Making the most of your eye color

Make-up and fashion tips to make your eyes sparkle

Making the most of your eye colorDo you have blue eyes or brown? Are they green, hazel, gray or maybe even a bit violet in color? Whatever color your eyes may be, they can be your best feature if you know how to play up what you have to accent those beautiful “windows to your soul.”

Once upon a time, I hated my blue green eyes; I thought they were common, dull, and uninteresting. They weren’t the baby blue color of my father’s eyes or the Irish green of my mother’s. I had failed to see the possibilities that my eyes offered, and I might have missed those possibilities altogether had it not been for my fiancée. He remarked one day, “you have the most amazing turquoise eyes whenever you cry.” I’d never noticed them myself, but he was right. Happy, sad, grieving, or mad, my blue-green eyes turned the most beautiful shade of turquoise whenever they were wet.

Over the years, I’ve managed to learn how to play up that turquoise color with a few tricks of the trade rather than counting on my tears to do it for me. The results have often been astounding with many people now commenting that my eyes are “unforgettable.”

The truth is that it really doesn’t matter what color of eyes you have. It is more a matter of how you choose to use that color to your advantage. Movie stars have been doing it for decades with extremely positive results. Now it’s our turn to enjoy the same benefits.

An obvious way to accent the color of your eyes is with colored contact lenses. If you have to wear them anyway, why not also use them to make your eyes pop? Even if you don’t need corrective lenses, they also make a version for women who simply want to change the color of their eyes with their clothing, the season, or for any other reason they choose. It can add mystique to an already mysterious personality or create one where none previously existed.

One of the cheapest ways to make eyes pop is with eye shadow. The trick is finding the right shadow color for the effect you want to achieve. For example, I know that shadows in shades of brown and taupe play up both the blue and green of my eyes to give me that turquoise color I want. Gray shadows, on the other hand, turn my eyes a deeper shade of blue, playing into the mysterious persona I sometimes like to project. Blue eye shadow, on the other hand tends to make my eyes skew more gray in color to give me yet another unusual look.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors of shadows to see what kinds of effects you can achieve. Choose a few colors that you never would have thought of before, like lime greens, bright fuschias, or deep purples. You might be surprised what these unusual colors can do to make sure your eyes always stand out. Try accenting with deeper tones of the same color for eyeliner and mascara. This will help to intensify the overall look and give your eyes the maximum amount of “pop.”

Almost every woman wants her eyes to look big and innocent. That effect is easy to achieve by properly curling the eyelashes before putting on mascara. Lashes should be curled at least once a day, whether you choose to wear makeup or not. That one 30-second technique can give any type of eye the definition and lift it needs to look its very best.

Always play up the lashes. Some women are born with long, luxurious lashes that take very little care at all, but most of us have to work at getting that effect. Just adding any old mascara won’t necessarily do the trick – it is important to use the right color and type of mascara. Short lashes, for example, require lengthening, while thin lashes need to be thickened. In a lot of cases, women need a bit of both. That’s why it is important to buy the right type of mascara for the job to be done.

When mascara won’t do the trick, it might be time to try some of those individual false lashes that can easily be added in wherever they are needed. They come in a variety of lengths, thickness, and colors to suit the needs of almost any woman. Best of all, they are much easier to apply that full false lashes and can remain in place until they fall out naturally, and they can be trimmed to perfectly match the lashes you already have.

White eyeliner is a great tool for making eyes stand out. By using it to line the inside of the lower lash line and on the inside (and outside, if desired) corner of the eye, it opens the eye to make it look bigger, more alert, and oh-so-flirty!

The eyebrows also play an important part in making eyes stand out – the brows are the frame of the eye canvas. If the frame is perfect, the overall effect will be perfect too, but if the frame is poor, all of the color and meticulous makeup application won’t achieve a thing. For that reason, brows should be properly plucked and thinned, by a professional whenever possible. It can make the difference between success and failure when it comes to the eyes.

