we love

Author Archive

Preventing Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitos Naturally

Posted on: April 6th, 2018 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

By Angie Ardolino

Living in Florida makes it very difficult to control fleas, ticks and mosquitos from biting your dog. After researching the toxicity of commercial flea, tick and heart worm medications, I decided to poll my Facebook friends on what they used.  Most shared that they did what their vets suggest but would much rather find a natural alternative to these expensive and toxic preventatives that have been shown to cause all kinds serious health problems and even in some cases death.

Here are my favorite natural alternatives:

Diatomaceous Earth (Food Grade)

Good for pet, home, yard, beds.  Don’t inhale.  Kills fleas, parasites and worms.

This all-natural fine powder is safe for human and animal consumption.  I’ve been using on my farm for over 7 years now.  You can sprinkle it in your animal’s food, in their water, and even rub on their skin.  You can also sprinkle it in beds, carpets and around home to kill any bugs (fleas, ants, roaches, bed bugs).  Find out more and you can purchase it here.

Garlic – preferably organic

Repels fleas, ticks, mosquitos along with many health benefits, here’s more info on benefits and how to use. I finely mince up garlic and add to my dog’s food once a week.


Repels fleas, ticks, mosquitos

They do the mixing of the essential oils for you!  Simply spray this all natural, non-toxic spray on your dogs before they go outside, and it will repel fleas, ticks and mosquitos.  There is also an all-natural yard sprayWe carry their line of Natural Flea and Tick Control for home and pets at our shop and online.

Cedar oil, Neem Oil and Citronella oil

Repels fleas, ticks, mosquitos

You can mix the oils together in glass opaque spray bottle and spray on your dog (especially underbelly and legs) before they go outside, to a park, etc.  Avoid getting in their eyes.

Amber Collars – great for pet

Repels fleas and ticks.

Electrostatic feature of Amber is extremely useful when fighting ticks and fleas. When collar made of Baltic Amber beads is worn by a pet it will be naturally rubbed against its fur. This action will help Amber to generate electricity, which makes it almost impossible for flea or tick to stick on dog’s or cat’s hair.  You can get them here 

Heart Worm Free

HWF (formerly HeartWorm Free is a natural, effective, organic herbal remedy designed to help your canine family member overcome canine heartworm disease. HeartWorm Free is also an excellent effective natural heartworm preventative. HWF contains Organic Herbal ingredients.  The organic herbs in the HWF formula are known to help:

  •  Repel parasites
  •  Anti-Microbial properties
  •  Respiratory system
  •  Kidney Function
  •  Reduce inflammation
  •  Control coughing
  •  Support and strengthen heart function
  •  Improve coronary circulation
  •  Relax and dilate arteries
  •  Prevent edema (diuretic)
  •  Cleanse the vessels of parasites


Eat fleas, ticks and other nuisance bugs

My yard is free of these pests thanks to my 10 chickens.  I do sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth in my yard and around my house, just in case.  I spray no chemicals on my lawn or in my yard.

Having a healthy, non-toxic home, yard, and dog will help keep these insects from becoming a nuisance in your life.  I haven’t given Triflexis to my dogs for 3 months now and don’t plan on ever doing it again, so stay tuned…


Angie Ardolino pictured with her 10 year old, mini schnauzer Odie, is co-owner of Beautify the Beast.  She has a Professional Certificate in Cannabis Science and Medicine from the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. She has been caring and working with animals for over 25 years and has a rescue farm in Lutz, Florida.  

The post Preventing Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitos Naturally appeared first on Beautify the Beast.

Benefits of Hemp CBD oil for Dogs

Posted on: March 15th, 2018 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

By Angela Ardolino

Natural medicines and essential oils are very popular these days and, believe it or not, your pets can benefit from some of the same all-natural supplements as humans do.  All-natural Hemp CBD oil for dogs is one of the latest methods pet owners are using to help treat or prevent numerous pet ailments.

Cannabidiol (CBD) for pets is derived from hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant species, yet contains less than 1% of the psychoactive properties commonly associated with cannabis.  Instead, it contains compounds that interact naturally with your dog’s immune, nerve and endocannabinoid systems.

