Small Business Saturday!!

By | 2013-11-30T10:26:47+00:00 November 30th, 2013|Life|

Today is Small Business Saturday! Started in 2010, SBS, helps small businesses get the attention they deserve during a busy holiday season when all the big corporate merchants spend tons of money on advertising. Being an owner of a very small business, we don’t have the budget for cheesy TV commercials, or pukey radio spots that will compel you to buy, we just have me and my awesome business partner! Or is it my awesome business partner and I? Either way, we are Mom and Pop (especially because my partner and his wife just had their first kid! Yay! Sssshhh, don’t tell anyone.) Totem Tamers is the epitome of a small business as we are just getting off the ground, and there are thousands of businesses just like us! Visit www.smallbusinesssaturday.com, and you can find a list of shops that are associated, and even resources if you are a small business owner! This is an American Express sponsored site and it’s incredibly helpful. You can begin supporting a small business like Totem Tamers right now! Have you seen our Totems?

Totem Team!

Totem Team!

There is still plenty of time to get your stocking stuffers for Christmas and what better gift than something that can help someone you love stay calm?! Support Small Businesses today and everyday!

Stay well.

 

Thankful morning, noon, and night!!

By | 2013-11-28T16:18:27+00:00 November 28th, 2013|Life|

Happy Thanksgiving from Totem Tamers!! It has already been an awesome and productive holiday!! It started this morning with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Shark hoping for an invite to the Pineapple!

Shark hoping for an invite to the Pineapple!

Even though the weather forced the balloons to fly a little lower this year, it’s always a thrill to witness all the marching bands and thousands of participants strut their stuff across Manhattan. Then it was off to Harlem to help the team at The Doe Fund serve Thanksgiving meals to many.

Nothing like a hairnet to make your day!

Nothing like a hairnet to make your day!

The kids had a blast serving up everything from apple cider to crab and corn chowder! Even the founders of The Doe Fund were there bringing cheer to every table they visited.

George and Harriet McDonald giving thanks!

George and Harriet McDonald giving thanks!

And now it’s nap time so that we can be properly prepared for this evening! Here is a preview:

Grandma's table!

Grandma’s table!

I am thankful for the opportunity to be thankful. Totem Tamers is thankful for the support of our friends and family and for new friends and family we make along the journey.

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

 

 

 

Planes, trains, automobiles and oh yeah…..WARRIORS!!!

By | 2013-11-27T12:49:43+00:00 November 27th, 2013|Life|

It’s WARRIOR WEDNESDAY! It also happens to be the busiest travel day of the year. According AAA, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the single busiest travel day of the holiday weekend. AAA also estimates that more than 43 million people will be traveling somewhere for Thanksgiving. That means on planes, trains, and in automobiles!! That means pilots, flight attendants, TSA agents, toll booth workers, highway patrol officers, conductors and engineers will all be working to get you where you need to go. They are the WARRIORS of the week with a tough job dealing with cranky children and even crankier parents!! Hats off to everyone who helps make the travel safer even if you can’t make it any easier. And boo to Mother Nature who decided to send a Nor’ Easter our way to add to the fun of the already chaotic travel experience. Grab your Totem and thank anyone of those people you encounter on your journey to your Turkey!!

Oh and Happy first night of Hannukah to those who celebrate!

"Totem, totem, totem, I made it out of bronze!"

“Totem, totem, totem, I made it out of bronze!”

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com!

Feelings, nothing more than feelings….except that they are everything.

