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Chris Covington

About Chris Covington

The Editor-in-Chief of Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine is Chris Covington. Chris is an analytical chemist by training with a love of fitness, healthy cooking, and all things beauty! As a lifelong runner and weight trainer, she incorporates exercise and healthy eating into her daily life. As a skin cancer patient she has a special inquisitiveness for skin health and a desire to share her experiences and knowledge with her readers. Outside of RLE, Chris an alumna of Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority and is a member of the Junior League. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children. Chris enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, biking, and the amazing landscape of Northern California.

I Love the Way You Snack!

Chris Covington | Editor in Chief | Red Letter Everyday eMagazine | 5-28-2015 | Disclaimer | Photos by Red Letter Everyday eMagazine

A healthy and timely snack is a key element to good health! Why? Well, when my stomach growls, it is telling me it is time to eat – that it needs fuel! So I give my body 100-200 calories of good food to get me to lunch or dinner. If I ignore it, well, that doesn’t mean I’m not hungry anymore. It means that my body goes into survival mode and begins breaking down muscle to fuel my body. In my house we call this self-cannibalism. Ewww!

My body works best when it is fueled with clean healthy food. So I eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up and then every 3 hours throughout the day until about 7:00 in the evening. Generally, I have three meals with good protein and low/no processed carbs and two to three snacks. This sustained fuel keeps me going after long-runs, heavy weights, chasing two kids around, volunteering and working.

Some of my favorites are:

1/4 almonds

1 cup of strawberries with a bit of whipped cream

IMG_50361/2 cup of watermelon with a touch of chili pepper sprinkled on top

one sliced apple with cinnamon sprinkled on top

celery and carrots with a yogurt dill dressing

celery and fresh almond butter



hard boiled egg

kiwi fruit

smoked salmon on cucumber

homemade sweet potato hummus with cucumber and peppers

The combinations are endless… thank goodness. And I’m heading my kids down this path too. Their favorites are the apples with straight cinnamon and hard boiled eggs. (Have you mastered the quick peel technique using a mason jar?)

Keeping natures fast food on hand, clean, portioned out and ready to eat will keep your body fueled and healthy! What’s your favorite healthy snack?

IMG_4906IMG_5053 IMG_5034


Retinoids facilitate

Retinoids – A Wrinkle in Time – Delayed!

Retinoids – A Wrinkle in Time – Delayed! If Botox is the gold standard for non-invasive cosmetic injections, then retinoids are the gold standard for topical treatments. Retinoids are the most researched cosmetic … EVER… and the only topical clinically proven to reduce wrinkles and reduce sun damage in study after study.

Retinoids facilitate cell turnover or exfoliation, and they help to prevent collagen breakdown. But they also do so much more. Retinoids are helpful in treating acne, removing discoloration on the skin, eliminating previous sun damage, treating psoriasis, and disrupting warts. This wonder drug also helps other drugs work better. Studies have shown that retinoids help minoxidil work better to grow hair and prolong the anagen phase.

Retinoids are a derivative of vitamin A. There are over the counter formulations which are called retinols and prescription versions called retinoic acid or tretinoin. They come in varying strength. Prescription versions can also come in combination with other drugs like topical antibiotics. These topicals generally come in creams or gels.

Simple, to the point, and effective for reducing surface wrinkles.

The key is consistent and appropriate use each evening followed by sunscreen every morning. You will see result pretty quickly, but the results are maintained with regular use. More is not always better and with retinoids, this is the case. You’ll want to use it as prescribed or as directed on the label or the product may cause unwanted and unnecessary minor side effects.

With some of the stronger versions of retinoids, you might notice some flaking, redness, sensitivity, initial-use-breakout, or other irritation. Always talk with your dermatologist if you are having any issues.

Here are some tips to help you get started if you are considering or are new to using a retinoid:

  • Start using a retinoid in your 20’s. Retinoids can slow the signs of aging. Paired with a great sunscreen, you keep years off your skin by starting early.
  • Start slowly by using the product one night and skipping two nights for 1-3 weeks, then go to every other night for a few weeks. Always evaluate your skin irritation level before moving forward. Give your skin time to adjust. Allowing this adjustment time will help to eliminate any side effects and the initial-use-breakout that often occurs in acne users.
  • At night, gently wash your face with tepid water. Pat dry and allow to air dry for 5-10 minutes. Then apply the retinoid. Allow the retinoid to dry, about 5 minutes, and gently apply a moisturizer.
  • Generally, you’ll be using a pea-sized dose of the gel or cream. Dot it all over your face and then quickly and gently rub it in. Be careful to avoid exposure on your lips, corners of your mouth, and corners of your nose and eye lids. The skin in these areas maybe hyper-sensitive to the retinoid. You may expose your under eye with the retinoid, but not too close to the eye and light on the amount at first. See how your skin responds and adjust.
  • Only use your retinoid at night and at a maximum of once per day.
  • Using a retinoid means you have you use sunscreen – every day, rain, snow or shine – and limit sun (and need I say tanning bed) exposure. Using any concentration of retinoids makes you photo-sensitive. Wearing a 30+ sunscreen on the dosed areas is a must. If not, you may burn or see an increase in sun (age) spots, which defeats the purpose of using the retinoid. Using the retinoid at night lowers the photo sensitivity but does not eliminate it.
  • You may also want to start with a less concentrated retinoid and then condition your skin over time to use stronger versions to obtain the results you are seeking. Using a less concentrated version will get you results; they will just take more time to observe.
  • You will want to stop using any abrasive exfoliator, AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) products, vitamin C products, or other exfoliating products until you know how your skin will adjust. Then add them back in slowly, one at a time, with intention. Look carefully at your product labels to make sure other exfoliants are off the ingredient lists (for now).

