Are you smack dab in beautiful balmy weather? When can my dehydrated self join you at the beach? 🙂 Today’s ideas and finds for simple soothing pleasures as fall turns to winter just may bring a glimmer of sunshine (or a nugget or two of self-care) to aid your own journey through cold weather woes. Products my sensitive/aging skin loves along with comfy wearables and inspiring lifestyle glimpses are shared with quotes to pin, random smiles, and personal reflections from someone with chronic illness muddling through another December.
Simple Soothing Pleasures for Winter
Am I selling myself short with each mention of ‘muddling through?’ It doesn’t feel wrong. I like that it implies movement, and we’re always moving through something.
It describes my journey as I grow in a way that a bunch of #livingmybestlife hashies simply do not. Such motivational mantras may be earnest and aspirational, but they aren’t one size fits all.
The temperatures have been mild here (it may reach 50 degrees today!) for holiday season, but we can count on extreme weather to appear out of nowhere.
It seems that in order to move through the changes and challenges winter brings, it is best to get out in it (nature hikes and sporting) and be prepared (think hydration, indoor comforts, and travel plans).
Since I have autoimmune and chronic illness issues, there are extra challenges. Changes in barometric pressure are brutal and trigger ocular migraine issues which affect my sleep and daily well-being. Thank goodness my best friend (pictured above) understands since she has them at the same time thanks to our surgical menopause synchronicity.
Access to fresh produce dwindles which can affect nutrition, and the lack of sunshine and humidity?
All sorts of unpleasantries seem to follow. My already vulnerable skin needs extra attention.
Pampering it is no longer about vain attempts to preserve a youthful appearance. Rather, it is an important step to taking good care of my organs.
I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.
Mindfully Kind Skin Care
My aging, rosacea-prone, sensitive skin needs all the help it can get in every season, but winter brings extra harshness.
Does it appear I am always trying new remedies and adding to my collection of soothing potions?
For me, having a range of tried and true healthy options to prevent and treat issues with hydration, hyperpigmentation, damage and texture is a smart response to dermatological changes.
In fact, I have learned from my autoimmune journey, that too much of anything in diet and lifestyle causes my systems to get defensive.
Don’t even get me started about the avocado drama of 2018. A varied diet of healthy ingredients from quality sources for my skin seems to agree as much as the one for my overall health.
And I’m learning not to deprive myself in a very restricted sort of way…that can lead to overdoing it! Tastes of the season take on a new meaning.
Made these g-free brownies today and glazed them with…
a few squares of this organic chocolate from Costa Rica packed with antioxidants:
Here are more little indulgences (other than the coffee, just tastes for me!).
Here’s what is tried and true in my medicine cabinet, along with a few new goodies my skin is loving.
Skin Care Routine
Jenni Kayne’s Oak Essentials line is made with ingredients that agree with my skin.
If you are reactive to coconut oil, you may not be a fan. It’s important to notice whether particular ingredients are not for you. But I love me some healing coconut oil for skin and what’s under my skin. (I bake with coconut oil since it is a fat more easily digestible with my pancreatic insufficiency.)
Something I just sampled and want more of is made by a lesser known brand that creates small batches of balmy goodness with consciously-chosen natural ingredients:
There’s something magical about feeling close to the sea in the middle of winter (and even the land-locked prairie far from my happy place in Haleiwa!), and this brand understands that. Try their nourishing lip balm too for a sensual beachy keen experience and happy lips. I like this flavor:
When I can’t stand the texture of my skin, I know I need a powerful active. If retinol is on your radar, you may have noticed there are tons of choices. For a decade, I have stuck with this one: Skinceuticals 1.0 Retinol (a STRONG formula with 1.0…so go easy, child!) because it is powerful and does every dang thing it says it will. A benefit of winter is worrying a bit less about skin’s photosensitivity while using retinol.
Thoughts on Aging Skin
We can all benefit from checking our emotional response to the word ‘aging.’
After all, from the moment we are born, all of our organs (including our skin) begin aging. Infants age, and even though memories of being 16 may be rosy, our skin was aging back then too.
Aging isn’t this sudden sorrowful decline after we turn 35. It truly is a natural process as we progress through seasons of life. Just look at the fading rose, the autumn maple leaf, or the fruit ripening on the vine. My thoughts about death have evolved too. It is losing its sting as I lose friends. Not just because of the longing to someday reunite, but because I imagine death meeting me with the loving arms of a mother. Why do we routinely link all things associated with mystery to darkness and sharp edges?
A More Flexible Approach to Caring for My Aging Skin
I don’t have the energy for Vogue youTube-esque celebrity tutorials with 75 products and steps before bed.
