A blog chronicling skin care, DIY beauty products, wishes and daydreams, life transitions, and other random stuff...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Check Out My Products at Eli's Rock & Shop this Saturday!

I'm in a frenzy making holiday gifts and products!  I'll be selling my stuff at the Rock & Shop at Eli's Mile High Club this Saturday:  Fizzy bath bombs, body scrubs, lip balms, lotions, Check out my stuff so far:

DeToX Bath Bombs - Big fizzy skulls that smell like lemongrass, basil and clary sage
Sugar Tits Sugar Scrub and DeTox Sea-Salt Scrub

Sugar Lips and Cool Mint Lip Balms

Sugar Tits Sugar Scrub and DeTox Lotions
Super hydrading, but light and non-greasy, made with aloe vera oil, shea butter, jojoba and lots of other good stuff for your skin!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I'm having my first DIY Beauty Night on Thursday, November 17th.  Our first project will be BATH BOMBS.  It's going to be fun!  I experimented the other night and my first bath bomb turned out great!  Will update after the event with recipes and tips.  Next event:  Lip Balm.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Custom European Facial 60 minutes $45
Includes a deep double-cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, face & shoulders massage, nourishing customized mask and moisturizer.  Complimentary face waxing included.

Lemon-Enzyme Facial  40 minutes $45
A gentle enzyme peel for dehydrated skin that needs some tightening and brightening, followed by a Pomegranate Hydrating Mask to nourish and hydrate.  Boost with 30% lactic acid for extra brightening and smoothing effects for $10.

Pumpkin-Yam Facial 40 minutes $45
A gentle enzyme peel for normal-to-oily skin with occasional breakouts.  Followed my a hydrating and calming Seaweed Mask.  Nourishing, purifying and glowing results.  

All treatments are customized with serums and antioxidants.

Brow $10
Lip $5
Chin $7
Underarm $10
Half Arm $10
Full Arm $20
Lower Leg $15
Upper Leg $20
Full Legs $35
Tummy $7
Nostrils $5
Ears $5


Wow, that was hard!  I haven't been keeping up with the blog, as I really had to focus on finishing school and passing the State Board Exam.  Now I am back in the swing of things and happy to have time to focus on moving forward with my own dreams.

I have to admit that I have a hard time finishing projects, as I get bored in the middle and want to do something new.  However, alas, I finished two major accomplishments in the past month:  Graduating from school and passing the State Board Exam.

My nerves got the best of me during the Practical Exam, but thanks for the support of my best friend and model for the day, Martina, I left Fairfield, CA exhausted and so relieved.

I have so many ideas on where to go next.  I still need to learn a lot and eventually have my own business - that same little skin care boutique with local products and items, along with hosting DIY skin care workshops.

I have a lot of catching up to do with this blog and will definitely make more time for it now that I am FREEEEEEEE!!!!!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Summertime! Does SPF Matter? What's the Dif between UVA and UVB?

The sunburned days of my SoCal youth have caught up with me via a serious skin cancer scare, so I can't get a tan any more.  Unless it's a sunless tan.

Last year, a suspicious discoloration was discovered during a routine physical.  A spot on my back that I can't reach with sunscreen...that I've never seen.  I was sent to the dermatologist the next day, and the black, weirdly-shaped spot, that I never knew existed, was immediately sliced out of my back in the doctor's office.  I walked out a bit shocked.  I thought that I've been pretty good about using sunscreen as an adult. Thankfully, the tissue was benign, but I need to get the scar, and other funny colored markings on my body, checked yearly for the rest of my life.  It's not cancer right now, but it can turn in to cancer later.  This was another brutal reminder of how the past can creep up on you.

BeingTan:  it makes us look skinnier, more alive, healthy, outdoorsy, like we actually run around in the sun...yeah, those are good things!  But what is a tan, really?  A tan is your skin is freaking out, creating extra melanin to fight against the damaging (and cancer-causing) UVA and UVB rays that are assaulting it.  It's your body defending itself.  The darker skin is basically, a scar.

