ron teeguarden and dragon herbs

Ron Teeguarden’s Dragon Herbs Elixir Bar in Los Angeles seems like a powerful way to add energy to a day, it also looks like a place of beauty. Let’s pretend that we’re at the Elixir Bar and we’re toasting to all the ways there are in the world of keeping body, mind, and emotions healthy.

Ron Teeguarden is widely recognized as one of the foremost herbalists in America. His classic book Chinese Tonic Herbs was written in 1984, and his website says that it “remains the best selling book on Chinese tonic herbalism to date in America” and that his wife Yanlin “is responsible for the beautiful ‘look’ associated with the Dragon Herbs stores, literature and packaging.” The website: tells of a remarkable story, and along with that, it has a lot of information.

I’ve requested a catalog, though after two attempts of offering name and address on the website, it’s not forthcoming. I just might have to take a Red Eye flight to visit the Elixir Bar; perhaps I’ll find a Dragon Herbs catalog there (oh, how inconvenient).

Lastly, I ask: What about opening an Elixir Bar in dear old Philadelphia? I can imagine that ūüėÄ

Failure is a first stop to success

I’m reading a book now that I find really inspiring. It’s called “The Secret of Success is Not a Secret” by Darcy Andries. It is a brilliant volume of condensed biographies, about individuals in the world from different places who succeeded beyond a multitude of failures. Not one failure, or two, some people seemed to “fail” about ten times, thirty times, before even seeing a hint of accomplishment. These people had names like Issac Newton, Milton Hershey, Billy Crystal, Cole Porter, Barbara Walters, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Sanger, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis Pasteur, Steven Spielberg, Auguste Rodin, George Lucas — the list goes on. Most of them had failures that were more humiliating than devastating. Their companies folded, they were told they were talentless by countless agents, no one would accept them to their universities. Others had setbacks that left them disabled or incarcerated, but regardless the measure, they kept at it. Beyond their contributions to society, they are a good example of a saying I heard once, “The only time you are sure to lose is when you stop trying.”

The Master Cleanse Experience… aka Lemonade Diet

Well it has been sometime since I have blogged, before the birth of our second baby, Clover Alessandra. This topic, however, has to be blogged about. I started the Master Cleanse diet this past Monday, January 29th, 2008. It is a 10 day(min) fast where you only consume liquids consisting of a lemonade concoction and then do a herbal laxative tea in the morning and evening. I completed this fast once January 2007 with my mother-in-law, Fran. 

What drove me to even consider this craziness was that I was at my wits end with the lack of weightloss from having my first baby, Sebastian. I packed on a hefty 50 lbs with him and had 40 lbs to lose after the baby. I managed to wittle away at it but by the holidays (6months) later I was still 10 lbs heavier and at a plateau. I saw the footage on Oprah about Beyonce Knowles doing the fast to lose weight for her role in “DreamGirls” I thought to myself… I can do that! So when I saw the family at Christmas I mentioned it to Fran and low and behold, she had the actual orginal book The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs.¬†¬† I was shocked! Apparently she had the book and had always wanted to do the fast but never got around to it.¬† So it was ON! We decided to start and complete the fast together beginning the new year.¬†

It was a really tough first few days and I almost quit so many times. It was amazing the need to chew something was what I felt and I just felt like I had the flu. Apparently these are all detox symptoms. At the end of the fast I was a pleasant 12 lbs lighter and had so much energy and umpf that I was so happy I had completed the fast no matter how tough it had been.

This is why I am here again going through the same fast. This time I had more to lose since I started at a higher starting weight. I figure it will get me going down the right path and help me restart my system. Oddly though, this time the fast has not been as arduous. It has actually been quite easy.¬† I was prepared for the worst on day 2 and day 3 and that never came. I am currently on day 6 and toward the end of the day at that.¬† One side effect I am experiencing that I also had last time is the “coldies”. You just freaking feel cold all the time. I guess the lack of solid food and also it being winter time doesn’t help. Besides that everything else, including the cravings are manageable. Last time I was obsessed with watching the Food Network and looking at cookbook recipes. Weird even though I couldn’t eat anything just looking at it made me feel better and closer to food. I am planning to go to day 10, but have been contemplating continuing on for 4 more days to make it a full 2 weeks.

