October 21, 2016

Today I go through with something I’ve wanted to do for over 15 years. After a very hard pregnancy that was high risk, I was happy to have my healthy baby, but knew that would be our only child. I asked my doctor, at just 22, if I could get sterilized. I was told, NO. With every year that passed, during my annual visit, I would remind the doctor that I was still interested in getting myself sterilized, but with every year I was told, “you’re too young” or “you’ll regret it”. I was unable to use any hormone release birth control methods due to other medical conditions. So, month to month, I would hope that our “other” methods have held up. Finally, last year, my doctor said that she would consider this, provided I brought my husband into the office so he could sign documents approving this procedure. That was the final straw. I could not believe that, as a woman, I was being told that I couldn’t do something to my body by choice that could increase my quality of life without judgement AND my husbands permission (which I had regardless, but that was not the point!). I finally began to search out a doctor who would allow me to make this decision for myself and found him on my second try. He absolutely agreed this would be a great choice for someone like me, we booked the surgery THAT DAY! After 3 weeks of pre admission tests, I was cleared for surgery. Today, after so much talk about the recent remarks during our presidential debate, I see that this antiquated thinking is not so uncommon and shocked me!!! 

I’m absolutely thrilled to have this CHOICE. This is a choice that I made alone. I’m excited that I was finally given the choice to get sterilized after 15 years. I know it’s hard for some to believe that I knew what I want to do with my body at the ripe young age of 22 and that choice hasn’t wavered in 15 years. 

Here we go! 



About 2 months ago, Chloe, my 15 year old daughter mentioned she really wanted to get a Genetic/Ethnicity test done to see what her DNA traced back to. I totally understood her interest, she comes from two very diverse and mixed backgrounds. Honestly, we really couldn’t tell her anything concrete and we were more than happy to get her, for $99, DNA test!

To date, I have been told my ethnic background is everything from Native American, Italian, Swedish, Dutch and on. From her father, Trinidadian and Scottish. Trinidad was originally occupied by Spaniards, Africans and the French, so Chloe could say, without a doubt, that she was multi-ethnic!

Well, the results came in today and it was even more exciting and interesting than we could have ever expected.


Organic Magic by DD Downer 

Back in 2005 I began studying Buddhism. Very early on in my studies I came across the JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF RELIGION, NATURE AND CULTURE, ECOTHEOLOGY ISSUE 9 JULY 2000 and it opened my eyes to a lot of issues surrounding the food “industry” in the United States and how mass production, processing and wasteful packaging is against fundamental Buddhist beliefs. I was a twenty five year old mom to a four year old child who required most of my time and energy, so although this information set off alarms for me, I didn’t explore a personal plan of attack to fix my habits. 

As I continued my studies, I would come across many more informative articles about the subject and by 2009, without much effort at all, I began to make small but impactful changes in our home. The very first thing I noticed about converting to a “cleaner diet with less waste” was how time consuming it was. I was spending triple the time shopping, trekking back and forth between 4-5 different markets a week. Add on to that the time I spent trying to find some of my favorite ingredients in their organic, natural state. It required a lot of time, energy and MONEY. It hurt my heart and pockets to spend the extra few bucks per item but it was time I made this change. 
Eventually I designed a program in my household that fit our needs. Many who know me have heard of my  “Project 80/20” creation. It was simple, 80% of my household foods would be NON-GMO, organic, all natural, locally sourced, unpackaged (bulk) and overall “CLEAN FOODS”. The other 20% of my foods were just regular, run of the mill, foods. If the grass fed, farm to table beef was way out of my budget, I found the next best thing within my price point. If there were foods, like ketchup, that my daughter refused to budge on taste preferences, I’d get the Heinz 57 and call it a day. The bottom line was, this system worked for us and it became law in our home! 

There were times when we’d be able to carry our system over from food to cleaning products, lawn and gardening supplies and appliance useage. It was personally fulfilling to live my life consciously and by implementing these changes.

For years, when I was buying organic, I came to terms with the following:

  • My fruits were going to be less “appealing” visually

  • My produce will be much smaller 

  • Organic will be more expensive

  • There would be times during the year that you couldn’t buy certain vegetables because “out of season” on organic – ACTUALLY MEANS “out of season” 


There were many adjustments and exceptions to everything you’ve thought when buying your 100% natural and USDA Organic products. 

