Maressa Brown


I am a writer and occasional editor. My work has appeared in Better Homes & Gardens, First for WomenWoman's World, AOL, YourTango, and various other publications. Interests include holistic health/fitness, beauty/style, reading, pop culture, astrology, summer, baking, and cooking with lots of veggies and spices! I've lived in Chicago, Boston, London, L.A. and Manhattan and now reside in north NJ with my Jersey boy husband. In our free time, we frequent BYOB spots, buy overpriced (but so yummy!) eats at Whole Foods, and do bizarrely huge loads of laundry.

Sipping on:

Organic coffee with coconut milk and stevia

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    One of the best fall family activities is, by far, picking out the ultimate big, beautiful, orange pumpkin to either display as is or to carve into a Jack O'Lantern. But no matter what you're planning on doing with it, chances are you want your pretty pumpkin to at least make its way through Halloween ... and maybe even beyond!

    Preventing your pumpkin from rotting can be a bit of a challenge, but you can set yourself up for success by choosing a pumpkin fit to carve. "The best pumpkin for carving would be a really nice, strong, sturdy one that has zero defects," explains gardening expert Shirley Bovshow of Eden Makers and star of Hallmark Channel's Home & Family. "If you find a pumpkin that looks really nice, but has soft spots or bruises here or there, that pumpkin is already degrading, and it goes downhill really fast!"

    Once you've found the perfect pumpkin, there are many DIY preservation tricks you can try to protect your festive seasonal decor from decay.

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    Wedding fever has officially crossed over to the animal kingdom, it seems! After all, a herd of deer crashed a wedding reception in New Jersey just last weekend, and now, a wedding photographer Down Under has captured a couple with another majestic "guest."

    Rachel Deane of Finishing Image Photography was shooting Brian and Rebecca Pepper's nuptials in Tamworth, Australia. The couple was posing in a beautiful field with an antique car when an unexpected visitor charged their way.

    Take a look.

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    Most of us share so much of our lives with our Facebook friends that we don't even bat an eyelash about posting images documenting the arrival of our new baby, a video of their first steps, a gallery of images celebrating their first day of kindergarten. Really, why would we when the practice is more common than not?

    A survey of 4,000 young adults, which was done as part of the Longitudinal Study of American Youth, found that 66 percent of parents reported posting pictures of their children online, and slightly more than 56 percent shared news of a child's accomplishment. And get this: 92 percent of children in the US have an online presence before they're 2 years old, according to a 2010 study by Internet security firm AVG.

    That said, there's definitely a case against what has been referred to as "Facebook parenting" and very real risks associated with posting pictures of your kids on Facebook and other places online.

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    As much as we know we shouldn't, we often judge one another by our "covers," our physical appearances. It's for that reason that a 64-year-old woman from Loganville, Georgia, named Charlotte Hawkins has struggled for almost 50 years to find acceptance. Hawkins, who recently appeared on TLC's UK show Body Bizarre, has what is considered America's worst case of Type 1 neurofibromatosis.

    The condition has caused bubble-like tumors to appear all over her face and body. The first sign came when Hawkins was just 15 and discovered a lumpy patch of skin at the bottom of her back.

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    Even if you really love your gynecologist, seeing her for your regular annual exam isn't exactly something any of us look forward to. And undergoing an invasive procedure? Uh, yeah, stressful doesn't even begin to cut it. But at least we assumed that, in this day and age, the tools our docs are using during these procedures are 100 percent safe, right? Maybe. Maybe not.

    Back in April, the FDA sent out a warning about the laparoscopic power morcellator, a gynecological tool used in hysterectomies or to remove uterine fibroids (which are found in about 25 percent of women between the ages of 18-45).

    They noted that approximately 1 in 350 women who are undergoing these procedures have an unsuspected type of uterine cancer called uterine sarcoma. And if the morcellator is used on these women, there's a risk that the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue within the abdomen and pelvis, significantly worsening the patient's likelihood of long-term survival.


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