Saturday, March 30, 2013

Puppy Update

Isn't Fionn a handsome boy? He's also huge!
I've been really bad about putting up puppy updates. Everyone is doing well. It feels like a major miracle but everyone gets along. There are minor squirmishes but no outright fighting and often a squirmish quickly turns to play with eveyone jumping into the fun. There is never a dull moment. There are quiet moments with dogs and cats in laps or around the woodstove but never it's never dull and we are really loving that. So far this has been a great decision. Not a decision for everyone perhaps but it's definitely working for us.


Fionn and Fionna

I tried to get a good shot of Fionna but she runs like the wind. She loves running just to because she can. You can't tell from this picture but she's still quite petite. Not that it stops her from mixing it up with her brothers! Yes, this little lady will very soon rule this roost. LOL!









Here they all are - same pose I took them in when the pups were tiny. Fionna still looks bigger than she is. She's a fly weight but that doesn't stop her for a minute.









Here's an action shot of all four. Poor Reilly
ended up in a full on butt pose when I snapped the shot.




Friday, March 29, 2013

Less Than Ideal Reasons To Buy An Exercise DVD

Yesterday I listed some of the best reasons to buy an exercise DVD. Today I'll list a few of the less than ideal reasons to buy an Exercise DVD. Everyone is different of course and my less than optimal reason might sound like the best reason you've ever heard. If that's true feel free to comment. Again, these reasons can apply to other things we buy and tend to over buy.

1. I think that a pile of unopened exercise DVDs sitting anywhere in your home (unless they are truly gifts waiting to be wrapped are a reason to put a moratorium on new DVDs. I don't think you have to commit to opening and doing each and every DVD before you make another purchase. I do think you should sit down and look at each one, think about when how and why you purchased it and look for a pattern. Again, this is the newly budding minimalist in me typing here. If you discover that having a stack of unused DVDs makes you feel good or secure or any other positive emotion then go for it!

2. A bunch of people you know are shelling out $250.00 each to buy this system. They're all excited about it and it sounds like the next best thing - seriously this could be it! This could the thing that finally makes life all new and fresh for you. This could be a great purchase if you are truly enthused about this product, it's a steal of a deal and you know you'll use it. If however, it's the third major system you've purchased in the last 6 months and you never really used the other two systems, it might be time to take a cool-off week and wait it out.

3. You just have a need to "collect" every single DVD of any fitness celeb you decide to try - whether or not you actually use them. The word collect or collection is a sure sign that your DVDs are more decoration than functional lifestyle change media. Unless of course you are 
truly using them on a weekly basis.

4. You already have 50, 100, 150 DVDs and you haven't workout to a DVD in 4 weeks. It might be ok to buy but it's prudent to look at past patterns and decide if THIS DVD is likely to change past patterns. 

I could go on and on but my point is that for many people the excitement of thinking about acquiring a new DVD, buying it and waiting for it to be delivered becomes a habit that never leads to actually using what they have. This never brings about the aesthetic change or for that matter the lifestyle change that we're longing for. 

In all honesty, consistency is the only magic bullet. You've got to actually make the time to do workouts on a regular basis. Now that's when the magic begins!

Note: I posted this series after an innocent question from Bee. Please don't think that my words are aimed at her. From her reply it sounds like she's actually using what she's purchased. I've been meaning to write about this for quite some time. Her question just reminded me of these partially written posts hanging out in my draft box. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Right Reasons To Buy A New Exercise DVD

I'm going to write this primarily from a T-Tapp perspective but it could cross over to other exercise systems or DVDs or even other purchases. 

First The Right Reasons:

1. You have only one type of workout in your collection and this workout will add variety for which you have a specific plan - you know you will use this DVD soon after purchase and then often.

2. The DVD is on sale AND you plan on purchasing it soon anyway AND you know you will use this DVD soon after purchase and then often.

3. This DVD addresses a specific area of concern or postural issue AND you know you will use this DVD soon after purchase and then often.

4. Your workouts could use the influx of some variety and you feel this DVD will achieve that end AND you know you will use this DVD...

5. This DVD is within your budget and buying it won't strap you cash-wise.

6. You don't have a pile of DVDs that you've already purchased but never even opened. 

7. For Traditional exercise DVDs another reason could be that you have tapped out your present DVDs and they are seriously too easy. This should NEVER be an issue with a T-Tapp DVD because as you get stronger and your form improves, deepens and your body balances they get harder NOT easier. I still use the DVDs I got back in 1996 and they are harder today than they were back then. 

If your T-Tapp workout feels easy or easier it's time 
to look at your form. One way of doing that is to try out the seated form checks I wrote about under the "New or Returning to Exercise" label. Alternately you could schedule a form check with a trainer. I bundle a one hour form check with a full body massage for $150.00. You will be able to shower between the training session and the massage. Other trainers have similar specials. 

8. Finally - You know you will use this DVD soon after purchase and often there after - do you see a pattern here?

I'll update this list if I think of more to add. If you have suggestions on things to add please use the comment box below. 


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where do I go From Here?

