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Treat Yourself to a Mom Makeover

Beautiful blonde middle-age woman smiling

When you turn MOM upside down, you get “WOW,” and that’s what makeovers do. A mani-pedi, a new wardrobe, or a little Botox injection can go a long way to mom-empowerment.  Here are some of the recommendations for flipping the script on Motherhood.

Mani-Pedi

Ombres, fluid nails, aquarium nails or maybe just a reverse French? The manicure industry has gotten a lot more inventive in the last decade or so. Stiletto nails may not be very conducive to household chores, but that doesn’t mean you can’t venture into new territories.

You don’t have to go to the manicurist to get a mani-pedi. A few hours watching Netflix can become very productive when you have Dusty Lilac and a vision. Watch tutorials on the internet to get a few pointers on ombres, fluid, and aquarium nails.

Makeup Makeovers

Makeup comes with an expiration date, shouldn’t makeup routines as well? If your foundation stops at the neck, you’re finished with finishing powder, and your blush looks like it was applied with a hand stamp, it’s probably a sign that your regular routine is past its due date.

Woman applying blush on face in front of mirror

Stuck in a rut? Not sure how to take the next step? Looking at pictures on magazine covers and finding yourself absolutely stymied? Sometimes you just need a little professional advice. Here are eye-opening pro tips on making over your makeup routine.

  1. Use black shadow on your top lashes and brown on the bottom to make your eyes look bigger.
  2. Apply a moisturizing mascara and then a volumizing mascara to only the outer lashes for a cat’s eye effect for the eyeliner disadvantaged.
  3. Open up your eyes by framing them with a highlighter. Tap some bronze or champagne tinted cream above the ends of your brows and on your cheekbones
  4. Give eye shadow a multidimensional effect by layering two different textures of the same shade. Try a shimmery powder over a cream.
  5. While your mascara is still wet, push up on your lashes to curl them.
  6. Coat brows twice with a brow gel to make them appear fuller.
  7. Apply a shimmery cream to the middle of your eyelids and swish it back and forth with a nylon brush for a simple blended look.

Teeth Whitening

White teeth are one of the most crucial factors in assessing the physical attractiveness of a potential partner. While scientists say this attraction has something to do with survival of the fittest, it seems more likely to believe has more to do with the fear of simple chronic halitosis and a bad kissing experience. Either way, white teeth are sexy and if you haven’t had them since elementary school, there is still hope.

If you still haven’t overcome your fear of the dentist, there are ways to whiten teeth at home – In fact several. After the word got out that white teeth could get you more dates, many companies were eager to capitalize. This resulted in a surge of teeth whitening strips, toothpastes and whitening kits all designed to lighten stains of teeth. Here are some of the options and how they work.

  • Tooth Whitening Kits

The active ingredient here is a bleach that can actually change the natural color of your teeth and will absolve you of the sin of drinking too much coffee. Some kits involve the application of a peroxide gel to the surface of your teeth, others include a gel containing tray that molds to your teeth. Insert the tray for 30-45 minutes for a week or more.

  • Home Whitening Strips

Whitening strips can reverse years of wine drinking. Targeted for stain removal, the strips are very thin, almost invisible and coated with a peroxide-based whitener.

Woman using teeth-whitening strip

Wear them daily for a week or more and you’ll be sure to turn some heads. The results may not be as intense as the kits, but they are easy to use, and satisfaction is almost always guaranteed.

  • Whitening Toothpaste and Rinses

Many over the counter toothpaste and rinses do a pretty good job on tooth stains. Most contain natural abrasives, chemicals, and polishing agents and do not change the natural color of teeth.

  • Home Remedies

Nothing that a stick of gum won’t do? Sugarless gum may not make your teeth dazzle, but it will trigger saliva that helps wash away tooth debris and neutralizes the acids that cause tooth decay.

New Wardrobe

The secret to finding a good wardrobe is by finding what works for you and sticking to it. Hey. Cleopatra wore the same chainmail bikini every day, but Mark Antony sure didn’t throw her out of bed. The point is, she looked great in it, felt great in it and no one complained. That’s sort of the way you should view your new wardrobe.

Appealing as it was to Cleopatra, chainmail is certainly not highly recommended for a daily uniform. The key is finding comfortable quality fabrics, shapes that form-flattering silhouettes, and colors that make you feel like the queen of your own domain. 

Think of those pieces you’re always searching for in your wardrobe and build from there. Constantly looking for that pair of skinny jeans that fit you like a second-skin and just happen to go with everything? Buy five of them, one in every color. The stretchy pencil skirt that makes your butt look photoshopped?  Order the entire stock. When it comes to making over wardrobe, it’s keep the best and ditch the rest. That’s a makeover motto you’ll find easy to get used to.

Botox

Is Botox on your bucket list? It’s certainly a bit less dangerous than paragliding across the Atlantic and that’s a perfectly acceptable bucket list entry. Ask Tom Cruise, he’s probably done both and can provide a definitive answer.

Yes, Botox can be risky business, but what’s life without taking risks? Here are some answers to the botox – related questions you were curious about but too embarrassed to ask for fear of condemnation.

Fast Facts on Botox:

  • It is the most popular non-surgical treatment, 6 million happy customers served.
  • Botox is a neurotoxin used to reduce fine lines by paralyzing underlying muscles and causing them to relax.
  • Botox can also be used to control migraines, excessive sweating, and bowel disorders.

