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Jenny McCarthy Reveals How She Battles PMS, Extra Pounds and Unwanted Hair

Written on March 11, 2013 at 3:16 pm , by

Spitfire hottie Jenny McCarthy wears a bunch of hats: mom, author, model, comedian, cover girl, environmental and autism activist and most recently, spokesperson for Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X ($449, triabeauty.com). Check out page 48 in our March issue for more info about the handheld device, which is the first FDA-cleared at-home laser to use the same diode laser derms do. But despite her many roles, the blonde bombshell is as candid as celebrities come. Immediately following her appearance on the Rachel Ray show, McCarthy and I chatted in the green room about how after 20 years in Hollywood, she looks better than ever. When the first words out of McCarthy’s mouth were, “Sorry, I’m PMS-ing,” I knew it would be a good interview.

How do you cope with PMS?
“Bikram Yoga! It makes me feel better, it helps me stay in shape and it’s an all natural way to keep my face firm. You know how when you get a facial and they steam your skin for 90 minutes? That’s how Bikram leaves my skin—it tightens it.” [Later, McCarthy proudly acknowledges that she’s been getting Botox injections for the past eight years.]

Are you wearing Spanx right now?
“No—Spanx would just push everything up. This dress is tight. My diet’s horrific right now—I’m up 14 pounds since moving to Chicago. I go up and down, so when I’m up, I pick a date [to lose the weight by] and I have ‘no fat Tuesdays.’ I talk about it on my blog splash.suntimes.com. I find losing weight in a group is better. I tell women to text a ‘chubby buddy’ what they eat so they’re held accountable. I just texted my friend that I had three potatoes.”

What’s your go-to healthy snack?
“Watermelon. It’s my little secret. It helps me with not retaining water and it balances my blood sugar levels.”

If you could splurge on any food, what would it be?
“Pizza, cheeseburgers, milkshakes and onion rings, all of which I’m allergic to.” [McCarthy is allergic to gluten and dairy.]

Is it harder to look hot now than it was during your Singled Out days?
“Back then, I played against it. I didn’t think about it. Now, being 40, I want to present myself in the best way.”

How do you stay in shape?
“I do Bikram a few times a week and light weights three times a week.”

What’s behind your partnership with Tria?
“I like doing stuff in the privacy of my own home. And I like that there are different levels [on the device] so you can use what’s comfortable. They’ve found a way to remove hair as good as they do in the doctor’s office in your own home. While I’m single and doing photo-shoots, it’s great for maintaining [a hair-free look]. 20 years ago, I did laser hair removal, but I stopped because I couldn’t stand the embarrassment, then I waxed and shaved. You don’t want to look like Fred Flintstone’s beard down there!”

What are some of your other favorite beauty products?
“I put these eye masks on when I fly. I stopped getting acrylic nails because I don’t have time so now I use Kiss press on nails —they’re convenient and inexpensive. When I do TV, I always wear fake lashes. I don’t wear perfume because I’m sensitive to it. I get spray tans once a week at Brown Buns in L.A. [McCarthy’s sister’s company]. I always feel slimmer; it gives the illusion I’m leaner and it hides stretch marks.”

How has your beauty routine changed since becoming a mom?
“I do everything that I can at home—facials, hair removal, spray tanning, Insanity DVDs, weights, treadmill.”

What’s your favorite music to workout to?
“I’m a Pandora Pink Radio kind of girl.”

Yogi Elena Brower Launches New Givescent Fragrance That, You Guessed It, Gives Back

Written on February 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm , by

Whether you’ve been to one yoga class or one hundred, the importance of breathing is always a vital component—inhaling and exhaling drives the practice and helps you move from posture to posture. Recently, we grabbed our mats and headed to practice with Elena Brower, founder of Virayoga in Manhattan. Yes, we focused on breathing in the good and exhaling the bad, but we couldn’t stop ourselves from sniffing in Givescent, Brower’s recently-launched fragrance, over and over again.
With notes of vanilla, sage, grapefruit and bergamot, this scent “smells like Italy,” says Brower, who called the country home for two years. Sicily’s signature smells—think citrus lemon trees, rich olive oil and the city’s vanilla and butter pastries—served as her inspiration. “It’s a deliciously feminine scent; it has a grounding musk to it that balances the sweetness and makes it completely irresistible.”

