Working Women – An Interview About Fertility and Acupuncture

Hi all, this post might be a little off topic for this blog dedicated to DIY and Design, but I wanted to share a personal story related to fertility, hoping it can help somebody.

Growing up, a doctor diagnosed me with polycystic ovaries, so I started taking birth control pills very young. When George and I decided to have a baby, I stopped taking them. It was more than 13 years of putting hormones into my system.

As you can imagine, my body was a total wreck, unable to balance. My periods came and went with complete unpredictability, and there was not a chance in the world I was going to get pregnant like that. After a year of trying, I decided to see an acupuncturist: Virginia Prior. She has a practice in Hermosa Beach, near my home.

Do you know how some people are natural born healers? They have a gift, an intuition to cure your body and soul, well, Virginia has this. After seeing her for two months, I got pregnant. I miscarried that baby at eight weeks, but at least I knew my body was starting to work again. Four months after that miscarriage, I was pregnant with Victor.

I asked Virginia to answer some questions for the blog as a way of teaching people alternative ways of dealing with infertility. I know motherhood has been a beautiful experience for me, so I wanted to share this option with you.

1) How did you decide to become an acupuncturist?

I think I fell into this medicine for a few reasons. As a child, I was often sick, and the medications the doctors gave me were making me sick in other ways. As a teenager, I quit taking all of the drugs they were prescribing and decided to go a different route. I was always going to the library to read books about herbs and foods and supplements that might help me and after a while, I got the hang of it and got better, so there was an early interest in figuring out how to solve health issues naturally.

After college, when I got a job at the Cleveland Clinic, I was able to take advantage of free medical classes, and in the meantime, I was studying martial arts (capoeira) as well as yoga and Qigong (a Chinese internal energy medicine). Naturally, when I found myself in a car accident and staring up at doctors in the ER who wanted to do exploratory surgery on my spine, I thought that maybe I would avoid the surgery and figure this out in a different, less invasive way.

An acupuncturist friend offered to treat me for the extreme pain and dysfunction that resulted from the accident and taught me how acupuncture and Chinese medicine could heal more than just pain. In those months my pain became manageable without medications, my energy improved, my sleep was much better, acne disappeared, my lungs felt better, and my fibroid went away. This was it – I found my path.

How did you become interested in fertility issues?

I was working in an Acupuncture clinic that specialized in women’s health and wellness, and more and more women were coming in for fertility. As I mentored there and treated more and more women, I found myself taking jobs in fertility clinics and doing acupuncture at embryo transfers.

The acupuncture and lifestyle and emotional guidance and support, all seemed to come together in helping the women feel calm and relaxed during the procedures and the process overall, and it increases the chances of conception – some women even fell pregnant before their IVF procedures. There was such a clear idea that this was helping people get healthier and feel better that it seemed like a no-brainer to learn as much as I could about it, so I went back for a doctorate and interned under fertility experts for both female and male reproductive medicine.

3) How many women have you treated regarding fertility issues?

I have treated thousands of women, men, surrogate mothers and even egg donors for fertility problems.

4) What kind of cases do you see the most?

I would say the cases I see the most are complex cases where there are more than two or three disease mechanisms at play, as well as many situations diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” and also many advanced maternal & paternal age cases. Although lately, I have seen an increase in cases where there is often an underlying imbalance involving autoimmunity, and thyroid conditions, such as Hashimoto’s.

5) How do you treat unexplained fertility?

If a person is experiencing unexplained infertility, they should get into a good RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) and begin seeing a fertility acupuncturist sooner rather than later, to turn over any rocks and see if they are missing something in their path to a healthy and successful pregnancy. Sometimes women assume their OB/GYN is also a fertility specialist, and that is often not the case.

Fertility acupuncturists can help with the often overlooked aspects of infertility (autoimmune or thyroid issues, etc.) and an RE will be thorough with questioning and testing so that if there is something amiss (a structural problem such as a blocked tube, hormonal changes, etc.), it will get picked up. Starting treatment to balance the system while testing to find any issues on both the male and female sides is key to treat unexplained infertility.

6) What would be your recommendations for somebody trying to get pregnant?

