Archive for October, 2008

Healthy Skin

I’m not ashamed to admit that for the past 3 months, my skin has been almost as bad as a pre-pubescent boys. Like most women in their mid 20’s-mid 30’s emotional distress and/or stress in general can cause some major damage to your skin. I was in that boat until recently. I moved half way across the country. Today, I was browsing on webmd (for something entirely different, thank you very much) (may I add, we at ATG blog do not advocate consulting webmd for anything serious, please see a doctor or homeopath for those concerns) and clicked on the “Skin and Beauty” tab. What I found was really fantastic.

Now, my mother grew up on a farm in the former Yugoslavia, so she didn’t have any of these fancy shmancy facial products or services that we in the western world/non-rural areas of the world do. She raised me thinking that the $4 cleansers at Walgreens are just as good as the Clinique or Lancome cleansers, and you save TONS of money. I through that theory out the window about 5 or 6 years ago and gave in to buying expensive cleaners and moisturizers. But this was at a time in my life when everything around me was changing and becoming my own. I wasn’t stressed, I was happy, I was going out to the clubs (ie: dancing and excercising a lot). Now, I’m a big kid. Life is hard! I get stressed about my life, about politics, about our youth about my future, the list goes on peple! I’m sure it’s the same for you too.

So, you can imagine (with this economy) why when I found this information on webmd today, I was elatated.

They have a list of some of the things that we can do to keep our skin smoothe, wrinkle free and cancer free. Here are some of my fave:

