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Well Being

Follow That Arrow: Notes on Getting Here from There Book Review

February 21, 2017

How many of us follow any arrows even when the signs are so obvious? I know sometimes I don’t.

I had some time today, so I decided to get my thoughts that have been swirling in my mind about this book out. Months, which might as well be decades ago, a good friend asked me if I would be interested in reading her good friend’s book. I said sure and read it the second I received it. Now, a million years later, I’m finally getting around to sharing this book with you.

 

Title: Follow That Arrow: Notes on Getting Here from There
Author: Gwen Van Velsor

Initial Thoughts:

This was a really easy, smooth read. It didn’t leave my wondering what she meant nor did it leave me feeling frustrated. Yet, it’s been keeping me thinking about it months later after my initial read.

Nothing about the writing was complicated especially given a very complicated topic about life and how love can die in a blink of an eye. The author’s husband left without any warning and left her life in what I assume to be an emotionally painful upheaval. The guy didn’t know why he did it, he just did.

I honestly wanted to know why he left and was hoping she’d divulge in this mystery by the end of the book. I also was waiting for Gwen to bash this guy to pieces which she never, ever did! What even!!! She barely expressed any anger, not even an ounce of passive aggressive anger. I could sense she was shocked and sad, but not the kind of sadness that kept her in bed unable to function at all for months on end.

To be honest, I kept reading because I wanted to know like the dirty little secrets about Gwen’s marriage that she never really talked about. DARN IT! This part kind of irked me but it was the immature, nosy bastard inside of me who wanted to know what she wouldn’t tell me. I then felt horrible about it because why would I want her to share this painful part of her with her readers? A dissolution of marriage is so private and painful and I felt glad that she never spoke about her husband again after the initial mentioning of him.

Thoughts After Reading:

I felt like I had read a version of “Eat, Love, Pray” and even though I never really read “Eat, Love, Pray”, I’ve heard enough about it to make that comparison.

My first reaction was: OK, that’s great.
My second reaction was to talk about it with my husband.
My third reaction was: I’m not sure what to really think about this!!!

It was well written. Easy to read. I felt like I was traveling with her on her journey. She did a lot of walking by the way. She also met what I presume to be a really hot young man who was in love with her and wanted to whisk her away into the most romantic life ever. God, I really wanted her to be with this young man!!!!!

I was also slightly disappointed that she didn’t go “wild” in her “love” part like the “Eat, Love, Pray” lady did. I almost felt like if my husband were to up and leave me like that, being that he’s the only man I’ve ever been with, I might as well. (Ok, I’m joking mom, I’ll just become a nun).

Anyway, I felt happy for Gwen that she found what she needed which was mainly healing and herself. She went about it in a great way which was to hike a million miles and she made some great friends along the way. I’m glad she didn’t plunge into despair and a feeling of never being able to be herself. I felt proud that she was able to keep living and that her self-worth and self-identity weren’t so intertwined and DEFINED by her husband!

Months Later:

I am thinking this book had a bigger effect on me that I initially thought because I’m still thinking about it months later.

There are some poignant lessons to be learned from Gwen. The lady’s husband left her suddenly without any rhyme or reason! This is brutal and horrible and mean. But, the way Gwen handled this situation is what grace looks like. She didn’t burn his belongings, she didn’t poison him, and she didn’t even speak poorly of him! She was angry and sad but turned these emotions to find the better version of herself and I honestly don’t know many people who could do this in this kind of situation. People get hurt all the time and our first reaction is to hurt that person back. Maybe she suppressed it but I know some of those feelings came out when she was on her million mile walk.

She never lashed out at anyone. She didn’t treat her hot, young lover poorly because of what happened in her marriage. She just seemed to be always mindful, polite, kind, and graceful and that seriously blows my mind. Her emotional control was spectacular and she never let on that she fell apart into one big mess even if she was one big mess inside.

