I Scream, You Scream

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Posted by Judy Moon

We all scream for ice cream!

I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like ice cream. I’m sure they exist; I just personally don’t know them. Poor souls.

One of my FAVORITE childhood memories is when we would get to have ice cream sundaes for dinner. Yes, I said DINNER.

Once every summer when I was growing up, usually on a really HOT night, my dad would go down to the bottom of the hill we lived on to the neighborhood market and get everything you could possibly need to make a sundae – the carton of Breyers vanilla, chocolate, strawberry ice cream, jars of hot fudge and butterscotch sauce, strawberries, nuts, maraschino cherries and of course the red can of whipped cream. As a small child, that red can of Redi Whip meant something fancy and special was about to happen. And it was indeed.

There was something so magical and kind of outrageous to be allowed to have a big sundae – whatever kind and however big you wanted it to be – for dinner. I could never finish mine, wanting to put everything I could on it.

To this day, at some point in the summer, my siblings and I will say, “remember when we used to” and someone will finish with – “have sundaes for dinner in the summer”?  Yes, yes, yes!!!

I read a line in a book yesterday that said, “make it a practice to never say no to fun.” How much fun is eating ice cream for dinner?! Especially when we are focused on how much kale we are eating and how many servings of chia seeds can I get in?

Have a sundae for dinner, start a new tradition, create a magical, outrageous memory and most importantly – have fun!

What’s On Your Summer Fun Bucket List?

One of my stress management practices lately has been lettering. I used to do quite a bit of calligraphy years ago and I’ve been so inspired lately with all of the modern calligraphy and different fun ways to create words and squiggles . I’ve ordered several books from a site Hand Lettered Design and the most recent one I ordered is my favorite so far. It’s a daily mindful lettering practice book. You write a positive affirmation, such as  “I choose compassion”,  learning 5 different styles of lettering. As suggested, I purchased tracing paper so I can go back over the pages. Tracing the letters with the fancy pens that come with the book helps create muscle memory. Your hand becomes less shaky and you will eventually be able to create the letters on your own without tracing. There are also lots of videos and emails to support the process. I can’t begin to tell you how relaxing it is! You can just do the exercise of the day, which doesn’t take that long, and then if you feel like doing more, there are pages of just tracing the alphabet in different styles. If you choose to order any of the books, I personally recommend selecting the one with the spiral on the top. I find it less awkward when I am practicing.

In Lisa’s recent newsletter, she included a Summer Fun Bucket List to download and print out. I got so excited at the thought of creating such a list – especially since it also involved coloring, YAY!!!!! Last year was definitely a little different than this summer so I was ready to roll on what I wanted to do this summer. I shared this idea with my husband who also became enthusiastic about the process.  First on the list, ice cream sundaes for dinner, one of my favorite childhood memories that I’ve blogged about in the past. I also see a S’More in my near future …

What kind of things that make you say “YAY” are you putting on your Summer Fun Bucket List?

See You In the Pumpkin Patch

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Posted by Judy Moon

As much as I LOVE my beach time and I have been doing my best to keep the summer vibes going (I just recently broke down and put socks on to go to work, that means fall is officially here when I pull the socks out), I soooo love fall as well.

I love the beautiful colors of the changing leaves, the little chill that’s in the air in the morning when I am on my morning walk with my dog Murphy, and my favorite part is of course pumpkins! My mantle becomes a literal shrine/altar to all that is pumpkin. Just for fun – here are nine of the best quotes from It’s Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown – because Linus is a miniature Philosopher and it’s time we revisit his quotes from this Halloween Classic.

I like to experiment with different pumpkin recipes and I recently tried one that is a keeper. It’s quick, easy, healthy and tasty – that ticks all of the boxes for me!

It was a recent post from Dr. Axe – he rocks!

I followed the recipe exactly, which is not always easy for me to do. My creative mind always wants to do something just a tad different, but with baking, you can’t be as flexible or sometimes things go terribly wrong.

This pumpkin bread got a thumbs-up from the hubby. It’s not super spicy, which we both liked but if you like that screaming pumpkin spice taste – you might want to up the spices a bit. It was also not quite sweet enough for our taste, so next batch, I will add some more sweetener. My advice would be taste the batter before it goes in the pan.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Total Time: 85 minutes Serves: 8-10

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  • Combine all wet ingredients in a bowl
  • Combine all dry ingredients in another bowl
  • Mix both bowls together until well incorporated
  • Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-60 minutes.

