Summer 2011: PICKS

On the money

Anyone will tell you saving is a chore–it’s easier to “invest” in shoes than stocks, but the dividends are questionable. We spoke with financial advisor Margie Swanson of M.H. Swanson & Associates to get the 411 on easy investing.

First thing’s first: Eradicate debt. Carrying credit card debt or a loan will stop progress towards investing before it starts. You can’t invest money you don’t have.

Next, systemize savings. Set up a savings account into which a specified amount from your paycheck is automatically deposited each month. This way, you can steadily build up a six-month liquid cash reserve.

Once you have some capital built up, do your research. “Knowledge in any situation is power,” says Swanson. First establish a retirement account, especially if your workplace offers to match your deposit up to a certain amount. Otherwise you’re passing up free money. A money market account or cash equivalent account (such as a Certificate of Deposit) is good in the short-term. Fixed-income mutual funds, through which you and a few others can pool a set amount of cash with a financial institution for a predetermined interest rate, are less risky than growth investments such as stocks.—Sean Santiago

Good save

Money talk

If you’d rather sock away straight cash, try putting aside a portion of each paycheck. Assuming you get paid twice per month, how much will you save if you stash away…
$25/paycheck from age 30-60: $18,000
$50/paycheck from age 30-60: $36,000
$100/paycheck from age 30-60: $72,000
$200/paycheck from age 30-60:

Maybe investing’s not your bag. That’s OK. Sacrifice a few daily staples and you’ll feel instant relief on your wallet.

Daily java fix: One $2 cup each day of the work week equals $10. Multiplied by four (for each week of the month, that’s $40. Subtract the cost of a travel mug (approximately $7) and a box of 100 tea bags (approximately $5, and easier on the stomach) and you’d save $28 that month (and $40 every month thereafter).

Work commute: A 10-mile drive to and from work each day (a five-mile commute each way), at 37 cents per mile, equals $3.70 per day. That’s $18.50 per week and $74 per month. Switch to a $1.50 day pass with the Charlottesville Area Transit and you’ll shave off $44 per month. (If you travel four miles or less every day, stick with driving. It’s actually cheaper.) If you work for or attend UVA, you can ride the bus for free. (Translation: Beaucoup de savings!)

After work unwind: If you’re brave enough to give it up (trust us—it’s possible!), cancelling your basic cable would save you at least $30 per month—even more if you get extra channels like HBO. Read a book or take a walk outside instead. Just 30 minutes of mild exercise per day can lower your cholesterol and your risk of diabetes.—Caite White


Martha Jefferson and UVA hospitals provide a free skin cancer screening each spring, but here are a few practices around town that take regular appointments.

Albemarle Dermatology Associates (above Signature Medical Spa, 3350 Berkmar Dr., 923-4651) 
Charlottesville Dermatology (600 Peter Jefferson Pkwy., Suite 230, 984-2400)
Family Dermatology of Albemarle (215 Wayles Ln., Suite 150, 964-9500)

Behind the screening

Here’s the bad news: Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, accounting for nearly half of all the cancers in the country. The good news: When caught early, the majority of skin cancers can be cured.

Getting screened every two years should become part of your sun protection strategy. During a screening, a dermatologist will visually inspect your entire body, paying close attention to areas most often exposed to the sun. Between screenings, check moles, spots and birthmarks every month at home. Look for any unusual growths, changes in color, irregular borders or sores that won’t heal.—Megan Headley



The acronym for sun protection factor, SPF indicates how long a sunscreen remains effective on the skin. If you normally develop a sunburn in 10 minutes without wearing a sunscreen, SPF 15 will protect you for 150 minutes. SPF 45 blocks 98 percent of UVB rays (nothing blocks 100 percent) and is as much protection as you need with reapplication every two hours. Choose a broad-spectrum sunblock that absorbs both UVA and UVB rays and avoid PABA-based products if you have sensitive skin.—M.H.

All you needle

On the quest for eternal youth—or at least the appearance of it? These days, spas and dermatologists offer an extensive menu of nonsurgical cosmetic enhancements, with temporary injectables among the most popular. With minimal pain and healing time and little associated risk of allergic reactions, the various options available differ most in terms of cost: The more you plunk down, the longer you’re wrinkle-free. Here’s the fill in on how to lose those lines.—M.H.

