Peanut Allergies – One Ounce of Prevention is Worth Ten Tons of Cure

PeanutfreeIn recent years, the presence of life-threatening peanut allergies has increased by leaps and bounds. “Peanut-free Classroom” and “Peanut-free Lunchroom” are becoming household phrases as extra precautions are taken to ensure the safety and well being of all students. Something as small as a fleck of peanut dust or a piece of food cooked in peanut oil can send individuals with peanut allergies into a full-fledged array of symptoms, ranging from itching and hives to all-out anaphylactic shock.

Peanut allergies arouse more symptoms than most other food allergies, often beginning with a tingling sensation that creeps into the mouth and the lips, sometimes followed by facial swelling and wheezing. Itching, hives and a feeling of warmth are also common indicators of a reaction. Other typical allergy symptoms such as cough, itchy throat, nasal symptoms, colicky pain, abdominal pain and nausea also occur within minutes of contact or ingestion. Another common symptom is Erythema, or reddening of the skin.

Of highest concern, anaphylactic shock occurs in serious cases of peanut allergies, causing difficulty breathing, asthma, swollen throat, and/or a drop in blood pressure. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction to sometimes even the smallest traces of an allergen, causing excessive swelling to the throat and obstructed breathing, which necessitates immediate medical attention. If not treated, collapse and unconsciousness have also happened as a response to the peanut allergy aggravation.

For those with peanut allergies, consuming peanut products or foods cooked with peanut products is comparable to ingesting toxins. In these individuals’ bodies, an enzyme does not exist to properly break down and digest the proteins contained in peanuts. This causes the body to react as if the peanuts were poison.


Suspicions exist as to whether consumption of peanuts and peanut products by pregnant mothers increases a child’s chances of being born with a peanut allergy. No substantial evidence can advise on this issue, but it is suggested that those at-risk (i.e.-those with an immediate family member who is allergic) refrain from peanuts and peanut products while pregnant and if breast-feeding. Also, it is important to avoid exposing an at-risk child to peanuts and products made from peanuts until at least three years of age.

Even when presence of a fatal peanut allergy is not 100% certain, it is important to be vigilant about checking certain foods for peanut ingredients before eating or serving to those with allergies. Items such as pastries and baked goods like cakes and cookies are especially prone to containing nuts. It is better to check into the contents prior to taking even the smallest bite. Cereals, crackers, ice creams, candy, health bars and granola bars also pose the possibility of containing nuts, and Oriental dishes often contain nuts or cook in peanut oils. When dining in a restaurant, it is perfectly acceptable to make your peanut allergy known to your server in order to ensure the most cautious care.

Problems also arise when companies produce food products on the same machines or in the same work area. If a company produces candy with nuts and without nuts, there is always the dangerous possibility that a crumb or a tiny bit of the nut could find its way into the packaging of another product. Furthermore, those with peanut allergies may also face problems when someone in the same room has consumed peanut products. Even just opening a jar of peanut butter or a can of peanuts may be enough to agitate the symptoms of someone who is highly allergic.

Another concern comes into play if you are dating someone with a peanut allergy or if your child is allergic. When you share meals or prepare baked goodies, avoidance of peanut products is critical. Holidays bring pounds and pounds of sweets and treats that could be brimming with hidden bits of peanuts in the crust, in the filling and in the toppings. By the way, there IS a wrong way to eat a Reese’s… if someone you love is allergic to peanuts! The bottom line: be careful if anyone you know has a peanut allergy.


So once you or someone you know have been diagnosed with a peanut allergy, what is there to do? Sometimes encounters occur without any notice or warning, and immediate actions must be taken to alleviate the problem. A device known as the Epipen provides the body with a life-saving injection of adrenaline to combat the toxins of the ingested peanuts (or other allergens). Emergency medical attention is often required for severe allergic reactions. If you know you will be around someone with a peanut allergy, simply take the extra time to safeguard him or her from any risky encounters. Avoidance of peanuts and peanut products altogether is the best precaution you can take, and vigilance in this matter is invaluable.

Tips for living with a peanut allergy:

– Always check ingredient lists before consuming foods / serving foods to those with allergies.

– If you have young children with peanut allergies, it is best to keep the products out of the house or locked up to prevent accidental ingestion.

– When ordering in a restaurant, ask to find out if the ingredients include peanuts or peanut oil, peanut flour, or other peanut products.

– Keep an Epipen and emergency contact numbers close at hand, and be sure you have quick access to a phone in case of an emergency.

– Be cautious at all times. The extra minute or two you spend to avoid taking chances could be all it takes to save a live!

How to Get a Clean, Clear Complexion – In Time for Your Wedding, Prom, or Other Special Event

Big events like your prom, graduation, or your wedding call for the most picture-perfect complexion of all. Oily skin can put a damper on your photo ops, causing your face to look shiny in your snapshots. It’s easy to get a clean and clear complexion in time for your prom, wedding, graduation, or other special event if you follow a dedicated beauty regimen and a healthier diet leading up to the big day. To get great skin and a beautiful complexion in time for your special occasion, follow these simple guidelines about skincare and dietary do’s and don’ts.

