Category Archives: LIFESTYLE

Wood vs Plastic Cutting Boards: Which You Should Buy for Your Kitchen

Jennifer Suryadjaja| Boston University
3 minute read

No matter how often or how little you cook, you’re guaranteed to own a cutting board. It’s a kitchen staple you can’t live without, as it can be used for everything from slicing apples to cutting raw meat to chopping onions. But although most of us know that owning a cutting board is a must, deciding between wood vs plastic cutting boards can be tricky. Does it really matter which you buy, or can you pick whichever you think is the cutest? As it turns out, there are several stark differences between the two materials that should be taken into account before choosing which to buy.

Wood vs Plastic Cutting Boards

on Pexels

Wood cutting boards

The traditional cutting board is known to last longer than plastic cutting boards with proper maintenance. Having a “self-healing” property, wooden cutting boards are harder to cut into as you chop your food. This means that a wooden cutting board is more sanitary in the long run. Another plus is that your knives will not get blunt fast since the surface of wooden cutting boards is kinder to knives when compared to plastic cutting boards. Research done by the late Doctor Dean O. Cliver, an expert in cutting boards, shows that wooden cutting boards contained less salmonella than plastic ones. This is because wood contains antimicrobial properties that can halt bacteria from seeping into the board, reducing the likeliness of cross-contamination.

Plastic cutting boards

Being the more modern version of cutting boards, a prevailing thought is that plastic cutting boards are safer than wooden cutting boards. However, this isn’t always true. New plastic boards often still have a smooth surface, which is not a problem when it comes to cleaning it after chopping. The concern is when dealing with a scarred board. If you chop hard enough into the plastic, there will be scars across the board where bacteria will hide and accumulate. This increases the chances of contamination of other ingredients you put on the board after that. In general, plastic boards are often cheaper than wooden boards, and you can find some that are dishwasher-safe.

Figuring Out Which to Buy

Annelise Vought

It may be confusing at first when weighing the two options because each cutting board has its good and bad points. The answer lies in the kind of food you will be cutting. Since already-cut plastic cutting boards tend to harbor bacteria, it’s best to use it to chop fruits and vegetables instead of raw meat. Ideally, wooden cutting boards are best used to cut meat or ready-to-eat food, such as cheese or bread.

Bottom line, I recommend having both a wood and a plastic cutting board in your kitchen and using them accordingly. They will complement each other.

How to Clean Cutting Boards

Jocelyn Hsu

Regardless of the material, it’s important to disinfect your cutting boards after using them, because bacteria can thrive on the board for a long time. Sanitizing your cutting board means more than just cleaning them with soap and water. It means getting rid of the remaining bacteria still living on your board. One way to disinfect your board is by pouring vinegar into a kitchen towel and wiping the surface of the board. Worried about the after-smell? According to the Huffington Post, you can spread a pinch of salt on your board and rub a wedge of lemon onto it. If you’re using the dishwasher for your plastic board, the heat should be set to maximum to kill the unwanted bacteria.

#SpoonTip: Whether wooden or plastic, keeping your cutting boards in a cool, dry place will help increase their longevity since bacteria thrive on moisture. 

While both cutting boards still do the job of providing a proper surface to prep your ingredients, the differences will make or break your dish. Now you can confidently select one (or both) and get started with cooking. Just don’t forget to disinfect your board after you’re done with the chopping.

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by Denice Pine
1 minute read

1. Stay hydrated:

In winter we drink much less water and guess what? we get dehydrated.. People do not realize that dehydration masks itself as hunger and as a result we eat to quench the “thirst”. So whenever you feel hungry , drunk some water first. You will be surprised.

2. Reduce carb intake:

It’s winter , you are bound to do much less hence won’t burn most of the energy you take in from your food. With that said, eat more protein and vegetables to keep your weight steady or to even drop it.

denice gym

3. Exercise:

30 mins a day can really help you reach your goal . It doesn’t sound like much but it goes a long way .

4. Prepare mentally:

Mental wellness is something that is taken for granted by so many. What we don’t realize is the fact that our bodies respond to our mind. What we think we are what we become. With that said, do Yoga it will help you meditate.

5. Buddy system:

It works. Team work makes the dream work. Become accountable to the next person and that way you will never miss a days session.