As your skin adjusts:

  • You and your doctor may want to change the concentration of your retinoid to a higher level. Again, with any new medication, take it slow at first and then increase the frequency of use as your skin acclimates.
  • You might want to try adding an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) exfoliating cream. This will enhance the effects of the retinoid. You can use the exfoliator in the morning or before applying the retinoid, followed by a moisturizer, at night. Let each layer dry for about 5-15 minutes before applying the next layer so that the topical has time to work properly.

Beyond a prescription from your dermatologist, here are the OTC retinoids RLE recommends:

  • RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream ($30)
  • Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA Night ($45)
  • SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 or 1.0 ($60)
  • Philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Retinoid Pads and Solution ($70)
  • Retinol 1.0 Crème Advanced Formula+ ($30)

But what do retinoids NOT do? A retinoid will not affect wrinkles caused by your facial muscular infrastructure. This is where an injectable like Botox is useful in controlling the wrinkles caused by facial muscles.

I’ve been using retinoic acid on and off since I was in high school to control acne. It remains a staple in my skin care arsenal. I’ve been using Ziana (clindamycin 1.2% and tretinoin 0.025%) for about two years now. The gel addresses acne issues and as a side effect helps with wrinkle elimination – but doesn’t make me flakey where applied. I’ve used stronger versions of tretinoin in the past, but found that I could not wear make up with the flaking. Since I have conditioned my skin to the topical, I added an AHA cream in the morning and again saw a positive shift in results. My dermatologist and I will be looking at a higher concentration (maybe 0.05% tretinoin) at my next visit. Again, talk with your dermatologist to see what product is right for you.

Use a retinoid and keep that wrinkle in time further down the road!

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 02/05/2013

health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/slideshows/9-top-cosmetic-treatments-for-aging-skin/2; 9 Top Cosmetic Treatments for Aging Skin; by January W. Payne

EltaMD Sunscreen


Eltamd UV Clear SPF 46, 48-Gram

Sunscreen should be a daily part of your life starting now, today, and from here on out, rain or shine. Just a few years ago, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. And it has been my constant companion. When I was in my early 20’s, I worked outside and on the beach. I loved it: the sun, the surf, the water, the wind. Even today, the smell of the beach unlocks so many wonderful memories. But 15 years later, I learned the sun didn’t love my Irish skin.

Science has determined how we age, and both the sun and our genetics have large roles to play. Your genetics cannot be changed, but how you manage the sun can. Each day, you need to block both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays give you the sunburn, and UVB rays give you long-term damage.

Photoaging is the aging by the sun, and many of the effects can be avoided. The skin is made of five layers: stratum basale, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum licidum, and stratum corneum. The dermis or middle layers contain special cells and fibers that breakdown with continued exposure to the sun. The continual breakdown of these essential cells and fibers cause aging of the skin in the form of wrinkles, brown age spots, loss of firmness, etc…

The best way to combat photoaging is through prevention.  Daily application of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to vulnerable areas can help prevent photoaging and reverse some of the signs you of aging.  Reducing your exposure to UV radiation will also lower your risk of developing skin cancer.

I’ve been using EltaMD Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen at the recommendation of my dermatologist. And I have not been disappointed. In conjunction with other products, my brown spots have lessened, and I have not had even the slightest sunburn in over 5 years.

What I like most about EltaMD is the 9% micronized Zinc Oxide and Niacinamide (vitamin B3). The micronized Zinc Oxide blends into the skin quickly without leaving white streaks as non-micronized versions often do. I wear contacts and run almost every day, and this sunscreen doesn’t bother my eyes even when I’m running. You can wear it under make up or alone. I often mix it with a drop of my foundation for a bit of coverage on a low-make up day. Noncomedogenic, paraben-free, fragrance-free and sensitivity-free – it fits the bill for great sun protection.

I’m usually pretty fair year round now – and I will take that every day if it prevents me from having future battles with skin cancer.

So enjoy the sun, but do it with the right preventive protection – 30+ UVA/UVB broad-spectrum sunscreen! Reapply as instructed on the package.

Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Chris Covington | Editor-in-Chief | Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine | 3/25/2013


Botox and Her New Friends…

Medical Bottle and Syringe

Medical Bottle and Syringe

In the past 30 years, the cosmetic industry has exploded. But what is truly worth your time and money and what is a wasted effort has become less clear. Hands down, the number one cosmetic breakthrough that works is Botox. Scientists, doctors and patients agree.  In 2012, there were nearly 3 million Botox patients in the US alone – both women and men.

What does Botox do?

Botox is a neuromuscular paralytic agent that has been in use since 1989 with clinical trials that began in 2002. From a cosmetic perspective, it is an effective injectable of a botulinum toxin used to temporarily stop the contraction of muscles around the eyes and brow to reduce or eliminate moderate to severe wrinkles. Botox has little to no down time, is non-evasive, is reliable and has few side effects. There are other cosmetic and medical uses for Botox from treating patients with excessive sweating to migraines, and eye and neck spasms.

What can you expect at the doctor’s office?

When you visit your doctor, she will examine your face and discuss with you the type of results you are looking to achieve. She should take pictures, discuss your health and medical history, show you what her treatment plan is, and discuss potential side effects and costs. Botox is considered cosmetic and is generally not covered by insurance.

When you return for treatment, she will mark your face exactly where she plans to place the small injections based on your treatment plan. The injections are therapeutic levels of Botox. They sting for an instant. The whole process takes about 20 minutes – and that’s it. You should be asked to make a follow up appointment for a few weeks following your injections.

Over the next few days, the Botox will begin to take effect, reducing the ability of the treated muscles to contract, thereby eliminating wrinkles. You won’t notice the difference, except when you look in the mirror. The treatment lasts 3-5 months. Some patients who consistently use Botox for several years, find that the effect lengthens. A clinical study using twins showed that women who used Botox in their mid-to late 20’s were likely to have less severe wrinkling as they aged.