So irresistible, in fact, that people would stop both Brower and Alexandra Lyon Perelman, her partner in the creation of this new fragrance, on the city streets to ask about this unique perfume.  So the two decided to sell the scent, under one condition: “Inherent in our business model was a giving component. That was the only way starting a business made sense to us—it had to have giving as part of the plan.”

Since both worked with Women for Women International—a nonprofit that provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from poverty to stability and self-sufficiency—choosing a charity was as simple as slipping into downward-facing dog. In fact, Givescent sales sponsor two sisters and five percent of its proceeds will go to this organization.

Yogis and non-yogis alike have another fragrance to look forward to: Givescent Orange plans to launch in June, perfect for lighter, carefree days.  “[It] maintains the essence of our signature scent, but is supercharged with sun-ripened citrus,” says Brower. Plus, a portion of its proceeds will benefit Every Mother Counts, which aims to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all moms-to-be.

—Carrie Stevens, editorial intern

15 Minutes With Celeb Chef + Clairol Natural Instincts Ambassador Giada De Laurentiis

Written on June 25, 2012 at 11:13 am , by

Our two favorite subjects— beauty and food!— collided when we sat down with celebrity chef and cookbook writer Giada De Laurentiis at a Manhattan hotel last week. Here’s what the new spokeswoman for Clairol Natural Instincts (and yes, she’s just as stunning, down-to-earth and sweet in person as she is on TV! Her shade? #12 Toasted Almond) had to say about…

