Weekend Inspiration: Update, Friends & Aloe

As you may have noticed, people inspire me.  Their actions, their movements, their thoughts, their words.

I’ve been fairly radio silent in the last couple of weeks.  Working on a few projects and the day job has kept me hoppin’ as well. 🙂

But, I’ve been listening to Fally Ipupa and keeping that chill rhythm going on in the background of my mind in all of the busy-ness.

Still cleaning with eco-friendly green products.  Now using a scrubber sponge — it really does make a huge difference!  Eliminates much of the elbow grease.  I now have filters on both my kitchen sink and my bathroom shower head.  The goal?  To reduce the amount of chemicals entering my system.

I’m even looking at the cosmetics I use and researching how to convert to more environmentally friendly products.  And, since I have dark marks left from the health issue that I dealt with earlier this year, I’ve been researching natural products to use on my skin.  After reading a lot, and asking a bunch of people about their favorite products, I kept hearing the same thing — aloe.

I was mulling over using aloe when a colleague of my son’s told me about an aloe product that he’s been drinking that helped him with various health issues including reducing his cholesterol level in 30 days.  Needless to say, the coincidence did not escape me.

Have already purchased Aloe Vera Gelly and will let you know how it goes.


Deepak and Oprah are Meditating with Us

It’s so cool when these two mega-stars in their respective fields come together to do these 21-day meditations for all who wish to participate.  And the best part?  It’s totally 100% free.

So, not only are you getting two of the most respected names in the industry working with you virtually in this guided meditation over the course of 3 weeks.  You’re also getting a quality meditation in just about 20 minutes!  Efficient, effective and enlivening!

The current meditation series began last Monday, 7/17 and you can get more details here: https://chopracentermeditation.com/.

The theme for this meditation series is Desire & Destiny. I started on the 17th and the focus is all about uncovering/re-discovering who you are by pulling away the negative behaviors that can harm our success.  This is done via the meditations themselves, as well as 4 questions in the Daily Journal (available on the site).  There’s even an app which makes it easier to meditate even if you’re on the move, and traveling from state to state.  Or, country to island.

deepak oprah desire and destiny_July 2017

There are affirmations in Sanskrit that Deepak gives the translations.  There’s beautiful music in the background that helps you to relax and flow into the meditative experience.  There’s Oprah (!) on hand to introduce the topic, give a short anecdote and then she turns it over to Deepak.

I’ve done one of these 21-day meditation cycles in the past and have really wonderful experiencese with them.  The key is to form a habit and continue to meditate.  It has been said many times that if you do a thing 21 days in a row, it becomes a habit.

Why should we meditate?  Main reason?  To reduce stress!  Don’t believe me?  Check it out for yourself via the Huffington Post:

8 Ways Meditation Can Improve Your Life

Ta-ta for now,



An InDepth Look at Acai Berries

As many of you know, I am diving deep into the pool of wellness and seeking answers to the hard questions about which foods are healthiest to eat, and more importantly, how often can we eat them.  So many times we find out that this, or that fruit, herb, or grain is great for our bodies and we eat it every day.  (Or, maybe that was just me…)

However, as the old maxim states, Everything in moderation.

This is true even in the case of Acai Berries which according to Dr. Brent A. Bauer, writing for the Mayo Clinic’s website, “Acai is safe to consume, as long as you’re not allergic to the fruit.  But, use caution when consuming products made with acai that may have other ingredients, such as caffeine.”  [Obvious advice, but here’s the real question, Why would you add caffeine to a product with Acai in it??]

Okay, Dr. Bauer, you’re telling us Acai is safe. Great!  So, what are they?  And where do these berries come from?  The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) tells us that the acai (a-sigh-ee) berry comes from the acai palm tree which is “native to tropical Central and South America, [and] produces a deep purple fruit.  The acai fruit has long been an important food source for indigenous peoples of the Amazon region.”  The NCCIH also let’s us know that acai fruit pulp has been “used experimentally as an oral contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs).  Therefore, if you have an MRI scheduled and you’re using acai products, please tell your doctor.

