Thursday, May 29, 2008

Designer on Focus: Christian Lacroix

Born in Arles, France, Christian Marie Marc Lacroix is a sucessful French fashion designer. He began sketching historical costumes and fashions at a very young age. He studied history of art at the University of Montpellier and then enrolled at the Sorbonne in Paris.

In 1987 he opened his own couture house. He began putting out ready-to-wear in 1988 drawing inspiration from diverse cultures. Critics commented that he did not seem to understand the type of clothing the working woman needed. In 1989, Lacroix launched jewelry, handbags, shoes, glasses, scarves and ties. In this same year, he opened boutiques within Paris, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, Toulouse, London, Geneva and Japan.

Watch Cristian Lacroix creations at the Fall Fashion Week 2008:


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Creative Notions

People seem to have the misconception that only a select few are able to unleash a steady flow of creative genius. That is not true at all. The fact is, creativity is very much like a muscle that needs to be exercised in order to consistently give out great results. If you don't practice harnessing creative thinking, this skill will very much atrophy into inexistence. But keep working and this skill will soon come to you in a snap.

So how do you unleash your creative thinking? Well, the first thing is to become a human leech. No, we're not talking about just sucking the blood out of every living being available, we're saying that you should take in as much knowledge and learning you can find. Read everything available -- good and bad, and keep your mind open to the infinite possibilities of the universe. The more you know, the more you'll want to know, and the more your faculty of wonder will be exercised. Prepare to be amazed at little facts that add a bit of color into your life.

Focus on a creative activity everyday. Yes, it's an effort. Even doodling is a creative activity. Don't let anything hinder you. Mindlessness may be a creative activity, but for people who are just starting out to unleash a little bit of creative thinking in their lives, it is helpful and encouraging to have concrete evidence, that, "hey, what I'm doing is getting somewhere." So why don't you try it. Practice drawing for a couple of minutes each day. Bring out your old camera and start snapping photos like crazy. Keep a journal and make a point to write in it religiously. Another cool idea is to write by describing something with your five senses. Try to avoid vague adjectives like "marvelous," "amazing," and "delicious." Before you know it, you'll have built yourself a tiny portfolio, and you'll be amazed at the growth you've undertaken after amassing all those works of art. Who knows, you might actually take to liking those things you do everyday. Pretty soon those things will become a part of you and you'll be addicted to these creative exercises.

Think out of the box -- or don't. Sometimes, constraints are actually a good thing. Limitations discipline you to work within your means. It enables you to be more resourceful. Creative freedom is great, but limitations enforce discipline.

Try something new everyday and let your experiences broaden your perspective. Explore a new district in your neighborhood. Spend an afternoon in a museum to which you've never been before. Chat up someone on the bus. Open up to the people around you. As you thrust yourself out of your comfort zone more and more each day, your sense of adventure grows and so does your zest for life. Think about it. When was the last time you did something for the first time? If it's been a while, I tell you, you've been missing out on a whole lot of experiences that could've added to your growth, emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually. Why don't you try bungee jumping today? Not only will you learn, but you will also have plenty of stories to share, enabling you to practice your storytelling skills and making you the life of the party.

Embrace insanity. No, not to the point of practically admitting yourself into the mental ward. As John Russell once said, "Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting." Exactly! Every creative thought was once deemed insanity by other "normal" people at one time or another. Luckily, that didn't stop the creative geniuses from standing by them. The thing is, sanity or being normal confines people to think... well, normally. Withink limits. Creativity is essentially breaking through barriers. Yes, this includes the bizzarre and the downright strange. I'm not saying that you yourself should develop a creative personality. That might go haywire. An example of a creative personality would be George Washington, who often rode into battle naked, or James Joyce, who wrote "Dubliners" with beetle juice for an intense fear of ink, or Albert Einstein, who thought his cat was a spy sent by his rival (or in thinking creatively in this case, the term could probably be "archnemesis.") It's important that your creativity doesn't get you detached from the real world completely.

I hope this article has inspired you to start thinking beyond your "limits." If you follow these steps pretty soon you'll be living a life full of interesting adventures. Unleashing your creative thinking will bring about a new zest for living life.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What is Chinese Diet Green Tea?

There are only a few herbs that can surpass the impressive history of Chinese diet green tea. Dating back more than 4,000 years, Chinese diet green tea has been long revered as a tasty drink that can ward off diseases and improve one’s well-being.

