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colgate, dental health, dental hygiene, Colgate total daily repair

*Disclosure: I received product and compensation for this post from Colgate Total Repair but all opinions are my own.

My teeth are very important to me. They always have been. Having nice teeth is a virtue that I put a lot of stock in. I’ve always had a healthy fear of periodontal disease since it runs in my family and I’ve seen what it can do. 25-years-old and having to replace all of your actual teeth with dentures has always been my biggest fear so I brush my teeth like these are the only teeth I’ll ever have because, well, they are and I visit the family dentistry office as needed. That’s why I always emphasize the importance of preventive dental care to every person I meet and most especially to my own children.

Imagine my horror when I went to the dentist this summer, after a year and a half of giving my appointments away to my children for checking brackets, checking oddities and etc. when my dentist said that she thought she noticed some early-stage periodontal disease. WHAT? I felt all the blood rush out of my head and I was sure that I would faint.

I couldn’t even hear anything after she said the word because the blood swooshing around in my veins was deafening. The icing on the cake, “We could have caught this earlier had you not given your appointments away to your daughters.” Those girls are on their own from now on. They still have some baby teeth that are being taken care of by the kids dentist. My teeth are forever teeth and I can’t chance being toothless because their bracket felt “not right”. Tough stuff, kiddo, Mommy needs her teeth for chewing.

I started using the new Colgate Total Daily Repair Toothpaste to help me get stronger gums and teeth. What makes Colgate Total Daily Repair so much better than the toothpaste that I used before? It not only helps repair early teeth damage by demineralizing weakened enamel but it helps repair early gum damage by fighting plaque and helping prevent gingivitis.

Colgate, dental hygiene, dental health

Colgate Total Daily Repair helps to prevent plaque, gingivitis, tartar build-up, cavities and bad breath. Truly, it leaves me feeling more confident that I am doing what’s best for my teeth and that I will have my own beautiful smile for years to come. They say that the proof is in the “pudding”, well, I went back to my dentist after a few weeks of brushing with Colgate Total Daily Repair and flossing twice daily and they said that the condition is improving. That might sound funny to some but to me, it means everything so I’ll be over here brushing with my Colgate Total Daily Repair and flossing if you need me.

You can learn more about Colgate Total Daily Repair on their Facebook page.

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5 Things To Remember When Taking A Trip To Madrid

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Traveling to Europe has been on my bucket list for a hot minute now and I’m planning to make it happen next summer to celebrate my birthday and I’ve been heavily researching it. One of the destinations on my list is Spain’s capital city, Madrid. It is a popular tourist destination for a good reason. There is so much to see and do in this vibrant metropolis! However, before you go, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

Here are five things to remember when taking a trip to Madrid to make it a success!

Learn The Local Language.

Learn some basic Spanish before you go. Knowing a few key phrases will help you communicate with locals and make your trip more enjoyable. Spaniards are very proud of their language and culture, so even if your Spanish is not perfect, they will appreciate the effort. I’m actually brushing up on my French, Italian and Spanish for our European trip. Just think about it, many signs and menus in Madrid will be in Spanish, so it will be helpful to be able to read them. Finally, speaking the language will help you bargain for souvenirs and other items.

Dress Appropriately.

Another thing you should remember when taking a trip to Madrid is that Madrid is a fashion-conscious city, so it is important to dress well. However, you don’t need to break the bank on designer clothes. Just make sure your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free, and you will fit in just fine. It is also worth noting that Spaniards tend to dress more formally than Americans, so you may want to pack a few nicer items for going out at night. If you don’t have a wide variety of clothes, don’t worry – you can always do some shopping while you’re in Madrid.

Be Prepared for Crowds.

Madrid is a very popular tourist destination, so expect to see large crowds at the major attractions. However, there are ways to avoid the worst of the crowds. For example, you can visit the Prado Museum, Museo del Prado, on weekdays instead of weekends, or go to the Royal Palace early in the morning. If you do find yourself in a crowded place, try to be patient and go with the flow.

Watch Your Belongings.

As with any major city, there is a risk of pickpocketing in Madrid. To avoid being a victim, keep your valuables close to you at all times and be aware of your surroundings. It is also a good idea to make copies of important documents like your passport if you lose them while on your trip. Another way to ensure that your belongings are kept safe is by using luggage storage facilities whenever possible. By doing this, you will be able to leave your luggage somewhere safe and not have to worry about being pickpocketed.

Sample The Local Cuisine.

One of the best parts of traveling is trying new foods, and Madrid has plenty of delicious dishes to offer. Some Spanish specialties you may want to try include paella, churros, and jamón ibérico. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Let your foodie intuition take your trip to the next level. This is a great way to experience the local culture and open your mind to new flavors.

These are my 5 things to remember when taking a trip to Madrid. It’s an amazing city with a lot to offer tourists. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind before your trip. By following these tips, you can be sure that you will have a wonderful time in Madrid.

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Things to do in Banff with Teenagers, traveling with teens, travel Tuesday, Banff, Alberta, visit Canada, Visit Alberta, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers and tweens, family travel

Earth Day is one of my favorite days of the year because it’s a great reminder to take a moment and be thankful for the planet we live on. I know, it sounds super crunchy but it’s like realizing that you should be thankful for your body for all that it does for you, instead of complaining that it doesn’t look like everyone else’s. I’m always looking for awesome Earth Day tips for raising environmentally aware kids.

Aside from raising your children to be good human beings (which should be first and foremost every parent’s goal) and showing them how to commit random acts of kindness in the world, we have to teach them the importance of taking care of our planet. We have to make it clear that the earth provides for us; food, water, air and everything else we need to survive and thrive in the universe. We need to take care of it in return. Like any good functional relationship, it takes two and lots of respect and reciprocity.

