Posted on 20 May 2014 In: Health, life, Style

Shoesday top pick: striped Birkenstock sliders

If there’s one buzz word for shoes this season it’s sliders (and no, not the miniature burger kind). We’ve probably all worn something like them before, and perhaps weren’t planning on wearing them again anytime soon, but it’s time for a re-think. Double strap styles with a moulded thick sole are hot news.

I’ve had a pair of Birkenstocks for a while, and when I was looking for mine there wasn’t much in the way of choice. Now, however, Birkenstock has had a makeover and they’re perfectly placed to take the crown as king of the pool sliders. I spied this fab pair on the Matches Fashion website this week; they’re are so summery with a playful edge which gives them added appeal. The best thing though is that gold piping detail which adds a fashionable spin on a seasonal staple.

Don’t think you have to dress down too much to wear these comfy flats though; the way to wear them now is with your floaty summer dresses or fluid tailoring for a surprising summer contrast. Try metallics or bold prints too – Dorothy Perkins’ sliders from £15 in silver or floral designs are a purse-friendly alternative to my top pick above.

Posted on 18 May 2014 In: Health, life, Style

Patent red skirt as seen on Jennifer Lopez

j-lo album art for AKA

Jennifer Lopez is looking as hot as ever on the album art of her new release, due out on 17 June. She dons a patent red skirt by Celeb Boutique alongside a rather revealing top (although, not sure I can really call it that). It’s a daring look, but the patent skirt trend is sticking around. These glossy pencil skirts look great with contrasting fluffy knits in winter and a simple white top in summer. You can get your hands on this style as seen on J-Lo for £75 at Are you brave enough to try this look?

patent red leatherette skirt as seen on j-lo
Posted on 18 May 2014 In: Health, life, Style

Love bags? Love Moschino

love moschino bag in red and cream
I’ve never been one of those women who is obsessed with designer handbags. I tend to opt for something practical that goes with everything, and hate the idea of spending in excess of £500 to find something to cart all my belongings around in. If you are investing in a designer bag and want something at the lower end of the price range though then the Love Moschino collection is a pretty good place to look. I snapped up this style from Sarenza’s website* which sells for just over £150, a mere snip in comparison to many other known bag brands – and the quality is just as good! 
It served me well on a recent trip to Berlin – being of a size that works for a day sightseeing or an evening out for dinner. I even managed to fit my Canon bridge camera in there which meant not having to carry an extra camera bag too. See, who said fashion wasn’t practical! The brand counts Dita von Teese among its celebrity fans which is kudos enough for me.

love moschino bag in red and cream

More Love Moschino Picks…

love moschino designer bag with scarf

 LOVE MOSCHINO I love flap Cabas, £196.50

love moschino designer bag woven

love moschino designer bag

*I am a Sarenza ambassador
Posted on 17 May 2014 In: Health, life, Style

The A-List go strapless at Cannes

Steal their style... strapless
When it comes to style inspiration for summer occasions there’s no better place to look than the Cannes Film Festival. The sun shines and the hectic schedule of press launches and parties means countless celeb outfits to give us ideas for what to wear. 
The event has got off to a suitably stylish start this year with A-List names sporting strapless gowns by Calvin Klein at one of the festival’s many soirees. Take your fashion cues from Rooney Mara, Naomi Watts, Lupita Nyong’o and Julianne Moore (pictured above) and go for a strapless style this season. 

Top tips

  • Invest in a great strapless bra – I love Wonderbra’s Ultimate Strapless Bra which is great for fuller busts.
  • Pay extra attention to moisturising the chest and shoulders. Something with a touch of subtle shimmer  looks great. Or try a fragrance with a slight shimmer like Roger & Gallet Eau Sublime Or Bois D’Orange.
  • When it comes to jewellery, a necklace on a shorter chain is best, or opt for a great pair of earrings and let the simplicity of the neckline shine.

Shop the look

Pinko white dress

Lace dress

Ariella bridesmaid dress

Gap maxi dress
£48 –

AFTERSHOCK mini dress

TFNC prom dress

Topshop dress

Posted on 6 May 2014 In: Health, life, Style

Shoesday top pick: Shellys London studded flats

studded shoes by shellys london

Today’s top pick is a bit of a bargain. I ordered these studded flats from Shellys London a couple of months ago* as I’ve been trying to avoid wearing high heels so much. They took a little wearing in, but it was worth it. If you get in there quick, you can snap them in the Sarenza sale for just £27, reduced from £45.

