Happy International Women’s Day!

womenday

Today is a day to celebrate women. Women who have fought the good fight for fairness and equality for women and young girls globally. Though we have made great strides in education as well as our professional and personal lives, there’s still a long way for us to go. In the US alone, women earn about 77% of men’s salaries in 2011 compared to 77.4 % in 2010. We’ve actually lost ground in some sectors.

Over two-thirds of women in the world—up to 76 percent in some countries—have been targeted for sexual and/or physical abuse at some point in their lives, according to United Nations statistics on women. Yet we had members of Congress fighting tooth and nail to not reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act,  legislation that would make it easier to prosecute crimes against women, including domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking. The bill also extends protections to gays and lesbians and women of Native American tribal lands who are attacked or abused by non-tribal residents.

We also have another all out assault on women’s reproductive rights where some Senators, Congressmen and Governors feel that they have a “moral imperative” to legislate a woman’s body as if we’re not intelligent enough to make informed decisions. Trying to stop contraceptives from being covered under our work insurance but Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications for men, are completely acceptable. However, they should stop saying they’re pro-life when in actuality they’re pro-fetus. This legislation has nothing to do with anything other than men trying to dictate our actions.  And laws of this nature will disproportionately affect rural and impoverishment women because they won’t be able to seek abortions out of the states with these Draconian laws as those who are wealthier. Thus causing more children to be abandoned, abused, thrown into a system that is painfully outdated and flawed and so goes the cycle of poverty for the children and their mothers.

Rape and honor killings are at a fever pitch in countries like India and throughout the Middle East and those women are in danger just running errands or going to the movies. Africa is one of the biggest shames of them all, because some African women in particularly dangerous regions, are serially raped on a daily basis. They are impregnated, infected with STD’s including HIV/AIDS, maimed and genitally mutilated.

Yes, this is a day to embrace our triumphs and acknowledge our struggles, but under no circumstances should we ever be lulled into a false sense of security that we’ve finally arrived. We must still keep up the offensive not only for ourselves but women all over the world. We should not rest until every woman and little girl has the same opportunities as men and boys. Gender should NEVER be an obstacle to success and happiness.

Peace, love and blessings to all of you…until next year, Besos!

Another Level of Stupid…Pregnancy and Babies are Not Novelties

Yes I’m on my soapbox this morning. Is there no end to the stupidity of some people? In the article below, a father starts a business of throwing sonogram parties. Allow me to remind people that sonograms are medical procedures and should be done only in a medical facility by licensed medical professionals and a doctor should be the one ordering them.

Babies are real live human beings and should not be there just for their parent’s amusement. Why on earth would a parent subject themselves, their baby and their family and friends to an unnecessary medical procedure just because it’s the newest fad and they think it’s cool ? What if that sonogram shows a problem with the baby that they didn’t know about? Then what?

I guess that little detail wasn’t necessarily thought out was it!?!? Pregnancy and babies can be a beautiful things but far too many people only like the good side of it; presents, attention, oooohing and awwwwwing, the decorating of the baby’s room, the pretty clothes, etc., but what they sometimes forget is that said baby, is not a toy or a novelty. You don’t just get to play with the kid (before birth) by rubbing your belly a million times a day and after – patting them on the head and parading them around like the newest pair of shoes or handbag.

I thought that “babymoons and push presents” were some of the most nonsensical fads surrounding expectant parenthood, but this one takes the top prize. I cannot stress enough, that this IS a medical procedure and the medical community does not recommend it. Most doctors will only order one, maybe two during the pregnancy. I’m beginning to think for some people, that having a baby is just another way to feed their malignantly narcissistic personalities.

Fla. Father’s Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties

By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES | Good Morning America – Thu, Jan 3, 2013 6:39 PM EST

  • Fla. Father's Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties (ABC News)

    Good Morning America – Fla. Father’s Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties (ABC News)

Chad Berry and his wife Camie of Fort Meyers, Fla., know from personal experience that having a baby is a miracle — their own daughter is living proof. Madisyn, now 14, was born after they lost five, two to ectopic pregnancies and three in miscarriages.

So today they offer a “glimpse of your little miracle” in a low-cost ultrasound to couples who want to celebrate the joy of pregnancy in their own homes or at celebratory venues.

