Alex Gentemann Hilton Head Monthly

The Power of People’s Stories

One reason I love being a journalist is I truly enjoy listening to other people’s stories. In the August issue of Hilton Head Monthly magazine, I interviewed Kimberly Hall of Bluffton Self Help (pg. 18) about a merger between her non-profit and The Literacy Center and I interviewed Alex Gentemann (pg. 100) about synesthesia and his artistic process.

Kimberly Hall and Bluffton Self Help merger article.

Both Hall and Gentemann shared compelling viewpoints and demonstrated a true passion for what they want to accomplish in life, therefore motivating me to perform better both in my community and professionally.

It does seem that currently most people are more concerned about telling their story than listening to someone else’s story. With Instagram and other social media platforms, I find myself wincing at the “look at me” mentality and culture. I also believe that being inauthentic is detrimental to all parties involved and that, as much as it pains me to write a idiom/cliché, honesty is truly the best policy.

Growing up, I would spend at least one month every summer at my grandparent’s house in Murfreesboro, TN and listen to my grandmother tell stories about her youth. It was perhaps those formative years that I developed a fondness for listening to people talk about chapters in their lives. I would find myself so absorbed in the story that I could picture it and even at times feel the same emotions of the storyteller.

I earnestly believe there is power in hearing other people’s stories. When we listen, we inadvertently hear a lower-volume version of our own voice which enables us to sort through our own shiitake and earn clarity. We are also able to be a sounding board and help people talk through their own shiitake.

Female IQ has always set out to listen to the needs and wants of women and in the spirit of Female IQ’s mission statement (to create a forum for women—just like you—to express themselves, inspire others, and kick ass in life) hope you take the time in the next few weeks to feel the power of other people’s stories.

—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ

Female IQ Venting Challenge

The other day I was training a client and our conversation went something like this:

CLIENT: I’m just not feeling it today.

ME: Some days are like that. What’s going on.

CLIENT: I just feel like I’m 50 and I want to be doing something work-wise that I’m proud of.

ME: Oh, I’m 42 and I still think to myself, “What do I want to be when I grow up.”


ME: Absolutely. There are days I feel completely unmotivated to do anything with Female IQ. In fact, I’ve been a content rut all week.

CLIENT: I just want to cry sometimes.

ME: I think a lot of do.

CLIENT: It is good to know I’m not the only one!

After our venting session, we decided to do a 45-minute workout and we both slayed it. Laughing as we did a challenging ab exercise. Cursing burpees. And getting our sweat on. It was as if we needed just bitch for a minute and just shed some of our frustrations before we could be energized to do the workout.

Inasmuch, post-workout we both went to our respective offices and crushed some deadlines. Suddenly, I had content to post and she launched into a project she had been procrastinating to start.

This week Female IQ challenges you to vent. Whether you scream into a pillow, have a FaceTime bitch session with a friend, or you write down everything that’s appears to be getting in the way of your success, just #vent.

—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ

Female IQ Self-Care Challenge

From time to time, Female IQ thought it would be fun to challenge IQ’ers to easy challenges that provide little life tweaks that can have a big impact and hopefully be permanently integrated into your daily wellness routine. To kick off this new initiative, I thought it would good to start with self-care.

In yoga class you have probably heard the word “namaste”—a Sanskrit word that essenitally means the light in me sees and honors the light in you. The order of these words is important. We have to see our light before we can see others. In short, if we do not love or even like ourselves, we cannot love or even like others. This becomes problematic for a multitude of reasons that you can probably guess (social isolation and feelings of anxiety, depression, anger—just to name a few). It also creates a vicious cycle because negative energy begets negative energy (just as positive energy begets positive energy).

Self-care is an excellent way to honor your own light. From my busy clients, I often hear, “I just don’t have time.” To which I respond, “Yes, you do.” I have both in my practice and personally found that us moms sometimes (whether it’s intentional or subconscious) play the martyr. I know I am guilty of saying, “Oh, I couldn’t possibly go on that girls’ weekend trip. The kids need me.” (Meanwhile my husband then decides to go on a week-long hunting trip and I brew up a nice cup of resentment.)