I remember Shellys as a brand my fashionable auntie liked when I was younger and it’s great that they’ve returned. The brand has a rich heritage. The first store was opened on London’s Carnaby Street and they were a key player in the decades that followed, especially popular with the teens of the time who wanted to wear the very latest trends. The brand was sold in 2003, but was relaunched in 2012 and has since amassed a celeb following including the likes of Fearne Cotton and Taylor Swift. It’s great to see that the style signature hasn’t veered too far from the Shellys that many of us knew and loved. They’ve even brought back the Spice-Girl style platforms for a real blast from the past.

Did you have a pair of Shellys shoes growing up? Share your memories in the comments section below…

studded shoes by shellys london

*I am a Sarenza ambassador 

Posted on 20 Apr 2014 In: Health, life, Style

In the mood for monochrome

Summer may be creeping up on us but when it comes to classic combinations black and white beats summer brights every time. I recently had a little shoe spree and snapped up some hot new monochrome styles to see me into the new season. From block heels to fancy flats, take a look at my top picks below…

monochrome shoe edit

The Shoes

Far left: These bold ‘Ryskal’ flats by Shellys London, £65, are my new favourites. They are perfect for work but easily carry me into evening too. I love them worn with skinny jeans and an oversized sheer shirt.

Top: Block heels are big news this season, which is great for me because my ankles hurt just thinking about sky-high heels. The white ‘Cloudy Sandal‘ by Esprit, £45, is a bargain buy that works dressed up for summer weddings or down for post-work drinks. I love the double ankle strap design. They also come in black.

Bottom right: The ‘Mocatre’ monochrome heels by Best Mountain are a steal at £35.70, but are actually pretty darn comfy to wear. I love the high backs in striking graphic print – perfect worn with a full midi skirt.

The Inspiration

The Jasper Conran catwalk show for spring/summer 2014 summed up the move-on for monochrome. The bold and arty catwalk design made an instant impact, and the clothes did too. Graphic prints updated the clean and ladylike silhouettes for the season, while those white shoes with ankle straps felt so classy – in stark contrast to the white shoe’s past reputation as something brash and tacky. 
model on the catwalk for jasper conran ss14
Jasper shows how elegant a classic monochrome scheme can be.

jasper conran ss14 catwalk monochrome artwork
The stage was set with this incredible artwork in striking black and white.

jasper conran models backstage ss14 collection
I love the mixed-print outfits as seen above. Wear your monochrome shoes with other graphic black and white prints for the ultimate cool contrast.

*I am a Sarenza ambassador

Posted on 20 Jan 2014 In: Health, life, Style

Blog Title Change: Vent to Being Ron

I have about 6 readers who are still with me since I started this blog back in 2007. And as I’m sure those readers will agree, this blog has changed since then – and changed a lot.

When I first started Vent, it was primarily a place where I could vent about things that annoyed me in a humorous way. I actually started this personal blog using an anonymous name (Voice Box). But then after about six months, I decided to drop it and use my real name because I wanted to reveal more of myself. Also, I had several readers who graciously came over to this blog from another blog I used to write on WordPress, so they already knew my name.

After I started using my real name, I began sharing more personal things. Things like my childhood, my family, my spiritual beliefs, and the different careers I’ve had. I also started sharing more introspective thoughts instead of just humor.

This blog has morphed over the past 6 ½ years.

I’m a believer that a blog will move you where you need to go with it, if you just listen to the promptings. A blog doesn’t stand still, it moves forward.

At one point, I had three blogs going at the same time; all on different topics.

I had one blog that focused on sharing product reviews, and then another one where I shared my love of photography – plus this one.

However, I was exhausted trying to post and respond to comments on three blogs, so I took a chance by announcing to my readers that I had decided to combine all three blogs into one, and that they were free to read and comment on my posts, according to what they might be interested in.

And I can’t tell you how happy I am that I did that because it enabled me to focus all my energy into one blog; offering a variety of topics.

And I’m also very grateful to my readers at that time, because they were open and receptive to the change.

