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Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Prescription for Vacation!

As some of you already know (and I thank each of you who have contacted expressing your kind tips and concern), my significant other, Bronson, as some of you know him as, has been dealing with on-going back pain for the last year now. 

Despite the many supplements and remedies my sweetheart has tried throughout this painful year -- many of which I've reviewed here on Ribbons & Pearls -- he can't seem to keep the pain away for very long. And well, supplements for something like back pain are not exactly budget-friendly, not when one needs to take them daily in order to get any relief from the pain. 

He began working longer hours this winter, and as many of you chronic back pain-sufferers are all too familiar with, the cold weather isn't kind on pain. 

These long hours, plus the tiny sliver of sleep he's lucky if he gets each night (the pain tends to wake him up after only a few hours of sleep) has just totally broken him, and over the last three months, we've finally arrived at the conclusion that my love-bird needed to start looking into professional care, as scary as that has been to think about.

While he does want to be "fixed," he doesn't want the typical blankets that only cover up and mask some symptoms of pain. He wants to simply be "fixed," he says. 

So, initially, my first suggestion was to look into something of a holistic practitioner, someone who can help him get to the root of the issues and use their own techniques to "fix him," even if his issue cannot be completely cured, although personally, I am a believer that anything is possible. 

Imagine the disappointment, when after he started to feel some excitement about seeing a holistic practitioner and began expressing feelings of hopeful-ness (for the first time since he fell off that ladder back in the summer), we came up with nothing. Not a single thing close to holistic care in our area! None. 

So, my second suggestion came tonight as I worked through my mind all day yesterday and today what types of options he may have was seeing a Reiki worker! Why I didn't think of this before, as someone who's highly into this sort of healing modalities. 

After the severe let-down we were stuck with when we found nothing but conventional practitioners in our area, he was leery when I made the Reiki suggestion this evening. I asked if he'd be willing to try it, and he responded with a desperate "yes," although the fear of yet another disappointment was pasted to his face.

I don't want him to stay in pain, or be let-down anymore. I have been working him to get hopeful, feel excitement because it's my thinking (and experience) that those feelings put us in a positive vibration that can have hugely positive impacts on our outcomes. It can make all the difference in the world when we seek more positive thinking on something like pain. 

"I just don't want to be disappointed again. It's too much, so if I just don't let myself believe too much that there is any hope, then being let-down again won't be so hard to take," he told me, totally deflated and drained. 

The black half circles under his eyes, and the complete sag in his frame stood out bigger than ever before as I watched him closely while he expressed those fears of disappointment.

This stuff is really taking a toll on him.

No, it took its toll long ago. 

And now more than ever before, it showed to the extent that my stomach lurched up into my throat. 

We scheduled a chat-session with a Naturopath who I was blessed enough to find, somewhat near to us. 

Due to our not being able to schedule an in-person visit anytime soon with this new practitioner, we settled for an hour long discussion with her, and she had some pretty amazing, if not odd suggestions for him. 

In fact, her suggestions sound more like vacation

Not that we can complain about a vacation! Especially considering we had to skip our annual trip to the beach this year, something that my significant other did not take well. It's something our entire family looks forward to all year long, so that was quite the added disappointment to a year that had already earned struggles for all of us.

I'd heard of hydro-therapy before, but my significant other and I haven't ever used it before. We've delved into some energy healing, something I was incredibly responsive to doing from day 1. In fact, I've surprised myself with the techniques of energy healing. I'm more of a beginner, but have been able to get results from it.

I'm no expert, by no means, and I want him to have nothing other than the best care available. 

Of all the things to "try" for his pain, and all the possible routes of relief, the most out-there suggestion our brand new friend and future Naturopath gave us was the vacation.

"Is it at all possible that you can take at least 3 days off right now, right this minute?" She asked, and he responded with a strained "I have no idea. Why?"

We both stared into each others faces for a lengthy duration before I shrugged and asked "well, can you?

Neither of us were sure where this was going, and he wasn't even sure if he would be able to take an hour off from work right now, much less a 3-day mini vacation.

When our friend carefully and almost hesitantly laid out exactly what she had in mind for him, I think we both thought she was joking us. A vacation? Out of nowhere? An actual vacation? Somewhere tropical and warm, with more water than the typical ponds and lakes here in our area. The ocean. 

