October 19, 2007 at 8:08 am (move, wordpress)

Hi everyone, Just a quick and IMPORTANT note that I am making the switch to WordPress. It’s a slow process as I’m not as computer savvy as I’d like. So, there are some features that I’m trying to translate over to the new page. Also, expect a lot of cosmetic changes for the good, but at first it may not be as tricked out as I’d like, mainly due to my slow-moving, flattened learning curve. So, if you are already typing in, you will be directly forwarded to WordPress. However, if you type in, you will still come here.

Thanks for following along…

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Health Tip #4: 7 Tips on How to Dig Yourself out of an Emotional Pothole

October 17, 2007 at 1:35 pm (health, help)

Speaking from experience, tough things rarely happen in isolation. I find that I am tested with not one challenge, but several at the same time. Much can be learned from these periods of time, so I’d like to share with you what I’ve gathered.

1. Go by feel.

Do what feels good. Not what feels good at the time and will create sadness or guilt later, like swallowing an entire chocolate cake or watching 10 back-to-back movies. If you are honest with yourself, you’ll know what I mean as this is different for everyone. And, avoid what feels bad. Perhaps you bump into a person in the grocery store. By their mere conversation, you get “down” and feel uncomfortable by their questions. Perhaps you are not ready to talk about matters, and feel negativity emanating from them. Perhaps you can’t even figure out why, but you begin to feel better as you walk away from this person. Perhaps walking through a store brings back sad reminders. Avoid the store until you can handle it.

2. Good can come out of bad.

Spending the whole summer watching my grandfather slip downwards was a horrible, sad experience. But, during this time, family and friends came by to spend time with our family. My aunt and uncle stayed in the bedroom across the way like two peas in a pod, and we were brought back to times from all of our childhoods. And we recalled funny memories of my grandfather. So, the sad time brought us together. Sometimes the good is less tangible. Look for it because it is there.

3. It gets easier.

If you are choosing a path that is hard (i.e., changing a secure but stressful job, leaving a bad marriage) or the change is not one by choice (i.e., getting sick, getting fired), just know that as acutely painful as this time is, it will get better. Time has a weird way of healing, if you are open to the change that will come. Dig up a time in your past that was difficult. Are you still feeling that pain? Perhaps yes, but I bet you that it has dulled somewhat. Perhaps you lost someone you love. You may never forget the sadness of the loss, but you are able to get through your days or can smile instead of cry when thinking of this loved one. This is progress.

4. Get help if you need it.

Especially if you aren’t used to asking for help and consider yourself tough enough, ask for help. You may not pay attention to your needs and push through rough times, but everyone has a breaking point. If you find yourself unable to eat or eating everything in sight, are staying in bed for days on end, and are crying for weeks, this is a sign you need help. It is normal to feel sad when times get rough, but if you find that your sadness is causing the rest of your life to come crashing down, there is no shame in getting a hand. Perhaps you just need a hug or a phone call. But you might need even more than this. Go make an appointment with a doctor or therapist to talk about what is going on.

5. Don’t talk about anything you’re not ready to talk about.

Often when people ask you questions, inappropriate, nosy ones or even simple ones with no evil intent, you can feel that you are obligated to answer. Perhaps you want to avoid uncomfortable silences or not insult your asking party. Well, newsflash, just because they are asking does not mean you have to answer. Especially if answering would upset you and force you to go down an emotional road you are not ready to travel. They are invading YOUR space, and it is your job to actively protect your own boundaries. There will always be rude, nosy people in the world. That you can’t stop. But what you can do is to protect your privacy. How do you do this?

Well, once you look at invasions of your space as the aggressive action and not something you must comply with because you are supposed to…it will be far easier. The more control you have over your life, and the earlier you figure out that you can make changes, the happier you will be.

Then, you can either just say nothing and change the topic. (“yikes, I just remembered. I have an emergency appointment with my proctologist!” OR “You just reminded me. I think I left the iron on! Gotta go!”)

