Category: Beauty

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

Link Round-up: Christmas Cards, Cookies, Ornaments, and More

Posted on Dec 11, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has cookies, ornaments, cards, and more.

Crafts by Amanda taught us how to make homemade button Christmas cards.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to create dried citrus ornaments.

One Good Thing by Jillee shared a recipe for an anti-aging facial serum.


Chocolate Covered Katie showed us how to make chocolate chip cowboy cookies.

Rad Mom Cool Kid shared some Christmas traditions.

Fitness Food Diva taught us how to make white chocolate pomegranate bark.

Crafty Journal showed us how to make a Christmas money tree.

Photo credit: Crafts by Amanda and Chocolate Covered Katie

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

Link Round-up: Glow Bowl, Fluffernutter Pie, Hair How-To, Christmas, and More

Posted on Dec 4, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has a DIY glow bowl, graham cracker houses, a hair how-to, ways to use your smart device for Christmas, and more.

 Homemade Interest showed us how to make banana fluffernutter pie and graham cracker houses.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared a Vitamix giveaway that ties in with the release of her new book.

A Beautiful Mess showed us a natural hair how-to with two strand twists.


Muslin and Merlot showed us how to make a glow bowl.

Homemaking Hacks gave us clever ways to use a smart device for the holidays.

A Mom’s Take taught us how to make a reindeer out of a towel to use as a Christmas gift.

The DIY Dreamer taught us how to make deer wood slice ornaments.

Photo credit: Homemade Interest and Muslin and Merlot

Do You Have a Signature Scent Your Kids Will Always Associate with You?

Posted on Nov 28, 2014 by No Comments

Scent is a powerful thing. It has the ability to open up a group of memories within seconds, taking you back to another time and place. It has the power to affect your mood. A person’s signature scent will have their loved ones immediately thinking of them if they smell it somewhere else.

My grandma’s been gone for quite some time, but there was always a fragrance—on her, at her house, on anything that left her house—that no one could quite identify. It was clean, soapy, a little sweet and a little herbal.

Every now and then I’ll catch a whiff of something that has that smell or was a strong part of that smell, and I’m a kid again, sitting in the living room while she’s cooking a delicious southern meal. Cooking was her superpower, I swear.

I’m mesmerized by the power of fragrances and their ability to unlock those memories or brighten our mood for no apparent reason. I love aromatherapy and using scented candles to create a warm, more welcoming space.

Sadly, I haven’t found a “signature scent” for myself in all the perfumes I’ve tried and collected over the past decade or more. I love the idea of there being one scent that my daughter and grandchildren can smell and think of me one day, something she could pick up a bottle of, have a sniff, and feel comforted. It’d be nice to have a scent that felt like it was made for me and represented me as a mom.

There are scents I’ve used for different times in my life. GAP Heaven reminds me of my first year in college and makes my mom think of me because she used to do my laundry when I’d come home from school on breaks and the smell would still be in my clothes.

Then there was a tangerine body spray that will forever take me back to the night of my first double date. I bought it just for the occasion. Now, though, I want something comforting for my daughter to associate with me after she’s grown up and started a life of her own. I hope I find it soon. The best contender right now is Tom Ford’s Black Orchid.

Do you have a signature scent that you’ve worn for years and can’t imagine ever straying from? Was it a conscious decision to choose one or did you just find one you liked so much, you never changed it? What was it about it that made you choose that particular fragrance?

Photo credit: Josh (broma)

Link Round-up: Christmas Decorations, Winter Driving Emergency Essentials, and More

Posted on Nov 27, 2014 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has Christmas decorations, a faux gingerbread house, winter driving emergency essentials, and more.

Crafts by Amanda showed us a new kind of tree that looks gorgeous and takes up less space—the coastal branch tree.

Homemaking Hacks showed us how to make Santa belt clothespins for hanging pictures and art.

Our Simple Life offered tips for starting to live a simple life.

Create Craft Love showed us how to make a bottle cap Christmas wreath.


Our Secondhand House shared eight winter driving emergency essentials.

