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Super Sun Protection: Get Vitamin D Safely

Posted by on Jul 23, 2018 in Health and Wellness, Product Reviews, Tips | 0 comments

Summer means outdoor fun and lots of Vitamin D exposure. That’s good. But it’s important to get that Vitamin D safely and to protect your skin from the harm that the sun can do.
Right now I’m trying a product that is truly unique: the Hydrating Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 formulated with Iceland’s mineral-rich geothermal seawater.
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When I visited Iceland a few years ago, I was lucky enough to visit the Blue Lagoon and to actually enjoy the revitalizing powers of geothermal seawater, in an otherworldly volcanic setting. The geothermal water feels wonderful on the skin–and it opens the pores and allows them to un-clog and absorb bacteria-fighting minerals (a bonus for those who suffer from acne).
Now, as I apply the Hydrating Cream made with that amazing geothermal seawater, I find that not only does it offer broad spectrum sun protection, it also moisturizes my skin and leaves it feeling soft and dewy.
The Hydrating Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has been dermatologically tested and is paraben-free, color-free and fragrance free. It is part of a line of fine  Blue Lagoon products, including skin, body and and hair care.
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Another excellent chemical-free sun protection option is TiZO3® Facial Mineral Sunscreewith SPF 40 , which includes a universal tint so you can avoid the ghostly white finish often associated with physical blocks. The light weight mineral sunscreen doubles as a complexion-evener and primer, delivering a matte silky finish that looks fine as-is–or it can be used under makeup.

The photo-stable SPF won’t break down in intense sunlight and remains water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it perfect for any outdoor activity. It uses only Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide for sun protection and is free of chemical sunscreen filters, dyes, fragrances, oils and preservatives. The mineral sunscreen ingredients found in TIZO products block both UVA (responsible for “A”ging) and UVB (responsible for “B”urning) rays.

In fact, Zinc Oxide, found in all TIZO Protection products, has the broadest UV coverage range of any FDA-approved sunscreen ingredient.The chemical UV filters found in the majority of available sunscreens (including some combination of oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate) work by absorbing UV rays.

Unfortunately, some of these chemicals are also absorbed by the body. The biggest offender is oxybenzone, a known allergen and hormone disruptor that enters through the skin. TIZO mineral-based products are completely free of chemical sunscreen filters.

In addition to potential harm to the body, in 2015, it was estimated that around 14,000 tons of sunscreen are ending up in the world’s coral reefs causing major damage. The chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate are the main culprits. TIZO’s mineral sunscreens are free of these harmful ingredients as well as all chemical absorbers.

When you’re outdoors in the summer sun, you don’t want to use your usual lip gloss–because lips, too, are susceptible to sunburn and sun damage. With SPF 45, TIZO® Tinted Lip Protection offers serious protection and has a light sheer tint that delivers a low maintenance high style look. The subtle kiwi lime and ginger flavor makes it pleasant to use.

 Both products are part of an extensive skin care line and are available at Amazon.



Showaflops Sandals: Fashionable and Functional

Posted by on Jun 16, 2018 in Product Reviews | 0 comments


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Summertime means the beach, the pool or maybe camp. All places where flip-flops are preferred footwear–and where lots of germs live. The solution: Showaflops! These fashionable and trendy sandals are quick drying and are easy to wear at the pool or on the street. It’s time to enjoy the summer sun and hit the water! Complete your beach look with fun, fresh patterns from Showaflops! The secret: Showaflops have unique drainage holes, antimicrobials and slip-resistant soles to help protect your feet from any bacteria on the ground. So you can look trendy while your feet are protected.

Showaflops are perfect for the beach.

Showaflops are perfect for the beach.

So no matter where you’ll be enjoying summer fun, these fashionable and functional flip-flops will keep you looking good while they keep away germs. The slip-resistant soles are great when you shower at the gym or spa. They come in both adult and kid sizes, so you can protect the entire family.



DefenAge Skincare Really Turns Back the Clock

Posted by on May 22, 2018 in Product Reviews | 0 comments


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 DefenAge® products promise results — and deliver

A commercial that’s currently airing references beauty products that are in no hurry to work. That’s the story with so many beauty products; they promise a lot–and then fail to deliver.

