Faithful readers know I totally worship Rachel Zoe.
If you don’t believe me, read this ‘Hot Mama Appreciation.’
And then read this post about how much I admire her psychotic level of over-packing.
And, finally, read this post in which I gallantly defend her from Internet trolls hating on her for wearing Eiffel Tower-height heels while preggo.
I can hear you now:
WTH does all this have to do with laser hair removal?
I’m about to tell you.
Rachel Zoe – my Rachel Zoe – is building a big ol’ beauty empire.
It’s called Hudson BLVD Group.
She started with the DreamDry blowout joints which are sooooo glamorous, and efficient, and I go every time I’m back in New York.
Then she scooped-up Pucker Makeup Studio.
And now she’s added Spruce & Bond, which endeavors to make hair removal a beauty-maintenance must “you actually look forward to.”
Lol…I don’t know if that will ever happen, but I can at least provide these great laser need-to-knows from Kelann Roberts, Spruce & Bond specialist.
Just in time for the big spring leg-reveal, here are…
Ten Things You Need to Know About Laser Hair-Removal
1. You have to shave pre-appointment so the technician can place the laser directly on the root of the hair.
2. At Spruce & Bond, the lasers adjust to not only your skin type, but your hair type as well. They fire a concentrated beam of light that’s directed at the pigment in your hair follicles. This kills the follicle at its root, preventing hairs from growing back.
3. You need to avoid waxing for up to 4 weeks before your first appointment. The laser targets the pigment of your hair follicle, and the follicle actually has to be there in order for this to work. Shave, yes. Wax, no.
4. It takes at least 5 to 6 sessions to achieve perfection. (You want that, right? Perfection?)
5. It’s important to stay consistent with your appointments. Space them out every 4-6 weeks so your hair has enough time to cycle. Everyone has their own specific growth cycle.
6. Some hair and skin types might be a little harder – but still possible – to treat. Dark hair follicles are usually easy because, again, the laser targets the hair’s pigment. This is also why gray, white, blonde, and red pigments can be tricky. Spruce & Bond uses a “color blind” Gentlelase Laser, which has the ability to target any color hair on any skin tone.
7. During your treatment, the sensation will feel like a rubber band snapping against your skin. Each session is about 20-30 minutes.
8. Post-treatment, avoid direct sunlight on that area and always use a moisturizer with SPF.
9. During the next day or two after, it’s normal for your skin to appear a little red. Avoid excessive heat and apply aloe vera to relieve redness.
10. It’s worth the time and money. Why? Because it’s permanent. With hair-removal, permanent is good. Permanent is awesome.
I’m not even remotely proud of this, but I got so enraged by a business call earlier this week that it destroyed two entire nights’ sleep.
Given that I already have major slumber issues, and anxiety that ebbs and flows depending on my work load, it wasn’t a total shock that this could happen. Still, I feel really sad that a single conversation could send me so fully over the edge that I was left with no choice but to hit the Xanax.
I’ve blogged about this before – several times, in fact – but Xanax is horrible for you.
Well, it’s all the “benzos,” really. I just happen to take Xanax. They’re ultra habit-forming and Harvard Medical School even recently linked them to Alzheimer’s.
I don’t want Alzheimer’s. And I don’t want to lay awake seething because of a single, stupid phone call.
So I’m putting together these anger-management tips for myself and all the other Mama Ragers out there. The hope is that we can learn to defuse it enough so we can at least get some shut-eye.
FYI, my sources for this little listicle were:
This massive anger-management section from the American Psychological Association website
This piece on the links between anger, stress and anxiety from the U.K. National Health Service
On y va. Allons-y. Let’s go!
FIVE FAIL-PROOF WAYS TO SHORT-CIRCUIT ANGER
1. Cool off, then express yourself in straightforward terms. The trick here is in the timing; you want to address the situation while it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind, but you also need to be sure that you can communicate calmly. Try to remember that if you go ballistic, you’ll end up getting more angry, not less. Not to mention the fact that you could easily destroy a relationship if you’re not careful.
2. Go running. Or do something else of an intensely physical, heart-pounding nature. Kick-boxing? Soul Cycle? The goal is to get an endorphin fix; a casual stroll around the block ain’t gonna cut it.
