June 29, 2010

Spa Warning

Whenever you go to a spa, make sure your wallet is free from credit cards and any money not being used to pay for the spa.

This is because while you're getting pampered, the masseuses take out your credit cards and charge huge amounts on them!

June 28, 2010

Gel Manicure Warning

Jane Ubell-Meyer wears a bandage on her thumb, which suffered nerve damage from a fake gel manicure. Imagine being zapped with nerve pain anytime your hand touched anything.

That constant level of pain was an everyday battle Jane Ubell-Meyer had to face for months after a botched gel manicure, reports Elizabeth Leamy for ABC's Good Morning America.

"Anything that touched my thumb caused an electric shock, whether it was air or water. I would get an electric charge that went up my thumb, through my elbow, up to my arm," says Ubell-Meyer, her hand and thumb so thickly wrapped in protective material, that it looks like a cast.

After desperately seeking out the help of a host of doctors that included a orthopedist, dermatologist and chiropractor with no success, it was finally neurologist and Consumer Reports medical adviser Dr. Orly Avitzur who discovered the culprit: a fake gel manicure gone wrong.

In the traditional gel treatment, nails are electrically filed and a coating of gel applied, which is hardened by UV light dryers. In the newer CND Shellac hybrid gel-polish manicure, the electronic filing stage is skipped, though a thin coat of colored gel is still applied to nails and put through a UV light treatment cycle to set the gel.

But even though Ubell-Meyer paid for and thought she had received a gel manicure, she had not.

When the manicurist was filing her nails, the machine slipped and abraded her skin. The manicurist then continued on and dipped the finger in a powder to set it, which Dr. Avitzur says allowed the unknown white powdery chemical to penetrate the skin, migrate, and cause excruciating nerve damage.

With hundreds of thousands of women in the United States receiving safe gel manicures without problems, celebrity nail technician Patricia Yankee says that it's the technician you have to watch out for.

"Nine times out of ten, the unskilled, uneducated technician is the one causing the issue," says Yankee.

So how do you know if you're getting the real thing, or exposing yourself to the risk of a dangerous fake gel mani?

There are several signs to look for.

There should be no mixing of glue or polish -- the technician should only be using a paint-on gel and UV dryer to set the manicure. Your fingers should not be dipped into anything loose that can migrate into skin, and make sure containers that the manicurist is working from are branded and marked.

Strong, sickly smells emitted from containers are another danger sign that products have been mixed into a potentially hazardous blend.

Skin cuts and abrasions and pain felt in the nails or hands during services are all signs that your technician is poorly skilled and could seriously hurt you.

True gel manicures are ultra shiny and clear once completed, while fake versions will look too cloudy to see through to the nail.

And there's another industry where cheaper and dangerous versions of the 'real thing' are lurking: bargain boobs and botox.

June 27, 2010

Securing your home when going on vacation

Going on a trip? Take precautions to keep potential intruders away from your property.

When you finally take some time off for vacation, the last thing you want to worry about is what might go wrong at home while you're away. But the reality is that your home could be a sitting target for burglars when it's empty.

The good news? With this simple checklist, you can head for the sunshine knowing your house is safe and secured. The key to deterring intruders from your house? Make sure your home looks lived-in, even if you'll be away a couple weeks. Here's how.

1. Arrange for mail to be held while you're away. Mail quickly piles up in the mailbox (hello, catalogs!), and an overflowing mailbox is a sure sign to everyone that you're not home. You can easily stop mail delivery by notifying the post office online. Then you can pick up your mail when you get back.

2. Put your newspapers on hold. Besides the waste of paper (who's going to read old news when you return from vacation?), a pileup of newspapers on your doorstep is an easy red flag that you're away.

3. Show-off your alarm system. Make sure to have an easy-to-see sign on your door or window to alert everyone of your spiffed-up security system. Consider putting up a sign, even if you haven't invested in a high-tech alarm.

4. Don't button up the whole house. It's natural to want to "close up" the house while you're away, but you want to give the appearance that the house is lived in. Leave drapes and window treatments slightly open, rather than closed shut. Put some of your indoor lights on timers, and have some of them go on at night to give the appearance that someone's at home.

