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When Health Fads Go Too Far – The Jillian Mai Thi Protocol

I absolutely love alternative medicine. I have always been drawn to the alternatives in life; choosing the road less traveled and doing my best to utilize more natural methods before turning to harsher, more medicalized methods of treatment. I absolutely adored gripe water for my gassy children as infants. I use herbals on nearly a daily basis. I am a huge cloth diapering advocate. I have been heavily involved in direct peer-to-peer breast milk donation. I even had an unassisted homebirth after two prior cesareans. The word “alternative” is a frequent theme in my life.

While I adore alternative medicine, modern medicine (and heaven forbid, science and biology) have their place. If I have the sniffles, sure, I’m going to try some licorice root chews and some vitamin C to help curb it. If those sniffles turn into thick green snot, a headache and fever, then it might be time for an antibiotic before this sinus infection gets dangerous. There’s nothing wrong with trying natural methods first, but our society hasn’t advanced as far as it has when it comes to medical care for no reason.

But is there a point where alternative medicine goes too far?

Take a look at your Facebook feed right now and I bet that within a few minutes of scrolling, you’ll find someone selling a magical cure-all; be it an essential oil, a wrap, a pink drink, a weight loss patch, a supplement, or even a magical unicorn to keep in your backyard. The majority of these cure-alls are peddled by multi-level-marketing distributors, while some are self-promoted individuals unaffiliated with any other company or service. While many of these products/services do have legitimate benefits and perks to their use (especially the unicorn), results are often greatly exaggerated by distributors and self-promoters (no, I don’t believe chromium is going to cure grandpa’s lung cancer), thus giving these companies/individuals a pretty bad rap. Regardless of any legitimate benefits, these independent distributors and self-promoters are revered as nothing more than modern day snake oil salesman, even more so with the almost cult-like following these companies and individual somehow manage to gain. While most of these products being peddled aren’t blatantly harmful or deceptive, there are some that are.

Jillian Mai Thi Protocol

I stumbled across a post about the Jillian Mai Thi protocol while lounging in my hotel room on vacation. She is an individual, unaffiliated with any parent company, working on a book about her cure-all juice that fans have nicknamed JJ (or “Jillian Juice”).

I will admit, I was curious. I am always down for learning new tips and tricks to keep myself and my family healthy and happy, however, it only took a few minutes to realize exactly how dangerous what this woman was promoting was. This wasn’t a simple antioxidant drink, or vitamin supplement, this was a recipe for disaster. Jillian’s “juice” is an extremely dangerous fad that could have permanent and even lethal consequences, advertised as a cure-all.

Wait… Did you catch any of that? I’m not sure I did either. We’re curing the… alphabet???

What’s in it?

For the sake of keeping it simple, Jillian’s juice contains cabbage, kale, distilled water and an obscene amount of salt. It is supposedly a fermented drink, however, this isn’t true. Fermentation is a biological process characterized by the chemical breakdown of yeast, sugar, bacteria and other substances. A ferment cannot be achieved in just three days. It simply isn’t possible. Participants are drinking up to a gallon of this concoction alongside a “diet” Jillian recommends (with no actual scientific reasoning behind it).

I know what you’re thinking; surely cabbage and kale can’t be all that bad for you. Really, they aren’t on their own! I would definitely suggest incorporating them into your diet as often as you can! However, the danger in Jillian’s magical juice is the salt content. I have been told the original recipe required 1 tablespoon of salt per cup, while the current recipe states 1 tablespoon of salt per two cups. The salt content is where we run into trouble. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a daily value of no more than 2,400mg of sodium per day for adults and children over 4 years of age. The American Heart Association recommends and even more conservative 1,500mg of sodium per day.

Now here’s the kicker… A single teaspoon of salt contains 2,300mg of sodium. There are 3 teaspoons per tablespoon. A gallon contains 16 cups, which means the old recipe had 16 tablespoons and 110,400mg of sodium per gallon, while the new recipe contains 8 tablespoons of salt and 55,200mg of sodium. Considering the damaging effect sodium has on the heart, kidneys, liver and other organs, excess sodium consumption can lead to dehydration, high blood pressure, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, kidney disease, headaches, puffiness, bloating, enlarged heart tissue, stroke, and other medical conditions.

The amount of sodium in a half-cup of the new recipe is more than the total recommended daily value of sodium. Jillian is recommending up to a gallon a day, despite the fact that 1 half cup of the concoction is more than the American Heart Association recommended daily sodium intake.

