My Best Me

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Upgrading Your Hollywood Hills House? Start by Choosing Your Best Mattress in 2023

Upgrading Your Home? – Your Best Mattress in 2023

Reviewed and revealed.  Time for you to find your mattress in 2023.  Most of us spend a third of our lives asleep. Science says it’s how we repair, recharge and dream. With hybrid work or work from home, we sometimes rest more.  Some of us work from our bed.

You’re moving?  You upgraded your house?  Either way, it’s time for a new mattress.  And a lot of changed since the old days of mattress shopping.  Even if “the old days” was just 5 years ago.

Big changes.  Real science upgrades depending on sleep position, body type, health conditions,  body temperature, temperature of the room and flexibility, adaptability of all of these variables.

It’s a lot of decisions that you probably don’t want to research.  You just want an awesome night’s sleep.

So we did the mattress research for you

Brooklyn Bedding's Signature

Brooklyn Bedding’s Signature

What’s the best mattress overall?

Brooklyn Bedding’s Signature is pretty amazing.  The Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid is the brand’s flagship bed. 

The mattress offers three firmness options, a strong steel coil foundation layer, a comfy “give” that rests your aching bones, strong and durable hybrid construction.  

Their hybrid mattress (a bed made with coils and foam) offers a neutral-foam feel that’s more light and airy than traditional memory foam. It also offers improved edge support, thanks to a thick layer of pocketed coils with reinforced coils around the edges of its support bed.

Accommodating for all body types and even suits any sleeping position. 

If you time it right (they have sales), it’s surprisingly affordable. 

Price is usually closer to $1200, but with the right timing (discounts), you can sleep well for under $1000.

Layla Hybrid mattress

Layla Hybrid mattress

Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

Layla Hybrid mattress is special!  Generations ago, flippable mattresses were popular and the Layla brand is bringing back the trend.  So yes,  it’s flippable and both sides offer different firmness levels – so yes, you have two choices to pick from to match your personal preference.  One side is soft and pressure relieving while the other is firmer and more supportive. 

Also, Layla’s primary comfort layers are made with copper-gel memory foam which helps regulate temperature, while the material feels ultra light and airy. This is more responsive than the foam’s traditional slow-bouncing nature.

The Layla Hybrid is ultra plush and soft.  Indulgently comfortable. A. great choice for side sleepers of all body shapes and sizes.

The Layla Hybrid comes in a range of sizes: twin to California king sizes and prices range from $1,299 to $1,899.

Saatva Classic

Saatva Classic

Best Firm Mattress

The Saatva Classic offers both plush comfort with premium support. Its thick and supportive construction provides contouring that fits each of your body’s curves.  Unique from most hybrid beds, it offers two coil layers (one innerspring layer and one pocketed coil layer), memory foam, Lumbar Zone Active Spinal Wire and a quilted, zoned pillow-top add to a luxury experience. Designed to promote comfort and spinal alignment.

The innerspring mattress hybrid construction is the magic behind why this bed is so supportive and firm. 

The Saatva Classic’s special lumbar technology is designed to keep your spine aligned while comforting your shoulders and hips.Also allows you to choose how firm you want your firm bed to be. 

The Saatva Classic comes in sizes twin XL to split California king and prices range from $887 up to $2,296.

How to Design a Zero-Waste Kitchen

How to Design a Zero-Waste Kitchen

By Caleb Leonard

As we witness the impacts of plastics and other waste on our planet, more and more people are looking to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Creating a zero-waste kitchen involves adopting a mindful and sustainable approach to reduce waste at every stage of your buying, cooking, and eating routines, and it is an impactful way to minimize your carbon footprint.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Plan Ahead to Leave Less Behind

Look through your pantry and kitchen to see what you have on hand. Assess areas where waste is generated and rethink your shopping list.

Food waste can be prevented by effectively using your ingredients. Make creative use of leftovers. Freeze excess food for future meals. Don’t over-purchase perishable items. Make a shopping list and stick to it to avoid impulse purchases.

Buy in Bulk and Refill

Stock up on staples like grains, pasta, nuts, and spices in bulk. If you are heading to a store with bulk bins, bring your containers to avoid excess packaging.

Another way to reduce plastic packaging waste is by shopping at stores where you can refill cleaning and personal care products.

Choose products with minimal or sustainable packaging. Opt for glass, metal, or cardboard packaging over plastic whenever possible. These items can be repurposed or recycled.

Avoid individually packaged items and single-use packaging.

Shop Your Local Farmers Market

Shop Your Local Farmers Market

Shop Your Local Farmers Market

Farmers markets facilitate zero-waste kitchens.

Here’s how:

Reduced food packaging: Farmers markets offer fewer packaged and processed foods than grocery stores. Buying fewer single-use plastics keeps packaging waste out of landfills.

Local and seasonal produce: Farmers markets prioritize regionally grown and seasonal produce. By buying from local farmers, you support sustainable agriculture practices while minimizing the environmental impact of long-distance food transportation.

Bulk purchases: Many farmers markets offer the option to buy produce in bulk, allowing you to choose the quantity you need without redundant packaging.

BYOB (bring your own bag)

BYOB (bring your own bag)

BYOB (bring your own bag)

Those flimsy plastic bags from the grocery store are no match for a reusable tote. Reusable bags made from canvas or recycled plastics are larger and more durable than single-use bags. Plus, more states are implementing fees to curb the use of plastic bags.

Go Green with Reusable Kitchenware

Most people know about reusable water bottles, but there are tons more reusable items on the market (many are dishwasher-safe too). From reusable K-cups for your morning cup of joe to stainless steel straws, there are lots of eco-friendly ways to eliminate kitchen waste.

Here are a few examples:

  • Reusable food wraps (plastic wrap alternative)
  • Washable cloths (paper towel/napkin substitute)
  • Fiberglass chopsticks
  • Compostable sponges
  • Silicone storage/freezer bags (Ziplock alternative)
  • Silicone muffin liners

Reusable products not only cut down on the production and consumption of new products, but they also save you money.

Consider Eco-Friendly Upgrades

With all the money you’ll save by going green, consider upgrading your appliances. New technologies use less water and electricity. The money you spend on energy-efficient appliances will be recuperated over time.    

Freeze as You Please

A high-performance freezer is a powerful tool for keeping your food fresh. Food waste often comes from leftovers. Rather than throwing away leftovers, you can freeze them. These frozen meals can be quick and convenient options on busy days, especially when stored as pre-packaged meals.

Freezing foods can significantly extend their shelf life; this way, you can buy in bulk and take advantage of sales without worrying about ingredients spoiling.

If you have produce nearing its expiration date, freeze it before it turns. Freeze fruits, vegetables, and other perishables. Sauces can be frozen too.

Your freezer can also store dry goods. Freeze bulk items like nuts, grains, and flour for later use.

