Happy Diwali 2017!

Happy Diwali 2017!

Happy Diwali ReviewFitHealth readers!




Diwali, the festival of lights, sees millions attend firework displays, prayers and celebratory events across the world every autumn.

Celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains for a variety of reasons, the main theme is the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.

Here we take a look at one of the most significant festivals in Indian culture.

What is Diwali?

Also known as Deepavali, a Sanskrit word meaning “rows of lighted lamps”, it is one of the most popular Hindu festivals celebrated across South Asia.  But it is also celebrated by Jains and Sikhs.

The festival of lights that celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.

It sees millions of earthenware oil lamps, called diyas, light up people’s homes, shops, public spaces and places of worship as part of celebrations which marks the start of the Hindu new year.

When is it celebrated?

Diwali falls between October and November, but the exact date changes each year as it is marked by the Hindu lunar calendar.

It lasts five days in total, with the festival of lights falling on the third days of celebrations, which is marked on the 15th day of the Hindu month Kartik.

This year that falls on 19 October.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan lights a ceremonial candle at the Diwali Festival at Trafalgar Square in London (AP)

What are the different legends being celebrated?

For many Hindus, Diwali celebrates the return of the deities Rama and his wife Sita to Ayodhya, an ancient Indian city believed to be the lord’s birthplace, following a 14-year period in exile and a battle fought by Rama and his army against the demon Ravana.

The demon had kidnapped Sita and Rama travelled along with Hanuman, the deity in the form of a monkey-man, to rescue her and kill the evil demons – as depicted in the epic “Ramayana”.

Their victorious return home was celebrated by lighting the kingdom with lamps.

Diwali also celebrates the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi. Some believes it falls on her birthday and the day she married Lord Vishnu.

Many in India leave their windows and doors open and light lamps to allow Lakshmi to find her way into their homes.

Dancers perform a traditional Indian dance during the Diwali festival of light celebrations, in Trafalgar Square (Reuters)

Many Sikhs celebrate the release of the sixth guru Hargobind Singh and 52 other princes from prison in 1619.

However Sikh celebrations for Diwali stretch further back than this date.

For Jains, it is a celebration of their Tirthankara, or spiritual leader, specifically their 24th of the current age, Tirthankar Mahavira, reached Moksha – the release from the death and rebirth cycle into infinite bliss and knowledge.

Fireworks fill the sky during the Diwali lights switch on in Leicester (Reuters)

How is it celebrated?

Diwali is part of a five day festival that is celebrated with music, lights, fireworks and sharing traditional sweets.

Many people prepare for the festival by cleaning and decorating their homes, and on the night of celebrations wear new clothes and take part in family puja, or prayers to Lakshmi.

Rangoli artwork – patterns and designs made from coloured powders, ground rice powders and flowers – are displayed, commonly depicting a lotus leaf.

Celebrations held across the UK included an annual festival in London’s Trafalgar Square presented by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

This had a programme of music and dance performances with traditional food available and activities such as yoga and henna.

Leicester’s celebrations, which are understood to be one of the biggest outside of India, saw 40,000 people turn up to watch the annual Diwali lights switch-on, with music and dancing held on the city’s Golden Mile.

It ended with a firework display.


Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe

Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe


Looking to take “less is more” literally? Here’s how.
Photo: Instagram/@caroline_joy

Photo: Instagram/@caroline_joy

If you’ve ever felt exhausted by the number of little choices you have to make every day, you’re not alone. That exhaustion is a real thing called decision fatigue, and it’s scientifically proven to take a toll on your ability to make good choices by the end of the day. It’s one reason why a lot of important people — from Steve Jobs and Barack Obama to a whole host of fashion designers — have chosen to cut down on the number of decisions they make every day by wearing essentially the same thing over and over.


But for some fashion-lovers, uniform dressing can seem stifling. Luckily, there’s another alternative that allows for a little more play: capsule wardrobes.

Caroline Rector, the blogger behind Unfancy who helped re-popularize capsules in recent years, describes capsuling as “a practice of editing your wardrobe down to your favorite clothes (clothes that fit your lifestyle and body right now), remixing them regularly, and shopping less often and more intentionally.”

Usually, a capsule consists of a set number of pieces of clothing that you wear for a season before starting the next capsule. Clothing is only added to the selection at the start of each capsule, encouraging you to remix and re-wear rather than shopping for new pieces.

Operating with a capsule wardrobe reduces decision fatigue because it leaves only clothing you really love that works interchangeably in your wardrobe. It’s the minimalist principle of “less is more” lived out in a tangible way. But there are a host of other benefits to switching to the capsule model, too. Capsule fans claim the method can curb an out-of-control shopping habit, help you get to know your own style better, save closet space and boost environmental and social responsibility by reducing consumption.

Ready to build your own minimalist capsule wardrobe? Here’s how to start.


You’re only going to be living with a set number of pieces for the next three months, so you want to make sure you pick those pieces mindfully. Doing that well requires taking a serious look at what’s already in your closet.

“If you’re going to give capsuling a shot, go all in. Literally empty your closet onto your bed, and only add back in the items you love,” advises Seasons + Salt blogger Andrea Hartman, who first started capsuling three years ago. “It will be eye-opening.”

It might seem like a lot of work, but laying everything in your wardrobe out where you can see it all at once is a good way to get a comprehensive view of what you own, connecting what works well together and noting what percentage of your possessions you actually wear regularly. You’ll also want to earmark any pieces that need mending before inclusion — if you adore those camel boots but the heel has started coming off, check whether it’s something that can be fixed or needs to be replaced before starting the capsule.


Your capsule should have about 35 pieces including tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear and shoes. Items that should not be included in this number include loungewear, sleepwear, underwear, workout clothes you wear only for working out (as opposed to athleisure you might wear elsewhere) and accessories — those are all freebies.

If you’re not sure whether a specific item should count among your 35 or not, remember: pieces that are necessary for one occasion (like a gown for a fancy wedding) don’t count as long as you only wear them for that specific activity or event. So if you only wear your one-piece swimsuit to the beach, for example, it doesn’t count, but if you’re going to style it as a bodysuit with your normal clothes, it does.

As you consider what to include in your capsule, ask yourself: Can I style it multiple ways? Is it something I know I’ll actually wear based on a track record of wearing it in the past? Is it appropriate for the season and temperature? Is it well-made enough that I trust it to last through the next three months with repeated wear?


Once you’ve selected your 35 or so capsule pieces, pack the rest of your clothing up and store it out of sight, if space permits. This will both make it easier for you to stick to your original capsule — no temptingly blurred lines — and will also help you figure out what pieces you might be able to purge at the end of the capsule. Did you totally forget about that tank top that you hid from sight, even though it was summer? That may be a sign that you can let go of it permanently, making for even less long-term clutter.


Once you’ve picked your capsule and stored everything else, you’re ready to live in it. Wear only the pieces in your capsule (and the free-pass items like underwear and loungewear) for three months straight.

Some parts of this step will be easy, like picking outfits you’ve already loved in the past. But even if it gets hard, it’s worth sticking with the rules you gave yourself — not only will you learn more about what really works best for you, but you might also find yourself coming up with creative new ensembles you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. And if a little wardrobe boredom rears its head, don’t assume it means that capsuling isn’t for you.

“Boredom is normal in all parts of life,” notes Anne Sage, a blogger and authorknown for her minimal aesthetic. “So when it does come, rather than lamenting it, it’s good to learn to roll with it.” After all, why would you expect your wardrobes to be immune to a malady that the rest of your life isn’t?


Elliptical Workouts For Weight Loss

Elliptical Workouts For Weight Loss

 A  workout by Chris Freytag to try in your gym or at home if you own your own equipment. 

3 Elliptical Workouts For Weight Loss

Fitness: Workouts


Lose weight with these 3 different elliptical workouts.

The elliptical machine is one of the best fitness inventions to come around in recent history. It’s got the sweet combination of allowing you to work as hard as you want while keeping it all completely low-impact. You will see everyone from serious athletes to those recovering from injuries on these machines, and for good reason: there are tons of benefits to elliptical workouts.

Benefits of Using The Elliptical

  • Gives you a low-impact cardio workout that’s easier on your joints
  • Accessible enough that all fitness levels can participate; even if you’re getting back into exercise after an injur
  • Works your total body
  • Helps improve balance and mobility
  • Offers quick workouts for busy days.

It’s clear we love elliptical workouts, but like any form of cardio, variety is the key to keeping it fresh and fun—and keeping your body challenged. You can’t just hop on the machine every day and go at a steady state expecting to lose weight, tone up, or change your body. Plus, we’ve been there/done that, and it gets BORING! Yes, the console probably has several elliptical workout programs for you to try, but if you are looking for something new or different, we’ve got three intense, calorie-burning workouts for you to choose from.

3 Elliptical Workouts For Weight Loss

Try these intense interval-style elliptical workouts to boost your weight loss.In order to keep challenging you body (and prevent boredom) you simply need to vary your incline and your resistance. Almost all ellipticals offer a ramp or incline which simulates the sensation of going up a hill—this is the incline—and this helps work your glutes and legs. You can also up your resistance to increase your effort and calorie burn. And lastly, you can change what you’re doing on the elliptical by changing the direction you’re pedaling.

We’ve utilized these tactics to give you three interval-based, calorie-burning elliptical workouts to help you lose weight. These workouts are designed to make your elliptical time a little more interesting, and a little more challenging to work different muscle groups and keep you on your toes. Find the elliptical workout that matches your needs and timeframe below. They go from 15 minutes to 20 minutes and lastly, a 30-minute elliptical routine. Plus, we made all of the elliptical workouts printable! Just click on the workout, print and take it with you to the gym or your home machine.

Lunch Time Calorie Crunch Elliptical Workout

When you only have 15-minutes, you need an elliptical workout that gets your heart rate up and torches calories fast. Enter: Our Lunch Time Calorie Crunch. Changing up the resistance and incline often in this quick workout helps you make the most of your time. (By using varying inclines and resistance levels, you move your heart rate through different zones.) Plus, you’ll alternate between pedaling backwards and forwards which helps you work all your leg muscles in one workout. This 15-minute workout will let you get in and get out while burning calories in record time.

Related: 4 Treadmill Workouts To Beat Boredom

20-Minute Tabata Elliptical Workout

Have 20-minutes to spare? Then you’ll love this Tabata elliptical routine. This workout gives the elliptical a fresh spark using the tabata interval training technique. Tabata is a form of HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training. By going as hard as you can for 20 seconds and then resting for 10 seconds several times in a row, you keep your brain busy and your heart pumping. The incline remains 5.0 the entire workout, but the resistance and the pace or speed at which you push changes. So have fun and enjoy the ride!

Go Big Interval Challenge Elliptical Workout

This 30-minute interval challenge will rev your metabolism and make the time fly as you change your resistance and use speed intervals to crank up your metabolism. Pay attention to the column on the right that says “feeling” and adjust the speed you pedal to match that feeling. Try to vary the forward and backward motion between the intervals to keep all your leg muscles working evenly.

And that’s it! Try one of these interval-style elliptical workouts and let us know how you liked them. When you want to increase your calorie burn and decrease workout boredom, these can become your new best friends.


Benefits of Using Ubiquinol

Benfefits of Using Ubiquinol

Naturally produced in our bodies, ubiquinol is an active form of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which has been shown to have quite powerful antioxidant potential. First discovered in the 1950s, CoQ10 is known to help many of the diseases associated with aging. CoQ10 can be found in foods such as meat and fish, although in very low amounts.

In our practice, we have found clear benefits from ubiquinol supplements for issues of heart disease, blood pressure, gum and oral health, and even nervous system challenges. This article will discuss how ubiquinol may help our bodies, and what solid medical research has shown regarding the benefit of this supplement.

How Does Ubiquinol Work?

From moment to moment, we are burning energy and aging. As a result, free radicals are produced in our bodies which will damage all cells, including vessel walls, nerve tissue, and the linings of our organs. Additionally, environmental toxins that enter into our bodies can also cause damage and increase oxidant levels, allowing a further breakdown of our bodies’ cells and repair mechanisms.

Despite the aging process, every cell in the body is in the business of producing energy to keep you vital and healthy. The energy each cell produces is in the form of a molecule called ATP, which is made in the energy powerhouse of the cell known as the mitochondria. Ubiquinol has been shown to promote ATP production in the mitochondrial inner membrane.

Ubiquinol not only helps to support your body’s energy production, but it’s also considered one of the strongest antioxidants available. It has the ability to protect your body’s cells from damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals. Ubiquinol sopps up the oxidants causing the damage; removing oxidant attack allows your body to repair and restore health.

Help for What Ages You

Ubiquinol is known already known to be helpful in neurological disease, liver dysfunction, renal disease and other diseases/conditions. We are going to focus on a few very common conditions in aging: heart disease, statin medication use, blood pressure problems, gum disease.

Heart Disease

Since the 1970s, clinical studies have shown that the oral administration of CoQ10 improves the health of patients suffering from heart problems.

An analysis of heart muscle tissue collected from patients with heart disease revealed a marked decrease in the tissue CoQ10 concentration.

It has been shown that patients with lower ubiquinol concentrations and decreases in ATP (energy) production in the heart muscle tissue suffered more severe types of heart disease than patients with higher levels of CoQ10.

Clinical trials of patients with a severe form of heart disease called congestive heart failure were given 580 mg per day of ubiquinone. These patients found significant increases in blood levels of CoQ10 levels, along with excellent improvements in the ejection fraction of the heart (the heart’s ability to move blood) and improvement of the left ventricle, the part of the heart that sends blood out to the body.

There is also some preliminary research evidence that suggests coenzyme Q10 may be helpful in cardiac arrhythmias, a type of heart issue where the heartbeat can become too fast or erratic.

Statin Medication Use

Statin medications are the number-one-selling medication in the world. While statin medications are reported to help avert cardiovascular problems like heart attacks by lowering LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol, statin medications themselves are known to lower the levels of natural ubiquinol in the body and heart muscle.

One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a 22% decrease in ubiquinol levels in patients using simvastatin (Zocor), while other studies suggest that statins can reduce serum levels of coenzyme Q10 by up to 40%. Long-term use of statin medications can increase risk of nerve damage and rhabdomyolsis (breakdown of muscle tissue). Since nerve and muscle tissue need plenty of ubiquinol and CoQ10 to keep up energy, it makes sense that this depletion could cause problems. Research already is mounting which suggests that ubiquinol supplementation could decrease muscle pain due to statin use. As such, we recommend anyone taking these medications should consider adding supplemental CoQ10 in the form of ubiquinol to their daily regimen.

Blood Pressure

Double-blind clinic research studies report that supplementation with forms of CoQ10 can help significantly decrease blood pressure in people who have hypertension. Most of this research supplemented 100 mg of regular ubiquinone form of CoQ10 per day for at least ten weeks. The authors of these studies have indicated that treatment with CoQ10 may lower blood pressure by decreasing oxidative stress and balancing insulin response in patients with known high blood pressure who are receiving conventional antihypertensive (anti-high blood pressure) medication. Insulin is a hormone known to regulate blood sugar and high insulin levels along with high blood pressure can raise the risk of heart attack by 20 times.

Saliva Production

Dry mouth is a condition in which salivary production in the mouth is greatly reduced. Besides making you feel thirsty, dry mouth can cause cavities, food intake and tasting problems, promote gum disease and cause mouth pain. For some, this condition can negatively alter a person’s quality of life in a profound way.

Medical studies suggest that an age-related decrease in energy production and ATP has been suggested to result in impaired salivary secretion. Some cases of dry mouth can be caused by an autoimmune issue called Sjogren’s Syndrome. But in many cases, it is unclear what is causing this problem. We do know that the incidence of dry mouth increases as we age, with a particularly high incidence among peri-menopausal women, which suggests that hormonal changes may play a role.

In one study, 66 patients were given either ubiquinol 100 mg/day or a placebo for 1 month, and found the supplement was able to find its way to the salivary gland and increase its levels in the gland helping to confer improved ability to produce saliva.

Gum Health

Like dry mouth, periodontal (gum) disease is a known cause of loss of quality of life, and has even been linked with higher levels of heart problems.

With regard to the effects of CoQ10 on gum health, one group of researchers reported that after patients took supplemental CoQ10, their levels of subgingival (under the gum) bacteria decreased. It seems that the CoQ10 helped the immune system strengthen so the body could fight off the bacteria more easily.

If CoQ10 Is Cheaper, Why Do I Need to Take Ubiquinol?

 There are a few forms of CoQ10 out there. Regular CoQ10, which has been around the longest, is called “ubiquinone.” The form we have been referring to mostly in this article is called ubiquinol, and is the non-oxidized, active form of CoQ10 in the body. As demonstrated in studies, ubiquinol has superior bioavailability to ordinary ubiquinone, which means it gets absorbed into the body and blood stream much better.


Until recently, the only way to increase ubiquinol levels in the blood was for the body to convert it from ubiquinone (CoQ10), which research has shown becomes increasingly difficult as you age. While regular CoQ10 may be cheaper and will have some benefit, studies strongly suggest that ubiquinol is a more effective form to take.  


Dosage and Safety

Various studies supplementing with ubiquinol will prescribe an average of anywhere between 50 mg per day up to 600 mg per day. Severe heart disease and severe neurological issues like Parkinson’s Disease may require the higher level dosages. Studies dosing from 300 mg to 1200 mg per day for 16 months of CoQ10 for four weeks have not shown any concerns of toxicity.

A Ubiquitous Conclusion

The word ubiquitous means “existing everywhere.” Ubiquinol is a molecule that plays an important energy and antioxidant role in every cell in our body. As naturopathic physicians, we want to stress that aging, heart disease, blood pressure and oral health challenges still require that you eat healthily, exercise, and work on lowering stress. No one supplement by itself can cure these challenging conditions. But for great support to help your body energize and balance against damage, ubiquinol can be a healing and solid part of your supplemental regimen.

Article written by Pina LoGiudice ND, LAc
Co-Medical Director of Inner Source Health in New York

Article written by Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc
Co-Medical Director of Inner Source Health in New York


Leaving Home And Student Stress Starting University

Leaving Home And Student Stress

ByKanwal  & Associate Writer Armaan Nijjar Sodhi 

Since coming back from England, I have been in the process of getting my son ready to move out and start his career as a University student.  It has been stressful as (me being his mother) I do not want him to go through any hardship’s. While I want him to have the comforts of what he has at home I also want this to be a time for him to grow  and become a responsible and well educated adult! As his  parents, we want him to do well in his classes as well as having a good health and staying within his budget. Below are some tips from the National Health Service of the United Kingdom (NHS).



Student stress: self-help tips


Starting university can be a stressful experience. How you cope with the stress is the key to whether or not it develops into a health problem.

Stress is a natural feeling, designed to help you cope in challenging situations. In small amounts it’s good, because it pushes you to work hard and do your best, including in exams.

Leaving home to start your studies can involve some stressful changes. These might include moving to a new area, meeting new people and managing on a tight budget.


What Have I Been Upto?

What Have I Been Upto?


I am back from visiting my home country of England.  It was a wonderful trip; I saw new sites and visit family.  During this time I did not follow any diet, instead I enjoyed myself. Initially, I tried to maintain a healthy diet, however my aunt is an amazing cook, cousin made me eat junk food, such as the delicious Sticky Toffy Pudding with Clotted Creme and good for me deserts such as Soya Yogurt.  To counteract the fun foods I ate, I walked everywhere I could. I became slowly much thinner. I realized that to lose weight I didn’t have to waste money doing these crazy diets that a slavish devotion to eat their products while not allowing you to actually enjoy life, such as Ideal Protein. All I needed to do was to eat in moderation and exercise.

Since coming back from England, my activity has been different as in Europe we walked a lot vs here in California where we walk less day to day as it is such a hassle due to the distance. Instead,  I have been working out at the Gym  and home and it made a difference.






