Erin’s Tchotchkes – Episode 1

Welcome to the inaugural episode of Erin’s Tchotchkes (auto correct really really wants me to say “hopscotch” but alas… the word is TCHOTCHKE)! This show was birthed from the pandemic known as COVID-19. Hopefully someday folks will read this and say, “Huh, I wonder what that was all about?” It was the pandemic that shut the world down with a nasty virus that originated in China. For at least eight weeks (and counting…) Americans have been on stay at home orders, we are out of work, schools have been closed for the year, families can’t visit one another and the sick are dying alone. It’s the beginning of a new normal that may very well involve prolonged social distancing and public mask wearing. My business, Simply Massage, was ordered to close by the Government along with all other “non-essential” businesses. It is an unprecedented time of uncertainty.

During the pandemic I’ve been doing all KINDS of things. Closet clean out, continuing education, home improvements, and joining the world of ZOOM meetings. The inspiration from Erin’s Tchotchkes came from a coaching group I participate in on a monthly basis. Our coach, Mina Shah, started popping in on Facebook Live every day, Monday – Friday to provide us with resources to navigate this super weird time in our lives. At the beginning of each call, while she’s waiting for everyone to hop on, she pulls something off her shelf and talks about it. The personal insight and connection it provided quickly made it my favorite part of every session. So I thought to myself, “Gee, I’d LOVE to have a show where I JUST talked about my tchotchkes.” Then I thought, “Why don’t you???” So I did. No one was stopping me except for me (story of my life folks, story of my life). 

I told my husband I was launching a show called “Erin’s Tchotchkes.” In between gaps of laughter he said, “But you hate tchotchkes!” This is true. HOWEVER, for a person who doesn’t collect things, I have an awful lot of tchotchkes that bring me an awful lot of joy. But the show needed more than just talking about trinkets to be a “show”. The platform quickly came together in my mind. I will host guests, we will share our trinkets, they will share their work, and most importantly, their GIVE BACK. Because folks, that’s really what I’ve gained from this pandemic. My massage work is my give back to my community. I help people feel better, I help them move, I give them a slice of sanity. Without it I was lost. So HOW was I going to give back without it? 

I decided to breathe some new life into another facet of my massage business: Lemongrass Spa Products. I am an independent consultant for Lemongrass and while I don’t promote it a lot, I enjoy having them as a resource to offer my clients when needed. Lemongrass offers a line of natural and organic based products for the entire family (including mine!). My dad jokes that my mother has ALL the products and my sister debates that she has more. Even my husband is #TeamLemongrass. 

In our first episode of Erin’s Tchotchkes I talk about my very first tchotchke – and possibly my favorite tchotchke – the little owl my great-grandmother gave to me right off her kitchen table when I was four or five years old. I chit chat about the pandemic, how it’s affecting my work, and launch into my April Give Back.

UPDATE: Lemongrass Spa is so generous that they donated 50 meals to Feeding America for EVERY party order submitted in April for a GRAND TOTAL OF 81,600 meals. EIGHTY-ONE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED. That’s HUGE and I thank every one of my peeps who joined forces with me to meet my goal! One person can make a difference – and that’s YOU my friend!

Check out Episode 1 on my YouTube channel and catch me every Saturday morning at 8:00am on Facebook Live. New guests will be joining in May and I’m so excited to share alllll of my tchotchkes with you!

 

With gratitude,

Erin 

The Duke Diaries – Week Two Fluids

A little ditty I discovered at the vet’s office. I MUST get one for home!

I’m going to open with our major coup! Woke up this morning and got out of bed. Duke followed. It’s cold here right now (maybe 60 this morning), so I got dressed and turned on the Keurig. Brought the fluid set up into my bathroom. Duke followed. I busted out some treats and Ted appeared (he can hear the opening of a treat bag, or the crack of a tuna can from pretty much anywhere). Both received some treats while I set up the needle. I was dreading the Week Two, Day Two administration.

