January/February 2021 Blu Dream Health Collective Magazine

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h e a l t h




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Blu Dream Health Collective

What's Inside?

Where is Wicket?

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The Publisher's Note Vestibular Disorders Through Misti's Looking-Glass Through Stephanie's Looking-Glass Alice in Wonderland Jimmy Fremgen-Make a Difference Self-Care With Endometriosis


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You Answered: 2021 Goals Ashley from Behind the Visible Film Brandon Mouw: I'm Still Kickin' Artist Spotlight: Nikky Box HERBx - Savanna Riley ImagineWe Publishers Author Tahnee Jones


LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER Onto The Next Chapter It’s a sparkling new year! We just exited 2020 painfully slow and dove fearlessly into 2021, hoping it was all just a dream. For many, their lives became a Game of Thrones episode but with toilet paper and facemasks. For those in the chronic illness community, life didn’t change too much. Finally, wearing a mask didn’t warrant strange looks. Many people became aware that others might be immunocompromised, despite how they look. For once, people were able to work or go to school from home. You could actually call out sick and not fear losing your job or failing school. As we waltz into 2021, it may just be another day but it helps to feel like a seedling is about to sprout. Perhaps you want develop healthier lifestyle choices or finally launch that business endeavor or creative project. Maybe you want to read more books or start journaling. Whatever it is, make it light and fun, and give yourself patience and love. Make sure to subscribe to the blog at bludreamhealth.com so you don’t miss out on new magazine issues, podcast episodes, and other exciting content. If you’re interested in being a contributor or know someone who might be interested, please email me at: bludreamhealth.com, subject line: “Contributor.”

Producer/Creator: Misti Blu Day McDermott @mistibluday Contributors: Nikky Box @innaboxdesign Laura Halcom @aura_laurakay Savanna Riley @theHERBx Em @vestibular_warrior Etta @vestibularguru @find_your_chappiness Brandon Mouw @brandonmouwofficial Tahnee Jones @authortahneejones Jimmy Fremgen @jimmy_fremgen Ashley @behindthevisiblefilm

Cover Art: Stephanie & Keith Spoly @cosmiccapture Credits: Page 8

Connect With BDHC

Here’s to continuing to build a world together with education, compassion, and equality. Best Wishes, Misti Blu

On The Cover: Alice In Wonderland Pages 5, 6, 7, & 8



Blu Dream Health Collective

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Vestibular Disorders

Vestibular disorders can cause dizziness and vertigo, as well as many other unusual symptoms. This balance disorder can cause nausea, visual disturbances, and hearing issues, to name a few. It starts in the vestibular system, between your inner ear and brain. “You are not alone. We are stronger together and we can help each other with support, compassion, and love through all the hard times. Remember that you have people that are counting on you to keep fighting and to thrive.” - @find_your_chappiness

"When the attack hits, I can see but I’ve entered that alternate dimension (derealization setting in). I’m back behind my window and doing everything I can to fight it. Pounding on the glass but I can’t break it. It’s a confusing dimension with no visible exit. I know that I’m still here on this earthly plane but simultaneously feel like I’m not here at all. My main goal becomes not to get sucked in...too deep. To keep hold of reality and claw my way out because I know I can. I’ve been here before. I’m just not sure how long it will take and how dark it’ll get before I find the light." -Em Englert

"Having Alice in Wonderland syndrome is one of the scariest and strangest symptoms I have experienced. It lingers when I am not having other symptoms and it has no treatment. You can be walking down the street, then bam! You feel like you aren’t living in your body and that you are in some kind of simulation." -Etta @vestibularguru

@vestibular_warrior www.bliss-out.co

Blu Dream Health Collective

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To address health stigmas, medical bias, healthcare inequality, mental health, and other important topics with health advocates, authors, activists, and healthcare providers.

