Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Worthwhile Cause-A Caring Hand

Recently, I was introduced to a wonderful organization called, A Caring Hand, the Billy Esposito Foundation. The organization was launched as a direct result of the death of Billy Esposito on September 11, 2001. His daughter Susan Esposito founded the organization as a tribute to her father to honor his passion for education and fondness for children. The mission of ACH is to meet bereaved children and families wherever they are in their grief and fulfill their needs in a caring and knowledgeable environment through services to help them with their emotional journey and financial assistance to aid their future education.

A Caring Hand, The Billy Esposito Foundation (ACH) will hold its seventh annual fundraising gala, Handing Our Children A Brighter Future, on Thursday, April 30, 2009 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM at the Altman Building in Manhattan.

I had the chance to speak to a representative from A Caring Hand prior to its event.

1. Last year’s event honored Ethan Zohn, winner of Survivor Africa. Who is being honored this year? Why? How do you choose your honorees?
This year we are honoring two individuals that are extremely committed to their communities, namely Henry Buhl and Mary M. McCambridge. Henry is the founder of Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless in 1992 and his organization has helped thousands of homeless people throughout New York City find employment. Mary M. McCambridge, AskMaryMac, is a grief and bereavement specialist, award-winning author, speaker, coach, consultant, radio talk show host, and the Founder and President of the Foundation for Grieving Children, Inc. She is the author of five works in her field, including the highly acclaimed Understanding Your Grieving Heart After a Loved One’s Death, dedicated to the surviving family members and first responders of the September 11th attacks, and the award-winning National Directory of Bereavement Support Groups and Services. Her website and blog helps people from around the world better understand their grieving process following a loved one’s death.

2. How does A Caring Hand help kids with their grief? What types of programs do you offer the kids?
Following a death there is often sadness, confusion, isolation, guilt, or even shame. For some young people, grief left unaddressed can lead to hopelessness, acting out, and poor school performance. No child or family should feel they are alone in their grief when facing the challenge of life without a cherished loved .

A Caring Hand’s process to approach to this problem is as follows:
  • A Caring Hand, The Billy Esposito Bereavement Center helps children, teens, caregivers, teachers and professionals learn healthy ways of dealing with grief.
  • Services focus on expression, coping, remembering and community building – the essential components of grief work – using child-friendly activities including art, games and writing.
  • We also help caregivers understand their own feelings, the grief journey of their child and how to feel confident parenting in the aftermath of a death.
  • We help children manage the pain of their past and find joy to take them into the future.
  • ACH also awards educational scholarships to bereaved children who may have otherwise lost the opportunity to pay tuition with the passing of a parent.
We are here to help family members learn emotionally healthy ways to live after the pain of someone’s death. The main program components of the Bereavement Center include:

  • Group support: Our 10 week peer group support program for children and teens and their caregivers runs in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. The program is based on common bereavement tasks and is co-facilitated by trained volunteers and mental health professionals.
  • Individual evaluation and help: We evaluate bereaved individuals to assess how best to meet their needs. services and referrals are tailored to meet the specific needs of family members.
  • Outreach: We do outreach to individuals, schools, and organizations to provide information about services and recruit clients and group leaders.
  • Consultation: We are available for consultation to educate professionals, schools, businesses, and service providers about grief and bereavement.
  • Training: Volunteer training and supervision for group facilitators is provided.
  • Supervision: Professional supervision and training of mental health trainees can be arranged.
Group Program
Children, teens, and their caregivers are invited to attend one of our group sessions. Bereaved children often struggle with the pain of their grief and the pain of feeling different and alone. A centerpiece of the services is our 10 week peer group program for children, teens, and caregivers. At the Bereavement Center members of the family meet with others who are bereaved; with those who share a similar experience, who can validate their feelings, and ease their sense of isolation. The process of mutual aid, which occurs regularly in group settings, is educational and supportive and necessary to the recovery process.

  • 6:15 – 6:45 PM: Family members join together for a light dinner and conversation . After dinner, participants break into individual groups.
  • 6:45 - 8 PM Children and teens divide into groups according to age and caregivers meet in their own group. All groups are led by trained facilitators.
  • All participants are expected to make a full 8 -week commitment in order to develop trust in each other and gain a sense of security. Family members are welcome to attend more than once or join a monthly drop in group.
3. What ages do you work with?

4. What is the most important message you want to get across to our readers regarding A Caring Hand?
ACH proudly opened and operates the only comprehensive, free-standing bereavement center in New York City . Children with unresolved childhood grief following the death of a loved one are five times more likely to commit suicide, nine times more likely to drop out of high school and twenty times more likely to have behavioral disorders. For some young people, grief cast aside and ignored can lead to life long problems with school, work and relationships. 50% of the youth under age 21 were found to experience the sudden unexpected death of a close relative or friend which represents hundreds of thousands of youth in New York City . This youth is the future of our city and programs like this allow them to be able to receive the counseling they need to properly grieve the loss of a loved one. Here are some additional statistics:

  • After someone dies, children as well as adults can feel sad, confused, isolated, guilty or even ashamed.
  • Children with unresolved childhood grief following the death of a loved one are five times more likely to commit suicide, nine times more likely to drop out of high school and 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders.
  • Following the violent death of a parent or loved one, children are three times more likely to have anxiety disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • Even two years after the death of a parent, 20% of school-aged bereaved children can have psychological difficulties needing supportive interventions.
  • For some young people, grief cast aside and ignored can lead to life long problems with school, work and relationships.
For further information on A Caring Hand or to purchase tickets to the 2009 Gala, please visit their website at

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hunger strike of the week: Ingrid Millet

Spa Week is a wonderful event and it just ended here in New York City!! The best part about Spa Week is the Spa Week Media Party, which they host a week before the event. I always have a fantastic time and the vendors that showcase are great! Probably the best part about the event is the huge swag bag they give at the end filled with products!!

