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The All-Natural Sleep Aid: The Hot Tub Nightly Soak

Posted by mandy on September 28th, 2009

Studies conducted throughout the country reveal that many people, over one million of those living in the United States alone, experience some form of sleep disorder.   This can change over one’s life time depending on current situations one may be going through at any given time, the amount of work and/or stress one is dealing with at a particular moment in their life.  These studies have also shown that when one takes the time to organize their schedule, to create a nightly routine one will find it easier to fall asleep.

One addition to the nightly rituals that would prove helpful is to incorporate a brief soak each night in a warm bath,spa or hot tub into that routine.  At, one will find that there are so many different kinds of hot tubs to choose from, and there will be one that is perfect for each individuals needs.  One of the theories behind this is that while the heat of the water will cause the body temperature to rise while in the tub, when one gets out of the hot water the body temperature will then begin to fall.

This is an indication to the body that sleep is near.  Another aspect, and one that is great for sore and achy muscles, is the buoyancy that is experienced while floating amongst the bubbles relaxes the body enough to bring the relaxation necessary for sleep to be easily attained.  Combine those two factors that the hot tubs simply relax one and relieve stress, and sleep will be found quicker than one may realize.

The natural aspect of this kind of sleep therapy, is what draws many people to giving the hot tub a try.  Sleep medications may have ill effects on some people.  Another “sleep aid” some may use is a couple of drinks before bed.  Not only does alcohol serve to interrupt good sleep during the night, one should never combine alcohol and hot tubs.  Many people claim that in soaking before bed, they slept soundly throughout the night, for the first time in months, and for some people the first time in years.  It’s the natural remedy that is well worth a try.

Rocking the South African Daisies (and Gardens!)

Posted by mandy on September 27th, 2009

South Africa is one of the world’s most spectacular countries.  With an extremely rich history, diverse population, and stunning landscapes, there is something for everyone here.  Guests of all ages can find something enormously pleasing here, and in every city.  Whether the taste is for street fairs and festivals, historical museums that cover the complicated and fascinating history here, a lively night life with acoustic instruments or electronica, there are many choices for each of these.  And there’s always so much more.  It’s a country that’s unable to stand still, offering the best cuisine, the best culture, and the best hotels.  South Africa understands hospitality, and guests here are treated to a fantastically luxurious treatment.

After some delicious rest, and a mouth-watering meal, it’s a good time to explore what South Africa has to offer.  For festivals, there are always plenty of events on the menu in most cities, and two of the finest music festivals of recent years are the Rocking the Daisies festival in Cape Town and Rocking the Gardens in Johannesburg.  The Daisies festival has been underway for awhile, and is a three-day festival, where The Gardens is still one-day only, but is sure to turn into a longer event.  These are both extremely well-organized and publicized celebrations of music and lifestyle, and the emphasis here is on eco-friendliness.

They’ve partnered with some lofty and worthy partners, like Food and Trees for Africa to help promote an environmentally-conscious and eco-aware audience, but it’s not only for a good cause, it’s enormous fun.  Food and drink booths keep you well-stocked and belly full, and there are also nannies present at the grounds for childcare.  There are lots of interesting performers, including bits of theatre and stand-up comedy, but the focus is the music.  Both festivals have the power to attract an absolutely stunning line-up, and it’s a fabulous way to get to know South Africa, through its musicians and the audiences.

Hot Tub Selection

Posted by mandy on September 25th, 2009

Wow, I can not believe all the different hot tubs styles and sizes available in the market place today! Stationary lap / hot tub pools, one, two , three, four and more person hot tubs. All the different jet types available and on and on it goes.

I am looking into a hot tub because of the benefits of hydrotherapy. The deeply relaxing experience of soaking in hot swirling water. The release of muscle tensions from the massaging action of the water jets on the body. The improved blood circulation due to the dilating effects of the hot water on the vascular system. The improved nights sleep from relaxing in the hot tub before retiring to bed. All this and more are the reasons I am looking into getting a hot tub installed at home. I am hoping the hot tub can provide relief from the occasional head aches I have been having later and release the muscle tension as well as sooth my over worked muscles when I hit it too hard at the gym. In researching the benefits of hydrotherapy all this and more should be the net benefit to having regular use of the hot tub.

