Happy #nationalcomingoutday !!!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:10+00:00 October 11th, 2017|activist, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, birds, birds of prey, bulldogs, dogs, Equality, homosexuality, lgbtq, Life, love, marriage equality, mental health, mind/body, Owls, sharks, stress, stress relief, suicide prevention, therapy, totems, transgender|

National Coming Out Day!

I hope that whoever you are, whoever you want to be, whoever you want to love and be loved by, that you have the strength and the courage and the support to do just that. At Totem Tamers, we send you all that love and strength and courage, and we see you for all that you are, and all you deserve to be! Keep a Totem in your pocket for any time you feel anxious, and be reminded that you are beautiful and worth it!

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.

Anx-eye of the storm-ity!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:11+00:00 September 10th, 2017|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, beach, climate change, earth, forecasting, mind/body, ocean, ocean creatures, Owls, sharks, stress, stress relief, totems, weather|

As a former Floridian, my concerns are with all my friends who stayed in their homes to ride out Hurricane Irma, and with those who have fled for safety. I have been watching the coverage nonstop, which is probably not the best idea, as my own anxiety ratchets up. I can only imagine what the folks hunkered down must be experiencing!

This is Irma!

Totem Tamers was created to help people through incredibly overwhelming situations, and being in a shelter, or in your home without power, while hurricane force winds and storm surge are lapping at your door, is just one of those situations. When I explain to people the simple concept behind the Totem Tamers technique, it sounds like this: When you’re feeling anxious, see the color Red. Take a deep breath and see the color Green. Exhale and see the color Blue. These basic steps will help you either maintain or regain calm. The deep breathing and visualization is vital to keeping calm, and as you take your deep breaths, breathe in and out through your nose, as breathing in and out through your mouth may actually signal to your nervous system that you should be anxious. Here’s an image of the guide card we include in every Totem Tamer purchase, that helps you through the steps:

Simple steps to calm!

Be safe and calm!

Stay well.

The next one’s gonna be a King or wisdom from my 10-year-old.

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:14+00:00 April 27th, 2017|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, birds, brotherhood, brothers, bulldogs, childhood, children, Creative, creativity, education, family, gratitude, inspiration, Life, mind/body, motherhood, motivation, Owls, parenthood, parenting, sharks, single parents, stress, stress relief, totems|

It’s really incredible when a life lesson happens when you least expect it and manage the divinity to recognize it! Now I will attempt to translate it to you as it happened to me. Hang in there for it.

My 10-year-old has picked up the card game Solitaire. It’s fun for me because I grew up playing card games, especially Solitaire, which reminds me of my Grandmother. However, watching my kid play a card game on his iPad was starting to make me nuts! I pulled out a brand new deck of cards and sat him down to teach him how to play with actual playing cards. We then both remembered a game his awesome 4th grade teacher had taught the class, called Clock Solitaire! It’s fun and simple, a total  game of chance and a perfect tool for procrastination. If you want to learn how to play click here for rules and visuals. Bottom line, your cards get laid out like the face of a clock with one stack in the middle where the Kings land. The game ends either when you have uncovered all the cards and placed them on their appropriate piles and you win, OR you have turned over all four Kings before turning the rest of the cards over and you lose. Got it? Hope so.

Watch the clock!

Now my son is totally reanimated by Clock Solitaire and is playing over and over again, with actual cards, and I’m having fun watching him and listening to his play by play. Then it registered what he was saying every time he was about to turn a card over, “next one’s gonna be a King, next one’s gonna be a King, next one’s gonna be a King.” What struck me was the seemingly negative attitude my son had, assuming that the next card he turned over was going to be a King and therefore leading him closer to losing. So I interjected and said “well that’s a pretty negative attitude, thinking that every next card is going to be a bad card. Maybe you should think positively and think that the next card will be a good card!” The look he gave me required no words, and that’s when the lesson smacked me right between the eyes! I was trying to teach my son about positivity, but he was actually doing it already, just in reverse. I’ll explain.

My way of playing, the “positive” way, encourages me to think that each card I turn over will be a card I want, as opposed to a King which is what I don’t want. Right? The next card WON’T be a King. I’m all happy and content turning the card until BOOM, it’s a King, and I’m all dejected and disappointed and frustrated. Darnit, it was a King.

