Alexandra: For the past ten years or so, I’ve had issues with vertigo, which has many causes. My vertigo turned out to be related to neck tension that affected my inner and middle ear. In practice, this meant I would be stuck in bed for days, not even able to move my eyes quickly for fear of getting sick and dizzy.
Since figuring out the problem, I have been able to manage my neck tension through massage. But!!!! (there’s always a “but” in these stories) I don’t go to the massage therapist often enough. So when the chance came to try out a Technogel anatomical pillow, I abruptly broke up with my lumpy excuse of a down pillow (I believe it had gone down, down, down years ago), and welcomed the anatomical pillow into my life. According to the description, this pillow is “recommended for those suffering from neck, back or shoulder pain. It provides excellent support and muscle relaxation. Suggested for those who sleep primarily on their sides or on their back.” Ka-Chinga.
I heard that it takes a few days to adjust, but that wasn’t the case with me.
Neck – Oh, this is lovely, and I feel so relaxed.
Me – That’s good. Now please go to sleep and release some tension, wouldya?
Neck – Yes, um, hmmmmm, zzzzzzz, snork, sigh………(sounds of soft breathing)
I haven’t dissected my pillow, but I know that it’s got foam and gel inside. And I know that the company got its start in the medical field, providing cushioning for bed-bound hospital patients. I know this because I went to the Technogel booth during my BlogTour trip to IMM Cologne, Germany. Technogel is an Italian company, I was in Germany, and my primary language is Englilsh. You can get a good night’s sleep in any language!
As part of my (cough cough) research, I tested out the bed at the show. And the laptop pads. And the pillows (they have 6 styles). Eventually they noticed and asked me to change out of my pajamas and leave. Not really, I was treated extremely well and encouraged to lie on the bed for as long as I wanted. Poppies… Poppies. Poppies will put them to sleep. Sleeeeep. Now they’ll sleeeeep!
Kymberly: I, too was selected to try out a Technogel pillow. I chose the expensive one Alexandra did not pick so that we had some variety to report back on. While I fall asleep easily, I tend to wake up often then toss, turn, and flip my pillow over and over looking for elusive slumber.
Do you also have sleepless nights or stretches of insomnia? Some nights I wake up and run “to do” lists and conversations through my head. Such head chatter makes it hard to get back to sleep. Are you familiar with the song “Pillow Talk” made famous by Doris Day?
Pillow talk, pillow talk
Another night of hearin’ myself talk, talk, talk, talk
How do I turn Doris Day Pillow Talk into Kymberly Night of No Talk? Enter my new Technogel Deluxe pillow. It may be heavy, but it’s not chatty. Yes, the first thing I noticed was that the pillow had some heft to it. Yet it was obedient, conforming to my head and temperature.
Being a person who loves words, I actually read the pamphlet that came with my nifty, high tech pillow. There I learned that we are supposed to heave ho “standardl” pillows every 18 months due to germs, bacteria, small animals that look horrific under microscopes, and other gross out details. Oops, I had been about a decade behind on that task! Welcome even more to my new sleep buddy.
Ultimately the big question is simply “did I sleep better with this deluxe Technogel pillow?” The big answer is “yes.” Between the Pure Matters Healthy Sleep supplements I take, the new mattress my hubster got for my last birthday, and this special foam and gel pillow, I am showing those night sweats and insomnia moments who is boss! A colleague had told me to expect needing a week to adjust to Technogel pillows, but that the adjustment would be worth it. I transitioned in about four seconds, one snore, and two flutters of my eyelids. Comfort and support were mine. If you want to borrow my pillow, we are talking one serious pillow fight to wrench it from my sleeping grasp!
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I was compensated by FitFluential LLC for this campaign. All opinions, pillows and snores are my own (actually, the snores are Kymberly’s).
During my recent trip to Cologne with the Modenus BlogTour, I experienced water from a variety of perspectives.
On the very first night of BlogTour, we were invited by BLANCO to a private dinner at the German Sports and Olympic Museum. For a good description with great pictures, read this post by Tina Ramchandani. I mention the dinner for several reasons: 1) it set the tone for how we were treated throughout the entire event, 2) the water at meals in Europe usually comes in glass bottles, and 3) wine has water in it!
