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Month: January 2016

Here’s A 7-Minute Workout You Can Do Anywhere

Here’s A 7-Minute Workout You Can Do Anywhere


Daily movement can come in a number of ways, whether it’s reaching a certain number of steps, a gym class or even just rising from your desk at work. And here’s a new option to add to your routine: A seven-minute, heart-pumping workout you can do virtually anywhere. 

Hannah Bronfman, founder of the wellness site, breaks down the full-body routine in the video above. All you need is comfortable clothing, enough space to move around and a mat if you would prefer. Bronfman guides you through the movements, which include jumping jacks, side kicks and a bit of abdominal work to break a quick sweat. 


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You’ll Miss Carrie Fisher Even More After Watching Ellen DeGeneres’ Touching Tribute

You’ll Miss Carrie Fisher Even More After Watching Ellen DeGeneres’ Touching Tribute


On Wednesday’s episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” host DeGeneres ended with some heartfelt words about Fisher.

“I wanna say something about my friend, Carrie Fisher,” DeGeneres began. “I knew her for a long time. She has been on the show many times, and the last time was just a month ago. I loved when she was here. She made me laugh so hard. She was smart, she was funny, she was hilariously honest about herself and the world around her.”

The talk show host then played a video montage featuring some of Fisher’s best moments on the show, such as the time the two sold “Star Wars” tickets on the street and the time Fisher described Princess Leia as a “vague exotic smell” that followed her around.

DeGeneres ended by saying, “I miss you, Carrie. I love you.” 


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Fluffy Beer Biscuits

Fluffy Beer Biscuits


Fluffy Beer Biscuits – Cookie and Kate




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There is nothing in the world that is more important to me other than being here for others, and for them to know it! By filling this position for others, I actually thrive, and am doing what I love most. I do my very best to be present for everyone in my family, and even for those outside of my family, regardless of whatever else is going on around me. That’s because of my own experience of abandonment, which ultimately was a gift and the brightest light that led me to become a better version of myself.

It all began almost 40 years ago, when the two most important people in my life died just one month apart: my first husband and my mother. Before that deep crisis, I had been worldlier. I was busy all the time, looking for adventure and new places to go, and new things to do, learn, and see. I didn’t want to miss out on anything! I was always trying to better myself and those around me. None of this was wrong, but after my losses, with both my main foundations gone, I learned how much I’d taken for granted. I soon found out how hard living really was; just going to work and raising one child alone were the hardest things I ever had to do! What bothered me the most was the thought of having to leave my 5 year-year-old daughter with someone else. It was such a strain if they weren’t a family member. I just couldn’t do it and be at peace. I was always filled with sorrow or guilt and felt as though I were abandoning her. I was working long hours and between running back and forth to work and my daughter’s school and after-school programs, I was completely drained, having lost the support of my husband and my mother’s help. I know that I could have taken her to an extended day care, or some other after school program, but didn’t have the confidence to try it. I was so shattered from my losses that my former adventurous spirit was gone. My losses struck me to my core.

The reality of being left on my own with my daughter has never completely left me to this day. But once I found my footing again, I actually thrived because of the strength I found in myself. I even wrote a book, Imprinted Wisdom, describing how I got though my crisis. Yet I had not really understood that my deepest feelings of abandonment turned into a gift that eventually helped me thrive. And so did those around me because it gave me an important role to play, a more valuable one than I might have chosen otherwise.

I always made sure that I was there for my daughter so she’d feel my support; hoping she’d never feel the brokenness of abandonment I once did. I continued this practice even after I remarried, until my daughter married at age 24. I also made sure to always be there for my second husband, as well as for my 21-year-old son. This might sound like I’ve been an over-protective mother and wife, or that I might have been insecure, or that I’d given up on my own dreams, but that is the furthest from the truth! Both my children and husband have never been tied down or affected because of what I had experienced. They’ve been free to come and go, and to choose their own paths. And they all thrived doing what they like to do, just as I did watching them. As they did, I learned a new way of living as a full-time wife and parent. This wasn’t always easy, but far easier than working outside the home while raising a family and being a wife.

