Be Sweet to Your Feet

Living in New York is a dream come true for me. Oh, to be in a fashion mecca everyday, surrounded by the fashion-forward masses.  I used Sex and the City as my guide, studying the four chic femmes in all their stylish splendor, prancing through the streets in Jimmy Choos. I prepared myself to navigate the city streets on a perpetual runway!

The first week I arrived, I did just that…. hitting the streets in lovely assembles with my prettiest 4 inch heels. Carrie Bradshaw’s got nothin’ on me!

The following week, with feet too swollen and sore to wear anything other than tennis shoes, I painfully limped through the day and thought to myself, What went wrong?? How in the world am I seeing all these fabulous-looking people strutting their stuff in designer shoes?? I took myself to a nail salon to treat my feet to some  damage control, and made a startling discovery: women were removing their fabulous shoes to reveal a multitude of bunions, corns, twisted toes, blisters and broken nails. Yikes!  Is this the real price of fabulous? 

I came across this diagram from Truth Beckons, an informative multi-faceted media page on Facebook:

The pictures on the right absolutely mirrored my pedicure neighbors,  so I had to find out – how does this happen? The following points are common contributing factors:

  • Aging – As we get older, our feet continue to grow and spread, while our arches fall and the natural padding wears away over years of usage. This leaves us vulnerable to an assortment of conditions.
  • Certain Fashions – Some shoes are simply made for looks, not usability. Wearing shoes that are too narrow, tight fitting, or pointy-toed can crowd toes and cause various abrasions, such as corns, calluses and blisters. Bunions are suspected to also be a result.
  • Heel Height – Continual wear of heels 3 inches and above over time can cause shortening of the achilles tendon, making the wear of flat footwear very painful. This also affects unnatural weight distribution to the balls of the feet, resulting in a condition known as metatarsalgia.

How can we still don our heels while saving our feet?

There are a few ways to still “work the runway” on the streets while minimizing any undue tootsie damage –

  • Travel comfy – Keep a pair of flats on standby for navigating your way to and from work. Make a choice – Catwalk to work or at work? Making this choice cuts down on some of the hours of wear – obviously helpful for your feet.
  • Change it up – Experiment with other fashion statements that don’t require nosebleed height. Kitten heels can be killer with a sleek pencil skirt. Try some patent-leather flats with those cigarette pants you’ve been looking at.
  • Invest in inserts – There are a vast array of inserts that are made for all types of shoes, including stilettos, that provide extra cushioning. My favorite is Foot Petals – Super low-key, yet very affective.

http://www.footpetals.com

  • Try Comfort Wear – *Gasp! Did she say to visit the Comfort Dept??* Yes I did! You’d be surprised at the wide array of choices brands like Cole Haan, Aerosoles, Naturalizer, Born, and Sofft have to offer. These shoes are constructed for comfort, but are making a serious effort to keep up with the latest styles.

These are from Naturalizer -Not bad, huh?

Last but not least, treat yourself to a good foot massage every now and again. Our feet put in a lot of hours carrying us around, especially in those beautiful, painful heels. Reward them and yourself with a good therapeutic rubdown.

Be sweet to your feet!

L& of Lingo… a mini rant

Call me a grammar-nazi… Proclaim me a visceral word snob… but whatever you do, please write it out in reasonably cohesive sentence structures.  With words completely spelled out. Go crazy and add some punctuation. Am I asking too much? I should explain….

We, my friends, are living in an age of an interesting, yet potentially dangerous mixture for written language – Social Networking + mobile data + the lack of patience in instant gratification for the average teen = Text Lingo. Not sure what I mean? Let me demonstrate:

Ordinary structure:

The Translator! Use it to create or understand text messages and check your spelling, Just type or paste in here the message that you want to translate , Pick the type of translation  and then click go! Just hover your over or click the highlighted words to see the definitions of the words.

Translated structure into Lingo:

d transl8R ! uz it 2 cre8 or undrst& txt msgs nck yr sp, jst typ or paste n hre d msg dat u wn2transl8 , pik d genre transl8N n thN cliK go!jst hovR yr ovr or cliK d hi-lited wrds 2C ddefs of d wrds.

Did you get all that? I’m typing it, and I still have trouble with interpretation! lol This is an actual example from an app called Lingo to Word.  Yes, we actually need an app for text interpretation.

It’s funny right now, but how many times do you scroll through the news feed to see phonically-written hieroglyphics spewing out long messages to the masses? It’s rather painful to read… unless it’s really entertaining.

