Vitamins and supplements are doing more damage than we think 

By; Beth Fontenot,
pills pill Martin Lopatka/flickr
Supplements, particularly herbal supplements, are generally seen as safe ways to potentially help our bodies and fight disease. But as a new study makes clear, not all supplements are safe, and consumers need to know that some can do serious damage.

As many as half of Americans use dietary supplements . A supplement may contain one ingredient or any combination of ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids or some other lesser known substances. They are sold as tablets, capsules, liquids or powders.

Anabolic steroids, synthetic versions of the male hormone, testosterone, are another type of supplement used by those who aspire to boost their athletic performance. They are illegal.

Researchers recently looked at liver injuries attributed to dietary and herbal supplements. They used data from the Drug Induced Liver Injury Network, a database set up by the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Over 100 previously published studies were reviewed.

The review found that 20 percent of cases of chemical-induced liver damage were caused by herbal and dietary supplements, double that of a decade ago.
Anabolic steroids were the cause of over a third of the cases of liver damage, while the other cases were thought to be linked to 116 different products, many of which contained multiple ingredients, so it was hard to pinpoint the specific ingredient that could be responsible.

Among the non-steroid supplements shown to cause harm were green tea extract, and concoctions labeled as “Chinese herbs,” “Korean herbs,” or “Ayurvedic medications.” Vitamins and other dietary supplements did not escape the list. Certain products from manufacturers Slimquick, Herbalife, Hydroxycut, Move Free and Airborne were also found to harm the liver.

Liver damage from supplement use is rare, but when supplements are overused, taken in combination with other supplements or with prescription medications, or used for extended periods of time, the risk of harm goes up. Because people don’t always fully disclose all the products they are taking to their physician, problems with supplements may not be detected.

The problem with liver damage is that there may be no signs or symptoms until the damage is done; and without a functioning liver, you could not digest food, absorb nutrients or eliminate toxic substances. Without it, you would die.

There are plenty of prescription drugs that can cause liver damage, too, which is why many fail in development or end up being recalled. However, prescription drugs are used for a diagnosed medical condition and have proven benefits that are considered greater than the potential for liver damage when prescribed. Dietary supplements, on the other hand, have few or no proven benefits, but they do have proven risks.

When considering supplement use consumers would be smart to remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.




Source: Vitamins and supplements are doing more damage than we think

This illustrator’s vibrant portraits of badass fashionista women have us feeling EMPOWERED

Natalie Foss /

We’re always looking for more ways to add color to our Instagram feed. In fact, one of our favorite things to do is browse new accounts in the name of finding illustrators on Instagram who represent all shades of the rainbow. To put it simply: We’re all about following visually satisfying accounts that will make our feed that much more special.

Norwegian freelance illustrator Natalie Foss definitely fits the bill, by making some seriously amazing work that we can’t stop gawking at. We first found out about Foss’s work on Instagram (of course), but she’s got even more amazing work on her website. She remembers first getting interested in art while at the Strykejernet School of Art in Oslo.

Retro DropsNatalie FossFoss told HelloGiggles in an email:

“I’ve loved drawing since I was a tiny kid, but I´d never heard of illustration until I started at Strykejernet. I decided to give it a try, and I’ve learned a lot since then!”

nataliefoss_theobserver72Natalie FossFoss actually creates most of her wondrous work with colored pencils — which is awesome considering all the detail that goes into each piece.

“I love the texture you get from the colored pencils, and how you can draw from very light to very ‘compact,’” Foss told us. “I feel I have control of the pencils, which I don’t feel with other types of medium, like for example watercolor or other ‘fluid’ mediums. I would love to try out other mediums, too, and to not be so scared of not having control – but for now pencils are what I feel most comfortable with.”

Wild WalkNatalie FossHer work not only makes for great art, it’s also giving us tons of unique fashion inspo. We’re obsessed with the patterns that Foss uses in a lot of her work.

The artist revealed, “Fashion is not necessarily an important area of my work, but I really enjoy drawing fashion illustration, and would love to make it an even bigger part of my repertoire! I’m not a fashionista or fashion expert myself, but I’ve always had a passion for clothes and styles, and it’s definitely a big source of inspiration.”

doublesight_nataliefoss72Natalie FossWe could honestly stare at Foss’s work all day. She’s also got an awesome shop over at Society6, in case you’d love to own one of her pieces as a print (or an amazing pillow). We’re definitely feeling a little more inspired to explore different patterns — and maybe even dye our hair a different color.

