This Month in Music: July Vibes

I listen to music constantly. Work, eat, workout, play — these are some songs that have been traveling with me through July. What songs have been getting you through your month?

7 People, Projects, and Pieces of Art Giving Me Life This Week

It's hard these days. There's so much negativity that just hits us without our consent. We see headlines and videos of things happening in the world that we don't want to see, what we wish we could unsee. What's going to combat that? Well, this week, for me, all of these things did. It's a pretty eclectic and beautiful mix, just how I like it.

John Oliver of Last Week Tonight
John Oliver, and whoever writes with him, are creative, hilarious, intelligent geniuses. I gasp, I laugh, I learn and I wait in anticipation for every new episode. Watch him talk about some sketchy happenings in the local news world these days above.

This Truth. All of This Truth.
It just resonated with me all the way down to the depths of my soul. It's hard out here when you're an empathetic, hopeful, sometimes overly-forgiving dreamer-type. Which leads me to...

YEBBA sings, My Mind
This woman's voice is life. Life, I tell you.

Watch her sing, watch her sing again, watch the reaction videos to her singing, watch those again and then just have her voice in your head for the rest of the day.

Mm, yes, thank you, YEBBA.

Hair Love on Kickstarter
Hair Love is an animated short film about an African American father trying to do his daughters hair for the first time, and I LOVE IT! It's already way exceeded its fundraising goal. I'm super pumped to be a backer and I can't wait to see what they do!

Eartha Kitt's Life-Giving Laughter
But are you willing to compromise within a relationship?

"Compromise? For what? Compromise, what is compromising? Compromising for what reason? To compromise? For what! What is compromise?"

If a man came into your life, wouldn't you want to compromise?

[Laughter] "Stupid."

I love that she asks, What is compromise? There are certainly different types of compromise. And mmm, yes, tell 'em Eartha, I'm not here for the wrong type.

Beleaf in Fatherhood, Father Does Son's Hair
Not only is he doing his son's hair, but he's instructing him with positive and empowering phrases. "I am strong." "Black is beautiful."

This gives me so much life. I love hearing adults speak to children like they're real people. He asks his son, "Who are you?" His son says, "Uh, I don't know!" And he responds, "So you got to find out who you are man, 'kay?" "Why?" "Because if you don't know who you are, they'll tell you who are."


Seeing other peoples' JOY!
Seeing other people smile and laugh reminds me that I'm going to be smiling and laughing again soon if I'm not already. I just love it. Keep smiling and laughing everyone; you're giving me life.


What's been giving you life this week? What's inspired you, resonated with you, been stuck in your mind, have you wanted to share? Tell me all about it in the comments.

5 Ways Placentas Are Not Gross, in Fact They're Actually Amazing

Alright grown-ups, let's give this incredible organ the dang respect it deserves already. For parents-to-be — you're going to see one of these real soon and you should know how you'd like to treat it! 

To those who "ew," oh goodness, without the placenta, you wouldn't be here to "ew" at all my friend! That's right. Once upon a time, you had your very own placenta buddy! Now fix your face (if needed 😂) and read below for some placenta education and resources.🎂

Everyone and Their Ancestral Mama Has Something to Say About Placentas

All around the world people have created significant beliefs and traditions about placentas. Here are a handful, from Birth to Earth:

Swaddling the placenta in blankets and burying under a tree to symbolize ongoing life.

Viewed as life-giving, the placenta is dried and added to certain recipes meant to increase energy and vitality.

Considered the baby's first clothing; buried with the belief that after death, the soul will return to find it.

Placentas buried with items symbolizing the profession the parents hope the child will pursue.

Burned to keep evil spirits from finding it, and burning it closer to home is meant to ensure the child remains close to home.

The Guardian of Parent and Baby's Blood

If you're anything like me before I became a doula, you never thought about how blood type affected pregnancy — O, A, B, AB — what's the big deal, huh?

Turns out, it's a pretty big deal. If the maternal blood system and the baby's blood systems are different and they meet during pregnancy, it could cause the birthing parent's body to create antibodies to get rid of the "intruding" blood, endangering the pregnancy.

The placenta connects the two blood systems without them ever meeting. The baby's blood system travels into the placenta through the umbilical cord, and the birthing parent's blood system travels into the placenta through the uterine wall it's attached to.

In the middle, there's something called "intervillous space" where the nutrients that need to be exchanged can be exchanged (see below). Thank you, placentas!

The Placenta Multitasks All Day E'ryDay

Starting at week twelve, the placenta is fully formed and functional alongside your little one, acting as the lungs, kidneys, liver and immune system for the growing fetus. That's the work of many necessary organs/systems in one temporary one!

Sometimes Placentas Do Double-Duty, Other Times They Double Up!

With every pregnancy a new placenta grows, as unique as the new little one! With the exception, of course, of multiples! What happens then? Depending upon what point at which the egg splits, multiples may share a placenta or each have their own!

"Come on Already and Talk About the Part Where People Eat It." Alright!

