Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

Grab Bag Good Tips:

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The heat of a hair dryer loosens stubborn stickers

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WD-40 takes crayon off the wall

Grab Bag M….ohmmmmment:

Deepak Chopra and Oprah (love saying these names together… wish they got married!) have teamed up for another (I know they’ve done this at least once before) free, 21 Day Meditation challenge.

Deepak offers a different guided meditation each day. There’s still a week left… I have done a few of these and if you’re anything like me, you might benefit from this structure that gets you into a quiet place for 15 minutes while Deepak lulls you into lala land. It feels great.

Give it an ohhmmmm and see how you feel 🙂

Chopra Meditation

Grab Bag Food Faux Pas:

7 Foods Even the Experts Won’t Eat

About a year ago Prevention magazine published this list, with background information (full article here).

Read, weep, then shop and eat smart/clean/organic:

We decided to take a fresh look at food through the eyes of the people who spend their lives uncovering what’s safe–or not–to eat. We asked them a simple question: “What foods do you avoid?”:

1. The Endocrinologist Won’t Eat: Canned Tomatoes

tomatoesNote from LK: Acidity of tomatoes is quite high. For the cans not to degrade in the presence of that acidity, cans must be lined…. with a plastic liner containing the nasty endocrine-disruptor chemical, BPA. Unfortunately the acidity also helps release that BPA into the contents of the can. This isn’t conjecture. It’s measurable.

Get tomatoes in glass jars or Tetra Pak boxes.

2. The Farmer Won’t Eat: Corn-Fed Beef

Buy grass-fed beef.

3. The Toxicologist Won’t Eat: Microwave Popcorn


Note from LK: Those bags have gross chemical liners. Pop your kernels (be sure to buy certified organic, which by definition will be non-GMO) the old fashioned way.

4. The Farm Director Won’t Eat: Nonorganic Potatoes


Note from LK: Have you noticed that old potatoes these days don’t grow “eyes”? Wonder why? Root vegetables absorb more pesticides than veggies above ground. Potatoes are.  Buy organic.

5. The Fisheries Expert Won’t Eat: Farmed Salmon


All farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT.

If it is Atlantic salmon, it is farmed. Buy wild Alaskan salmon. Save $$...Most canned salmon is wild Alaskan, and affordable.

6. The Cancer Researcher Won’t Drink: Milk Produced With Artificial Hormones


Commercial dairies practice a domino-effect list of hormones and antibiotics. The artificial growth hormone is banned in most industrialized countries.

Shop organic milk.

7. The Organic-Foods Expert Won’t Eat: Conventional Apples


Because apples are carefully grafted and bred to retain specific characteristics, they have a low resistance to disease and pests. LOTS of pesticides are used to avoid losing large amounts of the harvest. The photo above also shows how much larger a conventional apple may grow opposed to organic. It’s just not natural!

Buy organic.

Grab Bag Stocking Stuff:

Just some ideas….

Nostalgia… the chewing gum of yesteryear


Great to tuck in the car or purse for those messy moments…


What a great little compact toothbrush/toothpaste package on the go…


Love these balsa wood planes…Glider

Who wouldn’t love a YoYo?


This keeps Mrs. Claus’ cleavage covered …. say that fast three times 😉


Just a little portable portion to let your loved one know they’re always HOT…


Grab Bag Brain Game:

Balance… always a good thing

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Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Cats Stealing Dog Beds

Thanks to Pat M. for sending this to me!

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Grab Bag Meditation Station:


I say meditation can be found in many places; once you tune your mind to what it feels like, you can go there while singing, while walking, while refinishing a door (but that’s another story).

bird-singing walking refurbishing-entry-door

As someone who dabbled with meditation in my 30’s, then hooked into it from a whole different perspective much later, I can wholeheartedly endorse your practice and assure you that the positive effects of meditation are directly correlated to the amount of time you give to it. Perhaps a bit of a struggle at first, think of it as a mind massage that will, in due time, be available to you wherever and whenever you choose.

The internet brings free guided meditation right to you. Try some of these sites:

A Moment of Calm

Three Minute Meditation


The Chopra Center

The Art of Living

The Ocean Breath

Point of Focus

Sahaja Meditation

Here’s a brief video byte that helps to remind us why this practice is perfect.

Meditation Then and Now

Grab Bag Green Tea Update:


It has been awhile since I have espoused the many virtues of my best friend, Green Tea. In this post back in 2011, I talked about the “gift of thin” that green tea can bring, and mentioned my weed of choice, Teavana’s Gyokuro.