I’m addressing this because the old saying “Practice makes perfect” really does apply. If you are continually practicing shortcuts  and lingo in written word, how prepared will you be to articulate professional correspondence when it counts? After continuously texting alpha-numeric symbols and abbreviated words on a constant basis, will we really remember the art of the written word?

The most apparent group affected are high school students, as they’ve spent their most impressionable stage in the prime of texting/social networking age.  With constant cuts in public education across the country, there is a lack of emphasis in writing and  reading comprehension. Students spend more time texting lingo then on formal studies of english and grammar, which shows in test scores, and in the substantial misuse of your – you’re, or theretheir, and they’re. It’s frightening!

Seriously, there has to be a balance. Texting and Social Media are here to stay, but can easily coexist with full sentences and proper grammatical structure. Take a little more time to spell out “you”… splurge on that extra 2 seconds to type “the” as opposed to “d”… which often makes one look less than smart. And if you are abbreviating because you’re multi-tasking, then perhaps one of the two activities could actually wait, right? I’m not suggesting to write books or grammar masterpieces… Just write cohesive sentences… utilize that wonderful concept known as spellcheck.  Show the world that we are indeed still advancing, not regressing in our abilities to communicate!

Do it for yourself… *dramatic pause*…Do it for the children!

Beautiful Lifestyle Principles

So I am on a constantly revolving path to fitness and good health. I’ll start a gym regimen, go steady for a couple of weeks, only to fall off the wagon due to injury or my ever-changing schedule.  I’m definitely more consistent with my food choices for myself and family, but it’s common knowledge that consistent exercise is a vital need for our bodies, especially as age becomes a factor. *cough-almost Forty-cough-cough*

I will attest that in order to stick to an exercise regimen, incorporating your favorite activity is key. If you’re an athlete, go for a team sport. If you’re an aspiring body-builder, the gym is definitely your speed! I’ve always been enthusiastic about dance, (I’m an absolute geek for Dancing With The Stars…Shhh) so, exercises incorporating grace, balance and movement are my thing! So I just happened upon this book, Ballet Beautiful the other day, and found something interesting to share:

Aside from the compelling routines, the author Mary Helen Bowers, who incidentally prepared Natalie Portman for her jaw-dropping role in Black Swan (2010), offers a healthy philosophy on the approach to health and overall wellbeing that she calls The five Ballet Beautiful lifestyle principles:

  1. Be Prepared 
  2. Eat well and often
  3. Substitute for satisfaction
  4. Be flexible
  5. Forgive and move on

To avoid extensive quotation, here’s a quick summery – Be prepared for whatever your life entails, pack smart and healthy snacks to avoid making bad choices. Eat well and often entitles you to listen to your body – some folks do better with 6 tiny meals, while others function better off of 3 meals and 2 smart snacks in a 24 hour period. Substitute for satisfaction requires that you don’t deprive yourself of taste, only substitute mayo for mustard, brown rice for white rice, or balsamic vinegar for the creamy ranch you normally go for, and so on. Be flexible has nothing to do with how far you can go into the Chinese splits, *don’t we wish* but rather applies to your relationship with your body and food, which also applies to the last –Forgive and move on – If you have a night of burgers and fries, don’t count yourself out. Forgive your night of gluttony and fun, and get right back on the wagon of smart eating and mindful exercise.

This book is a nice read… I like her approach, although her constant reinforcement of Ballet Beautiful this and that can be a bit repetitive. *Branding at work… Got it!*

All in all, it’s worth picking up, if not for the ballet, then for the healthy life skills that can be applied to any form of exercise and lifestyle.

You can do it!

 

Baking Soda… Have we met?

This post for my domestic divas out there who want environmentally safe multi-tasking products at their fingertips! Baking Soda, also known as Sodium Bicarbonate, (NaHCO3) has been around since the 1800’s.  It’s most recognized as a leavening agent to help with the ‘rise’ in baked goods. It’s also a mild, yet effective cleanser, but  it’s not just for household use; here’s a list of uses that just might make you say “Whaaaat???”

