Health & Beauty 110

14 Jul
Well, it has been 2 years since I have visited my blog site.  I have been insanely busy with me finishing my Master’s degree, securing a part time teaching job then moving into a full time teaching position while still working behind the chair and coaching middle school cheerleaders.  Oh, yes, that is a lot on my plate, especially since I once again had to build my curriculum from scratch.  I am back for the summer.

 

HAIR

So the other day, it was like 99,000 degrees outside with about 90% humidity which was a recipe for a very bad hair day.  Yes, my hair was beginning to grow, and all of the sudden, it was 60 feet wide.  I was scurrying trying to find my never fail, tried and true, one and only ponytail holder.  That little round elastic genius of an invention was my salvation to taming my nappy, fuzz wuz hair disaster.

You see, back in the 1980’s, my hair was very thick and very poker straight, and like everyone else, I wanted what I didn’t have, and that was to have curly hair, and big curly hair.  I wanted my hair to look like Brett Michaels and every other hair metal band rocker, so I had to resort to “fake” curls by getting what I now refer to as the dreaded perm.  And, let me tell you, I think the last perm I got really permanently curled my hair.  I am not sure what happened, but today, I no longer pay for curls because I now have them for free.  And of course, my straight strands didn’t transform into these beautiful soft ringlets, rather my hair is a hot, wavy, frizzy mess.  Over the years, I have learned how to manage, care for and style what seems to be electrocuted hair.

Curly, wavy and typically coarse hair tends to grow in dry, therefore, lacking water and moisture which adds to the frizziness.  The key to styling this type of hair is to put in the hair products, such as sea sprays, gels or mousses while the hair is sopping wet.   The products should only be placed on the shaft or the ponytail part of the hair.  Once you put the product throughout the hair, scrunch it into place and let it air dry.  DO NOT CONTINUE TO SCRUNCH WHILE IT IS DRYING!

trolls

If you CONTINUE TO SCRUNCH, you will end up looking like the trolls in the photo above.  Remember those pencils??   Rubbing and twirling the pencil in your hand instantaneously creates crazy troll  hair, and the only way to make them look cute again, their crazy hair must be flattened and smoothed out.  As you scrunch  (same as twirling and rubbing the pencil), you are aggravating the cuticle of the hair strand, thus creating more frizz aka crazy troll hair.

Healthy Cuticle

Healthy Cuticle

In order for hair to look shiny and smooth, the cuticle (outer most layer of hair shaft) should be flat as in the photo above.  When the scales are flat, light reflects off the scales therefore, creating shine and smooth hair.  Not scrunching curly hair as it dries, allows the cuticle to stay more flat, thus shinier and smoother.

Damaged Cuticle

Damaged Cuticle

 

The hair cuticle above is lifted and not flat.  This is what curly/wavy hair looks like under a microscope and when the cuticle is aggravated because of nonstop scrunching.  When light hits the hair strand with a lifted cuticle, it gets trapped in those “peels”; therefore, not allowing the light to bounce back or reflect to create shine or a smooth appearance, thus making the hair appear frizzy.  Once you have put your products in your hair, and you have allowed it to dry without continuously scrunching your hair, you can then scrunch to break it apart, because believe me, it WILL dry looking not so pretty and will be suctioned flat to your head.  You can then use a curling iron to strengthen curls or add any oils, molding creams or hairsprays to finish your look.

 

SKIN

 

I stood in line waiting for the busy teller to yell out “next” so that I can conduct my financial business, and by the way, I hate banking, when I got my inspiration.  Little did I know that the bank teller would be the subject of this section of my blog post.  As I approached the blonde, blue eyed and very fair skinned young woman, her terrible skin was apparent . She obviously was not blessed with a peaches and cream complexion, but the poor girl called more attention to herself than necessary.

The problem was that this young woman didn’t do a great job concealing the blemishes that if connected with a pen, you’d be creating Cassiopeia’s Chair or the Big Dipper.  I couldn’t help but stare at the fact that her face was orange and the rest of her was pasty white.  She failed to invest in a great concealer and liquid foundation that matched her skin color.  Oh, and did I forget to mention that she did a poor job of blending the foundation in, so there was a distinctive line separating her jaw and neck.  It was as if she was wearing a mask.

There is nothing wrong with big name cosmetics such as Cover Girl, L’oreal, Maybelline or Revlon; however, when it comes to foundations, I highly recommend women approach the cosmetic counter at fine department stores.  The disadvantage of purchasing liquid foundation at big box mass retailers is that you can’t test it to see if it matches/blends with your skin tone.  All purchases are based on a guess, thus when finally tested at home after opening a sealed package one realizes – epic fail- back to the store to try again.  And, maybe after 5 tries, BINGO- a perfect match, but now you have 4 bottles of liquid foundation sitting in your makeup bag collecting dust and space and about $40 spent guessing a color when you can spend about the same amount without the guessing game going to a fine department store make up counter.

In fine department stores, beauty advisors will help with selecting the perfect foundation for your specific skin type and tone.  Foundations come in various finishes and colors, and with the help of an expert, you will avoid the guessing game.  The key to selecting the correct hue is to test the foundation at your jawline so that the color blends not only with the skin on your face but your neck as well.  You don’t want to go lighter, otherwise you’d look like Casper the friendly ghost, and you don’t want to go too many shades darker. Sometimes, you may have to combine two shades together to get the perfect shade.  Never test the foundation on the back of your hand, for it will give you an illusion of the correct color and will not compliment your face.

TESTING FOUNDATION

TESTING FOUNDATION

As for the concealer, you can purchase a green tone so neutralize any redness that blemishes cause, or yellow to neutralize overall skin tone, and pink for dark circles or any hyperpigmentation.  If purchasing skin color concealer, you want it to be a bit lighter than your foundation.  Avoid heavy and thick products because it will look cakey and as if you have too much make up on.  Finally, when applying, the concealer goes on first, then the foundation followed by a loose powder. You can use your fingers, sponges or brushes to apply concealers and foundations, but make sure to blend, blend, blend until it has disappeared.  When applying powder whether it be loose or pancake, ALWAYS use a big powder brush for a finished look.

