March 29, 2013 at 8:00 am , by Sonia Harmon
Parenthood star Lauren Graham has come a long way since she began pursuing acting—she once played a dog mascot at the World Cup!—but she never gave up on her dreams. (Read our full interview with her in the May 2013 issue.) In fact, she turned those difficult moments into inspiration for her first novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe, about a struggling young actress in New York City. The book hits shelves on April 30th, but three lucky winners will get a free copy of the book signed by Lauren herself! All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post and you’re entered to win. Good luck!
Only one entry per person, per email address. Official Rules
March 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm , by Amelia Harnish
We’ve seen quite a few stories this week offering tips for sticking with your diet during the spring holidays. But doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Easter and Passover are all about family time, fun and most importantly, food. Worrying about your waistline at Easter dinner or beating yourself up over indulging in a chocolate bunny can totally ruin it. “Food is intertwined in tradition and celebration, and that’s totally okay,” says Sally Kuzemchak, R.D., and frequent LHJ contributor. “It’s important to acknowledge these are special foods that mean something to us, and it’s good to enjoy them.”
Yes, exactly. We say forget the guilt and go for it (with some moderation, of course). Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your indulgences this week.
Savor your favorites. If you look forward to your sister-in-law’s famously rich macaroni and cheese on Easter every year, why change it? “I am not a fan of lightening up traditional foods or favorite family recipes,” Kuzemchak says. “Enjoy your favorites, but get back to your usual eating habits the next day.”
Save yourself for the right dessert. Eating too many Cadbury eggs or handfuls of jelly beans can make you feel gross and tired rather than satisfied. “Instead of pillaging the bowl of pastel M&M’s, save it for the homemade pie or allow yourself a good dark chocolate bar,” Kuzemchak says.
Drink to your health. ‘Tis the season for Manischewitz! If you indulged in the traditional four glasses at your family’s Seder, worry not. It’s just one day out of the year. “There are antioxidants in wine,” says Kuzemchak. “But moderate drinkers get the most benefits.”
Photo copyright Oksana2010, shutterstock.com
March 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm , by Ladies' Lounge
I began this season with cautious excitement. I honestly hadn’t heard of many of the stars and had no idea what they would be like. Last season we had some incredible dancing and we knew everyone because it was the all-star season. But this time around, we’ve gone back to the heart of the show, which in my opinion is transformation. There is transformation on so many levels on our show and I love it. We transform our views and ideas of the stars as we watch them go through an intensely challenging ten-week competition. There’s also the physical transformation for every celebrity that dares to battle for the mirror ball trophy. And of course, there is emotional transformation of their spirit in the process of this soul-baring competition. And I think that’s what gets people hooked on the show.
This year we have some really fun personalities and I’m already excited to see them come back and perform their next dance. I think this season will be remembered as the season with heart. Everyone has room to grow. This is not feigned. It’s real and true, which makes for exciting TV.
Two of the biggest transformations so far are those of DL Hughley and Andy Dick, two comedians who have been through a lot and experienced many challenges in their lives. They were both so genuinely excited and relieved to be safe, you could see how much it meant to them, and that shows me how genuinely hard they’re working.
While I have flashed more “6″ paddles than I usually would at this point, I think our contestants are all very special. They have large personalities and their performances are bright and filled with energy and charisma. They all need to work on their technique, but there’s still an enjoyable quality to their performances. It’s refreshing.
Last night, when Dorothy Hamill suddenly decided to excuse herself from the competition—yes, that was a real moment—I was shocked. But then I was very impressed. In this day and age where we’ve all become so competitive and driven to succeed, she stopped and reminded us that we have to take care of ourselves first. Our health and our well-being should be our first priority. And while I am sad I won’t be seeing her dance again, which was a treat, I wish her well and I hope we women follow her lead by taking good care of ourselves and knowing our own boundaries as she did.
Next week we have a prom theme. I went to about 11 proms when I was in high school and I have fond memories of Journey songs and taffeta. Evening gowns have come a long way since my 80s prom days back in Hawaii! I can’t wait to see what happens next week, and I’m still wondering who would have gone home if Dorothy hadn’t pulled herself out of the competition. Someone got a free pass, but I wish everyone well and we’ll see how they do on Monday night. Until then, let’s all take good care of ourselves.