The truth is we do have time and when it comes to domestic chores and child rearing we can let others take the lead. Inasmuch, we have to learn how to make time for ourselves and this only happens with repetition and practice.

So, having said this, Female IQ would like to challenge you to take 10 minutes each day for one week to practice self care. Ideas include (but not limited to):

  • Taking a bubble bath.
  • Walking in nature (maybe not with the dog so you can be completely unfettered).
  • Giving yourself a mini at-home pedicure.
  • Giving yourself a facial.
  • Meditating free of any pets, kids, phones, etc.
  • Doing a few rounds of Sun Salutation A.
  • Writing in your journal, writing down your daily intention and what you are grateful for, or practicing HI5=GAINS.
  • Calling an old friend.
  • Organizing that drawer that has been driving you crazy.
  • Styling your own hair, maybe in a new way.

—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ

Plank It Up, Little Darlin’

Sing with me, “Plank it up, little darlin’. Plank it up…” This simple, no-equipment needed exercise is a game changer when it comes to spinal health, core strength, a flat belly, better posture, reduced back pain, and more muscle definition—just to name a few benefits.

Even though it’s a held position, plank is very dynamic and requires the activation of several muscle groups from head to toe. When doing plank position, please keep in mind:

  • Your wrists and elbows should be directly under your shoulders.
  • You will reach the crown of your head forward, with your chin slightly tucked and your neck long, as you press your heels backward.
  • Your belly is engaged as if you are wearing a corset and all your energy is coming in toward your center line.
  • You will want to tuck in your tailbone so that your bottom is inline with your spine.
  • Your spine is straight creating a downward sloping line from the top of your head to your heels.
  • (NOTE: For side plank, the same tips apply. You will just rotate your body’s position 90 degrees left or right.)

For my BitchFit clients, I devised a ~5 minute plank workout. Here’s how you can do it at home:

  • STEP 1: Run through a Sun Salutation A, ending in plank pose.
  • STEP 2: Inhale in plank pose, exhale transition to side plank pose (right side).
  • STEP 3: Use your inhales to lift your left leg up (in line with your right leg), and exhales to lower your left leg back down to meet your right leg for a total of 5-10 reps. (Note: Modification is to lower your right knee to the mat.)
  • STEP 4: Inhale, return to plank pose. Exhale, remain here.
  • STEP 5: Repeat STEP 2-3 on the left side.
  • STEP 6: Inhale, return to plank pose. Exhale, remain here.
  • STEP 7: Inhale, tap your right hand to your left shoulder.
  • STEP 8: Exhale, plank pose.
  • STEP 9: Inhale, tap your left hand to your right shoulder.
  • STEP 10: Exhale, to Downward Facing Dog.
  • STEP 11: Repeat STEP 7-10 for 5-10 reps.
  • STEP 12: Inhale, into plank pose.
  • STEP 13: Exhale, to Downward Facing Dog.
  • STEP 14: Inhale, right hand to left shin.
  • STEP 15: Exhale, to Downward Facing Dog.
  • STEP 16: Inhale, left hand to right shin.
  • STEP 17: Repeat STEP 12-16 for 5-10 reps.
  • STEP 18: End in Child’s Pose.

—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ

5 Products You Need to Try

In the last post, we talked about Fun Mom. And though Fun Mom likes her rosé wine, Fun Mom also wants to be able to kick ass professionally and athletically—whether it is on the yoga mat, tennis court or Peloton. Plus, Fun Mom is not so fun when she feels bloated or over-served.

So I have compiled a list for Fun Moms, as well as anyone who wants to continue to feel healthy and happy during the dog days of summer.


According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the term “dog days of summer” does not refer to the fact that, from July 3 to August 11, the weather is so oppressive it is not fit for a dog. It is actually a reference to the fact that, during this time, the sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. This is why Sirius is sometimes called the Dog Star.

As an added bonus, I have also found these products to be helpful for two of my friends going through cancer treatment, as well as for my picky nutrition clients who want something quick and easy to help them with their health goals. (NOTE: I linked to each of the sites but all products are also available on Amazon.) So, without further ado, here you go:

Kettle & Fire

I stumbled upon Kettle & Fire and have loved everything I have tried. This company, which was started by brothers Nick and Justin Mares because they saw a need for hastle-free, health-inducing, grass-fed bone broth. All soups are free of additives, preservatives, antibiotics, hormones, artificial flavors and colors, and extra sodium.

