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Drink Up!

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Sixty percent of our body is water. Do you realize that you “lose” water by breathing, exercising, urinating and even breast feeding? We are constantly depleting the water needed by our body to function properly. In helping people create a healthier lifestyle, I find low water intake to be the most problematic, yet easiest to fix.
Our bodies have a few ways to communicate dehydration. I will share three. The first sign for most people is feeling tired. Your body is encouraging you to conserve water by sleeping. Breathing will be shallower, less movement – all adds up to conserving water. If you feel fatigued, drink 16-24 ounces of water and reassess how you feel. The second common symptom of lack of water is headaches. Often you will find people have dehydration headaches. Your brain is literally yelling at you; it is thirsty! Once again, try 16-24 ounces of water intake. We do derive approximately twenty percent of the required water needed through our food. This doesn’t mean we should slack off in water intake because we ate spinach or watermelon. Drink first! The third symptom is constipation. This is no fun! There is a reason it’s called waste. Your body is done with it and it’s got to go. Without adequate hydration, it may not be able to. Constipation can impact your health in a variety of negative ways resulting in other health issues.
What is the magic number? Drinking less than fifty percent of what you weigh in pounds in ounces of water is too little. The actual percentage is about sixty-seven percent, according to Mayo Clinic. Factoring in what you derive from food- fifty percent of what you weigh leaves you with a pretty good balance. If you want top performance from your body, make water intake a daily goal. For most wanting to lose weight, a gallon a day is recommended.
Lastly, here are some tips to increase your intake. Measure it with a measuring cup or gallon jug! It’s the only way you can be sure. Flavor your water by adding slices of strawberry, cucumber, pineapple, apples, lemons and limes. Be creative! You will know you are drinking enough when your urine is light yellow to almost colorless. I start every day with a gallon pitcher full of water to make sure I reach my intake goal. Drink up my friends!

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Oklahoma Teachers Exercise their Voice

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Oklahoma Teachers Exercise their VOICE!

Oklahoma public school teachers banded together to strike for supplies and better wages

Have you heard the “tea” on the statewide teacher walk-out in the state of Oklahoma and the ripple effect it’s starting in the country? Well, if you haven’t and you’re the kind of person that need numbers and statics, which are important, don’t get me wrong. I hope that this article encourages you to take a deeper look into this now national situation and also, take a deeper look at your education system in your own backyard. However, in this article, I want to give readers a candid look inside of the protest from the perspective of a now local resident and a first time experience of anything like this.

I originally had no intention of attending the walk-out at the state capital here in Oklahoma City. To keep it all the way real, which I wouldn’t have it another way, I didn’t think it would last more than a day if it happened at all. Now I know, some of you are probably wondering why I’m glad you asked… While I’m not a public educator, I’ve lived in Oklahoma City for 10 years now and have worked closely with the public school system for the majority of my time here. Teachers have been complaining about things like lack of fair pay, little to sometimes no supplies and little to no budget to properly serve those with special needs, to name a few. However, even though this is a real problem, the teachers stay for something much bigger than themselves and their personal needs, they stay for the love of the children and communities they serve. Because, I know first hand of the passion and degree of selflessness it takes to continue to work under certain conditions, I didn’t think they would actually follow through with it.

April 2, 2018, was the first day of the protest and over 35,000 we’re said were in attendance. In my gut, I didn’t think it would last but thought they put forth a gallant effort to get the attention of Governor Mary Fallin and legislators. Day 2 a reported 38,000 was reported to have been in attendance, the people weren’t backing down. In fact, they said they weren’t moving until their voices were heard! I had the exhilarating experience of attending Day 3 of the protest at the capital with, again well over 30,000 people in attendance, standing strong. By this time, teachers from Tulsa Oklahoma banded together to make the 107-mile walk to the capital and the public educators in  Kentucky started a protest of their own. I’ve never actually experienced anything like that in my life and I wanted to give you my raw perspective on what it was like up close and personal.  I’ll start by saying that seeing the coverage is one thing but actually being there has had an entirely different effect and perspective for me as an individual.

On my way to the capital, I didn’t know what to expect, it was bumper to bumper traffic down 23rd street. I saw people walking from as far as three miles back with bright signs, picketing on their way to the capital. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t say a little prayer driving past them, just hoping I had a closer parking place just for me… whoa yes! Keep in mind, I just started doing research that morning and even with that, I didn’t know how deep it would be. I found a spot a little under a mile from the action and for that, I was grateful.

  Upon the first exit of my car, I felt an almost magnetic pull in the atmosphere that drew me towards the masses. It was a surreal feeling as if I couldn’t help it. I don’t think I’ve experienced a situation where I was standing near or in the middle of a crowd of people where most of the attendees stood in agreement of what they saw as the greater good for humanity. Sure, this amount of people fill-up arena venues and stadiums all over the world every day with numbers larger than this. However, this was an entirely different energy that surged among the masses.   

