Thursday, April 30, 2015

Memories Down, Down Under

Flipping my calendar from April to May, it dawned on me that it has been one year since Bome Bell and I traveled to New Zealand. Seems like only last week we were crossing the Pacific with sights set on racing up the steepest street in the world, touring the Cadbury Chocolate Factory and storming Larnach Castle. 

Here is a trip in pictures down memory lane...

Playing on the Moeraki Boulders.

Otago Farmers Market. Bome Bell less than happy to have another photo taken.

Walking (AKA climbing) the worlds steepest street, Baldwin Street.

Scouring the beach for seashells.

Cows are friends, not food...and oh, so kissable, especially this Highland.
Outside Saint Paul's Cathedral.
Dunedin Railway Station. Beautiful!

High atop Signal Hill overlooking Dunedin and the Pacific Ocean. "Mom! I think I see our house from here!"

Maori and the Kiwi Haka.

Bome Bell and his flash new boots in Arrowtown.

An old ore cart we found near the beach.
Needless to say, I miss New Zealand like The Biggest Loser misses high fructose corn syrup but the memories that I have, and that I was able to share them with my son alongside my mom, will never be forgotten. 

Here's to the next adventure!

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Importance of a Tribe

It has been six weeks since I decided to get my shit together. I am learning to embrace being me. I've fumbled with finding my voice and with accepting myself as worthy of friendship / love / respect / ________ (fill in the blank). It is difficult for me to connect with others sometimes. I feel awkward and / or intimidated. It's taken me all this much wasted step into the light and allow me to be me. It has taken me years to recognize my power. To stake my claim. To acknowledge my passions. To be vulnerable. To speak confidently. To stop apologizing. To take control. To find courage. 

Bit by bit I am getting it together but I am still a new colt learning to balance. The next three months I will be tasked to balance between pushing myself out of my comfort zone and being gentle on myself. I am a faulty person. I am educated on nutrition but suffer from an eating disorder. I am an exerciser who sometimes decides walking is good enough. I am a daughter who sometimes falls short. When this happens I feel guilty and depressed. We all need to remember there is no need to be in it to win it. We need to be in it to do better, to stretch our self-imposed limitations. That, my friends, is more than enough.

Since admitting that my life had become unmanageable and believing that my higher self can restore me to sanity (my version of the first two steps in OA),  I have been fortunate enough to gather a tribe of people. I love that phrase, "tribe", and believe in its power. There are a handful of wonderful and self-assured people who are supporting and encouraging me to live boldly. As someone trying to embrace her identity, the power of others has been compelling. This tribe will carry be through the next phase of my health and healing as I slowly discover myself. There is strength in numbers. There is power in love. When you strip everything away that is all there This doesn't mean I am starting a peace rally or tie-dying all my shirts. You can still kick ass and love uncontrollably. Trust me.

I believe playfulness is important. So is collaborating and holding each other accountable and celebrating each other and pushing each other to reach further and witnessing each others struggles and accomplishments and fighting sometimes...sometimes it's about creating space that allows us to simply be. To rest. Without judgement. I love my new tribe of souls and can't wait to see where the next quarter of 2015 takes me. 

12 1/2 years ago, I gave birth to my son. Hours after his birth, holding him I nervously thought to myself, "I have no idea what to do with this little boy". I felt enormously ashamed for the way he came into the world. How could I possibly be able to help him find his way in a world when I felt so lost myself? Ultimately, I accepted my son's lead and embraced the idea of simply helping him become who he was intended to be. Nothing more. Nothing less. This is the best gift I have given my son because I am just figuring this all out for myself. Having an unschooled child has changed me. It has made me consider what it means to be in this body and what I want for him and what I might want for myself. Slowly, I began this journey a little over a year ago, looking inward and contemplating those vulnerable and complicated questions. 

My hope for my son is that he realizes the power of a tribe as he grows older. I hope he realizes his inner strength and shares that with me. I hope I am able to help him spread his wings and take flight. I hope he knows how much I love him.

The first quarter of 2014 has been emotionally tiresome for me. To hold my hand to the fire, this tribe will help me concentrate on the positive rather than the negative. Instead of, "I didn't do it right", I will think of all that was accomplished. I will work to ignite my childlike curiosity. Health and happiness are my birthright. As my personal coach for the next three months, Mayra, says, "Loving ourselves as we love others is one of the greatest areas of neglect in our planet. What many view as selfish has become an urgent calling. When we learn to truly love ourselves through daily actions of self-care, then and only then will we be able to truly give something of true value to others."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

doTERRA Discounts

So you love doTERRA but you are hesitating because of the cost? I understand. I also had sticker shock because I was use to paying health food store prices for my essential oils. After using doTERRA, I realized that they are worth every penny and that they actually save me money with my families health and beauty related expenses. I also quickly learned that they are nothing like grocery store oils. They are 100% pure with nothing added. How they are sourced makes all the difference, too. It's like choosing Red Robin over McDonalds. Even so, I never want to pay full price for anything and I won't let you either! I'd love to help you get your essential oils with a discount and even FREE!!!

Here are two pictures. One (with brand carefully obscurred so as not to embarrass them) clearly says, "DO NOT INGEST". The photo at the top, from doTERRA, is labeled as a supplement and say how to use it internally. Both bottles are Peppermint, folks. A food. Something we eat. How can that be unsafe? One is safe. The other is not. It's really that simple. What oil do you trust for your family?
After I help you open your wholesale account, you will receive 25% off everything you order! There is a $35.00 membership fee but think of it like your Costco membership. What's more, is if you choose a started kit with your first order, that $35.00 is waived! You then get to take advantage of all the goodness but you never have to sell a drop of oil if you choose not to.