Working with Clairol “Being a chef and a cook, a long time ago I was told that beauty deals don’t really come for people like myself. I always try to bring glamour and beauty and sensuality into the kitchen and into Italian food, so I thought it wouldn’t be that crazy of an idea, but it’s very competitive. I was so honored when they actually to a leap of faith and picked me. We have the same philosophy: I believe in a balanced lifestyle, and Natural Instincts makes you feel good about your hair. It makes it shiny, silky and smooth. And I’m a working mom, so I don’t have three hours to spend in a salon: This masks and blends in grays and brings out the golden hues in 10 to 15 minutes, which is what every woman wants.
The best thing about boxed color “I had never used their boxed color before, and I fell madly in love with the included conditioner. That conditioner rocks. I use it once a week on the last two to three inches of my hair, where it gets dry because of all the blow-drying. It gives that extra bounce, as if I just got a trim.”
Her biggest hair color mishap  “I lived in Paris when I was younger at cooking school and I was inspired by the Parisian women who have jet black hair and white, white skin. So, I decided to dye my hair jet black—a big, fat mistake. And it took me a long time to get that color out.”
The product that never leaves her bagCoverGirl LashBlast Mascara. I carry a little mascara, some sunscreen with a tint, a little bit of blush and just balm. I use that Rosebud Salve in Strawberry because my daughter is four and she’ll kiss my lips even more because she loves that flavor and it just smells good. That and I can just go with my regular life—to go to school, go to the grocery store, run errands, whatever.
The secret to her amazing hair “I get a blowout once a week and make it last the full week. I have curly, dry hair, and if I washed it more than that, it would break. And my blow-dry looks better as it sits— the second, third, fourth day. The dirtier it gets, the better! In the morning, I don’t brush my hair: I just flip it over, back up and go. I don’t pull out a curling iron or any of that—I don’t have the time nor the patience.
And skin (hint: It’s in your pantry) “I don’t go to bed with makeup on, and I exfoliate every single night with a mix of olive oil and baking soda. The olive oil gives moisture and baking soda takes out any other stuff on my skin. I don’t leave it on—I just scrub and rinse. It gives my face this wonderful glow, and I don’t have to wear as much makeup during the day.”
Five things always in her kitchen “Olive oil, different shapes of pasta made from different flours like brown rice, lentil, etc., jarred tomato sauce (disclosure: I sell my own pastas and tomato sauces at Target), frozen peas, jarred artichokes and frozen shrimp. You can whip up a meal with that.”
Advice for novice cooks “You don’t need to cook, you can just assemble. Let’s say you want to bring something to someone’s house: You can make a beautiful caprese salad that’s colorful, especially now in summertime. Take lots of different colored tomatoes, heirloom, vine-ripened, whatever, then slice with fresh mozzarella and layer with basil on a platter. Top it with a little extra virgin olive oil and some smoked salt, which enhances all of the flavors and tingles your tastebuds. And you’re done—you haven’t “cooked” a thing. Number two: Have a great knife. A sharp, really nice knife that feels good in your hand will help build your confidence in the kitchen.”
One food she’d never give up “Chocolate. When I was shooting Everyday Italian, I would keep paper cups of Ghirardelli chocolate chips in the freezer for a little chocolate fix in the afternoon. When they’re cold, they take longer to melt in your mouth, so a little bit goes a longer way. Right now, I love my iced Americanos with agave—that’s my treat.
Her hubby’s favorite dish “Penne with spicy sausage, mushrooms and peas. It’s a sauce-less pasta: I sauté them all together with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. That’s it, my friends, that’s it! It can be very, very easy. Another one of my favorites is lemon spaghetti, which is just lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper, tossed with spaghetti. That’s a stapleyou can add any protein to it.”
How she stays so slim “I eat a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything. I taste a lot, but I don’t really eat full plates of food, ever. I do yoga four days a week, usually at 5:30AM before work. And I paddle board with my husband. It’s great core exercise and very Zen because you get away from land for a bit, which is quiet and peaceful.”
Staying fresh-faced on the go “When I’m shooting, it gets hot. So I use Evian water mist on my face constantly to rehydrate, rather than sticking on more and more powder. My skin just soaks it up. And I always wear sunscreen—day or night, rain or shine. When I paddle surf, I wear a full wetsuit and a hat. I look like the biggest loser on the planet, but I don’t care. My husband’s always like, ‘I can’t see you! Where are you? Where’s your face?’”
Her guilty pleasure “Lately it’s been croutons. I love making them. I’m talking good ones with cheese and lots of olive oil. Earlier this year, I’d carry little baggies of croutons to snack on when I got sick of almonds!”
She doesn’t mind splurging on “Travel—we just went to Rome. But, I’m not going to lie, I love shoes and jewelry. But a splurge doesn’t necessarily have to have an expensive price tag. It’s just taking a little extra time and doing something that makes you feel good about yourself.”

How Actress Thandie Newton Gets Glowing Skin, Stays Fit & Says No To Snacks

Written on February 23, 2012 at 11:28 am , by

It’s no wonder that actress and Good Deeds star Thandie Newton is the new face of the Olay Total Effects skincare line: When we sat down with her yesterday morning, the first thing that struck us was the incandescence of her flawless skin— even at 9AM! We asked the sweet, down-to-earth star to share the secrets to that enviable glow, as well as her must-have foods and workouts for on-the-go.

FITNESS: What’s the one beauty product that never leaves your bag?
Thandie Newton: When I was a little girl, my mother, who’s from Zimbabwe but has lived in England for a long time, had to deal with the change from the warm climate to the very cold coast of England, so would never wear makeup. We were working-class and didn’t have money for frivolous stuff, so the only thing she used to used was Oil of Olay, as it was called then. I just remember the little pink bottle up on the shelf of the bathroom. You watch your mom as you grow older, and that really became the symbol of the most glamorous woman. So I’ve used Olay for a long time and I was still using the original one when they got in touch with me. I think I mentioned it in an article or something, and then when they approached me I was incredibly personally touched by it because it was really authentic. I don’t carry it in my bag all the time partly because it’s such an affordable product, so no matter where I travel, I can just go to a pharmacy and it’s there. I do always carry a great lip balm, though: My favorite is from Neal’s Yard Remedies— it’s practically edible!

