Doing it quick and dirty

Demi Moore in Charlie's Angels, she's fabulous! Can she keep that body doing it quick and dirty?Working out for only 20 to 30 minutes at a time is not a new concept. For years doctors and the heart association have told us we need that level of moderate aerobic exercise three times a week to maintain a healthy heart. Recently, they found that 40 minutes of walking at a moderate pace as often every week will help you reach the same fitness goals. But working out for 20 strenuous minutes — a quick and dirty regime — to get a truly hard body is a startling new concept.

The fitness chain Curves, which is not known for strenuous workouts or attracting hard bodies, has offered the “30 minute-circuit” as the centerpiece of their marketing plan for the past decade. While they seem to get results for older women and the overweight, they do not draw the ‘hard body’ crowd.  Friends who have tried Curves have given me mixed reports.
I mention Curves because — since moving to Atlanta several years ago — I am still searching for a program that works for me. Atlanta has lovely parks that many people enjoy, but I am not park person. I was used to clocking at least several city miles a day in my stilettos. I sadly miss that workout. A variety of factors make it impossible here; suffice it to say that Atlanta is not a walking city.
I have also been unable to settle into a gym. I tried one when I first moved here, but I quit after two weeks of oversized equipment, big men, and bad smells. Am I spoiled? You bet! In Toronto, I worked out at Christine’s Fitness, an all-women’s gym. It was spotless, with private dressing rooms and special equipment made for women. Large equipment is an issue when you are just five feet tall. It makes it impossible to execute movements correctly.
Darlings, with no false modesty, I arrived in Atlanta in fabulous shape. Once again I am starting from scratch in a new place with very different options than I am used to. This is a city of professional athletes with private trainers, LA Fitness, and Curves, so I am exploring.
If you follow the fitness industry you may have noticed quite a few articles recently about high-intensity cross-training. Much of this “new” kind of training is based on a study out of Canada that found that “short bursts of high-intensity sprints known to benefit muscle and improve exercise performance, can improve the function and structure of blood vessels, in particular arteries that deliver blood to our muscles and heart”. The study was led by Mark Rakobowchuk, a doctoral student in the study of human movement at McMaster University and published online in the American Journal of PhysiologyRegulatory, Integrative & Comparative Physiology.
To those us in search of the perfect workout, it means that trainers have started to develop programs that consist of bursts of high intensity exercise – with and without weights – to replace longer workouts. Most use a combination of squats, lunges, sprints and basic toning exercises done at a very fast pace. Those who have tried it say it is grueling and initially even painful, but effective. This system replaces 60- or 90-minute workouts with 20- or 30-minute stints in the gym.
Canada is not alone in the research of high-intensity workouts. A Scottish study focused on rehabbing the unfit and ill indicates that this type of exercise can improve your metabolism. According to the researchers in Scotland, the body’s ability to process sugars can get a big boost from regular high-intensity, three-minute workouts, which could reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
"What we have found is that doing a few intense muscle exercises, each lasting only about 30 seconds, dramatically improves your metabolism in just two weeks, " stated researcher James Timmons at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, in a news release. The study had 16 sedentary male volunteers use exercise bikes to perform quick sprints at their highest possible intensity, according a report by United Press International. Timmons added that doing any kind of high-intensity workout a few days a week should achieve the same protective metabolic improvements. The study appeared in the journal BMC Endocrine Disorders and is helpful knowledge for anyone looking to stay fit.
The “Tabata Protocol” is also creating buzz on the fitness scene, as time-pressed new moms, executives, and fitness fiends rediscover the workout system developed by and named after Izumi Tabata, Ph.D., a former researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya. The head coach of the Japanese speed-skating team developed the “interval” routine, shich consists of six to seven 20-second full-speed sprints interspersed with rest periods of 10 seconds.
Researchers in Japan tested the system rigorously and found it improved performance. Since then, all kinds of “Tabata Protocols” or workouts have shown up on the web. Some seem sensible, and many do not. Most are similar to the cross-training regimes now being promoted for these new fast workouts.
Quick and dirty workouts appeal to hard bodies who are willing to put up with a little pain for the gain; they want to cut their time in the gym and still get results.
Undertaking any intense type of fitness training would be foolhardy and dangerous — if you are not in peak shape. Check first with your doctor and/or consulting an established trainer. All trainers are not equal. It is better to buy a few sessions from an experienced pro than to get a cheap deal from some beginner who may get you hurt. Trust me darlings, cheap trainers are not to be trusted. Beware of mass market gyms.
I am serious about regaining my pre-Atlanta fitness level. I may have to design a new home program, as my preferred type of “ladies-only” gym does not seem to exist here. But, I am definitely going to add some quick and dirty workouts into my new fitness plan.



