Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fake Perfumes. . . Oh So Toxic!

I remember when Carrie and Samantha were buying fake Fendi bags out of the trunk of a car in an episode of SATC.  Well that was no where near as dangerous as buying a fake perfume except for the dog that chased them down an alley on their way there!

I always buy my perfumes at a department store or Sephora.  Although I have seen discounted perfumes being sold in different places I have never purchased it anywhere else.    And now I am very glad I never did.  Harper's Bazaar magazine recently did an article in their January issue titled "The Fight Against Faux Fragrances"   by Maria Ricapito.     It was quite disturbing!   The article stated that fake fragrances have been found to contain things such as antifreeze, urine, and bacteria.  As you can imagine this can cause skin rashes and has the potential to make you sick.   Your skin absorbs everything you put on it.  I would be horrified to find out that I had absorbed things like urine and bacteria from my perfume!  These counterfit fragrances are being sold online as well as by street vendors and flea markets.  The author also included a list of ways to spot a faux fragrance.  

According to this article the best place to purchase fragrances is at department stores and stores like Sephora which is where I will continue to purchase mine.  Check out the story at the above link.  

Where to do you buy your perfume?  Had you heard of this type of counterfeiting before?  Do you know anyone who had a bad reaction to discounted perfume?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Signature Scent. . . Do You Have One?

I always wanted to be one of those women...the ones who would walk into a room and their scent proceeded them.  I wanted to have a signature scent.  This was ever since 4th grade.  I loved the perfume my teacher wore.  She wore it every day.  It was her signature.  As I grew up I wanted to smell like her.  She wore Babe by Faberge'.  

That wasn't my first perfume.  I wasn't allowed to wear perfume till I was a teenager.  The first one I remember wearing was Luv's Baby Soft.  Then as I got older that wasn't mature enough for me.  What I discovered though was how certain scents made me feel.  Whether it was my own or that of a boy I was crushing on.  

I started to discover that I could find comfort in familiar scents.  Certain ones could make me feel happy, or sexy, or even sad.  When my husband died just the smell of his cologne could bring on the tears.  I remember sitting on the floor of our walk in closet the day he died smelling the lingering cologne on his shirts that needed to be laundered.  When I wrote him letters during our dating years I always sprayed my perfume on them and he did the same.  

These days my favorite perfume is Amarige by Givenchy.  I have been using it for many years now and I love it.  It is a warm, woodsy, musky scent.  Those types of scents make me feel comforted.  I am not one to go for anything sweet or too fruity.  Amarige is just classic and timeless to me.  I used to wear it everyday and then got away from doing that.  Now I am thinking that it is time to get back to it!

Do you have a signature scent?  What was the first perfume you remember wearing?  Do you wear perfume every day?  How does it make you feel? 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Early Detection For Pancreatic Cancer

As some of you may know my father passed away in June of '08 from pancreatic cancer.  Like most patients it was diagnosed too late and he lived only a year from his diagnosis.  And that was longer than they predicted when the docs gave him 8 months.  He didn't go see a doctor until he was unable to eat due to vomiting and couldn't keep any food down.  The culprit was a tumor on his pancreas that  had already attached to the bottom of his stomach preventing food from passing on through hence the vomiting.  He suffered for years and years with abdomen pain, gas pain and pain in the mid back.  All chocked up to digestive issues.  He just about lived on alka seltzer.  Who knows if these could have been signs of something worse.  That is the thing about pancreatic cancer. . . it has symptoms that can be mistaken for something else.  It is one of the most deadly cancers with only 2 % of patients surviving 5 years.

I read an article in USA Today about a new test for early detection of pancreatic cancer. It is an experimental test which detects a protein found in pancreatic tumors.  The article also said that early detection is not enough.  Only 20 percent of patients with early detection survive.  Although I think this is promising news I feel that there needs to be more talk about prevention.  More discussion about lifestyle choices that can put you at risk for this type of cancer.  

My father was a heavy smoker and an alcoholic.  These have been listed as risk factors for pancreatic cancer.  Even celebrities who have come out about having this disease such as Patrick Swayze and Michael Landon were admittedly heavy drinkers and smokers.  I am not saying that these are the causes however I think that when we talk about prevention these particular lifestyle choices which can cause a myriad of health issues should be considered more closely with regard to this type of cancer.  