Endangering Infants

As someone actively involved with pregnant and breastfeeding women in my community, I have developed a passion for helping women with their babies. Sometimes these moms come to me because they need breastfeeding help, supplementation help, or their baby appears to be colicky. If there’s one thing I have learned, its that parents with a high needs baby are often sleep deprived, exhausted and desperate. I have met exasperated parents who were to the point that if I had told them wearing a chicken suit and crowing at the full moon standing in a bucket of Jell-o would cure their child’s colic, I’m not so sure they wouldn’t have tried it. Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to a high needs infant… It’s a test of endurance and often leaves parents desperate for a solution; they’ll try anything. If you  throw in a baby with medical issues on top of that, and the desperation increases exponentially. This is where Jillian is giving even more lethal advice;

 

This is where it gets even more alarming. Jillian actually believes that breast milk is a danger due to the parasites, bacteria and contaminants that can be found in breast milk and that her protocol is superior. Take a listen to this video where she claims if a man had a baby, in the middle of nowhere, she would not want him to use another woman’s breast milk; he should use the juice.

Breastfeeding mothers are told their bodies and their milk are toxic and are poisoning their babies. Jillian even posted a link to an article talking about the transmission of pathogens to support her claim that breast milk is dangerous and toxic to a baby.

When a commenter mentioned that he had heard breast milk actually helps to cure cancer, Jillian quickly shut it down, arguing that if that were true there would be no cancer in those populations.

Formula is no exception to her philosophy. When members of her community expressed concerns about fat content, since both breast milk and formula contain significant amounts of fat, Jillian suggested rubbing olive oil or coconut oil into the baby’s skin to all them to “absorb” the fat.

You did not misread. Jillian truly believes that babies can be sustained on nothing but cabbage, kale, water and a lethal amount of salt. The amount of salt in Jillian’s concoction is too much for even a full-grown man, let alone a developing infant who desperately needs the sugars, carbohydrates and fats that breast milk and formula provide. Let us not forget the case of a 17-month-old infant who died last year after being fed a single teaspoon of salt in South Carolina. Please keep in mind that the NHS recommends less than 0.4mg of sodium per day in infants 12 months of age and younger, and less than 0.8mg per day in children 1 to 4 years of age. Remember the calculations we did earlier? A single ounce of Jillian’s concoction contains 431mg of sodium, far exceeding the recommendations for infants and toddlers.

But guys! Jillian says this is perfectly safe for our babies.

Jillian does acknowledge there is risk when using her concoction on infants and children; legal risk. She has a file detailing exactly what to do if you run into problems with Children’s Protective services over the use of this juice on a minor.

Take a minute and really read what she wrote. This is the woman people are taking advice from. Dangerous and potentially lethal advice. Carnal knowledge (sex) and Kosher law (Jewish dietary practices) have absolutely nothing to do with children’s services, nor will they save you if they become involved. Parents have been investigated from the reports of strangers online (anyone remember the Australian mother who tried to sell her kids on eBay?) Lastly, while this drink may be considered Kosher, it is scientifically evident that it is dangerous (even more so in children) and lacking in nutrients, thus, nutritional neglect. Children’s services is not going to give a flying you-know-what that this drink is considered Kosher.

I don’t know about you, but if your favorite new diet trend/fad has a warning on how to deal with Children’s Services…. I’m willing to bet it’s a bad idea.

Let’s regrow body parts and erase an extra chromosome, shall we?

If you weren’t sold on Jillian’s magical salty juice concoction, wait until you hear this! Jillian claims her juice has helped a circumcised man regrow his foreskin (which, presumably, his parents made the decision to wrongfully take from him).

 

Jillian also claims that her drink will correct down syndrome. I don’t know about you, but being able to completely delete a third chromosome from a person’s body is pretty wild. I mean, I can barely delete my emails and Jillian’s magical potion can delete excess chromosomes?

As if this wasn’t enough, many people are using Jillian’s concoction on their pets, to which Jillian has warned her community, that if the animals have been spayed or neutered, it will reverse the procedure. For those who are unfamiliar, when a female dog or cat is spayed, the entire uterus is removed. When a male is neutered, the testicles are completely removed. Jillian believes that her juice can regrow non-regenerative organs that have been surgically removed.

Now I’m wondering if my appendix will regrow…

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…

Let’s talk about what Jillian calls “waterfalls,” AKA explosive diarrhea. Jillian claims this intense diarrhea is “healing” in nature and non-dehydrating. Obviously when drinking this concoction, your body is under a great deal of stress. The excessive sodium will dehydrate you and contribute to diarrhea. I pride myself on being a good writer, but I’m not even sure I can handle this one, so I will let the screenshots speak for themselves.

