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The Pestle Movie Podcast

The Pestle is a new movie podcast hosted by Wes Evans who is a director, writer, and actor, along with Todd Sapio who is an actor, producer, and musician. Together, they review films and look to provide interesting tidbits and insights into the filmmaking process.

Sometimes they find a particularly interesting theme to discuss, or a camera technique being used in a clever way. For instance, in the movie Warrior they do a deep dive into the various techniques used to immerse the audience in the world of the film and that represent the various relationship arcs taking place throughout the movie. In Wonder Woman they analyze the ways that feminism is represented as well as the visual effects.

As far as movie podcasts go, this is one of the best film podcasts around and very much worth the time to listen and appreciate that they stay on topic instead of riffing on irrelevant things that have nothing to do with the movie they’re covering, because they have so much to say on any given movie you never feel like you’ve wasted your time listening to each new episode. I highly recommend The Pestle Movie Podcast!

Here are a few of my favorite episodes for you to listen to:

Interstellar:

Warrior:

Guardians of the Galaxy 2:

Travel Tips: Backpacking for Beginners (Traveling Abroad)

I’m a big fan of backpacking. There’s lots of adventure and you never know what the day holds. I’ve taken a one-way flight into Mexico City and burned up three weeks to get back to home-base, which for me is Austin. I’ve also run all over the Dominican Republic, as well as marched through five countries in Central America. Through these excursions there’s been good decisions, bad decisions and a few lessons learned. Here’s some of those lessons.

1. Know the language.
Obvious? Sure. However, “knowing the language” does not mean to figure out the bare minimum and tote a book around. One of the greatest parts of traveling into other cultures is meeting the people, and not having a fundamental grasp of the local language can come across as disrespectful and puts a wall up between you and the locals, foreigners certainly don’t need additional barriers to work through. Even if you’re going to an English speaking country, it’s wise to practice listening to the local accent to break-in your ears. Traveling abroad is a fantastic opportunity to work on your language skills, so knowing the fundamentals will enable you to hold more than a simple “Hi, my name is…” conversation, which of course allows you to pick up new words and phrases, as well as get recommendations, some of the most amazing experiences aren’t in the best of books.

“some of the most amazing experiences aren’t in the best of books”

2. Be Friendly.
Again, somewhat obvious, but really it’s easy to be so uptight about your safety that your scowl makes you unapproachable. I’ve found that the world is a lot safer than we’re led to believe, many countries thrive on our tourism and make laws centered around protecting Americans. I was actually backpacking in Honduras during the recent turmoil with Zelaya, and other than a couple military checkpoints (where the guards were more concerned with drugs than anything else) it was no different from any other country I’ve been in, people were still friendly and helpful.

It’s important to be yourself. When I’m traveling I tend to be real loose and outgoing, I’m constantly cracking jokes and being silly, it’s always a hit with the natives. More than once I’ve been given rides, shown around town, I even got a home-cooked meal. A bus ride got me seated next to a 10 year old boy, we talked a little and he and his mom shared their food and drink with me, made sure I got off at the right point, corrected any Spanish mistakes, it was a great experience! In Mexico, a conversation at an arcade turned into a night on the town and learning some of the local legends, good eateries and an awesome Italian icee dessert. In the D.R., waiting at a bus stop to hop to a new town, me and my buddies made a friend who, upon arriving at the new town, took us to meet his mother, then found/negotiated a hotel room for us, we in turn treated him to lunch.

Now, I know I said that the world isn’t as dangerous as thought, but exercising your judgment is always advisable. Don’t deal with drunk people, don’t wear jewelry or flash your bills around. You stand out as a foreigner, presumably carrying some money, so if possible, don’t always carry it all on your body. I have the advantage of being six foot, four inches and over 200 pounds, so I probably don’t come across as the easiest target. So, use your judgment, but don’t let fear rule your ability to make friends.

3. Keep a log.
I always take a small notebook, and at the end of each day write down what I did and anything else that stood out such as a running joke with my travel buddies or an argument with a cabbie (more than a few of these). Taking a trip is nice, but being able to pick up my log and re-experience my trip whenever I like is priceless. It’s a good way to wind down the night and empty your thoughts for posterity.

