What’s the secret to locking down that Valentine’s date? Be smooth.
This year, Velvet Effect Lasers is helping make that an easier goal by providing discount deals for love-struck clients. And with its successful track record of serving over 15,000 people and growing every day, it’s a sure pathway to achieve that silky smooth touch of the skin.
Until Feb. 14, the spa is offering 50 percent off any new area for laser hair removal treatment and $150 for 20 units of Botox (regularly priced at $200) for both new and existing clients.
Over the past four years, Velvet Effect Laser has been a leading cosmetics business in a highly innovative industry.
The key to its success lies in its founder, John Corona, who advocates for the confidence-boosting effect of having smooth skin and considers himself his best client as well.
“What I offer is because I like it. It works for me,” says Corona, who adds that he doesn’t hesitate to recommend his products to loved ones as well.
Corona’s successful business started with him testing out products on himself for everything from scar removal to hair reduction.
Now, with a dedicated staff of licensed laser techs utilizing five on-site lasers, he’s able to efficiently handle a high volume of clients who can safely choose the right laser for them depending on skin color.
A nurse practitioner and doctor are also available to oversee daily operations and to manage additional popular treatments and rejuvenating services including chemical peels, hair stimulation products for growth and facial fillers.
For those seeking to soften wrinkles and lines in their skin, Corona says he has seen a steady increase in highly satisfied clients using Botox over the years. He prides his staff in aiming for a “conservative and subtle” look when using the product and for always striving to inform clients about its proper usage.
For example, he will caution his clients about other offices that might utilize unethical practices for Botox injection. He warns them that when using it, some offices might either dilute their product or charge clients by the area to be worked on rather than the standardized practice of charging by the amount of units.
His clients, he says, “are guaranteed the constant strength of the product to be 100 percent to the manufacturer’s recommendations,” thus ensuring a duration of three to four months before any touch-ups are needed.
Those who use Botox or Juvederm can also participate in the Brilliant Distinctions rewards program. For each visit, points are awarded — use of Vivite gets you 40 points and a syringe of Juvederm gets you 200 points. For every 200 points, a client will receive $20 off their next visit.
Velvet Effect Lasers is located at 62-85 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park and is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit laservelvet.com or call (718) 505-2737.
Finding the right Valentine’s Day present for someone special is never an easy chore. Here are some gift ideas that should add a touch of romance not just for February 14 but for anytime of the year.
You cannot think of Valentine’s Day without thinking of flowers, and it’s hard to think of flowers without thinking of 1-800Flowers, the company founded and still run by Woodside-native Jim McCann. While floral arrangements are still the company’s main source of income, it has expanded its lines to include food gift baskets and oversized teddy bears.
Jewelry is another romantic gift staple and comes in all price points. Long Island designer Nancy Rosen has long been the jewelry designer of choice for cable’s Bravo Network as she has long made those various self-absorbed housewives look glamorous on those various reality shows. The kicker is that she creates costume jewelry that looks very realistic on the air. You can find the same necklaces and earrings at her housewivesjewelry.com website. Lia Sophia is another jewelry designer who makes quality pieces for less than $100.
If you are ready to take your relationship to the proverbial next step, you are going to need to make an investment in a quality ring. New York City is famous for having some of the best jewelers in the world. If you have a creative side, however, and want to use 21st century technology, you can go to ritani.com and design your engagement ring online. The company promises that you don’t have to pay for it if you (or your significant other) is not happy with the results.
Watches are the most popular form of jewelry because they are utilized by both sexes and you can find a quality timepiece for just about any budget. Timex, Dakota, Caravelle, and Long Island City’s own Armitron produce plenty of watches for less than $125. Forest Hills High School alum Lawrence Leyderman created his own SoHo-based watch company, House of Horology (hohwatches.com) that produces chronometers that rival Tag Heuer and Omega but at a fraction of their cost.
Handbags and totes are always useful. Olivia & Joy’s Posh Satchel, Steve Madden’s Cross Body Bag, and just about anything from the Indiana cloth tote manufacturer, Vera Bradley, are safe choices. Beckett Simonon, a new company which makes fine leather dress shoes for men at a third of the cost that you would find the same pairs at Allen Edmonds, makes a popular weekend getaway leather bag, the Potenza.
Cosmetics are tricky items for guys to purchase for women for a number of reasons. If you know which shade the lady in your life loves, then you can’t go wrong with lipsticks from Essence, Shiseido, Mineral Fusion, and especially Sephora.
These days skin care products have become almost as popular for men as they are for women. With jobs still tough to find, no one wants to look older than they have to. In addition everyone is more aware of the dangers of the sun than they even were just a few years ago. Moisturizers and sun-fighting products from Burt’s Bees, Derma-E, Glow Skin Care, Dr. Brandt, Menaji, Turo, and the terrifically-named Kiss My Face are all recommended.
Household goods have become popular Valentine’s Day gift items in recent years because of their practicality. They also display the gift giver’s creativity. Scented candles add a romantic touch to an evening. Estancia Monterey County Collection has an aroma that reflects Central California wine country while Calypso St. Barth Candles come in a trio of scents.
The recent polar vortex reminded everyone in these parts about the importance of staying warm on frigid days. Hearth Cabinet (hearthcabinet.com) manufactures the only ventless fireplace approved by the New York Fire Department.