This past Spa Week Party held in April had one of the worst vendors I've ever met in my life, Ingrid Millet, a luxury skincare line from France. Every vendor at the event took time to talk with me about their product, gave me press kit, samples if they had any, etc.., but not Ingrid Millet. They couldn't be bothered taking five minutes to talk to Shari and I about their brand. They ignored us and would not give us their little giftbag. Why? Most likely because we're bloggers and they felt we were not important enough.

Well, my response is that they better get a handle on the new media outlets!! Print newspapers and magazines are going under faster than the Titanic. Websites and blogs are the media of the future. Companies have to start realizing that people are spending more time on the web reading their news and getting information.!!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Slice for Sore Eyes - eyeSlices®

Stuff happens, and then you cry. I cried tonight. Luckily for me, I had eyeSlices®, innovative eye treatment pads that combine the natural essence of nature with bio-innovation to bring about an all-in-one solution to all common eye concerns. These little slices of heaven are a global first in cryogel polymer technology, dermal delivery eye masks (high-tech cucumber slices, if you will) that reduce the appearance of red eyes, dark circles under eyes, tired eyes, wrinkles and puffy eyes within 5 minutes of use. These professional spa and in-home anti-aging eye skin treatments lock in moisture and are unique in that they provide an instant cooling sensation without a fridge.

I wore my eyeSlices for 10 minutes and none would be the wiser that I had myself a nice little cry fest!

eyeSlices are also re-usable for about 4 more treatments! So hopefully, while having a good cry is not always a bad thing, I will use them again for a refresher after a few long nights of partying, not sobbing. They come in a sleek little carrying case that's also perfect for traveling. And when I'm done using my eyeSlices, I can just buy refills for the case.

There is a downside though - there is no lying down. eyeSlices are meant to be worn sitting in the upright position, not the most ideal position for relaxing and rejuvenating. Even then they slid down a bit. eyeSlices, however, still proved to be easy on the eye.

Walk a mile in these shoes - NewBalance for NineWest

What happens when a leader in
technology joins
forces with the fashion footwear brand of the moment? A colorful, cool collaboration is born-introducing NewBalance for NineWest! This new assortment takes the best of NewBalance with the classic 410 sneaker, and infuses hot colors and materials of the spring season-including t-shirt jersey and prep-school seersucker -while including sporty summer sandal styles that have built-in

So when your dogs are barking because of your 4 inch stilettos,
slip into a shoe from The New Balance for Nine West
Spring 2009 line, which offers the perfect mix of
fashion and function.

We especially like the Icon - Jersey 410,
made of a soft feminine jersey paired with vintage
running nylon in pink, blue and yellow, and
Icon - Seersucker, a preppy lace-up seersucker shoe complemented with metallic threading and soft nubuck.

Wear them to casual Friday at the office,
to brunch or on a shopping spree around the city.
Sneakers aren't just for athletics anymore!

View the collection at

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Go Green Expo coming to New York City

Go Green Expo, the largest environmentally-focused business and consumer show in New York’s history, is excited for its return to New York City for the second year in a row April 17-19, 2009 at the New York Hilton in Midtown Manhattan. The nation’s premiere eco-friendly business and consumer show promises to be the strongest show yet with big name exhibitors including Disney’s Earth movie, The Sundance Channel’s The GREEN, Food Network’s Good Food Garden, and Honda’s all-new advanced hybrid vehicle, The Honda Insight.

The event will showcase a variety of special interest consumer and business areas including: Home Building and Energy Conservation; Health, Beauty and Fashion; Travel and Transportation; Business and Electronics and a Kids Zone, giving New Yorkers a chance to see, learn and interact with the latest in energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly products and services, as well as participate in interactive seminars with leaders in the green industry, local politicians and community organizations.

I am most looking forward to seeing Alberto Parada's organic jewelry line, J.R. Watkins organic personal care products, Kaia House skincare, Sexy Hair, and House of Mongrel kids clothing.

Don't forget to check out these exciting seminars:
* Mariel Hemingway will be discussing "How to Green Yourself" through living a healthy life style - eating well, slowing down, and creating sacred space on Saturday, April18th. She will also talk about her new book "Mariel Hemingway's Healthy Living from the Inside Out," which is a revolutionary individualized program that teaches us how looking and feeling great are just a few simple choices away.

