August 2009: What's New

August 2009: What's New

Need a lift?

The Stimulating Lift Treatment at Signature Medical Spa uses microcurrents to get your complexion glowing again.

Have a special occasion coming up? Why not get a face-lift? No, really. Signature Medical Spa calls it a Stimulating Lift Treatment; we call it face-lift evolution.

The only provider of this service in Charlottesville, Signature has certified aestheticians who treat your entire face, focusing on the eyes, forehead, neck and those little wrinkles you get around your mouth from laughing. The Spa’s Director, Jackie Busa, says the treatment “exercises your [facial] muscles and stimulates your muscles to contract by using a microcurrent.”

That same microcurrent is also said to remove toxins from the face and increase cellular activity. The result? A glowing complexion and an instant face-lift. The procedure is very temporary, Busa reminds us, but for $125, we’re thinking that’s a great reason to celebrate.—Daven Ralston

Click, drag, get focused

Gluing your eyes to the tube is a classic kiddy no-no, but these days it’s YouTube putting strain on your peepers. Between work and play, it’s easy to spend too much time at your computer, so eye strain is serious business. Instead, offset those hours of Twittering, Googling and squinting by putting these pointers into practice:

It might be your computer, not your work, giving you a headache.

1. Keep your distance: Your computer monitor should be about 20 to 28 inches from your eyes—about arm’s length. Can’t read the type? Increase your font size.

2. Drop and give me 50…blinks, that is. Since one of the main causes of eye strain comes from focus fatigue, looking away from your screen for 15-20 seconds every 20 minutes will reduce your chances of strain or visual “lock up.” Try focusing on objects that are farther away, and remember to blink to prevent dry eye.

3. Lighting up ain’t the answer, kids. When it comes to computing, avoid facing your screen towards windows or harsh interior lighting, which creates glare and, in turn, eye strain. Bright white walls can have a similar effect, so consider closing the curtains, getting a more matte paint job, or installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor.—Lucy Zhou




Cell conscious

Want to get healthy? Then trade in your Bowflex for a smaller and less complex device: a blender. Megan Borishansky says this is all you need for good health and weight loss. The local wellness coach uses all natural health products and plans a program to your specific preferences, whether it’s living healthier or losing weight.

Wellness coach Megan Borishansky has a recipe for health.

Borishansky is particularly enthusiastic about her weight loss programs, declaring that “basically everything in the program is based on cellular nutrition.” In her program, she uses multivitamins, cell activators, and nutrition shakes to supplement the weight loss plans. These products are meant to “get the nutrients your body needs directly to your cells.”

In addition to her tailored programs, Borishansky also started a community Weight Loss Challenge. This 12-week consultation program covers a new topic of nutrition—vitamins, proteins, and effective meal planning—each week. The challenge only takes $35 out of your wallet. Plus, at the end of the 12 weeks, the three members who lost the most weight will win a percentage of the total collected fees.

Think you can step up to the challenge? To register or get more info call Megan Borishansky at 466-2023.—D.R.




Naturally misled

The organic lifestyle is harder to live than you might think. USDA-certified organic produce is clearly labeled in the store, but when it comes to body products, you might be surprised that your “organic” body lotion isn’t as natural as it sounds.

According to the Organic Consumers Association, many personal care products are falsely labeled as organic, even though they may contain synthetic preservatives, petrochemicals and even the carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane. That’s because certification for shampoos and other such products is more lax than it is for foods. As a consumer, it’s easy to be misled by these dubious uses of the term “organic.”

The OCA’s “Coming Clean Campaign” urges folks to check for the USDA-certified seal on the packaging, and also provides a list of safer product lines at its website, Two brands that made the list: Dr. Bronner’s and Organic Essence.—Caroline Edgeton


Can’t sleep? Get online

If you’re having trouble sleeping, a new online program might be able to help.