READ ALSO: 10 Steps for being Environmentally Aware

Kids understand so much more, at much younger ages than we often give them credit for. They can understand concepts like climate change, endangered species and overflowing landfills better than some of their adult counterparts. Showing them the way could motivate them to adopt Earth-friendly behavior. Encourage them with your own actions.

You should be having Earth Day conversations with children as young as preschool-aged about why taking care of the planet is such a good idea. The more you talk with your kids, the more they’ll understand but don’t dumb it down too much. Talk in age-appropriate explanations.

  • Use Analogies: Wasting the Earth’s resources too quickly is like spending all your piggy bank money before allowance day.
  • Outline Causal Relationships: If you throw trash down a storm drain, it can make ocean animals sick.
  • Define New Vocabulary Terms: Like “biodegradable,” or “renewable energy.”
  • Make Connections to Prior Knowledge: Just like plants use sunlight to make food, solar panels use it to make electricity.

Show your child how important the environment is to everyone around you. But you have to do more than just show them on Earth Day. For eco-friendly behavior to truly become second nature to our kids, it helps if it is done daily, rewarding and fun.

READ ALSO: Beach Bag Must-Haves

Here are Earth Day Tips for Raising Environmentally Aware Kids

  1. Recycling: Cut bottle, can and paper slot shapes into your bin lids to make sorting recyclables a fun family game. You can even sing a song while you sort.  And if you take your collected items to a recycling center, consider sharing the redemption money with your kids for an added incentive.
  2. Transportation: Look for chances to reduce emissions (and your stress levels) by taking car-free trips whenever you can. Biking, walking and riding public transportation can give your family some exercise and make traveling a lot more fun, too. City dwellers should find this easy, but even if you live out in the suburbs, we bet you have a park, restaurant or friend’s house within pedaling distance.
  3. Reducing Waste: Help your kids look forward to saving electricity by having one fun candlelight dinner every week. Or encourage them to use less water by timing who can take the fastest shower (while still coming out smelling clean, of course)!
  4. Water: Use only the water you need, and reuse when possible.
    Rain barrels can be used to collect rain and then you can use it to water a family garden.
    Bathe together. Put the kids in the tub together. Shower with your kids or your husband. It saves water, creates memories and nurtures the bond between siblings Dispose of solid and liquid wastes and medications safely.
    Take advantage of medication take-back programs or household hazardous waste collection programs that accept medications, pharmaceuticals, oil, paint and other liquid wastes.
  5. Pass on gas! For example, take public transportation, carpool, plan your day to reduce trips and vehicle emissions.
  6. Make sure your home’s air is healthy, learn about indoor air pollutants from indoor energy use and toxins.
  7. Plant a tree. Or plant many trees! Plant a garden. Plant a vegetable garden.
  8. Prevent additional air pollution by finding alternatives to burning your waste.
  9. Use pesticides safely! Reduce or eliminate where possible.
  10. Learn about composting, try it out!
  11. Reducing yard waste by recycling yard trimmings into free fertilizer.
  12. Learn about the native species and the negative effects of non-native plants and animals in the environment. Plant native species in your gardens, encourage important pollinators such as bees and birds by planting gardens full of their favorite plants. Join a team in your community that removes non-native species.
  13. Save energy at home Choose energy-saving appliances if they’re available. Look for Energy Star!
  14. Hang dry your clothes. This is one of my favorite things to do.
  15. Go renewable! Create your own power from the wind, the sun, water, or biofuels.
  16. Find alternate ways to reduce the use of diesel and other fuels for transportation, production and energy.
  17. Upcycle! Take something that is disposable and transforms it into something of greater use and value.
  18. Recycle metals, plastics and paper
  19. E-cycle Recycle and/or properly dispose of electronic waste such as computers and other gadgets
  20. Don’t litter! Properly dispose of trash and waste

Earth Day, Earth Day 2019, Earth Day tips for how to raise envirnmentally aware, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers, traveling with teens, travel Tuesday, Banff, Alberta, visit Canada, Visit Alberta, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers and tweens, family travel

The best thing you can do is simply the act of getting your kids outdoors; no matter the ages. In our high-tech world, kids spend a lot more time indoors looking at screens. I’m not judging. I’m stating a fact. We all do it but we need to actively get our kids moving outside, for their health and the health of the planet.

One amazing experience in the great outdoors is worth a thousand nature lectures. Children who have an immersive experience in nature between the ages of 5 and 10, tend to care more about the environment. There is also a greater likelihood that they will actively work to preserve the important life-giving aspects of the environment as adults.

READ ALSO: Tips to Keep Your Kids Healthy

Rather than teaching our Earth Day tips about sustainability, give your kids a nature experience that will instill them with an environmental ethic that will inspire them to develop their own dedication to sustainability.

We’ll be spending this beautiful Earth Day outside, as we always do, watching our girl play soccer, going for a nature walk and playing in the backyard. There is something about getting outside, breathing in the fresh air and playing that truly inspires my family. Nature is like my church.  I feel most at peace just being still and taking in the wonder and beauty that is outside.

What are your best Earth Day tips for raising environmentally aware kids?

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car seat, milestones, growing up, leting go, 8

growing up, car seats, milstones, motherhoodThe moments of motherhood that sneak up on you. Last week, my daughter turned 8. Wow, time is flying by at warp speed. Her birthday was on Sunday and it was preceded by complete chaos. There was a slumber party, the family party that concluded with the entire family shooting a Harlem shake video and Sunday, March 10, we celebrated officially; her father, her sister, her and myself. We always celebrate, just the four of us, on actual birthdays.

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about, the truth about motherhood, motherhood, parenting, Deborah Cruz, the truth, how to help parents get through a child's health crisis, RMHC, McDonald's, keeping families together, Ronald McDonald House Charities

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of McDonald’s, all opinions of how to help parents get through a child’s health crisis are my own.

Imagine being at the beach on vacation with your family or just spending a fall afternoon on a family bike ride. If you really think about it, you can almost feel the warm contentment that comes with being safe, happy and together in those moments with the people you love. There are so many moments in life like these that we take for granted. We all do until something terrible happens and then we don’t.

