Signs of a good week include sunshine, the perfect cold-brew-to-oat-milk ratio, and an exciting Girlfriend Collective launch. Today, the activewear and loungewear brand dropped the Stretch Woven collection, which consists of five easy-to-wear styles in a new fabric. Different from the brand’s cult-favorite Compressive or Float fabrics, Girlfriend’s Stretch Woven fabric is a durable, lightweight, slightly stretchy recycled polyester and spandex blend. The collection includes The Short Sleeve Button Up Jumpsuit, Sleeveless Button Up Romper, Everyday Easy Shorts, Tapered Joggers, and Wrap Skort. Like all of Girlfriend Collective’s pieces, the Stretch Woven collection comes in sizes XXS to 6XL. Each piece is available in three colors (so far); you can choose from black, dark olive green, and royal blue.Another reason to love Girlfriend Collective, besides its excellent activewear and size inclusivity, is its commitment to sustainability. Sustainability is tricky for brands to nail, especially since the best way to be eco-conscious is to, well, stop buying things. But the brand is famous for making more than 50% of its clothing and packaging out of recycled and recyclable materials (like plastic water bottles, nylon, and fishing nets). Plus, any well-loved Girlfriend activewear can be shipped back to the brand and upcycled into leggings for someone else—and you’ll get store credit in return. You can read up on the brand’s extensive sustainability efforts here.Keep reading to see each of the pieces in the new Girlfriend Collective launch, plus why we love ’em so much. All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Certain aspects of having a period are talked about more frequently than others, like dealing with menstural cramps, sore boobs, and bloating. But there’s one common symptom that, for whatever reason, gets less buzz: period poop.Yup, it’s not just you—pooping habits can get weird during your period. “Many people do get bowel changes just before or during their period,” Kyle Staller, MD, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. That includes a whole potential host of things, from period constipation to period diarrhea, with some people just pooping more than usual during that time of the month.Maybe you just happened to notice that period poop is a thing for you and are simply curious about what, exactly, is going on down there. Or maybe period poop is a problem for you and you need a solution ASAP. Either way, getting to the bottom of this (no pun intended) can go a long way toward helping you understand your body and figuring out a solution if your period poops start to interfere with your life. Here’s what you need to know about this totally normal phenomenon.What are period poops?Some people refer to changes in bowel movement that happen around their menstrual cycle as period poops. As with most other period wonkiness, you can thank hormonal fluctuations for this phenomenon. “The reason that this happens is largely due to hormones,” Dr. Staller says. That includes constipation that starts before your period and subsequent diarrhea or excessive pooping that happens once aunt Flo has actually come to town.Preperiod constipation could be a result of an increase in the hormone progesterone, which starts to increase in the time between ovulation and when you get your period.1 Progesterone can cause food to move more slowly through your intestines, backing you up in the process.But levels of progesterone plummet around the same time that your period starts.1 Simultaneously, there’s an increase in hormone-like compounds in your body called prostaglandins. The cells that make up the lining of your uterus (known as endometrial cells), produce these prostaglandins, which get released as the lining of your uterus breaks down right before and during menstruation. These chemicals cause the blood vessels and muscles in the uterus to contract. If your body has high levels of prostaglandins, they can make their way into the muscle that lines your bowels.There, they can cause your intestines to contract just like your uterus and push out fecal matter quickly, Ashkan Farhadi, MD, a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center, tells SELF. (Fun fact: These prostaglandins are also responsible for those painful menstrual cramps you might get every month.) This explains why you might have diarrhea or poop so much more often during your period.Of course this can all vary for different people. But if you notice you experience constipation or diarrhea right around your period like clockwork, this may be why.Back to topCan health conditions cause period poop changes?Certain health conditions like endometriosis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis, can flare up during menstruation, leading to bowel changes. For example, if you struggle with Crohn’s disease, which can often cause diarrhea, or IBS-D (a form of IBS that causes people to have diarrhea), your body’s release of prostaglandins during your period may exacerbate your condition, worsening your diarrhea. But if you suffer from IBS-C (IBS that causes people to have constipation), you may find yourself struggling even more to have a bowel movement on your period as progesterone further slows your bowels’ activity. Since ulcerative colitis can lead to both diarrhea and constipation, you might experience an uptick in either during your period.Back to topWhat does it mean if it hurts to poop during my period?There are a few potential reasons why it might hurt to poop on your period. If it’s something you notice here and there—especially if you’re dealing with a lot of diarrhea—it could be a side effect of diarrhea itself, like cramping in your stomach or even irritation around your anus from going so often, Dr. Farhadi says.
