Forced Air Heating Systems

Honeywell QuietCare HumidifierThe one thing that busy Americans look forward to after a long day at work, school, or at play in the midst of a cold winter’s day, is getting warm and comfortable at home. A home heating system is one of the most expensive appliance systems in your residence, and depending on where you live, it can essentially be the difference between life and death from cold weather exposure. For the most part, it costs more to install and maintain than any other single appliance in your home and will be responsible for the most electric kilowatt usage in the home.

The concept of circulating heated air to warm our living space seems simple enough, but for the 50’s era, it was cutting edge technology. It inadvertently put the steam radiator system and the traditional wood/coal burning fireplace and stoves into hibernation mode, as sales and installations around the country plummeted. The new HVAC forced air heating systems that were being introduced in early 1950 became extremely popular with new concepts and thermostats to control the amount of heat released. For the first time in home heating history, the temperature in various rooms could be separately and accurately adjusted.

Honeywell QuietCare HumidifierAs with most things that are discovered to have the potential to change our lives for the better, we sometimes rush things and don’t truly understand the possible effects on our personal health until time passes and the potential hazards are realized. From the get go, an issue with the needless circulation of micro-orbs and other irritants, allergens, and even carcinogens existed, with the potential to cause many airborne diseases. Pathogens that are believed to possess Legionnaires disease (mainly in the Eastern US), and some airborne and potentially dangerous carcinogens can become trapped within the filtration and circulation of the heat from the air handler, exacerbating breathing problems. People with (COPD) Asthma, Bronchitis, and Emphysema, and other chronic respiratory problems, as well as children, are exceptionally vulnerable to the “dirty” air that is circulated and in some cases recirculated throughout your home. The importance of a filter that could trap the irritants was evident and filter technology advanced.

HVAC systems contain a return air duct system to return the air that is previously heated through the filtration to the air handler for recirculation. Hypoallergenic filters can reduce but won’t eliminate most of the dust and allergens. The possible health issues don’t end with the potential for breathing difficulties, as a number of skin and eye issues directly relate to the heating system in our homes and offices. The Center for Disease Control estimates that nine out of ten cases of contact dermatitis are directly related to heating and air conditioning pollutants exposed to the patient. It is said that we spend at least 21 hours a day indoors in heating and air conditioning controlled environments. It is wreaking havoc on the respiratory and integumentary systems of literally the entire US population. Air and HEPA filters can improve overall conditions and should be checked, cleaned, or replaced periodically to ensure the proper filtration.

Advancements in the HVAC air quality, helping to improve  the effects on the health of the occupants. Research shows that the sun’s ultraviolet rays are effective in the reduction of certain viruses and mold spores that are known to cause illness and disease. Fresh outside air is healthy to breathe because of the direct effects of UV rays, so the idea is to bring UV rays indoors to help control microorganisms in indoor air. With a UV system installed in your HVAC system, the number of airborne bacteria and viruses that cause colds and other illnesses will be reduced as air is circulated through the system. With most people spending 90% of their time indoors, especially in the winter, it is essential to develop efficient heating systems that are easy on the health of the occupants and energy efficient.

Forced air systems are found throughout residential and commercial dwellings in the US and are going to be around for several years to come. The best bet for anyone that happens to live indoors and use heat to stay warm, is to learn the best option for your particular heating system. Many kinds of filters can reduce the diverse irritants and spores while UV systems kill virus and mold spores. If humidity is a problem for your home, then you may want to look into a humidifying system to add or reduce humidity to the air. Humidity should be kept below 50% indoors to reduce the mold spores that thrive in humid conditions.

The Honeywell Quiet Care Humidifier as well as many other Honeywell humidifiers and air purifiers are can improve your indoor air quality and your health, and they are easy to find on The key to having good, clean outdoor air indoors is to learn the best way to clean the air conditioning and heating systems that we depend on to protect and keep our families safe and warm.

Spring Break: What’s HOT and what’s Not-The 2013 Top Spring Break Destinations

Playful Young Beach Couple by KayseyephotoThe end of another long winter is in sight for tens of thousands of college students across the nation and they have one thought on their minds (besides winter finals of course): spring break and the 2013 top spring break destinations! For many students and young adults, it has been a severe winter and a hard semester of classes. The upcoming spring break that many college students feel is their rite of passage, is beginning to spark conversations and frantic Web searches on campuses around the country, as students look for the number one place to be for this year’s spring break extravaganza.

The spring break vacation has evolved over the years to become one of the most profitable weeks of the year for the “chosen” resort communities. Many resorts, hotels, bars and restaurants realize the profits and potential for the future, and have welcomed massive waves of partying teens year after year, so that they strategically gain spring break notoriety, major profits, and a reputation as a desirable spring break destination. Depending on the college/university, most spring break vacation dates are strategically planned and announced well ahead of time, and they range from late February to early April.  For the most part, the 2013 top spring break destinations have stayed consistent over the past five years, according to several popular travel sites.

The number one vacation hot spot for spring breakers this year is projected to be Panama City Beach, Florida, again. To the returning student body, it is apparent why: reasonably priced beach accommodations and a community that caters to the spring breaker. The beach, with sugar white sand and majestic gulf waters, welcomes two million students annually. This beach has hosted many spring break parties for students across the U.S. Many events are planned for 2013 at world-class nightclubs like Club La vela and Spinnakers hosted by MTV. The hospitality services developed by the business community and the beautiful gulf beaches combine to create spring break events that are second to none. This makes it possible to keep the title of the “spring break capital of the world” year after year. The weather is great during spring with an average temperature of 75-78 degrees during March.

