Posts made in May, 2012

Your Weather Forecasting is Spot On! Guest post by Susie Hades, Founder, Personally Cool, Inc

Posted by on May 7, 2012 in hot flash, HRT | 0 comments

You may recall that about a week ago, I took the mick out of ColdFront, a new personal cooling system designed to cool those hot flashes. The day that the post ran, ColdFront inventor and Personally Cool Founder Susie Hades posted a comment with an offer to provide with me a sample so that I could try it for myself. Although I turned Susie’s offer down, I did reach out to her via email and phone and we had a lengthy conversation about her vision and the product. And you know what? I was impressed by her philosophy and approach, so much so that I offered her a guest spot on Flashfree.

Part of my mission is to reveal products and agents that work and that don’t, to uncover snake oil approaches and provide data-driven alternative solutions. Mostly though, I believe that information is truly power AND empowering, and that by educating ourselves, we are in a better position to play a role in driving and shaping decisions about our health and our healthcare.

Susie’s goal is not unlike mine and I encourage you to show some love. And Susie? I am glad that we had a chance to exchange ideas and start what is certain to be more than one conversation. We need more of those exchanges if we are ever going to move menopause out from under the Menopause Industrial Complex and into the hands of women who want viable and safe solutions.

I founded Personally Cool in 2007 because I couldn’t find what I call an “and” product for hot flash relief: drug-free; AND effective; AND safe; AND convenient; AND discreet; AND elegant; AND eco- and wallet-friendly.

I must have bought and tried one of almost every type of hot flash relief product available with the exception of bio-identical or hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Even though the efficacy was unquestionable, the data tell a larger story for HRT.

In 2002, increased risks of breast cancer, stroke, and a number of other side effects were widely expressed across various studies. As a result, prescriptions of Prempro (a leading Wyeth/Pfizer HRT product) dropped 80% by the fourth quarter of 2003.[1] Women, frightened and confused by the findings of these studies, wanted other choices.

Our own research (both initial and a just-completed survey of 300 women) confirms that women are still looking for safe alternatives to HRT. We also learned a number of other interesting facts – from how often and with what severity women hot flash, to how they handle them. Two poignant realities were derived from this last point. First, more than 80% of the women we surveyed had either never used HRT or they stopped at the advice of doctors or of their own volition. Second, more than 55% of the women currently experiencing hot flashes – given the choices they’ve faced until now – deliberately choose to do nothing at all. In other words, they literally sweat them out.

I invented coldfront to be the “AND” product that other products aren’t, and I am proud to say that it is. A test panel conducted late in our product development to make sure that we got it right was critically helpful. We abandoned certain product features that we loved but that our intended audience didn’t. After testing coldfront for three days, over 80% of our panelists reported that they’d never use anything other than coldfront to relieve their hot flashes. This was huge!

Yes, coldfront is great at cooling a hot flash, but we couldn’t ignore larger forces at work – the enormous need for psychological and social relief from the stigma of menopause. Although we’re living up to a third of our lives post-menopause, our society still sees menopausal women in an unflattering light. Among women my age, there is a growing desire to reassert control over our own lives and bodies, and to put a stop to allowing other people to define for us what this time of life should mean. Personally Cool wants to change the perception of midlife women and create our own conversation. When we say, “we make menopause cool,” we mean it – on a number of levels!

With coldfront, we are encouraging women to take charge of their own relief, which – in our case (pun totally intended!) – is no farther away than your handbag and no more complicated than what we already know works – cold – especially when it’s in the palm of your hand. It is so discreet and convenient that it allows most women to get through a hot flash without letting anyone know they’ve even had one.

And this, ultimately, is what sets coldfront apart from every other cold therapy product available today:

  1. coldfront was designed in every way to be compatible with the life of a menopausal woman who defines herself, simply, as a woman. It is the least intrusive, most effective, complete, and portable cold therapy system for hot flashing women on the market.
  2. coldfront can go right from the freezer to your bag because it was engineered to be condensation-free. Your bag, phone, or iPad will not get wet; you won’t be uncomfortable; and you don’t have to worry about batteries or enlarging your “carbon footprint.”
  3. Each woman experiences hot flashes differently and in different parts of their bodies. The two palm packs are formulated to last the average length of a hot flash, 1-3 minutes, and they can go wherever a woman needs them. After replacing them back in the case, within 20 minutes they will be cool again and ready for use.
  4. Hot flashes make you sweat! The antimicrobial super absorbent cloth wicks away moisture and is easily washed.
  5. Your day is long, and you’re not always near a freezer. coldfront will continue re-cooling the palm packs for up to 12 hours.
  6. Unlike one-time use cold packs, which can create over 600 pounds of toxic waste over the course of five hot-flashing years, and literally cost thousands of dollars, coldfront is phthalate-free, non-toxic, and costs less than $100 over the life of the product.
  7. Everything in the system is reusable and is designed to last.

Liz, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to your community and to speak about our product. Because women all experience menopause and hot flashes differently, we know that coldfront won’t be for everyone. But, we believe deeply that coldfront is something special – not just because it works, but because it speaks to a societal issue we believe we can change.

