‘Downstairs’ morning coffee

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This kit is from Optimal Health Network and you can order it online

 

A couple of summers ago, I saw a holistic nutritionist for persistent bloating and frequent discomfort after eating. Karen was incredibly helpful, even if she prescribed nearly 30 supplements a day for a month! I did begin feeling much better under her guidance so when she recommended doing coffee enemas three times a week for the first month of doing them, I barely batted an eyelid!

From MindBodyGreen, Amanda Brocket writes, “Coffee enemas are powerful detoxifiers, due to some amazing compounds within the coffee that stimulate the liver to produce Glutathione S transferase, a chemical which is known to be the master detoxifier in our bodies. (Plus, getting your coffee this way means you’re less likely to get addicted to caffeine!).”

Click here to read Amanda’s MBG blog post, which is really informative, especially if the thought of drinking coffee from ‘downstairs’ slightly grosses you out!

Here are some personal tips to help you wrap your head around the process:

 

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1. Do the enema at the time you would normally ‘go’- for me it’s after breakfast- but don’t worry if you the urge to go precedes the enema and you can’t wait (do the enema afterwards)

2. I brew the coffee in a coffee maker using a gold filter vs. paper and with bottled or purified water (don’t forget where this water is going!)

3. Do the enema at a time when you can truly relax- you’ll probably need around 20 minutes

4. Make the floor comfortable by putting a towel down and a pillow if you prefer lying on your side and place the enema bucket above you- you can hold the bucket yourself, tipping it to ensure the coffee is flowing well

5. Make sure you clamp the tube tightly while you’re getting yourself comfortable (a clamp should come with your kit) or you risk spraying coffee everywhere!

6. It does NOT hurt to insert the nozzle, I promise!!

7. I use castor oil as a lubricant (I’m sure KY Jelly would be fine and my nutritionist recommended pure olive oil)

8. I ordered everything from Amazon, including the coffee

9. You will feel very relieved afterwards, but beware that you may have to go again during the day, especially if you tend to drink a lot of water

10. Try to hold out for 10 minutes after giving yourself the enema (I’ve rarely been able to do this, in all honesty!)

11. Please make sure the coffee is room temperature before putting it anywhere near your tush!

12. I followed these instructions from Raw-Wisdom in terms of preparing my enema

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Any medical questions, please consult your doctor!

This is how my new friend and I felt yesterday!

Waiting for Sebagh

For a while now, I’ve been curious about Silhouette Soft, a non-invasive face lift that redefines cheeks and smooths jowls, so I booked an appointment with Dr. Sebagh, an eminent and highly recommended cosmetic doctor, who is well-known for this 30 minute, in-office procedure.

A friend of mine has done Silhouette Soft a couple of times with Dr. Sebagh and while she was really happy with the results, did warn me that his appointments were never on time. ‘Never on time’ was a gentle way of putting it.

I had been looking forward to my consultation- I wanted to know if Silhouette Soft would reduce my turkey waddle (it’s what I see every time I look in the mirror!)- so off I went, having arrived five minutes early (idiot me!) and was told that he, of course, was running behind schedule. The receptionist asked, “Do you want ‘the truth’ about the waiting time?” Of course! She ran her finger down his appointments planner, and counted out five people ahead of me. Not that it matters, this wasn’t my first time at Dr. Sebagh’s clinic- I had been three times prior and had various treatments done by two of his colleagues, having paid a hefty sum for each appointment.

She then looked at me nonchalantly and said, “It should be about 1.5 hours, so feel free to grab a coffee or have a seat in the waiting room (along with all the other suckers, who will also end up waiting much longer than they anticipated!).” No problem, I had brought something to read so I made myself comfortable next to a woman who was napping and hunkered down with my phone and iPad, along with all the other women who were glued to their electronic devices!

At one point, one woman decided to break the silence to have a fairly loud conversation in Arabic. She kept repeating, “inshallah” (“God willing”) so I can only assume that whatever dialog she was engaged in was pretty serious, but was the kind of one-sided conversation that didn’t need to take place in the well-populated, claustrophobic waiting room.

Across from me sat a beautiful woman, in need of no cosmetic intervention by the way, who suddenly shifted on the leather sofa where she was seated, gave the loud woman the stink eye, and sighed audibly. I understood her body language completely and casually tried to catch her eye, as if to say, “I totally agree! That woman should take it outside!”

