Lifestyle editor Darrah de jour shares the latest news and trends in healthy, eco conscious living.

How Relationships with Our Pet Friends Change After We Have a Baby

by Darrah Le Montre

When the stork arrives, our furry friends get relegated to “pet” rather than “first born”

Stork carrying bebe

In 2008, I adopted a furry friend. An animal shelter employee and her girlfriend discovered him on a hike while he was on the prowl for food in a Burbank park. Folklore now has it that he ran away from an abusive home, and possibly survived on dead birds and trash for a few months. Nobody knows for certain.

I named him Oscar Wilde because I had just seen the movie Wilde with Jude Law. It had less to do with the actual author (I’ve read only famed bon mots) and more to do with the flair and panache I designated my new 1 ½ year-old poodle-terrier roommate had. He turned out to be a gender-indiscriminate leg-humper and so this bisexual tendency seemed fitting for his moniker.

At first, I was hesitant to adopt the boy. I was a lone-wolf writer/babysitter, struggling to make ends meet. Would he comply with my schedule? Would he bark while I was on a roll, writing my dating column? Would he need walks when I was at work and then piss on my beige carpet? I told my friend Angela (who introduced us) that I’d keep him for a weekend and see. The minute she left my apartment, I sat down at my card table desk and pretended to write. I wanted to see what he would do. He laid down at my feet and fell asleep. A partnership was born.


Oscar Wilde

Ozzie is now seven. He’s seen me move four times, date unavailable men, vomit on the bathroom floor after a particularly bad hang-over, cut my long hair off, meet my fiancé and finally, give birth to the love of my life: my daughter.

When it was just the two of us, we went everywhere together. I even took babysitting jobs discriminately, based upon who would allow him at their house. He had a permanent spot on my lap on car rides. The metallic smell of his breath comforted me. When he savagely devoured my spicy Thai food and subsequently bled from his butt, I followed him around with a rag and could care less about the carpet. When he had trouble sleeping, I had trouble sleeping. I once declined a trip to Australia because he would need to be boarded.

We made silly YouTube videos together.

We were inseparable.

At night before bed, I professed my love for him and begged him to sleep with me. He tolerated brief bouts of snuggling, and then settled on the floor by my feet.

In early 2013, I got pregnant. While I was expecting, he was still my bud, but my focus was on my health and wellness and that of my fetus. Daisy was a great little fetus, but nevertheless, I had work to do.

Still, up until the minute my fiancé Richard dropped Oscar off for a six-day boarding stint while I was recovering at the hospital, I was obsessed with my hypoallergenic B.F.F. Walking him was my main source of exercise while pregnant and we shared water glasses whenever Richard was out of the room.

Me & Oscar, during my maternity shoot, the day before I had my daughter!

Me & Oscar, during my maternity shoot, the day before I had my daughter!

Everything changed after I had my daughter.

We picked Oscar up on our way home from the hospital. He did his usual leap into my arms. This time, they were not outstretched. I was strategically placed in the backseat beside the car seat, to shield my tiny new 5 pound 11 ounce baby from his enthusiasm. Whereas, Oscar would usually occupy a space in my lap, and be adored from head to toe, instead, I pushed him away with a scowl.

At home, when Oscar would casually walk into the baby’s nursery, I would nag him to leave. I was paranoid about germs, and despite his innate gentleness with babies, which I’ve seen time and again, postpartum protectiveness was off the charts. Motherly instincts betrayed my “first born” son and his spot at #1 was instantly usurped by my little human. (Who looked so much like Richard, I was having “maternity issues”. I kept looking down at my C-section scar, joking to company, “I think I had her.”)

After awhile, Oscar learned to slink under Daisy’s crib and would stay there for hours while I rocked her or breastfed. He even slept there sometimes. He grew protective of her. He would nap at the foot of any chair where she and I were and stink-eye potential intruders that visited the nursery.

Hula Oscar!

Hula Oscar!

My family and friends teased me about how Oscar had been demoted. I felt awful. Here I was, trying to be a super mom, and somehow I felt like a failure. Having grown up with a brother that got lots of attention, Richard identified with Oscar and picked up the slack. I asked my babysitters to walk Ozzie while I was recovering from surgery. He dragged them back to the front door more often than not in the beginning. Once, while I was laying down, he jumped on my stomach (ouch!) so I began kicking him off the bed. Things had changed and I felt a pang of guilt every time I saw him moping around the house.

