• Books

    The Christmas Poop Log Story Book & Activity Set

    New York, NY (November 11, 2022) – There’s a new way to countdown to Christmas this holiday season! The Christmas Poop Log Story Book & Activity Set is the latest trend to mark the approaching Christmas Day and makes a perfect holiday gift.

    From a long line of advent calendar-type favorites from The Elf on a Shelf and The Mensch on a Bench to daily chocolates and wine by luxury brands, The Christmas Poop Log is a fun and educational cultural experience that centers around a tradition celebrated in Northern Spain with roots in the 18th century.

    The practice of finding the perfect poop log in the wilderness reflects the American tradition of finding the perfect tree. Once the one that’s ‘just right’ is found near the 8th of December, it is brought into the home and accessorized by its new family with an illustrated face, felt hat and other festive attire and propped on smaller logs as front “legs.”  A cozy blanket is then laid on “Caga Tió,” as it is affectionately called.

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    Every day, family members “feed” Caga Tió with fruits and nuts until December 24th.  It is then that Caga Tió is tapped with sticks while the family sings a corresponding song asking it to “poop” presents!

    The Christmas Poop Log: A Christmas Tradition Story Book and Activity Set is available for $39.95 on www.thechristmaspooplog.com, making it a great gift for kids and families, white elephant, or Pollyanna exchanges, crafters, and anyone who loves a laugh.

    The beautifully color illustrated thirty-one page paperback is also available on Amazon for $15.95 and has received rave reviews since its publishing date in April 2021.

    After traveling to Spain and becoming fascinated by the tradition, entrepreneur and first-time author Jonathan Chastek created the book and activity set to bring the endearing tradition to American families in an accessible way.

    “Because the tradition is rooted in nature, a tree will be planted for every purchase through our partnership with OneTreePlanted,” says Chastek, “I very much want to keep sustainability at the forefront.”

    He hopes that Caga Tió will become a part of every family’s holiday tradition and be stowed away with holiday décor and embraced for years to come.

  • Books

    Exercising with Diabetes: 3 Tips to Stick to Your Routine

    There are a plethora of health benefits associated with exercise. Some of these benefits are particularly important if you are living with diabetes. Exercise lowers blood glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity. Because of this, adults with diabetes should engage in 150 min or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity weekly. Additionally, strength training two days per week is recommended.

    While there are immediate benefits to exercise, most are the result of longer-term adherence and consistency. However, it can be exceedingly challenging to maintain an exercise routine. It takes people many attempts before exercise feels like it is a routine. To help you build a routine, I want to give you three unconventional tips to make sure that starting an exercise routine turns into long term consistency.

    1. Put It In Your Calendar. One simple tip to make sure you act on your intentions is to plan it! Research consistently shows that planning helps people translate their intentions into behavior. In my book Health Habits for Diabetes, I discuss three different types of planning. They include action planning, coping planning, and habit stacking.

    Action planning simple describes when and where you will exercise. Coping planning describes what you will do if barriers come up. For example, if you get busy at work, you might decide to move your planned exercise to a different time. Habit stacking involves adding a new habit on top of an already existing one. For example, if you’re like me you play Wordle every morning with a cup of coffee. My habit stack might be “as soon as I correctly guess the word, I will take my dog out for a 15-minute walk”. These three plans will drastically increase the odds that you will exercise.

    2. Do The Minimum… Always. Most of the people I work with want to create an exercise routine. But they are stuck thinking that if they don’t give maximum effort each time, it’s not worth it! This leads them to do a lot of exercise but for a short period of time. One of my favorite things to tell people is this: “first consistency, then intensity.”

    I explain to them to never miss a planned exercise session. This can be accomplished by finding your minimum dose of exercise that you will do no matter what. Motivation waxes and wanes daily. So, whenever motivation is low, lower the exercise demand you place on yourself. If you planned on jogging for 30 minutes but don’t feel motivated, don’t skip! Go for a short period of time (maybe 5 minutes). While you may not burn as many calories or obtain greater health benefits in that instant you are still building a routine. Even if you exercise for a brief period, you are still making a routine. But if you miss a session, you lose momentum and risk breaking the routine. Have a minimum dose of exercise in mind so you always stick with your plan.

    3. Temptation Bundle. Thus far we have covered planning and how to change the task if you feel less motivated. But how can we feel more motivated? Temptation bundling is a technique where you pair something you want to do with something you should do. Let’s say you really wanted to listen to the latest episode of your favorite podcast. You can only do that if you are in the gym or going for a walk. We can make something that might be a little less desirable (exercise) more desirable by pairing it with something we want.

    These are just three techniques that I believe can be quite helpful. In my new book Health Habits for Diabetes, I take a more tailored approach where you can learn what techniques to use depending on your social, motivational, and environmental contexts.