Camie Berry, 38, is a certified sonographer and her husband, who used to work as a lab technician, runs the business side of Miracles Imaging. The couple is tapping into one of the latest trends in pregnancy, one that has been growing in popularity over the last several years — sonogram parties.

“We’ll get a call that someone is having a baby shower and ask if we can come,” said Chad Berry, 37. “In two weeks, Alex and Kara are having a package with us. They are renting a real nice room at a country club. We set up and bring the massage table and the screen set up for them so everyone at the baby shower can see.”

Women who opt to get a 3-D image of their child at 23 weeks, moving and showing facial expressions, say they are a fun way to share the excitement of pregnancy.

As finger food and drinks are passed around the room, the mother-to-be stretches out on an examining table while the technician moves a wand across her belly. Imaging equipment is hooked up to a TV screen or computer monitor for all the room to see.

Berry said that the services he and his wife offer should never replace routine medical care, but it can be a more affordable way to see a 3-D image not taken during a routine prenatal exam.

A hospital-based ultrasound might cost up to $800 or more locally, according to Berry. “We can do it 70 percent off because we run a small clinic.”

“The most touching one we ever did was for a couple in their 40s trying to have a baby,” he said. “She finally got pregnant and they planned a dinner at home but didn’t tell the parents. One of the grandparents was crying hysterically the whole time.”

The man had been diagnosed with cancer and told he likely would not live long enough to see the baby. “He could watch it in his own home,” said Berry. “This was the most rewarding experience to provide that to someone.”

But medical experts caution against the experience. The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Food and Drug Administration, strongly discourage having ultrasounds purely for entertainment and not for a medical reason.

An ultrasound provides reassurance and some useful information for doctors on fetal development — to confirm dates, detect a heartbeat and to check for certain genetic defects.

According to Austin, Texas, pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown, there is no “requirement” to have an ultrasound during a normal pregnancy and is up to a practitioner to determine if the woman is at high risk — usually carrying multiples or a history of pre-term labor or diabetes.

“Some doctors don’t do any,” she said.

“Yes, it is pretty cool to see your baby that way, but not necessary,” said Brown, the author of“Expecting 411.”

“In our book, we discourage couples from going to the mall and getting glamour-shots style ultrasounds,” she said. “There is no certainty of the technician’s training or if the machine is properly maintained. And, some of these photo shoots last three to four hours. It is not worth the risk of exposing your unborn baby to several hours of sound waves and excess heat.”

Technician Lisa Dixon, who is just starting up Peek a View ultrasound services in Santa Monica, Calif., confirms that the trend is growing. “‘Viewing parties’ is what they are called,” she told ABCNews.com.

She charges $375 and up for her parties, depending on location. Like Berry, she provides 3-D images and a DVD with the deal.

Miracle Images provides a “gender reveal” package for $179 anywhere between 15 or 32 weeks. For $198, a client can buy, “Watch Your Baby Grow” with a classic sonogram session during each trimester.

With the deluxe “Shower Package” for $249, Miracles Images will go to a reception hall or a home and provide a 4-D film of the fetus moving in the womb that can be Skyped to absent family or friends.

LeAnn Flippen of Lehigh, Fla., surprised her 33-week pregnant sister-in-law with a sonogram at ababy shower because the family couldn’t afford a 3-D image through their own doctor. (Insurance only pays for 2-D images, unless there are medical complications.)

“My brother was trying to be frugal because with a baby on the way, he didn’t want to spend the money,” said Flippen. “She is a dental hygienist and doesn’t get maternity leave.”

“With 3-D you see the entire face and the pudgy cheeks and nose and eyes,” said Flippen, 30.

“We ate as soon as we got there and played a game while they were setting up,” she said. “We had her chair at the front door so everyone was in front of her and she was the center of attention…. She was so excited.”

Flippen, who has two boys, is now 23 weeks pregnant with a girl. At 15 weeks, she went to Miracle Images to find out the gender in 3-D. Back in 2007, she went to another ultrasound company and had a 3-D image of her son and paid three times as much.

Viviana Aguilera, a 25-year-old teacher from Cape Coral, Fla., held her own sonogram party in her home. Friends attended in person and family from Miami watched the 4-D image of the 29-week fetus moving in her womb via Facetime on her iPad.

