Author Archives: Jenny from the blog

Quick Easy Triceps Tricks – Best Ways to Tone Underarm Flab

underarm flab fly away would ya?

Neither a before Nor after – a work in progress…

As part of my “Why Oh Why are Aging and Gravity So Cruel?” series I discussed treatments for “batwing” arms, AKA underarm flab, AKA bye-bye arms … or as I like to call them: sagging fat slabs that hang from my arms — that didn’t used to be there — and I can’t seem to get rid of.

To make matters worse, I’m a tank top addict and this whole, “I may take flight” feeling every time I wave, is making me search for a TTA (tank tops anonymous) meeting. That said, the first line of defense against sagging underarm flab due to weight loss, aging, and/or gravity is exercise.

Though exercise isn’t hugely effective for spot training, it can tone you up a bit and a bit is better than a droopy pit. Hmmm are you thinking what I’m thinking? Embroider that on a pillow?

If that fails (the toning, not the pillow) you can determine if you want to take further steps in reducing jiggle (those steps are listed here: Wave Bye-Bye to Bye-Bye Arms). That said, these are the top 3 exercises to tone up your triceps according to a study that used EMG (electromagnetic) electrodes to access which movements had the highest muscle response (Therefore, most effective).

1. Triangle (or Diamond) Push-ups

This is the NUMBER 1 exercise for toning under arm flab.
It’s like a traditional push-up. You can be on your knees or toes but the key is to make a diamond or triangle shape with your hands — where your first fingers and thumbs come together directly beneath your chest. Keep your body aligned, inhale and lower as close to the ground as you can get and with your core tight. On the exhale, come back to a straight position with elbows extended. Do 10-15 repetitions with 3 sets (if possible).

2. Dips

Dips are another highly effective exercise that you can do without purchasing a thing (assuming you already own a chair). Sit on the edge of said chair or bench with your legs extended  (or knees bent at 90 degrees — based on comfort and strength). With your hands gripping the chair on both sides of your body, lower your upper body off the chair and towards the ground until your arms are bent at a 90 degree angle (while inhaling). Then exhale and lift your body back up to chair height using your triceps (don’t let your elbows flair out and make sure to extend your arms until the elbows are straight, but not locked). Repeat this action 10-15 times with 3 sets (if possible).

3. Triceps Kickbacks

Also found to be highly beneficial, kickbacks will require weights (or a variation with bands or as I like to use when in need two full bottles of water). While standing and holding a weight in each hand, bend your knees slightly and your torso at the waist to face the ground. Your arms should be tucked to your sides with your elbows bent at 90 degrees, then extend your arm backwards until they’re straight but not locked (on the exhale). Hold the extension for of a couple seconds and then bend your arms back down on the inhale. Do this 8-12 times with at least 2 sets. Work with a weight that is comfortable.

The exercises that people commonly do to tone triceps that were not found to be very effective: Triceps Extensions, Triceps Presses, and Rope Pulls!  I’m not gonna teach you how to do those. I say, skip em!

MY TRICEPS TRICKS – Here are some easy home moves that I love (love is a strong word) … they weren’t studied, but they need no weights and can be done while doing other things, like talking to your family at dinner or ignoring your family to watch The Bachelor:

1. The Windmill:

Raise your arms parallel to the ground and sweep them around like a windmill 25 times forward and then 25 times backwards. So easy and it’ll burn.

2. Bye Bye Wave:

Raise your arms to shoulder level bend your elbows at 90 degrees and pretend you’re on a float in a parade. Wave as fast as you can for a minute without moving your arms (only palms turning back and forth).

3. The Praying Mantis who Wants Less Flabby Arms (yes, i made the name long, but descriptive)

Put your hands in a prayer pose with elbows at chest level. Bring your joined palms and elbows above your head and back down. Repeat 30 times. To really add a sting, clap your hands when you raise them, while keeping your elbows and wrists together at chest height.

Work these into your routine for a period longer than a week or two and see what kind of residual flab, sag, and jiggle is left over … and buy a sleeveless shirt (you deserve it).

Read more of my anti-aging pieces on Smart Beauty Guide

Disgusting Spa Treatments are Too Gross to Consider – or are they?

The EW Factor — Disgusting Spa Treatments

So, you’d like to rub fecal matter of ferrets mixed with the mucus of goldfish on my face? And you’d like me to pay for this? Do goldfish even have mucus? Are you insane?

Wait, what? Courtney Cox does it?

It’ll make me look a decade younger?

Where do I find these disgusting spa treatments and these congested fish?

