Monday, April 30, 2012

Pregnancy and Probiotics

Pregnancy and Probiotics

Most pregnant women experience food cravings. In addition to these dietary changes, a pregnant woman undergoes alternations in her digestive system. Women may experience heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, nausea and vomiting. A lot of this may be due to an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. By taking probiotics (good bacteria) during pregnancy, Mom can feel the benefits of a healthier digestive system as her good bacteria are replenished.

How else do Mom and baby benefit from probiotics during pregnancy? Here are a few facts:

             Mom is:

· As much as 18 percent less likely to give birth prematurely.

· Able to drop the pregnancy weight faster.

· At a lower risk of developing central obesity (belly fat) — if excess belly fat is retained after birth, Mom is at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

· At a 20 percent lower risk of developing gestational diabetes and diabetes after birth.

Baby also reaps health benefits if Mom takes probiotics while she’s pregnant. Baby is:

· At a 50 percent reduced risk of developing eczema.

· Not as likely to develop asthma, childhood obesity or diabetes.

· At a lower risk of developing a condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (where intestinal tissue begins to die).

After Birth

The risk of developing diseases due to central obesity from pregnancy weight is higher for women who do not take probiotics. While the role of probiotics in weight management is still vague, researchers have found a correlation between the gut flora (types of bacteria found in your gut) and the subsequent weight of a person, whether they are lean or overweight.

 A study done in Finland followed 256 pregnant women, beginning in the first trimester through the first year after birth. Researchers found that only 25 percent of women who took probiotics had belly fat, and the group taking probiotics actually had lost the highest amount of body fat since their first trimester. In comparison, 43 percent of women who took a placebo had central fat at the end of the first year.

Happy, Healthy Baby

We’ve all heard, “I want to pinch those chubby cheeks!” While we all love those sweet cheeks, babies who weigh 8 pounds, 13 ounces or more at birth are at a higher risk of being overweight.

Newborns are also at risk of colic — severe pain in the abdomen that causes babies to cry more than three hours a day at least three times a week. Recent studies show the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri (found in breast milk) helps reduce crying spells, inflammation and amounts of bad bacteria.

When deciding between naturally breast fed and using baby formula, mothers don’t always have a choice. Prebiotic-enriched baby formula contains similar gut bacteria to that found in breast-milk-fed infants. Nowadays you can find baby formulas that contain prebiotics, probiotics or a combination of the two (known as synbiotics).

**Please Note: Always consult your physician before adding a supplement — including probiotics — to your diet.

Choosing a probiotic can be difficult with so many options. I recommend the gourmet probiotic Probulin. Use promo code “Challa” on your order to receive 25 percent off at

Dr. Shekhar Challa is a board certified Gastroenterologist, Co-producer of probiotic video game Microwarriors: The Battle Within, and author of the new book Probiotics for Dummies.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

New Study!

Exposure to Specific Foods in Infancy Influences Adult Tastes, Say Researchers

New York, NY - April 26, 2012 -- A recent study indicates that exposure to certain foods in infancy will influence future food and taste preferences.  Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found that infants who were exposed to starchy foods containing salt were more likely to consume more plain salt as they aged.  Previous studies have shown a similar preference for sweets when exposed to infants.

“The important take-away from these studies is that feeding processed foods to infants is not a good idea,” say boomer generation health experts Dian Griesel, Ph.D., and Tom Griesel, authors of the new books TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (April 2011, BSH) and The TurboCharged Mind (January 2012, BSH). “Although convenient, almost all packaged and jarred baby foods contain more ingredients than their labels might suggest.  There is really no way to determine how these unnatural ingredients and combinations will affect food preferences and health in the future.”

“The most obvious and natural food for infants is mother’s milk,” adds Dian.  “This is what has been fed since the dawn of our species, and it has served us very well.  Mothers should seriously consider making the commitment to breastfeed their children.  There is no manmade formula that can adequately substitute for mother’s milk and there never will be.”

“When solid food is introduced, freshly prepared pureed fruits, vegetables and nut butters are the best choices,” says Tom.  “Children are now being fed and raised on manufactured ‘food’ items that were unknown even 75 years ago, and we are conducting a huge experiment which may not have a happy ending.  Only time will tell, but the current rise in the incidence of modern chronic diseases, previously considered age- related, that are now appearing in many children and adolescents seem to be giving us plenty to be concerned about.”

Friday, April 27, 2012

Guitar Giveaway!