Michael Aram is Neiman-Marcus’s top decor designer. At michaelaram.com, you can select from picture frames, wine stoppers, and petri dishes among many other items.
If there were such a thing as a Valentine’s Day stocking stuffer, a Lego storage container, which comes in bright yellow and has early ’70s graphics, is an ideal place for cookies and other sweet snacks; while Coolgear’s Coca-Cola Tray is a fun place to store your wallet, keys, and other valuables when you get home.
Valentine’s Day, like Halloween, is a day when barring serious health issues, we can look the other way when it comes to sugar consumption. High rents have made the local bakery an endangered species but Internet-based companies are filling the void. If you want to try candies from all over the world log onto to sugarfina.com while if you miss the kind of goodies that you used to get at your public school bake sale, check out treathouse.com. Godiva still makes great chocolates but so do See’s (sees.com) and Gnosis Chocolate which is made right here in Long Island City.
The southern part of the United States has always been known for great desserts. Brennan’s of Houston makes these soft praline pieces that reminds you of the delicious fudge that you find in Atlantic City. Whoopie pies are another favorite of mine but are very difficult to find around these parts. Loni Holm, the proprietor of holmmadecookies.com out of North Carolina, makes kosher whoopie pies. The sweetest whoopie pies that I have ever tasted are made by Wicked Whoopies (wickedwhoopies.com), which surprisingly are made in Freeport, Maine, a Portland suburb that is famous for its outlet shopping.
For the spirits industry, Valentine’s Day ranks just behind New Year’s Eve in terms of sales numbers. Liqueurs such as Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, Baileys Old Irish Creme and Kahlua are safe bets. Sparkling wines as Lillet Rose and Chandon Rose are also synonymous with romance. If you want a slight sweet touch to somewhat harder alcohol try Smirnoff Wild Honey Vodka or Balvenie Caribbean Cork, which adds a gentle flavor to whisky.
If you prefer smooth over sweet, Glenfiddich 12, Macallan, and Johnnie Walker Black Label (the Blue Label will cost you over $200) are great options in the scotch whisky market. Tequila aficionados can’t go wrong with Milagro Silver, Don Julio, or if you really want to go high end, try Tequila Avion. If you prefer a Japanese rice-based clear wine, try Ty Ku Sake.
Red wine not only goes with a romantic meal but according to a lot of medical research also offers cardiac benefits. We may not make much in the United States but California still makes a lot of fine and affordable wines. I prefer cabernet sauvignon over merlot because it offers a smoother, full-body taste. Sterling Vineyards cabernet sauvignon and Simi Landslide Vineyard Reserve cabernet sauvignon (rock guitarist Dave Matthews has an equity interest in Dreaming Tree Wines which makes Simi Landslide). If you prefer a blend of California reds then try a bottle of Apothic Red. If you want to go outside the USA, Sicily’s Stemmari Wines make bottles of pinot noir and Nero d’Avola for around $10. My suggestion is to splurge and pick up their Contadora, which is a blend of Nero d’Avola and cabernet sauvignon) for $14. For what it’s worth, my favorite wine is Benton-Lane pinot noir from Oregon.
Lingerie has come along way from the Frederick’s of Hollywood days. Intimate apparel is now part of mainstream fashion. You can find a wide assortment of lingerie at knixwear.com, lelo.com and aerie.com, and of course, Victoria’s Secret.
I remember how revolutionary it was in the 1970s when Dr. David Reuben wrote the best-seller, “Everything That You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask)” which was quickly followed by Dr. Alex Comfort’s “The Joy of Sex.” Books on intimacy comprise one of the largest sections of Barnes and Noble. The Sinclair Institute (sinclairinstitute.com) out of North Carolina is your one-stop-shop for books, videos, and paraphernalia for all things erotic. We’ve come a long way since the early ’70s.
You don’t have to be a fan of Woody Allen movies to know that New York City, for all of its hustle-bustle, has always had a romantic side. A dinner cruise on World Yacht or Spirit is always a memorable and enjoyable evening. If you want to see a lot of points of interest in a short period of time, purchase a CityPASS or New York Pass.
The New York Metropolitan Opera is getting high tech. If you love opera but either can’t make it to Lincoln Center you can watch the productions online with an Internet subscription.
There was a time when the clientele of spas and salons were 99 percent female. Just as more guys are using skin care products more, they are also going in greater numbers to spas such as Red Door and Spa Martier. For men who prefer a truly male-oriented atmosphere, Truman’s Gentlemen Grooming, which has two locations in Manhattan, offers old-school hot-towel barber shaves, as well as massages, facials, manicures, and yes, shoe shines. To learn which spas are having promotional deals, log onto spaweek.com
While New York is wonderful (a good deal of the time anyway), a change of scenery is ideal for romance. Queens’ own JetBlue flies to a lot of the destinations that I am about to describe.
The southeast Dominican Republic town of Punta Cana, which was basically unheard of back in the 1980s, has quickly grown to be one of the world’s most popular resort cities. One of the reasons that it has done well is that its many resorts are all-inclusive meaning that three meals per day and nearly every form of entertainment are included.
The Catskills meets the Caribbean motif is very much part of what makes the Grand Palladium Bavaro in Punta Cana so charming. There is plenty to do during the day, as staff leads guests through various games on the beach, as well as a variety of entertainment at night. I do wish that the disco had opened before 11:15 p.m. however. The vast palm-tree laden grounds are superior to the neighboring resorts that I saw.
