baby|Fertility Health|Pregnancy|Women Health

I’ve Run For 10 Years and Finally Found the Right Way to Carry My Phone – For $20 on Amazon

I’ve been running for almost half my life, and the one thing that’s always stumped me is not what shoes to wear or what to eat beforehand but what the heck I’m supposed to do with my phone. There are many options, but one by one I’ve tried and abandoned each of them. Arm bands were sweaty and itchy. Belts flopped around. Sticking my phone in a side pocket made my leggings sag. Holding it in my hand, which is what I ended up doing, made my shoulders sore.

I frequently gave up and just left my phone at home, but the GPS is essential when I’m running a new route. I also want my phone for safety when I’m running through unfamiliar areas. And having access to my Spotify instead of the relatively short iTunes playlist on my Apple Watch would definitely make hard runs a little more bearable.

The Gear Beast Smartphone Fitness and Running Backpack ($20) was a new and frankly intriguing option I found while browsing Amazon one day. It’s the first phone-holder I’ve seen that goes on your back, which seems perfect – centered so you don’t feel off-balance, and more stable than your hips so the phone wouldn’t swing around. The fact that it’s called a backpack might make you think it’s large and bulky, but in the brand’s photos it looked small and sleek.

Gear Beast Running Backpack Features

The backpack itself is minimalist, which is what I wanted. The pouch, made of a soft neoprene material with a Velcro flap, is just big enough for a phone and a couple of small items like keys, energy chews, or ID cards. There are three small holes in the top to thread your headphone cord through, and the back is lined with a mesh fabric to wick sweat and keep your phone from getting damp. The straps were adjustable and similar to regular backpack straps; to wear, you slip your arms through and snap the extra chest strap into place for more stability.

Is It Comfortable?

Two miles into my 10-mile run, I forgot I was wearing the backpack – that’s how comfortable it was. The only tough part was getting the straps tight enough so the backpack didn’t shift around. It took some mid-run adjustments and a bit of creativity with the extra strap material – I ended up threading it back through the adjustable latches. Once the pack was firmly in place, though, it didn’t bounce or move around at all.

The straps came pretty tightly under my armpits to keep the pack in place, and they’re not made of the same soft neoprene as the backpack. Since I was wearing a tank top, I could feel some rubbing from time to time, but nothing really uncomfortable, and I didn’t see any chafe marks on my skin after the run. When I switched to a shirt with sleeves on my next run, there was no rubbing at all.

It was hot and sunny on my run, meaning I got to test out the sweat-wicking mesh pretty thoroughly. The backpack didn’t feel hot or sweaty while I was running, and it wasn’t damp at all afterwards. The straps under my arms were, though – again, possibly because I wore a tank top instead of sleeves – but they dried out within a few hours.

Phone accessibility was important too. I can skip and pause songs through my AirPods, but wanted to be able to easily grab my phone to adjust volume, pick a new song, or look at a map. The phone rests high up, just below your neck and between your shoulder blades, so it was easy to reach back, lift the top flap, and slide my phone in and out.

My last concern was that it would feel like I was carrying a weight on my back, which would would make me hunch forward. Big problem, when you consider the importance of your upper-body form on a run. I didn’t run into either issue; with just my phone inside, the backpack was extremely lightweight. And I loved that it was centered on my back, which helped to avoid the off-balance feeling I’d get with an arm band, leggings pocket, or just by holding my phone in one hand.

Do I Recommend It?

For any runner, hiker, or cycler who’s dissatisfied with pockets, arm bands, and running belts, I 100 percent recommend this backpack. I’ve tried many, many similar products and never thought I’d find one that would make it possible for me to take my phone on every run. In terms of comfort, I’ll say this: my favorite fitness gear items – shoes, sports bras, leggings, phone holders – are the ones that are so comfortable, I barely feel them. This backpack hit that level, exceeding my expectations. Here’s to many comfortable, hands-free, phone-included runs in the future.

baby|Fertility Health|Pregnancy|Women Health

I Haven’t Moved My Forehead in 14 Years, and It’s the Best Anti-Wrinkle Trick Ever

Please join me on a brief journey back in time. The year is 2005, and I’m a fledgling beauty assistant at Lucky Magazine (RIP) just trying to figure out how to book car service and program my boss’s Palm Pilot (a lot has changed in the last decade and a half).

Botox has only been FDA-approved for aesthetic treatments since 2002, and it’s all anybody can talk about – the miracle injection that stops your forehead muscles from making repetitive movements, thereby smoothing (and maybe even preventing!) lines. Everybody wants it. I start booking my boss to see a top NYC dermatologist every three months, and within a few weeks she looked 10 years younger. This sh*t works.

If I can just stop moving my forehead on my own, I’ll never get wrinkles and never need to get botulinum toxin injections in the first place.

As I’m learning about the technology, I have an epiphany: If I can just stop moving my forehead on my own, I’ll never get wrinkles and never need to get botulinum toxin injections in the first place. Hyperbolic? Yes. But stay with me. It’s a simple strategy, really, but easier said than done. In fact, as a kid, I had a repertoire of silly scrunched faces I made on command – “piggy face” being my most-requested. But with some self-awareness and sticktoitiveness, I decide I’ll change the way I use my facial muscles.

