Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What Are The Differences Between In-ground Hot Tubs and Portable Hot Tubs?

When considering the benefits of owning a hot tub, many homeowners start by deciding whether to choose an in-ground spa or a portable hot tub. While both types of hot tubs offer wellness benefits, premium portable hot tubs may prove to be a better choice when evaluating placement, massage and energy use.
What are the design benefits of in-ground hot tubs and portable hot tubs?
Portable hot tubs can fit in a variety of settings in your yard. If you live in colder weather, a portable hot tub can be placed very close to your house. Portable hot tubs can be built into a deck or above ground, and portable hot tub equipment is built into the hot tub exterior. Portability is an advantage -- you can, with some effort, take your hot tub with you when you move.
In-ground hot tubs can be designed in different shapes and sizes, and are often attached to a pool or part of a pool setup. In-ground hot tubs can also be worked into a yard or landscape. Equipment is not built-in and is usually in a separate location and can be bulky and noisy.
Do portable hot tubs or In-ground hot tubs have better massage options?
Portable hot tubs offer many more jets and configurations, and the jets are differently sized depending on location and hydro-massage options, and adjustable. Portable hot tubs offer multiple types of ergonomic seating options, as well as varied seating sizes to fit bodies of all sizes and types.
In-ground jets are usually one size with bench seating that is not as conducive to hydro-massage. Sometimes, it can be a challenge to align your body to a jet to hit just that right spot on your back, and forget about a neck massage –that requires submerging your head below the waterline!
Are in-ground hot tubs and portable hot tubs energy efficient?
Portable hot tub filters and water care options are very advanced making water care easy, and owners can often care for their own tubs. Portable hot tubs are energy efficient and designed to run all the time. So, there’s no heat up period. They work with covers and cover lifters so can maintain temperatures and stay cleaner. Many portable hot tubs are made of acrylic, which is easier to clean and not as abrasive as materials used in in-ground hot tubs like concrete, textured surfaces, tile, and fiberglass. In-ground hot tub surfaces can also be rough on the skin and on swimsuits. Perhaps most important to consider is that in-ground hot tubs have to be heated prior to use, and don’t run all the time so are not as energy efficient, and cost more to run overall.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Meditate In Your Own Headspace

A post for Caldera Spas' 20 Minute Renewal blog...
With the Caldera 20-Minute renewal blog, we help inspire people to realize the value of taking 20 minutes to renew, re-connect, relax and de-stress.  How do we do this? By providing resources and tips on the small things you can do each day to improve self-care, such as meditation.
Why is meditation good for us?
Meditation can help manage stress and reduce blood pressure, improve your focus, help with sleep, and help you learn to live more in the moment.  According to prominent wellness expert and blogger Dr. Andrew Weil, “meditation for healing is about establishing a different relationship with your thoughts, just for a little while. Instead of attention being drawn off by whatever thought happens to present itself, in meditation, you watch your thoughts from a different, more stabilized perspective.”
Is there an app to help you meditate?  Many of us are more connected than ever in terms of technology and social media. For the hyper-connected crowd, there’s actually now an app to help you meditate so you don’t have to unplug.  It’s calledHeadspace and here’s how it works:…
What is the Headspace meditation app?
  • Headspace is a meditation app, designed to be a “gym membership for your mind.” You can sign up for free, and use the “take 10 program” to learn the basics of meditation in just 10 minutes a day.
  • If you don’t have 10 minutes a day to spare, you can also work with shorter sessions, depending on your schedule.
  • With your mobile device you can listen to sessions and meditate anywhere, and even download sessions if you’re going to be offline.
  • With a subscription, you can gain access to guided meditation tied into topics like addiction, relationships, creativity and more, based on your moods and lifestyle.
  • Your Headspace profile can map your journey, show and track progress, you can get rewards, and work with friends using the app so you can motivate each other along the way.
  • Headspace has other great resources as well. A good starting point is learning about the science of meditation, where you can learn about how meditation techniques can help with stress, creativity, focus, anxiety, and relationships with cool and fun little animations and videos.
  • The Orange Dot is Headspace’s blog offering a myriad selection of posts on topics including meditation, mind, body, relationships, skillful living, and birth and death.
  • Radio Headspace offers podcasts from experts discussing meditation and Headspace related topics. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

David Bowie is Dead, Long Live David Bowie

David Bowie died this month, unexpectedly to most of us. A lot of us took it hard, including me. Like the Glass Spider in one of his songs, I shed tears. Apparently he knew he was going, and even in death managed to handle it artfully, with great image, and flair. Two days before he died, he had a birthday, released an album, and did a photoshoot.

