The Latest in Health Fashion

Alright ladies, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but purses are so out and bacteria is so in!

Fashion Credit: Fendi

While handbags were once fancied for their custom embroidery and their name-brand buckles, the newest purse-trend hitting the fashion world this season is bacteria, and one in five women are already rocking this new look on their fashionable shoulders. Along with wallets, keys, and compact mirrors, a new study conducted by the oh-so fashionable, Initial Washroom Hygiene, reveals that 20 percent of handbags also carry around more bacteria than a toilet seat, both inside and outside of the bag.


But don’t worry! We all know that fashion comes with a price tag, but this new trend is completely free, and, who knows, you may already be stuntin’ trendy bacteria because this new look is literally contagious, according to Peter Barratt, technical manager at Initial Hygiene (Trust him… Rumor has it, he’s Kim Kardashian’s stylist too 😉 ).

“Handbags come into regular contact with our hands and a variety of surfaces, so the risk of transferring different germs onto them is very high, especially as bags are rarely cleaned,” Barratt says to Medical News Today.

So where can you find this latest germ-trend?

How about placing your purse down on a pile of dried up gum on the floor while tying your shoe?

Or placing it on a public bench at a bus stop next to a homeless man?


A trashcan may do the trick.


Better yet, why not actually place the purse on a toilet to get that toilet-fashion look seen on the runways?

And don’t forget, basically anything you touch can be made into a fashion statement… just as long as you’re not using soap and water. If you simply don’t wash your hands after using the restroom, grabbing door handles or using public transportation, the little accessories in your bag (coin purses, lotions, etc.) can be just as high fashion as the actual bag itself, too!

Now, get your health fash on!

On a real note, it is suggested to use cleansing wipes to clean your purses daily to remove accumulated bacteria on the outside of the bags. It is also recommended to use hand wipes/sanitizers after grabbing items from inside of the purse to prevent spreading germs that are found inside of the bag. These statistics and sources are real, but the fashion trend isn’t. Stay germ free ladies!

If at first you don’t succeed…

… Just try, try again!

I believe in you 😉

Temporary Color, Permanent Damages

“For me, I always thought to look attractive and healthy you needed that dark tan glow. To come to terms with being fare-skinned was rough. It’s weird looking in the mirror and seeing a lighter skin color looking at me. But what made me stop tanning was when I got cancer. People don’t think of the future consequences and how draining having cancer is. I stopped tanning because of the surgeries- the amount of surgeries and the amount of money and time. Every Friday I would have to get my skin checked and check out my stitches from surgery. Now I still have to go to the dermatologist every six months. I wish I took care of myself instead of having cancer be my wake up call.”– Joanna Confalone, 29.

Confalone’s Deadly Tanning Story

Joanna Confalone, a 25-year-old Northeastern grad student at the time, had just arrived at Wingaersheek Beach, Mass. to spend the summer weekend at her mother’s shorefront beach house where she planned to slip into her two-piece bathing suit for the next couple of days. She was excited to go back to work the following Monday with a real summer glow instead of having an artificial tan from Tanorama Suntanning Center, a Boston salon she visited about three times a week after work. But before stepping onto the beach, Confalone’s doctor called, and suddenly she decided to keep her bathing suit folded up in her travel bag for the entire weekend.

Just five days before the doctor called to break the news, Confalone had a black mole the size of a “No. 2 pencil eraser” removed from her leg, a mole she had been overlooking for months. She didn’t think it was serious but when she learned that it was, she was too shocked to respond to her doctor who was listing off what the next steps were to fighting the melanoma she had developed. All that was going through her head was, “Melanoma, melanoma, how do I have melanoma?”

“She told me that me fake tanning all these years caused my cancer,” says Confalone, who added that she regularly scheduled in a 20-minute tanning session three or more times a week in high school, and later continued her
tanning regimen throughout college. “I never thought once that I would be a cancer patient.”

Confalone explains that using tanning beds caused her skin cancer.

Like Confalone, over one million young adults in the United States ignore the potential consequences of using tanning beds because they often think they are invincible when it comes to getting skin cancer. In most cases, fake tanning is just another item to cross off on some of these fake-n-bakers’ daily to-do lists, along with going to school, work, and doing laundry. But statistcs show that, obviously, tanning is a tad bit extremely more dangerous than just folding freshly clean clothes from out of the dryer.

