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IMG_1630Skin Laundry is an apropos name for a new breed of salon that offers the latest laser technology facials. As the name promises, the treatments clean the skin, at a deeper level than possible by other traditional  facials, and without the downtime of redness and breakouts. The treatments take about 15 minutes and are done by a facial technologist who zaps your face with a laser, while you lie on a memory foam padded lounger – which by the way is stylish enough I wouldn’t mind it in my home – in a small brightly lit treatment room, that looks part doctor’s office part massage room.

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My only hesitation about this treatment came upon confirming my appointment online, when I received a number of health forms to review, including a laundry list, pun intended, of contraindications. While I did not have any of the contraindicated health concerns listed, such as precancerous skin, facial scarring recent Botox or tanning bed use, it did give me pause to think that some of these common things could cause a predisposition to a complication. The fact that I was asked to review the contraindication list at least three more times before the treatment further made me nervous, but as I said, I had none of the conditions, so I proceeded with the treatment.

The therapist was thorough in explaining the procedure, and she started slowly and told me each step what she was doing. She explained, “I am starting here in the middle of your four head, and I will move to the right.”

She explained that if I smelled any unpleasant odor it might be the debris from under my skin vaporizing. She assured me it was not my skin burning. As she began to move the laser across my face I felt a hot pin prickly feeling, similar to if you were frying oil on a pan and small amounts of oil were popping and landing on your skin.

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The therapist did one side of my face, then began the other. I asked for a short break before she completed the other side, to momentarily rest, because of the slight discomfort. The therapist explained that most people tolerate the procedure very well, though a few do not. Being a pretty big wimp myself, who fainted when I got my ears pierced, I figure if I could tolerate this procedure, then most people can.

After the laser treatment, the therapist did a second treatment, where she spread a gel across my face and used a very large flashing light laser to treat all areas of my face. Under the goggles I could see about 10 bright flashes of light as she went all over my face.

After the treatment, an assistant took over to clean the gel off my face and apply a toner and moisturizer. She also explained to me all the other products skin laundry carries that would be suitable for my skin.

In the end I felt no pain as I left the salon. I looked in the mirror and saw my face only slightly pink, as if I was flushed from a brisk walk. I noticed one small reddish blemish on my cheek that I had not noticed before, but it was very slight. Otherwise I did not notice any change to my skin. The therapist told me to avoid harsh cleansers and the sun for the day. Otherwise, she said I could carry-on as usual.

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My skin is in the normal range, and I don’t have any major skin issues, so I didn’t notice a significant improvement. I could see how this treatment would be beneficial for those with acne and blotchy skin. In fact the slideshow on the large TV screen in the lobby area showed the before and after pictures of women with severely damage skin who, after a number of treatments, had remarkable results.

I left with a number of products as recommended by the therapist, including a hydrating mask and an antiaging mask, as well as an advanced protection daily moisturizer with 35 SPF, a gentle washing foam with green tea cucumber and chamomile extract, and a nourishing cleansing oil that the therapist highly recommended. All of the products are carried at the salon under their own brand name of Skin Laundry.

While for myself this is not a treatment I would need very often, I can see the benefits for those with more severe skin problems, and it is great for busy women like myself who need a quick facial don’t have and hour or more for a treatment, because we are all pressed for time, and we hardly have time to do our jobs, meet family commitments and of course housework, including regular laundry!

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New Digital Platform Empowers Young People to Document Stories of Kindness in Their Communities

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation has launched Channel Kindness, a new digital platform featuring stories of kindness as documented by young people from around the US. These youth reporters, ages 16 to 24, have been recruited to identify and document the acts of generosity, compassion, and acceptance that define their generation and shape their communities. This content – which will include videos, first person essays, interviews with youth leaders, and more – will serve as a counterbalance to a media landscape that often underrepresents or misrepresents today’s young people.

“Channel Kindness is a call to action for young people to make their voices heard. This is a diverse, passionate, and collaborative generation who are leveraging their creativity to solve problems in their communities,” said Lady Gaga, Co-Founder of Born This Way Foundation. “They understand our world will be stronger when we value one another and live with compassion. Channel Kindness will be a platform for youth to transform the narrative, highlighting the people who are changing the world one act of kindness at a time.”

