Cheerful spikes of pink snapdragon-like flowers emerge above the spreading foliage in late summer. Ideal middle-of-the-border plant for contrasting color and foliage among dwarf shrubs. Thrives in shaded settings and prefers moist conditions. An herbaceous perennial.
I know what’s happening on the beaches, swimming pools and cruises right now, BUT it won’t always be this way. We will get back to normal and what better way to wait it out is to dream a little. That country, that island, that beach, that ship, that swimsuit ! Yes, swimsuit. Are you ready for summer ? Take a peak at some really cute suits. Then get dreaming where you’d love to wear it. Read on:
That’s all for this edition. I may post another edition if you enjoyed this one.
Expert advice that doesn’t work is not merely useless; it is worse than useless. When the advice of experts doesn’t work for us, we think there must be something wrong with us.
When stress hormones are released, they grab our attention. Something unexpected – perhaps something out of control – is happening. We feel alarmed. And we should. What is going on may be a serious threat. We need alarm to get our attention. Then, if we have good parasympathetic nervous system programming, this system kicks in and calms us automatically. Automatic calming is vital. Clear thinking is needed to deal with an emergency. To think clearly, we need to be cool, calm, and collected.
There Is a Solution
The Three-Button Exercise
This is one of the exercises to use if immediately when you feel stress. Remember a person with whom you felt your guard let down. The signals that cause your guard to let down are transmitted by the person’s face, their voice, and their touch. I want you to imagine buttons you can press to calm yourself.
Imagine your friend has pasted a sticker on their forehead bearing a picture of a button with the number 1 on it. Another sticker, showing button number 2, is pasted on their chin. A third sticker, with button number 3, is pasted on the back of their hand.
Now imagine feeling alarmed. Imagine putting your finger on the button 1 sticker on their forehead and then releasing it. Their face comes clearly to mind. You see the softness in their eyes. It feels good.
Imagine putting your finger on the button 2 sticker. As you release it, the person’s lips begin to move, and you hear them greet you in a special way. You may notice that the quality of their voice calms you deep inside.
Imagine touching the button 3 sticker on the back of their hand. When you release the button, the person lifts their hand and gives you a reassuring touch or a hug—whatever gesture is appropriate in your relationship with this person. You may notice calming stillness rest on you.
You can activate your calming system by pressing the buttons any time you wish. But we want to set up calming that works automatically. To establish automatic attenuation, intentionally remember feeling alarmed, and then press button 1. Remember the feeling again; press button 2. Bring the feeling to mind again; press button 3.
Repeated use of this exercise is one of the steps used to teach the parasympathetic nervous system to automatically kick in when calming is needed.
For most Christians, Easter 2020 is April 12. This year religious observance will be low-key as the coronavirus has effected even worship services. So let’s talk about its significance to the world of Christianity. Remember, Easter is the basis for faith-based Christianity-Jesus rising from the dead on the third day. In this time of uncertainty, I think we all need a framework of belief, of faith. Take this time to seek your framework for living and believing in a faith-based life. Stay well.
We admire literary heroines for their virtues as much as what we learn from their mistakes. In this way, fiction can teach us about ourselves. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator provides similar insight. More specifically, this system of typology illuminates the strengths and weaknesses of sixteen wonderfully unique personality types.
It’s always a good time to revisit your personality type (although we shouldn’t hide behind our four-letter label to excuse our flaws). So for inspiration—and just for fun—we decided to match the sixteen possible Myers-Briggs types with sixteen beloved literary heroines. Certainly, real personality types are multifaceted, and fictional character descriptions may only skim the surface. But read on, and you may be surprised how aspects of these personalities capture both the gifts and flaws of some of our favorite leading ladies.
In her 1900s novel, Lucy Maud Montgomery paints Anne of Green Gables as a young woman who embodies creativity, altruism, and starry-eyed resolve—definite qualities of the INFP personality type. Her devoutly caring nature and ability to see the good in others are characteristic of this type. Anne relies on her feelings and intuition to guide her. She experiences joys and sorrows with equal intensity. Anne knows how to make the best of any situation, drawing on her rich imagination to overcome challenges. Though she spends a lot of time in her head, she’s captivated by “such an interesting world.” Purpose-driven and ambitious like the INFP, Anne hopes to better the world around her. She’s also quick to lend her hand to others. Ever the romantic, Anne sets her sights on creating a poetic, meaningful life.
Anna Karenina of Tolstoy’s classic by the same name has a magnetic charm and confidence that commands a room. Anna thrives on excitement. Though seemingly capricious at times, she’s no stranger to self-reflection or brooding. Anna lets her heart guide her, refusing to compromise her principles. Genuine and gregarious, Anna easily connects with people. She pours herself into her relationships, defining her life in terms of her love and devotion to others. Like a classic ENFJ, Anna views happiness as an investment, and she makes it her purpose to share happiness with others. Even so, she cannot be truly content when she does not live up to her ideals—she’s an idealist, after all. The character of Anna captures the passionate, bright spirit of the ENFJ.
From Suzanne Collins’ trilogy The Hunger Games comes Katniss Everdeen, a model of resourceful independence. She’s analytical, decisive, and highly competent even under pressure. Katniss trusts her capabilities—and she has good reason to. She’s astute in her observations, objective, and mindful of the big picture. In these ways, Katniss demonstrates the INTJ’s knack for strategic planning, as she’s quick to determine logical solutions. Though Katniss keeps her feelings hidden, her compassion for others speaks through her actions. When forced into the limelight, Katniss would rather stray from the attention. Katniss questions social conventions that seem unsound. A true INTJ, Katniss thinks outside the box.