This question was posed in the comments section and it's such a common question that I wanted to answer it as a post.

Hi Bee, I hope you don't mind that I answer your questions here. First of all I'm honored that the blog and the info that it contains has moved you to renew interest in T-Tapp.

You purchased the total package last month. I guess my first question would be how have you been doing with it? Have you worked through the instructionals? Did you do a bootcamp? How have you been using the DVDs you already have?

I ask because you want to be sure that you are at a place where you need to spend more money and will use a new workout before you - well - spend more money!

Did you get extra dvds with your package and if so did you try them yet? I'm asking because again, you don't want to spend more money until you figure out whether or not you need to spend more money.

All that said, any of the three dvds you mentioned could be a good choice.

HH Menopause management would give you a slow, deep form experience.
The stepping package would give you an indoor cardio workout
Hit the Floor is - as it implies - floorwork

Did you get T-Tapp Broom as a bonus with your Total Package? If you did and haven't tried
it you should give it a go. It's one of the dvds I have on my list to review. It's a walking workout.

You also asked if I get credit if you go through my blog and the answer is yes. If you click a link with a little white box next to it I get a small percentage from Amazon.com. If you go through a T-Tapp link in a post or the main T-Tapp link I am supposed to get credit for the sale.

I don't make much money through either of those avenues but what I do make I use to add new items to my massage space. You'll notice that most of what I link to is low in price. I could make more money by linking to high price products or linking to a lot of products but I only link to - or write about things that I've tried and enjoyed.

I don't link solely to have people click and get a percentage of sales. That said, I don't always get links perfectly right or if a person clicks through the link, doesn't buy then but goes back later and purchases I do not get credit - but that's ok - any revenue I generate helps me justify the time I spend on the blog. In other words, the blog doesn't exist solely to generate revenue.

Happy you are enjoying the Tea! I recently tried a couple more flavors and will review them at some point.

Please feel free to answer my questions here in the comment section and ask additional questions as needed. If you'd rather you can always email me using the "contact us" section of our website www.QB.massagetherapy.com

Thanks for you questions and your support Bee.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

To Tuck Or Not To Tuck.........

Who knew a little tuck could be so complicated?

There are various fitness sources that now say that sustaining a pelvic tilt or tuck isn't a good idea. I've read that clenching your glutes in order to hold a tuck can end up causing a muscle imbalance. Clenching your glutes can also close off the muscle activation that T-Tapp works to achieve. You can read discussion on the concept of the T-Tapp Tuck HERE.

There is a huge difference between simply performing a pelvic tilt AKA tuck and performing a T-Tapp tuck as part of the comprehensive T-Tapp stance. A simple pelvic tilt is most often done in isolation. A T-Tapp tuck is part of a comprehensive stance that's achieved in a specific order. IMHO, It's a case of apples and oranges.

Over the years the T-Tapp tuck has become larger than life but it's really not all that complicated. The newer, Senior Fit DVD does a wonderful job of making the stance and the tuck simple. I honestly believe that everyone from those totally new to T-Tapp to established Tappers can benefit from the slow steady attention to detail that the workouts on this DVD provide. 

A great way to simplify the TT Tuck is to simply imagine you are pressing and/or flattening your low back against a wall behind you. When I perform the movement this way - with bent knees of course - I can immediately feel a vertical stretch and release in my low back. When I compete the rest of the steps to move into the stance the release becomes horizontal in addition to vertical. Of course thats how my body experiences it - your might feel different.

Another way to experience the simpified tuck is to lie on the floor with knees bent and legs in linear alignment. Knees should be lined up with hip bones, feet in front of sits bones and flat on the floor. Just put your hands on your abdomen for now. Next press down into the floor with your feet. Be sure the pressure is equal on each foot. You should feel your pelvis curl a bit and your low back press into the floor. Voila! T-Tapp Tuck! The workout on the dvd that I linked to above does a better job of teaching this and then of building upon it than I can do in print but you get the idea.

We now that a trimmer midsection has been shown to be a harbinger of decreased risk. For many of us this can be next to impossible to achieve with diet and traditional exercise. I'm putting my money on increased muscle activation to get me there and from what I saw during the 60 day challenge the T-Tapp tuck done as part of the comprehensive T-Tapp stance is going to get me the results I'm looking for.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Radiance: Loving the Space You're In

Each time I arrive at our massage office I am a little stunned at how much I absolutely love being in our space. It's so calm and inviting and it just feels good to sit there and soak up the atmosphere.

We filled it with special things, some new and many old and many that were gifts. I've written about the wonderful piece of art I have in the bathroom - strange place for art you say? There's a good reason.

This past weekend my attention fell to three photos we have in the massage space proper. The picture I've added is of those three photos. They were given to me by a dear friend. His partner took a photo I had taken of our lupines and transformed it into what looks like a water color. They also gifted me with two additional photos he had transformed. I never tired of looking at those photos. There's a little bee in the one picture.

