Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!


Take a moment today to remember all the brave men and women to have served, continue to serve, or have died for our country.

"We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them." -Francis A. Walker

Monday, May 24, 2010

Re-post: May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month


Originally posted 5/27/09

It's that time of year... the sun is shining and everyone heads outdoors for fresh air, family fun, and some sun. It also means it's time to stock up on the sunscreen and sun smarts. Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer?

When I moved to Western New York almost five seven years ago (having been born and raised in Southern California) I was somewhat surprised to notice how tanning - either at a salon or out in the sun - seemed much more prevalent than in my hometown of San Diego. I'm not saying I've never laid out in the sun but it seems the awareness (perhaps even fear) of skin cancer must be much more prevalent in sunny San Diego.

Please, please... use your sunscreen (and don't forget to re-apply), spend time in the shade, and be sun smart. Don't forget: you can get a sunburn on an overcast day!!! Check your sun safety IQ by clicking here.

Some quick facts from the American Cancer Society:
  • Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. This type of cancer can almost completely be avoided if people would protect their skin and follow simple guidelines when they are outside.
  • There are more than 1 million skin cancers diagnosed each year in the United States. That’s more than cancers of the prostate, breast, lung, colon, uterus, ovaries and pancreas combined. And the number of skin cancers has been on the rise for the past few decades.
  • The vast majority of skin cancers are due to unprotected ultraviolet radiation (UV) exposure. Most of this radiation comes from sunlight, but some may come from artificial sources, such as tanning booths. The amount of UV exposure depends on the strength of the light, the length of exposure and whether the skin is protected.
Reduce your risk of skin cancer:
  • Limit direct sun exposure mid-day (between 10am and 2pm have long been said to be the strongest rays - this has now been extended to 4pm)
  • Cover Up
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher
  • Wear a hat
  • Wear UV blocking sunglasses
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps! (Positive links to skin cancer have not been made.)
Visit the Sun Safety page for even more information and tips.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review: Covergirl Smokey ShadowBlast and Shine Blast

I'm doing a Bzzz campaign for the new Covergirl Smokey ShadowBlast eyeshadow and ShineBlast lip gloss ( http://www.covergirl.com/beauty-buzz/whats-new.jsp ):


I LOVE the lipgloss: for me it lasted a good amount of time (not all day but what gloss does?), went on easily, and didn't feel "goopy" like other glosses do. Average cost is about $7 and I'd say it's worth it.

The Shadow is fun but not fabulous. The colors are nice, and it's great having the convenience of two colors IN one applicator tool, but if you don't like pencil shadows you won't like this. The shading tip broke on my first use (not completely, but enough to be annoying). All in all, it IS convenient for your summer runaround, travel, or beach bag. Average price is about $8 and if you already like pencil shadows I'd say it's worth the
price. Otherwise, skip it and go for something more traditional.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blogging for Mental Health

Mental Health Month Blog Day Badge

As I mentioned earlier this month, May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  What I didn't realize, until now, is that congress designated it so back in 1949.  We've come a long way since then but I'm not sure we've come far enough.  Mental health is still stigmatized and generalized.  It's time for that to change.

Postpartum depression is a mental health illness that affects at least 20% of all new mothers (this statistic varies depending upon where you look but 20% seems to be the number quoted most often).  That percentage only reflects reported cases; how many women go untreated because they are afraid to go to their doctor with their concerns? I suspect more than we'd like to believe. 

 I found it surprising, when I decided to go "public" with my PPD, how many women I met sighed with relief and said, "so did I!"  Yet less than half of them had spoken to their doctors about it.  I'm not saying every woman with PPD depression needs to be medicated - that's a personal decision between a woman and her doctor - what I'm saying is that it's frightening how many women think it's something to be embarrassed about.  For a time, I was one of them.

PPD isn't caused by something we do or did.  It's an illness that can affect us as randomly as a flu virus.  Sure, some women have a history that may possibly predispose them to it but for many it's a surprise and a shock.  The important thing to remember is that there is help and it's OK.

The best thing I ever did was stop hiding my postpartum depression.  When I finally started telling family and friends it was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.  I didnt' have to hide any more.  I could concentrate on getting well instead of pretending I was well.  Huge, huge impact for me.  No, it wasn't easy.  In fact it was one of the most difficult things I had ever done.  True, some people backed away from me and some believe the stigma and the generalizations but if these people cannot, or will not, support me (and my family) why would I want to be surrounded by them?  The people that matter have been supportive, caring, and understanding (even if they don't understand).

What is right for me might not be right for someone else.  I realize that.  I also believe, however, that if we can educate the public about PPD, remove the stigma, correct the misinformation, and make it something that is talked about, then maybe more women would be inclined to get the help that they need (whatever that may be).
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Monday, May 3, 2010

It's May

And, yes, I know I've been MIA. I've had a lot of family and {gasp} me things to take care of.  I'm working on some posts (well, at least I have ideas in my head) for the coming weeks.  Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness month?  More on that coming soon.  For now I leave you with this link to Postpartum Progress regarding the upcoming Mother's Day Rally for Moms' Mental Health:

2nd Annual Mother's Day Rally for Moms' Mental Health This Sunday! - Postpartum Progress

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