You could return with an equally invasive question. “So, how’s your weight loss going?” “Did you know your husband pinched my behind last year at the Christmas party?” Here is the possible expression of Nibby Nora.

You can do the old reject and deflect. Bernice Busybody: “So, I hear you dropped out of school. Are you going back to school anytime soon?” You: “That reminds me…I was thinking of asking you about your schooling. What did you study?” Following up with a question about the other person probably will flatter as well…

And finally, you can just say, “I appreciate you asking about my welfare, but I am actually not sure.”

5. Hang out with supportive people.

I find it interesting how people spend tons of time complaining about their so-called friends, only to continually make plans with them. Or they are irritated with their ugly wardrobe, but are not saving money or buying bargains. Perhaps people like to complain, or they just feel powerless over their lives. Think about what you are getting out of the complaining. Are people running to your aid? Does the attention feel good? Or are you too lazy to do anything and it’s habit complaining? Whatever it is, it’s not worth it. And, examine your life. They say an unexamined life is not worth living. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it’s hard to make changes if you don’t spend the time to look at what is going wrong. That includes what you are doing too, as it’s easier to change yourself than others. If you are know or live with someone who drives you mad, or needs help, you can only set a good example and make gentle reminders. But you will look like father time from the mere stress before this person chooses to see themselves in the mirror. In the meantime, do what you need to do, and you might inspire them along the way.

So, it is truly YOUR choice and well within your power to make your life happier. And one of the most important things you can do is to select supportive, positive people in your life. And there is no better way to find out than in hard times. The cream floats to the top.

6. Do healthy things.

The last thing in the world you might want to do is to get out of bed. But if you stay in bed all day, you know you will only feel worse. Ok, maybe you can do it a day or two, but eventually, you might create new problems, like getting canned from your job and now you have more to be depressed about. You may have no interest in going to the movies or listening to music. And maybe the first few times you go out with friends feels awful. But after a while, you will feel the positive effects. That goes for exercise, reaching out to friends and family, cooking a meal for yourself. Do the actions first and the feelings will follow later.

7. Do for others.

As odd as this sounds, doing good for other people is actually one of the MOST therapeutic ways of picking yourself up. Think about it. You feel like crap because you are spending all day thinking about your own problems. It’s like having a gerbil on crack running on a neverending little wheel. It gets old and you are going no where. Jump off the train to nowhere and start helping someone else out. Or write a card to some older relative you have who lives alone. Take someone out to dinner who rarely goes out. Whatever it is, you are not focusing on yourself, you are taking a break from figuring out your own things, and you are getting positive feelings from doing a good deed.

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Tag…you’re it!

October 13, 2007 at 10:20 am (tagged)

I was tagged by Diane of Much of a Muchness. A visually stunning blog. Do check it out.

I am to tell you 7 honest things about myself. So, here goes

1. I am in a major life transition now. I’ve made a break in my personal life, moved from London (sadly) to the US, and have a new lease on life.

2. I am a Gemini and thus am obsessed with many things at once, both of the right and left brain.

3. I am very impressed and cattle-prodded-on by my sister’s amazing intent and success of getting in shape at See Corey Run. I truly believe she will run a marathon.

4. I normally love to cook, but am on a long hiatus as I was burned out while living my life in London. I am slowly sifting through recipes and the passion is sparking…

5. My first love is writing, and I fear I may tinker around before putting together my first book (a main dream of mine).

6. I am a closet shy person, even though pushing myself into completely uncomfortable situations (living in Manhattan, London, new jobs, new challenges) has moved me to conquer some of these fears.

7. I think kindness and good manners with wit are underrated and wish more would say please, thank you and show the courtesy I witnessed and enjoyed while living in London.

There you have it. Now for the lucky 7 I will tag. Here goes:

See Corey Run

Ladies in the Red

Because I Must Blog

Dizzi Lizzi

Suburban Oblivion

Running in Wellies

Cranberry Corner

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October 13, 2007 at 9:30 am (Awards)

I have received an award from Corey Irwin at Music Unbound, a fantastic blog all about music without any borders, distinctions or necessary connections. Highly recommend.