Reimagine Your Food Scraps

Reimagine Your Food Scraps

Reimagine Your Food Scraps

Almost all organic material has multiple uses. For example, banana peels make great hair and skin masks, banana tea is a powerful sleep aid, and plants love the potassium-enriched water of peels soaked overnight.

Orange peels can be boiled as a room deodorizer or baked and ground into a vitamin-packed powder.

Bones can be made into bone broth, and new plants can be grown from viable produce seeds, while herbs can be propagated for an endless supply of seasonings.

Before you toss it in the compost bin, perform a quick search and scope out any additional uses.

Compost is King

Composting is the backbone of the zero-waste kitchen. Once you have re-used your food in every imaginable way, it’s time to give it back to the earth. Create a compost pile in your yard; use a tumbling bin or a countertop composter.

Benefits of composting:

Reduced landfill waste: Food scraps account for a large chunk of landfill waste. When these materials decompose in landfills; they release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Composting diverts these materials away from landfills, reducing their environmental impact.

Enriched soil: Compost improves soil structure, water retention, and nutrient availability. By composting, you’ll foster healthy plant growth, reducing the need for excessive watering and fertilizers.

Minimized odor and pests: Properly composting food scraps and yard waste reduces the likelihood of attracting pests and generating foul odors in trash bins.

A zero-waste kitchen is one way to live a greener, more eco-friendly lifestyle. Once you hit your stride in the kitchen, you’ll likely find other areas to cut waste. Small changes add up, and you’ll make a big difference.

Caleb Leonard is a freelance writer and marketing professional. A graduate of the University of North Texas, his interests include gardening, podcasts, and studying Spanish.

High blood pressure has a new option. Music Producer Ira Antelis created 120/Life to Help Us All Be Healthier

High blood pressure has a new option. Music Producer Ira Antelis created 120/Life to Help Us All Be Healthier

Have high blood pressure? Over 100 million people do.  Music Producer Ira Antelis wanted to do something about it, so he created 120/Life to help himself and others become healthier.

“Your blood pressure’s sky high,” founder Ira Antelis ’s doctor told him. “Get it down in 3 weeks, or it’s surgery.” So Ira went started changing his lifestyle.  But also, investigating health.

It turns out, there’s answers out there.  And he wanted to know more.

Today I sat down with 120/Life’s Ira Antelis for a conversation about music, creativity, getting healthy and Ira’s inspiring message about following your passion and inspirations.

The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  The full conversation can be found on our YouTube channel.

 

 

So as we just jump right in, Ira, can you give us a little background on you? What did do for a living before 120 life?

 

Sure. Most of my life has been writing and producing music. A lot of television commercials. The famous one is a Michael Jordan like Mike if I could be like Mike, which was just in the close the closing credits of the “Air” movie, and 30 years later.

Songs from McDonald’s for Disney, artists like Christina Aguilera, Regina Bell, Patti LaBelle, have recorded or sung my music. 

The concept of how I got from there to a blood pressure drink is always like mind boggling to many, and including me, because it’s a path I never would have thought would have arisen to be honest, and it came out of a health issue, and it’s funny because you relate to blood pressure and music. There is a relationship because in music, you put things together. So let’s say I create a piece of music on the piano and say, okay, great. So now I’m going to get a, I wrote the music, I’m going to get… The bass player, I’m going to get the drums, I’m going to get the violins, and then I’m going to put it all together. And I’ve been doing that for many years, it’s like putting ingredients together. And a health issue my blood pressure had risen really high, dangerously high. And then we’re like you have to get this fixed.

If not, we’re going to have to do surgery. Because over time, the first thing anybody I think would do is say what if you have high blood pressure. What do you do? What do you eat? What do you drink? And when it came to the drinks, I kept reading about these things that they all have studies.

I was like, wait a minute. Pomegranate juice, I’m reading the studies. You drink it for six weeks. And one day it just struck me. If I take all of these ingredients, I think it’s like mixing a piece of music and putting them all together. I just knew in my mind they would work because I think the music related to the blood pressure and that’s how it all began.

You literally almost produced a beverage in the same way you produce music. 

You brought in several elements together, let’s say drums, a guitar, a vocalist, all the elements of a band. You thought of it like that, but you found these superfood ingredients and said, gosh, these ingredients could all work together.

 

Yes, that’s 100% correct.  Now what I was doing is that I think like I’m going to produce this drink like I’m producing music. No, but I’ve had a recording studio for 30 years of my life and I’m making music every day of my life.

It’s just secondhand nature to do things in combinations for me. So when I thought about it later on, I’m like, Oh yeah, that’s why it works. I saw the ingredients, they look the same. I knew I can mix them together. Just from my process of music. I think that’s what happened. 

 

If you’re doing the music every day, do you think you use creativity to solve a health concern?

 

Yeah, I think on some level that’s what happened. I was looking at things and I saw it, but in a way maybe nobody else saw it. And I think when you’re a creative person, then that tends to be the, where you go first on some level. I’m always thinking of things from a creative standpoint.

 

Is there a life lesson at all in here for people, using creativity and trial and error and the confidence to try new things.

 

Yeah, it’s funny because I did this music project with music from the Holocaust. And we, I wrote the Carnegie Hall and we sold it out,  beyond the most successful thing in my life. And I was sent to somebody, if I had to write a book about my life, I would title the book, “Everybody Says No”. And I think that’s the way, the mission of my life don’t ever let anybody stop your ideas.  Ever. 

If you are passionate about anything, go figure out a way to do it. And I think it’s a life lesson about creativity. What it is, go do it.

 

So from a step by step process, you have a doctor’s meeting, you’re told you have a health concern, can you just walk us through what those next steps were?

 

So the first thing somebody tells you, you have extremely high blood pressure. It has to come down. And most of the people I’ve ever met would say we know what high blood pressure can do.

But my question was not that. My question is what is causing the high blood pressure? What is it? My dad was a pharmacist; he knew about strokes and heart attacks. I was trying to figure out what it is and how do you stop it? 

And the truth is even though the doctor is a friend of mine that they will basically go figure it out. 

First thing I learned is to cut your salt. That was stop number one. Most studies show if you cut your salt, it will lower your blood. I’m just doing everything I can do, even taking medication. I’m going on a salt free diet for three weeks. So you have fruit, vegetables, but not just salt.  Every cookie that has sodium, I’m not eating.

That was like step number one. 

Then I’m Googling what are the best foods to eat? What are the best things to drink? And that began the process.  Reading about these did lower my blood pressure to the point where they didn’t have to operate. 

But you get stuck or passionate about some things.  So every day I’m on the computer, looking up drinks for high blood pressure.  Many of the same things come up, beet juice or beet powder, lowers your blood pressure. Hibiscus tea lowers your blood pressure. Pomegranate juice 

I’m reading the studies.  Then one day It just dawned on me. Wait a minute if all of these lower your blood pressure a little bit.  Together, maybe it will lower it a lot.

I figured, somebody had done it. Not only was that not there. Even to this day, there was nothing there. Zero. 