About To Jump by Surpasspro If you would prefer to follow the spring stampede of partying students that choose to bypass the “sunshine state” for other great destinations, it will more than likely lead you further south. Cancun, Mexico is traditionally known as a major port of spring break fun for students and is projected to be a 2013 top spring break destination again. Cancun is the spring break partying hotspot of the Yucatan Peninsula and has hosted many spring break events at famous nightclubs and restaurants like The Basic, Pat O’Brien’s, and Dady O’s, among many others. With clubs and beach bars that never close and a minimum drinking age of 18, Cancun is a natural college student magnet. The Mexican culture is vast and apparent with many events planned annually around the Mayan ruins that happen to correspond with many spring break dates for serious students. The average temperature during spring break months in Cancun is 78-80 degrees with a warm southern breeze.

Acapulco, Mexico in the years past was a major spring break contender and was ranked by students as number one year after year until interest turned to a more reasonably priced excursion in Cancun. With the national and global economy looking promising for the year ahead, it is expected that Acapulco will return to the list of top spring break destinations in the world. It is expected that the “pricier” upscale destinations like Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas, as well as Daytona and South Beach in Miami, Florida will see record numbers again, beginning this year especially. No matter what choice you make, you can usually find deals and packages offered by many of the resorts and hotels at all the hottest places to be. Regardless, the hard-working college students that will lead our nation one day will continue to flock to their favorite “hot spots” for spring break, in turn bringing major financial reward to the communities that strive to be one of the 2013 top spring break destinations.



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Spring Break Destinations for Adults: 2013

Family Walking on Beach by IcholakovAfter months of shoveling snow and wearing long underwear, people around the country are looking forward to the big thaw of spring and a break that isn’t focused on college mascots and underage drinking, but on enjoying time with family and a spring break vacation they will remember. A huge market awaits families wanting to experience the perfect spring break vacation without the partying students that are traditionally found at many of the well-known college hot spots. The best advice to avoid finding yourselves in the middle of a raging college party is to know the places to avoid during your family’s spring break vacation. College students are understandably drawn to the warmer climates and beach communities in places like Panama City Beach (Florida), Daytona Beach, Miami’s South Beach, and Cancun, to mention a few. Even though they are all great places to visit, they will undoubtedly be overrun with college students this spring.

The number one family destination for a spring break to remember is awarded to the southern city of Orlando, Florida according to several of the leading travel sites. Early Spanish explorers called Orlando “The city beautiful” and it is home to Walt Disney World, Epcot Center, Universal Studios, and Sea World Orlando, just to name a few of its attractions. The largest inland Florida city, Orlando attracts 15 million tourists annually, of which an estimated one third visit during spring break. The Universal Studios Orlando Mardi Gras celebration begins the second week of February and is a major attraction for the many spring break families that are wishing to experience Mardi Gras celebrations without the partying and burlesque type festivities that are often found in New Orleans. Other nearby Florida attractions are plentiful; it would take more than a week to see them all. Many of the area’s famous beaches are nearby as well, but if avoiding the college crowds is on your agenda, then the beach visit should wait until later in the summer. Planning ahead can give you the advantage of saving money while still giving your family the trip of a lifetime.

Vacation Fun by Sunshine_angelBut if your family is determined to get in the warm water this spring, think about some alternatives to the “party” beaches. Consider an unforgettable and magical spring break of a lifetime to the lost city of Atlantis. That’s right, Atlantis: an all-inclusive resort located on Paradise Island, minutes from Nassau, but far from the interest of the partying student body found at the popular spring break beach resorts at Bootie Bay and Freeport on the Grand Bahamas Island. Plan a trip to swim with the bottlenose dolphins or explore the underwater playground or activity arcade. You’ll find something for all ages and interests to learn and explore in Atlantis. It is a bit pricier than some choices, but many deals and specials are available to make it possible for your family to experience an unforgettable spring break in a magical setting.

If the winter hasn’t been cold and snowy enough for you, then hitting the slopes is still a possibility at some of the nation’s best ski resorts. Several ski resorts will remain open well into April, weather permitting. The slopes at Aspens Highland and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado will remain open and many resorts at Lake Tahoe are scheduled to remain open through April 2013 as well. Many spring break packages are available for families and groups. Ski resorts in the eastern U.S. are expected to remain open throughout April 2013, weather permitting, as well. From the ski lodges at Maggie Valley, NC, to the natural base slopes at Winter Place, WV, lifts will be running and family specials will be plentiful throughout spring break.

Early spring is a unique time of year to plan a vacation for your family. The ski resorts are still producing snow and fun while the theme parks in Florida are warm, but not as hot and humid as later in the year. The travel packages are plentiful and cheaper than usual for spring break as well. No matter what you decide to do with your family, and no matter what their interests are, spending the time together is the best investment you will ever make.



Images available from StockFreeImages.