High-tech beauty at home

Tanda starter kitThere is no shortage of high-tech beauty treatments. You can find lasers to tone and tighten your skin, remove age spots and treat acne at your doctor’s office. Now you can also buy a system that claims to give you a high-tech edge at home. I recently tried the Tända Regenerate Anti-Aging device. I have been intrigued by these devices for a long time. Light technology to heal cells was originally developed as part of the space program. It is now part of the mainstream medicine. You will find light devices used in physical therapy, dermatology, and plastic surgery.

Home devices such as the Tända are no substitute for treatments offered at your doctor’s office, but they can be an effective option. I have been using my Tända for several months and have noticed a subtle improvement in my skin. It won’t replace my doctor, but then my Whitestrips haven’t replaced my dentist. I wouldn’t give up either one. Why should I?
If you are interested in optimal skin care, don’t miss a word of this informative interview with the experts at Tända.
DD: How does the Tända work to tighten and reduce fine lines skin? Does it help to increase collagen?
Tända: The science behind using red light therapy for skin rejuvenation is as follows. Light energy is absorbed by the cells, increasing the level of ATP or adenosine triphosphate which is the vehicle for delivering energy or fuel to the cells. By delivering increased energy to the surrounding cell tissue it triggers a systemic effect, improving overall cellular health.
Specific therapeutic effects of red light therapy include: increased cellular energy, increased micro circulation, a reduction of swelling and inflammation and increased production of collagen and elastin. The therapeutic effects result in the minimization of fine lines and wrinkles and smother, softer, firmer skin.
DD:  Can you explain the recent study that showed an increase in hydration levels?
Tända: A study was commissioned to evaluate the effects on hydration and Trans-Epidermal Water Loss, or TEWL, after using the Tända Regenerate Anti-Aging device over a period of 14 days.   The findings showed that after seven days of use with Tända Regenerate, skin hydration increased by a statistically significant eight percent. After 14 days of use, skin hydration increased by 15 percent.  TEWL findings showed a decreased in TEWL of nine percent at day 14. 
DD:  Is the Tända strong enough to really improve the skin?
Tända: Light therapy is proven technology that has been used successfully in clinics for more than 35 years. The Tända skin care system is designed with proprietary technology that delivers clinical levels of light in a convenient, user-friendly device.
The efficacy of the Tända Skincare System and light therapy in general has been supported by several clinical and user preference studies. 
DD: What is the difference between the red light Tända and blue light Tända?
: Different colors and wavelengths of light have different effects on a cellular level.  Tända Regenerate delivers a 660 nm. wavelength of light to increase cellular energy and micro circulation, reduce swelling and inflammation and increase production of collagen and elastin. This wavelength of light penetrates approximately 5 mm. into the dermis, diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while improving skin color, texture, firmness and hydration.
Tända Clear delivers a 414 nm. wavelength of light, killing acne-causing bacteria which can lead to mild to moderate inflammatory acne. This wavelength of light penetrates approximately 1.5 mm. into the skin. Tända Clear Acne Light Therapy Treatment does not need to penetrate as deep as Tända Regenerate because acne-causing bacteria live mainly in our pores and the surface of the skin.
DD: Is the Blue light Tända similar to the blue light acne treatments in dermatologist’s offices?
Tända: Yes, the Tända Clear Acne Light Therapy Treatment uses the same technology as in-clinic machines used by dermatologists. In fact, Tända Clear delivers the same clinical levels of blue light to kill the P.acnes bacteria, treating and preventing acne.
DD: If you are experiencing acne and the signs of aging together, as many women do in their thirties and forties, can you use the red and blue light treatments at the same time?
Tända: Yes, the Tända light therapy device has a patent-pending modular design that is ideal for customers looking for multiple skin benefits. 
When treating anti-aging and acne at the same time, the user should start with the Tända Clear Acne Light Therapy Treatment and then exchange the treatment head and continue with the Tända Regenerate Anti-Aging Light Therapy Treatment. 
The Tända device’s interchangeable treatment heads provide excellent value for one person or multiple people in a household. 
DD: Can you burn or hurt yourself with Tända? Can you overuse the Tända?
Tända: No, the Tända device has been designed to be safe, easy and effective for use at home. One of the features is a temperature sensor in the treatment head.  Under normal operating circumstances the temperature remains under 105.8 degrees F.  If the temperature exceeds 105.8F the device will turn off.  Treatments can be continued after five to 10 minutes. 
There is no evidence of harmful side effects from using the device for longer periods of time. The protocols developed for each solution have been designed to maximize the efficacy in the most convenient period of time.
DD: How long does it take to see an improvement with Tända, to look fresher and firmer or to clear acne?
Tända: Results with Tända Clear may be seen in as little as 24 hours. When used daily, Tända Clear can actually prevent breakouts.
What to expect with Tända Clear Acne Light Therapy Treatment:
First 24 Hours:
During treatment users will feel a warm sensation on the skin that some have described as calming. Many users experience a decrease in blemish size.
After one week of treatment:
Most users will start to see a decrease in the number of blemishes. The majority will also see a reduction in redness and skin oiliness, and will begin to see an overall improvement in skin condition.
After two weeks of treatment:
The number of acne lesions continues to decrease and overall skin condition improves as the skin clears.
Full results with Tända Regenerate can be seen after 30 days of everyday use, however many people experience benefits much sooner.
What to expect with Tända Regenerate Anti-Aging Light Therapy Treatment:
During treatment:
Users will feel a warm sensation on the skin that some users have described as calming. Many users experience an increase in hydration and skin comfort immediately.
After one week of treatment:
Most users will start to see an improvement in skin texture while the majority of users will see an increase in the healthy feel of their skin and an increase in skin smoothness.
After two weeks of treatment:
A vast majority of users will see a reduction in the overall signs of aging, particularly an increase in skin firmness.
After four weeks of treatment:
After four weeks of treatments, users will see overall better skin condition compared to before treatment with Tända Regenerate. This includes an improvement in the healthy appearance of the skin and a reduction in the appearance in fine lines and wrinkles.
For more information:

A new classic

Natural skin care from Greece, it’s a favourite of Scarlett Johansson and Eva MendesHave you heard about Sponge Skincare, the gorgeous new beauty regime from Greece? It’s a favourite of Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes, both known for their glowing complexions. I confess that I too have become devotee of this lush organic hand-crafted line. Thirty years of research has gone into creating the Sponge Skincare’s line, which is best-known for products such as ladi avonkanto or green gold, which is an avocado anti-aging oil.

It’s made of antioxidant-rich avocado oil. Full of Vitamins E and D, it penetrates the skin and absorbs UV rays. The non-greasy oil helps regenerate the skin and inhibit bacteria. It also moisturizes and accelerates the healing processes. My skin responded almost immediately to its healing properties and was left soft, radiant, and porcelain-looking.
Before using ladi avonkanto, I spritzed on aromatotherapia giasemi, a refreshing mist for the mind and body. I am currently using the calming and uplifting jasmine mist. Jasmine prevents inflammation as well as being softening and moisturizing. It contains olive leaf, an ingredient I have recently become familiar with, that has been used holistically for thousands of years. It is naturally soothing and healing.
Krema Mattia, anti-aging eye cream is a light but effective formula of olive oil, olive leaf and vitamin seed grape seed liposome.
Gel Mattia, firming eye gel is designed to reduce dark circles and puffiness with chamomile, lime blossom and grape seed liposome. Chamomile has the ability to calm. Lime Blossom regenerates, softens, and hydrates.
In both eye formulas grapeseed acts as natural antioxidant and promotes circulation.
These natural products are part of a soft effective, chemical-free approach to anti-aging.
All the products in the line have natural formulas of botanical careful research for Maxine healing. Many of the products all have a base of olive oil and oil leaf which are naturally healing and nourishing. The herbs are all organic, and there are no chemicals, preservatives, or parabens. There are 11 items to beautify and pamper the face and body using timeless holistic principles.
Sponge Skincare is a soothing mind-body regimen for the woman who enjoys taking care of herself. The products are sensual and pleasurable to use. 



Simply the best

Fragrant tea eco-packed in linen sacks with self-pack teabagsI adore a good cup of jasmine tea so much I have spent a small fortune on it over the years. Recently, I tried fabulous Smooth Jasmine Green Tea from Village Tea. Really darlings, this smooth, floral and fresh brew is the best I have had in quite a while — all you could want in jasmine tea and more. The green packaging keeps the tea fresh while being totally recyclable and reusable. The brilliant concept consists of three neat little linen bags; you serve the tea from them into teabags Village Tea gives you to make single non-messy servings. A large canister costs $11.95, which is not pricey for this type and quality of tea.

If you are not mad for jasmine green tea, they have many of other varieties such as Rooibos, Earl Grey, White Tea, and a tea sampler. Village Tea is all about good things to drink. That is why they are the hot celebrity tea at the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Remember, this makes a great gift for friends on March 8th, International Women’s Day!

What the Gossip Girls are buzzing about

Gossip Girl star Blake Lively has been seen prepping on the set of her show with The SocializTwo silver pens erase signs of late nightser, a two-part, or “duo”, eye renewal system by Elizabeth Grant. Blake learned this handy bit of eye magic can make all signs of a late night disappear. We’ve heard that Ginnifer Goodwin of Big Love is a fan too.