Most sunscreens protect against UVB rays, but the UVA rays are like super-villains:  They force themselves through windows, sunscreens, and the epidermis, straight to the deep layers (dermis) of our skin.  Layers that even the craziest skin creams can't penetrate.  Layers that only a knife, needle or laser can reach.  UVA rays jumble up and confuse skin cell DNA.  Your skin overreacts and creates mutated cells, that stimulate melanin, and your skin gets dark.  And cancer grows.  It's intense.

Now that I am older, I always wear sunscreen, even on rainy days.  I don't want the wrinkles and hyperpigmentation that result in sunbathing.  These are a few more unwelcome signs of sun damage that have haunted me in the past ten years. 

Since the minor surgery to remove my weird skin cells, I'm a fanatic about all-over sunscreen.  Especially the tips of your ears!  I'm going to do some serious research about self-tanners.  There are some speculations that the chemicals in self-tanners can be dangerous, too.  I'll post my research results soon.

I've re-posted an article below, all about the best sunscreen ingredients, UVA (evil) and UVB rays, chemical vs physical sunblocks, and a really cool diagram of how the skin soaks in rays, and how the sunscreens work: 

High-SPF Sunscreens: Are They Better?

WebMD discusses the pros and cons of high-SPF sunscreens.
By Salynn Boyles (WebMD Feature) / Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
If you’ve shopped for sunscreen lately, you have probably noticed the proliferation of products with ever-higher sun protection factor (SPF) ratings.
Just a few years ago, it was hard to find a sunscreen claiming an SPF higher than 45. These days, the shelves are lined with products from companies such as Banana Boat, Coppertone, and Aveeno touting SPF ratings of 70+, 80, and 90+.
Neutrogena recently introduced Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 100+.  But is a 100+ or a 90+ sunscreen really that much better than one with an SPF of 15?  SPF 100: Twice as Good As SPF 50?
SPF refers to the ability of a sunscreen to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which cause sunburns, but not UVA rays, which are more closely linked to deeper skin damage. Both UVA and UVB contribute to the risk of skin cancer.
It is a measure of the time it would take an individual to burn in the sun if they were not wearing sunscreen vs. the time it would take with sunscreen on.
“SPF is not a consumer-friendly number,” says Florida dermatologist and American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) spokesman James M. Spencer, MD. “It is logical for someone to think that an SPF of 30 is twice as good as an SPF of 15, and so on, but that is not how it works.”  According to Spencer, an SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays, an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays, and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays.  “After that, it just gets silly,” he says.
Sunscreens with higher SPF ratings block slightly more UVB rays, but none offers 100% protection.  Spencer says SPF 15 sunscreens are fine if used correctly, but he recommends SPF 30 products to his patients because few people apply sunscreens as heavily or as often as they should.
Farah Ahmed, who is general council for the cosmetics industry group Personal Care Products Council, concedes that the difference in sunburn protection between the medium- and high-SPF sunscreens is not great.  But she says the high SPF products may better protect against long-term skin damage and exposure-related skin cancers.
In a written statement, Neutrogena notes that because most people use far less sunscreen than is recommended, high SPF sunscreens can offer better protection.  “Higher SPFs used over a lifetime may translate to healthier skin in later life,” the statement reads. “While the difference in the percentage of ultraviolet radiation blocked between an SPF 55 and SPF 100+ may be slightly less than 1%, applying an SPF 100 may lead to much less cumulative sun damage over a lifetime.”
What about UVA Rays?
Many of the high SPF sunscreens use chemical filters to block UVA rays, which may offer only marginal protection.  That’s because avobenzone or Parsol 1789 and Mexoryl, two UVA filters, break down quickly and lose effectiveness in the sun unless stabilized.  The stabilization process is difficult and few companies have been able to prove that they can do it, Spencer says.
San Francisco-area dermatologist Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, recommends two chemical-based sunscreens to her patients -- Neutrogena sunscreens with Helioplex and Loreal’s LoRoche Posay with avobenzone.  She says helioplex is a stabilizer that has been proven to keep avobenzone from breaking down.  Spencer also recommends Loreal’s sunscreens that have Mexoryl as the active UVA-blocking ingredient.
Badreshia-Bansal says she prefers barrier-type sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium to chemical ones, but she concedes that her patients don’t usually like the over-the-counter versions because they tend to be thick, pasty, and opaque.  She frequently prescribes medical-grade sunscreens with micronized zinc formulations that are less heavy and chalky. She recommends SkinCeuticals sunblocks with SPF 30, which contain high concentrations of micronized zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide, and Obagi sunscreens with SPF 30 and micronized zinc for all skin types.  “I’m darker-skinned and I can put them on my skin without it showing,” she says. 
Both agreed that even the best sunscreens need to be used properly to work.  “The best way make sure you are protected is to reapply sunscreen often,” Spencer says. “You just can’t put it on in the morning and forget about it. I don’t care if it’s SPF 800 or the best UVA protection, after a few hours it’s gone.”