 

BODY

My first year as a full time teacher started out to be a bit stressful, for I was trying to juggle three jobs.  That’s right, three jobs.  Of course, my position as a teacher was more than full time because not only was I working 40 hours a week teaching, but the after hours I put in building my classroom curriculum easily added an extra 10-15 hours a week.  I also kept my part time position as a hair stylist working two nights a week and every Saturday, so, yes, I worked six days a week from August – June.  And, then,  who knew that my skills as a high school cheerleader would resurface later in my life as I coached middle school cheerleaders proper formations and motions.

The three jobs total put me at somewhere between 60-80 hours a week.  CRAZY, I know! And, I am still not at the upper echelon of the tax bracket.  Having that extra cheer coaching job really put a big dent into my workout regiment especially during the months of November/December.  I seriously didn’t have time during the basketball season to work out with practices and games during the week and then having to go home to either grade papers or prepare worksheets, tests and lessons for the next day.  I had to fit  food somewhere in there, and who on earth wants to be going to a gym to work out at 9 pm?  At that point, my bed was calling my name, and this girl hates the morning so 4:30 am wake up calls to get on the elliptical  were not in my near future, so I really let myself go.  I went from a 5-7 day workout program to 0-1 day a week workout, and I was really feeling it and am paying for it now.  I found myself eating quick things, more processed food, the same amount of food, and the inches started to pack on as well as about nine pounds which I am having a difficult time taking off.  I guess perhaps the perks of turning 47.

The thing is, I know that there is no secret to dropping weight.  It is all about getting back to the basics of eating nutrient dense food, portion sizes and a daily workout regiment.  In case you are not fully sure what nutrient dense foods are, they are power foods that are high in macro nutrients, micro nutrients,  and lower in fat and calories.  I like to refer it to getting more for your money, or in other words, more and better foods for lower calories.  We all know it’s all about the calories consumed and the calories expended that determine our weight for the most part (see posts 102 and 106).  Nutrient dense foods include fresh veggies, fruits, whole grains, low fat proteins, beans/legumes and low fat dairy, and be sure that the

TYPICAL NUTRIENT FOODS

TYPICAL NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS

nutrient dense foods on your plate should resemble a colorful rainbow as each type of food offers different nutritional needs and can help prevent diseases and illnesses and is vital to maintaining a healthy body.  By including various colors, all of your nutritional needs should be met such as your big nutrients -proteins, carbohydrates, fats,  & water as well as your smaller nutrients – vitamins & minerals, .  And yes, sometimes you must add some fat to the diet, but it has to be good unsaturated fats that are plant based.  Information on fat  is going to be saved for another blog post at a later time.

Since I have been on summer break I have increased my nutrient dense food intake, increased my activity level and as a result am down about three pounds.  I have about five more to go and should be at my “happy” weight.  I will admit however, that I do have my moments because I am having a rough time saying no to my favorite treat during the summer – ice cream and my occasional craving for those darn chips!  I just have to keep thinking – CONTROL!  As the new school year is fast approaching, I must be more conscious about my food intake as I will press on with my 3 jobs-maybe I need to try out that 4:30 wake up call couple times a week.

SOUL

A long while back, while pedaling away on the elliptical machine, I was reading a Reader’s Digest to make my workout go faster and to test  my intelligence with their featured and famous Word Power Challenge; my favorite section.  I must say that while reading the magazine, another article caught my attention; I busted up laughing and almost flew off the elliptical machine.  The article was about “best photographic sides.”   The reason this was so funny to me is that every time my family members and I try to take a photo together, we are all trying to arrange ourselves so that our “best side” can be photogenically captured, and then we have discussions about it.

I have to also admit, that when I am with my friends, I secretly try to finagle myself on the left side because that is MY best side, and that my right side, well, is just not as flattering.  I can assure that once you read this in my blog, you will find yourself chuckling because I can bet my last dollar that you do it too, consciously and unconsciously, and so does everyone else, especially since the inception of Facebook, Instagram and the ever so increasing popularity of the selfie.  People are becoming obsessed with their  photos to the point of them getting plastic surgery just so they can look better in their selfie profile pictures which I find to be just plain crazy.

I tried to research the Reader’s Digest article, but couldn’t find it, but I did manage to find another article showing that a study was done at Wake Forest University which illustrated that we as humans prefer looking at the left side of the face because it’s more pleasant and tend to favor that side in photos (Newcomb, 2012).

I did notice too, that the majority of my Facebook profile photos are poses from the left side of my face.  I have posted some photos below; you be the judge.

LEFT SIDE FEATURED

LEFT SIDE FEATURED

LEFT SIDE PROFILE

LEFT SIDE PROFILE

LEFT SIDE PROFILE

LEFT SIDE PROFILE

 

LEFT SIDE FEATURED

LEFT SIDE FEATURED

And now for the right side profile photos.  The pictures are ok, otherwise I would have never chosen them as Facebook profiles, but I personally feel that my left side photos are better.  Why wouldn’t we want to showcase our best selves in a photographic profile on Facebook?

RIGHT SIDE FEATURED

RIGHT SIDE FEATURED

RIGHT SIDE FEATURED

RIGHT SIDE FEATURED

RIGHT SIDE FEATURED

RIGHT SIDE FEATURED

 

 

 

 

You know, as I was perusing my profile album on Facebook, I had a really difficult time even finding right side profile photos.  No wonder my family pokes fun that I am always posing for the camera.

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HEALTH & BEAUTY 109

17 Jul

HAIR

Clients are always bombarding me with the same ole question:  “So, what’s new in hair?”  Unfortunately, today, everything goes.  Long hair, short hair, colored hair, highlighted hair, and faux hawks; nothing has really changed.  The last hair show I attended the all black clad celebrity stylists seemed to be in love with BOB….that’s right, inverted, stacked, layered, asymmetrical, all one length, the unaffected classic Bob haircut.  Rest assured, women, the bob is still very much in, and I don’t see it going away anytime soon.  I will say, however, that I was terribly perplexed by the new trend in hair color.  I thought to myself, “Why on earth would anyone want to get hair color with their roots made to look like they are already grown out?  UGLY!”   Thank goodness I really don’t have ANY clients that would request this bad idea.  Well, last week, my client wanted something different with her hair color, something sunkissed, something that wasn’t going to be high maintenance like highlights, something natural looking……….oh no,……..she wants OMBRE………

Ombre Technique

Ombre is a french word that means gradation  from dark to light fading color.  Color is not applied at the root, rather the mid-shaft and ends which results in lower maintenance and longer between time at the salon.  It is a quick, easy application, either single or double process depending on the clients hair.  The photo above is my finished result, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised and completely SOLD; I loved it!  Can’t wait to recommend it to my other clients……

SKIN

A few months ago, I did a girls trip to South Beach, Miami.  While sitting in the hotel room, my friend made note that I was very expressive while speaking and therefore, I had deep “11’s” and suggested I resort to getting Botox.   She was referring to the two lines in between my eyebrows.  And here, I thought those lines were created not by my dramatic facial animations, rather my inadequate and poor nearsighted vision that causes me to constantly squint.  Her secret was finally revealed……no wonder she looked so young.

