Workday Excursion Wednesday!

What do I do at work? Besides work – I think about my next vacation, short daytrips or even places to explore on my lunch break. I’m just one of those people who must get out of Dodge on a regular basis for my own sanity. This urge doesn’t stop once I am sitting behind a desk (I try not to sit behind a desk that often for work, but for now…).

So, I think of little things to do during my lunch hour. You will never catch me eating my lunch at my desk – mouse in one hand, fork in the other – NEVER! I value my “me time”! If I didn’t use this time to explore and wander, I would end up sad, bitter, angry, hating and resenting myself, everything and everybody. Dramatic? Yes. But, it’s true. It’s important to know yourself and what makes you happy. #SelfCare, HELLO!

It doesn’t have to be a lunch hour hike, where you get all sweaty and need a shower afterwards. It can be a short stroll in the park, visiting a local shop or even eating lunch at a new and different place. I have to do something.

I moved to Westchester County nearly a year ago. So, YAY! To me, this means “New places to explore every day!”. I just use my favorite apps – Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google Maps – to do some research, and then I’m off…

To use alongside the apps, I purchased an amazing book: Walkable Westchester

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Yellow tabs = Weekday Pink Tabs = Weekends

The book is broken down into sections from tiny walks and parks to long weekend hiking trips! It’s such a great resource. I have used it for a couple of adventures, and, as you can see by the tabs, more are coming soon!

I decided to turn this into a weekly bloggy thing. I will share what I have done during my lunch hours each Wednesday. I call it “Workday Excursion Wednesday”! Yay!

I have gone a few places so far, so I will share a few standouts to catch you guys up!

First up: Kensico Dam – Valhalla, NY

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The Dam in winter!

I actually went here on an unseasonably warm day in February, so I need an update with foliage (if it ever stops raining, I will!)…

Next: Carroll’s Park – Valhalla, NY

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I had lunch here on National Picnic Day! I just bought a salad from the salad bar at a nearby grocery store, sat at a table and enjoyed the duck pond…

Went shopping: The Twisted Branch – Valhalla, NY

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Little oil and vinegar kegs! For tasting!

This is my favorite small shop in Valhalla! The Twisted Branch! I had to go in because I saw on Yelp that they had an olive oil and vinegar tasting bar, and I’m all for a good tasting. I ended up trying pretty much everything, and bought a bunch of different flavors! I am such a fan, and so is my (former restaurant chef, current home chef) boyfriend! If you bring in your empty bottle, you can get a refill for 15% off!

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I teamed up with The Twisted Branch for a giveaway on the DaytoDayDweeb Insta account @DaytoDayDweeb ! It’s for these two delicious products! US Only. Contest ends 8/24/18 at 8am!

A little drive: Chappaqua Pocket Park – Chappaqua, NY

This lovely miniature park is a short drive away.  I love everything to do with flowers, so I like to visit every garden I possibly can, big or small.

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Easy stuff: Around my office building

Some days I can’t go that far :-(, but I still must go! When this happens (rarely), I just take a walk around the office building. There are several seating areas and fountains, which makes it a pleasant experience and can (briefly) take you away…

A few tips:

  • Time your trip – It’s important that you time these visits properly so that you’ll have time to enjoy your trip and time to get there and back within a lunch hour. Use the Google Maps app for current traffic info. Also, if you are actually planning a more active excursion, schedule some clean-up time before you hit the office!
  • Use your apps – Some good apps, as I’ve mentioned are Yelp and TripAdvisor. They will find the awesome things available in your area. Don’t forget Groupon for local lunch deals!
  • DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! – I’d never been to an oil tasting shop until I found The Twisted Branch, and now I love it! Whatever odd or new thing is available, just give it a try. You might actually like it!

So, do a little research! Make the workweek fun!

Also, if you are also located in the Westchester, NY area, give me some ideas! Where do you guys go to get away?

Women’s Wellness Wednesday

Why tiptoe around it? This blog is about your period. Premenstrual syndrome, PMS, to be more specific. I put together a list of supplements you can take to help quell whatever symptoms you may have. I notice, now that I am closer to 40 than I am 30, I seem to get ALL OF THE SYMPTOMS. I never had bloating, now I’m a pufferfish. I never had mood swings, now I’m Sybil for a week. It’s pretty new and strange to me, but I am working on getting a handle on it. Some of the stuff I’ve found works great. Here are all the supplements, tools, tips and tricks I use for “That Time of the Month”. Hopefully, it’ll also help any struggling ladies out there!