I asked around, and it seems, this is pretty commonplace with new parents of humans.

By now, things have settled into place a bit more. It’s been almost three years since reading the YES on the urine stick (about which Richard asked, “what was the question again?!”) Many of the puzzling and exhausting aspects of the first year are behind me. Daisy is two-years-old and enjoys Oscar. He’s also older now. I’m learning who he is in this incarnation. His spry days are behind him. His gait is slow. He has arthritis in his legs. He developed Addison’s disease, which is fairly common in aging dogs. He takes corticosteroids. His beautiful, marble-like brown eyes are now slightly cloudy with cataracts. The stories about him jumping up and knocking down my dinner tray and eating it real fast while I washed up for dinner are moot. He now lumbers up to the bed using a bench as a stool.

My doggie companion, who has seen me grow from a confused single girl in her twenties to an engaged mother in her thirties, has taught me so much. And I’ve submitted to his many lessons; to the love he’s given me; and to the changes in him that will no doubt break my heart one day. In the meantime, we adopted a terror of a redheaded girl terrier, who is one-year-old, and hyper as all get out. Menchies and Oscar bicker and hump and chase each other all day.

I was always hesitant to get another dog because Oscar and I were the Dynamic Duo. He is so human-like. When I say, “excuse me,” he moves out of the way. When I cry, he puts his paw on my arm. When I’m sick, he gets sick. (I’m serious. It’s weird.) But, now that I’ve got more distractions and commitments, this gift of a little manic canine Lucille Ball to his Desi Arnaz seems appropriate.

Menchies the Terror, Ahem, Terrier

To be clear, Menchies drives us batshit crazy, but Oscar seems to like her. She makes him feel youthful. And since he holds the keys to my youth… I figure it’s the least I can do.

Dedicated to my loyal Oscar. I hope I never take you for granted.


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RELATED: Asking for Help: Why Is It So Hard?

RELATED: From Sex Addict to Monogamous Mom: A love junkie finds true love


Darrah Le Montre is a writer and journalist and devoted mom. Her work has been published by Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and nudie blog SuicideGirls. 





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Why You Need a Health Coach Now!

This week, returning guest blogger Jennifer Sawyer schools us on what a health coach is and why they just may be the genie you’ve been waiting for in your weight loss journey!

by Jennifer Sawyer


While it may seem as if modern society is overflowing with diet trends and hastily offered advice about nutrition, the truth is that we know more about these topics with each passing year. Certainly, there’s a great deal of debate surrounding individual foods or food groups. For example, some believe everybody would be better off going gluten free while others see this as a necessary step only for those with a gluten intolerance or sensitivity; there are always arguments over the pros and cons of regular dairy in a diet; and even professional nutritionists will disagree on occasion about how to incorporate healthy fats in a diet. Issues like these may cause disagreement, but don’t let that convince you that health and nutrition experts don’t know what they’re doing.

Unfortunately, we now live in a world where it’s easier to find processed foods and cheap junk items than natural ingredients and wholesome meals. For that reason, even those of us who feel fairly healthy and try to practice sound nutrition could stand to make a few changes. This is where a personal health coach can come in extraordinarily handy. If this idea appeals to you on any level, here are some specific benefits that coaching can offer:

For starters, a health coach provides individualized attention and accountability that you just can’t find on your own, or with any number of health and fitness apps. The important thing to realize is that using a health coach is not a sign that you can’t motivate yourself! Yes, there’s a certain sense of pride involved with going it alone. But really, even the most disciplined and focused individuals can benefit from training, scheduling, and general accountability. This is the sort of structure that you can gain working with a professional health coach, and it can absolutely help you to improve your nutrition habits, as well as your fitness. And that brings me to my next point…

health-coachIt’s not just about nutrition, at least if you go with a total health coach as opposed to strictly a nutritionist. A good professional health coach will develop a program designed to focus on your whole being, using nutrition strategies, exercise techniques, and even lifestyle changes to help you become the healthiest version of yourself. And again, this doesn’t mean you couldn’t do a perfectly adequate job on your own. But having an experienced professional develop a multi-faceted program designed to suit your body, emotions, and health needs is an unrivaled advantage.

