Two for Tuesday!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:41+00:00 March 31st, 2015|anxiety, Life, mental health, parenting, radio|

Predictable always seems to have a negative connotation to it. When someone calls you predictable, it’s because they know what to expect, but isn’t that ultimately a good thing? I used to work in radio, which is a funny statement, because as anyone will tell you, once you’ve worked in radio, you’re forever changed (more like permanently scarred in a good way.) I started out as a DJ. No, not the kind that spins house music in a trendy club, but the old fashioned kind that introduced songs from the latest artists, or from the deadest ones depending on the format. “That was Jimi Hendrix, and “The Wind Cries Mary”, on 104.7 KIX FM.” I was told from a very young age that I had a great voice for radio, and I humbly agree, even though I can’t stand to listen to myself. Somehow that doesn’t ever stop me from talking! Anyway, most of you have listened to radio, and terrestrial radio as we call it now, and you have heard the many features that are often found on the air. “Two for Tuesday” is one example, and that’s when you get two songs from the same artist. I know, brilliant, right? Then there’s “Fourplay Friday”, yup, same thing, but look at that clever play on words! All I ever wanted was to be on the air. There are even cassettes somewhere in the world of me pretending to be a DJ when I was about 12 years old. Hand to my ear, “This is Julie, coming to you live from my downstairs secret location!” Imagine my utter disappointment when the idea of doing yet another Sunday Top 20 Countdown, or “Three for Thursday” (yes, there was that, too), seemed so boring and uninteresting to me. I mean, this was what I always wanted to do!! It had sadly become predictable and predictable was banal. I have such tremendous respect for all those radio hosts who have been doing their jobs with diligence and dedication for so many years. I shifted my radio attention to morning shows, traffic, weather, news, and ultimately Talk Radio, where nothing is predictable except the idiot callers who think their opinions are better than anyone else’s. Man, do I miss that “disconnect call” button!

Live with Totems!

Live with Totems!

Here’s what’s interesting though, now, with three kids, a dog, single-parenting, etc., all I want is predictable. I want to know that I will be making lunch for three kids several days a week. I want to know that my alarm will go off at 6:15am and that I’ll be out with the dog by 6:40. I want to know that my paper will be delivered and that my coffee will be hot when it comes out of the microwave. These are things that I count on, because if these things don’t happen, then who knows what will? These are all minor events and I could certainly go on with my list of what I want to know (I may be a bit of a control freak), but the juxtaposition of my youth and detesting knowing what was to come, to my aching for stability in my, let’s call it, more mature youth, is poignant. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about flexibility and spontaneity, but those have to be planned and accounted for! Yes, that was a joke. So when someone asks me how everything is, I am happy to say that all is status quo. Predictability can be a good thing, even sprinkled with surprise. I remember smiling on a rare “Two for Tuesday” when the DJ would play one of my favorite Winger tunes, it meant I got two!!! Don’t judge. Well, I guess you should judge, because that would be predictable.

Stay well.

Totems are predictable in that they will always be there for you, and will always be a beacon for calm. Get one today by clicking on any of the four Totems on the side of the page.

Totems Around Town!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:42+00:00 March 29th, 2015|anxiety, Life, liquor, mental health|

Owl out on the town, always managing to find a friend to share some camaraderie with!

Hola Mezcal! Hola Owl!

Hola Mezcal! Hola Owl!

A good night was had by all at local eatery, Tolani, but haven’t heard from Owl yet today. Hmmmm, headache perhaps?

Stay well.

We love seeing pictures of your Totems around town, so send them along to julie@totemtamers.com! Need a Totem to take with you? Click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and get one today!!

Triumphant in parental genius*!

By | 2015-03-26T10:39:27+00:00 March 26th, 2015|childhood, children, Life, mental health, parenting, school|

I might as well explain the asterisk before I go any further. *Anyone who refers to anything they do as “genius”, is likely not a genius at all, but someone simply hoping that the tactic they used will turn out for the best.