Check out the article here. . . 

What do you think of this news?  Do you believe in lifestyle choices putting someone at risk for cancer?  Have you lost someone from this deadly cancer?  

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cell Phones. . . The Worst Thing to Happen to Driving Since Alcohol

Yesterday I watched part of the Oprah Show and the topic was distracted drivers.  Oprah is asking people to declare the car a no phone zone.    Now I am sure some of you can relate to being distracted while driving.  But what they were really referring to was driving while talking or texting on your cell phone.  I don't know about you but I cannot manage to text well when I am not moving!  I could not imagine trying to do it while I was driving nor would I ever want to as it is way to dangerous.  I  cannot believe there are people out there that do.  The thing that cured me from talking on my cell phone while driving was when I realized once I ended the call I had no recollection how I got from point A to point B.  And it was enough to scare me.  Obviously my brain couldn't tackle those two things at once.  Too much shifting attention required.  

According to a show guest our brains are not wired to handle that.  Startling new research reveals that driving while talking on your cell phone is the same as driving drunk.  And texting while driving is worse making it 8 times more likely to get into an accident.  See the show clip here.

When I am on the road I see many drivers using cell phones.  Alot of times they are the ones driving in front of me super slow unable to stay straight in the lane.  So as I pass them to get the hell out of their way I see them chatting or texting on the phone.  As if it wasn't bad enough that there are drunk drivers out there.  Now we need to stay clear of "distracted drivers".

I am a big believer that things happen how they are meant to.  My first husband Paul never wore his seatbelt and I used to get on him all the time about it.  He would say to me "When it is my time to go I will go no matter what".  Sure enough he was killed in a car accident.  Yes he was wearing his seat belt.  I guess he got the last word on that!  But seriously though it does scare me to know that people are out there making the roads that much more dangerous than they are already.  I don't spend too much time worrying about it because I would never leave the house.  I can only do my part and drive as safe as I can. 

Remember when you first got a driver's license and thought you were invincible? Those days are long over aren't they?

Do you use your cell phone while driving?  Do you know anyone who was killed needlessly by a distracted driver?  What do you think of Oprah's No Phone Zone?  

Friday, January 15, 2010

He Just Wanted To Sit In The Sun. . .

I walked into his room and found him near the window.  He was quietly reclined in his chair.  The sun was beaming.  It was lighting up his face.  Ninety years spent living.  All the good and bad of it.  The years had taken a toll.  I hoped it was a life well lived.  

I looked at his hands crossed in his lap.  What were once big and strong time had worn away.  No doubt from years of hard work.  The joints looked swollen and stiff.  Thick glasses framed his blue eyes.  He was fumbling with the cuff button on his black and white plaid flannel shirt as I approached him. Some small talk led me to ask him where he was from.  "The Bronx"  he said sternly with pride.  I told him that was where I was from too.  He said he enjoyed being out in the sun.  Then I asked him if he went to Orchard Beach way back when.  It was a beach my mom enjoyed going to as a kid.   I saw the corners of his mouth erupt into the first smile as he said  "Oh sure. . . all the time." 

Although he would not go to rehab with me that day I enjoyed the few moments spent talking.  Before I left I asked him what he wanted to do.  "Please just let me stay here in the sun.  I just want to sit in the sun."  he said.  As I watched him close his eyes for a bit I couldn't help but wonder if in his mind he was taking a trip back to that beach . . . young, carefree, in a body that hadn't yet betrayed him.

Do you ever wonder what life will be like at that old age?  Is there a place in your mind that you like to visit during your quiet moments?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Alyssa Milano takes on Jersey Shore. . .

I hate to admit this but I watched the first episode of Jersey Shore on MTV.  I barely made it through the first hour and thought "Why the hell am I watching this?" I thought it was a pretty ridiculous.   I might go so far as to say I lost some brain cells from watching it.   And now the twentysomethings starring in it are reality stars.  These days many people are getting their fifteen minutes of fame.  And for some it can blow up to much more.  Some undeservedly so.   Kate Gosselin is one example.  Now just a  hairstyle change puts her on the cover of People magazine.  But I digress.  