The Allergan drug is made of a toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum which is a toxin that causes botulism or the bacteria causing  very serious life threatening type of food poisoning.  Botulism causes muscle paralysis, starting in the face moving to the limbs, so one false move with a Botox shot, well, you get the picture.

The interesting thing about Botox, it is not only used for temporary wrinkle immobilization, but as many other therapies to treat underarm sweating, misaligned eyes, cervical dystonia (neck and shoulder contractions neurologically based), and uncontrollable blinking, so it has positive useful applications that are not necessarily purely cosmetic.

There are many side effects with Botox and maybe the reason for my apprehension…….maybe one day I will join in on the many Botox parties to freeze my fine lines and wrinkles to maintain my youthful appearance.

Body

Interval training.  My discovery to really burning fat!  Ever since my non rehabilitated knee surgery, I just can not run anymore, so I have resorted to using the eliptical machine.  I will say that I do get a great low impact workout that may even be slightly better than running, and most definitely less strenuous on my knees!

Basically, one can do interval training with what ever cardio exercise whether it be running, walking, biking, jump roping or pedaling away on the eliptical machine.  People must remember, however that you have to do what is comfortable to your pace.  The basis for interval training is the intermixing of slow and fast.  For example, one can walk at a normal pace for a minute or two, then for about 4 minutes walk or even jog/run at a much faster pace, then slow down again for a minute or two; repeat the process.  It is important to know that you should not bring your heart rate back to resting rate when slowed down.

The short burst of intense cardio within your normal paced workout will add variety to workouts, renew muscle fibers, boost your metabolism, and increase fat loss that will result in feeling great.  It is very important to start slow if you have never exercised before, and it is highly recommended to consult your physician if you are over 60 or have heart conditions.

SOUL

A few weeks ago, my cousin and nieces and I spent the day in Chicago where we walked along the lakefront, went to Lincoln Park Zoo and had a photo shoot at North Avenue Beach.  It was an amazing day!

Chicago Skyline from the Lakefront……John Hancock Building

The Chicago skyline is just so beautiful and is one of the most amazing architectural spectacles in the world.  On this day, the extreme north winds made it unsafe to be beached wales wading in that pure Michigan water, although it would have been fun to jump those Pacific Ocean sized waves.

Lincoln Park Zoo

The last time I went to Lincoln Park Zoo, I was in high school, and that was a LONG time ago.  I had forgotten what a great place this zoo is,  and it is smack in the middle of a big city!  The grounds are breathtaking not to mention the variety of animal exhibits ranging from farm animals and petting zoo to exotic apes, goats, camels, zebras and much more.  The best part of it,  is the fact that the zoo is free to enter.

Lincoln Park Zoo-Apes

Finally, we strolled along North Avenue Beach watching the vulturous seagulls searching for food.  There were people in the water which scared the bejeezus out of me, those rip currents were rough that day.  Those people jumping the waves really should have been wearing life jackets just in case.

North Avenue Beach

There is just something so serene to watching the waves of Lake Michigan and soaking your feet into the warm sand.  The city of Chicago is so magical and has so much to offer whether it be food, shopping, cultural, or entertainment, it has something for everyone.

Health and Beauty 108

30 May

HAIR

A few weeks ago, my guest at the salon was squirming with embarrassment about the snowflakes residing in her hair and scalp.  She began to tell me that she was having a bout with the dreaded dandruff and was having a difficult time getting rid of it.  As I began to poke and prod through her head, I assured her that she had nothing to worry about and that she did NOT have dandruff, rather it was just dry scalp.  There is a slight difference between the two.

DRY SCALP

Just like your skin when it gets dry and flakes, so does your scalp.  It is natural shedding of the skin in the scalp and is white in color.  It is usually not in abundance and is normal when your scalp gets dry; your skin is only shedding.  Some causes can be extreme temperatures, not rinsing well after shampooing, and not massaging your scalp while shampooing.  And, yes, it can be itchy!  Just as the skin on your face needing lotion to moisturize it when it becomes dry, your scalp requires it as well.  Dry scalp treatment should include using a moisturizing conditioner after shampooing while thoroughly massaging the conditioner in the scalp.  Since nobody really wants to put their million dollar a bottle or jar of face cream onto their scalp, the conditioner will act as your lotion.  You can also massage olive oil in your scalp.

DANDRUFF

Pityriasis, also known as dandruff, is a lot more scaly and somewhat clumps together.  It is usually greasy or waxy and appears more yellow in color.  The origin of dandruff is not 100% pinpointed; however it is usually due to some sort of infection, fungus, poor circulation, injury or lack of nerve stimulation.  Dandruff too is itchy.   I do feel that medical attention is needed to treat dandruff to eradicate it.  Using the treatment for dry scalp will tremendously help, but will not completely eliminate it.

SKIN

Just before my 40th birthday, I noticed two white spots on my right hand while I was at the pool hanging out during the summer.  I instantly became paranoid and needed to diagnose myself immediately.  I was really hoping that it was the simple fungus caused by water or sweat on my hand since my hands are in vinyl gloves and water pretty much everyday due to the nature of my occupation, but as I proceeded to research, I was fearing the worst…….I had vitiligo….otherwise known as Michael Jackson’s Disease.  My biggest question was, “HOW ON EARTH DID I GET VITILIGO?”  It is claimed to be hereditary (NOBODY in my immediate or extended family has it that I know of), it is considered auto immune (my mother had the auto immune thyroid disease), and most typically get it early on in life (I got it at 39 years old).  I needed answers!

