Triple Threat Wellness

Patagonia: A Company that Cares

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably active or at least have an interest in being active. Now that you have the ambition, you need to dress the part.

thethi-2-1424359-mThis is where Patagonia comes in. This outdoors company aims to develop the highest quality clothing and gear for climbers, runners, surfers, fishermen, skiers and snowboarders.

I’m the first to admit to being cheap when it comes to buying pretty much anything. Before I even consider trying out a product, I check the price tag. As a general rule, I don’t buy anything over $20. And I mean anything.

This usually means lower quality products and, in the long run, is counter-productive considering replacing poorly-made clothing, for example, at a high rate will end up costing me more in the long run.

This would not fly in the minds of Patagonia employees.

Patagonia decision makers take pride in providing consumers with sustainable products. The company’s clothing and gear are rumored to last for life. This makes even me think twice about purchasing a generic alternative.

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What’s cool about Patagonia is they take this idea of a product lasting for life to the next step. Patagonia literally sent out a message saying,“Don’t buy this jacket.”

Seem crazy to you?

Just to clarify, Patagonia intends for its products to only go to people who are using them to their full potential. The idea is to discourage consumers from adding to the planet’s waste by buying clothing they won’t use.

Patagonia would rather its products be used by outdoor enthusiasts than people who are just buying it to show off a more expensive brand.

Actually, the website showcases an ambassadors program, introducing average peoples’ critiques on Patagonia gear.

From a public relations perspective, this is genius. It shows that the company is interacting with its key audiences by turning them into opinion leaders for the industry.

Consumers trust other consumers more than advertisements and other messages delivered directly from a company. The hobbies of Patagonia ambassadors are displayed on the website.

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The official site also shows that, in its 40 years of existence, Patagonia has implemented various campaigns honing in on specific issues that showcase its passion for environmentally friendly practices. The themes of these campaigns range from reducing waste in natural waterways to protecting arctic wildlife to awareness of the complexity of the marine wildlife.

Consumers eat this stuff up! Especially the type of consumers that would be making Patagonia purchases. Patagonia workers come off as authentic and caring about serious environmental issues. The company is encouraging behavior change among consumers that will positively affect the planet.

Continuing with the PR theme, Patagonia is present on eight different social media channels. This accessibility to the brand helps to build long-term relationships with a wide range of consumers. (Different demographics tend to lean toward certain social media platforms).

Zooming in on Facebook
solidified Patagonia’s commitment to consumers. They post relevant and engaging content and promptly respond to comments, so don’t hesitate to contact them!

While this blog is very much about building a strong foundation for yourself, it is good to think about whom you’re interacting with to make that goal happen.

Doesn’t it just make sense to support a company who cares about your own wellbeing?

Consider this next time you make a purchase (wellness-related or not).

This post just scratched the surface of what Patagonia does to leverage its company. I encourage you to do some more exploring!

Have a great week.

Rocking that Climb

The first time I reached the top of a rock-climbing wall was at Galyan’s, a sporting goods store located in my nearby mall. Growing up, every time my brother and I walked by the wall, we would beg my mom to let us climb.

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I remember the day she finally caved; looking down after pushing what I called the “victory button” that indicated the completion of my climb. The spectators looked so much smaller than I imagined they would.

My climbing “career” took a long hiatus after those younger years and it wasn’t until college that I made a point of participating in the activity again.

Though I have improved since my young climbing days, I thought it would be more appropriate to hear the benefits of climbing from more experienced source a.k.a. my outdoor enthusiast friend Abby Bradford.

From the “expert” 

Abby works at the rock wall at Kent State’s recreation center. When I asked her to tell me about the hobby, she stressed that people underestimate the physical exertion climbing brings on.

“People don’t understand how good of a workout it is. You can be a buff guy and come there and struggle with climbing, because it’s such a different kind of endurance and strength,” Abby shared, “It’s more than just arms. It’s a lot with your legs. You can go there and climb just a couple times up the wall and your arms are shaking.”

Abby claims that the activity isn’t just physically challenging, but also is a mental work out. The combination of mind and body means that reaching the top of a difficult climb can be surprisingly rewarding.

“Once you accomplish a wall you feel so great about yourself. You want to just jump up with your arms over your head, but you can’t because they’re so tired.”

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Abby’s interest has pushed her outside the boundaries of the Recwalls. Spring break 2013 Abby and some of our close friends took a trip out west (Colorado and Utah) to make their way up natural rocks.