Imagine then, as horrible and unthinkable as it may be, that something tragic happens to your child. In that moment, the only thing that you want to focus on is taking care of your baby and making sure they get well. The last thing that should be on your mind is figuring out how to afford it all. RMHC helps alleviate the cost of travel for care and provides support, resources and the comforts of home to families and sick children when they are away from home for medical care.

I’ve seen it happen. The complete fog that takes over when you are thrown headlong into a medical crisis. My nephew Alex was diagnosed with leukemia when he was a toddler and it flipped our entire world upside down. You can’t even imagine how irrelevant everything else in your life becomes. You become micro-focused on the sick child because that is what the heart dictates. The head is overruled and rational thought goes out the window.

It is a moment of such desperation in a family’s history that nothing else matters; even if it should. One crisis at a time. You have to hold it together for your baby. No breaking allowed.

I watched from the peripheral as my brother and his wife went through this. It was a dark time for our entire family but it was the worst moment in my brother and his wife’s life. Their baby was sick and all they could do was pray, be there for him and get the best help they could for him. It was their sole purpose for existence in those days.

Lifesaving treatment is incredibly expensive but it’s not an option. You have to do, you will do, whatever it takes to save your child’s life. The thing is the world goes on, even while yours is falling apart. Bills start coming. You start to drown in them but you can’t focus on that, you have to keep your everything focused on getting your child to the other side of this alive and nothing else matters.

In a perfect world, lifesaving treatments wouldn’t cost so much and parents wouldn’t have to worry about anything other than caring for and being there for their child. But the reality is that life doesn’t stop when our children get sick. RMHC helps families find a way to stay close to their child when they need them the most.

On top of trying to figure out how to be there physically and emotionally for your child, you have to be able to figure out pediatric care, accommodations, and food. Some illnesses necessitate long and repeat stays in the hospital and usually, that’s not at your local hospital. It’s usually the nearest children’s hospital that specializes in treating your child’s illness because that’s the prize; your child’s life.

But hotels, travel, childcare for other children and food all take effort and cost money. It’s hard to try to figure it all out and stay focused on your sick child. While it may seem like an insurmountable challenge to your family, the world goes on. Your child is sick and they need you and that is all that should matter. To the family of a sick child, it’s the worst, most vulnerable moment of their lives but it doesn’t have that same profound effect on the rest of the world. Thankfully, there are places like Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and McDonald’s who do understand.

RMHC helps families stay together through three core programs:

1.RMHC provides comfort, support, and resources for families with sick children just steps away from the hospital.

2. The Ronald McDonald Family Room® provides moms and dads a place to recharge mere steps away from their child’s hospital bedside. It allows them a place where they can eat, shower, rest and recharge so they can be strong for their children.

3. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® brings medical, dental and healthcare resources directly to children near their home or school.

In 2016, alone, RMHC provided 2.4 million overnight stays to families through the Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Room Programs. That is an amazing gift to the families of sick children at a time when they need it the most.

McDonald’s believes that families are better together, that’s why they support RMHC. Their commitment is to keep families together when a child needs medical care and that is why from 11/7-11/19, you can donate $1, $3 or $5 at the register or at the drive-thru at your local McDonald’s to help RMHC keep families with sick children together when treatment takes them far from home.

A $1, $3 or $5 donation may not seem like much to give, less than a cup of coffee in some cases, but to an RMHC family it means the world. If you like, you can donate today at any McDonald’s. If you can’t afford to donate money but you still want to help, you can support RMHC by sharing the fundraiser with friends and family or volunteering at your local RMHC. Either way, we can all do something to help.

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how to become the woman you were before you became mom, rediscovering who you were before motherhooddaylight savings time, kids and daylight savings time, surviving daylight savings time, DST, parenting and daylight savings time

*Disclosure: I received product and compensation for this post from Colgate Total Repair but all opinions are my own.

Life Hacks to help you feel and look beautiful even when you’re exhausted. One thing that I’ve learned from being a mom for 10 years is that, we cannot have it all. We can have a lot but not everything. What we need to learn to do is figure out what makes us happy and have that. For me, happiness is time spent with my daughters, not missing the moments, time with my husband just lingering and laughing through life’s minutia and working in a career that I love. I don’t ask for much.

Like you, the pursuit of my happiness keeps me crazy busy. I don’t have a lot of “me” time these days. It’s okay, I’ve figured out ways to still pamper and take care of myself even when time and deadlines have me in a crunch. I don’t believe that just because I’m busy means that I have to let myself go.

I’ll be the first to admit that there was a time when the girls were younger that I was living in yoga pant purgatory. It taught me a very valuable lesson, letting myself go never did me any favors. It made me feel less self confident and more vulnerable. I realized that when I go out in the world, I want to always put my best foot forward. You truly only do have one chance to make a first impression and once it’s made it’s a lot of work changing it.

I’m an educated, intelligent woman who believes that she can do anything but when I go out into the world with my yoga pants and ponytail, exhausted and defeated, that is all the general population sees. They don’t know or care that I was up all night with a pukey kid or that I haven’t truly slept through the night in 10 years. They just know that I look like I don’t care about myself and that makes them not care about me. It makes them underestimate me and, as harsh as it is, first impressions mean everything.

No time? That’s no excuse. You have to decide to make time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. I know, easier said than done but done it must be. Ever wonder how some women have flawless skin, hair and faces and you and I look like we’ve been under slept, overfed, spent too much time in the sun or not enough and our pores are big enough to house small villages of children?

Here are a few tips on how to repair your self-confidence and make that best first impression:

Achy Back: As we get older, especially if our core is not what it once was, sometimes the back likes to go on the fritz when you do things like tying your shoes. Nothing will usurp your youth like being hunched over in pain. You can certainly go to the doctor and get prescribed all the muscle relaxers and painkillers or you can start working on strengthening your core in a preemptive strike. Also, stretching out before you get out of bed can save your back from fully seizing up. I am not a doctor, just a fellow sufferer of the affliction.

