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Category : Health & Wellbeing

New Year, New You! Tips From Team Charlotte

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New Year, new you? Every day it seems a new way to revamp, revitalize and reboot ourselves from head to toe hits spas and doctors’ offices…it’s enough to make our bayalaged heads spin. One of our favorite sources for the latest and greatest cosmetic treatments is Team Charlotte. We can always count on Charlotte’s Book to have the scoop on what’s happening right now in aesthetics, beauty and wellness. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest treatment options that Team Charlotte has uncovered. Bottom’s up and Happy New Year!


Sometimes—usually—the best medicine is preventive. According to our CB verified experts, there are some excellent tactics to avoid a brutal hangover. Perhaps you consider that New Year’s Day hangover inevitable. But what can you do before you even start drinking to prevent (or make slightly less terrible) those next-day woes? Read more.


When it comes to acne, sometimes lotions and potions just don’t cut it. Pills can be complicated and risky, and needles aren’t for everybody (I’m looking at you, cortisone). So what’s left?

A lot, actually… Read more.


We’ve never purposely played with fire, so we’re still not sure about this new treatment, Velaterapia, a Brazilian hair burning treatment that promises to refresh split ends and leave hair smooth and shiny. Intrigued? Read more.


There are a slew of specialized facials and skincare procedures that offer brighter, firmer and more radiant skin, but here’s why dermaplaning is a favorite among celebrities and supermodels who have to look high-definition photo ready 24/7.

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6 Easy Wellness Hacks For Your Mind & Body

mind and body wellness hacks

You can throw out every personal care product that has an ingredient you can’t pronounce, you can reboot your entire kitchen, you can even start a daily meditation practice…all in an effort to achieve wellness. All worthy undertakings to be sure, but some of us may want to (may need to) start with baby steps on the path to wellness. Even if you are ready to throw out every granule of sugar in your house and never look back, learning a few modest tweaks that could provide big returns can’t hurt. Here are six easy-peasy (yet impactful) lifestyle hacks I learned during last month’s W.E.L.L. Summit that even a wellness white belt can commit to successfully.

Switch to an aluminum-free deodorant. Beginning your personal wellness journey can be daunting. Where, exactly, do you start? A good—and easy—place to start is swapping out some of the chemical-laden products in our life for cleaner alternatives. During the Healthy Beauty Panel at the W.E.L.L. Summit, all the speakers (including Green Beauty Team Founder Kristen Arnett, Thoughtfully Magazine E.I.C. Brandie Gilliam, Follian Founder Tara Foley and Silent Spring Research Scientist Kathryn Rodgers) agreed that switching to an aluminum-free deodorant is a wonderful wellness first step. This simple swap will significantly decrease your exposure to this dangerous heavy metal. If you’re worried that switching to a more natural deodorant will leave you smelling a little too natural, fear not. In the past year alone, dozens of aluminum-free deodorants have hit the market. I like the consistency and effectiveness of Soapwalla’s Deodorant Cream, but if you’d like to stick to a stick deodorant, our friends at Ursa Major just created one.

Avoid fragrance. By now we’ve all heard of the perils of parabens, and I can only imagine what something called Methylchloroisothiazolinone could be doing to my body. But one seemingly innocuous ingredient, fragrance, may be more harmful that we realize. Why? Fragrance is often a blanket term that covers a laundry list of potentially harmful chemicals. This is where a company can hide all the “trade secrets” that it is not required to disclose. Avoiding products that have synthetic fragrance listed as an ingredient is an easy-to-remember way to make safer product choices.