Add these 5 tips to your lifestyle this winter and see how it will bring positive change

Potatoes in Four Awesome Ways

by Siphiwe Ndlovu
3 minute read

Have you ever been so hungry and you discover the only thing you have in your kitchen are potatoes.

It may be quite distressing but let me enlighten you, the potato is the fifth most important crop worldwide, imagine that.

Potatoes are versatile and very healthy. You can fight cancer, control diabetes and get stronger bones by eating this “boring” starch.

The potato is not at all boring there are over 3000 recipes for potatoes and most importantly they are all quite affordable and delicious.

I will just show u a few of those recipes. The many others you can find at

1. Potato Fritters



My first go to potato recipe is Potato Fritters.

Now these are absolutely mouth wateringly delicious. What do u need for these well; 1 big potato, 1 onion finely chopped, 1 level tablespoon flour preferable self-raising if not add a 1 level teaspoon of baking powder,1 teaspoon salt, pinch of pepper and half an egg beaten.

Now you got the ingredients, this is how you go about it.

  • Peel and grate your potatoes into a bowl, mix in your bitten egg and then your seasoning.
  • Sieve in your flour into the mixture and then mix, scoop spoonful’s into a pan and then dip fat fry until golden brown. You can now enjoy as part of your breakfast lunch or even supper.

2. Mashed Potatoes.


My second recipe is Mashed Potatoes.

Boil your unpeeled potatoes. When your potatoes are soft you can now peel them with your hands, put them in cold water makes peeling them easier.
After they are all peeled mash them use a masher or cut them up and use a fork till they are soft not lumpy add milk or butter or both it will make them soft and even more mouth watering. Serve with gravy and meat.

3. Shepherd’s Pie


You can even make use of your mashed potatoes for your Shepherd’s Pie which is a layer of mashed potatoes a layer of mince a layer of mixed vegetables a layer of mashed potatoes and then sprinkle cheese on top all in a baking tray. Then you bake grill until cheese melts and it becomes golden brown.

Have you ever cooked too many potatoes and had some leftover. Cold potatoes from the fridge what to do with them?

Well I have two words Sauté Potatoes. They will change your life tease your palate and open a world of undiscovered flavour to you.

4. Sauté Potatoes


How to make them? Well that’s easy peasy.
Cut your boiled potatoes into rings. Heat about 50g margarine in a frying pan add your potato rings until heated through and lightly browned on both sides.

Now I could go on forever so what you just do type potato recipes on your internet search engine and trust me you will see an endless list of the most amazingly delicious recipes you can do with just a potato.

Law student lands Miss Tourism Bulawayo crown

2 minute read

TWENTY-FOUR year-old law student with University of South Africa Anelisiwe Ndebele was on Saturday crowned Miss Tourism Bulawayo provincial winner after she shrugged off competition from a bevy of 22 models at Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo.

The pageant was the last round of the search for models who will contest in the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe national finals on September 8 in Bulawayo where Ndebele will represent Bulawayo province.

For her efforts, Ndebele, a holder of a Bachelor of Arts Degree and currently works as a procurement officer at Techno Expert Construction Company pocketed $2 000 courtesy of pageant sponsors, Progress Mines and Consha Enterprise headed by businessman and politician, Farai Taruvinga.

Sibusisiwe Falala and Tendai Sibanda came first and second princess respectively, while Natasha Gora became Miss Personality with Thelma Ncube being named the most promising model.

Miss Tourism Zimbabwe (MTZ) Bulawayo queen Anelisiwe Ndebele flanked by first princess Sibuisiwe Falala and second princess Tendai Sibanda (left)

Ndebele and Falala are all under the mentorship of Open Eye Studios run by former Miss Zimbabwe Samantha Tshuma.

“I am overwhelmed with this achievement, I thank everyone who has supported my journey and most importantly Fingers Academy for giving the girl child a chance to showcase a talent. Special acknowledgment goes to my mentor Samantha Tshuma of Open Eye Studios,” Ndebele said.

“Preparing for the national finals starts today, and I hope to keep the crown in the City of Queens and Kings.”

The national licence holder for Miss Tourism Zimbabwe and Fingers Academy director Sarah Mpofu Sibanda was happy with the progress they have made so far.