Not sure if he'll see this but I wanted to share how much these pictures are a source of Radiance in my life.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

T-Tapp 60 Day Challenge Lessons Learned

I am by nature, an examiner and a ponderer. I'm also looking at how my body interacts with the environment around it and also with what I put into it. I look at those interactions and then I - hopefully - learn from them. I've been this way since I was a tiny girl.

The T-Tapp 60 Day Challenge was chock full of great info I needed to learn - almost to the point of epiphany.

The biggest take home message for me was the fact that sometimes you have "let go" in order to move forward. It's natural to want to "take charge" and "make it happen." Yet, in her own wisdom Mother Nature may have other ideas and her ideas are probably more holistic than straight - choke it down - "diet and exercise."

We all carry a mental snapshot of our best selves. It's often an arbitrary mental picture of ourselves at a much younger age. It's not unusual to seek to "turn the clock back" and attempt to become that person again or at least not move forward in time. Media and manufacturers feed on this and drive it.

The problem is that the time we spend on trying to turn back the clock and worrying about whether or not the clock is actually turning is time we take away from ourselves right now.

During the 60 day challenge my life wasn't consumed with exercise as it was when I was following and reviewing the Ballet Body Periodization schedule. I had a loose schedule but if I felt truly tired one day I had options that made more sense than a tough exercise session would have made.

I also put any notion of dieting or weight loss on the back burner. I didn't weigh myself and still haven't. I put the notion of plenty of healthy food ahead of any other agenda. I enjoyed the soups and salads and yes, even the healthy desserts that I made for both me and my family during the challenge.

Tossing diet and extreme exercise and concern about both of those things to the curb left more time for the things that matter and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed that time. My body showed me how much it enjoyed this new and improved, kinder and more gentle me. The decrease in inflammation, the positive postural changes and yes - as self absorbed as it sounds the inch loss were all signs that this was a good change for my body.

I enjoyed regaining that time enough that I'm kicking one more thing to the curb - the old, er I guess that would be young hard core me. I can't say that she won't pop out now and again because - well - that's just the way it works when you attempt change.

I'm also not saying that I'm going to give up any notions of being healthy and fit and begin eating bon bons while exercising my fingers with the remote.

I plan to continue to use T-Tapp to rebuild my body from the inside out using a sane schedule that is more rejuvenation than it is punishment. I plan to continue finding and trying healthy recipes without dieting.

So I guess you could say I'm downsizing my approach to being a vibrant, radiant, healthy human being of a certain age. And come to think of it, maybe that had to happen before I could truly and honestly begin to downsize the rest of my life.

On that note I'm going to sign off and enjoy a little Celtic Doggy Dancing. What's that you ask? Well, THAT is the subject of a future post. :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Body Sense Magazine - Spring 2013

I love the benefits of being a member of the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).  One of the newest benefits is to be able to put past, present and future issues of Body Sense Magazine on our website to ready access by our clients.

The Spring 2013 issue has just been released and you can find it, along with past issues, HERE.



As always its a quick read filled with interesting articles.

One of the ads mentions a shea butter product. I've just ordered some products so that I can create my own shea butter based salve. Initially, as always, we'll use it on ourselves to "proof" it but eventually I hope to use it in the office. I'll keep you updated as it plays out.

Enjoy!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

T-Tapp 60 Day Challenge: Downsize your exercise routine & downsize your menopot

Yesterday was the first day of spring and the last day of the 60 day challenge. Having the challenge end on a Wednesday makes it a challenge to get those final pictures taken! Last time I waited too long and couldn't get the required paper for the picture. This time I was more together.

So pictures and measurements were taken and all sent into T-Tapp. I ended up staying up too late, which is something I try to avoid but I think it was worth it. I won't share any pictures because I'm funny about Internet pictures these days and I'm also not sure if that would be OK being as I submitted them to T-Tapp. Let me say that I'm happy with them. I usually hate pictures of myself but I'm either mellowing or it's just that it's so nice to see real progress. Pretty amazed at the difference given the fact that I did so little exercise and ate so much healthy food. Less is my new more.

I lost over 7" distributed pretty evenly - remember I'm a combo body type. The biggest difference I see is in the old menopot - waist to thigh area. The pictures don't quite show it because my top was pulled over my front rib area which has become quite tight. My posture has improved - can you say, T-Tapp trainer heal thyself??! I thought I was smiling in the before shots. It was an effort because my eyes hurt. In the after shots no effort at all.

I can see a huge difference in my eyes, which are my inflammation barometer. They aren't perfect, this morning for instance, I need to use my over the couter drops because they feel dry - lack of sleep = inflammation = drier eyes.

So now what? I'm signing myself back up. I hope by continuing the same sane plan with slight variations every two weeks I'll continue to see positive change. I might sneak in a cross country ski session since we still have a lot of snow on the ground but the basis of the plan will be T-Tapp.

The entire concept of T-Tapp is to rebuild the body from the inside out. It's not just a workout it's more comprehensive. It unkinks the posture to improve digestion and assimilation and whole lot more but in a whole lot less time than other methods.