Water Comes Out (of the Faucet)
On the morning after the welcome dinner, we headed to the BLANCO booth at The Living Kitchen inside IMM Cologne: The International Furnishing Show to learn about faucets, sinks and water systems. The sign at the booth had a waterfall, which I hope you can see in this picture. In any case, BLANCO had two items in particular that I fell in love with. The first was a hot water system that puts out boiling water instantly. As they say on their site, “nothing works in the kitchen without water,” and if you want steaming tea or coffee water immediately, you can get it. Cooking, preparing, heating, washing – Boom, boiling water that’s 97 celsius. Don’t ask me what that is in Fahrenheit – heck, we were in Europe, so we got European measurements – all I know is that the days of running water wastefully down the drain while it heats up (or in my case, filling the pets’ drinking bowl repeatedly) are over. Well, those days are over in 2014, which is when this system might be available in the U.S. But I can wait – my kitchen will still be around next year!
My favorite BLANCO product was the SAGA tap. I immediately thought of my mom, who is a young person in an elderly body. She has arthritis in her hands and wrists, and her grip strength isn’t that great. This faucet is ideal for people like her who have limited mobility, dexterity, vision or grip strength. Instead of having to reach for a lever, or twist one (or even two) handles, you just slide the sleeve that’s right by the spout. Super simple to use: slide forward or back to control water volume, and gently turn left or right to set the water temperature. With 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day for the next decade, products that “speak” to aging joints will be mandatory. When I saw this faucet, I immediately thought of the increased independence this design offers.
Water Goes In (To the Skin and Body)
One of the sponsors of BlogTour was Mr. Steam, makers of steam showers and towel warmers. They sent us to the Claudius Therme Spa, known for its healing thermal mineral waters. For a lively recap of the visit to the spa, read this post by Paul Anater.
According to their site, the heated water “aids rheumatic complaints and diseases of the intervertebral discs or joints, has a positive effect on hypertension, circulatory problems and disorders caused by stress, and activates enzymes and and stabilizes bone structure.”
On the Mr. Steam site you can find a list of 44 benefits of steam therapy, which add to the list above. Below are just a few:
* Cleanses, lubricates and hydrates the skin
* Removes toxins from the body
* Increases circulation
* Helps the body rid itself of excess sodium
* May relieve pain and discomfort from arthritis
* Rids the body of metabolic and other waste products
* Promotes deep, restful sleep
* Helps reinvigorate tired muscles
* Increases muscular flexibility
And of course, #44 is my favorite because it’s so specific:
* Adds humidity to your orchids (I don’t have orchids, but my dry legs like humidity!)
We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the spa (possibly due to the naked people wandering about the sauna area), but I will tell you that we sat inside a very steamy hot tub in the middle of a pool that had a current so you could float or swim while circling the hot tub. The photo above shows how it looked. It was heavenly. Yay! Now I’m back home with bronchitis and wishing for a steam shower. Boo! But we were allowed to take pictures of the group eating dinner at the spa. Yes, we really are eating a formal dinner while dressed in robes!
Speaking of steam, you might like to know what I thought of the Miele steam oven once I saw it in person. After eating a lot of food made in the steam oven at the convention, my advice is “Run to the store and buy one right now!” I even tweeted about my plan to toss my micro in place of the steam oven, and I encourage you to do the same if you want super delicious, nutritious food.
Going to IMM Cologne really taught me new ways of viewing my life and home, and how truly good design can help improve both. When my home is healthy, I’m happy, and when I’m healthy, my home is a happy place.
Oh, while we’re on the subject of water, if you’re a boomer you’ll get the song reference in this post’s title. This video should help. But change the answer to “Absolutely Something”[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01-2pNCZiNk[/youtube]
Want to water your own face with tears of joy? First, take a look at our post on what water temperature is best for exercisers. Then please subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter:AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above. We’ll cry happiness tears too!
Disclaimer: I was not paid to share my opinions about the products I liked at IMM Cologne. I am, however, very grateful to all the sponsors.
But going to IMM Cologne, the international furnishings show in Germany as part of BlogTour by Modenus, helped open my eyes to expanded definitions of both terms. Part of why I found the trip so appealing was the attention paid to the future, and how the present affects it. Everything I saw, from new products in Cologne to extremely old houses in Amsterdam, was built to last.
