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Health & Wellness

World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding Awareness, Breastfeeding Tips and the Best Nursing Bras

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While most people could tell you that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, breasts are also being honored right this minute: The first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week, an international event celebrated by more than 170 countries. While fundraising walks and the omnipresent pink ribbon mark the former, this month we turn our attention to encouraging and supporting breastfeeding as a way to improve infant health globally.

Believe it or not, the United States is the only industrialized country that doesn’t provide workers with legally mandated paid maternity leave. In fact, only 21 percent of private employers offer paid leave. That’s not good news for boosting breastfeeding rates. Some innovative companies, though, have made breastfeeding and adequate leave a priority: Netflix now gives new parents up to one paid year off. Similarly, Google reduced its new mom attrition rate by half when it lengthened maternity leave from 12 to 18 weeks.

How else can we support our breastfeeding moms and their babies? Continue Reading

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Health & Wellness, Inner Beauty, Power Figures

Becky Burt, Founder of Pink Pineapple Surf School

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It’s only fitting that we have a July 4th tête-à-tête with someone in possession of a fierce independent streak, an indomitable spirit and an iron will.

That would be Becky Burt.

At 30, she’s created a surf school for girls, run exclusively by women, on the East coast where surfer girls are something of a rarity—and she did it after suffering a debilitating injury that threatened not only the new venture but life as she knew it.

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Health & Wellness, Inner Beauty, Swimwear

Get Sun-Ready: Summer Skin Care Tips and SPF Advice to Enhance Your Inner Glow

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The sun is a powerful thing—it can boost your mood, yet it can wreak havoc on your skin and your health. Despite all we know about skin cancer, there’s still pressure to score and maintain that perfect summer glow. You know, the one that declares to the world that you’ve been away on some exotic family vacation, you’re rested and rejuvenated and somehow also younger and thinner. So we’ve put together a list of SPF and skin care tips and advice to get you through the summer wrinkle- and worry-free—because there’s nothing sexy about sun damage. Continue Reading

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Health & Wellness

Heart Health Month: Heart Disease Prevention & Awareness

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American Heart Month is not only the time to think about Valentine’s Day and heart-shaped chocolates but, more importantly, the perfect opportunity to reflect on the state of our actual hearts. In fact, the American Heart Association believes that protecting your heart should be every woman’s top priority, as heart disease is the #1 cause of death for women in the United States. To put that into perspective, it kills more of us each year than all forms of cancer combined. We’ll let that sink in a minute….

According to Dr. Sharon Mass, OBGYN and medical correspondent exclusive to us here at bare necessities, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are the biggest risk factors for heart disease, and about half of Americans have one or more of those risk factors. Obesity, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption and lack of exercise also come into play.

The good news? You can follow these healthy living tips to keep your heart pumping:

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Behind the Seams, Health & Wellness

The Hottest Fitness Trends and Activewear Trends for 2016

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With fitspiration as its annual peak, we’re bringing you an inside look at five of the hottest fitness trends for 2016 that our staffers are all about right now—not to mention the corresponding activewear trends. Because when the elliptical starts to feel like a snooze, you definitely don’t have to default to the couch!

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Behind the Seams, Health & Wellness

Your Best Year Yet: Donna Lewis’ Wellness Wake-Up Call & Weight Loss Tips

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Donna Lewis had her aha moment in a mud pit.

As the executive assistant to the CEO and COO here at Bare Necessities, Donna—the good-natured glue holding this office together; our tough-as-nails, can-do jack-of-all-trades—has had her share of ups and downs over the years. But when she hit her lowest low, Donna was quite literally in the dumps. A friend had talked her into participating in a Dirty Girl Mud Run. On a mixed-ability team—senior citizens; women who had just finished cancer treatments—it quickly became clear that Donna was the weak link.

“It was me holding the group back. I didn’t want to be that chick! But when I was running, I thought my heart was going to explode. I couldn’t haul myself over the obstacles, and that frustrated the hell out of me,” says Donna. “I made up my mind then and there to get in shape.”

She lost 75 pounds in nine months.

As our month-long look at becoming the best version of ourselves continues, Donna opens up about her very personal wake-up call, her inspirational weight loss success story of dropping from a size 16 to a size 4, her disciplined-yet-doable regimen and how she proudly maintains the new normal.

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Breast Cancer Awareness, Health & Wellness

“The Doctor Will See You Now, Doctor”: A Breast Cancer Survival Story

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In the final installment of our special four-part series on breast cancer, Dr. Sharon Mass opens up about her very personal battle:

When I was a child, my parents called me “Sunshine.” They joked about how I was an eternal optimist, always seeing the proverbial glass half-full. That optimism was tested when, at 43, I was diagnosed with breast cancer by a routine mammogram. As an OB-GYN, I had given cancer news to many patients. However, on a Friday in May 2011—Friday the 13th to be exact—I found myself on the other side of the phone.

Four-and-a-half years later, with pink ribbons fluttering in every storefront, pink shoes on the feet of NFL players and ‘turn-it-pink’ activities at my kids’ high school, I can’t help but relive the moments that had such a lasting impact on my life. In doing so, I can reflect on the impact that those four words—“You have breast cancer”—have had on me and those around me….

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Breast Cancer Awareness, Health & Wellness

Breast Cancer Awareness: Pink is the New Black

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Last week in our breast health special report, we discovered the Angelina effect. This week, we’re looking at the link between the breast cancer awareness movement’s ubiquitous pink ribbon and better outcomes for women worldwide. “That piece of fabric has evolved into the international symbol of a disease that touches millions, with almost as many meanings and implications,” says Dr. Sharon Mass, OBGYN and our exclusive medical correspondent. In a little over two decades, “it has galvanized communities, raised awareness and tremendous sums of money for research, and spurred more women to get life-saving mammograms,” she says.

Right this moment, in the interest of beating breast cancer, you can buy everything from bras (Wacoal has guaranteed a combined minimum donation of $250,000 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation this year) to blush, yogurt to office supplies. We couldn’t help but wonder where this mega-movement started. So, along with Dr. Mass, we went straight to the source: The Estée Lauder Companies.

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Breast Cancer Awareness, Health & Wellness

The Angelina Effect: Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

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We know the power of breast cancer screenings like 3D mammography. Genetic testing for breast cancer is another tool in the fight. When megastar and humanitarian activist Angelina Jolie Pitt spoke out in 2013 about testing positive for the BRCA1 gene, making her very likely to develop breast and/or ovarian cancer, she made waves worldwide by publicly sharing her decision to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy.

“Her honesty and advocacy have made a real difference for women,” says Dr. Sharon Mass, OBGYN and our special medical correspondent. “Because she’s well-known and respected, when she started talking about genetic screening and the surgery, it became mainstream, not this hush-hush, scary thing. Thanks to her, women started talking about it with their own physicians,” Dr. Mass says. In fact, a new study showed that one-fifth of the participants said Angelina’s case made them “deal more intensively with the topic of breast cancer.”

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