April showers

Image by ainasa via Flickr

Spring has sprung in many parts of the United States, and for most of us, the weather is warming up, our wardrobes are changing, we’re digging out dusty sunglasses and our toes are sliding back into flip flops. Magazines, books, websites and even television shows are encouraging women to take care of themselves and put themselves as first priority so that as soon as summer hits we’re in the best bikini shape we can be! While I’m going to encourage us to do that, too, I’m throwing in a lot more.

What to expect from Women’s Health in April:
*fitness tips – the season of fewer clothes is right around the corner
*nutrition information – there’s all sorts of new stuff out all the time
*beauty product reviews – if you have recommendations or products you’d like to review, please contact me
*new food/recipe reviews – same review offer as before
*fashion stuff – this is a new territory for me since I”m a jeans & t-shirt girl, but we’ll see what I can pull out for ya’ll!
*interviews with other women’s health advocates – know one? Contact me!

Do you have an idea of what you want to see happening at Women’s Health? My inbox is always open for your suggestions – always!

Be Well,

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Origin of April Fool’s Day

calendar,April 2009
Image by hichako via Flickr

Instead of playing some elaborate April Fool’s Day blog joke on you (I have seen some really good ones in the past!) I’ll stick to a bit of basics around here!

The origins are uncertain – some celebrate it as a turning of the seasons (even though the first day of Spring is March 21) and some see it as stemming from the adoption of a new calendar.

The most likely origin that I’ve read surrounds Constantine and Kugel, though. Explained by Boston University professor Joseph Boskin, a group of fools and court jesters once told the Roman emperor Constantine that they could do a better job of keeping the Romans in line. Being (apparently easily) amused, Constatine allowed it – for a day. Appointing Jester Kugel as king for the day, he passed an edict “calling for absurdity” on the day. It then became an annual event. “In a way,” explained Prof. Boskin, “it was a very serious day. In those times fools were really wise men. It was the role of jesters to put things in perspective with humor.”

There was only one catch: Boskin made the whole thing up. It took a couple of weeks for the Associated Press (as this went to press in 1983) to realize that they’d been victims of an April Fools’ joke themselves.

What are some of the best (or worst, I guess) April Fool’s Day jokes you’ve seen or heard of?

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Goodbye March

A day of sunday...
Image by Tonyç via Flickr

Can I just say that I’m VERY glad that March is on it’s way out?

I’m ready to welcome April into my life this year and the changes it can bring. I have tons of posts planned and am excited to see what happens. I am READY for spring, READY for sunshine and READY for playing outside.

See ya later March, hi April! *waves*

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YPFW :: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

With a name like the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, you’d think that this would look a little more fish-like, but it’s not, and it’s a relatively simple position to get yourself into, after you do it a couple of times!

Ardha Matsyendrasana, also known as the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
(ARE-dah MOT-see-en-DRAHS-anna)
ardha = half
Matsyendra = king of the fish (matsya = fish
indra = ruler), a legendary teacher of yoga

To do the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose: Begin in the the Staff Pose (Dandasana),

From Staff Pose – Dandasana, bring sole of right foot to floor on the outside of left thigh. Bend left knee, and tuck left foot in near right buttock. Inhale and bring left arm up near left ear.

Exhale and twist right arm, bringing left elbow to outside of right knee and right palm to the floor, just behind sit bones. Look out over right shoulder, but don’t overturn neck – twist originates in belly, not neck. On each inhale, draw spine long, and on each exhale, twist a little deeper.

Be sure to keep sole of right foot flat on floor. When you release pose, take a slight counter twist to opposite direction. Release legs and switch position as you prepare to twist to other side.

Beginners: may want to sit on some padding if uncomfortable. If you cannot bend the left leg into the ideal position, keep it extended.

Advanced: Come into a bind with arms. Thread left arm back underneath right knee. Reach right arm behind back, and clasp right wrist with left hand.

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Getting into smacking sports

Jacoby Ellsbury #46 of t...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

It’s weeks like these that make me wish I could connect a bat to a baseball. I have had one of them most stressful weeks of my life, and really, all I want to do is beat something. I want to scream, punch the wall, beat pillows and pound on my steering wheel, but I don’t. It’s times like these I wish I had more training in a batting cage – somewhere I could connect a big huge hard stick with a little unsuspecting ball to beat it into no where.

I am looking forward to what April is going to bring for me and for Women’s Health, but for the next couple of days, I am going to lay low and do some deep breathing. Lots and lots of deep breathing. And maybe I’ll take up baseball. Or knife throwing. Or just random sitting on the floor of the bathtub and sobbing. I can handle any and all of the above (but in my opinion, the baseball thing (or even the knife throwing thing) sounds like a bit of fun).

Maybe it’s time for another lesson on the driving range.

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5 random things I’d like to try

Fuze (beverage)
Image via Wikipedia

1. MorningStar Farms original sausage patties – I love the MorningStar Farms corn dogs and can’t imagine why I wouldn’t like the sausage, too.