One thing that blogging has taught me is that you can’t be afraid to make changes; risking that you might upset people and lose them as readers. Because really, you’re going to lose some readers the longer you blog anyway, so you might as well stay true to what you believe is a good change, and just do it.

Blogging is an odd thing because it’s obvious that you have readers and receive great joy from having them there, so you have to be considerate of their presence on your blog because it’s a community. Yet, the bottom line is that the primary reason someone blogs is to fulfill a passion in them to share what they do, so you have to go where your passion takes you or you wouldn’t have a blog.

Over the past couple of weeks, I had a feeling that I wanted to change the title of this blog.

I didn’t feel that the previous title suited me anymore. This blog is no longer about me just venting, it’s a place where I’m sharing many different topics. And I know that will continue to happen as I experiment and grow with blogging.

I have learned so much through this media.

And yes, I realize it’s only a blog title, but this blog is my own personal space in cyberland, therefore the title represents me, so it should reflect me.

I decided to change the title to Being Ron, with the tagline…all in one.

Because that’s really what this blog is – me, all in one.

The title suddenly came to me one day without ever having to think about it, so I knew it was meant to be.

I didn’t change my URL address because that would involve too many technical things. Besides, the URL never matched Vent either. I just changed the title of this blog, so you won’t have to alter anything about my feed and getting updates. The only thing you might want to change is my blog name if I’m on your blog roll.

And yes, I will still be venting on this blog about things that annoy me, so don’t worry – HA!

Thanks everyone for sharing this blogging journey with me. I look forward to the future.

And welcome to my new blog title: Being Ron.

Have a marvi Monday!

Posted on 17 Jan 2014 In: Health, Natural

Is Gluten a "Poison" Making You Sick?

Is gluten reacting in your system like a poison and making you sick? A few short years ago the word, “gluten” was unfamiliar to most people. Today, this protein (gliadin) naturally found in wheat, rye, barley, (and malt) is frequently discussed and written about in health news circles and the media, and it’s found in breads, pastries, pizza dough, and surprising places like beer, canned goods, medications, candy, and condiments. Has all this attention being brought to gluten have you wondering if you could benefit from a gluten-free diet? Since our bodies consider it a a poison it causes a violent and obvious reaction in some people. In others, the reaction is different. It’s possible you’re unaware it’s even a problem for you. The symptoms can be hidden from you.

For people who’s bodies consider it a poison, it goes into defense mode and creates antibodies to block the perceived danger. The immune system then fires the antibodies at this poison to get rid of it. This offender is gluten and it can send your immune system into overdrive. That’s where the problem really starts. Your immune system can fire (attack) where you don’t want it to—like at your gut or your thyroid. These are the two main often, hidden victims of gluten poisoning.

By attempting to banish the poison your body turns against you in the process. This is where celiac disease and auto-immune thyroid disease can begin.

Gluten Sensitivity and Gluten Intolerance may be used interchangeably. These terms help describe any health condition in which the underlying cause is gluten. Gluten sensitivity covers a broad spectrum; from light gluten intolerance, to Dermatitis Herpetiformis (celiac disease attacking the skin), to celiac disease. Celiac disease is the most severe form or gluten intolerance/gluten sensitivity. One out of 100 people are estimated to suffer from this form of autoimmune disorder, making it one of the most common autoimmune diseases. In celiac disease the body attacks the lining of the small intestines when gluten is present, leading to malabsorption of nutrients. Every person living with celiac disease, is gluten intolerant. However, an individual can be gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive, and NOT have celiac disease. It’s also important to note, neither gluten sensitivity or celiac disease are caused by allergies.

(Non-Celiac) Gluten Intolerance or Gluten Sensitivity: Researchers are still trying to understand what non-celiac gluten intolerance really is, and it’s estimated as many as 17 million Americans (approximately one in 18), or upwards of 15% may be gluten sensitive, and most are never diagnosed. Gluten-sensitive individuals can’t tolerate gluten, and often suffer from a range of gastrointestinal symptoms similar to those in celiac disease. We do know gluten is hard for the body to digest, and it may be a contributing factor to causing sensitivity in some people. However, in people with gluten intolerance their overall clinical picture is generally less severe, and their bodies don’t produce the auto-antibodies found in those who have celiac disease which is caused by an inherited weakness, thus it tends to run in families. Doctors often attribute the gastrointestinal symptoms to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), resulting in a misdiagnose, and continued suffering for such individuals.