Having recognised quickly that we were both in the same boat, I mouthed, “What time is your appointment and who are you seeing?”

“3:30pm with Dr. Sebagh,” she mouthed back. It was 4:30pm at that point.

“Me too,” I answered, slightly perplexed. We had been double-booked so how was this going to play out?? Whose appointment would take precedence?!

I moved across the room to sit next to her and we got to chatting- quickly becoming the annoying, whispering voices in the room-and over the course of 1.5 hours, learned much about each other. I think a true friendship may have blossomed on that brown, leather sofa!

At 6:30pm- no joke- and after three hours of waiting helplessly, we decided we had had enough, that we actually felt like idiots waiting for this doctor (who was he, God??!), and that having a glass of wine was way more preferable than committing any more time to waiting for Sebagh. And by the way, it’s not as if our our appointments were free of charge!

Belongings in hand, we giddily entered the reception area, fuelled by the mutual agreement that we now had the upper hand and would most likely never return to Dr. Sebagh’s office again. Being told initially that the doctor was 1.5 hours behind schedule really didn’t phase me. Surpassing the two hour mark became a bit annoying since I really had no excuse for being out when my kids got home from school. If my new friend weren’t there, I probably would have left sooner, but after 3 hours, neither of us could take it anymore. I’ve seen doctors for serious medical issues and have never had to wait more than 45 minutes. This was outrageous, and all to discuss a non-invasive face lift (!), but I’m not suggesting that you walk out of your appointment like we did.

I told the receptionist that we were leaving, to which she responded, “But you’re next!” “We’ll reschedule,” I calmly, though unconvincingly replied. In the context of this conversation, “next” meant nothing. We could have waited another hour. A look of disbelief replaced her previous air of self-importance and as we turned to walk out, she once again said, “But you’re next!” We’ll never know to whom she was referring, will we?!

My first few happy days with my Apple Watch

38mm, stainless steel with customised, modular watch face

38mm, stainless steel with customised, modular watch face

For anyone who has issues with this watch, all I can say is that you’re technologically jaded! This watch is amazing and so far, I feel incredibly privileged to own one! How can you complain about a piece of technology that fits on your wrist, acts much like a smartphone, and doesn’t sacrifice good looks?! I guess if you’re in your 20’s or 30’s and grew up with cell phones and the Internet, nothing is really that impressive anymore! Anyway, this isn’t a thorough review of the watch, but a glimpse into my experience with it thus far.

The  feature photo shows the modular watch face and I customised it with the date, activity tracker (not steps or total calories burned though), weather (lower left corner and the temperature is in celsius- it’s not 16 fahrenheit!), battery percentage, and alarm.

By tapping any of these features, I can: access my calendar in full, see how active I’ve been (and when I’ve been too sedentary, the watch reminds me to stand!), view the 10 day forecast where I am, know how much battery power is left, and set an alarm. Wow!

My notifications come in the form of haptic notifications (the watch vibrates)- I find it too annoying walking around beeping and I think I would drive everyone around me bonkers, especially anyone I’m sharing a meal or socialising with! I can read emails, texts, WhatsApp messages, see who’s calling (I answer on my phone), use Citymapper for directions, even use Uber. The App Store for the watch is a bit limited right now, especially if you compare it to the millions of apps for your iPhone and iPad, but it will soon fill up and most of your preferred apps will likely be available for your watch.

I tried the 42mm version on in the store, but it was so big on my wrist that it looked like I was wearing one of those Casio watches from the 80’s with the calculator- not a good look for me! I realise the watch looks big on me in the photo, but it’s not at all clunky.

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I had also read that it was taking certain reviewers a few days to understand how to navigate their watch, but my experience with acclimating to the watch and its features was a synch. I did though download the free user’s guide through iBooks and had a quick read through it one morning at 5:45 before embarking on what so far is a wonderful journey on the technology train!

You’ll read various reviews from bloggers who claim they’re selling their watch after a week and a long list of why they’re disappointed, but they must have gone into their purchase with wildly unrealistic expectations. They seem eager to criticise Apple- the face scratches easily (yah, if you’re bumping into things with it) or the watch bands are flimsy (sure, if you try to destroy them). These are probably the same people who while stopped at a red light will prejudge the guy next to them in an enviable sports car and immediately think, “What a tool!”, when that person in the Porsche 911 circa 2015 could have been responsible for having saved a family of five from a burning building! Stop being so cynical and embrace the good about the watch!!