FITNESS: You’re so busy traveling for work. Is there a routine you try to keep in terms of your makeup, skincare and your hair? Or does it change depending on where you are?
Thandie: I try not to wear makeup if I don’t need to. Just undereye concealer, a little bit of rouge and lip balm. I’ll use those moisturizers with a little color in them, like Olay Total Effects Tone-Correcting UV Moisturizer SPF 15, then I’ll add a few drops of turmeric powder, which is naturally anti-inflammatory and gives a slight sun-kissed look. I have really curly hair so I need a good moisturizer for it. I like John Masters Organics, because it has no harmful chemicals.

FITNESS: You’re always getting your picture taken and jetting from place to place. What are your secrets for looking great on the go?
Thandie: I always make sure I have at least a tinted moisturizer on. There are really great pot rouges by Julie Hewett that come in amazing colors, which I can literally dab on with my eyes closed. Or I’ll pinch my cheeks: l love those old-fashioned little tricks. Apart from that, I just try to remember to smile!

FITNESS: How do to stay active and in shape no matter where you are?
Thandie: Jivamukti Yoga is my absolute go-to temple of wellness. Not only is it a wonderful, energetic, active workout, but it’s also incredibly soothing and relaxing.  I’ve tried a lot of different yoga practices and that one was a bit of a life-changer for me.

FITNESS: What types of foods and snacks do you gravitate toward to stay healthy?
Thandie: I just try to eat well. Anything that makes you feel bad is actually aging for your body. I also love juicing. Because I have a very busy schedule, I’ll have a juice with ginger and lemon in the morning and a green juice in the afternoon. Within 20 minutes you feel the difference; it has a direct impact on your system. I’m not a snacker— I just don’t graze. I think three meals a day is plenty, and then I have the juices in between.

FITNESS: In terms of beauty indulgences, is there anything you splurge on?
Thandie: I think a good massage is really beneficial. I really like a hot stone massage, but as with anything it has to be in combination with other things, like if I’ve done a yoga class and I want to feel soothed afterward. I feel like every little thing that I do, whether it’s taking care of my skin or eating well, is a gift to myself.

FITNESS: What’s the best tip you’ve picked up from a makeup artist, skincare expert or a hairstylist? 
Thandie: I was complaining about my hair being really dry and the ends were ratty because I’ve been relaxing it since I was a teenager, when a friend suggested I grow the relaxer out. It occurred to me that these are incredibly harmful chemicals, so I grew my hair out, and I’m so thrilled that I have. It’s healthier and more lustrous than it’s ever been.

Yoga in a Bottle

Written on August 23, 2010 at 3:58 pm , by

Last week, I experienced my first ever yoga class at Yogamaya studios in New York City. As my breathing settled and I lunged into warrior pose, I was amazed by how relaxed I felt. I wished there was a way to carry the calming studio home with me after the session. Rather than lug my mat all over town, I dug through the beauty closet for a quick-fix product to throw into my purse. According to Dr. Alan Hirsch, a neurologist and psychiatrist at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, a relaxing scent is the quickest way to unwind.

“The part of the brain that detects smell — the olfactory lobe — is connected to the emotional brain,” Hirsch says. “It’s totally different than any other sensory experience.”

Now, when I start to feel stressed, I reach for Origins Peace of Mind On-the-Spot Relief ($10). This miniature miracle eases your senses while relieving tension, pressure and tightness. Just massage a small amount on your neck, earlobes and temples, and say “Om.”

–Catherine O’Neill, beauty intern