Dull Smile: They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. If that’s true, I feel like your smile is the front door to the kingdom. Smile is the first thing everyone who ever meets you will ever see. That’s why it’s important to take care of your dental health and visit your dentist regularly. If you don’t want to smile because you have misaligned teeth, consider getting it fixed at Infinity Smiles orthodontist glasgow. It may also be time for another teeth cleaning at the dental clinic.

My daily routine to take care of my teeth are using Colgate Total Daily Repair twice daily, floss my teeth, and brush them with Colgate 360 degrees Total Advanced Toothbrush with Floss-Tip Bristles. My mouth has never felt fresher, whiter or cleaner. My teeth look great and this makes me feel like I can greet the world with my best self. Hello world, hear me roar.

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Damaged hair: The key to this is being preventative. Get regular trims to get rid of the damaged hair. Keep heat off your hair. If you must use heat, be sure to use a protectant. Keep chemicals away from your hair, especially chlorine and be sure to take care of your body.

Fine lines: Drink lots of water, wear sunscreen, moisturize religiously and wear big sunglasses. Of course, the earlier you start the more effectively this works. You may also try to squeeze in a trip to the med spa once in a while for a well-deserved day of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Cracked Heel skin: I found a trick that has worked for me. In fact, it’s the only thing that works for me. There is nothing over the counter that I’ve ever found to work as well on dry, cracked heels. It’s simple, first, take a warm shower. Then slather your feet with petroleum jelly, then cover with white cotton socks and wear overnight. You will be amazed at the difference it makes. My doctor told me this trick and now, I swear by it.

Dark circles: My favorite cure for dark circles under your eyes, aside from more sleep which is probably impossible (sorry, I was momentarily possessed by Captain Obvious) I love cold cucumber slices or cooled tea bags. They work.

What’s your top tip for looking and feeling better about yourself?

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interview with an ER doctor on the front line, everything you wanted to know about coronavirus

The world feels like it’s falling apart with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s scary. I’m not the type to buy into fear and hysteria but facts are facts. The coronavirus is an unknown and as such, if you have an ounce of sense, you are probably afraid. You are not alone. Even the doctors and nurses are afraid. You should be afraid.  I had an interview with an ER doctor on the front line and I found out everything you wanted to know about coronavirus. If you suspect that you may have been exposed to the virus or have been in contact with a person showing symptoms of the disease, it is recommended that you get yourself tested using a ThermoGenesis COVID 19 test kit at a medical clinic and be quarantined if found covid-positive so as not to infect your family or co-workers.

I wanted to get some real answers so I contacted a front line healthcare worker, an ER doctor. There are so many conflicting reports and the information is changing by the moment. I’m just a mom, no medical background so I consulted a professional I asked the questions in my interview with an ER doctor and I found out everything you wanted to know about coronavirus. She is not the only doctor who feels this way.

READ ALSO: What is Coronavirus and what does every Mom Need to Know

The big truth is that healthcare workers are severely wanting of protective gear. We’re basically sending them into the hospitals like lambs to the slaughter. We want them to save us but they are not even equipped to save themselves, they don’t have what they need on hand to protect themselves from contracting coronavirus from constant and repeated exposure.

Why should you care about that (besides that it’s the human thing to do)? You should care because 1) if they all get sick, there will be no one to take care of your loved ones if they get sick 2) if they are exposed and carrying or sick and you go into the hospital to get checked, you’ll probably contract it too. This is going to cost lives. There is no way around that.

interview with an ER doctor on the front line, everything you wanted to know about coronavirusThis is my interview with an ER doctor on the frontlines. This is everything you wanted to know about coronavirus.

Me: Thank you for what you do. How are you holding up?

ER: Thanks. I’m in full panic mode. There’s not enough protective gear at the hospitals and our medical clinic. It’s not that I’m special, but I refuse to use substandard equipment during all of this so that’s going to leave me (an asthmatic) with very few choices soon.

Me: I hope they get you guys some more protective gear.

ER: They’re rationing protective gear and telling people to use stuff that won’t protect them and I’m not going to do that. It puts me and my patients in harm’s way, leaving us all vulnerable.
Coronavirus is scary for everyone, but especially for me and others in the high-risk group.
I’m willing to do my part, but I’m not willing to die because I’m not protected and those are my only choices right now.
They’re going to kill off all the healthcare workers in America because the government isn’t getting us what we need.

  • President Donald Trump has not yet made use of the Defense Production Act to get critical supplies to the front lines of the coronavirus fight, FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
  • Trump said Friday that he was using the act and had directed “a lot” of companies to produce key supplies like masks and ventilators.
  • On Saturday, the president suggested that he had not done that because private companies were stepping up on their own.
  • Gaynor told CNN that donations and voluntary offers of assistance were presently sufficient. “If it comes to a point we have to pull the lever, we will,” he said.

Me: Are they giving it to us straight or is it being played down to the public?

ER: They’re going to hurt everyone in this chaos and the ramifications will be felt for decades to come. It’s not just affecting the elderly. Half the people in Italy admitted with coronavirus are 20-54-years-old.

Me: So, what kind of protective gear are the hospitals in need of?

ER: Right now we are in desperate need of N95s, face shields, gloves, surgical
masks, gowns and hair covers.

Me: Is there a shortage bring manufactured? Or just a shortage on hand? How can we help?

ER: There’s a nationwide shortage. Not enough protective gear at hospitals currently and not enough being manufactured.
If someone has product to donate, I would call the county or state department of health and ask where to make donations. Or even contact your local hospitals (might be better) if you have access.

Me: I read somewhere there is a new quick test that takes about 45 minutes. Is that true?

ER: In regards to new quick testing, I haven’t heard of that yet. But, there have been a lot of fake companies trying to sell stuff to hospitals. If it’s from the FDA then that’s promising.

