Product Review: Solutions for Cracked Skin and Feet

Published 3/30/14 by:

Confession time: I have incredibly sensitive and dry skin. My mosquito bites flare up to the size of a quarter when itchy, I get random bumps on my arms, and rashes when I shave my legs. Basically, I should just sit in a vat of lotion on the regular. Additionally, living in New England only multiplies these skin maladies.  Next confession: if you haven’t noticed yet, based on previous blog posts, I’m a bit of a consumer. I’d like to think my being a teacher balances out the producer aspect of my somewhat balanced humanity, but I’m not sure it works that way. In any case, I like to buy things, try things and wear things. This is who I am, and I’ve come to accept it. So when my heels start cracking so deeply that I can fit my fingernail in-between the slits, I instantly go out and buy salves and lotions that supposedly will solve my feet problems. I am here to tell you, that the majority of them don’t work, and the ones that do take some serious consistent use in order to pay off. I’m horrible at adding new things into my routine, such as slathering up my feet and wearing socks to bed, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  Below I have listed the successful and unsuccessful products that have helped with my skin (specifically my feet). I’d also love to hear from some readers what products I should avoid or purchase in bulk.

*Editors note: I have not been paid by any of these companies to endorse them, but if someone wants to send me free things, I’d dig that.



Body Shop Peppermint Foot Repair

The Body Shop’s Peppermint Foot Rescue – This is an entire line of foot repair items. They have a “foot mask” that exfoliates your hooves that’s a grainy type of ointment, and then you coat your feet afterwards in their extremely thick peppermint foot lotion. Seriously, the stuff won’t completely soak in for hours. At first I thought that this line of products would solve all of my problems, but really it just made the skin on my feet feel like silk, and my heels still cracked, dry, and hard as rocks. In others words: it didn’t repair much. I will say this: if you started this foot remedy treatment before your heels crack, it could be a really solid preventative tactic. I haven’t gone that route, so if you’ve found success in doing that, please chime in! Product grade: C


Skin Fare Lotion Stick

Skin Fare Lotion Sticks: Heal – This is a line of lotion sticks (think of Push Pops from back in the day), that vary in what they help protect, prevent and soothe. I chose the one called “Heal” because it claims right on the label to help with wounds, cracks and damaged skin. It’s essentially a tube of chapstick for the heels of your feet. When you start to rub it on your feet it feels like a chunky lip balm, but as you rub it becomes very oily and soothing. I highly recommend putting socks on immediately afterwards to keep it absorbed. I have found a fair amount of success with this product because it does soften your skin. My only complaint is that if you do it inconsistently, or if you’re not generous with the amount you lather on, it doesn’t work. Plus the stick is no bigger than a chapstick, so you go through it fairly quickly. Product Grade: A-





Watkins Foot Salve

J.R. Watkins Foot Repair Salve – This stuff is super oily and greasy. I’ve wrecked a few pairs of socks with how oily it is, because in the directions it tells you to cover your heels in it, throw on some socks and go to bed for “overnight repair”. While this stuff is magnificent, and probably the best foot item I’ve ever purchased, I would’ve liked to have known that I should wear really thick socks that I don’t give a crud about with this salve. I suppose it’s a bit my own fault for not thinking it through, but this stuff is aggressive! Again, consistency helps, but I see drastic differences even when I remember to do it once a week! Product Grade: A

Grapefruit Body Butter

The Body Shop’s Pink Grapefruit Body Butter – This stuff is the best overall body lotion I’ve ever encountered. All of the scents are phenomenal and may as well operate as perfume, but the grapefruit is my favorite. While this lotion doesn’t necessarily repair severely cracked feet, it definitely rejuvenates my wintery skin throughout the coldest months of the year. You really don’t need to consider any other lotions, because this is as good as it gets. It’s also an excellent post-shave moisturizer on your legs. For the gentlemen: if you’re shaving your face, I wouldn’t recommend using this stuff because it’s really thick, and may be a bit too oily for facial skin. Product Grade: A+


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Tunes of the Week Edition No. 2

Published 3/26/14 by:

The past few weeks I’ve had social commitments on Sundays – gasp! I know! Sundays for some people are reserved for worship, brunch, or in my case, grading. For whatever reason I’ve had a lot of requests to socialize on Sundays, and I’ve gladly accepted. As a result of this, I’ve been in my car driving for the past few consecutive Sunday mornings and it’s been a music revelation. Some of my favorite stations do “Sunday Morning Over Easy”, “Acoustic Sunrise” or my new favorite: “Sunday Morning Country Oldies”.  All three of these stations play music that’s either unplugged, rare, old or live. It’s been so fun hearing new renditions of some of my favorites, or a Lorrie Morgan single that I forgot existed. I encourage you to check out your local stations to see what they’re up to on Sunday mornings. I’m planning on making it a more regular occurrence in my own life. In the meantime, here’s what else I’ve been listening to this week. Enjoy, and please let me know if you have recommendations!


