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The Diva has Spoken
By Lisa Link

Ok, I'll admit it: I've needed a little more pampering these days. Why, you might ask? I'm getting married next month. Need I say more? Actually, I've remained amazingly peaceful during the storm of planning and preparation.

While I'm not one who is especially uptight about every little detail, there is an awful lot to do, and that alone causes a measure of anxiety. With my regular full-time job and the part-time job of putting together this really fabulous, fun party, I am well aware that I'm burning the candle at both ends.

Although I'm doing my best to eat healthy, get some extra exercise and try to fit in plenty of rest, I find I need a little extra help in the de-stressing, diva-fication department.


Do you remember any of that high school Latin or Italian? "Diva", literally translated, means goddess or deity, and it is a word I think every woman needs to embrace to some degree.

Remembering to take time for oneself is a necessity, not a luxury, and is absolutely crucial to maintaining health and overall sanity. And I promise that I really do practice what I preach: no matter how much I have to do, I always try to pay proper attention to my needs; consequently, the stress works itself out.

While some would call this selfish, I call it rational self-interest. I mean really, straight jacket-white isn't the best bridal look, so I just do my level best to keep it all in perspective.

When rejuvenation is a must, is it any wonder that a trip to the tub for a restful soak is almost a nightly occurrence? I think not. For those of us short on time and dime, a bath is a fine little luxury that costs mere change and requires only a half-hour, at most (while some might like to soak longer, it makes me look like a big, pink prune Heh!).

Warm water, lovely smells, and a good book or music are all one needs to get centered and relaxed. Of course, bath water requires good bath products to evolve to its higher state, so I looked to Star Bath and Beauty and the Jaqua Girls to provide the appropriate goodies to aid in the process of stroking my internal diva.

Let's take a look at both sets of products, and let my three "Rules of Diva-Worthy Skin" be one step on your journey to discover your own inner goddess.

Be a Star

Star Bath and Beauty is a relatively new line, created by Tracy Hollander. Tracy sought to create products that are, first and foremost, all natural; they contain no harsh star logo chemicals or derivatives and are not packaged in aluminum.

The ingredient lists read short and sweet and contains words you can actually say, like avocado butter, sweet almond oil and beeswax. Part of the inspiration for these products was necessity.

Tracy has a daughter who struggles with eczema, and as anyone who suffers from this condition knows, chemicals can really exacerbate the problem. I'm sure even the most sensitive of skins will react kindly to Star's gentle formulas.

This young company encourages us to "Pamper the Celebrity in you with Star, cutting edge bath products. Our products are nothing like most products on the market. These high quality products were created to bring out the best in you and make you shine like a star inside and out...After all, you deserve to shine like a star. We all do."

If you'll allow me a moment of indulgence, I'd like to add a tangential side note. I feel compelled to say that I do not share Ms. Hollander's obvious adoration of modern day Hollywood, as indicated by the marketing of her products. I personally feel that Hollywood today has, unfortunately, taken a path quite different from the golden age of movies past, forsaking art and the artist in favor of money, hype, and the overzealous celebrity-machine.

Then again, I'm an old theatre rat from way back who has set a bar based on the performances of greats like Humphrey Bogart, Maureen O'Hara, Kate Hepburn, Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich, Jimmy Stewart, and Mae West.

Modern Hollywood seems hopelessly anemic by comparison. (But, please remember that this represents merely one opinion of many. And, considering that opinion has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of Star products, it should be taken with the appropriate grain of salt enough said.)

Or a Queen

On the flip side of my product testing, there were the Jaqua Girls to be reckoned with. Jennifer, Allison, and Sara Jaqua cater to the whimsical, fun-loving diva with their Tub Queen Bath Set (about $37).

This adorable array of lavender and rose-scented products (bath salts, bubbling bath gel, bath oil and body lotion) comes in a paint can-style container. It even includes a few extras: a cotton headband, a cotton bath mitt and a "The Queen is Soaking" sign for your bathroom door (to help avoid having to curse those clueless individuals, such as spouses and roommates, who seek to steal your quiet moments).

This set is a great gift for yourself or some other deserving soul. I wonder if these chicks want another honorary sister, because they just seem like too much fun.

First Rule of Diva-Worthy Skin:

Like all good deities, goddesses require cleanliness
Of course, getting clean is only the start of body treatment, but it is, by far, the most necessary. I mean really, what's a deity without purity? (Of body, at least; of mind is another story altogether Heh!)

