft, smooth hair!

Organic Deodarant

  :: Dr. Hauschka    Deodorant    ::

:: Dr. Hauschka Deodorant ::

For the past decade I've worn men's deodorant.

I honestly think it smells better and with my line of work I sweat usually at least once an hour. My body has become so used to sweating I swear I can almost look at a gym and start to get hot! Not quite, but I certainly have become well conditioned to sweating.

Point of all this TMI being that I really put deodorants through the ringer when I'm testing them. 

One of my clients always has a nice fresh scent to her so I asked one day what it was. Turns out it was this deodorant. I was skeptical at first because I've tried many natural deodorants before that have done absolutely nothing. She swore by it so I decided to give it a try. 

It took about three days for my body to adjust to this but once it got used to it I was fine. Love it. Long lasting, delicious smelling and organic!  

 

Spring Beauty To Go

What you will find in my make-up bag right now:

My life is spent literally running from one workout to the next. I shower at least twice a day but I'm always finding myself in a state of half ready. These few key products keep me looking "on brand" … as my mom likes to say! The biggest things I keep in my car at all times are on this list + deodorant, hair brush and mints = life savers.

1. Lancome Hypnose Mascara: I've gone back and forth but returned to this brand once and for all, hands down best mascara ever. $27

2. Aveeno Dry Shampoo: Love a must have for an on the go workout gal. One quick spray and my hair looks like it's been freshly washed. I also think this stuff gives my hair more volume than other dry shampoos. $9

3. Quo Skincredible Foundation: This built-in foundation brush is SO smart! It keeps my dirty gym/park hands out of the way and it's so easy to apply quickly. $21

4. OPI Alpine Snow: White is my go-to nail colour this summer. Shellac is a serious time saver. I love the instant dry factor and that it lasts for more than 3 hours!! $7

5. John Frieda Go Blonder: Anyone who hangs around me knows that I should start selling this stuff. Go Blonder has completely re-vamped my blonde locks and has saved me hundreds of dollars and time at a hair salon. This is my magic potion. I am obsessed. $8

6. St. Tropez Self Tan: Hands down the best self tanner ever. I actually prefer it to a real tan, the colour is so even and authentic. The only problem is I have trouble finding a time to apply it when I won't be sweating in three hours! $42

Top Two Winter Skin Savers

Have you ever come back from a run outside in the winter and not been able to feel your bum for hours because it's so cold?

Yep, that happened to me yesterday.

There's no denying the fact that winter treats our skin differently than summer does. Mine gets incredibly dry especially if I have run a lot during the week outside.

Here are the two key things saved my skin's life and make it soft as a baby's bottom!

1. Clairsonic

Kate Whie – editor and chief of Cosmo magazine once gave me the ultimate piece of beauty advice. I heard her speak at the She's Connected Conference this year and her skin was aboslutely glowing. I asked her what her number one beauty tip of all time was: exfoliating. That's it! Since that talk I've been trying to remember to exfoliate weekly. I use the clairsonic on my face year-round but wintertime I take it in the shower and use as a full body exfoliate. It's amazing! Put a little bit of soap on the brush and scrub from there. You will feel like you gave your body a facial.

2. Grapeseed oil – Aura Cacia

Use this right after your shower and your skin will glow for the rest of the day. 

I bought my jar at The Carrot Common a year ago and it's still 1/2 full. 

Beauty Business

Yesterday's post on Lance Armstrong got a LOT of you talking and I loved it! Thank you to those that have already commented, it was great to hear your perspective.

Today I thought I'd lighten the mood up a bit and share with you some of my latest and greatest beauty buys at Sephora and Shoppers. I do a big make-up buy once a year and this past weekend I stocked up!

Starting from top left:

1. Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser: This is a great cleanser for my naturally red complextion. It leaves my face feeling clean and not dried out.

2. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer: I love this stuff! If I could only ever buy one beauty product for the rest of my life it would be this. It covers like a foundation but it's still breathable like a cream.

3. Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Face Polish: I went to a talk by the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, Kate White, on Women and social networking last week. She was asked what her number one beauty secret was (she's 61 and looks unbelievable) and her answer was exfoliating weekly. So I'm on this mission now! I choose this one because it's made for sensitive skin.

