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Health & Wellness

    5 Everyday Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar

    I love Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). I jokingly say that ACV, breast milk and essential oils can pretty much heal anything. I joke but there’s a little bit of truth to statement. There’s MANY uses for ACV but not all can be used daily so here are 5 everyday uses for Apple Cider Vinegar.

    5 Everyday Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar

    1. Cold Remedy

    It’s cold and flu season which EVERYONE hates. In fact, this flu season is a rather nasty one. ACV has natural immune boosting attributes. It also rids your body of excess mucous which harbors disease and bacteria in your body.

    How To Use: At the onset of symptoms, mix 1:1 ratio of ACV to honey with hot water and drink 3 times per day. 

    2. Stops Hair Breakage and Shedding

    Between the cold and dry air that comes with winter and my postpartum hormones, I can certainly attest to the effectiveness of ACV in stopping your hair from breaking and shedding. How? The ACV restores the natural pH of your hair follicle while removing build up of hair products. It’s also a natural conditioner and hair detangler. I didn’t quite believe the detangling part until I used it on my hair–which has grown an insane amount lately.

    How To Use: Mix 1:1 ratio of ACV and distilled water in a spray bottle. After shampooing hair, saturate your hair from root to tip. Let it sit for a couple minutes before rinsing. 

    3. Skin Care

    There are 2 ways that I’ve used ACV on my skin: as a toner and to mix in with bentonite clay for a facial. As a toner, it brightens and detoxes your skin. As a mask, it REALLY pulls the impurities from your skin. I use the mask on my face, underarms and groin area to keep my lymphatic system detoxing because of my Hidradenitis Supportiva.

    How To Use: As a toner, mix in a 1:3 ACV to water ration. Keep refrigerated. To use it with the clay mask, mix it until there’s a creamy texture and then apply to the affected areas. 

    4. Enhances Weight Loss

    Yep. You read that right. ACV can help you lose weight. How? I wish I could say it breaks down fat cells but that’s not how it works. In fact, I’m not sure exactly how it works but you can read more about it here.

    How To Use: Take 2 tablespoons daily in water. 

    5. Acts As A House Cleaner

    Well, it doesn’t clean the house for you but you can make your own cleaner with it.

    How To Use: Mix 1:1 ACV to water with 2 drops of lemon essential oil, 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil, 2 drops lavender essential oil. 

    So what are you going do with your Apple Cider Vinegar first?

    How To Get A Prenatal Massage That Saves Your Life

    Pregnant? You need a prenatal massage. But not just any prenatal massage. You need one of those that cures your body's pains and this is how you get one.

    At 35 weeks pregnant I’m feeling the best that I have since becoming pregnant. How? I invited someone to my home who delivered the best prenatal massage that I’ve ever had.

    Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a believer in the power of the prenatal massage. Each pregnancy I’ve had one and each one felt like I was just paying someone to slather me in oil. While my skin appreciated the extra TLC, my muscles, aches and pains were still present. When my prenatal massage therapist, Ebony, arrived, I told her just that–I’m not a believer but I’m pretty ashy so I’m still here for it. Well, she flipped my entire belief system on the prenatal massage.

    What To Look For In A Prenatal Massage Therapist

    I met Ebony while she was pregnant with her now 3 month old at the Blogalicious conference last year. She has a beautiful smile, the cutest freckles and a calming energy about her. I knew that she was a blogger looking to grow but I had no idea that she was a massage therapist–let alone one certified in prenatal massage. In talking to her about my previous experiences with the prenatal massages, I realize the I went wrong in choosing my massage therapist. Our chat led to the following conclusions when looking for the proper prenatal massage therapist:

    1. Make sure that they’re certified in prenatal massage. While any massage therapist will rub up on your back, a certified prenatal massage therapist knows the ins and outs of the pregnant woman’s body and how to navigate properly to give an effective massage.
    2. You need to feel complete comfort with your massage therapist. This seems obvious but as she was massaging the most tender and painful parts of my lower back, I realized it was easy to relax into it and breathe the discomfort away because I was completely comfortable with her.
    3. Get a woman who’s gone through pregnancy. I know, this is a little sexist but women who have had children know intimately what you mean when you describe certain pains. It’s like going to another mother for advice on children. While every woman’s body is different, at least this woman has a higher chance of understanding what you’re body is going through.

    Pregnant? You need a prenatal massage. But not just any prenatal massage. You need one of those that cures your body's pains and this is how you get one.