Surprisingly, there are not a lot of well-known hotel names to most Americans in Punta Cana yet. There is a Hard Rock Café & Casino that boasts a restaurant that is run by world famous chef Kerry Simon as well as a Club Med on the outskirts of town.
For those who want to stay on the continental United States there are plenty of options. It takes less than three hours to fly from either JFK or LaGuardia to South Florida. The PGA Resort in Palm Beach Gardens has undergone extensive renovations. As you would expect from its name, there are five championship golf courses on the premises. From a romantic viewpoint, a joint lesson with a golf pro should improve your game. Of course golf is a frustrating game so it is important that you and your significant other maintain a sense of humor.
Just down the road from Palm Beach Gardens is Fort Lauderdale, which has come a long way from its “Where The Boys Are” image. Upscale hotels as the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, the Bonaventure Resort and Spa and the Pelican Grand Beach Resort have a wide array of romantic packages.
The Turnberry Isle Resort located just of the Broward County border in Aventura also has a terrific golf course, a top-notch spa and great restaurants. The one drawback is that you have to take a shuttle bus to its beach in Sunny Isles, which many of us baby boomers fondly remember as Miami Beach’s one-time Motel Row.
Downtown Miami, although not located on the Atlantic Ocean the way Miami Beach is, has quickly become a tourist destination in its own right because of its fine restaurants, museums and points of interest/neighborhoods as the Miami Seaquarium, Key Biscayne, Cape Florida, Coral Gables and Coconut Grove. The Epic Hotel is one of Miami’s top boutique hotels and it offers guest complimentary bicycles to get around town. If you want to stay in South Beach, the Epic’s sister property is the Surfcomber Hotel.
California has no shortage of romantic getaways. There is nothing like watching the sun set over the Pacific in the coastal San Diego neighborhood of La Jolla. The Grande Colonial La Jolla is a hotel on the National Historic Register and it just celebrated its centennial. A few miles east of the Grande Colonial is another great property, the Hyatt Regency La Jolla, which has terrific workout facilities, an Olympic-sized pool and a Jacuzzi. The Hyatt Regency is located right off I-5 in the University Town Center neighborhood which reminds me a lot of Queens because you can walk to restaurants and stores.
The Los Angeles seaside community of Santa Monica is also known for its sunsets and its arts community. The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica is proud of its L.A.-new age vibe as it offers yoga lessons for couples and will prepare picnic baskets if you want to enjoy a homemade bite at the world famous Santa Monica Pier or at its spectacular beach underneath.
The nearby Hotel Bel Air offers couples packages that include a multicourse dinner from Wolfgang Puck’s Restaurant while its sister property, the Beverly Hills Hotel, can make you feel like a movie star, or at least a big shot entertainment executive with a cabana at the Polo Lounge.
As I mentioned earlier, getting a bottle of wine from Napa Valley can enhance romantic ambience. A trip to the Napa region, particularly if you and your significant other are oenophiles, could truly be a romantic adventure. In addition to visiting the individual wineries, you can enjoy a wonderful dinner, sample the area’s best wines, and enjoy the scenery by taking a ride on the Napa Wine Train. You can also partake in hot air ballooning in the Napa town of Yountville. The Napa River Inn is a boutique hotel built on the grounds of an old sugar mill in downtown Napa which retains the charm and architecture of its founding in the mid 19th century.
Before aviation became readily available to the masses, Niagara Falls was the honeymoon capital of the world. The Falls are still magnificent and you still need a yellow slicker to take a ride on famous boat that takes you near it, the Maid of the Mist. Niagara Falls has plenty of inexpensive bed and breakfasts. If you want to cross over to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls you are going to need a passport and be willing to wait awhile when crossing back into the USA.
Niagara Falls is less than 20 miles from Buffalo. You should stop by New York State’s second largest city if for no other reason to shop at the many wonderful antique shops on Hertel Avenue.
Atlantic City has endured some tough times as many places have welcomed casinos including Queens. The good news is that means that the various casino hotels on its famous five-mile boardwalk are offering incredible bargain packages that include lodging, meals and entertainment. I have always been partial to the Trump Taj Mahal on the north end of the boardwalk which has always been luxurious without being ostentatious or intimidating as its overly hip neighbors, the Revel and the Borgata are.
Cruise lines have had a number of bad news stories lately such as ships having to turn back because of an outbreak of disease and a passenger falling overboard after becoming inebriated. Keep in mind that these are rare exceptions as many people who take cruises often insist that it’s the only kind of vacation that they will undertake.
Starting in April, Carnival Cruises will host a concert series called “Live!” that will bring entertainers such as Jennifer Hudson, Olivia Newton-John, Trace Adkins, and the rock groups Foreigner and Chicago on board.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Posted in Central, Eastern, North, Queenswide, South, Western, Blog on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 10:07 am. Updated: 10:13 am. | Tags: Ruben Tejada , Armitron , Leyderman , Beckett Simonon , Edmonds , Potenza , Shiseido , Sephora , Burt Bees , Neiman-marcus , Godiva , Gnosis Chocolate Comments (0)
When Dr. Robert Gucciardo first opened his chiropractic office, his mission was: to empower people to live healthy lifestyles without the use of drugs or surgery, using chiropractic, nutrition, and laser therapy.