VITILIGO

As I continued to research, I learned that vitiligo is an auto immune disorder where the melanocytes (pigment producing cells) attack one another, therefore not producing pigment in the skin.  Now, when I am not tanned, you really can’t see my spots; only when I am tanned.  My gut still tells me that this was NOT passed down from my mother, but, occupational.  See, phenol chemicals (found in hair dyes) can cause this embarrassing disorder.  Although I do wear gloves, phenol chemicals are very volitile and don’t dissipate quickly, so they just linger in the air.  I also found that proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium and Prevacid can also cause Vitiligo.  These drugs deplete your body of vitamin B12 which causes pernicious anemia, or your body’s inability to absorb the B12.  Proton pump inhibiting drugs are used to treat GERD, or acid reflux which I have, so those who take these drugs, supplement with B12.  They are still researching Vitiligo because there is no cure.  The skin disorder can go dormant, and it is NOT contagious.  The discoloration IS annoying as well as embarrassing where I always want to hide my hands (my left hand is not as bad).  I am learning to embrace my polka dots and find that my spots create images, such as the flower under my index finger and the small heart in the middle of my hand (3rd dot under my middle finger).  The reason I am blogging about this disorder, is to raise awareness of this noncontagious skin disease.  Mainly for those who acquire it because of drugs used to treat acid reflux or the excessive use of phenol chemicals.

BODY

A few weeks ago, I was called out to substitute teach for a high school P.E. class.  My first thought was it’s Friday, and I can actually wear my running shoes and yoga pants to work; I’LL TAKE THE JOB TODAY!  When I arrived the lesson plan indicated that the class would be finishing up their unit on weight training.  I was trying really hard to figure out a way to include my own workout with the class so that I would not have to go to the gym after school, but it was just NOT happening!  As I walked around the weight training room watching mostly these young adolescent boys and some girls, (I really think they were in the class to scope out the boys) I noticed that the kids were NOT breathing during the exercise and turning somewhat blue for a split second on every lift.  I instantly realized that they have NO clue how to breath during anaerobic exercise.

Anytime you begin to “LIFT” a weight at starting position, one should inhale.  As the lift takes place, that is when one should be exhaling.  In other words, as you start take a deep breath in and as you exert, blow out the air.  So, for example, when doing a leg press, before you start, inhale and as you press the weight with your legs, slowly exhale.  On the way back to the start, inhale again.  This will allow for your blood and cells to receive oxygen while exercising.

SOUL

Summer is Finally Here!

Say YES to sleeping in!

Do drink more water to stay hydrated.

Say YES to natural Vitamin D absorbtion by hanging out in the sun with friends.

Do finish your unattended projects.

Say YES to a scoop of ice cream for dessert.

Women: Do show off your sexy legs with a great mini skirt.

Men:  Do use hair products to show off your great hair.

Say YES to fun family and friend gatherings….LIFE IS TOO SHORT!

Enjoy the summer!

Health and Beauty 107

14 Feb

HAIR

      Hair is basically made up of water and protein.  The protein bonds in the hair are like a chain, where the molecules are linked together.  When hair is exposed to various elements, the links weaken therefore breaking down the chain, or in other words, break down the hair shaft.

Some of the elements that contribute to the demise of hair are natural elements, such as wind and sun, mechanical elements that include blow dryers, flat irons (the worst), curling irons, and pressing irons.  Chemical elements also break down the hair, so make sure hair dyes are not overlapped, perms whether straight or curly are done correctly.  Repeated exposure to mechanical, chemical and natural abuse, (we all know we do it) the links in the chain weaken so much that it loses a link, or breaks or splits the hair resulting in damage.  Damaged hair is then very lack luster and unmanageable and really ends up looking like hair on a buffoon.

The trick to having great locks is to restore the moisture and protein levels in the hair which will result in shinier and stronger hair.  It really is not a secret to this trick, and I can bet your hairstylist has NOT recommended this prescription.  EVERYONE should practice this method, and after a while, YOU WILL NOTICE A DIFFERENCE in your hair.  Are you all ready?  The key is to invest in protein shampoo, daily conditioner and deep conditioner and a moisture shampoo, daily conditioner and deep conditioner.  For one week use the protein shampoo and daily conditioner with a deep conditioning treatment1 or 2 times a week.  The following week switch to the moisture shampoo and daily conditioner with a deep conditioning treatment 1-2 times weekly.  Alternate the protein and moisture products every week.  Conditioners will help repair your hair and will act as a moisturizer for your scalp and hair shaft, so don’t omit it from your routine.  And, NO it does NOT make your hair unmanageable, the clean hair is what does that; that is what hair products are for; to dirty your hair so you can manipulate it.  I dare you to try it;  I promise you will see a great improvement in your hair.

SKIN

The key to having great looking skin is exfoliation.  That means scrubbing the dead epidermal layer of your skin off.  I mean, you don’t have to go crazy because you can make your skin feel raw with wash cloth burn or even create a sore.  Exfoliating your skin really helps remove the dead skin cells leaving your largest organ feeling soft, smooth and supple as a baby’s bottom.  I came across a great home recipe that you can use as an exfoliant, and all you need is baking soda and water!  The best part is you can also add oils to the concoction to soften your skin at the same time.

3 Parts Baking Soda

T

1 Part Water, 1/2 Part Oil

You can use any kind of oil; I used olive.  Others include jojoba, baby, or any essential oil such as tea tree, lavender or peppermint etc.  It just depends on where you are using the exfoliant.  If you are using it as a foot scrub, use peppermint oil, for your face or hands, olive or jojoba; you get the picture.  Mix the ingredients together and go to town.  These ingredients can be used in bath or foot tubs as soaks; you may have to increase the parts for larger quantities.   Try it; I would love to hear your feedback!

BODY

February is healthy heart awareness month.  I wanted to mention how important it is for individuals to be cognizant of symptoms of heart  disease and for individuals to live a healthy lifestyle to promote heart health.  I wish my mother did this because then perhaps she’d still be here today.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the NUMBER 1 KILLER of women.  Heart disease is pretty much the build up of plaque in the arteries causing the passageway for blood to narrow, thus making it harder to flow to the heart.  There are several other related heart conditions such as heart failure, irregular heart beat and arrhythmia.

It is obvious so many things contribute to heart disease, but what better way to start the 2012 year than to take care of your heart.  There are many things to consider especially diet and exercise programs.  It is also important to be aware of the symptoms that indicate heart conditions.  There is just so much to write about heart disease, I’d have to start a new blog, so I am including the link to The American Heart Association for you all to peruse the site to gain knowledge and start taking care of your heart.

