Monday, June 29, 2009

The Elliptical vs. Treadmill Controversy

I read this article and it seems to have pretty accurate information on the elliptical vs. treadmill controversy.

Reported February 27, 2009

Alex Hutchinson draws on the latest research to answer your fitness and workout questions in this biweekly column on the science of sport.

The question:

Do I get the same workout from the elliptical machine that I get from running?

The answer:

More than 23 million Americans used elliptical trainers in 2007, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association - triple the number that used them in 2000. Canadians have also eagerly adopted the low-impact, pseudo-jogging machine.

Despite this popularity, there's still some haziness about the benefits of elliptical use - even among researchers. The biomechanics of the low-impact elliptical motion are still poorly understood, though studies now suggest it could help ward off several common running injuries. And there's no consensus about how hard your body has to work compared to other exercises.

A 2005 University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, study found that at a self-chosen "hard" level of exercise, subjects consumed more oxygen and had higher heart rates on the treadmill than the elliptical. In contrast, a University of Idaho study in the same year found that the elliptical felt easier than either the treadmill or recumbent bike, despite producing the same oxygen consumption and heart rate.

Subsequent studies have added little clarity, which suggests that any differences are too small to matter. An Irish study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness appears to be the only one to tackle what really matters to most people: fitness and weight loss. A group of 24 women performed a 12-week fitness program using either an elliptical, treadmill or stair-climbing machine. Cardiovascular fitness increased and body fat percentage decreased to the same degree in all three groups.

There are other differences, though. A forthcoming study by Western Washington University exercise scientist Kathleen Knutzen used elliptical machines with force plates on the pedals to determine that, even at a fast stride, the forces on the lower legs were comparable to walking, and two or three times less than running.

"That's a real benefit if you're prone to repetitive stress injuries," Dr. Knutzen said.

More generally, the constrained elliptical stride calls on muscles in a different way than running freely would, much like the differences between lifting free weights and using a weight machine. That means that the elliptical will never be a perfect substitute for running - but it can be ideal for those with injuries such as patellofemoral pain syndrome, often called "runner's knee." The injury is sometimes caused by an imbalance between two parts of the quadriceps muscle, which pulls the kneecap off-centre during each stride

The elliptical also allows you to pump the arm handles to get your upper body involved in the workout. Studies by Constance Mier and her colleagues at Barry University in Florida found that using the arm handles made little difference to oxygen consumption, heart rate or perceived effort. However, the two actions are sufficiently different that alternating between them might allow you to last longer - and thus get a better workout - when using the elliptical, Dr. Mier suggested.

Ultimately, the elliptical is a perfectly good way to get fit. But unless your goal is to master the art of moving your feet in little ellipses, it makes sense to add in other, more functional activities such as walking, running or biking.

"Mix it up," Dr. Knutzen advises. "Don't do the same thing every day."

Alex Hutchinson is a former member of Canada's long-distance running team, and has a PhD in physics.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lose 1 lb per week (or more)

So the sun is finally going to make it's debut in Boston. If you haven't already started your diet, you should. I found this website where you can enter your height, age, current weight, and goal weight-- and it will tell you exactly how many calories you need to cut back to lose one pound per week.

Calorie counter for women

Calorie counter for men (since even guys are starting to read this blog)

If you like this post, you might also like these:
How to Increase your Metabolism
Under 50 Calorie Snack Choices
Eating Smart at a BBQ

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Under 50 Calories: Snack Choices

It’s amazing what you can have for 50 calories.

1 cup of your choice of these vegetables is 30 calories:
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Green Peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Radish
  • Raw Spinach
  • Summer Squash
  • Turnip
  • Zucchini

1 cup of your choice of these vegetables is 50 calories:
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Beans
  • Onions
  • Okra
  • SauerkrautTomato

…. And here are some fruits that are 40 calories in a serving

  • 1 Small Apple
  • Berries 1/2C
  • ¼ of a Cantaloupe
  • Cherries 1/3C
  • Grapes 1/2C
  • 1 Kiwi
  • Mandarin Orange 1/2C
  • 1 Peach
  • Strawberries 3/4C
  • Watermelon 1C

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Braids like Lauren Conrad

Although I am not the biggest fan of the Hills, I am a fan of LC's braiding techniques. It's a great hairdo for the frizzy hair weather in the Northeast. I like the braids because it hides the frizzies around my face and looks cool at the same time.

