The Bella Project 2016: The Fairy Godmothers Are Back

Bella Project

Audrey Hepburn said, “I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls.” The “fairy godmothers” at The Bella Project believe this too. The annual Bella Boutique will be held on Saturday February 27, 2016 at the Central Union Church, Parish Hall from 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The rainbow sea of dresses at the Bella Boutique, that are given free of charge to high school women whose families are struggling financially, are overwhelmingly beautiful. Young ladies also leave with free shoes, accessories, and make up.

Through this event, The Bella Project strives to promote self-confidence, individual beauty, and diversity among teenage women in Hawaii. In addition, they know that they have the support and encouragement to grow, succeed, and contribute to the community. Some may even return to The Bella Project to reconnect with their female role models, and pay it forward to the next generation of young women.

Some of the types of families that benefit from The Bella Project are facing challenges such as terminal illnesses, being laid off from work, or just having to live from paycheck to paycheck. During the 2014-2015 academic year, 500 dresses were given out on Oahu, Maui, and Molokai.

If you are a “Bella” and would like to receive a dress:
It is recommended that you sign up online through Eventbrite. Walk-ins will be taken after those with an appointment. You will need a valid high school ID to check in or voucher from their counselor if they are pursuing a GED. You can only pick up one dress for yourself, so make sure your friends sign up as well.

If you are a “fairy god-person” and would like to donate or volunteer:
Donations can be dropped off at Central Union Church – Parish Hall on the day of the event. On all other days throughout the year, donations maybe dropped off at Verde Kaimuki or at Tea at 1024 in downtown Honolulu. Monetary donations can be given at the event or using PayPal on The Bella Project website or contacting them directly. 100% of the proceeds go towards putting together each event as The Bella Project is run entirely by volunteers.

The Bella Boutiques need volunteers to do everything from set up, registration, personal shoppers, and breaking down. You can review the detailed volunteer page on The Bella Project website. As a volunteer, you’re not just helping girls pick out a dress. You get to know them, see their faces light up and forget that they have challenges at home. Volunteers go home knowing they made it possible for a young woman to participate in an important right of passage.

For more information about The Bella Project go to their website or like their Facebook Page.  You may also view their video on You Tube.

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CRYO Therapy Hawaii by Egan Inoue Opening on January 18th

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Why would I want to go into a cryotherapy chamber? I don’t like the cold. I can’t even stand to go into the produce refrigerator at Costco, but, there was a part of me that was curious.  What are the health benefits? How does it work? Is it safe? — were just some of the questions I wanted answered. 

On Monday, January 18th, professional athlete and owner of Egan’s Training Center, Egan Inoue and Dr. Craig Haga, will hold the Grand Opening of CRYO Therapy Hawaii. Some of us who train at his gym, were able to get a pre-opening treatment. I decided to make an appointment and see what the big deal is all about. Floyd Mayweather, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant are a few professional athletes that opt for the chilly sci-fi cylinder to boost their athletic performance.I chose a whole body and facial spot treatment. Here is what I learned during my time there:

History
Cryotherapy began in Japan, developed in Europe and migrated to the United States. Treatment is intended to address pain and inflammation for sports injuries, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and skin conditions. Providers of cryotherapy are usually physical therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers, and holistic healers.(wholebodycryotherpy.org)

How does it work?
“With Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) the body is exposed to ultra-low temperatures, triggering a systematic anti-inflammatory response. This modality was first utilized in Japan in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Studies conducted over the last two decades have established WBC as a powerful treatment for inflammatory disorders and injuries. The accelerated production of collagen improves skin elasticity and texture, reversing skin aging and the appearance of cellulite.” (CRYO Therapy Hawaii brochure)

What are the health benefits?
Immune system – Cryotherapy improves the function of the immune system and decreases stress levels.

Skin – Exposure to temperature -160 degrees Celsius (-256 degrees Fahrenheit) triggers the systemic release of anti-inflammatory cytokines, and decreases circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines. This internal response decreases inflammation in all areas of the body.