Me: What advice would you give to people to stay well?

ER: Well people need to stay at home as much as possible. Wash hands frequently. Go nowhere except pharmacy, gas and grocery stores. The more people stay away from each other the less the spread.

Me: What advice would you give people who suspect they’re sick?

ER: Sick people should stay home. Self-isolate from family as much as possible. If you don’t feel short of breath stay home and wait to feel better … like you’d do with the flu.
If you become short of breath and you feel you need to go to the ER, call ahead to let them know your symptoms so preparation can be made.

Me: Anything else I should include so people understand how serious this is? How easy it spreads? How it’s different than the flu? Why it’s more dangerous? What we can do to keep ourselves healthy during this time of quarantine? How this will negatively affect healthcare workers and why that’s important to every citizen

ER: People need to understand that no one alive today has an immune system that has been exposed to this virus so no one’s body is equipped to prevent the infection. If you are in the company of someone who has it you WILL get it.

The majority of people will feel nothing worse than a cold or flu. That’s a best-case scenario.

Me: Do you know, if you catch it, do you have immunity then or can you catch it again?

ER: No one knows at this time if having it once can prevent you from getting it again.

ME: What predicts if a person will experience it like a cold/flu or worse? Underlying conditions? What underlying conditions are. Included?

ER: People with chronic diseases; cardiovascular and lung disease are more adversely affected. People will die.

ME: What is the worst-case scenario experience? What will happen then?

ER: If a majority of health care workers get sick/ die this will make the current crisis many folds worse and leave Americans without adequate healthcare for decades to come.

ME: Are healthcare workers more susceptible just because of being on the frontlines? Or is it because of the inadequate gear? Repeated exposure?

ER: Being on the front lines without adequate protective gear is the biggest risk, and likely multiplied by repeated exposure without protection.
The slower this spreads across America the more time healthcare workers have to give patients the care they need in a manageable setting. This means people need to stay at home so the virus can’t spread. If everyone gets sick all at once the hospitals will be overrun and there will not be enough beds, medicines, or critical care equipment to take appropriate care of ANYONE.

If we’re lucky,  we’ll spend some time at home with our families and it’ ll feel like we overreacted and no one we love will die. That’s if we self-quarantine and practice social distance as asked. If we don’t, and we keep going on spring break and going to parties and thinking the rules don’t apply to us,  we’ll all lose people that we know.

READ ALSO: Why Spring Break Needs to be Canceled

We need anybody who can donate any masks, but most importantly N95s, to do so.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order requiring all hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient clinics, dental clinics, and veterinary clinics with surplus PPE supplies to notify the state’s PPE coordinator to arrange for a handoff. Vets, dentists, and the like are ordered, by law, to participate in the reallocation of this excess equipment to the nurses and doctors directly treating patients. According to the executive order, any person found to be in violation would be subject to the penalties of a Class C misdemeanor.

WE NEED THIS IN EVERY STATE. Contact your local governor by email or CALL THEM and implore them to follow Governor Brown’s example and get our healthcare workers the protective gear they need. Our doctors and nurses on the front lines should not have to resort to Twitter and using a hashtag #GetMePPE just to do their job.

Our doctors and healthcare workers should not have to fear for their lives in order to save ours.

This was my interview with an ER doctor asking everything you ever wanted to know about coronavirus. If you have more questions, leave them in the comments and I will follow up with the doctor and try to get you the answers.

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Why You Should Care about the Mysterious Death of Marine Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez , Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez, #Justice4cplbrandonjavieralvarez, Thousands Oak marine found dead in Manama Bahrain, non-combat incident, a life stolen, Why Marine Cpl Brandon Javier Alvarez Life and Mysterious Death Matter

Yesterday, June 24, 2021, our family laid to eternal rest one of our very own, Marine Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez and no one is okay. His death was dubious, untimely, inexplicable and there are no answers being provided by those who were charged with keeping him safe while he kept the nation safe. His life was stolen. There is no accountability. This is why you should care about the sudden, non-combat death of Marine Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez. What’s insures your child’s safety and not his? He was here and now he’s just gone. Broken hearts and empty arms longing for one more hug with no reasonable explanation given. This makes closure impossible for his family and friends. Choking back emotions in order to share his story is all that we can do now. Helpless, distraught, devastated and angry not knowing what really happened to Brandon.

Brandon, like all young men his age, had his entire life ahead of him. He had a beautiful, smart girlfriend who he loved like you do when you’re 22-years-old, big and beautifully. He adored his mother and his siblings were his best friends, confidants and his ride or dies. You see, I know this life because this is how our family is at its root. Family and God are always first, with country close behind in our lives. We are raised that when you have nothing else in this world, you have your family and they have you and together everything is possible. We are strong, resilient, passionate and born of immigrants. We don’t quit, we work hard and we dream BIG. This is how we survive but the world can be cruel. It’s been particularly cruel these past few weeks.

Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez, #Justice4cplbrandonjavieralvarez, Thousands Oak marine found dead in Manama Bahrain, non-combat incident, a life stolen

Brandon joined the United States Marine Corp as part of his American dream and he was on his way to realizing his dreams of marrying the girl he loved, giving his mother a house of her own and becoming the man he wanted to be; living the life he dreamed of with the people he loved. He knew to do that, he had to do the work and make the sacrifices to get where he wanted to be.

Why Marine Cpl Brandon Javier Alvarez Life and Mysterious Death Matter

Why you should care about the sudden, non-combat death of Marine Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez

A few weeks ago a happy, healthy young 22-year-old man made the ultimate sacrifice of leaving the family, girlfriend and home he loved to serve the people of the United States of America in Manama Bahrain. No one thought the last time they saw him would be the last time they ever say him.