But once you start using these oils I can almost guarantee that you won't be able to keep it all to yourself! That is why I first chose to just share casually and never turn it into a business. Essential oils can benefit everyone from babies to the elderly. It's so much fun to be able to help others and I know you want to do just that, too!

You do have the opportunity to earn credits towards free oils every month through the Loyalty Rewards Program. This is the cheapest and most intelligent way to re-order after your initial starter purchase. I adore this option and have received so many free oils.

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions:

If I want to sell doTERRA, is there a quota or penalty if I don't sell enough?

No! There is no quota if you want to be a distributor and sell to your circle of friends. However, if you would like to receive a paycheck from doTERRA, then you will have to place a loyalty order of at least 100PV (usually $125.00) per month. I have found this easily attainable because I use these oils as our pharmacy and would spend at least that at Whole Foods or Target on lesser quality items. 

Could I turn this into a job? I'd like to bring more income into our family.

Yes! The possibilities are endless! doTERRA is a wonderful way to bring in extra money and some have even replaced a full-time job. Like any network marketing company, you will make more money by putting in the effort.

What happens when I join doTERRA under you?

You become part of a community that wants to succeed. There are so many resources and training tools available. You can do as much or as little as you want with doTERRA. I am available for free wellness coaching and will help you every step of the way. We have such a beautiful tribe of people who are on this same path and it's pretty fun, too!

Isn't doTERRA a "Pyramid Scheme"?

doTERRA is a network marketing or direct sales company. Big difference! Basically, instead of spending big money on marketing their oils to big box retailers, doTERRA pays their distributors to be the voice of the company. Friend to friend marketing. They do not require huge amounts of money up front and there are no expectations for you to purchase a certain amount. 

Okay, I'm ready to do this! How do I get started?

I'd love to schedule a phone call with you to get you all set up. I've found it's easier to just walk through it together and it takes only 15 to 20 minutes and your oils will be on their way! Just shoot me a message HERE and we'll get started. Can't wait to talk.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Reinvent Versus Rediscover

Now is the time in my life when I feel a change of self or direction which is not only desired but required. I think living non-traditionally as an unschooler parent this past year has contributed to this pivotal and significant time of contemplating my current situation.

There are moments when I feel I am no longer the person I once was. I know I was no longer happy being the person I became. I have been taking active steps to emerge as the person I really want to be.
Many questions like,  "who am I?" and "where is life taking me?" started to arise. It was inevitable I had some choices to grapple with.

How I dealt with these questions was considering whether or not this was reinvention and a new forward thinking projecting my identity or looking inward at my core and rediscovering myself from the me of my past.

To decide if what I was seeking was rediscovering or reinvention, I had to consider the options that were presented and what I wanted to eventually achieve.


When I think about personal reinvention, I think about the 40-year-old man in the throws of a midlife crisis, ditching the minivan for a red Corvette and the wife for a college student. Reinvention represents itself as someone changing their image to appeal to a new "customer".

Given that scenario you would think reinvention is not for me but reinvention is about forward thinking, change, new ideas and doing something different but after trying many incarnations of myself, mostly because of the guy I happened to be with at the time, I have found out everything I need to know about reinvention. Maybe rediscovery was the way to go....


I had become lost and so removed from the person I am that I started to question who I really was and what I really stand for. Life moved at such a fast speed last year and my issues with food persisted for such a significant amount of time that I didn't notice the mistakes I was making until it was nearly too late. 

Rediscovery is about being true to yourself. It's about finding out what makes you, YOU! It's thinking about your core values and what is important to you while looking back at things that were already good and maybe even remembering vital aspects about what makes you happy that may have been forgotten. I could no longer cover up my past or who I really am with what I thought I should be.

I was punishing myself for not being happy until I read research that shows that income and things beyond our basic comforts don't make us happier and may actually make us more unhappy. 

I realized that I had been squishing my real self down all along in order to create this picture-perfect ideal life. Life was falling down around me, or so it seemed, so I started to take my life back by reconnecting with the real me. 

...and it has been like the Universe was just waiting all along for the real me to finally show up and take the stage!

Allow Yourself to be You!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Guess Where I Am?

Click HERE to "Like Us on Facebook"
I have some tickery afoot! In order to stay up to date with the rumblings of Aubergine and Tangerine, you'll need to mozy on over to my brand spankin' new Facebook page with a brand spankin' new cover photo but with all the same look and feel and taste and....and....and....well, I'm getting ahead of myself. This blog is a labor of love and self-expression and with readership growing it feels juuuuust right.

I could tell you all the cool new things I have planned but I think I'll just let you find out on your own. There's not much there yet so bear with me while I iron out the bumps. It's the comments that make this bloggy woggy so totally awesome so let me know what you think and comment....but be gentle. I'm fragile and spent lots of late nights learning about Facebook and blogs and I'm prone to tears when I don't get enough sleep.

So! Go!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Girl Versus Food

It is probably no secret by now that if you and I dine together and there is a bread basket sitting between us, I cannot focus on what you're saying. I'll try but really I'm focused on not consuming the entire basket. After we say our good-byes, I'll go home and thoroughly be haunted by the bread basket. At this point I will either get ready for bed to rid my obsession or I'll jump off the wagon and walk down to my nearest bakery for a muffin followed by anything left in the fridge. 

Yes, my name is Nickey and I am conquered by the bread basket.

Perhaps you, too, are conquered by something. Perhaps you're a boozer or a gambler or a smoker or an over-exerciser or over-worker. Or maybe you drown your problems in a snow pile of blow or have some variation of my food issues. We all have crappy coping mechanisms. At least four nights a week, I would be overtaken with a bodily feeling that I must eat something bad. It felt like a lack in my body that could only be fixed with food. Gluten is my crack!