The best way to get a clean and clear complexion in a short period of time is to adhere to a strict cleansing routine coupled with a better diet and higher water intake. I’m sure you’ve heard the adage “You are what you eat.” Think about that next time you gorge yourself on those yummy French fries or potato chips!

Cleansing of the Skin and Cleansing of the Body

Water cleanses the body of its natural toxins. By drinking larger quantities of water and hydrating ourselves, the body is better able to release the dirt and oils that build up inside our pores. Also, it’s been said that exercising can help rid the face of oil and pimples too, by encouraging pore cleansing perspiration. So hydrate your body with water and exercise a couple times a week – it’s good for you any way you slice it!

One of my favorite tricks to clean up my complexion is a vigorous face scrub like St. Ives Apricot Scrub, followed by a deep cleansing clay facial masque like Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque. These products and similar ones seem to zap the oil right out of the skin’s pores, leaving your face clean, soft, smooth, and clearer than it was prior to the at-home treatment. The best thing of all is that these facial scrub and facial masque products are quite gentle, and they don’t require a lot of time to be added to your weekly routine.

St. Ives offers several Apricot Scrub products for different skin types and complexions. Queen Helene also offers peel-off masques delivering different skin purifying ingredients, antioxidants, and fragrances. Using St. Ives Apricot Scrub and Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque gives me cleaner skin almost immediately, but you should allow at least a week or two for your body to adjust to the new cleansing routine.

Read on for some more specific tips to help clean up your complexion and to get healthier, clear skin in time for your special day.

The Joys and Perils of Chocolate

While much research says chocolate does not cause pimples, acne, or other facial blemishes, my own little experiment begs to differ. I gave up chocolate for at least a month prior to my wedding. I felt guilty even eating a chocolate chip bagel, so I tried to avoid chocolate altogether. While chocolate is one of my most favorite things, the thought of a huge pimple or an oily sheen to my skin made me cringe. I didn’t want to worry about slopping makeup over red pimples or swollen spots on my face on my wedding day. All I wanted to worry about was walking down the aisle without tripping and making it through my vows without fainting.

In my own experiences, chocolate can swiftly and easily clog my pores, contributing to the amount of oil and the number of blemishes I get. While chocolate serves as my favorite pick-me-up, it also contributes to the condition of my skin. Perhaps science and studies may say this is an illusion, but I believe otherwise. From the day that I gave up chocolate leading up until my wedding day, I only saw my face getting clearer and my complexion becoming cleaner and more beautiful. I didn’t suffer from a single pimple on my wedding day!

Now I am not saying that giving up chocolate will definitely seal the deal for you, but you’ve got nothing to lose by trying it!

Tips to help prevent pimples and oily blemishes on your skin:

1. Drink lots of water.

2. Exercise regularly.

3. Cleanse your face at least twice daily.

4. Exfoliate your skin at least once a week.

5. Try a product with salicylic acid. It works wonders for clearing up the skin and keeping those pores clean!

6. Use St. Ives Apricot Facial Scrub – it contains salicylic acid and it does a marvelous job at drying up the oil on your face. I use it every day.

7. Try a clay facial masque or facial mud masque at least once a week. Apply it to your face after normal cleansing and allow it to harden. As it dries, you’ll see the areas with the most oil and you will literally see where the facial masque has lifted the oils from your pores. Bye bye pimples!

8. If you do have a pimple under the surface, don’t touch! Instead, apply 10% benzyl peroxide solution to the blemish and leave it on overnight. A word of caution – these products can often cause bleaching of fabrics, so try not to get it on your good pillowcases!

Dating 101: Tips on Flirting

Love on the Beach

Contrary to popular belief, flirting isn’t all about batting your eyelashes and flipping your hair over your shoulder. To truly express your interest playfully to a potential dating partner, your best bet is to relax and be yourself. If you are shy, flirting may not come naturally, but with a little practice, you can be a smooth and natural flirt. Here are some tips on dating and flirting techniques that can help you get close to a new love interest.

The Basics of Flirting
Flirting can be fun but it can also give people the wrong idea. Even if you have the very best intentions, flirting can get you into trouble with the wrong people. It is very important to use discretion when flirting so you don’t lead someone on, making them believe you’re interested when you’re really not.

Depending on your comfort levels, there are many flirting techniques that you can try. Body language, strong eye contact, and coy or playful remarks are just a few. Read on for some more specific examples of how you can flirt with someone you like.


Body Language and its Universal Dictionary
One of the most popular and commonly used flirting techniques is simple and innocent body contact. Gently touch your love interest on the hand or arm as you laugh or animatedly tell them something. This can be especially moving if you whisper and make eye contact while lightly touching their arm.

If you happen to be on a date, flirting may come a bit easier. It’s a great move for guys to casually slip their arm around a girl during a movie, or for girls to jump during the scary part of a flick and grab the guy’s hand or arm. Holding hands is a huge, telltale sign that romantic interest is there. A subtle yet riveting flirting technique in response to handholding is a gentle caress by your thumb on the other person’s hand.