Our all-time favorite place on earth. 

She had her own ideas of the "best" oceans that a person in ill-health could visit, but obviously, someone on a budget and a last-minute mini vacation needed to compromise, so she basically  told us that any ocean, as long as it was one that we felt we could feel fulfilled and truly enjoy an experience visiting would do just fine, for now.

"Just until you can actually get in and see me," she said.

I was still waiting for her to laugh in our faces and say "April fool's!" or something.

Like I said, I'd heard of hydro-therapy, and fully believe in its possible benefits because I've always kind of felt like my best ideas came when I am indulging in a warm shower or bath, and even some of my most spiritual moments, oddly enough. 

I figure there must be some link to water and our well-being. So I was all for visiting the beach, any beach, for his benefit. Oh, what a beautiful "prescription!" 

Even as we packed our belongings, left a bill to go un-paid, and took off to the nearest beach (more than 6 hours away), there was still a sense of uncertainty, and maybe even a touch of fear in the air as we began the drive.

Despite the oddness of this suggestion that we take off to a beach, and despite the great feelings of uncertainty we both had as we took off virtually without a clue as to what we'd do or how anything would go, the 2 1/2 day trip was absolutely unlike anything either of us had ever experienced.

We stayed in touch, via Skype with our new friend and healer for the entire trip, her giving us specific suggestions on how to go about our days in order to put him in the "receiving" and "relaxed" state.

It worked. 

He was totally open to yoga techniques, and even breathing techniques that she instructed us through. I'd never seen him so ... not tense and truly relaxed.

I still didn't know how this would help his back. At all. In fact, there were times that I felt like we were being scammed somehow!

As we made our way back after our last night, and after the Naturopath asked us a handful of seemingly strange and out of nowhere questions, it hit me.

I knew exactly why we were told to take off, at random, to a beach. I knew why she asked the questions, and everything that had happened made complete sense to me.

He needed to be pushed into a receptive state, and as someone who was so filled with fear that he was stubborn, there was really only one way to get him in that state of mind quickly.

And I can't believe it, but it worked! 

Now, he's on his way to a multitude of "fix-him-up visits," as I call them, and I can't begin to describe how much has changed. Even though his back isn't healed, so many other areas of him (and me!) have been that the entire experience so far has already been beyond worth it.

Hope, excitement, relaxed, joy, and a little bit of peace -- those are all things he now has that he had none of before. 

The dark eye circles are looking better as he continues the many breathing techniques and diet suggestions. 

This was all about getting him in the "right" state of mind, and healing him in areas that were contributing so negatively to his entire health, well-being, and pain. 

We are filled with hope that progress will be made any time now. We feel like as we progress with the proper care by our side, helping us along the way, we'll really get him somewhere much better than the previous pain-filled life.

We don't know what will happen, or how he will get fully better and completely recover from the injury to his back, but we both are certain it will happen.

Who knew going to the beach -- in the middle of a full-force, stress-filled life -- could be so therapeutic? 

Ever since we arrived back home, our attitudes and mind-sets have totally changed, and we often joke anytime something "goes wrong" in our day "well, I guess we'll have to go back to the beach!

Next time, though, I told him we'd be staying at Las Ventanas Del Mar, located in Costa Rica, somewhere we've never even been, but where our close friends recently vacationed and sent us photos of them lounging in what appears to be the world's most fabulous 9,000 thousand square foot infinity pool (and boy did I ever feel the jealousy monster strike when I seen their images!) 

We have to stay in the Las Ventanas Del Mar! I tell him anytime the topic of vacation comes up. 

Thankfully, he was just as intrigued by  the monstrosity of an infinity pool, and the massages, which are done in your own room were all we had to hear and we were sold. In fact, we've already discussed taking a trip back with our friends who stayed there before, and splitting the expenses between the four of us. 

Our couple friend said that while they didn't "get around to it," the Las Ventanas place where they stayed offered yoga -- which will be perfect for keeping him in that peaceful, relaxed state of mind, -- fishing, whitewater rafting, helicopter tours, and even volcano tours -- all things my sweet love-bucket absolutely loves, or has expressed a desire to try before (like the helicopter and volcano experiences.) The coffee plantation tour, access to organic fruit and veggie markets, and zip lining will be the first things I get in line for. I never knew you could do so much at one resort.