Please read along to discover some of the companies that are forward-thinking in their products and design, and see if your understanding of what’s organic and sustainable grows (in a chemical-free garden, of course)
Hansgrohe, already pioneers in sustainability, and environmental and climate protection, had the Axor Starck Organic line, which includes the faucet you see here. Is it just me (and hundreds of visitors to the booth) who thinks it looks like a tree branch? This faucet has “Organic” in its name for the following reasons:
* Less is more: it has minimal design
* The water flow rate is 3.5 liters per minute, compared to the norm of 7 (with no water pressure difference. I’d tell you about the 90 holes in the tap that makes this possible, but it’s technical and my mind wandered off)
* The controls are intuitive, ergonomic and economical, which means you turn the water on and off at the tip of the spout, where it’s easy to reach. And the temperature is controlled at the top of the mixer
* The casting is hollow, so less material is used to make the faucet
* The water never touches brass pipes, so it’s not picking up weird pipe goobers
My next tip of the hat goes to a Canadian, woman-owned company, Du Verre Hardware. They create cabinet pulls from recycled aluminum. I’ve never seen pulls quite like these, and I was curious about Du Verre’s statement that “Our precision die cast hardware is manufactured entirely from recycled aluminum and is an environmentally friendly choice for professional and consumer alike. Du Verre Hardware is compatible with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) objectives,” so I asked owner Gina Lubin to elaborate.
“The metal is valuable and easily melted down and reused. In fact, aluminum becomes stronger as it goes through this constant process of being cast and melted and cast again. Of course, all of us are now so much more aware of the importance of reduce, recycle, reuse. It’s not only a good thing, it is expected. Recycled aluminum requires only 5% of the energy used to make new aluminum. So there is energy saving as well. LEED was developed in 1998 to create greener spaces. People are making a more environmentally friendly choice. A small thing in a large project, but a worthwhile detail.”
The final entity I want to mention is the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). They are not producers of products; rather, they are a professional association for bath and kitchen specialists. What this means to you is that you can visit them to get professional help in planning your kitchen or bath project. I’ve moved often and prefer older homes, so have been through many remodels. Because of that, I hate waste and impermanence, and crave homes that respect the environment, both in usage, history and surroundings. The NKBA mission statement appeals to my values – “Committed to helping consumers and professionals understand their options for creating more energy-efficient living spaces…with a focus on environmentally friendly products and practices.”
My colleague Sarah Sarna wrote a very helpful post that describes the NKBA, so clicky on over to her description. After reading Sarah’s post, I wrote to get more information about the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) that the NKBA will put on in April, and discovered a talk that appeals to me – “Designing for a Sustainable Lifestyle.” The blurb says that “attendees will learn how to think beyond the basics of design to seek out innovative ways that solve everyday challenges which come with trying to live a sustainable lifestyle.” I’m not a designer, nor do I have any current plans to attend the show, but if I ever hire an interior designer, I want THAT person to have attended the talk.
In the end, I came home from BlogTour with an expanded idea of what it means to more fully live an organic and sustainable lifestyle. It’s more than what I DO in the kitchen; it’s what my kitchen IS. It’s the busiest room in my home, and I want it to fully reflect my values. And it was such an adventure. The show was for interior designers and home specialists, and I was probably the only healthy living blogger there. To see all the creativity and effort that is going into making our lives better (I saw nothing that was designed to be obsolete) made me excited and happy. I like owning items that have a history and will last long enough to become part of my kids’ histories. I prefer function to flash, and quality over shiny objects that glitter for a while, then lose their sparkle after a year or two. What about you?
If you want to know about the mattress I discovered at the show that’s treated with olive oil, read my quick blurb over at Freshome. Cashmere is also involved!
I was not compensated in any way for this post, nor was I asked to write it. All of the organizations mentioned were sponsors of BlogTour, and I truly feel they are working to improve our lives and planet.
Want to design a healthier life for yourself? Then please subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter:AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.
The coffee-depression study involved 263,925 people. For a year, their drink consumption was evaluated. About 10 years later, researchers asked the participants whether they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000. A total of 11,311 of the participants had been.
Participants who drank more than four cans or cups per day of soda were 30 percent more likely to develop depression than those who drank no soda. People who drank four cups of coffee per day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who drank no coffee.