If you were shopping for meats, that was even trickier. Words like, Grass Fed, Grain Fed, All Natural, Hormone Free, Antibiotic Free, Free Range, Preservative Free, Etc… could really make your head spin. Then the impact it had on your wallet was going to certainly give you the full exorcist head spin full circle. Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!

Let’s fast forward to 2016, we still actively apply the 80/20 Program in our household  but it’s become somewhat effortless. I can now get 9/10 of my shopping done in one place, a CHAIN SUPERMARKET like Stop & Shop, Shop Rite and Foodtown. Most of my “big supermarkets” have organic aisles, organic and naturals in every single product from hair products to jello. Plus there’s organic vegetables and fruit found right smack dab in the middle of every single one of your favorite fruits and veggies! Wow! So, I guess you think it has become easier with the abundance of options but it really hasn’t, because something set an alarm off in me recently and I can’t quite shake it.

I knew that as the consumers demanded more healthy and natural products, the grocery gods would deliver. But at what cost? How did these changes happen that fast. How come my ORGANIC apple is now the size of the Non-Organic apple? Why are my natural meats now only pennies more than the regular factory farmed meats? I see fancy new packaging and labeling on products with BIG BOLD letters that say ALL NATURAL and ORGANIC with more “healthy” options than not. Sounds like a good thing, I know! But it just didn’t make sense to me. So, I did what I always do, started to research what the new laws, regulations and standards were on production and labeling I needed to know what changed! (And it’s not very promising!)

So, first off I’ve learned that “NON-GMO” Project is throwing us off. Yes, we want non-GMO foods but be very clear, that does not mean ORGANIC. So, to clear this up, here’s an article I read that was interesting enough to share. 

NonGMO & ORGANIC Choices
The advertising game is tricky. Remember, cigarettes used to be marketed towards the younger generation, as non addictive and we were told the rewards of smoking were social acceptance, helpful with weight loss, etc… we now know those are all false. We can also use the “low fat” and “fat free” craze that promises more lean bodies, but in return we were given massive amounts of carbohydrates and sugars (artificial sweeteners that our bodies didn’t know how to process) in return. We saw a rapid rise in health issues after that great marketing push! So is this just another “pull the wool over the consumers eyes” tactic that we are going to regret in a few years? Quite possibly! 

Here’s the bottom line, organic agriculture, although synthetic chemical pesticides are generally prohibited, many exceptions are allowed on the basis of “need,” and most “natural” ones, which can be extremely toxic, are permitted. Here’s a quick reference. 

Allowed Pesticides for Organics
Now. I’m sure you didn’t read all of that, but to sum it up. Nothing is ALL NATURAL and 100% ORGANIC and does that bother me? Yes, because it’s very misleading to most. I knew there had to be some exceptions but at what cost? So who do we believe about what? That’s where we are today. I read there was an 84% increase in consumers buying organic since 2009 but couldn’t understand how we were able to adjust to this increase without any sacrifice and bottom line is, we didn’t. We simply lowered our standards to meet the demand. 

So where do we go from here? Do we stop trying? Absolutely not! This year I planted my own garden, sadly it was a bust. But I learned a lot in the process and I’m sure the next one will be remarkable! I’m going to go back to the good old days, where I had to spend hours shopping and dissecting labels and trying to figure out what is best for us, my family. Trust me, I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet. 

Most importantly I want to share this, the USDA Blog site… I have been reading the blog posts and then REALLY reading the comments from the farmers and seeing some real world debate about our food, sustainability and the future of ORGANIC! I encourage you to read the posts, REALLY read the comments and come to a conclusion yourself. Just don’t follow blindly, it’s that simple. MUST READ USDA BLOG & COMMENTS

Last Dose. (Follow up on VitD issue)

Today Chloe will take her final dose of Vitamin D 50,000 IU.

Leading up to her diagnosis, she was lethargic, nauseous and extremely out of sorts. After countless doctors visits and trips to the hospital, we finally got a diagnosis of a severe Vitamin D deficiency. If you recall, even after being diagnosed, we had trouble finding a doctor to treat her, but once it was all said and done – she began a six week course of treatment and here is what I noticed in those six weeks.