I don’t know Gwen, but I know her friend Marie and friends of a feather flock together. I assume Gwen is like Marie and without meeting either of them, I can almost sense they have a good soul. When shit hits the fan, the way you handle the situation speaks to what kind of person you are. Do you want to stab everyone in the face for your problems or do you try to work through it like a mature adult?

I also thought to myself, “If I was having a hard time, would I want to talk to Gwen about it?” I think yes, totally. She has this kind of gentle wisdom and perspective that isn’t violent, brutal, judgmental, or superior to you kind of attitude. I felt like Gwen was easy to relate to even if you haven’t been in her situation. But, if you are in the process of rediscovering yourself, I feel like she’s the person who can talk you through it.

Final Verdict:

My initial thoughts were not all too exciting. But, my final thoughts took so long to formulate because I think I needed to read beyond the words. Whoa, not trying to get all weirdly fourth dimension, but there was definitely something to be seen past what she wrote.

I think Gwen is like a warm cup of tea. If you are going through some personal things where you need reassurance that things will be ok on the other side, this book will really help you see that. If you need inspiration on how to find yourself and love yourself again, especially if you’re not into making all the love to all the men all over the globe, Gwen will help inspire you.

I still think that she’s incredible for really keeping the dignity of what was marriage once was. We are easily too quick to get mad at our spouses and when we do head for divorce, things can get ugly real quick. I think Gwen showed us that even if a marriage fails, there was a reason why we fell in love and got married in the first place. We should uphold that moment and give it the respect it deserves even if things changed.

Definitely worth the read and I’m confident it will get you thinking twice or three times about it over the next few months!

 

If you’re interested in reading this book, you can check it out here on Amazon!

Well Being

Being Happy Every Morning

December 30, 2016

When Jan 1, 2017 rolls around and I open my eyes, I want to wake up happy. My goal of being happy every morning is an elusive one but one I think I can reign in if I try hard enough. I don’t even want 6-pack abs or to fit into my super skinny jeans. I used to have a trillion resolutions but now that I’m nearing 40, all I want to be is happy. I’ve definitely Googled the following: How can I be happy? How to wake up happy? How to stay happy? Am I happy enough? What is happy? Is happy real?

It’s not as easy as telling yourself “hey, be happy” and then you go on being happy. It’s a lot of hard work to be happy, to maintain that happy feeling in the midst of life. As I age, my “happy” feelings, unfortunately, seem to coincide with the hormonal party that ensues in my body. A party that I didn’t get invited to, one I didn’t want to go to, but one I’m forced to go to. You know how fun those are.

So, I did a search on the web to see what people have said about being happy. It’s far more than thinking about things you’re grateful for. It actually starts the second you start waking up. I’ve always suspected that I walked into class in grad school cranky as hell and cold because I’d wake up in a panic. Then, I’d panic all the way to class while suffering a walk from the parking lot with a wind chill of -20F. After the feeling returned to my limbs and my blood slowly came out of its frozen state, I was pretty content being at school and seeing my 2 friends.

It can be as simple when you’re not ungrateful like me to just be happy to wake up another morning. I generally don’t feel like I get enough sleep. But, what parent does? I ruminate and fester sometimes and wake up utterly irritated. Call it future-led-anxiety or overthinking, but I’m not a morning person and never have been. Maybe, this can be something to add to my resolutions: make friends with early mornings.

Anyway, here’s what I wrote and my boss, Teri, let me put it up on our site because she thought it was hilarity. Take a peek and hopefully, you’ll like it, too. How do you wake up happy and stay happy? I don’t want the cheesy answer of “I am so grateful to have my kids drop kick me in the face at 545am every morning.” Just stop.