“Young people generally feel it’s not going to happen to them and it does,” says Deb Girard, the executive director of the Melanoma Foundation of New England, an organization that provides educational programs to raise awareness about skin cancer. “The UV rays of the tanning beds cause cancer.”

… And many studies can prove the deadly consequences of fake tanning, but still, people choose to ignore them. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent, and among people ages 18 to 29 who have ever used a tanning bed and were diagnosed with melanoma, 76 percent of those melanoma cases were attributable to tanning bed use.”

These are just a few out of hundreds of statistics that prove how dangerous tanning beds are, and I could go on and on listing them out for you, but like I said before, many people choose to ignore these facts, and I don’t think it takes numbers to make people realize these extremely real consequences… I think it takes people to realize it when it’s too late.

Unfortunately for Confalone, the consequences were real once they actually happened to her. Now, after five surgeries that left behind several four-to-seven-inch scars on her legs and back, Confalone is reminded every day of the deathly consequences of artificial tanning and is still paying for her tanning-bed ritual.

“Even though I’m melanoma free, I still have to go in for check ups every four to six months,” says Confalone who will be cancer free for five years this summer. “All the doctors appointments and surgeries are not worth it.”

Here’s a powerful video Confalone was in that was produced by the Melanoma Foundation of New England. These are real people, real stories, and most importantly, real consequences of that oh-so popular trend of fake tanning.


I first met Joanna Confalone, a 29-year-old marketing and research associate at McCall and Almy, my freshman year in college when I was writing my very first magazine-style article about “tanorexic” college students. Prior to writing the article, I, myself, was a fake-tanner and had gone twice a week for about a year. After speaking to a real melanoma survivor, I realized that I needed to stop while I was ahead. The consequences are very real, I could have been another young adult getting treated for a deadly cancer. One thing that really resonated with me while I was interviewing her was when she told me that her experience with cancer made her realize that fake tanning was selfish because of the anxiety, stress and pain she caused her family and friends while fighting cancer. It made me think, yeah, even though tanning was my own choice and it directly affected me, it could be my own choices that directly affect the people closest to me, too. It’s one thing causing myself pain, but causing pain to others is something else. I would never want my mom  to cry over the medical bills she would have to help pay for in order to keep me alive, or even worse… mourn because I’m no longer here. I stopped fake tanning because  Confalone made me realize we have one body, pale or tan, and it’s not worth damaging it for a certain look. And we have one life, and it’s our responsibility to make it a healthy one.  

Tips for Greasy Hair

For some, having freshly washed hair is a valid excuse reason to skip a gym day because they want to avoid making their hair greasy. Whether they’re running late for a meeting or they have a lengthy hair regimen, many just don’t have the time to wash, dry and style their locks every time it gets a little oily. In result, many will push their sweaty workouts aside to preserve their fresh, clean, look.

So do you ever feel like you’re left having to choose either one or the other… Having nice hair, or having no cellulite?

Well there’s no reason that beauty should interfere with your workout schedule, so if you break a sweat at the gym and can’t shampoo the hair, then don’t! But shh… Nobody needs to know!

 My secret tip for greasy hair: Baby powder

Using baby powder is a great home remedy to get rid of greasy hair. It’s a cheap alternative to pricey beauty products, such as dry shampoos or buildup removers.

Before: Working out can leave you with greasy, wet-looking hair…


Fix:  …But baby powder will absorb the oil…

Part the hair and shake baby powder onto the roots  and gently massage it onto the scalp. After rubbing in that certain area, part another section of the hair and apply some more powder. Make sure not to go overboard with the powder, you only need 2-3 shakes per part.
To make sure you don’t apply too much, try shaking the powder onto your finger tips first, and then rub it onto the scalp.

After: … And  now your sweaty dirty hair looks clean!


To sweat or not to sweat? Psht.. That’s not the question…. that’s just the excuse.

Warning: Applying too much powder can make your hair noticeably smell like a baby.

Pounds Vs. Calories

We’ve all been guilty of it… I’ll just have one more bite. But next thing you know, that one extra bite has turned into 20, and suddenly the entire cookie is gone. So keep this chart in mind next time you convince yourself that a few extra bites are harmless, because having “one more” really does matter.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes

The goal of makeup is to create an illusion of a flawless face, but even though foundations and powders seem to brush away all of the skin’s imperfections, applying makeup can actually brush on the blemishes people often try to cover up.