Listening to his final album posthumously, it’s obviously an artist saying “goodbye” the only way he knows how - artistically. He was so much more than an innovator. He was a ground breaker that took music, art, style and performance where it hadn’t been, and helped peers he believed in along the way like Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Mott the Hoople. This doesn’t even go near the ranks of musicians he influenced, directly or indirectly, immediate, or years later.

Being from the MTV generation, Bowie’s video for “Let’s Dance” was the introduction I remembered. I loved that song from the first time I heard it, and seeing the video, I wondered who that suave talented dude was. It’s still one of my favorite songs to this day, and one of a handful of songs I can’t turn off when it’s on. Soon after “Let’s Dance” was released, I was living in a small desert town in California, called Barstow. I used to call the local radio station every afternoon and request “Let’s Dance,” and sometimes they’d play it.

At that time in the early 80s, Duran Duran were my favorite band. They always cited Bowie as an influence, and the influence was obvious. Duran Duran wore their influences on their sleeves. They even covered “Fame” as a b-side. In saw the correlation - catchy danceable music, great performance, artsy aire, impeccable style. They were imitators, but didn’t come close to Bowie.

One night I babysat a neighbor’s kids. Basically I went over to the house and sat around while the kids slept. I looked through the father’s cassette collection, and found a Bowie cassette I’d never heard of. It was called ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” I popped it in a slid some headphones on. The album and sound were amazing. “Let’s Dance” was great, but this was so much more. Every track on the album was wonderful.

Local radio kept me exposed to Bowie’s hits, and I picked up albums like “Tonight” and “Never Let Me Down.” I loved “Blue Jean” from the “Tonight” album, as well as “Loving the Alien.” I remember seeing a TV broadcast of the “Glass Spider Tour” for that album. I still have it on VHS.

I finally got to see Bowie live in the early 90s on the “Sound and Vision” tour, which was touted as the last time he would play “the hits.” Around this time was when I started to dig deeper into Bowie, beyond the hits. The show was great, with Adrian Belew on guitar. As usual, the stage show was a spectacle in and of itself, with scrims, lighting, projections and more.

In fact, Bowie’s stage production on the “Sound and Vision” had a long lasting effect on me. I still babble about scrims, backlighting and gobos. When I worked in the golf industry, I worked on a redesign of the art for Ashworth Golf’s 2001 PGA booth. Heavily Bowie influenced, with a little Depeche Mode thrown in! Fabric art, backlighting, and gobos.

Many people don’t realize what a tech innovator Bowie was as well. In 97 or 98 he ran a web venture that offered digital access to his catalog, and even online access like a service provider. Definitely a precursor to internet service providers as well as sites like Napster and Limewire.

Throughout the 90s I kept up with Bowie as he continued to put out a solid body of work with albums like “Outside,” “Black Tie, White Noise,” “Heathen,” and “Earthling.”

With the advent of file-sharing and the Internet, I was able to collect hours of Bowie live shows, which I still listen to regularly. My favorites and the gems of my collection remain a “Serious Moonlight” tour show, and a late 90s New Years/ birthday show thrown for Bowie. But, the gem in my Bowie bootleg crown are the “Serious Moonlight” tour rehearsals with Stevie Ray Vaughn on guitar recorded right before their fallout over pay for the US Festival.

Bowie is a true icon, truly one of a kind. Only a handful of artists belong in the same breath - Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones...few others, if even all of them. Bowie was unarguably the most influential music, performance, and style icon.

A comment I read this week referred to Bowie as the gateway drug. If you’re the innovator and influencer, how can you be the gateway drug? Other bands were the gateway drug, and Bowie was the heroin. Bowie was the epitome of art, talent, style, innovation, a chameleon of chameleons. Bands I was into like Duran Duran, The Smiths, and so many more were the gateway drugs to Bowie.

Bowie showed us what music, style, performance and art could be. Bowie is known for his personas, changing through the years, and the eras. From his early tenures in the 60s with various brands, to glam rock and blue eyed soul of the 70s, through new wave in the 80s, to house and industrial experimentation in the 90s to his final jazz fusion experiments on his final album.

Bowie did it all.

Bowie was a beautiful boy.