Cowboy Studio Lighting

In a creative rush just weeks before Grayer was born, I decided I would like to have newborn portraits. I also decided I was going to take them myself. So I pulled out my camera and did some boring-schmoring manual reading. I read my Sony Cyber-Shot manual from front to back. (I am going to totally recommend you all do this. Not only is the dauntingly thick manual about 1/3 of the length you think it is because it’s written in at least three languages, but you will learn globs of neat stuff you never imagined that little device could do.) I wanted to fully understand the symbols and settings so I could trouble shoot if my photos weren’t coming out as planned.

I also needed to find some good umbrella lighting. The mornings can be fairly gray in New Orleans this time of year and I wanted to be prepared for anything. I did some reading on lights and found an array of beautiful photos on Pinterest that served as inspirational fuel for the project. Check out my picks on Pinterest – I devoted a board to newbie photos that will make you smile and say “awww.” These babies are melt-your-heart adorabs.

Anticipation ensued. This project was going to be fun!

One of the keys to nice photographs is good lighting. So I thought I would share a link to the super thrifty, good quality umbrella lights from Cowboy Studio I found good reviews on. I ordered these bad boys a few days before I went into labor and had them just in time to take some shots for keepsake books. They really did just the trick I think. Here’s a look at what you will get in the kit. (I didn’t have the lights for the photo below, obviously…)

Lights and Tripods

When the baby finally arrived (seven days past due) the hubs and I were so wiped that taking photos was the last project we wanted to get into. But with Kevin’s encouragement and support, we made it happen when Baby Grayer was just five days old.

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The Start of Something New

It is a joy to be back and I am so glad you are here. The last year has been a whirlwind — from relocating to New Orleans and experiencing an all natural home birth to redefining who I am and what I want to share with you. In between there have been a few Saints football games, a steak or two, a fun day at the zoo, warm meals at beautiful places with friends, my first Mardi Gras, and visits from loved ones that have meant the world.

There is a new addition to the McLean family and he is already 11 weeks old. I can not believe how quickly this sweet boy is changing and developing. Baby Grayer and I recently had an outing at the Crescent City Farmers Market. This was our first time to market in New Orleans and it was definitely not our last. The beauty that surrounded us filled me with an urge to replenish and renew; get back to the things I love that have been put on the back-burner.

A few special treats for the belly and home follow — wild fresh cut flowers to dress up the table, in-season produce to satisfy the palate, homemade candies to dream about and more. This is just the beginning of something fresh and interesting I hope to bring to you.

crescent city flowers

Flowers from White Oaks Farm in Metairie LA

crescent city farmers market

Baby Grayer at the White Oaks flower stand

pink fuzzy flowers

bunch of colorful flowers

wild flowers

cartons of fruit

Hundreds of Peaches

shrimp on ice

Raw Shrimp

lollipops of all shapes

Baby Grayer and the sweets

scallion cucumber and green peppers

Lots of Green

veggie and seasoning

Yellow Squash and Thai Basil

farm tomatoes

Tomatoes

spicy veggie

Jalapeno

life is a peach

Peaches

colorful floral display

Wild Flower Bunch

I aspire to bring you a new perspective in refreshing, fun feel-positive topics. If there is something you would like to see more about, please drop a comment or send an email to cate.a.mclean@gmail.com. So nice to see you again!

New Orleans, Louisiana

If we are alike, you probably enjoy traveling to and exploring new places. Here’s a photo from my recent journey to New Orleans, Louisiana (or, NOLA.) There are so many hidden elements I’m still discovering within this particular shot. Also, there was so much to see and do in NOLA that I couldn’t possibly cover it in one blog post – more soon!

magazine street new orleans

Teachers Are Awesome

The aha! moments that gifted teachers witness are among life’s most inspirational ones. I have many ‘teachers’ in my life and am so proud to know them. Here is a Vimeo of my cousin, Jeff Ciprioni, who is a Physics, and Living Environment teacher at the The Young Women’s Leadership School in Harlem. Hearing about his Urban Teacher Residency and seeing him in action in his classroom makes me feel both appreciative and lucky. 

