Orlando is home to me. Even though I'm currently living in Saint Louis, Orlando will probably always feel like home. I attended high school and college there, and spent the majority of my adulthood thus far there. Yesterday I wrote about something else because it felt safer, and probably because we like to be distracted from things that are painful. My fear is that we'll become immune to the effects of a mass shooting in Anywhere, U.S.A. because they've happened so often on our soil, and because they seemingly happen elsewhere (i.e. not to me) - we feel their pain for a moment and then we move on without making efforts to change the future. Until...yes, until it does happen in your neighborhood. It does happen to someone you love. Or worse, it happens to you.

I understand the 2nd Amendment, and I'm not interested in denying American citizens the freedoms our Constitution set forth. However, I strongly believe there are boundaries...limits...exceptions that must be considered and taken seriously. I don't believe the enjoyment of our freedoms should allow us to engage in mass killings of our own people. I can understand owning a handgun for personal protection and safety, and I understand those who want to own guns for hunting and sport activities - though I've never held one or owned one. But a handgun is not an assault rifle. Why would any American citizen need an assault rifle? The answer is: they don't.

I'm sure you've seen the list of places where mass violence has occurred. Isn't is astonishing just how long that list is now? And yet we have changed nothing with regard to gun restrictions. Nothing. Please let your voice be heard. Wherever you live in the country, reach out to your local leaders and tell them we need change. We need stricter gun laws enacted so these senseless tragedies do not happen again.

And one final thought...it has been plastered all over the headlines that a mass shooting occurred at a GAY NIGHT CLUB. I'd like to remind people that it was a dance club. A dance club that supported the LGBTQ community, but was inclusive of everyone. There were people attending the club on that fateful night who were not gay. It was Latin Night and the club naturally attracted many from the Hispanic community. If you've seen the names of the deceased, you've likely noticed that the majority were Hispanic. In Jimmy Fallon's Monday night opening monologue, he said something that particularly resonated with me: keep on dancing. Yes, exactly!

Rise up and Keep. On. Dancing.

I love you, Orlando.


style: nisolo

Nisolo is a lifestyle brand based in Nashville, Tennessee and Trujillo, Peru, that is founded on the principles of quality, transparency, and impact. The founders discovered the rich shoemaking heritage and talent of the artisans in Peru. However, these artisans struggled to connect with entrepreneurs that would bring their goods to the global market. In 2011, Nisolo was born to do just that with their collection of shoes for women and men, along with jewelry and accessories. Even better, consumers know where their goods are sourced, along with the impact their purchase makes on the lives of those who make them. I'm in.

*images via Nisolo



style: dear survivor

It was Christine Longoria's jewelry designs that caught my attention, but it's her story that keeps me coming back. Dear Survivor is the business she started to, in her words, right the wrongs she's seen. Currently, she donates 10% of every dollar to GenerateHope, an organization in California that works with trafficking survivors. To learn more, and to purchase her work, visit the website (link above).



inspiration: the bouqs

Gardenista posted about the best place to use for sending flowers for Mother's Day and one of the places they recommended was The Bouqs, a Venice, California-based floral industry disruptor. What makes them different is that they source flowers from eco-friendly farms that are cut the day you order them and delivered within 2-4 days - all at a reasonable price. Sounds good to me, so I bought my mom flowers for Mother's Day through them and they provided me with a tracking number to know when they arrive. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there...even moms to four-legged babies!



*image via The Bouqs

inspiration: a california bohemian-chic abode

I've stated before how much I love Canadian shelter publication, House & Home. They always have inspiring spreads, and I love how they combine design with travel and great recipes. In the May 2016 issue, actor Walton Goggins opens up his family home and it's lovely. The house has Spanish influences in its bones and the couple has decorated it with a laid back Bohemian vibe that includes treasures picked up from travels around the world. I apologize for the terrible iPhone photos, but when I saw it I immediately knew I wanted to share it with you STAT! 

*images via House & Home May 2016

healthy body: b12

Back in 2011 I wrote a post on the importance of vitamin B12, which I urge you to read (here) because it contains so much good information about symptoms of B12 deficiency and reasons behind that deficiency you might not think about. That is exactly the reason I'm writing an additional post related to B12, because I wasn't seeing the connection to why my B12 levels were low despite eating a healthy diet rich in grass-fed meat, eggs, and seafood. Within the past week I've told you about the how common it is for people suffering with low thyroid function to also have low stomach acid, which has been at the root of my issues with properly absorbing the beneficial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from the food and supplements I've been taking.