Like many, I have been saved by the fact that my crappy coping strategies have been invisible. I'm not fat. I have never required rehab. But a few years back, as I started eating again after five years with anorexia, the above has been my life and I reached the point where I couldn't stop eating. I'd like to think that no one knew but I'm well aware of my father with his "passion" for beer and a friend whose marijuana habit long ago passed social. I have been off kilter. The owner of the corner bakery stopped making eye contact.

My therapist reminded me last week that there is a sister program to Alcoholics Anonymous called Overeaters Anonymous (OA) and asked that I attend a meeting. I Googled OA and fell into a vortex of close to 28 meetings a week in West San Fernando Valley alone.  Fourteen daily within three miles of my house.

The thought of saying, "Hello, my name is Nickey and I'm a compulsive overeater", kind of made me want to gag but I went. The Anonymous meetings are free and available around the clock. I found it sort of like Cheers...the place where everyone knows your name. And your sins. 

My first meeting was today, held in the local OA office. I picked this meeting at random from the online schedule and arrived to find a beautiful, thin, blond, dressed in Lululemon workout wear standing next to the door. She looked like she had never had a weight problem in her life. It turns out she has been attending OA for 17 years. Three more women overweight, one a bit chunky and one with an athletic build. They, too, were all wearing workout attire. Longtime OA members, I later learned, are very fit people who lost their weight extremely slow on regimented personal food plans, which, along with meeting, they adhere to like a religion for life. 

The first word of the meeting was "God", in the Serenity Prayer, followed by a reading of the 12 Steps. 
Step 3: We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him
Step 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Six of the 12 Steps involve God. I was looking to get off cake....

The meeting was very structured with a stopwatch which I imagine is helpful. Someone would read a chapter in the OA book then for precisely three minutes each of us shared. I found sharing perversely soothing because there was someone in the room more fucked up than me. One woman talked of binging and throwing up sometimes twenty times a day!

In my turn, I talked about how I can't remember a time when I wasn't either anorexic, bulimic or a binge eater. That if I eat just one bite of something "bad", it is like pulling the trigger of a gun and I will binge the rest of the day. How I am a vegan and take classes in nutrition and I should know better. The stop watch went off. We read some more and said the Serenity Prayer again. People asked if they could call me. One said she has never asked to call a newbie but she was intrigued by my story. Then it was over. I walked to my car. A guy barely drinking age walked by and said, "Girl, you are fine!" I said, "thanks" sheepishly and went home. 

I was a bit baffled. The program structure seems more related to finding God than addressing my problems. I read that in the 1960's an obese housewife co-opted AA's steps for Overeaters Anonymous, swapping alcoholism for overeating and leaving terms like "abstinence" in place. No nutritionists or mental-health professionals have ever been involved. 

Still, living on potato chips tends to leave a spiritual void. I struggle with this plan and wonder if it is something I want to incorporate in my healing. I wince that I need to have God remove my defects and will my life over to Him. I am not seeking salvation but rather, self-elevation. I also don't like the word, "abstinence". Abstinence makes sense for alcohol but it doesn't for food. We make hundreds of eating choices a day and none of us is going to do it perfectly. I need to be okay with being perfectly imperfect and not throw in the towel with one Thin Mint. I understand there is a benefit but it tends to promote black-or-white, all-or-nothing thinking which is something I am wanting to avoid. 

Even without OA in my life, I have shined high wattage on my flawed coping skills. On those days when I want to crawl through the garbage for a cupcake, it becomes painfully clear that I am reacting to something...perhaps a kid crisis or a generally shitty day. On worse days I eat nothing at all. On my happy days I eat nutrient dense food and I do it with intention.

Many epiphanies I had at this meeting had little to do with OA's structure and everything to do with the longtime members who had an eerily encyclopedic knowledge of exactly how to manage me. One overeater shared that her dieting was the equivalent of being a dry drunk, white-knuckling along without addressing the underlying emotional eating. Me too! Another commented that stress and little sleep always result in a spin-out, so she knows that the battle is always fought the night before. A bulimic announced that her root problem isn't eating buy lying to herself...the"this will be the last time." All very true.

The problem with OA is that it is a substance abuse program used for overeaters. 
Step 8: Make a list of all the persons we have harmed and become willing to make amends to them.
I can imagine that I have hurt people I have cared about. I know my cruise wasn't all that it could have been if I hadn't had food staring my down at every corner and me either feeling deprived or lacking willpower then retreating to my stateroom, even skipping a formal night, because I felt so disgusted with myself. I know my emotions and actions affected CDeuce and Bome Bell's vacation as well.  

Then there is the OA ideology which deems overeaters powerless over food and in need of God's grace to save them. I find saying I am powerless over something extremely repugnant. 

What OA could provide is a group of people that give friendship and support so I don't feel isolated. I could adopt several OA habits beginning with "sharing" because, as I have found out blogging about it, talking about your feelings for three minutes is kind of great. I often blurt out (or write in this case) exactly what I need to hear. Within the last four days, I haven't binged or purged and am working like hell to eat according to my body's hunger. I look forward to the day when I can once again make eye contact with the corner baker. I don't need to find God. It is always been here. I just needed to open myself up to what was already happening. 

The periodic craving for an IV drip of frosting hasn't disappeared. What is no longer disappearing are periodic jars of frosting intended for someone else's cake...and a few times, the actual cake. Food is everywhere and there will be great freedom in not having to tete-a-tete with with my food issues on an hourly basis. I'm attempting to avoid outright abstinence; a brownie that someone has lovingly prepared is fine but the whole pan is not! Ditto on anything involving potatoes. I'll let you know how it goes.