Soul

  February 14……..Valentine’s Day……the day set aside for Romance ……but why does it seem to have to be about romance?  I mean really, I certainly remember having Valentine’s Day parties during my elementary school days, and I can guarantee that none of students at that time had exclusive boyfriends and girlfriends, yet we celebrated the day with loads of candy and single card messages professing, well, our friendships, I guess.  At the time boys and girls were still thought of as having cooties, and not until the middle school years (starting 5th grade) when we were all trying to find ourselves and our place to fit in did we notice the members of the opposite sex.  But, God forbid we confess our love or rather intense crushes to the boys or girls in our class, and what better way than to do it with a candy heart that has been around for what seems a million years.  These have been around since the 1800’s and are a fun treat that stirs up conversations; their entire purpose.  And with the change of times, messages have been updated to include fast growing technology such as text me, email me, or fax me.

I will say however, that Valentine’s Day should not be about Romance, but friendships.  I mean, c’mon……you can’t have a romance unless their is a friendship involved anyway.  So go out and do something nice for your friends or even for yourself.  Some great ideas to treat yourself to a great Valentine’s Day…….get a pedi/mani, a good haircut, a full body massage, a wet shave, buy yourself some perfume or cologne, treat yourself to dessert from your local bakery or candy store, buy some flowers to add decoration to your room, cook yourself a great meal, have lunch with friends and finally splurge on a nice watch or piece of jewelry for yourself……..you are worth it!

Health & Beauty 106

1 Jan

HAIR

I am finally back after a  4 1/2 month hiatus.  I have spent the last semester teaching seventh and eighth graders science, and boy what an experience!  I actually had a blast and became attached to my great students.  I can definitely say that I was privileged to be their teacher and role model.  It is so gratifying to know that I possibly touched their life in a positive way!

Student teaching was hectic because I had to work at the same time in order to keep up with my $500 a month staunchly health insurance bill as well as, other bills as I tend to refer to as, faithful junk mail.  I can definitely say it was tiring, but those sixteen weeks flew by so fast, I couldn’t keep up; I never knew what day it was.

There must have been a full moon on the one day during this time that I was at work because I had three different women ask me the same question.  It was as if though they had a meeting prior to their appointments to discuss this poignant query, but couldn’t concur who’d do the asking.  So, here is the distressing question:  “Is it true that I should not wash my hair everyday?  Someone told me it was bad to wash my hair everyday, so how often do I wash it?”   Literally, three women in a row.  Really, there was a full moon out that day.

Well, here is your answer.  YES, it is safe to wash your hair everyday.  I mean, c’mon…..after I sweat profusely like a pig at the gym, and I am NOT going to wash my hair.  I have one word for that; GROSS.  No, washing your hair everyday will neither ruin your hair nor dry it out.  That is what conditioners are for; to nourish and bring your hair back to tip top shape, and that is what hair products are for:  to dirty up hair for better manipulation while styling.

It is also not bad if you wash your hair every other day, or every couple days.  It completely depends on your hair type and the type of activity you are doing.  For example, those with dry, brittle and curly hair like mine can get away with not washing for 2-3 days and those with over active sebaceous glands may have to wash everyday. Now for those who wish NOT to wash everyday, corn starch, baby powder, loose make up powder, and waterless shampoos (currently the biggest trend) can be put into the scalp to absorb any excess oil or grease.  Just make sure to blend the “white powder” well to avoid gray looking hair.  The bottom line is, your hair needs to be washed as you see fit.

SKIN

I never thought I’d be battling comedones in my adult age; comedones are otherwise known as zits.  I swear I turned 35 and those pesky little suckers were getting out of control to the point I finally made an appointment to the dermatologist to get to the root of the problem and to get these bumps under control.  After waiting for an hour to see the doctor, in less than 3 minutes of me explaining why I came to see her, all she could offer me was that my hormones were the culprit of the sudden and rapid increase of these little eruptions on my face.  I immediately thought, “Are you kidding me?”  I guess I am not quite sure what I was expecting, but I was disappointed in her answer.  Perhaps I was hoping for her to wave her magic wand and all those zits would disappear!  I ended up leaving the office with 4 different prescriptions that included antibiotics, 2 different topical creams and birth control pills to control and regulate my hormones.

I decided to also do a little research on my own, and I realized that I already knew this information about comedones which are simply pimples.  Acne or pimples are nothing but pores in the skin that get clogged with dead skin, oil and bacteria.  Sebum is produced naturally to lubricate the skin, and cells that are close to the sebaceous glands block the openings or pores.  This blockage causes a buildup of oil beneath the skin where bacteria (naturally found in the skin) feasts on the oil, spread and cause the surrounding tissues to become inflamed.

The above cross section represents a healthy and normal hair follicle and a blocked follicle, which results in a pimple or zit.

PAPULE PIMPLE

A papule pimple is a red, tender and inflamed bump that contains no pus and no head.  It is typically caused due to sweat, friction, medication prescription reactions, over abundance of sebum, dead skin and bacteria.  They are beneath the skin and are difficult to extract.

PUSTULE PIMPLE

Pustule pimples are typically near the surface, are similar to whiteheads but are inflamed and usually contain white or yellow pus filled centers.

WHITEHEAD PIMPLES

Whitehead comedones are blocked and trapped sebum and bacteria below the skin surface.  They are considered closed pores.

BLACKHEAD PIMPLES

Blackhead comedones are where the pores are open and the sebum containing melanin (skin pigment) oxidizes and turns black.  Blackheads are sometimes difficult to remove because they slowly drain to the surface.

At some point or another, all of us have experienced overactive sebaceous glands or are experiencing overloaded hormones.  Although zits are more commonly found on the face, especially the forehead, chin and nose (T-zone) during adolescence and forehead and jawline during adulthood, zits can also be prominent on the back, chest or neck.  It is important to keep your skin clean by washing and exfoliating and to use proper implements such as an extractor to extract the zits.

COMEDONE EXTRACTOR

BODY

In a previous post, 102, I talked about decreasing your calories in order to lose weight, but what is a calorie?????  Calories are a unit of measurement for potential energy or heat that is needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of H2O by 1° C or 1.8° F.  It is actually measured as a kilocalorie in which 1000 calories = 1 calorie and it is equal to 4.184 joules which is the unit of measurement for energy in science talk.

