Botox 101: What to know before getting it

botox-needle

The decision to get Botox is a big one, and was something I toyed with and researched for a year before finally taking the plunge. And now a year into getting it, I couldn’t be happier with the results, and I know a big part of that is because of all the diligence I put in to finding a great doctor that I was comfortable with. Now, I’ve decided to share my tips with you after a bunch of friends interested in having the procedure urged me to. Below are my tips for finding the right Doctor and also tips for getting Botox and things you may not know about the procedure.

First, this is a medical procedure, so it’s important to go to a licensed dermatologist whose area of focus is the face. That means avoiding dentists, nurses and Botox parties. The idea of going to a party to get Botox really creeps me out. I chose my longtime dermatologist who has been administering Botox and other fillers for over a decade.

Once I knew I wanted to get Botox, I scheduled a consultation with my dermatologist and came prepared with a number of questions for him before committing to Botox. Some important questions I asked were If he is a so-called “high-volume” injector, meaning has he injected more than 1,000 times. The answer was a resounding yes, and think about it – would you want to be a guinea pig for a procedure that alters your face? I think not.

I asked if he had ever hit a nerve in someone’s face or caused a patient to have a droopy eye, which can happen when Botox is administered in the wrong part of the face. His answer to this was no, which was comforting. This is exactly why I suggest going to a cosmetic dermatologist, because they know the construction of the face arguably better than any other doctor and even a centimeter’s difference in where it is injected could cause a complication.

I asked whether my doctor was comfortable working with Botox, Dysport and other fillers and for him to explain the pros of cons of each before making my decision. It’s common for doctors to charge a fee for a consultation, so don’t be alarmed. Usually, if you choose to get Botox, the consultation fee is applied toward it.

Now, once you decide to go for it, there are certain aspects of it I didn’t know or expect. First, Botox or Dysport takes a few days to gradually kick in. I get it done in my forehead, and the day of the procedure, it doesn’t look any different. Over the course of 10 days, it gradually starts to work and each morning I run into my bathroom to inspect the result in the mirror. It’s pretty much like getting a gift each morning.

Botox doesn’t hurt, which was the most welcome surprise of all. I remember waiting in the office for the few minutes before my doctor arrived and coming up with excuses to back out of it because I was afraid it would hurt badly, but that wasn’t at all the case. There is a tiny pinch at each little injection, but that’s it. Also, it doesn’t leave much of a mark, so literally ten minutes after getting it done, I’m able to go to work or appointments and no one can even tell.

If you’re getting it done, work out that morning, as you shouldn’t work out the rest of the day following it because it can cause bruising. Also, make sure not to drink the day before or the day of, because that increases the risk of bruising. For what it’s worth, I’ve never had any bruising from it.

Be very specific in the look you are going for. I stick to what we call baby Botox, or very small dosages, because I don’t want my forehead to look stretched out and have no movement. This means one vial for all of my forehead. Some people use two whole syringes in that area. I find overc communicating is better.

Lastly, the injections should last between three and four months. For me, Botox is a no brainer. For less than $1k a year, my forehead looks really smooth and I look more alert and young. It’s not invasive nor does it hurt and requires zero recovery time. I also think it is stopping my forehead from aging going forward, which is a plus. All of my girlfriends who have since gone to get it done have been instant converts, too.

Have any other questions? Leave them in the comments!

Travel Guide: Where to Stay in Crete

The last leg of our amazing Grecian vacation was Crete, one of the largest and most interesting of the Greek Islands. It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit since I was really young, so it was amazing to visit Crete and have the added bonus of staying at Paradise Island Villas, which truly does feel like you are in Paradise.

After a five-hour ferry ride from Mykonos, we were picked up by Paradise’s staff and whisked away to a part of Crete called Anissaras in the North East, not very far from Heraklion. From the second we entered the gates at Paradise Island we felt like we were at home.

IMG_7492

The property is beautiful and covered in bougainvillea vines and flowers throughout, creating bright pops of pink and purple at every turn. We walked into the main lobby which is Grecian chic and decorated in shades of white and glass, giving it a Greece-meets-Miami feel and that’s where we were greeted by Eleni, who took every measure to create a great trip for us throughout our stay. After she gave us a delicious glass of Cretan white wine, we departed to our villa.

The villas are truly extraordinary and each has its own feel to go along with its name. The villas are named after the Greek gods, and we were placed in the Hera villa, named for Zeus’s wife who was known for her beauty.