Week Two, Day One was no bueno. Duke knows what’s happening and he didn’t want to participate that day. Needles popped out right and left. Finally I parked myself next to him while he slept in a sunny spot. I gave him pets and messed around on my phone until we were both calm. I tried to slide the needle in while he was sleeping, but he knows… so he sat up and let me do it. Then he walked off, under my dresser, and sat there. Thankfully he stayed still for a bit. We got 100ccs in before he decided to get up an shimmy his way out of the needle. The dose was fine, but it took three tries and I was convinced this would be come an increasingly difficult battle.

Then Week Two, Day Two arrived. With Ted booted out of the bathroom, Duke looked at me with eyes that said, “Ugh, we’re doing it, aren’t we.” “Yes,” I said, “Today is fluid day, but we will make it quick, and you can have treats, and then we will be done.” He reluctantly ate another treat while I fussed with the fur on his scapula. He walked away once, then settled down. He just sat there, still, while I found the spot and inserted the needle. Just still. I flipped up that roller to let the fluid flow; the needle was in a good, secure spot. I put down a handful of treats and the Dukester crunched away for 125ccs. Right at that 125 mark he was over it. He got up, leaving treats behind and walked a few steps. I turned off the IV (first time I got to turn it off without receiving a saline shower!), removed the needle gently, and opened the door for him. This time they were happy tears that trickled out unwillingly. He’s just such a good boy.

Happily, the rest of week two and now into week three (where are the WEEKS going?) have gone well. Even the “bad” sessions aren’t bad. I like to think myyyyyy fur baby is a GENIUS, but the receptionist at the vet’s office said, “Yeah, they’re all pretty good about it; it’s not really a big deal.” I beg to differ. It’s totally a big deal. I’m much more confident (like I pretended to be Week One, Day One), and Duke feels that.  We’ve got a little routine going and that’s good for both of us.

A happy side effect is that Ted is thrilled because my house has become Treat Central and since he’s such a Skinny Snausage (yes, Snausage) he gets treats too. Since Cecilia pretty much keeps to herself, she hasn’t caught on to the Treat Typhoon which is good because the little fat girl shouldn’t be indulging. All in all, things are pretty good. Duke gets labs done in another two weeks, so fingers crossed there’s an improvement.

Thank you everyone for all of your warm thoughts. Duke and I really appreciate it.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage – Part Three – Self Care

As promised, here are some tips for YOU to help YOU. Keep your lymph flowing in between your Manual Lymphatic Drainage sessions with some easy self care tips:

  1.  Exercise: Move around! You don’t have to kill yourself with burpees or run a marathon. I’m a fan of jumping jacks, but walking works (pump those arms!), and the new trends of rebounding and even just bouncing on a fitness ball can help.
  2. Dry Brushing: A superficial technique, dry brushing can stimulate your lymphatic system, aid with cellulite reduction, and slough off dead skin cells. It’s not very comfortable – I have to psyche myself up to do it – or perhaps I need a slightly softer brush. Here’s a little video demo selected because it is short, to the point, and I found that Margie made me smile. Remember: always dry brush towards the heart!
  3. Stay Hydrated: This is hands down the most important self care tip. Every system in your body works better when you drink water. So you just need to break down and do it. Here’s a list of hydration apps to help remind you (did you know once you’re feeling thirsty you’re already dehydrated?). I’m guilty of not drinking enough water too, so if you have a clever way to remember to hydrate, please share!
  4. Wash those fruits and veggies: This falls under the realm of paying attention to the environmental toxins around you. We are exposed to many environmental toxins that are out of our control, but be sure to always wash your fruits and veggies. If you’re really diving deep into healthier, cleaner living, please visit my Lemongrass Spa Products page. Lemongrass Spa’s mission is to provide natural products that are clean and made fresh, right here at home in America. The family skin care products range from cosmetics (I adore their lipsticks – no chemical taste and amazing pigment!) to lotions, scrubs, soaps, hair care, and essential oils.