If you’re still lugging around a clunky, corded traditional vacuum cleaner from room to room, stop right there. The best robot vacuums do all that gross, grimy work for you so that you can spend your time in other, more important ways. By now, you’ve likely contemplated buying one or know someone who has and raves about it. If you’re ready to take the plunge, let us help.What does a robot vacuum cleaner do?At the basest level, robot vacuum cleaners are circular appliances that roam your home and employ powerful suction to pull dust, dirt, dander, and pet hair into a built-in dustbin which you later empty, or if it’s a certain model it automatically self-empties. If it’s a self-empty robot vacuum cleaner you usually only have to dump the bin every month or so saving you more time. These vacuums have sensors that map out floor plans, no-go zones, and obstacle avoidance (so they don’t keep banging into your furniture). When finished cleaning, the vacuums return to their charging docks to recharge (or, in some cases, recharge and resume cleaning where they left off). From there, robot vacuums increase in their fancy features. There are all sorts of models and brands that address your home size, flooring, and needs. Many have lengthy battery lives, strong filters for better air quality at home, and are designed to navigate hardwood, high-pile carpeting, and tile. The high-end robot vacuums mop if you need them to, can be given multiple cleaning schedules, spot-clean, self-empty, sync up to apps via Wi-Fi, and respond to Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands. Wild, right? Plus, with spring allergies here, a robovac can help keep the inside of your home pollen-free.Of course, with all trendy appliances, there are so, so many models on the market to consider. To simplify shopping, below, we’ve researched and assembled top picks for the best robot vacuums. These best-sellers come from big-name brands like iRobot, Eufy, Shark, Deebot, and more and can be found at retailers such as Amazon, Target, and Best Buy. Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, you can expect to grab one of these robot vacuums for a great price so be sure to check out our Memorial Day sales page for markdowns.
Symptoms of monkeypox are similar to smallpox but milder. Symptoms usually begin one to two weeks after exposure. Early on, this can include fever, headache, exhaustion, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes (which is the only notable symptom present with monkeypox but not smallpox), according to the CDC. One to three days later, a rash appears, often starting on the face and then spreading to other areas of the body. The lesions change over time, eventually turning into pustules and then scabs before falling off. People are usually sick for two to four weeks. The 2003 monkeypox outbreak was contained through a multi-pronged approach.Spearheaded by the CDC, federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and state public health departments, the response included lab testing; epidemiological investigation; the development of treatment guidelines for patients and doctors, as well as vets and other people who handle animals; the distribution of smallpox vaccines and treatments; and federal regulation. For instance, the CDC quickly issued a ban on the importation of African rodents (dead or alive), including animals who were born outside of the African continent but whose native habitat is in Africa. The FDA also issued a ban on the interstate sale, transportation, or release of prairie dogs and six types of African rodents, though it was rescinded in 2008.That first outbreak was a primer on how to quickly mount a multifaceted defense. It also prompted authorities to take preparatory steps that left us better resourced to handle the situation today. Namely, the government renewed interest in smallpox vaccination, which has not been routine in the U.S. since 1972, when smallpox was eradicated, according to the CDC. (Currently, the smallpox vaccination is only recommended for military personnel and lab workers who work with certain kinds of poxviruses.)Observational studies in Africa have indicated that smallpox vaccinations are about 85% effective in preventing monkeypox, per the WHO. Experts also think that getting vaccinated after monkeypox exposure can help either prevent the disease or lessen the severity, the CDC explains. (The agency recommends vaccination within four days of exposure.) The U.S. is in the process of securing more smallpox vaccines in the event of an emergency. The Danish pharmaceutical company that created the smallpox vaccine licensed for use against monkeypox in the U.S. said in a news release that the U.S. government is exercising options from an existing contract to order $119 million in smallpox vaccines to be manufactured starting next year. However, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson told Axios that this order was unrelated to the recent monkeypox cases. The company says they have been working with the U.S. government on the smallpox vaccine since 2003. Another smallpox vaccination has also been FDA-approved for monkeypox prevention, although it isn’t CDC-recommended or available yet. The CDC committee that issues vaccine recommendations is currently evaluating that vaccine for use in people whose jobs put them at higher risk of exposure.The federal government says it is monitoring the current situation in the U.S. closely.