Repair Summer Hair Damage

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The calendar tells us we’re into the fall season, but the weather says otherwise. If you’re still spending weekends outside in the sun, pollution and unpredictable weather of San Francisco, chances are your locks need some TLC. Here are some tips to rejuvenate your tresses:

Argan Oil. Popularly known as “Moroccan Oil,” this liquid doesn’t have to be spendy if you buy an off-brand. Smooth it through your hair for shine and gloss. Rub some on your roots to soothe a dry scalp. You can even put some on your face and neck at night – you’ll wake up with a glow and super supple skin.

Read the ingredients to make sure it is 100 percent pure Moroccan Argan oil. Some formulas add parabens and other additives which are harsh to the skin.

Boar bristle hairbrush. You know when you’ve gone a couple… OK, like four days without washing your hair and at first your strands are soft, then they get to the shiny stage and then it gets to the point where you’re at work and can’t wait to get home that night and wash your hair? Wait! Before you suds up use a boar bristle brush to distribute your natural hair oils through your strands. This is particularly important if you have long hair. The oil not only hydrates your hair, but it also encourages it to grow, too. A good boar bristle brush isn’t cheap, but well worth the investment. Every couple months, wash the brush in a sink with gentile formula baby shampoo, and let air dry on a towel.

If you have thinner strands and you can’t go too long without washing, invest in some dry shampoo. Heck, even if you have cable-thick strands, dry shampoo is A-MAZ-ING! Batiste Dry Shampoo is a good one. It’s about $4-$7 per bottle and will save you time and help get your hair healthier by avoiding over-washing.

Biotin. Add Biotin to your supplement routine. This water-soluble B vitamin is found in beans and legumes—so eat plenty of those to be healthy inside and out. WebMD notes it’s rare to have a biotin deficiency. But taking the supplement in addition to eating a healthy diet can produce fantastic results for your hair, skin and nails. Biotin is known to strengthen hair and even help it grow faster. When taking biotin, you may also notice your nails grow faster too, and your skin looks more plump and youthful.

Hair Mask. There are many types of hair masks—some you use overnight; others take minutes. Some are from Bloomingdales, others can be found in your fridge. Do a hair mask once a week, perhaps on a Sunday night while watching TV, making dinner or playing Words With Friends on your phone. Kérastase, Enjoy and Frederic Fekkai all make great, top-of-the-line hair masks. If you’re strapped for time, invest in a conditioner that requires some waiting while in the shower. ABBA makes a great conditioner that you leave in your hair for 5-7 minutes after you shampoo. Want something more budget friendly? Spread some good ol’ mayo on your locks, cover your hair with a shower cap and let it sit for about 15 minutes to an hour. The oil combined with protein from the egg, will make your hair stronger and shiny. Avocado also makes for a moisturizing hair mask.

Go Sulfate-Free. Cheap shampoo—and even some pricy shampoos—contain sodium lauryl sulfate, a foaming agent found in many detergents also in dish and laundry soap. Look for products free of this chemical. It’s harsh on your hair, especially if you frequently shampoo.

Other detergents can be less irritating and harsh, such as sodium laureth sulfate, but are still ingredients that should be avoided to maintain or reach healthy hair status.

Check out Whole Foods for the best selection of natural hair care products.

Some favorites: Pureology, Alba, WEN

Get a Haircut. A quality haircut not only makes you feel put together, but is also great for your hair’s health. Don’t wait longer than 10 weeks for a trim because you could expose your ends to too much damage.

Rhythm is Gonna Get You

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OK, so you probably don’t workout to the tunes of Gloria Estefan, unless, maybe, you’re rockin’ the ironic Walkman come-back trend with a Jane Fonda thong leotard over Kelly Kapowski hot pink Spandex shorts. In which case, you’re awesome.

But if your workout needs some updating, start with your playlist and check out Internet-radio company Pandora’s 12 new workout stations.

Chose a station according to the tempo of your workout: Try “Electronic Cardio,” “Rap Strength Training” or “Yoga Workout.”

The songs on the playlists come preselected, but you can give songs “thumbs up” or “-down” based on your preference, which will customize the playlists to your liking.

You can also stream directly from your smartphone with the new mobile app.

They got the beat… And, yes, there’s an 80s mix.

