Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

2022 Obon Festivals in the USA

Saturday, June 25th, 2022

What is an Obon Festival?

The Obon Festival is a time for celebration in Japan. It’s also an opportunity to get together with friends and family members.

The tradition entails music, dance, and crafts as well as martial arts. It honors ancestral spirits from your past who have watched over you throughout life.  The lighting of candles represents wishes fathered by these same energies during happier times gone by.

Entertainment will be offered with groups playing drums including taiko drumming groups.

Plenty of groups and cities participate in this cultural experience in the USA.  Find an Obon Festival near you.

Downtown Denver – Cherry Blossom Festival – June 25 and 26.

Venice, CA Japanese Community Center – June 25.

Salt Lake City, UT – Salt Lake Buddhist Temple – July 9.

Fairfax, VA  Ekoji Buddhist Temple – July 9.

Seabrook, NJ – Seabrook Buddhist Temple – July 16.

Pasadena, CA Buddhist Church – July 16.

Long Beach, CA. Cultural Center – July 30.

Portland, Oregon – Oregon Buddhist Temple – August 6.

Kingston, NY – Kingston Point Beach – August 6.

Palo Alto, CA Buddhist Temple – Aug. 7

Lahaina Hongwanji Mission – Lahaina, HI – Aug 12 and 13.

Gardena Buddhist Church – August 13.

Charlotte, NC – Wells Fargo Atrium Plaza – August – Dates TBA.

San Diego, CA – Japanese Friendship Garden – August – Dates TBA.

Las Vegas, NV – Location TBA, August – Date TBA

St. Paul MN – Como Park – August 21.

St. Louis, MO – Missouri Botanical Garden – Sept 3-5.

Atlanta, GA – Gas South Convention Center (Duluth) – September 17 and 18.

Dress for the occasion. Kimonos and Yukatas are very popular to wear to these festivals. The yukata is lighter weight and will help keep you cooler on those warmer days. Check out our wide selection of robes and headbands for your celebration. Shipping is always fast. Shop our ONLINE STORE now.

Search the web for more dates and cities near you. Buddhist temples and Japanese clubs and gardens may have more information in your local area.

 

mens shodo yukata in 100% cotton

The Shodo Yukata is available at       www.chopa.com

TOP SELLING KIMONOS

Thursday, April 21st, 2022

Can you say Time Flies?  We sure can.  It seemed like just a week ago, we published the previous month’s list of Top Selling Japanese Kimonos and Yukatas on our online Kimono Shop. We must be getting older or perhaps we are moving a bit slower.  It has been a busy few weeks as our Spring Kimono order arrived.  It took several flights from Japan, several more transfers across the USA, and finally four different days of deliveries to our warehouse in Florida.

The good news is that everything is now up on the website and ready for fast shipping. Quick shipping is something we are proud of and something we take seriously to make sure our customers receive their purchases as quickly as possible.  After all, who wants to wait for something they order online? For most orders, 99.9% ship within one business day of order receipt, and many orders ship the same day.

We are still adjusting to the new arrivals and space is a bit tight in some areas of the warehouse.  Unpacking all of those cartons and boxes takes time. After 28 years of operating this business, we know how valuable it is to keep our nose to the grindstone and persevere. In time, everything is unpacked and securely stocked on our long lines of shelves.

So let’s go to the Top Sellers. Without further delay, the Best Selling Kimonos and Yukatas for March 2022 were:

1) BLACK KIMONO SAMURAI ROBE

2)  NAVY KAGOME YUKATA

3) TREE OF LIFE YUKATA

4) DRAGON AND BAMBOO YUKATA

5) NAVY HANA YUKATA

To all of the customers who purchased these styles, we say congratulations, you have great taste in Japanese robes. Let’s take a quick peek at these five best sellers.

Black Kimono Samurai Robe. This is a long-time favorite among our customers.  This kimono is all black and produced in 100% broadcloth.  Broadcloth is often used in high-end dress shirts. It features densely woven threads that produce a crisper feel than traditional cotton fabric and has a soft, smooth feel.  It stays cooler in the warmer months and softens within a few washing cycles. As with all of our robes, we recommend cold water washing. This helps to extend the life of the fabric and design. This handsome robe is available in four sizes.