If it feels like health and wellness are somewhat trendy in modern society, it’s largely due to the rise of professional health and nutrition coaches—and many of them started out just like you! Sometimes figuring out what works for you through your own health coach’s recommendations and a shifting approach over time can give you a true passion for the process. Many find that they feel so great after taking steps toward better overall health that they want to help others do the same, and thus new coaches are developed. This isn’t to say you have to ultimately become a health coach, but it’s a common benefit of the process.

By the way, many health coaches direct their clients to take regular health assessments at various intervals, to discover or confirm what may or may not be working. This type of accountability and one-on-one attention will make being conscious of your health, a more natural part of your regimen.

You can almost always do something to improve your total wellness, and it’s a lot easier and more effective when someone’s showing you the way!

sporty woman with scale, apple and measuring tapeJennifer Sawyer is a full-time student studying Public Health, and residing in Boston. She fills every free moment she has consuming coffee, writing to-do lists, and reading up on holistic health. Follow her on Twitter.

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Celebrity Astrologer and Author Neil D. Paris discusses his new book ‘Surfing Your Solar Cycles,’ Makes predictions about social change


In a Suicide Redhead exclusive, Sexy Brit Astrologer Neil decodes the Return of Saturn phenomena, gives tips on surviving the dreaded Mercury Retrograde, and reveals astrology-based essentials to pleasing your partner and living the life of your dreams!

Curious about angels? Karma? Soul mates? Even if you know nada about charts, signs or the stars, you will enjoy our chat.

DL: Tell me about your new book!

NP: It’s called Surfing Your Solar Cycles: A Lifetime Guide to Your Stars. And it’s just that — a guide you can keep for the rest of your life to work out the personal Cycles you move through every month of your life. Each sign of the zodiac is in a different cycle at any given moment. It reveals the themes of each Cycle, who you’re likely to meet, the issues you’ll face and a truckload of info on how you can navigate each in the best way possible. 12 Cycles in all, each covering a different area of our lives (relationship, family, self-sabotaging patterns, career, communication to name a few). Everyone from beginners, to professional astrologers can use it!

DL: Where are you living now/splitting your time between?

NP: I live in Running Springs, 6000 feet up a mountain with woods as far as the eye can see with a whole host of wildlife. It’s an oasis from hectic city life but when I need to pop into the big city (LA) it’s only an hour and a half away!

DL: How old are you (ballpark is fine)?

NP: 35 Earth Years, as for my real age, I lost count!

DL: Do you plan on doing a book tour or holding readings at bookstores or online?

NP: If you order my book by Dec 31, you’ll be entered into a draw for some cool goodies, including  a one-on-one with me, covering your entire Birth Chart and Life Blueprint.  You can order the book via where you’ll find links to online bookstores and all the info on the Contest.

Find me at and if you join me on Facebook you’ll receive a free copy of your birth Chart and some free lessons on how to interpret it, along with the Weekly Scopes that are posted each Monday on the themes for the week, for each sign.

DL: Let’s get into some of the juicy questions! Do you think a woman will win the presidential race in 2016?

NP: I have a sneaking feeling a woman could very likely win the presidential race because everyone is clamoring for the next great Change that will right the world. With Pluto now in Capricorn (Pluto representing the energy of total transformation and Capricorn being the sign relating the systems, structures, rules and governments of our world), we put the first black president in the white house. Not that that should be a big deal, but as a planet we are still coming out of the dark ages. Look around at World Government and the changes taking place. A first female president in the States doesn’t seem a huge leap from there. We’re going to see continued major social change within the governing bodies of our world and the way the entire subject of government is handled.

DL: Do romantic soul mates exist? If so, are they the same in every life?