DSC_1327

The villas are two-floors and have tons of different balconies to take in the views. We loved that we had a beautiful spiral staircase between the floors, and the feminine touches throughout the villa that related back to mythology. It was as if the room was decorated for a modern Hera that loved the conveniences and modernity of contemporary luxury while still appreciating the rich history of Greece and its mythology. The master bathroom is marble with a wonderful bathtub. There are also two other bathrooms, making getting ready a breeze. We had a full kitchen and dining room with a  crystal chandelier and draped white chairs, that was such a nice touch also.

The beds were super comfy and the master bedroom had a four-poster bed. The linens were soft and crisp and our villa was immaculate. The ceilings were high and there was tons of natural sunlight throughout because of all of our balconies and windows.

DSC_1300

There were high-end touches throughout to ensure a luxurious stay. This included the pillow menu, the ability to change your mattress from soft to more firm, olive-oil based bath products.

DSC_1304

Our backyard was to die for. In addition to the hotel’s amazing shared amenities such as its beautiful pool and gym, we had a lush private backyard with its own plunge pool and beach chairs to take the sun.

I loved walking through the property and hearing birds chirping and owls cooing and looking at the yellow and red hibiscus flowers, succulents of all shapes and sizes and of course, the bright purple and pink bougainvillea vines.

DSC_1316

Our first morning we went to the gym to burn off some moussaka calories from the night before and then went back  to our room, changed into bikinis and swam in our private pool and took the sun, which was just blissful. The backyard is covered in flowers and giant palm trees and even some olive trees.

IMG_7538

Crete is known for its wine production, and the hotel is near their wine country (pictured above), so after a day in the pool, we drove out to the vineyards to sample some organic wines, which was also a great time.

The second night at the hotel, they hosted a barbecue for the guests. Now, take out preconceived notations of an American barbecue. This is way, way better. After sipping on a glass of white, Cretan wine, out came homemade tzatziki and pita bread that was to die for. Next came a Greek salad, pork and chicken souvlaki, lamb, Greek burgers, french fries and other amazing food, that you could literally eat until you had your fill. It was such a nice way to experience Greek cuisine.We ended the night with ouzo, because obviously. Then, we went night swimming in our private pool, because obviously, again. One thing to note: the bar and restaurant at Paradise Villas has a really great, and eclectic, selection of local wines.

Breakfasts at Paradise Villas are really nicely done. We ordered omelettes two of the mornings, and they were giant and fluffy and full of flavor. Their iced coffees are the best we had in all of Greece, so we had lots of them every morning after our trip to the gym. We had a super early flight on the day we left and Eleni was sweet enough to arrange breakfast delivered to our room at 5 a.m. so that we could have the last taste of Crete before heading back to New York, which just goes to show the efforts they take to make your trip above and beyond.

IMG_7643

On our last night, the hotel arranged for a cooking class with a couple who grew up in Crete. They picked us up at the hotel after we spent the day at the beach and we headed to their home, where they taught us how to make all of our favorite Greek dishes. After cooking lamb, spinach pie, Greek pasta, dolmades, zucchini fritters and tzatziki, we sat down to eat it all, which was truly a highlight of the trip. Above, we are making phyllo dough and cutting it into strips to make Greek pasta while sipping on some homemade rosé. It was a great way to end the trip and learn to make Greek dishes that I’ve been making ever since I’ve been home.

Paradise Island Villas provided a luxurious and relaxing vacation that was just what we needed after being in Mykonos. If you’re looking to visit Chania, you may want to book oath hotel on that side of Crete as it would be hard to reach from Paradise Island, so I suggest staying here and then moving to that part of Crete.

Planning A Trip to Greece? Check out our Travel Guides:

Travel Guide: Where to Eat in Santorini

Travel Guide: A Day Sailing Around Santorini

Travel Guide: Where to Stay in Santorini

Travel Guide: The Best Beach Clubs in Mykonos

Travel Guide: Where to Eat in Mykonos

Mykonos Travel Guide: Where to Eat

By Greek island standards, Mykonos is posh and that means it truly has world-class restaurants. Think late dinners, beautiful people and lots of cocktails in swanky restaurants. We really had a very hard time narrowing down where to eat each night, because each place sounded better than the next. But, alas, we chose wisely. Here’s your guide on where to eat in Mykonos. All require reservations, and keep in mind that people eat late in Mykonos, so a 10 p.m. reservation is ideal:

Kalita:

Image 5

In the center of Mykonos town, is Kalita, which means “Good night” in Greek. Well, any night eating at Kalita is definitely a good one, as the food is delicious and the service is top notch.

