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Setting the Mood: Labor Pains

By |September 1st, 2016|Beauty & Trends, Setting the Mood|

labor-day-fashion-editorial-whydid

While Labor Day is not actually the official end of summer (I repeat, LABOR DAY IS NOT THE OFFICIAL END OF SUMMER), it sure can feel like it.  I prefer a glass half full approach to this holiday weekend- meaning, buck up, we’ve still got another three weeks of summer (fall begins on September 22nd- also known as Smitty and my father’s birthday).  However, if you are a bit more pessimistic and it’s about to be check out time at your summer share house, I understand your desire to go out with a bang.

It was a weird summer, let’s be serious.  The weather was the equivalent of most of my decision making- it didn’t know what it wanted to do.  Fortunately, we only got blasted with one intolerable heatwave and for the most part there was plenty of sun.  While the majority of my friends posted pictures from Ibiza to Istanbul, I sat on the sidelines watching enviously as I scoured the internet looking for a new home in the borough of Brooklyn.  That endeavor turned out to be about as successful as transporting a snow cone through the Sahara.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the half full or half empty camp, Labor Day is now upon us and we must prepare.  Sunglasses, swimsuits, and sunscreen, ahoy.

Setting the Mood: I’m Missing You Like Candy

By |August 22nd, 2016|Setting the Mood|

candy-fashion-editorial

Why, yes.  I did quote a Mandy Moore song for the title of this post.  And if you were born after 1990, please refer to the video at the end of this post and thank your lucky stars you weren’t old enough to drive a Volkswagen Beetle or own a Discman.  In any case, this week is dedicated to sugar and spice and everything that throws a wrench in your 7:30am spin class efforts.

I’m not someone who suffers from a chronic sweet tooth– ironic as I just polished off a carton of Blue Marble Ice Cream as I edit this– but let’s blame the full moon and that time of the month.  If, however, you are a lover of all things confectionery, this is your lucky week as I’ve had the pleasure of teaming up with a special guest, Breanne Butler, of ByBreanne to bring you a special How To Tuesday, exclusive interview, and photoshoot featuring her custom candy rings.

So, stay tuned, pause your diet til next week, and be sure to brush your teeth before bed.

Guest Post: Here Comes the Sun with Dr. Sejal Shah

By |August 4th, 2016|Beauty & Trends, Beauty Buzz, Guest Blogger|

kirsten-smith-nyc-bikini

Sure, we’re nearly two thirds of the way through summer, but there’s still plenty of sun to be shone and Vitamin D to be consumed.  We all know (or at least should) that overexposure to the sun can have some detrimental effects on the skin- think vintage leather handbag.  Aside from the aspects of vanity, playing too long in the sunshine without proper protection can result in skin cancer- and ain’t nobody got time for that.

This isn’t to say you need to lock yourself away in a basement or start toting around a parasol like a delicate debutante, on the contrary, getting a dose of Vitamin D in its native form rather than through a supplement is quite good for you. Testosterone boosters are dietary supplements that are taken to increase the level of this hormone in the body – and produce results such as better gym performance! Do you want a more muscular body? Then TestoGen naturally boosts testosterone can increased lean muscle. As little as eight minutes a day in the sun can boost your Vitamin D intake– and probably your mood, no less.  Vitamin C is a world-renowned antioxidant and plays a vital role in aiding the body’s defense against dozens of maladies, including: heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, asthma, macular degeneration, pre-eclampsia, and the common cold. If you are taking the vitamin c powder, mix it thoroughly in the proper amount of liquid or soft food and stir well. However, you’ve got to be certain to take the right precautions when headed outdoors.  You don’t only need sunscreen for a day at the beach.  Even walking the dog or going for a run, eating your lunch outdoors or during your daily commute can expose you to harmful UVA and UVB rays.  Why take them, you ask? Well, firstly, they can give you enough stimulation to get to the gym. Secondly, they’ll also give you the energy to improve your performance throughout your training session, and shouldn’t lead to any negative side effects. You should take them about half an hour to 45 minutes before your workout for the best results, although check with the product you purchase to make sure. If you’re ready to work your way to the top, the best pre workout for women can help you get there. Visit Expresshealthshop.com for the best supplement to the women.

Suncare and skin cancer hits much closer to home for me as I’ve watched my father chase it around his body for the past ten plus years and has up to this point undergone over thirty surgeries to remove cancerous spots, not counting topical chemotherapy (creams and ointments) and seemingly innumerable destruction by freezing (nitrogen).  I had to ask that he please stop sharing his post operative surgery photos with me that I may stop getting weak in the knees each time I receive a text from him. 