Yes, in this, the second installment of my new “Gen Xers Who Hate the Effects of Aging Series”  I ask if we are bat shit crazy enough to consider disgusting spa treatments like putting bat shit on our faces???

Just how desperate are we? I can only answer for myself and that answer is “a lot” — I am a lot desperate. And you? Would you? Have you? Will you?

Snail Slime Facial

Snail slime mucus disgusting spa facial

This woman is smiling way too big for someone who has snails on their face.

The use of snail mucus to heal dates back to ancient Greece. Why? Snail mucus contains large amounts of hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and growth factor. It is said to accelerate the recovery process, leave skin glowing and boost collagen. Currently, in parts of Asia, snail therapy involves snails being placed on the face and allowed to “slime” you as mosey around your mug. In the US, so far, I could only find snail mucus masks sans snails.

Where: Thailand, Japan … in the US EscarGlow facial (microneedling snail combo) is offered at plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman’s offices in New York

Peeling Back the Layers of Time – Light Chemical Peels Why We Need Them and Which One to Choose

chemical-peel-picThis is first installment of my new “Gen Xers Who Hate the Effects of Aging Series” AKA “Like totally, WTF is happening to us?”

Lately, I’ve been fascinated by what we Gen Xers are doing to look and feel the way we did when we tied our first flannel button down around our shredded hole ridden Levis. I’ve compiled lists of the most popular procedures both surgical and non-surgical and now I’m on a peel kick. Yes, like most Gen Xers I spent the 80s peeling layers of sun-burnt skin from my nose, shoulders and chest and here I am again looking to peel off the dead skin — minus the need for Solarcaine.

Here’s why I’m kinda obsessed with chemical peels: they’re an alternative to lasers, offer a range of potency and effects and they’re a great place to start. I’m focusing on light peels because they’re quick (can get some otc, at a spa or doctors office) easy on the skin, have some nice effects and leave your skin looking tighter, brighter and refreshed. Ohhhh and they’re in my budget.

What chemical peels do: Slough off dead skin cells, diminish fine lines, freckles and sun spots, smooth skin texture and help correct skin damage caused by aging, hormones and sun exposure.

Options:

Enzyme Peels – These are non-acid peels usually derived from fruits. These are perfect for people with sensitive skin or with specific sensitivity to acids. They mainly exfoliate skin and refine pores.

Mandelic Acid Peels – These are the least irritating of the AHA peels. They’re good for people who are acne prone. A good choice if your main concern is treating rosacea and uneven skin tone.

Lactic Acid Peels- These are pretty basic and a good peel for first timers. They are less drying than glycolic peels and work well on fading age spots.

Glycolic Acid Peels – These are the most common peels. They come in multiple grades and will give you more noticeable results than the other light peels. They are also the harshest of the light peels.

Salicylic Acid Peels – These are BHA peels. They can get a bit deeper than AHA peels and are often used on oily skin to help with breakouts.

Jessner’s Peels: These are alcohol based peels that often combine multiple acids. The strongest of the light peels, they can be extremely drying and not good for those with sensitive skin. These are usually used for those with oily skin and work well on cystic acne. (The downtime is a bit longer than other light peels.)

Downtime: These peels are often called a lunchtime peels for a reason. They’re quick (they take about 10 minutes) and there is little down time. You may have some redness (like a sunburn) and scaling/peeling which could last up to a week.

You should know: You may need a series of multiple peels to get you desired results. You can repeat the peels about every 2-5 weeks depending on how your skin reacts.

Tips: Use a daily moisturizer and sunscreen to keep skin moist, help it heal faster and avoid sun damage to the fresh layer of skin, which will be exposed.

Note: This will probably be subtle, but you may not look your hottest. Come up with a great excuse as to why you’re so “sun burned,” preferably one that makes co-workers and friends jealous. Then when any redness is tamed and the results are completely apparent those same people will notice how amazing you look and resent you even more.

Also, I don’t mean to pry, but why are your friends and co-workers so petty? (just sayin)

If you know anyone who looks old or is like me and obsessed with not looking that way please feel free to share this with them. If you have any technical or medical questions feel free to post in comments. I will try to get you answers from professionals (or I’ll make something up).

Find my other pieces on aging and procedures at SmartBeautyGuide.com

XOXO

JENNY FROM THE BLOG

Dermaplaning — Why Women Could Use a Shave

DermaplaningAs part of my new “Is This Really a Thing and if So Should We All Go Out and Try It?” series I’m talking about dermaplaning. So, in case you don’t know what dermaplaning is, I’ll tell you: It’s a medical exfoliation process where the outermost layers and dead skin cells are (shaved) removed from your face — which includes the peach fuzz hairs we all have. You know the ones that every once in a while catch the light the right way in a mirror and make you feel like some weird albino sasquatch?