We were treated to the most delicious meal, al fresco under the stars in Mykonos. And while we planned on having a “light” meal, the menu was just too amazing not to try a bunch of different dishes. While I became borderline obsessed with Greek salads during our trip, we opted to share Kalita’s Wild Green’s salad, which came with rusk, crispy prosciutto, goat cheese and carmelized walnuts. This may be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. It was so flavorful and light that I could have eaten it forever. We also split their moussaka, which became a favorite of ours throughout our trip. We loved that the moussaka at Kalita was a deconstructed one, presented beautifully and elevated to another level. Unlike traditional moussaka which can be very heavy, this one was light, but super flavorful, meaning we could go dancing after dinner without a problem.

For our mains, I had Beef Ragout with “Xinomavro” wine, smoked eggplant puree & yogurt mousse. I can’t even describe how tasty this was. The portion was giant, so I couldn’t even come close to finishing it despite trying really, really hard to. I loved the braised beef that was so tender you didn’t even need a knife to cut it which I dipped into the eggplant spread. My friend had the Pasticio, which were pasta shells stuffed with meat and veggies. The portion was also giant.

We didn’t have room for dessert, but had some amazing cocktails. The bartender at Kalita is a pro, and we described what kind of drink we were looking for and he turned out some amazing cocktails. I would put Kalita at the top of my list when visiting Mykonos.

Ling Ling by Hakkasan

Image

I really love Hakkasan and have gone to the one in London and New York quite a few times, so it was nice to find one in Mykonos town that was a great, hip place to eat dinner and sip on cocktails before heading out. The whole vibe of Ling Ling is to carry you from drinking to dining to dancing in one sitting and they even have a great DJ spinning in the background to strum up the party vibes.

We had a really late dinner at Ling Ling, arriving around 11:30, so we carried on our buzz from Nammos at Ling Ling ordering martinis at the bar before sitting down for dinner at a long table for 12 with some friends we met the night before.

We ordered family style and pretty much sampled most of the menu. The highlights were the dim dum, duck salad and the many, many desserts we tried.

Sea Satin Market

FullSizeRender

This restaurant that overlooks Mykonos’ famous windmills has become a favorite of celebrities. (Want to be entertained? Google “Lindsay Lohan Sea Satin Market.”

It is outdoor dining in a beautiful place. It also has remarkable views of the sunset, although we arrived way past sunset thanks to day drinking. Sea Satin market is best known for its fresh fish. I had the shrimp saganaki, which was very good.

Later at night the music picks up and it becomes a dinner dance party.

 

Planning A Trip to Greece? Check out our Travel Guides:

Travel Guide: Where to Eat in Santorini

Travel Guide: A Day Sailing Around Santorini

Travel Guide: Where to Stay in Santorini

Travel Guide: The Best Beach Clubs in Mykonos

Travel Guide: The Best Beach Clubs in Mykonos

For those who haven’t been, Mykonos is considered the party island of Greece. And it is home to some of the most amazing beach clubs. Think gorgeous people, DJs playing beachy tunes and cabanas to take the sun and drink champagne in. The morning hours are very chill, then comes 4 p.m. and the music turns up, people start dancing and champagne corks sound all the way until 9 p.m. when the sun finally sets.

There are so many beach clubs in Mykonos that picking the right ones is key. You don’t want to end up at one of the fratty, college ones. Check out our must-visit guide to beach clubs in Mykonos below.

Scorpios:

1462166209968

Scorpios is one of the newest beach club additions in Mykonos and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s got a distinctly Burning Man on the Mediterranean vibe. Think monochromatic shades of tan and sand, wooden cabanas, body painting, hammocks, fire circles and other-worldly slow beats with live drummers, etc.

IMG_7411

Scorpios attracts the “it” crowd. Models, athletes, leggy Europeans, etc. During the day, you can rent a cabana by the beach. It is also the most spectacular place to watch the sun set. We wound up at Scorpios three of our four days in Mykonos, if that’s any indication of what it’s like. At sundown, the percussions pick up, but the vibe is still very mellow as people dance to tribal beats while watching the sun set under strung edison lights.

The dress code: hot bikinis and lacy coverups. Tie-up sandals also encouraged. Feather headbands? Do it.

Nammos:

nammos

Where do I start with Nammos? It was hands down our favorite day in Mykonos and the best party we went to (from what we remember). It may be because our early lunch at Nammos consisted of two glasses each of vodka on the rocks with Greek Salads. We then went shopping at Luisa, Nammos’s store which is stocked with amazing Missoni bathing suits, Eugenia Kim hats and Karen Walker sunglasses. The day got even better when we decided to order a bottle of vodka just for the two of us. So, by the time the party kicked off at 4, you can probably imagine the state we were in.