I seriously doubt that the old me, the worldly one, would have been content with being ‘just’ a full-time mother and wife had I not gone through all the losses I did. That feeling being abandoned by my first husband and my mother never left me. But on some level, it made me a better version of myself. After having to work while raising my daughter alone and all those struggles to make ends meet, I later learned to appreciate my role as a homemaker; washing clothes, cooking, running errands, and going grocery shopping to help all of them shine out in the world. And I’m thankful I can do these things without feeling that something is missing. This is more than enough for me to do and I’m fulfilled enough! Whenever I’ve felt left behind, or that there’s a prestigious job out there waiting for me, I remember that the only thing missing here is me and my presence to light a path for those I love. I’ll be here for as long as they need me.

All of this might sound strange or silly to people who’ve never felt or been abandoned, or who were never without someone looking over them or taking care of them. And 40 Christmases ago, between December 29, 1976, and February 4th, 1977, I would have agreed. But once you’ve come through this kind of trial and know what abandonment feels like, then you’ve met Christ and know the miracle of hope. And that will make you thrive!

About Catherine Nagle: Catherine grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old-school Italian parents. Catherine’s artist father’s works graced churches and public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures, and the works of Marianne William. She is also a contributor to the Huffington Post. The mother of two children and a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. She is the Author of Imprinted Wisdom and a contributor to These Winter Months: The Late orphan Project Anthology.


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New Law Bans Sale Of Specific Cough Medicine To Minors

New Law Bans Sale Of Specific Cough Medicine To Minors


Children under the age of 18 in Florida are now banned from purchasing over-the-counter cough syrup that contains the active ingredient dextromethorphan, according to a new law that went into effect January 1. 

Senate bill 938 also requires customers who look 25 years old or younger to show identification to purchase cough suppressants containing DXM, such as NyQuil and Robitussin.

The new law was put in place to prevent DXM misuse, or using the active ingredient in cough syrup to get high, what’s colloquially known as “robo-tripping.” DXM misuse can cause feelings of intoxication, euphoria and hallucinations.

“DXM has become popular among teenagers who want a cheap, easy high,” Dr. Deborah Mulligan, director of the Institute for Child Health Policy at Nova Scotia University told The Huffington Post. 

It also carries significant health risks and in rare cases, overdosing on DXM can cause death

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Audrey Robinson, a pharmacist in West Palm Beach, Florida, told ABC News (above). “It’s something that can be done here, where they can’t get access to it ― but parents still need to play a role at home to make sure it’s secured.”

According to the DEA, 12 percent of teens reported using over-the-counter cough medicine to get high at least once in his lifetime in 2011. A different ongoing study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that 5 percent of 8th, 10th and 12th-graders used cough syrup recreationally in the past year.

And although the percentage of 8th graders who used cough syrup recreationally increased slightly this year, from 1.6 percent in 2015 to 2.6 percent in 2016, that’s still lower than the peak of 4.2 percent that was first recorded in 2005.

(The problem also pales in comparison to the 58 percent of 8th, 10th and 12-graders who drank alcohol or the 35 percent of students who smoked pot during the NIH study period.) 

Symptoms of a DXM overdose include slow or labored breathing, blueish colored fingernails and lips, blurred vision, coma, constipation, seizures, drowsiness, dizziness, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, raise body temperature and stomach spasm, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

In 2012, California became the first state to prohibit the sale of DXM to minors. Since then, 11 other states have signed similar laws, although Delaware’s doesn’t go into effect until June 2017, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.


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How to Reduce Food Anxiety Over the Holidays

How to Reduce Food Anxiety Over the Holidays



Image: AlexMaster via Adobe Stock

If you’re worrying about how you’ll manage yourself around food over the holidays, you’re not alone! This time of year is very stressful for many people even for those who don’t have the added complication of a dysfunctional relationship with food! It’s a busy time, with a lot going on socially. It’s expensive. There are expectations. And then there are all the family dynamics. For many, it’s a tricky navigation.