Photo Credit: today.com

Well Being

Dealing with the Seasonal Affective Disorder

December 10, 2016

Winter is upon us here in the Pacific Northwest! It’s already snowed, the temperatures are struggling to stay above 40F, and our Christmas tree is up! Aside from all the lights and presents lurks a monster that many of us struggle with this season. It’s the SADS: Seasonal Affective Disorder. Literally, you feel sad and you even walk sadly. It’s the kind of blah-ness that comes with the not seeing the sun for weeks on end. But, when the sun comes out, you feel like skipping through the streets and playing some fun rap song on the radio with the windows down.

Mental health issues are a real thing and by no means should we ever be dramatic about depression, anxiety, etc. With that said, seasonal depression, while grueling and painful, lifts when the sun peaks during the winter and disappears completely by spring and summer. I am not sure that you should lump yourself into the same category as those who truly suffer from depression and try to say you understand how they feel. SAD sufferers are kind of on the tip of the iceberg. People who manage depression year round are in the iceberg. So, what I’m saying is don’t be a jerk to someone dealing with depression and say, “I know how that feels because I have it just in the winter, from November 28h to December 3rd.” You’re going to get some evil eye emojis back at you.

My own experience with the SADS started when I moved to Seattle after we got married in 2010. My first winter seemed exciting at first but then I was always sleepy, tired, unmotivated, and moody. I started regretting moving here and thought about living a separate but married life from my husband safe from the dark clouds back in sunny Southern California. I didn’t realize that I was dealing with the SADS until 2011 when the sun didn’t come out from November until the next year in March. I got one of those light boxes and a Keurig to try to keep my sanity.

Ever since I went on WEBMD where they told me it wasn’t a tumor or Malaria, I’ve learned how to deal with the dark winter months in Seattle. I take vitamins, exercise, drink coffee (not like jugs even though I may lead you to believe I do), installed super bright lights in my house, and interact with people who don’t seem affected by the weather as much.

I can tell you that it feels like you’re trying to run the daily race wearing 500 lbs ankle weights. You can’t distinguish day from night. It feels like you’re perpetually living in a day that’s always 630am or 435pm. Your body is constantly releasing melatonin due to lack of vitamin D so you are fighting to keep the happy hormones in your system. Quick tip: 65 jumping jacks can do wonders.

Anyway, if you are like pretty meh and blah once winter hits, you are not alone and it’s ok to admit you are dealing with the SADS. Tell your family, your friends, and most likely, they will commiserate with you. I will commiserate with you!

Try to get out often, be in the world even though it’s easy to stay cooped up like a chicken who can’t even free range at home. Target is your friend. Getting coffee with your friend in the afternoon can get all the happy hormones flowing and you’ll soon forget that it’s dark outside at 334pm.

I wrote about this a little more seriously over at TERIMIYAHIRA.COM where I include some science and facts, and a lot less rambling. Check it out below!

Well Being

Tazeka Aromatherapy Review

November 17, 2016

Tazeka Aromatherapy has really found a way to change my views on aromatherapy for good. I am drawn to products that have some sound scientific backing connected with them. I am not that person who believes in crystals and oils to alleviate any actual serious ailment outside a relaxing spa experience. Maybe my skin is thick and my brain is too closed, dense, and unable to let any of such goodness penetrate.

Maybe, I’m also a fan of Advil because that stuff actually really works for most things.

Then came along Tazeka Aromatherapy. They kindly contacted me and offered to send my choice of 4 aromatherapy blends for me to test. I had never heard of them and when I went to their site, I was instantly blown away instantly by their on point packaging! Housed in this gorgeous colored case is a roller ball of blended oils claiming to help you with anything from headaches to feeling happier.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. I’ve tried aromatherapy when I first got into clean beauty. I made the change after reading that perfume like my beloved Chloe was going to make me birth babies with 6 eyeballs and make my hormones go haywire. I cut down on Chloe and made a whole-hearted attempt to try to go more natural with my aromas. Perhaps I didn’t go to the right place and perhaps I chose the wrong scents. But, nothing I tried ever made me smell elegant nor did it make me feel happy like Chloe did. The organic aromatherapy blends made my husband ask me if I was becoming a tree. Surprisingly, they actually gave me headaches and smelled superficial! Then, gone were the days of compliments like, “Wow, you smell great, what is that?”