    About the Author

    Justin Kompf, PhD, has worked in the fitness industry since 2009 as a college strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer. He has an MS in Exercise Science and has a PhD in Exercise and Health Sciences with a focus on Health Behavior Change from the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Justin has taught at the State University of New York at Cortland and also at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. He has published work in the Strength and Conditioning Journal, Sports Medicine, the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, and the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. He has contributed his expertise in health behavior change to personal training certifications and nutrition certifications with the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

  • Art,  Books,  New York

    Multiple-6-Figure Artist & Coach on How to Market, Price & Sell Your Own Art

    Miriam Schulman built a multiple-six-figure business selling her own art and coaches artists on how to successfully market, price and sell theirs.

    Her podcast has 332 ratings and is ranked 4.9 stars. She has 27K Facebook followers. Her art has been featured in The New York Times, What Women Create, Art of Man, and Art Journaling magazine by Stampington, as well as seen on NBC’s “Parenthood” and the Amazon series “Hunters” with Al Pacino. It’s sold around the world and included in New York museum gift shops. Professional Artist magazine also published several full-length features on it.

    Artpreneur: The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Sustainable Living from Your Creativity (HarperCollins Leadership; Jan. 31, 2023) breaks down the 5 fundamentals for building a successful business to achieve your goals, including plans for production, profit, prospecting, promotion and productivity. With these 5 keys in place, you’ll be able to:

    • Build an audience of raving fans who want what you’ve got and are prepared to pay top dollar
    • Draw attention to your creations by embracing your authenticity
    • Integrate creativity with family (you don’t have to choose)
    • Romance collectors by seducing them in a way that feels authentic and non-salesy
    • Price your art (or services) with courage by using a three-step process


    Artpreneur 
    is the artist handbook for passion-makers who dream of evolving into passion professionals but are stuck. Schulman provides inspiring stories and proof that show that the artist’s life can be both profitable and sustainable. She urges artists to gamble on themselves, emphasizing that a confident mindset is the first step to developing a life of creative and financial freedom. Artpreneur combines a left-brain approach with traditional marketing methods that pave a clear path for success.

    There’s never been a better time to turn your creative ideas into a successful business, as the internet is pushing aside art world “gatekeepers” who used to decide what was “worthy”.

  • Books

    8 Running Moves to Keep Legs Loose & Responsive

    Often runners feel great during a hard workout, take the next run easy, perhaps a second run easy, and then attempt another hard workout. For this second hard run, though, they feel less crisp, not as light on their feet, and the results and therefore motivation suffer. The reality of this situation is that the cardiovascular and metabolic systems may very well have adapted to the first hard workout, however, inadequate attention to the musculo-skeletal system may have prevented these increased efficiencies from coming to fruition.

    To ‘connect’ these runs, or reproduce the ease of motion and speed felt in one workout with the next, many things can be done. First is of course the standard recovery tactics like stretching after the runs, getting sustenance soon after the workout, taking an ice bath or foam rolling key areas of stress as needed. All paramount and should be standard for those able to work to high levels of exertion during training. Along with these tactics, however, let’s add in a few techniques to ensure the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia are remaining supple, strong, and flexible during the recovery process and the recovery runs.

    The following suggestions are based on standard drills and stretch positions. These are to be done while running and involve simply altering your stride slightly for 3-6 steps at a time, then repeating as desired. There are certainly more to be found so be creative and look for your own ‘secret steps’ to keeping your legs loose and responsive.

    1. Butt-kicks: A controlled pull of your foot towards your glutes during the flight phase and done by primarily flexing at the knee. When done during a run this standard drill can be done with one leg at a time and with as many regular strides in between.

    2. Foot-flicks: A controlled snap of your foot forward done right before the foot hits the ground and accomplished with a quick contraction of the quadriceps, this resulting in a very brief full extension (straightening) of the leg.

    3. Side-steps: Slightly rotate one leg outwards by having the foot facing more towards the side than straight ahead.

    4. Pigeon-steps: Very slightly rotate one leg inwards by having the foot facing more inwards than straight ahead.

    5. Cross-overs: Have the feet cross over each other when landing.

    6. Bowlegged-steps: Run as if a small stream of water is directly underneath you and right along your path, i.e. so that your steps have to be 4-8 inches wider apart than normal.

    7. Carioca or grapevine: Running sideways by first having the right leg cross in front of the left and then behind.

    8. Backwards running: Plain and simple.

    Only runners 100% healthy should explore and work with these techniques. For those with right and left strength or flexibility imbalances these can be quite helpful but more caution should be taken. Given the initial awkwardness of these movements be sure to do this on a flat, obstruction free area.

    If you want to know more about how to run smarter and better, check out my book Pliability for Runners.