3. Build your toolbox of on-the-spot relaxation techniques. These can include deep breathing, visualization, even repeating a goofy mini mantra to yourself, à la: “I’m in control of my emotions,” or, my fave, “I’m not letting this bitch throw me off my game.” Lol…I’m a monster when I’m pissed.
4. Deploy what shrinks call “cognitive restructuring.” Essentially, this is just positive self-talk and re-framing a situation in less the-end-is-near terms. For example, rather than saying to yourself: “This is the biggest nightmare project I’ve ever worked on in my entire life,” reframe it to a more reasonable: “Yes, this is baaaaad. But it will be over and out of my life on June 15.” In my Momover book, I wrote an entire chapter on positive self-talk and re-framing. But did I remember all that this week? No. No, I did not.
5. Recognize that anger is often anxiety in disguise. This is a deeper idea, and will take more explanation than I have time to do right this minute. But I promise to come back to it, because it’s important. Hubby is rushing me out the door for an impromptu date night, and after the week I’ve had, I desperately need to chillax.
TGIF, my lovelies!
TGIF, my lovelies! Do we all have wild and woolly weekend plans? I certainly do. The Wee Lass is totes ditching us for a round of parties and other outings, so we’ll be taking full advantage of that situation.
I’m actually kinda dying to see The Boss, if truth be told. The turtlenecks!
Anyhoo, I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this, but lots of smart people have been reaching out to me lately, hoping I’ll share their self-improvement tools and gizmos with you Momoverettes.
The latest to come over the transom is this loooooooooooong info-graphic about the benefits of using a life coach.
Although I’ve never hired a coach, I desperately want to. My life is in a great place right now, but I could absolutely use some structure. I have so many ideas for writing projects I want to execute, not to mention that I’d like to…
1. Build the courage to drive beyond a 10-mile radius
2. Refresh my French to a decent-enough degree that we’re able to comfortably zip around Paris when we go there for vacance this summer
3. Carve something resembling abs out of the wobbly flesh that is my 10-years (!) postpartum belly
4. Organize our garage so it looks like a pristine page in a California Closets catalog
Although your goals are different, I know you have them.
So of course my eyeballs perked up when I saw an email come in from Tom Casano, founder of Life Coach Spotter. A former Wall Street type, Tom built Life Coach Spotter to help individuals like you, me and Sally Sue down the street connect the dots to coaches that are best suited to their needs.
The site’s a two-way street, too; If you’re a coach in need of clients, you may be a candidate for Life Coach Spotter’s growing ranks.
If you’re reading this post on an iPad or phone, you can of course do that finger-flick thing and blow up the info-graphic so you can actually read it.
But I’d also like to top-line the key benefits, per Tom, of hiring a life coach. Of those clients who have worked with them…
80% improved their self-confidence
72% improved their communication skills
57% improved their time management skills
How much more awesome would our lives be if we kicked self-confidence, communication and time-management up several notches? I get happy just thinking about that…
But that’s my problem. Sometimes I’m more of a Thinker/Talker than a Doer.
Once you figure that out, you might want to hop on over to Life Coach Spotter.
While you’re there, don’t miss the Learning Center section of the site. There’s a ton of good content there, especially under the “Change Your Life” and “Goals” tabs.
Bon weekend amies!
Ever since my “snowbird” pal Elise went back north for the year, ol’ Momover Lady has been a tad sad.
Lately, she and I had been getting into a groove of playing actual, bonafide tennis. Serve and all.
Sidebar: I can’t decide whether I want to learn a “backscratcher” serve – which is fast and furious – or the more traditional style. Hubby is lobbying hard for me to dig in and go the old-school route. And two out of the three coaches at my club agree. But Coach Patrick, the one I spend the most time with, is Mr. Backscratcher. ‘Tis a puzzlement…
Anyhoo, Cardio Tennis got canceled today, so rather than just blowing off any racquet contact, I decided to head to the club and work with the ball machine.
I did two rounds, serving in-between – a mix of backscratcher and traditional.
I definitely put some effort into it, but there were plenty of balls that didn’t make it over the net. That got me thinking about the best way to maximize my machine sessions, so I decided to do a little recon.
