Thursday, June 27, 2013

Is your skin "in"?

When I look at Carly Rae Jepsen, I don't think,
"this girl needs a tan." I think, "Where can I
buy that dress?"

You may not think of your skin color as a fashion accessory, but some people do. A recent article in USA Today presents a fascinating perspective on the status of "the tan" in the context of the fashion and beauty industry.

The article cites a beauty industry analyst who has noticed a sharp decrease in the number of celebrities and models who are shunning fake tans. It's a trend I've noticed, too. While a summertime tan is still the norm, the year-round permatan isn't as ubiquitous as it once was. Not in magazines, not in catalogs, not in real life.

I love this quote from Elle magazine's beauty director:
"The idea of people taking a step back to, 'What is my skin tone?' and celebrating their true skin color is very freeing. It's not about dark skin tones trying to be paler or pale skins trying to be darker."
This quote epitomizes what I try to encourage on my blog. Whether you're dark, olive, fair, or any shade in between, owning your natural skin tone is so much sexier than running around looking orange.

Plus, it's incredibly liberating not needing to wait in line at the tanning salon, spend money on overpriced indoor tanning lotions, or worrying if I'll smell like spray tan before I go on a date. Because, let's be real. That shit stinks.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Read my skin cancer story in U.S. News

Happy first day of summer! Before you head outside to get your tan on, read about my experience with melanoma in this article that was published in U.S. News earlier today.

Thank you so much to Donna Regen a.k.a. Melanoma Mama for sharing this article on my Facebook page! I did the interview months ago and I had almost forgotten about it. As always, I'm happy to be sharing my experience in hopes that it will prevent one more person from being diagnosed with this very deadly type of skin cancer.

Peace, love & sunscreen.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Gearing up for wedding season

At the Oregon Coast, wind and rain are the norm, so I was thrilled to have such calm weather when I went to Canon Beach last weekend for my friend Chelsea's bridal shower/bachelorette party. A group of us stayed in a house, not unlike what I'm planning for Liz's bachelorette in CA later this month. Ack! Still need to figure out a few last minute details for that.

I've decided this summer is "the summer of the wedding." At one point between July and August, I have weddings four weekends in a row! I've been stalking Rent the Runway and trying to decide if I should recycle old dresses or splurge on a one-time designer rental. Decisions, decisions. Here are a few of my faves. One of my favorite parts of RTR is that they have customer photos for all the different dresses. You can see how they look on other women with your skin tone, body type, etc. which is sometimes hard to do when shopping online.

ERIN by erin fetherston Riding the Wave Sheath
Nanette Lepore Wild One Dress
Diane von Furstenberg Mint in Manhattan Shift
Herve Leger Peruvian Night Dress

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five things I'm loving this week

1. Shirtless Men
Simultaneously learn about UV radiation and sun protection, while undressing male athletes with your mouse at Fun and educational. Thank you, Skin Cancer Foundation.

2. Farmers markets
During the summer, a giant farmers market pops up outside my office every Tuesday afternoon. I found these raspberries there this week, along with some other fresh produce. Raspberries = antioxidants, which are amazing for your skin.

3. Snapchat
I thought this photo sharing app was just for kids. I was very wrong. My friends and I have been using this app obsessively over the past two weeks. Loud-out-loud worthy.

4. Push ups
I don't know that I *love* pushups, but I've started doing them again at night before I go to bed so that my boyfriend stops making fun of my puny arms! So far, so good. My shoulders are a bit sore, but I love that pushups give you such a good workout without having to use weights or go to the gym.

5. Hangin' with my dude
Tim's out of town this week (sad!), but luckily I'm headed to the beach this weekend for a girlfriend's bachelorette/shower. This photo was taken last Thursday at Portland's Rose Festival carnival. The third item in the photo is a delicious cup of beer from Rogue, which just so happens to be one of my fave microbreweries in Oregon. If you ever visit Portland, you must try it. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pin it forward: Bridal shower edition

My "Pinspiration" for Liz's bridal shower.

If you use Pinterest like I do, you pin and pin and pin and pin but you rarely actually cook any of those recipes or re-organize your closet. On Sunday, I hosted a bridal shower for my friend Liz (with loads of help from Jessica), and I found the secret boards on Pinterest to be insanely helpful. We ended up choosing to do a dessert-themed shower that was pretty laid back because a large group of us are also heading to Sonoma later this month to do a wine country bachelorette party. Below are a couple photos from the shower. I wish I had taken more, but I was distracted by the mimosas.

Have a good weeekend!

Treats at Liz's "Love is Sweet" bridal shower.
Me and the bride-to-be.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Meeting the governor

Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber signs off on the Oregon tanning ban. I'm second from
the right. Image: Jeremy Rush / Knight Cancer Institute

I've gotten to cross quite a few items off the bucket list this spring. Here's a photo of me with Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (plus Dr. Brian Druker and a handful of Oregon legislators) at the House Bill 2896 signing ceremony last week. It was deeply gratifying to be involved in the passage of this important piece of legislation. I hope other states are taking note. Oregon was the third state in the nation to pass a bill limiting minors under age 18 from using indoor UV tanning beds. The law will go into effect January 2014.

