My name is Julie and I have a mug problem.

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:22+00:00 September 29th, 2016|accessories, addiction, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, art, coffee, creativity, Design, gift, gifts, Life, mind/body, motivation, women, work|

It’s true. I see a mug and I want it. Mugs don’t have to be just for coffee or tea, they are awesome for soup, hot cocoa, hot toddy’s, chocolate pudding when you want people to think you’re really just drinking herbal tea, so many uses!!! I figured since it is National Coffee Day, that it is a good time for me to open about my problem. And please understand that it’s not a problem that affects my daily life or functioning, the problem is that I don’t have enough room for all the mugs I want, let alone for the mugs I have!

That's only one shelf of mugs!

That’s only one shelf of mugs!

So you’ll see everything from the iconic Zabar’s mug, to a holiday mug, to a mug that mocks Canada, to the Stig from the show Top Gear, and don’t forget one kid’s favorite soccer team, Dortmund! I have just added two new mugs that I saw online, and knew I had to add to my collection, partly because they’re adorable, and partly because it’s a pair of mugs!! Yes, two that come as a set!!! Ok fine, maybe it is a wee bit more of a problem than I admit to, but just look at these mugs from Boy Meets Girl!

Boy Meets Girl meet Totems!

Boy Meets Girl meet Totems!

Aren’t they the cutest mugs ever!!!!

Now that I feel better about my mugs, I want you to feel better with a list of places offering all kinds of freebies for National Coffee Day, click here http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2016/09/28/how-score-free-cup-joe-national-coffee-day/91231350/

Stay well.

Oh, and if you see a mug that you think is just awesome, or you have a favorite mug you’d like to show off, take a pic and send it to me at julie@totemtamers.com. Even better, if you have a Totem, include it in your picture! Cheers!

Cane and able…..

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:22+00:00 September 25th, 2016|accessories, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, gratitude, Life, mind/body, motherhood, motivation, nyc, parenthood, parenting, strangers, stress, stress relief, totems|

I love teachable moments, and if you really think about it, every day we live there is a teachable moment somewhere in there. Whether it’s the time you tried to put the milk away while holding your bowl of Crunchberries filled to the brim, only to have it scatter across the kitchen floor where your dog happily helps you clean it up, or the time you helped that blind person across the street after watching six people walk by and not even offer to help! Sometimes those teachable moments have you in the teaching position, like the one I experienced with one of my kids earlier today. It’s always great to have one on one time no matter how you get it in, so I was glad to be walking with my youngest as I brought him to a friends’ birthday party. He was contently chatting away while we walked down our block. We were approaching a restaurant that has benches out front, and one of the bench regulars was sitting down for her usual respite from the day. She is white-haired and dainty, and the slightest bit feeble, she always a touch of makeup on, and is often smiling while she sings the day away. As we neared her, her cane fell over. She was slowly leaning down trying to retrieve it and I said to my son, please give her a hand with her cane. He quickly bent down and handed it to her. She smiled, revealing several spaces where teeth used to be, and thanked him. He smiled back and we continued on our way. My son looked at me and said “I feel kinda weird now after helping that woman.” I asked where he felt weird, was it in his belly, his chest, or in his head? He said it was sort of in his body and his head. I smiled because I understood and I said, that’s what it feels like to do something nice for someone you don’t know without any expectation. What struck me was that he then said that that was the first time he had done something like that. I laughed a little and explained that he actually does stuff like that all the time, from holding the door open for someone, to waiting for people to get out of the elevator first, to simply saying “please” and “thank you.” The difference I went on to tell him, is that those are examples of common courtesy, but when you go out of your way, even just a teeny bit, to help someone else, that’s true compassion, and it has the capacity to make you feel good all over. Even though I nudged him to help the woman, that’s where the teaching comes, because now the hope is next time he comes upon a person who needs a little compassion, he will know exactly what to do without being told.

What did you teach today? Or better yet, what did you learn?

Stay well.

Teachable Totem!

Teachable Totem!

Help a small child today!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:22+00:00 September 23rd, 2016|accessories, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, education, friends, friendship, loss, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, pets, school, stress, stress relief, therapy, totems|

Ok, maybe it’s a dramatic title, but I guarantee that there is a little kid somewhere devastated that he or she is without their bunny right now!

Rescue this bunny!

Rescue this bunny!

