Category Archives: Review

Go Magazine’s Red Hot Entrepreneurs of 2014

Go Magazine Girls

That’s right, we’re red hot entrepreneurs!!! Read more about it by clicking on this super fly link!

Watch out world here we come! :]

– Mushpa y Mensa

Health Care 101… The New Obama Care Explained

Recently I’ve been looking into insurance, and understanding this new health care reform. Not being insured by a workplace, being self-employed and having one more year to be covered under my parent’s insurance, it is time that we get this new “Obama Care” straight.

Positives? We actually might have some sort of resemblance to decent (or almost barely there) health coverage in the Untied States. We are not to Canada’s or European standards, but we have to admit that for the country where we live in, where $$$ is power, this is a breath of fresh air.

Here is a small video that shows in 4 minutes how this new Affordable Health Care Act, will function.





Negatives? YES! It is still not UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE, by the people for the people. We will still run insurance through these huge corporations, and they will still be making profits on human health, and lives. The basis for all this system is STILL profit. Insurance companies will be able to control the market place, “The Exchange”, just like all other market places, are operated by economic incentives, and insurance companies will raise premiums if they find that they are not making business. 31 million new covered?…by insurance companies.

I am still a little fuzzy about this reform, but why should it be clear? It does not seem to be straight forward, and it is only a bandage to the sickness that health coverage is in this country. It is like trying to fight cancer with cough medicine and aspirin. It might get rid of the pain for an hour or two, but the sickness still grows.

Let’s hope that 2014 brings on positive results, and more awareness on what actually needs to be done….FIND A REAL CURE!

Here’s another video that explains further this new law.





Frustrated but always caring,


“Queen of The Sun: What are Bees Telling Us?”

queen of the sun

In the fall of 2006, newspapers around the United States began to publicize a unnerving phenomenon. Honeybees were a mysteriously disappearing from beehives all around the nation. Dave Hackenburg, a outspoken beekeeper, and the first to raise a stir about the crisis, reported that bees were simply vanishing from his hives. That fall, beekeepers and commercial beekeeping enterprises around the country reported losses of 30% with some beekeepers reporting losses up to 90% of all of their colonies.

I want to post a quick review about this wonderful documentary, Queen of the Sun: What are Bees Telling Us?, and just an overall shout out to the hard workers who keep us fed and alive…The Bees in our world!

It is incredible how much I learned yesterday watching this, and it’s also a bit chilling to know that these little animals are at incredible risk of disappearing from this earth, and even more daunting, our system of agriculture disappearing with them. Meaning, we are at risk as well. Our whole ecosystem actually!


From how bees choose their beekeepers, to laws banning communities from bee-keeping, to the mass production and mass destruction of honey and bees, this film really shines a light on these little workers that pollinate and do so much for us. Of course, it forms a full circle and goes back to the root of many of our agricultural conundrums in our world: Massive industrial agriculture and factory farming and how it is destroying our world. Can you believe that factory farmers actually feed CORN SYRUP to the producers of honey!?!?!  I found this disgusting, outrageous, and it hurt me so much.

So what to do to help bees? The producers, filmmakers and beekeepers that put together this film have given us helpful things that we can do to keep this beautiful little creatures in our world today. So let’s get started!

queen of the bees 


Bees are losing habitat all around the world due to intensive monoculture-based farming practices, pristine green (but flower-barren) sprawling suburban lawns and from the destruction of native landscapes. Just planting flowers in your garden, yard, or in a planter will help provide bees with forage. Avoid chemically treating your flowers as chemicals can leach into pollen and negatively affect the bees systems. Plant plenty of the same type of bloom together, bees like volume of forage (a sq. yard is a good estimate).

Here are a few examples of good plant varieties: Spring – lilacs, penstemon, lavender, sage, verbena, and wisteria. Summer – Mint, cosmos, squash, tomatoes, pumpkins, sunflowers, oregano, rosemary, poppies, black-eyed Susan, passion flower vine, honeysuckle. Fall – Fuschia, mint, bush sunflower, sage, verbena, toadflax. For a great list of plants honeybees love click here



Contrary to popular belief, a lawn full of clover and dandelions is not just a good thing—it’s a great thing! A haven for honeybees (and other native pollinators too). Don’t be so nervous about letting your lawn live a little. Wildflowers, many of which we might classify as weeds, are some of the most important food sources for native North American bees. If some of these are “weeds” you chose to get rid of (say you want to pull out that blackberry bush that’s taking over), let it bloom first for the bees and then before it goes to seed, pull it out or trim it back!



Yes, they make your lawn look pristine and pretty, but they’re actually doing the opposite to the life in your biosphere. The chemicals and pest treatments you put on your lawn and garden can cause damange to the honeybees systems. These treatments are especially damaging if applied while the flowers are in bloom as they will get into the pollen and nectar and be taken back to the bee hive where they also get into the honey—which in turn means they can get into us. Pesticides, specifically neo-nicotinoid varieties have been one of the major culprits in Colony Collapse Disorder.