I also noticed when I left my handbag downstairs to go upstairs that my watch and phone were still connected. Otherwise, my phone is always in my handbag or somewhere near my person so losing any connection between the two devices isn’t much of a concern.

I will say this though: this watch is better when you can wear short sleeves and view the watch at all times. Since I live in London, spring still means it’s jacket weather and I found that rolling up my coat sleeve to look at incoming notifications was a bit awkward. I also think wearing a sport band on any watch looks better in warm weather and short sleeves, but that’s just me! And as the watch is around longer, there will be tons of strap options!

The other thing is that being tethered to your phone via Bluetooth does take its toll on your phone’s battery, but because you’re checking notifications on your watch, you have the option to forgo checking your phone every couple of minutes. If you don’t have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, you’ll want to carry a small, portable battery charger. I do charge my watch everyday, but so far, haven’t depleted the battery completely.

There’s much I don’t know about the watch and I expect there will be a few updates over the next several months, as well as an ever-expanding app market. But for now, I simply marvel at this small thing on my wrist that keeps me as in touch with the world just as my phone does. By the way, you can stay up to the minute with your Twitter feed as well as other social and news media platforms.

So thank you, my wonderful husband, for gifting me the perfect wedding anniversary present and for not rolling your eyes at me when I asked for it!

Update May 6th: I hit a road bump today when all of a sudden my watch face wouldn’t respond to touch, although I still got haptic notifications. I was without my watch for hours and this set off a wave of panic that my watch was a dud! 

Thanks to a quick call to Apple Customer Care, the issue was resolved by depressing the digital crown and on/off button simultaneously until the Apple logo appeared. This performed a soft reset and now my watch is up and running, thankfully!

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From a woman’s perspective when it comes to the Apple Watch- is bigger better??

There’s no doubt that some of you will cave in and pre-order an Apple Watch or buy one when it’s out. I couldn’t resist asking for one for our 16th wedding anniversary in May (pre-ordered today on April 16th- expected to ship in July in the UK, but that’s TBD soon) and I was truly on the fence trying to decide which size would suit me best and at the same time, was having a hard time finding images of what the watch looked like on a female wrist.

After much deliberation, and two cancelled orders due to impulsive decision making, I finally approached the choice rationally so I wanted to immediately share my decision-making process in the hopes that the way I came to my conclusion will help you make the right choice if you plan to order the watch sight unseen. What a long sentence!

Ask yourself:

1. How do I plan to wear my watch?

Me: I’ll wear it most during the summer when I tend to change watches and anytime I exercise so a smaller watch face is more desirable for my needs.

2. What size is my current watch?

Me: Mine is 41mm, round, and larger than the average men’s size. I find it very bulky in cool/cold weather when I’m a slave to layers and long sleeves, but otherwise totally comfortable (unless you’re an Italian woman- they prefer oversized watch faces for some reason (!)- you may find that the 42mm Apple Watch case quite large as an everyday watch).

My everyday watch- 41mm

My everyday watch

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The 42mm

After going back and forth, and even wondering if it made more sense to purchase the 42mm for the sake of seeing what’s on the screen better, I chose the 38mm Apple Watch with the white sport band and stainless steel case. I’m not crazy about the Apple Sport Watch with its brushed aluminium case and I know there will be all kinds of accessories to personalise the watch- like bumpers for the case- that would undoubtedly render the 42mm watch way too big for me.

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My final choice- the 38mm

What truly sealed the deal for my final choice was to consult the Exact Fitness Apps sizing guide and print out the page with the watch of my choice- this is where I should have begun before embarking on the size journey! My poor husband… Once I printed out the page with the watch I wanted, I cut out both the 38mm and 42mm faces with the S/M bands (I found it a bit tricky to figure out the right size since wrapping the band around my wrist caused the watch face to bend as well) and taped each size onto my current watch face.

FYI: I’m just shy of 5’8″, 134 lbs, with normal sized wrists for a woman.

For helpful reviews of the watch, check out: TechRadarCNET,Wall Street Journal

Regarding the watch itself: 5 snap decisions I made during my Apple Watch appointment Which watch? How to pick the Apple Watch that’s right for you- Macworld

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Ditching an anti-perspirant doesn’t mean you’ll stink

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An article from MindBodyGreen inspired me to write about deodorant…Click here to read the article!

