See Innocence Shining Through

On Planet Green, a Discovery offshoot, you can learn a whole lot in a few short episodes. For instance, since Suzette’s waiting impatiently for fruit-based beauty product pointers, you can fast-forward by going positively retro.

Why go buy face masks when you can make them totally naturally yourself? Here are some basic face masks that you can make on your own, and in a matter of minutes.

All of these ingredients are simple to put together to make a great face mask. Just mash the given ingredients together and let the mixture sit on your face for 10-15 minutes.

Here are the items you should try combining:

Brown Sugar+Milk
Egg Yolk+Honey+Olive Oil
Oatmeal+Olive Oil
Blended Almonds+Honey+Egg White
Baking Soda+Water

All of these combinations make for wonderful masks and they help to green up your life and improve your skin simultaneously. Try them!

None of this is new. In fact, it’s deeply old because it works. The Egyptians slathered themselves and each other, alive and dead, in fruity goo. More to the modern point: smart vain people indifferent to corporate advertising have nurtured dewy complexions with yogurt, honey, berries, olive oil, milk, almonds, egg, oatmeal, cucumber, avocado and apple since fragrant time immemorial.* In fact, I distantly recall a Facts Of Life episode where Mrs. Garrett lectured Natalie on the stupidity of buying into buying beauty, sort of. Oh, irony! The best tightening mask I ever used – and still do when I can – is an aqueous suspension of magnesium hydroxide or Milk of Magnesia. It was recommended to me by a little old lady with the tiniest pores you’ve ever seen. She said glop the stuff on once a week, wait until it dries and rinse with cool water. It’s cheap and – bonus! – the teenage cashiers at your drugstore think you’ve got a glamorous eating disorder!

Back to Planet Green: some shows don’t interest me. They’re celebrity gossip in organic cotton, and who cares, really? But some offerings are really exciting. Renovation Nation pits host Steve Thomas against his own ideas. Homeowners are renovating green, often spending a great deal of time and money, and Steve, former host of This Old House, turns up to help and heckle. Sometimes, you can tell Steve’s not entirely convinced by the homeowners’ plans, some of which are really innovative – green tech is developing really fast right now in all kinds of directions. It was really exciting for me three days ago to see photovoltaic roofing heat water and collect energy for electricity. Before that episode, solar roofing seemed to do one task or the other but not both. So while engineering green moves forward in breathtaking leaps and bounds, some of the most charming developments are old-fashioned and humble.

I saw an interview with Dan Phillips on a Planet Green show but for the life of me I can’t figure out which. The interview I saw emphasized the unique and totally original nature of each house, reminding me of a book Daria had when we were kids called Andrew Henry’s Meadow.

If you read celebrity gossip, you know that Zach Braff remembers this book, too. Doris Burns published this book in 1965 about an intrepid little boy who gets tired of his family, takes his tools and goes for a long walk. He finds a meadow and builds himself a house. Other children see this and join him in droves in the meadow, where Andrew Henry builds each child a house suited to him- or herself with materials he finds lying around. Eventually, the worried parents find the children, see the special houses and take the children home. For their parts, the parents learn to see their children as people. The children go home, happy to be loved for themselves. When I saw the treehouse in the Dan Phillips interview my heart sang a bit. I will deny that sentimentality under oath. You’re a terrible person for mentioning it.

The other day, a woman in my office made a derisive comment about “the environmental frenzy” and I stopped in my tracks. She’s nearly ready to retire, which means she was born during or after WWII. Her earliest memories are of living in a 16-room house in Newton, Massachusetts, not unlike the one in current episodes of This Old House. An address like this and wasting money were signals to the community, in some way that matters to her, of prosperity, though she talks about rooms closed off and left unheated. She and I have even talked about the Newton project, which may be all about real estate for her. I’m not sure. As for the show, I recall the utter delight with which the guys toured warehouses full of reclaimed materials during the New Orleans rebuild. Reusing and recycling isn’t new. It’s the oldest trick in the book.

* Whatever you do, please don’t try picturing Burma Shave signs in hieroglyphics. You’ll be up all night with that one.

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