But there are some clear rules any patient needs to follow. Botox should only be administered by a trained doctor or trained nurse who is under the supervision of a trained doctor. In general, your dermatologist, plastic surgeon or ocular plastic surgeon that has been trained and is experienced with Botox or specific injectables should be allowed to treat you. The results could be disastrous otherwise. Make sure you understand what the potential side effects or unwanted effects could be and how to avoid them, if possible. Don’t over treat: a conservative approach produces natural effects. Don’t participate in Botox parties. (You wouldn’t go to an annual exam party.) Communicate your medical condition and any medications/supplements you are taking to your doctor. As with any treatment, follow your doctor’s instructions and keep that follow up appointment.

What are the potential side effects?

Despite being one of the most tested and safest cosmetic therapies on the market, Botox may have some side effects. They depend on your individual health circumstances: allergic reaction; muscle strength, swallowing and breathing weakening; viral exposure; and drooping eye. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. Minor side effects include: pain at the injection site, headaches, bruising, swelling and bleeding. They usually subside in a few hours or days.

Can anything enhance the effects of Botox?

Recently, OCuSOFT made its Zytaze supplement OTC. Zytaze is a Zinc supplement that improves the effects and duration of Botox, if taken prior to Botox treatments. Botox requires a Zinc molecule to effectively work and Zytaze provides just the right type of molecule to give Botox a boost.

Are there other options to Botox?

Yes, but they are similar to Botox as a botulinum toxin. Dysport is the new challenger to Botox with potentially longer lasting effects. And Xeomin is a new player in the market. Each of these options has tremendous medical research and decades of use at medical levels and some at cosmetic levels.

Currently, a round of Botox injections costs $300-$500, but with increased players in the field, this gold standard in cosmetic treatment could become much more affordable through competition.

In the end, if you are thinking about an injectable, talk with your doctor about which one is right for you and meets your risk tolerance, effectiveness, longevity and cost requirements. Also discuss, what can be done to enhance the effects and minimize side effects.

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 01/05/2013

Dr. Zaid Alkhouli, www.dr-alkhouli.com

Photo Source:
Image by antpkr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Date with (and for) the Girls!

Breast X-rayFriends can tease you for your greatest faults, but funny how they

always pick you up when it counts the most. Over the past few months, I’ve had a sorority sister battling breast cancer. She was so inspirational to all of us who knew her and to those sisters who were fortunate enough to get to know her through her journey. While she thinks we were supporting her – it was actually she who was inspiring us. And she has no idea! Now that her battle is won, she is thankfully moving forward with her life and her family, but her inspiration still lingers in our hearts.

Annually, nearly 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the United States alone. Nearly 41,000 people in the US, both men and women, will lose their battle each year.

This past week two sisters decided to take honoring our cancer conquering sister to a whole new level by meeting for lunch, mammograms and pedicures. Sounds like fun! And they added a twist: they invited everyone to join in. We live all over the US 20 years after college – from Cape Charles to San Francisco to Tampa to Chicago. Over the next month, chapter sisters from multiple generations agreed to make that appointment and keep it – we committed to getting mammograms.

And I think I might grab a friend or two of mine here in San Francisco to share the inspiration of the woman who “Fought like a girl – and won!”

So make a Date with (and for) the Girls! Your sisters, friends, family – everyone who loves you is counting on you for this important date!

And no matter the conversations in the medical community, don’t wait to go. Discussion is great for pushing doctors and researchers to make good decisions for improved detection and treatment. It is not meant to delay diagnosis.

We need to talk about breast cancer more across the world, across cultures, across religions… for women! We need to act for ourselves and each other and get mammograms!

To learn more about mammograms, talk to your doctor.

You can also visit these sites for information:
Brief videos to help you learn more:

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 1/31/2013

Photo Source:
Image by Somkiat Fakmee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

spaghetti and meatballs

Meatless Sauce with Spaghetti

After seeing the post on spaghetti and meatballs, reader Michelle Messner shared one of her favorite clean recipes with RLE from Family Circle Magazine. This slow cooker version is quick to assemble and meatless but has a great protein source through the soy crumbles. This recipe makes 8 servings at 279 calories each and only 1g of fat. Just swap the pasta for a whole-grain, high-protein version to increase the nutritional value.


  • 1 large green pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 28 ounce cans whole plum tomatoes in puree
  • 1 12 ounce package soy crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces uncooked whole-grain, high-protein spaghetti, broken into thirds
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley


  1. Stir together pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes, soy crumbles, vinegar, dried basil, sugar and salt in slow cooker, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 hours or on LOW for 5 hours.
  2. Stir in spaghetti, 1 cup boiling water, fresh basil and parsley and cover; cook for another hour or until pasta is tender.

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 1/16/2013

Source: http://www.familycircle.com/recipe/pasta/hearty-meatless-sauce/, with alterations.

Furterer’s Karite Nourishing Oil for Hair

Rene Furterer’s Karite Nourishing Oil for Hair

Having damaged hair is not fun. After one over-processing incident almost two years ago, I have finally reached a point where my hair is officially in good shape with only the bottom three inches needing extra care.

For the past year, I have been using Rene Furterer’s Karite Nourishing Oil for Hair. My colorist and stylist thought it would work well to help alleviate the symptoms of damaged hair, and it has. I started using it twice a week leaving it in for 15 minutes before washing. With my ends still suffering, my stylist suggested that I try spraying just a little bit into my hand and working it through the bottom 1/3 of my hair after washing and then style normally. I’ve taken his advice and wow has it made a difference in how the ends look and feel. I have fine hair, but quite a bit of it. Karite leaves it soft with no fly-aways without feeling greasy or heavy. And a little goes a long way.