There’s 110 million people that have high blood pressure. And there’s nothing, there is not a drink out there with these ingredients. 

Yeah. But that began the journey.

 

So on this journey you had  different levels of support. You have a nutritionist in your life, Susan Schachter, talk about her involvement

 

So as I’m making this drink, [I’m thinking] what’s the best way for people to try it? So I kept thinking, okay, I’m going to make these jugs that contain 112 ounces. And I would give it to people that I knew had high blood pressure and say try it for two weeks.  I’m doing that because one of the people I gave it to is my cousin who at the time was the sole distributor for Keurig the coffee machines and the K cups.  I’m thinking okay I need to get him to distribute this drink.

So I gave it to him and said look if your blood pressure lowers from this drink, you got to promise me you’ll distribute it. He said, ‘Okay’, because he’s very skeptical and he thought there’s no way.

And sure enough, his blood pressure lowered 30 or 40 points. He said, ‘Okay, I’ll distribute it. But, what do you know about this stuff?’ 

My childhood friend Susan Schachter has a Master’s in nutrition. I sent her the drink.  She made some tweaks and that’s how I got her involved. 

 

Can we go through all six natural ingredients?

 

Let me start with beets; the superfood for athletes so I knew I was going to have beets in my drink. 

Hibiscus tea has been around for years and have said a multitude of studies. even in the Middle East about lowering your blood pressure. I think some of the qualities are in medical terms that can act like an ACE inhibitor. 

The third ingredient is pomegranate juice. It can act as a beta blocker. It has a lot of antioxidants. So I think those three were the really big things in the drink. 

Susan added magnesium and potassium.  It relaxes your blood vessels. 

Through the studies, I was reading about cranberry juice and tart cherry juice, which has been used for recovery for athletes for soreness of muscles. 

 

 

I enjoyed the taste.  I’m always worried health products will “taste like science”  Your drink doesn’t.  What does it taste like to you and how do you recommend drinking it?

 

The most important thing is it can probably really help you. Some people really like how it tastes.

I say mix it with cranberry juice or put it in your smoothie, especially now we have a powder. So there are different options. I think the point is that high blood pressure is not something to mess around with. Too many bad things could happen.

Is there anything that you want to talk about? 

We’re in a society where people age out, we become disposable after a certain age in so many industries, so I’m inspired by my own story, 60 years old rather than retiring or doing something I had the wherewithal to say, I’m going to do this, it’s never too late in life if you want to do things.

And I think that’s a message for a lot of people. Most people do not start a business at 60. But my thought is like, you have this passion, you have this dream, go for it. I’m very thrilled to just be a part of it.  I let my CEO run it. 

The second thing is that I, we always say to people, Susan always says, know your numbers. Be responsible with your health.  Drink 120 life. Pomegranate juice.  Beet juice, Hibiscus tea, Cut your salt. That’s my message.

Please tell us how can we help you. Please tell us how to find your website and where to browse your products

Ira: If you want to try 120 life, www.120life.com

If you want to try it for two weeks, purchase it. But if you’re unhappy for any reason, money back guaranteed. 

So thank you so much for your time. Thank you for discovering this health idea.

Thank you. You have a great day. 

Life Lessons and Adventure, perfect for Fathers Day, Near Death Lessons’ Chris Jankulovski book now available on Amazon

Fathers Day is coming up and every family is searching for Dad’s perfect gift.  Chris Jankulovski’s book Near Death Lessons offers story of family, adventure, motivation, and life lessons.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Chris Jankulovski (via zoom) to talk about his Father’s Day wishes, business success, family, health concerns, empowerment and more.

The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  Watch the full conversation on our Youtube channel.

 

Congratulations on your new book, Near Death Lessons. 

 

Thank you. Been a journey to get it out there, but I am so honored and privileged to do this work. 

It is an inspiring and a motivating book, and I would say equally important is not only is it inspiring and it’s motivating, but for somebody who wants to break-through, you actually give us the lessons that you use to accomplish it so we can follow those lessons as well.

 

 

What was the hardest part of writing the book for you?

 

Friends tell me, Chris, you gotta write a book, man. Seriously, you’ve got some wild stories. It almost killed me when the tumor bursted in my head. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk. I was in bed for three months.

I knew that the moment I could stand upright, I wanna write a book for my sons. I want them to know who their father was.  Because yet again, I just confronted a serious adversity where 60% of people normally die on the operating table. I somehow survived it. I’m the lucky 40%, and I just had my operation one month before the birth of my second son, Billy.  And I wanted my six year old and my new son to know who their father was.

I’ll give you a timeline.  We’ll plot it all, and then we’re gonna give it to a ghost writer who’s gonna somehow be able to direct our story. Then we’ll put the muscles in it, and then we’ll build it all up.

And that’s the journey I went on until I gave it to an editor who completely shut it down and it took me about a a year to correct everything. No kidding. 

 

Okay. So how long from the moment you started with your writer through the editing process, what was the timeline from inception to on the shelf?

 

Oh wow. So the first year after my brain operation, I’m still writing this book. A year later, I’m in the pool, rehabilitating [with the book notes] still in front of me.

I’ve got this diagnosis of doctors telling me, Chris, you gotta have these cancers removed asap. They’ve taken off. I don’t know if your kidney is gonna survive removing six cancers. You might be on dialysis. Doom and gloom.

I’ve just gone on a journey of learning how to walk and talk for eight months. I’ve got so many defects going on. 

My tongue didn’t half work. I couldn’t even talk. It was affecting my speech. So I’m there in this scenario and at the height of my worst moment in life, I’ve got this outlook. That’s a disaster. 

'Near Death Lessons' by Chris Jankulovski

I’m trying to run in the pool because I’m learning how to walk properly and I’m about to confront this adversity again.

I’m thinking: Why am I buying a future that no one knows? This is all just estimates, predictions, guesswork. I don’t have to accept this. What if I dare hope that the best is yet to come? Why don’t I look forward to the life ahead of me? That it’s the best? 

And that was the most pivotal moment in my life because, I went from a $4 million house to a $16 million house.

Eight months later, I go off to double my business from 8 million to 16 million. I go off to do all these things, and now I’m in America taking it to another level. 

I was in the hospital room, that’s year one by the way.  I bargained for my life because things were not looking good, that’s when I decided to take my story public.

And since the moment I’ve taken the story public. I wrote the book initially because I didn’t want to give any advice to my sons because I didn’t want them to hate me from the grave. I didn’t wanna just share my story. I wanted to share the lessons.

I wanted to share the things that have transformed my life. So I hired a resilience consultant, and I said to her, can you please read my book? Put a spotlight on how I respond to adversities compared to a more common response because I just keep bouncing back stronger.

She read my book five times. We ended up having 26 zoom sessions, and then from that we unearthed 11 distinctions. We gave those to instructional designers which then they came back to me with the five life lessons that I shared in the book.