Here is how to do it:

1) Begin by taking a fairly small section, follow your nose up and grab about a centimeter and a half of hair. (half an inch, if you don't use centimeters)Divide it into three sections.

* The hard part to braiding your hair like this is knowing where to place your arms. Your left one should go up as if you were a ballerina, holding the section. While your right arm goes in front of you, as if you were a pirate saying 'arr'. It can be kind of uncomfortable, but this is how to make your braid continue to the side instead of being braiding forward.

2) Once you've brought the both of the outer sections inward, begin adding smaller sections in with the existing ones. These new sections should be really very tiny.

3) Continue, pulling the braid across your hairline.Once you've achieved about two to three inches of french braid, begin to braid normally (without picking up other sections).

4) Braid until the point where you want to pin it.Use a bobby pin to secure the braid. You may even want to use one of those tiny elastics to make sure the braid stays in place.

If you like this post, you might also like these:
Moroccainoil Oil Treatment
Waves like Sarah Jessica Parker
Old Dresses, New Looks

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Financing Your Beauty Addiction

This beauty addiction sometimes gets a little costly. I happen to be a big reader, and my house is littered with old books. I just discovered how to sell the books on It’s AMAZING how easy it is.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Go to the Amazon page for the book you want to sell. Underneath the “Add to Shopping Cart” button, you’ll see the “Sell yours here” button. Click it.

Step 2: Select the condition: from Used-Acceptable to New. Check the book—make sure if there’s writing or highlighting on the pages.

Step 3: Write a short description: 1000 characters or less, such as “Some spine wear, no writing on the pages, good reading copy.”

Step 4: Choose the price. Note: go to the used books page for the book. Check and see the other prices of the books. Set the lowest price available (if this is feasible and affordable) or else set your own market value for the book. Another note: Amazon requires that you set the price at least 10% below the Amazon price.

Step 5: Set Shipping type (normally Standard Shipping).

Step 6: Amazon notifies you by email when the book sells. You must ship within two days of the book being sold. Package the book securely and write “Your Amazon Marketplace Purchase” on the envelope. Include a return address. Include the Amazon order slip. You can email the buyer, but this is not required.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Crazy About Cocoa Butter

  • Softens and protects dry, chapped skin
  • Treats skin irritations
  • Helps erase wrinkles on neck, around eyes and mouth
  • Aids to minimize stretch marks
  • Promotes elasticity in the skin

The most desirable quality of cocoa butter is it contains natural antioxidants. Cocoa butter has the ability to reduce or diminish the appearance of scars. It is naturally rich in Vitamin E as well as a number of other vitamins and minerals. Vitamin E helps to soothe, hydrate, and balance the skin and also provides the skin collagen which assists with wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Secret to Awesome Eyelashes

1. You need the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler.

2. Take your Shu and warm it up for 5 seconds by blowing your hair dryer on it.

3. Test to make sure it's not too hot by touching it to the back of your hand. If it's too hot for your hand, wait a few seconds.

4. Begin by tilting your head up and inserting lashes into the curler as close to the base as possible; press for a few seconds. Always BEFORE you put the mascara on.

5. Be careful not to do it too tight, otherwise you will get a crimp not a curl.

6. Apply mascara!


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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Buff your nails at home

Step 1: You will need the following things:

- An emery board

- A nail buffer with at least 3 grades

- Hand and Nail Moisturizer

- Nail Clippers or Nail Scissors

Step 2: Before you start you must wash your hands thoroughly. Never buff your nails after a shower as your nails will be too soft and you could risk damaging your nail if you do buff it.

Step 3: Cut your nail to the length that you desire.

Step 4: Use the emery board to detail the shape of your nail.