With shea, a variety of lipids, fatty acids and ceramides, Karite helps to protect and temporarily repair damaged hair. www.renefurtererusa.com/product/karite/intense-nourishing-oil

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 2/20/2013

Hair Thickeners

May 24, 2013
Looking for the best hair thickeners

Hair Thickeners

Looking for the best hair thickeners on the market? If you have fine or thin strands of hair, we have options for you! Many thickeners leave hair sticky, but there have been some great scientific advances for this product niche in the past few years. The new era of thickeners provide various solutions for users who have noticed that their strands of hair have become thinner. Thinner strands are more likely to be damaged and break. So it is time to keep your hair in better shape and make the most of what you have!

Here are the top three:

Living Proof Full Thickening Cream uses poly beta amino ester-1 which coats the hair, placing “thickening dots” along each strand of hair. This allows fine or flat hair to mimic fuller hair by separating the strands. A small amount goes a long way. It can be used on wet or dry hair, but does blend better with wet hair. LP products are developed at MIT’s Langer Lab, so there is pretty strong science here. The product has immediate effect. ($26)

Pantene Expert Collection Age Defy Advanced Thickening Treatment uses silicon polymers, acrylate polymer, caffeine, niacinamide, and panthenol to permeate and coat the cuticle, thickening the hair strand. With continued use, hair continues to improve. It takes about 3-4 weeks to see results. Clinical testing was conducted and is published in the British Journal of Dermatology.($20)

Fiberceutic is a salon product and uses it a proprietary ingredient, Intra-Cylane, to plump and coat the hair. L’Oreal, the elite hair care company, has put its scientific resources behind this line of products. The product works immediately and with continued use, results are maintained. ($29)

Here’s to thicker hair!

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 01/04/2013

Onesta Hairspray

May 24, 2013
Onesta Hair Spray

Onesta Hairspray

Hairspray is a key part of keeping my hair styled. Who wants to spend ½ hour styling her hair only to have it … flop!

I’m always looking for new products and have tried so many hair sprays. Most sprays either give me helmet head (ewww!) or only hold my hair for a few minutes (grrrr!).

I went into my go-to-salon-product shop – Bay Beauty here in San Francisco – to find some new options. Organic is a natural fit for me; I love that there are plant-based options available. The rep was great in hearing my product filters and introduced me to Onesta, an organic product line. I opted to try the hair spray – and well, the rest is history. This is a great product!

Onesta hair spray “provides volume, flexibility, and long-lasting hold,” all while being humidity-resistant.” In fog-city, I can definitely say we have humidity 24/7. After drying, it was not sticky, and it held my style most of the day – far longer than most hair sprays – without ANY helmet head! Yeah!

The ingredients include “milk thistle: a powerful antioxidant; provides protection against UVB-induced photo damage; green tea: neutralizes free radicals; reduces sun damage and photo aging caused by UVA and UVB exposure; a rich source of Vitamins C and E; soothes stressed hair; and rhatany root (originates from the American Central Andes) providing natural UV ray absorption.”

Oh and did I mention that the spray can is made of 30% post consumer steel and is 100% recyclable. They also use a 100% natural fragrance! How good it that?

Let us know what you think!

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 3/09/2013


Vinegar Hair Rinse

Vinegar Hair Rinse:

Have you converted to washing your hair less? When I last went in for a cut, Mick, one of my hair stylists, recommended an occasional vinegar rinse. He said it would add shine and remove excess oil and dirt without stripping my hair and scalp. Peeking my curiosity, I decided to look into this technique.

Vinegar has been used as a cleaning agent for everything from hair to windows for centuries. Recently, it has become a staple for people who do not want to use shampoo and conditioner on a daily basis. Well, remember the Dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding spraying Windex everywhere for everything? I bet that Windex had vinegar in it. Maybe he was on to something after all.

Immediately, I asked, “What are the benefits of a vinegar rinse for your hair?” Well, from doing some research, there seem to be a number of advantages to using a vinegar (acetic acid) solution on your hair. It can help rinse away product, oils and environmental build-up – enhancing your natural shine. Vinegar closes the hair cuticle allowing the shaft to lay flat and increase the hair’s ability to reflect light. The acidic solution also restores hair’s natural pH balance by taking hair from a basic pH because of the oils and dirt. The pH for 5% white vinegar is 3.5, and apple cider vinegar has a pH of about 5.00 for a 5% solution. Many users grab the apple cider version because it is less acidic.

The vinegar is also used as detangler for hair and a gentle exfoliatant for the scalp. The exfoliating helps to control dandruff. Vinegar also helps manage yeast problems on the skin through its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.

On the down side, over use of diluted vinegar or use of undiluted vinegar may damage the hair because of its acidic properties. As a drying agent, you will want to consider infrequently using a highly diluted version if you have damaged or fine hair. Additionally, people with color-treated hair should speak with their colorist for advice before using the solution as the vinegar can strip away the color. Once you get the OK, infrequently use a diluted version.

While the vinegar may make hair shiny, it isn’t conditioning the hair. A humectant or emollient of some type or the natural sebum or lipids would be required to draw moisture into the hair. Closing the cuticle can assist with reducing abrasion between the hair strands and breakage potential, but remember vinegar is also a drying agent. The real heavy hitter in this area is a good conditioner. Please be sure to use one following a vinegar rinse.

Users also indicate a “salad” smell while their hair is wet after use, but there are products on the market that have mastered that issue with essential oils. And a diluted version produces less of the smell. Be sure to rinse your hair two or three times in the shower to help mitigate the odor. If you choose to leave a diluted version on your hair, the smell will linger for several days.