So, how does one choose the right sunscreen to keep them safe from the sun?  To help take out all of the confusion from the sunscreen scene, Dr. Sejal Shah was kind enough to break down the basics below:

Decoding the Sunscreen Label

Have you ever gone to buy a bottle of sunscreen only to leave the store more confused after reading the labels on the bottle?  If so, you are not alone; most people don’t understand exactly what the terms on the label mean.  Let’s break down the terminology so next time you go to buy your sunscreen you know exactly what you are getting.

It’s important to know that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates sunscreens, and, therefore, the language used and the claims made on the packaging. Many of the terms on the packaging, such as “broad-spectrum”, “SPF, and “water-resistant”, have very specific meanings because they are based on standards created by the FDA for testing sunscreens.

“Broad-spectrum” indicates that the sunscreen protects against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and B (UVB) radiation.  You want to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen because both types of radiation are damaging to the skin and protecting against them reduces your risk of sunburn, premature skin aging (wrinkles, brown spots, and sagging skin), and skin cancer.

“SPF” stands for sun protection factor and indicates how well a sunscreen protects against UVB radiation.  The number that follows SPF tells you how much UVB radiation the sunscreen can filter out. SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays. Keep in mind that no sunscreen can block a 100% of UVB radiation so other protective measure must be used, such as protective clothing, a hat, and seeking shade.  I recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which is also what the American Academy of Dermatology recommends.

“Water resistant” indicates how long the sunscreen will stay effective on wet skin, for example while swimming or sweating. Typically the label will state the amount of time, either 40 or 80 minutes. A “water resistant” sunscreen stays effective for 40 minutes on wet skin at which time it needs to be reapplied, and a “very water resistant” sunscreen stays effective for 80 minutes on wet skin at which time it needs to be reapplied.  Besides reapplying when sweating and swimming, sunscreen also needs to be reapplied after toweling off.  Even if your skin stays dry while wearing sunscreen, you need to reapply every 2 hours because sunscreen loses its effectiveness while on your skin.  What about “waterproof” sunscreen?  There is actually no such thing as waterproof sunscreen because there isn’t any sunscreen that completely stays on the skin with sweat and water, so the FDA no longer allows this claim on the labels.

Other terms you might have seen on labels include “Sports”, “Baby”, and “Sensitive Skin”.  The FDA has not defined these.  Typically a sports sunscreen means that the sunscreen is water resistant or very water resistant-the label usually includes this designation as well.  A baby sunscreen generally means that the only active ingredients in the sunscreen are the physical, or mineral, sunscreens, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.  These ingredients are less likely to irritate a baby’s sensitive skin.  Like a baby sunscreen, the active ingredients in a sunscreen formulated for sensitive are usually zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.  They also tend to lack other potentially irritating ingredients, such as fragrance or parabens.

What’s the difference between a chemical and physical sunscreen?  A chemical sunscreen protects your skin by absorbing ultraviolet rays and must be absorbed by the skin to be effective; whereas a physical sunscreen protects your skin by deflecting ultraviolet rays by acting as protective layer on the surface of the skin.  Physical sunscreens contain the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.  There are many chemical sunscreen ingredients including avobenzone and oxybenzone.  Some sunscreens contain both chemical and physical ingredients.  All the ingredients approved by the FDA, whether they are chemical or physical, are safe and effective.  However, if you are concerned about using a chemical sunscreen choose a physical sunscreen.

Now that you understand how to read the label, what sunscreen do you need?  After deciding if you want to use a physical or chemical sunscreen, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Ideally, it’s best to choose one that is water-resistant, but if you are not going to be very active or in water this is not as crucial.

All of this information together will allow you to choose the best sunscreen to your situation, and you will know when to reapply it. Specially with kids, but occasionally with adults as well, you will find that they do not want to bother with sunscreen because they consider it unnecessary, uncomfortable, or cumbersome to apply. In yet other cases the ones that will agree to wear sunscreen have already dealt with severe sunburn in the past. It hurt, so they want to avoid it this time. The thing is, the consequences of not applying sunscreen correctly, it being the right sunscreen for the occasion, and it being reapplied as specified on the label are potentially beyond terrible. They can lead to an unimaginable scenario of a, to put it simply, slow and painful death. Of course, it is not difficult to realize how dramatic it sounds. You can look here for a great article listing the dangers of not correctly blocking out the sun with sunscreen, with scientific sourcing. It is very interesting to note that even in adults, if the consequences are shockingly severe the person can veer towards the other end of the spectrum and assume it is a lie. Sadly the dangers are quite real, a matter some people realize only too late.

