Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Art of Dry Skin Brushing

Since transitioning my ways into the all natural path, I have found myself looking and yearning to learn for more organic/all natural methods to benefit my lifestyle. Nothing wrong with that. It's a good obsession I might say. Gone are the days when I would  spent hours perusing Sephora or trying on every lipstick at the MAC Make-up counter in Nordstroms. I am over that phase for now. My wallet is thanking me and B too:-).  Now, I am all natural baby just the way B would prefer! HAHA!

A month ago, I got myself a Yerba Prima Tampico Skin Brush from a local grocer, Mom's Organic Market, that specializes in selling everything organic. A competition to Whole Foods, eh?. Of course I didn't buy it just because I wanted to have a loofah handy.  I had dry skin brushing in my mind, which I have been wanting to try ever since reading the various benefits it has.
Photo courtesy of
What is dry skin brushing if you ask? Well let's break it down one by simple layman's term, you brush your skin while it's dry before showering to remove the top layer of dead skin and to stimulate the circulation of blood. It's recommended that this method should be done in the morning prior to showering but with my hectic schedule, I have been doing it every night and morning during the weekends. I don't think it really makes a huge difference.  Although, after a month of dry skin brushing, I started feeling my skin becoming clear. The first time I tried it, I brushed myself to death (j/k) and I started slowly noticing the top layer of dead skin being removed by the brush. I was amazed at how much gunk I had on top of my skin. It almost looked like dust that's accumulated over time. HAHA! So far, I have been using it religiously prior to showering and I can't remember the last time I have applied body lotion on my skin.  My skin, however, has maintained its smoothness and suppleness (the brush is hard at first, but the more it's being used, the softer it gets). It's so cheap and chic:-) I love it! Think of how much you'll save from all that toxic body lotion.

Skin brushing supposedly has been used throughout the world for centuries and it's one of th best ways to clanse the skin without removing the protective mantle of acid and oils. It gently and effectively removes the top layer of dead skin cells and deeply cleanses the pores. According to the description of skin brushing, it is one of the most powerful ways to cleanse the lymphatic system. Waste material is carried away from the cells by the blood and the lymph. Skin brushing stimulates the release of this material from the cells near the surface of the body. Eventually, most of the toxins along with their carrier cells, primarily lymphocytes, find their way to the colon for elimination. Skin brushing is also used by beauty salons as part of a program for removing cellulite. I am not sure about this as I don't really have problems in this department. LOL!.

Friends, if you are looking for cheap ways to improve the look and feel of your skin, this might work for you. However, skin brushing is most effective with an all-natural vegetable fiber brush, which can be purchased at any organic store and Amazon even sells them too.  And skin brushing has an art to it. Make sure that you brush towards your heart and start from your feet upward. There are videos on youtube that shows tutorial on how to do it properly. 

If you want to learn more information on dry skin brushing, click here.

I hope you learned something new. Have a great Wednesday. Bisous, Contessa

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tales of a Geisha

The closest thing I can get to being a Geisha is this Japenese Kimono that was gifted to me by my cousin, Infanta. Yes, if am Contessa, then she is my Infanta. LOL! Let me just clear that I am in no way shape or form a Japanese Geisha. I am not an accomplished entertainer nor do I aspire to be. I will consider myself an accomplished shopper though. That I am good at:-). HA!HA! But hey, one doesn't need to be a professional Geisha to be able to wear a Kimono anymore. 

This traditional Japanese outfit has become the latest fashion trend this year.  Whether it is a jacket, cardigan, dress, or blouse, the kimono print is making waves in the runway this season. It's perfect to pair with a plain t-shirt, jeans or even shorts. It totally adds jazz to a simple and plain outfit. 

If I were you, I'd start my hunt for a kimono print now. I've had this Kimono since last year and no doubt, the style will never die. 

For more pictures, please visit my lookbook page and my cousin on FB. Please click the link below and also don't forget to like our "page."  

Thanks so much mis ames. 

Bisous, Contessa

Friday, April 29, 2011

Eating Well - South Pacific Shrimp

Please tell me that you missed me? I missed you all ever loyal and supportive readers.  I know I have been missing in action in the blogosphere. I have good reasons for my absence, though. That would have to be divulge at a later post. HE!HE!
Even my cooking has been affected as well. I haven't been preparing anything spectactular especially for my "Around the World with Contessa" segment.  One thing that I can tell you is that I have been mostly cooking healthy food (like always). 