Navy Kagome Yukata. This men’s yukata is one of our most popular year-round. Kagome translates in Japan to woven bamboo and that is the inspiration for this distinctive Japanese design. Produced in 100% cotton in a dark navy blue and white color palette. This Japanese yukata has an artistic rendition of bamboo silhouetted against subtle contrasting circles that brings to mind old-world craftsmanship and simplicity. The Kagome yukata makes a great Father’s Day gift or Graduation present.

Tree of Life Yukata. This stylish yukata for men displays a geometric design well known in Japan as a tortoise print. Seen in Japanese clothing and textiles since 2000 B.C., makes it one of the oldest symbols known today. The samurai used this pattern as it represented stability; therefore, its popularity can be traced back over 200 years ago. In old Japan, warriors wore these robes on special occasions such as holidays or battles. Because the style represents longevity, it will be an excellent addition to your wardrobe that you can enjoy for years to come!

Dragon and Bamboo Yukata. Expertly crafted in Japan of 100% soft cotton with a shrink-resistant finish. The dragon is considered a symbol of endurance and strength.  The dragon is a water deity. Bamboo is known for its beauty and is believed to attract luck and prosperity. The navy blue and white design complements the water deity theme of this robe.

Navy Hana Yukata. Hana translates to flower in Japan.  This Japanese artist-designed print features beautiful floral images melded with a striped bamboo print. The sophisticated pattern includes circles of flowers. The circle symbolizes Enso which means the body and mind are in a perfect state of “flow.”  Produced in a navy and white design, this yukata is always a good choice for lady’s yukatas.

If you are interested in these or any of our other 100+ designs and styles of Japanese Kimono, yukatas, or short-length kimonos called Happi Coats, click the link to visit our Online Kimono Shop.  Thank you for reading.

                    Black Kimono Samurai Robe

The Colors and Symbolism of the Japanese Kimono

Sunday, January 23rd, 2022

Kimono is a word that has been in use since at least the 12th century. Kimono translates as the “thing to wear.”  This ancient garment originated as an article of dress for Japanese women and girls. Soon it became popular all over Japan and Asia. This was due to its beauty, which was symbolized by long flowing skirts associated with femininity during this era when society really wasn’t progressing too much past old traditions.

Kimonos are much more than just beautiful clothing; they represent an era of elegance and culture. They have been worn by emperors, courtesans and geishas. All those who desired to make their mark on history through fashion for over 1000 years. The kimono’s rich history can be seen through every aspect from how people wear them today.

Dating back over ten decades to the present day, it continues on as one of Japan’s most iconic garments. Not only does this cloth provide comfort for its wearers, but also brings about pleasure through wear or simply seeing others in their beautiful outfits.  Some people can be mistaken on how valuable these items these items really are in culture and history.

Kimonos are a form of traditional Japanese clothing that can be worn at any time. The patterns and motifs have symbolic meanings related to the seasons. For instance, bamboo branches for winter or plum and cherry blossoms representing springtime in Japan. Plant imagery is often used for springtime celebrations in Japan because plants often grow quickly after being planted. The colors and patterns represent different seasons.

Kimonos are not just a symbol of Japanese culture, but also have deep personal meaning. The colors worn reflect their personality and attitude towards life in addition to what it means for them on an individual level. In modern society, people can easily attach meaning onto any object or person based off surface-level information alone. They often miss getting the story being told, much less why this particular piece matters so much more than others. Wearing kimonos with specific patterns tells a tale every time. When someone sees how beautifully designed each pattern actually is, they better understand the careful consideration put into making sure no detail went overlooked during construction and design.

The colors of kimonos have deep meanings. The most prominent being blue, which signifies sky and ocean in Japanese culture. Blue also means loyalty. Red is used to ward off evil spirits from coming near you or entering your home through some other means. For example, if someone walks past while looking depressed. Pink symbolizes youthfulness. It also holds the idea that older ladies will become young again when they die. This is because their spirit remains inside this material world for all eternity until it finds its true place. This hopefully happens sooner rather than later, according to Buddhist beliefs about life after death.