“We’re working on it hard to figure out what we do,” President Joe Biden said on Sunday. continued. “It is a concern in the sense that if it were to spread, it’s consequential.”He also sent a more hopeful message during a news conference in Tokyo on Monday, per USA Today. “I just don’t think it rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with COVID-19,” President Biden said.Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, told ABC News on Sunday that he feels the country is well-prepared should the outbreak grow. “This is a virus we understand. We have vaccines against it,” Dr. Jha said. “I am confident we’re going to be able to keep our arms around it. We’re going to track it very closely and use the tools we have to make sure that we continue to prevent further spread and take care of the people who get infected.” Related:
There’s nothing more invigorating than opening your window on a spring day and breathing in the fresh air—unless you have spring allergies, that is. In that case, taking a whiff of those budding blooms may only lead to sneezing and wheezing.Allergies, including seasonal allergies, occur when your immune system mistakenly sees typically harmless substances (like pollen) as a threat. This sets off an attack that leads to an allergic reaction, which can affect your nasal passages, skin, airways, eyes, and digestive system. These reactions can range from mild to severe and vary by person, according to the Mayo Clinic. While you can’t cure allergies, you can learn to control them. Here’s how to conquer your spring allergies when pollen season hits full swing.What are the most common spring allergens?Tree pollen is the most common spring allergen, according to a 2021 allergy report from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).1 Even if you don’t live by a forest, tree pollen is more likely to affect you because the pollen grains are very small. We’re talking about the tiniest of pinches containing thousands of grains, which are even smaller than ragweed pollen grains, the main fall allergy offender. The wind can carry tree pollen for several miles, making spring allergies especially hard to avoid.There are lots of different tree types that release pollen associated with spring allergies, including:AshAspenBirchCedarElmHickoryOakOlivePecanPoplarWillowGrass pollens can also trigger spring allergies for many people, but it depends on where you live. In the northern U.S., grass allergies are at their worst in the late spring and early summer. In the south, grasses may release pollen all year long, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Weed pollen is typically more of late summer or early fall allergen, so you might be spared in the spring.Back to topWhat do spring allergy symptoms feel like?Spring allergy symptoms are the result of a complex set of reactions that occur in the body. Researchers tend to break these reactions down into an early phase and a late phase.According to a 2020 study published in the journal Asthma, Allergy, and Clinical Immunology, in the early phase, an allergen (like pollen) enters your body. There are specific receptors on your cells called antigen-specific immunoglobulin e (IgE) receptors. These IgE receptors trigger a rapid response in the body that involves the release of histamines and other substances that quickly trigger symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.2 Think of these symptoms as those that occur seemingly the minute you step outside on a nice spring day.The late-stage effects are when your body takes hours to respond to allergen exposure. The cells release other substances that cause inflammation in the body. This inflammation then leads to tissue swelling, which can spur nasal congestion and, in some people, asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Uncontrolled asthma can be dangerous, so it’s important to talk with your doctor or allergist if you experience those symptoms.To sum it up, common spring allergy symptoms can include the following:Dark circles under your eyes (known as “allergy shiners”)Itchy eyes and noseRunny noseSneezingStuffy noseWatery eyes“Some people also have really bad fatigue, which can be the major symptom of their seasonal allergies,” Gary Stadtmauer, MD, FACP, an allergist in private practice in New York City, tells SELF. “Those people need to come in to see an allergist and, in my experience, typically need allergy shots.”