Youyes YOU—can create an all-natural DIY home cleaner! Even those home cleaners touted as “natural” can still contain several harmful chemicals. I was therefore excited to learn about truly non-toxic home cleaning options at the breakout session led by Devin Donaldson, Founder of The Optimist Co. Excited or not, I am the least DIY type person you will ever meet, so when Devin said we’d all be making our own home cleaning scrub, I was ready to sneak out for an extra-long bathroom break. At the hotel bar. I convinced myself to stay, though, and I’m here to tell you—creating this cleanser was the simplest process that yielded an incredibly effective scrub! Ready? All you need is a small mason jar, pure Castile soap, baking soda and 1-2 essential oils of your choice. I chose Lemon and Eucalyptus for their disinfecting and deodorizing properties. In the mason jar, mix the soap and baking soda together into a pudding-like consistency/thickness. Then add a few drops of each oil and mix some more. THAT’S IT. DONE. I’ve used this scrub on my porcelain tub and stainless steel sink with great results. And *bonus* it smells amazing!

body and mind wellness life hacksReal soap has curves. Before the W.E.L.L. Summit, superfatting was what I called a trip to Ample Hills Creamery. Then I learned about the art of soapmaking from Meow Meow Tweet Founder, Tara Pelletier. Among many other things, she told us to always look for soap that’s superfatted, as it is easier on the skin—especially in winter. Huh? Superfatting is the process of adding extra fats (oils or butters) when creating soap, so there is more fat in the mixture than the lye can react with during the chemical reaction (called saponification, fyi). This extra oil in superfatted soap is left on the skin, temporarily replacing skin’s natural film that can be stripped during cleansing. Because of this, superfatted soap is more moisturizing and nourishing. Who knew?! Tara told us to ask if a soap is superfatted before we purchase it.

Another reason to eat local. The W.E.L.L. Summit welcome dinner was otherworldly. It was a start to finish (space, decor, table settings, cocktails and, of course, food) creation of full service sustainable event design and caterers, Chive Events. As we enjoyed the exquisite food, the founders of Chive spoke to us about sustainability (they are a 100% zero waste operation!) and eating local, a very buzzy phrase in food these days. I’ve always understood eating local to mean eating food that was grown close by, not flown or trucked in from far and wide. This means the food is fresher, more delicious and that less fuel is used in its transportation. While this is true, there’s another benefit of eating local: As local food grows, it experiences the same seasonal changes and environmental effects that you experience, so it will be naturally fortified to thrive in your specific environment. It is, therefore, inherently more nourishing and nutritious. So eat local. It does the planet—and your body—good.

“No” is a complete sentence. True wellness is more than just choosing the best food to eat or safest products to use. True wellness begins between our ears! How we relate to and treat ourselves is paramount to an overall feeling of being wellMama Glow herself, Latham Thomas, gave the keynote address at the W.E.L.L. Summit welcome dinner, and she addressed this somewhat elusive aspect of wellness. Her talk was phenomenal—just one sound byte after another. Of all the brilliant tidbits she said, one really stuck with me: “‘No’ is a complete sentence”. It’s a phrase I’d heard before, seen posted on Instagram, probably retweeted at some point. But in that sacred space created at the W.E.L.L. Summit, I internalized this declaration on a deeper level that night.

As a mom and entrepreneur, I am so crazy busy all the time. That should make me less likely to say yes to every request brought my way. Unfortunately, the opposite is often true. I get so wrapped up in the Superwoman myth that I feel like I SHOULD BE ABLE to do EVERYTHING, so I often say yes to everything. The side writing project. Cooking and baking for the holiday feast at school. ALL THE BIRTHDAY PARTIES. It all adds up, and the sum is an exhausted Claire who’s short on patience and long on under-eye bags. When I do say no, I feel so guilty, I give a whole litany of reasons why I must decline. But saying no to something you just don’t have the time to do does not need to be accompanied by a reason, justification or apology. A no is a no and that’s all you need to say. Though you may initially feel a twinge of guilt—I still do—you’ll ultimately feel calmer, less stressed, more focused…and a lot more well.

By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram

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An Interview with W.E.L.L. Summit Founder Gianne Doherty

well summit 2015

Over the years, I’ve attended forums, seminars, conferences, conventions and various and sundry other retreat-type events. They can be enlightening and enjoyable—even profoundly so. I have yet to attend a summit, however, and maybe there’s a reason why. The term summit holds a certain weight; it connotes a gathering of the highest level of experts and leaders in a given field. In short, a summit is serious business. This branding speaks to the intentions with which next month’s W.E.L.L. Summit, “a celebration of living well, making empowered consumer decisions, learning from top professionals—and of course, the luxury of health” was created.

