…if you do now, you’re going to see tiny little flecks of goodness reminiscent of the very best vanilla bean ice cream. You may even note a golden caramel swirl in this galaxy of pudding-like goodness. Let me introduce you to the gorgeousness of our new cacao oleoresin! We have a new and very special source of this precious and integral ingredient and I’m telling you, this evolution is something to celebrate.
I believe in cacao as more than just a special sweet treat or even as an ingredient to lend a hunger-inducing scent to the pudding-like yumminess of The Honey Mud. I respect and regard its medicinal value.
There is a reason I include an element of cacao in seven of our eight formulas. If I have a signature, the glory of this bean is certainly a part of it. Cacao is loaded with healthy fats and acids, magnesium, and active nutrients to protect, promote and renew skin cell tissue. A plethora of antioxidants neutralize free radicals, preventing damage to collagen, elastin and other proteins in the skin.
I have spent an entire year seeking a maker who would delicately extract our precious cacao in a way that would preserve and honor its full integrity. What I was looking for seemed impossible. Nearly all of the cacao on the planet is produced for consumption in the massive food and fragrance industries, where the priority is strictly to maximize aromas and flavors with aggressive toasting processes. Unfortunately, the excessive heat used to achieve the characteristic chocolate scent you are accustomed to greatly diminishes the nutritional value of this precious food ingredient. It was an uphill battle to find a producer who is instead dedicated to the gentle extraction and distillation of aromatic raw materials that preserve and honor the bean’s high antioxidant content.
I am committed to ever-increasing my quality standard, taking every challenge as an opportunity to dig deeper into our core values.
After many fruitless months searching the world, testing cacao samples from a zillion vendors, navigating ingredient adulteration and dilution and the underbelly of labeling loopholes that plague our industry, I am welcoming into our family an incredible maker who is now masterfully and exclusively crafting the most amazing RAW cacao oleoresin for us FRESH on demand (unheard of!). I can say without hesitation this is the best of the best. I could do cartwheels over what this means for the enrichment of our favorite multitasker.
Each fleck and swirl you see now contain more of the great healing power of this superfood than ever before.
I’ve fallen hopelessly in love with the nuanced aroma of our bespoke cacao and how it dances within this iteration of The Honey Mud. The aromatic result of this gentle processing is a true raw cacao scent that develops over time within each unique jar to read as a more subtle, gorgeous honeyed hot chocolate, rather than the sweeter, toasted-liqueur profile of its predecessor.
Our fresh-made cacao oleoresin began making its way into our first new batches of The Honey Mud and The Jasmine Garden beginning in July.
The first batch of The Honey Mudto receive the new cacao was #172851. The 28 is the week number (the 28th week of 2017, which is mid-July), so anything that began with 17 (the year) and then a number less than 28 (the week) would be our original cacao, and anything from 28 and above is our new cacao.
The Jasmine Garden also now receives the goodness of this new cacao as of batch number 172971 (year 2017, week 29). The aromatic difference is slight in this formula – only the higher antioxidant and nutrition level will be influenced directly, in the best way.
The delays to finally bring you our long-awaited The Pendulum Potion were in direct relation to my drive to offer this treat at its highest possible quality level from day one, with zero concessions. The Pendulum Potion is exactly as I dreamed and includes our new oleoresin, where it integrates beautifully into this special formula.
The Good Stuff will continue to utilize the very last of our original cacao reserves out of respect to the specific olfactory contribution that is undoubtedly a primary feature of this sultry oil. When the final drops have been enjoyed, The Good Stuff will be retiring, opening up space in our carefully curated collection for a future vision. Get excited!
The update to our cacao oleoresin does not affect The Clean Dirt and The Problem Solver, which both utilize a sustainably sourced, Fair Trade, powdered cacao bean, rather than an extract or absolute.
Over the last decade, my team and I have been aspiring to infuse the most exquisitely sourced ingredients into each fresh batch. I’m endlessly proud that this is our unwavering foundation and mission.
I cannot wait for you to fall in love all over again, or for the very first time, with each experience of our intimately crafted treats.
Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for holding the space for me to create with no barriers, to truly give my all to bringing whimsy and delight into my work, and to being able to share the fruits of my love with you.