Alfalfa Sprouts

I feel like a kid in a candy store lately. All the foods I have re-discovered while cleansing have made me eager to experiment in the kitchen. Basic recipes have so much flare and flavor (not to mention appeal) it’s been a joy.

Take this one simple plant, for example, that I hadn’t had since childhood at my cousin Chickie’s house. Alfalfa sprouts. They are exceptionally delicious. I find myself going to the fridge just to grab a handful of the things. Alfalfa sprouts are highly nutritional boasting protein, calcium and other minerals, and vitamins B, C, D, E and K!

sprouts as a garnish

One of my top clean eating dishes is Oven Roasted Chicken with Wild Rice and Alfalfa Sprouts. It’s completely satisfying, low-fat and energy packed. Let me know if you would like my adaptation of the Clean recipe.

Playful Party Look

Playful Party Look
Summer soirees are hot right now – from birthday to poolside parties and graduations, (oh my!) Here are some playful pieces I found. Once I am through the cleanse, maybe I will treat myself to something special on this list. Which is your favorite steal and why?

Stretch shoes
vincecamuto.com

Charm necklace
leifshop.com

Scarve
lemlem.com

Linda Farrow Luxe logo sunglasses
$575 – brownsfashion.com

Jane Iredale
janeiredale.com

Clean Program

It’s official – I’ve fallen off the health and wellness wagon. Easy access to the kitchen cabinets from my home office has posed a major threat to my waistline. Not only that, but as a boutique marketing business owner I am constantly on-the-go whilst away from my Mac. Whether attending meetings with clients or business conferences on Saturday afternoons, my health-style has faltered.

cleangut

That said, I am changing things today! I ordered a book from Amazon.com called Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger, MD. He is popular in his own right, but he is also adored by Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Mariska Hargitay and more. A few years ago, the hubs and I completed our first successful cleanse through Dr. Junger’s original book, and I am excited to say we’re starting at it again.

This week is elimination time, which consists of removing the packaged and processed foods from the recesses of the adored and well-visited cookery. I can already see the whole milk disappearing down the drain. (Sad face.)

The hardest thing for me to eliminate is definitely my night time snack (gosh, I just love that olive oil popcorn from Trader Joe’s.) But it comes at a beautiful price of reintroducing health and wellness to my routine, so it’s important to maintain that perspective.

What packaged food would be your top challenge to remove?

I Believe In Pink

My mom sent me a quote I just had to share with you, too. It comes from one of my favorite, all-time female inspirations – not only a beautifully talented actress but a devoted philanthropist. Just sorting through images of her makes me smile.

I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles. Audrey Hepburn

Thanks To You

Thanks To You

The sky above is vast and limitless. Likewise are life’s possibilities.

Thanks to you and your referrals, 2FeelPositive.com has almost 600 readers. That’s more than I ever dreamed…

To honor your accomplishment, this post is all about you, yes, YOU!

2FeelPositive wants to know about your goals and dreams; your personal achievements! Where you are from and where would you like to go (in life or on vacation)? What are your top three hobbies?

Kudos to you and cheers to 600 more!

Fusion Therapy Salt Room Experience

Looking for date-night ideas? Tired of the mall?

Until invited to experience one, I had never even heard of a “salt room.” An after-work invitation to visit a new business in town with 10 close colleagues seemed mysterious, intriguing and I was instantly curious.

I had been stuck on the couch for a few days leading up to the scheduled gathering, dealing with an offensive head cold and ear/throat infection. After reneging on the invitation, I was convinced by the host to attend last minute.

With my last ounce of oomph, I pulled it together, dawdled getting dressed, and negotiated my way to Fusion Therapy. It is set back in an aging, shadowy office plaza, appropriately called Pine Park Centre. One step inside the building, however, and there was a shift in the atmosphere.

