How To Meditate

From my last article Meditation + Me, you have hopefully begun to accept that meditation can be powerful and may be worth giving a try. Here, I want to explore some simple methods of meditation. No need to be intimidated. Just secure yourself some privacy and quiet and practice!

AarikaHow To Meditate
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Aging: Part 2

Welcome to the new anti-aging regime! Part 2 is about the information I gained with much research and testing. It’s still a very personal experience, but I hope I can make all you old people’s lives a bit easier.  😉

Yes, I got the Retin-A Micro. The instructions said to use it every day, or every other day if causing irritation. Well, my sensitive skin was not a huge fan. Using the prescription cream, my face got really red, felt dry and peeled later. For cell turnover, the price is kind of looking like a hot mess. I used at night before bed. But the next day, even a slight amount of sun exposure would burn the baby skin. I determined I would only use such a strong retinol twice per week.

This did not feel like an all-encompassing approach to anti-aging. So I went in search of more details about what my skin needed to be rejuvenated and protected.

I did not become an MD overnight. However, I did spend a multitude of hours online reading every article from experts on the subject. Day after day I was curious about something else – beauty myths, what a TV commercial promoted, the stuff in my products I couldn’t pronounce. I basically realized that all my old products were doing diddly-squat.

Next, I bought several items to try. The initial testing of each lasted weeks or months, depending on what it was for and the quantity – cleanser, lotion, serum, etc. I am not rich nor a wasteful person. I used every drop in my experimentation.

Overall, I surmise… Quality counts. Consistency pays off. Maintenance is way better than overhaul.

I may one day resort to Botox. But for now, I’m satisfied with topical solutions. What follows are my own opinions on skin care. Take with a grain of salt!


  1. Learn and form an opinion about what your skin needs.
  2. Remember your list of ingredients, what you’re looking for.
  3. Take time to read product labels. Seriously, all of them.
  4. Buy and try until you find products that fit you.


  • Hyaluronic Acid (moisturizing / look for “hyalu”)
  • Ceramides (cell bonding / look for “mides”)
  • Retinol (cell reproduction / look for “retin”)
  • Neuropeptides (cell functioning / look for “peptide”)
  • Vitamin C (brightening & tightening / a.k.a. “ascorbic acid”)
  • Vitamin E (antioxidant / a.k.a. “tocopherol”)


> Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum (day)

> EltaMD Renew Eye Gel (day)

> CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream (night)

> Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum (night)


There is a difference in products for eye area. They are made with special ingredients – not harmful or irritating to the eye, and usually a consistency that can be gently applied to avoid rubbing or tugging of delicate skin.

Sometimes I mix products for my own concoctions, like adding a bit of argan oil to a Vitamin C serum to prevent drying.

In an effort to minimize forehead activity, I began doing facial exercises. Holding the forehead muscles still while moving other parts of the face to condition the whole situation!

I also began watching myself in the mirror during the daily beauty routine – to prevent lifting my brow and squishing wrinkles for no reason while combing my hair, brushing my teeth, applying mascara and more!


AarikaAging: Part 2
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Whole Health Nation

Whole Health Nation is a new organization, defined as “ a group of herbalists, farmers, educators and artists bringing a sense of community and joy to cultivating a healthy and nature inspired lifestyle; using food as medicine, your garden as your apothecary, finding sanctuary in the streets of your city. Starting as a seed in the community of Greenville, SC. Spreading as a revolution across the world.”

The group’s founder June Ellen Bradley is captivating – artist, author, educator and naturalist. She reached out to me at Doctor for Life. We met for a long time, since we are both talkers and clearly passionate about offering people resources in health. She toured the facility – medical office, culinary lab and fitness center – and knew for certain that DFL was a special concept that should be shouted from the rooftops.

I attended the Whole Health Nation 2018 Conference Saturday, March 3 at Zen. Doctor for Life decided to sponsor this worthwhile event, and Dr. Cheryl joined as well. We were thrilled to be in such cool company – vendors and guests who already appreciate health and love learning – a little different than our average day at the office of “convincing.” Attendees were happy to meet us too, a medical practice thinking holistically and combining clinical with much-needed nutrition and fitness. The atmosphere felt perfect.

The best part… We had the pleasure of participating in all Discovery Classes during the day: Seed Saving, Culinary Herbs for Healing Meals, Mushrooms for Immunity and more. The keynote was on Emotions, Health and Eating. Dr. Cheryl and I could not have been more ga-ga over the topic, as it was EXACTLY what we preach.

How many like-minded souls! How many new referral resources! I, too, need a health community for sharing and vigilance and and encouragement.

I walked away enlightened. I also walked away with soap nuts from Shecology, a tincture from Wild Earth Botanicals, a sweet potato salve from Red Moon Herbs and a huge desire to plan a weekend stay at Adawehi. After about a week, Doctor for Life walked away with reinvigoration and at least four new patients. Win win.