Establish a good relationship with a doctor they like, and take their health into their own hands, following their gut or intuition as they learn to understand their body and how it is functioning, and what it needs. This way, when they are ready to have children, they will be in a much better place and have much higher chances of conceiving when they want to. I’m always a little surprised when women in their forties come in to try for a child, and they don’t know if they get regular periods, or what is causing the extreme pain they are having, etc. I would love for there to be more education and empowerment in this area for both men and women.

As far as recommendations for women (and men) who want to get pregnant now, it is imperative to practice pre-conception care. This care is greatly overlooked, but the building blocks of your child are not only in the DNA but also in the foods and activities that couples bathe in for a year up until the moment they conceive.

The ancients, all around the world, throughout history, knew this was such an important time for the couples that were about to start building their families. In China, for example, hopeful grandparents would feed their newlywed children celebratory dinners filled with fertility-boosting, nutrient-dense foods.

Acupuncture is a great way of getting your body ready for pregnancy. In our practice, we also do nutrition and other treatments that help to detox the body, and clearing and reducing all the bad stuff in their diet, environment, and life, even emotionally.

I could go on about the recommendations, but I’ll answer your next question…

7) What are the questions regarding fertility that you get asked the most?

The question I get asked the most about fertility is “why?” Many doctors do not have an explanation. So they measure hormones and prescribe drugs and see what comes of it. Fertility and reproductive medicine can be a bit of a black box. Doctors put things in and see what the results are that come out, and then they move forward. This can be helpful, but I think having a multi-layered investigation or approach is way more insightful as to the why’s of infertility.

The other question I get a lot is what are the doctors are missing, and usually, there are a few tests that have not been done. The thyroid tends to get overlooked in many fertility practices, even in the most modern of clinics, so even if there are not sure signs & symptoms, we address this with testing recommendations and treatment. Whether with Western recommendations, or naturally with Eastern and integrative treatments such as acupuncture, and certain supplements and herbal formulas, food and lifestyle changes, even mind-body exercises, to support thyroid function

8) Tell us one of your success stories

One of the most interesting success stories would have to be when a female & male patients came in with AMA (advanced maternal age and advanced paternal age), about 50 & 65, respectively. We worked together for some time, and there was a decision to do IVF (in vitro fertilization) to increase the chances of conception. Within one try the IVF worked. About eight months after having that baby, they conceived naturally as well. Sometimes people want their children very close in age – this was not planned, but greatly welcomed!

Hope you enjoyed the interview! And, thank you, Virginia for your help conceiving my two rascals.

Virginia Prior
2200 Pacific Coast Hwy
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
Phone number(310) 930-5328


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An Interview With Chiara Arroyo, Co-Owner Of LA Libreria

Happy Friday, you all! We are ready for the weekend around here, aren’t you? Good news is that I have a really good post for you today!

You might already know that I am from Chile and that George and I are raising bilingual kids. Children’s books have been an important part of our lives since the kids were born so I am always on the lookout for books in Spanish, that is how I stumbled upon LA Librería, a magical Spanish bookstore (and distributor) in Los Angeles. They import original literature from Spanish-speaking countries plus great translations of English literature.

The first time I went to this beautiful store I met one of the owners Chiara. She was warm and sweet. I liked her immediately. Her daughter, Matilde, was with her that day. We talked about the difficulties of juggling business and family – one of my biggest life concerns. She told me about her business partner and friend, Celene, and how they both deal with the pressures of motherhood and work.

After meeting her I was curious to hear more about how this successful and wonderful business came about. I was also interested in hearing about the relationship between these two very strong and smart women. Starting a business with a friend sounds like a beautiful idea, don’t you think? So I wanted to learn more about how they make it work.

Celene on the left. Chiara on the right.

1) Could you tell us a little bit about you?

My name is Chiara Arroyo. I am a 40-year-old proud mother of three children: Nico 12, Leo 10 and Matilde 7. I am half Italian, half Spanish, married to a Mexican. We moved to LA six years ago from Mexico City. In 2012, I co-founded LA Librería, a bookstore and book distributer specialized in children’s literature in Spanish.La libreria

2) How did you decided to start LA Librería?