Needless to say, no convincing was necessary to get him to want to stay at such a place for our next vacation, the annual one we won't be missing this year. 

So, it looks like we'll be getting a refill on that "prescription" vacation, only this time, we'll have already planned our entire journey of fun-things-to-try before we ever arrive.


Have any of you ever had an experience similar to this? Care to share it? We'd all love if you did.

What would your idea of the perfect "healing" vacation be? Have you ever been to this resort? What was your experience? Do tell!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Most Stylish, Modern, & Functional Water Bottle on the Planet -- Ello's Syndicate Glass Water Bottle

I'm one of the many folks who love a unique, interesting water bottle (like the one here from Ello Products) since I'm an on-the-go kind of girl who either carries her beverage around in a travel-safe water bottle or doesn't drink her water. That's because I'm rarely in one place for very long throughout my day...

So, I'm here to introduce you other on-the-go folks -- who like to carry their water or other beverage in a unique, safe bottle -- to the Ello water bottle!



Ya'll know me, I'm all about sharing something I love here on Ribbons and Pearls, and when I share something I love, I also share a lot of images of that something. So, bear with me and just be happy that you have so many photos of the awesome Ello to cast your gaze upon while you read my review. 









The Syndicate Glass Water Bottle features a removable strap for carrying, which  makes it even easier to lug around.


I've become quite the water-bottle enthusiast over the last few years as I've been trying to find a great match for me and my needs -- you know, besides that pesky need of having water. 

From spills on my pants to spills in my purse (I sometimes have to carry my bottle in my purse), I've been through it all, and decided not only was it time I found myself a water-bottle that was interesting to look at, but also one that was actually functional and reliable. An ol' trusty who I could place my faith in holding the water so I could later drink it, rather than have it end up in my purse (have you ever seen mascara and keys try to swim amongst the other contents in an oversized handbag? I have. I sadly, sadly have.)

Aside from becoming my ol' trusty, I'm impressed with Ello Products because they are a "clean" and "green" company that uses eco-friendly materials. And well, I do like my water, but I am also very fond of not drinking water that may contain BPA, and I'm always looking to be a more eco-friendly kind of gal..

And really, who could resist the awesome, modern, stylish designs offered by Ello? Pink netting-like stuff wrapped around a nice, BPA-free glass bottle? I was all in.

And besides that, the lid has a unique way of preventing my mascara and other purse goodies from having to sink or swim... in a purse full of water, again.





  I was lucky enough -- and the folks at Ello Products were kind enough to toss me a bone . . . er, I mean a bottle -- and now the water bottle and I have become a lovely, totally carry-able, non-spill-able, stylish duo. The water bottle is those things -- such as non-spillable -- not me. I'm just the other part of the duo. And I am not non-spillable. I  am BPA free, though, now that I'm not drinking water that it has leached into!


This bottle is from Ello's Hydration line -- and it's called the Syndicate Glass Water Bottle.

 Before I go on, let me share with you how many times my spouse has said "I wish it came in blue too!

It does. 

Ello Products actually carries these in an awesome, light blue color, as well as teal, grey, and coral!



The one-touch flip cap is one of the most impressive features, aside from the things I mentioned above (like the bottle being BPA free, glass, cute and travel-friendly).

You press that pink button (like you see me doing in the photo above and below) an the lid springs open like a frog jumping from a dirty pond.




Notice the pretty pink circular piece on the top of the clear, plastic lid -- that thing creates suction so when you press the button, it un-suctions with an oddly satisfying pop...More about that in a second.



Ta-da! 

This also means it locks securely when closed. 

When the lid pops open, it makes the "pop" sound I mentioned, which is very satisfying to people who enjoy that sound. Someone I know has spent a lot of her time making the lid pop open because she loves the sound it makes.






The pink, silicone sleeve that encases the glass water bottle is not only really cute and fun to look at, but it also works as a grip -- helping you keep the bottle in your hand and not on the floor. 