Choose clothing colors that help to accent your eyes. While it isn’t necessary to wear all the same color, a splash of it anywhere near the face will help to reinforce the look you want. For example, when I wear turquoise jewelry, it always includes a necklace in that perfect shade of blue green. It helps to emphasize the eye color I worked so hard to achieve.

When it comes to makeup, the eyes should always be a primary focus. It is through them that we express our truest emotions and allow our inner being to be seen. Make your eyes the wondrous objects they can be!

Be safe in the sun

womens on the beachWe seem to be bombarded with conflicting advice on whether we should sunbathe or not. Cancer Research UK recommends that you stay out of the sun altogether to prevent skin cancer, and I saw the same advice echoed in a Healthspan magazine in 2008. However, this advice has been criticised by some leading scientists and nutritionists.

Vitamin D

The psychological benefits of exposure to sunlight are invigorating and uplifting. Sunlight stimulates production of serotonin, which makes us feel good and, at the same time, suppresses melatonin so we feel less tired.

Vitamin D from the sun helps us absorb calcium and prevent osteoporosis (porous bones) – simply eating calcium-rich foods without the vitamin is not enough, as the calcium may end up depositing itself in areas other than the bones, which is not good news.

And there’s more. Vitamin D helps to fight infections and stop the spread of cancer cells. Professor William Grant, former NASA scientist, estimates that in the UK, where we get 1,600 deaths a year from melanoma due to excessive sun exposure, we probably get around 25,000 deaths due to insufficient sun exposure.

More evidence from researchers is showing an increased link between vitamin D from sunlight and the reduction in cancer risk. People who live in areas where there is more sun have reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer (IIAA Issue Autumn 2005).

In addition, researchers at Aberdeen University have revealed that lack of vitamin D from sunlight contributes to obesity. Vitamin D controls the hormone leptin which signals to the brain when you are full. They found that those who were obese had lower levels of vitamin D; in fact they produced a tenth less vitamin D than those of average weight.

Regular sun exposure

Dr Des Fernandes recommends a sun exposure of 20 minutes per day, with shorter bursts in strong sunlight. 20 minutes is considered the time it takes to convert vitamin D from sunlight into active vitamin D in our bodies – any further exposure requires protection or the vitamin will be destroyed.

Of course, during the colder months where there is less sun this is more difficult, so it is important during the warmer seasons to ‘top up’ our vitamin D stores. It is said that our bodies can store vitamin D for up to 6 months after moderate exposure to sunlight.

Avoid sunbeds

Topping up on a sunbed is not a good way to supplement your exposure. Sunbeds mostly block out the UVB rays but not the UVA rays, and it is the UVB that makes the vitamin D in your skin. All you’ll get from a sunbed is a tan and wrinkles as a result of the accelerated ageing from UVA.

Suncreams

Suncreams also concentrate on blocking out UVB rays so that you can stay out for longer without burning, but not all creams offer protection from UVA. The jury is still out on how high you should go with the SPF protection on a suncream. with some skin experts saying to go no higher than SPF15. The reason is the amount of chemicals you are piling onto your skin is heavily increased the higher the SPF in the cream. The difference between a cream of SPF15 and one of SPF30 is that you are applying double the amount of chemicals, but only 1% extra protection! (Source IIAA).

Patrick Holford recommends Environ’s RAD16 because it not only protects from UVA and UVB, it also contains beta-carotene (plant source of vitamin A), plus vitamins C and E, which actually double the effectiveness of the SPF to a factor 30.

Supplements

Protect yourself well on the inside as well as the outside. Build up your store of vitamins A and C by eating foods that are rich in these vitamins and other anti-oxidants, and apply skin products that have potent quantities of vitamins A, C and E, as these get destroyed by the sun so need replacing.

If you feel the need to supplement, you can take between 200 and 400 ius of vitamin D per day, but oral supplementation should not be your first port of call. In the presence of sunlight, your body controls the levels of vitamin D it produces but with a supplement it can’t do this, so take too much and you may reach toxic levels.

Enjoy the sun, but in moderation!