However, when I had the opportunity to try the DefenAge Power Trio, I was actually expecting to see results. That’s because I saw this recent announcement:

Progenitor Biologics®, LLC, the manufacturer and distributor of the cutting-edge anti-aging skin care products, DefenAge® Skincare, recently announced the results of a new comprehensive clinical study of the line’s breakthrough ingredient Age-Repair Defensins®. The defensin-based three-step system “globally improves the visual appearance of aging skin without irritation, dryness, or inflammation,” concludes the peer-review article published by the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (JDD). Target-specific Age-Repair Defensins represents the latest generation of anti-aging technology and is the first of a kind.

“The defensin skin care regimen resulted in statistically significant improvements in ALL five parameters in patients simultaneously including decreased visible fine and coarse wrinkles, pore size and visible pigmentation. Study participants also demonstrated improvement in skin’s oiliness, evenness, hydration and a number of other crucial skin’s qualities” shares the study’s principal investigator and correspondence author, Amy Forman Taub, MD. “DefenAge results in profound improvements in the visible health and beauty of the skin that are readily apparent to even the untrained eye.”

“The results showed that the defensin-containing trio of prod­ucts offer most of the advantages of time-honored retinols as well as newer but widely used growth-factor containing cosme­ceuticals, without irritation or inflammation, sun-sensitivity, or concerns about neoplasia of the treated skin,” adds the study’s co-investigator, Vivian Bucay, MD. “The observed clinical results put DefenAge Skincare into the best-in-class category without doubt, this is a landmark product.”

The earlier-published pre-clinical research shows that defensins activate dormant preserve of “fresh” cells in the body, LGR6-positive stem cells. “After activation, LGR6-positive stem cells physically migrate into the basal layer of the skin and create a new epidermis, and eventually, new, younger-acting skin,” explains the study’s co-investigator, Gregory Keller, MD. “The defensin-based anti-agingtechnology is an authentic paradigm shift that I see only once per decade.”

DefenAge made an initial soft launch in the summer of 2015,” comments Progenitor Biologics’ CEO, Nikolay Turovets, PhD. “Today, more than 300 US-based aesthetic physicians and medi-spas offer DefenAge. Since the launch, DefenAge’s annual growth exceeded 100 percent three years in a row, having sales in 2017 that exceeded $2.4M. Now having such solid clinical proof of the product’s performance, we will continue our expansion in the aesthetic market and deliver the best technologies to consumers.”

I’ve been using the DefenAge trio for just a few weeks, and I already see visible results: Smoother, firmer, more hydrated skin, softening of lines and wrinkles, etc. It’s clear that these powerhouse products are in a hurry to work!

For more information, visit the website.


Perfect Solution to Dry Lips

Posted by on Oct 31, 2017 in Health and Wellness, Product Reviews | 0 comments



For me, dry lips have been a year-round problem that gets worse during fall and winter. Until I tried EpiCeram-L™ Lip Care, I was constantly applying and re-applying lip balms. Some felt great going on, but provided no lasting benefit—and left my lips feeling parched after a short while. That’s because most lips balms just temporarily trap moisture in.

EpiCeram-L Lip Care is a therapeutic lip balm that works. It’s a lipid-based lip care with three essential lipids – ceramides, free fatty acids, and cholesterol – all of which replenish lost moisture, rejuvenate and repair dry cracked lips. The aloe soothes on contact while the blend of three vital lipids – ceramides, conjugated linoleic acid and cholesterol – work to actually heal and repair the lip’s protective barrier.

The silky, non-greasy formula glides on easily and makes a smooth base for lip color, including the popular matte shades.

During the winter season, when central heat can really dry out lips, I like to apply EpiCeram-L Lip Care before I go to bed—so that whenever I wake up my lips feel moist and smooth.

According to Dr. Jennifer Gordon, a board-certified dermatologist in Austin, Texas, “EpiCeram-L helps heal and soothe disrupted barrier function for patients on Accutane or those having dryness from topical acne medicine such as retinoids. It is also great post-procedure, including after lip injectables or peels.”

What’s more, EpiCeram-L® Lip Care is a steroid-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, petrolatum-free, fragrance-free, color-free, lanolin-free way to get soft lips back in just one week.

It really works!

For more information, visit the website.


Vernal Organic Skincare: Pure and Powerful Natural Ingredients–And Cruelty Free!

Posted by on Jul 28, 2017 in Product Reviews, Tips | 0 comments


As I choose only organic foods to put into my body, I’m interested in effective beauty products that will provide the same kind of natural care for my skin. The super antioxidant products by Vernal Beauty provide this kind of care, with a custom-formulated organic formula that is USDA certified, with ingredients derived from exotic cold-pressed oils, super-fruits and plant-based botanical extracts, all of which are ethically and sustainably sourced, as well as safe and non-toxic.