Researchers have also found a difference in the immune reactions for those with gluten sensitivity and those with celiac disease. In those with gluten sensitivity, the body sets up barriers to repel the invaders (gluten). The subjects with celiac disease have adaptive immunity – the body develops specific cells to fight the foreign bodies which are the basis of the autoimmune response. For those with gluten sensitivity a gluten-free diet is the only treatment recommended, although, some may be able to tolerate small amounts in their diets.

If you suspect you may be gluten sensitive, eliminating gluten and following the guidelines below for a minimum of three to four weeks is your first line of action. Then, you reintroduce gluten into your diet. If you feel significantly better off of gluten, or feel worse when gluten is reintroduced, then being gluten intolerant is likely. To get accurate results from this testing method, 100% of the gluten from your diet must be eliminated. It may be well worth the inconvenience of following this elimination diet to confirm any suspicions, as more than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten, and healing the body is how you will feel better.

What Symptoms May Indicate Gluten Intolerance:

Digestive issues; gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Constipation is common in children after eating gluten.

Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal containing gluten.

A diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as lupus, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, scleroderma or multiple sclerosis.

Migraine headaches.

Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.

Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.

Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or the feeling of being off balance.

Mood issues; anxiety, depression, mood swings, and ADD.

Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses indicate your conventional doctor can’t determine the cause of your fatigue or pain.

Keratosis pilaris which causes small, acne-like bumps, which usually appear on the upper arms, legs or buttocks; they usually don’t hurt or itch. This is most often a result of a fatty acid, and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat malabsorption due to gluten damaging the gut and intestinal villi.

If you don’t have celiac disease but want to try a gluten-free diet, consider these tips:

  • Be Mindful of Balance – A restrictive eating plan can hinder your ability to achieve a balanced diet. Choose a variety of foods, including whole foods in their natural state such as fruits and vegetables, which are naturally gluten-free. Eliminate toxic food groups: cereal grains and soy. Supplement with vitamins, minerals, and add probiotics to ensure your body has a healthy balance of gut flora (bacteria).
  • Read Labels – When foods are labeled gluten-free it, doesn’t necessarily mean they are foods that are good for you. Make sure to check the labels to ensure the foods you are choosing are low in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium, and avoid processed foods which are filled with added sugars, bad vegetable oils, additives, or dyes which damage health.
  • Shop Wisely  – By sticking to the outer perimeter of the grocery store, you’ll find many naturally gluten-free and nutrient dense foods including: fresh produce, fresh poultry, meat, and seafood, eggs, and dairy products.

Naturally Gluten Free Foods

These Common Foods Are Naturally Gluten-Free:

Corn in all forms: corn flour, corn meal, grits, etc. But beware as almost all corn crops are GMO, unless they are labeled organic. *Corn has been shown to problematic for Celiacs, even though it’s gluten-free. See below.
Buckwheat (kasha), pure oats, amaranth, millet, Montina, teff and sorghum (Look for oats labeled gluten-free, as oats are sometimes cross contaminated from nearby growing wheat fields) *Oats have been shown to trigger powerful inflammatory responses in Celiacs. See below. 
Potato starch and flour, tapioca flour or starch, cornstarch, arrowroot, guar and xanthan gums
Quinoa (However, this grain contains large quantities of saponins – a plant defense chemical, which severly damages the gut wall and causes leaky gut).
Rice in all forms: white, brown, basmati, and enriched rice. *May be problematic for children. See below.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Fresh meat, poultry, and seafood
Vegetable oils (Choose healthy oils rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil) Avoid consumption of corn, canola, cottonseed, soybean, safflower and sunflower oil which are high in Omega-6 fatty acids and promote inflammation in the body
Unflavored milk, cream, and butter
Most yogurts
Aged cheese, cream cheese, and cottage cheese
Nuts, beans, legumes, and flours made from them
Raw Honey
Peanut Butter
Lecithin, vinegar, plain spices
Soy (but not soy sauce) Bear in mind, soy is not a health food unless it’s a fermented soy product such as, tempeh, miso, natto, pickled tofu, stinky tofu or fermented bean paste

