Thursday, March 23, 2017

Floating in RiNo

Floating in RiNo

You know how sometimes you mention something you heard about to your spouse and say, "I'd like to try it sometime." But you're not really that serious. So then at Christmas when he gets you a gift certificate for that thing--because of all the hints you dropped for gift ideas throughout the year, this is the one he finds a Groupon for--and so now you're financially obligated to do something outside of your comfort zone? You know how that happens sometimes?

Me too.

But doing things outside of our comfort zone can also be good for us. I know this, because it helps with my anxiety disorder. Push yourself, be brave. It's good therapy.

You know what else is good therapy? Floating.

Floating in RiNo

Maybe you've heard it called sensory deprivation therapy, but in 2017 we call it floating therapy. Yes, that's what I mentioned to Sander only to be presented with a Groupon to do just that. Bless him.

I'd read about it back in October--apparently it was popular in the 50s and 60s, but is making a comeback with its new name and known benefits--and thought it might be something we could do together while in Washington, just the two of us. But we didn't and I forgot about it until Christmas. I'll admit I put it off a bit until Sander reminded me the Groupon expired at the end of March, so I'd better get my float on.

So last Friday--St. Patrick's Day--I left our yard work behind and headed to RiNo. When I got there I thought, I don't know if I can do this. Because RiNo is even more hipster saturated than Highland {aka The Highlands as Colorado noobs call it} and so it was crazy busy and loud on a Friday night. When I was a kid, this area was aka The Ghetto. But alas, Gentrification for the win, it's now River North Art District, or RiNo.

The Denver native that I am is tempted to be irritated at the gentrification of this area, I don't recognize it as classic Denver, with all these new buildings with murals the hipsters with kids make their fantastically dressed little ones pose in front of for Instagram glory. However, I've been there enough to know it's gentrified blessing, having eaten at both Osaka Ramen and Sugarmill {thanks again, Michael!} Which were some of the best meals I've had in Denver. And then there's the art. You can't hate RiNo. It's a legit part of Denver in its own right. Embrace it. It's New Denver. We all knew this was coming.

Floating in RiNo

I was thinking, however, as I made myself 15 minutes late to my 90 minute float looking for parking, Why am I doing this? How can anyone relax in the heart of RiNo?! There are people everywhere! It's loud! They're all Instagramming their food and craft beers!

Also, it wasn't easy to find and their two customer parking spaces were taken. Luckily, I finally figured out Samana Float Center was located in the middle of this building and found a parking space right in front. I didn't know if I'd be able to float for a full 90 minutes either, so I didn't panic at being a little late.

Floating in RiNo

They gave me the upstairs "cabin"--which I would recommend for a first timer for sure over their other option of pods--and explained what to do to enjoy my float.

Floating in RiNo

A cabin is basically a room with a shower.

Floating in RiNo

With a door to a tank. No, this isn't Coraline's door. Nor is it a part of Meow Wolf.

Floating in RiNo

Here's the truth: despite all of my anxiety about floating, when I opened that door and looked in at the water, as soon as I saw it I was eager to get into it. It was definitely inviting.

Floating in RiNo

What's so special about floating? You ask. Why can't I just do this in my awesome bathtub at home? You wonder.

Remember how I said this is sensory deprivation therapy? Floating is not about bathing, it's about experiencing nothing. That's right. The goal is nothing. Except your thoughts, and even then...

So they give you beeswax-like ear plugs to keep noise and water out, and they provide petroleum jelly to cover any cuts or scratches you have {do not skip this step!} and towels.

Floating in RiNo

Then you get in and you can turn off the light if you want {heck no} or leave it on, a subtly color changing spa light. There's also spa music you can turn on or off. I chose to leave it on. And by music I don't so much mean music but more like...spa chimes. Or something.