Why Dogs Need Hemp/CBD Oil

 Unlike fish oil, hemp seed oil contains the perfect ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential fatty acids, meaning dogs can’t produce them, and need to get them as a part of their diet.  A good balance of these Omega oils is critical to your dog’s health because they work synergistically in the body.  Hemp seeds are also high in an essential plant-derived Omega-6 fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid (GLA).  And CBD oil contains cannabinoids (CBD, CBDA, CBN, CBG, and terpenes) which are proven to both treat and prevent several common pet health concerns.

Reduces Joint Pain and Inflammation

 The Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatology has reported that the GLA found in hemp seeds reduced arthritis symptoms by 25%, compared to a placebo at 4%.

There are two main cannabinoid receptors in both human and canine nervous systems, known as CB1 and CB2.  The CB1 receptors are more affected by the presence of THC—controlling perception, memory, mood, sleep and appetite—while CB2 receptors affect the immune system.

The compounds in the plant that play a role in inhibiting inflammation are the substances that activate the CB2 receptors, as inflammation is an immune response.  GLA is not the only compound in cannabis that activates the CB2 receptor.  A terpenoid known as beta-caryophyllene is found in hemp extract, and also activates this receptor with no psychoactive effect.  In addition to its anti-inflammatory benefits, CBD Oil has also been shown to have anti-psychotic, anti-convulsant, anti-oxidant and immunomodulatory effects.

Improves Skin and Coat

Hemp seed has long been used in cosmetic products and soaps because the oil can penetrate the inner layers of the skin and promote healthy cellular growth.  The balanced fatty acids also play an important role in reducing the inflammation associated with common pet skin issues, including yeast infections, hot-spots, itching and dermatitis.  As an anti-inflammatory, CBD oil can relieve systemic inflammation that causes hives, blisters and whole-body itching.  And it helps fight skin allergies by promoting healthy cell growth.

Helps Relieve Anxiety

Does your dog become frantic when you leave, or when a thunderstorm is approaching?  CBD oil can also help with depression and anxiety by playing in a role in the serotonin pathways.  I give CBD oil to my dogs during every thunderstorm and it calms them down, almost instantly, after ingestion.

Hemp CBD oil has also proven to calm anxiety and reduce obsessive behaviors in dogs, like chewing and licking.

 Fights Cancer and Shrinks Tumors

 Researchers at the American Cancer Society say there’s evidence that people with cancer, diabetes and skin allergies don’t produce enough GLA; these issues have proven to be incredibly common in dogs too.  While GLA is considered a conditionally essential fatty acid (most dogs can make enough of it, most of the time), there are many circumstances like hard exercise or stress in which dogs can’t produce enough GLA—making it extremely important for you to provide it as a nutritional supplement.  Finally, because GLA is perfectly balanced with Omega-3 fatty acids, hemp seed oil will help reduce inflammation in your dog and strengthen his or her immune system.

 I’ve even administered CBD oil on a daily basis for help with my Doberman’s severe fear of thunder and her small fatty tumor on her eye had shrunk and within a matter of weeks the tumor completely disappeared!

 Where to get it?

At Beautify the Beast we carry the Pet Pharma line of Hemp CBD oil products.  These vegan hemp oil spray/tinctures are made from non-GMO hemp grown without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers.  These all-natural formulas contain hemp CBD complex, hemp seed oil, terpenes, and coconut oil.  They are also high in essential fatty acids, offering the perfect ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6, and contain a full spectrum hemp oil with CBD, CBG, CBN, and CBDA.  These ingredients come together for synergistic, long-lasting beneficial effects for your dogs.


Angie Ardolino pictured with her mini schnauzer Odie, is co-owner of Beautify the Beast.  She has a Professional Certificate in Cannabis Science and Medicine from the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. She has been caring and working with animals for over 25 years and has a rescue farm in Lutz, Florida.  








Fantastic Resources:

Dr Karen Becker

American Cancer Society

Dogs Naturally Magazine

The post Benefits of Hemp CBD oil for Dogs appeared first on Beautify the Beast.

A little about us…

Posted on: March 15th, 2018 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Angie Ardolino and David Estevez the new owners of Beautify the Beast pictured with a few of their dogs; Odie, Rhemi, Oscar, Molly and Nina.  Photo by Jeanine McLeod, 


Beautify the Beast, a premier pet grooming and boarding facility serving the greater Lutz and Land O’ Lakes communities in West Central Florida, is approaching one year under new ownership, and a significant transformation that is noticeable both inside and out.  These changes didn’t happen overnight, and have been a labor of love for new owners Angie Ardolino and David Estevez.