“It was not an easy road doing all the provincial finals. I thank our provincial licence holders who pulled great pageants and also providing the best models who will do duty on September 8 here in Bulawayo,” she said

The pageant coincided with Fingers Academy’s 30th anniversary.

“I thank everyone who has supported us as Fingers, the models we have worked with. We will continue churning out not just models, but ambassadors who will represent the city, the country and the continent,” Mpofu Sibanda said.

Guests at the pageant were left in stitches by host, Babongile Skhonjwa who treated them to a lively stand-up comedy show in-between the models’ sessions.

Source - /

Miss UZ 2018: Beauty with brains?

Tariro Zinyemba | H-Metro
2 min 30 read

THEATRE Arts student Zandile Sithole was crowned Miss University of Zimbabwe (UZ) 2018.

The lady outdid 13 other beauties who were vying for the tittle and also took the Miss People’s Choice crown home.

Judges had a hard time making the decision as their top 7 chosen girls failed miserably during the question and answer(Q&A) segment which prompted the judges to prepare a second set of questions.

Still most failed to deliver and points from that segment are said to been scrapped off altogether!

Former Miss Universe Zimbabwe, Lisa Morgan, and Jackie Ngarande ended up telling the girls mid Q & A that they didn’t care how beautiful they were if they couldn’t answer properly.

Morgan likened the bevy’s answers to those of primary school children before a new set of questions were presented.

Mary Yuki Mundeya who trained the girls for a little over a month said she was disappointed as they had practised and alerted the girls of the kind of questions they would be asked on the day.

Award winning fashion designer and model, Ngoni Motsi, told H-Metro that the girls seemed ready but was disappointed in the Q & A segnemt.

“The performances were good but on that segment there was stuttering and nonsensical utterances.

“It made hard for us to make a final decison, we spent about an hour trying to figure out how we could make it work.”

“We removed the Q & A segement totally and judged using performances, walks and everything else,”he said.

“I won because of the grace of God, hard work and support from my fellow contestants,”- Zandile Sithole

Zandile Sithole, crowned Miss UZ 2018, walked away US$1,500 richer. 

Miss UZ organisers had promised to start the event on time but there were major delays which prompted the competition to start two hours later than had been planned and ending way past midnight.

“This event was well organised but time keeping was a problem as is the norm with black people,”Mosti said.

Tanyaradzwa Kondo and Nyasha Katazo were crowned as the princesses while Charmaine Makondo got the Miss Talent title.

The queen said she was in awe.

“I really don’t think that I did anything better than the other contestants as we all showed tremendous talent and intelligence.”

“I won because of the grace of God, hard work and support from my fellow contestants,” Sithole told H-Metro.

Ammara Brown, Few Kings, Sanii Makhalima and Kikky Bad*ss performed their hit songs and left the students in a frenzy.

Kikky Bad*ss was doubling as the show’s host alongside DJ Tawaz.

The pair kept the crowd entertained with thier playful banter and contracditing fashion senses.

The female Hip-Hop rapper changed into four stunning gowns during the course of the show.

Tawaz however seemed to be in his own world as he first showed up on stage in a white church gown gememzi, a fanny pack and later ‘accessorised’ with a 2kg packet of sugar!

The funny character walked around on stage carrying sugar then later left it for a head of lettuce.

Students were chanting Silent Killer’s name as readied to perform, the chanter got on stage but technical glitches made him perform without sound.

The artist started shouting vulgarities at the engineer but the anticipating crowd kept pushing for him to perform, he finally did and all the songs proved to be sing-alongs despite obscene lyrical content.

The face of Miss Nust 2018: Michelle Chikwengo

Dyson Murwira | Nust-ZW
3 min read

As the svelte model glamorously waltzed on the ramp on the night of 14 April 2018, each step exuding utmost elegance and confidence, there was no way the gods would deny her their smile. Her prowess and weakening smile dazzled the judges and they just had to give Mitchelle the ultimate Miss NUST crown.

“I heard my name being called. I felt so overwhelmed. I felt so happy I felt so blessed. I felt so honored”, recalled a blushing Mitchelle Chikwengo, the recently crowned Miss NUST 2018.