Hairstyles of the 1930’s

Glamour With Feathers by RgbspaceJean Harlow, a famous actress of the era known as the blonde bombshell, played the leading actress in a romantic comedy rightfully named, “Platinum Blonde” in 1932. Little did she know that she was shaping the 30’s hairstyles, as men and women around the nation were going wild for her “bleached-blonde hair.”  Apparently not for the same reasons, women around the nation began dying their hair with peroxide and the men surely didn’t seem to object.  Although the platinum-blonde look was not for everybody, it created the bleaching era, which would lead to many distinct new hairstyles and colors for the new decade.

In the 1920s the popular “bob” gave hairstylists a short-lived, new beginning for their businesses. The naturally short nature of the bob cut or style required frequent trimming to maintain the proper appearance and shape. Therefore, it was crucial for the “bobbed” women to visit the salon way more often than before. Due to the worsening economic state of our nation at that time, the bob lost popularity in the early 1930s, “cutting in” a new era of longer, more traditional styles that were less expensive, but yet very attractive. However, unwilling to surrender the “hair freedom” they had gained in the 20’s, women remained loyal to their own hair salons.

Hair care innovations of the time were rapidly coming of age. Women with longer haircuts could opt to pull their hair back into a low bun. Achieving this look is pretty simple, just by combing your hair straight back from the face, and gathering most of the hair into a ponytail and wrapping it around either side to form a bun.

The 30’s hairstyle would benefit from advancements in many areas of hair care including hair products and hair styles. Shampoos for various hair types and textures weren’t available previously, but now they were beginning to be introduced to the public at an alarming rate. Major advancements in technology occurred with the invention of various hair-styling tools like the curling iron and additions to the permanent wave machine. Fashionable hairstyles in the ’30s would prove to survive longer than the short bob cut of the previous decade, so up-dos became popular.

A surprising new look that came about around the early 1930’s is the finger wave. Finger waves are incredibly difficult to create outside the salon. They are created literally by hand with each curly strand being sculpted by wrapping the hair around the finger while curling. It may sound incredibly easy, but many hairdressers today cannot do them. Creating finger waves is a highly skilled practical craft and having this “old Hollywood glamour hair” process done to your hair is time consuming and a little more expensive. If you want to try something different or perhaps start your own trend, it is best to seek out hairstylists or salons that specialize in old Hollywood hairstyles. They will surely make you feel as glamorous as a 1930’s Hollywood starlet.

Image made available by StockFreeImages.


Extra Cheese- If You Please

Cheese tray Our long love affair with cheese in America dates back to the days of Christopher Columbus and the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620 near Plymouth, Massachusetts. Even though the pilgrims brought no cows initially, milk and cheese became important staples in the colonists’ diet. Goats and buffalo provided the milk and therefore, the cheese, until cows were shipped from England, sometime later. It is believed by historians that goat and buffalo cheese was presented to the Native Americans during the first Thanksgiving celebration. The actual creation of cheese is unknown but, credible historians believe its existence predates recorded history and its discovery was probably accidental.

Today, cheeses’ nutritional data and fat content are important factors to keep in mind when choosing the right cheese to purchase for your family. Cheese, as we know, is high in fat, sodium, and dreaded calories. But, the cheese nutritional value is believed to be more beneficial to the body when it is moderately consumed as part of a healthy diet, rather than removing cheese from your diet all together. Most cheese on the market today contains Zinc, Vitamins A and B12, Phosphorous, and Calcium in abundant concentrations, making it vital to a healthy diet. Currently, 54 countries produce 606 types of cheese with many different textures and colors presenting a wide variety of flavors. The pickiest palate can find a flavor as well as the nutrition that he or she needs to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Cheese wheel Cheese has long been accused of playing a major role in the obesity epidemic in America. When reviewing the published nutritional facts for cheese, it is apparent that the high fat content, calories, and the amazing flavor of cheese, could easily lead us to over indulge on our favorite. But, not all cheeses are bad when trying to control your weight. If high fat content and calories are your concern, you can find several options that will treat you to an amazing cheese without the increased fat and calories. Many types of cheese are also offered in a low fat, low sodium variety. Cottage cheese is naturally the lowest in fat, sodium, and cholesterol, while cream cheese, among others, contains an amazingly high fat content. Knowing the difference can be important when trying to win the battle of the bulge.

Cheese, along with milk and yogurt, provides a unique combination of nutrients that, studies show, offers many health benefits; helping develop strong bones in the young and actually helping improve bone health for the aging population. Calcium fights the onset of osteoporosis and helps reduce high blood pressure when consumed in moderation.

Cheddar cheese is perhaps the most versatile and common cheese in the world. Created in England, its wide range of sharp, smooth flavor has helped cheddar become the most purchased and consumed cheese in the world. A little higher in calories and sodium but yet, its richness in vital nutrients makes this cheese beneficial to a healthy diet.

American cheese is actually a “processed” cheese made from a milk, milk fats, solids, and whey protein. It was initially made from a mixture of cheeses, more often than not Colby and Cheddar (which are American created cheeses as well). Since blended cheeses are no longer used in its production, American “cheese” is now pasteurized and classified a processed cheese food. Instead of the word “cheese”, it is now called “American slices” or “American singles”. Most companies that produce individually wrapped American cheese label the package with individual cheese slice nutrition statistics to clearly show the good and the bad cheese nutrition data compiled by the Office of food safety (FDA). Though criticized for its high fat content, it is still purchased and consumed in large quantities. It contains an abundant amount of our daily required vitamins, calcium, and protein, helping us to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In the United States alone, we consume over 32 pounds of cheese per person annually, slightly increasing yearly. Cheddar, American, Mozzarella, Colby, and Provolone (in that order) remain the favorites and most purchased cheeses in the U.S. with an average personal consumption of 10 pounds of each per year. It’s obvious in America that we continue to say, “extra cheese please”.


