Maressa Brown

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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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    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.

    Horrifying.

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    For as much planning as any bride can do for her wedding, there are plenty of things that you simply cannot, for the life of you, anticipate about your Big Day. And sometimes, those surprises turn out to be absolutely mind-blowing. Take, for instance, what happened to Lauren and Erick Fix at their backyard wedding last weekend in Stockton, New Jersey.

    According to their photographer Ian Christmann, the pair were enjoying their dinner when they were stunned by several surprise guests -- who made for quite the photo op. Really, you just have to see this to believe it.

    Check out the final result.

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    As if we needed one more thing to worry about when it comes to everyday things that might be raising our risk of breast cancer, a new study published in the journal BMJ Open is zeroing in on women's skirt sizes. Yes, really.

    More specifically, the research -- which looked at data from about 93,000 mostly overweight, postmenopausal women in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer -- found that gaining weight puts women more at risk for breast cancer, because fat tissue triggers production of estrogen, which can feed the growth of breast tumors. And it's mainly fat around your waist that reflects your risk.

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    If just hearing the word "workout" is enough to make you want to stick to the couch, you're not alone. Having one more form of "work" is the last thing most of us need! The good news is that getting your fitness on doesn't always have to be so formal.

    "Picking up around the house, moving from sitting to standing, and playing active games with your children are all activities that serve to strengthen our muscles without feeling like you are working out!" says Angeles Burke, A.F.A.A. certified group fitness instructor and fitness director for energy drink Celsius.

    One of the main reasons they offer such a great payoff: "Your core muscles remain activated when doing these activities," she explains. (Stand up tall and think about engaging your core instead of rounding your back or slouching for the best results, Burke advises.)

    And, as it turns out, many everyday activities you're already doing double as a weight training and/or cardio workout!

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    My husband tends to get on my case about taking forever when shopping -- at the mall or the grocery store or from the comfort of my couch on Amazon, doesn't matter. My response is always the same, no matter where he thinks I'm lollygagging: I need to read the labels! If you don't read before you buy, you never know what you're gonna get. Turns out even if you read sometimes.

    At least that's the issue facing Kohl's shoppers. The department store was called out earlier this week by The Humane Society of the United States for "violating a federal law by selling real raccoon dog fur advertised as 'faux.'" The offending item: A men's parka, which The Humane Society bought and tested from the store's website.

    Here's the pic ...

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