Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Woman's Best Friend: Martinis and Manicures

7.3 million American women have difficulty conceiving. However, many of these cases could have been prevented through simple lifestyle changes. Education is imperative, and what better way to learn than over complimentary manicures and martinis?

The American Fertility Association’s Manicures & Martinis Infertility Prevention Program is a national series of events dedicated to young women in their 20’s and 30’s who aren’t quite ready to conceive, but might one day want to have a child. Fertility experts from Fertility Centers of Illinois will lead a conversation about how to prevent infertility whenever possible, the reality of the Biological Clock, the harmful effects of STD’s and environmental toxins, and the differences between gynecologists and reproductive endocrinologists. Attendees will also enjoy complimentary manicures and martinis, or a Fertilitini - an all organic alcohol-free cocktail.

Corey Whelan, The AFA’s Program Director and event series creator says that dealing with infertility robs women of control over their own lives. Education about our bodies and things we can do to preserve our fertility potential, gives that control back. “This program has proven to be an empowering and liberating experience for women, whether they choose motherhood or not,” she adds.

Manicures and Martinis offers education to young women in a fun and enjoyable setting. Dr. John Rapisarda, Reproductive Endocrinologist with the Fertility Centers of Illinois agrees that knowledge is power. “Creating early awareness of factors leading to infertility is the first step towards reducing the number of women impacted later in life,” he adds.

The AFA’s Executive Director, Ken Mosesian further explains that through post-event surveys, young women have expressed how much they’ve learned about the basics of reproduction, their biological clocks, the importance of preventing STD’s as well as birth control. One participant said, ‘Finally, some answers.”

As an added perk, those who attend Manicures & Martinis Chicago may choose to be treated to a complimentary Yoga and acupuncture session, courtesy of Pulling Down the Moon. The national series has been greeted with overwhelming success in New York City and other large metropolitan areas. Young women in their early 20s and 30’s are invited to attend and learn all they can about safeguarding themselves from becoming part of the 7.3 million statistic.

Manicures & Martinis
Tuesday, May 12 from 6:00-7:30
Allyu -- 600 W. Chicago Ave.

Riverwalk Speakers: Angelina Beltsos, MD and John Rapisard, MD of Fertility Centers of Illinois Registration Contact Info: or 646.861.3226

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ChicagoGirlyGirl’s Green Beauty Must Haves

It is Earth Day, which is a great time to think how your actions, even your beauty regimen, affect the planet. A survey suggests that women are generating about twice as much waste as men, due to the fact that they have double the number of personal products in their medicine cabinet. As a society, we may more sophisticated than ever, but most of us are completely unaware of the harmful toxins and chemicals that exist in the majority of our beauty products. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice beauty for health and with a little knowledge and savvy, you won’t need to.

Arcona Basic 5 Arcona skin care products are made of natural enzymes, herbs, vitamins and a scientific cutting edge delivery system to repair and restore the skin on a deep cellular level; the Basic Five strengthens, enhances and speeds up the skin’s own renewal cycle from 30 to 7 days, which helps to combat premature aging. Those who use the line report that their skin has never looked better. I call it the Arcona glow.
Travel kit $87.00

Bare Escentuals is made from 100% bareMinerals and is free of preservatives, talc, oil, fragrance and other harmful chemicals. Mineral make up gives your skin a soft and luminous texture with little effort. An absolute must have for any girl!

Aveda, a global leader in corporate environmental sustainability, not only has phenomenal, plant-based prod
ucts, but they are also committed to preserving the planet. Aveda was the first beauty company to manufacture on 100 percent wind-powered energy and they use the highest possible post-consumer recycled (PCR) content in packaging.

Did you know that the majority of nail polishes in stores contain toxic chemicals that have been linked to Leukemia and birth defects? When you go to the nail salon, be sure there is proper ventilation and if you’re pregnant, wear a mask. Most importantly, take your own polish with you (polish should be free of phthalates, toluene, and formaldehyde).

Kiehls Aloe Vera Biodegradable Liquid Body Cleanser 100% Biodegradable formula and fragrance, formulated without parabens, SLS and Dyes. The bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic.
6.8 fl. oz. Pump

Yes to Carrots Body Lotion Yes To products are paraben free and contain all the yummy goodness of organic fruits, vegetables, and Dead Sea minerals. This organic carrot and pumpkin lotion is potent, touting anti-oxidants that purify and revitalize the skin.
8.45 fl.oz

Lipstick and lip gloss comes off as you consume beverages and food throughout the day. In fact, research has found that women will inges
t nearly nine pounds of lipstick over the course of their lives!

PlantLove Natural Lipsticks Made with botanical ingredients not mineral oils, nor petroleum. The company believes in using only eco-friendly packaging, in fact, even the lipstick tube is biodegradable. My favorite part is that the box can actually be planted after use, because it’s made with biodegradable paper containing flowers and seeds!

It’s important to re
alize that for every action, there is a reaction. To farm the amount of cotton that it takes to make just one t-shirt, a traditional farmer uses approximately 3.5 pounds of fertilizer and over 300 gallons of water. For one shirt!!

3 Clothing Company is an ethical and socially conscious company that believes that every person can make a difference in this world. 3 is taking the lead by using 100% certified organic/clean cotton and eco-friendly water-based inks in the creation of fashionable and artistic clothing.


