Go Grey! Really, Grey Get Out!

If you are like me, the day you woke up and saw a grey hair or two or three, the eeeeeekk could be heard on the other side of town. Very few people look sexy with grey hair. I am neither a movie star nor the sexiest person alive! I am a regular person. As a regular person, I want to emphasize the positive. Curly hair? Check. Blue eyes and small nose? Check. However, we don’t want to show off the negative. Red face? Makeup. Overweight? Atkins. Grey hair? Hair dye.


According to MSNBC, Americans spend billions of dollars on hair products to fight the effects of grey hair. We dye, shampoo and take supplements. According to About.com, the age we start going grey is largely genetic. If your grandparents and parents go grey early, chances are so will you. For example my dad went grey in his early twenties, whereas my mom has mostly black hair with a few greys (pre hair dye.) I have a 50/50 chance of going either way. So what causes grey hair? Your hair cells contain pigments called melanocytes. These pigments make various chemicals that control the color of your hair. The chemicals add brown, black, red etc. When we go grey, the melanocyte’s start dying off, causing the color of your hair to go lighter then, grey then white. Stress and autoimmune disorders can speed up the process. Other medical conditions such as anemia, low b-vitamins and poor nutrition also compound the problem.

According to Livestrong.com, your hair is largely made out of a protein called keratin. Keratin is an amino acid formed from the protein in your diet. Adding more quality protein to your diet can help prevent grey hair. Adding vitamins in the form of supplements is suggested; however, according to the article, getting nutrients from eating is the best way to add nutrition and vitamins to your diet. It is very difficult to find out if this is a cause of greying hair, so the best bet is visiting your doctor in regards to the grey hair.

Sometimes, we wish that there was a magic pill to cure grey hair. My mom always did say there is no magic pill. For weight loss, energy the blues etc. The good news is that L’Oreal, the biggest beauty and cosmetic company in the world, plans to release an anti-grey hair pill by 2015. The product will contain a fruit extract that is supposed to combat the pigment loss in hair that causes the greys. This “magic pill” has been in the research process for longer than ten years. It could take ten more years to confirm the effectiveness of the supplement, since greying is such a slow process. The good news is that the supplement will slow the process; however scientists are still not sure if it will actually reverse the process. More bad news is that the pill will need to be taken for life to prevent the grey hairs, costing more money in the long run. L’Oreal plans to market the product to both men and women. This may be an effective solution for people who rely on their looks, such as models and actors. For the rest of us, let’s stick to what we have been doing. I bet though, tons of people will be running for this product, myself included.

In conclusion, really is there a magic pill? I am not sure. There are so many products and cures out there that can be unhealthy. Jacky Onassis Kennedy passed away from cancer at the young age of 64. Many believe that this was a direct result of decades of hair dye use. As a society we really do inject too many chemicals into our daily lives. We must eat healthy to help combat this. In the current economy, we also have to consider our finances. Carefully review each product you purchase and decide if it is worth it, both financially and to help boost your self-esteem. As I mentioned earlier, accentuate the positive. Draw attention to your best features and away from the not so good. Most of the time the features we don’t like are not really that big of a deal. Self-confidence comes from within. The outside package being presentable can really help though! On my uggg days where I don’t feel like being around customers at work and co-workers, I “put on the mug” I make sure my face and hair are done and that I smell nice. Sometime this can make the difference in pushing through to a good day.

Be your best self! How you feel is up to you, combat the age beast in the healthiest way possible!

Christmas Killed Our Hippy Dream

When my first two children were born, I didn’t even think about using cloth diapers. They were old fashioned, bulky, and way, way too much work. I just happily diapered my little sons’ bottoms with whatever disposable was on sale, threw the used ones in the trash, and moved on with my life.

But then, ten years after deciding we were done having children, my husband and I were blessed with a surprise. A change of life with another baby. A princess to complete our family!  By that time, we were older, wiser, richer, and more environmentally conscious. And so, after a completely natural, water birth, we swaddled our breastfed, little girl in a fluffy hemp diaper. And it was great. We felt like we were wrapping her in a big blanket. We congratulated ourselves on beings so evolved. Not only were we protecting her little bottom from a scratchy paper diaper, we were doing our part to protect the environment.

Sure, the diapers were bulky and we had to buy bigger outfits for her. Yes, she looked a wee bit deformed with a bulbous bottom protruding from her tiny body. And okay, washing the diapers was a hassle. But we were doing a good thing. And we kept at it for six months.

Then Christmas struck. And we were forced to dump our good intentions.

