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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Join Me For The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo Chicago

So, I am super excited to be chosen as a member of the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo Chicago Blogger Team!  I will be attending the 2014 GFAF Expo on April 12th and 13th at the Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center.
Won't you join me at this huge event!  Your Expo ticket will get you:
Entry into the 150+ booth vendor fair
Valuable coupons at the vendor booths
Samples from the vendors
Discounted products available for purchase
Informative classes related to the gluten and allergen free lifestyle
Free reusable bag to carry your goodies
Meet your favorite vendors, authors, and bloggers (maybe even ME)
You can purchase your tickets online at  Be sure to use the coupon code BLOGCHI to receive 35% off at checkout.
I will also be hosting a giveaway of 5 One Day Tickets this weekend!  Maybe you'll be the lucky winner!
All I know is, I can't wait to get there.  There are going to be huge vendors, with all their gluten and allergen free goodies.  There are informative classes where I can learn more about living allergen free.  And, I get a chance to meet some of my favorite writers and bloggers!
Come out and experience the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo with me!  It's going to be such fun!  Let me know if you're coming!  I'll be looking for YOU (not in a weird stalker way)!

GFAF Website
GFAF on Facebook
GFAF on Twitter

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Top Tips For Raising A Healthy, Natural Dog

Yes, I’m guilty.  I let Boho get away with just about everything she wants to do.  I let her beg at the table, eat food off my plate (as long as there are no dangerous foods for her), roam the entire house, sleep in bed with my hubby and me, and anything else that doesn’t put her in danger.
Why?  Because I want the few years she’s alive, to be spent happy and free.

We have our pets for such a short time.  They never have to grow up to be productive adults, like children do.  Their time on earth is spent giving us unconditional love and loyalty.  If treated well, they are always happy to see us.  Whether I’m gone 10 minutes, or 4 hours, when I get home, Boho runs up to greet me, tail wagging.  It’s as though my return home is the best thing that’s ever happened to her.   I don’t know about you; but, no one else has ever been that happy to see me.

In addition to being happy, I also want Boho to be healthy.  Recently, I switched her diet to grain free dog food, Blue Buffalo Small Breed Freedom Grain Free Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food, 11-Pound, in the morning.  I’ve been feeding her Blue Buffalo since I rescued her from a horrible breeder.  She’s done very well on it, maintaining a healthy weight.  But, she continued to have flaky skin and itching.  I thought since going grain free had helped my skin rashes, perhaps it could help her.  It’s still too early to tell; but, it does seem to be helping.  At night, I used to give her organic chicken, brown rice, and veggies.  When I heard about the levels of arsenic in brown rice, I switched her to soaked quinoa.  She took to the change very well.  It’s even helped her digestion.  I also add 1 teaspoon coconut oil, Nutiva Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil to her nightly food.  She loves it so much, she comes running to the kitchen when she hears the jar open.

One of the best things I ever did for Boho is purchasing her Optimal Health Program at Banfield.  It’s basically like health insurance for your pet.  For a monthly fee, you get unlimited vet visits, a discount on services, vaccinations, and two comprehensive exams per year.  My plan even includes dental cleaning every year.  My Banfield is located inside of Petsmart, which makes it very convenient.  They are great about nail clipping and anal gland maintenance.  It’s important to keep up with all of your pets’ vaccines, dental health, and grooming. 

While I’m not a big fan of vaccines, especially in humans, I do have Boho vaccinated when she needs it.  I pay a little extra for a titer test, which determines if she still has antibodies in her system from her last vaccine.  I do not believe in over-vaccinating!  Luckily, Boho has never had a bad reaction to a vaccination. Knocking on wood, as I write!

I am also super picky about her treats.  She only gets treats made in the USA.  I’m not taking any chances with that one, and neither should you.

If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning, you know the reason I founded Boho and Mo is because of Boho’s reaction to cleaning chemicals in my home.  Sometimes, we don’t realize the harm we’re doing to them by using toxic chemicals on the surfaces they’re around every day.  Because they are lower to the ground, they can be affected by anything you use on your carpets or floors.  I have even heard someone say, they washed their dog’s bowl with BLEACH! Ridiculous!

