Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Do a Happy Dance:   A Couple More (Mac and Macarons) Popular Options for the Vegan, Gluten-Free Set 


gluten-free consuming, time-constrained, health-conscious individuals, rejoice! There are two more options to add to your meal plan: a savory and a dessert.

It is safe to say that macaroni and cheese (or mac&cheese or simply, mac) has been having a moment these last few years.

This comfort food dish is a popular item on many a menu at restaurants, events and grocery aisles, though not often enough as a vegan, gluten-free option.

Now another company making it so is Chickapea, with its Organic Vegan Mac. Chickapea is the pasta company founded by onetime health food store owner Shelby Taylor.

Its mission is to make available nutritious, delicious, easy-to-make foods for finicky eaters and those with health restrictions and concerns.

The organic vegan mac is, of course, dairy-free. Standing in for cheese is a creamy sweet potato and pumpkin sauce. Some of the other ingredients that make the dish include organic chickpea flour, organic red lentil flour, organic vegan seasoning, organic cauliflower powder and sea salt. Good stuff.

Perhaps after Chickapea’s mac&cheese the meal can proceed to dessert. Just the thing might be Les Macarons Duverger.

These are not your ordinary macarons. Created by Claire Becker, née Duverger, they are made from natural, organic and gluten-free ingredients.

And, yes, they are authentic French macarons. CB began making her confections for friends and family before she scaled up to the general public.

They are available in 20 flavors, not including seasonal varieties such as pumpkin pie. Regular flavors run to Blueberry lavender, Chocolate, Cookies and cream, Hazelnut brittle, Lemon, Orange truffle, Red velvet and Salted caramel.

The macarons also come in quite the splashy color palette (no chemicals) – an elevated version of lemon-yellow and orange-orange – and are a by-product of CB’s background as a painting conservationist.

What more is there to say? Bon appétit!

Visit and to learn more about Chickapea vegan mac and cheese as well as Duverger macarons.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Now, Relax; Chill Out. Every Little Thing Is Going to be Alright Because You Are Showing Mindfulness

Act less like a baby through mindfulness best practices. Archive photo.


has becomes a way of life, hasn't it.

Your normal operating procedure is to thoughtlessly react (and possibly overreact) to practically everything? You can learn how to slow down your mind and emotions so that you can have calm, rational responses to various stimuli. And less stress.

One way is through mindfulness. Ultimately, it is the process of remaining in any moment and focusing on what is happening without making instant judgments or drawing premature conclusions.

It is a subject that Timothy Riley knows a thing or two about. “Being aware of physical sensations, thoughts and emotions – both pleasant and unpleasant – can help us choose how to respond, rather than simply react,” asserts the assistant professor and associate vice chair for wellness in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State Health in Hershey, PA.

Timothy Riley will have information to impart about mindfulness in the coming weeks. Photo courtesy of Penn State Health (PSH).

Commencing tonight (7 Jan) with orientation at the University Fitness Center, TR will be teaching an eight-week course titled Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Orientation continues on 21 Jan. The course is open to Penn State Health employees and the general public. If you can't make it, keep an eye open for course highlights. The mindfulness course is a feature of the Medical Minute series at PSH.

Mindfulness can and should be practiced in the most common circumstances. Take the desire for a sweet, for instance, TR says. “You walk by Starbucks, see a cookie and you have an emotional response. You want the cookie. Then may come guilt for wanting a cookie.”

Exhibiting mindfulness, you would note both your reaction to the cookie and the resultant guilt for wanting it. You give in to both emotions without beating yourself up. Imagine simply meditating on them both.

“It puts you in this observer stance where we can witness what is happening without getting wrapped up in it,” TR says. “It gives you a bit of space.”

Mindfulness thinking can help us feel better and promote general good health. It can also help us act our age rather than our shoe size. Engaging in it enhances activity in the part of the brain that controls emotions.

Mindfulness thinking promotes overall good health. Archive image.

In other words, fewer adult temper tantrums. “The more we practice mindfulness, the more we are flexing this muscle of emotional regulation,” TR says. “When automatic emotions come up, we can choose whether or not to engage them.”

What a relief, no?

To register and/or learn more about Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, email

Thursday, January 3, 2019

You've Got Skin in the Game (All of It), Nine Ways to Keep It Looking Its Best

Sky Organics 100% Organic Unrefined Ivory Shea Butter is good for the entire body, including the face. During the winter, shea butter provides more moisture for normal and dry skin than lotion. Image from Sky Organics website.


true: If you look good, you feel good – at the very least, better. One thing we can do to achieve that feel-good feeling is to take care of ourselves, especially our skin. To ensure that it looks its best.