Apparently this reality show is angering some Italian Americans due to how they are being portrayed.  And one famous Italian American, Alyssa Milano has expressed to the media her disdain for the show.  She has also gone so far as to do a video showing her transformation into "Snookie" one of the dare I say "characters"  on the show.  It is a take on the video for the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty.

Check out Alyssa Milano's Evolution.    Let me know what you think!

Do you watch any reality shows?  Have you seen Jersey Shore?  What did you think? 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Its Only Skin Cancer. . . Right?

This is what I heard someone say recently.   I have to admit  it startled me.  And this person had skin cancer.  I couldn't help but wonder why she would say something like that.  And then I wondered how many others felt the same way.  As a breast cancer survivor I am glad there is a ton of awareness out there about that disease but I also feel that other types of cancer do not get enough recognition, not enough awareness.   According to the National Cancer Institute skin cancer is the most common form of cancer with 1,000,000 new cases in 2009 alone.

Jerry Seinfeld even wrote an episode around it.  It was the one where he dates the dermatologist and calls her "Pimple Popper MD" because he doesn't think she is a real doctor. After all she wasn't saving any lives right?  That is what he believes until he meets the man she saved from skin cancer.  Although Seinfeld was poking fun there is nothing funny about it.  

My mom is a 2 time skin cancer survivor and I know many who have had it.   I am just now regretting all of those days I spent as a teen burning myself to a crisp just to see some tan skin.  My girlfriend and I would hop the train and head to the Jersey Shore.  We would spend the day at Seaside Heights hanging out on the beach.  Sunblock was just not an option.  It was so not cool back then.  I would get home at night crying to my mom with blistered skin.  She didn't have much sympathy for me.  I had done it to myself.  Just plain stupid.  

I think that skin cancer gets a bad rap for being seen as "not a real cancer".  I think more people need to take it seriously and be vigilant about taking care of the largest organ they have....the skin.  I know I have to....

Do you think that skin cancer is not taken seriously enough?  Are you vigilant about your skin health?  Have any bad sun burns you regret now?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cancer and Relationships Part Two. . . So I Have Cancer And You Think That Makes Me Easy?!

That is the question I asked myself when I was dating during my cancer treatment. Sure, I wondered who would want to date a girl who lost a breast and was totally scarred up. But I never imagined that I would meet a guy who thought I would be easier to get in the sack because of my cancer diagnosis.

Well, I did meet him. His name was Kevin. We certainly were not strangers. We had dated prior to my diagnosis. Kevin was pretty full of himself and came on pretty strong when it came to relationships. Especially in the intimacy department. On our first date he was an octopus, pawing at my clothes right after dinner. Call me crazy, but I shy away from being groped. We only saw each other a few more times after that. Then we lost touch. And I was ok with that.

But one night a few weeks after my surgery he showed up at my door late at night. As I looked through the peephole of my door my heart sank when I saw him. Here is the booty call I thought to myself. And sure enough after some small talk at the door he put his arms around me and before I knew it he was leading me over to my couch.

He told me that he heard about my diagnosis and wondered why I hadn't called him. I could feel the puzzled look on my face. I almost didn't know what to say. I was too dam startled. As I filled in the blanks about my diagnosis, surgery, and upcoming chemo I realized that he had other things on his mind. It was the moment that he grabbed my hand and nonchalantly put it between his legs. He was up and ready wanting me to know it. I will spare you the details but lets just say that I quickly asked him to leave. I felt relieved at the ease of his exit.

After he left that night I couldn't help but wonder if he treated me that way because he thought I was a charity case. Did he think I should consider myself lucky that someone still wanted me? Did he think I would be easier to get into bed now?

In the end though it only mattered what I thought of myself. That night as I laid in my bed alone I wondered if someone would be able to see anything other than sickness when they looked at me. Then I wondered if I would be able to. . .

Did you ever feel that your cancer diagnosis affected how you were treated by the opposite sex? What is your craziest dating with cancer story?