Laird Superfood® Instafuel

Big Wave surfer Laird Hamilton and his kick ass athlete, model and sports announcer wife Gabby Reece exemplify longevity in the world of sports and beauty and vitality. Hamilton’s Laird Superfood® line offers an array of adaptogenic superfoods and his Instafuel should be a mainstay for anyone who wants a daily dose of energy and a nutritional steppingstone to help achieve his/her wellness goals by just adding water.

SuperFat Nut Butter

Do you remember the fat-free craze? Well, nowadays healthy fat is where it’s at. Healthy fats like nut butters can be a great tool to curbing cravings (especially sugar and carbs), providing your body with sustained energy and boosting brainpower. SuperFat Nut Butter products are gluten-free, Kosher, Keto, vegan, Paleo, and non-GMO and the nut butter packets are a great way to get a pre-portioned pick-me-upper.

ION*Gut Health

A client turned me onto this product and (combined with a probiotic) my digestion has never been better. According to the company, “ION*Gut Health is a gut-strengthening, brain-boosting mineral supplement sourced from 60-million-year-old soil that naturally supports microbiome balance. The active ingredient, Terrahydrite®, has been shown to support the integrity of tight junctions in the gut lining, even in the face of damage from toxins such as glyphosate.” According to my belly, it’s happy and I no longer experience afternoon bloating.

St. Regis Cabernet Sauvignon

The St. Regis Cabernet Sauvignon is described as “An alcohol free selection that is medium-bodied and well balanced displaying aromas and flavors of black currant and cherry framed with toasty oak, spice, mint and herbs,” this is my go-to booze-free wine. Over the years I have tried SO many different alcohol-free wines and this is one of the few I actually enjoy.

—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ

Sun’s Out, Fun Mom’s Out

It is always at this point in the summer when the sheen of no school begins to wear off (and the sheen of sweat appears all over from the oppressive heat) and suddenly I find three pairs of eyes looking at me—blank and bored. Sure we have summer reading. Sure we have summer jobs (albeit flexible and not very time-consuming) babysitting and dog walking. Sure we have chores like feeding our menagerie of bunnies, birds, cats, ducks and one dog.

But, nevertheless we already hit the beach a few times. And the pool almost everyday. We have cooked in and ate out. And, thanks to quarantine, exhausted everything watch-worthy on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

So when I see that look in their eyes—like they might go feral, I know it’s time to activate Fun Mom. Let me tell you about Fun Mom. She:

  • Stocks the refrigerator. When there is plenty of food and Le Croix for kids (and maybe rosé wine for Fun Mom), no one has the opportunity to get “hangry” and hurt morale.
  • Interviews each child individually to get a list of three things each one wants to do during the summer. These post summer solstice aspirations have to be reasonable (i.e. no foreign travel and now is not the time to buy a horse and take up horseback riding). Fun Mom then looks at the family calendar and plots a date, time and place to do each item on the to-do list.
  • Schedules things during the week that have NOTHING to do with the kids. For example, she gets a weekly tennis group together, enrolls in a fun online class, takes up a hobby that’s off-campus (as in away from the house) like a pottery class at a local art studio. Fun Mom knows that in order to actually be Fun Mom, sometimes she needs some f-ing alone time.
  • Gets Dad (or partner) in on the gig. Yes dads often pick things that moms are certain will bring imminent doom like zip lines and walking barefoot on old splintering docks, but it’s all good. Fun Mom knows she needs to share the burden of family bonding and merriment.
  • Practices self-care by booking a hair appointment or massage and buying an inexpensive go-to summer dress that can transition from pool to cocktail party. A Fun Mom that feels good and thinks she looks good (for having had X-amount of kids), has the potential to become Funner Mom.
  • Calls in the troops. Whether it’s grandparents, godparents, still single friends that the kids refer to as Aunt (fill in the blank) or Uncle (fill in the blank), or just a lonely neighbor (preferably not one with too many cats), Fun Mom lets other people get in on the kids’ entertainment.
  • Invests in a mindless game. This year it’s Mexican train for this Fun Mom’s family. (Note: Mexican train is more or less a luck game and requires very little brain power in case Fun Mom wants to drink rosé while playing.)
  • Doesn’t play the blame game. If something doesn’t go right, such as a child is being fussy or Fun Mom feels fat in her bathing suit, Fun Mom takes a deep breath, smiles and moves on.