4. ALWAYS negotiate BEFOREHAND.
It’s really that simple. Never get in the taxi until you know how much it will be once you’re at your destination. You kind of have to deal with the fact that you won’t get the same deal as locals, but if the price doesn’t feel right then just walk away. It’s the best sales tactic you can have, there’s always another taxi, another shop around the corner, another tour guide wanting your business, ALWAYS. Sometimes you may walk away only to find out via other negotiations that it was actually a good deal, no shame in going back! Often when you walk away from a pitch you’ll start cutting to the real deals.

when you walk away from a pitch you’ll start cutting to the real deals

I remember getting dropped off at the border of Nicaragua, and as soon as me and my two friends exited the taxi we were absolutely swamped by 20 guys with bicycle powered rickshaws, screaming and shoving for our business, it was absolute mayhem! We couldn’t get 2 seconds to ourselves to talk it out, and the pitch was, “Pay whatever you like, once we get there you can pay whatever you think it was worth to you.” Naturally, once we got across the border, through customs and at the new bus stop the cries were, “Hey, that’s not enough! Come on buddy, it was worth more than that, yes?” They got a big fat, “No, we had an agreement. That is more than generous.” and then I walked away. It would still have been smarter to establish an actual number before using the service. Guilt trips are the biggest tactic abroad, do not fall for it. Hotels, tour guides, all of it, know what’s expected of you before getting in the car or using the service.

5. Don’t be a slave to your itinerary.
Naturally, it’s good to have something lined up, some ideas about what you would like to see and do. I usually research a few things, have some ideas but honestly, other than my flight in and out, I don’t do much planning. It’s nice to not be set in stone. When I flew into Belize, I absolutely hated the Belize City, which is where we thought we would post up for a few days, but we checked out a few hotels then decided to just bounce immediately to northern Belize, turned out to be a phenomenal decision! We got to Orange Walk and got an amazing lodge on the river where I got to pet a wild crocodile (old and toothless for the record, but wild nonetheless I tell ya!), the scenery was gorgeous and the staff made quick friends of us. That would not have been possible if we pre-booked a room in Belize City, a gamble, yes, but backpacking is a gamble in itself!

Your itinerary is needed of course, it should include bus routes and times which are infinitely useful. If you’re backpacking, you should just be open to changes. Our first night in Santo Domingo, we ran into a couple Green Peace workers, and when we told them our time-frame and goals (see the culture, visit Haiti, have fun), they wrote out a few destinations that ended up basically being our bible for the trip! We bussed up to the border of Haiti, checked it out (first time I’ve ever had a culture shock, by the way), hit some beaches, jumped off of waterfalls and met tons of amazing people.

Now, a lot depends on your traveling personality. Backpacking isn’t for everyone, there’s generally a lot of uncertainty involved and being genuinely interested in other people’s culture is advisable.

There’s a lot more to consider when backpacking of course, take gifts, pack light, give yourself enough time, but most importantly smile a lot and you’re sure to have some memorable moments, because I think backpacking gives something unique that resorts can’t give you: adventure.

15 Great Indie Films You Didn’t See

Simply put, an independent film is one made outside the influence/funding of a major studio. Just because a film is an indie doesn’t mean it has to be shot on a budget of $2,500 over 4 days of non-stop filming. So, by that definition you would say Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” is an indie film, likewise “The Terminator” is also an independent movie. It is in that spirit that I present to you, in no specific order, 15 independent movies you may not have seen that you should:

15. Bella (2007)"Bella" film poster
Set in New York, this drama focuses on a day in the life of a pregnant woman getting to know a troubled chef. Much in the vein of “Before Sunrise”, this is a well told story that takes you on an emotional journey to find family.
Genre: Drama, Romance

14. Cashback (2007)
From across the pond, “Cashback” revolves around a college student who has his heart broken and uses his sleepness nights to make money at a local grocery store. We frequently take trips through his imagination as he stops time and appreciates a moment. What I loved about this was the great blend of visuals with a melancholy score in sync with well-developed characters.
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy

The Wackness poster13. The Wackness (2008)
1995 New York, “The Wackness” is the tale of a kid between High School and his first year of college. No friends and a steadily breaking homelife, he sells drugs to save for tuition and finally gets a shot at the girl of his dreams. Ben Kingsley is the pitch-perfect cracking therapist and Olivia Thirlby the would-be girlfriend. The best mid-90s hip hop and an engaging story makes this a must-see.
Genre: Drama

12. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)
A WWII story of a Nazi commander’s son who stumbles onto the concentration camp his father runs  and makes friends with a Jewish boy on the other side of the fence.
Genre: Drama

