Author: donna

What Happens to that Half-Used Hotel Shampoo?

Posted on May 26, 2015 by No Comments

Hotels offer complimentary shampoos, conditioners, soup, and lotions which come in handy when traveling. Depending on how thick your hair is and how many people are sharing the room, it is usually enough for at least a couple of trips in the shower.

Then when it’s time to pack up, I’ve often packed up the unused portions because I figured they’d just get thrown away. It turns out all that changed about six years ago for many hotels.

A sales executive by the name of Shawn Seipler who stayed in about 150 hotels a year thought about all the half-used hotel shampoo bottles he left behind. He decided to ask one of the hotels what happened to the soap he used once and the shampoo that was still half full and he was told that all leftover shampoo bottles and opened bars of soaps were thrown out.

This gave Seipler and idea. Instead of just throwing all that soap and shampoo away, why not find a way to make it accessible to the 2.7 billion people around the world who don’t have access to basic sanitation? And so he launched “Clean the World” in 2009.

Clean the World works with hotels across the world to collect soap and other bottled amenities, recycles them, and then sends them to children in need.

While not every hotel has joined this mission, Clean the World has formed partnerships with Hilton Worldwide, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, IHG, Best Western, Hyatt, Walt Disney World, Las Vegas Sands, and Caesars Entertainment.

Clean the World has three big recycling centers where they process the donated products. Soap goes through a disinfecting process and is melted and repackaged as fresh new soap bars.

Since its inception in 2009, Clean the World has donated 25 million bars of soap to more than 99 countries. Not only that, but according to Seipler this recycling effort has diverted 7 million pounds of waste from North American and Asian landfills!

Photo credits: Daniel Morrison

Ginger Shown to Help Fight Breast Cancer Stem Cells

Posted on May 25, 2015 by No Comments

As a kid I didn’t like ginger; not even ginger ale. But gradually I’ve learned to incorporate it into recipes for a little extra zip.

Now I’ve learned it also makes the list of cancer fighting foods according to a study published in BioMed Research International. In fact, researchers have found that ginger kills 75 percent of breast cancer stem cells.

This is a really important find because breast cancer stem cells are extremely hard to kill. In fact, they often survive chemotherapy and then often go on to create new cancer cells which leads to a recurrence of the cancer.

What’s ginger’s secret? Researches point to the main phenolic compound (6-Shogaol) found in this root which is exceptionally toxic to breast cancer stem cells. In the study, this Shogaol compound is what is credited with killing up to 75 percent of the stem cells outright.

Aside from this benefit, ginger is known for its unique and potent antioxidants and has been used for thousands of years in other cultures to treat headaches, colds, nausea, high blood pressure, and even cancer. Currently it is being tested in clinical trials for the prevention of colon cancer and in the fight against fatty liver disease.

For me, the real test is figuring out how to add it to my diet in ways that I actually like. Currently I’ve learned to incorporate it in many of my stir fry and curry recipes and some casseroles. A good number of my friends enjoy it with sushi but I just can’t do that. I’m a wasabi girl when it comes to sushi.

Other ideas include adding ginger to salads, or baked in cookies or cakes. For maximum benefit, it is recommended that you actually eat the ginger, not just use it to flavor a tea or tincture. I’d love to hear ideas from others out there for how you add ginger to your diet.

Photo credits: wikimedia

Human Barbie Spring Photos Show Six-Pack Abs

Posted on May 25, 2015 by No Comments

Model Valeria Lukyanova, known as the “Human Barbie” due to her Barbie-like proportions and porcelain face, has just posted new photos of herself via Facebook.

While the photos show off her uber-tiny proportions, they also show something new. A set of six pack abs!

Human Barbie Valeria Lukyanova

Human Barbie Valeria Lukyanova shows off six pack.

Her latest set of photos have stirred the pot of controversy one more time, and once again haters and body critics have responded. Some suggest she appeared even more distorted than usual in the photos.

She’s wearing a pair of skimpy faded shorts and a navy blue bustier that looks to be at least a size too small. But the thing most of the commenters seem to be focusing on is the six pack. That physical feature raised questions about whether the muscles are real or Photoshoped in.

After receiving all kinds of negative feedback from the latest photo updates, Lukyanova posted a long message in her native Russian via Facebook saying, “It is a pity that most people choose the path of degradation. If they see a man who has succeeded with something better than they are, they are ready to literally tear. Especially often I see it on the Internet.”

So she really thinks her Barbie doll look is better than looking real and she has said that the inspiration behind her new look is attributed to the Queen of the Amazon. In that same post she also admitted, “I am certainly still far from ideal, very far. But I strive for athleticism.”

I’m not a fan of what this girl has done to make herself look more Barbieish. How long will she strive for this persona? And how will she feel when she gets older?  Will she ever reach the look she wants?

Like I said, I don’t agree with what she has done, but it is her body. I don’t like the message she sends others with her distorted view of physical beauty, and I hope eventually she learns than inner beauty is what is really attractive.

