Archive of ‘Health’ category

How to Properly Take Your Measurements

When all sizing isn’t created equal, knowing your measurements can make shopping and ordering clothing online a bit easier.  Do you order 2 sizes and then send one back?  Have you realized that a size medium isn’t the same across all brands?  What does size 8 really mean?  The mystery of sizing is a boggling one, but if you know your measurements, you’ll have the ultimate shopping power on your side.  In fact, most women are wearing the wrong bra size because they don’t know how to measure themselves correctly.  So grab your tape measures (or a piece of string) and let’s get started.

hot to take your measurements

What you’ll need.  A dressmaker’s tape (like this one) is perfect, but you can always use a piece of string and lay it against a ruler to calculate the length.  A mirror is helpful, as well.

Key points to remember.  Take your measurements over the undergarments that you plan to wear or usually wear.  I’ll discuss proper bra sizes in another post.  Keep in mind that certain undergarments will alter the shape of your body and can make a difference in your sizing.  Yes, I’m talking about heavily padded bras and shape wear.  We’re looking for your true size right now, so don’t worry about sucking it all in and pushing it up.  Definitely don’t measure over your clothes.  They’re bulky and it will not reflect your true size.

The 3 most popular measurements are bust, waist, and hip – in that order. 34-28-36, sound familiar, right? 

Taking your bust measurement:

Wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your chest (about nipple level) until it meets.  It should be just the slightest bit snug.  Don’t let it droop, but for goodness sake give yourself some breathing room!  This number is your bust measurement.  Take note, this is not your bra size.

Taking your waist measurement:

Wrap the tape measure around the narrowest part of your waist, near your belly button.  You can do a side bend to see where the natural part of your waist really lies.  Again, don’t cut off your circulation.  This isn’t a number competition.  It’s your size and you need to breathe!

Taking your hip measurement:

Wrap the measuring tape so that it falls across the fullest part of your butt.  It can be slightly above or below your actual hip bone, as we are all different.  Make sure the measuring tape is parallel to the floor for an accurate result.  Again, your magic number is where the end of the tape meets the rest of the measuring tape.  When it comes to design and sewing, the hipline typically falls around 7 to 9 inches from the waistline.  We’re all different, so don’t worry if yours isn’t exact.  This may give you some insight into why that one dress wasn’t sitting quite right in the fitting room.  

Embrace your numbers, ladies!

You can now use these 3 numbers to compare your size to items you’re about to purchase!  You don’t have to worry about exact measurements, but round up if you’re in doubt.  A 29 inch waist would work well in a structured dress measuring 30 inches.  Otherwise you will not be able to breathe!  You might get away with a smaller size if the dress is stretchy, but too tight is unattractive, as is too big.  Usually companies provide a measurement range to correspond to their sizes.  Also keep in mind that some people have long torsos and others have shorter ones.  If you try on a dress, but the waistline seam isn’t sitting on your actual waistline, it might look a little funny.  Each brand is different, so don’t feel bad if it doesn’t fit!  I have a long torso and there are simply some brands that I can not wear if they have a defined waist.

That’s it!  Take your measuring tapes and newly discovered powers and run with it!  I can’t stress enough the importance of correctly fitting clothing!  Stay tuned for bra measurements!

Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, & Frozen Yogurt – What’s the Difference?

In today’s modern world, there are always many options for everything.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but when it comes to grocery shopping, you could spend an hour in the dairy aisle just trying to choose a yogurt.  First there are the types:  regular yogurt, non-fat yogurt, low-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, and flavored yogurt.  There are yogurt cups with chunks of fruit and ones that include granola, sprinkles, or cookie crumbs.  Others include whipped dessert styles for adults and squeeze tubes that are fun for kids.  Don’t even mention the multitude of brands available!  So, what in the world do you buy?

Do you prefer a certain brand or opt for something new?  Is it the packaging or merely the marketing?  John Stamos is pretty convincing for Oikos.  Are you health conscious and looking for specific ingredients?  Do the amount of live active cultures concern you or do you solely look for flavors?  Is this getting so overwhelming that you’ve now given up and ventured over to the ice cream aisle for frozen yogurt instead?  My guess is yes.  I’m currently viewing my local grocery store’s online dairy aisle and there are 609 options for yogurt! Yes, just yogurt!  Holy cow — literally.  

So let’s look into the yogurt craze.