Wait, what?! And this is celebrated and encouraged? Where’s the puke emoji when you need it?

Jillian’s “Protocol” is dangerous and potentially lethal…

Many people have reported experiencing illness or sickness while attempting Jillian’s protocol. Some have even ended up in the hospital. There has been at least one death that the public is aware of and numerous adverse side effects reported.These complaints and concerns are quickly dismissed as being “signs of healing.” This protocol is dangerous and is being applied not only orally, but used topically, in the eyes and ears, and even in a nebulizer (which believe it or not, is frequently discussed and encouraged in this group). One woman even ended up in the hospital following this recommendation.

I have no words for this. Here we have a woman who works in the medical field, who has been persuaded into doing something as crazy as nebulizing this salty cabbage concoction. And this wasn’t just an off the wall idea; this is a COMMON thing and is talked about in Jillian’s “files” as a way to reap more benefit from the juice.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, mold is also a common concern, to which Jillian recommends just removing the layer of mold and stirring it.  Again, where is that puke emoji when I need it?

I brew kombucha semi-often and if there’s one thing I learned from that, it’s that mold ruins everything. If your brew grows mold, you throw it out. It’s too dangerous to risk consuming. And I have had it happen to my poor kombucha brew before… But again, if it molds, it’s not safe. I’m pretty sure the same goes for this (even though this “ferment” likely has zilch for active cultures, despite what Jillian claims).

How you can help…

I could go on about all of the horrifying things Jillian preaches all day, but this is all the time we have for today (stay tuned for part 2). People are dying from this “protocol.” People are hurting themselves and hurting their families by blindly trusting this health cult leader. People are seriously compromising their health by trying this “great new way of healing.”

Do your research. Talk to your doctor (I guarantee you, not even the quackiest of doctors will recommend this).

What’s even more shocking is how far Jillian’s reach has spread. Her group contains over 30,000 members and is growing by the day. Every day, new members post pictures of themselves making their drinks and talking about how excited they are to try to protocol. This is dangerous and terrifying. There are a few ways you can help;

Have you heard of the Mai Thi Protocol? Did you try it? What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

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Crab House Cancun Review

I started dieting and working out in October of 2016. It took me a few months to get things under control, but I’m going to tell you, it was NOT easy. I love carbs. Seriously. I can sit down and demolish an entire bag of Hawaiian rolls to myself and call it a meal. It took me a few months to get it under control and figured what worked for me and what didn’t. Fortunately, I figured some of what works out before I received my Hashimoto’s diagnosis. It made it so much easier to make adjustments to my diet later on to eliminate foods that may aggravate my thyroid. Anyway, that aside, despite how perfect I was about following the diet for my weight loss AND my thyroid, I decided that while we were on vacation, I was going to eat whatever I wanted, and boy was I glad I did because the food there was amazing.

After a few days of eating at the restaurant in the hotel, we decided we wanted to venture out and try something new. Let me tell you, what looks like a short enough walk in the car, is definitely NOT a short walk mid-day in the Mexican heat. We figured it would only be a 20-30 minute walk to a restaurant we saw when driving by; Crab House. Let me tell you, it took us twice that and we were literally drenched in sweat when we finally got there. And of course, it was a nicer, upscale restaurant, so here we are, two dirty sweaty Americans walking into their fancy restaurant.  I wish I had gotten more photos and videos while at Crab House but I didn’t even think to do a review until after we had already left!

We walked in and immediately were taken to a table. They had an amazing looking patio outside with tables you could have your meal at, but after walking in the heat, the last thing these two Alaskans wanted was to go back outside. We enjoyed the break from the heat and took our time enjoying the air conditioning. The server brought over a plate full of examples of seafood available; shrimp, prawns, different types of lobster, calamari, octopus, alligator and funny enough, Alaskan salmon. Dan and I had a little chuckle to ourselves when the waiter told us all about Alaskan salmon and how great it is. We let him tell us all about it, then told him we’re from Alaska, catch our own and have a freezer full of it! He was pretty impressed and couldn’t believe that we were all the way from Alaska!

While we waited, we were brought some pate samplers to try. They were amazing. Of course, after the crackers and pate, we got our calamari appetizer. Dan and I have this joke that we should start a website for the sole purpose of reviewing calamari around the world. Calamari is totally our thing, and we always try it at new places whenever it is on the menu. Again, I wish I had gotten a photo, but you’ll have to settle for just hearing about it!