Podcast - Publication - Community @bludreamhealth bludreamhealth.com

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@mistibluday mistibludream.com

Through Misti’s Looking-Glass

@cosmiccapture cosmiccapture.com

Through Stephanie’s Looking-Glass About Cosmic Capture We’re a team of two people, a yin-yang partnership. We love to be out in nature. You will find that a lot of the images that we love to share are the ones that we felt completely inspired to take by the natural world. Painting with the colors of the sunset. Watching where the light meets the shadows. Hiking with our camera gear and setting up for a long exposure of a waterfall with frozen fingers and more excitement than necessary. We also work great with creative projects for small businesses, building content, and polishing a brand’s aesthetic. We strive to create content that is both on-brand and elevates the business to increase awareness, convert sales, and encourage engagement. Aside from photography, we have a mutual skillset in Videography, Video Editing, Graphic Design, and Surrealism Photo-Compositing.We look forward to getting to know you and assisting you with your projects! Be sure to view our work at www.cosmiccapture.com and follow us on Instagram @cosmiccapture

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Always Tea Time: Whooooooo Are Youuuuuuuuu?

"It's no use going back to yesterday. I was a different person then." -Lewis Carroll Central Florida based photographer, Stephanie Spoly, has been working in the field of photography, graphic design, and creative concepts in advertising for the past 6 years. She has a detailed and conceptual way of looking at the world. Rather than picking just one genre of creativity, she choses to explore many mediums and art styles. Stephanie is inspired by works that can translate to meaningful messages and create a positive impact on the world and community around her. Stephanie's long term goals are to become a published author, travel the world, and visit ALL of the coziest cafe's. @cosmiccapture Misti Blu thrives on being creative. She is the owner of Wildling Apothecary, which she launched 4 years ago while her health was at its worst. She wanted clean organic products, which she ended up wanting to share her creations with others. Misti has also been a licensed cosmetologist for the past decade, and a photographer for even longer. She still loves to enjoy creating art but it is more of a passion than a career. She now has her own podcast, this magazine, and other media outlets to raise awareness on chronic illness and mental health. She is currently working on her Bachelors in Bioedical Science and conducting undergrad research. Misti has heart conditions and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. @mistibluday Astrid Phillips, is a teen warrior. She is passionate about equal rights. Astrid is Misti’s daughter and she also has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and POTS. @astridphillipss

Alana Marshall and Red Campitelli are identical twins and they used to wrestle in high school. Alana is passionate about fashion and crafting. She is unaware of how impressively talented she is. She has created homemade costumes for her kids, Stone and River. Her favorite thing to do is to play dress up. She loves all things vingtage. @pandakitty85 Red is a professional body piercer and she has been sober since March of 2016. Red is passionate about helping others to come clean. She is newly engaged and has a pup named Freedom. She is full of life and loves adventure. Red is also very athletic, playing kickball, softball, and kickboxing. @redcampitelli Joy McGregor is a licensed esthetician for the last decade. She is a proud Texan and loves to craft. Joy specializes in makeup but also loves the art of skincare. She has a background in fundraising, volunteering for many organizations, and is very involved in her son Colton’s Scouts BSA. She is passionate about women and children’s rights as well as protecting the animals. “Tease it to Jesus” @joyousmac Together these creative Florida friends teamed up to fall down the rabbit hole, creating the vibe of a favorite story by Lewis Carroll: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. They were inspired by raising awareness on vestibular disorders while also getting great photos for Wildling Apothecary’s new Alice line. Most importantly, having fun and getting creative during a challenging time inspired them. Everyone was equally involved and had an important role in the production of the shoot.

