Sunday Spotlight: Team RWB

 

team rwb logo

In early Spring 2015, I participated in the Philadelphia sector of the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k series. The Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run was only about a month away, so I figured it was a great way to gauge readiness. Welp that indeed is a story for another time. However, during the run, despite my playlist and begrudging my decision to run, a woman ran by holding an American flag. And not your dollar store flags, I mean at least a 3×5 foot on a 4ft pole Old Glory; she was around my height and floating through the crowd. I was mesmerized, in awe. I focused on the flag and continued running. Eventually it disappeared from sight, but the image resonated.

Today I want to shine spotlight on a non-profit organization that I am proud to say I am a member of and am truly passionate about; Team RWB (Red White & Blue). The same organization where members honor the fallen and living in races by running with the flag.

Team RWB is a non-profit, national organization connecting civilians and veterans through camaraderie, physicality, and community. Their mission reflects these principles.

Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. [TeamRWB.org]

I found Team RWB through a mat-mate Amanda Rondon (now the Director of the Philadelphia area Chapter), at Grace and Glory Yoga-Fishtown’s community class in August 2015. I noticed her wristband with the eagle insignia and asked about it. I found out through our pre class conversation that team RWB were the flag barrers at local races. After a sweaty yoga session, we briefly discussed Team RWB and what they were about.

She mentioned a book club they were hosting, with the focus on Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. As an avid reader and fan of Brene, I BOOK CLUB GROUP with a shout out from Brenetook the plunge and saved the date. At the first meeting I immediately felt welcomed by the mixed group of women and men – veterans, active, loved ones of military members, and supporters of veterans. It was a six week program, with access via internet if unable to meet in person. (My first intro to Google Hangouts!) book club even online

Team RWB members share more than just mission and values. They share an ethos – a set of guiding beliefs and ideals that characterize their community. “An ethos persuades or inspires people to action…and that is what our organization is all about.” TeamRWB.org.

The Eagle Ethos (#eagleethos)  encompasses six words, and each member strives to live each in action every day; passion, people, positivity, commitment, camaraderie, and community.

As described on the team site, each word of the ethos has a role:

+ Passion – we care more, we work harder, and we share our story

+ People – veterans and community drive everything we do

+ Positivity – we don’t ignore the challenges, we just stay positive and attack them

+ Commitment – we are dedicated to each other, our mission, and our communities

+ Camaraderie – we improve lives through genuine, personal relationships

+ Community – this is what we are building…at every level

 

Although I am not as physically active, in events, as I would like to be, living the  #eagleethos and bringing awareness to the beauty and wonderful opportunities this organization presents, and encouraging others to get involved, will suffice for now. One day, I hope to have the honor of running with the flag and inspire others, just as I was.

 

 

 

To learn more, click on the link

http://www.teamrwb.org

You can sign up to receive weekly e-mails of happenings in your area and ways to get involved.

 

 

Could your manicure be killing you? Truth behind nail polish toxicity

Did you know that manicure you just sat so patiently and skillfully for – not to chip or smudge – could be harming your body? After seeing a sensationalized title regarding the potentially harmful effects of nail polish, I had to do some research. I was sure that there was something skewed about nail polish; I mean that smell is so distinct! – but toxicity seemed a little sour for my palate. Welp… color me surprised. There is 100% transparency and understanding both local and governmental levels that components in nail polishes are not only toxic but carcinogenic.

Now before you frown or contemplate ditching your bi-weekly hand treatment, know that there are brands and companies out there who take this as seriously as I am (now..). Beauty does not always have to be sacrificial.

Read on to learn a bit more, and I encourage your own research as well! The authenticity of the research is not hard to find.

Nail-Polish-Chemicals-Toxic-Trio-1

The toxic trio:

Formaldehyde: A known carcinogen. Colorless. Flammable with a distinct pungent odor. Used to EMBALM dead bodies.  Significant adverse effects affecting multiple body systems; dermatological (skin), neurological effects (brain, nervous system) , increased allergen and asthma risk (respiratory), as well as a nasal and eye irritant.

