Being different IS beautiful!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:15-04:00 April 24th, 2017|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, Creative, creativity, earth, flowers, gratitude, Life, meditation, mental health, stress, stress relief, therapy, totems|

Leading the way!

So many things that I see when I look at this picture, from the yellow tulip managing to shine in a sea of pink tulips, to the yellow tulip leading the way for all the others to follow! Either way, it brought up for me that sometimes being different can be hard, but it is always beautiful, no matter how you look at it! Think of a way you are different and embrace it, even let it shine so that others can see just how beautiful your difference is, and you’ll let them know that they too, can revel in their differences!

Stay well.

Frappuccino with a side of anti-semitism!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:15-04:00 April 10th, 2017|anger management, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, family, hate crime, holiday, Life, religion|

Happy Passover to those who celebrate. Chag Sameach to those who might know Hebrew. It translates into “joyous festival or holiday”, now you won’t have to look it up. The holiday starts momentarily and I hopped on a plane last minute with my kids to celebrate with Grandma and other family members. Anyone who knows me knows I am not religious, at all. I consider myself a “food jew” because I love Jewish food and make pretty darned good rugelach!  Well, today I felt more Jewish than I have felt in a really long time, and sadly it came out of the worst possible ugliness anyone should ever experience.

The Seder Plate!

I was picking up some last minute items for dinner, my two oldest along for company. They bribed me with their presence by weaseling out frappuccino’s from Starbuck’s. I’m a sucker, I know, but they are a pretty powerful team when they want something. There happens to be a Starbuck’s in one of the most religious areas near Grandma’s (it’s near a Synagogue), so I double-parked with my hazard lights a-flashing, while the boys ran in to get their drinks. There were plenty of cars doing the same thing, so even though I was blocking a lane partially, I wasn’t the only one. I was surprised when a very fancy black Rolls Royce (also a very chi-chi neighborhood) pulled up behind me and started laying on the horn. I mean, really honking! Everyone else went around, why didn’t this guy?! I was then totally and completely stunned, when the car pulled up next to me and the very distinguished looking, gray-haired passenger rolled down the window and screamed “Move you f#$ing Kike! You Kike!” I sat there in disbelief that someone could be so offensive, so horrible, and so angry! I hadn’t done anything personally to him, but the venom he spewed and the look in his eyes when he screamed that disgusting word at me, left me paralyzed for a good few minutes. It was in those few minutes I became overwhelmed considering every insult ever thrown at anyone for being different, and I got angry, really angry. Then I got sad, and then I got love, when my boys came back to the car and I told them what had happened. They were both shocked and both said how sorry they were that I had to experience that, and then they got angry too. We talked about the ugliness that exists in the world still today, and how we have to find a way to be a more accepting people. My middle suggested I write about the experience, so here I am, about to break Matzoh with family and friends and I will revel in the gefilte fish and the matzoh balls. I will also take pleasure in knowing that the man in the Rolls may be driving around in a fancy car but he will always be an angry and ugly human being. Chag Sameach!

Stay well.

Wishing you much “Socks-cess”!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:15-04:00 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.

There’s not a Monopoly on anxiety!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:16-04:00 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.

Here’s one case for NO separation of “Church & State”!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:16-04:00 March 14th, 2017|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, broadway, civil rights, Creative, creativity, death, donation, education, elections, family, grief, gun violence, hate crime, inspiration, Life, loss, mental health, motivation, nyc, politics, prayer, relationships, religion, sadness, school|

I don’t talk much about politics in this space, although if you have been a reader of this blog, you can pretty much gauge what side of the dais I would sit on. Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be about politics….really, well, not really, but sort of, maybe a little bit. This post is going to be about theater, drama, comedy and friendship. I went to theater the other night with a group of friends, to see a play that was written and produced by friends, and it had equal parts comedy and drama. The play is called “Church & State”, and it’s in previews now at New World Stages. While I was watching the play, I was struck with imagery of a heated tennis match, because my emotions were being slammed across the net between laughter, anger, fear and sadness. In less than 90 minutes, I was moved to a point of paralysis. Yes, moved so emotionally, that I couldn’t move physically for a few minutes after it ended, because I was taking it all in and letting it wash over me. I was having varied experiences, mind you. I had just watched a play that someone I know wrote and someone I know produced, and it was good. I mean, not just like “Oh wasn’t that sweet” kinda good, I mean “Holy crap, that was impressive” kinda good. And, the content was just so relevant, and important, and crucial to the current state of affairs of our country and our communities, that I wanted to get up and holler that something needs to be done!!! So here is my holler, GO SEE THIS PLAY!

Powerful new play!

