Friday, September 16, 2016

10 Great Kayaking Items for Women

If you’re a women and you love to Kayak, then you have to have the great gear to go along with it. Plus, if gives you a great reason to go shopping, and what women doesn’t love a good reason to go shopping. Here is a great list of some must haves if you go kayaking.

Hips Wedge Padz- $20

This item is essential for small women. When you’re kayaking, you need to have total control of your kayak. To have complete control over your boat, you use your hips a lot. These pads are pre-glued and you stick them on the inside of the cockpit to give you a better fit. This makes your legs seem larger, for more control. These are made from foam cushions, so they will be comfortable.

Women’s Tropos Swift Entry Dry Suit $400-$900

When kayaking in harder waters, you must wear a dry suit. This dry suit is among the favorites of most women. This suit has reinforced seat and knees which helps protect your suit from all your bending and sitting. The fabric is a latex waterproof fabric. It has a latex neck gasket, latex wrist and ankle gaskets, adjustable waste for a tighter fit along with sealed seams. It also features relief zippers so you do not have to take off the entire suit to use the restroom.

Overboard Waterproof Case- $25

This is a great item for women. This case will hold your phone or gps unit while you kayak. Great for any emergencies that may come about while you are out. This case is to protect your electronics from water, sand and anything else. The case is made to float in the water. So if you tip over and need help, this case will float. It has a large neck string, so you can tie it around your neck or some other place in the cockpit. The case is also see through, so you can use your electronic without removing it.

Sports Glacier Clear Dry Bag- $25

You can find waterproof bags anywhere you go. This bag sets itself aside from the rest though. It’s clear, so you can view all your items with ease when needed. Along with that it has 20mm vinyl fabric, others are not this thick. It is also UV resistant which helps when the sun is beating down. It comes with a D-ring so you can leash it to your kayak.

Sealine Small Pouch $10

This item is another must have. This will hold your id, money and any credit cards you may need. You should always have a picture id and an emergency contact on you at all times. Just incase something should happen to you, you would want your family contacted, and this bag will make sure that happens. You can attach this to your neck, or connect to your belt loop located on your dry suit.

Basic Safety Kit $130

Another must have for an emergency. Women should always plan ahead and plan for all them what ifs. Especially if you are going out alone in the kayak. This safety kit includes all your basics. Safety Whistle, High efficiency pump, retractable coil paddle leash, paddle float and a yellow mesh bag to keep all your items in.

Sports Basic Safety kit- Small Version- $50

If you want a safety kit, but nothing to large, then this is the kit for you. It includes Duel Chambered paddle float, clip on safety tether, small bilge pump, emergency whistle and a black mesh storage bag. Perfect for those wanting a smaller emergency bag.

Warmers Sport Paddling Gloves for Women- $25

Let’s face it, our hands are shaped a lot different then men’s hands are. So we need a good fitting glove that’s made just for women. Gloves are a vital essential when kayaking. They provide protection for the harsh waters, a better grip and warmth when the waters are a tad cold. These gloves have Velcro closers with adjustable tabs so you can customize the fit for your hand.

Midwheels Kayak Cart- $100

For women who want to do everything their self, this item is a must have. When you are transporting your kayak out of the water, this cart will help you out. This cart has nylon straps to secure your kayak and two wheels for easy hauling.

Water Sandals for Women- $60

Another great add for your kayaking gear is water shoes. These sandals will become your favorite in no time. These sandals are not like your typical water shoes. They have a snug fit like the rest, but along with that they are made with special strength to weight ratio material. They are sturdier, strong and more breathable. The thermoplastic urethane heel will give you a secure fit. They have a single pull lace system for easy wear.

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10 Great Stocking Stuffers for the Family

It’s that time of year again. Time to pick up those stocking stuffers that require a little thought but not a lot of money. These stocking stuffers are for the whole family. Yes, that includes the furry companions – dogs and cats – as well. Check out 10 great stocking stuffers to get the entire family this holiday.

Stocking Stuffers for Dad

Right off the top of your head you are probably thinking a tie or watch. Save those ideas for his birthday or Father’s Day. Thinking about a practical gift is the right move. Two things Dad probably is not purchasing for himself that he more than likely needs: underwear and socks. He probably has a drawer full of basic briefs, boxers and socks. However, he probably does not have enough dress socks or warm, knit boxers. Consider these two stocking stuffers for Dad:

  1. Alexander Julian Argyle Dress Socks (3pk), $16.00 at JCPenney
  2. Merona Men’s Cotton Jersey Knit Boxer – Navy/Gray, $5.99 at Target

Stocking Stuffers for Mom

Mom may be a little harder to find a gift for. Handbags and shoes – unless they are slippers — are out of the question. So you really need to pay attention to what she likes and what she may be willing to try. One thing every woman should own is an attractive scarf. Tie that stocking stuffer in with a pair of statement earrings and you have a winner. Check these great stocking stuffers out for Mom:

  1. Women’s Scarf, Velvet Burnout Le Fleur, $30.00 at JCPenney
  2. Art Deco Earrings, $9.99 at AVON

Stocking Stuffers for Girls

Whether they are still in elementary school or in high school, most girls like things that are pretty or things that will make them look pretty. Accessories are the way to go with little girls this holiday. For the bigger girls, let’s look for something knitted. Consider these stocking stuffers for girls:

  1. Belle Du Jour Dress, Short Sleeve Military Stripe Sweater, $38.00 at Macy’s
  2. Jumping Beans Butterfly Knit Hat Set-Girls, $38.00 at Kohl’s

Stocking Stuffers for Boys

Little boys and big boys like toys. However, as they get older their choice of toys becomes a little more sophisticated. What’s big this year for boys is Transformers. For the little ones you can either go with an actual Transformer toy or apparel. The bigger ones opt for games, movies and other Transformer-tech merchandise. Consider one of these options for your Transformer fan:

  1. Pre-order: Transformers Trilogy $29.99 (before 12/13/11 release) to $40.99 (12/13/11 and after) at Amazon.com
  2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon for Nintendo DS, $29.95 at Walmart

Stocking Stuffers for Dogs and Cats

Family gift giving is not complete without something for the family dog or cat. While a lot of families like to dress their furry buddies in clothes, think of something the pet may actually enjoy. From my experience you can’t go wrong with a food treat or toy:

  1. KONG Holiday Reindeer, Snowman or Santa Tugger Knot, $4.99 at PetSmart
  2. Grreat Choice Faux Fur Mouse w/Tail (12 pk), $7.99 at PetSmart

These 10 holiday stocking stuffers for the family make great gifts. The best part is they are under $50.00. Don’t be nervous about some of the apparel items, you can roll them and insert them into the stocking. For box sets you can give the box to them later and place each individual item in the stocking. Happy Shopping!