Source: This illustrator’s vibrant portraits of badass fashionista women have us feeling EMPOWERED

Most American women now fit “plus size” clothing standards, so maybe we should redefine “normal”

Kris Atomic/Unsplash

When it comes to a woman’s weight, it can feel like there are endless criticisms and critiques from the world around us. A new research study has some pretty fascinating findings about what sizes the average American women actually are, and what that could mean for consumer’s psyches. According to new research by Deborah A. Christel and Susan C. Dunn of Washington State University, which was published in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, it appears that the average American women now wears between a size 16 and a size 18. This is in contrast to past research studies that claimed the average American women wore a size 14.

giphy (11)NBC/ course, this begs the question: If the fashion world generally considers size 16 and beyond to be “plus size,” does this mean it’s finally time to redefine what “normal” is when it comes to our bodies and sizes? After all, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what arbitrary labels define and describe our bodies as, given that these things can change basically whenever.

giphy (12)giphy.comWhat does matter, though, is the fact that so many people compare themselves to very specific ideas of beauty and what it means to be the “right” weight or the “right” size. If we can start to expand our definition of “normal” and “right” to be more inclusive of bodies and shapes all across the spectrum, we have a feeling we’ll see people feeling a whole lot more comfortable and confident in themselves, no matter what size they are.

Source: Most American women now fit “plus size” clothing standards, so maybe we should redefine “normal”

What are Hillary Clinton’s plans for tackling women’s issues if elected? Chelsea Clinton explains to us personally

Hillary for America

Tonight, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will take the stage at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas for the third and final presidential debate. It goes without saying that this election is a monumental one—particularly for women. So, HelloGiggles spoke with Chelsea Clinton over the phone to discuss what her mom, Hillary, hopes to achieve for women if elected president.

Chelsea outlined three critical changes that her mother hopes to implement right away, plus three more she’s planning that might not affect us immediately, but will in years to come.

“Every issue that my mom is talking about, the policies that she’s fighting for—even those that aren’t always framed as women’s issues, are women’s issues, because we’re affected by them,” said Chelsea. “I’m owning my bias that I think things that may be framed broadly are equally important for us to think about.”

Picture of Hillary Clinton RallyHillary for America

Short-term goal #1: Put higher education within reach for all Americans, and take on the crisis of student debt.

“My mom hopes to change how we think about higher education. So that hopefully anyone can know that their ZIP code or their parents’ income isn’t limiting how they think about pursuing their dreams, through college as well as graduate school. That’s important to my mom, because my mom paid for law school entirely through loans. I remember the day that my mom wrote her last check to pay off her law school loans. She thinks that anyone should be able to go to community college for free, and anyone that comes from a family that’s making $125,000 or less should be able to go to public college or university tuition-free. And anyone who has debt today, or is thinking about graduate school, should be able to pay back existing loans, future debt, as a percentage of their income. No one should ever have to pay back more than 10 percent of their income to pay off what they had to do to be able to have the career that they wanted. I think that’s hugely important. Almost by definition, that affects women more than men, because now women are the majority of the people going to college in our country, and increasingly in different graduate schools they’re the majority of people going to graduate school around our country.”

Chelsea recalled her mom’s own journey with paying back her student debt. Hillary’s first job after attending law school was with the Children’s Defense Fund, and because she was working in the public interest, she received a grace period for repayment. Once Hillary began earning a real income, she began making student debt payments as a percentage of her income.

“That enabled my mom to take the job that she wanted to take, and also to not have to use the salary that she did ultimately wind up making to entirely pay back her student loans so she could help support her family,” explained Chelsea. “Because she knows how important that flexibility was to her own life, it’s something she feels so strongly should just be the standard in our country.”

Picture of Hillary Shaking HandsHillary for America

Short-term goal #2: Protect the Affordable Care Act and finish its work.

“Protecting the Affordable Care Act and finishing the work of the Affordable Care Act. Because, as it came up in the last debate, before the Affordable Care Actt was legal for insurance companies to charge women more than men—which is outrageous! But it was legal. So we can’t get rid of the Affordable Care Act and go back to a place where people could be discriminated against on the basis of their gender, or pre-existing conditions, so we have to protect the Affordable Care Act but also finish the work of the Affordable Care Act, so that hopefully we get to 100 percent health care coverage in our country and cap out of pocketed premium expenses for people so that it is affordable, as part of the name implies that it should be.

Short-term goal #3: Achieve equal pay for equal work.