That’s a heck of a journey. Tell us about some of the diagnoses you’ve had all the way back from your teenage years.

 

So at the age of 19, we went to a specialist clinic to understand what was causing tumors in my eyes. The doctor was puzzled.  There was this new genetic testing going on. So I had the genetic test done.   I [was diagnosed] with Von hippel-lindau syndrome. A hereditary condition, means maybe your mom and dad have got it. I go, no one’s got it, okay?

The average life expectancy is 30 years, so you’re probably gonna have a short life and you’ve probably got cancers now. 

I was like, what? I’m gonna be dead by 30. What do you mean? That was my brutal wake up call and I went to my car and I cried.

I couldn’t relate to anyone with this problem. I told my parents, I told my friends, I couldn’t connect with anyone about this. I just decided to ignore it. I thought if I pretended deep down I never got this, perhaps it would disappear.

So that’s what I did. I ignored it from the ages of 19 to 32 when my first brain tumor finally caught up. And when it did, it almost killed me. It was so big –  five centimeters. I had to contour my body to go to the toilet and had these weird electric shocks running down my spine.

When I got the operation, I transformed. I looked at the sky and I said, God, kill me. I’ve had enough of living this victim life. I’ve had enough of being disempowered, always reacting to my circumstances.

I choose to focus on life. I choose whatever happens. I’m gonna choose to make the most of whatever life I have, but I’m not living like that anymore.  So that was a pivotal moment. 

I’m now 50, so I’ve had a good run for the last six years. At age seven, my appendix burst, almost killing me. Two weeks in hospital. At the age of 21, I almost drowned. 

But one of the first times I crossed over, out of body kind of experience and a different time dimension was a few years later, 25, when I woke up [during] an eye surgery, I felt the needles sliding on my eye, like on an egg, and they’re poking in.

I woke up and flatlined. I was looking down at myself.  I could see the machine flat-lining until everything went white. And then I felt like I was in a different time dimension. I just felt ‘Whoa. Where am I? Let’s go. Hey, I’m not going anywhere. It’s my sister’s wedding soon. And then I snapped back into life again with the nurses all about to zap me.

So that was at 25 and then at 32 is the brain tumor. And then two months later was the removal of my right kidney because it was occupied by cancers. Some as large as four and a half, five centimeters. Which is way too dangerous. They’re all very aggressive..

The reason why I called that a near death experience as well is because I survived my cancer battle and it didn’t spread. It killed my dad, it didn’t kill me. And then two years later, I had to remove four large cancers from a remaining left kidney. 

A decade later, another six cancerous kidneys.  Before that one was the second brain operation to remove two tumors in my head, and that was the most serious. 

 

Let’s talk about a deliberate life. You mentioned it in your book, what does a deliberate life mean to you and what are the main steps? How do we get there?

 

I have nearly died, came back to life, and every time that happens, it’s like a reset button in my heart.

Everything’s up for grab: my values, my behaviors, my patterns. Because I’m back again. You go through many of these experiences.

Everything you’ve been holding true gets re-evaluated, and therefore, all of it – fears, insecurities, all gets washed away. And what remains is what’s most important and true. For me, every time I go through these experiences, I get an onion layer experience. I get more to the core of who I am and who we are.

All of us, including me, are remarkably powerful. I can’t believe the more I get to me and the core of my authentic me, the more energy, the more light, the more vibrancy, the more drive, the more of everything is there. 

I’ve always been spending money looking for advice and solutions outside myself.  Deep down, the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my life was when I meditated in silence for three weeks in India.  Silence. Every time I nearly died, I’d go into this black void. Vibrancy, energy, and I don’t understand why I’m still consciously pressing, but then when I return, now I know I’m gonna say something really taboo, but life and death coexist in my mind because when I close my eyes and I’m in this black void, if I can meditate to a point where I’m outside of my sense of skin, brain patterns, feelings, and just be presently alert of my awareness.

Man, that’s the same space I go to when I’m in a different time dimension. Hence why I believe that life and death coexist and that fuels me. That just fuels me even more because our mortality is what should fuel all of us. Why? Who are we to take our time for granted here? 

This drop of time that we have here, how selfish of us to be caught up in our own doubts and fears and insecurities. We are so much more than that. 

There is just this magic and energy in us that wants to drive. Follow that drive, follow that energy. Don’t restrict it.  It communicates in feelings and glimpses of vision.

I live a deliberate life because of these adversities, and I keep coming back to life.  I wanna optimize. If I’ve got anxiety. If I was to listen to Steve Jobs, live as if it’s your last day of life. I get anxiety. I can’t be strategic, I can’t plan. I’m always challenged every year with my scans.

So the way I play this game is every year when I get a MRI scan for my brain and spine and kidneys and all this stuff. When I get the results of those scans towards the end of the year, I see them as a certificate to go live life to the fullest. So I get this scan results. I go, yes, I’ve got a free run.  Then that following year, I’m bolting. I’m a hundred percent, I’ve got one more year to live. I see every year as if it’s another year to live. 

What I’ve realized over 30 years of doing this is,  I can’t live deliberately, so I can’t live my life to the fullest every year unless I’m living deliberately and I can’t live deliberately unless I have clarity with what I wanna do, because otherwise I’m spending time on all these things that aren’t important.

I linked my goal to an image and I put it on a board because visually I know that the only way my subconscious relates to this is by image and feeling. Now, I know people call it vision boards, but they’ve got it all wrong. You gotta really link an image to a goal.  That image needs to excite you.   That simple solution allowed me to focus my energy throughout the whole year towards these things. 

 

You offer a ‘free gift’ in your book.  Can you give us a sneak peek of what it is?

 

Since I’m talking about life so much and living life to the fullest I wanted to show people the 10 things that were often affecting me and stopping me from living a life to the fullest.

What does success mean to you? It’s different for everyone and so is living life to the fullest.  But, for people who are driven, success-oriented, ambitious people,  they would relate mostly to this because that’s who I am.

I wanna spend more time with my family. I wanna smell the roses. I wanna see how far I can go and I wanna see the kind of impact I can make because I don’t wanna just pass and it never even be known that I even existed.

So living life to the fullest means you are embracing your true power. You are embracing and optimizing your most important resource,  your time. You are embracing the fact that you’ve got an ability to create. 

So if we can do these simple things, we can achieve our dreams. That’s as simple as that. If we’ve got the right mindset, if we stop responding to life as if we have got no control, if we are always victims of it, I’ve been thrown these incredible blows from the universe.

So many battles outside of my control. I refuse to not take responsibility. I actually take responsibility. Look, the tumors happen genetically, but I take responsibility. It’s a game. Okay? It’s just a game. It’s a game of self-empowerment.

 

Chris Jankulovski’s book, Near Death Lessons on sale at Amazon now.

If we want more from you, where do we find you? What’s your website? Where do we find you on social media?

 

I’m building ChrisJankulovski.com and then you’ll be able to access other things. 