Benefits Of Spinning!

Benefits Of Spinning!


The article below holds true, as spinning has many benefits.   Sunny and his wife Arosha have been attending spin class at their local gym and have had positive benefits such as relieving stress and no injury.  Yeah! Sunny and Arosha keep up the good work!

The Benefits of a Spinning Workout

bike spin class_000017541943_Small.jpg

A spinning workout is an excellent way to burn some calories and relieve stress. The workout employs a stationary bike, which has various tension levels. The bike will also track your progress, so that you are motivated to continue and accomplish your fitness goals. There are numerous benefits to a spinning workout.

Burn Calories

A spinning workout of 45 minutes may allow you to burn around 500 calories, which is a huge amount when compared to other types of workout. However, the amount of calories you burn will depend on the intensity of the workout. Adjust your bike according to the intensity you desire.

Build Muscle Tone

The spinning workout may help you build some muscle tone. The workout will focus on the core muscles, as well as the buttocks and thighs. You can increase and decrease the tension of the bike; this is similar to riding up and down a hill. While you pedal, you will work your thighs and calves. If you maintain the correct positionon the bike, you will also work on your abdominal muscles. When you pedal faster, you are likely to burn fat. When you pedal slower and have a higher tension, you will work your muscles.

Increased Cardio Endurance

If you opt for regular spinning classes, you will build increased cardio endurance. This is beneficial, especially if you feel weaker and start panting even after an insignificant effort, such as climbing a flight of stairs.

Low Impact Exercise

A spinning workout is a low impact exercise. This means that it won’t put pressure on knees and joints, as other aerobic or running exercises do. The workout is also recommended for people that suffer from arthritis.

Relieve Stress

Any type of exercise is known to relieve stress. However, a spinning class can be a more efficient stress reliever than most types of exercise. This is due to the fact that the workout is intensive and it is a class where you can meet people and socialize.

Spinning classes are held by an instructor that will motivate you throughout the workout. In addition, there will be music, which will make the class more entertaining.

Reduced Risks of Injury

While running and jogging may present a high risk of injury, a spinning class is less likely to cause any injuries. However, it’s recommended to stretch prior to the class, so that you don’t pull any muscles.

Adjustable Tempo

The stationary bike will have adjustable tensions, which you can change during the class. Your trainer can indicate when to change the tension, or you can adjust it according to your abilities and fitness goals.

Track Your Progress

Most stationary bikes will have some devices which will track the amount of calories you burn, your mileage and even your pulse. This means that you can track your progress, which is also a motivating factor.

Can Be Done Year Round

Unlike other types of activities such as jogging, which can be unpleasant when performed during the months with extreme temperatures, a spinning class can be performed at any time during the year.





Author: Armaan Nijjar Sodhi

Amongst many athletes, amateur and professional alike, the concept of stretching has always been a nuisance. Stretching has in the past, been an afterthought for most people, believing the effectiveness of stretching was dubious. Today, the importance of stretching is well known, most professional sporting teams requiring their players to go through a variety of different stretches before and after the game. In all forms of exercise, stretching is the key to not only preventing injury, but also for increasing efficiency, be it being able to lift more, jump higher or run faster.

Stretching is so important, even dogs stretch! This includes my own dog, Versace, who is very cognizant of her health.

Here is a short video of her and other dogs stretching:

Movie Stretching With Vercase


Jeans Conquered the World!

How jeans conquered the world

James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Marlon Brando (images from Rex Features and Magnum Photos)

It’s difficult to find a garment as widely embraced, worn and loved the world over as jeans. The classic symbol of the American West is now a staple in wardrobes around the world. But why?

Cowboys may wear them but so do supermodels, farmers, presidents and housewives.

Ask any group of people why they wear jeans and you will get a range of answers. For some they’re comfortable, durable and easy – for others they’re sexy and cool. Jeans mean different things to different people. Does this explain their wide appeal?

It is a subject that is relatively unstudied, says anthropologist Danny Miller, whose book Blue Jeans will be published next month.

In every country he has visited – from the Philippines to Turkey, India and Brazil – Miller has stopped and counted the first 100 people to walk by, and in each he found that almost half the population wore jeans on any given day.

Jeans are everywhere, he says, with the exception of rural tracts of China and South Asia.

The reason for their success has as much to do with their cultural meaning as their physical construction.

They were first designed as workwear for labourers on the farms and mines of America’s Western states in the late 19th Century.

When a Nevada tailor called Jacob Davis was asked to make a pair of sturdy trousers for a local woodcutter, he struck upon the idea of reinforcing them with rivets. They proved extremely durable and were soon in high demand.

Davis realised the potential of his product but couldn’t afford to patent it. He wrote to his fabric supplier, the San Francisco merchant, Levi Strauss, for help.

Old Levi's jeans
Image captionThe world’s oldest surviving pair of jeans dates from around 1879

“The secratt of them Pents is the Rivits that I put in those Pockots,” he said. “I cannot make them up fast enough…My nabors are getting yealouse of these success.”

Levi’s, as the patented trousers became known, were made in two fabrics, cotton duck (similar to canvas) and denim.

“They found really early on that it was the denim version that would sell,” says Paul Trynka, author of Denim: From Cowboys to Catwalks. Denim was more comfortable, softening with age, and its indigo dye gave it a unique character.

Indigo doesn’t penetrate the cotton yarn like other dyes but sits on the outside of each thread. These molecules chip off over time, causing the fabric to fade and wear in a unique way.

“Why did it sell?” asks Trynka. “Because the denim changed as it aged and the way it wore reflected people’s lives.”

Because of its fading quality, denim was sold raw – unwashed and untreated – and by the beginning of the 20th Century workers began to realise they could shrink the trousers to a more comfortable fit.

Not only were they more durable but each pair of jeans began to tell the story of the worker and his work.

“Jeans are the most personal thing you can wear,” says Miller. “They wear to the body.”

But the initial explosion of denim into the world of casualwear had more to do with what jeans had come to symbolise.

Before World War II jeans were only worn in America’s Western states. In the east they were synonymous with romantic notions of the cowboy – rugged, independent and American, but at the same time rural and working class.

Affluent easterners would escape humdrum suburban life to holiday on “dude ranches” – working farms where they could play at being cowboys – and wearing jeans was part of the experience.

“It was the kind of clothing that represented the American West and it was this cachet and this sort of magical thing,” says Lynn Downey, archivist and historian at Levi Strauss & Co. But back in Connecticut or New York, the jeans stayed in the closet.

When they did start to be worn as casual wear, it was a startling symbol of rebellion – the spirit captured by Marlon Brando in his 1953 film The Wild One and by James Dean two years later in Rebel Without a Cause.

“If you were a 15-year-old boy in 1953 you wanted to be Marlon Brando,” says Downey.

“Hollywood costume designers put all the bad boys in denim.”

An ad for Lee jeans circa 1942
Image captionLevi’s rivet patent expired in 1908 and other brands entered the market

Dean and Brando wore denim off-screen too. Both represented a subversive counter-culture – a group of young GIs just returned from war, who rode around the US on motorcycles instead of moving to the suburbs and having children.

“They freaked out the establishment in the United States because they were not conforming and they were wearing jeans,” says Downey.

They were soon banned in schools from coast to coast which only added to the fervour with which teenagers embraced them.

Outside America the trend was beginning to catch on too. Many of the GIs stationed in Europe and Japan during the war were working-class boys from the Western states. While off duty they wore their jeans proudly as a symbol of home.

The trousers represented an easier, happier American way of life, which Europeans wanted to buy into.

During the 1960s jeans had also spread to the American middle class. Protesting college students began wearing them as a token of solidarity with the working class – those most affected by racial discrimination and the war draft.

But jeans weren’t only a symbol of democratisation, they put different classes on a level playing field. They were affordable and hard-wearing, looked good worn as well as new, and didn’t have to be washed often or ironed at all. They conformed to the body in a way that matched even the most finely tailored clothes. This became especially important for women because then, as now, they paid more attention to fit.

This versatility, the ability to become all things to all people, is the secret to jeans’ survival as a clothing staple.

In the decades after World War II, every youth subculture – from rockabillies with their wide turn-ups, hippies with bell-bottoms and punks with orchestrated rips and tears – have put their stamp on jeans.

“It was an individualist uniform – which is an oxymoron – but that still does function today,” says Paul Trynka. “Jeans still have a badge of individuality even if you buy them off the rack.”

Today, jeans are mostly sold pre-shrunk and pre-worn. In his book, Miller argues they have become so mainstream that they are now a symbol of the ordinary, a garment people put on to feel comfortable and fit in.

“Jeans have become this neutral foundational garment. If you want to show you are relaxed, if you want to be relaxed, you wear jeans,” says Miller.

But Trynka believes there is still something in their symbol of youth, their ease and casualness, that puts jeans beyond the reach of certain people.

“Famously, George W Bush and Tony Blair went out on the street in denim during their first summit meeting. The statement was, ‘We are regular guys,’ but of course they both looked like dorks,” he says.

Jeans purists were offended by their pristine appearance. Many of them avoid washing their jeans for as long as possible – and it seems that the fabric may have some as yet unexplained capacity to stay clean.

Last year a microbiology student at the University of Alberta, Josh Le, wore the same pair of raw denim jeans for 15 months without washing them and then tested their bacterial content.

He tested them again two weeks after washing them and found the bacterial content to be much the same .

“This shows that, in this case at least, the bacteria growth is no higher if the jeans aren’t washed regularly,” said Rachel McQueen, a professor of textile science, who worked with Le on the informal scientific experiment.

But while different people wear jeans in different ways, the most traditional styles remain among the most popular.

“They’re simple, they’re not complicated,” says Downey of the original Levi’s 501 jean. “It’s just denim, thread and rivets.”

But unadorned denim is still special, says Trynka.

“It’s not just a three-dimensional material, it’s four-dimensional because it changes with time as well. The eternal appeal of jeans is just that they reflect us and they reflect the lives that we’ve had in them.”

Danny Miller spoke to The Forum from the BBC World Service. Listen to the programme here.


Stress And Buying A House

Stress And Buying A House

My husband and I are currently in the market of buying a new house and is stressful but fun. The fun comes from finding the perfect home while the stress is finding the perfect home, that has everything we need. However, having a realtor has significantly dropped  the amount of stress.

How buying a house is more stressful than bankruptcy, divorce and even the death of a loved-one, according to poll

  • Fears the deal could collapse and slow lawyers ranked worst stresses
  • Selling a property seen as more stressful than buying one, survey finds
  • But half of those polled said they had a stressful experience while buying

With prices rocketing, jitters about interest rates, and fears of an imminent collapse, there really has never been a more nail-biting time to dabble in the housing market.

So it’s perhaps no surprise that a new poll shows that buying a house is more stressful than bankruptcy, divorce or even bereavement.

The survey found that a large percentage of adults said getting involved with the property market is one of modern life’s most unpleasant experiences.

People look at properties advertised in an estate agent's window in London: Buying a house is more stressful than bankruptcy, divorce or even bereavement, making it one of life's most unpleasant experiences, a poll says

People look at properties advertised in an estate agent’s window in London: Buying a house is more stressful than bankruptcy, divorce or even bereavement, making it one of life’s most unpleasant experiences, a poll says

Dealing with solicitors and paperwork for weeks on end, fears the deal could collapse at any moment and constantly chasing estate agents for updates was ranked as more traumatic than getting sacked.

In the list of the most stressful lifetime events, the research found the stress of selling a house came above the levels experienced when losing a job, becoming a parent or planning a wedding.

Solicitors bore the brunt of the discontent among those who took part in the study. They were labelled as the most stressful people to work with, while over a quarter had bad experiences with an estate agent.

The research also found people were more than twice as likely to feel selling a property was more stressful than buying one due to having to keep the house clean for constant viewings.

Prospective buyers cancelled viewings on a third of those trying to sell, while 42 per cent received derisory offers.

Over a quarter suffered from a lack of updates from the high street estate agents in the major bug-bears for those trying to sell their home.

Trying to get hold of solicitors in office hours also emerged as a major pain.

For sale: Estate agents came off really badly - in fact when it comes to selling their home to potential buyers four in ten thought they could do a better job than an estate agent

For sale: Estate agents came off really badly – in fact when it comes to selling their home to potential buyers four in ten thought they could do a better job than an estate agent

A weary one in seven had seen a property move collapse because of a poor estate agent and the same number had pulled out of a deal because of their rising frustration levels.

And exactly half of those polled said they had a negative experience when buying a home.

The same number were convinced their property transaction would have been smoother if those involved (lawyers, lenders, estate agents) had communicated more efficiently.


1. Buying or selling a property

2. Relationship break-up/divorce

3. Being made redundant

4. Death of a grandparent

5. Getting the sack

6. Being in debt

7. Starting a new job

8. Becoming a parent for the first time

9. Planning a wedding

10. Going broke / bankrupt


1. Slow solicitors

2. The risk of it falling through

3. The huge sums of money at stake

4. All the documentation to complete

5. Endless phone calls

6. The survey

7. Difficult vendors

8. Difficult estate agents

9. Being gazumped at the last minute

10. Disruption caused to your working day

A disgruntled 45 per cent thought their solicitor or conveyancer dragged their heels and seven in ten were hit with lengthy delays and unexpected frustrations in their last property transaction

Estate agents came off really badly – in fact when it comes to selling their home to potential buyers four in ten thought they could do a better job than an estate agent.

A spokesman for EstatesDirect.com, which commissioned the research, said: ‘The results show just how gruelling the process is regarded and clearly it’s viewed among the most stressful events we encounter in modern life.’



Miserable Husband/Wife Is Bad For Health

Miserable Husband/Wife Is Bad For Health

How having a miserable husband (or wife) is bad for your health

  • Study shown having a happy spouse increases chances of good health

  • Dr Chopik, of Michigan State Uni, tracked the health of 2,000 couples

  • Someone who is upbeat is also more likely to eat regularly and sleep well 

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A miserable wife or gloomy husband won’t just get you down – they could also make you ill.

A study has shown that having a happy spouse increases a person’s own chances of good health.

On the flip side, a glum partner could make you unwell.

A miserable wife or gloomy husband won't just get you down – they could also make you ill (File photo)


A miserable wife or gloomy husband won’t just get you down – they could also make you ill (File photo)

Researcher Bill Chopik said: ‘Even if you’re the happiest person, your health can be dragged down by an unhappy spouse.’

Dr Chopik, of Michigan State University, tracked the health and happiness of almost 2,000 couples for six years.

The men and women, who were aged 50-plus, were asked how satisfied they were with their lives, as well as whether they suffered from diabetes or any other chronic diseases, how easy they found washing, dressing and other day to day tasks and how much they exercised.

Analysis showed that a partner’s happiness affected their other half’s health.

So, if a husband or wife was a cheerful sort, their spouse tended to be in better health – even if they were not particularly happy themselves.

Similarly, having a miserable spouse seemed to harm a partner’s health.

Dr Chopik said: ‘Participants with happy partners were significantly more likely to report better health, experience less physical impairment and exercise more frequently than participants with unhappy partners, even when accounting for the impact of their own happiness and other life circumstances.

‘None of these effects diminished over time suggesting that having a happy partner could afford surprisingly long-lasting effects on a person’s own health.’

Various studies have shown that happiness boosts a person’s own health but this research, published in the journal Health Psychology, takes the idea a step further by showing that one person’s happiness has a knock-on effect on another’ s health.

A study has shown that having a happy spouse increases a person's own chances of good health (File photo)

A study has shown that having a happy spouse increases a person’s own chances of good health (File photo)

Possible reasons for the finding include a happy spouse being more attentive of their other half. They may also have the energy needed to motivate unhappy spouses to take better care of themselves.

Someone who is upbeat is also more likely to eat regularly and sleep well – healthy behaviours that could rub off on their husband or wife.

In contrast, a miserable atmosphere at home may up the odds of someone drinking or smoking, even if they are relatively happy themselves.

Dr Chopik said: ‘For better and for worse, daily life inevitably involves the presence of other people and happiness simply cannot exist in a vacuum.

‘Testing an older adult population affords insights for better understanding health trajectories in later years of life, when the average person’s health is particularly at risk.

‘Identifying novel factors that may enhance health at these stages is particularly valuable.

‘The presence of one person’s sickness may be subtly indicated by the absent smile of another.’ 



Rituals of Tea

Rituals of Tea

Tea has always been a large part of my life. My love of tea was instilled by my Mom and Dad, who created an amalgamation of Indian and English tea time rituals to America.  Tea time was always looked forward too at the house as it allowed me to forget about the stress of living in a new country and remember my roots as an Indian and Englishwoman. To this day I will always make time in the morning and in the evening for a nice warm cup of tea.

Chai – the drink India can’t live without

In India, chai is more than just a cup of tea to start the day – the thick sweet drink is an integral part of the rhythm of life. Zach Marks and Resham Gellatly have been documenting the culture of Indian chai and the people who sell it – known as chai wallahs.

One hand taking tea from another handImage copyrightRESHAM GELLATLY

Tea is India’s most popular drink – the country consumes 837,000 tonnes of it every year. The ritual of drinking chai transcends all boundaries, and roadsides are dotted with chai wallahs who serve it boiled up with spices, sugar and milk.

Straining teaImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

Santosh strains a vat of boiling chai at his shop in Mumbai. Since he began selling tea 15 years ago, the area has changed dramatically. Many of the small businesses where Santosh once delivered chai have been replaced by large office buildings which he can’t enter. But many people working in the new developments have become regular customers, preferring Santosh’s chai made with thick milk and fresh ginger to the tea bags available in their offices.


A popular ingredient in north Indian chai, ginger is believed to have numerous health benefits and is thought to keep your body warm in winter. The spicy root has been used in hot, milk-based beverages in India for hundreds of years, so when the British popularised tea in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, adding ginger to the mix was a natural thing to do.

Shobhan BarwaImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

Shobhan Barwa’s stand is in the heart of Alipore, a posh neighbourhood in Calcutta. During the annual Hindu festival of Durga Puja, crowds flock here to see the elaborate pandals – temporary structures housing Hindu deities. He usually closes shop by 22:00, but for the week of Durga Puja, he stays open until 05:00 serving chai, eggs and French toast to visitors who need a caffeine kick to keep them going through the night.

BaghbazarImage copyrightRESHAM GELLATLY

On the final day of the festival, thousands join a procession to the Hooghly River where giant statues of Hindu gods and goddesses are immersed in the water. Last year, though, celebration turned to tragedy – a young man drowned when a statue fell on him at Baghbazaar. People gathered at a nearby chai stand to mourn his death.

Kulhars and potsImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

Several decades ago, chai was served in small clay pots, known as kulhar in Hindi or bhar in Bengali. While the bowls are still popular in Calcutta, plastic cups, tiny glasses and steel tumblers have become the vessels of choice across most of India.


Born on a tea estate in Kotagiri in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Rukmani has been plucking tea leaves all her life. As the eldest member of her group of female workers, she is called Amma, or mother. At lunchtime Amma prepares black chai over a fire of twigs with tea dust provided by a nearby factory.


Ganesh, a chai wallah at the railway station in Patna in Bihar state, brews one of his last pots of the night. Many Indians associate rail travel with the cries of “chai, chai,” from tea sellers carrying kettles along trains and platforms. Ganesh has memorised the local timetable and often gives travellers directions as well as a cup of chai.

Chai stall in VaranasiImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

Chai stands are often family businesses spanning many generations. The owner of this tea stall in Varanasi, one of India’s oldest and holiest cities, took over the business when his father passed away and keeps his memory alive by hanging a fresh garland of marigolds every morning.