The surreal moment of winning the crown over 16 other models was a relief to the beauty: “The journey wasn’t easy, I won’t lie. It was so stressful. So to actually hear that your hard work paid off was the best feeling ever!”

miss nust 2.jpg

Having started cat walking in Form 2 at Townsend High School in Bulawayo, the 21 year-old beauty always dreamt of winning gold. She said she resolutely resolved that she was going to go for the next pageant availed to her.

Being the fourth child in a family of four girls and two boys, Mitchelle attended Hillside Primary school in the early years of her life. She has always had a passion for modeling, as she reminisces taking part in modeling contests they had during play time back in the day. Her parents realised her love for the ramp, even though they had mixed feelings about this.

She recalls: “They knew I wanted to do modeling, but when I did start, like any other parent, they had their reservations. They wanted me to focus on school.”

In spite of this, they supported Mitchelle’s dream. In 2011, however, Mitchell took a sabbatical from modeling due to school commitment.

Her return to modeling in 2017 saw her being crowned Miss Personality at the Miss NUST 2017 pageant. With a CV this good, the reigning Miss NUST is justified enough more than any of us to set up Miss Tourism and Miss Zimbabwe as her next stops.


With the NUST crown now in the bag, Mitchelle aims to use her influence to create environmental awareness: “We have to start thinking green. Let’s be conscious about our environment. The environment takes care of us and if we don’t take care of it, future generations will not enjoy its benefits.”

The pressure of balancing modeling and school work has proven to be a juggernaut for the Environmental Science and Health second year student, which she has somehow managed to maneuvered. In the run up to the Miss NUST pageant, Mitchelle had to utilize her night time and weekends to study, as her days were swallowed by modeling.

“Its beauty with brains”, she said. “The brains have to work.”

When she is not in class or on the ramp, Mitchelle loves chilling out with friends and family and also reading. The self-confessed foodie also loves cooking and her favourite dish is dauphinoise potatoes with roast lemon and herb chicken.

Music wise, the bombshell is a fan of T-1nda, Acoustic Aura, Asaph and Ammara Brown. Her current playlist includes Pakisha by Dladla Mshunqisi, Never Be The Same by Camila Cabello and Your Spirit by Tasha Cobbs.

Having conquered NUST, Mitchell aims at being the face of international brands like Garnier. “I see myself going international”, she said.

With all this success befalling the glam queen, Mitchelle Chikwengo’s path is already set for greater exploits.

miss nust.jpg

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Seh Calaz billed for Miss Nust 2018

Bongani Ndlovu

3 minute read

ZIMDANCEHALL Superstar, Seh Calaz, will be the headline act at Miss Nust 2018 as preparations for the modelling show gather steam.

Seventeen beauties from the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) will vie for the crown at the tertiary institution’s Ceremonial Hall on Saturday.

Boss Yala, as Seh Calaz is affectionately known, will be joined by Bulawayo’s top performers DJs Mzoe, Nospa, Teflon, TMK, IMG, Bongani, Sizzle, Kayceejay, Hollan, rapper Cliff Jeans and BK the Rep.

Zanele Ncube, Miss Nust organiser, said Seh Calaz was popular with students hence why they had invited him to come and perform.

“Seh Calaz was selected by the majority of students from Nust. We’re also trying to have a variety of artistes perform. At the beginning of the semester we had Winky D and now we’re hosting Seh Calaz,” said Ncube.

Taking to the ramp on Saturday will be students Petronella Mnkandla, Mitchelle Mupasi, Rumbidzayi Sumbereru, Michelle Chikwengo, Aulynda Mudzingwa, Fortunate Mlilwana, Moira Sibanda, Noxolo Sibanda, Thembelihle, Patience Chigwaza, Lisa Zhou, Medeline Madzungu, Samantha Moyo, Hazel Ndlovu, Nomaqhwa Sengwayo and Blessing Nyawo. The judging panel will comprise former Miss Tourism Zimbabwe Samantha Tshuma, Amanda Mtangadura and Gilmore Tee.

Preparations, Ncube said, were going well with the aspiring models ready to strut their stuff on the ramp.

“Everything is going according to plan. We’re just perfecting a few things with the models going through their routines. They’re being prepared by coaches from Open Eye Studio who’re helping them walk the ramp.”

Outgoing Miss Nust, Journalism student, Terai Moyo, will hand over the crown to her successor.