Case in point: his patient Joan Bachert of Richmond Hill. Two years ago, Joan came into Dr. Gucciardo’s office for internal pain that stripped her away from precious life moments such as playing with her grandchildren.
Now 30 pounds lighter, pain-free and full of energy for her family, a jubilant Joan exclaims, “It’s just changed everything!”
Joan found Dr. Gucciardo after receiving several positive referrals from her friends and now, she says she’s passing on the great advice.
“Because of my results, a lot of my friends wanted to know what I was doing,” so Bachert let her friends in on her great discovery. Not only has Joan benefited from her nutrition response-testing program, she has also tried the Class IV Laser Therapy, the latest in modern technological medicine only currently offered by a handful of doctors.
The therapy itself involves the laser penetrating the surface of the skin in order to stimulate the cells and reduce inflammation and scar tissue. Describing the process as simple and pain-free, an incredibly satisfied Joan said she was happy to have chosen a highly efficient and caring doctor’s office to perform her laser treatment.
The sense of calm and trust Joan felt comes from Dr. Gucciardo’s 17 years of experience. With his highly trained and dedicated staff, Dr. Gucciardo makes it a top priority to ensure that patients are aware of which treatment options are best for them, which will include X-rays and a thorough neuromuscular examination to determine whether laser therapy is the right choice.
To date, he has seen a variety of patients, from high-school athletes to retirees, to help relieve pain associated with carpal tunnel, sprains, knee and shoulder injuries and even TMJ disorders. The technique’s wide appeal to patients is not only due to its successful results but its quick doctor’s visit as well.
“The beauty of the session is that it’s only a 4- to 7-minute procedure, but the effects are profound and last for days,” Dr. Gucciardo says.
To allow patients to receive a thorough and speedy recovery, therapy sessions are scheduled tightly together. Some mild, short-term side effects such as temporary soreness at the laser site may result due to increased blood flow to the area. But the long-term side effect? “A happy, healthier you.”
To end your search for relief and change your life like Joan did, make an appointment at Gucciardo Specific Chiropractic and Natural Health Center, located at 162-07 91 St. in Howard Beach. Visit DrGucciardo.com or call (718) 845-5902 for more information.
Add one part passionate owner, one part acclaimed international cake decorator and five parts eager students, mix well for two days and come out with a room full of edible, desirable cakes.
For Ela Juzwiszyn, owner of “Desirable cakes” in Howard Beach, it’s that intimate formula that has led to her new cake decorating business, attracting students from all over the nation.
On a frosty afternoon, students from as far as Los Angeles and as close as Long Island attend class. They say that here they are excited to learn a unique design for their skill set. The design this time comes from internationally acclaimed decorator, Sharon Wee of Australia. At the start of day one, the students simply have a wire, bowl and plain cake. By day two, all will leave with a colorful creation that looks as if milk was effortlessly being poured out of a jug by an invisible hand into a mixing bowl below.
“An instructor has to be challenging and entertaining,” said student Ursela Sultan, visiting from Texas to learn for her cake business. When Sultan first heard of this special two-day workshop six months ago, she, like many in attendance, jumped at the chance to sign up for the course.
Students come to learn as a hobby or for their cake business. Any reason is welcome for Juzwiszyn, who herself has simply always had a passion for decorating. Originally from Poland, she learned the art in London, where teachers would offer detailed instructions to make elaborate wedding cakes or delicate flowers for a baby shower cake. Once Juzwiszyn moved to New York, she found the cake decorating field lacking in sophisticated courses and decided to fill that void.
Unlike other classes she’s experienced in New York, Juzwiszyn will supply all the materials for her guests, as she understands that many will be traveling.
She makes sure that each class will be a unique experience, with past guest instructors even showing students how to make model cars, dolls and life-sized chocolate shoes.
As the students are carefully smoothing out chocolate glaze, Juzwiszyn stands by like a doting mother. She is there to ensure quality and comfort, providing lunch during breaks and refilling hot water for the chocolate when asked throughout the workday.
When students enter her pink-striped studio, perfumed with the scent of baked goods, Juzwiszyn says, they can expect to leave class with an entire, “desirable” cake to show off to their family. A key expectation from her guests? “Just come in with a smile,” she said, which she’s sure they’ll keep throughout the day.
Classes are available for all skill levels including children age 6 and up. Kids birthday parties can be arranged but all events are limited to 10 guests to ensure that proper attention is given.
Advanced classes can be one to two days, depending on the course and can range from $200 to $750. Special payment options are available via PayPal. Hours vary depending on the class, so call to book an appointment at (347) 417-4080 or log onto desirablecake.com.
The holiday season is certainly a joyous time but it can be stressful when it comes to finding a gift for the special people in your life. Here are some last-minute gift ideas that will hopefully inspire.
Electronics and technology have become the marquee items in the world of consumer goods. As is generally the case with electronics, prices have tumbled rapidly. The 52” high-definition Sony Bravia television that you paid around $2,500 four years ago is selling for a third of that at most these days. The same can be said of laptops and tablets. Lenovo’s ThinkPads, Acer’s Aspire Notebooks and Sony Vaio Ultrabooks run anywhere from $750 to $1,400. A less costly alternative is an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, which is easy to carry and extremely useful if you simply want internet access away from home.
Three-dimensional television appears to be a bust but 3-D printers such as the one developed by Dynamism is attracting attention. Instead of using paper, 3-D printers use plastic and can produce molds of objects. Those who are old enough to remember the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Park will probably recall the Sinclair Oil pavilion where you got a mold of the company’s green dinosaur logo. The bad side of these printers is that they can create replicas of very realistic toy guns.
