HOT in the City!

By Rebecca Taras

As I told a neighbor the other day, unless I am on a remote island somewhere under a palm tree, I have nothing good to say about this extreme heat wave we are experiencing! Debbie Downer I am not, so allow me to offer some suggestions to keep your skin cool and your body hydrated. Keeping the skin cool helps prevent heat rash and breakouts and the benefits of internal hydration are endless.

· Keep a mister in your home or office fridge for instant relief with a beauty benefit. Try Caudalie Grape and Peppermint Beauty Elixir ($56 at Sephora) or Shu Eemura Depsea Water ($22 at Barneys) which is offered in nine scents such as mint, rose and chamomile.

· Ease up on the makeup and explore a tinted moisturizer such as Estee Lauder’s Fresh Air Continuous Moisture Tint with SPF 15 ($34, Estee Lauder counter). This water-based formula uses a time-released technology they call “AquaSphere” that encapsulates water and helps to keep the skin fresh all day long. If you have to wear sun protection, you may as well get a little bit of color as well. After all, there is no reason to let your self go completely!

· Swap butters and creams for gels and lightweight lotions such as Cool Luster Body Moisture with aloe and Spearmint by Clinique ($18, Clinique counter), or Jergens Skin Cooling Moisturizer with cucumber extract ($5 CVS, Walgreens). If the ingredient composition won’t make your skin tingle, then placement of your mist next to your body moisturizer in the fridge will!

· Even if you have an ice-maker, pick up an inexpensive do it yourself job to make your own cubes. Nope, not just because Walgreens runs out of ice at least once a week, but for the creation of “beauty cubes.” Replace water with a cheap (alcohol free so it freezes appropriately) fragrance mist, or regular water with a drop of an invigorating essential oil such as spearmint. Freeze as usual and then cool off with a cube of scented refreshment….not in your drinking glass, but your body! The back of the neck is great for instant gratification and will retain the fragrance longer when applied there or at any pulse point on your body..

· The eyes are sure to be an area that show the affects of the sultry summer sun. While we are on the topic of freezers, pick up a gel eye mask at a drugstore or Target, preferably one that wraps around and can cover a bit of your forehead as well, thus increasing the relief factor.

· Of course you know to stay hydrated, yet many of us become dehydrated because we find it difficult to drink water. Try giving your H20 a little pizzazz by tossing in some sliced fruit. Think outside lemons and limes and experiment with strawberries and grapefruit. Give yourself an energy boost and keep vitamins in check by adding a sachet of Emergen-C (Whole Foods, CVS, Walgreens). Sugar free Wyler’s lemonades and ice teas, as well as sugar free Hawaiian Punch can be found at Walgreens for a buck a box!

· With all these options, there are no excuses not to keep you hydration levels in check. And while Chicago has some great spas, there is something to be said for the art of destination spa cuisine. In this case, I have chosen to highlight beverages, as I doubt there are many of us willing to slave over a stove right now!

Spa Party Revitalizing Cocktail
Cal a Vie Spa
1 48-ounce bottle of low-sodium tomato juice cocktail
3 cups filtered water
2 cups assorted sliced vegetables (roots, onions, green and red bell peppers, etc.)*
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 bunch parsley
2 tablespoons fresh basil
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
*Avoid cabbage family vegetables as they impart a strong flavor

In a large nonreactive saucepan, combine tomato juice, water, vegetables, and herbs. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Transfer to a strainer set over a bowl, pressing firmly with a wooden spoon to extract all the juices, or process through a food mill. Discard pulp. Serve hot or cold. Freezes beautifully in 1 cup measures.
Serves 10.

Cantaloupe Orange Tofu Smoothie
Canyon Ranch

2-4 cups of ice
1/2 cantaloupe chopped
1 12.oz package of silken tofu (lite)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
Instructions: Blend and serve.
Serves 6 small, or 4 large, smoothies

Pomegranate and Ginger Elixir
La Costa Resort and Spa

2 large pomegranates, seeds removed
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup peeled, grated ginger
2 tablespoons spearmint leaves
2 cups of mineral or spring water

Combine pomegranate seeds with honey, ginger, and mint leaves in a noncorrosive saucepan. Stir well, for about 3 minutes, crushing the pomegranate seeds into the mixture. Add water and bring to boil over moderate heat. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Strain, chill, and serve over ice with a mint sprig as garnish.
Serves 4.

A Chicago resident, Rebecca Taras is a licensed esthetician and creator of Cleansing Queen Bath and Body Care, which was well-received by both local and national press. She was recognized by the Chicago Fashion Foundation in 2004 by receiving the “Style Makers and Rule Breakers” award in the beauty category. Her passion for travel and wellness grew into Terminal Getaway airport spa, web apothecary and specialized hotel amenity concept, which she co-founded and serves as Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Product Development.






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