Infographic on neurotoxin injection (botox)

Botox may be delivered by a shot, but it’s not really a one-shot deal. When you learn the botox lingo, you’ll hear the words units and area being tossed around a lot. Units refer to a single shot, while area refers to the treatment of an area. It takes a few single shots to treat an area.

Unit shots usually run anywhere from $10 to $16. How many shots you need depends on the area you want to treat. Here is a little more botox lingo that you might want to add to your vocab:

  • Glabella: The area between the eyes. This usually takes 16-28 units in females, and 18-30 in males.
  • Crow’s feet bilaterally: 18-24 units
  • Horizontal lines of the forehead: 8-16 units
  • Bunny lines on the nose: Lines that become apparent when a person’s facial expression changes, a reference to the twitchy noses of rabbits: 4-6 units

Word of warning: Don’t get too botoxified, we have emojis to express surprise.

Wondering if you can reduce the look of wrinkles and line without injecting anything into your skin?

The Resveratrol Shiraz Instentic Non-Surgical Syringe looks like a syringe, acts like a syringe, and works like Botox – but without penetrating the stratum corneum (top outer layer) of the skin. The key ingredients are resveratrol extract and Dimethylaminoethanol Tartrate (DMAE), which work together to visibly reduce the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles around the mouth and the eyes.

Hairstyle Makeovers

Does your curling iron still use metal barrels and clamps? If so, it’s not only you that needs the makeover. New hair styling equipment is made with ceramic tourmaline, they have things like specific temperature settings and negative ions for heat protection. Damaged hair is sooo late 1990’s.

What if the Fairy Godmother waved her magical styling wand and your hair was immediately transformed into tumbling, sexy, perfectly tousled beach waves? Not gonna happen? Probably not, but you can make beachy waves happen with a good curling iron and a little product. Here’s how to make the beachy waves so sexy, it might make you tell the Prince you’re not ready for a commitment.

Beachy Waves

  1. Prep hair using a teasing brush and separate locks for added texture. Brush down to make hair soft. Take sections of hair and brush in opposite directions to create fullness.
  2. Spraying the roots of the hair with dry shampoo is optional. The shampoo will soak up some of the extra oil to give you just the right amount of stiffness for added height at the crown. (Big hair-big ideas).
  3. A large barrel creates big, loose curls and works well on long hair. A skinny or middle-sized barrel works better for short or mid-length hair. After choosing your weapon of choice, take a one-inch section of hair and begin wrapping it around the curling iron a few inches away from your head.  When you get to the end, clip the section of hair inside the curling iron leaving a few inches at the end sticking out. This is to guarantee a beachy curl rather than a corkscrew.
  4. Start with the bottom layers of your hair and gradually work up to the top layers until your whole head is done. Do touchups if necessary.
  5. Comb through hair using fingers to create natural looking tousles.
  6. Spray with volumizing hair spray to secure.

The Mommy Makeover

Where there now are children, there once was pregnancy, and where there once was pregnancy, there is now loose skin that no amount of exercise will tighten. Don’t let the cute name fool you, the Mommy makeover is one tough mother of a transformation.

What Can I Expect from the Mommy Makeover?

The Mommy Makeover is code for a tummy tuck, liposuction, and a breast lift. The tummy tuck is for trimming that excess skin from your stomach, the liposuction targets the stubborn fat, and the breast lift addresses the saggy boobs.

Mommy makeover infographic

But make no mistake, you will suffer for your beauty. According to one patient, ”The first 24 hours is, by far, the most awful of your life. It was hell.” The good news is most patients do bounce back quite nicely and apparently, so do their breasts, judging by the 96% jump in breast augmentation over the last six years.

If you do choose to go the Mommy Makeover route, make sure that you’re in good health before. Many plastic surgeons will not operate on people who lack self-discipline, arguing that the effects of the makeover can be easily reversed by overeating.  For best results on your Mommy makeover:

  1. Achieve your target weight before the operation.
  2. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, with a minimum 15 minutes of interval training and 15 minutes of resistance training on alternate days.
  3. Practice good nutrition.
  4. Keep alcohol consumption down to 2-3 glasses per week.
  5. Don’t smoke.
  6. Establish a no-fail support system over the full recovery period as ordered by your doctor.

Now that you’re beautified, go in there and see if they don’t look up from their cell phones when you walk in the room.

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Try These Lifestyle Habits to Slow Aging

Woman touching her temples and looking into the mirror

Lifestyles that prevent aging don’t have to be lifestyles of the rich and famous. You don’t have to have own private yoga instructor or personal chef to slow the aging process. Nor do you need your own spa and steam room, or Botox injections delivered upon request. There are some lifestyle habits that we can easily get used to, and there are some that take getting used to.  Both can slow the aging process if we have the means or determination to adopt them.

The aging process is pretty relentless. There’s no way to stop it completely, but there are ways to slow it down a bit, and they don’t necessarily involve getting the Leaning Tower of Pisa to stop leaning. You don’t need to take drastic measures to slow down the aging process. There are small lifestyle changes you can make that go a long way. Want to check out some of them?

Here are some of the little ways to turn back the clock even as it’s going forward.

