The Ring, The Cape & The Corset

The Ring

ring.jpg

He snapped the platinum setting to remove the stone and I burst into tears. I don’t know who was more surprised, me or him.
I loved My Nonnie and Poppa. She knew the first time she saw my Poppa, that he was going to be her husband. So what he was there to take her cousin out on a date. When he presented the ring to her father, he was quite surprised to hear she was only 16, he had never asked her age. 
She waited to wear that ring and so did I. But it was her ring. And I wanted it to be hers and mine. I was clear on the design from the beginning but that sound of metal cutting metal, cut something in me, and in that cutting were a loss and a release at the same time. A leaving behind and a new beginning.
It's perfect. I love the way I feel when I wear it. I love looking at it on its altar. They are with me, the story, the passion and the connection to history, to my history, and the making of history at the same time.

cape edited.jpg

The Cape

Oh, she just loved capes. Marvelous things capes. Easy on, easy off, secret pockets and a place to hide from the cold or snuggle up under for a snooze. I loved her in her mink cape. The softness of the fur on my face and the scent of her perfume, Bal a Versailles filling my head.
I longed to feel her with me, to be wrapped safely in her arms. I cried and cried and slept in that cape for days until I heard her voice loud and clear…”don’t cry for me when I’m gone. Stop crying or you will be puffy for two days.” I crawled out of bed and put it on over my nightie. I looked like Darth Vader in a What Becomes A Legend Most Backglama.
Now it’s short and lined in Schiaparelli pink. The secret pocket on the inside bears her monogram and there are fingerless gloves and legwarmers and a stole! 
When I wear any of these things, her arms are around me and I am safe, I am invincible, she is with me. I am connected, I am proud, I am loved and I am warm.

The Corset

Want it. Need it. Have to have it. I’m fascinated by corsets and a hand-woven one to boot, made to measure struck a chord I forgot existed.
It was hardly a decision but a commandment that I take to the closet and pull out those teeny tiny leather pants I had saved in textures of black, remnants of my rocker self that I wasn’t willing to let go of.

Shredding those fibers was liberating, validating and exhilarating. Tying the shreds into yarn was like giving a new life to an old part of myself that still sparkled. The waiting for the weaving, fusing, boning and lining in the most magenta peau de soie seemed interminable.
It’s still all about sex, drugs and rock and roll. Maxes and Area, The Mudd Club and Club A. Its me, Its mine and, of course, goes with everything.

Amy Hope

I created Amy Hope out of a desire to feel confident and cool every single day. To go from mat to meeting. Fluff my hair, add some paint and an earring and go from cocktail to fundraiser and dinner feeling sexy and as comfortable as I was in my choice at 7am when I threw it on in the first place. 
Amy Hope is an idea, a state of mind reflected in a lifestyle. A core system of contemporary and timeless pieces, they are easy to wear, pack and care for. I mean who doesn’t need a Magic Upside Down Dress?

The pieces are limited editions and one of a kind, made from fabrics that called to me, fabrics I choose for you.
Amy Hope is my antidote to fast fashion and my feeling entitled to express our individuality in what we wear and the empowerment that comes from feeling connected to self.

The stories of The Ring, The Cape & The Corset grew from my love of reimagining and repurposing heirlooms passed on and purchased. There is joy in the evocative power of things. I love helping people connect to that joy by seeing themselves and their loved ones wearing, and living with things that have meaning.
Every minute of this work is inspiring. I am enthralled with the process of reimagining and recreating purpose to the things we have stashed in our closets. Watching women walk with confidence. Im graced to share it with you. Amy Hope

The King of Medicinal Mushrooms

The King of Medicinal Mushrooms

Chaga Mushroom is the reigning "King of Medicinal Mushrooms." Found on yellow and white birch trees in Siberia, Alaska and northern Canada, Chaga’s medicinal properties are documented back to the 16th century.

Otzi, the Ice Man, who lived 3,300 BCE, was discovered carrying Chaga along with his other tools and equipment.