Consumer Groups Rate Sunscreens
How well do sunscreens really work? Until the FDA comes out with its rating system, Spencer and Badreshia-Bansal say it is difficult to know.   Whatever product you choose, experts recommend using a water-resistant sunscreen applied liberally, a half hour before going outdoors. Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours or after swimming, drying off, or sweating.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Changes are Coming...

A lot has been going on. I've thrown myself in to a whirlwind of brainstorming, contemplating, confusion, making major life decisions, and finally coming to some major conclusions.
Two huge decisions have been made in the past few weeks:

• I will be leaving my full-time job at PRN in the next few weeks. This will give me the very necessary opportunity to focus on finishing my hours at Zenzi's, acquiring a great apprenticeship for my last 150 hours, and finally studying for (and passing) the State Board Exam. I can't believe that, after six years in a cubicle hammering away at the computer for The Man, I'm finally taking the leap and starting a new career that will hopefully lead to happy self-employment.

• I decided on a logo for my products and services. Obviously, you know which one I chose, as it's all over my blog now.

It's all really exciting, and, I have to admit, pretty intimidating.

I'm also in the midst of packaging and marketing my latest and favorite body polish: Sugar Tits. It smells like a Snickerdoodle and leaves your skin super soft and sweet-smelling. I'm going to partner that with a goat's milk soap and maybe a body lotion. Haven't decided on the lotion yet, as it's a costly endeavor when using all natural products and very little chemical preservatives.
I'm going to a three day Skin Care Conference in Vegas the weekend of April 24th. I can't wait to get away for a few days and totally immerse myself in the skin care world.  There will be TONS of classes, vendors, sunshine and sleeping.  I'm going alone, so I won't get in to too much trouble.  I hope.
I have a million rules, regulations, terms, body parts, etc. to learn. Lots of frustrating forms to complete, fees to pay, financial decisions to make...and not much money.
Time to get really, really creative!
Will update soon with a low-down on what I learned in Vegas, and my recipe for Sugar Tits! 



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bella Forte Logo Contest!

3/25/10 - UPDATE - I have some really good contenders so far.  If you have a moment, please let me know what you think!

This one is "cool" and pretty - is it too dark and gloomy?

This one is "fresh" and pretty - is it not reflecting me?

I need to get this party started!  I've created a logo contest on HatchWise.  The winner gets $150.  I created the contest last night, and already have some pretty good submissions, so this is exciting! 

One of the biggest obstacles for me right now is getting my packaging in line.  I like the products that I've been creating, but I don't have interesting packaging or branding.  Yeah, it's an excuse to procrastinate and I'm tired of hearing myself say this over and over again. 

If you're interested in helping me find a logo, please check out the link and let me know what you think of the submissions so far.  I need input on this!!  Also, if you are an artist, submit!
Bella Forte Logo Contest on HatchWise

My face rash is better, by the way.  Still stings a little with sunscreen, and only one or two small irritated bumps.  I think I'm gonna live...

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm a Product Junkie and I Need Rehab

I have a skin problem and it's freaking me out. 

