Designing With Chocolate the Easy Way

Adding a chocolate design to cakes, brownies, and other confections gives them a sophisticated touch sure to be appreciated by your friends. To easily use chocolate for decorating, place old candy, unwrapped, in a plastic sandwich bag. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, turning until melted. Then snip off the corner and use like a pastry bag to write words and create embellishments.

Source: Who Knew? 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems
By Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin

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4 Things To Do To Stay Lice-free During Holiday Gatherings

Family gatherings for the holidays are one of the best ways to create fond memories. Nitpickerz Lice Removal service suggests some simple things you and your family can do to avoid getting lice at large events.

ponytail hairdoKeep Hair Close To Your Head

Tying hair back in ponytails, buns, or into braids makes it difficult for lice to get onto your head (lice can’t hop or jump, but they can grab onto your hair). Continue reading 4 Things To Do To Stay Lice-free During Holiday Gatherings

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3 Simple Steps for Noticeably Better Skin in One Week – From Dr. Crutchfield

3 action steps for better skin now:

lotion skin care

1) Gently cleanse your skin daily with a non-drying cleanser.

shower head

2) Bathe/shower daily, but immediately gently pat dry with a cotton towel and liberally apply a moisturizer all over. Make sure you apply the moisturizer all over twice daily.

lotion sunscreen

3) Protect from the sun using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and stated “UVB protection.”

If you follow these simple steps, you will notice better skin in one week. Also, try Dr. Crutchfield’s face cream

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5 Ways to (Respectfully) Disagree

It’s easier to agree than disagree. But we can learn a lot from conversations where we don’t see eye to eye — if we can listen and talk rationally, that is.

Unfortunately, many us either shy away completely from disagreements or lose it when things don’t go our way. These 5 tips can help keep disagreements constructive — whether you’re talking to a parent, friend, or anyone else: Continue reading 5 Ways to (Respectfully) Disagree

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Hack For Packing Your Lunchbox – Frozen Juice Box

When packing a sack lunch for your child, place a juice box in the freezer the night before and place it in the lunch bag while still frozen the next morning. It’ll help keep the lunch cool, and as an extra bonus, the juice will be nice and cold when your child finally gets around to drinking it at lunchtime.

Source: Who Knew? 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems By Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin

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The 5 Things To Clean In Your House If You’ve Had Lice

“It’s important to know that after 24 hours of a lice nit or louse being off of your head, it can no longer survive & it dies. That’s great news! With this fact in mind, know that you’ll really only need to concentrate on cleaning those areas of your house or apartment that the infected person/people frequented within the last 24 hours.” –Angie Anderson, lice removal expert

mom shampoos lice

5 Things To Clean If You’ve Had Lice


  • Change sheets on any of the bed’s the infested person might have slept in within the last 24 hours. Wash and dry the sheets in HOT temperatures or set aside in the dirty laundry hamper for more than 24 hours. (Any lice will die after 24 hours.) Remove any comforters or bedspread and dry on high heat for 30-45 minutes or simply set aside for more than 24 hours.

Continue reading The 5 Things To Clean In Your House If You’ve Had Lice

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Tips on Writing a “Letter of Recommendation” by Dr. Crutchfield

You’ve been asked to write a letter of recommendation. Now what? Writing a reference letter for someone can either be an honor and a privilege, or a downright task. A good letter of recommendation can take a decent amount of time (and thought) to write.

How to Write a Recommendation Letter

It should go without that saying that you should never agree to write a letter for someone you do not know well enough to discuss. Make sure you feel comfortable writing the letter and also make sure you have time to write the letter. The individual who has asked you to provide this recommendation probably has a lot riding on it — make it a good one! Continue reading Tips on Writing a “Letter of Recommendation” by Dr. Crutchfield

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Botox During A Pregnancy? Or While Nursing A Baby?

Did you know that the only group of people that are strongly advised against using any kind of Botox injection, are pregnant women and lactating mothers?

The relation between Botox during a pregnancy has not been explicitly studied and researched. So there is no data on whether/how using Botox to treat wrinkles in your skin may cause harm to your unborn child. Still doctors and medical practitioners are unanimous in their stance that pregnant mother’s and mom’s that are breast-feeding should not get any Botox injections. Another reason that Botox during pregnancy is not needed; your skin automatically becomes smoother during this period removing the reason for using Botox to begin with.

Learn more about our Botox treatments

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The 3-Second Downloads That Will Save You from a Nasty Sunburn

Reader’s Digest Article

Tanning isn’t the smartest thing you can do for your skin, but burning is far worse. Now there are smartphone apps that can help you enjoy the sun while minimizing the inevitable damage to your skin.
By Lauren Cahn

Readers DigestAh, that golden glow of a suntan. It makes us look and feel more attractive, but suntanning comes at a hefty price: irreversible damage to your skin. Even if you manage to avoid burning, you’re still in for premature wrinkling, sagging, and blotching, and you’re significantly raising your risk of skin cancer, including the deadly kind, melanoma. If only there were a hack of sorts for sunbathing—some way to get that beautiful bronzed look without the problems associated with sun exposure.

