Elite Lifestyle Cuisine
Elite Lifestyle Cuisine
When I was younger, I thought that looking good could only be achieved by depriving myself. I bounced from one fad diet to another, losing 10 pounds quickly (usually by eating as little as possible) and then gaining back the 10 pounds just as quickly. As soon as I started to eat normally again (plus some because I had been so deprived with what I was eating) my body hung onto every last pound. My diets usually excluded various food groups and left me craving all sorts of different things, I felt like it was impossible to stay lean and slim, but at the same time when I gained 10 or 20 pounds, I was unhappy with my body. In my 30’s I started to understand more about nutrition, and that eating healthy, less refined whole foods would help to satisfy my appetite, while giving me the essential nutrients that are less prevalent in manufactured “diet” foods. I learned that eating refined sugars is very different than eating carbs like potatoes, rice and corn, and that the closer the apple is to the tree (a whole apple vs apple juice) the more effective it will be to get you to your fitness goals.
I began making my own meals using simple ingredients like: green veggies, rice, potatoes, steak, chicken, turkey and olive oil and noticed changes in my skin, hair and the leanness of my body. So often I hear people say that a calorie is just a calorie, but I know now that saying isn’t quite right. You are what you eat, and when you eat protein filled foods from nature and fresh veggies the change that you’ll feel both physically and mentally are astounding… I could go on and on about the benefits, but lets just say that my skin became clearer, my body composition became leaner and my energy levels became more consistent from eating in the correct way.
Life has a way of taking over, and as important as eating healthfully is to me, running my own successful hair salon (while rewarding) can also be incredibly time consuming and stressful. Meal prep usually takes me about 5-7 hours a week, and after coming home from working 10 hours nonstop on my feel, it was the last thing I wanted to do. My meals became haphazard, and thrown together and although they were nutritionally balanced, they became less appetizing to me because honestly….they were no longer delicious or interesting. I had tried several meal prep services and was disappointed with the results. Either the macros were off (too little protein and not enough veggies and way too much refined sugar) or the food simply didn’t taste good. You only live once, and who wants to waste their calories?? Not I!
When I finally ordered meals from Elite Lifestyle Cuisine I was thrilled. First of all the macros are perfect. Everything is written on the side of the container, and there is plenty of protein. I was so surprised at how delicious they are, and how much flavor is in each dish, all while keeping the calories at a reasonable level. Being able to come home after a total body workout and pop a meal in the microwave and be sitting at the table eating only ten minutes later is something I am so grateful for. I have more time with my family and friends, and am also able to focus more completely on my business and upcoming fitness competition (I am a WBFF Bikini Pro) because I don’t have to spend all of my free time cooking and planning my meals. The cost has been extremely reasonable (about 10 dollars per meal) so I am spending approximately the same amount that I spent on groceries, but without all the wasted food. One of the greatest benefits is that the food is frozen, so that I can prepare it when I need it, and it stays it’s freshest up until that point. My schedule can be a bit unpredictable, and I love the fact that if I go out for a last minute dinner, I’m not wasting the food that’s in my home. I’ve recommended Elite Lifestyle cuisine to so many of my friends who travel because it’s a great way to keep your home stocked with nutritious foods even while on the go. How nice it is to come home from a long day of traveling to home cooked lean meatballs over penne pasta!
Within my first two weeks of raving about the meals I’ve been getting from Elite Lifestyle Cuisine, I had 10 friends who also wanted the meals, so Carlos was gracious enough to provide me with a code ( Megangrahamfitness at www.elitelifestylecuisine.com) which people could use to receive 10 percent off of their order!:)
I love sharing my tips for staying in shape with less time and effort than most people believe you must spend, and meals are everything. Please try these delicious meals as you work to maintain (or increase ) your level of leanness and I promise you won’t be disappointed! Stay beautiful and healthy! xo, Megan
How Long It Takes For Hair To Be Healthy
When working in the salon at Megan Graham beauty I see many new clients who come to me because they are on their last straw. Their hair is damaged, dry, broken and the color is completely off. I have a reputation for being able to fix hair color, and bring the condition of hair back to shiny and healthy. One thing that I have wanted to address for a while is :how long it takes for hair to be healthy.
I think that with most of the things that we do in life, we expect to see an instant change… But when dealing with hair it’s important to realize that our hair is already growing out of our heads and once we do something to that hair, we can baby it, try to preserve it and this will make a difference but it will not turn that hair back to its original untouched state. There are times where I have seen a client for 1 to 2 appointments, which usually means I have seen them for anywhere from six weeks to three months and they will ask how long it takes for hair to be healthy. I know that the answer they want is for me to tell them only a few months and their hair will be back in perfect health, but the truth is it actually takes patience and treating your hair very respectfully with excellent product, gentle hair coloring and being as easy as possible stylewise your hair to get beautiful and healthy hair.