Suddenly, on top of work, and homework, and housecleaning, and breastfeeding, I was swamped by the usual Holiday rush. I was shopping, and wrapping, and crafting, and baking, and the diapers began to pile up. We slapped a disposable on her and promised that as soon as things calmed down we’d sterilize the diapers that were molding in the diaper pail and get back to being the environmentally conscious, enlightened parents we knew we could be. The problem was – things didn’t calm down. With a teenager, a tween, an infant and two hectic work schedules there was no way I could keep up with the extra work of cloth diapers. It had been a blissful, hippy dream. But I’ve been a mom for long time, and that makes me a pragmatist.

Yes, I’m contributing to the landfill. And okay, disposables aren’t as cute or soft. But I’m getting it done. I’m keeping my head above water. And sometimes when you’re a mom, that’s the best you can hope for.

A Woman’s Scent

Recently, one of my best friend talk to me about a very sensitive topic that most women are embarrassed to speak about in public, even to friends. She told me she has some vaginal odor after sex and seek my opinion (not advice.) I told her what I knew but now, I also would like to talk about it here for the benefit of any female readers who are visiting this blog.

Note: The information is not medical advice but purely information gather from research from books and the internet.

Vaginas are not odorless, and as you progress through your monthly cycle, you may notice that your odor changes from day to day. That’s normal and it’s caused by the fluctuations in your hormone levels. But some women aren’t comfortable with their own smell and want to eliminate it. If you’re one of those women, read on for tips and advice.

The first step is to determine if your odor is abnormal. If you smell something fishy or extremely strong, it’s possible that you have an infection. Yeast infections often produce, interestingly enough, a yeasty smell, like rising bread dough. While bacterial vaginosis and some sexually transmitted diseases can cause a foul smell with discharge. Any foul or unusual odor warrants a trip to the doctor, especially if it’s accompanied by itching, pain, or atypical discharge.

But if it turns out that you have a healthy vagina, and you just want to combat your normal odor, be careful. Heavily fragrance douches, sprays and body washes can all disrupt the natural PH of your body, which can in turn lead to an infection. And, of course, this will lead to an even worse odor problem than you started with. Washing the outside of your vaginal area daily with plain water is what most doctors and gynecologists recommend for keeping yourself clean and healthy.

If you’re absolutely determined to get rid of the way you smell, however, you might try altering your diet. Some women claim to have achieved a more pleasant smell by reducing their intake of meat, dairy, coffee, onions, and garlic, and instead, loading up on fresh vegetables and fruits, especially pineapple. If you smoke or drink a lot of alcohol, eliminating those habits will not only improve your overall health, it could improve the smell of your vagina.

Change out of sweaty clothes immediately following a workout. Shower daily. Clean up your diet. And then…make peace with yourself. You’re a woman. And your smell is a unique and integral part of who you are.

Tips For Avoiding Bed Bugs While You Travel

Even fine hotels can have bed bugs, so it’s important to thoroughly check any room you plan to stay in. Start by putting your bags in the bathtub. That way you know they’ll stay safe and pest free while you investigate.

Start with the bed you plan to sleep in. Pull back the covers and remove the mattress. If that sounds like overkill, remember that bed bugs are tiny and can hide in even the smallest cracks. Check every fold and crevice, looking for any bugs or fecal matter, which will show as clusters of small, black stains. You’ll sleep a lot more soundly, and enjoy your stay knowing you won’t be getting bit while you sleep.

Look around the edges of the carpet, under furniture, and in drawers.

If you see any bugs, or signs of an infestation, do not stay in the room. Demand another room, or choose a different hotel.

After you are reasonably sure there is no infestation, you should still plan to take precautions.  Even a few bugs can cause a problem. And you certainly don’t want them hitching a ride home with you.

Keep your luggage off the bed. Put suitcases on luggage racks, and pull the racks away from the wall.

When you’re ready to leave, pack very carefully, looking each item over for signs of bed bugs.  Normal washing and drying of clothes (or drycleaning) should kill any hiding pests.

If, despite your best efforts, you still managed to bring bed bugs home with you, don’t panic. Start with some DIY methods of extermination or if you think you cannot handle it properly, call a pest control specialist. It’s the easiest and most reliable way to get rid of an infestation and get back to enjoying your life.

Halloween Killjoy

I’m sorry, but as a whole I think Halloween is a stupid holiday. It’s not because of any extreme religious convictions or anything. It’s just that I think Halloween traditions are more annoying than magical.

Take for example, carving pumpkins. I have a picture of my niece that perfectly depicts the way I feel about carving pumpkins. She’s about four year’s old, standing on a chair, staring into the inside of a pumpkin, and gagging. And I totally get it. Pumpkin innards are stinky and disgusting. But that’s not the only thing I hate.