Jane Austen describes Emma as “quick and decided in her ways”; this heroine not only craves a good challenge but also trusts that she will pull off her schemes with flying colors. As demonstrated by her matchmaking, Emma sees possibilities and orchestrates plans with ease. She believes that human nature is best discerned with logic. Emma tends to misinterpret people’s feelings, including her own. She craves good company and delights in conversations that stimulate her mind, namely banter (or debates) with those whose intelligence matches hers. Emma voices her opinions with clever self-confidence, holding her own in any situation. Yet, she’s an attentive friend who wants to help her loved ones thrive. Emma possesses the energy, charisma, and fixed determination of the ENTJ.
Natasha Rostova of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace radiates joy and charisma. Like a classic ENFP, she delights in life and its infinite possibilities, leaping at opportunities with gusto. For better or worse, she’s not one to look before she leaps. She brings spontaneity and infectious optimism wherever she goes, and she goes wherever her heart leads her. Natasha’s feelings sometimes overpower her, yet she’s in tune with her own emotions and attentive to how others feel. She’s observant and, when given time to herself, quite speculative. Natasha treats others with compassion and has a talent for bringing out the best in people. Creative and playful, Natasha inspires others without effort—just like the ENFP.
In Betty Smith’s 1943 novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, we meet Francie Nolan as the quiet observer who watches the world unfold from the fire escape of her home. The story soon reveals the depths of imagination, emotion, and intuition behind her unassuming demeanor. Francie seems to have insight beyond her years, dissecting situations and motives with keen precision. She’s empathetic and sensitive, easily overwhelmed by tragedies and injustice. Yet, drawn to ideals such as truth and beauty, Francie finds meaning in even mundane situations. She not only imagines what could be by setting lofty goals, but she also has the grit to pursue them. Like the INFJ, Francie resolves to make something of her life “so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”
You’re not the only one who finds #quarantinebaking so soothing. Turns out, it has a lot to do with the neuroscience of mindful meditation.
Photograph: Getty Images
A Wired.com article written by Sara Harrison
It turns out that homekeeping and self-care activities like meditating, cooking, cleaning, and even just stocking the pantry can help stop cycles of anxiety and depression by changing how the human brain self-regulates. Here’s why stress-baking or cleaning feels so good, neurologically speaking.
When humans perceive a threat or stressor, our amygdala—a small region of the brain associated with facilitating fear, anxiety, and emotion—jumps into gear and becomes more active. This activation can have physical consequences, too. Sometimes people who are anxious report feeling short of breath or have an increased heart rate. That’s because the amygdala is also involved in regulating our blood pressure, breathing, and heart. So when the amygdala gets going, those systems do too.
Activities like taking a bike ride or stress-baking a pan of cookies give people a sense of accomplishment and control. While they’re exercising or cooking, they can focus on the smaller tasks at hand and take a break from stressors like social media or the news. Gollan says these activities don’t have to be big projects. Just opening the window and enjoying the breeze, or taking a break with a good cup of coffee, count too.
Many people already find repetitive chores like washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, or chopping vegetables to be a kind of meditative practice, their own way of quieting the mind. Culinary therapies for grief and anxiety have started appearing across the country, and some evidence is emerging that it does work, though the neuroscience is still not well examined. Julie Ohana runs a practice called Culinary Art Therapy, where she uses cooking to help clients improve communication, manage stress, and improve self-esteem. She wasn’t at all surprised to recently find that her local grocery store in Michigan was completely out of flour and yeast. “The idea of cooking, and baking in particular, really requires a certain level of mindfulness, of putting aside everything else that’s going on around you and being present in the moment,” Ohana says.
Right now, being forced to focus on kneading, mixing, and measuring is particularly important. And there’s a certain practicality to this kind of mindful task. “We all need to eat,” Ohana says. “Why not really put your all into that dish you’re cooking and really get everything out of it that you can?”
As a public service to my readers, I must inform you of a variety of fashion trends sweeping the country. Therefore, I feel it my duty to submit an article that does just that-informs you of a fashion trend. Pay no attention to the beautiful models as they are just showcasing the apparel. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it ! Read on:
An article by Maison de Cinq
Dressy shorts. A contradiction in terms, right? However, I have seen them more and more in the last few years, and I must say, I’m a convert!
Previously, I always thought of shorts as casual, and I really only wore them with flip flops or Converse sneakers. However, dressy shorts worn out at night with heels can be such a cute look! I admit, I am not a skirt wearing person for the most part, so I guess they speak to me. They are short (like a skirt) but way, way more comfortable. And sexy!
They look great with a blouse, a blazer or a loose tank top. Heels are the way to go if it’s an evening out, but for a dressy lunch or day event, they are really cute with flats as well. I think they are a great option when you are not sure how dressy an event will be and you are torn between a dress and pants. Obviously, they are not appropriate for some events (a wedding is one that comes to mind) but for dinners out, drinks with friends, or a summer party, I think they are a great choice. I’m even seeing them on the red carpet! And for those of you who aren’t comfortable in shorts, just go a little longer. Knee length or almost-to-the-knee shorts are adorable with heels, and no different than a skirt – only cuter!
Honestly, is this not the cutest?! We can’t see her shoes, but I could see a heel with this for dinner out or dressier flats for a lunch date. Via Lovely Pepa.
Here she’s wearing flats, but the whole outfit is elevated way beyond the average cut-offs and tee. Perfect for walking the streets of Rome or doing some afternoon shopping! Via J.Crew.
Ali Larter at a red carpet event. This is the outfit that sold me on dressy shorts! Via Pop Sugar.
Charlize Theron at another red carpet event. LOVE this! Via Fandango.