|Photo Source: www.AdventuresInDressMaking.com|
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
How To Care For Your Makeup Brushes: Which Cleaners Are The Best? Which Brush Is Right For You? How To Best Use? | BeautyStat.com
Here is a link to my latest article on BeautyStat.com Check it out!:
How To Care For Your Makeup Brushes: Which Cleaners Are The Best? Which Brush Is Right For You? How To Best Use? | BeautyStat.com
How To Care For Your Makeup Brushes: Which Cleaners Are The Best? Which Brush Is Right For You? How To Best Use? | BeautyStat.com
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
In a time before Tanning Mom, “tanorexia,”obsessive SPF application and the over-saturation of self-tanners on the beauty market, I was a naïve intern at a major television station. It was the summer following my senior year in high school and the dawn of a new decade, the 1990s. My supervisor, Eric*, was a good 20 years my senior, auburn haired, tall, broad-shouldered, jovial and seemingly powerful (though today, I cannot recall his actual job position). Eric walked me through the various accounting procedures that I would conduct in a monotonous daily fashion. He also made it a point to walk me through the halls where we occasionally met friendly, quasi-celebs like Maury Povich, who informed me that his Hebrew name is “Moishe,” as well as popular athletes of the day.
Feeling obligated to take a sheltered all-girls high school grad under his wing, Eric told me what type of hairstyles and makeup men preferred, as well as how much leg I should be showing (blatantly, more than I ever exhibited). “Sexual harassment” was not a term that was bandied about (as much) then and Eric never hesitated to enthusiastically state his approval of an outfit.
On one particular afternoon, Eric stuck his head in my cubicle and remarked “Goodness. Don’t you ever see the sun?” As I pondered the Dalai Lama-esque meaning of his words, I realized he was pointing to the very legs he frequently encouraged – well, goaded - me to display. “You’re ridiculously pale” he mused in a tone that would put Tim Gunn to shame. I remember feeling freakish. Was I so white that it was beyond the realm of social acceptance?
I had been hearing it all my life, especially when I would return from a vacation that I was obviously supposed to have returned from looking “tan.” But in the home stretch between adolescence and adulthood, my obsession with streaky self-tanners, bronzing powder and hours of “sitting out” came to light. Of course, we began to hear more and more about skin cancer and the dangers of the sun as the 90s gave rise to a new decade. By 2001, mothers would obsessively slather their children in SPF 100, paying more money for higher numbers when in fact, anything above 30 really boiled down to the same potency under the sun's glare. But the information (to quote Fran Drescher: “Cancer Shmancer”) hadn’t yet gripped the nation. I remember going on a blind date and praying that I had concealed the orange when a self-tanner did the opposite of what it claimed it would not do ( “This product won’t turn you orange” was literally inscribed on the packaging). I discovered some great cosmetics and later on, had my makeup artist make me look suitably bronzed for my nuptials. Yes, I had actually found someone to love, honor and cherish my sallow self. However, I knew the honeymoon phase was over when he wiped the phones down, pointed to a tissue and commented “does every woman wear this much makeup?
As "goths" began to frequent the Manhattan social circuit and its many clubs, brazenly showcasing black lipstick to offset extremely white skin, I decided to embrace my pallor and go easy on the maquillages.
A new decade gave rise to the paler sort of woman and the power of her beauty. Reference: Shalom Harlow, Nicole Kidman, Dakota Fanning, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Regina Spektor…
Suddenly, everything was illuminated, and that didn’t mean it was glowing in bronze. I purchased gold Prada spectacles to emphasize my pallor and enhance it. Then, the unbearable lightness of being took on new meaning through Jersey Shore’s credo GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry), shaming those of us who shunned the sun, or rather, the artificiality of its imitators’ rays.
One New Jersey mother attempted to take this a step further by pressuring her ridiculously young daughter to bake in risk-laden tanning beds – As we know, anything that bakes for too long can certainly burn. Patricia Krentcil got in trouble for the evidence exposed on her daughter’s epidermis. She became an SNL punchline and an eccentric TMZ target.
When I peruse Facebook, my glamorous, fashion-forward friends are the ones with the incredible spray tans that extend from temple to bikini to toe. They know enough not to soak outside, and have mastered the EBS approach – Everything But..the (actual) Sun. Their routines consist of regular facials, full body exfoliation, seaweed wraps and, of course, spray tans followed by regular makeup applications. The last step amplifies the bronze that transforms them into aggravatingly adulated Athenas and Adonises.