The Who and Why of the W.E.L.L. Summit

Summit or no, these intentions do not include dissuading wellness white belts from attending the W.E.L.L. Summit. Quite the contrary, this is a weekend-long event designed for all wellness-minded people, no matter where they are on their personal wellness journey. W.E.L.L. Summit Founder Gianne Doherty declares “The W.E.L.L. Summit [is] geared towards people who are passionate about wellness—those new to the field and those who are seasoned professionals.”

The W.E.L.L. Summit is designed to be an enlightening event for those seeking wellness in its many forms (clean eating, green beauty, fitness, holistic self-care…) and anyone who is passionate about living well. Whether wellness is your profession or your passion, the W.E.L.L. Summit is designed to be a place of education, exploration and inspiration for you.

This wellness retreat reboot was created by a trio of healthy beauty mavens, Gianne Doherty Co-Founder of Organic Bath Co., Amy Flyntz, Founder of Amy Flyntz Copywriting, LLC and Mia Bell, Founder of MIA BELL Natural Beauty Brokers. After repeatedly being asked wellness-related questions by customers, friends and family that were a bit outside of their respective specialties (“Why do you only use natural deodorants and which do you recommend?”, “Why is an organic mattress important?” and even “Where can I buy essential oils?”), Gianne recognized the need for an opportunity to bring the best of all facets of the wellness community together for a weekend of empowerment and learning—to “connect all the dots”.

The What to Expect From This One of a Kind Event?

True to its summit format, the W.E.L.L. Summit will feature large panel discussions led by leaders in the wellness industry, such as Keynote Speaker, Latham Thomas of Mama Glow. These experts will share their deep knowledge and expertise to inspire attendees to make simple life changes that can improve wellness and allow them to achieve their best standard of health.

The bulk of the two days will be comprised of interactive and educational breakout sessions, also led by an impressive roster of wellness experts. Attendees will have intimate access to these wellness industry pioneers through these exclusive breakout sessions. Are you intrigued by the myriad benefits of bone broth? Want to make soap with Meow Meow Tweet founder Tara Pelletier? Wondering how to make more ethical & conscious clothing choices? You can explore these subjects and more during the Summit’s breakout sessions.

“Instead of hundreds of people, these breakout sessions will be capped at 30 people. They will be as interactive as possible, with no selling from speakers and plenty of time for questions and answers.” says Gianne. Imagine: Hearing about the latest wellness trends from the trendsetters themselves. Asking all those health & wellness questions you’ve always wanted to ask. Collecting all the insider tips you need to make the very best beauty, food and fitness choices. But wait, there’s more! The Summit includes all meals—from the welcome lunch on Friday to the farewell brunch on Sunday. There will be a morning movement classes, a Recharge Lounge featuring healthy snacks and Numi Teas and, of course, a gift bag filled with wellness and healthy beauty favorites from Jacq’s Organics, 21 Drops, Lotus Wei, Splurge Skincare and more.

What I’m Excited About

Offsite Fitness Breakout Session with Xtend Barre: I love finding new, interesting workouts. Infrared Yoga…Tracey Anderson Method…kickboxing…I’ve enjoyed them all. One of the Summit’s breakout sessions will include a visit to the nearby Xtend Barre studio for a 45 minute class. Xtend Barre combines elements of dance, ballet and Pilates to create an adrenaline-fueled workout that strengthens, lengthens and chisels the body. Attendees will learn an elegant, yet energetic, combination of movements that enhance flexibility, improve balance, and challenge the core. Count me in!

L.I.V.E. W.E.L.L.: Last Night. Interactive. Vendor. Extravaganza. Wellness. Education. Learning. Luxury. After a weekend of being empowered to make informed consumer decisions, I’ll be excited to exercise my newfound wisdom at the W.E.L.L. Summit’s finale, a celebration of health, wellness and knowledge…which will include SHOPPING. This extravaganza will feature vendors hand-picked by the W.E.L.L. Summit team, giving Summit attendees the opportunity to discover and shop like-minded health, wellness and beauty brands that share the W.E.L.L. Summit vision and ethos. I’ll be happy to spend my money supporting companies and individuals that care passionately about how they live, and help me live my healthiest life as well.