FYI: Buffing is the natural alternative to polishing your nails. If you are going to polish them you should not buff them as the polish would not hold as well. The three grades on the buffers are made to carry out different tasks. The course side of the buffer is used to remove any ridges on the nail, The second grade is used to give the nail a met finish and the last and finest grade is used to give it a good shine.

Step 5: Buff the ridges out. Be sure to do it not over do it, 3-4 strokes with the buffer should be more than sufficient. You should not buff the ridge more than once a month. Alternatively you can use ridge fillers which when applied will fill in the ridges and accomplish the same thing.

Step 6: Use the second grade of buffer to give your nails the met shine which is indicative of how well you nail will look when you give it a gleaming shine later.

Step 7: Use the finest grade of buffer to bring out the gleaming shine on your nail. You can use this grade of buffer every week to bring out the shine again.

Step 8: Clean your hands again and remove any filings or dirt that might have accumulated while you were doing the treatment. After washing and drying your hands completely, you should use the hand and nail moisturizer to keep your hand smooth.


Waves like Sarah Jessica Parker

If you have chin-length to long hair, with at least a little natural wave, then follow these simple strategies for a great day or evening look.

STEP 1: Start with clean, but damp hair. Begin dividing the hair into four sections, including the two sides, the back and top (section off the top area by making two parts on either side of the head, about three inches apart). You will be left with a section of hair running down the middle of your head. Secure this top section of hair with a clip. Then, using additional clips, secure the sides and the back of the hair, so that it is now divided into four fairly even sections.

STEP 2: Beginning with the center chunk of hair, take the end of a small section (about a quarter-inch) and fold it back and forth in an accordion-like pattern until it is flat against the scalp. Spray with setting lotion and secure with a flat hair clip. Follow this pattern for the rest of the front, the sides and the back of the head in that order.

STEP 3: Blow dry the hair (on low air but high heat) for about 10 to 15 minutes.

STEP 4: Let your hair cool for 10 minutes and remove the clips. Don't touch the hair yet, though, let it set for another 10 minutes. This will allow the curl to relax.

STEP 5: Now, separate the curls with your fingers and create a finger part. Apply a pea-sized amount of holding gel, first to the ends, and with the remainder of the gel, gently scrunch it into the base of the hair.

STEP 6: To tame any stray ends, rub a very small amount of hair finishing cream between the palms and apply to the ends of the hair.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bye Bye Sweat Stains

I'm not a smelly girl, but I do sweat a lot. Sometimes it prevents me from wearing white shirts, silk, or other fabrics in the summer that show wetness easily. I learned about CertainDri and it really makes a difference. You put it on before you go to sleep and like magic-- not more sweat marks. I bought mine at CVS. I'm sure you can get it anywhere.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NARS Super Orgasm Blush

The NARS Super Orgasm Blush was a present from my sister. Probably one of the best presents ever. It's by far the best blush I have ever used. It gives just the necessary natural hue to your cheeks. I put a little on in the morning for day and layer it up for a more dramatic night look. It stays put all day. I also love it because it looks great on both my fair/pale days in the winter and my tan/bronzed days in the summer. The shade is a light peachy pink, the perfect amount of each color. The Super Orgasm has some gold shimmer to it. If you don't like the shimmer, I would recommend the original Orgasm blush.

1 Minute Mani-Pedi

I personally hate getting a manicure. I hate wasting an hour with a random person that I have to sit across from face-to-face making phony conversation. I also hate spending the money on a manicure when within 2 -4 days there is always some chipping. Pedicures I hate just as much. Don't even get me started. Anyone can paint their own toes. The problem with painting your own nails is that it never dries and you end up smudging it within an hour. Thanks to $5 and Sally Hansen all these problems are solved. She just came out with Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color. It's great. I am usually one to buff my finger nails and just leave them plain, but there are always occasions that I like to paint them. This polish dries within a minute and doesn't smudge. It takes about 2 days before chipping on your fingers, but it's so thin that you can just layer on another coat and it will look like new again. I have had the same color on my toes for two weeks and still looks like new. She also offers a great selection of colors. You can find it at Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and many more places.

