Friday, May 31, 2013

A Few More Good Sandals: Part 3- Othaheels by Dr. Andrew Weil

Last week we looked at the Birkenstock brand of sandal and a few others licensed by the Birkenstock company.  Birkenstocks are the "cadillac" of orthopedic sandals.  And if you look for some of the brands they license like Betulas and World Walkers, you can save a bunch for the same footbed

One downside to 'Stocks, they are not waterproof.  Sure some people wear theirs at the beach and even get them get them wet, I wouldn't recommend it. I like the ease of a flip flop on the beach and poolside.  But most flip flops are very flimsy and offer no support and no shock absorbtion.

I bought a pair of Orthaheel flip flops for my kid Lena about three years ago.  She has very flat feet and needs more support than most sandals made for teens could offer.  They were on sale for $29.99 in the Herrington catalog.  They are regularly $44.95 and up .  The whole line of sandals, slippers, clogs, and orthotics were created from a design by Dr. Andrew Weil, whose name is on the brand.  The flip flops are made of  rubberized material,which makes it water-friendly, and they have an orthotic footbed with a nice arch support.  They are made for those who have plantar faciitis and flat feet, but I started wearing Lena's pair and realized they offer much comfort for anyone who wants the ease of wear of a flip flop and a well constructed shoe.  I have since bought my own pair.   I always get them on sale online (either try the orthaheel site, Zappos, or ebay), at a cheaper price than their MSRP.    They arent't super stylish or flashy, but they aren't old-fashioned or weird looking either.  They usually come in different colors.  They are for men and women.  And they are true to size.  Unlike classic flip flops, they last more than a few seasons.  And for serious flip flop wearers who like to wear them year round, they keep you supported as if you have good a good pair of shoes while allowing you to feel like you are wearing next to nothing on your feet.  A true win-win!!

Orthaheel Tide Flip Flop (

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thinking of SmartLash for eyelash growth!

It is a fact that eyelash growth slows as you get older. My nephews have the longest lashes ever, and mine are thinning to nothing!

I am thinking about trying Rapidlash to grow my eyelashes. I've used Latisse, which is a presciption product, and it works well. But I've never tried an over the counter product.

Anyone had any experience or interested in my trial?  Leave a comment if so.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A FEW GOOD SANDALS: Part 2--Time to Talk Birkenstock!

Okay, so check out these sandal brands when looking for a new sandal to wear this summer.  Today I discuss...

1.  The GOLD standard: Birkenstocks of Germany!  The Birkenstock shoe has been around since 1964.
   <---Birkenstock Footbed

The "core" of these shoes are the orthopedic footbed, made to mimic the natural curvature of the foot.  They are made of mainly cork, and they have plenty of arch support and toe room.  They also help to align the heel with the deep heel cup and the "lip" at the front of the sandal prevents sliding while promoting the natural gipping motion of the toes.  These are the shoes that started the trend.  They have been popular with the hippie crowd since their inception, but today anyone who wants to long lasting, supportive sandal belongs in a Birkenstock.

Style:  There are different styles, but the most popular is the Arizona, the two strap and buckle suede slide in sandal.  Both men and women wear these, and they are good for wider feet as well. Not very fancy or pretty, more like preppy.  But many hikers and walkers are not too concerned how cute their feet look after a few miles.

Price/Value:  'Stocks are pricy!  But they are well made and they last for years!  No more throwing sandals away after a season.  After the third or fourth time of this , you may have well paid for the 'Stocks.

Where do I get 'em:  At DSW shoe warehouse (Arizona only), upscale department stores, Nordstrom Rack (hit or miss), specialty shoe stores like Van Dyke and Bacon or my favorite ebay!!!  Look for a bargain or DSW coupons to reduce the +/- $69-$140 price tag by $10 or more.  Remember these are NOT throwaways, so they are a good value.

***These shoes need to be broken in.  I will give some tips for that later.

2. If you want to save some cash and still have the Birkenstock experience, you can try:
BIRKIES by Birkenstock Corp. in Germany--same footbed, non-leather and cute eco-friendly designs, many cute designs for kids.  They are slighly cheaper than their parent sandals. 


3. BETULA and 4.WORLD WALKERS--both licensed by Birkenstocks with the cork orthopedic footbed, only may run slighly narrower than the real 'Stocks, especially WW.