March 20, 2013 at 11:04 am , by Julie Bain
Millions of women in America are chronically sleep deprived. Ladies, you know who you are! To make matters worse, a bunch of studies have linked not getting enough sleep with weight gain. One big Harvard study showed that women who slept just five hours a night were 32 percent more likely to gain at least 30 pounds than women who slept seven hours or longer. Over the 16 years of the study, the women who slept longer gained less weight—even when they ate more than the sleep-deprived women. Not fair, is it?
An interesting new study, summarized well in this New York Times column yesterday, showed that sleep-deprived folks eat more calories overall and especially overeat those comforting carbs that pack on the pounds.
I thought about all this as I was lying awake at 2 a.m. this morning. (Was anyone else there with me?) Yes, I toss and turn sometimes, too—even though I have a lot of good-sleep tricks up my sleeve. A few years ago I co-authored a sleep book for women. It’s called Sleep To Be Sexy Smart and Slim. (I don’t make any money on the book; it was just part of my job to work on it.) Anyway, here are a few tips from it that have really stuck with me:
5 STRATEGIES FOR BETTER SLEEP
1. Wind down for an hour. So many women just keep going, and going, and going. Then you’re too wound up to drift off. Give yourself the gift of an hour with no more chores, no exercise (unless it’s sex, which does help you sleep better), no stimulating TV news or drama, no catching up on work, no major “we’ve got a problem” conversations and most of all, no electronics. Yes, you can turn off your laptop and phone. Play soft music, read something light, let it all go.
2. Have some milk and cookies. When I was doing publicity for the book, this tip was always a favorite of the bleary-eyed morning-show hosts who interviewed me. There’s real science behind it: The chemical tryptophan in milk will help you feel sleepy, but you need some carbs to get it where it needs to go in the brain. A small (low-fat) cookie or two does the job well—plus, you feel nurtured like a child, too.
3. Chill out. Lowering the temperature in your bedroom helps signal your body that it’s time to sleep. Taking a hot bath sounds like a cliché but it helps, too, by lowering your core body temp afterward. A cooler room may help keep hot flashes at bay, too, if you’re in that joyful stage of life.
4. Make it dark. Sometimes your eyes open a bit as you move from one stage of sleep to another, and any kind of light can wake you up, whether it’s streetlights or the display on your digital clock. It’s worth investing in blackout curtain liners. Turn your clock face away so you can’t see it (or obsess over it if you do wake up). And put some dark electrical tape over all those LED displays on your computer, TV, cable box, etc. Darkness can make all the difference.
5. Let go of your worries. This one’s my favorite. It sounds a little corny but it works. Keep a small notebook and pen on your nightstand and consider it your “worry book.” When you can’t settle your buzzing brain down, or wake up anxious about work or money in the middle of the night, grab it. Write down what’s bugging you and any strategies and priorities for dealing with it. Then close the book and give yourself permission to let it go until daytime. Put it aside and go to sleep.
Photo copyright Africa Studio, shutterstock.com
February 27, 2013 at 10:57 am , by Amelia Harnish
You probably keep ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen in your medicine cabinet at all times. Why not? Any one of these can work wonders for everyday aches and pains like headaches or menstrual cramps. You don’t need a prescription to get these drugs—and you’ve probably used them hundreds of times—so it may seem like they’re harmless. But new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that overuse of OTC pain medications may lead to hearing loss.
Yup, you heard that right. The study scanned the pain-pill habits of more than 62,000 women over a 14-year period and found that those who used ibuprofen or acetaminophen two or more days a week increased their risk of hearing loss by up to 24 percent, depending on how much they took.
No one’s sure exactly why this is, says lead author Sharon Curhan, M.D., but it may be that these drugs inhibit blood flow to crucial parts of the inner ear, or destroy antioxidants that protect the ear’s delicate structures from damage. “Hearing loss is increasingly common and often disabling. Our findings suggest that frequent analgesic use may be an important but preventable contributor,” she says. (You may be taking even more analgesics than you think, she adds, since certain cold meds contain them too.)
