Bloggers Like Me

Happy Monday Everyone! Today is Labor Day here in the U.S. , so many of you maybe relaxing poolside or hanging out by a grill. To those of you working today, kudos! I am enjoying a long weekend with my two favorite guys. Extra time as a family is always a blessing.

I wanted to bring you something a little different today. I think it’s important that as people, we take time to uplift and encourage one another in every positive endeavor. As such, I’m going to introduce you to a lovely lady, who is turning a passion and a gift into something she can share with the world.

Shayla Peterson is the driving force behind Pulling Strings, an inventive line of accessories that uses the classic technique of crochet. I first became aware of that stylishly talented lady through the Bloggers Like Me community on Facebook. Shayla kindly reached out to us with an offer to collaborate with her business. When I saw the beautiful hand crafted jewelry she was creating, I knew I had to do a feature on this up and coming designer.

Shayla’s interest in crochet started years ago, at the age of seven, when her aunt began to teach her this crafty skill. Flash forward 20 years, and Shayla found herself inspired to design. “I was thinking how different would that be; to have earrings to specifically match my outfits. So, I researched how to create crochet earrings. I began to literally create a pair for each outfit that was in my closet.” But be assured, these aren’t you ordinary earrings. “I love mixing colors and working with different yarns. I become inspired when I walk into a yarn store and I see aisle & aisle of yarn. Then, I find a comfortable chair and get to work (although it doesn’t feel like work). Because I’m using thread, strings, straw, silk and yarns to design my accessories, it makes for a light and carefree pair of earrings. Secondly, Pulling Strings’ customers can customize their own pair of earrings by style and color. Ladies appear to be in love with colors just as much as I am.”

Colorful Offerings From Pulling Strings

Shayla started producing items for customers just last spring. Early this summer, she gave birth to an adorable baby girl and the business took on a new facet. “I realized that Pulling Strings is just as important to me as it was before the birth of my daughter, but I knew I was going to make some changes. Since becoming a mom, I realized that 24 hours in a day is just not enough hours in a day. I learned fast that it was time to re-organize and simplify Pulling Strings’. A new baby develops a new set of time constraints. Pre-Baby, I had lots of free time to focus on the business. Post baby, my time is limited and I found myself crocheting when she naps. So I had to figure out which styles appealed to my customers and shift my focus there. I had to figure out how to optimize the time I have allotted for Pulling Strings’ business. This major change in my business has allowed me to spend less, but more effective time crocheting. Thus giving me the opportunity to spend quality time with my beautiful daughter and creating a healthy balance. Yes, the priorities for Pulling Strings have changed because I have to include my daughter into the work day. As a stay at home mom, my main priority is my daughter and I have to learn to work around her schedule. Whereas in the past, I could crochet all day long with minimal interruptions. I have to organize my day to make sure my families needs are met and that I complete orders in a timely manner.”

But with these changes, comes hope for the future.  There’s a chance for mom and daughter to connect on a new, deeper level. “I plan on teaching my daughter how to crochet during her school age years just as I was taught by my aunt at age 7. I would love her to embrace the skill and work with her mother. A few weeks ago at 2 1/2 months I took my daughter on her first trip to the yarn store. Her big brown eyes were wide as she saw all the colors and variations of yarns & fibers. I really enjoyed having her apart of the process and I cant wait to take her back again and again.”

So keep an eye out for Shayla and Pulling Strings. Within the next 5 years she plans to  to expand her business into boutiques nationally and internationally. Presently, she has unveiled her fall 2012 line on her website. And, this Super Woman is generous to boot! Shayla has graciously offered to give one lucky reader a pair of her new “Little Black Dress” earrings. Just like their namesake, these earrings are classic, elegant, and versatile.

New From The Fall 2012 Collection

To be eligible to win, just hop on over to my Facebook page. There will be a link to Pulling Strings’ fan page. You will need to comment on the post,and then click the link and like Shayla’s page as well. Because we want everyone to have an opportunity to win, please only comment once. The giveaway will run from today, Monday, September 3rd until Monday, September 10 at midnight EDT.

If you can’t wait that long, and you want to get your hands on some of these gorgeous accessories right now, head over to Pulling Strings. The fall collection goes on sale today, and you don’t want to miss out!

Many thanks to Shayla Peterson  for being an inspirational wife, mother, and entrepreneur. If you know someone leaving a positive mark on their little corner of the world, feel free to send me their information. I would love to feature more wonderful talented and giving people in spotlight posts. You can contact me at :

Have a wonderful day,





So, its your first time on a massage table….ever. You don’t usually do this, as a matter of fact, until Groupon emailed you a listing for your local spa, you’ve thought, “massages are a luxury, only for those who can afford to lay around and be pampered all day.” After your therapist invites you into their room, instructs you to dress down and lie on the table, and politely closes the door or curtain behind them to give you time to do so, you have a small panic attack to yourself. “Ok, so…do I have to take all of my clothes off? What’re they going to do? Do I lie face down or face up? I haven’t had a pedicure recently… I should have done that.”

It’s completely understandable to be a little apprehensive when approaching this situation, after all, for the most part, you’re now entrusting a complete stranger with the care of your body in a most vulnerable physical state. However, you can still have complete control over what goes on in the room and ultimately how your first massage experience turns out. I’ve compiled a small list of things one can do as a client/patient to allow the session to be one of complete relaxation rather than silent anxiety.


Step 1: Let Your Therapist Have It!