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10 Great Stocking Stuffers for Pittsburgh Steelers Fans

If there is one thing Pittsburgh Steelers fans like, its Steelers gifts! Christmas will be here before you know it, so I’ve compiled a list of 10 great stocking stuffers for fans of the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

How would I know what a Steelers fan would want to find in their Christmas stocking? Well, I’m a lifelong fan of the Steelers and I have received many great gifts over the years that help me show my support. So if you are looking for stocking stuffer ideas for your favorite Steelers fan, this is the list for you. I am also including links to websites that sell the gifts I list.

Pittsburgh Steelers Stocking Stuffers

1) A Steelers Bobblehead- They have a Ben Roethisberger Bobblehead, Troy Polamalu, Hines Ward and more. If you know your Steelers fans favorite player, a bobblehead is a fun stocking stuffer. Prices $19-28 and you can find them here.

2) A Steelers T-shirt- There are many to choose from, including the Super Bowl Champions shirts or the Six-Burgh shirts. Any Steelers fan, male or female would love to find a rolled up Steelers shirt in their stocking on Christmas. Prices $15-45 and you can find many shirts here or here.

3)Steelers earrings- Your female Steelers fan would love to have these to wear on game day! Prices $6, inexpensive at the chuckthomas.com website here.

4)A Pittsburgh Steelers wallet- Your Steelers fan needs somewhere to keep their cash! Prices $7-33 at the football fanatics site here.

5) For the Steelers fans car- A bumper sticker and window decal for your Steelers fan and you can throw in an antenna topper to complete the package. (Yes I have them on my car!) Prices $2-6, this site has these and many other automobile merchandise gifts, click here.

6) Pittsburgh Steelers Night Light- This makes a great stocking stuffer for Christmas and there are plenty of different night lights to choose from. Prices $16-40 and a large selection here.

7) A Pittsburgh Steelers scarf and hat- It gets cold at Heinz Field! Even if they don’t live in Pittsburgh, a real Steelers fan will rock the scarf and hat anywhere to show their Steelers pride. Prices $10-50 at the Steelers website here.

8) For the Steelers fan that likes a snack with their beer, you could include an Iron City Beer Honey Roasted Peanuts with a Steelers Koozie. Throw in a Steelers bottle opener and they are ready for game day! Prices $4-9, you can find Iron City Beer products here and the koozie and bottle opener here.

9)Tin Coaster Set- Yep, I have these too, and I love them. Your Steelers fan will love them too! Price $7-15 an you can buy them here.

10) Myron Cope’s Terrible Towel– In case your Steelers fan needs a new one, they have pink ones (breast cancer awareness) and they have Terrible Towels that list all the Super Bowls the Steelers have won. 6 Super Bowls in case you weren’t sure. Price $8 at the Steelers website here.

If you want to do a little something extra for your Steelers fan, you could buy him or her a Pittsburgh Steelers Christmas stocking here to keep the Steelers theme going! Prices $10-25.

And if you really want to make your Steelers fan happy, print a copy of my article The Pittsburgh Steelers Have the Best Fans in the NFL here and stick it in their stocking!

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10 Great Online Multiplayer Games

Growing up in the age of video games, I’ve had the opportunity to play a plethora of different games, from good to bad, from online to offline, from roleplaying games to first person shooter games. By far, online multiplayer games take the cake when it comes to a good amount of fun. Here are my top ten favorite online multiplayer games, in no particular order.

Minecraft

Few games have quite caught on with as large of a community as Minecraft. Its simplistic design and wide array of creative options make it appeal to just about anyone. In Minecraft, there is no storyline beyond what you make-up yourself. There are no goals other than what you make-up yourself. But even without that guidance, it’s quite easy to sink hundreds, even thousands of hours into a single Minecraft map. By going online to one of the thousands of user servers, you can get creative with your friends, either surviving against zombies, or building some pretty intense buildings or anything else you can imagine building.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

The front-runner in the AAA free-to-play massive multiplayer games, Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) puts you in the shoes of your own player designed character. From Jedi’s fighting for the common good, to mercenaries fighting for the highest payout, or even Dark Side Force users, the possibilities are limitless. With a strong and dedicated fan base, SWTOR provides the ability to act out your Star Wars fantasies in a beautifully rendered three dimensional world at your fingertips.

Formula One: 2013

A unique cooperative mode that allows you and a friend to compete with simulated real world drivers from the popular racing industry, Formula One: 2013 is an exciting game. By starting a cooperative game, you race for points which go towards your own placement in the race season, as well as your teams place. The sheer speed the cars unleash will keep you on the edge of your seat, forcing extreme concentration in order to even complete a lap, let alone complete and win a race.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Counter Strike has been a strong player in the first person shooter genre for over a decade, a position that is made abundantly clear in Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), arguably one of the most popular first person online tactical shooting games on the market. Providing several different game modes to fit your play style, CS:GO builds upon the Counter Strike titles that proceeded it by introducing new maps, new weapons, and new tactics to be mastered.

DayZ

No online multiplayer round-up would be complete without DayZ, the mod-turned-standalone game featuring around surviving a zombie apocalypse. Providing a realistic environment, simulated hunger and fatigue, as well as pulse elevating shootouts, DayZ has become the go-to place for zombie fans. By opening the game world up to people from around the world, DayZ has managed to give a glimpse into some realities of the human psyche that only a zombie apocalypse could showcase. Will you be a scavenger to survive, or will you be a murderer? The choice is yours.

Grand Theft Auto Online

With the recent release of Grand Theft Auto V, Grand Theft Auto stepped-up its game with amazing visuals, new more realistic gameplay, and a modern-day setting. Jumping into its online world, set in the same place as its online counterpart, Grand Theft Auto Online provides the ability for players to do as they please in a fully fleshed-out digital world larger than some real-world countries.

