The Empowerment of Platform Shoes

It is no secret that women find shoes empowering.  Whether they give you height, glamour, or just look and feel great.  I grew up idolizing the Spice Girls and admiring the creativity of New York club kids, so the shoes I found empowering gave me height without causing pain like heels and pumps.  What I loved about these club kid platform style of shoes is that I found I could dance in these shoes and wear them all day and night without pain.  Designed by Salvatore Ferragamo, platform shoes have been called many names since they came on the scene in the 1930s.  They have been called stacks, lifts, corks, wedges, and chunky heels.

I was so crushed when they went out of fashion back in the early 2000s.  However, as is commonly the case with fashion, everything comes back in style eventually.  You can imagine my joy at seeing these types of shoes start gracing the runway again.  I first noticed them on Prada’s runways a few years ago, then Gucci, and Stella McCartney.  I was overjoyed and so excited because this all meant I could have these amazing shoes and the empowerment I found wearing them once again!

For the last few years, I have been slowly building up my platform collection again.  However, I am still somewhat scarred from the last time they went out of style so I have been tentatively building my current collection.  In any case, I honestly think I have found my fashion niche with these shoes so I have chosen to throw out what is trending or fashionable and just wear what works for me!

After all, I would rather be off trend and feel tall, strong, paramount, and fully empowered!

A Lesson in the Low-Carb Lifestyle…

I first started eating low carb about 15 years ago.  I found that I felt better, had more energy, and I did not catch common colds.  The first year I ate low carb, I lost about 20 lbs.  At the time, I was following The Atkins Diet religiously and I found it really worked for me because I had never felt better.  I still follow a low carb diet but I am not as strict as I used to be.

Since then, many similar low carb diets have come about like the Paleo Diet and the Ketogenic Diet.  While I have not read much about those diets, what I have read about them is that they seem to be a version of the trailblazing Atkins diet.  Over the years, I have watched friends try to go on some version of a low carb diet and not stick with it.  It seems that most people do not get past the first few weeks let alone the first month.  I am always cheering them on and I tell them the hardest part is making the lifestyle change and getting used to the diet.  The diet is easy — it allows plenty of fats and proteins that staves off hunger.  The first few weeks are crucial to any low carb diet because you are trying to get your body into a state of ketosis, which is where your body is depraved of carbs so it starts burning fat stores and weight loss becomes rapid.  It is amazing to see your body change once in a state of ketosis and the fat just seems to melt off magically.  I feel that staying lean is a great perk to a low carb diet but more importantly is the extra energy and how it makes you feel.

Recently, I had been reading about resetting your metabolism on a low carb diet.  Basically, what a low carb diet reset means is to bring your body back into a state of ketosis.  However, reset had a different meaning here.  From what I was reading a “reset” meant to totally go off low carb by eating carb heavy foods like French fries and pasta!!  Well, after reading a few blogs and posts from low carb fans, and I decided to try it.  I figured it could give me a little break and l could eat some foods I missed (mostly ramen noodles and grilled cheese sandwiches) that were not allowed on a low carb diet.  I happily decided to try it for a few days and I began planning on eating the foods I missed the most (but not in excess).  The first day was great, I ate a bowl of ramen which was so delicious and I even had some ice cream.  However, that night I could not sleep and when I finally did get to sleep, I had horrible nightmares.  The next day, I just figured it was probably the ice cream so I continued to eat a high carb meal and one dessert per day.  It was on this day that I got a splitting headache and to match it some unbearable heartburn.  I also had more horrible nightmares and awful sleep that night.  One would think that after all of these awful side effects I would stop eating sugar and grains…but I did not.  I ate like this for one more day so I could do a proper reset of 3 days total.

On the fourth day, I went back to eating a low carb diet with the intention of putting my body in a ketogenic state.  I did not feel much better on the fourth day, despite not eating sugar and carbs and my headache and heartburn were still sticking around.  In fact, my headache did not go away for another couple days, and my heartburn took even longer than that to go away.  Eventually, I got back to normal and started feeling great and full of life and energy but I learned a great lesson.  After eating low carb for so many years, my body was used to it and happy and then introducing sugar and grains back into the diet was catastrophic.  I took all of this to mean that sugars, grains, and pastas are some sort of poison to my body because that is the only way to describe how I felt.

Looking forward, I will never do a carb “reset” again but it was good to be reminded of how awful bad carbs make me feel.  Now when I wish I could just eat a bowl of noodles and be happy like I see other people do, I know that the only thing I am missing out on are some pretty awful side effects.

The Machines Amongst Us

The inspiration for this blog happened a few nights ago when I was laying down in bed and starting to drift off to sleep.  Something unusual happened – I woke up with urgency and my eyes popped open, my brain wanted to look at my phone.  Now, I never thought of myself as a phone addict but it was clear to me in this moment that maybe, I needed to reevaluate my relationship with my phone.  For the record, I refrained from looking at my phone and went back to sleep.