I told you my B12 level when tested about a month ago (with a simple blood test) was 323. It should absolutely be over 500, and then ideally should be between 800 and 900, otherwise you are likely suffering from B12 deficiency. And this vitamin is so important to many functions in the body, particularly digestion - that a deficiency can lead to problems like depression, dementia, eye problems, and sleep problems - to name a few. So, you can see that B12 is vital to your first brain and your second brain - also known as your stomach.

Here's what I'm doing to improve my B12 level: I'm taking Betaine HCL with Pepsin (here) to increase stomach acid production, so I can properly absorb B12 from my food and supplementation. I'm also following a very clean diet, free of processed foods and refined sugars. I've also been supplementing with B12 sublingual lozenges (here).

Again, sources of B12 are grass-fed meat, eggs, seafood, and dairy, so if you are vegan or vegetarian you will certainly need to supplement. Supplementation is best with B12 injections, oral sprays, and sublingual lozenges, as these seek to avoid your digestive system altogether - which is beneficial if you've got issues with low stomach acid.

healthy body: oil pulling

A little over a year ago I started oil pulling with coconut oil. Oil pulling is the practice of taking a spoonful of oil (I prefer coconut, but you can use others. Make sure they're organic and non-GMO) and swishing it around in the mouth for 15-20 minutes before spitting it out (I use the kitchen trash since it's lined with a trash bag). You don't want to swallow any of the oil because it contains germs, bacteria, and toxins that you have just worked to rid from your mouth.

By looking into the mouth, you can tell a great deal about a person’s health.
— From Oil Pulling Therapy by Dr. Bruce Fife

I started doing some research when I first went to the dentist here in St. Louis after visiting the same dentist in Florida for 20 years. I always had good dental visits with pats on the back for everything looking good. Suddenly, I felt as though I had lots of issues...well, not a lot, but enough to think something was up. The dentist said I had some gum recession on a couple teeth and he thought I should do gum graft surgery to fix it before it becomes a real problem. Then, he said I had a small cavity in my very back tooth (I still have all my wisdom teeth). And the final thing relates to the mercury filling I have - yes, I think I've mentioned my desire to remove this due to the incredibly toxic mercury. I've even wondered if the mercury filling was the trigger for my thyroid issues. What they don't tell you when they put mercury in your mouth is that one: it's toxic, and two: it expands. This expansion causes the tooth to crack, for which you then need a crown. My tooth has small cracks on all four sides, but they weren't sure if it had penetrated all the way around the bottom.

I was floored. How could I suddenly have so many things wrong? So, I started looking into natural ways to heal gums and cavities. I had heard about the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, but I decided to become more familiar with his work...and also oil pulling. I'm a huge proponent of the benefits of coconut oil, so I picked up the book, Oil Pulling Therapy by Dr. Bruce Fife.

This is an informative and fascinating read on the origins of oil pulling and the experiences people have had by doing it - including the experiences of Dr. Fife. So, I began oil pulling right after reading this and have been doing it almost everyday since (except when I'm out of town). It might take some getting used to but put on your big boy pants. I find it fascinating that people won't hesitate to put red dye no. 40 or other toxic, unpronounceable ingredients in their body, but then ask them to swish around some completely natural coconut oil in their mouth and they're suddenly a big baby. Anyway, I've noticed my gums looking a nice bright pink color, and where it seemed my gums could bleed easily before with flossing - very rarely now. The dentist noticed my healthy gums and said there was no further recession. I will tell you, good luck finding a dentist that will support your efforts to naturally heal your mouth. Most of them will likely poo-poo the practice of oil pulling, so you have to be your own advocate and try it for yourself. It can absolutely NOT hurt you. I was going to a dentist who recently added the word holistic to their website address and yet they seemed less-than-thrilled when hearing about my oil pulling and working to remineralize my teeth and reverse decay. The hygienist even referred to it as "the healthy stuff" I was doing. Yeah, that along with the fake plants in the waiting room were my clues that these people didn't know the first thing about being holistic. So, again, do your research. There are plenty of people willing to pretend they're something they're not to get your money and be part of something they think is trendy. If can make for some frustrating experiences. Trust me, I've been there. But don't give up.

As for me, I'm pretty vigilant about oral health since I'm realizing that all disease does truly begin in the mouth. The mouth is a part of the digestive tract, and if it's healthy, your intestines will be healthy.