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Night at Museum 3 Robin William’s Last Movie Made

Posted on Dec 19, 2014 by 1 Comment

I just watched the trailer for “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” which is supposed to open in theaters on December 19. It looks like it has the potential to be the best of the Night at the Museum movies, but I watched it with sadness as Robin Williams flashed across the screen as Teddy Roosevelt.

Such a talented man, gone too soon when he committed suicide on August 11. Mickey Rooney is also in the movie and died earlier this year. Both were well seasoned actors who could make us laugh or cry.

The “Secret of the Tomb” movie promises to mix comedy and adventure keeping in step with the Night at the Museum franchise.

Shawn Levy, who directed all three of the Night at the Museum movies talked to E! News about directing Williams, and he said, “I take really seriously the honor of it being the last movie he made, and part of that legacy. I think for me it’s that on the one hand he could be crazy-funny, and also kind of heartbreaking with his humanity. That’s a rare skill to have both.”

Ben Stiller, the night watchman in all three movies, agrees and said, “He made everybody feel important, not matter who, and he set an amazing example that way.”

There’s no doubt that the larger-than-life actor has left a big hole in many ways. His widow, Susan Schneider, walked the red carpet to attend the premier along with the rest of the stars who worked alongside her husband.

If it’s bittersweet for me to see him on the big screen, I can’t imagine all the emotions his co-workers and spouse must have experienced as they watched their friend (and spouse) do one of the things he did best. Entertain us.

Photo credits: moviemaniacsDE

Angelina Jolie Misses “Unbroken” Premier Due to Chicken Pox

Posted on Dec 17, 2014 by 2 Comments

I remember having chicken pox when I was a kid. It was like the curse of a thousand mosquito bites. Today with the chicken pox vaccine, I can’t remember the last time I knew someone who had the nasty itchy blisters.

Chicken pox is not only inconvenient but is also contagious. So when I heard Angelina Jolie had chicken pox, the first thing I thought was “at least it’s not shingles.” But shingles is what the chicken pox virus does to people 50 and up.  Angelina is only 39.

Having chicken pox means she was around someone contagious. and it happened at a time when she has a full schedule with the promotion of the movie “Unbroken” which she directed.

Even though her case of chicken pox is deemed mild, it has still sidelined her from public appearances lined up to promote the film, which is about former Olympian Louis Zamperini. The chicken pox timing isn’t good, but there’s never a good time to be sick or contagious for those of us who have a full schedule.

Universal Pictures made the announcement on Friday, Dec. 12, letting the public know Jolie would not be able to make the L.A. premiere, but said her kids and husband, Brad Pitt, will represent her for the event.

Jolie did appear in a YouTube post showing fans that she’s okay and that her chicken pox are mild. In it, she says, “I will be home itching and missing everyone. I can’t believe it, because this film means so much to me… But such is life. There it is.”

Her case of chickenpox came just days following the Sony cyber-attack that revealed she was badmouthed by top Hollywood executives in private emails which were made public. Plus her film was ignored by the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globe awards.

All this is a perfect example of how even rich, famous people have their ups and downs. I wish her all the best with the film. It’s one I plan to see.

Photo credits: Universal Pictures

24 Year Old Dies After Overdose on OTC Weight Loss Product

Posted on Dec 15, 2014 by No Comments

In our quest to lose weight, we’re often willing to try “natural” over the counter options. Cara Reynolds was a 24 year old healthcare worker who decided to try Forza raspberry ketone supplements.

She took the recommended dose, but she experienced heart palpitations. Her father told the Daily Mail, “That’s when she said she wasn’t going to take them for weight loss any more – it really worried her.”

She had purchased the supplements which had been promoted by personalities like Kim Kardashian and even Dr. Oz. A few preliminary studies on animals have shown ketones may help with weight loss, but outside these studies there really isn’t much evidence to support that ketones really help in our quest to lose weight.

