Fashion, Beauty, and the pursuit of everything Fabulous.

Health & Body

Smoothie of the Month: Get Glowing Skin with Guava

guava smoothie

guava smoothie

March is National Nutrition Month, and what better way to observe the occasion than by finding a way to use nutrition to beautify our skin. That’s why I’m pleased to announce a new feature on the blog: “Smoothie of the Month,” where I’ll feature smoothie recipes that are not only good for you on the inside, but will allow your outside to be beautified as well.

This month’s smoothie was inspired by the tropical fruit guava. Native to Central America, guava contains many nutrients which are good for the skin including vitamins A, B, C, lycopene and potassium, all of which reduce the impact of aging and keeps the skin radiant.

Since the delicious fruit is hard to find in-stores, for this recipe, I used half a bag of GOYA® Guava Fruit Pulp, l banana and half a can of crushed pineapple and blended the ingredients together in a mixer. The result was a yummy sweet concoction filled with healthy fruits, no added sugars and many skin benefits. Let me know if you give this smoothie a try. I’d love to hear what you think!


The Health Benefits of Meditation

In an effort to start incorporating more health and wellness stories onto the blog, here are some tips on dealing with stress….

Stress can easily come from every direction in our lives—demanding bosses, wailing children, absent spouses, financial woes are just a few of the stressors that demand our attention and our sanity. All this pressure can add up and contribute to major and minor health issues. From muscle tension to high blood pressure to weight gain to aging skin, chronic stress does a number on your health and physical appearance. Get your body back on track by finding ways to eliminate or combat the major stressors in your life. If you can’t just ditch the job (or win the lottery), try regular exercise and meditation to help improve your stress levels. These two activities work in concert to help lower blood pressure, fight off that pesky stress-related spare tire, and reduce anxiety.

Try a variety of workout and meditative practice styles until you find something that you can stick with. Yoga is renowned for its stress-busting ability; and some people swear by running. As with exercise, finding the right way to meditate varies based on personal taste. If you need pointers on how to meditate, this infographic from Skin Energizer shows you the basics on getting started. Meditation is a mental exercise—and like any work out, the more you practice, the better you will become at it. And you will reap the benefits even if you haven’t gotten it down to science.


Fashionable ways to support Breast Cancer Research

Betsy Johnson has been a breast cancer survivor for 11 years. In an effort to contribute to awareness of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, every year she launches a special fashion line featuring clothing and accessories. A portion of the proceeds for all items sold will be donated to charity. (Pictured above - Breast Cancer Awareness 5 Stud Earring Set, $38)

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a national, annual platform that increases awareness about the disease, prevention and most importantly, raises funds to help discover a cure. There are so many fashionable ways you can help contribute to the cause, including wearing a Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Pink Ribbon, which can be sent to you after donating a gift of any amount. Click here for more information, and check out these chic fashion pieces, proceeds of which, benefit the fight against breast cancer.

GUESS Watches has teamed up with Susan G. Komen for the Cure® for the 4th year in a row, and will donate $21.00 from the sale of each "Sparkling Pink 2011" watch sold. The watch features a silvertone mixed metal bracelet, and is accented with small pink crystal accents around the top ring. It also includes the traditional breast-cancer pink ribbon in crystal on the dial. The super, chic pink box is included. (Guess.com; $105)

Jewelry Designer Maya Brenner created this "Five" necklace to support breast cancer awareness. The necklace is in honor of Lifetime Network's "Five." Directed by Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Alicia Keys and others, “Five,” consists of a series of five short films exploring the impact of breast cancer on women's lives. The profit from the sales of the necklace will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund ($188; mayabrenner.com).

Betsy Johnson has been a breast cancer survivor for 11 years. In an effort to contribute to awareness of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, every year she launches a special fashion line featuring clothing and accessories. A portion of the proceeds of all items sold will be donated to charity. (Pictured above - Breast Cancer Awareness 5 Stud Earring Set, $38 at betseyjohnson.com).

These trendy shades by Oakley will not only protect your delicate eyes form the sun, but will also make you feel good knowing that $20 from each sale of these special edition sunglasses will benefit the YOUNG SURVIVAL COALITION® (YSC), a non-profit network focused on the concerns and issues unique to young women affected by breast cancer (Pictured above: Dangerous; $180 at oakley.com).


Sexy Gym Workouts

English: Pole dance

English: Pole dance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traditional workouts are a thing of the past. Gone are the days when women attended fitness sessions reminiscent of their high school gym classes. Now, you can attend can attend sultry classes that will let you burn calories and break out a sweat while, in the words of Ludacris, “shaking your money-maker like somebody ’bout to pay ya.”