You are the most important thing in a room dedicated to massage. The entire atmosphere and energy in the room should be of the intent to make as many positive changes in your body as one can in an hour long session. With that being said, you have every right to express all of your questions, concerns, presumptions, apprehensions, and issues. If you’ve received a male therapist and would have preferred a female therapist for example, make it the first thing you address, politely of course.  Let it be known that it’s your first time (or first time in a while) on a table, and even express any nervousness that you may be feeling. It’s your therapists job to attend your needs in their entirety and  work within the guidelines that you establish as the client, and also to encourage you to get out absolutely everything you need to that may  get in the way of the treatment itself. Tell them the last major injury you’ve had, parts of the body that you feel least comfortable with them touching, parts of the body you feel need the most attention, etc. If you establish a level of communication with your therapist that allows you to feel empowered, then you’re already taking a step towards allowing your body to make progress in the  processes of healing and positive change.


Step 2: Breathe

I cant stress enough how powerful the effects of  simply breathing can have on the body, both before and during a session. Once you’ve gotten on the table take the time to breathe deeply for about a minute and a half or so (if you exhale for a duration that’s twice as long as that in which you inhale, you will automatically slow down your heart rate and find yourself sinking into the table.) This preparatory breathing sequence may also put your mind at ease about some of the things you may have found uncomfortable about the situation. In essence, you’ll forget what you were even worried about and will become more conscious of your body itself and can then pinpoint what areas you feel need the most and least amount of work.


Step 3: Allow

More than massage being a tactic to physically manipulate your body into a better, less stressed shape, its structured to affect the mind in a way that breaks down subconscious patterns that one has created to guard itself from stress or trauma. The treatment starts there. One must allow themselves the availability of change in the mind in order for it to really effect the body. In lay-man’s  terms, in your mind you have to let go of feeling bad in order to let yourself want to feel good again. Even the most technically sound therapist would not be able to break the barrier that you’ve set in your mind that continues to hold on to stress and tension in your body. If you are to have any expectations when entering your room, expect change, and expect release. Try not to let your mind stick to things like the image of your therapists face, or whether there’s enough time on the parking meter outside. Consider the room as an environment of solace from the outside world, and your therapist as a set of hands that facilitate the release of the stresses from said world.


Step 4: Be Grateful

With every patient I’ve ever had on my table, before I start, I do a few select ‘warm up’ moves that I find bring myself to a place where I’m expressing the utmost amount of love and gratitude. I try to appreciate the opportunity to affect one’s well being through the healing process as well as the fact that someone has relinquished all of their ails in order to let me do what I do, because I know its not the easiest thing in the world to do that. Our bodies are of the utmost value to us and coming to a decision to trust anyone with your own is a challenging process. The best work goes forth, however, when that gratitude is reciprocated. Just acknowledging to yourself that, when in session, you’re now in the presence of one that genuinely cares about your state of being can inspire your  body to release a multitude of tension. Just like anything else in life, we long to have the support of another human being to assist us in reaching the goals we want for ourselves. It makes it much easier to achieve those goals when there’s someone who not only  wants and encourages you to reach them, but is willing to go out of their way to help you do so as well. Accept the righteous intention of  who is attempting to heal you and express, if only to yourself, genuine gratitude towards them.

Most every first timer, barring very rare and uncomfortable circumstances, leaves a spa or massage clinic feeling better than when they entered, how much better, however, depends entirely upon the client themselves. It starts with your state of mind going in, and translates down through the rest of the fibers of your muscular and nervous tissue. Understand that it’s YOUR massage, YOUR time and YOUR experience and it can be as relaxing and nurturing as you’d like it to be. Trust that you know what’s best for your body and aim to get that every session, especially your first one. Afterward, you may not only find that you’re more amenable to getting another massage, but also a bit more open to change in general.

….oh, and don’t forget to tip. Like I said, “love and gratitude” ;)



Richard Matthew Smith is one of the youngest and most promising massage therapists in his field. While attending classes at the California Healing Arts College in West Los Angeles (one of the top schools for massage therapy in the nation,) he not only developed a natural instinct for healing, but also graduated at the top of his class, completing the 13-month course in only 8 months. Since then, he’s returned to his alma mater to teach advanced massage techniques to new students, as well as providing exceptional treatment to clients in both the West LA and Beverly Hills areas. His unique technique, incorporating principles of Deep Tissue, Shiatsu, Swedish Massage, and Tragre therapy, transcends the idea of a ‘traditional feel-good massage’.  I am glad to have him as a contributor to this community. I look forward to all his advice, as he helps us all learn new ways to listen to our bodies, and take care of ourselves.

Ever wonder why the terms “relax” and “take a deep breath” always seem to come in succession to one another? Well breathing deeply, more than it being a seemingly quick fix to tame your anxiety, actually does help your body physically relax itself. Studies have shown that slowing down one’s breathing pattern can have immense benefits to the homeopathic state of the body. As a massage therapist, I’ve found that most have a habit to hold their breath when facing a potentially uncomfortable situation (both figuratively and literally). I always encourage my clients to focus on breathing in for a count of three and out for a count of six to take their mind off of the apprehension they may have when in session. You’d be amazed, however, at the immediate effects that it has on the body. Along with slowing down the heart rate and increasing circulation throughout the body, breathing in a slow controlled pattern allows the subconscious to go to work on the muscular system, releasing tension, and a lot of times, releasing what we’d call ‘knots’ that have been developed due to stress. It is perhaps the most valuable advice I’d give someone when doing anything stressful, whether you’re at your desk, in the weight room….on Fear Factor…take your time and breathe through situations and see if it  not only leaves you feeling a little more weightless, but gives you the opportunity to re-evaluate circumstances from a relaxed, more positive state.

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