Best Discount Websites For Designer Goods

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There was an episode of Sex and the City when Miranda went on a date with her formerly fat male friend from NY who had slimmed-down after his move to California. As they chatted and dined on New York Strip Steak, he nonchalantly spit each bit into a napkin. When she questioned what he was doing he argued that  she didn’t understand the pressure he felt to be slim in LA.

While spitting out food as a weight management technique– and good food at that– is worrisome and not something to imitate, I can relate to his feeling of wanting to indulge without paying the consequences, which is why I do something I call fake shopping. I go onto the website of my favorite online clothing retailer, and create a shopping bag filled with silky Lanvin shoulder bags, snappy Smythe riding blazers, Stella McCartney suits, Roland Mouret dresses and Jason Wu gowns. In total, I easily rack up an imaginary $60,000 bill in clothing. Sometimes, I save the list, other times I just close out the window. It’s a strange habit and totally a waste of time, but, hey, it’s not harmful to health or my budget, and there’s no law against it– although I’m pretty sure clothing websites created time-limited shopping carts because of me.

The problem with this habit is that I know what’s out there; I’ve seen the best-of-the-best in the world of fashion. Now, a simple dress from a run-of-the-mill store just won’t cut it, so I’ve learned to be a bargain shopper. I NEVER pay retail and I love designer clothing. Sure, a pair of jeans for kickin’ around in on the weekend is essential. Or a maxi dress from Target. There’s no need to be a brand snob. But quality clothing looks better, feels better and you’ll feel more comfortable wearing it.

Here are five great sites to find designer clothing, (plus a bonus site) at discounted prices:

6 p.m.

Find savings up to 75 percent off on shoes, clothing for men and women, and handbags at this online outlet. I know, I know—tons of online outlets claim to offer massive discounts, but this one usually lives up to its reputation. They also carry a wide variety of brands and popular styles that have already sold out in stores.


It’s no secret that Zappos has a good thing going on. Purchased by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion, Zappos carries nearly every brand of shoe imaginable. They also sell clothing for women, men and children. With good discounts, a massive selection, lightning speed delivery and excellent customer service, Zappos is a great first-stop in the online shopping world when you want to browse a wide variety of items. Use the search bar at the top to narrow your criteria down by size, color, heel height and occasion.

The Outnet

What can I say? I. Love. This. Site. You can get excellent deals on designer clothing. But you have to act fast—the best items go quickly. Items with only a few left in stock will taunt you with a banner that reads, “Only a few left in this size!.” Other banners alert you to Outnet exclusives. I found several Adam dresses here for about $100. Other items, however, even deeply discounted are still in the astronomical price range. Despite this fact, I did create a “wishlist” where I can keep all of my favorite “imagine I have the budget to buy a $2,200 Missoni house coat, (originally $13,000!).”

Last Call by Neiman Marcus

Another site where you can find great deals on high-end duds, but you have to browse, and browse often.  If you’re a bargain shopper, don’t be intimidated by the fact it’s Neimans—the prices are really reasonable.

Light In The Box

Love the Marchesa dress your favorite celeb wore to a recent award show but can’t afford the 5-digit price? Buy a knock-off on this site that specializes in making custom designer-inspired dresses. I love that they can create something so couture-looking for less than $200 in most cases. You can even send your measurements, so they get the sizing just right.


Want nice things for your home? Don’t want to pay retail? Check out this site:

One Kings Lane

Buy fabulous pieces that look fit for a pied-à-terre in Paris. One could imagine the worn leather settees, gilded urns or faded butterfly framed prints that are often on sale were once decorating the estates of Marchesa Luisa Casati.

Top 5 Newsletters for Women

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Female financial experts offer advice in this newsletter that covers all money matters for women. I’ve found some great information about investing and saving through this site, as well as inspiring stories about women to took control of their finances. Not interested in your finances? Read the “About Daily Worth“…it will make you care.


Gwenyth Paltrow’s lifestyle newsletter, GOOP, will pretty much make you wish she was one of your best friends. Fun and approachable, GP details her trips, favorite restaurants and cities, unheard of skin creams that from the looks of things work wonders for her. One of my favorite issues was when she detailed her New Year’s cleanse menu and offered recipes. GP also introduced me to Tracy Anderson’s treadmill workout.  

Daily Candy

The Weekend Guide would be enough to make me sign-up for this newsletter, but I also love reading about new boutiques and restaurants in the city. Through the website, which celebrated its 11th year last month, get Groupon-type deals, shop online sample sales and read about local activities and places to visit. Related: They have awesome sample sales. I purchased a pair of Vince Camuto snake-print pumps for $60.