“It was awesome,” said Aguilera, who got a discount because her husband is in law enforcement. “The house was packed.”

Sonogram Parties Are the Rage

At first the baby wasn’t “cooperating,” she said of her daughter, who is now 2 months old. “So they made me do certain exercises and I was eating brownies and drinking Coke, trying to wake her up.”

Afterward, she received a DVD and photos. “I would definitely do it again.”

But medical experts say that even though sonograms are considered “safe,” they do not recommend them for “entertainment.”

“Ultrasound should only be performed for medical purposes with a prescription from a licensed professional so people won’t do it just for the fun of it,” said Dr. Deborah Levine of Harvard University Medical School, who is chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Ultrasound.

Certified technicians are also not supposed to practice independently, without a “physician behind them,” she said. “If a sonographer goes out to the house, you don’t know how it is calibrated, who is operating it and you don’t have the normal quality assurances as in a medical practice. You don’t have the normal checks and balances.”

But Berry of Miracles Images said no research has determined that ultrasounds are unsafe.

“We have quite a few ob/gyn doctors here that we refer women to,” he said. “Insurance covers on one or two, and especially for those on Medicaid, there is little chance for them to have them done.”

He offers discounts to active military, firefighters, first responders and police officers.

Miracle Images requires that their clients have their own doctor to provide prescribed medical sonograms and to oversee their prenatal care.

Berry insists his is no “fly-by-night” operation and has a medical director on call if ultrasound reveals medical problems. “When we find a baby with no heartbeat, we know the physician to call.”

Even LeAnn Flippen, who is now 23 weeks pregnant with her own child, doesn’t seem to worry that an ultrasound could reveal a deformity before a horrified group at a sonogram shower.

“It’s always a concern,” she said. “I guess I leave it up to God. There’s nothing I can do.”

What Happens When a Friendship Turns to Sh*t?

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down”.  Oprah Winfrey

I know in every long-term friendship,  like with any other relationship, you’ll hit a bad patch. But what happens when you absolutely do not recognize the person who has been your best friend forever? This is a question that I thought I would never be compelled to ask. My best friend…my brother, has turned into someone I can’t comprehend nor understand. He’s sullen, sulking, combative, moody, irritable, defensive…whew, it’s exhausting. It’s as if he’s turned into some Jekyll and Hyde, walking advertisement for schizophrenic psychotropic drugs. I’ve tried to talk with him but I’ve hit a brick wall every damn time.

More than anything, this is the behavior that’s the most puzzling; we have always been able to talk about any subject or issue that was bothering us, now we can barely talk about anything. He’s had several life-changing events in his little slice of the world over the last year and a half and I understand that, but I’ve been there for him every step of the way. However, the blame-game is what’s troubling. It seems that everything that’s going wrong in his life or bothering him, is someone or something else’s fault or responsibility.

The environment around him is most times…toxic and I called him on it. But as usual, he started with a childish response instead of an adult solution. This type of erratic behavior has only made our relationship even more strained and splintered. Today for example, he went with me to a meeting and all the way there you could feel the tension in the car. Normally we’re laughing, joking and having fun, but oh no, not this time, it was awful. On the way back, it was more of the same and when we are out and about, we normally stop by his home to see my niece/god-daughter (a long story about that title) and I had made arrangements with his wife to do so because I hadn’t seen my little muffin for about a week.

He made an excuse about being too busy and I could “catch up tomorrow”. Excuse me, but tomorrow is Monday and I haven’t won the lottery, so I need to handle my business. This is uncharacteristic behavior and I’m at a loss on what to do. Before anyone starts with maybe his wife has something to do with us having issues (which has been brought up by others), she’s a genuinely nice person and it’s not in her personality to cause trouble. Believe me, I know what friends and relatives look like when they’re knifing you in the back. I also want people to know that my brother is not an inherently bad person either, he has a good heart but at this moment, that’s just hard to remember.