Young people are often excluded from media coverage entirely or represented in a negative light. One study found that nearly half of stories about young people are about crime, with African American and Hispanic youth even more likely to be included in such coverage. Unsurprisingly, a survey of young people themselves found that 81% feel they are unfairly represented in the media.

“Young people want more than to be told to be active participants in their communities. They want practical resources and genuine opportunities to empower themselves and each other,” said Cynthia Germanotta, Born This Way Foundation President and Co-Founder. “Today’s young people are passionate about driving change in the world and we’re excited to launch Channel Kindness as a tool they can use to showcase that commitment and inspire everyone – regardless of age – to follow their example.”

An inaugural class of 50 Channel Kindness reporters were selected through a competitive application process and are receiving training and support to equip them to find, document, and share stories from their peers and communities. The content will be distributed on ChannelKindness.org as well as through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The program has been made possible with generous support from the Find Your Grind Foundation.

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ROKU restaurant on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood dashes the belief that you can only get authentic sushi at an underground, insiders’ sushi bar. While there may be a certain romanticism about dining at an dive sushi bar, there is much more to be said about enjoying the ambiance of a fine restaurant while also indulging in the highest quality sushi, and that is what ROKU offers.

DSC_1229I am not a regular eater of raw seafood, but I have tagged along on plenty of sushi excursions with dining partners who are connoisseurs of this category of food art. I have been to the hole-in-the-wall sushi bars where there was no sign on the door, where you have to duck under a noren to get in. While one may find interest in the cultural experience, I much prefer the comforts and upscale environment of a modern sushi restaurant, especially one that offers an extensive menu of cooked food, like ROKU.

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As with their décor and atmosphere, ROKU challenges traditional sushi menus with inventive, modern preparations, as well as traditional style sushi for their old-school sushi enthusiasts. At the sushi bar, Chef Jiro Kobayashi prepares his recommended chef’s choice Omakase along with a variety of fresh fish daily, including Roku signature style sushi of warm rice with an innovate touch for their Ume six-piece selection or their Matsu eight-piece selection. Specialty rolls include hand rolled baked crab, Shima shrimp wrapped spicy tuna, with cilantro and avocado, and Ebi Tuna shrimp tempura topped with tuna, jalapeno vinaigrette and eel sauce.
For those who enjoy the communal and interactive dining experience of Teppanyaki, at the grill table Teppan chefs prepare A-5 Japanese Wagyu, Matsuzaka beef, Santa Barbara spot prawns and other high-quality ingredients at interactive grill tables. This dining style is offered for dinner, generally for groups of two to eight.

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On days when the weather is pleasant, which is most days in West Hollywood, the patio is open for dining; or for a serene and elegant dining experience among a garden of bonsai trees and the glow of votives, the dining room offers an environment conducive to a relaxing business lunch for dinner, or of course a date night.

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ROKU has a delicious twist on the Bento Box, traditionally a take-home or carry-out meal, but at ROKU these eat-in delights include an executive Bento Box of shrimp and vegetable tempura, tuna and yellowtail sashimi, baked miso cod, chicken yakitori, green salad, and rice.
Other entrees include kobacha and butternut squash and grilled octopus with kimchee vinaigrette , and pickled vegetables and toro tartare are prepared tableside with pomp and circumstance. The bar at ROKU also serves up progressive fare, with many Japanese whiskeys, sakes and creative cocktails, like the Matcha Mule with green tea infused vodka, ginger root, fresh lemon and honey.

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ROKU answers as the sushi restaurant that has outstanding and authentic Japanese food, personal service and an inviting atmosphere. If you are seeking the casual and dressed-down sushi experience, you will need to go elsewhere. In fact, beachwear, athletic wear and flip flops are not allowed, so wear your business causal and bring your appetite for a satisfying, new LA-style sushi scene.

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ROKU is located at 9201 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Call for reservations at (310)278-2060


Trew-Chariot-Back-640x471This year’s epic snow sports season is likely to go strong into late spring and even early summer months. Some North American resorts have reported on high-snowfall years that their slopes stay open as late as the Fourth of July. So gear up in style for spring skiing and riding with these slick head-turning fashions and take advantage of some great near-the-end-of-season sales prices.