Also, just posted today--Read about my experience with tanning and melanoma on the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute website.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunscreen reviews: Supergoop, Aveeno Naturals, Neutrogena Beach Defense, and more

Sunscreen is getting its 15 minutes of fame. The Environmental Working Group just released its 2013 Guide to Sunscreen and everyone is atwitter about the FDA's new sunscreen labeling rules. Overall, I think the media buzz is a good thing. I keep reading that sunscreen shouldn't be your only line of defense, and I totally agree. But it's definitely essential. As a fair-skinned lady who is prone to sunburns and skin cancer, I can't even dream about going on vacation without it.

Lucky for me, I've already had a chance to test drive a handful of sunscreens this spring. One of my key observations is this: When I'm surrounded by friends who are in a rush to head down to the pool, I want a sunscreen that is quick and easy to apply. I also feel like if I spend a bit more on sunscreen, I'm more likely to tote it around in my purse and to reapply it frequently. (Not unlike splurging on an expensive lip gloss.) Here are my first impressions of a wide range of different sun protection products.

Real girl, real sunscreen reviews

Supergoop City & Sand Sunscreen Kit ($35 at Nordstrom)
  • I bought this kit because I was looking for something that was TSA-friendly. In Punta Cana, the Supergoop Everyday Face & Body Lotion SPF 30 was lightweight and blended into my skin effortlessly. It worked great, and I didn't burn while I was using it. The only thing I didn't like about it was that it smells a bit like "sunscreen."
  • On the flipside, I loved Supergoop's Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Day Cream SPF 40. It seems like a no-brainer to pack antioxidants in the same bottle as your SPF. Why don't all sunscreens do this? Again, the formula was smooth and easy to apply. It held up well in the water, too. 
  • My favorite item in the kit was SPF 30 Lip Balm. I can never find high-SPF lip products that don't taste awful or leave a chalky residue, so I loved this stuff. It feels like a normal, petroleum-based lip balm, but it keeps your lips from burning (which always happens when I spend time in and around water). 
  • I haven't gotten as much use out of the SPF 30 City Sunscreen Serum yet. I will say: It feels more like a lightweight lotion than a serum. It layers well under foundation, and is much more hydrating than I expected.
Overall Rating: 4/5. Aside from the "sunscreen" scent, I really love this kit. Did I mention it comes in a cute terrycloth bag? I just wish Supergoop's products weren't so pricey!
Keywords: oxybenzone-free; TSA-friendly; antioxidants

Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Powder SPF 45 ($30 at Sephora)
I first read about this product online--it seemed like a great idea, so I tracked it down at my local Sephora store. Within 30 seconds of having it in my hand, two store associates said to me, "Omigod, that is the most amazing sunscreen ever." I purchased it because I'm always looking for ways to better protect my hairline and part. The concept is great (and it actually works!), but I was really disappointed to find out that this powder is tinted. It only comes in one shade, and it was noticeably too dark when I applied it to my face and chest. I was still able to use it on my hairline, but I really wish the powder was translucent. Another caveat: The packaging could be improved. While the twist up brush makes this powder super easy to apply, the cap is very cheap. I carried this with me in my beach bag, and the lid was cracked and broken by the end of the week.
Rating: 3/5. Offer a translucent option and a sturdier lid and I am sold.
Keywords: powder sunscreen; mineral sunscreen; high-SPF; on-the-go

EOS smooth spheres lip balm in lemon drop with SPF 15 ($3 at Target)
If you haven't tried one of these lip balms yet, I highly encourage you to buy the yellow one! Innovative packaging, glides on silky soft, and it smells delish. Note: Only the lemon flavor offer UVA/UVB protection.
Rating: 5/5.
Keywords: lip balm; petroleum and paraben-free; shea butter; natural flavor

Neutrogena Beach Defense SPF 70 ($10 at Target for 6 oz.)
This sunscreen is new this spring. It's not "natural" or oxybenzone-free, but it sure did a heck of a good job protecting my skin during a long day at the beach. The formula blended into my skin super quickly, it didn't leave any white residue, and it was water resistant. Like other Neutrogena sunscreens, it smells like "sunscreen," but it's about 6x more cost effective than the Supergoop sunscreens I was also using on my vacation. If I'm planning to spend a lot of time in the sun and water again, I would definitely purchase this again. Word of caution: There's no evidence that sunscreen above SPF 30 or 50 is any more effective. Even when using a high-SPF sunscreen, you can still burn if you don't reapply every 80 minutes.
Rating: 4/5
Keywords: Beach; fast-absorbing; non-greasy; high-SPF

Aveeno Natural Protection SPF 50 ($10 at Target 3 oz.)
While I obviously still use products like the Neutrogena Beach Defense mentioned above, I've definitely been more cognizant about trying to use more natural sunscreens when possible. I had really high hopes for this Aveeno sunscreen, but ultimately I was very disappointed when I went to use it. The formula is very thick and white. It's difficult to blend into your skin, and even after rubbing and rubbing, I still found streaks of white on my legs. Reapplying felt like such a chore, which is not how I like to feel about my sunscreen. I've sampled other mineral sunscreens that are much more user-friendly (like Coola), so I ended up just tossing this and rotating between the Neutrogena and Supergoop.
Rating: 1/5.
Keywords: mineral sunscreen; natural; sensitive skin

Let me know if you've found a new sunscreen lately! I'm always looking for new ones.