The Blackest Black

Someone just e-mailed me with the question about fountain pens which is one of the most common questions asked: what is the blackest black fountain pen ink? Well, to my eyes it is Noodler’s Black. Noodler’s is a quirky little ink maker in the Northeast of the United States. They make a HUGE assortment of colored inks and specialty inks for a variety of uses (for instance they make an ink which can be used in cold temperatures, or waterproof, or lubricating inks for balky pens, limited inks which can be bought only in one place, and more). Noodler’s Black is the darkest and richest black ink I have ever used. If you are interested, I would highly recommend isellpens.com. They are the least expensive seller of pens and inks out there. There are loads of really good inks and pens to play with. Already have a fountain pen and just need a sample? They have those, too.

Noodler’s is my go-to ink all around, but their black is the most dark and just beautiful.

This crazy piece of time wasting fun was brought to you by Possets Perfume (Bottled Happiness indeed). Come and visit and peruse our wonderful collection of original hand made perfume oils. They are beautiful. WWW.POSSETS.COM

Comparing A Really Expensive Pen And A Really Cheap Pen–The Results Are Not What You Would Think!

I had a chance to compare one of the most expensive fountain pens made with one of the cheapest. Does prestige trump pedestrian utility? Or do the impecunious masses win? Watch the video and see:

This crazy piece of time wasting fun was brought to you by Possets Perfume (Bottled Happiness indeed). Come and visit and peruse our wonderful collection of original hand made perfume oils. They are beautiful. WWW.POSSETS.COM

The Biggest Disappointment in Years

I am going to recount something which happened to me today simply because I am really shocked and appalled by it. I was walking through a department store in Cincinnati, Dillard’s, and saw a bottle of Miss Dior sitting on a counter. I felt a bit nostalgic and went over to spray a tiny amount on my left hand and relive just for a second the moment when my mother gave it to me as a “signature scent”. The bottle was now a squat glass rectangular vessel with a classic stopper and a silver bow at the bottom of the stopper. The contents were pink (!).

ARGGGGGH! The stuff which came blasting out of that sprayer was NOTHING like Miss Dior. It was the vulgar, loud, and graceless grand daughter of Miss Dior. A punch of deep bug spray smelling musk dragged along a sulky character-free generic “candy” addition which added up to a confused mess of gigantic indifference. The real Miss Dior was an ice queen of sandalwood and rose, she was haughty with nothing of the Cafe Society about her. This was non stop talking about yourself on a cell phone with a Fran Drescher voice. Fine if you are clowning around but as far from sexy as possible.

I never thought I would see the day that this great French icon was destroyed. Whether it be through pedestrian taste or through the silly junk science of the EU regarding perfume, but Miss Dior is no more. Anything I have ever made in my facility at Possets is head and shoulders incontrovertibly better than Miss Dior. I never ever thought I would see the day that I would be able to say that and it does not make me happy or proud, just sad and wistful.

Miss Dior is just as hideously overpriced as it is hideous smelling.

To come across something bad is a shock, but to come across something destroyed on purpose is a grave misfortune.

Taking Up Yoga-Studying With Lilias Folan

Yoga CollectionWhen I was growing up I remember watching Lilias Folan on my TV as she did a half hour of Yoga practice. It was a very cheap TV show, grainy black and white with one dimensional sound and I loved it. I would try to imitate what Lilias did and held her in high regard for her calm and supple approach to a physical mastery I admired. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Lilias taught a yoga class in Cincinnati in my backyard (almost). I took a class from her to get the real experience and to be able to blog about it.

Lilias Folan gives a yoga class at YogahOMe in Mariemont Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati. The studio is clean and attractive and everyone makes you feel right at home. I didn’t know how Lilias would be, I was afraid she would be some aloof and otherworldly dismissive type BUT I was almost greeted like a family member! Really kindly hello from her, she wanted to know my name, how long I had been practicing, and a genuinely concerned person!

However, if you think that Lilias practices a watered down wimpy kind of yoga, you are sadly mistaken. This lady rawks the mat. I was lucky, I got in on a course where we were doing just the usual basic things (Downward Dog, sitting, some balancing poses, etc.) BUT we were told that Lilias is going to start preparing everyone for the shoulder stand next time! My blood ran cold…I am not prepared to go in for that BUT if I were, I would definitely take it from Lilias.

She talked freely about her injuries, how she had been operated on for shoulder pain and such. So there is a risk of overdoing it or just doing it so much over the years that it finally catches up with you. Lilias is in her 80s and I have to say that I hope I am as well preserved and frisky as she is when I am that age.

After the class was over, I really felt like I have been through a well thought out exercise in yoga. As I said, we didn’t do anything particularly unusual and didn’t strain ourselves to the max, or writhe about in flowing gesticulations, or try to summon the spirit of Shiva or anything of that ilk. However, our practice was mindful, flowing, interesting, challenging and fun.

I highly recommend that you treat yourself to a class with a Master next time you are in Cincinnati for a visit or certainly if you live here and like Yoga. Lilias practices at YogahOMe in Mariemont at 10:45 a.m. Mondays only.

