Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Health Benefits of Coffee

I love coffee. I really can't start my day with out it. A couple of my friends have tried to remove caffeine from their diet, but I remain unconvinced. According to EcoSalon, scientists find numerous health benefits of coffee. Here are just some of them:

Caffeine reduces risk of skin cancer. This prevention method is topical- lotions containing caffeine (both from coffee and green tea) have been shown to prevent the occurrence of cancerous tumors on the skin.

It increases your sense of well-being and happiness. You can thank dopamine for that, which also contributes to coffee’s addictive nature. But be aware, the study also noted that drinking more than 2 cups daily increases the risk of anxiety and panic attacks. Some people respond more readily than others – if you find yourself feeling jittery or nervous, ease up on the joe.

Caffeine may reduce chance of Parkinson’s Disease. A 30-year study has shown that non-coffee drinkers have a higher chance of developing Parkinson’s Disease than their coffee-drinking counterparts.

Coffee reduces muscle pain. After a hard workout, a cup or two of coffee has been shown to reduce muscle soreness (in women, anyway) more effectively than naproxen, aspirin and ibuprofen.

Coffee may reduce chance of death from heart disease. Studies show that drinking 4-5 cups of coffee a day can make you less likely to die from heart disease. The researchers think it may have something to do with coffee’s anti-inflammatory effects.

Coffee may help with short term memory. It’s probably because of caffeine’s stimulant effects, but an Austrian study showed that volunteers given caffeinated coffee had better reaction times and short-term memory function than those who were given the cup of decaf.

Most Americans get their antioxidants from coffee. That doesn’t mean it’s the best source of antioxidants, just that it’s the most consumed. But, it’s true, coffee is very high in antioxidants.

Coffee may cut colon cancer in women. A 12-year study on Japanese women found that drinking 3 or more cups of coffee per day may actually halve the risk of developing colon cancer. They found no beneficial effect from green tea on the colon – in this case, it was strictly a coffee thing.

For women, caffeine may prevent long term memory loss. Because caffeine is a psychostimulant, older women who drink 3 or more cups of coffee or tea a day have less memory loss and cognitive decline than their counterparts who drink less or none. Unfortunately, caffeine consumption doesn’t seem to have any preventative effect against dementia.

Caffeine won’t cause hypertension. Some of the studies can be contradictory and confusing. What we do know is that for non-habitual coffee drinkers, those first few cups will cause a temporary rise in blood pressure, but for regular drinkers, a tolerance develops and won’t cause any long term, permanent increase.

The FDA has approved caffeine for babies. This doesn’t mean you can wake up your sleepy infant with a bottle of latte. Caffeine injections have been used medicinally since 1999 in the United States to stimulate breathing in infants who are experiencing apnea. It’s still recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women keep their caffeine intake to a minimum, but a modest amount is safe.

Coffee can fight cavities. Just avoid all the sugar and milk! Actually, roasted coffee has some antibacterial properties, particularly against Streptococcus mutans, one of the major causes of cavities. By the way, these properties have nothing to do with caffeine, so decaf drinkers will get the same protection.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fail Proof Gifts under $150

The holiday season is here and if you haven't started shopping you better get a move on it. There are always a few people that you need to buy gifts for that you are totally stumped to what to get them. It could be your sister that seems to have everything, or your brother's new girlfriend that you don't really know well enough.

I polled about 24 of my female friends and family members. For the most part, they all had the same top 3 responses for what they would want.

1. Pajamas you would never buy yourself: Victoria's secret PINK line offers tons of cute options. It's pretty easy to find a cute set there. If you are a guy, ask someone for help and get a gift receipt. My recommendation would be Victoria's Secret Bling Robe for $54.50. (You can't mess up on the size of a robe!)

2. Items to keep warm that you would never splurge on: Leather gloves, UGG ear muffs or hat, or a cashmere scarf. Most items by UGG are usually so cute and cozy. I think most people feel the same way, but it's sometimes too expensive to buy yourself. My recommendation would be the UGG Earmuffs that are $75 or the UGG Bucket Hat that is $135.