I start by focusing on my eyebrows and make a conscious effort not to raise them up and down when I talk. Next, I tackle specific faces I make in certain situations (think grimacing while running and squinting looking at the computer, neither of which is forehead-friendly). I hold my forehead in place with the palm of my hand while typing out an assignment with the other. After a few months, it’s second nature. And I don’t know whether it’s because forehead movement isn’t actually necessary to be expressive or because foreheads all around me are becoming less and less mobile thanks to dermatologists, but nobody says anything about my new wax figure-like state.

Fast forward 14 years, and a lot has changed . . . except my forehead. I have a couple thin lines on either side because I could never figure out a way to put on eyeliner or mascara without moving my eyebrows, but I’m overall happy with how my strategy panned out. I’ve managed to avoid the dreaded “eleven” lines (the ones that form between your brows from squinting), and even though I’ve tried “baby tox,” it’s not a regular part of my beauty routine. The best part? Dermatologists actually agree with my strategy.

“Repetitive facial expressions [mean] muscles are contracting over and over,” says NYC dermatologist Ellen Marmur (my personal go-to). “This can definitely create unwanted wrinkles over time. Each muscle movement creates a groove in the skin . . . It’s like the skin has memory, and the creases get deeper and deeper.”

And it gets even better: Dr. Marmur says if you can stop certain habits like frowning or squinting, you can prevent (or at least slow down) the formation of forehead lines. (And she agrees that eye makeup-application wrinkles are real!)

Now, if you don’t think you can put my technique into practice without a little help, Dr. Marmur suggests preventative use of Botox (or Xeomin, Dysport or Jeauveau, which all have the same FDA indication). “I’m convinced by my patients and my own use over time that when the muscles can’t contract you’re not creating new wrinkles,” she says. And there you have it: the best validation for the anti-wrinkle trick I implemented 14 years ago – bet my boss wishes she thought of it herself.

baby|Fertility Health|Pregnancy

Jasmin’s Fairhaven Health Products Review

Jasmin's Fairhaven Health Products Review

After two years of doctors visits and prescription fertility medications, Jasmin finally conceived with the help of the OvaCue Fertility Monitor and fertility supplements (FertilAid for Women & OvaBoost and FertilAid for Men & CountBoost!). We’re so happy for you Jasmin!

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Glowing Customer Review for Fairhaven Health Products

Glowing Customer Review for Fairhaven Health Products

After trying to conceive for years, Tiffany Johnson is now 14 weeks pregnant using the TTC Boost Bundle for Her!

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baby|Fertility Health|Pregnancy|Women Health

It’s Lit: 49 Women on What They Love Most About Being Black

This Black History Month, POPSUGAR is disrupting some of the current narratives around women of color and putting more focus on how fantastic it is to be black, despite the daily challenges and struggles we face.

We’re thrilled to present these quotes from a group of truly amazing women who represent our many facets: trailblazing activists and entrepreneurs like Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Cullors and Miss Jessie’s CEO Miko Branch; entertainment game changers like Pose star MJ Rodriguez, 2 Dope Queens royalty Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson, and Power showrunner Courtney Kemp; political change-makers like San Francisco Mayor London Breed and US Senator Kamala Harris (the latter of whom is gearing up to bring her Black Girl Magic to the White House in 2020). Also featured are the badass black women at POPSUGAR – because if there’s one thing we love here, it’s being part of the conversation.

As you’ll see in these quotes, we are all different – no two black women look the same, act the same, or have the same experiences – yet we are all bonded by the invisible thread of our history. We hope that these 49 declarations of pride will serve to uplift, inspire, and remind black women everywhere that no matter how utterly exhausting and downright taxing our lives can be, we are still queens, with the resilience and strength of our ancestors embedded in our bones.

baby|Fertility Health|Pregnancy|Women Health

The Dating Mistakes to Avoid in 2019, According to Professional Matchmaker Patti Stanger

I’ve been called a dating expert a time or two, and as soon as someone gets categorized this way, it begs the question: if you’re so good at dating, why are you still single? Because coaches don’t play.

I wish it were that simple, because that’d be a great mic-drop answer. Really, it’s because I’m not an expert; I just do the dating thing a lot and then write about it. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, including that time I scheduled back-to-back dates in one night and mixed up their names, so they both got very confusing text messages about timing and meetup locations. As one of my favorite writers, Matteson Perry, shared with me, “Though it’s called ‘casual dating,’ to do it right, you have to be as organized and detail-oriented as an air-traffic controller. Regular communication, scheduling, and planning are key, especially if you’re dating more than one person at a time.”

Matteson is on the money, and his words got me thinking about the bigger, more classic mistakes that we all make when dating. As the new year kicks off and we resolve to fix our dating faux pas in 2019, we’re going to need some words of wisdom from the queen of tough love herself. I sat down with the one and only “Millionaire Matchmaker,” Patti Stanger, for some no-nonsense talk about what we’re doing wrong and, more importantly, how to fix it in 2019.