The award…drumroll please…is of the Best Kept Secret Award. I am so pleased and hope to become less of a secret and more of a known by the fabulous distinction.

“We all have a Best Kept Secret blogger or two we visit regularly — a blogger with great style and wit and warmth who hasn’t been discovered yet. Here’s our chance with this award to say, ‘Wow. Check out this blogger!’”

To not hold the joy/accolades too long, I would like to pass along the award to a group of other great bloggers, who if not already receiving fame and fortune, SHOULD.

Much of a Muchness

Crazy Aunt Purl

Eavesdrop Writer Blog

Emma Sometimes

Passionate About Baking

Twisted Sister

Little Cotton Rabbits

Petite Anglaise

Twas Brillig

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Beauty Tip #4: Cowabunga, a suncreen I actually will use

October 12, 2007 at 6:12 pm (health, melanoma, mexoryl, skincare, sunscreen, titanium dioxide, uva, uvb)

Oddly, as I am living in the Northeast and just getting used to the onset of fall, I have just come across the most delightful discovery…the perfect sunscreen for one’s countenance. I am a writer/editor, so I am always finding odd words that come to mind, so by countenance, I mean your gorgeous face. I was off for a walk (yes, for those have read my post about walking, I do follow my own advice!) and realized that the rays were pelting down on my pale skin. As I am acutely aware of the ozone thinning and the need to protect oneself, I went searching for an appropriate cream to slather on. As I’m home, my very hip mother showed me a new product she picked up. So, hence, my latest fab discovery: Glymed Plus Cell Science Proto-Age Protection Cream 30+. Geez, could this be any longer.

So, on to the product. I have immense lurking guilt about not wearing sunscreen. From billboards, commercials, and magazines, and the evil, pore-obsessed, confidence-crushing makeup ladies, I am acutely aware that I should be applying SPF on my face all the way down to my big toes.

Because clothing does not completely protect either. I am not extreme and due to laziness as well, I have settled for face coverage.

I’ve tried other brands, and I always end up stopping to use sunscreen due to excessive heaviness, or an overwhelming scent, or grease-production. And, I’ve tried all sorts of applications: cream, gel, liquid and spray. And I have also tried very inexpensive to expensive types too. Even the dermatologist recommended types I’ve ended up chucking. This product is basically scent-free, except for the basic cream-type scent I noticed. (I just opened the container and took a big whiff and now have a white nose.)

Also, the cream is a thicker cream, but you need far less for coverage. It also doubles as a moisturizer as well, so you can shave off that part of your routine. The cream blends into my skin, giving me an even rosy glow to my skin, but after hours of wear, I don’t smell it, notice it, or have any excessive oiliness or irritation. And there is no sticky residue either. I am a believer.

Now for the medical aspect of this product. The days of tanning on the beach for hours are long gone. The suns rays are even more powerful, especially in portions of the world with increased ozone depletion, like Australia. However, the rest of the world is not safe either, as there is a generalized increase of SPF rays passing through our atmosphere and making contact with your delicate cheeks, eyelids and shoulders. This product is great as the protection is 30+, however you must apply especially if you are sweating, playing sports, or especially swimming.

UVA and UVB protection is important, as both lead to skin damage. UVA is particularly dangerous as it causes damage to your DNA within skin cells, increasing the risk of melanoma. From my clinical experience, melanoma is a frightening disease. While working in a specialized cancer center, oncologists were particularly impressed with melanoma’s ability to defeat conventional medicine. A doctor may eradicate a seemingly simple skin lesion for it to return a year later affecting multiple internal organs. I witnessed a particularly sad case in this hospital. Wrinkles and sunspots are no treat, but melanoma can end your life. So, please cover up.

So, a few important things. This product is perfect for now. Buy it. But, as a new better ingredient (accepted in Europe first when was living in London), has just been approved by the FDA, look for ecamsule or Mexoryl (brand name) in sunscreens. It might not be out there yet, but it, along with zinc oxide and avobenzone are apparently the best active ingredients out there for full UVA/UVB coverage.