That’s not the only harm OTC painkillers could cause. “While bad side effects are fortunately pretty rare, there are some other possible ones,” says Gary Dorshimer, M.D., section chief of general internal medicine at Pennsylvania Hospital, in Philadelphia. “Among them, OTC pain meds could cause hormone changes that reduce your kidneys’ ability to process certain minerals, or dampen the effectiveness of ACE inhibitors, a type of drug used to control high blood pressure.” An even bigger risk, he adds, “is when you ignore a warning on the label that says, ‘Don’t take this drug for more than X days before speaking with your doctor.’ You could have a problem that needs medical attention.” Masking the pain won’t make it go away and could give it a chance to get more serious.
In fact, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if you find yourself relying on OTC pain pills on a regular basis for a recurring problem of any kind, like headaches or backaches. “Talk over the risks and benefits of using over-the-counter painkillers for your problem. Try to determine the exact cause of your pain, and explore whether there are other alternatives to using medication,” says Dr. Curhan. There may be lots of other things to try, from physical therapy to massage or even acupuncture.
Check out our guide to the risks and benefits of different painkillers here.
Photo by Dick Ercken
Categories: Health, Ladies' Lounge | Tags: acetaminophen, analgesics, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Gary Dorshimer M.D., hearing loss, ibuprofen, naproxen, OTC medications, OTC pain medications, pain, painkiller, Sharon Curhan M.D., side effects | 2 Comments
February 25, 2013 at 10:41 am , by Gabrielle Porcaro
So I am not going to lie I was a bit under-whelmed by the fashion last night. I mean, one of my favorite dresses was Jamie Foxx’s daughter, random yes? One big trend on the red carpet was metallics. Naomi Watt’s Armani Privé silver-sequined, cut-out dress was one of my favorites. I thought it was modern, unique, and she looked gorgeous–as usual. Nominee Jessica Chastain shined in bronze. Chicago stars, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger both went for gold and Jennifer Hudson chose a metallic blue Roberto Cavalli gown.
Another one of my favorite looks was Stacy Keibler. I just loved her Gatsby look with the deco Naeem Khan dress and soft wavy hair. Halle Berry rocked it out in Versace–it was a very sexy, Dynasty moment. Yes those were shoulder pads and yes she can really make anything look hot! Nicole Kidman looked stunning in her L’Wren Scott black and gold dress, as did Amanda Seyfried in her gold leaf embellished McQueen. Sandra Bullock’s Elle Saab crystal embellished black gown and Adele’s performance dress both twinkled.
February 20, 2013 at 1:14 pm , by Amelia Harnish
When you’re not feeling so well, the first thing to do is call the doctor… right? Maybe in a perfect world, but we all know that getting an appointment with a physician can be time-consuming and a lot more difficult than it should be. Enter HealthTap, a web site and mobile app that lets you pose questions to real doctors and get answers fast.
“In our research, we found that 25 percent of doctor visits in this country are just question and answer,” says Ron Gutman, founder and CEO of HealthTap. “But on average, it takes 20 days to get an appointment. We saw a huge opportunity there to help people save time and money.”
The service first launched almost two years ago as a resource for new moms (who famously have endless questions for their pediatricians). Now HealthTap boasts a network of 32,000 doctors in 128 different specialties. All you have to do is go to HealthTap.com and register or download the app on your iPhone or Android smartphone. Then you can search by topic or ask a question, which will be matched to an appropriate physician. You will get an e-mail or notification on your phone when a doctor has answered.
When we first heard about HealthTap, we were intrigued but thought for sure there must be a catch. But after meeting Gutman, I’m sold. The physicians are all screened for credentials via each state’s licensing boards. In addition to the Q&A feature, you can access a directory of doctors in your area, all ranked by quality based on other users’ experiences, and schedule in-person appointments right through the app. Another cool feature is “TipTaps,” which are short, doctor-written tips in areas like beauty, diet, exercise or parenting that are delivered by text message or e-mail. All these tools are free to use, but you can also pay for premium services, which include virtual, private consultations and the ability to ask longer questions. (There’s a 150-character limit for the free service, which I guess counts as a catch, albeit a small one in the age of Twitter.)
So while it’s no replacement for an in-person visit with a doctor who knows your medical history, HealthTap is great for when you just need quick, reliable medical information or advice. I used it recently to sleuth out whether the annoying itchiness I was experiencing in my left eye was pinkeye or just allergies. I got my answer within 24 hours (who knew one eye can be more allergic than the other) and bought some OTC eye drops, which saved me a trip to my doctor.