 

What does the future look like for you?  What are you gonna be up to next?

 

I’m developing my personal brand and what that represents to the world.  What that represents to the American people.  What I strive to do in terms of impacting.. 

I’ll be working very heavily on my business, but I’ll also be putting myself out there to meet people, to talk to people and more media of course.

When I said I’m gonna inspire millions, this is the deal. And that deal isn’t just writing a book. That deal is to connect with people. One-on-one or in groups or to speak, and not because I’m looking to become a speaker, but because I’m looking to deliver this incredible energy, this incredible passion, this incredible lessons and distinctions with no bullshit on what gets results and how what you gotta do to optimize your most important time here on Earth.

Chris, I wish you huge success with the book Near Death Lessons. I think there’s so many lessons about either launching a new life or breaking through.  It’s a great New Year’s. Gift and a great Father’s Day gift. 

Thank you mate. 

The Magic of Honey (and its Health Powers) is getting Rediscovered and Darko Mandich is leading the way

The magic and power of honey is getting Rediscovered and Mellody Food’s Darko Mandich is leading the way

Honey has been a staple in my people diets for their whole.  As a result, many of us take it for granted.  But that’s changing thanks now.

Let’s find out in an exclusive interview with Mellody Food’s Darko Mandich.

Darko Mandich is a food entrepreneur in San Francisco. After spending almost a decade in the European honey industry as a business executive, Darko committed to reimagining the honey industry to become sustainable. Darko immigrated from Europe to California to launch Mellody, the world’s first plant-based honey brand. Darko is an advocate of saving the bees and wild pollinators.

Mellody Food's Darko Mandich

Mellody Food’s Darko Mandich

 

Recently, I had a chance to talk with Darko.

Why honey? Was it a personal passion or where did the interest come from for you?

Honestly, at that time, it was a great opportunity and a very interesting company that had many different divisions all related to food and agriculture.

It’s my grandma’s fault that I got into the food industry because I remember when I was a kid, my grandma and my mom and dad, they were running a tiny tavern in the Mediterranean coastline.

Seeing people gathered around the food, seeing people running around prepping the food. In my family, whenever we would have guests visiting our home, there’s always gonna be like plenty of food. And I think that subliminally inserted in my brain. Even though I pursued business and entrepreneurship, that’s something that excites me. In the background of all of that was food. I don’t mind that because I’m a foodie myself.

 

Honey is being Re-Discovered. Why did honey become so important to us today?

 

There’s so many angles to that. If you ask consumers in the US their preferred sweetener is honey. Why? Because people understand that honey has the sugar part that gives you a kick, gives you energy; but honey also has a very exciting non sugary part to it, which makes it a better for you. I would say [it’s] the best sweetener out there.

Also, there’s something about the mythology of honey.

There’s this Greek goddess of honey. Honey has been presented as a divine product across many religious books in different religious and history is telling so many interesting stories about honey.

Around 200 years ago, they unsealed Egyptian pyramids, got inside, found a bunch of things, and amongst others there was honey in a pot. And you know what? That honey was edible. And no food in the world would actually stand against that shelf life because, [of honey’s ] special combinations of sugar acidity, pH. Now I’m nerding up.

 

But the thing is, honey is very special. It will never go bad. There’s kind of official shelf life to honey, but honey will actually never go bad.

And I think if you connect all these things and consumers looking for better solutions, looking for something that can satisfy them, not only on a taste, but on a nutritious level, honey [has] become so popular. I had a chance to witness this across my decade old career in the US and before that in Europe.

And look, I was very excited about honey. I didn’t know much about it when I joined that [first] company, but when I started learning about it, I was like, ‘Wow, this product is really amazing.’

 

Is the honey currently available at Eleven Madison Home?

 

This is the product from a direct to consumer collaboration. We just launched with three Michelin star, Eleven Madison Park in New York City.

Eleven Madison Home's The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

Eleven Madison Home’s The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

 

 

Yeah, the honey is currently available. The Specialty Tea and Honey Box launched for the Mother’s Day collection and Earth Month.

It’s a specially curated box of artisanal teas coming from different parts of the world with honey and also amazing, shortbread cookies. All plant-based, also made with our honey. That’s available right now

Sometime very soon a standalone jar [of honey] will also be available to Eleven Madison Home.

Eleven Madison Home's The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

Eleven Madison Home’s The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

 

Tell us again what’s available, how to find it; and how to follow you and support you.

 

Yeah, follow us on Instagram and TikTok at MellodyFoods

In terms of purchasing, head to ElevenMadisonHome.com and you can purchase it there.

Saving the bees is learning more about them. Learning more about pollinators and you can do that on our social media.

And finally, if you’re equally passionate about bees and plants as we are, ask your favorite restaurant to reach out to us to offer Mellody in your favorite restaurant. It can be a vegan restaurant on non-vegan.

We are gonna work with all the restaurants that reach out to us where people ask to see our product offered, either on the menu, either within a meal, or just if you order a cup of tea and you want a side of Mellody.

 

SoCal, Has a Bee’s Role Changed? How Science makes plant-based honey

Southern California wonders how bees are involved? How do they actually make plant-based honey?

Traditionally bees have a massive role in producing honey.  So, removing their support seems unrealistic, or does it?  And sure, scientists can try to explain it.  But can someone explain it in simple terms, in a way that a curious foodie could understand it?

Let’s find out in an exclusive interview with Mellody Food’s Darko Mandich.

Darko Mandich is a food entrepreneur in San Francisco. After spending almost a decade in the European honey industry as a business executive, Darko committed to reimagining the honey industry to become sustainable. Darko immigrated from Europe to California to launch Mellody, the world’s first plant-based honey brand. Darko is an advocate of saving the bees and wild pollinators.

Mellody Food's Darko Mandich

Mellody Food’s Darko Mandich

 

Recently, I had a chance to talk with Darko.

 

From a science point of view, how are you creating plant-based honey products?

 

The process has to start with philosophy. When people think about science, engineering and process, what comes to their mind is what’s the science? What’s the engineering behind that? What’s the process of making something?

 

But I would argue that every process, every science starts with a philosophy in the first place. So for us, our philosophy was there’s honey made by the bees in the market, the real ones, that product quality-wise is amazing, but has negative baggage in terms of how it’s made. Next to that, there’s fake honey. There’s basically adulterated honey that’s made by people taking fraudulent activities and blending a little bit of real honey and a lot of rice syrup.

That’s done outside of the US by people trying not to get caught. The third group are vegan honey alternatives, made out of tapioca, dates, maple, pure sugar. These products are just not honey. Trying to impersonate honey, but it’s not honey. It’s a legit product. It’s in the market. People can buy it.

What was missing is the fourth group, which is the category that we pioneered.