Today, the kimono is worn more than ever. They’re commonly seen at social gatherings like meeting with friends or attending graduation parties. Students will often dress up their graduate uniforms with an elegant Kimono to make them feel more adult-like while enjoying this ancient tradition. Kimono can also be used for more formal occasions such as a marriage and at a tea ceremony where it’s expected that you wear your finest attire.

No matter what the occasion or what your mood, it is fairly easy to locate a kimono or yukata robe that will match your needs and desires. Customers of Chopa – Your Kimono Source often purchase several. Some wear them while lounging at home, some wear them to special events, parties and festivals. Chopa offers over 100 different styles, colors and patterns in many sizes for men, women and kids. Their online Kimono Shop is open 24 hours a day for your shopping convenience. Shipping is always quick as most orders ship within one business day. Visit their shop today at www.chopa.com.

kimono yukata shop

Kimono History

Is your Kimono Produced by Slave Labor?

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Are you buying a Kimono produced by Slave Labor?

If you purchase a kimono or yukata from Chopa, you can be assured that no slave labor was used in producing these fine robes. We only offer robes produced in Japan without the use of forced or slave labor.

If you are buying a kimono elsewhere, chances favor that you are, if it was made in China. Forced slavery in China has been a hot topic for decades as the world looks closer at how some things are produced for such low costs. One of the reasons is low-cost labor. Ask any manufacturing manager or factory owner what one of their most important factors are in determining price, and labor is inevitably among the top answers.

China has a long foothold on producing low cost goods and labor is a predominate factor. Days are long, the standard workweek is six days and benefits for many are nonexistent. In some factories, employees also live there. Some consider it part of their pay; others call it forced imprisonment. Some factories have block walls around the perimeter with razor wire fences and watch towers that resemble prisons.

Jonathan Bass, CEO of PTM Images told Gordon Chang, Author of The Coming Collapse of China that “We all need to decide our moral responsibilities as Americans and what we stand for. We do not stand for slave labor. We in fact fought a war on our own soil to end it.” Mr. Bass’ insights are a startling reminder we shouldn’t take for granted and the message should never be forgotten.

We often see kimonos for sale on Amazon, Etsy and similar sites selling for $20.00 to $30.00.  They are often deceptively advertised as Japanese kimono, but we immediately know from the price, that these are not made in Japan. Japan is not a communist country and their leadership does not condone slavery. In China, the communist government denies any knowledge or acceptance of slavery but there are far too many documented cases and facts that disprove their claim.

Forced labor doesn’t begin inside the walls of a factory, but rather in the fields of cotton. China is the largest cotton producer in the world, with 84% of its cotton coming from the Xinjiang region. Chinese officials force hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims into cotton harvesting.

Cotton and yarn produced in Xinjiang is also exported to other garment-producing countries like Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. All three are also low-cost producing countries with subpar working conditions and little accountability for employee rights. According to Anti-Slavery International, one fifth of all cotton production in China is presumed to be linked to forced labor. Persecuted Muslim Uighurs in China are forced to supply the world’s fashion companies in the fields and in the factories.

In contrast, The United States has been a major supplier of raw cotton to Japan for more than a century assuring that the cotton kimono you buy from Japan is made without forced labor.

In 2016, the Global Slavery watchdog group estimated that on any given day in China, there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery. Forced child labor cases were detected in a garment factory in Changshu, Jiangsu Province, where underage workers were forced to work overtime and beaten if they refused. They also had their passports and mobile phones confiscated if they attempted to run away. Huge numbers from within this minority group, who are from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in the north-west part of the country, have allegedly been locked up and hired out by Communist party officials to greedy factory bosses. A leaked Beijing document revealed the scale of its detention camps, with officials admitting that up to eight million people had gone through “training” at state “gulags”. Global Slavery said “This is the largest mass detention of an ethnic and religious identity since World War 2.”