Web and print articles also push information that one should use vinegar to halt hair loss. I question the science behind this statement because vinegar doesn’t contain any hair growth agents like Minoxidil. Where I can see it playing a role is helping the scalp environment be freshly exfoliated and ready for new hair growth or ready to accept a topical that helps hair grow. As an acid solution, if you have cuts or sores on your scalp (or any other open skin the rinse contacts), you will instantly know where they are when you apply the rinse.

How often you use the vinegar rinse really depends on your hair type and condition. Unfortunately, I was hoping to use it in between shampooing, but with fine, color-treated hair, I will have to stick to once every couple of weeks to remove product build up. However, if you have pretty healthy hair that is thicker and not color treated, you can probably use it once a week.

There are many DIY recipes and commercial products available. But let’s face it vinegar is vinegar. The natural chemical structure can’t vary. Only the extras – like “salad” smell reduction or conditioners make a difference. The price range is from $1 to about $20 per bottle. Here’s what my research came up with:

  • one small bottle of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (name or store brand – it is all the same) – $1 at the grocery store
  • John Masters Herbal Cider Hair Clarifier and Color Sealer www.johnmasters.com/hc.htm
  • Rene Furterer Clarify and Shine Rinse www.renefurtererusa.com/product/fioravanti/clarify-and-shine-rinse
  • Klorane Clarify for Blondes www.kloraneusa.com/HairCare/Blond-hair/Clarify-shine-rinse-with-chamomile.htm
  • Wiseways Golden Vinegar Rinse or  Wiseways Raven Vinegar Rinse www.wiseways.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=WH&Product_Code=ACVG&Category_Code=NHC or www.wiseways.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=WH&Product_Code=ACVR&Category_Code=NHC
  • Art FireHerbal Vinegar Rinse (available for all hair colors: dark, blonde, red) www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/pigeoncreeksoaps/2092732/herbal_vinegar_hair_rinse_natural_hair_product/handmade/bath___beauty/hair/rinses

If you want to DIY, here are some scalable recipe combinations to start with, adjusting up and down with the dilution to meet your personal needs. You may use apple cider, white or some other type of vinegar that is a 5% concentration:

  • 50/50 mixture – 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar to 2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 4 cups of water

The online products are infused with herbs or essential oils or the vinegar is another fruit base, like cherries, which mitigates the “salad” smell potential. Infusing your DIY mixture with a fresh herb helps eliminate the vinegar smell. Start by boiling the water, add the herb (lavender, rosemary, rose etc…), and let it steep until cool. Strain out the herb, add the vinegar, and it is ready to use. Adding a drop or two of your favorite essential oil is another good option.

In the end, everyone’s hair is quite different, so will the results be. You may need to look at different products/recipes with different concentrations of vinegar to affect your hair appropriately. If you have hard or soft water, you will need to adjust the vinegar concentration. Your or someone else’s results are not wrong, they are just right for the hair type and condition, water used for cleaning hair, and concentration and frequency of use of the vinegar solution.

I’ve started on the diluted vinegar route once a month on an off shampoo day. I prepared a 2 tablespoon and 2 cups of water solution in a small plastic bottle. I saturated my hair and scalp with the solution, letting it soak in my hair for about a minute and then rinsed it out three times. My hair did not feel stripped as I rinsed it. I did not shampoo my hair. I followed with an organic conditioner that I combed through and then a leave-in conditioner, as my hair is fine and color-treated. My hair was slightly “salad” smelling, but the smell completely dissipated after I dried my hair. My hair styled very nicely and looked great all day.

Let me know your results!

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 12/24/2012

The History of Shampoo: A Culmination of Personal Cleanliness, 7/19/2008, www.randomhistory.com
“Is Vinegar Good for Your Hair?” Jay P. Whickson, eHow Contributor, www.eHow.com
“How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Beautify Hair and Skin” 09/29/2012, Kirsten Hudson, www. huffingtonpost.com
“No Poo: Get Beautiful Hair with Just Baking Soda and Vinegar” 9/29/2012, Becky Striepe, www.care2.com
“Question: Why are People Washing Their Hair with Baking Soda and Rinsing with Vinegar?” 03/07/2012, Susan Barclay-Nichols, http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com
“What Are the Dangers of Putting Vinegar on Your Hair?” Melanie Greenwood, eHow Contributor, www.eHow.com

New York Fashion Week wowed us with some great new looks! Love the DNKY and Carolina Herrera prints for day and night. But the Downton Abbey inspired silhouette by Tory Burch captured my heart – and I hope yours too! Love the really retro!

Did you miss a show? Then head to http://www.mbfashionweek.com/home for pics and video.

Here is tomorrow’s schedule:

February 12
9:30-10:30AM J.CREW at STUDIO
9:30-10:30AM STEVEN ALAN at BOX

1:30-2:30PM ADEAM at BOX



May 24, 2013

Fashion fans, today starts the most exciting event in fashion – for the obser

vers that is – NY Fashion week! This week set the fashion trends on what you will eventually buy at the retail stores just a few months down the road to look classic or on trend for today!

Make fashion week an event with friends:

  • Host view parties of the top designers. You can watch live at www.mbfashionweek.com/ or certain stores like Nordstrom stream live video from their websites.
  • Break out “The Devil Wears Prada” for a fun evening at home with posh beverages and scrumptious hors d’oeuvres.
  • Celebrate a Project Runway Marathon event with friends and family!

Here is the schedule for February 7:

9:30-10:30AM TODD SNYDER at BOX
2:30-3:30PM CANDELA at BOX


Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 02/07/2013

Sources: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

So Project Runway wrapped this morning at NYFW, and the season 12 winner was crowned! I cannot wait to see who won! Don’t share if you know!

Who was your favorite designer today? I love Tadashi Soji’s amazing look: so elegant and sophisticated. We would wear this anywhere!

