And The Royal Bride Wore White Angora

I, being somewhat of an Anglophile (okay, an AVID Anglophile), was completely entranced by the royal wedding yesterday.  I loved the somewhat austere solemness of it;  the sense of royal history, and seemingly true love and dedication between William and Kate.  Of course, I loved Kate’s dress.  It was perfectly elegant, modern and gorgeous.  The dress really suited Kate’s individuality, and her lovely radiance shone through, not being obscured by mounds of frothy meringue.

Well, imagine my surprise when I saw what Kate wore to the Buckingham Palace wedding reception.  The dress was another lovely creation by Sarah Burton for McQueen; a strapless ivory silk gazar gown, with a sparkling band of diamante cinching her tiny waist.  What really caught my attention though was the fabulously fluffy white angora bolero sweater that topped the whole ensemble!

You see, I love angora and am thrilled to see it in its rightful place on royal shoulders!  Angora is just incredible; its furriness, lightness, and silky softness is beyond compare.  To see Kate wearing such a stunning sweater is delightful.  You can see the delicate fluffiness of the angora rabbit hair fibers reaching for the sky.  I would guess that her sweater is at least 80% angora, but probably 100% pure angora (she is royalty, after all).

So don that royal angora!  If you’ve never worn it before, you are in for a true sensory delight.  You too, can have the same excellent sartorial experience that Princess Catherine has.  Fluffy rocks!

~Marilyn Huttunen

Natural Sinus and Allergy Solutions

It has been a long time in coming, but spring is finally making somewhat of an entrance in the Pacific Northwest.  The weather is still rainy and cool, but the days are longer and the sun is actually making an appearance more frequently.  I don’t know why this surprises me every year, but my good old allergies start to kick in at the first bloom of springtime.  I think because winter, even though it’s dark and gloomy, does afford me a respite in the allergy department.

Tree, plant and grass pollen are filling the air, with the accompanying symptoms of sneezing, sniffling and swollen eyes.  My sinuses seem eternally stuffed up, resulting in that oh-so unattractive mouth-breathing at night.  I know that 24-hour non-drowsy allergy medications are available, and I do take them from time to time.  I don’t want to become dependent on medications though, preferring a more natural approach since it’s so ongoing.

What to do, what to do?  First thing, I am a committed neti pot user.  I religiously use it every day, and have been for years.  There is nothing quite like flushing out the nasal passages with salt water!  Once you start, it’s hard to stop; the instant clean feeling is quite amazing and quite addictive.  It’s perfectly natural though – I don’t think I am in any danger of having to go to neti pot rehab – well, at least I hope so!

I learned something new recently:  that applying petroleum jelly to the inside of your nostrils will trap pollen in your nose.  So, of course, I had to try this.  Being the natural, eco-conscious gal that I am (well, try to be), I really don’t like the idea of putting a chemical by-product up my nose, so I am using the Alba Un-petroleum Jelly, which is the same consistency of petroleum jelly but is made from pure plant oils and all natural waxes.  It helps keep the inner lining of the nose moist too, which just feels better.

First thing in the morning, and a couple times a day, I spray saline nose spray up my nose.  I use it to augment the action of the neti pot, and is more of a quick, nasal-moistening fix.  I find it works even better if I spray, wait 5 minutes, blow my nose and then spray again.   This seems to work more effectively for a quick nasal cleanse.

Yes, I do take allergy medications every now and then.  But since I’ve been practicing the more natural methods, my medication use has greatly lessened.  I haven’t had a sinus infection in years either.  I used to get them twice a year (fall and spring), with the resulting antibiotic use to clear it up.  I hate antibiotic use because it throws the body all out of whack.  I’m glad to be rid of having to take them anymore.

So gurgle, snort, spray and line your nasal passages!  They will love you for it!

~Marilyn Huttunen

Book Review: Are You Tired and Wired? by Marcelle Pick

As a Hay House New Release Reviewer, I recently read ‘Are You Tired and Wired?  Your Proven 30-Day Program for Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue and Feeling Fantastic Again’ by Marcelle Pick.  Available at Hay House.

I was really drawn to the book because, probably like most women, I lead a pretty stressful life and I know that it can affect the adrenal glands.  Over the past several years I have made a conscientious effort to try to deal with stress more effectively by healthy eating, meditation, and exercise.  And for the most part I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job on keeping my stress levels at bay.  But this book made me realize that I do have several things to work on for optimum health.

Marcelle Pick does an excellent job in this book by focusing in on where you are in the adrenal spectrum.  By answering questions honestly, you can find out if you have mild, moderate or severe adrenal dysfunction, and if you are a racehorse, workhorse, or flatliner.

She gives detailed instructions on exercises, emotional work, diet, and supplements for each of the adrenal profiles.  She also includes lots of yummy recipes for healthy eating on the road to optimal adrenal function.  I really liked how she profiled several women, and gave details of their lives, and what they did to overcome their stressful lives.