Chloe was nervous about taking the pills, as she has never really had to take anything but a course of antibiotics. Understandably, she was worried that this would make her already UPSET STOMACH feel worse, but I assured her that it would be worth it and she would fill up a GIANT glass of water and wash it down.

Within the first week, she complained less about feeling sick and looked forward to getting better every day. Jerome and I were really adamant that, even if she wasn’t feeling well, she had to TRY to get through her day at school. Thankfully, she goes to a school that has an amazing staff, they were all very helpful in getting her back on track.

During week 2 of her treatment, something even more exciting happened, she saw her orthopedic (Dr. Scillia in Wayne, NJ – AMAZING doctor!) who said that her foot was healed and the reason it took so long to heal was probably due to her Vitamin issue. She was cleared for physical activity (low impact at first) and she would be able to resume all activity as she felt comfortable. It was then, I noticed the REAL change in her, she was working with the Sports Trainer at her school and the track coaches. She was recruited to do the stats for several sports teams and I was so happy that she was out in the SUN and getting that NATURAL Vitamin D!

Week 3 brought even bigger milestones! She seemed to be about 75% better! She had her appetite back, was going out with her friends and appeared to be more full of life. Her skin was back to it’s regular beautiful caramel color. She began sleeping normal again, which only made things better in the morning. She was up and ready for school, happily back on track!

Week 4 and 5 were like I had my old Chloe back. I felt like this whole thing was a nightmare that was finally over! She still complains about a stomach ache here and there but, who doesn’t! The only thing I notice that hasn’t really subsided is her leg pains. She still has sharp pains.

She is eating well, as always we have natural and organic food in my house (we are 80/20 ALWAYS!) which I think played a big part in her recovery. I also attribute a lot of the success of her treatment to BEING OUTSIDE and the weather finally working WITH US and not against us! She has been going to the gym on the days she isn’t participating in other outdoor activities. She has now found a new favorite place to hang out, the hammock. I think I might need to buy her one since she has taken mine over!

The final step is to take her in for a repeat blood test. We will run the same panels to see how she has progressed with “numbers” but I can assure you that I see that she is better by leaps and bounds! I am one happy mommy right now and I am so glad we were able to get to the bottom of this.

I am sharing this because I want you all to know that, as moms, you have to trust your gut! DADS TOO, I think Rome might have noticed something before I did! So, although we put our trust in these medical professionals,  if you do not like what you are hearing or if you think they are missing something – DO NOT STOP! One doctor may not have the knowledge or experience as the next! If we didn’t keep looking, who knows where we would be today.

Thank you everyone for the support and messages checking on her.


CVS Empties! Hit or Miss.

Here are a few beauty products that I’ve finished or gave up on. These are my honest opinions of the products, the results and how I felt about them along the way…

Garnier Fructis – Sleek & Shine Brazilian Smooth FLATIRON EXPRESS

I originally purchased this at CVS because it was on SALE and I am trying to grow my hair and have a LOVE for the FLATIRON. There is just no sense in having LONG hair if it is damaged.

  • Pros: Smells amazing, not too thick or heavy, doesn’t leave straight hair oily, GREAT protection when using flatiron (steamy), little bit goes a long way! 
  • Cons: nothing I saw… 

Bottom line, I went out and bought a second tube and I am already halfway into it. I use it on my hair and Chloe’s so I can confidently say it is good for both straight and curly hair!
RIMMEL LONDON BB Cream Matte 9-IN-1 Skin Perfecting Super Makeup 

Where do I even begin? I found this, priced right, liked that it had a little SUNSCREEN in it and saw the magic words, MATTE. I can tell you that the application was fine, there was a weird odor to it, like CLAY – which might be a CHEAP BB CREAM thing, so I am not mad about that. I did think it “filled my pores” and gave me a glow but I cannot say that I was head over heels about it overall. The mere fact that it says MEDIUM and when I opened it, the ORANGE hue was so profound, I would never wear it more than once. I should have gone for LIGHT, maybe it would’ve been a little less UMPA LUMPA and a little more… GHOST? IDK! Either way, nothing to rave about here. BOO!