Photo credits: wochit Entertainment

Carrie Underwood Reposts Pic of Baby Isaiah with Shirtless Dad

Posted on May 22, 2015 by 1 Comment

Motherhood seems to agree with Carrie Underwood. She reposted a picture of her hockey player hubby, Mike Fisher, and her son Isiah this week saying, “They have my heart.”

If you haven’t seen the picture, it is one worth seeing. It captures a shirtless Fisher with both he and the baby smiling those kinds of smiles that reach the eyes.

Fisher first shared the selfie photo of him in bed with their little guy on his Instagram page saying “Me and my little man #lifeisgood.” It is a keepsake kind of photo just like the one Underwood shared of Isaiah holding a hockey stick back when he was two months old with the caption, “The Predators are in the playoffs! Just waiting to get called up! #PutMeInCoah.”

Isaiah is the first child for Fisher and Underwood, who were married back in 2010. The baby arrived on February 27, and Underwood has shown clearly that she couldn’t be happier to be a mom.

A couple of weeks after he was born, on March 10, Underwood’s 32 birthday, she tweeted, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! My 1st present = late night date with a tiny semi-bald chubby dude who likes to grunt & cry & pass gas! #bestgiftever.”

And really, Fisher shows the same kind of enthusiasm in the role of parent and I’m glad their sharing glimpses of it all with we the fans.

My kids were born before Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but I’m thinking there has to be a way to manufacture a baby book using all these platforms to create memories that can be passed down in a new unique way that captures the real-time kind of things people say and think when their kids are little…the kinds of things that fade over time and leave us with just the highlights.

Anyone know of such a thing?

Photo credits: Instagram

Do People Really Care what Hillary Clinton Is Wearing?

Posted on May 22, 2015 by No Comments

People have picked on Hillary Clinton’s sense of style since the first time her husband was running for the White House. Back then it was mostly her hairstyle and she changed it.

To this day, I am fascinated as she changes hairstyles when she’s running for office because her hair is much like mine. Same cowlicks and limp fine texture. And while I don’t think it is really important to her, she knows it matters to some of those voters she hopes to draw to the polls.

I try to tell myself that I don’t care what she is wearing or how she styles her hair, but I often look at her style choices and say to myself, “That’s not a good choice for you.” In my opinion, she looks great in bright spring colors and a hairstyle with bangs. But with her cowlick, I can tell you from personal experience, bangs aren’t easy to maintain.

While I’d like to think none of us would vote or not vote based on how someone looks or dresses, but a recent poll conducted by the Barbara Lee Family Foundation which published non-partisan research on female candidates says “You have to be seen not only as qualified, but also likeable. That link doesn’t exist for men.”

For women, they connect charm with appearance, so if you wanted to be likeable then I guess how you look does matter…if you are a woman.

Unfortunately for Clinton, we have decades of history with her in the limelight and her style hasn’t ever been easy to ignore and it has been highly scrutinized from people on both sides of the aisle.

So what does she need to wear to “look” powerful and presidential and yet exude that down-to-earth feel? Her biggest criticism has been that she is not likeable. Maybe finding the right wardrobe could help, but it’s important that she stays true to herself.

I remember seeing Mitt Romney in jeans with his hair perfect and a button down shirt and feeling like he was trying to hard to “look casual and down to earth.” She doesn’t need that. She needs to be real.

Photo credits: Rethink Fashion

Jennifer Lopez, Michelle Rodriguez Stun in Sheer Gowns

Posted on May 21, 2015 by No Comments

It used to be few celebs who dared to wear sheer dresses but now that we have products like “Butt Glue” used to hold pageant swimsuits and other garments in place, and now sheer dresses have become more and more daring with less chance of a wardrobe malfunction.

Did you see Jennifer Lopez’s sheer number on the American Idol finale as she joined fellow judges Keith Urban and Harry Connick Junior on stage? It was stunning in all its sheerness with shiny fabric strategically placed to create sparkle, sexiness, and style.

It showed even more skin than the sheer red Versace number she donned for this year’s Met Gala. But truthfully, Lopez is no stranger to sheer dresses. She wore won to the Oscar after party this year, and a gold sheer dress for an Idol promotion; and this is only May.

It’s worth mentioning other notables wearing sheer at the Met Gala this year included Beyonce and Kim Kardashian.

This year at the Cannes Film Festival, Michelle Rodriguez rocked a sheer cut-out black embellished detail dress from Zuhair Murad’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection. She seemed to have a little trouble with the long skirt around the steps, but other than that she had it all under control. It certainly showed off her slender waistline!

Another sheer number that drew attention at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival was worn by former Victoria’s Secret Angel Doutzen Kroes. The tight, side split Atelier Versace gown used a sheer cutout from him to shoulder to accent the flow of the design of the gown and to show a little skin, too. It was one of those looks only a model can pull off.

These days we have a lot of red carpet events, and they provide a runway experience for everyone who walks them. While those wearing these sheer daring dresses are few, there are certainly more than there used to be. And it pays off for them because those dresses do create a buzz around those who wear them.

