Thursday, May 19, 2016

Natural beauty products and soy candles from Brooklyn Flavors

What does Brooklyn smell like? Well, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t a fragrant candle or body butter. But Brooklyn Flavors (820 Washington Avenue, 718-854-7486), a Brooklyn-based natural skin care shop, wants to change that perception.


Brooklyn Flavors owner, Sophia Sylvester/Yelp
Created by Brooklyn native Sophia Sylvester, Brooklyn Flavors offers a signature scent inspired by some of the borough’s most distinct streets and neighborhoods (wisely, there's no Gowanus Canal flavor). For example, Bed-Stuy’s flavor is an earthy blend of sandalwood, jasmine, cedar wood and patchouli; Canarsie Cookie smells like freshly baked sugar cookies with butter cream frosting and vanilla extract; and the Caribbean-inspired Church Avenue combines juicy mango, papaya, jasmine peach and coconut. 

Sylvester’s mission is to make quality handmade products using natural ingredients and to promote a healthy approach to candles and beauty and bath products (body souffle, dead sea salt scrub, bath bombs, and more). All products are also available online.

Everything She Wants: What inspired you to start Brooklyn Flavors?

Sophia Sylvester: In 2003, I wanted to work from home to spend more time with my children. So I built a website and started selling candles with a well-known manufacturer. They made beautiful candles, but my customers complained about the scent not being strong enough. So in 2004, I decided to make my own candles—natural, sweet smelling and strong. It worked and my customers loved them. In 2006, I went a step further and made natural skin care products infused with Shea butter, olive oil, almond oil and other essential oils that soothe, moisturize and nourish the skin.

ESW: What makes your skin care products different than others on the market?

Sophia: Each skin care company's products are different from the next. We are all inspired by different needs and experiences. My products are different because they were created out of a need to heal my children's dry skin issues. So I use specific oils and butters for those reasons. We are also different because we decided to have a little fun and pay homage to Brooklyn, the city I fell in love with as a little girl.

ESW: You also sell candles. What makes your candles unique?

Sophia: Our candles are 100% soy wax candles. We wanted to help the environment by not making candles using paraffin wax, which leaves soot all over your walls and curtains. Research has shown that paraffin wax releases cancer-causing agents into the air when burned.

ESW: What advice do you have for other women entrepreneurs?

Sophia: 1) Do a lot of research in the type of business you would like to open. 2) If you have a family, learn to juggle your family and your business. It won't be easy. 3) Get everyone involved in helping; you will need all the support you can get. And lastly, don't get discouraged and give up!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mother's Day Beauty Gifts Under $50 from SheaMoisture and More

Each year you probably ponder, "What should I get Mom for Mother's Day?" But even if your Ma already has closets and dressers full of everything, you still have to show her how much you care and give her something she wants, needs or both.

To help you navigate all of the gift options out there and select the perfect gift for that special lady, here are a few beauty gift ideas under $50.







1. SheaMoisture Peace Rose Oil Complex, Community Commerce Collection (from $8.99, available at Target) is the newest offering from this cruelty and paraben-free hair, bath and beauty brand with ethically-sourced and natural ingredients. The collection features a unique blend of roses to nourish sensitive skin and dry hair, and was handpicked for Target's 2016 "Made to Matter" program as one of the 20 leading natural, organic and sustainable brands in the industry.

We especially love the Peace Rose Oil Haircare Collection, which includes sulfate-free Nourish & Silken Shampoo, Conditioner, Styling Gel-Cream and a non-aerosol Holding Mist; and the Peace Rose Oil Bath & Body Collection's Sensitive Skin Creme Body Wash and Body Lotion.

2. The stylishly repackaged Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Styler ($49.99, available at Target) is a two in one tool that will save Mom time and money. Thanks to smooth, frizz-free results, she'll look like she just stepped out of the salon with a professional blowout.

3. If you're a Gen X baby, you remember Caboodles (from $19.97, available at Target) from the late '80s as a fun and fashionable way to organize your makeup and beauty supplies. Well, Caboodles is all grown up with chic, versatile designs that easily double as a spring tote or gym bag. Mom will cherish the Chevron print Envy IT doctor's bag (above photo), the perfect pairing of a purse and makeup organizer.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Spa Week is Back April 11-17, Get $50 Spa Treatments

Just in time for spring, Spa Week is back, April 11-17. So why not treat yourself to a luxe spa treatment for only $50.