Offering pointers (nine) toward achieving that goal are a couple of experts from Houston’s top-ranked Department of Dermatology at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

“All the stresses and excesses of the holidays can leave your skin in bad shape, which makes you feel low, too,” asserts Megan Rogge, an assistant professor of dermatology. “The challenge is that at the start of a new year, we all want to look great. The good news is that with a little extra time and effort, or sometimes just breaking bad habits, you can change your skin condition for the better.”

The annmarie organic bamboo washcloth exfoliates as it cleanses and is naturally woven from a chemical-free blend of bamboo yarn and charcoal bamboo. Photo from annmarie website.

Drum roll, please ...

Stay calm, cool and collected because stress can cause and worsen skin problems. "Acne, psoriasis, eczema and certain types of hair loss all get worse when you’re feeling stressed," MR says. "Unfortunately, these are the four most common complaints of my patients. That’s why I recommend finding time to decompress. Practicing yoga or meditation is a good option, but even just doing breathing exercises can make a difference.”

In addition to adding unwanted pounds, what we eat can also adversely affect the look of our skin, McGovern medical school clinical dermatology professor Rajani Katta says.

"Your skin definitely feels the effects of your diet choices. I advise my patients to eat more foods rich in antioxidants, especially fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, since they've been shown to help combat the effects of free radicals, which take a toll on your skin."

RK, who speaks nationally about skin issues, also advises her patients to be monitor their sugar intake. “Too many sugar-laden coffee drinks, candies and desserts can elevate your blood sugar levels, which in turn can lead to collagen damage. This makes your skin less supple and more prone to ‘sugar sag.’ "

Water is essential to any health- or self-improvement regimen. Nuff said. Archive image.

Even during the winter, stick to wearing sunscreen. “Sunscreen," stresses MR, "should be an everyday essential. It’s often associated with being sticky and smelly, but most major skincare brands offer a daily version that is lighter and easier to apply. Even in winter, the sun’s rays can still emit damaging ultraviolet radiation."

She recommends a brand with at least an SPF of 30, "and placing it by your toothbrush so you don’t forget each morning.”

It is not necessarily eight glasses a day, but dependent on how much is injested through beverages and food as well as how much one sweats.

Says RK, "It's easy to become dehydrated in the winter. Unfortunately, beyond fatigue and other health effects, dehydration also accentuates fine lines and wrinkles."

Sometimes, it's a real struggle to take off your face after toiling all day, but it is essential and beneficial.

"Any buildup of dirt or oil in your skin can leave it looking flat. It can also block your pores, resulting in acne breakouts and irritations,” warns MR. “That means always removing makeup before you go to bed and doing regular cleansing, as well as exfoliation, to remove the top layer of dead skin. This will help keep your skin clear and shining bright.”

Bananas have myriad benefits, including promoting heart health and improving digestion. And they are delicious. Archive image.

When we get enough sleep, not only do we feel better, we look better. “Being sleep-deprived can increase those dreaded dark circles. Concealer can help hide the issue, but there’s no substitute for shut-eye,” RK asserts.

Further, she adds, not getting enough sleep slows the skin's healing process. “Researchers have studied the effects of poor sleep on the skin barrier. In one study, volunteers who reported poor sleep actually repaired their skin damage more slowly than those who reported good sleep."

The skin becomes dryer during the cold weather season. That is OK for oily or combination skin, and there are particular topical treatments for the latter. However, those with dry or normal skin should keep the skin moisturized with something that has more oomph than lotions, which tend to be water-logged, thus not conducive to good moisturizing, MR says.

Instead, "opt for thick creams to maximize results. Applying twice daily is normally sufficient, and you can help lock in moisture further by applying while your skin is still damp. This technique, called soak and smear, involves only patting dry your skin after stepping out of the shower before applying a moisturizer.”

During winter in particular, we spend more time indoors. The air quality in indoor spaces can be contaminated by smoke from cigarettes, cooking and other things. "While many of my patients recognize how harmful cigarette smoke is to the skin and therefore don’t smoke, some don't realize that secondhand smoke and pollution can also accelerate aging of the skin," says RK.

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30
is good for all skin types. Photo from Drunk Elephant website.

"That's why it's so important to avoid these situations whenever possible, and to make sure you're eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods to help protect your skin from pollution and smoke-induced free radicals."

“Setting a routine morning and night is crucial because most skincare regimens give the best results when they are consistently followed,” MR says. “But if certain products aren’t working for you, don’t be afraid to try something new. To give your skin an extra boost, you might want to use Vitamin C and Vitamin E serums to strengthen its defenses and improve elasticity.”