Why Marine Cpl Brandon Javier Alvarez Life and Mysterious Death Matter

It was the first time he’d been so far away from home alone but he eagerly accepted the assignment because he knew what came next would mean he could provide the kind of life he wanted to give to his family. His beautiful, big and closely knit family who kept in contact daily even though separated continents apart. Time and space are irrelevant when it comes to family, at least in our family. Our parents instill this into us as tiny children and it sticks because family really is everything. We know that in our bones.

Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez, #Justice4cplbrandonjavieralvarez, Thousands Oak marine found dead in Manama Bahrain, non-combat incident

One night, two weeks after arriving in Bahrain, after a phone call with his brother and before his daily phone call with his beloved girlfriend, his life was stolen. Where a kind, caring, loving son/ brother/ uncle/ boyfriend was just a few minutes previous, he was no longer. That quickly, the world was flipped upside down and inside out.

This isn’t the first time a sudden, non-combat death with no reasonable explanation to the family has happened and if we don’t get justice for Brandon, it will happen again

Two marines arrived at his mother’s house to inform her that her son was gone. Just that quickly a family was shattered, changed forever, unimaginable pain, sorrow and anger left where all that love once was; all that promise now a life unrealized and there was nothing they could do to undo it.

Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez, #Justice4cplbrandonjavieralvarez, Thousands Oak marine found dead in Manama Bahrain, non-combat incident

The thing is Brandon’s life was precious to so many people. People who are not afraid to be loud and speak out. We’re not the type to just accept that one of our children is dead without explanation and that be the end of it. There has to be an explanation. No human being can just disappear from this earth and those who loved him or her just nod their heads, cry and get over it. There is no “getting over” losing a child, a brother, a sister, a mother, a father, an uncle, an aunt or a husband or partner. Life is precious and we know that to our core. We’ve lost people before and we hold tight to one another.

Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez, #Justice4cplbrandonjavieralvarez, Thousands Oak marine found dead in Manama Bahrain, non-combat incident, a life stolen, Why Marine Cpl Brandon Javier Alvarez Life and Mysterious Death Matter

To the military Brandon may have been just another soldier. A young, Mexican-American man willing to give his life to protect this country that our parents came to to give their children a promise of a better future. This country that they are so thankful and grateful to have the opportunity to live in. But to his family and those who knew and loved him, we can’t let it go. We demand and deserve to have the truth.

Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez, #Justice4cplbrandonjavieralvarez, Thousands Oak marine found dead in Manama Bahrain, non-combat incident, a life stolen

All of my aunt’s tears will never bring him back into her arms. This immeasurable loss can never be recouped. The emptiness that lurks beneath the sadness and anger is just waiting to swallow her whole because in the end, Brandon is gone. No one knows that more astutely than a mother.

He’ll never get to grow up. Never get to marry his beautiful girlfriend and start the family he dreamed of. He’ll never get to dance with his baby sister at her quinceañera. He’ll never get to be the best man at his brothers’ weddings. Brandon won’t be around to give his little sister brotherly advice or joke and laugh with his oldest sister. He’ll never get to see his nephew graduate high school.

Why Marine Cpl Brandon Javier Alvarez Life and Mysterious Death Matter

He’ll never walk into a room and grab his mother and dance cumbia with her just because and she’ll never get to hear his laugh or see his dimples ever again. When he died, all of those possibilities died with him; a part of everyone who loved him died on June 6th in Bahrain too. I know this because we are from the same people. I too am 1 of 6 children and I know how close that bond is, sometimes it’s hard to tell where you end and your brother/sister begins.

To the marines, he may have been “government property” but to those who knew and loved him, he was a light. He is a hero whose life was stolen. The investigation is ongoing.

Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez, #Justice4cplbrandonjavieralvarez, Thousands Oak marine found dead in Manama Bahrain, non-combat incident

The only information that the Marine Corps is providing is:

Rank: Corporal

Name: Brandon J. Alvarez

Unit: Fleet Anti-Terrorism Support Team Central Command

(FASTCENT), NSA Manama Bahrain, Marine Corps Security

Force Regiment

Dates of Service: November 26, 2018- Service Join Date

May 21, 2021- June 6, 2021- Assigned FASTCENT NSA, Manama Bahrain.

Previous Command: July 18, 2019- May 20, 2021- Marine Corps Air Station Miramar San Diego

But Marine Cpl Brandon Javier Alvarez was so much more than that to those who loved him.

Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez, #Justice4cplbrandonjavieralvarez, Thousands Oak marine found dead in Manama Bahrain, non-combat incident, a life stolen

I watched his funeral live-streamed from 2000 miles away, I watched as my Tia, cousins and all those who loved him were brought to their knees at this loss. It’s devastating to see my family in so much pain and I am angry that they are going through this. I’m angry that they are being given no answers. Mostly, I’m mad that Brandon is no longer here to live the big, full, beautiful life he had planned. None of this makes any sense.

Why Marine Cpl Brandon Javier Alvarez Life and Mysterious Death Matter

Please keep sharing his story and help us get the truth and justice that he deserves. #Justice4CplBrandonJavierAlvarez

Click Here to help the family find justice for CPL Brandon Javier Alvarez and prevent other military families from going through this.

Why You Should Care about the Mysterious Death of Marine Corporal Brandon Javier Alvarez

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school shooting, gun violence, gun control, Nashville Covenant elementary

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

I’ve been so sick this week. Down with an awful stomach virus. Projectile vomiting so much that I’ve been bedridden. But I’ve seen the news. Three 9-year-olds and 3 faculty members dead in Nashville, Tennessee. Did I ever tell you guys that I was briefly an elementary school teacher in Tennessee? I was. I gave it up to take care of my own girls. Right before the pandemic, I was back in the classroom again. I’ll never go back. You couldn’t pay me enough money to risk a school shooting in a country where guns outweigh children’s life.

Do you know how much teachers love their students, especially those little ones? People don’t become teachers because they don’t care. It’s a calling. Teaching is a job you do out of love. It’s hard and thankless but we are rewarded in 1000 tiny ways by those precious children and that’s why teachers do so much for so little. But now, they’re supposed to be expected to risk their own lives just to educate someone else’s child?

