Watermelon-palooza!

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Sunday, August 3 is National Watermelon Day, and we have set out make sure this fruit gets the respect it deserves.

Watermelon is low in calories, ( about 46 per cup) and high in health benefits.  As its name suggests, it is 93% water, making it incredibly hydrating.

It also packs a healthy dose of vitamins C, B1 and B6 and potassium, among others. It’s rich, red hue means it is also full of the antioxidant lycopene, which is also found in tomatoes.

When selecting a watermelon, look for a symmetrical and unblemished melon that feels heavy for its size. When turned over, there should be a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground during the ripening process. If the spot is green, or white, it is not yet ready to be eaten. Always wash and dry the outside of the melon before cutting.

While most of us think of eating watermelon in its purest form, it is actually a very versatile fruit. Not only is the juicy, pink flesh edible, but the seeds and rind are as well.

Here are some great ideas for preparing watermelon:

The melon is easily cut in half and hollowed out to use as a decorative bowl for fruit salad. The flesh can be scooped into balls, or cut into chunks and put back into the hollow rind. Add other fruits for variety, or enjoy it alone.

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Watermelon salad is a novel way to start a meal. Cut the watermelon into chunks, and sprinkle it with lime juice. Toss in some chopped fresh mint leaves, and some crumbled feta cheese.

For a refreshing cocktail, puree the watermelon and strain it through a sieve. Mix it with lime juice, triple sec and a shot of vodka and serve it icy cold.

Make a cold soup out of watermelon, ginger, and fresh mint. Freeze watermelon chunks until firm. Dice some fresh peeled ginger and add it to a pan of water with about 1/2 cup of sugar and simmer until the sugar dissolves and becomes a simple syrup. Put the watermelon into the blender, and puree. Add the warm syrup and blend until mixed. Add more water until the desired consistency is reached. Add a handful of mint leaves and continue to blend another minute.  Taste to adjust sugar and ginger accordingly. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with more diced ginger or mint leaves.

The rinds of the melon can be pickled. Cut off the fleshy pink part and reserve for another use. Peel off the dark outer layer of skin, and cut the light green rind into chunks. Boil the pieces in salt water for about 5 minutes until softened. Combine 2 tablespoons of salt, 2 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar, a handful each of black peppercorns and whole cloves, a couple of cinnamon sticks, a heavy pinch of  allspice and ground ginger in a pot and boil until the sugar dissolves.

Pour mixture over the rinds and cover the bowl to keep them submerged. Refrigerate overnight.  Strain the liquid into a pot and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture over the rinds and refrigerate overnight again. Repeat this process 1 or 2 more times and keep the finished rinds in jars until ready to eat.

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If all of this sounds daunting, have no fear. Head on over to your local Pinkberry to celebrate National Watermelon Day by enjoying their special Watermelon Cooler, a refreshing combination of their original tart frozen yogurt topped with freshly made crushed watermelon puree. Even better, each customer that purchases a medium sized yogurt has a 1 in 10 chance to receive it free! Every 10th cup is specially marked and whoever gets the marked cup gets their yogurt for free. Yum!

Happy Watermelon Day!

Photos: top: Glasshouse Images

Bottom photo courtesy of Pinkberry

iPhone Dependence

For the last few months, I have been traveling non-stop for work. I run a business off of my iPhone. For me, that little rectangular screen is my link to the world. I have multiple email accounts, a phone, my calendar, an address book of contacts, a clock, the weather and even access to my gym and more, all in this handheld device.
On Saturday, I tossed it in my bag, tucked the bag under my arm and 15 minutes later, when I reached for my phone (to get loyalty points at the fish market, no less), it was gone. I turned the house upside down, although I knew I had just unplugged it from the charger before I left. Clearly, I was pick pocketed. I called it, and tried the “find my phone” app, but it was turned off.Game over.