And if it does hit the floor, the netting should help absorb some of the shock and keep your awesome bottle protected.

This silicone sleeve is removable, so you can take it off  when washing.

And of course, a company so dedicated to clean drinking made sure their outer "sleeve" is made of food grade silicone, so no worries with unhealthy materials in any Ello product. That makes me a happy girl. 

Almost as happy as the pop sound I get to experience each time I open the lid.




In this photo of the water bottle from Ello Products, I've crammed my finger behind the silicone encasing to show you the flexibility of it.

The bottle is dishwasher safe (including the silicone sleeve) and is great for cold drinks, but not for hot drinks or for freezing cold ones. 


I love it! I adore it.

I use the Syndicate Glass Water Bottle to carry around my water every single day. I'm not even joking. I have it sitting next to me right now. I've not put it down (except when drying) the entire time I've had it, which has been around 2 months.

If I want to keep hydrated, I have to fill a bottle with water and keep it next to me, to remind me to drink it throughout the day -- this has been my routine forever, so it's important that the bottle I use holds a lot of water.

 The Syndicate Glass Bottle holds about as much as I usually consume in a one-day period. I occasionally refill it once more before the day's over. So, this is handy for me as I am not always around clean water to fill it with.


I have to say, Ello Products have some of the most interesting, stylish, and fun drink ware I've yet to see, and I am totally diggin' the pink Syndicate Bottle. Cannot get enough of it!

Specs:

  • Ello Products are my BFF because all of their products are BPA-free, have intriguing designs while being totally functional for every day, long-term use.

  • The Syndicate Glass Bottle is travel-friendly, completely "locks" and prevents any spills -- even tiny droplets, holds about enough water for an entire day's worth, for me and it is adorable!



Have you guys seen the drink ware from Ello Products? Do you have an Ello BFF, too? If so, which and what are your favorites? I'm totally eyeballing their awesome coffee bottles, too!


This review and all reviews here on Ribbons and Pearls are in compliance with the FTTC guidelines. I recieve no monetary compensation, but a prouct in exchange for a completely honest review. Each review is my honest opinion.  See my disclosure page and honesty pledge for more info on sponsored reviews!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Could Your Vibrator Be Negatively Affecting Your Health? Chances Are, It Is.


The world of sex toys is large, and most of us would never think that we'd need to look at the ingredients used to make the toy -- the toy's material -- just to be sure we aren't putting toys made of materials that are linked to cancer, infection and more on our most sensitive areas. This is a list of sex toy materials that are harmful, why they are harmful as well as materials that are body-safe.


                                               
Jelly sex toys

Jelly sex toys are probably the most popular in the market, the most frequently produced and the most frequently used. Mostly because jelly is cheap. Jelly is a combination of rubber and PVC, and it's far from hygienic when it comes to inserting it into your body on frequent basis.

(Image Source: Amazon.com)



The harms that come with enjoying the pleasures of a soft, squishy jelly adult toy, are enough to keep folks who know about them away from the material for life. 

Much like being in the moment with a forbidden lover, my pleasures with Mr. Jelly always resulted in guilt after the big bang. 

Sure it felt fun at the time, but after the exploding fireworks , -- you know, the moment that forbidden lover of yours abruptly leaps from the bed you were making hot love in seconds ago to throw their clothing on and head for the door -- you're left with the damage already done. 

Not to Mr. forbidden lover, no. Not to Mr. Jelly. To you. 

And you know there's only you to blame. 

That's when the guilty part of guilty pleasures come in to eat you up like a nightmare you can't shake long after you've woken from it.

That about sums up my relationship with adult toys made of the material called "jelly." 

I so enjoyed that squishy material. I even somewhat liked the chemical-smell that reminded me of my old jelly shoes. I loved the smell of those. 

On the other hand, some jelly toys will have a very strong odor -- of plastic/chemicals -- that never goes away and is so strong that it can leave your skin polluted of the hard-to-get-rid-of odor.

  Once again, like the forbidden lover who's cologne wears off onto your blouse, exposing your dirty little secret, so does the chemical-laden odor of a jelly sex toy, only it isn't your blouse. It's worse. Much worse.

It's your vagina.

