How to Assemble the Perfect First-Aid Kit

June 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm , by

Each morning, when I step into the jam-packed subway car to get to my job as the newest Ladies’ Home Journal editorial intern, I learn something new by watching my fellow commuters. The woman who almost pulled out the top row of her eyelashes with her eyelash curler taught me that makeup should always be applied at home. And the aspiring opera singer busking at the 6 train entrance showed me that a screeching soprano isn’t pleasant if you’ve missed your morning coffee. But perhaps the most notable thing I’ve learned is to pack a change of shoes. The women who pair their polished pencil skirts with sneakers aren’t unfashionable. They’re smart.

After tackling escalators and uneven pavement in heels, I learned the hard way that I should follow their lead. I now know I should wear what’s comfortable and wait to change into cute summer shoes at the office, but my feet are already covered in blisters. That’s why my first assignment—to cover the 125th anniversary of first-aid kits—was not only a cool opportunity but also a fitting reminder to always have Band-Aids and other supplies handy!

While at the event, I picked up a few tips from the pros at Johnson & Johnson on how to assemble a first-aid kit. Oh, and I got to meet actress Maggie Gyllenhaal (that’s her, in white, with me), who served as a celebrity spokesmom on behalf of being prepared for emergencies.

1. Start with the essentials: Every first-aid kit should include plenty of bandages in different sizes, surgical or nonlatex gloves in case you want to protect your hands from blood, gauze pads, a thermometer, scissors, antiseptic wipes, pain-relief medication and tubes of antibiotic and hydrocortisone ointments.

2. Now personalize: Whether you’re an athlete, gardener, fashionista or mom (or even all of the above), be sure to include items that will help heal potential injuries specific to you. If you spend a lot of time in the yard gardening, for example, you might include aloe for sunburns and ibuprofen for back pain, while a strappy sandal enthusiast (like me) might throw in a friction block stick and moleskin to soothe blisters.

3. Keep allergies in mind: If a family member has seasonal allergies, keep a supply of over-the-counter meds like loratadine. For skin rashes or hives, stash some calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream and diphenhydramine antihistamine pills.

4. Create a list of contents: It’s easy to throw health-care supplies inside a container, but labeling every item and creating an inventory will help you find the essentials when you really need them. Tape the list on the inside of the lid and keep it updated as you replenish supplies. You should also include the phone numbers of your doctor and specialists so anyone who uses the kit can reach help if needed.

5. Have more than one: Assemble one first-aid kit for the home and think about doing a smaller, portable one to take in your purse or keep in your car—especially if you have active, accident-prone kids. (Aren’t they all?) You’ll feel more confident if you’re prepared, says Gyllenhaal. “Having a bag ready and filled with supplies makes me a more chill mom when things come up.”

How To Avoid Warm Weather Hairstyle Meltdown

August 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm , by

Whoever said that Mother Nature isn’t a powerful force was just crazy. Summer rain leads to major humidity…which leads to seriously sweaty roots…which leads to frequent shampoo sessions…which leads to dry, frizzy ends. It’s a vicious, never-ending cycle. Enter dry shampoo. The hair washing stand-in has the power to lift oil from the scalp, absorb dirt and product build-up, and leave hair looking and feeling fresh. Take that, Mother Nature.

Here’s the best way to dry-shampoo, courtesy of Ammon Carver, Artistic Director for Matrix:

1.  Comb or brush through your hair to distribute oils evenly.

2.  Start at the top of your head, create a center part and spray lightly along the part, holding the dry shampoo an inch or two from your head.

3.   Make another part about a few inches away and repeat.

4.  Continue creating parts and spraying on each side of the original part until you reach your ears on each side.

5.  In the back, start at the crown of your head, create a horizontal part and spray.  Continue parting and spraying to the bottom of your head.

6.  Gently massage the powder into your scalp, as if you were lathering up your shampoo.

7. Wait a few minutes to allow the powder to absorb the excess oil and dirt.

8. Brush through to remove all of the powder.  Flip your hair upside down and brush through once more.

Summer Sandal S.O.S.

July 2, 2012 at 11:48 am , by

It’s officially sandal season, which means no more hiding. Yes, flats are still perfectly acceptable, but why not let your toes feel the warm air too? Even though cold weather wreaks havoc on our skin, summer slaps your feet with some harsh hits too. We’ve all had a cracked heel emergency at some point. Chicago-based dermatologist, Brooke Jackson, M.D. shared a few tips for getting your tootsies in tip-top shape.

Platform wedges don’t look so cute when you have dry, cracked heels. Use a pumice stone or gritty exfoliant once a week and apply a cream with AHA’s at night to keep them smooth. Jackson recommends CeraVe SA Renewing Lotion or Amlactin Plus.

Giving yourself a pedicure? Prevent ingrown toenails by cutting your nails straight across. Don’t try to cut or file the nail into the sides of your toe.

Apply sunscreen on the tops of your feet. “I see patients every summer who forget to put sunscreen on their feet and they get burned on the tops of their feet,” says Dr. Jackson. “Skin is skin and any skin which is exposed to the sun needs to be protected.”

Breaking in new sandals? Blisters and chafing are caused by rubbing and friction, so apply a product like Gold Bond Friction Defense to areas of the foot that feel friction before irritation as prevention. You can also use this on irritated and burning feet to treat and soothe skin.