This 60 day challenge has brought that all home to me along with the idea that less really can be more when what you're doing is so powerful. It's nice to know that downsizing my exercise routine can help me downsize my menopot.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook: A review

 "The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook" was written by Mark Hyman, MD. My first connection to Dr. Hyman was back when his detox food plan was part of a weekend program called "Bliss in a Box", which is no longer in print from what I understand.

I'm always up for some new healthy recipes to try and I wanted to see what the good doctor is up to these days so I jumped at the chance to read and review this one.

His approach is similar to Dr. Joel Fuhrman's in that he cuts out grains and milk products. His approach is different in that he's ok with animal foods and more fat than Dr. Fuhrman is. Dr. Hyman, at least initially restricts fruits to berries unlike Dr. Fuhrman who allows, even encourages 4 fruit servings a day. I provide this info not to sell you on a "diet" but rather to let you know what you will and will not find in the cook book.

I've prepared about 4 recipes from the book and all were tasty. One thing I noted right away was that Dr. Hyman's portions are much smaller than Dr. Fuhrman's. For instance the portion for the "Whole Food Protein Shake" is only one cup (8 ounces). I made this for breakfast on Saturday and initially both DH and I thought that it would not keep us satisfied until lunch as we're used to a lower fat but more plentiful serving sized green smoothie. We were both surprised to note we were more than satisfied - probably due to all the healthy fat the shake contains. Calories for the shake come in at 377 per serving. Yes, all recipes do come complete with calorie counts and nutrition break down.

The other two recipes I tried were both soups. A southwestern black bean soup was a standout for us. It contained so many spices I was wondering if it would be too much but in the end it was quite tasty and worth the chopping it required. GO Vidalia Chop Wizard!

The other soup was equally good as was a Wasabi Salmon salad with nappa cabbage.

The recipes make about 3-4 servings so you won't be eating it for weeks. They are, on the other hand, easily doubled. Serving sizes are all modest but filling.

There is a companion book available called The Blood Sugar Solution. The cookbook gives you a run down on the concepts of Dr. Hyman's plan so if you are more looking for recipes than a new food plan the cookbook would be your best starting point. I may at some point review "The Blood Sugar Solution."

Of note is the fact that Dr. Hyman has apparently gotten quite heavy into supplements. This wasn't an issue with my use of his cookbook. I'm not sure if the same would be true of his other book. When and if I dive in I'll let you know.

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lift Your Ribs to Activate Your Core


3/1/2015 - In THIS POST  I mentioned feeling compelled to update older posts on this blog. This is one of those posts!
The jist of my update is that I've fallen out of love with the cue "lift your ribs." It's fine to lift your chest up if your rounded shoulders have allowed it to slump forward. Using the cue "lift your ribs" usually achieves this quite quickly but sometimes at a price. If you get all over enthusiastic and lift your ribs beyond normal position you are then thrusting your ribs and that can create an entire bundle of issues in and of itself!

Thrusted ribs are often hiding a kypnosis and tend to make your abs look flatter - but the price you pay is steep! Rib thrusting will increase lumbar disk compression and pelvic mal-alignment. It's also going to weaken your core over time.

So long story short, lift your chest and ribs into proper position but never thrust you ribs forward. Oh! You'll know you're thrusting your ribs if the are sticking forward (front ribs not the sides) and you can run your fingers down over them and poke under them a little bit. When they're in proper position they're flat (even if they're bony) and you really have to dig - thrust them - to get under them.

Before you read on down to the original post check out the picture. Those are Sweet Williams from my back yard. Right now there's a blanket of snow out there that's several feet deep. <sigh> Spring is sounding really good right now.

In case you didn't notice from my posts, I'm quite taken with T-Tapp lately. :) It's only natural since I've been doing the 60 day challenge. I'll update you on that in a couple of days.

If I had to choose one form tip that I most value it would be the concept of "lift ribs, set lats".
It's such a simple form tip and yet it gets to the heart of muscle activation.

You can try it while seated in a chair.



Sit on the edge of your chair with your knees in front of hipbones and heels right below your knees. Place your shoulders over your hips - this will be further back than most people think it is so it's great if you can have a loved one or office bud check your alignment.

Now lift your ribs. If you lift them high enough you will feel a corresponding tightening in your outer mid-back. That's your lats! You really want to lift high. Imagine that you're trying to gain 4" of height through your midsection.

Don't worry if you don't feel those lats right away. Just keep practicing the rib lift several times a day. It's possible that your core is so tight that you aren't able to lift your ribs high enough to get the lats to kick in.

This is a great exercise for anyone who sits in a chair for a living. I'm not telling you to necessarily hold it all day - just practicing holding it for short periods of time throughout the day.

Once you get good at it try lifting your lower abs up and in at the same time that you lift your ribs and set your lats. Now poke around and notice how tight your entire core area is!

This is just one piece of gold I mined from Healthy Hormones and Senior Fit.

My challenge to you today is to give this a try and see what you think!

Monday, March 18, 2013

T-Tapp and Abdominal Massage for Infertility?

I recently came across this T-Tapp success story and had to share.

