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Archive for January 18, 2011

Get in the game!

      Get in the game!
 

I have told you before that when I graduated from high school in 1967, I went to a military school called Gordon Military College.  It was a rude awakening to my lazy, lackadaisical life!  I did not know what self-discipline truly was all about.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I knew much about any kind of discipline!  Sometimes it takes a rude awakening to get our attention before we learn very much.  Well, military school certainly got my attention and did it quickly!  From the moment we got up in the morning until we went to bed at night, someone was either yelling at us or blowing a whistle in our ears.  Even though it was difficult, it taught me a great deal. 
 
One of the disciplines I learned while attending that school was how to study.  Each night from 7:00 until 9:30 p.m., we had a mandatory study hall in which we were required to sit at our desks and study.  Someone patrolled the hallways to make sure that we were doing just that!
 
One night I decided that since I had to sit there for 2 ½ hours, I might as well study!  (Sometimes I’m a slow learner!)  Anyway, I started reading a book called, Get in the Game, by Bill Glass.  Mr. Glass was a former pro-football player for the Cleveland Browns.  He impressed me so much because he was such a strong, outstanding individual and a real man’s man. 
 
In the book he talked about how important it is to participate in the game of life.  He pointed out that life is not a side-line sport.  It is something that we must get involved in and play with all of our hearts.  He said that if we expect life to have any meaning at all, we need to play with “reckless abandonment.” 
 
That phrase, “reckless abandonment,” caught my eye because many coaches had used that term when I was growing up, playing sports.  They often told us that if we played half-heartedly, there was a good chance that we would get hurt.  In other words, we were to play with all of our heart.  We were told that an athlete will never be very effective if he is afraid of being hit or tackled.  It is necessary to play the game, giving it one hundred percent!
 
Glass’ book applied that same concept to playing life at full speed.  He said that you can not half-way do a marriage, or half-way raise children, or half-way work for someone if you expect to have good results and succeed.
 
That book made a profound impact on my young heart and mind at the time.  I understood what he was trying to communicate.  I understood that regardless of what I planned to do with my life, I would have to do it with all of my heart and with all of my might.  I began to live by that philosophy and found it to yield good results in my life. 
 
Several years later I came across that same book, and I remember that my heart leapt inside my chest because I recalled how much it had meant to me early in my life.  Since my first reading had been so long ago, I decided that I would read it again. 
 
I read through the book hoping to get everything out of it that I had gotten the first time, but this time was strange.  The book seemed to be flat.  It seemed to be uninteresting; maybe even boring.  I could not understand what had happened.  How could a book that had changed my life so much many years earlier now have basically no meaning to me at all?  It was indeed a strange occurrence!  I thought maybe something was wrong with me.  It wasn’t until years later that someone was able to shed light on what had happened.
 
You see, the first time I read the book, I had very little understanding of self-discipline or about how to get involved in the game of life.  And, I had very little understanding of what it meant to live life with reckless abandonment.  However, over the next few years, I had employed those concepts in my life; they had become part of me.  Therefore, the information now was no longer foreign to me.  Because it was something that had already become part of my life and was no longer brand new, the book had lost its impact.  It had already done its job and its work was complete.
 
That understanding helped me to realize why it is important to learn and grow.  As we do, the very thing that we once knew nothing about becomes part of our life.  It becomes part of the very fabric of our soul.  That is what happened with that book.  The concepts in it had become so much a part of my life that I did not realize why it did not mean as much to me the second time I read it.  Instead of just learning about how to play the game of life, I had grown into a participant who was actively involved in the game of life.
 
Now, one last thought – please do not get me wrong; I am not a perfect player!  I still make mistakes at times, just like everyone else.  And, sometimes I fall down or a penalty flag is thrown, but I sure am enjoying playing the game!  I don’t want to sit on the sidelines.  I want to play the game, giving it one hundred percent.  I don’t want to arrive at the end of my life and be left wishing that I had done some things that I was simply too afraid to try.  No, I want to play life with “reckless abandonment.”  I want to be part of every activity that I can and to learn from my mistakes and failures.  I find it is more exciting to live life as a winner and a participant than it is to simply play it safe as a casual observer.
 