A coalition of more than 180 human rights groups believe that “virtually the entire global apparel industry is tainted by forced Uighur and Turkic Muslim labor. You could inadvertently be putting on a product that was made off the backs of forced labor of Uighurs.”

In February 2016, President Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.  This Act removed the “consumptive demand” exemption which allowed importation of goods produced with forced labor if they were not made “in such quantities in the United States as to meet the consumptive demands of the United States”. This effectively gutted the forced-labor prohibition. Unfortunately, his administration did not enforce the law against many large corporations, like Nike. Chang proposed the question to CPB, Customs and Border Protection, “How can Nike shoes made in a factory surrounded by walls, barbed-wire and watch towers, and where the workers, many from a racial minority, are not allowed to leave, not be made with forced labor?

The audits of Chinese suppliers are nearly always suspect. It is said that buyers of goods, when asking for prices of China-made products, are quoted two prices; one for goods with inspections and the other for goods without. The spread between the two prices approximates the cost of bribes for inspectors.

While U.S. law states that products made with forced labor can be seized, those made in horrible conditions in China and elsewhere are routinely cleared through Customs and end up on the shelves of American retailers.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kenneth Cuccinelli, who oversees the border agency, called “Made in China” a “warning label.” The cheap cotton goods you may be buying for family and friends during this season of giving, if coming from China, may have been made by slave labor in some of the most egregious human rights violations existing today in the modern world.”

The next time you seek to purchase a kimono, check the source carefully. Don’t be fooled by descriptions simply because the dealer says Japanese style, Japanese Robe or Japanese Kimono. Look for where it was made. If they don’t tell you clearly and plainly, ask. One of the biggest frauds we see on Amazon is that of companies claiming they are made in China but for export to Japan using Japanese standards. If you don’t shop carefully, they may have a bridge to sell you as well.

It may not seem like an issue but if you are against forced labor and slavery, don’t purchase a China-made Kimono. There is a reason we offer true, proven, quality made kimono and yukata from Japan. We don’t want to participate in the slave trade and won’t. Nor should you.

Yukata From Japan – No Forced Labor 

Do you leave reviews about a business?

Saturday, May 29th, 2021

customer service

 

We receive a steady flow of positive reviews, compliments and thank you notes from customers and work hard to provide all customers with a great shopping experience. Once in a while, we receive a complaint, which can be expected since people have different assumptions about what their experience will be. Thankfully, the complaints are far and few between, which lets us believe we are doing the right thing, communicating well, offering great products, fair pricing and excellent service. In business, a customer that has a negative experience is likely to leave a bad review. This is especially true today with social media and online reviews making it so easy to post. On the flip side, a customer that has a great experience is less likely to leave a positive review. In general, only one in ten happy customers will leave positive feedback.

Since we receive so many positive comments and reviews, it surprised us recently when a customer left us a negative review on a rating site. It was the customer’s first experience shopping with us and we are certain their last. The puzzling piece about this feedback was that the customer never contacted us to discuss the matter or give us a chance to rectify their complaint. Instead, they chose to post and broadcast to the world how bad we are as a company in general.  Because of one issue, this customer labeled all of our products as inferior and not worth the money.  The comment was difficult to swallow considering we have over 100 products and have served over 32,000 happy customers.  If we offer such poor quality products as was claimed, how would we last over 25 years in this business? It simply made no sense to us.

As we read and discussed the review in a staff meeting, it became more obvious to us that this person damaged the robe through their own negligence.  At first, they implied that the kimono arrived with tears in it and claimed that because our return policy was too difficult, they were now stuck with this robe. They also elaborated on being a near-expert on Japanese kimonos because of some life experience. Granted, we are ad-libbing a bit here and everyone, especially customers are entitled to their opinions, but as a reputable kimono dealer for nearly three decades, it became evident after their story changed a few times that this person simply wanted to blame someone else rather than accept their own responsibility for their situation.

