Happy Hanukkah/Chanukah from Totem Tamers!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:09+00:00 December 12th, 2017|accessories, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, artists, bears, birds, birds of prey, christmas, Creative, creativity, Design, gift, gifts, holiday, mind/body, Owls, stress, stress relief, totems|

No matter how you spell it (there’s at least 16 ways), it’s holiday season! The Jewish Festival of Lights has a rich history behind it and it’s also become a holiday for gift giving!

What better gift to give than the gift of calm with Totem Tamers!? Totem Tamers is truly honored to be featured on the holiday gift giving guide by fashion maven, Stacy Igel! Igel’s blog provides insight in to the world of fashion and all things fabulous, but also a peek in to her journey creating her brand Boy Meets Girl, and more! Be sure to click on the link to see what Stacy has to say, and check out the clothing and accessories line! Here are some mugs I just had to have!

Boy Meets Girl meet Totems!

And if you’re looking for a last minute stocking stuffer, Totems make the perfect gift!

totems

What’s in the bag?!

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Stay well.

Parenting by headphone?

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:10+00:00 September 24th, 2017|accessories, anger management, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, bird lovers, birds, birds of prey, bulldogs, cardinals, cars, childhood, children, family, Life, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, motivation, nyc, ocean creatures, Owls, parenthood, parenting, pets, sharks, single parents, stories, story, storytelling, strangers, stress, stress relief|

We’ve got attachment parenting, we’ve got authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive, but headphone parenting? That’s got to be the worst and saddest of em all! What is headphone parenting, you ask? On two separate occasions today, as I was taking my four-legged kid for a walk, I saw two parents engaging in what I’m dubbing headphone parenting. The first one was this morning, the sun was freshly warming my face and the sounds of the birds far outweighed the songs of sirens on my street. A cute little girl, maybe 2 or 3 years old at most, cuts through the chirping with her squirming grunts as she really wants out of her stroller. Dad and daughter are stopped on the sidewalk ahead of me. What’s the dad doing? He’s adjusting the headphones in his ears. Yes, both ears. The girl is clearly annoyed, probably because she’s being completely ignored!!!!  My heart sank, because I remember the thousands of stroller walks I took with my three kids over the years, and all of the things we used to notice around us, and chat about, even in the gibberish neither of us could understand. Sadly, this trend of headphone parenting is something I’ve been noticing a lot lately, not just with parents, but with the caretakers charged with watching the kids in my neighborhood. More than once have I witnessed a babysitter, headphones stuffed in to each ear, loudly having a conversation with some unknown on the other end of the line. All the while the kid they are supposed to be taking care of sits in silence unnoticed, yet listening to you as you bitch and complain about her parents who asked you to stay late tonight, or your boyfriend who didn’t bring you flowers again, or any other piece of nonsense that you go on and on about, instead of paying attention to the kid, which by the way is what you’re getting paid to do! It’s beyond frustrating to say the least. And I think today, if I was hiring a sitter to take care of my baby, I would insist that headphones not be used and that personal calls are only to be taken in the case of an emergency or at least when the child is napping, and still not with headphones!

Anyway, second walk of the day, and here comes another Dad, with baby strapped in to a harness. So cute, right? The kid had fallen asleep, so it didn’t annoy me as much that the Dad was fully plugged in to both ears, but when you think about how his senses are now diminished because he can’t hear if someone comes up behind him on a bike, skateboard, scooter or whatever, it’s actually kind of scary! When I’m walking, and I’m listening to music or one of several podcasts I enjoy, I almost always have one ear in and one ear out. I want to be as aware of my surroundings as possible, and I’m just looking out for me in those instances. When I’m with my kids, guess what? NO FREAKING HEADPHONES!!! Even if we aren’t talking, or even if they aren’t talking to me (yes, that happens), I give them my attention as best I can!! Oh, and you know what else? They aren’t wearing headphones when we are out and about together, either!

Please don’t tune out your kids, especially at a young age when they need and crave interaction. Yes, I know it can be tedious at times to always point out the doggy coming up the block, or the helicopter flying over head, but it counts, it counts for a lot.

Headphone parenting?

Ok my rant is over for now, but do yourself a favor, if you have kids, check in with them so they know you’re listening, even if they aren’t saying a word!

Stay well.

Lessons from a displaced butterfly.