Renovations have included structural modifications to maximize work space, and installation of state-of-the-art equipment for bathing, grooming and boarding operations.  Major remodeling has been done to including the addition of displays for all-natural pet food and treats, toys, beds, clothing and accessories.  Other improvements include the use of premium natural, paraben-free, sulfate-free, tearless shampoos and conditioner along with staffing some of Tampa Bay’s best and most experienced groomers.

Before taking over Beautify the Beast, Ardolino served the Tampa Bay area as a noted parenting expert, spokesperson and child advocate, having also founded and served as long-time editor of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.  It was there that she and David worked together for over a decade, providing parenting and pet resources and guidance for families from across the region.

Prior to living in Tampa, Ardolino founded the Miami Children’s Theater (MCT) in 1996.  MCT is a performing arts production company founded to use the performing arts to instruct and inspire young actors and audiences; and it was through MCT that Angie and David met and began working together.  Their influence and success with MCT are easy to see today, as several of the program’s graduates are now performing on Broadway and in commercial film & television.

In addition to their professional pursuits, Angie and David spent several years working together in their free time to establish Fire Flake Farm, a residential lakeside farm setting, which has provided sanctuary for a wide variety of abandoned, neglected or injured animals over the past decade.  Fire Flake Farm’s current animals-in-residence include: Pekin, Muscovy and Champagne Mallard Ducks, Chinese Geese, a Rooster, Chickens, a Rabbit, two Schnauzers, a Doberman, a Mixed Breed dog, and a Poodle.  Due to it’s popularity for dogs that love to run, play and even swim, Fire Flake Farm has become an ideal location to host pets for Beautify the Beast clients looking for premium and extended-stay boarding experiences.

Angie also takes pet health matters very seriously, and have spent countless time researching natural ways to extend (and improve quality of) lives of our furry friends.  Having discovered that a majority of pet health problems are the result of dietary and hygiene issues, they’ve developed partnerships with premium providers of all-natural, safe, effective products that pet owners can trust, and are excited to offer these products for purchase in either their physical location or online store.

Beautify the Beast is located at 1900 Land O’ Lakes Blvd # 109, Lutz, FL 33549, and is open 7 days a week.  Visit this link or call 813-949-1288 for more information or to make an appointment for your pet!

The post A little about us… appeared first on Beautify the Beast.

To Shave or Not to Shave?

Posted on: February 8th, 2018 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

by Angie Ardolino

Many families invest a lot time and money on adopting a “hypoallergenic” dog, or a dog that doesn’t shed like a Labradoodle, Goldendoodle, or Shih Tzu.  However, instead of shedding, they’ve now committed to weekly brushings and monthly trips to the groomer.  Grooming these dogs start at $50 and go up to $150 depending on their size and coat.  Unfortunately, many busy families don’t have the time to brush the coat thoroughly every week and that’s when matts set in.

Light matting can be brushed out, often with a little help from some good shampoo and conditioning treatment, but heavy matting close to the skin leaves a groomer with little choice but to shave.

To understand why a groomer would shave a dog, we need to understand why it is the safest option. Matting is commonly found around the joints, behind the ears, around collar and on underbelly.   They are essentially clumps of tightly tangled hair that can spread throughout their body.  A dog with matting may chew, scratch or bite at the matted areas, making them even worse. Oil, dirt, debris and friction all contribute to matting.  The longer matting is ignored the worse it gets.  A small tangle on a leg can develop into a mat that can then encase the entire leg, leading to sores and potentially cutting off circulation.  We’ve seen dogs who were losing circulation to their tails and legs because of severe matting.

 Why shave them?

Imagine not brushing your own hair for 3 months.  Then, think about trying to get a comb from your roots to your ends without getting stuck.  It hurts!  The main reason the groomer will shave your dog is because it is extremely painful to demat them.  Their blade needs to fit in the space between the mat and the skin.   The safest and most humane option is to shave them and start over – which will not cause your dog any unnecessary pain or discomfort. If your kids don’t like your dog when he’s shaved, put them to work with a brush and comb.  Pictured left is Jen a professional groomer shaving a Labradoodle who was completely matted to the skin.

