A Rise in Plastic Surgery

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Chade Nix, 27, clicked on various websites surveying the different options of plastic surgeons near her Marietta, Georgia home. As she studies the ‘before and after’ photos from different surgical procedures, she glances at the reflection of her almond shaped eyes, high cheek bones and protruding lips. Nix expresses her excitement at the idea of a possible consultation regarding which of her own physical features could possibly be altered or enhanced to achieve her idea of perfection.

“Women want to be pretty, and whatever that look is, that’s what they want to be,” said Nix. “If this means being an over-processed blonde, or a long wavy brunette, a refined nose or ears pinned back. Whatever will make you reach that pillar of success or at least look the part.”

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RISE IN NUMBERS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2013 statistics indicate a rise since 2012 in the most common procedures of breast augmentations, eyelid surgeries, facelifts, Botox injections, chemical peels and soft tissue fillers.

“Cosmetic surgery has evolved,” said Nix, who feels surgery is no longer as controversial as it was 10 years ago. “Cosmetic surgery now is like scheduling a routine Pap smear. Being ‘au naturel’ is overrated”.

“The rise in numbers is primarily due to the new innovative, minimally-invasive procedures,” said Adeena Badditt, ASPS director of public relations. “Botox became the number one non-surgical procedure and led to fillers, lasers procedures, and all types of new treatments. New technology means new less invasive procedures that people feel more comfortable with.”

“There are two populations of consumers,” said Dr. Edward Farrior, Tampa Florida plastic surgeon. “Younger people are usually coming in to address an unattractive feature. Typically, the older people are perfectly well adjusted with the skeletal characteristic of their face; they just don’t want to look older. There’s always been that dichotomy in the two populations of consumers.”

The conceived benefits of these surgeries include improved self-esteem, enhancing social lives, and even heightening careers. “Self-esteem certainly impacts someone’s ability to perform at work. Cosmetic surgery is known to enhance that,” said Farrior. “So if someone has a distracting feature – a weak chin, a prominent nose – and they address that distraction, when they’re having meetings with people, they’re not concerned with how they look because they know they look good.”

The Facial Plastic Surgery & Reconstructive Surgery Academy has indicated that two-thirds of men and women requested cosmetic surgery because of competition in the workforce where emotional confidence was directly related to better performance, often amplifying success.

Nix considers plastic surgery an investment in personal success and happiness. “Enhancement of one’s career, social status, or love life is kinda the point of well, life”.

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PATIENTS GETTING YOUNGER

Advancements in technology also have influenced a rise among teens who seek to go under the knife. In 2011, plastic surgery in teens accounted for over 131,000 procedures. Recent ASPS statistics reveal that over 160,000 patients between the ages of 13-19 opting for minimally invasive cosmetic surgery throughout 2012.

“I don’t like my boobs. They make me look like I’m 12,” said Long Island high school student, Kira Palmer, 16. Palmer is one of many young girls who feels that enhancement of her cup size would make her more content with her appearance. “I’m still an A [cup], it’s bad”. While Palmer has no immediate intention to alter her looks, she understands the allure. “Plastic surgery is a personal preference. I don’t really see a problem with it”.

“Kids, kids meaning people under 18, are beginning to feel surgery is an option for them whereas, ten years ago, very few teens considered it,” said psychologist Vivian Diller Ph.D. “Now we’re seeing an increase in request for many other surgical procedures including breast reduction and breast enhancement.”

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IMPACTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

A recent 2014 AAFPRS study indicated that one in three facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in requests for procedures due to social media, attributing increased photo sharing to the dissatisfaction patients have with their own image.

Reports revealed in 2013, more than half of surveyed facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectable in those under age 30.

“If you look at what social media has done with both the way we present ourselves, and with the success of younger people, the perception is in order to remain competitive you have to look young and engaged in more timely appearance,” said Farrior.

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PROCEDURES MORE AFFORDABLE 

Plastic surgery isn’t exclusively for celebs anymore. The recent change in affordability and availability of financing allows those of limited income to afford this luxury.

“Cosmetic surgery is very sensitive to the state of the economy and so when the economy took a downturn, the prices came down. It’s very market sensitive,” said Farrior.

Health insurance may cover some of the cost depending on the procedure. Under the law, breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is covered by health insurance. A deviated septum can, at times be a justifiable reason for rhinoplasty coverage. However, if the purpose of the surgery is intended only to improve physical appearance, no coverage is offered.

Surgical procedures and pricing are discussed during consultations, with all fees reviewed. During this time, financing options are also discussed. These options enable those with average or limited incomes to pay for surgical procedures over a period of time. Popular financing companies include American Benefit Credit, Chase Health Advance, Cosmetic Surgery Financing, and Health One Financial, each offering different revolving lines of credit and interest rates based on individual credit scores.

“Financing makes it better,” said Astoria, Queens resident Elizabeth Garcia, 24. “It’s more affordable. I wouldn’t think twice now about wanting to get something done. If I wanted [a procedure], I would just put it on a credit card.”