We are confident that the kimono arrived in perfect condition, it was worn a few times, they tore it and wanted to pass blame on us. Otherwise, why wouldn’t you have reached out to us to ask for a replacement?  If we ever make a mistake by sending out the wrong color, size, or the robe actually had a flaw, we stand by our reputation and would have corrected the issue at our expense. Our manufacturers have stringent quality assurance plans in place. We receive very few returns and of those we receive, most are simple exchanges. Everyone is human and if we make a mistake, we fix it. Unfortunately today, there are people that just don’t want to accept responsibility for their own actions and instead choose to blame others. We believe this customer purchased a size that was too small and that is how it tore. This would happen with nearly all fabrics. If stretched and pulled with too much force, cotton will tear.

This reminded us of how fragile business review systems are today. With the internet, information is passed at lightning speed and with little recourse. The right thing to do when you are unhappy with a situation is to contact the business and discuss it with them. Don’t become frustrated and paint an unrealistic and untrue picture of someone. We look at all reviews and comments with the utmost attention and seriousness. Negative reviews are harmful to a reputation and can be difficult to overcome. We have made exceptions to our policies and have gone out of our way to make a customer happy. No business wants an unhappy customer. If this person would have reached out to us, we might have been able to do something, but we were never given a chance. In the end we both lost.

Be aware of the importance of good communication and feedback.  If you have a problem with something you buy or a service you hire, give the business a chance to help and fix an issue. You could save yourself money, save your sanity and above all, focus on believing in people and businesses rather than being angry and aggressive. It isn’t good for your soul and certainly isn’t good for anyone around you.  It is a good lesson and one we will remember.  Life is too short, be happy!

Which Kimono or Yukata Should I Buy?

Saturday, May 22nd, 2021

online kimono shopping

We receive frequent inquiries from customers asking us to recommend a kimono or yukata.  Questions vary from sizing, fabrics or shipping times and we are always happy to help.  But, if we are asked to recommend a print, we like to expand on the subject and offer some insight into the symbolism of these robes. It isn’t that we can’t suggest a particular style or personal favorite, but we prefer to share our love of these robes and educate our customers on the meaning of the patterns. We believe selecting a Japanese robe is a personal choice and it should be recognized as such. Some would even say it is sacred.

In general, sizing is fairly straightforward. To determine the length of the robe you want to wear, place the end of a tape measure on your shoulder and let it fall down your side or in front of you. Kimono and yukata are available in standard lengths of 54″, 56″, 58″, 60″, 62″ and 64″. You can decide which length fits your needs and style. Some customers prefer a full length robe to the top of their feet, others want it to fall above their ankles and others prefer it to reach their shins or fall to the knees. If you seek a shorter length kimono or yukata, shop for a Happi Coat. Happi Coats are short length kimono and yukata. These short length robes are available in 35″ 42″ and 45″ lengths.  These are popular in the summer and used as coverups at the pool or beach, lounging around the house or to add some allure for your spouse or significant other.

Next, measure your waistline and hips.  Measure the circumference or girth at the widest part of your waist and hips. Reputable dealers will offer a selection of sizes in length and width. It is common for clothing to fit individuals differently, but this process will provide you with a better understanding of how the robe might fit you. Kimono and yukata are wraparound robes, meaning the left side is pulled over the right side and tied or held in place by a sash or belt.  Normally 8-12″ is adequate for the length of the fold over.  You want to allow some room to move, stretch or adjust comfortably so it isn’t too tight. Chopa was one of the first dealers on the web to offer wide or plus sized kimono and yukata. Americans are generally larger in size than their Japanese counterparts, so the larger sizing is a welcome feature.

Once you determine an appropriate size, the fun part begins, choosing a pattern or print. The joy of Japanese kimono and yukata lie within the beautiful prints and patterns available. Whether it’s a flower, bird, dragon, fish or artistic print, let your inner self make the decision.  Ask what inspires you? What motivates or drives you? If you are purchasing a robe as a gift, it works the same way. Analyze the recipient. What kind of person are they? What traits make them unique? What in their personality stands out in your mind?

The symbolism of the kimono and yukata is wide ranging.  For example, the dragon is considered a protector of mankind and represents strength, courage and wisdom. The koi fish represents fortune, good luck and abundance. A crane symbolizes long life and good health. Bamboo suggests prosperity, strength and flexibility. A kamon is a crest used to identify a family, its origins and often to be of a higher class, or nobility like Samurai or Shogun. The peony is considered the flower of good fortune, nobility and honor.