The honey you buy directly sends a message to beekeepers about how they should keep their bees. For this reason, and for your own personal health, strive to buy local, raw honey that is from hives that are not treated by chemicals. It can be hard to find out what is truly “local” and truly “raw”–and even harder yet to find out what is untreated. Here’s a few guidelines: If you find it in the grocery store and it’s imported from China, don’t buy it. There have been a number of cases recently of chemically contaminated honey coming from China. If it’s coming from the grocery store, but it doesn’t say the words “pure” or “raw” and you can’t read in the description that it’s untreated by chemicals, don’t buy it. If it’s untreated, the label will say, as this is an important selling point. We recommend a simple solution for most people. Go to your farmer’s market and shake hands with the beekeepers you meet. There are beekeepers at nearly every farmer’s market selling their honey and other products. Have a conversation with them, find out what they are doing to their hives, and how they are keeping their bees. If they are thoughtful, respectful beekeepers who keep their bees in a sustainable, natural way, then make a new friend and support them!



You may not have known this one—but it’s easy and it’s true! If you have a lot of bees starting to come to your new garden of native plants, wildflowers and flowering herbs, put a little water basin out (a bird bath with some stones in it for them to crawl on does a nice trick). They will appreciate it!



What’s true for honey generally holds true for the rest of our food. Buying local means eating seasonally as well, and buying local from a farmer that you know means you know if that food is coming from a monoculture or not. This is much easier in the summer when you can get your fresh produce from a local farmer’s market. Another option is to get your food from a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm. Keep in mind, USDA Organic Certification can be expensive and you may find many great farmers and beekeepers with excellent food and honey that isn’t USDA certified simply because they don’t produce a high quantity or opt for the expense of certification. Don’t let this get in the way of supporting them and if you’re worried about their products—have a conversation with them.  (Note – A huge challenge for beekeepers is to keep their bees in an area where there is no chemical spray within 3 miles, as this is really what is required to guarantee truly organic honey. All the more reason for us all to avoid the use of harsh chemicals.)



Look up a local bee association that offers classes with natural approaches in your community and link up. Visit our resources & links page to start reading and exploring first steps!



Honeybees are vegetarians. They want to forage pollen and nectar from flowers up to three miles from their hive and bring that food back to provide food for themselves and the beehive. Contrary to what the media might have us believe, they are not out to sting us. Here are a few tips to avoid getting stung. 1. Stay still and calm if a bee is around you or lands on you. Many bees will land on you and sniff you out. They can smell the pheromones that come with fear and anger it can be a trigger for them to sting you. 2. Don’t stand in front of a hive opening, or a pathway to a concentration of flowers. Bees are busy running back and forth from the hive, and if you don’t get in their way, they won’t be in yours. 3. Learn to differentiate between honeybees and wasps. Honeybees die after they sting humans (but not after they sting other bees!), wasps do not. Wasps are carnivores, so they like your lunch-meats and soda. Honeybees are vegetarians. For a quick lesson on their differences click here.



There are so many fun ways to help and be a voice for the bees. Share about the importance of bees at local community meetings, at conferences, in schools and universities, and on on-line message boards and forums. Let them know about QUEEN OF THE SUN and other great media out there that is in support of the honeybee.

Invite your friends and family to attend a screening of QUEEN OF THE SUN in your area. Find screening locations. – (You can also see it on Netflix “Watch it Now”.) Be part of our Community Screening Campaign by hosting a house-party or larger screening in your area! Click here to learn more.-If you are part of an educational institution, ask your institution to purchase an Educational DVD of QUEEN OF THE SUN (available HERE)

 queen of the sun
Let’s Bee Bee-utiful!
: D
– Mensa

Tea Tree Oil: Magic Potion or Poison?

tea tree oil

So the other day we noticed that we have in our home tea-tree oil infused goodies. Our shampoo, our conditioner and we use tea tree oil for unwanted, unhappy pimples. And it really does work! I had heard this little essential oil had many purposes, but who would have known it was crazy useful for everything! From pimples, to cleaning to Woohoo! Everything… Maybe I should ditch everything in my medicine cabinet and buy a lifetime supply of tea-tree oil!

So where does it come from? Australia. From the plant Melaleuca alternifolia.

tea tree oil

What can it be used for? A MILLION THINGS!

  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-infectious
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiparasitic
  • Antiseptic
  • Antiviral
  • Decongestant
  • Digestive
  • Expectorant
  • Immune stimulant
  • Insecticidal
  • Neurotonic
  • Stimulant
  • Tissue regenerative

tea tree oil

Got Acne? dilute with water and use for an overall treatment, or dab a very small amount on acne breakouts.

Got Allergies? You can massage it into the chest, abdomen or “the reflex points of the feet”

Stinky Feet? A couple of drops and soak your feet in, or massage directly.

Canker soar? Apply a dab!