For the past couple of months, I've had an off-and-on rash around my nose, mouth and eyes.  It's bumpy and itchy and ugly.  At school, Instructors and students looked at it mysteriously and claimed it was a variety of things: A rash, acne, allergies, etc.  Then, last Sunday, I saw the light.  I was in a Skin Biology & Chemical Peels class, and up there on the huge overhead screen was a photo of exactly what I have: Perioral Dermatitis. Good Times!  I have a pretty mild version, but it's very difficult to treat.  I got a mild peel that day, and poof, it was totally gone the next day.  I was so happy.  I thought I'd found my miracle cure!  PEELS!  I used the Peel After Care products and was back to normal. Unfortunately, the rash has returned two weeks later.
(This isn't a picture of me...) For more info on Perioral Dermatitis

Apparently, it's very common, especially among esty students (two other students have the condition right now) but it's a mysterious skin condition, because nobody knows exactly how it's caused.  Some of the theories are: it's a rare form of Rosacea, a reaction to fluoride in toothpaste, over use of products, especially moisturizers, over exfoliating, stress, hormones, using steroidal creams.  Ok, I use toothpaste, and there's fluoride, chlorine and who knows what else in our tap water.  I am stressed and hormonal all the time.  One of the After Care products has hydrocortisone in it so that probably didn't help.  But, I've been in denial about this one: I am a Product Junkie.  I love to scrub and slather and experiment on my poor face and it's been especially intense since I started esthetician school. My face is seriously pissed-off at me.

I've heard that the only permenant cure is antibiotics.  I have a doctor's appointment in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime, I am going on a serious skin product detox: stopping the exfoliating and super moisturizing and steaming and masks (I thought I was giving my skin a treat??). I'm just washing with Ultra Calming Cleanser and using Barrier Repair by Dermalogica, for super sensitive skin. Nothing else. Not even sunscreen. It's been two days and it's extremely difficult.  I have abruptly stopped a routine of six or more products every day and night.  I have the DTs.

Dammit. I love products.  I love to make them and test them and buy them and smell them and sometimes even taste them.  I'm jonesing and I need my crack!

I didn't always have reactive skin. I now have sensitized skin, from abuse. And there's no guarantee that it will ever be the same. Be kind and careful!

Even if you don't have sensitive skin, you might want to read this article from SmartSkinCare.com:  "The Cardinal Rule of Skin Care: Do No Harm". 

The Cardinal Rule of Skin Care: Do No Harm

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Deliciously Ageless! Yummy Recipes for Pretty Skin

Deliciously Ageless!
Eat for beautiful skin, amazing energy, and great health for life.

4 Rules and 5 Recipes get you started

Glowing Skin, silky hair, and taut, toned muscles over age 40? Absolutely! Cheryl Forberg, RD, is redefining what aging looks (and feels) like in her new book, Positively Ageless. Here, she shares how to harness the stay-young power of food, plus offers select recipes based on the latest anti-aging research.

1. Eat Colorful Produce
Every 4 to 5 Hours As you age, Forberg says, your skin's natural antioxidant protection drops; eating a diet rich in colorful fruits and veggies can help protect against wrinkles. There are hundreds of antioxidant nutrients, but the most important include vitamins C (found in tomatoes, citrus fruits, and bell peppers) and E (nuts and avocado), polyphenols (natural cocoa powder and berries), quercetin (onions and broccoli), and carotenoids (leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and other bright orange vegetables). One good option to boost your intake: Sweet Potatoes with Onion Confit.

2. Drink More Fluids
As you get older, your sense of thirst naturally becomes less acute, making you more vulnerable to dehydration. One of the first side effects is a loss of skin elasticity, a major contributor to fine lines. Eight glasses of water a day is a good goal. If you're not a fan of water, sip green tea, fat-free or low-fat milk, and the occasional cup of coffee, and look beyond the glass. Fruits and vegetables are naturally packed with fluid--it's what gives them crispness. Boost their anti-aging potential by serving broth-based soups, such as Italian Vegetable Soup, at lunch or dinner. At breakfast, whip up a fruity smoothie, made with almond or soy milk or low-fat dairy milk and unsweetened fruit juice.