When Being Prepared Counts: Advice from an EMT – Tips and Kits for Home and Away

Snow Covered Street The leaves are falling and the birds have flown south; natures’ subtle way of letting us know that another harsh winter is quickly approaching. Being prepared for the challenges of an unpredictable winter will help keep your family safe, secure, and warm. Making sure your home is safe and ready is a good place to begin winter preparations. Having adequate insulation in the attic of your home is essential; keeping the house warmer helps to not over work the heating system. A home heating system of any type can become dangerous when it is repeatedly overworked and especially as it becomes outdated. An average of 50,100 heating fires occur in homes in the United States each year, resulting in an average of approximately 150 deaths, 575 injuries, and $326 million in property loss. Being prepared can help keep your family safe; don’t become a statistic.

Fireplaces are especially dangerous if they haven’t been properly maintained. Proper service is essential and inexpensive. It is very important to allow sufficient air exchange when heating the house, especially if gas or fireplace heat is used. When gas/wood is burned, it creates many dangerous byproducts. Carbon Monoxide is an odorless gas byproduct that, if not vented properly, can be deadly to your family. CO poisoning is a serious medical emergency. If left undetected and untreated, it can cause coma and death. Protecting your family with a smoke detector is essential. There should be one outside each bedroom as well as inside each bedroom. If your heating system operates on open flame, it is essential to have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of the house.

The electrical power can go out at any time and leave you and your family in the cold and dark. Staying warm and safe can become a difficult task to accomplish during winter. It is a good idea to keep plenty of prepackaged emergency blankets and a survival kit specifically designed for winter. An emergency heat source can be essential; you can find LP/Propane portable heaters of several types and manufacturers.

A severe winter storm, as we all know, can be devastating, leaving your family stranded at home or even worse, stuck, scared, and alone in your car. Survival can depend on whatever preparations you have made to protect you and your family. Always be prepared, especially when the conditions outside are inhospitable to human survival. Keep enough food and water, dry clothes, and personal essentials on hand to be able to stay put for an extended period of time, perhaps a week. Keeping fresh food in your car or home when the power is out isn’t practical or safe. Protein bars, granola, freeze-dried survival food packages can be perfect alternatives. Keep one to two gallons of water for each person, survival emergency blankets, road flares, flashlights, and at least one dry change of clothes for everyone in the car.

You never know when an injury is going to take place, so keep a first aid kit close at hand. To help you find the right first aid kits, offers great deals from a wide variety of first aid suppliers, depending on your specific needs. It pays to be ready, and doesn’t your family deserve it? Preparation is the common sense approach that can make the difference in an emergency!


Article provided by A. Lawson, CCTRP- Emergency Services Paramedic

Looking Good On The Go and Arriving In Style

Woman and Business Travel by zoomteamWhether you travel first class or budget, most people arrive at their destination looking rather disheveled. After all, traveling can be a stressful experience, and being stuck on a crowded plane or boat is enough to make the most glamorous woman feel frazzled. However, there are ways to avoid that ‘just arrived’ look, and with a few beauty tips you can reach your destination looking fabulous.

Time your sleep

If your journey crosses time zones, then a well-timed nap could be just what you need to avoid looking jet lagged on arrival. If you’re lucky enough to be in first class, or on a luxury cruise, then getting some shut eye should be easy. However, for those of you stuck in economy class, it can be difficult to sleep in such a crowded and noisy environment. Bring along an eye mask, noise canceling headphones, and a neck pillow to get yourself as cozy as possible. As soon as you get on the plane, set your watch or phone to the local time of your destination and then act as if you were already in the time zone. This will mean you’re more in sync when you arrive, avoiding that groggy look. Don’t worry if you can’t manage a full eight hours on your journey, studies have shown that even a power nap of a couple of hours can improve your alertness, and will keep you going when you reach your destination.


Everyone knows that awful, worn out feeling you get after a long flight. One of the main causes of this is dehydration, and it’s due to the air on board not being humidified. This leaves your skin dried out and your body vulnerable to a host of illnesses, not to mention making you feel terrible. As tough as it is, avoid the temptations of alcohol and caffeine on board. They will make you even more dehydrated and leave you feeling bloated and terrible. Try to avoid the junk food that’s always offered on board, as the high salt content will also make you thirsty and bloated. As well as drinking water, invest in a good facial spray and lip balm to put in your hand luggage. This will perk you up naturally and help you feel slightly more glamorous when mid-air.

Minimize your make up

No matter how skilled you are with a mascara brush, pretty much any make up will look dreadful after a long journey. Some women make the mistake of applying these long-lasting products, thinking they can survive hours of naps, dehydration, and runny eyes, only to find that they have been let down. The best thing to do is limit the amount of make up you wear on your travels. Apply some light foundation, tinted lip balm and maybe some clear mascara before your journey. Keep some make up removing wipes in your handbag, preferably ones which act as a moisturizer, and give your face a wipe before you go to sleep. This will avoid any clogged pores which could lead to post-travel breakouts. When you’re close to reaching your destination, you can then nip to the bathroom to re-apply your light make up, ensuring you arrive fresh faced and gorgeous.