My whole approach is very much weight neutral, and I work within a Health At Every Size (#HAES) framework. My goal is not to help people lose weight, because what I’ve learned over the years is that intentional weight loss through restriction and over-exercise, rarely works long term. In fact 95% of people who try this, regain the weight, and the majority gain more. My goal is to help people find peace with food and their bodies, regardless of where their weight naturally settles.

However, I am going to talk a little about the weight – though not in an attempt to help you avoid gaining it – rather to illustrate my point.

The intention of this blog is to give you 5 pointers to help you radically reduce your anxiety around food and eating over the holidays.

1. Expect to Overeat

Did you know that ‘normal’ eaters gain on average 1 pound over the holidays, whereas ‘overweight’ and obese people typically experience a significantly higher weight gain (around 5 lbs or so)? Why do you think that is?

It’s because ‘normal’ eaters don’t have food rules. They know it’s a holiday period.

They expect to eat a bit more than normal. They expect to drink a bit more than normal.

They do not make themselves feel guilty or ashamed about their food choices.

They don’t see themselves as good or bad, depending on what they eat, and they don’t restrict
afterwards! They just eat again when they’re next hungry! They don’t think ‘I’m eating it all now so it’s out of the way.’ They don’t say to themselves, ‘I’m eating it all now because tomorrow/ on Monday I’ll be good/ start my diet/ do a New Year detox.’

They don’t do any of that.

They just eat again when they’re hungry.

And they’ll eat what they fancy when they’re next hungry. That might be leftover potatoes and gravy. It might be Christmas pud. It might be a sandwich. Or a salad. Or a mince pie.

It’ll be whatever they fancy.

So why do you think the ‘overweight’/obese people usually gain significantly more than 1 lb?

The most likely reason is that this cohort of people has a history of trying to manipulate and control their weight through restriction (aka dieting). Having ever dieted is a very strong predictor of future weight gain. A Finnish twin study, involving 2000 sets of twins published in 2011, showed that the dieting twin was 2-3 times more likely to become ‘overweight’ than the non-dieting twin. Dieting itself, independent of genetics, increases the likelihood of weight gain.

With a history of dieting, trying to control their weight and fighting with food and their own bodies, this group of people is not relaxed around food. They still try to control it and themselves around it. They fear food. And they don’t trust themselves around it.

They worry about what they ate… that it was too much. That it was too much of the ‘wrong’ thing. That they can’t be trusted around that food. That they have to ‘get rid of it’ by eating it all now, so that they can ‘be good’ or ‘start over’ tomorrow… etc). They feel guilty and ashamed about eating – so they do it in secret – usually stuffing it in quickly before anyone notices – not even tasting it – and certainly not enjoying it… all of this keeps the cycle of binge eating and compulsive overeating going.

So… remind yourself: it’s the holidays! There is more food and drink around than normal. There’s more socialising with food, than normal. For many, there’s more stress than normal too!

Expect that you will eat more than you usually might… just like a ‘normal’ eater would.

Which leads me to the second point:

2. Give Yourself Unconditional Permission to Eat

Food rules are ideas in your head about what, when and how much you should eat. They are internalised messages which come from external rules: any diets you’ve followed will have had rules; many authors on health and ‘healthy eating’ will tell you how you ‘should’ eat. And, boy, there are so many of them – often conflicting

Food rules get in the way of you knowing whether you’re hungry; whether you feel like eating this particular thing; whether you LIKE it – if it gives you pleasure; if your body feels good when you eat it; if it energises you or makes you feel lethargic…

If your mind is on the rule book, you won’t be able to tune in.

And if you don’t tune in, you’re likely to end up dissatisfied. You’ll either be full of something you didn’t enjoy, but that matched a food rule, and end up eating the thing you wanted all along anyway with the consequence of being stuffed – or overstuffed; …or you’ll just feel miserable, because you won’t allow yourself anything that goes against the food rules. And that’s likely to end in a sense of deprivation – which triggers rebellious eating at some point down the line. Hello binge 😉

Food rules incorporate categories of foods as good or bad. Grandma’s trifle is bad, Brussels sprouts are good. Stuffing is bad, turkey is good (as long as its white…). While it’s true that foods have different nutritional components, no food is all good or all bad. Did you know that brassicas contain cyanide! The poison is in the dose, says Marc David.

