September 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm , by Joy Wingfield
Fall season’s in full swing and I can’t help but reminisce about high school. Senior year to be exact. Who can forget the whirlwind of emotions: Regents exams, acne, boyfriends, breakups. The list goes on. But perhaps the most stressful time of year was those painstaking few months before graduation, where all of life depended on whether or not I made it into the university of my choice.
This is where a good mentor comes in handy. She’s often your ally and your guide through every hurdle you’ll soon face before entering the grand halls of college: mounts of school applications, reference letters, nauseating financial aid forms, personal essays, etc. For the average 17-year-old from a working-class household, these are daunting tasks.
Debi Lee is one of many dedicated mentors at Minds Matter, a national non-profit organization that shepherds highly motivated, low-income high school students starting sophomore year. “An old roommate of mine asked me to co-mentor with her in 1996 and I’ve been doing it ever since, ” says Lee, a corporate bank executive in New York City. “My parents told my brother and I that the main reason they migrated to the U.S. from South Korea was for us to get a good education. They used to post rankings of Ivy League schools in the kitchen so we’d see it every day.”
For many students with parents who work long hours, aspiring to top schools, even with a stellar grade point average, is a huge challenge. At Minds Matter, more than 1,400 new and experienced volunteers are dedicated to helping 500-plus young people reach their college dreams.
“It’s been an amazing process,” says Lee. “I look forward to the day when one of my mentees becomes a mentor through Minds Matter. It would accomplish the full circle I have in mind.”
July 25, 2013 at 7:00 pm , by Joy Wingfield
I have three words for instant relaxation: Hot. Stone. Massage. No kidding. One of the best decisions I made during a recent trip to Breezes Bahamas Resort was to put down the rum and pineapple juice and let the masseuse work her magic right there on the beach.
Naturally, I was squeamish about the whole thing — hot rocks simmering on my bare skin? Why would I do that? But the island setting was perfect and I was curious about the claims behind these peculiar little stones.
The first rock was hot. Ouch! Wasn’t expecting that. I exhaled into the next one, a technique I learned in yoga. By the third stone, my body temperature was used to it. Reminded me of the first few toes that go into a steaming hot bath.
Then the masseuse started with a vigorous, full-body oil massage with her hands and continued with two stones that pressed against my back, arms, thighs and legs. After the kneading, she placed five to six freshly hot stones on key areas (including the palms of my hands) to allow for deeper muscle relaxation. Once I stayed in position for several minutes and the heat penetrated through every trigger point in my body, I released an “aaaaah” like never before.
If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend that you do, even in the dog days of summer. Hot stone massage helps relieve pain, reduces chronic stress and increases flexibility in joints.
April 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm , by Joy Wingfield
If you’ve ever questioned the relevance of living green, one conversation with beauty expert Horst Rechelbacher would set you straight.
He’s fiercely passionate about living organic. The founder of Aveda left retirement two years ago to launch Intelligent Nutrients, one of the first U.S.D.A.-Certified Organic skincare lines that offers plant-based, toxin-free multifunctional products.
I had the pleasure of meeting Rechelbacher recently as he unveiled the line’s newest product: bug repellent. Yep, bug repellent. But this is no ordinary insect zapper. It’s a DEET-free, anti-chemical formula that smells like the inside of a 5-star spa. One spritz tickles your nose with peppermint lemongrass, cedar, clove and rosemary. The scent is lovely (so lovely that I’ve sprayed it everywhere, from my gym bag to my neck). But does it kill bugs? “Of course,” says Rechelbacher, 70, in his charming Austrian accent. “The secret is the sesame oil, which can be an effective repellent all by itself.”
His clean-living mantra is translated in his lifestyle as well. Rechelbacher has an extraordinary solar-powered Fifth Avenue apartment in New York, drives an electric car, practices yoga, drinks water only from glass bottles and eats mostly organic vegetarian — for starters. His mission to reform the beauty industry’s use of chemicals is what keeps him in the business. The use of hair dyes, perms, paraben-rich skincare products, he says, has a negative effect on our health on various levels. Guilt, he says, pulled him out of retirement. How could he stand by knowing everything that he does and do nothing about it? “One of the best things that happened was the release of the President’s Cancer Panel Report that came out last May,” says Rechelbacher. “It spells out all of the chemicals that are a responsible link to every form of cancer.
Even choosing your lipstick could be a matter of life or death. “It’s treated with irradiations and heavy metals, which the body can not process so it gets stored somewhere. Maybe in your breast tissue. Maybe your colon. We don’t know, but it gives women cancer.” Makes you think twice about gliding on that red gloss, right?
Rechelbacher’s role as environmental activist was inspired in part by his upbringing. His mother, an apothecary, helped him make his first batch of home-grown hair ingredients with cooked herbs when he styled hair in the 1970s. She lovingly suggested it after noticing the “stink” permeating his salon from chemical-based hair products.
Today, Rechelbacher’s passion is unshaken. In order for products to be used safely, the body must have the ability to digest them, and his products do. Many of his ingredients are grown on his 600-acre farm in Wisconsin. The U.S.D.A. seal means those ingredients have met food standards. Translation: you can eat it. Add a little sparkling water to Intelligent Nutrients’ hair spray “and it tastes like grappa. The alcohol is made from organic grapes,” he says.
I’ve fallen in love with the Destress Express hair and body oil, a relaxing blend of jojoba oil, vanilla, red raspberry and lime that I apply right before I steam and shower. The Sambac Jasmine anti-aging body elixir has a seductive scent, excellent for alleviating tension and reducing stress.