First I found this interview / podcast with ball machine expert Stan Oley. (You can even fork over your email address and receive 14 handouts of ball machine drills. I may do that, considering how lonely I am. Also, can you believe there’s an actual ball machine expert?)
Then I found a lot more helpful intel on the World Wide Interweb, including:
So, rather nicely, I synthesized and distilled all that for you.
5 Ball-Machine Tips for Newbies + Wannabe Vikas
1. Place the machine at different points on the court. Don’t get too attached to parking that puppy in the same spot every time. I was doing that. Not anymore.
2. Set targets. No willy-nilly winging it. If you’re carving the time out of your packed mama-skedge to make it to the club or local court to hit, make it count.
3. When you’re setting up your ball frequency, give yourself some time. It’s better to hit five shots with precision and focus than ten kinda half-ass. So space out them out so you have just enough time to recover and get ready for the next one. You want to be moving at a fast clip, but not tripping over your feet. As you improve, you can increase the speed.
4. With the other variables – spin, height, direction, depth – mix it up from session to session. I’ve decided to start bringing a little notebook to the club to keep track of this jazz. Super geeky, yes, but I can’t rely on my feeble Mommy Barbie brain to remember.
5. Use the ball machine in addition to – not instead of – your lessons and practicing with actual humans. Why? Because machines help build strength and muscle memory, but they don’t teach you how to think on the court.
Say howdy to the world’s cutest electric toothbrush…for your baby!!! (Yup, it’s aimed at Mr. or Miss Gums)
I won’t reveal his name to protect the innocent, but when I was a tiny tater tot growing up in the Great Plains of Oklahoma, one of my many rascally boy cousins drank so much “pop” that he had to have his BABY teeth removed because they were so cratered with cavities.
This was back in the 70s – can you even imagine that happening now? Jesus, these days, if you don’t take your pooch or pussy cat to the dentist on the reg, you get thoroughly shamed by the shamers.
So pervasive is Teeth Guilt in our culture that it paved the way for Foreo ISSA Mikro, the unspeakably adorbs new electric toothbrush for your probably-mostly-toothless tot.
I’m on a psychotic set of deadlines (when am I not on a psychotic set of deadlines?), so please allow me to top-line this smart add-on to your family oral care:
1. It’s crafted from silicone, and specifically for infants, so it’s über-soft and cozy.
2. It offers a gentle gum massage for little lads and lassies from 0 to 4.
3. It’s made by the same co that stocks all those low-tech skin-cleansing gizmos beauty editors go nuts over.
4. It’s not available just yet, but if you go here, you can sign-up for a 40 percent off pre-sale. Who wouldn’t want 40 percent off?
I recently read this great piece in the New York Times about the importance of taking primo care of your wee one’s baby teeth. Doing that basically sets them up for a lifetime of easier hangouts in that trusty pleather chair. You want that for your kid, right? Fewer close encounters with a dentist’s drill?
Go get in line for this crazy-cute gadget.
I love a good success story, and here’s an excellent one: After a storied career as the kickass Beauty Director of British Vogue (one of my all-time fave mags, ev. er.), Kathy Phillips went on to launch a wellness line that totally, completely rocks.
You know it, yes? It’s called this works and it does. Utterly.
The first this works product I fell for is the deep sleep bath oil. I started it using it right after I had the Wee Lass, and was sleeping very, very, very badly.
(Which was kinda nuts, considering we had a live-in baby nurse and I wasn’t breastfeeding. But let’s not get all judgy, kay? About the baby nurse or the not breastfeeding?)
So smitten was I with this magical bath elixir, that I marched into the office – I was a Beauty Director myself at the time, of Cookie (RIP chic, smart, ahead-of-its-time Cookie magazine) – and pitched a story I called “Liquid Xanax.”
Get it? Bath brews that knock your lights out? Like this works deep sleep?
Anyhoo, flash forward a decade and I’m newly intoxicated with another deep works winner – active oil for the face.
Wait a sec – I just tried to link to it and can’t. Do I have some bootleg edition? A preview sample?
I just did World Wide Interweb recon, and according to a fellow skincare junkie on Amazon, the version I’m using (and have included a pic of here) has been updated and is now called no wrinkles active oil.