11. Gigantic (2009)
Paul Dano plays a quiet young man who gets hooked in with an odd Zooey Deschanel, a rich girl who starts affecting his plans to adopt a Chinese baby.
Genre: Drama

10. Gone Baby Gone (2007)
A Boston detective’s journey through various cases. The big surprise here is that Ben Affleck directed a hell of a film and his brother is a flat out excellent actor.
Genre: Crime

"A Guide to Recognizing to Your Saints" theatric poster9. A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)
An excellent coming-of-age set in New York during the 80s. Robert Downey Jr returns home and remembers (as played out by Shia LaBeouf) the trials of seeing friends die and end up in prison. Even Channing Tatum knocks this one out of the park.
Genre: Drama

8. I Am David (2004)
As far as WWII concentration camp survivor movies go, this is by far the most innocent of them all. A child escapes from a camp and makes his way through Europe to deliver an important letter, meeting a variety of helpful characters along the way.
Genre: Drama

7. In Bruges (2008)
Perhaps my favorite Colin Farrell performance ever. Fine, that isn’t saying much, but this is one of the more brutal comedy/action films I’ve seen to date. You owe it to yourself to see this one.
Genre: Thriller, Black Comedy

6. Match Point (2006)
Woody Allen’s least “Woody Allen” film he’s ever made. A crime drama about a tennis pro who has an affair, Allen pours on the suspense and details.
Genre: Crime, Drama

"My Blueberry Nights" film poster5. My Blueberry Nights (2007)
If you haven’t seen any of Wong Kar Wai’s films, you should probably start with “ChungKing Express” or “In the Mood for Love”, but this is a great treat to see his work in America with English actors. His unique style translates perfectly as he sculpts the journey of a woman who takes the longest path across the street of her life.
Genre: Drama, Romance

4. Sunshine Cleaning (2009)
Amy Adams alone should sell you on why you should see this, she’s fantastic no matter what she’s in. A fun dramatic comedy about her starting her own business and trying to live up to her glory days as the High School prom queen…of course, a business as a crime scene clean-up service isn’t so high brow.
Genre: Comedy, Drama

3. Wristcutters: A Love Story (2007)
What really happens to people who commit suicide? Apparently they end up in a life more "The Fall" movie Posterdrab than the one they left, no smiling, laughing or happiness. After hearing his girlfriend is also wandering in the same afterlife, Zia ventures forth with a Russian rocker and sees the oddities in the bitter hereafter.
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy

2. The Fall (2008)
You should remember the name Tarsem Singh, someone who still believes in finding actual scenery for films rather than creating them in a computer. He filmed this in 39 countries and it’s one of the most gorgeous and visually stunning films on celluloid.
Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Adventure

1. Adam (2009)
How this one was overlooked last year is beyond me. Well, I guess that’s the lot for great indie dramas. An excellent story about a girl, Rose Byrne, who falls for a guy with Asperger’s Syndrome (Adam Raki). If you like dramas, then you’ll love this.
Genre: Drama, Romance

Misshapen Body

Pregnancy can be a wonderful moment. You wait nine months to receive two things: a beautiful baby and 25 extra pounds. Most women tend to lose a few pounds or so after having their baby. If you breastfeed you tend to shed more pounds because more calories are being burned. However, most women tend to gain more than recommended depending on what pregnancy this is or their diet. These are the women who feel misshapen after their delivery and desperately want to gain their body back.

The one question that strikes a cord with every woman after having a baby is to be mistaken pregnant again because of bulging bellies. Tummy muscles are weakened from the pregnancy due to stretching. This tends to make the belly area soft and sometimes hard to regain. But honestly ladies we have to come to grips that our stomach will never be the same. Things change in our life that we have no control over. The best thing to do is to start off slow and try to regain your body knowing that it will never be that perfectly firm again but it can be beautiful.

The key is to start off slow and remember that Rome was not built in a day and things take time. It took nine months to get this pregnant and it will take time to get “unpregnant”. The ideal thing is to start with a small plan and after you have a clearance from you doctor (usually after your six weeks checkup) put it into action.

Most moms do find it hard to work in a full exercise routine with a new baby. One way moms have learned to incorporate their baby and exercise is to walk. Lots of moms pick the local track or even get up early to walk around the mall before it opens. Walking indoors does seem to be a better way to beat the cold or extreme heat. The most important thing is to do something you enjoy that way it is great for mom and enjoyable for baby. There are several ways to help get that body back to its pre-pregnant self. One is by doing “baby exercise.” These are exercises that you can do that include your baby so that way you can work on bonding as well as getting in shape.