EVE Online

Exploring the galaxy is just so much more fun with friends. That’s an experience you can have with EVE Online, a massive multiplayer online game that puts every subscriber in the same huge galaxy, and lets them do as they please. From fighting gargantuan wars, to peacefully exploring areas that no one has seen before, EVE Online’s galaxy is waiting for you.

Lord of the Rings Online

First released in 2007, this now free-to-play massive multiplayer online game might be aged, but it’s community is very strong. Throwing you into Tolkiens Middle Earth, Lord of the Rings Online features many familiar settings, an open-world environment, and even some familiar faces from the movies and books. For those new to Tolkiens pieces, there is content from the Hobbit movies in the game as well.

RuneScape

Few games have gone through quite the up and down cycle that RuneScape has. When it first released in 2001, it quickly became a hit being played by many youth all over the world. Unfortunately, it quickly began having issues, from overzealous administration, to player abuse. Today, RuneScape has re-launched itself, having fixed many of the problems that caused it trouble before. Featuring an original map, more freedom than the first iteration, and extremely better graphics, todays RuneScape should not be missed by the online gamer.

Star Trek Online

As a long-time Star Trek fan, I’ll admit that when Star Trek Online first came out I was onboard ready to play a Starfleet Captain, something I’d been waiting years to do. Focused primarily on the J.J. Abrams iterations of Star Trek, Star Trek Online does a fantastic job of recreating many of the subtle details of the two recent movies, as well as providing plenty of nostalgia for those with older tastes. Featuring space travel, as well as first person combat and the ability to walk around your own starship, it is a game like no other.

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10 Great Outdoor Hobbies

Outdoor hobbies provide a great opportunity to get some fresh air, exercise and to connect with the world around you. These hobbies are great for adults and for children, all of whom need to gain an understanding of nature and a respect for the natural world. Here are ten of the numerous outdoor hobbies that you can become involved with.

Hunting is a great outdoor sport. Hunters must learn about animal behavior, hike in rugged country, and withstand extreme temperature change. Seeing firsthand where food comes from and enduring what nature can throw at you is a great experience.

Fishing is an outdoor sport that provides a great opportunity to relax and experience nature. Fishing can be simple or complicated based on personal preference. A simple cane pole, hook, line, and worms will catch fish with little expense. If you want to spend a million dollars on a hobby, that option is available as well!

Bird watching is a great outdoor hobby without a lot of physical exertion. You can simply look out your window, sit on your deck, or look through your windshield to get started. A bird identification guide and binoculars are also needed to get started.

Fossil collecting is a neat hobby for those interested in prehistoric life. Fossil collection can be as simple as picking through the gravel in your landscaping to overnight expeditions into the wild.

Rock hounding is a similar hobby to fossil collection. But this time you are collecting the rocks and not the fossils in them. A simple rock and mineral guide can get you started.

Hiking is another great outdoor hobby to get exercise and away from everyone else. Hiking can amount to a 30 minute trail at your local park or a multiple month trek on the Appalachian Trail. Hiking with or without a backpack is great exercise and is an inexpensive hobby once the original purchase of equipment is made.

Camping is another outdoor hobby that can vary from an easy camp in your local park to spending time in the wilderness at the top of a mountain.

Geocaching is a new hobby that is a mix of a scavenger hunt, hiking, and GPS use. People hide objects and you find them.

Gold Panning is another great outdoor activity, especially for those who need to develop patience. Gold panning can be frustrating but when you see that gold emerge from under the muddy water in your pan it makes it all worth it. A simple gold pan (about $10) gets you started.

Mountain Biking is perhaps the best outdoor activity to get you in shape. Bikes range widely in prices and the accessories you need will depend on your riding choices. Trails dot the nation to hone your skills, get away from it all, and relax.

Outdoor hobbies are generally fairly inexpensive and easy to start. There are organizations for each hobby that can help you get started. Have Fun!

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10 Great Parks to Visit in the Austin Area

Would you like to spend time outdoors? If you live in the Austin area or if you plan to visit the capital city, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of good places to camp and to reconnect with nature. Here’s a look at the first places to camp in the Austin area.

Emma Long Metropolitan Park

The Emma Long Metropolitan Park, located along Lake Austin, is one of the largest parks in the area. Some of the features found in the park include swimming areas, boat ramps , camping facilities and Turkey Creek Road.

Garner State Park

Located in northern Uvalde County and along the Frio River, Garner State Park offers dancing, mini-golf, camping, and even places to eat. There is always plenty to do for those who visit and stay in Garner.

Pace Bend Park

Situated along Lake Travis, Pace Bend Park offers visitors a variety of activities to choose from, including horseback riding and boating. Park visitors can camp among the trees along the beach or even on a cliff. In other words, it selects the natural environment who want to enjoy during your stay at Pace Bend Park.

Inks Lake State Park

Inks Lake State Park offers many recreational opportunities, including opportunities for backpacking, camping, golf, hiking, boating, swimming, fishing and water skiing. If you want to be active in the lake or outside the lagoon, never be bored during your stay in the lake of ink.

McKinney Falls State Park

Located in South Austin, McKinney Falls State Park offers selected shelters with electricity, bunk beds and running water.

Guadalupe River State Park

It offers four miles of river frontage and nine miles of river for visitors to the park, Guadalupe River offers opportunities for swimming, tubing, boating, horseback riding, hiking and bird watching.

Bastrop State Park

Located just 30 miles southeast of the capital, Bastrop Park offers opportunities for camping in tents and in the cabins. Park facilities include a golf course, swimming pool and hiking trails. Fishing and cycling opportunities are also available.

Buescher State Park

Located north of Smithville, Buescher Park offers more than seven miles of trails and plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Windy Point Park

Located only thirty minutes from downtown Austin, Windy Point Park offers primitive, but clean, the opportunities for camping. Picnicking and scuba diving are available around the beautiful Lake Travis.

Colorado Bend State Park Colorado Bend State Park

Just two hours northwest of the capital, Colorado Bend trip features incredible caves and waterfalls.

This is just a small sample of the many parks found in and around Austin. In short, if you are living in or visiting Austin, you’ll find plenty of great recreational opportunities to choose from. For those who enjoy an active lifestyle and like to get close to nature, a visit to any of these ten parks will help make it happen.

