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Sep 02nd
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The E-scent-uals

 

jasmineThere’s a lot of crap that goes into conventional perfumes. Nasty chemicals, synthetic fragrances, alcohol—you name it (see a more detailed list here: ourlittleplace.com/chemicals.html). Not to mention they’re often overwhelming and annoying to anyone within 10 feet of the wearer.

Why cloud yourself in that crud when there are so many tantalizing, more subtle scents found in nature? That’s my thinking, anyway. There are plenty of natural perfumes and spritzes on the market, but I prefer roll-on natural oils. My current favorites are from Inesscents, a brand that can be found at most of our local natural foods stores as well as online at inesscents.com. And contrary to what one may think, “natural perfume oil” doesn’t just mean patchouli (although they sell that, too). Inesscents offers a wide selection of alluring floral, fruity, musky and otherwise olfactory-pleasing fragrances. I’m crazy about the Jasmine Sandalwood and Sudanese Coconut and Vanilla varieties (a few dabs on the wrists and neck go a long way), but they make it easy for new customers to find their own personal favorites with the five-item sampler pack available for only $8 on their website. I recently went for the Inesscents seven-item body butter sampler pack ($5.25) on a quest to find the right Inesscents lotion for me. I’m leaning toward the Magic Mango Butter Rose Sandalwood—a blend of their Magic Mango Butter (made from the seed of the mango fruit), jojoba oil, and essential rose and sandalwood oils. The tiny sample jar is almost gone, and I may just spring for the full-size. At only $7.75, it’s an affordable luxury. The company also sells African Black Soap (which this eco-beauty blogger is dying to try), a pure soap with no animal fats or chemicals that is made from cocoa pods, plantain peels and natural oils. It’s said to work wonders on skin, and is used traditionally in Africa for everything from rashes and acne to eczema and body odor. More on that soon. Share your favorite natural scents in the comments section below.

 

 

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

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With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Foodie File: Beer Thirty

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What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

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Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.