5. Invest in motion-sensing floodlights for the yard. Now is a good time to consider investing in motion-sensing floodlights. When you're on vacation, glaring light will deter potential intruders. And when you arrive home, it'll be easier to see what's going on at night.

6. Leave a radio on. To those outside, the buzz of voices will make it seem like there are people at home. Choose a talk station, like NPR, rather than an station that just plays music.

7. Leave a car in the driveway. If you're flying to your destination, simply leave your car in the driveway. If you're taking a summer road trip, ask a neighbor if they could park one of their cars in your driveway while you're away. It's also a good idea to alert a neighbor or friend that you'll be away, so they can keep an eye on your house.

8. Arrange for your lawn to be mowed. You want to stop some services (like mail delivery) while you're away. But others, like getting your lawn mowed, should continue on just like you're at home. Arrange with your landscaper to have your lawn mowed as usual while you're away. If you typically mow your own lawn, consider hiring a local to come mow your lawn once while you're away during extended trips. Long grass is another sure-fire signal to burglars that the house has been vacant.

9. Take a walk-around your house a week or so before you leave. Check for any shrubs, hedges, trees, or landscaping that looks overgrown (also look for tree limbs that provide an easy route to an upstairs window.) Trim any greenery that looks like it would provide a hiding place for intruders.

10. Make sure unnecessary electrical equipment is turned off while you're away. It's a good idea to plug your electronics in surge protectors that are easy to power on or off with the flick of a switch. You'll also be saving energy (and saving on your electric bill!) by powering off the TV, computer, and entertainment center. Many appliances are also known as ghost energy hogs, sucking energy even when they're simply turned off. By plugging these devices in a safety surge protector, you can stop the flow of electricity.

11. Give the cat-sitter or dog-sitter a spare key before you leave. You don't want to hide the key under a rock, doormat, or in the BBQ grill. These are all known hide-a-key tricks; they give burglars a free pass into your house.

Tip: Ensure you come home to a fresh house post-vacation. Clear your refrigerator of any perishable foods (you can offer your milk to your friendly neighbor) and make sure you take out stinky trash before you leave.

June 24, 2010

Why so expensive!

Yesterday I went to the movie theater and the price had gone up from $10.50 to $11.25 in six months!

R they kidding? The economy's in the toilet and they're raising the price of movie tickets!!

June 19, 2010

Health hazards at the mall

Shopping for a new bikini, a pair of running shoes, or a hot new shade of lipstick? You likely expect to bag some fabulous deals, but you might also be taking home a concoction of microbes that could spread anything from cold sores to a staph infection. “Bacteria can live on dry clothing for three to six months,” warns Philip Tierno, Ph.D., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Langone Medical Center.

In his research, he has routinely found respiratory secretions, skin flora and even fecal flora on clothing. But regardless of how gross it sounds, Tierno says that with a little common sense (wash your hands after shopping, wash your clothes before wearing them), the likelihood of getting sick from a shopping trip is very low.


Chances are good that whatever you put on your head has been on several heads before you. The biggest concern from all that trying on is the possibility of the transmission of lice. If a person with head lice tries on a hat and then you put it on, the critters could start a new infestation in your hair. The good news is that because lice can’t live more than a day or two without human contact, there’s a good chance they’ll die off before they can get to you.


Women’s panties and thongs are probably the most potentially problematic garments in the store. “In our research, women were allowed to try them on without underwear and return them to the rack, or even buy them, try them on at home and return them to the store,” says Tierno. “We tested sample garments and found vaginal flora and fecal flora on many of them.”

Tierno suggests trying on underwear (if you must) with your own on, but even then, be sure to wash your hands as soon as you leave the store to avoid transmitting harmful bacteria by touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Bathing Suits

Unlike underwear, most women’s bathing suits feature a so-called “hygiene strip” in the crotch. Its purpose is to allegedly protect you from exposure to the vaginal and fecal flora that could potentially lead to yeast infections, staph infections or the gastro-intestinal norovirus (which causes the stomach flu). But don’t let that little strip lull you into a false sense of security. “If other people have tried on the suit without underwear, the strip can trap organisms,” says Tierno.