3. Luxury beauty items: Lotions, scrubs, makeup sets, etc. Go for luxury brands that most women love, but sometimes can't get themselves, ie. Chanel, Dior, La Mer, etc. Kiehl's lotion products are also very nice, my aunt never stops raving about them. You can get a great gift package called the Kiehl's "World of Kiehl's Set" for $45 from Nordstrom. My recommendation would be the Les Minis De Chanel Gift Set Collection that you can get from Neiman Marcus for $120. You really can't go wrong with a travel make-up brush set.

  • For men, steer clear of clothing that is not lounge wear or pajamas. Why? Too many ways to go wrong. Some women are very specific about their clothing style, and lets be honest guys - you can hardly dress yourselves. Also it's hard to get fit right. If you get something a bigger size (by accident), you lady might be offended. If you get something too small, they will feel bad that they can't fit into it.
  • If you are going to get a gift card, that's fine. At least put some thought or effort into it. Get a gift card from Sephora, Nordstrom, or another store that says you put some thought into it.
  • Always get a gift receipt, you never know.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

How much protein do you need?

Many experts believe that most of us get more than enough protein daily. In fact, some experts believe the average sedentary American eats about 50% more than the recommended daily amount, which ranges from 40-70 grams each day depending on your gender, age and situation.

If you're an exerciser, however, your protein needs may increase since resistance training and endurance workouts can rapidly break down muscle protein. That means exercisers may need to increase protein intake.

What if you're trying to build more muscle? Shouldn't you eat even more protein? According to, not necessarily. There's been evidence that bodybuilders, much like exercisers or athletes, do require more protein but that any more than double the recommended daily amount (RDA) won't necessarily help you build more muscle. In one study, experts studied three groups of weight lifters: A low protein group (0.86 g/kg), a moderate protein group (1.40 g/kg) and a high protein group (2.40 g/kg) and found that, "There were no effects of varying protein intake on indexes of lean body mass."

In essence, the more you exercise, the greater your protein needs will be. However, taking it too far, for example more than doubling your protein intake, won't necessarily help you build more muscle.

How to Calculate Your Protein Needs:

1. Weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg
2. Weight in kg x 0.8-1.8 gm/kg = protein gm.

Use a lower number if you are in good health and are sedentary (i.e., 0.8). Use a higher number (between 1 and 1.8) if you are under stress, are pregnant, are recovering from an illness, or if you are involved in consistent and intense weight or endurance training.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

How to Apply Fake Eyelashes

If you are looking for a dramatic look, fake eyelashes really do the trick.

If you have a steady hand you can definitely pull it off without the help of a makeup artist by following these steps:

Step 1: Using tweezers, dip the base end of the lashes into the glue, then place the lashes as close to the baseline of your own as you can, filling in wherever you want the greatest impact (generally, the mid to outer lashes look fabulous in false lashes).

Step 2:
Press gently, but firmly with something blunt. Hold the lash in place for about 5 seconds until the glue has a chance to hold.

Step 3: Let the glue dry, and then apply a dark eyeliner to camouflage the line of the fake lashes and then apply your mascara. The mascara will help blend your own lashes with the fake ones, and make your eyes look fuller and larger.

Step 4:
To remove, use the same makeup remover you would use to remove mascara. Then gently pull them off with tweezers.


  • The assortment of fake eyelashes are pretty good at drug stores like RiteAid, CVS, etc.
  • You should practice before the event you plan to wear them for. Buy extra just in case you mess up the first time.
  • Never fall asleep with them on. If you rub your eyes while you sleep and by accident pull them out, you might pull out some real eyelashes too.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to Survive Thanksgiving on a Diet

Thanksgiving is by far one of my most favorite holidays, however all the good food is just a recipe to wreak havoc on my diet. There is definitely potential to gain 3 or more pounds in a matter of hours. Usually the next day you feel crappy, your clothes are tight, and going to the gym is the last thing you want to do. Before you know it December holidays are here and that 3 has turned into 5, into 7.

Don't let Thanksgiving pave the way to blimpdom. It's not hard if you stick to these simple rules.

1. Wear a fitted
outfit. I know how dreadful this sounds, but it works. The moment you start to realize it's necessary to unbutton your pants, you will put yourself in check. A clingy dress works just the same. Last thing you want is your geriatric Great Aunt Estelle patting your belly full of food and asking you if you are preggers.

