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How To Tuesday: Making Cobbler with Breanne Butler of ByBreanne

By |August 24th, 2016|Guest Blogger, How To Tuesday, Recipes, Why Did You Eat That?, Why Don't You Watch?|
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Speaking of sweets, who doesn’t love a simple, yet delicious dessert to cap off a summer meal?  Spoiler alert: no one.  This week, Breanne teaches us how to make a real crowd pleaser, that will also please you with how incredibly simple it is to make.  She walks us through how to use whatever fruit you have in your house (in this instance, plums were on sale) to make a very straightforward cobbler that would be perfect a la mode… had I not just polished off all of my supplies.  Watch this week’s How To Tuesday below and then test this recipe out for your next dinner party (and let me know which fruit variations you favor).  Then check back in next week to see what we’ll “How To” next.

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.  As little as eight minutes a day in the sun can boost your Vitamin D intake– and probably your mood, no less.  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.

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.

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!

Beauty Buzz: A Perfect Blowout with Ammon Carver

By |January 6th, 2015|Beauty Buzz, Guest Blogger|

ammon carver salon lanza hair careThe New Year is a great time for a new look.  If you are a bit gun shy and not yet ready to pull the trigger on the of the moment lob (long bob) or a complete color makeover makes you nervous, why not start with a little lesson in achieving the sleekest blowout you’ve had in years?  I have a lot of hair.  Hair that seems to have a mind (and split personality) of its own as seen in this Instagram photo.  It’s wavy.  It’s curly.  It’s flat.  It’s full.  I do my best to try and tame it, but even after all these years of practice, even I know there’s always room for improvement.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ammon Carver at the opening of his salon and in-house photo studio in conjunction with Lanza Healing Haircare located on west 17th Street this past fall and I fell for him immediately.  Not only is he incredibly talented, but also disarmingly warm and sure isn’t hard to look at (sorry, folks, he’s taken).  He invited me to come back to the studio in order to tell me more about L’Anza‘s new Keratin line and demonstrate it on my tired tresses.  I’m never one to turn down the opportunity for someone else to handle my hair, so I happily agreed.  I was so impressed with the product, which actually made my hair so shiny it looked like I’d had it highlighted, and Ammon’s attention to detail, that I asked if he’d be up for sharing some of his secrets.  We decided to start with a straightforward blowout and below are a sprinkling of his top tips as to how to execute the type of blowout sure to turn heads.

(full disclosure: I hesitated to post this as now you’ll all know what my hair is actually capable of looking like.  Often times, I’ve left the salon and the ladies seemed surprised to realize that I “actually have nice hair.”)

Product of Our Environment:

Before you begin your blowout, be sure to apply product to your hair in order to ensure safety from heat and to seal in moisture.  Ammon used L’Anza Keratin Healing Oil Combing Cream, which sort of smells like heaven.

lanza haircare keratinThe Root of the Problem:

A lot of people think flipping their heads upside down to get out the initial dampness is a good way to begin a blowout, but in actuality, you’re only increasing your chances of fighting frizz.  Nope, that’s not volume.  The best place to start your blowout is right at the root.  The hair there is the most difficult to manage and tends to be the most frizzy/flyaway.  Drake may have started at the bottom, but we’ll begin at the top.

ammon carver blow dryKnow Your ABCs:

Think of your hair in sections with the root being A, the midsection being B, and the ends being C.  Just as you wouldn’t recite the alphabet backwards, don’t dry your hair backwards either.  Your roots retain the most moisture (and as mentioned the most stubborn texture).  The ends of your hair are the driest and if you blow them for the same amount of time as the roots, you will only dry and damage them further (ever notice how that’s the first part of your hair to dry)?  This might take a bit of dexterity, but with practice, you’ll have the hang of it in no time.

how to blow dry your hairFrameworthy:

Many people (myself included) save the front portion of their hair for the end much like dessert.  Well, because this area often includes your face framing layers, it’s important to get that portion polished before finishing up your ‘do.  What’s the point of having perfectly blown out tresses at the back of your head… unless you’re a carriage driver looking to make extra tips?