Refinery 29

I love this website and newsletter because they cover so much material in the fashion & beauty realm. They do lots of slideshows in their newsletters: best fall bags, 20 summer dresses under $100, etc. One of my most voyeuristic interests— their profiles of great-dressers in a “street style” type section. I love checking out these slideshows for inspiration.  


Another person I’d like to add to my best-friend list: Giuliana Rancic. She’s trendy and fun, and well-known for her svelte figure. Her newsletter has a bubbly, yet straight-forward approach to topics such as reducing stress, makeup and hairstyles and, recently, toning your backside.

Labor Day Weekend 2011 in San Francisco

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There’s no need to leave town for Labor Day, as there are plenty of fun things to do in the city. Celebrate the last official weekend of summer by partaking in some (or all, if you’re ambitious) of these events:

Friday Night:

Explore and eat like a tourist! Enjoy this three-hour Culinary Walking Tour of San Francisco starting at 11 a.m. Tour North Beach, Chinatown or the Mission District. Get $10 off when booked online ($69).

A zero-calorie crawl, with the added benefit of absorbing some culture: The Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema Film Crawl. There will be two screenings at the San Francisco Public Library’s Bernal Heights Branch at 7 and 8 p.m.

Get your flirt on at the Parc 55 Hotel’s Champagne Social at 7:30 p.m. Single professional can mix and mingle on the 31st floor of this downtown hotel while enjoy a variety of bubbles. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite for about $22.


The Second Annual Jazz Fest at the Park, celebrating African American arts and culture, takes place at Lefty O’Doul Plaza in AT&T Park from 2 p.m.- 6 p.m., with a game beginning at 6:05 p.m. Purchase a Giant’s ticket to get access to this show.

The 3rd Annual Clement Street Pub Crawl welcomes back SFSU and UCSF students. So if you don’t mind all the college kids, this crawl could be a fun way to explore Inner Richmond. Plus, previous crawls have attracted 500- 1,000 participants. Crawl takes place from 2 p.m.- 6 p.m. and begins at Dirty Trix Saloon. Early bird ticket: $9.27.

Go fishing without a license all day Saturday for Free Fishing Day. The California Department of Fish and Game offer two free fishing days each year and this Saturday is the last one in 2011. Some close fishing spots in the city: Pier Seven, located at the end of Broadway; Islais Creek Pier, located on Third Street, two blocks from Army Street; and Marina Green Jetty. For more locations visit:   Fees may apply if you plan on catching certain types of fish, but the amount is no more than $21—not bad for a fresh fish meal!

Shakespeare in the Park begins at 7:30 in the Presidio’s Main Post Parade Ground Lawn (between Graham Street and Keyes Avenue). This free outdoor show is also on Sunday and Monday, as well as weekends throughout September.


Enjoy a boozy Sunday brunch at:

Silks at the Mandarin Oriental. For $20 you can enjoy bottomless mimosas at the “Build Your Own Champagne Cocktail Bar” from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Create champagne cocktails with bitters, various liqueurs and fruit.

Warterbar offers a seafood brunch with delicious creations like, “Hawaiian Tuna Tartare” and “House Smoked Sturgeon.” Brunch is served 11:30 a.m.- 2:45 p.m.

O’Reilly’s Irish Pub & Restaurant in North Beach serves a Celtic brunch including “Ireland’s Traditional Breakfast” with sausage, bacon, and black and white pudding. Or try Corned Beef Hash with a pint of Guinness. Served 9 a.m.- 2p.m.

Watch adorable penguins Pierre, Howard and Ocio eat their lunch at the California Academy of Sciences on Sunday from 10:30 a.m.- 3 p.m. A marine biologist will feed the penguins and will answer all of your penguin questions. About $30 per adult ticket.

Are you a BofA customer? If so, get free entry in numerous San Francisco museums, just by showing your card. Visit the de Young Museum, Zeum and others.


Manor West in SOMA winds down the weekend with the SFunday party at 2 p.m.  Several musical guests bust a beat on the club’s private patio lounge.  Try a “boozed-up snow cone” or sip on a Margarita. Get there before 3 p.m. and it’s free; $10 after.

Take in a free concert in Golden Gate Park from 1 p.m.- 2:45 p.m. Spreckels Temple of Music at the Music Concourse is one of America’s oldest professional concert bands.