Get your Spa Week on, lady./Getty Images
While it takes an extra effort to get me to travel above 34th Street, a complimentary facial was more than enough incentive to visit Ettia Holistic Day Spa (239 W 72nd Street #2), one of the New York City spas participating in Spa Week.

The cozy Upper West Side spa is tiny, with two treatment rooms for facials and two for massages. But as I soon discovered, it's the little spa that could.

Named after its former owner, Ettia is offering several $50 treatments for Spa Week, including a Holistic Facia and Dead Sea Salt Jewel Body Scrub. But I opted for the Fruit Enzyme Peel (normally $90; choice of coconut/papaya; raspberry/peach; lemon zest; pomegranate; or blueberry enzyme), which boosts and brightens the skin.

My aesthetician was Ala, a friendly and skilled skincare specialist. The treatment comes with a mini facial complete with extractions, a face and neck massage, a face masque and a heated moisturizing hand treatment. What a bargain, right? Ala's hands were soothing and the 45-minute session left my skin youthful and glowing.

To book this treatment or a $50 treatment at any participating Spa Week spa, click here.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Can't Sleep at Night? 5 Sleep Tips for Sleep Awareness Week

Poor sleep can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. So if you haven't been getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep lately, Sleep Awareness Week (March 6 - March 13) is the time to correct that. 

There could be several reasons why you're not sleeping soundly at night: Hormonal imbalance, drinking alcohol or eating a big meal before you go to bed, and the blue light from your smartphone, TV and computer screen are all factors that can disrupt your sleep. 

And sleeplessness can certainly become more problematic when Daylight Saving Time kicks in on March 13. As we spring forward, here are five natural tips that will help to restore your healthy sleep routine:

1. Take a hot bath or shower. "A great way to help your body start its melatonin production is to take a bath or shower," says sleep expert James Wilson. "Melatonin is a hormone made naturally by our bodies which helps create the urge to fall asleep and is key in regulating your body's internal clock. The fall in body temperature we experience when we get out of the bath or shower is a signal to the body to start producing melatonin."

2. Get enough magnesium. Studies show that when the body’s magnesium levels are too low, it makes it harder to stay asleep. "Magnesium helps the body relax by ensuring the GABA receptors in our brain and nervous system are working as efficiently as possible," adds Wilson. "GABA receptors help the brain switch off and without it our brains would continue to race. It’s also essential for allowing your muscles to relax, particularly after stress or exercise."

Spinach, lentils and kidney beans also contain high amounts of magnesium. The Vitamin Shoppe nutritionist Brian Tanzer recommends trying a morning green smoothie using 1 cup of spinach or kale along with some fruit and plant-based protein powder. 



Melatonin gummies from the Vitamin Shoppe.


3. Try an herbal supplement or tea. There are several natural sleep supplements on the market. Natrol and the Vitamin Shoppe make helpful melatonin supplements; Gaia's Adrenal Health Nightly Restore supplement has Ashwagandha root extract; and Pukka makes a nice night time tea made with organic oat flower, lavender and lime flower.

4. Nuts and seeds. Walnuts and sunflower seeds are an excellent source of Vitamin B6, which is required for the normal production of neurotransmitters as well as melatonin. Tanzer suggests you  mix 1.5 oz of nuts and seeds into a smoothie, a cup of unflavored Greek yogurt, or enjoy them right out of the package. 

5. Put a cherry on top. Cherries provide naturally-occurring melatonin, which is the regulator of the sleep/wake cycle. Eat cherries right out of the bowl, says Tanzer, or add 1 cup tart cherry juice to 2 cups sparkling water for a nice after dinner spritzer. 


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Get Heart Screenings at Burlington on National Wear Red Day

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women? To help raise awareness and combat heart disease, Burlington Stores across the country have teamed up with WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, for their fifth annual American Heart Month campaign.  

Wendy Williams at a Burlington in New York City. Take her #HealthyHeartSelfie Challenge.

On February 5th, National Wear Red Day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 47 Burlington store locations will host free women's heart health screenings in partnership with WomenHeart. Customers will have the opportunity to get their blood pressure, pulse and BMI checked by a certified health professional, talk with WomenHeart Champions, and receive bi-lingual (English/Spanish) women's heart health information and tips for living heart healthy. 