ammon carver studio whydidTurn Down for What?:

If your dryer has a nozzle, use it.  It helps to keep the air flowing in a concentrated direction.  Speaking of direction (and there isn’t just one), be sure you’re blowing down.  As Ammon explained to me, “Think of your hair cuticle like the scales of a fish.  If you blow up, it’s like rubbing the scales in the wrong direction.”

ammon carver lanza haircareQuality Investment:

While the Mason Pearson brush Ammon used to tug my tresses taught may be on the pricey side, he assured me that it’s well worth the investment.  As far as blow dryers go, there’s no need to go pro, but an upgrade from your drugstore offerings may be in order.

ammon carver blowoutPump Up the Volume:

Now it’s time to add volume to your coif.  Do so by concentrating a finishing hairspray near the roots.

ammon carver salonWith a Twist:

If you don’t love a stick straight look, add some easy bounce with a large barrel curling iron.  Don’t forget to curl pieces in the front away from your face.

how to blow out hairFinishing School:

Last, but not least, be sure to seal in your style with a finishing spray like L’Anza Keratin Healing Oil Lustrous Finishing Spray to extend the life of your blowout.  (I carry a travel size of this spray in my bag for touch ups).

ammon carver whydid blog

how to blow out your hair

 

lanza keratin healing oilL’Anza Keratin Healing Oil ShampooL’anza Keratin Healing Oil ConditionerL’Anza Keratin Healing Oil Combing CreamMason Pearson Junior Mix BrushT3 Featherweight 2L’Anza Keratin Healing Oil Lustrous Finishing Spray

xx,

WhyDid

Guest Post: Smile without Cracking Up

By |December 31st, 2014|Beauty Buzz, Guest Blogger|

During the bitter winter months, it’s hard to imagine wanting to pucker up when your lips feel more like cracked sidewalks than soft, sumptuous pillows.  Fortunately, Dr. Kenet has some tips as to how to keep your lips kissably soft even on the coldest days.  

best winter lip balmsIt’s hard to look happy when you’re lips look ragged. Winter bears down on lips—low humidity, indoor heat, windy days, icy rain and snow. Of course, we know that lip balm helps, but it’s important to know the details to keep your lips looking great.

  1. Avoid lip care products that contain phenol, menthol or salicylic acid. Although that pleasant minty blast may seem refreshing and tingly, you’re putting your lips at risk for further peeling. Removing these layers of skin leaves your lips more susceptible to the environmental factors that cause chapping.

For example: Carmex or Rosebud Balm are not recommended.

Here are some further lip tips:

  1. No licking. Either it’s a habit or you may think you’re doing your lips a favor. In either case, it’s a mistake.
  2. Eat right -plenty of good fats (fresh salmon, krill supplements, even a bit of grass-fed organic butter) to keep your body and skin in top shape against the elements.
  3. Avoid matte lipstick and go for something moisturizing. A new product, Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon is a nice easy moisturizing lipstick that won’t dry lips out.  Revlon Moondrops Lip Conditioner is a throwback, but it has lasted through the years as a favorite because it’s inexpensive and has all the right ingredients.  Extravagance:  Baum De Rose By Terry for lips gives a slight tint and tons of moisturizing protection.  Go Basic: Aquaphor Lip Repair + Protect, Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Do this:

  1. After your shower, gently pat dry and get an emollient on your lips.
  2. If your lips are already chapped, avoid sipping hot drinks for a few days.
  3. For extreme cases, apply 1% hydrocortisone before bedtime.

 best lips balms winter1. Clé de Peau Beauté Lip Contour Treatment, $50, 2. AERIN Rose Lip Conditioner, $28, 3. By Terry Rose Balm, $60, 4. Eos Lip Balm Coconut Milk, $3.49, 5. Revlon Moon Drops Lip Conditioner, $8.99, 6. Aquaphor Lip Repair, $4.29, 7. Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment, $25, 8. Burt’s Bee Lip Crayon, $8.99, 9. Tony Moly Bbo Bbo Lip Balm in Honey, $9, 10. TokyoMilk Dark Femme Fatale Collection Lip Elixirs in Salted Caramel, $7