You and I are only going to get to live once.  I hope that you will play life at full speed and with reckless abandonment, striving to win and achieve in all that you do!  It truly is the best way to go!
 
Robert A. Rohm,Ph.D.
Personality Insights, Inc.
  
Copyright 2010 Personality Insights, Inc.  Reprinted with permission. You may subscribe to the  “Tip of the Week” for free at http://www.personalityinsights.com and receive Dr. Rohm’s weekly Tip every Monday morning.

Green Dry Cleaning

Green Dry Cleaning

 Green Dry Cleaning

Dry Cleaning: Some Facts, Do It Less, and Go With a Green Cleaner Instead

1. You know that sort of chemical smell or dry smell on your clothes after they’ve been dry cleaned? That’s perchloroethylene (perc) and it’s a known carcinogen.

2. All those clothes that say “Dry Clean Only”? Not so. Polyester is plastic. So is rayon. Silk is the oldest material out there. (Do you think the Chinese were dry cleaning silk during the Ming Dynasty?) Wool is infinitely hand-washable. Wash all of the above, by hand, in cold water with a very little soap. Don’t even think about putting in the dryer.

3. Dry cleaning isn’t really dry. In the perc method, your clothes are immersed in a chemical bath to clean them.

4. The new Green cleaners are not perfect, but they are better than the old dry perc cleaners; for you, for your kids, for your planet. They employ one of three other cleaning methods, using C02, silicone or hydrocarbons, as opposed to the aforementioned Perchloroethylene. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great step in the right direction.

For a more in depth analysis of conventional versus green cleaners, read this Wall Street Journal article by Gwendolyn Bounds.

No time for the whole article? Check out Gwendolyn’s recommendation for finding green cleaners in your neighborhood: “For now, the Web is the best bet for consumers hunting for a non-perc cleaner in their neighborhood. CO2 cleaners are listed at findco2.com, wet-cleaners at professionalwetcleaning.com and GreenEarth cleaners at greenearthcleaning.com. There’s also nodryclean.com, which lists various cleaners by method, and igreenclean.org.”

Even though the article is from 2008, the dry cleaning chemical facts in this post by Melissa Breyer are detailed and accurate. Terri Hall gives some great instruction for hand washing wool, silk and rayon in her article, and Annie B. Bond points out various toxic chemicals lurking on our clothes and in our closets and how you can get rid of them.

-Jocelyn Broyles

Photo © Blaze86 | Dreamstime.com

Quiz: Which Ayurvedic (Life Energy) Type Are You?

Quiz: Which Ayurvedic (Life Energy) Type Are You?

 Quiz: Which Ayurvedic (Life Energy) Type Are You?

Ayurveda is a complete holistic medical system that has been practiced in India for thousands of years.

In the ancient language of Sanskrit, “ayus” means life, and “veda” means knowledge. Ayurveda is the science of living. As a complete system that treats each person as an individual, ayurveda is perfectly customized for you.

Ayurvedic healing teaches that there are three basic constitutional “types”: Earthy Kapha, fiery Pitta, and airy Vata. Once you know your type (we are blends of all types, but one usually stands out), you can learn to analyze your personality and body type, and find out which foods, exercises, lifestyles—even jobs—are most beneficial for you. Here is an illuminating quiz to help you find your Ayurvedic type.

Consider each statement, and assign the number that is most appropriate beside each one (0=never applies; 2=sometimes applies; 4=often applies).