For cleaning, I only use products I make myself, from safe ingredients, or products from companies I trust. Here are some of the products I use:

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner
Method All Purpose Natural Surface Cleaner 
 Tub and Tile Spray
Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda
Heinz White Vinegar Distilled

I mentioned grooming earlier in this post.  For bathing Boho, I use Dr. Bronners - Magic Pure-Castile Soap Organic Baby Mild with a couple of drops NOW Foods Tea Tree Oil .  It’s gentle enough for her skin and leaves her fur soft and shiny.  If you bring your dog to groomers, you may want to supply them with this alternative.  And, be sure they don’t use any artificial fragrance on them.  It may smell nice to you; but, trust me, those toxic perfumes are no good for your dog.

So yes, I spoil Boho.  She drinks filtered water, plays with non-toxic toys, and enjoys a safe environment.  There are way too many tips for raising a healthy, happy pet to fit into one post.   But, these are my top tips, outlined above.

 Our pets are considered family members for many of us.  For some of us, they are our babies.  I wish you many years of happiness with your furry babies.  Go ahead, spoil them!

Boho Approved Products

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How To Keep Your Faith When You Are Sick

Today, I'm not feeling well; but, I have FAITH.  I have faith that one day I will feel better.  I have faith that God is working through me, toward something remarkable. I have faith that I am dealing with my illness for a reason.

Now, I haven't always been this faithful. In the past, I have wallowed in my self pity.  I have questioned God's motives and existence. I have allowed fear to cripple me.  I have allowed the darkness to envelope me.

And, for what?  Misery? Unhappiness? Fear?

Then, one day, I had enough! I decided to be thankful. I was thankful for the things I had. I was thankful for the time I had been given with loved ones who had passed. I was thankful for the loved ones I still had around me. I was thankful for the many blessings God had bestowed on me.

I decided to be giving.  I volunteered at my church's resale shop.  I volunteered to teach religious education classes as well.  I donated, what I could afford, to charities and food pantries.  I did good deeds on a daily basis. I offered compassion, empathy, and a listening ear for those in need.

And, then I got sick.

How do you keep your faith when you receive a life-changing diagnosis? You CHOOSE to.

I never questioned why God allowed me to get sick. I simply knew there was a reason.  I CHOSE to live the way I thought God expected me to live. I CHOSE to use my illness to help others who were suffering.  And, God CHOSE me to help them. My illness gave me a purpose.

Sometimes, it's just a matter of changing the way you think about things.  I could easily have decided to stop teaching my religious ed class because I just didn't have the energy anymore.  But, instead of thinking of myself, I thought of the kids. God would give me the energy I needed to continue to teach His children.  And, He does, every other Wednesday.

Always see the little miracles.  For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I've been renting cars, trying to decide what car I want.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go read my post titled Faith and A Fiat 500.  Anyway, after driving the Fiat, I decided I wanted a Prius. The rental car I had after the Fiat was, very possibly, the worst car I'd ever driven.  I was anxious to get rid of it. I poured through used car websites, looking for a reasonably priced Prius.  I kept coming across reviews from Prius owners about the expense of replacement parts.  It also seemed like the same issues were occurring over and over again.  I started thinking a Prius might not be such a good idea.  My husband agreed.  So, I had to find another car I liked.  Finally, I decided to take a serious look at the Mini Coopers. I had wanted a Mini long before the Fiat.  Plus, there were quite a few used Minis available, at reasonable prices.  Well, two days after that decision, my rental was up.  I wanted to trade the car I had for another more reliable one.  Unfortunately, they were out of other compact cars.  But, he did have a Mini Countryman getting washed in the garage.  My husband and I just looked at each other and busted out laughing.  No way could this happen twice! It did.  And, because they had no more compact cars, I was able to negotiate the rental price down to just $1 a day more.  Now, I get to test drive a Mini for a month.

Understand that God will always give you what you need.  Turn yourself over to Him.  Trust Him fully.  You will be amazed at how relaxed and comforted you will feel when you know everything will turn out as it was meant to.

When things are hard, ask God for help.  I hate to complain. But, sometimes, I can't help it.  When my hair was falling out in clumps, I cried.  The pain, I've been able to handle. My hair falling out, not so much.  That's when I asked God for help.  I prayed like I had never prayed before, pleading for help.  I know you're probably thinking I'm going to say my hair stopped falling out, and all was right with the world.  But, that's not what happened.  My hair is still falling out, although not as much.  Instead, I became at peace with it.  I can honestly say, I don't care about it anymore.  I'm sick.  This is what happens when you're sick sometimes.  If anyone wants to make judgements against me and my thin, stringy hair, that's on them.  I'm still alive.  My life is worth more than my hair.  I'm at peace.  Don't be afraid to pray for help.  God will not judge you for needing a break once in a while.