The fungus extracts nutrients from its hosts and concentrates them into itself. It is the second most antioxidant-rich food in the world aside from chocolate. The Chaga mushroom’s incredible density of B vitamins and antioxidants has the highest ORAC score, a measure of antioxidant potency, of any known superfood, three times more than goji berries. High antioxidant levels support cellular regeneration, protecting against cellular damage and genetic mutation.

Chaga contains antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective, and anti-cancer properties, helping to protect against food and asthma allergies, atopic dermatitis, inflammation (including autoimmune inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis), atherosclerosis, thrombosis, HIV, listeriosis, septic shock, and perhaps most prominently, cancer.

Chaga has been found in both in vivo (inside a living organism) and in vitro (in a laboratory model) to directly inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells.

Chaga can help boost energy and promote mental clarity, but look out for impostors. As Chaga gains popularity, it’s being "farmed" by boring holes into birch trees and artificially implanting the spores. This is not wild-harvested Chaga, and does not possess the same healing properties.

I like Chaga Island Superbrew, http://www.chagaisland.com/, made in Long Island, but there are many reliable sources on line and at your local health food store.

As always, check with your health care provider before making any changes or additions to your health care regime.

My carpet is How dirty?

My Carpet is How dirty?

The formulas in commercial wet and dry carpet cleaners are loaded with irritants and chemical perfumes to mask the scent of chemical ingredients, leaving behind dangerous fumes and residue that can seriously affect our health. 

Some of the solvents used for dry carpet cleaning contain butyloxyethanol, potentially causing damage to the liver, central nervous system and kidneys.

These chemicals are dangerous to our health and the environment when the water used to rinse carpets goes straight down the drain, into our water system.

And think about the health of our children and pets. They are small and much closer to the ground. They have smaller lungs and faster metabolisms. Being in direct contact with carpeting, kids and animals are more vulnerable to serious toxic poisoning.

Many of the toxic ingredients used in common industrial and household cleansers have a tendency to concentrate in the body, creating a “body burden”. Pets develop and age seven or more times faster than people. As a result, pets can develop health problems in response to these chemicals more rapidly.

Chlorine can irritate your pet’s eyes and skin and tends to settle on the carpet, as it is denser than air, which means your pet gets the brunt of the irritation. Ammonia can cause sneezing and watery eyes, and many cats are sensitive to the ingredients in commercial carpet deodorizers or sprays. Even when using a pet-safe product, try to keep your cat out of the room until the product dries.

Products I like, approved by the EWG, Environmental Working Group, my bible for so many things, include: Simple Green, Sal Suds by Dr Bronners, Nature Clean, Bi-O-Kleen, or Natural Citrus, made by Seventh Generation.

 

 

Don't Shake It!

Don’t Shake It!

The human body is designed to eat food. Every time we eat is an opportunity to nourish and heal our bodies. Digestion starts before the food goes into our mouth. The production of saliva means there are digestive juices to chew, to use the muscles of our jaws and teeth to break down food so that we can absorb the nutrients and feel satisfied.

Now hear this: a shake is a processed food. A strawberry, fresh and fragrant is real food. Shakes and the like are just stimulating a dopamine reaction in the brain defying how we are meant to function, survive and thrive. 

Bone broth is a fancy word for soup. My grandmother made soup brimming with vegetables and fragrant herbs. Soup is fun and easy to make, share and eat. Remember talking at the dinner table? Today everyone is busy slogging back shakes and going back to their devices until its time for a manic spin class. Is that fitness? Is that living?

You don’t need a lot of time to make a beautiful delicious meal, it’s quick, easy and not expensive.

Oh go ahead, make a bone broth, or buy a bone broth. There are some great organic meat, chicken, and fish stocks available. Freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays. Take a few cubes, throw em into a pot, add some leftover meat, chicken, fish, or veg, or buy frozen veg and throw in a handful as your soup begins to boil and reduce to a simmer. Squeeze a lemon or lime, add some red pepper flakes, some fresh avocado on top, like the delicious Xochil of Mexico, sprinkle some fresh herbs And you have a beautiful healthy delicious meal. Now that’s living.

Tapping

Tapping

EFT, The Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping, is a combination of Ancient Chinese Acupressure and Modern Psychology.