Being just weeks away from upgrade eligibility, and not wanting to spend hundreds of dollars extra for the same item, I called AT&T for help. While they graciously agreed to let me purchase the phone for $199, vs. the $649 charged at the store if you are not in the upgrade window, I had to agree to wait for them to ship the phone to me. I embarked on a business trip, sans phone and proceeded to function as best I could, without the benefit of technology.

Without the easy access to check the weather, I left the house dressed for the temperatures in New York. While the sun was shining and it was projected to be sunny and in the low 60′s there, in Boston, it is damp, grey and freaking cold! My train was delayed and I could not call the car service to let them know I would be late.

When I arrived, I quickly logged in and out of multiple email accounts. I recreated my calendar on paper to account for the next few days of meetings. I emailed people to let them know I would not be easily accessible for the next few days. I even asked one of my contacts  to email me the day before our appointment as a reminder, since I didn’t have a calendar to put them in.

I hope I wake up in the morning, without my alarm to help me along. I am not sure I will be able to workout, without music to facilitate my run on the treadmill, or my circuit training app to spur me on. Forget my food and exercise diary, or twitter for that matter. I even had to contact a client to get the log in information for their social media accounts which I manage.

Don’t expect a call, as I have no record of your number, my passwords for almost anything, or a reminder to take care of things. In fact, if you need me, just write a letter and mail it to me. I am out of commission.

On the other hand, there is something nice about just living in the present, away from the constant need to check email, keep up with the Joneses on Facebook, or photograph dinner.

It is amazing how I spent a good part of my adult life without the benefit of portable technology. I finally got a cell phone when I had a child and wanted to be reachable at a moment’s notice. Shortly thereafter, my company purchased Blackberries, and the madness began. While many people were not yet using them, there was a constant stigma to “put away the Crackberry,” as we often called the addictive little device. Then came the iPhone, which disrupted the entire population by providing easy access at the touch of a screen.

Men and women, young and old, are now tethered to their devices, on the street, in the car and out in public. It is not unusual to be in a meeting, or even a restaurant, with everyone sitting around the table, punching frantically away on their smart phones. Even the bathroom is no longer a sacred place.

At what point is technology a good thing, and when do we realize as a society, that we have gone too far?  So far, I am 3 days into my smart phone cleanse, and I am happy to report that I am functioning, albeit slightly inconvenienced. With my laptop at the ready, I have to admit that it isn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be.

I often reach for it instinctively, and realize it’s gone. Then I step back and find a way to accomplish what I need to do the “old school” way, and for now, it’s working out just fine.

How dependent on your smart phone are you?

Unsubscribe

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This week, outraged magazine readers fought back and opted to unsubscribe from their favorite monthlies over a disagreement with the editor in chief’s choices.

First it was Vogue. People love to hate Kim Kardashian, and when Anna Wintour put her and fiancé Kanye West on the cover of this month’s issue, the backlash was strong and swift. Many readers began campaigns to cancel their subscriptions, citing that Ms. Kardashian had no right to earn the highly coveted spot. She is not a model, reached fame through a homemade porn video,and has displayed questionable fashion sense in the past. She is not only one of the most “disliked” people in the business, she is also one of the most talked about.
It is always mind boggling to me, that every time a website posts a story about Kim Kardashian, a plethora of people take the time to log in, and post a derogatory comment. First of all, websites measure click throughs and comments to gauge the popularity of a post. Each of those people clicked through, presumably read the article, and then logged in, often to tell the site that they don’t care about her and that they should stop featuring her. Those click throughs and comments all add up, and send the editor and cyber bean counters a very different message.

While we are here, let me ask you another question? When was the last time a model graced the cover of your favorite fashion bible?
Uh-huh. Not recently. Celebrities, i.e. actresses and musicians sell more magazines at the newsstand than models. Models all want to be actresses anyways (and then they get their cover stories!) actresses all want to be fashion designers, and who knows what designers want to be anymore. Kim Kardashian and Vogue just experienced a huge PR boon, thanks to all the articles, interviews and Facebook posts that came about from people expressing dismay over her cover story.