Great, you’ve got your sunscreen, now what?  Sunscreen should be applied everyday-even in the winter, even if it’s cloudy, even if it’s raining or snowing.  Bottom line: if you are outdoors during the day, you need to put sunscreen on.  What about for a regular day at the office when you’re not really outside? A daily moisturizer that contains a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is generally sufficient for a day at the office, but keep in mind UVA can penetrate window glass. Also, anytime you go outside, let’s say to grab lunch or coffee, you are exposing your skin to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) so don’t completely skip the sunscreen. When should you apply sunscreen? Apply sunscreen BEFORE you go outside; it takes approximately 20 minutes for sunscreen to be absorbed by your skin and protect it. If you wait to apply it after you are already outside, your skin is at risk for damage from harmful UVR. Of note, because physical sunscreens do not have to be absorbed by the skin and provide protection immediately, they don’t need to applied so much in advance but should still be applied before going out.  How much should you apply? Apply a generous amount of sunscreen; most adults need at least one ounce (approximately a shot glass size) to fully cover the whole body. Rub sunscreen thoroughly into the skin. What about sprays and sticks? When it comes to sprays, I tend to recommend non-aerosolized sprays or spraying an aerosolized sunscreen into your hand and then rubbing it into your skin. However, if you love the convenience of misting a spray might directly onto your skin, it takes a little more than a gentle spritz to be effective. Spray enough to make the skin glisten or, if the spray is not clear, make sure the skin thoroughly coated then rub it in just as you would a lotion or cream. For sticks, coat every area with four passes back and forth.

Now that you know how to read the labels and use your sunscreen, you can rest assured that your skin is protected!

Setting the Mood: Party of One

By |January 19th, 2016|Beauty & Trends, Setting the Mood|

birthday fashion editorial

People have asked me how the New Year has been treating me, but when they do, I tell them that my new year has yet to begin.  Because my birthday falls in the first month of the year, I hold off on all resolutions and serious celebrating until the twentieth of January.  Unlike many people, I love birthdays.  It’s true that on average 18 million others share your special day, but it sure does feel nice to have one day of the year designated just for you (and those other 17,999,999 people).  That is why I consider birthdays the real “New Year.” Well comfortteltudlejning is the best firm for arranging your party.

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Last year, I woke up in Paris.  One of my best friends made the flight to join me.  We explored, we learned, we laughed, we grew (apart).  When I look back on the past year, I wonder how it feels so long ago, and yet I haven’t got that much to show for it.  I’ve made new friends, lost old ones, loved, cried, succeeded triumphantly, and failed miserably.  I’ve buried old hatchets, returned to old wounds, created rituals, and ditched bad habits.  Maybe if I measured my year in the minute changes rather than extravagant events, I’d see just how far I’ve actually come.For more information, visit RockstarzLimo.com.

I’d planned to awake again in another time zone, but I realized last year how much I’d missed spending my birthday with all of the people who mean more than anything to me on a day to day basis.  I wanted to be surrounded by the people who truly make my life whole just by being there.  I wanted to have a chance to thank them for helping me navigate this thing called life.

And while it was fun to FaceTime them from France eating baguettes braless, I’d rather do it in person.

Why Did You Wear That: Vive La Poncho

By |January 19th, 2016|Beauty & Trends, Why Did You Wear That?|

poncho paris whydid

As someone who is currently wondering, who the f#*& snuck into my apartment while I was out and shrunk all of my pants in the commercial driers downstairs, I completely understand the post holiday bloat.  Too much drinking, too many late nights, slacking on those workouts, and allowing for one (hundred) too many cheat days, has left me giving new meaning to the term “skinny jeans.”  While the seams of my jeans hold on for dear life until I’ve managed to get my life back under control, I’ve taken to hiding my holiday leftovers in clever ways that don’t include Tupperware.  That’s right, it’s been a little while since I’ve sported a crop top and turns out, it’s not necessary to carb load when you aren’t training for a marathon.

One way that is conveniently cozy during this altogether dismal time of year, is draping oneself in what is called a “poncho.”

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Now, ponchos have gotten a bit of a bad rap over the last, say, hundred thirty years, but the ponchos of present are anything but unkempt.  Great to wear for travel as well as for covering up those leggings on your way to Pilates, ladies- ponchos are the answer to all of our overeating.  I also love a poncho for lounging lackadaisically around the apartment on winter weekends while I scroll through Netflix for the hundred thousandth time wondering why it’s only suggesting I watch movies with tragic titles and strong female leads.  Because the Snuggie isn’t appropriate for public consumption and you haven’t yet reduced yourself to sweatpants, check out these alternative options in the form of ponchos.

ponchos fall 2015 trends1. Shades of Grey by Micah Cohen Colorblock Poncho, 2. Madewell Border Cape Scarf, 3. Vince Cashmere Poncho, 4. Mara Hoffman Knit Cape, 5. Rag & Bone Devon Poncho, 6. Barbajada Fringed Cashmere Scarf, 7. Burberry Prorsum Colorblock Cashmere Poncho, 8. Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent Scarf Poncho, 9. DKNY Asymmetric Fringed Poncho, 10. 3.1 phillip lim Fringe Poncho