Recent analysis by ConsumerLab.com has confirmed that Teavana’s Gyokuro (or really any loose leaf Gyokuro) may be one of the best choices, for reason’s other than taste. If you are drinking green tea for health reasons, it’s all about the catechins derived from it. Those are the antioxidants that do such amazing things for your whole body. From the New York Times:

Another phase of the study looked at green tea in its more natural forms – loose tea leaves sold by Teavana and tea bags sold by companies like Bigelow and Lipton. A single serving of Teavana’s Gyokuro green tea, about one teaspoonful, was chock-full of antioxidants, yielding about 250 milligrams of catechins, a third of which were EGCG. It also contained 86 milligrams of caffeine, slightly less than a regular cup of coffee.

A single bag of the green tea sold by Lipton and Bigelow contained somewhat smaller amounts of antioxidants than Teavana’s green tea and generally minimal amounts of caffeine. But Teavana’s recommended serving size was large, and the tea was also far more expensive, resulting in a higher cost per serving. The report calculated that the cost to obtain 200 milligrams of EGCG ranged from 27 cents to 60 cents with the tea bags, and $2.18 with the Teavana loose tea leaves.

But the most surprising phase of the study was an analysis of the lead content in the green tea leaves. The leaves in the Lipton and Bigelow tea bags contained 1.25 to 2.5 micrograms of lead per serving. The leaves from Teavana, however, did not contain measurable amounts.

I will also share that very new studies (and there aren’t many really big, shiny studies on tea because…. well… there’s not bags of money to be made by doing them) have shown contrary advice for green tea preparation.

Traditional instructions will always say to avoid boiling water (too hot for the delicate leaves), and to use 170℉ water. They may also suggest you steep for no longer than 90 seconds.

The new study showed that maximum catechin release is achieved with boiling water, and the longer the steep the better (20 minutes was the max release tested). The taste will change and not be so delicate, but the benefits may increase. All depends on what you are drinking it for.

Grab Bag Query Quest:

It’s all in how you ask…..

The Question

Grab Bag Troop Scoop:

The Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders made a video of themselves lip-synching “Call Me, Maybe”. Some of their biggest fans were all the way over in Afghanistan, and wanted to mimic in appreciation… here are the two videos, side by side, for your enjoyment.

Call Me, Maybe

Thanks to SlimPaley.com for finding this 🙂

Grab Bag Outfit Outrage:

OK…. let me take just a few moments atop this digital soapbox to vent.

And by vent, I mean to first ask the world at large…. how do you respond when you see outrageous prices on very mediocre goods? How do you feel when you see stickers in the stratosphere for things that just don’t seem that special?

• Is it a “to each his own” shrug?

• Or perhaps a “WTF are they (the sellers) thinking?

• Conversely, it might be “WTF are they (the buyers) thinking?

For me, I get kinda perturbed with this. Actually, more than kinda. Don’t get me wrong…. I am so very appreciative of art and design in all its forms. And I’m OK with placing value on uniqueness and craftsmanship.

But when I see really mediocre… even truly bad… design priced outrageously just because they can get away with it… well…. I’m gonna call that BS.

And this issue hit me square in the eyeballs this week when I saw these pieces of clothing from Michael Kors, recently marked down (gee…. I wonder why??). The prices I quote here are the original prices for these pieces… all of which are, in my estimation, either incredibly ordinary or downright heinous, the likes of which can be seen at your local discount chain… or garage sale:




$3995… wow










$1495 (perhaps the ugliest, cheap-looking, thrift-store, expensive outfit ever)


$6995 (!!!)


$1195 (really??? How special does this red cardy look??)





So, Mr. Kors… if you’re wanting to charge caviar prices, please don’t try to spoon feed women this kind of salmon-egg schlock.


OK… I’ll step down off my cyber soap box now.

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Very cool… an auditory game for the brain. This surprised me, as I consider myself to be fairly musical… but I flopped on this… more practice for me 🙂

Music Memory

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Someone had fun at Barnes and Noble…

Well Played

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Grab Bag Health Boosters:

These 9 tips contain a broad spectrum of really effective habits. I have added my own thoughts and suggestions on #3. Be sure to hit the full screen button in the lower right hand corner of the player.