In fact, I have one jelly toy, this long, bendable thing that resembles some strange pink and purple creature from the depths of the sea that I've owned for two years and to this day, when I open the storage box, the chemical odor slaps me in the face.

This strong, unmistakably chemical odor is usually a sure-fire way to tell if your B.O.B. (Battery Operated Boyfriend) is made of jelly or another harmful material like rubber.

I had to come to my senses before I was able to refuse to give myself to Mr. Jelly any longer. But I had to. My health depended on it. Here's why:

1. Jelly, for one, is highly porous material meaning it has microscopic holes in the surface where guess what? Micro-organisms can hide away. And guess what else they do? They invite their friends. They multiply! Then, you break out the big bad Lady Lambada for a solo session one night and well, where do you think those micro-organisms are going? Wherever you put that jelly sex toy, in the vagina.

When you introduce these into the vagina, you're at risk for yeast infections, trichomoniasis, vaginitis, bacterial vaginosis, and other unpleasantries.

Keep in mind jelly isn't the only material that's commonly used to make porous adult products. 

Cyberskin, a super soft, "flesh-like" material that dildos are often made of is porous and as harmful as jelly.

Remember how Moma always said not to share hairbrushes at school, so you wouldn't catch lice? 

Well, this goes for porous sex toys too. Sharing them can cause the transmission of STD's and STI's. 

Even if you've had an STI or STD and have had it cleared, if you used the toy while the disease or infection was present in your body, it's possible to re-contaminate yourself by using the toy again. In this case, it's highly recommended not to ever share your toys. 

For those who just can't resist sharing their sex toys, it's recommended they use a condom before each use and to change the condom before the other person(s) use the toy. Your safer solution is to not share them.

2. Phthalates, Oh No!
Not only that, but jelly sex toys contain something called phthalates. Phthalates are
basically plastic softeners added to the product to create something more flexible, which is why jelly toys often have some bend or "give" to them. However, so do some silicone toys, so this isn't a sure-fire way to tell if your toy is jelly. Oftentimes, it'll say if it's jelly on the package.

The reason phthalates are such a growing concern is because they're ,although there aren't any conductive studies to prove it, studies have shown that phthalates pose some health risks. Exposure to phthalates has been shown to be a cause of breast cancer. In studies where rodents were exposed to certain phthalates, in high doses, they were shown to cause birth defects and a change in hormonal levels. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalate#Health_effects)

Phthalates have very long lists of health problems they're said to cause. One more of those being their testosterone-blocking properties in men. (Source: http://www.ehhi.org/reports/plastics/phthalates_intro.shtml)


Jelly may also contain toxins. That worry, combined with the worry of potentially cancer-causing phthalates, and then of course the porousity meaning your vibrator will turn into a bacteria's breeding ground is plenty concern enough to be educated about jelly material and to possibly, if you can, avoid it or know how to use it in a way that you can decrease health risks.

(Image Source: Kidcompanions.com/)

These are some reasons why it's important to know the manufacturer you are buying from. Some of the very popular, cheap manufacturers of adult products are the worst offenders. Here is a list of sex toy materials that are body-safe and not porous:

1. Silicone. No, not a "combination" of silicone with another material, but 100% pure silicone. 

Some manufacturers put a "pure" or "safe" logo on their packaging or claim "silicone" or "pure silicone," in order to gain your trust ... not to mention your cash.

 But this doesn't mean their product is 100% pure silicone or safe. 

The good news is, there are ways to tell. 

There are manufacturers who are reputable for their product lines being 100% pure silicone, and after time, you learn to tell by touch, smell and sight. 

Tip: Silicone can be matte or shiny, so don't judge... a dildo by its cover? 

Tip 2: Smell it. 

If it's odorous, it may not be 100% pure silicone. If it has a slight fresh-from-the-box odor, it doesn't necessarily indicate that it's not 100% pure. 

After washing it, a 100% silicone toy should not have a strong, noticeable odor.

Be sure to look for the words "body-safe" on the packaging. If it also boasts "hypo-allergenic, latex, and phthalates-free," then that's icing on the cake. 

Silicone is hypo-allergenic, latex, phthalates-free, and non-porous. 

Another great thing about silicone is that it can be disinfected by boiling, whereas many materials cannot.