    The Benefits of an In-Home Prenatal Massage

    All of my previous massages have been at places of business. They’ve been beautiful places too but there’s something so different about the comforts of your own home. When Ebony arrived, I forewarned her that my house was a mess. It was Sunday which is normally our cleaning day. And by “our” I mean my husband and kids because I’ve been in so much pain that doing just about everything has stopped outside of grocery shopping and cooking. This was probably the only source of tension but she didn’t care. She came in, set up her table and had an essential oil diffuser going that had my living room filled with bergamot easing pre-existing tensions.

    I didn’t have to leave the comforts of my sweat shorts and husbands white tee to get treated professionally and I loved that. We turned on my Google Home and let the sounds of Pandora whisk me away into a pain-free euphoria. Once it was all said and done, I didn’t have to put shoes on, sit in the hot car and head home. I rolled off the table and felt no pain in my body for the first time in months. I feel so good I’m almost tempted to clean the house–almost.

    Let Me Gush For A Second…

    This pregnancy has been hard. From the time my little egg was fertilized, it’s been rough. From non-stop puking and extreme exhaustion in the first trimester to constant pain beginning in the second trimester, I honestly didn’t think I would get relief from anything I’ve been feeling. My creativity and writing has taken a hit because let’s be real, who can be creative and think happy thoughts when constantly in pain? I was apprehensive about Ebony coming over. She made no promises to how I would feel but delivered on every broken one that I’d previously received. This woman is truly gifted with her hands. She gave me a deep tissue massage that hit every point of pain that I’d been experiencing and massaged it away. When I stood up after she was finished, I was able to do so without wincing in pain. My lower back is no longer a source of issue for me. I walk, bend over, take the stairs and put on panties (super winning) with no pain. It feels amazing.

    Who Is Ebony and How Can You Reach Her?

    I’m not the selfish type. Ok, I am. But I feel amazing right now and I want others to feel this way too. For those of you in the Atlanta area–pregnant or not–here is her information:

    Healing Mother Massage & Wellness
    Ebony Ricks, LMT
    757-292-9769
    info@healingmothermw.com
    healingmothermw.com

    I encourage you to let her come and nurture you! Tell her I sent you!

    Mamas, have you had prenatal massages while pregnant? What was your experience like?

    It’s Ok To Be Happy

    I’ve been in a writing funk since the end of last year. Ok, it’s not just been a writing funk, it’s been more of like a life funk. This may or may not give great advice to anyone struggling since I haven’t planned out what I’m going to write but I know I need to just write it out because sharing my words is my happy place. My happy place. It’s a place I haven’t been in sometime.

    I Forgot How To Be Happy

    I know… How do you forget? I did.

    It started with the election. I typically don’t discuss politics or religion here because I don’t want make anyone feel polarized and there’s nothing that people can say that can change my views on these things. But let’s be honest here, I’m a black woman raising little black girls married to a big black man. In the eyes of many people in the world, all of us are a threat and one of the worst people in the world has been elected leader of the once free world. As he slowly dismantles life as we know it, I struggle to be able to happy as I experience much of my life. I wouldn’t say that I’m living in fear but I feel guilty being happy.

    People are crying.

    People are dying.

    And it’s killing me inside.

    How can I possibly be happy when pictures of Syrian refugee children being killed are circulating on FB? How can I be happy when my Muslim friends and family are being targeted and falsely accused of being terrorists? How can I be happy when my Hispanic/Latino brothers and sisters are living in fear of deportation? How can I be happy when there’s a civil war brewing?

    It’s all so much to digest.

    via GIPHY

    I Need To Feel Happy Again

    I’m a creative. I love to help people. I love creating things that help or inspire people and in my sadness I haven’t been able to either. I haven’t been able to feed my spirit and it’s been starving. I used to laugh all the time and smile. Now I find these moments fleeting and I hate it. I need my happiness. My kids need my happiness. My husband needs my happiness. The new life inside me growing and sending me in vomiting rages needs my happiness.

    I want to belly laugh so hard that I cry daily.

    I want to see my kids light up again.

    I want my husbands smile and jovial nature.

    But all of these things have been missing because as the nucleus of the family, this isn’t what I’ve been giving them. I’ve been sad. I’ve spent so much time in the bed and just not taking care of the things and people that I love that I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like. I need to be happy again. I need to be productive again. I need to regain the power over myself again.

    via GIPHY

    I've been in a serious funk lately and unable to find my happy but I'm determined to get it back because I deserve it. So does my family.

    It’s Ok To Feel Happy

    This is something that I’m struggling with. I’m an empath and take on the feelings of those around me to the point where it’s hard for me to tell what I’m feeling versus what they are. But I need to give myself permission to be happy because what is going to happen is going to happen regardless of how I feel about it. I come from a lineage of survivors–if they weren’t, I wouldn’t be here.

    It’s ok to be happy that we finally got pregnant after months of trying.

    via GIPHY

    It’s ok to be happy that I made the decision to homeschool my babes.