Comfortable clothing

Staying comfortable on a plane doesn’t mean you have to resort to sweatpants and sneakers. There are plenty of options for clothing that looks good, yet can survive a long trip. If you’re going straight from your train, plane, or boat journey to a meeting or event, then it’s important to wear something that will be crease-free on arrival. Fabrics such as silk jersey look good, and can survive even hours of tossing and turning. A simple wrap dress can be dressed up or down, and even with some comfortable low heels it’s a glamorous choice. If you want to go more casual, then opt for light layers in easy to wear fabrics. Jeggings, a light sweater, and comfortable flats is a simple outfit, suitable for the longest of journeys, and will usually make it to your destination looking neat.

Traveling can be tough on your body, but there are many ways you can minimize the negative effects. By following these simple tips, you’ll arrive at your destination looking well-rested, and ready for business, pleasure, or whatever is thrown your way.


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Celebrating Halloween in Vegas or Bringing a Las Vegas Halloween Theme to Your Home

Skeleton MaskLas Vegas, otherwise known as Sin City, is a land of lights, money, gambling, fancy shows, and glittered parties. If, by any chance, you would be stopping over at the city this Halloween, there are plenty of things for you. A word of caution, though; a Halloween in Vegas is one spectacular evening for adults.

There’s the Trick-or-Treat Pub Crawl where you get to whet your eager taste buds. Then, crawl next door, from Monte Carlo to Mandalay Bay and get spooked at the Frightdome at Circus Circus. If that’s not your thing, head out to the Fetish & Fantasy Halloween Ball at the Hard Rock Café.

Barfing Jack-O-LanternIf you’re looking to go all out and have nightmares, visit Eli Roth’s multilevel Goretorium. The director of the horror-thriller flick Hostel will surely get your creep on. For a lighter scare, zombies will be parading in the Las Vegas Halloween Parade near the Fremont Street Experience. Sounds like zombies are having the time of their lives in pop culture, eh?

Oh and by the way, word has it that Axl Rose and Guns N’ Roses are performing on Hallow’s eve — now that’s something you don’t want to miss.

If you want to bring the Las Vegas Halloween scene to your home, you can start by decorating the place with plenty of lights, glitter, and shimmer. You can also create miniature versions of the grand hotels and casinos and place them around the venue. Have a mini casino, a bar, and even a boxing ring. These are what Vegas is known for. You can have a mini chapel, too, for those who want to get “married” in Vegas. Now this is for one grand Halloween party.

Thinking of starting small? Stick to the lights and the red carpet, and let everyone come in their best Vegas costume. Vegas showgirls, casino personnel, blackjacks, and of course, what’s Vegas without the occasional Elvis? Then, play some Guns N’ Roses at the venue because, since they’re playing on Halloween eve, you’d still feel like you’re in the concert. Well, somehow.

For fun activities, have a mini faux boxing match between two willing individuals and have the winner take a makeshift trophy. Of course, you have got to have a bartender and a DJ on hand so that when things get a little too dragging, you can always turn on the music.

So how about that? Are you ready to spook things up this Hallow’s eve?


Expert Shares Tips to Prepare for Surgery How the ‘Herbal Martha Stewart’ Got Ready for Her Hip Replacement

Surgery saves the day by YanzWhile they’re the place we go for healing, all hospitals have the potential to be a hotbed for contagious infections.

But there are precautionary measures patients can take, both to reduce the need for a hospital stay and to condition the body to ward off infection and minimize pain when surgery is necessary, says Letha Hadady, a nationally-recognized herbal expert and author of Naturally Pain Free, just published by Sourcebooks ( Letha has been documenting in real time her recent hip replacement, preparation and recovery, in a video blog on her global website.

Cardiovascular Suture by Plandsman“We are fast approaching a time when antibiotics will be outdated because infectious bacteria – Superbugs – have become resistant,” she says. “We have to protect ourselves with the gifts of nature that germs cannot adapt to – foods, minerals, herbal remedies and other natural products that build our defenses.”

There are 600,000 knee-replacement and 300,000 hip-replacement surgeries performed each year in the United States, a number that has doubled in the past 10 years and continues to grow, Hadady says. As a health expert cited by NBC News, AP Radio, Newsday, the Daily News, the San Francisco Chronicle and Barbara Walters, she says she is concerned about the risks, pain and fear as many people face both major and minor surgeries.

“These surgeries are only going to become more frequent as the baby boomer generation ages. People 50 and older with osteoarthritis are most likely to need hip- and knee-placements,” she says. “But plenty of younger people are affected, too. Runners, dancers, tennis players, soldiers – even high school students who suffer sports injuries. It could be you on the operating table!”

Hadady offers these tips to naturally condition the body before surgery:

Herbal strength: A few weeks in advance of her operation, Hadady ramped up her intake of herbal supplements. A key herb was Yunnan Paiyao, a traditional  medicine used in Chinese hospitals and by their soldiers to prevent excessive bleeding. Other herbs can be taken to help build up resistance to bacteria.