This introduction to yoga has been brought to you by Possets Perfume, marvelous perfume oils which are simply Bottled Happiness! Take a look, the latest collection for spring is an amazing and refreshing group of citrus, green, and resinous blends called Sacred Geometry. Intriguing, original, and beautifully wearable. Take a look, you won’t be sorry. 

The Yoga Tour-Flow

Yoga CollectionI would reckon that Flow is the most popular form of yoga in the United States. Flow consists of several yoga poses done one after the other to create a “flow” of movement. The poses usually are logically derived one from the other, and the moves look like a smoothly choreographed wave. Flow is simple to do, allows room for creativity in what you do and in what order, allows for movement to massage vulnerable parts of your body as needed, and is very restful and conducive to mindfulness because you have to be aware of what you are doing and there is the possibility of customizing the motion as well as the stationary part of the practice.

Flow is popular because a lot of people believe that you have to move in order to have an exercise be effective and since flow involves more motion than some forms of yoga, it is a frequent choice.

An example of flow yoga would be starting in a cat (on hands and knees) position, lowering to face down, Cobra 1 (lifting your upper body off the mat without using your hands), Cobra 2 (using your hands and arms to flex your upper body all the way up), back into cat, then into child’s pose (sitting back on your heels while bowed over and hands out in front of you). Usually, if you start in a standing position, you stay standing; if prone, you stay in some sort of a face down to the mat position. I am sure that someone has discovered a standing to prone to standing flow as well though. Just about every possible combination of poses has been tried!

Flow is flexible, and I have done it in a hot room as well as a regular temperature room. I find that since heat helps to stretch out muscle, hot flow can be a real treat (if you can stand being in a 104° F room for about an hour). However, heat isn’t always good as you will see in another chapter where I report on my evening doing hot yin yoga.

This introduction to yoga has been brought to you by Possets Perfume, marvelous perfume oils which are simply Bottled Happiness! Take a look, the latest collection for spring is an amazing and refreshing group of citrus, green, and resinous blends called Sacred Geometry. Intriguing, original, and beautifully wearable. Take a look, you won’t be sorry. 

Taking Up Yoga: Equipment

If you decide to take up Yoga, you will need a few things. I am going to give you my list of places and items which have helped me and I hope they will be useful to you, too.

1) Clothes: You don’t have to get fancy here, and as a matter of fact I have found that the more expensive the yoga togs, the less authentic the practice tends to be. If you are in a studio where people wear sweat pants and old tee shirts to Yoga, you are most likely in the right place. So, old tee shirts for tops. I get my pants on sale at Target (Champion brand which is frequently on sale and very sturdy), or at Sam’s Club (cheap and sometimes fancy pants with hidden pockets and printed upper parts). The shirt is either an old tee (I prefer babydoll tees as they are close fitting). If I want to spurge, try www.athleta.com and shop their sales…those are fancy shirts which usually cost as much as Lululemon but the sales are worth waiting for.

2) Mats, Blocks, and More: I got my Yoga mat from Target, it was a plain brown extra long  “sticky” mat and it’s thick enough to offer some knee protection. I also bought a mat sling which is just a piece of ribbon with two circles at either end that close with velcro. I love that mat sling because it doubles as a Yoga Strap when you do large hip openers. I hate carrying around more stuff and appreciate a piece of equipment which will do double duty. I got my own set of blocks at Target as well. Somehow, I really don’t want to have to use someone else’s sweaty blocks. Actually, I don’t want to use anyone else’s equipment at all. So, for a sling, blocks, and a mat you need about $60 and that is the special equipment you need.

3) Things Not To Bother With: Fancy carriers for your blocks and mat are usually expensive and ungainly. I was given a nice well made “Metro” bag with a space for blocks and elastic to put my matt underneath my bag. Once I put my blocks in the space there was no room left over for anything. The pockets on the sides were useless, and the elastic on the bottom let my mat jounce up and down and I walked making a real unproductive counter rhythm to walk to. I got rid of that. Fancy socks get to be a nuiscance in a short time as does any heart rate monitor or timing device. Yoga isn’t about measuring at all, so leave the electronics at home. Expensive cut-out blocks won’t be used more than the solid kind. And any of the cutsey jackets, coats, and dresses which are real expen$ive are not made for practicing Yoga but they are made for being pretty. Just don’t get the two mixed up.

4) Hot Yoga Togs-Nothing really radically different here, just wear shorts if you have them, the light drawstring ones work well. Lost shirt (a tee is sublime with heat) and a towel you can launder (one of the new “thirsty” towels is a good choice). Don’t forget a water bottle, too!

This introduction to yoga has been brought to you by Possets Perfume, marvelous perfume oils which are simply Bottled Happiness! Take a look, the latest collection for spring is an amazing and refreshing group of citrus, green, and resinous blends called Sacred Geometry. Intriguing, original, and beautifully wearable. Take a look, you won’t be sorry. 