It is these friends who turn to me and say “Are you sure you just returned from Florida?” Yes, I’m sure, I respond in the snarky way we pale girls do. Simply put, some of us are not keeping up with the Kardashians -- as rebellious and unconventional as that might seem in this day and age. For some of us, “keeping up” is not a priority at all. We take pride in remaining “beyond the pale.”
Sunday, November 18, 2012
|Mayor Mohammed Hameedudin|
The fact that Mohammed Hameedudin, 39, is the first religious Muslim mayor in a town greatly populated by Orthodox Jews is an “old story,” according to the man himself. ABC News and New York Times were among the media outlets to profile this, focusing on Hameedudin’s close friendship since childhood with his colleague, Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen, who is an Orthodox Jew. But Hameedudin represents more than bringing unity to Teaneck, New Jersey, and erasing any sorts of “lines” conventionally drawn between religions. He is appreciated across the board and irrespective of faith, in large part due to the fact that he has made “communication” integral to his tenure.
Many residents of Teaneck are still marveling over how he helped them in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when many lost power as temperatures dropped. Impressively, it was also right after his wife Faiza Pashni gave birth to a baby boy on October 30th at the outset of the storm, and amidst losing power in his own home. The mayor worked and communicated exclusively via Blackberry, figuring out places to charge his PDA as he checked each street for damages and power loss, and continually updated residents via Facebook. He responded to as many emails and posts as he possibly could, maintained regular contact with local utilities company PSE&G, checked for downed wires and other hazards, and promptly addressed concerns as constituents without power turned to Facebook Mobile.
Hameedudin says that he is blessed to have a “powerful, great family” and extremely lucky to have a sister and parents who live in the same town. They were his “support system” at home with the new baby, lending his home a generator to keep his newborn healthy as he worked 18 hour days for the community. Raised in Teaneck, the mayor’s passion for his hometown is extremely palpable in the way he speaks and it was especially salient in Sandy’s wake.
“Communication is the biggest issue in politics,” he explains, proceeding to praise Newark mayor Cory Booker for laying the groundwork and showing leaders how to effectively use social media to connect with people. “We learned from last year (when many Teaneck residents lost power during a late October blizzard) of its necessity during a storm.”
When he was campaigning in 2010, Hameedudin and his staff sent “friend” requests to all the town residents he could find on Facebook. On Twitter, he and other members of the town council regularly update folks under the handle “Township of Teaneck.”
Local resident Kathleen Hall Wicklund was particularly impressed with how Hameeduddun “fully utilized Facebook to keep residents informed in real time,” providing constant updates on his communications with PSE&G and letting people know of places offering warm shelter, food and areas to charge phones and laptops.
“If you were fortunate enough to have some kind of Internet connection, he was there to respond to concerns and was able to expedite the work being done,” Wicklund says. “I applaud his quick responses and his ability to perform while he and his family were still without power. He was fully engaged and at the top of his game.”
Nancy Edelman and Asif Mustafa - who are neighbors - agree that Hameedudin’s prolific Facebook presence led to mass sharing of important information.
“I found out details through other people who shared his updates,” says Mustafa, “It was impressive that people used (social) media to communicate when other forms of communication weren’t possible due to power loss.”
Edelman agrees: “The mayor seemed genuinely concerned. I was impressed.”
However, those living in Teaneck were not the only ones appreciative of Hameedudin’s interactions. One resident of a neighboring town, who asked not to be identified, said “I’ve been reading his status updates and I’ve turned into a fan. I have no idea who the mayor of my own town is! There has been no word from this person whatsoever.”
Ilya Welfeld, a mother of four who resides in neighboring Bergenfield, said that she was blown away by how Hameedudin “didn’t miss a beat” after welcoming a new baby.
“He posted thanks to the ambulance crew and then got right back on the phone, online and literally in his car to take pictures of downed wires. He stayed in touch with residents requesting constant information, and served as a true advocate for them to government and utilities. The simple fact that he ‘friended’ Teaneck people on Facebook and responded to their queries illustrates that he clearly welcomes input, feedback, requests and even critiques, which says so much about him. It was beautiful to see the many congratulations on the birth of his son, coming from the diverse community he is clearly intent on uniting, supporting and fostering. ‘Mazal Tov’s and ‘Masha’Allah’s were easily interspersed with ‘Congratulations’ upon the announcement of his baby's birth.”