Musculoskeletal – The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of cryotherapy can drastically improve joint disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Athletes use whole body therapy to recover from injuries and improve their performance.

Endocrine – The exposure to extreme cold causes the body to turn up its metabolic rate in order to produce heat. This effect lasts for up to 42 hours after the procedure, causing the body to burn up to 800 calories following the procedure. After several procedures. The increase in metabolic rate tends to last longer. Another “survival reaction” to the extreme cold temperatures is the release of endorphins (hormones) that have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, and improve mood disorders. (CRYO Therapy Hawaii brochure)

Is it safe?
Based on my experience, I felt the process to be comfortable and safe. I could see why you would never do it alone. Many express concern because of the recent death of Chelsea Ake-Savacion. Although there are not many details known about her death, we do know she was alone. There is a door that latches shut and a hydraulic that lifts you up so that you end up shoulder deep in the chamber when doing the whole body cryotherapy treatments. The controls are all on the outside. So if you are in a cryotherapy chamber, you cannot access the control panels located outside, which are operated by a staff member who is with you throughout the process.

When in doubt, it is wise to consult a physician before trying the therapy. I asked one client who came for a shoulder injury about her doctor’s opinion. Her doctor had no reservations about her doing the therapy and said she could do it an unlimited amount of times as long she found it helpful.

What to expect from whole body cryotherapy
Women have the option of going in nude. Most women go in their undies, bikini, or sports bra. It’s good to have a lot of skin exposure. Men can go in undies and/or shorts.

 

When you arrive at CRYO Therapy Hawaii, you will be given a cotton robe, gloves, socks and some slip on shoes to cover your feet. You want to protect your little digits. Thus, no “naked time” for the guys. Egan being Egan (meaning – he’s CRAZY, DO NOT TRY THIS), said he tried “naked time” and simply put, he said, “It hurts.”

When you get into the large cylinder chamber, the door will be closed, and at that time, you will take off your robe. A staff member on the outside will be operating the functions of the chamber. The floor beneath you in the chamber will lift until you are shoulder deep in the chamber and you can see above its rim. The nitrogen will have already started to fill the chamber. They kept me in for about 90 seconds. You can move around, dance, or talk to staff and other clients waiting to make the time go by faster. However, it really didn’t seem long at all. At -250 degrees Fahrenheit, it sounds very uncomfortable, but I didn’t think so. My legs felt it the most, cold and tingly. Other clients said their legs felt “crunchy.” You can go in for another treatment soon after, which Egan recommends, to receive maximum benefits. Before going in for another treatment (which I did) I had to wait for my body temperature to go back to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason for this is for skin safety. This time, my legs felt a bit colder.

It took a good 20-30 minutes for my core to cool down. They gave me a cup of tea and I was still shivering while I was drinking it outside in the sun at high noon. I felt really good throughout the rest of my day and slept soundly that night. The benefit of the therapy lasts up to 42 hours after the session, fighting inflammation and burning extra calories.

Spot treatment
Right after the whole body treatment I did the spot treatment for the face head and neck. In the spot treatment room, there is a large white comfy chair that the client lays in on their back. There is the machine, also known as “the elephant,” that blows nitrogen vapors through a hose. Marcia (Egan’s wife and former competitive gymnast) administered my treatment. She started in the scalp area, which felt really good. When she got to my face, it took a little getting used to. I could feel the skin tightening as the super cold vapors were blowing around my face. The benefits were much more apparent with this treatment. My skin felt much tighter and smoother instantly.


My take on cryotherapy
Although I cannot comment on the long term benefits, I did feel it alleviated tightness in my neck and shoulders. The staff at CRYO Therapy Hawaii has a lot of fun and they make the clients feel at home. It’s super quick, so it’s not like a massage experience that is longer and you can relax and maybe even take a nap. If you are looking for an anti-aging, weight loss, or anti-inflammation regiment, this is a great option. I will definitely go again.