2. Don't show up starving. If you show up starving you are going to eat everything in sight, starting with the best looking, most fattening items that are impossible to resist. Eat a protein snack like a low-fat string cheese or yogurt before leaving the house. The protein will help hold off hunger. Lately I have been a big fan of slim fast milk shake mix. It is pretty good if you toss it in the blender with ice, it's like a yummy frappe. It's also full of protein.

3. Scan the table before filling up. You may love mashed potatoes and stuffing more than life itself, but choosing raw or grilled vegetables instead is the secret to staying thin—they keep your mouth busy and fill up quickly, so you don't have room for that second piece of cornbread.

4. Bring one of your own healthy dishes. If you are eating at someone else's house, whip up your own healthy side dish and bring it. Maybe your favorite steamed veggie mix with some seasonings. Something you like that will prevent you from binging on other fatty options.

5. Steer clear of the cocktails. OK OK I know your family is hard to deal with, so one drink is fine. Make sure your drink isn't full of empty calories. Keep in mind drinking alcohol can enhance your appetite and make you eat things you normally wouldn't, on top of the empty calories.

6. Get a diet buddy. My sister, Natanya, is my diet police. She is the jedi-master of food policing. The moment I reach for that double chocolate cake, I get the evil "don't be a fatty" eye from her. Ask someone that likes harassing you, usually a sibling is the best. They relish in the free range abuse.

7. Take a walk between dinner and dessert. It will help burn off some calories and just knowing that you will have to be mobile after dinner will prevent you from overeating. It will also give you a good perspective of the exercise that will be in your future if you splurge too much on dessert.

8. Say NO to taking home leftovers. I don't care if your mom is the best cook in the world and she is guilt tripping you about the blueberry cobbler that she made just for you. Picture that doggy bag slapped on your butt and SAY NO. Do not bring food home unless it is healthy food.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Foods that Boost your Immune System

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects against infection and enhances immunity. Vitamin C works by increasing the production of white blood cells, which fight off infection. It also works by increasing the production of antibodies and in particular, raises levels of interferon, the antibody that coats cell surfaces, preventing the entry of viruses. Vitamin C sources include citrus fruits, potatoes, green peppers, strawberries and pineapple.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is important to a healthy immune system. One function of vitamin E is that it enhances the production of B-cells, the immune cells that produce antibodies that destroy bacteria. In fact, research shows that people who eat vitamin E rich foods tend to have a higher immunity. Vitamin E rich foods are seeds, vegetable oils and grains.

Beta-carotene: Beta Carotene enhances the functioning of your immune system. Beta Carotene works by increasing the number of infection fighting cells, natural killer cells and helper T cells. Foods rich in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro and fresh thyme. To enhance the availability of the beta-carotene in these foods, they should be eaten raw or lightly steamed. Getting the recommended 5-10 a day of fruits and vegetables will approximately provide you with 3-6 milligrams of beta-carotene.

Zinc: Zinc helps to prevent a weakened immune system. Studies have shown that a zinc deficiency can impair a number of white blood cells and platelets (blood cells involved in clotting), and can increase susceptibility to infection. Excessive zinc intake, however, may impair immunity and increase infections. Get an adequate amount of zinc in your diet by eating zinc rich foods such as oysters, liver, lean beef, pork, turkey, lamb, lentils, pumpkin and sesame seeds, garbanzo beans and yogurt.

Garlic: Garlic is known for its cold-fighting abilities. It increases the potency of two important cells of the immune system: T-lymphocytes and macrophages. The immune-boosting properties of garlic appear to be due to its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin and sulfides. You can eat it raw or cooked—so start adding it to your favorite foods today!

Omega-3 fats: The all important omega-3 fats are essential immune boosters, as they work by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. These fats also help strengthen cell membranes, thereby speeding up healing and strengthening resistance to infection in the body. Omega-3 fats can be found in foods such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna), flax oil and flaxseeds, omega-3 eggs, nuts and seeds. To boost omega-3 in your diet, try adding ground flaxseed to yogurt, baked goods, cereals or smoothies or use unrefined, cold-pressed flax seed oil as a salad dressing.


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sexy Winter Stockings

Call them what you want... stockings, tights, nylons, whatever. They are the easiest way to make a blah outfit look amazing.