Yeah, those.

I’m pretty sure they’re on your face for a reason. Like to catch deadly skin eating bacteria before they reach your skin or to make fun of the small hairs on your upper-lip that are never as light.

Whatever the purpose, the consensus seems to be that your face will be way awesomer when without them. I hate technical terms.

Here are the claims:

  • Your skin will look more refined, brighter, and less flawed.
  • Foundation goes on smoother making the face look more even.
  • It allows other products to penetrate the skin more easily to ensure they go deeper and may be good to do before a chemical peel or laser treatment.
  • It diminishes superficial dryness, fine lines, hyper-pigmentation, and mild acne scarring.
  • It’s great for people who are sensitive to the chemicals in peels or get broken capillaries from exfoliants (or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding).
  • Dermaplaning is similar to, but usually more effective than dermabrasion, with the added bonus of removing facial fuzz and no need for abrasives.
  • It can stop breakouts caused by build up of oil and dirt in the follicles.

I know, I’m making my appointment too.

Be aware, this process involves someone taking a scalpel to your skin directly. You should make sure that someone is highly trained and doesn’t have any grudges against you (that’s a tip).

Thoughts? Should we try it? Are you ready to shave your face ladies? Have you? Should I? (Frankly, I really sold myself on this process, in writing this piece and I think it would make a great video.)

I have a column on anti-aging (the only thing I’m anti) at Smart Beauty Guide if you want to hear about stuff I’ve tried, want, obsess over or learned about from people who are way smarter than myself:

XO

JENNY FROM THE BLOG

 

5 Brilliant Ways to Treat the Why Me Epidemic

Case of the why me

So, last night at a friend’s house, I watched her son opened an awesome Nerf bazooka gun that shoots like 600 bullets at the same time. He was having a tough day, he was exhausted and then the gun had the nerve to break.

“Why me,” he screamed as he threw himself on his bed, arms splayed.

“Why me! Why me! I knew this bazooka wouldn’t work, I just knew it! Why do horrible things like this always happen to me? My friends’ Nerf guns work.”

He had a classic case… oh, I’ve seen it before, it’s pretty ugly. The question is, how does one catch this horrible illness and can we cure or prevent it?

THE CAUSE:

Here’s my take: As we — many of us helicopter/ over-protective / over-compensating / over-complimenting parents raise this next generation, we’re teaching them that they are truly the center of the universe. I am not judging, I am one of those parents – many of us are (to varying degrees). Many of us, myself included, have an internal struggle where we pit our need to ensure our children’s happiness against the knowledge that attempting to provide these things for them 24/7 will probably inhibit their ability to do anything for themselves… EVER!

OK, I’m not a therapist, but I see one regularly, which means I’m totally qualified to say these things. Wait, it doesn’t? So, I should stop calling my friend who once played a Doctor in a Prilosec commercial for advice on my IBS? Whatever…

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Awkward V-day Moments With The Kids

I Want to Puke of Love and Other V-Day Inappropriateness After Having KidsThis is still one of my favorite V-Day moments (awkwardness, inappropriateness, and fear for my safety aside).

On February 14th a few years back, Ry, my daughter, then 5 years old, trotted into my room to wish me a happy Valentine’s Day, to hand me a stunning hand-made card, and to neck. 

Sure, they tell you not to make-out with your kids, but sometimes there’s a fine line between so cute and so scary. 

What parent doesn’t secretly love it when their child says they want to marry them (assuming they’re too young for marriage at the time)? I mean, for how many more years are they going to want to hug, snuggle, or hold hands?

“This card is sooo beautiful. Come give Mommy a kiss,”  I said in a very innocent non-romantic way. 

Ry, maybe wanting to show me the magnitude of the holiday, grabbed my face with both hands and planted the biggest soap opera smooch on me. I started to giggle mid-peck… 

“Ummm, okay cutie,”  I said feeling partly amused and partly violated. Continue reading

What Those V-Day Candy Sweethearts Should REALLY Say – After Marriage Edition

What Sweetheart Candies SHOULD Say After a Few Years of MarriageI’ve had some awkward V-Day Moments, from my 5yo trying to soap opera kiss me to my hubby trying to stuff himself and champagne into an undersized NYC bathtub in our undersized NYC apartment to my dauther telling me, I make her want to “puke of love”. That said, I’ve decided this year will not be awkward. No, we will all be realistic in our planning and our phrasing.