 

List Makers Rejoice!

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Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

Lately I’ve noticed that my memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be and that little bit of stress that usually helps to finish the project starts earlier, lingers longer then I would like and seeps into my daily life. I finally realized there’s just too much in my brain vying for my attention and at times the mundane tasks and the very important ones gets all jumbled together, with none coming out the winner. (Weird sleep patterns are also a factor… but that’s another blog post!)

Now I’m not alone in feeling these things. According to Daniel Levitin, author of “The Organized Mind”, we take in five times as much information in a single day today then we did twenty years ago. There are thousands of t.v. channels and YouTube videos to watch, 40,000 or so items in the supermarket(only 150 or so that we actually need or consistently purchase!), emails and advertisements galore, txts, tweets and endless pieces of junk mail screaming at us daily. And all this on top of the things we need to get done for our family, work and selves. No wonder we feel distracted and stressed out!

I heard Levitin and two other guests talking about organization and the mind last autumn on a great broadcast of Voices in the Family. It inspired me to add his book “The Organized Mind” to my wish list for Santa. It’s a great read about organization in general but mostly about how the mind organizes the internal and external worlds. Why we create categories for things, how easily distracted we are and why, and some of the science behind why we lose our keys and get distracted and how to use our brain’s natural tendencies to help us better organize our lives.

One of the main themes of the book talks about freeing the mind from as many distractions (emails to read, projects upcoming, Grandma’s birthday) as possible and externalizing them in the material form. All of you list makers out there, rejoice! Writing it all down is not a new concept in any way, but Levitin talks about the research behind why it works. Our brains can really only focus well and effectively on three things at once. When we keep adding to the list in our minds, attention jumps all over the place never giving the full attention required to the task at hand. And Levitan says portions of our brain have “novelty bias, meaning that it’s attention can be easily hijacked by something new -the proverbial shiny object we use to entice infants, puppies and kittens”. So this explains why we’ll drop everything when we hear the ping of a tweet or txt message! HA!

There is a grand amount of fascinating information to chew on and many suggestions on how to organize that information in Levitin’s book. It is also funny and very enlightening and we can all relate to much of what he writes about. Give it a read!

I’m starting with the basics (writing it all down) in my own life to re-organize this little mind of mine! Keep you posted!

The idea is to create some structure, using tools to divide your time in the best ways to deal with all of your information. Begin by externalizing all that stuff floating around in your brain! Write it down and get it out of there. Then prioritize it in a list form, or index cards, Ipad, whatever works for you. Then, put it on your calendar! Use this tool to structure your day, your week or month. I already do that for my work schedule, but including the other things(important or trivial) that have to get done in my day or week has been very helpful. Even the no-brainers like “exercise” in the 7:30 a.m. slot gave my morning that structure with a reminder that I often choose to ignore, to my own detriment.

Another thing to think about for the long term is to begin eliminating the things we don’t use, want or need anymore. All of those papers, clothes, etc are distractions and are basically just “stacks of unmade decisions” according to Regina Leeds, professional organizer, author of “One Year to an Organized Life” and a devout fan of the calendar idea above. This one really resonated with me…I have a lot of unmade decisions, it seems! That goes for all of the emails I get from groups I’m interested in but never end up reading. I “unsubscribed” from about 15 of them. If I want the information I can always find it again. That’s the magic of the internet!

Leeds also suggests “setting yourself up to win” when you begin this process of clearing and organizing; eat well, hydrate, good rest, exercise and simple meditations to help you be more focused and in tune with your needs so you can make those decisions wisely.

While I’d love to be organized in a snap, this is a process and old habits die hard, but just shifting a little bit has already helped. Best wishes on your way to a clutter free mind!

Cheers!

*The notebook pictured can be purchased at Little Red Press London.

The Skinny on Skin

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Posted by Judy Moon

Winter is here whether we like or not. It has it’s good and bad, just like anything. There’s nothing like a steaming cup of hot chocolate on a cold day, or snuggling in to watch a movie on a snowy day rocking your favorite sweater.

One of the down sides for sure is dry skin.

I have recently read over and over on various Facebook posts and blog posts about how we don’t need to shower every day and how it is actually bad for you to do so especially in winter.

I couldn’t disagree more with this, in fact it makes me crazy!

