Aug 31, 2014

Weekend Ramblings: Houston: So Far, So Good

Wow... I can't believe it's been nearly a month since my last post. As it would turn out, having a full-time job can be something of a time drain. But that's beside the point. I'm actually loving my new job and my new city.

Houston, as luck would have it for someone as food-obsessed as me, is a restaurant mecca. Never in my life have I been able to drive five minutes from my house and have the option to dine Chinese, Bosnian or Mexican if I want. It's crazy and wonderful (though not conducive to a healthy diet if you were wondering).

Check me out in my new pink chair.

As far as the people in general go, I've been surprised by everyone's kindness. Though Houston is located in the south, I was a little worried that maybe the big city mentality would be rude, crude, etc. Not at all! Everyone I've met (for the most part) has been really pleasant. That's just the naive Kentucky girl in me learning that, hey, people in big cities are really nice too.

As for other learning experiences, I'm learning how to budget, cook and pay bills. The bills part isn't so great, but being in control of your own finances is empowering. I'm currently in a contest with myself to see how much money I can save this year. It's not been easy (eating all of the foreign cuisine isn't free), but I'm discovering my inner frugality little by little.

Please stay tuned for more blog posts. Though I'm a little busier these days, I'll do my best to keep you all updated on my life and discoveries as a young professional.  Who knows... this may just turn into a lifestyle blog!

Aug 5, 2014

Fleur d' Oranger Skin Care (a.k.a. Skin Care a la Carte)

Vacations don't always lend themselves to incredible skincare discoveries. In fact, with high levels of margarita consumption and UV worship, you end up undoing a lot of the good many of your lotions and potions do. However, every once in a blue moon you might come across a lovely shop owner on a little Mexican side street whose products are too good not to share. 

My best friend, Katie, and I in the shop.
Everyone, meet Veroushka Tarazi of Fleur d'Oranger Skin Care (or Skin Care a la Carte) in Sayulita, Nayarit in Mexico. Veroushka has spent years upon years studying plant essences and their interactions with the body and skin. As a result, she has created a line of products that are not only pleasing to the senses (you have to smell the Exfoliant Visage), but effective as well. Sit back and read along as I talk with Veroushka about her studies and why her products are so special.
Vanity Talk: How did you become so interested in skincare?
Veroushka Tarazi: Actually, my primary interest when studying the properties of medicinal plants was health related.  I had always been a great believer that the planet and its greenery contained all the medicine necessary to maintain good health. Since our skin is our largest organ, I knew that these amazing medicinal essences had the power to help us maintain excellent health as well as vibrant skin. I had studied the cutis, dermis and epidermis and soon, I started researching and testing different formulas to maintain healthy skin.
Vanity: Where and for how long have you studied skincare and aromatherapy?
Veroushka: When I discovered the power of medicinal plant extracts I was married to a French man. Since medicinal extracts are widely used by doctors in France, I pursued my studies in Poitiers for about seven years and later on in the States as well. I am also certified by the HealthCare Association in Canada. My focus is on learning every different medicinal property of each plant and from that knowledge, combining them to get a specific effect. I’ve been blessed with a very sharp intuition as to how to formulate them with great results over the years.
Additionally, I’ve studied anatomy and how each individual has a different constitution. In other words, I can treat two people for the same health challenge but will prepare a different formula targeting the same goal. It all depends on the person’s constitutional type.
As for Aromatherapy…well, that is a science that has become very commercial.  So commercial, in fact, that a lot of people claim to be aroma therapists. However, there has been an international law put in effect that does not allow the lay-person to purchase these essences I am blessed to use unless they have a degree. Used by the wrong hands, these medicinal plant extracts can be harmful, hence their effectiveness when used with the proper knowledge.
Veroushka's cleansers (the Aloe Vera Cleanser is a personal favorite of mine)
Vanity: How would you say these two things work (skincare and aromatherapy) in conjunction with each other to create such incredible products?
Veroushka: As I’ve mentioned, I also studied the epidermis and since the skin is our biggest organ, I’ve applied the same laws of healing to get effective results with skincare. Anyone who uses my products on a regular basis will not only find an improvement in their skin, but also a more balanced outlook on life. The essences have that effect on people who are around them a lot as they have a positive effect on our pituitary gland.
My own life became more balanced as soon as I was around the essences regularly and I must say, it really did change me overall and feel more at peace with myself. They are amazing.
Vanity: You believe in skincare that is completely oil-free, but you love plant waxes. Why is this? Also, what is the difference between plant oils, plant waxes and plant essences?
Veroushka: The essences are the soul of the plant, the hormonal system if you may. They are the healing power behind my products. The plant waxes and plant silicones are my champions for hydration, which is really really important and crucial for vibrant healthy skin.
You can read all about the reason why I don’t believe in using oils on your skin if you go on my site under "About Us: Benefits of Oil-free Skin Care."