 

Guest Post: Adrienne Zager Dishes Out Her Holiday Fitness Tips

By |December 22nd, 2014|Guest Blogger|

As many of you sit in the airport reading this from your smartphone, you might be feeling a slight pang of anxiety about returning home for several reasons.  One of those  not involving meeting your sweetheart’s relatives may have something to do with not gaining unnecessary weight while indulging on holiday goodies.  Fortunately, my dear friend and go to for health and fitness tips, Adrienne Zager has been so kind as to drop some knowledge on how to stay slim during your trip home to the ‘burbs. adrienne zager at home workoutNothing can fully express my inner panic and dread of how to pack a suitcase better than that terrified look of dear little Kevin McCallister.  However, after one too many excess baggage fees paid and excess pounds gained, I now officially have traveling light and feeling light down to a science.

Before I share with you my Holiday Fit Essentials Guide, let’s first reintroduce our regimented selves to one of the greatest life lessons the holidays serve to remind us: flexibility.  Instead of having an anxiety attack over the thought of missing your weekly hot pilates class, embrace the healthy change of scenery by simplifying your workouts and creatively using your surroundings. Stairs or a fireplace are perfect for step-ups and provide just enough height to effectively target your tush.  Regardless of your heath and fitness goals, maintaining a consistent diet is fairly easy when in the comfort of your own home and regular routine.  Traveling requires a flexible diet approach by making moderation your new best friend so you can enjoy your favorite holiday foods guilt-free.  Contrary to popular belief, unless you completely gorge yourself from now until the new year, if your clothes feel snug it’s water retention. Dehydration, alcohol consumption, and sodium-rich foods cause the body to hold onto water. In order for the body to process fluids correctly it must be properly and consistently hydrated, so say hello to your second new best friend: water.

And with that, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

adrienne zager holiday workoutHere are some more of my tried and true travel fit tips to have you returning from holiday looking better than before!

Holiday Fit Essentials Guide:

* Fruit-of-the-Loom men’s wife beaters

- I’ve used these for years. They are cheap, simple and practical. Bring a pair of sneakers, basic black workout leggings/capris and use an assortment of colorful and/or printed sport bras to change up your look.

* Resistance bands and jump rope

- These cheap buys should remain in your suitcase year-round as gym access isn’t always a guarantee. They provide diverse, effective and fast workouts in the comfort of your hotel or guest room.

* Vitamin case

- Purse-friendly way to keep your hangover headache medication, daily multivitamin, and B-complex organized.  B-complex is essential for food metabilism, energy production, digestion, relieving water retention, healthy hair/skin/nails and much more.

* Protein Powder

- Portable, quick and convenient meal on the go. Scoop what you need into a ziplock bag for easy packing. Don’t forget to include the scoop and a shaker.

* Stevia

- Best sugar substitute and will help satisfy cravings. Stevia + lemons = the perfect sugar-free lemonade and makes increasing your water intake easy.

* Detox tea

- Drink in the morning and night to gently cleanse and rid your body of toxins and water retention.

* Apple Cider Vinegar

- My holy grail for the fountain of youth and weight loss. One shot and your sugar craving is gone.  If you can’t get the shot down add 2 tbls to 8oz of lemon water and stevia to taste. The health and detox benefits of ACV are endless.

holiday fitness tips1. Organic Food Bar Raw Vegan Protein, $69.99, 2. Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia, $8.99, 3. Bella Faux Ostrich Skin 7 Day Pill Box, $12.98, 4. Fruit of the Loom Men’s 8 Pack A Shirt, $17.99, 5. Kusmi Tea Detox Tea Bags, $15.85, 6. Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, $4.99, 7. Rage Resistance Bands, $24.99, 8. All Pro Weight Adjustable Jump Rope, $22.99