“Climbing outdoors is so different than indoor climbing. There’s much more danger,” Abby said. “But it’s such a community out there. All these climbers, all together. Everybody was willing to help anybody. It was just a very cool experience. I think the community aspect of it is what I like best.”

But, like most skills, you have to start with the basics. Yeah, it’s definitely awesome to picture yourself climbing in some beautiful natural setting, but you should probably gain some confidence before you tackle anything too intense.

Abby clued me in that rock climbing is not something you can just casually come and go with if you want to improve. You have to practice frequently to work up the needed muscles.

For the future expert (you!)

That said, it time get started! Here’s a few pointers going into rock climbing that will help you ease into the hobby:

Climber Lingo

Want to make it seem like you know what you’re talking about when you hit up your local climbing venue? Study these terms so you don’t seem like a total amateur.

Climbing Lingo

Trust me: use these exact phrases and you’ll be a big hit.

Tying the Knot

However, maybe you should consider perfecting at least one skill before you throw out the terminology, so you’re not all talk. What I have in mind: perfecting you’re knots. Here’s a little tutorial from to show you how to secure some knots before you climb the wall:

Vertical Limit

Whatever you do, do not watch the movie Vertical Limit. It will completely discourage you from taking on this hobby and we only want positive thoughts. On the other hand, Reel Rock 8 would be amazingly appropriate. It tells the story of a group of different professional climbers and it will really bring your view on the hobby to different heights! Seriously blew my mind. 

Check in with me next week to keep discovering how you can be a triple threat!

Pumpkin Pointers: No longer just a jack-o-lantern

Well, it’s that time of year again: convincing yourself it’s acceptable to indulge in an excessive amount of chocolate, spending too much on an outfit you will wear one time and, most relevant to my post, embracing everything pumpkin.

As I’ve modeled in previous posts, getting creative can help the “wellness” of your mind. There’s much more you can do with the popular orange crop than just leave it on your porch for smashing by the local hoodlums.

Here’s a few ideas to jump start your prolific pumpkin plans:

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1)   Style and Scents

Instead of just cutting the conventional Jack-o-lantern face out of your pumpkin, branch out this year. There are countless stencils available online. I decided to practice what I’m preaching for this tip and carve my own pumpkin.

The finishing touch is always adding the light source. Go a step further and turn your carving into a scented candleholder by rubbing your favorite seasonal spice, such as cinnamon, on the pumpkin top. The aroma will fill the air through the holes of your creation and the scent will contribute to the festive ambiance of your home.

2)   Get Gut-sy

Scooping out the innards of a pumpkin is an impossible task to complete without getting messy, so just accept that getting covered in stringy, colorful goop is going to happen. Enjoy it!

Before you toss the “guts” in the trash consider these alternative uses.

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Roasted pumpkin seeds

Just about everyone has heard of this tasty treat by now. You separate the seeds, place them (coatedin oil) on a baking sheet and stick them inthe oven. More thorough instructions can be found with a simple Google search, but that’s the main gist.

Following these steps can leave you with a healthy and tasty snack, but lets step it up a notch. Add brown sugar or cinnamon for a sweeter option, stick them in the outer layer of a candied/caramel apple or accessorize you brownies with a top layer of the seeds.

Pumpkin Stock

We’re heading toward soup season! Who doesn’t love to snuggle up with a warm bowl of soup and watch their movie of choice? I am now giving you the secret to adding some extra oomph to your next soup concoction.

Now that you’ve removed the seeds, it’s time to get those guts in a pot of water. Toss in some bits of other vegetables for added flavor and boil for about 30 minutes. Strain the stock and you have yourself a tasty broth, perfect for putting in soups and casseroles.

3)  Exfoliate with Puree

Bet you never thought of this one.

Pumpkins are not only healthy to consume, but are beneficial when applied to skin, because they’re composed of zinc and Vitamins A, C and E. Knowing this, it seems only natural to use your pumpkin purchase to your advantage in the form of a facemask.

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First, you’ll need to make your own pumpkin puree (an easy, but time-consuming task). Of course, you could always buy your own can of puree, but this will prove much more satisfying.

Only five teaspoons of the puree is needs for the exfoliating mix. The remains can be used as ingredients in other pumpkin-friendly recipes.

The five teaspoons of puree should be combined with three teaspoons of brown sugar and a little splatter of milk.

Apply the mixture to you face in circular motions avoiding your eyes. Let it sit for 20 minutes and enjoy the soothing sensation of your homemade solution.