Pull on your big-boy/girl bibs

Bibs are back in a big way. The sister of the full-on zip-up onesie snowsuit of the 70s, ski bibs are rising up as the nouveau chic on the slopes. Not only do they look stylish and sassy, they are the far better choice for snow wear than traditional ski or snowboard pants. Bibs are perfect when you want a bit of extra warmth over a fleece pullover or under layer, but you don’t want to wear a vest. For aggressive riders and steers, the bibs come up high under the arms to prevent snow from getting in your waistband. They also stay up, so you don’t find yourself constantly tugging and adjusting your waist band, which is especially a hassle with gloves on.

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A hot and hip company, Trew, is leading the revival of bibs, with their high-performance bibs, that style spotters are seeing all over the best resorts this season, like the Trewth ($399) men’s bibs that set the standard for tit-to-toes coverage, or Trew’s already legendary women’s Chariot bibs ($399) that tackle the biggest complaint about bibs for women, with its “she pee” side zip (check it out here https://trewgear.com/trew/trew-updates/article/bathroom-break-in-your-bibs), that makes bathroom breaks easy and fast.

They also have beaucoup pockets for stuffing glasses, digital lift tickets, lip balm, wallets and other necessaries for the slopes. The styling of the Trew bibs, with bright colors and water repellent materials and fashionable bright colored zips and trims, will make you stand out in the snow. When it’s time to chill out in the lodge, you can roll them down to the waist, but they look pretty cool anyway you wear them.

Who wears the pants?

All that said about bibs, if you choose to go traditional, Trew has perfected snow pants, with the plentiful pocket design and fashion forward colors and trim, with an adjustable Velcro strip to keep the waistband snug. The pants for a little larger opening at the leg for heftier snowboard boots. For women, the Tempest ($349) features an adjustable waist, long legs, and three-dimensional articulated panel design that fits all shapes of physiques.  For guys, the Eagle ($349) pant is articulated and ventilated for sidecountry stash runs, with durability for long days hot-lapping your local mountain, and relaxed for comfort.

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As with all the Trew stormproof wear, their technologically advanced proprietary material, Dermizax®NX, is tops in breathability and toughness. The water-repellent membrane keeps you dry after fall, and next to the skin the material keeps you warm yet it is breathable, with ventilation openings.

As someone who has gone through many snow pants due to rivets popping, zippers tearing off we’re getting stuck, and seems tearing open, Trew has impressed me with its durability, looking and wearing like new for an entire season.

Top it off

For spring shredding, pair bibs with a lightweight water-repellent cold breaker like Trew’s Stella ($190) women’s fly freeride shell that has set the standard for the industry with its tailored-to-flatter, articulated-to-shred, and built-to-last design.

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Layer up

Underneath it all, Trew’s women’s lightweight Nuyard Merino ¼ Zip (sale priced $109) is ultimate hi-tech baselayer, woven with NuYarn merino, a  warmer, softer, better thermal-regulating and more mobile wool than its traditional merino brethren.  For warmer days, the Merino Sweater ¼ Zip (sale priced $55) keeps out the chill and regulates as you move, and it looks sharp and stylish for hitting the lodge apres ski.

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Hot mitts

Serius Heat Touch Torche component gloves ($394.99) may be the first gloves you have to read a manual to use, but hands down you will be wearing the smartest gloves on the mountain with these on your mitts. These three-in-one gloves have a battery-heated component glove that slips inside an insulated shell. They can be worn together or separately and with or without the heating batteries. The heat can dial down for spring skiing or up when you are at the top of the peak and the temps drop. Charge the batteries for about three hours, insert the batteries into the wrist cuff and press the button to the desired heat level.  What’s even smarter, and you can swipe away on your smart phone screen while wearing these gloves.

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Pack it up

Nothing’s more of a drag on your travels than hauling a bulky duffle around stuffed with all your gear.  You don’t have to lighten your load and leave stuff behind, instead get rolling with the massively spacious Eagle Creek ORV Trunk 36 ($419) or ORV Trunk 30 ($359).  This bag fits all your winter adventure gear plus the kitchen sink, with lots of pockets and compartments to keep wet stuff separate from dry and all your gear easily accessible. Some extra bells and whistles include an Equipment Keeper Porter Key with bottle opener, exterior and interior compression straps, and an external pocket for easy grab items. All that and a waterproof boot bin, to boot.

