February 2009: What's New

February 2009: What's New

Greener pleasures

If it looks like a duck, and vibrates like a duck, it must be…a green sex toy.

Sexy time with your honey may not be a prime occasion to think about toxic chemicals and carbon footprints, but you can be greener when you’re buying your sex toys. That’s the idea behind Holistic Wisdom, an Internet vendor of dildos, vibrators and other toys that the company says are kinder to your body and the earth.

What makes the difference? First, a lack of phthalates in the plastics used to make the toys—the chemicals are potential hormone disruptors. Instead of phthalate-laced PVC, Holistic Wisdom recommends materials like silicone, latex and even glass. Then there are paraben-free lubricants and natural membrane condoms.

Enough sexy talk—just check out the Holistic Wisdom website, holistic wisdom.com, and browse pages full of toys and accessories, keeping an eye out for the “Safety Features” line below each product. Buy green, and then you can relax and focus on…well…other things.—Erika Howsare


What moves you

Christie Savage teaches a client to tap her bear energy.

If you think that acupuncture’s just about getting stuck, think again. Local practitioner Christie Savage may have you moving as well as taking the needles. Savage integrates qigong (chee-gong), a Chinese system of exercise, into her treatment, sending clients home with exercises and teaching goup classes, too.
How’s it work? In “Five Animals Frolic” form of qigong, which Savage teaches, the exercises correspond to five different animals and elements. For example, one “water” exercise asks you to let your body feel heavy and grounded, like a bear. Then you twist and stretch your ribcage to activate energy in your kidneys, “which in Chinese medicine is where we store the energy we receive at birth, considered a foundation energy,” Savage explains.

Overall, says Savage (242-8305), qigong practice—like its relative tai chi—helps you feel more relaxed and energized at the same time. “It just feels good,” she says.—E.H.


Delicate duties

Hang ‘em out to dry—after a careful hand wash.

Step away from the dryer, people! When washing and drying your lingerie, heat is the absolute worst thing, says Derriere de Soie’s general manger Abby Clarke Cook. “They’re called delicates for a reason,” says Cook, who explains that bras, camis and other underthings are made with small stitches and thinner fabrics that don’t respond well to being thrown about on fast spin with your jeans and gym socks.

Silks require a special silk wash, of course, but Cook says to wash even everyday cotton underpants by hand with a mild detergent or soda-based cleanser such as Forever New made especially for delicates. Here’s Cook’s routine: “I fill my kitchen sink with cold water and cleanser and swish everything around gently for a few minutes. Then I let it soak for 15 minutes before rinsing.”

Cook says to wash special pieces such as sequin-adorned bustiers separately so they don’t snag, and darks separately in case they bleed. To prevent pieces such as memory-foam bras from getting misshapen, care must be taken when air drying as well. “The rule is if it wouldn’t fall that way, don’t lay it that way,” says Cook.—Katherine Ludwig


We see a pattern

Bag lady: Mindy Goodall shows off her wares.

Buying local isn’t just for foodies any-more. Accessory hounds should check out the locally designed and made wares of Ivan & Mary, which include fabric belts and tote bags for adults, belts and headbands for children and even dog leashes and collars. They’re available at local boutiques such as Novel, Petit Bebe and Sammy Snacks and at ivanandmary.etsy.com. 

Ivan & Mary’s founder, Mindy Goodall, discovered she had a budding profes-sion after raves about a homemade diaper bag (“I couldn’t find anything I liked available, so I made my own,” she says) turned into what the former Accenture consultant-turned stay-at-home mom now calls a “slightly profitable hobby.”

We love that Ivan & Mary’s styles run from Lily Pulitzer-like preppiness to bohemian-chic selections employing cultish Amy Butler fabrics. There are appropriate options for cinching your demure sundress at Foxfield, but also for toting your vegetables around the City Market. And we love that Goodall makes all the accessories with her very own hands on a vintage sewing machine that she got for, get this, $5!—K.L.


Looking good for longer days

Kore Russell and her crew at Oasis will polish you for spring.