Celene (my business partner) and I love books. As mothers, we wanted our children to be bilingual and book lovers. In order to do so, we needed books, but we could not find the Spanish books we wanted in the US, so every time we traveled to our countries we would bring back a suitcase filled with Spanish books. Our kids go to a bilingual school, and we soon realized that other parents were also looking for good children’s literature in Spanish. This is why we decided to take our hobby a step further and start curating a collection of authentic literature in Spanish, beautifully illustrated and culturally diverse.

La libreria

3) Tell us the story of your relationship with Celene. Why did you decide to start this business together?

I met Celene at my childrens’ school: a public Spanish Immersion Elementary. Her daughter and my son Leo were classmates. We were both first time parents of a Kindergartener so we wanted to meet new families and support the school. We both signed up to volunteer at the school’s book fair. Disappointed by the low quality and small number of books in Spanish, we decided to help the school to find a better selection of books in Spanish. We called a few publishers and convinced them to give us some books we could sell ourselves. We set up two tables with books at the fair and sold out everything. Everybody in the school was very excited. Soon the word was out and we started receiving calls to participate in other school fairs. At that point, we realized that there was a big need for these kind of books and that this need had to be fulfilled by a professional service, not volunteers. We started this service and here we are, five years later…

La libreria

4) What are the best and worst aspects of owning a business with a friend?

There are many positive aspects of owning a business with a friend. The best part is the tranquility of working with someone you trust and respect. I also like the capacity of sharing the whole experience with your partner and friend, especially if you complement one another. I feel very fortunate.

The most difficult part is to be able to separate the professional from the personal life.

La libreria

5) What have been the biggest accomplishments of LA Librería so far?

The biggest accomplishment is to see that a bookstore – an already endangered species of Spanish children’s literature, a banned and discriminated language – is thriving thanks to a big community of families that want their children to be bilingual while reading good books. On a personal level, I feel very proud to see how a simple idea has become a reality and how much fun we have had in the process. We have learned so many things we did not know about Los Angeles, like the nuances of the American and Latino culture; we have also met a lot of nice people and communities.

6) And the biggest setbacks?

The biggest setback it is to overcome the feeling that whatever we do is not enough. There is always more to do. No matter how much you work, how fast you do it, how productive you try to be, you always end up feeling you should do more… With time we have realized that this is a marathon, not a sprint, so we need to prioritize.
La libreria

7) Have you ever felt like giving up? If yes, what kept you going?

I have felt exhausted and overwhelmed by work, by being a mother, a wife, a sister… I have felt I am doing things in halves, not in their entirety. What kept me going was the energy and excitement of Celene and the enthusiasms and expectations of the children and families that follow and support us.

8) What are the most important lessons you have learned since starting this business?

I have learned how important it is to communicate, accept your limitations, and exercise. (Men sana in corpore sano).

La libreria

9) You are a family person. Do you feel like you are able to juggle your personal and professional life?

I am able to but it is not easy. It is actually my biggest concern. My children are still young and they need their mum, but LA libreria is also a young business and it is very demanding.

10) How is your husband involved? And, do you feel having a business has changed your relationship with him?

Pablo, my husband, has been very supportive. He is my biggest fan and a very enthusiastic promoter of LA Libreria. He has helped a lot with the children. He understands because he is an entrepreneur himself. I share with him all the details and challenges of starting and running this company. I can say that our relationship has become stronger, but it hasn’t been easy, especially because we have three children in a city with no relatives and with jobs that often require travel.

11) What are your recommendations for other women that want to open their own business?

I would recommend them to enjoy the process as much as the goal. To be creative especially when solving problems; to follow their instinct and do not forget we need to make time for ourselves.

12) How do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself happy, enjoying family and friends. Traveling, learning and reading. I hope LA libreria can give me all of that.

Thanks, Chiara! I really enjoyed reading your answers!

LA Librería

4732 1/2 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

You can buy books online, too!


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Let’s Go To The Women’s March On January 21st!

When we first heard about the Women’s March happening in DC  on January 21st, some friends and I were ready to buy tickets and fly there, but then we realized that was not necessary because big marches are happening all around the US. I am pretty sure this is going to be big and I want to be part of it.

Every single one of my friends in LA is going to DTLA for the Women’s March on the 21st. It is impressive. If you don’t live in LA or DC, there is probably another march happening near you. You can find out where here.

