Black Friday Poll

Black Friday brings all kinds of sleeplessness, nervousness, and a huge dent to the bank account despite crazy sales. How do you really feel about the whole extravaganza–Is the lack of sleep (and zen) really worth it? Let me know what you think.

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November 29, 2011 at 2:08 am Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Zen

It’s officially holiday time. That means a few different things:

  • You’re way stressed out by the mere thought of holiday shopping
  • Black Friday is looming (only a few hours away!) and you’re already breaking out in hives.
  • You’ve passed out in a deep sleep to avoid the situations above.

Now, that third choice is probably the best way to go seeing as you’re about to (or already have) gorged yourself on turkey, yams, and pie. But never fear! Here are a few tips when it comes to battling the crazy sale-goers tonight/tomorrow morning.

Choose Wisely

It’s really easy to blow your paycheck on Black Friday. Spend some downtime on Thanksgiving day (when you are recuperating and napping from your feast) scouring the ads. Make a list of places and products you want to find–as well as alternative places to find the products you want in case you run into Ms. Snarl-Faced Coupon Monger.

Step Back

I promise you, that isn’t the very last electric wine opener in the store. And snatching it away from that snarl-faced coupon monger isn’t worth the stress and blood-boiling anger you’ll be experiencing. Step back, smile (as much as you don’t want to), and let her have it. Good karma will reward you in the form of an even better wine opener at the next store you visit.

Drink

You have your presents purchased (and some things for yourself) and you’re exhausted. But you’ve won the battle! On your way home, stop for a drink. Bloody Marys work wonders for shopping hangovers.

 

November 24, 2011 at 6:37 pm Leave a comment

Take a Day Trip

It’s Tuesday, and the weekend seems pretty far away. We all need something to look forward to, so why not plan a day trip? Here’s a step-by-step on planning a quick mini vacation.

Finances: Put $20 a paycheck/week away in a savings account you’ll never touch. It’s even better if that savings account is with a bank that doesn’t keep your checking account, as well. I’ve been putting aside $40 every two weeks since the beginning of summer and I already have enough for a spring trip to New York.

Grotto of the Redemption. West Bend, Iowa

Company: Find one person you can stand spending more than five hours with and plan away. A day trip is never fun alone! Half of the fun is planning where you’ll go. Grab some wine, check out Design by the Glass for wine inspiration, and start searching. Last weekend, a friend and I explored West Bend, Iowa, home to the world’s largest Grotto.

Destination: Don’t worry if you can’t pinpoint one place to go. Pick an area with a few small cities surrounding the destination. If you can’t find anything to do in one town, head over to another. A lot of times you may find a new day vacation hotspot.

Make it longer: The great thing about day trips, is that they’re usually to smaller places that can be explored in a day. The perk? Cheap hotels. Check out the rates before you go–you may be able to extend your stay and make it a weekend trip.

I love day trips. It’s an easy way to get out and see something new without spending too much money or time. Here are my favorite one-day hotspots:

Galena, IL

Galena is a small town built on a hill around a dam. Take the trek up the stairs to the town’s Italian restaurant, or spend the day shopping at the unique boutiques that line the only street running through downtown. Don’t forget toWatch out for the specialty salsa shop–they have salsa with the world’s hottest pepper, and they mean it when they say eat with caution. Trust me.

Dubuque, IA 

This destination may be more of a weekend trip. Complete with a casino and an old-fashioned, unrenovated theatre, Dubuque has a ton of charm. Don’t forget to visit the nearby convent on your way out–they have amazing cinnamon bread. Anyone in Dubuque will be able to point you in the right direction.

Madison, WI 

This may be my all-time favorite shopping day trip destination. The shops that State Street offers are unlike any others. Stop in Art Gecko for one-of-a-kind jewelry and other things you won’t find on this continent. The biggest perk? After leaving, I smell like incense for the rest of the day. Warning: State Street is not for everyone. Those people include college student haters, conservatives, and the smell-sensitive.

Take a break from your Tuesday and start planning your next day trip. Make sure to tell me where you went!

Keep it Zen, friends.