A few days later, Self magazine came under fire. They featured a photo of 2 women running a marathon in tutus, and ridiculed the look. When readers discovered that one of those women was a cancer victim and made the tutus to raise money to fight the disease, they were outraged. Self’s editor in chief, Lucy Danziger issued a quick apology, which riled up her readership even more. She subsequently spoke to the women personally, and wrote a very positive article about her. Tutu sales jumped to the point that they cannot accept anymore orders. Readers responded with threats to cancel their subscriptions.

Had this women not been a cancer patient, and her choice of running attire not been philanthropic, would the outcry have been so strong? This is a magazine about women embracing their bodies and pursuing good health through diet and fitness. Is making fun of women running in tutus keeping true to the message the magazine hopes to convey? Anyone who trains for and completes a marathon is a role model. If doing so in a tutu provides motivation, we say “go for it!” Ms. Danziger not only apologized for the faux pas, but offered to work closely with the women to support her cause. She also brought great awareness to tutu project, which in turn brought them more orders. We all make mistakes, and this was a big one. It was also resolved to the best of the magazine’s ability. Isn’t that enough?

We are living in a world where we are so spoiled, that if a magazine features something that doesn’t suit us, we retaliate. How different is this to packing up our dolls and dishes and going home when we were 5 years old and our friend didn’t want to play the way we did?

We have a right to our opinions and a thanks to the internet, a forum to express them whether anyone wants to hear them or not.

Only time will tell if the magazines in question had any significant decline to subscriptions, or if the additional press served to sell more ad pages.

Now that that is cleared up, feel free to go back to postulateing  about Gwyneth Paltrow’s “conscious uncoupling,” until someone else does something you can complian about.

photo: Glasshouse Images

You Are All Invited!February 23, 2014I am hosting a fundraiser for Cycle for Survival this Wednesday night and you are all invited! We have an amazing line up of musicians, comediennes, complimentary snacks, cocktails and a few special raffle prizes! (perhaps a designer handbag or two?) It’s at Bongo, a great mid-century modern lounge in the West Village that you all should know about. They have an amazing view of the Hudson River, and the best lobster rolls in town!
We have added more artists since the invite was created, so look out for Polly A., (formerly performing as Meleni Smith), and the musical comedienne, Ben Lerman. You can check them both out on Spotify. They will be joined by the incredible Iman Europe and her beautiful, soulful vocals, and Cecilia Gault, whose talent far exceeds her years. We are thrilled to have Eric Schwortz of Nature Cruise doing a solo set, as well as local faves Laura DeLucia and Aaron Giata, and Mike Hubbard. And if your stomach hurts from laughing at Maribeth Mooney, don’t say you weren’t warned. Stay tuned, because you never know what else is up our sleeves!We are also grateful to Glasshouse Images for their support of this special event.If you are in New York, please come by and enjoy the festivities, while contributing to a very worthy cause.If you can’t join us, but would like to donate to Cycle for Survival, to help the amazing folks at Memorial Sloane Kettering Hospital fight rare cancers, please click here. All proceeds from the event will go directly into research, and no gift is too big or too small.I hope to see you on Wednesday night. Be sure to come by and introduce yourself, AND SPREAD THE WORD!!You can have a great time, while fighting cancer…sounds like a win/ win situation to me!

You Are All Invited!
February 23, 2014
I am hosting a fundraiser for Cycle for Survival this Wednesday night and you are all invited! We have an amazing line up of musicians, comediennes, complimentary snacks, cocktails and a few special raffle prizes! (perhaps a designer handbag or two?) It’s at Bongo, a great mid-century modern lounge in the West Village that you all should know about. They have an amazing view of the Hudson River, and the best lobster rolls in town!

