Melancholy beauty.

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:14+00:00 May 5th, 2017|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, central park, depression, earth, forecasting, inspiration, Life, meditation, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, nyc, sadness, single parents, stress, stress relief, therapy, weather|

It’s a rainy day here in my city, which seems apropos of the mood of pretty much all of the important people in my life today. Most of the country is reeling from a vote that occurred yesterday because now most of the country is fearful about their healthcare and future of insurance coverage. That’s a little more than a melancholy feeling of course, but you get the point. Meanwhile, I still got up this morning to walk the dog, wake the kids, make lunches, tie shoes, cover up dark circles, check for chin-hairs, contemplate exercise, have coffee, say hi to friends on the street, help my mom with an errand, and so forth. And all of that before noon! There’s a certain beauty in the mundane, a peacefulness to a regimen, a hope to things going seemingly unchanged. It’s Springtime in New York City, and even though the rain falls outside, like tears from a cathartic cry, there is beauty if you look for it, and sometimes even when you don’t.

Beautifully dreary!

Try to find something beautiful for yourself today, even if that means simply recognizing that you get today. I had a neighbor for a couple years who always managed a sunny disposition even on the worst of days when her aching bones would creak and she would find it hard to get up from a chair or take her walk down the block. Her disposition was evident whenever I asked  “How are you?” She would always smile and give the best answer, one that I have now adopted, she would say, “I’m upright. It’s a good day.”

Find beauty in being upright, no matter how dreary the world may look.

Stay well.

What’s in your reflection?

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:17+00:00 January 18th, 2017|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, Creative, creativity, depression, earth, gratitude, Life, mental health, mind/body, nyc|

The sun isn’t out today and I miss it. I often say that I don’t really care what the temperature is, as long as the sun is shining. Other people would trade temperature for sunlight. My apartment faces west, so I am often blessed with incredible sunsets, like this one:

Ahhh, what a way to make the end of a day!

My kids will testify that I often holler out during a sunset when the vista changes, imploring them to stop their homework and look outside. “Sunset!! Look now!!” They roll their eyes and then turn west and are always glad they have, which I mark with audible “wow’s” and “oooh’s”.

Mornings are different of course, because we don’t face the sunrise, so we don’t get to wake up with the sun in the same way we go to bed with sun, sort of. Living in a concrete jungle has it’s pluses and minuses, and one of the pluses I have found, is in the reflections. Maybe we don’t get to see the sunrise first hand, but boy do we get to see the reflection of it in the buildings around us, and sometimes it’s even better than the real thing!

Sunrise reflection!

I thought of the reflection this morning when I was missing the sun, and it actually provided me with a bit of a boost! It also made me think of how we reflect when we go out and about in the world. What does your reflection say about you? What does your reflection make other people feel? I smile. I also wink. Sometimes I smile and wink. It’s my greeting, my hello, my acknowledgment, my reflection. When I see someone, I smile, 9 times out of 10, they smile back. That’s the reflection we all want, and it’s the reflection we all need. So today, in the gray of the day (at least in the Northeast), while you’re out and about, reflect brightness, reflect happiness, reflect sunshine. Even if it’s not reflected back, the pleasure in giving is simply the giving and has nothing to do with receiving.

Stay well.

Our bronze Totems are reflected beautifully in the light, get one today! Visit our store at www.totemtamers.com/shop.

Seizing the moment…..

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:18+00:00 December 11th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, bulldogs, childhood, children, dogs, holiday, inspiration, Life, meditation, mental health, mind/body, motivation, Music, nyc, prevention, rock and roll, rock n roll, stress, stress relief, totems|

I always talk about how much I love to hear from people who love their Totems! Sometimes the messages are bittersweet, especially if the Totems have helped them through some harrowing experiences.  For example, I received a message the other day from someone who could easily be a Totem Tamers spokesperson because he “gets it,” and I was glad when he said I could share his testimonial.

“As someone who has suffered from a seizure disorder his whole life, I think the Totems could be a big help to little kids who suffer from epilepsy or seizure problems.”

Bear Totem

Speaker buddy!

Bulldog sits on a speaker sending a regular reminder to take deep breaths and use visualization and repetition to help get through any potentially overwhelming scenario. Sometimes we need this reminder to help us prevent overwhelming situations. Like this Totem owner mentioned after a recent seizure, he was “overworked and stressed out”, which could describe most of us, if not all of us, especially around the holidays. So take it from me, speaker buddy, and our latest Totem Testimony, take a moment to listen to the music and remind yourself to breathe!

Stay well.

Send us your pictures and testimonials, to julie@totemtamers.com, and maybe your story can help others. I know it will help me!

Yes, we have no bananas!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:20+00:00 October 25th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, Life, mind/body, nyc, strangers, totems|

We are creatures of habit, aren’t we? There are things that we do every day that we probably don’t even notice we are doing because they have become habitual. Taking shoes off when you come in the house. Hanging the keys by the door. Leaving your socks in the middle of the hallway so your mom has to pick them up. These are things that just happen without even giving them a thought. So when something is out of whack, we notice!! When your favorite takeout place changes their french fry distributor, it’s unsettling. When your iOS platform updates, it can be downright aggravating. And when a resident in your building, whose name you don’t even know, walks out of the building without his banana, you can barely cope?! No, seriously.

