Weekend Trips: New York City on My Mind

My heart goes out to the residents of New York! Even with tragedy visiting its doorsteps again, there is still so much beauty to be found there.

After traveling the world, I can honestly say New York will always have a special place in my heart. Here are five things that set New York apart from every other city in the world:

1. The People
New York has a rich mix of diverse cultures from all over the world. According to WalletHub, New York is the most diverse city in the United States. While New Yorkers sometimes unfairly get a bad rap for not being the friendliest, if you are ever lost, New Yorkers are usually very willing to help.

2. The Skyline
New York’s skyline is best appreciated from the skies.

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3. Food
You could get a taste of every cuisine from around the world in New York — Jamaican (and other Caribbean cuisines), Hungarian, Ethiopian, Indian, Italian, Ukrainian, Armenian, Chinese, Japanese, and the delicious list goes on.

5. The Subway
Navigating the largest transit system in the world can be intimidating. With approximately 25 train lines and over 400 train stations, it’s easy to imagine getting lost. However, if you plan to visit, take some time to orient yourself to the city and its subway systems prior to arrival. When you get there, purchase your metro card and enjoy navigating beautiful NYC.

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4. Broadway
Some of the best theater you will ever see! There is indeed no place like New York.

Sunscreen in the Fall? 5 Things You Should Know



Now that fall weather has arrived, you might be tempted to cut back on sunscreen. But, before you do, consider these facts. Did you know that ultraviolet rays (UVR) are still an issue during the fall and winter? While UV rays decline during the fall and winter, it is always present. According to the Skin Cancer Association, “UVR produces DNA damage that may lead to mutations (abnormalities) in genes involved in the development of skin cancer. Therefore, along with other sun safety strategies, sunscreens that absorb or block UVR serve an important protective function.”

As we observe cancer awareness month, it’s a great time to revisit some sunscreen basics.
Here are 5 things you should know about sunscreen:

1. All sunscreens aren’t created equal: A good sunscreen should be broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher (per my dermatologist’s recommendation) to protect you from UVA and UVB rays.

2. One-and-done does not work: Sunscreen should always be worn under makeup and reapplied every 1.5 to 5 hours. To reapply throughout the day, consider a broad-spectrum (SPF-30 or higher) powder or spray sunscreen.

3. Sunscreen should be part of your anti-aging beauty regimen: Wearing sunscreen could significantly reduce your risk of sunburn and prevent your skin from aging prematurely. This is a must-have for your beauty regimen.

4. Staying in the sun all day is literally and figuratively not cool: Spending prolonged time in the sun without sunscreen could cause serious sunburn and increase your risk of cancer. According to American Academy of Dermatology nearly, 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. In addition to wearing sunscreen, it is always a good idea to reduce the amount of time spent in the sun. If possible, limiting outdoor activities to early morning or late afternoon – before 10:00 am or after 4 pm.

5. People of color need sunscreen too: While individuals with darker skin type more melanin to serve as a natural UV rays protection, it is not enough to exempt you from skin cancer risks. Therefore, a reliable sunscreen protection should be included to your beauty regimen.

By the way, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to all exposed areas. Don’t leave home without it!

Challenging the Perfection Myth

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I have been on a lifelong quest for perfection. I have never ever come close.

While participating in a recent book discussion group, I was reminded through reading The Gifts of Imperfection, written by psychologist Dr. Brené Brown, that perfection is unattainable and an hopeless pursuit that tends to leave its pursuers unfulfilled. In this New York Times bestseller, Dr. Brown describes through a series of guideposts, how to instead live a life where we embrace our human flaws and experience “wholehearted living” by “engaging in life from a place of worthiness” – a place of “I am enough”.

As a member of the human race, we will all feel inadequate at some point in our lives. To overcome this tendency, we should instead strive to celebrate our strengths and personal attributes on a regular basis. This helps to guard against feelings of inadequacy infiltrating every aspect of our lives. Let’s face it, there is always going to be someone or something sending messages that we are not enough. Perhaps signaling that we are not the right pedigree; did not attend the right college; or do not belong to the right clubs or organizations to be part of their group or clique. In addition, we have to contend with movies and ads claiming to be the authority on all things beautiful. However, we must challenge these negative messages and standards since beauty in those contexts is very narrowly defined, mostly in superficial terms – height, weight, facial symmetry, and sadly, at times, skin tone. It is no wonder that just our mere existence everyday causes us to challenge the notion of our worthiness.

Dr. Brown’s book bears a very authentic tone and serves as a great source of inspiration. It promotes some key principles to help us stand tall in our truths and cultivate “wholehearted living” (engaging in life from a place of worthiness):

  • Authenticity – making the decision to show our true selves each day.
  • Self-Compassion – becoming more compassionate to ourselves and embracing our imperfections; developing the belief that we are enough.
  • Resilient Spirit – developing the inner strength through meditation and other means to deal with adversity.
  • Gratitude and Joy – developing an attitude of gratefulness, sometimes in spite of our circumstances; joy can develop as a result of this attitude.
  • Intuition and Trusting Faith – relying on our gut and faith during periods of uncertainty.
  • Creativity – using creativity as inspiration and a way to disconnect from our fast-paced life.
  • Play & Rest – making this a part of our life will ensure we remain physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy.
  • Calm & Stillness – embracing calm and stillness in our lives can bring many advantages, including warding off anxiety and depression.
  • Meaningful Work – finding a way to use our gifts to help others and connect with God.
  • Laughter, Song and Dance – living life to the fullest and always remembering to dance.

Adopting these guideposts in our daily lives require a great deal of commitment, but the reward is well worth it – self-acceptance and an authentic connection with those around us.