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Beat the Heat: 7 Summer Dresses Under $100

June 20, 2012 at 3:29 pm , by

With the temperature into the high 90s this week, there is only one thing that I want to reach for in my closet every single day: a dress. So, I figured we’d all benefit from a little online shopping trip. All under $100. All from the comfort of your air-conditioned office!

1. Because we love a good limited-edition collection at Target. The Webster at Target leaf print dress $42.99

2. Because no one makes under $100 look so luxe. Zara v-back dress $89.90

3. Because mint is the color of the summer. Asos river island high waisted dress $41.43

4. Because the midi length is so new and so flattering. Forever 21 tribal midi dress $24.80

5. Because a little arm coverage is okay with us. Piperlime MM Couture kimono dress $68

6. Because I can’t go shopping without stopping at J Crew. Dontcha love how they styled it with the belt and hat? J Crew shoreline stripe dress in kelly green $69.50

6. Because where else can you get something so cute for less than a $20 spot? Old Navy drawstring v-neck jersey dress $15.94

7. And because I clearly have an addiction to stripes. Gap asymmetrical striped dress $64.95

Happy shopping! All images from the brand’s websites. Click each dress for details.

Beauty Confession: What Are Your Summer Beauty Pleasures?

January 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm , by

Believe it or not, we are well into summer mode. When temps are in the 30s you kind of have to be, right? This time of year we’d give anything for the blissful days of bare legs and coral lips, but there has to be some trade off to living in NYC.

Being able to toss our hair up in a top knot without having to worry about fitting a knit hat over it, or showing off a super bright toe nail shade every other day are just a few of our best summer beauty moments.

What are your favorite summer beauty moments?

Bon Voyage: 19 Tips from the Best Travel Writers

July 14, 2011 at 11:45 am , by

BestWomensTravelWritingWith the summer heat wave sapping New York, I can hardly wait for next week, when I’ll be relaxing in the surf, sand and sun (with sunscreen! I promise!) on . . . the Jersey Shore! Actually, it’s lovely—you see, I’m going to this Jersey Shore, not this one. Still, part of me longs for adventure.

Luckily, I’ve been able to indulge that yearning (albeit vicariously) with the Best Women’s Travel Writing of 2011. The essays in this anthology blow me away not only with their language, but also with the amazing experiences they describe: leaving body issues behind in a public bath in South Korea, dining at cabbies’ favorite restaurants in Argentina, scoring a souvenir soccer jersey on every trip, to name just a few. There are no sunbathers among these intrepid travelers.

Inspired, I asked the book’s contributors to share their top tips, destinations and vacation fantasies.

What is your number-one summer travel tip?

When in Europe, take the trains. Rent a car if you like for a few days of poking around villages, but for distances, trains are fast, fun, romantic and relaxing.—Diane Covington, “Finding Gilbert”

Take a “digital sabbatical,” and let go of the Internet for a few days or weeks. It’s liberating even if you’re staying home.—Aubrey Streit Krug, “Going Underground”

There’s nothing worse than flying after a stressful all-nighter of packing, so I make sure I have a peaceful last evening before a trip. A good night’s sleep not only gets me dreaming about my trip, but it also leaves me with a great memory of home.—Kelly Hayes-Raitt, “Tongue-Tied”

The San Francisco Bay area is the best place to escape heat and humidity. (Lucky me—I live here!) One summer when I couldn’t afford a vacation I visited a different Marin County beach every day! It was glorious. Limantour Beach in Point Reyes goes on for miles. —Marianne Rogoff, “Common Tongues”

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I Did Yoga WHERE?

June 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm , by

It’s been a mere three weeks, but I’ve already decided I love the energy and excitement of New York City. As the new editorial intern at Ladies’ Home Journal, I have moved to the city for the summer. Every day, there’s something new to do or see. I’ve explored museums, shopped at discount department stores, watched free movies in the park and eaten the most delicious cupcakes. Yet as much as I enjoy living here, it can get really overwhelming. The subway is dirty and hot and crowded. The streets smell like garbage, which piles up on the sidewalks. Vendors constantly pester you to buy their hot dogs and knock-off purses. Taxi drivers honk nonstop, and the noise is so bad, I have to wear earplugs when I sleep.

It’s hard to achieve a sense of calm with all this insanity around me. So when a friend suggested we attend a yoga event on the Solstice, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to slow down. The only catch was that it took place on the asphalt in the middle of Times Square. (That’s me, to the right, getting my “om” on.) I was skeptical of how calm I could feel in the busiest of all busy intersections. But when else would I get do yoga in the heart of New York City?

The instructor jumped up on stage at 7:30 a.m. and got us started to the sounds of Alicia Keys’s re-mixed, relaxing version of “Empire State of Mind.” For the next hour and 15 minutes, it was just me and my yoga mat… and more than 1,000 others in my “class.”

Surprisingly, all the hustle and bustle faded away as I curled into cat, pushed back into downward dog, stretched into warrior and balanced in tree pose. I had somehow reached my center through all the madness. I realized if I could relax in Times Square, I could relax anywhere.

I ended lying on my back, feeling like a true yogi. As I slowly rose from the mat, the sun began to peek around the skyscrapers. The buses and taxis sounded a little louder; the neon signs shined a little brighter. It was back to reality, but I couldn’t stop smiling. I had just found peace and tranquility in the most unlikely of places. Invigorated, refreshed and relaxed, I was ready to start the day.