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:12+00:00 August 13th, 2017|accessories, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, cars, civil rights, earth, gratitude, hate crime, immigration, inspiration, Liberty, Life, mental health, musical theater, parenthood, parenting, racism, sadness, strangers, stress relief, teenager, teenagers, teens, victim|

I must confess that it has been difficult to write in the last couple months because of the instability, unrest, fear, ugliness, uncertainty and more, that has been plaguing our great nation. Some might say “that’s the perfect time to write”, while others will say “I totally get it.” I simply continued to remind myself, that I tend to write when the story comes to me, and thankfully today it has. It’s not the story I intended to write about, but sometimes those are the ones that need telling.

I had pulled up to the dorm at Carnegie Mellon University, where my oldest son had just finished a Pre-college Drama program. Everyone had to be packed and out by 2pm, because the incoming students would be arriving shortly. I’m blissful in my “mommy-van” because my baby is coming home. There are lots of happy parents and families milling about, weepy teenagers sad to be leaving their newly made friends and surely sad to be giving up some newly found independence while they are whisked back in to the bosom of their family. A car pulls up behind me on the steep driveway of the dorm, it’s a mom and daughter, picking up a family member, too. I hop out to make sure there’s enough clearance for the trunk to open, and I immediately notice what looks like a big butterfly accessory pinned to the grill of this woman’s car. My first reaction is “Oh wow, another person who loves butterflies, and so much so that she didn’t hesitate pinning one to the front of her vehicle, right near the not-quite-peace-sign looking emblem announcing the make of her car!”

butterfly

Displaced butterfly

I quickly realized it wasn’t an accessory, but an actual butterfly that had gotten caught on the grill at some point during her drive. I walked over to the woman behind the wheel and motioned for her to open her window. With a smile, I told her that the most beautiful butterfly had gotten caught on the front of her car and that I wanted to take a picture of it before I tried to move it. I wasn’t asking permission, but just wanted to make sure she knew what I was doing, but also because I wanted to share my wonder of this creature. At this point, it occurred to me that this was not in fact another butterfly lover, this was a person who could care less about the beauty and delicate nature of such a creature pinned to her fancy schmancy car. You know how I know this? If someone came up to my car window and told me there was a butterfly stuck to my vehicle, I would have jumped out to see it and to see if I could help the butterfly. This woman seemed more annoyed than anything.  I proceeded to take the picture of the butterfly and promptly walked right back to her window and made her look at it, then I told her I was going to try and remove it. Her reaction was formulaic with a “how sad” kind of awwww, and then a tacit approval of my wanting to save the insect.

I wasn’t sure if the butterfly was still alive frankly, but even if it wasn’t, this person didn’t deserve to have such beauty on her vehicle. I gently managed to pry the insect off the car, and moved it to some foliage nearby.

butterfly

Butterfly found

I waited. I watched. At first I thought it was the breeze causing the butterfly’s wings to flutter, but after a moment, it was clear this butterfly was still alive and now safe.

So many different morals I could pull from this event, that lasted all of five minutes mind you, but will surely stay with me for a long time to come. I guess the supremely important lesson, and yes, I use supremely intentionally, is that it is up to us to keep watch for those who are oppressed, and in need of protection and care, and not only must we stand up for those creatures and stand with them, we must make sure that their oppressors are forced to look and see the object of their hate and ignorance. It may not impact their hateful views, but it will at least let them know that we are not afraid and we will not back down.

Hug your loved ones today, and hey, maybe even a stranger (ask permission first, of course.)

Stay well.

 

There’s not a Monopoly on anxiety!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:16+00:00 March 21st, 2017|accessories, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, childhood, children, cognitive behavioral therapy, Creative, creativity, family, gift, gratitude, inspiration, Life, meditation, mental health, mind/body, parenthood, parenting, stress, stress relief, totems|

That’s a cute intro to share the picture I got from a new Totem owner, but it’s also true. I don’t know how many times I have had the conversation regarding anxiety, and how EVERYONE has it. The difference is, that some people manage it better than others at different times and for various reasons. Some folks have no problem getting up in front of a crowd and speaking, for example, while others will break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it!! Hopefully it helps you to know, you are not alone in your anxiety, otherwise Totem Tamers would never have come to exist! This is why I love to share when Totem owners reach out to tell us (or show us) how they have connected with their Totems. This next picture is currently relevant, since the makers of the game Monopoly have just announced that many of the traditional tokens (totems) are being replaced! I vote we add Totems to the board!

