5:2 Skin Diet

You may have heard of a new diet trend known as the “5:2 diet.” The idea of this diet plan is to eat as you typically would five days out of the week, and then restrict your calories, fat, etc, for two days. While this diet idea may sound appealing, there is little to no evidence showing that it actually works, as eating healthily for only two days out of the week, and then switching right back to junk food and whatever else is in your typical diet, doesn’t actually do much.

The “5:2 skin diet” is a new skincare trend that emulates the 5:2 diet, but with makeup usage rather than food intake. The idea is that if you wear all the makeup you usually would five days out of the week, but take two consecutive days to go makeup-free, it will help reset your skin’s natural balance and keep it in better shape. Sadly, the 5:2 skin diet’s effectiveness suffers from similar issues as the 5:2 diet, though the practice could have some advantages.

Woman with natural makeup

Five Days On, Two Off
The operative principle of the 5:2 skin diet is that taking a two-day break from the harmful effects that makeup can have on the skin will be overall beneficial. One thing this practice certainly can do is give you a glimpse of what your skin can look like in a more natural state. By the end of the second day, you’ll have a good idea of how your skin tends to look and feel with nothing but your skincare regimen. The problem with the 5:2 skin diet, however, is that you shouldn’t stop there; rather than taking a break and then going right back to damaging your skin, consider how you can change your makeup practices to be less harmful in the first place.

Woman cleansing her face

If You Cleanse Nightly, You’re Already Taking a Break
One major flaw with the purpose of the 5:2 skin diet is that if you’re already cleansing your makeup at the end of the day (as you should be), you’re negating the need for this kind of “break” from makeup, because your skin’s already getting that every night. In that way, taking two days off from makeup is a little redundant.

Woman applying makeup.

Revamp Your Makeup
The 5:2 skin diet can be an excellent way of getting a good hard look at just how great your skin can be if you don’t damage it with makeup every day. We recommend trying the 5:2 skin diet for a few weeks to get a good sense of that, but consider it a transitionary period. Your ultimate goal should be to stop tearing up your skin in the first place, which means adopting more skin-friendly makeup practices you can use 7 days a week without damage.

Consider looking into mineral-based makeup, and be sure not to use more than you need. Multiple layers of heavy, greasy creams and drying powders can create a stunning look for the occasional night out when done tastefully, but that sort of practice shouldn’t be a standby. Cut back on your day-to-day makeup routine by using products that combine multiple steps in one, such as foundation with non-greasy build in concealer. Use light, gentle makeup, and only use what you need.

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Decorating your Home for Fall

Pumpkins and fall decor on a table

Autumn is here! Actually, it’s been here for awhile, and it’s going to be here for awhile yet. If you haven’t already changed up your wardrobe to fall colors and styles, you may want to get to that now! But more than that, what about changing up your décor? As it happens, fall is a great time to change up your interior decorating and make your home a comfortable, cozy place to kick back and relax. You can play with fall colors and themes to find something that works for you and is clearly inspired by this beautiful season and all of the changes it brings, and we’re going to show you how.

Color Appropriately
One of the most obvious and easiest ways to bring the charm of autumn into your home is to use thematic colors. Red, orange, and yellow are the name of the game here. Pillows, flowers, rugs and other miscellany in these iconic colors are sure to grant a lovely autumnal glow to your favorite rooms. Wicker chairs with orange drapes, white-cushion couches with orange pillows, a vase of branches with yellow-orange leaves, yellow, orange, or red marigolds, or pumpkins and other gourds used as decorations all serve this function marvelously.


Get Creative
If you’re the crafty type, there are lots of fun ways to create your own decorations and accessories to liven up your place this fall.

For a new spin on putting out pumpkins as decorations, grab some medium to large, round white pumpkins and gather a bunch of fall-colored leaves from the ground outside, and consider mixing some green in as well—fern fronds make a great green option to contrast. Once you have your gourds and foliage, grab a bottle of decoupage and plaster them artfully into a truly unique and conversation-starting décor item. For a stunning effect, consider arranging the leaves so they radiate out from the center of the pumpkin, don’t paste them too closely together, and leave halt to two-thirds of the pumpkin bare to create visual interest.

You can also, of course, paint the pumpkins. Go for simple designs that only use one color of paint. Paint white zigzags all over an orange pumpkin (or orange zigzags on a white pumpkin), color half of a white pumpkin pale green, or do a thick black zigzag across the middle of any color pumpkin, just for a few ideas. Let your imagination run wild here!