  • Formaldehyde Resin: Not AS toxic. Utilized as a nail strengthener. Significant allergen trigger. Causes dermatitis.

Toulene: Clear. Colorless. Distinct aroma. Extremely toxic and dangerous affecting almost all body systems including cardiac, respiratory, renal, skin, musculoskeletal (muscles), hematologic (blood), gastrointestinal (GI) including liver, and the central nervous system (easily effects the brain).

Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP): Odorless. Colorless. Known to have both acute (quick) as well as chronic (longstanding) toxic effects. Irrigates the throat, affects GI and respiratory system.  One of the most disturbing adverse effects is the effect on organ development ie) effects on the developing fetus during pregnancy.

 

Other dangerous known chemical components found in nail polishes:

Camphor: Used to give nail polish that glossy finish. Known to cause skin irritation, liver damage, and can accumulate to toxic levels in the body if absorbed via broken skin.

Triphenyl Phosphate: Neurotoxic. Effects the liver and renal (urinary and kidney) systems. Causes endocrine and reproductive complications. During pregnancy. Triphenyl Phosphate causes developmental damage to fetal organs.

 

Three common nail polish brands that are “3Free”  – Do not contain Formaldehyde, DBP, Toulene

 

  • Essie:  All Essie nail polishes are DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde free. More information at Essie.com
  • OPI: In 2006, OPI reformulated its entire line of nail lacquers and treatments establishing its 3Free status. They proudly wear the badge of a 3-Free brand.  More information Opi.com
  • Julep: Julep is actually 4Free (not free of charge hah). Julep polish is free of Formaldehyde, DBP, Toulene as well as Formaldehyde Resin. More information at Julep.com

 

Five Nail polish brands that are “5Free” – Do not contain Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor

  • Dior: the classicly evered Dior brand is among the companies that are 5Free. More information at Dior.com
  • Chanel: Classic and chic, not to mention 5Free. More information at Chanel.com
  • Acquarella: water based nail polish that is proud to be 5Free. More information at aquarella.com
  • Mint: The company motto is good CLEAN colors. All polishes are 5Free. More information at Mintpolish.com
  • Sun Coat: the ingredients contain 70% water! When vapors are released during use, you can have comfort in knowing that is it water vapor – not harmful chemical substances. More information at suncoatproducts.com

I guess this is why I was scolded and literally barked at on a flight to cease applying my nail poilsh .. luckily is was a 3Free Essie brand.

Hey. It could have been worse.

 

 

 

|Sources|

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/drywall/docs/whatyoushouldknowaboutformaldehyde.pdf

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=219&tid=39

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/substances/toxsubstance.asp?toxid=29

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/818939-overview#a4

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/substances/toxsubstance.asp?toxid=167

https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/dibutyl_phthalate#section=Chronic-Effects

https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/triphenyl_phosphate#section=Other-Safety-Information

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/camphor/vitamins-supplements.htm#WhatIs

http://oehha.ca.gov/multimedia/biomon/pdf/031612SGPNhArPhosPresentation.pdf

|Images|

http://happilytoxinfree.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Nail-Polish-Chemicals-Toxic-Trio-1.jpg

how to start a meditative practice

So you’ve read an article or two, (or skimmed titles) raving about the benefits of meditation. After poo-pooing the idea for a while, the interest captures your attention, triggering the why not? notion. How hard can meditation be? 

I challenge you not to give up after the first dozen times. Seriously. Meditation is an ice cream parlor of create-your-own-sundae options. There are many different ways and flavors; all unique yet satisfying. It’s a journey to find what satiates your palate.  For instance, I refer to the meditation phenomenon as the mindful-for-me- practice. I have tried multiple ways to meditate from restorative yoga, to guided meditations, flotation, group sessions, running, laying on the beach, intentional breathing, mantra repeats and the list goes on. To this day I have yet to perfect my mindful-for-me practice because I am not perfect, my situations are rarely perfect and my needs change. There is one thread that weaves through each of the methods of mindful practice I utilize and that is the power of breath.

Let’s jump to the how-to: Below are 5 easy to follow steps to help guide you with establishing a meditative/mindful practice. Note: these are suggestions. 