Giddy up to the 9th Annual Cowgirlpalooza & BBQ at El Rio in the Mission from 3 p.m.- 9 p.m.  For $10 you can enjoy BBQ and live Americana music.

Apps for Disaster Preparedness

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You can never be too prepared. The smartphone apps in this list could save lives in the event of an emergency. The USGSSeismic app records earthquakes around the world in real-time and shows how they register on the Richter scale. (Above)

With minor yet frequent earthquakes serving as a constant reminder to San Francisco residents that our fog-encased city sits above a massive fault line, it’s only wise that city dwellers take precautions in case of an actual emergency.

The following are some apps that would come in handy in case disaster strikes:

AlertSF will send up-to-date information via text message or email to your cell phone in case of an emergency.

AlertSF will notify you of:

  • Emergencies disrupting vehicular/pedestrian traffic
  • Watches and warnings for tsunamis and flooding
  •  Citywide post-disaster information

Make sure your device is able to receive texts and email. You can also request to receive notification for particular areas of the city, or alerts in Spanish. Registration for AlertSF is free, however you may be charged for text messages depending on your cell phone plan.

Emergency Radio is not only a useful app for journalists in search of a story, but also incredibly valuable if the power goes out after a disaster. This app allows you to listen-in on local police and fire departments as well as emergency medical crews to hear what’s going on outside.  Free on iTunes

USGSSeismic connects you to the RSS feed of the United States Geological Survey that monitors the magnitude of earthquakes around the world. The app displays the location, date and magnitude of each earthquake. Free

iTsunamiHD provides a live feed from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) of the most recent tsunamis and reports any undersea earthquakes, since that’s how tsunamis are triggered. $0.99

WebMD mobile app provides how-to instructions for first aid care. It even works without an Internet connection. Free

iDistress send emergency SMS and email messages with your  location and phone number to three pre-selected contacts when activated in an emergency, while also dialing the local emergency telephone number. $0.99

Tired All the Time?

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Feeling tired after a long week is typical, but if you are constantly exhausted it might be time to examine other possible causes.

If given the opportunity, Robin McClelland could sleep for 15 hours each night.

“If I didn’t set my alarm clock on a Saturday, I’d sleep ‘til 2 (p.m.),” she said. “And I’m always tired.”

McClelland, like many young professionals in San Francisco, works a 40-plus hour week, goes to the gym regularly and attends numerous happy hours and events in the city.

“I’m not willing to give any of that up,” she said. “But I’d like to be less in-need of sleep all the time.”

Some call it the “work hard, play hard” lifestyle, but burning the candle at both ends for too long can cause you to neglect your body’s needs. And, in some cases, you may need more than just sleep to revive your health.

If this sounds like you, here are some reasons you may be lethargic:

Poor Diet

Registered Dietitian Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, CSSD, and creator of “Eating Free,” said he sees this problem everyday with his own clients. 

Professionals in the 25-35 set who practice a work-hard, play-hard lifestyle often sacrifice sleep in order to squeeze physical fitness and happy hours into their jam-packed schedules.

When a client in otherwise good health, (no smoking, healthy weight), comes to Villacorta with these symptoms his first response is to inquire about their diet.

“This population sustains themselves with caffeine and no time to eat,” he said. “One of the common dominators that I often see in this group of people is skipping and delaying meals, and not eating a balanced diet.”

Villacorta provided these nutritional tips:

  • Avoid high-fat foods and don’t skip meals—this is key to preventing fatigue.
  • Combine proteins and carbohydrates at every meal to regulate your energy level and mental alertness.
  • Don’t snack throughout the day. This will drain your energy because you won’t eat a well-balanced lunch or dinner.
  • Avoid mindless snacking, but be sure to eat every 3-4 hours in order to prevent overeating at meal times.  Just make sure snacks are in moderation.

“Most people that claim fatigue are normally skipping breakfast, then eating lettuce and chicken breast for lunch, and bingeing on muffins or cookies at 4 p.m.,” he said.  “It is a complete energy roller coaster.”

Exercise burnout can also be an energy-zapper, especially if you’re not eating a proper diet. Exercise in moderation, get sufficient sleep and watch your alcohol intake when going out for happy hour.

Lack of Sleep

If you’re tired all the time, sleeping more may seem like an obvious solution. But if you’re already getting a sufficient amount of sleep every night, there might be an underlying problem with how you sleep.