We have added more artists since the invite was created, so look out for Polly A., (formerly performing as Meleni Smith), and the musical comedienne, Ben Lerman. You can check them both out on Spotify. They will be joined by the incredible Iman Europe and her beautiful, soulful vocals, and Cecilia Gault, whose talent far exceeds her years. We are thrilled to have Eric Schwortz of Nature Cruise doing a solo set, as well as local faves Laura DeLucia and Aaron Giata, and Mike Hubbard. And if your stomach hurts from laughing at Maribeth Mooney, don’t say you weren’t warned. Stay tuned, because you never know what else is up our sleeves!

We are also grateful to Glasshouse Images for their support of this special event.

If you are in New York, please come by and enjoy the festivities, while contributing to a very worthy cause.

If you can’t join us, but would like to donate to Cycle for Survival, to help the amazing folks at Memorial Sloane Kettering Hospital fight rare cancers, please click here. All proceeds from the event will go directly into research, and no gift is too big or too small.

I hope to see you on Wednesday night. Be sure to come by and introduce yourself, AND SPREAD THE WORD!!

You can have a great time, while fighting cancer…sounds like a win/ win situation to me!

Golden Girls

The ladies of the music world positively glowed in gold as they made their way across the red carpet:

Chrissy Teigen channeled old Hollywood glamour in her gorgeous gold gown by Johanna Johnson.

Taylor Swift went platinum in  shimmer by Gucci.

Amber Rose rocked golden stripes by Naeem Kahn.

Chiara brought maternity glam to the red carpet in her Emilio Pucci devoré gown.

Rita Ora wore a simple Lanvin frock in gold with a patina effect.

How Much Should I Eat?

January is the most popular month to start a diet and exercise regime, as many resolve to get in shape in the coming year.
While it may be widely known that cutting calories is the key to weight loss, most of us don’t know how many calories we need in the first place.

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Each of us has our own magic number: the number of calories our body needs just to exist. Even if you lay on the couch all day long, you need energy to keep your body functioning. That amount is called your basel metabolic rate, or BMR. This can be calculated using the Harris-Benedict equation for women:

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BMR= 655+ (4.35 x current weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years). By plugging in your height, weight and age, you will determine the total number of calories you need to exist. Next, multiply your BMR by your activity factor, as estimated below, to get the total number of calories needed per day.

Sedentary: minimal movement: multiply by 1.4

Minimal: office work or 1 hour of moderate activity per day: 1.5

Moderate: Light physical labor during the day, such as light housework, and an active lifestyle: 1.6

Very Active: Athlete, active military personnel, or heavy laborer: 1.9

This new number is amount of calories needed to maintain your current weight.
To lose weight, you need to eliminate calories through consuming less, and/or burning more through activity.

You need to eliminate 3500 calories to lose one pound. With a healthy goal of losing one pound per week, that means you must eliminate 500 calories per day. Most doctors and nutritionists caution against eating less than 1200 calories per day, to maintain good health.
It is a good idea to use a food and activity journal app to help accurately estimate the calories you are consuming, and how many you are burning through exercise.



photos: Glasshouse Images

Red Carpet Color Watch

Awards season is in full swing, and the ladies of the Golden Globes had their share of red carpet hits and misses.Among the standouts were the beautiful  shades of red and coral that turned up in some the the most stunning looks of the evening.

Lupita Nyong’o wowed in a dramatic Ralph Lauren gown with cape-like sleeves.

Julia Louis- Dreyfus channeled old Hollywood in her simple, yet sexy scarlet gown by Narciso Rodriguez.

A very pregnant Drew Barrymore wore scattered blooms by Monique Lhullier.

Taylor Swift shunned her usual sparkles for a beautiful bicolored Carolina Herrera ball gown.

Kyra Sedgwick glowed in coral.

Amy Adams’ Valentino gown in red and burgundy, may have been one of the simplest, yet most striking looks of the night.

Emma Watson was youthful and trendy in her backless Dior coral dress over skinny black pants .