I prefer to take things day to day since my health concerns, the weather, and amount of sleep all affect the needs of my sensitive skin.
I have several hydrating, serum, and cleansing options and have learned to assess when I need a little more of this or a bit less of that. All of these goodies above are on the shelf. Plus, my number one pick for an allover blast of moisture and comfort?
I can’t say enough good things about BOOMSilk for ultimate relief that is still priced so fairly! What else can you say that about in the 2020s?
Another shout out to a new to me brand–Iris & Romeo. Everything I have tried has been lovely. For example, their Weekend Skin (on board above). It is more than sunscreen since it’s also a Vitamin C source and primer for makeup. Weekend Skin comes in two options, and I just tried Warm Glow and love it even more than Universal!
Winter Neckwear Goodness
Oh, LE GOBBLE factor!
While I’m not embarrassed about age or the age I appear, the right pieces will direct attention where I want it. J. Crew’s tissue turtlenecks do that for me. “Tissue” means they feel like the softest t-shirt and can be layered easily. I have a stack of ’em, striped ones are my favs, and I’m wearing one this very moment.
If you care to score a youthful look, layer this over a fun tissue turtleneck, wear a headband or ponytail and this bronzer, and get yer #oldmoneyKatherineHepburn effortless casual look ON like Donkey Kong…
But wait, Michele. We like where you’re going with a classic casual yet classic Katherine Hepburn style, but what about flattering eyeglasses?
Favorite Black Bottoms
When you are after organic cotton and fair trade certified clothing:
Should you be serious about smoothing and extra support…
In case you’re curious about superior stretch Lycra power and a high waist…
Socks I Can’t Live Without in Winter
Welly boot socks are my best friends in winter, and I wear them over bare feet around the house. If I have to step outside (it’s pouring out there as I type this), I step into Ilse Jacobsen lace up rain boots (I prefer the shorter styles to the tall).
I finally replaced my crossbody bag. I’m still attached to this brand and have yet to grow bored with flight bags.
Day and Night Pajamawear
If you have been hangin’ out on this blog for any length of time then you know I’m a pajamanista. This style is still my reigning favorite:
Shower as Spa Retreat
I discovered Tocca’s Cleopatra body wash years ago at the Elysian Spa in Chicago. It was not only in the luxurious showers but was also used as hand soap at every sink. The grapefruit and cucumber combination is completely irresistible, and who knew handwashing could feel this luxurious?
Daily Hair Favs
AVEDA’s Cherry Almond Line
If you have used AVEDA since the ’80s like me, then you may remember the yum of their cherry almond line which they brought back. Also a fan of the fragrance of their Shampure line which was reformulated to be more hydrating.
Cherry Almond products are so delicious that I’m craving something yummy and sweet!
Over 50 hair and chemically processed hair can be fragile and require extra TLC. Here is a leave-in treatment for dry ends prone to split. Organic bergamot, mandarin, ylang ylang and more plant essences impart their pure loveliness.
Gamechanging Favorite Blush
I can’t stop re-purchasing this cheek and lip color (in shade Werk) from MILK. It’s very sheer and looks equally good on my eyelids which surprises me. I think certain pinks are tricky to wear on the eyes, but this one imparts a feeling of health.
Pro SHOWS Us Exactly How We Apply Makeup the Wrong Way
So helpful, and I learned so much about how to correct my color application!
Managing Winter on the Health Journey
Since I have Raynaud’s, it’s tricky to not be triggered by cold temperatures.
There have been a few painful episodes, and they happen when there are dramatic shifts in weather, not necessarily when it’s below zero.
I have to get extra intentional about my diet in winter. If I simply listen to cravings, it’s carb loading every single day!
I find that healthy soups, adding fresh spinach to just about everything, homemade green juice smoothies, and lots of acai bowls with various toppings helps.
Holiday gatherings are not what they used to be for me since I am such a foodie and food was always at the center of them.
Now I am mindful about eating something healthy before confronting the spread of options that could lead to days of recovery!
And of course I skip alcohol since I want to give my pancreas all the help it deserves.
I’m getting a little better about enjoying little tastes of things rather than gobbling the whole enchilada.
Truth be told, my appetite has always been huge, and I have much more in common with folks who struggle with overeating than people who eat in an organized manner.
Wait. There ARE folks whose eating is not disordered, right? Because once you get people honestly dishing about food issues, it becomes unclear.
I wrote this about permission to relax in case you could use it about now during holiday season. Thanks so much for entertaining all of this and bringing a spirit of tenderness here.
Peace to you right where you are.
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