Improving Your Mobile Uploads

beautyboxWhen I upload a photo album to facebook, I do what any caring friend would do. I crop out unflattering pieces of the picture, and edit the pics a little to tone down shine and red eye. With mobile uploads, the functionality is a bit more limited than iPhoto. Sure, I can take a panorama with dermandar, or combine several photos into a collage with Frametastic. My iPhone lets me enhance and crop, and of course I can blur the edges and apply various color filters to Instagram. But sometimes photos I post from my phone just aren’t quite as flattering as the ones that I can modify on the big screen in my laptop.

Now I have another app to add to my photo arsenal.  It’s called Beauty Box, and its free from the App Store. With it, I can edit out blemishes and summer sweaty face before I upload the pictures, because there’s no detagging on instagram. It is customized for age, skin type, and any skin problems. Then you can share your (slightly prettified) photos on facebook, twitter, email, flickr, google+, text, or just save it to your camera roll.  Do your friends a favor, and download it now!

Kiwi as a Burn Remedy

kiwiWhen I burn myself, I usually reach for two things. First, the cold water coming from the faucet, and then for my aloe plant. It’s succulent branches are well known to soothe the inflammation and pain from touching too-hot things. Now new research published in Dematologic Therapy (that I read about in the August issue of Self magazine) finds that kiwi fruit may also be effective at calming skin after a minor burn. Placing a slice of the vitamin C rich fruit can help your skin produce more collagen which can speed up the healing process. And eating lots of the little green fruit can help protect against burns of another kind by blocking UV rays from damaging skin when you’re out in the sun.

Looking for Something to Do? Now It’s All Gravy

gravyIf you’re always looking for something new and fun to do in your neighborhood, now there’s an app for that. For nights when you’re feeling antsy, and just can’t think of anything to do past the usual dinner, drinks, movie circuit now you can turn to Gravy. It’s an app that is based on your location (you can enter two zip codes, one for work and one for home), and your mood. It groups it’s activities into five categories: whatever, lively, classy, brainy and playtime. Then based on what you selected, you can filter by date and proximity. The events range from Restaurant Week notifications to fitness classes. I learned that today is National Lasagna Day, and as a result, I can get half-off at a local restaurant. The app will even send you an alert on when you need to leave to make it there in time based on current traffic. You can review trending  events, or browse based on channels of events grouped by popular categories like food, music, free, or family friendly. It’s perfect for the person who is always planning things for your friends (like me!), when you sometimes run out if ideas. You can get it from iTunes here.

Happiest Ages are 23 and 69

happyA new study has found that happiness flows through ups and downs as we go through life (a real, emotional roller coaster, right?). I think we can all agree that there are certain years of our lives that we’ve felt happier than others. For me, I always remember 2009 as an extra-exceptional year when my sister got married, I attended my first music festival and took some wonderful trips, and I just felt free. Then at the other side, there are other years on the not-so-great end of the spectrum. Now researchers have pinpointed a couple specific points when people tend to be at their happiest, ages 23 and 69. They think it is partially because young people over-estimate how satisfied with they will be in the future, leading to disappointment. The elderly tend to under-estimate levels of life satisfaction, and thus are pleasantly surprised and happier as a result. I was 23 for a portion of 2009, and life was so good. I’ll have to keep you posted on what age 69 brings.

Do you remember these ages as particularly good or bad in your life?

Repackaging Feminism for Sexy Women

sexy feminism


There has been a lot of press lately about the new feminism. Journalists revealed that many women (and celebs) of this generation feel distanced from the old feminist movement, which was labeled as, or associated with bra-burning man haters. Women of today don’t identify with this outdated  trope, and often shun feminism on principle as a result. New feminists want to bring the ladies back into the fold by creating new labels and associations with feminism, effectively re-branding the movement to draw in more support. Enter SexyFeminist. It started as a blog, and has morphed into a new book, Sexy Feminism: A Girl’s Guide to Love, Success and Style, by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Health Wood Rudolph that draws on the precepts of previous feminist leaders. It seeks to appeal to women who think being feminist isn’t sexy, cool, attractive, or fun. Their audience is women who already align with feminist values, but may not realize they are feminist. They hope to change the way women think of feminism, and transform how younger ladies identify with the movement.

Lennon and Maisy Stella

I came to love these two gifted girls when I became obsessed with the ACB show Nashville and all of the music in it. I even embarked on this tour of all of the country music venues around NYC. Then I was talking about Lennon and Maisy Stella’s version of the Lumineer’s Ho Hey, and I realized that most people have not had the pleasure of hearing your music. They do covers like no other. So, here you are!

 Ho Hey: Lumineers Cover

Call your girlfriend: Robyn Cover

I Won’t Give Up: Jason Mraz Cover

Mayor Bloomberg Wants YOU to Take the Stairs


The latest in a string of public health campaigns spearheaded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg (see anti-soda, and anti-salt foods), now the NYC public figure is exhorting people to take the stairs in an effort to fight obesity. He proposes that any new buildings or buildings undergoing renovations would be required to post signs encouraging people to take the stairs, and leaving stairwells open (unlocked) all the time except in case of emergency. He hopes to start a non-profit to help foster building designs that encourage physical activity – read: creating stairwells that are appealing with are on walls and well lit, not dark sketchy places where predators lurk. Experts quoted by The Scoop recommend starting with 2 flights of stairs and then upping the ante when those start to feel easy. Or, if you want to mix things up, start taking every other step to strengthen glutes, hamstrings, and quads and increase your heart rate.

As someone who works on the 12th floor, I could probably lop off a gym session a week if I went up and down the stairs on foot every day! What do you think of Bloomberg’s latest tack to fight obesity?

H&M to Bring Online Shopping Stateside

h&mCould it be true? I will have access to cheap retail without having to slog to the stores? I can’t even tell you how many times I have clicked over to see what H&M had in stock to decide if it was worth a shopping trip, only be disappointed and confused that this inexpensive fashion megastore does not allow e-buying.

The company has been spreading rumors they would open up online shopping in the United States for some time now, and according to the twitter-verse now it is actually happening – in August!!

Here’s to hoping they have the pick up in store delivery option!

Another Reason to Stay Hydrated


Water is a must when temps are soaring, and people are spending more time outside. While we already know that dehydration can induce symptoms akin to a hangover – sluggishness, headaches, crankiness, nausea – new research shows that staying hydrated has another surprising benefit. Drinking water can aid memory, and increase reaction time. The study, published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience, compared the test performance of two groups of people, one given water, and the other deprived. When tested on memory, attention, learning and reaction-time, the hydrated group received better scores with 14% faster reaction times. So next time you’re feeling out of it in the afternoon, try drinking a tall glass of ice water before you reach for your coffee.