Well there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that if you’ve got a smartphone, you can download any number of apps that purport to make a science out of how long and under which circumstances you can bask safely in the sun while minimizing the damage to your skin. We’ll get to them just as soon as we let you in on the bad news, which is that we polled dermatologists from all over the country, and they agreed unanimously: There’s simply no such thing as a safe suntan. We may perceive it as attractive, but a suntan is nothing more than “your body’s defense system against the sun, and more specifically, the UV radiation that the sun emits,” according to Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Medical Director of Minnesota’s Crutchfield Dermatology.

UV radiation, commonly known as “UV rays,” represent about 10 percent of the total light emitted from the sun, according to Fraye L. Frey, MD, a board certified dermatologist located in West Nyack, New York, and can be further broken down as follows:

UVC: These rays gets filtered out by the earth’s ozone layer (and are therefore not of immediate concern)
UVB: These rays cause sunburns but are also a natural source of vitamin D, which is crucial to good health (although Dr. Crutchfield points out that Vitamin D can be sourced naturally from tuna, salmon, eggs, cheese, D-fortified foods, and D vitamin supplements)
UVA: These rays penetrate the skin deeply, can fracture DNA, and are associated with premature skin aging, dark patches, wrinkles and skin cancer

“The intensity of UV light can be measured with a variety of instruments that are commercially available,” says Dr. Frey. Specifically, what is measured is the amount of UV radiation in any given locale at any given time, according to Jerome Potozkin, MD, a board certified dermatologist in Danville, California. That measurement is placed on an international index scale known as UVI, and forms the basis for the smartphone apps that purport to help you strategize your sunbathing. “The scale goes from 0 to 10, with the high number meaning the greater risk of sunburn from UV exposure,” adds Carolyn M. Kassabian, MD, a board licensed dermatologist with the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, California. “When the UVI is 6, it’s twice as easy to burn than if the UVI were 3.”

So what does that mean in terms of how long you can stay in the sun on any given day and with what level of protection? These smartphone apps were designed to crunch the numbers for you:

iTanSmart uses your phone’s GPS to determine your location, space satellites to measure the UVI in your location, and information that you input about yourself and your environment to tell you exactly how long you can be in the sun without burning. Except for the GPS and the space satellites, all of the information is self-reported, so you’ll need to be honest when inputting your eye color, hair color, tendency to burn, blister, tan, or freckle. You’ll also need to describe where you are (beach? mountain? city?) admit your goal (avoid sunburn versus get a savage tan). If you’re looking to use iTanSmart to develop a tan, you’ll have to pay an extra fee of $1.99, and whether it’s worth it will depend upon many factors, not the least of which is whether you’re prepared to accept the damage you’re doing to your skin in the process (which iTanSmart is fully transparent about reminding you).
SunZapp provides the same functions as iTanSmart but also assesses the sun protection you are getting from the clothes you tell the app you’re wearing. The results it spits out after you answer all its questions and does its UVI reading are easy to parse. In addition, even without all the warnings that iTanSmart provides, SunZapp’s vibe seems to lean more toward protecting your skin from the sun and away from getting tan.
My Tan Expert does essentially what iTanSmart and Sunzapp do, but slightly more complicated. MyTanExpert not only asks the usual battery of questions about your skin, hair, and eyes, but it also asks you to take a photo of your skin beside a white napkin. You provide the white napkin, and getting your skin and the napkin to fit into their respective outlines while taking the photo yourself, one-handed, is no easy task. Once you complete it, however, it’s difficult to understand what the recommendations mean. For example, it tells me, a very pale, freckly, redheaded, blue-eyed person that my skin can take “another 90 percent of the daily dose of ultraviolet radiation.” What?

It seems, however, that with a minimal understanding of UV rays, the following apps, which do little more than provide a UVI reading and a short and simple sun-protection recommendation, could also help you plan a sun-safe strategy every day:

UV Meter tells you the UVI at your current location and offers practical recommendations for sun protection (including not only sunscreen but also protective clothing) as well predictions on how long it will take before you get sunburned.
The EPA’s SunWise UV Index also tells you the UVI at your current location, offers practical recommendations for sun protection (including not only sunscreen but also protective clothing), including the recommendation to “seek shade.” Plus, the app was designed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which is an excellent source of hard-hitting information about the current state of the ozone layer, which may have an impact on the way our skin is affected by UVCs.
Ultraviolet UV Index very simply and quite beautifully shows the current UVI for your locale as well as any other location in the world. In addition, it provides simple, easy-to-understand instructions on how to expose yourself to that day’s rays as safely as possible.
QSun has functions similar to those described for these other apps, but it adds further value by making sunscreen recommendations, including using your own weight and height to tell you exactly how much sunscreen to apply in order to maximize the sunscreen’s effectiveness.