The March in LA will start on Pershing Square at 9am. A lot of my friends are bringing their kids. This will be a family friendly event. I know my two boys are definitely coming with me! Will I see you there?

(Image via Zurda Magazine)


Saturday, January 21, 2017

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM PST


Downtown L.A.
Pershing Square to City Hall


The march is open to everyone who stands for human rights, civil liberties, tolerance of diversity, and compassion for our shared humanity.


We stand together in solidarity for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.

Getting to Women’s March LA:

We highly recommend using public transportation/ ride sharing services for transportation to the march, as there will be high congestion and street closures in the Downtown LA area!


Ride the Red Line toward downtown Los Angeles and exit Pershing Square (5th Street). For alternate routes, visit MTA.


Drive the 110 Freeway toward Downtown Los Angeles and exit 6th Street.


From City Hall ride DASH “B” toward the Financial District and exit Olive at 6th Street. From the Garland Building ride DASH “E,” exit Olive at 7th Street, and walk north one block. For alternate routes, visit LADOT.


Union Station is the closest to Pershing Square; it is 2.5 miles in distance. Please be aware that street closures may increase difficulty in getting to Pershing Square via car/ ride share service, so please allow yourself extra time.


Chartered buses, please contact [email protected]


Parking under Pershing Square will be available all day; many public lots in the surrounding areas will also be open to the public and charge anywhere from $10-$30.

For more information go to





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global fund for women

A Time To Give – Global Fund For Women

Today a group of 10 bloggers (including me) got together to talk about charities we like and support, you know, because of the Holidays and all. (This charity cyber event hop has been organized by Brynne from The Gathered Home.– Thanks, Brynne!). If you are arriving here from Cassie Bustamante’s site, welcome!

You might already know that a cause close to my heart is women’s rights. I am thankful everyday (literally) for the place I live in and the husband I married, but not all women have had that luck. There are many women that live in places where they can’t assert themselves or have freedom to make their own decisions. This is a cause of poverty and little education and why I want to talk today about the Global Fund For Women.

This organization stands behind grass roots movements for women’s human rights all over the world – movements that fight for gender equality that are created by women who are facing these issues every day. They help give funding that helps provide for the fundamental things like rent, computers, staffing, travel, training, security, and electricity. They also help connect these movements to other donors, as well as local or national women’s groups. These connections enable groups to share, learn, and rally together to strengthen movements for women’s rights.

The fund works on freedom from violence, economic and political empowerment, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Here is its financial information, and here are some of their results.

If you want to know about more charities we like and support, please, go to your next stop Cuckoo 4 Design.

Also, for other non-profits that support women, go here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County – The Gathered Home // The Humane Society – Monica Wants It // Dog Rescues – Cassie Bustamante // Global Fund for Women – Jest Cafe // Peaceable Kingdom – Cuckoo4Design // Buyamba Uganda – House Homemade // Compassion International – The Home I Create // Canadian Premature Babies Foundation – The Learner Observer // The Heart Gallery – Pinterest Addict // Three Angels Children’s Relief – Bright Green Door

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A Talk About Empty Nest Syndrome And How To Deal With It


(Warning: every time I read this interview, I cry, so prepare yourself.)

As a mother, I fear the time when my kids leave – the infamous empty nest syndrome.

I know what you are going to say: “your kids are only 3 and 5, you have so long to go.” True, true, I have lots of years left with them in my house daily, but the reason why I fear the empty nest is not because of the present, but because of what awaits me in the future.

Other women around me always describe this process as one of the saddest events in their lives. I know this has been the case for my mom and other friends, for example, so I am preparing myself. It is NEVER too early, I say, never. Plus, it makes me enjoy my kids so much more right now.

Which brings me to Nikki’s interview. When I was 24, I had the best job of my life, for real. I was a babysitter to the Glicks. I loved that family, the two boys, the parents, the house, the hours, the stress-free environment, and the fun. It was perfection. After a year with them I had to leave to get a real job in the “industry,” which was glamorous but not as fun. Also, highly overrated.

At the time, the youngest boy was 6 year old, close to Victor’s age. Now, all these years later, he and his brother are men who left the nest to find their lives in the world. The youngest one has been gone for more than a year.

Nikki, the mother, is a smart, nice, and very wise friend, so I decided to ask her about her experiences with empty nest. Her answers are precious and heartfelt. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Tell me a little bit about your family.