2. Kotex Ultra Thin with Wings pads – yes, you read that right, I want to try out this pad. I have always (like since I was 16) been an Always Ultra Thin Regular with wings girl but they don’t have the “cut-a-way” that the Kotex pad is advertising. It’s been something that has annoyed me for almost ten years. Maybe it’s time to switch things up? (If you’re not ready to switch things up, you can at least get a free sample of the Always Infinity pads here.)

3. A pair of cute earth shoes. A friend of the family has a few pair that she loves, but I hadn’t found a pair that I thought were age-appropriate until I visited their website and began searching. I would wear a pair of the Dharma shoes in bordeaux glossy leather, or a pair of the Solar shoes in black glossy leather. I can’t believe it took me so long to actually go to the site and pick out the shoes I would wear!

4. Something from the new Vickery & Clarke line. CVS has this line of natural beauty products that I have been dying to try. The Detox Face Mask, the Mega Rich Eye Cream and the Hand Creme with Shea Butter are all on my list. Too bad there are no CVS Pharmacies in my area!

5. Fuze – in some of the slenderize flavors. Tangerine Grapefruit and Pomegrantae Acai Berry sound like such intriguing flavors! Maybe I’ll splurge the next time I’m at the grocery store! “7 great flavors, 10 calories, 2 grams of carbs, 4 key ingredients and 1 resolution!”

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YPFW :: Boat pose

Instead of just doing a text post for the Boat Pose, today I’d like to share a couple of videos with you instead. I can’t figure out how to imbed a video into this version of WordPress, (Hey CQ – maybe this is something we can work on for the next update?)

Here is what a picture of the boat pose looks like, but I encourage you to watch the videos to really get a sense of what the Boat Pose entails!

Navasana Yoga Posture – Boat Pose
Seated Yoga Poses – Yoga Boat Pose
Yoga Poses for Fibromyalgia – Yoga Boat Pose for Fibromyalgia Patients

If you want to read step by step guides on how to do the Boat Yoga Pose, check out the instructions here at Yoga.About.com page!

This pose is going to take me a long while to get back into, since my abdominal muscles were sliced into. I’m looking forward to strengthening them in the near future though!

YPFW :: Bridge pose

The Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) – (SET-too BAHN-dah)
setu = dam, dike, or bridge
bandha = lock

The bridge pose is one of my favorite yoga poses. Too bad I’m still struggling to stretch to the side – there’s no way I could get myself bent over like this at all! There are so many benefits to using the bridge pose daily, it stretches your chest, neck and spine, it calms your brain, helps alleviate stress and mild depression, it stimulates your abdominal organs, lungs and even you thyroid. The bridge pose can rejuivinate your tired legs, improve digestion and help relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.

To do the bridge pose: lie down face up on floor, and if necessary, place a thickly folded blanket under shoulders to protect neck. Bend knees and set feet on floor, heels as close to sitting bones as possible.

Exhale and, pressing inner feet and arms actively into floor, push tailbone upward toward pubis, firming (but not hardening) buttocks, and lift buttocks off floor. Keep thighs and inner feet parallel. Clasp hands below pelvis and extend through arms to help stay on tops of shoulders.

Lift buttocks until thighs are about parallel to floor. Keep knees directly over heels, but push forward, away from hips, and lengthen tailbone toward backs of knees. Lift pubis toward navel.

Lift chin slightly away from sternum and, firming shoulder blades against back, press top of sternum toward chin. Firm outer arms, broaden shoulder blades, and try to lift space between them at the base of neck (where it’s resting on blanket) up into torso. Stay in pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Release with an exhalation, rolling spine slowly down onto floor.

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Win “My Husband’s Sweethearts”

Okay, well you can’t win my husband’s sweethearts because I’m missing that whole husband thing, but I can send you over to Cherie Burbach’s post at BlissTree (which formerly housed most of the B5Media health-centered blogs) to win the book My Husband’s Sweethearts by Bridget Asher!

Faced with the imminent death of her charming, cheating and estranged husband Artie, Lucy Shoreman decides to call the names in his little black book and invite the ladies to his Philadelphia home to say a final farewell. For her part, 30-ish Lucy, who’s 18 years Artie’s junior, can’t decide whether she loves or hates the man, while her much-married mother insists he deserves forgiveness. As a broad spectrum of his ex-lovers arrives, including a surprised mother-and-daughter duo and a troubled young woman Lucy takes under her wing, Artie’s previously undisclosed and estranged grown son, John, shows up and seems as wickedly appealing as Dad. Asher, a pen name of prolific author Julianna Baggott, takes the edge off her sharply drawn characters with a succession of familiar sentiments. But flashes of wit and a parade of memorable women keep pages turning as Lucy grows increasingly and endearingly confused about her feelings toward Artie, John and the rest.” ~ Amazon review

Even if you don’t want the book, I recommend you head over to the BlissTree blogs and see what they have to offer – lots of good stuff over there!

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The Pope, condoms and HIV transmission

I wrote a feisty article about the Pope, condoms and HIV transmission on my WEGO Health blog and I have to send you all over there to check it out. Please feel free to leave a comment there, join our great Health Activist community and jump in headfirst with our amazing group!

If you don’t feel like commenting there, please do come back here and let’s have a discussion about the Pope’s crazy comments!