Over the next couple days, I thought about my phone, how I used it, what I used it for, where I take it, how I never leave home without it, and most of all how it lives by my side a good 95% of the time.  Analyzing the relationship that I have with my phone made me feel like a cyborg or cybernetic organism, because I am part organic and almost part machine because I do rely so much on my phone.  I feel a definite fear when I have gone somewhere without it.  My machine of choice, my phone, seems to be almost part of me now because I cannot imagine life without it.  I felt this related to Donna Haraway’s 1985 essay, A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century, so I reread parts of it thinking about my situation and many things stood out.  In this essay, Haraway states, “A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social relations, our most important political construction, a world-changing fiction.”  Of course, this is me and not only does this apply to my relationship with my phone, but my computer, car, and television.  Haraway also states that, “Late twentieth-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and artificial, mind and body, self-developing and externally designed, and many other distinctions that used to apply to organisms and machines.  Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.”  I found this quote, especially the last sentence to be quite compelling as it spoke a truth I had never thought of before.  To me, this meant that I am a machine dependent organism with a blurred line to where I begin and my machine dependency ends.  We are one in the same.

Through this self-reflective journey, I was also inspired by an art collaboration between futurists Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos and Rameet Chawla, two digital philosophers brought together to create art for Twyla.  Esmeralda uses art to make profound statements on what it is like living in a technological omnipresent world.  Rameet is an entrepreneur and applications developer who designs award winning apps and believes his creations could be considered art.

Here is where I was able to break it all down – I remembered that I break free from my machines at least once a year for an extended time.  The only time I am without my phone is during my annual camping trips with my closest friends.  Every year, we go to the Kern River in the Sequoia National Forrest in California and camp off grid with no electricity or running water.  There is no cell reception in this very remote part of the forest so we all turn off our phones and we stay there anywhere from five to seven days.  The build-up for my device free vacation is also letting my family and some friends know that I will be unable to answer them if they text, call, or email me.  This is my paradise, I am my happiest here just taking in the beautiful scenery and spending quality time with my very best friends.  It is here that I do not want my phone anywhere near me and at the end of the trip, I find myself dreading having to look at it and deal with all of the texts, calls, and emails.  It is as if I do not want my separation from my machines to end because I feel truly at peace without them.  However, if I want to be a functioning member of society I need them.  Finding the bittersweet balance of appreciating/being grateful for my machines and the stressful control they seem to have over my life is the unfounded space.

On the Road to Natural Medicine

So many people have asked me how and why I got into natural medicine and beauty products.  While there is a belief that natural medicine is better for our planet and our overall health, I got into natural medicine when traditional medicine stopped working for me.  Therefore, when I found the cure for my chronic sinus infections through natural medicine it really sealed the deal for me.  I was sold, hooked, fascinated and became a believer in the power of natural medicine!  Here’s how my journey went…

For most of my life I suffered from horrendous sinus infections that I would get at least a couple of times every year. I would be in intense pain and have to miss school or work, or just miss out on life in general.  Once I would get a sinus infection, I would have to go to the doctor and get prescribed antibiotics.  The infection would clear up and then it was a waiting game for the next sinus infection to come visit me.  One day, about 10 years ago, I was finally fed up with the cycle of going to the doctor, getting antibiotics, and waiting for the infection to clear up and then come back.  I just felt that there had to be a better way because the way I was going obviously was not working!  I did a lot of research on natural antibiotics and how to cure sinus infections using natural medicine.  I came across the Neti-Pot for people with allergies and sinus problems.  I got one and used it at least once a week.  I noticed my infections were clearing up faster.

Eventually, I came across some testimonies from people suffering from similar conditions and they recommended taking Grapefruit Seed Extract.  I immediately started researching Grapefruit Seed Extract and found raving reviews for it.  It turns out that Grapefruit Seed Extract is a natural antibiotic found in the seeds of grapefruit.  It is just as strong on bacterial infections as a pharmaceutical antibiotic, only it is natural and not harmful to the immune system like pharmaceutical antibiotics.  Word to the wise – it should still be taken with a probiotic because of its strength.  After learning this, I ran to Wholefoods and purchased some to have in my arsenal for my next sinus infection.

A few months later, I felt another sinus infection coming on.  I used the Grapefruit Seed Extract, putting 10-12 drops in a glass of water and taking it orally twice a day.  I also put a few drops in distilled water and put it in my Neti-Pot (I figured it couldn’t hurt and I was desperate).  I used my Neti-Pot like this once a day for three days.  Low and behold, the sinus infection went away fast and I was not suffering nearly as bad as with my previous sinus infections.  What is even more amazing, is that I have only had ONE sinus infection in the past 10 years since that day!!  I found the cure for my chronic infections and became a life long supporter and believer in the wonderful healing powers of natural medicine!