Grab Bag Soul Searching:

Here is an AMAZING and eye-opening talk about the research behind love and happiness and connectedness. There is something here for everyone to take away. It touches on self-worth, vulnerability, and the attempts to numb our disappointments. Watch for yourself, your loved ones, and for the parenting aspect of all of us… (these principles apply to how we interact with adult children, too).

Here is how this talk is introduced on TED:

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

Here’s a teaser on the section about parenting:

We perfect, most dangerously, our children…… They are hard-wired for struggle when they get here. When we hold these perfect babies in our hands, our job is NOT to say,  “Look at her, she’s perfect”, and make sure she makes the tennis team by 7 and Yale by 18….. Our job is to say, “You know what? You’re imperfect and wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging”. That’s our job. Show me a generation of kids raised like that and we’ll end the problems we see today.

She makes such a good point. I think so many of us feel as if it is our job as parents to keep the “perfect child” that was born to us on a path of least resistance, and to optimize her perfection and save her from exposure to any faults or challenges. On the contrary… we would do well to spend less energy “smoothing the road to success” and better serve our kids by making sure they feel loved and connected and worthy in the face of their imperfections, struggles and failures.

But don’t assume this is a lesson on how to parent….. it’s a lesson on how to live:

Truly immerse yourself in this wisdom… go with the Full Screen option in the lower right corner.

Many thanks to Austin H. and Nancy H. for sharing this with me.

Grab Bag Jurassic Spark:


In the current issue of National Geographic magazine is a truly provoking article about where we stand with current science technology to resurrect extinct species.

That’s right. I said RESURRECT EXTINCT SPECIES. À la Jurrasic Park.

Kind of.

I’m not going to give away the punchline. I suggest you read

this article,

because the bottom line iswe are there. And we need to go into this with 6,973,738,433 (current pop. of the world…. did I miss anybody?)  pairs of eyes wide open.

And to quote a line from the song “The Way We Were”….

“Could we? …..Should we?”

You won’t get all the fabulous photos I’m seeing in the magazine with this online article, so I’ll give you a few substitutes here:

Mammoth 6894sabre-tooth_tiger

Grab Bag App Applause:

Did not even have time to try this app, called RePix, but the reviews are great, it’s on Apple’s “Hot” list, and it looks incredible.


Take your photos and turn them into art like this:

RePix Screenshots

Repix - Remix & Paint Photos - Sumoing Ltd

Grab Bag Sweater Better:

Thought these were so cute:

Sweater Makeover

Sweater Embellishments: Take an old sweater. Cut a slit in along the shoulder down about 7″. Fold over raw edge and sew in place. Sew a piece of ribbon about 15″ long to one side of neckline and another ribbon to the other side of the neckline. Tie together!

Lace Insets

Cut a section of a long sleeve shirt or sweater and use fabric glue to hold lace in place. Stitch the lace into place, and wash inside out, hang to dry.

Grab Bag Brian Game:

Looks like a simple kids’ game, but is a fun puzzle strategy session:


Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

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And this one has a HILARIOUS story behind it that is worth reading (click on the photo) … the caption to this photo reads, “Knock, Knock, mother f*****”:


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Grab Bag Price Detective:

So I just learned that Costco, Sam’s Club, Target and probably other retailers have a code built into their pricing that let’s employees know at a glance if the item is full price, discounted or a final stock that will not be reordered. 

The Costco info comes from a pretty thorough blog on the topic, written by Len Rappaport. Read the article on Costco pricing here and for this 2012 holiday season here.

Here are the highlights:

Items with prices ending in $__._9 are the original price

Items with prices ending in $__,_7 are reduced for clearance

Items with odd price endings like .89, .79 or .49 usually mean Costco got a special deal from the manufacturer and are passing it on to you.

Items with an asterisk (” * “) in the right hand corner of the price tag will on the price sign will not be re-stocked.

Also look for “Manufacturer’s Rebate”, which is often an exclusive deal Costco has negotiated with the manufacturer.

Here are some examples price codes and rebates Len Rappaport found this holiday season at Costco compared to the same items available on Amazon:

This Cuisinart Food Processor has been reduced and will not be reordered.

Selling for $37-$95 on the internet

Price codes at Target:

Items with prices ending in $__._9 are the regular price

Items with prices ending in 8,7,6,5 and 4 are discounted.

If the price ends in a 4, such as $5.94, that signifies that it is the last time an item will be marked down

The small numbers in the top right corner of the price tag indicate the percentage discount you’re getting off of the regular price (for example, if you see “75”, that’s 75% off the regular or original price)

If you see ” * ” it mean these items have more than one location somewhere on the floor, like and endcap.

