Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It Really Works

I'm sure you have heard about Meditation and the benefits that offers the mind and body. Meditation has been around for thousands of years but it really became popular in the Western world around the 20th Century.

"Meditation is a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth." Meditation helps people achieve balance both mentally and physically, as well as, emotionally. It treats depression, stress and anxiety and also lowers blood pressure and cures insomnia. Studies show that people who practice meditation have shown high improvements in their mental and physical health. There are many forms of meditation such as, Judaism, Islam Meditation, Taoism, Buddhism... it should be clear that these religions (or any others) do not hold the monopoly on meditation, nor do you need to convert to a particular religion to practice meditation or to become self-aware.

There are a few different postures to meditate, standing, supine and sitting; it is up to you which one you choose. There are three very important elements that you need to include when meditating:

  1. Quiet place
  2. Comfortable posture
  3. Open mind
So if you are willing to give meditation a try, click here, do this everyday, preferably at the same time. Caleb found an incredible iTunes Audiobook download called "A Chakra Meditation" by Glenn Harrold. We both have listened to it and it totally works, recommended to use headphones when listening.

"The real sign of serenity is not seen so much in the face, as found in the depth and stillness of the eyes"

Friday, September 18, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Which tea is better, White, Green, Black or Oolong? Tea has been around since 2737 B.C. Legend says that the Emperor of China was sipping from a hot water cup when tea leaves blew into his cup, making the color change. When "camellia sinensis" leaves are dried and processed, it makes what we know as tea. There are four different types of teas:
  1. White, young leaves contain the highest antioxidant properties, making it the least flavorless, tasting more like fresh grass. White tea is not processed, so the leaves don't loose its properties, these leaves are air dried for a period of time. The caffeine in white teas are higher than any other teas because the leaves haven't been oxidized.
  2. Green, leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized. It contains high concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Here are just a few medical conditions in which drinking green tea is believed to be helpful: cancer, immune function, cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis and weight loss.
  3. Black, the most oxidized of the four, containing the most caffeine. Stronger in flavor, black tea retains its flavor for years.
  4. Oolong, most popular in China, the taste resembles that of green tea. It is much richer and tastier. The leaves are either rolled or pressed into a ball when going thru the process of oxidation. It contains only moderate levels of caffeine. The color of this tea tends to be like a golden-brown. The health benefits of this tea are healthy teeth and younger looking skin.
Also when drinking tea, try to buy loose leaves instead than tea bags, experts say they are better because the leaves have more surface for the water to extract the flavor.

So after much reading and deliberation, studies shows that Green tea is the best, because is the least processed, with also the most antioxidant polyphenols. Green tea delivers the highest concentration of beneficial phytonutrients and the least caffeine of all the teas.

Caleb and I just started drinking tea about 2-3 months ago (every night.) I have never liked the idea of it, because of its boring taste but now, just the thought of what the health benefits are and how calming drinking this fluid makes me, I'm hooked. Remember that for the benefits of Green tea to work, we need to drink at least 2-3 cups a day. Here is the most researched on-line store to buy tea, Adagio.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Did You Know that...

  1. the best remedy to treat cold sores is to first apply pressure over the affected area with an ice cube (wrapped in a paper towel,) then use a q-tip dipped into nail polish remover, apply pressure on the cold sore. This technique will kill the bacteria and soon cure the cold sore. Do this twice a day; If you catch it on time, the cold sore might not even surface.
  2. enzymes in strawberries will make your teeth whiter? smash 3-4 strawberries and apply paste on your teeth, rub for few minutes and then wash mouth with water. Then floss to remove seeds stuck between your teeth. How delicious!
  3. plastic bottles are not only bad for our mother-earth but also our health? It is estimated that each day, 60 million are thrown away and will remain in landfills for years and years to come. Bisphenol (BPA) is the main chemical to make plastic so every time we drink water from a plastic source, small amounts are released. The problem becomes a bigger one, when the temperature of water inside the plastic bottle changes from cold to hot (ie: baby bottles) A great alternative to solving this problem and contribute to keeping our planet cleaner, is purchasing a metal bottle. One that we have been using in my family for awhile, is Klean Kanteen. Go to the website to learn more about WHY they are the best in the market, click here. Go green! every little change we make helps.
  4. stretching plays a major role in how we are going to feel for the rest of the day? Have you noticed that dogs do it the moment they wake up...? Stretching can lengthen your muscles and make them stronger so injuries don't happen, also keeps muscles healthy, improves balance and posture and improves circulation. Try full-body stretches by pointing your toes and reaching arms above your head. This can clear your mind and help jump-start your morning. Try these: Neck stretch: Sitting tall with your neck relaxed, gently tilt your head to each side, then front and back, holding each position for a count of 10. Shoulder rolls: With your shoulders relaxed and your arms hanging loose at your sides, roll your shoulders up and forward, then back to center. Next, roll your shoulders up and back, then again to your side. Repeat five times.
  5. as we age wrinkles are more noticeable and probably inevitable? Here is a tip for you to fight wrinkles using bananas. Mash 1/4 banana until very creamy. Spread all over face and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water followed by a dash of cold. Gently pat dry.
Have any cool tips/remedies that you want to share? please write it on the comments, I will add them to my manual (book) when I publish it at the end of this year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Do You Feng Shui?