For Cara, the supplements turned deadly, not when she took them for weight loss, but when she broke up with her fiancé the following month. In her despair, she took a lethal dose. Doctors tried to resuscitate her 44 times, but she did not respond.

Along with the raspberry ketones, the Forza supplements contain resveratrol and 250 milligrams of caffeine per pill. To give you an idea of how much that really is, it’s about what you’d get by drinking four cans of Red Bull; so the amount Cara Reynolds took would be equivalent to 250 cans of Red Bull.

The British Medical Journal just cited Reynold’s case as an example of dangerous side effects associated with untested supplements. And while it is a side effect of overdosing on the product, I’m not sure that I’d call that a normal side effect.

It’s not how we would respond to the recommended dose. In fact, most of us would have thrown the bottle away after we tried it if it caused heart palpitations. I feel terrible that Cara lost her life, but if this product holds promise to help people to lose weight, I’d hate to see it condemned for this one incident.

The FDA lists raspberry ketones on as “generally recognized as safe” but only for use in small amounts in food, not in a weight loss product.

I’m not sure tighter regulation is the answer, or even that the product should be removed from shelves. Perhaps a warning on the label could suffice.

Photo credits: Amazon

Len Goodman Leaving DWTS After Next Season

Posted on Dec 12, 2014 by 1 Comment

All good things must come to an end, and for Dancing With the Stars, Len Goodman’s announcement that he’s leaving the show after next season is sad news.

Even though I knew logically that it would happen, eventually, I still hate to hear he’s leaving. I think his personality and honest expertise really add to the judges’ panel.

He made the announcement over the weekend. He has also announced he won’t be judging the January/February 2015 tour of UK’s Strictly Come Dancing on which DWTS is based.

However, he’s not planning on leaving the British hit. He told British reporters, “Next year, I’m not going to do the flying backwards and forwards [from England to the United States]. I’m not going to do the American show.”

Len Goodman is 70 years old, and is the most senior member of the Dancing with the Stars judging panel. His wife and son live in England. Plus his mother is hospitalized over there, so he has good reason to make the change. In his words, he said, “I just need a bit of time off to get on with a normal life.”

At this point ABC hasn’t commented on his leaving, but some speculate that ABC probably saw this coming and that’s why they added Julianne Hough as a fourth judge this past season. We may never know if that’s the case, but they have put pieces in place to fill the void when Goodman leaves.

Truthfully, I can’t imagine making the intercontinental trek for ten years. His announcement comes on the heels of pro dancer Cheryl Burke announcing she was leaving the show.

It makes one wonder about the future of the show. I can’t help but think of what happened to American Idol when Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell left. I guess only time will tell what’s in the stars for the future of DWTS. For Goodman, “Dancing with the Stars, next year is their 10th year … so I think that’s a nice place to stop.”

Photo credits: The Blaze 106

Demi Lavato Opens Up About Eating Disorder and More

Posted on Dec 10, 2014 by 1 Comment

Demi Lavato always comes across as such a strong young woman. Along with her talent and success, I admire the fact that she is willing to let people see her imperfections and struggles.

She grew up a child singer and actor, and when she hit the teen years started receiving some nasty remarks about her weight. That’s something many of us can relate to. It thrust her into a quest to be thin that pushed her over the edge.

She struggled with bulimia, a serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder. In 2011, she entered rehab because she knew she was in trouble and that she couldn’t “do it” on her own. At that time she was suffering from not only bulimia, but also addiction and self-harm.

During that time in rehab, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She decided not to keep it to herself, but to share it with the world as part of her healing process.

Now at age 22, the actress opened up again in an interview with Fitness Magazine about her past difficulties and she talked about how she has come to accept her own imperfections. Her desire is to help other women to come to terms with the fact that they have a problem and to seek help.

In the interview, she also talks about being bipolar.

