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Women’s Hand and Nail Care

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Taking care of your hands and nails is as important as taking care of the skin on your face. It is often said that your hands reveal your true age, and that’s because the skin on your hands loses its firmness over time, leaving them susceptible to wrinkles, sun spots other signs of aging. Yet your hands often don’t get the attention they deserve. By following a few simple steps every day, you can keep them looking and feeling young and supple.

Washing your hands is a great way to curb the spread of germs. But some soaps can irritate your skin

Dermatologist Amy Derick, MD, of Barrington, Ill., recommends using a moisturizing liquid cleanser to wash hands if you have normal skin. If you prefer bar soap, look for moisturizing soap made with ingredients such as glycerin, petrolatum, sunflower oil, and soybean oil.

Moisturizers and Hand Creams

One of the best things you can do for your hands, especially as you get older, is to moisturize them throughout the day and before you go to bed. Any cream or lotion will do, but creams made for the hands have some advantages. One of the major ones is that they are usually non-greasy and quick absorbing.

Moisturizing creams can, at least temporarily, make your hands look plumper and more youthful by drawing water into the skin. For plumping, look for hand creams containing hyaluronic acid, which gives skin support and body. To moisturize the skin of your hands, look for hand creams with petrolatum, glycerin, shea butter, or safflower seed oil.

Be sure to buy hand cream with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher, to protect your hands from sun damage.

Take Care of Your Cuticles

Just like your hands need to be moisturized, so do your nails. While you have the moisturizer out, rub a little into the base and sides of your nails, including the cuticles, the protective barrier between your nails and the skin underneath. Moisturizing your nails and cuticles keeps those areas more pliable and less at risk for cracking, tearing and hangnails, which can open the door to skin infections. If your cuticles are very dry and prone to tears, you may want to consider applying nightly cuticle oil to offer an extra dose of moisture.

Wear Gloves During Chores

When it comes to taking care of your hands, gloves offer two great benefits. Water, especially hot water, can strip your skin of its own natural oils, leaving your hands and nails dry and chapped. Exposure to the chemicals found in some cleaning products can cause contact dermatitis, which is a skin reaction that results in redness, itching and dryness. Wearing a pair of the cotton-lined rubber gloves while you clean minimizes your contact with both water and chemicals, keeping hands shielded while you work.

Remove Polish

A fresh coat of nail polish adds a pop of color to your hands, but you don’t want to leave it on for too long. In addition to unsightly chips, an old coat of polish (especially if you tend to prefer darker shades) can cause discoloration or yellowing and weakening of your nails. Aim to keep polish on for no longer than a week, and remove it with a cotton pad and non-acetone polish remover, which is gentler on nails than remover with acetone. Soak a cotton pad with remover then hold it on your nail for at least 10 seconds, then swipe upward toward the tip of your nail. This is less irritating to your nails and cuticles than rubbing vigorously in all directions. Once your nails are polish-free, check them for any irregularities, such as white spots, vertical lines or dark streaks. These changes can be caused by a variety of factors, from injury to certain diseases including melanoma, so they should not be ignored.

File Your Nails

When it comes to the best length for your nails, think of yourself like Goldilocks with her porridge: Nails that are too long are more likely to split or tear, as well as harbor bacteria, while nails that are too short may not adequately protect your fingertips. Aim for nails that are “just right,” with tips that extend two to three millimeters beyond your fingertips. File nails in one direction only—using a sawing motion can create microscopic tears that make nails more likely to split.

A Lesson On Life

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Maddie Urhahn is a typical college freshman at Missouri State University – she studies, joined a sorority, is getting involved in campus ministry, exercises and hopes to find a few other extra curriculars as time goes by. But she possesses an a typical college freshman attitude of “don’t take anything for granted,” because of the life-threatening experience she had in high school.

Maddie was a year-round high school athlete at Notre Dame Regional High School in Springfield, MO, having played softball, basketball and soccer from a very young age. Then during soccer season her freshman year, she fainted on the field.

Although she had been seeing doctors about dizzy spells, this fainting episode took things to the next level of testing. “I had to wear a heart monitor and they figured out that my heart would just stop beating sometimes,” she says.

The monitor revealed that Maddie’s abnormality involved some kind of electrical problem in Maddie’s heart and it would stop beating for as long as nine seconds with no apparent explanation. She was told she would need surgery to implant a pacemaker – at 14. “It was a shock,” she says. ‘It freaked me out, mainly because I didn’t know if I would be able to keep playing sports. That was my main concern.”