As I picked up a pack of those V-Day conversation hearts (the candies that are supposed to represent the sweet nothings you would whisper in your lover’s ear before bed, like: I LOVE U, B MINE, KISS ME…), I thought, this is anything but realistic phrasing.   Those sayings are more saccharine sweet than the candy, so I made a list that resembles real pillow talk. These are the phrases that should be etched on those cute little hearts, after a few years of marriage.

Be warned: this list is not for newlyweds, so you can refrain from reading and telling me how blissful your marriage is. Give it a few years. Ahem- I mean, I’m happy for you.

WIFE CONVERSATION HEARTS:

HE GETS THAT FROM UR SIDE

YOU WANNA PUT WHAT, WHERE?

COULD U BE MORE LIKE ADAM LEVINE?

I’M PREGNANT … PSYCHE

R THOSE UR TOENAILS? Continue reading

You Don’t Allow Your Daughter to Play With Barbie Dolls — Seriously?

IMG_0513The other day, my 10yo daughter, Ry asked me to convince her friend’s mom to let her have Barbie dolls. “I’m so lucky to have a mom like you that will play Barbies with me and doesn’t make me feel stupid or too old, like some of my other friend’s moms,” Ry explained.

Really? I hadn’t realized this was an actual issue. Sure, I’ve heard tales of parents being offended by Continue reading

Things Gen X ers Did Growing Up That Would Being Considered Insane Now

things we did as gen xers

Growing up a Gen X ‘er, I can distinctly recall being allowed to do all kinds of things we would find crazy today. Like roaming the streets of our neighborhood for hours with no way of being contacted. No cell phones, or tracking devices on our backpacks or implanted in our brains (do they have that yet?). Nowadays they’d call that grounds for a CPS visit, back then, we called that Monday. Not only were our parents OK with these freedoms, they encouraged them. Did they not love us? Did they not care? Were they that hard up for a few minutes of peace that they would risk our lives?

Most the adults I know now would be vehemently against such insane acts, myself included. In fact, being unreachable by cell phone could push us straight into panic mode. Here are a few things we did as kids, which make me wonder how we survived. Today they’d get someone arrested or at least get your house taken off the play-date circuit…

Safety Shmafety

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30 Signs You Are NOT a Parent of a Young Child

30 signs you are not a parentAfter my “40 Signs You’re a Mom” list got such an incredible response, it dawned on me that those folks who have kids that are older, don’t have kids yet or don’t want them, have some pretty distinctive signifier of their own. Certain qualities/abilities that give us parents of young ones a chuckle at the mere thought of, like, not finding it triumphant to have an uninterrupted visit to the bathroom.

Here are some of the signs:

1. People still call you by your actual name.

2. You don’t have to look at anyone else’s poop.

3. You don’t sneak vegetables into your recipes like meatloaf, smoothies, brownies — you just eat them.

4. You don’t go to bed wondering how many times you’ll be woken up before morning.

5. Your house is clean. Continue reading

Kids with Attitudes are the So Fun: Random Conversations

New hair cut

Hairdresser having just cut and blown it out. It’s not bad, right?

The other day I got a haircut. Ry (my 10yo daughter) got in the car and simply said, “hair cut.” In a robotic, I see you got one, so I’m making an effort, but this conversation shall go no further, because I’m pretty much a teenager already, kinda way.

Me: Human child. (I said robotically, pointing out the obvious, in kind.)
She picked up her iTouch and disengaged.

Me: What, you don’t like it?

Ry: Nope, I hate it. *looks back at iTouch*

Me: I always tell you not to say mean stuff.

Ry: Yeah, you also  tell me if I don’t have something nice to say, not to say anything at all, which is what I was trying to do. (There was no, “duh” at the end, but it was implied.)

Touche.

Me: For your information, my hair hates you too. (I said in an effort to have a convo one of the other personalities in my little “Sybil,” which they all become somewhere around 3 years old.)
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Do I Win Neurotic Mom of the Year or Would This Make You Insane Too?

Yes, I have problems sitting on the “sick side” of the pediatrician’s office. Yes, I assume the person before me at every restaurant, arcade, amusement park, and grocery store shopping cart has picked their nose and wiped it somewhere within reach. Yes, I’ve experienced the catch 22 where I want all tables wiped down before I’m seated, but have also convinced myself that the germs spread from those over used rags are far worse than the left over food residue that currently contaminates the space.

I’m neurotic. I get it, but am I the only one?

I think not. After talking to a few friends about poultry, my worst phobia, I realize that I’m a member of a very large crowd. A very large, very disturbed crowd.

Neurotic MomThen I met the Bubble attraction, Continue reading