Floating in RiNo

The water is kept at exactly body temperature, so you're completely comfortable. They put hundreds of pounds of Epsom salt into the water. The result is like that of the Dead Sea, it's so dense with salt that it's buoyant. You can't drown in this even if you fall asleep, and you definitely could fall asleep during your float. I got in and found I couldn't really even sit in it like I would a bath, the water pushed my tush up. So the result is a perfect state of weightless comfort. I would have been here weekly during my pregnancies, if it'd been around back then! You are deprived of all sensory stimulation. You can close your eyes and feel like your body isn't there anymore. Even in RiNo.

There's so many reasons why this is good for you. First, I'm already a big believer in Epsom salts and I regularly bathe with Epsom salt in my tub. It has many known benefits, such as supplying your body with magnesium--which is a crucial need for those of us with depression or anxiety, most of us are deficient--and magnesium is soaked up easily through your skin. It relieves muscle tension and pain. Floating is great for athletes, I'm sure!

But I also think the sensory deprivation was great for me because I'm an HSP. A what? A highly sensitive person. NOT to be confused with hypersensitive, and you can read about the difference here. I have a pretty thick skin and am hard to hurt emotionally, although we all have our emotional Achilles heel, don't we? We do. But no, I'm not hypersensitive, I'm highly sensitive.

Meaning, if I'm watching a movie and my husband is on the other end of the couch bouncing his foot and I can see it from the corner of my eye, it's the same thing as if he were standing by the TV jumping up and down screaming. I cannot concentrate on the movie with him over there screaming. With his foot. Being an HSP has both pros and cons, like most personality traits. It's a very common personality trait, I'm not trying to sound like a Snowflake here. It is not a disorder or anything to be ashamed of:

HSPs have relative difficulty filtering sounds and other sensory inputs. They’re especially sensitive to subtle stimuli that other people don’t notice...High sensitivity is a biological predisposition traceable to brain structures like the reticular activating system. It has little, if anything, to do with emotional sturdiness. 
- Psychology Today (source)

So if you're like me and can easily be overwhelmed by environmental stimuli, this might be a great getaway for you. It's like going to a quiet place, but to the extreme. While I was in the tank, I realized that the last time I have felt this way must have been in utero. 

Toward the end I enjoyed bouncing between one end and the other, and it was a surreal experience. When I got the momentum of the waves going, it created this sensation of being still for a moment, then caught up in the wave of water back and forth--all these bubbles would roll under me like a back massage and suddenly I'd shoot down to the other end and then the same thing would take me back up again after a pause. I don't even know if that makes sense...just try it if you ever float. It takes the tiniest push to get your body drifting. I felt silly. But I was silly relaxed and at peace.

And yes, I did take my phone in with me. It's waterproof. And I wanted a connection to the outside world still. Plus, I wanted to blog about this experience.

Floating in RiNo

Going into this experience, I was curious to find out whether or not I'd come away thinking I'd do it again or never again. I came away thinking I'd definitely do it again. I also decided to get my husband back, because the next day was his 33rd birthday, and I think he'd enjoy this also. So I got him a gift certificate for a 90 minute float.

When you're done with your float you shower again {you do so before getting in} and trust me, you'll want to, because that salt really sticks to you! They have a post-float area where you can make yourself a mug of tea and hang out for a while. There's also a fully stocked bathroom with a hair dryer and other amenities. It's a well thought out business.

Floating in RiNo

If you're wondering about sanitation--and believe me, I did, so I researched in advance--let me share what I know. First, salt water is extremely sanitary to begin with. Organisms don't grow in water this salty, that's why it's called the Dead Sea. But also, at the end of your float you hear the filter turn on, and they filter the water three times. Finally, they use UV lights to sanitize. So...it's pretty clean. And my skin felt amazing after!

I'd definitely recommend Samana in RiNo. And they aren't giving me anything to say that. I'm a creature of comfort, so now that I've had such a nice experience there, it's where I'll return.

So...what do you think? Have you heard of floating before? Would you try it? 

Cheers,
Heather

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Brand New Green for St. Patty's Day!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!!!