The NCCIH also states that a preliminary study shows that a juice blend with mainly acai berry juice in it has an antioxidant effect in humans.  This is good!  WebMD tells us that antioxidants protect our bodies from harmful molecules called free radicals (me speaking: free radicals wreck havoc on our bodies!).  And HealthLine tells us that acai berries “contain high levels of important fatty acids such as omega-3, omega-6 and monounsaturated oleic acid.  [All of which are] essential for good health.”  Healthline also states that the acai berry would not be what it is without its blue-purplish skin.  “Like many other fruits, the skin contains fiber, and various nutrients, and most of the antioxidants.  If you’re buying a supplement, or a drink made from acai, you’ll want to make sure the product contains plenty of skin.”

I am comforted to know that while there may not be a lot of peer-reviewed studies about acai berries and their effect on humans, what is known is both positive and very encouraging.  What the doctors and scientists have already shown us is that acai berries, due to their high antioxidant properties, along with the other high level of vitamins and minerals contained within acai berries (like other berries contain) have the following health benefits:

  1. Great for Your Skin
  2. Powerful Anti-Oxidant
  3. Provides a lot of Energy
  4. Helps You Look Younger
  5. Reinvigorates Your Immune System
  6. Is a Cancer-Fighter


One last thing.  Acai berries spoil within a few days of being picked.  Therefore, when we here in America consume Acai, it’s most likely going to be in the form of a capsule, pill, powder, or a juice.  It goes without saying that acai can be quite costly especially since it is being shipped from Brazil, and other similar places.  Shop smart and check labels to ensure the product contains acai berry skin.

You can read more about Acai Berries by clicking on the links below.

7 Powerful Health Benefits of Acai Berry (Food Matters blog)

Acai Berry Juice Benefits (LiveStrong.com)

What Are Acai Berres: Do they have health benefits? (Mayo Clinic)

What is the Acai Berry? (HealthLine)

Alrighty folks.  I’m sold!  I’m going to run over to Amazon and pick up some powdered Acai Berry powder today and I’ll let you know how I feel and what I think in the weeks to come.

Ta-ta for now,


Weekend Inspiration: Melissa Bess Reed, CMA, Gluten Free

I *met* Melissa in 2014 on Twitter shortly after finding out that I had the genetic marker for Celiac Disease.  Melissa, diagnosed with Celiac in 1998, was my first role model for this new path and a new way to eat.  Her book, Gluten Free Lifestyle Series: Silly Yaks Favorite Recipes, helped me, and my family, eat healthier and in a manner that would not make me sick.

For the first post of this new weekly feature of closing out the week with an inspirational story, I just knew this inaugural article needed to feature Melissa.  She took me under her proverbial wing and shared tips and tricks on how to stop yourself from eating the wrong things.  Being armed with foods you can eat safely is the key.  Cooking at home, or from trusted sources, is a must.

At that moment in time, my main meals were the issue.  What could I eat that did not contain wheat, or any of its by-products?!?  And my prowess as a resourceful baker?  Out the window!  Who could make a light fluffy cake with a tender crumb and a buttery taste when I couldn’t use whole wheat flour?  Or, the lighter refined cake flour?

Enter Silly Yaks Favorite Recipes.  The first thing I made was the Chili Relleno Bake.  I really enjoyed them!  It was a new taste for me.  I was never a fan of chilies and cheese but this was yummy!  Next, I made Grammies Easy Jambalaya.  The whole family enjoyed this dish!! (Read about it here.)

I even live-tweeted while I was making the Jambalaya.  It was a lot of fun!  Taking pictures as I was putting it all together.  Asking questions as I went along and getting great feedback and advice during the process.  And Melissa?  She was there for the whole thing.  She supported my growth and budding enthusiasm.  She shared her knowledge without hesitation.


I even shared my blood test results with her and Melissa felt the results pointed more to an autoimmune issue rather than an allergy/intolerance/sensitivity to gluten.  That was in 2014.  Fast forward to 2017.  I was diagnosed with an autoimmune blistering disease.