So many products today bear labels that can make you wince, as you scan the lists of parabens, sulfates, synthetics and other ingredients you definitely don’t want on your skin.

Contrast this kind of product with those of Vernal’s, where the labels list some of Mother Nature’s purest and most powerful ingredients: for example, bee propolis, maqui fruit, Indian gooseberry, sumac berry and mango.

Even better, the label assures me that the products are made fragrance-free and cruelty-free as well as  free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, silicone, petroleum, and artificial colors.

Bee Radiant Organic Face Oil ($45)

Combining the power of super antioxidants such as Sumac, Rosehip and Bee Propolis,Vernal Bee Radiant Booster Oil performs as a vitamin-packed, antioxidant-rich superfood for the skin.

  • The Sumac Super AntioxidantComplex has 3X the amount of antioxidants of acai and 60X that of blueberriesSumac is widely considered the most powerful superfood on the planet. It is packed with vitamin C to help fight free radicals and also has strong anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent acne and clear up skin.
  • Used as a natural healer and restorative compound for over 5,000 years, Bee Propolis is rich in nutrients and vitamins, known to help prevent acne, decongest pores and stimulate cell renewal. It assists in balancing, healing and soothing problematic skin.

Hydra-Glow Serum with Hyaluronic & Vitamin C ($46):

This multi-benefit serum combines the hydrating power of hyaluronic acid with the healing power of vitamin C to protect and repair the skin and to deliver a radiant glow.

  • Known locally as Amla, Indian Gooseberry has been a common ingredient in the ancient Indian medicinal practice of Ayurveda. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, it takes charge of free radicals and repairs damaged skin while visibly lifting, toning and brightening. Packed with vitamins, it boosts collagen production and hydration that leads to more plump, youthful and smoother skin. A recent double-blind study found that Amla contained powerful dark-spot correcting and skin brightening properties that worked better than those achieved by conventional, non-organic skin-lighteners such as hydroquinone.
  • A natural element of the skin, Hyaluronic acid is known for its ability to attract and retain 1000x its own weight in moisture. With ultra-hydrating abilities, this acid promotes more nutrient absorption and penetrates the deepest levels of the dermis.

In addition to these excellent and effective products, the Vernal line also includes:

SKINourish Super Antioxidant Organic Moisturizer, a rich but lightweight daily moisturizer containing vitamins E and C, to feed the skin with superfruits, hydrate with exotic butters and provide natural cellular renewal. In addition to smoothing the skin, it locks in moisture, increases elasticity and diminishes and prevents skin discoloration from acne, free radicals and sun damage.  ($44)

SKInourish Super Antioxidant Organic Eye Cream is formulated with potent doses of sumac, mango and evening primrose and is designed to help nourish, protect, brighten and repair the orbital area. The silky cream leaves a thin, yet dense protective layer that preps the eye contour area for a smoother makeup application. Its multitasking benefits help to hydrate, boost elasticity, diminish puffiness, dark circles and signs of aging. ($43)

For more information or to purchase Vernal products, visit the website.




Guerlain Spa Opening at The Plaza Hotel

Posted by on Jun 7, 2017 in News, Resort and Hotel Spas | 0 comments

Guerlain Spa at The Plaza Hotel

Guerlain Spa at The Plaza Hotel

This spring the Guerlain Spa officially moved from the Waldorf Astoria New York to a new home at The Plaza Hotel. Currently in its soft opening phase, the spa’s grand opening is scheduled for October 2017

Continuing to provide NYC with an unrivaled spa experience, the new space will offer Guerlain’s signature menu of visible-results facials and luxurious body treatments, including the Orchidée Imperial CURE Facial, Abeille Royale Expert Treatment and the 4-Hand Impériale Relaxing Massage.

Highlights include:

–         Treatment Rooms: Each of the 11 customized treatment rooms (including a VIP couples suite) can be personalized with guests’ individual music preferences. A separate mani/pedi studio can be booked for private services.

–         Spa Au Revoir: Guerlain’s “Spa Au Revoir” service includes complimentary shoe shine, garment steaming and make-up refresher with every treatment.

–         Boutique: The spa boutique offers the exquisite skincare, fragrance and make-up of Guerlain Paris. Make-up application services are also available.

–         Group Wellness: Upon the official grand opening, the Guerlain Spa will offer a Group Wellness program for wellness-focused meetings and events.