Vanity: If you could choose just three products out of your entire collection to recommend to my readers, what would they be?

Veroushka: Hmmm…that’s a difficult one because each one of us is different. If someone suffers of cold sores then for sure they need to see how amazing the Cold Sore Relief is. If someone has troubled skin, then the Antiseptic Cleanser used along with the Spot Treatment is awesome!
I also recommend most women the Fabulous Four combo. This combo of products makes for a complete skin care regime and every one of the products are very popular on their own as well. 
Vanity: You can also customize all of your products.  Can you do this even if the client is unable to visit your actual studio?
Veroushka: Women will send me pictures of their skin, sometimes I don’t even get to see a full face and they give me the details. What their skin is like, how their skin reacts to certain unhealthy products and especially the result they hope for. And yes, I can customize their products and recommend a skin regime do bring out the best of their skin.
I receive countless emails from women telling me how they love their vibrant, healthy skin and that it’s never been that great etc.. and they also share some more intimate health or skin problems and that’s when I customize their products.
Vanity: When we met in person, I was absolutely impressed with your skin.  What is your personal skincare routine (both morning and evening)? Also, have you found it more difficult to maintain your complexion in the warm, humid weather?
I had to crop myself out of this one, but how beautiful is Veroushka?
Veroushka: If I shower in the morning and it’s not my day to exfoliate, I simply use the tips of my fingers to scrub off the grime (especially in Mexico where there is a lot of dust) and I do this with only the shower water. I don’t use soap of course.When I get out of the shower, I use my Aloe Vera Cleanser and then the Firming Therapy.
At night, I I use the Aloe Vera Cleanser again to remove the day’s grime and then I apply the Rejuvenating Night Serum which helps rejuvenate the cells and nourish my skin while sleeping. The formula of essences used in the RNS is also very meditative and relaxing so perfect for sleep!

I’ve also now added the Eye Therapy to my own skin regime. I didn’t use it because I thought my skin care regime was enough and in my case I’m doing okay in that area. I started using it due to the positive feed-back I was getting regarding the Eye Therapy. I knew the formula was really good and I’m glad to see it is doing exactly what I meant it to do, so that’s very encouraging. (Since I’ve written this, I must say I understand why all the positive feed-back on the Eye Therapy, I use it daily also now.)

A little extra from Veroushka: Women around the world are always looking to improve their skin health and many times they go to “commercial” products as there aren’t that many accessible places that offer completely natural skin care. Some of the commercial products may give great results but unfortunately, they eventually have negative side effects. And often these effects are irreversible!
So, again, the reason for the affordable Fabulous Four, complete skin care regime. I want women to know that there is such a thing as affordable clean, fresh, natural products that are also EFFECTIVE.
Since we didn’t get into “preservatives” used to preserve skin care products, let me just say that unless “oils” are used, there is no need for any chemical preservatives and if I prepare a custom formula which does require oil, I use a natural preservative that is not just harmless but has also some benefits to the skin.
So...In case this interview doesn't already have you convinced to try some of Veroushka's products, I recommend heading over to and sending her a message. If you have any questions, Veroushka is an incredible resource and who doesn't love to discuss skin care?