Thursday, June 23, 2016

Defining Walking Styles

If you are a walker you've probably already adopted or fallen into a certain style that you enjoy and that works for you. Perhaps you are very in tune with your walking style or maybe you don't give it much thought at all and just head out the door. I was thinking about different fitness walking styles recently as I watched people walking through my neighborhood, it is quite interesting to see the different gaits, arm movements and step sizes that people use. 

I consider myself a very fast walker, my husband finds it hard to walk the pace that I go. I  take deliberate quick strides throughout my entire walk which is usually 25 to 35 minutes depending on the route I take. I prefer shorter quick walks that get my heart rate up and engage my muscles. I guess you could call it power walking! 

In European countries and growing in popularity around the world is Nordic Pole walking. This is a style of walking where you use poles in somewhat of a ski technique. It makes your walking stride easier and smoother. It is said to engage approx. 90% of your muscles as you move. 

There are those that walk in more of a meditative way. Sometimes with their heads down, at a slow pace as if contemplating or in deep thought. 

Race walking similar to Power walking is another popular style. In race walking one foot is always in contact with the ground. If done correctly is said to put less stress on your joints and burns more calories per mile. 

Strolling is just a slow kind of lazy day walking style. Not being in a hurry just ambling along while taking in the fresh air and scenery. 

Whatever your walking style is, it is important to just get outdoors and walk whenever the opportunity presents itself. Everyone has to find the correct balance for their own gait, speed, step length and frequency. With each walk you do and the more steps you take you will notice increased health benefits. Sitting too much can be damaging to our health so I say come on' just get out and walk, you'll be glad you did! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Simplify With Organizational Tips

We all know that an organized home can lead to a healthier more organized life. Who wouldn't want that, right?  Organization doesn't have to break the bank, it can be done simply and on budget. I consider myself a pretty organized person and thankfully my husband is as well. We are not collectors of 'stuff' and neither of us like clutter so it makes staying organized some what easier.  I know many people have a hard time keeping their homes and work space clutter free but with a little help it can be done. 

Here are a few low cost tips for the kitchen and your home office:

Kitchen -  wicker baskets are great for holding papers, vegetables or fruit
- trays (one size or with divided compartments) are very handy and come in a variety of sizes, use one on a coffee table or in a drawer or cupboard to organize items
- appliance manuals should all go in a ziplock bag and be put in a safe place for easy access
- clear glass or plastic canisters make great containers for dry cereal, baking items or treats
- ziplock bags are great organizers on their own, use one for birthday items like candles, cake decorating items, food coloring, etc.
- spice racks whether you like them visible or in a cupboard keeps spices organized and easy to find
- add some hooks to inside cupboard doors to hang an extra kitchen towel, barbecue tools or other item you use 
- a cleaning caddie keeps cleaning products together and stores easily under the kitchen sink

Home Office - filing cabinet or paper file box with compartments to keep all of your papers in order
- a must have is a paper shredder
- labelled binders for easy access 
- a bulletin board is useful for inspiration as well as for pinning important information you want to see daily
-magazine holders wooden or cardboard can help keep books and papers organized
- small wicker baskets can organize random office items
- desk lamp for task lighting
- book shelves of course for your physical reading material
- organize books by theme or alphabetically for easier access
- an old dresser that you repaint or re-stain can be a great way to keep items organized and out of sight

These tips should help you have a more efficiently run home and office. Simple things that make life easier. 

Designs by Shell - the home of whimsical happy designs
(apparel, gift items and stationary products)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

How Being Fit Can Benefit Your Work Life

If you love to stay fit and healthy then you probably already know that exercise comes with many more benefits than just the physical ones. Exercise can improve many different aspects of your life. Think of how great you feel after accomplishing a good workout. I know when I get home from a great bike ride or fitness walk I feel energized and so refreshed just from being outdoors and having that great adrenaline or seratonin boost. It gives me a clear focus and I feel much more alert and ready to work on my business. 

Whether you go to the gym to workout or prefer getting your exercise outdoors you will reap the benefits of staying active and in shape. Having more energy will keep you more alert and productive at your job and throughout your day. Even a 15 minute walk on your lunch break can be enough to recharge your battery and help you tackle tasks that feel like a burden. 

We all know that exercising regularly, especially as we age can increase longevity and improve overall health. Here's a list of some things exercise can help improve:

- weight
- mood
- stress
- anxiety
- depression
- illnesses  

I don't know about you but those are enough to make me want to exercise regularly. 

There are so many options of activities that you can choose from. Don't say you can't exercise, just find the type of activity that works for you.  

Here are a few examples of what you could do: 

walking, biking, hiking, gym classes, weight lifting, spinning, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, running, tennis... the list goes on.

Whatever you choose to do, do it well and you will improve your immune system as well as boost your productivity at home and work. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Gift of Travel

Getting ready for a big trip can be overwhelming when you start to think about all the details that have to come together. There's of course the trip planning in itself like your flights and connections and all the information you need to go with that. There is the hotels to book, your tours and excursions to book otherwise you risk not being able to get into many of the places that you wish to see. Booking ahead will also save you from being in those nasty long lineups and wondering if you'll actually make it in. Booking many things ahead can also save you money as many sites offer deals for signing up to things in advance.  Then there are all of the details to leave for those taking care of the fort, so to speak. Lots of things to finalize, not to mention all the packing and organizing of  travel items.  Okay... I'm tired just thinking of it all! 