Citation: http://ift.tt/ZIWvAq

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Great Romantic Films for Halloween

Ifyou are not into slasher, blood thirsty, scary, thrillers, during Halloween, there is an alternative-a cool romantic movie with a supernatural spin. Here are some of my favorites. Break out the popcorn, strawberries and chocolate, invite your friends or lover, and make a bit of love magic on Halloween night.

Bell Book and Candle (1958) The beautiful Kim Novak plays the sexy witch, and James Stewart plays the stressed out executive who falls in love with her, after she casts a spell, of course. There is some great witch “lore” in this movie…perhaps created by Hollywood or left over from Middle Ages beliefs. The familiar “Pyewacket” the cat, assists her mistress in bewitching the unsuspecting Jimmy Stewart. Another little legend was that witches can’t cry…but she cries up a storm when her spell backfires and she falls for the man she bewitched. Jack Lemmon plays her warlock brother. He’s fabulously witty and charming in this, one of his first films.

Practical Magic (1998) If you are into witchery, this is a great movie with tons of ritual, spell magic and witch lore. Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman star as two sisters raised by aunts who gave them chocolate cake for breakfast and taught them all about practical magic. The two beautiful witches work to take a curse off their family. Their curse is that no man can love them without dying. In the meantime, they fight off some wicked supernatural stuff, including a demon. True to the romantic elements of the film, they finally lift the curse and can marry whomever they wish and live happily ever after.

Bewitched (2005) I guess Hollywood just loves Nicole Kidman as a beautiful witch, because she’s played a witch twice. I suppose she likes the role as well. This modern day movie is nothing like the popular TV series. But has a nice twist to it. Isabel meets a self-absorbed television film guy who wants to do a remake of “Bewitched.” He unknowingly casts Isabel Bigalow as Samantha. Seems Isabel and Shirley Maclaine ( who plays Andora, are both real witches). Love comes along of course between Will Ferrell and Isabel. NOT one of my favorite movies, but it’s worth a look if you like Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman.

I Married a Witch (1942) The beautiful Veronica Lake plays the witch who “bewitches” a politician played by Fredrick Marsh. A 18th century Salem witch curses the family line of the man who sentenced her to death so that the sons will always marry poorly. The only way the curse can be lifted is if one of the descendents marries a witch. Great witchy lore here and some cool special effects for the time. I Married a Witch is witty and cute even by today’s standards, and it’s probably the precursor to the popular Bewitched, television series.

What Women Want (2000) Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt are very funny in this little fantasy about an egomanic who has an accident (putting on panty hose) and can suddenly hear what women are thinking. The movie highlights the different ways men and women think about love, sex and each other, with some hilarious results. It doesn’t have any witchy lore obviously, but it’s a good movie with a supernatural twist.

Just like Heaven (2005) Here is a different kind of supernatural movie. Imagine a girl in a coma, whose spirit “haunts” the guy who took over her apartment—yes while she’s still in a coma! Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo star in this quirky romantic comedy where there are no boundaries between life and death when it comes to love.

Bedazzled (2000) This is a remake of a British film by the same name, but this time the devil is the beautiful Elizabeth Hurley who grants Elliot (played by Brandon Fraiser) seven wishes to win the affections of the woman he loves. Unfortunately he trades his soul for these seven wishes that just don’t seem to work as he is promised by the devil. Elliot transforms into several powerful men, but no matter how fabulous he is, the devil has “loopholes” with each wish, and he can’t win.

Ghost (1990) This movie is hands down the best of all time when it comes to a supernatural theme and a hauntingly beautiful love story. Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and the fabulously funny Whoopi Goldberg light up the screen with this tale of love and betrayal. A young stockbroker (Patrick Swayze) is murdered before his time, leaving behind the love of his life, Demi Moore. Because of his love he is able to stay on earth as a ghost and finds his killer, who happens to be his best friend. (or was) Oda Mae Brown (Whoopie) plays a “medium/psychic” who is able to communicate with him and help him find the killer before he goes after Molly (Moore).

Meet Joe Black (1998) The devil meets love in this very long, but intriguing movie. Brad Pitt is “achingly” handsome as the devil, Anthony Hopkins is his usual brilliant self, and Claire Forlani exhumes an ethereal air as the woman who conquers the devil’s heart. (This is before the Botox on her lips). The devil (Joe Black) announces to media Mogul Bill Parrish, that his days are numbered, he’s about to die. Parrish has a daughter who falls madly in love with Death and then it gets complicated as Death decides to take the girl with him, Parrish fights him, Death in the end does the right thing… so watch the movie.

Beastly (2011) This is an urban tale with the same story line as Beauty and the Beast. Although the reviews weren’t great, I found this movie to be hugely entertaining. The plot focuses on Kyle Kingson, a wealthy and arrogant high school student. During an environmental event, he is disrespectful to a classmate, who is secretly a witch in disguise. The witch then casts a spell on Kyle to disfigure his body and face, giving him one year to find love or be left with his monstrous appearance forever. He falls for a nice highschool girl (yes this is a highschool movie) and the rest is “Beauty and the Beast” history.

Cristina is author of Gypsy Wisdom, Ancient Magic for the Modern Witch, and Magical Folk Love Spells, all available at Amazon.com

Tags:Great Romantic Films for Halloween

10 Great Nicknames for Babies

Are you wondering what nicknames for babies are common? Are you trying to decide what nickname you would like you use for your baby? Here are ten great nicknames for babies that many families use. These sweet nicknames express how much you love that little bundle of joy in your life. Having nicknames for babies can be very special!

As you think about nicknames for babies, take these top 10 choices under consideration:

Angel – As nicknames for babies go, this is probably one of the sweetest. Babies are a gift from heaven and nicknaming your baby Angel is perfect. And when they are sleeping, babies do look like tiny blessed angels.

Babycakes – This is one of the nice, adorable nicknames for babies that might be just right for your new baby. Combining baby with something as sweet and delicious as cake, makes this a warm, cozy nickname.

Baby Girl or Baby Boy – This nickname obviously acknowledges if you have a girl or a boy and it is a nice, loving choice for nicknames for babies. You might also like the alternative of Sweet-Girl or Sweet-Boy. If you choose any of these, you will love them.