I cannot express how grateful I am for your support of what I do. This collection is my total dream ritual, and I am beyond delighted to introduce something I have worked so incredibly hard on with you. I am so excited for you to experience the beauty of steaming – what it can do for both your skin and spirit.
This time is for you. You deserve every precious moment.
Below, I take you into the ritual, step by step. These are guidelines. As with all things, I encourage you to play, to experiment, to discover what delights your individual skin.
I am always here if you need me. Do reach out, I love hearing from you. It is truly an honor to give you my care.
1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, and gently fill your steam vessel 1/3 to 1/2 full.
2. Add 1-2 Tbsp. of Chinatown Lover facial tea to the vessel and steep for 2-3 minutes.
3. Slowly lower your face into the opening of the bowl, allowing the curved sides to cradle you safely.
4. Drape your silken scarf around you, tucking the edges to fully lock in the steam.
5. Rest and breathe deeply for 10 minutes, or as desired. Savor this. Feel your breathe fill your body with fresh oxygen. This is your time.
6. Rinse skin with warm water.
7. Massage I am Love beauty oil into wet skin, immediately following your steam ritual. Allow the warm skin to drink in all the goodness.
8. Acknowledge your beauty. You are infinitely worthy.
9. Sweep I am Love scent experience over pulse points and anywhere you wish to bring a touch of delicious intoxication. Let your senses be captivated every hour of the day, keeping you grounded in this ritual and to the sensuality of your skin.
1. Bring water to boil, and fill your desired cup or teapot.
2. Suspend tea in the water (1/2 tsp. per cup), and steep for 3-5 minutes.
3. Savor on its own, or sweeten with a bit of raw honey as desired. Indulge hot or chilled.
January welcomed in a new year, and with it, lots of new developments and excitement. It also brought a visitor to the studio, Elli Dragoi. Elli is a phenomenally inspiring photographer, stylist and beauty and wellness enthusiast. I had the honor to host her for a two week internship, and we had way too much fun over those fourteen days. She’s home now in Toronto and we are missing her dearly. To tide us over, I had to share this beautiful interview and photos she captured during her stay.
Breath. Love. Dream. Close your beautiful eyes and pamper yourself with the most decadent ritual ever made. I am very honoured and grateful to be the first to bring to you this very intimate interview with May Lindstrom chatting all about her just-released Special Limited Edition Collection. The Steam Collection is an experience for your skin, a ritual that is healing, calming and infused with love. If you haven’t seen this yet, feast your eyes as this is a labour of love and a very special collaboration with two other truly inspiring artisans. Together, they introduce a ritual infused with sensuality, one that will bring out the gorgeous goddess that has been hidden in you all along. Did I mention there are only 50 of these available to take home worldwide?!
I was lucky to be in Los Angeles as this collection was being created. I had the enchanting opportunity to watch May formulate I Am Love. Friends, I have to share with you the Scent Experience is so delicious, so heavenly and by far the most sensual scent I’ve ever put on my skin. Before we get to the interview, it is with such pleasure that I share with you the making of the Steam Vessel, handmade by Los Angeles clay artist Melissa Brown. I was able to capture these precious moments of Melissa making the clay vessel in her home studio surrounded by meyer lemon trees. Can I live here forever?
Incredible, right? I now bring to you a very special moment.
Through the Lens with May Lindstrom
Elli: As a little girl growing up, what scents resonated with you the most and still do to the present day?
May: Is it funny if I say dirt? Truly, earth itself has the most magical scent. I grew up in Northern Minnesota, with a iron-rich red clay covering my land. I can easily recall the tinny, mineral-heavy scent, steeped in dampness from the river that danced through the property. And green, so much green. I was raised in a forest and the aromas of pine, oak and birch run through my blood. Nature offers an olfactory experience that is so far beyond what we can hope to recreate. This has always been my inspiration. I want to touch these parts of our subconscious, inspire the reveal of sensory memories and build new ones. Today I am much the same as I have always been. The earth moves me, and directs my vision. I am constantly influenced by the discovery of new plants and their essential oils, of spices, herbs and sweet honey…
Elli: I believe in adding calming and healing ingredients to create an experience that both the mind and body benefit from it. I feel that the new limited collection delivers a unique and special experience that encapsulates tranquility, self-love and intimacy. What feeling flows through you when you think of this collection?