“We have to finally get to equal pay for equal work. This is something my mom has been working on for a very long time, and we still are not where we need to be. While the focus of equal pay for equal work is understandably on women, it’s also really important that we close the legal discrimination that still exists for Americans with disabilities. Because it’s legal to pay Americans with disabilities less than 1/3 federal minimum wage—which is outrageous. We have to get to equal pay for equal work for everyone: for women, and for Americans with disabilities.”

Long-term goal #1: Guarantee paid family and medical leave in America.

“If women do decide to have a family, or if heaven forbid someone gets sick or they themselves get sick, they can take time off and not worry about losing their job or losing all their income. That’s deeply personal to my mom, because when she got pregnant with me she realized her law firm didn’t have a maternity policy, because no one who’d ever worked there and got pregnant had ever wanted to come back to work full-time. So she wrote her firm’s maternity leave policy, which included four months of partial paid time off. Which was pretty radical back in 1980, but would also be pretty radical in 2016. Paid family and medical is really important, and although it’s often framed through pregnancy, having children is not the only thing that happens in our lives or in our family’s lives.”

Picture of Chelsea Clinton with VotersHillary for America

Long-term goal #2: Invest in early childhood education.

“Getting to universal pre-kindergarten, but also getting to a place where no one has to pay more than 10 percent of their income for childcare, partly because of changes she hopes to make in the tax codes but also through expanding quality childcare options for families. It’s hugely important given how critical those first few years of life are. And even if HelloGiggles readers decide to not have kids, that’s still something we should still care about. Because all the research around how crucial those early years are to later health and productivity and happiness—hopefully that’s something we all want for our country and society.”

Long-term goal #3: Take on the threat of climate change.

“We have to recognize that climate change is real, and not a hoax, despite what Donald Trump says. And we need a real response to it at every level. Because if we don’t stop the warming of our planet, everything else goes out the window. Although this isn’t thought of historically as a women’s issue, by definition it’s going to affect all of us; all of us have a stake in doing something about it. I think it matters that my mom is the only person running for president who both recognizes it’s real but also has real fleshed out plans about what to do to help stop climate change and help ensure that our planet and our resources are around far into the future.”

Picture of Hillary and Chelsea HugHillary for AmericaChelsea also had something to say about Donald Trump’s recent vulgar, misogynistic comments about groping women—and it’s incredibly empowering.

“All of the attention that has been paid to what Donald Trump has said about women should not distract from attention being paid to the horrific things that he has said about Muslims, about immigrants, about minorities, about Americans with disabilities, about our veterans, and about the LGBT community,” said Chelsea. “If we as women are offended by what he says about women, we have a moral obligation to be equally offended about what he says about any American or any person because of perceived gender identity, immigration status, religion, race, or disability status. We have to have that sense of solidarity. I feel that so strongly. We can’t let that be taken away from us.”

You can learn more about all of Hillary Clinton’s stances on issues on her website.

Let your voice be heard on election day! Visit I Will Vote to register, check your status or update your registration.

Source: What are Hillary Clinton’s plans for tackling women’s issues if elected? Chelsea Clinton explains to us personally

These are the most popular fall fashion looks on Pinterest right now

Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Fshion is ever evolving and trying to stay up with the trends means keeping an eye and ear on what’s going on, which is why we love New York Fashion Week. This year, we giggled with glee over the pieces we saw on the runway and we’re not the only ones because fashion-fans have been flocking to Pinterest to give us the low-down.

According to Pinterest, the site saw a spike of pins where inspiration was pulled from NYFW because people want to wear them right now, and they are perfect for fall fashion.

“Everyone knows we’re in the midst of a ’90s moment right now from chokers to the updated block heel boot. And a lot of the trends we saw in the Spring 2017 Runway shows are playing off this same vibe for fall,” said Larkin Brown, user researcher and in-house stylist at Pinterest.

glamourGlamour / giphy.comPinterest’s research shows that the main trends from September’s fashion that everyone loves are ruffles, shoulder cutouts and corset belts. And we’re not surprised because we’re totally here for these trends.

“Sheer garments and shoulder cutouts are a winter way to show a bit of skin, and trenches and shirt dresses make for great staples in the layering trend we’re seeing,” added Brown.

Pinterest is a great tool to make sure your fashion is on trend and these are the top looks that we should all wear now.

The trench coatReal Way: Trending 'the new trench' look for fall:

Saveapi.shopstyle.com9Pin PicksNYFW | Runway vs. Realway

This look was seen all over the runway and searches for where to grab one is up 50 percent on the site.

Shirt dressReal Way: Trending shirt dress look for fall:

Savefrom glamradar.com91Pin PicksNYFW | Runway vs. Realway

The men’s shirt inspired dress was seen in the lines for Alexander Wang and Zac Posen and it’s everything.