Regular Yogurt:  Regular yogurt is made from milk, but contains live active cultures (probiotics) that benefit the healthy bacteria in your body.  It is generally creamy and light in texture.

  • Can have a lower fat content compared to Greek yogurt.
  • Can have a higher amount of lactose and whey compared to Greek yogurt.
  • Can have less sodium compared to Greek yogurt.
  • Can have more flavor choices.

Greek Yogurt:  Greek yogurt is creamier and thicker than regular yogurt because the whey is extensively strained and removed.  It also contains the benefits of probiotics like regular yogurt. 

  • Has less lactose than regular yogurt.
  • Has more protein than regular yogurt. 
  • Has fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt. 
  • Unfortunately, some companies label regular yogurt “Greek” by thickening the product with certain additives, rather than using the more expensive straining process, so always check the label!

Frozen Yogurt:  Frozen yogurt is the less healthy alternative to the other forms of yogurt.  It is made with several additional ingredients and often has more calories than plain forms of yogurt.  That being said, we all need a little indulgence sometimes.

  • Can have fewer calories than some other types of ice cream.
  • Contains probiotics; however they often do not survive long enough to benefit your body as those found in other types of yogurts.
  • Large portions and extra toppings can make calories add up quickly.

In my opinion, I prefer Greek yogurt on a daily basis.  I enjoy the texture and it seems more like a sweet treat.   I find if I eat some at breakfast, the protein helps ward off hunger.  In the evening, the rich texture can replace my craving for a bowl of ice cream.  The probiotics benefit my system, and the digestion is easier on my body.  (I’m lactose intolerant.)  I prefer to buy yogurt in large tubs, as they can be used for many different recipes.  I can add my own fruit and don’t have to worry about extra sugars, syrups, and preservatives.

In fact, even my dog (a German Shepherd with a grumbling tummy) prefers a little bit of plain yogurt.  I don’t think he minds the style, but we all seem to be benefiting from the probiotics aiding in his digestion.  We can all finally sit in a room together, without him driving us out — if you catch my drift and not his.

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Horsetail Powder in my Beauty Vitamin

This morning I was looking at the ingredients in my vitamin for Hair, Skin, and Nails and I found something strange.  Let’s just get this off the table first, I am a bit of a vitamin fanatic and while I like to boost my immune system and compensate for the things I don’t always eat, I also like to give my appearance a little internal boost whenever possible.  I’ve always been a big fan that beauty comes from within (rather than appearance), but vitamins for healthy skin, hair, and nails are important.  I’m not looking for the fountain of youth or anything, but in case you find it please let me know.

Now, back to this morning’s quandary; I found an ingredient listed that I’d never noticed before.  Among the ingredients listed was 3mg Horsetail Powder.  Yikes!  I immediately thought of the worst scenario possible.  Wouldn’t you?  All I could imagine is someone trimming a horses tail and grinding the remains up for my youthful vitamins.  Thank goodness I was wrong.

Horsetail is a non-flowering perrenial very much like a fern, but with shoots that have a similar appearance to asparagus.  Silica crystals form on the stem of the plant as it dries and the outer portions are ground into powder.

Horsetail Plant

Horsetail in Plant Form

 As a descendant from a large tree-like plant from the Paleozoic era (400 million years ago), it has been used as an herbal remedy in early medicine.  Traditionally, the plant was used to stop bleeding, heal wounds, and treat tuberculosis.  In modern medicine, it has been used as a diuretic; for kidney stone treatments; to reduce blood sugar levels; and as a bone strengthening agent for those with osteoporosis due to its silicon mineral.

So why is horsetail found in my beauty vitamin?

Because of the high silica content, horsetail helps to strengthen weak, brittle, and damaged hair.  It also can strengthen your nails and promote collagen production to help your skin.  I’m not sure how relevant it is to take 3 milligrams a day, but I guess every little bit helps.  Horsetail can be used in herbal tea and is also available in an extract form.  Often it is an ingredient used in shampoos and conditioners as a remedy for eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff.

As with all vitamins, proceed with caution and don’t over do it, as you may not know how your body will react initially.  Always check with your doctor before adding additional vitamins and supplements to your daily regiment.  If you’re pregnant or nursing, horsetail is not recommended.

Source:  University of Maryland Medical Center

Image Source:  Simple Life Consultant: Plants and Their Benefits


As with all of my health related posts, here is a kind reminder that I am only a Wise Brunette and not a Doctor Brunette (sorry mom and dad).  Please always check with your physician when it comes to your health.

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