Dan had a steak and prawns and I had deep fried prawns and chips. I have ordered shrimp and chips at many, many, many places over the years and you come to expect that the shrimp aren’t that big (but the price is). That was NOT the case with Crab House. Their shrimp were MASSIVE. I had never been served such huge shrimp in a restaurant before! I couldn’t believe how big they were! I was stuffed by the time I finished the shrimp. My husband recommended dessert and I hadn’t even touched my fries yet! How could he have room for dessert?!?! We ended up ordering crepes to go and some kind of cheesecake. Both were equally amazing, even after being dragged back to our hotel in a takeout box through the afternoon heat.

 

I rarely, if ever, drink, so I can’t attest to the alcoholic drinks here, but Dan and I both had a smoothie! He had a strawberry smoothie and I had a mango smoothie. They were AMAZING and perfect on such a hot day! I absolutely loved it. If you are looking for a great restaurant in Cancun, then Crab House should definitely make your “must try” list! Be prepared, Crab House is a nicer restaurant, so the prices are a bit higher than other places, but the food was amazing and the prices reflected that!

Want to check them out further? Check out Crab House Cancun’s Facebook page and tell them I sent you!

**Disclaimer: I was not compensated nor was I provided with free products or services to write this review. All items described were purchased at full retail price using my own money.

 

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Cancun, baby!

My husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage in April of 2017. It’s funny, because I swear, everyone was making bets on when we would get divorced. We got married pretty young. I was a junior in high school (and pregnant with our first baby) and my husband had only been graduated a little less than two years when we got married. Everyone told us to wait. Told him to run. Told me to think about it, but we did it anyway. We jumped in feet first and haven’t looked back since. And here we are! Ten years, five moves, and four kids later, still as in love as ever, if not more. This dude is totally my best friend and I can’t think of anyone else I would rather annoy for the rest of my life than him.

This wasn’t our first time traveling together. We actually went to Europe for almost a month in 2012. We packed nothing but what we could fit in a backpack, got a long-term sitter for the kids and spent time exploring. We visited Paris, Amsterdam, London (briefly) and Nea Peramos in Greece. We had an amazing time and made memories that will last a lifetime. We wanted to do something fun for our next trip, and since my husband knew Spanish (from spending a summer in Spain prior to meeting me!) we thought Mexico could be fun!

We left late at night on June 15th and took off for our two-week vacation. We booked a hotel through Orbitz and got a killer deal on a gorgeous one-bedroom suite with full kitchen, along with our flight and car rental. The flight was long and tiring (and good grief, United seriously has THE most uncomfortable seats in the world) but we made it in one piece and ready to enjoy ourselves!

By the time we got there, we were exhausted but it was mid-day. We took a short nap and then dove in. The water was my favorite part. I swear, I could spend all day every day at the beach. We didn’t even get in the pool once, because the ocean was just too much fun! I could live the rest of my life just walking down to that beach every day. It’s crazy that it’s so different than the beaches back home in Alaska. I felt the same when I went to Virginia Beach too. It was warm and relaxing; the beaches in Alaska are cold and smell like fish guts during the only warm months; fishing season!

 

There are so many places we went and things we did! It would be impossible to sum it all up in one post. We visited some of the most amazing restaraunts I have ever been to, including Crab House and Captain’s Cove. We charted a fishing trip through Marina Chac Chi and caught a pretty impressive dorado to be mounted! We visited a pretty cool museum, Museo Maya de Cancun where we could actually see and walk through the pathways between ruins from the Mayans who resided there centuries before we even existed. OH! And I met a few iguanas!

After having gone without the kids, I think it would be a great place for a family vacation. I can’t wait to share that with them! I felt like Cancun was a very busy but contained and friendly place. Once my kids get a little older and can appreciate a trip like that, I would love to take them all.

I have a few reviews planned for some of the places we visited while there, and of the AMAZING hotel we stayed at, the Emporio Suites & Hotels! Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

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Personalabs.com Review

I recently discovered I have issues with my TSH levels. Without getting into the nitty-gritty details of it, my TSH levels are affecting other systems in my body. I started medications and have been waiting for a re-draw, but, as my six-year-old says, I’ve got ants in my pants and I am impatient. I have made some massive  dietary changes, and the idea of keeping up the dietary changes if it’s not working, sounds like torture. While researching more on dietary changes that benefit people with high TSH levels, I found some information on a website called Personalabs.com.


Personalabs.com

I wasn’t really sure about it at first. I watched the videos and read about how it works, but I was still uncertain. Some states are ineligible to participate, but if you’re in an eligible state, it’s a pretty simple process.