In Between Grooms

There are many ways to prevent or limit matting between grooming appointments.  First, get yourself a few tools to help you get the job done like a Slicker Brush, pin comb and some de-matting spray.  Make sure to use a comb and pull it from their skin all the way through the coat. If you get to a tough spot you can spray the de-matting spray to help you work the tangle out.   Any professional groomer will be more than happy to show you correct brushing techniques and recommend a schedule to maintain the hairstyle you prefer for your pup.  Regular professional grooming is key, especially if you’re unable to comb weekly at home.  The groomers at Beautify the Beast see most of their fluffier clients every 4-6 weeks and they have little to no matting; it’s very easy to achieve a cute teddy bear style on them, you just have to stay on a consistent grooming schedule.

Hypoallergenic Breeds

Here’s a list of hypoallergenic breeds that don’t shed but need to be brushed weekly(some daily) and groomed every 4-6 weeks to prevent matting and other skin conditions from developing:

  1. Airedale Terrier
  2. Tibetan Terrier
  3. Maltese
  4. Shih Tzu
  5. Brussels Griffon
  6. Portuguese Water Dog
  7. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
  8. Poodle (all sizes)
  9. West Highland White Terrier
  10. Bichon Frise
  11. Kerry Blue Terrier
  12. Havanese
  13. Chinese Crested
  14. Scottish Terrier
  15. Schnauzer (all sizes)
  16. Irish Water Spaniel
  17. Carin Terrier
  18. Labradoodle
  19. Goldendoodle
  20. Yorkshire Terrier
  21. Silky Terrier
  22. Bouvier Des Flandres

Angie Ardolino is the co-owner of Beautify the Beast and lives on a 3 acre farm in Lutz, where she rescues and cares for farm animals and dogs.  For more information visit,


The post To Shave or Not to Shave? appeared first on Beautify the Beast.

The Best Gift Ideas For Dog Lovers

Posted on: December 1st, 2017 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Organic Wool Dog Sweater with sequin Skull and Crossbones- perfect for Gasparilla!


By Cindy Alridge, Our Dog Friends

For many dog lovers, pets are just as important as family members. When the holidays roll around, then, it’s important to remember those pets and how much they’re loved when it’s time to shop for gifts. The good news is that there are tons of great gift ideas for pet owners, from toys and treats to ways for them to keep their animals safe and comfortable.

The key is to think about what your loved one may need; have they recently moved into a new home that their pet is still getting used to? Is the animal getting up there in years? If so, he might appreciate a comfy bed to rest on. If your loved ones are away from home for much of the day, they might appreciate a way to check in on their pets to make sure they’re safe and happy, such as a camera that will allow them to monitor the animal’s movements.

For more great gift ideas, keep reading.

Make it personal

Many dog owners are proud of their pets and want to share their love of this animal to the world. Check out Etsy, where you can find a ton of awesome, handmade items your dog-lover will go crazy for. There’s everything from personalized food and water bowls to scarves bearing different dog breeds, so take your time and peruse the site to find the perfect gift.

Get eco-friendly

 Reducing our carbon footprints is easier than ever now that so many companies are jumping on board and making eco-friendly products, and that includes items for pets. Consider looking for a sturdy but collapsible water bowl for the pet owner who likes to go hiking, or a hemp-filled toy that will keep their dog happy and busy. You can also find organic treats for the pups that are good for their tummies and aren’t filled with processed ingredients. For more ideas on how to make your gift eco-friendly, check out this article.

Think safety

Most pet owners are keen to keep their animals safe, so what better gift to give than that of safety? There are several ideas to choose from, whether it’s a dog tracker, a pet monitoring system to help the owners check in on their pets during the day, or a large crate that will give the animal room to move around in when he has to be contained. Crate size is important, especially for larger dogs; it needs to be big enough for them to stand, turn around, and lie down in comfortably. For more info on finding the perfect play pen, here’s the one we use at the shop, or if you need a crate, read on here.

A carefully curated box of goodies


 Even dogs love to get mail, so think about buying your animal-loving friend a subscription to a curated box of goodies that might include treats, toys, and adorable accessories. There are various sizes of bundles, so you can choose the one with the right price for your budget. Check out this site for more details.