Watch How Terai Moyo Won The 2017 Contest

All eyes will certainly be on Miss Nust, one of the few notable pageants that the city hosts, especially considering that this pageant often produces quality models who go on to make names for themselves in the modelling industry. Models such as Ashley Morgen – a product of Nust – have gone on to win national pageants effortlessly as they are beauties with brains – a quality adored by most pageants.

Curated from

Diary of a Zimbo studying abroad: The Changing Me

by Nyasha Zimhunhu | University of Pennsylvania
3 minute read. 

7.30am! I place my phone back onto the table, a bit frustrated by the fact that I am up 45 minutes too early. I also know it won’t help trying to force myself back to sleep because my mind’s whispering all the mandatory tasks on my planner. I try forcing myself to sleep anyway. As you may have guessed, my mind’s voice grows louder, so eventually I get up.

On my way to class, one squirrel stops momentarily, eyeing me, as if to bid me luck and then disappears from the path. It’s one of the “squirrel-amusement” episodes I get every day. After all, squirrels, who don’t exist in my home country of Zimbabwe, own their share of Penn and Philly. A share that my 17 year old self could not have. And I know if I had the time, I’d set an appointment (because that’s how it works here) with my 17 year old self to reflect on how unlike her, the current me is not a morning person. How she is amazing at Physics and the current me… could improve. How she didn’t need a planner to stay organized during A level studies and the current me clearly does.

Coming here to UPenn, the way I relate to people has changed significantly. For four years, I’d lived, survived and to an extent thrived at Regina Mundi Girls High School where virtually everyone meant something to me. Mostly just “for the record”. I had a bunkee, deskee, dushkee, sidee, closie, bestie, homie, twinnie, schoolie and even enemie, just to name a few. Of course, I knew that would not be the case here. From what I had heard about American culture, I did expect people to be somewhat shallow or seemingly distant. Even so, it still is so much pressure for me to really pretend I don’t know someone when we cross paths on Locust Walk.

But not everyone is distant. “I know Zimbabweans at Penn – you are this unbreakable community!” a Hispanic sophomore told me. Alongside the Africans who are close, there are also Americans who actually have concern, but often it is only because it is their job to ensure we are all okay. There are also people who really want to help. You’ll often hear, I got you! from a random Penn student or staff member when they offer that help. And I’ve been in the habit of saying it too when I give people directions or show them how to operate certain things. Apparently, not everyone has everything figured out here too – race or gender doesn’t always determine how much you struggle. Also, actions that would have normally called for a disciplinary action in Zimbabwe, I’m only told no you’re good or you’re fine. Really? Really. It’s more complicated though if it’s a deadline you missed. You missed it, therefore you’ll face the consequences. “Ideally”, since I came to the US, almost every day is a deadline.

On a different note, I was surprised by how more often than not Americans prefer to sit crossing their legs, the yoga way. Most people at Penn love coffee and they love it very strong. You will see adults eating cookies and donuts, food seen as made for kids in Zimbabwe. What I find particularly humbling is how it is considered very normal for adults to sit on the floor at an event where there is an unforeseen large turn up of people. In addition, being in America doesn’t mean everything automatically becomes convenient for you. People work extremely hard in order to earn a good living.

In this incredibly fast-paced life, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Today I literally feel myself walk while leaning forward from a burdened heart. But I know, I’m just beginning. And when I do meet with my 17 year old self again, I want her not worry about the fact that I have not decided yet on the engineering degree, job, or place to work in mind for 22 year old me. What I want her to find reassuring is how much I am fortunate enough to be growing in character with each new experience and each new day.

Nyasha Zimunhu attended Goromonzi High School and is now a first year Engineering student at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Disclaimer: This article was originally published on Education Matters-USAP Perspectives:

A Beginner’s Guide to The Pill: Everything You Need to Know

By Jenni Whalen and Emily Platt
7 minute read 


So, you’re considering going on The Pill. And with a name as ominous as that, who wouldn’t have questions? Fear not, collegiates—we’ve got the answers. We got some advice from the experts, and we’re here to give a run-down on everything you should know before delving into the world of oral contraception.