To quote this Amazon reviewer:
“I’ve [used] this before when it was just known as Active Oil. It seems to have the same ingredients, smells the same and works on my skin exactly the same way. Although I’ve only been using this one for a few days now I’m already really impressed. I have dry skin and even the most ‘hydrating’ of moisturisers doesn’t feed my skin throughout the whole day like this product does. I can use it alone and my face would still feel smooth and un-tight all day. It absorbs very quickly and doesn’t clog pores or cause any breakout. I’d recommend it if like me you have dry, tight skin and you want to give it a real thirst quencher. I will definitely continue to use this for some years.”
You know, I have to say that this is one of the pitfalls of being a skincare hoarder; because I have so much loot in my Beauty Armoire, sometimes by the time I get around to using something, it’s already been re-jiggered. Or, worse, discontinued. In other words, I often become besotted with something that I can no longer get my mitts on.
But I won’t fret about this oil situation. Why? Because you heard that Amazonian – the “replacement” oil is every bit as delicious and effective as the original.
When I run out of the old guy, I’ll simply take up with the new guy. Easy peasy.
So why, out of all the many, many face oils I’ve brought home from the office and never tried – and the fact that the “face oil thing” is already a few years old – did I finally take the plunge with this one?
Well, because I trust that Kathy Phillips will do one of her best-of-breed numbers on anything she creates, face oil included.
Here’s what I love about it:
1. The scent. Have you met me? I’m a sucker for aromatherapy. What’s kind of surprising is that there are buckets of tuberose in this face oil and I still like it. That’s a switch for me; typically I run in the other direction from tuberose. From white flowers in general, if truth be told.
2. The consistency. I dot in on before bed and it sinks right in and pulls a total disappearing act.
3. The way my face looks and feels the morning after. And how might that be? Super-soft and smooth, that’s how. That’s pretty much what you want from a night-time beauty treatment, no?
I’m almost certain I’m not a doctor, so a lot of the wellness intel I dispense in this sweet little ol’ blog is anecdotal, i.e.:
It’s pulled from the headlines of my life.
Which isn’t to say it isn’t completely thought-out, and responsible, and – dare I say it – credible.
Nine times out of 10, mid-riff or -rant, I’ll cite a study I’ve come across, or a book I’ve been reading, or host a Q+A with an actual M.D. or otherwise über-qualified expert.
And sometimes, like today, I’ll tell you a massive tale of woe and then back it up with bonafide research.
Maintenant, thank the lordy, on y va.
So I’ve been e-sharing that I ditched sugar for Lent, and that it was a massive struggle at first, and that it wasn’t super-gratifying from a scale-perspective, but that my belly has been noticeably flatter and that’s been a really good – as in Martha Stewart really good – thing?
Well here’s where it gets tricky: Lent is over.
Although Hubby – who was my co-pilot in sugar-ditching – and I couldn’t land on the exact date Lent ended (it was either Holy Thursday or the Saturday before Easter), I started to seriously wobble in my dedication by late Wednesday.
Hubby was in New York for work, and the Wee Lass and I were left to our own devices, so somehow we ended up at Menchie’s and I kinda dove (dived? I never know which one it is…) into the Red Velvet fro yo. And maybe the Cake Batter fro yo. And I might have sprinkled a couple of chocolate chips on top for good measure. There were strawberry chunks involved, too, but those don’t count. Those are real, and healthy, and laced with vitamin C.
I felt fine afterward. I don’t know what I was expecting – maybe a lightning bolt to sizzle down from the sky? – but I escaped unscathed.
So then I preceded, through the next few days – the bulk of Easter weekend – to gobble down sugar right and left.
Sinister new discovery: Dove Coconut Creme Milk Chocolate Eggs.
After totes relapsing and embarking on my monster sugar binge, I woke up on Monday morning feeling like absolute shite, as the Irish say.
Sore throat, stuffy, mucus-y…blech times a billion.
And in the immortal words of Carrie Bradshaw…tap tap tap…
I couldn’t help but wonder:
Was my sugar binge to blame?
Thankfully I’d already checked this riveting page-turner – Beat Sugar Addiction Now! – out of our local library.
(Oh the irony; I’d nabbed it right before the trip to Menchie’s that sent me circling the sugar drain.)