But titanium dioxide is still great, providing good coverage for both UVA and UVB, but reportedly doesn’t cover the entire UVA spectrum.

Another important note. I hate being duped, so know that the company has downsized the product size, but kept the price the same. It’s now 1.6 oz instead of 2oz. So, look online, perhaps on Ebay, for a 2oz size. If it’s 1.6oz, look for a lower cost.

So, to finish…

DO put sunscreen on your face in the morning and reapply several times a day if you can.
DO reapply more times if you are sweaty or working out or swimming.
DO NOT lay on the beach/at the pool at prime sun times, 12pm to 3pm. If you must, sit under an umbrella or put on a hat.
DO cover your little ones with hats and sunscreen.
DO make a yearly appointment with a dermatologist to do a skin check. I’m a BIG HUGE fan of prevention rather than treatment.

PRODUCT: Glymed Plus Cell Science Proto-Age Protection Cream 30+

PROS: doubles as a moisturizer, 30+ SPF, active ingredient is titanium dioxide (good sun protection), light smell, non-greasy, blends into skin, high quality product

CONS: price (retail $65)

WHERE FIND: Try EBAY, and free shipping here: ARIVA

NOTE: look for new products out there in future with Mexoryl as active ingredient. Probably best sun protection out there now

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Stop Elder Abuse

September 27, 2007 at 9:50 pm (Blogging against abuse)

Due to my recent constant care of my grandfather, I have spent many days, hours, weeks, in nursing homes, hospitals, in the company of aides, doctors, and nurses. Many thoughts have come to mind. As a young, strong, aware individual, you often have the independence, awareness and physical strength to avoid, fight or just be aware when you being mistreated. Even if you choose not to fight back, you could. One of the most deplorable features of abuse is that cowardly individuals who inherently feel inadequate, gain power and strength from lording over easy targets (i.e., children, subordinates, elderly, animals). In the case of the elderly, those who have either been abused, or for whatever reason, have evil within and a need to belittle those in need, choose to verbally or physically maltreat someone of advanced age.

If you step into a nursing home, you will see elderly men and women of all levels of health. There are individuals of fine physical shape, with failing mental facilities and those with a sharp mind and a failing physique. Some have neither their mind or bodies intact. I witnessed many kind, warm souls working in these environs, who clearly had their heart in their job. And I have also seen those who were less gentle. I am also aware that abuse is often done behind closed doors. Fortunately, my grandfather often was aware and reported when he was treated well and less so. In one particular incident on a hospital ward, he described a young female aide who was particularly rough with him, and even told him to “shut up” loudly. We were horrified, and sought to find out who this was, in order to prevent further actions like this towards my grandfather and others.
So, what I’d like to state is that it is everyone’s role to care for those without a voice. Not only because you may one day be weakened and vulnerable and may be at risk, but because you are not weak. You can see, hear and walk and talk and because of this, it is your role to speak up. Words and actions do immense good. Perhaps you aren’t organizing a march on the nation’s capital, but you make a anonymous phone call to the head of the hospital, reporting bad behavior. Or you witness an elderly man struggling with a door. Go and help. You will be glad you did and you will have added a bit of joy to their day. And if you see abuse of any kind towards an elderly person, stand up and fight back. Often the aggression and cruelty is a scary exterior hiding a weak coward inside. And, if you have grandparents in a nursing facility, take care to protect them and care for them. There is no other choice.

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Come one, Come all…

September 26, 2007 at 10:55 pm (doctor, help, medical, questions, relationships)

I am back from my hiatus and continue to reflect and be deeply saddened by the loss of my grandfather, however I feel it is necessary to push on with my blogging. I’d like to continue with my format, providing tips of all sorts in various categories, however I invite reader participation as well. As I am a medical doctor with psychiatry training, I’d enjoy posting the occasional Q and A. If you have a question regarding your medical health, are curious as to how to solve a difficult relationship problem, work crisis, or are at a crossroads, I’d like to help. In order to maintain anonymity, I would ask you email me your question, and I will post the answer without identification. You will know who you are, and others can hopefully learn as well.