Birth control pills can help us with everything from preventing pregnancy to eliminating acne and minimizing menstrual cramps. It’s important to remember, however, that there are also risks associated with these pills. Rozalyn Yannacone, a Registered Nurse Practitioner at Bucknell University who specializes in gynecological services, shares some tips on how to deal with the ups and downs of birth control.

The Pill, Explained

So, what is the Pill, anyway?

Basically, there are two types of pills—combination pills (containing estrogen and progestin) and progestin-only pills (sometimes called mini pills). Like any hormone, ingredients contained in the Pill can have profound effects on your body, and frankly we’re not qualified to delve into the science specifics! At the basic level, though, the Pill works in a few different ways:

  • It thickens the mucus in your cervix, making it nearly impossible for sperm to access your eggs.
  • It thins your uterine lining, meaning that even if an egg is fertilized, it won’t be able to attach to your uterus
  • It can ovulation (science-talk for when your egg leaves the overies and becomes available for fertilization)

​The final bullet is extremely important to note, because if you do notice any signs of ovulation while on the Pill, it may not be working! Consult your gynecologist stat and she’ll work with you to figure out what’s going on—it will all depend on what type you’re taking.

No matter what pill you’re on, you’ll be required to take it (or a placebo if you’re on a combination brand) every single day—and most likely at the same time everyday! So, if that sounds like something you’re not ready to commit to, you should reconsider choosing the Pill as your form of birth control. When it comes to the Pill, forgetting a dose can completely ruin the pack’s efficacy!

Benefits of the Pill

By now you’ve probably figured out that the Pill prevents pregnancy. But what you may not know is that pregnancy-prevention is far from the Pill’s only benefit! In fact, the Pill is often prescribed to collegiettes for reasons other than contraception. Here’s the low-down of some awesome Pill-related benefits:

  • Got killer cramps? Not anymore!
  • Sick of hormone-induced acne? Say buh-bye!
  • Suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome? The Pill can help!

Ask your gynocologist for an explanation about the reasoning behind these benefits and whether or not she thinks that the Pill can produce them for you. If you’ve got debilitating cramps, aggitating hormone imbalances or flare-up acne that just won’t settle down, the Pill may be the answer to your prayers. Thanks, birth control!

Starting Your Birth Control

According to Yannacone, the first three months of taking birth control pills—as well as other birth control methods including the ring and patch—can be difficult. It often takes time for your body to adjust, and most women experience at least a few negative (albeit totally minor) symptoms. During the first month, adjustment bleeding is common. With adjustment bleeding, it is common to see some unexpected spotting even if you aren’t technically on your period. Alternatively, the opposite can occur—some women will stop menstrating altogether! Finally, many collegiettes may also experience nausea, breast tenderness and turbulant emotions during their first few days on the Pill.

So, if these symptoms are initially normal, when should we expect them so stop? “By the third month with the pill, what you see is what you get forever,” says Yannacone. She notes that it’s important to remember that you may have to stick it out for a few months in order to see how your body will react to the Pill. Of course, if her patients are experiencing symptoms like extreme and overwhelming nausea or severe weight gain within the first few days of their pill packs, Yannacone will usually switch them to a different type of pill fairly quickly. In general, however, by the third month, emotional fluctuations should be fairly nonexistent and nausea should no longer be a part of daily life. Breast tenderness should also disappear, although collegiettes may experience increased breast fullness (it’s apparently rare, but many of us are convinced it’s happened to us!) for the entirety of the time that they remain on the Pill—we’ll take it!

But what if you’ve already started and have been mysteriously symptomless? That’s totally normal too! You’re simply one of the lucky ducks out there who go through the transition as seamlessly as possible—congrats!

Finding the “Perfect Pill”

As it turns out, finding the right pill is no one-and-done deal. “There is no way to pick a perfect pill for everybody,” says Yannacone. “It’s trial and error.”

Although she always starts collegiettes with a low dosage, Yannacone says that she will switch them to different types of pills or dosages of pills if they are still experiencing negative symptoms like nausea, breakthrough bleeding or excessive mood swings after three months (or less than three months, depending on the severity of those symptoms).

The necessity of upping the dosage of the Pill makes sense once you understand the biology of the birth control pills. Most pills have the same estrogen hormones but different brands have different levels and types of progestins. If a woman is having trouble with her pills—say she is experiencing spotting even when she is not having her period—an increase of progestin (or perhaps a different type of progestin) can help the uterine lining thicken, meaning that the breakthrough bleeding will stop.