Pole Dancing

Perhaps the most popular sexy gym workout sweeping the nation is pole dancing. Yes, that’s right, the pole is not just for strip clubs anymore, as many fitness chains and private studios are springing up all over the place offering the saucy aerobic exercise which allows you to enhance posture; develop upper body and core strength, and improve flexibility. And, believe me you have to be flexible in a class that requires you to hold yourself upside down on a pole while spreading your legs in a V shape over your head. Many who take pole dancing classes believe that it improves their self-confidence and is a fun way to burn calories. It should be noted that there are many dangers of attempting pole dancing, so it is necessary to find a certified professional pole dance instructor to teach you how to “work” the pole safely.

Check classes out at: S Factor

Exotic Chair

Another new sensual fitness craze is exotic chair dancing.  I recently tried a class at Crunch Gym called Hot Seat, and let me tell you, it really was a workout. After learning a high intense cardio routine with our very special prop, a chair, all of the women in the class were panting and sweating heavily. We also spent 10 minutes of the class using the chair to assist us in a very intense abs workout.  By the end of the class I went home knowing a sexy chair routine, and feeling very liberated.

Check classes out at: Crunch Gym

Burlesque

Burlesque is another sexy fitness phenomenon.  With props such as feather boas, fans, fishnets and high heels, flirty participants shimmy their way to better fitness. While dancing to upbeat music, participants heart rates are increased, and they are able to isolate and strengthen certain muscles while doing core work on the chairs.

Check classes out at: NY School of Burlesque

Bellydancing

Lastly, women can channel their inner Shakira by taking bellydancing classes, and in the words of the Ying Yang Twins, “shake it like a salt shaker.” Benefits of the workout include strengthening and tightening abs and obliques, as well as toning arms. Since there is a lot of shaking and isolations, bellydancing is a great cardiovascular workout and helps increase energy and strength.

Check classes out at: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater


Why I work out…a lot

cover-vouge italy

Kristen McMenamy

I love going to the gym! I really do. On a good week I go up to five days a week, and it doesn’t hurt that I’m a member of Crunch, an amazing fitness chain that offers a wide variety of classes.  I go to the gym because I want to be healthy, and still have a rocking body when I get older. I am convinced that exercising and eating well are the key factors that allow people to look and feel younger than they really are.

The latest issue of Vogue Italia features Kristen McMenamy, a 46-year-old model, half-clad in teeny tiny swimwear, looking absolutely amazing. Seeing her photos made me remember the picture Demi Moore tweeted of herself at age 47 wearing a skimpy bikini.

Demi Moore

Moore has admitted to using Austrian leeches to detoxify her blood and also has tried the Master cleanse – a liquid diet that cleanses the body of various “toxins.” Uh, I think I’ll stick with the gym.

I’m sure there are a lot of crazy diets out there that people use keep their body looking great as they age, but since I will never have the will power to diet (or have creepy crawlers suck my blood), when I see someone over 40 looking like a 25-year old supermodel, I say to myself, now that’s why I work out…a lot.


Jewelry with Meaning – Satya Jewelry

It’s not every day that women put on their jewelry and equate it with meanings like inspiration, hope or inner peace, but that is exactly what the collection of Satya Jewelry is all about. Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a special Satya Jewelry sample sale for bloggers. Founded by designers and longtime friends, Satya and Beth, the jewelry is inspired by their travels around the world. The pieces feature a variety of elements such as ancient Indian coins, Sanskrit words and healing gemstones. In fact, all of the stones that adorn the jewelry are selected because of their healing properties. The moonstone, for example, is the stone of hope and according to Satya’s website, “nurtures the wisdom that helps us find strength in challenging situations.” A full explanation of gemstones and their meaning can be found here.

The one-of-a-kind pieces feature stunning necklaces in addition to other accessories.

The collection is very unique, and it was so hard to pick out just a few items surrounded in a sea of beautiful and unique handmade earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings and cuffs.

My favorite gems from the event.

Although I wouldn’t characterize the jewelry as ornaments to wear to stand out in a crowd, all of the items in the collection have a quiet elegance, and there is beauty in the simplicity of the designs that make for great conversation pieces. Take for example the turquoise necklace pictured above in the center. It’s a very simple design, yet striking.