Less recovery time has also led many to think more favorably towards plastic surgery. Non – invasive procedures are also more isolated allowing surgeons to perform major operations without large incisions. The use of new technology such as lasers, results in less pain, minimal scarring, and a speedy recovery allowing the patient to return work sooner.

“Having any downtime can cost you your job these days”, said Garcia who considers the quick recovery a significant perk of the new advanced procedures. “Now you can get a little nip/tuck on Friday and be back to work by Monday. Talk about convenient.”

Written By Janurie Ulett: Hailing from quaint suburbia, Long Island meets the fabulousness of NYC. With a Bachelors degree in journalism from Brooklyn College, Janurie’s passion for writing comes naturally, fueling her career as a health and fitness freelance journalist. Her signature flair can be described as 19th-century English meets modern day Dear Abby as she faithfully satisfies her readers’ appetites, one word at a time.

The Contemporary Professional Stylista

Who is the Contemporary, Professional Stylista?

The U Blush Woman is vibrant, multi-faceted, and dynamic! She is best summed as the Contemporary, Professional, Stylista. Otherwise noted, CPS! But who is this woman we speak of? In the the modern world, women are busy and wear multiple hats. We have to juggle our professional life, getting higher education, and pursuing our careers. But that’s not all. We are woman, meaning we are human and we value our womanhood. We break up to make up, travel and eat, and enjoy being entertained. We value our health and wellness, enjoy fashion and looking good.

The CPS represents the balance between one’s professional life and personal interests. At U Blush we recognize the need to have a  platform and community for a well rounded reader. Should the contemporary woman feel fragmented? Should she go to one site for fashion, another for love, and another to be in the know about popular culture and entertainment? No!  The contemporary woman is not broken up into little pieces rather all of her multiple parts come together to make up who she is and that is execatly how her news and information should be – all in one place! The CPS is a full woman, and all her wants, needs, and interests are right at her finger tips at U Blush Magazine.

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Appreciating the Full Woman 

So when we say the Contemporary, Professional, Woman we pay homage the the multi-dimensional woman of today’s world who can rock heels to a board meeting which she heads, strut to happy hour with her her girls, only to come home to her man who takes them off. Or she may dance the night away with a new beau she meets at the hottest lounge, and come home to tell her girls all about it. Either way she is comfortable in her own skin, diverse in her interests and abilities, and valuable to her self and all those around her. She demands respect not so much through her words but through the self respect and humilty that she carries with her daily.

The contemporary professional woman knows how to weather the storms of life. She understand that life has its ups and downs and she has had her fair share of roller coaster rides. She maintains her dignity and respect by keeping faith and continuing to live as the best version of herself. Committed to growth and development she explores the world through travel, dining, and cultural experiences as well as reading and sharing intellectual and regular home girl conversations with old and new friends. The CPS is as strong as she is “weak”, able to put on her big girl shoes to rise to any challenge when the time calls but sheds tears and leans on a friends when its needed.

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The Contemporary Professional Woman is best described as

Bold in her appreciation of Love and the cycles of relationships from embracing her singledom, to enjoying the dating life, entering into relationships, and trusting the time for breakups. Her relationships romantically, with family and friends, and with herself are equally important.

Luxurious in her appreciation of Lifestyle through travel, exploration, fine dinning, and unique experiences. She may be born in the USA but this travelista has a passport and travels the world internationally! Even when she doesn’t she dreams of getting off American shores, researches distant lands, and plans to eventually make her international debut, just when the time is right!

Unique in her appreciation for entertainment. She knows how to relax, enjoy art, maybe even tap into her own creative sides. From watching the latest films, television shows, and listening to the latest music to an appreciation for independent art, this woman can escape the reality of life and appreciate arts imitation of it.

Sophisticated in her appreciation for maintaining her health and wellness. Recognizing that self care is important she seeks to live well through taking care of her mind, body, and soul  – nutritious eating, exercise, and inspirational writing can maintain her need for wellness.

Haute in her appreciation for fashion and make up. Yes this woman likes to look good and see’s her wardrobe and face as a means of sharing her beauty with the world. Her sense of style is a picture of what’s inside, it reveals inner parts of her because who she is shines bright in what she presents to the world.

Cheers to the U Blush Woman in You!

Debt For Diploma

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Graduation

After years of studying, countless hours of hard work, going to classes, all nighters, and working multiple jobs, you made it! The day you walk across the stage to have your higher education degree conferred to you is like walking on clouds. From a Bachelors degree, to a Masters, or perhaps the highest honors of a Professional degree, you  put in the time and effort and finally reap the reward – a diploma. As you partake in celebrations you inevitably hear that fateful question from well intentioned family and friends, “So, what’s next?”