Just another day in America

I’m not even shocked anymore. I’m angry and disgusted at our country’s constant failure of our children, our teachers and parents. No mother or father should ever have to drop their children off at school, at their own risk which is exactly what we’re expected to do. No teacher should be expected to use her body as a shield from the gunfire. No child should have to know the protocol to survive an active shooter situation.

Every morning since my daughters started school, I drop them off at the front door of school and say a prayer that they are still alive when I pick them up. Every morning, I feel sick to my stomach. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard sirens and called the school to check on my kids or driven there just to be sure. I live in constant fear. I’ve lost a pregnancy and I don’t think I could survive losing another child.

I don’t know about you but I didn’t create, a house and push my precious girls out into this world through excruciating pain just so someone else could so callously disregard their lives. I mean FUCK YOU those are mine. I did the work. No one else has the right to destroy what I created. They exist. They matter. This is human life. Not fucking collateral damage. One life is too many but in the United States, we’re being sent the message by our politicians that our dead children are a small price to pay for the right to bear arms. Maybe we need new politicians who care about all of the “we the people” and not just the gun enthusiast.

Just Another Day in America

The thing that pisses me off the most is that politicians place a higher value on guns than on human life. Because guns are a more lucrative business. Guns make money. The NRA has money to burn and throw around Washington. Only our children’s lives are worth more than any money. They are priceless. The saddest part is that we are all becoming desensitized to it. We hear that there’s been a shooting and we get sad and then we move on to the next day and the next group of unsuspecting children who get slaughtered while learning their ABCs.

What about the excruciating pain of a mother and father’s broken heart? Have you ever had the misfortune of hearing or expelling your own primal scream into the world? There is a howling that comes only when you lose a child. It’s unmistakable and un-recreatable. It comes from deep within and it is the breaking of a human being. It sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before. When that happens, both the child and the parent are destroyed. Parents and their children are invisibly tethered for life and when our children are ripped from this world, a part of us dies too.

Incredibly, there is more to be gained in gun sales and by appeasing gun aficionados for politicians to even care or consider any kind of common sense gun control. What is boils down to is that the politicians believe our children’s lives are expendable. Well, I believe I speak for all parents when I say, no child’s life is expendable.

How many children need to die to make them care? Whose child needs to die for them to care? Because from where I sit, it looks like money is more important than our children’s safety and lives.

Just Another Day in America

No wonder so many of our children are suffering from anxiety and depression. The law mandates that we send them into a fucking war zone every morning with no protection. A child should not have to practice active shooter drills. A 9-year-old shouldn’t have to fear for her life every morning when she goes to school. How can our children even breathe? They know they’re at risk. RISK? They are risking their lives to get an education.

How do we even make it make sense to our children when it doesn’t even make sense to us? What are we supposed to say when our child is looking at us to be their savior and we can’t protect them? How are we supposed to live with the guilt of sending them to the slaughter? We have to fight harder.  

Just Another Day in America

How many mothers need to drop their sweet children off at school and never get to pick them up before we care enough to stop the government from putting guns before babies? When will the government fight as hard for our school-aged children as they do the unborn ones?

I’m pissed off and you should be too. If you want things to change, you have to be willing to fight for change. Wishing won’t work. You’re going to have to put your money where your mouth is. You have to fight like your child’s life depends on it, because it does. We have to be relentless so that our children are safe. Our politicians are failing our children, we don’t have that luxury.

Lift your voices to protect our children. School shootings are unacceptable. We need to draw a line in the sand for our children’s sake. Children being slaughtered can never be just another day in America. Every time it happens… it’s the worst day in America.

Imagine for a moment the unthinkable. Imagine that the child never comes home again, the smile you’ll never see again, and the tiny arms around your neck are those of your child. Be brave. Take a stand. Scream at the top of your lungs. Tell Congress to stop glorifying guns and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines now! You can start by signing this petition at MomsRising.Org

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Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

In the simplest terms, regarding higher education, affirmative action (which stemmed from the civil rights movement in the 1960s) is the practice of considering a student’s background characteristics such as race as a factor in deciding whether to admit an applicant. This is typically referring to admissions policies aimed at increasing the number of black, Latino, and other minority students on campus. This is really important to me right now especially because I have a daughter who is beginning college in the fall and I want her to see diversity everywhere.

This is done so that colleges and universities can factor race into the equation when considering who to admit. This is not a free pass for minority students, it is a part of a holistic approach that reviews every aspect of an application, including grades, test scores and extracurricular activities.

The fact of the matter is that even though I believe that all people are created equal, not every one of us were dealt the same hand in life. Our experiences are very different, and race plays a huge part in how our experience plays out. Whether or not English is your first language matters. Ignorant, racist predispositions that society holds tight to are holding minority children back from evolving and succeeding in the United States.

Regardless of how many “woke” people want to say they don’t see color, they are the minority and worse still, in many cases, they only don’t see color when it’s easy or convenient or doesn’t affect them directly. I’m not blind to race or skin color. I was raised to see the differences, embrace those differences, and appreciate the differences. We don’t all have to look and believe the same to deserve human respect. We don’t even have to be friends for me to respect your humanity. You still with me?

The bottom line is that the goal of race-conscious admissions policies is to increase student diversity, in order to enhance the educational experience for all students. It’s a counteraction to white privilege. Schools also employ recruitment programs and scholarship opportunities intended to boost diversity, but the Supreme Court litigation was just focused on admissions. Remember a few years ago when there was a scandal about celebrity parents paying their children’s way into college? Yeah, see, minority children don’t do that. They can’t do that. We have to work for it. We know that education is the great equalizer and to be educated is to have power so we are determined to do our best.