NP: Ah, I talk about this in my new book! I love the topic of love, relationships and soul-contracts. Yes, romantic soul mates exist. But so too do Karma Mates, and a whole host of other contractual soul-agreements as it were, between people (for more, read Cycle 7 in the book – karma mates are the ones we have unfinished business with, who come wrapped up in a very attractive package so that we’ll be drawn in…otherwise we’d run a mile). Why do we have such a hard time with our families? Is it because we’re the closest to these people, therefore we see and discover the best and worst in them and ourselves by reflection? Or could it be that we have a history with these souls, so intense, with so much baggage to unpack, that we’re inevitably drawn back into each other’s lives in order to resolve the heavier ‘stuff’? Everyone has an opinion on the subject of course, but from what I’ve seen the past 19 years through the field of Astrology, both are true and inseparable.  Are soul-mates the same in every life? Where would the fun be in that, right?! We have many soul mates, many agreements. It is said, however, that we ‘travel in soul groups’, meaning those directly around us in our daily lives, are those we have traveled with for quite some time now (for better or worse!).

DL: How much do the stars really affect our day-to-day lives and impact our greater destiny?

NP: If you take the chart of someone with no knowledge of Astrology, and less conscious self-awareness, you’ll see them make choices from their lower side, the reptilian brain as it were, the ego. The part of us that lives in fear of annihilation (being wrong, losing, coming last etc.). They reflect their Astrological birth charts (their life blueprint for this lifetime) to the T because they are at the mercy of both this lower nature and also the prevailing energies or currents. If you take someone with knowledge of Astrology (which in itself breeds greater self-awareness), you’ll see someone who used to make those choices, but now they have elevated those choices to reflect a higher use of the choices inherent in our charts and lives (moving with energy or pushing against it, making choices that create more long term satisfaction compared to momentary satisfaction or ‘the quick fix’). Astrology affords us greater self awareness and thus, our choices reflect that. People are making choices every day without Astrology, and they’re fine. But just imagine the ride when you see just how free you are to make your own choices and thus to make ones that truly feed our souls, instead of the unstable and forever yearning part of our lower natures. You get to enjoy the scenery and avoid the uglier or more dangerous parts of town.

DL: Can we “spoil” our destiny/fate by using our free will against our designated path?

NP: You could try, but it wouldn’t feel good. We know deep down inside us what is right for us. When we veer from that path or the choices that lead to that destination, we feel it. That’s why many people feel crummy these days. They’re coming to the realization that the choices they are making aren’t feeding their souls. That’s a dilemma. “I’ve been doing this and never finding satisfaction. Do I want to change this, and experience the discomfort that it’s sure to bring up (after all discomfort can become habitual and familiar, therefore safe and comfortable on some level), or do I continue repeating my patterns hoping for a different result?” We can choose anything, but the strange and beautiful thing about astrology (the kind where you have your personal chart drawn up not just reading generic horoscopes) is that you’ll discover that the choices you’re looking at are still within a certain frequency range based on the blueprint you came into this lifetime with! Children come in knowing (or soon discover) whether they are creative or scientific. They are innately drawn to certain tastes. We do seem to set up certain challenges and situations for ourselves, so we can play with how we’ll react within them. Thus sometimes our greatest challenges and difficulties or areas of darkness can bring in the most light for ourselves. We get to choose how to react to each situation set before us. Life could really just be a symbolic dream where we learn lessons and help each other along the way.

DL: What are the best activities to partake in while Mercury is in Retrograde?

NP: Dig your head in the sand or stay home for three weeks. I’m kidding! Everyone gets bent out of shape about this phenomena. Google the term and you’ll find a whole host of opinions, stories, judgments. When a planet goes retrograde its energies are directed inwards instead of projected outwardly. Mercury is the planet associated with the mind. Thought. Thinking. Speaking. Writing. Communicating. Moving from A to B. Everything that begins with the letters ‘re’ are good for this period. Re-thinking. Re-viewing. Re-Doing. Re-establishing. Re-turning. Re-vamping. Re-using. Re-discovering. Re-Reading. A Mercury Retrograde is the best period to re-wire your brain. Retrain it to focus more on thoughts of what you’d like to create in life than on the problems that seemingly plague you from getting there. A shift of perspective can shift your entire life. That’s why we find the past pops up again during this period (or people from it). We get to re-live certain events with the hopes of  re-solving them and thus re-lieving the energetic connection to that particular pattern.

DL: Explain the “Return of Saturn” phenomena and how it can help us?

