Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wimbledon Moments!

I am a tennis buff, thanks to my husband who at one time, had us out playing tennis at least once or twice a week.  That has dwindled into an afterthought, but we still love watching National Tennis on T.V.  
    This week, Wimbledon is going strong.   And if you are familiar with tennis, you know that Roger Federer, the greatest player of all time,  just went down in the quarter-finals to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  It's sad seeing a great player such as Federer, succumbing to "old age" .  
A disappointed Roger Federer

     Once a tennis player approaches 30, they become vulnerable to the younger, stronger players between 20 - 25.  Both Venus and Serena Williams have already gone down this year at Wimbledon.  Venus is now 31 and Serena will be 30 in September.
     I've heard a few explanations as to why this is so.  Since the days of Pete Sempras, tennis has become increasingly more punishing.  The racquets have become significantly lighter, allowing players to swing them with higher speed, thus making the ball travel much faster.  With the lighter weight, however, the impact of the hit is absorbed into the joints, muscles and bones of the player.  And as many times as a player is required to hit, the repeated stress is bound to take its toll.  Also, with the increased ball speed, the athlete is required of necessity to be quicker, more agile, more active on the court.  It requires a great deal of flexibility, endurance and speed to play and defend at championship level.  
     But watching a finals match at any of the National Tennis events, be it US Open, French Open, Wimbledon, or Australian Open, is beautiful to behold.   It is not only a match between the best technical player, but it is literally a match for the players with the strongest psyche.   For example, sometimes players intentionally try to get into another player's head.  I'm still trying to figure out if Rafael Nadal had an injury to his foot severe enough to delay the game for over 10 minutes while he consulted with a trainer and subsequently had his foot wrapped.   He was at a clear disadvantage to Juan Martin Del Potro during the 4th round match at Wimbledon yesterday and Del Potro was on a roll, ready to take advantage of it.  But the 10-minute wait did something to him.  He was clearly irritated at having to wait and the momentum shifted soon after.  Nadal is known for taking his sweet time at serving, often getting warned for taking too much time.   Del Potro ended up losing yesterday and Nadal is going on to the semi-finals.  So who was the stronger player?  There is no doubt that Nadal beat Del Potro not just with skill, but he stayed focused and Del Potro got rattled.  
Rafael Nadal, the other greatest tennis player
      I'm thoroughly enjoying this final week of Wimbledon and you should really check  it out if you get a chance.  Also, there is still the US Open to look forward to at some point this summer!  I can't wait!  Here are some fun video highlights of this year's Wimbledon, which, by the way, Prince William and Princess Kate are attending!

Update:  It turns out that yes, indeed, Rafael does have a foot injury.  He has actually had it numbed for the rest of the tournament and has opted to deal with it after the play is finished.  Good luck Rafa!  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

$25 To Your Pay Pal Giveaway! (7/12)

Thank you, one and all, for your great comments! I loved reading them! Unfortunately, just one was chosen by  It was #75! If I could put $25 in each of your paypal accounts, I would definitely do so, but I just don't have an extra $3,800.  Do keep coming back, as I'm known to host these little events every so often!  It's my way of saying thanks and have a great day!  

It's time for me to give away $25 to someone's PayPal! Don't know what PayPal is?  It's easy to set it up.  You get paid through your e-mail!  Google it and set it up!  It's easy!  And for me, being paid to my PayPal is better than a gift card because I can choose where to spend it! It's true, Money is like an arm or leg - use it or lose it!  
   I'd love to get a few comments on some of my poor, neglected posts!  So I'm giving you a choice of entries today!  Pick one of the blog posts under my tabs above: (fashion, health & beauty, life in general or noteworthy news), make a comment there, and come back and tell me here that you did! That's it!  If you want extra entries, make a few comments on different posts and come back and let me know!  Commenting is unlimited and counts as one entry each, as long as they are constructive and you let me know on this post which ones you commented on!  Sound good?  Great!  I will select a winner on July 12th at 11:59 MST!  The winner will be notified by e-mail and given 48 hours to respond.  I will then deposit your $25 into your PayPal!  Happy commenting! 