This answer can be anxiety provoking for some – post graduation plans come with their own set of worries. It’s no secret that our job market differs from that our parent’s generation. Though the economy is slowly rebuilding itself employment, especially for recent grads, takes time to secure. Many graduates find themselves working odd jobs in order to make ends meet because of difficulties attaining employment in their field of study. In 2011 about 1.5 million (over half) of young adults under 25 years old who held a bachelors degree were either unemployed or underemployed. These startling statistics were the highest they have been in 11 years.

Adding to their stress load is that six month dark cloud when student loan payments begin. On top of finding sustainable employment in their respective field of interest, graduates face paying back the money they had to borrow in order to earn a diploma – the vicious “Debt For Diploma” cycle. But why? Budget_Graph_Final01

University Funding

Funding sources for colleges and universities contribute to the debt for diploma system. At the dawn of this country elite private schools like Harvard and Columbia were a privilege for the wealthy class. Public universities, funded through the state and federal government were created to provide quality and affordable education for all qualified Americans. Prestigious public institutions like the University of California system have educated some of the brightest in this country at a fraction of the cost of a private school.

However, public universities have went from “State Funded” to merely “State Supported.” This means that instead of the majority of funding coming from government sources, only fraction of the cost to run the institution comes from monies received from the state and federal government. For example, state funding for the University of California has fallen 54% since 1990. The UC system receives only 18% of its funding sources from state and federal contracts and 11% from state general funds.  This means that the UC system has to harness additional funds from other sources in order to continue to provide hugh quality education to its students – contributing to the rising cost of education.

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Cost of College

The high costs to attend college and the shifting sources of paying for college are at the helm of the student loan debt crisis.

Public universities’ cost of attendenace has continuously risen, undermining their intent to provide affordable education to middle and lower income students. After adjusting for inflation, since1980 the cost of public universities has more than doubled. Adding the cost of room and board and adjusting for inflation the average cost to attend a public university is equivalent to the cost of attending a private institution a generation ago. From 2008 to 2010 the average cost of four year institutions, both rose 15%. For example, according to the Department of Education, the cost to attend Pennsylvania State University is 19,816, for tuition and board. The cost of a private school education is even more. After grants and scholarship aid, the net cost for an incoming student attending Harvard is $18,277.

Students are working longer hours, accumulating unprecedented amounts of debt and taking longer to graduate in order to close the gap between the costs of college and financial aid.”

Whereas government programs like the GI bill and other grants make it possible for millions of Americans to attend college, federal student aid has shifted from primarily grants to student loans.  In order to meet the costs to attending college, an overwhelming amount of students must utilize the loan system.

The average college student graduates with $26, 500 of debt. Even more, graduate students with masters and professional degrees, can easily leave school with student loan debt in excess of $50,000 to $100,000. Additional problems include the interests rates on student loans that are set to increase on July 1st, making it even more difficult for students to be debt free.
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 Good Debt?

Student loan debt might be considered “good debt” compared to credit card debt and debt from depreciating items like clothes and cars. This point of view recognizes that over one’s lifetime a person with a bachelors degree will earn about $1 million more than someone without a college degree. However, earnings to cost of living today is in peril compared to previous decades. For example, male college graduate earnings have remained stagnant for thirty years and women college graduates have only earned about 10% more than the previous generation. College educated women still earn less than college educated men. Though the cost of college has risen, rises in earnings have not followed suit.

Combined with the trouble of finding employment and higher wages, it is difficult to move forward. Instead of students graduating and starting at zero, students with loans start out at a deficit. Given the economic issues we face – stagnate wages and rising costs of living, it becomes a system where graduates’ income is tied up in the cost of survival – paying bills and paying loans. Students with $50,000 in student loan debt, 16% of borrowers, may very well face a monthly payment of $450. With an average starting salary of $44,455 a year, a $450 payment is a sizable amount of  $3,704 paycheck before taxes, other bills and living expenses. This minimizes the excess money one has to save, presenting trouble in owning property and accumulating wealth – the ultimate American dream and the key to viability in a capitalist society.Debtdiplomafinancial-freedom-systems

Tips to Financial Freedom

Higher education is celebrated and it’s important to note that upon obtaining one’s degree there are guideslines in place to aid students who have acquired debt.

Know what you owe: It’s important for an individual to know how much you owe before graduate and budget for it. Don’t let your student loan debt accumulate without your knowledge, be on top of it. Speak to your financial aid office, financial planners, and loaner to know what your payment options will be and plan for it.  Download Credit Karma application onto your phone or computer for up-to-date information on your debt.

Loan Forgiveness Programs: Do your research and find programs that offer loan forgiveness.

Multiple Streams of Income: Make your passion work for you.  Find ways to supplement your main source of income. This might mean that you utilize your hobbies and make financial investments so you have different sources of income – just in case of a rainy day.

Be in the Know: Research legislation, like the Student Loan Fairness Act (H.R. 1330) and politicians, like Representative Karen Bass and Elizabeth Warren, who are presenting solutions to address the student loan debt crisis. Utilize your voice, vote, and lobby your local representative – let them know where you stand on this issue!

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