–         Weddings: Ideal for pre-wedding pampering, bachelorette bashes and mini-moons, The Guerlain Spa is partnering with Warren Tricomi Salon at The Plaza to offer an exclusive menu of bridal spa and salon services that will launch upon the spa’s official grand opening.



Aspire–For “Barely There” Eyewear

Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 in News, Product Reviews | 0 comments

Aspire frames are lighter, thinner and more pliable than any other frames I've seen.

Aspire frames are lighter, thinner and more pliable than any other frames I’ve seen.

Jewelry for your face

When I started wearing eyeglasses at the age of 8, very much against my will, I hated the ugly utilitarian frames and took them off whenever I could manage to see, albeit myopically, without the correction.

When comfortable contact lenses became available, I jumped on that solution and used them for years.

And then a couple of strange things happened. I got older (again very much against my will). Presbyopia set in, which meant that if I wanted to see things (like restaurant menus) close up, I had to put on a pair of drugstore readers. And even stranger, I found that I actually looked better and younger when I was wearing a pair of really great-looking glasses.

So out went the contacts. I bought animal print glasses big, bold prescription sunglasses, plastic frames, titanium frames, etc. All had good points, all had one or two flaws. The great-looking plastic frames were often heavy and left groove marks on my nose. The titanium frames often lacked style.

And now came Aspire Eyewear, in both optical and sun-glass frames that were lighter, thinner, stronger and more pliable than anything I’d ever seen. According to the numbers, these frames were 50 percent thinner than a typical acetate frame, 50 percent lighter than a typical acetate frame – and even 22 percent lighter than a typical titanium frame!

When I had the opportunity to try one of those frames, I couldn’t wait to see how it would look and feel with my prescription lenses. I wasn’t disappointed. I chose the style called “Remarkable,” which was described as “A true conversation piece, Remarkable is a perfect P3 shape offering a unique keyhole bridge design and very thin stainless steel temples. A men’s style that works for women, too. Available in tortoise, hunter and crystal.” I chose the hunter color, which was very dark—almost black.

I had my prescription filled very quickly—the same day, actually—at Union Square Optical in New York City. I chose that optician because they carry Aspire frames, and I thought they would be knowledgeable and well-equipped to offer quick service.

When I tried my glasses on for the first time, they looked terrific and they delivered on that “barely there” promise. As they sat a little high on my face, the optician simple adjusted the (proprietary) anti-slip nose pad—and voila! Perfect. (I should mention that the nose pad never, ever leaves dent marks on my nose.

Needless to say I’ve had my share of compliments with these glasses, and in addition to being attractive and lightweight, they are also sturdy.  As they have a seamless hinge, something I’d not seen before, there will never be a need to replace screws that have fallen out.

So what’s the story behind this unusual eyewear?

Aspire frames by ClearVision Optical are created with SDN-4, a specially designed hypoallergenic nylon material proprietary to the brand; it is heat-resistant, has “shape memory” and will not fade in UV exposure. The frames are not injection molded, but created with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machinery to produce unique shapes and a dazzling array of color possibilities. That makes Aspire Eyewear “wearable technology.”

The brand asks the eyeglass wearer: “Who Do You Aspire To Be?” It references popular trends, classic motifs, and advanced architectural aesthetics to appeal to different personality types when designing its initial collection of 12 styles for men and women, as well as three sunglasses styles.

Each of the 36 frames and 5 temple designs in the collection are detachable, giving the wearer the opportunity to further personalize their own eyewear. The Aspire Eyewear logo is placed inside the frame of each pair of glasses, because the label feels it shares creative responsibility with the wearer.

Aspire Eyewear is carried nationwide.    Suggested retail pricing ranges from $249.99-$289.99


ISPA Foundation Announces Scholarship Recipient

Posted by on Jun 19, 2018 in News | 0 comments


Christine Muchemu to Receive ISPA Foundation Scholarship

The International SPA Association (ISPA) Foundation will award Christine Muchemu from Ithaca, New York, the Mary Tabacchi Scholarship onstage during the General Session at the 28th annual ISPA Conference & Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona, from Sept. 24-26.

 Muchemu will receive $5,000 to offset her education expenses, a complimentary registration, travel stipend and hotel accommodations to attend the 2018 ISPA Conference & Expo, a one-year ISPA student membership and will be assigned a one-year mentor to help navigate her career aspirations.