Honey, the product that has the composition of real honey but that doesn’t have any rice syrups, nothing that doesn’t belong to honey. But, it’s not made by the bees and therefore by default is vegan and plant-based. So that was the category that we started, and we didn’t start it only for vegans. Obviously vegans are our early adopters. They love what we’re doing. I’m vegan myself. But I want this to be an inclusive company and brand, and therefore we launched this for everybody. For everybody who likes delicious and nutritious foods. By choosing this you’re basically voting for those little creatures to survive on this planet.

You asked me about the process.

You wanna make honey only from something that in nature that touches bees and honey, it’s very strict. Our team studied a lot of different honeys, the different anatomy of the bees, the science behind honey production. Bees land on a flower, they suck up nectar. And there’s a couple of things in a bee’s anatomy. We came up with this proprietary process where we interact with the plants, we take different parts of the plants.

 

What’s really exciting and cool is we can take the whole plant, break it into different ingredients, and take parts of the plant that maybe bees don’t have access to, like its roots. So we take different ingredients from different plants. We have more than 30 different plants in our product that we launched and we created this process that is basically mixing all those ingredients in a food facility in a regular culinary approach, and basically create a product that looks, tastes, and behaves like honey.

Is your honey currently available at Eleven Madison Home?

 

This is the product from a direct to consumer collaboration. We just launched with three Michelin star, Eleven Madison Park in New York City.

Eleven Madison Home's The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

Eleven Madison Home’s The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

 

Yeah, the honey is currently available. The Specialty Tea and Honey Box launched for the Mother’s Day collection and Earth Month.

It’s a specially curated box of artisanal teas coming from different parts of the world with honey and also amazing, shortbread cookies. All plant-based, also made with our honey. That’s available right now

Sometime very soon a standalone jar [of honey] will also be available to Eleven Madison Home.

Eleven Madison Home's The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

Eleven Madison Home’s The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

 

Tell us again what’s available, how to find it; and how to follow you and support you.

 

Yeah, follow us on Instagram and TikTok at MellodyFoods

In terms of purchasing, head to ElevenMadisonHome.com and you can purchase it there.

Saving the bees is learning more about them. Learning more about pollinators and you can do that on our social media.

And finally, if you’re equally passionate about bees and plants as we are, ask your favorite restaurant to reach out to us to offer Mellody in your favorite restaurant. It can be a vegan restaurant on non-vegan.

We are gonna work with all the restaurants that reach out to us where people ask to see our product offered, either on the menu, either within a meal, or just if you order a cup of tea and you want a side of Mellody.

 

LA Foodies Want to know: What does Plant-based Honey Pair Well With?

LA Foodies want to know, what does Plant-based Honey Pair Well With?

You keep reading about plant-based honey. The environmental story, the nutrition.  But how does it taste?  What can you pair it with?  Let’s find out in an exclusive interview with Mellody Food’s Darko Mandich.

Darko Mandich is a food entrepreneur in San Francisco. After spending almost a decade in the European honey industry as a business executive, Darko committed to reimagining the honey industry to become sustainable. Darko immigrated from Europe to California to launch Mellody, the world’s first plant-based honey brand. Darko is an advocate of saving the bees and wild pollinators.

Mellody Food's Darko Mandich

Mellody Food’s Darko Mandich

 

Recently, I had a chance to talk with Darko.

 

You said you are a foodie. What are some incredible food pairings that you recommend with this honey?

 

When I like to talk about food, I always like to join food and beverage.

What does Plant-based Honey Pair Well With?

What does Plant-based Honey Pair Well With?

 

I’ll start with beverages first. I think this honey is perfect for mocktails and cocktails. It gives just enough of sweetness that someone is looking for in their alcoholic cocktail or non-alcoholic cocktail.

 

Will Plant-based Honey pair well With baklava

Will Plant-based Honey pair well With baklava

 

In terms of food, I would split it into savory and sweet. Sweet applications are my favorite, I just have a sweet tooth. My favorite dessert is Baklava because it comes from the part of the world where I come from. My wife, who’s a home chef, [used our honey to make] baklava and it was amazing.

 

We did an amazing collaboration with an upscale Italian plant-based restaurant in San Francisco Baia. They created this amazing, vegan panna cotta with our honey on top. It was culinary mastery developed by Chef Joshua Yap, who started working with Chef Matthew Kenny, who is also a well-known, plant-based chef.

 

Will plant-based honey pair well with a burger

Will plant-based honey pair well with a burger

In terms of savory applications, that opens a whole new world of opportunities. How we interact with stuff like pizza and honey, burgers and honey. Obviously honey and vinaigrette and olive oil, used as a dressing for salads, honey mustard, just name it.

 

What’s next for Mellody? What are the next steps out there for you?

 

Getting into as many restaurants as possible in this country. People are inquiring about the standalone product [separate from the speciality box] get it very soon at Eleven Madison Home.

Working on getting this product to as many people as possible, and just to invite everybody to participate in this mission of creating the sustainable future of honey.

I’m just excited about every tiny step in this journey until melody becomes the word for honey.

 

Eleven Madison Home's The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

Eleven Madison Home’s The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

 

Is the honey currently available at Eleven Madison Home?

 

Yeah, the honey is currently available. The Specialty Tea and Honey Box launched for the Mother’s Day collection and Earth Month.

It’s a specially curated box of artisanal teas coming from different parts of the world with honey and also amazing, shortbread cookies. All plant-based, also made with our honey. That’s available right now

Sometime very soon a standalone jar [of honey] will also be available to Eleven Madison Home.

Eleven Madison Home's The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

Eleven Madison Home’s The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

 

Tell us again what’s available, how to find it; and how to follow you and support you.

 

Yeah, follow us on Instagram and TikTok at MellodyFoods

In terms of purchasing, head to ElevenMadisonHome.com and you can purchase it there.

Saving the bees is learning more about them. Learning more about pollinators and you can do that on our social media.

And finally, if you’re equally passionate about bees and plants as we are, ask your favorite restaurant to reach out to us to offer Mellody in your favorite restaurant. It can be a vegan restaurant on non-vegan.

We are gonna work with all the restaurants that reach out to us where people ask to see our product offered, either on the menu, either within a meal, or just if you order a cup of tea and you want a side of Mellody.

 

Your Summertime Adventures Deserve a Refreshing Taste, Here’s the drink for you

Your summertime adventures deserve a refreshing taste, with healthy results and supporting a good case, taste CaliWater.

This summer many families are going on adventures – from a fun night out, to local road trips to traditional vacations and everything in between.  Families are looking for flavor, looking for healthy options, when possible choosing to support social good.

Recently we tasted a solution that solves all of this and more.

caliwater-vanessa-hudgens oliver treveno

CaliWater is the latest celebrity-driven brand on an already crowded grocery shelf to promote flavor, fun and health.

Before you judge it, have you tried cactus water?  If not, honestly it’s worth a taste. 

Open your mind (and your mouth) to the world of cactus water. Try the taste of CaliWater.