When shopping for a kimono or yukata, read the style description to understand the meaning of the pattern or design. Look within and decide what characteristics you have and find a matching pattern. Are you a dragon, a koi fish or do you resonate with a mum or iris flower?  If you are selecting a gift, what type of person are you giving this too? What symbolism matches their personal character? When presenting a kimono or yukata as a gift, explain the meaning of the pattern to the recipient and it will make the gift much more special. You might even enlighten the recipient when you discuss the symbolism.  Perhaps you see traits in the individual that he or she does not. It may shed a light on their persona that they didn’t realize they had.

Of course, for as beautiful as kimono are, you can always select a robe simply because you like the pattern. If you like a style, buy it and wear it with great joy. Many Japanese patterns date back over 1000 years ago and are inspired by nature. Symbolism is very important and revered in Japanese culture. Wearing a kimono or yukata can make you feel like a part of the Land of the Rising Sun. Happy Shopping!

 

Why We Don’t Require Registration To Shop With Us.

Sunday, May 16th, 2021

no registration required

To register or not to register. The choice is yours!

Customers sometimes ask if registration is required on our website and the answer is always, absolutely not. While we do offer the registration feature, we never require anyone to do so and will never pressure you into it.  Some customers like having an account where they can review their purchases, check on past orders, and more.  We understand this, but also recognize it should be a personal choice and your decision.

With online shopping so popular and convenient these days, it is evident that a growing number of companies require it.  If you are a buyer of supplies for your business, make frequent purchases at a specific site or shop for a household several times a week, we understand the benefits. But, people are becoming more concerned about online data than ever before and rightly so. There are convenience factors with an online account, but with cyber security theft and attacks in the news almost daily, many customers feel that the less personal information stored on the web, the better.  We tend to agree. We also avoid online stores that make you register just to see their products.

Why do some companies require it?  In simple terms, to track and use the information to market to you and sell more products.  Companies spend billions of dollars each year to tap into customer data. With online registration accounts, businesses can watch your shopping patterns, determine when you shop, what products interest you the most and even analyze and rank you based on your transactions. This is something we have chosen not to do.  A registered account is for the customer’s convenience only and we do not track information from account registrations. We do not monitor registered online accounts, track you, watch you or stalk you. That is a promise.

We, like our customers, want to be treated fairly, discreetly and largely unmonitored when we shop online, and a mandatory registration is something we frown on. We find it a turn off and know it can turn away a customer.  Most of us here at Chopa, admit to leaving an online site at some point, if we had to register.  It can be annoying, frustrating and a nuisance.  Between work and home, it isn’t uncommon to already have an ocean of logons and passwords we have to deal with, so why add another one? This is especially true if you are making a unique purchase or a one time buy. If you are buying a green, two-sided, polka dot widget with sparkles online, why would you want to register if you won’t need another one for five years?

Most people are aware of the incessant tracking done regularly today. It has become a byproduct of our online activities. If you are on social media such as Facebook, Twitter or just using your cellphone, you are being tracked, monitored and your data is being stored, analyzed, used and profited from. Chopa might be a small piece of the world’s puzzle we live in and play on, but we do our part to be as minimally invasive as possible.  One of our mottos has long been, “Shop with Confidence” and that holds true with online registrations. They are optional and the decision to register is yours and only yours.  If you have thoughts, comments or experiences on this subject, we invite you to share your ideas. We always welcome feedback. We also appreciate online privacy and this is something that is being taken away, site by site and day by day.  Our message to all, Stay Safe. It’s the Wild West out there.