Since its first recorded use during the time of Emperor Shen Nung, the link between Chinese diet green tea and good health has never been severed. Today, further studies are made to test the benefits of the remarkable health elixir that is Chinese diet green tea.

Traditional Health Benefits of Chinese Diet Green Tea

According to tradition, Chinese diet green tea could cure anything from headaches, body aches, and pains to constipation and depression. Over the centuries, further more health claims are made on account of Chinese diet green tea.

Chinese diet green tea is said to increase the blood flow throughout the body. Because Chinese diet green tea contains a little caffeine, ingesting this drink stimulates the heart and allows the blood to flow more freely through the blood vessels. For the same reason that Chinese diet green tea stimulates blood flow, it also stimulates mental clarity.

Chinese diet green tea detoxifies the body. The presence of polyphenols, a naturally occurring antioxidant in Chinese diet green tea, the beverage is said to combat harmful free radicals and help keep the body free from diseases. In this regard, Chinese diet green tea helps maintain the overall well-being of the body. Antioxidants in Chinese diet green tea can boost immunity, preserve young-looking skin, and brighten the eyes.

Chinese diet green tea aids in digestion and banishes fatigue. Chinese diet green tea is also said to prolong the lifespan.

For many years, men of science remained skeptical about the health claims made by Chinese diet green tea enthusiasts. Their doubt was changed to a more positive reception when subsequent researchers proved the disease-preventing attributes of Chinese diet green tea and confirmed most of the health claims.

Chinese Diet Green Tea and the Heart

Study after study has shown that drinking Chinese diet green tea and eating polyphenol-rich foods reduces the risk of any heart complications. Drinking Chinese diet green tea also helps strengthen the blood vessels that provide oxygen and valuable nutrients to the heart and brain. It has been shown that men who drink Chinese diet green tea have 75 percent less possibility of having a stroke than those who don’t drink Chinese diet green tea.

Chinese diet green tea helps lower total cholesterol levels and improve the ratio between LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. Study shows that men who drink nine or more cups of Chinese diet green tea daily have lower cholesterol levels than those who drink fewer than two cups.

Chinese Diet Green Tea and Longevity

The role of Chinese diet green tea in promoting longevity has been investigated upon by many researchers. They found the premise of their study on observing that Japanese women who are greater-than-average Chinese diet green tea drinkers; have lower mortality rates compared to others. This led the researchers to believe that Chinese diet green tea has “a protective factor against premature death.”

The polyphenols found in Chinese diet green tea may be held accountable. With its high amount of polyphenols, Chinese diet green tea seems to have a stimulating effect on the immune system. Stronger immune system as a result of drinking Chinese diet green tea helps reduce risks of acquiring any illnesses.

Vitamins And Asthma

More than 10 million American’s throughout the United States suffer from asthma. Asthma is very common, with doctors considering it to be a new epidemic. Most Americans who suffer from asthma blame it on environmental pollution, along with the increasing exposure of toxic chemicals throughout the air. Deaths that result from asthma are on the rise, due to those who have it not recognizing the early warning signs.

The condition of asthma causes the airways in the lungs to swell, throw out thick mucus, and over time spasm. The swelling that takes place will make the airways smaller, making it difficult to breathe. The first attack from asthma that you experience may include congestion, pain, wheezing, a shortness of breath, dryness in the mouth, coughing, and a feeling as if you have a fever.

Contrary to what you may think, just about anything can result in asthma attack. The more common triggers of it include allergies, an upper respiratory infection, stress, over exertion in exercise, or even the lack of a proper diet. Out of all the triggers, allergies tends to be the most common.

In most cases, asthma attack are the result of exposure to things such as smoke, pollen, gas odors, and even automotive exhaust. Foods can also trigger attacks as well, such as peanuts, corn, chocolate, and almost all dairy products. If you take any type of antibiotics, tranquilizers, or hormones, it may prompt asthma. Asthma is a serious and somewhat annoying condition, one that millions of us face on a daily basis.

There are several mineral, vitamin, and herbal supplements that you can take to asthma cure. Among all that you can take, vitamin B is among the most important. Vitamin B maintains a biochemical balance in the body and it can also reduce the severity of the attacks. If you take vitamin A and E together, they can work to protect your lungs against air pollution. You can also take large doses of vitamin C as well, as it is very effective in fighting asthma.