Feng Shui, pronounced
"fung shway," usually translated as "energy flow," is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. Qi is an active principle forming part of any living thing. Feng Shui is the theory of five elements, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. The elements are the five manifestations of Chi, or universal energy, and are represented in your environment by colors, shapes, textures, smells, taste, etc. In order to experience high vitality levels and an increased level of well-being, masters recommend living in a place that supports your birth element; find out which one it is, ask me.

Feng Shui can be used to better your life in many different areas, such as, health, relationships, happiness... Here are some tips that might help you accomplish a Feng Shui lifestyle:

- Health, keep the center of your house clean, clutter free and open. Eliminate metal objects from your Bedroom, as metal conducts electricity. Do not sleep under beams or sloped ceiling. Do not sleep with your feet in line with the door. Aerate your home often and use essential oils like lavender, chamomile and sage, to purify the space. Have specific plants that purify the air, such as
peace lily, boston fern, spider plant; Color green is very healing.

- Relationships, round or oval shaped mirrors. A few pictures of loved ones and friends. Matching items, such as a pair of candlesticks, two flowers. Color pink means love.

- Happiness, take fights outside. If you can't, open the windows immediately to allow the negativity flow out. If it was a bad fight, sprinkle sea salt on the floor and allow it to sit overnight, absorbing the negative energy. Sweep it up in the morning and get it out of the house.

There is a lot more to learn about Feng Shui than what I wrote here, very interesting stuff indeed. I hope you liked this topic enough to research more in depth about it; it sure made me think where the bagua in our home is and how to place our beds when wanting to live a more harmonious life.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dreams Do Come True

I love this topic because I am a perfect example of it. In 2004, I started a business. I did it all on my own, didn't know anything about starting a business so I researched and talked to people about it. Determination was my motto to make this dream of mine come true. I have always been into designing, fashion and anything related to being creative. I knew way before this whole thing started, that I wanted to end up designing handbags but didn't know how to approach it, so in the meantime, I decided to buy tees/tank tops and give them my own personal touch. I visited an accountant that gave me advice and explained how to get a fictitious name, how to open a DBA bank account, how to file taxes... then I researched the internet for independent artist like me, to see what they were doing and how they were getting their name on the market. I placed items in various on-line boutiques on consignment, drop-ship and also put up my own website to sell my designs at a retail price. I also had private parties where clients could place an order making their own very special design (tees and handbags.) At one point, companies overseas were placing large orders, wow, what a surprise my dream was coming true!

So I kept tapping in different directions, talking to friends that owned boutiques and that knew other people that had a business where they could introduce my products. Paying for advertising on-line was a great way of getting TuffCooki's name out there. Giving friends and family my designs as B-day gifts/Baby shower gifts... I have been making a little bit of money here and there but most important, knowing that TuffCooki is a recognized name, gives me chills.

I am not going to lie, the road hasn't been an easy one these last couple of years, the market has been a bad one but I haven't stop creating and believing that my business one day will boom. I have set up goals that I know I will achieve, I am excited about the future and I am so proud of myself for getting TuffCooki to where it is today.

Trust me, you might have a dream but if you don't put all your efforts and energy into it, it will never become a reality. Focus and believing in yourself is most important, don't ever let anyone tell you "you can't do something," I did it and you can too!

"Success comes in cans, not cant's"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Face Yoga, New Trend

I was skeptical to write a column about this but after doing a bunch of research, I got convinced. You heard right, the new trend is Face Yoga, which will eliminate the trip to the surgical room (if you've ever considered it) and the burden on your budget. Instead will smooth and prevent wrinkles that will enhance your aging look. Don't be fooled, we all age, sooner or later, but don't you think it would be fabulous to slow down this effect? even if it's only a little bit... I do. I haven't tried it but it will be for sure a routine that I will add into my busy schedule. I want to incorporate it twice a week, at the end of the day, however, you could also try it when you are driving or even at the office. Simple question comes to mind, if we exercise the rest of our body, why have we been neglecting the muscles from the neck up?

These simple exercises will release built-up tension and will rejuvenate your complexion. You are going to look a little bit funny when executing BUT who cares, if the result is a good one.