Just as the old computer battle between Microsoft and Apple yielded those famous PC vs. Mac commercials, smartphones are divided between the Android operating system and the iPhone. Apple users prefer the latter while PC users will prefer the former. The Samsung Galaxy SIII has become the most popular Android because of its slightly larger size, which makes it easier to text and yet is still small enough to be easily carried in your pocket. Keeping portable devices well-charged is obviously important and iHome makes a variety of docking stations for cellular phones and tablets.
One of the time-honored traditions of the holiday season is mailing out greeting cards to friends and family. If you don’t have the time to buy cards, write messages in them, put on return address and stamps, and finally mail them out, an e-commerce company, www.postables.com, will handle those chores for you.
Sports fans are a fairly easy group to please. Starter, New Era, Nike and Reebok make plenty of apparel for fans of pro and college teams. Sports Illustrated has a pair of books that make for delightful presents, the “Sports Illustrated 2014 Almanac,” which can quickly settle almost any bar bet, and the coffee table-sized “Baseball’s Greatest,” which looks at the sport’s most memorable games and players. David’s Bridal has strayed quite a bit from its wedding gown beginnings and is now offering NFL beer mugs and shot glasses. When it comes to autographed athletics memorabilia no one has more merchandise than Steiner Sports.
Getting in better shape has long been the most popular New Year’s resolution. Radio Shack’s Fitbit line of products tracks activity and calorie-burning wirelessly. Gyms such as the New York Sports Club, Equinox, Crunch, and New York Health & Racquet generally have good membership deals this time of year, particularly since the economy still isn’t what it should be. There is no shortage of quality running shoes to use on the treadmill as Altra, Brooks, Reebok, New Balance, and Ryka (women only) all have comfortable footwear at a variety of price levels. A new company from Switzerland, simply named On, is attracting attention with its Cloudsurfer shoe. Everlast made a name for itself in the world of boxing equipment but it has expanded into the non-fisticuffs world as it manufactures reasonably priced warmup jackets, thermal T-shirts, and yoga pants, which are sold exclusively at Sears.
If you know both the sizes and tastes of the people for whom you are shopping, clothing is an excellent gift option. Lands End has a wide array of winter outerwear ranging from heavy coats to socks and underwear. Gap’s Twill plaid shirts and Buffalo plaid shirts are worn by men of all ages. Other retailers who have both a strong presence on the web and in traditional brick and mortar retailers and offer clothing and merchandise in almost every conceivable category are Desigual, Aeropostale, Fossil, and Paul Frank.
While it is certainly more comforting for a lot of us to buy higher-priced clothing in a familiar retail store, there are bargains to be had on the internet for savvy consumers. Beckett Simonon (www.beckettsimonon.com) makes the kind of high end men’s dress shoes that you would find at an Allen Edmonds or Johnston & Murphy store but at a third of the price. Guys and gals looking for a more casual shoe should log onto www.oceanminded.com. If you are looking for oddball clothing stocking stuffers for a guy, Dalys 1895 (www.dalys1895.com) sells pocket squares and bow ties while you can purchase small metallic rods that you can place in shirt collars to keep from wrinkling and curling up at www.swissstays.com .
Women seeking fashionable coats should check out the inventory of designer Leslie Tessler (www.leslietessler.com). Just as Harry & David has a “fruit of the month” club, a website, www.mjprojectidy.com sends a different clothing accessory every month if they subscribe to the service.
It’s hard to watch television without seeing commercials for Zales, Kay, and Jared so you know that the holiday season is crucial in the jewelry business. There is no shortage of websites that sell intriguing and inexpensive jewelry. Long Island designer Nancy Rosen has created numerous necklaces, earrings and other costume baubles that have been used by cast members of the Bravo Network’s various “Real Housewives” series. In fact her company is called Housewives Jewelry (www.housewivesjewelry.com). This year she has created a bracelet called the Vanderpump cuff in honor of Bravo’s new reality series about attractive and vapid Southern Californians. Other jewelry websites worth checking out are www.liasophia.com, www.wrenglory.com, www.charmedcircle.com, www.clarisonic.com and www.montier.com.
If you are serious about jewelry pieces that start in the four-figure range, Charles & Colvard’s Forever Brilliant line (www.foreverbrilliant.com) should capture your attention.
Watches are the most popular and functional forms of jewelry and they come in all price points. Long Island City-based Armitron, Dakota Watches, Bertucci Watches, and the granddaddy of them all, Timex, all make timepieces that look a lot more expensive than their sales price. Forest Hills High School alum Lawrence Leyderman created a company, House of Horology (www.hohwatches.com), that sells watches that have the craftsmanship of expensive brands as Tag Heuer and Movado but at half of the price. HOH has a store in SoHo.