AarikaWhole Health Nation
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Winflo… That might just sound like a slang way to say I’m feeling awesome about life, but I’m really describing a pair of shoes.

I get a ton of mileage from my athletic shoes. So, even though they may still look nice and clean, the support generally wears out after about a year. No biggie. That means I get a new pair annually.

My ASICS GT-2000 running shoes from 2015 were my absolute favorites. This year, however, being on a budget, I hit up Nike at the Gaffney Premium Outlets. I had heard about a few righteous styles from brand followers. I haven’t owned Nikes in many years. What the hey. Just do it.

I was in Nike for like two hours total. Yes, I did the classic “try a bunch of shoes on, then go over to Adidas and try on several there, then come back to Nike to retry favorites and ask a bunch of questions of the store associate about popularity and specific uses and still not be able to decide without at least 10 catwalk-esque trips down the aisle.”

My unique situation is that I want a pair of shoes that are…

  • Appropriate for all types of activity (running, cross training, cycling, Zumba class, etc.)
  • Comfortable to where for many hours on long days
  • Supportive for high intensity or rapid, sudden movements
  • Roomy enough in the toe to not smoosh or create a weird stride
  • A color that won’t look dirty so soon
  • Attractive (I’m not a savage.)

Surprisingly, finding this pair of shoes is difficult. I take my time to make such a decision. I mean, in my line of work, I will basically be living in these shoes. I better damn well enjoy them.

After friend and brand rep referral, online research, trial and error and logical analyzing, here are my top picks from the Nike outlet (for needs as listed above).

  1. Nike Zoom Winflo
  2. Nike Air Zoom Structure 18
  3. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31

The Pegasus was the most vouched for and had great padding for running but wasn’t as responsive in the walk test. The Structure had the most control but felt too tight for everyday wear.

I purchased the Winflo, thus my ranking of number one. Overall, this shoe had everything for me – cushion, shape, versatility, hot pink. They cost a very reasonable $60. After use, I am still pleased. I feel great strutting my new kicks around the gym or pounding the pavement. All the movement I want, and a bit of attention. I mean, they are practically neon. ☺

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Still Alice

I recently finished a book about a woman who’s diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and her struggle to hang on to whatever she can of herself throughout the process, hence the title Still Alice. The novel by Lisa Genova portrays Alice Howland, a 50 year-old renowned psychology professor at Harvard University who begins to notice strange occurrences in her daily routine – not recalling words mid-thought, forgetting class times and what that day’s lecture topic should be in a series and becoming disoriented a few blocks from home and not knowing how to get back home.

Alice has always been a superior mentalist, making scientific breakthroughs and setting admirable precedents in her field. She knows this behavior is anything but normal, and after wading through a lot of denial, she final seeks help. Many tests and sleepless nights later, she discovers that she has Alzheimer’s and that her whole world is about to change drastically.

She worries about her family. How will they cope with this illness? Will her husband have to sacrifice his life-long work and passion to support her? Will she eventually not recognize her daughters and son? Was this gene abnormality passed on to her children? Will anyone have the patience?

She worries about her career. How can she possibly teach cognitive psychology and linguistics without being able to tap into those well-earned mental resources anymore? How long until her students and superiors notice? What will she be if not Alice The Brilliant Professor?

She worries about societal stigma. Why is this prognosis so difficult to bring herself to explain? Will she be able to keep up in everyday conversations and activities? Will people shy away from her with a polite nod and grin as to not offend? Will she simply be ignored because that’s easier?

Alice finds that all her worst fears are true. She grapples to preserve her memories – her mother’s Christmas bread pudding recipe, her youngest daughter’s first name – and her reasoning skills – what day is it, what is that thing called. But dementia cannot be reversed and can hardly be halted.  When her brain ceases to function naturally, when her mental synapses stop firing, the cells die, and it’s like fumbling in a maze to find ideas, knowing that the information is there yet not being able to reach it. That is the mild condition, until she loses control of motor abilities like walking or chewing.

You know this story is about a woman with a severely degenerative disease. You know you’re going to be saddened and confused as it progresses, as you see her desperate in an attempt to preserve even the little things that make Alice Alice.

I couldn’t have gotten a full breadth of Alzheimer’s from a fiction novel, but it made me thoughtfully consider the minutia that I take for granted and understand possibly the most about the mind and how it affects a soul that I ever discerned.

In a lecture to an Alzheimer’s related audience, Alice says, “There’s no peace in being unsure of everything all the time.” I dog-eared this page and took a moment. Of course, her’s has to be one of the worst fates to overcome an individual, and this puts a lot in perspective for the reader. The most triumphant ending is that Alice does find a way to accept her new reality and steer with love, letting raw emotions prevail in times of trial. And that’s a powerful message.

AarikaStill Alice
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