Taking Up Yoga: Hatha

Once again, it’s great to take up yoga but there are so many different styles, which one would you choose? Last time I talked about trying Flow Yoga, a very popular sort in the US consisting of doing several poses one after the other in a choreographed “flow”. Hatha is a little different.

I would like to start by saying there is considerable disagreement about the definition of Hatha. I think it’s really the entire idea of movement, breathing, periods of rest, and the marriage of opposites. However, it was clearer to me when it was described as each pose being for itself and not one into the other like flow. However, there is a strong component of opposites to it, I have noticed. So, you could do a forward folding pose (like Child) then go in for a backward bending pose, like Cobra 2. Sometimes each pose is done for its own sake without overwhelming emphasis on an opposite sort of pose to go with it. That will follow along eventually.

Hatha used to be the most popular form of Yoga but the vigor of Flow has surpassed it. However, if you are interested in getting a very good stretch one way and then the other, Hatha might well be the best choice for you. I find that theory VERY useful and highly recommend it to anyone with particular problems, like back or leg troubles.

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The Perfect Warm Weather Yoga Tour!

Yoga CollectionThere are a lot of things you don’t know about Cincinnati, one of them is that The Queen City has had a torrid love affair with yoga since a loooong time ago. I am going to take you along with me on a great adventure while I sample the excellent yoga offerings this city has in store for those who practice. For instance, did you know that the First Lady of Yoga, Lilias, lives and practices here in Cincinnati? That you can take classes from her? True, and I will. I remember seeing her practice on television when I was a little girl. I swear, she was the only person in America who knew what Yoga was! She is still at it and she looks GREAT. I am going to take a class from her and report back to you.

Then there is Tri Yoga…one of the most popular types, it was founded by a lady known as Kaliji. She is originally from Northern Kentucky and comes back to Cincinnati to give 3 hour classes at Cincinnati Yoga School. Learning from the Master. No kidding. That 3 hour class was a tour de force!

There is Hot Yoga, Yin Yoga, Flow Yoga, Power Yoga, Beginner, Recouperative and Moar. So come along and explore the world of Yoga in a most unlikely place: Cincinnati. It might even inspire you to go on your own Yoga tour in your own back yard. I be you will be happily shocked at what you find!

This introduction to yoga has been brought to you by Possets Perfume, marvelous perfume oils which are simply Bottled Happiness! Take a look, the latest collection for spring is an amazing and refreshing group of citrus, green, and resinous blends called Sacred Geometry. Intriguing, original, and beautifully wearable. Take a look, you won’t be sorry. 

Taking Up Yoga

Yoga CollectionYoga mania has been sweeping the globe. Undoubtedly you or someone you know turns up with a rolled yoga mat under their arm ready to dash off to their “bliss hour” at the end of their power lunch with you. And you are curious and you would like to try it BUT where to start?

First, you might want to choose the kind of yoga you want to try. There are a lot of different types of the practice and some are more “you” than others. I would suggest that if you belong to a gym and they give classes, try that. Here is a brief rundown of what to expect from a typical yoga class:

Gym classes are usually a “universal” sort of yoga called Flow. Flow is a bit generic but very useful and a great introduction to yoga. Basically, you start with an inspiring passage or two read to you by the instructor. Then you may be told what the concentration of the day is going to be (e.g. hip openings, balancing, etc.). Then the action begins. You will go from one pose to another in a sequence and repeat that sequence. For instance, you can start face down on the mat, raise up your chest and head for Cobra 1, then push up on your arms and raise your front end up higher for Cobra 2, push yourself back to hands and knees for Cat, and then back to sitting on your feet in Child with your head on the mat and arms outstretched in front of  you. Then you would repeat this series for about 3-5 times. Then you would go into another series, probably standing or in some other beginning attitude.

Flow is very popular and probably the type of yoga you will encounter more in the US than any other. It can be incorporated into other styles, too, like Hot Yoga (which is Flow in a hot room to make your muscles more able to stretch as you are working). Bikram and Moksha are two other names for Hot Yoga and you will find them using Flow as the primary style.

At the end of the flow practice, there is normally a resting period where you lie down on your mat on your back either just flat or with your feet together and knees bent and drawn up in Butterfly (to stretch your hip muscles called a ‘hip opening’). It will either be silent or there will be a bit of inspirational reading from the teacher. This resting period is called Savasana, that is referring to the pose on your back in rest which is translated as ‘Corpse Pose’. Savasana is really a very blissful time where you can feel your body tingling from the stretching you have been doing.

Your first yoga class might be a bit difficult for you in some places. Surely there will be a pose of two which you will struggle with. Balancing and hip openings are pretty difficult for beginners and you will be amazed at how quickly you get better at yoga as you practice.

So, take a look for yoga classes at your gym, or Google ‘Beginning Yoga’ in your neighborhood. You will probably find a good course in your price range and start a rewarding course of exercise.

This introduction to yoga has been brought to you by Possets Perfume, marvelous perfume oils which are simply Bottled Happiness! Take a look, the latest collection for spring is an amazing and refreshing group of citrus, green, and resinous blends called Sacred Geometry. Intriguing, original, and beautifully wearable. Take a look, you won’t be sorry.