I went back to Chloe because I’m done having kids so no one is coming out with 6 eyeballs. My hormones are already disrupted because I am a person with 2 kids nearing 40. A person who is alive and can’t get away from things that disrupt hormones like I don’t know, LIFE.

 

What is Tazeka Aromatherapy?

Each Tazeka blend contains 100% organic, unsprayed, or wild-crafted pure essential oils, pure organic jojoba wax, and natural tocopherols. (That means vitamin E. It’s a great natural preservative—both for your skin and for our blends!) We use only the highest-quality, ethically-farmed and harvested ingredients, sourced from farmers and distillers we trust. We don’t want any synthetic additives coming between you and the power of the plants, and we stand by the integrity of our products.

 

 

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Optimism – $39.50
Claims: To enliven and uplift your spirits.
Scent: Clary sage & warm citrus.

Efficacy: This blend was the most intriguing because I really love citrus, fresh, and “happy” scents. I’ve tried other organic citrus scents that ended up smelling overwhelming or like Lemonheads. I was pleasantly surprised to feel that this blend actually made me feel optimistic. It’s sitting on my desk right now as I furiously type away. It’s actually fresh, uplifting, and when I take a big deep whiff, I can honestly feel my mood lift.

 

 

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Soothe Your Stress – $44.95
Claims: For peaks of sudden stress, but best over time for anxiety that can cut off hope & happiness.
Scent: Deep rose & woody vetiver.

Efficacy: Lovely stress, one of my all-time favorite topics. The short story is: stress kills and some days, I actually don’t want to die. I think I handle it well, usually. My family would say I implode with every minor tinge of stress that comes my way. Stress from the outside world can be easily tossed in the garbage in my opinion. If it’s from someone I don’t care about, then I give zero poo’s. But, stress from family is another thing because feelings are involved.

Anyway, this scent reminds me of nature but in a good, fresh way. It actually makes me feel like I can let go of whatever is stressing me out for that moment, regroup, and come back with a better perspective to tackle it. You know how you’ve gone out of a walk to look at the trees, the sky, and even some weeds along the way? Then, you come back feeling invigorated and like your soul isn’t so doomed. That’s what this scent will make you feel.

 

 

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Non-Stop Thoughts – $44.95
Claims: Supports intellect, clears out stagnant thoughts, & helps you get over being a perfectionist.
Scent: Cardamom & myrrh.

Efficacy: It makes me cackle but I’m not ever trying to be a perfectionist. Just look at my hair that I never brush. That aside, I don’t know about you but I think a lot. It feels like there’s always so much to do and not enough time. There’s a lot of expectations to do a lot because hey, taking care of 2 kids is really easy. My thoughts are riddled with what I can get off my to-do list in the 5 minutes I have right now. And, what needs I’ll have to address until the end of time. This blend has helped to give me pause in the day. I need it. Everyone needs it. We aren’t machines to be producing work and gourmet meals every second of the day. This blend allows me to give myself permission to not think about one thing for at least .76 minutes.

 

 

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Headache Helper – $44.95
Claims: Relieves pain, inflammation, & helps to center your mind.
Scent: Cornmint, lavender, & frankincense oil.

Efficacy: I’ve experienced about 5.5 headaches in my lifetime, even after kids. I know, I guess I could be considered lucky. But, my mom had migraines (thanks to me) frequently and I know she would use this Tiger Balm to help quell the pain. I’ve rolled this directly onto my temples for those days when my life feels numb and foggy. I also carry this around with me to inhale whenever I am under duress. It’s not overly minty where it would irritate one’s skin or overly tainted with lavender. It’s honestly the perfect blend of calm, uplifting, and soothing. I really love this blend! For once, something that’s not actually Advil that does help headaches, the natural way.

