It’s crazy how differently we all experience season changes. I’ve been between Montana and LA a lot recently, and it is completely different worlds, perspectives.
Along the Southern California coast, the temps have been hangin’ between 60-82, a slight breeze, sometimes it rains a little bit, at night it hovers in the fifties. A lot of people are very cold, wearing down jackets and full-on socks. It fascinates me. I’m acclimated totally differently and am usually wearing a t-shirt and a strappy shoes. I throw a sweater over bootie shorts and go for evening walk in flip-flops. Up in Flathead, there’s a few extra layers involved with even forgetting something in your car and making a dash for it.
Different worlds. Definitely different seasonal skin needs. But, pretty similar soul needs. We’re all craving a little springtime refresh, a winter shed, SUN ON SKIN.
We want a few things to bloom, a few late night shooting stars and a little sunny growth celebration.
I am desperate to shake some layers from the last few months off; anxious to reconnect with my physical self.
When it’s cold, lights low, stress on high I tend to disconnect. I rarely look in the mirror until I’ve got all my layers on, end up with way too much bronzer while longing for a little real sun kiss, and too sloth real fast.
It’s really easy to make excuses as to why you have to sit at your desk for 12 hours straight when there are a thousand more things you still have to do and it is raining or snowing outside. It’s real easy to melt into a perfect Sunday nest and watch an entire season of #LipstickJungle and #Oroville.
But when spring comes around the corner, when those petals start bursting and the cloud gets blue, I seek excuses to go outside.
A ten minute morning walk, a conference call while doing easy stretches underneath the tree, an afternoon brainstorm session with a favorite creative creature at a sidewalk cafe…
I felt it today. I didn’t feel it when it was precisely “Spring Equinox”. I felt it today.
So I took one of the really good showers! One of those showers that takes a little longer, has a few extra steps, and seems to wash away the most complicated stresses, even if for just a sec.
Most days we Clean + Go shower. Some days you need a little more. Some days merit a ritual. I call it the Soul + Skin Shower.
Start to finish 30 minutes, 45 if you add a dinner prep step in the beginning, one hour if you want to be a little extra greedy with your time.
Alright, here’s the ridiculousness of how I do it, including an “Order of Multi-Task” and a few extra-point ideas. You can’t make this sh*t up.
Commit to it! Once you realize you’ve got an hour and everything is going to be there when you’re done anyways and it’s Spring for crying out-loud so you need a super rad shower, you gotta commit.
SPRING SOUL + SKIN SHOWER
DINNER PREP: Chances are you’ve got someone coming home, at home or somewhere to be, so put something easy together that needs 30 minutes of low-heat cooking time WHILE YOU SHOWER.. Stuck for ideas? Here’s 3:
Simmering Soup: Cut 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, sauté with whatever oil you use while you cut up whatever vegetables and leftovers need to be used from the fridge. Add all to pan, cover with water about 4 fingers above food. Add a few shakes of whatever spices you feel like. I always add a tablesppon or so of @BETTERTHANBOUILLON. Let it start to boil while you do a few lunges, maybe light a candle and figure out what you want to take in shower with you (Yogurt Mask? Clay? Coffee Grounds? You know you’ve read a recipe along the way that you can whip up a version of real quick.) Then, turn on low, cover and let it do it's thing.
Roasting Veggies + Meat: Preheat oven to 400 or so. I usually turn it on around 375-425. In a big bowl, mix together whatever vegetables and/or leftovers need to be used. If using meat, cut up and add to bowl. Add some spices if you feel like it, a bit of oil, mix all well. Put onto a foiled, greased sheet pan. Fave combo is Sweet Potato, Onion, Tomatoes and Costco Salmon Burgers. Cut all into fourths. Let cook.