I’m only on page 54 (did I mention it’s a page-turner?), and I haven’t figured-out which of the four Addict types I am.
But I’m leaning toward Type 3.
Why? Because the first diagnostic Q for this particular type is: “Do you have chronic nasal congestion or sinusitis?”
I do! I do! But I’d always blamed that on my impossibly beautiful Maine Coon rescue kitties. I hug them on the reg, and I suspect I’m allergic.
Another possible clue in the Type 3 quiz: Qs about the condition candida albicans, an overgrowth of yeast in our digestive tract that can trigger sugar cravings. When I went to that starvation spa in Texas for Town & Country, one of the on-staff experts mentioned she thought I might suffer from candida.
Of course, the second I read about the yeast-sugar cravings connection in my trusty library book, I scampered off to find the bottle of pricey Yeast Away pills I’d picked up at the spa and promptly forgot to take. I hope they’re still potent, because I’m taking ’em now.
Okay, so we’re finally at the point in this post when I reveal the link between sugar and a compromised immune system.
Since my library book exhaustively dives into every type of sugar-generated illness (and there are many, including hypothyroidism, which I suffer from), it doesn’t feature a distinct little graph on immunity-depletion that I can airlift and drop in here.
So instead, I’m quoting a passage on “the harmful effects of sugar” from the website of the renowned baby doc and mega author William Sears:
“Excess sugar depresses immunity. Studies have shown that downing 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution (about 20 teaspoons of sugar, or the amount that is contained in two average 12-ounce sodas) can suppress the body’s immune responses. Simple sugars, including glucose, table sugar, fructose, and honey caused a fifty- percent drop in the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria. In contrast, ingesting a complex carbohydrate solution (starch) did not lower the ability of these white blood cells to engulf bacteria. The immune suppression was most noticeable two hours post-ingestion, but the effect was still evident five hours after ingestion. This research has practical implications, especially for teens and college students who tend to overdose on sodas containing caffeine and sugar while studying for exams or during periods of stress. Stress also suppresses immunity, so these sugar-users are setting themselves up to get sick at a time when they need to be well.”
I think it’s time to hop right back on the wagon. Sugar isn’t our pal. So isn’t our pal.
Happy Spring, my lovelies!
Before we dive into Important Beauty Matters, let’s all give a huge round of applause to my favorite Girl Tennis Player – Vika Azarenka – for winning Indian Wells yesterday! YAY VIKA!
Okay, back to business…
I sooooo want to dive into spring cleaning, but work matters are keeping me Swiffer-deprived at the moment. Every time I say to myself: “Next week, my skedge should clear up, and I’ll be able to dive into X, Y, Z cleaning + organizing project,” it never, ever happens. I mean, I’m grateful for all the work, but I also want to turn my house on its tush and clean, clean, clean, org, org, org.
Hey Momover Lady! What does any of this have to do with helping the bees? I thought you wanted to do that!
Glad you asked! I’m trying to connect a few very loose dots between the first day of Spring (btw, I don’t care if you’re not supposed to capitalize Spring or any of the other seasons; I’m doing it anyway), Earth Day (which is imminent), Beauty Armoire Monday (my traditional feature for publicly lusting over new prods and old faves) and animal kindness / plight of endangered species (mon numéro un raison d’être).
Because I have…ahem…tricky tresses (read: my locks are naturally coarse, but can be tamed in five seconds flat by any even the most blowout-challenged hairstylist), I try approximately eight gazillion shampoos and conditioners on a regular basis.
The BeeKind are a recent add to my stash, and I must give them the thumbs up for:
1. The luscious scent. A great fragrance is pretty much everything in shampoo and conditioner, non? Okay, okay, results are important too. But to me, a fantastic scent is über key, ergo = everything.
2. The stripped-down, cruelty-free ingredient list devoid of parabens and phthalates. If you can avoid these dastardly chemicals, DO. IT.
3. The do-gooding, by earmarking a portion of the proceeds of these delish products to honey bee conservation.
I blame #ClimateChange for the sad honey bee sitch. This world is, quite literally, a hot mess. And if we can do our part by using an impossibly lovely bath + body prods, that sounds to me like a serious win-win.
As Father Kevin, one of my all-time fave priests, likes to say: “Good morning, my good people.”