VATA
My skin is dry. I can’t seem to moisturize enough.
I’m slim and can eat whatever I want without putting on weight.
My digestion feels irregular. Sometimes I’m ravenous; sometimes
I have no appetite.
I learn new things easily, but my long-term memory isn’t great.
I am creative and enthusiastic.
I give out so much energy that sometimes I need to rest up to recover.
My energy levels fluctuate a lot.
I dislike the cold, be it in weather, food, or drinks.
My moods change easily.
Stress makes me feel fearful and insecure.
PITTA
I am of medium build and have a well-balanced shape.
When I get indigestion, it tends to manifest as burning sensations.
I love iced drinks, ice cream and other cold foods.
I have a large appetite and digest food very quickly.
My mind is generally well-focused and alert.
People consider me passionate, confident, and courageous.
I don’t like heat much. It tires me, and I sweat easily.
I tend to be impatient, and sometimes anger easily.
I am determined, critical, and stubborn.
I’m rarely daunted by a challenge.
KAPHA

I have a solid build. As a baby, I was big boned.
My digestion is slow, and I feel heavy after eating.
I gain weight easily and am slow to lose it.
I am patient and even tempered.
I’m able to remain calm and unruffled under stress.
I feel I’m slower than others to grasp new concepts.
Once I really learn something, I never forget it.
Once I get going, I have loads of stamina, but I’m not a high-energy person.
I have a caring, compassionate nature.
I don’t like humidity and dampness, but I’m fine in very hot or very cold conditions.

 Now add up each of your three dosha sub-totals. Your highest score reveals your most active dosha.

 by Annie B. Bond
Adapted from The Ayurvedic Year, by Christina Brown (Storey Books, 2002).

7 Ways Sex Makes You Look Great

7 Ways Sex Makes You Look Great


Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me and everyone else out there who benefit from having sex in ways we don’t even realize. Let’s talk about all the good things that may be, specifically when it comes to beauty. Let’s also conclude this homage to Salt-N-Pepa and get to what’s really important: how sex can make us look younger and potentially more attractive.

Yes, there are advantages to knockin’ boots (or rolling in the hay, doing the horizontal mambo, or simply “bow-chicka-bow-wow”) beyond that obvious, delightfully climactic one. Not only do we feel happier and healthier after a session in the sack, but we might even look better, too.

1. Tighter and Brighter Skin
When we orgasm, or sometimes even when we kiss and get touchy-feely with a partner, our brains release a rush of hormones that, among other things, sends collagen production soaring. That keeps skin looking fresh and firm, rather than saggy and dull.

Five Best Foods for Your Skin

2. Fewer Wrinkles and Age and Sun Spots
A plethora of hormones that come into play during sex—including serotonin, dopamine, prolactin, and oxytocin (the cuddle hormone)—are responsible for the feelings of bliss and relaxation that often result afterward, and help prevent wrinkles by lowering stress levels. Sex also releases growth hormones that prompt cell regeneration and help heal existing damage from sun, air pollution, and so forth.

3. A Rosy Glow and Pouty Lips
Hormonal surges aside, blood circulation is the other reason having sex procures so many beauty benefits. The heart pumps blood more quickly because of all the excitement and breathlessness, which means blood moves more efficiently through the rest of the body. Because it’s traveling so rapidly and so close to the skin, it’ll give you slightly plumper lips and a healthy flush.

4. Skin That’s Softer to the Touch
Another thing increased blood circulation does is transport moisture to the skin faster, making it oh so soft. Since dry, flaky skin can look cracked and time weathered, having smoother skin can shave years off your appearance, too.

5. Fewer Breakouts
Sex, when it’s done well, involves a good amount of moving around and skin-to-skin contact, which then raises body temperature and leads to sweat. Sweat detoxifies by clearing all debris (dirt and bacteria) and excess oils from pores, leaving you with healthier skin.

6. Potential Reduction in Under-Eye Circles and Puffiness
No, sex isn’t a cheaper alternative to the eye cream you slather on your face every night, but it does give you something eye cream doesn’t: a better night’s sleep. Both oxytocin and prolactin, two hormones released during and after an orgasm, promote deep relaxation and drowsiness, which is why sex makes so many of us sleepy. (In other words, don’t get too mad at your partner if he rolls over and goes to sleep afterward.)

7. Lush Hair and Strong Nails
Remember how blood circulation provides the body with moisture more efficiently? It also brings much-needed nutrients to various parts of the body more quickly as well—nutrients responsible for growing tough nails and shiny, thick hair.

