May 16, 2013 at 11:51 am , by Amelia Harnish
When activist and author Letty Cottin Pogrebin was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, she was surprised at how not sick she felt—until word spread among her friends. Some loved ones avoided her completely. Others seemed tongue-tied or awkwardly danced around the issue in conversation. “Instead of, ‘Hey, how are you?’ everyone started asking ‘Oh, how are you?’ in that tone that says they’re painfully worried about you,” she says. She realized that many people have no idea how to act around someone who’s dealing with an illness. At the time of her diagnosis, Pogrebin was working on a novel but decided to shift gears and instead write her latest book, How To Be A Friend To A Friend Who’s Sick.
Based on her own experience as well as interviews with 80 other patients, the book covers what to say in response to bad news, how to help and even what to bring to the hospital when you visit. I had the pleasure of meeting Pogrebin and collecting a few dos and don’ts.
Do ask her what she wants. “Everybody wants different things. Some people want to be treated as though they’re not even sick. Some people want you to sit and listen,” Pogrebin explains. You may feel like you shouldn’t ask, you should just act. But it can be liberating, not to mention extremely helpful, to give the sick person the opportunity to tell you exactly what she needs.
Do keep your good fortune to yourself. You should be honest if she asks how things are going in your life, but she doesn’t need to hear every detail about your promotion or the great vacation you’re planning. Keep it vague, and start conversations about current events or other interests you share, like movies, sports or politics, Pogrebin suggests.
Don’t ask, “How are you?” at all. If you’re someone dealing with chronic pain or chemotherapy, that’s a very awkward question to answer, says Pogrebin. “It’s the most basic opening line in human conversation, and it’s the most problematic for a sick person.” Instead, ask her, what’s new? This way, the conversation doesn’t begin with her having to acknowledge she’s not doing so well, and it’s open-ended. She can say “Not much,” or she can tell you about her treatment if she wants, or she can tell you her mother called.
Don’t tell her about that miracle treatment you heard about. It’s natural for you to feel like you should offer advice, but fight the urge. “Part of why disease makes us so uncomfortable is that we feel powerless,” says Pogrebin. “But so much advice is dizzying. She has a doctor for that. She needs you to be her friend.”
May 15, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Bethany Porter
At the LHJ offices, all the fashion buzz lately has been about pants. What was once just a boring closet staple that you used to show off all your pretty tops has morphed into a fashion category all its own. This season we’re seeing more options for your bottom half than ever before–from patterned slouchy varieties to wide-leg trousers in look-at-me-colors. One of our favorite styles is the almost-pajama pant. These wardrobe workhorses pair with all your basics and come in breezy, summer-friendly fabrics. The gorgeous pair above is only $10!!! We’ve had some fun with pattern mixing our looks but pair these pants with any slightly flowy top and a jacket and you’re set.
May 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm , by Bethany Porter
We sat down with hair icon Jennifer Aniston this week to talk all things hair—especially about why women battle with their locks (we’ve all done it!) and what she’s doing to change that. Aniston recently became part owner of the Living Proof hair care line and produced a mini documentary with the Living Proof team and her long-time stylist, Chris McMillan (he’s the man responsible for the famous Rachel cut) to explore our collective obsession with hair, and the lengths we all go to get our dream styles.
“I had great hair as a kid. My mom actually said you’re not allowed to touch your hair until you’re thirteen and she was right, I should not have,” Aniston says. “The first thing I did was cut it all off…I actually learned what my hair really was (which was not long and sort of cute) it was wide and unmanageable and a pain in the butt. I learned all my lessons in my younger years about what not to do.”
Aniston understands the desire for the latest gorgeous hairstyle but you won’t find her making any drastic cuts these days. “I usually just get a trim. I’ve always thought of going back to brunette but I think it’s more fun to play with it in movies.” (She admits her favorite movie look was the beachy, natural, long blonde look from Along Came Polly). “I think because of all the disasters I had as a kid. I don’t go to the ‘let’s cut it off or color it or shag it’ place. I’ve learned those lessons,” she says.
Now that she and McMillan have cracked the secret to those perfect, smooth locks we love so much on the red carpet, they’re sharing it with the rest of us (yes!). Aniston says Living Proof’s Nourishing Style Cream and Restore Mask have totally turned her hair around. She also says drinking water, getting enough sleep, and getting omega fatty acids in her diet help her iconic locks stay healthy from the inside out.
We also love that Aniston used the Living Proof products for several months before signing on to be a part of the company. She wanted see if the promised results would come through. “I gave it to my girlfriends, they love it. I gave it to Chris and he used it on his salon clients and they love it. So that was like, OK I will stand behind [this],” she says.