Bitsy or Bitty – This is one of the nicknames for babies that emphasizes how tiny your baby is. The nickname is a shortened version of Itsy-bitsy or Itty-bitty, both of which mean very small! This is a nice, tender choice of a nickname for your new little one.

Bubba or Bubbie – These are both endearing choices for your baby. As you hold your baby in your arms and nicknames for babies swirl through your head, you just might settle on Bubba. This nickname is full of love.

Bugaboo – This little nickname is one of the nicknames for babies that you will fall in love with. It is so tender and charming plus it sounds adorable. If you choose this nickname, you might also find yourself shortening it to either Buggie or Boo, both of which are cute nicknames, too.

Peanut – This is one of the cutest nicknames for babies. Babies are so tiny and seem just like a little peanut. Why not choose Peanut as nickname for your new arrival? You will love it.

Punky – This is one of the nicknames for babies that sounds both affectionate and playful at the same time. It is a funny sounding nickname but you might fall in love with it and then it will definitely feel special to you.

Sugar – This is an adorable, cozy, warm-feeling choice for nicknames for babies. To personalize it even more, you could add to it and make the nickname Sugar Pie. There’s no arguing that’s a sweet little nickname for your precious baby.

Sweetpea – When you think of nicknames for babies, this one is undeniably soft and sweet. This delightful little nickname might be just the right one for the new addition to your family.

These are ten great choices of nicknames for babies, suitable for either a baby boy or baby girl. Hopefully these give you some great ideas for a nickname for your new arrival. If none of these selections suit you and your family, let your imagination run wild and see what other nicknames for babies you can create so your baby has the perfect nickname!

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10 Great Novels and Short Stories for Halloween

Halloween is almost upon us, and there is no better time to delve into ten horror novels and short stories to help set the mood. Face it, some of these stories just won’t read the same in January or July because the weeks and days leading up to the end of October are the perfect time to read them.

In case you are wondering what qualifies me to be bringing you this list, I’ll give you a brief background on myself. I grew up on horror. I read The Shining when I was nine, and it made me want to be a writer. Through the years I’ve professionally reviewed dozens of horror films and interviewed horror actors and directors for the likes of Tattoo Savage magazine, Filmthreat.com and other publications and websites. In addition to that, I am the author of Nothing Men, a well-regarded horror novel that is being looked at by a few directors as I write this piece. In other words: I know my way around the subject. So, without further ado, here is the list in no particular order.

  • 1. The Shining by Stephen King – Not only is this the book that influenced me to become a writer, it is one of the best fictional haunted house stories ever told. Its sense of isolation and the degeneration of a family already on edge is masterfully orchestrated and offers a boatload of horrors for first-time readers. Scene after scene of disconcerting occurrences build to a conclusion that leaves its audience spellbound and shaking.
  • 2. The Dream Cycle of H.P. Lovecraft: Dreams of Terror and Death by H.P. Lovecraft – There are horror writers, and there is H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft is one of the few writers to really get under my skin and give me the creeps. He has created a mythos that remains with us to this day, and in this book there are over twenty tales guaranteed to make you shiver. From “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” to “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” there is something here for everyone. There is a reason Lovecraft has influenced everyone from King to Metallica, and that reason is in every single sentence of each of these short stories.
  • 3. Halloween by Curtis Richards – It seems like a given for a second, and then you realize it is an adaptation of a classic horror film and wonder why you should bother. Normally, you’d be correct, but this novelization goes a bit beyond the movie and is a great, quick read that is totally appropriate after a weighty course of Lovecraft. Richards keeps the story moving, and while it isn’t as chilling as John Carpenter’s original movie, it is well worth reading in its own right.
  • 4. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson – If you grew up on the East Coast in the 1970s, you could not escape what supposedly happened in Amityville, New York (and what seems to be experiencing a cultural revival today). The “true story” involves a family that moves into a house where a series of murders took place. Less than a month later the family fled the house fearing it was haunted beyond belief. I was fascinated with this story as a child and later dated a girl whose aunt briefly dated the man who killed his family in the house. The novel, despite the authenticity of the events it covers, is spooky enough in its own right, but if you are a believer (and there are plenty), it is one of the most terrifying things you’ll ever read.
  • 5. “Flash Point” by Gardner Dozois – This short story has appeared in a couple of anthologies, but first surfaced in 1974’s Orbit 13. It starts with an abandoned car and ends … elsewhere. The story often seems to meander but then something happens that sucks you right back in. Granted, this doesn’t offer anything that I’d call an “outright scare,” but it is unsettling and unpredictable.
  • 6. The EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt – There are a few ways to read the stories from this old comic book series. You can buy the original issues, which is an expensive undertaking. You could buy the reprinted issues, which is economical. Or you could buy these hardcover, oversized editions and experience some of the best writing and art ever to grace horror comics. This collection is the perfect point between reprint issues and the originals. Each volume has the most memorable and disgusting stories ever created for comic books. EC was one of the big reasons comics were attacked as cultural boogeymen in the 1950s. Pick up any one of these volumes and see why.
  • 7. “The Midnight Meat Train” by Clive Barker – Originally appearing in the first volume of the Books of Blood, this short story proved to me that all the hype surrounding the British writer was the real deal. It is grisly and terrifying, and if the title alone doesn’t stop you in your tracks, what happens in the story will. Barker has written many books and short stories, but this one is a classic in its own right.
  • 8. Shadowland by Peter Straub – While not necessarily a horror book per se, it does have its share of unsettling moments. In my eyes it is Straub’s most imaginative work, and it is also one that some fans seem to have a problem with for one reason or another. It is perfect reading for those days when a shudder is more desired than a full-on jugular grabbing scare. This story of two boys spending the summer with one of their uncles, who may or may not be a real sorcerer, won’t keep you up at night, but it will stick with you days after you’ve finished it.
  • 9. “Hop-Frog” by Edgar Allan Poe – Poe has many great stories, but this one, a tale of nasty revenge, is one that always got me in the gut. Hop-Frog is a “little person” court jester, and when the love of his life (another “little person”) is struck by the king, Hop-Frog comes up with a plan that finds him dressing his royal master and seven members of his council as apes and then doing something hideous to them that is best left for readers to discover. It is one of Poe’s most brutal stories, and it is also one of his lesser known ones, perhaps due to the subject matter. Regardless, I’ll take this over any of his other works any day.
  • 10. “On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks” by Joe R. Lansdale – Before zombies were the cultural force they are today, this short story appeared in handful of anthologies. Why? Because it is amazing. Lansdale is an incredible writer no matter what medium he is working in, but here, with this tale of handless, dancing zombie girls, he starts off with both barrels blazing and never gives readers a chance to catch their breath. So much of today’s zombie fiction has roots in this story that Lansdale should be earning royalties by the ton. When he wrote this one in 1989, these were original ideas – and they still kick undead butt. If you are a zombie fan and haven’t read this story, you aren’t a zombie fan.