Placement and landscaping will be key to this project as well. I don’t want it to look like the tub was just set there, I need it to be placed in an appropriate location and then landscaped with plants and flowers giving it the look of having been there for sometime, not just dropped there yesterday. With careful planning this will not be very difficult. A low platform build around the side of it with pots of plants will help to get the hot tub blending into the existing landscape. Then planting low growing shrubs on the far side will provide the necessary screening and privacy we will want.

Hot Tubs for Athletes

Posted by mandy on September 21st, 2009

Hot tubs are extremely popular additions to any backyard and offer years of relaxation and fun. They also have the potential to increase the value of a home and property and offer multiple health benefits. With these elements considered, purchasing a home spa is not only an exciting adventure, but also seems like a wise investment. can assist individuals in deciding on the perfect hot tub for their home and work within the demands of most budget considerations.

One of the things to keep in mind when planning for your hot tub purchase is idea that most people incorporate their spa into a greater backyard design theme. It is possible to create a diverse backyard setting that functions equally for entertainment, health and beauty, while many people chose to focus on one specific element for the overall design and incorporate others as ongoing projects or additional features.

For the highly sports focused family, there is even a hot tub model to accommodate more of an athlete’s needs. There is now available a hot tub that also has some of the features of a swimming pool. The pool spa has an area that is structured to swim laps, though it requires a small amount of space. It works similarly to a treadmill in that the swimmer remains in a localized area, while the water flows around them. Various strength water flow resistance settings allow the athlete to swim against an ongoing wave of water. This is excellence for toning muscles, building strength and endurance as well as providing a great aerobic workout for your cardiovascular system. After the swim session, athletes are then able to sit comfortably in the hot tub and relax their tired muscles. This design for the hot tub is an exceptional benefit to athletes who are in training and also great for individuals who prefer swimming as their standard means of exercise.

Japanese Bathing Customs and Your Portable Hot Tub

Posted by mandy on September 21st, 2009

Having your own hot tub opens up a world of possibilities in your own backyard.  There are many benefits of ownership, and the most easy to see, perhaps, is the social benefit.  Friends and neighbors are easily drawn to the idea of soaking in hot water with luxurious streaming jets, just as you are.  It will be a snap to entertain, and hot tub parties are also very easy to plan for.  Simple gatherings with friends, special themed parties with groups, and charming intimate evenings just for two, are all at your disposal with your own portable hot tub.  There are also all the wonderful health benefits that come with hot tubs.

The pleasure of soaking in water has an elemental appeal that probably originates somewhere before birth, when the water in the womb was everyone’s home.  The attraction to the pull of the tides, along with the effects of the moon on our moods, can probably be attributed to the fact that we are mostly water, and it’s very natural that water appeals to our deepest natures.  Historically and culturally, the mystique of water and the benefit of bathing crosses many spheres.  Bathing as a custom has prehistoric origins, most certainly, but also has interesting patterns historically.  Some cultural bathing customs in contemporary times have ancient origins.  The Japanese custom of taking a public bath after you’ve already washed is a fantastic way to maintain cleanliness as well as having a beautiful social function as well.

Historically, the Japanese had a reputation for bathing.  Chinese and European travelers commented on their cleanliness from early times, and the bathing houses connected to Buddhist temples are legendary.  The tradition of soaking baths in Japan can possibly be attributed to the geography.  Because of the location between volcanic belts, Japan has an abundance of natural hot springs, and this is very likely where the origins of bathing here began.  In Buddhist philosophy, bathing purifies the body as well as opening the doors for luck, and it’s gorgeous for the contemporary world that the tradition has continued to our times, and to our doorsteps.