Varanasi burning ghatImage copyrightZACH MARKS AND RESHAM GELLATLY

Lalu Yadav has seen hundreds of thousands of cremations – his chai stand is next to Manikarnika Ghat, a cremation ground by the sacred Ganges river in Varanasi. Many Hindus believe it is an auspicious place to die and the people who come here to wait out their last days ensure the fires of Manikarnika burn bright day and night. Lalu’s father started the tea stand 40 years ago, offering mourning families a place to sit and sip chai during cremations. For him, constant proximity to death has become part of life. “There is no sadness here. We are used to seeing this 24 hours a day. These are only bodies.”

Photographs by Resham Gellatly and Zach Marks – you can see more pictures and read their blog at chaiwallahsofindia.com.


Traveling Light

Traveling Light

My son and I are  currently getting ready to visit  family  in England.  The stressful part of traveling is always “What Do I pack”?  I usually overpack but we can only have 1 suitcase per person, so my son and I will have to pack light.

Read article below for tips for if you plan on  vacationing this summer:

Summer can be a glorious time in England, with warm, sunny days, blue skies and English gardens in full bloom. But don’t count on it — summer can also be chilly, rainy and blustery. If you’re traveling to England during the summer, pack for the varied weather and be ready for anything.

English Weather

England is part of the island of Great Britain, and being surrounded by water helps keep the climate moderate. Summer temperatures average from a low in the mid-50s Fahrenheit to highs in the mid-70s, with an occasional heat wave. The farther north you go or the higher in elevation, the cooler it will be. Summer days are also long, with June sunrise in London as early as 4:30 a.m. and sunset as late as 9:30 p.m. Rain is always a possibility; the Lake District is the wettest region, while mountainous areas are more likely to be cloudy or foggy.

Women’s Clothing

Interchangeable separates in neutral colors are always a good choice, so pack basic black pants and another pair in navy, gray or khaki, as well as jeans for casual wear. Add a couple of casual tops and at least one dressy blouse. A lightweight sweater or fleece top for warmth comes in handy; you can wear either under your waterproof jacket or raincoat, which is an essential item to pack. If your raincoat is hooded, so much the better, as rainy days can also be windy; although a collapsible umbrella can come in handy, it can also be difficult to handle when the wind gusts. A pair of hiking boots you’ve already broken in or a dark pair of athletic shoes will keep you comfy if you’re doing a lot of walking. Add a pair of dressy flats or heels to go with a dress or a skirt that you can pair with your dressy blouse, and you’ll be ready for anything without having to drag a heavy suitcase after you. A scarf, a belt and some jewelry will allow you to change your look without adding bulk to your packing. Throw in a bathing suit — after all, it is summer.

Men’s Clothing

Men also need separates they can mix and match; a couple of pairs of dark slacks with some knit shirts will cover most needs. Jeans are perfectly acceptable for casual wear. Make sure you have at least one long-sleeved knit top to layer under a sweater or fleece top, and be sure to pack that raincoat. A dress shirt will serve for most occasions, but pack a sport coat if you’re going to be dining in fine restaurants — to some extent, the better you’re dressed, the better you’ll be treated. You’re unlikely to need a tie on vacation, but they’re small, so throw one in just in case. Hiking boots or dark athletic shoes will work for everyday use; add a pair of dress shoes, too. Bring your swim trunks, but stick with a shorts style rather than briefs.

Additional Considerations

A major consideration in determining what to wear is what you plan to be doing. Obviously, if you are going to England for a business meeting, you’ll need to bring your suit or other business attire. If you plan to spend time at the seaside, consider a lightweight coverup and some sturdy sandals — some beach areas are rocky, and you want to stay safe. Another good option for rain protection is a hat. If you’re going to stay for more than a few days but want to keep your luggage light, think about lightweight basics you can wash out and let dry overnight. If you know you’re a bit messy and will be eating on the go, a print or plaid shirt may help hide your slips. And, of course, don’t forget underwear, socks, nightwear and sunglasses.


Aishwarya Rai Weight Loss Diet!

Aishwarya Rai Weight Loss Diet!

Aishwarya Rai Weight Loss Diet and Workout Routine

Aishwarya Rai Weight Loss Diet

Aishwarya has already stunned everyone with her sensuous, bold, seductress avatar in Karan Johar’s directorial venture ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.’ And now at Cannes Film Festival 2017, she has proved once again that she is the queen of Bollywood. From flying kisses to elegant poses, she looked every inch a royal princess. She got a very good response after this amazing body transformation. All thanks to Aishwarya Rai weight loss!

There was a time when Aishwarya Rai’s tremendous post pregnancy weight grabbed many eyeballs. She was criticized for her weight gain post baby but she chose to ignore the haters and prioritized her family and child over her looks.

Aishwarya Rai’s message on Motherhood

The Bachchan bahu spoke vastly about motherhood. She said, “I didn’t over think the fact that I had put on weight. I didn’t do anything as expected of someone who came with all the adages as me. There’s a lot of glamour and a lot of visual that is attached to me. But I stayed committed to my reality. If my body did go through this change, so be it. I didn’t play into the stereotype of what is possible. It’s an individual choice if people decide to go under the knife. I had access to that but I chose not to. I was genuinely comfortable in my skin and I got recognition along the way. Women who met me publicly, thanked me for the fact that I was giving them strength to be comfortable with the natural change. Hormonally anything can happen to a woman, your body can go through change and it’s important to remain comfortable and not let it affect you psychologically. My comfort and my conviction to just say true, in turn, gave strength to so many women. Suddenly, it’s okay to put on weight. It’s okay that your body changes physically from health reasons or otherwise and it’s okay to choose to dress the way you want to. I am happy with my weight and I love my daughter.”

Aishwarya Rai With Her Daughter Aaradhya

Now, Aishwarya Rai is back with a bang. After widespread criticism over her baby fat, she has transformed herself. The celebrity mother has lost all the weight she gained during and after pregnancy and is looking fitter than ever. Take a look at her fairytale appearance at Cannes, 2017.

Aishwarya Rai at Cannes 2017

Aishwarya Rai Weight Loss

Aishwarya Rai Cannes 2017


Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Cannes 2017


Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Diet


Spellbound! Isn’t she mesmerizing?
But how did she manage to flaunt a slim, graceful figure with no remains of the pregnancy baggage? Let’s check out –

Aishwarya Rai’s weight loss DIET


Aishwarya Rai’s weight loss secret is that she never skips her breakfast. She starts her day with warm water, with lemon and honey in it. It is a great way to revive your metabolism.

In breakfast, she takes brown bread toast or a steaming bowl of freshly cooked oats. Oatmeal is considered a healthy whole grain and contains high levels of protein and fiber.


Her lunch normally consists of boiled vegetables which are easy to digest, full of nutrients, contains little or no fat and flavorful. Sometimes she also takes a bowl of dal as well as one chapati. Aishwarya says -“I can survive on dal, chawal and vegetables”.


She prefers to eat very light for the dinner and eats a cup of brown rice and grilled fish. Brown rice has high fiber content and is more healthier than white rice. Thus helps in burning more fat and decreases the chances of overeating by satisfying the appetite. Grilled fish provides the required protein and omega 3 fatty acids.

Apart from this, Aishwarya keeps her portion in control and prefers smaller meals throughout the day. She strictly avoids any fatty, junk or fried foods. Instead prefers fruits, vegetables, and fresh juices. She keeps herself hydrated by having 8 glasses of water per day. She tries to maintain a fat-free diet which not only accentuates her figure but also brings a glow to her skin.

ALSO READ: Amazing Diet Secrets Of Shilpa Shetty.

Aishwarya Rai weight loss WORKOUT ROUTINE

Aishwarya is not a regular gym going person and doesn’t follow any workout routine. In one of her interviews, she admitted that she was never serious about the workout and never worked hard to achieve a toned and lean figure. Actually, she never wanted a lean figure and feels happy in her curvaceous body. It seems her figure is all because of her good genes.

But if at any time she feels this need for the perfect body she attends gym twice a week. Aishwarya prefers yoga over workouts. She believes in the method of eating right and practicing yoga. According to her, yoga is the best way to keep the body powerful and so as flexible.

Aishwarya Rai's Weight Loss

  • Aishwarya Rai’s weight loss workout routine starts with brisk walking or jogging in the morning.
  • After this, she devotes 45 minutes to yoga which includes power yoga.
  • Sometimes she also does functional training along with full cardio workouts at home.




Shoe Trends Spring/Summer 2017

Shoe Trends Spring/Summer 2017

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends

We have absolutely loved the shows that allowed you to see it and buy it now as well, something a few rather top designers had signed up for and one that we are very happy to see sweeping the industry. But more than anything else, it was the spring/ summer 2017 footwear trends that had us super excited, since they appeared in so many styles and brought back so many memories from days long gone. After all, it is not an everyday sight to have designer logos as the heels of your favorite pumps.

Spring 2017 shoes are cool and hip and sometimes even totally in line with the latest social trends as well, such as that Marc Jacobs Pokemon platform that brings the latest Pokemon Go fad to mind. We see such intriguing creations throughout that we cannot help but think that the shoes are what will make or break your wardrobe half the time at least during the spring of 2017.

They are colorful and interesting, creatively done and sometimes with a fairy tale twist, like the bright green stiletto body contouring boots at Balenciaga. We even saw crocs on the runways and it has thrown us for a spin!

The top spring/ summer 2017 shoe trends we discovered on the Fashion Week runways include but are not limited to:

#1: Platforms All Over

One of the top summer 2017 shoe trends to pull into focus is the platform trend, adding height and loveliness to just about any shoe that appears on the runways. We see them in breathable boots in monochromatic colors at Salvatore Ferragamo.

Erdem’s snakeskin combination with ankle lacing and gorgeous platform heels certainly gets us thinking about statement footwear to match with some of the plainer designer dresses we saw on those spectacular runway shows. Proenza Schouler, Miu Miu and so many more did awesome work in their adaptations of this particularly popular shoe style.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Platform Shoes

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Platform Shoes

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Platform Shoes

#2: Those Kitten Heels

There is nothing sexier than giving just a hint of something special, and kitten heels have long been that perfect little formula to add an arch without hurting the feet and create an air of adorable mystery. Whether those lovely spring 2017 footwear designs are branded steppers or strappy sandals worn with sheer tights, this is a look that most of the top designers have added to their repertoires.

Celine’s darling heels are way cool in and of themselves, worn with sheer stockings and adhering to the stocking with sandal trend as well. Dior’s got its logos shown strongly, while it’s all about the party in comfort at Miu Miu.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Kitten Heels

#3: Flatforms with Quirk

You know about the platforms, but how do you feel about the flat versions? With flatform heels and a flat sole, these are a platform and flats combination that took over the spring 2017 shoe trends throughout the Fashion Weeks. Brands really were not shy about flats it seems, and crazy prints with crazy embellishments were totally in.

Gucci’s Oriental designs and ankle straps were certainly something we could invest in. Flatforms with a shiny advantage are literally all glittered up at Balmain as well, giving the footwear all the height and none of the pitch we are used to with other heels.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Flatform Shoes

#4: Thin Stilettos

Okay, we get it… this is a season of contrasts. If you can wear one style, you most certainly can wear the opposite. In the clothing that meant both shoulder pads and transparent materials, both miniskirts and long midis, etc.

In shoes, it means both the chunky awesomeness that provides comfort and the slim chicness that is all about the delicate femininity of the woman. It means open-toe sandals with stockings at Altuzarra and thigh-high boots that really hug the legs tight at Gucci and Balenciaga.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Stiletto Heels

#5: Rounded Heels

There is just something about geometrically shaped heels that gets our blood boiling and seeing the spring 2017 footwear trends including the circular designs was certainly pleasantly surprising. It has appeared in previous seasons as well, but the trend combinations are what make them awesome here.

Color blocking with Jacquemus, for example, put the black, white and nude pieces that are all about chunky meets dainty at the top of the shopping list.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Rounded Heels

#6: Branded Footwear

The summer 2017 shoe trends would not be complete without the branding that has taken over the runways over the latest Fashion Week shows all over the world. We see cute little kitten heels with “J’ADIOR” straps on the Dior showcasing, while many others add their labels to the heels or all around the footwear they have their models’ feet clad in.

As for Saint Laurent, it appears that sometimes the heels are a great way to show off your logo and still appear as cool as possible.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Branded Logo Shoes

#7: Sandals With Socks

This trend was all over the runways during the spring 2017 presentations at Fashion Week. We see all kinds of creations here, from Givenchy’s laced up yellow sandals worn with thick brown socks to a look that is entirely unexpected, creating a boot out of a synthetic sock-like material that is worn with strappy barely there stiletto sandals.

Celine’s funky slider and latex sock looks created sock boots that are simply to die for. We have to admit though, sometimes the stockings with sandals really was cool, especially when the stockings were graffiti tights and the sandals had some really funky heels as per Libertine’s imaginings brought to the New York runway.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Sandals with Socks

#8: Socks and Boots

We see socks and sandals quite a bit, but it is the socks and boots that is the top trend to focus on here, whether as separates or fused together. There are some incredibly gorgeous pieces that really look so very lovely on the legs, emphasizing the best parts of the lower limbs and creating some intriguing textures with corresponding coloring.

Fendi’s very fall-like footwear is definitely at the top of the list here, whereas we see something that is less expected, with more loafer-like entirely synthetic shoes mixed in with over-the-knee sock-like additions that are totally a main part of the DKNY footwear masterpieces.

Western boots and colorful socks can also be paired together quite comfortably this spring if Anna Sui’s fashion sense is at all to be taken into consideration.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Boots with Socks

#9: Sheer Tights with Strappy Sandals

Sheer socks and tights are also in this season and we are wondering what to do with it. After all, it has been so taboo to wear them sheer with sandals for so long, it is strange to see this trend taking center stage.

Open toes and ankle straps are not only okay, but entirely recommended for the spring and summer of 2017! That was clearly seen at Celine, where banana yellow single-toe-strap and ankle-strap sandals were paired with sheer black stockings. Altuzarra’s red divinity also proves that stockings can be colorful and playful and also have dark toe covers. Who would have thought?

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Sandals with Tights

#10: Those Sock Boots

Okay, we saw boots with socks and some other funky designs, but this really does need its own category. It is a boot that literally looks like it is made from a sock in a shoe or something similar, it is a cozy trend and a sometimes rather not so pretty one as we noticed at Loewe. Fendi had some awesome athleisure though, and Dolce & Gabbana’s designs were super hot, black lace stilettoes and all.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Sock Boots

#11: Shiny Shoe Goodness

We like to shine our boots and shoes and go out for the night or day all the time. But when that shine suddenly takes on a new meaning, it appears that it is a party day in and day out. Whether we are talking ruffles on pretty stilettos like with Saint Laurent or gold and silver disco-ready flatforms from Balmain, this is one spring/ summer 2017 shoe trend that we can really have a lot of fun with, especially if we make the shoes the statement of the outfit for the day.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Metallic & Shiny Shoes

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Metallic & Shiny Shoes

#12: Breathable Footwear

We see a lot of boots and shoes especially that allow for breathing room with holes all over or a mesh creation. We even see Crocs throughout the weeks with their holes that allow the feet to really let the air in. Salvatore Ferragamo brought in the monochromatic color trend along with the breathable boots, while black lace sock boots came into effect on the Dolce & Gabbana runway, looking totally fabulous.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Cutouts & Mesh

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Cutouts & Mesh

#13: Tying/ Strapping Round the Ankles

It appears that the ankles are a great part of the body to emphasize come spring 2017. Whether we are looking at thick wraparounds in leather or thicker single straps in snakeskin, we see many top designers creating their masterpieces in a way that both shows off skin and covers beautifully, sometime chunky, sometimes dainty, but very often bringing the gaze to that slimmest part of the legs.

House of Holland’s panel play and gingham designs are really cool, the looks made light and springy and entirely perfect with this ankle strapped trend. From the ruffles of Saint Laurent to the buckles of Attico, the wrapping around the ankle trend is as huge as it can get.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Ankle Straps & Ties

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Ankle Straps & Ties

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Ankle Straps & Ties

#14: Laced up and Bound

We get to see a whole lot of spring/ summer 2017 shoe trends, where the shoes are laced up either tightly or showing whatever is underneath, worn with socks and stockings and open backs or simply looking awesome in the sandals or boots sections. Givenchy gives us some intriguing designs to choose from, while it was all about the athletic boots come Dior’s sexy presentations.

As for Versace, it is athleisure at its finest, with a whole lot of fashionable heel options, the colors of the boot laces matching the clothing and handbags perfectly. As for the Western trend that was huge for the spring as well, there are some boots to match it, with J.W. Anderson offering us a range of mid-calf laced up boots in suede and leather.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Lace-Up Shoes

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Lace-Up Shoes

#15: Open Back Footwear

Whether as part of the chunky collections with ankle straps that are nice and thick, or with thin strands around that slender area and riddled with colors and patterns, the open back footwear is totally in and we are not just talking mules either, though those certainly do make an appearance.

Givenchy gives the trend a whole new look really with laced up mules that sport kitten heels and are worn with thick socks underneath. Pretty snazzy, if you ask me.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Open-Back Shoes

#16: The Bane of the “Ugly” Shoes

What makes a shoe ugly? That is hard to say and is entirely subjective, but many have called Crocs and Uggs utter abominations, despite them being some of the most comfortable footwear on the market.

It creates strong emotions for or against really, and seeing the Crocs at Christopher Kane or the Uggs at Preen definitely has us either thanking or cursing the designers. No matter what one thinks about these “ugly” creations, they are in style, they are going to be on the streets, and it is just best to embrace it all.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Ugly Shoes & Crocs

#17: Making the Varsity Team

Athletic inspirations have been huge all across the runway trends, from the clothing to the accessories and most especially the spring/ summer 2017 shoe trends. It is an unexpected footwear option but one which we certainly can enjoy to the maximum. Whether we are looking at boxer boots or built-in socks, the season is calling for sneakers.

White boots that go up to the knees, all laced up, appear at Dior in a lovely manner, whereas DKNY makes athleisure look so very comfortable that fashion has met its match. Fendi’s sock and boot combination is by far one of our very favorites though, even if we think this would totally look better as part of the Christmas trends as opposed to the spring of 2017.

The white sneakers in general caught peoples’ attention and have been given their own category time and again. Tommy Hilfiger has some pretty awesome pieces in this style along with Bands of Outsiders and Lacoste.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Sports Shoes

#18: Leather for Warm Weather

Vibrant shades are a common look for the spring 2017 shoe trends, and it is the leather boots from the winter season that seem to make a very pronounced appearance on the Fashion Week runways.

Whether we are looking at the square toes of Balenciaga, or the rounded versions in orange coming up to the ankles at Celine, warm weather boots are a real thing and the colors are what make them so attractive for the average fashion lover. Honestly, near all the boots, and there were quite a few, were leather designed and meant to keep you fashionably warm.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Leather Shoes & Boots

#19: Skinning Snakes

There is a rather intriguing spring 2017 footwear trend out there and it has everything to do with snakeskin. Really interesting creations have been brought to the Fashion Week runways as such, including some crazy picks from Marc Jacobs and some half and half looks as per Louis Vuitton, appearing very tastefully to mix green snakeskin across the back of the foot with nude triangle toe leather over the front.

Snakeskin and rivets looks pretty amazing at 3.1 Phillip Lim in the bootie section, while Rodarte’s panel play on the boots was more than appealing, with the combination of simple leather and snakeskin.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Snakeskin Shoes & Boots

#20: Shoes with Funky Heels

Non-geometric designs are a common theme to shoes during every Fashion Week and it was no less a trend during the spring 2017 offerings. Loewe rather enjoys playing with the heels it appears and it was cool to see the slight swirls there.

It got totally Western when we consider the Alexander McQueen shiny chrome additions with rivets, as well as the slightly askew totally square appearing heels at J.W. Anderson. Saint Laurent had heels made out in the brand’s logo that looked pretty rad as well.