The Best Foods

Don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to “eat this not that.” However, we will tell you that eating a lot of processed food with high levels of sugar is not likely to do much in the way of helping you stay youthful. If slowing aging is your goal, you want to look for foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins to support healthy bones and skin and stave off damage from free radicals. Here are a few foods that fit the bill for your consideration:

  • Olive Oil

Behind every beautiful Italian woman, there is a good bottle of olive oil. The Italians not only eat this healthy fat in food, but they also slather it directly on their skin to keep it from aging prematurely. It also helps maintain good cholesterol levels.

  • Fish

Why are fish so smart? Because they go to school. Ok, maybe fish aren’t that smart, but fish has been called “brain food,” because of its fatty acid content. The DHA and EPA in fish keep your brain and nervous system functioning the way they should. Eat it once a day to stave off early dementia.

  • Beans

Here’s something to toot about. The fiber in beans helps digestion and lowers your chance of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Try to include them in your diet 3-4 times a week.

  • Berries

Young woman eating a bowl of berries

If berries aren’t the sexiest fruits on the planet, they’re definitely one of the richest in antioxidants. Berries stave off cancer and brain disease and they also happen to be just as beneficial frozen as they are at room temperature. Check your local grocer’s freezers for a berry good winter.

  • Veggies

Your mom always said you would thank her later for making you eat your veggies. She knew how youthful they would keep you in your adulthood.

With every color of veggie comes a different benefit. The dark leafy greens have Vitamin K for strong bones. The orange crew (sweet potatoes and carrots) have vitamin A to keep your eyes healthy and skin healthy while protecting against infection. The reds lower blood pressure, LDL levels and risk of prostate cancer.

  • Mediterranean Diet

Technically, the Mediterranean diet was brought to attention when doctors found it to be the cause of longevity and heart health among the Italians and French. Less scientifically, the Mediterranean diet was brought to attention when Americans were trying to find out the secret behind what was keeping those Italians and French looking so darn sexy and youthful.

Most commonly, the Mediterranean diet includes a lot of olive oil, vegetables, whole grains, and fish with just the right amount of red wine to keep your heart healthy. The diet also substitutes salt with spices and herbs to flavor food, which is key in preventing hypertension. It also lowers your risk of memory loss as well as some types of cancer.

The Best Exercise

If you found out that there were people who had cells that looked nine years younger than yours, it would probably have you wondering who their plastic surgeons were. Don’t bother asking, it’s likely they’ve been spotted more frequently at the gym than at the dermatologist office.

Exercise may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are scientific studies that say it can slow down the aging process. Apparently, it all has to do with telomere length. Telomeres are the DNA on either end of chromosomes. Think of the plastic tips on shoelaces for a visual. Just as the plastic tips protect the shoelaces from fraying, the telomeres protect the chromosomes responsible for cell division. Each cell divides the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short, the cell can no longer divide and it dies a tragic death.

What’s the secret to keeping our telomeres long and lovely?  Doctors say exercise. A study appearing in the American Heart Association journal Circulation showed that middle-aged professional athletes who ran an average of fifty miles a week had longer telomeres than those who did not exercise regularly. The pros also had slower resting heart rates, lower blood pressure and less body fat.

Headed for the gym? If you are, here are a few aging pitfalls and the exercises that can help you avoid them.

  • Cardio

There may be a  special circle of hell where people are doomed to an afterlife spent running laps for eternity. Cardio can be punishing, to say the least, but it does have its rewards, especially in the anti-aging department. According to one study done at McMaster University, the overall skin composition of individuals over forty who did cardio regularly was comparable to that of 20 and 30-year-olds. Guess forty really is the new twenty.

  • Squats

You might not think bending at the knees would be one of the worst ways to slow down the aging process.  But experts say, hey if you’re squatting all the time, might as well learn to do it the right way. Ladies, turn your toes out when your squatting, men keep them pointed forward.

Squatting improves flexibility, builds muscle mass, and helps support bone health.

  • Tai Chi

How about incorporating something a little exotic into your routine? If you’re flirting with the idea of taking up martial arts, the antiaging effects of Tai chi might just be the deciding factor. Tai Chi is low-impact, so it puts less pressure on the joints and muscles than other more intense workouts. It helps to improve balance, cognitive focus, and sleep.

The Best Self-Care

Even if stress takes does take years off your life, by no means is the party over. The age-defying woman doesn’t sweat the small things.  She too busy singing karaoke and playing strip poker. She knows what it’s like to end the night with breakfast and to begin the day with chocolate cake and espresso. She takes time to treat herself and doesn’t let the petty stuff get the better of her.

Ok, so maybe she is a little extreme. The point is that a lot of keeping young has to do with taking time for yourself. It’s about staying in the moment and taking time to do the things that make you feel young. Here are a few healthier habits to help you keep happy and relaxed and age-defiant.

  • Meditation

Even if you can’t reach full-on zen, you can take some time each day to give your body mindful attention.  Try taking deep breaths, stretching out kinks, or use the body scan technique to relax each part of your body separately. You can even punctuate your day with a series of mini-meditations. Take:

  • One minute a day to become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations
  • One minute a day to focus attention on your breathing
  • One minute a day to check in on your body as a whole.
  • Invest in Good Skincare

Great looks starts with great skin, and there’s no better time to start investing in quality skincare than now. So how do you know which skincare to invest in?

