Blogher Health 20 Full Recap

This was my first Blogher Health experience although not my first Blogher experience. I was not disappointed. As I start all conferences with a purpose, I had my why in my mind and heart. I am not interested in going to conferences for the sake I was there but to get something out of them that I can apply to my business and life. 

Not even a few minutes and I ran right into my good friend, Karina D’ Bautista. I met her at the LA Blogher Biz conference,and we had such instant connection. We decided to sit with one another and catch up. She is about business, as the founder of Latinxgal which is a haven to help Latinxgal creators have a space to create and influence. I was happy to hear that she is also starting a podcast called Latinxgal the podcast. When you go to such large conferences it’s about what you put into it that makes it flow for you. I always make the conferences smaller by looking into making meaningful conversations and relationships but still enjoying the largeness of it all. It can be overwhelming but like I said my system has worked. Let me refresh you on how I interact within a Blogher conference:

1. Get in the building and know that even with nerves most if not all want to meet you and speak so don’t be shy. 
2. Get close. Don’t hide in the back. Get in the action of it all-I was right in the front. I like the front because I want to get all the information as well as keep my concentration on point.
3. Take notes-use your phone or even laptop but take notes. The information is so full that you don’t want to miss a thing.

SO now that I have given you my top 3 secrets to making a successful Blogher conference experience, I detailed it in detail in the Blogher 2019 Parts 1 and 2 which you can look here.

All conferences start with getting checked in and grabbing your swag bag. Blogher NEVER disappoints with sponsored goodies. The products for the Blogher Health 20 were about wellness and health so it’s no wonder sponsors like Nature Made Vitamins and Veeda was on the rooster. 

We started the day with breakfast and coffee supplied by La Colombe. I had not tried their flavored Draft Latte but the one I fell in love with was the Vanilla. Its lactose free and smooth to drink that you forget its coffee. I had several throughout the day. 

Invitae

One of the first stops for me was back to Invitae which I had made connections with the day before for the Soul Cycle Tap into Heart Health event. They were there talking to us about heart health and encouraging us to consider the technology of having genetic testing to determine any underlying health issues. It’s a discouraging thing to eat right, work out and find that no matter how much effort you put into being a better version of yourself it just isn’t helping. Invitae also have a network of help to get the genetic testing done, interpreting the results, and the next steps following the testing. Unlike recreational genetic testing this is to ensure that you find answers that you might not otherwise have to help you and your doctor find a regiment that can assist in your ultimate health. 

 

 

PCA skin

One of the highlights of the day for vendors was PCA skin. This is a professional level skin care that considers education of skin to help the skin. They specialize in peels and have been in existence for 25 years. Oh, and in case you are wondering they specialize in skin care for all skin care needs and tones. I had an intimate conversation and learned a lot such as the amount of money that we waste each year in store bought products due to attempting to find something that works. We have a thousand bottles of skin care bottles on our dressers but say things like we don’t have money to get professional skin care in the form of facials that are needed to help the skin get balanced and bright. PCA skin is leading the charge to help women skin look their best. I received some new products that I will be taking to my esthetician when I got to her this weekend. I have been taking the time to visit my local esthetician because I know that great skin begins with a professional touch along with professional grade products so I can declutter my vanity from skin care pileup. 

The Class with Sophie Kos

I decided to cap my vendor stop at just the two as it was time for the main attractions to start and that was the conference itself. We had another session with Sophie Kos to take The Class. You remember that out of body experience I told you about from the day before? It was much bigger crowd and a little bit smaller session but at least I felt I knew this time what to expect. Again,The Class is about tapping into yourself and hearing and speaking intentions while you stretch and push past your uncomfortable feeling. This was sponsored by Pacira BioSciences.

Samantha Skey

With a warm welcome from SHEmedia CEO, Samantha Skey who by the way was killing it in her outfit it was time to start. Every time you see Samantha, she is always approachable and just a badass woman in her own right. When she says her goal is to make sure that woman know their worth and charge for it, she means it. SHEmedia is for and about the uplifting of women and their voices and has been consistent in the mission. 

Self-Care and Success

This first session was a must. This was a candid conversation with Jen Gotch and Alli Webb on what it’s like to build a brand and still maintain mental health. We all have been there especially if you are a creative. You are out and about trying to do it all and be “on” but behind the scenes you have balance sometimes and sometimes you don’t. Both women did NOT hold back on their failure in this maintenance. Monica Padman did a great job moderating the conversation. It’s a conversation that needs to be had across the board but if we are honest no one wants to go first. You can build a brand and take breaks. You can build a brand and not get the formula right. Both women were candid and if you don’t know who they are let me enlighten you. 

Jen Gotch is the author of the Upside of Being Down and the owner of Bando which sells products that speak on wellness. For instance, a necklace that says Bipolar that speaks on knocking out the stigma of dealing with mental health behind doors. Now how does a company that is built on wellness have an owner that says sometimes she gets it right and sometimes she doesn’t? Easily, its life. It’s how we all move in this world. No one gets it 100 percent correct and its okay to build and tweak things along the way. Alli Webb is the owner of The Drybar. It’s built on allowing women the pleasure of coming in and getting their hair done and leaving feeling like a thousand bucks. But she also is clear on although the mission was simple there were major mistakes along the way. They have had to make apologies when mistakes were made or when customers felt the ball was drop. Everyone wants to be successful no one wants to climb those steps to get there when it seems all Hell has broken loose. I don’t think there was a better way to start the day than speaking on the ups and downs of what is success and what is success if you can’t get you together while doing it.