NOTE: Some of your comments may end up in my comment moderation section and may not show up immediately.  Don't worry, if that happens I will retrieve them and make sure they get published!  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Miracle Body Jeans!

I'm very excited to introduce my final sponsor to Blog Bash 2011--MiracleBody Jeans!  I have been wanting a pair of these amazing jeans for the longest time!  And I may have to wait a little longer, but you don't have to!  Miracle Body wants to give one of you a pair of their best-selling jeggings for Spring 2011!  (This has a $64 ARV)

Indulge in 22" of slimming chic premium denim, crafted from our unique blend of cotton spandex control fibers to gently lift your rear while smoothing and shaping your thighs for a slenderizing effect from waist to calf.  Discrete canvas control panel comfortably holds your tummy for an instant flattening effect without a painful tummy tuck, so you can breathe easy all day and all night while maintaining your amazingly slimmer figure.  Lightweight denim that's lighter than the average jean but slightly heavier than the typical legging, our premium fabric is specifically designed to conceal unsightly imperfections and give you an all-over smoothing effect.  With superior shaping and style, these cropped denim leggings are the ultimate must-have for your summer wardrobe!
Many women all over the U.S. and Canada are saying wonderful things about MiracleBody!  

These jeans are amazing. The tag line "look 10 pounds lighter in 10 seconds," is actually true. The first time I wore these, family members asked if I had lost weight! The best thing about them? They don't squeeze the waist and give you "muffin top!" And unlike other stretch jeans, these don't sag in the seat after you've worn them a while. Also, there is no embarrassing stretchy-looking waist band to give them away. They look and feel like "regular" jeans. They seemed a little pricey to me at first, but after purchasing them, I would rather have just one pair of these than a dozen pairs of any other brand.
Jobie Dickerson, Savannah, GA 

Fun Fact:  MiracleBody Jeans is a direct branch of  MiracleSuit, the #1 brand designer of women's control swimwear since 1937!  That's a lot of experience with shaping women over the years!

Some cool little extra are that you get a free tote with any order that you place with MiracleBody and there is free standard shipping with no minimum order!
To get extra/early entries for a pair of MiracleJeans classic jeggings, sponsor of Blog Bash 2011, all you need to do is do one or all of the following entries (Also make sure you go to my main Blog Bash post to do the mandatory entry):  

1 entry each:
  • Like MiracleBody on Facebook  (Come back and let me know your FB handle!)
  • Follow @MiracleBodyJean and @Xocaisgood on Twitter! (1 entry each)
  • Tweet this giveaway and include @Xocaisgood and @MiracleBodyJean in the tweet.  Leave the tweet status.  (Can be done daily)  Example:
"Lose 10 lbs. in 10 Seconds!  #Win @MiracleBodyJean Jeggings at A GAL NEEDS...  @Xocaisgood at #blogbash11 6/25"
  • Post my A GAL NEEDS...button on your blog and let me know where you did it! 
  • Follow me on Networked Blogs!  Leave your networked blog name!
 That's it!  Don't forget to stop by my Blog Bash 2011 main post to enter there for the mandatory entry!  That will be up this Tuesday, June 21st!  In the meantime, these are extra and early entries!  Winner of this giveaway will be chosen with and will be notified by e-mail.  Please respond within 48 hours of initial notice.  Giveaway is for U.S. entrants only.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Special thanks to MiracleBody for this great prize package!  Giveaway ends at 11:59 MST on June 26th!  U.S. only.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blog Bash 2011- Grateful Body ! Sponsor Spotlight and Extra/Early Giveaway Entries!