Hope these three ideas, mainly inspired by an article I saw from Earth911, will influence you to expand your horizons. This is the time of year people are mourning the fading summer months and dreading the oncoming snowfalls.

Keep your spirits up by getting more involved than usual in the holiday.

What did you carve into your pumpkin this year?

Beckwith Orchards: Apple Wonderland

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This week’s adventure led me only two miles from home to Beckwith Orchards. Though it is not permitted to pick apples directly from the trees, there is still something about the local farm that makes it a worthy place to visit for your apple experience this fall.

Beckwith Orchards is family owned and has been in existence for more than 125 years. How about dem apples?? Upon further research, I learned that the orchard not only houses apple trees, but also grows peaches, nectarines and other seasonal items.

What to see

During our visit, my fellow autumn-loving friends and I witnessed a batch of smiling locals: a young family getting professional photos taken, a college couple enjoying the beautiful October Saturday, pet owners with their dogs.

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The environment is very community-like, complete with approachable workers of all ages engaging in friendly small talk.

One of my favorite parts of the farm is an old, rundown cottage tucked away in a patch of woods. It what I imagine the witch’s house would look like in Hansel and Gretel. It appears to be unoccupied. Though I’m sure, if you asked, employees would gladly explain its past purpose, I find it more exciting for the answer to remain a mystery.

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Continuing on, we came across a painted set of drawers. As soon as I saw them, I immediately approached them, thinking they offered a creative photo opportunity. However, the closer I got, the more I realized I was approaching danger. The first hint: a subtle, but very present buzzing.

You probably are more perceptive then me and already know where I’m headingwith this, but they quartered live bees. Once I grasped this, it wasn’t long before I was hurrying away from the manmade hives. I learned that the honey from the bees is sold in the orchard store (another great perk of visiting).

What to purchase

IMG_1763During this time of the year, the store also offers unique autumn items like fall-themed cookie cutters, perfectly distorted gourds and apple-infused pancake mix.

It seriously is an apple wonderland topped off with an alluring scent that leads you to the attached bakery. It took every bone in our body to resist purchasing a pie slice. We were rewarded, however with a glimpse at the largest apple we’ve ever come across on the bakery counter. The worker informed us it was close to two pounds. Craziness!

How to get in touch

Being a public relations student, I couldn’t help but look at Beckwith’s from a communications perspective, most specifically at their use of Facebook. I was very impressed with the page because it was visually appealing, informative and responsive, especially since a majority of the pages on their website are under construction.

The cover photo and profile picture are very appropriate and clearly indicate the theme of the orchard. The administrator of the page also posts pictures of the farm frequently, which receive an impressive amount of Likes. It’s great they are taking advantage of how picturesque the land is. I wanted to Like just about every picture myself!

They also shared content from other sources, which is a great way to prompt conversation and form a connection with other online outlets.

There’s not much more frustrating than having to excessively search for (what should be) simple answers about, such as hours, contact information and location. That’s not a problem with the Beckwith’s Facebook. Everything you need to know is present at the top of the page.

As far as responsiveness goes, I sifted through the comments left by enthusiasts. Most comments are very positive: people raving about their experience sometimes even complete with pictures. You can almost always find a reply to these posts from Beckwith Orchards. This connection encourages long-term relationships between farm-visitors and the orchard.  Responding to comments is a practice every company with a Facebook should imitate.

However, I did notice one negative comment that Beckwith’s neglected to acknowledge. This is a “no-no: from a PR perspective.  The concern should be addressed as quickly as possible and with an understanding/sympathetic tone. In this case, the customer wasn’t happy that he couldn’t pick apples directly from the trees, because employees claimed it was difficult to direct him toward which apples to pick.

In my opinion, Beckwith’s should have further explained its reasoning and offered some kind of incentive for the man to visit again.

However, overall, I believe Beckwith’s is doing a fantastic job in using a social media channel to reach and connect with locals.

How this is related to Triple Threat Wellness

Apples are not only delicious but also great for you. I also recently heard that apples could be more effective in keeping you awake than the caffeine in coffee.

As far as the mental aspect goes, visiting a local venue can help clear your mind and feel part of the community.

Now it’s time for you to reach out. What fall activity helps you clear your mind?

Third Time’s the Charm: Pumpkin Edition

I love my mother to death, but she did not raise my brother, Graham, and I to be healthy eaters. It was all McDonalds and Spaghetti-O’s and fish sticks. This is by no means an accurate reflection of how great of mom she was. She just has never been into the whole organic, stuff-your-face-with-veggies deal.