Sound like your cup of (organic, fair trade) tea? Better hop to it! Due to the customization of the W.E.L.L. Summit, ticket sales will close two weeks before the event, on Friday, October 23rd. Learn more at the W.E.L.L. Summit website.

By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack

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Floatation Therapy at Lift / Next Level Floats

floatation therapy reviews next level floats

Now that you’ve read Lift / Next Level Floats owner, Gina Antioco’s journey with floating, I’ll share my own. I was very excited to try floatation therapy for a number of reasons: My life is incessantly stressful, busy and loud; I love meditation when I do it but never take the time to and I’m an introvert who craves solitude but never gets any.

Gina was kind enough to host me at Lift / Next Level Floats, her pristine floatation therapy center in Brooklyn – the largest on the East Coast. I’m not sure what I was expecting, certainly not something so spacious, but Lift / Next Level Floats exceeded my every expectation. It was immaculate. This was much appreciated in a place where I’d be taking an hour-long bath. Usually, the lounge area of a spa is where you wait before your appointment. Here, the lounge, complete with green tea, lots of natural light and a copy of Buddha and His Teachings, is where you hang post-treatment, as a kind of buffer between post-float you and the hectic city. So after a few quick instructions, Gina led me to one of the center’s five floating suites.

Choose a Floating Suite, Any Suite

You have a choice of floating suite: You can choose from their three Evolution Float Pods, which resemble giant eggs with clamshell lids or one of the center’s two Ocean Float Rooms, accessed by a side door. Kind of like a walk-in closet. I chose the latter because the confined space of the pods gave me visions of Uma Thurman in Kill Bill 2…and I doubt I could afford to Pei Mei my way out of one of these expensive-looking pods. These Ocean Float Rooms also feature 7-foot high ceilings adorned with a starlight effect, which appealed to me on a *cosmic* level. It was pretty and roomy enough for me to fully relax.

The Ocean Float Suite

Is a room within a room. The outer room is a pristine private shower, like those bathrooms where the entire room is the shower stall. (I’ve always loved those.) Before I entered the actual floating suite, I was instructed to shower with shampoo and soap, but no conditioner or body cream pre-float. Gina left me to it, telling me to completely dry off my face before entering the tank, as that is the one part of my body that would be out of the water (you know…breathing).

Shower: Done

I stepped into the float room, naked. You float naked. It’s completely private, so I wasn’t at all uncomfortable, but I mention it because everyone asked whether you float naked. You do. The first thing I noticed when I entered the tank was the water temperature. Since I had just taken a shower, I was aware of how much hotter my shower (which was my normal shower temperature) was than the water in the tank. I take very good care of the skin all over my body, and I was forced to wonder how much of my careful exfoliating and moisturizing I negate by taking scalding (and therefore skin-drying) showers every morning! Lesson learned. The water in the tanks is strategically set to skin temperature, which really allows you to lose yourself while floating; where your body ends and the water begins starts to blur.

And We All Float On Ok

The water contains 1,000 lbs. of Epsom salt, which makes you extremely buoyant. There are neck pillows available for head support. Now perhaps it’s because I have a huge noggin, but I was not really comfortable until I put on the neck pillow. Once I did, though, voila! I was comfortable and totally afloat. If you’re worried that an hour-long bath will cause you to go through the rest of your post-float day looking like a raisin, fear not. An Epsom salt solution is actually moisturizing and hydrating and does not cause the same skin pruning most long dips do.

I Relaxed Immediately

Gina advised me to situate my body in the middle of the tank so I would be centered once the water went still. You do shift around slightly as you’re floating (like a boat on tranquil water) and you don’t want your arms or legs to hit the sides of the tank. You really do lose sense of your extremities, so if they were to all of the sudden touch the side of the tank it would bring an awareness back to them that’s counter-productive to the meditative aspect of floating.