By | 2013-11-26T10:50:35+00:00 November 26th, 2013|Life|

I’m sitting here feeling a bit melancholy in the gray of the day, as the rain clouds settle over Manhattan, threatening to dampen the holiday spirit. It certainly doesn’t help that I have some close friends going through some really sad and difficult times, and I feel for them. I feel. Then I realize, I am grateful for the luxury of being able to feel, whatever it may be, happiness, sadness, fear, excitement, love, hate, any and all of it! How blessed am I that I get another day to hear my children laugh, to see a puppy playing with a blowing leaf, to taste the sweetness of a ripened berry? I feel. Sometimes the feelings are heavy and burdensome, but thankfully they are often balanced with feelings that are freeing and light! The grace in all of it, is that I feel them and I hope you feel them too. It can be somewhat easy going through your day without acknowledging that you feel, or allowing yourself to feel, but with that, you deny yourself the good feelings as much as the bad ones. Oh and wait! You have the gift of helping someone else feel! Yes! Smile at a stranger today. Tell a loved one just how much they are loved. Flip off the jerk who doesn’t hold the door open for you even though you have an armload of packages and your shoelace is untied. Tell the guy at the deli counter that it’s really creepy when he asks you if you’re in the mood for the salami special. Every time. Make someone laugh! That’s the best feeling in the world. I had dinner with a group of people last night, some I’ve known for years and others are new friends. Even though we spent some of the night discussing sadness and tragedy, we were able to laugh as well, and I can’t be more thankful. I feel, and I am so glad I do. I hope you feel something today, no matter what.

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Work on a Sunday morning? Bring it on!!!

By | 2013-11-24T11:26:57+00:00 November 24th, 2013|Life|

I am so blessed to have created a business, with a great friend, where we saw a need that was not being fully met. Everyone, and yes, I mean everyone, has anxiety every now and again, and sure there are different products on the market that can help, from stress balls to medication. Totem Tamers is revolutionary in that we not only give you something tactile, we also guide you with simple steps towards relaxation and regaining calm when in an overwhelming situation. We are new and we are doing our best to get the word out and your support is amazing! The more we talk about anxiety, the more we are willing to seek help for it, and the more potential Totem Tamers has to help others! We’ve seen it work and so have others and one day (hopefully soon), there will be Totems everywhere. This morning I am taking steps to make that happen by filling an order I will tell you more about in a week or so!

Happy-making stacks of Totems!

Happy-making stacks of Totems!

There is still time to order a Totem Set for Hanukah, Chanukah, Hannukah, Channukah, and of course, Christmas! Click here to shop for a Totem for yourself or someone you love. In the meantime, I’m going back to work!!

Stay well.

Totem Tamers was "Baptized" and mesmerized by Daughtry!

By | 2013-11-22T11:37:37+00:00 November 22nd, 2013|Life|

I was treated to a very intimate acoustic set from Daughtry last night, thanks to Mamarazzi, the Museum of Math, and BoksKids! I remember when Chris Daughtry was on American Idol and my first impression was that he had a voice made for the radio and it still holds up today. With a new album out, “Baptized,” and publicity in full swing, I thought it was important to get Daughtry a Totem Set to help with all the fuss. I chose Shark for him because sharks are constantly moving and as he talked to the crowd about his rise to fame, he encouraged people to never give up and to keep moving from door to door until the right one opens up.

Daughtry rocks the Totem Set!

Daughtry rocks the Totem Set!

There were lots of kids at this event and one of them asked such a great question that I had to meet her! Her name was Juliet and she was there as a teen reporter for Live! Starring you, and she asked Chris what fame has taught him about himself that he didn’t know before? He responded “I’ve learned that I can be a giant D-bag!” Best answer ever, and best save ever by the keyboard player, Elvio, who explained to the kids that Chris meant “dirtbag.”

from the new album "Baptized"

from the new album “Baptized”

It was a great evening, and great to meet a rockstar that still has some humility and still sounds awesome!!

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

 

Would you know what to do if someone was experiencing an overdose?