I bought a new recipe book, "Eating Well," which features recipes that are for the health conscious. I love that I have various options and recommendations in preparing my proteins. In the past, I would usually eat the same prepared meal three times a week (grilled, baked, grilled, baked). So in my next upcoming posts, I will feature most of the recipes that I have adapted from the book.


The above photo does not do justice of how tasty this South Pacific Shrimp was.  For all you rice lovers out there, this will definitely go well with rice. And if you love coconut milk? This one's for you too. :-)

First marinade one pound of jumbo shrimps in 1/3 cup lowfat coconut milk (you can use regular if your prefer), one teaspoon minced fresh ginger, 1 clove minced garlic, 2 teaspons coconut soysauce (regular soy sauce will do), 1/4 cup lime juice, 2 jalapeno peppers (seeded and minced), and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Leave this marinating for 20 minutes. 

Heat 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and cook shrimp (maybe 30 seconds per side as shrimp does not take long to cook). Transfer to a plate. Sautee chopped seeded tomato and four cups of baby spinach in the pan where you just cooked your shrimp. Add the reserve marinage to the tomato and spinach. Stir until wilted. Return the shrimp and mix together. Serve immediately over hot steamed rice. Or dip some toasted pita bread on it. Yum and Healthy!

Happy Friday and promise, I will get back to blogging regularly soon.

Bisous, Contessa

Monday, April 18, 2011

Welcoming the Spring

Spring is my most favorite time of the year. I love that aesthetics of it. I could spend all day appreciating the blooms of the flowers and the greenery of the field. Spring really brings back the beauty of the nature that's been in hibernation during the dead of winter.

Just as much as I appreciate the blooms and the coolness of the weather, the pretty and colorful outfits are really what I look forward to every Spring. HEHE! So allow me to share with you a quick outfit post from yesterday. I was on my way to the grocery store and I couldn't help but take the camera out for a spin (supposedly to take picture of the Cherry Blossoms, lol). Thanks to my SIL who agreed to be my photog. HEHE! Looking at these pictures, I just realized that I am wearing some of Spring's fashion essentials. I've got my Indigo blazer, floral shirt, nude wedge, dark denim, and messenger shoulder bag. Now mind you, these clothes are from two years ago. I guess, I was already thinking ahead when I purchased them then. LOL! Please enjoy:-)










Bisous, Contessa

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oven Bake Flounder

Pardon me for the last of post this week. The weather in DC has been crazy. One day it's hot and then the next it's rainy and pouring. Sad to say that sometimes it affects my mood:(. LOL! Not too mention, I haven't been cooking that much. But I have been juicing a lot hahaha! I will do another post on that. 

For the meantime, here is a simple, high protein, and low carb, oven baked
 Flounder I made for Friday's fasting.  I also made the tartar sauce to go along with it. The fish can be accompanied with chips (aka oven fries if you don't care for carbs) or any salad combination. I served mine with avocado salad. A much healthier choice if I may add:-). 

Oven Bake Flounder
Two fillet of flounder 
Almond Meal Flour (can be substituted with Panko bread crumbs if you want it super crispy)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Season fish wit salt and pepper and brush it with olive oil on each side. Then roll the fish in the almond flour. Bake in a 400 degree oven for less than 15 minutes. Fish doesn't take that long to cook and be careful in over baking it. It will get dry and rubbery. 

Tartar Sauce
Fat Free Sour Cream
Dijon Mustard
Honey Mustard
Finely chopped cornichons or pickles
Lemon Juice
Red Wine Vinegar
Stevia (regular sugar or honey will do)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine together all the ingredients and let it refrigerate. Just take it out of the fridge when you are ready to serve. Just put a dollop of it on top of the flounder. 
Avocado Salad
Two organic avocado chopped in cubes
10 grape tomatoes cut in half
Lettuce, spinach or any green will do. 
Yellow red bell pepper (this is what I had on my pantry at that time I made this)
Combine together and splash white balsamic vinegar or you can mix the tartar sauce with it. It's good either way. 