In partnership with Interscope Records, TouchTunes is launching a music promotion with international rock sensation The All-American Rejects.  Starting on April 22, TouchTunes is offering Rejects fans the chance to win a Fender guitar autographed by the band!  Entry to the sweepstakes is available starting April 22, 2012 at (18+, U.S. only, ends 4/29/12)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Win a FREE wedding or cake!

Win a FREE wedding or celebration cake from your favorite bakery!

Attention brides … and everyone who loves cake: Publisher Globe Pequot Press is hosting a FREE wedding cake contest! All you have to do to enter is “like” GPP’s Facebook page and fill in a super-quick entry. The contest is in celebration of Rachel Eddey’s humorous memoir,Running of the Bride: My Frenzied Quest to Tie the Knot, Tear Up the Dance Floor, and Figure Out Why My 15 Minutes of Fame Included Commercial Breaks. The book makes a great gift for brides and wedding party members, pop culture enthusiasts, and memoir readers. Consider supporting by purchasing your copy today. 

About Running of the Bride:
When Rachel’s handsome studio exec boyfriend proposes on the Sex and the City movie set, she can’t fathom the dizzying adventure ahead. Accepting a once-in-a-lifetime venue deal helps their budget but puts them on a crash course to get married in just four months—and time isn’t their only challenge. They battle a wacky host of vendors, including a hair stylist who fakes a car accident and a makeup artist channeling Marilyn Manson, all while testing their love amid tastings and tulle.

Using her nervous energy productively, Rachel enters every contest she can find, winning diamond earrings, a honeymoon, a photographer, and two wedding gowns. Her pop culture obsession lands the wedding party on two hit reality TV shows. There’s just one problem as the clock ticks down: Her staunch perfectionism and fear of dancing threaten to derail everything. She has to redefine perfect and embrace the mistakes—or risk losing it all.

Please take your seats. The wedding is about to begin.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

VIP Tickets on Sale Now for the

Bridal Extravaganza Show!

Lucky Houston brides who have purchased VIP Tickets will be

treated to a special swag bag, glass of champagne and appetizers

from E & P Catering. Be the first to see the latest fashion

offerings from our Couture vendors.

Houston’s own Todd Ramos, is producing the show.

Bridal Extravaganza Show
July 21-22, 2012
George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston, TX

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Weight Watchers Tips

Are You Hung Up on a Dress Size?

Aiming to be the “perfect” size can only set you up for disappointment — especially when you realize how random store clothing sizes really are.

Article By: Carol Lynn Krol

Women working toward a weight-loss goal usually have a specific number on the scale in mind, but they often have an ideal clothing size as well.

But according to George Simonton design director of eponymous fashion label George Simonton, and professor at Fashion Institute of Technology, there is no standard sizing convention among women’s clothing manufacturers. “If you try an 8 from each designer, you’ll get a different fit on each one,” Simonton says. “They develop their own specs and measurements.”

That’s no surprise to any woman who’s burst into tears in a dressing room. Further, Jo Kallal, professor of fashion and apparel studies at University of Delaware, says that even within a single brand, there are disparities. “Neiman Marcus’ mail order catalog is more mass market than what they have in stores,” Kallal says. “[The latter] tends to be traditional sizing, and the [former] is roomier.”

Marketing, not measurements

Design experts agree that fluctuations are based on marketing. Elaine Perlov, e-commerce marketing manager at young women’s clothing label Dollhouse and principal designer and owner of Immortal Coil, explains that many apparel companies do research on customer demographics and use that information to inform measurements. Often the more high-end the designer, the smaller the size. Using size 8 as a baseline, she cites brand examples. “An 8 in Theory is more like a 6. Same for Marc Jacobs. In Dior, an 8 is more of a 4,” she explains. “A Gap size 8 is more like a 10, and Old Navy’s size 8 and Target’s size 8 is really like a 12.”

Kallal explains, “Sizing is used as a marketing tool to attract or retain customers,” adding that certain brands relate to specific shapes and demographics, depending on their target customer.

“At Ann Taylor, the difference between bust and waist is 7 ½ inches, and between the hips and waist, the difference is 10 inches,” Kallal says. "At Banana Republic, the difference between bust and waist is 9 inches, and between hips and waist is 12 inches. My guess is that Banana Republic is attracting a younger woman, whereas Ann Taylor is attracting an older woman who has maybe had children.”