Welfeld, however, was most impressed with the mayor’s humorous post between Sandy and winter storm Athena: “Honestly, I fell in political love when he posted ‘What if Gangham Style is some sort of rain dance and we brought these storms on ourselves?’ He cares, he's savvy and he's funny. He's got my vote… Oh, but I am in Bergenfield.”
While many are still praising Hameedudin for how he utilized social media to keep the town informed, he concedes that prayer combined with reflection (“What did we do right and what did we do wrong?”) helped him through a trying time as did the support from town council members and state officials. Humble and matter of fact, Hameedudin admits that some people thought he could have done more and he is always striving to improve.
“There are limitations of government,” he explains, adding that he is planning to release information so constituents have a clearer grasp of what town officials can and cannot control (i.e. how PSE&G prioritizes power restoration).
Like so many of us, Hameedudin is a hard worker who admits he needs to “learn to delegate more.” While serving as mayor he is also working a “day job,” managing his own insurance company, the H&W Title Agency.
“At the end of the day,” he says in as pragmatic a manner as an average businessman, “It was all about ‘How can we do better’ and ‘What is the takeaway?’ That way, we are more prepared for next time.”
Friday, November 9, 2012
|Photo courtesy of Art Aiello, Generac|
I decided to research generators because there are dangers - carbon monoxide-related and electrical in nature - associated with the portable variety. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), 481 carbon monoxide deaths associated with portable generators were reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the years from 1999-2008. In addition, over 80% of carbon monoxide deaths related to portable generators occur in the home, often resulting from operation of a portable generator within the living space of the home, including the basement, closets and doorways.
Hearing that folks were going out to the popular chain stores to buy their own generator sounded a little too blasé for me, so I decided to research generators.
Here’s what I uncovered:
AUTOMATIC STANDBY GENERATORS ARE WORTH THE EXTRA $$
As Hurricane Sandy proved, severe storms can significantly disrupt your life. Heat, air conditioning, lighting and electrical appliances stop working and, after a couple of days, battery backups for sump pumps and alarms may fail leading to sewer and drain backups, fire and even, burglary (one of my Long Island friends found the latter out the hard way).
According to Gary Raphael, SVP and National Director of Risk Consulting for ACE Private Risk Services:
“To minimize the disruption and potential damage to your home from a severe storm coupled with an extended power outage, consider installing an automatic standby generator. Fueled by natural gas or liquid propane, these generators automatically kick in within seconds when the utility power fails. You can decide if you want the generator to power only the critical systems of your home (as you work with a licensed electrician), such as heating or air conditioning, alarms, sump pumps, refrigeration, and a few lights. Or, you can choose a generator large enough to power the entire home. If you have a basement prone to flooding and a fine art or wine collection sensitive to heat and humidity extremes, an automatic standby generator can help prevent significant damage and financial loss."
"Installing an automatic standby generator usually takes one to two months, so don’t wait until the next storm is approaching to act by contacting an authorized generator dealer. The cost can vary depending on the home’s size and the complexity of the systems supported by the generator. A permanently installed generator for a moderately sized family home could cost about $5,000, while top-of-the-line generators with significant electrical capacity could reach $20,000. Portable generators are less expensive, about $1,000, and also have lower capacity. If you choose a portable generator, make sure the unit is placed in a well-ventilated location outdoors and away from the house. Keep extra gasoline on hand and be especially mindful of stray wires, extension cords and pooling water.”
Adds Art Aiello, a spokesman for Generac: “These permanently installed units run on the house’s existing natural gas or liquid propane fuel supply and start up automatically in an outage. They have automatic transfer switches that automatically transfer power from the generator to your home's electrical system. Because they run on natural gas or liquid propane, they have very long running times, and do not need to be refueled as portable generators do every 6 - 8 hours.” Aiello knows of home backup generators that were running for customers on the East Coast for eight days.
HOWEVER, PORTABLE GENERATORS CAN BE INSTALLED QUICKER & COST LESS
Portable generators are very common, particularly in the wake of a severe storm with long term power outages; this is because they are readily available, less expensive than the automatic standby variety and easy to use. But they must always be installed with caution and it is wisest to have a licensed electrician doing the work.