NP: It’s when Saturn returns to the position it was when you were born. In the chart, Saturn takes 29.5 years to move through your entire birth chart back to where it was at the moment of your birth. It’s specific to YOU as is everything in the birth chart. The Saturn Return is connected with “the big 3-0″. It’s when you become an adult. Astrologically, Saturn relates to our life lesson, areas we came in to work on, overcome fear in and to become good at. We have 29.5 years as Saturn moves through our charts, to work on something specific in our lives. Perhaps it’s our communication difficulties. Emotional openness. Honesty. Saying No. Your lesson is revealed via the placement of Saturn in your Chart. At the Saturn Return, Saturn returns to where it was when you were born, and fills out your report Card. How well are you doing in areas you came in to work on? Are you doing the work or being lazy? Are you still living in fear there? It’s usually a time that coincides with major life changes. Some get married, some get divorced. Some gain a new position, some lose the one they had. Kids are born. People relocate. We realize we’re growing up (or have to). It’s one of many astrological rites of passage that coincide with life’s many changes.  Look back to when you were 28-30 for the Saturn Return vibe making itself known. And if you’re not 30 yet, know you’re prepping for an exam so you may as well give it all you’ve got!

DL: What signs are most compatible, and should we judge compatibility based on our sun signs or other signs in our chart (like Moon or Venus)?

NP: Anyone can get along with everyone if we understand each other better. There are easier signs of compatibility based on the element of our sign. Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius), Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn), Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) and Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces). Fire and water for example, mix to either create steam (meow) or boiling water (ouch), steam or…water extinguishes fire!  Earth and water can grow a garden or create a mudslide.  But that’s all too simplistic compared to our Chart. Other planets are important. Our Moon sign shows us what we need, especially in a relationship, to feel safe and secure. More people are becoming aware of their moon signs these days. It also reveals our needy inner child, so it’s worth knowing your own and those close to you. Compatibility can only be truly worked out when we look at the entire Chart. From what I’ve seen over the years, people with challenges between the Charts, seem to work better than those with too many easy aspects. Friction is our impetus to grow and evolve! 

DL: How much does our karma in past lives affect us in this one?

NP: Replace the word karma with ‘our past’ or ‘childhood’ and the answer is the same. Our pasts make us who we are, but sadly we let our past dictate who we are in our future decisions. That’s where we mess up. We have to go back to the past in  order to understand where we are now. History repeats, no?  Most people’s past lives look shockingly similar to the present one – unless we elect to make different choices. Makes sense, right? Our Chart reveals SO much info on our past life issues and legacy. The best way to predict the future is to look to the past..or create your future. You can only be truly free to live in the Present and create a better future if you can accept your painful past, and no longer need to play it out in the present, thus messing up whatever future you’re trying to create! Karma can simply be described as our past actions echoing in the present. It’s worth looking at how much you’re letting your past affect your life right here today. Our Birth Charts key us in directly – I’ve had clients tell me they learned more through one Reading then they did after years of therapy!

DL: Do we “choose” our families or have any say in our incarnation in each life?

NP: We set the whole thing up. Our parents are our incubators (literally and then symbolically). We come in sucking up all sorts of energies and information. This is right, this is wrong. Schools continue the programming of our consciousness. This is fact, this is truth. If you really want to know what lessons you came in to learn, look to your family dynamic, because chances are you’ve been playing out the lesson over and over again, whether with them or just in your own head. Or, with the new people in your life.  Sometimes the lesson is simply about waking up to your own ability to choose differently from your family. Take the best, leave the rest. For some, it’s learning to stand up for yourself or stand apart. To learn compassion. To see what NOT to do, even! Someone is always around you showing you how you could be if you let yourself slip into old or negative patterns. Everyone has something to teach us, even those family members you simply don’t ‘get’. Family is the cauldron where all of your karmic crap is bubbling. We design our incarnation, and then give yourself the free will to choose whatever we please and we can use our feelings to determine if we’re on the right track or not.

DL: Do you believe in angels?