A calm and focused mind: Stress increases inflammation and is a burden on internal organs. A calm, centered mind — attained through techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and mineral baths – can help the body weather the trauma of surgery, she says.

Knowledge is power: While researching “Naturally Pain Free,” Letha tried alternative treatments for arthritis ranging from traditional Asian remedies to cutting-edge stem cell injections. Before her operation, Hadady asked questions and researched her hospital, doctors, the procedure, and insurance coverage. This allowed her to better prepare for the operation and gave her peace of mind.

Follow hospital recommendations: In addition to alternative therapies, it’s important to heed the advice of one’s doctors, before and after a procedure, she says. With her supplements, Hadady restricted her vitamin C intake, which thins blood, and she received an antibiotic ointment to ward off MRSA — an antibiotic-resistant superbug that can cause life-threatening infections.

Diet and exercise: “This may seem obvious, but it’s a message we cannot emphasis enough for overall health,” she says. One reason why replacement procedures are so prominent is due to the “sitting lifestyle” so many now have. Muscle atrophy from too much sitting can be a cause for joint-replacement, she says. “Sitting is the new smoking!”

About Letha Hadady

Letha Hadady has been called the “Martha Stewart of herbs” for her expertise in traditional Asian and alternative health. The author of five books, including her latest “Naturally Pain Free,” Letha has appeared widely on TV–including CNN, Today, The View — talk radio, and the internet. Letha is an adjunct faculty member for New York Open Center, and The Renfield Center for Nursing Education, Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. She has led stress-management workshops and acted as a natural product consultant for Sony Entertainment Inc., Dreyfus, Ogilvy & Mather, and Consumer Eyes, Inc. in New York.

Images courtesy of StockFreeImages.


Patriotic Cocktails and Alcoholic Beverages for Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day

Stars and SodaJuly is THE month to go out and party like a rock star, patriot style. Don’t forget about May’s Memorial Day to kick off the summer and September’s Labor Day for one last hurrah. These months deserve a toast of sorts as we celebrate in memory of all things American. If you’re planning on hosting the festivities, you might as well try these recipes for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day.

These drinks are sure to get your mouth watering and craving for more. Here are some patriotic alcoholic drinks you can mix up for the occasion.

Camarena Firecracker
Camarena Firecracker
2 oz Camarena Reposado Tequila
6 large Watermelon Chunks
1/4 Red Chili Pepper – seeded
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
Watermelon Slice Garnish

Place watermelon chunks and red chili pepper in mixing glass. Muddle to release juice and chili pepper spice flavor. Add remaining liquids with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into large rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with watermelon slice.

America’s Sweetheart
America's Sweetheart
1 1/2 oz Blue Ice American Vodka
1/2 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Pomegranate Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a mini-American flag.

Camarena Americana
Camarena Americana
2 oz Camarena Reposado Tequila
1/2 cup Strawberry Simple Syrup*
2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Splash of Orange Liqueur
2 tablespoons of Fresh Basil, Chopped Roughly
6 Sliced Strawberries

Place the basil in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, pour in the tequila. Use the back of a spoon (or muddler) to mash the basil leaves into the tequila. Fill the shaker with ice and add strawberry simple syrup, lime juice, Cointreau. Fill with ice, shake and strain into a high ball glass over ice. Garnish with sliced strawberries on the rim and ribbons of basil mixed in the drink.
*Strawberry Simple Syrup Recipe:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4-5 strawberries, sliced
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Cool the syrup, then strain the liquid through a sieve, pressing the strawberries to extract all liquid.

Cathy Riva’s Specialty drink
Cathy Riva's Specialty Drink
1 ½ parts of Sauza Blue® Silver Tequila
2 parts cranberry/ raspberry juice
8 mint leaves for garnish
1 part lemon-lime soda

Combine all ingredients except mint leaves in a pitcher. Serve each glass with 2 mint      leaves. Serve cold or iced.

2 oz Cranberry Juice
½ oz Orange Three Olives Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Serve cold or iced.

Star-Spangled SpritStar-Spangled Spritzz

1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Club Soda
6 medium-sized Mint Leaves

Combine all ingredients except mint leaves in a pitcher. Serve each glass with 2 mint      leaves. Serve cold or iced.

¼ cup Granulated Sugar
¼ cup Fresh Lime Juice
¾ cup of berries
1 ¼ cups ROSANGEL
Splash of THREE-OLIVES Cherry Vodka
Ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Serve each glass with berries leaves. Serve cold or iced.

Of course, we can’t leave the kids out on our patriotic celebrations. I’m pretty sure they would want in on the fun. So here are some Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day frozen drinks for the little tots. They are all fairly simple to make, so your kids can have a hand in making them too.

Better prepare them for a brain freeze!

Courtesy of

2 cups ice water
1 packet fruit-flavored drink mix (use your favorite flavor)
2/3 cup sugar
4 cups or 1 full tray of ice cubes

You need a blender to prepare this recipe. Put all of the ingredients into your blender. It will be about 2/3 to 3/4′s full. Put the lid on. Process the mixture on high for a full minute. Stop the blender, use a spoon to stir it a bit. Look for unchopped ice chunks. If all the chunks are grated up, then go ahead and serve it. You may need to process it for another full minute though. Serve immediately. I usually have to spoon this out of the blender with a measuring cup because the mixture is so thick. Makes 4 – 8oz servings.