A good half hour of my morning today was spent psychologically manipulating my oldest son. I will admit that I enjoyed myself way more than he did, but that’s because I knew what I was doing. Report cards came out this week. I had to ask him to hand his over, which he had definitely not wanted to do. The report card was not horrible really, but when I consider why he got a lousy grade in his best subject, then it becomes horrible. If he had been struggling with the content in the class, different story, but his bad grade was apparently the result of him deciding that he just didn’t want to do his homework all the time. Yup. This conversation could have gone many different ways. I could have screamed and yelled. Punished and ridiculed. Instead, I apologized and promised to do better. Yes, you read that correctly. I looked my son in the eye and said “I am so sorry. I must have done something wrong to have this happen.” Of course, he looked at me like I had two heads, but I didn’t stop there. I went into a thorough explanation of how he wasn’t having an issue with “school-work”, but only having an issue with “home-work.” So if there’s an issue with homework, there must be an issue at home. I asked, “What are your father and I doing or not doing, that you aren’t getting your homework done?” At this point, my sweet, handsome teenager is cocking his head at me like a dog that has heard an odd sound come out of somewhere he can’t see. Finally, he said “You didn’t do anything wrong, this is all on me.” And with that, I am genius.

Stay well.

Anxious over your child’s report card? Maybe you need a Totem, and a dose of reverse psychology! Click on any of the four Totems on the page to help keep you calm while you confuse the heck out of your child, just to make a point!

Winter is apparently a whiny brat!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:42+00:00 March 23rd, 2015|apartment, childhood, children, dogs, family, forecasting, Life, mental health, mind/body, Owls, parenting, snow, stress relief, totems, weather|

We are a few days into Spring and I’m still my wearing my winter hat and coat. We even had a snowstorm on the first day of Spring! It was fun hearing people come up with their explanations as to why we were having this cold blast. One man said sweetly “it’s Winter saying hello to Spring!” Another person I overheard said “it’s Winter showing Spring who’s boss!”  It was my little one however, who I think summed up the Springtime snow blast the best. He said “Winter is acting like a little kid who doesn’t want to get off the video game and keeps saying “let meplay one more game, let me play one more game!”” My son got a fist bump for that one. 

Meanwhile, chilly outside doesn’t have to mean chilly inside and my orchids are blooming and reminding me and inspiring me to consider all the growth that is to come!



Happy Spring! (At least on the inside!)

Stay well.

Need a Totem to keep you warm? Get yours today by clicking on any of the Totems on the side of the page. 

Totems Around Town!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:42+00:00 March 22nd, 2015|animals, anxiety, friendship, Life|

How about a Bear with your Mimosa?

How about a Bear with your Mimosa?

Thank you Sarabeth’s for being a bright and yummy spot on this chilly but sunny Sunday! Thank you “four flowers” for making a mimosa seem healthy!! Thank you Bear, for always being there.

Stay well.

Need a Totem to take to brunch? Click on any of the Totems on the page and shop for yours today!

Are you an objective parent? (That's not an accusation.)

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:43+00:00 March 19th, 2015|children, education, Life, mental health, stress|

Today was Parent/Teacher conferences. Not at one school of course, but at two out of three schools that my children are connected to. I only managed one, but have already scheduled the other at a time convenient to my child’s teacher. (Interesting note that while writing the prior sentence, I actually wrote “…convenient to my teacher,” and edited.) That’s an important note, because I know how stressful these conferences can be, especially when some (a lot) parents take the usually 3-10 minute meetings very personally. You know what I mean. Those parents who argue with the teachers, or blatantly dismiss a teachers observations because “my child would never do that,” or “you must be mistaken, my daughter says you never call on her and that’s why she doesn’t participate.” Just a couple examples I am sure teachers hear all the time.These conferences may be one of the few times you get face-to-face interaction with your child’s teachers, especially once they hit the middle and high school levels. This is when you take the precious minutes offered and ask important questions like “how is my child doing,” “is my child participating enough,” “can you give me some insight into the kids my child is hanging out with.” That last question might be helpful for older kids where you don’t necessarily get access to their friends very often to form an opinion. These opportunities are for you to get some idea of how your child functions in the classroom, with authority figures, with peers, with assignments, and the like. These are not the opportunities to deny that your child may have a learning challenge, or may be misbehaving, or simply not applying him/herself (that was always on my report card.) Go with an open mind and trust that the teachers who spend a lot of time with your children, actually have a clue as to who your child is or who your child is capable of becoming! I had a really productive, albeit chaotic, conference today for my middle schooler. I went in prepared to listen, and yes, even prepared to make excuses, but I was quick to realize that his teachers all have his best interest at heart and crazy enough, so do I!!! So I walked out feeling confident that even though my kid may not be at the top of the class, I know his teachers understand him, like him, and see his incredible potential, and that’s what matters most.