The safest approach is to wear your underwear while trying on suits. And when you bring home a new bathing suit, it should be washed just as you would new underwear. “Some women must pull off the hygiene strip to try on suits and then replace it,” says Tierno. “Because when we tested bathing suits, we found organisms both on the strip and on the fabric underneath it.”
And when you buy new panties, always wash them before you wear them. “Most laundry detergents don’t contain antibacterial agents to kill things like fecal flora, so pretreat them with a little peroxide before washing with detergent,” says Tierno.


Do you wear flip flops in the gym locker room to protect yourself from athlete’s foot? Well those same fungi could be lurking in the shoe department. When people try on shoes without socks they can leave behind skin cells and possibly the fungus that causes athlete’s foot. (Try these home remedies for athlete's foot.)

You can protect your feet while trying on shoes by keeping them covered (wearing socks or those little throw-away liners that most shoe stores offer customers). And when you buy a pair of shoes, you should disinfect them to eradicate any bacteria or fungus left behind by previous shoppers. A spritz of bacteria-killing spray (like Lysol) on the inside of the shoe should kill anything potentially harmful before it gets to your feet.

Eye Makeup

Mascara is particularly notorious for growing and harboring bacteria—which is why experts recommend you toss open tubes after six months. (What is the shelf life of makeup?) “If we throw out mascara for fear of our own bacteria, imagine what might contaminate it if several people are using it,” says Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University.

To protect your eyes from conjunctivitis (more commonly known as pink eye) and other infections, you really shouldn’t test makeup directly on your eyes. If you insist on it, make sure to only test mascara at a makeup counter that provides single-use applicators. Eye pencils, liner and shadows can be tested on the back of your hand. But if you really want to try them directly on your eyes, use a Q-tip or disposable applicator for shadows and sharpen eye liner pencils before using.


You probably wouldn’t kiss someone with a cold sore, but if you try on lipstick or gloss at the beauty counter, you might be unwittingly exposing yourself to that same herpes simplex virus. “You should only use new or freshly cleaned brushes to apply lipstick,” says Alexiades-Armenackas.

At better makeup counters, you’ll see the makeup artists who work there disinfecting lipstick by dipping it alcohol or wiping off the top layer of product with an antibacterial wipe. High traffic days will mean more customers and less time for employees to clean products, so to be safest, avoid testing on weekends or any time there are people lined up to sample a new shade.

Makeup Brushes and Sponges

“Brushes, sponges, and pads are all used repeatedly and that can cause bacteria to build up on them,” says Alexiades-Armenackas. Whenever possible, apply makeup with disposable applicators (like cotton pads or single-use sponges) instead. If you go to a counter where a makeup artist is applying products for you, make sure she disinfects her brushes with antibacterial spray—and washes or disinfects her hands—before she starts working on you.

June 17, 2010

How to keep cool in the heat

When you're about to go to bed on a hot day sprinkle a little baby powder on the sheets before going to sleep. Also taking a warm shower or drinking something warm when you're hot will cool you down. Drinking something cold or taking a cold shower will have the opposite effect. Keep cool!

June 16, 2010

Those harrasing debt collectors!

The other day I saw an episode on debt collectors done by the TV show Dateline and I learned something interesting. When a debt collector calls telling you the cops are on their way, it's a lie, because I saw a woman talking with her hand on the phone receiver threatening the caller with police coming to get her if she didn't pay up.

To see the videos go on to youtube and type in dateline credit card debt trap.

June 1, 2010

Vacation Tips

Go right now, before airline rates go up

Check your hotel receipt for hidden charges like:

Resort, bellman, minibar, and room service charges.

If you weren't told about these charges, you have a right to dispute them

Travel insurance should be bought if your going on a 5,000 dollar cruise,but not if you're buying a  cheap ticket. Don't buy insurance from the cruise line, buy it from a third party.