Sol de Janeiro adds to its sweet-smelling success

If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know I have a serious crush on Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. Hands down, it’s the best moisturizer I’ve ever used and the best smelling too. The company describes the scent as pistachio-based and that may be true, but it’s also tropical and sexy and simply to die for. Even better, it makes your skin soft, silky, supple and touchable.

Awhile back, the company added its Samba Foot Fetish Cream to the product lineup. I was disappointed that it didn’t feature my beloved Bum Bum Cream’s to-die-for scent, but it’s still a great product and the adorable surfboard-style buffer it’s packaged with is a winner.

Fast forward to Sol de Janeiro’s latest launch: Brazilian 4-Play Moisturizing Shower Cream Gel. I’m a “smells good” kind of gal, as my son James described me when he was younger. I’m not interested in generic, run-of-the-mill soap or shower gels. Give me something that leaves my skin clean and moisturized, but leaves both me and my bathroom smelling like a garden of earthly delights.

I’m happy to report that 4-Play is a winner all the way around: Rich lather? Check. Moisturized skin? Check. Great scent? Check, check, check. It smells just like Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. Call me a  velvety-skinned, deliciously scented happy camper.

Note to the team at Sol de Janeiro: I just placed an order for your Rainforest Relief lotion, but I need more, more, more! How about adding other products with your signature scent to the lineup? Bath oil beads? Moisturizing bath bombs? A facial moisturizer? Hair care products? Seriously, it’s the best. 

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My ‘Misfit’ love 

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My Misfit Shine 2 Activity Tracker

This blog isn’t about a misfit romance — although I’ve had plenty of those in my life. Nope, it’s a about a different kind of love: my affection for my Misfit Shine 2 activity tracker.

Here’s a confession: I hate exercise. I took three hours of ballet and tap daily when I was in my teens. That kept me slim and trim, no matter what I ate. Although it was exercise, it felt more like fun. After I started college, I avoided anything that would make me hot and sweaty (well, anything exercise-related, anyway). You can guess what happened. The pounds began to pile up. And up. And up.

Of course, I’d go on periodic diets, some more successful than others. But, inevitably, the diet would end and I’d go back to eating normally and … you know the story.

In February of this year,  I decided enough was enough. What I needed was a lifestyle change, as opposed to a diet. I could feel my resolution building. I know you’re going to ask what diet I’m on, so I’ll tell you. It’s simple: poached eggs or a fruit smoothie for breakfast; fruit with cottage cheese or a salad for lunch; and a small portion of salmon, chicken or steak for dinner with veggies on the side. I’m an ice cream fiend, so I replaced my nightly bowl of Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate with orange, pineapple or mixed tropical sherbet. Sometimes I’ll eat string cheese for a snack, or perhaps some low-cal popcorn.

Anyway, the pounds started to fall off … 10 … 20 … 30. I purchased a treadmill and began walking every day. I currently do three to five miles. By some standards, that’s nothing. For me, it’s a big deal.

My latest gadget is my Misfit Shine 2 activity tracker. It’s a slim, rose-gold disc that looks like a watch. I wear it on my arm during the day and attached to my shoe when I’m on my treadmill. That’s because I usually walk with my hands on the treadmill bars, and because my arms aren’t swinging with each step, the Misfit can’t track my activity.

In addition to counting my steps, my Misfit Shine tells time, monitors my sleep, vibrates when I get a phone call or text message, and tracks my daily goals. A series of small lights at the edge of the dial provides me with all the info I need. Of course, a well-thought-out app also helps. I use my Misfit in conjunction with the Misfit app as well as the Lose It app, which I use to record my food consumption.

Another thing I like about my Misfit? It’s more elegant than many other types of wearable trackers. Mine is currently on my wrist in the black rubberized band that comes standard, but Swarovski makes pretty accessories. I’ve asked my husband for the gray-suede, crystal-studded slake band for my upcoming birthday. That way, I can switch out the rubber version for something more feminine.

In the meantime, I’m sticking to my lifestyle change. I’ve lost a total of 40 pounds and hope to lose 30 more by the holidays!

Let’s talk about your breasts … er, chest

Summer is here in full force — at least in North America — and that means a lot of people are spending time either poolside or at the beach. They’re working on relaxing as well as their tans, and they’re sharing their fun-in-the-sun moments on social media.

Those bronze glows often look perfect from a distance, but if you’re a woman over the age of 40, try enlarging your photo. You might see something like this:

Sun damage on a woman’s chest. (Note: not my chest.) 


Full disclosure: That’s not my chest. It’s the chest of a woman whose skin is prematurely wrinkled due to sun damage. This isn’t even a worst-case scenario. I’ve seen Facebook and Instagram photos of women whose entire chest areas, from armpit to armpit, look wrinkled, dry and — frankly — old.

The truth is that a bronze glow can be gorgeous, but also (in the not-unlikely event of skin cancer) scarring or deadly. As tempting as it might be to bake your way to brown, it’s smarter to slather yourself in sunscreen from forehead to neck to chest. And the higher the SPF, the better. Not only will it protect this delicate area from the sun’s harmful rays, but it will also help keep wrinkles at bay. After all, a wrinkled neck and chest — as well as the sagging skin that’s also a sunshine side effect — are extremely aging. My personal choice when it comes to face, neck and chest protection is Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection Cream, which has an SPF of 50. It hasn’t failed me yet!