  • Pros: Price?
  • Cons: Heavy odor, orange base, very light coverage

NYC New York Color SMOOTH SKIN FINI PARFAIT BBcreme 5 in 1 Instant Matte 

So, BB Creams are my GO TO in the summer because I want light coverage and SPF, sadly I didn’t realize there wasn’t any SPF noted on the tube when I bought it, so I had to apply an SPF with this. The price was right since I just wanted something I could wear on a quick errand and it was labeled as “MATTE” which is always the LOOK I go for since I have combination skin. Bottom line, I wasn’t thrilled.

  • Pros: decent coverage and great color match
  • Cons: TERRIBLE ODOR, pearly essence to it which leaves a weird shine that I try to avoid, it didn’t give me the MATTE feel that I was expecting and did I say it stunk yet? BIGGEST CON… I don’t know if it has ANY SPF in it at all, nothing on the label!

MAYBELLINE FIT me! Shine Free foundation

I was so THRILLED with this foundation stick! I used Color 120, which was a perfect match. I was happy to buy it at the price and for the results, it was worth every penny! A foundation stick is beneficial because you never have to worry about the bottle opening in your makeup bag or the pump being pressed, resulting is loss of product and MESSES! Big messes! I saw so many ads for this and I was lured in… Shine free, totally! Super easy to apply, although the stick is quite fat, so don’t expect to use it for detailed application. It’s not like a concealer stick, which is small like a lipstick!

  • Pros: amazing coverage, super easy to apply, color match was perfection, shine free, no odor, safe for throwing in a makeup bag
  • Cons: when I got down to the bottom of the stick I started to use my foundation brush to DIG in and get any remaining foundation – I don’t like to waste – and I realized there was about an INCH of makeup in there left! Is there not a better system to package it so you can get MORE from each stick?


 REVLON MATTE LIPSTICK (001 – Nude Attitude) 

This color was fun! According to the color swatch on the display and the actual lipstick, it was a pretty close match! (Not common in drugstores!) This might sound weird but, I love the “taste” of REVLON lipsticks, they are fresh and powdery. I am not sure what they use to create that effect but, there is nothing worse than putting on lipstick and gagging on it!

  • Pros: color was great, color applied as it looked, good fragrance and taste, just enough matte to look flat without looking dehydrated (you know when your lips get all wrinkly from a MATTE!)
  • Cons: the actual lip”stick” broke early on with normal storage and use, but I was able to somewhat fix it and continue to use it!

JERGENS Original Scent Dry Skin Moisturizer (Cherry Almond Essence)

So, cream and lotions… In my house, we all use something different. My husband is a COCO BUTTER guy and my daughter is a layer’er, meaning she will mix thirteen different lotions, creams and body butters. She also uses “in shower” creams which… Well, that is dangerous for old mom… I love HOTEL lotion, so I asked my sister what the fragrance was in the lotions Harrahs AC, she told me it was Cherry Almond, so I went out specifically looking for THAT fragrance in a lotion. I found this, Jergens is a reputable brand and I have had success with them in the past, so I went for it! Priced right, I was ready for some yummy skin! Here is what I found… The scent, AMAZING! The application, YUMMINESS! Goes on smooth but YOU NEED a TON to really get that SMOOTH skin… It is very… STICKY! I wonder what that is all about??? Sometimes I like to throw a little on my face when I walk past it and literally EVERY single time I do it – I immediately REMEMBER that I shouldn’t DO THAT! It stings and burns. I am sure it isn’t meant as a FACE lotion because if you wash your face good and open up those pores, exfoliate regularly, IT WILL STING! It was an OK lotion for the price, I might not buy it again for a few of the reasons listed above.