CaliWater Flavor

CaliWater comes in two subtle, but very different flavors:

Ginger + Lime

It’s a drink that adds a pop to your tongue.  

Tasting-wise, on the nose is heavy lime that for me became a palette cleanser.  Got a funky taste in your mouth?  This can will save you.  The lime notes carry over on your palette and the ginger adds a refreshing zing.   The linger lasts, leaving a pleasant and refreshing taste.

Wild Prickly Pear

Tasting-wise, on your nose its a bit sweet and even floral.  As you taste, it’s giving your mouth a sweet, refreshing bath similar to a bite of watermelon.  

But How Healthy is CaliWater?

The simple answer is: very healthy.  

Caliwater contains 5 naturally occurring electrolytes to boost hydration and is packed with skin fortifying antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and 200mg of Prickly Pear Extract which is a proven hangover relief. 

Prickly Pear Cactus has shown to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels, and provides natural anti-viral properties. Known as a “superfruit”, the Prickly Pear Cactus has been the health solution go-to for many all over the world.

CaliWater is a Proven Hangover Relief

Let’s repeat an important part.  The drinks include 200mg of Prickly Pear Extract which is a proven hangover relief. 

Cali water also serves as a fantastic mixer for your favorite cocktail.

Created with passion, love, and a clear mission in mind

Earth-friendly activists Vanessa Hudgens and Oliver Trevena bonded while enjoying a prickly pear margarita.

They launched CaliWater, California cactus water that goes beyond just hydration. 

Created with passion, love and a clear mission in mind CaliWater hopes to promote healthy eco-friendly lifestyles and to make the world a better place. 

With up to 75% of Americans being considered chronically dehydrated CaliWater offer the tasty yet healthy alternative to water that also presents benefits for health and well-being. 

Giving Social Good

CaliWater’s goal is not only to provide health benefits to their customers, but also to raise awareness about the fight against childhood hunger. 

Partnering with No Kid Hungry a charity working to stop hungry children, Cali Wter pledges to donate $0.05 for every can purchased with the goal of donating $1,000,000 by April 2022.

Read for a Taste?

You can shop CaliWater here: https://drinkcaliwater.com/

You can also browse your local Erewhon, Alfred, Bevmo,  Blueys Market & Cafe, Sunlight Organics, The Pie Hotel, Vintage Grocers.

Wild Elements is teaming up with Support + Feed and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (BGCMLA) to launch a new community and education initiative

Wild Elements, Support + Feed, & Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles Come Together to Launch Community-Based Hydro-Wild Initiative Addressing Food Insecurity and Climate Crisis Through Innovation

Wild Elements is teaming up with Support + Feed and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (BGCMLA) to launch a new community and education initiative – the Hydro-Wild Lab is a working hydroponic farm nestled in a shipping container as a learning and innovation hub for young people starting July 2022.

Through classes, community building, and hands-on sustainable agriculture experience, the Hydro-Wild Lab will deepen the connection between personal and planetary wellness while restoring food-growing power back to a Los Angeles community.

Support + Feed and Wild Elements teach students the science behind their favorite veggies

Starting in July 2022, students at the Watts-Willowbrook Club house, located in Watts on the border of Compton and one of four clubhouses within the BGCMLA region, will have access to a multi-week curriculum developed in coordination with Support + Feed and Wild Elements that teaches them the science behind their favorite veggies, the connection between personal wellness and food advocacy, and the cultural significance of gardens and growth in their own neighborhood and beyond.

Boys-Girls Club- Hydro Wild lab

Wild Elements is teaming up with Support + Feed and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (BGCMLA) to launch a new community and education initiative

The Wild Elements Hydro-Wild Lab, an innovative indoor hydroponic farm, brings together agriculture and technology to increase direct access to nutrient-dense food in an eco-conscious way while simultaneously providing students with hands-on farming experience and training.

Wild Elements Hydro-Wild Lab, an innovative indoor hydroponic farm

This unique program developed in partnership across all three organizations is tailored specifically for the Watts-Willowbrook Clubhouse students and community to address the nexus of food insecurity and the history of food systems, healthy eating, and climate change.

Boys-Girls Club- Hydro Wild lab

Wild Elements is teaming up with Support + Feed and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (BGCMLA) to launch a new community and education initiative

Hydroponic farms are superstars of sustainable agriculture and are quickly emerging as an important pathway to increase access to produce in both urban and rural environments farming provides communities with a mechanism to farm in controlled environments indoors, while in rural settings, hydroponic as they require fewer natural resources.

Wild Elements is working for a Regenerative Future

In urban areas where there is no land or healthy soil to grow food, hydroponic farms use less land than conventional ones, which helps overused fields regenerate. Hydroponic farms use up to 10 times less water than conventional farms, a benefit in drought-prone areas like California. Growing produce locally is also important as food begins to lose its nutrient-density once it’s harvested. In short, hydroponics is one key way to grow food so it benefits people and the planet.

“At Wild Elements, we’re working for a regenerative future where all living things can thrive.

We can do it with innovative programs like the Hydro-Wild Lab, which merges tech, agriculture, health, education and community empowerment, all in one shipping container.

By growing fresh produce while using less water and less land,

the Hydro-Wild Lab promotes food equity, plant-based nutrition, and sustainable agriculture,

all while investing in one vibrant neighborhood and its urban ecosystem.

Wild Elements is thrilled to partner with our friends at Support and Feed and BGCMLA

to bring this transformative pilot program to the BGCMLA students at the Watts-Willowbrook Clubhouse,”

says Nikki Eslami, Founder & CEO, Wild Elements.

Support + Feed, a non-profit organization created during the pandemic by Maggie Baird (Lifetime Climate Activist, Screenwriter and mother to Billie Eilish and FINNEAS), is partnering with Wild Elements and BGCMLA to introduce the Hydro-Wild Lab, bringing plant-based food and educational resources to today’s youth and local community organizations without access. They focus on working with community innovators that have been doing the work in their city to provide tailored resources that will be most impactful.

Boys-Girls Club- Hydro Wild lab

“Through the power of partnership, we can work together, providing strategies to address existing problems and help change the futures,” says Maggie Baird, Founder & President, Support + Feed. “This exciting step (the Hydro-Wild Lab) goes back to our mission, to support organizers and nonprofits that are already doing great work. When we pool our resources, together we can uplift the community”

Committed to sustainable impact, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles is the result of a partnership unifying Los Angeles’ Boys & Girls Clubs that have been serving youth in the region’s most vulnerable neighborhoods since 1960 including Challengers, Watts/Willowbrook, Bell Gardens, Jordan Downs, and Jordan High School sites.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles offers nationally recognized programs in three core areas to ensure the achievement and empowerment of youth and their families: Academic Success, Good Character and Citizenship and Healthy Lifestyles.

