Rainy Days are Here Again

hurricane joaquin

Hurricane Joaquin is making it’s way up the coast line this weekend and for once in my life I’m going to be prepared! I browsed the aisles in Target today and as with any major weather event, the bread, milk, and bottled water was gone. I understand the water, but I’ll never understand why bread and milk is necessary in the case of a major storm. The power will be out, refrigerators won’t work, and your groceries (including the precious milk and bread) will probably go bad. Anyway, I digress.

I made a list of helpful things to weather the storm with this weekend and they include batteries obviously, but also rain boots and a sturdy umbrella. Not far down the list is a warm blanket, coffee, and a scarf to keep away those drafts that seem to go straight towards your neck.

Let’s talk about these Hunter rain boots for second. Aren’t they the best color ever? I love the classic red or yellow boots but this color just blends so well with the rainy weather the east coast is experiencing. The boots go for $150 at Nordstrom but can sometimes be found for $100 at 6pm.com. When you get right down to it, they’re just rubber rain boots. I’ve bought into the lie that they’ll make me happier and preppier if I just owned a pair. I’m a marketer’s dream!

I found a few cheaper alternatives that I think are equally cute. Hopefully you’ll like them too!

I’m assuming this weekend that I’ll be using my wet weather wear quite often. My family lives in the woods, losing power during simple thunderstorms is not uncommon. With winds being so strong already, the family and I might be outside trying to get our generator running all night. Wish me luck,  friends!

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Kitty Reactions to Snow

As most of you know, the north east is covered in snow and there doesn’t seem to be any possibility of it melting. I live in Maryland, and while it isn’t considered to be part of the ‘north’, it can easily be said that we’ve had our fair share of snow. Besides being stuck in the house all the time and becoming well acquainted with our snow shovels, there are few nice things we can associate with the cold, white stuff.

cats_in_the_snowConsider this, is there anything cuter than seeing our pets’ reactions to snow? I can’t think of anything more adorable! My three little kitties all have their own opinions on it. Puddin’ (the big, orange tomcat) really enjoys hiding behind snow piles and watching the birds get a tasty morsel from the bird feeder. After a few minutes he’ll shake his bum and then lunge at the birds. He’s never caught one, which I’m glad about. He loves being outside with us when we’re shoveling snow. He tries so hard to ‘help’ but just can’t quite pick up a shovel.

Little Hootie will go outside for a few minutes and very carefully step in people’s shoe tracks in the snow so he doesn’t get his paws too wet. He’s very particular about his feet getting wet. After a few minutes outside he’ll come back in and head straight to the humidifier to watch it bubble. He tries to catch the bubbles that come up but just can’t quite get them in time. We tell him that the humidifier is run by the evil ‘red dot’ he can’t catch. I don’t he think he understood.

cats_watching_red_dot

My sweet, little Tanzie just doesn’t do the snow. She will go out and sit on the step for a few minutes and then decides she’s over it and comes back inside. The other day it was so chilly that she jumped into the linen closet and sat amongst the sheets to warm up.

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I adore my little fur balls! I think God gave us animals not only for our enjoyment, but for our therapeutic needs. Sometimes just petting my kitty or watching him play is all it takes to boost my mood. Watching their reactions to snow is an adorable aspect of being apart of their little lives. Be sure to leave a comment about your pets’ reactions to the snow!

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Winter Weather in Maryland

If you live in the Mid-Atlantic you know that snow isn’t a common phenomenon here. If you live in Boston, you’re wishing it wasn’t common there either. For the rest of you who aren’t experiencing these little problems, you can live vicariously through us. Snow is so beautiful until you’re housebound by it. Here are a few pictures from the other day full of snow-shoveling, which, by the way, burns 400-600 calories an hour! This is my new winter workout.

snow_bound

The above picture is a shot of the street I live on. Yes, it’s one way. I live in the middle of a little forest and we have to plow it ourselves. The county government doesn’t legally have to do it for us. Luckily, my neighbor has a four wheeler with a snow plow on the front of it, God bless him!

