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Archive for January, 2012

I’m hosting  Fashion Flash  this week and I am so thrilled to be the one to  introduce our newest  member– Deja Pseu of  Une Femme d’un Certain Age.  One of  my all time favorites, this  blog looks at life, fashion, and  beauty  with a keen eye and a great sense of humor.  Seasoned with a  love of everything French, Une Femme   has a wondersul  perspective for those of us that are  not tall, not thin and   not young.   She road tests   her recommendations, posts sales alerts of favorites and  feels like a real friend.  She even locates dresses with SLEEVES!  Une Femme  has an amazing community of women whose comments make  me laugh, think and  learn.  When it comes to blogs, I tend to be a lurker,  but at least once a week I just have to jump into the conversation on Une FemmeD’un Certain Age.  She    has also produced some of  the best scarf tying videos on the web  which certainly upped  my scarf   skill sets.  I know that you will enjoy this wonderful site as much as I do. 

Deja pseu is  in great company with  the Fashion Flash crew:

* The Glam Gals look at  expiration date of accessories asking “can a mature women wear a headband without looking like a teenybopper”?

* Shawna K of Female Fat Loss After Forty  will inspire you to get off the couch, sharing  the fitness  journey of one of her shyest clients.

* Kari of Fab Over Forty  explains how to get our makeup to with  work us, not against us with  six easy steps to look refreshed.

* Jodell of Black Cat  Plus  offers great new fashion and style apps to organize your wardrobe and keep you up to date and in style.

* Geri of Fab Over Fifty shares the best clothing brands for women over fifty ( that you’ve probably never heard of)

* Jackie of  Aging Backwards explores  the freshest  fragrances  as she profiles a company that literally went to the ends of the earth to findest the newest and cleanest scents.

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Question:  I have heard so  many horror stories about IPL, but you had great results.  Can you tell me what machine was used and at what settings?

Answer:  I had IPL with Dr Ellen Marmur of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, so I  asked  her to answer this question.  Dr Marmur used the Luminis IPL with two handpieces– the 560nm and the 590nm.   “Both  of them focus on red spots, blood vessels and brown freckles”  she explained.  “The treatment settings vary from patient to patient based on skin color and the amount of the target to be removed.  For example, I use  lower settings for freckles to avoid over-heating the skin.’    Dr Marmur also warned against getting IPL when tanned ”   You need to avoid the sun for at least wo weeks prior to IPL treament ” she warned.

IPL Road Rules

IPL or Intense Pulsed Light is a form of light that is related to laser technology, but  far less invasive.  It operates in the top layers of the skin and can remove unwanted hair, small red lines and spots as well as freckles,brown spots,  and dark patches.    It is practically painless, and leaves the skin a bit red rather than burned and oozy like true lasers.

But there are reports of problems with IPL.  Because the light focuses on pigments in melanin,  women  with darker complexions are most at risk of developing irregular pigmentation.  Even  dark olive complexions  should  proceed cautiously with IPL. 

Choosing  the right setting, device and timing of applications is a learned skill.  I met Dr Marmur though a smart, well-connected  friend  and I have found this type of one to one reccomendation is a great  way to getting  someone  you can trust.  I would also check out  a doctors credentials  to be certain that they have the training they need  to  give you healthy,  beautiful results. For more info on IPL you can also check out an earlier post IPL- Five Top Questions.

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Two months after my first appointment with Dr Jackie, my Invisalign  devices were ready.  There are twenty- one in the set and I am to wear each one for two weeks.  This means that in 42 weeks, I will be done.

  There were rules.  Not that  many and not that bad, but still rules:

*  I cannot eat or drink hot  or colored liquids.  The  heat can distort them and the colors can stain them

*  I need to wear them 22 hours a day.  This means I need to wear them all the time except when I eat– and I need to eat quickly.  After eating I need to brush  my teeth before reinserting the aligners.

* To  clean them, I swish the aligners in Efferdent, the denture cleaner. 

Then came the moment to put  in my first aligner.  I was worried that I had started something I couldn’t finish.  What if they hurt? What if   they looked so strange I  didn’t want to wear them in public?  I clicked the first one into place and relaxed.  I was aware that it was  in my mouth, but no pain.  I could talk normally and no one seemed to notice them.  I couldn’t stop smiling.