By | 2013-11-21T13:58:05+00:00 November 21st, 2013|Life, Uncategorized|

I can still feel the shivers from my evening last night, as an intimate group of people gathered in my mom’s living room to talk about drug overdose. This is a regular topic of conversation ever since my brother overdosed ten years ago. Really we even talked about it before he died, because it was a constant fear. When we used to discuss it though, it was from a place of powerlessness, as though it was inevitable and there was nothing that could be done. Well, last night I was educated and learned that there are options today that can be used.  I am now armed with information and an Overdose Prevention Kit, and it is one of my missions to further the spread of this information and make it accessible to anyone who uses opioids or knows someone who does (that’s pretty much all of us.)

Save someone's life...

Save someone’s life…

Representatives from the Harm Reduction Coalition were present and showed us how to administer the potentially life-saving drug Naloxone that’s included in the kit. [Sidenote and coolest thing ever: My stepdad, Dr. Jack Fishman, invented Naloxone! I know, it’s so awesome.] If you encounter someone you believe is overdosing, which may appear as unresponsiveness, or lips and fingernails turning blue for example, first thing you do is CALL 911! Then hopefully you have this kit available to take the steps to give the Naloxone and save a life. As I was listening to this, it sounded almost like simple First Aid. When I became a parent, I had activated charcoal in the house just in case my kid swallowed something poisonous. Well, a lot of us have prescription drugs in the house and the majority of us don’t lock them up, and our kids could end up swallowing those. Shouldn’t it then be standard issue to have an Overdose Prevention Kit in every household? Just in case?

Learn more and get involved!

Learn more and get involved!

Members from the Drug Policy Alliance were also present, as overdose prevention is one of their focuses, but the DPA does so much more than I ever knew and I encourage you to visit their site to learn about it all! They taught me that in New York, accidental overdose is the 4th leading cause of death, and also that nationally, accidental overdose is THE leading cause of death. Did you know that New York has a Good Samaritan Law that protects you from prosecution related to any drugs or paraphernalia found at the scene of an overdose, if you have called 911? Yeah, I learned that, too. The Overdose Prevention Kit and the Good Samaritan Law are incredible advancements in the efforts of drug reform, and I can’t help but think that if these two potentially life-saving options had been around for my brother ten years ago, that maybe he would be here with us today. Get informed, and help educate others, it may just save the life of a stranger or even a loved one.

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2013-11-20T09:59:01+00:00 November 20th, 2013|Life, Uncategorized|

Even though the anniversary was officially yesterday, it’s never too late to recognize greatness. Yesterday, was the 150th Anniversary of The Gettysburg Address!! So today we honor President Abraham Lincoln, as a WARRIOR, for his courage in recognizing that we are ALL created equal. The middle school my children attend, spent time teaching about The Gettysburg Address and even having the kids memorize the words and recite them. I hadn’t read the Address in a long time, and man, those are powerful sentiments from a long ago time that still need to be spoken aloud today. I am including them here and hope that we can further the message every day, and not just on the anniversary. Thank you President Lincoln for being one of the original WARRIORS! Everything you ever wanted to know about the President can be found on a website just for him: http://www.abrahamlincoln.us

"Four score and seven…"

“Four score and seven…”

THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS:

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

A homemade Public Service Announcement….

By | 2013-11-18T10:17:24+00:00 November 18th, 2013|Life|

It was a rainy afternoon, so I took my kids to the movies. As expected, there were other kids in the theater, mostly behaved, some not. Most of the children were accompanied by parents who were mostly behaved, some parents were definitely not! For example, in my row, there was a mom and a son, the son must have been about 6. He was really enjoying the movie and giggling and talking throughout which was at times frustrating, at other times cute, but for the most part it was tolerable. It’s the parent’s behavior that left me slack jawed in disbelief. With about 20 minutes to go in the movie, I heard some commotion. I looked to my left where this pair was seated, and the boy was standing up with his back to me. Moments later I heard that all too familiar trickle of liquid entering an empty plastic bottle. I have three boys, I know this sound. This parent was allowing her son to take a leak in the middle of a movie theater, in the middle of a movie!!!! Well, I never! She was clearly having a PSA, otherwise known as a Parental Silliness Attack. I am not usually one to point fingers especially because shortly after the movie I was overcome by a PSA myself, and I allowed the following to occur:

Some PSA’s can result in disgusted glances from observers (like me), while others can result in fits of laughter! I hope you have plenty of the latter in your future!