Vow to be happy.  Yes, you've suffered a blow.  Maybe, you've been told, as I have, that your disease cannot be cured.  Or, perhaps, your chances of recovery are not good.  Don't let that news define you. Miracles happen everyday! Why not to you?  A positive attitude and faith can do your health a world of good.  I refuse to let this disease get me down.  I made a vow to be happy. And, darn it, I am happy! I make it a point to laugh every day.  I choose to laugh at even the most annoying things.  I live in the same world you do.  It's not always rainbows and gumdrops! I'm up on all the politics, world events, and bizarre happenings going on right now.  I choose to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.  Those things I can do nothing about, I don't let myself get upset about.  The things I can do something about, I do.  Once again, everything will work out the way it's meant to.

It's all about choice. You can CHOOSE to keep and grow your faith.  As the quote above reads, you will see the light with your HEART, even when the darkness is in front of you.

Lastly, be kind to yourself.  Forgive others and yourself, to release your burdens.  Holding on to hate and regret will not help you to heal.  Be at peace in the now.  Let go of the past. Trust in the fact that God has your back in the future.

As always, I'd love to hear the ways you've kept your faith alive.  We should all support each other in healing.  Even though you may feel like no one can benefit from your experiences, someone will.  You may be able to connect with someone, in the exact way, they needed at that moment. Your life is valuable.  Your experiences are REMARKABLE.

Goodnight and God Bless!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

No Gallbladder? Let Me Introduce You To Ox Bile.

I had my gallbladder removed in 1999.  I had suffered for years before it's removal.  There were nights that I was in so much pain, I had to sleep sitting up, in a ball on the couch.

After my surgeon removed it, he reported the problem as being a birth defect, in which the tube leading to the liver was actually in a coiled shape, instead of laying straight.  So, for 30 years, my body had not been able to fully digest foods properly.  I was glad this was now going to be corrected.  Sadly, I had no idea what was to come.

Truth is, without a gallbladder, the body cannot regulate bile correctly.  If you've had yours removed, you know what happens when you eat a meal with a lot of fat.  You better find a bathroom....quickly!  You have no idea when or what will cause you to do the bathroom dash.  It kind of just comes and goes!

Without proper bile regulation, your body cannot digest fats, whether those fats are from foods or supplements.  This means that your body is unable to metabolize fats in a way that is beneficial to your health.

Now, I believe this inability of my body to absorb beneficial fats was a big part of my health's downward spiral.  If our bodies are unable to utilize fat soluble vitamins and nutrients, it cannot gain all that it needs to protect us from disease.

So, what should we do?

In my research, I discovered many reports from people getting great results from supplementing with Ox Bile capsules.  This supplement is created with, you guessed it, actual ox bile.  I thought it was pretty gross when I first read about the process of extraction and formulation; so, I'll spare you the details.  But, since I was willing to try anything, after 14 years of suffering the after-effects of my surgery, I decided to give them a try.  I ordered my first bottle from Amazon, after reading various reviews.  I ordered the lowest dosage available; so, I could do my own dosage testing.  

When my bottle arrived, I started using them that same day.  I took one capsule with my lunch and two with my dinner (my dinner had a higher fat content).  I had no ill effects.

After only three days, I started to notice significant improvement in my energy level, reaction to fat, and regulation of bowel movements.  In fact, since I began taking the Ox Bile supplements, I have not experienced one mad dash to the bathroom!

In addition to the Ox Bile, I also began taking a probiotic that I love.  It doesn't have any of the nasties, I don't want in my supplements.  And, it's gluten and wheat free. The two supplements work together to help your body digest foods properly.

Recently, I upped my dosage of Ox Bile to 2 capsules for lunch and 2 to 3 at dinner, depending on how fatty my food is.  Just to give you an example, if I were to have bacon and eggs for breakfast (yes, please), I would probably take three capsules.  If I were having a skinless chicken breast with vegetables, I would take 2 capsules.

You only take two of the probiotic supplements a day.  I take mine with my first meal of the day.

If you have had your gallbladder removed, or if your gallbladder is not functioning properly, I highly suggest you try these Ox bile and probiotic supplements.  Besides actually working, they are very affordable.  That was very important to me when I considered adding them to my regimen.  I now have them scheduled to ship to me once a month automatically.  I want to be sure I never have to do without.