Calories are needed for our bodies to function; it gives us our energy, but what makes up calories?  There are 3 main components that make up calories:  PROTEINS, CARBOHYDRATES, AND FAT.  Each of these components contain specific amount of calories per gram.

Proteins=4 calories/gram

Carbohydrates=4 calories/gram

Fats=9 calories/gram

When more calories are consumed than what your body needs, the excess will then be stored as fat.  Remember that caloric intake must be decreased by 3500 calories in order to lose just 1 pound; 7000 for 2.   Healthy diets should consist of about 25% fat, 50% carbohydrates and 25% protein total intake.

That means on a 1500 calorie diet, 375 calories or 42 grams of total fat, 750 calories or 188 grams of carbohydrates, 375 calories or 94 grams of protein should be consumed.  Now, when this is calculated, I just rounded up the grams so in actuality, it is a total of 1506 total calories.  Reading your nutrition labels will be a great help in calculating calories per serving of food.  This will come in handy when you go to grab that bag of junk food at 9pm while watching TV which is the biggest culprit to weight gain.

SOUL

Today starts the beginning of a new year, 2012, and what better way to start your day with a healthy, protein & vitamin packed smoothie.  I have to laugh because it just seems all of America’s number one new year’s resolution is to lose weight.  The gym is completely over crowded with new faces trying to begin a new regime where I am ready to scrap for an elliptical machine, but it only lasts for about 2 months because those new faces have already given up or have come up with some sort of excuse not to exercise.

My smoothie is great for breakfast, especially for those who claim not to be breakfast people, or just simply as a mid-day snack.  You will all have to forgive the not so professional photos, as I took the pictures with my pocket Coolpix digital camera.

SMOOTHIE INGREDIENTS

SMOOTHIE RECIPIE

1 6oz. non fat Greek yogurt

1/2 c. orange juice

1 c. frozen berries

Combine all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  There is one ingredient not pictured, but I added about 1/2 c. fresh spinach.  You can also use fresh fruit, however, you may want to add ice to thicken the consistency of the smoothie.

PROTEIN & VITAMIN PACKED FRUIT SMOOTHIE

This is the finished product with spinach included.  Don’t worry, you really can’t even taste the spinach.  Using the non fat Greek yogurt contributes 0 fat calories, yet 18 grams of protein.  Having this for breakfast or a snack will make you feel full longer due to the protein quantitiy…..try it out and let me know what you think!

Happy New Year to you all…..may the new year bring PEACE, LOVE, HAPPINESS AND PROSPERITY…….and remember…..your resolution  is NOT about a diet, but a lifestyle change…….

Health and Beauty 105

3 Aug

HAIR

So, I have to admit that I love it when individuals play colorists themselves and rush to mass retail stores to purchase boxes of hair dye, sometimes up to 4 boxes just in case they have a big goof.  This brings me to tell a story about a client I once had  tell me while cutting her hair that in one day she colored her hair herself 8 times, yes, that is correct 8 times in one day.  She claimed that she couldn’t achieve her desired color, a creamy beige blonde, so she kept coloring it over and over herself and further explained that she was too cheap to pay for professional color services.  My million dollar question to her was, “How much did you pay for each box of color?”  She responded that each box of hair dye off the shelf cost approximately $10.00 including the tax.  Hmmmm……well, 8 boxes at $10.00 is $80 bucks, definitely enough in my geographical area for a color touch up, or even for a partial highlight, which by the way was her ultimate goal; sunkissed striations to enhance her murky dishwater dark blonde hair.  The funny thing is that she did not listen to my advice, so once again she attempted hair color suicide.  I got an ER call from her explaining how she put a box of dye on her hair and the results were astonishing.  Her root area was orange, the shaft yellow and her ends green.   My thoughts…….for her:  hair color nightmare; I CAN NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE LOOKING LIKE THIS, HELP!!!!!!!!!…..for me: CHA-CHING!!!!!!!

The thing is that box color is not necessarily bad color; it’s when you don’t know what you are doing is what is not good.  Hair coloring is like painting and there are many things to consider!  Natural hair color, the amount of non-pigmented (gray) hair, other chemicals on the hair, other dyes on the hair, texture, and porosity levels are all main factors that need to be evaluated before coloring.  The hair on the head is the canvas, so think about placing color on the canvas.  If I have a white canvas and paint it red, what color comes out?  If my canvas is brown and place red on the brown canvas, what color comes out?  If the canvas is brown and place yellow on the canvas, what happens?  Get the picture????  Oh, and just because the directions say to pull the color through the ends, doesn’t mean that one has to do that exact task.  Only when the color is completely faded on the ends, one should pull through, but still must be careful!

So, when buying hair dyes at mass retail outlets such as Target and Walgreens, nobody asks what was the original hair color  of the model pictured on the box.  Do it yourselfers base their purchase on that one fact.  The hair color of the model in the picture is the desired result, but are the starting hair colors on the purchaser the same as the model?  PROBABLY NOT!  So, unless you have white hair, your hair will most likely NOT come out the same as the pictured hair model.

I guess the moral of the story is to talk to your hair colorist because they will educate you on hair color.  If you are on a budget, ask them what can be done within your budget so that you can walk around with a mane that is perfectly colored!

SKIN

Today I am going to dedicate this section to men!  Well, it can also be applicable to women, but the topic is targeted for the gentleman.  HOW TO GET THE PERFECTLY GREAT SHAVE…….

The modern conveniences of quick shaves have dominated the incommodious daily routine of shaving.  They either get out the old electric razor and glide it over their dry skin or perhaps reach for the can to lather up billowy puffs of shaving cream on their stubbly face to prep it for the Mach 3 multi edged blade attack.  The funny thing is women do the same thing when it comes to shaving their legs because I know I do, only I use a Venus razor.  Now this has worked all along, however, wouldn’t you men love to get a closer smoother shave?

I am going to delve out some secrets to a perfect great shave!  The key is to have a wet shave.  The wetter, the better!  I recommend to shave after a hot shower, but really, will men take the time to do this?  Most likely not, so, it is important to really wet your face with hot water, not scalding, but hot.  This is the first step in a great shave, and again, the wetter the better, and make sure to keep the skin wet before, during and the entire shave.  The hot water helps open the pores and relaxes your muscles to soften the whiskers for a more effective shave.