David Claman, MD, director at the UCSF Sleep Disorder Center said clocking 7.5- 8 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis should be enough to feel rested and refreshed the next day.

“If this isn’t enough, then sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy may need to be evaluated,” he said in an email interview.

Other medical conditions such as anemia, depression, or heart of lung disease should also be considered. There are many other sleep disorders that affect both children and adults, but sleep apnea and insomnia are the two most common sleep disorders, he explained.

“Sleep apnea patients are usually loud snorers who are observed to have brief pauses in breathing while they are sleeping. Insomnia patients often have a hard time getting to sleep or staying asleep at different times of the night,” Claman said. “For sleep apnea, the initial treatments would be weight loss, avoiding alcohol near bedtime and sleeping on the side (not on the back),” he said.

Patients with moderate to severe apnea usually try the CPAP mask– a breathing apparatus to facilitate more air flow.

“For insomnia, the best initial treatment is behavioral treatment– aiming to keep a regular schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and being relaxed (not stressed) near bedtime.

“If behaviroal treatment is not enough, then medications could be considered,” Claman said.

If you think you have a sleep disorder the first step is to talk to your primary care doctor. If sleep issues are possible, then scheduling a sleep consultaton at a clinic such as the UCSF Sleep Disorder Center would be the next step.


San Francisco-based yoga and meditation teacher Darren Main compared a human body that practices yoga to a fuel efficient vehicle: “Like a fuel efficient car that can drive farther and faster on less gasoline, yoga helps make your mental, emotional and physical bodies more efficient with the energy they require.  As a result, we can be far more productive with energy to spare so that we have more stamina to focus on friends and family.”

Main, who also conducts teacher-training sessions at Yoga Tree in San Francisco, said yoga and meditation have a powerful effect on the mind and body, and when practiced often can greatly reduce stress.

The teachings of yoga encompass more than just the physical being.

“The human being is made of five distinct but interconnected layers called koshas,” he said. “These koshas make-up the physical body, energy and emotional body, mental body and so on. Although we tend to view these koshas as separate things, they are tightly interwoven. Thus stress– whether psychological, emotional or physical– will affect all aspects of our being.”

So how does yoga relieve stress besides being a relaxing practice?

“Yoga works with our physiology to do two things,” Main said. “First, it triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which is often called ‘rest and digest,’ while at the same time relaxing the sympathetic nervous system which is often called ‘fight or flight.’”

By reducing the number of things that overstimulate and agitate the nervous system, we are able to better manage stress levels and are more likely to make healthy choices.

From a nutritional standpoint, Villacorta pointed out that stress can lead to weight problems by increasing your body’s levels of cortisol.

“Having high cortisol levels lowers your immune system, causes heart disease, lowers your dopamine and serotonin levels, creates emotional eating, and now we know that cortisol or high stress builds fat around your waistline. This is the kind of fat that is the worst fat for your health,” he added.


Thyroid problems often occur in women in their early twenties, but it’s possible for issues to arise in the late twenties and early thirties. There are underactive and overactive thyroids. An underactive thyroid, which is the most common type and also known as hypothyroid, can cause lethargy, weight gain, and dry skin, among numerous other symptoms. 

Thyroid problems can be detected through a simple blood test. If it’s determined an underactive thyroid is the problem, your doctor can prescribe medication and make dietary recommendations, such as monitoring your iodine intake.

Lack of Vitamin D

Being stuck inside an office all day prevents your body from absorbing vitamin D provided by the sun. If you wear sunscreen, you’re even more shielded from vitamin D since sun block inhibits absorption.

A deficiency of Vitamin D can cause lethargy, muscle weakness and depression.

Don’t toss your tube of sunscreen just yet. You can take a suppliments and consume vitamin D fortified foods to meet your daily dose.

According to the vitamin D Council, if you are someone who completely avoids the sun you will need to take approximately 4,000 units of vitamin D per day.

Try getting vitamin D from a mix of supplements and real food.

Celiac Disease

Inadequate absorption of nutrients due to celiac disease can cause anemia, not to mention an insufficient amount of calories—both of which can lead to fatigue. 


It is well known that depression can cause lethargy and lack of enthusiasm for daily activities that once seemed enjoyable. If you think you may be depressed, see a mental health professional to discuss treatment options.


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