  • If you’re concerned with fine lines and wrinkles, look for products with vitamins A and E, and hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.
  • If you’e concerned with sagging skin, look for products with antioxidant-rich ingredients like vitamin A, resveratrol, green tea extract, and co-enzyme Q10, which all help to prevent oxidative damage in the body and the onset of visible signs of premature aging
  • If you’re concerned with dark spots and hyperpigmentation, look for products with vitamins A and C, and brightening acids like glycolic acid, azelaic acid, and kojic acid.

Not sure where to begin? The Resveratrol Cabernet Collection would be a good place to start. It’s packed with amazing botanical extracts for the skin to really boost the skin’s barrier, as well as antioxidants, peptides, resveratrol and vitamins to do everything from moisturizing and cleansing the skin, to plumping up the look of fine lines and restoring the skin’s gentle glow.

  • See Friends and Family

What happens when you see your family and friends? You laugh, you talk, and most importantly, you relieve a lot of stress, and not only the stress your mother gives you about not seeing her often enough. Seeing friends and family keeps you connected, and talking with them can be downright therapeutic. Schedule some time for a cuppa or night out with your bestie/ significant other/mom.

  • Sleep (Adequately)

Woman sleeping comfortably in bed

Sleep is the time when your body really turns back the clock. Once its lights out for you, all those antioxidants (like melatonin) go to work, the skin detoxes and cellular reparation begin.

One study showed that participants who didn’t sleep well showed more signs of aging, including fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and lack of skin elasticity than those who got the full 7-9. Those who enjoyed full nights of sleep were also were able to recover more easily from skin damage, such as sun and environmental toxins. 

Remember Your Sunscreen

In the purse of every age-defying woman, you will find sunscreen. The forms may be different, (lotion, foam, foam lotion, whipped lotion, spray, or gel – take your pick)- but the SPF formula is protection is always over 50 and the expiration date is always good.

Another thing about the age-defying woman is that she has a habit. Every morning, she applies the SPF ( tops of hands included), the size of a golf ball. During the day, she reapplies it regularly, at especially after she goes swimming or sweats a lot – even if the label says waterproof- she would rather be safe than sorry. She buys only broad spectrum to make sure it blocks out both UVA and UVB rays.

As a result, the age-defying woman is not likely to develop wrinkles, moles or sagging skin. She also at less of a risk for melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Apparently, a little sunscreen can go a long way. The good news is that we can all be the age-defying woman. All it takes is a little sunscreen. Pop some in your purse and apply it diligently to bring out your inner age-defying persona.

What Not to Do

Unfortunately, for almost every does in life, there is an equal and opposite don’t. Even if adopt every beneficial anti-aging lifestyle habit out there, one false move could undo the advantages easily. Here are a few habits that you should steer clear of so all your hard work pays off.

  • Smoke

Purse strings from puffing, eye wrinkles from squinting – whoever called smoking a glamourous habit?  The good news is that your body is the damage is actually reversible! Right after you quit smoking your blood pressure and circulation will begin making their ways back to normal and your risk of cancer will miraculously decrease. Talk about turning back the clock!

  • Slouch

Just because you’re not a teenager anymore doesn’t mean you’re immune to slouching. Not only is it unattractive  (unless you’re an emo musician), slouching can cause a host of health problems like headaches, back pain, and pulled muscles. It also puts musculoskeletal stress on your vertebrae and the disks between them.

Posture check infographic

Check your posture by standing against the wall with your head, shoulder blades, and buttocks touching it. Your feet should be 2-4 inches away from the wall. Run the palm of your hand along the space at your lower back. If your posture is correct, your hand should fit perfectly. If you have more space, it means your pushing out your hips and stomach too much. Contract your abs and back up to the wall. Not enough space, you’re too far forward and you need to pull your shoulders back.

  • Over-Drink

Drinking is a privilege that comes with age. Unfortunately indulging in that privilege excessively can come with more age. While the occasional glass of red wine can be quite beneficial (lowers heart attack risk, cholesterol, and risk of dementia), drinking too much can be quite detrimental (premature wrinkles, collagen loss, redness, dehydration, and puffiness). The recommendation for women is no more than one drink a day, two for guys.  Aim for that to keep the aging process slow and the lifestyle balanced.

 

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Look Forward to Graceful Aging

Beautiful curly-haired woman in elegant green dress in the garden

Most of us tend to think that, unless we have access to plastic surgery or a really good line of skin care, there is no such thing as aging gracefully. For shame! If aging has taught us one thing, it should be that beauty is more than skin deep, and the biggest part of aging gracefully is probably realizing and embracing that belief. It has been said that, “You don’t stop laughing when you get old, you get old when you stop laughing.” Here are some tips to help you keep laughing.

You Have Survived!

Experts agree that wisdom, maturity and resilience are all necessary components of graceful aging. Psychologist Susan Whitburne, PhD, says that you need to recognize growing old as an accomplishment. “But if you get to be older, you have survived a lot of the threats to your physical and psychological integrity that have affected other people who are no longer around,” she says, “You are stronger and you get to live longer. Most people think that’s a benefit.”

She also approves of a little denial when it comes to coping with old age. “The people who do the best with aging aren’t thinking that much about getting older. If you sit around mulling over the meaning of existence and how time is running out, you’re building a scenario where you’re not going to age as successfully.” She advises the aging to keep focused on the positives.