How Was It?

Blissful. Not for one minute did I wonder when it would be over. The room had a magical glow to it – nothing too bright, though. Like a purplish twilight. I looked up at the “starry” roof of the tank at first, but soon closed my eyes. In the egg shaped pods, you can also play music, if you’re so inclined. That seems antithetical to sensory deprivation to me, but to each his own.

A Few Minutes Into The Float

I started to remember, in vivid detail, my dream from the night before. Soon after that, though, conscious thought ceased, and I entered a dreamy state. Not asleep, not awake…just zoned out. In a great way. I didn’t put pressure on myself to have some deep revelation during my float, and I didn’t try to meditate (which usually leads to zero actual meditation). I just chilled. In my dreamy state, I actually experienced what Gina told me were hypnagogic jerks, those tiny spasms your body has on the edge of sleep. These were annoying because every time one happened, I stirred the tranquil water and made sound in the otherwise silent tank. Since your ears are under the water even the slightest splash seems super loud. Luckily, I zoned back out quickly after every jerk.

Your Float Is Now Complete

Then you can shower again, at your own pace. There’s no rushing you out of the room or the center. You can get dressed and then hang in the lounge with a cup of green tea until you’re ready to rejoin civilization.

Third Float’s the Charm

Gina told me the results really kick in after about three floats, when your body knows what to do immediately upon entering the tank, allowing you to get the full hour of therapeutic floating. Still, immediately after just one float, I got in a car with my husband and kids for an hour drive. If anything were to test my zen, this was it! I was much less reactive than usual – the bickering and the traffic didn’t get under my skin like they usually do. I even sang along with the Taylor Swift songs my daughter demanded we listen to, instead of scowling in the front seat for three minutes. Not a drop of Bad Blood was spilled…now that’s a transformation!

By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack

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Floatation Therapy at Lift / Next Level Floats

flotation therapy next level floats

Much like Lift / Next Level Floats owner, Gina Antioco, I too had to try floatation therapy as soon as I heard about it. As an entrepreneur with two children, the absence of stimulation seemed just about the best thing I could think of, and when I heard it could also help with chronic pain, well, I couldn’t get in that tank fast enough.

Gina was kind enough to host me at Lift / Next Level Floats, her gorgeous new floatation therapy center in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. In my blissful, post-float state, I also had the chance to sit down with Gina and talk about floating, starting her own business and Theta waves…among other things.

TB: Tell us about floating. What inspired you to make it your life’s work?

GA: I am the type of person who seeks out new experiences to such a degree that you might call it a hobby, so when a friend introduced me to floatation therapy, I booked my first session immediately. I did some research before booking the appointment, and afterwards I was completely terrified because what I learned implied that I should prepare to undergo the most intense psychology session of my life. No distraction, only true introspection. I went anyway, ready to face myself in the mirror while floating in the dark. After that first session, I’ll never forget the overwhelming feeling of calm I experienced stepping out onto the crazy, overstimulated streets of Manhattan. My head was clear and I felt light. It sounds silly, but I swear the sun seemed brighter. Dealing with anxiety had always been the norm for me and I was no stranger to insomnia, so when I walked out of the session feeling euphoric, and then had one of the best night’s sleep that evening, I recognized what floating could do.

Come On In, The Water is Fine

GA: At that time in my life, I really disliked my work. As a banquet manager, I watched people spend $70K + on their “special day” and it began to feel terribly superficial. I knew there had to be a way I could apply my skills to create something more altruistic. I am a risk taker by nature and had a bit of nest egg set aside so I decided to open the float center. All of my business books instructed me to find a niche, so I did. I believe it was always the challenge that drove me.

TB: How did you get started? What were some of the challenges you faced?

GA: I knew that experience would be key in order to run a successful center. I began researching, and quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to gain that experience in New York, as the industry simply did not exist here, so I moved to the west coast where floating was already quite prevalent. That’s when my journey really began, about two years ago. It was challenging and incredibly exhausting. I worked at a hostel so that I had somewhere rent free to sleep, and volunteered at a start-up float center who couldn’t yet afford staff. This is how I learned the ins and outs. I worked seven days a week and my only income was unemployment. I ate at a “community dinner” and received assistance at a food kitchen. There was no easy shortcut and I was determined not to dip into my savings. It made me stronger and I learned many of the skills that would help me run a business.