My go-to sunscreen: Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection Cream


I personally don’t mind having a peaches and cream (translation: very pale) complexion. But if you can’t face going to the beach or pool with a “ghost tan,” give self-tanners a try. The newest versions are l0ng-lasting, streak-free and minus the distinctive chemical odor that accompanied earlier concoctions. I usually reach for Vita Liberata, which elicits an olive cast instead of the dreaded orange tone.
So remember: Protect your face, neck and chest from premature aging with a powerful sunscreen. Your skin will thank you.

Quick and easy hair options 

My hair is naturally wavy, something I battled with for years. When I was young, I actually liked the texture. I’m a child of the 70s, so I let it grow long and when I used hot rollers, the curl would last forever. The problem came as I grew older. I tried so many hairstyles — even, regrettably, the Dorothy Hamill bob. My hair would look great at the salon, but I could never recreate the look. I’d end up with a wavy mess. (Obviously, I was not adept with hair tools.)

My 70s hair

It took me years to discover that I actually have perfect hair for the scrunch-and-go style. I just take any type of hair mousse, scrunch it into my towel-dried hair and either blow dry or air dry. That’s it. Easy-peasy. (Photo at top left below).

Still, there are times when I want a smoother, straighter look. (Photo at bottom left above.) After years of trial and error, I stumbled across an easy way to get it. I comb Nios Shield Leave-In Conditioner and Marc Anthony Perfect Smoothing Cream through towel-dried hair, then let it sit for awhile, usually while I apply my makeup. Then I finish up with a blow dryer and vented brush. My hair ends up shiny and straight!

If you have wavy or curly hair that leaves you frustrated, try one or both of these easy styling methods!

Amazing in April: Monthly favorites in makeup, music and more

 All I can say is, “Thank goodness the first four months of 2016 ended on a high note!” I’ve just returned from a wonderful cruise that reset my attitude and snapped me out of a two-month funk (more on that later, because it had a definite impact on my music favorites for the month). But first, let’s talk about my beauty loves for April:

  • Josie Maran Vibrancy Foundation — The gorgeous pop-of-color packaging caught my eye. But as a foundation connoisseur, I have to say my first Josie Maran foundation is a winner. The Argan Oil-infused formula provides great medium to full coverage and leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturized. It also provides just the right amount of radiance without veering into greasy.
  • Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara — If you’re looking for inky-black lashes with major volume, give this a whirl. I prefer “dryer” mascaras, so I liked the formula better after using it for a few weeks.
  • Benefit Cosmetics Cheekathon Blush and Bronzer Palette — This value-packed bundle includes four full-sized pans of Benefit’s best-loved blushes, as well as the beloved Hoola bronzer. Although the packaging is somewhat bulky, it’s still a great take-along for extended vacations.
  • Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Summer — This is a cult favorite and I can see why. It truly is like summer in a bottle. I use it two ways: mixed with my regular foundation for an all-over bronze look or as a bronzy liquid contour. It is pricey, so if that’s a concern, Perricone MD’s No Bronzer Bronzer is a good alternative.
  • Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Primer with SPF 35 — A great combo product that did right by me on the beaches of the Caribbean. I remained burn-free and clear-skinned.
  • Givenchy Memoire De Forme Pop Up Jelly Blush in Rose Extravagent — A cream-verging-on-liquid blush in a cute little pot that provides a long-lasting, moisturized glow. Don’t let the color scare you — it’s intense! But on the cheeks, it provides a natural, rosy flush of color.
  • Surratt Beauty Prismatique Eyes in Style Eyes — These convenient pots include a matte cream shadow in one compartment and a shimmering topper in another. Style Eyes is described as an ambiguous heather. I’d say it’s a dusky purple-mauve that provides an air of elegance. It pairs well with Nars’ new Dominique Audacious Lipstick, which is a deep pink-lilac. img_0781
  • Lipstick favorites, pictured clockwise from top left: Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Oh Miley!, a bright strawberry red; Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Dusty Pink, a muted nude rose; Tarte Lip Sculptor and Lip Gloss in Renegade, a rich, gleaming berry rose.

Movie favorites: “Joy,” starring Jennifer Lawrence as a struggling single mom working to bring her innovative invention to market (Amazon.com, Netflix); “The Witch,” a creepily enthralling film about witchery in the Puritan era (theaters); “Nothing Left Unsaid,” an engrossing documentary about the lives of Anderson Cooper and his fascinating mother, Gloria Vanderbilt (HBO On Demand).

Television favorites: “The Amazing Race,” always a favorite (CBS); “Mercy Street,” about the lives of nurses and doctors in Civil War hospitals (Amazon.com), “Game of Thrones,” which is back with a vengeance and a fast-moving plot (HBO).

Music: As I mentioned, it’s been a rocky year thus far. I lost two friends to cancer and a dear mentor two weeks ago to a freak head injury. My playlist, for those reasons, might have been a bit darker than usual. Album-wise, I’ve been listening to tried-and-true classics: “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” by Derek and the Dominoes, Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and Carole King’s “Tapestry.” As for singles, I’ve been into Prince’s “Purple Rain” and “Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” Sam Smith’s “I Know I’m Not the Only One,” and “Take Me to Church” by Hozier.

Remember, strength is beauty. Hold your head up, smile and look to the future. – Ronda