I have been looking at message boards which are really helpful during this time. It is always nice to know there are others going through what you are going through. With that being said, it is definitely easier to do this with someone than alone. Also I had the benefit of having this week off of work. So I will only be at work for 3 days if I complete the 10 day fast instead of the 14 day one. The worst days are also in the beginning.

So right now my sense of smell is like superhero sense of smell. I guess since I am not eating it has instensified my other senses. It’s really odd to smell everything so intensely but at the same time really great. I am also just starting to get the energy high that comes with this fast toward the end. I have also managed to mantain working out. I have gone twice now and plan to go and do a weightlifting class tomorrow.

One thing I did differently this time was I drank a lot more water in between my lemonade drinks. I think that really helped me feel so much better and I am glad I figured that out. Also having two little ones keeps me really busy and my mind off of the whole food thing. It is truly amazing how much time you have when you don’t mess with food. You have a lot of free time to read and do things you usually don’t have time for. For me though with the kids I am just spending more time with them.

So another hard thing is watching your loved ones eat in front of you. Michael has been eating pizza, chinese food, pasta, etc.¬† It’s tough but I just tell myself that I can’t do it and I am too close now to the end to stop this. I know once I am done I will feel like a million bucks just like last time. Also hopefully a good¬†15 lbs lighter. Currently I have lost 8¬†1/2 lbs¬†as of this morning weigh in. It is really motivating to see that scale¬†go down everyday!¬†My plan after the fast is really stay away from all the bad foods and eat¬†a more clean diet and continue my vigorous exercising… I am addicted to the working out part!

So to anyone that wants to try this diet… DO IT! Just commit and do it and I promise you will be truly amazed at how you feel and how you¬†look!¬†

britney in the limelight

When I click on my laptop, news about Britney manages to surface, and from magazine racks in stores, pictures of Britney manage to surface. So many adult people writing, judging, and photographing her. Time to give it a rest? Let her find herself, so to speak. Are we really a society that takes so much pleasure in watching someone beat themselves up? If we’re not going to assist, then, at the very least, we could refrain from putting her in the limelight where she doesn’t belong at the moment. Perhaps the way to assist is to allow her to live her life in private for now. Give her time to sort things out for herself. And that’ll give us all a chance to do the same for ourselves – cause when we’re so busy with someone else’s life, we’re not really paying attention to our own. And why are we so involved in scrutinizing someone else’s life? Who’s responsible for keeping all this going?

As supposedly evolving human beings we could be asking ourselves questions that bring us to other places, different ways of thinking, and far better ways of living. We humans could be, can we say, should be, concentrating on becoming all that we can be. Knocking people down whether it be with pen and paper, camera, or fist doesn’t feel right.

On another note is Louise Hay’s movie, YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE. We can “Watch a Preview of Louise’s New Movie at

Let’s do it. Yeah!

new york city and philadelphia

Do you need a reminder that the holidays are coming? Just teasing.

Philadelphia is a sweet, doable city. And the information collected at this time as I’m trying to learn about this city is not necessarily written in stone. For instance, someone said there are no movie theaters in center city. But, as I walked on Sansom Street in route to Petulia’s Folly, I happened upon the Roxy Theatre. I was delighted to see this very small theatre looking like it has lots of character. It’s showing three different movies. I’m not up on movies lately, however, this I know – one stars Will Smith, the other is narrated by Sean Penn and is about war (and our government), and I’ve completely forgotten what the third is about. No one wanting to know what’s playing there would be too enlighted by this description, but it’s a hint of what’s playing.