Here, patience is a virtue, she says. “Although it’s natural to want a product to have an immediate impact, it usually takes six weeks to be able to assess its effectiveness and start noticing any significant difference. So before giving up too soon, try to give any changes to your routine a proper chance and you might be pleasantly surprised.”

In short, stick to the gameplan and the skin you're in is only mere weeks away from an improved appearance.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Whys and Whyfors Chicken Noodle Soup Is Good for You - From Someone Who Knows

Chicken Noodle Soup is chockful of ingredients that can make us feel better when we have a cold and other ailments. Archive photos.


sneezing. You have a runny nose. You are having slight dizzy spells. You are tired. You feel lousy. You have a cold and all you want to do is to get in bed and pull the covers over you. And sleep.

At some point during your convalescence, however, someone is going to mention that Chicken Noodle Soup is just the thing to get you on the road to recovery.

Since most of us were knee high to a grasshopper, we've known that chicken noodle soup is one dish that will make us feel better when we're under the weather - especially with a cold.

But few of us have probably ever stopped to think or ask why is that. What is it about chicken noodle soup that can lessen the effects of a cold (and numerous other illnesses)?

Carrots add a pop of bright color to chicken noodle soup. They also have numerous health benefits such as assisting in reducing inflammation.

Now, someone who knows about such things – a clinical dietitian from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – explains why, major ingredient by major ingredient.

“Studies have shown that a hearty bowl of chicken noodle soup may help clear nasal congestion and ease cold symptoms,” says Sandy Allonen. “It’s all about the ingredients.”

Chicken is full of protein that helps support the immune system. It’s also a good source of vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins. They boost immunity and help regulate digestion.

“Chicken is also high in tryptophan, which helps your body produce serotonin that can enhance your mood and give you the feeling of ‘comfort’ that helps make chicken noodle soup a true comfort food,” SA says.

Celery is not the brightest vegetable in chicken noodle soup but it is rich in vitamins C and K.

Carrots are high in beta-carotene and can help reduce symptoms because of their anti-inflammatory properties. Celery and onions also figure prominently in chicken noodle soup.

Like carrots, they are great sources of vitamins C and K, as well as other antioxidants and minerals. “Not only does this help build a healthy immune system to fight off viruses, it also helps your body recover from illness more quickly,” according to SA.

Noodles are carbohydrate-rich, which is filling. “Carbs,” SA stresses “are the preferred source of energy for your body, so getting in a good dose through soup can help you feel less sluggish.”

A broth provides hydration, a necessary weapon when fighting a cold. “A clear broth is warm and soothing, making it a great source of hydration while you’re sick, especially if you have a sore throat,” SA says.

For those on low-salt diets, SA recommends a low-sodium broth.

The low-sodium chicken broth from Pacific Foods is ideal for those adhering to low-salt diets.

The steam drifting off of a bowl of hot chicken noodle soup can help reduce nasal congestion.

Says S.A., "Steam can open up airways, making it easier to breathe. It also has a mild anti-inflammatory effect that can help relax your muscles and soothe the discomforts of cold symptoms."

Chicken noodle soup, anyone?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Coach Door Edition From Lincoln Won’t Fit Under Tree, But This Stocking-Stuffer Won’t Be Returned for Another Size

Echoing the '60s Continentals: 17+ feet of luxe highlighted by easy-in/easy-out doors. Photos from Lincoln Continental.

HEADS UP: Dear reader don’t fret / We didn’t forget / You don’t have a clue / Thankfully we do … Until 24 Dec., the elves at The Wright Wreport will introduce at least one or a series of products, items and brands that we believe are worthy of consideration as holiday gift(s).


uniqueness and exceptional build quality highlight this custom-bodied Lincoln Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition.

This tribute to the iconic Continental of the early ‘60s, with its pioneering center-opening doors and elegant unadorned-slab side panels, is the very definition of exclusive and distinguished. Just introduced on 17 Dec., it can be yours now for summer delivery. Place your order(s) now.

Full-length console with personal controls forms indulgent backbone of first-class cabin.

Allow me to expound on its qualities:
Grandeur – acres of leather, 19-speaker audio, a huge twin-panel moonroof, seats that adjust 30 ways and Black Label trim in a variety of leather liveries and woods.

Practicality – A 400-horsepower, V-6 and secure all-wheel-drive will transport you quietly and securely over the river and through the icy woods to grandmother’s or to Brooklyn. Or wherever you are going.

Distinctive rear-hinged back doors open a full 90 degrees for graceful exits.

