Sunday, May 31, 2009

Secret Wonder: FOLATE (Folic Acid)

Common fact: folate (folic acid) is vital to take if you're pregnant. What you may not know, however, are the other perks of this B vitamin. Folic acid is necessary to take to have healthy DNA. Women who have higher levels of folic acid in their diet, have a much lower risk of getting breast cancer than women who don't eat enough foods rich in folate. You'll especially want to take the supplement if you drink alcohol on a fairly regular basis, since it has been proven that alcohol actually BLOCKS folic acid from helping DNA.

Folate can also help with depression, because it helps to balance mood-balancing dopamine and serotonin. In fact, people with a history of depression often have a lower level of folic acid in their blood. Make sure to take the supplements for a year.

Another bonus: Folate has been known to aid one's memory and brain function in postmenopausal women. Plan on taking folic acid daily for life, because its benefits are great!

How much: Take a minimum of 400mcg of folic acid, but no more than 1,000mcg.
What has it: A 3/4c. serving of Total cereal meets the daily requirement! It's also in spinach, broccoli, asparagus, orange juice, black-eyed peas, and fortified grain products and breads. A supplement is usually a good idea in addition to these foods, as you probably won't eat enough of one (besides Total!) to get enough. Definitely take a supplement if you're expecting to get pregnant soon.

Be sure to visit our health column for more tips on healthy foods to eat.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


BABYCAKES: Vegan, Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery by Erin McKenna (Clarkson Potter Publishers) came out this month. Attention those with food allergies: here's proof that you can bake your cupcake and eat it too. BabyCakes, the Lower East Side's beloved gluten-free, vegan bakery that opened in 2005, presents their famous, tried-and-true recipes for making scrumptious, healthy treats. Now, those who don't live right in Manhattan can enjoy these special, delightful concoctions, and you don't have to have allergies or be a vegan to enjoy them. Many people imagine baked goods made without eggs, wheat or dairy to be lacking moisture, texture and flavor. BabyCakes NYC (and now West Hollywood!) will force you to re-evaluate your previous notions of alternative baking. The cookbook features full-color photographs and recipes for biscuits, scones, teacakes, cupcakes & frostings, cakes, crumbles, pies, cobblers and drinks, and is sprinkled with celebrity fanmail about the bakery. I am not a vegan, nor do I have food allergies, but I adore these recipes, and BabyCakes' goodies will win over the pickiest of eaters. In case you're still skeptical: McKenna received the very prestigious "Best Cupcake" award in 2006 from New York magazine. Log onto BabyCake's website for more information.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BOOK WE LOVE: Fast Beauty

Fast Beauty: 1,000 Quick Fixes by Rona Berg (Workman Publishing), is the beauty guide you've been searching for, even if you didn't know you were! How do you get rid of your dark circles? How do you camouflage spider veins? What type of yoga is good for pregnant women? Why do you get breakouts on your scalp? Does an apple really make your breath smell better? Berg is a former beauty editor of The New York Times Magazine, and has also written for Vogue, InStyle and Cosmopolitan, so she's definitely picked up some tips and tricks. This 294-page manual is indexed by problem, and is packed with information and ideas. The author breaks down getting ready in the morning to the "five-minute," "two minute," and "30-second" face. Berg includes a whole chapter on "Hormonal Hang-ups," and covers topics like "The Natural Beauty Pantry," "stretching your products," "stress and medications," time-saving products," and "when to save, when to splurge." Discover new ways to use Elmer's glue, honey, coffee and lemons! Instead of buying magazines hoping that they will enlighten you as to why your lip gloss never stays on, check out this ultimate guide. Fast Beauty is probably the most useful beauty book I've ever seen, and its compact, 5" by 7" size makes it perfect to toss in the beach bag this vacation. There's helpful information for women of all ages and stages in life! To order this book, click here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Short on Cash? We Have Your Night Covered!

What's a fun-loving, social, recesssionista fashionista to do on a Friday or Saturday night? If you're attempting to save a few pennies, try a couple of these great ideas for evenings at home with your friends. :)

What you need:
-Large TV or a film projector and screen (or white wall)
-Lots of comfy seats and fluffy pillows
-Popcorn, wine, and maybe some homemade pizzas

You can start your own film club. Choose foreign films, comedies, or any assortment you like. Try making membership cards, and you can even punch holes in them to make it more "official."

