Something's fishy at the nail salon.

In keeping with the fish theme this week (see my previous post on The Headhunt Cape Cod fishing tourney), I'm compelled to comment on the fish pedicure controversy sweeping the nation's nail salons.

And my comment is this: GROSS.

I first heard about the fish pedicure last Summer, when Mr. John Ho brought his skin-eating fish here from China, in a U.S. nail salon first. Ho, who ran a salon in Virginia with his wife, had been looking at alternatives to pedicure razors, which are effective at removing calluses but banned in many states due to their risk of dangerous cuts.

Fish pedicure One day, a customer mentioned "skin eating fish" from Asia that piqued Ho's interest. In the course of his research, he discovered an old Turkish legend [from WSJ] about:

a shepherd who injured his foot and stuck it into a hot spring teeming with small fish. The foot healed. Word spread. A treatment center for skin ailments grew around the springs near the Turkish town of Kangal. From Turkey, the practice spread throughout Asia, employing garra rufa, toe-size carp that live in warm water, have no teeth and, according to those in the business, like to suck off dead skin. Another fish sometimes used to treat feet, called chin chin, is bigger in size and grows tiny teeth.

Mr. Ho subsequently introduced the fish to the States and became a media - and cosmetic - sensation. His salons charged customers $35 to have their feet nibbled by fish for 15 minutes.

Until now. At least 14 states have outlawed the fish pedicures, deeming them unsafe. The issue: "Cosmetology regulations generally mandate that tools need to be discarded or sanitized after each use. But epidermis-eating fish are too expensive to throw away." Despite Ho's best efforts (e.g., ditching his original community pool approach for individualized fish tanks where the water is changed between sessions), there's still concern about how safe this practice is. For example, if the fish nibble on infected feet, can they pass it on to the next innocent pedicure recipient?

I'll say it again: GROSS.

Non-Dorky Bike Helmets

I admit to ego surfing - not so much out of vanity but because in this day and age, it's fairly common to monitor your personal brand, especially when you're a blogger.

It used to be that the only other Stephanie Rogers that consistently showed up in my Google Alert was this one, the folk-rock singer that locked in my namesake URL before I did (but was kind enough to let me take a photo with her on stage when I randomly met her in Chicago one time).


More recently, a new Stephanie Rogers has been popping up on my Google Alerts - this one is a writer for the green blog EarthFirst, and while I religiously read her headlines, I've never introduced her content on CultureJunkie.

Until now.

The topic of her recent post is too good not to share: Non-dorky Bike Helmets.


How cool are these?!

According to the other Stephanie, A group of Danish designers has created bicycle helmets that look like hats, but include the chin strap (and presumably, padding). Copenhagen-based company Yakkay sells them for about $120, and although they're not yet available in the US, an international launch is expected soon. 

Or, you can just opt for a home-made Viking model, like this one:


Safe (and stylish) riding!

America's Running Routes

I like this America's Running Routes app from the USA Track and Field web site. It's a Google Maps mash-up that allows runners to map their favorite routes, save it to the database, and share with other runners.

The mapping app has an easy-to-use, point-and-click interface, and shows mile markers along the route. Runners can input attributes (flat, hilly, etc.), rate the routes, and read other user's reviews. Check it out:


P+s: perfect balance awards

Perfect_balance_1 PARTNERS+simons, along with seven other local companies and individuals, was awarded a Perfect Balance Award last week at a breakfast ceremony held at the Westin Copley Place.

Presented by The Ad Club and Fitcorp, and sponsored by the Bostonian Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA and Prevention Magazine, the awards recognize both employers and employees that have successfully integrated health & fitness programs into their daily lives.

P+s was highlighted for its twice-weekly, mid-day workouts that are provided on site, as well as a slew of other great benefits like investment classes, CPR instruction, discounts on local healthcare providers, gyms, and commuter programs, tuition reimbursement, and more.

Our very own Trudy Almquist accepted the award on the firm's behalf; here, she's pictured with Kathryn Murphy of The Bostonian Group (top) and Kathy Kiely, President of The Ad Club (bottom).