I was in Manhattan this past weekend. It’s crowded there! The tree at Rockefeller Center is dressed beautifully in blue and stops people in their tracks. Saks Fifth Avenue is so congested it’s hard to meander up any aisle, and people stand patiently in line waiting to see the holiday windows. At La Bergamote, 169 Ninth Avenue in Chelsea, I enjoyed a cup of coffee and a duck rillette on the best crusty, non-doughy bread. And at le Gamin, 183 Ninth Avenue, Sumi and I ate tasty salads and delicious soup. I’ve never seen Chelsea Market as busy as it was this past weekend. On Sunday baby Sophie and I walked around Chelsea for one hour. I wanted her to see the world, but, alas, she fell asleep on our way to Integral Market at 227 West 13th Street. After buying onions and celery at the market, we stopped off at Integral Yoga Bookstore to pick up their January & February 2008 catalog. It’s looking good. Check it out at:

Later in the day I caught a bus in Chinatown for $10.00 for the trip back to Philadelphia. It took 50 minutes to get out of the city, and a little less than 2 hours to get to Philly. I’ve got to say that it’s a fast and pleasant ride. There’s no stopping, so, before you know it, you’re in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Anyone unable to get a reservation anywhere in NYC and wanting to visit NYC should try Philadelphia. I say this because people commute daily from Philly to Manhattan. And, if you catch a bus in NYC around 88 East Broadway, you’ll be back and forth in no time at all. Additionally, you’ll be able to enjoy both cities. There are many hotels and B&B places in Philadelphia. Hopefully, they’ll be a lovely room waiting for you.

Chocoholics Unite!

This is the time of year the call of chocolate is too strong to resist! Why o why do I not have the power to resist chocolate and sweets in general. I think it could be hormonal… seems to be getting worse over the years.

Dark, milk,white, cakes, cookies, ice cream — I will take it all.. and I love it all. I need some type of repellent to these things — evil, evil, sweets… oh the downfall of all my working out and trying to stay in shape are my addiction to sweets. Give me Godiva, lindt, Haagen-Daaz, or Herseys.¬†

I have just been told go to the 8th floor of the saks fifth avenue in NYC (the original) and get the expensive chocolate… make sure to go alone so not to have to share the expensive chocolate..

So I am here to say, my name is Alicia and I am a chocoholic. I need help!

Motherhood for Me

Motherhood for me has been such an interesting journey and my son is only 18 months old as of yesterday Nov. 25th. I knew it would change me and change my life but I didn’t know it would add so many layers to my life.

Before Sebastian was born I thought I already had a full life. It was like a part of me awoke after he was born and they told me I had a baby boy in the hospital. I guess that part of me was always there but I just didn’t realize it or know it until Sebastian arrived.

For this reason alone I am so happy we decided to embark in the world of neverending worry, love, and concern, and hopes¬†for our child and hopefully future children. That part of parenting is so mind boggling. All the worrying and hopes and concern you feel for your child it is just nuts. You worry if they are sleeping enough or eating enough or not enough. You worry if they are developing at a fast enough pace or if you should or shouldn’t be giving them certain foods. It is just neverending… I mean there is a whole book section on how to properly raise your child. Unfortunately there are differing opinions on how to raise your child and do things.¬† That topic is a whole other blog in itself which I am sure I will get there one of these days.

Ok back to motherhood and how much I absolutely love it. The best part is the first time you see your baby in the morning. It is truly like Christmas every day when you see him for the first time.

I just can look at him for hours and think how spectacular he is and how cute and funny he is.  I mean what a sense of humor our child has. He really just cracks me up.

I love thinking of all the wonderful experiences we are going to share all through the years of him growing up. It really is exciting. I can’t wait! I do have to remember to not wish today away.

For the days are long but the years are fast when raising children – such a true statement.

The one thing I love about my son is how sweet and comforting he is to me. He truly has saved me from myself in a way. He puts so much perspective in my life – keeps me grounded.¬† I can’t say enough great things about being a mom.

