Shoji – The Element of Japanese Style

September 21st, 2013

shoji screensWhen we hear the word “shoji” in the West, we sometimes mispronounce it. Just for the record, it’s “show-jee” and it’s not limited to those rice paper room dividers we often find in futon stores. In modern Japan, shoji usually refers to wooden sliding door units, paneled with translucent paper. Specially made to smoothly slide on wooden tracks, these sliding doors are very quiet. But shoji isn’t limited to closet doors and room dividers. The art has gradually moved into window coverings and lighting fixtures.

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Mt. Fuji – Japanese Legend and Cultural Icon

September 9th, 2013

mount fuji comforterHave you ever wondered how certain plants, animals and scenery always seem to be shown in Japanese prints, fabrics and artwork? If you pay attention to the popular patterns available, you will notice cherry blossoms, dragons, tigers, koi fish, chrysanthemum and bamboo emblazoning many different Japanese items, primarily kimonos. But one of the most prevalent icons of Japanese culture is the Hokaido print of Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan. This active stratovolcano hasn’t erupted since 1708 and it is snow-capped for several months of the year. On a clear day, the mountain’s symmetrical cone can be see for 60 from 60 miles away in downtown Tokyo. Mount Fuji is actually a part of the “Three Holy Mountains,” along with Mount Haku and Mount Tate, and in addition to being a major tourist attraction it is frequently seen in art and photographs.

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Chopa Zen Home and Gift Receives 2013 Best of Panama City Beach Award

September 6th, 2013

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chopa Zen Home and Gift Receives 2013 Best of Panama City Beach Award

Panama City Beach Award Program Honors the Achievement

PANAMA CITY BEACH August 29, 2013 — Chopa Zen Home and Gift has been selected for the 2013 Best of Panama City Beach Award in the Online Retailer category by the Panama City Beach Award Program.

Each year, the Panama City Beach Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Panama City Beach area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 Panama City Beach Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Panama City Beach Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Panama City Beach Award Program

The Panama City Beach Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Panama City Beach area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Panama City Beach Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Panama City Beach Award Program

CONTACT:
Panama City Beach Award Program
Email: PublicRelations@awardprogram.org
URL: http://www.awardprogram.org

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2013 Panama City Beach Online retailer Award

2013 Panama City Beach Online retailer Award

Astrology Soul Coach – Cosmic Dance for September 2013

September 4th, 2013

The Mood for September is initiated in the first week with a New Moon in the practical and solitary sign of Virgo. Popular culture refers to this intelligent and flexible sign as the virgin. But if you dig underneath the surface for the historical and mythological roots of Virgo you find the goddess in her many forms and incarnations. This goddess has a strong need for privacy, solitude and personal space. She’s comfortable with herself and indeed knows she is complete and whole. From this foundation flows her sense of equanimity and wisdom and her ability to be of true service in the world. When you think of Virgo these are the words that should come to mind – analytical, logical, private, contemplative, integrity, humility and service.

It’s no mistake we often associate September, the season of Virgo as the time we go back to school. Virgo very much reflects her thinking ruling planet Mercury in her logical and analytical approach. As a grounded earth sign, she seeks to convert knowledge into practical applications. Virgo is associated with food, nutrition, exercise and positive routine. This is the month to set some new intentions for your own education, habits and schedules. Include plenty of private time to give yourself the opportunity to just breathe and contemplate.

This is also a good time to de-clutter your physical environments as symbolic of releasing some of the mental clutter as well. Reserve a room or space where you can meditate, read, study, or just be by yourself. If you are attracted to one or more stories of goddesses or ascended masters this is the time to get a picture, book, statue or some other representation of their energy as a reminder and to bring the essence of their energy into your space.

If we want to be of true service to our families, communities and world it’s wise to follow the lead of Virgo and nurture ourselves with healthy habits and environments and by creating a dynamic balance between being and doing.