Wildling Apothecary

Use promo code: BLUDREAMHEALTH to save 10% at checkout! mistibludream.com/shop @WildlingApothecaryUS

Alice in Wonderland Photo Shoot Credits: Cheshire Cat: Red Campitelli @redcampitelli Rabbit: Astrid Phillips @astridphillipss The Queen/Photographer: Stephanie Spoly @cosmiccapture Alice/Photographer/Hair/MU Assistant: Misti Blu @mistibluday Caterpillar/Wardrobe Stylist Assistant: Alana Marshall @pandakitty85 The Mad Hatter/Makeup Artist/Camera Assistant: Joy McGregor @joyousmac Product Line/Decor: Wildling Apothecary @WildlingApothecaryUS *This was an equal collaborative team effort for all involved

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5 Ways to Actually Make a Difference in Your Community by Jimmy Fremgen


Run for something Seriously! After spending my career working for and around different elected leaders, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for us to have a diversity of opinions in our elected office. Plus, you’re smarter than them anyway...trust me. There are lots of nonprofits dedicated to supporting first time and local candidates, you can be one of them. Find out who represents you. If you live in the United States you have a long line of people that have sworn an oath to protect and serve YOU. This includes your President, US Senators, US Representative, Governor, State legislators, Mayor, County Supervisors, City Councilmembers, School Board Members, Utility Board Members, Community college board members, and even more! That’s a lot of people just for you. If you want or need something changed in your community, I guarantee you can find someone willing to help you on that list. Visit https://myreps.datamade.us/ to get started

Go meet your local representatives and their staff Public service can be a mind numbing job and one of the most invigorating things for someone who is struggling to stay motivated is to meet the people that they are doing the work for. You may just give those people the boost they need by making it personal again. Now that you have your list of representatives, start by looking at the websites of the elected officials that are most relevant to your current concerns in your community. Can’t figure out who to call? Start with your city council or county supervisor. They are positioned in the middle of the system and will have a great idea of who to follow up with.


Educate yourself using reliable news sources I’m not trying to take your Facebook addiction away, but maybe focus on cute baby pictures instead of conspiracy theories? Visit AllSides.com to get a nuanced perspective on all sides of the major news topics of the day. If you would like some tips on evaluating the news, check out my Fake News tips on my youtube channel: Youtube.com/JimmyFremgen

Take responsibility for making a change in our world Vote every time. There are WAY more opportunities to vote than just in presidential years. For example, right now all over the country, both the Republican and Democratic parties are electing their leadership for the next few years. If you live in a city, you are probably mostly represented by democrats and the decisions of who the party will endorse is going to affect who you get to vote on. If you live in a more rural area the same is true of the Republican party. These elections are decided by tiny margins because people don’t know about them. Do some research and make your voice heard.


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If 2020 has taught us anything it is how interconnected our world really is. The decisions by a chosen few can affect all of us. Whether this means suffering in poisoned air like we did in California during the brutal wildfire season or losing your business because the local economy wasn’t strong enough to support small business owners during a recession, the decisions we make at the ballot box matter. Being an informed participant in our democracy is the fastest way to get people to listen to you and represent you effectively. Keep track of what elections are coming up. Jimmy Fremgen was a history teacher before serving as congressional investigator for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He has worked in the United States Senate, House, California State Legislature, and is now a candidate for Assembly District Delegate in Sacramento, California. Learn more about Jimmy and his work at jimmyfremgen.com and by connecting with him through social media. Instagram: @jimmy_fremgen TikTok: @JimmyFremgen Twitter: @JimmyFremgen YouTube: Youtube.com/JimmyFremgen

Self Care with Endometriosis & Chronic Illness

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by Laura Kay Halcom

aura ura_l



It took some trial and error for me in the beginning, but as I got to know my body better I learned how to get myself through the flares. Here are 5 tips for self-care when dealing with Endometriosis and chronic illness. These help me get through the hard days and help me to promote positivity in my physical, mental, and emotional health.

1. Stretching/Dancing: When my body feels tight and sharp, gentle movement like stretching and swaying help to stimulate positive sensations that help distract and dissolve the pains.

