Monday, September 20, 2010

Tips of the Trade: Argan Oil

Before I left DC my hairdresser Angie turned me on to a wonderful product called Argan oil. Argan oil is derived from the nut of a UNESCO protected tree that grows in Morocco. It is harvested for sustainable growth and it is produced by a women's coop.

This wonder product has antioxidant properties and Vitamin E and is used for both cosmetics and flavoring. I can only speak for its use as a daily leave-in-conditioner, but boy does it work miracles. A tiny drop and my hair is protected from the sun, from heat styling, and feels soft and smooth all day. I'm convinced it allows me to go longer between showers, but this has not been verified. Unlike Jojoba oil, I can leave Argan Oil in my hair with no greasy residue or unpleasant odor. No more itchy scalp; no more frail, brittle hair. I highly recommend this product, even to men!

Here are links where you can purchase it in the States at Sephora (Josie Maran Argan Oil) or the less expensive version at Sally Beauty Supply (One n Only Argan Oil Treatment). Farmers have started to plant Argan trees in the Negev desert, but I haven't yet decided on the best local brand.

Do you have a favorite beauty secret? Do you love using natural products? Do share your tips!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy New Year!

It is the time of the high holidays in Israel now. Seriously, the month of September is FULL OF HOLIDAYS. That means a lot has happened since my last blog post. We're continuing to explore the city, finding new restaurants, grocery stores, and street markets. I'm happy to report that we're making good friends already. And I am finally starting to get the hang of my job. I'm getting faster and asking my colleagues less annoying questions throughout the day. We've had some pretty exciting moments over the past two weeks, which include:

1. Attending my first "national day" as an official American diplomat. My husband and I went to a celebration for the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

2. Sitting on the port and eating brunch for literally three hours. It was so relaxing, I think I could have stayed there for days. In fact, we have had several great dining experiences and are itching to get the rest of our cooking supplies so that we can have friends over for home-cooked meals.

3. Walking in the streets of the city... literally walking in the middle of the street. Today was Yom Kippur when the Jewish community fasts and dresses in white. No one is allowed to drive a motorized vehicle and everyone goes out into the streets walking, roller blading, and riding bikes. What an eerie and peaceful atmosphere!

So much is happening so fast! I had a dream last night that all my friends from DC showed up unexpectedly for breakfast and we sat on my porch drinking coffee. What a wonderful thought...

Friday, September 10, 2010

By the river

The colors of this scene caught my eye during a recent walk down the Yarkon river. I was on a rowing team for four years and toyed with the idea of joining a club here. I haven't seen any actual crews on the river yet. It is too hot to do anything athletic except in the early morning.

Alternatively, I found the perfect yoga studio around the corner from my apartment. Whatever I choose, I need to get my butt in motion. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mountains or Beach?

"Are you a beach person or a mountain person?" A friend asked on one of my last nights in DC.

"I like both." I responded, without much though.

"But, you can't be both. Which would you be if you had to pick one?"

"I guess beach... or maybe a giant lake by a mountain... to live or vacation? Wait, why can't I be both?"

Having lived near the beach for almost a month now, I still can't decide. Can't a girl just be both?

Friday, September 3, 2010

In the neighborhood

There are lots of lovely things about our neighborhood, including this chic vespa. Oddly enough, vespas are not as common here as I would have expected. Most of the women drive these large, fearsome motorcycles... on the sidewalks.