Grab Bag Scent Sense:
I copied this article by Sloan Barnett (author of Everything Goes with Green) in it’s entirety. We all need to be aware of these facts and select our products accordingly:
Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of your favorite fragrance? I guarantee you cannot pronounce most of the words. That can’t be good. And did you also know that the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found 14 secret ingredients not even listed on the label — they call them trade secrets. I call them synthetic chemicals. To make matters really worse, it’s totally legal to omit those ingredients from the label.
It’s unusual to find a household or personal-care product made without synthetic fragrances. You practically can’t escape it. Recently I was putting on lipstick and I noticed it was perfumed. Why would I possibly want my lipstick to smell good? I call this “involuntary aromatherapy,” and we’re all exposed to it every day.
Fragrances may seem benign, but they can irritate the eyes, nose and throat. Many of the individual chemicals in perfumes and other fragrances can also potentially cause damage to the liver, kidney, immune and reproductive systems.
And virtually all fragrances are stabilized with phthalates — yes, we’ve heard about them before. They’re plasticizers and fragrance carriers that are banned in children’s toys, but still used in a wide array of consumer products, especially those containing PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
They’re in nail polishes, where they keep polishes flexible; in hair sprays, where they keep your hair from stiffening too much; and — more importantly — in the vast majority of fragrances, where they help to stabilize, or “fix” perfumes in products to make fragrances last longer.
Phthalates are especially dangerous to children. The Washington Toxic Coalition explains in no uncertain terms that a developing baby is extremely vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals. They develop at a breakneck pace in the womb, and that development is easily derailed by toxic chemicals. Unlike adults, babies also have a very limited ability to detoxify foreign chemicals.
Just last month, researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found that higher prenatal exposures to phthalates significantly increased the odds of motor and behavioral developmental delay during the preschool years. The Center for Health Environment and Justice summarizes the mounting evidence against phthalates in “This is Your Brain on PVC.” The facts on trends in learning disabilities are startling:
• The incidence of learning and developmental disabilities appears to be rising, affecting about one in six children in the U.S.
• The number of children in special education programs classified with learning disabilities increased 191 percent from 1977 to 1994.
• Since the early 1990s, reported cases of autism spectrum disorder have increased tenfold. One in a hundred American children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed childhood psychiatric disorder in the United States. Recent evidence suggests the prevalence may be as high as 17 percent for all school children.
• The U.S. has seen a six-fold increase in ADHD between the years 1985 (0.7 million cases) and 2000 (4-5 million cases).
Many naysayers believe that these numbers are exaggerated — that we are perhaps just better today at identifying these problems in children. I say that may be true in part, but the numbers speak for themselves and are way too staggering to dismiss.
But there is a silver lining to this dark cloud: Phthalates don’t build up in our bodies. When the source of exposure is removed, levels decrease quickly.
You can begin making a difference for you and your family right now by skipping PVC plastic (vinyl) in products like shower curtains, food wrap and flooring, and checking ingredient lists to avoid “fragrance” and phthalates. You can find detailed information on thousands of products in the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.
On a personal note, I stopped wearing perfume when I gave birth to my first child 11 years ago. It just didn’t feel right when my infant smelled like Chanel No. 5. I may no longer smell like jasmine or spice, but I’m a lot safer.
Grab Bag Satin Skin:
I just re-discovered a skin secret I had learned more than 20 years ago, then stopped using because…. well… I don’t know whay I stopped, but I shouldn’t have.
It’s “dry brushing“, and it’s fantastic. Here’s what you need for satin skin:
• A “dry brush“, found at beauty supplies and probably many drug stores:
• Coconut oil (various brands, available at health food stores)
• Your favorite body lotion (chemical and chemical-fragrance free ??? Please??)
Once a week or more, before you bathe or shower, on dry, un-mosturized skin, begin at your feet, stroking your skin with the brush in upwards strokes towards your heart with light-to-medium pressure. Continue with lower legs, thighs, hips, butt, tummy, etc., all over your body. Maybe someone will do your back for you 🙂 The whole thing takes a couple of minutes.
• Now…..shower as usual (using chemical-free and naturally fragranced body wash, I hope). Towel off a little…. leave the skin good and moist.