Time to Buy New Tires? Know the Sidewall Code

Posted by mandy on September 14th, 2009

How does one know that they are choosing the right tire for their vehicle?  Well, aside from asking the people at the facility in which one goes to buy new tires,  there are many things about tires that one can become knowledgeable about in order to know for themselves that they are getting what they want and what they need.  One of the most common mistakes made by people is not getting the right sized tires when replacing their old ones.  One simple way to know a tire, is to look at the code on the side of the wall of the tire.  All tires have this code.

The tire code will begin with the letter “P”, which signifies the kind of tire, in this case, for a passenger vehicle.  If the code begins with “LT”, the tire is meant for use on a light truck.  These tires have a higher carrying capacity and are used on most pick-up trucks and SUVs.  Two numbers follow, and they signify the width, and the ratio of the tire compared to that width.  If the letter “R” follows these numbers, it means that this is a radial tire.  Two more numbers follow and they define the rim’s diameter as measured in inches, and the load rate for the tire.

The next letter will indicate the speed rate for that particular tire.  The speeds range from ninety nine to one hundred eighty six MPH.  The most common letters one will find for this is “T” or “H”.  At one hundred eighteen and one hundred thirty, these far exceed the usually posted speed limits in the United States.  However, if one takes long road trips regularly, these are great tires to have.  Long amounts of time driving at once will raise the heat of the tire, and the ones with higher ratings dissipate the heat quicker.

This is something to take into consideration as the more heat,the quicker the wear on the tire.  For those that are going to spend most of their time driving in town, at relatively lower speeds, the rating of “S”, which is one hundred twelve MPH will be just fine.  If the speed rating is followed by an “M” and an “S”, this means that the tire is suitable for driving in all seasons.  This code made seem hard to understand, but when broken down, it is a simple way to know for oneself, the tires that are appropriate for their vehicle.

Middle of the Night Do It Yourself Auto Repair on the ’67 Chevy

Posted by mandy on September 14th, 2009

One night, while driving to Los Angeles for a college road-trip, the car broke down in the middle of a mountain pass.  We were three kids, who knew nothing about cars, except that you got into them, turned the key, pushed ‘play’ on the cassette player, and stepped on the gas.  It was hot.  For although it was midnight, it was August in the Southwest desert, and the temperatures were still quite high.  We were in my best friend’s ’67 Chevy Mach II.  The Mach II part may make it seem as though it was some kind of race car, but it was a white, four door car we often referred to as the ‘Granny Mobile”, it was very, very fast however.

So, we were sitting on the side of the road, with steam and hot water shooting out from the engine, when a kind trucker pulled over to see if he could help.  Luckily this guy, who had spent most of his last twenty years or so on the road, knew a bit about the concept of do it yourself auto repair.  We were a bit flustered, as he asked to see the factory manual in order to read up on the best way to deal with this small engine repair.  Manuals were not something we kept handy at the time, and after all, the car was circa 1967, and we were circa…19 years old.  Nothing is supposed to break down when one is 19 years old.

This older gentleman, now I am his age and do not like to consider myself ‘older’, gave us a kind but stern talking to about heading out on road trips without thoroughly checking our vehicle before hand.  And on top of that, he said that whether one is traveling by truck, by car or by motorcycle, manuals should always be stored in a safe place, for situations just as these.  So, without a manual for a guide, he took a look under the hood of the ’67 Chevy and found that the radiator hose had blown.  He went to his truck and came back with duct tape, cardboard and some tin foil.  He fixed up the hose so we would make to our LA beach destination, and told us to get to a mechanic as soon as possible.  My best friend sold that car about five years later, with the duct tape, the card board and some tin foil, still intact.

Combined Streets of Hong Kong

Posted by mandy on September 10th, 2009

I found that in Hong Kong that the stores or Hong Kong Restaurants are grouped together into specifics markets. So, it’s like there isn’t a florist in every neighborhood, but instead, there are blocks of florist shops, blocks of bird markets, blocks of restaurants and butchers, and fashion.