Cozy Up
To make your house look warmer and more inviting, while simultaneously letting you keep yourself warm more easily, keep stacks of blankets and quilts all over the house, so that there’s always one within easy reach. This creates a warmer ambiance, and also lets you bundle up without having to go far; perfect if you’re lounging and getting chilly.

Color coordinate the piles of blankets and quilts with your general theme. If you’re following our suggestion of appropriate fall-themed color, then obviously go for reds and oranges, maybe even some deep golds. That said, you may also want to just opt for neutral options like gray and off-white, which are sure not to clash with anything.

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Wine Tourism

Closeup of grapes growing in a vineyard

There’s a lot to love about wine, and Vine Vera tends to stress that fact a lot. Not only is wine richly flavorful, incredibly varied and good for your body and skin (in moderation, mind you; consistently, regularly, and excessively exceeding one glass a day for women, two for men, can actually accomplish the opposite, in addition to ruining your liver), but it can bring people together at social events, complete the perfect meal, and add a touch of class to pretty much any event.

But wine’s accolades don’t stop there. Besides tasking great, possessing great variety, going great with food, and bringing people together, wine also has a certain proclivity—or at least a growing trend is making it so that it does—to inspire breathtaking and adventurous travel. Allow us to explain….

Wine Tourism: The Adventurous Side of Wine
A practice that’s been growing in popularity lately is the concept of “wine tourism.” The idea here is one you’re likely familiar with, but we’ll explain anyway just to make sure we all start on the same page here.

Wine tourism essentially means travelling for the sake of trying delicious, fine wines from the source of where they’re made. It typically involves going to an area with a high concentration of vineyards—more often than not a famous or at least relatively well-known wine region—and visiting several of said wineries, taking tours of them and sampling their wines right there at the source, hopefully taking a bottle or three home with you for later.

A New Way to Experience Wine
At its core, wine tourism is basically just a fun way to get more out of your favorite beverage. It’s already true that a really good glass of wine is more of an experience than a simple drink, and wine tourism is essentially the logical extension of that thought. When you engage in wine tourism, you’re going on a trip specifically to enjoy fine wine, and in a way, the new places, atmospheres, and vistas you immerse yourself in in the process can only—figuratively speaking—improve the taste of the multiple cups of wine you’ll assuredly be sipping throughout the trip.

About More Than Just the Wine
All that said, while wine tourism is most certainly a superb way to experience good wine, it’s a little more than just that. Travelling for wine alone can be incredibly enjoyable, but it’s not really just wine alone. Think of it this way, the wine is fantastic, and will assuredly be the focal point of the adventure you’ll be embarking upon, but also provides an excellent “excuse” to get out there and see the world. Wandering the streets of Venice and taking an iconic gondola ride, tasting fresh mountain air and gazing upon stunning arrays of rocky terrain and verdant hillscapes, wandering awestruck through ancient ruins, marveling at museums, even spending a day at a nearby amusement park because your quest for fine wine tasting has brought you to the area—all these things and more can happen spontaneously on a wine tourism trip. When you add that in with the reason you’re there in the first place: the wine, you’ve got quite a delightful vacation in store for you if you decide to give wine tourism a go.

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Makeup Detox – How to Cut Back

Woman without makeup

Detoxification is essentially the act of removing—whether directly or through the use of substances aimed at promoting a biological response to stimulate your body to be more efficient—harmful toxins and pollutants that could do great harm if unmitigated. There are a variety of methods to do this, some entirely untested, and some that show some promise.

Skin detox, then, is closely related, and is essentially the practice of removing toxins from your skin that would negatively affect both your health and aesthetic appearance (which, in itself, can indirectly affect your health, because low self-confidence can contribute to things like self-esteem issues and depression, which needless to say aren’t very good for you).

But today, Vine Vera’s going to discuss yet another related-but-not-quite-the-same topic: makeup detox. Makeup detox, in a similar vein, means eliminating toxins from the makeup you use, by re-thinking your makeup choices, and making changes to what you use on a regular basis. You probably typically chose makeup based on what you think will look good on you; that is, after all, what makeup is for. But if you fail to consider the potential effects of harmful additives in your makeup, you can bet it will wreak havoc on your skin.

What to Look Out For
The most important thing when it comes to makeup detox is knowing what ingredients to avoid. Makeup contains a variety of components to achieve the desired effect on your face, and some of them are harmless and help you look great. Others may even be beneficial to the skin. But some, irritatingly enough, are connected with a variety of problems, and the cosmetic industry uses them anyway.