And it is indeed a good morning, my good people.
Well, maybe not for you, because you’re staring at this selfie.
But definitely for me, because I’m feeling so jazzed about avoiding sugar like the plague for the last five weeks that I’m bravely showing the world my spongy belly.
SIDEBAR: Is there one damn thing to be done about stretchmarks that are hanging around 10 years after the fact? I had one tot-lette, not 90! And it’s not like I gained a thousand pounds during my pregnancy, either. My beloved OB/GYN was a total scale Nazi, and watched my numbers like a hawk. He’s a scolder, that one. J’adore.
Okay, back to the topic at hand: Sugar Avoidance.
I blogged a mini Q+A with Brooke “Sugar Detox” Alpert recently, right as Hubby and I were embarking on a Lent dessert embargo.
To jog your memory, Momover Lady had verrrrrry stupidly widened the dessert embargo to include ALL sugary treats.
Why? Because it seemed like complete BS, I posited, to eat donuts at breakfast, or ice cream at 3 pm, and – just because they aren’t technically “dessert” – think that we were still keeping to our Lent pledge.
And guess what? Although I came dangerously, perilously close to scarfing down a handful of Girl Scout cookies last night, I haven’t cheated once since Ash Wednesday, which was on 10 February.
Not once. Not a single time. Nada. Rien.
I don’t know why I had such a close call last night with those short-bready Trefoils, but it definitely spooked me.
Actually, let me backtrack: I do know why I almost slipped up. And it’s a cautionary tale not just for me, but for every struggling Sugar Avoider.
I was watching Indian Wells, but the doubles matches were on, not singles, so my attention started to wander. Plus, the Wee Lass and I had had an extremely un-yummy dinner of grocery store sushi (note to self: no more grocery store sushi), most of which I tossed in the trash, so I was genuinely a little hungry.
It’s a simple equation:
Boredom + Mild Hunger + Girl Scout Cookies = Trouble.
I’m convinced the only reason I was able to pull myself back from the Trefoil brink – and have a little unsweetened Greek yogurt with a banana and pineapple chunks instead – was the fact that my taste buds have been re-calibrated over this past month.
I’m now so sensitive to added sugar and high fructose corn syrup that I even taste it in the bread we use here at the house for toast and sandwiches. (Second note to self: time to find another brand of bread.)
Yes, yes, I know: Bananas and pineapple chunks have sugar, too. As Brooke points out, it’s important not to “over-fruit.”
Still, I think you’d have to agree that bananas and pineapple chunks have a lot more to offer, nutritionally, and fiber-wise, than a handful of cookies.
If I’d eaten the cookies, I would have felt really, really bad about it. Lent isn’t over for another five or six days, so I’m not out of the woods yet.
But here are the benefits I’ve gained from abstaining, even for this short time:
1. My belly is noticeably flatter. I haven’t lost a lot of weight, but the chronic puffiness has abated.
2. My concentration and focus have greatly improved.
3. My cravings for sugar diminish by the day. This is crucial. Sugar is addictive; if you can “kick,” you can keep going with less effort and psychological stress.
I’m on a roll with this whole thing, and have been re-reading a great book I’ve recommended to you before: I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program & Cookbook by Sarah Wilson.
Not only is it jam-packed with info and recipes, Sarah’s bestseller is also a visual treat; in my darker moments I can be found salivating over images of “Chocolate Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa,” and “Zucchini Cheesecake,” and “Raspberry Ripple.”
You can tell she’s a foodie on a genuine journey. And I’m gonna join her.
Bon weekend, my lovelies.
Because I love you – and bc I wasn’t within a 500-mile radius of any shows this season (which is actually a lie, since I was in New York from 17 to 20 February this year, seeing friends and tons of art, vive Vigée le Brun!), I won’t bore you with long-winded explanations of why I like this or that.
Rather, we’ll just gaze at pretty pictures, kay?
“But what do we do in the meantime, Momover Lady, while we wait for you to move on and show us the next picture?”
Sorry, needed to fill some space back there, to get around the weird paragraph-wrapping this blog does. Actually, it’s not weird. It’s normal. This blog was beautifully designed by my dear pal Garrett Yankou. Garrett rocks.
Onward with the next pic.