Is ear candling as effective as it seems?

Ear Candling

Ear candling may do more harm than good.

Your ears are pretty important, which is why taking care of them is definitely something everyone should do. Surprisingly enough, cotton swabs can do more damage than good and can even lead to ear wax buildup. If you have difficulty hearing, itching, or ringing in your ears, you could need to unblock your ears.

As a believer in alternative medicine, the idea of ear candling has intrigued me for some time now. The practice is said to relieve sinus pressure, help earaches, and it’s also believed that it helps get rid of wax buildup. Yet this isn’t exactly the case.

After ear candling, there is leftover wax, but this comes from the candle itself, not from your ear as many people believe. And many doctors have said that this process isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and can even be dangerous to your ears. You can receive burns from the wax or even cause damage to your eardrum.

Apparently according to WebMD, there has been some attempt on the part of the FDA to stop ear candles from being manufactured, though there are still places locally you can purchase them. There are some alternatives however, though the classic pour-warm-oil down your ear might be a tried and true solution.

Where ear candling was once something I was eager to try, now I’m not so sure. This is just another example as to how researching something before you jump into it is typically a good idea. But still, many people swear by this practice. Have you ever used an ear candle? Do you have some good alternatives?

Fun accessories for girls

Poppy Drops

Kid-friendly accessories make a great gift

Sometimes, little kids are in a rush to grow up and be able to do ‘big girl’ things like wear makeup, jewelry, and perfume. Well, Poppy Drops created a cute solution that lets girls do exactly that in a fun, non-permanent way.

The story behind it is pretty adorable as well. The company was started by a mom with some creative ideas she used for her daughter. What stemmed from it is a line of nail art, perfume sticks, no-pierce earrings, and tattoos that are great for kids. The earrings and nail art are both stick-on and non-permanent which is definitely a plus.

The product we got to try out was the flower petal perfume stick, and the best thing about it? It literally only has three ingredients: coconut oil, beeswax, and fragrance oil. It’s a product that’s sort of good for everyone and isn’t full of chemicals. The scent stays on pretty well too.

As for price, Poppy Drops products are relatively cheap. The priciest item is their gift sets which are still until $20. They have a cute blog and Facebook page so you can keep tabs on everything happening. They also do contests as well.

So if you’re looking for a cute gift for a little girl in your life, you might want to consider something from Poppy Drops. Have you ever done DIY products for kids?

Protecting yourself from the Heartbleed Bug

Heartbleed bug

The official logo of the Heartbleed Bug which is causing problems globally.

Computers. They’re one of the best (and most frustrating) things many of us own. And although they are incredibly useful, they can be problematic and are definitely not without flaws. One of the worst being able to get infected by bugs, malware, and viruses.

The Heartbleed bug is a new form of ‘hacking’ that resulted from a security flaw in the OpenSSL coding. Basically, it allows hackers to steal passwords and personal information through websites like Instagram, Pintrest, and Tumblr (all of which were affected). You can see a full list of websites affected at Mashable. Many websites have already patched the problem, and some don’t use OpenSSL for their security and weren’t compromised, but an estimated 500,000 websites may have been affected.

And the worst thing? It’s pretty much undetectable. The best thing you can do is change your passwords for websites who were affected, and make sure you do this AFTER they’ve been patched or your information can still be taken. It’s always good to frequently change your passwords, make them unique, and don’t use the same one for everything. Luckily, most banking websites don’t use OpenSSL so that information is likely to be safe.

If you want to learn more about Heartbleed, James Lyne of Forbes has some informative pieces and Adriana Lee of ReadWrite lists some myths regarding the bug. But the best step you can take (and maybe the only one) is changing your passwords and hoping for the best.

It’s important to remember that this is a bug, not a virus or malware, but it’s still good to know what to do to protect your computer from attacks. Microsoft lists some helpful tips, and for software, there’s some great free options out there. I recommend Malwarebytes (which you can perform scans with anytime to clean out harmful objects), Adblock Plus to stop pop-ups (it gets rid of Youtube and Pandora ads as well), Eusing Registry Cleaner (fixes registry issues), and you need a good antivirus program such as McAfee (which I use) or Norton–and remember you can only have one antivirus program installed on your computer.

Viruses, bugs, and malware are all out there, and they can get into a system with one simple click, so that’s why it’s important to remain proactive with your computer. Perform scans, change passwords, backup your files, and remember to be careful of what information you put on the internet. Do you have any computer tips or virus horror stories? Let us know!

Male contraceptive: a one ‘shot’ solution

Male Birth Control

Women aren’t the only ones with contraceptive options.

Browsing around on Tumblr, a blogging website known for being pretty pro-women, I came across a post all about a new form of male ‘birth control’ that has actually been working effectively in India for over 2o years. And it’s 100% reliable. But why isn’t this a thing in the U.S.?