I hate costumes, too. What?! You hate costumes? Well, not all costumes. Little kid costumes are adorable. But as kids get older, the whole thing starts to get weird. I mean, what kind of costume are you supposed to put together for a preteen boy? Which brings me to another reason I hate Halloween.

The awkwardness over when to quit trick or treating. No other holiday presents this problem.  We’ve never made much of a fuss over Santa in our house. (I’m starting to sound like a real party pooper. I love most holiday traditions. I promise!) So busting the Santa myth has never been an issue. And Easter egg hunts are something kids seem to transition out of all by themselves. I’ve never seen a teenager with an Easter basket. But the allure of candy is strong even after puberty hits.

And what are you supposed to do with all that candy? Your kid’s got fourteen pounds of sweets spread across his bed, chocolate smeared on his face, and a glazed look in his eye, and every year you’re forced to make a decision. Let him fall into a sugar induced coma or start the rationing. I am just not freewheeling enough to let my kids eat all their candy at once. So I ration. But rationing leads to begging.

“Mom, can I have some candy? I need some candy, Mom. But Mom, it’s my candy. It’s my Halloween candy, Mom. Mom! What’s the point of Halloween if I can’t even eat my candy?”

“I have no idea, honey. I have no idea.”

That said, if your children are going out on Halloween night trick or treats, read this post on how to plan for a safe and happy Halloween for kids.

When Your Dog Is In Pain

I have a twelve year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and as she’s gotten older, she’s started to display some of the problems typical of an old dog. She barks at shadows. She snores. She doesn’t always make it outside to go to the bathroom. But worst of all, she’s slowed down because her joints sometimes cause her pain.

Looking to alleviate her distress one day before a walk, I decided to give her a little aspirin. My vet had told me that 5-10 mg of unbuffered aspirin per pound of dog would be safe and help make her more comfortable. So for my eighteen pound Cavalier, that basically means one baby aspirin. But I was out of aspirin and didn’t feel like driving to the grocery store. I had some ibuprofen on hand and figured that would be just as good. After all, over the counter pain relievers are all pretty much the same, right? WRONG!

I almost killed my poor friend by giving her a toxic dose of ibuprofen. Within minutes, she was panting, then vomiting and shaking. What should have started as a quick and inexpensive trip to the grocery store, turned into a terrifying and costly trip to the vet.

I never imagined that a little Advil could be so dangerous! After all, in the twelve years we’ve had her, my Cavalier has gotten into bags of Halloween candy and Christmas chocolate more times than I can count. If chocolate, which is supposed to be poisonous to dogs, didn’t bother her, how could a little ibuprofen?

Turns out that even though she has a freakishly high tolerance for chocolate, her system just could not handle the ibuprofen. Luckily, even though it was a scary forty-eight hours, we got off fairly easily. She didn’t develop bleeding ulcers or liver damage as she could have.

And now I know. Never give your dog over the counter pain medication unless it has been prescribed by your vet, and then only in the correct dosages. Even a tough dog, like my little Cavalier, might go down. And that’s not something you want to experience. Trust me.

Is your dog experiencing canine arthritis symptoms? Then get the correct treatments for your pet to help them relieve the pain.

Making Good Plans To Break Bad Habits

Most people know that in order to achieve a goal, they need a plan, but the way they plan is all wrong. Typical plans might look something like this:

  1. Number 1: Save more
  2. Number 2: Spend less

It’s a plan, but it’s a one that’s doomed to failure. It’s too general, too lax, more of a wish than a strategy. Plans that actually help a person realize a goal need to be more detailed. But the beautiful thing is they only need to be slightly more detailed. We’re not talking about a business plan here, complete with pie charts and profit margins, ready to show a banker. A plan for success can be as simple as one sentence.

In the book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D. writes about the power of if/then statements. Simply put, an if/then statement is a simple plan designed to help you avoid the pitfalls and temptations that get in the way when trying to reach a goal. Instead of simply saying what you want to happen, you spell out exactly how, when, and where you will take the steps necessary to make it happen.

For instance, “I will quit smoking,” becomes, “I will walk around the block when I have a craving for a cigarette.” “Watch less television,” turns into, “At 7:00 pm I will pick up my book and go into the living room to read it.”

Studies show that simple, but specific plans like these have a huge impact on the likelihood of success vs. failure. If you are ready to change your life, then make a specific if/then plan. It is one of the simplest, most effective things you can do to break bad habits, achieve difficult, worthwhile goals, and change your life for the better.

Needed a little mental push and focus to break those habits. How about using some subliminal messages to make those changes last!