Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beach Chic Hamptons Style

Hamptons Style starts with a Classic Bikini: Cali Convertible Top, Catalina Bikini Bottom -Carve Designs of CA
One of the things I've always enjoyed about the Hamptons in the eastern part of Long Island is their classic easy charm and sense of style.  Whether you're vacationing at the beaches of East Hampton or the French Riviera, you can set yourself apart by taking a page from this elegant lifestyle that is uniquely New York. Starting with THE perfect swimsuit, the natural sea elements of Long Island beaches are seen in this Carve Designs Sand Dollar print. This lovely design reminds me of the large pebbled shoreline leading out to Long Island Sound. The swimsuit fabric itself has a UPF of 50+ and the Bikini Top has removable pads.

Ready for a day on the beach
If you don't have too much of a tan, you can fake one while still protecting your skin:

For Your Face: L'Oreal New Sublime Glow Daily Moisturizer + Natural Skin Tone Enhancer has a SPF of 15  This product evens skin tone and instantly brightens but will deepen your color within 3 days.
For Your Body: Jergens Natural Glow & Protect also gradually creates a natural looking tan while protecting your skin from sun damage with a SPF of 20.

HAMPTONS STYLE POINTS: Be sure to bring a classic pair of sunglasses.  They will protect your eyes from the sun and help prevent wrinkles caused by squinting. You really can't go wrong with a pair of original Ray-Ban Wayfarers.

Sol Cool Hoodie Cover by ExOfficio cools & has an UPF of 50
Resort-wear includes pieces to help you cover up once you're out of the water.  That's why we think this Sol Cool Hoodie by ExOfficio is GENIUS.  The fabric has a UPF of 50 but when wet, it is specially designed to cool you down.  Very light and flattering, you'll look exceptionally chic while keeping cool in the sun. This cover even has thumb holes, ruched sides and an invisible zipper to stow away some lip balm or other essentials.

HAMPTONS STYLE POINTS: Sitting around wrapped in a towel is fine for at home but when you're on the beach, cover up with something that looks fresh with a bit of structure.  This is especially the thing to do when leaving the water even if the beach is private.

A few extras for your beach vacation.
East Long Island beaches are known for their horrible biting flies. Sitting on the beach, they will come from out of nowhere to mercilessly bomb and bite you.  The bites HURT!  So I take along a few packets of Natrapel Insect Repellent which lasts for up to 8 hours. The little individual packets are airline friendly and go anywhere you do. 
If you do get bitten try Ssssting Stop by Boericke & Tafel made with natural Citronella. It really cools and lessens the redness, itch and pain of insect bites. 
I know you'll remember to bring your toothbrush but how about this little Dazzling White - Instant Whitening Pen?  Just the thing before you hit the restaurants and clubs after a day on the beach.
Boar Bristle Brush is especially kind to fragile, wet hair.  Try switching to a softer, natural bristle brush.
Suave 24 Hour Protection Deodorant is an invisible solid so it won't show up to ruin your sleeveless beach look. 
Sport Wash individual laundry detergent packets are perfect travel size.  Sport Wash eliminates odors and safely cleans swimwear and other delicate fabrics.

Sundress to impress: Carve Designs Crescent Dress in Rose Ikat

There is no better way to end a day on the beach than with the perfect sun dress.  Going and coming, it will be your best friend for a smooth transition to shopping in the village or attending a lawn party later on. Since my family lives in East Hampton, we would take the short walk from the house down to the beach with our swimsuits on under our summer clothes. Walking around town in your Bikini Top and Daisy Dukes is not the look you should aim for though!  Most restaurants in the village will not seat you and if they do, expect a bad table.

Sundresses are the way to go and this breezy Crescent Dress in Rose Ikat has so much going for it: Empire waist. V-neck. Semi-fitted with slight A-line skirt. Falls above knee and the cotton voile material is machine washable. This summer dress packs well & does not wrinkle.