  • Pros: fragrance is amazing, goes on easily absorbed, great value, perfect for BODY lotion 
  • Cons: not a face cream, stinging sensation when applied on a freshly washed face, maybe a little sticky for a face too, too oily for use with makeup on face, go through a bottle fast

Maybe I would change SOME things…

When I became a mother at just 22 years old I decided that I was going to do my very best to raise a well-rounded child who lived up to her potential in every sense. I would work hard to provide her with everything she needed and usually everything she wanted. I had some very great examples of mothers surrounding me who I would look up to and emulate as best as I could. At just about three years old she would start “full-time preschool”. I made sure to send her to the best one I could find with a very good curriculum that would best prepare her for kindergarten. Then when she turned five years old on August 23rd, I was told that she could start kindergarten. From then on, she would always be the youngest in her class and there is usually no mistaking it as she was petite and not always on the same “social” level as other kids in her grade that were a year older. Either way I was assured that she was well prepared for kindergarten. I did what every other mother of a child her age would do, make sure she had all her immunization went to the school filled out the paperwork, enrolled her and delivered her in a brand spanking new outfit and the perfect piggy tails for the first day.

I always thought I was doing the right thing. Not only was it what I did and what my parents did and what their parents did but it was also what everybody around me was doing.

I put a lot of emphasis on grades and rewarded her when she would make honor roll or bring home a perfect test score. I would encourage her to read, even though I knew she dreaded it. I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of one of those bumper stickers that said “Proud Mom of an Honor Roll Student”, although I never did put it on my car, I was proud, not crazy.

In seventh grade, with high school right around the corner, we made the decision to move. The way we decided where we were going to move was simple, we wanted a neighboring town, culturally diverse, with a great academic and athletic program.

It was very important that we provided our daughter with the best education within our means. This is what landed us in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey.

To my knowledge we were doing “the right thing”, the same thing everybody did for their school age kids. We woke up Monday morning, brought her to school, picked her up at three and this continued from September to June, like clockwork. Year in and year out, there was never even so much as a thought that this was our OBLIGATION to her, a good public school education.

To be quite  honest with you, it never even occurred to me that there was any other way!

Until about a year ago, while waiting for my carrot & ginger juice from the local organic market. As I stood there waiting for my juice in the middle of the workday I saw this woman and a young man next to her and of course the first thing that crossed my mind was, why isn’t this kid at school? But I have learned to not ask so many questions and not always say what’s on my mind. Somehow, we began to talk, juicing can be quite time-consuming. The young man mentioned that he had eaten that type of rice in India, chickpeas just like that in Greece, and he laughed that he never came across Greek yogurt there either. This young man stood in front of me, made eye contact, spoke clearly and confidently as he began to tell me about his travels with his mother. I was so intrigued, and I wondered how he would be able to get all this traveling done while being a regular 13-year-old student. So my curiosity got the best of me and I asked, “where do you go to school”, when he said that he was homeschooled and they travel as part of the curriculum. It all made sense.

You see, I had heard of homeschooling before and I just thought it was something that stay at home moms did because they could. Honestly, when I heard people discuss homeschooling it always had a negative connotation and was usually followed by discussions about children who were not socially adjusted or capable of handling pressure. I heard people imply that it made children lazy or unable to adjust to “the real world” when they would eventually have to work for someone else, punch a clock and do what the rest of the kids had been “PROGRAMMED” to do their entire lives. All of these things sounded very valid and because I had never taken the time to look into it, I ignorantly believed what I heard.

I should add that I had cousins who lived in California, they were vegans, who lived near a beach, that went to an “alternative school”. When our families would get together with them I would hear stories about them walking around barefoot on the school grounds, taking “clown classes” and riding unicycles. It never seem real to me. As much as we all joked about it, including them, I just figured it was a West Coast thing that was beyond our New York City mentality.

So here I am today in the year 2016 I have a 15-year-old daughter who is in the ninth grade, she goes to a breathtakingly beautiful school where she has a great group of friends, a fun social life and plays sports. Why does this make me sad? I am grateful that she has the opportunity to live where we live and go to a good school with amazing teachers that I have personally seen go above and beyond for her and other kids. I have no doubt in my mind that, at this point, Chloe is where she needs to be… But, if I could do it all over again, maybe I would change some things. Maybe.

It is only recently that I began to explore alternative schools, not because I was going to pull my child away from everything she knew and make her start over, but because I was so interested in seeing what was out there. What did we miss out on, where are the studies that show that these kids can turn into productive citizens.

I would love to see a world where there was no such thing as standardized tests because there is no such thing as a standard child. I can’t imagine it would be hard to convince your kid to explore the world and learn first hand about where the pilgrims came from, or how the pyramids were built using mathematics. Like I’ve said before, even as a adult, picking up a book and reading about something cannot compare to experiencing it in real life.