The next thing men need to consider a shaving brush.  The brush should be made of badger hair, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.  The brush should be saturated with hot water (not scalding) and very wet.  Once the brush is really wet, dip the brush into shaving cream in a tub.  Keeping the face wet with a layer of water in between the lather allows for the blade to skim the surface rather than dragging on it which creates irritation and shave bumps.  This will give a much better result than soap or cream in a can.  The shaving creams in the tubs usually contain essential oils such as lavender, tea tree oil, lemon grass and others to moisturize and soothe the skin.  When the product is on the brush, apply it to your skin in a circular direction to create a good lather.  This process will also help exfoliate your dead skin cells.  This should take about 1-2 minutes.  Some great shaving creams in a tub include products by Jack Black, The Art of Shaving, or American Crew.

Now comes the razor.  Most men and women tend to use multi blade disposable or cartridge razors.  The trick is to go retro and use a single Double Edged blade razor.

Single Double Edged Razor

Single Double Edged Blade

Once you have lathered your face, gently glide the razor without pressure from top to bottom with the grain of your beard.  If you want even a closer shave, you can re-lather and shave going against the grain on the second shave, again, using no pressure.  Using this method will help eliminate irritation, burning, ingrown hairs and shave bumps.

When you are done shaving, rinse your skin with cool water to close the pores.  Follow up with a good after shave lotion or moisturizer that contains SPF.   I dare all of you to try this method and am confident your significant other will be glad you did.

BODY

Last week I had an interesting conversation with one of my clients.  I had complimented her on her weight loss when the conversation took a turn to the dreaded scale.  The big question of the day was “Why is everyone so obsessed with the scale?”  I had to be honest and say that I no longer maintained that insanity of weighing myself every single day.

I broke my habit about 17 years ago when I first started losing my weight.  I traveled across the Atlantic to Macedonia where scales were no where in sight and was freaking out.  How on earth was I going to monitor my weight???  Further more, weight measured in Macedonia is in kilograms and frankly, that is too much math for me.  I just thought to myself, “You have worked way too hard to lose all of this weight just to blow it here while on vacation!”  So, I was more conscious of the food entering my oral cavity and exercised more.  Not knowing those numbers encouraged me to be more aware because I was scared to ruin what I had already accomplished.  It paid off because not only did I keep my weight off, but I lost even more.

Now, to my obsessed days.  I have to laugh out loud because it doesn’t matter how much weight one wants to lose, this seems to be a common factor around the globe.  It was a habit.  Every morning I would go into the bathroom first thing, take off all of my clothes and step onto that dreaded monitor.  Hmmm……that can’t be!  What?!!!???  A two pound gain??????  Wait, let me scoot the scale over here a little.  I think the tile is not even over here.  What????!!!!   A THREE POUND GAIN???????!!!!!!   Wait, let me move the scale over here.  The tile was more uneven over there.  Ahhhh, Now we’re talking……..a one pound loss!!!!  Finally, even tile on the floor.  I am laughing as I write this…….EVERYBODY MOVES THE SCALE AROUND TO GET THE BEST READING OUT OF PERHAPS 4-5 WEIGH INS!!!!

The thing is, if I had a 2 pound loss, I would think, “Hey, I have some lee way……..I could eat more today, after all, I lost 2 pounds!”  And the next thing I know I have a 5 pound gain!!!  Today, I just tell by my clothes and how I fit in them.  If they are starting to feel snug a little, well it’s time to be more watchful and eat healthier.  I am not saying that I never weigh myself, just not everyday like before, rather perhaps once a month.

I guess my point is that it took an entire summer to break my habit of daily weigh ins, and I am more relaxed about my weight because of it.  Remember it takes 21 days to start a habit and 21 days to break a habit.   I do encourage all of you not to be so obsessed to what the scale says because it is all about being healthy and fit.

SOUL

The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives. ~Robert Maynard Hutchins

The summer is winding down, and school is just around the corner.  I am in the final stretch of completing my Master’s program this fall where I will be student teaching 7th and 8th graders the fascinating subject of science in exactly 3 weeks.  I am a little nervous, but that is natural with starting something new.  I had told my co-op teacher that I would be making a lot of mistakes, and his reply was that it was his job to point them out to me.  Hmmmm…..Please do not be so harsh, Mr. A.

I am eager to meet my students (hopefully they are not deviants) and hope to challenge them to enjoy learning about their surroundings.  I just can’t wait for the experiments…….hopefully I don’t contribute to a nasty explosion in the school!   In five months I will be the first in my immediate family to receive a Master’s diploma……..and with honors!  That pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is looking shinier and shinier!

Health and Beauty 104

14 Jun

I am back.  I took a few weeks off to study for my Praxis II middle school science content area certification test.  All I can say is that I am glad it is over, but now I pray that I passed so that I do not have to take it over on July 23.  That would not be good!  I am sure that you all have noticed that I changed the blog format with a different theme.  I stumbled upon this theme and felt it was a little nicer for my blog and maybe a little bit more me.  Let me know your thoughts!


HAIR

Most people will describe their hair as either fine, medium or thick.  What they are really describing is the density, or the number of hairs per square inch on the head.  Did you know that blondes have the most number of hair strands and red heads have the least?  Brown and black hair are obviously in the middle.

Hair texture is also important when describing hair.  It is also referred to as fine, medium or coarse.  Texture is the degree of courseness or fineness of each hair and may vary on different parts of the head.  These variations are attributed to the diameter of the strand where coarse hair has the largest and very fine the smallest.  Hair texture describes mostly the feel of the hair whether it be soft or like mine, a wiry Brillo Pad.  These characteristics are important when styling and especially when having chemical services done.

It is so crazy.  I was born with wavy hair and when I was about 2 years old my dad decided to play barber.  He took me out to the backyard and cut off all my waves while my mother was at work.  Had she been home, this would have never taken place.  I went from having longer wavy beautiful girly hair to this short boyish and Vidal Sassoonish style.  After that haircut, my hair was straight as a board and wouldn’t curl if your life depended on it.  And of course, I yearned for those wavy spirals. Maybe that is why I was always fascinated with round hair brushes.  I thought, “Hmmmm, this may actually make my hair curly,”  but it always only resulted in a big hairy: “Mom!!!!!!  Get this brush out of my hair,”  tangled catastrophe that led to tears the size of oceans and hours of getting the brush out sessions!