“It all has to do with the makeup of the body and how each person responds to pills,” says Yannacone. A birth control pill that works great for one of her patients can cause nausea and weight gain for another—so it really is a gamble at first!

It’s also important to realize that the brand of pill may not be the problem. In fact, you may not have chosen the right form of birth control. Some collegiettes experience nausea from the Pill that never, ever subsides. For these women, options like NuvaRing or an IUD may be a better bet. There’s tons of options out there, including shots, patches, and of course, condoms—only you and your gyno will truly know which method works best with your lifestyle.

Ramifications of Using the Pill

Those rumors about the Pill causing infertility? Totally false, according to Yannacone. “Birth control pills do not affect your ability to have children.”

There is a nuance, however, for a specific subset of women who suffer from over suppression. Over suppression occurs only in women who have irregular periods while on the Pill (as in 7 to 10 periods a year instead of 11 to 13). These women often have a difficult time getting pregnant once they stop using the Pill because it can take a while for their bodies to begin ovulating again. While the average woman typically begins ovulating and getting regular periods about 3 to 6 months after they stop using the Pill, women who experience over suppression will have irregular periods for far longer. So, if you’re not on a period-suppressing pill (remember, some can purposely stop them altogether!) and you experience fewer than 10 periods a year, check in with your doctor about switching to a different method of contraception, just to be safe.

In addition, Yannacone says that the only real infertility danger for most women occurs because of STDs. “Many women think that because they are on the Pill, they don’t need to use condoms. As a result, they get STDs (most commonly Gonorrhea or Chlamydia) that damage their reproductive organs and result in infertility.” Here that, collegiettes? STDs are not something to mess around with, which is why the safest method of birth control always involves doubling up with condoms. After all, is it really worth the risk?

The Pill’s Biggest Danger

While the Pill is relatively safe, often super beneficial, and taken by millions of women each and every day, there is one major health concern you need to be wary of.

Keara, a Hamilton collegiette, can’t take birth control pills because of the potential of blood clots. “I can’t take birth control and I think that it’s important that other girls are aware of why,” she says. “Nobody in my family knew that we hada genetic predisposition to blood clotting called a Protein C deficiency. My sister started taking birth control to help regulate her period, and ended up having a pulmonary embolism.”

According to Yannacone, birth control pills actually change the body’s clotting mechanisms, meaning that collegiettes who are on the Pill may be more prone to strokes and heart attacks—both of which result from blood clots.

Don’t worry too much though, girls! We’re trying to inform you, not terrify you! Luckily, there are five danger signs that can immediately help you identify an issue: migraine headaches, blurred vision, leg pain, chest pain and abdominal pain. These five warning signs are indicative of a possible stroke or heart attack as a result of blood clots, so if you or one of your friends experience any of these symptoms while taking birth control, see a doctor immediately.

The Big Picture

All in all, if you’re sexually active you should be using some form of birth control. “In college, you are at a time in your life when a pregnancy is not ideal,” says Yannacone. “So it is important to protect yourself in some way.”

Birth control pills can be great—they can help you have clearer skin, shorter periods and milder menstrual cramps. They can protect you from pregnancy and prevent excessive mood swings. They can even increase your breast size by a cup size or two.

But with every perk comes some downsides, so stay tuned in to your body as you begin to take the pills. If you’re still experiencing nausea, breast tenderness and adjustment bleeding after three months (or severe symptoms before those three months have passed), see your doctor to discuss changing pills or changing birth control methods. And if you experience migraine headaches, blurred vision, leg pain, chest pain or abdominal pain, head to the doctor immediately as you may be experiencing the Pill’s biggest danger: blood clots.

Finally, it should go without saying that you should never rely solely on web searches when trying to understand any health process—birth control included! It’s absolutely necessary that you find a gynecologist that you feel totally comfortable with and discuss your options, symptoms, questions and concerns on a regular basis. Trust us, she’ll love to help!

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ATTENTION MALE SPECIES: Date a girl who reads

Vimbai Chinembiri
4 minute read

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or if she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

Zimbabwe's Leading Lifestyle CampusZine

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