I like to pop The Socializer Bright Lights pen in my bag on busy days. It’s handy for touch-ups. I would rather add more moisture to my face than more make-up. Being up late night for work or play is not a problem with The Socializer Bright Lights. Now you can go straight from owning the bar –or studying for it — to the boardroom without worry. The Socializer Bright Lights has all the hydrating, cooling, soothing, de-puffing, dark circle-erasing illuminating action anyone could want in one tiny tube. A swipe of The Socializer Bright Lights and you can face the world bright-eyed every day and no one will ever know how you spent your night. Along with the soothing and depuffing ingredients tiny mica particles reflect light on to your face to help disguise dark circles and fatigue. It’s brilliant.

The Socializer Late Nights pen helps to erase the telltale signs of too much fun and too little sleep. Apply it before you crash and wake up looking fresh and dewy.
 The secret is “ulva lactuca” an unique algae that helps improve the skin’s elasticity and increase collagen synthesis, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and regenerates skin allantoin to relieves irritated skin. Chamomile soothes and calms the skin.
The Socializer by Elizabeth Grant is a sleek silver cylinder with two little pens full
of powerful potions that will help you make the scene any time.  


Stop cervical cancer

Three universally flattering shades help stop a deadly diseaseDo you know that cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of the dreaded disease? Left untreated it can compromise your fertility and even kill you, but it can be detected by a simple Pap test. After you are sexually active, you need a pap test every three years, if your results are normal. In Canada, your family doctor may do the test. If you are in the U.S. and don’t have insurance, you can go to a free clinic. Planned Parenthood or friends can help you find one.
If you avoid your required check-up because you don’t like your doctor — and we do this, darlings — get a new doctor. A friend can help. I know there are wait lists, but it is too important, so get a doctor you like and trust.
HPV, or human papillomavirus, causes 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. It also may cause other potentially deadly cancers. You need to get checked out because it can be treated. There is an effective vaccine to prevent it. It is not just for young girls, but you may have to pay for it. Talk to your doctor. Be smart and get informed. This is a highly contagious and serious sexually-transmitted disease. 
A great organization called is trying to raise awareness about cervical cancer. The site has lots of good information about the disease. A beautiful way to support the and help raise awareness of cervical cancer is to buy celebrity make-up artist Debra Macki’s Mineral Eye Shadow Palette. It comes in soft skin-flattering shades of highly-pigmented minerals. It sells for $38, and 80 percent of the proceeds go Yellow Umbrella. You can buy it from Remember, this makes a great gift for friends on March 8th, International Women’s Day!

Fluff your locks

If you hair falls flat then you may want to try Phyto Phytovolume Actif Maximizing Volume Spray – Fine Limp Hair.  This light and lovely product lifts fine hair and give it fullness that is “oh so” French and fabulous. Used on wet hair, keratin amino proteins and wheat extracts boosts the thickness of thin strands. It helps hair hold style and fullness, and it’s also ideal for updos.About $28

Tangy ruby salad

Tangy ruby salad of pomegrantes and walnutsPomegranates are ruby red and bursting with health-giving goodness – and that is not just purple prose. Pomegranate juice and oil are full of antioxidants, catechins, Vitamin C, and a host of things to keep you young and healthy. It also can help lower cholesterol and fight heart disease, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. It’s also been shown to help to inhibit dental plaque, lower blood pressure, and ward off viral infection. That is one impressive fruit.

Pomegranates are delicious. I have enjoyed them for years, long before the marketing mania of POM juice, but I thrilled to know they are so good for us. The seeds have a fresh citrusy flavour. You can buy them ready to eat by the bag or the tub-full at most markets this time of year.
This recipe for a tangy, healthful salad that is a snap to make — and almost too pretty to eat. It uses my favourite apple cider vinegar and walnuts. Walnuts have a great punch of Omega 3 nutrition. They’re also fabulous for your skin and hair – especially after the dry winter months. Think of this as the most elegant health food you can serve at a chic party or for dinner tonight.
For two large portions or four appetizer-sized portions:
Wash and dry a crisp head of lettuce such as romaine, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces. Wash and dry a half cup of radicchio, also cut into bite-sized pieces. Toss with vinaigrette. Add the seeds from one fresh pomegranate and 1 tsp. kosher salt, and toss well.
To remove the seeds, cut the pomegranate in quarters, twist, and pull out the membrane. Most seeds will fall away. You may need to pick out some of the tough membrane. It very bitter, so be careful to remove it. Twist the pom sections over a bowl of the lettuce, so the sweet juice falls into it. Or just open a fresh bag or tub of seeds and sprinkle them!
Toss everything together and arrange it on plates. Garnish with ¼ to 1/8 cup of walnuts per person.
Mix well:
1 small clove of crushed garlic
¼ cup of organic apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. wild clover honey or any type of honey you like. If the honey is hard to dissolve, heat it briefly in the microwave or run a little hot water over the container.
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne
Add and shake or mix well:
½ cup of good olive oil
Remove the garlic before serving.