Impact Talk 

Next up as a blunt and necessary conversation about vaccinations. This I know is a sensitive conversation. One of the best ways we can protect our children and others is through vaccinations. Right now, there are people on one side and others on the other. It’s a topic that we must speak on. When we look at the children who aren’t vaccinated and the sicknesses that come from it. We were given the information from Senior Vice President and Head of Research and Development at Pfizer. Again, this isn’t a choice that is up for me to battle with. I know for me personally my kids were born with certain risks that if I had not vaccinated them with their weak immune systems they might not be here and that’s real for me as a parent. 

Paging Dr. Google

I know for one whenever I am sick the worse things to do is Google search my systems. I think I have personally died a few times. The internet is a great wealth of information when it works but when it’s time to get information we need to know where accredited information to use. Thankfully Blogher had a team of women doctors from all fields present. They had Dr. Yasmeen Agosti, Dr. Stephanie Canale, Dr. Jessica Shepherd, and Dr. Cara present to break the misuse of information down. As doctors it was refreshing to hear them encourage us to ask more questions and if the relationship you have with your doctors isn’t solid, they encouraged us to find one that is. That is important. If the basics of your doctors isn’t one that you can rely on you are less likely to utilize them and depend on places like Google to mislead you. This session was moderated by Reshma Gopaldas who told of how when she was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, went down her own rabbit hole of misinformation. One of the places for credible information is the CDC site or American Academy of Pediatrics. One of the things you will notice from a legitimate site especially a medical one is the lack of fluff. You won’t see a lot of pretty graphics, but the information is good. If you see sites with a lot of pop ups, ads, or many unnecessary graphics it’s a sign that the site may not be credible.  One of the best ways to combat bad information is even if you find something online-take what you found to your doctor and ask questions. 

Moms on a Mission

I was so glad I attended this important session. This was about the diaper poverty. Women and families who lack the basic needs to diaper and care for their infants and kids. We learned from a mother (in video) who was working full time but couldn’t afford diapers. She would wash one diaper and hang it up and switch them back and forth between her kids. This is a real need. Let me break it down for you in another way, if you place a child in a daycare facility, they require 8-12 diapers to be dropped off or you can’t leave that child at the facility. A mom who doesn’t have them is now missing work and often is the only bread winner for the home leaving the cycle continuing without solution. Baby2Baby provides diapers and supplies to women and families. This session was moderated by Lisa Ling who I have the upmost respect for. Anytime she’s on scene you know that her reporting is true because her character speaks volumes. Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein lead the charge in helping this mission.  Just in case you are wondering you can donate here.

 

Alechia Reese

She spoke on building relationships and not networking. When you network you only focus on getting a certain amount of business cards. I know for creators you focus on making more social media connections to build numbers instead of building actual relationships that become mutually beneficially. She has a book called The Relationship Game where she breaks down the notion of what it takes to build meaningful relationships in business. I loved the 3 things we should ask:

1. What’s your name?
2. How do you use your magic on daily?
3. What are some of your biggest problems you are facing?

She encouraged us to use this method and make an email that we send as a follow up 3 days later after meeting someone. You can get more of her tips here by ordering her book here!

Model Citizens

This was an amazing panel. I had been looking forward to this one for quite some time. The panel included Hunter McGrady, Maye Musk, and Camila Coelho and moderated by Mansi Pathak. It was one of the most refreshing. You heard from Maye talk about being older and doing what she loves on her terms. Unlike when you are younger, and you jump through hoops for brands she made her statement on what she would and wouldn’t do. If you don’t remember Maye maybe you remember her from the Covergirl commercial. I remember when I saw it and I thought about how beautiful she was and how her age had no bearing on her beauty-FYI it still doesn’t. Any woman making excuses after hearing her story is just not with it. I loved hearing from Hunter McGrady who talks about not dealing with brands who didn’t support her size or with brands who didn’t include women of color. Was she not worthy of nice things because she’s considered a “plus size” woman? Nope. So why would she be with brands who didn’t mirror inclusivity? So, refreshing to hear her speak. Finally, Camila who talked about being different and her mom encouraging her that her difference is what would make her stand out. Shout out to the moms who mold their daughters early instead of trying to compete or tear them down! Hearing how she wants to use all forms of social media since that’s where she got her start to empower other young women. She’s stunning not just because she’s beautiful on the outside but because she has something to add from the inside. There are a lot of pretty women but not a lot of pretty women who don’t mind taking risks and saying no for the greater good of ALL women. 

Own your Health

This session reiterated the many times we aren’t even out own advocates let alone an advocate for someone else. This panel was with Dr. Taz Bhata, Jenna Finley, and Rachel Thee and moderated by Reshma.  It was funny but super informative. So many times we don’t ask or honestly too scared thinking that a question is too dumb enough to ask and let things slide that can build up and be a bigger issue as time goes by. It’s important for us to ask often. For instance when you go to the doctor, write down a few questions so we aren’t “that patient” down to ask so we don’t forget about it later down the line. This helps so we can self-guide the appointment in our favor. 