  1. SUCK IT UPIf your skin can’t hold on to the products you put on it, you’re just wasting money. “Lock in the benefits of a product’s active ingredients by following up with a moisturizer,” says Ranella Hirsch, M.D., president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery. Look for a lotion containing hyaluronic acid or glycerin; they keep skin supple.
  2. VOTE REDA recent British study found that subjects who ate five tablespoons of tomato paste every day suffered milder sun­burns than those who didn’t. Researchers think lycopene, a powerful natural antioxidant found in tomatoes, provides the sun-shielding bene­fits. (Tip: Cook your romas–your body will absorb the nutrients more easily.) It’s no excuse to drop the SPF, but at least you have a good reason to go to your favorite Italian joint.  YES! I LOVE THIS ONE. I DRINK A MINI V8 EVERY MORNING AND NEVER SKIP OUT ON MY VEGGIES!
  3. TAKE A CHILL PILLNot that you need more to worry about, but it really is true that stress can mess with your com­plexion. Researchers at England’s University of Manchester proved it using what many of us find the most brutal stress test: public speaking. They took pre- and post-presentation snips of skin from the butt cheeks of participants and then compared the cellular activity. The tense skin showed a 16.4 percent decrease in immune-system-regulating cells. Another study reported that stress caused acne to worsen. True, you can’t protect your skin from every PowerPoint panic. But if you’re under a lot of pressure, baby your skin.
  4. GET ALL IN A LATHERAnytime you sweat, your body produces more sebum (an oily pore-clogging secretion), says dermatologist Audrey Kunin, M.D., founder of dermadoctor.com. So if you’re tempted to skip the shower after a lunchtime workout (and we’re not judging here), don’t! Since bacteria love to feast on sweat and oil, you’re setting yourself up for breakouts. After any sweat-inducing activity, rinse off under cool water with a shower wash containing oil-clearing glycolic or salicylic acid. We like Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Body Wash ($6 for 12 oz, drugstore.com). SORRY BATH AND BODY WORKS, I’LL ONLY BE USING YOU WHEN I’M GEARING UP FOR A SPECIAL NIGHT WITH MY FELLA AND WANT TO SMELL LIKE COCONUTS AND POMAGRANATE!
  5. DON’T WASH MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN“There’s no need to buy an expensive cleanser loaded with fancy ingredients,” says photobiologist Daniel B. Yarosh, Ph.D., author of The New Science of Perfect Skin. “They’re on your skin for less than a minute, so they don’t have time to really do anything.” Adding injury to insult: Some pricey ingredients can actually cause irritation (that would be you, peppermint and eucalyptus). Start with inexpensive face washes (try Biore Revitalize 4-in-1 Foaming Cleanser, $7 for 6.7 oz, drugstore.com) and see-through glycerin soaps like Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Bar ($3, drugstore.com). Both remove dirt, oil, and dead skin cells without stripping away your skin’s natural (and necessary) oils. MY MAMA WAS RIGHT ALL THESE YEARS, I JUST DIDN’T BELIEVE HER BECAUSE I WAS A FINALLY A COLLEGE STUDENT FREE FROM MY PARENTS REIGN, THANKS FOR LOOKING OUT FOR MY WALLET MOM, I LOVE YOU!
  6. USE AN ANTI-AGER–NOW!Don’t wait for the first crow’s feet to appear before you reach for that little tube. “Even women in their twenties should be using a topical retinoid–unless they’re pregnant or nursing,” says Fran­cesca Fusco, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Here’s why: Retinoids, which contain vitamin A, are one of the most potent agents for preventing and reversing sun damage and signs of aging. And, says Hirsch, “they’re the ultimate multi­tasker. They speed skin renewal by shedding dull, pore-clogging cells and increase collagen production to prevent wrinkles.” Ask your doctor about a retinoid prescription or try an OTC, such as Roc Retinol Actif Pur Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizing Treatment–Night ($22 for 1 oz, drugstore.com). I ALWAYS THOUGHT THIS WAS FOR 60 YEARS OLDS. BUT I GUESS IF I HAVE 3 OR 4 GREY HAIRS AT 25, I SHOULD START WORRYING ABOUT THE FLAT PLAINS OF MY FACE BECOMING THE GRAND CANYON TOO.
  7. GOT MILK? GET SOYIf you battle breakouts, milk could be adding to your troubles. Three large studies have found that the more white stuff teens drink, the worse their acne gets. Researchers say hormones that occur naturally in cow juice may be to blame, and they believe women in their twenties and thirties could also be susceptible. “If you’re a big milk drinker and zits are a problem, you may benefit from cutting back,” says Clement Adebamowo, M.D., an oncologist and lead researcher on these studies. “Drink milk substitutes like soy instead,” he says.  YES! YES! YES! OK, FINE, SO I’M 75% LACTOSE INTOLERANT BUT I’VE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT MILK FROM A COW IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU. MILK FROM YOUR MOM’S TEET IS GREAT FOR YOU….WHEN YOU’RE AN INFANT! THEN YOU GROW UP AND EAT VEGGIES, WHICH HAVE JUST AS MUCH CALCIUM AS MILK. LOOK IT UP. I WOULDN’T LIE TO YOU.
  8. BE A SOAP STARWhen you sleep, lotions, hair gels, and oils sweat off of your body and onto your linens. Kenneth Beer, M.D., clinical instructor in dermatology at the University of Miami, advises washing your sheets weekly. At the very least, put on a fresh pillowcase to keep the gunk (and the bacteria that eat the gunk) from clogging your pores. THIS ONE’S FOR THE GUYS. DO LAUNDRY. PLEASE.
  9. STEER CLEAR OF STINKY BUTTSIf you’re reading a magazine with the word health in the title, you probably don’t have a pack of Camels crammed into your purse. But just in case, here’s new info about how hard smoking can be on your looks: A 2007 study found that smoking ages the skin on your body that the sun doesn’t even see. Researchers found that smokers had more pronounced wrinkles than non-puffers on areas of the body usually untouched by UV rays, like the inner arms. “It seems that smoking accelerates the aging process,” says Yolanda Rosi Helfrich, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Michigan and lead researcher on the study. FOR REAL. MY NEW NEIGHBOORS SMOKE LIKE THEY’RE IN THE MOVIES. NOBODY SHOULD SMOKE THAT MUCH, IT’S GROSS. G-R-O-S-S.
  10. GO AHEAD–GET SOME GODIVAStudies show that nibbling on a few pieces of the dark stuff (milk chocolate has too much fat and sugar) will arm your skin with additional flavonols, protective nutrients that researchers believe absorb UV light and increase blood flow to the skin, improving its appearance. In one German study, women had flavonoid-­enriched cocoa every day for 12 weeks, and afterward their skin was softer, less irritated, and up to 25 percent less sensitive to sun damage when exposed to ultraviolet light. Sweet! AGAIN WITH THE NON-DAIRY. I LOVE IT! PLUS IT’S GREAT FOR OUR LADY TIME OF THE MONTH!