2. Panic Box: I have a go-box for my partner for when I am so bad off that I can't communicate. It includes tools like meds, a stress ball, essential oils, etc. to help get me through a panic attack or a spasm episode. I also have a note in the box with a list of helpful instructions on how to take care of me: things to offer, things to say, and things not to say. It's super helpful when everything feels panicked. Having it and being prepared helps tomorrow's unknowns feel less scary. 3. Shower/Water: A big thing on the list is water therapy, whether that's drinking a glass of water or getting in the shower or bath. Water always helps and it's so important. Soak in salts for body aches. Invest in a shower chair if you get weak or have dizzy spells in the shower. I love mine! 4. Sensory Therapy: Just like the water helps stimulate good sensory reactions, treat yourself to something soft, or something that smells good to you. I like peppermint. Put on your favorite songs or some peaceful meditation music to help chill out. Changing the lights helps a lot too. Help regain control of your body by taking control of your environment. 5. Creative Outlet: Paint, music, dance, or whatever medium you prefer; have a way to create and express yourself. I enjoy photography, nature, and bird watching. When I'm feeling bad, I try to go to a park because being outside helps me so much.

@redcampitelli: To grow as a person spiritually and to continue to gain and improve self love and character. To marry the man of my dreams andto have the happiest and healthiest year of my life.

@chronicallyjohanna: My goal for 2021is to internalise the phrase, "I am enough." No matter what comes my way, I will be content and be in peace with myself.

@son_o_darron: I want to be more active as a person, and also to be happier.

@vestibularguru: To find my balance (literally)

What are your 2021 dreams & goals? @bludreamhealth Instagram Question @steerasays: Definitely to thrive and not just survive

@astridphillipss: To get better grades and to work on complimenting myself instead of bringing myself down.

@guns_of_granite: I want to work on building a career that allows me to do what I love and not break my backin the process!

@joyousmac: Better health for me and my family, to build a steady clientele, and to write a children's book..

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Ashley Rippentrop, Director and Producer of Behind the Visible Film

behindthevisiblefilm.com My name is Ashley, I'm 29 years old and I have been living with chronic illness for over a decade. The first really noticeable symptoms began around age 14 and as I got older and was exposed to other things like concussions, weird viruses, and changing hormones, my conditions progressed. I'm currently living with POTS, chronic migraines, MCAD, autonomic neuropathy, autoimmune issues, daily persistent headaches, sleep apnea, and a couple other things that I know of. I never know how I will feel day to day, but one thing that remains constant is that I have symptoms every day. I don't have a "headache free" day, but rather the pain varies in intensity. Some days, a migraine comes over me and all I can do is lie in bed in the dark with ice packs on my head. Other days, my headache is tolerable and I can function fairly well. Some other symptoms I have pretty frequently if not daily are brain fog, fatigue, chest pains, dizziness, standing intolerance, post exertional malaise, and just feeling flu-like. Though it’s a constant juggling act managing symptoms, medications, doctors appointments, etc, I'm in a much better place overall than I have been in years. I attribute this to a couple main things. For one, receiving some actual diagnoses after years of misdiagnosis and feeling dismissed and not believed has given me validation and comfort in knowing what I'm up against. Secondly, finding purpose within my suffering and illness has been huge. Over the last three years, my husband and I have worked on a documentary about POTS, showing what it's like to live with this invisible illness. The hope for our film is that we can help the general public, medical community, caregivers and other loved ones better understand what we go through. It has been so moving already to see how even just our trailer has been resonating with so many in this community and we hope the full film does that x10 and helps create more understanding and empathy for those who suffer from this illness. Our trailer is out and can be watched via our website: www.behindthevisiblefilm.com or on our Instagram @behindthevisiblefilm Ashley Rippentrop


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Brandon Mouw: I'm Still Kickin' brandonmouw.com


Brandon Mouw from Southern California was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes at age 3, stage 3 kidney disease and Brittle Hypoglycemic Unaware Diabetes age 29. He was a well-controlled diabetic till age 29 until he had kidney stones removed. Suddenly Brandon became an uncontrollable diabetic that made his blood sugars too low to function. After dying twice, he was told he needed a pancreas-only transplant to save his life. What is a common misconception related to your illness? I did it to myself from not taking care of myself, or that I can undue what is wrong with an eating and exercise regime.