I wrote a post a long time ago about security objects and seeing this stranded bunny, which was actually in the middle of the street next to a car, I was immediately heartbroken for the child who is most definitely longing for this stuffed animal. That’s why we have these connections, they are grounding to us and let us know that everything is ok, or at least will be ok as long as these objects are with us. It’s just like having a Totem in your pocket! A lot of our Totem owners say they don’t go anywhere without their Totems, and part of that is just the comfort of knowing it’s with you in case there’s a situation that may become overwhelming. Of course, it’s always best to have more than Totem, or security object, because you never know when you might lose one or need to lend yours to someone else in need. Get a Totem today at https://totemtamers.com/shop! Let’s see if we can reunite this bunny with it’s caretaker and I will gladly award the child with a Totem of their choice!!! This is of course in NYC near the PS 199 school playground. Share and hopefully by this afternoon we will have good news!

Stay well.

I am ready for Snow!!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:23+00:00 September 22nd, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, artists, friends, friendship, inspiration, Life, mental health, mind/body, snow, stories, story, storytelling, stress relief, teenager, teenagers, teens|

The Snow Queen to be technical, “Stealing Snow”, to be exact. I am often humbled by the people I get to meet, and even more so when I get to hang out with them and celebrate their awesomeness!! I did that this week when author Danielle Paige, launched her new series “Stealing Snow”, at Books of Wonder in New York City!

The Totems are excited to get reading!

The Totems are excited to get reading!

I was psyched to be there to help celebrate the launch, mostly because Danielle deserves it, and a teeny bit because maybe now she’ll be able to hang out more since the writing is done! I know, I know, the writing is never done, but one of these days!!

So cute signing books for tons of fans (including me) who came out to celebrate!

So cute signing books for tons of fans (including me) who came out to celebrate!

There were plenty of writers in the room at the book launch, some published, and some hoping to be published. It was wonderful to hear their questions, and Danielle’s answers about the process, the inspiration, and the motivation to write. There is definitely some (probably a lot) anxiety that goes in to writing, and creating in general, because there’s always the concern for how it will be received. That’s likely the biggest obstacle for me! I am always in total awe of artists who can manage a work from start to finish, whether it’s a book, a painting, a song, a dance, whatever. I’m good at the starting, but the finishing somehow tends to allude me, so that Danielle is now kicking off her second series is just incredible and inspiring. Danielle’s first series, a fantastic retelling of The Wizard of Oz, solidified her as a New York Times Bestselling Author, and there’s no doubt that “Stealing Snow“, a retelling of The Snow Queen, will have her maintaining that honor.

Witches abound!

Witches abound!

Witches abound!

Witches abound!

Witches abound!

Witches abound!

Witches abound!

Witches abound!

Some gorgeous illustrations of some of the characters to be found inside “Stealing Snow”! If you’re into fairy tales with a twist, then I highly recommend all of Danielle’s books, but definitely get right in to “Stealing Snow”! I can’t wait to get into some Snow myself!! And maybe, just maybe, I can put some of the anxiety aside, and find a way to finish something. Oh wait!! I just did! The end. 😉

Congratulations Danielle!!

Stay well.

Owl and Penguin pop at the launch!

Owl and Penguin pop at the launch!

 

The shoulda, coulda, woulda shuffle!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:23+00:00 September 17th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, Creative, creativity, Dreams, gratitude, Life, mental health, mind/body, motivation, sharing|

Have you heard about the latest dance craze? The shoulda, coulda, woulda shuffle! In all likelihood you haven’t seen it, not because it’s invisible, but it’s because it’s all in your head, and yours, yours too, and definitely mine! I am dancing all the freaking time inside my noggin. I shoulda had a green juice, I coulda gone to the gym, I woulda not eaten that donut. Just an example, and a light one at that. Sometimes the dance is very intricate and complicated. I shoulda taken that job all those years ago, I coulda been more successful, I woulda been happier. Maybe some of those shoulda, coulda, woulda’s, sound familiar? Maybe you’re in the dance right now? It’s definitely reminiscent of the two steps forward, one step back routine. And I know I have had many conversations with people who detest the dance and say “well, I’m not going to do the shoulda, coulda, woulda shuffle because I have no regrets!”

While my head was engaged in a full on lambada version of the dance this morning (lambada is that super sexy, hip grinding, gonna tease the heck out of you but not give you a darned thing dance), it occurred to me that it’s not about “having no regrets,” it’s about not settling for the space you’re in. I don’t mean to imply that the space you’re in, or I’m in, is not awesome and fabulous, but more that you haven’t stopped hoping for more and remembering where you came from. So even though the shoulda, coulda, woulda shuffle has you thinking back on choices you made or didn’t make for that matter, it reminds you that you have the option of choice, and that’s the best part of the dance. Maybe you went right when you shoulda gone left, maybe you picked red when you coulda picked blue, and maybe you chose to thrive when others woulda chosen to sit quietly in the corner. No matter what you choose, the shoulda, coulda, woulda shuffle is your own and it’s not defeatist to engage in the dance, in fact it’s motivating because it means you should have more, you could have more, and you will have more!

totems

The shoulda, coulda, woulda shuffle!