Stay well.

My son’s anxiety is better under control these days, and I’m sure a lot has to do with development, but he admits and I can attest, that a lot of it has to do with his Totem and the simple techniques we outline in our Totem Tamers booklet. If you have an anxious child, consider a Totem today! Click on any of the four Totems on the side of the page and visit our store.

Totems Around Town! (The loo edition.)

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:43+00:00 March 17th, 2015|apartment, family, friendship, Life|

A dear friend has had a run of crumby luck and just a lot of “stuff” going on, including a pipe rupturing in the ceiling above her apartment. What that resulted in apparently looked like a torrential downpour throughout the living room. What that resulted in apparently was the need to rip up all the gorgeous wood flooring, which meant the entire family had to move out, likely for almost a year. Thank goodness it’s just stuff and everything can be replaced, but the hassle of finding a new apartment to rent, hiring movers, hiring contractors, filing claims, uprooting two kids, two cats, and the list goes on and on, is enough to make anyone lose it. Throughout this mess, my friend has maintained a stiff upper lip and has triumphed over the madness by being the conscientious, organized, and meticulous person she is. She astounds me. Even further, she found the time to send me a picture.

Totem and Toothbrush!

Totem and Toothbrush!

One of her children is the proud owner of Bulldog. In the midst of the craziness, Bulldog maintained a presence in her child’s now upturned world, and found a place in plain view to help with the understandingly overwhelming situation. Your Totem doesn’t have to be on your person at all times,  it could simply be on a shelf, nightstand, or even a sink, as a simple reminder to take deep breaths, visualize the calm, and start feeling better immediately. Thank you for sharing my friend, your calm in the face of all the crazy is an inspiration to us all.

Stay well.

Do you have a Totem to hang with you while you floss? No? Get one today!! Just click on any of the Totem images on the side of the page and visit our store.

A is for allergy!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:44+00:00 March 15th, 2015|Uncategorized|

Peanut-free. Gluten-free. Dairy-free. Soy-free. Nut-free. I’m free. Well at least I thought I was! I’ve never been the allergic-type (whatever that means.) I did develop seasonal allergies after living in Cincinnati, and even though it may have had nothing to do with Cincinnati, Ohio is an easy target. Needless to say, when I was in the middle of an acupuncture treatment yesterday afternoon, I knew something was wrong. Suddenly I could see my left cheek in my periphery because it had swelled up enough to pop into view. The absent-minded itching of my scalp began to take on new meaning as my cheek continued to swell up and scare the crap out of me. I was convinced I was having a stroke because of the sensation and having the swelling confined to one side of my face. My acupuncturist, who also happens to be a great friend, took one look at me and started placing needles in the correlating points on my body to try to settle what was happening. Bottom line, it might have been the inordinate amount of shrimp I had eaten over the past two days, it’s hard to tell, but a shot of Benadryl from Urgent Care seemed to help tremendously. I know I’m off to an allergist in the next week or so to try and determine exactly what happened. There’s definitely anxiety about the testing, not only because it involves poking and prodding, but because what will I do if I can’t have my oysters?! I have been through this testing with my kids, so that helps alleviate some of the anxiety.

Just a shot in the dark!

Just a shot in the dark!

My kids had a temporary allergy to dairy, when they were infants, that they thankfully have outgrown. Two of my kids developed allergies to some medications, and since there was a reaction, the instinct is to prevent them from being exposed to those medications in the future, which we did. Last year, the pediatrician suggested having them tested for the suspected allergy to penicillin, since it’s such a broad spectrum antibiotic it is a good one to be able to use if necessary. My mom is allergic to penicillin, so it wasn’t surprising to find that my boys could be as well. Off we went to the allergist, where you need to explain to your kids that someone is going to purposely put something on your skin that may make you unwell and it is actually a good thing! They were both brave and even let me take some pics because naturally, the Totems were there just in case!! I even donated a set to the office so the doctor could use it in the future.

Bulldog and itchies!

Bulldog and itchies!

Bulldog seems to be the go-to Totem in medical situations as both boys chose Bulldog to keep them company. One son was deemed not allergic anymore, but unfortunately the other one didn’t even get passed the control phase of the testing when it was immediately apparent he was sensitive to even a drop of the medication on his skin. He needs to go back before college and had to be rehearsed on sharing the information that he is allergic to penicillin. Next it’s my turn, and I can guarantee that I’ll have all my Totems with me!