Corset beltsReal Way: Trending corset belt look for fall:

SavePOPSUGAR Fashion2Pin PicksNYFW | Runway vs. Realway

This look is up 65 percent on the site and we have a feeling it’s here to stay.

Sheer topsReal Way: Trending sheer look for fall:

SaveVogue5Pin PicksNYFW | Runway vs. Realway

Not typically a look that’s thought of for fall, but layered right and it’s the perfect way to pop some interest in your look.

Belt bags

Real Way: Trending belt bag look for fall:


Savefrom laiamagazine.com4Pin PicksNYFW | Runway vs. Realway

Color us obsessed because these bags were all over the runways and we’re loving that they’re up 70 percent on Pinterest.

Of course, a lot of the fashion houses that showed off their new collections during NYFW are trending on Pinterest, too. Including Alexander McQueen, up 24 percent; Anna Sui; and Balmain, up 54 percent.

We’re excited that fall fashion is moving beyond boring basics and the trends are showing you’re excited, too!

Source: These are the most popular fall fashion looks on Pinterest right now

This Is Not Your Typical Sweatshirt 

Tom Cridland’s 30-Year Sweatshirt, which is supposed to last for three decades.


Tom Cridland’s famous sweatshirts don’t look all that special. The basic crewnecks come in a range of solid colors and retail for close to $100. Their price even seems a little steep, until you realize that the products are guaranteed to last 30 years.

At least, that’s what their 25-year-old designer says. Cridland, whose eponymous clothing company specializes in high-quality garments, promises the brand will repair damaged items or replace them if they’re beyond fixing.

Cridland, a London native, began selling his 30-Year Sweatshirt last year and now also offers T-shirts and jackets with the same lengthy guarantee.

In an industry that’s become dominated by retailers selling cheaply made, affordable garments, Cridland’s plainly designed, ethically manufactured sweatshirt seems something of an anachronism, harkening back to a time when clothes were maintained and mended, not thrown away and replaced each season.

Is Cridland pioneering a business model that could one day slay H&M and Zara, the Goliaths of fast fashion? Or is the 30-year promise an empty, if well-meaning, one? Like many issues around building an environmentally sustainable business, the answer is complicated.

Tom Cridland’s 30-Year Sweatshirt.

Cridland has garnered lots of attention because of the rich, famous actors and rock stars who wear his clothes. But the key to lasting success for his brand may be to make the average shopper care about the environmental impact of their clothes.

Tasha Lewis, an assistant professor of fashion design management at Cornell University, thinks Cridland’s idea is a noble and necessary one.

“I don’t know that I see it as a gimmick, I see it as sending a message,” Lewis said. “Celebrities are wearing it, and they’re sending a message to say, ‘I care what happens with clothing.’ He’s bringing attention to the issue in a very fashionable way.”

Indeed, the Tom Cridland company’s effort seems to have arrived at the right time.

The average American tosses out 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles per year, the equivalent in weight to more than 200 men’s T-shirts. The U.S. alone produced 15.1 million tons of textile waste in 2013, about 85 percent of which ended up in landfills, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Once there, the decomposing garments add to the greenhouse gas emissions causing the planet to warm to catastrophic levels.

The 30-Year T-shirt was Tom Cridland’s second guaranteed offering. 

However, in an age when we’re taught to think of clothing as inexpensive, disposable items, a concept like Cridland’s might be hard to swallow.

Before tax and shipping, his sweatshirts are priced at roughly $85 each, the tees at more than $40 and the jacket, depending on the style, can run over $300. He also sells a line of men’s trousers that don’t come with a 30-year guarantee but do sell for more than what you’d expect to find in a popular, affordable retailer.

Considering that Cridland’s clothes are hand-stitched by a family-run business of seamstresses in Portugal, those prices are relatively affordable. And that’s partly because he sells his goods online only. (Space on a data server is almost always cheaper than paying a brick-and-mortar outlet’s rent, retail employee wages and electricity bills.)

Still, Tom Cridland-brand clothing is pricy compared to H&M, where a man can get a T-shirt for $5.99, a sweatshirt for $14.99 and an Oxford-weave blazer for just $49.99.

With the average American buying about 64 new items of clothing per year ― in part because the cheaper stuff simply doesn’t stand the test of time or more than a few rinse cycles ― spending a little more for something that lasts could save money over time since, in theory, you’d need to shop less frequently.

“It’s more expensive to produce, but it ends up saving money in the long run,” Cridland said of his products. “They look better, they save money, but the byproduct is they’re being sustainable because they’re not contributing to the needless cycle of waste.”