Stars and Soda
Stars and Soda
Courtesy of
Cherry (red)
Blue (blue) Kool-Aid
Invisible Kool-Aid
Star ice cube trays
Hawaiian Punch Berry Blue Typhoon

Freeze the Kool Aid and Hawaiian Punch in the star ice cube trays. Place them over cold Club Soda or clear soda like Sprite or 7-up.

Red, White and Blueberry SmoothieRed, White and Blueberry Smoothie
Courtesy of

vegan, makes about 4 smoothies, depending on size.
Red Layer:
3/4 cup frozen raspberries or strawberries
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup ice cubes
3/4 cup vanilla soy milk
Blue Layer:
1 cup frozen blueberries
3/4 cup acai juice
1/4 cup ice cubes
1/4 cup fresh blueberries (or use more frozen)
White Layer:
2 frozen bananas (slice before freezing for blending ease)
3/4 cup vanilla soy milk
1 Tbsp agave or maple syrup
3 Tbsp fine flaked coconut
1/2 cup ice cubes
fresh sliced strawberries
fresh blueberries
pinches of coconut flakes

First chill your serving glasses in the freezer.
Cold glasses will help the layers stay separated better.
First blend up the red layer.
Place the red smoothie into a container and place in freezer until needed.
Next, blend up all the blue ingredients.
Pour it into a separate container and place in freezer.
Next, wash out your blender very well to create your white layer.
Add all the white layer ingredients and blend until frothy and smooth.
For a fluffier white layer add more ice.
Now you can remove the red and blue layers from the freezer, as well as your frosted glasses and begin assembling the smoothies.
Place enough red smoothie in each glass to fill 1/3 of the glass. On top of the red layer, place one thinly sliced strawberry round – this helps to separate colors.
Next, pour another 1/3 full amount of blue smoothie mix in each glass. Add 4-5 fresh blueberries on top of the blue layer.
Next, spoon the white layer smoothie into the glass until it is filled to the brim.
Garnish: Place a sprinkling of coconut, one blueberry and one strawberry slice in each glass.
*The raspberry smoothie should blend up the thickest/heaviest. That is why it goes on the bottom. The white layer is the fluffiest on top.

Red White & Blue Citrus Spritzer
Red White & Blue Citrus SpritzerCourtesy of

1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
Citrus soda of choice

Pile the strawberries and blueberries into the ice cube trays and fill them with water. Allow the cubes to freeze completely overnight. Fill a glass with your favorite citrus soda and plop in the cubes.

For the set of holidays this summer, make sure you always have decorations that match the occasion – stars, stripes, blues, whites, and reds. Of course, the good ol’ grill has to make its presence felt with barbecues and burgers. This is definitely going to be a cool holiday despite the rising heat of the summer.



The DIY Bride: Hair and Makeup Looks that Dazzle

Information courtesy of Gocha Hawkins,

Every bride deserves to look and feel like a queen on her wedding day; however, not every bride has the budget of a queen. Do it yourself hair and makeup looks have increased significantly in popularity in the last few years, with YouTube tutorials abound and products at our fingertips that take the hassle out of the process. Here, Gocha Hawkins, celebrity hairstylist, makeup artist, and owner of Gocha Salon, delivers three show stopping hair and makeup looks that are easy enough to pull off yourself, and still make you feel like the queen that you are.

“As a general rule of thumb, shimmer does not always photograph well. Do your best to keep makeup matte and be sure that foundation is blended thoroughly as the camera detects oily skin. For summer brides, humidity is their worst hair enemy. Dry hair downward at a 90-degree angle to avoid frizz while styling, and ask your hairstylist beforehand about products that will work with your hair’s natural texture. Additionally, every bride should have a touch-up kit on hand the day of the wedding to avoid a beauty disaster,” Gocha advises.

Bold Bride

Gwen StefaniThis summer, it’s all about the pop of color in the makeup world. “The runways for spring and summer 2012 collections were sprinkled with bright neon shades not only in terms of the clothing, but also in makeup,” explains Gocha. “This has definitely prevailed as a trend for the more fashion forward bride this season. Also, it’s very versatile and can work for women with short hair. Pairing this with a structured yet whimsical teased ponytail achieves a stunning, bold statement. Think rocker mom Gwen Stefani’s electric style.”

·         Choose one feature to focus on; whether you’re going with a bright eye or lip, having both will be distracting and take away from your overall look. If drawing the focus to the eye, begin by using a powder-based primer to set. MAC Cosmetics has countless shadow options and at $15.00, it’s a steal. As far as a show-stopping lip, go with a matte lipstick. NARS’s semi-matte lipstick is a safe bet and cost-effective at $24.00.

·         A volumized ponytail is stunning and works with warm weather instead of against it. To create this look, leave out the hair at the crown of the head when pulling hair back. Curl hair with a large-barreled curling iron for a bouncy, wavy texture or pin up for a more traditional updo. Tease hair at the crown for volume, spraying hairspray at the same time to set the look. To smooth, apply wax pomade and secure with a hair pin.

Vintage Glam

January JonesFor the bride that wants to play up her sex appeal on her wedding day, a slightly heavier makeup look with a glamorous yet simple ‘do is the way to go. “Creating a dramatic eye with a red lip gives off that eternal essence of old-Hollywood charm and epitomizes class for a sophisticated affair. A great role model for this look is January Jones, who keeps it in her repertoire for big ticket red carpet events. If your wedding’s theme leans toward romantic vintage, this look is definitely for you,” says Gocha.