The first one is squats. This can be done while you are holding your baby. You get your back up against the wall so that way you will have something for firm support. Next you spread your legs about hip width apart and then slowly bend your knees and come down. Then when you have reached the sitting position you come back up. This way you are tightening up your thighs and working the lower part of your body and arms. Also take time to smile and talk to the baby to keep him/her happy.

Another exercise that can be done with your baby is leg lifts. You lie on the floor and place your baby on your stomach facing you. Next you take either one leg at a time or both at the same time and you raise them to about a 45-degree angle and then slowly lower them. This works your legs, glutes, and stomach muscles. This exercise can be a great way to look at your baby and keep him/her entertained while trying to shape that misshapen body.

Getting on all fours and doing leg lifts can your third exercise. You can place your baby under you so that way you can look at them and keep them happy but yet working each leg at a time. This will again work the lower part of your body and want be to stressful on the body after your six-week check up.

The main thing is to keep going and know there is light at the end of the tunnel. The idea that your body will be perfect again is not a crazy one but to understand that things change once you have a child is a more realistic approach. Looking at that beautiful baby everyday should be the best reward for the few pounds you have gained. Also know that with each child comes its own set of pounds so getting off pounds before more pregnancies is also a body saver later. Stretch marks are considered to some as battle scars but today we are going to rename them something more pleasant like icing. So consider ladies that they are icing on the cake to the wonderful thing we call a “slice of motherhood.”

by Sherita Smedley

Fibromyalgia: An “Invisible Illness”

In the past few years, I have become a professional patient. I have been in and out of the doctor’s office and hospital. There are times when I felt like I should just move in. I have dealt with the pain of the doctors pushing on me, and the medical tests that they have put me through. I have reported any new symptoms that have come up. It does not take a degree to become a “professional patient,” it just takes an illness. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about two years ago.

According to the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA), it is estimated that 5-7% of the United States population has it. There are many people out there who do not know they have Fibromyalgia. When I was told what I had, I blocked out a lot of what was being said. Mainly it was because I did not know what it was. The only thing that I did know was a friend had the same illness, but I was happy to finally have a name of what I was going through.

Fibromyalia is a chronic illness that is mainly found in women. It is known for its wide spread pain throughout the body, fatigue and tender points. In some cases, even the smallest pressure can cause the person to have pain. So a pat on the back, for someone that has Fibro, is not a good idea. Even though there are theories, doctors do not know what causes the syndrome. There is also not a cure yet. There are many things which could make the symptoms worse. For example: stress, the weather and physical activity.

I am slowly learning about the many symptoms which can go along with Fibromyalgia. Keep in mind there are many more symptoms than what I am going to list. The primary symptoms of Fibromyalgia are widespread pain throughout the body, fatigue and sleep disturbances. There is also brain fog/ Fibro fog, Irritable Bowel Syndrom (IBS), headaches, facial pain, sensitivity to noise, bright lights and touch. People also suffer from morning stiffness, cognitive or memory impairment, blurry vision, dizziness, rashes, muscle twitching, Raynaud’s Syndrome, difficulty concentrating, painful menstrual period, Interstitial Cystitis (IC), dry eyes, skin and mouth.

It is hard to diagnose Fibromyalgia because it mimics other diseases like Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Some patients not only have Fibro, but also have one or more of these diseases. For some people Fibromyalgia can be disabling. At this moment, I cannot work outside of the house, and I need a cane to walk. Even though I have started, it is hard for me to exercise. I have also learned, even though I do not like it, I need to cut down on the list of things I want to do. I just do not have the energy to do it. If you feel that you may have Fibromyalgia ,check with your Primary Care doctor and they can direct you to where you need to go. No matter what people may say, it is not in your head.
by Jill Sheets

Web Sites:

National Fibromyalgia Assocation (NFA)
www.fmaware.org

Mayo Clinic
www.mayoclinic.com

Fibromyalgia Network
www.fmnetnew.com

To Stretch or Not To Stretch: That is the Question

In my last article, we talked about how to gradually begin running. In this article, we will talk about what to do right before you actually go run; in other words, stretching.