*Famed photographer and director, Nigel Barker discusses "Saving the Seals." Join Nigel as he screens his documentary, “A Sealed Fate" on Saturday, April 18, 3:30pm with Q&A to follow.

Please visit for further details such as hotel location, hours, purchasing tickets, etc.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Calyp-So-Cool from Sephora

Spring is almost here, which means new clothes, new shoes and of course, for a beauty addict such as myself, new makeup!!! No one has a better selection than my favorite store in the world, Sephora. It's the one place where I still feel like a kid in a candy shop.

As usual, Sephora does not disappoint. Their new summer collection,
Calypso Soul, is inspired by warm island breezes, white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. From eyeshadows reflecting the ocean's blues to accessories perfect for a beach getaway, achieving a pretty-in-paradise look has never been so alluring.

I might not be able to get to a white, sandy beach this summer but I certainly can feel like I'm there with the Calypso Soul Palette ($32) – a set of five fantastic shadows perfect for a day at the beach or a night under the stars. Also on my shopping list is the Calypso Soul Eyeshadow($10) – in a glamorous green hue. Perfect for getting that magnificent mermaid look.

Other pieces in the collection include: Brush sets, Train case, Compact Mirror, Hanging Bag and Pop-up Hair Brushes. Pieces will be available beginning May 2009 in all Sephora stores, by calling 1-877-SEPHORA or by logging on to

Stone Cold - Calico Juno Designs

I am in the beginning stages of my "career" in jewelry. As my skills are not totally perfected, I rely on the creativity and craftsmanship of designers like Calico Juno Designs to fill my unrelenting need to own more and more jewelry. I'm loving colorful gemstones and wire work for spring now, like this hammered heart pendant with peridot, citrine, orange sapphire, pink tourmaline on small link chain, available in 14k gold filled for $190 & sterling silver for $180, and the hammered circles with pink tourmaline, peridot on french wires, available in 14k gold filled for $74 & sterling silver for $70. The brilliant colors and designs make these the perfect accessories for spring.

Calico Juno Designs artist Bonnie Riconda’s jewelry design philosophy is based on her love of brilliant, bright colors, a light feeling of airiness, and of all things truly hand-created by the artist. She uses no pre-made or fabricated parts, but wraps all gemstones and beads by hand, and even makes her own hoops and french wires. Precious and semi-precious gemstones, Austrian crystals, freshwater pearls, and other stones are used in combination to create a wonderful palette of colors in her original designs.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Acorelle Organic Eau de Parfums

Looking for that great Spring fragrance and want to be earth conscious at the same time? Look no further!!, an online shopping destination for niche beauty brands around the world , recently launched Acorelle Eau de Parfums, an Ecocert-certified organic fragrance collection from France.

Unlike other natural fragrances on the market, each Acorelle scent is structured with the same top, middle, and base formulation as standard eau de parfums, creating a depth and complexity not yet experienced in the field of organic fragrance. Only the purest ingredients were used to develop these fine fragrances, including organic wheat alcohol, floral water, plant extracts, and essential oils harvested from organic blossoms and fruits.

The collection calls upon the mood-enhancing benefits of aromatherapy and includes six soothing eau de parfums including my two favorites:

Bamboo Lotus: A relaxing mix of bergamot, tangerine, orange blossom, and cedar that promotes a good night’s sleep.

Citrus Verbena: Soothing notes of petitgrain, litsea (an evergreen tree), cedar, and neroli have a calming effect on the senses.

Other scents include: Tea Garden, Wheat Almond, Wild Berries and White Orchid. Each fragrance retails for $68 and is available for purchase at

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ojon Hair Rub-Out Dry Cleanser - Spa Week

We attended the Spring 2009 Spa Week Media Party the other day, where I was introduced to Ojon Hair Rub-Out Dry Cleanser. This no water hair cleanser is my new saving grace.

I am a slave to my curly hair. I may have tried every curly hair gel, cream or mousse on the market...and I tend to use more than one product at once for styling. The next day, my hair is dull, oily and, well, dirty. Ojon Hair Rub-Out Dry Cleanser revives, refreshes and recharges hair and scalp as a pick-me-up or between washes, which is perfect, as all curly hair girls know that washing every day with shampoo is a no-no. Rub-Out's natural cleansing properties come from the bark of the Quillaja or "soapbark" tree. Combined with rainforest Amazonian white clay, silk powder, rice and potato starches, it cleanses and treats hair and scalp by instantly erasing impurities, excess oil and products as it increases volume at the roots.

It's a lightweight spray that doesn't weigh down my hair. And best of all, it doesn't leave a powdery residue on my scalp...or on my shoulders.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

SAMA Baby Giveaway!!!!

For the first time ever SAMA Baby is having a giveaway!!! All you have to do is spend two minutes to comment on their blog about anything you want regarding SAMA Baby.

The giveaway includes a burp cloth, bib, and 3 washcloths a $35.00 offer - great for any mom as an accessories gift!

SAMA Baby is a certified organic, luxury cotton baby clothing and accessories line. The clothing is made of extremely soft certified organic cotton.

*Burp cloth in photo is not part of giveaway. It's just one of many offerings from SAMA Baby. To view giveaway and enter contest please visit