As a general rule, avoid artificial colors and fragrances, generally listed as color+number combinations, like “red no. 4,” or in the case of artificial smells or “fragrance.”  Fragrances are highly unregulated and can contain all manner of harmful ingredients, and artificial colorings often contain coal tar, a known carcinogen that was banned in the UK, but still used freely in the US.

You should also steer away from parabens, formaldehyde, mercury (yes, mercury is sometimes used in cosmetics, and hasn’t been banned by the FDA yet for some reason), alcohol, and lead. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but these are some of the worst offenders. To generally stay safer regarding makeup, always opt for mineral-based, all-natural makeup options. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you, but it does allow you to avoid many of the most dangerous additives, as those will not typically be found in “natural” products.

How to Cut Back
Just scanning ingredient lists isn’t necessarily enough to keep your skin safe, sadly. You may avoid the worst-case scenarios of using known carcinogens on your face daily, and careful scans of ingredient lists can certainly help with the primary goal of detoxification: remove and avoid toxins. But that said, there’s more to makeup detox than just that. Even if you use the most natural, toxin-free makeup, it is still possible to dry out your skin and damage it in other ways.

Carefully consider what you actually need in your makeup routine. In terms of foundation, liquids are generally enough, and adding a pressed powder on top of everything else not only makes your makeup look caked-on and unflattering, it can dry your skin out too. Anything terribly oily or greasy, like many hard-stick or grease-based concealers can clog pores, so go for creams when you have the choice; foundation, concealer, blush and even eyeshadow can be found in light cream forms.

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Dry Brushing For Skin

If you’re serious about skincare, you probably spend a lot of time working on keeping the skin on your face well taken care of, exfoliating once or twice a week, moisturizing every day, using serums to target specific skin issues, figuring out your skin type and using that knowledge to inform your skin care decisions, and just generally paying meticulous attention to the look and feel of your facial skin.

But what about the skin on the rest of your body? The skin is the body’s largest organ, and in case you never noticed, there’s skin on more places than just the face (it is, in fact, covering the entire body). As such—both for aesthetic and general health reasons—you really should pay attention to your whole body’s skin.

Woman brushing her back

Enter Dry Brushing
We’ve discussed before some methods you can use for exfoliation and general care of your body skin, such as simple sugar scrubs, but today we’re going to be looking at a specific practice that has numerous benefits for your skin: dry brushing.

Dry brushing is the practice of using a thick bristle brush to brush the skin while it’s dry. This has a numver of benefits, which we’ll get to in a moment. First, we’ll walk you through how it’s done.

How To Dry Brush
First you’ll need to actually have a brush to use. Find a natural bristle brush (synthetic can work theoretically, but natural is better in this case, even if it isn’t always), preferably with a rather long handle to help you better reach those harder to get to areas.

Once you’ve got your brush in hand, wait until it’s time for you to shower. Take your clothes off and step into the shower, but don’t turn the water on yet. Instead, use your new brush to scrub your body all over, starting with the soles of your feet and working upwards, always brushing with smooth, long strokes towards the heart. Do this firmly, but not too hard, as you don’t want to scratch up and damage your skin. Be especially gentle around sensitive areas like the breasts.

Woman brushing her legs.

First off, dry brushing is an excellent method for regular body skin exfoliation. It’s easy and you work at it a little every day, keeping your skin always fresh and clear and free of dead skin cells, maintaining a youthful appearance.

Besides that, though, dry brushing can also increase and improve your circulation, which will not only be generally beneficial for your health, but will also give you a more rosy, glowing appearance.

Additionally, the way it stimulates your nerves can potentially also stimulate your lymphatic system, which will allow your body to more efficiently remove waste and toxins. Speaking of stimulating, dry brushing is just generally invigorating and makes you feel really good, which can have a positive effect on your overall energy levels, not to mention it will be a strong motivator to get you to make sure you dry brush regularly. Why would you skip if it feels so good?

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Is Canned Wine Happening Now?

If the thought of wine conjures to mind tall, smooth, colored glass bottles, corkscrews and the pop of the cork when it comes out, elegant, stemmed glass goblets, and the swirling of red, pink, or pale yellow liquid before taking a sip, you’re probably not alone. Bottled wine, and the pouring it into glass goblets, has been a time honored staple of the practice of drinking wine.