Stay well.

Remembering…..

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:23+00:00 September 11th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, family, friends, friendship, Liberty, Life, loss, marriage, mind/body, motherhood, nyc, parenthood, parenting|

This is a hard day. A traumatic day. A painful day. A somber day. It is also a good day. A special day. A birth day. A memorable day.

I watch the news feed on my Facebook. I see “always remember” and “never forget” over and over and over again. I see names of people I never knew etched on a wall. I see names of people I used to know but now only linked through the virtual wonder of the internet. I see people posting baby pics celebrating birthdays of their children born on this fateful date. I remember.

Just days before the terrorist attack in New York City on 9/11/2001, I was visiting the city for my college roommate’s wedding and we went up to the observation deck of the Empire State building and marveled at the height of the towers. It was windy but clear, and we were all glad to be together celebrating our friends and our friendship. That’s what I try to remember on this day. My oldest, and at that point only son, pushing a bubble-blowing lawn mower down the aisle and rocking a tuxedo at the wedding the next day, I remember that.

Tuxedo, Tyke, Tower, Totem

Tuxedo, Tyke, Tower, Totem

This photo, along with others from that day, hangs on my wall. I also remember being back in Florida on 9/11 and the phone ringing off the hook and just staring at the TV all day in tears, not comprehending what had happened. That’s a harder memory to recall. My son, now one of three, stands at almost 6’1, the other two inching up behind him. They are my towers now and living our lives every day is done in honor of all those that perished on that fateful day, and for those who have died since, as a result of their efforts to help on that day. We remember not because we want to, but because we have to. My two older ones are old enough that they go out and about New York City on their own. I struggled letting them do that today, but we have to live and they don’t need to be crippled by fear of the unknown, but I will not rest until they are safely at home with me. My heart goes out to those who will truly never rest again.

I remember.

I remember.

Stay well.

Heart on a cutting board!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:24+00:00 September 9th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, brotherhood, brothers, bulldogs, childhood, children, coffee, dogs, food, gratitude, Life, motherhood, Owls, parenthood, parenting, school, sharks, siblings, single parents, totems|

So there I am going through the daily routine of waking up three kids to get them ready for three different schools and three different start times. I manage to brush my teeth, walk the dog and somehow pour a cup of coffee, while everyone is straggling around the house in a morning haze. The only time I short-order cook is in the morning, even though they mostly eat the same things, but either way I’m barking out options and getting grunts for answers. Then I prep their lunches. Again, three different kids, three different taste buds, three different lunch preferences. Yes, I know, I could have them make their own lunches and be responsible for their food choices, thanks for that epiphany. But you know what? I’m freaking grateful that I get to make my kids lunch. Am I so grateful that I put dorky little notes in their lunch bags with smiley faces and x’s and o’s? Ok, fine, every once in a while I succumb to a smiley face. And every once in a while I do get pissy about having to make lunch, but then something incredible happens, and I am reminded what a blessing it is to have these three different kids, three different taste buds, three different lunch preferences.

totem heart

Heart to heart for lunch!

I’m packing lunch, juice box, fruit, snack, and I look down and see this heart just staring up at me! It gave me the millisecond I needed to stop, take a deep breath, smile, and smear on the mayo for the 3,467th time! Put some heart into everything you do and the impact will last a lifetime. It’s morning and breakfast time as I write this, but you know what? I think I’ll make some lunch.

Stay well.

Totems are a great reminder to take that millisecond to breathe. Get your Totem today at www.totemtamers.com/shop

Happy Labor Day from Totem Tamers!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:24+00:00 September 5th, 2016|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, bulldogs, holiday, labor, labor day, labor movement, Life, mind/body, Owls, sharks|

Labor Totems!

Labor Totems!

Labor Day is essentially a day commemorating those who labor. Well, that means that this is a day for EVERYONE!! We all labor in our own way, and we all deserve to be recognized for that labor, even if it’s labor that doesn’t come with a paycheck. The Totems certainly labor. They’re job is to help keep you calm whenever possible, and we all know that sometimes that is a very hard job indeed!

Kick back today, even for just a second, and be grateful for the opportunity to labor and for all those who labor around you.

Stay well.