Dr. Dawson Church says, “Acupoint tapping sends signals to the stress centers of the mid-brain, not the thinking part, active in talk therapy. EFT simultaneously accesses stress on the physical and emotional levels, body and mind, like getting a massage during a psychotherapy session.” EFT accesses the amygdala, the part of our brain that initiates the body’s negative reaction to fear, known as the “fight or flight” mechanism.

Not many of us are escaping from lions and tigers. Today, the fight-or-flight response is the internally generated stress response to a negative memory or thought from past trauma or conditioned learning from childhood. 

The practice consists of tapping with your fingertips on specific meridian points while talking through traumatic memories and a wide range of emotions.

You focus on a negative emotion: a fear, anxiety, a bad memory, or unresolved problem. While maintaining your mental focus on the issue, use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times each on 9 of the body’s meridian points. Tapping on these meridian points – while concentrating on accepting and resolving the negative emotion – accesses the body’s energy, restoring it to a balanced state.

EFT is successful in treating depression, anxiety and insomnia, PTSD, physical pain, IBS, weight loss, childhood trauma and physical illness.

33 years ago Roger Callahan developed Thought Field Therapy (TFT) using acupoint stimulation for relief of traumatic memories. 22 years ago Gary Craig trained in TFT and then developed EFT. It’s been 10 years since I learned about it and now you can learn for yourself. Nick and Jessica Ortner have an awesome website called The Tapping Solution http://www.thetappingsolution.com/ 

Tapping is simple, painless, you can do it anywhere, and it puts the power to heal yourself into your own hands.

Toothpaste

Toothpaste

The mouth is one of the most absorbent places in the body and the reason why some medications are administered sublingually, or under the tongue. So think about what’s in our toothpaste, how much of it we and our kids swallow! 

Triclosan, found in toothpaste, is an antibacterial chemical linked to antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies triclosan as a pesticide. 

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are linked to breast, ovarian, prostate, and testicular cancer, preterm and low birth weight babies, precocious puberty in girls, and undescended testicles in boys. Banned in Minnesota, it's still in toothpaste, soaps and cosmetics.

Surfactants like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate make the foam in toothpaste. They can cause skin irritation and canker sores, particularly an issue for patients in chemotherapy.

A component in antifreeze, propylene glycol acts as a wetting agent and surfactant in toothpaste. The Material Safety Data Sheets for propylene glycol warn the chemical can be rapidly absorbed through the skin, leading to brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. The EPA won’t allow its workers to handle propylene glycol without wearing rubber gloves, yet its still used in common health care products including toothpaste.

Artificial sweeteners cause sensitivity from a methyl component and bring about many symptoms including headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastro upset, weakness, chills, memory lapse, numbness, and behavioral disturbances. It, too, is in toothpaste.

Then there are Microbeads, the tiny plastic pellets found in toothpaste body washes and facial scrubs. They go down the drain straight into the environment, absorbing toxins from the water. They’re eaten by a wide variety of marine life and people too, where they get stuck under the gums, inviting food and bacteria to cause gum disease. Procter & Gamble stopped using microbeads in 2016, but the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) is lobbying to use microbeads made from biodegradable plastic in personal care products.

Protein

Protein

How much protein do we really need? High protein diets, like The Paleo diet, are popular because people are losing weight and feeling better on these regimens. 

Like carbohydrates and fat, protein is a “macronutrient.” We need relatively large amounts of it to stay healthy. Unlike carbohydrates and fat, the body does not store protein, so it has no reservoir to draw from when you’re running low. 

The body needs protein to build muscle mass. Your brain relies on protein. It is necessary for the proper function of the digestive tract and for our endocrine system, which is responsible for the production of hormones that regulate the immune, reproductive, and central nervous systems.

The best sources of protein are those that contain the essential amino acids we need to sustain growth, repair our muscles, bones, organs, cells, and gut.

The healthiest sources are meat from livestock and poultry that eat pesticide-free grass and bugs and roam chemical-free pastures. And wild caught fish.

Enjoying a surge in popularity is Bone Broth. Bone broth is easy to make and buy in liquid and powders, it can help heal the gut and boost the immune system.