NP: I believe we are each other’s angels, at least down here on Planet Earth anyway. But who’s to say there aren’t other types of angels. People in light bodies, less dense than ours. Perhaps we do have guides we can’t see, who work with us in our lives. I like that idea. But I think we’re mostly left to our own devices to make our own free will decisions while we’re on Earth.  Unless we ask for help (through prayer, meditation etc.), in which case perhaps we are helped out in ways we can’t understand. Miracles do happen. Speaking of Earth, the word itself is a lexigram of the word ‘heart’.  If we follow our hearts, I think we’ll always be guided the way any good old fashioned guardian angel would lead us.

DL: Can following astrology to a T negatively impact one’s life? Ie: Is there a time to sack everything we know in favor of what’s in our hearts?

NP: Astrology reveals the desires of the heart, so when you listen to your heart, you’re in tune with the universe. The two are inseparable. There’s no following Astrology to a T because it doesn’t come with a set of instructions. It reveals the patterns in your life, and gives you options. The best use of astrology is to understand yourself better and then from there, understand those around you better. And then to understand why certain events are happening to or around you. And how you can interact with your life to affect better change. My new book goes into more depth on this topic. I think people have a misguided belief that Astrology is something you follow. It’s not. It’s a tool to use to understand yourself and your life better and make better choices for yourself. 

DL: Can sexual orientation or proclivities be determined astrologically?

NP: Uranus is the planet related to ‘deviation from the norm’. You can see it show up in certain configurations reflecting homosexuality and so forth. Why? Perhaps because we still live in an era where a large chunk of people view anything outside of heterosexuality as ‘deviant’ and thus it’s still labeled so.

Personally, I think the subject is too broad.  Who you sleep with shouldn’t matter at all – but it still does to a lot of people on the planet fighting against equality! In time, all sexualities will be seen as variations, another color to add to life’s palate, or life would get pretty boring down here on planet earth, pretty quickly.  Venus is the planet relating to our ‘inner feminine’, the part of us that attracts what we desire. Mars is the male within us, the conquering assertive principle. Desire. Men and women have both, so each man has an inner goddess and each woman, an inner god. Yes, we can discover sexual proclivities via our Birth Charts, what we want in bed (or out of it), what we crave, whether our attractions are really healthy for us and so forth. Sexual orientation is trickier, that’s like trying to use a Birth Chart to determine if someone is a vegetarian or has dark hair. Astrology is universal so really it’s bigger than even these topics. But if you’re trying to see what turns someone on  then, yep, Astrology has a lot of answers for you! If you know someone’s Venus and Mars signs alone, you have a lot of information right at your fingertips…or other erogenous zones.

For Readings, Personalized Reports, Weekly Scopes and more, you can find Neil at and Facebook.

Please share this interview with your friends!

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Censorship and Social Networks – Violence is in. Nipples are out!


Read my latest article, co-authored with Ane Howard, about social media’s ambiguous and hypocrital censorship of  nudity, and how it reveals our country’s bizarre relationship with the human body. Just ask the nudists! We did… please read/share/comment at: HOLLYWOOD TODAY
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Not Milk?


You’ll rarely hear me kvetch about the prevailing dairy culture in America. Mostly because I am lactose intolerant and vegetarian/pescatarian and have been for most of my life. I understand that my body naturally leaning toward a certain way of life does not make me better, funnier, cooler, smarter or more hip than you. If I believed this, I’d live in Silverlake and have a Skrillex hairdo. Much ado about nothing, back on track… well, Harvard did a nifty li’l renovation to the Food Pyramid (remember that piece of shit?) …and guess what? Milk, not unlike Ding Dongs, is a product to use sparingly.

Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, says of Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate, “The greatest evidence of its research focus is the absence of dairy products… based on Harvard’s assessment that ‘…high intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer.’  The Harvard experts also referred to the high levels of saturated fat in most dairy products and suggested that collards, bok choy, fortified soy milk, and baked beans are safer choices than dairy for obtaining calcium, as are high quality supplements.”

In 2005, the book The China Study revealed that milk may be useless at preventing osteoporosis.  In addition, the author asserts:
“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease… People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease,” says Dr. Campbell.

Now, I’m not saying you need to become Orthorexic, but if you’re ready to give milk or your Lactaid supplements the high heave ho, here are some tips to feel a li’l less freaky deaky.