Feeling a little pasty and pale after your long winter’s nap? Skin that’s been under layers of wool since November will likely need a boost to get ready for the sundress season just around the corner. One option: the golden hue body and face treatment at Oasis Day Spa (244-9667), which owner Kore Russell says is great for these late-winter days “when you feel like you want to shed some old skin, and perk up the skin that you have.”

The program for the hour-and-15-minute, $100 treatment: First, you’ll get an allover exfoliating salt scrub and a gentle exfoliation for your face. Then you’ll shower to prepare for the self-tanning cream, a Yonka product that Russell calls “a healthful option,” when compared to a tanning booth or too much actual sun exposure. Overall, she says, the golden hue “has a therapeutic value and more of a cosmetic value”—just right for driving away the cold-season blahs, and maybe even steeling your nerves for swimsuit shopping.—E.H.


The bad guys

Feeling squeamish about chemicals in cosmetics, but also fuzzy on the science? Go shopping armed with a little knowledge, and you’ll be able to make smarter choices. One resource we like: a downloadable, portable guide to nasty chemicals from The Ideal Bite, which you can keep in your wallet and whip out whenever you’ve got a drugstore quandary.

The guide lists five major types of synthetic chemicals that lace everything from shampoo to mascara, and helps you recognize them in the ingredient lists on packaging. Example: Parabens can disrupt your hormones and are linked to breast cancer. The guide explains that any ingredient with ethyl-, methyl-, butyl-, or propyl- as a prefix is a paraben, and a red flag. Keep on moving down the shelf, shoppers!. And what the heck’s coal tar doing in hair dyes? We don’t know, but we’re glad this little card can help us remember to avoid them. Download your way to natural beauty at idealbite.com.—E.H.

February 2009: What's New

February 2009: What's New

Framing the question


The Spectacle Shop
407 E. Main St.

Keller & George Optical
1149 Millmont St.

Barracks Road Shopping Center

Politics aside, eyeglasses bring the issue into focus. Cast your vote for these unexpected looks.

Pink and grape Chelsea Morgan frames from VisionWorks, $99.95.

Silhouette Titan Edge drill-mount frames from Keller & George, $325.

lafont paris Star 3 cutout-temple frames from Keller & George, $567.


lafont reedition Ali Baba retro frames from Keller & George, $390.




Ronit Furst handpainted frames from Keller & George, $225.

Mikado gold and red frames from The Spectacle Shop, $400.



Gucci gold frames from The Spectacle Shop, $297.

February 2009: What's New

February 2009: What's New

Belly up

Students learn to speak the language of belly dance from Joy Rayman, center.

“Belly dancing is like learning a language,” said one of Joy Rayman’s students. She and I were at a Monday night belly-dancing class (myspace.com/

fireinthebellydance). I believed her, because I was struggling to locate my lower right abdomen—completely separate from my lower left abdomen. Upon first glance, the dances had looked like a piece of cake, with the dancers like cobras gracefully floating around the room in wave-like patterns. But after trying to mimic them, I could tell it took a lot of work.

Rayman, who helped found Fire in the Belly nine years ago, says it takes years to learn the art of the belly dance, but that the more you do it, the easier it gets. One of her students said she lost 10 pounds within a few short months of starting the classes.

Feeling moved to try it? Classes are at McGuffey Art Center, and a new beginners’ course is scheduled to begin the second week in April, taught by some of Rayman’s advanced students. Classes are $48 a month or $15 per individual class. Or catch performances at March 13 at McGuffey, or any weekend at Al Hamraa restaurant.—Julia Linden

Hang on; the ocean’s calling

It’s fresh, but is it clean?

Buying seafood is sooo complicated. Let’s leave aside, for the moment, the fact that different species of fish pose various threats to the environment when purchased and eaten by us landlubbers—overfishing, unintended catches, and accidental bird deaths, among others. There are also dangers to your health, mostly from mercury that builds up in some species. And who can navigate these stormy waters when standing in front of the fish case at the grocery store?