When you have your gallbladder removed, all the doctors tell you is that the gallbladder doesn't really do very much; and, you don't need it to survive.  Obviously, they are just repeating the baloney they are taught in medical school.  If you didn't need a gallbladder, I doubt God would have put it in your body.  Now, that it's been removed, you need to help your body along to be sure it functions as it should.

Below are the links for the supplements I use.  These are affiliate links; but, I assure you that these are the very products I use every day.  Just check out my pic below, if you don't believe me.

Until next time, good day and God bless!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Can You Get Anti-Aging Results From Natural Skincare?

I have to be totally honest with you.  When I first found out I was going to have to give up my name-brand, anti-aging skincare, and replace them with non-toxic, natural products, I was nervous.  I had spent years finding the best, most reliable products to keep time from waging it’s war on my face.  Were these all natural products going to pack the power I needed?

But were these chemical-laden products really doing their job?  Or, was it just a perception in my head, based on the company’s advertising?  I decided to put them to the test.  I took a good, hard look at my 44 year old face in the mirror.   What did I see?  Well, I saw freckles from sun damage, blackheads, discoloration from vitiligo, inflammation from my lupus rash, and sagging skin along my jowls.  It sure didn’t seem to me that these so-called anti-aging products were doing their job.  By comparing myself to others in my age range, I had assumed my products were working.  In reality, I don’t think they were doing much at all.

This realization made the transition to all natural much easier for me.  I combed through Pinterest, looking for green beauty DIY recipes and resources for natural products.  I ordered Liz Wolfe’s ebook, SkinterventionGuide.  I researched every product recommended to me on the EWG website, Skin Deep, to be sure they were all as non-toxic as they said they were.  They were.

The next step was to amass the various oils, foods (yes, I said foods), waxes, ready-made products,and  oddities, I would need.  I ordered most items online at Amazon and  Once I received all of my loot, I spent the day in my kitchen, creating my new, anti-aging, all natural skincare products.  Some products, such as baking soda and honey, did not need to be transformed.  But, I put them in pretty glass jars, to make them look fancier.  That night, I began my green skincare routine.  I haven’t looked back since.

In six month’s time, I have completely turned my skin around, for the better.  My lupus rash is gone, gone, gone!  I still have a few freckles; but, they are much lighter.  My vitiligo patches are now blended into my skintone. I have no more blackheads; and, the skin along my jowls is much firmer.  My skin is more youthful and glowing than it has ever been.  And, I’m going to be 45 this year!

Can you get Anti-Aging results from natural skincare?  You bet,you can!
If you’re looking to make the switch to natural skincare, I highly recommend Liz Wolfe’s, Skintervention Guide.  It’s filled with great information on skincare, haircare, and nutrition.  You can find everything you need to make the transition.

If you’re not the DIY kind of person, I recommend my all natural Orange I Beautiful Anti-Aging Vitamin C Toner and Serum.  These products have been formulated and tweaked to provide the results I demanded of my products. You can purchase each product separately or together in a discounted set.  I priced them at the low, introductory price of $7.99 for the toner, $24.99 for the serum, and $19.99 for the set.

My Skincare Routine


Rinse face with warm water.  Place a dollop of Organic Honey in one hand.  Rub hands together to warm honey. Spread on face. Let sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Rinse.  Pat dry.

Sweep cotton ball soaked with Orange I Beautiful Toner over face.

Apply two drops Orange I Beautiful Serum to face in upward strokes. Then, I apply 1 drop to neck and jawline.

Apply sunscreen.  I like this one.
All Natural Organic Ayurvedic Mineral SPF30 Sunscreen Sun Block Child Safe

Before putting on makeup, apply two drops pure argan oil to face. I like this one.
Pura D'or Pure and Organic Argan Oil, Brown and Gold, 4 Fluid Ounce


Oil Cleanse, using Jojoba oil first, to remove makeup.  Then, I use a mixture of castor oil and almond oil to treat.

Sweep cotton ball soaked with diluted apple cider vinegar over face.

Apply two drops Orange I Beautiful Serum to face in upward strokes. Then, apply 1 drop to neck and jawline.

Apply Vintage Tradition tallow Body Balm to face and neck.

So, if you’re thinking of making the transition to non-toxic, natural skincare, but, are afraid of the results, take a good hard look in the mirror.  Are your products really doing a good job?  Don’t you think your skin would look better with natural products that actually HEAL your skin?
I’m so glad I made the switch.

Until next time, God bless.