This is my choice for breading. It's lower in carbs and high in food fat, which we get from almonds. 

Happy Sunday! Bisous, Contessa

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grilled Chicken Sandwich Pesto

For those of you who are looking for an alternative way of preparing grilled that your children and hubby will eat, my grilled chicken sandwich pesto is what you are looking for. will knock your socks off. Not only it's tasty but also great for the health conscious. 
Usually during the week, I usually find myself preparing the same meal over and over. Baked fish, grilled chicken, grilled know the deal! Meal that doesn't take over 30 minutes of cooking.  And this week while I was marinating some chicken breast prior to grilling, it dawned on me that I have been eating the same way over and over. LOL! So I thought that it was time to add a little twist.  Let me confess first that this sandwich was for B. I had mine without the bread. HAHA!  


Two all natural chicken breasts. Seasoned with salt, pepper,and paprika. Grill each side for 3 minutes until the middle is cooked. Then slice thinly. Set it aside.
Organic baby bella mushrooms cleaned and sliced about half an inch.
Spinach (or any other greens like arugula or lettuce)
Tomato Pesto or Roasted tomato hummus (makes a different to the taste)
Low fat cheddar cheese (or almond cheddar cheese if you choose to go dairy free)

Spread the tomato pesto on each side of bread. Now the fun part is layering all the ingredients. If you have children, you can let them join in the fun and have them layer their own sandwich according to what they like. I added the spinach, then grilled chicken, then mushrooms and topped it with slices of cheese. Bake in the 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and bread is golden and crispy.  The whole process took less than 30 minutes. If B enjoyed every bite of it, you will too.


Have a great Thursday.  Bisous, Contessa

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pre-Opening Tour of the New Whole Foods Market

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I am a self-professed Whole Foods lover. Imagine my excited when I got the invitation above. Not everyday that you get an invitation like this. My humble blog is finally getting noticed. I was beyond ecstatic to be part of the "blogger" invitees in the pre-opening tour of my local Whole Foods Market. Their new store has taken it up a notch and I have the pictures below to prove you. A relocation/renovation has been long overdue. Not that I did not enjoy their old store. It's just that the location and the size weren't ideal. Now that they've expanded a million times larger (yes it's super huge and one can probably spend an entire day getting lost in between the different isles), I might have to changed my shopping routine from Mondays to Saturdays, where I can just spend all day without getting rushed. It will be heaven...oh I can't wait!


As soon as I walked inside the store, I was greeted by a different variety of fresh flowers. They had Roses, Orchids, Tulips, Ranunculus and Hydrangeas in different colors. It was absolutely a treat to look at. 



A variety of beans to choose from. 


They have a coffee connoisseur in store who travels around the world looking for the best coffee beans. If I recall, they had us tried freshly brewed coffee that cost $70/lb. I am not a coffee drinker so I can't really tell you if it was good or not. All I remember was that it was very strong.  




I died when I saw this. All kinds of mushrooms to choose from. I was in foodie heaven!




For people who have Celiac disease, Whole Foods has an extensive selection of gluten free products. Not only that but they make sure that local organic companies are also promoted throughout the store. 

Lots of options for smoke salmon lovers. I like it very much:-)


Their specialty department was ahhhh-mazing! I cant wait to try their different cheeses. 



Fresh home-made pastas were being sold by the pound. 


The bakery section does not need any description or introduction. I will let the pictures make you drool:-p




I was excited that they have Jurlique in their whole body department. 

I can really see myself hanging out here every weekend. Free wi-fi too! 

By the end of the floor tour, they had a table full of scrumptious spread waiting for the bloggers to feast on. 

This is what I had on my plate. I promise you that I didn't go for seconds though. HAHA! 

I hope you had a feast looking at all the pictures that I took. Although, these pictures don't do justice on how amazing and beautiful the store was. If you love going to the super market, the Whole Foods store in Rockville will give you a whole new meaning to food shopping. 

I just want to thank the Marketing Director and the Rockville Whole Foods team for their kindness and for the opportunity to take a sneak peak of the store before they opened it for the public. You guys rock! 

If you are in the Montgomery County area, don't forget to visit Whole Foods new location at 11355 Woodglen Drive, Rockville, MD. 

Bisous, Contessa