Ready to try our Manual Lymphatic Drainage? During the month of September you may try our full body Lymphatic Drainage Massage for the special rate of $40 for a 60 minute treatment. May not be combined with any other offers; additional charge applies for mobile massage.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage – Part Two – The Technique

What Does Manual Lymphatic Drainage Feel Like?

This is an excellent question and it always helps to know what to expect before you receive any type of treatment. Personally, if I don’t know, my mind is spinning trying to figure out what comes next and I never fully relax. This segment of my Manual Lymphatic Drainage Series reviews the location of the lymph nodes and what it’s like to experience the Manual Lymphatic Drainage Technique.

Your Lymph Nodes

We have lymph nodes throughout our body. All of the nodes eventually drain into two “mother nodes” located in the supraclavicular area (just above your collar bone). Working the way down the body, the next major nodes are in your armpits (axillary nodes), your cisterna chyli is located in your abdomen, and your groin (inguinal). Below is an abbreviated chart to give you a basic visual.

The Manual Lymphatic Drainage Technique

When performing full body manual lymphatic drainage the client starts face up and the therapist starts by clearing the nodes just above your collar bone. Everything else eventually drains to this area, so you need to clear the path and give everything a place to go! We work through the body clearing the areas closest to the nodes and working away so we are always directing the lymph to towards the cleared areas. We work through the face, scalp, and neck all the way through the front of your body before turning you over. Majority of the work is actually completed with the client face up (supine), so it can be a much more comfortable experience, especially for those who get congested easily in the face down (prone) position.

The technique itself is very gentle. This is not a deep tissue massage. The lymph system is located very close to the surface of the skin, so the sensation you feel during the massage is very light pressure with a slight tug of the skin, typically in the direction of the nearest mother node (the tape playing in our heads is, “how light can I go, how far can I stretch”). There are a few areas that are massaged where you may not be used to receiving massage.

1) The eye sockets. I found it was a stranger sensation to perform this technique than to receive it. You can do it to yourself (pretty please be gentle and don’t poke out your own eye). Close your eyes, place a finger tip (preferably a clean one) on the bone UNDER your eye. Slightly roll your finger in until you feel the flat part of the bone. Yes, this helps relieve eye puffiness.

2)  Your armpits. It’s a quick technique, but if you aren’t expecting someone to put their hands in your armpits it can catch you off guard. The full palm goes in your armpit, so there are no little finger tips tickling around. It’s actually kind of a comforting sensation (I find this whole treatment to be very comforting in general).

3)  Under the breast. There are lots of nodes at the breast fold. The technique I use is for one hand to be on the side of the chest (kind of holding up the side of the breast tissue with my forearm and the other hand is under the breast, at the fold. Again, this felt much more invasive to perform than it did to receive. The hands barely move and the motion of the technique is towards your side and up into the armpit (to the auxillary nodes). Fun Fact: Wearing underwire bras and very tight sports bras can inhibit the full function of these nodes, which is why it’s important to clear them. It’s also important to let the girls breathe, either bra-less or with soft bras so your lymph can flow.

4) The Groin. Again, this sounded much more invasive to me than it felt when receiving the technique. The therapist’s hand is placed approximately between your hip bone and pubic bone and I always use secure draping. There’s lots of nodes in this area which is why it’s important to treat, and the therapist hangs out there for a while (about 30 seconds where other areas are about 10 seconds: one Mississippi, two Mississippi…).

Please note that techniques will vary by therapist and the issue you may be having treated. These notes are based on full body manual lymphatic drainage, but if your therapist is treating a specific area for any reason, that may be the only area treated. As with all my treatments, there may be techniques I do not perform if I’m not comfortable or if you’re not comfortable. It’s all about communication.

In addition to providing a stand alone lymphatic drainage massage, I will be adding this technique to select areas of the body during my Integrative and Ashiatsu massage sessions at no additional charge. Typically these will be areas that require extra attention or deeper work and the lymphatic drainage techniques will help minimize inflammation in those areas.

SPECIAL: During the month of September you may try our full body Lymphatic Drainage Massage for the special rate of $40 for a 60 minute treatment. May not be combined with any other offers; additional charge applies for mobile massage.