  1. Order your tests
    Really, it’s as simple as buying something off of amazon. You find the test you want, add it to your cart and checkout. Easy peasy!
  2. Make sure your patient information is filled out
    After you checkout, make sure you fill out your patient information. I didn’t realize I needed to and there was a slight delay on getting my orders back because of it. My second order from Personalabs came in almost instantly, since my patient info had already been filled out.
  3. Check back for your lab orders
    It can take about 24 hours for your lab orders to appear in your patient portal. Once they arrive, print these out! You’ll need to take them with you!
  4. Take your lab orders to the nearest approved testing site
    Personalabs has approved collection sites across the country. Once you have your lab orders in hand, take them with you to the nearest collection site, which you can find by using Personalabs locator tool! You may or may not need an appointment, so if you’re unsure, call the collection facility. Because I had to travel a bit to get to the one nearest me, I made sure to schedule an appointment.
  5. Update your patient portal with the date your sample was collected
    Once your specimen has been collected, be sure to update the date in your patient portal. By entering the date you had your labs collected, Personalabs is better able to make sure you get your results in a timely manner and will get after the laboratories on your behalf if it takes longer than expected.
  6. Kick back and take it easy while you wait for your results!
    It really couldn’t be any simpler! Once your results are in, they will appear in your patient portal! You can then use your newfound health data however you choose, or print it out and bring it with you to your next doctor appointment.

My experience with Personalabs was amazing. I was stunned at how easy the process was, and even more stunned at how quickly the results came in! My labs were drawn in Anchorage, Alaska, shipped to somewhere in Washington and I had results available to me the next morning when I woke up, less than 18 hours after the initial blood draw! I couldn’t believe it. I have had labs drawn at the local hospital that take days and days (sometimes even weeks!) to come back; yet this came back ridiculously fast! I couldn’t believe it!

I never knew that you could order blood work online prior to using Personalabs.com but I am so glad I found them! I am not able to take control of my health, reduce the costs associated with my lab work, and get timely results from my lab work! Ordering lab work online has never been easier thanks to Personalabs!

Overall Rating: 4.8 Stars

Fulfills Purpose Well
Design & Visual Appeal
Ease of use
Affordability
Earth-Friendliness

Fulfills Purpose Well:

Personalabs.com is amazing. I didn’t even know it was possible to order your own labwork without visiting a medical provider. Personalabs helps cut out the middleman and allow you full control over your health! I could not have been more pleased with the service.

Design & Visual Appeal

Personalabs.com has an easy to browse website. You can sort tests by function, system, condition, or even just view them alphabetically. Each test page has an informative description of the test, what it is for, and the estimated wait time for results.

Ease of Use

Personalabs.com was simple to use. I found the test I wanted, added it to my online shopping cart, paid for my purchase, filled out my information and waited for my orders. Once my orders were in and the lab was drawn, all I had to do was update my testing date. The only thing I would change is an email notification; Personalabs.com did not email me when my results were in. It would have been nice for an email alert.

Affordability

Personalabs.com is extremely affordable in comparison to traditional physician-ordered bloodwork. Instead of paying for a doctor appointment AND lab work, you simply pay for your labs. It includes the lab draw fee as well, so long as you use an approved collection facility. In my case, my TSH test only ran me about $40 after a coupon code; much cheaper than what I was recently billed for a TSH lab.

Earth Friendliness

Personalabs.com works in conjunction with thousands of testing facilities to make the experience easier on the consumer, delivering results directly to the patient portal online. There is no faxing or mailing paper copies of results from clinic to clinic. I’d say that’s about as earth friendly as a labwork company can get!


Blood Testing for your Healthy Well Being

*Disclaimer: I was not provided any compensation for this post, nor did I receive any complimentary products. I have purchased these items on my own, with my own money. My opinions expressed in this review have not been influenced and are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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My Amazon Round Up & $100 Amazon Giveaway!

I love living in Alaska, don’t get me wrong. One thing I do not love about living in Alaska is how inflated costs can be. I get it. It takes extra fuel, extra labor, extra resources and extra time to get things here, but it doesn’t make it an easier to swallow pill that I pay $12.99 for something, while a friend stateside is only paying $4.99 for the same item! That’s where Amazon comes in handy. When I’m buying non-perishable items that I don’t need immediately, I check Amazon, right then and there in the middle of the aisle with my phone! It’s great, because then I know I really am getting the best price and saving money!