P.S.: Here is a pic of a super-popular McDonald’s food item. Guess what it is? 

Source: GGA

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Alma Holistic in San Francisco gives a radical new face to skincare

Anti-aging pill Protandim at S.F. Detox Center

Alma Holistic in San Francisco gives a radical new face to skincare

By Darrah Le Montre

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (Hollywood Today) 10/12/11 – Whether it’s the anti-aging miracle pill, Protandim or microcurrent, a newly developed non-invasive, facelift treatment, Alma Arciniegas the founder of San Francisco’s Alma Holistic Center is pioneering ways to make sure you reflect the virtues of youth – from the inside out.

Read more at Hollywood Today.



Alma Arciniegas, founder of Alma Holistic

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New gig!

Excited to be the new lifestyle writer for Alma Holistic, an incredible detox and Naturopathic center in the heart of San Francisco!  Their menu of services includes facials, massage, waxing and more!  They are also groundbreaking in a surgery-free, non-invasive cosmetic technique that equals a face lift (without the creepy side effects, scars or risks of the regular one!)  In fact, they are the pioneers of this procedure.

Founder, Alma Arciniegas is a maven of good health (this chick juggles wellness coaching, colon hydrotherapy and facials based on Ayurvedic medicine).  She’s accompanied by an on-staff Naturopathic doctor, Dr. Horowitz.  (Psst: Naturopathic medicine integrates standard medical diagnostics with a variety of natural medicines and traditional methods of healing. Naturopathy treats a range of conditions, from infertility to insomnia; depression to diabetes; anxiety to allergies.  All the while  focusing on the rhythms of nature and a preventative outlook.)

As you guys know, I have been interested in the holistic lifestyle since I was ten-years old, forcing my family to implement a recycling center in our kitchen (my father quickly nixed this).  Then, as a teenager, becoming veggie at age 15, and subsequently learning more and more about the benefits of eco-friendly living, non-cruelty in all areas of one’s life (Ahimsa), and communicating honestly with myself and others.  It’s true, balance and peace can permeate, until drama and b.s. just aren’t worth the energy (if you can help it!)  Save the theatre for Lady Gaga.

I truly believe we all can not be held to the same standard – given various economic backgrounds, social status, geographical landscapes, and on and on.  However, all of that said, my feeling is that if we each do what we can, including recycling!, we can and will make a change in this heal-able world.  Be the change you wish to see in the world is not just about outward appearances.  I think that if you become who you wish to be, treat others how they wish to be treated, your life and the life of others will inevitably change.  Like a ripple effect.

Sermon aside, I will keep you in the loop of my lifestyle writing for this company, and if you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to write me.  Gotta run.  Breaking Bad, ya know.

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Q&A with Doris Lessing for Singles Magazine

SinglesDoris Lessing

Q & A with Nobel Prize Winner Doris Lessing (Literature) for ‘12 Most Influential Women in History’ for Singles Magazine, Korea

Writer’s Note: Lessing was almost 90 years old when we spoke and coupled with a bad phone connection (me in L.A., her in the UK) plus her irritation at my personal questions, this proved to be a challenging interview!  In the end, she hung up on me!

By: Darrah de jour

Ddj- In recent years, ‘golden singles’ have been one of the most discussed phenomenon in Korean media. ‘Golden singles’ is the term used to describe women with professional careers who prefer to stay unmarried and enjoy the freedom to date men and spend their time for themselves. But in Korea, at least to some people, equality between the two sexes means the end of the concept of family as they know it; and to many – men and women alike – ‘golden singles’ are people who ‘failed’ to get married. We’d like to know what you think about this and the importance of marriage.

DL: A lot of women who don’t get married are perfectly happy.  There’s nothing wrong with it at all.

Ddj- A dilemma single Koreans face in life seems to come from the fact that people are not free from the eyes of millions of beholders. There are too many ‘standards’ to meet; people are not allowed to fail! Would you have any advice/suggestions for ones who want to break free?

DL: Live as if the standards don’t exist.  Do what you want.

Ddj- Do you feel that you’ve done what you’ve wanted?  Lived how you’ve wanted to?


DL: Yes, I’ve done what I wanted and it’s worked very well.

