Category Archives: Home and Fitness

“Harder Faster Better”

Photo Credit: Carlos Tapia

Discover CrossFit, an innovative program that combines fitness and nutrition to help participants be themselves – that is, a very improved version of themselves.  There are no unrealistic expectations, and everyone is responsible for both personal and communal achievements.  Yes, the stakes are high, but you’ll never be alone in the process.  Are you in?

CrossFit is a fitness program that is designed around the mastery of functional human movement and optimal physical health. It increases the average person’s ability to perform in real life situations – professional or recreational sports, first responder and military or even simply being a mom or dad – harder, faster, better and for longer periods of time than ever before. Doing CrossFit the right way will increase your strength, endurance, speed, coordination, balance and confidence.  For the average person who participates in CrossFit, there is a level of achievement, accomplishment and community

that simply isn’t available in any other part of their lives, let alone in a standard gym routine. Training is fun, challenging, exciting, and it brings a level of sport and play back into people’s daily lives.

One of the most unique and exciting things about CrossFit is that each and every person who participates, whether they are a family guy, full time mom, weekend warrior, gym rat or a competitor at the international level, does the exact same things. Everyone who participates earns the feeling of being a champion. CrossFit’s training and movement philosophy, combined with passionate, committed and sound coaching, increases people’s wellness both inside and out, enhances performance, promotes self-esteem and amps their ability to squeeze the juice out of life.

The Whole Life Challenge was inspired by the idea that having next level results in your life takes daily commitment and accountability for your actions and how these relate to what you want. Every day we fight the same battle with what we envision for ourselves and the reality of daily life, which is full of demands and routines. The Whole Life Challenge is a community game that breaks the routine and puts you and your friends in the battle between your vision and your reasons. It acknowledges that those reasons are very real, and giving them structure will enable you to achieve your goals by taking single steps each day.

To begin, participants spend over 56 days training to become more aware of the way that they are about their body and their health. With real, daily tracking of what they do and don’t do and actual physical and performance measurements, they understand how they get the results that they get (or don’t get!). It empowers the participants to create an environment of support as well as information about their local community and what it has to offer that supports healthy living. The Whole Life Challenge is a tool that brings people to an awareness that their choices have actual consequences that they may not have been noticing. It is a health and wellness community building experience like no other – people learn about themselves and learn to cause the success of the people around them as well as theirs. Like a team, people struggle and win together.

One of the most important steps to follow to succeed in the Whole Life Challenge is to identify what actions you can take right now, today, that will point you towards your vision. No one gets from here to there in a day, and taking the daily view gives people an opportunity to succeed all along the way. Like being in a river, just stepping in will carry them downstream before they even know they are moving. Another critical step is to not be alone. Interacting with the community to get support, share successes and breakdowns, contribute information and experiences, and to witness the transformations that are possible and are taking place all around you gives you far more power than you would have on your isolated island of one. Finally, doing what you said you were going to do even though you might not feel like it at the moment is the most important motivation. Everyone faces distractions and temptations that draw them away from long term fulfillment in exchange for short term gratification. This challenge gives you the tools you need: if you use them, you see what is possible if you are true to yourself and your vision. – Michael Stanwyck

Photo Credit: Carlos Tapia

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Mrs. Meyers Gets Fresh

When it comes to defining a home, Pam Helms knows what’s important: “the people who live there and the love and care they have for each other.”  She is the Chief Innovation Office at Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, a company that focuses on exactly that which makes a home by producing natural cleaning products that turn household chores into pleasurable, healthy experiences.  They are inspired by the homes and gardens around them, as well as the well being of their employees, their consumers and their families.


Below: The new line of Bluebell scents and the new 68 load Laundry detergent for spring 2012 in Lemon Verbena and Lavender scent.

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TransforMadera Changes it Up

Have you ever felt like your furniture could use some TLC, but your woodworking skills
aren’t up to par?  Fret no more – Mario Gracia is here to help you see repurposing as an art, and how revamping your home doesn’t have to be so expensive.

What motivated you to delve into carpentry?

Foreseeing that, frankly, my bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature would not guarantee a job after graduation, I began to seriously consider alternate work possibilities.  I always questioned why our educational system leaves out practical information and knowledge, for example, how to repair your car, how electricity works in houses, and how to build all sorts of things.  With this in mind, I aimed to dedicate my time to learning a skill that would involve creativity, physical activity and a workshop environment.

I eventually narrowed my search down to wanting to work with wood, a natural, versatile, beautiful and readily available material.  I was somewhat familiar with most elements and tools in woodworking because my father Jaime Gracia is a wood and metal sculpture artist.  Having such an example so close to me enabled me to see the potential of wood as both a medium of expression and a way of earning a living.

Where did you learn?

I believe that there are no coincidences.  As I began asking around for people who could teach me, my friend Pablo told me his father Juan del Hierro ran a homegrown workshop.

I called him right away to ask if I could become his apprentice.  The timing could have not been better: four days before my call he had had an accident in which he injured his shoulder, rendering him unable to work alone in his workshop.  He needed help, and there I was. We met the day after my call and from there on I went every day to his house, his shop, eager to learn. Originally from Ecuador, he got the chance to travel to New York City, where he learned all sorts of skills in the city from a wide variety of people while doing dancing professionally, which is his passion.  After getting married, the entire family moved to Puerto Rico and he established his shop little by little, with lots of hard work.  His story is very inspiring; I could not have had a better teacher.

How would you describe your approach to every project?

I see every project as unique, having its own particularities and necessities.  Communication with who I am working for is fundamental in developing any project. Asking the customer for examples they have seen or thought of for their furniture project is always very helpful; if they have a clear idea of what they want I have a clearer idea on how to design and build.  Initially I try to target the specific needs the customer wants the furniture to fulfill and try to create several possible solutions which may vary in the materials used, finish and price.  My work is careful and detailed, with the goal of presenting what fine woodworking is about.

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