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On a Sad Note…

September 23, 2007 at 9:45 pm (Uncategorized)

I apologize for the delay in posts to this blog. My beloved grandfather, who I adore, cherish and love so dearly, and have been so lucky to know and who has inspired me to always try to do better, be kinder, and to live honestly, has passed away at noon today. I am so saddened with this loss. I can’t believe that someone who brightened the world with his humor, his drive, his support and love could be no more. Please be patient with me as I will take some time away from blogging, to return, I hope soon to bringing new ways to brighten your lives.

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Health Tip #3: Walking, the under-rated Stress Buster

September 18, 2007 at 1:46 pm (exercise, stress relief, walking)

Being a closet type-A minus my whole life, I honestly have felt I’m doing nothing unless I’ve achieved my maximum potential. Whether this involves getting the grade, writing a thank you note of Pulitzer quality, or hitting the gym, I used to be a tightly wound spring. Obviously, as you can imagine, I was a stressed out little bugger before I saw the light. This mentality is not sustainable, and will only cause bags under the eyeballs and anxiety, neither or which are inviting qualities.

So, as I am one to always seek development and better ways of doing everything, I actively worked on taking it down a notch, at any chance I could get. Being a stressed out nut is not your identity…it is a temporary state of being you must battle tooth and nail. I simply get annoyed at individuals who just complain or submit to their exposed nerves. One should think, how can I better this situation and be happier? Unfortunately, not everyone is self-aware, and sometimes people may not realize they are getting some benefit by complaining. Not that sharing problems and discussing is unhealthy…it is necessary. But harping like a seal for months is not OK. This is the point that I start thinking this person might be getting some gain from this behavior. Even negative attention (i.e., pity, villagers running away screaming) is appealing to some. But, my mantra is that it is your responsibility to make your life better. You can ask for help, but you must not settle for less.

This is your friend, and the bear represents how you are feeling inside.

Perhaps you have a friend who calls for a daily one-way dumping on your shoulder/ears. You then go and fester about this or in turn to bitch to someone else. This is only allowable for a time-limited stage, when it is your responsibility to bite the bullet and figure out a strategy to make this situation better. Whether it’s going for a walk with this friend and gently stating that you really need a good friend too, and you wish you could talk to her about your problems. Or suggesting that she start working towards positive resolutions. And if she balks or you decide to end the friendship to focus on other people, that is your choice as well.

Reassessment of your current happiness quotient is a must. But it is something you must schedule in. There are some activities that are FANTASTIC for jogging the mind, releasing stress, and forcing yourself to redefine your life. One in particular, is walking. I suggest a daily walk with either a healthy (of mind) friend or on your own, preferably during daylight hours. After dinner is a good time. During the day, there is very little space you can get for your mind to rest, to process the day’s events, or to reflect on changes that need to occur. An extremely underrated form of activity, I often felt walking was a waste of time because I was not breaking a sweat. You will not only feel relaxed, and get in better shape, but you will have a better relationship with either a good friend or yourself. If you’d like an amazing workout for other times, follow the Couch to 5K workout at See Corey Run. The workout is a convenient , downloadable pod-cast. See the link on the left-hand sidebar.

So slap on those sneaks, and get your buns out the door.

SOLUTION: Daily walks alone or with a friend

PROS: stress release, quiet time to think or time to talk with a friend, renewed emotional energy, in better shape, getting vitamin D from the sun (no more pasty complexion), working out issues, being outside/in nature

CONS: none

For kicks, I’ve included this ADORABLE video of a baby seal. About 1:30 into the video is absolutely hilarious.

As I’m a HUGE animal fan, and think we have the duty to support the helpless who do not have a voice (animals, the elderly, children), click HERE to show your support to the World Wildlife Fund. You can sign up for a pittance, they’ll give you a cute gift, a calendar too, and you will help keep endangered species alive.