·         Spend time testing different shades of the perfect red. Depending on skin tone, a red with a tint of orange or undertones of pink will look best on most brides. Keep other makeup simple, but still stunning by lining the upper rim of your eye in a black kohl liner. Use an eyelash curler for added volume (or if you’re even more adventurous, fake lashes) and make sure to apply ample mascara. Sweep a natural looking blush on cheeks for the full effect.

·         Retro waves are flattering on every face shape and most hair lengths, except for very short. Following your shower, use leave-in conditioner to keep hair moisturized. Dry hair and part to the side. Curl in 1-inch sections and then roll forward. Set with an anti-frizz serum that will moisturize your hair throughout the night.

Natural Beauty

Charlize TheronMinimalism is a dominant trend for summer that emerged during the collections for 2012 designer campaigns. As Gocha explains, “With a natural makeup look, I like to do something fun with hair, like take a classic style and evolve it to be more modern. One of my favorite hairstyles of the past year was Charlize Theron’s look at the Oscars. Not only does she pull off a modified version of the classic chignon, but she elevated the headband and transformed it into a formal hair accessory.”

·         For makeup, choose a blush that is as close as possible to your natural flush color. Define your features by shading eyelids with a soft, natural hue that is a shade darker than your skin tone. Lightly line eyes with a black liner if desired, or just stick with a few coats of mascara to make them pop. For lips, stick to a shade or two darker than your lip hue in a moisturizing, lightweight tint.

·         Curl small sections with a 2-inch curling iron to create waves. Spray with a shine-enhancing product and brush to eliminate the threat of separation. Sweep hair to your preferred side and roll hair into a loose bun. Pull out some face framing strands to create an unstructured, wispy look. Finish by spraying with holding spray and carefully place your headband.

“The most important advice I can give to any DIY bride is to test your looks beforehand, thoroughly. Entrust one of your bridesmaids with the duty of spending a day helping you test out makeup and hair looks with a digital camera and under fluorescent lighting. This way, there are no surprises when you take your photos, and you can feel confident that you’ve achieved the exact look you want. Because, after all, that’s the most important thing; that the bride is happy on her wedding day!” says Gocha.

For more tips and tricks from Gocha Hawkins, follow @GochaSalon on Twitter, “Like” Gocha Salon on Facebook, and visit the salon’s website at

Images courtesy of,, and


Skin Danger Zones: Sun Damage Where You Least Expect It

Information courtesy of Dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt,

Sunny Palm Tree BranchesSpending the day basking in the sun? You are likely to protect yourself from sun exposure. But what about everyday? Sun damage can burn its mark when and where you least expect it. Are you really protecting your skin day in and out? Applying your daily facial moisturizer with SPF is not all it takes to protect yourself against harmful rays.

As we approach warmer weather, Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt gives a rundown of often ignored areas and locations where you need protection from the sun.

Commonly Ignored Areas on Your Body

Sunny Beach

You have prepped for a day out in the sun. But have you covered all the bases? When slathering on sun block, there are certain areas people

tend to forget to protect. Be mindful ofcommonly ignored areas including your feet, lips, hands, back of the ears, chest/neck, lips and your scalp. “The chest is an area commonly affected by sun damage and wrinkles—but not commonly protected,” explains Dr. Baxt. “Be sure to properly protect these areas prior to stepping out into the sun. Wear protective clothing to cover up your skin from the sun.” Keep in mind, a light bathing suit cover-up does not protect your skin from harmful rays. “On a day out in the sun, apply sunscreen every hour —even when wearing a cover-up.”

Rain or Shine

Who needs sun protection on a cloudy day? We all do.  If the sun is hiding, it doesn’t mean you aren’t being exposed to it. Hazy days are common days for sun burns, the UV rays come right through the clouds.  Don’t forget your sun protection! Despite your perception of the climate, you may end up exposing yourself to more damaging rays. Whether in an urban or beach setting, the sun can affect you come rain or shine. Feeling a bit chilly from the wind? You can still get a sun burn even on a cool day. Protect yourself.

Indoor Exposure

Whether in a car, at the office or at home, UVA rays through a window may cause serious damage to your skin. “When driving, the left side of your face and hands are exposed to UVA rays through the windshield, dab on products with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect yourself.” Sitting next to a window and reading a book may seem harmless, but indoor sun exposure may lead to sun damage. Consider your daily locations and travel arrangements and protect yourself accordingly.

Reflecting Rays

Meeting a friend for a quick outdoor lunch on your break? You purposefully sit under an umbrella assured you are fully protecting yourself. However—the rays of the sun reflect off concrete. Sitting under an umbrella should not be your method of sun protection. “Protecting yourself from damaging rays not only requires using products—but requires proper knowledge. The more you know, the better equipped you are to protect yourself in all areas, at all times.”

About the Expert:

Rebecca Baxt, MD, MBA, FAAD is a Board Certified Dermatologist specializing in both cosmetic and general dermatology for adults and children. She also has a particular interest in acne and rosacea. For more information, please visit or visit Baxt Cosmedical Facebook Fan Page.