 
 
This article addresses abdominal massage for female help.  THIS article speaks to massage for infertility. In the past I've written about PCOS, Metabolic Syndrome and T-Tapp and the science behind organs in place. I've also written about unlocking your hip flexors.

I don't for a minute pretend that I can massage someone and they will become pregnant or lead them through a T-Tapp workout and achieve the same end. What I do believe is that what we think, eat and how we move are more powerful than we can begin to know.

This quote sums it up nicely.

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." - William James

Sunday, March 17, 2013

T-Tapp Review: Step it to the Max, Core Cardio

I'm having a love affair with T-Tapp Stepping like I've never had before and lately this DVD tops my list. I did it just yesterday and I can't tell you how nice it is to come out of an in home walking workout feeling happy, calm throughly worked out and nicely sweated up. :) Seriously, my underclothing was soaked through and the house was cool when I started because I had neglected the wood stove while cooking.

This DVD is a more advanced version of the DVD Step Away the Inches, which I reviewed HERE. I also talked about it HERE and posted a clip so you can see a sample.

The other thing I value about Step it to the Max is that it's not a huge stretch from Step away the inches. It's slightly longer, the tempo is faster than Step Away the Inches and the Step Lift sequence is added.

The two DVDs together give the best of both worlds.

Step it to the max begins with a 4 minute spinal warm-up. This warm-up would be a great stretch break at work so I suggest you memorize it and put it to functional use in your work day.

The workout is about 30 minutes long. Not that much longer than Step Away the Inches but remember that with T-Tapp it's not about putting the time in. It's about putting your body in optimal alignment. It's time efficient. It's really simple to add in the new form cueing from Menopause Management and Senior Fit. That's going to make the workout even more effective - at least for me.

The workout takes you through a series of stepping and arm patterns and then culminates in the step lift sequence. Whew! It's a great sequence that demands a lot of attention to your form but it also delivers! If you really keep ribs up and lats set and reach away, away, away with your arms during this sequence you will get a total body workout and  muscle aware core and arms the next day.

That leads me to another thing I so totally value with this workout. You will most definitely feel what you've worked the next day but it will not be an, "I beat myself up." soreness. It's what I call muscle awareness. It's subtle but it signals real work was done and you need to respect that and not over do.
That's why I love the bundle of both stepping workouts. You can alternate and never over work.

This workout is also extremely lymphatic. I love the hand stretching and squeezing arm series. It raises heart rate, provides variety and is a go to movement for anyone who works with their hands. This is another - Take T-Tapp to Work - move.

After the workout Teresa uses the T-Tapp lunge series to stretch. IMHO, this is pure genius! It gives you the potential for additional toning and tightening even as it cools you down and stretches you out. Teresa, you never fail to amaze me with the thought and planning you put into these workouts! This section runs about 4-5 minutes - sorry, I was on a T-Tapp high at this point and didn't catch the exact time.  Can a person grin big enough that their grin reaches behind their earlobes? I think I did. :)

The final section of the DVD gives a great method for stopping a calf cramp on a dime, which is very useful info for anyone who walks or runs.

This workout can be used with weighted shoes if you have a pair - I have two. I haven't been using my weighted shoes because I am all about decreasing my inflammatory level these days and the workout is perfect as is for me at this stage in my recovery. It's all about reclaiming myself and I'm gaining on it and this workout is definitely a tool in my wellness tool box.

I do plan to pull out my weighted shoes at some point and do these walking workouts while wearing them and when I do I'll add to this review or put another review up.

On a rehabilitative note this workout helped release my crankly left hip even more than it previously had been released. My T-Tapp workouts have gradually been releasing it but it sometimes goes back out and when it does I can tell because if I put my feet together and slowly bend forward it CLUNKS. Last night during the stretching segments it kind of did a mini clunk and now the CLUNK with a forward bend is simply a CLUNK.

You can purchase this DVD HERE.
 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tea Forte Update

My tea arrived! It was actually earlier than FedEx estimated after the bounce about incident.

My morning cup 'O tea is sitting in front of me - well off to the side away from the key board. So my reviews for the products I've sampled are as follows.
 
Tea Forte KATI Cup -Tea Brewing System Love it and just noticed that Amazon has the red on and a few others on sale for $15.00! It's microwavable even with the metal basket in it. I just load the tea into the basket, fill it with water, put the cover on and pop it into the microwave. Then I allow it to steep.
The little basket is great because after the tea brews you can easily dump the spent tea leaves into the trash, give it a little rinse and it's good to go.

Downside for some: It's double walled but the outside can become hot if you fill it with boiling water. That's an upside to me because I love to cup my hands gently around the hot cup and deep breathe or just "be still" while I wait for the tea to cool. It reminds me to pause and then enjoy.
 
Tea Forte Skin Smart -Cucumber Mint I am enjoying this tea. One thing I've realized about the Tea Forte flavored teas is that the flavors are suble. Keep in mind I've only had a couple of cups of this tea but when I've had it I don't taste overwhelming cucumber or mint, which initially surprised me.
Despite that I really enjoyed it. You need to realize however that none of the teas I had hit you over the head with flavors. It's somewhat like the subtle flavors of fresh fruit versus artificial fruit flavoring.
 
