Natural, safe & straight out of Paris!

 

daydry

DayDry Probiotic Deodorant

As some of you know, I’ve been struggling with health issues over the last couple of years. I have an autoimmune connective tissue disease. In order to slow down the progression of my illness, I need to take anywhere from 9-15 medications a day. This got me thinking that maybe I should be trying to reduce the other chemicals that enter my body via deodorants, etc. I’ve decided to share my story here, in case some of you are in the same situation as I found myself in, or if you are just trying to limit your exposure to aluminum salts, paraben, etc. In addition, this is the perfect place to share it, because my story has a Paris twist!

I began looking for natural personal hygiene products for myself and for my pre-adolescent children. They are at the age when this kind of thing becomes an issue, and I wanted to limit their exposure to chemicals out there as much as possible.  I know we can’t stop everything, but this is an area where we can actually protect them from the start.

Thus began 8 months of hit and miss research which left us feeling deflated. I searched blog after blog for ideas and recipes. Out of desperation, we comically began trying to make our own homemade deodorants. Yes, you can laugh. Thank goodness my dear sweet man felt the same way about all of this as I did, or perhaps he would have had me taken away as lunatic as I applied concoctions of essential oils and baking soda or when I rubbed fresh lemon juice on myself. I must have looked very sexy with the occasional pulp that escaped and got stuck under my arms.

It was a crazy adventure, but we took it on as a family and it left us laughing more than once as we compared nasty little rashes or embarrassing body odor stories. Nothing we made or found on the market worked, and if it did work, it left us with skin irritations. Finally, we came across a product made in France… Paris to be exact! Who knew we would find something so close to home? I knew I loved this city!

DayDry Probiotic Deodorant & Wipes

DayDry Probiotic Deodorant & Travel Wipes

DayDry probiotic deodorant actually worked! It is all natural, with no chemicals and no side effects. DayDry uses probiotics to fight the proliferation of the bacteria that causes body odors, without stopping perspiration (which is actually good for you). All four of us started using it, and couldn’t be happier. It doesn’t stain clothing. It doesn’t sting, and most importantly it works!

Now, the only problem I have is that when we are confronted with wafting body odors from others, my daughter can’t understand why I won’t go up to total strangers and tell them that they don’t have to smell like that if they use DayDry. She gives me that look and says, “So, you’re just going to let them go on smelling badly? That’s not very nice of you.” Trust me, if there was a way to tactfully tell those people, as they are pressing up against me in the Paris metro or on a bus during rush hour, I would!

I did, however, begin to talk about it with friends and family. I even talked to my pharmacist about it and she loved the probiotic aspect of the product so much that she added it to her pharmacy. Somehow I felt like I was doing my part to help people. When the owners of DayDry found out, they asked if I’d be interested in doing some part-time work for them from my home via Internet. After their success in France, they had decided to launch their products in the North American market.

They’ve just set up an English Facebook Page DayDry North America – Facebook Page & an English Website DayDry Website.

Let me know if you have any questions. Hopefully, this can help you out. I still can’t believe we found it, in of all places, Paris!

Oh, and a little word of advice… be sure your t-shirts aren’t already imbedded with body odor from previous deodorants. Consider it a good excuse to go shopping for new clothes in Paris.  😉

Returning to the Source: Starting Anew

Returning to the Source: Starting Anew...  Bellanda ®

Returning to the Source:
Starting Anew…
Bellanda ®

There is something about starting a new year that makes many evaluate the year that has just gone by. Over the last few weeks, I have heard and read an overwhelming amount of information about starting anew, broken promises, hopes, dreams, and about updating last year’s resolutions. Our eight year old, who happens to live a rather blessed life filled with love and activities of his choosing, cried on New Year’s Eve as he said, “I haven’t profited enough from 2013.”

I realize that a reflection like this is unusual for a boy his age, but he has touched upon something that many adults feel and express at the end of each new year and around birthdays. I’ve never quite understood this. Are these kind of reflections due to fear of the unknown? Regrets of the past? Hopes for a better future? Or is it something more… something more profound about man’s inability to feel truly happy? Could it be that man is driven by a desire for better and for more? If this is the case, what would happen if man was given all of time they desired? Would they finally be happy?

It is wonderful to take time at the start of a new year to evaluate the lives presently being lived, but I can’t help but wonder why so many people wait until this time of the year to awaken only to get lost again so quickly. We are given the gift of life, and with each breath the capacity to make things happen. If you are one of the lucky ones, born into a place where choice is an option and your gender, skin color or political and cultural affiliation don’t limit you to a stand still, then you are indeed blessed. You are the master of your future, if you choose to be so.

Perhaps if we stopped running around, trying to do everything, and started enjoying the simple moments we would realize how lucky we are. I know that this is more of a lifetime resolution than a New Year’s resolution, but it is also one that will help us feel more fulfilled in life. Finding something in each day that makes you smile, like a child’s laughter or taking the time to sip your favorite coffee instead of gulping it down while doing a million things at the same time takes no more than a couple of minutes, but the benefits are endless.