Accepting Changes

Of course, it seems perfectly normal to react to our first visible wrinkle or loss of hair with horror and denial. However, Dr. Mark Frazier, PsyD, advises acceptance as the healthier response. Says Frazier, “To age gracefully, one needs to anticipate the changes that are inevitable. As they encounter the natural changes and health status that are part of aging, these things are experienced as negative and adding a lot of stress and strain to their lives.” He also acknowledges the wisdom of “foreseen is fore-armed.” “Other people anticipate what’s going to happen. It’s more of a ‘Yes, I knew this was coming and I know that I’ll negotiate my way through it.” Frazier acknowledges the importance of preparedness as a successful management strategy for aging.

Avoiding Stereotypes

Unfortunately, mature adults tend to get lumped into categories, and with categories come stereotypes. Sue Ellen Cooper, 62, is so adamant to break these stereotypes, she was motivated to start the Red Hat Society to celebrate women 50 and above. Members wear red hats and purple dresses to the group’s social outings, hence the group’s moniker.

Cooper admits that, as a young woman, she had some reservations about making friendships with older people. She says,”When I would meet people, I’d think, ‘She probably wouldn’t be a potential friend for me because she’s 20 years older.” Now, having met so many older women in the society she’s changed her tune. “First impression doesn’t tell you a thing. Some of these people have had incredible lives and careers and still have a great sense of humor and a lot of intellect, and the culture will write them off: ‘Oh, she’s an old lady and she’s overweight.'”

Find Meaningful Activities

Paula Abbott, EdD, warns against the danger of inactivity as one grows older. “Part of the challenge of aging gracefully is that you have to continue to find things that are important to you.” Experts encourage the aging to engage in hobbies, travel, spiritual pursuits, and spending time with family as options. Abbott advises planning purposeful activities before retiring. “It should be a transition,” she says, “It shouldn’t be, ‘Stop work one day and fall off a cliff.”

She also recommends activities as a distraction from focusing on the down sides of old age.” If you don’t have important things out in front of you,” she says, “there’s enough about the aging process that is not positive, and you can get caught up in what you don’t like about it.”

Got it? Stay active, give yourself props, accept changes and don’t give a hoot what anyone has to say about it? Let us know your secrets to graceful aging! You’re sure looking good!

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Famous Men Who Age Well

Handsome chiselled man with dreamy grey eyes

Do you ever feel like you’re still going through puberty? You look in the mirror and see a smart sensible professional, but inside, you’re still a lovestruck teen with a weakness for Tom Cruise? Well, for those of you who haven’t quite gotten over your teenage celeb crush, take heart. He’s probably still around, and chances are, he’s still looking pretty good. Here are some of the famous older men who’re still getting us through the night.

George Clooney

Gorgeous George kept our hopes up for a pretty long time, but he’s certainly met his match in Amal. Proud papa George Timothy Clooney was born in 1961 in Lexington, Kentucky. He first came to public attention on the 1984 sitcom E/R as “Dr. Doug Ross,” following a stint as a returning character on “The Facts of Life.” Since then, Clooney has played the leading man in a host of films, including “One Fine Day” opposite Michelle Pfeiffer, and “Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.” He and wife Amal welcomed twins on June 11, 2017.

Brad Pitt

Brad’s a free agent now! After a surprise breakup with long time partner and wife, Angelina Jolie, Brad is back on the market. The film actor and producer born in 1963 in Shawnee, Oklahoma, made his big screen debut in the 1989 horror film “Cutting Class,” and made his mark on Hollywood with his role in “Legends of the Fall.” The actor is best known for roles as the hitchhiking con man in “Thelma and Louise,” the obsessed fighter in “Fight Club,” and the strangely gifted Benjamin Button in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Now divorced, Pitt and Jolie share custody of their six children: Maddox, Pax, Shiloh, Zahara, and twins, Knox and Vivienne.

Johnny Depp

If you remember “21 Jump Street”, you may have had a picture of Johnny Depp on your wall. John Christopher Depp was born June 9. 1963 in Owensboro, Kentucky. After his Golden Globe-winning role on “21 Jump St,” Depp decided that  the series “forced him into the role of product,” and decided to appear in films. Apparently, he made the right decision. Depp achieved superstar status, taking larger-than-life roles in movies such as “Edward Scissorhands” and “Ed Wood.” He’s currently best known for his recurring role as Jack Sparrow on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Also musically inclined, current bachelor Johnny is a member of hard rock outfits “Rock City Angels” and “Hollywood Vampires.”

Mick Jagger

The consummate ladies’ man, Mick Jagger was born Michael Philip Jagger way back in July 26, 1943, in Dartford, Kent, England. Although the Rolling Stones’ singer only managed to tie the knot twice (to Jerry Hall and Bianca Jagger), he has been romantically linked with supermodels, including 60’s luminaries Chrissie Shrimpton and Marianne Faithful and, more recently, Sophi Daho. Proud papa of eight, Mick’s most recent familial addition occurred this year with partner Melanie Hamrick, and offspring include the genetically blessed Jade, Elizabeth, James, and Georgia May. You can still find Mick and the Stones hitting the stage and strutting their stuff all over the US on their latest tour.