Get unique

Pets are as unique as their owners, and they deserve things that show off their personalities, so check out Uncommon Goods for gift ideas that any pet owner would love. There’s everything from cute toys to bedding to practical items, such as a textured bathing glove.

The holidays can be a stressful time, but you can take the worry out of gift-giving by sticking to this guide. Look for unique items that fall within your budget and find out what your loved ones need before committing to any one gift; that way, you can be sure they’ll love it.

Shop our Store and find great organic and natural beds, toys, apparel, food, treats and more!

The post The Best Gift Ideas For Dog Lovers appeared first on Beautify the Beast.

What is causing my dog’s allergies?

Posted on: August 18th, 2017 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Let food heal them, By Angie Ardolino

A pet grooming and boarding facility like Beautify the Beast sees a fair share of furry friends every day and often times the ailments they suffer. Recently, we’ve seen many dogs with allergy symptoms like yeast infections, swollen paw pads, rashes, and runny eyes. After years of research and speaking with several vets, food seems to be the main cause of irritation for many canines.

Now finding nutritious chow is the tricky part. Dog food producers, like producers of human food, often use ambiguous terms like “natural” and “healthy” to draw your attention. So the first step when in search of dog food is skipping all the fancy labels on the front and looking at the nutrition panel. Studies have shown that certain ingredients more commonly cause allergies. Here’s a list of the worst:

  1. beef
  2. pork
  3. dairy products
  4. chicken
  5. rabbit
  6. lamb
  7. fish
  8. chicken eggs
  9. corn
  10. wheat
  11. soy

That’s right, BEEF! Not only are these the most common allergy-causing ingredients, they’re also the most commonly used in inexpensive, corn-based dog foods found on store shelves. Did you know that animal protein, while a good source of essential nutrients, should only make up about 10 percent of your dog’s diet? So don’t be deceived by brands that offer beef, chicken, and lamb as the first ingredients or number one protein source.

Unlike cats, dogs are omnivores. Which means they can survive on a balanced, diverse plant and/or animal diet. After searching years for a nutrient-packed, plant-based dog food, I stumbled on author and farm advocate Gene Baur’s recommendation of V-Dog. All four of my dogs (Nina the 4 year-old Doberman, Odie the 10 year-old Toy Schnauzer, Jolene the 3 year-old mixed breed, and my foster Hercules the 13 year-old Miniature Pincher) love V-Dog. To keep the food interesting for my dogs, I’ll often add farm fresh eggs from my chickens (with the shell), or sautéed spinach with garlic in coconut oil or veggies and fruits like apples, carrots, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes.

Beautify the Beast is an authorized seller of V-Dog. We carry small and large sized bags, V-Dog dog treats, and other unique items. If you’d like more information or would like to switch your dog to V-Dog, call us at 813-949-1288, email, or stop by Beautify the Beast (1900 Land O’Lakes Blvd in Lutz, 33549).

The post What is causing my dog’s allergies? appeared first on Beautify the Beast.

Preparing for the Right Family Pet

Posted on: May 24th, 2017 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

For many homes, pets are extended parts of the family with their own toys, beds and clothes. But making the decision to introduce a new pet into your home can be a daunting one, especially when it involves kids. There are many great things and teachable moments about having a new pet but many people, mostly your kids, don’t realize the amount of work that will go into raising a well-trained, member of the family.

Whether it be training, responsibilities, animal-related chores or other tasks that come along with a new pet, your family will need to be prepared for what comes along with the joys of having a family pet.

Have the Talk

Before making the decision to bring a new pet into the house, sit down with the entire family to discuss what having a new pet will entail. Make it clear that everyone will have responsibilities and be accountable for the safety and well-being of the animal. You’ll also want to decide how big an animal your family can handle, if your house and yard are prepared for an animal and what breed of animal suits your family best. According to, it is important to consider many things before choosing a pet, including how much time and money you can dedicate to the pet. Just as you wouldn’t want a large dog in a small apartment with no yard, you also wouldn’t want a pet with health problems if you aren’t financially able to pay for a vet.

When choosing the breed, make sure to take into account animal temperament and family allergies among other things. Some dogs, like Miniature Schnauzers and Spanish Water Dogs, are hypoallergenic breeds that can help to alleviate some people’s allergies, according to Of course, everyone’s allergies are different so check with your family physician about your choice to get an animal.