  1. The first step to begin a mindful-for-me/ or meditative practice is embracing your intention to begin. Congratulations! You have completed step one!
  2.   Find a comfortable seat/space for yourself, a space where you are content and feel safe and are able to be by yourself; whether in your room, your car, the bathroom (you’d be surprised how many people have to retreat to the bathroom to get privacy!)
  3. Set a timer (And if using your phone as the timer place on airplane/do not disturb mode). Sitting still in our multi-task driven go go go world, can be daunting or for some a trigger. By setting a timer you reassure yourself that – no this thing will not last forever. Being with 5mins, or if that seems too much start with two minutes. It’s not the amount-it’s the intention and opportunity you are giving yourself.
  4. Relax your hands. fold them in your lap. Hold onto a bracelet, mala, cell phone/timer ; keep your hands in one place during the excercise.
  5. Breathe.  Breathing is involuntary, and well as voluntary. It’s free and accessible.By focusing on your breath, you bring attention inward; on one point, one action at a time. (Fun Fact:: By definition this is mindfulness; present in the moment, and awareness of each single action) When you improve your ability to focus on one thing at at a time it overflows into productivity in all activities.
    • Close your eyes.
    • a)Inhale fully, in a 5 second count (inhale, two three four five) . Hold at the top of the breath
    • b) Exhale slowly and empty completely, in a 5 second count (exhale, two three four five)
    • Repeat a&b as many times as needed, or until time is out.
    • Focus on the rhythm of your lungs expanding as you fill and empty your lungs.
    • Challenge the expansion and capacity of your lungs with each inhale and exhale.
    • Continue until the alarm goes off
  6. Slowly open your eyes, stand up, shake it out and continue with your day.

 

Let me know your thoughts! What has worked for you?

Was this helpful?

 

 

 

 

strawberry slushie – adults only

Beat the heat, or enjoy a tropic escape in your glass while you sit by the pool

 

strawberry adult slushie 2016

 

This delicious creation was the spawn of jealousy. Seriously. I was in rainy, miserable Philadelphia while my three friends were on a beach sipping on umbrella drinks and napping.

So, out of sheer desire for a touch of summertime, I went into the kitchen, and wah-lah Adult only, Strawberry Pineapple Slushie.

 

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Intention : fuel the “how”. What keeps you motivated?

 

wanderlust phl 2013

Wanderlust PHL 2013

 

 

Yoga has become synonymous with tree pose at sunset, bend in half back bends, pretzel twists, fashionable leggings, Lululemon and kale; a lot of kale. Looking good eating kale, in my fashionable leggings on a ledge doing tree is not my goal. Getting back to the root of what this ‘yogi’ culture has stemmed from is crucial and my continuous purpose.

 

The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yug meaning “to hatch up” or “attach together for active use; to join opposites together”. Sanskrit, the classical language of Hinduism, Buddhism , and Jainism, is also one of the 22 official languages of India. Yoga is modernly defined as a method of discipline, or uniting; it is a concentration of mind, body and spirit. Lately I’ve lost sight of this and forgot that yoga is consistent; a practice on, as well as off the mat. A reservoir or back up of yoga energy does not exist. Yoga is persistence, patience, and inquiry.

 

There is truth in intention. In my recent article about goal setting, I toss intention aside, deeming it intangible and simple as air passing through lungs of hope. Well in the realm of action plans, and goal setting; yes I still believe this holds truth.

 

However, once a plan is established and the work continues, what is fueling the action? What is the motivation? This may seem backwards, but after you set your goal/ and initiate the action plan – you have to ask yourself why and what will keep me going?

 

When we lose sight of the why, how becomes less and less appetizing; the why fuels the how.

perfection makes me suspicious

 

heartsnowlot

BiddysBuzz.com

If you ever tell me someone or something is perfect, I will respectfully, internally judge you. The claim of one being perfect, or modeling perfection makes me very very suspicious. Perfection may seem like a great idea or goal, but honestly it is dangerous; a summit universally undefined and unobtainable.