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

It's gonna be a great day!

By | 2013-11-16T10:49:01+00:00 November 16th, 2013|Life|

As I was setting up the Totem Tamers display this morning at the PS 199 Holiday Boutique Fair, I got a surprise visit from our attorney. Don’t worry it was good news!

20131116-104516.jpg
That’s our second Trademark certificate!! Come celebrate with me and get a Totem of your own!

You say agenda, and I say opportunity!

By | 2013-11-15T12:39:24+00:00 November 15th, 2013|Life|

I’m very fortunate (and lucky) that I live in New York City and get to experience some really cool things. Whether it be a movie premiere (which means usually standing on the other side of the barricade watching celebrities on the red carpet from afar,) or sitting in someone’s living room with some very powerful political people. Last night, I was in a living room, and I can’t tell you exactly who was there, but I can tell you that I was with the new Communications Director for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the Treasurer of the DNC!

Treasurer Andy Tobias and Communications Director Mo Elleithee!

Treasurer Andy Tobias and Communications Director Mo Elleithee!

This was not a fundraiser, this was an opportunity to meet Mr. Elleithee and hear about plans for the future of the DNC, and to ask some really tough questions. One of the main issues discussed of course, was healthcare reform, otherwise known as Obamacare, otherwise known as The Affordable Care Act. What we at least know for sure, is that today, 500,000 people have signed up for coverage and about a million are simply waiting to choose their plans. “That’s half a million people who didn’t have health care before, that now do,” said Elleithee in the living room and on Facebook (which must mean it’s true!) If you want to know more, you can visit This is Obamacare, to find out how your state is participating in the healthcare plan. Mind you, this post isn’t about my political agenda, but rather my anxiety-reducing agenda. So many people avoid public speaking because they are too anxious. I enjoy it, and was blessed with a gift for it (inherited in part from my mom), but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel anxious speaking in public. Imagine taking the job that puts you in front of people on a regular basis to defend, inform, and educate. This new guy’s good though, really good. Mr. Elleithee, didn’t flinch when he was questioned about why the healthcare plan is called what it’s called, he didn’t blink when asked about attention to minority groups, and he smiled heartily at the gentleman who came in wearing this t-shirt!

And there was this guy!

And there was this guy!

Just because you feel anxious speaking in public shouldn’t prevent you from doing so, (this is where the plug comes in) having a tool like Totem Tamers, can help keep you calm in those potentially nerve-wrecking experiences. Mr. Elleithee, may not have needed a Totem last night, but I suspect if he did, he would have chosen Bear, because of his ability to be ferocious when up against political foes, and gentle when surrounded by supporters. Congrats on the job and thank you for the opportunity to learn and be in someone’s living room!

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

 

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2013-11-13T11:20:09+00:00 November 13th, 2013|Life|

Admitting you have a problem is the beginning of the healing process, no matter what that problem may be. I say this regularly with regards to anxiety because people seem so hung up on not putting a label on their experiences, but the longer you deny your anxiety, your fear, your trigger, the longer you will go on succumbing to that experience. The same is said about addiction. We are familiar with the 12 steps, maybe not all of them, but the first one is pretty standard: Acknowledging that you are powerless over your addiction and that your life has become unmanageable as a result. This week’s WARRIOR is someone in the public eye who decided to go public with her struggle with alcohol addiction. ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas, released a statement last week that she was seeking help for what she ultimately recognized as a problem with alcohol abuse. Vargas was quoted as saying “If coming forward today gives one other person the courage to seek help, I’m grateful.” Her willingness to come out with her addiction in the hopes of helping others, is what makes her a WARRIOR.