We’re looking forward to Rafael Cennamo tomorrow and Zac Posen on Sunday. Let RLE know your favorite look!

Did you miss a show? Then head to http://www.mbfashionweek.com/home for pics and video.

Here’s the weekend schedule:

February 09

9:30-10:30AM MARISSA WEBB at BOX










6:30-7:30PM ALON LIVNE at BOX



February 10

10:30-11:30AM NINA SKARRA at BOX





2:30-3:30PM TRINA TURK at BOX







7:30-8:30PM DAVID TLALE at BOX



Photo Credit: www.mbfashionweek.com/designers/tadashi_shoji

Going Solo Safely

May 24, 2013
Runner's Prayer

Healthier lifestyles

Have you ever thought about how you are going solo safely when you workout?

Some things are a team sport, even running – but not for everyone. Running is one thing I do alone. Other people walk, bike, swim or hike alone. And do so for a variety of valid reasons. It is the New Year, and many of us have committed to healthier lifestyles. So let’s add a good dose of safety to your health as well by examining our routines. Safety starts with us thinking:

  1. Let at least one person – a safety source – know where you going, when you’ll return, and the route you’ll be taking. Check-in with them when you return.
  2. Take your phone with you.
  3. Have a “what if” plan – what if you get injured, have a flat, or get lost?
  4. Run facing traffic so you can see what is coming at you.
  5. If on a path, walk or run on the right so that faster folks may pass you on the inside. Don’t hog the lane.
  6. Be sure there are lots of people around.
  7. When passing, and we know you will, say, “Passing on your left” to alert others.
  8. Don’t run/walk on the bike-only paths – you’ll lose the battle with the bike.
  9. Vary your route daily, just in case someone is watching your work out patterns. And vary your route home. Change is good for your work out too!
  10. When working out in the evenings, always wear reflective/neon clothing or a light or all of it, stay on well populated paths, and well lit streets/paths.
  11. Remember to be defensive or you could be dead right when that car hits you even though you have right of way.
  12. Have a few dollars with you in case you need to grab a cab home.
  13. Keep valuables at home – like jewelry.
  14. Carry an ID that speaks for you if you cannot: RoadID has wrist, necklace, ankle and shoe IDs.
  15. If you have a medical condition, be sure to wear your MedicAlert ID.
  16. If you are trail running or hiking, have a map and share one with your safety source.
  17. If you are on a new trail – think time not distance. The terrain may vary and cause a great deal of change in your pace.
  18. No matter the weather at one elevation, it is bound to be different at another elevation. Have the right gear.
  19. To avoid the “injury call for help,” watch your step on new trails.
  20. If you are biking – no music. How else will you hear the car horn or the yell from a from someone warning you?
  21. If you are running/walking, keep the volume on you Iphone low enough to hear what’s going on around or keep one earphone out.

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 01/07/2013


Photo Source:

New exercise options

Healthy Exercise

This is our final in a series of articles on Travel Tips: nutrition, hydration and exercise. We hope these give you some motivation and real-life experience as you meet the world!

Traveling can put a wrench in your work out plans, or it can be an opportunity to try something new!

When preparing for a trip, don’t forget to look at how you will work out each day. See if your hotel has a gym or access to a nearby gym and what type of equipment it carries. Most hotels have their amenities listed on their website, so this is a great place to start.

As you look at the equipment and the facility, look for your regular equipment, but also consider trying something new. Have you given an elliptical a try lately or maybe free weights over the machine ensemble you use on a regular basis? You might also want to look at other options like actually climbing the internal stairwell. Stairwells are empty and provide you with a continuous opportunity to really work your legs. Three stories are all you need. Maybe the hotel has extensive grounds or is in a neighborhood that is welcoming to runners/walkers. If none of these options exist, consider a work out in your room using a towel for some floor work (push ups, sit ups, yoga…) and a chair for resistance moves (step-ups, leg lifts…).

Free weights

Weights on regular basis

Look at other ways to take your 10,000 steps each day while traveling. At airports, hotels and meeting spaces, take the stairs up and down. Chicago and Dulles airports have great stairs in between terminals. Try walking around the terminal/gate area instead of sitting at the gate. It will be 30 minutes or an hour well spent. If you have time, walk in between terminals rather than taking the trams. Dallas and Chicago are great for this. Your conference center is filled will elevators and escalators, but have you climbed the stairs?

Pack the minimum gear you will need to work out: running/walking/cross-training shoes, sports bra, sunscreen, hat, workout clothes, and jacket. You can also add some bands to your suitcase for an in-your-room resistance work out.

Do the people you are traveling or meeting with work out? Consider asking them to meet you at the gym or for a run/walk. It is a great way to get to know someone better and raises your confidence level when working out in a new environment. You’ll also be committed to another person for your work out. For some regular meetings I attend, I know I have a regular work out partner to meet at the gym each morning.

Use your work out as an opportunity to explore. I’ve often been pleasantly surprised by what I’ve have learned about people and my surroundings by working out while traveling.

So don’t let traveling be an excuse to skip your exercise – find ways to leverage your travel to explore new exercise options!

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 1/16/2013

Favorite Terminal Restaurant

Healthy Options

Traveling is always an adventure, both in seeing new places/meeting new people and … trying to find clean healthy nutrition and exercise options to keep travel weary bodies going! RLE has the flight plan to help you navigate this nutrition and exercise turbulence. We’ll be covering hydration, nutrition and exercise over the next couple of posts.

Keeping meals clean while traveling is tough! Recently, I connected on a flight into Houston and needed a quick bite to eat before dashing off again for several hours. In the terminal, there was only one to-go restaurant with a salad. I felt that if I ate it, I would be taking my life in my hands – it was that old and the environment that it was being sold in was that dirty. IAD needs to evaluate that terminal’s food court. Luckily, I had an apple in my bag to keep me going.