Be Healthy and Prosper.


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I’m sure many of you have seen the below video of celebrities reminding you to vote,  but just in case you haven’t yet……enjoy and remember to vote on November 4th.   It’s a right many people of the world would and are dying to be able to do.  


To find your voting place:


The best part of the video is I think a few of the celebrities aren’t even American citizens.

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I know, I know it’s wrong to laud the recession but today I seriously benefited from poor store sales. Every year around this time, i.e. my birthday, I go on a small shopping spree.  This stems completely from several stores sending me “Birthday” coupons.  Plus, I was bored.  Every store I went to had some sort of sale. Either it was buy one get one 50% off or just everything was 50% off.  This included Macy’s who had designer jeans 40% – 65% off.  Spending only $200 I bought the following:

Pair of Black Dress Pants, 1 black sweater, 3 shirts, underwear, and 2 pairs of jeans.  Personally I thought I had hit the jackpot.  Now I am not saying to go spend all your money because let’s face it we all need to be saving right now, but if there’s something you’ve been wanting to buy now might be the time to look into purchasing that item.   Stores: Old Navy, AEO, Express, and Victoria’s Secret.  


The Weepies

The Weepies

In other news, this Thursday on Dirty Sexy Money, Jeremy Darling surprised his gf played by Lucy Liu with a private, in apartment concert from The Weepies.  I’ve loved this group for awhile now and am extremely happy they are getting some national attention.  Right now on abc.com you can download the song they played on the show for free.  Also, check out their music video for Hideaway which is a favorite of mine.  




One more tidbit of greatness….yes, I promised to lay off the Tegan and Sara posts but I couldn’t help myself.  The Quins are participating in a unique blog series for Spinner.com.  Each week one or the other will post an essay on one of the following topics;  Laugh, Rage, or Cry.  Teagn’s first post tells a story about her experience with crying and her well written, relatable, honest story made me want to cry.   Is there anything these women do not excel in?


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Tegan Quin

Tegan Quin

After this post, I promise to lay off the Tegan and Sara posts.  It helps that they are not performing etc. again until January and in Australia.  Last week Thursday through Sunday T&S performed each night at The Music Box in Los Angeles, CA to a sold out crowd. I, obviously being a “big” fan, went three of the four nights.  Every night improved on the last. 

Opening for the Quin’s, were Girl in a Coma and City and Colour.  Now I like punk music but really only if I know the words.  Sadly I had not heard Girl in a Coma before leaving me wondering what in the world they were saying.  The lead singer has an amazing sounding voice but each friend I took with me was left wondering about the lyrics.  Also, Girl in a Coma have an amazing energy and you simply cannot look away when they are on stage.       http://www.girlinacoma.com/girlinacoma/main.html

City and Colour is a man with an acoustic guitar and harmonica.  Dallas Green’s voice hypnotizes you.  To be honest, I thought at first that his melodic and semi-depressing lyrics were going to kill the mood before T&S.  By the final performance, I was looking forward to hearing him sing.  Actually on Sunday several fans were there just to hear him and left after his performance.  During Tegan and Sara’s encore, Dallas rearranged Tegan’s old song, The First into an amazing duet.  As Tegan says, I really hated this song and then I gave it to Dallas. He loved it and now it’s great. Yes, that is paraphrased.  http://www.cityandcolour.ca/