 

 

 

 

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

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chopa – Your Kimono Source Since 1994,  Receives 2013 Best of Panama City Beach Award

Panama City Beach Award Program Honors the Achievement

PANAMA CITY BEACH August 29, 2013 — Chopa  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

 

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Understanding your Chakras -The Solar Plexus Chakra

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

This month we are going to explore the third of the seven energy systems. The solar plexus chakra, also known as Manipura, is the Sanskrit word for shining jewel and is believed to be a metaphor for the inner beauty of oneself. It is located in your abdomen just above the navel and is associated with a vibrant yellow color. Its associated element is fire. The primary purpose of this chakra is power, integrity, self-discipline and personal esteem. It provides us with the necessary strength and endurance to work through life’s challenges while remaining true to our core values of honor and ethics.

The solar plexus chakra is where our sense of ego, self-control and our sense of authority are based. If you have ever experienced “butterflies” in your stomach before a presentation or during a stressful situation, this is where your 3rd chakra is housed and actively at work!

This chakra also holds our intellect, individual personality and cognitive thinking skills. When faced with a difficult situation and weighing the options, your may find the decision is often rooted in your “gut instinct”. This is your 3rd chakra at work. It is integral to facing and working through every day challenges at work, home or in personal relationships. It allows us to make confident decisions, handle a crisis and distinguish right from wrong and good from bad.

When your 3rd Chakra is balanced, you have the ability to be spontaneous and feel satisfied and happy in life. You believe in yourself and don’t view the world as a threatening or frightening place. Your self-perception has changed from belonging to a tribe (first chakra) to developing your own self-identity and a strengthened ego. The ability to clearly and freely express your emotions and decisions to people is the result of a balanced 3rd chakra. Having the courage to follow your “intuition” or “gut” in making decisions without fear of reprisal from others or fearing your own safety is also a key function of this chakra.

Signs of an unbalanced 3rd chakra are seen in long standing anger or resentment and fear of life. Ongoing criticism of others, refusal to admit wrongdoing and thoughts of helplessness without initiating steps to correct the situation are all indicative of being in a state of unbalance. An under active chakra will exhibit as indifference, poor self-esteem, feelings of being powerless, and remaining in unhealthy relationships. Over active chakra signs are seen in people who crave power, control and will frequently manipulate or bully to get their way. Success is measured by how much can be accumulated in both personal wealth and power rather than focusing on inner power. They are often viewed as impatient, short tempered and unable to cooperate for the greatest good of all concerned.

If you feel out of balance, try spending time outdoors in the sunshine. Burn a few candles, or build a bonfire, if you have the proper place! Introduce the color yellow into your wardrobe, your office or home as a reminder. Place sunflowers on your desk. Eat more yellow fruits and vegetables like bananas, squash and peaches. Try belly dancing! Go for a brisk walk, watch a comedy and enjoy deep belly laughs. Perform an act of service to nurture someone else through praise, respect and acknowledgement for a job well done. Using your time to teach a skill or support someone who could use a boost in their self-esteem are power gifts of the 3rd chakra. If you meditate, visualize a golden yellow; it will help ground your energy center to your physical body. If you work with mala beads, the gemstones related to the solar plexus chakra are amber, tiger’s eye, yellow topaz and citrine. Incense can also be a useful centering aide. Cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, ginger and orange are incense associated with the 3rd chakra.

In the next issue, we will explore the fourth or heart chakra.

Cover your Man in Yang Male Energy with this Navy Dragon Yukata

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
Navy Dragon Yukata

Navy Dragon Yukata

Ladies, do you want your man to look fashionable by the pool or spa this summer?  Then maybe it’s time to start doing some early Father’s Day shopping.  This striking Navy Dragon Yukata is certain to get attention and make your favorite guy feel like a million bucks.  Perfect for lounging by the pool, as a summer bathrobe, or wherever he likes to relax, this 100% cotton yukata makes an impressive statement.

Made in Japan, the legendary dragon is emblazoned on this navy blue yukata, along with gray and white stylized clouds and calligraphy.  The dragon is depicted across Asian cultures as one of the Four Legendary Creatures, each of which is the guardian of the cosmic “directions”.  The Dragon guards the East, and was often painted alongside the other “creatures” (tortoise, tiger and red bird) to keep evil spirits away from early Chinese tombs.  The dragon is also represents the spring season, the colors green and blue, and the element of wood.  Its virtue is Propriety and it is an enduring symbol of Yang male energy.  (more…)