Okay. Let’s start with the supplements…

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I got this at Vitacost!

MCT Oil – “Fuel Your Brain” – Am I the only one who gets a little “fuzzy” around this time? Do you guys also get clumsy with a major case of the dropsies? Well MCT oil may help with this! I add a little to my smoothies in the morning and it adds some nice richness to an otherwise watery smoothie.

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The jury is out on this one…

Evening Primrose Oil – “The Old Standby” – This has been touted as the PMS supplement for years. However, recently studies have shown that, well, they don’t do too much. But, why change what has helped so many for decades? Even if it’s a mind over matter thing, well, I believe in the power of positive thinking…

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Works! But use caution (please)…

Black Cohosh – “Hormone Control” – I know, I know. This supplement is usually recommended for women who are going through menopause. Well, guess what? The symptoms of menopause and PMS are very similar. Similar enough to use the same supplement that is known to: regulate mood, reduce inflammation (so you don’t have to pop the NSAIDs) and promotes healthy skin (this is important around that time)!

***Yes, there are side effects and warning about long term use of Black Cohosh. I make sure that I only take it the week before my period starts. Consult a doctor before taking this supplement.***

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So many ways to take magnesium! Good Day Chocolate is at Whole Foods!

Magnesium – “Keep Calm” – Magnesium is my FAVORITE supplement! I don’t know if it is another “mind over matter” supplement, but after I have a fizzy Natural Calm drink I feel so good! There are lots more benefits to magnesium, some are listed in another one of my blogs. The most important benefit when it comes to premenstrual health is the calming properties. Marketers and supplement makers are on to this and they are putting it in everything – from powders to candy! That makes it easier to find a magnesium supplement that you’ll like. Since it’s calming, sometimes it’s exactly what you need.

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Fish Oil has so many benefits!

Fish Oil – “Control the Swole” – Fish oil has lots of health benefits, and most are related to cardiovascular health (Omega-3 fatty acids, etc.). I’ve recently read where it’s effective in preventing bloating, so… Little tidbit: It’s important to use a good fish oil supplement. When I say good I mean one that does not cause “fish burps”. Yeah. That’s not pleasant. Usually the supplement will even say “Does not cause fish burps” because it’s that big of an issue. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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I am new to this one. My boyfriend introduced me!

Ashwaganda – “Stabilize Your Mood” – I wish I could think of a better headline for this but, this is fine. This supplement is known for its calming effect, something that is necessary when you have period related mood swings.

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This brand has more than just melatonin…

Melatonin – “Get Some Sleep” – So, this is a problem for me around that time. Usually a week before my period starts, I sometimes I stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning. That’s even if I have work the next day. Melatonin really helps with that. I like to take two of these gummies – the full dosage – around that time.

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My bag is not in good shape!

Maca Powder – “The Wonder Supplement” – I call this a “wonder” because it’s helps with every women’s health issue you can think of! Got a hormone imbalance? Maca powder! Fertility issues? Maca powder! Seriously, this stuff is great. What’s not so great is the taste. The word “earthy” comes to mind. Earthy. As in eating dirt. Yeah, blend it with something with a strong taste to mask it. I add it to smoothies, but most recently I added some to my muffins. With the major flavors being cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, they taste great!

Here is a product that helps me make it through this time, especially at work:

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This is a lifesaver if you have bad cramps and have to go to work!

Thermacare Heatwraps – “Kill Those Cramps!” I remember using these years ago, but I had no idea they still made them! I was so happy when I found them at the FSA Store (side note: if you have an FSA, use those dollars! If you aren’t sure how to spend it, the FSA Store is incredible!)! These heatwraps have adhesive strips so they can be securely placed on the inside of your panties for a warm, pain killing effect on cramps. That’s what you need sometimes to help release the cramps, warmth. I recommend wearing larger panties with these, for effectiveness and for comfort’s sake. I didn’t think I would end this blog with a panty tip.

Doing what works best for you health-wise takes research and a little trial and error. To be better prepared for “that time” you can use some of my tips, do some of your own research and consult your physician if you have existing health issues. Stay healthy, ladies!

 

Wellness Wednesday!