I see the Anonymous programs as a place you go when your problem is more problematic than 12 Step. It's really a deeply flawed best option and yet I am glad 12 Step is there because there's no doubt it saves a lot of people's lives. Still, I think we need some alternatives because there are people like me who are kind of "meh" or who really don't like it. I would be thrilled to find a nutrition program with the same low-cost and worldwide access as OA but structured by experts. (Actually, I have come close and I can't wait to share but more on that later.)

I will continue on a few more times with this OA adventure. I would have to be a special kind of slow to not give it a try when I have been dealing with my eating disorders for nearly two decades without resolve. It's the only place I have found other urban types who know about the bread basket. Though that problem is fading, too, because I have learned the phrase, "No bread, please."

Friday, April 17, 2015

Take Me to Church

Aside from therapists, nutritionists, personal fitness coaches, counselors, chiropractors and massage therapists (did I miss anybody?), Agape International Spiritual Center is changing me so profoundly. The journey is truly the destination. 

Sunday mornings have transformed from staying in my pajamas until noon to being in a crowd of 1,000 people in Culver City with the air tickling of patchouli. The view swirls with people dressed in everything from dashiki to Armani to Doc Marten's. Hair in every style from Reverend Michael Beckwith's dreadlocks to starlet manes to aged silver buns.    

Once inside, Rev. Michael delivers his empowering sermon proclaiming everyone's "potentiality" while zipping around the pulpit like he just free-based Starbucks. It is not the Jehovah Witness church I was raised around or the Catholic church I became baptized in as an adult. It is never boring or fearful or full of guilt.

I have always claimed that I am spiritual but not religious. I did attempt to assimilate into Christianity by going through R.C.I.A. and being baptized as Catholic but there was much authority and text that I turned away from. Agape seems to meet my longing for connection and celebration without fretting over theological niceties or doctrinal demands on faith or practice. There is no talk of damnation here. 

Agape is a crossroads for a myriad of spiritual experiences. Rev. Michael teaches that we are not born into sin but, instead, born into blessings. While some seek salvation, he calls it "self-elevation". I acknowledge that my Christian friends might call this blasphemy and that these teachings would put most institutional churches out of business. At Agape, it is taught that the kingdom of heaven is within everyone already. That Jesus is not the only access to grace. That we are not here to tell God (Spirit, Source, Divine, Universe, etc.) what to do or to ask God for things but to absolutely be available for what God is already doing. To open ourselves up to catch what is already happening.

I found my way here from recovery from my eating disorder(s) looking for my Higher Power as I work to transform my life. Some of the people I have talked to say that they have maintained their connections to their more traditional denominations. One older lady I met said that she often goes from Agape to the service at her Lutheran church. I have heard a majority of attendees are Jewish and are still active in their synagogue. Muslim, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindu....Agape cuts across all lines to reach what is true. 

Agape's message is of personal empowerment and individual connection with God. It's like a way station in the spiritual journey, a refocusing place where I have come to to get my personal focus back in alignment. This is not "new age" but rather "new thought" combined with wisdom of the ancients. Still, I call Agape by an old, familiar name...


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Introducing the Aubergine and Tangerine Pacific Northwest Tour

My favorite domestic airline, Virgin America
Hi there! I have decided to take my love of doTERRA Essential Oils on the road! I am getting myself an airline ticket and a car rental so that I can travel quickly and easily throughout the Pacific Northwest and I am coming to a city near you! I am excited to show you how to create a simple daily routine with essential oils that takes your health to the next level while addressing specific concerns you may be dealing with.

With that, I am looking for five passionate people to serve as hosts and join me in sharing holistic methods and products.

If this is you and you live in and/or around the cities below, please contact me HERE and tell me a little bit about yourself. If you know of anyone that fits this description, please forward this to them. I'm so excited to talk about oils with you.


Tentative Pacific Northwest Schedule

July 24: Seattle, WA
July 25: Wenatchee, WA
July 26: Moses Lake, WA
July 27: Spokane, WA
July 28: Seattle, WA

Are you in one of these cities? Are you interested in hosting a class with your friends and family so that you can learn how to integrate essential oils into your daily life? Contact me! The topics of these classes will be "Medicine Cabinet Makeover" or "Reinventing Healthcare" so let me know which class you are interested in. I'll be finalizing plans in the next month. There is also a chance I will do more traveling through Utah, Nevada and Arizona in 2015 so if you don't see your hometown listed, let me know. Still plenty of time this year to make plans!

So, that's it my friends! What an adventure! I can't wait to see you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Food for Thought

It's been a while since I talked about food....well...because if you've been reading this you already know I've been dealing with my bulimia. It's an interesting little paradox, isn't it? Even as a bulimic, I have stayed true to vegetarianism. I will eat until I puke but I will not have that burger.

This is where it would start. Every morning I will wake up and I make certain promises to myself, one of which is to not binge. Then, for whatever reason, once I ate something "unhealthy", like a french fry, I would start eating until I could no longer. I feel bad. Sad that I broke my own promise. Fearful that this will be the beginning of a slippery slope ending with my weight being 200 pounds. This potent stew of anger, sadness and fear starts bubbling in my own internal Crock-Pot. Flavors mingling and becoming an energy that actually doesn't exist on the scale of human emotions.

We are not born with guilt. It is not natural to us. Rather, guilt is a learned conditioned response to what happens when we violate our own inner integrity. I drifted out of alignment.