FIVE Accessories – eco friendly bags made from recycled materials like potato chip bags and bamboo; made in places like Honduras, Bali, Cambodia, Guatemala and India. For every
bag sold owner Christine Hutchison, gives five dollars back to the community where it was made.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Maybe, Baby!

A few years ago, I found myself in a flurry of wedding party madness. I was throwing bridal showers and bachelorette parties like it was my job. Now, all of these girls are having babies and instead of vodka-filled weekends in Miami, we’re playing baby bingo and marveling at onesies. Times are a changin’!

We opted for high tea at Mint Julep in the suburbs (Palatine). The private room was beautiful with lots of natural light. We had several different kinds of tea sandwiches, scones, pastries and teas.

I thought I’d share some of the highlights with you.

The baby will be a boy so I tried to stick to a color scheme of lavender, periwinkle and eggshell. I bought 15 or so helium balloons and scattered them throughout the room. On the gift table, I had a gorgeous bouquet of blue and white hydrangeas.

Parting Gifts
I purchased tiny clay pots and potted pansies in them. Finally, I added a blue or purple ribbon to the pots. One was given to every guest and the end of the shower. Mom had decided on a jungle nursery theme, so I ordered these darling jungle animal cookie cutters online. I made several batches of monkeys, lions, hippos, giraffes and elephants and then frosted them. They were placed in small plastic bags and tied with a bow. Every guest got to take a cookie also. The pansies and the cookies brightened the table considerably and gave the room more character.

We did three activities and I gave prizes to the winner of each. Note: it is advisable to bring one or two extras i
n the event of a tie. For gifts, I tried to keep it around $5-$10 for each bag. I found lots of cute girly gifts in China Town (small compact mirror and jewelry case) and I also checked out Cost Plus World Market for little earrings, chocolate, etc.
  • Baby food sniff test - Take 6-10 cans of baby food and discard the label. Then number each can and have the guests smell to determine the flavor of the baby food.
  • Celebrity baby name - I listed celebrity names on the left and their cute/outlandish baby names on the right (out of order). Guests then match up which baby belongs to the celebrity.
  • Nursery rhyme game. Take an old classic like “Rub a dub dub, three men in a tub…” then leave a space for the guests to fill in the missing words. I printed the activities on colorful paper, keeping in line with the color scheme (that makes a big difference!)
Noteworthy Gifts

Monday, April 13, 2009

Beauty Myths Debunked

I am a beauty junkie. Somehow, all is right with the world when I leave the hair salon and walk down the street. I feel pretty and confident –like the best version of myself. My life can be filled with chaos and turmoil, but as long as there are manicures and pedicures, I will be okay. I look at eyebrow shaping and facials as a necessity. Why wouldn’t I take care of the feminine attributes I was given? My desire to attain beauty nirvana has led me to try some not-so-glamorous treatments. I once put a Roma tomato on my nose to eliminate blackheads; the blackheads disappeared but I was then left with a bright red nose for about a week—nothing could be less sexy than a clown nose, let me tell you. On the first day of a new job I got a round brush caught in the back of my head, which had to be cut out. This was terribly unpleasant and certainly an omen of things to come. The most traumatizing affair however, was one evening when I was trying to get ready for a wedding, my boyfriend caught me wrestling with my pantyhose on the bedroom floor. The pantyhose won.

Princess Di was reportedly an enema addict, citing this uncomfortable treatment for her radiant complexion.

We women do some crazy things to stay ahead of the allure curve. Read ahead to find out if these beauty rituals are worth it:
1. You need to change the part in your hair to prevent thinning.
TRUE. I do this every year because a few years ago, I had a hair stylist point out how much thinner my hair was on the right side of my head, which was the direction that my hair was parted. Evidently, the hair will thin out underneath because of the weight. Most stylists will agree that changing your part every so often is a good idea.

2. Eating greasy food and chocolate will give you acne.
FALSE– for the most part. Eating greasy food on a regular basis won’t spontaneously generate acne however, you’re not going to have a lustrous complexion either. Touching your face, stress and hormones are generally the culprits…

3. Headstands to give a youthful glow?
TRUE. Have you been to a yoga class lately? You should go. seriously. Headstands increase the blood supply to the face and brain which helps aid circulation. This can improve memory function, aid sleep, increase energy, promote hair growth and assist with menstrual difficulties. Yogis like it because when the body is inverted it can help fight the effects of gravity by easing the spine and organs back into correct alignment. Eva Mendez reportedly hangs upside downtown to slow down the signs of aging.

4. Naturally whiten teeth with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
TRUE. Baking soda can naturally whiten teeth. Simply mix baking soda with a small amount of water or hydrogen peroxide, then brush. You can also mash a strawberry, add some baking soda to it and do the same thing – this version tastes a lot better! Be careful not to brush too hard and only to do this 2 or 3 times a month.

5. Cutting hair makes hair grow faster.
FALSE. Hair grows at the same rate both day, and night, morning, and bedtime –about ¼ to ½ inch per month. All the hair grows at the same rate no matter if they are cut in layers or a blunt cut.

6. Eating jello makes your hair thicker.
DUNNO. The results are mixed on this one. Many women swear by it.

7. Shaving makes hair grow back thicker?
FALSE. That is a myth.