The Black Keys’ new single “Fever” – This is the first single from their upcoming album of the same title, which will be released on May 13th. It’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, a bit psychedelic, but still has those grainy vibes that are so fun. I always find their upbeat tunes to be great highway driving music – that is, if you like to drive fast.


Indian Summer‘s  single “How Sad” – I discovered this band through a few bloggers who wrote about bands to watch at SXSW. They’re equal parts Bon Iver, MGMT, and Vampire Weekend. I don’t know much about this band, but the catchiness of this song, and the cleverness of the video made me a fan.

Granville Automatic‘s “Don’t Come to Tennessee” – Another discovery via SXSW, but this is much twangy-er than what I’ve posted in the past. Truth be told: I love country music. These gals are channeling Patsy Cline, The Dixie Chicks and Zooey Deschanel simultaneously, and it’s divine.


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Recipe: Spinach Queso Dip

Published 3/18/14 by:

Spinach Queso Dip




To be fair, this is essentially a copy cat recipe, but since I did veer a bit from the original ingredients, I thought I’d tell you how I made this heavenly dip for a St. Patrick’s Day party (of all things!). This may be the cheesiest queso I’ve ever had, and I’m not complaining about it! I would definitely serve this to guests with tortilla chips in scoop form because the density of the dip needs an aggressive chip or else you’ll have a pretty sizeable mess. I think I may try this as a drizzle on top of fajitas or burritos this summer. What else have you used queso for?



1 whole white onion

1/2 cup of cilantro

1 cup of half and half cream

16 ounces of American cheese

8 ounces of Pepper Jack cheese

1 shallot

2 cups of baby spinach

1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes and chiles

1 jalapeño pepper

Olive Oil

Taco Seasoning



Saute diced onion, shallot and jalapeño with a sprinkle of taco seasoning and extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a pan or skillet until onions are transparent.

Add cream and cheeses gradually allowing what you’ve added to melt before you add more.

Stir in can of Rotel tomatoes, chopped spinach, and chopped cilantro.

Once your dip is creamy with no lumps, serve with your favorite chips.

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On My Birthday: My 29 Song Soundtrack

Published 3/17/14 by:

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Tunes of the Week Edition No. 1

Published 3/15/14 by:

Listed below are the tunes that caught my ear this week. I’m constantly searching for new music via friend recommendations, iTunes recommendations, or from Pandora. I have to give a shoutout to two local radio stations as well, because they lend me some new ideas on a pretty routine basis: 92.9 WBOS and 92.5 The River. I’m hoping that if I can keep up a weekly post about new music that some of you may throw your new favorites out there as well. So, shall we?

Ray LaMontagne‘s new single “Supernova” – While Ray’s growly gorgeous voice still exudes from this track, the overall vibe of the song is something new for him. It has a tinge of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and just feels lighter than some of his other music endeavors. I’m looking forward to his new album “Supernova” coming out on May 6th, as well as seeing him in concert in Boston in May at The Blue Hills Bank Pavilion.




Coldplay‘s new single “Magic” – I keep saying to my brother that this sounds like a Chris Martin solo project, but I’m not complaining. Coming from the same vein as “Up in Flames” this is a bleak track that features Chris’ stellar vocals with what sounds like a synthesized drum. Call me a Coldplay diehard, but I’m really enjoying hearing this on the radio. Coldplay’s new album “Ghost Stories  is released on May 19th, and I hope to see them on tour for my fifth time.




Ingrid Michelson‘s new single “Girls Chase Boys” – This may not sound like a compliment, but Ingrid is my favorite soundtrack lady. She has had music featured on so many TV shows and movies that I adore, and her voice captures the feelings being visually depicted in an absolutely perfect and eerie way. This new single from her upcoming album “Lights Out” which will be released on April 16th surprised me in a fantastic way. This is more pop than Ingrid has ever been, but she still is showcasing those beautiful intonations in her voice! I can’t wait to see her in concert for the first time in May at The House of Blues.



What is everyone else listening to in preparation for summer concerts?

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