They are easy to wear and I often forget I have them on.  The biggest  problem is that I can’t sip coffe or tea  as I go about my day.  The aligners also discourage snacking, which is not such a bad thing.  In the first week of wearing Invisalign, I dropped a pound.  I didn’t realize how much I was nibbling throughout the day, but since  each  bit means I have to take them out, eat,  brush and reinsert,  I just skip the snack. Weight control is a nice value added benefit  to Invisalign.

In my first week, I also noticed that  my teeth looked whiter, probably due to  fewer cups of tea and coffee.  Although its been  a very short time, I actually think that I can see a difference on my bottom teeth.  I really didn’t care that much that they were not straight on the bottom, but I’m loving the new  more even line.   Apparently tiny Invisalign changes can have a huge difference on dental contours.

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This week the host of Fashion Flash is Jackie of Aging Backwards.  This big site covers  a wide range of alternative health  issues including  nutrition, beauty, and medical problems.  You will love her spirit and energy  and  learn, as I have, to value her advice.  

Jackie is passionate about exercise and is constantly urging me to join  her gym.  I’m not quite there yet, but I’ve started exploring exercise videos to firm up my arms.  I found a  Marie Winsor Plilates video at a chruch tag sale.  I had seen Winsor Pilates infomercials on TV and at 50 cents for the VHS tape, it  looked  like a deal too good to pass up.  I also liked the fact  the Marie Winsor was over 40 and hoped she  would offer a workout with age in mind. 

Not quite.  From the start this approach did not seem right  for me.  The warm-up was brutal and seemed to go on forever. It began with a straight back and legs at a 90 degree angle and needed a large ball.  Right away I felt stress in my back and the back of my legs.– not uncommon for a baby boomer.  After a few  children and decades carrying them and the  dead weigh oft bags of grocercies,  most of us  have had some  type of back problem and this type  of exercise  only  makes it worse.

I wan’t quite  sure where the warm-up ended and the exercises began, but I noticed that the instructions became more complicated and now included breathing patterns.  And while  the tape was called Upper Body Sculpting, they seemed to be directed at  my abs, not arms.   The exercises kept increasing in difficulty and required strong core muscles.  I almost felt that if I could actually do these combos, I really didn’t need this tape.

Finally the warm-up was done and so was I.  I actually  had to rest on my couch for a bit before I could follow her exercises for tricpes and bicpes.    However the tape recommended only one  set of 10 reps with 1-2 lb weights.  I know I’m a newbie in exercise programs  but this didn’t seem like enoogh effort to  get the results I am hoping to see.  Next!

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Question:  Last week you wrote  about flaxseed meal.  What about flaxseed oil?  Its easier to use it in a salad dressing or take a few capsules then  figure ways to add it to food, but do I get the same health benefits?

Answer:  Awesome question!  Both Flaxseed meal and Flaxseed oil  are rich in linoleic acid and omega- 3– both linked to younger looking skin.   The studies on the general health benefits of flaxseed oil are impressive.  In the body, omega-3 is converted to omega -6, the oil that seems to fight aging, heart disease and cancer.  If you’re a vegetarian, vegan or  just don’t like fish, flaxseed oil is a  great source of this valuable nutrient.  Research  supports claims that flaxseed oil can  protect  bone health and reduce inflammation– important  since inflammation is such a big part of asthma, migraines and arthritis.  But wait, there’s more.  Flaxseed  oil is associated  with reduced risk of blood clots, heart attacks and colon cancer.  It can lower both  blood pressure and  cholesterol, reducing  need for statins and  blood pressure medication. 

  But there are definate drawbacks to  flaxseed oil.  First problem is the calorie count.   One tablespoon of  flaxseed oil has 100 calories, compared to less than 40 calories in flaxseed meal.  Processing the flaxseed meal into  the oil  also processes out  alot of valuable nutrients.  A scant tablespoon of flaxseed has about 2 grams of  of the  most desireable fiber, but the oil is fiber-free.  Processing  also removes the lignans, compounds that  have been shown to reduce risk of breast cancer and is believed one of the reasons that vegetarian women  have lower rates of cancer.  Flaxseed oil also strips  the seeds of  their  vitamin B1, protein and calcium payload.