As if sex weren’t a perk in and of itself, a great deal of beauty boosts come along with it. And while having sex won’t necessarily make your hair grow faster or your wrinkles disappear suddenly, evidence suggests that it really does give people a more youthful appearance. Royal Edinburgh Hospital’s Dr. David Weeks, the author of Secrets of the Superyoung, conducted a ten-year study keeping track of 3,500 participants’ sexual activities. He then asked others to guess the participants’ ages by studying photos of them. Those who had sex a few times a week were said to look around four to seven years younger than they actually were.

Perhaps we’ve been looking for the fountain of youth in all the wrong places. Rather than existing in fancy lotions and potions, it might just be found between the sheets. So what are you waiting for? Forget the retinol and Botox injections and get young and beautiful the age-old way.

By Vicki Santillano, DivineCaroline
At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

Healing Paint Colors for Your Ayurveda Type

Healing Paint Colors for Your Ayurveda Type

Healing Paint Colors for Your Ayurveda Type

Now this is a truly healthy and healing paint: The paint itself is as pure as possible and the 108 colors are designed to promote harmony and balance using East Indian Ayurvedic color therapy. All this from a company that has been on the leading edge of pure, green, safe products since the 1970s! Mouse over the 108 colors chosen with this ancient wisdom in mind to see which colors resonate with you and what they mean.

Visit the AFM Safecoat site and click one at a time on the Ayurvedic types listed on the left, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. You will see a list of colors to the right of the picture of a room. Move your mouse over each color name to turn the room to that color.

After you have found the colors that speak to you, try this fun quiz to see which type you think you are from reading words! For me, I never figured out my Ayurvedic type from reading text about them, or from all the quizzes I have taken, but it was clear as a bell from looking at the colors on the AFM Safecoat site.

by Annie B. Bond

Sexual Nutrition

Sexual Nutrition


An aphrodisiac, a substance that puts one in the mood for love, can include food, herbs, good conversation, moonlight and even lingerie! Aphrodisiacs are named after, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, fruitfulness, and beauty. They may have a direct effect on the erogenous zones. Some may stimulate, irritate or be a diuretic, causing one to experience more sensation.

Aphrodisiacs may affect the mind, cause relaxation and prolong lovemaking. Their shape, texture or smell may be reminiscent of sex; according to an ancient worldwide belief called The Doctrine of Signatures, plants give us hints as to what they are good for, by the way they look, smell, taste, and grow. They may be highly nutritious and by improving health, bring about healthier libido. Both sex and food are closely related by being pleasurable and physical.

Aphrodisiacs can be enjoyed anywhere from half an hour to an hour before making love. Best when they are incorporated into one’s daily life for their health tonifying properties. As good health is essential to sexual vitality, good nutrition is imperative. When we are in poor health, sexual vitality decreases.

Many of the foods mentioned here contain the seeds of life: the design and pattern for creating new life, with the potential to grow into a replica of themselves. For example a pumpkin seed planted, could spread into an awesome vine, bearing several pumpkins, resplendent with nourishing seeds, benefiting the reproductive system. A raw pumpkin seed contains this spark of life, yet a roasted salted one would not grow.

Grains for libido include rice (no wonder it is thrown at weddings), wild rice, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet and oats.

In Asian medicine, it is the Water Element or Kidney that governs sexual vitality. According to this tradition, black (and blue) colored and salty foods such as chia seeds, miso, black olives, sea vegetables, black sesame seeds and blueberries contribute to a healthy sex life.

Vegetables play a part in the food pharmacopoeia of sexuality as well. Some have suggestive shapes like asparagus (a genito-urinary stimulant), which was cultivated by the Arabs and Greeks as an aphrodisiac. English herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper (1616-1654) said that asparagus “stirreth up bodily lust in man and woman.”

Shiitake mushrooms are used in the orient to make women more responsive. In general, roots such as carrots, dandelion and burdock help energize the lower chakras. A Japanese proverb says, “A man who likes carrots, likes women. It would be unwise to serve your beloved wilted carrots.” Okra is stiff and exudes a slimy fluid, not unlike sexual fluids.