To all you other Fun Moms out there, good luck making the summer of 2021 enjoyable. Chances are it’s going to be better than the summer of 2020!

—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ

Female IQ Essential Oils Series #4: Melaleuca Essential Oil

Next up, melaleuca essential oil (also known as tea tree oil). This antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic, antiviral essential oil is a great weapon against cooties. Melaleuca is reported to help with:

  • Eczema
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Candida
  • Cuts
  • Wounds
  • Acne
  • Staph infection
  • Dandruff
  • Scabies
  • Lice
  • Hives
  • Rashes
  • Cavities

Here are just a few ideas for you:

Summer Camp

If your child is going to summer camp, he/she needs a healthy dose of melaleuca. Add it to his/her shampoo to ward off lice. Add it to sunscreen to ward off insects. And send them off with a 15 mL bottle of it to have on hand to add to band-aids to ward off infection.

Stinky Shoes

All three of my daughters play soccer and their cleats can get fun-ky! If your child (or man child) has the same issue, try combining 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 cup water and 10 drops of melaleuca essential oil in a glass spray bottle and spritzing daily and airing the offending footwear outside.


Got a blemish? Maybe your pre-teen does? Not to worry. Apply melaleuca essential oil directly to it before bedtime and let the pimple popping power of melaleuca do its thing.

—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ

Female IQ Essential Oil Series #3: Lemon Essential Oil

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade — with 2 drops of lemon essential oil in 8 ounces of purified water and a dash of liquid stevia. Seriously, this drink will brighten your day, as well as help with arthritis and promote detoxing and lymphatic cleansing. Lemon is my third most recommended essential oil to people starting an essential oil collection.

In addition, lemon essential oil is also a great companion to other essential oils. When combined with cypress essential oil and rubbed into the skin, lemon essential oil helps with varicose veins. When diffused or applied topically on the bridge of the nose with lavender and peppermint, lemon essential oil provides allergy relief. And when combined with rosemary essential oil and inhaled, lemon essential oil promotes concentration.

Here are some other ways you can incorporate lemon essential oil into your daily routine:

Liquid Hand Soap

Give fragrance-free and non toxic hand soap like Seventh Generation’s hand wash a boost with 10 drops of lemon essential oil. A natural antibacterial and disinfectant, lemon essential oil will not only make your hand soap smell like sunshine, but it will also up your cleaning power.

Non-Toxic Air Freshener

Most commercial air fresheners are no bueno for the environment but here’s a DIY solution to stinky towels, socks, etc. Combine 1/8 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup of lemon juice (freshly squeezed), 2-3 drops lemon essential oil, and 2 cups water in a glass spray bottle and spritz as you see fit.

Morning Detox

Need to de-bloat? Try adding 2 drops of lemon essential oil to an herbal ginger tea first thing in the morning before you eat your breakfast. Your belly (make that your flat belly) will thank you.


You can use 1 drop of lemon essential oil in any recipe that calls for 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. One of my favorites is lemon-pepper chicken. Just whisk together 1 drop of lemon essential oil to 1/3 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and add fresh ground pepper and a dash of sea salt to make the marinade. Pour the marinade over your organic chicken breasts and either grill or bake until cooked. Serve with tzatziki sauce over cauliflower rice or mixed greens.