When I hear my friends are expecting I am so excited for them to experience the most amazing joy in life… giving life. What a true gift it is, the best one I could have ever hoped or asked life to give me.

Just as Oprah says, “This I know is true” I know being a mother is the most amazing job and experience this life has to offer and I am blessed to have it.

My First Post on this thing called a Blog

What is the meaning of blog anyways… ok this is my first post and I feel like I need to write something life altering.¬† We have just finished a wonderful Thanksgiving in NC. I definitely ate way too much — need to look for redemption. I am hoping burn off the extra calories at my spin classes this week.

I think I definitely have an obsessive personality. I tend to get very addictive. I have definitely developed an addiction to spinning classes at O2 Fitness.¬† That is a smaller gym in Raleigh, NC¬† I think what makes the classes fun are the other people in the class with you and the instructor. I definitely have my favorite teachers – Chrissy & Brandon are awesome. I love Casey’s music and Hadara is great too on Tues.¬† Ok, back to my obsessive (addictive) personality.¬† I even went as far as to buy special cycling shoes that actually lock you on to the bike.¬† When I went to the Biking store the sales guy asked me what type of bike I had and I said that I didn’t.¬† So I am the nutty customer that buys shoes for a bike that doesn’t go anywhere. I am sure since I started classes this past January, I have probably biked at least 1000 miles or more. I mean when I go out of town I miss class and get stressed if I have to miss class. With that being said I am not going this evening since it is the last night my mother in law is going to be in town and we are spending time together.¬† I am thinking I will feel guilty but I am thinking that it will be ok…. At least my spinning addiction has gotten me back into shape since the baby. That process is in a whole other blog post.

At least to my benefit this addictive behavior does not include drinking or drugs or smoking. Ironic it tends to be good things for me.

This past weekend I discovered you can play Boggle online with other people…. totally addictive. You definitely must try… if you think you are a good Boggler, think again, once you go to the site you will see how crazy good these people are. You can also sign in with interesting usernames. Some people are political with their names and others are just down right funny… one that I remember to be funny was “Dumpling Running Man”.¬† I challenge you to try the site out. Beware though… I was stuck playing until 3 am Thanksgiving day evening because I was on a mission to be #1… still not there yet. I feel this draw to play when I get near a computer… It is amazing that I am actually on a computer and doing something else.

Ok so there are two examples of my crazy addictive behavior. I am curious if anyone else shares my afflictions. – Alicia

dan ho

Dan Ho, in a New York Times (19 October) article by Ginia Bellafante, is called “. . . an emerging prophet of household governance.” He has a new book, “Rescue From Domestic Perfection” and a new show scheduled for January on the Discovery Health channel. After reading the article, I have a feeling it’ll be informative and fun. There’s a tranquil feel about his look.
At forty he’s reinvented his personal and business way of living. He’s even lost 120 pounds in the process. He’ll talk fitness, too, on his show. His message is that we should be creative and use the things we have, and that perhaps the things we’ve stored can see daylight once again. If not, it’s time to give ’em up. I think he’s impressive. He once had stuff, lots of stuff. These days he says he’s free of all but the essentials. And he says he feels free. This article captured my attention. If his show is as interesting as the article about him was, get ready for a different viewpoint and a real treat.

I’ve decided to watch only movies, no television for one year. Therefore, his show will be out of my reach for now, but perhaps you’ll watch and let me know your feelings about The Dan Ho Show.

strangers passing by

When walking along the streets of a big city or small town, you notice, if you’re not in a hurry, the expressions on the faces of the people you pass. The many different expressions are sweet, sad, determined, peaceful, tense, angry, kind, happy, depressed, compassionate, anxious, strong, tormented, loving, etc. Sometimes someone will pass whose energy shifts yours. It takes only a few seconds. When this happens you feel happier. It’s wonderful to experience. These people are special.