Metallic jewelry runs the risk of tarnishing over time. Colle is a mousse that keeps your valuables looking as if you just bought them. Log onto www.colleproducts.com
Contrary to popular belief, sunglasses are just as necessary in the winter as in the summer, if not more so, because the sun’s rays are at a lower angle, which makes driving particularly difficult in the late afternoon. Safilo’s Carrera division is renowned for their classic aviator styles that make anyone look cool by wearing them. For those on a tighter budget, Polaroid, which is also now owned by Safilo, makes sunglasses with a huge choice of fashionable frames. The 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination has caused a renewed interest in all things relating to President John F. Kennedy including his Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses that he was fond of wearing. If you want to look like an athlete who just signed a multi-million dollar contract, pick up a pair of Oakley wraparounds. Zeal Optics, ICU Eyewear, Flutter, and See Saw Seen Eyewear also make affordable and stylish shades with prescription and nonprescription lenses. Shauns California makes sunglasses that resemble the kind worn by a young Robert Redford and the late Audrey Hepburn.
Cosmetics are popular gift ideas for women looking for items for other women.
Sephora has surprisingly only been manufacturing bronzes, eye shadow, brushes and lipsticks in the United States since 1998 (the company started in France in 1970), but it has quickly become known for its high quality. Well aware of consumer demand for the holiday season, Sephora is selling gift sets of its products through a line called the Sephora Collection.
May Kay Cosmetics is an iconic name in the beauty supplements business and it has just celebrated its golden anniversary.
An Australian company, NVEY has a line of organic makeup. One of its biggest fans is Aussie actress Naomi Watts. Two more moderate-priced companies, Wet N Wild and Essence, offer nail polishes and lipsticks in splashy colors aimed towards a younger consumer. For those who like the best in shampoos, try a gift set from Philip B. Botanicals or Black 15 in 1’s travel set.
Women outnumber men when it comes to purchases of skin care products but the difference in market share between the sexes is getting smaller every year. Juice Beauty’s Ageless Radiance and Obagi’s Luxe Hydrate, and Wilma Schumann European Skin Care are popular age-fighting moisturizers/skin creams/serums. Clarins and Burt’s Bees were pioneers in creating skin products aimed at the burgeoning male market while Jack Black was one of the first companies to make moisturizers and scrubs just for guys. There are a pair of new competitors in the men’s grooming market; Menaji (www.menaji.com) sells tubes of masque and face &body scrub for men while Columbia Skin Cares makes healing cream to smooth out various dermal wrinkles and cuts.
There are countless items that fall under the beauty/personal care umbrella. A social media website, www.pampadour.com, gives public critique to a lot of them. It’s as close to Consumer Reports for beauty industry as you can find.
Luggage, whether it be for a business trip, a long vacation, or a long weekend is very useful. Briggs & Riley’s Torq line is perfect for those big trips while Beckett Simonon’s Potenza is just right for the quick getaways. LXR & Company (www.lxrco.com) must have a relationship with Louis Vuitton because they sell the products of the famous French luggage and handbag company at discounted prices. Indiana’s Vera Bradley is known for its decorative and spacious light totes that can hold a lot of material.
Target’s Threshold line of home goods includes useful items as small jewelry boxes, towels, dinnerware and wine stoppers.
Wines and spirits are always popular gifts any time of the year. New Zealand has become a major exporter of pinot noir and its Nobilo Icon Pinot has a mild, easy-to-finish taste as does Oregon’s Benton-Lane. If you like a sparkling red wine from Italy, try a bottle of Ruffino Prosecco. If you are fan of Calfornia cabernet sauvignon you can’t go wrong with Woodbridge from Robert Mondavi or Sterling Vineyards cabernet sauvignon. Red wine has more cardiac benefits than white but if you like chardonnay and other whites, the Rueda region of Spain is your nirvana (www.winesofrueda.com).
For those who enjoy harder spirits, Johnnie Walker Black Label and its more expensive sibling, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, along with Macallan, Glenfiddich, Grant’s Blended, and the Balvenie, are the top names in whisky and scotch. For those who like the clear harder stuff, Bombay Sapphire East gin, Smirnoff vodka, Stolichnaya vodka, Tequila Don Julio 70, Milagro tequila, Ty Ku sake, Old Smoky Moonshine and Martini Gran Lusso vermouth should get the job done. Aficionados of liqueurs and aperitifs will enjoy Baileys Old Irish Creme (which now comes in a variety of flavors), Tequila Don Julio Reposado, Godiva liqueur, Unicum liqueur, and Cointreau.
Reference books were always my favorite holiday presents when I was growing up. I eagerly awaited the new World Almanac. Even in this internet world there is something enjoyable about turning the pages to find facts quickly. Unlike most encyclopedia companies, the World Almanac continues to thrive and the 2014 edition has just hit bookstores. Other fun reference books are “Leonard Maltin’s 2014 Movie Guide” (Plume Books) and “The 2014 Guinness Book of World Records.”
There are a trio of books that should please music fans.
Lisa Johnson’s “108 Rock Star Guitars” is a coffee table book of the “axes” used by Sting, Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, Eddie Van Halen and many others.
The 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in the United States for the first time is two months away so it is not surprising that a pair of books on how they changed the world have hit the shelves and you can be sure that more are coming. “All The Songs” (Black Dog & Leventhal) by Philippe Margotin is a scholarly tome that examines the stories behind every Beatles song that was ever released in the United States. Mark Lewisohn’s “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” (Sterling Publishing) gives all the details of who played which instruments on their recordings.
Fans of pop culture will enjoy Deborah Norville’s “The Way We Are” (CBS). The current “Inside Edition” host takes a look back at the 25-year history of what many believe to be the first national TV tabloid news show.