To be completely honest, when I was a teenager applying for colleges, I hated the thought of affirmative action. Not because it wasn’t for me. Nope, I was the exact kind of kid it is meant to help. I was a very smart, capable, involved, first-generation student from a blue-collar family who worked my ass off to get into my top choice schools. I did it. This little freckled Mexican got into Harvard and every other school I applied to.

But I never ticked that fucking “Hispanic” box, not even once. I refused to because I didn’t want all my hard work being diminished and reduced to charity by some ignorant asshole who was jealous that I got accepted and he didn’t.  I didn’t want people saying, “Yeah, but you only got in because you’re Mexican.” No bitches, I got in because I’m really fucking intelligent, and I worked twice as hard as anyone else I knew.  Yeah, I’m humble too.

My pride made me lose out on scholarships that I could have gotten had I just checked that box. But I couldn’t do it. I’m still paying for that mistake, literally. I refused to let anyone think I needed their charity. I was just as good as any middle-class Caucasian student only my skin wasn’t alabaster, we lived pretty close to the poverty line and my dad’s first language wasn’t English. But how could I, at 17-years-old, accept that as my destiny? I couldn’t.

You can only live for so long hearing that “Mexicans are coming over here stealing all of our jobs, living on welfare and not paying taxes.” In my house, none of that shit was true. We were taught to work hard for what we wanted. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, that is pretty much across the board for us Latinos, at least for every Latino I know.

We are not taught to take handouts. In real talk, most of us would rather starve than take handouts. We don’t take your jobs. We take the jobs we earn and deserve, and, in some cases, we even take the jobs that most won’t take because we’re taught from birth that family is everything and hard work is honorable.  So, with no shame at all, we put our heads down and do the hard, back breaking work to feed our families because that is the point of everything.

When I heard that the Supreme court overturned affirmative action, I was conflicted. But, I wasn’t surprised at all. After the events of recent years and the blatant racism that plagues this nation why would I be shocked that SCOTUS did this not so covert microaggression against minorities? The more I thought about it, the sadder I got because what a boring and unseasoned life we would live with no diversity?

Our Gen Z and Alpha children, they truly don’t give a shit about color. They see it and they respect it, and they move the fuck along. My daughters don’t discriminate against anyone because of the color of their skin, their religion, their sexual orientation, their pronouns or birth gender. My children don’t care who you love or how you celebrate that love. My girls, they judge you on your character and even then, they let it go. They believe in second chances and know that people are fallible. They choose joy and love over hatred. They make better choices than the generations that came before them and they move along. If you try to challenge their beliefs, they’ll hear you out but if you’re wrong, they will stand up for what is right and what is fair. All this to say, I hope these children stay this way and change the world.

I think affirmative action still needs to be in place because minority students are still getting passed over and shut out of colleges and universities across the country. Look, my children have had the good fortune to go to the best private schools and have every privilege there is to help them achieve their dreams of university and a career. They have choices. My girls also have upper middle-class parents who paved their way. They want for nothing. They have resources, 3 meals a day, a refrigerator full of food, air and heat. Comfortable beds and don’t have to worry about things like translating for their parents or figuring out where they’re going to get money for school lunches or clothes. They have a stay-at-home mom with 3 Master’s Degrees who makes her own rules and chooses her collaborations.  They have the life they have because their father and I worked tirelessly to give them that life because someone gave us a chance to work for our dreams.

But that is not what my childhood was like. I did have to worry about where I was going to get money for lunches, books, clothes and field trips. When I was growing up, there were six children raised on a factory worker’s salary and a stay-at-home mom’s love. When I went away to college, no one helped me. I had to pay my own way. As a 17-year-old, had to figure it all out. I had no support system, and it was very difficult for me. But I still made it. I went hungry sometimes and sometimes the cultural differences between inside my home and outside made me feel like I was from a different planet. In retrospect, I realize that I had to work twice as hard because my situation was different from the middle-class Caucasian kids that I went to school with, which is not their fault, but it wasn’t mine either. Being different shouldn’t be a character flaw.  

Being a minority in the United States means being born with stigma and shame because the majority will make you feel like you are less than, no matter what you do. Affirmative action was an attempt to level the playing field. It wasn’t perfect but it was something and some kind of effort is better than none; if only to make us feel like we are seen, and someone cares enough to hold their hand out to help us up. It’s not a handout but a hand up. We’re not about stepping on the majorities back to get to the top. It’s about us all starting from the same point and being afforded the same opportunities to compete for opportunities, despite the differences in our skin color. That’s what affirmative action is about.

There was one weird exception to the conservative Supreme Court majority’s decision ending race-based affirmative action in higher education on Thursday: military academies. Apparently, using race as a factor in admissions to military academies can “further compelling interests,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.

The distinction suggests that there could be value in using race to diversify some American institutions i.e., the U.S. military’s officer corps but Roberts’ overall decision says loud and clear that it would be unconstitutional to do so at public and private colleges and universities.

I feel that the U.S. government is sending the message that they don’t mind our minority children dying in service to their country in the name of equality and justice that they can’t even fully receive themselves. By the same token, they can’t be afforded that same luxury at the collegiate level. This sends the message to minority parents that the U.S. government finds our children to be disposable and unworthy of educating. I call bull shit. Don’t tell our children they don’t deserve your help to better their situation while simultaneously telling them that they are perfectly okay to die for the same country, that refused to care whether they lived in poverty and ignorance.

According to Huff Post, Liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote in her dissent, “The Court has come to rest on the bottom-line conclusion that racial diversity in higher education is only worth potentially preserving insofar as it might be needed to prepare Black Americans and other underrepresented minorities for success in the bunker, not the boardroom.”  What the fuck America? What the actual fuck?

Affirmative action is about equality, that is it. No one is trying to out do the majority, we just need our kids to get a fair shot at achieving the same things in life as everyone else. What are your thoughts? Do you think affirmative action in schools is a good thing? Or is there something more progressive or maybe even more effective for leveling out the collegiate playing field for all students?

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