Lock Eyes and Watch Sparks Fly
Truth be told, there’s nothing like really good eye contact when it comes to flirting. When passion runs deep, a single gaze from the one you like can make you feel like the only person in the room, even if there are dozens of other people around. Catch your love interest’s eye and try holding his or her gaze for as long as you can muster. Lengthened eye contact is like foreplay and can lead to even greater moments of flirting as you spend more time together.

Whether you know it or not, your eyes have a language of their own. The manner in which you look at someone or something can speak volumes for what you’re thinking. From rolling your eyes to zoning in on a particular physical feature, using eye contact as a flirting technique tends to be highly successful for many people. In fact, it is one of the very first things that drew me to my husband! We’ve had incredible eye contact from the start and our flirting with each other has only grown ever since.

Know Your Boundaries, and Keep Them
Sometimes it is hard to tell if someone likes you back, especially if your intended partner is timid or shy. As you begin flirting with someone, try to watch for physical cues and listen for verbal cues to see if your interest is reciprocated. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t distinguish whether you’ve met your match or not. Even if things don’t work out, you still get to practice flirting and getting to know new people.

As you practice flirting with people, always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t flirt with strangers in strange places. If you meet someone new at a bar or other public place, make sure you put your own safety before your desire to get to know someone new. For your safety, consider asking for their phone number or giving them yours rather than going somewhere alone with someone you’ve just met.

As you enhance your flirting ability and skills, you may find yourself more willing to try new flirting techniques or to attempt more intense actions. If you aren’t getting a positive reaction to your flirting after a couple attempts, it may be a good time to throw on the brakes and tone down the intensity. For example, if you’ve been sending verbal cues or strong eye contact to a girl or guy without response, don’t take things to the next step with a touch on the arm or leg. Sometimes coming on too strong can scare away a potential love interest before you even get to know each other!

Once you do have a steady significant other, make a conscious effort to focus all your flirting techniques on your partner!

Here Are Eight Basic Flirting Tips to Try…

Safety Tips for Your Child’s MySpace, Facebook, or Friendster Account

If you’ve ever watched “To Catch a Predator,” MySpace and Facebook may be on the list of off-limits sites for your kids. These social networking Web sites attract people of all age groups and all backgrounds, and sadly, safety and security on these venues are far from sufficient. With all the crime in the news today, it is imperative that parents take extra precautions and follow safety tips when letting their pre-teens and teens use these social sites. While chatting and blogging and meeting new people online can be a lot of fun, it can also be unsafe.

Members who use sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Friendster can create profiles about themselves, upload photos, and search for people to add as “friends” to their social networks. They can leave comments for other members and they can send them e-mail messages. They can write blogs about themselves, their friends, and what’s going on in their lives. These sites are very much like online journals and diaries that broadcast one’s life to the world.

Children, teenagers, and adults turn to social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Friendster to meet new friends, locate old and forgotten friends, keep in touch with current friends, and often to find new dating partners. Often, a member’s profile page divulges personal information about his or her life, including age, interests, religion, even body type, and alarmingly, school and hometown. For safety and security reasons, this array of information combined with the member’s photograph can be a dangerous combination.

A common fear among parents and authorities alike is that pedophiles and sex offenders have easy and instant access to their targets. Chris Hansen of the popular show “To Catch a Predator” suspects that MySpace and other online friendship networking sites are a breeding ground for sexual predation. Predators don’t always represent themselves truthfully online according to age and other identifying factors, so it isn’t always easy for kids and other site members to pick them out.

As a parent, you want to ensure that your child is always safe and protected. Here are some safety tips to help you keep a strong and healthy relationship with your child while also leveraging good security precautions.

Safety Tips for Social Networking Sites:
Follow these steps to safeguard your child’s activities on MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, and other social sites.

1. Explain the potential dangers of the Internet to your children. Talk openly and honestly with them about bad people who use the Internet to do bad things. Discuss the importance of disclosing their proper age rather than lying to appear older. Also explain how anything your children say online can come back to embarrass them if they are not careful with what they say. The Internet is an open forum for the world to see. It’s just like shouting from the rooftops!

2. Keep open lines of communication with your kids. If you work at it from the time they are young, you should be able to develop a good relationship where your kids feel comfortable coming to you for advice. Encourage them to tell you about their school day each night at dinner. Ask them if they had a good time when they visited a friend’s house. Show an interest in your child’s life, and you should find that you have fewer surprises as your child matures.

3. Don’t allow your child to use the Internet behind closed doors. Keep the computer in a family area so that you have an idea of the types of sites that your children are visiting. Enable passwords to ensure that you know when your child is on the Internet.

4. You keep the password to your child’s account. If you allow your child to post a profile on any social networking sites like MySpace or Friendster or Facebook, decide on a password that your child could not easily crack. You then become an essential part of your children’s experience on MySpace, and they cannot access their profile without your permission.

5. Encourage your kids to only add people that they know to their friends’ list. The chance of a pedophile, sex offender, or other criminal targeting your children is drastically reduced if your kids only accept people they know into their network.