As with anything, planning is key.

While airport terminal offerings vary, you can work around the absence of clean options. Decide to take some steps to keep your health and nutrition the number one priority by:

  1. always carrying an apple, carrots, almonds/walnuts, and/or sandwich, depending on the length and number of your flights.
  2. understanding the offerings in flight.
  3. understanding what is available in the terminals you are connecting in.
  4. understanding the restaurants in the vicinity of your hotel and/or meeting location.
  5. carrying fruit or veg to meetings so that you are sure to eat clean every 3 hours.
  6. asking for simple changes to restaurant orders (like no butter on the steamed broccoli or sauces on the side)

LTMC salad selectionsIn airports, look for freshly made salads. The salads should have a variety of veg and fresh fruit: tomatoes, zucchini, apple, grapes, carrots, celery etc… Protein should come from grilled chicken and fish or unsweetened nuts. A salad topped with shrimp is always refreshing. Shy away from salads with super sweet dressings/toppings or heavy/fatty proteins. Dressings should be minimal: a fruit-based vinaigrette on the side.

Wraps or sandwiches with whole-grain tortillas/breads, filled with fresh veg, good protein, and a minimal, if any dressing are a good choice. Watch your portion size.

Soups with a broth (rather than a cream) base made without a lot of oil are another option. Again, lots of veg and good protein should guide you.

In hotels and meeting spaces, soup and salad bars or breakfast bars allow you a variety of options, just like choosing from your refrigerator. Be cognizant of the portion size as you are filling your plate. Choose healthy options as you serve yourself, just like you would at home. Grab a piece of fruit to go. Ask questions of the attendant if you want to know how a dish was prepared so that you make a good selection. If the food bar isn’t offering you the options you need, take a look at the menu and order ala carte.

lower sugar

Delicious, Nutritious and Filling

On another trip, I found some good options on a connection in Chicago. United’s terminal B had two really good grab-and-go options. Jamba Juice offered steel cut oatmeal with a crumble topping for 290 calories. You can ask for less of the topping, which is made with brown sugar, to lower the sugar content. It was delicious, nutritious and filling! I also picked up a super fresh salad with raspberry vinaigrette.  It made my 4 hour flight very enjoyable.

LTMC store sign

I also found La Tapenade Mediterranean Café, which had some gourmet fresh salads and wraps. On my next connection through Chicago, I’ll be giving this restaurant a try.

Finding clean food on the road can be challenging. Knowing this up front to set expectations, planning, and making clean choices can make the difference in your nutrition while on your trip.

Do you have a favorite terminal restaurant to keep on a healthy nutritional plan? Share it with us!

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 1/15/2013

Boost and Drink


Traveling is always an adventure, both in seeing new places/meeting new people and … trying to find clean healthy nutrition and exercise options to keep travel weary bodies going! RLE has the flight plan to help you navigate this nutrition and exercise turbulence. We’ll be covering hydration, nutrition and exercise over the next couple of posts.

Hydration is so important when traveling, especially by plane. Air planes have notoriously dry air, along with the altitude, which deplete the body of essential moisture. This affects the skin, digestion, cognitive abilities and can cause swelling. But there is a super simple fix: drink water!

The day before you fly ensure that you are drinking your normal 90 oz of water throughout the day. The day you travel, be sure to add additional water and avoid caffeine and carbonate beverages. As you head out the door, toss a bottle of water in your bag. While you are waiting in the ticketing or security line, give your body a boost and drink that bottle from your bag. Once you are through security and on your way to the gate passing by all of the cafés, go ahead and stop in. Order a decaffeinated green or white tea and enjoy it in the gate area or during your flight along with your favorite magazine. When you are seated on the plane and waiting for in-flight service, you’ll be the super smart one with a drink already in hand! Keep up your hydration IQ, and skip the carbonated and alcoholic drinks and stick to … more water. Just because you’ve had a few sips, don’t think you’re out of the clouds yet! You’ve only turned off your thirst reflex. It takes quite a bit more water to hydrate you and keep you hydrated.

You might think that aisle seat should be yours, but in actuality your body will be using that water up, keeping your skin hydrated from the inside, keeping your digestive system flowing, and helping you from being bloated.

During your trip, be sure to indulge with water because it will make your return and recovery easier, especially if you are going across time zones. And as you prepare for your return flight, begin the travel hydration flight plan once again.

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 1/15/2013


Flying Magazine; by Pia Bergqvist; May 18, 2011; http://www.flyingmag.com/technique/tip-week/pilot-hydration

Beef and Bean Tacos

April 16, 2013
Nutritious Dinner

Nutritious Dinner

This Beef and Bean Tacos recipe is a quick, filling, and nutritious dinner. It will give you your Mexican dish fix every time. Prep time was about 20 minutes and cook time about 20 minutes. This was easy on budget too! Using the recipe portions, 1 taco (without cheese and avocado) has about 341 calories, 11g fat, 15g fiber, 32g protein, 37g carbs, and 531mg sodium.

The Beef and Bean Tacos recipe serves about 10-12 at my table, but the recipe says 4. The leftovers were amazing for lunch the next day.


  • 2 TBS of grapeseed oil
  • 2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp of chili powder
  • 2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef, thawed
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 cups of cooked black beans or 1 can of black beans
  • 1 TBS of hot sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup of cilantro
  • 6-8 soft sprouted corn tortillas
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges for garnish
  • 2 avocados, smashed
  • Salsa


1. Prepare the veg, spices and open the cans.

2. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook until the onions are soft, about 6-8 minutes.

3. Add the beef to the spice mixture, breaking it up into small bits as you cook, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the beans and add 1 cup of water. Stir well, being sure to scrap all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.