Then there’s whey protein. A high-quality whey protein will contain 100 percent whey protein isolate derived from chemical-free, grass-fed milk. Whey contains the full spectrum of amino acids.

For vegetarians and vegans, nuts and seeds are a great source of protein. Two superfood choices are chia and hemp seeds. The shelled varieties of Hemp seeds contain 11 grams of complete protein per 30-gram serving.

We need about .8 grams for every kilo, that’s 2.2 pounds, of bodyweight. Thank heavens for calculate.net, where you will find out how much you need in a day. If you are moderately active, pregnant or a real steam engine, your needs will vary. 

Detox Bath

Detox Bath

Were exposed to thousands of toxins every day. Starting with a shower in water contaminated with chlorine and pollutants, using soap and shampoo loaded with chemicals, fluoride in the toothpaste and then breakfast where we are exposed to pesticides, Genetically Modified Organisms, hormones, antibiotics and nitrates And we haven’t even left the house! 

The body is a miraculous design. The liver removes toxins and waste through urine and in bile through the bowels. Toxins not completely removed by these processes may be eliminated through our skin by sweating.

A detox bath is easy and cheap! Epsom salts "Epsom" is in England where it's found in natural springs and is also known as magnesium sulfate. The salts draw out toxins. Use it for: 

Use 2 cups Epsom salts to one cup Baking Soda for a standard size tub. Unless you have purified water, the Baking Soda will help neutralize chemicals, especially chlorine and help with absorption of the minerals. Try a few drops of rosemary essential oil to help with digestion or lavender to relax you. Be careful about slippery tubs when using oil!

Fill the tub and sink in up to your chin. Let the toxins leave your body. Once the water is cooled your body will absorb the beneficial minerals through the process of osmosis. Give yourself at least 20 minutes.

Get out of the tub slowly as you might be a bit woozy, and shower off the salts. 

This is a great relaxer before bed. If taking a detox bath at another time of day leave yourself about two hours to rest, rehydrate and recuperate. Do not eat an hour before or after a detox bath. Let your body concentrate on detoxing and absorbing the healthy minerals from the tub.

Do not take Epsom salt baths if you are pregnant, have cuts or burns, or are dehydrated. People with cardiovascular disease should check with their doctor about Epsom salts and Detox baths. Don’t use Epsom salt in a hot tub, whirlpool, or other tub with jets unless the manufacturer says it's OK or you may cause damage to pipes and mechanisms not covered by warranty.

 

 

Hungry is Good

Hungry is good

The key to maintaining our weight and our health starts by understanding our need for food.

Why we get hungry is a question I hear a lot. We get hungry for many reasons. The bottom line is, the human body is designed to get hungry so that we feed it. We need to eat so our bodies and minds can perform. 

The urge to eat, feel satisfied, get hungry, and eat again is controlled by ghrelin the "hunger hormone“and leptin, the "satiety hormone." Often our emotionscomplicate our food associations. 

Hunger triggers our hormones and jumpstarts our digestive system. So when a client who’s in good physical shape, and all seems right in his world, is constantly wondering why he’s never satisfied much less finding joy, I have to ask, ‘What are you eating?”

He starts his day with a smoothie and vitamins. Chia seeds, flax oil, a turnip, a beet, celery, green powder, turmeric, black pepper, garlic, ginger and stevia in a nut milk base. 

Yuck is what I’m thinking, but everyone’s palate is different. “Does it taste good?“ “Oh no it doesn’t taste good but I know its good for me. It fills me up and I make enough for three days so by the third day it’s like pudding.” Blech!

Juicing and smoothies are great, but those nutrients degrade for every hour we don’t consume them. 

In the time it takes to make a smoothie you could make a beautiful, fragrant bowl with fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, and avocado and spend 10 minutes eating it, you know, chewing, like why humans have teeth. Stimulate your digestive system by absorbing the scents, site and pleasure of eating something delicious and creating a greater connection to our planet by being in touch with your food.

Make friends with your food, find joy and feed your mind, body and soul and chances are, you will feel better.