Licensed  by Birkenstock, but made in Spain (Betula) and China (WW). 

Style:  Betula has more variety in styling.  Has some more ladylike styles.  WW mainly sells Arizona-type shoes. 

 Price/Value: Both made a bit more cheaply than 'Stocks. Betulas will run $40-70.  WW will run about $40 max.   Buckles and leather uppers are of diminished quality, but still good for this type of footbed at this price.

Where can I buy em':  Around the MD area, I have seen Betulas at Nordstrom and the Rack (yes, hit or miss).  World Walkers I have only seen online, like on ebay. 

***Also need to be broken in.  The footbed takes getting used to, but once it's broken in, it's fabulous.

***While I love ebay, I want to warn you, do not buy used Birkenstocks, Birkies, Betulas, or WW.  The footbed conforms to your own foot and will never accomodate another foot once broken in. 

Friday, May 24, 2013


Okay now that it is warmer weather in my area of the globe, most people feel it is safer to begin shedding some of the extra material covering the feet (be it leather or "all man-made materials").  If I could, I would go barefoot all of the time during the warmer weather because I am a minimalist when it comes to shoes.  I like for my feet to breathe. 

Anyway, it is also the time when people start planning more vacays.  And more walks in the park, and more hikes.  For many like me, it is important that the feet are comfortable and well supported when they are going to be used for extended periods of time.  When it comes to walking, comfort comes first.  If you are like me you don't want to end up with issues such as fallen arches, plantar fasciitis, or bursitis. 

I love a good sandal.  A well constructed sandal.  When I was younger I bought sandals mainly for the look.  But I have seasoned, and become more educated.  And learned how to shop smarter.  So I buy sandals for the support FIRST and the style SECOND. 

Just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend Sales, I am going to discuss sandal brands who pride themselves in the construction of the footbed, so that your feet will stay supported and as healthy as possible.  I will not completely forsake style ( never will I do this), but I am more concerned with a comfortable foot than chains or rhinestones this time.  And most of the sandals I will share have many unisex styles!! This is not just for the ladies.  Stay tuned and I will reveal some of the sandal brands that will keep your feet on the move this summer!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quick Tips for Warm (or just plain Hot!) Weather

Hey Guys,

Yes, it is getting close the summer months, and for the Mid-Atlantic area, summer weather has really smacked us in the face!   As I type, I am sweltering in my upstairs bedroom--oh how I wish we had dual A/C units so that the top floor wouldn't be 20 degrees hotter than the rest of our home.

Here are a few quick tips for surviving the hot weather:

1.  Be sure to keep hydrated.  Borrow a spa "recipe" to add extra flavor and refreshment to your water.  Fill a pitcher of water with ice and water saving room at the top for fresh mint sprigs, sliced cucumber rounds, and/or cut up lemon.  Drink the whole pitcher within a day.  No "flavor drops" needed!

2. Place your facial toner/astringent in the refigerator!  This is ideal if you use a toner that comes in a spray bottle.  If not, purchase a small plastic spritz bottle from the drug store and carefully pour in your favorite toner.  No toner?  Use Witch Hazel or a 50/50 solution of Witch Hazel and water in your spritz bottle.  Makes a nice pick me up after work, and helps to keep the skin refreshed. No need to stick to the face.

3.  Ladies, don't let your lipstick melt!  If you still insist on using tube lipstick in the summer, or any other makeup that will melt easily, pack it in a cooler lunch pack or baby bottle pack if you have one.  Make sure to drop in an ice pack before you head out, so that you don't wind up with hot pink goo on your car upholstery.

4. Make your own deodorizing dusting powder using a 75/25 percent mixture of baking soda and cornstarch.  You can avoid talc which bothers the nasal passages and lungs by using this homeade formula.  The baking soda helps to neutralize odors caused by bacteria in sweat.


The Diva!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

To Be Like My Mother

My mother is much harder on herself than anyone else is, especially when it comes to her beauty.  She used to always tell me that I was much prettier than she was, though I never really believed it.  I am pretty sure this had a lot to do with my cringing whenever people tell me "you look JUST like your mother!!"  She always emphasized her shortcomings, so I interpreted that people were zeroing in on the flaws we have in common.