But true to her competitor’s nature, she continued to play summer softball on a traveling team in the months leading up to her surgery, even participating in a game the day prior to the operation at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Her doctors would not confirm whether she’d be released to play sports again until after the surgery, but things went well enough and she was released with no restrictions to play again when her sophomore year commenced.

“Those weeks when I was sitting out, waiting to hear if I’d get to play again, I realized that I shouldn’t ever take anything for granted,” Maddie says. “I decided to always give my absolute best to everything.”

Maddie had a great sophomore year in all three sports and was ready to be a starter her junior year when a blood clot in her shoulder sidelined her again.
Blood thinners to break up the clot meant she had to sit the bench – a position for which she was unaccustomed.

“Having that happen to me again, watching my team play without me – the only thing that kept me going was that I had told myself I wouldn’t take anything for granted, that I would remember how lucky I was to be here.”

The blood thinners dissolved the clot, but it returned, so her doctors decided to leave it place and her body created pathways around it. Leaving it meant Maddie would have be very aware of any signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism, but it was a risk she was willing to take to remain a competitor. Once again, her doctors gave their blessing and she returned to sports.

When Maddie graduated from Notre Dame in 2016, she had played all three sports all four years of high school.

“I guess when all that started, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to say that, so looking back, I’m grateful,” she says. “My teammates and coaches were really supportive and it turned out to be a really good life lesson.”

Today, Maddie continues to have annual checkups with her heart doctor and bi-annual checkups with the technician to make sure her pacemaker is still working properly. She is an athletic training major at Missouri State with plans to attend graduate school for a degree in physical therapy.

“I want to help people and I certainly know what it’s like to be the patient and I think I’ll be able to be an encouragement to patients because of that,” she says.

30-Day Plank Challenge

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Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

If you’ve never done a plank, it might look easy. In fact, you might think it’s too easy to enjoy improved muscle tone and stronger abdominal muscles. But looks are deceiving. Holding a plank position requires strength, stability and endurance in your core muscles.

If you perform this simple yet effective exercise daily, you may experience changes to your abs, back and glutes you didn’t expect. When you incorporate a few variations to the position, you’ll discover muscles in your back and abdominals you’d forgotten were there.

Activating and strengthening your core muscles gives you an added advantage as you age. The exercise has gained increasing popularity with fitness trainers for good reason. It just works.

6 Benefits to the Plank Position

The plank is more efficient that doing crunches. During crunches you are working just the abdominal muscles responsible for flexion and not the oblique muscles or those controlling your back. There are six specific benefits to using the plank position and the variations described below.

  1. Tight Abs

Planks lay the groundwork for tight abdominal muscles so you look better in your clothes and your bathing suit. To get those ripped six-pack abs you also need to shed the layer of fat over the muscle. However, you don’t need to shed the fat to enjoy the rest of these benefits.

  1. Strong Core

Strong muscles more easily defend your abdominal organs and help you to breathe easier. Your diaphragm is located just under your rib cage. You pull the diaphragm down with your abdominal muscles, which creates negative pressure in your lungs and draws air in.

Breath control is one method of reducing your stress level and decreasing the stress hormones your body may secrete.  The benefits of stress reduction range from better heart health to improved work performance and better-quality sleep.

  1. Back Support

Strengthening your back muscles reduces the likelihood of a back strain or back injury.  Between 60 percent to 80 percent of people living in the U.S. will suffer from low back pain  at some point in their life.

It is the second most common reason people go to the doctor.  Developing a strong core may protect your back from injury and pain.

  1. Balance and Posture

Good balance and posture are important to your overall health and wellness. Balance helps you control and maintain your body position when you’re sitting, standing and moving. Good posture reduces upper back pain and overstretched muscles from rounded shoulders and slumping forward.

  1. Improved Performance

A strong core will improve your athletic performance and your ability to do your daily tasks. When you do planks regularly, you’ll likely find it’s easier to move through your day without stress or pain.

  1. Improved Mental Strength and Mood

Maintaining a plank position for two to three minutes requires both physical and mental strength. However, you don’t start by holding the plank for three minutes! As you work your way through the 30-day plank challenge, you’ll overcome mental and physical challenges to maintain the position, but at a rate you can handle.

With each small hurdle you overcome, you may develop greater mental strength and can use the knowledge of your victories to overcome other challenges in your day. Exercise and strength training also elevate your mood and help you to experience more joy each day.                       