Tea Forte -Blueberry Merlot I also ordered a tin of the Blueberry Merlot tea. I love having a glass of red wine before bed. Unfortunately red wine doesn't do my sleep cycle any favors. I've also been reading that it isn't great for skin health or for those with worn out adrenals - well not red wine specifically but rather alcohol. It's not like I need the extra calories either - especially right before bed! So for all those reasons I have been forgoing it. I was intrigued by the idea of a tea that could be wine-like so I ordered it. I like it! I will say however that this might be a polarizing tea - either you will love it or hate it. I've read reviews that say it's tart. I would say it you can taste tanins, which is what gives it a wine-like characteristic. But it's definitely tea not wine. That said, it's herbal, relaxing and I slept well last night after sipping a cup before bed.

So all things considered I'd say that my favorites are probably the cherry marzipan, then the cucumber, followed by the honey and then the coconut as far as the "skin" teas go. I also love the blueberry merlot but that's not listed as a "skin tea" as it's herbal not green.

One last thought - I linked to the cannisters on amazon. They're very clean looking and would look nice sitting out on a shelf and since you get 50 cups per cannister they're space efficient. This appeals ot me over having a bunch of tea bags laying around. I'll definitely be trying more and will review them as I do. I just won't hold my breath for fast delivery if I order them with the "free" shipping option. :)

Hope that helps Bee! Also thanks go to Dayna for introducing me to these tasty teas.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Try a Little Tenderness

The article Try a little Tenderness talks about Joanie Hart and her work with spinal cord injuries.
Yet as I read it I couldn't help but notice that there's a bigger message. It's a message about how massage doesn't have to be boisterous or deep or painful in order to bring about positive change in soft tissue. There is a place for more active techniques to be sure but they are not always the best way to proceed.

That's why it's important not to forget our warm-up strokes and more gentle techniques. They're like an introduction between our hands and the tissue we're working. They're quiet enough to allow our fingers to "hear" what the body wants to tell us and allow the body it its infinite wisdom to send us to the places that are snarled up. The snarls are sometimes only noticeable as a slight thickening or an all but imperceivable difference between two areas of tissue - easily missed if we start out with more boisterous techniques.

Life is like that too. If we are never quiet then we miss what our bodies are trying to tell us or in some cases what they are trying to ask for. With practice, listening becomes easier and then automatic.

My challenge to you is to find at least 1 minute, preferably 5 and sit quietly and just breathe and listen - nothing more. No music, as little noise as possible,  just you and your body. If you don't normally sit quietly you will be shocked at how long a minute lasts.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

GRRRR! Shipping Rant

I very much dislike when a company offers free shipping if you order a certain $$ amount but then ships it via an extra slow method. This happened with my Tea Forte order. Yes, I'm still waiting for it and apparently will be until the end of this week.

They shipped it fedex smartpost. Let me tell you, there is NOTHING smart about Fedex smart post. I would estimate that half of the items I have had shipped to me by this method have been misrouted prior to arriving late.

Take my Tea Forte order - I ordered on 3/2/2013. It arrived in Willlington, CT on 3/9/2013. From there it was shipped to Fedex smart post Marborough, MA and arrived there on 3/11/2013. They shipped it - are you ready for this? - back to Willington, CT! It arrived there on 3/12/2013! Not sure where it goes from there. I can't imagine how it is more efficient to send packages on a round about like this.

Apparently I'm not the only one who dislikes Fedex dumb 'er smartpost.

At any rate, being penalized with slow shipping for spending more money isn't something I consider to be good customer service. And to think that all I wanted was a good cup of green tea.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Smacked upside the head by Daylight savings time?

Ugh! When I was younger DST was but a blip on my radar and I couldn't understand the people who complained that it upset their entire system for a couple of weeks. These days I'm the one who could complain but since it's not my nature to complain I choose to endure instead.

I don't think that it's just being older. The long days I've been working tend to add to the issue.
Besides that I just don't like it. Prior to this past weekend I was getting up in the dark but driving to work as the sun came up and it felt soooo good. It signaled spring. Now it's again pitch black for my commute and I get home so late that it's again dark. I miss the supposed benefit of the hour that was rudely taken from me last Saturday night!

My solution to this dilema is to use full spectrum bulbs in my home and also to have my daily cup 'o tea in front of a light box. It really does take away that sun deprived feeling. Light boxes used to be terribly pricey but the prices have come down. This HappyLight Compact Energy Lamp looks exactly like the one I use at work which cost twice as much about 7 years ago.

I've talked about SAD before. I always think in terms of being out of the worst bit of light deprivation by now but I guess not.

Another thing that helps me is to do a set of Hoe Downs to move out the sludge and get my body moving.

Here's hoping that there's more light where you are but if not rest assured that there are things you can do to smooth the transition from the dark time of the year into light.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thought for the Week

"The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want." - Ben Stein

This picture was motivation for our kitchen plans
though it's much bigger than our space.
I'm pretty sure that I've referenced that quote before. I don't usually put up quotes during the week and labeled this as "thought for the weekend" with my other quotes. I had such a nonstop weekend that I needed to stop, take a deep breath and see what I achieved for the time I spent.