To find a screening near you, visit www.BurlingtonStores.com/HeartHealth. If you're in New York City, the Burlington store in Union Square (4 Union Square South) is the place to be.

Talk show diva and heart health advocate, Wendy Williams, is the spokesperson for WomenHeart and Burlington's #HealthyHeartSelfie Challenge. As extra incentive to stay heart healthy, each day throughout February, Burlington shoppers are encouraged to check the hashtag, #HealthyHeartSelfie, for fun and easy heart health tips, and to snap a photo showing what heart health means to you

For every photo posted with #HealthyHeartSelfie, Burlington will donate $1, up to $25,000, to benefit WomenHeart.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Year, New You: Health and Beauty Detox Products for 2016

Doesn't Oprah's commercial for Weight Watchers make you want to sign up, like now, even if you don't need to lose weight?  Yaaaas, Oprah, let's make 2016 the year of our best body ever! We even got all teary-eyed.  That's the power of O.




We've tried Weight Watchers before and it really works.  But before we jump back on the point counting bandwagon to drop the ten pounds we picked up over the holidays, we want to detox from the inside out.  And Everything She Wants recently discovered several health and beauty products that will help create a new you in this new year:




Kick off the new year with Teami 30 Day Detox Pack ($49.99). The detox comes with a 30 day supply of Skinny loose-leaf tea and 15 colon cleanse tea bags.  When followed properly, Teami promises to boost your metabolism, burn stored fat, reduce bloating improve your complexion, and more. Take it from us, the colon cleanse tea bags are extremely effective.

Just like deodorant it's good to switch up your body wash from time to time.  And we love ArtNaturals Anti-Fungal Foot and Body Wash ($14.95). In addition to detoxing your pits, the tea tree-infushed wash helps to get rid of athlete's foot and nail fungus.




Get your essential vitamins on the go with Instavit vitamin sprays ($14.99).  They come in several varieties, including Vitamin D, Immune Strength and Vitamin B-12. No pills. No water. No hassle.

Use Lather Sea Kelp & Ginseng All-Over Mask ($18) all over your body, face and even in your hair. The ginseng and sea kelp extracts draw out impurities while restoring lost moisture, and sea algae oil is added for its natural anti-aging and antioxidant properties.  Aloe vera is another active ingredient that will soothe sunburned skin.

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask ($56) will save you a lot of money on costly spa facials.  This gel to foam brightening mask contains vitamins C and E, and grape seed extract to revitalize dull skin and give it a radiant, youthful glow. We used the mask before we went to the gym and it really opened our pores. Our skin felt super fresh after our Zumba workout.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sarah Jones Debuts New Show, Sell/Buy/Date in NYC January 6-16

If you’ve never seen award-winning playwright and performer Sarah Jones do her thing, you have to check out her new one woman show, Sell/Buy/Date, a limited-run engagement January 6 – 16, 2016, at New York Live Arts. 

Playwright and performer Sarah Jones.
In the tradition of funny ladies Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin, Sarah is perhaps best known for her multi-character, one-person shows Surface Transit (1998) and Bridge & Tunnel (2004). The New York Times crowned her “a master of the genre,” and the latter critically acclaimed Broadway hit was originally produced Off-Broadway by Oscar-winner Meryl Streep and The Culture Project.

The Baltimore native and longtime New York City dweller is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and raises awareness to social, racial and economic issues in the U.S and globally. 

Everything She Wants chatted with the talented writer and performer via email about Sell/Buy/Date, and more.

Everything She Wants: How does Sell/Buy/Date differ from your other shows?

Sarah JonesSell/Buy/Date differs from both Surface Transit, and Bridge & Tunnel, the one woman show I did on Broadway, in various respects.  They are all multi-character pieces featuring characters of different backgrounds, but in the case of SBD, my goal was to find the humor and truth and beauty in some of the most challenging topics of our time.

ESW: Where do you get the inspiration for your characters?

SJ: All of my characters are composites of real people I've met, interviewed, read about, or seen in other media. My friends and family aren't exempt either, though I try not to appropriate parts of anyone's life without permission--[it] makes for quite the awkward family gathering.

ESW: In your work you often portray characters with diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.  Do you think art/theater can help bring Americans together during a time when we seem more racially polarized than ever?

SJ: I am convinced that art of every kind, when it moves people, is the most effective means we have for transformation as a society.