I am British , born in South Wales . I  also have American Citizenship. I met my husband on the underground in London . He is an American born in the Bronx and is also a duel citizen. Both our boys were born in London. We moved to LA almost 15 yrs ago. My boys are now almost 25 and 19. We have always been a tight unit. We have no family close by. Our closest relatives live on the East coast and London.

 When did your youngest leave your house?

My youngest, Mat, left home for his freshman year of college this time last year, August 0’15. My husband and I travelled with him to  help carry his luggage and settle him into his dorm. We wanted to savor our last moments before returning home without him..We were leaving him on the East Coast .


empty-nest-2I know you suffered from empty nest syndrome, how does it feel?

Unfamiliar. A state I had never felt.  A longing. It envelops you slowly  like a fog as you keep trying to push it away. I felt distracted , hollow, aimless. I was constantly questioning my life and purpose. Tearful.I never anticipated the depth of my missing him.It shook me to my core.I missed my son with every fiber, I missed seeing life through the tinted glow of his young eyes. Most of all I missed his physical presence . I would find myself thinking of all the years that had gone before, seeing both boys as babies and replaying the film over and over in my mind. Home was now something tangibly different. A place I couldn’t imagine without all ‘the sound and fury’ of raising boys.  It was an end of a long, long climb. I needed to process all of this. I was terrified this was my new state as an empty nester.

Did you expect it to be this way?

No. I thought I would be absolutely fine. I loved my independence and I welcomed the thought of getting back to work, develop interests and spend more time with my husband and friends. The future held promise. I had often been away for short breaks and I was always able to enjoy myself. I had no separation anxiety.

How did you deal with it?

I read articles on the subject. I wanted to know if I  was I the only one suffering with these feeling. I got online and hundreds of articles came racing towards me with such force. I was definitely not alone ! I spent a lot of time reading and crying .So many people wrote  on this subject. Heartfelt, uninhibited , gut wrenching honesty. (

I talked with my husband, I read him the stories . He  listened and held me whenever the tears became a flood. He missed Matthew of course but it was evident that his was a different kind of missing, or that he was able to adapt to the new situation and I was struggling. It is important to talk, to ramble, to cry to express and in this way you begin to return to your norm as you recognize it to be. Find someone who listens.

I took up meditation seriously, I now had the time! I found the practice held me in the present instead of looking in the past and worrying about the future. It kept me focused. I read books that absorbed me totally so that I couldn’t think .

I walked a lot and sent texts to Mat, just a few, now and then . When he responded, the fog always lifted. The best was face timing. To see and hear him in the world.  To communicate. Eventually it was time to travel to his college for parents day.  That visit, seeing him and holding him again after ten long weeks, prompted me to fall sobbing into his arms and release a primal, wounded howl that came from some place deep within. My son, camera in hand ready to video the big happy reunion, was forced to slowly lower his phone and hold me lovingly until I could let him go. Once again, this deep animal emotion enveloped me suddenly and terribly. Once again, I had not anticipated this reaction. Where did it come from?

The good news is, from that moment on, I had the realization that my son was alive and well and thriving. He was happy to see us, he hadn’t changed, he was happy, thriving. I began to relax again, possibly breathe again knowing he was on his way and finally , so was I.

I flew back to LA fill up on joy knowing I had been through this strange phenomena and had finally succeeded in pushing it away.

Is there any advice you have for parents that are about to live your same situation?

This is difficult. It reminds me of getting pregnant and everyone who has given birth needs to give you their stories and advice. The truth is, everyone is different . Every pregnancy is different, every baby, every situation. I would say read the articles if you are struggling. It helps to know what others have felt. Prepare a small place in your mind for missing and be ok with that. Perhaps it is best not to dwell on the possibilities that may never arise. If they do, know that you will survive. As the saying goes,’this too must pass’.

Now that a year has gone by, does it feel better?

Absolutely! One hundred percent. I feel enormous happiness whenever my son has a vacation. I look forward to seeing him and when he leaves, he leaves without my anticipating a closing door forever. I see him through the cracks and it feels right. I know the door will soon be open for us all to meet and adjust to this new dynamic once again.

Anything else you would like to add?

Get a dog?


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