And finally  flaxseed  oil has a very short shelf life.  Once you open a bottle of oil it becomes rancid very quickly.  It starts to smell like paint thinner, has a bitter taste and may actually cause a burning sensation on the tongue.  Refrigeration slows down  the process a bit, but you don’t want to add extra oil ( and calories)  to use it up before  it goes bad.  Flaxseed capsules, kept in the frig  may  avoid some of this problem, but I love the idea of  getting the health benefits of flaxseeds naturally in my food.

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So here are my  baseline photos.  I’ve done a lot of before photos, but these are definately the worst.  In the top photo I’m wearring  my favorite red dress and with my arms flat on my sides, I look  pretty good.  No bulges or sags.  However  I tend to move my arms to pick up a glass, wave a cab or tie on a scarf and then you can see  where  attention needs to be paid.   In the second picture you can see the wrinkly bits under the arms and the  skin hangs lose where the triceps are invisable.  In the third photo  I am actually trying  to flex my biceps on top and you can see there are no biceps.  The best I can say is that there is much room for improvement.

There are literally hundreds of trainers, books, and videos  that  PROMISE to help you lose weight and  shape-up.  Reputable experts  admit that spot exercises that aim to mold specific areas do not  reduce weight but  build muscle  for a better line.  When I  carried an extra ten pounds I didn’t even try to include weight bearing exercies, since I felt the extra fat would make  spot exercises pretty useless.  Currently I’m a trim size eight so its a perfect time  to test out body shaping. 

In the past my exercise plans started with a shopping trip to buy the right clothes, sneakers and equipment.  Some of the  experts recommend  using a big ball while others  swear  by rubber bands with handles.  Rather than go out for more toys,  this time I’ve decided to  start simply with  the set of three pound weights I already own and   concentrate on my triceps and biceps.  And rather than buying another book or video, I went online and downloaded some free exercises.  Trying to read the exercises, follow the instructions and watching my form in the mirror I managed to clonk myself  on  my forehead or  neck   with almost every  move.  Each move called for 2-3 sets of 10 reps and I kept getting clobbered.  Clearly I needed more  help.  Next I’m going to try  a video so I can follow along.

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This week  is the one year anniversary of Fashion Flash and its only fitting that the host this week are Fashion Flash founders  Jojami Tyler and Deborah Boland, the Glam Gals of Fabulous After 40. I was  a huge fan of their site when I first started blogging and meeting them at the More Reinvention Convention was for me  like meeting Oprah. They were as smart, charming and beautiful as they seemed  in their blog.  When we started to talk about ways we could work together, I was thrilled to be included in the development of Fashion Flash.  Its been an incredible year and now Fashion Flash  has nine members and gets a total of 7000,000 views a month. 

Personally, I have laughed and learned so much reading these amazing blogs each week.  With Glam Gal fashion advice, I  spend less and look better.  I don’t make those “what was I thinking’ fashion mistakes” and feel confident  wherever I find myself.  The Glam Gals   used baby steps to prod  me  of my all- black- all- the- time syndrome and now I get so many compliments on my teal green glasses and purple cashmere cardie– two things I would never  have brought  home without them.  FYI they  love to get specific questions from readers and answer everyone.

I LOVE the delicious and healthy recipes from Menopause Makeover and now keep portion size  tubs of  that  amazing chili in my freezer.  Kari of Fab Over 40 , IMO, has the best online  make-up advice, sorting out the best choices from a sea of products.  And I have to admit that I am addicted to starting my day to see what’s new on Fab Over 50.  She  has new posts everyday and  knows the best health and beauty experts across the country.  If you want a nutritionist in the mid-west or a dermatologist in Florida,  Fab Over 50 can get  you  to the right person.

But best  of all is the chance to meet online so  many wonderful women.  Its been wonderful to get your comments and your questions always   make me drill deeper into a topic.  I’ve learned so much  from all of  you and look forward to another amazing 52 weeks of  Fashion Flash.

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