We are the masters of own little universe, whether we believe it or not, so we don’t have to wait for these precious moments to happen. We can make them happen by simply smiling at a stranger, or holding the door for them and wishing them a nice day. Naive? Maybe, but it is enough to bring someone else a gift and in doing so we are often rewarded by this exchange. 

I’ve been told on many occasions that I am lucky to live here in Paris, and that I should be happy. I agree that this is indeed a wonderful city, but being happy is more than just living in a particular place. It is about taking time for those you love and care about and about making choices that best meet your needs and passions intelligently. It is about taking the time to enjoy precious moments in between the rest of the things that need to get done. Most importantly, it is about finding positives in the midst of the roller coaster life so many of us live.

As some of you already know, I have been ill for almost two years. From my many activities, you might also know that I haven’t let this make me bitter or stop me completely. I’m often asked how I remain so positive in the midst of hospitals, doctors, treatments and the unknown, as I await what has been a very long and complicated final diagnosis. My answer is always, “never giving up on hope.” There comes a time when one must accept their limitations and then find a way to adapt so that you can do what you would like to do regardless of them. Accepting one’s imperfections while learning from our mistakes and the things we cannot control also helps. It is important to realize that by wasting energy on negativity and anger we only hurt ourselves, wasting precious time that could be used for something good.

At times I have had to slow down, but I’ve always searched to find a positive in each situation… even if I’ve had to dig a little deeper. Everything is about choice. Being forced to take time to slow down for health reasons, can mean cuddling on the couch with my little ones as they tell me about their day. When we think about it, as long as we are alive, there is hope and a chance to find a positive. Yes, death is something we all struggle with, but once the immediate shock and pain of the loss of a loved one has passed, it is possible to turn and focus your energy on feeling blessed to have had that person in your life, even if only for a short time during their passage here on earth. In doing so, they will live on in us and in our memories forever as you take that person with you.

All of this will help us deal with our own inevitable death. Living life’s precious moments, telling those you love how you feel so in the end our regrets are limited. The feeling that we have indeed profited from life and our loved ones is primordial.

As each new year comes around, I smile. I know that I am among the fortunate and I am thankful. I have lived another day, let alone another year. I am not sad, nor afraid of each year that passes. Yes, I am another year older, and wrinkles do come with age, but oh how lucky I am to have the chance that so many don’t get. Age is not a curse but a gift, and I’d rather avoid the alternative as long as possible. Once you get the hang of finding something positive in your everyday life and in negative situations that come your way, you’d be amazed how easy it is to do.

So, if I must make a resolution, it will be to continue doing what I am doing… mistakes and all. They are what make us learn and grow. I will continue sharing this positive attitude with those I love in hopes that they might pick up this trait. When my time does eventually come, as it will with us all, I will have no regrets. I will have lived my life as best I could, making sure that those I love know how very precious they are to me.

Summer in Paris… the dream and the reality

Paris Romance All rights reserved BELLANDA ®

Paris Romance
All rights reserved
BELLANDA ®

Paris has to be one of the most magical cities in the world.  It’s full of romance and dreams… but like many cities there is a reality of summer that one can’t deny once you’ve lived here.  At the age of 22, I started making my almost yearly summer visits to Paris.  I thought that I was immersing myself into the Parisian lifestyle by avoiding what I considered tourist traps. I wandered the streets as far away from the map yielding tourists as possible and spent many hours in cafés writing, reading and watching people.  It was my unspoken mission to get a feel for what I thought was the real Parisian lifestyle.  As I walked aimlessly, I enjoyed the quiet streets soaking in the calm and beauty of the incredibly gorgeous historical architecture.  It was pure heaven compared to that of my busy New York lifestyle.

It wasn’t until after living here for several years that I began noticing patterns and learned that the Parisian lifestyle I thought I was living so many years ago was far from that.  Truth be told, summer is probably the least Parisian moment of the year.  The influx of people with suitcases begins in July.  Then, there is that moment around mid-July when you realize that you hear more English on the streets and in the metro of Paris than French.  The suitcases become more and more prevalent as the summer moves on and in August you realize that many of the real Parisians have already flown the coop, leaving Paris to the tourists.

Vacation is considered a right that all people should enjoy in France and many companies even impose this vacation on their employees.  That said, we are not talking about the one week or even two-week vacations Americans might be lucky enough to get. Vacations here can total anywhere from one to two months.  This in itself is actually an incredible concept.  One must not leave out that vacation is taken so seriously that it even includes the unemployed, who at times go on even better vacations than the working people… but I’ll leave that subject for a later post.  😉

Many shops, restaurants and special art expositions are closed during summer and your favorite places to buy bread, meat, fish and croissants will also close at one point or another.  This in itself can be quite frustrating if you like good food and enjoy cooking.   On a more serious note, you really don’t want to get sick or God forbid need surgery in August, because of course, your regular doctors are also entitled to their vacations.  If you are smart and can hold out, you might want wait until September.