May: Oh, Elli. This is my DREAM collection. Steam is such a magical and powerful thing and I am beyond delighted to introduce such a gorgeous new element to my ritual. This is the epitome of indulgent skincare – a routine that really forces you to slow down, to literally just sit with yourself and breathe into your self care. The vessel itself is a work of art. When I immerse myself in an evening treat of this steam, the tea, the oils, the silken scarf… I feel like such a woman. Beautiful, serene, steady and strong. I feel powerful when I’m given the space to tune in to myself in such an intimate way.
Elli: There is something really magical about the scents throughout this collection. I fell deeply in love immediately upon witnessing you formulate the pieces in this ritual. What should your clients anticipate when they receive this handcrafted limited edition gift set?
May: Scent is an integral part of how I formulate. It is foundational in my blends, something to root the experience, and inspire the romance. This collection is particularly aromatic – warm, sensual, with the kind of sweetness that you want to lean in close to partake in. The I am Love duo, with both the beauty oil and the scent experience, are particularly inviting. This is the kind of scent that whispers, and weaves itself into your subconscious, delicately painting magical moments deeply into your memory.
Tea is quiet and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty. James Norwood Pratt
Elli: As part of a tranquil practice, the tea medley is used as a luxurious healing steam experience for the skin, but you can also enjoy the tea brewed. Can you touch on some of the ingredients and their benefits on our overall wellbeing?
May:Introducing steam formally and front and center to my ritual is something I feel very passionate about. The benefits are tremendous – this practice increases your blood circulation, stimulates perspiration and detoxification, deeply hydrates and delivers nutrients to your skin. Equally important is the time-out itself. Taking these moments to devote purely to our breathing is immensely important. Your stress levels and hormones will drop, you will feel anxiety melting away, and a beautiful calm is revealed. Chinatown Lover was inspired by the the fondness I’ve discovered for the little neighbourhood that has become my second home. We moved into our Chinatown studio one year ago on Valentine’s Day, and it really has been a love story. The community here has embraced us, and I selected each of the special ingredients to create this blend from my neighbors and their fantastically inspiring shops brimming with special teas, flowers, herbs and potions. Chinatown Lover is brimming with yumminess – jasmine flowers, China rose, kunlun chrysanthemums, roasted barley, hibiscus, rosehips, varietals of oolong and green teas… It’s a complex and delicious blend, nourishing and loaded with goodness for skin, both internal and external. A deeper exploration of the tea ingredients and their many benefits will be featured on my blog shortly, be sure to check it out!
Elli: The “I Am Love” beauty oil was part of a limited edition from last year, can you tell us why you chose to re-launch it again?
May: I truly couldn’t help it! I’m enamored with I am Love. I created this originally as a total sensory treat. I wanted something that was simply indulgent, creamy, thoroughly enjoyable. I formulated this for pleasure. What I didn’t realize was how much my skin would absolutely love it. From the first use, I noted a visible difference in my complexion. I felt extra soft, supple, calm, and my results improved day after day. After the release of the very limited edition (only 35 sets were created), my inbox started to flood with inquiries from those who missed it and desperately wanted to secure a bottle, and with love notes from clients who had been in the lucky 35 and couldn’t get enough. The very strong consensus was that this was a winner, and we all wanted more. When I started piecing together this year’s collection, I played around with other blends, but ultimately my heart knew this was the one. It’s special, and exactly the potion that best compliments this deeply romantic and beautiful collection.
Elli: The scent is truly captivating and you truly don’t want the ritual to stop with the beauty oil. You included a delightful “I Am Love” fragrance made with essential oils to wear throughout the day. Are you considering launching a set of fragrances in the near future?
May: I can’t give away any secrets, but I will say that it’s certainly an idea I love. Scent is powerful, and play in this direction fully resonates with me. I have dreams about what this might look like, and I’m excited to start exploring if the reality can meet my incredibly high expectations.