When You Know, You Know

While out west, I tried to secure additional financial backing. After a lengthy conversation with an Irish bar/restaurant owner, I thought that I had…until he tried to kiss me! It’s difficult being a female entrepreneur, trying to get people to take you seriously, especially when you have to convince them to believe in a service that most have never heard of. When I met my now business partner — a New Yorker who had started floating in the 80s— at a float conference in Portland, we were a perfect match. We decided to join forces after only two and a half days of knowing each other, a fact that still surprises me. I am impulsive, but not that impulsive! I thank our mutual love of Burning Man for helping us to quickly experience a level of trust that only attendees of the festival would understand.

After meeting Dave, my business partner, we briefly explored the option of franchising the location I was working at out west. After a meeting with their silent partner, a misogynistic tanning salon magnate who did not acknowledge me at the meeting except when he pointed out to Dave that all I would be is “Dave’s best employee”, rather than a partner, the decision to go in our own direction was easy.

We’re Very Lucky

I moved back to New York and took a temporary job at a spa franchise to continued learning the business while our space was under construction. Now, two years later, after many hiccups along the way, we have a warm and inviting five-tank center — making us the largest on the east coast — and many happy customers. From conception to fruition, it’s been an amazing partnership. Since the business is so new, we’ve yet to take days off, but we love what we do. Witnessing the overwhelmingly positive responses of our guests is all I need to keep going.

TB: How are the effects of floating distinctly different from the effects of meditation or yoga?

Travel-Beauty-Flotation-therapyGA: For many, beginning a practice in meditation can be frustrating. A person is asked to do nothing and suddenly his or her brain is doing everything. Floating is different because without any sensory input the brain chatter naturally slows down. The body is so relaxed that it just happens, almost effortlessly. While on the west coast I was able to observe the effects of floatation therapy. Our clients were often candid and shared the benefits they were experiencing, such as eliminating anti-anxiety medications, anti­depressants and painkillers from their daily routines. Others used it to deepen their meditation practice, lower stress and beat insomnia. I dealt with people working through traumas, PTSD and others recovering from surgeries. It was extremely rewarding.

Floating Is One Of Those Things That Is Difficult To Put Into Words

The sensation is best described as waves, beginning at your center and emanating outwards; the moments when you let go, and feel your breath make its way through your system, while at the same time your body drifts away. It’s trance-like and feels as if you’re peeling off layers, breaking things down to a manageable level, forgetting your worries, transforming as you go. Suddenly everything that was stressing you out is now, somehow okay. It’s quite remarkable and when you think about how simple it is, you wonder why you haven’t been doing this your entire life.

TB: In addition to floating, what other health & wellness practices are most important to you?

GA: I’ve recently been turned on to somatic therapy, which is the study of the mind/body interface, and the relationship between our physical matter and energy. It implements the practice of “checking in” with yourself, which is of particular interest to me as this technique can also be used to train yourself to lucid dream, something I hope to relearn to do. I’ve also found hypnagogic light therapy to be rather effective in aiding in relaxation and overall wellness. This experience involves sitting under halogen and LED bulbs that pulsate at different frequencies and intensities. It offers the benefits of a deep meditation through an expanded state of consciousness as the light stimulates brain waves patterns that help the user access theta activity. Theta is the brain wave state that practitioners of yoga as well as many “floaters” are ideally working to achieve.

In Short, I Look For Balance

This extends far beyond any diet or exercise routine, although I can say I am a clean eater and a runner. Sometimes balance means treating myself to a pedicure because I’ve been working like crazy and my feet hurt or spending a night out with friends. I keep looking for balance in its many forms and try to stay true to myself.

To learn more about floating, visit Lift / Next Level Floats online or call 718-701-0808.

All photos by Frank Rocco.

As told to Claire McCormack. Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack

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