Slow-Cooking Grain: Forbidden Rice, Amaranth, Brown Basmati, Quinoa, etc. Supposedly they each have different instructions. I’d like to see what the villagers who have been sustained by these grains for generation after generation has to say about any “specific rules” other than enough water to cook, whatever spices and ingredients you are lucky to have. I tend to do: a handful per person plus one for the pot then about double the amount of liquid. 2 parts liquid plus a bit to 1 cup grain is pretty safe for just about anything I have ever cooked. 1 cup will feed 2 people with other stuff. Double it if the grain is main attraction. Rinse well, add to pot, add a dash of oil or butter, some salt, pepper, a few garlic cloves, random dashes of whatever is calling your name or nothing at all. bring to a boil, then add lid, turn it to the lowest your stove will go (AND LEAVE IT ALONE!). Learn to smell when it is done. Otherwise just cook on low until you are out of the shower then test it without letting all the steam escape the pot. Serve with sprouts, chopped green onion, parsley, apple cider vinegar. I smother the husband’s with cheese then take bites from his because it is more delicious than mine without the cheese, then I give in and add parmesan or feta to mine.
GATHER SOME PLANTS: Seriously. If you have a couple smaller, easy to move around plants, you must know they are also so ready for a full rinse-off. Every few weeks I take a different plant with me, put in in the corner of the shower and just let it get drenched. Deal with the bit of soil that always comes out of the pot and thank the leaves for keeping your air manageable during winter’s stuffiness.
GET YOUR SHOWER ON! Here’s a truth bomb - I sometimes go weeks during winter months without really seeing the fullness of me, even in the mirror. It’s cold. I’m more focused on shielding from freezing and not really in a good enough head space to create a situation where I’m judging a bit of extra softness or paleness. I’ve got enough swagger that as soon as I get a good outfit on and as long as my skin feels good, I don’t give it much extra thought when I’m in sweaters all day anyways. This is another difference with Southern Cali winter. It’s rarely so cold you can’t deal with an extra few minutes in your panties instead of rushing to the softest, warmest robe you’ve got in SoCal. Starting right about now, I begin showing more skin and begin feeling a little more head-to-toe glow conscious, and I take a good glance to see if I need some extra lunges, plies or arm exercises thrown into the mix.
This “roadmap” is in order so that various products can have enough time to be effective. It’s a full-body treatment done in a few minutes.
1. DRY-BRUSH: The few seconds while the tap is going from cold to warm is exactly how long it takes for a few long dry-brush strokes. Feet to knees, inside thigh, back of legs, front of legs, bootie, arms towards heart, gentle belly circles, done. Now get in.
Extra points for keeping a bucket in the shower and using that water for plants.
2. PEARLY WHITES: I always brush my teeth when I get in the shower. Cannot feel clean if my teeth don’t. In shower, I like more of a mouth-cleansing toothpaste, something with hydrogen peroxide or charcoal. (Charcoal is way complicated for me though. More on that later…). Brush, rinse, repeat adding a bit of a whitening gel. I’ve been using ESSENTIAL OXYGEN AND 5 MINUTE TOOTH WHITENING GEL for years, but truth is, I have yet to meet a dentist that I can discuss all of this with. Actually, I need to seek out a dental hygienist. They are like estheticians. I love them. I will loop back around to this topic.
For now, some whitening gel, and let that sit until final rinse.
3. FACE+: I treat face, neck, shoulders, chest, arms and hands the same. These areas are exposed to so much of the same stresses and environmental elements; and such a part of our daily expression of self.
—MAKE-UP/GRIME REMOVAL: Castor Oil around eyes to remove eye makeup, mascara and brow pencil while stimulating lash and brow hair growth.
—ENZYME CLEANSE: I scoop a handful of Raw Honey and massage into face and chest. Another scoop goes on the long-handled brush and I use that on arms and back. I try not to let this get rinsed off right away as I move on to other steps.