Clean Freak? Add a couple of drops  to your home-made everyday cleaner.

Stuffed nose and congestion? Boil some water and inhale steam infused with some oil. Minty smell will clear you up!

Cuts, Scrapes or Burns? Disinfect it with a slight diluted solution and cleanse infected areas with a one drop to one cup of water mixture.

Getting Pierced or a Tattoo? Use it undiluted to avoid infections.

Anything else? Yes! Also vaginal infections, warts, wounds, nail infections, dandruff sunburns and rashes!

BUT…I ran into this article that says that tea-tree oil might be potentially toxic for your cats and its bad bad bad…so I decided to look into it a bit more.


Yes, if you swallow and ingest a slight amount of this oil, it could harm you.  The National Capital Poison Center says they get twice as many calls regarding tea-tree oil poisoning than any other oil. Yet, they are not specific about their statistics so its hard to compare.

There are two statements that they make that I think are significant and should be taken as precaution when using this mighty oil.


“Tea tree oil and pets: Veterinary toxicologists have reported that large amounts of tea tree oil applied to the skin of cats and dogs caused poisoning. Symptoms have included muscle tremors, weakness, difficulty in walking, low body temperature, and excessive salivation. With pets, as with people, following label instructions is essential.”


“Non-medicinal uses: …  “natural” does not necessarily mean “non-toxic” or “non-poisonous”; tea tree oil is irritating to some people and is poisonous to swallow….There is some scientific evidence that tea tree oil can be effective for certain skin conditions. It is poisonous if swallowed and so should not be used in or around the mouth at all.”

The second point should be taken with more consideration because when I did my research I ran into information regarding its use as a mouthwash, canker sore, cold sore and cavity prevention oil. Many people have used it around and within the mouth and promote such uses, so I don’t think that the likelihood that you will turn up dead will be high….BUT I would use it with precaution if you are allergic to any other oils, if you are pregnant and if you have other conditions which you already need to take extra care for.

So is it a super oil with multiple amazing uses? I’d say so!

Am I going to party hard with my cat and take shots like it’s peppermint schnapps?  Probably not….

fashionable cat

Does it smell very very good and is better than buying fifteen different products to cure many things? YES!

If you would like, you can check out some sources below to get more descriptive and detailed uses for this mighty essential oil as well as people’s concern with it.

Sustainable Baby Steps, Medicine Net, General Info, Toxic to Cats

What!? What!?



Happy Birthday Michelangelo!

Today I went to the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary, and in  honor of the museum’s thirtieth anniversary they held an exhibit titled Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane, Masterpiece Drawings from the Casa Buonarroti.

My whole family went, including a crew of three kids under the age of 9 (I’m sure the museum staff loved us with our loud selves, and our “find the heads in the painting!” games).

The exhibit was a collection of twenty-five Michelangelo drawings. Many of them were sketches of architectural designs, including a plan for the Pichola Libreria of the Laurentian Library and a plan for the Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Rome.

Other drawings included the iconic Madonna and Child. Like many of his renderings, the female figures are as toned as can be, most likely because many of the times he used male models to draw from life.


“The Christ Child is as robustly muscled and smoothly polished as a piece of sculputre, the artist’s hand made invisible by infinitesimal overlapping touches. The sculptural quality of the Child recalls the perfect beauty of cassical statuary and the Child’s divinity, which is contrasted with the Madonna’s unfinished form.”

What made me the most curious about this drawing was how the paper through out had changed tones to a light brown, but the Child’s highlights were still brilliant and intact. The highlights, after 500 years were still highlighting where the light was coming from and were brighter than the paper itself!

My favorite out of all the drawings, which automatically were narrowed down to a handful mainly because buildings and architecture do not move me at all (unless they have human figures sculpted on them!), was the drawing of Cleopatra given as a gift for Tommaso de’Cavalieri, a young nobleman. A couple of reasons why she was my favorite piece in the exhibition…


First of all she is beautiful. Plain and simple. You could feel those curls curling up and twisting behind her head. You could see her gaze looking down, and the skin in her forehead pushed up making her seem like she is just in anguish, like she knows what her fate is and the snake around her breasts and shoulders only confirms it.

The amazing thing about this drawing is that it wasn’t until twenty-five years ago that after being studied and closely observed, scholars discovered that there was a paper backing that covered the back of the drawing. This revealed a second drawing! This one was of the same Cleopatra yet this time, her look and her facial expression was a more clear reflection of how Michelangelo maybe really wanted to portray anguish and desperation. I wonder what made him change his mind? And I wonder why he covered it with another piece of paper instead of using a new one, and still gave it as a gift?! What was his tricky mind up to?…


Regardless, it was a great exhibition. The best part of it though was when my little soon-to-be-nine-year-old sister says to me “Hey Memi, did you know it was Michelangelo’s birthday today?!?” What? No I did not!

Coincidence? Probably not : )

Happy Birthday Michelangelo!