I was instantly drawn to beautiful pink bracelets accessorized with the peace symbol. The pink stones are actually faceted cherry quartz (featured in the lower right corner in the picture above). Cherry quartz represents harmony, which balances the mind, emotions and relationships. I’ve had so much fun matching the stones to their meanings, just think about what a great gift idea this is! You can, for example, give a Ganesha Pendant to someone who is dealing with a lot of problems, as the Ganesha represents strength and fortitude and is “the remover of obstacles and bestower of success.”

Attendees listen to the meaning behind the gemstones and symbols.

A percentage of the all sales are donated to children’s organizations via the company’s nonprofit, the Satya Foundation. The sample sale opens to the public today. Check out more of the Satya jewelry collection here»


Maybe she’s born with it…maybe it’s photoshop

Before and after shots of Joan Crawford in a 1931 photography by George Hurrell

Before and after shots of Joan Crawford in a 1931 photography by George Hurrell

In this age of technology it’s hard to separate the real from the fake, especially when it comes to images we see of celebrities and models in magazines and advertisements. Photo manipulation dates back to the 1800s, and has become more prevalent with the advent of advanced photo-editing software. Even the most beautiful celebrities are airbrushed with mouse clicks on a computer (see below). So the next time you see that perfect picture of a beautiful, radiant, flawless celebrity, stop and think to yourself: maybe she’s born with it; but, maybe it’s Photoshop.

Jessica Alba looked beautiful in this Campari ad before her photo was retouched. The altered photo makes her appear a lot thinner with a more enhanced bust and collar bone.

The real picture of Penelope Cruz is on the right. The photoshoped version added more dimension to her hair, lightened her skin tone, and evened out her bust area. Surprisingly, I noticed that she was given a curvier body on the altered version and wider hips. The lingering stand of hair on her forehead was also removed.

Desperate Housewife actress, Nicollette Sheridan, was made to look 10 times younger in the photo on the left. Thanks to Photoshop, all signs of fine lines, dark circles, and skin discoloration were erased with the click of a button.

Photo retouching made Madonna look younger and more radiant in this promo photo-shoot for Hard Candy.


Do magazine articles inspire you to want to look better?

images

A new study published in a recent issue of the journal Media Psychology revealed that images of models can inspire people to achieve the same ideal shape, if accompanied by an article that gave tips on what the reader could do to achieve that modelesque body. The study showed that people who were unhappy with their shape and size spent more time looking at images of models, if the picture was accompanied by a how-to article on how to achieve that physique. The same people ignored photos that did not share tips or give inspiration on how to attain the perfect shape. So, even though the pictures made them feel flawed, they were still inspired by the photos, since the articles made them believe they could improve their body by following the tips provided. How do images of models affect you? When you see an article on how to achieve the perfect abs, next to a picture of Janet Jackson, does that motivate you to start working out?


Support the fight against heart disease- Wear Red on Feb. 4

The American Heart Association is encouraging everyone to wear red this Friday, February 4th (National Wear Red Day), as part of their Go Red For Women movement. By wearing red, you are showing support for the campaign, which aims to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease. But, this Friday is not the only day you can participate in the movement; the campaign encourages everyone to organize their very own Wear Red Day. There are numerous ways you can participate, and the website offers many fun tips such as asking the men in your life to wear something red, or organizing a day where all your friends wear the rosy hue to the office. My suggestion for supporting this movement is to buy a little red dress to wear out this month. The signature logo for the AHA’s campaign is a red dress, after all. Plus, it just may be the perfect outfit to wear when you go out with your sweetie or group of girlfriends this Valentine’s Day. Below are a few suggestions, including an INC International Concepts Dress, which for every purchase, Macy’s will donate 5% of the sale price to the AHA’s Go Red For Women movement.

Also, from Feb. 2nd-6th if you wear red to any Macy’s store, you will receive 20% off!

Heart Back Dress w/Rosette Trim ($39.99).

The Miraculous® Push-Up Ruched Bra Top Dress by Victoria Secret ($78).

 

Tulip Tiered Knit Dress ($39.20)

INC International Concepts Dress, Go Red For Women Short Sleeve Knit Sheath ($99.00). Macy's will donate 5% of the sale price to the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Movement.


February is America Heart Month

Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States. In fact, every year, 1 in 4 women die from heart disease related problems. February is America Heart Month, and each February PrettyCity.com partners with The Heart Truth to present the love you campaign . For the entire month of February you can visit prettycity.com to browse $39 Love You spa and salon specials and locations (these special rates are only valid February 1 through February 28, 2011). The campaign aims to bring awareness to women’s heart health  and encourages women to take care of themselves.