My own hair is about 22 inches long and I would say that my hair grows approximately 5 inches a year which means that for me to grow healthy hair out I could plan on about 4 1/2 years maybe a little bit more because of course we are always trimming our hair along the way.
I know that we usually want things instantly, and there are things that you can do to instantly make your hair feel better, but to have extremely beautiful hair that gets compliments on the street every day… Takes consistency for quite a long time. 1 to 2 appointments with me will give you more beautiful hair color, but to have truly beautiful healthy hair we will have to work as a team for quite a while to achieve that result.
I hope that this helps to answer any questions you may have, if you’d like to book an appointment at the salon please call 617-236-8100 or go to our website and book online.
Why women have broken and damaged hair
When I walk by women in the locker room at the gym, and I see them doing their own hair, it makes it clearer to me why women have broken and damaged hair. At the salon sometimes I’m puzzled when I do a clients hair gently and without breakage, and they return to me with extremely fragile hair.
Amongst other things I see: low quality shampoo and conditioner. This always perplexes me, because shampoo can make or break the appearance of your hair. In the salon when I spend hours gently and strategically coloring someones hair, it’s difficult for me to understand that they don’t always feel that using the best products will make a difference. You might as well buy soft scrub to wash the exterior of your new Mercedes and to use an inferior cleansing product on your hair, it’s the same thing and a big reason for why women have broken and damaged hair.
No heat protectant, fast and aggressive untangling (this snaps off the hair, and trust me, you need every piece on your head!)…the worst offensive? Women very quickly run the blow dryer through their hair and then pick up the flat iron and start smoothing their hair. I can’t even explain to you just how damaging this is, but please don’t do this! If you must flat iron your hair, you must make sure that your hair is bone dry before. A rushed blow dry won’t get out all the dampness, and there will be so much damage.
There is nothing better than having beautiful, healthy hair…but you have to be wiling to do your part and take care of your hair at home to achieve this! xoxo, Megan
My Skincare Routine
My Skincare routine
I’ve been asked quite a bit about my skincare routine, and I must say that it’s pretty simple…but I thought I’d take the time to write a blog post for anyone that’s interested in what I do day to day to care for my skin. First and foremost, I believe that the reason my skin has managed to look good even at the age of 39 is that my mom scared the living daylights out of me when it came to spending time in the sun, and getting a tan. It’s very, very difficult to look young and have smooth skin when you’ve repeatedly damaged it by frying it in the sun. I also wear an SPF 25 (in my BB cream) every single day. You’d be surprised by the amount of sun you can get simply walking to the gym or running errands. I also drink at least a half gallon of water each day, and eat healthy whole foods. Trust me, when I splurge on Pizza and lots of junk food my skin CAN tell the difference. You are after all what you eat….
My skincare routine is actually quite simple, and though some of you might gasp or cast judgement on me (and I don’t care:):) I started getting botox at the age of 28 as preventative maintenance, and I have to say that it has really paid off. I have an amazing, skilled dr who does just enough, so that I don’t lose the expressiveness of my face, but I’m also unable to make the deep crease I used to make when I furrowed my brows. I believe this to have been one of the best skincare investments that I have made, and vehemently disagree with the people that say: “you don’t need it!” they are the same people that tell me that I don’t need to go to the gym, and……let’s just say that I do.
I don’t believe in Miracle creams, or spending 800 dollars on a cream at Saks. I use Retin A Micro, which is the only cream that I believe is really a miracle in a tube, yet won’t break the bank. Although I’ve heard many people complain of the peeling and dryness that have been associated with Retin A, I think that starting off slowly by applying twice a week at first, then three times until you are able to apply the product daily is the way to go. As my godmother always says: slow and steady wins the race. When using Retin A it’s very important to be especially careful with the sun as you are exposing especially delicate layers of the skin. Please always use sun protection when using Retin A.
For as much of my skincare as possible, I buy things that are missing the harmful chemical products found in most products. My favorite facial cleanser is by Maria Akenborg and can be purchased at Balans Boston http://www.bostonbalans.com or on their website. It’s gentle but effective and I use it in conjunction with my dermalogica facial cleansing brush http://www.dermalogica.com/exfoliating-face-brush/13,default,pd.html. Using a facial cleansing brush is an important part of my skincare routine because it allows me to gently exfoliate, and to reach the more difficult spots such as the crease of my nose. I think that most people speed through the cleansing process, especially when it comes to rinsing the cleanser off of their skin. When I worked at Saks Fifth Avenue I picked up a great tip from the Erno Lazlow rep, and that is to splash you face with water 100 times to ensure that you are getting all of the cleanser and residue off of your face. I may not make it to 100, but I shoot for 50:)
I use Odacite Beautiful Day Moisturizer http://www.thedetoxmarket.com/collections/odacite/products/beautiful-day-moisturizer and Odacite Ultra Effective Eye Cream http://www.thedetoxmarket.com/collections/odacite/products/ultra-effective-eye-cream to moisturize. I use the same thing morning and night, although I don’t moisturize when using Retin A.