Ddj- Do you believe that the rights of women in the modern world are truly being enhanced? Did you witness some significant progress? Do you see any sector that needs to be ‘opened up’ for women?


DL: Yes, there’s been a lot of progress, things are far better than they used to be.  They are much better where I am, I’m not sure about your country.

Ddj- What do you think the word ‘freedom’ means for women?

DL: That’s a silly word. Freedom. If you are referring to the chapter in my book The Golden Notebook titled “Free Women” it was meant in an ironical sense.  Because the women in the story were far from free or behaving as free. They were continually making decisions as if they were not free.  As if they were bound to something else.

Ddj- What do you think people are bound by?


DL: Oh, bound by all kinds of societal ties.  They make decisions as if they were not…as if they were bound.

Ddj- What ideas and thoughts do you want your readers to have after reading your books? Is there anything that you aim to ‘provoke’?

DL: At the very least, criticism of society.  I don’t write in order to change ideas.  I sort of write as I see I have to.  Not trying to change anyone’s idea.

Ddj- What advice would you like to give to single women who will be mothers in the not-too-distant future?


DL: That’s an extraordinary question.  My advice is, when they have a child their lives are changed completely. Nothing they’ve heard will represent what actually happens. Words cannot adequately describe it.

Ddj- Tell me about your latest work The Cleft.  What was your inspiration for that?  Had you carried the idea for awhile and it developed slowly, or was it something that came to you suddenly?

DL: I developed it over a time, especially recently.  It’s an anti-war book.  When I wrote the anti-war novel, it was because of war continually springing up everywhere.  The latest Israel/Gaza one.  Anyone who has lived through a war knows it’s a terrible thing.  If everybody did, they’d think twice about starting one.

Ddj- In Alfred and Emily, you rewrite a life for your mother where her talents are recognized and her funeral is attended by hundreds.  If you could rewrite your own life, what would be different for you?


DL: I would have been happier as a traditional farmer.  I was brought up on a farm.

Ddj- Really, I find that fascinating.  So you think you would have had more peace?


DL: Peace?  What makes you think I’m interested in peace?  (Laughs.)  I think I would have been happier doing that then the way things have gone.

Ddj- More than being a writer?

DL: Yes.

Ddj- Famed Author Jane Smiley has said that because of your novel The Golden Notebook, she believed at age 20 that “a woman could write about anything.”  Is there anything you wouldn’t write about?


DL: Never crossed my mind.  Why would it?  You know this country has a long tradition of women writers, dating back to the 17th Century.  Women have been writing about everything.  And they should.

Ddj- Did you ever think that in your lifetime, you would witness the son of an African man becoming president of The United States?


DL: No.  Never would.  It’s an extraordinary, wonderful thing.

Ddj- What strides do you think Barack Obama will make to better the United States?

DL: Well he couldn’t have made it worse!  You know, the U.S. has had this bad presence for four years.  He’s got something of a job to put things right.  So much is hoped for from him.

Ddj- What impact, if any, do you think his presidency has on closing the gap for a woman to become president?


DL: Well, we nearly did with Hillary Clinton.  I think she would’ve made an excellent president.  But, it’s a matter of luck.

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Yoga in Heels

Yoga in Heels

By Darrah Le Montre

Celebrities need these expert instructors like oxygen and now the rest of us are catching up - Powerhouse yoga teachers and their eco-mats are taking on L.A.

“She is responsible for my spiritual and physical strength,” says Jennifer Aniston of wellness expert Mandy Ingber, who helped her get through a devastating divorce from Brad Pitt.

To read the full story, visit LA2DAY.COM.

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Gwen Stefani on No Doubt’s Fate and Motherhood Mayhem

‘I’m Just A Girl’ singer puts family first but struggles to find words to tell her tale

By Darrah Le Montre, staff writer

The tortured singer will rise again.

Los Angeles, CA (RPRN) 6/11/09 — “It’s one thing when you have an infant, but when you have this two-or three-year-old going, ‘Mommy, what’s the deal?’ It’s harder. Kingston’s whole thing is, ‘I need, I need.’ He is insane right now,” singer Gwen Stefani says.

To read the full story, visit Rush PR News.

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