Coming alone to something like this definitely has its pros and cons, but I decided to make the best out of this situation and take it all in. I took my time and literally observed everything before I actually arrived and walked straight into the nucleus of the action. To be honest, my mind was blown before I got there. The first thing I noticed was the amount of school age kids that were there to either stand with their parents or support their teachers. I’m not kidding, there was an almost equal ratio of teens to adults. Most made very creative signs that reflected their personal feelings and viewpoints. People of all races, colors, and creeds stood together in unity, standing for what they believed was right. 

  I was overwhelmed by the number of people that wanted to be a part of my candid coverage for Exposure Magazine. I walked next to different groups of people and gained many different perspectives, from both sides, although mostly from one, how affected the public education community and the children that are in it really are. Because people were literally standing there ALL DAY there were food vendors who volunteered their foods and services to the cause. Other services that we might not think of like water and restrooms were also provided and school-aged kids 18 and under had everything provided for them free of charge, from snacks, water, meals and even some local events were held around the city, and childcare in some places as well.

The photo (on the left) depicts not only the unity but the faith exercised by some of the teens in attendance at the protest rally. However, I must acknowledge some of the views from the opposing side as well. People were concerned that a rally like this could cause an uproar in not only the state of Oklahoma but the country as a whole, which could threaten not only overthrowing the government at a state level but eventually the country. There were also some angry parents across the state that were concerned that, they weren’t properly informed or considered during the uprising in standing against both local and state officials. Parents that are accustomed to their children going to school all day. The walkout could cause other unforeseen charges such as childcare, extra food, and transportation expenses. Some parents are concerned, if this goes on much longer, they too, are at risk of not having a job.  Some people think this entire protest can help create a lose/lose effect on children both home and at school. I completely understand and see this side clearly. Seeing this side so clearly made me want to take a deeper look at another viewpoint, just to even out the playing field so to speak.

 

As I walked through the massive amounts of people, reading the signs, listening to conversations and observing the different emotions throughout the capital, I found myself almost at the front of the stage which to me, served as the nucleus of the protest. This is where I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing teacher of Del City school district Joy A. Glenn Ahmad. She has been a teacher since 1976 and explained her viewpoint with literal tears in her eyes. Ahmad explained that the teachers demanded 200 million dollars from local and state officials which would cover a $6,000 raise to teachers, some whom haven’t seen a raise for over a decade and some who are only making it with the help of there spouses income to sustain their own family. The rest of the money would be used for much-needed supplies and educational material for the 700,000 students the public school system serves.

Students stand together and pray with teachers during Oklahoma Teacher Walkout 2018

Teachers voices were in fact heard and they were granted 50 million dollars, a quarter of what they were asking, which only would cover the much-needed raises for the teachers. This offer was rejected by the teachers and the strike continued as planned. Teachers claim that this was less about them and more about the students they serve and they refused to take a raise and leave the students needs out. To give me a clear perspective she shared the picture with me you see to the left.

The book cart shared among teachers and students

  I know, it seems like a cart with books on it, what’s the big deal, right? I thought the same thing until she explained to me that this was the cart of books shared between classes for teaching materials for both students and teachers. This cart is the only access to educational materials for the entire high school. I was shocked, to say the least, I couldn’t help but wonder if the parents who are against the protest are aware of the true condition of their children education. Were they aware that this was perhaps the reason for Oklahoma having the lowest test scores and reading scores in the country? Or, does the need to survive and provide for their families now take precedence over the future of their children and possibly the future of the leaders of the state of Oklahoma. This is obviously an “elephant in the room” that couldn’t be ignored anymore. What do you think? Are you aware, truly aware of your education system in your own backyard? This movement that now, has national attention will continue for week 2 in the state Oklahoma. Teachers claim, they will not back down until their voices are heard! This protest has potential to change the education system not only in the state but in the country. Don’t forget to keep up with both local and national news for up close and personal coverage. 

#thatsall 

 

-Deonna Marie

 

Deonna Marie | The Gift of Voice, Professional Classical Singer, Vocal Coach, and Speaker

Facebook: @thegiftofvoice

Instagram: @thegift_ofvoice

Email:  deonnamarie2003@gmail.com

Youtube: Deonna Marie Cattledge

 

 

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Allergy Woes

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Vocal Tips for the Voice during Allergy Season 

Springtime is here! I don’t know about you, but its one of my favorite seasons. Unfortunately, for professional voice users, it’s also the worst season for keeping and maintaining a healthy voice. Some of us refer to spring as,  the dreaded allergy season. From the blooming flowers, the seemingly invisible pollen that floats in the air and, if you have a  pet, the excessive pet dander is more than enough to cause that itchy, scratchy feeling in your throat and cause your sinuses to go bananas! There are several things you can do to relieve both your voice and sinuses during the spring season. I won’t list everything because we would be here ALLDAY and this article will look more like a dissertation and sweet brown says it best, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”. Don’t worry, I got you, I picked five of my favorite practices that offer me IMMEDIATE relief and it will do the same for you.