The distinction factor – Only 80 will be built for the 2019 model year. The one you order will be adorned by an individually numbered engraved mini-plaque set into a door sill.

For those who prefer to buy American, be assured that the Coach Edition is a thoroughbred. Its special chassis was constructed in Michigan. Body-lengthening and extensive handmade touches were completed in Massachusetts by a custom builder.

Custom bodywork and commodious rear compartment explain the name "Coach."

Not for Scrooges – A sticker price of above $100,000. That is more than 30 grand beyond the progenitor model with its conventional doors. But consider the value of being able to gracefully enter and exit the rear seat wearing a long gown or tight skirt. That rear compartment seats only two because of a huge snazzy console, but the automobile has the largest legroom of any sedan in its class.

To get this type of accommodation and rear-hinged back doors elsewhere would require an upgrade to a Rolls Royce. And a sticker price starting at three times the price of the new Continental!

The Continental Coach wears gleaming, tasteful jewelry in grille and lighting.

Bonus: You can keep your hands clean because ownership of the Coach Edition includes lifetime free car washes and interior detailing.

Visit to learn more about the Lincoln Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Joining the Big-Screen, Flat-Screen Television World With a Sceptre

The 50-inch Sceptre television has many attractive features. And the price is right. Images from Sceptre website.

HEADS UP: Dear reader don’t fret / We didn’t forget / You don’t have a clue / Thankfully we do … Until 24 Dec., the elves at The Wright Wreport will introduce at least one or a series of products, items and brands that we believe are worthy of consideration as holiday gift(s).


would the holidays be without a buying recommendation
from "real deal" Neil?

Decided to join the world and go big-screen TV. Also embarrassed to admit I’ve just stepped up to wireless Internet at mi casa. Spectrum offered streamable speed access for $20 a month.

Having missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I was tipped off to an $189 active sale at Walmart for a 50-inch Sceptre TV. Final price $206 delivered in two days.

Sceptre is lightweight (under 25 pounds ) and super thin (flat).

That’s not all, though. Consider some of the bang I got for my buck(s): Surround sound, LED (of course), MEMC 120 (auto-enhanced picture quality; good for action scenes), MHL (allows streaming from smartphones / devices to Spectre). And it’s green (Energy Star V7.0)

Such a deal!

Visit to learn more about Sceptre and where to purchase its products.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Robbox Tools Has in Its Arsenal an Astonishingly Capable, Award-Winning Driver

The Robbox Tools Driver comes in white and black. Images from Robbox website.

HEADS UP: Dear reader don’t fret / We didn’t forget / You don’t have a clue / Thankfully we do … Until 24 Dec., the elves at The Wright Wreport will introduce at least one or a series of products, items and brands that we believe are worthy of consideration as holiday gift(s).


could use a driver. Could you use a driver? Methinks that most of us can. And I am not talking about someone to ferry me or you, you, you and you around the town.

No, I speak of the award-winning, patent-pending gadget from Canada-based Robbox Tools. The mission of this outfit, from the horse's mouth: “to innovate for safety. We are making hand tools safer, smarter and more efficient with the use of robotics, AI and other advanced technology.”

Mission complete with the new driver. It is a hand-held tool that takes repurposing to other, better levels. With the use of a mobile phone and various attachments, the driver can be used to achieve all manner of tasks around the home, garden and workshop.

Mop jet attachment.

The wonder tool – depending on the attachment – can become a scrubber (on various surfaces), trim hedeges, drill and do grinding work.

The driver was another discovery that Yours Truly made last month at CES Unveiled in New York (Consumer Electronics Show, the kick off to CES Las Vegas next month). The Tetra Countertop Dishwasher also impressed my socks off,

Hedge trimmer attachment.

To reiterate, the driver's capabilities go far beyond repurposing the coffee cup to hold paper clips, pens and pencils. Or transforming a shallow candle holder into a storage bin for hairpins and makeup brushes.

The driver, winner of the 2018 Pinnacle Innovation Award from the United Inventors Association Of America (UIA), can also be used to vacuum, do pressure washing as a garden tool and become a skill saw in the workshop.

Scrubber attachment.

Professionals can avail themselves of the Robbox Robotic Driver/Drill, featuring digital motor, intelligent communication, built-in measuring system, Bluetooth.

The p.r. says it all: “Reduce your storage space and investment cost using one Robbox robotic tool to complete any home, garden or workshop project. Robbox attachments will help you eliminate the need to purchase multiple tools, batteries and chargers.”

Floor vacuum attachment.

One tool. Many purposes. Just sayin’.

Visit to learn more about the Robbox Tools Driver.
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