—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ

Female IQ Essential Oil Series #2: Lavender Essential Oil

When building an essential oil collection, after peppermint I would recommend lavender. You have likely heard that lavender is great for relaxing and improving sleep, but here is a full list of the top properties of lavender essential oil:

  • Sedative
  • Astringent
  • Antihistamine
  • Cytophylactic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antidepressant
  • Analgesic
  • Hypotensive
  • Nervine
  • Relaxing
  • Soothing
  • Antibacterial
  • Regenerative
  • Cardiotonic

I do not know what half those properties mean 🥴 but here are the ways I incorporate lavender essential oil into my daily routine:

Bedtime Ritual

Every night, I diffuse 8-10 drops of lavender essential oil in the diffuser on my bedside table. I also put a few drops of lavender essential oil on my pillow. It brings me a sense of peace and enables me to forget my to do list or anything that may have stressed me out during my day. (Note: Lavender is said help prevent teeth grinding, a nighttime no no I once struggled with but no longer do.)

Neck Pain

So many of us suffer from neck pain and a big cause of my neck pain is tense shoulders. I keep a bottle of lavender essential oil at my desk and if I know I’m going to be writing for several hours I will massage a few drops of lavender into my neck and my trapezius muscles.

Skincare and Haircare

I love adding essential oils to my beauty products. Lavender is said to soothe and promote healing for sunburns, burns, scars, cuts, minor wounds and blisters. If I get too much sun from a long tennis match or walk on the beach, I will add lavender essential oil to my moisturizer and massage it into my sunburn. And, as for haircare, I make it a point to not get artificially scented shampoos but I do like for my hair to smell good so I add a few drops of lavender to a half dollar size portion of my shampoo and massage it into my scalp. It feels good to take my time with washing my hair, as opposed to rushing through a perfectly good self-care opportunity.


For the same reason I do not buy artificially scented shampoos, I do not buy artificially scented detergents. But with three girls playing soccer, a CrossFit husband and my Wednesday hot yoga class (a shout out to Jiva Yoga Center), sometimes our clothes need a little extra love. You can either add lavender to your non-scented liquid detergent or put a few drops directly on the clothes before starting the dry cycle.

—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ

Female IQ Essential Oil Series #1: Peppermint Essential Oil

Over the next several weeks, Female IQ thought it would be fun and helpful to share information about essential oils. Essential oils are a great way to incorporate self-care into your day-to-day routine and can be a minor life tweak with major benefits.

Please know not all essential oils are created equal so it’s crucial that you really consider your source when purchasing an essential oil. Young Living and doTERRA are two respected companies with what I believe to be superior products. Nine times out of 10, essential oils from gas stations or pharmacies like Walgreens are not good quality and may even be slightly toxic.

For the first post about essential oils, Female IQ wanted to highlight peppermint oil. When starting an oil collection, peppermint should be your first purchase. It just has SO many uses.


My oldest daughter suffers from headaches, especially during her menstrual cycle. To combat her headaches, I started making her a special smoothie. In a blender, I combine 1 cup oat milk, 1/2 organic banana, 1/4 cup organic blueberries, 1 handful spinach, 1/4 avocado, 1 tablespoon organic instant coffee, 1 tablespoon cacao, 1 scoop protein powder or collagen powder, 1 dropper full of liquid stevia and 2 drops of peppermint essential oil.

You can also rub peppermint essential oil into your temples or massage into your scalp to ward off a headache.


To avoid overheating while working out, you can apply peppermint essential oil to places like your neck, arm pits or chest. I apply it to my arm pits before a long run, especially in the summer. I keep a spray bottle with water and 15 drops of peppermint essential oil in my tennis bag and spritz my face and chest between games. And following hot yoga, I like to put a few drops of peppermint oil on a damp washcloth and apply to my forehead during savasana.

For muscle recovery, you can add 15-20 drops of essential into an Epson salt bath and soak for 10-15 minutes.

Energy Boost

Do you ever experience an energy dip during your day? For me it’s often around 4pm. Because I do not want to consume coffee that late in the day (because it would affect my sleep schedule), I add 2 drops of peppermint essential oil to 28-ounce water bottle. (Added bonus, peppermint essential oil can curb cravings so peppermint infused water might stop you from snacking before dinner.)

As for kids, every morning I diffuse 8-10 drops of peppermint essential oil in the kitchen. As my girls eat their breakfast and talk about their hopes for the day, they breath in the peppermint and perk up.

You can also put 1-2 drops of peppermint essential oil in your palms, rub the palms together and then take 3 deep breaths, inhaling the invigorating scent.

—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