Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"It Just Feels So..."

Photo credit: Here
"It just feels so... So..."

"Vain," my friend laughed as she finished my sentence.

We had just realized that we both recently started going to dermatologists. I went at the urging of what turned out to be a chemical burn; she went at the urging of her beautician grandmother.

Leave it to a beautician to know -- my friend's grandmother was correct that the dermatologist could answer my friend's skin questions. And while I may have used the excuse of a blotch on my skin to get me in the door, once there I certainly took the opportunity to ask my skin questions as well.

Prior to my vist, I had read (as we probably all have) many fashion magazine beauty editors repeat over and over that going to a dermatologist for one's skin is akin to going to the doctor for any ailment: A doctor knows how best to address the problem. But even so, it always felt like something other people do... An indulgence I didn't need.

I am so happy to have been wrong. Surprisingly, the dermatologist told me my recent breakout would not be cured by the Proactiv+ I was using because it is not the right kind of treatment for my type of acne. That was shocking to me -- I had no idea a certain type of treatment would do nothing for my skin, and I certainly would never have figured that out without his expertise -- I would have thought I was just unlucky that my skin was not responding. He told me to throw it out and gave me two better options: Either buy an expensive brand he sold at his office, or take his recommendation for a very inexpensive brand sold at drugstores.

 It's possible the dermatologist saved me money by keeping me from continuing to buy products that would have little to no effect on my skin, but he absolutely saved me the frustration and time involved in testing those products out. In the end, it turns out that being a tiny bit "vain" can be very smart.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

By the Sea

Every year in August, the city empties out. Maybe it's a final hold-out from an era when wives would take the children to the country for all of the summer months, or maybe it's because August is traditionally the most sweltering (and therefore most stinky) of the summer months in New york City, or maybe it's simply because everyone suddenly realizes that summer has gone by far too quickly and we need a last hurrah. Whatever the reason, the end of summer can be a peaceful time if one stays behind in NYC.

This year, the end of summer was not a peaceful time in the city for me. After coming down with what seemed to be a really, really bad flu mid-August, I visited multiple doctors and was given all sorts of pills, creams and syrups, which helped enough to allow me to get out of bed, but not quite enough to manage much more. Thankfully, after several days of feeling miserable, I was at least well enough to hold my newly baptized godson, and to attend to my own plans of escaping the city for the end of summer.

As is the tradition, my family's last summer hurrah has been to enjoy a beautiful house on the ocean. To me, there is nothing better than the ocean to revive the spirit, and this year I think it helped to relieve me of my physical ailments as well. Here are a few pictures from my travels to the ocean along with some of those reviving moments by the sea…

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sick in the City

I've spent the last two days sick in bed. Usually, I'm quite proud of my solid immune system, but when I do get hit, it tends to be hard, and this is no exception.

In a city of over 8 million, we're bound to get hit with more germs than in the country. So, whenever I feel something coming on, I usually swear by Emergen-C with a drop of echinaeca, Advil, and hydrogen peroxide in the ears.

If you're not familiar with the approach, a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in each ear allowed to sit for ten minutes is a theory suggested to help clear up germs. It's really wild -- if the hydrogen peroxide is killing something, it bubbles and pops the same way it does on an infected cut, but you can feel and hear it so clearly in the ear. Sometimes it feels like a mini volcano. But even if there's nothing to kill, hydrogen peroxide also clears out ear wax more safely than a Q-tip does. Just don't do it too often, as some doctors warn that a little ear wax is good for helping to keep out germs.

There isn't much real data that confirms that any of my favored immune system boosters actually work, but I believe I've warded off many a potential cold with them. Unfortunately, they don't work every time, and it seems that these germs were just too strong. Now that I've been hit hard, I've been lucky to be taken care of well by my wife and my pup, but here are the other things that have been getting me through being sick in NYC, if you'd like to see...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Giveaway Winner!

Photo credit: Something New
Congratulations, Kelly H. for winning the Something New Jewelry Cleaner Giveaway!
(Kelly H, please email for details.)

Thank you to all who entered -- don't forget there's a free shipping code "Luxe" to use at checkout at Something New Jewelry Cleaner!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Frugal Food: Easy Coconut Shrimp

No-fry Coconut Shrimp
I don't like to cook, but it's usually healthier and less expensive than eating out, so I love finding things that can be made quickly and with only a couple ingredients I'm likely to already have on hand. This super easy coconut shrimp takes just a few minutes to make, and requires only three ingredients. Honestly, if I can't mess this up, no one can.

Not only is it super easy, but it's actually pretty healthy too -- shrimp is a lean protein, coconut oil is crazy healthy, and unlike many similar recipes, this one does not require frying the shrimp, using the broiler instead.

-Frozen cooked shrimp
-Coconut oil
-Unsweetened coconut flakes (This kind is sold at Fairway by the flours)
-Baking pan lined with tin foil

Put the shrimp in the bowl and run water over them to defrost them. They can sit in the water for a while to defrost a bit while other things for the meal are prepared like steaming veggies. This is also a good time to line the baking pan with tin foil and turn on the broiler.

Drain the water and add a tablespoon or so of coconut oil. The shrimp doesn't need to sit in a puddle of oil. Using your hands, roll the shrimp around in the oil until they're all coated, then add unsweetened coconut flakes as desired to the bowl, mixing up again. As each shrimp is placed on the tin foil, make sure it's covered in coconut flakes.

Once all the shrimp is on the tin foil, place the tray under the broiler for a few minutes. This time will change based on the size of the shrimp, but because they're already cooked, the shrimp is ready to come out when the coconut flakes turn golden and the shrimp is warmed through -- it should be under five minutes.

I like the coconut shrimp on its own with vegetables on the side, but it would also be great added to a salad. And since shrimp is delicious cold, this makes for either a fantastic dinner or a convenient lunch to pack up and bring to work or out on a picnic. Enjoy!