Elli: I want to touch on the handmade clay bowl. This piece of art is made by local artist, Melissa Brown whom I had the pleasure of meeting. She created a beautiful vessel for this experience that takes your facial experience to the next level. Can you share your thought process to include this bowl in the collection?
May: This bowl is the very essence and foundation of this collection. It’s truly stunning – no photo or video could do justice to what an incredible vessel this is. The bowl is generously sized, with an opening perfectly designed to softly cradle your face as you lean into the steam. The sides are soft and sloping, beautiful for the eyes and satisfying to your touch. The variation and textures of the greys quite literally give me goosebumps. I have several of these bowls in my house – for my steam ritual of course, but also as a table centerpiece. It’s gorgeous to float tealight candles or flower buds in, to fill with fresh fruit, homemade pasta or a mountain of beautiful greens for a showstopping salad. It’s an art piece, a conversation piece, the perfect gift, and an excuse to bring something beautiful into any room of your home.
Elli: Can you tell us about the scarf included in this collection?
May: Melissa, who makes our bowls, sent me a link to Shellie’s instagram many months ago. I was immediately enamored, and absolutely determined to come up with any reason at all to collaborate on a project together. Her work is an inspiration. Shellie sources gorgeous reclaimed silk from India, and then dyes each piece by hand. If this wasn’t special enough, she blends her own dyes, utilizing plants rather than synthetic colorants – many of these plants she personally forages! Our scarlet scarf is dyed with historically rich madder root, utilized for it’s colorant properties since Egyptian times. This silk is perfect for holding in the steam and warmth during your facial, while still being light and airy enough to allow you to breathe very comfortably. It’s also incredibly pretty to simply wear as a classic accessory, the deep red softly circling your neck and shoulders.
Elli: Can you share with me some of the rituals that help you nurture the self-love that you beautifully exhibit?
May: My absolute favorite Los Angeles getaway is to the Korean spas here. They are inexpensive, very functional and “no fluff”, and deeply rooted in self care as a vital daily practice, not simply as an indulgence. I try to go regularly, partaking in wet steams and dry saunas, charcoal oxygen rooms and havens filled with pink Himalayan salts. I scrub my skin until it’s fresh and pink, sweat and soak and nap. It’s total heaven. When I can’t get away for a day, I do all I can to recreate at least a taste of this at home – steaming over our special bowl, doing a deep exfoliation with The Clean Dirt, masquing with my favorite combination of The Problem Solver + The Honey Mud, massaging myself head to toe in delicious oils. I’ve learned that for me, this is a need. For me to be my best self, the best mother and wife and friend, for me to balance the joys and challenges of growing my business… these are my tools. My best self is the one that feels loved and cared for, first and foremost by me.
When I was around eight years old, I attended a birthday party for another young girl. There were tons of children at this party, but I had been sick earlier that week and had lost my voice. So there I was, silent and very very shy to begin with, and out comes the grandma of the house who puts her arm around me and leads me into her kitchen. We spent the day there, me wordless and grateful, and her sharing stories of her life and teaching me the deliciousness that is pavlova. She sent me home with a recipe that I made over and over for years, never forgetting that special day.
When I stumbled across the insanely tasty looking photo above, my heart fluttered a little and I knew that I had to share this pretty version with you. Be careful when you visit Eva’s blog – it’s a wonderland of gorgeousness and you won’t be able to pull yourself away. Make time for it.
& Viola Miniature Pavlovas
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 egg white, lightly whisked
2 dozen organic pansies
2 dozen organic violas
6 egg whites
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 cups whipped cream
pastry bag fitted with large open-star tip (optional)
To make the candied pansy & viola miniature pavlovas, start by candying the flowers. Lightly brush the petals of a flower with the egg whites. Sprinkle the superfine sugar over the flower until coated. Place on a wire rack to dry. Repeat this process until all of the flowers are candied. Allow to dry for 1 hour, or until the flowers feel crisp when poked.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, beat the 6 egg whites and salt until they begin to stiffen but aren’t dry. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time. Continue beating on high speed until the egg whites are shiny and thick, then fold in the vanilla extract and the corn starch.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Now, you can either use a spatula to simply spread the meringue into small 4-inch discs, or you can do it with a pastry bag to create the spiral pattern. To do it with the pastry bag, scoop the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with the open-star tip and fold the top several times. Secure the folded top in place with a small clip. Starting at the outside edge, spiral your way towards the center as you apply pressure to the bag to make a 4-inch in diameter spiral. Repeat this until you have used all of the meringue. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar to allow the pavlovas to cool slowly (this prevents cracking). Once cooled, remove the tray from the oven. To assemble, place the pavlova on the serving surface and spread a dollop of whipped cream on top of it. Place several of the candied pansies and violas on top of the cream and serve.