Create a Responsibility Chart

Once your entire family is on board and understands what comes along with getting a new pet, you’ll want to establish a chart of responsibilities which will explain who is in charge of what task and when, according to the  Humane Society. Some jobs to include are feeding, bathing, walking and training. Consider creating a rotating chart so that everyone has a new job each month. This will not only keep it exciting and fresh each month, but will prepare your kids to care for their own pets as they get older.

Don’t forget that your family will have to relinquish some personal time to care for the animal so choose wisely. If your family is willing to spend an hour outdoors each day training and walk a dog, you may want to consider a larger breed like Doberman. If your family is often busy and can’t devote as much time to caring for an animal, you may want to consider a more self-reliant animal like a cat or fish.


“Crate training has been proven to be the fasted and most effective way to housebreak a puppy”, says  Cheri Lucas of Because your new pet’s instinct is to avoid being near its own waste, they’ll make every attempt to not soil their crate. When choosing a crate you’ll want to pick one that is large enough for your pet to stand up, turn and stretch out.  If your pet is expected to grow large, purchase a crate with a moveable wall that can be pushed back as your pet gets older. Think of the crate as your pet’s home where they can relax and sleep at night.

The most important part of training is consistency. Discuss with the family what the new pet is and is not allowed to do and act like. And make sure that when the animal makes a mistake, you quickly call the attention of the animal to the mistake and sternly say “No!”. Your animal will quickly learn that what they’ve done is wrong and unacceptable. As long as you remain consistent in what the animal is and is not allowed to do your new pet will learn quickly.

Introducing a new pet into the home is a family affair. Although it can be hectic and exciting at the beginning make sure the entire family is onboard and ready for a new household member. Just like people, your new pet will seek approval and love from you and want to spend as much time with your family as possible.

Don’t forget to check out our Pet Guide for all of the best pet products and information at

The post Preparing for the Right Family Pet appeared first on Beautify the Beast.

Amendment 2 and You

Posted on: November 16th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments


Florida has passed Amendment 2, but what does that actually mean for you? Although the new amendment won’t be in effect until January 3, 2017, you can better prepare for the upcoming changes now by learning everything you need to know about medical cannabis.

For sufferers of everything from arthritis to seizures, medical cannabis can be a miracle drug. Its healing properties are now the subject of many scientific studies, and the long history of medical marijuana has brought us to a time when it is finally becoming recognized as a safe alternative to heavy medications.

Brief history of Medical Cannabis

What is Cannabis? 

Where is Cannabis Legal and How Do You Get It?

Benefits of Cannabis

Find a Licensed Doctor Who Can Prescribe Medical Cannabis

Learn how Cannabis is saving Dahlia 

Read About How CBD Oil Saved Sadie

Find Out How RSHO Gave Lily a Second Chance

To learn more about the benefits of cannabis, how it is prescribed, and what it can do, visit

Medical Cannabis is Legal: What You Need to Know

Posted on: November 15th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

An educational cannabis conference is coming to Tampa November 18 and is free and open to the public.  


CannaCure Florida is proud to assemble an esteemed group of physicians and medical professionals for an exclusive medical cannabis educational conference Friday, Nov. 18, 2016 – Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, at The Cuban Club in Ybor City, from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Workshops and Seminars are fee based and proceeds benefit CannaMoms, a nonprofit helping families with sick children who need medical cannabis.

The program will provide scientific research and clinical data behind medical cannabis, along with treatment information for medical practitioners about the use of medical cannabis for patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or other comparable illnesses.

“There has been a tremendous need for families with major health problems to gain access to safe, affordable and effective alternatives to traditional medical treatment or pharmaceuticals,” says parenting and family expert Angela Ardolino, founder of Parenting with Angela.  “Educating physicians and patients about medical cannabis is a big step toward providing relief, and even recovery, to many patients.”


Panel discussions include respected and prominent medical practitioners including- Juan Sanchez-Ramos, PhD and MD at the University of South Florida.  They will be examining the latest medical cannabis legislation and research as well as recommendations for the effective development of medical marijuana treatment plans.