Information
CRYO Therapy Hawaii, by Egan Inoue
2600 South King Street, Suite K106
Honolulu, HI 96826
808-397-6407

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

www.cryotherapyhawaii.com

Weight Loss and Life-Long Health Goes Beyond Nutrition and Exercise

 

The Cabbage Soup Diet, Jenny Craig, The Hot Dog, Egg, and Some Other Thing I Can’t Remember Diet – like many women, I’ve tried all kinds of diets to keep the weight off.  Never being successful, until now, I learned the most important thing about losing weight and keeping it off.  I learned that no matter what, the change had to be made with my self-worth first.  I have to believe everyday that the work is done in this order – Spirit, Mind, and Body.  The body will reflect what lives in the spirit and mind. How I lost my weight and increased my energy has everything to do with habits I found necessary for me to live a happy life.  Here are some of the adjustments I made in my perspective to accomplish more than just weight-loss.

Goal Setting
The managing trainer (more like a life coach), Kimi Morton, at Egan’s Fit Body Bootcamp, says, “What you can measure, you can manage.”  In other words, we can’t just say that we want to lose weight.  If we say exactly how many pounds we want to lose, set a deadline, and detail what actions we will take to get there, we can be laser focused on accomplishing our goals.  Making it an easy bite size goal is important too, we need to be able to meet our goals because that is what is going to make us feel awesome and ready to set the next step to the ultimate “Big Dream” goal.  For myself, it was, I will lose 1-2 pounds a week to lose 5 pounds in a month by exercising at least 5 times a week.  My husband and I now do this for our financial goals by saying how much we will save per month so we can take a Japan trip with the whole family next year.  I also apply this to how many hours and pages I will cover in my study material to pass the CPA exam.  “Eat That Frog!” by Brian Tracy recommended by Kimi, helped tremendously.  I highly recommend this book if you want to learn to prioritize and have many things, like I do, that you would like to accomplish.

Have a Support Group and Surround Yourself With People Smarter Than You
I most certainly could not have met my weight loss goal if I didn’t have people to hold me accountable.  By having a small group of people after the same goal, you have no choice but to be accountable for your actions.  If you have to report to people about how much progress you’re making, if you stick to your meal plan, and they notice if you aren’t going to your workout, you will be less likely to fall off the wagon.  Also, by having trainers teach me about metabolism and protein and carbohydrate ratios was eye-opening.  

I work in an accounting firm and during tax season, I got smart and allowed others to help me.  Half way through the season I went for lomilomi massage treatment and hired a personal chef.  Just doing these two things lifted such a weight off my shoulders.  I was able to eat healthy with the help of the personal chef.  It was one of the roughest tax seasons we had in a long time, but I felt clear-minded and had enough energy to pull me through the season.  I used to pride myself in doing everything myself. Now, I know it is best for people to help one another by doing what they love.  I am able to share my light by helping people through my career in accounting and love of writing.  By allowing friends to help me with my healing and nutritional needs, I am assisting them in sharing their light as well.  This exchange of helping one another, to me, is the meaning of true abundance!
Reward Your Future Self
The wonderful side effect of proper goal setting and having a support group is being more productive without feeling run down.  I have also picked up a new favorite phrase that keeps me from procrastinating, which is, “reward your future self.”  I got this from Pualena Pakele & Cabot on her “Hot Better Pop” podcast with Kimi Morton (Check out this podcast if you’re interested in life hacks, nutrition, beauty, productivity, unicorns, etc.).  So now, every time I think I am tired and I can just do something later, for example, prepping my breakfast and the kids’ after school snacks the night before, I think about whether I’m rewarding or punishing my future self. This is usually enough to keep me from leaving it to be done the next morning.  This means I always have my 5 a.m. workout clothes on the bathroom counter so I don’t have to decide what to wear at 4:30 a.m.