If you know someone who does not subscribe to HBO but has heard about their terrific original shows, you can purchase DVDs of such fare as “Eastbound and Down,” “Game of Thrones,” “Girls” and “Boardwalk Empire” for them.
Discovering or rediscovering New York City can be a gift in its own right. CityPASS and New York Pass are competing companies that make booklets and cards that allow you to see a virtually limitless number of museums and other attractions for one low fixed price. The catch is that you have to do it in a number of consecutive days so you may want to use these passes when the weather warms up.
A great way to discover New York’s spectacular waterways is to take a dinner cruise on either World Yacht or Spirit Cruises. Both have their berths on the Hudson River. World Yacht is located near the end of 42nd Street while Spirit is a mile south at Chelsea Piers.
If you still need more reference information, you can always go to such old reliable websites as www.amazon.com, www.qvc.com, www.hsn.com and www.ideeli.com.
Happy holidays to all!
The Exit Realty Central office at 133-07 Cross Bay Blvd. is quiet at 10 a.m. on a rainy Monday morning. The new workweek has not yet kicked into full gear.
But it will.
The staff of 55 is just starting another busy week in the fast-paced New York real estate market, showing housing, closing sales and helping people find the perfect place to live or realize their dream of owning their own home.
It’s been 10 years since then-newlyweds John Rodriguez and Martiza Ortiz-Rodriguez opened the doors of Exit Realty Central for the first time. Then they had only a handful of employees, but today their staff allows them to branch out far beyond Ozone Park, selling homes from Downtown Brooklyn to Suffolk County.
Rodriguez said what has helped them succeed is the model provided to them by Exit Realty, a Canada-based franchise chain.
“Before opening Exit, I was with small mom-and-pop offices,” he said. “I was looking for a better system that is good for the broker, the agent and the business itself.”
Through a friend, Rodriguez was introduced to Exit and its concept, in which management shares the responsibility for recruiting business with the agents.
“I knew this was the right place to be,” he said.
The real estate roller coaster of the last year was a “struggle,” Rodriguez said, but the company made sure it had the support it needed to survive.
“It was the hardest time to support keeping the business open,” Rodriguez said. “The income that the Exit system provides helped us through that.”
Ortiz-Rodriguez said regional management keeps in close contact with her and her husband to make sure they have all the resources they need to succeed.
Her husband added that several agents sit on boards of organizations like MLS that help the real estate industry and several political action committees that lobby politicians.
Exit Realty Central doesn’t only sell homes, but also works with those who seek to rent as well.
In the next decade, Rodriguez said he hopes to move the office to a paperless system and bring in new talent.
“Our growth is going to be helping the agents that we have and bringing in new agents,” he said. “It’s getting to the point where agents are beginning to call us. Our market share is getting higher.”
The Rodriguezes are a neighborhood family. They live in Ozone Park and their three children, ages 10, 8 and 5, attend St. Mary Gate of Heaven School.
Ortiz-Rodriguez said the realty also does community outreach, including workshops to help people understand the process of buying a home.
“We try to educate the buyers out there,” she said. “It’s their dream come true and we want this. It makes us happy to help them realize that.”
After Hurricane Sandy, Exit Realty Central had a binder full of apartments for rent that helped dozens of families in devastated areas such as Howard Beach and the Rockaways find temporary housing.
“We were able to help so many families on a temporary basis and helped give them a place to stay while they got their houses together,” Ortiz-Rodriguez said. “We were very happy we were able to help during that time.”
For an instant look into how pleased clients are at Hair Spray, all you need to do is glance at Monica Cuadros’ Instagram account, Hairbymonicaa. “Beautiful,” “Love it” and “Looks so good,” read some of the compliments.
At 25, the dynamic hairstylist is just one of the creative family members who have made Hair Spray a salon staple in Ozone Park for the past 10 years.
Monica attributes her passion for styling to her mother, Emma Cuadros. Before 2003, Emma was simply living out her own passion for styling hair as a recreational activity at the request of enthusiastic friends. Emma originally learned from her own mother and relatives while growing up in the Dominican Republic.
She then came to the United States and met Carlos, her future husband and business partner, who would help establish Hair Spray at 98-17 101 Ave. in 2003. In a testament to their growing popularity in the community, they expanded with the opening of Brush just down the road at 89-01 101 Ave. in 2010.
Emma works seven days a week to ensure that every visitor gets quality care. “You’re going to be happy when you leave,” said Emma, who has more than 10 years of experience to back that claim up.
Despite the standard scheduled 10 a.m. start to the day, Emma has been known to open her doors hours earlier should a wedding party be in need. In keeping with the festive nature of the salon’s namesake, the hit Broadway musical, visitors were treated to an anniversary celebration in November, with music, treats and $20 blowouts as the salon staff worked all day for their customers.
“It’s like family there,” said Carlos, recalling that although the styling stopped at 7 p.m., closing time, the party went on for two more hours, with a room packed with customers.
The family largely attributes the salon’s success through the years through word-of-mouth recommendation. Their reputation has garnered clients throughout the five boroughs, as well as Upstate New York and even some from Florida, who, Monica said, often come once a month to get their hair done.
For the salon, quality is the top priority for customers and each stylist will make sure to suggest the best haircut suited for a client. If it’s a shiny updo for a prom or a simple “brush” and “spray,” the stylists will make sure that every style is worth a photo share and a “love it” comment.
Hair Spray offers styling options for all types of hair for men, women and children. In addition to hair styling, Brush also offers nail care.