“They say it takes the average person 10 years to get the right diagnosis and treatment. That statistic was very true for me, but I’m lucky to have the resources I need. Not everyone does. Sharing my story felt important if it meant that I’d be helping people get access to better care or showing that it’s still possible to live a normal life” – Demi Lavato via Fitness magazine

She also admitted that she almost returned to rehab in the summer of 2013 because of her struggle with food, but her boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama helped her deal with her eating.

She told Fitness magazine that changing her lifestyle was the key to batting her problem and staying out of rehab. As part of that lifestyle, she has started exercising and has changed her diet, but along with that said, “I’m also really inspired by other women in the spotlight right now who are embracing their curves.”

She went on to say that she will always have “thick thighs” but has accepted it. “Learning to be grateful for our bodies and taking care of them are the best ways for us to empower ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

I’d say we can all learn a lot from this strong, young woman. She is willing to pull back the curtain to reveal that life, even a successful life, has issues that require us to change for the better.

Photo credits: I CHOOSE PEOPLE

Keep a Food Diary and Lose Twice as Much Weight

Posted on Dec 8, 2014 by No Comments

Counting calories has proved itself as a weight loss technique that works for me. Yet, for some reason once I lose the weight I buck the counting and think I can maintain weight loss without it. Let’s just say that hasn’t worked so well for me.

Counting calories requires keeping a food journal. I don’t mind that part. It’s the figuring out how many calories are in food that gets to be tedious and feels legalistic after a time, even with all the handy tools and calorie calculators available.

However, a new study concluded that dieters who keep a food diary lost twice as much as those who didn’t track what they were eating. In fact researchers found “that the more days a person kept a careful record, the more weight he or she lost.”

A food diary doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I just use a spiral notebook and write down everything I eat including how many glasses of water I drink. I also track my exercise, and once a week my weight.

After reading the results of this study, I’m going to pick up the habit again. If you’re not one to use a paper journal, there are plenty of apps and online options like FitDay out there to let you track what you’re eating electronically, too.

One word of advice from a person who’s been there. Don’t aim for perfection. Aim for honesty. Writing down what you’re eating will help you stay focused because it shows you in black and white where your calories are coming from and how easily the add up. It’s a form of eye-opening accountability and a way to track your progress.

Plus, according to this latest study it’s a tool that may actually double the amount of weight you lose. I’d say it’s worth a try…again. And this time once I reach my goal, I’ll keep a journal minus the calorie counting, just to help me stay focused.

Photo credits: Becky Wetherington

The History Behind Birthday Cakes

Posted on Dec 5, 2014 by 1 Comment

Birthday cake is often the center of our birthday celebrations. My mom made the cake of our choice with her handcrafted lettering wishing us a happy birthday.

For my 10th birthday they made an exception and bought me a bakery cake with a doll in the center. The cake was her dress, decorated in purple icing and those little metallic-looking balls that about break your teeth.

My biggest attempt at making a “special” cake was for my daughter’s third birthday. Creating Snoopy from scratch took a lot longer than I imagined, as I figured out how to cut round cakes into puzzle-like pieces that became the basic shape of the famous dog. The frosting completed the picture.

I remember thinking about how long it took me to make it, and how quickly it was gone. My daughter loved it at the time, but today doesn’t even remember it. From that point on, I stuck with my mom’s tradition of making a cake (or pie) of the birthday person’s choice. Nothing fancy, just delicious.

Today, the practical side of me thinks my mom had it right. Make a simple cake that says happy birthday. They can be delicious, are less expensive, and are gone in the blink of any eye.

All this made me question: where did the idea of birthday cakes come from? Turns out it was Germany that started the trend back in the 1400s. It wasn’t like cake as we know it now, but sweetened bread dough made in the shape of the baby Jesus in swaddling clothes to commemorate his birthday.

Then celebrating birthdays with cake became a thing for the wealthy. They were the only ones who could afford such a splurge. Until then, cake was something reserved for wedding celebrations. Birthday candles came about in the 1700s and were thought to carry birthday wishes to God.