HAMPTONS STYLE POINTS: Don't be afraid to don a straw hat like this one from Liz Claiborne.  Feminine, airy and lovely is the look you want!  Also nude or gold cork leather sandals by Børn Shoes NYC are amazingly comfortable and elongate your legs. Understated elegance, clean lines and nature inspired prints sum up this New York casual beach style.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Backcountry Cooking: Bicycle Picnic

August is National Picnic Month!  Add a healthy twist by packing & pedaling
Summer is the time for outdoor eating:  Cookouts, backyard barbecues, clam bakes, fish frys and picnics in the park.  Packing a wicker lunch hamper for the park was quite common in Victorian times.  Since there was no such thing as plastic cups and paper plates, they also packed the fine china right along for eating on the grass.  A movable feast!

Well, there's no reason to stay home as food packaging and utensils are much more high tech and lighter these days.  In fact all the foods, plates and camp stove fit in my Basil Jada Rear Basket with room to spare.  I did a lunch for two which included a delicious, hearty potato soup and barbecue sandwich with chips.  Keep in mind you can transfer this same technique to catering your own bicycle tour or campout. Here's how I pulled it off:

Camp stove set up to cook some Hearty Potato Soup by Augie Foods
I unpacked everything from our rear basket: Augie Foods Hearty Potato Soup, Trangia 27-5 Ultralight Camp Stove with Primus burner, Light My Fire Outdoor Meal Kit, Aurora Magnesium Fire Starter, cooking utensils.  After setting up the stove I lit the gas burner with the Aurora Fire Starter.  I adjusted the hose regulator and started my 1 cup of water boiling.

Once the soup starts to boil, it thickens quite quickly.

I used the Light My Fire stay dry cup to measure and hold the dry soup.  I then whisked the 1/4th cup of soup mix into my hot water and got it boiling. You need not bring anything but fire and water.  All of the ingredients are included in each of the delicious Augie Foods soups we tested: Cheddar & Broccoli, Chicken Flavored Stew.  They even carry a product called Ready Fuel which is gel based and allows you to heat water and cook without a camp stove.  We were being fancy today so we used the Trangia Set!

Cooking with a Primus gas burner is clean and efficient.

Another simpler version of this picnic lunch would be to cook the soup at home and pour it into an Insulated Klean Kanteen.  You would just need to bring bowls but I have to say the one that comes with the six piece Light My Fire set is exceptional.  It can be used for coffee as well but the ergonomic finger dents in the sides keep it from slipping in your hands.  Both the Light My Fire Outdoor Meal Set and the Trangia 27-5 are made in Sweden. We added a very tasty Barbecue Sandwich from Bridgford and Organic Blue Corn Chips and Rice Crisps made with Sweet Potato by Utz.

The finished meal with a little Barbecue Sandwich & Grandma Utz chips on the side

Augie Foods
We could not believe how scrumptious and satisfying the Hearty Potato Soup was! Big pieces of potato, celery and carrot, it does not taste like it came from a soup mix.  What will blow you away is that these soups will keep for up to 20 years in a cool dry place!

Bridgford Shelf Stable Sandwiches
The bread of the Bridgford Barbecue Sandwich was incredible. These are like gourmet Military MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) and can take high temperatures but still stay fresh.  They come individually packed in air-tight pouches and do not need refrigeration if unopened. These are a great idea if you do not want to bring ice packs and a cooler to keep your food cold.

Utz Snack Foods
Known in the east for their incredibly crispy potato chips, Utz has really kicked it up a notch. Their Organic Blue Corn Chips have just the right amount of salt but the fresh corn taste is what hooks you.  A new product for them are the Rice Crisps which are all natural brown rice tortillas. The kicker in these chips are the sesame seed and sweet potato ingredients that give them a rich, nutty flavor.

Everything to prepare our picnic lunch packs easily in this Basil Rear Basket.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pool Hair Fixes

Pool Hair can be cool hair, with a few quick tricks & fixes!