So don’t be afraid to go out in the sun. You can still don a hat and good sunglasses to protect your eyes and call it fashion, or insurance against premature ageing!

Dealing with problem areas around the eyes

eye creamEyes are the first place you should concentrate on while starting an anti aging regimen. This is because the skin around the eyes is extremely thin and fragile and lacks oil glands that provides natural moisture. As a result, the skin around the eyes is the first place to exhibit signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. Fortunately, there is an extensive range of anti-aging cosmetics specifically formulated for the eye area that help to nourish the skin there. Here are some tips to choose the right kind of products that will protect and nourish the sensitive skin around the eyes.

Chuck the facial moisturizer
Most women use facial moisturizers to hydrate the skin around the eyes as well. However, the active ingredients present in facial moisturizers are too strong for the sensitive eye area. Though they moisturize the skin and keep in hydrates, they fail to provide the intensive nourishment that eye creams offer. Therefore, it is always advisable to use specialized eye care products for the skin around your eyes.

Concentrate on problem areas
The choice of the best eye cream for you will depend on the problems you need to solve; concentrate on the problem areas and decide what you need help with. Here are some common problems associated with the eye area and ways you can solve them.

Problem: under eye dark circles
Dark circles under the eyes are a result of excessive pigmentation. Moreover, certain allergies can cause blood vessels to get dilated and leak thus making the skin appear darker under the eyes. Since these dark circles appear beneath the skin surface, they are difficult to be treated topically.

Solution: Look for products that contain peptides or retinol that stimulate the production of collagen within the skin cells and make the skin thicker and firmer. Also, Vitamin K based products can help to strengthen the blood vessels and diminish the appearance of dark circles.

Problem: eye puffiness
Eye puffiness is a common problem, especially in the morning. This is because of the accumulation of fluids during the sleep.

Solution: Use products containing ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids, Vitamin C, copper and retinol that help tighten and de-puff the skin. Alpha hydroxy acids help to regenerate surface cells whereas Vitamin C, copper and retinol help with the stimulation of collagen and enhance the skin elasticity. Caffeine is yet another ingredient that reduces eye puffiness by constricting the blood vessels and pushing the fluids out of the skin.

Problem: wrinkles and fine lines
Wrinkles and fine lines are a result of aging skin. As we grow old, our skin ages and the collagen and elastin levels begin to deplete, and as a result, the skin develops wrinkles and fine lines. This process can also get accelerated by prolonged and unprotected sun exposure.

Solution: Select products that contain retinoids or peptides that help to stimulate the production of collagen fibers and antioxidants that fight off free radicals. These ingredients repair already-damaged skin and also delays the appearance of aging signs.

10 Family Traditions to Start Today

Whether it’s decorating the holiday tree, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a “green” dinner or watching the annual Independence Day parade, creating memorable traditions brings families closer together. But families don’t have to wait for a special occasion toinitiate their own family traditions. Below are 10 everyday family traditions you may want to adopt as your own.

10 Family Traditions to Start TodayHave a family date night once a month.
This is a wonderful family tradition, whether your children are toddlers or teenagers. It may be as simple as dinner and a movie. Or make it more adventurous, like miniature golf or go-cart racing. No matter what you do, it’s a great opportunity for everyone to reconnect after a busy week of school and work.

Enjoy a weekly game night.
A great idea is to set aside one night each week to play a board game together. The rules are simple: no television, no computer and no text messaging. Play around the kitchen table, or set out a spot on the floor. If once a week is too much, then once a month works fine, too.

Exercise together.
Family traditions that include a physical activity have many benefits. We all want our spouses and kids to be as healthy as possible. Playing basketball or taking a walk or a bike ride together keeps everyone fit. You’ll be amazed at how much fun you’ll have, too.

Grow a family garden.
Assign each person in the family a particular vegetable to take care of. They’ll have to water it, keep their garden patch clear of weeds and harvest their crop at the end of summer. If you have toddlers in your family, they can participate, too. Get them a small watering can and let them dig in the dirt just like the big kids.

