Favorite Natural Skincare: Mojo Spa Chicago

Today I just want to give a shout-out to one of my favorite places to find high-quality and all-natural skincare products: Mojo Spa in Chicago . Mojo Spa is an incredible place to visit. It’s bright and cheerful, with playful displays that make looking for the right skin (or hair) product like being a kid in a candy store. But what makes me go back again and again – and now order online – is the high quality of their products.

With over 200 natural handmade products, such as natural skincare, makeup, bodycare, haircare, artisan soaps, fragrances, bath products, and soy massage candles – all with clever names and cute packaging – Mojo Spa is a real treat for the senses. Here are some of my all-time favorites:

Skin Care

Hair Care

  • Beach Bum Texturizing Styling Cream This is the first product I tried at Mojo Spa, and I like it so much, I give it as gifts, and recommend it to everyone. It is the best for letting my curly hair dry in cool waves, and without frizz.
  • Medusa Frizz Taming Hair Oil I like this in the winter to keep my hair soft and smooth, without the static that comes from hats and over-heated buildings.

Body Care

  • Midas Touch Healing Hand Balm I put this on and then use gloves when I wash the dishes or clean. The heat from the gloves (or hot water) helps my hands absorb the balm, and I am left with soft, smooth hands, even after chores.
  • Nifty Nail Cure Enhanced Cuticle Oil Love this product! It has helped my runner’s toenails, which had gotten pretty rough-looking, to be clear and healthy enough to go without polish.

Makeup

  • Dark Twinkle Color-Adjusting Mineral Makeup I am fair-skinned, and this foundation seemed way too dark when I tried it at the store, but I love it. It is so sheer and leaves just a hint of color as it evens out my skin tone.
  • Sun Magic Setting Powder I hate when my face is shiny, and I am always looking for a face powder that leaves a matte finish that isn’t dull. This powder cuts the shine, but leaves a luminous finish that I love.

And I have to admit that while I was finding the links to all my favorite Mojo products, I found many more to try. Mojo Spa also has an in-house nail spa that has been featured in Allure and In Style magazines, something I’ll be trying just as soon as I can. For now, though, I am going to treat myself to a mask and a scrub, and wait for my next order to arrive!

Build Your Immune System Naturally

Bowls of yogurt topped with fruit demonstrate a healthy diet.

In addition to social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus, simple changes in diet can help boost your immune system and keep you as healthy as possible. Obviously if you are feeling ill, you should consult a medical professional. But if you are feeling OK and just want to be more prepared to fight any virus, there are natural ways to help boost your immune system:

Apple Cider Vinegar

Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink this blend once or twice each day. According to some health professionals and a lot of “old wives’ tales”, apple cider vinegar may change the pH balance of the body, making it less welcoming to viruses. While the research is inconclusive, I know that if I feel like I am fighting something, and I drink diluted apple cider vinegar, I feel better and usually avoid getting whatever is trying to make me sick. Be sure to drink it diluted, though, as otherwise it can harm your teeth.

Honey

Honey is an immune-building powerhouse, full of antioxidants and antibacterial and antifungal properties. According to experts, raw honey is better because it hasn’t been pasteurized, which destroys some of the phytonutrients. One caveat, however: you should never give honey to a baby (under 24 months) because of the risk of botulism. But for older children and adults, honey can boost the immune system, help with sore throats and healing wounds, and ease digestive problems. Add a tablespoon to the diluted apple cider vinegar for daily support.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic provide more than just good flavor to your dishes. They are filled with phytonutrients that boost the immune system. Like honey, they have antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, and they also are great for your cardiovascular system. Onions also have a gentle antihistamine effect when you have a cold. Add them liberally to whatever you are cooking!

Ginger

Ginger is another flavorful ingredient that does more than make food delicious. It has anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that can help soothe digestive issues and sore throats. Experts believe that its antimicrobial properties can also help ward off bacterial or viral infections. Make ginger tea by cutting small chunks or shavings of ginger root and boiling them in water to your desired strength. Add honey for an extra boost!

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

While all vegetables are good for you and contain phytonutrients that work with your immune system, dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, Swiss chard and kale, deserve a special mention. They are loaded with vitamin C, folate and other antioxidants that ward off infection and support a strong immune system. Saute these veggies with oil and garlic, add them to soups or salads, or use them as the base of a smoothie to make them a regular part of your daily diet.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc.) are a great source of vitamin C, which can help keep you healthy during cold and flu season. Experts agree that they also are a healthy source of fiber and potassium, and that they can help keep your body hydrated. Eat them fresh or drink their freshly-squeezed juice, and add them to salads to help keep your immune system strong.

The best medicine is and always has been a healthy diet. During these uncertain times, the only thing we can do is try to keep our bodies as strong as possible, so that we have the best chance of avoiding critical illness. Use these tried-but-true methods to ensure your immune system has as much support as possible.

Failure: A Spectacular Way to Grow

Failure is such an ugly word, and an outcome to be avoided at all costs. Isn’t it?

It seems that the older we get the fewer risks we want to take. Yet as we consider our own mortality, an urgency takes hold and we realize that if we don’t try now do something we’ve always wanted to do, it’s likely that we never will. This sobering thought can lead to a lot of mental wrestling. Could we succeed? What if we fail? Is it even worth it to try?

Yes.

I recently started reading a book called The Virtues of Failure by Charles Pepin (a French book that, unfortunately has not yet been translated into English). In it, Pepin outlines the many ways in which failure helps us grow. He gives example after example of how those who have accomplished much in their lives (J.K. Rowling, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Thomas Edison and Richard Branson, to name a few), are also those who have failed many times and often on a very grand scale. Each of them points to failure as a necessary part of their future success.

Failure helps us learn.

According to Pepin and all his famous examples, failure is not something to be avoided, but rather it is an indication that we are really living. We are taking chances and putting ourselves out there; and in the process, we are learning more about ourselves and the world we live in.

Failure helps us to learn more quickly and more thoroughly whatever task we are trying to accomplish. By trying and failing and trying again, we quickly absorb what work and what doesn’t, learning the nuances that can lead to greater success. If we aren’t trying and failing, what are we learning?

Failure helps us grow.

Failure helps to build and affirm our character. When everything is going well, our character isn’t tested. We don’t have to see what we’re made of or better yet, what we can become by asking ourselves the tough questions. How do you really feel about your job? Your partner? Your life? Is there a gap between where you are and where you know deep down you need to be?

Failure helps us become more of whom we are meant to be. In failure, we learn that we are stronger and more resilient than we knew. We see new qualities in ourselves and sometimes, new abilities. When life doesn’t come to a halt as a result of a failure, we are encouraged to challenge ourselves further, and to close that gap between who we are on the outside and who we are on the inside.

Failure can help us be a better person.

Failure humbles us and helps us see others with more compassion. We recognize that everyone has known failure at some point in their lives, or they haven’t really lived. More and more, we begin to admire the people who are willing to take a risk in life and see where a new path takes them. We want to help them and help ourselves do the same.

Failure teaches us about reality and shows us we can handle whatever comes our way. We learn that whatever hand has been dealt us is just a circumstance on which we can build the future we want.

Pepin says that if we dare to do anything, we are in fact daring to fail. Whether it is moving to a new community, taking a new job, launching a business, or finally allowing yourself to do the things you’ve dreamed about, whatever they may be – when you step out of your comfort zone, you are risking failure. The risk of failure is not to be feared, though, but embraced as a necessary step toward success.

As Ransom Riggs once famously said, “If you must fail, fail spectacularly!” It’s good advice for every stage in life.