Sara Quin

Sara Quin


As for Tegan and Sara, they never let me down.  During this round of performances, Tegan was the chattier of the two but by Sunday Sara decided it was time to tease Tegs.  This tour also featured a small light show which I at first thought was going to be gimmicky, but the duo kept it simple, only adding to the intensity of certain songs like, The Con. Now I could go on and on about their set but I will stick to the fantastic “guest” stars.  Every night Hunter Bergman, AFI, played shaker on Back in Your Head.  Side Note:  He and Tegan have a side project which they are currently working on together.  Friday through Sunday evening Matt Sharp sang with Sara on Dancer in the Dark.  And then the legendary, Weezer member, played bass while Sara sang, Tired of Sex.  Incredible and posted below.  I loved seeing Ted Gowan, behind Sara, rock out on the guitar, and seeing Sara go a bit nuts on the mic.  Sharp also played tambourine on Back in Your Head.  Overall, there was fantastic singing, great on stage banter, and the crowd overall did not annoy.  Plus each night I took friends with me who only knew Tegan and Sara’s old songs or had never heard a single note of their music.  T&S now have 3 highly enthusiastic new fans!  One cannot help but love the Quins.


Matt Sharp and Hunter Bergman performing "Back in Your Head"

Matt Sharp and Hunter Bergman performing "Back in Your Head"


“Tired of Sex”  -Beginning of the song was cut off.  Sorry!

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Over the past weekend Tegan and Sara played four sold out shows in Los Angeles at The Music Box.  In the lobby at each performance, the Support Voting No on Prop 8 campaigners set up a table and recruited volunteers. During their performances, Tegan and Sara each took turns asking Californians to please Vote No on Prop 8.  I’ve included two videos of their speeches.  The first is from Friday nights’ show and features Tegan’s opinion.  The second clip begins with Tegan again (I accidentally missed Sara’s beginning) but Sara finishes their statement.  As Canadians, they cannot vote (duh!) but adamantly support the Voting No movement.  

The focus on my camera went out so the clarity of the clips is not as good as I’d like it to be.  The second clips also contains some language not suitable for younger viewers.

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Per our definition of this site, I know this post does not entirely apply but after watching countless ads supporting Proposition 8 I had to write something.  I, personally, am voting “NO”on Prop 8 but I am not imposing my views on you.  All I ask is please research the facts of the proposition and consider all sides of the issue.

Even if you do not believe in gay marriage or marriage consider your friends, co-workers, neighbors etc.  Many of these people could be gay and do they not deserve the right to be married?  Consider if it were your child.  Do you not want the people you love/care about to be able to be with the person they love?  Please think beyond yourself and your ideas of what constitutes who should be able to marry, and remember we simple cannot help with whom we fall in love.

Get the facts:


My views do not necessarily reflect Jessi’s views on this issue.  I speak only for myself.

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A few years back while visiting home during the holidays I became extremely bored.  And being that home is rural Southern Illinois, we were snowed in for weeks hence the boredom.  Good times.  Having exhausted my personal library my dad suggested his favorite author; John Jakes.  Beginning with North and South, I read his entire collection or 6 books before heading back to college.  

John Jakes’ first book, The Bastard was published in 1973 since then he’s written 12 other novels.  There are two trilogies, North and South and The Kent Family Chronicles.  Each follows a family through history.  Jake’s talent lies in his impeccable research and ability to interweave fictional characters into historically accurate events.  North and South came to even larger fame after being produced into a TV Miniseries starring Patrick Swayze.  I highly recommend the two trilogies as well as On Secret Service.  



Excepert from www.johnjakes.com    :

Praised as “the godfather of the historical novel,” “the people’s author,” and “America’s history teacher,” Jakes mingles the lives of his fictional characters with those of historical personages, and involves them in the great events of U.S. and world.

His devotion to a unique blend of strong storytelling and historical accuracy has won him a worldwide audience. More than 55 million copies of his Kent Chronicles are currently in print, along with nearly 10 million copies of The North and South Trilogy. Six of his major novels have been filmed as television mini-series. The first North and South production (ABC, David L. Wolper Productions, 12 hours) stands at 7th position among the 10 highest rated miniseries of all time.