Therefore, it wasn’t until after college started that I really had major influences encouraging me to eat healthy. This past summer, I took that a step further and actually began cooking up my own healthy concoctions.

At school, I work through dining services, which gives me the lovely benefit of getting plenty of free meals. However, this means my cooking skills are out of whack due to lack of repetition.

This was showcased this month as I attempted to make three different recipes and only was successful with my final attempt. Something to keep in mind: substitutes don’t always work.

Take my first attempt, for example.

I bought Grape Nuts cereal by Post and hated it because of the “puffed barley” ingredient. It just didn’t set well with my taste buds.

Instead of pitching the cereal, I decided to hunt for an alternative use of it. I came across crunchy peanut butter bars on the website for the cereal. Easy as that!

Side note: I pounce on anything peanut butter related. It’s unhealthy.

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Now, the recipe called for corn syrup, which we no not currently have in my household. I decided to use Google to my advantage and search for ingredients that could take the place of corn syrup and came up with a combination of sugar and water.

It might seem obvious, but sugar and water are not the same consistency as corn syrup. As a result my simple experiment to make homemade peanut butter bars turned into a zip lock baggy full of crumbs.

Not my best work.

But it doesn’t stop there.

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Recipe #2 seemed even simpler: pumpkin cupcakes and homemade frosting. I intended on surprising my friend for her birthday with a tasty fall treat.

My mistake this time was using Olivio instead of butter for the frosting. Here I was thinking it would be a healthier choice, but I did not think through that it has a different texture than a good, old fashioned stick of butter.

As a result, what should have been a thick sugary frosting became what I like to call a pumpkin glaze. It was so liquidy and, as you can see from the picture, had a strange appearance.

I made an executive decision to spare my birthday friend the task of having to fake she was impressed with my baking skills. Well more for me! I’ll just keep telling myself they don’t taste that horrifying.

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Luckily, I’m an optimistic person and decided to give this whole baking thing another go. With the help of my bread maker (because every college student needs a bread maker), I made a perfectly acceptable and tasty loaf of pumpkin bread.

Maybe two wrongs can lead to a right.

Okay so how to tie this back to TTW.

Obviously, using healthier recipes benefits your body.

But digging a little deeper: learning a new skill takes time and practice and trial an error. Sometimes trying something different is more about enjoying yourself than reaching perfection.

If you are able to accept that failure is a part of life, you will eliminate a lot of stress and frustration. This kind of patience improves the wellness of the mind.

Therefore, this week’s words of wisdom are to embrace some mistake that you made recently and put a positive spin on it.

Share some baking tips or tell me how you overcame failure!

Cleanup the Cuyahoga: “Tons” of Fun

It took me four years, but I finally made it to Cleanup the Cuyahoga this weekend! In case you’re not aware, this is an annual event held in Kent where your main goal is to collect as much trash as possible.

Doesn’t seem like how you’d want to spend your Saturday morning?

Well, let me elaborate.

Every year, Crooked River Adventures hosts this volunteer effort. For no cost to you, you have the opportunity to kayak or canoe your way down the once filthy river and are rewarded with a six-inch sub, cookies and a bag of chips at the end.

Not to mention there’s the potential to get covered in mud and river water depending on how adventurous you are! During the event, you mosey your way down the tree-lined waterway and keep an eye out for any unnatural objects. This year we literally collects tons of garbage.

IMG_1674I was lucky enough to be part of an enthusiastic group who was audibly excited when they spotted a pile of garbage. I can’t think of a situation where I’ve heard such excitement to see a plastic bag wrapped around a branch or a rusty barrel poking out of a stream. It was amusing to say the least.

By the end of the 2.5-mile venture, I was soaking wet from the waist down, obtained a scratch on my leg while trying to dislodge a plastic, turtle-shaped sandbox from beneath several large logs and was exhausted both mentally and physically.

Yes. This is my idea of fun.

Most Saturdays I’m stuck inside at work or am catching up on sleep from staying up too late the night before. Money and lack of sleep is fun and all, but it honestly brightens your world to be part of group and do something out of the ordinary.

This is where the point of my blog comes in.

First off, kayaking in general is a great workout, especially for your upper body.

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Last fall I took the kayaking course offered at Kent State (which you get credit for). Every Friday for the first half of the semester we drove down to the Mogadore Reservoir and improved our stroke techniques and safety methods.