“Our research suggests that cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may naturally help lower your depression risk,” said study author Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health in Research.
Well, I’m not sure if I could do four cups of unsweetened coffee, but I DO know that German milchkaffee (milk coffee) is extremely tasty. At home, I like decaf because regular makes me jittery. But hand me some German milchkaffee and I get happy. Put me in a study!
While I helped myself to the free coffee and lunch (thanks, Miele), I learned about their new coffee machine from none other than Markus Miele, managing director and co-proprietor of (Insert his famous last name here)! The machine was so brilliant – not only does it know how tall your cup is, it also somehow knows how wide, so you get the exact right amount of coffee in your cup without the splashes and hot splutters. They gave a demo with a tiny espresso cup and a tall latte macchiato glass. There was even a feature called the CupSensor, which reacts to beverages made with milk froth by raising the spout 1 centimeter (that’s “a little bit” in U.S.-speak) after milk delivery so that the spout stays clean. It does other helpful chores, such as cleaning itself and making 2 different types of coffee drinks at once. It also has a milk system that for all I know comes with a happy cow right inside the machine (I suspect it’s more like an ease-of-use milk container, but I’m holding out for a mini-cow).
I heard a rumor that it’s expensive, but when you add up the cost over a year of those maccho-latte-frappe-cini-ballerini drinks you’ve been buying for $5 a pop, I guess it’s all relative. Besides, you read the bit about how it cleans itself, right?
I want this machine in my house. My house is in the U.S. This machine isn’t even available in Germany until May. I do not know when it will come to the U.S. Dear Miele, we all want this machine. Please send it to the U.S. We promise to get our own cows. Please send coffee while you’re at it. We promise to never drink soda. We promise to drink our four cups of milchkaffee every day. Thank you.
I was one of 12 bloggers invited on BlogTour Cologne by Modenus. Want to see some wonderful pictures of the team? Fellow blogger/ photographer Courtney Price has them. My picture shows how happy I can get after milchkaffee!
I was not paid to talk about the Miele Generation 6000 coffee maker. I just think you’ll like it. Miele was one of the sponsors for the Modenus BlogTour Cologne, for which I am very grateful. And thirsty. And I’d like to see this study replicated using milchkaffee.
What is your favorite coffee drink? Does it make you happy?
We are going to see a lot of beautiful, trend-setting, functional products there. I am not a designer. The other 13 bloggers are. I probably don’t even wear the right shade of lipstick for my coloring, and my house is decorated in Post-Modern Dust Kitty! What I am is a baker, a cook, a person who gets sweaty, and I live in a home. More importantly, all of you like to eat, bathe and live in comfort, and all of us care about leading healthy lives. This includes buying products that reflect our values and take the earth into consideration.
While I’m in Germany and Nederland (I cannot bring myself to use the English “Holland” or “the Netherlands,” due to my Dutch ties), I will take a lot of pictures so I can share all the cool stuff I see with you. For now (I depart on Saturday), I’ll just mention one product that I’m really curious about. Judging from the comments I’ve gotten from many of you, we are mutually curious about the steam oven from Miele that I mentioned in our post BlogTour: Cologne, Amsterdam and Gifts for Your Home.
I wrote to Miele to get more info, with a particular request to know if I could do baguettes in the steam oven. Rather than reword her answer, I’ll quote directly from Julie McCrary, Miele’s local PR rep.
I too am a baker and have enjoyed trying out lots of new recipes in the steam oven. This year I’ve made Banana Bread and Molten Chocolate Cake in the steam oven, as well as fajitas, steamed meatballs and a fabulous seafood stew. Oh, did I mention that one of the great things about cooking with steam is that you can cook multiple things at the same time without the fear of flavor transfer? As for the nutritional value, vegetables cooked in the Miele Steam Oven retain about 20% more nutrients than vegetables that are boiled on a cooktop.
The steam oven is also great for reheating leftovers. Because it uses steam instead of direct heat, moisture is reintroduced to the food and unlike when you reheat food in a microwave, the food is moist and doesn’t dry out.
You are correct about the baguettes, you can proof dough in the steam oven. There’s even a specialized program within the Miele MasterChef settings which help set the right time and temperature.