3. Get 30% of Calories from Protein
After age 30, your muscle mass dwindles by approximately 3 to 8% per decade, causing you to lose strength, not to mention calorie-burning power. The antidote is a regular strength-training regimen--and dietary protein. Higher intakes of animal protein in particular help preserve muscle in women over 50, suggest several studies. Protein is also key to warding off fatigue, maintaining a steady blood sugar level, and promoting cellular repair and growth. Forberg recommends getting 30% of your daily calories from healthy protein sources such as lean meats, poultry, seafood, legumes, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and traditional soy foods. A serving of Forberg's Roast Pork Tenderloin has 24 g.

4. Make Every Grain Count
Stock your pantry with a variety of antioxidant-packed whole grains, she advises. Wild and brown rices, bulgur, farro, millet, quinoa, and oats are all good options. Whether you're serving a simple side dish or preparing a meat loaf or meatballs (like the Lebanese Kebabs), don't automatically reach for white rice or plain bread crumbs. Think whole grain, and you'll be rewarded with better flavor, additional fiber, and more anti-aging nutrients.

Youth Boosters: Antioxidants // Fluid

Italian Vegetable Soup

Soup is a great way to boost your intake of fluid and antioxidants in one fell swoop--especially if it's low in sodium and loaded with vegetables, as this one is.

TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 med onions, finely chopped (about 1 c)
2 med carrots, finely chopped (about 1 c)
1 rib celery, thinly sliced (about 1/2 c)
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
3 med tomatoes (about 1 lb), finely chopped, or 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
2 cartons (32 oz each) fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1/2 sm head cabbage, finely shredded (about 2 c)
1 c bulgur
1 can (16 oz) no-salt-added white beans, such as cannellini or great Northern, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 oz) no-salt-added red or black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute or until golden. Do not brown.

2. Add tomatoes, broth, oregano, basil, and thyme and bring to a boil. Add cabbage and bulgur and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 20 to 30 minutes or until bulgur is tender. Stir in beans and simmer 5 minutes longer. Season with parsley.

Nutritional info per serving 142 cal, 6 g pro, 23 g carb, 6 g fiber, 3.5 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 362 mg sodium

Oregano, used to flavor this soup, contains up to 20 times more antioxidant power than other herbs, according to recent studies

Youth Boosters: Whole Grains // Antioxidants // Protein

Lebanese Kebabs

Instead of bread crumbs, Forberg uses bulgur to help bind the meatballs--for an unexpected dose of antioxidants. Serve these with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, reduced-fat Greek-style yogurt, and pita points for an authentic meal.

TIME: 52 minutes
1/2 c bulgur
11/4 lb lean ground turkey (7% fat)
1 med onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 c)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground mustard seed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, mint, or flat-leaf parsley

1. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in small saucepan. Add bulgur, remove from heat, and soak 30 minutes.

2. Combine remaining ingredients except cilantro in large mixing bowl while bulgur soaks.

3. Drain bulgur in a sieve to remove excess liquid. Add to turkey mixture and mix well.

4. Preheat oven to 400°F. Form turkey mixture into 36 meatballs, about 1 1/2" across, using 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of mixture per meatball. Slide 3 meatballs onto each of 12 metal skewers (6" long), leaving about 1/2" between each meatball. Place skewers on nonstick baking sheet, evenly spaced and not touching. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until no longer pink. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Nutritional info per serving 183 cal, 20 g pro, 11 g carb, 3 g fiber, 6.5 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 54 mg chol, 266 mg sodium

Youth Boosters: Whole Grains // Antioxidants

Wild Rice with Radicchio and Dried Cherries
Although wild rice is technically a species of grass, not a grain, it counts as a high-fiber, antioxidant-loaded alternative to white rice. Its deliciously nutty flavor pairs perfectly with sweet plumped-up dried cherries and slightly bitter radicchio.

TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes + soaking time
1/2 c dried cherries or cranberries
1/2 c dry red wine or sparkling red grape juice
2 c water 2/3 c wild rice
1 head radicchio (12 oz), cored and coarsely chopped
3 scallions, chopped
3/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp slivered almonds, lightly toasted

1. Cover cherries with wine in small bowl. Chill and let soak overnight.

2. Bring salted water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add rice. Return to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 50 to 60 minutes. Drain any water that is not absorbed.