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, writer, speaker and coach
You can find her at 12Listen.com and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at 12House.com. She hosts a daily radio show “A Course in Miracles Daily Lessons” on 12Radio.com at 7am Pacific – 10 Eastern. You can also tune into her weekly Astrology radio program, Simpletales, on 12Radio.com every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern.

ca@cabrooks.com

http://www.facebook.com/cabrooks2

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Decorate Your Home with the Graceful Stroke of Calligraphy

August 29th, 2013

chiWhether you’re a decorator looking for inspiration or a follower of Zen who collects Japanese prints, Japanese calligraphy might be a major design element in your home. This is especially true with young couples and individuals who have more time to update their living spaces. Each Japanese symbol used in Calligraphy prints can be executed in eight strokes or less, and are typically written by professional calligraphers, but it’s also a popular artistic endeavor.

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Rock Cairn Water Fountains Give Your Garden New “Direction”

August 14th, 2013

rock cairn fountainAs someone who studies the impact of Zen on our modern society, I am always amazed when I see an object or practice that influences many different cultures.  Until recently, I suspected that the rock cairn was something invented by ancient Zen practitioners, but it seems to be a trend that circled the globe. 

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Pembroke Springs Retreat – Japan meets the country Bed & Breakfast

August 2nd, 2013

A weekend getaway is a great way to unwind and reenergize. A popular alternative to the traditional hotel is a Bed & Breakfast. Bed and Breakfasts often provide a much homier feel as well as personal touches and attention. Nestled on 175 acres of beautiful forest and surrounded by mountains is The Pembroke Springs Retreat.  Located in Star Tannery, Virginia, this serene B&B provides a country feel with distinctive touches of Japan.

The Retreat features five rooms, each with gorgeous mountain views.  Each room is decorated in a separate theme and has its own bathroom.  Guests are provided Yukata (Japanese bathrobes) to enjoy during their stay.  In the morning guests are treated to an authentic Japanese breakfast. This typically includes grilled fish, rice, seaweed, vegetables, egg, miso soup and fruit.  Guests may request an American style breakfast and the innkeepers will accommodate vegans.

During the day, guests can enjoy nature walks on the miles of trails on the property, observing the abundant wildlife and taking in the amazing views of the mountains.  Play a game of tennis on the all-weather tennis court or fish in the pond for bluegill and bass. The area is rich in history, from both the French and Indian wars to the Civil War.   There are endless antique stores in nearby areas.

One of the highlights of the retreat, are the two large Japanese baths which are fed with their natural spring waters. The ofuro has been used by the Japanese for centuries to alleviate both physical and spiritual maladies.  This ancient technique of immersion in hot water removes tensions, stress and soothes muscular pains.

While each of the five rooms has a variance of features, the Sunrise room brings Japan to you.  Facing the east and overlooking the forest, this splendid room features shoji screens, tatami mats and a horigotatsu or sunken table.

While the area hosts a variety of restaurants within a half hour drive, guests won’t want to miss dinner service (check availability). You can view images of the tasty meals presented by an obviously very talented chef on Facebook [www.facebook.com/pages/Pembroke-Springs-Retreat/107360610655]. These dishes are as beautiful to look at as they are delicious.  The innkeepers of this Bed & Breakfast jewel are Walter and Taeko Floyd.  The manager is Lisa Floyd.  To learn more about Pembroke Springs Retreat, visit their website http://pembrokesprings.com.bath

Astrology Soul Coach – Cosmic Dance for August 2013

August 2nd, 2013

It’s time to shine with the Sun and communicating Mercury both in sunny Leo this month. Leo is the sign of self-confidence and self-expression. Under the influence of Leo we get in touch with our need to be our authentic selves and to be appreciated by others. You don’t’ need to be born under the sign of Leo to help yourself to a heaping helping of attention and recognition.

This month we will also be treated to a New Moon in Leo on August 6th reinforcing our desire to get in touch with the innocent but precocious side of ourselves. The energy of this Lunar Cycle conjures up images of a young Shirley Temple – adorable, talented, outspoken and not afraid to be seen. Now you may not sing and tap dance, but you were born with innate and unique talents that when you allow them to shine, they contribute to the light of all consciousness.

The Full Moon in Leo’s opposing sign Aquarius on August 20th balances the potentially aristocratic Leo energy with a healthy dose of appreciation for differences and the unique qualities of individuals. Ruled by the revolutionary planet Uranus, Aquarius is the  sign of originality, humanitarianism, and social reform.