Passion to Profit

This was with none other than Hilary Duff and moderated by Jessica Hall. We learn about all of the aspects that being a mom has changed Hilary Duff who many remember from their childhood show, Lizzie McGuire. That is where I remember her the most as a kid. Seeing her all grown up and owning that stage was such a beautiful thing to see. Hilary has also partnered with Veeda and Happy Camper as she is quite interested in making sure that the products we use for feminine hygiene and what we put on our little kids are not only natural but sustainable. Natural products that can’t hold during the time you need them the most is not what any woman or mom would need. She spoke very candidly about this pressure to act as if women don’t have periods and the shame that is associated with it. From hiding our products in as we proceed to the bathroom to period poverty where girls don’t have the necessary products and end up missing work or school. Period poverty is very real and is a right for women to have what they need. 

Thank you to Lemonade LA for providing lunch for all of the participants. You know I got the vegan box and the food was good. That lemonade though, I need all the gallons! Not too sweet it was the perfect refreshment in that LA sun.

A conversation about Reproductive Rights

We can’t have equality if we can’t control our own bodies-periodt! This is crazy that even if you don’t agree with abortion you should agree that a woman has a right to make the decisions that matter to her for her body and her rights. I have seen and heard both sides of the coin but at the end of the day if we allow the government or a man to control our bodies we are losing every single day. As a mom of young ladies I would hate for them to be in a situation and had to have some entity say sorry we will make that right or decision for you. If we don’t take a stand now we will never be able to give our daughters the proper future since we are struggling with our now. Busy Philips, Nancy Northup and Blogher’s very own Samantha Skey talk about all of that and more as we try to put into perspective that we are losing the battle of Roe v. Wade. The time to move is now. Also congrats to Nancy for receiving the VOTY Visionary Award and Busy for winning the VOTY Truth Teller Award. These ladies are fighting a very real and serious fight. Just like they are fighting there is something we can do too. On March 4 stand with Myrightmydecision as the Supreme Court hears June Medical Services v. Gee. This is going to be monumental. If you can’t be there-spread the word!! Be an ally for another woman we can talk about these issues just like we talk about everything else and talk about it without shame or fear.

Food as Fuel

When I had my first child is when I researched how to keep my daughter alive practically. I wanted her to be healthy especially since she was a preemie. I ran into articles about Agatha Achindu when she spoke on keeping kids plates colorful and that kids will reject but we can still have them eat foods that are good for them. Fast forward to this moment at Blogher and I am seated in the front. I have a son that eats it all, a daughter (that same one) who loves salads and a smaller child that is caught in the middle but is still introduced to an array of colorful foods. Achindu was joined by Dr. Susan Mitmesser and Chelsea Williams as they talk about eating food for the right reasons. One thing that stuck out to me and I tweeted about it is how when I first went vegan in the very beginning I was fine than I started wanted to try food that mimicked meat and the amounts of calories and things in those foods aren’t always good. Food that is more water based and have more nutritional value is better. It was a gut checked to make sure I took it back to what works for me. In my home personally I have never pushed veganism on anyone. I teach them to eat what’s best for them but eat what’s best for them.

Platform for Good

Guided by Carly Anderson, Dani Donovan, Erin Jackson, and Kendall Rayburn; moderated by Justine Goodman we talked all the things that social media and our audiences are good for. However we all have a responsibility to do the best for others by being authentic and real and that means balancing this need to overdo pictures, etc. as we progress in our influencer journeys. How we move on our networks matter and we owe it to ourselves and the eyes on us to use it responsibly. For instance if we encourage someone to do what they need to do for their health end with a call to action. Don’t just leave it openly and remember that what works for us may not work for others. 

Hollywood on Health

This dynamic panel of speakers had me cracking up. It was made of Lauren Ash, Ryan Michelle Bathe, Rachel Matthews, Kelly McCreary, and Jade Pettyjohn; moderated by Bonnie Fuller. They talked about it all from having fibroids and having to speak up about the fact that if you went to the doctors and you said your arm hurt no doctor would say oh well arms are supposed to hurt but we don’t apply the same to feminine pain and that’s what lead Kelly McCreary to finally get help for her fibroids-well that and her husband was an amazing advocate. Shout out to the men who get it! They talked about the ways that Hollywood is embracing change especially for me specifically on natural hair. Shout out to the women who kept keeping space until now it’s becoming more and more acceptable for people to celebrate their differences and walk in it unashamed!

Wine and Gyn

Minus the wine I actually was sipping Truly– a hard seltzer. I loved the raspberry lime while eating snacks by Hungry Girl. It wasn’t that wine wasn’t available I just went in and divulged on these options. I definitely needed some wine as we talked with Dr. Marcy Crouch, and Dr. Jennifer Lang (moderated by Reshma) on all things like pain during sex or not being able to hold your pee. These are things that many women go through and yet when we mention pelvic floors and Kegels (did you do one?) we don’t talk about the reality that yours or maybe just mine need to be strengthened from them 3 kids I had. Oh just me?! That’s fine. The US is one of the only countries that don’t allow women to rehab their vaginas after major birth etc. 

Life Unfiltered

How much filters do you use on social media? I use them but I do my best to use them sparingly as I don’t need to be walking around and someone can’t recognize me because I don’t have Bambi antlers on my head. Dr. Candace Spann, Maya Howard, Rachel Pitzel, and Britney Vest all discuss this being authentic talk. How far is too far? How much is too much? Do we have a responsibility to say I am not going to airbrush or try too hard to edit my pictures? However we all like a good picture and sometimes we need a little spruce up. The balance is not always easy. 