With record heat this summer, chances are you're like me and living in your pool.  It's a morning ritual.  I get up, put on my bathing suit, test the water and jump in.  Swimming is a great full body exercise that also helps to lower your core body temperature for added fat burning.  Well, there's no doubt swimming is super good for your body but what chlorine and other pool chemicals do to your hair is another thing.

Carve Designs of CA Vista Tankini Top and Cali Bikini Bottom both have UPF 50+
Freestyling-Get a Swim Cap
Take a cue from the Olympic swimmers and divers who spend a LOT of time in chlorinated pools.  They wear caps to decrease drag in the water for relays but they also serve to help protect their hair.  Speedo and other companies make lightweight, lycra and even silicone swim caps.  I have both but find the lycra / nylon ones to be easier to put on and more comfortable to wear. 

Products to help fix Pool Hair
Hair Care Products for Pool Heads
12 time Olympic Medalist Dana Torres shares my tip for keeping hair under control. Before putting on my swim cap, I like to rub a dab of conditioner in my hands and smooth it on my hair.  This gives me a little extra protection from pool chemicals that can make hair porous and damaged.  I like Keratin based conditioners, (Suave has a really good one) and Salma Hayek's Nuance line.
If you don't want to wear a cap, at least protect your hair from the the water and UV rays with a light coating of sun block. Hawaiian Tropic makes one with SPF 20 and shimmer so you can add a little sparkle to your locks while you're at it.  Prang!

Shower & Shampoo Out Chlorine
Chlorine is really the bad guy here.  It not only dries out your hair but for those of us with blond or lighter shades, it can turn your hair green.  Now unless that's the look you're going for, at the very least rinse your hair after you exit the pool.  We keep an outdoor shower poolside for just that purpose.  As soon as we get out, we spray off the pool chemicals at the Pocket Shower.  At the end of the day, you'll want to use a gentle chlorine removing shampoo like Ultra Swim which is clear and moisturizing.

Our outdoor shower helps to rinse the chlorine out of our hair
Be Gentle
You might want to switch to a softer boar bristle brush in the summertime.  These are also known as natural bristle brushes and work really well to distribute your natural oils along the hair shaft for extra protectionYou may find yourself wearing your hair pulled back in a bun with a bit of conditioner smoothed through.  That may be your "pool head" look for the summer but it worked for Coco Channel and that Bain de Soleil woman for years.  Keep in mind that whirlpools and hot tubs are also likely to be heavily chlorinated so you'll need to take the same precautions after spending time in them.

Hot tubs and whirlpools are also often chlorinated so be sure to rinse off after exiting.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Beach Body in 7 Days

Some clever cheats to make you look sleeker in just ONE week!
Oh no!  You've just gotten an invitation to a beach or pool party.  Take hold of yourself and don't panic.  All you need is ONE week to transform yourself into the swimsuit diva within.  So what's the crash plan?

We've already covered the benefits of dry brushing with a how - to video under Get Glowing: Dry Brushing but it bears repeating.  Use a simple boar bristle brush or loofah and brush arms, legs and torso with long strokes towards your heart.  Follow with a shower with a Clarisonic Body Brush. You should see a difference after three days, especially if you apply Skinny Tone afterwards.

If you're really in a hurry, you can cheat a lovely tan in a few hours with an airbrush.  We like Dinair's Sunless Tanning Airbrush Set.  This works especially well if you've already done the Dry Brushing routine as the tanning solution will go on much more evenly.

While you'll have to figure out which creams work best for your particular skin tone, a few drugstore brands I like include Jergens Natural Glow Series.  The Jergens Natural Glow FIRMING is what you want as it contains seaweed and will firm you up in about 7 Days.  The Jergens Natural Glow PROTECT has sunblock and will give you color plus UVA protection.

You can top off your sleek looking faux tan with a little shimmer which always gives you that healthy, beachy glow.  Victoria's Secret is known for using their own glittery products on their Angels lingerie models but you can take a page from them.  I like Hawaiian Tropic's Shimmer Effect which is a SPF 20 lotion sunscreen with mica minerals.  