Stay well.

Need a Totem to keep you calm? Get one today by simply clicking on any of the Totems on the side of this blog and checking out our store.

Totems Around Town!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:44+00:00 March 10th, 2015|anxiety, birds of prey, central park, Film, Life, mental health, stress|

Owl was winding through Central Park the other day and came upon a fellow “bronzian”. Yes, I made that word up, but you’ll understand when you see the pic!

The Falconer and The Owl!

The Falconer and The Owl!

Well maybe it’s not super clear, but the statue in the foreground is made of bronze, just like Owl!!! The Falconer is one of many incredible statues to be found throughout Central Park, which is why it’s always a good idea to look up instead of down, and to take your Totem around Town!!

Stay well.

PS: If you’ve never seen the film “The Falcon and the Snowman”, it’s an oldy but goody!

PPS: If you don’t have a Totem to take around town, order one today by simply clicking on the Totem of your choice on this page!

Totem Tamers celebrates WOMEN! #womensday

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:44+00:00 March 8th, 2015|Equality, Life, women|

It’s International Women’s Day! Yes, a day when we are supposed to acknowledge women all over the world and recognize that we are vital, contributing members of society who should be treated equally in the workplace, as well as the community! Sure, we can all say that, and it is true of course, but it isn’t so easy when there are so many cultures across the globe that continue to keep women oppressed, suppressed and ultimately depressed. I can sit here in judgement because I live in a free country that allows me to do so, a country that allows me every opportunity to further myself and better myself without risk of retribution or persecution. I do not judge the women who choose to live and respect the cultures they are in, although I often do not understand the choice. The cultures that do not allow women to learn, to work outside the home, to show their bodies without fear of punishment, etc.. I am young enough not to remember what it was like for women who fought for the right to vote, however I am experienced enough to know that my breasts have gotten in the way of me being promoted, for example. Yes, the power and the curse of the boob! Thankfully, today we see beautiful, sexy, and yes, really smart women, getting attention and progressing in the workplace. However, most of them will probably tell you that they struggle with the balance, heck, I’ll happily tell you! (See what I did there?) In all seriousness, women have come very far and continue to make tremendous strides in the workplace, but gender inequality is still an issue, when men and women get paid differently for the same job. That has to change, that will change, and we will work together to make that change. As we do so, continue to celebrate the women around you and thank the ones who came before you, while guiding the ones following close behind!

Stay well.

Me, with two women I always celebrate!

Me, with two women I always celebrate!

Great minds think alike! Thank you #WSJ and #NYU!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:44+00:00 March 4th, 2015|creativity, Life, office, stress, stress relief, work|

Ok, so I’m showing a little ego here, but that’s only because when my business partner and I created Totem Tamers with the goal of helping people maintain focus and composure during difficult times, we knew we were on to something! We have seen that validation take shape in many ways, from the people who have purchased Totems and reported back how incredible they have been in helping them, to articles that show up in publications across the country. You know you’re doing something worthwhile when the Wall Street Journal publishes an article about a study from New York University, that focuses on handheld objects and their power to spark ideas and reduce anxiety!  Thanks to Sue Shellenbarger, for writing the article that focuses on research being conducted out of NYU’s Polytechnic School of Engineering, and how manipulating objects while at your work desk may help you “improve focus, ease stress and think more creatively”!

Totems always by my side, at work and always!

Totems always by my side, at work and always!

If you ever needed a reason to get a Totem, now you have it in black and white, or pixelated, or however you read your paper! Don’t take my word for it, trust the Wall Street Journal and NYU, and I guess you should read the article as well! If you want to stay focused, spark creativity and reduce your anxiety all with the help of a Totem, just click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and get yours today!

Stay well.

Totems Around Town!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:45+00:00 March 2nd, 2015|animals, coffee, Life|

Totem Tamers is always happy to support a new business, especially one where there’s a Unicorn for a mascot!

Bear, Unicorn, and a latte!

Bear, Unicorn, and a latte!

Had a delicious cappuccino actually, and they had almond milk. Bonus!! Welcome to the hood Boxkite!

Stay well.

Take your Totem around Town and send us the pics to info@totemtamers.com. Don’t have a Totem? Get one easily by clicking on any of the Totems on the side of the page.