 Your Basic Plank Position:

All About the Rules of Posture

The plank exercise is done in a push-up, or modified push-up, position. The essential piece of the puzzle is how you maintain the position of your back and lower body in straight alignment. The rules of posture during a plank are:

Shoulder, buttocks and legs in a straight line Buttocks not higher or lower than your back Head in neutral position looking approximately 8 to 12 inches in front of you
Abdominal and gluteal muscles tight Shoulder blades pulled down Lower back in neutral position without excess or reduced lower back curvature

Planks are done on the floor, on your forearms, with your elbows shoulder-width apart. You are on your toes, with your back straight, your abdominal and buttock muscles tight. You will look like you’re doing a push-up, but on your forearms instead of your hands.

Variation Beginner Intermediate Advanced
Basic plank Stand approximately 3 feet from a wall. Press your hands into the wall, elbows straight, weight on your toes and hold for 30 seconds. You may also do this on the floor with your hands flat to the floor and knees bent. Done on the floor with either your hands flat to the floor or bearing weight on your forearms in the standard plank position. Hold this position for two minutes. Done on the floor, bearing weight on your hands or over your forearms. Place your feet on a chair or a bench so your body is in a decline position.
Up/Down Plank Start on the floor on your knees in straight-arm position.


Next move to your forearms, hold for two to three seconds and move back to a straight arm position. Up and down is one repetition.

Done on the floor in the basic plank position.

Move from straight arms to your forearms bearing your weight.


Hold for two to three seconds and then go back up to a straight arm position. Up and down once is one repetition.

With your hands on the floor in a straight arm position, put your feet on a bench or chair so your body is in a decline position.


Move to your forearms, hold for two to three seconds and then back to a straight arm position. This is one repetition.

Planks With Leg Raises Start on the floor with your knees bent and in the straight-arm position.


Pull one leg up toward the ceiling as if a string is pulling your leg from behind the knee.


Hold for one or two seconds and bring it back down. Repeat with the other leg. This is one repetition


The same movement as the beginner exercise, except you are starting from the standard plank position on your forearms. The same movement as the intermediate exercise, except your hold your leg up for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat with your other leg.
Plank Knee Crunch Place your hands flat on a chair or bench, placing your body in the plank position, bearing your weight on your toes.


Bring your right knee to your right elbow and return to the start position. Repeat with your left leg. This is one repetition.

Start on the floor in the straight-arm position, on your toes.


Bring your right knee to your right elbow and return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg. This is one repetition.

Start on the floor straight-arm position.


Bring your right knee to your right elbow and return, quickly repeat with your left leg.

Try watching this video.

Take Your 30-Day Plank Challenge

Planks are deceptively difficult but produce consistent and valuable results for your health. If you don’t exercise regularly and try to start with intermediate planks, you may find them too difficult and stop the process. Instead, try this 30-day plank challenge to reach your goal of holding a plank for three minutes.

This calendar was created by celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser, founder of AKT InMotion studio in New York City. Quoted in Yahoo Beauty, Kaiser says, “The hardest part about planking is

committing — holding still until the end.”This program starts with incline planks against the wall. If the first day is too easy move to the floor and use the beginner plank position on your knees. Standard plank position is bearing weight on your toes with your knees straight.

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Work it Baby! Workin’ it out without the gym

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You’re a woman on the go and finding the time to work out and stay healthy is a challenge. The good news is that waking up at the crack of dawn and stumbling off to a gym is not your only option. At-home alternatives for getting in the daily dose of activity may suit your lifestyle best. Forget the restrictions of a workout class or intimidating exercise machines. Instead, set your own schedule and your own terms for staying healthy and feeling great.

Walk it off

Walking is one of the most effective movements for burning fat. It is low impact, perfect for all skill levels, and the best part is that it can be done anywhere; all you need is a pair of shoes! Walking offers something for everyone, so turn your workout into time to spend with someone special.

  • Go on a walk in the morning with your spouse before you have to dive into your daily schedules and just enjoy each other’s company.
  • Do as the Europeans do and take a walk with the entire family after dinner. Spend some quality time catching up.
  • Take your dog for a walk and use it as an opportunity to explore a new park or neighborhood you’ve been dying to see.
  • Find a walking buddy or just a group of girlfriends you haven’t seen in a while and get in your girl time in the morning or as an after-work activity to unwind and vent to your friend after a long day.