From the Star line, I tried Bathing Beauty Shower Gel in Tangerine ($16.) Although this particular scent is no longer available, there are a wealth of delicious scents from which to choose: pumpkin pie, dreamsicle and chocolate almond, just to name a few.

I loved this gentle, sweet-smelling cleanser; it foamed beautifully, smelled terrific, and, thanks to its gentle formula, my skin felt very hydrated post-shower. Bathing Beauty Shower Gel is so gentle, you can even use it for shampoo! Great when you're on the move and need to pack light. This is a fine formula that won't strip skin or hair.

I also tried a delightful glycerin soap bar from Star. I adore glycerin-based bars, and this one, with its gorgeous lavender scent, was just wonderful. My skin was amazingly smooth and hydrated after using it (glycerin is a very effective humectant that treats skin delicately); it's too bad that this product seems to be discontinued from the Star line!

jaqua girls tub queenFor my evening respite in the tub, I turned to the items from Jaqua Girls to make my soak a soothing experience. First, I added a mixture of the Lavender Scented Bath Salts and Rose Scented Bath Salts to the tub.

Although I'm not a big fan of most floral-scented bath and body products, lavender and rose are both big exceptions, especially when they smell this delicious.

I enjoy either fragrance as a single note, or mixed together because they complement each other beautifully.

After the salts, I added a generous dollop of the Lavender Bubbling Bath Gel. Bubbles are a heck of a lot of fun, and both myself and my bath time companion, Henry (no we're not getting kinky here, I promise; Henry is my chunky-funky-spunky orange cat who sits on the edge of the tub while I bathe) love them. If my skin feels especially fragile, a little bit of the Lavender Bath Oil will add an extra layer of moisturizer.

The combination of the scented salts, bubbling gel, and bath oil filled my bathroom with a gorgeous, heady fragrance, and helped me emerge from the tub clean and soft. A true delight for divas who long for offerings of richly scented blossoms!

Now that we're clean, we have to soften, which brings us to the:

Second Rule of Diva-Worthy Skin:

Silky skin is a must leave the "scales" to that wily serpent
. Everyone's skin needs a good scrub now and then to slough off flakes, stimulate circulation and make skin feel really smooth. I tried two products from Star to this end.

Diva Detox Salt Scrub
and Divalicious Sugar Scrub ($18 each) both contain a wealth of oils in which, you guessed it, salt or sugar are used, respectively, as the exfoliant. Both formulas do a great job of making skin seriously silky, but I prefer the sugar scrub for legs, simply because it doesn't react unkindly with any little cuts or abrasions. (That little nick you gave yourself will feel like the great, flaming fury fell upon it when rubbed with nice, coarse salt!)

However, the salt scrub did work beautifully on my upper arms and shoulders. Really, it is a question of personal preference, because both formulas smell divine, and really perked up my skin.

Third (and final) Rule of Diva-Worthy Skin:

Wise and beautiful deities know to protect born-again skin.
After you've exposed your skin to cleansing and exfoliation, you should always lay down a protective layer of moisturizer to keep it soft and flake-free.

I tried Star's Celebrity Skin Body Butter ($18) in Lavender, which is a scent that is no longer available. However, judging from the current list of delicious scent choices,  you won't have a problem finding one that appeals to you.

The formula is rich and thick, but it absorbs well and doesn't feel overly greasy. This formula is especially great for colder climates and the harsh demands of winter skin.

 star solid lotion barFor patches of skin that are dry enough to develop some form of irritation or rash, look to Star's 5 Star Solid Lotion and Perfume Butter Bar.

I tried this concentrated moisturizing stick in the Dreamsicle scent, and loved how it handles that red rash that develops on my shins and calves. (I always get drier on my legs than anyplace else, which is a common problem the further the skin is from your heart, the more apt it is to get dry.)

Just warm the formula in your palms a bit, then apply. You'll love how great it feels and smells! Not to mention that you can't beat these solid lotion sticks for convenience and portability. The price on this one varied from $10 to $15, so shop around.

Last stop on this diva's lotion quest was the Jaqua Girls Lavender Body Lotion. I loved this lightweight formula because it absorbed quickly and left almost no residue after soaking in for about 10 minutes. This is a great warm weather formula, with a scent that will transport you to an English Countryside run wild with lavender.

Find the Tub Queen kit and a nice selection of other Jaqua Girls products at

And, with that, this particular diva winds up her reviews of bath and body products fit for a goddess. Please remember, there's a little bit of the divine in each of us that deserves a bit of pampering now and then. So listen to that nagging but small voice that reminds you to take care of yourself. Sometimes, divas deserve to receive rather than to give!

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