We're not much Irish. More Scottish. But... same thing, right?
{Warning: NEVER say that to a Scot or an Irishman.}
{Seriously. They will punch you.}

St. Patty's Day 2017

This post is an update on our backyard. Remember? We've been "rezoning" it so that now we have a larger chicken run, a fenced and gated garden area, and a yard. I mean, we wanted a LEGIT yard. With grass so healthy, and plush, and beautiful that all summer we'll be barefoot and wandering around our yard. Aimlessly, probably.

St. Patty's Day 2017

The chickens are ingrates. They are not appreciative of our nice new run for them. They did not send a thank you note for their solar powered coop door that keeps them safe from raccoons at night. They give us the stink eye when we're near, because they still think they should have free range of the yard. Also, mealworms daily.

But no, chickens. You'll eat our garden and you'll continue to poop on our deck. Which has already been nicknamed the Poop Deck thanks to your lot. So deal with it.
{I love you so much, my feathered babies.}
Yeah, you heard me. DEAL WITH IT.

St. Patty's Day 2017

We've never laid sod before. But we knew two pallets of it was being dumped on our driveway this A.M. and figured it'd probably be an all day job. So we called in reinforcements who have laid sod beore {my in-laws, because of course. what DIY project haven't they done yet? answer: none.}

By the time I got home from taking the girls to a Leprechaun-hunting, fun-filled day at their enrichment school, they had already unrolled beautiful plush sod out on about half of our new lawn.

St. Patty's Day 2017

{Turns out, it doesn't take that long. Also, it is highly satisfying to roll new grass out like rugs and see your dirt transformed by a new and improved INSTA-LAWN!}

So, you see: we did more than just WEAR green this year for St. Patrick's day. We one-upped you and we installed *A* green this St. Patty's Day. 
*feels smug like a leprechaun*
*realizes no one in this photo is wearing green*

Although...it's still technically winter in Colorado. So by green...I mean...err? Chartreuse?

Straw?

Ugly yellow?

St. Patty's Day 2017

Oh whatever!!! The point is. The point is this. This year I will step right off by deck into lovely plush sod instead of compacted, lumpy, strange grass from the 1950s. And it was weird! Curly, and short, more like moss. It didn't spread like good [coughcough genetically engineered coughcough] grass should.

Our new turf is a Texas x Kentucky blue grass hybrid that is exactly as a Colorado transplant should be: cool with an arid climate, partial to shade, drought tolerant, and self heals nicely. Please inform your friends who've recently moved to Denver. All 8 billion of them. And their dogs.

St. Patty's Day 2017

The ingrates were, however, thankful for the scraps we tossed them.
And the donut Paxton didn't finish.

St. Patty's Day 2017

And after my husband's do-it-yourself parents had left and we stood, beholding our new, healthy 2017 turf, I said to my husband, "I have wanted this for three years. I now love my yard."

And he said, "Good."

Because he's not long-winded. Like some bloggers I know.    ಠ_ಠ 

St. Patty's Day 2017

So now we need to protect our investment from the kids for a few weeks while this sod takes root to our backyard farmette.

St. Patty's Day 2017St. Patty's Day 2017

But we did have several rolls of earth rug left over. So we decided to take my father-in-law's advice...

St. Patty's Day 2017

And we did away with the eyesore, the wild rose bed in our front. We left room by the brick wall for those bleeding hearts and lily of the valley to still spring up {every year, bless}. And good thing, since we barely had enough sod to do so.

St. Patty's Day 2017

And now: the challenge of keeping these pesky pups off our new turf for a few weeks.
Look at Cocoa, sticking her tongue out at me. They're not happy about it.
{Do you recognize this cornhole game from Eisley's first birthday party that had an Alice in Wonderland theme?! Still have it!}

St. Patty's Day 2017

So there you have it.
We greened chartreused harder than you this St. Patrick's day!
Go pinch yourself. ;-)
{Gently.}

Cheers,
Heather
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