The categorisation of foods as good or bad sets up a phenomenon known as ‘forbidden foods.’ If something is bad, you surely shouldn’t have it, and should avoid it at all costs. Not only that, we attach moral judgements to these foods – think about all the ways that ‘forbidden foods’ are described in the diet world: sins, legal foods, cheats, guilty foods, decadent foods, mortal sins, naughties, baddies, indulgences, etc.

When something is forbidden its desirability increases massively! Just say no to a two year old, and you’ll know all about that!

So, drop the food rules like a hot potato! Everything is allowed, any time!

Let Yourself Eat Exactly What You Want

If you allow yourself to eat exactly what you want, and stop eating it when you’re satisfied or when you stop enjoying it, you will eat in a moderate way. You won’t crave what you didn’t have (because you had it!). You’re therefore much less likely to binge or to be overstuffed. Your mind won’t be plagued with thoughts about the food and you’ll be able to move on with your day.

Something that’s helpful to remember – you don’t always have to know exactly what you want to eat. The thing is if you DO know, honour that! Have it. If you don’t know what you want, and you’re hungry, then just go for something you know you enjoy, and that matches your level of hunger.

No Conditions Means NO Conditions!

Unconditional permission to eat – means – unconditional.

I’ll spell it out for you because it’s not an easy concept to grasp. It goes against years of diet-based conditioning. What it means is that you don’t attach conditions to your permission to eat.

  • You don’t attach time-based conditions: e.g. ‘I’ll only eat this until Christmas/New Year/ Hanukkah is over. Then I’ll rein myself in.’
  • You don’t attach quantity-based conditions: e.g. ‘I’ll only have [insert number] mince pieces/ roast potatoes etc.’
  • You don’t attach weight-based conditions: e.g. ‘I’ll eat what I want provided that I don’t go over x [kilos/lbs/stone]. When I hit that mark, I’ll rein myself in.’ (By the way, please don’t weigh yourself!)

When you attach conditions, you invite in the rebel; the part of you that doesn’t want to be told what to do! Hello binge 😉 …

3. Don’t Restrict or Over-Exercise to Compensate

Restriction CAUSES binge eating and overeating. So does over-exercise. Restriction looks like:

  • calorie restriction
  • restriction of food groups or types of foods
  • the food rules I spoke about above are ways to restrict
  • thinking about restricting: even if you’re not physically restricting, thinking about what you should or should not eat is STILL RESTRICTION. It’s mental restriction and I promise you, it’s just as harmful as physical restriction. If you feel guilt or shame for having eaten something, that’s a clue that you have some mental restriction going on.

So please please please…

  • do not restrict calories or carbs or whatever before your festive period or festive meal – it’ll make you really hungry and unable to tune in; it’ll mean you’ll be unable to be moderate, and it’ll probably mean you’ll then feel guilty and try to restrict again afterwards… which will simply keep the cycle going!
  • if this needs repeating – also don’t restrict afterwards, for the same reason!
  • do not exercise excessively before or after your festive period! Exercise for pleasure. Exercise in a way that makes you feel good! Exercise in a way that adds to your life – rather than leaves you feeling depleted. Don’t do it to compensate for eating! This simply keeps the cycle going.

With all the worry about the food, we often by-pass enjoying it! This year, make it your intention to enjoy every bite you put into your mouth. You’re eating it – so why not actually enjoy it?

Did you know that when you’re enjoying your food you metabolise it better? When you’re in a stressed state, your cortisol levels will elevate. This is one of the hormones that is triggered in the ‘fight or flight’ response. Cortisol reduces metabolism (because your body is preparing to fight or flee) and signals the body to store fat (in case it’s needed for an energy burst later).