Appealing to vanity

Vanity sizing, in which measurements run larger than standard, has become a factor adding to the confusion. Designers have drifted far afield of the US standard clothing sizes that were developed in the 1940s and 1950s.

One of the few places where older sizing is still apparent is in the dress-pattern market. The McCall Pattern Co., which markets Butterick, Vogue and McCall sewing patterns, shows size 8 measurements as 31 ½” bust, 24” waist and 33 ½” hip. Those measurements on Banana Republic’s Web site are somewhere between a size 00 and 0.

Marilyn Monroe’s dressmaker claimed her measurements were 35”-22”-35” when she posed for Playboy in 1953, according to Despite the oft-cited anecdote that she was a size 12, she would really be more like a size 2 or a 4 by US standards.

Designer Diane von Furstenberg agrees that “over the years, the sizes have changed. What used to be a 12 is maybe an 8 now.” She says vanity sizing is part of it, but notes the changes are attributed to “a combination of things. People have gotten bigger in the past 30 years,” she says. “It happened gradually. Women are bigger and stronger.” Even designers’ fit models “are much bigger than they were” years ago.

Kallal says the move by companies toward vanity sizes plays entirely on psychology and is aimed at making the cash register ring. “Women like to fit into smaller sizes,” she says. “Single digits sound better than double digits. It tends to make it seem you’ve stayed the same size.”

Simonton explains it this way: “Donna Karan makes every woman believe she is a size 6,” he says. “A lot of women don’t want to be above a size 8, although the average woman is 5’ 4 ½” and wears a size 12 top and a size 14 bottom.”

Just what is a size 8?

Designer                   Bust          Waist               Hips

McCall Pattern Co.   31 ½”       24”               33 ½”

Ann Taylor                36”           28 ½”           38 ½”

Lands End                 36”         29-30”            39”

Diane von Furstenberg 36”        28                   38

Prada                       35 ½”        27                  38

Kate Spade               37”           29 ½”            39 ½”

Old Navy                  36”           28                  39

What’s your dream size?

The magic number for many women hovers between an 8 and a 10. In an informal poll of more than a dozen women who were members and subscribers of Weight Watchers, half said size 8 is the ultimate goal, while 25% cited size 10 as their ideal. The remaining 25% cited size 4 or 6.

For these women, dress size is important, and the ability to shop with ease is a major factor in reaching a specific number. For Laura Gencarella, getting to her size 10 goal “means that I will be able to wear whatever I want, go into any store and know there are options for me,” she says.

Diana Lee, a Weight Watchers leader in Ormond Beach, FL, agrees. Her size 6 goal means “that I can shop anywhere and not feel self-conscious.”

While that motivation can be healthy, some sizes are unrealistic for certain body types. Body shape has always been determined in part by genetics.

In order to overcome sizing insanity, women should find clothing lines that work for their shape. Bettyann Glasser, CSW, psychotherapist, says that for almost every woman, there are typically “three stores out there that can attend to you and will consistently have your sizing.” Trying to fit a Talbot’s body into Bebe clothing can lead to self-sabotage. “Psychologically, it’s so defeating for women who already feel self-conscious about weight,” Glasser says.

Von Furstenberg agrees: “There are so many stores that are appropriate for bigger sizes and that cater to all body types. You have to find the clothing that fits well and then [embrace it].”

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earthday From Vocalpoint!

This Earth Day, make a pledge to make these simple, effective changes that can save you money on your electric bill, cut down on harmful emissions, and can make your use of energy more effective throughout your home.

Use cold water. You’ve probably heard that using cold water in your washing machine can save you loads on energy costs—and it’s true! Cold water washes just as well as hot, especially when using detergent made specifically to work best in cold water (like Tide Coldwater Detergent!). For super tough stains that you’d usually trust to hot water, just give a good scrubbing or soaking with detergent before putting in the washer. Plus, cold water can help your clothes last longer, as hot water often wears away at some synthetic fabrics. Experts agree—use cold water to reduce your energy costs, cut down on harmful environmental emissions, and keep your clothes lasting longer!

Change your light bulbs. Have you switched your light bulbs to Energy Star rated compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)? CFL bulbs use 75% less energy than normal bulbs—that is, they use less wattage to produce the same amount of light. A 20-watt CFL bulb produces as much light as a 75-watt regular bulb. CFL bulbs last up to 10 times longer than a regular light bulb (10,000 hours as opposed to 1,000) and can save you up to $30 in energy costs over the lifetime of the bulb. Replacing just one light bulb in your house with a CFL bulb can save the release of 450 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year because now your formerly high-energy bulbs aren’t pulling so much energy from local power stations. Cool, right? That simple switch does wonders!