And to be sure, it’s certainly an elegant way to do things, but let’s be honest, it’s really not very convenient. It’s fine if you’re in the house (and don’t mind fiddling with a corkscrew and having glasses to wash later), but it’s not terribly conducive to travel. If you want to take wine with you on a camping trip, to a picnic, or any other number of places, needing bottles, corkscrews, and glasses, can be a big hindrance.

Woman drinking drink from a can

Enter Canned Wine
Drinking wine out of aluminum cans might not seem terribly classy, but that’s exactly what a variety of wine companies have been encouraging. A number of wineries, such as Underwood wines by Union Wine Co, have been packaging their finest wines in the same kind of tall aluminum cans you’d expect to see energy drinks or beer be housed in.

Lifestyle Options
Having your favorite wines in a can opens up a whole new world of possibilities for various lifestyle options, because suddenly, your wine is much easier to transport. Heading out for a skiing trip and want to be able to relax and unwind with some wine when you’re all done? Heading for a relaxing day at the beach? Going out for an evening picnic? Camping trip? Even backpacking deep into a mountain trail? Canned wine will easily allow you to take your wine with you without hassle.

Woman drinking red wine.

Quality and Taste
You might expect canned wine to taste cheap, unsatisfying, and not nearly as complex or tasty as bottled wine, but as it turns out, in many cases even the wine makers themselves can’t tell the difference between their canned wines and bottled wines in a blind taste test!

No Pretense
Besides convenience and facilitating options that conform to a variety of lifestyles, the other big aim of the concept of canned wine is to remove the pretense that surrounds drinking wine. The idea here is that there’s a lot of unnecessary pretense that is part of the typical wine drinking experience, but not actually needed to enjoy a tasty wine. Popping corks and swirling goblets is great if you like it (and you can easily still do the latter by pouring canned wine into a glass), but it can be irritating and feel forced and pointless if you just want to get right to the delicious wine you’ve been craving.

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History of Malbec Wine

Malbec red wine is certainly all the rage right now. Despite blossoming into widespread popularity only a decade ago, the Malbec grape and the wine made from it have become so widespread that pretty much anyone who enjoys fine red wine has at least heard of it, if not tried it. But do you ever wonder where this fascinating and well-loved grape came from? As we said, it only became popular about a decade ago, seemingly appearing out of nowhere, as it had been all but unheard of before.

So today, Vine Vera is going to take you through the history of Malbec wine. It’s really a quite interesting story, and it’s always fun to know where your favorite wines came from. Next time you’re gathering with some friends, uncork a few bottles of Malbec and impress everyone with your surprising knowledge of its history.

Blue grapes in a vineyard.

The Malbec has actually existed for ages in its native France; a hidden gem hardly anyone knew about besides the French themselves.

The problem, though, was that Malbec never really saw its full potential in France. The grape was and still is grown in wineries all over the country, but it has a fatal flaw: when grown in most regions of France, the Malbec vine is prone to fatal rot, and it spreads quickly enough to decimate an entire field in short order. This meant it was generally too risky to plant full fields of Malbec, but because it was still highly valued for its use in blends (notably the famous Bordeaux blend) it would still be planted, but in small enough plots that, should a winemaker lose their crop of Malbec, they’d still be able to make the blend, even if it wasn’t ideal.

The one exception to this was the Cahors region, that did produce pure Malbec wine, but it was isolated to this one region and never made it out of France.

Migration of the Vine
In the 19th century, Argentine provincial governor Domingo Faustino Sarmiento asked the French agronomist Migues Pouget about wine grape vines that might do well in Argentina, and one of the ones recommended was Malbec. Cuttings were brought back and planted, although the grape didn’t see much use until the late 20th century, when the Argentine wine industry shifted gears from producing jug wine to making premium wine for export.

What was significant about the planting of Malbec vines in Argentina, though, was how well they took to the soil and the climate. In France, they had been rot and disease-prone, and were legitimately difficult to keep alive long enough to get grapes from. In Argentina, though, they swiftly took root and grew heartily with zero of the problems they’d had in France, which is what leads many people to claim Malbec was always “meant” for Argentine soils.

Red wine and bread by the fireplace.

Current Popularity
Today, while Malbec acreage is actually declining in France, it only continues to rise in Argentina, making most of today’s favored favored Malbecs Argentine in origin, especially from the province of Mendoza. Argentine Malbecs are fruit-forward and spicy, with blackberry, plum, spice, and—depending on how oak aged they are—sometimes sweet tobacco on the finish. This makes them a palate-pleaser that a wide variety of people will enjoy, and they’re smooth, drinkable, and food-friendly, but with a bit of a kick of spice to make them more interesting.

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