Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What a Blogging Friend's Been Up To . . .

Not sure how many years ago, but perhaps five or six, I started following a very cool young Toronto mom. Her urban lifestyle was very different from mine, her aesthetic much more streamlined and contemporary, but there was something about her sensibility that appealed, and she could really write. Even about bras, which she did, often. Usefully and very knowledgeably (and that was before she began making her own -- I know!)

At any rate, there I was, reading her regularly and throwing in a comment every once in a while, but quite conscious of myself as the older woman in the room, and an older woman often clad in my island-style gumboots, if you will. But my comments were received welcomingly, and bit by bit I felt I was adding something to the discussion, and then one day there was an email in my virtual letterbox from Kristin. I didn't recognize the name at first, but realized that the note was from my "blogging friend," and since that first email we've corresponded a fair bit. When Paul and I were preparing for a visit to Amsterdam, for example, she emailed to say we really had to check out DeKas restaurant and the bar in the Dylan Hotel. We did both, and had one of our most memorable meals ever at the former and a lovely visit at the latter.

That first email might have been about knitting. I've been knitting since I was five so experience? Yeah, I got that. But K? She started about four or five years ago and was designing her own sweaters within a year. Okay, yes, she'd begin with another design as a template, but she'd tweak that template to surprising places based on her own math, carefully calculating possibilities I'd never consider going to -- I'm pretty much a cast on and follow the pattern knitter. Still, she emailed me for help working out a stitch the first time she tried lacework, and she's thrown a few questions at me since.

And then there was the sewing. I sewed a fair bit during my child-rearing days, and if I put my mind to it, I can (and have) make dresses, jackets, pants, skirts. I've put in invisible zippers, made decent buttonholes, French seams, lined skirts (but avoided lining jackets). Kirstin? Made all of those garments, took on all of those techniques in her first year of sewing. Check out this post for an example of what she brings to the process.

Why all this background, you're asking by now perhaps. Why would you care about some blogger's cleverness, especially if you're not a knitter or a sewer. Well, this talented young woman has now applied her seriously A-type personality to making skin-care products which are not only efficacious (that is, they work damn well!) but they're also made with stuff we can feel okay about and they're surprisingly affordable, especially when compared to their drugstore and spa counterparts. I was first beneficiary of this new project when K sent me a sample of her lip balm, the first potion she whipped up, I believe. She sent it to me this past spring, at a time when she wasn't thinking of selling, but merely applying do-it-yourself skills to her own need for lip balm. Having to buy some of the ingredients in larger quantities than made sense for personal use only, she thought they'd make good gifts. I know I was pleased with mine. In fact, here's what I said about it on her post announcing that she'd decided to Etsy the lipbalm: "Your lip balm is the bomb! I know, I know, but who could resist. Seriously, I loved this light but so effective product. Just the perfect amount of scent (a lovely gentle mint). As pendlestitches says, it leaves no sense of weight, or of a barrier, on the lips. You nailed this one, K!"

Since then, predictably given her earlier learning curves with knitting and sewing, Kristin didn't just stop at lipbalm. When I got back from Paris last month, there was another package in my mailbox. A beautifully packaged (I'm partially to cobalt glass) duo of Serum and Hydrosol. I'm not going to attempt to list the ingredients in the Serum or describe what they're intended to achieve. I'll let Kristin do that for you, here. The Neroli Hydrosol, I can tell you, is essentially just a hydrating water spray, but it's elevated by the addition of the wonderfully fresh-smelling Neroli (so slightly orange, hint-of-floral) which Kristin advises is good for oil control and, apparently, sometimes used for acne control as well.

What I will tell you is that I had just re-upped at the spa, only two weeks before my mailbox surprise, and the Serum I'd picked up there (a splurge -- I don't usually bother with Serum but got seduced by the whole glorious Facial experience) was 5 (or is that 6?) times more expensive than the Serum A Kristin asked me to sample. And I love hers. The fragrance is deeply soothing, first of all, the ingredients skewing heavily to the therapeutic essential oils (again, go check out K's description for details. I apply 2 or 3 drops morning and night, mixing them with a spray or two of the Neroli Hydrosol. Rubbing the mixture in has become a pleasant routine -- the serum is clearly oil-based but it's not at all greasy and it absorbs easily into my skin. I let it sit for a minute or so before applying my day or night cream. I'm not going to say that I've noticed any huge changes to my skin in the month I've been using this combo. Wrinkles haven't been disappearing, and no one's said I look fifteen years younger.

But I would have made those same provisos about the way more expensive product. My skin has been tending toward dry, sometimes even feeling a bit drawn, and the recommendation at my last spa visit was for products that amp up the moisutre. Since I've been assiduously applying the Serum twice a day, I've felt none of that dry-tightness, and instead, my skin has felt happily supple, soft to the touch.

I'm going to pull back a bit now as I round out this post, as I'm not wanting to do a hard sell here, nor would K want me to. Many of you will have your own favoured line of skin care products you'd never deviate from, and many of you might be more like my pre-convert self, not bothering with complicated cosmetic routines. But if you are intrigued, as I am, by the notion that a credible potion can be made by an individual who does her research -- putting in only as much of the non-"natural" as is necessary to keep a product working safely -- then I'd highly recommend you check out Kristin's Curio Line of skin-care products. (I've just ordered her body oil, and I'm thinking the new Baby Massage Oil would make a really great shower gift.

So there you go. I'm hardly being paid to "advertise" the benefits of Kristin's wares, but I have had a chance to sample the lip balm, the Serum A, and the Neroli Hydrosol, and I loved the three enough that I've actually trotted out my credit card and made my first-ever Etsy purchase (yes, really! I've managed to avoid it until now and it may be all downhill from this point!).  Even if you never intend to buy her skincare goods, I recommend a browse through K's blog. Lots of fun, lots of knowledge, sometimes way more info than anyone could ever imagine on a topic, and always good writing and a sassy energy. Tell her I sent you.

(meanwhile, in case you're curious, we're over in Vancouver doing way too many things. My lower lip is sporting a cold sore the size of a small town, my very predictable response to stress or fatigue or too much sun -- and we've had the whole trio. Having fun, though, and will try to share some here soon. Ta-ta. . . .


  1. K's a unique voice, to be sure, and I too am intrigued by her new line.

  2. I found Kristin's blog a few months ago when someone pointed me to her post on yoga. I don't sew or knit so I only skim those posts, but even I can tell that she's very talented. I've ordered a few of her products and I love them. I have the lip balm and the salve. All her products are soft and spreadable on the skin, never greasy. I have her neroli bodybojl, and it's heaven. The scent is lovely - all her scents are subtle. Best of all is her deodorant. You know how deodorants are so unpleasant to apply? Hers is as lovely as the other products. It's as effective as the light commercial deodorants, like tom's.

  3. Marie, thanks for sharing your experience with a wider range of her line. I must admit I'm pretty wedded to a standard antiperspirant despite the warnings often sounded. Good to know that K's is a credible alternative to light deodorant. Someday, perhaps I'll chance a try....

  4. I'm intrigued. And I need to catch up with K as well.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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