I mentioned our kitchen remodel plans. Our kitchen is at best a challenged space but with a lot of brain storming, a kitchen planning program and with much patience and resolve we - I think - finalized the plans for the kitchen.

We will be using some downsized appliances and some full size. Despite the size constraints I think it will be a great little kitchen. In planning it I was thinking of our daily and weekly routines in the kitchen and how I could make the kitchen appliances and layout  simplify those routines.

One for instance is that our every day dishes will be white, just plain white. I found a great handmade reproduction plate rack with shelves for bowls and cups and hooks to hang mugs. It will be situated near the sink and dishwasher (full sized) in place of a wall cabinet (it's cabinet sized) so that unloading it won't even require so much as opening a cabinet door and the dishes will look great because they'll all be solid white. Below the plate rack will be hanging containers to hold silverware.

Overhead and just steps from the stove and convection microwave will be a pot holder. Steps from anything is easy to achieve when your floor plan is a postage stamp. LOL!

I used to curse it and wish my kitchen was bigger. Once I embraced it for what it is I am seeing the potential of the space. I think I'm going to love this kitchen! Now we just have to figure out a step by step plan for making it happen in a way that disrupts our lives as little as possible. I'll let you know how that plays out.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lessons In Impermanence: Thoughts on letting go

www.thesecretsofyoga.com
Impermanence
I'm still here valiently making an effort to decrease the number of items I own. It's not easy and there is a lot of emotion connected to many of the things I've repeatedly tried without success to let go.

THIS article and the comments that follow it helped me to see that it isn't necessary to let something go if my emotional attachment is strong enough - especially if I can still make use of the item. The article is on tinyhousetalk.com. Tiny houses came upon my radar when I began the search for some kind of a vacation vehicle - be it a campervan or a teardrop camper. I'll talk more about that search in a future post. For now let me get back on track.

The best thing about discovering tiny houses is that it's made our humble cabin feel like a mansion by comparison. I've also picked up a lot of great downsizing and space conserving tips. In fact, I'm so glad that we ended up not doing our proposed kitchen remodel last fall because I've done a total 360 and believe we're going to be soooo much happier with the kitchen we are now planning.

Our initial plans were really about trying to make a very small kitchen into a big one. You and I both know you can't do that. Our new plans are about accepting and embracing our kitchen as it is, at the size that it is and making it the best darn little kitchen ever. There is a  lesson in that that flows far beyond the kitchen. :)

 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Voila! No bottle flavored water

http://www.theyummylife.com/recipes/251/Easy+Fruit+%26+Herb+Flavored+Water
Flavoring your own water is simple.

I start with a one Quart mason jar and our cold filtered artesian well water. YUM!

If you click on the link under the picture you'll go to a blog with lots of great recipes.

Most of them are quite pricey but you can start at a lower price point.

I suggest that you might want to begin a bit more simply.  My recommendation would be to try single flavors first, cucumber, orange, lemon, lime.

Which flavors do you like best? You may surprise yourself because fruits and veggies you love to eat won't necessarily row your boat when used to flavor water, on the other hand you may love them!

Once you get an idea of what you enjoy you can start to mix and match to create water blends. If you're used to highly flavored drinks you'll most likely have to start out like the pictured jars above and do almost half fruit to water. You can pare that down as you get used to a more subtle taste experience.

Does the cutting and soaking of fruit sound like just too darn much to face? Do what I do at work! I fill my covered water cup with ice cold water and drop in an herbal tea bag. I usually get at least 24 ounces of flavored water per tea bag. There are tons of different herbal tea flavors which gives me as much variety as I could wish for. This is a great approach during the dead of the winter when fruits and veggies cost an arm and a leg.

*My friends are the best friends
Loyal, willing and able.
Now let’s get to drinking!
All mason jars off the table!
                        *an Irish drinking toast with a slight twist                        
 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Diet Soda - It's not what you thought it was

http://a-can-of-crafty-curiosities.blogspot.com/2012/10/paper-out-on-sea-water-quilling.html
Very beautiful craft project
It turns out that instead of calling it "Diet Soda" we should be calling it "Diet Soda." I honestly don't think we needed a study to figure it out. Back when diet soda made it's debut it was going to help us all lose weight by cutting calories yet if we look around we can see that it hasn't happened.

This brief article from Diabetes Forecast covers the study succinctly.

Researchers are not really sure why. To me it's just another sign that living better through chemistry is not the answer to a  long, healthy life.

Manufacturers convince us that we need these chemical laden foods to make our lives better, easier, more fulfilled. Don't you believe 'em. I had a friend lament that fact that other beverages were so much more expensive. My reply? "How about water?" Yeah, it's not as exciting - unless you believe the manufacturers and buy the trendy bottled stuff.

Tomorrow I'll share some ways to "spice" up plain water without breaking the bank and talk about why you may not need to drink as much as you think you do.