I am now trying to figure out if I can sell my sister in exchange for one of these! Oh, wait, it’s under $1000, so I could maybe just sell her hair. Short red hair is valuable, right?
There is a recipe link on the Miele site, with over 100 recipes for the steam oven. I’ve linked it for you, but a few of the recipe titles are making me really hungry: Vanilla Bean Custard with Blackberry Coulis, Smoked Paprika Roasted Scallops with Asparagus and Dill Sauce, and Steamed Lobster and Corn Dumplings with Mushroom Puree. You see where I’m going with this? – Straight to the kitchen!!!
Sooooo, um, yeah, I want to break out in the song “Food, Glorious Food,” from “Oliver,” skipping the gruel!
I’ll be doing further posts about some of the other cool stuff, but in the meantime, did I mention we’ll be taking a tour of the Köelner Dom (Cologne Cathedral)? My undergrad degree was in European Medieval History, so I’m pretty dang excited about this special event too. If you want to follow along, we’ll be on Twitter using the #BlogTourCGN hashtag. And the BlogTour itinerary is right here.
If you’re curious about Cologne (Köln for the German speakers), Amsterdam, kitchens, baths, design, furniture (especially Scandinavian) or want to meet the sponsors, my fellow bloggers, and perhaps even a few of the European bloggers, join our Twitter chat today, January 10, 4:00 pm EST/ 1:00 pm PST, using the hashtag above. Bring your questions. I’ll be bringing my fork, wit and curiosity!
You can mock our sense of fashion by subscribing to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Click now on the icons above or below. We make it easy to share, subscribe and have fun leading a healthy life!
P.S. While I do have more dust kitties than I might like, I actually am a snob (according to my sis), and have some truly fab furnishings. All the products made by the sponsors of BlogTour would match them perfectly!
Photo credits: All photos are from the Miele site, except the Dom.
I received no compensation or products for this post, although I will happily mention that Miele is one of the sponsors of BlogTour.
I’m one of 14 international designers (not me) and lifestyle (me) bloggers invited to attend the giant IMM (International Furniture Fair) and Living Kitchen as well as other design destinations in Cologne before moving on to spend a day in Amsterdam for a guided tour of the City’s design hotspots in collaboration with home design magazine Eigen Huis and Interieur.
What? You are wondering how I managed to wangle this amazing invitation when I can’t even tell you the 2013 color of the year (it’s emerald)! Let me put it like this – You love good food, right? And you spend a lot of time in your kitchen? And in your bathroom? And you appreciate good design, whether it’s your sculpted body or a beautiful sculpture, right? How about well-made products that make your life more enjoyable? Exactly!
A few of the items I’ll be checking out on your behalf:
We moved away from Oregon just as my dream kitchen was finished. So I didn’t get to spend much time with MY sink. So for sure I’ll be sidling up to this BLANCO CERANA™ fireclay, as it’s just like the one I left behind.
This magical espresso machine is by Miele. Need I say more?
I’ve read the research about the health benefits of cooking with steam (think of vitamins, minerals and nutrients). But I didn’t know about these steam ovens until just now. On the wish list!!
If you read our November Holiday Fitness Gift List, then you already know about the standing towel warmer by Mr. Steam. I figured out pretty quickly that it warms my fitness clothes in the morning too! And I’m sure it would warm up this snuggly robe from The Turkish Towel Company.
These cabinet pulls by Du Verre are shaped like pomegranates. I think it would be so cool to have the drawers match one of my favorite smoothie ingredients! Since they’re manufactured entirely from recycled aluminum, they satisfy my environmental values too!
My compost currently goes into an old milk container. It’s disgusting. Dear BLANCO SOLON™ Compost System, come to Mama.
These are but a fraction of the many amazing items and brands I’ll be checking out during the trip! I’m pretty excited. And I’l be keeping an eye out for the items I think Kymberly would like in her new home. She needs appliances for an entire house! Hmmm, there must be a way to make her into a Shrinky-Dink so she can fit in my luggage and come along….
If you want to know more of our gift suggestions for the season (or any time, really) listen to our Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas radio interview with Southern Fried Fitness.
Now I’m off to brush up on my basic Dutch skills. Tot ziens!
For true beauty, form and function, subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Click now on the icons above or below. We make it easy to share and subscribe!