Take it up a notch

So you’ve mastered walking, how about taking it to the next level with jogging! You’ll love the intensity boost, and it can also be done just about anywhere.

  • Take a jog around your neighborhood; meet some other families and socialize while you get a great workout.
  • Race yourself and try to beat your previous time or distance each time–you’ll be amazed at your progress.
  • Set a big goal like being able to run a 5K or 10K. You can find training plans online that take out all the guess work by telling you exactly how far to run and when! You can find a plan for you at websites like

Tone it up

It’s time to say goodbye to those flabby arms! Keeping a set of small weights at home is the key to your success. They are inexpensive, require minimal space, and are easy to use. Since most women want to tone rather than build bulk, small 5-10 pound weights are perfect.

  • You can get a great strength workout right in your living room—do squats, lunges, curls or abs while you watch the news or just spend time with the kids.
  • We all hate watching commercials, but instead of clicking the DVR fast forward, use the commercial break as a chance to get in a few extra reps.
  • Focusing on high repetition and low weights will allow you to tone muscle without adding bulk to your body so you look healthy, lean and feminine.

Have fun with it

Working out should never be boring. Have a little fun with it by playing sports with the family, trying something new, or challenging a friend. Time and workouts fly by when you are having a blast!

  • Playing basketball or touch football with the family is a great way to get the whole family together and to stay active.
  • Take the pedometer challenge! Pedometers measure the number of steps you take each day; they are very inexpensive and easy to use. Have some fun and challenge your family or friends to see who gets in the most steps. A little healthy competition adds fun and accountability. Get in some extra steps by parking farther from your office, taking the stairs, or walking to the coffee shop.
  • Shake that booty! Whether it is on the dance floor at the club, in a class, or just in your living room, dancing is a creative way to get a fun cardio workout and to strengthen your core.
  • Jumping rope is an excellent cardio workout for any age and a nice throwback to those recess days when you were in grade school! Take the opportunity to double-dutch with your kids and then amp up your own solo routine for some more intense cardio.
  • Opt for pushing the lawn mower rather than hiring a service or riding a mower. You can do it yourself—you will save money, check another thing off your to-do list, burn fat, get some sun, and enjoy the day while you do it!

In the war against wrinkles… Ultherapy

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What is unique about Ultherapy ?
This new, FDA-approved technology combines focused ultrasound energy and the body’s own healing power to lift, tighten, and tone a sagging brow, chin, or neck. It has also been approved to reduce deep wrinkling on the décolletage. Ultherapy provides an attractive option for patients who are not ready to undergo facelift surgery and recovery, or who simply prefer a nonsurgical, noninvasive alternative to achieving a lifted, more youthful appearance. With the addition of the new Ultherapy Décolletage Treatment, Ultherapy is also now the only non-invasive procedure specifically indicated by the FDA to improve lines and wrinkles on the chest.

Ultherpy uses the power of ultrasound, which has been safely used in medical applications for more than 50 years. The Ulthera System uses a small handheld device to direct micro-focused ultrasound with visualization (MFU-V) to specific areas of the face or chest that have loose or sagging skin. Typically, these areas lose elasticity because of a natural breakdown of collagen, elastin, and underlying structural tissue. Ultherapy energy travels through the skin to safely treat these deep structural tissues and stimulate new collagen production. The end result is a tighter, firmer, smoother appearance.

Can Ultherapy replace a face lift?
Ultherapy treats the deep foundational layer addressed in cosmetic surgery, but won’t duplicate the results of a facelift. Ultherapy is a great alternative, however, especially for those not ready for surgery or for patients looking to extend the effects of cosmetic surgery.

How Does Ultherapy different from laser treatments?
Ultherapy uses sound energy – tried-and-true ultrasound – which has unique properties that allow it to bypass the surface of the skin to treat depths not matched by any other non-invasive cosmetic device. Ultherapy ultrasound stimulates collagen production in the skin’s foundation, resulting in a clinically significant lift of tissue over 2-3 months.

Lasers rely on light energy, which cannot reach deeper skin layers at an optimal temperature, so laser treatments typically only treat superficial skin and are not FDA-cleared to lift skin.

Since the two technologies often treat different types of skin issues, they’re actually very compatible.