The first few weeks of August are the perfect time to take a good long look at your environment and think about how your home or office does or does not support your sense of self. What does it say about you? Use the Leo energy of self-expression to rearrange, re-design and re-create your environment to reflect your unique personality. After the Full Moon, take your cue from Aquarius and give away or donate those gently used clothes and home furnishings to a good cause.  Your choices and possessions speak to the world about you. Make sure they are representing your most authentic self!

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, writer, speaker and coach

You can find her at 12Listen.com and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at 12House.com. She hosts a daily radio show “A Course in Miracles Daily Lessons” on 12Radio.com at 7am Pacific – 10 Eastern. You can also tune into her weekly Astrology radio program, Simpletales, on 12Radio.com every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern. Leo

ca@cabrooks.com

http://www.facebook.com/cabrooks2

How to Achieve that “Perfect Inner Silence” in Meditation

July 25th, 2013

buckwheat hull pillowCountless people have attempted to make meditation a part of their daily routines, but few people actually achieve this. Why is it that some people find it so easy to silence the inner “chatter?” Meditation requires inner silence, but in our multitasking world it can be nearly impossible to get there.

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Eat almonds!

July 18th, 2013
Delicious and healthy.

Delicious and healthy.

Almonds are delicious, crunchy morsels, and this alone is reason enough to grab a handful. But almonds are so much more than a tasty snack – they are packed with healthy compounds and a great addition to any diet.  Here’s why:

Almonds are a healthier choice than the ubiquitous peanut, which has held tight to its spot as the favorite nut (peanut butter, peanut snacks, peanut brittle, the list goes on). However, peanuts are acid forming, whereas almonds are alkaline. Some cancer specialists claim that everyone who is diagnosed with cancer has an acid pH. Almonds are also less toxic and less allergenic than peanuts, which are actually legumes, rather than nuts, and therefore can be more challenging to digest.

There are so many wonderful health benefits to eating almonds. They are good sources of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which help in bone growth. They can help prevent cholesterol build up in the veins, which reduces risk of heart disease. They are full of vitamin E, which keeps the skin looking young, healthy and soft. Compared with other tree nuts, almonds have more protein ounce for ounce, as well as higher fiber (12% of the daily recommended amount) and calcium.

Practically speaking, almonds are a very handy snack. They are perfectly portable and great for grazing through the day. They also give that sought-after satisfied, full feeling. This is because almonds contain oleic acid, a healthy fat, which helps trigger the small intestine to produce oleoylethanolamide, a component that has been shown to curb hunger pangs.

Almonds are very versatile when it comes to including them in your diet. They can be eaten as sweets or savories, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Almond butter (ideally, raw organic) is a delicious add-in to a morning smoothie or stirred into an oat, amaranth or millet porridge. Almonds can be flaked or chopped and sprinkled over muesli. One delectable savory dish that incorporates almonds is the Moroccan pastilla, which is a spiced vegetable and ground almond parcel, wrapped in filo pastry.

Almonds can be used in a variety of dessert recipes, still offering all the health benefits of this nut, wrapped in a decadent package. For baked goods, almond flour or ground almond can be used as a flour replacement for gluten free and paleo recipes. Many health food enthusiasts make their own variations of bliss balls, which are dried fruits and nuts, seeds, and oats, all blended together and rolled into balls. Bliss balls are perfect natural energy snacks and satisfy a sweet tooth. They are delightful with a cup of herbal tea after yoga class. Here is one recipe to try using almonds:

In a blender or food processor, mix pitted dried dates, ground almonds, a couple of teaspoons of raw cacao powder, and a handful of whole nuts of your choice (e.g. walnuts, brazil nuts or cashew nuts). Mix thoroughly, adjusting the consistency by either adding more dry or moist ingredients, or even a drop or two of water if needed). Roll the mixture into truffle sized balls and pop them in the fridge for easy access snacks and treats.

All in all, almonds help support the body’s internal systems, make the skin glow, and are a healthy, handy and filling snack. Almonds can be incorporated into every aspect of a natural diet. So if you’re in a peanut rut, switch up your habit for almonds and enjoy a delicious new spin on healthy eating.  (courtesy of Gemma Ford)