Celiac Disease (the word “celiac” is from the Greek word “abdominal”) is the most severe form of gluten intolerance/gluten sensitivity. Gluten needs to be avoided completely to avoid intestinal damage. It’s a lifelong change. Gluten is a toxic protein for those with celiac, and because of the genetic weakness, the protein gets trapped under cells lining the gastrointestinal tract (the villi). This autoimmune response then attacks the villi, which is needed for the absorption of nutrients. When villi are destroyed, the absorption of vitamins and minerals is compromised. This attack on the wall of the intestines is why it’s an autoimmune disease –  the immune system attacks it’s own healthy tissue, which leads to leaky gut (intestinal permeability) and inflammation. Inflammation in the body causes a host of symptoms and diseases.

It’s worth mentioning, those with celiac disease may still suffer from symptoms if they simply follow the gluten-free diet above, which is also the same one prescribed by most doctors. This is because there’s a laundry list of other foods that drive inflammation and sustain the intestinal permeability (leaky gut). Yes, gluten is the worst offender but a Celiac’s gut is severely damaged and highly susceptible to poor food choices. If the “other dietary triggers” contributing to the disease are not removed, a person suffering from celiac disease will remain sick. Going gluten-free usually is not enough.

Most cereal grains contain a toxic protein called prolamines, which are knurly, tough proteins humans can’t digest. These proteins irritate the gut lining and sneak their way past the intestinal wall. Prolamine in corn is problematic for those with celiac, and the prolamine in oats has been shown to trigger a powerful inflammatory response in those with celiac, in addition, prolamine in brown rice can cause inflammation in the gut of children.

These same grains also contain toxic sugar-binding proteins called plant lectins, which also don’t get digested, but rather bind to the cells on the gut wall and prevents them from completing their normal healing processes. These plant lectins make their way past the intestinal wall and cause leaky gut, triggering inflammation, which also leads to nutrient deficiencies.

A diet high in these grains also reduces the body’s ability to process vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D, and being vitamin D deficient are associated with leaky gut. Until the leaky gut is stopped, damage from celiac disease can’t be reversed.

Inflammation and leaky gut are also caused by toxins produced by bad bacteria. To make a long story short, carbohydrates and sugars are the primary food for the bacteria in our gut. Bacteria live on sugar, that’s normal. But when the delicate gut flora balance gets upset, pathogenic bacteria can quickly take over and cause small intestinal bacterial overgrowth due to the damage to villi of the small intestine. Therefore, it’s important to avoid processed carbohydrates and processed sugars because those with celiac disease suffer from leaky gut and bad gut flora. And we’ve already learned inflammation triggers leaky gut, and leaky gut triggers inflammation. It becomes a vicious cycle, and the only way to begin healing is to break this inflammation-leaky gut cycle.

Celiac is a multisystem disease, meaning it affects many organs, and a number of conditions may be the presenting symptom of the disease. Infertility, migraine headaches or even seizures may be the first symptoms experienced, making it difficult for doctors to associate symptoms suffered with celiac disease. If you are at high risk of celiac disease – if a close family member has it, or you are experiencing symptoms, a doctor can order a blood test to test for the disease. An intestinal biopsy can also be used to detect the disease.

Dermatitis herpetiformis is the skin manifestation of celiac disease. It is characterized by an extremely itchy, watery blister or rash that is found on the limbs, trunk, face and scalp. The blisters are often mirrored on both sides of the body or face and reoccur in the same areas. The eruptions are often mistaken for and treated as other skin conditions, including psoriasis, infected mosquito bites, contact dermatitis, allergies or “non-specific dermatitis.” In people with dermatitis herpetiformis its been found beside following a gluten-free diet, gluten-free skincare products are a beneficial choice, as certain ingredients in body and skincare products may contain gluten, which tend to aggravate the affected areas.

Many authorities believe no one should consume gluten foods. Considering many, many people never get diagnosed, or get properly diagnosed, I suspect those suffering from gluten intolerance is well above the 15% reported. Perhaps all humans are intolerant of gluten, but in some of us our bodies have managed to adapt to the onslaught of gluten, and not suffer any repercussions. Do you think you might be one of the 15% who would benefit from going gluten free?

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