If you ever happened to have a physical education class in school, you are probably familiar with a stretching routine of some sort. Feet together; then, touch your toes. Sit with the soles of your feet facing inward, and press your knees toward the ground. Assume Downward Facing Dog, and transition into the Open Lotus position while simultaneously attaining enlightenment.

It seems that no matter the sport, the general belief is that this same stretching routine is beneficial to both improve performance and reduce the chance of injury. Well, I am here to tell you the truth. Listen carefully: stretching before running does not improve performance or reduce the chance of injury.

Here is how it breaks down. Flexibility is a good thing. Flexible people have a greater range of motion than people who are not flexible. A greater range of motion both improves performance and reduces the chance of injury. Well, if that is the case, why does stretching before running not improve performance and reduce injury? Here is the second part of the secret: you can only become more flexible when you are stretching at the limit of your range of motion.

Stretching before running does not improve flexibility because your muscles are not warmed up. They are tight and tense. Many people think the point of stretching is to loosen their muscles up. This is not the case. Elite athletes do not step out on the track and do toe touches before running the 5k. They go for an easy run to loosen up their muscles; then they stretch a little bit.

This is not to say that you should go for an easy run and stretch before you go out for your daily jog. For all intents and purposes, if you are going out for a regular run (whatever that may be for you), just start out easier than the pace you wish to sustain for the entire run. This will give your muscles a chance to warm up before you accelerate to your regular pace.

The time for stretching is after the run. After you have run, your muscles will be warmed up and stretched out. Any stretching you do then will be near your maximum range of motion. By stretching properly after you run, you will increase your flexibility, which improves performance and reduces injury.

The important thing is to not become bogged down in pre-run routines and rituals. If your goal is to run, get out there and run! An elaborate and time-consuming pre-run stretching routine makes it more difficult to carve out a patch of time in your day to get your endorphin high. If you just start out easy, everything will be fine.

Running is about running, not about stretching. If you want to stretch all day, go do some yoga; if you want to run, throw your shoes on and get out there. After you have trotted around town dodging dogs, waving at friends, and having a great time, if you feel like it, give that Open Lotus position another try. Happy Running!

by Carl Roberts

Carl ran Track & Cross Country through Jr. High, High School, College and now enjoys running in his free time. He has been ranked in the Top 10 in Indiana and has won many conference titles.

*It is recommended to speak to a physician  regarding new exercise regiments.

The Truth about Running: How to Start…. Gradually

So you think you know what running is, right? Side cramps, pain, agony, and goofy shorts—most people associate these things with what is popularly known as running. However, other than watching Forrest Gump, very few people really know anything about it.

Maybe you see someone run by your house every day. Maybe you occasionally watch a high school track meet. Whatever the case, it is impossible to observe what running is. You have to experience it. Running is for the runner, not for the observer.

So if you do decide to give running a try, or a second, third, or fourth try, where should you begin? Should you go and buy a new pair of running shoes? Should you immediately go out and start jogging down the road? No! Go take a walk. Just enjoy it. Relax. There will be plenty of time for running later, so just go out and get a feel for moving, breathing, and being alive.

Running is about pleasure, not pain. Running is about gluttony, not discipline. Running is about fun, not work. These are the real truths about running. Real runners run for pleasure.

But if these things are really true, why do so many people hate it? Well, they are going about it the wrong way. Whether that means having had a bad experience with being on a team or not ever really giving it a try, the problem is with the approach, not running itself.

The problem many people have with running is intensity. They start off too hard. “Yeah, I think I’m going to start running,” your friend tells you for the tenth time. After his goal of running the Boston Marathon fades away, he is sitting on the couch again eating potato chips.

Running does not have to be hard. Oh it can be. It can be as hard as you want, but it doesn’t have to be. Running can be exactly what you want. Think of it as an activity that you can mold into whatever you desire.

Do you like being outdoors? You can run almost anywhere that is outside: roads, trails, mountains, golf courses, and parking lots. Do you like being inside? There are many good places to run inside as well: fitness centers, shopping malls, gyms, and schools.

Do you like being around people? Road races (Don’t let the name scare you! You don’t have to run hard) are one of the most festive places you will ever experience. T-shirts, bagels, and prizes are handed out in abundance, and there is nothing better than the feeling of having run a race by the time your friends are just waking up.

Are you a loner? The solitary thump of your shoes on the pavement will give you all of the sense of being alone that you need. Indeed, many authors, artists, and businesspeople claim that their best ideas come to them while running.