3. Drain cherries, discarding wine. In large bowl, toss together radicchio, scallions, parsley, rice, and cherries. Whisk together next five ingredients. Pour over radicchio mixture and toss gently. Sprinkle with almonds.

Nutritional info per serving 133 cal, 2 g pro, 16 g carb, 3 g fiber, 6.5 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 166 mg sodium

Each kebab serving fulfills more than 10% of your daily fiber requirement

Youth Boosters: Antioxidants // Protein

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Citrus, Green Tea, and Spices

Green tea makes an excellent marinade for pork, chicken, and seafood; the flavor is slightly sweet and somewhat smoky. Brew a strong cup--two bags instead of one--but remove the bags after 5 minutes to prevent the tea from getting too bitter.

TIME: 45 minutes + marinating time
1/2 c brewed green tea
1/2 c red wine or sparkling red grape juice
1/4 c orange juice
Freshly squeezed juice of 3 limes (about 1/4 c)
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp freshly grated orange zest
1 Tbsp freshly grated lime zest 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 lean pork tenderloins (2 lb)

1. Combine all ingredients except pork in large plastic ziplock bag. Add pork, seal, and turn to coat. Chill at least 2 hours

2. Preheat oven to 400°F.

3. Remove pork from bag, reserving excess marinade, and boil excess marinade 1 minute. Place pork on rack set in roasting pan. Roast about 25 minutes, basting with marinade, until a thermometer registers 160°F.

Nutritional info per serving 164 cal, 24 g pro, 3 g carb, 0.5 g fiber, 4 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 74 mg chol, 106 mg sodium

The combination of green tea, citrus juices, and a variety of spices maximizes the antioxidant content of this ultralean pork tenderloin

Youth Boosters: Antioxidants

Sweet Potatoes with Onion Confit

Sweet potatoes are especially rich in beta-carotene, an anti-aging carotenoid that your body converts into vitamin A. This recipe uses agave nectar to bring out the sweetness of the potato; look for it in health food stores. In a pinch, substitute honey.

TIME: 1 hour 5 minutes
1/2 c pomegranate juice
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 sweet potatoes (about 2 lb), peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 med yellow onions, chopped
1/4 c white wine or low-sodium chicken broth
1 c 1% milk
1/2 tsp salt

1. Bring pomegranate juice and agave nectar to a boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes or until reduced by almost half. Cool completely.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F.

3. Cook potatoes in enough boiling salted water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes.

4. Heat oil in 8" sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to food processor. Add wine to pan and cook 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add liquid to food processor and puree onions until smooth. Add a little water, if necessary.

5. Drain potatoes and return to saucepan. Add milk and heat until hot, but do not boil. Using a fork or masher, smash potatoes. Stir in onion puree, 1 tablespoon of the pomegranate syrup, and salt.

6. Transfer mixture to 1 1/2-quart baking dish and bake 20 minutes.

Nutritional info per serving 147 cal, 3 g pro, 28 g carb, 4 g fiber, 2 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 2 mg chol, 223 mg sodium

Adapted from Cheryl Forberg's Positively Ageless. Copyright 2008 by Cheryl Forberg, RD. Permission granted by Rodale Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or at prevention.com/shop.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haiti - I'm Overwhelmed!!

Hi friends,

I want to do something for the victims of the Haiti earthquake, and I am reaching out to you for a few reasons:
1) I'm overwhelmed by the choices of which organization to donate to - any suggestions?
2) My company is matching all employees' donations, so that got me thinking:

If we can pool together a bunch of money for one organization, my company will match it and we'll double our impact.

Anyone interested in working on this with me?

I need to turn in my receipts to Human Resources by FRIDAY! So please respond if you have any feedback.

Some organizations that I'm considering (It needs to be an organization that will spend the money only on Haiti victims):

Partners in Health
Doctors without Borders

Red Cross

Save the Children

Habitat for Humanity

any other ideas?