Next on Aniston’s beauty agenda is working with the company’s scientists to produce her fantasy products. “I can’t talk about it just yet!” she says. “It’s so exciting, being able to get in there and solve all the problems that girls have with their hair.”
To get a little of Aniston’s hair magic for yourself, enter by May 24th to win the chance to have your hair cut by her stylist, Chris McMillan. You’ll even get to meet Aniston herself! You can check out the first video in Aniston and McMillian’s Good Hair Day series today—and check back May 13th and 15th for more of the documentary.
May 3, 2013 at 8:00 am , by Sonia Harmon
Alison Sweeney is one hardworking woman. Not only does she star on Days of Our Lives and host The Biggest Loser, she’s also mom to son Ben, age 8, and daughter Megan, age 4. In our July/August issue she answers your questions about how she lost weight and gained self-esteem, but even with everything else she has going on this busy mom still found the time to fulfill another dream: becoming a novelist. This month she releases her new book, The Star Attraction, which is about a Hollywood publicist who scores a dreamy big-name client, but she lets her love life become intertwined with her work. Sounds juicy, right? We agree—that’s why we’re giving five away copies signed by Alison herself! Just leave a comment on this blog post and you’re automatically entered to win.
Only one entry per person, per email address. Official Rules
April 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm , by Hilary Merzbacher
Chef and blogger Gaby Dalkin knows her way around an avocado. So much so, that she just released a comprehensive cookbook dedicated 100% to the versatile, creamy-fleshed fruit. We gave her a call to chat about blogging, her recent wedding and (of course!) all things avocado.
Tell us what inspired you to write a book devoted to avocados. Within the food blogging world I’m known as the avocado queen. Everyone refers to me when they’re talking about guacamole or avocados and I’m 100% obsessed. So when I was approached for ideas for my first cookbook I just jokingly said “avocados!” and everybody loved the idea. I didn’t think that anybody would take it seriously but now, here we are.
Did you happen keep track of how many avocados you used during your recipe development? I used over 400 avocados. The produce guys at my local grocery store and I totally became best friends.
In addition to being a cookbook writer and recipe developer, you’ve written the food blog whatsgabycooking.com for years now. What inspires the recipes you post? I like to cook with the mentality of eating healthy most of the time, then having the occasional really incredible dessert. I just made this amazing brownie-ice-cream-cheesecake that’s going up on my blog next week. I like to have a balance of everything. I know that my readers come to my website for avocado recipes and desserts most heavily, but I also post a lot of main courses—basically what my husband and I are eating. A lot of my readers are around my age and are cooking for their families too. I want to give them simple and delicious recipes they can take into their kitchen.
The avocados available in grocery stores are often a bit under-ripe. What are your tips and tricks for storing and ripening them at home? If avocados are too ripe in the store, you sometimes get them home and they’re brown inside, mushy and just not perfect. I buy slightly harder avocados that aren’t quite ready to be cut into yet—I’ll stick them in a brown paper bag with a banana and the natural gas that the banana gives off ripens the avocado faster.
I know you were recently married. Congrats! Can I ask if there was a guacamole bar at your wedding? There was absolutely a guacamole bar at my wedding! It was a late night snack to feed people halfway through the reception and I was too busy dancing to have any—I was so bummed! But it was totally gone by the end of the night, so I think that’s a good sign!
What inspired you to try making avocado chocolate chip cookies and the other sweet recipes in your dessert chapter? Avocado is a really easy substitute for butter. My husband is in great shape but has really high cholesterol—I wanted to find a way to cut cholesterol in baked goods and allow him to still eat a cookie at the end of the day.
It’s probably like picking a favorite child, but can you tell us your favorite recipe from your new book? A top three is okay too! I’ll tell you that I’m obsessed with the goat cheese guacamole—it’s my favorite guacamole. Also, the salmon with the pepper avocado relish is one of my favorite main courses. The avocado stuffed potato skins (recipe below) are probably one of my go-to appetizers for any kind of party or event I’m throwing.
Avocado-stuffed Potato Skins
Even though this recipe says it serves 8 to 10, be prepared to eat the entire thing by yourself. These little bites of potato filled with cheese, salty pancetta, and smashed avocado will totally rock your world. Serve them for a game day or a fun backyard bash and they will disappear off the table faster than you’ll believe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 80 minutes (including cooling time)
Serves: 8 to 10
12 baby yellow potatoes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, diced
11⁄2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 Hass avocados
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1⁄2 teaspoon coarse salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Drizzle the whole potatoes with the olive oil, making sure they are all evenly coated, and lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove the potatoes from oven and let them rest until they are cool enough to handle.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise so that you have 24 pieces. Carefully scoop out the middle portion of each halved potato so the remaining portion looks like a little potato cup. Set aside the scooped-out potato flesh for another use.