My kid’s way of playing, the “negative” way, encourages him to think that each card he turns over will be the card he doesn’t want, so the assumption is that EVERY card will be a King. He’s focused, and intent on his game while turning the card and BOOM, it’s not a King! Whew! Relief, celebration, motivation to keep going and to keep playing. Wait, what? That sounds like positive feelings. Well I’ll be! Those ARE positive feelings. Lesson learned!

So with that, I take my newly discovered perspective, thanks to my 10-year-old, out in to the world with the mantra that the next one, IS going to be a King!

Happy playing!

Stay well.

Wishing you much “Socks-cess”!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:15+00:00 March 26th, 2017|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, charity, childhood, children, family, gift, gifts, gratitude, Life, mental health, mind/body, motivation, ocean, ocean creatures, sharks, shopping, social media, stress, stress relief, totems|

Ever had a pair of socks bring tears to your eyes? Well, I have, and I’m not ashamed to admit it! See there’s this thing on the interweb called Facebook. On this Facebook, people and businesses create profiles so they can connect with one another and introduce each other to really cool and interesting things that are floating around in Cyberspace, and yes that includes cat videos, pictures of food, weird selfies, vintage photographs, babies being silly, adults being silly, and certainly some interesting and inspirational businesses (like Totem Tamers)!

Most everyone who knows me, knows that I am a bit of a sock lover. Bottom line, I’m a sucker for a great pair of socks. I have sushi socks (thanks partner), I have stripes, polka dots, stars, argyle (my faves), in all kinds of crazy colors. I may be dressed for a business meeting and look all conservative and such, but I guarantee there’s a party on my feet! One day, trolling around on that Facebook thing, I see a post about socks (can’t remember who originated it, but thank you), so of course I click on it, it’s socks! And not just any socks, it’s John’s Crazy Socks! There’s every sock style you can think of, butterflies (I got some of those), drum sets (got one for the kid), sports of all kinds, owls (like Owl Totem) and even shark socks (like Shark Totem!), had to get those!

Shark Totem meets Shark socks!

So this John person clearly has great taste in socks, who is he? Turns out John is a sock lover just like me, who wanted to share his love of socks with everyone. John also happens to have Down Syndrome, but that didn’t stop him, with the help of his dad, in creating a great company that helps sock lovers like me find super cool socks, and also gives back to his community. 5% of profits from the sale of socks goes to the Special Olympics. How do you beat that? Great socks and charity in one place! Turns out John is also an athlete who competes in the Special Olympics, in many different events. Impressive!

John of John’s Crazy Socks!

The next time you decide you need to replace the socks in your drawer that have holes in them or somehow no partner, why not get crazy, and buy from John’s Crazy Socks!

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.

Love welcoming new Totem owners to the Totem Tamers family!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:27+00:00 July 7th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, co-parenting, friends, friendship, Life, mind/body, parenthood, parenting, sharks, single parents, stress, stress relief|

Meeting Shark at eye level!

Meeting Shark at eye level!

Shark has found a new home in Vegas!

Happy kid, Happy Shark!

Happy kid, Happy Shark!

Thank you to our friends in Vegas for sending these great snapshots along. We really enjoy seeing pictures of your Totems in their new homes! Send yours along to me at julie@totemtamers.com, and we can feature you too!

Stay well.

If you don’t have a Totem to help keep you calm, then visit our store at https://totemtamers.com/shop and get one today!

It only takes a second…..

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:29+00:00 May 4th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, birds, bulldogs, charity, gratitude, inspiration, Life, mental health, mind/body, motivation, nyc, office, Owls, prevention, relationships, sharks, social media, strangers, totems|

There I was heading out of a building, when I noticed a woman also heading towards the exit. It was one of those double door situations where you actually had to exit twice, ok? So I held open the first door for her and let her exit first, me following out behind her. Nothing. Not a smile. Not a nod. Nothing. She reached the second exit door ahead of me and pushed through it. I, being younger, more agile and way prettier (that’s important), was right behind her and loudly said “Thank you” as exited I the still opened door. I suspect if I hadn’t been fast enough, she would have let the door slam in my face. She didn’t even blink at my “thank you” which made me even more annoyed. Sure, I can have compassion and think that maybe she was just having a bad day, but seriously, it only takes a second! Thank you! Please! One second. I timed it!!! It’s true!!