“Our Watts community has been long challenged by lack of success,” states Patrick Mahoney, President & CEO Boys & Girls Clubs Metro Los Angeles. “The Hydro-Wild Lab will provide an opportunity BGCMLA youth to grow and consume healthy foods but will also serve as a critical tool for community and family dialogue around creating healthier eating habits. In a community where diabetes has a 72% higher mortality rate than the average community, the Hydro-Wild Lab will serve as a great education and awareness tool that can help save lives.”

The Hydro-Wild Lab is a pilot program that Wild Elements, in partnership with Support + Feed and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles, plans to scale and utilize as a model to bring innovative solutions to other communities nationwide. This educational and collaborative initiative unites the strengths and networks of all three organizations and further expands critical conversations about nutrient dense food access in urban communities.

 

ABOUT WILD ELEMENTS

Wild Elements is an ecosystem of content, community and collective impact building a regenerative future where all kind can thrive. Aiming to reconnect people with nature – to protect biodiversity – Wild Elements champions innovation solutions and inspires our community to take small steps toward personal and planetary wellness. Central to Wild Elements’ mission is its work to shift power and vital resources to women-led environmental solutions driving change. Today’s global traditional philanthropic model only grants .2% of funds to women-led environmental work, yet women are disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis. To change the game, Wild Elements distributes over 88% of its philanthropic dollars to women-led organizations. Wild Elements believes and invests in shifting narrative through inspiring storytelling to impart empathy and let good grow wild so the whole world will follow. To learn more visit wildelements.com.

 

ABOUT SUPPORT + FEED 

Support + Feed is an intersectional nonprofit organization dedicated to creating an equitable, plant-based food system and combating food insecurity and the climate crisis. Founded in Los Angeles by Maggie Baird, Support + Feed has expanded to ten US cities, worked with over 80 community organizations, and supported local economies across the country. Currently Support + Feed is part of the Happier Than Ever Global Tour which will enable them to expand globally including in the UK and Australia. For more information, visit supportandfeed.org.

 

ABOUT BOYS AND GIRLS CLUBS OF METRO LOS ANGELES

The mission of Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (BGCMLA) is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. Committed to sustainable impact, BGCMLA is the result of a partnership unifying Los Angeles’ Boys & Girls Clubs that have been serving youth in the region’s most vulnerable neighborhoods since 1960 including Challengers, Watts/Willowbrook, Bell Gardens, Jordan Downs, and Jordan High School sites. BGCMLA offers nationally recognized programs in three core areas to ensure the achievement and empowerment of youth and their families: Academic Success, Good Character and Citizenship and Healthy Lifestyles. For more information, please visit our website at bgcmla.com.

Actress Erin Michele Soto Rises Through Her Trauma to Return to Her Hit TV Series

Erin Michele Soto Rises Through Her Trauma to Return to Her Hit TV Series

Audiences know Erin Michele Soto from her work in the miniseries Shirley and Shelly and the TV series Studio City, the smash hit and Emmy – winning drama.

Around the world audiences see stars on red carpets, TV and movie screens; and often never consider the challenges these performers face to live their dreams.  

So many people recognize a star’s good looks, their talent, the laughs and tears from the characters they portray. But the audience doesn’t really get to know the person behind that work.  Today Erin is sharing a deeper look into her journey. 

Erin Michele Soto Reveals Her Bright and Her Dark

Recently we had a chance to sit down with Erin Michele Soto and she revealed the brightest and the darkest moments of her story and the excitement yet to come.

Actress Erin Michelle Soto

Like so many, Erin moved to Southern California with big Hollywood dreams. But she did not become the struggling cliche.  She had the talent and good fortune to quickly find work as an actress and as a dancer.  

Tragedy on a Celeb-Filled Dance Floor

Erin Michele Soto’s grace on the dance floor quickly brought her attention.  She found A-list work immediately in Modern, Ballet, Jazz dance genres. Stars of the stage, small screen and silver screen all demanded her time, attention and help.

Actress Erin Michelle Soto

Actress Erin Michelle Soto

Then as her star was rising, suddenly it all crashed down.  Literally.  One day in the middle of dancing, Erin fell, hit her eye and the trauma from the fall punctured her brain.

The next moments created a chronic ailment that took Erin over a year for her to recover.  The glitz and glamour lifestyle was replaced with being bed-ridden and living a small, dark, lonely  life.

Actress Erin Michelle Soto

Hearing Soto reflect back today, there’s still a pain in her eyes and her voice.  But a growing strength and courage in her soul.

Was her journey hard?  Yes.  Painful?  Yes.  Encouraging?  No. 

But, Erin wasn’t done yet.

Ironically, her body really thought she was finished.  She rarely left the house.  She couldn’t socialize with friends.  She forgot how to do the smallest tasks constantly, things like closing her house door; she would routinely black out as she walked through her neighborhood.

The things most people find common, this talented star was suddenly struggling to complete.

“No One Can See My Pain”

Even worse, her mind was playing tricks on her.  

This normally proud, healthy, optimistic person was suddenly having thoughts of self-harm.  It was a dark time.  The good news is, she knew better.  Luckily, she never acted on those dark, harmful thoughts.

Your Village Supports Your Recovery Journey

To meet Erin is to fall in love with her.  Her energy, her spirit, her intelligence, her motivation.  Luckily, even in her darkest moments after her trauma, Erin’s community rallied to cheer her on and find ways to help her while she struggled to live daily life.  She bravely chose to get professional mental help which also supported her and returned her closer to light and happiness.

She learned to over-power her own thoughts and regain positivity.  She now meditates daily and credits that mental strength with her return to courage and creativity.

“I used my imagination

to get back into the world”

Back on Set

Just over a year after her life-changing trauma, Erin was itching to get back to performing.  The injury focused her true passions in using her voice in acting.  Performing, acting, dancing.  But she was dealing with a very foreign feeling: insecurity.  Could she remember her dialogue?  Could her body move as gracefully as it used to?  Would she feel as comfortable acting as she did before?

As a performer, Erin had to “learn to walk” again.

Erin was eager to return and try.  She chose a small, local theater in SoCal’s modest San Fernando Valley.  

“To her surprise, relief and excitement,

all of her worries went away.”  

To her surprise, relief and excitement, all of her worries went away.  Her mind and body cooperated and she had a blast performing again in front of huge crowds.

“If something brings you joy,

push through your fears”

Today, Erin is busier than ever.  She’s currently working on projects for both stage and screen, taking meetings as an actress for both tv and film.

She credits her friends, family, health professionals and community with helping her overcome her dark moments.  Her continued meditation keeps her mind clear and strong.

As a performer, she’s excited to be in front of an audience – whether you’re watching her in-person on stage, on your television or on the big screen.

With confidence, motivation, discipline and support from your community, everyone can rebound from their challenges and return to what they love.  Erin Michele Soto is a brilliant and inspiring example of this.

Follow Erin Michele Soto on her social media at:

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialErinMicheleSoto

https://www.instagram.com/erinmichelesoto

https://twitter.com/erinmichelesoto

 

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