And if anyone is into circular kitten heels with ribbons and open toes, Dries Van Noten has the right fit, or not, for you. Hood by Air even had heels that imitated the actual shoes, while Kenzo brought springs to barely there red strappy sandals. As for having wales on the heels, we can thank Thom Browne for that.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Shoes with Funky Heels

#21: Thigh-High Boots

Thigh highs were not as common as we would have thought when it comes to the spring/ summer 2017 shoe trends, but the body contouring style of some of the pieces, particularly seen at Gucci and Balenciaga were certainly something to catch the eyes. They were sexy and like second skins, seen in spandex and patent leather, the latex culture gaining new right out of them. Really, it was quite intriguing and way too beautiful to pass up.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Thigh-High Boots

#22: Slider Comfort Fantasy

Flip-flops were once a huge thing on the streets, particularly in the ‘90s. Now, we have some funky sliders appearing instead, something we noticed last spring as well. They are flats with a laid back presentation and updated for the summer with sequins and floral designs.

Prada, Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana, as well as Miu Miu have all joined the fantasy slider club and it’s so dang comfortable. One of our favorite slider looks though came from Tory Burchand it was a pearly creation that was so dearly feminine we could not look away.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Slide Sandals

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Slide Sandals

#23: Bows, Feathers, Ruffles and Ribbons

Shiny and ruffled would not be the first choice of embellishment that we would pick for the spring/ summer 2017 shoes, but Saint Laurent certainly makes good use of the eccentricity of the style on simple stiletto ankle-bound shoes in black that make the legs look gorgeous.

The ruffles on footwear design actually appears multiple times on different shows throughout the Fashion Weeks, landing it among the top summer 2017 shoe trends. We get to see bows and ribbons all around as well, with some very lovely footwear creations, such as the comfortable looking flower embellished Dries Van Noten shoes or the feathery creations that almost look like home slippers at Anna Sui.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Ruffles, Bow & Feather Embellished Shoes

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Ruffles, Bow & Feather Embellished Shoes

#24: Footwear for the Future

We saw some really futuristic boots as well on the runways, to match with the futuristic clothing designs that were ample. Storm troopers and space warriors were rather a common look it appears, with Chanel channeling the inner Star Wars fighter, Louis Vuitton focusing on the half leather and half reptile creations, and Dior delving into futuristic silver athleisure.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Futuristic Shoes

#25: Oriental Inspirations

Chinese and Japanese inspirations came to the spring/ summer 2017 shoes and sandals throughout the Fashion Week shows around the world, from strappy traditional-meets-flatform looks at Gucci to the totally synthetic comfort flatforms at Prada and the shiny version with ankle straps at Versace. The neo-geta sandals were great reinterpretations and spotted on catwalks everywhere.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Oriental Neo-Geta Shoes

#26: Moroccan Slippers

Also known as Babouche slippers, there were a whole lot of the flat grandmother style pieces that brought the Middle East to mind. It is a minimalist version this time around though and over appeared in color blocks or simple black, seen beautifully covering the feet at Narciso Rodriguez, showing off the heels at Dior and offering a bit of toe cleavage at Haider Ackermann as well.

They are quite lovely to wear out when you want to keep your height low, and totally comfortable to be getting your daily chores done while feeling like a mature woman.

Spring/ Summer 2017 Shoe Trends: Moroccan Babouche Style Shoes

Photos courtesy of Vogue, Livingly


Kim Kardashian And Beauty Line


Kim Kardashian West at the Forbes Women’s Summit in New York earlier this month. On Wednesday, she will introduce her new cosmetics line, KKW Beauty. CreditAngela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When it comes to beauty influencers, Kim Kardashian West can be credited as a pioneer. With her longtime makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, she lauded the benefits of contouring (that old-school stage-makeup method of using darker base shades or bronzer to chisel and define features) early on. But unlike her half sister Kylie Jenner, whose Kylie Cosmetics line had its debut two years ago and has enjoyed booming success, Ms. Kardashian held herself apart from the legions of social media tastemakers turned solo makeup entrepreneurs — until now.

On Wednesday, Ms. Kardashian will introduce KKW Beauty with one product: perhaps unsurprisingly, the Crème Contour and Highlight Kit, with a contour stick, a highlighter stick and a brush/sponge, all with dual ends. It will be sold exclusively at KKWBeauty.com in four shades for $48 each.

Though Ms. Kardashian is no stranger to beauty brand extensions — she has her own fragrance line, and she and her sisters licensed their name for Kardashian Beauty and Kardashian Tan — this is the first time she has had full control over all the particulars, including product, packaging and image. Further, she intends the business to become a full-blown line, with several products already in the pipeline.

The rollout has not come off without a hitch, however. Last week, Ms. Kardashian posted a promotional image of herself on Twitter, in a cream-colored bra top and high ponytail, looking very contoured and very, very tan, prompting allegations that she had darkened her skin. Or, to put it more bluntly, that she was essentially wearing blackface.


Ms. Kardashian will introduce her line with one product, the Crème Contour and Highlight Kit. CreditBen Hasset

But certainly no one is betting against Ms. Kardashian, who has proved adept at capitalizing on controversy in the past. Here, she responds to the blackface Twitter storm and explains how her own beauty evolution is reflected in KKW Beauty.

You’re not the first social media star to start her own line. Why were you slower to the game?

I had a line with my sisters, and we were in a licensing deal and a partnership, and it took time to get out of that. Right after, I said, “Hey guys, I want to do something on my own.” Kylie had just started her lip kits, my mom and Kylie had found a really great business model and found great partners. I learned so much from them.

Does that mean you’re going to work with the same manufacturer as Kylie?

Yes, I’m working with the same manufacturer. I’ve had a relationship with them for a while actually. But the lines, they’re totally separate. We don’t really talk to each other about what we’re doing and what our formulas are.

Mario, your makeup artist, recently signed on with Laura Mercier. With the introduction of your line, will you continue to work together?

Mario and I, we’re like family. We started in this together. We are so close that no matter what, we will always get advice from each other. I literally FaceTimed him at 2 a.m. the other day with a million swatches on my face. I was like, “I can’t decide which swatch and what shade this product should be,” and he told me which was best.

You two have been moving toward a more natural look, with less contour.

Yes, but I’ve always stayed true to contour. I’d say that for the past six months, I haven’t been wearing much makeup, but I try to have a little bit of a bronzy look that’s really beautiful and really creamy-looking. That’s why the sticks are cream. There’s no setting powder. But you can make it a heavier contour by adding a setting powder on top of the cream contour.

Why did you move to a more low-maintenance look?

Having kids really changes it up.

A lot of the social media-driven brands are targeting a younger shopper — more a 20-something millennial — but perhaps the quality of the product isn’t there. Being a mom, and being in your 30s, what’s your focus going to be?

When we get to my concealers, I’ll have anti-aging formulas. That’s really important to me — and, of course, the quality. In the beginning, this line will really be about all the correcting and perfecting tricks I’ve learned. There’s the cream contour. There will also be powder contour and undereye concealer. I’ve always had dark undereye circles from being Armenian. These are the things I feel like I’ve really perfected.

Definitely that’s part of your image. Speaking of image, tell me about your side to the blackface controversy.

I would obviously never want to offend anyone. I used an amazing photographer and a team of people. I was really tan when we shot the images, and it might be that the contrast was off. But I showed the image to many people, to many in the business. No one brought that to our attention. No one mentioned it.

Of course, I have the utmost respect for why people might feel the way they did. But we made the necessary changes to that photo and the rest of the photos. We saw the problem, and we adapted and changed right away. Definitely I have learned from it.


High School Graduation 2017!

High School Graduation 2017!

Our Son graduates today!  Congratulations to you and your fellow classmates and Keep UP The Good Work in your new journey!

Advice for graduating high school seniors: Don’t romanticize college

April 25


May 1st is the day that graduating high school seniors who have been accepted to college and who have a choice to make are supposed to commit to a school. For those students who think their life depends on the choice they make, here is some advice from a college admission counselor who has worked for years helping students apply to and choose colleges. He is Brennan Barnard, director of college counseling at the Derryfield School, a private college preparatory day school for grades 6-12 in Manchester, N.H.


By Brennan Barnard

We’ve all been there — love at first sight; eyes locking from across the room, that familiar rush of warmth and dizziness, the skies that suddenly seem that much brighter. It is tricky enough when our infatuation leads to unrealistic ideals of perfection in a partner, but it’s downright dangerous when we fall in love with a college this way.  For high school students this idealism is quite common as they develop romanticized expectations of the perfect school.

In my job as a high school college counselor, I see this same dynamic play out every year.  Students have spent considerable energy and emotion on pinning, planning and applying to college.  For some it has been years of allowing college admission to dictate choices and rule the day.  They have gone to great lengths to master tests, stretch themselves academically and exhaust themselves with extracurricular involvement with the goal of impressing admission committees.

After all of this effort, there is an expectation of perfection that simply does not exist.

Choosing a college in not dissimilar to choosing a life partner, and just as no marriage is flawless, the perfect college is but a myth.   Last spring, author Alain de Botton wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person.”  He argued that, “It’s one of the things we are most afraid might happen to us. We go to great lengths to avoid it. And yet we do it all the same: We marry the wrong person.”

This will be my message to high school seniors this year:  No college is perfect and if they start with that premise, they will be less likely to face disappointment.

Botton writes: “The problem is that before marriage, we rarely delve into our complexities. Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day.”

I see this increasingly every year from students who are either paralyzed by college choice or who just months in are having buyer’s remorse.   Instead, students must embrace the complexities of college life and opportunity and accept the imperfections.

So what if a student does pick the wrong college? In some ways, it is inevitable, because no school is perfect. Botton contends that in marriage, picking the wrong partner doesn’t mean we need to extricate ourselves. Instead he suggests that we abandon “the founding Romantic idea upon which the Western understanding of marriage has been based the last 250 years: that a perfect being exists who can meet all our needs and satisfy our every yearning.”

Likewise, though it may be “the best four years of your life,” any single college will not meet every need and desire that one has for an education.  This is why internships, study abroad, graduate school and other opportunities exist — to provide outlets for one’s yearning. For other disillusioned college students who are so unhappy, they are transferring — alot.  A 2015 report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that more than a third of college students transfer and that nearly half of those do it more than once.

Perhaps a college has most of what a student is looking for academically or socially but the location or food or athletic spirit do not meet expectations.  Instead of embracing the positive and engaging the complexities, however, students focus on the flaws and envision a more perfect ideal that exists only in their mind’s eye.

 The college application process mistakenly sends the message that students should demonstrate perfection in high school achievement and in turn admitted applicants erroneously seek this same flawlessness in a college.  This is an unhealthy start to a partnership.

Instead, seniors faced with the good fortune of college choice should not assume perfection but rather consider each school’s quirks and weaknesses, and ask whether they can accept these over time.  If they practice this now with college, perhaps they will learn important lessons about romanticizing life and relationships.

(Correction: Decision day is May 1st, not April 1st as an earlier version of this said.)


Queen Elizabeth II Style

The Queen Elizabeth II – Style File

  • 11:00 AM

It was June 1953 when 27-year-old Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne and became the Queen of England and ruler of much of the free world. With over 23,000 days on the throne under her belt, Queen Elizabeth II has now commemorated her Silver, Golden, Diamond and Sapphire Jubilees, becoming Britain’s longest reigning monarch. During her 65 years in power, she has used her wardrobe to convey an image of a stately world leader and was aided – to this end – by two couturiers in particular: Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies. Hartnell was the designer commissioned to create her coronation and wedding gowns and many of the shimmering satin confections that she wore to glamorous state occasions, while Amies primarily took care of Her Majesty’s daytime wardrobe. Over the years, the Queen has become famous for wearing bright, block colours, pearl necklaces, pristine white gloves, headscarves and plaid skirts. Now her style is iconic, with her Launer handbags instantly recognisable and synonymous with her and Dolce & Gabbana basing an entire collection around her signature looks. Look back at the amazing fashion history of Queen Elizabeth II below.

Queen Elizabeth II – Style File

  • 11:00 AM

It was June 1953 when 27-year-old Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne and became the Queen of England and ruler of much of the free world. With over 23,000 days on the throne under her belt, Queen Elizabeth II has now commemorated her Silver, Golden, Diamond and Sapphire Jubilees, becoming Britain’s longest reigning monarch. During her 65 years in power, she has used her wardrobe to convey an image of a stately world leader and was aided – to this end – by two couturiers in particular: Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies. Hartnell was the designer commissioned to create her coronation and wedding gowns and many of the shimmering satin confections that she wore to glamorous state occasions, while Amies primarily took care of Her Majesty’s daytime wardrobe. Over the years, the Queen has become famous for wearing bright, block colours, pearl necklaces, pristine white gloves, headscarves and plaid skirts. Now her style is iconic, with her Launer handbags instantly recognisable and synonymous with her and Dolce & Gabbana basing an entire collection around her signature looks. Look back at the amazing fashion history of Queen Elizabeth II below.


London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week 2017: Dates, fashion show schedule and top events you don’t want to miss

We show you how to watch all the catwalk action and front row antics from home, plus top events set to take place at The London Fashion Week Festival

London Fashion Week
Don’t miss top shows from Topshop Unique, Anya Hindmarch, Burberry, Preen and Erdem (Photo: Rex/Splash)

Despite many of us never getting anywhere near the celebrity adorned front rows of designer shows, the event provides some insight about what we will be wearing next season – and more importantly what to invest in now.

The British Fashion Council (BFC), who organise the event, announced a shake up of events, moving the official show space of LFW and London Collections (the men’s equivalent) to its new home at The Store Studios, in central London.

The London Fashion Week Festival, formerly London Fashion Weekend, is also changing and will give the public an opportunity to celebrate fashion over a period of ten days during the shows.

The city-wide events will allow shoppers direct access to designers, industry insiders and influencers.

The main focus of the festival is a ticketed event, hosted at The Store Studios, 180 Strand, in central London, where designers and their teams host curated pop-up shops, from over 150 international and British brands.

The shake up marks a change in tides in recent years, with more high-end designers and high street retailers offering innovative ways to get shoppers more involved.

Topshop Unique show
Topshop Unique’s celebrity filled front row last season (Photo: Getty)

Last season Topshop announced a runway to retail collection that could be bought moments after the show and M&S also unveiled their ‘buy now’ business model. High-end design house Burberry has also pioneered the buy-it-now trend.

Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive British Fashion Council commented: “There is an increasingly big appetite from both brands and public to open up our industry to a wider audience. We saw this in September with the see-now-buy-now collections.

“London Fashion Week Festival is a natural continuation of the increasingly popular London Fashion Weekend.”


London Fashion Week

  • Big bag
    LFW key information
  • What is a FROW?
  • Cara Delevingne and Topshop Unique and Burberry SS17 shows
    7 reasons to be excited about LFW
  • Victoria Beckham catwalk show SS 2016 New York SS16
    Top fashion and beauty deals
  • Topshow Unique
    Shop Topshop Unique AW17
  • LFW
    Biggest trends for AW17

For those hoping to sort out tickets to LFW shows and events or blag their way into an after party or two, we’ve got your definitive guide to all this fashion week related below.

Alexa Chung and Pixie Geldof attend the House of Holland show
Alexa Chung and Pixie Geldof on the FROW at the House of Holland show (Photo: Rex)

When is this London Fashion Week?

The next fashion week in London takes place from 17th to 21st February 2017. The British Fashion Council (BFC) presides over all the organisation of the week-long shows and events.

Where will it be hosted?

The main hub of actions on the official schedule will take place at these venues in central London:

  • BFC SHOW SPACE – The Store Studios, 180 Strand, London, WC2R 1EA
  • BFC PRESENTATION SPACE – The Store Studios, 180 Strand, London, WC2R 1EA
  • TOPSHOP SHOW SPACE – Tate Modern Turbine Hall, Bankside, London SE1 9TG
  • THE PAINTING ROOMS PRESENTATIONS – Hosted by The Royal Society of Arts, Durham House Street, London WC2H 6HG
  • ON | OFF – Oxo Tower Wharf, ​Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London SE1 9PH

Show schedule

Here is our run down of the key shows worth catching on live stream.

J.W.Anderson SS17
Uneven hemlines at J.W.Anderson SS17 (Photo: Rex)

Saturday 18th February

  • 11am Fashion East – showcasing the up and coming British design talent and ones to watch.
  • 4pm – the designer boasts Alexa Chung, Rihanna and even Ms Kim Kardashian West as celebrity fans. So, it’s worth catching one of the UK’s most avant-garde design talents runway collection to get a steer on some of the edgy catwalk trends for the season ahead.
Anya Hindmarch SS17
Geometric accessories at Anya Hindmarch’s SS17 show (Photo: Rex)

Sunday 19th February

  • 10am Anya Hindmarch – as the the queen of bags, Hindmarch’s shows are unashamedly playful and full of creative panache.
  • 2pm Topshop Unique – a good one for a bit of celeb spotting, expect big name models strutting their stuff and you’ll even be able to shop items from the collection online too.
  • 7pm Mary Katrantzou- a favourite of former First Lady Michelle Obama, the Greek designer has taken the fashion world by storm since launching her brand in 2008.
Mary Katrantzou SS17
All about the prints at Mary Katrantzou SS17 (Photo: Rex)
Burberry SS17
Classic trench coats still reigned supreme at Burberry’s show last season (Photo: Rex)

Monday 20th February

  • 11am ERDEM – this designer has been worn by the likes of Kate Middleton, Sienna Miller and even Ms Vogue herself, Anna Wintour. You’ll no doubt see the designer’s influence all over the high street next season.
  • 7.30pm Burberry – another celebrity magnet for those who are as interested in the FROW as they are the catwalk.

You can check the full show schedule for London Fashion Week here.

What events can I go to?

From 23rd to 26th February the BFC will host The London Fashion Week Festival – a series of Fashion Week events open to the public.

Along with giant screens to catch all the shows, there will also be workshops, beauty treatments and live demos from top brands like Maybelline New York.

Can I get tickets?

Yes you can. Book tickets to selected events here from Ticketmaster or via the official website. The tiered tickets are priced from £20 to £200 depending on how much you want to see and do.

For full details visit The London Fashion Week Festival.

Which designers will be showing?

Big British labels like Burberry will be there, as will Mary Katrantzou, , Erdem and Christopher Kane.

Versace’s sister label Versus and MM6 Maison Margiela will once again join the schedule this season too.

See fashion heavyweights like Kate Moss come out in force to support British designers (Photo: David M. Benett)
Burberry September 2016 show
Fashion insiders like Anna Wintour will be doing the rounds at the hottest shows (Photo: Getty)

Rising fashion stars featured in the Topshop supported NEWGEN line up include Molly Goddard, Faustine Steinmetz and Sadie Williams.

The NEWGEN platform offers support and guidance to new designers, helping them put on shows each season. Former NEWGEN alumni include Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane and Roksanda Ilincic.

High street favourites Topshop will also be showing their premium Unique line.


High Tea, Afternoon Tea & Elevenses!

High Tea, Afternoon Tea & Elevenses

High Tea, Afternoon Tea, Elevenses: English Tea Times For Dummies

Afternoon Tea, 1886. Chromolithograph after Kate Greenaway. If you’re looking for finger sandwiches, dainty desserts and formality, afternoon tea is your cup.

Print Collector/Getty Images

You’re an American in London. You’ve visited Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Tower of London, but there’s one more thing you want to check off your to-do list: tea.

No, not just any tea. We’re talking a good, old-fashioned English tea time, with finger sandwiches, dainty china cups and all the formality a Downton Abbey lover could wish for.

But wait, you know nothing about taking tea in Britain. Should you raise your pinky while sipping? And, more importantly, what time do the Brits take tea, anyway? Not to worry. The Salt is here to explain British social tea times.