5. Add the lime juice, hot sauce and cilantro.

6. Warm the tortillas in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds.

7. Add the taco meat and top with avocado and salsa. Optionally, you may add ½ TBS of sharp cheddar cheese. Garnish with limes.

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 04/04/2013


The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook; Mark Hyman, MD; page 151, with alterations.

I love a good core work out! But your body adjusts to the same work out over time – in about a month. So it is important to challenge and confuse your muscles with new or different work out sequences to get the best results from your effort. You should always feel like you are working hard.

Why is a core work out better than an abs work out? An abs work out only addresses the abdominal muscles and not all of the supporting layers of muscles that contribute to balance and stability – and a tight mid-section. To have a really toned and fit core, you have to work the whole core unit.

Try these work outs for 4 weeks of core-excellence! You should complete each work our 2-3 times a week with 24 to 48 hours break before repeating. You core muscles are just like any other muscle: arms, legs, back etc… They need to rest in between intense work outs to recover and build.

Keep your motivation high! These moves will be difficult at first but will become easier as each week passes and your core strengthens. Focus on good form and exhausting the muscle.

Remember, you can work out every day, but if you don’t keep your meals clean and low sugar you won’t get the results you are looking for. Health is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise!

Core 1 Work Out

Use this work out on weeks 1 and 3.

You will need: floor mat or towel; one 5lbs, 10lbs, 12lbs or 15lbs weight.

1. Warm up with a 5-10 minute jog, until you begin to feel your muscles loosen and you begin to sweat.

Weighted Crunch

Raise your legs straight up

2. Weighted Crunch – lay down on your back the floor.Hold a 10lbs weight over your chest with both hands. Raise your legs straight up. Engage your core – tight! Crunch pushing the weight up and lifting your legs straight up, simultaneously. (2 sets, 15 reps)

Engage your core

Legs should be parallel with the floor

3. Weighted Row – sit on the floor.Balance on your tush with your back and upper legs in V at 45 degree angles. Your lower legs should be parallel with the floor. Hold a 10lbs weight vertical in front of your chest with your elbows bent, like you are about to row an oar. Engage your core – tight! Row to one side and then the other, twisting at the waist. (2 sets, 15 reps alternating on each side)

Core Strengthens

Place your hands at your sides or under your tail bone

4. Scissors – lay down on your back on the floor. Place your hands at your sides or under your tail bone.Raise your legs 4-6 inches off the ground.

Large V

Cross your ankles

The lower to the ground, the better the work out. Engage your core – tight! Keeping your legs straight, in two counts form a large V and then in two counts cross your ankles. (2 sets, 20 reps.)

5. Bicycle crunch – lay down on your back on the floor. Place your hands just touching your ears. Bring your right knee up like you are riding a bike, just laying down. Keep your left leg 4-6 inches straight and off the floor.

Lay down on your back on the floor

Place your hands just touching your ears

Engage your core – tight! Crunch, bringing your left shoulder to your knee in two counts, alternate bringing your right shoulder to your left knee and straightening your right leg in two counts. Do not let your legs touch the floor. This is a powerful exercise that has so much going on – one of my favorites (2 sets, 15 reps on each side)

Plank Position

Keep your hips down and rest on your toes and forearms

6. Plank with Side Kick – get in a plank position on your mat, arms straight, resting on your hands with your elbows under your shoulders. Keep your hips down and rest on your toes and forearms. Keep a straight line from your neck to your heels.

Push Your Right Leg Out

Engage your core – tight!

Engage your core – tight! In two counts, push your right leg out to the right and bring it back in two counts. Do not let your leg or foot touch the floor. Finish the set on the right and then repeat on the left. (2 sets. 15 reps on each side)

7. Catch your breath and then stretch your core muscles for about 5 minutes. This helps to remove the lactic acid build up in the muscle that can cause soreness. It won’t eliminate soreness, but it will help.

Core 2 Work Out

Use this work out on weeks 2 and 4.

You will need: floor mat or towel; one 5lbs, 10lbs or 15lbs weight or what is appropriate for your workout level.

Reverse the sequence of the work out. Start with #1, then #6 and work back to #2, and then #7.

I use this work out sequence regularly and have seen a real improvement in my core strength. When I first started, I could barely get through the weighted rows. Now they are my best move with the bicycle crunch as my favorite!!

You’ll be ABSolutely amazed at the results!

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 1/19/2013


Oxygen Magazine (with alterations)

Mouthwatering Quesadillas

This mouthwatering meal had my husband up and running to the kitchen to get the last two! This one is a keeper, and it is fresh clean eating to kick your New Year’s resolutions in gear!


  • 8 oz of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • EVOO cooking spray
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 4 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
  • >½ jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice, divided
  • ½ tsp salt, divided
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup of low fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 8-10 whole-grain 6 inch tortillas

20 minutes prep and 15 to bake


  1. Turn the broiler on high with a rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and mist with the EVOO spray, sprinkle with cumin and a touch of salt.
  3. Broil for 5 minutes, turn and broil for 5 more minutes; set aside to cool; shred with 2 forks.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  5. In a medium bowl, coarsely mash the black beans; add ½ TSB of lemon juice; add ricotta cheese and cheddar cheese.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, ½ TSB of lemon juice, and ¼ tsp of salt.
  7. Mist each tortilla with the EVOO spray and place on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper.
  8. Put the chicken and cheese mixture on one half of the tortilla and fold in half and covering the chicken mixture.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes, turn and bake for 5 additional minutes until crisp.

Chris Covington, Editor-in-Chief, Red Letter Everyday On-line Magazine, 2/12/2013

Recipe Source: Clean Eating Magazine, July 2011, pg 56, with alterations