YOGA for Eyes:
- For removing the puffiness below the eyes. Place your three fingers under the eye, pull down, and try to close your eyes. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat for 5 times.
- Rub your hands together briskly and place the palms over your closed eyes. Take deep breath and relax for 5 minutes. You can do this exercise in your bed or chair, at home or in office. This exercise relaxes the eyes and surrounding areas and soothe the optic nerve. This is very good for relieving tension headache.
- Take out your tongue as far as possible with eyes wide opened and hold for 60 seconds. This exercise is to flush the toxins from the eyes.

YOGA for Lips:
- Smile while pursing your lips. This exercise works on the muscles around lips.
- Throw flying kisses. This exercise for stronger and firmer lips.

YOGA for Whole Face:
- Inhale through your nose, make fists and squeeze all your facial muscles.
- Now exhale through your mouth, stick out your tongue, roll your eyes up and open your hands. Repeat three times.

YOGA for Wrinkles:
- Inhale through mouth and hold the air in your mouth to make a pose of a trumpet player. Hold for 1 minute and slowly exhale from nostrils. Repeat for 5 times. This exercise is good for removing laugh lines and overall toning up of cheeks.

Go on, try it out, you might be in for a BIG surprise...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Say Hello To Your New Friend...

My name is Apple Cider Vinegar, I am sure you know who I am but I bet you don't know the benefits I offer to your health.
Apple Cider Vinegar has been used for centuries and it's considered an important healing instrument. Studies show that can help to regulate blood pressure, fight infection (killing germs), promote digestion (weight-loss) and even prevent dandruff.
Some of the vitamins found in apple cider vinegar are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A; some important minerals such as Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Fluorine are also found in this drinkable elixir.
My husband and I, have been devotees for 2 years, taking a shot glass of this natural liquid (unfiltered) before meals. So here is what you do, believe me when you start, you won't stop.
- Buy a glass bottle at the supermarket of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Unfiltered, about $3.69. We buy Bragg, I found it to be the best one after trying other brands.
- Before breakfast, lunch and dinner, fill a shot glass. If you don't have shot glasses, use a tablespoon but you will have to do 4 tablespoons full, GOOD LUCK.
- Take it in one gulp, don't hesitate.

CONGRATULATIONS! but just so you know, if you thought after several doses gets better, think again. The good news is that you just added an incredible antidote to your health.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mind Your Mind

It is suggested by doctors that we should take sometime, during the day, to connect with ourselves. Things like limiting exposure to radio, newspapers and TV, avoiding people who don't truly appreciate you, taking your time to wake up and stretch, taking deep breaths and slowing down; all these quick fixes will definitely help.

It seems difficult in this day and age, to find the time and place to practice exercises to calm our minds. Here are a few ideas you can apply right away, to slow down and truly enjoy life and the world around you.
- Take a walk, go to your favorite park or beach, look around, take in everything you see
- Spend time at a garden, museum or bookstore
- Try to limit talking unless is something meaningful and listen more
- Meditate once a day, preferably before going to sleep; 10 minutes should do it

We should all be more conscious about our bodies, minds and souls. We will live longer and better lives.

"True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united"

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Story of In Clover

It was 2001, we lived in California at the time, Carlos was just born. I took daily walks around downtown Santa Cruz, strolling Carlos through the streets, walking into the cutest boutiques. One morning I decided to visit Pacific Trading Co. a clothing boutique that also carried really pretty jewelry. A gorgeous pendant caught my attention when I was at the counter. It was a four leaf-clover pressed inside a small glass box; I had to get it. The package where the pendant was, had a very interesting story about being In Clover. This is what it said: "Congratulations on your ownership of a genuine, unique, hand-picked and preserved four-leaf clover" I was excited, it felt as I had an important treasure in my hands. I kept on reading and this was what has changed the outlook of a lot of things that go on in my life today. It said "Each leaf represents love, honor, health and wealth. Being 'In Clover' means being in a state of happiness and well-being. The spiritual meaning of the clover is that with the possession of this coveted leaf, you will be open to good karmic experiences and be blessed with the ability to forever judge between good and evil"

Today, I have created an In Clover group, where friends exchange feelings, thoughts... I try as hard as I can, to everyday, be conscious about my state of mind and if I notice that is not good, I make the effort to turn it around. Being "In Clover" is not easy but when you train your mind anything is possible, you can change wrong into right, bad into good, sad into happiness.

"Relish your clover. Share the magic, be In Clover today"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Long Day

Days like these happen, the road is not always an easy path. So keep your head up, breath slowly, smile. You can become a better person when you are aware of who you are, what surrounds you, what makes you happy and sad.

My kids are sick, it has been a long day for me, I want it to end so that tomorrow they will feel better. I don't like seeing them in pain, it makes me angry! I really hope the change in MY attitude makes them smile, because they don't deserve my cranky mood.

"Only when it's darkest can you see the stars"