First up is elevenses, which you might have heard of as a hobbit’s third meal of the day. Outside of Middle Earth, this late-morning work break involves a light snack — think muffins, scones or biscuits — and a hot tea or coffee. It occurs, as the name implies, at 11 in the morning.

What about Elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper?

The tradition of elevenses actually isn’t that old, says Bruce Richardson, a historian who specializes in British tea. He speculates that the custom popped up in the 20th century, because there’s no reference to the term in 1800s literature. Even so, elevenses is strongly engrained in today’s British culture — a 2009 article in The Telegraph called it a “vital element of our traditional way of life.”

“People always want to know about that genesis moment: when God said, ‘Let there be tea,’ ” Richardson says. “But the truth is that things came about slowly over time in Britain.”

As we’ve reported, Portugal’s Catherine of Braganza is credited with introducing tea to England after marrying King Charles II in 1662. That got people curious about this new brew, but it wasn’t until the 1800s, when tea prices dropped dramatically and it became affordable for everyone, that the culture of tea really took root.

Afternoon tea — the kind of fancy-schmancy affair where we might spot Lady Mary of Downton Abbey — emerged as a social event sometime around the 1830s or 1840s, Richardson writes in A Social History of Tea. And Anna Maria Russell, duchess of Bedford, led the pack.

Anna Russell, duchess of Bedford. According to the accepted legend, the duchess — and her hunger pangs — created the afternoon tea tradition.

via Wikimedia

Back then, lunch for the upper crust was generally a light repast served at noon, and dinner occurred no earlier than 7:30 p.m. As legend has it, during one long, food-less afternoon, the duchess felt hunger pangs and ordered tea and snacks to her bedroom chamber. The refreshments did the trick, and Russell soon made this tea break a habit.

The duchess’ well-heeled friends began joining her in this post-lunch tea ritual, the story goes, and the practice spread in aristocratic circles. Though some historical references call this ritual “low tea” — because the ladies would sit in low armchairs while sipping — afternoon tea was hardly a humble affair then. Nor is it today.

Here’s where you’ll find those crustless finger sandwiches and an array of dainty scones, cakes, macaroons and other tempting nibbles. Afternoon tea is generally served around 3 or 4 p.m. these days. Richardson says it’s a time to mind your manners. Place your napkin on your lap and stir gently. Splashing tea, clinking cups and spoons and finger licking will make you appear beastly.

And definitely don’t devour everything in front of you. Richardson recalls advice that international etiquette expert (and Liv Tyler’s grandmother) Dorothea Johnson once gave him: You don’t actually want to appear hungry at this meal — propriety calls for restraint.

If you think that’s rough, tea etiquette was stricter back in the day.

“Women could tell a lot about a man by how he handled a tea cup back then,” Richardson says. In the 1800s, he says, “a suitable mate could be easily dropped if you saw him mishandling how he put his spoon on his saucer after he stirred his cup.”

Fortunately, the pressure is off when it comes to high tea.

Despite its name, high tea actually originated with the lower classes. Dinner was served midday in the 1800s, but in practice, working stiffs didn’t have the luxury of an afternoon lunch break, so they took tea right after work with heartier fare — like pies, meats and cheeses — to sate their hunger.

Richardson says the name high tea probably evolved from the fact that this evening meal was served at proper dinner tables, rather than on couches or settees. Using the term “high tea” when you really mean “afternoon tea” is a dead giveaway you’re American.

“The Ritz-Carlton staff in London always can tell it’s an American when they call for high tea at 2 in the afternoon,” Richardson says.

Five O’Clock Tea, by the American painter Mary Cassatt: Pinkies down, ladies!

Mary Cassatt/via Wikimedia

But no matter what you request, Richardson stresses, “Keep those pinkies down!”

“Americans in the Ritz’s tea room stand out because they work so hard to keep their pinkies extended while holding their teacup,” he says while laughing. “It makes you look pretentious.”

Despite all these rules, don’t get too hung up on proper behavior and not making a fool of yourself. British tea time is meant to be relaxing.

Richardson explains, “If you pay attention to your manners, put the napkin in your lap and keep your feet off the table, you’ll probably be OK.”

Tea Add Milk

Tea Tuesdays is an occasional series exploring the science, history, culture and economics of this ancient brewed beverage.


Jennifer Lopez Looking Good At 46

Jennifer Lopez Looking Good At 46

Jennifer Lopez’s 90-Calorie Breakfast & Veggie Diet That Keeps Her Slim At 46

 by Dory Larrabee
Jennifer Lopez Diet


J-Lo is revealing her exact diet secrets that keep her thin, as well as her workout routine (she has two trainers!), what she avoids (caffeine and alcohol) and how much sleep she gets below!

Jennifer Lopez, 46, looks absolutely flawless. Regardless of her age, the American Idol judge is leading a lean and healthy life thanks to a few important factors. Copy her exact lifestyle, diet and workout tips below.

Workout With J-Lo’s Trainer

Buy J-Lo's Trainer's DVD

Buy J-Lo’s Trainer’s DVD

Jennifer spilled her exact diet to Us Weekly‘s January 18 issue. Her breakfast is a 90-calorie chocolate Body Lab Shake. “I do it with quinoa milk or water.” She also drinks coffee — but it’s decaf. “I haven’t had caffeine in years.”

“By lunchtime, I’m starving,” J-Lo says. She mixes it up but a typical day is salmon and a veggie-packed salad. She loves broccoli, peppers and zucchini with a drizzle of vinaigrette on top. She usually has a protein with quinoa for dinner. “If feels like rice and beans, which I grew up with. And I like pork and chicken — especially Puerto Rican style!” Jennifer tries to have dinner with her family as often as possible. “I try to eat with the kids around 6:30.”

Jennifer Lopez’s Diet & Workout Routine

Of course, diet is not the only thing keeping J-Lo looking young. “I’m rarely in the sun, but if I am, I wear a lot of sunscreen. I’ve never been one to take a lot of sun, which is why my skin has maintained itself. And I don’t drink or smoke or have caffeine. That really wrecks your skin as you get older.”

Beauty sleep is important for Jennifer. “I love a good nine or 10 hours, but I can never get that. So seven or eight is mandatory. [If I don’t get it] I just don’t feel right. I start feeling crazy, I get emotional and I feel tired all the time.”

As far as exercise, she says she prefers to get it over with in the morning. “I don’t like doing it later; it’s harder to get there when I have my day going already. I work out three or four times a week. When I’m in New York, I work out with David Kirsch — he’s an amazing trainer. When I’m in L.A., I work with Tracy Anderson. I like the balance that they both give me. They have two totally different approaches. I like switching it up with my body.”

David says they do “planks, pushups, boxing. A bit of everything.” Get more top tips from David on how to get a body like J-Lo here.

Tracy says: “We just freestyle.” They do 3-pound arm weights with “butt and thigh moves that incorporate the core. We want to keep those famous curves.”


Madonna’s Trainer Keep’s Her In Shape2!

Madonna’s Trainer Keep’s Her In Shape2!


Madonna’s Workout Routine Is Not Nearly As Insane As You’d Think

The rock goddess’ trainer opened up about how how he keeps her in shape. Here’s how to work out like Madonna—yes, you can actually do this.
2014 WireImage

Madonna’s personal trainer is opening up about how she looks that fit at age 57. And, according to Craig Smith, who has worked with the Material Girl for two years, she doesn’t work out as much as you’d think.

Madonna currently works out for at least 30 minutes, six days a week, Smith tells Daily Mail Australia. “I vary the workouts every single day,” he says. “She does a combination of circuit training, interval training, and resistance training. Dance is obviously a huge part of that.” Those workouts include barre training, yoga, martial arts, and boxing, and Smith says they cover everything from core strength to flexibility.

Madonna also uses light weights of 2.5 to 5 pounds for her barre training, with 20 to 30 reps each.

According to Smith, a “typical” daily workout for his client includes a dance-based warm-up to get her heart rate up. Then, she shifts to upper body work, like 20 reps of push-ups, planking for up to 80 seconds, and core work. She’ll finish by focusing on her thighs and legs with some isolated core training, stretching, and meditation.

Madonna’s workouts seem surprisingly doable, and they are, says Jim Pivarnik, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University. Pivarnik tells SELF that Madonna’s tactic of mixing it up is “outstanding,” adding “the more you can mix it up, the more you can prevent overuse injuries.” However, Pivarnik points out that Madonna is still using most of her muscles on any given workout, she’s just emphasizing different muscle groups on one day over another.

Mixing is up is also great for keeping yourself from getting bored of your workout. But you want to still target some of the same muscle groups, he says, because that’s how you work them enough to really make an impact. “Your body doesn’t know the difference, whether you’re punching a bag or using a weight machine.” Doug Sklar, a certified personal trainer and founder of New York City-based fitness training studio PhilanthroFIT, tells SELF, “Some variety is important, but repetition is essential to allow your body to adapt to the training and then make progress.”

In order to strike a balance—mentally and physically—Pivarnik recommends aiming for five days of cardio with two days of resistance training (on cardio days or “off” days).

Want to mix it up, but can’t reach Madonna-like levels of variety? Sklar suggests doing a different workout at least once a week to strike a good balance between condition-building repetition and mental fatigue. And, if you need more variety than that, he suggests doing small daily variations, like running a different route, doing your workout in a different order, or trying out a new dance class.

As for the light weights Madonna uses (which are typical in barre workouts), Pivarnik says they’re good for creating lean muscles without bulking you up. However, feel free to grab a heavier set, too. Lifting heavy (and moving between sets quickly) can count as cardio, too. A good rule of thumb, per Sklar: If you can’t perform eight reps, the weight is too heavy. If you can perform more than 12 reps, the weight is too light.

While Madonna can get her workout done in just 30 minutes, Pivarnik points out that she also gets an additional cardio workout from her onstage performances. “You’ve got to consider the whole day,” he says. Plus, Madge’s trainer himself admits that “80 percent” of her fitness is attributable to her regimented diet. (And that’s not even mentioning what must be rockstar genes.) So, it’s good to keep in mind that while adopting Madonna’s workout routine might make you more toned, it probably won’t make you actually look like Madonna.


Beyonce and Lemonade Diet

Beyonce and Lemonade Diet

The Lemonade Diet or Master Cleanse is a liquid mono-diet, created by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s and more recently made popular by Peter Glickman through his book “Lose Weight, Have More Energy and Be Happier in 10 Days”.The Master Cleanse is said by Stanley Burroughs and later authors to eliminate toxins and congestion that have accumulated in the body. It should be noted that the Master Cleanse is a fast, not a diet, as it is not a complete source of macro-nutrients. Thus it should be considered as another form of fasting (click here for more info on fasting).

Supporters of the Master Cleanse/ Lemonade Diet credit it with helping them increase their energy levels, alleviate some chronic diseases and with weight loss.


Essentially the Master Cleanse consists of consumption of:

  • Fresh lime or lemon juice with maple syrup and cayenne pepper mixed with water and drunk up to 12 times a day.
  • Herbal laxative tea is taken twice a day, morning and night.
  • Internal salt-water baths.
  • No other food is consumed.
  • This regimen can be followed for 10 days, or possibly longer and depends upon a person’s physical condition.

Do not stop any medication you have been prescribed without consulting your doctor first! Any fasting should only be done so with the consent of a healthcare professional.

The Master Cleanse also known as the Maple Syrup Diet, Lemonade Diet, Lemon Detox hit the headlines after it was reported that R&B star Beyoncé Knowles had lost 20 lbs. (9 kg) in 10 days by following the Lemonade Diet under a nutritionist’s supervision. Beyoncé followed what essentially was a version of the Master Cleanse, using the Swiss-made Madal Bal Natural Tree Syrup, which consists of four different South East Asian palm syrups and Canadian grade maple syrup.

How to do the lemonade diet


Naomi Campbell does the Master Cleanse three times a year to keep her figure looking stunning. It has also been reported that Howard Stern’s primary co-host on his morning radio show, Robin Quivers, lost 73 lbs (33 kg) on the Master Cleanse. Actor Jared Leto is also reported to have lost the 62 lbs. he gained to play a movie role, using the Master Cleanse.The Lemonade Diet’s main promoter, the late Stanley Burroughs, published a slim volume in 1975 called “The Master Cleanser with Special Needs or Problems”. The book is still available today and the techniques are often adapted. Contrary to popular belief, the Master Cleanse was not designed for weight loss, but originally created to cleanse the body and flush out toxins. Nevertheless, in his book Stanley Burroughs also endorses his diet as “a reducing diet”.

Below you will find an overview and instructions about the Lemonade Diet. Excerpts from the Stanley Burroughs book “The Master Cleanser with Special Needs or Problems”, are highlighted in italics.

Purpose of the Lemonade Diet

  • To dissolve and eliminate toxins and congestion that have formed in any part of the body.
  • To cleanse the kidneys and the digestive system.
  • To purify the glands and cells throughout the entire body.
  • To eliminate all unusable waste and hardened material in the joints and muscles.
  • To relieve pressure and irritation in the nerves, arteries, and blood vessels.
  • To build a healthy blood stream.
  • To keep youth and elasticity regardless of our years.

When to Use the Lemonade Diet

  • When sickness has developed – for all acute and chronic conditions.
  • When the digestive system needs a rest and a cleansing.
  • When overweight has become a problem.
  • When better assimilation and building of body tissue is needed.

How Often Should You Do the Lemonade Diet?

Follow the Master Cleanse diet for a minimum of 10 days or more – up to 40 days and beyond may be safely followed for extremely serious cases. The diet has all the nutrition needed during this time. Three to four times a year will do wonders for keeping the body in a normal healthy conditions. The diet may be undertaken more frequently for serious conditions.


  • 2 Tbsp of lemon or lime juice (approx. ½ lemon)
  • 2 Tbsp genuine maple syrup (not maple flavored sugar syrup)
  • 1/10 Tsp cayenne pepper (red pepper) or to taste
  • Water, medium hot (spring or purified water)

Combine the juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper in a 10 oz. glass and fill with medium hot water. (Cold water may be used if preferred). Use fresh lemons or limes only, never canned lemon or lime juice nor frozen lemonade or frozen juice. Use organic lemons when possible. The maple syrup is a balanced form of positive and negative sugars and must be used, not some “substitute”.

Stanley Burroughs goes on to suggest the use of darker grades of maple syrup, which he writes have a greater mineral content. He states, “Maple syrup has a large variety of minerals and vitamins. Naturally the mineral and vitamin content will vary according to the area where the trees grow and the mineral content of the soil. There are the minerals found primarily in the average samples of pure maple syrup: Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Copper, Phosphorus, Sulfur, and Silicon. Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C and Pantothenic Acid (B5) are also present in the syrup.”


The book suggests that between six and twelve glasses of the lemonade should be drunk daily and that as you get hungry to simply drink another glass of lemonade. For those who are overweight, less maple syrup may be taken. For the underweight, more maple syrup may be taken. However, it is advisable not to vary the amount of lemon juice per glass.


The Master Cleanser states that you should expect two, tree or more bowel movements per day. Otherwise, the waste tends to stay in the body leading to tiredness and other problems. If this is not the case, a laxative herbal tea last thing at night and first thing in the morning should be taken.


Part of the Master Cleanse or Lemonade Diet is the “salt water bath”. Enemas and colonic irrigation are advised against and instead internal salt water baths are recommended.

Directions: Prepare a full quart of luke-warm water and add two level (rounded for the Canadian quart) teaspoons of uniodized sea salt. DO not use ordinary iodinized salt, as it will not work properly. Drink the entire quart of salt and water first thing in the morning. This must be taken on an empty stomach. The salt and water will not separate but will stay intact and quickly and thoroughly wash the entire tract in about one hour. Several eliminations will likely occur. The salt water has the same specific gravity as the blood, hence the kidneys cannot pock up the water and the blood cannot pick up the salt. This may be taken as often as needed for proper washing of the entire digestive system.

If this does not bring about the desired effect the first time used, The Master Cleanser suggests adding a little more or less salt until you find the right balance or taking in extra water with or without salt.


Prepare yourself mentally and physically before embarking on the detox. Speak to your health care practitioner. Make sure you have all the required ingredients for the Master Cleanse. Ensure you have emotional support of friends or family to get you through the difficult times.

  • The night before: you start the lemonade detox take herbal laxative tea.
  • First morning of the detox: take the salt water bath or if not possible the herbal laxative tea, do not take both.
  • Lemonade formula.
  • Breaking the Lemonade Diet: do not overeat, eat too soon or to frequently.

Next, lemonade diet variations and how to finish the plan (important to minimize side-effects or weight re-gain!).


Mental Health Awareness Month (Psychiatric Medications Make You FAT)!


By Rachel Gray

Who here has trouble losing weight? Why I could not lose the weight baffled me. Well, it’s actually more complex than I thought. First, a lack of self-control is usually the knee-jerk assumption as to why you gain weight. This is based on the belief that weight loss is a simple matter of thermodynamics: one takes in more calories than one “burns”. That is true – but only to a point. I take a combination of psychiatric medications; the resulting weight gain is what the scientific literature calls “antipsychotic induced weight gain” (AIWG) (Lett et al., 2012, P. 242). Knowing mine is AIWG is frustrating: It is why my 900 calorie diet and exercise regimen do not work.

Proof that most psychiatric medications cause weight gain is well-established (Allsion et al., 1999). ‘Antipsychotic medications’ (interchangable here with the phrase ‘psychiatric medications’) cause “…substantial weight gain, and weight gain is a leading factor in patient noncompliance and poses significant risk of diabetes, lipid abnormalities (that is, metabolic syndrome), and cardiovascular events including sudden death (Lett et al., 2012, P. 242).” The specific medications I’m talking about (and their corresponding illnesses) include the categories of antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers. The illnesses these work on are schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. What I am not going to address here include the anxiety and attention deficit disorders, and their corresponding medications (which often overlap, but not always).

Weight gain is THE inevitable side effect of specific psychiatric medications and/or combinations of medications. The comprehensive lay website CrazyMeds (highly recommended: well-researched and consumer-driven) devotes a section about weight gain from psychiatric medications:

4.1  Weight gain

There are three known reasons as to why some meds make you fat.

1. H1 Antihistamines. This is most common way a drug can fatten you up like a veal calf. Most APs, especially Zyprexa are strong-to-potent antihistamines and, as I wrote above, antihistamines make you hungry and encourage you to keep the weight on. Being a potent antihistamine is also why you take these meds as they help you sleep and help fight anxiety. TCAs, especially Remeron, are also strong-to-potent antihistamines and notorious for weight gain.

2. Serotonin 5HT2C Antagonists. Drugs that interfere with serotonin at this specific receptor at going to make you gain weight. As with antihistamines these meds will make you hungry and keep the weight on. This is the primary reason why second-generation APs, especially Zyprexa and Seroquel, will cause you to pack on the pounds. Additionally they will mess with your insulin resistance, which is why your risk for diabetes increases if you take Geodon or Abilify and don’t gain any weight. And just like antihistamines you take these meds because they are 5HT2C antagonists, as that helps regulate dopamine. Other 5HT2C antagonists include Remeron and Prozac.

3. Decreasing corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). Unlike the above two, this one is somewhat obscure, in the world of psychopharmacology at any rate. Like the other two it is possibly why the meds LithiumDepakoteSSRIsSNRIs, and assorted APs and other antidepressants (ADs) work.”