Counting sheep is for squares: Therapy for poor snoozers has gone digital with Internet-based programs designed to treat insomnia. Based on cognitive behavior therapy, these online programs—such as SHUTi, developed by Lee Ritterband of UVA—call for nine weeks of online diaries, “readings, vignettes, animation and interactive exercises” to coach you through your sleeping woes.

The result? Participants reported a 16 percent improvement in sleep efficiency (the proportion of time asleep to time in bed) and a 55 percent decrease in how long they were awake at night. Add in the convenience of at-home, 24/7 therapy, and the convenience factor shoots through the roof.

While SHUTi has yet to go public, other options include “Overcoming Insomnia” from Michigan-based HealthMedia, and, brainchild of an UMass insomnia specialist. For more info, check out—L.Z.

August 2009: What's New

August 2009: What's New

Aprons are meant to be functional, sure, but picture one tied across your waist atop an A-line skirt with a pair of flats. Form, function, perfection.

(From top) Polka dot retro apron with pom-poms (price upon request) from Les Fabriques, 1940s pink polished cotton apron with Rickrack trim ($20) from June & Ruby, “To Heck With Housework!” apron ($35) from Antics, Mimi half apron by Funktion ($40) from O’Suzannah, patchwork apron from Posh ($38).

Where to buy

103 Fifth St. SE

June & Ruby
209 Second St. SW

Les Fabriques
420 Shoppers World Ct.

108 Second St. NW

Posh Style
310 Second St. SE








August 2009: What's New

August 2009: What's New

The future is now

Sharon Hart thinks you need a life coach. In fact, she thinks anyone with a heartbeat needs a life coach—herself included. “It was one of the best experiences, having my own life coach,” she says. A Los Angeles transplant, Hart hired a coach as she climbed the ladder at an LA sales company. Three years later, after moving to Virginia for her husband’s job transfer, she decided to start her own coaching company, Birth Your Dream Life Coaching.

Local life coach Sharon Hart says, “People just feel good when their actions are aligned with who they want to be.”

Now, Hart coaches everyone from stay-at-home moms wanting to start a business to retirees searching for a little more purpose. She’s had clients in Toronto, the U.K. and here in the U.S. “Basically, I act as a sounding board and collaborator,” she says. Clients come to her feeling stuck or wanting more from their lives. “They think, I have an urge that this just isn’t it for me. …They get to design what they want to do next.”
Not everyone is a good candidate for coaching, Hart says, but usually there is one big thing that stands out from the pre-work questionnaire she gives new clients. From there, she guides the conversation by what’s called “co-active coaching.” Metaphorically, Hart acts as a mirror. “The ideas have to come from them. I’m just there to remind them of their goal.” Hart also reminds clients: Nothing’s on hold—your future is right now. “As corny as that sounds,” she says.—Caite White

Your money back

We love it when our online shopping addiction is validated. That’s a big part of why we’re currently loving suzy A national website catering to women’s needs, desires and everyday issues, Suzysaid has an online mall that will actually earn its subscribers money while they shop.

For every purchase you make at Suzy’s Shopping Mall, a percentage of what you spend goes back into your Suzysaid account as rebate dollars. Every three months, if you’ve earned at least 10 rebate dollars, this money is mailed to you by check.

What else should you know about this national website? If you’re looking for a broad range of information, the site provides insight for women no matter where they live, appropriately named the “Anywhere Edition.” This section keeps women up to date with topics like fashion, nutrition and the news. Suzy hooks you up with great ideas for getting green, keeping your kids happy, and sprucing up your home and wardrobe.

In the Charlottesville edition, you can find Suzy’s choices in local restaurants and even charitable events going on around town. Suzy lets you in on local sales, sharing everything from the summer CTS Youth Ride Free program to coupons for Harris Teeter and Whole Foods. The site dishes on fun stuff to do in areas close to Charlottesville if you aren’t opposed to a little time in the car, and offers ideas for family outings. To get the full experience, visit the site at—Daven Ralston

Crimson save

Flow, to go. The Period Pal Kit is available at Judy b. for $14.