A Nutritional Program for a sleeker you in 7 Days!
While I surely do NOT advocate crash or fad diets, this protocol is a healthy alternative to boost your metabolism, facilitate an inner cleanse and lower body fat all without losing important muscle mass.  Here's the food program to follow for one week:

Morning:  Upon awakening, take one Terry's Naturally Tri-Iodine Capsule.  This will jump start your metabolism for the day and give your thyroid the nutrition it needs to perform at its peak.

Breakfast is one 8 oz serving of Rainbow Light's WHEY Protein Energizer.  If you are really hungry in the morning, add 1/2 banana or 1/2 tbsp Natural Peanut, SunButter or coconut oil to the mix and blend.  

Lunch: Eat a normal, sensible lunch but take 1 tbsp of Saf Slim High Linoleic Safflower Oil just before you eat. 

Dinner: Same thing for your last big meal of the day.  1 tbsp of Saf Slim before dinnerFocus on lean protein and complex carbohydrates like non-starchy vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Snacks: Snacking is good, just pick low fat cheese, hard boiled eggs, raw vegetables and plenty of ICE COLD WATER.  I keep my Insulated Klean Kanteen filled with ice water for just that purpose.  Ice cold water boosts your fat burning ability more than drinking warm or room temperature liquids.

Exercise:  Aim for 30 minutes a day.  It can be cardio one day and lifting weights the next.  Just mix it up and get moving. 

Throw Them a Curve:

Here's another little secret from those Victoria's Secret Angels. Style Secrets Shaping Inserts.
Sometimes you just need to balance out things a bit. These shaping inserts hide under your favorite swimsuit top for added lift and shaping.  They look and feel like silicone implants but without the cost and risks.  Simply insert them in your favorite bikini top, (most higher end bathing suit tops have removable pads) and BOOM, instant curves. 

That's it!  Your new tanned look and weight loss will have you renewed without feeling deprived or losing important muscle tone.  Savor the Summer that's for you to enjoy with our video below.  Now are you beach ready?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Crabtree & Evelyn: Gardeners Set

Going on vacation?  Take this little hand pampering spa along with you!

Vacation time is just the right time for a little TLC.  We often spend a lot of time and effort maintaining our face and neck.  What about your hands?  This very useful Gardeners Set from Crabtree & Evelyn was a very special anniversary gift but would also make an excellent splurge for yourself!  This is true even if you're not into gardening.

These products are the most deliciously scented creams and scrubs, reminding me of another old revered English fragrance house, Pecksniff's of Brighton.

Here are the elements included in the Gardeners Set:

Hand Recovery - This smaller 0.9 oz tube holds a very concentrated exfoliant that scrubs away dead, dry surface skin cells.  It's oil based so it does not strip the skin of its natural moisture.  In fact the FIRST ingredient is Macadamia Seed Oil.

Hand Therapy - A very rich, yet light cream which features as its main ingredient, Macadamia Nut Oil.  Also includes extracts of Rosemary, Sage and Cucumber.

Hand Scrub with Pumice - This larger tube is more useful for lifting embedded dirt from the skin.  Remember, this is a gardener's gift set so effective soil removal is going to be essential.  The second ingredient is volcanic Pumice but it also contains a good amount of honey and aloe vera.  

Nail & Cuticle Therapy - One of the most welcome additions to the set is this special cream for nails and cuticles.  The main ingredients in this product are glycerin and shea butter.  A little goes a long way and the recommendation is to apply it after gently pushing the cuticles back with an orange stick.

Where to Buy?
You can order these wonderful products online from Crabtree & Evelyn or try Harmon's Beauty Supply Store which has begun carrying select items.

The lovely woven Crabtree & Evelyn tote can be used for garden tools or a trip to the beach! Scarf  by Oscar de la Renta. Garden Tools by Liberty of London