So I don’t care if you are having a really crappy day, you assuredly have one second to be courteous to another human being. Try it!! Oh, and give it as a gift. Meaning don’t be attached to their response, as you may not get a “Thank you” or a “You’re welcome” but at least you’ll walk away knowing you’re not an a*@hole!

Stay well.

Totems say BE NICE!!!

Totems say BE NICE!!!

Inspiration from animation!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:46+00:00 February 9th, 2016|acting, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, bulldogs, children, creativity, Dreams, friends, friendship, gratitude, inspiration, Kung Fu, Owls, Panda Bear, parenthood, sharks, stress, stress relief, totems, Uncategorized|

The kids had a day off yesterday in celebration of the Chinese New Year, so we did what most of our neighbors did, and we took in a movie. Kung Fu Panda 3! Even my 16-yr-old woke up to go because he had been wanting to see it, so you know that means it was a big deal. What I didn’t expect, was getting blasted with a burst of inspiration within the first 15 minutes of the film, that was a bonus to the popcorn. If you don’t know anything about this trilogy, I will sum it up for you fairly easily, a panda with little self-esteem becomes the Dragon Warrior, the fiercest fighter in the realm. The panda, Po, struggles to believe that he is meant to be the Dragon Warrior, but through perseverance, training, and support from his friends and his master (beautifully portrayed by Dustin Hoffman), Po finds his way. This struggle is a theme throughout each film, and you can’t help but cheer for Po and the process undergoes to come out on top. It’s a kid flick, so I’m not ruining it for you when I tell you there’s a happy ending, always, but it doesn’t come without it’s drama and challenges. The drama and challenges were present bright and early in the third installment to this film series. A villain, the scariest of all villains, is coming for Po, and once again, Po is convinced that he can’t win, let alone even fight the villain. This is where the wise Master Shifu delivers the line that had me buzzing through the entire film. As Po continues to say he can’t, Master Shifu advises “If you only do what you can, then you will only ever be who you are now.” Wait….what? I repeated it to myself again, “If you only do what you can, then you will only ever be who you are now.” I interpreted this as, if we don’t try new things, then we will never grow as people, we will just stay the same. Even though sometimes staying the same is ok, don’t you want to be more than just the same? I do!! I have lots of ideas, and dreams, and hopes, but I am an expert at placing obstacles in front of me, so those ideas, dreams and hopes never get realized. Well, I’m writing this out in a public forum to let you know that I am going to make every effort to do something I currently can’t (or won’t, haven’t, am in fear of, etc.) and create a new level of me! I’m not sure what it will be since I have so many desires, but in a way, that just makes it easier for me to keep trying. Who will join me? Let’s keep doing what we can, but then lets also do whatever we can to try and do something we can’t!

totems and panda

Kung Fu Totems!

Stay well.

If you don’t have a Totem yet, make sure to visit our store and get yours today!

 

Big things come in small packages, like Totems, for example!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:05+00:00 June 25th, 2015|animals, anxiety, anxiety relief, cambodia, charity, fish, Life, ocean, ocean creatures, sharks, stress, stress relief, totems|

One of our slogans here at Totem Tamers, is “Calm in your Palm.” We like it of course, because it’s simple and to the point, and basically lets you know that when you hold a Totem in your palm, you are taking the steps towards being calm. It’s a process for sure, but the tactile sensation of holding a bronze Totem, or a squishy ball, or silly putty, or whatever, is definitely key to grounding oneself, if in a state of anxiety or stress.

Shark fits in your hand!

Shark fits in your hand!

Shark is one of our Totems, and the smoothness of the underside of Shark, matched with the pointy (not sharp) fins, allow for varied texture, and awesome touch sensations. I’m focusing on Shark because there’s a story out today about a similar sized sea creature that’s also doing an amazing job at helping people.

Iron in your Palm!!

Iron in your Palm!!

The Lucky Iron Fish, is helping people in Cambodia, many of whom are iron deficient. It’s quite brilliant actually, and kudos to the inventors who found a simple way to get this community to add more iron to their diets! The Lucky Iron Fish actually just won great honors at an expo in Cannes, and being modeled after a fish, Shark felt an affinity and wanted to share this amazing story. You can help this project by making a donation, and you can help yourself by getting a Totem! Just click on any of the Totems on the page and get yours today.

Stay well!