Blogher University: Working with Brands

We all want to work with brands for the most part. Knowing how to negotiate your contract whether you are starting out from getting products to getting paid and the balance it takes to know how to switch from one to the other is important. They also talked about when its appropriate to know when you are ready for a manager. Working hard to give the brands what they asked and aka what they paid for is key too. It takes a lot of work behind the scenes. When you see someone working with brands you may want to get into it but there is always more to be done behind the scenes to make it all work. Be willing to do the work but stick to being organized when doing so to meet deadlines. 

Leann Rimes sweet angelic voice

Leann talked about her blog and finding the passion and balance to get it done. She talked about the things that she learned in the business and how now she speaks to the things that make sense for her instead of doing things she felt she had to. She also sang us to Jesus in a psychedelic way. She led us into song and it was the most beautiful thing ever. FYI she definitely spoke on being true to yourself. I loved the fact that outside of her singing which none of us thought would even happen she sat literally and talked with us. She poured from her soul. I literally was at her concert here in Philly a few weeks ago and she was sick. Just like a true boss that she is she did her best. Seeing her in the front row and hearing her was one of the best ways to end the night. That and the tacos and wine but it all was the best time. 

Thank you to all sponsors mentioned and not mentioned in this blog-all of them which I am still going through in the grab bag are amazing. I had the best time. Thank you Blogher for having me. I look forward to many more. I can’t wait to continue making some strong relationships with the attendees as well as a lot of the brands too. This was a great way to keep pushing towards my health goals and to encourage others to do the same. This is the time to take care of myself and my brand!!

 

 

 

 

Philly Theatre Week

Philly Theatre Week starts February 6th-16th and will feature the best of the best of some of the most amazing actors and actresses in the city. There is a play for everyone-children, men, women, great date night, Black History focused, and everything else in-between. With that in mind I am linking with several theatres to bring you the best reviews during this exciting time.

Here are my chosen productions and why I choose to review them. I will of course double back as I cross them off my list and report to you which made my personal grade and why. Although I want you to enjoy my reviews I also want you to be a part of the action as well. I am listing each theatre and their respective pages so you can grab a friend or two and immerse yourself into theatre life. These men and women work hard to bring about some of the most amazing productions and to miss them would be a travesty. 

Oh and it’s not just plays there events too from learning the tricks of the trade to readings, and panels. Some events feature food and drinks too. In order to find your way go here!

There you will find all of the events so you can grab your tickets and be ready!

Inis Nua “A hundred words for snow”

Inis Nua is one of my favorite theatres to attend. I attend a lot of their productions all year so I wouldn’t miss a thing during Philly Theatre Week. I will be seeing A hundred words for snow. Although in real life snow is not one of my favorites this production will showcase the grieving process and honoring family wishes. I like to think I am doing the same in my own way. I love one actor productions. They show depth and range and I can’t wait to see how this journey ends. 

Bristol Riverside Theatre King Lear”

King Lear-I wanted to see this early in its production but sadly it’s possible. I will be seeing it in its final run time and date. However it’s about tragedy and there’s a part of me that is drawn to tragedy. I am still figuring that out about myself. However King Lear is a classic and about forgiveness, madness and reconciliation.  I have heard the buzz and now I want take my own look to see how this production matches the buzz.

Bristol Riverside Theatre is also a stunning place. I have always found great help when there, a great welcoming spirit and great snacks as well. If ever you are going, leave early for parking. 

Quintessence Theatre Group “Rachel”

Rachel is all I have been hearing about. The press has been eating it up. One of the things that attracted me to this production has to be that it’s one of the original pieces during the Harlem Renaissance. The author Angelina Weld Grimke was a Black queer writer and it was produced by the NACCP in 1917 by an all-Black cast. I can’t wait to dive in. I will be attending this important piece and the time I am going will also have a question and answer following the production. This will no doubt be great conversations to dissect what it was like for Blacks during that time. I am so proud to be at this production. Also the theatre itself is magnificent. I made my first attendance when I saw the Wizard of OZ this past fall and I can’t wait to see this production its high on my list of must see.

 

Philadelphia Theatre Company  “Everything is Wonderful”

I am from Lancaster and to see a play about am Amish couple who forgives as they deal with the tragedy of their son. They are welcomed by their daughter and something about this appeals to me. I know I sure haven’t thought of myself of someone who could be so forgiving but I have seen it done. Since I am working on bettering myself seeing plays where its possible gives me hope. Also I know quite a few Amish personally and I want to see how far in the faith it goes to showcase their great ability to forgive. 

Dramatist Center presents “A Thin line between love and hate” Rotunda Theatre

I have not ever been to this production although I have seen the original movie. This will be a great production of the over obsession one woman goes after she meets a charming man who isn’t ready to fully commit. I expect it to be funny, witty, and have a lot of drama. I might take the hubby with me to see this one. As much as we both enjoyed the movie I know we will laugh our way. You know some women never can tell the difference between the two. 

“Ruth and Estelle; A sequins of Fortunate events” Bagel place

One who doesn’t love bagels and drinks? I do. With that I was intrigued to see what exactly something called an ‘educomedy” would produce through unique story telling. I was told that once I see this I will never un-see it and for great reasons. I was also told that I would feel like the two actors were like my best friend even if it’s in my head. For that reason I love to see stories told in bold format to match my bold personality. I have never been to the Bagel place but I feel like once there I will be back. 