How long did it take to get a diagnosis? Did you have any misdiagnoses? It took over a year to get diagnosed as a brittle diabetic after doctoring and trying to find out what was causing me to pass out and have such bad hypoglycemia. After the diagnosis, it was trying every different treatment the doctors could throw at me—to no avail. Things like eat every 15 minutes, taking different insulins, diabetic alert dog, diet changes, remaining “stress free,” you name it and they had me try it. Finally, a new doctor that I had an appointment with, while doctor shopping, knew exactly what I needed and that was a pancreas-only transplant. It was the only way to stop my body from shutting down; and, my only chance at living past two years. No misdiagnoses, but suggestions and tests for every different autoimmune disease they could throw at me. It was assumed I had gastroparesis due to the diabetes complications from my kidney stone issue that would not allow my body to break down food correctly. What helps you? What do you do to take care of yourself? I would say it’s a combination of a lot of little things added together that help me. I use my neck/back brace intermittently, heating pads help me, topical CBD salves are great, my sequential compression devices are awesome, making lifestyle changes, and then of course my medications. Lifestyle changes is easily the largest singular factor that has helped me. Learning how to properly pace myself and not over-do it has helped immensely. I started my own business, and I make sure to schedule in breaks and then I don’t work Wednesdays either so that I can spread out the work and get enough rest. I’m really privileged to be able to do that, but if you’re in the position to advocate for yourself and the amount you work or study, I highly recommend spacing things out and adding in breaks when you can. Continue...

How is your mental health affected and how do you manage that? Mentally, I am in the best place I’ve ever been because I learned that the impossible can be possible when I was my own advocate, doctor shopped, and did all I possibly could to find out what was wrong. When I struggle, and it happens, I think about the good times and look forward to the plans I have in the future that I will enjoy. Breaking it down further, I know the sun will rise in the morning and my goals is to hang on for dear life till the next day arrives with something new. What is a scary/difficult moment in your life and what was the best? (In regards to your condition)

Most scary was having to be vulnerable and ask for help when I was no longer capable of taking care of myself. Best moment in my life was when I woke up from a successful surgery and the transplant was working. On the other hand, It also was being vulnerable because it taught me that there are good people in the world, changed my whole life perspective, and allowed me to keep on kickin’ long enough to live. I would not be alive if it wasn’t for the help of others and an organ donor. Please register to be an organ donor.

What advice do you have for others who are recently diagnosed? You are not alone. There is a community of people with chronic illness that are there to support, relate, and motivate you. What would you like others to know about your illness? (to family, friends, coworkers of someone with your condition) I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m capable of anything. It has allowed me the opportunity to find out what I value most in life. And, I am so thankful for people who have helped me and followed me on this journey. brandonmouw.com Instagram: brandonmouwofficial Facebook.com/brandonmouwofficail Twitter: bmouwofficial

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Artist Feature: Nikky Box



Nikky Box is from London and was diagnosed with Endometriosis in January 2020 via private health care. She had an internal examination and an MRI scan and both revealed severe stage 4 endometriosis. Nikky was also diagnosed with a Chronic UTI in 2018. It took her a long 14 years for a diagnosis. Endometriosis affects 1 in 10. “I distract myself with my art. I am so lucky to have built up my own small business from scratch to help manage my illness better. When I started my business, I had no idea I had endometriosis but I knew something wasn’t right. I was passing out at work a lot, in excruciating pain, and something needed to change. It was the best move I ever made! Now I have learned to not work so hard (although I want to) and to have a self-care routine. I journal, use tarot cards, nap when I need to, and have many long hot Epsom salt baths. The biggest thing that helped me was also changing my diet, which I actually did many years before my diagnosis. I worked out that my triggers are dairy, soya, sugar, and gluten.” “Allow yourself to grieve. It’s so important to go through the motions. I personally do well when I ignore things and carry on as normal as possible until I can no longer ignore them! But when I was diagnosed, I chose to speak to everyone about it and educate as many people as possible. I am quite the advocate now days! Please don’t be afraid to talk to people, even if they don’t understand and judge you. That’s on them, not you.”