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DSC_1377Serius thermal gloves are the first gloves for which I’ve had to read a instruction manual. That said, the instructions were pretty simple. Charge the batteries for about three hours, insert the batteries into the wrist cuff and press the button to the desired heat level. Oh yeah, and don’t forget, you can swipe away on your smart phone screen while wearing these gloves.

Within 30 seconds, the gloves were toasty inside, and on cold mountain tops these are a hand saver. After all, cold hands is a major reason that I have to head back to the lodge earlier than I wanted to.

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The gloves are attractive, and of course they will work with or without the batteries to stay warm, but the battery-powered system is what makes these gloves truly unique.

The gloves come with an interior liner, which could work alone and may be an option for less frigid days. When you truly need the extra warmth, the liner gloves slip into the exterior glove, which has a metallic like lining inside.

When put together, it is rather snug fit, and you must be careful when tucking in the cables that are used to charge the batteries and to connect them to the heating mechanism with in the glove, because if the cables are not tucked in correctly on the outer side of the battery, you will feel the hard plastic connectors, about the size of a small AC adapter connector, pressing into your wrist, which could be uncomfortable.

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One other design issue is that once the temperature selection is made on the inner glove, and the outer glove is slipped on over it, it’s possible if you’re not careful to hit the button on the outside and change the setting unintentionally. Also, because once the outer glove is on you cannot see the setting, you would have to remove the outer glove to check it.

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Lastly, the care and laundering of these gloves is a bit different from others, whereas you can toss most gloves into the dryer you cannot do that with these, which should be wiped off if dirty and let dry naturally if wet. If you have any other questions, there’s always the manual, which you can access on your smartphone, wearing your gloves of course.

If your kids are always saying “nothing sounds good” when it comes to food, add a little fun to their snacking experience with these treats, that might even be good for them.

Super veggie pizza

Do your kids claim they are allergic to vegetables?  Good luck getting them to each that spinach ice cream; but you can sneak in some vitamin-rich cauliflower without even an argument when its served up in their favorite kid food – pizza!  CAULIPOWER is a gluten-free, delicious and nutritious ready-to-cook cauliflower crust pizza that will have them asking for more cauliflower please. Available in four tasty varieties – three-cheese pizza, veggie pizza, margherita pizza and plain crust. Available at Whole Foods or on Amazon.

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Care for some chocolate, honey?

Kids love chocolate.  Kids love honey.  But who would have thought these two flavors would taste incredible together? MANUKA did. The New Zealand company known for its potent and pure honey combined these two delicious flavors by wrapping rich dark 99-percent-cocoa chocolate around honey and adding a touch of mint or ginger.  The result is a scrumptious gluten-free, no-preservative, no-artificial-colors treat that will definitely help the medicine go down – in fact, with its anti-bacterial properties that boost the immune system, you might not need any medicine.  Available at https://www.shoppri.com/

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Squeeze in breakfast

No time for breakfast? Grab some morning time nutrition on the go with Munk Pack ready-to-eat Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes, full of whole grains and real fruit bites, and certified gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher and vegan. In a spouted pouch, these palm-size pouches are ideal for a quick healthy breakfast, or as an on-the-go snack for outdoor activities or travel. Each serving has only 90-100 calories and 3-4g of fiber and nothing artificial. Available in Maple Pear Quinoa, Peach Chai Vanilla, Raspberry Coconut, Blueberry Acai Flax, Apple Quinoa Cinnamon.  Buy at Wegmans, Raley’s, Publix, Whole Food sand select grocers nationwide.

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Have a ball, er…drink

Sugary juices are the culprit in many an unpleasant trip to the dentist, so give kids a healthier, flavorful option that is not full of sugar. AquaBall, the flavored water in a ball-shaped bottle designed to fit perfectly in kids’ hands and car cup holders, is the only zero calories, sugar-free and preservative-free children’s beverage on the market. Packaging includes Disney and Marvel characters that make drinking up cool for kids.  Available in Berry Frost, Fruit Punch, Grape, Strawberry Lemonade.  Available at grocery stores nationwide.