Which older famous men still “start you up?” Let us know! We want to reminisce!

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Healthy Eating for Your Skin This Fourth of July

Young couple making a healthy meal in the kitchen

It’s Independence Day and you’ve got a barbecue to go to. You’re supposed to be deciding what to wear, but instead you’re deciding on how you can politely decline all that greasy food. The Fourth of July can be a great time for hanging out and having fun, but you need to make sure you keep the health of your skin in mind while you’re chowing down. Here are some ways to do just that.

What Not To Eat

It seems that making the right choices may be just as important as avoiding the wrong ones. Here are some foods you may want to steer clear of this Fourth.

Chips

You’ll probably want to steer clear of the chips table this time around. Chips are full of refined carbs that trigger collagen damage and oxidative stress. On top of that, a 2014 study in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found refined carbs to be the leading cause of adult acne.

Juice and Soda

These beverages are sugar waiting to be consumed, but it’s actually the lack of fiber that makes them really bad for your skin. Fiber is crucial for preventing the blood sugar highs and lows that can cause premature aging.

What To Eat

Take heart, a lot of traditional barbecue fair is really good for your skin.

Bell Peppers

If you’re making shish kebabs, there’s a good chance you’ll have access to some bell peppers. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate yellow and green veggies had fewer wrinkles than those who did not.

Grass Fed Beef

If the beef they’re grilling up at your barbecue is grass fed, you’re in luck. Grass fed beef has a higher ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, which is great for reducing inflammation, and also has 30 grams of protein per serving. Skin expert Jessica Wu, MD, says, “Protein is the building block of collagen and elastin tissue which keeps skin taut and less wrinkled.” However, she recommends lean cuts like flank steak and sirloin tip.

Tomatoes

Another great shish kebab addition, tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene ( higher in cooked tomatoes, lucky you) which improves the natural SPF of akin. Studies show that participants who consumed 5 tablespoons of tomato paste with a tablespoon of olive oil daily had more sunburn protection than the group the just ate the olive oil.

Soy

If there’s a soy burger at the party, be sure to grab one. A study of middle-aged women in Japan showed that those who ate 40 mg of aglycone (an isoflaven in soy) had fewer wrinkles and stronger skin elasticity than those who took a placebo. By the way, isoflavens prevent collagen breakdown. You’ll find about 40 mg of isoflavens in an ounce of roasted soybeans, 3 ounces of tempeh, or 6 ounces of tofu, so load up your plate.

Olive Oil

If it’s olive oil on the grill, your skin can rejoice. A study in PLOS ONE found that people who consumed a higher level of olive oil showed 31% fewer signs of aging than than those with a lower consumption. That’s because about 75% of the fat in olive oil is in youth-boosting monosaturated fatty acids and the antioxidants in olive oil can protect skin from free radical damage.

Got it? Sounds totally doable, no? Let us know how your Fourth of July went down, and how your skin survived it.

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Meaningful Relationships May Help You Age Better

Happy couple enjoying the sun outdoors

Ah, the meaningless relationship, the one-night stand, the love ’em and leave ’em; they’re all tied with youth. Those days of wine and roses before the reality of age sets in and we find ourselves faced with—horror of horrors—a life-long partner. Suddenly, we are one of them, the people we swore we’d never be: our parents! However, the reality is that aging will set in regardless of our behavior, and research shows that forming those more meaningful relationships may actually be helping to keep us younger. Read on to find out how meaningful relationships can help you age better.

Meaningful Relationships

With longer life expectancy comes the desire to age more successfully and with that comes an effort to promote healthy states in later life. Some think that the way to do this is to keep mentally and physically active, while others think that keeping social is more important for successful aging.

Social Relationships

Research shows that as age increases, a person’s social network decreases. However, even though older adults may have smaller social circles, their relationships tend to be of higher quality.

Family, spouses and adult children, in particular, are thought to be a big source of support to the aging. Research shows that marriage has a positive effect on people’s psychological and physical states. In addition, married couples usually have larger social networks. Married couples tend to engage in social activities together and are invited out more, getting the opportunity to meet more people, and the evidence suggests that the more people you have around you, the happier you will be.

Social Relationships and Health

Additional research suggests that people around us have a big impact on our psychological and physical health. Relationships allow us to interact socially, and the research shows the support we receive can decrease risks of heart attacks, decline in cognition, depression and anxiety. One study found that people with good social relationships have a 50% lower rate of mortality than those with poor social interactions.

Social support may lower stress levels caused by life changes in middle age and also may increase sense of belonging and self esteem. Relationships with partners may model and encourage healthier behaviors, such as wearing a seatbelt and eating three square meals, during stressful periods of life.

Other findings show that support from others can increase feelings of independence. A 2006 study showed that those who received more social support tended to have lower blood and arterial pressure and reported feeling higher levels of self esteem and lower levels of depression.

Widowhood and Aging

Drawing on conclusions, it seems that if meaningful relationships promote physical and mental health, then the loss thereof can also affect us negatively. Indeed, spousal bereavement has shown to have a negative impact on health including weight fluctuations, overeating, increased smoking, and inactivity. Therefore it is important that individuals receive adequate social support after the loss of a spouse in order to return to the same levels of well being. Resilience can be achieved from drawing on society, psychology, and of course, strong meaningful relationships.