So there you have it, ten stories and books to keep your October frightful no matter what kind of scare you are into. You may be familiar with some of the tales, but it is doubtful you’ve read each and every one. Not all of them are the authors’ most popular work, or even their best work, but they all make for great reading leading up to Halloween.

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10 Great Reasons to Earn a High School Diploma

Getting a high school diploma is very important for many reasons. In this article here, I’d like to point out why you need one rather than just a GED.

Reason #1-A high school diploma is your preparation for the world ahead. Having your diploma entitles you to many choices including various jobs and trade schools.

Reason #2-Four-year colleges view a high school diploma as an achievement of many diversified subjects. And a high school diploma where you have also achieved honors in high school through your senior year, is even greater.

Reason #3-You can get a government job, (which pays well usually), with a high school diploma, whereas if you don’t have one, you would not be able to. Most government jobs are those such as:

1. Any kind of technical job requires graduation from high school.

2. Any kind of employment in a VA Medical Center requires a high school diploma.

3. Library jobs are government jobs.

4. A job at the City is under the government. No one can have hopes of employment without a high school diploma in this capacity.

5. If you want to be a lifeguard, you must be holding your diploma.

6. To work as any type of an environmental capacity, these jobs require a completed high school degree.

Reason #4-Believe it or not, employers will generally give many workers higher pay for jobs with a diploma in their hand. Those who don’t, will not receive as high a salary.

Reason #5-A high school diploma will help you earn more respect in a position of being hired.

Reason #6-By remaining in high school until you have earned your diploma, you will discover your talents and areas of where you have the best potential. Dropping out of high school and not receiving a diploma, is cutting off chances to learn of your strengths and abilities in life.

Reason #7-If you want to enroll in the navy, army, or any services, you need your high school diploma. Recruiters are much happeier with those potential recruits who have received a diploma before enrolling in the service.

Reason #8-Cerificates of different types and kinds require that you have your completed high school degree. I am speaking of various teaching and day care worker programs, and others like these. Not having your high school degree will not allow you to qualify for certification programs.

Reason #9-If you need to obtain a green card, you usually cannot receive one without your diploma in your hand.

Reason #10-Getting your high school diploma demonstrates that you have perserverance and intelligence. Not getting your high school degree really shows laziness and a lack of not being able to accomplish tasks that are productive and useful.

So looking at these ten great reasons to earn a high school diploma, you should now understand that this is the biggest and most important step you can take in your life. Why not complete that step, and be prepared for life?

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10 Great Reasons to Eat Chocolate

Ah Chocolate, just the thought of the word makes my mouth water. For all of us who like Chocolate, here are some more great reasons to eat your favorite food.

Did you know that your favorite chocolate has some great nutritional qualities. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If they tell you that you are crazy, be prepared with this great list of reasons to eat chocolate.

Energy

Did you also know that chocolate is a high energy food in a small package. Its full of carbohydrates and fats and small amounts of protein, chocolate also contains some great vitamins and the added benefits of potassium and magnesium.

Caffeine

Do you, like me, like that morning cup of coffee? Here is another great caffeine pick me up for you. Theobromine, a bitter chemical alkaloid found in the cacao plant, has a similar effect to caffeine though at a lesser rate. It helps to stimulate the central nervous system and can also act as a diuretic and appetite stimulant.

Increase Calories

Great for those needing to increase calories and add a bit more of energy to your daily routine. Caffeine isn’t just for that morning cup of coffee. Caffeine also increases your resistance to fatigue. It can boost your intellectual activity, and watchfulness. The average bar of chocolate can contain approximately 6 mg of caffeine, compared to 100-150 mg in a cup of coffee.

Aphrodisiac

How is your love life? Are you looking to fall in love? Break out that bar of chocolate, it will be sure to include Phenylethylamine. The chemical released in our bodies when we fall in love. Phenylethylamine is chemically similar to amphetamines. It is a much safer alternative if one is seeking a psycho-stimulant.

Improve Your Sleep

Tryptophan, remember how sleepy you were after your Thanksgiving Turkey? That is because Tryptophan is also found in turkey. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that increases the production of serotonin, which is an anti-depressant and a natural stress-reducer. Seretonin levels are often increased via medications in those that are depressed. Here is a natural way to increase some of that seretonin. So go ahead, tell your mother you want that chocolate dessert tonight.

Treat PMS

Why do women suffering from PMS crave chocolate? There is a good reason, it is because of the natural opiates released by the brain when eating chocolate These natural opiates help to elevate the mood and will also help to reduce pain. These endorphins are natural in chocolate. So why shouldn’t we benefit from them by eating another chocolate bar?

Improve Your Heart

Phenols, also found in red wines, fruits, vegetables and some teas, may help reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. This is yet another great excuse to eat that chocolate. In addition to the fact that it also helps to decrease your blood pressure, improve your circulation and defend against those free radicals that like to roam your blood stream and clog up your arteries.

Antioxidants

Alongside the Phenols, Catechins are another great antioxidant that help in protecting your body against cardiovascular disease and possibly cancer. These are found in much higher quantities in chocolate than they are in black tea. Catechins can help to lower the death rate. Eating chocolate to prevent heart disease sounds like a great reason to eat chocolate to me.

Improve Well Being

Ever heard of getting high on chocolate? It is possible. Anandamide, mimics the effects of marijuana acting on the same brain receptors, resulting in a mild “high”. In addition to the fact that chocolate has two ingredients that inhibit the natural breakdown of anandamide and thus may prolong the feeling of well-being. Just another great reason for those suffering from PMS to indulge themselves in a good old fashioned chocolate bar.