The best way to actually start off is gradually. Take an easy jog around your block. No distance is too short to begin with. Take a long walk and jog the last minute of it. Starting off on the right foot means taking it easy and having a good time.

If you can ignore the popular misconceptions, you will discover running to be unlike anything you ever imagined. You will look better and feel better. In an age of automobiles and moving sidewalks, being a runner is a manifesto of sorts. You are taking charge of your life, your fitness, and your health.

Make running what you want it to be. Whether that is competitive sport, leisure activity, or simple exercise, you decide what it is. The road is calling, and your legs want to go. Just give it a chance…gradually.

by Carl Roberts

Carl ran Track & Cross Country through Jr. High, High School, College and now enjoys running in his free time. He has been ranked in the Top 10 in Indiana and has won many conference titles.

*It is recommended to speak to a physician  regarding new exercise regiments.

Do You Care To Sample Phytogenic Skin Care?

A spa located in the Hershey Hotel offers guests a chance to enjoy phytogenic skin care. The men and women working in that spa understand how to provide their clients’ skin with added nutrition. They know how to penetrate into the skin, allowing the deep areas of the skin access to important chemicals.

Most skin care products concentrate on the outer skin cells. Yet everyday, large numbers of those cells become loose; everyday the outer skin needs to replace lost skin cells. The replacement cells come from the deep skin. Deep skin cells divide and move up to the skin’s surface, the epidermis

Under the epidermis lie the basil and spiny cells, the cells in the deep skin. Phytogenic skin care focuses on ensuring the health of the basil and spiny cells. All of the nutrients provided to the skin by phytogenic skin care come from some type of plant.

At Hershey, PA, those nutrients come from the cocoa plant. Clients at the Hershey spa get a package of nutrients, all mixed with an extract from the cocoa plant. In addition to the phytogenic extract, that mixture contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and trace metals.

The phytogenic extract acts as a catalyst. It facilitates completion of the biochemical changes in the packaged nutrients that penetrate into the deep skin. The deep skin cells then respond to those penetrating chemicals. They move towards the surface, giving the epidermis healthy, dividing cells.

Whether made from coal, cocoa or some other plant, all phytogenic skin care products have the ability to replace minerals that are lacking in the deep skin.  Phytogenic skin care bathes the skin in nutrients that aren’t found in all fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and vegetables grow in soil that lacks important minerals. Thus those minerals do not get into the blooms that later yield either a fruit or a vegetable.

Yet phytogenic skin care would not produce healthy skin if it only coated the skin with minerals.  The plant-derived extract used in phytogenic skin care products facilitates the completion of important metabolic pathways. Those pathways guarantee the health of the inner skin cells. Those pathways can not take place in the absence of both minerals and the phytogenic extract.

The phytogenic extract is called polyflormin. Like many catalysts, that extract requires a helper, a coenzyme, in order to work properly. In other words, a phytogenic skin care product, such as the one used in Hershey, contains important nutrients, an extract derived from a plant and a coenzyme. That coenzyme is Co-Q10.

The mix of chemicals in the phytogenic skin care products penetrate into the deep skin.   The deep skin cells use those nutrient-rich chemicals to manufacture protein and to make more DNA. In other words, the deep skin cells use the plant-derived chemicals to make new skin cells.

Those new skin cells help give the body a “healthy” appearance, because they come from healthy, well-nourished deep skin cells. They display the physiological benefits of the phytogenic skin care.

by Sue Chehrenegar

Sue has an MS in Biomedical research along with 30 years of experience in her field of study.

*It is recommended to speak to a dermatologist regarding new skin care products.

Abdominoplasty: Can It Create More Problems?

Plastic surgeons present abdominoplasty as a promising solution to a cosmetic problem. That problem has resulted from a stretching of skin cells in one area of the body. Of course, underneath that excess, that region of stretched skin, lays a good deal of stored fat. Abdominoplasty, also known as a “tummy tuck,” has become the standard way to remove such skin and fat. As a standard surgical procedure, a “tummy tuck” can lead to a number of post-surgical problems.

The procedure known as abdominoplasty creates a scar. Now scarring takes place following most surgical procedures. For the plastic surgeon, however, a scar on a “tucked-in” tummy can be a real problem. The patient who has managed to rid his or her abdomen of unwanted skin and fat could well want to show-off that lovely new abdomen.