On the plus side, those quiet streets I mentioned enjoying as a tourist are actually that.  Everything slows down, especially in August, and you can truly enjoy the beauty of this city.  In addition, you can actually take your car out and find a parking space directly in front of where you want to be instead of going round and round in search of a spot only to finish by parking in a garage.  One must not forget the metro.  If you can get over those summer metro odors that at times make you squint in pain, you can actually get a seat during rush hour and don’t have to worry about someone rubbing up against you.  As for you photography buffs, summer will be perfect for you as deserted side streets photograph brilliantly with no worries of a passerby getting in the way of your shot.

All rights reserved BELLANDA ®

All rights reserved
BELLANDA ®

Back in the day when I was a tourist, I didn’t have the benefit of reading blogs or typing ‘Paris in summer’ on Google.  I had to go with the flow, in ignorance of course, but in retrospect that wasn’t half bad.  I always stumbled upon something while wandering the streets of Paris that will left me in awe or made me laugh.  My mouth dropped when I saw a man-made roadblock during a 14th of July Bastille celebration.  It was actually made of police officers who stood in a line across the Champs-Élysées.  I stood there watching them and kept thinking, can’t they just use barriers?  Don’t those officers have something better to do?  Then, there was the Porta Potty with a VIP sign hanging on it during the arrival of the Tour de France.  I couldn’t understand what made it so special at first because it looked like a regular Porta Potty.  I was tempted to go inside to take a peek, but it was roped off.  When I saw the door open, I realized that this Porta Potty was exactly the same as the others but apparently just for Very Important People.  Silly me to think that they could use the same bathroom as us normal folks!

One of my very favorite discoveries was the ability to rent a bicycle in the Bois de Vincennes, as well as a row-boat that I took me around the water surrounding two little islands in the Bois de Vincennes.  Who knew Paris had such natural beauty?  Oh right, probably you since you now have Internet and Google.

Bois de Vincennes Paris, France All rights reserved ~ BELLANDA ®

Bois de Vincennes
Paris, France
All rights reserved ~ BELLANDA ®

Anyway, if you do come to Paris in summer just keep your eyes open.  Sit back, take in the sights and enjoy.  As a tourist, Paris is beautiful anytime… that is if you stop running around trying to see everything in a day.  Yes, most of the Parisians do skip town and life is indeed slower, but soak it all in… for Paris is beauty in itself.

Leave it to the French to make medical stockings sexy!

As many of you know, I disappeared for a while for health reasons, but I’m back now… back with a bang!

At my age, or pretty much any age, I don’t think anyone likes to be told that they need to wear medical stockings, perhaps for their entire life, in addition to medications.  I sat there as my doctor explained some of the benefits of these medical stockings and how they would help keep my blood pressure from dropping so rapidly.

Immediately, I imagined those horrible thick opaque nude colored stockings and thought, God help me… actually, God help my poor sweet man who will have to look at me!  For goodness sake, it wasn’t bad enough that I was walking around with a cane; now I have to wear these things?  Then, the optimist in me shined through and I thought, at least I’m not dying!  Somehow a little giggle even escaped me.

I dragged my feet a little, so to speak, and let one week go by and then another, but knew in my heart that I truly needed to take that step… literally.  I brought my prescription to the pharmacy, telling myself to suck it up and just deal with it.  The pharmacist took one look at my prescription and said, “Follow me for your fitting.”

A fitting? What on earth was she talking about?  I need a fitting?  Okay, I must admit, I am obviously clueless.  I followed her to the “fitting room.”  I had no idea there was even a fitting room at this pharmacy and I have been going to the same one for over six years!

The pharmacist measured the length of my legs, as well as the measurement around my upper thigh, calf and lower ankle area.  With a, “Wow, you are thin… I think we will need to order your size.”  As I was dreading the idea of having to wear medical stockings, I didn’t mind the idea of waiting and I must admit that I was rather amused by all of the fuss.

It was at this moment that the Pharmacist asked me which style and color I would like.   There’s a kind?  Once again, my cluelessness was more than obvious.  The pharmacist saw my puzzled face and pointed me in the direction of the manikin legs, all displayed in a row.  My eyes opened with surprise… those are medical stockings?

There was a row of medical stockings on manikin legs, in an array of colors, all thigh highs with gorgeous lace at the top.  Those are medical stockings?  They ranged from opaque to transparent.  I immediately thought; leave it to the French to make medical stockings so sexy!

All I can only say is that if you need medical stockings today, times have obviously changed (and I hope not only in France)!  While mentioning my need to wear medical stockings with my French friends, both male and female, they all immediately said, “That man of yours is one lucky guy!”  Obviously, I was indeed clueless.  Who would have thought medical stockings could be so sexy?  A great big thank you to, “Sigvaris – Les Intemporelles Diaphane.”  You made a sick woman not only feel better, but made me look good at the same time!   Good-bye to my oh so ‘trendy’ foldable flowered cane that made all of the old folks jealous with envy.  Hello to sexy medical stockings!

I'm wearing those sexy stockings in this photo. I know, I'm a little shy - this is about as close a shot as you will get.

I’m wearing the “sexy” medical stockings in this photo.
I know, I’m a little shy. This is about as close a shot as you will get!