Tom Cridland, a music enthusiast, in front of a wall of vinyl records.

It helps that Cridland’s business says it will replace a 30-Year item if the owner destroys it. And there are other high-end garment makers with this kind of guarantee.

Patagonia, the California-based upscale outdoor gear and apparel maker, has longoffered lifetime repairs on its clothes. The fashion brand Eileen Fisher also repairs damaged clothing or offers to reimburse its customers when they pay for their own tailors to sew a hole or replace a button. Cabot Hosiery Mills launched Darn Tough Vermont, the sock brand beloved by hikers, 11 years ago with a lifetime guarantee; it now sells nearly 5 million pairs per year.

“The concept of making something well that lasts isn’t a particularly new one,” Sass Brown, an interim dean at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology who has written extensively on sustainable fashion, told HuffPost. “But it’s a good concept, and it’s one that is absolutely worthwhile.”

Tom Cridland has a long way to go to become profitable, though. The company sold about $849,000 worth of clothes in the last two years. That’s not a terrible start for a bootstrapped firm with only two full-time employees: Cridland and his longtime girlfriend and business partner, Deborah Marx. (Cridland says the pair plan to hire their first employee soon; the seamstresses work on a contract).

For comparison, H&M earned $562 million in profit during its third quarter this year alone.

As fashion sustainability creeps into the mainstream, Cridland could find a bigger market to tap. Privately-held Patagonia, for instance, has doubled its revenue since 2010 to $800 million, according to Bloomberg.

Like Patagonia, Cridland could continue to roll out more long-term insured items. By doing so, he might be able to entice people who bought his other 30-Year products. Over the years, those people could potentially acquire a bunch of Cridland’s garments.

“What some companies have done in the past is you help a customer build a wardrobe over time,” said Lewis, the assistant professor at Cornell. “Sort of like, ‘I know you bought this last year, but this goes with something I made this year’ ― so you kind of get into a timeless wardrobe-building relationship.”

That seems to be Cridland’s plan.

For now, the company only sells menswear, which could be a major boon. Men in the U.S. ― by far the world’s largest fashion market ― spend on average $10 more on clothes per month than women, according to a survey released earlier this year by Boutique @ Ogilvy, a fashion public relations firm. Menswear is expected to grow by 8.3 percent into a $110.3 billion market ― nearly twice the rate of womenswear.

An online-only seller like Cridland may be best positioned to tap that growth: In 2012, men outspent women in online shopping by 20 to 30 percent, according to Slate.

It’s also important to remember that, if the fashion business wants to shed its reputation for rivaling the oil industry as one of the world’s biggest polluters, it’ll need a patchwork of solutions. Efforts like Cridlands are a step in the right direction, albeit a tiny step.

“Will it solve fast fashion and the ethical issues with clothing and the textile industry? No, it won’t, but no one thing will do that anyway,” Brown said. “It requires a multitude of different perspectives and different answers. No single thing can solve the myriad problems we have in our industry.”

Tom Cridland and his girlfriend and business partner of seven years, Deborah Marx, in Los Angeles, where they spend a few months out of the year promoting the brand. 


Source: This Is Not Your Typical Sweatshirt 

Help The American History Museum Save Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers 

As one of the most popular attractions at the National Museum of American History, the iconic ruby-red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” have entranced visitors for nearly 80 years.

Unfortunately, the glittery shoes have lost a bit of their shine since the film’s debut in 1939, and they’re now slowly deteriorating.

To prevent them from totally falling apart, the National Museum of American History has launched a Kickstarter campaign ― and a hashtag, #KeepThemRuby ― to keep the movie’s magic alive. The museum is looking to raise $300,000 to conserve the shoes and build a state-of-the-art display case to protect them from the elements.

Richard Barden, the museum’s preservation services manager, told a local ABC News affiliate that the slippers incorporate “at least 12 different materials” from cotton to steel. With his team, Barden plans to use a “specialized vacuum on each and every sequin” to bring the shoes back to their original glory.

The campaign went live at 12 a.m. Monday morning and has raised just over $40,000 as of this posting. Starting at $10, campaign donors can snag goodies like tote bags, T-shirts and even replica ruby slippers ― though you’ll have to shell out a $7,000 donation for those.

This isn’t the first time the museum took to the internet to raise funds. In July of last year, it launched a similar campaign to conserve astronaut Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit.

Click your heels twice, friends, and throw this piece of history a dollar! Head over to the museum’s Kickstarter campaign here.


Also on HuffPost:

Source: Help The American History Museum Save Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers

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