I never, ever go to sleep with makeup on. Washing my face is the last thing that I want to do when I’m tired, but the most important part of my skincare routine is giving my skin a break. Trust me, your skin will thank you! Overall I think my routine is pretty simple, but it works:)
Stay healthy and beautiful and please comment below if you enjoyed this blog post:)
Why Corrective Hair Color is more expensive
When I think about what I’d like to write a blog, many times I consider questions that I have been asked several times in the salon. One of the questions that I hear the most frequently is: why is corrective haircolor more expensive?
When a client comes in for maintenance, I normally see them between four and 10 weeks. If a client has lower maintenance hair I may be seeing them every 12 to 14 weeks. That said, most of my clients fall within the 4 to 8 week range. If A client has high maintenance hair, which should be done every seven weeks to look its best and the client comes in to see me after waiting for six months to do her hair, it is much more difficult and time-consuming job the normal maintenance. What would have normally been a maintenance appointment becomes a corrective appointment. It’s like you own a beautiful Mercedes but you haven’t brought it in for any of the scheduled maintenance for six years. When you finally bring it in for maintenance they have to do so many more things which use more time and product then if you had gone in say every six months to a year for scheduled maintenance. This is how an appointment that would have been a normal maintenance appointment can become a corrective appointment.
When does someone need a corrective hair color? When you want something that is very different than what you have for hair color now, it is a corrective haircolor. How different the color that you would like to see is determines how many corrective appointments you will need. If your hair is dark brown and you’re looking to be platinum, this will be many corrective appointments. This is one of the reasons why corrective hair color is more expensive. Depending on what you have done to your hair before these appointments you may or may not be able to reach your goal color.
When I perform corrective hair color in the salon I spend more time, use more product, and use more resources within the salon then during a maintenance appointment. While it might look like I’m doing many of the same steps that I do for a maintenance appointment, it is a much more labor-intensive and product intensive appointment. Like most professions, the more time I spend on a task the more I charge. This is why corrective hair color is more expensive. The results are definitely worth it, but it’s always good to know that changing your haircolor takes many appointments and can also be expensive.
Focus on the positive
Have you ever noticed how quickly a woman will deflect a compliment?
We don’t always focus on the positive. She’ll minimize it, give someone else the credit, or fully shake her head and disagree with you. Yes, of course, we were all taught to be modest, but I think that there’s another thing that happens to women, and it slowly eats away at their self confidence. The interesting, and sad thing that I’ve noticed, not only with myself but with many other women I’ve known over the years, is that they are the first ones to listen to a negative, or terrible thing that someone else has said about them, and they remember it forever. I’m not sure of exactly why this happens, but it’s something that each and every one of us has to work hard to keep from happening within ourselves. You have to know, and have faith in exactly who you are, so that no matter what anyone says about you, you know the truth, and no longer fear the unkind words from others. When I was younger, and I was bullied in school, I remember feeling so afraid and embarrassed when I would be picked on, and all I wanted to do was to go home and never come back to the school, the place where I feared and had trouble concentrating because there were a few kids who decided to pick on me every day. I wish I could go back now as an adult, able to handle it and take on every one of those situations again. I wouldn’t have let those kids continue to do it, or listened to the cruel words.
As an adult, I’m both surprised and not surprised by the fact that bullies still exist. They were there when we were kids, and they grew larger, but mentally they didn’t grow up, and here we are. Mature, grown, fully developed human beings won’t call you names! Your first hint that there is a problem with another person, name calling. Consider the source when you are being attacked by someone, I know it’s scary, and no one likes it, but it’s usually a problem that comes from inside them, not you.
Only a few years ago I still felt shaken by the negative barbs that people throw my way. The interesting thing? 99 percent of what people say to me is positive, but I latched onto the 1 percent of people that chose to be unkind. I worked so hard to become stronger and more self assured, and to focus on the positive. I know who I am, and what I’m capable of, and I also know that for the peter pans who decided not to grow up, or respect anyone’s space besides their own their will be anger. The stronger you get, and the more clear your boundaries, the more people (I find) seem to use the dreaded b word.) Don’t be afraid and don’t listen. Focus on the positive and know that you can handle the pressure because you are strong and fair. You determine your state of mind, and you can’t and won’t give up an ounce of happiness to crazy makers. Stay healthy and beautiful and love yourself! Megan
I’ve always been a fan of the book Miss Manners, and there is something that I think back to again and again in life, and that is the number of inappropriate questions that I hear on a daily basis. Just because you want to know something doesn’t actually mean that you should ask. I’m amazed by the number of times I hear people ask (and not only to me, to the people around me?) How much are you paid? Is it real? Are you keeping it? Why aren’t you married? Maybe it’s our society and the way that every gossip magazine feels free to badger every celebrity and ask them about every detail from what they had for breakfast, to why they are breaking up with a signifigant other, but I think out society has gotten a bit out of control with questions.