winter_weather_in_maryland

Don’t I look great with a shovel? I’m trying to break up the slush/ice so that it doesn’t freeze overnight creating a mess to drive on. P.S. A great snow-shoveling outfit is always necessary. I’m wearing LL Bean insulated snow boots, New York & Company leggings (they’re really thick), Aeropastle puffer vest (found it for $10 last year), a Forever 21 sweatshirt, and J Crew head warmer.

snow_covered_forest

This is my driveway people. The only way we’re getting up or down it is if we shovel it by hand. My little red Toyota is at the bottom. I can honestly say that I didn’t know what “back-breaking” work was until my dad decided I was old enough to shovel snow like an adult. I also didn’t know that a heating pad works miracles! In all honesty though, being outside and breathing in the fresh air is so good for your mental and physical health.

dogs_in_the_snowOur pups like to race around in the snow, usually scaring the birds away from their winter bird feeder. Rude. The chocolate lab is named Riley and the little, squirty beagle is named Reagan.

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I can’t complain about where I live. It’s private, quiet, and really beautiful. As a kid, I could ride my bike, play outside, and just have fun without having to worry about too much. I grew up in the house I still live in and I’m blessed to have all my memories stored in one place.

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Protecting Your Skin From the Winter Cold

A few months back, I got in touch with an amazing blogger who just so happens to be a dermatologist! Wiggin Lee of Prescription for Style, shares with us some winter weather skin care secrets!

Skin Care for the Chilly Air

The key to keeping your skin smooth and soft is to keep it moisturized. Unfortunately, this can be really difficult for anyone with naturally dry skin or any degree of eczema (atopic dermatitis). During the winter time, especially, your skin is also more prone to becoming dehydrated, itchy, scaly, and even crack. So what is the best moisturizer out there?

With so many different brands (Aveeno, Cetaphil, Aquaphor, etc) along with the many types of moisturizers (lotions, creams, ointments, etc), choosing an over-the-counter product can be extremely confusing and daunting. In this post, I will try my best to help you decide on what moisturizer to use and the best way to protect your skin from the cold winters.

Basics:

epidermis_structure
Diagram courtesty of http://www.womens-health-advice.com

Our outer layer of our skin (the epidermis) is made up of several different layers and types of skin cells. The epidermis is responsible for retaining water, thermoregulation, and protection from trauma and infections. However, when this protective layer is under harsh conditions such the winter wind chill, frigid temperatures, blasting heaters, and dry weather, microscopic damage (tiny cracks, if you will) is made and water is loss more readily. Dry, damaged skin is then more prone to more microscopic damage and this can cause inflammation (redness) and itching. In order to keep the skin hydrated and smooth, it is important to 1) replenish the water and 2) seal the cracks and seal in the water. This is where moisturizers come into play.

Types of Moisturizers:

types_of_moisturizers

The different types of moisturizers (lotions, creams, ointments) actually ARE different. They are each unique percentages of water vs. oil. Determining which type of moisturizer works best for you is more important than any specific brand you use. **Sometimes creams are advertised as lotions and ointments as creams-this does not matter too much as long as the consistency works for you**

Lotions: >50% water, <50% oil 

Lotions are thinner than creams and usually come in a pump bottle or tube. They are light in consistency and quickly absorb into the skin after applying. While they aid in rehydrating the skin, they are less effective in sealing in the moisture. Most over-the-counter (available without a prescription at drugstores) moisturizers are lotions and they are great for mild to moderate dry skin. Many also have added fragrances which make them smell great, so if you are allergic to fragrances, please avoid these as a rash may result.

Suggested lotions: Aveeno daily moisturizing lotion, Cetaphil Restoraderm skin restoring moisturizer

Creams: 50% water, 50% oil

Creams are much thicker than lotions and usually come in tubes (where you squeeze it out like toothpaste) or jars because they are too thick to pump. Creams are a great option for moderate to severe dry skin as it works to 1) rehydrate by replenishing water to the skin and 2) seal it in and prevent further moisture loss. This is probably the best type of moisturizer for protecting your skin during the winter.