Melissa was spot in.  She tirelessly studies and keeps abreast of new findings in regards to autoimmune conditions and how what we eat can help help our bodies.  As I mentioned earlier, Melissa was diagnosed in 1998 with Celiac Disease and then in 2012, she was diagnosed with Hashimoto Thyroiditis.  Both of these autoimmune conditions medically require a gluten free diet.  Melissa did not want to be a victim so she taught herself so she could share her knowledge with others to help them ease their way into this new eating lifestyle.

Silly Yaks Favorite Recipes

So, if you have any gluten issues, I would strongly suggest you check out Melissa’s cookbook and her blog.  She posts about new gluten free recipes, great food pairings, and sustainable living.

By having Melissa as a part of my life, I was able to grow past some pretty daunting food challenges and come out on the other side with a satisfied tummy that did not rumble in distress hours later.

From the East Coast to the sunny West Coast, I say a heartfelt, Thank you!, to my inspiration — Melissa Bess Reed.

Check out Melissa’s blog here.

Find Melissa on Twitter: @MelissaBessReed


Sometimes raindrops are like mini pizzas…

Sometimes raindrops are like mini pizzas…

As they fall, they pelt you in the head and wake you up to new possibilities.  Okay, weird analogy but it woke you up, right?  And that’s precisely how Life is.  We go blithely along our merry little way thinking (careful of that word: thinking) that we have it all mapped out, planned out – efficiently.  With me?  Then, BOOM.  Something happens that is so left of what we expected that we’re dumbfounded.  All thinking stops.  We just have to pause in our forward movement and re-gain our balance because everything we were thinking previously clearly was not what was actually happening.  That’s Life.

When you think you know what’s happening, and then you find out that you never had a clue, what do you do?  How do you reconcile how off-base you were with reality?  That’s the conundrum, isn’t it?  It’s hard to face that our perceptions were wholly incorrect, or skewed.  But, this is what we need to know to correct ourselves and get us back on track with our true (higher) purpose.

We were all born to live out a great purpose.  Now, depending upon what you chose to come here to do, you may start earlier, or later in life on the path to achieve your true purpose.  But, when we get so off-track that Higher Power/God/The Creator/your preferred name here comes along and resets the whole show we do have to acknowledge our missteps and put a plan in place to ensure we don’t go that off-track again.

To help us do that, we can:

  • Create a vision board to help us remember our goals,
  • Write a poem that incorporates all of the aspects of what we need to recall to move forward,
  • Write an essay/letter to ourselves,
  • Create a life plan (based on the often used coach tool, The Wheel of Life) sectioned off into specific areas of our lives that we need to grow/develop/work on [you can use a loose leaf binder for it, or go digital],
  • Create a song to ourselves, for ourselves to help us remember and get through the rough patches where we tend to begin to stray away from our goals,
  • Sit and meditate using visualizations we put together to help us deeply seed our minds, and thoughts with the images of what we want to accomplish,
  • Sit and do deep breathing to fill our bodies with Chi (Qi)/light/ashe/energy/prana which will help us to remember and hold close our dreams, hopes and goals,

Or, we can choose to do nothing to get past the obstacle, or challenge that Life threw your way.  We could choose to ignore the message.  We are human.  We do have free will.  We can choose to take the comfortable way out and be “normal.”  (Whatever that means.)

It’s hard to “man up”, or “woman up;” to face our fears unabashed and move towards the unknown.  That’s damned hard to do.  And, for some of us, at particularly vulnerable times in our lives, it’s pretty impossible – or, so we would like to believe.  This is where picking something to do, at least one thing!, is important.  This one thing will help us focus and baby-step our way out of the challenge and towards our goals.


Good luck on your baby-stepping today, and every day moving forward.

Lion Princess, Hear Us Roar

When the world gives you lemons, what are you supposed to do?  Make lemonade.  Beyonce did a fabulous job at it.  But, the rest of us don’t have access to the samae resources as the Diva, do we?