I have almost arrived at the conclusion that maybe we need a good long break from one another…maybe we’ve hit an insurmountable brick wall and it’s just best to change routes…I don’t know at this point. I want him in my life, but I’m not quite sure that he still wants me in his. He has never verbally indicated anything of the sort, but if it’s not that, then what? The one thing that I feel he resents is my friendship with his wife…he even said to her, “why were we communicating”, that I was HIS friend…HIS sister. But how can I have a relationship with my niece/god-daughter and him if I don’t have some sort of amicable relationship with his wife? You see, none of this makes sense.

I’m at a loss on how to fix this and for me, that’s a first. I don’t want to keep going around in circles with him nor do I want to walk on eggshells around him. It has almost become untenable and that has to stop. Do friendships have expiration dates or do we need to freeze them every once in a while to make them last longer? What to do……

Sharon Stone – This is What I Want To Look Like When I Grow Up.

sharon stone boyfriend

This past week Sharon Stone had a scare at the Fendi Fashion Show in Milan. She fainted, was taken to the hospital  and luckily all is well. It was related to migraines, she was released and later appeared on the red carpet with her hot young boyfriend Martin Mica for the AmFar Foundation Gala.

This is what a Hollywood star is suppose to look like… svelte, glamorous and exuding star-power. All I can say is if 54 looks like this, then bring it on? Also, could I have a sexy 27 yr. old boyfriend too? Sharon has never looked better and whatever she’s doing…keep it up girl!

Ralph Lauren’s New “Plus-size” Model…Really?

I was reading the headlines today that Ralph Lauren signed Robyn Lawley as his first plus-size model. Robyn is gorgeous…has that familiar Ralph Lauren face which exudes east coast sophistication, summers in the Hamptons, with an equestrian type of vibe, but she’s also 6’2 and a size 12.

According to various sources; Mayo Clinic, Fit Information, BMI Chart to name a few, a woman of her height should weigh somewhere between 144 – 165 pounds. Her size 12, on a 6’2 woman is considered slim. So this brings me to my question…how in the Hell is a size 12, 6’2 woman considered plus-size? I know the fashion industry lives in a world of their own design (no pun intended) and anyone who has actually eaten since the 90’s is considered harpoon ready, but this is ridiculous.

I applaud Ralph Lauren for putting a woman in his campaign that we all don’t want to tie to a chair and feed her butter, but trying to pawn this young woman off as a leader in changing the image of models in an industry that worships eating disorders, is disingenuous. She is well above the average height for American women and just about all women in general. Her size 12 would truly be plus-size on someone 4’11 but on her, it looks natural. Mind you, she doesn’t have that hungry, mad and emaciated look, but in the photos, if you weren’t told that she was “plus-size”, you couldn’t tell.

So this brings me to the last part of my complete bewilderment: Is this what we’ve become as a society? Do we really want our little girls to grow up thinking that if they’re a normal size, then there must be something wrong that needs fixing? I have a god-daughter and three nieces and I for one, do not want them thinking that their value and self-esteem is tied up in how they look.

I don’t want them to look at celebrities, models, magazines, the media, social networking sites and damn near every other commercial on TV, instructing them on how to be beautiful and skinny forever. That feat is impossible no matter how much money you have and how much cosmetic surgery you do, we are not designed to stay frozen in time. But what is extremely disturbing and frightening is that there are all sorts of subliminal and outright blatant messages being sent to young girls earlier and earlier that beauty, not brains, is all that matters. If you’re beautiful, you’ve got it made…hands down.

Then there’s the other layer…the parents who’ve drank the Kool Aid and are pushing their daughters to insanity with their criticisms and their own pursuit of perfection. Oh yes, I’ve witnessed those mothers…giving their daughters breast enhancements and tummy tucks at 16 for birthday presents, criticizing their kids in front of other people about their weight, wanting to live vicariously through their daughters because of their own failed careers in acting, modeling and beauty pageants. And, these are the very people who would find any and everything wrong with Ralph Lauren using Robyn in his campaign because she doesn’t fit the image of a beautiful, sexy, desirable woman. Why…because they’ve been brainwashed so much over the years on what women are SUPPOSE to look like, they’ve forgotten what we ACTUALLY look like.

As I said before, even Robyn isn’t necessarily “normal” according to popular standards and that has more to do with her height than anything else. But at this moment, we’ve got to take what we can get and what we’re getting is a lot better than what we’ve had.

