How wonderful that summer is here. This year, I'm going to reconnect with my inner summer child and revel in the season. Even if it's just enjoying the late afternoon light that filters into my 11th floor office window every day, I plan to be more intentional in the way I move through this season. I'm also planning for loads of iced coffee, homemade ice cream, and coconut scented things (which Kevin will have to tolerate).
Embrace facial oils
My sister gave me a travel sized sample of marula oil from Drunk Elephant and I absolutely loved how fast absorbing it was and how moisturized it made my skin feel. I found a more affordable option from The Ordinary that I’ll put on my list to try.
I also finally opened my jar of jojoba oil that I’ve been infusing with calendula for several months. I made my own mixture for use on my face in an amber drop bottle using the calendula jojoba oil as the base, adding a bit of neem oil, and a few drops of tea tree oil. I chose this mix for the calming and healing benefits of calendula, the fast absorption of jojoba, the anti-inflammatory benefits of neem, and the antiseptic benefits of tea tree. So far, my skin has been loving it.
Last month I participated in two volunteer events: packaging produce for food-insecure families in NYC with City Harvest, and taking a shelter dog out for a break in Central Park with the New York City Animal Care and Control Center (NYC ACC).
These experiences were really rewarding and I loved to be among others who were also up for volunteering a little bit of their time to help someone else out (human or canine). It inspired me to want to do more, particularly to help shelter dogs. It was so sad to be on the first floor of the building and hear the barks echoing down the stairs from the kennels on the second floor. There are far too many dogs in the shelter and it is a loud, scary, and disorienting experience that can be hard on any animal. The NYC ACC Borough Break program was piloted over Memorial Day weekend to try to get some of these pups out of that stressful environment. Volunteers could take them to the park (which we did), home to chill, on a hiking trip, whatever. It was such a success that they actually ran out of dogs to match with volunteers and some dogs even got to go out more than once! What an amazing turnout, especially for a holiday weekend when many locals escape the city. The best part: one dog was adopted by his Borough Break match and another found herself a foster home.
The program is now being rolled out permanently and we'll be able to sign up for shifts online in a more structured way. Kevin and I are looking forward to doing it again soon.
Switch to reef-safe, mineral sunscreen
My shift to more natural beauty and body products has been a steady march over many years. After seeing the news that Hawaii has outlawed two chemical sunscreen ingredients, oxybenzone and octinoxate, due to their being potentially harmful to coral reefs, I began looking into the topic. Although I've read that a direct link is somewhat up for debate, I was on the whole convinced that at least it wouldn't hurt the ocean more to switch my sunscreen products to ones that don't contain these ingredients.
Aside from this bill, I also heard about news that a new pilot study found that certain active ingredients in sunscreen absorb into the bloodstream (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule were the ones this study focused on). While the long term effects still require further research, I'm not super comfortable with topical products penetrating into my blood.
So I’m interested in trying out mineral sunscreens. For these, I've read that titanium oxide might be less harmful to the oceans than zinc oxide (either in non-nano particles are preferable to chemical sunscreens even if they aren't completely impact-free). I've been shopping around and have had a hard time finding a mineral sunscreen that has consistently good reviews, so I plan to try a couple of options out.
I've also long been a fan of Sun Bum products because they are free of parabens, feel good to apply, and have a light, summery scent. I found that the ones I currently have contain oxybenzone and was kind of bummed out (pun not intended). Then I went to their website and found the wonderful news that they totally support the Hawaiian legislation and are reformulating the portion of their product line that contain the banned ingredients! This was so great to see. This is the type of company ethos that builds loyalty from a customer like me. See their statement, and their existing roster of oxybenzone and octinoxate-free products here.
Focus on tableware
This month, I'm going to focus on designing and making more ceramics for the table. I've had the idea of "casual candlelight" as a concept on my mind for some time now, and have begun to prototype some candle holders. I'm also itching to make a bunch of serve ware. The plan is to have a selection to choose from for the holiday season when we start gathering with the family. How could I have never yet served a dish on my own wares! That ends in 2019, folks.
We are in those wonderful days during which the light grows long for longer. I've become ritualistic about the solstices and I'm going to take a moment to acknowledge the summer solstice on June 21st.
Depending on the time of sunset, if I'm still at work, I'll make sure to step away from my desk to watch the sun go down over Madison Square Park and past the buildings on Fifth Avenue. If I'm home, I'll kick off the weekend by pouring myself a negroni and basking in the drawling hours of daylight.