Grab Bag Egg-ceptional Choices:

So… is there REALLY a good reason to buy free-range eggs? Ummm… ya… looks like there is. Phil Lempert, food editor for NBC’s Today show and creator of the website SupermarketGuru.com, reports on recent testing on free-range eggs:

According to Mother Earth News (motherearthnews.com), testing was carried out on 14 chicken flocks around the country that range freely on pasture or are housed in moveable pens, rotated frequently to maximize access to fresh pasture and protect the birds from predators. They found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial, “conventional” (i.e., from confined hens) eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene.

In addition to the health benefits for humans, the chickens benefit, too. Many times commercially raised chickens are crowded into small spaces and never see the light of day and are fed a diet that consists of corn, soy or cottonseed with additives. When you buy certified free-range eggs you can support more humane conditions for the chickens, comforted by the knowledge that they have foraged on real pasture, under real sunlight or rain and be assured that their natural diet, which includes green plants, insects and worms, has ensured their nutritional superiority for you the consumer.

Grab Bag Medical Meditation:

Here’s your prescription…. meditate for 12 minutes a day and call me in 20 years…. and you will likely remember.  The good doctors Oz and Rosen from RealAge.com have this to say about the practice of meditation and how it affects memory:

We firmly believe that daily meditation transforms the mind, body, and spirit. It makes grey (and white) matter grow in brain regions that affect learning and mood. Plus, meditation reduces stress and strengthens your cardiovascular system.

New findings add to all that! Seems that people with mild memory loss can prevent the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease by increasing cerebral blood flow, boosting mood, and relieving anxiety, tension, and fatigue with as little as 12 minutes of daily meditation. That helps restore their recall ability and prevents future memory loss.

For those of us who don’t have memory loss yet, meditation has many benefits, including brain health. If you want to give meditation a try, follow this 4-step meditation plan:

  1. Set aside 12 minutes a day to meditate, and keep that time in your schedule sacred.
  2. Get thee to a quiet place. No cells, no music, no Internet. Turn it all off so you can tune in.
  3. Sit in a comfortable position with good posture. Breathe in through your nose slowly for 4 seconds and exhale slowly through an open mouth for as long as you can. Build to 8 seconds.
  4. Repeat the breathing rhythm while you let your mind drift. Recognize thoughts as they appear and let them go. Say OM — and OMG, you’ll feel clearer and stronger.

Grab Bag Clever Cuppa’:

Some people are just plain clever. How about this as a an alternative to disposable coffee cups, now probably numbering in the billions in our landfills?

Take a Mason or Bell jar with the two-part lid, and use the collar portion to secure a plastic hot cup spouted lid. Coffee/tea/whatever on the go, with so little waste 🙂 Even feel OK about grabbing a cardboard “hot sleeve” from your local coffee place, or invent one of your own.

Grab Bag Clean Crafter:

From the Queen of Clean and Craft, Martha Stewart, comes this simple recipe that is touted by many to battle water spots and tub grim better than anything you could buy in a store:

Here’s a nontoxic but effective way to clean your tub and shower: Add one teaspoon of liquid soap and several drops of a naturally antibacterial essential oil (such as tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, or peppermint) to one cup of baking soda. Add just enough water to form a paste, and use it with a sponge or brush to scour bathtub surfaces.

Grab Bag Pumpkin Patch:

In case you want to get a jump on next autumn’s decor, check out these pics from the Arboretum in Dallas, Texas for some inspiration:

Grab Bag Brain Game:

The colored balls float in and out, disappearing behind the target. Track their speed and direction with your mind and click the corresponding ball under the image when you think it is in the bullseye.

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

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Grab Bag “Let’s be Thoreau”:

July 12th… Henry David Thoreau’s birthday. It might surprise you to know he died when he was only 45 years old. Just a kid. Something tells me Hank didn’t fritter away the hours watching reality TV, even if he could have.  HDT  wrote a lot of memorable things. One of my favorites is:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.


Grab Bag Nutrition “Grill It Right” Tip:

Although grilling fish, chicken, vegies and lean beef can be an outstanding and tasty way to healthy eating, grilling can lead to the formation of  potentially cancer-causing  chemicals called heterocyclic amines (who knew??).

