2009 NIH Yoga Week: Exploring the Science and Practice of Yoga


my lotus flower candle holder

Mary’s Note: See my new blog post for an update on the schedule and location of NIH Mind Body Week 2009.

The week before last, I was fortunate to be able to attend a day of programming at the National Institute’s of Health’s (NIH) first annual CORE Week, where I heard wonderful speakers on Reiki, stress reduction, excercise and meditation, from the perspective of pracitioners and researchers. 

I was eager to attend after having experienced the first annual NIH Yoga Week last May, which was the first of this type of event to be held by the NIH. It was a truly groundbreaking event in that the NIH, a 120-year-old US government agency, endorsed a practice that 30 years ago, would have been considered very alternative. The first yoga week, in May 2008 received national attention with over 1300 participants – it also resulted in National Yoga Month, a National Health Observance being designated for every September from now on.  

If this sounds good to you, mark your calender from September 8-11, 2009, when the NIH will hold its second annual Yoga Week. Highlighting the science and practice of yoga, this four-day series of events is open to the public. You will not only learn about the benefits of yoga but also experience them first-hand through hands-on instruction. Yoga Week will focus on yoga, yoga therapy, yoga research, and presentations on meditation, stress management, and other mind/body modalities. There will also be an opportunity to gain Continuing Education credits through Yoga Alliance and several other health education partners. And it’s all completely free!

This week of events will take place in Bethesda, MD. I encourage you to be a part of this innovative and enjoyable event. For more information, contact Dr. Rachel Permuth-Levine at levinerac [at] mail [dot] nih [dot] gov.


Ballston Arts & Crafts Market


Ballston Arts and Crafts Market Application

I learned about the the Ballston Arts and Crafts Market when I received an Etsy convo from Jessica Blaszczak, the new director of the market. When I took at look at the BACM’s official blog, I was blown away by the list of highly talented local artisans who had exhibited there last year. I knew I had to give it a shot.

The market is held outdoors on the second Saturday of the month, from May through October. It’s strategically located across from the Ballston Metro station, and a short walk from many, many restaurants and shops. I liked the idea of the location, that it’s a steady gig, yet not every Saturday.

So, yesterday I emailed my applications, which included jpg’s of my work, an artist’s statement, and a descriptive list of my products. So for now, I have my fingers crossed until early April, when they announce who has been accepted.

If you are interested in applying, the deadline for the first round of jurying for the 2009 Ballston Arts & Crafts Market is Monday, March 2nd. For more information, or an application, you can email ballstonvasquare [at] gmail [dot] com.

O-BALM-A in Ottawa

obama_ottawa1Yesterday I received a Tweet from M Chen of M Chen Wears in Ottowa, Canada. She wanted to let me know that she had included my O-BALM-A lip balm in her blog post on fun Obama schwag on Etsy. She had put the collection together in honor of Obama’s visit to that city yesterday. Check out her blog, M on the Side — it’s beautifully designed, visually stunning and a fun read, too.

Here’s what she said, “Downtown Ottawa is awhir… the manholes have been welded shut, mailboxes and garbage cans have been removed, and streets will be shut down tomorrow morning. All in preparation for Barack Obama’s visit to the nation’s capital. People have been buzzing about this for weeks, and the visit itself will last all of six hours. As a tribute to tomorrow, here are a few of my favourite à-propos etsy items.”

eco-friendly fabric arts in blue


Etsy Organic Team Treasury

Etsy Organic Team Treasury

I’ve been an Etsy seller since August 2008. Early on, I learned about the coveted Etsy Treasuries, which are collections of images curated by Etsy sellers. It’s a way to display your favorite items, play with colors and textures, promote your Etsy team, or just express your creativity. And if your treasury is popular enough, it may be chosen for the front page of Etsy.

The thing about Treasuries is, they only become available every once in a while. In hearing about other Etsians’ experiences in creating them, the words “pounce,” “snag” and “grab” are frequently used. Often those who have successfully snagged a treasury talk about spending hours waiting for an opening to come up.

While I loved the idea of creating a collection of items, curating my own mini museum display, as it were, the process sounded like a real drag. So I avoided even attempting it. 

However, this afternoon I knew I would be near my computer, and thought I would give it a try. I read a Storque blog article that gave step-by-step instructions, and I followed it to the word. It worked!

I have chosen, as my theme, “blue is the new green: eco-friendly fabric arts in blue,” featuring a sampling of the gorgeous knit and sewn items created by the Etsy Organic Team, of which I am a member. Here is the link to my first-ever treasury. Enjoy!

Belated Thanks to the Washingtonian and Mom-entum!


Thank You Card by My Ugly Kitty

Thank You Card by My Ugly Kitty

I’m behind the times, still catching up after a business beginning to 2009. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful mentions I’ve received over the last couple of months. To start the year, Washingtonian.com interviewed ecoblogger Sacha Cohen and asked her for her green recommendations for 2009. Regarding buying locally, she said, “Farmers markets are great for produce and cheese. I also love the organic and natural bath products from Herban Lifestyle in Falls Church.” You can see all of Sacha’s recommendations at The Blogger Beat: Going Green DC.

I also got a nice mention on the Mom-entum blog during Inaguration Week. They loved the idea of my O-BALM-A lip balm, all profits from which go to Feeding America. You can read about it here.

And, in December, the Washingtonian listed my products in their green gift guide! “Nature lovers and newbies to the green scene will appreciate these gifts, sold and recommended by environmentally responsible companies, ecofriendly stores, and conservation organizations based in Washington.” You can read the full article here: A Green Holiday: Ecofriendly Gift Recommendations.

Thank you all for your kind words and support!

Valentine Chocolate Mint Soaps

Valentine Chocolate Mint Soap

Valentine Chocolate Mint Soap

A few months ago, when my naturopath recommended that I cut out certain foods from my diet (including wheat, dairy and sugar), I found myself compensating by developing new bath and body products that fed my cravings through their scent. My clients seemed to really enjoy these food substitutes, and so, for Valentine’s Day, I thought I would come up with a candy substitute. And that’s how my chocolate mint soaps were born.

These soaps are made to feed your chocolate cravings without a single calorie! They make a wonderful gift for someone special — including you! Made from pure vegetable oils and organic peppermint essential oil, organic cocoa powder, and tinted with pure vegetable coloring, this soap smells delicious and is super gentle on your skin.

 These yummy-looking soaps come packaged in a handmade lokta paper box, with shredded kraft.  Each box contains four .75oz/23g soaps, and retails for $14.00. Available from my Etsy store for a limited time.