4. Bvlgari White Tea Perfume: Where my parents' timeshare is in California they have Bvlgari toiletries and I'm obsessed with them. This scent is really light and lovely. Whenever I spray this now I always think of being back in California and wonder why I'm freezing my ass off in Toronto!

5. Nars Laguna Bronzer: Perfect balance of shimmer and bronze.

6. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage: For the days I need a little something extra. There are two tones that blend really well together to cover dark circles or pimples.

7. Amazing Cosmetics Concealer: This stuff covers like nothing I've ever used before – Literally amazing!

8. The "Smokey Eye Kit Gift": Sephora mascara, eye make-up remover, eye shadow and eye liner. 

 

Top Five Gym Beauty Items

1. Fun hair ties: Anthropologie $12 for five pack
Nice change from the basic and look really cute around your wrist

2. Tinted moisturizer: Laura Mercier $42
Light enough to sweat through and not do damage to your skin. Love this!

3. Waterproof mascara: Lancome $18
If I look really tired (which is often lately) I pop on some mascara and it just wakes everything up.

4. Hair brush

5. Face wipes: Neurtogena $8
So key to use these between clients and Bod Squad classes. I love the fresh feeling of these wipes and easy to use when you're on the go!

Tropez Glow

Back in December one of my clients, this gorgeous woman named Jennifer, came back from a long weekend trip Bermuda looking unbelievably tanned. When I complemented Jennifer on her glow she told me her secret: St. Tropez Self Tan. I've been waiting for a chance to try it out and yesterday was the day!

This stuff is unbelievable! Very natural looking – better than any real tan I've ever had. It smells great and there is a really easy application process. If you're looking for a way to get golden this last long weekend of the summer this tanning lotion is perfect for protecting you from UV and saving you countless tanning hours.

BUT I highly recommend you watch the application videos on their website – it will look SUPER streaky at first but then you have to buff it … I was dumb and didn't watch the video so when I first put it on it looked terrible. Then I buffed and it was perfect.

Have a great long weekend everyone!!

Lip Service

Every time I am at Sephora's cash register I catch myself taking a deep gulp, '$126.98, but I'm only getting three things'?!

One thing owning your own business teaches you is understanding the value of a dollar. Lip gloss just isn't worth $29.

When I was in Europe last year I found this brand called Essence. They have really great lip gloss for $3! They've just launched in Canada at Shopper's Drug Mart. Their entire product line of mascara, bronzers, lip balm, eye liners, everything is all under $7 an item.

My favourite colour is Me & My Ice Cream but for $3 you can buy them all for the price of one at Holts or Sephora!

Laser Hair Removal Review (For Blondes)

For those of you new to this blog please see my initial post on laser hair removal.

I bought a teambuy for laser hair removal last July and now after ten sessions I've given it my best shot and here's my honest review:

I have fair skin and blonde hair – which makes me a less than ideal candidate. Apparently the ideal laser candidate has olive skin with dark hair. I was told to expect to see a difference after two sessions, I saw nothing. After five sessions I thought I noticed a slight change, but I was wrong. After ten sessions I have no less hair than I had initially. I don't think it worked at all.

I am not sure if it was the fact that I did a Teambuy – the place I went to seemed really rushed and I didn't feel like they took a lot of time. I've never had laser hair removal before but I felt like it should take more than 5 minutes to do a bikini line and underarm. I guess you really do get what you pay for with some of these group buy things.

The only good part about this whole experience is that I can now firmly endorse Elma as an excellent numbing cream. I put Emla on before each treatment and it worked wonders for me! Not sure if I'll ever need it again but at least I know it works!

Bottom Line: If you have blonde hair and fair skin like me I would say laser hair removal is a waste of time, I'm going to stick with waxing and shaving from now on!

How to Make your Curls Last

The key is in the angle of the curling iron!

Here is what I used to do:

I would start from the bottom and curl my hair underneath itself. These curls wouldn’t hold for long because the weight of your own hair pulls the curl out. You’re curling your hair in an unnatural shape when you hold the iron this way.