  •  Antacid – Did you know that medicines like alka-seltzer gets the effervescent (fizzing) action from baking soda? It’s ‘fizz’ that is said to settle the stomach from minor bouts of nausea and heartburn. As always, used discretion and consult a healthcare professional for any prolonged discomfort. DO NOT USE if you suffer from any serious conditions like ulcers and such.
  • Kitchen cleanser – If you have expensive, non-stick cookware, or delicate materials like granite or stone, baking soda is the ideal cleanser. Tough enough for stains without harsh chemicals or damaging abrasives.
  • Toilet Bowl cleaner – This can double as a neat science trick for the kiddies! Combine a 1/2 cup of white vinegar with a 1/2 cup of baking soda directly into the toilet bowl…. watch the fizzing action! (and no, it won’t explode) Let it sit for 15 min. while you get some coffee, then come back to casually swish and flush… it practically cleaned itself!
  • Jewelry cleaner – I discovered this by accident. I’m a serial lotion-slatherer – the thick stuff – which leaves my rings dull, dull, dull. (I’m never smart enough to take them off) One day, I scrubbed my pots good with baking soda, and upon rinsing and drying, I was nearly blinded by my normally-dull rings. They were sooooo shiny! It’s been my go-to ring cleaner ever since.
  • Toothpaste/breath freshener – This is pretty well-known, as a toothpaste is manufactured by Arm & Hammer. I’m a fan!
  • Carpet & vacuum freshener – Do you have pets? This is essential for all those pet-parents out there! Sprinkle baking soda liberally on your carpet, wait 15-20 min, then vacuum up! It instantly refreshes the carpet and the vacuum, especially when dealing with potentially stinky debris like pet hair.
  • Drain cleaner- Baking soda eliminates accumulated germs and odors in kitchen and bathroom drains. This is more preventative, but still effective with clogs too. Tip 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by boiling water or 1 cup heated vinegar for tough odors and/or clogs.
  • Exfoliant for face and body – This is my FAVORITE use! Tough enough to clean out those pores, and get rid of dry, dead skin, leaving the skin baby soft… gentle enough to use every day! At least I do. Use it in your bath, scrub up in the shower… so invigorating! Store it in a snazzy little container, like this bamboo spice box with a magnetized lid (something similar –bedbathandbeyond.com):

  • Laundry booster – Baking soda boosts your laundry detergent’s cleansing abilities by regulating the water’s ph; keeping it from becoming too acidic, or too alkaline. In a ph-regulated environment, the laundry detergent’s much more effective on stains and odors. Learn more about ph here.
  • Fruit and Veggie Cleanser – Whether you buy organic or inorganic produce, a good wash in a sink of cold water and a 1/2 cup of baking soda will leave your goods squeaky clean! Try it sometime!

So, instead of spending tons of $$ on multiple cleansers and fresheners, make the investment of about $5.00 on a rather large box of baking soda.

You’ll get waaaay more bang for your buck!

Meditation Persuasion….

Are your days longer than you’d like, and your patience, shorter? Are you having problems focusing on a task? Are you overwhelmed?  Am I beginning to sound like an infomercial?  If so, Meditation may be exactly what the doctor ordered. Consider the following information:

For  Spirit

Meditation is an ancient practice, said to date back at least 5,000 years or more. It is a widely-revered spiritual discipline  used as a way of evolving one’s spiritual self and connecting to the Divine. Although meditation is a derivative of yoga, the practice itself has transcended over time and is embraced by other cultures and religions, as the intention remains the same as the literal definition of yoga – the union of mind, body, and spirit with the Divine.

For Beauty and Health 

The physical benefits of meditation are extraordinary!  The ritual of deep breathing and stillness of mind brings you:

  • invigoration of bodily functions through the intake of oxygen through deep breathing
  • Improvement of focus, clarity, and creativity
  • the reduction of overall stress, which often affects personal appearance
  • a heightened sense of happiness and wellbeing

Meditation is also said to affect one’s physical appearance. Remember, joy and contentment radiate from the inside, out. It is logical to relate your inward happiness to outward attraction.

Your Sanctuary is also uplifted:

To truly submit yourself to meditation, it’s ideal to establish a air of calm and serenity. This means dedicating a room, corner or space to this discipline, adorned with candles, comfortable pillows or seating, and essential oils or incense such as sandalwood, a traditional aromatic widely used in to promote relaxation and spiritual connection.  And it makes your house smell heavenly! *no pun intended*

Meditation is a conduit of positive energy, meant to enlighten, enrich, and improve our quality of life through connecting to God and The Divine. This is just a quick introduction to what could prove to be an amazing lifestyle change!  No matter what your religion or personal beliefs may be, the benefits are transcendental.