1) The first and most important thing you can do is stay hydrated. Drinking the proper amount of water offer a plethora of benefits to your mind, body, and soul. However, water is especially important for professional voice users like you and me. Water helps to naturally flush out allergens and thin mucus. Also, things like caffeinated beverages, allergy pills and a host of other things many people consume daily, immensely dry the throat and sinus cavities. Water not only keep the throat moist, it helps prevent you overworking your voice to produce sound.

2) Consuming local honey will help you develop immunity to the local pollen Keep in mind, if you travel a lot for speaking, singing or both, you should find local honey where you are traveling as well.  You can put in your favorite herbal tea or even take a teaspoon full a day will help you SO MUCH! It might sound weird but I will work and will thank me later.  Note: ( You can find local honey at some farm to table restaurants or local grocery stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts or Adkins).

 

3) Check the pollen index daily on your local news or weather app. Yes, this is a real thing and is an awesome way to know how to care for your voice and sinuses BEFORE you go outside. How so?!, I’m glad you asked…This helps me decide if I will need to do a sinus rinse, cover my mouth and nose to prevent breathing in so many air born allergens, which cause soreness and vocal fatigue. It also helps me decide what allergy pill I’ll need for the day If any. This is especially important if you have to speak of sing that day.

  

4) A neti pot or saline rise, used regularly (with distilled water only) will keep your nasal passages clear of things like pollen and other air born allergies. Although seemingly uncomfortable to some, this will give your sinuses instant relief and help significantly minimize post-nasal drip.

 

5) Last but surely not least a cool mist humidifier next to your bed while you sleep will serve multiple purposes. If you’ve ever experienced waking up with a dry sticky throat, this means you aren’t hydrated enough. The cool mist humidifier will be like you’re drinking water as you sleep. The cool mist you breathe in while you sleep will add much needed moister to vocal cords while you sleep. This will, over a short period of time, eliminate that dry scratchy feeling. A cool mist humidifier will also work against allergens, such as dust while you rest as well. So, you see, its a win, win! I hope these tips we helpful and that you’ll return for more tea, with ya girl Deonna Marie. Remember, If you have a voice to share with the world, you should care for it because it’s your voice that takes care of you. `

That’s all 

 

-Deonna Marie 

 

Deonna Marie | The Gift of Voice, Professional Classical Singer, Vocal Coach, and Speaker

Facebook: @thegiftofvoice

Instagram: @thegift_ofvoice

Email: deonnamarie2003@gmail.com

Youtube: Deonna Marie Cattledge

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The “tea” on Vocal Health

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Deonna Marie, Vocal Health Editor

 

How to Care for the Voice as a Professional Voice User

Are you a Professional Voice User? My name is Deonna Marie and I am here to spill the tea on vocal health. A professional voice user can include anything from singers and speakers to religious leaders and vloggers. I too am a professional voice user. I am a classical singer, vocal coach, and speaker. Okay, maybe I might’ve been accused on more than one occasion of being VERY long winded…and maybe I am, but that’s not the topic. Like many of you, I am also a daughter, friend, sibling, and colleague. Some of you might have a significant other or may have children in your life. So you see, we use our voice A LOT!!! On a daily basis professional voice users, use their voices more than two times the average person. This vocal use, if not done correctly, can potentially cause harm to your voice. I aspire to not only help you prevent vocal harm but in addition, I hope to educate you on ways you can maximize your voice while being healthy at the same time.

I’ll be writing about common issues professional voice users have such as preventing hoarseness after rehearsals and speaking engagements, how travel affects the voice, what foods and drinks to avoid, and much more. I will also be sharing vocal health tips such as how to achieve soaring high notes with ease, how to be heard without a microphone, and many other fascinating facts to put in your toolbox as a professional voice user. Think about it, babies can cry for hours without losing their voice, why? Oprah Winfrey’s voice is as youthful today as it was over 25 years ago, why? Professional voice users make their vocal health a priority, treating it as a gift; the gift of voice. My goal is to shed light on a topic commonly overlooked and assist you with improving your vocal health.

Don’t take for granted the gift of voice, you only get one. 

That’s all.

-Deonna Marie

 

Deonna Marie | The Gift of Voice

Facebook: @thegiftofvoice

Instagram: @thegift_ofvoice

Email: deonnamarie2003@gmail.com

YouTube: Deonna Marie Cattledge

 

 

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