I switched to deodorant and ditched an anti-perspirant after a recent staph infection in my arm pit. This was easily the grossest and most startling experience I’ve had because it required three rounds of antibiotics, two aspirations of the cyst, and finally a tiny hole cut into the cyst to drain it completely to rid me of the infection.

To be honest, I blamed it on a new anti-perspirant I tried that promised not to darken your arm pit, but lighten the skin, which I guess is an issue??

Anyway, I personally use and love (and I am a stinker!) PitROK crystal deodorant (it may only be available in the UK). The crystal deodorants are more effective for me than the all-natural ones, for some reason, but not all crystal deodorants are created equally! It’s a bit of trial and error, which can be a bit embarrassing if you’re smell-conscious (!), to find a deodorant that works for you. But you eventually will, even if it means your friends sit farther away from you in the process!

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Obagi Nu-Derm: so far, so good

I did a lot of research on skincare products for hyper-pigmented skin and ended up choosing Obagi Nu-Derm http://m.obagi.com/patients/product-line/nu-derm/overview. 

 I didn’t consult a skincare specialist about Obagi and this particular skincare regimen wasn’t recommended to me, but based on my needs- make newly appearing age spots and acne magically disappear (over time) thereby avoiding laser treatments for the same problem (painful!)- Obagi Nu-Derm fit the bill.

It apparently takes nearly 6 months to see a significant change in your skin, but after 1.5 weeks, my skin is smoother and less ‘angry’ looking (redness and irritation are practically gone) than it’s been for the last few months. I am having minor breakouts, but this was expected since a retinoid-based cream is a vital part of treating acne and hyper-pigmented skin, i.e., age spots, acne scarring (red marks), and it tends to cause breakouts initially. The Nu-Derm kit also includes an SPF 50 sunscreen, which is a must when embarking on this particular skincare program.

Let me know if you’ve tried and liked Obagi Nu-Derm (or not!) or any Obagi skincare products. I’m not using any Obagi eye creams or serums only because I need to finish the ones I have. I also wonder about Dr. Obagi’s new skincare line called Zo. He’s publicly disengaged himself from the pharmaceutical company to which he sold WorldWide Products, Inc., the umbrella company of Obagi Medical Products, claiming that the company cares more about its sales than the philosophy behind Dr. Obagi’s original skincare line. This is the first time I’ve read such an open and honest regret as Dr. Obagi’s, but having looked at Zo reviews, it seems Obagi may be a better line of products.

https://zoskinhealth.com/dr-obagi/obagi-medical-products-inc

the power of crystals

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This is the smokey quartz necklace I bought from Vega

Yesterday while having lunch with a couple of girlfriends at a chic restaurant in Notting Hill (chic because of the lunch crowd!), I spotted a woman sitting not too far from us wearing a huge crystal pendant on a long chain. It could only be chocked up to fate that this woman was sitting near me, because for the last few months I’d been searching for a wearable crystal that suited my style. Typical me, I couldn’t refrain from interrupting her lunch with her friend not only to compliment the crystal, but to ask where she had gotten it. She told me it was from Vega, a unique, artisanal, crystal jewellery line based in the US. As luck would have it, I’ll be in the States next week so I placed an order as soon as I got home!

After perusing the one of a kind crystal pendants available on the Vega website, I did some research about their meanings and purpose and discovered that thankfully, because I really love the look of it, a smokey quartz crystal was most relevant to my life.

I often find comfort in symbolic, material things. I’ve bought rings to remind me of emotional breakthroughs; I’ve gotten a tattoo to declare my love for my four kids. When one of my kids had minor surgery as a toddler, I took a medallion of a patron saint (I can’t remember which one!) that were sitting in a bowl on the reception desk at the Italian clinic where my son had the procedure; 10 years later, I still carry it in my purse (wallet) . And I always have my Virgin Mary rosary from the holy city of Fátima, Portugal, in my handbag (purse!). Despite being Jewish, the Virgin Mary is my go-to icon when I’ve needed to ‘wish’ for a good outcome. Hard to explain!

In the end, I have no idea if I’ll draw any ‘powers’ from the smokey quartz crystal I’ll soon don but if I do (I’ve also done research on how to ‘activate’ your crystal!), you can be sure that I’ll not only wear my beautiful necklace all the time, but I’ll start looking for crystals to put around the house!

To find out more about the meaning of various crystals, click here.