Gingko biloba is effective as well, as it will enhance your breathing and help with your bronchial reactions. Oder-less garlic is another great choice, as it contains an anti-inflammatory agent that will reduce your chances of an attack. Throughout the world of vitamins and supplements, there are many different things that you can take to fight back against asthma.

Anytime that you suspect you may have asthma, you shouldn’t hesitate to go to your doctor and be tested for it as soon as possible. Your doctor will be able to tell you if you have it, and how severe it may be. In the meantime, you should avoid known triggers and be sure that you are eating a high protein diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. You should also eat a few meals throughout the day, instead of sticking with the three most common meals - breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

As a whole, asthma can be very stressful. There are ways that you can fight back and help to eliminate asthma, which is always great news. If your doctor tells you that you indeed have asthma, you should ask him any questions that come to mind, as well as his advice on what you should and shouldn’t do. Even though it may not seem like it at the time, asthma can be prevented, and it doesn’t always have to stop you from doing things you love to do. Although it may slow you down - you can always stop it.

How to Spot A Fake Diamond?

In this world of advanced technology it is almost impossible to simply look at a diamond and determine whether it is real or not – especially if you don’t know much about diamonds. There are some steps that you can take to avoid buying a fake diamond, however.

First, only deal with reputable jewelers, and when you find a reputable jeweler, stick with them. Avoid buying diamonds or other jewelry from jewelers that you have never dealt with before in the past. Ask to see the certificate for the stone. If no certificate exists, walk away.

Look at the setting that the stone is in. Fake diamonds, such as zirconias, are usually set in low quality metals. Take a close look at the stone. Fake diamonds are not durable – natural diamonds, on the other hand, are the most durable stone on the planet. Look for scratches or nicks.

After purchasing a diamond, take it to another jeweler for appraisal. In fact, take it to two or three other jewelers for an appraisal to make sure that the appraisals are all fairly close. If you find that you have purchased a fake diamond, you may be accused of making a switch when you return to the store of your purchase; therefore, it is important to have a certificate for the diamond. No two stones are alike.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy

From the 2007 movie Spider-Man 3, a Spiderman costume worn by Tobey Maguire is displayed during a media preview for the 'Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy' exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York May 5, 2008 and will run from May 7 to September 1 with an opening red-carpet gala on Monday night that was to include former "Batman" star George Clooney and actress Julia Roberts.

The superhero mania that is invading American cinemas this summer has taken hold at one of the country's most distinguished art museums with an exhibit on how their colorful costumes have influenced fashion.

The exhibit examines how Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and others have influenced big-name fashion designers. The feminine figure is represented by characters such as Wonder Woman and Catwoman.

Some costumes on display are the ones worn by the late Christopher Reeve in the 1978 version of "Superman," two versions worn by Tobey Maguire in "Spider-Man 3" from 2007 and the "Catwoman" suit worn by Michelle Pfeiffer in 1992's "Batman Returns."

Celebrities and top designers lined the red carpet at the event to celebrate the opening of a fashion show exhibition. Attendees included Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, David and Victoria Beckham, and Giselle Bundchen and Tom Brady. Fashion Designer Donatella Versace was among the top names from the fashion world.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Model on Focus: Selita Ebanks

Selita Ebanks was born on February 15, 1983. She is a British (Caymanian) model. Selita is best known for her work with Victoria's Secret and is one of the Victoria's Secret Angels.

At 17 years old, while walking through the turnstiles at Six Flags Great Adventure, Ebanks was scouted by an agent from Elite Model Management. Selita Ebanks worked with some of the world's most noted photographers, including Peter Lindbergh, Bruce Weber, Steven Klein, Carter Smith and Mikael Jansson, and for some of the most quintessential American fashion campaigns, including Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi's and Tommy Hilfiger.

Ebanks is currently working as a model for Victoria's Secret. She had previously done work for their Ipex Bra line, before being signed. She and fellow up-and-coming model Izabel Goulart made their major d├ębut in the 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. She is now officially one of the Victoria's Secret Angels. The contract has afforded Selita the opporunity to enhance her breasts and is the only noted VS model who has done so-although she has been noted as sometimes denying the claim. She views Tyra Banks as a mentor. In 2005, Tyra Banks said she was proud of Ebanks to be representing for black women at Victoria's Secret.

Ebanks was engaged to rapper, actor, and comedian Nick Cannon. On October 4, 2007, People magazine announced that the couple has ended their engagement. Selita also dated her ex-manager Marc Chamberlin and allegedly moved on quickly to a more strategic relationship to her career with Nick Cannon.