November 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm Leave a comment

Meditation Article

It’s an older article, but check it out. Time magazine finds a guy who depends on meditation to keep his cool throughout the workday.

The story, “How to Get Smarter, One Breath at a Time,” follows Walter Zimmerman, a Wall street guru with a cult following, who posts a daily webcast featuring volatile energy markets and the groups investors should keep an eye on.

Check it out here.

October 31, 2011 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

Seasonal Salads

Food is wonderful—and homemade food is even more magical. For the past month, I’ve had to incorporate meat into my diet. I’ve been a vegetarian for two years, and it sucks. There’s no way to make that more eloquent.

The past month I’ve learned the value of good food after battling undercooked meat and greasy aftertastes. Nothing against you, meat eaters, but take a look at these vegetarian salad recipes courtesy of The Vegetarian Times. Just a few more weeks…

Spicy Asian Spinach Salad with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Bring in the fall season (and Halloween) with this pumpkin seed-infused meal. Filled with iron (spinach) and veggie goodness (carrots, sprouts, green onions), this salad is a great choice for a light lunch. Check out the full recipe here.

Warm Lentil Salad with Grapes, Feta, and Mint           

Forget chili; try this Greek-salad-gone-warm for the winter months. Red grapes add a touch of sweet, while the combination of mint and feta make for fresh surprise for your taste buds. Grab a bowl of this and throw on the weekly football game. Check out the full recipe here.

Tangy Carrot-Apple Salad with Cider Vinaigrette

There’s a salad out there waiting for you, fruit lovers. The mix of tangy and sweet between the apple cider vinegar and agave nectar bears a tasteful dressing. The particular salad features apples and cranberries—perfect fruit for the turn of the season. Check out the full recipe here.

October 23, 2011 at 9:52 pm Leave a comment

Incense

Meditation is all about taking in your surroundings and being more aware of what’s going on in your environment. There are ways to make this easier—my favorite being incense. It makes it easier to relax and concentrate when all of the focus is clearing all of the day’s craziness from your head.

The sense of smell can bring you more in-tune with anything. When I’m meditating at home, I prefer the smell of nag champa, which has a strong wood-like smell that tapers off to a sweet scent after a while. This scent is said to relive headaches and help relax anyone who comes within smelling range.

Here are other incense scents that are great for meditation, or just sweetening up the smell of your space, too.

 

Patchouli

Used in many perfumes and colognes, this scent is strong and overpowering to some. If you love deep, spicy scents with a wood-like undertone, patchouli is your incense. It’s also known as an aphrodisiac, so take heed when spreading the scent generously.

  Lavender

This flowery scent is much lighter on the nose. It’s great for relaxation, but easy   to lose in the mix of everyday smells. Lavender also aids with relieving tension and headaches. The scent     comes from oil taken from a lavender plant’s flower.

Frankincense

If your space—or mind—is in need of positive energy, turn to Frankincense. This scent is thought to aid the spread of positive energy whenever it can be smelled.  It has a pine-like scent. This makes sense, seeing as Frankincense is created from tree sap.

There a literally thousands of incense scents out there. Explore and let me know—which one is your favorite?

October 10, 2011 at 10:31 pm Leave a comment

Update

There’s so much to talk about when it comes to the Zen lifestyle and all of the wonderful things that come with it.

So, I’ve devised a plan. I’m going to break up the days with daily topics.

Meditation Monday: I’ll take you through the benefits, different types of meditation, and how to do it every Monday.

Take a Break Tuesday: Mondays are rough, I know. It may be early in the week, but taking breaks for yourself are important. Tuesday will feature various ways you can take time for yourself to Zen out a little.

Wildcard Wednesday: I’ll bring something completely unexpected into the mix on Wednesdays. It may be an awesome recipe, a profile, or just a really funny story about how un-Zen life can be sometimes.

Tasty Thursday: Prepare yourself for awesome recipes and dinner party ideas.

Feng Shui Friday: Your living space is important, and I’ll give you some tips on how to make it your favorite space every Friday.

Keep checking my Facebook and Twitter pages to catch other tips and awesome things throughout the week. And, as always, let me know if you have any topics you want covered.

 

Keep it Zen.

October 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm Leave a comment

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