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Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Woman Should Have...

enough money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to…
something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour…
a youth she’s content to leave behind….
a past juicy enough that she’s looking forward to
retelling it in her old age….
a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra…
one friend who always makes her laugh… and one who lets her cry…
a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family…
eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honored…
a feeling of control over her destiny.
how to fall in love without losing herself.
how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without; ruining the friendship…
when to try harder… and WHEN TO WALK AWAY…
that she can’t change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..
that her childhood may not have been perfect…but its over…
what she would and wouldn’t do for love or more…
how to live alone… even if she doesn’t like it…
whom she can trust,
whom she can’t,
and why she shouldn’t take it personally…
where to go…
be it to her best friend’s kitchen table…
or a charming inn in the woods…
when her soul needs soothing…
what she can and can’t accomplish in a day…
a month…and a year…
This has been credited to Maya Angelou for years, but it's actually written by Pamela Redmond Satran.
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Monday, January 4, 2010

Solve Skin Problems with These Dietary Changes

I just found this interesting article:

Solve Skin Problems with These Dietary Changes

As the adage goes, you are what you eat. Our skin is a reflection of our overall health. The good news is that you can overcome or manage many common skin disorders like acne, eczema, sensitivity and blotchiness by paying close attention to your diet.

Acne, Large Pores and Oily Skin

Possible nutritional deficiency : Vitamin B6. This B vitamin helps regulate the skin’s sebaceous glands. Excellent sources include yellow fin tuna, salmon and bananas. Taking zinc supplements and eating foods rich in zinc (pumpkin seeds, red meat) can help calm the inflammation associated with severe acne.

Atopic Dermatitis
Possible nutritional deficiency : Vitamin B complex, especially Biotin. Food sources of Biotin include bananas, eggs, oatmeal and rice.

Blotchy skin

Possible nutritional deficiency : Zinc. Food sources of zinc are organic eggs, beef, pumpkin seeds. Try taking an additional 15-30mg. zinc supplement daily.

Broken Capillaries

Solution: Visible capillaries on the skin are more likely result of lifestyle and genetics than a nutritional deficiency. People prone to broken capillaries need adequate amounts of Vitamin C (from citrus fruits and supplements). When taken with Flavanoids, Vitamin C helps to strengthen the capillary walls. The flavanoid Pycnogenol supports the body’s vascular structure and keeps vaso-dilation in check.

Dry, Flaky Skin

Possible nutritional deficiency : Vitamin A. This antioxidant is necessary for maintaining and repairing the skin’s tissue. Most fruits and vegetables are good sources of Vitamin A.

Dull, Lifeless Hair
Possible nutritional deficiency : Selenium is found in foods like steel-cut oats, apples, honey, avocados, artichokes, sunflower seeds

Excessive Female Facial Hair

Possible problem : When women have more facial hair than normal, it’s usually due to a hormonal imbalance. Foods high on the Glycemic Index like white flour, bagels, muffins, pasta, bread and sugar can trigger hormonal problems and unwanted facial and body hair.

Solution : Follow a well-balanced, low carbohydrate diet.

Hives (Uticaria)
Hives are raised red blotches on the skin`s surface. They are usually the result of an allergy to food or medication and can cause itching and swelling. The most common food allergies are strawberries, citrus fruit, seafood, shellfish, nuts and peanuts.

Solution : Avoid foods that have caused hives or allergic reactions in the past.


Possible nutritional deficiency : This unsightly skin rash is linked to low levels of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Food sources of EFAs include salmon and flaxseed oil. Consider adding fish oil or evening primrose supplements to your diet.


Any number of foods can trigger a flushing episode in a Rosacea sufferer. At some point, flushing gives way to bumps, pimples and papules that resemble acne. To control flushing, learn to recognize your food triggers— and avoid them.

Problematic foods often include : sugar, spicy dishes and hot soups. Some experts also suggest avoiding acidic beverages like coffee, tea and soda. Keep skin cool by drinking lots of water though out the day.

Solution : Some studies show that washing or spraying your face with mineral water can help reduce irritation and encourage the skin cells absorb the moisture.

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