    About the Author

    Joseph McConkey, MS, is a running coach and exercise physiologist, specializing in injury-prevention. He has worked with the full spectrum of running athletes, from first-time runners, to marathoners around the world, to Olympic athletes at the elite high altitude training camps of Ethiopia and Kenya. He has coached at the club, college, and pro levels and has been the director of the Boston Running Center’s Gait Analysis Lab for more than a decade. Joseph holds the highest accreditation by the USA Track and Field Association and the IAAF, as well as a Masters in Exercises Science with a focus on Injury Prevention and Sports Performance. He is the author of Pliability for Runners.

  • Books

    Blown Into Now Bridges the Worlds of Life and Loss

    Mylo Schaaf’s new book, Blown Into Now: Poems for a Journey, takes readers on an odyssey through shade and light, offering glimpses into the stages of grief Schaaf went through when her son died suddenly at age 24. She offers the profound manifestations of his presence that she witnessed following his passing.

    “Poems demanded to be written,” Schaaf said. “They brought relief and healing, as did hills warm with grass, tree spirits and arms of sky.”

    Blown Into Now offers 45 remarkable poems, each paired with a striking photograph taken by her late son, Alex Lowenstein, who was a mountaineer, world traveler and adventurer, and veteran.

    “The path is not all sadness,” she said during a recent interview. “It goes sort of up and down as you suppose any path would, but it eventually heads toward joy and toward understanding.”

    In Blown Into Now, Schaaf carries readers from deep sadness and loss to comfort and support, finally edging toward joy. Her melodic words become a guidebook, allowing those who grieve to witness a spectrum of responses, to understand what might give relief, and to know how to look for the signposts that will guide them down the path toward healing.

    To those who must endure such a shocking new reality, she aims to bring compassion, beauty and spiritual connection.

    Her poems reveal a mother’s great heart and the love she shares with her son for granite peaks and untracked desert. Each photograph provides a pause from grief and allows us a glimpse of something we want and cannot name.

    Blown Into Now – Poems for a Journey

    Publisher: Blue Light Press

    ISBN: 979-8-9864093-0-6 (soft cover, available now)

    Coming soon in hard cover and eBook formats

    Available from https://www.blurb.com/b/11217886-blown-into-now

    About the Author

    Mylo Schaaf trained as a journalist, editor and physician, before taking a left turn into poetry. Before everything changed, she was a faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco, mentoring and teaching students in international, low-resource settings. Her commitment to global health grew out of her work and connection with India, the Americas, Liberia, Haiti and China. Then one day, a shocking phone call revealed her son’s death and collapsed this pursuit of engagement and action. Each long day would slowly disappear, and Schaaf found understanding and release when she began to write. Over the years poems have continued to emerge, as the tangles of days slip into light.

    For more information, please visit https://www.myloschaaf.com, or follow the author on Instagram at writermyloschaaf.

     

  • Books

    ABC Thankful Me by Kyaw Lin

     

     

    Illustrated by Yuliya Pieletskaya

    There are endless things to be thankful for, but let’s start with 26.

    This delightfully illustrated picture book takes young readers (and adults) on an alphabetical adventure that is sure to leave them feeling abundant, positive, and joyful.
    D is for dancing.
    Thank you, dancing. 

    I shake my hips and swing them side to side.
    Life is a dance, so dance and feel alive. 

    E is for evening.
    Thank you, evening.

    A gorgeous sunset floods the golden sky.
    I lie on sunlit grass till stars come by.    

    ABC Thankful Me, written in gentle, rhythmic rhyme, is an ideal read-aloud book and a perfect bedtime meditation on life’s many blessings.

     

    Kyaw (Cho) Lin immigrated to the United States from Myanmar at the age of seven, barely speaking a word of English. Determined to learn the new language, he spent most of his childhood visiting public libraries in Queens, New York. After stumbling upon numerous romantic novels and human anatomy books, he would later come home with various uncomfortable questions for his parents. These days, he continues to visit local libraries. However, his wife and two know-it-all sons now accompany him.
    Yuliya Pieletskaya is a children’s book illustrator and 3D environmental artist. Originally from Odessa, Ukraine, she immigrated to upstate New York at the age of 9. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband and two bunnies. In her spare time, she wanders the prairies of Illinois, looking for birds, flowers, and bunnies to admire from afar. She is passionate about protecting all of America’s public lands and wildlife, as well as environmental justice. This is her second published book.

     

     

    A partial preview is available here: ABC Thankful Me

    Alphabet / Thanksgiving / Values & Virtues
    Hardcover, 28 pages, 7 x 8 inches
    ISBN: 978-1-57687-999-3, $16.99 USD/$22.99 CAD

    High-res scans to your specification are available upon request; scanning from the book or lifting images from the mechanical file are strictly prohibited. Mandatory credit line: ABC Thankful Me written by Kyaw Lin and illustrated by Yuliya Pieletskaya, published by POW! Kids Books.
     
     
    ABC Thankful Me is available for pre-order now through our website and book retailers