Trudy_ad_club_1 Kathy_and_trudy

Kelly MacFarland, stand up comedian and recent star of NBC's The Biggest Loser, was the guest speaker.

Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

The girls over at The Weekly Beet have posted Laughingbuddha_1 the Top 10 (make that 12) Reasons we should laugh more often: Laughing...

  • Boosts immune system by fighting infection and increasing T-cells and B-cells
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Relaxes the muscles
  • Alleviates pain, aiding in the healing process
  • Reduces stress, anxiety, anger, grief, and depression
  • Improves cardiac function, protecting the heart
  • Lifts the mood, triggering the release of endorphins
  • Promotes positive thinking
  • Helps normalize blood sugar levels
  • Burns calories and exercises the diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
  • Benefits the digestive system and food absorption
  • Connects you to others and heals relationships

Read the full article here and then get laughing!

The Inns at Mill Falls

Church_landing1_1About one and one-half hours north of Boston (straight up route 93) is a charming little enclave called the Inns at Mill Falls, in Meredith, New Hampshire. We paid a visit there this weekend, and stayed at the lovely Church Landing Inn on the shores of Lake Winnepesaukee. With its Adirondack styling, beautiful water views, and plethora of fireplace-warmed reading nooks, Church Landing proved to be an idyllic weekend getaway from the city. In fact, we scored the ground-level Acorn Room, complete with French doors opening out onto the beach. Beach

The Inn stands on land once occupied by the Saint Charles Church, built in 1951 and purchased by today's owners on March 17, 2003. But the village of Meredith had its start in the 1700s when settlers built a a variety of mills here (for sawing wood, grinding flour, combing cotton flax and weaving cloth), using the nearby waterway and man-made waterfalls as their power source. Sadly, the thriving mill town fell into decline during the Depression and on through World War II, until much of the property was purchased and razed in the early 80s. At that time, the historic Mill that was one of the many buildings on site at the turn of the century was renovated and converted into a 4-floor shopping complex.

A special feature of the Inn is its Cascade Spa, a full-service day spa featuring massages, body treatments, facials, maincure/pedicures, and an indoor/outdoor pool (you swim through an archway in the wall connecting the two - an eye-opening experience when you hit that cold winter air on the other side!). I took advantage of the manicure and massage services (top notch: clean, tranquil environment and friendly, professional staff), as well as the pool and fitness room next door (the treadmill is much more appealing when you're gazing out upon that lake!). Winnepesaukee_4

The Inn is family-friendly, too (unless by "family" you're referring to your pets, which are not allowed). This particular weekend they provided complimentary horse and carriage rides and a bonfire by the lake for toasting marshmallows. It's a huge destination for weddings (year-round), and its banquet facilities are booked for every weekend in the summer for the next three years.

There are numerous dining options in and around the Inn, but an underwhelming experience at the Lakehouse Grille, led us to venture off-campus for most meals. Lakehouse is the main dining room at Church Falls; it had a pleasant atmosphere and attentive service, but all of the food seemed overcooked. So on our second night we opted to have dinner at Abondante Tuscan Trattoria, which was excellent and just a short drive from the Inn (or a pleasant walk in warmer weather). We also spent time at The Village Perk Coffee House and Deli, a comfy spot on Main Street with great breakfast sandwiches, muffins, baked goods, chili and of course fancy coffee drinks.

That's all for now...the maid just came a-knockin and it's time for me to check out.

Spare Tires

Wide_loadIt's ironic that on the heels of the holiday season, when many Americans tend to overeat and make New Year's resolutions to join a gym, USA Today reports that automakers are making seats wider to accomodate heftier passengers.

The article notes that extra-wide seats have become increasingly important now that 62% of US adults are considered overweight or obese. According to market research firm NPD Group, that figure has doubled since the late 1970s. While the changes aren't huge (no pun intended) - 0.5 to 3 inches in width - there may be some truth to the much publicized obesity epidemic in America.