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Savanna is a Marketing Consultant experienced in executing marketing strategy and campaigns for corporate, political, cannabis and nonprofit clients. She is also Founder of Simplyr Agency and the women-owned digital forum The HERBx. Currently in Long Beach, CA she is a Marketing Consultant providing consultation, strategic planning and communication, community outreach, marketing strategy, and coordination of events for various clients. Some of the notable organizations she has worked with and currently work with are Khemia Manufacturing, CB1 Brands, Left Coast Ventures, IDEATE California, Communities in Schools, Fathers and Families of San Joaquin County, Five Star Extracts, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, TruConnect Mobile, PolicyLink, Byte, GoodRx, The Greenlining Institute, California Endowment and Unidos US (formerly NCLR). Previously, she was a Field Marketing Specialist for Left Coast Ventures where she helped develop, execute, and monitor marketing programs across a variety of channels. Her work included researching the market, analyzing trends to help define the organization's marketing strategy, and how to best reach the target market. Prior to Left Coast Ventures, she worked as a Market Manager for CB1 Brands managing accounts in the Northern California sales territory. She has also spent time as a Lobbyist for The Quintana Cruz Company working with clients from a variety of sectors including cannabis, tribal and animal welfare. In her spare time, Savanna is also a cannabis policy and social equity advocate. She has helped educate and mentor CORE Program applicants on marketing strategies for their new businesses. Savanna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Public Relations from CSU Sacramento and an Associates of Arts in Liberal Studies from Shasta College







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Meet Author Tahnee Jones

Tahnee Jones is a mother, author, and entrepreneur. She is the co-host of #Trending with Aladdin and Tahnee. Tahnee has a passion for life, fueled by vowing to a life of positivity despite battling a debilitating chronic illness. Tahnee resides in Dallas, Texas but has found a love and connection with Nigeria that she discovered years ago. What is your official diagnosis? Tell us a little about it. Degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and permanent nerve damage stemming from my spine. My condition is genetic, it just so happened to catch me early at the age of 28. I've endured 3 major spinal surgeries and countless minor procedures. The condition causes me to live with chronic pain and limited mobility. How long did it take to get a diagnosis? Did you have any misdiagnoses? I was diagnosed correctly when I immediately decided to get a professional opinion. What is your main struggle with your illness? Chronic pain and limited mobility. I had to modify my life tremendously. What is a common misconception related to your illness? That because I "don't look sick" or don't look like I'm in pain...I can't be disabled or actually in pain. What helps you? What do you do to take care of yourself? Medication, holistic remedies such a massages, and morale boosting activities such as photoshoots.


Dress: Davia Newman

"Just because I am able to do something one day, doesn't mean my body can tolerate it the next." "Seek help if needed and don't be afraid to reach out to other chronic illness warriors." @authortahneejones

How is your mental health affected and how do you manage that? My mental health was once dramatically affected. I struggled with depression and anxiety due to my sudden change in lifestyle. I sought out therapy and I listen to alot of self help audiobooks. Journaling is also a major help! What is a scary/difficult moment in your life and what was the best? (In regards to your condition) In 2016 during my second spinal surgery, I was overdosed with a strong antibiotic and almost lost my life. A two day hospital stay turned into 1 month. The best moment was being able to compete in my first beauty pageant a few weeks ago as the only disabled contestant. had my cane blinged out and sparkling on stage!

Dress: Zacharias Harris

@flareaudio flareaudio.com


@bananabagsolution bananabagdrink.com

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