Your bedroom is a sanctuary from the worries of everyday life. What better way to do just that than by shopping the long-awaited Parachute Memorial Day Sale? Outfit your bed with the softest blankets, the coziest linens, and the fluffiest pillows you can find. From Monday, May 23 through Monday, May 30, you can score 20% off anything up for grabs on Parachute’s site, including furniture. The sale isn’t just happening online, though. You can head in-store and shop steep Memorial Day discounts, with sale pricing automatically applied on the Parachute digital storefront. This is definitely an event to get excited about, especially as Parachute rarely advertises major sale events. You can generally expect Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales from the retailer as well as Memorial Day blowouts, and now the time has come. When you can score 20% off the entirety of Parachute’s collection, you can give your bedroom a considerable upgrade, whether you’re looking for a supportive new mattress or a new linen sheet set to top things off. Want to focus on the rest of your home? Parachute is much more than just bedding and bath essentials, with a variety of scented candles, sleepwear, rugs, and more to choose from. It can be difficult to sift through the entirety of Parachute’s online collection, however, so we’ve selected some of the best sales we could find. Below, find picks on some of the best Parachute Memorial Day sale products we could find, including sheet sets, fluffy towels, plush bathrobes, dinner sets, and more. Swap your old go-to sheets with a crisp new set and climb into bed to catch some serious Zs with picks from this sale. Looking for other great bedding deals? Find more on our Memorial Day mattress sales page.All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The parent company for Jif peanut butter, the J.M. Smucker Co., has issued a voluntary recall of multiple products following a salmonella outbreak. The contaminated peanut butter has been distributed nationwide in retail stores and other outlets, according to a statement from the company posted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Among the list of recalled products were the creamy, crunchy, reduced fat, and natural varieties, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).The outbreak has caused 14 illnesses and two hospitalizations and has so far affected the following states, per the CDC: Washington, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, New York, and Massachusetts. The outbreak has been traced to a manufacturing facility in Lexington, Kentucky, and hasn’t affected other facilities the company uses to produce peanut butter, according to a statement provided to TODAY.The CDC recommends checking any Jif products on your shelves to see if they’ve been recalled. A full list of recalled products can be found in the FDA statement, including sizes and types. To see if your product was recalled, you’ll need to check the lot code number on the packaging. Lot code numbers 1274425 through 2140425 (with “425” at the end of the first seven numbers) were recalled, per the CDC.The shelf life for peanut butter products can be long, so the CDC encourages you to check your products even if you didn’t buy them recently. If you do find a recalled product in your home, you should throw it out immediately, per the CDC. You should also use hot, soapy water to clean surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with the peanut butter. If you consumed some of the peanut butter and you start experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should contact your health care provider, per the CDC: diarrhea and fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, diarrhea for more than three days, bloody diarrhea, vomiting to the point that you can’t keep liquids down, or dehydration (which might manifest as decreased urine output, dry mouth and throat, or feeling dizzy when you stand up).Salmonella refers to a group of bacteria found in raw poultry, beef, eggs, and unwashed vegetables and fruit, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, and loss of appetite, and symptoms can last four to seven days. Salmonella can be more severe for certain people, including children younger than five, adults 65 and older, and those with weakened immune systems, per the CDC. Some people recover without treatment, but health care providers sometimes prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing salmonella, according to the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, since salmonella can cause dehydration, fluids may have to be administered through an I.V. in severe cases.Related
If you’re gearing up to spend the summer in the great outdoors, the Backcountry Memorial Day Sale is a can’t-miss event. Best-selling items and past season styles are on sale for as much as 50% off at the outdoor retailer now, and these Memorial Day deals will be good through the long weekend—no coupon code required.Whether you’re shopping for a backpacking trip or just refreshing your old camping gear, you can find discounts on major outdoor gear brands like Black Diamond, The North Face, Marmot, and more at this year’s Backcountry Memorial Day sale. Some of the most exciting deals we’ve seen trending already include markdowns on running shoes, women’s apparel, and camping essentials like tents and sleeping bags. If you’ve been meaning to save up for a fancy piece of equipment or high-quality outerwear, you just might find it at a delightfully lower price right now.But even if you don’t have a shopping list in mind, there are plenty of deals to browse on Backcountry.com. To help you get started, we’ve highlighted some of the best sale items currently available below. Keep in mind that the sizes and colors you want might not last long, so make sure to fill your cart and check out ASAP. Then, if you’re in the mood for more Memorial Day weekend sales, we’ve got you covered on everything from Memorial Day patio furniture sales, clothing sales, mattress sales, and Amazon items. Happy scrolling!All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