Today, my hair is a big wavy frizzy mess!  I don’t know what happened.  My texture has completely changed for the worse at about age 21.  It is wavy, and of course not evenly through out my head, and very coarse and wiry.  Back in the 1980’s, I use to pay for curls (perms) and now I have them permanently for free; go figure, I got my childhood wish.  Not until about 12 years ago, one wouldn’t catch me dead with my hair curly.  I always had to straighten it, and now I wished my hair was straight.  Maybe it is true when they say, “Be careful for what you wish for.”  This is where the round brush could be beneficial to me, but to this day, I have a fear of round brushes.  Even though I use them daily on clients, I just simply CAN NOT master the round brush on my own hair and perhaps it is because I may be slightly uncoordinated, but I really think the underlying cause is the fear.  All I have to say is thank God for the invention of the flat iron that allows me to cheat.

I have finally come to terms with my nappy out of control mane and actually don’t mind my curls.  With the use of some great hair products, I can somewhat control the craziness and enhance the waviness.  I am now also going to explore keratin treatments that do not contain formaldehyde derivatives.  I will talk about keratin treatments on a future blog.

SKIN

What is SPF?  SPF refers to sun protection factor, or how long one can stay in the sun before the skin reddens without protection.  So, for example, when using SPF 15, it will take 15 times longer for the UV rays to redden your skin as opposed to not having any sunscreen.  Using SPF 30 will take 30 times longer to redden the skin as opposed to not using sunscreen, etc….

Some of the ingredients to look for are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, oxybenzone, and ecamsule.  These ingredients provide chemical and physical protection to your skin while out in the sun.  Most UV  sunscreen filters are chemical where a thin, protective film on the surface of the skin is formed which  absorbs the UV radiation before it penetrates the skin.  The physical sunscreen filters are insoluble particles that reflect UV away from the skin.  Sunscreens typically contain both chemical and physical ingredients.

It is important to remember to apply sunscreen approximately 30 minutes prior to being in the sun and to reapply about every 2 hours.  Sometimes when swimming or sweating profusely, you may have to reapply more often.

BODY

Seventeen years ago when I decided to lose weight properly, I knew that I had to incorporate exercise to accelerate the process.  I began to utilize the Co-Rec at Purdue, a facility bigger and better than a health club,  more often.  My typical exercise regime included some sort of aerobic exercise such as running ( and what a motivator to go run on the track just to inconspicuously check out the hot Purdue men playing basketball down below, or the 1980’s craze, inspired by Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons:  Aerobics (dancing, jumping and kicking to music while wearing spandex leotards with tanga panties that had a dental floss string up your butt crack and can’t for get the sweat headbands across your forehead).

Aerobic means with air or oxygen, so aerobic exercise is pretty much anything cardio or elevating your heart rate.  Aerobic exercise uses large muscle groups and is maintained for a duration, typically 30 minutes.  Some exercises include walking, jogging, using elliptical machines, zumba, you get the picture.

Anaerobic means without oxygen or air, so anaerobic exercise includes high intensity activities without oxygen.  Now that is not literal, but what happens is that your body is exercising at a rate that the blood stream can not supply oxygen to the muscles for energy, thus lactic acid builds in the oxygen deprived muscle.  The muscles still receive oxygen; however, not enough to keep up with the intensity of the activity.  Some anaerobic activities include, football, basketball, soccer, circuit or interval training and weight lifting.

It is important to include both of these types of exercises because doing cardio helps get rid of fat while anaerobic helps build lean muscle mass.  Today, my exercise program includes using an elliptical machine, walking on the treadmill or outside when the weather is nice or using a recumbent bike.  I also include weights into my program, and I will tell you the weights is what sucked me in.  Using weights completely reshaped my body where today people tell me that I need to gain weight.  SERIOUSLY??????  Thought I’d NEVER  hear that; EVER.

One thing is for sure.  Because I love to eat, and I eat all kinds of food (I never deprive myself), I have accepted the fact that I will have to exercise 3-5 times a week to maintain my weight!  FOREVER!!!!!!!!  I will say; however, that I actually enjoy it.  It is MY time, just for me.  It also helps relieve my stress, and sometimes whatever is bothering me.  I take it out on the treadmill or elliptical machine.  Since my body is acclimated to constant exercise weekly, when I skip a couple of days, oh, my body so craves it, badly.  It is like a drug.

I do encourage all of you out there who want to start an exercise program, start moving just by walking.  That is the first step, so go out there and take advantage of the great outdoors, especially since it IS summer time!  Perfect time to start!

SOUL

A few weeks ago, I was going out with my family and wanted to wear my sterling silver jewelry.  The night before, I don’t know why I took a look at it only to notice that some of the pieces were slightly tarnished, AGAIN!  I found a great easy recipe that cleans silver.  YES, it removes the tarnish without polishing or scrubbing, and what a messy hassle that is.  If I had to do that to clean my silver, well, let’s just say that I would probably put that jewelry at the bottom of my jewelry box, and it would never see the light of day adorning my wrists, neck or fingers.   I guess that I am somewhat admitting to the fact that I can be lazy when it comes to polishing the nooks and crannies of my body silverware.  I have taken some photos with my cheapo Coolpix camera, but you will be able to get a visual.

Now as you can see, this is my jewelery before.  Yes, I know, it is difficult to see the tarnish, and maybe I should have used a white towel to perhaps “show” the tarnish better.

The first thing you want to do is take some aluminum foil and make a “bowl” out of it by scrunching up the sides.  Once you have done that, place your tarnished jewelry into the bowl.

The next thing you want to do is cover the jewelry with baking soda.  I usually also place the aluminum bowel into the kitchen sink.

Once the jewelry is covered in baking soda, bring about two cups of water to a rolling boil.  When the water is boiling, take it off the heat and pour it over the baking soda covered jewelry.  Watch not to burn yourself.

Watch it fizzle for about a minute or two.  Remove the jewelry and wipe the excess water off, and WA-LAH…….clean silver without polishing!   Depending on how badly tarnished your pieces are, you may have to repeat this process a few times.

OK…I know you can’t tell from my crappy photo, but trust me; it works!  The hot water provides energy to the aluminum foil and baking soda to cause a chemical reaction in which the aluminum draws out the dirt or tarnish.  This is a very simple process and is quick.  You can also clean your silver silverware too.  Try it out and let me know how it works for you!