I am so excited to be able to have Grateful Body as one of my sponsors for Blog Bash 2011!  Let me tell you, I have heard so many stories about women who have sensitive skin.  Blotchiness, redness, or irritations so often crop up and because of it, some women don't even use cleansers or moisturizers, for fear of what it does to their skin!  And even those who do use conventional skin care products find themselves not quite enamored with  what is out there on the market.   If they were to try Grateful Body, they would be so happy with it because of the
100% natural and synthetic-free ingredients that are wholly organic as well!
     I have tried the cleanser and moisturizer already and absolutely love, love, love them. What I hadn't tried before was the Midnight Oil.  Ladies, this stuff is the bomb!  It contains not one, not two, not three...but 7 pure oils, as well as 9 essential oils of different herbs and fruits.  Oh, and don't forget the rosemary extract to top it off.  When I put it on, my skin immediately drank it up and then it felt so smooth!  Like velvet!  The smell is pungent and aromatic, like you stepped outside in the morning and inhaled your herb garden!  Pure luxury!  But enjoy it while you can because in a few short minutes there is no trace of  the scent.  All that is left is your own smooth,luxuriously smooth skin.  Am I pouring it on?  No, I don't think so, it's all so true!
Our exquisite blend of the most pure, transcendent plant oils and essential oils!  This incomparably nourishing body oil contributes to silky, healthy skin while providing a comforting antidote to the effects of stress and hurry.  The soothing, subtle scent is popular with both men and women, and has a relaxing, grounding effect on the mind and emotions.  A truly wonderful body oil.  
The products even come packaged responsibly!
Another amazing product is their Essential Eye Cream!
The menu of ingredients in this amazing potion is unreal.  If you want to check, look here!  I was blown away! 
         Now for the giveaway entries--Grateful Body has graciously consented to award one follower a Midnight Oil of their own ($22) AND an Essential Eye Cream ($40)!  This is a total value of  $62.  
The entries here are for extra/early entries and are in conjunction with Blog Bash 2011, June 22 - 26.  Make sure to enter your mandatory entry at my main Blog Bash post starting on Wednesday, June 22! 

  • Like Grateful Body on Facebook!  Leave your FB first name and last initial so I can check! 

  • Read my other review about Grateful Body and comment on it there.  Come back here and let me know you did!
  • Tweet this daily for an extra entry daily!  Include #blogbash11 and @Melahelen.  Please leave the tweet status link!  You can copy and paste:
Win a $62 skin-pampering duo from @GratefulBodySC and A GAL NEEDS...@Melahelen at #blogbash11!  Enter here -  

  • Blog about this event, with a link to this post and to Grateful Body!  Leave the post link with me!
    • Grab my button, A GAL NEEDS...and put it on your blog and leave me the link where you did!

    Thank you so much, Grateful Body, for these wonderful products and your excellent customer service and for being my sponsor at Blog Bash 2011.  I was provided products to review and the opinions expressed are mine!  Giveaway ends 11:59 MST on Saturday June 26, 2011. Winner will be notified by e-mail and should respond back no later than 48 hours after initial notice! Note: US Only!


    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    How Heart Healthy Will You Be In Old Age?