Maybe Homeschooling and traveling wasn’t entirely realistic for me then, but that doesn’t mean I only had those 2 options, there are so many schools out there that offer so much and I never even knew they existed. Here are a few fun articles I read online and two of my favorite TED TALKS that really made me think about this in the first place. Enjoy!


10 Of The Most Unusual Schools In The World







FIXMYSKIN Healing Balm has been my GO TO for all my recent accidents. I burned my finger while cooking, I seared my ear with the flat iron and most recently I peeled off my eyebrow skin with a hair remover cream. So, I have been using this product and it has been super helpful.

I just use it like CHAP STICK on my face and then in my problem areas I take a napkin, clean the top off and then scoop a chunk off and rub it in real good.

No FULL review just yet but, it has been helpful so far! We will see if there is any scarring or residual damage after a week or so, stay tuned!


Beauty Product Review #2

Looks like I did it now! I messed with a perfectly good routine. Have you ever done that? I have been religiously using my Biore Charcoal Bar Soap on my face for about a month and my skin has NEVER been this clean, clear, healthy, smooth, etc… I decided to try something else from my bag of tricks! (The free goodies my sister gives me from her job!)

Product Tested : FUZZ OFF by Bliss


This product was used around my eyebrow area to get all little fuzz I needed removed between my threading. So, I should note that, it worked. It had the terrible odor that all of these “hair remover” products have. I applied exactly as suggested and I actually removed it a little bit sooner than recommended because I could feel something was not right… I removed with a lukewarm, smooth face towel and along with the product came skin. Now, I know I have sensitive skin, I didn’t test it on my skin before use and I should have! I am a fool. So, this isn’t a terrible review, it works! It just might be too harsh for me. If you aren’t as sensitive, this would be an amazing tool to add to your makeup kit. It was relatively easy to apply, it is shaped specifically for the face and the small areas around the eyes and lip. So, that makes it handy!

Overall, decent product! Would I use it again, HECK NO!




Review: Bioré Charcoal Bar

Ok… I know it’s a little EARLY to be posting a review on the Bioré Charcoal Bar since I’ve only used it 5 times since Sunday but… I have to tell you, my face feels so clean and smooth. 

The bar is black and shaped like a stone. It actually smells great, it looks like it would be hard on the skin but my complicated skin (oily T-zone, dry everywhere else) feels amazing. There’s a minty feeling after, it cools the skin. All my makeup comes right off with one gentle wash, there’s little scrubbers built into the bar, so I rub it directly on my face for a great exfoliation… I’ve used it morning and before bed since Sunday Night, really nice product! (Chloé agrees!) So, for the love of BEAUTY and skin everywhere, RUN (don’t walk!) and get one of these suckers! 

#StopTheStigma of Mental Illness

stigmaEvery year, for the past 4 years, Love, The Undoing hosts a week long photo-sharing contest to help spread awareness of Mental Illnesses and shed light on the stigma that surrounds the Mentally Ill. This annual project is so important to me, as a caretaker and as a sufferer.

I will be looking for a daily host for several topics, if you have been effected by mental illness, either personally or through a friend or family member – this project is for you. Each day I will post a photo along with a story of an individual who tells of how they have either dealt with Mental Illness, overcome obstacles that accompany mental illness or how they are working to help end the stigma that surrounds mental illness, which leads so many people to either avoid treatment, become disabled by their disease or end their suffering the only way they see possible, self medicating or suicide.

I understand these are very sensitive subjects and I ask that you only commit to this project if you feel 100% comfortable with discussing it openly. Because Instagram is a public forum and the LTU account is public, people will be able to see the post and comments as well as your username.

If you agree to all of the above, and you are interested in being involved in this project, please send an email to with your IG name and a short paragraph about the topic you are interested in posting.


Sufferer of Mental Illness – photo & story

Caretaker – photo & story

Anxiety, Depression, OCD, Etc… – photo & story

HOPE – uplifting story of dealing with the disease


Thank you for all the LOVE and SUPPORT, every participant will be given a Love, The Undoing GIFT CARD to be used in the ETSY store!