Until then, BOTTOMS UP - make mine water!

 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Diabetes, Massage Therapy, Exercise and Diet

Throwing in a picture of Fionn and Fionna hugging while asleep
simply for the joy of it! There's nothing like a cute puppy picture
to bring on SMILES!!
THIS article has some great info for both the massage therapist and the diabetic considering massage therapy.

Diabetic readers could also find the following links to be of interest:

Hoe downs and some inch loss motivation

Senior Fit a great and very safe exercise plan

The End of Diabetes a great book to read if you have diabetes or if you simply have risk factors for diabetes


Team up T-Tapp and healthy eating and you won't know yourself a year later!

 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Search for Minimalism: Clarence's Story

First of all let me say that I think that minimalism is something that needs to be defined by the person who wants to attain it. Your definition of minimalism might be very different than mine might be very different from hers might be very different than his.

I do think that when we step away from the "STUFF" of life we have time to more fully live life. This seems to be the message of the folks who have reached their own proclaimed state of minialism and I believe them.

Second of all, I think it's easy to just talk and think about moving to a more minimalist state of living without ever really taking the all important first step. For me that first step has been beginning to simplify belongings and give away what may be useful for someone else but no longer serves me. Trust me, this is harder to do than it is to type out. :)

It also helps to have a project. My kitchen needs a redo. Not just a touch-up but a serious redo - more like a gut and redo. It's needed a redo for a long time but the time, motivation and plan just hasn't been there. To consider a redo might seem terribly materialistic but no one said that moving toward minimalism means you have to live with a kitchen that is more nonfunctional than functional. :)

Anyway, my hope is that by redoing the kitchen with a minimalist approach I'll spark the desire to let go of more stuff in other areas. You know, just like painting one room and having the rest of the house look shabby by comparison. On another side note, once I went all minimalist the price of project dropped considerably though the functionality didn't.

At any rate on my search for ideas I came across this  most interesting video and thought I'd share it.
 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Green Tea for Skin Health?

Dr. Perricone, Oprah, and Dr. Oz all tout the benefits of green tea. You can find a pretty straight forward article on the benefits of green tea at Web MD. To be honest I hadn't heard the link between green tea and skin health - living under a rock I guess - until a friend gifted me with some absolutely delicious green tea and I did a search in order to purchase more. There's some info on the green tea and skin health connection HERE.

I love the ceremony of brewing loose tea so I ordered  the Tea Forte KATI Tea Brewing System Green Leaves. I also ordered Tea Forte Skin Smart Loose Tea Canister-Cucumber Mint tea. It makes 50 cups so I consider it a bargain.


I might actually gift myself with this Tea Forte Skin Smart Gift Set

to take to work. I'll also admit that I typically do not enjoy green tea while I love black tea. This tea, while green, really appealed to me, which is why I decided to buy more once I used up the bags my friend had shared.

The main Tea Forte site is HERE. I linked to info on the benefits of tea. They actually have a lot of interesting info on tea and the history of tea. They claim that the caffeine content is the same, whether the tea is white green or black. It's the brewing time that changes the content.

They have specials and free shipping when you purcase at least $50.00 worth of products. Amazon.com provides free shipping on a $25.00 order which might be more like it if you're interesting in trying the tea without a huge $$ committment.

 

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Benefits of Massage

"Massage positively affects the body's circulatory, nervous, and immune systems. By encouraging blood flow through the veins, massage benefits the entire body. The calming effects of massage on the nervous system often produce a sense of serenity and well-being. Regular massage also stimulates the lymphatic system, which enhances the function of the immune system."

You can read the complete article HERE.

 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Breaking Up is Hard To Do

I'm talking about breaking up with STUFF! DH and I decided to downsize and I had to be honest with myself. I've been talking about "simplifying," "downsizing," "getting organized," etc. for a very long time. But, if I'm honest, it was mostly talk.

To a large degree, I've decreased aquisition of "things." Yet, I've -for the most part- simply reorganized and stored so many things that I already own. So many of those things are tied to memories and emotions and that's what makes it so hard let them go. Even the thought that someone else might enjoy them doesn't always -depending upon the strength of emotion- make it easier to let them go.

Yet, I know I need to let go and learn to live with less and so slowly but surely that's what I'm doing. It's important that we all do this. Not sure why that might be? Check out THIS website or at least watch the video below. My challenge to you is to identify whether or not you are a victim of planned obsolescence?  Join me and choose QUALITY TIME over DISPOSIBLE THINGS!

 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Thought for the Weekend: Automatic Thoughts

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control.” - Elizabeth Gilbert

 
Our thoughts, often automatic, do impact us.  My challenge to you is to be aware of your thoughts, about yourself and about those around you. Do those align with the life you wish you have? It's not easy to change automatic thoughts but it is possible! Aligning your thoughts to the life you wish to live and the person you wish to be can honestly change your life - even at the most rudimentary stages. Try it. What do you have to lose?
 
 
A little long but very interesting!   
       Our thoughts can save the world!    
Comforting thought!