A thoughtful surgeon makes clear to the patient the need for use of a knife in a certain area of the abdomen. A thoughtful surgeon also takes pains to limit the extent of any post-surgical scarring.  A wise surgeon might want to mention to the patient the possible restrictions on his or her future clothing choices. After an abdominoplasty, a patient normally wants to keep the resulting scar covered.

While abdominal scarring represents the greatest potential problem resulting from abdominoplasty, the plastic surgeon cannot honestly say that it is the only problem. For certain groups of individuals, the surgical removal of abdominal skin and fat can produce other unexpected damage. For those individuals, the problem-solving tummy tuck can manage to create more problems.

Some of those added problems can be avoided with the proper precautions. A surgeon should, for example, remind patients that healing from any surgery does not take place “overnight.” Post surgical healing proceeds even more slowly, if the patient lacks needed nourishment. For that reason, any person who plans to lose weight in the near future should postpone his or her abdominoplasty.

In addition to the prospective dieter, the plastic surgeon’s advice on postponement of a tummy tuck would target a particular group of women. A wise surgeon would warn any woman who planned a future pregnancy to put off plans for an abdominoplasty. After a tummy tuck, a patient has less stretchable skin. Yet a pregnant woman expects her abdominal skin to stretch.

Patients with an abdominal scar from an earlier surgery would likewise want to think twice about the loss of skin that results from an abdominoplasty. Such a patient might already have some reluctance to undergo abdominoplasty. Such a patient usually understands the risks that accompany any surgical procedure.

Any type of surgery introduces the risk of infection and blood clots. Those risks can be reduced by adherence to the surgeon’s recommendations. During the interval before abdominoplasty, a patient should avoid exposing his or her abdominal skin to direct sunlight. In addition, a patient who has become addicted to nicotine should be advised to seek an alternate source of pleasure during the interval leading up to an abdominoplasty.

by Sue Chehrenegar

Sue has an MS in Biomedical research along with 30 years of experience in her field of study.

Feminism vs. Womanism

“A History of Feminist Movements in the U.S.” is a tour through time of what women have went through for their rights. These were women who fought the struggle and won rights that have improved the lives of women today. Anna Cooper, an educated ex-slave , is one such woman who fought in the movement for all women just not African-American women. She felt that blacks could empower themselves through education and social uplift. She wanted all oppressed women to come together and not just be separated. The NOW, National Organization for Women, helped work for equality in areas such as education, politics, and work. The founder Betty Friedan wrote a book, The Feminine Mystique, which describes the frustration women were feeling then. Women have been feeling frustration for years and even feel it now.

Feminism to some people has become a scapegoat for their problems. This should not be the case. It has been proven through numerous polls that women felt that Feminist activities have helped better the lives for women not hinder. Women for decades have called themselves Feminist as a way of empowerment and lifting them up in the world. It is believed this whole issue of blaming feminism was a way for men to make women think that their own efforts were causing them the problem. Thank goodness there were some women out there who did not believe this and continued the fight for our rights. Luckily today people have come so far and now feminism stands for the equality of women or men. This is one reason why numerous women consider themselves Feminist.

Womanism is a term that has a similar meaning to Feminism but describes all women, career driven and not. Womanism is a term of wholeness that displays women of all age ranges and cultures. This was not the case at first since the term was first used by Alice Walker, meaning Womanism referring to black feminist. Now this title embodies the whole essence of a woman’s being and states to the world she is whom she is no matter if she is rich or poor. Many women feel a drawing to this title more than Feminist because of stigmatism to the word.

Sadly Feminist are usually considered lesbians or gay. This is a slight misconception feminism has gotten. Just because a person stands up for their rights and decides they are not going to take a back seat to mistreatment and unequal laws does not has to do with their sexual preference. The women of “The Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, 1848” were standing up and saying that women were equal to men in every way. These women considered themselves pioneers for bringing forth all the discontent of numerous women who could not speak out for fear. Sojourner Truth made her infamous speech “Ar’ n’’t I a woman” She was a leading African-American who was not scared to prove she was as good as a man.

In today’s society we do have it a little easier than our ancestors. We can fight for our rights in a court of law and can actually win, since we have the law on our side. We can proclaim we are a Feminist or a Womanist and be happy in the knowledge that we are making the women who came before us proud. Whether a person considers themselves either one the main thing to keep in mind is to always stand up for your rights and to not feel intimidated. Women in a whole have come a long way and we should be proud of all the accomplishments and prepare the generation after us to lead the future.

by Sherita Smedley