Being on the water is a complete escape from all the stresses of life. You really feel like you’re far from home and it’s just plain peaceful. This is where the whole wellness of the mind comes into play.

The same can be said for volunteering in general. 

First of all, volunteering usually gets you up pretty darn early, which may be a huge turnoff for you, but the way I see it is you’re using more hours of the day. Early risers get so much more accomplished and feel more at ease, because they’re not rushing around as much.

Don’t get me wrong. I still cringe when I hear that alarm, but it is always, always worth it.

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And there are endless ways to help out. If you’re at Kent State, you can check out Super Service Saturdays. There are different options every week, transportation is provided and you almost always get free food.

Some other reasons I like volunteering is a lot of the time you get to work on a skill you wouldn’t have, see something from a different point of view and meet people.

Take the Cleanup event for example. The activity gave an opportunity to:

  • Work on a new skill: Kayak equipment can be expensive and I may not have gone out of my way to rent or own it. Now I can paddle downstream like a champ and am ready to tackle white water. Okay, maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
  • Different point of view: We got to see how much effort goes into keeping an area trash-free. I know I take it for granted that local parks and other outdoor areas aren’t littered with bottles and bags. Think about that next time your tempted to leave your gum wrapper on sidewalk.
  • Meet people: The majority of my volunteer group was boys from Kent’s chapter of Alpha Tau Omega. I never would have had a reason to hang out with them if it wasn’t for the event.

So don’t just sit around on your computer all day! Get up and grab a paddle or pick up some trash. Or, dare I say, do both simultaneously!

The Flow Community: Hula Hooping for Health

I was mesmerized.

It was so fluid and effortless. The hoop moved up and down her body with such ease it didn’t look natural.  One minute it was circling her wrist above her head, the next it was finding its way around her ankle while the other leg was lifted in an elegant position.

The hours of practice went into this must have been endless. I wasn’t the only one who had noticed the hula hooper’s skill. Many others had stopped to admire her as well.

We were at Bonnaroo, an annual music festival held in Manchester, Tennessee, waiting to enter “Centeroo” on the first day of the weekend. I quickly found out that my new idol was not the only girl with the hobby at the festival.

In fact, she wasn’t alone in the “real world” either. Hula hooping has been rising in popularity recently, mimicking the “Hula HoopCraze” of the 1950s.

A real live hooper

995910_10153238862820291_88254753_nFor hula hooper Andrea Miller of Bowling Green the start of 2011 meant the start of a new pastime. While waiting to be picked up for a New Year’s Eve party, Andrea spotted her friend’s hoop and a new era began.

“I picked up her hoop and started playing with it, Andrea said. “It was really challenging and I wanted to stick with it, because I really fell in love with it as an art.”

And she did stick with it. And continues to enjoy it.

“My favorite thing is the way it feels and mastering new tricks. Once you get to that level of feeling at one and at peace inside your hoop, no feeling compares,” Andrea said. “You just feel your flow and the movement is great.”

Hula hooping offers opportunities to connect with others as well as with yourself.

“I’ve met so, so, so many people through hooping,” Andrea said, “and all of my best friends hoop too. I’ve helped get a few people into it too. And it’s a fantastic form of exercise, especially when it’s hot out.”

Hoopers even belong to their own faction called the “flow community.” It includes hula hoopers, juggling, poi fire spinning and levitation wands.

Andrea’s enthusiasm really showed me that hula hooping is more that just a nontraditional form of exercise-it’s a lifestyle. Some people run or listen to music to escape the stresses of every day life. Hoopers enjoy the flow.

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 The moves
Andrea also clued me in on some of the hooping lingo. Try some of these moves and impress all your friends:
Beginners

Isolations

Vortex

Barrel Roll

Intermediate

Horizontal Jump Through

Vertical Duck Out

Some of those advanced move are crazy, right? And here I am trying to perform the basic hula hooping pattern around the waist for long than 30 seconds. Well one step at a time. Or should I say revolution?
Hula Health
Hooping is an awesome cardio workout and can:
  • Improve core strength
  • Tone your stomach, arms, thighs and butt
  • Burn 400-600 calories in an hour

Not bad. But that’s not it!

Purchasing a hula hoop can mean more than getting a creative workout in. Many hoopers value the activity because it relieves stress, improves balance and posture, increases coordination and improves flexibility.

Not to mention boost self esteem and libido.

Well if that doesn’t convince you to give this a try, I don’t know what will.  So, grab a hoop, take a whack at it and let me know what you think!

Ciao, Anna.

Firenze through a lens.

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