On top of saving money on products available locally, our retail options are pretty limited here. We’ve got Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart, Safeway and a couple smaller Alaskan-owned shops and markets. Finding specialty items that aren’t super common or well-known can be next to impossible sometimes. Amazon can be pretty awesome for those kinds of things! Here are a few things I’ve ordered recently;

Twin Lotus Active Charcoal Toothpaste Herbaliste Triple Action

I have been eyeing charcoal toothpaste for a while. I was originally going to go with a tooth powder, but ended up liking the reviews on this one more. The taste threw me for a bit because I couldn’t figure out what it was; it was clove! So far, so good. I’ll do a review soon!

Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin, 120-Count Bottle

So, I was taking gummy prenatals for the longest time, but then I started doing some digging after I realized exactly how many carbs were in a single serving of those gummies. I found out the prenatal I had been taking wasn’t actually that great. If I’m taking a vitamin, I want it to be the best! I switched to Rainbow Light vitamins months ago and set it up for subscribe and save so I never run out! Don’t need a prenatal vitamin? Rainbow light has an excellent food-based women’s multivitamin and men’s multivitamin.

Prestige Eyeliner, Black, 0.04 Ounce

Fred Meyer quit carrying my favorite eyeliner and I couldn’t find it anywhere else. Amazon to the rescue! They had it, and for cheaper than Fred Meyer had been selling it too!

Aqueon Tropical Flakes

My oldest daughter is a fish geek. My youngest daughter constantly thinks the fish are starving to death. Amazon’s got a HUGE container of fish food for way cheaper than the small one costs locally. Win-win!

Clever Cutter 2-in-1 Food Chopper

If you don’t already have a Clever Cutter, get one! They’re seriously amazing. I use this thing like crazy when making soups or prepping fruits and veggies for the dehydrator.

Diono Radian RXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat

My little sister just had a baby and being the car seat freak I am, I make sure that I get my siblings a car seat as a baby shower gift. I absolutely LOVE Diono Radians and have gotten two this year for both of my new nephews! They are the absolute best!

Spectra Baby USA S2 Double/Single Breast Pump

My sister who gave birth in April needed help finding a good breast pump. Having exclusively pumped for 14 months (after re-lactating no less), this is the bad boy we chose for her! The Spectra S2 is durable, great suction and excellent customer service when needed!

Magic Sponge Eraser Cleaning Melamine Multi-functional Foam Cleaner

I love Mr. Clean, don’t get me wrong. He’s served me well. But, I tend to use my Mr. Clean Magic Erasers wayyyyy more than I should. I buy bulk melamine foam sponges for the minor jobs, and save the Mr. Clean ones for the tougher jobs to save myself money.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber

As well as my bulk melamine foam works, absolutely nothing compares the the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubbers. Those things are amazing. My tub gets gross. I don’t know how it even gets that gross (kids…) and the bath scrubbers work wonders!

On to the Giveaway…

It’s true. I love Amazon, but I’m pretty sure you do too. What better way to share our love of Amazon than by participating in a $100 Amazon gift card giveaway? Let me know what you’d buy if you won the gift card in the comments and be sure to enter below!

Giveaway is open worldwide, however, winners outside of the United States will recieve the cash equivalent of $100 via paypal. Giveaway begins Wednesday, May 31 at 12:01 Eastern Time and will end June 13th at 11:59pm Eastern time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I was not provided any compensation for this post, nor did I receive any complimentary products. I have purchased these items on my own, with my own money. My opinions expressed in this review have not been influenced and are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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SCAM ALERT: Truepeoplesearch.com

Everyone on my facebook is freaking out over a website TruePeopleSearch. As a professional stalker… erm… I mean, child of unknown parentage who was forced to become very good at skills that resemble stalking… I am telling you right now, this site is nothing new. It’s absolutely nothing new and is simply pulling information from various placed on the web to compile an educated guess about your personal details for those who look you up on their site.

Here’s the thing though… People are posting these crazy dramatic videos about how users need to remove their information right now! It’s so easy, you can do it through their site! Here’s the thing though… in order to remove your information, you have to agree to their privacy policy, which includes this little gem;

“… we and our third-party service providers may use a variety of technologies that automatically (or passively) collect certain information whenever you visit or interact with the Applications (“Usage Information”), including the device used to access the Applications (“Device”), and the IP address or other unique identifier identified by that Device (“Device Identifier”). Your Device Identifier may also identify your regional location”

Does anyone else smell something fishy? I sure do and a whole bunch of people on reddit do. This company is likely hiring people to make these videos, scaring people into wanting their data removed, and then forcing people to agree to the privacy policy in order to remove their data… but the privacy policy allows the website to track your location. Does anyone else see the problem here? You’re confirming their information AND giving them access to your device location… Come on people!