Summer has officially arrived, and with it, the need for treats that are as cool as they are tasty. When Mia, our in-house wild food foraging chef and general magic maker showed me this gorgeous recipe, I knew I had to share it with you.
This beauty is perfectly hydrating, lightly sweet, fit for even the fanciest company (or your children, minus the tequila!) and just a bit naughty.
With a few flourishes and your imagination, you can make these your own using this basic recipe.
Cucumber Mint-Lime Paletas
3 cups, seeded, peeled and roughly chopped cucumbers
1/2 cup water plus 2 tablespoons (reserved)
1/4 cup raw, washed organic sugar
1 tablespoon honey or brown rice brown syrup (to prevent crystallization)
A few sprigs of fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon agar agar powder or Vegan Jel (to prevent rapid melting, but you may omit)
The zest and juice of 4 limes
1/4 of a small jalapeno, seeded (optional)
A pinch of salt
In a high speed food processor, blend the cucumbers, 2 tablespoons water, mint, lime juice and zest and jalapeño until smooth. Reserve in blender. Add a bit more water if you need to loosen the mixture.
In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar, honey or rice bran syrup and dissolve over medium high heat. Once dissolved whisk in the agar or Vegan Jel rapidly until dissolved and bring to a boil, then turn off burner and remove from heat. Whisk to cool the mixture for a few minutes.
Pour the warm mixture into the food processor with the other ingredients and blend until very smooth. Pour immediately into molds and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before freezing to prevent crystallization.
The honey or rice bran syrup and agar agar prevent the paletas from crystallizing and melting too quickly and give an unctuous, slightly softer mouth-feel, but aren’t necessary if you prefer an icier pop. Cooling the mixture completely in the fridge before freezing is also key.
*Note: If you are using wooden or bamboo sticks (preferred), soak in water for at least 5 minutes first. This will prevent them from releasing from the paleta in the mold.
My favorite way to enjoy these paletas is with yogurt or dried fruit powder (crushed, dehydrated pineapple or tangerine is available at most natural markets) or cooling yogurt powder (available at specialty gourmet markets).
If you’d like to be ultra decadent (and you do!), drape your frozen wonders in an alcoholic film, finished with a sprinkle of habanero salt.
3/4 cups tequila or infused vodka or gin
2 grams of agar agar powder*
*Agar agar is a natural, seaweed-based thickening agent sold in most health food stores.
In a small saucepan, bring the alcohol and agar to boil over medium high heat, whisking rapidly. Boil for a minute. Once dissolved – and before it thickens, pour the alcohol mixture over a large flat plate or platter and swirl the plate gently so that you have an even, thin layer.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes and then cut the film with a sharp knife on the plate and gently lift the film pieces off. Place on top of your paleta and enjoy with a squeeze of lime and some good salt.
Get lost in Chef Mia Wasilevich’s world and visionary food at Wild Food Lab.
Today is a special day. It is a day of birthing, of breakthroughs, of leaping into the unknown. On July 31st of 2012, my sweet darling Talia Clementine danced into this world. She was tiny, a long and delicate creature who sang with the scent of cream pie filling and boiled baby potatoes fresh from the ground. She was vibrant with earthiness and the energy of soft and steady wind.
My baby girl has changed my world, sparked the kind of love you feel deep in the recesses of your gut, the kind that floods you and makes your head spin. The world has never felt so dizzy so complicated, challenging and blissed out. It has not been the easiest year, but it has been the best.
This time last July came with another huge milestone. The morning after my daughter’s perfect entrance, I received an email. It was a newsletter from Spirit Beauty Lounge, announcing the launch of May Lindstrom Skin, not twelve hours after giving birth in our home, not twelve hours after experiencing the most physically and emotionally intense experience of my life.