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Koop is right, I have left the west so that I can wear warmer clothes and get more colds. Truth be told, I enjoy the colder weather. It can be tough at times, but it makes me appreciate nicer weather better. I had slight depressions during the Los Angeles “winters”, it was always sunny, I didn’t need to drink hot chocolate or cuddle under my big down comforter….I hated that. So, I’ve made a decision that wll make me happier.

Now, I want to make sure you all know that Minneapolis, and the midwest in general DOES have culture. So, this website won’t be a one-sided Koop party. But for now, since I’m in Salt Lake City Utah I”ll talk about it here.

Not only Mormons live here. The mountains are amazing, the streets are clean and the people are nice. This morning, even though it started to snow, Scott, his sister, husband and kids and I, went for a small hike. Below is a picture of me and Scott with his Nephew, Will, at the base of our hike.

For more information about Utah and her natural beauty please visit http://www.utah.gov/

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Yesterday was a very sad day for me.  My co-blogger and good friend Jessi moved home to Minneapolis.  But this will not affect the blog.  Jessi will continue to post from MN and we will get some new Midwest flare to Against the Grain.  As I completely support her decision to leave I really hate it.  Here’s to my favorite traveling partner, Minnesotan, and co-worker!  Have a fun and save journey back to frozen tundra.  100 degrees in LA today.  50’s Minneapolis.  I’m just saying…..

Those were the days…


Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier










In other news, due to my recent unemployment I have rediscovered a long lost public/free institution in LA.  The Los Angeles Public Library.  Since everyone has a library in their respected city I highly suggest checking it out again.  The LA system is online now and has a great hold system so you can order your books and have them delivered to a specific branch.  Today I picked up 5 books at no cost to me and I get to keep them 2 weeks and can renew them online.  LA did shorten the check out time and raise the fees but it is still cheaper than buying the books.  If you’re on a budget like me, go!  Save money!


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This weekend while perusing the latest issue of Shape Magazine I came across a few items I thought you’d all enjoy.  

1.  A cup of yogurt a day may keep a stuffy nose at bay.  

According to a study in  Clinical and Experimental Allergy, they found that people allergic to ragweed and grass pollen who consumed a beverage containing probiotics (good bacteria found in yogurt), they experienced lower antibodies which triggered reactions.  FYI:  Yogurt also helps keep yeast infections at bay when taking large quantities of prescription antibiotics. 

2.  Keep your Purse/Bag off the Floor!

Floors and coutnertops are contaminated with germs that cause colds, stomach issues, and eye problems.  Instead put your bag on the bag of your chair, hold it on the bus, and put it on the hook in the restroom.  Also, germs can stay in the purse fabric for days so once a week wipe it down with a disinfectiong cloth.

3.  Battling Breast Cancer one Joke at a Time

Camilla Davidson, learned after her own diagnosis that she wanted to show encouragement and support using the lighter side of life.  Davidson created Milla Correspondence, a line of greeting cards acknowledging the tough truths of cancer but with humor.  i.e. “I know you won’t need a bra after your mastectoy..so here’s to fabulous panites.”  The cards run $4.00 each and can be ordered at www.millacorrespondance.blogspot.com  Proceeds from each order go to different cancer organizations.  

4.  Beauty Sample Sale!!!!

December 10th in Chicago and November, 11th in NYC.  www.beautysamplesale.com  Tickets are $10 and  you must be 21 to attend because there are complimentary Midori cocktails.  More info below:

“A beauty bonanza bringing together the best names in beauty, all under one roof.

Guests will sample complimentary beauty services courtesy of the world’s prettiest brands, from hair care to skin care from cosmetics to cosmeceuticals.

The sampling doesn’t stop there, save money with sample sale prices on beauty’s top collections, products and more.

Save face as the most respected beauty experts share tricks of the trade, trends and celebrity secrets.

Sample on the go with overflowing goodie bags filled with full and sample size products.

Oh, and did we mention more than generous “samplings” of cocktails, sweet treats and more?”


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