Here’s to a new kind of coldfront moving in!



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Unleash your power. Unleash your Talk.

Posted by on May 4, 2012 in women's health, Work/occupation | 6 comments

When you think ‘Bootcamp,’ you probably think fitness or the military, right? But what about a boot camp geared towards helping you grow professionally as a speaker, boost your self-confidence or develop new skills? All within the safety and support of two of your most trusted colleagues or friends? That’s what is so intriguing about my longtime friend Jill Foster’s Unleash Your Talk program.

I contacted Jill when I first heard about Unleash Your Talk, namely because I was so intrigued. And when we started to delve into exactly what it was, format resonated deeply — not only because of the deep respect I have for Jill and her skills — but also because it reflected on of my long time goals to encourage women to support one another.

No matter our age, situation, relationship status, creed, religion, or color we rely on our friendships and networks to raise us up and bring us out of the darkness into the light, to fully blossom, thrive and grow, to create, express and love.

  • Data from a study published in Psychological Review in 2000 suggests that women’s inherent response to stress is to ‘tend and befriend’ rather than ‘fight or flight;’ in other words, there is a biologically-defined strategy or pattern that involves caring for offspring, joining social groups, and gravitating towards friends under stressful circumstances. This is driven, at least in part, by the release of the hormone oxytocin, which coupled with endogenous opioids and other sex hormones, promotes maternal behavior as an alternative to the male-oriented fight and flee response.
  • Findings from the Nurses Health Study have also shown that friendships help prevent the development of physical impairment and facilitate a more joyful existence. What’s more, having a strong social network can lower blood pressure and heart rate and improve cholesterol levels.

The bottom line is that Mama Nature has provided us with a built-in prompt to maintain those ever important bonds. Our inherent tendency to nurture completes the picture. It appears that as women, we possess the strongest alternative strategy to aging in existence: our friends.

So, let’s get back to Unleash your Talk.  Jill has taken the premise of achieving long term gains in health and wellbeing, i.e. strengthening friendships and support networks and has applied the same philosophy to public speaking. Unleash Your Talk provides a means for women who want to explore new facets and avenues for growth in their professional lives to do so in an intimate, supportive environment. The ultimate goal is not only to identify your personal, professional beliefs that drive you but also to provide a strategy that allows you to share those skills with others in a meaningful fashion. And Jills says that whether or not participants select a four-hour or full-day intensive, they will achieve, at minimum, a stronger ability to assert and present themselves in a public setting,an approach to communicate persuasively in power situations (e.g. client/boss scenarios) and means to break through the barriers that keep them from achieving success, whatever that looks like (e.g. what if I look or sound imperfect?). The more intensive full day also includes three take-away speaker proposals, a video content/performance project and review, and ongoing access to a coach for 30 days.

For women in midlife, reentering the job force, changing careers or delving into more professional speaking roles can be paralyzing. I love that Jill has taken the basic tenets of health and wellness, i.e. support, caring for one another, trust and communication, and applied them to a strategy to empower and enable. When we think about it, most of us have one or two people we bounce ideas off of consistently, whether they are personally or professionally-oriented. Unleash Your Talk promotes the medical and social concept of trusted peers and utilizes this dynamic as a means to move us forward in a professional, structured capacity.

Jill says that “public speech is public power.” I would like to add that public speech is personally empowering and personal power.

Check out this recap of a bootcamp that Jill conducted a few weeks ago. Isn’t it time to unleash your power? And Unleash your Talk?


Based in the Washington, DC region, she is a speechwriter and delivery coach, helping people develop distinct message & voice as public speakers.

About Jill…

Cited by ForbesWoman as one of 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter, Jill Foster is principal of Live Your Talk. Based in the Washington, DC region, she is a speechwriter and delivery coach, helping people develop distinct message & voice as public speakers. Believing strong communities come from strong conversations (and public speaking skill) — Jill works with award-winning entrepreneurs, CEOs, and innovators makin’ it happen as public speakers — on stages likeTED and TEDxIgnite, plus a variety of keynotes around the globe. A social technology advocate, her work has been in conversation in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Guardian UK, Washingtonian Magazine, and a range of media outlets.

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Wednesday Bubble: Forget the Baubles!

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in hot flash, humour | 3 comments


You need Hot Girls Pearls! 

I’m giving full credit to my BBFF Amy Zimmerman for this fantabulous find. And if you are wondering about these baubles, they’re for all you flashing fashionista babes who think being cool and confident isn’t just a cliche. In fact, Hot Girls Pearls contain an icy gel to make sure that you won’t be sweating at the office or during a dinner date. Going out for a hot night on the town? The only thing that’s gonna be hotter than you sister is that woman next to you without her pearls! That is, if you dig the “Wilma Flintstone” look (as Amy points out). And lordy lord, how much do these babies weigh, anyhow? Just looking at them causes me to break into a sweat.

Still, I haven’t tried them and you know what they say “don’t knock it til you try it.’ Personally, this isn’t my look and big pearls are just baubles gone bad in my book.

Yikes! This one’s got ‘burstable’ written all over it.

p.s. show Amy some love and visit her wonderful blog post about these babies…


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