The social networking sites do impose their own safety guidelines and security procedures. MySpace requires that its members be at least 14 years of age, and requires a birth date be entered when they sign up. Staff members perform surveillance from time to time to detect underage members. But no amount of site maintenance can make up for good parenting!

When it comes to keeping your children safe from online dangers, close supervision and good, open lines of communication are paramount. Follow the safety tips in this article and develop some rules in your household for Internet use. MySpace, Facebook, and Friendster can provide hours of fun and excitement for all who join the sites. With proper attention to safety, you can rest easy while your children can have a good time networking with their friends. Even if they don’t understand right now, your kids deserve the best safety and protection a parent can provide!

Diet and Care Tips for Healthy Nails

Do you know that your fingernails and toenails can indicate potential problems in other parts of your body? Healthy nails should typically sport a pink hue, but sometimes they may change in tone and texture, signifying a deficiency in certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Here are some tips and nutritional suggestions to keeping your nails healthy and beautiful!

If you keep your nails healthy and strong, you should notice changes in the composition and color of your nails. Keeping your nails healthy holds a twofold benefit – gorgeous fingertips and tootsies and a helpful clue to learn if anything might be wrong elsewhere in your body. And while we don’t necessarily think of nails as gauges of our health in most cases, we sure do love getting dolled up and showing them off! Salmon, brown rice, and asparagus are great for nails!

To begin your quest for healthy nails, first make a commitment to eating healthier foods. You can still enjoy the foods you love, but you should make a conscious effort to consume healthy fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish and eggs, among other nail-friendly foods.

Enjoy these great foods for healthy nails:

  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Brown rice
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Liver
  • Nuts
  • Onions
  • Salmon
  • Seeds
  • Soy
  • Tuna
  • Whole grains

If you want healthy, strong, and beautiful nails that last, don’t stop with diet. Make some minor changes in your life and you can enjoy lovely nails without the price tag that comes with a trip to the nail salon. Avoid biting your nails, buff away rough edges when necessary, and make a few other small changes to achieve the perfect nails you’ve always wanted.

For great nails, follow these simple tips:

Consume foods containing calcium and zinc. Calcium effectively promotes nail growth. (You know those little white spots that show up on your nails in funny places sometimes? Those spots mean you aren’t getting enough zinc in your diet.)

Consume less sugar and less alcohol.

Do not use your nails as tools. No picking, plucking, poking, prying…

Don’t bite your nails. Try applying nail polish or painting a bitter-tasting liquid to the nails. Such products have been specially designed to help people quit their nail-biting habits.

Don’t remove hangnails by pulling at them. Gently clip them with manicure scissors or nail clippers to prevent damage to your skin and tissue.

Eat fewer saturated fats.

Ensure that you consume enough protein.

Increase your intake of Vitamins A, B, C, D and E.

Keep your nails short to prevent breakage.

Leave your cuticles alone.

Moisturize your nails often. When you apply lotion to your hands, legs or other areas, be sure to rub a little bit into your nails.

Reduce the amount of dairy in your diet.

Trim nails regularly, as needed. Use an emery board or nail file to smooth rough edges after trimming and when a nail breaks.

If you want to have beautiful and strong, healthy nails, it may not cost you a trip to the salon. Commit to a healthier diet, better habits, and pick up some pretty nail polish for an at-home manicure. With a little time, discipline and dedication, you can enjoy healthy, strong, and shiny nails with little effort.

How to Remove Gum from Hair Painlessly

If sticky, icky chewing gum ever gets stuck in your hair, don’t spring for the scissors on the very first instant. Having gum helplessly stuck in your hair may not be so helpless after all. In many cases, products with an oil base can remarkably loosen the gum from your hair, allowing it to be gently pulled away with a comb, paper towel, or clean rag.

Try some of the following remedies if you are unable to loosen the gum from your hair on your own.

Some products to use when attempting to remove gum from hair:

Ice – Perhaps the easiest, cleanest and least expensive method of all is putting a few ice cubes in a plastic bag and rubbing them onto the gum until it freezes. Once the gum has hardened completely, it should break away easily, releasing itself from the hair.

Baby oil, canola oil or olive oil – Armed with a fine-tooth comb and one of these oils, one should be able to release the gum with a little time and concentration. The oil helps to break down the gum, easily allowing it to be taken from the hair. First massage oil onto the area stuck to the gum, allowing it to set for about 20 minutes. Then gently apply a comb to the area. If the gum does not come away easily, repeat this process.

Peanut butter – (NOTE: Do not use this method on anyone with a peanut allergy!) Peanut butter may be rubbed through hair thoroughly, and left to saturate that section of hair for about 15 minutes. Follow this procedure by a gentle brushing or combing. Next, rinse or shampoo hair as usual, with warm water. This should help the gum to come free in chunks.

Mayonnaise or butter – These products have also been known to loosen gum from hair in a pinch. Massage a dab of one or the other onto the trouble spot and gently comb the gum out of the hair.

Shortening – Shortening is another product that generally releases gum from hair. Take a small dab and massage it onto the affected area. Gum should then slip out of the hair effortlessly once the shortening has loosened it.

Cooking oil or cooking spray – Also attempt cooking oil or cooking spray if shortening is unavailable.