Garlic and onions are warming and stimulating. Egyptian priests and devout Hindus were forbidden from consuming them in the belief that they would lose control over their sensual desires.

Arugula was often used in ancient love potions. It is still found growing around phallic statues in Greece and Rome. Celery contains androsterone, which is released in the sweat after being consumed. It attracts women and has traditionally been included in aphrodisiac recipes.

Artichokes are an unopened flower. Paris street vendors of the 1700’s used to cry out “Artichokes! Artichokes! Heats the body and the spirit. Heats the genitals!” It is the one vegetable there is more of, after you eat it.

The French word for beet, betterave, is slang for penis or “man root.” Avocados are called ahuactl in South America, meaning “testicle. ” Sea vegetables, both salty and dark colored are mineral rich and nourish the thyroid gland and entire endocrine system, which when under active, lessen libido. Winter squash and cabbage are warming nutritive sexual tonic foods.

Phosphorus found in chutneys, curries, salsas and hot foods stimulate circulation and the sex organs. The Perfumed Garden says “Green peas boiled with onions together with cinnamon, ginger and cardamoms, all aground, create passion and strength in coitus.”

Fruits entice passion with their sweetness and succulence. Consider their shape, hot colors and juicy nature. Apples, apricots, bananas, cherries, dates (especially Jujube – Chinese red dates), mangoes, mulberries, peaches, persimmons, strawberries, and watermelon (eat the seeds) are all considered sex tonic foods. Suck the fruit out of a perfectly ripe persimmon. Try eating ripe mangoes in a bathtub with your beloved.

Figs and pomegranates, known for their abundance of seeds, are traditional love tonics. Pomegranate means “apple of many seeds” and due to its blood red color has long been a symbol of fertility, birth and sexuality. If you are in the tropics where they grow, soursop and durian, you are in luck! These are considered supreme sexual foods. There is a saying in Malaysia, “When the durians fall, the sarongs rise.” Better to eat a piece of ripe fruit than to over stimulate blood sugar levels with excessive amounts of sweet juices.

Nuts and seeds are foods of love. Being fertile, they contain the reproductive energy of plants. Almonds, chia, hazelnuts, hemp seed, pine nuts, pistachios, poppy, walnuts, pumpkin, sesame (especially black) and sunflower seeds are rich in zinc, an important component of sexual fluids. Halvah, made of sesame seed and honey are food for inability to orgasm and to give courage. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of nutrients, high in protein and essential fatty acids. Soaking them overnight and rinsing the next morning, removes enzyme inhibitors, softens them and enhances their digestibility as well as “bringing them to life” as many will sprout “tails.” Always avoid rancid nuts and seeds.

Chocolate and rose water contain a chemical called phenylethylamine that is also produced by the brains of people in love and simulates post coital bliss. Chocolate was the love tonic of Montezuma who drank some fifty cups daily, before visiting his harem of six hundred women. During the 1800’s, physicians suggested chocolate to boost libido. When enjoying chocolate, allow it to slowly and sensuously melt in your mouth.

When buying rose water, make sure it says distilled to avoid buying a synthetic product. Add rosewater to desserts such as rice pudding and baklava.

Use lavish amounts of the culinary herbs in your cuisine, many of which are considered aphrodisiac, including anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, curry (a blend of herbs), paprika, pepper and turmeric.

Ideal food for sexuality should be light, moist, sweet and easily digested. Moist foods lend their yin to sexual fluids. Naturally sweet foods, such as fruits and vegetables, provide energy and stamina.

Women and men need clean arteries for optimal arousal. A diet overly rich in animal fats (including pasteurized dairy products) can block nerve sensitivity and cause stagnant chi. As erection is achieved by blood moving into the penis, hardening of the arteries can hamper that essential function. Avoid hydrogenated oils such as margarine, shortening and fried foods. Eating excessive refined sugars and carbohydrates decreases libido. Icy cold foods can cool your passions. It is also best to eat small frequent meals to be emotionally stable. In general, eating less is an excellent way to stay sexually vital. Save some hunger for your beloved! Ice cream before bed cools your jets. Make snacks an opportunity for health by eating nourishing foods. Let nuts, seeds, active yogurt, fruit and vegetables replace candy and ice cream.