My husband and I have been greatly blessed to be at the stage of our life where we are able to travel. Not just little trips but longer adventures to places we've been fascinated with and often talked about. This is our third time to Europe and our excited to explore new cities and countries in this area of the world. Exploring new cultures, art and history and tasting a variety of foods new to us is pretty exciting.  When we return home I will share pictures and stories of our adventures.

Having the opportunity to visit different places gives me great picture taking opportunities too! This works out perfect giving me a variety of photos for use on many products that I sell in my store and on my websites.  I get great inspiration from new places, from nature, people and sites that we visit. 

If you're travelling soon don't forget to pack it right and tag your bags with recognizable luggage tags.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Marketing Yourself And Your Business

Perhaps you're quite familiar with an 'About Me' page or maybe this is the first you're hearing about them. An 'about me' page is basically a page that shows a biography telling a little about yourself and sharing what your business is all about. It is really to show a face to your customers. This offers your potential customers a practical and professional connection while giving exposure to your service or merchandise. Sharing a personal picture of yourself gives people an emotional connection as well. Remember visuals speak to people often better than written words. With attention spans being very short these days because of all the social media sites, it can be hard to capture one's attention with text alone.

The 'about me' pages are a valuable marketing tool and a great way to expand opportunities.  A well written and designed page can reach your customers on many different levels. Although one cannot offer items for sale directly from your pages, links to your store or websites can be added. Buttons that link to your other marketing sites like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or whatever sites you are using can be added to your page as well. This is a powerful marketing tool that you should be using. I have only recently been spending more time promoting my 'About Me' page.

When you're ready to create a page for yourself, remember to keep it real. People connect best with those who are positive and upbeat. Don't make yourself up to be somebody you're not. Share a little about yourself, things that you like to do, maybe a little about your family. Things that give people a little insite into who you are.  Of course, don't foret a great picture of yourself, people like to connect with a face. Share your business and anything else you feel is important. It's pretty simple and a professional way to market yourself and your business.

Check out other people's pages to see how they've done theirs and perhaps you'll get some more ideas too!

You can visit my page here:

Designs by Shell - About Me

Friday, April 1, 2016

Push and Pull

Guess you're wondering what I mean when I say 'push and pull', hey? Well I am referring to my gym workout today.  I did an intense cardio workout that really made me put my mind to it.  First let me say, that I am preparing myself for a one week bike tour that my husband and I will be doing in about 5 weeks from now on a trip to Spain. So excited for this but I want to be in good form for 6 days in a row of biking that consists of anywhere from 30 km to 50 km a day!  It's in the mountains and we ride from village to village while the tour organizers take our luggage from place to place for us. Of course, it's not a race we can set our own pace and rest when needed but it will still be lots of riding.

 I often set goals for myself when I go to the gym. Today my goal was to do 30 mins. on the stair climber and then 40 minutes on the bike. I got through the stair climber fine and proceeded with my bike workout. This is where I had to do a lot of self talk today. The first 15 minutes went by fine but as the time grew longer my mind kept saying ah, you don't need to do the whole 40 minutes you could stop at 30 or maybe even 25 minutes is long enough. I persisted, pushed and sweat my way along, at 30 minutes I was telling myself "you've got this, just keep pedaling you're gonna make it no problem. Somehow if I let myself off and don't reach for the goals that I've set I feel self-defeated and it makes it much harder to do my next workout. Glad I persevered and finished well! Does this happen to you?

I think this can kind of relate to business in the sense that we need to set those goals, big and small and follow through with them as hard as it may be. Sometimes we have to 'push and pull' to get things done. It's always a great feeling when you accomplish your goals too!

Where is She Going

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Take Care In The Air

Many people get anxious at the thought of flying. Anxiety over flying affects millions of people world wide. There can be a variety of reasons that people get anxious and nervous every time they board an airplane. Fear of heights, enclosed spaces, lack of control and air sickness are some of the more common ones. There is an actual name for fear of flying known as aerophobia.

After experiencing several bad flights myself, I have come to have some flight anxiety as well. The excitement of going on a great trip keeps me going but doesn't alleviate my anxieties. On my last long flight to Greece I was fine for the majority of the flight but then the last couple of hours I began to experience nausea, a drop in blood pressure that left me limp and weak and I actually had to get sick in the little bags they provide. Blah... then I had to gather myself to get off the plane, wait for a couple of hours and board another plane for the reminder of my trip. This of course caused my poor husband some anxiety as well as now he was worried about how I would make it. We still had a fabulous trip to enjoy and then journey back home.  Every time something like this happens the next flight becomes a little more stressful.

Things I learned to do and bring with me to ease anxieties.

Have plenty of nausea medication in my carry on,  I found Gravol with Ginger worked the best for me. Not the regular gravol as I didn't like the drowsiness and out of control feeling it gave me but it may work for some who can tolerate this.

Carry something for bloating, cramps, etc.
Bring water, that you can sip frequently. I know they can give you some on the airplane but it's usually just a small glass.

Bring a few small snacks that you tolerate well, dried fruit, trail mix or bread sticks are good. The airplane food may not sit well with you so choose wisely if you are offered a meal.

Herbal tea is better than coffee on a long flight.

Have some good reading material that you're interested in to keep you occupied for awhile. Maybe a word search or cross word puzzle.  Watching a movie may help too.

These are just a few things that help me cope with the stresses of flying. I hope they help you too! If you have some great tips that have worked for you please leave a comment!

Ready for Take Off - Airplane Sticker