Improve Digestion

Another little known fact is that chocolate can help to improve your digestion and stimulate your kidneys. Acting as a diuretic and helping to flush out possible kidney stones and improve a poor appetite.

So with all your new found information, you can tell your mother that you have proof that its okay to eat that chocolate cake and enjoy it. Its a healthy benefit to your diet.

SOURCES:
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10 Hawaii Sites for the Entire Family to Treasure as Get-away Destinations

Vacations play a variety of purposes in family life: rejuvenation of energy, discovery of new knowledge, fun and memories to last a lifetime. Every family encounters different benefits.

Destinations worthy of a vacation trip:

To make the most of a trip to Hawaii, read the 10 destinations below from the author’s personal encounters (each ranked as a 5-star rating) to plan a mesmerizing expedition. The author’s special interests reflect her attraction to nature, science, history and religion subjects.

1) Undertake Kauai’s inland riverboat tour up the Wailua River to the well-known Fern Grotto. If you love nature and history, the journey on the Wailua River creates a fun escapade. The boat ride features hula dancers, Hawaiian songs, food and history, stories of Hollywood filming on the river, details of lush, plant life along the river and a walk in the verdant Fern Grotto.

2) Examine the history of the World War II bombing of Pearl Harbor on Oahu and traverse the Harbor to the Arizona Memorial. The awe-inspiring walk on the Arizona Memorial platform produces an eternal impression of the heroes still entombed in the USS Arizona resting at the bottom of harbor.

3) Arise at 4 am and travel to the summit of Haleakala Crater on Maui. The trip into the clouds lets the entire family gaze at the sunrise in the frosty cold on the mountaintop. If “Saving the Planet” encompasses your philosophy, an escorted trek takes you to endangered species like the silverswords, a vulnerable plant.

4) Fly to Kalaupapa on Molokai to walk in the footsteps of Saint Damien. The Kalaupapa peninsula isolated Hansen Disease (leprosy) patients until 1969. The holes in the floors of Saint Damien’s church (created for disposing of coughed up mucus) emblaze a vision of the life sufferings of the banished patients.

5) Take the “road less traveled” and cross by ferry from Maui to Molokai. The ancient fishponds, built of lava and coral in the ocean by Royal Alii (Hawaiian chiefs), dot the coastline of Molokai. Built about 700-800 years ago, the fishponds indicate one of the first aquaculture engineering accomplishments, a feat to ponder.

6) Observe the outpour of the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island. Since 1983, the lava continues to surge to the sea. The force of nature remains a spectacle to behold with the appearance of flowing liquid mercury.

7) Fly to Hilo, Big Island and breathe in the sweet, warm rain, aroma. Hilo features a quintessential botanical garden, Nani Mau Gardens. The 20 acres, started by a private owner, contain exquisite orchids found no other place on earth.

8) Visit the Painted Church in Kealakekua just south of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Erected in 1899, Father John Velghe, who built the church, painted biblical murals on the walls, possessed no artistic experience and used ordinary house paint and regular lumber. The paintings rival the master artists in Italy.

9) The largest and oldest heiau (Hawaiian temple) resides on Molokai. A table of rocks, the size of a football field, forms the Iliiliopae Heiau. Going to the heiau site gives one the general feeling of a supernatural force being present.

10) Submerge oneself in Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on the eastern shores of Oahu. Viewing the underwater wildlife by snorkeling allows one to experience a 3-D effect in observing the vividly colored marine life up close.

For more information:

For additional details on these Hawaii sites, visit the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau website. This organization addresses a broad range of locations in Hawaii.

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10 Health Scares Spanning a Decade that Have Worried Women

Health scares are typically claims that are either unfounded in nature or are newly documented medical issues that have come into view concerning our health.

If they are unfounded they sometimes become “viral” and spread like wildfire among the public and news organizations yet they soon come under fire for being wrongly stated and are doused quickly from media. However unfounded health scares are still known to stay around because many people still focus on them as believable.

Real health scares are medically sound and have documented medical data to prove that something such as a substance will cause some harm to our health. These types of health scares are presented to the public on what seems to be a daily basis. However the majority of health scares should be taken with a grain of salt. I have worked in health care for over 28 years and I can honestly tell you that we all are going to die of something. If you took all the scares to heart and tried to stay away from everything that could possibly harm you, you most likely would never leave your home. Not to mention all the scares that reside in your home, what you eat or even what you breathe on a daily basis.

Health scares for men and women are pretty much the same however there are some that are significant to one vs. the other sex. I am going to try in this article to decipher some of the more common health scares for women over the past decade.

1. BPA or “Bisphenol A” – This substance has been under fire for a long time however to the public it is relatively a new scare. Dental sealants have BPA and it was documented years ago that detectable levels could be found in our bodies less than a few hours after exposure. BPA has also been found in many of our household plastics and since it has been shown to cause birth defects in animals, it caused an immediate outcry on hearing that we could have some of the plastics in our homes. BPA was developed as an estrogen replacement and is used in making plastic and epoxy resins. Over the years it has been used in everything from metal food and beverage containers, to coating carbonless paper receipts. Not to mention it was just relatively recently that baby bottle manufacturers have promised to discontinue the use of BPA in their products as a safety precautionary measure for the public.

2. Oral contraceptives – The “pill” has had many notable scares going back ever since it was developed as a viable means of birth control and if you look on the packaging just as with any other medication there is a huge list of side effects and warnings for not taking the medication. However recently one of the top scares to reach the public had to do with the oral contraceptives “Yaz and Yasmir” both of which are top sellers with Bayer. In particular there have been a number of lawsuits filed against Bayer for people developing blood clots after taking the contraceptives. Both medications contain less estrogen. The lawyers and health advocates against the medications have complained that the medications put women at a higher risk of getting blood clots, strokes and other health problems at least more so than other oral contraceptives. Bayer however financed a study that said otherwise and stated that the risks of cardiovascular problems were comparable to other oral contraceptives. Recently the FDA asked Bayer to correct misleading television commercials and they also recently cited the company for not following proper control quality procedures. All things said oral contraceptives have many risks and side effects and while I do not take Yaz or Yasmir, I do think that women should be made aware of all side effects not only in these medications but in any birth control oral contraceptives.