Tell us about your experiences with aging and social contact. How have the people around you helped to keep you young? We would love to hear from you.

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Curb Your White Sugar Cravings

Friends enjoying cupcakes at a cafe

Stevia, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, saccharin, advantame, aspartame, neotame, sorbitol and xylitol—these are all sugar substitutes approved for use by government. If the sheer number is not enough to confuse you, the spelling and pronunciation surely will. And, to add to the confusion, not all sugar substitutes are created equal. Here’s the lowdown on healthy (and not so healthy) alternatives to the white stuff.

Natural Sugars

Stevia

Imported from Latin America, Stevia has only recently become popular in the US. With a taste 30 times sweeter then sugar, Julie Daniluk, RHN, says, “It’s calorie-free and it is the safest sugar substitute because all the others are chemicals that can have serious side effects. As for the taste, when refined into a white substance, Stevia loses its hints of licorice and most of its aftertaste, the rest of which can be completely eliminated with lemon. Not great for coffee, which won’t do much to hide the flavor, better in tea.”

Honey

Honey is a natural sweetener and natural healant. Daniluk says, “When unrefined and unpasteurized, it contains B vitamins, minerals like manganese and iron.” She adds, “The coolest part it is it contains antibiotic properties.”

This means that honey is high in peroxide which can kill any microbe in its orbit. However, cooking the honey will remove the peroxide as well as said antibiotic properties.

Rachel Begun, MS, RD, says that honey “is also considered to better promote blood sugar control.” Nutritionally, honey contains approximately 32 calories per teaspoon, but since it is 20% sweeter than sugar, you’ll end up using less

Agave

Not so good for us, not so good for bats. Although it may be a great alternative to sugar in terms of taste, it seems like this cactus extract from Mexico is a substance that bats need to survive, which means our harvesting it is harmful to bat populations. Agave can also be harmful to the liver when eaten in large amounts. In addition, there is reason to believe cheap agave is cut with corn syrup, so health-conscious consumers should look for organic, sustainable brands. As for calories, it weighs in at about the same as honey, containing 30 calories per teaspoon.

Artifical Substitutes

Aspartame

Aspartame is a chemically-created, low-calorie alternative to sugar, with 200 times its sweetness. It contains an enzyme which can cause problems for people who can’t metabolize it properly, some of whom report headaches. Aspartame is not recommended for baking because it loses its sweetness when exposed to high temperatures. You’re most likely to have seen it marketed as Equal or NutraSweet.

Sucralose

Sucralose is a sugar substitute 600 times sweeter than the original. It contains no calories and is a combination of sucrose with chlorine attached. The chlorine prevents the absorption of calories because the body is unable to break down chlorine. “Problem is,” Daniluk says, “it kills the bacteria in your bowels just like it kills the bacteria in your swimming pool.” In essence, sucralose may be great for your weight loss, but it’s no friend to your bowels. Splenda is the brand name for sucralose, which according to a study by the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, causes blood cancers in mice who ate it daily. The Center for Science in the Public Interest now warns consumers against it.

What are your top choices for sugar substitutes? Natural, artificial, or back to sugar?  Let us know what team you’re on.

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Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Happy and smiling woman lying on grass

As humans, we need to recognize when we’re out of gas. We don’t have a battery bar on our foreheads telling our kids/bosses/significant others, “Hey, I’m at 7%! I need some time to recharge. I’m fading fast!” No, we have to be the ones who acknowledge when we’re running on empty and need to take a break. And when that time comes, you  need to make sure you know what to do. Here are some ways to relax, recharge, and refocus.

Be Honest

Although we don’t often think of it this way, being honest takes a lot of burden off your mind. Lying and deception can be hard work and come with a lot of guilt to bear. Allowing honest thoughts to flow in and out naturally can ease tension and provide mental clarity.

Know Your Limit

Taking on more than you can handle can lead to resentment. Use time management to help prevent you from overcommitting. Make sure you take time for happiness and love.

Exercise

When it comes to maintaining sanity, the importance of exercise cannot be overestimated.  Exercise can work off tons of negativity and also improves your appearance and the impressions you make on others. Remember, outer beauty comes from inner health.

Eat Well

When it comes to recharging and refueling, the right foods are crucial. Finding a healthy dietary plan will guide you to eating healthy and feel in energized. Try buying and cooking your own foods so that you know what’s going into your body and experiment with new recipes to keep it fun.

Take Time For Yourself

Being alone can give you a perfect opportunity to reflect, relax, and plan without distractions. Manage your time so that so some of it is set aside for yourself, even if it means refusing to do something for someone else once in a while.

Make A Spiritual Connection

Taking time to pray, meditate or develop a spiritual relationship is an investment in yourself. It can give you a better understanding of yourself and your purpose in life, helping you to live more peacefully and passionately without letting petty things disturb you.

Forgive

Learning to let go removes the weight of unnecessary anger, pain, and hatred. If you’re bearing resentment toward someone in your life, now is the time to forgive. It’s more about what you need than what the other party deserves.

Give Back

Giving back is a great way to remind yourself how fortunate you are. Volunteer at a senior home, shelter, food bank, or anywhere you think you can make a difference.

Change Things Up

Doing the same thing all the time can become rote and depressing. Do something you might not ordinarily do. You may find an unexpected passion for scuba diving or art galleries, or you may just learn something interesting about yourself or others.