 Throughout my life, there has been one person dubbed as closest to perfection as one can get; my grandfather. Revered and loved, a man of faith, love, honesty, and conviction. He is adored, and rightfully so. This was the only person I saw and accepted as perfect. He is currently in critical care for an accident. There is a palpable heightened sense of fear and urgency running through the family’s veins. He is in a dangerous position medically, and we are at the point where prayer is the only resolution; fingers crossed and hope for the best. Through the initial course of treatment a secret, kept between my Grandmother and Grandfather, came to light in a painful way – impacting his care.

This dehiscence in the family stitch sent questions, anger, fear, sadness, and other locked away emotions to the surface. This man’s secret was splayed out, despite it hiding in plain sight for years. Questions of blame, why’s, and how’s circled. During this period I have taken on the role of anchor, to remain steadfast; but I would lie if I was not questioning my own memories. Does this change who he is to me? Does is alter what has been or could have been done?

After meditating on these floating thoughts, a sigh of relief washed over. Nothing has changed, and I love him even more. It does not change what he has done or who he has been to me and the rest of the family. He is not perfect; nothing is perfect. It is your actions that resonate and remain; all  humbling realizations. And his actions have always been honorable, and in the best interest of loved ones.

So what I’m saying is, cut yourself (and those around you) some slack.

Nothing and no one resides in perfection.

sweet banana smoothie

 

 

Believe it or not this tastes absolutely AMAZING. Even my meat and potatoes boyfriend, when I made him try it was surprised at its deliciousness.

Perks: It’s only 4 ingredients.

Tastes like pumpkin/cinnamon bun

packed with potassium

low carb

vegan & vegetarian friendly.

sweet banana smoothie. only 4 ingredients! packed with nutrients. vegetarian friendly.

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monday motivation

positively-present shout out

Screenshot from positivelypresent.com

Even at 2030 on Monday evening, the universe conspires to lead me to motivation. I was browsing one of my favorite sites, one that I have been following for years (!) and have had wonderful communication with the author…to find that MY article made it on the list of her picks of the week last week! There are not enough exclamation points or emojis to express my glee. (Thats a crappy screen shot above from my phone with my link circled on the bottom…. but IT’S THERE!)

This motivated me to get up get moving and keep going. Well, to sit down with a glass of red and type out some thoughts on my Mac…but overall continue with what I love. Continue to write because there are people out there willing to read, and listen to the seemingly jumbled thoughts in my head to correlate with their jumbled thoughts. Whoa. Run on sentence. Apologies to the grammar police…

So this is my motivation, in turn to your motivation, Full House cheesy:

just go for it.. whatever it may be because what do you have to lose?

seriously. I want to know. What I can guarantee is it can’t be worse than wondering.

jack’s sassy lemonade

If you don’t live in Philadelphia, you probably do not know the struggle that is all too real when shopping for libations.  Here, by law not choice, beer distributors and liquor/wine stores are separate. And oh, most liquor/wine stores (aka state stores) are closed on Sundays. Yes, it is as frustrating as it sounds. (Fair warning to those traveling through :] )

I am fortunate  that I live less than a five minute drive from a supermarket, beer distributor and state store – open on Sundays!- all in the same shopping center. Quite convenient.  So today, Valentine’s Day, I wanted to treat myself to a fantastic dinner and a cheap bottle of wine (to accompany the chocolate my boyfriend gave me.. from my absolute FAVORITE hand made candy store and thee oldest consistently running shoppe in the nation Shane’s <3 )

I make my way over, and lo-and behold the store is closed. No biggy. I drive about 15mins to the closest mall that also has a store open on Sundays; and it’s closed PERMANENTLY. So now I’m confused, cell phone-less and hungry. Instead of driving aimlessly I make my way back home. I have some jack in the fridge, looked into some recipes I had and created something so wonderful, it was a blessing in disguise everything was closed.

Meet the refreshing, with a kick the ever Sassy Jack Lemonade.

Jack's Sassy Lemonade; just 5 simple ingredients. refreshing on on a hot day with a little kick
refreshing with a kick

Recipe behind the link.

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