Hairspray – By spritzing on some hairspray, gum should easily peel away from hair.

Baking soda and water mixture – A mixture of baking soda and water massaged onto problem area should resolve the situation by loosening the gum until it can be brushed out.

Regular hair conditioner – Massage conditioner into hair and comb, rinsing the comb while bits of the gum start to come out of the hair. This process is a bit more tedious than the others, so use this method as a backup plan.

Egg whites – Using egg whites and a fine-tooth comb should help loosen gum from hair and cause it to dissolve a bit. First massage the egg whites into the afflicted area, then comb gently and rinse. Repeat until no longer necessary.

Finally, if you are uncomfortable trying these other options, consult your hair care provider for a professional opinion.

The peanut butter method and the ice cube method have both been rated as highly effective techniques for removing gum from one’s hair. Special precautions should be taken, however, to ensure that the child or subject with gum stuck in his or her hair does not have a peanut allergy.

Warnings about using these methods to remove gum from hair:

The stress of these products, chemicals and methods on hair may cause some minimal breakage as the gum is being removed from hair.

Do not mix chemicals when attempting to remove gum from hair.

Oil may remain in hair even after gum has been removed, for several days and/or several shampoos. Dish washing detergent may aid in removing the oil from one’s hair.

Tips for preventing gum from sticking in hair again:

Do not fall asleep with gum in your mouth.

Do not play with gum while chewing it.

A Plastic Smile – Cosmetic Surgery Pros, Cons and Risk Factors

Before you slap on a plastic smile, do some deep thinking on the whole picture when it comes to plastic surgery and its risks.

It’s in the news, on television, movies and just about everywhere you look. Did Britney Spears get a lip enhancement? Did Michael Jackson get another nose job? Which celebs have had plastic surgery and which haven’t? But the truth is – today’s celebrities and tabloid covergirls aren’t the only ones getting cosmetic surgery.

A pretty face, a slender frame, and sizable, perky breasts are society’s general prerequisites for a “beautiful woman,” and people are increasingly more willing to succumb to these diluted perceptions each year. But the purses and bank accounts of women are not the only ones being spilled out for a fresh new look….

More and more men are considering and even going through with cosmetic surgery to fit the trim and youthful appearance desired by so many. Male pectoral implants, calf implants, Rhinoplasty, facelifts, eyelifts and tummy tucks are just a few of the popular procedures in which males are recently partaking. If it’s good enough for celebrities such as Burt Reynolds, Elton John, and Michael Jackson, who have undergone cosmetic surgery, there is all the more reason for other males to consider it.

The ever-popular “nose job,” or rhinoplasty, is just one of dozens of treatments available to the big spenders. Music’s Michael Jackson is a well-known celeb who’s gone under the knife for this procedure. Typical nose job procedures cost anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars and ever climbing.) As the nose is rumored to be the most prominent feature on a person’s face, many are quick to have theirs sculpted to perfection, or at least to improvement.

In addition to aesthetic nose surgery, procedures such as aesthetic ear surgery, cosmetic eyelid surgery, facelifts, forehead lifts, and chemical face peels attempt to present cosmetic surgery patients with a more appealing visage.

Eyelid rejuvenation, or Blepharoplasty, is a relatively common cosmetic procedure practiced in the hopes of reducing the signs of aging around the eyes. Facelifts and forehead lifts and chemical face peels also attempt to decrease the appearance of aging, thus restoring a brighter skin tone and an overall younger look.

Non-facial cosmetic surgery procedures are extremely common as well. Liposuction and tummy tucks are common treatments to aid in contouring the body and eliminating localized deposits of fat in areas such as the waistline, thighs and buttocks.

Breast size and shape become a concern to women for several reasons, including physical appearance and personal comfort. Breast implants, breast reduction and breast lifts may deliver desire results to happy patients, but several risks could dampen the bliss. Inability to nurse a baby, uneven nipple placement and sensory loss are possible flaws known to occur after a Mammoplasty.

The obvious and ultimate goal, or benefit, is to construct the desired appearance in as little time as possible with little or no pain and a quick recovery. Often, patients know exactly what they want to see when the procedure is done, so a match to the envisioned or sketched result is the greatest advantage, though there is no guarantee.

The cons and risk factors are much more abundant, though sometimes rare or uncommon. The need to take time off from one’s professional career and typical daily activities can be seen as an immediate disadvantage. Financial expenses, imminent bruising and discomfort may also deter an individual from receiving a cosmetic surgical procedure. Speaking with a person who has had cosmetic surgery performed on them may be the best means of deciding for oneself if opting for surgery is the right choice.

As with any type of surgical procedure, certain inherent risks are involved. Infection, dry eye problems/ decreased tear production, bleeding, blindness and damage to nerves, blood vessels and muscles within the eye are just a few complications that can occur when a Blepharoplasty is performed. Less serious risks can include allergic reactions, asymmetry (a notable difference in appearance of the eyes), chronic pain, delayed or prolonged healing of the affected area, permanent or temporary eyelash hair loss, scarring, and dissatisfaction with the end result, among others. This is not to mention additional risks involved with local and general anesthesia administered to patients receiving surgical treatment.