Quit Toxic Relationships

If you’re in a relationship that’s not making you happy, end it. Focus instead on building new ones, or revisiting old ones. Know when to let go and when to hold on.

What do you do when you need to recharge your batteries? Let us know! We love to hear it.

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The Importance of Self Care

Young woman enjoying a bath filled with rose petals

Have you been sitting there enjoying a quiet moment to yourself? How dare you! Why haven’t you been doing something “more productive?” Sound familiar? Sounds like you need to be taking better care of yourself! In fact, French philosopher Michel Foucault and the ancient Greeks thought it was actually counter-productive not to. According to those guys, self care was necessary in order to build positive relationships with others. They thought society would fall apart without it. Sounds like a good excuse for some pampering? Read on for additional info on self-care.

Physical Health

Even though there is no research to prove that pampering leads to greater longevity, or even prevention of disease, it can trigger what is known as the “relaxation response,” which can prevent the damaging effects of stress on your health.

Emotional Health

A well-cared-for body conveys a sense of self-esteem to others, communicating feelings of well-being that can lead to long term feelings of self-worth.

Caregiving

It has often been said that the only way to love others is by loving yourself. Although there is no doubt that the saying has become somewhat hackneyed, it is none the less true. Concentrating too much on the needs of others can lead to feeling of resentment and unhappiness, not to mention general burnout. Focusing on yourself will give you a chance to recharge physically and mentally to allow you to focus on others.

Be sure to get enough sleep and make healthy meals a priority. Take time for yourself and make time for friends and leisure.

“Me” Time

While some of us may look at time alone as depressing, others embrace it as a time to enjoy self reflection. ‘Me time’ can provide  an opportunity to work out problems, and put things into perspective.

Soothing Feelings

Thinking of taking a spa day? Don’t sweat it! Treating your body to a little TLC qualifies as self care as well. Even colicky babies can benefit from a hot bath. Here are some suggestions for some self therapy:

  • Bath – Bubbles, essential oils, and soothing music and scented soaps: all the essential ingredients for the perfect relaxation break.
  • Deep Condition Your Hair – Let a deep conditioning treatment work its way through your hair while you work out some inner tensions.
  • Deep Clean Your Pores – Ah, the mask! Pure dopamine release. A good clay mask can draw impurities from your face while you draw stress from your mind.
  • Pedicure – Caring for the feet is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Soak your tootsies to soften those callouses and slough off dead skin with a pumice stone. Finish with a rich foot cream and nail polish.
  • Skincare – Exfoliation and hydration can be key in the preservation of mental sanity, not to mention glowing skin. Indulge in some great smelling luxurious creams before and after tub time.
  • Manicure  – File, buff, push back those cuticles and polish. A perfect manicure can be extremely rewarding.
  • Massage  – Whether from a friend or a professional, massages can be an extremely effective way of taking care of yourself. Electronic massagers can be a great addition to self-care care tool box.

How are you taking time to take care of yourself? Let us know what you do to make the world a better place.

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Do You Know the Signs of Skin Cancer?

Doctor examining patient's back for skin spots

Danielle Janofsky was originally diagnosed with melanoma in 2015 after having a suspicious mole removed from her shoulder. She was given a “good prognosis,” and continued to visit the dermatologist for tri-monthly checkups. On February 8, she went to the hospital, six months pregnant, complaining of abdominal pains. Doctors found the melanoma had spread to her kidney, stomach, liver,  and brain. The only treatment option was immunotherapy, which is not advisable for pregnant women. Danielle went on to give birth to healthy baby Jake before dying three days later.

Pregnancy and Melanoma Detection

How was it that it such a deadly form of cancer managed to go undetected for so long? According to Dr. Sapna Patel, a melanoma oncologist, pregnancy may have something to do with it. “It’s possible that pregnancy is a type of immune suppression. Your body is really focusing on its efforts on growing another human being, so it’s a little distracted on really taking care of itself.”

She explains that in most cases, after a melanoma is removed from the body, the immune system surveillance system goes into action, recognizing cancer cells and preventing them from harming you. However, when you are pregnant, the surveillance system can go down because it is more focused on fostering new life, making detection difficult.

Melanoma Detection

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, with over 87,000 Americans diagnosed each year. However, the spread of the disease can be greatly minimized with early detection. If melanoma is detected in stage 1, when it is still confined to the outer layer of skin, patients can do well. Deeper melanomas involving lymph nodes, on the other hand can metastasize more than 50 percent of the time. As Patel notes, “Melanoma is the only cancer that’s deadly in millimeters.”

Self Check

If you’re doing a self melanoma check, look out for:

  • Itching or bleeding moles
  • Spots that don’t heal
  • Dark spots under the finger and toenails
  • Flat red spots that turn scaly and rough
  • Painful and tender spots

Be sure to check thoroughly, between finger and toes, under arms, below breasts, behind ears and on genitals. Use a blow dryer to check scalp. If you notice a suspicious lesion, contact your dermatologist immediately.

Yearly Exams

You should also seek yearly professional skin exams in which your dermatologist will examine your entire body for moles and legions. Some practices will keep a photographic record of moles to track changes between appointments.

Are you conducting self-exams for melanoma? Let us know how you’re keeping safe in this season of sunburns and weigh in on Danielle’s story.