After my post about mini skirts for the winter and how to wear leggings, I figured it was only natural to talk about all the different stockings.

Rules: Keep in mind stockings are different from leggings. You can not wear tunic with stockings, like you can with leggings. Stockings are usually thinner than leggings, more like tights. Stockings are usually worn with mini skirts or dresses.

Care: Stockings are very delicate. You should not throw them in the wash. You should hand wash them after a couple wears. Usually I wash them with a nice smelling shampoo with cold water. Do not use warm water, it sometimes causes the color to fade.

Types: Right now there are all different types of designs. There are leopard, flowered, striped, bright colors, and many more.

How to wear them: Wear them to punch up your outfit. If you are wearing a really simple black dress, a patterned stocking can really make your outfit look fancier. Sweater dresses and mini skirts also look great with patterned stockings. Just make sure your outfit isn't too busy and the pattern clashes with your outfit.

If you don't like tights, or the feeling of nylons: No worries. They make them in thigh high versions.

Are these appropriate for work?: This question is tough. It depends where you work. I once wore some paisley black tights with a knee length turtleneck dress to work. I was scolded by an older female executive who claimed she liked my stockings, but they were " more appropriate for evening wear". It didn't stop me, but be careful. The older people think patterned tights = evening wear.

Where to find them?: You can really find them anywhere. I usually gt mine at Marshalls or TJMAXX, just because you can get them for a steal. Places like Nordstrom usually have the best assortment. However, I recently found this website: that has everything you can imagine. That is where I found all these images.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

YES to Mini Skirts in the Winter!

Mini skirts are more than still in, they are a fashion must-have. Don't think just because it's winter that it's time for you to retire the look.

Different Fabrics. The denim mini is always appropriate for a casual look, but there are so many other fun options. For a more sophisticated look, try a tweed mini skirt or a dark pattern mini skirt. For a more playful or funky look, try a bright mini. Leather mini skirts are also a very sexy winter look.

Leg wear. In the winter, you want to keep your legs covered. In the day time, pair your mini with opaque tights or leggings. If you are wearing a solid color skirt, you can go for a patterned look. If your mini has a pattern, stick with less busy leg wear.

Boots. The hands-down winner for a miniskirt is a pair of boots. Lengths range from ankle to mid calf to knee high. Tall boots (a few inches under the knee) are the easiest to carry off with short skirts because they keep your legs warm. Careful with the ankle length boots if you have short legs, the tend to make them look shorter by cutting the leg at the ankle.

Pumps. You can wear your mini with pumps too. If you are going out at night, don't be affraid to pair them with a sheer pattered tight. A mini skirt also looks great when you wear black pumps and black tights- it gives the illusion that your legs are longer than they actually are.

Bare legs. If you really want to.. yes you can wear bare legs, just wear some nylons because you don't want those goose bumps showing because you are freezing your butt off!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eye Shadow for your Eye Color

Every time I step into any cosmetic store I get lured in by all the interesting colored eyeshadow. I always find myself buying some obscure color that I thought would look awesome on me, but never does.

Based on your eye color, certain shades will look better on you than others. Here are some basic guidelines to follow:

Tried and True: taupe, gray, violet, purple, deep blue (a darker shade than your eye color makes your eyes really blue), black (mix it with bright blue for a smoky effect)
Trendy Favorites: silver, turquoise, fuschia (brightens any shade of blue)

Tried and True: brown, apricot, purple, plum, deep khaki or forest green (because they are in the same greenish family, they brighten green eyes)

Trendy Favorites: gold, glowing, lime-green, really light green, bright purple


Tried and True: copper, bronze, champagne (soft pink with a touch of apricot), brown (for a doe-eyed look), beige, and khaki-green (lighter shades add highlight)

Trendy Favorites: tangerine, royal blue, hot pink, lime-green (the contrast adds punch to brown)

Tried and True (Classic): navy or charcoal base to define and a powder-blue shadow for highlighting (it brightens your brow bone so any eye color pops)

Trendy Favorites: silver-sparkle shadow makes all eyes look edgy.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to Look Good on a Rainy Day

Choose a tight or curly hairstyle. Your hair is the most important aspect of your outfit when it comes to rain and humidity. Your hair style should either be tightly pulled into a ponytail or a bun. Depending on your hair’s texture, you may want to add a dehumidifying cream or silkening product so your hair does not become frizzy. Frizz is not your friend. Another fashionable way to wear your air on a rainy day is wet and curly. If your hair curls or waves when it’s wet, go for it. Just remember to use a curl intensifying moisturizer so that when your hair dries, it won’t look hard and dry.

