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Archive for April 2009

mothers-day-shopping2It is all about discounts and downgrades this Mother’s Day, as consumers are scaling back purchases wherever possible.  All holiday-related categories will experience massive declines and total sales are expected to drop a whopping 14.7 percent, to $12.9 billion, according to industry research firm IBISWorld

“The economy is staring at a very steep, downward trajectory,” explained George Van Horn, senior analyst with IBISWorld.  “With the economic picture so unclear, gift giving just isn’t in many household budgets – even if it is for mom.”

Those who do make purchases are staying away from department stores and speciality retailers (i.e. jewelers, florists, consumer electronic stores, etc.) and are instead opting to shop in discount outlets.  The data also shows a strong trend of shoppers downgrading their gift purchases to smaller, lower-priced merchandise and services.  The reality is that consumers will choose to make a home-cooked meal for mom rather then spend big in a fancy restaurant. 

“This Mother’s Day we are seeing the reality of how difficult the situation has become,” said Van Horn.  Two years of economic decline is being squeezed into one year’s reduction in spending.

SJP & Broderick

SJP & Broderick

Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP) and husband Matthew Broderick are expecting twin girls via a surrogate, according to Entertainment Weekly…and both Parker and Broderick’s reps confirmed the news.

Apparently they’ve been trying to expand their family since the birth of their 6-year-old son James, but have been unsuccessful.

A New York teen girl, 17, vanishes after walk on the beach during spring break at Myrtle Beach. Where is Brittanee Marie Drexel?  Watch Nancy’s interview with Brittanee’s mom:

Just when you thought Susan Boyle was amazing, little 10-year-old Hollie Steel gives her a run for her money on this week’s Britain’s Got Talent…check it out!

By Alice Sebold
By Alice Sebold

Remember the 2002 best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, Lovely Bones?  Well, those of you who read the book may be happy to know that it’s being turned into a movie – with an awesome cast:

*Director:  Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings)

Characters
*Susie Salmon:  Saoirse Ronan (the young girl from Atonement)
*George Harvey:  Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada)
*Jack Salmon:  Mark Wahlberg (Lars and the Real Girl)

For those of you who don’t know the book, it’s about Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old girl who was raped and murdered by her neighbor George Harvey.  But, as fans know, the details of the gruesome crime are secondary to Susie’s life in heaven, as she narrates what happens to her friends and family — and her killer — after her death.The film is expected to be in theatres this December.

Interesting fact:  Lovely Bones was reportedly drawn from the author’s raped in college.  She also wrote about the crime in the 1999 memoir, Lucky,  and was instrumental in putting her attacker in prison.

Photo by forwardcom

Photo by forwardcom

International SOS has launched a new Web site to communicate important information regarding the swine flu outbreak to members of the public and the media.

The site provides updates on the situation, travel recommendations and answers to frequently asked questions that those in California, Texas and Mexico, or traveling to these areas, may have.  The site will be continually updated as new information on the situation becomes available.

 Currently, the Web site covers important topics including:

  • The latest updates on the outbreaks in the U.S. and Mexico
  • Symptoms of the swine flu
  • Recommendations on travel
  • What those who currently are or have recently returned from the affected areas should do
  • Latest available information on medical interventions

To access the site, visit http://urgent.internationalsos.com.  For additional information you can also visit www.cdc.gov/swineflu.com.

Beatrice Arthur in 1988

Beatrice Arthur in 1988

Bea Arthur, an Emmy Award-winning actress best known as star of the hit TV comedy “Golden Girls,” has died at age 86, entertainment news websites reported on Saturday. 

Arthur died of cancer at her Los Angeles home, according to celebrity website TMZ.

So sad.  Our thoughts go out to her friends and family.

Photo by Photo by christgr

Photo by Photo by christgr

Every parent wants to keep their children safe from harm, but a new study shows that nearly nine out of 10 parents have bought unsafe toys for their babies.   To help parents understand the most-common dangers facing their baby and what they can do to protect against them, the Home Safety Council offered several great tips…

Safe Sleep Tips
Research found that an alarming number of new parents put their babies to sleep in cribs with potential suffocation hazards, including: blankets (68 percent), bumpers (47 percent) and stuffed animals (34 percent). Follow the tips below to create a safe place for your baby to sleep:

  • Put babies to sleep on their backs. Keep pillows, blankets and toys out of cribs. Do not hang anything with strings or ribbons over cribs. Mobiles should be removed once the baby starts to sit up.
  • Keep baby monitors and other cords a safe distance from the crib.
  • Put a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm near the bedrooms. A CO alarm will tell you if the gas level is too high.
  • Make sure to have working smoke alarms inside or near every bedroom. Test each smoke alarm every month. Put new batteries in your smoke alarms at least one time each year.
  • If your smoke alarms are more than 10 years old, replace them with new smoke alarms.