If you could pull it off, would you wear one of these peek-a-boo gowns?

Photo credits: Futra Music

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds Share First Baby Pic

Posted on May 20, 2015 by No Comments

Last December, actress Blake Lively (27) and actor husband Ryan Reynolds (38) had their first child, a little girl named James. Yes, you heard me right, James.

When I first read that, I admit I did a search to see if they meant she had a boy because it didn’t seem to add up, but it turns out that “James” according to Lively is a “family name.”

While making an appearance on Good Morning America to promote her latest movie Age of Adaline, Lively said, “I liked having a boy’s name. I thought I’d pass it along.”

Well, there you have it.

I know many celebs want to find an unusual name for their babies, and this is a new creative way to do it. Just give your girl a boy name. What do you think of that idea? I’m not sure what little James will think of it when she gets a little older.

While Lively has been talking about little James all over the place as she does her press tour, we have yet to see the little darling…until now…sort of.

You see daddy Reynolds posted the baby’s first picture on Instagram, but it is similar to the picture Carrie Underwood first posted of her son Isaiah. It’s a shot of tiny fingers wrapped around Reynold’s thumb with the caption: “Thumb wrestling isn’t always fair. Curiously, my hand is the smaller one.”

Lively quickly regrammed the photo and posted, “…and with that my husband@vancityreynolds joins Insta.”

From the sounds of things, both actors love being parents. Last month Lively told the Los Angeles Times, “You never know when you’re gonna get crapped on or when you’re gonna get a big smile or when that smile immediately turns into hysterics. It might be like living with a drug addict. But you have a baby and you think, ‘I can’t imagine ever not having a baby,’ because they grow up so quickly. I’d be an 80-year-old woman with a baby if I could.”

Photo credits: instagram

Mom Finds Toddler’s Eye Cancer with Cell Phone Pic

Posted on May 20, 2015 by No Comments

You know how you feel when you think something might be wrong with your child but you’re not sure what? That’s how it was for Illinois mom Julie Fitzgerald. She noticed something in the back of her toddler son Avery’s eye and did what many of us do … she went to the Internet for answers.

In her research, she pulled up an article about a woman who talked about how she saw a “white eye” rather than “red eye” in an overexposed picture. It turned out to be cancer. With dread, Fitzgerald picked up her cell phone and clicked a pic of Avery to take a closer look.

“I took a picture and I did not want to take the picture because I had this dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach and I took the picture and boom. His whole pupil was just white and that’s when I knew.” Julie Fitzgerald via WREX-TV

The picture prompted her to visit a specialist who confirmed Avery had multiple tumors covering 75 percent of his left eye. In the end, the little boy’s eye was removed along with the retinoblastoma.

It turns out that Fitzgerald had discovered the cancer just in time. If they hadn’t removed the eye when they did, the cancer would have spread to his blood and to his brain. Fitzgerald advises other parents to “Trust a momma’s gut.”

Retinoblastoma is usually fatal if the early warning signs go unnoticed. In this case, Julie Fitzgerald sensed something was wrong, and it saved her little boy’s life. She said, “Our lives went from normal to cancer to a cancer survivor in three weeks. It turned out to be our worst nightmare but it saved our son’s life.”

So take a closer look at those photos you take. A “white eye” is not necessarily a definitive indicator of cancer but it isn’t something to be ignored. It’s better to have an exam and learn everything is normal than to ignore it and find out it is cancer.

Photo credits: CHECT UK

Two Sisters United After Decades when They Take the Same Class

Posted on May 19, 2015 by No Comments

Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. Such is the story of two sisters who made the news after they found themselves, by chance, in the same creative writing class.

The two women, Lizzie Valverde, 35, and her sister Katy Olson, 34, had been adopted and raised in separate families. Valverde lived in New Jersey, and Olson grew up mostly in Florida and Iowa.

So what are the chances that decades later the two would be enrolled in the same creative writing class at Columbia University in their 30s?

They enrolled at the college a few years ago, and there their lives crossed paths in January 2013. The teacher had the class take part in a popular exercise with students making introductions around the table.

The two sisters were sitting across from each other on that first day of class and it didn’t take long to realize the two of them shared a very similar background that included a troubled mother in Florida who gave her daughter’s up for adoption.

After class, Valverde asked Olson a ton of questions thinking somehow she might know her younger sister. Olson said, “I don’t know your sister, but I think I am your sister.” And she was right.

This story is like a novel writing itself and this time it has a storybook ending. It’s the story that not only reunited the two sisters but they have plans to meet their birth mother, too. It will be the first time Katy has ever met her mother who gave her up without seeing her.

The two sisters were drawn to Columbia to learn the finer points of storytelling, and now they have an intertwined story tell. One of those stories that sounds unbelievable but is true.

Valverde graduates this coming week with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from the university’s School of General Studies, while her sister graduated last year with a degree in creative writing and is not pursing a master’s degree.

Photo credits: Fatih Medya