    It’s ok to be happy simply because I feel like it.

    And it’s also ok for you to feel happy if you’re struggling as well. I’m hoping that by getting this off my chest that it’ll open up the creativity that’s been held captive by my happiness’ vacation. And if it doesn’t, I’ll just have to try something different because I’m committed to feeling happy again.

    What To Expect For Your Toddler’s First Trip To The Dentist

    Your toddler's first trip to the dentist can be a scary one if this is your first child. I interviewed our dentist to help prepare other parents with info!

    I’ve always hated going to the dentist. The dentist was a scary place filled with cold, silver things that looked like they were ready to harm me at any given moment. The dentist wasn’t overly warm—they were there to look at my pearly whites, give criticism, and move on with a fwap of their sterile, white jackets. The dentist was always the most uninviting and intimidating place in the world to me. Becoming a mother, none of this has changed for me but I wanted something different for my girls—which is why I chose Dentistry For Children (D4C) to be our dentist. One of the things that I felt so unprepared for was my toddler’s first trip to the dentist.

    Naturally, this was with mini. I remember picking her up from school and them sending her home with some “intro to pediatric dentistry” pamphlets for another dentist that was close to her school. It was a nice enough dentist but not nice enough to quell my own fears that I was working hard not to pass on to mini. I got a recommendation from a friend of mine who has 2 kids and both loved going to their dentist. Their recommendation was D4C and we haven’t looked back since.

    Your Toddler’s First Trip To The Dentist

    Guys, when I walked in the first time I was pretty scared for mini because I didn’t know what to expect. I had just had a crown done on my teeth and was FINALLY getting over that pain. I’m actually a still a little scarred but that’s another story for another day. But I felt a little like Corky Romany when he was behind the podium frantically waiting for questions to be asked (if you haven’t seen the movie, you should, it’s hilarious). I don’t want you guys to feel like I did when you take your babes to the dentist so some of my friends and readers submitted questions for me to ask our dentist to prepare you!

    Your toddler's first trip to the dentist can be a scary one if this is your first child. I interviewed our dentist to help prepare other parents with info!

    Interview With The Dentist

    I got a chance to have some one-on-one time with our dentist Dr. Lisa Shilman. We’ve seen her for almost 3 years now and I love going to her! So here are the questions that were asked that Dr. Lisa answered:

    At what age should children first see the dentist?

    The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing your child in as early as one in order to establish a relationship with the dentist. Check=ups are completed–no pathology or x-rays happen. Parents are educated on diet, brushing and habits to keep teeth heal

    thy. The follow-ups are dependent upon what the dentist finds.

    So is all candy really terrible for their teeth?

    No lollipops and definitely no gummies. The amount of time that teeth are exposed to the candy, sugars and acids are what do the damage. Dark chocolate is great!

    So what’s the deal with fluoride? What are the best ways to get it with the littles?

    Fluoride is needed in toothpaste for sure. When they are young and can’t spit, rubbing it on their teeth and then wiping it off is effective as well. Drinking and cooking with tap water that has fluoride in it is good as well. Giving children the baby water with fluoride added to it is another option. 

    Is there a correlation between breast feeding and tooth decay?

    Breastfeeding alone doesn’t cause tooth decay and neither does breast milk. But breast milk can contribute to tooth decay after adding other things to a child’s diet. If your baby is still night feeding, wipe or brush after nursing. This really only becomes an issue after the age of 1. 

    When can we stop supervising the kids brushing their teeth?

    Normally between the ages of 6-8. Disclosing solutions (the ones that show tarter still on teeth) that can be found at the drug store are also a big help. 

    Teeth grinding, is this an issue to be concerned about?

    Teeth grinding isn’t an issue for baby teeth. It’s only an issue if there’s pain. Once permanent teeth come in, grinding will normally stop. But no mouth guard is needed until the jaw is completely grown. 

    Any recommendations on tooth brushes?

    No, not really. Just make sure that they have a small toothbrush head so that you can navigate their mouths, soft bristles and never use hard bristles–even as adults. 

    Are there any alternatives to fluoride for those that don’t like to use it?

    Fluoride is big in preventing and repairing cavities but there is something called calcium phosphate that is a paste that can also be effective. It’s called MiPaste and can be found at most dentist offices. But it’s important to note that it’s derived from milk. 

    Any tips on getting kids to brush more regularly?

    Add it to the calendar or schedule it. There are apps that can be used to remind them. There are toothbrushes like Sonicare Smart Tooth Brush and Oral-B that have timers for 2 minutes and corresponding apps that let you know when they’ve brushed. Let your kids choose their toothbrushes and toothpaste. Set up a rewards system with a chart–if they get 60 stickers in 30 days they earn something special. 