Get a home energy audit. Call up your local energy office (Google [Your Town’s Name] and “Energy Audit”) and request a professional energy audit. An auditor will come through your home and look for potential energy leaks—whether it’s drafty windows, an inefficient water heater, or insufficient insulation--and make recommendations on how to seal up the problems to keep your energy costs and emissions down. Some states offer tax incentives for receiving an energy audit, so look into an audit this Earth Day.

Plant something! While your yard may not have the space for planting a tree, take a moment to give back to the earth by planting something, whether it’s tending to your garden or dropping a few seeds into a clay pot on your porch. You’ll be contributing to a bit more recycling of carbon dioxide back into oxygen and teaching the kids a great lesson about the importance of gardening! Need ideas? Try some advice about planting flowers or vegetables.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shespeaks Tide Take A Load Off Sweepstakes!

Tide and Future Friendly have launched the Take A Load Off sweepstakes to encourage cold water washing. Make the promise to switch to washing in cold water on the Future Friendly Facebook page and you'll be entered to win a High Efficiency Washer and Dryer and a one-year supply of Tide Coldwater! You and your readers can enter once per day to increase your chances of winning. A new winner will be picked each week through May 13th. You can also view P&G's press release about the campaign here.

Did you know that when doing laundry, heating water can account for up to 80 percent of the energy used per wash load in the U.S.? If one household switched to washing in cold for one year, they would save enough energy to watch TV for 1,363 hours! Making the switch to washing in cold is an easy change to make with Tide Coldwater, which is specially formulated to get clothes clean in cold water.

Take A Load Off Sweepstakes info:
Dates: Now through May 13th
Direct link to sweepstakes entry:
Entry info: Enter once per day to increase your chances of winning. A new winner will be picked each week through May 13th.
Prize: Maytag® Bravos XL® HE Top Load Washer and Dryer and a one year supply of Tide Coldwater!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Shespeaks Giveaway!

April is in full swing, which means it's the start of wedding season! Brides and grooms-to-be are starting to plan for their big day by registering for wedding gifts and frantically trying to fill in that last minute seating chart. If you’ve been put in charge of planning and organizing the bridal shower but are having a hard time coming up with a theme, we’ve got you covered, because we’re sharing some great ideas for themes that will make for the perfect party.

Planning for a bridal shower is an involved process, one that takes time and careful preparation. To help you get organized and start the planning process off right, check out this planning timeline and guide from

To be entered to win one of our giveaway prizes this week, simply submit a comment below sharing your bridal shower stories or create a review for a Home & Garden product that you think would make the perfect wedding gift. Better yet, do BOTH and get two chances to win!

Without further ado, here are our ideas for some great bridal shower party themes:

Music Era Shower: Plan the shower around a particular music era. For example, a party themed around the 40s could feature music from Harry James, Glen Miller, or Benny Goodman. You can have the guests dress up to match the era and decorate the venue with posters of musicians from that decade. For a party game, plan to sing some karaoke featuring songs that come only from the chosen era.

Reminiscing Shower: Have the guests bring photos of themselves with the guest of honor along with a note about the picture or occasion. Combine all of these pictures and notes into a scrapbook at the party to present to the bride to be. You can decorate the party location with photographs of the bride and groom at different ages. As a party game, have all the guests go around and share their favorite memory of the guest of honor.

Dessert Shower: Ask every guest to bring a dessert to the party. You can set up blind taste tests as a party game and award prizes to the best overall or richest dessert. Try to set up a number of different categories so that there are many winners. For a fun party favor idea, hand out small gift baskets with different cookies wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbons. For a wide selection of great dessert recipes, check out

Alphabet Shower:This bridal shower theme starts with the invitations. Have each invite contain the letters of the bride to be’s name (first, middle, and last) and assign each guest a letter from her name. Instruct each guest to bring a gift that starts with their assigned letter and make sure that they write the letter on the wrapping so that it’s clearly visible. As guests arrive and gifts stack up, the gifts will begin to spell out the name of the bride to be. For a party snack, make sugar cookies and then ask each guest to write, in icing, a word that describes the guest of honor that starts with the letters in her name.