Botox, Dysport
What is it? Botulinum toxin Type A; injected into facial muscles
Cost: $300-450
Targeted facial area: Wrinkles
How long does it last? Three to six months
What is it? Bovine or human collagen; injected under the skin
Cost: $450-550
Targeted facial area: Wrinkles and folds, fat loss, scarring, lip augmentation
How long does it last? Three to six months
Juvederm, Perlane, Restylane
What are they? Hyaluronic acid-based gel; injected under the skin
Cost: $500-600
Targeted facial area: Wrinkles and folds, fat loss, scarring, under-eye hollows, lip augmentation
How long does it last? Six to 12 months
What is it? Calcium Hydroxylatpatite-based gel; injected under the skin
Cost: $650-700
Targeted facial area: Wrinkles and folds, fat loss, scarring, under-eye hollows, lip augmentation
How long does it last? Two to three years

Ten for the road: Download these MP3s today

Local music maven Katie Jackson, aka DJ Frenchbraid, is more hip than skinny jeans. When she’s not spinning vinyl (in a side ponytail and requisite vintage headband), Jackson plays guitar and has performed with Charlottesville natives Kiste and a Misfits cover band. Her top 10 picks, she says, are “a mix of “electronic, rock, ambient, doom, minimalist, pop.” Naturally.—Christy Baker

“Bad Day (Javelin Mix)” by Darwin Deez
“True Blue” by Dirty Beaches
“Black and Yellow (DJ Kue Remix)” by Wiz Khalifa
“Bewitched” by Candlemass
“Embody” by SebastiAn
“You” by Gold Panda
“Lost and Found” by Sparks
“Dirty Mister Dirty” by Generationals
“Helicopter” by Deerhunter
“Jet Boy Jet Girl” by Elton Motello




Get these apps!

You’ll feel pretty, oh so pretty. Download these beauty-focused apps right now.
iFitness Hero
Straightforward instructions for fat-busting cardio exercises, plus features to track weight, fitness routines and overall progress. $0.99
In the mood for über-organization? Use this app to photograph every item in your closet, keep track of how many times you’ve worn each piece and assemble outfits. $3.99
Hair Cast 2
Bad hair days begone: This app uses your location to analyze weather conditions and provide styling tips based on your hair type. Free

Eat by number

Walk into a place like Revolutionary Soup and the menu can be daunting. And, if you’re keeping tabs on your caloric intake, placing your order can be even more of a challenge. Here are a few tasty choices, broken down by calorie estimation.

You could have a Lisa Quesadilla: white cheddar, chevre, house seasoned black beans and fresh spinach are layered between two flour tortillas and grilled. With a side of salsa and sour cream, although scrumptious, Lisa weighs in at a hefty 750 calories.

Instead, try a 12 oz. Crab & Corn Chowder at 310 calories. The house salad (177 calories), with local spring greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, mandarin oranges, topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and a side of balsamic vinaigrette is a must-order. For a grand total of 487 calories, you might still have room for dessert. (Try the gooey, fresh baked brownie at 150 calories or house-made chocolate chip cookie at 65 calories).—C.B.

The calorie amounts are the author’s estimates, which were made using a calorie counter app from FatSecret.

Hips and salsa

Feel the burn, Latin-style. Improvisational workout routine turned into home fitness phenomenon, Zumba is the brainchild of a Colombian fitness instructor who, by happy accident, left his standard workout music at home one day. It’s an intensive “fitness party,” loosely combining the footwork of salsa, meringue and other Latin dances with resistance training. The cardiovascular exercise targets the abdominal area and is great for building core strength.

ACAC Zumba instructor Gerardo Jimenez leads a group of hip-shakin’ ladies.

“There’s lots of hip shaking,” says Gold’s Gym’s Heidi Shaner. “It’s very easy to pick up and…you don’t feel self-conscious, because you’re in a group.”—S.S.

Zumba every day

Monday at Shergold Studio (652 W. Rio Rd., 975-4611): 6-7pm, $10 or $80 for 10 classes
Tuesday at Charlottesville Parks and Recreation (1000A Cherry Ave., 970-3072): 7-8pm, $8 for Charlottesville residents and $11 for all others
Wednesday at ACAC Downtown (111 Monticello Ave., 984-3800): 5:30-6:30pm, $12 guest fee
Thursday at Dance Explosion (2363 Commonwealth Dr., 953-8268): 8-9am, $12 guest fee
or Gold’s Gym (1801 Hydraulic Rd., 973-1307): 7:40-8:40pm, $15 24-hour guest fee
Friday at Albemarle Square ACAC (500 Albemarle Sq., 978-3800): 8:45-9:30am, $12 guest fee

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