Nevertheless, my mother is extremely beautiful, both inside and out!  And I am glad that through her genes, she was able to share her very large expressive eyes (that many of us in her bloodline possess), her warm smile, and her ageless complexion.  I often wish that I will continue to maintain that youthfulness that she exudes.  But not only is she attractive on the outside, she has a wonderful spirit!! She has always been the kind of mother that made me feel loved and comforted.  And she is a compassionate and involved grandmother to my children as well.

As I get older, I am learning to appreciate when people make their comparisons of the two of us. Most of these comparisons are of the physical attributes we share.   And life has shown me that to have a face that resembles hers in some way is a gift.   I only hope that I will continue to maintain the youthfulness that she exudes.  I am proud to have skin devoid of some of the signs of aging that women my age have.  I am also happy that I have yet to find a silver hair (knock on wood--my Dad has many); I don't believe my mother had a single one well after age fifty.  So yes, I wish to look more like my mother as I continue to journey through the seasons of my life.   But most of all, I wish to BE just like my mother--a Godly woman who has her priorities in order, and loves her family more than we could ever imagine.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Should I go to the Derm?

He doesn't look very happy, does he?

No one gets excited about a trip to the doctor, especially the dermatologist.  Not only is it a hassle to make the appointment (trying to get in within the next six months), there is the extra long wait time in the lobby.  And then there's that odd feeling of being overexposed when the doctor examines your body while asking you how long that mole on your neck has been there.

But we all know that sometimes a trip to the skin doc is a necessary thing.  But when is it time to go?  Can I just handle this rash on my own?  Will slathering on more Proactiv Solution clear my stubborn acne or do I need something more?  These are questions I hear ALL the time; in fact, I ponder over the same ones myself.

Remember I'm no doctor, but I can give you a few tips on some skin issues and tell you when it's time to give your dermatologist a call:

1.   You have a mole that has changed shape, color, or size in the past month/year(s):  
Try First
Do not try to handle this yourself!  And, no, ignoring it won't make it go away.

When to Call the Derm:
This is definitely worth calling the derm.  Better safe than sorry. In addition, if you have a pimple that crusts over and/or bleeds over and over again, and has not dissapeared after 3-4 months, get it checked.  Skin cancer comes in different forms, and some of these "pimples" could be cancerous or precancerous cells, sending out a S.O.S.!

                                            Not just a zit--If it bleeds and crusts over and over, get it checked.

2.   You have adult acne that is moderate to severe, and it has not responded to your tried and true skin regimen.

 Try First: 
Step up your regimen with good quality treatments that use salicylic acid or benzyol peroxide for a few months.  If you have been using the same system, such as Proactiv, switch it up and use a something with a different active ingredient.

When to call the Derm:
If it persists after 6 months of treatment.  Acne vulgaris is an inflammation of the skin caused by bacteria trapped within the pores.  Topical OTC and even spa- grade solutions can only do so much when the bacteria is out of control. Only your doc can prescribe oral and topical antibiotics, and possibly stronger medications to kill those germs for good.

3.   You have hives, or small "pepper-like" bumps that are situated close together or if you have skin that is raw, crusts, or stings.

 Try First:
An OTC ointment with 1% hydrocortizone. You most likely have an allergy related skin problem such as eczema or contact dermatitis.   Very mild cases can be helped with a Cort-aid cream, but the concentration of hydocortizone in drug store creams may not be strong enough to conquer the rash. 

When to call the Derm:
If the skin does not improve and becomes painful, or cracks and bleeds.
If the affected area in on a "sensitive" area (mucous membrane), or if it is on an infant.  If you are aware that you have psoriasis or the rash is due to an chronic illness.  The doctor will cater the treatment for your needs, and make sure it is mild enough for an infant, or strong enough for persistent eczema.  All you may really need is a stronger hydrocortizone formula.

4.    You have an itchy scalp and excess dandruff that won't improve with Head and Shoulders OR you have a yellowsh substance under your finger or toenails, especially if it shows up right after a visit to a nail salon. 

 Try First: 
Tea Tree Oil--a natural antifungal may be all you need to calm the flare.  Add a few drops to a dollop of your regular shampoo.  Or use straight from the bottle onto the affected area for about two weeks.

When to call the Derm:
If the scalp burns or oozes.  You may have  more complicated skin issues like dermatitis or psoriasis on your scalp.  Also, if that yellow substance persists under the nails, you probably need a prescription antifungal.