 

 

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

 

Aprodite – $44.95
Claims: To bring emotional and physical sensuality alignment and ignite passion.
Scent: Jasmine, rose, & spicy cardamom.

Efficacy: Okay, so you’re thinking I wanted to try this to seduce my spouse or whatever. But, the truth is I wanted to see if this was going to smell that like that horrid vanilla scent that everyone used to wear. I never understood how vanilla could be calming and sexy. I love vanilla ice cream but the scent, organic or artificial, it’s just gag-inducing to me. Thankfully, Tazeka used jasmine and rose which I think makes more sense because these scents are beautiful. I want to smell beautiful, not delicious. It’s not too strong, musky, and definitely not vanilla. And, since we are all grown adults here, it doesn’t smell like you are trying too hard to ignite passion. That just smells actually gross. Easily wearable and won’t offend anyone, especially that baby with 6 eyeballs I may have created while wearing Chloe.

 

Is it Worth Sharing Over Coffee?

By now, you’ve noticed that these appear pricey. Sure, but what great scent/perfume isn’t? You might be thinking, “You got this for free so of course, you’d say great things about it.” The last time I checked, I didn’t sell my soul to the devil for free products. I don’t think that had I not liked any of these scents, that I’d lose anything by basically saying, “Don’t become that gross vanilla wearing lady trying to seduce everyone”. I’d rather lose product reviews than my integrity that I’ve racked up a good $150,000 in student debt with to learn how to report things unbiasedly.

Like I said at the beginning, I am not a true believer of aromatherapy. I don’t think essential oils cure AIDS, HIV, and definitely not cancer. I don’t even think they really cure sore throats, I’d rather drink Vicks. I also don’t think they drive away evil spirits and clear the air of negative energy.

I do, however, believe they clear my nose when it’s clogged and freshens up a stinky room. Ever burn those soy candles with essential oils after someone’s fried fish at 8am in your house? Works. I also believe they help when my baby boys have colds. God forbid I poison them with Vicks unless I want them to wake up with 6 eyeballs.

That said, I’d be delighted to wear any of these scents to meet a friend over coffee. I’d even carry all of them with me to let that friend smell and roll it on themselves, too. Tazeka Aromatherapy actually works as describes for each scent. They keep it simple and don’t overhype their product with claims of curing the world and tumors. Again, this is coming from someone who doesn’t think lavender is really even that calming. None of the scents are overwhelming. I would not be afraid to wear it next to someone who all allergic to all the aromas.

Absolutely enjoyable and I wouldn’t be embarrassed to say “hey, I have some great essential oils that could help with your stress.” I wouldn’t think twice to try their other scents, especially Meditation Guru because I bet my family would say I need some zen right about now.

Lastly but not least, I need to mention the company. Kristina who is my contact person has been really gracious and a complete gem to interact with. She’s easy going and has never pressured me for a review. When I touched base with her to give her quick feedback, she was so excited and shared with her team. Then, guess who emails me- the owner herself, Ms. Zena Hallam. She thanked me for my feedback and was very appreciative. In a world where large businesses easily thrive and small businesses need to work really hard to gain trust and rapport, this is where simple correspondences like these make all the difference. #suckerforhandwrittennotes

 

RATING SCALE:

 

 

WHERE TO PURCHASE: Directly at Tazeka Aromatherapy.

Well Being

Coping with Death

November 16, 2016

Coping with death, what a way to get this off to on right foot. This is probably going to be my most morbid post but I’ll tell ya, it felt good to get it all out. The tricky thing with death is that we all know it’s going to happen, but we don’t know when. Then, the major test of life seems to be how we cope with it.

The sad thing about life is that the older we get, the more death we experience. Sometimes, it gets to you and other times, it’s just an event in someone else’s life where you feel bad for them. When it gets to you, it’s a whole different story. The last few years, it’s been death after death, mostly resulting from cancer and NOT from old age. Peers my age are losing the battle and it leaves you reeling because you always think that could’ve been me.