How does Ultherapy Stimulate the creation of collagen?
Ultherapy deposits focused ultrasound energy deep beneath the skin at the optimal temperature for collagen regeneration. The treatment jumpstarts a natural process, known as neocollagenesis, to produce fresh, new collagen. Ultherapy doesn’t involve any creams, fillers or toxins; it just relies on your body’s own collagen-building process for natural, noticeable results.

How long does an Ultherapy treatment take?
The length of the treatment will depend on the area being treated and your individual treatment plan. A face and neck procedure typically takes 60-90 minutes, while a chest treatment takes approximately 30 minutes.

What does the Ultherapy treatment feel like?
Some of our Ultherapy® patients notice visible results immediately after their first treatment, but maximum results usually appear gradually within two to six months of treatment.

That gradual improvement occurs because the Ulthera® System works in two distinct phases: First, the targeted ultrasound waves cause molecules to vibrate, creating friction and heat. When collagen fibrils are heated to a specific temperature, they contract, causing an immediate lifted appearance that many patients enjoy. Next, the body interprets the ultrasound treatment as “injury,” so it immediately initiates a wound-healing phase, which includes repairing damage and creating new collagen. Over time, the new collagen and elastin provide added underlying support, helping to lift and revitalize sagging tissues.

Most patients only need one treatment. However, based on the degree of skin laxity, the biological response to ultrasound energy and the individual’s collagen-building process, some patients benefit from additional treatments. Because skin continues to age, future touch-up treatments can help patients keep pace with the body’s natural aging process.

Are there any side effects?
You may see some mild, temporary side effects, including redness, swelling, discomfort, mild bruising, numbness, or tenderness to the treated area, but these side effects typically resolve soon after treatment. During the clinical study evaluation, no serious or long-term adverse events were reported.

Woman combing her hair

26 beauty secrets for a beautiful you

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1. If you have thick tresses that get dry and frizzy, apply a conditioning hair masque and leave it on overnight, rinsing in the morning. Hair will become angelical soft.

2. Brush hair from roots to ends nightly. This distributes natural oils throughout the shaft and gives hair a healthy sheen.

3. Always rinse out conditioner with cold water to seal the cuticle and promote shine.

4. Are your roots showing? Hide them by zigzagging your part.


5. Treat your eye area gently. This is the most delicate part of your face. Cleanse with care; blot, never rub.

6. Line your eyes first with a pencil liner because it’s easier to make that straight line with it. Then I go back on the line with the liquid liner. It’s kind of like coloring! The result? Your eye liner will stay on, smudge-free, and well-lined.

7. Get eyeshadow to stay in place by priming lids with moisturizer and foundation.

8. Stop pencil eyeliner from smudging by applying powder shadow (in a matching or slightly darker shade) over the pencil.

9. Switch to brown mascara for a softer look for day.


10. To stop makeup from fading during the day, apply a primer before your foundation.

11. For lipliner that glides on, warm it up first by pinching it with your fingertips.

12. To keep lipstick from bleeding, pat a little concealer around your lips.

13. Smile when you put on your lipstick – it’s the best way to ensure complete coverage, corners included.


14. The best time to apply lotion is right after a shower or bath, when skin is still damp.

15. When drawing a bath, scatter bubbles or crystals directly under the faucet before turning on the water and drop in perfume oil while the tub is filling.

16. Beautiful skin starts from within. Include lots of vegetables, fruit and water in your diet.

17. Too much perfume? Dab rubbing alcohol with a cotton ball on your skin. The alcohol will cut the scent without altering it.

18. Microwave lotion for 5 seconds to soothe dry winter skin.

19. Help perfume last longer by dabbing petroleum jelly onto pulse points before spraying on fragrance. (Perfume evaporates faster from dry skin.)

20. Exfoliate with a body scrub once a week to slough off dead cells that make skin look dull. When skin is freshly exfoliated, lotion and oil are better absorbed.

Feet and Hands

21. Improve circulation in your legs and lower the risk of unsightly veins by elevating your feet when resting.

22. Shape nails with an emery board, filing sides toward center – never straight across – and rounding off edges.

23. What works for your face works for your hands. Remove age spots with facial brightening cream.

24. The fast way to remove nail polish: Hold cotton saturated with polish remover firmly on your nail for a few seconds to let it start working, then wipe nail clean.

25. Relieve swollen feet by soaking them alternately in hot water (for 3 minutes), then cold water (for 1 minute), for a total of 15 minutes.

26.  To avoid toenail fungus, keep feet dry and clean, and remove athletic socks and shoes immediately after working out.