Nursery Safety Tips

  • Children can choke on small things. If something is small enough to fit in a toilet paper tube, it is not safe for little children. Look in every room of your home. Pick up small items like buttons, coins, jewelry and small toys.
  • Never leave the baby alone on the changing table, even for a second. Always use safety straps on high chairs, changing tables and strollers.
  • All pictures should be secured out of reach. Don’t hang pictures or other heavy decorations directly over a crib.
  • Keep cribs, beds, chairs and other furniture away from windows.
    Install a baby gate at the nursery door.
  • Replace all door stops that have removable caps that can pose a choking hazard.

Safe Bathing Tips
Many new parents don’t realize babies can drown in as little as one inch of water. In fact, one in five (20 percent) new parents surveyed didn’t know they should never leave their baby unattended in the bath tub, even if there is no water in it. Follow the Home Safety Council’s advice to keep your baby safe while bathing:

  • Drowning can happen very fast. Most of the time you will not hear someone drowning. Stay within an arm’s reach of young children when they are in or near water.
  • Hot water burns like fire. Set your home water heater at 120 degrees F or just below the medium setting to prevent burns. Use a water thermometer to test bath water. The water temperature should be no more than 100 degrees F.
  • Babies and young children have delicate skin. Install special tub spouts and shower heads that prevent hot water burns.

New and expecting parents can test their safety knowledge online by taking the Home Safety Council’s “New Parent Know-How: Baby Safety Quiz.” After completing the quiz, parents can visit HomeSafetyCouncil.org/babysafety to learn what they can do to create a safe haven for their growing family.

Photo taken from The NY Times

Photo taken from The NY Times

The overnight star from Britain’s Got Talent, Susan Boyle, recently got a makeover. 

With her eyebrows waxed and her hair colored, the judges of Britain’s Got Talent are apparently not pleased with Boyle’s new look.  They were hoping to cash in on her dowdy style and angelic voice.

UPDATE:  Susan Boyle got another makeover!  Click here for her updated look!

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Photo by snukraina

Photo by snukraina

If you want healthy hair, it starts with your diet.  I spoke with renowned hairstylist, Penny at Hollywood And Mane, and asked her for solutions to the most-common hair concerns.  Here’s what she had to say…

“Everything you put into your body comes out through your hair, so like your skin and body, it craves healthy food,” explains Penny.  “Hair is mostly protein and a well-balanced diet will give you strong, shiny locks.” 

FOOD SOLUTIONS FOR:

Dry hair
If your hair is dry and breaks easily, it is probably a lack of essential fatty acids.

SOLUTION:  Oily fish (tuna, sardines, trout, salmon, herrings and mackerel), seeds, nuts, olives and avocados.  Another nutrient important for hair strength and growth is trace mineral silica, found in rice, oats, lettuce, parsnips, asparagus, onion, strawberry, cabbage, cucumber, leek, sunflower seeds, celery, rhubarb, cauliflower and green, leafy vegetables.

Greasy hair
A lack of vitamin B in ones diet can lead to oily, greasy hair.

SOLUTION:  Whole grains, nuts, seeds, dairy products, eggs, wheatgerm, legumes and green, leafy vegetables. Also steer clear of oily foods where possible.

Greying hair
There hasn’t been a link between premature greying and diet, but evidence suggests that amino acid tyrosine may help.

SOLUTION:  Fish, chicken, pork, whole grains, wheat, oats, milk, cheese, yogurt, avocados, bananas, beans, almond, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.

Thinning hair
Thinning hair or hair loss may be a sign of iron deficiency.

SOLUTION: Red meat, eggs, legumes, wholegrain cereals, dried fruits and green, leafy vegetables.  Since hair is composed mostly of protein, your hair will most likely respond well to the addition of high protein foods such as meats, eggs, cheese, seeds and nuts.

Penny adds, “Whatever your hair type, drink water!  Keeping your hair hydrated is a must, especially with the summers heat.”

If you have questions for Penny at Hollywood And Mane, email yourstyle@pennyathollywoodandmane.com.


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