3. Lead paint – Lead paint scares have been proven time and time again over the years however the newest scare involved the lead paint found on toys coming from China and a number of companies with products were recalled. The hardest thing I think for the public to handle was that many of the toys were very popular with children and some were from the top toy manufacturers. The problems were also not a case of Americans just now finding out that lead is bad but that the enforcement of testing for lead had been negligent and that Americans were shocked that these companies had not tested the products sooner. Mattel was one company that I was extremely sad to see on the list since I live in a small rural Kentucky town that Mattel once had a very large plant stationed in. They pulled up stakes and left our town, leaving a big gap in our economy and eventually ended up with China getting the work that was once ours. Needless to say it was sad to see Mattel go through that incident.

4. Trans-fats – Okay this again is not just a woman issue however I will admit trans-fats were a mainstay in my diet such as french fries and doughnuts. The basic problem with trans-fats came when some medical data came out that said it raised bad cholesterol while lowering the good cholesterol. Hence all the red flags went up and we now have relatively all trans-fats eradicated for food products having been in many cases replaced by saturated fats which also if taken in excess can be harmful. Trans-fats disappearance so quickly was more so do to the power of economic demand more than response to regulation concerns. Everyone jumped to meet the consumers needs so as to not lose business. Business will always give the public what they demand and if that has to do with nutritional concerns all the better for Americans.

5. Hormone replacement therapy – Most women over the years have used some sort of hormone replacement therapy to relieve unpleasant menopausal symptoms. Hormone replacement has been used to prevent osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease as well. However not so long ago medical professionals announced that hormone replacement therapy increased the risk of breast cancer and for women that already were at high risk for breast cancer it was not advisable in anyway. After a study of hormone replacement therapy they also cited concerns over heart problems and strokes in many women who received HRT. Medical professionals will now admit while there is no replacement for the benefits of HRT on menopausal symptoms, the risks of receiving hormone replacement such as blood clots, strokes and cancer however far outweighed the benefits and must be weighed and outlined with every patient.

6. Tampons – Of course everyone remembers the TSS health scare on tampons when they were found to be associated with toxic shock syndrome a rare but fatal disease caused by a bacterial toxin associated with tampon usage. Although the exact connection was never made clear to the public it was thought that it was due to tampons being left in the vaginal canal for extended periods of time which increased the risk of TSS significantly. The new scare for women has been the concern over the materials used in making tampons such as rayon and dioxin. The FDA has tried to subdue the scares on tampons by releasing statements however concerns still exist about the materials being used in tampons. Rayon is a fiber made from wood pulp and during the process of making rayon a toxic byproduct known as dioxin is created. However there is very small amounts of dioxin in rayon fiber. The other material used in tampons is cotton, there used to be a bleaching process used however as far as I am aware of this has now been discontinued. As I have said before there is side effects and concerns with any product that you may use or come in contact with on a daily basis. Tampon scares are no different if used properly they have been tested to be perfectly safe, but if you have concerns about using them there are several alternative choices. Organic tampons are available on the market which have all -cotton materials, pads that are unbleached and reusable menstrual cups. It should also be noted that the use of pads reduces the risk of TSS.

7. Makeup scares – Phthalates is an industrial chemical that has been used as a solvent in many cosmetics, mostly the mainstream hair sprays, nail polishes and perfumes that millions of women use daily contain these harmful chemicals. Phthalates have been shown to damage kidneys, lungs, reproductive organs and the liver in animal studies. Phthalates can also be absorbed through skin or inhaled. Manufactures have started removing phthalates from cosmetics however there are many other chemicals and ingredients in cosmetics that present problems as well. Many women therefore have been switching from the mainstream cosmetics that are on the market to organic products. I should note however that all products used by Americans have huge lists of ingredients that contain everything from dyes to many other toxic chemicals and unless you are ingesting these products they have been tested to be safe. I do think Americans in general should read the warning labels on products that they have in their home and use and do their research on any substance they plan on using if they feel there could be any hint of allergic reaction to using a product.

8. Radiation Imaging Scares- Mammograms and CT’s are both on the list of the newest over usage of imaging tests that expose patients to dangerous amounts of unnecessary radiation. CT scans have been used widely for various abdominal and pelvic conditions however they are often subject to additional scans being needed which expose patients to excess radiation. Unnecessary mammogram testing has most recently accounted for the US guidelines to be moved to age 50 and subsequent screenings to be every two years instead of every year. Although radiation given through a CT far outweighs a mammogram, many radiologists feel that mammograms taken every year from age 40 are unnecessary. However it should be noted that only older machines gave off higher levels of radiation during mammograms and the new lower dose is relatively minor compared to detecting breast cancer early. If you have mammogram concerns you should discuss this thoroughly with your physician and all radiology testing is harmful but if it is necessary the benefit outweighs the risk by far.

9. Migraine scare – Studies have revealed that middle aged and older women who have chronic migraines with all the auras “flashing lights, sound sensitivity and sight and smell symptoms” appear to have an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks than their migraine free peers. What’s even more disturbing is that women who have migraines are more likely to have brain infarcts or tiny areas of tissue death common in an aging brain. While there are many other concerns when it comes to migraines and the major factor in the study was on severity and how often they occur. Migraines are characterized by intense pain and auras along with other distinct symptoms. Migraines are approximately four times more common in women as they are in men.

10. MRSA – MRSA is best known as a resistant staph infection. This infection is known to resist many of the antibiotics used to treat them. The emergence of this type of bacterial infection has been blamed on an over usage of antibiotics by medical professionals and thus our immunity to antibiotics when we really need them. MRSA is treatable but only with stronger antibiotics and then you get those patients for whom the drugs are toxic and they get incredibly sick by using them on any extended basis. Staph infections such as MRSA most frequently affect people with weakened immune systems such as those hospitalized or anyone dealing with a chronic sickness. Unfortunately for women they are the frequent caregivers for children and elderly and likewise are very susceptible to come in contact with MRSA. MRSA can be treated however and if you suspect you have a staph infection you should see a medical professional immediately and maintain good sanitary precautions when handling any infected lesion.

References for this article include: CDC.gov, medicinenet.com and WebMD

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