• Watching My Garden Grow

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    Urban Garden on the upper east side of Manhattan

    My zen garden!

    Some of you might remember how the tree in my backyard came tumbling down last October in the freak snowstorm that hit our area. The heavy snow, falling on the tree still full of its autumn leaves was just too much for my poor wild cherry! The massive tree took out both my deck and the fence to my neighbors yard as well. The good news was that insurance covered the replacement of my deck so I got to start from scratch (almost) in planning my new garden oasis on the Upper East Side of Manhattan!

    I thought I’d bring you up to date on my progress so far! The contractor and his workers got the new deck built (based upon my design) in just over a week. I was amazed at just how efficient and ON TIME they were. Oh and did I mention that their craftsmanship was really first rate too?

    Once the deck was completed, it needed some color! So I went to my local garden center, Urban Garden Center on 116th Street and Park Avenue (yes there is a garden center in Manhattan). Dmitre was very helpful in suggesting plants and flowers that would do well in my northern facing garden. I bought as much as could fit in my friend’s Mini Cooper and spent Saturday afternoon planting away. I still need a bit more but I think my garden is starting to shape up nicely! In the rear of the garden I placed some black river stones to create a zen rock garden. I plan on adding a Buddha fountain as well (as soon as the one I want is back in stock!). Stay tuned for more updates and photos as my garden continues to take shape!

    My Rhododendron is starting to bloom!

    Hostas in the deck cut-outs and impatiens and vinca vine in the baskets on the fence.

    If you love to garden, or know someone who is, take a look at this gardening t-shirt from Life is Balance! It makes a great gift for any gardener, urban or otherwise.

    Life is Balance gardening t-shirt

  • I’m ready for summer…or at least spring!

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    It’s winter again today! After temperatures in the 70’s last week it just plain wrong that it was back to winter today in NYC! My summer mojo was poking it’s head out, complete with t-shirts and shoes without socks! Today it was firmly put back in its’ place as I layered up once again in sweaters, scarf and ski jacket! Well mother nature’s tease did put me in the mood for spring to hurray up and get here for good. I’ve had enough of scarves and wool hats! I want to wear my new straw beach hat, my flip flops and nothing but a tank top and shorts! I guess I’ll have to wait a bit longer though.

    This past weekend I visited two distinctly different trade shows that each added to my yearning for the warmer season to arrive. The first, on Saturday was the Whole Bead Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC, where I stocked up on some new stone beads and silver charms to add to my Life is Balance Jewelry Line. Roaming through the various stalls of bead vendors I got inspired to create an “Ocean Collection.” Here are are few photos of the end result:

    Life is Balance Ocean Collection Fish Balance Necklace

    Silver, Laboradite, Amazonite & Swvarski Crystal Balance Necklace from the new Ocean Collection

    Balance Bracelet with Dolphin charm

    Balance Bracelet with dolphin charm

    Balance Bracelet with tiny Fish Charm

    Balance Bracelet with tiny Fish Charm

    On Sunday, I took a bus from the Port Authority to the Exposition Center at the Meadowlands to visit Beneath the Sea, the largest consumer scuba and dive travel show in America. There I walked from booth to booth salivating over all the wonderful dive destinations I’ve yet to visit. I stopped by and visited with vendors who I have gotten to know over the year such as David Dunleavy, whose paintings bring the underwater world to life and Roland St John, an incredibly talented jewelry designer who specializes in beautiful diving and aquatic gifts. David and I talked about my Life is Balance® line of t-shirts – (he too has a cool line of marine life tees). Of course I was wearing one of mine!

    Protect and Preserve Ocean Conservation T-Shirt

    Protect and Preserve Ocean Conservation T-Shirt

    I stopped by my local scuba shop’s booth (Scuba Network) to look over the dive computers and try to decide which one I will eventually buy to replace my older model. I just can’t seem to decide between a wrist model or one on a console! I was also on the lookout for a decent strobe light for my camera to take underwater with me the next time I go diving. I stopped by a couple of photo booths and learned a lot about the Sea & Sea YS-01 DS-TTL Strobe. It sounds like the right set-up for me. Between that, the dive computer and all those great destinations I want to travel to, I think I need to start saving my pennies (and selling more t-shirts)!

  • Yoga Balances the Mind as Well as the Body

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    yoga meditation pose at sunset

    I’ve been feeling a bit off balance lately. My left shoulder started bothering me back in the fall. I first noticed it while swimming laps. I thought it would go away but it didn’t. So after going to the doctor and getting an MRI, I learned that I have severe tendonitis and a bone spur that is aggravating it. The prognosis: “If I were a betting man” said the doctor, “I’d say you will need surgery to shave the bone spur down.” Not wanting to jump into surgery (I’ve had enough of that lately!) he has me on an anti-inflammatory and will be starting physical therapy. I see him again in 6 weeks and then we’ll re-assess. I’m not sure, but I think as soon as I had a diagnosis, I started to feel worse! I can’t swim – not supposed to lift my arm over my head (hard to swim the crawl with one arm!). And what about yoga? I don’t want to give up the one thing that makes me feel grounded and peaceful!

    I was able to ski last weekend though. As long as I avoided the bumps and anything that would put a strain on my shoulder I was good. But, as most of us in the East know, this hasn’t exactly been a stellar year for skiing! What can I do to keep balance? I went to my 8:30 am yoga class this morning hoping I could find enough modifications to make my practice work for me. Suzanne, my wonderful instructor was back from a month-long retreat and she made some suggestions for modifications. I avoided the poses that I knew would hurt my shoulder (chaturanga, knees, chest , chin, shoulder stand) and I modified my arm position for the other poses, avoiding stretching my left arm over my head. After shavasana I stayed for the meditation. The end result? I walked out of class feeling balanced  both in body and mind!


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