There are many ways people have included the placenta in their postpartum health, including smoothies, capsules, creams, tinctures, and more. But why, you ask?

New parents who have consumed the placenta have reported less bleeding after birth, increased milk supply, reduced stress, reduced postpartum depression, increased energy, and improved appearance of hair/skin/nails.

The scientific research to back up these claims is minimal; we need larger and more comprehensive studies, so for now, you'll have to take these other parents' word for it! Of course, not everyone raves about it. I've appreciated the stories of parents who tried and said "Nope, not for me."

It underlines the truth we sometimes overlook in our excitement over this natural wonder: there's still a lot we don't know about the placenta post-birth, and like everything in life, what works for one person won't always work well for the next.

As always, do your research, weigh your options, and listen to your body.

So, what do you think? Is your placenta appreciation growing? Do you know any other amazing placenta facts you'd like to share? Always feel free to share in the comments below!

6 TED Talks to Inspire You to Think Deeply, Laugh, Sigh, Share

I could listen to TED talks all day long. I love listening to people much smarter than me share their knowledge passionately — with conviction, and humor, and beauty. These talks in particular have stuck with me, speaking into the way that I approach my words, my actions and more. I hope that they speak to you as well — and lead you into the TED vortex where you can find your own favorite talks! If you do that, please let me know!

My Road Trip through the Whitest Towns in America • Rich Benjamin • May 2015

"America's Promise Ministries, the religious arm of Aryan Nations, happened to have a three-day retreat during my visit. So I decided to crash it. I'm the only non-Aryan journalist I'm aware of ever to have done so. Among the many memorable episodes of that retreat... is when Abe, an Aryan, sidled up next to me. He slapped my knee, and he said, 'Hey Rich, I just want you to know one thing. We are not white supremacists. We are white separatists. We don't think we're better than you, we just want to be away from you.'"

Every Kid Needs a Champion • Rita Pearson • May 2013

"I gave a quiz, 20 questions. A student missed 18. I put a '+2' on his paper and a big smiley face. 

He said, 'Ms. Pierson, is this an F?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Then why'd you put a smiley face?' I said, 'Because you're on a roll. You got two right. You didn't miss them all.'

I said, 'And when we review this, won't you do better?' He said, 'Yes, ma'am, I can do better.' 

You see, "-18" sucks all the life out of you. '+2'  said, 'I ain't all bad.'"


Do Schools Kill Creativity? • Ken Robinson • February 2006

"When she was at school, she was really hopeless. And the school... wrote to her parents and said, 'We think Gillian has a learning disorder.' She couldn't concentrate; she was fidgeting. I think now they'd say she had ADHD... [So] she went to see this specialist...

[He] turned on the radio that was sitting on his desk. And when [he and her mother] got out, he said to her mother, 'Just stand and watch her.' And the minute they left the room, she was on her feet, moving to the music. And they watched for a few minutes and he turned to her mother and said, 'Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn't sick; she's a dancer. Take her to a dance school.'

She's been responsible for some of the most successful musical theater productions in history, she's given pleasure to millions, and she's a multi-millionaire. Somebody else might have put her on medication and told her to calm down."

A Simple Birth Kit for Mothers in the Developing World • Zubaida Bai • December 2016

"[After working] with experts, medical health professionals and the women themselves... we had a simple and beautiful design... We were able to deliver 'janma,' a clean birth kit in a purse. Janma, meaning "birth," contained a blood-absorbing sheet for the woman to give birth on, a surgical scalpel, a cord clamp, a bar of soap, a pair of gloves and the first cloth to wipe the baby clean. All this came packaged in a beautiful purse that was given to the mother as a gift after all her hard work, that she carried home with pride as a symbol of prosperity.

To date, our kit has impacted over 600,000 mothers and babies around the world...

But women's health issues do not end here... We have facts to prove that if we invest in women and girls and provide them with better health and well-being, they will deliver healthier and wealthier and prosperous communities."


Why Some People Are More Altruistic Than Others • Abigail Marsh • June 2016

"[What] makes extraordinary altruists so different is not just that they're more compassionate than average... what's even more unusual about them is that they're compassionate and altruistic not just towards people who are in their own innermost circle of friends and family.

I say, 'How is it that you're willing to do this thing when so many other people don't?... What is it that makes you so special?'

And what do they say? They say, 'Nothing. There's nothing special about me. I'm just the same as everybody else.'"

The Secret to Effective Nonviolent Resistance • Jamila Raqib • November 2015

"Nonviolent struggle works by destroying an opponent, not physically, but by identifying the institutions that an opponent needs to survive, and then denying them those sources of power.

[Activists protesting corruption in Guatemala] realized that they couldn't just keep protesting and ask the president to resign. They needed to leave him no choice. So they organized a general strike... In Guatemala City alone, over 400 businesses and schools shut their doors. Meanwhile, farmers throughout the country blocked major roads. Within five days, the president, along with dozens of other government officials, resigned already."

Have some favorite TED talks of your own? Share them with me in the comments below!