Create a family photo album.
Gathering the family together once a month to sort through old photographs helps children connect to their heritage. It’s important to educate your children about their ancestors, so take time to tell stories about family members they may never have met. Children love hearing funny or silly tales about what their relatives did.

Take a trip to the grocery store.
If you routinely shop with your children in tow, this may sound like a strange suggestion. But we’re not talking about filling up your family’s pantry − we’re talking about taking the family to purchase things for your local food bank. If you start this family tradition while your children are young, they may even continue it with their own children some day.

Go on a yearly camping trip.
This is a tradition that can be started as soon as a youngster is toddling around. Picking a particular weekend each year for this getaway is a great idea. When your children are big enough to hold fishing rods, let them take an hour or two with Dad or Grandpa to sit by the lake and try catching dinner.Read a book every night.
Most parents already enjoy this nightly tradition with their younger children, but as children start school and learn to read for themselves, it may fall by the wayside. You can keep it up by encouraging your children to read to you once they’ve learned how. Or have them read to their younger siblings each night.

Have a New Year’s picnic.
If you live in a warm climate, do it outside; if you live where the temperature dips below zero, have a picnic in the middle of the living room. Once midnight rolls around, bring out the noisemakers and fun hats and celebrate as a family. This can continue even when the children grow up and have families of their own.

Create gifts together.
When your children are old enough to start making crafts at school, ask them to create a craft from their own imagination for Mother’s or Father’s Day, family birthdays or a holiday. It can be anything from a drawing to a poem or even a pen holder or a paper flower. By getting them to create something with their own hands, you’re not only fostering creativity but also getting precious gifts from the heart.Whether it’s pizza night or a family concert you attend every year, be sure to make time for family traditions − these small occasions mean the world to your kids. There’s simply no replacement for quality time spent with their family. And while the focus of the traditions may change over the years, the bonding that goes on between family members never will.

Are You Living Your Life to the Fullest?
James Dean once said, “Dream as if you’ll live forever; live as if you’ll die today.” Do you take time to pursue your passions, or are you a slave to the daily grind? Find out if you need a new lease on life with this quiz.

Even Modest Fitness May Extend Lifespan

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – People who stay even moderately fit as they age may live longer than those who are out-of-shape, a new study suggests.

The study, of nearly 4,400 healthy U.S. adults, found that the roughly 20 percent with the lowest physical fitness levels were twice as likely to die over the next nine years as the 20 percent with the next-lowest fitness levels.

That was with factors like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes taken into account — underscoring the importance of physical fitness itself, researchers report in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

“Our findings suggest that sedentary lifestyle, rather than differences in cardiovascular risk factors or age, may explain (the) two-fold higher mortality rates in the least-fit versus slightly more fit healthy individuals,” lead researcher Dr. Sandra Mandic, of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, noted in an email to Reuters Health.

She pointed out that nearly two-thirds of the least-fit study participants were not getting the minimum recommended amount of exercise — at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, like brisk walking, on five or more days a week.

“These results emphasize the importance of improving and maintaining high fitness levels by engaging in regular physical activity,” Mandic said, “particularly in poorly fit individuals.”

The study included 4,384 middle-aged and older adults whose fitness levels were assessed during exercise treadmill tests sometime between 1986 and 2006; they were then followed for an average of about nine years.

When Mandic’s team separated the participants into five groups based on fitness levels, they found that one-quarter of the least-fit men and women had died during the study period, versus 13 percent of those who were slightly more in shape.

Among adults in the most-fit group, only 6 percent died during the follow-up period.

Overall, the five groups showed little difference in their reported exercise habits over their adult lives. Where they did differ was their activity levels in recent years.

“Since it is recent physical activity that offers protection,” Mandic said, “it is important to maintain regular physical activity throughout life.”

And since fitness is linked to longevity regardless of weight and health conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, exercise is important for all, according to Mandic.

That, she said, includes people who are thin and in generally good health.

SOURCE: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, August 2009.