Health Behaviors

The typical reaction is to blame excess body fat on the person carrying it. Health professionals I deal with proselytize self-restraint and regular exercise. These are ‘health behaviors’ – control over eating is the biggie to be faced off in this essay because self-control is not as simple as “put down the fork and walk away”. While the exact mechanisms of action for antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers are relatively unknown, the results of Karen Davison’s (2013) study suggested that certain combinations impact weight gain as well as eating habits (more on eating behaviors later) (Davison, 2013, P. 189). Davison’s study (2013) found that there were “significant interactions among antidepressants, …antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers with BMI (P. 188).” Another study found that psychiatric medications, in certain combinations, affect the andrenergic system (having to do with adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine), although the role of adrenergic receptors in AIWG is unclear  (Lett 2012, P. 255). This all has to do with eating behaviors.

Why so hungry all the time?

Psychiatric drugs stimulate one’s appetite so one is hungry all the time (hyperphagia), and therefore one eats more (Davison, 2013, P. 187). Treatment with antipsychotics leads to weight gain and alterations in carbohydrate and lipid metabolisms through increased appetite; leptin and ghrelin play an important role in the regulation of food intake. Body weight is regulated by a complex system, including both peripheral and central factors. Two of the hormones that play an important role in the regulation of food intake, energy metabolism, and body weight are leptin and ghrelin. Both originate in the periphery (peripheral nerves connect the spinal cord with your limbs) and signal through different pathways to the brain, particularly to the hypothalamus (Esen-Danaci et al., 2008, P. 1434).  This is important because leptin is a protein that plays a major role in the regulation of appetite (‘health behavior’ territory), adiposity (body fat), and body weight. Psychiatric medications stimulate production of leptin and ghrelin.

After leptin is released by the adipose tissue into the bloodstream, it crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds to the hypothalamic leptin receptors, in the arcuate nucleus, giving information about the body energy stores. Administration of leptin into the arcuate nucleus results in decreased food consumption while leptin deficiency leads to increased food intake (Haupt et al., 2005). Leptin plays a significant role in long-term regulation of energy balance. It also plays a role in short-term regulation of food intake and body weight. Leptin is produced not only by adipose tissue, but also a small amount in the stomach. It plays a role in the control of meal size in cooperation with other satiety peptides (Pico et al., 2003, P. 735).

Ghrelin is a gastrointestinal peptide hormone that is found in the stomach, the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, ovary, and adrenal cortex. In the brain, ghrelin-producing neurones have been identified in the pituitary and the hypothalamus (Jin et al., 2007, P. 70). Ghrelin plays a role in regulating feeding behavior and energy metabolism in the central nervous system; it is the first hormone found to stimulate appetite and food intake (Esen-Danaci et al., 2008, P. 1435).

“The concentration of circulating ghrelin is increased under conditions of negative energy balance such as starvation and anorexia nervosa while decreased under those of positive energy balance such as feeding and obesity in other words circulating ghrelin levels correlate inversely with BMI and body fat percentage (Esen-Danasi et al., 2008, P. 1435).”

What all this means is that psychiatric medications stimulate your appetite all the time. Regulating your “health behaviors” around eating takes phenomenal willpower and self-control because you are always feeling hunger pangs. It is a real battle to not give in to feeling hungry, something not to be taken lightly.

I’ve been on a 900 calorie, fresh veggie diet for five weeks, and do 45 minutes of aerobics daily. My weight has stabilized at 165# for five weeks. I should be losing weight, right? Well, that’s what’s so frustrating: If I eat less and exercise more, I SHOULD lose weight. This belief I refer to as “thermodynamics”, whereby one “burns” more calories than one ingests. (I refuse to eat any less, because I detest feeling hungry all the time and my body would probably go into starvation mode…)  My weight gain is not thermodynamics: take fewer calories in, and simply ‘burn’ the fat off with exercise, nope! The weight gain started when my doctor prescribed a combination of medications (Effexor, Abilify, and Lamictal).

The hated side effect of this medication combination is weight gain, and there’s not a blessed thing I can do except go off the medications (which is not an option). So what all this means is that when you take certain combinations of psychiatric medications, the gods of good health behaviors – Diet and Exercise – mock you. Well, they mock me, anyway…

Why Diet and Exercise are Perhaps Futile

First of all, some of us (me) come from hearty peasant stock and our ancestors were broad, plump, and fertile as the women Peter Paul Rubens depicted.

Peter Paul Rubens, "Venus At Her Mirror"
Peter Paul Rubens, “Venus At Her Mirror”

Pharmacogenetic studies are finding that genetics also play a part in moderating the degree of weight gain from psychiatric medications (Lett et al., 2012, P. 244). With no medications, it is a chore and a daily conscientious effort to stay slim and at an optimal doctor’s-health-chart weight (at least, it is for me). The majority of atypical antipsychotics are metabolized by phase I cytochrome P450 (CYP450) isoenzymes (Lett et al., 2012, P. 244). (Isoenzymes are enzymes that differ in amino acid sequence but catalyze the same chemical reaction) (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/isoenzyme). Pharmacokinetic studies found that poor CYP450 activity is associated with increased serum levels of antipsychotics that lead to increased weight gain (Lett et al., 2012, P. 244). Genetics plus psychiatric medications will lead to certain weight gain. That weight stays on, no matter how hard you exercise and deny yourself pizza.

AIWG goes hand in hand with metabolic changes – the kind that makes you unhappy because you out-grew your favorite pants. “Altered energy homeostasis” and “endocrine disturbances (Davison, 2013, P. 187)” are fancy terms for the physiological side effect of weight gain. Additionally, weight gain is a predictor of metabolic syndrome, which includes diabetes, heart problems, and high blood pressure which puts you at risk for stroke, among other things. The mechanisms linking psychiatric medications with the metabolic syndrome include “dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and autonomic nervous system (ANS) via such pathways as an accumulation of “visceral adiposity” or body fat, and impaired insulin sensitivity, as well as serotonergic (serotonin) activity (Davison, 2013, P. 188).” To sum up the science, your metabolism comes to a screeching halt. No amount of dieting or exercise will help fend off that fat.

What I would recommend instead 

First, stay on the medications. My own mental illness is severe and my doctor prescribed a combination of medications that work well. If I quit my medications, I would be slim, sexy, and suicidally depressed.

Second, self-acceptance of the new, bigger body is key. At this point in psychopharmacology, there are no viable options: The medications cause weight gain. So what is there outside of self-acceptance? It is unrealistic to give hope that we MIGHT one day have drugs that both work and do not make us fat. The medical community has certainly accepted it – they have known for ages that such drugs make patients gain inordinate amounts of weight. It is more realistic to just get used to the additional weight and accept the body as it is. If you need a new wardrobe, go for it!

Third, eat healthy and do the exercise routines you enjoy. Do it for health and for peace of mind. Just because you probably will not lose the weight, does not mean you should neglect healthy living. Also, what’s wrong with having extra weight if your blood pressure is fine and you show no signs of diabetes or other aspects of metabolic syndrome? This goes to the thought process of stigmatization, and how much we stigmatize ourselves and our bodies to start with.

Overweight is stigmatized, there’s no doubt about that. But then again, so is mental illness. And that’s a whole other article…




Mental Health Awareness Month (Marriage and Mental Health)

Mental Health Awareness Month (Marriage and Mental Health)

Effects of Marriage on Mental Health

Married people are least likely to have mental disorders, 1) and have higher levels of emotional and psychological well-being than those who are single, divorced, or cohabiting.2) Marriage protects against feelings of loneliness.3) Married mothers enjoy greater psychological well-being and greater love and intimacy than cohabiting or single mothers.4) Marriage also has a wide range of benefits for physical health.

1. Anxiety and Stress

Both adults and children in married families suffer less psychological distress than their counterparts in divorced families.5) Married men have lower levels of stress hormones,6) and married women experience less psychological distress.7) Married mothers feel more love and intimacy, less ambivalence, and experience less conflict with their husbands than cohabiting and single women do with their partners.8)

According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, biological parents and adoptive parents who are married report less parenting stress (48.9) than single mothers (52.1), biological parent/stepparent families (52.0), or “other” family structure (50.6) such as single fathers. 9) (See Chart Below)

Parenting Stress by Family Structure

2. Depression

Those who are married report less depression10) than cohabiting couples.11) Married mothers report less depression, more support from their partners, and more stable relationships than cohabiting mothers.12) Adolescents living with married parents are less likely to be depressed than those in stepfamilies or single-parent families (with or without other adults present).13)

3. Suicide

Married people are least likely to commit suicide.14) Adolescents in divorced families are more likely to commit suicide.15)

4. Happiness

Married people are much more likely to report being happy than cohabiters,16) and those who do not cohabit prior to marriage report having happier marriages than those who do cohabit.17) Married people (those in intact marriages and those who have divorced and remarried) most frequently report being proud of their work.18) Married mothers of infants have the most positive attitudes and report forming better home environments than single and cohabiting mothers.19)

A larger fraction of those raised in an intact family consider themselves “very happy” than those raised in non-intact families.20) (See Chart Below)

Percent Who Are Very Happy

5. Drug and Alcohol Use

Married individuals are more likely to cease using marijuana, due in part to improvements in self-control.21) Continuously married adults less frequently report that they sometimes drink too much.22) Married women have fewer alcohol problems.23) African-Americans who are married have lower rates of excessive drinking and drug use.24)

Adolescents from intact married families are less likely to use cocaine than those from divorced families.25) Teenagers from intact families are less likely to begin smoking than those with never-married or divorced single parents.26)

6. Community

Older married couples enjoy more social support than older cohabiters,27) and married mothers enjoy more social support than cohabiting or single mothers.28) Those in intact marriages less often report believing that most people would try to take advantage of others. Married parents spend more on education and less on alcohol and tobacco as compared to cohabiting parents.29)

According to the General Social Survey (GSS), always-intact married adults are less likely than married, previously divorced adults or unmarried adults to believe that most people would try to take advantage of others.30) (See Chart Below)

"Belief That People Try to Take Advantage of Others" by Marital Status

1) David Williams, et al., “Marital Status and Psychiatric Disorders Among Blacks and Whites,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 33, (1992): 140-157. As cited in G.T. Stanton, “Why Marriage Matters.” Available at http://www.ampartnership.org/resourcecenter/news/89-why-marriage-matters.html. Accessed 27 July 2011.
Benjamin Malzberg, “Marital Status in Relation to the Prevalence of Mental Disease,” Psychiatric Quarterly 10, (1936): 245-261; J. Coyne, M.J. Rohrbaugh, V. Shoham, J.S. Sonnega, J.M. Nicklas, and J.A. Cranford, “Prognostic Importance of Marital Quality for Survival of Congestive Heart Failure” American Journal of Cardiology 88, no. 5 (2001): 526-529. As cited in California Healthy Marriages Coalition, “Healthy Marriages, Mental Health. Research on the Alignment of Marital Outcomes and Mental Health.” Available at http://camarriage.com/content/resources/7b8690b0-784f-46e7-af7d-438a9b064557.pdf. Accessed 25 August 2011.
2) Susan L. Brown, “Relationship Quality Dynamics of Cohabiting Unions,” Journal of Family Issues 24, no. 5 (2003): 583-601.
Susan L. Brown, “The Effect of Union Type on Psychological Well-being: Depression among Cohabitors versus Marrieds,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 41, no. 3 (2000): 241-255.
Beth A. Hahn, “Marital Status and Women’s Health: the Effect of Economic Marital Acquisitions,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 55, no. 2 (1993): 495-504; Yuanreng Hu and Noreen Goldman, “Mortality Differentials by Marital Status: An International Comparison,” Demography 27, no. 2 (1990): 233-250; Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser and Tamara L. Newton, “Marriage and Health: His and Hers,” Psychological Bulletin 127, no. 4 (2001): 472-503; L.A. Lillard and C.W.A. Panis, “Marital Status and Mortality: The Role of Health,” Demography 33, no. 3 (1996): 313-327; L.A. Lillard and L.J. Waite, “’Til Death Do us Part: Marital Disruption and Mortality,” The American Journal of Sociology 100, no. 5 (1995): 1131-1156; K. Marcussen, “Explaining Differences in Mental Health Between Married and Cohabiting Individuals,” Social Psychology Quarterly68, no. 3 (1999): 239-257; Steven Stack and J.R. Eshleman, “Marital Status and Happiness: A 17-Nation Study,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 60, (1998): 527-536; K.A.S. Wickrama, et al., “Marital Quality and Physical Illness: A Latent Growth Curve Analysis,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 59, no. 1 (1997): 143-155. All as cited in D. Lees, “The Psychological Benefits of Marriage,” Research Note (2007): 1-4. Available at http://www.maxim.org.nz/files/pdf/psychological_benefits_of_marriage.pdf. Accessed 27 July 2011
3) Randy Page and Galen Cole, “Demographic Predictors of Self-Reported Loneliness in Adults,” Psychological Reports 68, (1991): 939-945. As cited in Glenn T. Stanton, “Why Marriage Matters,” Available at http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/gods_design_for_marriage/marriage_gods_idea/why_marriage_matters_for_adults. aspx#footnoteRef17, accessed 12 April, 2013.
M.A. Distel, I. Rebollo-Mesa, A. Abdellaoui, C.A. Derom, G. Willemsen, J.T. Cacioppo, D.I. Boomsma, “Familial Resemblance for Loneliness,” Behavior Genetics 40, no. 4 (2010): 480, 488,490.
4) Stacy R. Aronson and Aletha C. Huston, “The Mother-Infant Relationship in Single, Cohabiting, and Married Families: A Case for Marriage?” Journal of Family Psychology 18, no. 1 (2004): 5-18. As cited by The Heritage Foundation: Family Facts. Available at http://www.familyfacts.org/search?q=huston%20and%20aronson&type=findings&page=1. Accessed 1 September 2011.
5) Paul R. Amato, “The Consequence of Divorce for Adults and Children,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 62, (2000): 1269-1287. As cited in Nicholas Zill, “Parenting Stress and Family Structure.” Available at http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/MA-34-36-160.pdf. Accessed 26 August 2011.
6) D. Maestripieri, “Between- and Within-Sex Variation in Hormonal Responses to Psychological Stress In a Large Sample of College Students,” Stress 13, no. 5 (2010): 413–442; J. Holt-Lunstad, “Is There Something Unique about Marriage? The Relative Impact of Marital Status, Relationship Quality, and Network Social Support on Ambulatory Blood Pressure and Mental Health,” Annals of Behavioral Medicine 35, no. 2 (2008): 239-244. As cited in Kathleen Blanchard, “Health & Marriage: Benefits for Men.” Available at http://www.foxnews.com/health/2010/10/13/health-marriage-benefits-men/#ixzz1TDmcdmCc. Accessed 26 July 2011.
7) Duncan Cramer, “Living Alone, Marital Status, Gender and Health,” Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 3, (1993): 9.
W.R. Avison, J. Ali, and D. Walters, “Family Structure, Stress, and Psychological Distress: A Demonstration of the Impact of Differential Exposure,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 48, (2007): 306.
8) Stacy R. Aronson and Aletha C. Huston, “The Mother-Infant Relationship In Single, Cohabiting, and Married Families: A Case for Marriage?” Journal of Family Psychology 18, no. 1 (2004): 5-18. As cited by The Heritage Foundation: Family Facts. Available at http://www.familyfacts.org/search?q=huston%20and%20aronson&type=findings&page=1. Accessed 1 September 2011.
9) This chart draws on data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics in the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) in 2003. The data sample consisted of parents of 102,353 children and teens in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 68,996 of these children and teens were between six and 17 years old, the age group that was the focus of the study. The survey sample in this age range represented a population of nearly 49 million young people nationwide.
Nicholas Zill, “Parenting Stress and Family Structure,” Mapping America Project. Available at http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/MA-34-36-160.pdf
10) Susan L. Brown, “The Effect of Union Type on Psychological Well-Being: Depression among Cohabitors versus Marrieds,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 41, no. 3 (2000): 247-248.
11) Kristen Marcussen, “Explaining Differences in Mental Health between Married and Cohabiting Individuals,” Social Psychology Quarterly 68, no. 3 (2005): 239-257; Susan L. Brown, Gary R. Lee, and Jennifer R. Bulanda, “The Significance of Nonmarital Cohabitation: Marital Status and Mental Health Benefits among Middle-Aged and Older Adults,” The Journals of Gerontology 60, no. 1 (2005): S21-S29. Both as cited in Daniel Lees, “The Psychological Benefits of Marriage,” Research Note (2007): 1-4. Available at http://www.maxim.org.nz/files/pdf/psychological_benefits_of_marriage.pdf. Accessed 27 July 2011.
12) V. King, “Stepfamily Formation: Implications for Adolescent Ties to Mothers, Nonresident Fathers, and Stepfathers,” Journal of Marriage and Family 71, no. 4 (2009): 4.
13) Anne E. Barrett and R.J. Turner, “Family Structure and Mental Health: The Mediating Effects of Socioeonomic Status, Family Process and Social Stress,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 46, no. 2 (2005): 156-169. As cited in National Healthy Marriage Resource Center Research Brief by Jana Staton, “Making the Connection Between Healthy Marriage and Health Outcomes: What the Research Says” (2009): 1-18.
14) Maria Masocco, et al., “Suicide and marital status in Italy,” Psychiatric Quarterly 79, no. 4 (2008): 275-285. As cited in Roger Dobson, “From Cancer to Heart Disease, The Amazing, Life-Saving Benefits of Marriage.” Available http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1049134/From-cancer-heart-disease-amazing-life-saving-benefits-marriage.html. Accessed 5 April 2013.
15) David M. Cutler, et al., “Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide,” Working Paper 7713 (Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research): 2000. As cited in Glenn T. Stanton, “Why Marriage Matters,” http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/gods_design_for_marriage/marriage_gods_idea/why_marriage_matters_for_adults. aspx#footnoteRef17. Accessed 12 April, 2013.
16) Steven Stack and J. Ross Eshleman, “Marital Status and Happiness: A 17-Nation Study,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 60, (1998): 527-536. As cited in Daniel Lees, “The Psychological Benefits of Marriage” Research Note (2007): 1-4. Available at http://www.maxim.org.nz/files/pdf/psychological_benefits_of_marriage.pdf. Accessed 27 July 2011.
Kristen S. Lee, and Hiroshi Ono, “Marriage, Cohabitation, and Happiness: A Cross-National Analysis of 27 Countries,” Journal of Marriage & Family 74, no. 5 (2012): 961-962.
17) Spencer L. James and Brett A. Beattie, “Reassessing the Link between Women’s Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Quality,” Social Forces 91, no. 2 (2012): 651, 652.
18) Patrick F. Fagan and Althea Nagai, “I Am Proud of the Type of Work I Do.” Available at http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/MA-76-78-174.pdf. Accessed 26 August 2011.
19) , 28) Stacy R. Aronson and Aletha C. Huston, “The Mother-Infant Relationship In Single, Cohabiting, and Married Families: A Case for Marriage?” Journal of Family Psychology 18, no. 1 (2004): 5-18. As cited by The Heritage Foundation: Family Facts. Available at http://www.familyfacts.org/search?q=huston%20and%20aronson&type=findings&page=1. Accessed 1 September 2011
20) This chart draws on data collected by the General Social Survey, 1972-2006. From 1972 to 1993, the sample size averaged 1,500 each year. No GSS was conducted in 1979, 1981, or 1992. Since 1994, the GSS has been conducted only in even-numbered years and uses two samples per GSS that total approximately 3,000. In 2006, a third sample was added for a total sample size of 4,510.
Patrick F. Fagan and Althea Nagai, “Intergenerational Links to Happiness: Family Structure.” Available at http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/MA-49-51-165.pdf. Accessed 26 August 2011.
21) Walter Forrest and Carter Hay, “Life-Course Transitions, Self-Control and Desistance From Crime,” Criminology and Criminal Justice 11, no. 5 (2011): 487-513. As cited in Physorg article, “The Benefits of Marriage.” Available at http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-benefits-marriage.html. Accessed 2 December 2011.
22) Patrick F. Fagan and Althea Nagai, “‘Sometimes Drinks too Much Alcohol’ by Marital Status.” Available at http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/MA-85-87-177.pdf. Accessed 26 August 2011.
23) Allan V. Horwitz, Helene R. White, and Sandra Howell-White, “Becoming Married and Mental Health: A Longitudinal Study of a Cohort of Young Adults,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 58, (1996): 895-907.
24) Mir M. Ali, and Olugbenga Ajilore, “Can Marriage Reduce Risky Health Behavior for African-Americans?” Journal of Family & Economic Issues 32, no. 2 (2011): 198, 200.
25) Lisa A. Cubbins and Daniel H. Klepinger, “Childhood Family, Ethnicity, and Drug Use over the Life Course,” Journal of Marriage and Family 69, no. 3 (2007): 810-830. As cited by The Heritage Foundation: Family Facts. Available at http://www.familyfacts.org/briefs/24/keeping-teens-safe-how-the-intact-family-buffers-against-teen-substance-use. Accessed 20 July 2011.
26) Cheryl Amey and Stan Albrecht, “Race and Ethnic Differences in Adolescent Drug Use: The Impact of Family Structure and the Quantity and Quality of Parental Interaction,” Journal of Drug Issues 28, no. 2 (1998): 283-298. As cited by The Heritage Foundation: Family Facts. Available at http://www.familyfacts.org/briefs/24/keeping-teens-safe-how-the-intact-family-buffers-against-teen-substance-use. Accessed 20 July 2011.
Susan L. Brown and Lauren N. Rinelli, “Family Structure, Family Processes, and Adolescent Smoking and Drinking,” Journal Of Research On Adolescence 20, no. 2 (2010): 264, 266.
27) Susan L. Brown, Gary R. Lee, and Jennifer R. Bulanda, “Cohabitation Among Older Adults: A National Portrait,” The Journals of Gerontology 61B, no. 2 (2006): S75
29) Thomas DeLeire and Ariel Kalil, “How Do Cohabiting Couples with Children Spend Their Money?” Journal of Marriage and Family no. 67 (2005): 286-295. As cited in Institute for American Values, “Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences,” 13. Available at http://www.americanvalues.org/pdfs/why_marriage_matters2.pdf. Accessed 2 April 2013.
30) This chart draws on data collected by the General Social Survey, 1972-2006. From 1972 to 1993, the sample size averaged 1,500 each year. No GSS was conducted in 1979, 1981, or 1992. Since 1994, the GSS has been conducted only in even-numbered years and uses two samples per GSS that total approximately 3,000. In 2006, a third sample was added for a total sample size of 4,510.
Patrick F. Fagan and Althea Nagai, “’Belief That People Try to Take Advantage of Others’ by Marital Status.” Available at http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/MA-88-90-178.pdf. Accessed 26 August 2011.This entry draws heavily from 164 Reasons to Marry.