In under a day, I presented to the world my first born child, and also the baby of an idea I had held for years – what was now May Lindstrom Skin, a passion project I had poured every cent I could claim to my name and every ounce of energy and love and perseverance into. That day, this day, one year ago… I felt full and proud and happy and scared and so incredibly overflowing with all of it. I was shaken to my core and now, 365 days later, I am still dancing in the ripple, cascading with the waves and eb and flow and joyous challenge that comes with growing this business, this grand dream of mine, while raising this beautiful child and striving to be fully present with her magic, to give her the mother that I have felt welling up inside me since I was very small.
Photos by Caitlin Van Horn
She is teaching me, sharing lessons simply through her existence. Not yet able to walk, my angel is testing gravity, pulling herself to standing and then letting go. She trusts in a way that is beautiful and poetic. So new. She is fresh and ancient all at once, her tiny body not nearly prepared to contain her majestic spirit.
Today, I ask you to join me in raising both of my babies. You hear over and over throughout your life “it takes a village”. And now that I am here, I know without a doubt, that this is true. I can give every bit of myself to sweet Talia, and she will still need the stories and wisdom and love of those around her to fully form her ultimate self. She will need challenges and obstacles, infinite exploration and floods of inspiration. She will need me, her loving father, our friends and the souls she chooses as years go by. She will need you.
When I launched with my first retailer one year ago, I had no idea what would happen. It was as much a mystery as parenting turned out to be. Spirit Demerson believed in my vision, in my mission to introduce beautiful, loving, self care rituals into the lives of women, and she sought out my tiny little line with full confidence that her loyal clients would embrace it, and me. And they did. The amazingly supportive online community began to take notice, bloggers picked up on what I was doing and the effects of my creations and started writing about it, sharing and getting their readers excited. More retailers came. Suddenly my emails became a series of personal communications with clients, exchanges so intimate and trusting that I would sit silently with them, eyes clouded over and heart bursting. Suddenly, this itty bitty dream was a real company, albeit still a tiny one that I continue to operate out of my private home studio, my baby girl playing at my ankles. I am here, in a place I wouldn’t have had the courage to even imagine on my own. I am so incredibly thankful for each of you reading, for joining in, for celebrating and helping me to rise up. I hope you will continue to share with me, and to let me share with you in this new space. I am wide open. Lets build stories together.
Happy birthday my sweet Talia Clementine. Mama loves you so very much.
After many years of dreaming, I am finally able to sit for a moment and breathe in what it feels like to be truly on the verge of something. It’s an incredibly powerful, exciting and admittedly intimidating time for me.
I started formulating potions and beauty treats as a little girl. To me, there has always been something magical about plants and flowers, clays and salts, oils and lovely scented gifts plucked straight from nature. I grew up deep in the countryside in northern Minnesota and the bounty the land fostered still holds me in a state of awe.
At eight years old, I had no qualms about gathering red mud from puddles after a rainfall and slathering myself head to toe as I fantasized Cleopatra and regal women all throughout history did. A shallow river ran through my yard and I would sit immersed in a “chair” I built of smooth stones piled into a current, streams trickling over my young shoulders. I told myself stories of luxurious rituals and loved the peace in these moments hidden away from my untamed older brothers pretending to be Ninja Turtles in the forest next to me.
I recognized even then the power of taking a time out to concoct a beautiful experience, to indulge my senses and delight in the joys of my own skin. To do something entirely for me at that age didn’t seem so novel – it seemed the most natural and purely instinctual thing to do.
Today, I have a blessed and busy life that is often as chaotic as it is wonderful and I am constantly reminding myself to carry on the rituals that feed the romance I have with my own self. When I make the time, I am a different woman.
I created this line to inspire other women (and men!) to claim their space, to seek out pleasure and to find that treat that makes them feel simply delicious. Without a doubt beauty comes from within and my hope is that May Lindstrom Skin ignites in you the stuff daydreams and little girl fantasies are made of…. Oh yes, and that includes gorgeous skin that simply glows with healthy radiance!