It's in the Details

One of my favorite places to buy clothes is Anthropologie, however sometimes the prices are just outrageous. I noticed most items usually have some very small details that make them so interesting looking. One thing I noticed about their cardigans is that they always have very interesting looking buttons. Those buttons make a difference, not only the way they make the outfit look, but also the price.

Very easily you can remove the buttons from a boring cardigan and add on some cool buttons and it really spruces up your outfit. Start out by removing cool looking buttons from any item of clothing before you throw it away. Save them in a little box for later. Another cool trick is by using a contrasting bright colored string to sew on the button. For example, take a white cardigan and sew on light green buttons, and use hot pink string. It will give your boring white cardigan a fresh summery look.

Old Dresses, New Looks

Since the recession began, I have been very careful with my budget. It doesn't help the matter that I am trying to pay for graduate school at night. I have decided to look inside my current wardrobe for new looks. I noticed there was a corner of my closet of floral, girly dresses that I typically wear to family functions, bridal showers, baby showers, or other G-rated day events. The problem with these dresses is that they are very cute, but never flattering. The are typically a little on the girly side and usually fall below the knee. I took a couple of these dresses to my local tailor and asked him to take up the hem line and turn them into mini-dresses (a couple inches above the knee). GREAT IDEA. For $10 each I got a new dress that was far more wearable than the original!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Moroccanoil Oil Treatment

Moroccanoil was recommended to me by my hairdresser. At first I was a little taken aback by the price. However a little bit goes a lot way, and it's worth it. After following the directions, I saw a distinct difference in my hair in just three days. It's softer, less dry, less brittle, more shiny, and looks so much better. I have very curly hair naturally and straightening it has always been a battle. With MoroccanOil, straightening takes less time, and looks better than any other product I have used. Also it make my curls bouncier, softer, and shinier.

Here is my process: I wash and towel-dry my hair, put a DIME SIZED amount of MoroccanOil Oil Treatment for all Hair Types in my palm and rub it into my hair and scalp, then blow dry with a round brush. I will take my smoothing iron and go over it, but it's not really necessary. My hair is so healthy and soft throughout the day, and lasts about 3 days without getting oily or build-up.

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Love bacon, but hate fat?

The answer is Bacon Salt. Bacon Salt is a fat free, zero calorie, low sodium, vegetarian, Kosher, seasoning salt that makes everything taste like bacon. You can put it on everything. It's especially good on cooked veggies. Bacon Salt comes in several flavors – Original, Hickory, Peppered and Natural along with several new flavors - Applewood, Cheddar, Jalapeno, Mesquite and Maple. You find it at most grocery stores, or just order it online at

Berry Delicious Oatmeal Recipe

This is my favorite breakfast

Total Calories: 220

  • 1/2 cup of dry instant oatmeal
  • 1 cup of frozen mixed berries
  • 3 packets of splenda
  • 1 cup of water

  1. Put dry oatmeal in a bowl with frozen berries on top.
  2. Sprinkle on the splenda (or you can use sugar if you are anti sweetener).
  3. Pour 1 cup of boiling water in the bowl.
  4. Mix everything together.
  5. Put the bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes, or right before it boils over.
  6. Mix everything together and let it cool for a few minutes.
  7. Be amazed because it tastes like dessert.

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler & The Beginning

This is the main reason why I am starting this Blog. I had a friend from out of town come visit me. The first thing she said to me as she pulled out her make-up bag was, "I HAVE DISCOVERED THE BEST BEAUTY SECRET... the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler!!"... I have had it for about 3 years, I thought everyone knew about it. How could she have not known about it? Then months later one of my sisters sent a frantic mass email... about a new discovery... the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler.... yawn... but then I realized, how did all these other people not know about this? It's by far the best eyelash curler in the world. It doesn't pinch, it curls at the exact perfect angle, and make the shortest eyelashes look curly. For only $19.00 you can say good-bye to fake eyelashes forever.