Suggested creams: Aveeno skin relief moisture repair cream, Neutrogena hand cream, Philosophy-Hope In A Jar for Dry Skin

Ointments: 20% water, 80% oil

These products also come in tubes and have the consistency of Vaseline. They are the thickest type of moisturizer and can often feel greasy. Because they are only 20% water, they do not absorb well into the skin and also do not rehydrate the skin as much. Ointments are used more for the purposes of protecting the skin. It is best used to protect a wound (also decreases the formation of a scar), severely cracked skin, or chapped lips.

Suggested ointments: Aquaphor healing ointment (also great for chapped lips), plain Vaseline, Vaniply ointment

Last few tips:

1. Drink water

In addition to using products to hydrate your skin, don’t forget to hydrate your body! Drinking the recommended 8 cups of water a day (yes, that’s in 1 day!) is not only important for skin hydration, but also important for the rest of your health including your kidneys, heart, gastrointestinal system, and much more.

2. Take warm (not hot) showers

Don’t take super hot showers as they can end up damaging and drying your skin more. Warm water showers are recommended.

3. Apply your moisturizer after you shower

After you take a warm shower, pat (not scrub) dry with a towel, and apply your preferred moisturizer. This allows the water from the shower to be absorbed to its maximum capacity and seals it in. Hope this information helps keep your skin hydrated and smooth through the winter!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to contact me through the “contact and collaborations” tab on my blog, Prescription for Style.

Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!

Wiggin Lee, MD

Travel Edition: The Colorado Rockies

The summer after my freshman year in college my family took a road trip to the Colorado Rockies in early May. We drove 35 hours from Maryland to Denver, CO with a few stops along the way.

Road Trip!

We stopped off in Columbus, OH. We stayed for a few days to tour the zoo. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed by the zoo (although it is famous) but the people were great. I like Ohioans for their friendly but not overly friendly attitudes. It’s the good part of the midwest.

After Ohio we made our way to St. Louis, MO. We have family that lives in the area and we were lucky enoughCousins_fun to visit them for a few days before going on to Colorado. My dad’s family took us all over the city before we headed to another part of MO to stay with my dad’s brother and see his grandkids. Aren’t family reunions nice? Sometimes? Well, they are for us! We enjoy getting together and talking about old memories while making new ones. Both sets of my grandparents are dead so any memories our parents have of them the kids cling to. It’s nice to know where your roots are.

From Missouri we headed across the great state of Kansas. Tumble_weedsSeriously, this state is rather dull. 15 hours across the place and I saw nothing but prairie. Beautiful honestly, but I couldn’t do the drive again. We saw old sod houses in the middle of nowhere, tumbleweeds blowing across the highway, prairie grass on fire, and two tornados. Ok, we didn’t see the tornados per se, but we had to outrun them twice knowing they were close by. We saw a bunch of storm chasers heading towards them though, which was neat. It was hot out there and the climate was perfect for tornados!

Driving_in_the_snowOnce we got into Colorado the weather changed. It went from 84 degrees to 25 degrees! It started to snow! When we got to our hotel in Denver I jumped out of the car in flip flops. People stared at me  until I changed into my warm Ugg boots.

The next day we went up in the mountains. What a drive. I’ve never done anything like it. I thought the mountains in New York state were big but compared to the Rockies they’re little hills! We climbed rocks and took photos. We saw wildlife in their habitat munching on the thawing ground. We couldn’t hike too far for the simple reason that most of the trails were under 9 feet of snow!

We found a little town called Estes Park towards the base of the mountain. It was so quaint and just a lovely place to be during the day! So many pretty antique shops and interior decorating stores! Lots of adorable clothing stores as well as many yummy places to eat. There was also a small river that ran behind all the shops and we got coffee and cocoa from the local Starbucks to drink while taking a break from the day.

On the drive back home we stopped one last time to see our family before heading back. It was one of those vacations where absolutely nothing was expected but that’s what made it exciting. Memories are what life is made of.

Enjoy the photos!

~Liz

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