When people looked at me growing up, I’m not sure exactly what they saw. They probably couldn’t tell I had ancestors from Italy, England, Scotland, Slovakia (Vikings, no less, but that’s a story for another day), and, yes, China. These identities met and mingled, and eventually melded into the DNA of a quarter-Asian girl living in Akron, Ohio.What I do know is they saw someone… different. As a kid, I never quite fit in, with comments from classmates like “What are you?” and “Where are your chopsticks?” jolting me out of a lulled sense of belonging and laying the groundwork for life-long anxiety.The biggest difference between me and the other Asian kids I knew, was that most of them grew up with parents who immigrated to the United States, so they had the shared experience of living in their home country to connect them—something I never had. The only thread I had was my grandfather who immigrated to the U.S. when he was a teen, before the dawn of communism in China. When he came here for high school, stayed for college and medical school, eventually met and married my white grandmother, and settled in Ohio, there wasn’t a whole lot of culture left. My dad and uncle grew up in the 50s and 60s, a time when embracing your Chinese heritage wasn’t exactly the norm. Once my brother and I came along in the 80s, our grandfather was the only person who held the key to that part of our identity.For us, that meant hanging out at the local Chinese restaurant eating braised tofu and shark fin soup (something I was embarrassed to even mention to my friends), dodging the Peking duck hanging from the ceiling in our grandparents’ basement, and listening to stories of my grandpa’s adventures as a young man. My grandfather was gregarious and loved by the community, but most of all he was loved by me, the so-called “apple of his eye.” He died when I was seven, and although I can’t say that I immediately embraced being Chinese, as it took over a decade to feel that pride, his memory is a big part of why I want to wrap myself in the armor of my Asian heritage and teach my young son to wear it proudly, too.In the flash of a devilish grin or the tilt of my son’s head thrown back in giggles, I can sometimes see a glimpse of my dad or grandfather. But to the untrained eye, my son doesn’t look Chinese at all, nor does he share my Chinese name (I kept it for myself after marriage for many reasons, but one was to hold on to that part of my identity).They say your genes are made up of all your ancestors who lived before you. Maybe you have the same smile as a great, great uncle who died well before you were born. Or maybe your laugh is identical to a long-forgotten sister who your grandmother cherished from way back when. I like to imagine that even though our ancestors are no longer here—we’ll never know the warmth of their hands or the bite of their humor—they are still within us, showing up for their great, great (infinitely great) grandchildren in these small ways. Maybe my son shares one of these traits with my great grandfather or his father’s father. I’ll never know for sure, but here’s how I plan to keep our culture alive through him.Connect through family recipes (with a vegetarian twist).Since my kid is all in on pizza and mac and cheese at the moment, this one may have to wait a few years. But we do have a collection of Tsai family recipes in a bound cookbook—stir-fried cellophane noodles are my favorite—and I want to share my love of these flavors with him. We may have to skip the Peking duck since we’re vegetarians (Peking tofu just doesn’t have the same ring to it), but we can improvise.
Interested in learning about what B Corp certified is and where it falls in sustainable living? When it comes to sustainable beauty it’s one of the many buzzwords that the industry has latched onto as a way to sell products to eco-conscious consumers. Similar to “clean beauty,” there is no agreed-upon definition for what is and isn’t sustainable, and the term isn’t regulated by the FDA. So, in theory, any company can call itself sustainable. This is a problem for consumers because it’s tough to figure out the impact they have on the products they choose to buy.One way for brands to back up this claim is by seeking certifications from reputable third-party companies that set a standard and give their stamp of approval to brands that they evaluate and meet that standard. The gold standard of sustainable beauty certifications is the B Corporation (B Corp for short) distinction.What does it mean to be B Corp certified?The B Corp certification comes from a group called B Lab, which is a global nonprofit that aims to help mission-driven companies balance profit with purpose. The ultimate goal of B Lab is to use the power of business to promote an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy. Brands that attain a B Corp certification must meet high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on a variety of factors from supply chain practices and material sourcing to fair wages for workers. Companies must submit a 4,000-question exam in order to apply for certification, which also involves submitting evidence to back up their answers. Once a company is awarded a B Corp certification, it’s required to recertify with B Corp every three years, improving its score each time you take the exam. Failure to do this results in the company losing its B Corp status.A B Corp certification is a status symbol that’s immediately recognized by savvy eco-conscious consumers who want to support businesses that use their power and position as a force for good in the world. Beauty brands with this certification have shown that they take their commitment to sustainability seriously, as the certification is a notoriously long and challenging process of at least 6-8 months and requires extensive audits of business practices across the company. There are currently over 5,000 certified B Corps in more than 80 countries and over 150 industries. As the beauty industry evolves to become more sustainable, more brands will apply for a B Corp certification to verify their claims. If you want to support B Corp certified beauty brands that prioritize purpose in their pursuit of profit, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites below. You’ll find a range of hair care, body care, and skincare products.All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.