Since diving in deep, my dedication to healthy food has taken a back seat to just surviving and learning how to eat like a normal person again. I still want to maintain a plant-based diet but I don't want to feel that I have to follow the rules so much that I obsess over what I can and cannot eat and then throw in the towel and eat everything. I want to eat intuitively. I want to take part in what someone has lovingly prepared without loosing my shit over it. I know that not everyone has the luxury to make that choice but I do.

During my recovery the focus just hasn't been about food. Each step includes specific self-care practices and tips on how to address my emotional state from a psychological and spiritual standpoint. I have enjoyed connecting to what Source has to offer on my plate and in my body which has allowed me to feel more grounded and centered.

What I have loved about healing is that I have been excited to nourish and pamper myself. One of the mantras is, "Health every day is non-negotiable." I have slowly been bringing health into my life by creating new self-care practices, letting go of limiting beliefs, finding a tribe of like-minded people to support and be supported by, discovering new way to adorn my body and even my home.

Each session allows me a brand new opportunity to reconnect back to myself. I almost feel like it as a rebirth of sorts. When I connect with Spirit I connect with myself. I am starting to see who I really am with my patterns being disturbed and I am asked to stretch myself out of my comfort zone and into new places.

Honestly, when I entered therapy, I thought this would be long, harsh and built on deprivation. I had a lot of disbelief. I have loathed therapy since my first session in 8th grade but I wanted a way to heal my mind and body in a beautiful way so I built my treatment that honors those desires. This hasn't been an experience I have to "get through". This transformation has been the most empowering thing I have done for myself. I won't's not a walk in the park but I am coming out the other side feeling seriously amazing! I have discovered something new about myself in this process. I have received tons of support and private messages full of people who are cheering me on.

In a time of eliminating habits that haven't served, I have, too, focused on abundance. Perhaps what I was starving for was permission to JUST. SIT. DOWN....or take a long soak in a hot bath with candles all around. I've adored learning alternative ways to take gentle, loving care of myself. Sometimes it has been yoga, a guided meditation, reminders to go slow or extra encouragement to get outside in the sun for a bit. It has been a cleanse in one of the highest forms of self-care.

Tally Ho!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Happy, Happy. Joy, Joy.

I have an absurd amount of books from the library in my home right now. I love that there is a library just a few blocks from my house. So many trips to the library. So much learning. Loving Brene' Brown.

Yes, this is actually happening. I cannot even tell you how happy this makes me!

Because seriously...who wouldn't want to watch live music with the fabulous Queen Mary as a back drop along with vintage cars and tattoos? I may or may not be stalking the #pinuphair hashtag on Instagram.

2013 Ink N Iron Festival. TSOL performs. (photo credit)
When I lived in Seattle I loved buying a latte from the espresso carts that rivaled what you could get from most of the city's high-end coffee bars. In the Caribbean I have navigated the beaches for the gentleman who, on the spot, dismantles a coconut with a machete and sticks a straw in it for you to enjoy. Here in Los Angeles, it is all about the fruit carts.

This morning on a walk, Bome Bell and I found a cart next to our bank. As we watched his unbrella flutter above the gorgeous rows of whole fruit, a man cut pieces of fresh pineapple, mango, watermelon, jicama, cucumber, coconut and cantalope. He put it into a container and doused them with chile, salt and a generous squeeze of lime. It's these last touches that transform this from a pretty portable fruit salad to something miraculous!

My warm weather obsession

I'm a little bit in love with this online magazine. Pretty pictures. Great articles. Instant gratification. It's free and only online so go check it out!

My mind continues to be in constant motion. Thoughts of Zoe, decorating a house and rediscovering a joyful and healthy relationship with food all compete for attention with a son and his classes and meal prep and cleaning and reading....oh, and throw in therapy, finishing my certification in Plant-Based Nutrition and developing content for classes at Learn Beyond the Book, starting a new doTerra business and excitedly welcoming several different guests into our home over the next few months. Whooo Hooo! Life is full right now but so, so good!

It is so very easy for all of the things above to take precedence in my heart. So easy. If I'm reading Lonny Magazine before I meditate or cuddle on my child (as much as he'll allow me at 12-years-old), I know something is out of balance. This week I will be working on returning to my first faith and my family.

My mornings. Fuel for the body and fuel for the soul.
I hope you're having an amazing day my friends!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

WARNING: This Post is Sad. Don't Read it if You Don't Want to be Sad. Seriously.

Our last photo of Zoe before heading to the vet.
Zoe was everyone's favorite dog in part because she made it so easy for you to like her. She was playful and friendly. She loved to play keep-away with tennis balls and chase squirrels. You could even say the word, "squirrel", and she would start barreling for the door. When friends would come over she would insist on being petted and if they stopped she would jump up to lick their face.

In the eight years we had her, Zoe was a constant. We've lived in five homes in two cities. She was a foster sister to nine other dogs and permanent sister to two of them. I made and lost friends. Knowing we had to take care of her meant there were certain things we couldn't do like take spontaneous trips or stay out until dawn. Even though I knew on a rational level that she wouldn't always be there, I sort of assumed that she would. I couldn't picture a world of in which she wasn't. 

The first thing I did when it seemed like Zoe couldn't get up was try to make her. Maybe, I thought, she just needs a little help. She was 14 and she had arthritis for the last two years. Lately her hind legs seemed frail and sometimes she would collapse on the ground or fall as she took a few steps. But she always managed to make it back up and so I assumed this time would be no different. I tried to lift her and she just starred at me. She looked frightened.

I didn't know what to do so I called the veterinarian. I explained the circumstances and she advised on a few options, none of them optimistic. I asked that before we make a decision, could she see Zoe for a geriatric exam and she schedule the appointment the next afternoon. I then called CDeuce.