    I love how you have this total child care mentality when it comes to them. Is this just your attitude or is this something that is the culture at D4C?

    This is definitely my mentality but it’s also something that is taught at Dentistry 4 Children. Pediatric dentists are in school for longer than other dentists. We have to learn different things because kids are different than adults. 

    Your toddler's first trip to the dentist can be a scary one if this is your first child. I interviewed our dentist to help prepare other parents with info!

    Why I Chose D4C

    When I walked in for mini’s first appointment, there was a big tree house and video games that greeted us. It was awesome! Then the staff has consistently been incredibly friendly and kind and patient. The culture when you walk in is everything. The people are amazing and you can’t help but to be excited about the appointment. And they honor your time. I’ve never waited more than 5 minutes for my appointment!

    Abc’s First Visit to the Dentist!!!

    Abc had her very first visit to the dentist and I caught it on Snapchat! Check it out here:

    Listen, if you haven’t scheduled your child’s appointment with D4C yet, you need to do so stat! And tell them I sent you!

    What’s In Your Cold/Flu Kit?

    Fall and I have a love/hate relationship. It's my favorite season but I hate getting sick. I'm preparing now by building my cold/flu kit with Be Koool!

    Can you believe it’s here? No, I’m not talking about fall. I’m talking about cold and flu season! This is my LEAST favorite part of my favorite season of the year. I try so very hard to make sure that I don’t get the germs that my kids bring home and I honestly think I do a stellar job. I get sick pretty rarely and my immune system is like Super Girl. But my kids? Their immune systems are still getting stronger and antibodies are developing which is why I have a cold/flu kit for them.

    Every year I re-build my kit because things expire, things get all used up, and because new products come on the scene that need to be part of my kits. Now before we get started with what’s in my kit, I want to state the obvious: I’m not a doctor or in the healthcare profession at all. These tips and tricks are from personal experience as a mother.

    Standard Items For My Cold/Flu Kit

    Essential Oils

    Now if you’re a regular reader here, you already know that I think essential oils and breast milk can pretty much cure anything. I kid—but only a little! I keep the following essential oils on hand:

    I naturally keep a lot of coconut oil on hand and will use this to make my own version of vapor rub and other things with the essential oils.

    Motrin

    I try to break fevers naturally but if I can’t then yes, the Motrin does get whipped out—as a last resort!

    Kali Bichromicum

    Whenever I talk about cold/flu season, I talk about Kali Bichromicum. This has been a God-send for us. It reduces the amount of mucous in the sinus cavities preventing and getting rid of sickness faster.

    Colloidal Silver

    We have the nasal spray. Works to build your immune system

    Fall and I have a love/hate relationship. It's my favorite season but I hate getting sick. I'm preparing now by building my cold/flu kit with Be Koool!

    New Item Added To The Cold/Flu Kit: BEKOOOL® Soft Gel Sheets

    After being asked by many how to reduce fevers the best, I have a great remedy to offer in BEKOOOL® gel sheets. While these gel sheets don’t actually reduce the fevers, they reduce the discomfort associated with fevers.

    What are they? These are small gel sheets that are specifically designed with the miniature people in mind. They provide immediate cooling relief for your babes as they holler out “Mommy my head is hot!!!”—I know you guys have heard this before!

    Fall and I have a love/hate relationship. It's my favorite season but I hate getting sick. I'm preparing now by building my cold/flu kit with Be Koool!

    But more importantly it’s something that they don’t have to ingest that will provide comfort. We try not to load the girls up with antibiotics and pain relievers because I just think that we tend to overmedicate. BeKoool® gel sheets give parents an additional option while providing great care for our kids.

    Features:

    • The BeKoool® gel sheets provide portable and immediate cooling relief in a convenient, disposable sheet.
    • They gently adhere to your child’s forehead/cheek/neck.
    • They are designed to fit children
    • The cooling effect lasts up to 8 hours
    • Because they are non-medicated, should you decide to use a medicine that is ingested, they are safe to use together.

    Fall and I have a love/hate relationship. It's my favorite season but I hate getting sick. I'm preparing now by building my cold/flu kit with Be Koool!

    From My Mini Tester…

    Me: So what do you think of the gel sheet?
    Mini: It’s cooooold! I didn’t want to take it off because it’s comfortable.
    Me: What did you think when I first put it on you?
    Mini: I thought it was freezing and interesting because it felt wet.
    Me: If you had a fever or your head hurt would you want to wear this? Why?
    Mini: Yes. So it could cool down my forehead and then it would be easier for me to go to sleep because I cannot go to sleep with pain.

    Make sure you’re ready for the cold/flu season this year by making sure you have these in your kit!

    What other items would you add?