I love Alice Curio Theatre

The Curio is one of the theatres that I frequent. I tried to match my schedule to make room for all but unfortunaly I am only one person. With that in mind I can’t wait to see how two women make some headlines for kissing each other in Ireland. I know now it may not be that big a deal but back in time it was taboo. The LGBTQ community have always been under attack and I love to see people authentic in their love choices and how they push past all odds to love on purpose since love is love. Oh both women are named Alice so this should be good. 

Philly Improv Theatre “Free Improve Jam” Adrienne Theatre

This is a free improve jam and I am nervous. I have zero experience but I know that since growing up in theatre most of life, the guts it takes to perform of an audience is something that I want to add to my plate. Not that I plan on showing up in front of a large audience but expanding my fear gates to close fear out is one of those things that will help me in all areas of life especially blogging. So I can’t wait to see how I do and I can’t wait to have some fun 

 As my schedule permits I want to add so many more that’s how wonderful the theatre circuit is here in Philadelphia. Be on the lookout for the reviews as they come in and I attend and also get you some tickets! Congrats to all who will be putting on for the city!! I can’t wait!!

Shout out to all the sponsors!!

 

 

 

Blogher Part 2: Winning for Women with PaciraxBlogher; Nature Made Social Hour 

Since I wasn’t gifted Megan Thee Stallion’s knees for Christmas like I had asked so after Soul Cycle I had to go and relax and rest. After which it was time to get to the Presentation, Winning for Women; A modern approach to Tackling Your Health which was a collaboration with Pacira Biosciences and Blogher. This was another invite only presentation that I was so glad I attended!

It started out with The Class with Sophie Kos. I like to describe The Class as partial stretching, partial workout; partial mediation, and partial out of this world experience. Not only had I not taken The Class before I hadn’t even heard of it. To protect everyone’s vulnerability and mine I have zero pictures. This for me wasn’t a take a pic experience. It was one of those be present moments that I hadn’t had in a while. Unlike a traditional class it was about tapping into yourself and finding out what you wanted out of the room, the space, and the evening. Sophie has a Rockstar personality and I will be taking this class digitally starting next week. I need this week to get through my severe jetlag. Apparently, my Fitbit still hasn’t joined me in the East Coast, and I am grateful for my body’s natural alarm clock or else I would be late for all things.

This is how I came not knowing what to expect for The Class

#onelesspill

I know that I have for one had way too many surgeries to name. Every surgery even my C-Sections I have asked for alternatives to opioids and never got them outside of Tylenol. I have had quite a few people that I know get addicted to them and it was always my desire to not rely on them. It wasn’t about me being a mayry for pain. I really do not like the way they feel. I have had even severe reactions to them in the past and for that alone I have asked and now I realize that I probably should have asked these questions prior to having surgery. I also should have gotten a new doctor. It’s important to be able to have a relationship with your doctor that is about supporting your choices. #onelesspill was a discussion about the alternatives like nerve blocks, numbing creams, and other methods to help patients recover in the high point of their pain management.

I stay ready so I don’t have to get ready!

Ask the Doctor

Dr. Alicia Warlick was phenomenal in letting us know that yes,we can ask for non-opioid medication that really do work and help in times for instance of a c-section. I had no idea there was a cream or pain blocker that would have given me 4 hours of relief without using an opioid. I think secretly I was sitting there a little mad too. I know that women sometimes don’t ask because they may not feel supported or feel that there are options. I asked and was told this is aka using an opioid was the only way for maximum pain management. I wish I was given the opportunity to try out another option for myself. Also,blessings to Jennifer Wysong who ended up having her life turned around after being addicted to them. She made some bad decisions along the way and I am sure had she known there were other options she too would have taken the advantage of trying. I don’t know if someone needs to hear this: not all people who abuse them are homeless and down and out. We must dismantle this mindset. Its regular people like you and me who have all intentions of using them properly but can get caught up in these highly addictive  medications.

Pictured from left to right: Sophie Kos, Dr. Alicia Warlick, Jennifer Wysong, and Reshma Gopaldas

Options Anyone?

So now that we know that there are other options, now what? Do we say that’s nice and continue? No not me. I want to be an advocate if a loved one is going to have surgery be that a tooth extraction or a serious gastrological issue and be there to ask the questions about ALL the options available. Help a friend that in the height of their pain be an advocate where they can’t speak up for themselves. Would you stand in the gap to help your loved one? Our health is important and especially for women who are that more likely to endure some form of surgery than a man. We need people speaking up to offer an alternative instead of being the loud voice in the room when one of us like Jennifer is messed up on them to offer a dirty look. 

Let’s stop someone in their tracks before it takes over their lives. Women we have a unique responsibility to advocate for ourselves and encourage the women around us to do the same. Where I could go into a room and say I want other options and with the right doctor in place get it, there are so many women who don’t even have the information to make an informed decision. SO, if you are going to have any procedure done, ask the following;

How long is the recovery process?

What are my options during recovery?

What if one pain management isn’t working what is the backup plan?

Vet your doctors well ahead of time. In emergency have someone who can be your voice. Have documents ready that express your voice as well. 

