11.11.2014

Veterans Day

First of all, Happy Veteran's Day! Big thanks to those brave men and women who fight to protect our country and people. I hope I am not being insensitive or making light of the magnitude of what our veterans do for us, but I thought this would be a good time to highlight two other issues (of public health) that are extremely near and dear to me.
The first is mental health. We know that veterans experience an extreme change in their social, physical, and emotional demands upon return from active duty. Due to these changes and higher chances of physical and emotional trauma in the field, veterans are at very high risk for developing mental health problems (including PTSD, depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, among others) that impact their relationships, ability to re-integrate, and their general health. While there are many important actions being taken to improve the state of mental health in this country, the rate at which progress is occurring is slow. Please consider making a donation to your local VA Hospital today or calling your newly elected congressperson to highlight the importance of improving mental health care (not just for veterans, but for everyone) and decreasing stigma surrounding it.
The second is vaccination. What does vaccination have to do with Veterans Day, you ask? Good question. Let me ask you this: Why do we support our troops? Naturally, the answer is because they fight to protect us and our freedoms. In short, we respect and value their sense of civic duty, and their commitment to protecting their country. Vaccination is really fulfilling this same civic duty on a smaller scale. Veterans put their lives at risk constantly, which makes them a full three or four tiers more reverable than those of us who get vaccinated (for which the risk of long-term adverse effects is literally one in millions), but by doing so, you or your child are protecting others in your community who are not able to get vaccinated. You are, in a sense, performing a service to your country and to your community because you are capable, so those who can't perform that service (the elderly, very young children, people with chronic illness, people with poor immune systems) are still safe and protected. I know that as vaccines become more common, we don't see many of the diseases they prevent, but losing that high level of vaccination in the community makes all of us vulnerable, much the same way that lapses in national security do. For every story I've heard about someone that had an adverse event after vaccination (whether caused by the vaccine or not), I've seen countless videos of babies blue in the face from coughing with pertussis and feverish and listless covered in measles rash. It's not just a matter of protecting yourself and your own children, but a matter of civic duty. Doing your part to your community and for your friends. So I urge you, there are an abundance of sites out there trying to give accurate information about vaccines. One of my favorites is the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Learn everything you can about these diseases and their vaccines and get yourself and your child vaccinated today.

10.21.2014

Recommendations Wanted: New Face Wash

It's that time again. I am in need of a new face wash. I'm the kind of person that usually uses one face wash at a time (assuming I don't hate it immediately). As such, depending on bottle size, I'm often using the same brand for months at a time, sometimes longer if I really like it.

I've been using The Body Shop's Tea Tree Oil line for almost 3 years now, and it's definitely a contender for another purchase, but like a stagnant relationship, I've been finding myself underwhelmed with it recently, and longing to play the field again. In the past, I've used pretty much everything Neutrogena has ever made (decent, but sometimes very drying), La Roche-Posay Dermo Cleanser (decent, but didn't always remove makeup well), Cetaphil (love it otherwise, but same issue with the make up), and Mario Badescu Cucumber cleanser (took off makeup really well, but left my skin feeling kind of oily).

I've since started using a Clarisonic (can I get a hallelujah?!), which has made a huge difference with the makeup issue and otherwise, but perhaps not enough to thrill me. I've just moved to somewhere that is about to get VERY dry and cold, and I think it's time to find something that helps my crazy combination-type skin, adapt properly.I've heard good things about Murad and Philosophy, and am always open to more natural and/or cruelty-free options.

What face wash do you use? Recommend your favorites!

10.11.2014

Balloonfest

A couple weeks ago, just as it had started to cool down, N and some friends and I went to this hot air balloon festival nearby.
We were particularly amused by the kid hanging off the shoelace of the shoe.
Can someone tell me what on earth this thing is??? We were guessing some kind of bug, but if you look too long and hard it's...really fucking creepy. And what is that yellow thing protruding from its face?!? Why is it only on one side? Why does it have one gold tooth? Whose idea was it to include this balloon in an event where there would be small children and easily-freaked-out adults?! So many questions.
We were just beginning griping about how it had been a little disappointing (because none of the balloons were rising, and all the lines for short 2-minute rides and any of the food were insane), and then they started lighting the balloons up in this brilliant display!

Made the whole excursion seem cooler and better! And one day I will have saved up the money to ride in one...

9.24.2014

1.5 Weeks IN

Have I mentioned yet how much I am loving my new job? My main task is tracking and hopefully preventing outbreaks of several diseases. I will be the first to admit that I have no flippin idea what I'm doing half the time yet, other than maybe gaining an insane amount of respect for the other people in my office and the previous person in my position. I remember dreading the full-time workforce, because I can get easily bored if a job doesn't have enough task variety, but this one had me hooked from the job description, and boy has it lived up to its promise. For every thing I cross of my to-do list, I feel like I'm adding two for tomorrow (which might be less exciting if it continues....forever), but in nearly two weeks, I've still yet to look at the clock once and will it to go faster. I'm taking that as a good sign.

Next task to tackle is how to get that productivity going outside the workplace, because I started watching The West Wing for the first time a couple weeks ago, and I literally want to do nothing else when I get home.
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