Robyn Lawley Becomes First Plus Size Ralph Lauren Model

Posted: 09/19/2012 3:06 pm Updated: 09/19/2012 5:57 pm

Plus-size shapes have been inching further and further into the mainstream, from magazine covers like Vogue Italia and Glamour to high-end designer lines like Burberry. But Robyn Lawley, one of the most successful plus-size models in the biz, is going where no plus-size stunner has gone before: Ralph Lauren.

Lawley announced her new gig as the first plus-size model for Ralph Lauren on “Good Morning America” today. The size 12 model, who stands at a statuesque 6 feet 2 inches tall, spoke to “GMA” about her journey to get here — how she initially worked as a “straight” model at age 16, felt the pressure to diet and change her body, and eventually hit her stride as a plus-size mode at 19.

Now she’s starring in a new Ralph Lauren campaign, not to mention landingmagazine covers and lingerie ads. (This after her splashy start on the cover of Vogue Italia‘s famous plus-size issue.)

The majority of the industry may still select skinnier-than-thou models, but at age 23, Lawley is representative of the potential success a plus-size model can have. “There are so many plus-size models in New York doing so well at the moment,” she tells “GMA,” “and it’s only going to get better.”

We hope so — if Ralph Lauren could come all this way, we bet other brands can too.

See the gorgeous Aussie in the video above and in her new ads below.

PHOTOS:

robyn lawley

robyn lawley

My Monthly Weigh-in

This morning I did my monthly weigh-in and I’ve lost an extra 7 lbs which makes 20 lbs in total. Yippee!!! Now I have about 20 more to go. I know what some of you must be thinking, but wait a minute, I wasn’t sitting on the couch stuffing my face with cookies and chips, I travel a lot and that caused me to swoop into fast food restaurants, order room service and because of my jet-lag, I didn’t haul my lazy, tired ass to the gym. And good people…it caught up with me big time!

Now I have a regimen I’ve followed for the past 2 months and it includes yoga and aerobic body conditioning on Mondays and Wednesdays, then weight training and water aerobics on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So far it’s working and maybe resisting my urge to suck down every fattening thing I get my hands on is helping too? You think?

I’ve never been a big person but once you start creeping up in age…ahem, pounds seem to stick to you like they’ve been super glued….there’s inch pinching, dimples and a muffin top that should NEVER EVER appear on anyone’s body as long as you’re alive on this earth! You wake up one morning and that dress you thought you’d still be hot in, well, you can’t even get it over your breasts (and if by some miracle of nature you can squeeze it over the boobs from Hell)  you can’t button or zip it up. And let me tell you, I’m deathly afraid of surgeons and scalpels, so no nipping and sucking here…Oh Hell no! Let me not forget Botox, that’s just wrong on multiple levels, but I digressed.

I simply believe that it took time for me to blow up and it’ll take time, patience and persistence to deflate. I did this to myself and no one but me has to suffer the consequences of my binges. That being said, I’m off to the gym to suffer with my friends for a couple of hours and hopefully I’ll continue to survive. Peace!

Can I get a Thumbs up on this one!!!

For once, something that makes sense came out of the mouth of an out of touch politician.

Rick Santorum Says “Smart People Will Never Be On Our Side”

Santorum tells values voters to be wary of the media elite.

Rosie GrayBuzzFeed Staff

Image by Jason Reed / Reuters

Posted Sep 15, 2012 1:07pm EDT

WASHINGTON, DC — Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum attacked the media and “smart people” for not being on the side of conservatives in a speech to the Values Voter Summit on Saturday.

“We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country,” Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, told the audience at the Omni Shoreham hotel. “We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.”

The media “doesn’t like the other side,” Santorum said. “And not necessarily, I would argue, because they agree with them, but because they can influence the country.

“If just a few people make decisions about what this world looks like, what this country looks like, then you have people sitting in offices at major media outlets and Hollywood who think they can deal with a small group of people, to get them to jump through the hoops they want you to,” Santorum said.

Santorum also criticized the libertarian wing of the Republican party for not supporting what he sees as the pillars of conservatism: religion and family.

“When it comes to conservatism libertarian types can say, oh, well you know, we don’t want to talk about social issues,” Santorum said. “Without the church and the family, there is no conservative movement, there is no basic values of America.”