With so many risks, why do so many people continue to go through with cosmetic surgery? Not surprisingly, for the same reasons many people dye their hair! Satisfaction of one’s appearance is intrinsically linked to one’s happiness and overall mood and performance. Do blondes really have more fun? If someone asks your mom one more time how old she is, will she tell? Will enhanced or reduced breasts really make someone a “different person”? It is all a state of mind.

Though risks such as blindness, blood clots, and serious lung problems are rare, it is critical that you are aware of these possible outcomes. The 2007 death of Kanye West’s mother, Dr. Donda West, is a prime example of how cosmetic surgery can go terribly wrong. If you cannot live with the potential consequences, it is best to think twice and weigh out your options before plunging into a procedure that could change your life forever.

DISCLAIMER: This article’s purpose is to briefly inform individuals about the pros, cons and risk factors involved with cosmetic surgery. It is not meant to replace the opinions and judgments of medical professionals, but to bring a clear and unbiased awareness to the overall concept of cosmetic surgery.

How to Choose the Right Mascara

MascaraMascara is a staple for many women. This handy makeup product makes it easy to accentuate our eyes and allows us to take on a more dramatic appearance. Mascara is the perfect makeup to apply for just about any occasion – in fact, some people won’t even leave the house without it!

Consider these tips when selecting a mascara product that is just right for you!

Sometimes simplicity makes all the difference. Getting all dolled up doesn’t have to become a hassle every time you have somewhere to go. A nice dress or outfit can be complemented with a few jewelry items, a fashionable hairstyle (or hair brushed out straight) and a light smattering of makeup.

Whether you are going for all-out glam or girl-next-door gorgeous, a coat or two of mascara will work wonders for bringing out your beautiful eyes and long lashes. If you don’t regularly wear makeup, you may want to consider these questions before selecting mascara from among countless brands and styles.


What type of eyelashes do I have? Are they long, curly, thick, thin, short, just right?
Once you answer this question, you can learn what positives your lashes have going for them and what element could be easily enhanced with the right kind of mascara. Shorter lashes could lash out with a length enhancing type of mascara. Thinner lashes will become fuller with a thickening formula and longer lashes will really benefit from curling mascara.

What will look best with my complexion? What will complement my outfit and wardrobe in general?
Mascaras are available in a wide range of colors and styles, from blackest black and dark brown to lighter shades of both, or even fun colors like blues and greens. Most times black and brown hues are most appropriate and work well with any skin tone, eye color and choice of wardrobe.

Do I plan to go swimming? Is there a chance I might cry, or laugh so hard that I cry? Am I going to take a quick shower at some point and hope to avoid re-doing my makeup entirely?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, waterproof mascara is the way to go! Great for preventing soppy scenes at sad movies or emotional times – weddings, graduations and the like, waterproof mascara can save the day, or at least your face. Available most often in shades of black and brown, this type of mascara can be difficult to remove unless you have a makeup remover that is capable of gently washing away water resistant makeup.


Do you cringe at the thought of that archaic metal eyelash curler getting within a foot of your face?
If so, you will want to keep an eye out for mascara that has a curling element to it. Sometimes these products come with multiple characteristics, like thickening or lengthening aspects as well. First determine your needs and then seek out mascara that will satisfy them.

Do you feel that your eyelashes are very blonde or not so noticeable? Do you often feel like you have to glob a lot makeup onto them just to make them stand out?
If this problem seems to haunt you, try a lash thickening mascara, or possibly one that lengthens and thickens. A thicker formula will be better for your lashes than a product that cakes on layer after layer. Even if your lashes are still a bit subtle, you can always further accent your eyes with eyeliner and darker eye shadows. If you still seem to have trouble making your eyes more defined, consider checking into fake eyelashes for special occasions.


* * *

No matter which mascara suits you best, remember to pair it with a pretty shadow and eyeliner if you so desire. To prevent smudges on your pillows and bits of makeup irritating your eyes overnight, remember to remove mascara and other makeup with a gentle cleanser before bed.

Classy and Sophisticated Hairstyles for Mature Women

While pigtails and bouncy ringlets look adorable on tots and teens and even some college girls, they may not be the hippest everyday hair fashion for those of us who’ve already blossomed into our fabulous adulthood. Mature women want a more sophisticated hairstyle that shows our class and makes us attractive whether we are already married or on the prowl for a new love interest. Mature hairstyles are anything but matronly! Mature hairstyles are hot, sexy, and usually marked by a fun flair of color, texture, or shape.

If you are considering a more mature hairstyle, you are ready to live it up in your prime. You glow with beauty and you’ve got the best years of your life surrounding you. Now is your time to shine! Consider the following mature hairstyles for classy, sophisticated women.

Hairstyles for mature women can be classy and sedate or fun and flirty, and they can be quite complex or very simple to do. To find a sophisticated and mature hairstyle that best suits you, first consider your daily activities. Will you be moving around a lot? Working out? Hosting a presentation? Running errands? Cooking and cleaning? Teaching a class? Meeting with clients? Based on your day’s agenda, you can create a great series of mature hairstyles that are both beautiful and functional.