Cheat Meals (Joy) Are (Is) Essential
That’s right!  I must have a guilt-free cheat meal or two on the weekends.  I LOVE FOOD!  I have certainly learned to love eating cleaner simply because it makes me feel better. However, my husband and I love good sushi, Italian food, and gelato! Not only is it better in the long run to have a sustainable diet that the body is used to, but it’s also necessary to have it as part of a joyful life.  Food is an important part of our culture, brings family and friends together, and used in celebrations.  Therefore, we have to be able to live with food and enjoy it without any guilt, otherwise, chocolates, wine, and pasta will not get the full attention and appreciation it deserves.  Now that’s sad!  So eat healthy and work hard, but balance it with decadence and play!

Bless EVERYTHING!
This is the biggest lesson of all.  Going back to Spirit, Mind and Body.  We can bless our spirit and mind through meditation and learning about things that bring us joy.  We can also bless our bodies through exercise and putting fresh, non-processed foods into our bodies.  It doesn’t have to stop there.  When, I do work for a client, cook food for my family, speak to another, clean my house, I stop and ask myself what kind of energy am I putting into my action and words.   We have a big house and I sometimes catch myself thinking that the cleaning is never ending.  So, at that point I switch my thoughts to gratitude, because when I do, I realize that when I am gratefully cleaning my home, I am blessing it, and when you clean a home that is a blessing rather than a burden, it becomes more beautiful to look at.  Now, blessing is slowly becoming more of a habit and suddenly grumpy clients are kinder, clothes get folded more neatly, food gets better prepared and my physical self is also much improved.  I’m still working on “blessing” our 6 bedroom house, or perhaps I just need to embrace the mess.  Anyways, everything is always a work in progress.  

So, I guess the moral of this story is, if you want to improve something, be grateful for what you have and BLESS IT!!
 Down 20 lbs.and 8% body fat

The Bella Project: Hawaii’s Own Fairy Godmother

image“Every bella deserves a beautiful prom,” is the mantra of The Bella Project.  Sometimes it is financially hard for families to buy a dress when they are trying to just put food on the table.  Enter fairy godmothers! On Saturday, March 1, 2014 The Bella Project will be holding their annual Bella Boutique at the Central Union Church, Parish Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  As a non-profit organization, The Bella Project provides new and virtually new dresses and accessories to high school women free of charge.  Dresses donated by the local community, boutiques, pageant queens like 2013 Mrs. USA Universal Amanda Brad and The Bella Project’s own President Valerie Schmidt Mrs. Ultimate Elite 2014 are beautiful, stylish and in excellent condition.

The Bella Project was founded by Amanda Ross in 2009. In 2011, she moved away from Hawaii and turned it over to The Junior Leaugue of Honolulu.  Three members from The Junior League, Valerie Schmidt, Tracie Young, and Charise Shigeta operated it and converted it into a 501(c)3 again independent from The Junior League.   These ladies are currently the board members who are the leadership of The Bella Project.

The young women that come to The Bella Project leave with more than just a dress, shoes, accessories and makeup.  With a hundred volunteers, each girl is paired up with a female adult volunteer to talk about what is going on in their world.  Volunteers are strong professional women, moms, aunties, and mentors. For many of the young high school girls, it is the first time that someone has ever told them that they are beautiful or to have a strong female presence in their life.  Here are some of the inspiring stories from those who have benefited from The Bella Project:

From a daughter:  My mom was diagnosed with cancer, all of our money is going to her treatment.  I am hoping that you will allow me to get a dress so my mom doesn’t have to worry about one more thing.

From a mom:  My husband has been laid off since last year, now my daughter can get something nice from you.

From a mom:  We live paycheck to paycheck.  You have so many dresses for my daughter to choose from.

The goal of The Bella Project is to keep high school girls in school and reward them for continuing their education despite what is going on around them.  In addition, they should know that there are people rooting for them and encouraging them to grow, succeed and become contributors to the community and maybe even return to The Bella Project as a volunteer to reconnect with their female mentors, thank them for their experience, pay it forward and say, “I was once like you, you are beautiful and you will make a difference!”

For more information on how to get a dress or make donations like The Bella Project Facebook page and check out their webssite:

http://www.thebellaprojecthawaii.org