I wrote a piece for our editorial (www.terimiyahira.com) that is deeply personal to me. I always think there’s a fine line between being personable and personal. I do not like to get personal. Letting people in is a great thing if that person treats your life with respect and care. But, sometimes letting people in can be a bad life decision that you don’t see until years later. I guess I wrote this more for me and I hope that somewhere along the way, it can help someone who’s been through it.

This was published in October which arguably is the toughest month of the year for me. Sometimes, I’m able to keep it together and other times, I’m stuck the entire month and it just feels like life is keeping me in the mud. In psychology, we study the stages of grief and textbooks make it seem so linear. You move from one stage then you go to the next. In real life, it’s not like that because you can make one stride forward today and then tomorrow, you are back to square one.

What I’ve learned is that life doesn’t ever stop because you want it to stop. This can feel like no one cares and that no one is sensitive to your feelings. Sure, in some aspects that’s probably very true. But, if we are to think positively about anything, especially about sudden death, it’s that the world keeps going in order to help you keep going.

If you want to see an abbreviated version of how I tried to deal with sudden death, click on that emo picture below and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear how you coped with a hard time in your life.

Well Being

Best Excuses for Failing at Life

September 16, 2016

Who wants to live the best life possible but all you do is make the best excuses for failing at life? My husband seems to think I make a lot of excuses, but I’m not sure who he’s comparing me to because my excuses are kept at a minimal. Anyway, so, suddenly something horrible happens to a loved one or someone you know and only then you realize you are not living life to its fullest potential? What’s worse is that this motivational feeling fades.

I do it, too, because I am human and I err. I get all gung-ho about so many things and in the end, I only accomplish one thing on my list. Then, it takes a death or severe illness to remind us to be grateful for every breath we take. It’s really a horrible way to think about things. It’s almost like us humans need a sense of tragedy to be appreciative of the life we are living!

Sometimes, it takes someone who cares about you to tell you to stop doing things so half @$$ and to see things to fruition. If everything was easy, everyone would do it. So, when the going gets tough, you get tougher! Myself included, we should all stop making excuses so we can live the best life possible!

Click on the photo below to head on over to TERIMIYAHIRA.COM where I wrote some a short rambling about this! I promise it’s short because I literally can’t write 634523457 words on this special editorial. As always, thank you and I hope you enjoy!

Photo Credit: @jakeheilbrunn

Photo Credit: @jakeheilbrunn

Well Being

How to Beat Performance Anxiety

September 10, 2016

It’s been an exciting and busy few months lately and hence a bit of MIA-ness on my personal ramblings! I am excited, humbled, and proud to share that I am the new Managing Editor and Resident Health Advisor at TERIMIYAHIRA.COM- an editorial where we share beauty tips, well-being stories, big-picture insights, and business guides for anyone wanting to start their own business.

If you know me, then you probably know Teri. If you don’t, you must! She is a savvy, smart business woman, a dreamer, a visionary, and most importantly, she has become an invaluable friend. It’s been an incredible experience learning from her and working with her. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think anything of this magnitude would ever happen. I ramble so much and my reviews are 90 scrolls long. I probably joke around way too much about really important things. I also drink way too much coffee. But, I am grateful that she sees such worth and potential in me and some skills I have acquired along the way in life that she trusts me to manage & grow her dream editorial!

Please join me by taking a little trip over to our website and see what we have! This is a great, amazing, safe community we are building with some stellar people.

I’ll be sharing all the posts I’ve written! I wanted to kick off with How to Beat Performance Anxiety (like not the kind that comes from that one uncomfortable commercial about guys and missing the “moments” because of those “issues”).

Please click the photo below to check it out! Thank you & I really hope you enjoy!

Photo Credit: @brooksrunning

Photo Credit: @brooksrunning