Early birthday cakes in England included a coin and thimble imbedded in the cake. Can you say choking hazard? It was thought that the person who found the coin in their piece of cake would become wealthy, and the one who found the thimble would never get married.

Today we have themed birthday cakes ready-made at the grocery store, cake toppers and all that to fashion our own masterpieces, but when it is all said and done we still have an empty plate.

I’m not sure we need to make the cake into such a work of art, but that could just be me. Instead, let’s make the child the centerpiece. I’d love to hear what you do for birthdays. Do you have a birthday cake tradition?

Photo credits: wikipedia

Susan Boyle Has First Boyfriend at 53

Posted on Dec 3, 2014 by No Comments

Back in 2009 the world meet 47-year-old Susan Boyle on Britian’s Got Talent. Simon Cowell asked her “What’s the dream?” and she responded, “I’m trying to be a professional singer.”

There was a bit of the Cowell rolling of the eyes but all that changed by the time she sang the first phrase of “I Dreamed a Dream.” Cowell and the other judges registered surprise and delight after just the first phrase. That year she went on to win the contest and achieve her dream.

Cowell had asked her why it hadn’t worked out before then and she admitted she hadn’t had the chance. She didn’t go into the fact that in 1997 she had put her dreams on hold to care for her ailing mother. It wasn’t just her singing dream that was put on hold, but dreams of life in general.

As she approached 50, she’d never even had a boyfriend. But now that is no longer the case. Susan is now seeing an American doctor, according to Britain’s The Sun newspaper and with that news, I can’t help but think of that first song she sang on Britian’s Got Talent. One of the verses says,

Still I dream he’d come to me

And we would live the years together

But there are dreams that cannot be

And there are storms we cannot weather

She reached her dream of becoming a professional singer and is known globally. But she’d never known a romantic relationship, and even eluded to the fact that she had never been kissed.

Now at 53, she has entered into the first stages of her first romantic relationship and I am happy to see it. The two met recently while she was on a six-week promotional tour here in the U.S.

Boyle has chosen not to reveal the doctor’s name because it wouldn’t be fair to him, but she did say he is a doctor from Connecticut, and that he was a “perfect gentleman.” They enjoyed a romantic lunch together, and the two have plans for him to visit her at her home in Scotland.

Not that this guy might be THE guy, but you never know. It’s always nice to see dreams come true, especially to someone who sacrificed so much.

Photo credits: Amazon

Study Shows Berberine May Help Burn More Calories

Posted on Dec 2, 2014 by No Comments

When it comes to weight loss, let’s face it. We’re always looking for something to help us get the job done. Now a new study has found that mice injected with a plant-based compound, by the name of berberine, may have found a trigger to help the body burn calories.

Berberine is found in some Chinese herbal medicines and supplements, and according to a study on mice, it looks like it might stimulate heat-producing tissue known as brown fat.

Brown fat is different than white fat. White fat is the culprit that stores all those extra calories we eat. It’s the stuff responsible for our love handles, big bellies, thunder thighs, and muffin tops. Brown fat on the other hand expends energy in the form of heat.

If you’re like me, you might be thinking about how often you’re warm and no one else is, but that most likely isn’t brown fat at work. Turns out brown fat is what helps maintain an infant’s body temperature. It takes up so little space that doctors didn’t even think adults had brown fat, until recently.

In the study, researchers injected mice with berberine each day for four weeks. Results showed they burned more calories than the mice who did not receive the injections.

Body temperatures were monitored when the mice were exposed to cold air, and the injected mice had a higher body temperature. Researchers also concluded that the berberine seemed to protect the mice from weight gain during the study.

This berberine-calorie-burning-connection has also been shown in a study published in July in the journal Diabetes. It showed men with high level of brown fat burned more calories than men with low levels when they were exposed to low temps.

So for those of us who are always wanting to turn that thermostat down, maybe we can add another reason for why. It will help everyone lose weight! Sounds like a plan.

Photo credits: Amazon