    And why would you even want  to know how heart healthy you'll be 20 or 30 years from now?  Just let it be a surprise, right?  But think about it--if you know how healthy (or unhealthy) your heart will be when you hit old age based on some good science, you can make more concrete life plans and decisions now based on your future health!  I would consider where I want to be living, how much savings to have, how much insurance do I need, should I rent and let someone else take care of my yard, or will I be healthy enough to manage that on my own?  Will I need to have enough insurance to cover major heart surgery?  And what can I do now to insure that I do have better health when I am older?  
         It turns out that there is a simple test that you can take if you are middle aged (45 or older) to see where you will end up in terms of risk of death from CVS complications  if you continue your present course of lifestyle.  Just run and see how fast you make a mile!  "Recently, researchers at the Cooper Institue in Dallas and another set from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School looked at more than 66,000 people and concluded that looking at fitness level in midlife said as much about future long-term health as cholesterol, high blood pressure and other standard measures." (See article)
         Basically a woman who can run a mile in 9 minutes or less is considered highly fit and in 10.5 minutes is only moderately so.   And if a woman runs a mile in 12 minutes or more, well...that's very poor and your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is higher!  At 45 years of age it is a 13.7% risk vs a 3.4% risk if you are fit; at 55 years of age the risk of CVS death is a 34.2% risk vs. a 15.3% risk and at age 65 the risk goes to 35.6% risk as compared to only 17.1%.   This is not including other risk factors that might raise this percentage higher i.e. smoking,etc.
         Of course, you don't just decide at age 45 to go out and run a 9 minute mile after years of inactivity in your 30's.  So the message I get from this is that we need to start doing regular cardio exercise to boost our fitness in our 30's and continue that in the years beyond. 
         I've decided to take my cardio fitness test this Friday to see how I fare.  I'm not sure I can do a 9-minute mile.  My son is practicing with the Varsity Football Team right now, preparing for try-outs.  He's a Freshman and he told me that to be considered for a linebacker position on Varsity, you need to do a mile in under 8 minutes.  (7:59 is the slowest time you can get)  What?  And I'm supposed to come in a minute behind conditioned HS players at 9 minutes?  I'm not so sure about this.... I'll update this post when I do run the mile and let you know how I did!  
    Update:  Well, I ran the mile this morning on the HS Track when I picked up the boy from football practice.  Not such good news.  I really tried, I did.  But when all was said and done, I ran the mile in 12:18.  This means that I've got a 13.7% chance of dying of cardiovascular disease and probably have some cellulite, which matters (sadly) as much if not more than the former stat.   I'd like to improve my time, of course.  So I think for this summer, my goal will be to improve that time by at least 2 minutes and be able to run the mile in 10.5 minutes.  I will then be moderately fit, according to the statistics.  I'll keep you updated!  How fast do you run a mile?

    Update:  I took another timed run on 10/13/11 and this time I ran it in 11:05!  Getting better!  Read about that run here!


    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Pure Organics For The Hair

    If there's one thing I've learned over the past 15 years, it's that we get enough toxic junk from our everyday environment, enough to make many of us very sick.  So anything I can do to control what is absorbed through my skin and hair, I will do it!  It will be that much less for my body to have to assimilate and fight off in order to protect me from getting cancer, allergies, auto-immune diseases and much more.  Does that make sense?  I'm not an alarmist by any means, but I do care.  
        With that said, I will gladly promote any company that helps with my goal of finding the safest and most natural but effective products that I can find!
         Let me introduce you to Purity by Hairclinics, a company that gives us organic products for sensitive skin and for everyday life!  They have organic shampoos for sensitive scalp/skin, chemically treated hair, normal hair, oily scalp and course hair! None of their formulations have sodium lauryl sulfate or other synthetic foaming agents, thus very mild!  It made me laugh a little when I saw their description of what I think must be coarse hair...on their website they call it fat hair, or do they mean thick hair?  Or am I just an uneducated consumer?  At any rate, they originate in the Netherlands and are expanding into the U.S. so maybe some of the expressions may be a little bit different.  I think it is cute, though!  I think I have the problem of fat hair, as a matter of fact! 
          Aside from the organic hair and body care products, the company produces a specialized line designed to prevent excessive and hormonal hair loss called Keratene.
          Right now, they are currently having a fantastic promotion and giveaway to familiarize folks with their products!  If you buy 3 of their organic hair products, you can get a 4th one for free!  
          Last, but most exciting for me is that they have agreed to be an official sponsor of Blog Bash 2011!  I couldn't be more pleased!  Someone will receive a set of Purity by Hairclinics products (ARV $80)!  So with no further ado, here are the early/extra entries for this great offering to one of my readers!

    • Visit the Purity website and tell me  which hair product(s) you'd like to have!