I especially enjoyed this book because Marcelle really goes into more of the scientific/medical explanations on how a stressful lifestyle affects the adrenal glands.  Written with warmth and practicality, this book deserves to be read (and practiced) by most women in today’s busy society.

~Marilyn Huttunen

A Return to Scented Laundry – aaaaaaah!

If you don’t know it by now, I am a bit of a green-laundry diva.  Yes, I admit it.  The past five years or so I’ve ditched the dryer, opting for complete air drying with an out door clothesline or indoor drying rack.  Since I no longer use the dryer, there is no need for dryer sheets, so I ditched those too.  To complete the green aspect, I’ve been washing with unscented, ‘natural’ detergents in cold water.

Recently though, I’ve realized that I may have gone a bit too far over to the stoic side of laundry.  I’m not quite at pounding the washing on rocks at the rivers edge, but I was headed in that direction – ha!   I realized that I was missing a key element in the laundry process: scent.   I love scent, I love perfume, I love all of nature’s aromas – why did I give that sensory delight up in the laundry?

Sure, if I hang my laundry outside, it does pick up an outdoorsy scent; but after a particularly long, cold winter of indoor drying, that was missed greatly.  My laundry was hung indoors, wet and scentless.  Something was missing.

So I decided to go back to scented detergent.  I washed a load this morning and half the laundry is drying outside, and half inside.  The aroma is amazing, it smells so clean!  The drying laundry inside freshens up the whole house.  The drying laundry outside mingles with the outdoor scent and combines to make an intoxicating smell that can’t be reproduced in the lab.

I will continue to do cold-water washing and air-drying, but I will take back some scent in the process.  I’ve decided that even green-laundry divas need their aromas!

“We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.”  –E.B. White

~Marilyn Huttunen

Book Review: A Course In Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson

My latest book to review as a Hay House New Release Reviewer was ‘A Course In Weight Loss’ by Marianne Williamson Available at Hay House.

It was a very interesting book, and quite honestly, enlightened me to the fact that I really have a pretty healthy relationship with food and eating!  Oh sure, I could probably lose a few pounds like most middle-aged women, but I kept reading through the lessons and felt like I had my act together for the most part.   I exercise, cook and eat healthily, don’t have any food addictions or compulsions, and have a good body image.

But I think for women who have serious eating issues and weight problems, this book could be a godsend.  It deals with the emotional/spiritual part of weight loss, which I think is a very important component in any addictive behavior.  Marianne goes through 21 spiritual lessons which will help in surrendering your weight forever.  The lessons are not easy; they call upon you to do a lot of self-analysis and soul searching.  But they are good lessons because they will stick with you the rest of your life.  She helps you to really get to the true issues that are causing you to stay heavy.

This is not a fad “diet” or “lose weight fast” book by any means.  I feel that by following and practicing Marianne’s lessons, you will be well on your way to a healthier mind, spirit and body.  And it will most likely stick with you permanently, unlike that latest diet craze.

~Marilyn Huttunen

Winter Renewal

As much as I like to grumble about winter’s cold, snow, ice, sleet and rain, I secretly kind of like it.   Well, I don’t actually like the drastic weather conditions.  More so I like the changes it can evoke in me mentally, spiritually and emotionally.  I’ve learned, over time, to accept and even enjoy the experiences than only wintertime can bring.

It used to be that I really dreaded wintertime; the short daylight hours, the long, dark, cold nights.  I used to get a form of the winter blues, where it just all seemed so eternally gray and muted.  I would inwardly feel a bit sad.  And I would get in the habit of thinking negatively about everything winter-related.  Kind of a self-perpetuating numbness.

Over time, I guess I’ve gotten a lot more accepting of things, especially those things over which I have no control.  And I think we can all agree that weather conditions are one thing that we can definitely not control.  I started looking at winter with a new perspective, and how it could be used as a time of reflection and replenishment.  Since nature is slowing down and resting at this time, I took my cue from it and decided to do that for myself.

I find that it is a great time for looking inward; meditating, praying, reading.  There are fewer distractions, everything being colder, darker and slower-paced.  I take this time to recharge my batteries, so to speak.  I have learned to not to be afraid of my feelings, to not suppress them.  If I’m sad, I feel sad; mad, angry, frustrated – same thing.  I let it come out and really really feel it.  And then I usually go out for a brisk walk (in wintertime that is the only type of walk you can take!)  Usually this brings me back to a state of  positively balanced calmness.

I find myself cooking a lot more in winter- and really enjoying it.  I usually can be found brewing up pots of bean soup or roasting root vegetables; something that I would never do in summer.  It is so satisfying to make and then savor, some wholesome home cooking.

It’s also a great time to read that stack of books that I’ve put off all summer.  Wintertime really lends itself to reading.  Curling up in a warm blanket with a hot cup of tea, reading, is one of the great pleasures of life.  There are fewer distractions, less activity, less guilt about slowing down.

I guess I have taken Wayne Dyer’s words of advice to heart:  “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  I have changed how I look at winter; and it has in turn changed!

~Marilyn Huttunen