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Nutritional supplements can be a healthy and smart addition to just about any diet, but they are especially important for post-op bariatric patients. I’m six years out from gastric bypass surgery, but my commitment to taking daily nutritional supplements is life-long. You’ll find the best dietary supplements at Supplement in terms of selection, quality, and price. Here are my personal recommendations for a bariatric diet:

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My current favorite winter skin care products

Ah, winter. The season of holidays and snow days and cozy sweaters and mugs of hot chocolate. But it’s also the season of brutally cold and drying temperatures and winds. And even though I spend the majority of my time indoors, with ventures outside done mostly for schlepping the kids back and forth to the bus stop, walking the dog, or running errands; my skin is definitely showing signs of being affected by winter.

Without further ado, here are my current fav products for moisturizing and pampering my skin:

my favorite winter skin care products

1. Yardley London Lavender & Rosemary Skin Soothing Bath & Shower Gel: I take my showers late at night or early in the morning, when I’m both tired and in need of hot water and a pampering body wash. I really like Yardley London’s Bath & Shower Gel because its creamy formula creates a thick lather, and my skin feels noticeably softer after using it. (MSRP: $10.75 on Amazon)

2. AVEENO Positively Nourishing Calming Body Lotion: I love slathering this lotion on my arms and legs after showering, with emphasis on rubbing it into my elbows and knees. This is also a very nice hand lotion, especially when used before and after washing dishes. (MSRP: $6.99)

3. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Concentrated Cream: Who says cocoa butter is just for stretch marks? Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Concentrated Cream is an excellent cream for stretch marks and scars, but it’s also designed for healing and softening rough, dry skin. I like to put this on my feet after showering, as well as before putting on socks. This cream is thicker than most of my other creams and lotions, but it still spreads easily and absorbs relatively quick, and leaves my feet feeling incredibly smooth and soft. (MSRP: $2.95)

4. Maybelline Baby Lips Dr. Rescue: This is the lip balm to have. I first discovered Maybelline Baby Lips a few years ago, so when I saw Maybelline Baby Lips Dr. Rescue at Target last week, I scooped up two of them. The plain, un-tinted formulation is perfect for use alone or under colored lip products. It glides right on and feels very smooth – not thick or waxy like other medicated lip balms. I use Baby Lips several times a day, and I swear by its cooling, soothing, and hydrating abilities. (MSRP: $2.98 on Amazon)

Disclosure: I received some of these products for free, and this post contains affiliate links.

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Add some sparkle to your embroidery with blending filaments

Cross stitching is just one of many techniques used to create beautiful pieces of art. Crochet and sewing are also centuries-old pasttimes that serve both needs as well as wants – the need for clothing and linens, and the want of fun accessories for the home and oneself.

In the cross stitching world you’ll find many gorgeous pieces that are further accented and highlighted with a special type of thread known as blending filament. Blending filaments are special threads that are metallic, glittery, and shimmery. As with regular threads, blending filament threads come in every possible shade and hue, with brighter and ultra-reflecting colors being the most popular.

krenik blending filament threads, a Kreinik Blending Filament Australian store, has several great ideas for using blending filaments in your cross-stitching, embroidery, and general sewing:

And the great thing about blending filament threads is that they are just as durable as other thread materials. Wash and dry as you would normally, though you may wish to use a cool or cold wash cycle and a gentle, low-heat drying cycle to prevent color fading.

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5 pool safety tips

5 pool safety tips

Every year an estimated 390 children die in swimming pools. Statistically, more people (especially children) die from drowning in a swimming pool than from hand gun violence. And for children ages one to four years, drowning is the number one cause of death. Additionally, an average of 4,900 children will be injured in a swimming pool.

How can you prevent swimming pool injuries and deaths? While there is no 100% guarantee of a swimming pool never being the culprit for an injury or a death, the following five tips can help you drastically reduce the chances of anyone being injured or killed in your backyard swimming pool:

1. Keep your pool covered.
Swimming pools should always have locking covers installed. Furthermore, covers should be sturdy enough to not tear or cave beneath the weight of a child (minimum 100 pounds). Many pool covers can be installed on tracks and operated with remotes, and some may even include special alarms that will sound if movement or weight is detected. Keep your pool covered whenever it’s not in use.

2. Surround your pool with a tall, lockable fence.
Ideally your pool and pool maintenance supply shed should be surrounded by fencing that is at least four feet in height. Ideally, opt for a six foot tall fence that is made of vertical bars or slats – these will inhibit climbing. You can choose from a variety of privacy options if you’d like to keep your pool activities protected from prying eyes. Pool fencing in Brisbane can help you determine the best type of fence to use for your pool.

3. Install pool alarms.
Alarms can be placed in and around pools, and used year round. Many modern alarm systems offer home automation integration and smartphone apps. Some even feature security cameras, so if an alarm sounds you can visually check on the disturbance as you are physically heading to your pool.

4. Teach your family and extended family members about pool safety.
Instruct adults and children alike the basics of pool safety. Consider keeping swimming vests and flotation devices close to pools, and make sure at least one adult is trained and certified in CPR.

5. Remain vigilant.
More than anything, constant vigilance can go a long way in ensuring that children do not become injured or succumb to drowning. Require children to have at least one adult present at all times, and ensure there is a good ratio of adults to children – a good rule of thumb is one adult for every four children. Remember, the more eyes on your children, the more you can ensure their safety and enjoyment.

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Diagnostic facet injections? More like detrimental facet injections.

So with the craziness that has been my life lately, I realized today that I never blogged about the diagnostic facet joint injections I had done on January 7th, 2016.

First, let’s go back to my appointment at the Pain Management center that’s in my PCP’s health network. That appointment was on December 21st, 2015. At the appointment, the physician’s assistant I saw went over my medical history and just-about-a-year’s-worth of ongoing, constant back pain. I emphasized my inability to take NSAIDs and steroids, as well as the importance of avoiding any injections that contain NSAIDs and/or steroids. With all that out of the way, the physician’s assistant recommended diagnostic facet joint injections:

Facet joints are the small joints located between each vertebra that provide the spine with both stability and flexibility. Facet syndrome occurs when one or more of these joints become inflamed or irritated. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage lining the joint surface shrinks and wears thin, causing stress on the bone (bone spurs), inflammation, and enlargement of the joint.

Facet joint injections combine a local anesthetic and a corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medication. This mixture relieves both pain and inflammation coming from the involved joint.

– from

In my case, only anesthetic would be injected into the facet joints at L4, L5, and S1. The physician’s assistant as well as the doctor himself who performed the procedure promised me that at the very least, I’d have about 24 hours of significant pain relief. The idea behind the diagnostic injections is that if I experience pain relief for about 24 hours (or a little more or a little less), then the issue is the nerves in the facet joints. But if the pain relief lasted longer — days or even weeks — the issue is with the muscles.

I had about two hours worth of moderate pain relief. When I checked in for the procedure I rated my pain at a 6. When I left an hour later, a 4. By Thursday night, a 6. By Friday night, a 7. By Saturday morning I was in tears and practically bedridden. I went through a very long, exhausting, painful weekend with way too much pain and too little pain relief. And even now, a week and two days later, the back pain is worse than it was prior to the procedure.

The verdict: nerve involvement in the facet joints.

What’s next: spinal nerve ablation. I can’t wait.

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