Now we’d like to hear from you! What was your bridal shower or wedding like? Did you ever attend a bridal shower that had an interesting theme? Have you ever planned for a bridal shower or been involved in a wedding party? To be entered to win one of our giveaway prizes this week, simply create a review for a Home & Garden product that you think would make the perfect wedding gift or submit a comment below sharing your bridal shower stories. Better yet, do BOTH and get two chances to win! Comments and reviews must be submitted by 6pm EST on April 23rd, 2012. Good luck!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Shape-Up Secrets from Old Hollywood Glamour Girls

How the original list of sexiest celebs stayed in camera-ready shape.

By Charlotte Andersen
Marilyn Monroe

The ultimate glamour girl, Marilyn Monroe was more famous for her other, ahem, assets than her cooking prowess, but biographers say Monroe was on the forefront of the health-food movement. Plus, the curvy beauty was one of the first famous females known to routinely lift weights.

According to old grocery receipts and reports from friends, Monroe was a homebody who loved to do her own shopping and then cook healthy, sometimes elaborate meals at home.

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn was known for her perpetually perfect posture—a feat that not only enhanced her enviable bone structure, but experts also say helps prevent indigestion, constipation, and back and neck pain. While she wasn't crazy about formal exercise routines, Hepburn loved walking and would find reasons to work walks into her daily schedule.

To maintain her gamine figure she reportedly ate a simple diet of mostly fruits and vegetables with the occasional plate of pasta or square of dark chocolate as a sweet treat. Her last stay-gorgeous trick? Afternoon naps!

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn was one of the first great Hollywood actresses to not only "exercise vigorously" but to admit it. Her parents encouraged her from childhood to "work her body to its highest potential," and she loved all kinds of sports (swimming, golf, and tennis especially). Hepburn prided herself on doing all her own stunts well into her 60s. At 84 years old, she said she could still stand on her head, walk on her hands, and somersault off a diving board. That's one admiral bag of party tricks!
These are just a few Leading Ladies you can see the rest of the SHAPE article by clicking here!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Are You Wearing the Right Bra?

Our guide to give you the proper know-how for buying that essential undergarment.

Article By: Liz Menz Figenshu

Your bra is the hardest-working garment you own. It supports your breasts, keeps your body looking trim and streamlined, and helps prevent shoulder strain. As the foundation for your entire wardrobe, your bra's condition, style, and fit of your bra should be a priority – but for many of us, it’s an after-thought. A simple update to your collection can have a big payoff – great support can visually shave 5 lbs off your figure, instantly.

Build a complete bra wardrobe

Follow these better-fit tips and your breasts will thank you.

1.Open your bra drawer and take a count. Every woman should own 7-10 bras and regularly rotate through all of them, explains Susan Nethero, owner of Intimacy lingerie boutique. Don’t own that many? We’re not surprised: 67% of women count on only 4 bras for everyday use, says Nethero. It may seem excessive to own a bra for every day of the week, but the fact is, having a sufficient supply of bra options prevents overuse, deterioration of elastic and, ultimately, insufficient support.

2.Reevaluate your bra wardrobe once a year: toss 3 of your oldest, least useful, or least comfortable bras, reassess your size, and replenish with 3 new bras. Take the time to get fitted again after your body undergoes significant change such as having a baby or experiencing a weight change of 10% or more. Your breasts may be smaller or shaped differently, and your body’s circumference may have changed. A professional fitting will yield the most accurate sizing results, or click here for a DIY bra-fit calculator.

3.Shop around. The four components of fit are the bra band, cups, straps, and bridge (the piece that links the cups together), says Ali Cudby, bra fit coach and founder of "Figure out your band size first," she advises. "Band sizes are much more consistent from brand to brand than cup sizes are." To focus completely on the band fit without getting distracted by the cups, Cudby suggests this trick: try the bra on backwards, with hooks under your breast and cups in the back. Another tip from Cudby: When shopping for new bras, fasten them on the loosest hook; as they stretch out over time, you can tighten to maintain a proper fit.

4.Think beyond the T-shirt bra. Choose a variety of styles that compliment your wardrobe. More than 90% of women rely on basic seamless options that don’t lift, shape or support breasts as well as those with seams, according to Nethero. A plunge, push-up or balcony bra will lift your bust and accentuate your neckline, she says, which is especially flattering with a scoop, square, or v-neck top. And adding a convertible or strapless bra to your collection creates more freedom to experiment with cut-away shoulder, halter and backless tops.