Pass go!

Bear sitting on “Electric Company” is perfect, because anyone who has ever had an anxiety attack (see above: that means everyone), it can feel like electricity coursing through your body, and not in a good way. That’s why Totem Tamers not only come with weighted, bronze Totems, but also visualization and deep breathing techniques, to help you through your anxiety. If you don’t have a Totem, get one today by visiting our store at https://totemtamers.com/shop!

Thanks to the Totem family that sent this photo! If you want to share with us, and others, how Totem Tamers has helped you and found a place in your home, email me at julie@totemtamers.com.

Stay well.

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.

Shopping with Bulldog!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:30+00:00 April 30th, 2016|accessories, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bulldogs, Design, dogs, gift, gifts, shopping, social media|

Bulldogs at Robert Graham Columbus Circle!

Bulldogs at Robert Graham Columbus Circle!

So many colors which is what brought me into the Robert Graham store in the Shops at Columbus Circle, but it was their bulldog that made me hang out! Bulldog seems happy, too!

Where does your Totem take you? Send me a picture at julie@totemtamers.com, or tag us Instagram @totemtamers.

Stay well.

Small Business Saturday!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:52+00:00 November 28th, 2015|accessories, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, birds of prey, bulldogs, children, creativity, dogs, friendship, gift, gifts, holiday, labor, Life, mental health, mind/body, Owls, parenting, shopping, stress, stress relief, totems|

Shop a small business like Totem Tamers!

Shop a small business like Totem Tamers!

Today is Small Business Saturday, where you are encouraged to shop at small businesses because they are the foundation of our society! Small business.com is a website that has tons of resources available for anyone who wants to start a business, or who has already started a business and needs support. A small business is exactly how Totem Tamers identifies! Do you know how we got started?  It’s a simple story really, my middle son was experiencing anxiety attacks, and I was struggling with how to help him. I reconnected with my friend (and now business partner) Daniel, who was suffering panic attacks. In the span of a couple emails, Daniel and I realized we wanted, no, we needed to help others who were surely struggling with the same issues. With Daniel’s incredible artistry, and my words, Totem Tamers was created! Pocket-sized bronze animal totems, a beautifully illustrated guidebook, and simple steps that are accessible by all, and a small business is born. We can both attest to how Totems have helped our families, but we have also heard from many others who have been helped as well! Have a look at our original four Totems, and keep checking back as more Totems are added!

Totems

Shopping small businesses should happen every day, not just one day of the year, so shop wherever you see the Shop Small sign, and shop often!

Stay well.

Totems Around Town on Tuesday!

By | 2015-10-06T15:44:51+00:00 October 6th, 2015|accessories, animals, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bulldogs, dogs, gift, gifts, inspiration, Life|

I just love alliteration! Walking around town with Bulldog in tow and we came upon this familiar face!

  Bulldogs on ice! 

That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a Totem with you! Send us a picture of your Totem around town to julie@totemtamers.com!

Stay well. 

If you need a Totem, get a Totem! Visit our store at www.totemtamers.com/store!

Totems Around Town! (in style!)

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:01+00:00 July 25th, 2015|accessories, fashion, funky, gifts, Life, Owls, retro|

There’s just something about a small business isn’t there? The ones owned by a young person just looking to do something passionate, or the ones owned by generations just looking to make it in the world. I love those! Heck, Totem Tamers is a small business, and we know I love that! There’s also something about finding unique gifts for people, because who doesn’t love getting a gift when you know there was some thought put in to it?! Well, there’s a small business near me called, Icon Style, and it’s a small business filled with unique gifts! It’s all vintage jewelry and fashion and accessories, and I could spend hours just looking at all the different pieces. I did spend some time there yesterday looking for a gift, and had the best time with the owner, Lara. She was eager to help, and guided me to some pieces that I fell in love with, not just for gifts, but for myself, too. In the process, I excitedly spotted some owls, and that of course led me to introducing Owl to Lara, and to some new friends.

Owls are Icon-ic!!

Owls are Icon-ic!!

The cool thing about Icon Style is that the inventory is always changing, which means I will always be popping in to see what’s new!! Thank you Lara, for helping me find a gift for myself, and for a friend, and best of luck to your small business!

Stay well.

Icon Style, can be found on Facebook, “like” and “follow’! You can also do the same for Totem Tamers here! If you need a Totem to take around town, just click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and get yours today!