Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Crister: Eye Cream, People! Eye Cream!

In Beauty, Health, Super Helpful Info on 09/14/2013 at 10:19 pm

I met Crister at a Phonatics Tweetup several years ago. We’re Asian, so we both like pho. Go figure.

The first thing everyone notices about Crister is how beautiful she is. Then, you notice how intelligent and well-spoken and kind she is. The conversation usually goes something like this:

The rest of us: “You are stunningly beautiful. What’s your secret?”

Crister: “I’m ____ years old (insert her age here, which makes no sense since she looks 20, so how could she look 20 years younger than her actual age? Anyhow.) I drink lots of water, and I always, always use eye cream! Now, should we discuss diplomacy efforts with North Korea?”

Well, recently on Facebook, she shared an article put out by Real Simple and was kind enough to add her brand secrets to the mix.


Here’s hoping for the rest of us and our potential fountain of youth!

Francesca: Wash Your Hair Like Your Clothes.

In Health, Super Helpful Info on 07/17/2012 at 11:27 am

Francesca (the miracle working hairstylist) can deal with ANY type of hair – including my unruly, coarse, thick, mangled whatever-is-on-top-of-my-head. She gives flattering cuts to complement your face, listens to what you want, and encourages hair risk-taking (like asymmetrical cuts in fuchsia) that somehow always turn out.

I get a 4-hour cut/color with Francesca every few months, and last time I was in there, I asked her how often I should be washing my hair.

“If your hair were a type of fabric, how often would you wash it? You should wash your hair like your clothes. Your hair is coarse and thick and unruly. Like wool. How often do you wash your wool sweaters?”

Some people have wash-and-wear hair (cotton) or super fine hair (silk), but I get to deal with wool hair. Which means washing every 2-3 days and lots and LOTS of Moroccan Oil.

Three days in between washes may sound gross, but honestly, my hair does behave a lot better on day 2 or 3 after a wash.

Sue: Don’t Sneeze.

In Health, Just plain fun on 07/08/2012 at 12:39 pm

Ms. Aldridge was my history teacher for both 10th and 11th grade. She was probably my favorite teacher through all of high school, not just because she was young and fun, but also because she made history about a billion times less boring than it could have been.

Aside from Louis XIV and trench warfare, one of the best lessons she taught me was outside of class, between Trig (Mr. Powers, ew) and Physiology (mink dissection, ew). I was probably complaining to her that I would never use mink physiology in my adult life (true statement) and that Mr. Powers creeped me out (truer statement).

In the middle of my diatribe, I almost sneezed all over her.

But before I could, Ms. Aldridge brushed her finger on the bridge of my nose, and guess what? My urge to sneeze totally vanished.

So whenever I’m in a meeting or in front of a group of people or just plain don’t want to sneeze, I use her trick.

I really have no clue what Sue is doing now, but if for any reason she ends up reading this, I’d love to catch up over brunch at Hobees!

Kate: Support Your Knees.

In Health, Sports, Super Helpful Info, Travel on 06/25/2012 at 9:01 am

Kate and I met via Twitter; she was one of Foiled Cupcakes‘ first customers. She (along with many, many other inspiring women) also became my running muse, encouraging me to run my first 5k (she’s the one with the white visor). Since then, I’ve worked my way up to thinking I might be able to actually run a half marathon, all with Kate’s support. (I’m registered for the Allstate 13.1 series in East Boston this September. Yikes.)

A couple of years ago, I told Kate that my knees were starting to crunch. Blah. Her reply:

Support your knees … I use KT Tape, but there are lots of other braces that could make a big difference.”

She even went so far as to bring me a handful of KT Tape strips the next time we were going to the same event, and told me which sites to check out so I could figure out how to put them on properly.

Oh. So running doesn’t have to be a miserable, knee-grinding, painful activity. Really?

I invested in two hardcore patellar knee straps and compression sleeves for shin splints when I feel the need. It’s ridiculous, but this <$50 investment has changed my entire outlook on running.

Thanks, Kate, for making me realize I don’t have to be a whining running martyr and I can actually just enjoy it. You’ve inspired me to explore new cities on foot (the best way to discover a new place) AND the confidence to click “register” for a 13.1 mile run. You rock my world.

Jennifer: How To Cure the Hiccups.

In Health on 06/22/2012 at 6:14 pm

Jennifer Wong and I were best friends through elementary school. Once we hit 7th grade, we had to go to different schools, and since the internet didn’t exist at that time, we didn’t stay in touch. I don’t know where she is now, but I do remember this trick she taught me about how to cure the hiccups:

1. BREATHE OUT. Exhale all the way and hold your breath until you think you’re going to pass out.

2. HOLD IT. Keep holding your breath and then exhale with three short puffs. Hold your breath again until you think you’re really going to pass out.

3. BREATHE IN. Right as you’re about to die, inhale all the way and hold your breath until you think you’re going to pass out.

4. HOLD IT AGAIN. Keep holding your breath and then inhale with three short puffs. Hold your breath again until you think you’re really going to pass out.