My first reaction is what are people washing with – Spic and Span?

First my disclaimer – I am not a dermatologist, skin expert or esthetician. I am speaking from what I have learned, (as a massage therapist, I touch a lot of skin!) and what I have observed from my own experience and my own skin. Clearly if you have skin conditions you need to talk to a doctor, but I think this type of skin care makes sense for most people.

The skin is an organ. Let’s repeat that out loud – “my skin is an organ”

“I need to treat it like that.”  In fact it’s the largest organ of the body. It has three main functions – protection, regulation and sensation.

The skin renews itself about every 30 days. If this dead skin builds up, it can leave a dull, flat even scaly appearance.

Exfoliation is key! You must remove the dry dead skin first. This will also help with the penetration of whatever products you are using. If you moisturize without exfoliating, you are just moisturizing that already dead layer of skin.

How do you exfoliate?

There are lots of ways to do this –

  • Dry Brushing
  • Hot Towel Scrubbing – ditch that nylon scrubbing thing you have in your shower and treat yourself to an old friend – a wash cloth. It is much gentler on the skin and holds the hot water better – the hot water stimulates the pores to open. Rub the warm washcloth in gentle circles all over your body. Guess what – you are also stimulating your lymphatic system – an added bonus!
  • Salt and Sugar Scrubs – once a week I use a lavender sugar scrub for an extra deep exfoliation. There’s tons of DIY recipes and already make products to purchase – I personally love the Lavender Scrub from Trade Joe’s 

All of these stimulating things are doing just that – stimulating the skin to do what it is supposed to do – function, regenerate cells, breathe, produce it’s own natural oils. Wake it up!

What the heck are you washing with?

Now that we have our skin alive and awake and doing it’s job, what are you going to wash it with? That’s a personal choice, but I would suggest using something that doesn’t have a ton of ingredients in it and if it does, can you pronounce them and do you know what they are? Now that your pores are open do you want to absorb those ingredients? I love Copa soaps. I feel clean and fresh after a shower and they smell divine. We sell them at the studio or you can purchase them online. My favorite is the Vetiver.

So, you’ve exfoliated, cleansed and now you need to moisturize.

Again, personal preference. Same rules apply. Read your label and think about what you are putting on the largest organ of your body. I’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth. That’s extreme for sure, but it kind of makes sense. I use coconut oil right from the jar. I bought a cute flip top jar that I transfer it to and I add some rose essential oil to it. But you can literally use it straight from the jar it comes in.

We offer a dry brush treatment that can help get you started with a good skin care regime. We dry brush your whole body and then follow it with a therapeutic massage letting all of the oils soak in to your fresh new skin. You get to take home your brush, instructions and your new soft skin.

Showering every day is bad for you skin? I take a screaming hot shower daily, so I say, I think we have to agree to disagree.

Massage Therapist Insider Series: How Often Should I Have a Massage?

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Posted by Alicia McCarthy

How often should I come for a massage?
This question is the most common by far. Sometimes I joke and say, “Everyday!” What I really mean is that every body should experience positive touch everyday in some way, but the real answer varies from body to body. I, personally try to get some form of bodywork at least once a week. I used to feel spoiled saying that, but if it’s within your means, I’d say the results for caring for yourself on that level, are dramatic.

What are your goals?
That’s usually how I try to respond to the question of how frequently massage is needed. If you aim to alleviate a specific area of pain due to injury or years of repetitive stress, one massage is not going to give you an immediate ”fix”. The effects of massage are cumulative, and healing is something that happens gradually. When targeting specific areas you want to correct, I would say try coming in for a massage every week until the pain transforms, then you should try to make massage more of a regular routine to maintain a healthy balance in your body, mind, spirit.

Imagine if you had a dream to have six pack abs, and you thought doing 100 sit ups in one day would make that dream a reality. That sounds silly, right? Receiving one massage in order to “fix” an issue in your body that’s screaming for attention seems equally silly.

One of the great things about massage is that it teaches you about yourself. After that first session that you’ve had in order to stop your back from spasm, you might feel great, better than you did before you had a massage. The next day you might feel sore in a different part of your body or worse in that one spot in your back. Sometimes you experience pain before the real healing takes place.

Your body is different everyday. My goal as a receiver of massage is finding a harmonious state within myself. My goal as a giver of massage is to assist you in getting to your own personal state of harmony.