By feeding a potential mate, you exhibit your ability to provide food and pleasure. Share meals with your beloved as much as possible. Say a blessing first. Enjoy beautiful, delicious, healthful food. Prepare food with a vibration of love, enjoying music, pretty things to work with and luscious organic ingredients. Food tastes great when eaten outside. Enjoy picnics, even if it’s in your own yard, under a tree.

Enjoy the sensation of eating with your fingers. Inhale the aromas of your food. Taste and savor. Let eating be a sensual pleasure. Remember to avoid any foods topically that you may be allergic to orally.

Sharing of food is simple love magic and has long signified trust and bonding.

Flowers are the sex organs of plants. Decorate your food with organic edible flowers such as violets, rose petals (organic – with the white heel removed), day lilies and hibiscus. See my book, Rawsome! for a list of over 120 edible flowers. Show your beloved that he or she is adored! Make food a healthful, beautiful and flavorful expression of your love.

The best aphrodisiac of all is to be deeply in love!

by Brigitte Mars

Brigitte Mars, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, is a nutritional consultant who has been working with Natural Medicine for over forty years. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University, Boulder College of Massage, and Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts and has a private practice. Brigitte is the author of twelve books, including The Country Almanac of Home Remedies, The Sexual Herbal, The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Beauty by Nature, Addiction Free Naturally, Healing Herbal Teas, and Rawsome!. Find more healthy living articles, raw food recipes, videos, workshops, books, and more at brigittemars.com. Also check out her international model yogini daughter, Rainbeau at rainbeaumars.com.

How To Live Like You’re On Vacation – Everyday

How To Live Like You’re On Vacation – Everyday

How To Live Like You’re On Vacation – Everyday

Ah, this month is a doozy isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong – I love my job, but there’s something about these first weeks in January that kills. It’s like yesterday was all a-flutter with holiday lights and celebratory cheer and today is just… well shit, we’re just smack dab in the heart of winter. Getting “back to the grind” post holi-daze can feel particularly daunting when you’ve had some time away – which, I am grateful to say, I did. On an island. In Belize. Yep, I’m That Girl. The one who returns to the office in January abnormally (annoyingly) tan and chipper? Hi there. I think there’s still sand in my shoes.

But I’ve come to realize – as my boyfriend “helpfully” takes down the Christmas tree and I weep into my latté – that we don’t have to relinquish those delicious feelings of vacation just yet. In fact (drumroll), I’m quite dedicated to the idea of manifesting the get-away vibes as a integral part of my daily lifestyle (cymbal crash! Ooh! Aah!)! Not convinced? Read on.

Island Livin’

I spent a delicious week in December on a tiny island off of Belize City. My cousin was there studying abroad, my uncle had some frequent flier miles, and the gods were smiling upon me: presto change-o, Lauren’s on a tropical island for seven days. (Deep, deep bows of gratitude.) Each morning we woke up and slapped on bathing suits and SPF before breakfast. Each afternoon we played dominoes at the bar or caught naps in the hammock. Each evening we ate fresh sea fare and coconut rice by the light of the moon. Heaaaaaaven. The week was magical and relaxing in ways I hadn’t anticipated, but perhaps most surprising about the experience was the distinct voice shouting loud in my soul upon leaving: MUST. LIVE. HERE.

Ok, nothing special, right? Who doesn’t leave an island vacation tempted to skip that return flight and start a tugboat fishing business? But this voice was louder than any I’d heard in a long time, and it wasn’t telling me to move to Belize. (Ok, maybe a little.) It was saying – deep, resonant: Must live here, in this space – breathing more, doing less.

See, I believe that an integral part of being all me all the time is recognizing both what brings me joy and what brings out the joy in me. I like vacation, but I also like myself on vacation. I’m friendlier, I’m more peaceful, I’m more present. I dig the small stuff. I laugh louder and longer. I pay more attention to what I eat and whom I’m with and how I feel. And while sitting ocean-side with an umbrella in my ahem, juice, may make these feelings seem more accessible, they are absolutely possible to manifest at home as well. And frankly – “possible”? Necessary.