"Zoe can't get up", I blurted out and realized I was crying. "I don't know what to do. She can't get up", I repeated.

The next day we carried Zoe along with her favorite dog bed and blanket to the back of my SUV, a vehicle we purchased solely for our three dog's comfort, and headed to the clinic. 

Watching a dog age comes with its own set of daily, incremental choices and changes. Her blond coat had faded to white and her eyes had lost their spark. One day she stopped barking when she saw a squirrel and that was when I knew she was losing her hearing. When I wasn't directly in front of her, she seemed panicked and lost due to her dementia. She couldn't stand and wasn't eating.......

With Dr. Park's recommendation, we decided to let Zoe go. She gave us some time to be alone with her before putting in her catheter. CDeuce and I sat in the examination room sobbing those deep kinds of sobs where to can't breathe and you can't control the tears which just keep coming even when you think you don't have any left. It seemed unjust and yet fair that Zoe had no idea what was happening and every time I thought about that I cried more.

Dr. Park led us to a cozy room that felt like a therapist's office. CDeuce and I sat down on the couch where Zoe was brought in still laying on her bed. Her vet came in and knelt down on the floor next to her. "What is going to happen is I am going to give her an injection that will make her go to sleep. That will only take a minute or two", she said. "Once I'm sure she is unconscious, I will administer the pentobarbital and her soul will leave her body but we can do this as quickly or as slowly as you want. This is up to you." CDeuce and I nodded.

I just remember certain images for the next couple of minutes...the yellow bandage where the vet tech shaved her leg for the catheter, me caressing her head and holding her paw. The way her eyes slowly closed for the last time, immobile. To the floor her head drifted off to sleep but how one ear stayed up and how I thought that maybe this meant she was still awake and there was still time to save her. Then Dr. Park very simply said, "She's gone."

Rest in Peace, Zoe. 
January(ish) 2001 - April 11, 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Essential Oils

I have loved essential oils ever since discovering them as a teenager in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. I loved how they smelled when I would put a little patchouli behind my ears or add some lavender to my iron's water. I had no idea they were so much more powerful than that!

doTERRA had been popping up repeatedly in my circle and it was all very intriguing to me. Surely they must be doing more with these oils than just making their house smell good. Over the course of this past year I have been seeing it for myself.

One year ago, I ordered the Family Physicians Kit without testing a single oil and excitedly waited for it to arrive. When it did, the first thing I discovered was that I don't hate Frankincense. All those years I thought I didn't like the smell of Frankincense. Turns out, I don't like the bad Frankincense. doTerra Frankincense smells like candy to me. What a fun surprise!

I started adding to my arsenal and quickly found myself in love! Now, one year later, I have learned about them little by little through my experience with each one...especially this last month. 

So, you want to know about my favorites? Okay, here you go:

Nickey's Favorite doTERRA Essential Oils

It's so hard to pick just a few oils to share out of the amazing rainbow of options but here are the oils my family and I use on a regular basis:
  • Lemon my water daily. Just one drop and my water becomes magical! It supports my liver function, awakens circulation and is super tasty! Remember, only food grade therapeutic oils, such as doTERRA lemon oil can be ingested.
  • Balance, Elevation and/or Wild Orange for balancing my mood nearly every day because ...well.....I need it! Balance is also amazing for the kiddo during emotional over stimulation. Elevation is a mood lifter, joy bringer. Bringer from a low, sad place to a happier place. Wild Orange is an overall happy maker, fog lifter and confidence enhancer.
  • DigestZen for occasional indigestion and tummy trouble. Soothes within minutes. Truly.
  • For supporting immune system I make a "bomb" of the following oils mixed in a 00 empty capsule:
    • 3 drops Oregano
    • 5 drops OnGuard
    • 2 drops Melaleuca
    • 2 drops Lemon
You know that feeling you have when you know you're getting sick? I start making these right at that moment and take them three times a day until it's gone. For Bome Bell, I rub OnGuard and Oregano on his feet several times a day and before bed while he is experiencing symptoms.
  • For scrapes and owies I use either Lavender or Frankincense. Lavender for the skin. I never go to homeschool park day without Lavender in my purse. In the off chance I am out (because we use a lot of lavender here for many different reasons) I'll pull out Frankincense. When in doubt, Frankincense for skin, moles, wrinkles....all of it!
  • For sore muscles and joints, Deep Blue or White Fir. Deep Blue is super minty, delicious and very soothing. Works great for Bome Bell's sore muscles after jujitsu. I'm a little obsessed with White Fir lately. It smells like a pine forest and makes everything feel better. I use to for burns as well as emotional grounding. Yes! It is that versatile!
  • For sleep and relaxation, Serenity, Lavender and Vetiver. This is like essential oil Xanax. It smells soooo good! I like to diffuse it into our bedroom at night. It helps with occasional sleeplessness and is also great for general relaxation and calming down. I rub Bome Bell's feet with Lavender at night to support a healthy sleep. It's turned into such a lovely ritual that he asks for it now. Vetiver is another oil I cannot live without. Helps to relax and sooth away tension.
I love buying epsom salts, putting them in a mason jar with a concoction of my favorite oils and then put it in my bath. It's such an inexpensive way to relax and relieve minor muscle pains.

Are you ready to try your own doTERRA oils? I'm here to help. There are six awesome starter kits that take the guesswork out of ordering and I'd love to help you set up your own Wholesale Account.

Contact me HERE for any questions, suggestions, samples or to set up your wholesale account today!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

My first Iris made its appearance in my garden. I thought it was appropriate because I've been doing a lot of thinking about what Easter means to me. The traditional story of Easter never made much sense. What has made sense is the renewal and new life of spring. I've thought about this before but this year I am in a new place. It's a bit of a different place because for the first time in my life I feel consciousness in the true spirit of the holiday.