Aunt Flow is a pesky guest. She usually comes when you least expect her, and her once-a-month visits give you such a headache. So, you do what any diligent woman would do: pop a few aspirin and move on.

Thankfully, your aspirin now comes with two tampons, a panty liner and a thong, courtesy of Urban Aid, a Los Angeles company that specializes in “just what a girl might need.” The “Period Pal Kit,” which we found at Judy b., contains essentials for avoiding a, shall we say, red alert.

Our only complaint: While it does hold all of your feminine necessities, the packaging makes it pretty clear what’s inside. (Emphasis on clear: It’s a sturdier version of a plastic baggie!) But who’s to say you couldn’t transfer its contents to something a little more discreet? If Aunt Flow has ever taught us anything, it’s that discretion is paramount.—C.W.



Get the massage

When your dogs are barking after a long day of trying on bras at Victoria’s Secret, getting dusted with perfume at Belk, and pacing the mall corridors in search of the perfect party dress, there’s only one place to go in Fashion Square Mall. Best Health (between Sears and Red Robin) offers ancient Chinese medicine like Tui Na massage and Reflexology in this most unlikely commercial setting.

Sure, stepping into Best Health after a day of consumerism is not exactly like stepping onto a higher plane. You can still hear the elevator music piping through the mall as an all-business therapist dissolves you into the massage table with expert hands. You are not transported so far that you don’t still meditate on what you will eat for lunch: Sbarro or Chick-Fil-A. You can still be distracted by the raucous children walking by, deep in discussion about the Hannah Montana models they will purchase from Build-a-Bear Workshop.

But all in all, the inexpensive ($15 for 15 minutes, $25 for 30 minutes) and skillful massage you receive at Best Health is a rejuvenating escape from an otherwise draining day of materialism. When you can’t peruse one more sales rack, it feels good to take off your shoes and have your energy flow realigned. And there’s nothing sweeter than being brought back to your body when that body happens to be dressed in a flattering new outfit.—Wistar Watts Murray

Better world travel

In tough times like these, it’s hard to avoid adopting an all-work-and-no-play attitude. But even with those workaholic tendencies, some local travel agencies are helping you feel good about using up those vacation days (and vacation dollars).

Peace Frogs Travel, a travel agency and shop at Barracks Road, donates a percentage of its sales to local charities and organizations, like the UVA Children’s Hospital. Plus, according to the agency’s website, its mission is to promote “international understanding through a wide range of educational experiences.” Accordingly, Peace Frogs gives another percentage of its sales to a scholarship for study abroad programs.

If that’s not enough to wet your charitable whistle, Epicurean Ways, a Charlottesville agency that books tours to Spain, donates a portion of its revenue to Boston-based Old Ways. This “food issues think tank,” as Epicurean Ways owner Jane Gregg puts it, works to promote healthy eating. So give back, put your feet up, and relax.—D.R.

Funky finds

Crystal Johnsen puts the “fun” in “funky” with her handmade creations on

It’s hard to keep up with local Etsy crafter Crystal Johnsen, the creator of shop “Little Bit Funky.” On her blog of the same name, the Charlottesville mother of two refers to herself as “the mess,” and once declared that she is “much better with 50 things to do than two.” Browsing her Etsy store and blog, it feels as though the handmade pillows, quilts and kid-sized t-shirts she sells there have spilled over from her busy, colorful life.

A serious stitcher, Johnsen probably borrows her shop name from the fabrics she chooses for her projects: bright, bold and patterned varieties, in striking, cheery colors—very funky indeed. Like Vera Bradley but with more warmth and Southern charm, Johnsen’s positivity radiates through her creations, which consequently make for good family-to-family gifts.

Her newest creative trend is pillows that display solid cutouts of silhouetted profiles on top of jazzy backgrounds. She’s made standard girl and boy profiles, but she’s also completing custom orders if you send a silhouette for her to work with. Check out Johnsen’s crafts on or her home creations—recipes included—on, where, if you visit on the right day of the week, you might catch a free giveaway from her craft network.—Carianne King