Monthly Archives: October 2010

Acne - Beauty - "The Lovely" - Skin

Acne treatments: The difference between salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide

October 28, 2010

What's the best acne-fighting ingredient for you?

I’m in a very geeky-Thursday mood. Well, it actually started when a friend of mine and I were talking recently about acne treatments and somehow (attempted) to get into the nitty-gritty about the difference between two common ingredients found in acne-fighting products: salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. I’m sure many of you are at least familiar with the names from the noted active ingredients in your face wash or similar products. But what’s the difference between them? How would you know when to use one over the other?

I asked, Dr. Mona A. Gohara, assistant clinical professor of the department of dermatology at Yale’s School of Medicine (who also helped us figure out our summer dry skin woes), to give us some more insight on the two ingredients:

Is there a big difference in the chemical composition of the two?
Benzoyl peroxide (BP) and salicylic acid (SA), combat acne in different ways. BP
is an antibiotic which helps to reduce the amount of bacteria loitering in your
skin’s oil glands. SA is an acid that helps to exfoliate the skin, unclogging
pores so that whiteheads and blackheads are less likely to form.

When would you recommend people use a product with benzoyl and when with salicylic?
I recommend that people use them in tandem — you get more bang for your buck and
are attacking acne from different angles. Often I recommend to patients that
they use a BP wash everyday in the shower. I will have them substitute a SA
wash on one of those days. Or, I will have them use the washes on alternate
days depending how sensitive their skin is.

Is one harsher than the other?
Both products can be irritating, leaving the skin red, flaky, and dry. That’s why
moisturization with non-comedogenic lotions/creams is paramount!

Are they both used for acne or do they have any other indications?

BP is used primarily for acne, but can also be used for folliculitis (pimples on the legs, groin, or buttocks). SA is also used in the treatment of psoriasis, a skin condition called keratosis pilaris (bumpy skin on the upper outer arms), and for rejuvenation.

What are some of your favorite products with benzoyl peroxide? With salicylic?
Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash, Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment
Aveeno Daily Clear Complexion, Cleansing Pads, with SA and soy (helps discoloration that results from old pimples)
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Pink Grapefruit
Johnson and Johnson Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser

And, remember, benzoyl peroxide washes can bleach your towels or clothes (those of you who use ProActiv might be familiar with this), so be careful.

What are some of your favorite acne treatments? Does you use mostly salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide products?

Dessert - FOOD - "The Delicious"

Dessert at the American Wine & Food Festival

October 27, 2010

Part of the pleasure in attending an event that celebrates food the way AWFF does, is witnessing one creative plate after another. Some chefs are like architects: they have a vision that, when realized, can be powerful and awe-inspiring — such as with Dominique Ansel of Daniel and his version of a Push Pop.

Push pops by Dominque Ansel

Sometimes, like with Ansel’s Push Pop, a chef’s creativity comes out in the display of his dish. Other times, a chef’s creativity shines more through the flavor of the dish–as with Blackbird’s Panna Cotta. I have to say, this dessert was unexpectedly palatable. Sometimes, what you see is not what you get. I expected this panna cotta to have the usual sweet, creamy taste. Instead, the flavors of this treat were explosive. I had NO IDEA Panna Cotta could have this much flavor!

Blackbird's bourbon barrel panna cotta with candied pinenuts and caramelized apples.

The notes were so unique in this dessert that it was easily my favorite of the night. I had to find out what was in it, so I contacted Blackbird in Chicago to get the scoop.

The story behind Blackbird’s mouthwatering dessert is almost as remarkable as the taste of the dish itself. The restaurant’s pastry chef, Patrick Fahy fills us in:

“The idea, believe it or not, started with apples. I wanted something to counterbalance a nice flavor of caramelized apples. What we found was priceless–a barrel used to age bourbon since 1994. The barrel is from Havenhill, Kentucky and they actually light the inside of the barrel on fire to give it a scorched flavor before aging the bourbon inside of it. The barrel came to me after it was drained of the 16-year-old bourbon. I took the barrol apart, cut it up into peices, burned the wood a little more, and infused it into cream. The flavor that came out is exactly what you tasted. The flavors that came to me were the following: bourbon, wood, smoke, vanilla, brown butter, butterscotch, caramel, and nuttiness. Pine nuts have a little woodiness to them, so we topped it with some candied salted pine nuts, and caramelized apples, as well as a little drizzle of blis maple syrup. One more thing we added to the dish was bourbon liquor candies . Liquor candies have a sugar shell outside, and a liquid inside. We made the candies the size of a pearl. Finally, we garnished it with micro sorrel.”

This one’s a bit difficult to create at home, so if you are lucky enough to live in Chicago, run–don’t walk–to Blackbird. Tell us what you order and how you like it!

Here are more pictures from the dessert area of the event:

Beauty - "The Lovely" - Nails

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Iced Coffee

October 26, 2010

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Iced Coffee

Since I started wearing Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure in Iced Coffee, multiple people either been a) trying to steal it from me (I’m looking at you, Anum); or b) rushing out to buy one of their own. I don’t blame them — I think it’s the perfect taupe. It’s a muted color, but is a noticeably sophisticated one at that.

Even more, I’m falling for their Complete Salon Manicure line pretty hard. The thick brush takes some getting used to, but it makes for a quick application WITH an equally quick-drying formula. There have already been so many times where I’m just running out the door and I can just apply one fast coat and it will stay put and look shiny and neat. Not sure how much this applies for the darker colors, but you can definitely get away with it for these lighter ones. The nail polishes in the line have an all-encompassing formula: it’s a base coat, strengthener, growth treatment, shiny color and top coat in one.