Mental Health Awareness Month- ( Bipolar Disorder)

Mental Health Awareness Month- ( Bipolar Disorder)

Bipolar Disorder Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing and Controlling Bipolar Symptoms

Bipolar manWe all have our ups and downs, but with bipolar disorder, these peaks and valleys are more severe. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can hurt your job and school performance, damage your relationships, and disrupt your daily life. And although it’s treatable, many people don’t recognize the warning signs and get the help they need to feel well and do well. Since bipolar disorder tends to worsen without treatment, it’s important to learn what the symptoms look like. Recognizing the problem is the first step to getting better.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior—from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other. More than just a fleeting good or bad mood, the cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks, or months. And unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of bipolar disorder are so intense that they interfere with your ability to function.

During a manic episode, a person might impulsively quit a job, charge up huge amounts on credit cards, or feel rested after sleeping two hours. During a depressive episode, the same person might be too tired to get out of bed, and full of self-loathing and hopelessness over being unemployed and in debt.

The causes of bipolar disorder aren’t completely understood, but it often appears to be hereditary. The first manic or depressive episode of bipolar disorder usually occurs in the teenage years or early adulthood. The symptoms can be subtle and confusing; many people with bipolar disorder are overlooked or misdiagnosed—resulting in unnecessary suffering. But with proper treatment and support, you can lead a rich and fulfilling life.

Myths and facts about bipolar disorder
Myth: People with bipolar disorder can’t get better or lead a normal life.

Fact: Many people with bipolar disorder have successful careers, happy family lives, and satisfying relationships. Living with bipolar disorder is challenging, but with treatment, healthy coping skills, and a solid support system, you can live fully while managing your symptoms.

Myth: People with bipolar disorder swing back and forth between mania and depression.

Fact: Some people alternate between extreme episodes of mania and depression, but most are depressed more often than they are manic. Mania may also be so mild that it goes unrecognized. People with bipolar disorder can also go for long stretches without symptoms.

Myth: Bipolar disorder only affects mood.

Fact: Bipolar disorder also affects your energy level, judgment, memory, concentration, appetite, sleep patterns, sex drive, and self-esteem. Additionally, bipolar disorder has been linked to anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, migraines, and high blood pressure.

Myth: Aside from taking medication, there is nothing you can do to control bipolar disorder.

Fact: While medication is the foundation of bipolar disorder treatment, therapy and self-help strategies also play important roles. You can help control your symptoms by exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, eating right, monitoring your moods, keeping stress to a minimum, and surrounding yourself with supportive people.


Signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder can look very different in different people. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others experience only a few over a lifetime.

There are four types of mood episodes in bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. Each type of bipolar disorder mood episode has a unique set of symptoms.


In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, feelings of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria are common. People experiencing a manic episode often talk a mile a minute, sleep very little, and are hyperactive. They may also feel like they’re all-powerful, invincible, or destined for greatness.

But while mania feels good at first, it has a tendency to spiral out of control. People often behave recklessly during a manic episode: gambling away savings, engaging in inappropriate sexual activity, or making foolish business investments, for example. They may also become angry, irritable, and aggressive—picking fights, lashing out when others don’t go along with their plans, and blaming anyone who criticizes their behavior. Some people even become delusional or start hearing voices.

Hypomania symptoms

Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. People in a hypomanic state feel euphoric, energetic, and productive, but they are able to carry on with their day-to-day lives and they never lose touch with reality. To others, it may seem as if people with hypomania are merely in an unusually good mood. However, hypomania can result in bad decisions that harm relationships, careers, and reputations. In addition, hypomania often escalates to full-blown mania or is followed by a major depressive episode.

Common signs and symptoms of mania include:

  • Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic OR extremely irritable
  • Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
  • Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
  • Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
  • Racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
  • Highly distractible, unable to concentrate
  • Impaired judgment and impulsiveness
  • Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
  • Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)

Symptoms of bipolar depression

In the past, bipolar depression was lumped in with regular depression, but a growing body of research suggests that there are significant differences between the two, especially when it comes to recommended treatments. Most people with bipolar depression are not helped by antidepressants. In fact, there is a risk that antidepressants can make bipolar disorder worse—triggering mania or hypomania, causing rapid cycling between mood states, or interfering with other mood stabilizing drugs.

Despite many similarities, certain symptoms are more common in bipolar depression than in regular depression. For example, bipolar depression is more likely to involve irritability, guilt, unpredictable mood swings, and feelings of restlessness. People with bipolar depression also tend to move and speak slowly, sleep a lot, and gain weight. In addition, they are more likely to develop psychotic depression—a condition in which they’ve lost contact with reality—and to experience major disability in work and social functioning.

Common symptoms of bipolar depression include:

  1. Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty
  2. Irritability
  3. Inability to experience pleasure
  4. Fatigue or loss of energy
  5. Physical and mental sluggishness
  1. Appetite or weight changes
  2. Sleep problems
  3. Concentration and memory problems
  4. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  5. Thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms of a mixed episode

A mixed episode of bipolar disorder features symptoms of both mania or hypomania and depression. Common signs of a mixed episode include depression combined with agitation, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, distractibility, and racing thoughts. This combination of high energy and low mood makes for a particularly high risk of suicide.

The different faces of bipolar disorder

Bipolar I Disorder (mania or a mixed episode) – This is the classic manic-depressive form of the illness, characterized by at least one manic episode or mixed episode. Usually—but not always—Bipolar I Disorder also involves at least one episode of depression.

Bipolar II Disorder (hypomania and depression) – In Bipolar II disorder, the person doesn’t experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression.

Cyclothymia (hypomania and mild depression) – Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder that consists of cyclical mood swings. However, the symptoms are less severe than full-blown mania or depression.


Treatment for bipolar disorder

If you spot the symptoms of bipolar depression in yourself or someone else, don’t wait to get help. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away; in fact, it will almost certainly get worse. Living with untreated bipolar disorder can lead to problems in everything from your career to your relationships to your health. Diagnosing the problem as early as possible and getting into treatment can help prevent these complications.

If you’re reluctant to seek treatment because you like the way you feel when you’re manic, remember that the energy and euphoria come with a price. Mania and hypomania often turn destructive, hurting you and the people around you.

Treatment basics

Bipolar disorder requires long-term treatment. Since bipolar disorder is a chronic, relapsing illness, it’s important to continue treatment even when you’re feeling better. Most people with bipolar disorder need medication to prevent new episodes and stay symptom-free.

There is more to treatment than medication. Medication alone is usually not enough to fully control the symptoms of bipolar disorder. The most effective treatment strategy for bipolar disorder involves a combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and social support.

It’s best to work with an experienced psychiatrist. Bipolar disorder is a complex condition. Diagnosis can be tricky and treatment is often difficult. For safety reasons, medication should be closely monitored. A psychiatrist who is skilled in bipolar disorder treatment can help you navigate these twists and turns.



While dealing with bipolar disorder isn’t always easy, it doesn’t have to run your life. But in order to successfully manage bipolar disorder, you have to make smart choices. Your lifestyle and daily habits have a significant impact on your moods and may even lessen your need for medication.

The keys to self-help
Get educated. Learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder. The more you know, the better you’ll be at assisting your own recovery.
Get moving. Exercise has a beneficial impact on mood and may reduce the number of bipolar episodes you experience. Aerobic exercise that activates arm and leg movement such as running, walking, swimming, dancing, climbing or drumming may be especially beneficial to your brain and nervous system.
Keep stress in check. Avoid high-stress situations, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
Seek support. It’s important to have people you can turn to for help and encouragement. Try joining a support group or talking to a trusted friend. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it won’t mean you’re a burden to others. In fact, most friends will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your relationship.
Stay closely connected to friends and family. Nothing is as calming to the nervous system as face-to-face contact with caring supportive people who can just listen to you talk about what you’re experiencing.
Make healthy choices. Healthy sleeping and eating habits can help stabilize your moods. Keeping a regular sleep schedule is particularly important.
Monitor your moods. Keep track of your symptoms and watch for signs that your moods are swinging out of control so you can stop the problem before it starts.


Bipolar disorder and suicide

The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is often very severe, and suicide is a major risk factor. In fact, people suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to attempt suicide than those suffering from regular depression. Furthermore, their suicide attempts tend to be more lethal.

The risk of suicide is even higher in people with bipolar disorder who have frequent depressive episodes, mixed episodes, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, a family history of suicide, or an early onset of the disease.

The warning signs of suicide include:

  • Talking about death, self-harm, or suicide
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Feeling worthless or like a burden to others
  • Acting recklessly, as if one has a “death wish”
  • Putting affairs in order or saying goodbye
  • Seeking out weapons or pills that could be used to commit suicide


It’s very important to take any thoughts or talk of suicide seriously. If you or someone you care about is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at 1-800-273-TALK or visit IASP or Suicide.org to find a helpline in your country. Or read Suicide Prevention.


Causes and triggers

Bipolar disorder has no single cause. It appears that certain people are genetically predisposed to bipolar disorder, yet not everyone with an inherited vulnerability develops the illness, indicating that genes are not the only cause. Some brain imaging studies show physical changes in the brains of people with bipolar disorder. Other research points to neurotransmitter imbalances, abnormal thyroid function, circadian rhythm disturbances, and high levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

External environmental and psychological factors are also believed to be involved in the development of bipolar disorder. These external factors are called triggers. Triggers can set off new episodes of mania or depression or make existing symptoms worse. However, many bipolar disorder episodes occur without an obvious trigger.

Stress – Stressful life events can trigger bipolar disorder in someone with a genetic vulnerability. These events tend to involve drastic or sudden changes—either good or bad—such as getting married, going away to college, losing a loved one, getting fired, or moving.

Substance Abuse – While substance abuse doesn’t cause bipolar disorder, it can bring on an episode and worsen the course of the disease. Drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines can trigger mania, while alcohol and tranquilizers can trigger depression.

Medication – Certain medications, most notably antidepressant drugs, can trigger mania. Other drugs that can cause mania include over-the-counter cold medicine, appetite suppressants, caffeine, corticosteroids, and thyroid medication.

Seasonal Changes – Episodes of mania and depression often follow a seasonal pattern. Manic episodes are more common during the summer, and depressive episodes more common during the fall, winter, and spring.

Sleep Deprivation – Loss of sleep—even as little as skipping a few hours of rest—can trigger an episode of mania.

Bipolar Disorder articles

More related HelpGuide articles


Resources and references

General information about bipolar disorder

Bipolar Disorder – Article on the symptoms, causes, and treatment of bipolar disorder, or manic depression. (National Institute of Mental Health)

Treatment of Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families (PDF) – Gives a helpful overview of the signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment of bipolar disorder. (PsychGuides)

Signs and symptoms

Bipolar I Disorder – Covers the symptoms and diagnostic criteria for Bipolar I Disorder, including the signs of individual mood episodes of hypomania, mania, and depression. (Internet Mental Health)

Bipolar Disorder: Rapid Cycling and its Treatment – Includes information on the signs, symptoms, and causes of rapid cycling in bipolar disorder. (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)

Bipolar disorder and suicide prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Suicide prevention telephone hotline funded by the U.S. government. Provides free, 24-hour assistance. 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

IASP – Find crisis centers and suicide helplines around the world. (International Association for Suicide Prevention).

Samaritans UK – 24-hour suicide support for people in the UK and Republic of Ireland (call 116 123). (Samaritans)

Lifeline Australia – 24-hour suicide crisis support service at 13 11 14. (Lifeline Australia)

Crisis Centers in Canada – Locate suicide crisis centers in Canada by province. (Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention)

Understanding Suicidal Thinking – Learn how to fight suicidal thoughts, help someone else who is suicidal, and respond to an emergency situation. (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)


Betrabrand Yoga Pants- Perfect For Work

Betrabrand Yoga Pants- Perfect For Work


Large Editorial Image

Quick-change artist Betabrand

October 13, 2016 Updated: October 13, 2016 5:21pm

As San Francisco’s Betabrand prepares to launch its ironic Silicon Valley Fashion Week? for the second year in a row — watch as robots, exoskeletons and a llama outdo last year’s drones! — it’s worth noting that the irreverent online clothing company might never have launched had its founder grown up watching cable TV.

Cable wasn’t available in the 1980s in Chris Lindland’s hometown of Rancho Santa Fe (San Diego County), so when his parents declined to sign up for satellite TV, he did the next best thing: He created his own shows.

“Friends of mine had video cameras, so we would always make stupid home movies,” the 44-year-old said at the company’s retail shop and headquarters on Valencia Street recently. “The storytelling part that you see around Betabrand began with me doing that kind of stuff.”

Betabrand may have begun as a joke, but the joke was on him when his first product, Cordarounds, took off in 2006. Lindland was employed by an online German hotel company at the time; to bolster his resume and marketing chops he created a side project: pants whose ridges wound around the legs horizontally and a website with clever quips and faux scientific facts about how the pants lowered the wearer’s (ahem) “crotch heat index.”

Adolescent male humor has taken the company far since Betabrand launched officially in 2010, but six years into the madness, the question isn’t why goofiness is so appealing. It’s how the company sustains a creativity that seems to burn ever hotter.

After an hour of rapid-fire conversation with Lindland, a fashion disrupter appropriately born on Bastille Day — and who claims to be jet-lagged after arriving home the previous day from Europe but shows no sign of fatigue — it’s apparent the fuel is his own inner high-octane drive. It’s a unique formula composed of his experience as the co-founder of a tech startup (i-Drive data storage); a stint in Hollywood as the creator of an animated comedy show sold to Spike TV; and a Gen X perspective that grounds him in the ways that digital consumers live and think.

Die-hard fans of Betabrand’s disco-patterned fabric gather at Betabrand headquarters at 780 Valencia in San Francisco on Oct. 24 for DiscoCon. Betabrand, a San Francisco apparel company, has a wide range of products but has found the people who adore the disco apparel and fabric are particularly fervent. Photo: Michele Ochoa, Courtesy

Photo: Michele Ochoa, Courtesy

Die-hard fans of Betabrand’s disco-patterned fabric gather at Betabrand headquarters at 780 Valencia in San Francisco on Oct. 24 for DiscoCon. Betabrand, a San Francisco apparel company, has a wide range of products but has found the people who adore the disco apparel and fabric are particularly fervent.

“The Internet has created consumers that expect the world to change every 15 seconds,” Lindland says, standing amid racks of fan-favorite silver Disco Hoodies on the sales floor.

“How can a fashion industry that says, ‘We’re going to invent what you wear two years from now’ connect with the consumer base that expects everything to be immediate, and constantly changing?” Lindland asks. “Our business says, ‘Design ideas can spring forth in two minutes; we should be striving to have people interact with that two hours later.’ Because a design is an idea, and an idea is what people consume online.”

That’s why Betabrand keeps its website dizzyingly fresh — posting 12 to 15 garments online every week, unlike traditional clothing companies that design months in advance and deliver apparel to department stores up to a year later.

To achieve the rapid turnaround, Betabrand’s in-house fashion designers make their own sketches and review hundreds of ideas submitted by outside designers. All designs are posted in a crowdfunding section of the website; if they are a success, they join Betabrand’s collection.

To manufacture at breakneck speed, Betabrand does all the back-end work first: It develops a prototype for a garment, and a supply chain for materials and vendors, and then places the garment on its website for customers to browse and order. “If we find out that 10,000 people want this thing,” Lindland says, pointing to a new plaid shirt on a rack, “production can begin two days later.”

Comedy is integral to Betabrand’s popularity, hence the emphasis on gag names like the new Weed-Tweed blazer by Matt Their found on the crowdfunding section of the company’s website. (“It’s pretty clear that pot’s going mainstream across the United States. Soon, smokers of all ages, shapes, and strains will emerge from the smoky shadows to rejoice and blaze up! And what will these legions of newly liberated tokers wear? My Weed-Tweed Blazer, naturally,” the product blurb states.)

The Betabrand Pantsuit Calendar, new for 2016, features 32 female tech entrepreneurs wearing the brand’s Dress Pant Yoga Pant and is part of an effort to raise money for Techstar Foundation, which works to improve diversity in the tech world. $20 at www.betabrand.com. Pictured here are Leila Janah, CEO of Samasource, and Caroline Ghon, CEO of Levo. Photo: Betabrand

Photo: Betabrand

The Betabrand Pantsuit Calendar, new for 2016, features 32 female tech entrepreneurs wearing the brand’s Dress Pant Yoga Pant and is part of an effort to raise money for Techstar Foundation, which works to improve diversity in the tech world. $20 at www.betabrand.com. Pictured here are Leila Janah, CEO of Samasource, and Caroline Ghon, CEO of Levo.

Betabrand, which strives to be the “Facebook of fashion,” also gets new ideas from Internet chatter.

Following the success of its $78 Dress Pant Yoga Pant for women, created by Sarah James for office workers in 2014, Betabrand saw that women were wondering why nobody was making stylish, comfy apparel for traveling. That’s how a 40-piece travel collection that includes the Red Eye Wrap, travel jeans and a travel skort was born.

The pace may be relentless, but Betabrand’s employees seem to enjoy Lindland’s charismatic pressure.