Refine Your Fit: Does your bra look like this?

Stand in front of a full-length mirror wearing your bra, and take a good look at how it fits, from all angles. If you can answer yes to any (or many!) of these questions, you need to go bra shopping.

1.Does your bra band ride up in the back? If it does, you need a smaller size band (that's the number in a bra size; the letter represents the size of the cup). Think of a bra band as a see-saw, says Nethero. To keep your breasts supported, the band must sit level or low on your back. When the band begins to rise on your back, your breasts will drop. A smaller band size will rest more firmly on your rib cage and remain in place.

2.Do your breasts spill over the top of your cups? When your cup size is too small, breast tissue is forced over the top edge of your bra, creating misshapen cleavage. If your band fit is properly snug and low, then going up in cup size is the solution to this bra problem.

3.Do you have back-bulge around your bra band? Minimize soft tissue spilling over the back and sides of your bra by wearing a band that fits snugly around the less-fleshy part of the rib cage at the base of the bust line. For a truly smooth fit under clingy knits, try the Spanx Bra-llelujah which uses hardware-free hosiery for the band instead of bump-inducing clasps and elastic.

4.Does your bra cup pucker or stand away from your breasts? If your breast doesn’t fill out the cup completely, your cup size is too big. Going down in cup size will provide an appropriate ratio of fabric to breast tissue and eliminate any wrinkling or gaping.

5.Do your bra straps dig into your shoulders? Your band is too loose. Only 10% of breast support should come from the straps; the other 90% should come from a properly fitted band. Test your straps: see if you can easily slide two fingers under – if not, it means you’re relying too heavily on too-tight straps. A smaller band size will help to alleviate your pain.

6.Is there a space between your bra and your breastbone? If your bra lifts away from your body, it means the cups aren’t roomy enough to accommodate all of your breast tissue, explains Nethero. Choose a deeper cup with space for your entire breast to rest comfortably inside your bra.

7.Does your flesh spill out under your armpits? Blame the shape of your cup. A deeper cup keeps the breast tissue on the front of your body where it belongs, instead of pushing it to the side. Bringing your breasts front and center also creates a more youthful silhouette, Nethero says.

8.Does your underwire slide down below the base of your breast? A cup that is too large can sit unnaturally low on the front of the body and make your breasts appear to be sagging. To eliminate the vertical space between the underwire and the breast go one cup size down.

9.Are your breasts uneven? Disguising uneven breasts is easier than you might imagine. The trick is to fit your larger breast exactly and then add volume to the smaller breast. Nethero suggests buying a bra with removable padding and remove the pad from the fuller side. Or purchase a pad to enhance your smaller breast and add it to any bra.

Shop smart

Sure, you can raid the lingerie sale racks of any big-box or discount store – and if you have the time to spend, you might find the perfect fit. But specialty lingerie brands offer sizing and features geared toward specific needs. Linda Becker, bra fit expert and owner of Linda’s Bra Salon, shares a few of her favorite lines for different shapes and needs:

Large busts:Panache bras are specifically designed for a fuller bust with cup sizes that start at D and go all the way up to K.
The Little Bra Co
Small busts: Not only does The Little Bra Company focus on great fit for women with smaller cup sizes, but they even offer an often unseen size 28 band.
Plus size:Elila offers full figured women sizing options all the way up to a 50N.
Shock Absorber
Athletic support:Shock Absorber sports bras provide comfort during workouts for women with up to an H cup.
Hot Milk
Nursing women:HOTmilk nursing bras come in many sexy styles and offer 6 hook settings on the band to accommodate a woman’s fluctuating post-baby body.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Art Car Parade!

The Shark car came to my school way back when in Middle School and it was great. This will be fun for all!

Starting Your Own Garden

You can bet the farm that these handy tips will bring you a fantastic harvest.

Article By: Debbie Koenig

One of the best — and most rewarding — ways to ensure you’ve always got a good supply of fresh, healthy produce on hand is to grow it yourself. Have no fear: Apartment dwellers, gardening novices and even certified black thumbs can harvest fresh herbs, veggies and fruit with these simple tips.

Timing is everything

Before you start, consider the timing. Knowing when to plant which seeds (or seedlings) is crucial; this varies widely depending on climate. For example, warm winters aside, in and around New York City the average last frost date is April 13 — soon after that it’ll be safe to plant warm-weather crops directly in the ground. But in San Francisco, you can begin in February. No matter where you live, if you’re starting from scratch on an outdoor space, you’ll need time to prepare the soil, possibly months.