#asktheopiodquestion

#nonopiodrelief

Thank you Pacira and Blogher for opening my eyes to the options I had NO idea existed but not that I know I will take the knowledge and help others be more informed about their health choices.

Also, as always you can never come to an event held by Blogher without amazing food and drinks.

Nature Made Social Hour 

I want to take the time to shout out Nature Made for the Nature Made Social! I loved my flowers. Due to traveling via plane I made a beautiful bouquet and gave them to my cousin. Vibrant colors that I hope made her day. With socializing comes amazing drinks like my favorite, The Elderberry Fizz. It was made with Vodka, fresh elderberry syrup, fresh lemon juice and topped with soda water. Why an Elderberry drink? Easy answer-it’s the name of their Elderberry gummi. Nature made was the ONLY prenatal pill I could take with all 3 of my pregnancies so I may sound a bit like a hype girl when I say that I stand behind their products. They are quality tested, and their gummies are amazing. Each participant during the main Blogher program took home a bottle. I took two. The taste is great. It helps with keeping your immune system healthy. So, when you see me taking them, mind my business and ask. I will help point you into the right direction on where to get you some. A plug for CVS is with their coupons I never pay full price so that I can always keep Nature Made flowing in my home. You can find them at the store of your choosing like Walmart, Target or even Walgreens. 

We sipped the night away with some of the best food. I need someone to mail me or give me the recipe to the green veggie dip. I think me and some of the other ladies unapologetically made a few stops to the veggie tray just for the dip. 

 

Blogher Health 20: Part 1; Invitae-Heart Health

I am so blessed and honored to have attended the Blogher Health 20! The amazing conversations and knowledge alone. The Blogher Health is a one day event for women inspiring women in the form of engaging in health related real and raw conversations and advice. Held in Los Angeles women from all over traveled near and far to be apart of this event!

In addition to the one day event there is also some invite only events and I was happy to be apart. Before I get into it let’s talk about the reason for Blogher Health. Blogher Health is to bring women together who want to make the appropriate changes in their health and how they move within themselves to outreach to others. So a lot of lifestyle, wellness, food, etc. bloggers and influencers are attracted to this event. Blogher brings in the best from doctors, health advocates for both mind and body, nutritionists and workout enthusiasts to help motivate women to tap into themselves. They teach us to bring out the best of ourselves as we influence others to do the same. So how exactly can you motivate the motivator?

Heart Health

One of the leading causes of death especially among women is heart disease. Invitae specializes in medical grade genetic testing to assist in diagnosing how genetics play a large part in how we live. Even though physical activity helps to decrease our chances in having heart related problems, genetics is the key player we don’t talk about. Invitae and Blogher invited a few of us to take part in a Soul Cycle class at Soul Cycle in Santa Monica.

Full disclosure I haven’t done Soul Cycle since last year. When I first started a few years ago I got hooked quick and found myself taking quite a full schedule of classes. Just like we learned at Blogher Health, balance is key. I was excited to take this class after a break but I was super nervous. Rebecca our amazing teacher walked in the door with amazing energy. She introduced herself to me and Lindsay and I knew we were in great hands! By the way follow both women they are super dope! As always I made a whole Blogher Health 20 highlight on my Instagram for you to check out! I will be also breaking down each event and a recap video!!! This was too good not to share!

As with many Soul Cycle Classes, often times the class isn’t just about a workout out but it’s a journey of self expression and motivation. Rebecca was right there to remind us how bad ass we really are. From the music, meditation, and the push she helped us unlock the power within us to push through and make the class well worth it. It gave me the courage to not only take this picture but post it!

Never have I ever posted myself in a sports bra! Yup not at a size 8/10 or a 2! Confidence isn’t about size it’s about tapping into your inner bad ass and owning it! Also if you’re following me you know that Invitae will donate $10 for every post that tags them and includes #whoholdsyourheart to a heart organization! I’m encouraging women to post and post and post! They are donating up to $10,000 and that’s something I can get behind!

The staff of Invitae was present as well and it was good to talk to them intimately about their mission. They sponsored the event as well as made sure they took care of all that we needed including lunch and refreshments. Who doesn’t love avocado toast?! I know I do! Shout out to AvocaToast By Lizzy for some of the best avocado toast I’ve ever had! Oh and for the best green juices we have to give that title to Main Squeeze Juice Co! My favorite definitely was the ginger, lemon, apple and cayenne pepper. Fresh and smooth definitely has me hooked. The only down side is they are locked in LA and Texas!

You know I love a great grab bag especially one with an amazing cause…

Simple reminders of heart health is what we need. We are our biggest assets and whether or not I can’t feel my legs is neither here nor there. What does matter is that small steps to increase movement is what we need to add into our lives. Checking into our genetics to answer those hard questions of why after working out and eating right isn’t helping-genetics could be the key player into our heart health! I encourage all of you to get a check up. Ask questions and be proactive in what you do with the information you find. I know it seems scary to ask but what’s more scary is not asking and having time not be on your side!

Also can we also take the time to shout out One Hope wine. I love wine! If you have been following me you know this already. One Hope Wine is the company that not only produces great tasting wine but they donate towards The Hearts Foundation that supports early detection, and heart research! So each bottle is giving others the opportunity to be heart healthy. I can definitely drink to that! Oh and red wine has been linked to producing antioxidants that lead to heart health and decrease inflammation.