Aiello says: “They must always be used outside at least five feet away from windows and doors, to keep carbon monoxide from entering the home. Then extension cords can be run from the generator into the home to power the appliances that they need to run. To backup those items that are hardwired into the home's electrical system, a manual transfer switch can be used with a portable generator. The manual transfer switch serves as an interface between the generator and the home's electrical panel. With a manual transfer switch, the generator only needs one special cord to connect it to a junction box outside the home, which then delivers power to the home's electrical panel. In this way, you can back up your most important circuits (not the entire home) with a portable generator, but not have to run extension cords, and be able to back up items that are hardwired into the home.”
He emphasizes that a manual transfer switch is not a DIY project.
Brett Brenner, President of ESFI adds: “An average of 75 people die in the U.S. each year from generator- related carbon monoxide poisoning, and these deaths could easily be avoided by following safe installation and operation practices. Because portable generators are often employed during a stressful time, it is critical that people understand the hazards involved before they operate them.”
….AND, IN ANTICIPATION OF WHEN GAS IS HARD TO GET
Joe Atkin of Goal Zero recommends a solar generator if you are going the portable route. That way, you don’t have to rely on gas, especially when it is being rationed by license plate numbers, something we never would have anticipated! The advantage of a solar energy generator, besides the fact that you wouldn’t need gas, is that solar energy is a completely renewable resource. Of course, you might be at a disadvantage on a cloudy day or at night, and with a solar energy generator, on some days you may still need to rely on oil to power your home. All in all however, little maintenance is required to keep solar cells running and solar energy lasts and is generally stored for a long time, so this is an option to consider. According to Dave Fink, Product Development Engineer at Solutions From Science: “Solar powered generators do not produce dangerous fumes, they require no gasoline, they are quiet, and they are a clean renewable source of energy.”
You can check out solar power generators at Goal Zero's website and contact the company to speak with a licensed electrician about your home.
TYPES OF PORTABLE GENERATORS RECOMMENDED BY AN EXPERT
According to David Bakke, editor of Money Crashers Personal Finance, “It is important to get a generator that is powerful enough in terms of both voltage and wattage to power your items - your best bet is to consult a salesperson who can point you in the right direction. Since gasoline remains high in price, you may want to consider getting a propane-fueled generator. Also, when choosing a generator, be sure to get a quality model, and make sure it is housed by aluminum or solid steel. Although you don't want to be cheap, you should still remain on the lookout for price gouging. New Jersey businesses are limited to a 10% price markup, and if you think your generator is priced too high, you can report the business to your state’s Attorney General Office.”
Bakke offers this list of popular generators:
For heavy use, you want a generator with lots of wattage:
• Generac Series GP7500E. This generator comes with 7,500 watts of power, which should be enough to power your most-needed appliances. The outlets are protected by circuit breakers, which eliminates the risk of overuse. It runs fairly quiet as well. It lists for $999.
• Briggs & Stratton 2100 Series. This has a full 10,000 watts, and its key start mechanism makes for easy ignition. The seven-gallon tank means this can run for as long as nine hours at a time. The lowest price I found was $1,261.07 at Ace Hardware.
If you don’t have as many items to power, there’s no sense in overspending. Here are a couple cheaper generators with less wattage:
• Briggs & Stratton 30466. This generator has 4,375 watts and has outlets for both 120 and 240 volts. It has a four-gallon tank and can run for up to eight hours at a time. It sells for $469 at Home Depot.
• Champion Power Equipment 46561. This has 4,000 watts of power and even comes with a remote control. It offers a good run-time of up to 12 hours. This generator retails for $499.99.
If you need a propane generator, here are two options:
• Sportsman GEN7000LP. This generator has 7,000 watts of power, four 120-volt outlets, a 120/240-volt outlet, and a 12-volt DC outlet. It can run for as long as eight hours at a time. It retails for $799 at Home Depot.
• Sportsman GEN2000LP. For lighter usage, consider this propane generator with 2,000 watts of power, one 120-volt outlet and one 12-volt DC outlet. It can run for as long as 12 hours on one tank of propane.
* According to Brendan Atwood, Manager for Power Tools and Equipment at Wayfair's, portable generators are great for just getting your lights back on, and typically carry 4000-6000 Watts. Those typically range from $350 to $700.
* People who are looking for a larger generator, to power multiple rooms and large appliances, like a refrigerator, would want to consider a generator in the 6000 to 9000 watt range. Generators of this size would be in the $750 to $1000 price range.