2. Acrylite/Lucite. These are non-porous, rigid, plasticy materials. They can be boiled to sterilize and aren't known to contain toxins or phthalates.

3. Glass. In my opinion, glass (like steel) is one of the best. Not only because glass can provide some amazing sensations, and often just one glass toy can create so many different ways to pleasure, but because it's body-safe, non-toxic hypo-allergenic, non-porous, phthalates and latex-free and less likely to be a "fake" glass toy. 

You would know if it wasn't truly glass, so you aren't at risk of thinking you're using a safe, glass toy when you aren't. Also, glass is often pretty decently priced.

Glass can also be boiled for sterilization or even cleaned on your top-rack inside the dishwasher.

But glass? Won't it break inside the vagina and cut you? 

Not likely at all. Adult toys made from glass are usually made from one of the three: borosilicate/pyrex, tempered glass. These are the different names glass dildos go by. This isn't the same as other glass -- it's more dense than ordinary glass -- meaning it's also more resistant to breaking.

 Each are made to withstand. It's even been said that glass dildos will outlive their owners. They can be dropped without a high risk of breaking, and if one does break, they are designed to do so in large chips that you'll easily see rather than tiny splinters that you'd miss.

Basically, if it's a rigid material, you've less guess-work to do.

 Not all rigid materials are the safest of all, but if you are ever unsure, it's best to go with rigid materials like glass.




Friday, January 23, 2015

Are The Ingredients In Your Turtle's Food Really Safe

With all the fillers, artificial ingredients like dyes that are
Image Source: Amazon.
found in so many of the pet food products we buy, it's important to ask the question "could your turtle's food be making your beloved pet turtle sick?"


When you purchase food -- whether it's for Fluffy the cat, or Pookie the dog, or Myrtle the turtle, or even for your own family -- you don't automatically question the possibility that the food contains health hazards. You shouldn't have to question something like that when it comes to buying any consumable product! But in today's world, we can't afford not to peruse the entire ingredients list on every single label, and that includes our pet's food products. It's sad, it's a shame, it's B.S. I know. 

But the sad truth is, the food we consume and that our pets consume is often not any safer than eating a box of rat poison. Yet they still sell it to us. They continue to pack it full of the artificial dyes (do they really think Myrtle the turtle notices if the pellets are dark green or pale green?), the GMO's, the fillers, and more poisonous ingredients.

And they know the negative impact these unsafe-for-consumption ingredients are for our health, and our pets' health. 

So, it's up to us to keep an eye out, to read the labels with a knowing eye. 

Because most of us pet owners care about the health of our pets. We want them to live full, healthy, happy lives. We don't want to feed them poison that is sure to send them to an early grave. 

With that said, I'm sure you can empathize with the anger and frustration I felt when I read the ingredients of my turtle's can of food only to find loads of artificial coloring, and other fillers and possibly not-so-healthy ingredients, but what baffles me is why these manufacturers think they need to make pet food colorful? The turtles, dogs, and cats don't care. Plus, the dyes in food have been very well touted for their negative and possibly negative effects on our health, so why would we toss them in there? For what reason? I know my turtle doesn't prefer one color over the other when it comes to his food, and chances are, he may not even see the colors!

So, why does ReptoMin include "artficial colors: blue 2 lake, yellow 6 lake," and even the very harmful preservative ethoxyquin (which is also a pesticide and has been under investigation by the FDA due the possibility of it causing blood and liver problems.  Dog Food Advisor.com has already warned against it as a possibly toxic ingredient in dog food) in their turtle food pellets?


Here's what we know about those artificial colors, according to the FDA themselves:
Blue 2: linked to brain tumors in mice
Green 3: linked to bladder cancer back in 1981
Yellow 6: associated with cancer of the adrenal glands and kidneys as well as possible allergic reactions 
 
So why, would we carelessly toss these ingredients, which may have the potential to create extremely horrendous health problems into the pet food? That's the question I have for these commercial food manufacturers like ReptoMin and many dog food manufacturers. Why? 
 
This is exactly why Myrtle the turtle only gets Wardley turtle pellets, when I do feed him commercial foods.The Wardley brand of turtle food does not contain artificial colors.