Here’s one lifeboat you can climb in: the Blue Ocean Institute’s FishPhone, a service you can text-message on the spot for quick info on all kinds of fish. Text 30644 with the message fish plus the species you’re buying, and they’ll send back health and environmental info. For example, I love scallops; a quick check lets me know that bay scallops are more eco-friendly than sea scallops, and good news: Neither has a mercury warning! Dinner should go swimmingly.—Erika Howsare


What was that benefit again?

Second thoughts: Ginkgo biloba may not be so brain-boosting after all.

For years, people have been buying and consuming ginkgo biloba pills in hopes of staving off dementia and Alzheimer’s. That strategy looks a little less brainy now that a study found no link between ginkgo and a reduced risk of those conditions. As the L.A. Times reported last fall, researchers had thousands of volunteers take ginkgo pills for more than six years, and ultimately found the supplement had no benefit.

But the news isn’t all bad. The study leaves open the possibility that taking ginkgo as early as your 40s might still have benefits; ginkgo does in fact contain brain-boosting flavonoids, and the study focused on much older adults, ages 75-96.

And there are tons of other ways to boost your brain power, from the extremely simple (just sitting up straight helps you think—no kidding!) to the rather involved (learn a new language, a serious workout for your noggin).—E.H.




A sharper image

Women who run tend to be healthy, so this makes a lot of sense: The Charlottesville Women’s Four-Miler has helped raise funds for the UVA Cancer Center to purchase a gamma imaging device that helps detect breast cancer. And that will help keep women healthy.

Gamma imaging has been part of mainstream medicine for a long time, but it’s just now starting to be used on breasts. Dr. Jennifer Harvey, who works in breast imaging at the Center’s Breast Care Program, explains that for some women at high risk of breast cancer, a gamma image can be much more accurate than a mammogram. “A lot of women that are higher-risk have dense breast tissue,” she says. For those women, “mammography doesn’t work that well—it’s like trying to find a snowman in a snowstorm.” Gamma images are better in those cases, and are less likely than breast MRIs to raise false alarms over benign tissue.

The Cancer Center hopes to have the new device in use later this year, so ask your doctor about it. And if you’d like to run the Four-Miler, contact info@womens4miler.com.—E.H.


Balance from beyond

Deborah Wray demonstrates some of her shaman’s techniques using a medicine stone and feather.

Deborah Wray defines well-being as “the alignment of mind, body, and spirit.” As a shaman, she helps clients overcome depression, chronic illness, and emotional trauma; but, unlike most therapists, she forgoes treatment of the mind and body to focus on one’s spirit or “energy field.”

“We’re not going to address something on a psychological level but on the higher energy levels. We heal the wound there, and it translates back down into [a person’s] life; and it all comes back into balance,” she says.

How does that work? Well, Wray believes that every illness has “an energetic origin based in a traumatic event” of the past. In a typical one-hour session, she’ll try to locate and correct that origin, which may be beyond recall or even beyond this lifetime. “Shamans work outside of time,” she explains.

Wray practices Shaman Energy Medicine, a healing method “based in the traditional practices of indigenous peoples around the world,” at Downtown Integrative Therapies (downtowntherapies.com). She says it’s right for anyone with an open mind. “You have to be willing to change. This is a huge opportunity to step into your life in a different way.”—Kathryn Faulkner


There’s no place like…

Why go to the gym when the gym will come to you? A couple of athletic locals, Ashley Hightower and Carter East, together make up Fitness At Home (fitnessathomecville.com)—a personal-training business focused on getting people in shape without leaving the front door.

Medicine ball passes performed by Carter East and Ashley Hightower, the at-home fitness folks.

Hightower, also a successful caterer, and East, a competitive cyclist, are both firm believers that health and nutrition go together. “When we started Fitness At Home we wanted it to be more about a healthy lifestyle,” Hightower says—a marriage of working out and eating right. Accordingly, if Fitness at Home comes to you, they might have you doing anything from body weight exercises to sketching out a week of healthy meals.

And if you don’t have your own equipment, don’t worry. These two have everything you need to get in shape, from hand weights to medicine balls, and will work with you if you’re a runner, biker, swimmer, or none of the above. Sessions normally run for one hour at $65 a pop.—J.L.