Traditional and Classy Mature Hairstyles
As you’ve grown up through the years, you’ve probably noticed many other women wearing these characteristic “older” mature hairstyles that have also been popularized by the young’uns. Buns and braids are relatively easy hairstyles to create, and they look great throughout the entire day, usually no matter how active your schedule is. Consider a bun or a braid when you don’t want to spend a lot of time messing with curlers, curling irons, or styling products. These are super simple mature hairstyles you can enjoy almost anytime at all.

Even a messy bun held by a clip is a hot style! (Photo courtesy of Mary R. Vogt, morgueFile)

How to Make a Bun:
1. Brush or comb hair to free it from tangles and knots.
2. Pull your hair back into a ponytail. Consider how high you want the bun to sit when you decide where to secure the pony.
3. Take the entire ponytail and twist it tightly to form a coil.
4. Twist the coiled hair either clockwise or counterclockwise around the base of your ponytail.
5. Secure the bun with another elastic hair band. The ends of the ponytail serve as a good aid in securing the hairstyle.
6. Spray with your favorite styling gel or hairspray if desired.

VARIATION: You can braid your ponytail first, and then twist it into a bun if you like. You can also part your hair a little to the side for a more elegant look.

TIP: If you don’t particularly care for the look of your face with all your hair slicked back, pull out a few pieces in the front. You can also get a haircut that styles your hair with a shorter, tapered frame of hair around your face. This allows for pieces of hair to easily be pulled out for styling.

How to Braid Hair:
1.  Brush or comb hair to free it from tangles and knots.
2. Select how much hair you would like to braid. You can braid your entire head of hair, or you can braid a small section by itself.
3. Separate the hair you’ve selected into three equal parts. (Important: Do not allow these sections of hair to mix together at all during the braiding process.)
4. Pull the right section across the center section of hair so that the right section is now the center section.
5. Pull the left section across the center section of hair so that the left section is now in the middle.
6. Continue alternating between steps 4 and 5 until you reach the ends of your hair.
7. Secure the braid with an elastic hair band.

VARIATION: You can vary your braids by increasing the tightness with which you pull the strands of hair as you create the braid. Go for a loose, sensual braid for a night out on the town. Try a tighter braid when you want to take care of business, like your Saturday morning cooking, cleaning, shopping, and errand running.

TIP: If you want to create a tightly woven braid, try braiding your hair while it is still damp from the shower. It keeps your strands closer together and allows for your hair sections to be woven together more strongly than when hair is dry.

Short and Sassy Mature Haircuts and Hairstyles…

How to Plan a Cruise on a Budget

Don't go overboard on cruise expenses!Downing cocktails as the sun sets…all-you-can-eat seafood buffets… playing a few hands of poker…the most luxurious spa and salon treatments around… Relaxing on a cruise ship provides an escape from reality unlike any other vacation. With some careful planning, you can be on your own cruise in no time!

Casinos, spas and full-service bars are just the beginning. Any cruise you take will more than likely offer music, dancing and other great nightlife, not to mention oodles of shopping and plenty of workshops and seminars. Competitions for real prizes may inspire you to bear your hairy chest or pull off another wild and crazy stunt. A gym or fitness center directly on the boat gives athletes and exercise fanatics no excuse for passing up a cruise.

When planning a cruise, the first thing you’ll want to consider – besides destination and duration – is your budget. You want to ensure that you have enough funding set aside to enjoy your trip to the fullest without foregoing special extras that you might otherwise miss.

Even an all-inclusive cruise may still have some limitations. For example, many extras like your bar drinks, casino capital, beauty salon and spa treatments, tours, photographs and gift shop purchases are considered additional, above and beyond the scope of an all-inclusive package. The balance for these expenditures is generally tacked onto your tab, which goes against your credit card in most cases.

New Jersey residents Dave and Judi D’Imperio avidly plan cruises to different tropical vacations when time and financing permit. The beauty of a cruise is that it often allows you to see several breath-taking destinations, all within the same vacation.

And the amenities really add up! Ample amounts of food, drink and entertainment keep up the pace, while solace and relaxation are never more than a few steps away.

While cruises often may seem like large, extravagant vacations, it is very possible to find a good deal without too much legwork.

“Check search engines for booking a cruise,” Dave says. “There are many discounted Web sites out there. Book at least one year in advance, and you will probably be upgraded to a better cabin.”


“If you have a travel agent that you have been doing business with for years, and they specialize in booking cruises, they will be able to get you the best deal,” he adds.

Financing varies from one person to the next and from one cruise to the next. A typical couple traveling on a seven-day cruise without airfare should expect to pay in the ballpark of $1,000 each for booking, which generally includes cabin, food and entertainment. Rates often reflect the length of the cruise, where it is going, and what type of cabin is requested.

Cruise Tips from avid cruisers Dave and Judi:
1. Plan the cruise one and a half years ahead of time in order to save the money.
2. Seek out the destination first, then time of year to travel.
3. Pick the cruise line you prefer. Many cruise lines primarily serve a certain demographic, whether young adults, middle age or retirees.
4. Purchase the most expensive cabin you can afford. Mini-suite balcony cabin with a bathtub will suffice.