Noted author and keynote presenter Dr. Gregory L. Smith will provide a wealth of information about which conditions respond to cannabis, dosing guidance, and the safe use of cannabis by patients. “This conference will serve as an indispensable resource for medical professionals, providing a sound clinical basis for incorporating medical cannabis into their arsenal of treatment options for patients,” said Smith.

Speakers include Juan Sanchez-Ramos, PhD, MD from USF Health who will speak on the medical use of cannabis and will cover how Florida doctors can best utilize this important medicine.  Selim R. Bendadis, MD will discuss how medical cannabis can positively impact those with epilepsy and there will be panels with Stephen Blythe, MD, Terel Spencer Newton, MD, Eduardo Palanca MD, PA and Joseph Rosado, MD on how to use cannabis as medicine. 

Ardolino will also be discussing what the new legislation means for medical professionals and caregivers going forward. Gary J. Stein, MPH will also discuss how to transform lives with medical cannabis.

During the conference, there will be a free Canna Bazaar, which is open to the public. This is a great place to learn more about the medical cannabis industry and to network and learn from cannabis professionals.

Visit for a complete schedule of events and to register for seminars and workshops.

Additional educational programming is available for prospective medical cannabis patients, investors and entrepreneurs on both Saturday, Nov. 19, and Sunday, Nov. 20, from ComfyTree.

Plant Now, Harvest Later

Posted on: November 1st, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Food is the key to good health. It affects everything that our body does– it can make your life better or it can turn small problems into big problems. Pesticides and hidden chemicalsin your foods can cause damage to the nervous system, upset stomach and can live in your children’s intestines for years.


Rather than relying on what a label tells me is in my food, I decided six years ago to start an organic garden at home so that I would know exactly what I am ingesting and to give my body a chance to enjoy good health. Plus, nothing tastes better than veggies grown in your own backyard. It is surprisingly easy and fun to do with the kids, too!


What to Grow this Season

One of the things I grow in my organic garden is organic basil. Basil packs a punch greater than just its delightful smell– it provides blood-clotting Vitamin K and magnesium and is also an antioxidant with antibacterial properties. It can be used in a variety of recipes and in some cultures is even used for medicinal purposes. Herbs tend to be some of the easiest things to grow if you are new to gardening as well. Some of my favorites and the easiest to grow are Basil and Rosemary.


There are lots of crops for fall in Central Florida, other than basic herbs . Things like bush and pole beans, tumeric, eggplant, peppers, squash, and tomatoes are great to plant in August and September. In October and November we can plant crops such as sweet potatoes, beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, and strawberries. These are all relatively easy to plant and maintain and you will be able to harvest them in the coming seasons.


How to Get Started

Growing your own garden doesn’t have to be difficult and can be pretty fun to do with the kids. It will get everyone outside and will give you and your family a chance to learn something new together. I know that I am still learning new things every day with my organic garden.


We have very sandy soils throughout most of central Florida, so organic matter should be worked into your soil at least three weeks ahead of planting. Compost and mulches are great to use for this, but make sure that they are properly broken down so that they don’t harbor harmful bacteria. Stay away from soils enriched with chemicals and opt for healthy soil and compost. I have found healthy soils and fertilizers from Worm’s Way and Grace’s Hydroponics are a great solution.


Before you start growing, it is important to find the right seeds. I use High Mowing Organic Seeds, which are 100% organic.


If you are concerned with bugs and pests getting into your garden, consider planting a few flowers like chrysanthemums that beneficial insects will love– they will help keep the pesky bugs away.


Make sure to pay attention to the amount of water and sunlight that your seeds will need to grow. Growing basil and other herbs are often an easy way to start with organic gardening because they are relatively low-maintenance and yield wonderful results.


Get Your Hands Dirty

This is the part that kids love the most. Have the kids help dig the spots where you want to plant your seeds and let them be in charge of certain plants. This is a great way to show them the difference between what grows in the ground versus what grows above the ground and how to care for both types of plants. You can start an herb garden in pots and plant the larger plants in the ground, and have the kids learn the different ways that plants react depending on their environment. It is also a great time of year to teach kids about composting and how we can recycle some of our waste right into the soil.


Make sure you have a good pair of shears when it is time to harvest your plants, and let the kids get involved as well. If you want to try to plant something that is a little bit longer lasting, consider planting a butterfly garden as well. You can find instructions here.


To read more information about starting your very own garden,