Now here’s how I make curls last a full night:

Take your arm up and over your head so that the iron forms a natural curl shape in your hair. This way your curls will stay in form for much longer!

Start from the top and curl hair around the iron until you reach the bottom.

Leave the clamp open to avoid any crinkly lines in your hair.

Once you’ve held your hair in the roller for 10-15 seconds unravel it in your hand and hold it in place for another 2-3 seconds – this really helps set the curl!

Notice the difference? The properly curled hair is on the right.

My final piece of advice here is use really good hairspray. I use kerastase double force hairspray and a 1-inch curling iron from Conair – invest in the hairspray over the iron.

Happy curling!

Top 12 Beauty Favourites

1. NARS Blush – Luster: For anyone who is naturally red (me) this is the perfect blush. It’s a soft apricot colour which looks luminous and not rosy.
2. Amazing Costmetics Concealer: This provides the best coverage possible. When I was going through my terrible time with acne I used this everyday. Be careful not to use too much; a little goes a long way.
3. Old Spice Deodorant: Yes, I use men’s deodorant. It works better and I think it smells better! I’ve actually been complemented by men that I smell nice when I’m just wearing this!
4. Go Blonder: Hands down this changed my life as a blonde. My hair was starting to get mousy blonde and I was seriously considering dying my hair for the first time but then I spotted this! It really works. You just have to spray it in and blowdry your hair. You will notice a big difference after a week.
5. Cetaphil: Old faithful. Best face wash ever.
6. Jo Malone – Pomegranate Noir: I love this scent! It’s not too fruity and it has a really rich textured smell.
7. Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer: This is the perfect tinted moisturizer. It provides coverage just like a foundation but it isn’t heavy on the skin.
8. NARS Illuminator – Laguna: I use this instead of a bronzing powder now and I think it looks more natural.
9. Moroccan Oil: This leaves your hair feeling super soft and helps control frizzes. I’ve also tried the less expensive version Argan Oil but I wasn’t wowed.
10. Aveeno Daily Moisturizer: As a personal trainer I am around sweat a lot and therefore I shower at least twice a day. Aveeno is a skin saver. I love this body cream! It’s the perfect fix for winter skin.
11. Clarisonic: This is a giant tooth brush for your face. I use mine once or twice a week (daily is too much for me) and my skin feels soft as a baby’s bottom after.
12. Metrogel: This is a prescription gel. If you suffer from rosacea this will be a lifesaver. It was my miracle gel. You need a tiny bit but it will go a long way toward eliminating redness.

Acne: What's Working and What Didn't

My acne type: rosacea with bumps

 And this was a good day!

Recommended Products:

Metrogel – prescription ($7)

Clarisonic –Sephora http://www.clarisonic.com/shop/sonic_skin_cleansing_systems/index.php ($150 – way better than 2 years ago!)

Cetephil Cleansing Cream ($11)

Skin Wipes – Walmart ($4 for 50)

Photofacial – I had mine done at the Belair Laser Clinic ($900 for 8 sessions) Check out Groupon or Teambuy for better deals

Blue Light Therapy – M facials ($60 each, 8 sessions total) – didn’t need 8, would have been better just getting one or two but was sold on a package.

Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer ($55)

Sunscreen – Neutrogina SPF 55 for faces ($23)

Wouldn’t do it again:

Expensive creams ($80+, multiple brands = Darphin, Sisley, Bobbi Brown)

Proactive ($85)

Naturopathic Doctor for three sessions ($560)

Strict dieting

Tetricyclin prescription – worked at first but I quickly built up a tolerance

Diane birth control pill – made me an evil, highly emotional basket case 24/7

Glad I didn’t do it:

Accutaine – I had a lot of friends who have been helped with accutaine but my skin problems were more from redness and less puss-type or cystic acne

So that’s what worked for me. Everyone has different skin so this might not be the same for you. My top tips are:

1. Wash your face regularly with a gentle cleanser

2. Use disinfectant wipes after you exercise

3. Don’t wear any foundation if you can help it, wear oil-free tinted moisturizer

4. Go see a dermatologist without make-up on. Get a second option if your skin doesn’t clear up within 2-3 months.