Femspire believes that part of the reason is based around drug companies losing money. This male contraceptive, a shot called Vasalgel, is a one-time shot that can be dissolved if the man wants and is less expensive as well as relatively painless. But a one-time shot means that women wouldn’t have to pay monthly for birth control which could create a problem for drug companies.

The shot lasts for 10 years and according to the Huffington Post, takes about 15 minutes to administer. Compared to the vasectomy, this seems like a completely more practical solution. It still needs full approval, but better forms of birth control can definitely help things like unwanted pregnancy and lead to fewer abortions. And, like I’ve read before, it’s easier to disarm a gun then shoot at a bulletproof vest. Male contraception actually makes a lot of sense.

Yet the Gates Foundation actually donated $100,000 to the developers in India to make a female equivalent to inject into the fallopian tubes. With everything females go through, is it so hard to imagine a world where guys are also somewhat responsible? This shot could also be really helpful in third world countries where rape is a large contributor to unwanted pregnancies.

You can also donate to the cause on Vasalgel’s website and read about updates on the product. It’s hard to say whether or not it’ll actually make it to markets around the world because it still needs approval. Do you think a product like this would benefit the U.S. or harm it? We want to know!

Measles make their way to Springfield

Measles

Baystate Medical Center reports a case of measles.

This year seems to be the time for measles to make its way around the country and now the disease has reached Springfield. Baystate Medical Center confirmed that there was a case of measles at the hospital and up to 300 people were exposed to the virus. This has been the first case of measles at Baystate in over 12 years.

The disease appears like a cold at first with a cough, runny nose, and fever which eventually turns into a rash which travels across the body. Children are usually vaccinated between 12-15 months old and adults born before 1957 are considered immune since measles was much more widespread in the U.S., 95% of the population reporting having the virus before age 15.

There have been 49 reported cases of measles in California and it’s spreading across Washington state as well. It only proves that some diseases, even those who are allegedly eradicated, can always make their way back around. The flu, a stomach bug, and some form of a cold have also been traveling around and you probably know someone (or a few people) who have been sick in the last few weeks.

The best advice? Drink a lot of water, get enough sleep, wash your hands, and hope for the best. Take care of your body because no one likes being sick. You can read some of our tips to fight a cold here.

Sachi Totes reinvent the lunchbox

Sachi Totes

Sachi Totes are stylish and practical cooler alternatives.

Think lunchboxes are a thing of the past? Think again! Sachi Totes has created a line of bags designed specially to serve as stylish coolers. And the best part is many of them could pass as regular handbags.

These waterproof totes are insulated on the inside and can even be filled with ice like a regular cooler. Sachi also makes their own ice packs, or as they call them ‘Cool Gems,’ which are also a fashionable alternative to regular ice packs.

They come in a variety of shapes and styles, ranging from a smaller handbag size, to a large tote, and even a messenger bag size. They’re easy to clean out, and are easy to transport–perfect for bringing things discretely to the movies, taking snacks to the beach, or for a road trip. This a product that’s definitely helpful to someone on the go, whether it be moms or working women.

Sachi also offers stylish wine totes as well which are slightly more expensive, but all their products range from $9-$33 which is quite reasonable.

Are you sick of using bulky coolers or dated lunchboxes? Check out Sachi Totes for a product that is not only stylish, but practical as well.

The sweetest problem in America

Sugar

Sugar might be making America sick.

Sugar. No matter what we do, this sweet substance seems to find it’s way in the food we eat, even if we don’t realize it. Sugar is actually more addicting than cocaine, and I know for a fact that I’m stuck in it’s alluring throes. Are you?

One of the most upsetting things is the fact that sugar comes in many forms, and fructose (the sugar found in fruit) is also actually bad for you in large amounts. But sugar does give you energy, it’s the refined sugars that are the worst for you. America is one of the heads of the sugar epidemic and the facts are somewhat shocking.

The more sugar you eat, the more you want it, which is the same with chocolate. The unfortunate thing is though, sugar is sort of everywhere. In soda, in fruit juice, maple syrup, ketchup, yogurt, and many more. Sugar also keeps you hungry. It provides empty calories which aren’t actually filling us up.

It also is linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, hypertension, depression, and more health problems. But is it possible to ditch sugar? You can, but it seems like a gradual thing. You can’t just quit sugar cold turkey (especially because so many foods have it) but you can slowly try and balance yourself out. You can try drinking more water, eating sweet vegetables, and generally try to steer clear from soft drinks and sweets. It’s a hard thing to do, but cutting down on sugar is undeniably good for your body.

Will you try and cut back? It could actually help your health!