In August, Lindland held the company’s first Alumni Ball, a costume party to celebrate the efforts of present and past employees.

One of those present, Steve Teeple, 28, a senior web producer, says he left Apple and took a pay cut to come to Betabrand in 2012.

“It’s an insane editorial-magazine-newspaper vibe, where Chris coming up to us saying, ‘This story isn’t working — we’re going to change it up’ and ‘We have to scramble to re-photograph things and move things around,’” says Teeple. “He wants to be the person that is saying, ‘Why can’t we do this better? Why can’t we do this faster?’ and I really respect that about him.”

One of those rip-and-redo episodes involved a campaign for a hemp-fiber shirt called the Tree Hugger, with photos of a man hugging a tree. Lindland scrapped it, feeling it was lackluster, and suggested two alternatives — The Libertarian, for the consumer who believes in guns and sustainable textiles, and the Tree Humper, about a forbidden romance between man and tree.

How does Lindland keep those new ideas coming?

“I’ve often wondered that myself,” says Benjamin Keyser, 37, Betabrand’s art director, as electronic dance music pulsed inside. “It doesn’t seem like it takes him any effort to come up with stuff — it’s all kind of mad scientist brilliant weird stuff, and not all of it is appropriate for photo shoots.”

Technical designer and pattern maker Morgan Brown specing a garment at Betabrand. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

Technical designer and pattern maker Morgan Brown specing a garment at Betabrand.

In September, Betabrand launched YogAID, a program that donated $5 from the purchase of each pair of Dress Pant Yoga Pants to the nonprofit Techstars Foundation, working to increase diversity in the tech field, raising $100,000 for the group. Betabrand also gave those customers a free Betabrand pantsuit calendar featuring 32 local female entrepreneurs (Debbie Sterling of GoldiBlox; Stephanie Hannon, Hillary Clinton’s CTO; Caroline Ghosn of Levo) clad in pantsuits and photographed doing yoga poses.

As Betabrand launches its new Urban Outdoors line this month, it’s also preparing for the second annual Silicon Valley Fashion Week? Oct. 20-22, to be sponsored by Zappos and held at the Gantry, a new mid-Market event space in San Francisco, to accommodate an anticipated 2,500 attendees.

Lindland is focusing on the Bay Area’s Burning Man and maker roots, and he hopes the event becomes “like “Comi-con for fashion,” referring to the long-running San Diego convention attended by more than 130,000 costumed fans. “We’re the home of visual stuff and technology. That feels more like a San Francisco show than if we try to behave like a New York show; whenever San Francisco tries, it looks like a pale comparison.”

Carolyne Zinko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: czinko@sfchronicle.com

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?

Oct. 20-22: 1425 Market St. Tickets: $25 and up; www.betabrand.com. The Betabrand Pantsuit calendar is $20 at www.betabrand.com/pantsuit-calendar.html.

Betabrand’s greatest hits

2011: Disco pants; the “caperon,” a hybrid cape and apron

2012: Executive Pinstripe Hoodie, timed to Facebook’s IPO.

2014: Dress Pant Yoga Pant, the company’s best-selling item to date; Gay Jeans, with multicolored threads that fray and “come out” as the garment is worn.

Creative block? Lindland’s “environmental” tips for getting unstuck:

1. Head to a cafe. Surely the coffee aids in elevating the senses, but the environmental change is the extra ingredient. There’s always someone working away on a screenplay, start-up or thesis, and my mind feeds off the environment.

2. Take a hike. Once a month, I walk a couple projects up Twin Peaks or Mount Tam. Sounds like an excuse to blow off work, but when your job is inventing experiences (which fashion really is all about), it helps to take your brain to places folks really want to be.

3. Visit SFMOMA. Sounds pretentious, but it really isn’t. Art museums are monuments to creative thinking. It never hurts to wander through an ocean of ideas when you’re puzzling about problems — creative, professional or personal


It’s National Yoga Month!

National Yoga Month!


It’s National Yoga Month! Celebrate with These Flow-Ready Pieces from Our Favorite Brands

It's National Yoga Month! Celebrate with These Flow-Ready Pieces from Our Favorite Brands


SEPTEMBER 1, 2016 @ 5:30 PM

Vinyasa, Bikram, Hatha—pick your favorite flow, and book a session now because today marks the start of National Yoga Month. At the risk of sounding just like an instructor, expounding zen advice at the front of class with a sitar, this is the perfect opportunity to refocus your practice and help it grow. Cue the ohms.

But also, maybe the cue the shopping? Whether it’s a fitted shirt that (finally!) doesn’t awkwardly sag forward during downward facing dog or a matching bra top and leggings that give you the confidence to go shirtless in a heated room, just the right outfit impacts your time on the mats more than you might think. (Plus, you’ll feel really cute, which can be more valuable than 1,000 plank poses, no?)

To get you amped for your next session, we’ve culled the yoga-wear sections of our favorite athletic apparel brands for the best buys of the season. Scroll down to browse and buy our top picks.

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      1. ALO YOGA

      This Cali-based label’s dancer-esque silhouettes—all of which has been tested and approved by yoga fanatics—are perfect for layering up on your way to class (and peeling off when the sweat starts to flow).

      Amelia crop, $60; aloyoga.com. Goddess leggings, $98; aloyoga.com. Sculpt tank, $46; aloyoga.com.

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      Between the heathered tones and chic paneling, there’s nothing earthy-crunchy about these stretchy separates, courtesy of the buzziest athleisure line in the biz. Add a bomber to take the look straight from stretching to dinner.

      Springs legging, $95; outdoorvoices.com. Tech Sweat Biker short, $65; outdoorvoices.com. Athena crop, $50; outdoorvoices.com.

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      3. ALALA

      104 degrees, what?! For holding poses in ungodly heat, micro shots and a bra (we love how these ones have breathable mesh built in) are your best bet. Later, you’ll want a light jacket for that post-class iced coffee run.

      Edge hot shorts, $75; alalastyle.com. Crusade bra, $55; alalastyle.com. Neoprene jacket, $205; alalastyle.com.

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      4. LULULEMON

      Cut from thick, supremely flattering Lycra, these crazy comforable basics come in multiple colors (aka, the ultimate excuse to buy multiples).

      Power Y tank, $52; lululemon.com. Wunder Under crop, $88; lululemon.com. Both Ways bra, $58; lululemon.com.


Mental Health Awareness Month- (Psychologists Help With Weight )

Mental Health Awareness Month- (Psychologists Help Weight)

How psychologists help with weight management

Download a PDF of this article

Many people struggle with weight control. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 33 percent of U.S. adults are overweight and an additional 36 percent are obese. Approximately one in six children in the U.S. is obese. People gain weight in a variety of ways, such as while recovering from an injury or health issue or slowly adding pounds while growing older.

When it comes to losing weight, many individuals know to focus on eating less and exercising more. But a major aspect of weight control involves understanding and managing thoughts and behaviors that can interfere with weight loss.

Seeing a psychologist about weight control

Psychologists are experts in helping people make behavioral and lifestyle changes that assist with weight management. They may work with individuals and families independently in their private practice or as part of a health care team, often in a setting where mental health and medical services are integrated. Sometimes a psychologist will work on weight control with a patient who has been referred by a physician, dietitian or other health care professional.

People who seek help from psychologists range in age from children to adults. They include those who simply struggle with managing their weight as well as individuals whose weight problems are related to chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease or other conditions like depression, anxiety or eating disorders.

What happens during visits with a psychologist

An initial visit with a psychologist usually involves a discussion about your history and concerns. This may include your weight management goals and past efforts to lose weight, medical history, stress levels, current life situation and your sources of social support like family and friends.

In order to help you, psychologists also want to learn about your habits and attitudes about food, eating, weight loss and body image that may not support your health goals. Common unhealthy beliefs that patients express include: having to clean off their plate; needing dessert after meals; and feeling like a failure when weight loss stalls. Some typical behaviors include: eating whatever they want after exercise; using food to cope with feelings of boredom or stress; and continuing to eat when they are no longer hungry.

These types of behaviors and beliefs often sabotage weight loss efforts. Psychologists talk to patients about their challenges to making healthy choices and identify the triggers that prompt the patient to make unhealthy choices. A psychologist may also evaluate a patient for anxiety, depression and eating disorders such as binge eating. These conditions can sometimes contribute to weight issues.

Developing a treatment plan

By the end of a first visit, psychologists usually have a comprehensive picture of a patient. They discuss what patients are already doing well and should continue; and they identify areas of need and difficulty related to weight management. After the initial visit, the psychologist and patient schedule follow up appointments and start to create a treatment plan.

Treatment plans differ from one individual to another but tend to be brief. The plan often involves teaching self-monitoring behaviors, changing old beliefs, building new coping skills and making changes to home and work environments to support health goals. Psychologists help individuals address obstacles to weight loss, identify positive ways to change unhealthy habits and develop new skills and ways of thinking.

Many psychologists concentrate on one health behavior at a time. For example, if evenings are a challenging time to maintain good eating habits, the psychologist may ask the patient to keep a log of food eaten in the evenings and make notes about their environment, how they felt and what they were thinking. These factors provide important information about what is driving eating behaviors and helps the psychologist and patient figure out a way to address the behaviors.

Progressing and improving

After even a few sessions, most patients begin to notice changes. For example, patients may start to challenge old beliefs about food and practice new ones that support their health goals.

Together with the psychologist, a patient can determine how long treatment should last. People with extreme anxiety and depression, eating disorders or chronic physical health conditions, may require longer and/or more frequent treatment.

The ultimate goal is to help people develop skills so they can lead healthy lives.

Changing your eating habits

Consider the following steps that can be helpful in changing unhealthy eating behaviors and thoughts:

Monitor your behaviors. Research is clear that people who write down what they eat in a daily log are more successful at losing weight. Record your thoughts, feelings and information about the environment such as where you ate, when and what you were doing. This will help you understand your eating behaviors and identify areas to change.

Track your activity level. This is another important aspect of self-monitoring. It includes not only how much you exercise but also the extent to which you move around during the day rather than remaining seated or inactive. One helpful tactic involves using a pedometer to record the number of steps you take each day.

Eat regular meals. Patients often skip breakfast with the thought they are reducing calories or can “save up” calories for later. But skipping meals can slow your metabolism, make you prone to later eating binges and have a negative effect on your health.

Practice “mindful” eating. Research shows that individuals with eating problems often don’t pay attention to whether they are really hungry when they eat. Psychologists can help you learn mindfulness exercises to heighten your awareness of hunger levels and to make eating more enjoyable.

Understand the things you associate with food. Behaviors are habitual and learned. Sometimes people may associate certain emotions, experiences or daily activities with particular behaviors. For example, if you typically eat while watching TV your brain has made an association between food and TV. You may not be hungry, but in your mind TV and eating are paired together. So when you watch TV you suddenly feel the urge to eat. You can begin to break this association by not eating while watching TV.

Identify your emotions. It’s important to figure out what is happening emotionally while snacking, overeating or choosing unhealthy foods. Identify the feeling: is it boredom, stress or sadness? Patients need to determine if they are really hungry or just responding to an emotion. If you aren’t hungry, find another way to meet that need.

Modify your unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Reinforcing healthy behaviors is important to achieving your weight management goals. Too often, people have negative thoughts and feelings about changing their health behaviors and see the process as punishment. Some people have an “all or nothing” attitude and think about weight loss in terms of being “on” or “off” a diet. Psychologists work with people to address negative feelings and find ways to reward healthy changes to their eating habits.

The American Psychological Association gratefully acknowledges Amy Walters, PhD, director of behavioral health services at St. Luke’s Humphrey Diabetes Center in Boise, Idaho and Kathleen Ashton, PhD, Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio for contributing to this fact sheet.

Mental Health Awareness Month- ( Medical Doctors Help To Lose Weight)

Mental Health Month- (Mental Health Awareness Month- (Medical Professionals Help To Lose Weight)

How to Help Your Patients Lose Weight

How to Help Your Patients Lose WeightMany pages of The Carlat Report have been devoted to how we cause our patients to become obese with some of the medications we prescribe. In this article, we review ways in which we can atone for our sins.

To begin with, you need to learn what Body Mass Index (BMI) is, because this is the preferred outcome variable in all the obesity research these days. The BMI takes height into account in determining how overweight (or underweight) somebody is. The formula is: weight (in kg) divided by height (in meters) squared. You can use inches and pounds with the NIH table at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/ obesity/bmi_tbl.htm (go ahead – look yourself up).

Normal weight is classified as a BMI of 18.5-24.9, overweight is 25-29.9, and a BMI of 30 or How to Help Your Patients Lose Weightabove is considered obese The definitive study of the relationship between BMI and mortality (NEJM 1999; 341: 1097-1105) followed more than 1 million men and woman over 14 years, and reported the BMIs of those who died during that period. The lowest death rates were found among women with BMIs from 22.0 to 23.4 and among men with BMIs from 23.5 to 24.9. Of course, as one’s BMI increases, one’s death rate goes up. For example, men with BMIs of 35 or higher had triple the rate of cardiovascular death as the ideal group. People with very low BMIs also incurred a higher death rate, but these increases were quite small.

If you weren’t already motivated to prevent weight gain in your patients, hopefully this data motivates you further. Unfortunately, many psychiatric medications cause weight gain. The table below is helpful as a quick reference of weight gain liabilities of some of the more common agents we prescribe.

How to Help Your Patients Lose Weight
Helping Patients Lose Weight

Assuming that you have calculated your patient’s BMI and that you both agree that his or her weight is a problem, how do you go about facilitating weight loss? Most experts recommend setting a pretty modest weight loss goal initially, on the order of 10% of initial body weight over six months. Setting the bar low helps prevent failure and disappointment.

Most patients have a hard time sticking to a diet on their own, and a recent study comparing self-help dieting with participation in Weight Watchers bears this point out. In this study, about 150 overweight or obese men and women were randomized to Weight Watchers vs. “self help” (two 20 minute nutritionist visits and some pamphlets). After one year, the Weight Watchers group lost 9.5 lbs. vs. 2.9 lbs. for the self-help group. At two years, there was some weight regain, but the Weight Watchers group was still lighter, with a loss of 6.4 lbs, than self-help with 0.4 lb (JAMA 2003; 289:1792- 1798). Not that Weight Watchers is special–all commercial diet programs seem to work about equally well, meaning very modestly. A more recent JAMA article randomized dieters to four popular programs: Atkins, Zone, Weight Watchers, and Ornish. After one year, each program produced modest weight loss, ranging from 4.8 pounds for the Atkins diet to 7.3 pounds for the Ornish diet. Differences among them were not statistically significant (JAMA 2005; 293:43-53).

Exercise is important too, although the oft-cited recommendation of 45 continuous minutes of exercise three times a week can be a tall order for people who are obese and, according to another study, may be no more effective than shorter bursts of exercise spread out throughout the day. In this study, 148 overweight women were randomized to three different types of exercise: 40 minutes/day of walking; 40 minutes/day but divided up into 10 minute sessions; and 40 minutes in short sessions on a home treadmill. The women in the three groups lost weight equally well, and those in the short session/home treadmill group were more likely to actually exercise during the last half-year of the study (JAMA 1999 282: 1554-1560). The moral of this story? Advise your patients to exercise in short sessions throughout the day and tell them to get a treadmill if they can afford one.

Medications for Obesity

Believe me, there are a lot more prescription medications for weight loss than you realize. For example, have you ever heard of diethylpropion, mazindol, phendimetrazine, or phentermine? They’re all FDA-approved for obesity, and each is a basic appetite suppressant, related to amphetamine. There are also a number of non-stimulant medications, which we’ll focus on because they are generally considered safer, although not necessarily more effective, than stimulants.

Xenical (orlistat)

It sounds like a dream-come-true: A pill that simply prevents the absorption of too much fat. Who would need to diet anymore? Despite its promise, orlistat has not become as popular as you might predict. Most patients have bouts of diarrhea and fatty stools over the first four weeks, and beyond that, it’s not miraculously effective, leading to only about 6 more pounds of weight loss than placebo over one year (International Journal of Obesity 2003; 27:1437-1446). It’s dosed at 120 mg TID with meals, and patients should take vitamin supplements to ensure they get their daily A, D, E, and K. Rumors are that is will be sold over-the-counter soon.

Despite its problems, Xenical may be helpful for psychiatric patients, especially those with metabolic complications of atypical antipsychotics. In one study, patients with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (without mental illness) were randomized to receive either orlistat 360 mg QD plus dieting or dieting alone. After 6 months, those in the orlistat group lost more weight, had improved measures of glucose control and systolic blood pressure, had lower cholesterol levels, and were less likely to meet criteria for metabolic syndrome (Curr Med Res Opin 2004; 20(9):1393- 1401).

Meridia (sibutramine)

Meridia works by inhibiting the reuptake of both norepinephrnie and serotonin, thereby suppressing appetite. Large placebo-controlled studies have shown it to be quite likely the most effective of the weight loss meds, leading to an average weight loss of close to 10 lbs. more than placebo over a year (International Journal of Obesity 2003 27: 1437-1446).

In psychiatry, Meridia (sibutramine) seems quite effective for the treatment of binge eating disorder. According to a recent study, it reduced binge eating and depression, and also led to 16 lbs. of weight loss (vs. small weight gain in the placebo group). (Arch Gen Psychiatry 2003; 60:1109-1116). Patients in this study received Meridia 15 mg QD; only dry mouth and constipation were more common in the Meridia group than placebo. It did not increase blood pressure but did increase heart rate from 80 to 87.

While serotonin syndrome is a theoretical concern, the European Agency for the evaluation of medicinal products concluded in a 2002 safety review that there was little evidence implicating Meridia as a culprit in a few reported cases (http://www.emea.eu.int/ pdfs/human/referral/451402en.pdf).How to Help Your Patients Lose Weight

Prozac and Wellbutrin

It’s nice to be able to offer a “twofer” to patients who want to lose both depression and weight. Both Prozac and Wellbutrin qualify for this unusual status. While Wellbutrin appears to have gotten most of the press about being a weight loss agent lately, it turns out that our old stalwart Prozac has been studied even more intensively for this indication.

According to a recent meta-analysis by Agency for Heath Care Research and Quality (http://www.ahrq.gov/ downloads/pub/evidence/pdf/obespharm/ obespharm.pdf), six decent long term (at least 12 months) placebo-controlled studies of Prozac have been published, and the average extra weight loss achieved over placebo was about 7 lbs. Most of these studies used the relatively high dose of 60 mg QD.

While Wellbutrin can boast only three placebo-controlled studies, these were all larger studies than any of Prozac’s, with study populations ranging from 217 to 423. The average excess weight loss over 6-12 months was about 6 lbs, and the maximum recommended dose was used– 400 mg QD.

Some of these studies excluded patients with major depression, and others didn’t. The weight loss effect seems to occur either way, which may come as a surprise to those of us who suspect that the “weight gain” of patients on SSRIs is an indirect result of improved mood. Apparently, with Prozac and Wellbutrin, you can improve mood and lose weight at once.

What’s Dexatrim?

Many of my patients over the years have either been taking over-the-counter Dexatrim or have asked me whether they should take it. Dexatrim is a weight loss product that used to contain a stimulant called phenylpropanolamine, or PPA. However, in November of 2000, the FDA publicized results of a study showing a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke in women taking products with PPA, and it asked manufacturers to voluntarily stop using PPA in any product. While this fell short of an actual recall, the weight loss industry for the most part complied, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any PPA in drug stores today. You can still buy “Dexatrim,” but it is a reformulated “natural” product, with no PPA. For more information on this topic, see the FDA’s PPA information page at http://www.fda.gov/cder/ drug/infopage/ppa/default.htm.

TCR VERDICT: Programs and pills: Both work, but weight loss is modest.