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Mother Nature’s Candy

Candy happens.  Stop trying to fight it by offering carrot sticks.  If they are going to eat candy, at least let it be lower sugar, organic candy, like YumEarth, makers of vegan, gluten free, Non-GMO treats with no high fructose corn syrup and free of the top 8 allergens.  Varieties include candy drops, lollipops, gummies, sour beans and chewy fruit snacks. Available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Wegmans and other select grocery stores or online at www.yummyearth.com

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1709_960_fb (1)As someone who endeavors to eliminate toxic chemicals from my home environment, I am always eager to try out new green and chemical-free products. I recently had the opportunity to sample two up-and-coming brands, Green Grab and PHur, and here is what I found.

Getting on my green

Grab Green brand, or GG as it is abbreviated, makes a full line of cleaning products, including dishwashing detergent pods, degreasers, liquid hand soap, air fresheners, laundry detergent — and something interesting I had never tried — cookware and bakeware cleaner pods.

Starting with the most interesting and unique product, the cleaner pods are made to get the cooked-on nasty mess off the bottom of stainless steel and enameled cookware and glass and aluminum bakeware. It is not recommended for copper or Teflon.

It just so happened as I was trying out these products I had made hot chocolate for my son, and I had deposits on a sauce pan that I scrubbed and scrubbed and could not get clean. I followed the directions and tossed the pod into the cookware and added hot water and then used a utensil to swish around and dissolve the pod. I let this sit for about 10 minutes. Then I used the same scouring pad as before, but this time the hard crust on the bottom of the pan and the ring around the side came off.  It worked great.

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On to the laundry detergent, the Stoneworks laundry pods truly worked to deeply clean my clothes, eliminate odors, remove stains and soften the fabrics, and they worked with my HE washer, which is important because often these pods do not dissolve in these types of washers. As a bonus the packaging is environmentally friendly, printed on Kraft paper using water-based inks.

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All GG products I tried have pretty heavy fragrance, and while the fragrances are very pleasant, such as tangerine with lemongrass or rose petal or vetiver — the last of which I was unfamiliar with but learned is a blend of grass, patchouli and black currant essential oil’s. The scents are strong, so those sensitive to perfumes may find them overwhelming. To be fair though, after the product is used, i.e., after the laundry is done, the scents were not overly evident.

All of green grab products are made from naturally derived ingredients, non-toxic formulas, and are phosphate chlorine and dye free. In the three-in-one laundry detergent pods, I was pleased to see the product fulfilled on its promise to make clothes bright, and it did this without optical brighteners or chlorine.

In keeping with the companies policy of full transparency, Grab Green dedicates half of the back of its packaging to listing the natural ingredients and explaining what they do, four instance, “Sodium carbonate peroxide — cleans, remove stains and brightens.”

The secret agent of disinfecting

The next product I tested was a new one with a new concept in cleaning. The PHur system kit is based on the science of PH, which involves an eco-friendly water + salt + science formula that the inventors painstakingly tested over several years and have now registered the product as a proven disinfectant with the EPA on both Federal and State levels.

 

The PHur System Kit includes cleaning water, disinfectant, an on-the-go disinfectant, and a microfiber fiber cloth.

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The kit involves a simple three-step cleaning process, which includes spraying on the cleaning water and agitating the surface to be cleaned with a microfiber cloth, then spraying the surface with disinfecting water.  No rinsing or wiping required. The last step is walking away and letting the system do its job.

I recently had an unfortunate opportunity to try out the system when a stopped-up toilet caused a foul mess in my bathroom. My handyman plunged and unclogged the toilet but he splashed sewage water on the floors and wall. As the bathroom has polished wood floors, I did not want to use any chemicals that would strip the finish, and as the bathroom is small and enclosed with no window and a fairly ineffectual exhaust fan, I did not want to spray a bunch of fumey chemicals in the room.

I applied the water and disinfectant as directed, and I am pleased to say the lingering odor in the room is gone and the floor and toilet looks clean and shiny. I admit though I cheated on step three, which is walk away. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the mist on my wood floor, so I wiped it up with the cloth.

Both the Green Grab and PHur system are products I would recommend. They work as promised, and they give the peace of mind of cleaning without leaving behind poisonous chemicals.

Grab Green products are sold in major retail stores, on the www.grabgreenhome.com site, on Amazon.com and through several other online retailers. A sample bundle of products runs $11.25 plus $6.99 for shipping and handling. The PHur starter kit is $30.95 and can be ordered online at https://phurwater.com/.

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