Waiting Area at Sarasota Salt Room

Welcome to the purely elegant and fresh, airy lobby at Fusion Therapy. I was instantly transported to a page in a favorite home design magazine! Greeted by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff, I began to feel better already. Husband and wife team Terry and Gena Schibler are the brains behind this business, and, let me tell you, at this point I had tons of questions (some arguably more urgent than others).

  • Am I going to get everyone sick?
  • Do you wear shoes?
  • What does this salt room look like?
  • What do you do in there?

To my wonderment, natural dead sea salt actually creates a sterilized, negative ion environment, three times cleaner than a sterile surgery area in a hospital. Guess I wouldn’t be spreading any germs. It is also known to help in the healing of those suffering from ear, nose and throat illnesses, asthma, bronchitis, cold, flu and more. That’s not all. It is known to assist children, yes you read me right, with skin and respiratory conditions. How do you like them apples?

Skin Care Specialist at Fusion Therapy

Shoes off, I was invited to find a restful seat amid the dead sea salt, which was light in color, encasing the entire room (walls included) and felt, under my feet, like stepping onto a pebbly beach. (There are slippers to wear over shoes for those feeling less adventurous.) The room was closed off, the speakers streamed Fun, Fun, Fun by The Beach Boys and the Halotherapy treatment began. Few of us knew what to expect at that moment. I think we were all waiting for the room to explode or the walls to start moving or something else bizarre to happen.

There were lots of nervous giggles and wide eyes, although the single male in the group was one of the most laid back there.

Sarasota's Premier Salt Room

We were all pleasantly surprised when, from a tube in the wall, a steady mist of aerosolized salt, or, micronized medical grade salt flowed. Once I felt a sense of comfort, I stretched my legs out on my NASA-inspired, no-gravity reclining chair, and deliberately focused on my breathing. Anuloma Viloma (or Alternate Nostril Breathing) as modeled by Gena, was encouraged as a way to restore imbalances in the brain and calm emotions. So I began in through the right, out through the left and vice versa.

A primary colored beach ball made its way around the room and some of us even wore sunglasses. I smiled, wondering whether Terry and Gena have clients that go in clad in bikinis and swim trunks. Maybe even a Speedo?

It was quiet, other than the music and light laughter weaving through conversation, and when I closed my eyes, the muffled sounds reminded me of standing in a field of paper white falling snow. I imagined this was what heaven could feel like; light buzzing and humming, blissful alignment with the universe. The sweet, deep edge you balance over before falling asleep.

Upon completion of the 45-minute Dry Saline Therapy session, I experienced a considerable lift in mood, a slight improvement in energy and a gentle cleansing of my nasal passages (which was just what the doctor ordered). Bring on the tissues; let’s kick this sick!

Salt Room Experience

Post treatment, we were all thirsty, so decided to hit up a local spot for some fluid replenishment. There were mixed reviews about instant results among the group, but the overall consensus was that we would go back in a heartbeat. We all appreciated the opportunity to decompress and alleviate the stressors of the week in such a unique and fabulous place.

Inspired by European salt caves, the Suncoast’s premiere dead sea salt treatment center will certainly satisfy your curiosity in new and innovative health and wellness practices. For details on therapeutic and restorative sessions in the salt rooms, visit Fusion Therapy’s website.

If you’re interested in reading more, check out these commonly asked questions – the answers might surprise you. Fusion also offers a number of additional services including massage, infrared therapy, and skincare. Ahem…can I sign up now?!

Full Spectrum Infrared Therapy Sauna

This is the infrared therapy station.

Fusion Therapy Skin Care

Here’s a peek at the skin care treatment room, where Gena does a lot of her work.

Mindful Minerals

Had to share the mini shopping cart with you…

Get Babied

Have you ever been to a salt room? Is it something you might like to try?!