Now, the bad news: when I’ve been told that people are having trouble finding this exact shade at their local drugstore, I finally found out that it’s because this particular shade was actually part of the Tracy Reese for Sally Hansen Spring 2010 limited edition nail color collection. The good news is, they have a similar shade in their new Tracy Reese for Sally Hansen Fall 2010 Nail Color called Evening Fog:

Evening Fog

A staple in their line which is also similar is Café Au Lait

Cafe au lait

They are available at mass drugstore retailers for $7 each!


Beauty - "The Lovely" - Beauty on the Streets

Beauty on the Streets: Geri Giagnorio of Geri G. Cosmetics

October 25, 2010

Geri Giagnorio

Name: Geri Giagnorion

Age: 42

Occupation: Aesthetician, Entrepreneur, Cosmetic Developer and Author

Location: Los Angeles, CA


“Being an aesthetician for 14 years, I am on a quest to help those who want to see what their optimal best can really be. Beauty and health can be achieved by all, without having to mess with Mother Nature.”

My style: approachable.

People usually compliment my: Passion for healthy, glowing, yummy skin.

I’ll never forget the time: I did the American Music Awards.

The best part about starting my own line: is the response from women when they thank me for making products that are good for their skin, so they don’t have to worry anymore if they are using the right products or not.

For my skin, I use: Mixer, I just can’t live without it! It truly is the wonder product for me. I just can’t put makeup on without using Mixer first.

My favorite makeup tip: Use Geri G. Mixer post moisturizer, pre makeup everyday all over your face, especially on your eyelashes before you put on your mascara. AMAZING!

Current beauty product obsession: My new foundation and powders. They are completely multi tasking and can be used all over the face. I made colors that work for everyone and now I’m just experimenting on all the different ways to use them.

But I also can’t live without: Solerra Sunless Tanning Mitt, hands down the best self tanner out there. One once over with the mitt and your done! Plus they are only $6!

Worst habit: working 24/7.

My favorite scent is: anything by Michael Kors.

People might be surprised to know: that I am a raw vegan

My favorite hair product is: Kerastase leave in conditioner.

I don’t understand people who don’t like: raw, green drinks.

The restaurant I can never get tired of is: Real Food Daily in West Hollywood, CA. Everything is vegan with a couple of raw dishes . My favorite is the Raw Veggie Wrap! Yummm.

Though I can make a mean: anything Italian.

Who inspires me: My clients. They make me want to help all women and men who seek out solutions for their skin and body and who truly want to know how to live a healthy lifestyle.

FOOD - "The Delicious" - Recipes

American Wine & Food Festival in LA – Event Coverage

October 24, 2010

By Melissa Stephans

El Lychedor - a refreshing cocktail made of lychee and cucumber

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending one of L.A.’s most exciting food events of the year–the American Wine & Food Festival. It’s confusing to me why Los Angeles has so many different food festivals, so I’ve chosen to reserve our festival coverage for the truly worthy. Let me just tell you…AWFF is the hands-down winner of this category. Dropping $300 on a ticket for a food festival may seem steep, but the moment you step onto the Universal Studios backlot, you will consider it money well spent.

Universal trams took attendees through the studio’s various lots (including a Manhattan set convincing enough to make my senses tingle) on the way to what can only be described as some kind of Utopian world for foodies. There was a red carpet that led directly into a maze-like path where, at every turn, a renowned restaurant and its famed chef stood serving up master creations.

One of the first tables to greet guests belonged to Paul Prudhomme, the original king of cajun cuisine (sorry Emeril). When I was about 13, my grandma got me a cookbook by Paul Prudhomme–it was my very first serious cookbook. I became so starstruck when I saw him that I hovered around his motorized wheelchair for about 5 minutes before moving on. Sadly, I regret that I was too excited to say hello or taste his food.

After grabbing a map, I started on a journey that can only be described as a foodie’s dream come true. There is so much to bring you from this event, that I have decided to break it down into a few different posts.

Executive Chef Amar Santana

First up, is my chat with Executive Chef Amar Santana of Charlie Palmer’s restaurant. Santana, who has been in Palmer’s kitchen since the ripe old age of 19, describes his own cooking as “fresh” and “not too heavy.” His style is actually pretty descriptive of Southern California cuisine–though, like he says, Cali fare is often much less adventurous than elsewhere.

Chef Charlie Palmer Serves Guests

Avocado Gazpacho with Saffron Poached Shrimp

For AWFF, Santana and Palmer teamed up with Fiji water to produce a dish that is right on board with Santana’s style: Saffron and Olive Poached Shrimp with Avocado Gazpacho. The shrimp were tender and moist, so that was easily my favorite part. Neither of these are particularly labor intensive, so I’m happy to report that I snagged the recipes for you! My advice is to nix the two tablespoons of sea salt and just sprinkle to taste. Enjoy!

Let us know what you think of the recipe…

Beauty - "The Lovely" - Eyes

There is something so hot about this new NARS Okinawa compact

October 23, 2010

NARS new Okinawa trio-compact

Named after Japan’s southern islands (which is said to boast good weather and “good fortune”), NARS just released their new Okinawa trio-compact — their first ever three-shadow compact. I think I love this even more because it has my favorite colors, the deep colbalt blue and black onyx). But the “Striking Silver” shade is also a necessary addition for highlighting effect (brow bone and inner eyelid). I would so use this for a smokey eye.

NARS let us in on 3 ways to apply the colors (but remember, these are tips — not rules):
1) Using a damp Push Eyeliner Brush, line the eyes with the cobalt blue or black onyx shade to define them.
2) blend the black onyx or the cobalt blue hue into the upper and lower lash lines with the Eye Contour Brush for a smoky effect.
3) To temper the intensity of darker colors, use the Large Dome Brush to apply the silver shade all over the eye, from lash to brow.

The compact is part of their Holiday collection, and available on now for $45.