For further reading on Meditation and the techniques involved, please visit Deepak Chopra’s instruction for beginners on MindBodyGreen.com

Namaste

Salute to Juice

Juicing is a craze I was slow to embrace. Every time someone would mention how amazing the effects of juicing was, I’d get a visual of midnight infomercials with manic hosts tossing a million ingredients to make a magical mystery mix. I wasn’t enthusiastic.

However, I had a revelation while staying at some friends’ house in Spain. Their surroundings were so rustic and beautiful.

They had a lovely orchard and garden, and picked everything we ate. There was such an abundance of fruits and veggies, they made smoothies with the extra. I was so in love with the process, and how I felt afterwards, I was motivated to buy my own Vitamix juicer when I got home. I’ve been juicing ever since!

While I didn’t initially get into it for health purposes, there are quite a few benefits to this new habit. It’s an effective way to get a blast of nutrients and fiber your body needs to function properly. If you have a hectic schedule, and constantly reach for junk food and fast fixes, this is an excellent way to substitute the bad with the good, with an added energy boost from natural sugars of the fruit.

When juicing fruits and veggies, it’s important to use organically- grown produce – produce that have not been treated with synthetic chemicals such as pesticides – because the vitamins contained in the skin boosts the nutritional value when incorporated in the juicing process. As this is not a juicing blog, I will not bore you with the list of fruits, veggies, and their value. Instead, I will thrill you with colorful array of pictures of my tantalizing smoothie skills! 😛

Start with fresh organic fruit of choice – here we have apple, pear, blueberries, strawberries, banana, ginger root and wheatgrass – an excellent detoxifier and metabolism booster

Combine all that yummy fruit into the juicer – what’s that greenery at the bottom, you ask? Just a little spinach for a dose of vitamin k. Shhh… don’t tell the family, what they don’t taste will help them!

Add some organic unfiltered unsweetened apple juice – about half-way – and once you get the juicer going on high, add a few ice cubes.

There you have it… A carafe of the Good Stuff! With no added sugars or sweeteners, you’ll be surprised how delicious it is! I call this mix – The Good Stuff! *I know, I know…*

By the way, I also added chia and flax seed – two amazing resources of omega-3 fatty acids. You can add what ever you like to these mixes for your personal needs. Just be creative and enjoy!

If you want to learn more about the nutritional benefits of juicing, check out this article on livestrong.com

Happy Juicing!

Aloe Vera – How good it is!

I grew up with this prickly little plant in my back yard. My mother, who wasn’t particularly known for her green thumb, was insistent on keeping up with this weird, gangly shrub. I never paid much attention to it, until I’d procure a cut or burn from fooling around in the kitchen, which was often.

*footnote – Reading while trying to cook is not a favorable combination… but I digress.* 

Mom would promptly send me out to the yard to break off a leaf of the aloe vera, and spread the gel over the cut or burn, to aid in the healing.  Most often than not, my wound would heal very well, with little to no scarring.  I can’t say I always followed directions, so when I did end up with an offensive mark, Mom would say, “See? Didn’t use that Aloe Vera like I told you!”

As an adult with a family of my own, I found myself coming full circle to my parent’s old remedies… but not without a little research first. This plant is amazing!

Also known as “Lily of the Desert”, Aloe Vera is known for its extraordinary healing properties.

  • The gel found within the leaves acts as a topical ointment for minor burns and abrasions.
  • It is popular as a soothing, naturally cooling treatment for sunburns.
  • The gel can also be orally ingested, as it is also said to aid in digestive issues and minor cases of stomach ulcers. *It is highly recommended to buy Organic Aloe Gel that advises oral ingestion on the label. Any other source can be dangerous and eating it straight from the plant is just plain gross.*

Did you know that Aloe Vera is awesome for your hair too? It’s juice acts as a natural conditioner and moisturizer. It has the ability to penetrate the hair follicle and strand, to aid in restoring the hair to it’s natural sheen. It’s a wonderful scalp treatment for afflictions such as psoriasis and dandruff, and if that’s not good enough… wait for it…. it’s recognized for it’s ability to promote hair growth! Oh yes it is!

I’ve used Aloe Vera for most of my adult life for different purposes, and I can honestly say that I’m a fan. Aloe Vera Rocks!

Image

For more compelling information on this amazing plant, check out this article from  Global Healing Center: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/nutrition/benefits-of-aloe-vera

It’s good stuff!

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