In Mongkok, flowers line the streets. It’s a good example of an excellent free market system, like if I was quoted a high price, I can just walk next door and check out the competitions pricing. Not too far from the flower block is the bird block. This market reminded me of my friend back in the States, she came from a huge family and extended family and where ever they go they bring their birds with them, when they have a family Reunion, it looks just like this bird market in Hong Kong. Actually, apparently, bird owners bring their birds to the bird market so they can have some company to sing with other birds.

As for food, Wanchai market is where one should go for items needed to prepare for dinner; tons of butchers here, lots of fresh meat: chickens, frogs, pigs, fish, turtles, pigeons and fruit and vegetables to go along with anything you want to cook. Indoors at the Wanchai market is electronics, talk about diversity. They have the latest laptops, computers and other technology and the deals are tremendous. Now if you want a deal for the latest fashions, you’re out of luck. For some reason, Hong Kong isn’t the place to get a deal on what they consider hot and sinful items. I’m not sure why, but that’s just Hong Kong for you.

The restaurants here, no matter if they aren’t on an entire block and managed to be off by themselves, are excellent. For some reason, every restaurant that I’ve eaten at were all very good. I was in heaven in each one. I haven’t found a bad restaurant yet. I belly and how tight my jeans are fitting can be a testimony to just how good the cuisine is in Hong Kong.

Delhi Buying Trip

Posted by mandy on September 9th, 2009

It was September time to plan another trip to Delhi to stock up on supplies and materials for the business. Over the past few years things have grown so well that going to the source and importing directly has begun to make more sense than getting things through another supplier and being limited to what they have decided to import. Over successive trips I have made deeper in roads to small cottage crafters and am able to get custom items made for me adding that extra exclusive edge to my business. Getting to India is always grueling for me. Thirteen hour flight from the west coast of the US, but all in all it is worth it in the end. Having visited before I book at the Delhi hotels with the most affordable rate and clean safe accommodations. Every year I meet Amit he is my trusted guide through the crowded and confusing streets of Delhi to the markets. He knows what I look for and is good at finding me new contacts and people meet each year thus expanding my circle of friends and business acquainted there. These trips have an edge to then being in India is stressful on one hand, the crowds, pollution, noise but the contrast of the hidden oasis in the court yard gardens of the homes of the wealthy. Where one day we spent having lunch with some new Indian friends. Once inside the walled compound where their large home sat along with servant and quest quarters all among garden and ponds that would rival any paradise. Hard to believe what was just over those tall walls and out side the gates. Lunch was excellent, the hosts very very gracious and seeing the contrast of this walled life inside the endless sprawling slums of Delhi was very enlightening. Now we have done the buying we came here to do. Seen a few sites, visited old and new friends and now time to head back.

First Friday

Posted by mandy on September 8th, 2009

There is a big storm heading this way from the south, coming up the Baa peninsula. We get very little rain here in Phoenix so I hate to complain and really won’t but doesn’t that just seem to be the way rain when it is least welcomed. With plans to vend art work at an out door event Friday night I really hate to miss the opportunity to show and sell especially when this event comes only once a month because of some rain. The reports earlier in the week were calling for the storms to begin bringing rain to the area Friday afternoon or evening. Mid week forecasts have changed to predicting the rain won’t begin till Saturday, but the wind could pick up Friday late in the day. That would be nice giving us a reprieve for First Friday night from rain but still the possibility of wind. The event, first Friday, encompasses much of the Roosevelt Row area of downtown Phoenix. Artists and musicians selling work on side walks, galleries having openings and restaurants having specials and staying open latter are all part of the evening of fun and festivities. Visitors to Phoenix seem to enjoy the event. Frequently people from around the world are visiting and stumble onto the First Friday scene. Once I met the proprietor for the best Singapore hotels while viewing some very interesting art work combining found objects, fired clay castings, paint and bead work. This event has gone on for over a decade and has grown to involve a couple of areas in the central phoenix areas. The Grand District and Melrose also have First Friday events along with the Roosevelt Row area. An evening at 1st Friday include seeing art demonstrated, spontaneous performance of music and theater, gallery installations, street vendors and food.

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