However, enjoyment and pleasure cannot coexist with high cortisol levels (the stress hormone). So relax! Enjoy your food. Slow down. Taste each bite. You’ll metabolise it better and eating slowly with enjoyment often results in being satisfied with less food… Not that the goal is to eat less – the goal is to eat with attunement to your bodily signals. That means, most of the time eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re comfortably full and satisfied; eating with flexibility – so you eat what both your body and mind want.

The BASICS of mindful eating (according to Lynn Rossy – author of The Mindful Eating Solution) are:

Take a few breaths. Check in with your belly. How hungry are you? How much food do you think will be enough to get you to a point of comfortable fullness?

Assess your food. Look at it! Really look at it! The colours, the textures. Notice the aroma. Assess if it’s what you actually want to eat (don’t make this question too complicated for yourself though!).

Eating slowly gives you more enjoyment of whatever you’re eating. It also enables you to register if you’re still enjoying the food. When you’re no longer enjoying it, that’s a signal to stop, knowing you can have more whenever you want!

Investigate your hunger, satisfaction and enjoyment throughout your meal. Stopping half way to take a few breaths and check in with your fullness levels is helpful!

Thorough chewing provides more enjoyment and better digestion. It also helps you to slow down and gauge your satisfaction levels.

Allow yourself to be present for the experience of eating! Taste it – notice all the different taste sensations as you eat. Allow yourself to be truly satisfied with what you’re eating.

5. Be Good to Yourself, No Matter What

Feeling guilty or ashamed about what you’re eating, what you ate, how much of it you ate, whether you’ve exercised or not, or the shape of your body will not serve you. It will not help you to change your behaviour. The most likely outcome is eating even more to suppress those yucky feelings.
Hating or loathing yourself and/or your body is NOT MOTIVATING! It does the opposite.

So whatever happens, choose self-compassion. Choose kindness.

It’s not something that happens as a result of behaving the way you think you should, or even the way you want to.

It happens because you choose it.

And when you choose to be kind and compassionate towards yourself, you’re more likely to treat yourself well; to get on your own side; to advocate for yourself; to create and then honour healthy boundaries with others. You’re more likely to accept and honour your emotions and you’re more likely to listen to what you need.

And you are worth all of that!

I wish you a peaceful, mindful, free and relaxing time with food and in your body, this holiday season Vania xxx

If you want to gift yourself with support on this journey to making peace with food and your body, there’s still time to book a free Discovery Session before Christmas. I’m raising my fees on January 1st – so now is a good time!


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Physicians on Front Line in Fight Against Sex Traffickers

Physicians on Front Line in Fight Against Sex Traffickers


In the United States, some 100,000 to 300,000 children and adolescents are victims of domestic sex trafficking–and that’s a conservative estimate. When I first heard this I felt shock and disbelief. How can this be such a pervasive problem in our own country, and why are we so unaware of it?

That was in April 2015, at the centennial meeting of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) in Chicago, which I’d attended with Albert Einstein College of Medicine AMWA board members Rachel Cohen, Yuliana Noah, Sarah Marx and Rachel Zolno.

Following the event, we resolved to dedicate our efforts to raising awareness at Einstein about domestic sex trafficking. We knew our colleagues might be just as uninformed as we had been. Later that year, we developed research on how to best teach sex-trafficking issues to medical school students.

We tested three educational modalities (lecture, small-group workshop, individual video watching) to learn which of these would best increase awareness and knowledge of sex trafficking among first- and second-year medical students. All three proved effective. In July our board traveled to Vienna, Austria, and presented our research at the International Congress of the Medical Women’s International Association.

Defining the sex-trafficking problem

Most sex-trafficking victims in this country are U.S. citizens. According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, sex trafficking is defined as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.” These acts include pornography, prostitution, sex tourism, strip clubs, escort services, brothels, massage-parlor work, truck-stop “companions” and Web and social-media sex. The average recruitment age of victims is 12 to 14, though there have been cases reported involving children as young as 7.

Significantly for physicians, one study found that 28 percent of all victims present to healthcare providers while being trafficked. In a survey of trafficked youth in New York City, 75 percent of the victims were found to have visited physicians in the previous six months.