As a sentimental annual gathering, Easter can be quite enchanting but resurrection is a daily process that keeps us alert to the many possibilities that lurk just behind each obstacle. Jesus said he was going to prepare a place, not to a place prepared. He suggested that we are always in a state of preparation, open to the new and even frightening at times but there is always the gift of Easter and the gift of Easter in my limited view is the recognition of our own spirit in motion.

This is what Easter is all about. It's about a change in our consciousness to allow us to see things in a spiritual way. Such a change, unfortunately, usually only comes about after a dark night of the soul, a loss so great we wonder if we will ever recover from it. The Easter story says yes, we will recover. It says yes, we will experience an uprising of our soul. It says we will transcend the difficulty, whatever it is and we will know peace. I think the Easter story is of hope. 

In a way, the springtime metaphor really is a good one. My Iris has been underground, in the dark and cold, all alone, desolate, waiting for a signal to spring forth. Since this morning, the bud that emerged has opened up a bit to reveal a beautiful purple bloom. It has transcended the darkness. I don't know, really, the process of how a bulb transforms into a beautiful flower but I can tell you how a human can transform from darkness to light, from grief to peace, from shattered dreams to's about forgiveness and connection with the process.....the subject of several more posts, I'm sure. 

I feel better about Easter now. It's a beautiful time to be alive! A great time to enjoy new life and see that new life as a metaphor for our own lives...a raising up of consciousness to an existence of joy and peace.

Forgive them for they know not what they do.....

Been there...

Done that...

I'm free today!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

What My Hoops Have Taught Me

Hooping? Don't you mean hula hooping? Well, technically Wham-O owns the rights to those words so today it's just called hooping and these aren't your typical Toys R Us hoops, either! They are custom made, adult-sized hoops that fly around your body with ease.

The very first time I saw someone hooping outside of the school yard, I was completely mesmerized and I instantly had to learn to do it! That was a few years ago and my desire to learn kept getting pushed aside. Last year I bought my first polypro hoop and while I rocked waist hooping, I couldn't seem to find the time to figure the rest out.

Fast forward to a month ago where I finally decided that it was time. I broke out my Hoopnotica DVD and watched a million YouTube videos. This has been all during my recovery and luckily my therapist is an adventurous soul who continues to encourage my hooping. Since then, it has been like riding a bicycle. I feels very easy and natural instead of awkward and clunky. I love finding new movements to try. You can never have a boring day when you have a hoop!

Hooping has taught me:
  • How to surrender
  • How to find joy surrounded by chaos
  • How to embrace challenge
  • How to enjoy community and family
  • How to be brave
  • How to let go
There are so many emotions that flow through my hoops. It refines me and helps me process. Some days come more natural than others but I am making progress. I'm finding that blissful state again which means I sometimes have to take a break and focus on the more important things but it's all a part of the journey. Much love to everyone who is on this journey with me.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Get Happy with doTERRA Essential Oils

In yesterday's post I mentioned doTERRA essential oils and today I'm so thrilled to announce that I am now a Wellness Advocate for doTERRA Essential Oils! After hearing about them for the past year from several friends and using them in my recovery from depression / bulimia / anxiety, I really wish I would have used what I bought a year ago earlier. I've always kept essential oils on hand for making the house smell good but never delved into it much further...until now.

I decided now was the perfect time and signed up with the lady whose been with me from pixie to hair extensions, Angela. It certainly aligns with everything I believe and is a perfect fit for me! In just the past month, I have used essential oils for so many things with great success. Here is a recap:

DigestZen after accidentally digesting dairy. A few drops in water and my upset tummy felt 100% better in just a few minutes. Lemon in my water bottle to aid in hydration. Yum! Lavender on Bome Bell's feet to help him fall asleep and to rid the dogs of fleas. Peppermint diffused in the car vent during a long drive to support alertness. Lavender on the back of CDeuce's neck and on his big toes to keep him from snoring. Elevate diffused in the house throughout the day to aid in emotional support. Deep Blue for muscle relaxation. Frankincense and Lavender with Fractionated Coconut Oil to sooth chapped lips.

These oils are so much stronger and higher quality than all of the other essential oils I have used before. My nose knew as soon as I opened the first vial. I've also had sensitivity to some oils in the past but have not experienced that with doTERRA.

After being under a dark cloud for most of the year, I'm ready for some serious emotional boosting! Frankincense and Ylang Ylang are out of this world! I've recently started using their facial line and will be sharing more about those as well as the oils I am trying.

If you're interested in taking control of your family's health, check out more at my website. Becoming a Wholesale Member (think of it as a Costco membership) is a fantastic way to enjoy the oils and products at a discount while earning free oils as well!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. If you've been looking for something like this, I'd love to talk oils with you.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Decorating Do Si Do

I am thrilled to be up and about today after spending much of the new year with the view above. Even much of my Caribbean vacation was spent staring at the ceiling.  What a waste! Depression can be as debilitating as any illness. Fortunately, I got myself a fantastic therapist and it feels so good getting to know me. We cannot become what we want by remaining who we are. Still, some days are better than others, especially in dealing with my eating disorder, but there is beginning to be more good ones.

My doTERRA essential oils have been another one of my saving graces. Not only for aiding in my mood but for my eczema, chapped lips, fleas and more. More on those experiences with these amazing medicines created from nature later.

My cozy cottage dinning room freshly painted with new light fixture.
Sickness didn't keep me from a few decorating projects. I've finished painting every room except the laundry. It's amazing how a fresh coat of paint can revitalize a space.