July 16, 2010 at 7:46 pm , by Joy Wingfield
Award-winning country singer Martina McBride is the new face of Cheerios’ “Love Your Heart” campaign, which encourages women to eat heart-healthy meals and live their lives passionately, words we live by at LHJ.
And they’re offering a sweet deal: Enter the “Do What You Love” contest by sending your photo and a short essay on the activity you love to do most, and you could win two roundtrip tickets to Nashville, a three-day, two-night stay at a luxury hotel, and an exclusive chance to hang out with Martina McBride at her recording studio, plus more.
Jump on it! The contest ends on July 23rd!!
I had a chance to chat with Martina about life on the road and keeping her ticker healthy:
LHJ: Why is the message to stay heart-healthy so important to you?
Martina: As we know, heart disease is the number one killer of women in America, so I think the topic should be important for everyone. But I want to set a good example for my three daughters, who are ages 15, 12 and 5. I want to be around a long time to see them grow and do things together as a family.
LHJ: How do you stay on top of your health while you’re on the road?
Martina: Well I try to eat organic whenever possible and have plenty of healthy options on hand. On the road, there’s usually a salad bar and some kind of soup, fish and lean beef or chicken, and a nice selection of healthy side dishes. I love that our catering company is so health conscious. That helps too.
LHJ: What do the girls like eating at home?
Martina: They actually like healthy food. Really, they do! But I’m not restrictive with what they eat. I mean, they’re kids. Sometimes they complain to me and say, “There’s nothing to eat in this house.” And I’ll say, “Yes, there is. There’s a bowl of apples and there’s cheese and crackers.”
LHJ: How do you stay so fit?
Martina: Mostly, it’s the way I eat. That’s the biggest thing. I don’t really like to workout either. It takes a lot to get me to set aside time to do it, but I try. I might workout three times a week, 30 minutes a day. A little cardio, a little weight training. We ride bikes on the road, so we’re getting in good exercise.
LHJ: I know that Nashville is still healing from the floods. Have you or anyone in your family been effected by it?
Martina: No, we were lucky, but I was very excited to be a part of some of the benefit concerts they’ve had for flood relief. One concert, called Nashville Rising, raised over $2.5 million. It was just a great evening of music with other country artists.
LHJ: What’s next for you?
Martina: I’m starting to work on a new album, looking for new material and writing a lot — actually writing more for this album than any other I’ve done, so it’s an exciting time.
March 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm , by Joy Wingfield
The topic may seem taboo in this rough economy, but in order to maintain our emotional well beings, I find it necessary to splurge on what you like. That’s right, I said ‘necessary.’ I don’t mean blow your entire paycheck at the latest Coach bag, but give yourself permission to splurge on something that makes you happy. Call it a treat for all of your hard work. For some women, that treat is expensive shoes. For me, it’s my upscale gym membership.
As divaesque as it sounds (and believe me, I am no diva), I need the chi chi fitness center. I recently downgraded to a cheaper facility to save money, and the change isn’t working for me. Where are the plush towels? Eucalyptus compresses? The state-of-the-art machines? Call me spoiled, but I look forward to the sweet additives, if only for the few hours a week I spend working out. It gets me excited to go back to the gym. I compare it to spending more on Egyptian cotton, 1,000-thread count sheets over discount sheets. For insomniacs, it’s a necessary indulgence.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying an overpriced gym membership is the answer for everyone. Splurging is a highly individual experience. You might even find it pretentious and wasteful. Understandable. But for me, the few extra dollars is spent on comfort and piece of mind. And in my opinion, it’s worth every penny.
February 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm , by Joy Wingfield
Is it me or does the entire universe suddenly have chronic stomach issues? Just look at the ads. Intestinal ailments are the new “it” worry this season. Pill-poppers are now popping daily doses of probiotic supplements, suited to balance our “friendly” bacteria and bring harmony back to our intestinal flora. Really. Last I saw, there were even probiotic products for dogs and babies.
Well believe it or not, I get it. Over the last few years, I suddenly became hypersensitive to certain foods. “Try cutting out caffeine,” my doctor says. Okay. So I cut out coffee. Then red meat. Then poultry. Suddenly, I’m nearly a vegetarian. The pains did subside over time. But every so often, that annoying little sting would reemerge, like right after I’ve eaten a bowl of lightly steamed carrots. So maybe I do have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. “Could be. Everyone’s body is different,” my doctor says.
So I take the plunge and buy an OTC 28-day probiotic supplement for $30. The verdict? I’m not sure. My pains were alleviated for the most part. But was it the new diet, or an expensive placebo? Studies show that certain probiotic pills do have the ability to improve intestinal health, and with daily use (at $30 a pop), you can feel better. But is that a real solution or a temporary fix? Here’s my best amateur advice: go to your doctor, get tested, and listen to your body when it’s trying to tell you something. Hopefully your body’s natural flora will find its own harmony.
October 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm , by Joy Wingfield
Terri Haskins realized hers when she reinvented her 17-year career as an entertainment marketing executive and started her own interior design company, Presentations Elements of Design. She left her former life in the music biz, having worked with performers in Hip-Hop, like Mary J. Blige and Will Smith, and enrolled back into college after 23 years to earn an associates’ degree in interior design.
A bold move in this recession? Yes. Worth the risk? Absolutely. ”Work has definitely slowed down because this is a luxury-based business,” says Haskins. “But that just motivates me to be more aggressive and proactive in gaining new clientele.”
And don’t think for a second that being your own boss makes it any easier. The hours are longer and tougher, and every move you make has to be weighed out by both sides of your brain. But the real reward is the finished product, a design drawn and drafted from your own ideas. “That’s a dream come true for me,” says Haskins.