Both salons are open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on Hair Spray call (718) 835-6242 and for Brush call (718) 489-1373.
Six hundred thousand people a year die due to the complications of varicose veins. Varicose veins, venous insufficiency and leg pain are not just a cosmetic problem, which many people may think, but can be a serious medical condition, that can lead to life-threatening complications. Left untreated, these clots can travel through the bloodstream and lodge near the heart or lungs, causing potentially life-threatening health problems.
At USA Vein Clinics they can help you eliminate painful, unsightly varicose veins, skin changes, symptoms like swollen and achy legs or even ulcers with Laser Therapy (EVLT).
Advantages of Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT):
• Relief of symptoms and leg pain;
• Short procedure (15 minutes);
• No surgery;
• No down time;
• No general anesthesia — they use local anesthetic;
• No hospitalization required. The procedure is performed at their clinic;
• Resumption of normal activities right away, you can work the same day;
• Covered by Medicare and most insurance plans.
Do not postpone treatment
Varicose veins can start out as a seemingly small problem, but left untreated, can become much more serious. Complications of varicose veins may include ulcers. These may form on the skin near the affected veins, particularly near the ankles. They are caused by fluid buildup in the dysfunctional veins, and can be extremely painful.
If you have already decided you’d like to receive vein treatments or would like to get a diagnosis, simply schedule an appointment with USA Vein Clinics today by calling (888) 768-3467 or visit its website at USAVeinClinics.com. The Queens office is located at 116-02 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills.
— Advertorial —
Twist and Smash’d, a new fast casual restaurant, opened its doors at 72-06 Austin St. in Forest Hills on Black Friday, Nov. 29.
Twist and Smash’d was created by chef Robert Cano and his daughters while on a family vacation to Ecuador in 2010. There they found a small cafÈ that sold twisted potatoes. Enchanted by the idea of a potato on a stick, they brought it back to New York, and Twist and Smash’d was born.
Twist and Smash’d offers a variety of “smash’d specialities” including its Chicken and Waffles and its Italian burger. Each burger is prepared with 100 percent premium natural black angus beef. Short rib, chicken and veggie options are also available. Early-morning breakfast is also available, in addition to the lunch, dinner and late-night menu.
The twisted potato is a unique spin on traditional french fries. Twist and Smash’d uses state-of-the-art equipment that turns any size potato into a twisted potato on a stick. After a quick dip in the fryer, the twisted potatoes can be topped with any choice of seasoning — salt, cheddar, chipotle, lemon pepper and more. Specialty drinks are also available to accompany any meal, including strawberry lemonade and mango iced tea.
Its fun and inviting atmosphere will make Twist and Smash’d a great new hotspot in Forest Hills, an area full of fantastic restaurants, some named the best in Queens. Like the food, the environment is unique. The inside is decorated with lots of orange and a wall with five boards that stretch along the interior, featuring the menu and a life-size picture of the restaurant’s specialty, the twisted potato. Customers have the option to grab and go, dine inside or eat outside on the outdoor patio.
Twist and Smash’d also is committed to green practices. The kitchen was built with EnergyStar-rated products, plus composting is part of the daily routine and eco-friendly packaging is used.
“We are ecstatic to bring Twist and Smash’d to Forest Hills,” said Brianna and Robert Cano, the eatery’s owners. “This area is the perfect backdrop for our first location, and we think this neighborhood and those visiting will enjoy this new restaurant.”
Twist and Smash’d is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant can be reached at (718) 937-6622, and more information about it is available online at twistandsmashd.com.
The holidays and all the special occasions they bring are fast approaching, and you want to look your absolute best for all the festivities. But sometimes just wearing a new outfit, suit or sparkly piece of jewelry doesn’t cut it when you look in the mirror. Sometimes, you need a bit more to really make yourself shine! That’s where Dolce Aesthetics NY in Glendale can help.
Dolce owner Jennifer DiLandro knows how you feel, and she has the experience and knowledge that can transform the way you look by erasing years of lines from your face without surgery. She holds a master’s degree in nursing and spent many years as a surgical nurse beside some of New York’s top cosmetic surgeons, where her desire to work with dermal fillers was born.
DiLandro has been injecting dermal fillers and transforming the lives of thousands of patients for over eight years. She is proud of her work as “one of the best injectors in New York,” but is proudest when her clients tell her that her work has improved and transformed their lives because of the boost to their levels of confidence after their treatments.
DiLandro related recently how one of her clients, a 40-year-old recent divorcee, came to Dolce with her head low and her spirits lower. She felt invisible and unnoticeable. With each treatment, her spirits lifted, her attitude became buoyant and she became much more outgoing and talkative. And now, after her treatments at Dolce and the boost in her confidence level that they gave her, she can’t thank Jennifer enough for the many compliments she has been receiving from friends, family and even total strangers!
Dolce Aesthetics, which DiLandro opened a year ago, offers many other products and services in addition to dermal fillers, such as Botox, JuvÈderm, Belotero and Radiesse. It also offers facials, chemical peels, vein therapy, eyelash extensions and so very much more!
Consultations are free, so when you need a little extra pampering or that “little something extra,” just call Dolce Aesthetics and DiLandro will make sure that you get it!
The office is conveniently located at 87-47 Myrtle Ave. — just a few blocks off Woodhaven Boulevard — and can be reached by calling (718) 365-2369.