So, in the spirit of the New Year (and in clinging desperately to my quickly-fading tan), let’s get our get-away on.

9 Tips On how To Live Like You’re On An Everyday Vacation

  1. Unplug. I know, I know, you’ve heard this one before. But DO IT. I didn’t wear a watch for seven straight days and it was heavenly. I know that we have kids to pick up from school and meetings to make, but take at least one afternoon a week to throw your cell in a drawer and close that computer. Tell your spouse or a friend to wrangle you at a certain time, if you must – but really, lose track of time. (It’s kind of overrated anyway.)
  2. Rock that Stop-Doing list. Lissa Rankin recently wrote a great post about changing your to-do lists into not-do lists – as in, what would you like to free yourself from this week/month/year? Those choices were made for me on the island – what with limited Wi-Fi and housekeeping service – but there was something to be said about having very little I felt that I “needed” to accomplish each day. So, do some recon into your daily to-dos and see what you can delegate, diminish, or drop altogether. Create space.
  3. Reduce the stuff. You know one reason why hotels can feel so heavenly? Clutter-free, babes. This is another one you’ve heard before, but going to sleep with the laundry, laptop, and paper piles creeping over your nightstand makes for restless slumber. At the very least, give your boudoir the hotel once-over and ditch everything that doesn’t say relaxation. Moreover, think about all the stuff you use and “need” in a week’s time – if it wouldn’t make your suitcase, get rid of it. Pack (live) light.
  4. Talk to strangers. Whether it was asking for dining recommendations, a cheerful where-are-you-from over breakfast, or bonding with fellow snorkelers in our deathtrap tugboat, I met the loveliest of people by striking up dialogues with complete strangers. I know we’re all on-the-go in our daily lives and tend to walk the streets like we’re on missions from god (though yes, obtaining take-out Chinese can often feel like a divine calling), but try talking to someone new every day. You don’t have to be ocean-side to say hello there and ask for a good lunch spot.
  5. Eat locally. So maybe you won’t get to watch a sun-kissed fellow called Captain Jerry Jerome catch your dinner and throw it on the grill (true story), but chances are there are some regional delicacies in your ‘hood that you have not yet tried. Hit up your local farmer’s market, restaurant, and street fair to embrace the natural food of your area. Allow the idea of being present to carry into your recipes, cooking seasonally and trying new things. Be a locavore.
  6. Eat longer-ly. At home, I eat dinner in 15 minutes while also checking email, catching a sitcom, or going through my to-do list. On vacation, my favorite “restaurant” was a shack on the beach called Fran’s Fast Food – my quickest meal there took 2.5 hours. This is all to say, SLOW DOWN. Savoring each bite keeps you conscious of what (and how much) you’re eating and provides powerful opportunities for connecting with friends and family. Even if you’re dining solo, select one meal a week and take your sweet time with it. (Last night, a tofu stir-fry and I spent 60 sweet minutes together. Worth it.)
  7. Celebrate the small stuff. Toast to an easy commute, a beautiful sunset, waking up on time, and not getting a parking ticket. Celebrate a great hair day, an inspiring conversation with a friend, finishing a book (or a chapter, or a page!), and a surviving houseplant. Every moment of vacation seems to yell, Yes! Hello! Congratulations! – now it’s time to take a bit of that celebratory spirit into the “real world.”
  8. Connect with nature. Not all vacations will take us to remote locales – one of my favorite vacation spots, after all, is New York Cit-ay – but I will say that my most relaxing get-aways have been deeply connected to nature. Do what you can to bring a lil’ of nature’s positive perspective into your world – as my mom used to say about Hawaii, it’s hard to sweat the small stuff when you’re sitting between a volcano and the ocean. Even in winter, make time for the great outdoors.
  9. Take the scenic route. It’s easy to get stuck in ruts of taking the same streets home and the same shortcuts to the grocery store. In our efforts to streamline our tasks, we often forget how fun it is to get lost. (See Jennifer Shelton’s great post on getting lost here!) Vacation isn’t always about the destination – it’s about jumbled water taxi directions, wrong trains, and accidental hikes. Treat your city as if you’re seeing it for the first time and you know, take a left instead of a right. Explore.