One way to find out when to start is to ask a neighbor whose garden you admire — you’ll probably get spot-on advice, and maybe even cuttings to get you started! Another option is the staff at your local garden center; not only will they advise you, they can also help you select the proper supplies. Or seek out a master gardener at your university extension agent; they’re trained by the American Horticultural Society. Our advice: spread out your sowing. Choose crops that are suited for different seasons, and you’ll have a rolling harvest that lasts for months.

Space: The next frontier

Don’t have a big yard? A sunny windowsill or balcony is perfect for container gardening, which can yield a variety of herbs, vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce and peppers, or strawberries. No sill? Try a hanging basket. If you’ve got a 4’ x 4’ area, paved or not, consider Square Foot Gardening. You’ll construct a simple grid of 1’ x 1’ squares, each of which holds a different type of plant. In very little space, you’ll have enough variety to fill your crisper indefinitely. But no matter the size of your garden, make sure there’s enough direct sun: vegetables need six to eight hours a day.

Choose wisely

If you’re a beginner, it’s best to fill your first garden with crops that are relatively easy to grow. Good options include:

•Herbs: Rosemary, basil, parsley, chives, thyme

•Vegetables: Lettuce, summer squash, radishes, green beans, cherry tomatoes

•Fruit: Strawberries, blueberries

Heirloom varieties are fruits and vegetables that pre-date industrial agriculture — they’ve never been crossbred for hardiness or yield, and will always grow to resemble their parent plants. But because of this they’re also trickier to nurture, so you may want to test your green thumb on a more widely available variety first.

As for deciding whether to go with seeds or seedlings, expert gardeners offer this advice: Bigger seeds (i.e. cucumber, zucchini) are easier to sow directly into soil. Plants with smaller seeds, like tomatoes and most herbs, are simpler to buy as seedlings and transplant.

Get your hands dirty

Next, let’s talk soil. Since this is where your produce will thrive or wither, it’s immeasurably important. If you’ll be planting in the ground, it’s a good idea to test your soil’s ph balance. Many nurseries and Web sites sell home testing kits, which will tell you the acidity or alkalinity of the soil so you can modify as needed — most vegetables prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil. Take this a step further and have the soil composition tested; the results will come with recommendations for adjustments and fertilizing. Container gardeners have it slightly easier: Depending on what you’re planting, the experts at your local garden store (or that neighbor you’ve befriended) can advise you on what soil to purchase. And don’t forget the mulch! It’s organic material, like compost or special plastic sheeting that’s laid over the soil to insulate and protect tender plantings.

Care and feeding

The hard part’s done, but you can’t just walk away. Check your seed packet or plant labels: Most include specific growing instructions; follow them carefully. One thing all produce needs is water, and lots of it. On average, your garden will need at least an inch of water every week — either from rain or from the hose. Water when the top inch of soil is dry, in the morning, and make sure the soil is soaked to a depth of six to eight inches. A light sprinkling will signal the roots to come to the surface; this could kill them.

If you’ve had your soil tested, you’ll know what type of fertilizer is recommended. Fertilizer needs will vary by crop — take that into account before you plant so you can group items with similar needs together. Organic fertilizer comes from plants and animals and is chemical-free; it also requires a bit more work to get the proper mix of nutrients. Inorganic fertilizer can be easier to manage, since you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.

Harvest your crop just before it reaches full maturity, and savor the fruits of your labor!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Great Giveaways!

WIn Pampers and wipes 4/30

Win $30 Johnson's Bedtime 4/30

Win a Waterpik Ecoflow ($51.99) 4/30

Win Neutrogena Naturals Line ($40) 4/30

Win Neutrogena Grapefruit Prize Pack 4/26

Win Big G Curvy Straws Prize Pack 4/23

Win Alvin and The Chipmunks:Chipwrecked & $80 skateboard 4/19

Matthew Christopher Designer Trunk Show

Still searching for your wedding gown?