Regardless of the UVI, Dr. Kassabian tells her patients to apply sunscreen with an SPF of between 30 and 50 every single day. “This gets them in the habit of applying regularly, and they are less likely to forget and consequently, less likely to burn.” She also recommends practicing sun avoidance measures, such as wearing a hat and a long-sleeved shirt, and seeking shade whenever possible. These are the sunscreens dermatologists use on themselves.

Dr. Crutchfield adds that your SPF of 30 or higher should provide not only UVB protection, but also broad spectrum protection so that it blocks the UVA rays as well. “Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure,” he advises, “and reapply every one to two hours, and more often if perspiring or swimming.”

You can still sport a bronzed look this summer if you want—if you get it from a bottle. As Dr. Potozkin says, “The only safe tan is one involving the application of self-tanner.”

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Maximize enjoyment of sports by preventing injuries

Charles CrutchfieldSports are great for people of all ages, but it is important that safety takes a front seat, especially in kids with growing and developing bodies. While we have come to recognize the importance of protecting the brain from injurious concussions, we can’t ignore the rest of the body. In fact, in baseball-playing youth, arm injuries are at epidemic levels.

Why are kids hurting their arms?

Most arm injuries occur from pitching. Kids are pitching more. Instead of rotating through different sports throughout the year, many kids are playing the same sport (baseball) year-round.

Many kids are playing year-round as well as playing on multiple teams. Not only does this mean additional repetition in the arms of developing teens, but many coaches and even professional scouts report that teen pitchers are throwing much harder than ever. Many routinely throw in the mid-90 miles-per-hour, some even flirting with 100 mph!

Non-stop training and throwing harder can take a serious toll on arm health, especially for kids who pitch.

What is the most common arm injury in teen pitchers?

Damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow of teen pitchers is at an epidemic level, much like the epidemic of concussions seen in football. Ligaments are fibrous tissue cords that connect bones and hold joints together. The ulnar collateral ligament is the fibrous band located on the inside of the elbow. With the non-stop, repetitive stress from pitching, this ligament becomes stressed, stretched, frayed and tears, leading to extreme pain and joint instability.

What are symptoms of ulnar collateral ligament damage?

pain in the inner elbow
swelling in the inner elbow
tingling in the inner elbow
numbness in the inner elbow
sudden, shock-like pain radiating from the inner elbow
extreme discomfort when throwing a baseball

How is this injury treated?

The best treatment for mild to moderate cases of ulnar collateral ligament damage is rest. The best treatment for moderate to severe cases of ulnar collateral ligament damage is a surgical repair of the elbow joint.

The name of the repair is “Tommy John surgery.” In fact, almost 60 percent of all Tommy John surgeries are now conducted on teens ages 15-19.

What is Tommy John surgery?

Tommy John surgery, also known as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, is to repair the damaged elbow joint. It was first performed by orthopedic surgeon Frank Jobe, M.D. in 1974 in an attempt to repair the damaged elbow of professional baseball pitcher Tommy John.

The procedure was extraordinarily successful and allowed Tommy John to complete a distinguished career. Specifically, the damaged ligament is replaced by a non-damaged ligament from the person’s own body (forearm, knee, hamstring, lower leg or foot), or from a donated ligament from a human cadaver.

The surgery is done as an outpatient, and most patients go home the same day. It is performed on athletes from all sports, but most commonly baseball. The recovery for most athletes is one year, but patients can start using the treated arm carefully and gently at about 16 weeks.

Many but not all athletes return to the same or even superior levels of play. Reportedly, many professional athletes undergo the procedure as a way to extend their career.

What is the best way to prevent ulnar collateral ligament damage in teens?

USA Baseball, Major League Baseball, and Little League Baseball have initiated the Pitch Smart program designed to decrease the risk of elbow injuries in adolescent pitchers. Controlling the amount of pitching is important. This can be done by limiting (pitch count) the number of pitches kids throw in a game and in a season.

It also means not pitching year-round or participating in multiple leagues and teams, and playing different positions. Also, kids should rotate sports. Strength training and having experienced coaches and trainers evaluate and instruct pitchers on proper mechanics to reduce elbow stress is essential.

The goal is for kids to enjoy sports in a protected and long-lasting manner. As a parent, it is extremely important to talk to coaches to make sure that your child’s participation and training, in any sport, is being managed according to safety guidelines to maximize both safety and enjoyment.

To review the pitching safety guidelines in detail, visit

Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD is a board certified dermatologist and Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He also has a private practice in Eagan, MN. He received his M.D. and Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology and Genomics from the Mayo Clinic. He has been selected as one of the top 10 dermatologists in the United States by Black Enterprise magazine. Dr. Crutchfield was recognized by Minnesota Medicine as one of the 100 Most Influential Healthcare Leaders in Minnesota. He is the team dermatologist for the Minnesota Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves, Wild and Lynx. Dr. Crutchfield is an active member of both the American and National Medical Associations.

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