Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A New Breath




Breathing... We do this activity constantly. As human beings, we need to breathe to stay alive, but there are other reasons as well. We can also use breathing as a relaxation technique. According to Dr. Andrew Weil M.D., in his book titled Healthy Aging, breathwork is important because it
"
offers the possibiliy of using the conscious mind and involuntary nerves, including the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic activity.
"
What does this really mean? To sum it up in a nutshell, breathing can calm one's body, mind and soul. By practicing breathing techniques throughout your day, you can control mood swings, irritation, and anxiety. You have to breathe anyway, so you might as well try it out, plus breathing (for most of us) is totally free! Here Is the technique that Dr. Weil shares with his readers in that same book. Try it out and let me know what you think!

1. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge behind and above your front teeth and keep it there through the whole exercise.
2. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a "whoosh" sound.
3. Inhale deeply and quietly through the nose to a count of 4 (with your mouth closed).
4. Hold your breath for a count of 7.
5. Exhale audibly through your mouth to a count of 8.
6. Repeat steps 3,4, and 5 for a total of 4 breaths.

Check out Dr. Weils website to learn more!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter



Today is the first official day of winter... as Ballou and I went out for our morning walk, it was 26 degrees and snowing. People were out with hats, scarves, gloves, and many layers of clothing. Yes, the season is here! In the Midwest, winter is the season that shows peoples true dedication. Those of you that can bike and run in the worst of winter storms, I applaud you. I have always wanted to be one of you, but I find myself taking out my $5 stair stepper I bought at a resale shop, and being quite content with my indoor workout. 
Last night was 2009 winter solstice, which marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The Earth has tilted on it's axis, and has gone as far away from the sun as possible. Every year, around this same time, I start behaving more and more like a chipmunk. Hibernation is an act that feels innate inside of me, but for all of you fearless beings, I wish you the best! Happy Winter...I will see you in Spring!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cookies



Making cookies during the Holidays is one of my all time favorite activities!

I like making them even more than I like eating them! My only problem is that I am not the best baker in the world. Some say I need to stick with cooking. But baking has such an intriguing side about it that makes me want to work harder at perfecting the art. Sooo this is my first holiday attempt. I kneaded the dough too much and the cookies were horrid. To salvage the extra dough, I let them sit for a while in the fridge, and added some butter. Slap some frosting on them and WOW, they are great. I am telling you- butter is a wonderful creation.....In moderation that is.

 In a couple of days I will be making more cookies with my godchild and sister!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mugs Up




(Summer porch pictures! Also, on the left is my favorite mug and the right is a mug I am giving for Christmas!)

One of the best things to have in Chicago is a porch to sit on with friends. Chicagoian's go to great lengths to create a place for outdoor sitting. We turn the tops of our buildings into a beautiful oasis, we use our balconies as backyards, with plants, grills, tables and chairs. 
Our old Wrigglyville apartment may have been above a noisy bar (with the El running past our living room windows) but the one thing that made up for every downfall was our absolutely amazing back porch. Some of my all time favorite memories are connected to that porch. 
We spent as much time as possible grilling out and drinking wine. But the memories that has the warmest place in my heart, are those times Caeli and I would take our espresso or tea and magazine's out on that porch in my special mugs. We would just be.
 Sometimes we would sit in silence, sometimes we would comment on style's we liked or disliked in the magazines, but most of the time we would just talk...what about? who knows! We would spend as much time as we possibly could with those mugs, talking about anything we felt like. At times, we would disagree, and other times we would cry, but most times we would laugh. 
Caeli now lives in Italy, but every morning when I pour my coffee out of the press, into our favorite mugs, I think of her and send my loving energy her way.
 I now collect mugs and I think they make the greatest of gifts. They hold the liquids that warm our souls, and I always have one next to me throughout the day. I wish my mugs could talk. For they have been next to me during some of the most interesting conversations in my life.
 Give a beautiful mug to someone, and maybe you will be invited over for a drink and a conversation.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Body Brushing


(Body brush from The Body Shop)

An urge to hibernate overwhelms me when the snow is falling & the below-zero winds are blowing. One problem that comes while spending more time in my tiny studio apartment - the air is as dry as the Sierra Desert. Luckily, I have picked up a great habit that seems to really help. For all of those who battle ashy or dry skin, you need to start... Body Brushing! 

Skin brushing is best noted for it's ability to get your lymph system moving, and to help your skin rid itself of internal garbage. When you brush, you move "stuff" around that is trying to get out. When I started brushing before my showers, I felt as though I was aiding my body in a powerful way. The best part is that I feel energized and have found that my skin looks lot better as well. All you need is a firm, natural bristle brush. I have seen them at Target and Whole Foods, but one I think is a great size comes from The Body Shop (I like the little handle). All you need to do is Brush once a week, before your shower and lotion your body after. This is one of the best health tips that was given to me, and one with immediate gratification. Happy brushing!

Thursday, December 10, 2009



Chicago is a city I have been blessed to call home for the last five years. During my second year in Chicago, I happened to stumble upon a little store that was across the street from me. Twosided fulfilled my need for creative stimulation on the grayest of days. Every time I need a card or gift for any occasion, you can usually find Ballou (my pomeranian) and I wandering around here first. I believe in the power of words. Sharing them through cards is a simple way to show love. Send a card today to someone you are thinking of, and I guarantee you will make someone smile. Visit your local card shop or make your own!!

http://www.twosided.net/

Moksha



When I was first introduced on the concept of moksha, I fell in love with the depths of it meaning, purpose and message. My reality of the concept, moksha, is the perfect definitive climax and release from what we call life. Some believe we are reborn and reincarnated back to earth, but what is the purpose of always living again and again? Moksha. To live a life that is deserving of the ultimate liberation, the ultimate release. Moksha is a concept that finds it's roots in Indian religions such as Hinduism. I am not Hindu, but I am a spiritual being that has a deep appreciation for many different religions and concepts attempting to explain meaning, purpose, higher elements of power, love and life. My ultimate goal on this earth is to live a happy, healthy, fun-filled, meaningful and helpful life. In doing so, I will attempt to embrace simplicities that bring meaning to my life everyday. Please come along with me as I share with you all the things I feel add beauty, depth, and meaning to life on planet Earth. I hope you enjoy my blog.


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