Houston Bridal Gallery would like to invite you our Matthew Christopher Trunk Show! Appointments are still available, and this is a rare event, so make your appointment today by calling 713-526-9401! Meet the designer, Matthew, find the gown of your dreams, and receive 15% off!
Meet the Designer Event
Looking for a gown that's out of the ordinary and a show-stopper? Matthew Christopher's gowns will give you that WOW factor you've been looking for. View the 2012 collection and best sellers. As a bonus, Matthew himself will be here for personal gown advice, and he will even give a special discount of 15% off ALL Matthew Christopher gowns! Enjoy special refreshments during this event!
Matthew's price range: between $2000 to about $4500. Savings from $300 to about $675!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Smart Style Guide Sweepstakes

For many of us, smart means paying less without sacrificing personal style. Enter the experts at, who make it easy to look like a million bucks - without spending anywhere near it! This new site is the source for women who want to achieve the latest beauty, hair and fashion styles while on a budget.  From the latest hair how-tos and beauty basics to firsthand product reviews and fashion trends, Smart Style Guide features approach beauty and fashion in an economical way.

At, on-trend information and advice is at your finger tips.  You'll discover easy-to-replicate how-tos, sensible beauty advice and firsthand product reviews designed to help you keep pace with the ever-changing world of fashion and beauty.  You can even see where millions of savvy stylistas are uncovering head-to-toe red carpet looks that don't break the bank.

The folks behind this awesome site are certainly smart; that's why they've created a special sweepstakes offer. Head on over to and enter to win a Keratin Therapy Flat Iron (click on the polls and survey tab for the entry form). This is the perfect introduction to a site we know is going to be a longtime favorite.

Smart Advice. Smart Products. Smart Savings.  It all adds up to your Smart Style.
So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of this exciting offer and head over to

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Santa Margherita Sweepstakes

Every mom deserves a little relaxation, and what could be more relaxing than a weekend getaway? Just in time for Mother's Day weekend, one of our favorite wine brands wants to make sure that one lucky mom is ringing in the holiday with style! In honor of the introduction of the refreshing new Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosè, Santa Margherita is hosting a fantastic Facebook contest.

If lounging at a beautiful hotel in an exciting city, sipping on the new Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosè sounds up your alley, point your kids (or yourselves!) in the direction of Facebook! By simply telling Santa Margherita why their mom deserves a getaway, they'll be entering you for the chance to win a Las Vegas Mother's Day Weekend for two, including airfare, two nights at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino and a memorable Mother's Day Brunch featuring HGTV star and entertaining expert Monica Pedersen. Other great prizes include bottles of wine, boxes of chocolates and copies of Monica Pedersen's new book, "Make it Beautiful." Encourage your kids to enter or log on to Facebook to enter on behalf of your own mother!

Because Italians' love of their mothers is internationally renowned, Mother's Day provides the perfect occasion for America's favorite Italian wine to introduce Americans to the delicious new Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosè. The Sparkling Rosè joins an acclaimed lineup of Santa Margherita wines that also includes Pinot Grigio, Prosecco and Chianti Classico Riserva. The #1 Imported Italian Wine crafted this beautiful, sparkling blend of Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, Chardonnay, and a hint of Malbec in the crisp, easy-drinking style for which Santa Margherita is renowned.
Click on the Link and enter to win:

The new Santa Margherita Sparkling Rose isn't available in stores until May but the Sweepstakes is open so go and register for your chance at a weekend getaway to Las Vegas!

"Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Santa Margherita prize package in exchange for this post.  No monetary exchange took place."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 21st Power Talk 21 Day!

I've always been the kind of parent who believes that open and honest communication is the best way to handle issues, and I'm so thrilled that there is an organization that feels the same way. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has programs and activities to prevent underage drinking, starting with the Power of Parents program sponsored by Nationwide Insurance. To help you get started, they have designated April 21st as PowerTalk 21® day. It's a day for parents, kids and communities can take positive steps to open communications using the Power of Parents program and work together to end underage drinking.
Since nearly three out of four kids say their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking, MADD helps mothers like us put that influence to work by offering a research-based handbook for talking with teens about alcohol. I encourage you to download it here; I know I did!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Xia Xia Shell Party

Xia Xia

Thanks to MomSelect and Xia Xia I was able to host a Xia Xia Shell Party these are colorful Hermit Crabs with multiple vibrant color shells available for purchase separately Xia-Xia Pets are electronic pet crabs that are full of surprises. Each pet crab comes with a little friend inside! My daughter and her cousin's had a lot of fun with these toys and I'm sure and girl would love to have a pet or two!
Additional hermit crab shells are sold separately, and all of the crab toys can wear any of the hermit crab shells.

By publishing this post, I was compensated with products for a promotional program with MomSelect. All opinions are my own.