• Place the (capped) jar of coconut oil in your sink and fill with hot water so the jar is floating. Let it sit for about 45 seconds to a minute. Take the jar out of the sink and remove the cap.
• Put some lotion in your hand and pour some of the melted coconut oil in your palm, then mix the two together between your palms and rub the mixture on to your skin as you would lotion.
The combination of the dry brushing exfoliation with the coconut oil-lotion mixture gives your skin a satin feel like no other, and it stays for days.
Note: there are some pretty broad claims out there about dry brushing; it “cleanses“, it stimulates your lymphatic system, it helps your liver to de-tox, etc. Frankly, none of the claims can be proven and I don’t give them a lot of weight. I just think my skin likes it and it feels good during and after 🙂
Grab Bag Memory Magic:
From the website Braingle:
Do you ever remember something that you need to do right as you’re about to fall asleep? After that, you can’t fall asleep anymore because you are too worried that you’ll forget it in the morning.
An easy way to solve this problem would be to have a pencil and paper next to your bed with a little flashlight. But if you don’t have this handy, try putting something out of place. For example, throw a magazine or wadded tissue at the door. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll notice the out-of-place item and be reminded of what you almost forgot.
You can use this technique for other situations besides falling asleep at night. For example, if you are in the car and need to remember something but can’t write it down, open the glove box or ashtray and leave it open. When you park, it will be a reminder.
Grab Bag Stress Sheriff:
The docs at RealAge have been uncovering some nifty tips and tricks to counter that Captain of Calamity, STRESS. I like these simple, yet effective ideas from Dr. Maoshing Ni.
AND… it swims in the same river as a favorite philosophy of mine: I’ve always felt that a smile works both ways… A smile is a result of happy feelings, but happy feelings can be the result of a smile, too. Try it…. when you aren’t feeling very happy, force a smile. Repeat. You’ll feel happier in no time.
Sometimes the noise from inside our own heads is the biggest stressor of all. But here’s the phrase that can turn things around for you: “My mind is calm.”
Positive thinking and affirmations like this one may be key to stress-free health, according to Dr. Maoshing Ni, author of Second Spring. These affirmations can help offset the soaring levels of stress hormones produced by tens of thousands of other negative thoughts we have on a daily basis.
In his book, Ni writes that the average woman has 60,000 thoughts a day and that 80 percent of those thoughts are negative. Ouch. And negative thoughts are bad news for the body, since stress causes wear and tear on many physical health systems. But Ni recommends using positive thinking to reduce that stress. By repeating calming, soothing positive affirmations to ourselves we can feed the body nourishing mental energy. (Feeling frazzled? Calm down fast with three tension tamers.)
Make Your Own Mantra
Positive thinking exercises, like affirmative self-talk, suppresses the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands. And that can help you feel calm and peaceful. So when negative thoughts crop up, imagine a big stop sign in your head, and tell yourself, “Stop!” Then, replace the downer thought with a positive, soothing message. Think of what it is you wish were true, and then state it over and over, as if it were true. Here are some examples of positive thinking that can help you feel empowered and ready to face the day:
- When you exercise and feel tired, think, “I am strong.”
- When you pass by a mirror, think, “I am the perfect weight for me.”
- When you set to work on a hard task, think, “I can accomplish anything.”
- When you feel overwhelmed, think, “I trust in the process of life.”
Grab Bag Vitamin Controversy:
In case you didn’t see it, here ABC News profiles the possible perils of supplements for women over 50. Due to various studies I read in the past few years, I stopped taking most supplements about 4 years ago. I now take only Vitamin D, Krill Oil and Curcumin.Vodpod videos no longer available.
Grab Bag Brain Game:
Identify artists and their works. Starts off easy, then builds:
Grab Bag Funny Stuff:
To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:
In light of your immediate failure to financially manage yourselves and also in recent years your tendency to elect incompetent Presidents of the USA and therefore not able to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated sometime next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’ Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up ‘vocabulary’).
2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ”like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u” and the elimination of ‘-ize.’
3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.
5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. New Zealand beer is also acceptable, as New Zealand is pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.
11. You will cease playing American football. There are only two kinds of proper football; one you call soccer, and rugby (dominated by the New Zealanders). Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).
12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the Australians (World dominators) first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.
14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
God Save the Queen.