For an even more memorable time, invite relatives or friends to join you!

Athletic Hairstyles for Any Age

Get geared up for your sporting events with a new athletic hairstyle! Whether your favorite sport is soccer, track and field, basketball, softball, rugby, running or something completely different, an athletic hairstyle makes a huge difference. Keeping the hair off the back of your neck and out of your eyes with an athletic hairstyle makes playing conditions more comfortable and gives you a competitive edge so you don’t have to keep pushing the hair out of your face.

Athletic hairstyles make a great tradition for you and your teammates prior to your sporting event. Take the time together to create your own special athletic hairstyles, or do your own hair when you first get your uniform on. Active lifestyles call for equally active hairdos, so take the time to find a hair style that suits you!

Double braids work well with medium to longer hair lengths as they both keep the hair out of the face and off of the neck. Using a comb, trace a straight part down the back of the head and secure one of the two sections with an elastic band.

Begin braiding by separating the remaining segment of hair into three equal sections. Braid hair by alternately pulling each of the outside sections of hair toward the center, over the middle section. Continue braiding hair until only an inch or two remains at the bottom of the braid. Fasten the end with an elastic hair band and repeat for the second braid.

For best results, braid hair while it is still damp from the shower unless sporting events are during cold winter months. (Consider doing this same style with French braids if you know how.)

High ponytail – Using elastic headbands, pull hair back from forehead and tie it up into a high ponytail for the best and easiest off the neck, out-of-the-eyes style. Elastic bands work best for ponytails because plastic and metal clips can sometimes cause injury if sporting accidents occur.Athletic hairstyles can be lots of fun! (Photo courtesy of Mary R. Vogt and morgueFile.)

Mini-braid mania – Using tiny rubber bands made specifically for hair, braid bangs or front section of hair split into tiny sections, one by one. Depending on hair’s length and personal preferences, braid one or two rows and tie the rest back into a ponytail. For those with much time on their hands or a whole bunch of friends to help out, braid the entire head!

If desired, use hairspray or gel to strengthen the hold. Consider using an elastic headband or other alternative to keep braids against the top of your head and off of your face.

Improvised headband – If elastic headbands are not among the selection of barrettes and clips in your personal hair care inventory, don’t worry. Try to get some pre-wrap from your team’s athletic trainer if possible, or barring that, find an old T-shirt and cut off one sleeve.

Cut the sleeve again, but just at the seam that stitches it from bicep to armpit. Open up the sleeve and cut tiny strips about one-half inch thick and the entire length of the sleeve, starting the scissors along the edge where you just cut the seam.

After cutting the strips, pull fabric gently but firmly to tighten and tie around head, holding hair down securely. This improvised fashion statement could actually accommodate your entire team with hair bands for all, if cutting both sleeves of an old T-shirt. Sometimes the most spontaneous hairstyles make the greatest athletic hairdos of all.

* * *

As a fun tradition, get a few friends together before the game and help each other with an athletic hairstyle. Braiding each other’s hair to keep it out of the eyes and off the neck can provide some relaxing downtime just prior to the opening whistle while putting everyone in a positive mood. Help each other get psyched up and ready to play!

Body Art – Pros and Cons of Getting a Tattoo

Tattoos are a form of self expression. (Photo courtesy of David Kitchenham, morgueFile)Self expression comes in many flavors these days. Getting a tattoo is a popular way to show off your own sense of style, your favorite things, or even a spontaneous element that enters your life. But, before you set aside a certain section of your skin and get a tattoo, make sure you know all the important issues surrounding these permanent pieces of art.

Many adolescents begin counting down the days to their 18th birthdays – not so they can vote – but so they can get a long-awaited tattoo emblazoned on their body. A carefully selected tattoo offers insight into the individual bearing it.

But should you personally get a tattoo? Ultimately, you are the judge of that. If you are under 18 years of age, your parents have the final say – but even if you are 18 or older, consulting close friends and family members in the decision-making process can also prove helpful.

The Benefits of Getting a Tattoo

Tattoos are available in countless colors or simple black, and designs span far beyond the realm of the imagination. If you can draw it, or create it, a tattoo artist can most likely reproduce it on your body. Words and phrases, pictures, objects, and abstract designs are just a few of the many possibilities. If you can’t quite make up your mind, they’ve got books with literally thousands of options for the perfect tattoo to suit you.

Tattoos often give their wearers a sense of reckless abandon and a somewhat safe sense of rebellion. They make a statement without taking the physical appearance to the very edge. Getting a tattoo can serve as a bonding experience between friends or a coming of age for a growing individual.

Symbolism runs deep in many tattoos. Chinese letters and other hieroglyphs are among the most popular designs in some circles. Occasionally, an individual may choose to create a symbolic design of which only he or she knows the true meaning. Cartoon characters and military insignias also reign among the favorites. Selecting from these and innumerable other tattoo designs allows for a satisfying sense of self expression.

Risks and Cons of Getting a Tattoo…