I can tell you that this play is about a lot of things including politics, but also faith, speaking your mind, marriage, community, and death. I can tell you that this play is already making an impact and it hasn’t even opened yet! Politicians and celebrities are not only coming to see it, but some will even be participating in panels throughout the run of the play to further conversation about the controversial subject matter. I guess I’m being a little vague on purpose here, because I want to protect the power of the play and if you go in knowing too much, it might color the way you receive it. Even thinking about the play now, I get choked up! Of course, you can click on the link above and learn a little more about it and what inspired it, or you can take a chance and see something that will undoubtedly leave you thinking, if not shaking just a little bit.

Off my soapbox!

Stay well.

 

The push and pull of parenting.

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:17-04:00 February 4th, 2017|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, brotherhood, brothers, childhood, children, co-parenting, family, friends, friendship, gratitude, Life, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, stress, stress relief, teenager, teenagers, teens, therapy|

The push and pull of parenting starts immediately upon birth as your infant is pulled from a dark cocoon of safety and pushed into the light of the world. We coo and cuddle and marvel at their perfect little fingers and toes and those plump cheeks and their smell and even at the impressive size of their poops! Yes, you know what I’m talking about, don’t deny it! Then what? Well, then we start pushing them to fall asleep on their own and that’s usually when the first heart-pull happens. Any parent who has done sleep training with their infant can tell you how painful it is to listen to their baby scream their head off until at last they pass out from sheer exhaustion. It seems cruel, hell, it is cruel to all parties involved, but the lesson is that if we don’t push them to self-soothe, then they will never be able to fend for themselves. I don’t know if this is true, but I can tell you that I’ve gone on some dates with men who clearly still have apron strings attached to mommy. Scientific data right there.

Next on the “push list” is the simple act of your baby reaching milestones like crawling and walking and eating solids. Nothing is as gross as going to your “mommy & me” class and having to defend why your kid isn’t up to peas yet, while all the others are chowing down on homemade organic sustainable kabocha (whatever the hell that is.) So we push, because somewhere on the parenting journey someone thought competition was a good idea. The best part of this stage is when you find the other parents that are like you and you “pull” apart from the wacky ones. You join your parent gang because they don’t see anything wrong with your cleaning off the pacifier that just fell on the ground by actually sticking it in your mouth to get rid of any potential germs. My peeps! I love that I am actually still really close to several of my old gang members. ‘Sup guys?

Now for some more pulling. Pulling them out of the playground for example, after they’ve thrown sand in some kid’s well-deserving face and you’re trying to show that you’re disappointed when inside you’re beaming with pride that your kid stuck up for themselves. Ice cream! Pulling them out of the store where some evil manager decides that a ride-on sesame street car is a great way to torture parents. Your kid is freaking out and won’t leave and you and Dad are pulling and then pushing, no, shoving him in to his carseat as he strong arms and stiffens like a California Redwood. I feel you, we’ve all been there.

Then there’s the normal push and pull that happens in the middle. The pushing to eat more veggies, the pulling the crumpled homework out of the backpack, the pushing to take a shower, the pulling of dirty socks from in between the couch cushions. That’s all the physical stuff, it’s the emotional stuff that’s really hard. You push your kid to say hi to a kid he doesn’t know so that maybe he’ll make some new friends. You pull your kid in close when he suffers his first heartbreak because the girl he liked decided she wanted to go to the dance with someone else. You push your kid to try out for the basketball team, and then pull him in for the victory dance when he makes it!

This is all pretty basic parenting, but sometimes it isn’t all that basic, or normal, or average, and sometimes it’s pretty freaking hard. As we push and pull our kids, we feel the push and the pull a thousand times more, it all just happens to our hearts so no one really sees, but man do we feel it. I’m usually pretty good at keeping my shit together when one of my kids is going through something tough, but it’s not easy. There’s that constant inner turmoil I experience, do I push or do I pull? There’s moments when I have to call on alter-egos like John Madden, when I need to do the gruff football coach yell of “Get out there and do it! Don’t be a wuss! You’ve got this”! Then there’s my Mother Teresa (a nickname I earned from one of my early parenting gang members) and that’s when I open my arms and cradle my baby and tell them everything is going to be ok. Two very different parenting styles, but both incredibly effective, and both so vital to getting through this parenting journey.

I will continue to push and pull my kids, and sometimes I will even apologize for making the wrong choice, pushing when I should have pulled or pulling when I should have pushed. The end game is that my kids will be the ones pushing me around when I’m old and frail and pulling me close when I need them most.

Am I pulling them close or pushing them away?

Stay well.

What’s in your reflection?

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:17-04:00 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.

Do you suffer from triskaidekaphobia?