Here are some ways to get the best, and healthiest, out of your grilling:


1. Limit the amount of grilled meats you consume, and make grilled vegies the bulk of your grilled food.

2. Pre-cook foods in the oven or on the stovetop, and finish them off on the grill. Less grill time, less nasty amines.

3. When you do grill meat, avoid charring or blackening, and don’t eat any parts that are are charred.


Grab Bag “Martha” Moment:

OK… I’ll admit it. I am emulating a bit of Martha Stewart’s mojo on this. But it IS quite cool.

drawer dividers


I needed to better organize some drawers in my closet, and the standard dividers available for such a task were not the right sizes. Lo and behold I find these cool custom jobbers at Lifestylesystems.com – (scroll down that page to see the really bitchen clear ones) 🙂

These nifty little items come in varying widths, so a deeper drawer would call for the 4″ wide packs, but a shallower desk drawer might use the 1″, 2″ or 3″ widths. All YOU need is a measuring tape, a ruler, an exacto utility knife and some drawers that need tidying up. Presto.


Grab Bag Panoramic Health Tip(s):

Here’s one of the most powerful weight control/anti-aging/anti-inflammation tips I can give you:

Contemplate nothingness, sniff lavender, and don’t sweat the small stuff. And maybe, just maybe, exercise LESS.


Now let me explain.

Cortisol is a stress-reaction hormone that is, unfortunately for us, incredibly efficient. When our system perceives stress in 2009, it is usually “we don’t have enough green rectangles to buy everything we want”, or, “that idiot just cut me off, and I’m gonna be late”. But what the body HEARS is, “saber-toothed tiger!!”, or “we’re almost out of food!!!”.

Cortisol to the rescue!! Stress, ANY kind of stress, stimulates cortisol, which in turn puts your body into “recession mode”. It helps the body to conserve every bit of food you eat, conserves all the fat you store, slows your metabolic rate… why it even interferes with your exercise output rate, yielding your workout time less effective, as it tells the body to conserve, conserve, conserve (because, for heaven’s sake, “WE’RE IN TROUBLE!”). FYI- Cortisol has been linked to that handful of belly fat that “won’t go away”. A sad by-product of it’s effectiveness is cortisol’s stimulation of the inflammatory response, a red-flag in SO many health problems.

Our bodies were designed for a far different reality than the one we present to it today. And in this particular cortisol cycle of events, our bodies have not caught up with the world and how dangerous it ISN’T now. So it’s up to us to translate for our body, and make sure it is receiving the right messages.

How do we do that? Imagine you are speaking to a child, and if they hear you arguing with your spouse, they assume you are getting a divorce. You have to talk them down from that fear. Same for your body. So here’s what it wants:

1. Meditate, or at least do some controlled breathing (4-7-8 breathing method is great), a few times a day. Doesn’t have to be long, but it calms the body down (if you have time to sit still and breathe slowly, things must be OK).

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff….. and…. it’s ALL small stuff. Let that be your mantra…. because it’s true. Research at University of Rochester shows introverted, worried, self-focused people have higher blood levels of an inflammatory chemical called interleukin 6 (IL-6). Higher levels of IL-6 may indicate a much higher risk of death.

3. Sniff lavender. A recent study of Japanese students showed that just 5 minutes of sniffing lavender scent lowered cortisol levels and may have actually increased anti-oxident activity. I wish I could give you a reason why this is, but I’d be making something up here. Maybe the body feels that if you are taking the time to sniff lavender, you’re in a great place, with nothing chasing you? Who knows. Who cares? It will cost you next to nothing to try it, and it is, I guarantee, safe.


4. Watch your exercise levels. Now, the vast majority of humans don’t exercise ENOUGH, so I’m not really advocating less for most people. But there are those out there reading this right now that run ad nauseum, or do too much exercise in general. Remember, your body has the mentality of a 5 year-old kid. If you are getting active in short, intense bursts, your body thinks, “I’m hunting! This is cool! I need to get stronger and faster!”. If you exercise too much, and run to long, the body thinks. “I’m being hunted! I better conserve all my resources.”

Everything in balance: healthy dietetic intake needs 4-7 hours of exercise a week, stress needs relaxation, work needs play… you get the idea. Nowhere in this equation will you find fried foods, artificial chemical consumption/exposure, unmitigated stress or a sedentary lifestyle. Be kind to your beautiful body. It’s the only one you’re gonna get.


Grab Bag Brain Game:



Grab Bag Funny Double Stuff:

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