There really isn’t much that you can do about inappropriate questions other than to simply ignore the person asking the question and change the subject, or to say: I’m not comfortable answering that. It would be wonderful if people suddenly developed better manners, but since the only person you can ever change is yourself, controlling your response to inappropriate questions is the best thing that you can do. Here are a few that people love to ask me:
Why aren’t you married?
Do you workout 7 days a week?
Is that hair real?
How much was (insert item here) that?
Just remember that it’s your prerogative to maintain your privacy, and if someone was very close to you…they would most likely know the answer to many of the questions asked because you would have told them. If not, that’s up to you as well. Just because a question is asked doesn’t mean that you must answer.
How to avoid brassiness in blond hair
Over and over again at the salon, I hear the same topic, which tells me that it’s very important to many of my clients. They want to know how to avoid brassiness in blond hair. When I see a first time client, and they have brassy blond, the following things are often the reason:
Water- If you don’t have a water filter on your shower head, you may develop brassiness over time.
Poor choice of aftercare products- If you are using inferior products (and you know that 50 percent of you are…….they will strip your hair color and turn the most beautiful blondes brassy)
An all over base color which is much lighter than your natural root color. A base color always creates warmth as you lighten it. The rule? The higher you lift the base, the more warmth you’ll see.
Highlights weren’t lifted blonde enough, or the product chosen to highlight was strong enough to lift past the warmth.
These are the most common reasons that I see over and over, and are some of the things to look for when trying to figure out how to avoid brassiness in blonde hair. I’ve added a picture of a blonde client who came to me with very brassy hair due to the fact that the base color that was being used on her was simply too light, and was creating unwanted warmth. I used a slightly darker base color and created her lightness using highlights. To book an appointment at Megan Graham Beauty please call 617.236.8100 or book online by going to: www.megangrahambeauty.com
How to dry your hair
It seems so basic, everyone does it….but there’s the way it would end up naturally, vs a glossy, shiny, beautifully styled result with minimal effort and that is our desired end result. Here’s how to dry your hair for the best results with minimal effort.
- This step actually takes place before you wash your hair. Right before stepping into the shower gently untangle your hair. I use a Mason Pearson brush, or the Hairdreams extensions brush. Your hair is stronger when it’s dry, so it’s the perfect time to remove any tangles. This process is so much easier before than it would be after.
- Condition your hair, but avoid using too much product and concentrate on the ends (think ponytail area and down) to avoid greasy roots. Why bother washing it if it just looks dirty right after? There really can be too much of a good thing.
- Gently wrap your hair in a bath towel after stepping out of the shower for a few minutes.
- I repeat step 3, but first I remove the bath towel and gently brush my hair with the Hairdreams Extension brush, then I re-wrap it in a special high absorbency hair towel. This saves me so much time later when I’m blow drying.
- Apply product. Always, always use a heat protectant.
- Start drying before the hair is too dry or you won’t be able to fight the natural texture that has set in. There’s a fine line between too dry/wet, but it’s always better to start early!
- I use med heat/ high air flow to get out most of the moisture, and flip my head upside down while blow drying the roots for extra volume.
- Style using a higher heat if you have curly or wavy hair. I usually tell my clients to spend an additional minute of two making sure that their hair is dry after they think it is. That last few minutes will lock in your style and make sure that it doesn’t frizz later.
- Refrain from touching your hair as much as possible. The more you touch your hair, the faster it gets dirty!
I hope that this helps you a bit when you are wondering about how to dry your hair! If I left anything out that you’d like to see, or you found this helpful please let me lnpw by commenting below:)
Thanksgiving and feeling grateful:)
Thanksgiving Megan Graham
If I don’t get to see each and every one of you before Thanksgiving, I just wanted to send out a quick note to say that seeing each and every one of you at the salon truly makes me happy, My job is no different than any other in the fact that I am tired at the end of the day, my feet hurt sometimes, and I am always busy…but how I love it. It’s Thanksgiving and I’m feeling grateful… I have been so blessed to have so many amazing and kind people visit me at the salon, and to make great friends along the way, all while transforming their hair! I never dreamed that my little salon could turn into such a cozy home that housed so much creativity, and such an amazing team. Thank you for your support and trust, and for taking the time to come to see me when I know how busy each and every one of you are!