Nammos attracts a really affluent crowd. There’s a 120,000 pound bottle of Armand De Brigand Brut Gold on their menu, after all. It is also a celebrity hot spot. Once the beats picked up, out came a surprise bottle of Veueve Cliquot for us. That went down quickly as we danced to club music and swam in the ocean. We then wound up at a table that had approximately 16 bottles of rosé for us to drink while we danced and smoked turkish cigarettes and cigars. Next thing we knew, the sun was setting over the ocean.

Parts of Nammos are a blur, but a really, really fabulous one. We’re already talking about going back to Mykonos next summer and recreating this day. I may have lost a really expensive pair of sunglasses, and my friend may have lost her feather headband, but those are small prices to pay for the amount of fun we had. I’d put it high on the list of beach clubs to visit.

Panormos:

IMG_7056

Panormos is a beautiful beach club overlooking Panoramas Bay. The decor is impeccable: Wooden beach loungers, a gorgeous restaurant (pictured above) with views of the turquoise bay, a great shop. and good vibes.

Visually, we thought Panormos was the prettiest of the beach clubs we visited and we liked the chill vibe during the day. There are lots of people in their late twenties and thirties ordering bottles of  rosé and champagne. We loved that it had a very Grecian feel to it — the champagne, for instance, was served in a brass boat surrounded by bunches of grapes and strawberries. There is a DJ and a saxophonist playing to the beats.

Like Nammos, the energy picks up around 4 p.m., unless it is one of the days that they have a night party. In that case it will close around 6 so that they can set up. The restaurant requires reservations, so keep that in mind, as do the beach loungers. Don’t try just rocking up and getting a chair — it’s a bit of a process, so reserve in advance.

Planning A Trip to Greece? Check out our Travel Guides:

Travel Guide: Where to Eat in Santorini

Travel Guide: A Day Sailing Around Santorini

Travel Guide: Where to Stay in Santorini

Travel Guide: Where to Eat in Mykonos

A Day Sailing in Paradise With Canaves Oia

DSC_1272 (4)

Santorini is arguably one of the most beautiful places on earth, especially the Oia section, with its white-washed buildings, blue domes and winding hills. But, a little-known secret is that Santorini is just as beautiful by sea.

For guests staying at luxury hotel Canaves Oia, a perk of your stay is that the hotel also has an amazing boating service, with catamarans, yachts and other options. You can book a private captain for the day, or do a semi-private morning or sunset cruise through the hotel. Even if you’re staying at a neighboring hotel, you can book an excursion with their boating company, Sunset Oia Sailing, and they will pick you up and drop you off to your hotel.

We had the pleasure of hopping aboard the catamaran for a day at sea, and it was truly one of the highlights of our trip. The trip was six hours and was the perfect way to take in the island.

DSC_1294

The catamaran itself is beautiful and roomy, with ample space to take the sun and sip on ouzo.  We laid out on the netting out the front under the sail and took the sun while checking out the water’s bright shades of aqua.

We boarded at 10 a.m. and set sail to Santorini’s famous hot springs. Because there are volcanos surrounding Santorini, there are also hot springs, which you can swim in and use the mud as a mud mask. We didn’t fully submerge ourselves (we were wearing really cute bikinis, after all!) but did check out the scene and it was a really different sort of experience that is definitely worth visiting and something we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do had we not been on the boat.

Next, we sailed to the White Beach where we had an hour to snorkel, swim and jump off of the boat, which we did repeatedly. This was such a blast, and we dove and jumped into the ocean again and again while swimming in the turquoise waters. The white beach is only accessible by boat, so it was yet another part of Santorini we wouldn’t have been able to take in.

13886317_10101373705784465_2478534628414238396_n

Then, we had the most amazing lunch. It was honestly one of the best meals we had in all of Greece. The boat’s chef was a young Greek woman who grew up cooking with her family, and she whipped up the most incredible, authentic spread. We feasted on tzatziki, Greek salad, shrimp saganaki, souvlaki and other Greek favorites. Oh, and we had more ouzo of course.

DSC_1296

We concluded the trip with more swimming and diving by Red Beach, which was really unique because of the bright red mountain surrounding it. The water was crystal clear and we swam out to a giant rock and took in the scenery.

The five-hour boat trip is a great way to learn about Santorini and really appreciate its beauty. The crew on the boat was wonderful and the ride smooth. Pack lots of sunscreen and a cute cover-up and you’re good to go!

Planning A Trip to Greece? Check out our Travel Guides:

Travel Guide: Where to Eat in Santorini

Travel Guide: Where to Eat in Mykonos