This puts doctors in a unique position to identify victims–who may have risk factors suggested by their gender, age, economic status or history of abuse–and provide important care and resources.

Spotting signs of sex trafficking

There are some red flags in a patient’s presentation and healthcare history that warrant further questions: poor eye contact; anxiety; a scripted or mechanically recited history; being a runaway or in the foster-care system; sexual promiscuity; recurrent STIs; multiple pregnancies; malnourishment; substance addiction; weather-inappropriate clothing; bruising, scars, or burns in hidden places; a tattoo of a pimp’s name or a strange symbol; the inability to provide an address; and a companion who refuses to leave the examination room.

When faced with these red flags, here are important questions for any healthcare provider to ask that patient:

  • Where do you live?
  • Do you eat, sleep and work all in the same place?
  • Can you leave your work or job if you want to?
  • Have you been threatened or hurt? Has anyone threatened your family?
  • Have you ever exchanged sex for food, shelter, drugs or money?
  • Would you know how to seek help if you needed it?

Important action items for the healthcare provider if he or she suspects the patient is a trafficking victim:

  • Establish trust and confidentiality.
  • Make it a policy to see the patient alone.
  • Make it a policy to schedule follow-up visits.
  • Know the laws for mandatory reporting in your state.
  • Call the national sex trafficking hotline at 888-373-7888.
  • Know your local resources; visit to search for resources by zip code.
  • Avoid the “rescue fantasy. Our role is not to save anyone but to assist – and the patient needs to be an active member in the decision making.

Taking action

What more can be done? Join organizations such as Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans (PATH), a subcommittee of AMWA that seeks to raise awareness about human trafficking and offers resources to healthcare providers.

Healthcare providers can also support legislative action. On November 4, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed legislation to help physicians and healthcare workers better identify human-trafficking victims. This critical legislation–a joint effort of AMWA’s PATH team and New York State assembly member Amy Paulin–requires every “general hospital, public health center, diagnostic center, treatment center or outpatient department to establish written policies and procedures for the identification, assessment, and appropriate treatment or referral of persons suspected of being human trafficking victims as well as training for physicians, nurses and other clinical care personnel in service units in those facilities regarding those policies and procedures.”

Einstein’s AMWA student group has hosted several workshops and lectures where medical students learn about this problem. We believe that the most effective and sustainable way to expose students to this issue is to make it a part of the permanent curriculum in the preclinical years. It’s crucial not only that we, as part of the next generation of physicians, are aware of the scope of sex trafficking in the United States, but that we also have the tools and resources to identify victims so that when we intervene, we are prepared.

Here are some other leading organizations in the fight to eradicate the modern-day slavery of sex trafficking:

  • HEAL Trafficking, a public health organization devoted to ending human trafficking and supporting its survivors;
  • Polaris, which fights slavery. In 2007, Polaris launched the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-373-7888), which serves victims and survivors of human trafficking and the antitrafficking community in the United States;
  • SOAR, a training program for healthcare and social-service providers designed to educate people how to identify, treat and respond appropriately to potential victims of human trafficking.

2016-12-20-1482206768-1780930-hilarysamuelsonhp.pngMs. Friedlander is a third-year medical student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She is the current region 2 (NY/NJ) director of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)’s national student division and past president of Einstein’s AMWA chapter. Her work with AMWA and sex trafficking has led to research exploring different educational modalities for introducing the issue of sex trafficking into medical school curricula. She also serves as education co-chair of the Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans (PATH)’s national student division. She plans to pursue a career committed to women’s health.

This post was originally featured on The Doctor’s Tablet, the blog of Albert Einstein College of Medicine.


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Chris Pratt And Jennifer Lawrence Reveal The Most Adventurous Places They’ve Had Sex

Chris Pratt And Jennifer Lawrence Reveal The Most Adventurous Places They’ve Had Sex


People just can’t stop talking about Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence’s sex scene(s) in their new movie “Passengers.”