What you need:
-A well-equipped kitchen (or just tell guests to bring certain items)
-Ingredients for your recipes
-A couple photocopies of some of your best recipes

You can make it into a "cook-off party" and provide kitchen-oriented prizes for the winners, but we just like getting together and making tasty goodies with friends. Switch around the houses for different taste adventures. The best part? At the end of the cooking fun, you get to eat delicious food. Provide good wine and beer, or fancy cocktails (check out our list on the website).

~ CLOTHING SWAP (or even try this as a CD or BOOK swap too)
We don't have as much money as we once did, but we're still bombarded by beautiful clothes. What's a girl who wants a little change in her wardrobe to do? HOST A CLOTHING SWAP!

What you need:
-Old clothing, jewelry and shoes you no longer wear but are still in good shape
-Smoothies & finger food (or you provide the drinks and ask others to bring a dish)

Have a girly evening and tell your friends to bring all the clothing, scarves, handbags, jewelry and shoes they don't want. Set up shelves and hangers (or just drape across the sofa!), and display the clothing so your friends can see each others' selections. Swap that blue shirt you wore twice for a "new" sun dress. Make strawberry banana smoothies, blueberry blackberry smoothies, and lay out an assortment of fancy finger food (homemade hummus with veggies, scallops wrapped in bacon, mini quiches, etc.). MMMM!

Do you play an instrument? If so, host a fiesta filled with good, lively music!

What you need:
- An instrument
- Outlets for instruments that need to be plugged in
- Friends and neighbors who play good music

Get together and play some music! This can last anywhere from an hour to four hours. Or, make flyers and post them around your neighborhood, inviting other musicians to attend. This also works well as an outdoor party in the summer. Provide some beer, and ask others to bring some beer and snacks too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Beauty Buzz: HCZ Loves BECCA Cosmetics!

I usually prefer lip gloss or balm over lipstick, but all that changed with the arrival of BECCA Sheer Tint Lip Colour. These emollient, antioxidant-rich lipsticks marry the moisturizing qualities of lip balm with the bold color of lipstick. The paraben-free shades provide subtle shine in a flattering variety of seven nude tones. Our favorites are Laelia, a peachy nude that's perfect for low-maintenance summer days, and sheer, rosy Vendela. Sheer Tint Lip Colour contains Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Honey and Vitamin E, making it go on so smoothly that you don't have to apply a balm underneath to keep it looking fresh, unlike other lipsticks. These lipsticks also smell good enough to eat with their natural vanilla caramel scent and come in sophisticated metal tubes!
For more information/to purchase, check out their website here. We also love their Silky Hydrating Primer, which is so creamy, it can even double as a moisturizer (perfect for summer).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tasty Goodies From Etsy: Mydecrepitvalentine

"My Delicious Decrepit Valentine Eats Goody Shop" on Etsy provides some of the tastiest baked goods available on the website. My Decrepit Valentine is a creative, artsy girl who makes treats to eat, and art to look at (maybe simultaneously!). Our favorites include the tasty, moist cinnamon bun and the pecan caramel sandwich cookies (bring those back!). Of course, you can't go wrong with the "Luscious White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pecan Cookies" either! The packaging is adorable, and she always includes some extras in the box. Make sure to pair these treats with a tall glass of milk and some of your best girlfriends. While you're visiting her Bake Shop, check out her artwork store too. Click here to view the cookies, cakes and candies, oh my!

Friday, May 15, 2009

How to Make the Perfect Mimosa for Spring/Summer

I love the fruity bubbles of Mimosas. Since you'll want to drink this on the beach, we made them a little lighter, but equally bubbly, with the addition of club soda (so you can have more of them over a longer period of time). These are great for those ladies watching their weight too!

Rub a Champagne glass with a slice of fresh orange peel, then throw the peel into the glass. Blend together roughly four ounces of Champagne (or any sparkling white wine), with one ounce each of fresh orange juice and club soda.