Avoid getting your hair wet in the first place by using a cute umbrella. Choose an umbrella that matches your stature; don't let it overwhelm your body. Match the umbrella to your rain coat and your accessories or play it safe and choose a neutral color that will go with everything.

Appear fashi
onable in a rain, or trench, coat. Choose seasonal colors, such as yellow or white, for the spring and summer, and red or chocolate brown for the fall. A long rain coat looks great in the fall when combined with skinny jeans and rain boots.

Wear rain boots. They're not just for your little brother. Rain boots are great for accessorizing rainy day attire. Use rain boots to accent your other items, such as your rain coat. If you choose an all black rain coat, wear hounds-tooth designed rain boots. Don't wear designs that clash.

Don't forget the handbag. Choose a handbag that is made out of leather instead of canvas. Water can penetrate through canvas. Use a handbag with a zipper to prevent water from getting into your bag.

Use waterproof make-up. Wear waterproof mascara and eyeliner, to prevent running if your face gets wet.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

10 Tips to Tighten Loose Skin

1. First of all, you should not lose weight quickly. One of the main reasons as to why people end up with that badly sagging skin is because they shed those pounds too quickly. When you lose more than three pounds each week, it is not healthy at all. It will cause your skin to lose that elasticity faster and make it difficult for it to spring back into shape. Whenever you plan to lose weight, you should plan on losing around two pounds each week. This is not only healthier for your skin, but it is likely for it to stay off longer.

2. Use moisturizer each day.
Moisturizer will add up to seventy percent of moisturizer to your skin. When you are losing weight, it is great to use a moisturizer as it will help to maintain that elasticity as your body is shrinking. Cover your body in heavy moisturizer each night before you go to bed. Vasoline Intensive Care, Jergens, Suave, any thing that you find at the drug store is fine.

...and night. When you apply the moisturizer to your body at night, you may want to wear long sleeves and long pajamas in order to make sure it does not rub off on your sheets. This will also help to hold that moisture in as you sleep at night.Cocoa Butter is very good for at night. It's very thick and buttery.

. Use Loofah or a body scrub that really works. When you use a body scrub or loofah at least twice a day, you will be helping to tighten up that lose skin that is caused by weight loss. When you scrub away that surface, you will be causing that skin underneath to generate faster.

4. Drink a lot of water. There is a lot of studies showing that you should drink at least eight glasses of water every day. Why? In order to keep that moisture in your skin. Apart from this, the water is also going to flush those toxins out of your system. It will give your skin that healthy feel and look.

5. Lift weights. A great way to get rid of that excess skin would be to lift weight. When you are losing weight, lifting weights is important.

6. Exercise as much as possible. You would think this goes with number seven, but when we talk about exercise, we are talking about sit ups, push-ups, running and anything else you can think of. When you are exercising, you will be building those muscles up. This will plump up your skin from the inside and give it that tighter appearance. When you exercise, you will be making sure you will not gain all the weight back that you just tried so hard to lose.

7. Massage your skin. You may not believe this, but massaging the skin helps to build that elasticity back up. You should use mustard oil in order to get the best results. That daily massage will also help your muscles develop. In mustard oil, you will find that there are many medicinal properties in it that will help you to have healthy and glowing skin.

8. Do stomach crunches. It's really important to do those stomach crunches in order to tighten the abdominal skin. If you are not used to doing stomach crunches, then start with one and then increase it by one each day you go along. This is not only a fast method to tone that skin, but it is a fast method to lose weight.

9. Apply Preperation-H. This might come as a shock to you, but any individuals who are looking to tone up their skin actually apply preparation-H to their skin as it will help to tighten it up. It contains lanolin in it, which will penetrate the skin.

10. Start using collagen cream. Applying collagen cream to your stomach area three times a day will help out. You should give the collagen moisture enough time to soak into your skin.

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