Many like to believe that it’s their makeup that’s causing their face acne, but in most cases it’s usually their cosmetic brushes that are doing the damage.  This is because women are putting more than just makeup onto their faces, but also accumulated bacteria that has been stored between the bristles of their brushes. Every time makeup is applied, dead skin cells and oils transmit from the face onto the brush, and dirt along with built-up makeup transfer from the brush onto the face, and this exchange of bacteria leaves the brush dirty, ultimately creating pimples and blackheads. But makeup experts say this ongoing vicious cycle of applying and creating can be stopped by simply washing the makeup brushes weekly.

“Wash them every week because bacteria can get on them,” says Natalie Saraf who is the head makeup artist and owner of Gloss Makeup and Brow Studio in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Having dirty brushes can make you break out.”

So stop brushing on the acne, and start brushing them away!

Here’s how to properly clean your makeup brushes for better skin:

1) Makeup brushes can be very expensive, so it’s important to use a gentle soap to keep them in good condition. With that being said, go to a local drug store or supermarket and buy any brand of baby shampoo.

2) Soak the brushes under warm water.

3) Make sure to wash the hands thoroughly before cleaning the brushes, or else it will defeat the purpose of cleaning the bacteria in the first place. Then pour a dime-sized drop of baby shampoo in the palm of the hand.

4) Now gently move the brush in a circular motion on the palm of the hand. You’ll notice the white soapsuds will become brownish because of the makeup.

5) Remember, it’s not just the face brushes you should be concerned about… Eyeliner and eye shadow brushes should be washed too because the bacteria could also cause eye infections.

6) After lathering the brushes with soap and rinsing them under warm running water, hang them over the counter to air dry.

Final Tip: Experts suggest using Wet Ones or any type of makeup cleanser wipe on your cosmetic brushes after every brush use to prevent bacteria from building up right away.

A Celebrity Butt Workout

Let’s face it… we all aren’t blessed with a plump JLo rear or a luscious Kardashian bottom, but even though our backsides aren’t featured in the tabloids everyday, it doesn’t mean we can’t have celebrity-looking bums that are magazine-worthy. So I sat down with a Hollywood personal trainer, Steve Zim, at his Los Angeles fitness studio, A Tighter U, to see how we can make our natural gifts resemble those of the stars he trains.

So act like the paparazzi are chasing you and flaunt your superstar bum by adding this quick and easy butt workout to your routine, no weights required.

Steve Zim’s Celebrity Butt Workout: Bridges

Step 1: Set up the exercise. “The most important thing before you start any exercise is [setting] up the exercise,” says Zim.

Here’s what he says to do:  Lie on your back. Take a deep breath and hold in the belly button by sucking in your stomach as much as you can. Then breathe out while still making sure the abs are flexed. Remember, the tighter the stomach, the better, “because if your stomach is loose, that makes your back really susceptible to injury,” he says.

Step 2: Place your hands to your sides with both palms on the mat and your feet shoulder-width apart. Now “hold the belly button in, drive up, hold, and come down,” says Zim.

Make sure the abs are tight and lift up the pelvis as high as you can.

Your feet and shoulder blades should remain on the mat. Do 3 sets of 20.

Step 3: Too easy? Then make it more challenging by making them one-legged bridges. “Now pick one foot up in the air, drive through your heel and go all the way up,” says Zim. “Hold the glut, squeeze the glut, and now let it down slow on a 2 count. One, two, stop, breath out and drive up.”

Keep the feet shoulder-width apart.

Do 3 sets of 20.

 *Before attempting any workout, consult your doctor to make sure it’s the right one for you. 

What vitamins should I take? Vitamin D

Fall has finally arrived and it’s time to store away the bikinis and bring out the winter coats. As lovely as it is to stay indoors on a rainy day and enjoy a steamy cup of hot cocoa, there’s just something about the summer sun that makes us all feel alive, literally.

The sun not only provides a backdrop to our endless summer memories, but it also triggers the body to produce vitamin D, which is arguably the most important vitamin for human beings because it keeps us alive. This is because it plays a vital role in cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and bone health, along with many other metabolic processes, such as calcium absorption and neurological functioning.