Thank you to Blogher, Invitae, AvocaToast by Lizzy, Main Squeeze, One Hope, Rebecca and the staff of Soul Cycle for an amazing morning and reminder of taking our hearts health a little more seriously…who holds your heart? Let Invitae know by tagging them and use the hashtag #whoholdsyourheart

For me it’s my kids and husband…..

Blogher had a little more for us…….

Leda and the Swan

I had the opportunity to attend the Media VIP party for Leda and the Swan. This is one of the first bars that I will say tested my Penn State drinking tests. This is a great thing. The drinks alone make them stand out if you can get pass the eye dropping flowers dropping from the ceiling. Its absolutely a stunning venture. 

I am not surprised of the care taken into this new hot spot as its also the owners of the Vesper Day club, Derek Gibbons and Tim Lu (Glu Hospitality). It’s a mix of senses when you step into the venue for the first time. I want to take you through a quick run-down. When you walk in the bar meets you. The staff was wonderful. On media days the place is packed but each bartender paid close attention to each of us. They handled drinks and orders flawlessly. I always watch how they handle everyone as that matters. As a blogger I like to do my research, but I think about myself as a consumer and some of the very issues that some bars have this one doesn’t. Also, while seated we were greeted numerous times even taken more drink orders as well. 

Pictured left to right Elle aka Sip on What and Cherryl aka Phillyfoodgal

Leda and the Swan is in Midtown Village on 1224 Chestnut Street. Pay attention to the sign as I almost missed it. Granted it was a media preview and they had it closed off for the public. It’s a few blocks away from Macy’s I would suggest parking in a garage or using a car service like Uber or Lyft. Its 2500 square feet of fun that includes a 25 foot bar. It’s a mix of elegance, art, and culture and it done well. I wanted to know more about the name, and I found out that they took the naming of Leda and the Swan on Greek mythology where Zeus transformed into a swan and seduces Leda. It’s an intimate space that will allow you to have fun, enjoy a crowd and have an amazing time from live entertainment and DJ after hours. 

So, what’s a bar without drinks? Just a plain venue and Leda and the Swan is not your average bar and night spot for sure. For research purposes I tried quite a few drinks. Keep in mind I didn’t consume them all because well we will get to that later….

Lilith

This is a mix of Blanco Tequila, Lillet, Beet shrub, Lemon, sea salt and cracked pepper

Shiro

Mezcal, Togarashi, Ginger, Lemon and Cucumber

Leeds Devil

Rye, Cynar, Averna, Luxardo, Grand Marnier, Madagascarvanilla

Trobairitz

Grey Goose, sparking wine, pink peppercorn syrup, Yuzu Bergamot tincture

Cursed Creator

Plata Tequila, Cynar, Suze, Lime, Pomegranate

I enjoyed the food. If you want food, you if you’re having a private event can have it done by Vesper and Raw. However, for the Media event I enjoyed the sushi and the sliders.

This new addition is sure to be the talk of the town. As I stated if you are looking for weak drinks, this is not your spot. The signature drinks are $14 each and are worth the coin and more. From first sip to your last its truly an experience. Be mindful of that as you enjoy your evening. Leda and the Swan opens today, Friday January 31, at 5pm just in time for a great happy hour. Grab a few friends and a couple of loved ones and let me know what you think? As for me, I got to continue drinking my water so I can be ready for the next round. Thanks to Leda and the Swan for the warm welcome and of course Aversa PR!

 

The Phoenix Theatre Presents: The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie is an explosion of ups and downs of navigating familiar relationships. Tom is a writer who goes back home and is hit with the reasons he left his family in the first place. Relationships are strained but they reveal some hidden and hurtful truths.

Mothers we have a responsibility to our children to develop in them what they need to be successful. We can’t drive them to success. We must find ways to encourage and listen and hear what is on the hearts of our children. Amanda has not gotten that message. She has gotten the message to ride the coat tails of her children, push them so much that they don’t succeed and then blame them for their inconstancies. Amanda was hard to take in. Amanda was hard to open up to because she is so unlike me as a mother and I hope like many mothers. We know the moms who push things too far. We hear their stories through the rebellion of their children. That is what Tom does. He does all he can to make his mother happy or at least entertain her mess until he leaves too. Laura on the other hand is being pushed but because of her disability she’s “stuck.”

Laura

Laura is not your typical young lady. She has developed a limp or even a very noticeable inability to walk without her rolling walker. She is shy and this shyness has been super devastating to her social life. She is registered in school as her mother Amanda thinks it’s a great thing for her to work or marry so she’s not considered “crippled” as she hates to use the word. More on that later. Laura is sheltered in every aspect but it’s more the inability to do and therefore she withdraws from the world around her and pays all of her attention to the Glass Menagerie. It’s what she finds solace in. 

Tom

The brother who leaves like his dad because he can’t take the toll of having to do what his mom wants, his desire to not work in the factory and be a writer, etc. He is more verbal. He can help Laura escape but he doesn’t. This guilt follows him and will continue to follow him for quite some time as he travels. Tom took the brunt of the emotional abuse that his mom, Amanda gave. A part of me thinks a lot of that has to do with the fact that Tom could remind Amanda of his father. We know those women who take their angry out on the children and hopes to make them better than the no good father but instead turn them right into the father with their misplaced hate. 