Not to mention… Their entire privacy policy was copied word for word from a website called Stud or Dud? Don’t believe me? Check it out yourself HERE.

Needless to say, this entire thing is super duper sketchy, and if you’re truly worried about your privacy, I’d just stay off that site. It’s all pulled from other services and public records anyway. The info is already out there through the hundreds of other people search services.. This company is just exploiting the public’s fear of privacy invasion to confirm their own data.

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My Experience: Dental Work & Halcion

I am not going to lie. I am a big freaking baby when it comes to dental work. I can push a baby out in my kitchen with no drugs, but the second they start touching and scratching my teeth, I turn into a big blubbering wreck. I shake. I cry. Sometimes I puke. And I pass out. It’s a big, ugly and embarrassing ordeal, not to mention, a pain for the dentist trying to work on me while I’m doing all of the above. It just… never goes well.

In the past I have used a combination of valium (diazepam) and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to deal with my dental anxiety. It’s been effective before and I figured that is what my new dentist would use. He told me they use something called triazolam for dental work (also known as halcion). I had never used triazolam and wasn’t sure what to expect. The youtube videos weren’t very reassuring, but I decided to just trust my dentist and go with the flow.

About Halcion

Halcion is primarily used for dental work, but at one point was used in medical and hospital settings, especially so for the treatment of insomnia and sleep disorders. It is a powerful sedative, in the same class as other benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium.  Halcion commonly produces retrograde amnesia, meaning the patient won’t remember what happened after the fact. Halcion seems to be preferred because patients can understand and comply with directions, but are relaxed enough to perform the work. Halcion is a controlled prescription drug in the United States. Patients under the influence of Halcion cannot drive to and from their appointment and will require an escort. Halcion is favored due to the fact there are few contraindications. For more information on Halcion and dental work, please visit Dr. Brian Hoffman’s website.

Taking the medication

My dentist instructed me to take the first pill an hour before my appointment. I felt absolutely nothing for about 20-30 minutes and then my legs started feeling funny and I wasn’t exactly able to form my thoughts into words as quickly as I would have liked to. Once I was at the dentist, he administered the remainder of the pills sublingually, under the tongue. Beyond this, I really don’t remember much, so you’ll need to watch the video.

Memory Loss

I only know this because I went through the texts and Facebook messages I sent while on the medication. I told people I felt fine and felt lucid, but I knew I was going to forget shortly… then an hour later I would send the same text message, not realizing I had already talked to the person and already said the same thing. This makes me worry I was conscious in the moment, but not after. I can remember some of the feelings and emotions (panic!) I had during the dental work, but I can’t really remember actual events. I do know at one point I was crying and panicking and I was given nitrous, but I am not sure if I actually remember this, or if I only “remember” it because I was told it afterward.

My overall impression

The halcion was effective in memory loss, but the effects lasted way too long. I don’t remember most of the entire day (and it was my 10 year wedding anniversary). It’s a weird feeling knowing you have amnesia over a certain period of time. I think, if I were to need dental sedation again, I would request valium and nitrous oxide. Valium wears off pretty quickly and relaxes you without the amnesia component.

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UPDATE Re: How to Take an AncestryDNA Test Without Saliva

As some of you may have seen in a previous blog, I recently devised a method to obtain a saliva sample for DNA testing without using actual saliva. (For full instructions, see my blog post: How to do an AncestryDNA test WITHOUT spit) This method has been questioned by many in genetic genealogy circles, however, I have yet to be made aware of it failing. This method has been successfully used with AncestryDNA as well as 23andme.

I originally developed this method in December 2016 after my daughter refused to spit in the vial without immediately gulping it down right after. Geesh… three-year-olds these days… While begging and pleading with someone who can barely count, I started brainstorming how I could possibly get DNA without spit for this test. I knew it was a frequent problem in some of my DNA circles, especially among elderly people. I thought that maybe my three-year-old could be an important part of figuring out how to obtain a sample. Perhaps this experiment could help other people obtain valuable data that they may not have been able to otherwise. So I jumped in feet first and did my best using what I knew already and what I researched after. I was on pins and needles and kept the whole thing hush-hush until I knew if it worked.

Sure enough, her results came back perfect. At that point, I decided to do another test to demonstrate my method for others to replicate. Jacob was my (super adorable) model and volunteer. Sure enough, just like his cousin’s results, his results came in perfect and exactly as we expected them to.