Living in New York City, we are sardined together in these big buildings and we can ride an elevator with someone for years and never utter a word, but still, we know them. So one of the residents in my building has a banana thing. He’s gotta be at least 6’4 and lanky, but marathon runner lanky, so he’s super fit. I’m not sure how many times a week I see him because we are on similar schedules. Me, bleary eyed, barely dressed in presentable clothing, being dragged out by my furry four-legged kid at the crack of dawn. Him, impeccably dressed, clearly showered and coiffed, and finishing a banana. Every time I see him. Imagine how I felt the other morning when I noticed the hand that is usually armed with yellow sustenance, was awkwardly placed against his chest as he walked out the building, empty. “Banana Man” had no banana!!! I know at this point you’re thinking I’ve totally lost it, but I assure you I haven’t. Because when I walked in to the lobby and remarked to the doorman that the resident had no banana, the doorman immediately responded “I know, right? He must be missing it.” Maybe we’re all a little nuts, or maybe it’s just that we are creatures of habit? Either way, I like things to be the way they I expect them to be and if they aren’t, I at least want to know why. So next time I see “Banana Man”, if he has no banana, I will boldly inquire!

Irie Banana Totem!

Irie Banana Totem!

Do you have any sort of habit or ritual that you engage in every day? I don’t mean the standard stuff of brushing your teeth, but if when you brush your teeth, you sway back and forth to the tune of Barry Manilow’s feel-good hit “Can’t Smile Without You”, I would love to hear about it!

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!

Sometimes being apart together is where the beauty is!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:43+00:00 March 26th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, brotherhood, brothers, childhood, children, family, Life, love, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, siblings, teenager, teenagers, teens, Uncategorized|

I’m sitting in my teeny office on a lazy Saturday morning. I’m checking in on the baby eaglets on the DCEagles Cam (I’m obsessed), I’m enjoying a second cup of coffee (sssshhh, don’t tell my GP), and I’m keeping myself “hidden” so I can enjoy the symphony of my children in the living room. You might already know that I have three boys, 16 going on 20 (he lives for independence), 13 going on tomorrow (he lives for the moment), and 9 going on 40 (he lives to tell everyone how it is). They are all so uniquely different, but those times they come together are the most amazing ones. Currently, the three of them are in the living room watching some wacky-sounding video and cracking up. I’m talking belly-aching, sore cheek, tear-inducing laughter. The temptation to go in and investigate, participate, and celebrate, is so strong, but I know that my presence will only alter the experience and change the vibe. So I sit here apart, but as together as I could ever want to be. Sure we have whole family moments where we all giggle, sometimes to the point of falling over, and those are awesome, but hearing my boys enjoy each other is what makes me whole. The three of them will (hopefully) be together long after I’m gone, and what gives me peace in that morbid thinking, is that they will all able to comfort each other and make each other laugh. These are the moments that build their relationships and the best place for me to be is not with them. Consider that the next time you hear your kids from the other room and the desire to join them hits you, give them the space to add the mortar to their foundation without you telling them where to lay every brick!

three boys and a fountain

I was tempted to go in and snap a new picture of the boys, but I know they would not have wanted that, so here’s an oldie but goodie from the Lincoln Center fountain!

Apart, but together, is actually pretty special.

Stay well.

Building blocks of humanity.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:51+00:00 December 11th, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, childhood, children, earth, inspiration, Life, meditation, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, motivation, parenthood, parenting, stories, story, storytelling, Uncategorized|

I’m very blessed to be able to walk around New York City, where even in a place brimming with people, I can revel in the solitude that throngs can offer. I was at a holiday party the other night where the view out the window was the scene stealer of the night.

As I stood there during this event, plenty of people around me socializing and being festive, I was captivated with the outside world. With all the tiny little windows before me in this tiny stretch of Manhattan. What was happening inside those homes? What were those people experiencing at this same moment? This “deep thinking” continued the next day during a conversation with my 9 year old as we walked around. He’s at a stage where he is questioning everything, which is wonderful, but can also be a tad overwhelming, at times. He looked at me with his gorgeous brown eyes and asked “What if we are just ants in someone else’s bigger world?” Wow, profundity from the mouths of babes. There are plenty of ways I could have answered this question, but I chose to go with the method that allows for all possibilities, and I simply responded with, “What if?” This spurred the conversation further to considering that maybe we were fish in someone’s fish bowl and natural disasters are a result of someone bumping into the bowl that rests on a table in the living room. I was moved that my son experienced this existential questioning with hope as opposed to fear. We were going deep, I tell you!! Deeper still, as I look into the tiny windows in the buildings that surround me, is the notion that we have no idea what might be going on in someone’s life. We have no idea what happiness, what sorrow, what fear, what excitement might be brimming in someone’s doorway. So even though we might just be ants in someone else’s bigger world, or fish in a fishbowl in some well decorated living room, we are all in it together and the possibilities don’t have to be scary but can be filled with the same hope reflected in my son’s eyes.

Stay well.

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! (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.