* To power an entire house, a generator would need to be at least 10,000 watts. These are typically over $1,000. An automatic Standby generator typically costs between 7,000 to 20,000 depending on the size of the house and including installation fee, always using a properly licensed electrician.
* When using a generator, it is important that it is used safely, and reading manufacturers operating and safety instructions is crucial.
*POWER MANAGE, says Gary Marowske of Flame Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical, stressing that one should work with an electrician to prioritize which areas will get power in the event ofan outage. “Lights will dim if the generator can’t keep up," he explains, "Turn some things off.”
* Generators should never be used inside, as they emit carbon monoxide.
*Position a generator away from any open windows, vents in your house, or doors
* Generators have powerful voltage, so do NOT operate under wet conditions. Take the proper precautions to protect generators from snow and rain.
INSTALLATION SAFETY TIPS FROM ESFI:
* ESFI strongly recommends that a licensed electrician install home generators to ensure they meet all local electrical codes.
* Do not connect generators directly to the household wiring without an appropriate transfer switch installed. Power from generators connected directly to household wiring can back feed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including utility line workers making repairs.
* Make sure your generator is properly grounded.
* Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries. Portable GFCIs require no tools to install and are available at prices ranging from $12 to $30.
* Make sure extension cords used with generators are rated for the load, and are free of cuts, worn insulation, and have three-pronged plugs.
USING YOUR GENERATOR SAFELY (also from ESFI):
* Never operate a generator inside your home or in other enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces. Generators can very quickly produce high levels of carbon monoxide, which can be deadly.
* Opening doors and windows or operating fans to attempt to ventilate a generator will not prevent carbon monoxide build-up in the home. Even with a working CO alarm, you should never use a gasoline-powered generator inside your home or in a garage.
* Keep children away from portable generators at all times.
* Get to fresh air right away if you feel dizzy or weak.
* A generator is a temporary power source. Use a generator only when necessary to power essential equipment or appliances.
* Do not overload the generator.
* Plug appliances directly into the generator.
* Turn off all appliances powered by the generator before shutting down the generator.
* Make sure fuel for the generator is stored safely, away from living areas, in properly labeled containers, and away from fuel-burning appliances. Before re-fueling, always turn the generator off and let it cool down.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
The days were hazy, hot and humid, but it was my mind that experienced the storms that cruel summer. Sadness filled me each morning as I wondered how I would get through my days. My nights were comprised of back to back dreams: me hyperventilating only to wake up hyperventilating, antlers and cows chasing me in a field - but before they reached me, I always woke to that one in a sweaty panic.
The sunshine provided a brief reprieve during the daylight hours, in “aha, I can do this, just bask, forget my troubles” moments. The fact was, I was depressed as all hell and it seemed there was no way to shake it despite the season. It was the summer of my discontent and I didn’t blame anyone else for it but myself.
I couldn’t figure out why some people could manage stress or even function optimally in its midst, while I was sinking…perpetually afraid of drowning in its narrow well.
Oh look, there’s the mailman, there’s the clothing catalogue, oh…red pants, orange jackets, pretty…I guess… pretty? I couldn’t really conceptualize any of it. The fascination with fashion and the enjoyment that perusing a magazine usually brought…it all eluded me that summer. My work never suffered but my enjoyment of the work was missing. Creative ideas cascaded like a waterfall but I never seemed to process the praise, and perfectionism reared its ugly head. Still, the work was stellar, better than ever. But my mind…what was I missing out on? Something, I knew.
I saw therapists, rabbis and even spoke to life coaches. I once went with a friend to see a psychic.
Nothing could really pull me out of the big black vortex until I received the pithiest piece of advice from the most unlikely of sources – an average Joe with no degree or training.
“Focus on others. Forget about you.”
Since nothing else had worked, I decided to try it on for size, but so mired in my misery was I that I initially wondered how I would be able to accomplish this seemingly arduous task.
However, as I began to talk to people, I also began to really listen. I counseled a friend over a difficult family situation, supported another who had come out of the closet to his family, and despite being bored out of my mind at first, I helped a relative organize a party in minute by minute detail. In the end, her appreciation of my assistance and painstaking attention to detail won out.
Those lazy, hazy days had finally stopped dragging their feet and were sprinting to the delight of rushing endorphins. While the fall temperatures set in, my summer finally began.