Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hail the the V?!?

Apparently Summer's Eve is thinking that we need to freshen up our lady parts by "Hailing to the V." They put out a series of ad campaigns using hand puppets (each portraying a different ethnicity) that use phrases like "a little love for your vertical smile." 


 They took off the actual videos on You tube. But you can watch Steve Colbert's great response to it to give you a sense of these ads : 


Needless to say, women all over the place are super unhappy about the ridiculous ads. First, as I discussed before, lady parts are supposed to smell just like they do. Not like perfume (unless you are half flower/half human, in which case, you got bigger problems than feminine hygiene).

Lissa Rankin from OwningPink.com is particularly peeved - first pointing out the fact that they are using a freaking hand puppet. "Yes, a talking hand, like the kind you hold up against a wall for kids to make animal shadows that moo or oink. "

The racial stereotypes are pretty ridiculous too. Of course the people from Summer's Eve responded:"This campaign is about empowerment, changing the way women may think of the brand, and removing longstanding stigmas: Summer's Eve is not a means to confidence, rather it's a celebration of confidence, of being a woman, and taking care of their bodies." Um, right. Because my newly empowered vagina goes "Ay yi yi!"

Anywho, I'm all for being pro-vagina and all, but really, these products are unnecessary, they also increase the risk of allergic reactions, yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and other dermatologic conditions. So even if you aren't creeped out by the ads, don't go out and buy this stuff. Love your lady parts the way they are.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The things we don't talk about


I just finished reading this article and it brought to light a conversation I have been having recently with my girl friends. It seems like there are certain things that us women just do not talk about. We are ridiculously verbose when it comes to some topics, like our menstrual symptoms, our cravings, the latest birth control we've tried, and intimacies of our sex life, but then all of a sudden when we get to talking about actually making some babies we totally clamp up.

I find this very fascinating, and actually quite sad. As a sisterhood of women, we go through some hard times with our bodies, and it makes me sad that there are so many women struggling with the same issues, but they do not talk to each other about it.

Like, for example, did you know that approximately 25%-30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage? Or that when you are 30, your chance of getting knocked up each month is only 20%, and that it takes most people between 6 months to a year to get pregnant? Or that many are using fertility treatments and that twins don't actually run in their  family?

Ladies (and gents), we should be talking about these things between ourselves. Miscarriages happen, they are normal, and they are scary to go through alone. It does take most people more than one drunken night to get pregnant (especially as we get older).  It amazes me that when I ask people about their road to pregnancy they are so willing to open up, but only AFTER all is said and done. Never before.

So, let's start talking about it. Who knows, just discussing it can relief stress, which as we  know makes a huge difference in our reproductive health.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Feeling HOT HOT HOT!



People, it is freaking hot out. Like over 100 degrees hot. OMG.

I am officially hibernating, or whatever you call it when you refuse to leave your air conditioned apartment. And I highly recommend you do the same. Heat kills, and not just your nice outfits because of your sweat stains. But really, people die from this heat. Basically your body can't compensate with the heat and you pretty much bake from the inside.

Some tips for not baking from the inside out in this heat:
 1. Do NOT leave the AC unless you have to. Seriously, stay inside where there is AC.
 2. Drink LOTS of water. I'm talking by the gallon here. And no, iced coffee and soda doesn't count, those drinks actually make things worse. Oh, and limit the margaritas for the same reason.
 3. Gatorade or other electrolyte replacement drink is totally necessary if you are sweating. You need to replace the salts and minerals that your body is losing from schvitzing.
  4. Wear little clothing and a big ass hat if you have to go outside. I'm not saying to prance around naked, but look at this as a chance to have an excuse to dress like a hoochie. And of course, use sunscreen.
  5. Have a buddy. The CDC recommends that you tell peeps where you are going so that they can check on you. Also check up on older or sick folk to make sure they are alright. The heat can make you confused or lose consciousness so always good to have people know where you are and for you to check on loved ones.
 6. Sit on your ass. Look at it as a mandatory exercise vacation. It is recommended that you don't exercise or over exert yourself. So take a break from the workout and veg on the couch.
 7. Eat gazpacho and salads. Ok, that is what I am eating, so join me in not eating anything heated (I am also refusing to cook). It's just too damn hot to be adding warmth to the inside of your body.

And of course, if you have any medical problem or are on medication, check in with your doctor to see what you should do. Watch out for older folk and little munchkin children - they are super sensitive to the heat. Read these guidelines from the CDC to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and heat cramps.

Stay cool my friends!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

10 Things You Can Do For Your Sexual Self


I came across this great post at Scarleteen, a sex ed website, and thought I would share. It is about 10 things you can do for your sexual self, and while it is geared towards those that are a wee bit younger than I am (yes, I am going for wee. I mean, I still feel like I am young teenager, so whatever, close enough), there are some good things for us ladies to remember at any age.

My favorites include:
 - Stop hating your body. Most of us fall victim to this at one point or another and it often gets tangled in our sex lives.
- Sex should be fun and pleasurable. I know, shocking right! Yes, it should be something that you enjoy, and if it isn't, try to figure out why.
- Become a sexpert. I am writing this blog for a reason!! We should all be educated about our bodies and what is going on down there.

The whole list is great, and is a wonderful reminder of how to take charge of your sex life by taking care of who you are as a sexy, healthy, educated person.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunscreens: The good, the bad, and the ugly

As some of you may have heard lately, there has been a lot of talk about sunscreen, the chemicals that are used in it, and whether using the chemicals are worse than the sun that the chemicals are protecting you against.

So what is one to do, get cancer from chemical or cancer from the sun? Well to quell your concerns a little, much of the recent rise in melanoma is not due to the chemicals found in sunscreen, but by allowing people to stay in the sun longer, sunscreens have greatly increased exposure to UVA radiation. Also, skin cancer screening and detection has greatly improved over recent decades leading to an increase in cancers found.