Crafts ‘n Coffee showed us how to create a faux gingerbread house you don’t have to throw away.

A Cup of Jo showed us how to get ready for a holiday party in five minutes.

Photo credit: Crafts by Amanda and Our Secondhand House

Is Oil Cleansing the Answer for Your Skin?

Posted on Nov 24, 2014 by No Comments

When I visited my dentist last month, we chatted just a little after I was out of the chair and to my surprise, she asked me what I used on my skin. I blinked. “What?”

“I’ve been looking for what to use and have been asking my patients with good skin. Do you use something special, or is it just good genes?”

The fact is I have been doing something differently, and my skin looks better than it has in a long time.

I can’t begin to tell you how many half-used skin care products I have tucked under the sink in my bathroom. With how much they cost, there’s part of me that just can’t bear to throw them into the trash when they don’t live up to their hype.

I think I’ve finally broke that wasteful cycle, and would you believe the product I found is all natural and isn’t even in the skincare aisle? It’s olive oil.

Using olive oil to clean your face is called oil cleansing, and it works well for my combination skin. I’m not expecting to look 20 years younger, but I do want my skin to be free of blackheads, whiteheads, and other imperfections, and oil cleansing is doing the trick.

I admit, I figured it would work well on the dry part of my fact, but wondered about the oily part. It works! Gradually the blackheads have gone. Too bad I didn’t learn about this when I was a teen.

All I have to do is massage the oil into my skin and it removes my makeup and dissolves the gunk in my pores. It’s also safe to use on the delicate tissue around my eyes. Then I wash my face with a really warm (but not hot) wash cloth. The steam helps open my pores and makes the oil easy to wipe away. It leaves my face feeling clean without that tight or irritated feel.

When I told my dentist what I was doing, her eyes narrowed for a moment. But she said, “I might just try that. Your skin looks great.”

Some people also use coconut oil or sweet almond oil, but I had the olive oil on hand. For me it works, so for now that’s my oil of choice.

Photo credits: chelseamorganbeauty

Finding a Diet that Works

Posted on Nov 21, 2014 by No Comments

In my quest to eat healthy and lose weight, one thing I’ve come to learn is that balance and moderation is the key.

In the past, I’ve given up meat, given up flour, given up sugar, detoxed, fasted, juiced, ate raw, counted calories, counted carbs. I lost weight and felt great on all of them, but eventually I gained back the weight and landed back at “start.”

I was not equipped to keep it off – no matter how many of the diets call themselves “lifestyles” for me, they did not overcome my default behavior. Again, I have weight to lose so where do I turn?

The one good thing about trying so many ways to eat healthy and keep my weight within the normal range, I’ve learned things about myself.

For instance, I can do without sweets if I have to, but if I don’t indulge every once in a while my sweet tooth gets the better of me and the next thing you know I’m binging. And it’s not just sweets.

Diets that totally restrict a whole category, or categories, of food, eventually don’t work for me.

Woman measuring waist
Counting calories really works well, but I have to be careful. It’s not just about how many calories I eat. It’s finding the balance and moderation of eating right.

For instance, one time a friend of mine started eating dips and chips as we were preparing for a party later in the day. He ate all of his calories for the whole day by breakfast time, so he ate pickles for the rest of the day because they were “free” on his diet.

Instead, approaching calories with what I learned from low-carb dieting has helped me avoid feeling hungry by making choices that are lower carb, too. However, most days I do allow myself a sweet treat of some kind. Right now it is a serving of ice cream.

And by the way, that doesn’t mean a bowl of ice cream. It’s a moderate amount, but enough to keep me happy. I actually weigh it out on a food scale so I don’t “cheat” and sabotage myself. Eating ice cream is not good or bad, but eating too much ice cream often is bad for me.

And I’m not alone. A recent study says that sugar should be about 5 percent of our daily calories. According to the latest guidelines, for someone on a 2000 calorie diet that means about 100 calories come from sugar. That translates to 6 teaspoons.

I admit; I’m not there, but not sure I ever will be. For now I’ll settle for balanced and moderate.

Photo credits: Post Memes, wikimedia