So, the rest of us have to find other ways to be creative and go around the obstacles that Life throws our way.  It’s funny.  Life’s curve balls seem as if they are out to destroy us.  Losing a job, a limb, losing a best friend — all these things look like out and out loses, right?  But, what if the job would have lead to an even bigger lose?  Like because you have to travel for the job you’re in an accident while on a business trip?  What if you lose that finger but save the hand?  The arm?  What if that best friend was only after your connection to the boss?

But we can’t know what’s down a particular road.  We can only hope to understand the bigger picture.  Because there is a bigger picture.  Right?  I believe there is a Grand Plan for us all.  I believe we can tap into that plan by quieting our minds and bodies for at least 20 minutes while breathing deeply.  I believe we can find a quiet stillness within.  A stillness we can merge with to gain the merest scent of what our future holds.  And that’s all we need, a little whiff of what’s to come.  Because, if we know too much we might get in our own way.

But what about Divine accidents?  Do they even exist?  Things that happen to us that have no true place in the Grand Plan.  You were just in the wrong place, at the wrong time.  Or, innocently, you did something that unleashed an unexpected (disastrous) consequence?  What do you say/do then?

Does going into the stillness help?  Or, is that just a reminder of the pain and suffering you’re experiencing?  I wonder because Singh Kaur, a vocalist known for her angelic harmonies, died of ovarian cancer.  Yet, Kaur was a Sikh.  She followed the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, a master of Kundalini Yoga.  Bhajan commissioned her to record a series of mantras.  Her voice, her music, uplifted thousands across the world.  Yet, she died suddenly of ovarian cancer while in the process of giving light to the world.  Why??


Here we could inject the idea of a Divine accident.  One that has no fault to the person, or to the powers that be.  Kaur could have walked past one too many corners littered with smokers on a break.  She could have had an unexpected blow to her abdomen by a kid playing little league ball.  She could have had a predisposition for cancer due to the genetics in her family…one could do this all day.  However, there are no answers to be had.  A gifted, blessed voice came, then left too soon.  Yet, there is the music still left for us to enjoy, to use and to utilize for inner growth.

So, I say forget about it!  Leave the Divine accidents to those that need to deal with them.  Let us shake ourselves off, go within to the place of stillness and continue getting those hints of what is to come so that we can get back on our own particular path.  The ultimate goal is to achieve one’s destiny — whatever that might be.  Even if we are taken off-track momentarily, maybe we needed some time to slow down enough to hear what we previously did not.

Sometimes a Divine accident is needed to help bring us back to our path.  Therefore, does it still qualify as an “accident”?  You know, that whole the ends justifies the means thing?  Yeah, that.

I’ll leave you with the last musical offering from Singh Kaur.  [Did you know her name literally means the Lion Princess?]


Day 1: I-CON 32 – SciFi Con

NoteBKBlogairy ICON32 3 17 17

Wow. I’m here. I’m attending, and vending, at I-CON 32. The cosplay costumes are pretty amazing! The thought, the energy, the attention to detail — gorgeous! I’ve seen a full Victorian dress complete with bustle in gold satin!  I want to dress in a costume!!!

But, I’m “working” so the dress code is simple — book t-shirt & jeans.

Alrighty, it’s time to figure out how to cover stuff down for the night.  End of  Day 1 approaches.


Get your #horror fix: Fury From Hell

Here’s the quickest update you ever did see: https://www.inkshares.com/books/fury-from-hell.

That book that first came poking around back during Hurricane Sandy in ’12?  It’s getting a re-do, re-vise and and upgrade.  A slightly expanded version will become available via Inkshares.  Once the book reaches 250 pre-orders, Inkshares will edit it, put it into production and publish it!

What do I have to do in the meantime?  Uhm, figure out how to tell 246 more people that this great cop thriller with strong brushstrokes of horror is available for $10.  Here’s a teaser to whet your reading appetite.

Fury Abatu seeks revenge for abused women.  Yet, when on Earth, Abatu must find a human host & eat men’s flesh to survive…

Buy a copy.  Support a starving novelist.  Put me out of my misery. [So, I can go back and start this all over again with another book. :-)]

Now, lets’ get our sexy horror on by pre-ordering today — while dancing with JT.