Put the cut potatoes back onto the baking sheet, cut side up.
Add the pancetta to a small skillet over medium-high heat. Let the pancetta start to crisp while occasionally stirring. Once the pancetta is golden brown, remove it from the skillet with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain the excess fat.
Toss together the pancetta, cheese, and red onion in a small bowl. Evenly distribute the mixture in the potato skins on the baking sheet. Put the baking sheet back in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes, until the cheese has just melted.
While the cheese is melting, cut each avocado in half lengthwise. Remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin, and cut the avocado into a small dice. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice, chives, salt, and pepper and mash together with a fork.
Once the cheese has melted in the potato skins, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let the potatoes cool slightly, and then top with the guacamole mixture.
For more avocado-filled recipes, purchase a copy of Gaby’s book, Absolutely Avocados (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), available now on Amazon.com.
April 22, 2013 at 9:53 am , by Mandy Velez
Looking for a guilty pleasure and like animals? Okay, us too. That’s why National Geographic’s Spoiled Rotten Pets is our must-see show this month. Host Beth Stern (Howard’s wife and the spokesperson for the North Shore Animal League) profiles America’s most pampered pets and their doting owners to show us just how far their love can go.
Viewers meet Wilma and Pebbles, two pot-bellied pigs who live with a couple inside their Pennsylvania home and get regular spa treatments, some diapered ducks, a few Pup Scouts, and a Pomeranian that has a bar mitzvah – yep – you read that right, a pupmitzvah!
Stern told us she and husband Howard have been known to spoil their four cats, too. “I’ve gotten horrible nights sleep due to the fact I didn’t want to move one of my cats, because they were resting so comfortably,” she says. “But I think anyone that loves animals or has pets is going to see themselves in each episode.”
Want to see it for yourself? Check out this trailer.
April 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm , by Mandy Velez
Itchy, watery eyes, sniffles, sore throat. Sound familiar? Yup, it’s allergy season. I thought I somehow escaped it this time around, but I’ve spent the past week sneezing nonstop. And according to my Facebook feed, I’m not alone: “Allergies are really kicking my butt today,” one friend harped.
It doesn’t help that experts are expecting an especially tough spring for allergies this year, thanks to a slew of bad storms and a longer growing season. But there are plenty of things you can do to avoid annoying symptoms. Here are a few easy tips for staying one step ahead this spring.
Take meds as soon as you wake up.
The pollen count is highest in the morning, and symptoms will only get worse if you don’t keep ahead of them. If you can, avoid going on walks or heading outside in the early hours of the day, and don’t forget to take an antihistamine like Claritin, Zyrtec or Allegra as soon as you wake up.
Don’t stop at antihistamines.
Nasal sprays and neti pots can also help once symptoms get started, says Reed Erickson, M.D., the medical director of MedExpress. Prescription steroid sprays like Flonase can help reduce inflammation. Neti pots, which you fill with warm water and saline, can help flush out pollen and congestion, while soothing your sinuses.
Keep your windows closed.
You may feel tempted to let in all that fresh springtime air after a long winter. But don’t: you’ll just be letting allergens in, says Kevin Ronneberg, M.D., the associate medical director of Target. Another thing you can do, especially if you have itchy eyes, is skip your contacts or wear sunglasses when you have to venture outside, he adds.
Know your triggers.
“The best way to treat allergies is to avoid them,” says Dr. Ronneberg. While it may feel like you’re allergic to everything sometimes, it can help to know about your specific triggers so you can track them. If you don’t know what you’re allergic to, make an appointment with your doctor to get tested. The ACAAI is also hosting free allergy screenings across the country in May.
Get the App.
WebMD and Accuweather just released a new iPhone app that allows you to get daily weather forecasts and check allergen levels for pollen, trees and dust. Just input your location and it will give a three-day forecast, along with tips and tons of useful info. I tried it and loved that I could learn when pollen counts were high in my area.
Photo by zirconicusso, shutterstock.com
Categories: Health, Ladies' Lounge | Tags: ACAAI, Allegra, allergens, Allergies, allergy triggers, American College of Allergy, and Immunology, antihistamines, asthma, avoid allergies, Claritin, featured, fight allergies, how to get rid of allergies, itchy, Kevin Ronneberg, Med Express, nasal spray, Reed Erickson, sneezing, Target, watery, ways to beat allergies, WebMD, WedMD app, Zyrtec | 1 Comment