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:17-04:00 January 13th, 2017|Life|

If you are a sufferer, you are probably trembling under the sheets today! Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13! People who suffer from this phobia do whatever they can to avoid anything having to do with 13 as a number, apparently thirteen as a word isn’t such a big deal (no one said phobias were rational!) Today being Friday the 13th, I can’t even imagine what “Triskaidek’s” (I assume they like to be called that) are going through. I remember growing up with an irrational fear of this date because of the movie of course, and my brother, who thought it was hilarious to scare the crap out of me! Somewhere along the way, someone put it in my head that if I wore the color red on Friday the 13th, I would be protected from any evildoings. If any of you see me today, you may not see my red clothing, just know I’m wearing it! 😉 People have so many interesting superstitions and phobias for that matter, I had no idea Triskaidekaphobia even existed until today. The good news is that at least the Totems can help keep us calm!

The Totems will protect you!!

The Totems will protect you!!

So I bid you all a Happy Friday the 13th and may you not run through the woods today in a negligee. By all means, have at it tomorrow!

Stay well.

I am Butterfly.

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:18-04:00 January 2nd, 2017|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, bird lovers, Creative, creativity, flowers, gratitude, inspiration, Life, mind/body, poetry, sharing, therapy, totems|

I am Butterfly.

No matter if my wings are open or closed.

No matter if I am midair or clinging flowers by my toes.

No matter my purpose I go where the wind blows.

 

I am Butterfly.

My colors reflect by making sure I am seen.

My colors protect by hiding me in between.

My colors attract by shades of yellows, reds and greens.

 

I am Butterfly.

I go through change to find my true self.

I go through change to see I’m like no one else.

I go through change to watch your heart melt.

 

I am Butterfly.

I am unapologetic in my bright-colored sights.

I am unapologetic as I soar to new heights.

I am unapologetic because I bring the light.

 

I am Butterfly.

My life may not be everlasting all time.

But my beauty lives on and my colors still shine.

My blessing is you on this journey of mine.

 

We are Butterflies.

I am Butterfly.

Stay well.

Seizing the moment…..

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:18-04:00 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!

Bulldog Power!!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:19-04:00 November 17th, 2016|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, artists, bulldogs, Creative, creativity, dogs, friends, friendship, gift, gifts, gratitude, inspiration, Life, loss, mental health, mind/body|

When I get a message about a Totem helping someone, I am always deeply moved. When I get a message and a stunning photograph, I am compelled to move others.

Bulldog POWER!

Bulldog POWER!

I got this image from an amazing photographer and friend, who I had just given Bulldog to because he has done so much for me. Included with the photo was a short note telling me how he held Bulldog through his Grandfather’s eulogy and thanking me. Heartbreaking, but beautiful at the same time.

There is power in the Totem when you allow yourself to recognize it. Find your power and your Totem at www.totemtamers.com.

Stay well.

Yes, we have no bananas!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:20-04:00 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.

These boobs are made for walking!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:20-04:00 October 16th, 2016|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, central park, charity, childhood, donation, friends, friendship, Life, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, nyc, prevention, women|

You read that right!! Me and “the girls” were out in full force this morning (or is it “the girls” and I), to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month and friends who have been touched by this disease, whether directly or indirectly. And when I say “the girls”, I don’t just mean the fabulous group of girls (and boys) who got up early on a Sunday to walk 5 plus miles in Central Park this morning with a bevy of other people!

Making Strides with American Cancer Society!

Making Strides with American Cancer Society!

I mean the gazongas, the melons, the tatas, the cans, the hooters, the knockers, and I’m sure I missed a bunch, but yeah, those are “the girls”! There were big ones, little ones, new ones, man ones, fake ones, and more! Mine were smushed to bits on Friday during my annual mammogram and ultrasound!! There were pictures of the many who fought breast cancer and lost the battle, there were plenty that were currently fighting, and thankfully even more who proudly wore the sash of survivor! It was a wonderful morning of community, of friendship, and of hope, and I was humbled to have been a part of it this year, and hope it’s not my last!! If you missed the walk but still want to be supportive, click on this link http://makingstrides.acsevents.org, and make a donation! (Our team was TNT if you want to get specific about it.) Next year I hope you’ll make it out to a walk or event in your neighborhood, because we not only need to find a cure, but we need to make sure there’s funding for women (and men) to get mammograms and ultrasounds annually!! As a dear friend told her insurance company when they balked at paying for the expensive procedure, “It will be a lot more expensive to treat cancer then pay for the screening!”

Totems and Tata's!

Totems and Tata’s!

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, all month long, which is probably why they call it that! Let this serve as a reminder to schedule your mammogram and ultrasound and do your self checks every month!! If you’re not sure what you’re feeling or how to feel for any abnormalities, feel free to ask a friend or follow the advice on this lovely website page.

Stay well.