During a recent interview with the two on Friday, Australian radio show hosts from “KIIS Summer Fling” brought up the scene as a way to ask the actors about their personal sex lives

“What’s the most adventurous place you’ve had sex, either of you?” host Sophie Monk asked. 

“Airplane,” Pratt answered, before throwing in a joke about the logistics of doing such a thing. “I hung from the ceiling by my feet, like a bat.” 

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

These two tell all. 

Lawrence insisted that she was much more cautious about doing such a thing, telling the radio show “I don’t really have anything, I like being safe.” 

The 26-year-old added, “That’s what really turns me on, feeling safe.”

In order to deal with the sex scene in the movie ― her first “real” on-screen sex scene ever ― Lawrence revealed that she prepared for it by drinking lots of alcohol

“I got really, really drunk. But then that led to more anxiety when I got home because I was like, ‘What have I done? I don’t know,’” the actress said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last year.  

She continued, saying, “And he was married. And it was going to be my first time kissing a married man, and guilt is the worst feeling in your stomach. And I knew it was my job, but I couldn’t tell my stomach that.” 

“Passengers” is in theaters everywhere now. 


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Famed Aussie TV Host Explains What It Was Really Like To Grow Up In The Outback

Famed Aussie TV Host Explains What It Was Really Like To Grow Up In The Outback


Before Jamie Durie became a renowned international landscape designer, an Australian TV host or an HGTV personality, he was just a little boy growing up in Western Australia. In fact, as Durie tells “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”, most people don’t actually know that he was raised in a place far removed from the bustle and glitz of his later years on the Gold Coast.

“I was actually raised in the Outback of Australia. My brother and I were raised in a little town called Tom Price,” Durie says. “There were only a few hundred people. It was nothing but red dirt and powdered milk ― there were no cows out there.”

There may not have been cows, but Durie and his brother did grow up with animals around.

“We had a pet dingo and a pet kangaroo,” he says. “And my dad used to chase snakes around the backyard in his underwear with a shovel, because there were lots of deadly snakes everywhere.”

Durie moved to the Gold Coast as a teen and later took his successful television-hosting career from Australia to the States, becoming a regular contributor to “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Wherever his projects now take him, Durie has never forgotten his roots.

“Being raised in the Outback, you very quickly get a very deep understanding of true Australia,” he says.

Durie talks more about his career and his latest endeavors on this weekend’s “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”, Saturday, Dec. 17, at 10 p.m. ET on OWN. (You can also watch episodes on demand via the free Watch OWN app.)

Another Australian celebrity:

What Bindi Irwin wanted the world to understand when she gave her father’s eulogy


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Tobago, Nirvana for Naturalists: Trotting round Trinidad and Tobago on the Looney Front, Part 3

Tobago, Nirvana for Naturalists: Trotting round Trinidad and Tobago on the Looney Front, Part 3


So perhaps there were two revolutions in 1776, the better known declaration of independence by Britain’s North American colonies on July 4 – and almost three months earlier, on April 13, what the journal Scientific American has called ‘the first act in the modern environmental movement.’

For it was on that date that Parliament in London established Tobago’s Main Ridge Forest as a Crown Reserve, putting it on record as the first forest legally protected for purely conservation purposes, not merely as a pleasure preserve to satisfy the hunting whims of some royal twit.




All this was due to the persistent efforts of a certain Soame Jenyns, the Right Honourable member for Cambridge, who was influenced by English clergyman Stephen Hales.

Now Hales not only dabbled across the scientific spectrum, becoming the first person to measure blood pressure, inventing forceps for the removal of bladder stones, and authoring a paper against gin as ‘The Bane of the Nation,’ but more specifically for our purposes drew a sharp linkage between trees and much needed rainfall.


Without Hales via Jenyns, this magnificent tropical rain forest stretching across two thirds of Tobago’s 25-mile length and rising from 800 to 1,900 feet, would long since have succumbed to the axes of colonial plantation owners.