Additionally, a woman commented on my previous blog that she tried my method with a 23andme kit (and her own mouth) and the results came back correctly, showing her second kit as an identical twin to her first kit!

HELP ME OUT!

Now, here’s where I need help. If you used my method, PLEASE comment here on my blog or on my youtube videos and let me know what the outcome was. So far, I am 2 for 2 in the tests I have done using artificial saliva, but that’s not a very large sample size. If you’ve attempted my method, let me know! I’d love to be able to keep track of successes!

So far, the running tally for my method is;

Ancestry: 2/2

23andme: 1/1

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Hiking the Russian River Falls Trail in Cooper Landing, Alaska

I grew up in Alaska. I’ve been to many a body of water and on more trails than I can count. We recently took a trip down the Russian River Falls trail in Cooper Landing, Alaska, Catherine, Danielle, and I. It was about an hour from Soldotna (probably an hour and a half from Anchorage) and was an awesome workout. I loved it and plan to go again later this summer.

 

Russian River Falls Stats5

Elevation Gain: Russian River  500 feet.
Start Elevation: 1,400 feet
Rating:  Russian River Falls: Easy.
Distance:  Russian River Falls 2.3 miles one way.
Nearest Landmark: Cooper Landing, Alaska
Season:  Mid-May through mid-September
Popular:  Hiking, Mountain Biking, Fishing, Camping, Boating, Horseback Riding, Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing.

Where is the Russian River Falls trail?

Once you hit Cooper Landing, you will find the Russian River Campground access road at milepost 53 of the Sterling Highway.  The access road is narrow at points, so go slow to prepare for oncoming traffic. There is very limited parking at the trailhead and the trail tends to be very crowded when the salmon runs are in. Get there early and get a spot, but keep in mind there may be parking fees depending on the time of year. There is overflow parking available, but it is further from the trailhead and not as convenient!

What is the Russian River Falls trail like?

The Russian River Falls trail is about two miles long and is covered in gravel. The trail is a popular one and as such, is very well maintained. In some areas, the gravel felt a little deep for our wagon wheels and it took some force to pull/push through it with the two toddlers in the wagon. The trail is decently wide and comfortably able to accommodate two people walking side by side, maybe even three in some areas. The trail does have slight changes in elevation, which for normal non-wagon-pulling hikers, shouldn’t be an issue. On the way back, we were getting pretty sore pulling the wagon uphill. At the end of the trail, there’s a viewing deck and platform with a couple areas you can stop at to view the falls. The falls can be loud and wildlife viewing is common.

What kind of plants and animals can be seen on the Russian River Falls trail?

Catherine and I went semi-early in the season, so the foliage wasn’t quite showing off in full effect. We found labrador tea, horse tail, crowberry, cranberry, willow, yarrow, devil’s club, mushrooms, ostrich fern, tree fungi and more.

As far as wildlife, many animals call the areas near the trail home, including many species of birds (you may even see eagles!), squirrels,  moose, ducks, caribou (if you’re lucky!), black bears, brown bears, and salmon in the falls! The salmon who make it to the falls, have managed to evade fisherman and bears along the Kenai river and are in the final stretch of their journey to spawn and die.

Is the Russian River Falls trail a good trail for kids?

Catherine and I took two toddlers in a wagon and a baby in a carrier on the trail. While the wagon got heavy on some of the uphill parts, it was a relatively easy and kid-friendly trail. There were a few points where the gravel felt a little too deep for the wagon wheels, but overall, it was easy enough. It is a long walk (2.3 miles one way) and older children may not do as well walking on their own if they aren’t used to it.

Can I camp at the Russian River Falls?

There are campsites available, as well as cabins that can be rented near the falls and the lake. These campsites may have fees associated.

Safety Precautions

Where there are fish, the bears and wildlife will follow. Bear sightings are common on the Russian River Falls trail and it’s a good idea to brush up on bear safety practices. If you are able to, it’s not a bad idea to bring guns with you on your hike. It’s better to have weapons and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

As always, never hike alone and always bring a buddy. Tell people when you leave, where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Extra Tips

Be sure to bring plenty of water with you, especially in warmer weather. There are no fountains along the way and it’s not wise to drink water from the falls without adequate filtration.

Mosquitoes can be a nuisance. Be sure to use bug repellent to keep them at bay. Depending on the time of year and the weather on that particular day, the mosquitoes may be more or less of a bother. Best to be prepared!

 

 

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Foods to AVOID for hypothyroid

Unfortunately, I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I made myself a handy little chart of foods to avoid in order to promote healthier TSH levels and thought I would share!

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