Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter Skin & Family Travel

Sunscreen is not just for summer. Whether your family vacation is taking you to the Caribbean or Hawaii (lucky you) or the ski slopes, your skin still needs protection. MDSolarSciences provides broad spectrum UVA-UVB protection in non-greasy, non-comedogenic, water-resistant formulas. The Natural Mineral Screen Stick SPF 40 is great for travel; stash it in our bag or ski jacket. And kids can use it to easily apply sunscreen to their face and lips. If your kids, like mine, prefer a spray, the organic Quick Dry Spray SPF 40 offers great sun protection.
For travel Another handy sunscreen to stick in your jacket pocket, or carry on an airplane, is Adventuress sunscreen swipes. These individually wrapped wipes are fragrance and paraben free, so they are perfect for sensitive skin. And you don’t even have to remove your gloves to apply the SPF 30 sunscreen. Each packet has a finger pocket so there is no muss, no fuss – just great UVA and UVB protection. The swipes have aloe vera and vitamin E to soothe skin while they protect. The cold weather can dry skin out, so restore it with Udderly Smooth moisture rich creams. These were developed to soothe cow’s udders, but you might want to focus on how the cream moisturizes chapped skin. Giveaway! One reader will win a one12-ounce jar of Udderly Smooth Body Cream, one 4-ounce tube of Udderly Smooth Udder Cream, and one 8-oz. jar of Udderly Smooth Shea Butter Foot Cream. To enter, comment below on how you keep your skin moisturized in winter. Note: I received samples of these products free of charge but received no compensation for this post.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fitness Challenge: Pura Vida Urban Fitness

Pura Vida Urban Fitness, a storefront gym in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, has a large variety of classes, from boot camp to Zumba. The hour long boot camp I took on a recent evening had just 3 participants, so we all got plenty of personal attention. Our young trainer made sure we ran with weights straight overhead, pushed ourselves on sprints and kept our butts low on squats. The class had a few innovative exercise, like combining balancing on one leg with a row, and squat jacks, where you squat to the floor and explode into a jumping jack. My heart rate was elevated throughout the class and we were all pushed to the limit. TRX Training here includes cardio intervals or jumping rope, both of which will also keep your heart pumping.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Annie – back on Broadway

When you raise a curly headed moppet who sings and dances, her dream role is Annie. And when my youngest daughter was growing up, she played Annie in every theater camp or class she took. But then she hit puberty, got self-conscious, and stopped performing. She still loves attending theater, and the new Broadway production of Annie was high on our list. Sadly, the floodwaters were also high, and Hurricane Sandy delayed our date with the mutt Sandy. But when we finally got to see the show, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Ok, the lead has a questionable accent and mediocre pipes, but she sure is adorable. And the supporting cast all have strong voices and great comic appeal. And when you have a teen who idolizes Tyra Banks, Lady Gaga and Taylor Lautner’s abs, a little G–rated fun is most welcome. I also thought the staging was excellent, the sets were gorgeous and I've been waking up humming "Tomorrow" for almost a week.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Tale of 2 Skivvies

Ok, panties. I exercise almost daily, usually in old, cruddy underwear that would embarrass me in a car accident (thanks, mom). But recently, I decided to pimp my panties and try a pair of Lululemon underpants. These are made from a moisture wicking material called Transluxent, that keeps you dry no matter how much you sweat. When I bike and wear bike shorts, things can get pretty hot and bothered, but not with these. They are also seamless, which reduces chafing. Dear Kate, on the other hand, is for preventing accidents. These leak-proof lightly lined panties (available as bikinis, thongs and hipsters) are an extra, ecologically correct protection when you are wearing a tampon – no need to wear a panty liner. In fact, you can’t wear a liner with wings– the adhesive can wreck the absorbency. Dear Kates also uses a moisture-wicking fabric to keep you dry. Disclosure: while I received no compensation from Lululemon and purchased my own panties, I did receive a sample pair of Dear Kate underwear.

Say thank you – for free

Intensely flavored European chocolates are a way to indulge a craving without spending too many calories. And Merci chocolates (made in Germany, not France) are a fine example of this kind of chocolate. An assorted box comes with dark or milk chocolates, filled with coffee, hazelnut, praline or chocolate mousse. These chocolates would be great as a thank you to a special teacher, or as a gift to your family this holiday season. One reader will win a box of Merci chocolates. To enter the giveawy, leave your email and who you’d like to thank below.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Fitness Challenge: The Sports Club/LA

The Sports Club/LA is one of the most awesome gyms in New York City. But in a rather remote location. I passed it on the way to puppy class for the guide dog I'm raising; it's on 61st Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, right near an entrance & exit to the FDR. So not the most bucolic. But once you get inside: huge pool and hot tub. Gigantic rock climbing wall. Pilates machines. Acres of state of the art cardio equipment. Basketball, squash. Classes galore. The attended locker rooms are quite nice, with gels and lotions and newly tiled showers. There are even more exclusive private locker rooms, with fruit and a Keurig coffee machine. There is a rooftop lounge where movies are shown in summer. Childcare, a cafe and juice bar. A spa. The challenge may be comparing every other NYC gym to this one.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fitness Challenge: Hamilton College

If you send your child to an elite college, he or she usually has access to great sports facilities. And when you drop off your kid, pick him up, or visit for family weekend, you can often work out in the fitness center. Hamilton College reminds many of a country club. The Blood Fitness and Dance Center features state of the art cardio equipment, overlooking the gorgeous athletic fields. There is a huge pool, ice skating rinks and a rock wall, so you can exercise different muscle groups every day.
There are also plenty of free weights, stability and bosu balls, and a large stretch area. Faculty and students use the facilities regularly, so you don't feel like an out of place old person.