As for ingredients here is what to look out for: Derm docs want you to use a micronized titatium or zinc oxide based sunscreen. Watch out for oxybenzone, which may or may not disrupt natural hormones, and retinyl palmitate for women who are preggers since it is converted to a compound that is linked to birth defects. Read the labels carefully, try out some natural sunscreens, and don't be fooled by price - expensive does not equal better when it comes to sunscreen.

Apparently the FDA is also getting rid of labeling such as "waterproof" or "instant protection", since no such thing really exists after a certain amount of time in the water. You get wet, you gotta reapply.

And that whole "I need my vitamin D" thing? Yeah, you pretty much need to be exposed without sunscreen for 10 minutes twice a week to get enough vitamin D. All you even need is your hands to be exposed for that amount of time. And let's face it, you probably aren't doing a super duper extra careful sunscreen application anyway, so you are going to get your vitamin D if you are in the sun with sunscreen.

FDA Sheds Light on Sunscreens - (JPG v2)

But mostly, just try to avoid the midday sun, and use hats, umbrellas, and clothing if you can't. Oh, and don't be fooled if it is cloudy!! Clouds do not count as sunscreen, and the rays get to you just the same. Schmear yourself good and often and enjoy the summer!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fun in the Sun


As promised, here is some more info about the sun and how to protect yourself before you wreck yourself (well, your skin that is).

First things first, as many of you already know, there are TWO different types of solar rays, UVA and UVB. Both cause skin cancer, but UVA (which is about 95% of the solar radiation that hits us) causes wrinkles, while UVB causes burning. 

Sunscreen protects our skin by either absorbing or reflecting these rays. Now SPF, or Sun Protective Factor, is the amount of UVB(!!) radiation that will cause sunburn with the sunscreen on. Yes, that's right, SPF only is measured with UVB rays, not at all with UVA. Keep that in the back of your head for later.

Now just so you don't think an SPF of 15 means that you can stay out in the sun for 15 hours without burning, the protection you get from sunscreen varies (despite the SPF) because of your skin type, how much you are applying, how much your skin has absorbed, and what you are doing with the sunscreen on (like swimming).  So you really have to schmear yourself good and often for sunscreen to have any effect.

How strong of an SPF should you use? Personally, I think 30. SPF 30 blocks out 97% of UVB (when used correctly), which sounds pretty good to me. You can go above 30 but that only increases by 1 or 2 percent. And remember how SPF is only measured with UVB rays, although both types cause cancer? Make sure you get a sunscreen that is BROAD SPECTRUM - meaning it protects you against both.

Later this week I will go into the controversies as to the types of chemicals are in sunscreen and what you should look out for...

Monday, July 11, 2011

You and the Sun


There has been quite a bit of chatter about sunscreen lately, mostly about how safe it is and if it is really providing the level of protection that you need. First of all, and I cannot emphasize this enough, protect yourself from the sun. Hats are awesome (you will rarely find me in the sun without one, I am kind of obsessed) - think of them as traveling sun umbrellas. As is the shade - it keeps you cool and keeps off the rays.

Now, why should you care about being exposed to the sun? It makes you nice and tan, and it feels good on your skin. Well, according to the CDC, about 65%–90% of melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Yes, melanoma as in skin cancer. And what makes you more at risk for skin cancer you ask? Here is the list:

  • Lighter natural skin color.
  • Family history of skin cancer.
  • A personal history of skin cancer.
  • Exposure to the sun through work and play.
  • A history of sunburns early in life.
  • A history of indoor tanning.
  • Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun.
  • Blue or green eyes.
  • Blond or red hair.
  • Certain types and a large number of moles.
If you have one or more of these risk factors, what I am going to share this week is all the more important. 

I learned about being careful in the sun early on, when as a tween I went out in the sun with friends and came back with a sunburn. I believe my mom grounded me for a week. Her wise words about sunburns are, "You forget about the burn, but your skin never forgets." And she was right - you do actually damage your DNA when you burn, and while I have heard from many "it will turn into a tan tomorrow" your skin's DNA is already screwed. 

So, what to make of all the latest studies about sunscreen? Stay tuned  for more about the sun and how to protect yourself as I sift through the findings and tell you what you really need to know....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

10 Exercise Myths

Spot reducing fat is a myth. Unless you tackle your body fat, your ab crunches may not help.

While many of you may have seen this posting on CNN.com, I thought I would share since I found it quite enlightening.

For example, apparently the calorie thingy on the cardio machine is nonsense. I usually just do intervals and go by the distance, rather than the calories, but good to know that I was right to not pay attention to that number at all.

Also of note, a recent study showed that stretching actually doesn't prevent injuries. Who knew!

Hope this helps you reach your workout goals! Happy exercising!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A reminder about life


This past month while I have been traveling, I have been reminded of what this blog really is about: how we can live our lives to the fullest, not just the healthiest.

During my travels I have jumped over waves, hiked to waterfalls, floated in salty waters, learned history, ate to my belly's delight, and caught up with loved ones, often in a span of a day! Did I stick to my exercise routine? Nope (despite my best intentions - I did pack my gym gear!).  Keep up my healthy eating habits? Not so much.

But as I reflect back on my month (while checking when the next Zumba class is today), I appreciate that sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind and ENJOY life. I am not advocating for being reckless and stupid - you still only have one body and you should take care of it. Yet, while I blog about making sure that women are well informed about their health and their bodies, I don't think that we should only live according to the latest study findings. Rather, make sure that you have the information that you need to make informed choices, and then freaking go out there and grab life by the balls (oh and always use sunscreen while doing so).

More postings to follow....

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