Biker Chic

Biker influences were all over the Fall 2013 runways this season. From takes on the classic Perfecto motorcycle jacket in black leather, to the loosely interpreted hybrids, it seems biker chic is a trend to watch.

Sacai was a much buzzed about collection during Paris fashion week. Designer Chitose Abe merged familiar elements with one another to create unique versions of fall favorites. The teal double-breasted princess coat with an inset leather front bearing classic motorcycle jacket details is a feminine and modern twist on the expected.

Consuelo Castiglioni took an austere approach at Marni this season, showing strict cuts and angular silhouettes. Her woolen coatdresses utilized the asymmetry and zipper details associated with the classic motorcycle jacket. Low slung belts and shiny boots completed the look.

Joseph Altuzarra layered a shrunken vinyl biker jacket over a trench coat, and worked the fabric into body con dresses for his eponymous collection. Both vinyl and leather were skillfully manipulated with other fabrics to create a young, sexy collection with lots of street cred.

Phillip Lim cited “girlfriends of bikers” as his inspiration for the season. His edgy collection was filled with motorcycle references, including zippers, asymmetry and channel quilting, often on leather. He softened and feminized the look, opting for softer colors and mixing it with more fluid fabrics.

Junya Watanabe took the classic Perfecto jacket on a journey, as he mixed it with plaids, tweeds and denim to create a collection of punk inspired clothing with a thrift shop vibe.

At Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld stepped away from the fur just long enough to craft a cobalt blue leather motorcycle jacket with a high-low hemline. Layered over a white dress with thigh high slits, and shown with contrasting hot pants and over-the-knee stockings, the jacket added an urban air of sophistication to the look.

Etro, the Italian house known for its rich paisley patterns and luxe fabrications, got on the biker bandwagon, showing long and lean leather pieces over plaid. The double layer effects and fur trim, added a sleek modern air to the collection.

Highly hyped designer Fausto Puglisi mixed two of the season’s biggest trends: biker and plaid, in his mixed media jacket. Paying homage to the upcoming Met Costume Institute’s show entitled “Punk: Chaos to Couture”, Puglisi managed to make the obvious look new and exciting. By combining his motorcycle details with tartan, as well as crystal and metal embellishments, he rebelled against the expected, creating his own style revolution.

previously published by Fashionista Cafe

photos: MCV photo

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(Source: indigo-jones.com)

The Pope Wore Prada

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires has been named the 226thPope of the Catholic Church, taking the name Pope Frances.

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As his predecessor, Pope Benedict turns in his red Prada slip-ons and shuts down his Twitter account, “@Pontifex” in preparation for his departure, Cardinal Bergoglio will be finding his way around his new town, and thinking about how to make his mark as the new Pontiff.  Once the smoke clears (pun intended) he will need to make some stylistic choices to get this Popedom started.

In honor of the momentous occasion, we have gathered some of the season’s fiercest red shoes for his perusal.

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These skull embossed patent leather Alexander McQueen slippers would lend an edgy vibe to the traditional Cossack look.

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Nothing screams Italian like a horse bit loafer, and these Gucci patent ones will have him blending in with the locals in no time.

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Fashion duo Dean and Dan Caten of DSquared2, have created a classic wingtip in rich red. A manly choice.

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Perhaps he will choose the iconic Tod’s driving moc, which is perfect for cruising around town in the Popemobile.

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For the modern Pope on the go, these DC skateboard shoes are just the thing, offering both comfort and a sense of urban cool.

We’re sure whatever he chooses will be historic. Best of Luck Francis! Glad we could help.

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Huffing and Puffing

Because I am too freaking exhausted to write anything coherent tonight, here is a screen grab of my Huffpost Live segment, shot today with Christian Siriano of Project Runway fame.

I will fill you in on all the deets tomorrow, as well as some tidbits from a chance encounter with Tommy Hilfiger today.

Two very different success stories, from two very different men, who both found a unique way to pursue their dreams.Inspiration doesn’t get much better than this!

Coming soon…