During the fall and winter seasons, there is no doubt that our exposure to sunlight is reduced because of weather conditions and warm wardrobe choices, and experts say that 90 percent of people’s vitamin D intake is from the sun, and only 10-20 percent is from their diets. This is dangerous because the lack of sun exposure during these hibernation months doubles a person’s likelihood of dying, according to a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology last year.

Experts say that if there’s one vitamin people should take, it is hands down vitamin D.

“The risk of dying in the study was significantly higher if [the participants] were vitamin D deficient,” says Dr. James Vacek, a lead researcher of the University of Kansas study and has been a cardiologist for 30 years in Kansas City, Kan. “But it was reduced when supplementation was provided.”

The large study included more than 10,000 participants and 70 percent of them were vitamin D deficient, but when treated with a vitamin D supplement, the risk of dying dramatically decreased by 60 percent, suggesting that treating the deficiency definitely improves many cardiovascular outcomes, as well overall mortality.

People who are lacking adequate amounts of vitamin D are more likely to develop all sorts of diseases, including but not limited to, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and diabetes, and it affects mortality rates because “if you’re deficient, you’re more likely to have [these diseases],” says Vacek, but “vitamin D helps prevent all [of them].”

One way to obtain the vitamin is by eating food items such as milk, fish and eggs, but since vitamin D is only found in animal-based foods, vegetarians and vegans are highly at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Others who are prone to deficiency are individuals who are obese and those who work indoors during the day.

But the problem is, although sunlight is the main source of vitamin D, sun exposure can be extremely damaging to the skin and can cause melanoma, and most doctors recommend the use of sunscreen when outdoors, which not only shields harmful UV rays, but also the vitamin D we need.

Vitamin D can be found at various drug stores. It is important to note that there are several different types of vitamin D, and experts recommend buying vitamin D2 or D3, which can be found at places like Trader Joe’s for $4.99.

The solution, Vacek says, is taking a vitamin D supplement with 1,000 to 2,000 units a day to ensure an adequate amount of the vitamin in the blood system, which is 30 ng/ml. He also recommends consulting a doctor for a blood test because the symptoms of deficiency are subtle, and in most cases, “it’s nothing you can detect.”

So think about it this way… vitamin D can stand for “vitamin death” if you don’t have enough of it. So if you’re not in the sun, you should be stocking up on vitamin D supplements, and the earlier you start, the better your health will be in the future, preventing many health risks as an adult.

“You want to make sure you have a lot of vitamin D when you’re young,” says Vacek. “Low vitamin D is one of the factors that increases the risk of heart problems as you get older.”

Caption That! The Power Couple

The name of the game is Caption That!

All you have to do is think of a brief and funny caption to go with a given health photo and post it in the comments below. The person who comes up with the funniest saying will have their caption featured on the next Caption That! I love an Internet joke that can make me laugh, so let’s see some good,  healthy competition 😉

Today’s photo: The Power Couple

Your caption goes here:   _____________________________________.

Snack Time! Frozen Grapes

Don’t you wish snacking on the couch looked somewhat like this?

Well it can if you decide to snack on something a bit healthier for you. Why go for the Doritos when you can be grape-fed?

…Or something like that.

My healthy snack-time alternative: Frozen Grapes

Although the chips may look good now, they won’t look as good on your thighs tomorrow. Instead, try munching on things that are loaded with all sorts of vitamins and are really good for you, like frozen grapes. You’re supposed to be eating tons of fruits a day anyway, so this is a great healthy alternative for a hold-me-over snack. The good news is, you don’t have to feel guilty  anymore about going to town on high-calorie munchies because these little suckers are only 70 calories a cup. So stay away from the junk food and try frozen grapes the next time your stomach’s rumbling. They’re tasty, filling and nutritious!

It’s simple! Just buy either green or purple grapes, put them in a bowl or Zip-loc bag and let them freeze for a couple of hours….

… And they’re ready! Although they’re not ice cream, they might as well be. You bite into one and it tastes like you just swallowed a grape-flavored ball of sorbet.

TIP: I like to keep them in a bowl in the freezer so I always have a go-to healthy snack whenever I feel like munching.

So if you can’t wait for dinner and you need to snack, then snack. Just remember, there’s always a healthier option.


Have a grape day 🙂