5. RELAX. Relax and just start breathing normally.

It works. Try it!

*It’s okay if you hiccup while holding your breath. Just don’t stop holding your breath so you can hiccup. That kind of defeats the purpose.

Jenny: Change your case.

In Health, Super Helpful Info on 05/30/2012 at 6:45 am

My optometrist Jenny and I went to high school together in a tech-centric San Francisco suburb. I think we may have had French classes together all those years (‘Je suis un ananas’ via Téléfrançais, anyone?). She was always a good student and sort of quiet in class, but in real life, I always liked her to-the-point sense of humor and snark.

Somehow, we California girls both ended up in Chicago.

Just a couple of months ago, I scheduled my first appointment with Dr. Jenny, who told me that my eyesight was pretty much the same, but who also told me that, like a toothbrush, I needed to throw out the case for my contacts every three months.

I’ve been wearing contacts for over 10 years, and I had no idea.

So, in honor of Jenny, I wrote a poem:

There once was a doctor who said
“Protein buildup makes your eyes go red.
Wash your lenses each day
Throw your cases away
And don’t wear your contacts to bed!”

Cathy: Ice It.

In Health on 03/27/2011 at 2:05 pm

Cathy owns Advanced Health of Naperville and saved me last year when I threw out my back. With five treatments and six massages, I was back to normal and had a great rest of the year.

Two days ago, I slept funny and woke up literally unable to move. With one fingertip, I emergency-texted Cathy: “Is there ANY CHANCE I can get an adjustment and massage before Monday? Pinched nerve & I can’t move!”

She called back right away. That’s the kind of gal she is.

Today, while sitting in an otherwise-would-be-closed office with Cathy massaging/adjusting/ultrasound-therapying my back, she said over and over:

“Ice it. Don’t put heat on it. Heat causes inflammation. It makes your nerves tense up more. It might feel better at first, but there’s NOTHING I CAN RECOMMEND MORE than to ICE YOUR BACK. Six, 7, 8, 9 times a day. Ice, ice, ice.”

I’m icing. It’s helping.

Cathy, thank you SO MUCH for seeing me today. You are aMAzing.

Tammy: Eliminate Awkwardness.

In Health, Human behavior, Strategy on 03/05/2010 at 12:59 am

Someone told me once there are two questions you should never ask:
1 – Are you pregnant?
2 – Are you the grandmother?

Tammy (a close girlfriend who works at Children’s Memorial Hospital and deals with a bajillion kid patients and their caretakers daily) has figured out a roundabout way of determining the answer to the second.


Tammy walks into exam room all decked out in official doctor-type gear. She sees a baby, a woman who looks like she’s 25, and another woman who looks like she’s 45.

She asks the baby, “So, who did you bring with you today?”

The younger woman volunteers, “Oh, I’m her mom, and this is my sister.”

Tammy thinks to herself, “Thank-freakin’-goodness I didn’t ask if she was the grandmother.”

Other awkward scenarios eliminated by this question:

“We’re his dads.”
“I’m her grandmother, and this is my neighbor.”
“I’m his uncle, and this is my girlfriend.”

But the workaround the “are-you-pregnant” question? You keep your mouth shut. And you never, ever, EVER ask.


Dawn: Ginger is a Diuretic.

In Cooking, Health on 12/19/2009 at 9:10 am

I took a cooking class at The Chopping Block, an instructional kitchen/cooking store in Lincoln Square and the Merchandise Mart: Healthy Cooking taught by local dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner. She taught us how to make an entire meal surrounding healthy choices, including breaded broccoli, organic herb pizza, and soy mousse. And the appetizer was this carrot ginger soup.

Generally, I’m a big fan of ginger (except in cookies, because I think the whole concept of gingerbread is weird.) But what I didn’t know is that ginger is a diuretic. Dawn said, “Just throw in a teaspoon of ginger into whatever you’re eating to bring out the flavor. Plus, if you’re bloated, ginger helps decrease water weight.”

So now, I always have some minced ginger handy to throw into whatever I’m eating. Not that it’s really helping me lose weight. But at least it’s helping me to not feel completely puffy.

I’d love to hear other people’s strategies to not feeling puffy. Because I’m big into salt. And I always feel puffy. Okay – go. 🙂

Angie: Don’t pack a single pair of sweats.

In Clothes, Cooking, Health, Holidays, Human behavior, Music, Travel on 12/13/2009 at 8:02 pm

Angie was my junior-year-of-college roommate. From Blue Springs, MO, her claim to fame is that her brother is best friends with David Cook. Although she didn’t know how to boil water or make scrambled eggs (seriously), Angie actually gave me some actual, practical, memorable advice before I went home for winter break (which haunts me every holiday season):

Don’t pack a single pair of sweats. It’s winter. You’ll want to dress all cozy and comfy. DON’T. Because the second you don’t wear jeans or cords or something that holds you in is the second you’ll overeat. And then you won’t fit into your clothes when you get back to school.”

I’m sitting in sweats now and contemplating baking a BTS cake -> case in point.