I initially decided to whitewash the fireplace but I think that I am just going to leave it as is and only paint the mantel. It will change the look of the dated fireplace dramatically. My main dilemma with the fireplace is what to do with the rise. It just seems so bland and it's so large. Over the weekend I talked to CDeuce about creating a seating area. Since the fireplace doesn't work, no one is going to get burned and the fabric won't catch on fire. It would really create some visual impact since this is the first thing you see when you walk in the house. Does anyone want to brainstorm with me on any other ideas or color for the mantel?

In the tiny window of time when I've felt well enough to leave the house, we headed to Sperling's Nursery in Calabasas to pick up some herbs. I love walking down the aisles. I could get lost in this place.

Happy, healthy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Head Has Been a Horrible Place to Be

I have been living a lie. Back in February I started a three part post on my road to recovery. Truth be told, I had relapsed back in to my eating disorder and I was using my blog as a cover up. I over exercised and restricted everyday followed by a day or two of binging and purging. I felt completely overwhelmed and so very afraid that I was going to lose everything I have worked so hard to attain. I thought writing about my anorexia/bulimia I would be able to talk myself out of it but I feared for my sanity, my health and my future.

So, for the past few weeks I have been in therapy. 

I've lost eighteen years to this illness and I do have hope I will recover. I never have given up hope.

I was recently told that my life is perfect...or seems perfect. Facebook is such a distorted sense of reality. I am not who people think I am. I am a girl who is lost but I am finding my way.

I have been in intense therapy for a couple of weeks now. I have not binged but am still struggling on what "normal" eating is which in turn has affected my weight. With the help of my therapist, sand therapy, animal therapy, art therapy, hooping, Agapeand essential oils, my mood has improved massively. I'm working hard to take my life back. I don't want to live with this anymore. I don't want my family to suffer because of me.

Anorexia and bulimia. I suffer from both, switching from one to the other. They are complete opposites. If anorexia is cold and silent then bulimia is loud and brash. Anorexia causes a silent an invisible poison infecting the sufferer and, of course, their family. The only evidence is a slender body and a gaunt face. Bulimia causes more of a racket internally but less to those around you. Sure, there is food that goes missing but it is harder to see. The sufferer doesn't display external effects and so no one would ever know....unless you told them. 

I know a lot of people don't have time for mental illness and people often misunderstand people with eating disorders. They think they are selfish and vain and that eating disorders are all about food and weight. It is so much deeper than that. My eating disorder has been a reaction to exert control over the one thing I seemingly and weight. Weight becomes the focus but there are complex reasons why I do the things I do. I didn't just decide one day that I wanted an eating disorder. Developing and nurturing my eating disorder has been a reaction to experiences...a coping mechanism. A way of dealing with feeling and emotions that I can't handle. It is waaaaay more complex than just wanting to be thin.

Much has changed in my life the past year. It is lonely when your life changes like this. I feel that I have lost most of my friends. It's not like we had a blowout argument or that I feel I'm too awesome. The relationships feel false. Or maybe they feel like I don't need them. Or maybe, as someone pointed out, they're jealous. I don't know but as much as my friends have been around when I needed them, I would like them around just as much when I don't. It is exhausting always being the one who has to hold things together when I sometimes just want to be part of something that is held. Happiness isn't the things that happen in your life that negotiate whether or not you're happy. 

Over the years, I have covered up my eating disorder. I have announced I was a vegetarian and a vegan. I then started taking nutrition classes to hide my internal dialogue. I have had weeks were I would start making changes but then quit in frustration and binge after eating something deemed unhealthy which would then trigger a purge. It hasn't been until I started my therapy that I have been able to stick with my recovery this time because it has been an holistic change that has encompassed all areas of my being. I am beginning to have a really good time in the world and meeting with God in prayer and meditation daily. The same God that summoned Jesus and Buddha to wake up also calls my name...your name. My destiny is no less than theirs. The Universe has summoned me to quit fucking things up and to begin playing with my great destiny as an awakened being. I am working out mindfully and eating much better and it's this last part I want to really focus on because eating has been such an intensely spiritual and emotional that affects all areas of my life. If your body-temple is unhealthy everything else goes into a downward spiral as well....your marriage, your relationship with others, your self-esteem. It's all connected.
"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you." - Khalil Gibran
When we consider that we are "the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself", it becomes easier to make better choices. It's not our body to abuse. There has been a disconnect between what I have been doing to myself the past eighteen years and my spiritual faith. We compartmentalize everything and break things out into categories that don't intersect. My faith. My health. My family. My interests. My food. I am realizing that my faith in God is like a blanket that covers all of these things. My faith is not just a part of my life...something that happens on an occasional is life! 

What is the meaning of life? For me, it is to stop treating my body like it's separate from my spirituality and bring it all under the Universe's control. God desires the best for me which means she wants to help me be healthy and learn self-control.
"I have the right to do anything, " you say - but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything" - but I will not be mastered by anything. - 1 Corinthians 6:12
It has been a very difficult issue. It's a struggle that feels unbeatable.  It is for this reason I finally sought help. I decided that I wasn't satisfied with hypocrisy and letting my God-Pod sit in disrepair. I have examined who I perceive myself to be and have wrapped my head around the power that I have within me. I am letting go of who I think I am suppose to be and embracing who I am.

I stopped bulimia
Essential oils help my mood
I reconnected with my spiritual center
I haven't conquered anorexia fully yet
I can't lie
It's not easy
I struggle every single day
...but I am the best that I have been in a long time
and I laugh more
I think I will be okay

Praying for the Universe to give me the strength and motivation to get my body-temple in order.