Amanda

As I stated above she is a piece of work. I love the mirror that is plastered. Often times even when the gentleman friend Jim comes and fancies himself after Laura he too leaves since he’s spoken to. It’s Jim’s fault he would bring Laura a gentleman friend who couldn’t commit almost like that father…… There are a lot of come to Jesus moments in this play. I was sitting there more engulfed in their interaction and the fact that from the outside we see the break down but in the midst of it none of them sees the tearing down of their relationships. That’s how life is though! We see the breakdowns but if people aren’t able to see if for themselves there’s not much that can be done.

It made sense like a light bulb when I learned that the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams was loosely about his own life. The scars we carry will show up in his work. I hope that this piece and his other pieces make some closure for him. The guilt of the sister he left behind to deal with his mother is prevalent in this play. It makes this piece more personable. I got it. I sat there trying to peel the layers. Layers that are too weighty to write. I could write a whole essay on this and have whole chapters. The weight of living under disappointment is very heavy and burdensome. The burden on all of them to figure how to deal was a like watching a soap opera. If you paid attention you could see so many nuggets of wisdom that we ALL need to pay close attention so that we can raise a new generation. There’s nothing new under the sun and there are still Amandas running around raising children. Jim still lives on in children who will never be good enough and have broken dreams unfulfilled. Laura and her disability and her lack of engagement I’ve seen in women who seem to lose sight on loving themselves every single day.

Check out The Glass Menagerie for yourself. See if you can spot the nuggets I didn’t even give you. Trust me these characters are walking amongst us daily. You can see it for yourself until February 2nd at the Phoenix Theatre. This production is directed by Michael Hajek and is beautifully flawed and uplifting. Thank you to the Phoenix Theatre and Carrie Gorn for the invitation. 

 

 

Monday Motivation: Kobe and all of the Lives Lost Sends us Whirling

Today is super sad. I can’t shake the sadness. I had another blog planned today but at the end of the day it doesn’t seem right to post. Whether you thought Kobe was an amazing basketball player is neither here nor there. His work ethic speaks for itself. However, the videos we see circulating of his amazing bond he had with his family is what matters most. 

Kobe rode that helicopter many times. He took that trek many times and I am sure he didn’t imagine that would be the one thing that would take him. I cant imagine the last moments of his and his daughter’s life. What I know is that when people live a message that says live life to the fullest that is what we should be doing. This isn’t about using his death to motivate you because as great as the message is, we have lost before and folks still lived their lives the way they wanted to. Death should always shake you to move better. It should shake you to walk better. It should shake you to love better.

Death is inevitable. One of the things I think about often is my children. In death it would separate us. I think about where they are in their ages and pray daily that I give them what they need for the season of life they are in. I pray daily and actively work towards making sure that their time with me is from a place of love and that even in grief would they feel as if I honored them in how I treat them, speak to them, etc. It matters to me. It matters that I leave them in love. We pray with them and remind them daily that we could leave each other and not return. I pray whomever you leave and circle back daily with that you remind yourself of that. I think it’s the reason why during an argument I keep in mind that moments can be stolen. My husband and I was in a sorted dispute moments before the break of the news. However, we are never sorted out enough not to keep love in-between us. It matters. 

Yesterday my husband made sure to tell me not to go on social media and not to look at my phone. I had college friends call me to make sure I was okay. I knew something was wrong because my phone had about 10 missed calls. I was at a play I didn’t have access to my phone. I am grateful that my husband made sure he made that call to me because I see where friends had simply shared the news via text and that would have sent me over the edge. He knew that and made sure I had heard about it properly. I think it changes how I will inform others of a passing of a celebrity or loved ones. No text messages only calls. I realized how that may make others feel just experiencing it for myself. 

So, what now? We know in the coming weeks it will be a funeral or memorial whether its shared publicly or privately.  We know that the pain will only increase as we see glimpses of the Bryant family move about and try to heal during this hard time. We know that their lives will NEVER be the same. What happens next?  Will people be respectful during this time? Nope! I already seen some of the most trash comments and statues on Facebook. I know and want to encourage us to remember that our social media presence matters. It matters how we speak on things. When we make assumptions or conversations on others it matters. Watch what we say and speak from a place of truth and love. You don’t have to “keep it real” and be ignorant in the name of being “real!” 

Kobe leaves a hole in the world. I hope that others take this time to use that hole and place love in its place. I was a teenager and I used to call myself Mrs. Bryant. He was one of my first crushes. As he moved with his family, I would always still admire him. He carried himself in many situations good or bad and I still loved him. People will no doubt once this calms down speak of his past. We all have one and that won’t change the fact that above it all Vanessa and the girls lost their covering. They lost the love of their life. They lost the one who showered them love. I pray for not only the Bryant family but all the families who lost their loved ones during that tragic accident. Today this makes me increase showering my friends and family with more love. We should be grieving but we also need to increase more love to those around us. Today is still sad and it will be probably be this way. Anyone giving someone a hard time on the following premises:

Kobe was just a celebrity

People die everyday

You didn’t know him what’s the fuss

This will calm down it’s not my issue

Why are people so worried about him he has money?

 

NONE of those things matter. You can be human and take a death of someone you admired hard. You can stand in love with Vanessa and the remaining survivors’ families, and you can sprinkle grace towards others during this time. I send love out to those who need it and will receive it.