Ironically the worthy Jenyns didn’t seem to have much time for those buggers up north who were to throw off the British yoke 78 days later, noting that as far taxation without representation was concerned, many people in England like copyholders and leaseholders, and communities like Manchester and Birmingham, were taxed in Parliament without being represented there.

“Are they only Englishmen when they solicit protection, but not Englishmen when taxes are required to enable this country to protect them?” he asked.


OK, back to our tropical rain forest. So what’s it like to roam about in the pioneer site of the modern environmental movement? Well, it’s like any glorious jungle anywhere.


The forest canopy reaches 165 feet, with some exhibitionist trees poking up above that, while down below, where us flightless creatures prowl in the emerald zone up mountain and down mountain, giant ferns and other salad greenery massage the eye.



I find a delightful little trail that involves not too much upping and downing, with a little rivulet tinkling below in a mini-ravine.



Because Trinidad and Tobago were joined to South America 6,000 years ago, the fauna and flora are much more varied than elsewhere on Caribbean islands, with over 220 bird species in Tobago alone, at least 100 of which, along with armadillos, agoutis, wild hogs, racoons, red squirrels, opossums, snakes, iguanas and fish eating bats, may be sighted in the Reserve.

Not for nothing does Eco-Tobago call the island ‘a Nirvana for Naturalists.’


Of course, hawk-eye me doesn’t see any of the blue-backed manikins, white-tailed sabrewing hummingbirds, blue-crowned motmots, rufous-tailed jacamars, yellow-legged thrushes, olivaceous wood-creepers and collared trogons that the eco-brochure promises. What a monochromatic jerk I am!


The Amerindian name for Trinidad, at 1,841 square miles vastly larger than 115-square-mile Tobago, was apparently Iere, Arawak for Land of the Humming Bird, because there were so many different types of the colourful little critters.

But the locals hunted and ate them – bloody humans! Though there are still masses left, it’s the Christian religious name that buccaneer Columbus gave it that has stuck.


As for Tobago – 20 minutes and $24 away by plane, or 2 ½ hours by ferry – the indigenous peoples called it Aloubaéra (Black Conch) and Urupaina (Big Snail), but the Spaniards thought it looked like a cigar, called it by the indigenous word Tavaco (Tobacco), and that’s the name that’s stuck.

It might be tiny compared with Trinidad, but it’s Tobago that’s par excellence the holiday resort of the twin-island republic. Most of the hotels are clustered near the airport at its green but flat south western tip – great since it means the gorgeous northern regions have been spared.


Main Ridge splits the island down the middle, separating the precipitous coves and bays of the Caribbean leeward side from the gentler slopes of the windward side where the Atlantic rollers come roaring in from 3,000 miles away.

Today the ocean is barely more rippled than the Caribbean but insidious undertows belie the welcome offered by the wider beaches. At Roxborough a ruined plantation house bears witness to the island’s colonial past as a cocoa supplier.

A little further on, the remains of Fort King George atop a bluff amid purple and yellow flowers overlooks Scarborough, the island’s hilly capital.








Old cannons and signs such as Powder Magazine attest to its past, while the ubiquitous green island ‘Muster Point’ sign attests to the ever-present danger of hurricanes and flooding.

Beyond, in Mt. Irvine Bay, a former sugar plantation with a little mill dating from the time of slavery has cindarella-ed into a beautiful golf course, and at Stone Haven Bay the world’s diminishing population of turtles still comes into nest, as they have for countless millennia before there were ever slaves – or golf.





Beyond, lie the tourist hotels and the airport at Crown Point. But it’s the north that’s the paradise for eco-tourism, and Main Ridge Forest Reserve was voted the ‘World’s Leading Eco-Tourism destination’ by the World Travel Awards for four successive years – 2003 to 2006.



[Upcoming blog next Sunday: Tobago, Island of a Myriad Glorious Bays]

By the same author: Bussing The Amazon: On The Road With The Accidental Journalist, available with free excerpts on Kindle and in print version on Amazon.

Swimming With Fidel: The Toils Of An Accidental Journalist, available on Kindle, with free excerpts here, and in print version on Amazon in the U.S here.


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