“Words cannot express the awe-inspiring gratitude I feel for having been honored as a recipient of the Mary Tabacchi Scholarship,” said Muchemu. “This scholarship represents an immense opportunity for me to network with and be mentored by leaders in the health and wellness industry. Because of this award, I believe that I am one step closer to furthering my goal to launch a family-owned business with my sisters that formulates and manufactures cosmetic products containing no synthetic ingredients. Thank you.”

Muchemu is in her second year in the Master of Business Administration program at Cornell University, where her concentration is in business management. Upon her expected graduation in May 2019, Muchemu plans to establish a family-owned, clean label hair and beauty brand.

“We are incredibly honored to be able to recognize a student like Christine as the ISPA Foundation Mary Tabacchi Scholarship recipient,” said ISPA Foundation Chairman Frank Pitsikalis. “Christine’s educational background and strong work ethic are the exact qualities the Scholarship Committee looks for when selecting a recipient. We welcome Christine to the ISPA community and cannot wait to see what she will do in the years to come.”

 The scholarship was created in 2006 and later named in honor of Mary Tabacchi, Ph.D., RD, Professor Emerita for the School of Hotel Administration in the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University. Dr. Tabacchi is a beloved spa industry veteran and pioneer in spa education. With a doctorate in biochemical nutrition and biostatistics, she has published numerous books on nutrition, spa and related subjects.

To learn more about the scholarship and the 2018 ISPA Conference & Expo, visit the website.


Dr. Plotka’s Mouth Watchers: Silver Infused Toothbrushes

Posted by on May 23, 2018 in Product Reviews | 0 comments


Spring is a good time to remember that we’re supposed to get a new toothbrush every three months. But with Dr. Plotka’s Mouth Watchers, you get an extra month. That’s because the Mouth Watchers have  have long-lasting dual layered polyester bristles. While the outer bristles ensure complete cleaning of teeth and gums, the inner bristles, which are as thin as a human hair (ten times thinner than those in  most other brushes), gently brush away food and plaque in areas that other brushes miss.

Even better yet, Dr. Plotka’s toothbrush has antimicrobial bristles infused with silver to naturally eliminate 99.9% of bacteria that grows  between uses, leaving your toothbrush clean and ready for the next use.

Dr. Plotka developed this innovative toothbrush as part of his thriving 40-year practice. Its technology has helped hundreds of his patients prevent cavities and achieve better oral health.

So when I tried this brush for myself, I had high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed. The brush was gentle, just the way I liked. I could actually tell that the bristles were very different from what I was used to.

And when I was finished, I had to agree with what some of Dr. Plotka’s patients said: “It feels like I just had a professional dental cleaning.”

So this spring, you can, at a very reasonable cost, upgrade your oral care with this innovative toothbrush. A year’s supply of the adult manual toothbrush (shipped every 3 months) is $20.99. Check the website for more information.


NDC Beauty: Natural, Cruelty-Free and Vegan

Posted by on Mar 13, 2018 in Product Reviews, Tips | 1 comment

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

Noix de Coco (NDC Beauty) is a line of all natural cruelty free, vegan beauty products, free of chemicals and based on the benefits of superfood ingredients.

More than ever, I look for beauty products that are cruelty free and free of chemicals and preservatives. After reading about Noix de Coco (NDC Beauty), a line that includes skincare, body products, hair care and makeup, I decided to try two of their products.

The Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse appealed to me because so many conditioners, shine-producing products, etc. leave a film on the hair. Applying this after shampooing left my hair clean and shiny, so I will use it on a regular basis. This eliminates the need for an occasional clarifying shampoo to eliminate product build-up. The rinse, which contains Ayurveda herbs, is said to have anti-microbial and blood purifying properties to stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss. A bonus!


Ingredients: Water, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Burdock Root Extract, Nettle Leaf Extract, Neem Extract, Green Tea Extract

The second product I tried–the Organic Lash and Repair Serum–is said to repair and promote growth of both lashes and brows. It addressed a couple of concerns. With time, my lashes and brows had thinned out. I suspected that the lashes were probably damaged when I used mascara regularly. After using this serum for a few weeks on both my lashes and eyebrows, I noticed visible results: both seemed fuller and healthier looking. The recommended use is to apply at night, before bed time and wipe off any residual product in the morning. Alternatively, it can be applied and left on for a minimum of 20 minutes and then wiped off. On the days when I wasn’t planning to wear any makeup, I applied the serum in the morning and left it on all day. I think this consistent use may account for the results I saw.

Ingredients: Organic Raw Castor Oil, Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil, Vitamin E