    • Tell me what you think 'fat hair' means! (See my post above) 
    • Register for their free newsletter and get updates on deals! (Worth 5 entries)

    • Tweet this daily for an extra entry daily! 
    "Purity by Hairclinics-A sponsor of #blogbash11 #Win a set of beautiful organic hair products! @keratene @melahelen"
    That's it!  Don't forget to stop by my Blog Bash 2011 main post to enter there for the mandatory entry!  That will be up this Tuesday, June 21st!  In the meantime, these are extra and early entries!  Winner of this giveaway will be chosen with and will be notified by e-mail.  Please respond within 48 hours of initial notice.  Giveaway is for U.S. entrants only.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Special thanks to Purity by Hairclinics for this great prize package!  Giveaway ends at 11:59 MST on June 26th!

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    A Hook-up To A New Summer Trend--Crochet!

    When I used to think of crochet, I thought of granny squares on an afghan or hot pads or even table coverings.  Not the case anymore!  I have many crafty friends and acquaintances who have been making cute hair clips with crocheted designs, cute little baby shoes and great winter hats!  They are very esthetically appealing to me!  Now, in time for summer the fashion world has jumped on board the crochet train and look at all of the great items you can get!  
       This is a beige tunic that would be perfect with tights by Matthew Williamson, a designer from England who has really embraced the crocheted look and made it his own!
    Here is an example of a crocheted shift dress, which you will hear much more of, especially around the office!  I found this one at TopShop
    What about this Vanessa Bruno dress?  Unfortunately, it is out of stock at Style Shop at $690, but maybe you can get it somewhere else!  Target maybe?  (tongue in cheek)  I love it, though,  because the looping is so loose!  It is so casual yet beautiful!

    I thought these shoes had just the right amount of detail 
    and embellishment in the form of crochet!  I found these 
    at for $62!

    Correcting Sun-Damage with NeoStrata {Review}

      I was introduced to NeoStrata, an amazing company based in Princeton, NJ, a few weeks back and I was very impressed with what I found out!  This is a company with very impressive credentials.  By now, most women have heard that products containing Alpha Hydroxy Acids are very good for the skin, specifically for controlling acne and getting rid of wrinkles!  Well, we have Drs. Eugene Van Scott and Ruey Yu to thank for this technology.  They actually wrote the chapter in the definitive textbook for cosmetic dermatology about "Alpha Hydroxy Acids, PolyHydroxy Acids, ...and Their Topical Applications".  NeoStrata is the company that they have nurtured and helped develop into one of the most highly regarded among skin care experts around the world!  "NeoStrata is clinically proven skincare that visibly resurfaces, restores, and refines skin for a noticeable dramatic change."   
    If you have a specific area of concern with your skin, NeoStrata has specially targeted treatments.  Some of the most common concerns are age spots, acne and dark eye circles.  NeoStrata has effective treatments for each of these areas of concern and more!

    I tried the Bio-Hydrating Cream, a very gentle and effective cream designed to visibly reduce the signs of aging, while providing long-lasting hydration.  The recent recipient of the Elle 2011 Genius Award, this cream is non-scented and very non-assuming.  I hardly know that it is there when I put it on, but my skin feels great and non-greasy. This is a lotion for anyone who has had sun damage (hello...too many days in the sun to count!) because it helps preserve the skin's elasticity and suppleness with an ingredient called Gluconolactone.  Like I said, I was very excited about the results.  My skin IS more supple-looking and I like that!  Hmmm....I wonder what else they have?  I do know that if I order just one dollar over $75, I will get free shipping and 3 free samples!  And if I order over $100, I'll get a FREE SPF15 Daytime Protection Cream!  
        Besides their amazing anti-aging line, NeoStrata, there is also Exuviance for dramatic transformation of all skin-types, Coverblend, a make-up that covers even major scars and NeoCeuticals an advanced treatment plan for acne.  Check it out!  You can keep up-to-date with their latest promotions and chat with Twitter and Facebook!