I seem like a very calm, serene person. Someone I once worked with called me “the definition of laidback”. That’s fine. That’s awesome. But, while it looks that way, that’s not the way it is. Think about ducks. They look so smooth and graceful gliding across a pond, but under the water they are paddling for their lives. That’s how it really is with me. I am quiet and cool, but inside my mind is racing, going a mile a minute. I am think about the past (“I wonder what would’ve happened if I…”), present (“It’s too warm in here, I might get a headache”) and future (“I think I’ll have pancakes for breakfast tomorrow. Probably not tomorrow, maybe next Monday”) – all at once. This is all happening while I’m listening to music, checking an app notification, working on my laptop and watching tv on closed captioning at the same time. It never stops – and that’s good! I do enjoy living this way, the Multi-Tasking Life, but I do need a break from it every once in a while.

About 12 years ago, to cope with the stress brought on by over-stimulation and overthinking, I began meditating. It was something I had heard and read about for years, and one day I decided “…that sounds like something I need in my life…” I picked up the book “The Complete Idiots Guide to Zen Living” and I was on my way.

Since then I have taken a couple of classes here and there – on the Alexander Technique and even aromatherapy – to add to my Zen/meditation repertoire. In 2008, I was lucky enough to take daily meditation classes at the Omega Institute during the Women and Power Workshop. There, we did seated and walking meditations at least twice a day on the gorgeous grounds. I don’t practice every day, I wish I did. In fact, and this is bad, I usually only practice when I am at the stress breaking point.

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Steps leading to the Sanctuary at Omega Institute

When I do meditate, I really love the focus I give to my breathing. I have the tendency to, like most people, hold my breath when I am stressed out or in pain. It’s amazing how a deep breath, in and out, can help to relax you so much.

It sounds really simple, right? Just clear your mind of all thoughts, focus on your breath and chill out. Well, it’s not always easy for me to “clear my mind”. In fact, I don’t think I have ever completely “wiped the slate clean” while meditating. And that’s, okay. I can still feel blissful while a little something goes on in my mind. It usually ends up being something happy and hopeful instead of worries. There is something that helps though…

Guided Meditation and Imagery!

These styles of meditation can really help anyone who has a problem with focus. The guide talks you through your meditation, by telling you what types of breaths or movements to make (guided meditation) or by talking you through different imaginary scenarios that will help you get through whatever problems you’re having (guided imagery). I find it easier to concentrate on the music and/or the guide’s voice than to just sit in a quiet room and try to “clear my mind”.

It helps put me in a positive mindset. I like to listen to guided imagery before I do something important – before taking a test, giving a presentation, etc. it can really make you feel more powerful and confident.

It can also help you sleep. There are some great Youtube videos and podcasts out there with meditations specifically for helping you sleep. You have to find the ones that will work for you. Some make me fall asleep while I’m listening and some just make me feel relaxed but not sleepy.

As with anything – do what works for you!

The Tea Garden

Today I visited The Tea Garden, a new teahouse in my hometown of Middletown, New York, where they held a free morning guided meditation and breakfast bar.

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In front of the meditation area. I didn’t want to close my eyes!

It was great! Jillian, the owner and meditation guide was so knowledgeable and had so many tips and tricks.

I told her about how thoughts will sometimes intrude my meditation and she advised “…step outside of them and don’t get involved. Treat them as if you are a third party observer.” I actually found that really helpful during today’s meditation.

Oh – and there was also food! There are nothing but clean eats on the menu and they are all small, palate cleansing dishes. Nothing heavy, nothing to feel guilty about.

Today there were tea eggs, kidney beans, a variety of pickled and spiced veggies and, my favorite, steamed buns…

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Steamed Chinese bread, steamed custard bun (nai wong bao) and spicy cucumber. To drink: “Double Beauty” – a mixture of tea and coffee and lemon ginger water…

So, I have to say, it was a pretty good “Wellness Wednesday”…

  • For more on guided imagery and meditation, visit Health Journeys.com
    • From that site, I enjoy guided imagery from Belleruth Naperseck and Lynne Newman. Lynne is a New Age practitioner who is local to me, and leads amazing guided meditations in person as well.
  • Some great podcasts:
    • Meditation Minis with Chel Hamilton
    • Sleep With Me: The Podcast That Puts You To Sleep (hilarious, actually)
    • Guided Meditations: The Yoga Bunny