Photo by Sara Jaye Weiss

Photo by Sara Jaye Weiss

Overcoming addiction is a daily challenge which is why the saying “one day at a time” is so relevant. The hope for Vargas, and frankly all of us, is that we have many days to accept the challenge of life and do our best to move through it with grace and understanding. If you or someone you know needs help, click on this link for a list of resources to find treatment centers and support.

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Understanding that there doesn't have to be a reason.

By | 2013-11-12T11:23:13+00:00 November 12th, 2013|Life|

My middle son woke up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed this morning. I can’t tell you what triggered it, and I realize that most of the time, neither can he.  He had an awesome experience the night before, where he and his Dad went to see and even got to meet a legendary metal guitar player. All I kept thinking was, how could he wake up feeling so poorly when he had this great night!

So cool!

I get that we all have those days where we just feel “blech,” (that’s in the latest DSM manual by the way.) Usually though, when we feel lousy, or grumpy, or anything opposite of happy or content, we can attach it to something that’s motivating the mood. We can justify it with stress, with being tired, with our hormonal cycles, with a fight we had the day before, you name it. The lesson I learned this morning from my son however, is that sometimes there doesn’t have to be a reason. He just woke up in a shitty mood and my questions trying to seek the reasons why, only made his mood worse. It wasn’t until he finally blew up at me and said “Mom, there’s nothing wrong at school or anywhere, just stop asking me questions!” Processing this now, hours later, I get that the better choice for me might have been simply to acknowledge that he was in a foul mood and that if he needed anything, I was here to help. Instead, what I did was get annoyed, frustrated and exasperated, and add to his discontent, which certainly didn’t help anyone. One of the lessons I have learned since starting Totem Tamers, is that saying “calm down” to someone who is agitated or upset, doesn’t get you very far. Now I say “calm yourself,” because it reminds my son that he has the ability and tools from Totem Tamers, to do just that. Sometimes, he just needs a gentle reminder that he still has power even when he isn’t feeling secure or confident. We managed, and everyone got out the door on time, and I am grateful that before noon, I have learned something that I will hopefully be able to put in to practice before the next sunrise.

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Totem Tamers salutes Veterans (including my Grampa!)

By | 2013-11-11T10:33:37+00:00 November 11th, 2013|Life|

Happy Veteran’s Day! The eleventh month, on the eleventh day, in the eleventh hour is apparently when World War I ended and that is why Veteran’s day is always on November 11th! I searched for the picture of my grandfather in his uniform, but alas it could not be found, but I did my find my tears as I searched through hundreds of letters written to my grandmother while he was in service.

Letters of love from afar...

Letters of love from afar…

These letters are some of the most beautiful I have ever read from a man who was sometimes nicknamed “Grumpy.” Private Harold Brown wrote to his “dearest darling,” his “girl of my heart,” “sweetheart of all my dreams,” and his love, my Grandma Selma, kept all of those letters. I cherish them and the words and sentiment in them, but what can’t be escaped are the parts where he talks about learning to shoot a rifle, about not knowing where he will be shipped next, or when he will see his wife and kids. Heartbreakingly beautiful. It’s thankfully much easier these days for military personnel to communicate with their families, but there is something so innocent and raw when you put pen to paper and wait for that letter to come in the post. Service members love to receive mail too, and there’s a way you can send some cheer through the American Red Cross program “Holiday Mail for Heroes!

Here are the guidelines:

Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country.

Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:

  • Ensure that all cards are signed.
  • Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.
  • Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.
  • Do not include email or home addresses on the cards: the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
  • Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos: these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
  • Please refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.
  • If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.

All holiday greetings should be addressed and sent to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

The deadline for having cards to the P.O. Box is December 6th.
Holiday cards received after this date cannot be guaranteed delivery.

My family will participate, and I will think of my Grampa as I do. I shared a story about my Grandma the other day and included her picture, now I will share the whole picture of my grandparents who are long gone, but always together.

Veterans of love.

Veterans of love.

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.