—BODY BRUSH: The same long-handled natural bristle brush gets used in the shower. I’m always experimenting with formulas for a perfect body wash. I love the way Nag Champa and Bee Flower Soap smells so I use it on feet, underarms, and bum-side. (Not va-jay-jay. Don’t use soap there. Use just water. That is a whole other convo, but don’t). This is also when I shave legs, feet, underarms.
—HAIR: I have some hair issues, although I finally found a few tips and tricks.
First of all, I agree with Michael Gordon and many other hair experts that full-force shampoo is not good for hair or scalp. I have yet to meet a really educated hair person who can discuss scalp health as well as the estheticians I love. I have extensions and love my weave. I was meant to have a mane. Nowadays, if the Gods didn’t get the memo, you can save up for it. I did, I have the top-of-the-line Extensionology, and I love it. Because I invested in them, I take really good care of them, in the meantime, I think more about my scalp first, hair second.
I’ve been really liking a formula by HERITAGE, so I massage it into my scalp thoroughly and let it sit for a while I rinse face and body. I apply an enzyme scrub mask to face+, then rinse hair and apply a coating of Hairstory.
After a few gentle circles with the enzyme mask, I rinse it all off, head-to-toe and before fully getting out of the shower.
4. PAT DRY, PROTECT + REGENERATE: The finale can take almost as much time as the shower.WHILE SKIN IS MOIST, I apply a layer of SSB AM + PM. I use a combo of SSB AM/PM most evenings. Take a little more time and really massage this in for maximum ingredient efficacy. If I was going to be going out I’d add a little extra AM to areas that will be exposed to pollution, air, etc like chest, arms…
-Foot Scrub: Feet take some work, but it is worth it. At least every few showers I scrub down bottom of feet with a pumice and shave tops of toes. Immediately after showering I layer SSB on my feet and throw on house-socks.*
-Brainstorm: I keep the really cheap whiteboard markers in the shower because they wipe off glass and tile and write reminders, grand ideas or cheesy love notes for the hubby.
(I refuse to take responsibility if this isn’t true for you. Grab a Mr. Clean white thing, put some elbow grease in. But test your tile first)
At it’s longest, the whole thing takes 15 minutes or so. Seriously.
This is a perfect Multi-Tasking Soul + Skin Ritual.
-Cellulite Treatment: Use both the long handled brush scrub down and the post-shower Cellular Regeneration application as opportunities to help slow-down and prevent cellulite and lymphatic build-up. Think about whatever areas you tend to feel a little more puckered, a little puffier or just a little more stagnant and do a few extra circles.Think about making most movements up and in both inward and outward circles. You’ll know what feels right. For me this is the front of my legs (for a lot of ladies it is more the back of legs), the back of my arms and the middle section of my belly. I’ve seen a lot of ladies whose hands, feet and forearms retain most lymphatic. I also like blending Raw Honey + Coffee for an in-shower scrub.
5. POST-SHOWER: A few people have asked about how to not get yoga pants greasy after a solid glow session like this. My answer: Don’t put on yoga pants.
I get it, you love them. But, give your pores and skin a chance to feel the breeze! Keep a few loose outfits around for evening house-wear.
Music: I like music and sometimes a little grown-up toke. Am I allowed to say that? I mean, weekends are earned. My SICKLUGGAGE boombox sounds great in the bathroom, and I’ve got a few go-to playlists on Spotify: Slow Your Roll or Sunday Chill are two favorites.
By the time I’m back in the kitchen or on my computer, my skin feels smooth and fragrant, my hair is air-drying, and whatever concoction I’m cooking up is usually just about perfect (sometimes a little burned but with a little practice you avoid burning or figure out a few tricks for blending the flavors in).
On some days, this is around when the hubby gets home. Tired, worked to the bone, and he gets his wife looking cute and feeling chill. It is way more delightful than the days we barely screech in sideways from hectic days, long past sunset, throw together something even easier than quesadillas and do our best to squeeze an hour of “Not Doing Anything” before a quick rinse.
What are your rituals for connecting as the sweaters come off?