Access the joy within

There are all sorts of other ways to bring the vacation-spirit into your daily living – listening to a white-noise machine with ocean sounds, putting a picture of your dream destination next to your computer, treating yourself like a tourist at home with a “staycation” – but none of those practices feel sustainable to me. I’m not trying to trick myself into an everyday vacation – I’m trying to live there, authentically. Breathe more, do less. Access the joy within to be my most celebrated, relaxed, curious self – with or without a tan.

By Lauren Nagel

Lauren Nagel is the editor in chief of OwningPink.com and a contributing writer for San Francisco music magazine The Owl Mag. Email her at lauren@owningpink.com

Healing Color Combinations by Ayurvedic Type

Healing Color Combinations by Ayurvedic Type

Does the color of some rooms make you squeamish? Itchy? Antsy? Does the color of other rooms make you soft? Calm? Wonderfully wobbly and weak in the knees? It is no secret that we all respond to color, and each of us responds differently to different shades. Color has a profound effect on us that can influence our moods and energy with the simple flick of a hue.

AFM Safecoat paints has a system for Healing Paint Colors for Your Ayurveda Type that shows you how to find emotional balance through the use of color. The company does business on a “health first premise”–their paints meet the highest standards of environmental responsibility, and also contain no toxic ingredients such as solvents, heavy metals, chemical residuals, formaldehyde and other harmful preservatives.

The Ayurveda Essence color system takes the health premise a step further by offering interactive tools to help you manipulate subtle aspects of your environment to promote optimum wellness. There are 108 colors in three groups of 36. (I like how the number 108 surfaces frequently in sacred numerology; but I just like numbers.) To keep it simple, they created three micro palettes that correspond to the three major constitutional types of East Indian medicine: vata, pitta, and kapha. Once you know which type you are (see next page), you can select colors accordingly: whether the colors are hot or cold, warm or cool, calming or stimulating, uplifting or grounding, moist or dry, etc. Eastern healing has generated many practices that promote harmony, created to relieve stress by helping us understand how to create balance in the day-to-day.

East Indian traditional healing proposes that there are five elements that can be simplified into three groups known as constitutional types or dosha. The elements are ether, air, fire, water, and earth. Ether and air are grouped together and known as vata. The vata constitution is akin to the ectomorph: of lean build and a thin frame. Fire stands separately as pitta, and the pitta constitution is akin to the mesomorph: an individual with a moderate frame and musculature. Water and earth are grouped together and known as kapha. Kapha types are akin to the endomorph: substantial in mass. Most of us are hybrids of the dosha types (such as vata/pitta or pitta/kapha), but a key point is that it is usually the aggravation of our primary dosha type that creates imbalance and disharmony.

The Ayurveda Essence palettes are grouped together as such:

Ectomorph/Vata/Air and Space: A palette of muted and subdued earthy tones

Mesomorph/Pitta/Fire: Complex colors with a cooling and calming orientation

Endomorph/Kapha/Water and Earth: A palette of vibrant and stimulating colors with warm overtones

As a whole, Ayurveda Essence incorporates colors that range from deep and chromatic brights to the muted lights and neutrals. The steps in value between colors has been designed with an eye toward a harmonious contrast. This design feature automatically eliminates the kind of clash that can result from colors which are too close to one another in value, and makes the creation of monochromatic schemes easier. The key difference among the palettes is how they handle chromaticism. Each micro palette is constructed to avoid those portions of the color spectrum that would be the most aggravating to the respective constitution–they are very balanced.

AFM also has another tool to abet you in your trek towards wellness: a set of 17 healing color combinations. You can visit this page to see the color combinations, and while you are there you can click on the individual links on the left navigation column to see colors by Ayurvedic types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

If you don’t know what your Ayurvedic type is, find out here: Which Ayurvedic Type Are You?

by Healthy & Green Living Editors

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