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Beauty Tip #2: The Frizz Wars…Part I

September 16, 2007 at 4:34 pm (Beauty Tips, Bumble and Bumble, curls, Ouidad)

A “before” photo of an unfortunate red-head

Before I knew (or cared) how to handle my luxurious waves aka undulating frizz, I was in ignorant bliss. I went from Shirley Temple ringlets as a child (after my early bald-as-a-bowling-ball phase) to the wild lioness mane of my early teen years. Thankfully due to the intervention of my beauty savvy Mom and Aunt, who worked in tandem to pacify my many follicles’ reactive temper, I became quite a young goddess, if I may say so myself. 😉 Part of this intervention involved curling irons, conditioning treatments, and a cornucopia of barrettes. 😉

When the Bumble & Bumble salon burst open their doors in Manhattan’s swanky hood, in buzzed many savage beasts of mangy manes who surprisingly had human DNA. I was probably run over by this herd, but learned of this curl-tempering cure in time. Ouidad, a shop which many worship as a shrine, proved too shellac-ing for me, but Bumble & Bumble’s Leave-In Conditioner worked like a miracle worker. It held and shaped the curl, but allowed my hair to move like human hair.

Some typical AFTER photos (one is of my FAV Madonna):

PLEASE avoid the following look:

While still wet, I would massage in this white gold, coating from scalp to split end. My preference is always to do this in the shower, such that I can walk out with hair ready to dry/go. The technique I’d recommend is taking sections of hair, coating with a quarter size amount of Bumble, then combing with fingers spread, holding the hair. When getting to the ends, grab hold of the hair section, and shake lightly, to free the curl from it’s cage. Even though I personally didn’t like Ouidad products, after a visit to the salon which set me back $300 (yikes!), I did leave with one fantastic method: the Rake and Shake. Visit this link for a quick, helpful visual. CLICK HERE. I just use Bumble and Bumble on the hair instead of their products, and use their technique.

After all the hair is coated, I try to let my hair air-dry without much manipulation, to minimize heat damage, and to allow the curls to set.

I’d recommend testing different amounts on your hair, as for mine, which has fine, blond consistency, but is naturally ringlet-y, a moderate amount works just fine. This amount is clear to me, as I’ve been using this product for over 10 years. I can’t give an exact amount, but what works for one, is not so hot for another. You just get a sense after a bit.

The absolutely lovely thing about this product, is that it rarely gets that horrid crunchy, wet-all-day look that has people guessing if you just jumped out of the shower or if you’ve never jumped in or out of a shower. If you truly slather it on like my Dad puts cream cheese on his bagel aka in HEAPS, your do will probably do the wet or “greased” look. Often, you can put your hand underneath your hair and break apart these shellac-ed sections, unlike other products that permanently mold your hair like Vanna White in her glorious Oscar-worthy debut as a Greek statue in Goddess of Love.

Other perks are the deep conditioning you get all day long, which is often necessary for curly, naturally dry hair. The bottle states you can wash out the product, but as I’ve walked into the actual Bumble & Bumble salon, the experts say you can also leave it in.

PRODUCT: Bumble & Bumble Leave-In Conditioner

WHERE BUY: you can go straight to the source or a participating salon, but I’d recommend searching on Ebay for a heavy discount. Do a google search for discount sites as well. Compare and buy. Check out their site as it’s pretty helpful too. Especially if you have another hair type.

PROS: tames curls into beautiful, calm hair; holds curl add day; frizz is gone; very light, inoffensive scent; easy to wash off hair/hands without heavy goo-quotient; doesn’t mold hair into greasy, wet look; provides nutrients and conditioning all day long; salon and products very successful (celeb clientele) so product will be around for years to come; only product have used for 10+ years that actually works.

CONS: can be expensive if do not find on ebay or discount site; may not work on straight hair–unsure, but still try; may be trial and error period as all curls differ; also must accompany regular haircuts to keep hair healthy for maximum benefit.

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