About Linda Alberici Eichberg

I am certified fitness professional, promoting a grateful, positive and healthy lifestyle while empowering woman to be the best they can be to fulfill their God given purpose. I'm a motivational speaker and writer along with my sister, Maria Lauren. Both Maria and I sing, entertain and speak about our book - BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS, which we co-authored.

Celebrating with Both Big Toe Pose

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice; the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga.

Yoga is an invaluable gift! More than just exercise, yoga is the exploration of the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. “It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being.” – Narendra Modi

 

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Both Big Toe Pose – Ubhaya Padangusthasana

 

Spotlight on Both Big Toe Pose – Ubhaya Padangusthasana

 How to do Both Big Toe Pose – To hold this pose, you will first need to breathe and calm your mind. The object is to find a balance of energy in the legs and spine. Sit down with your legs bent. Grab your toes with two fingers; use your sitting bones as your grounding point. Without letting go of your toes, straighten your legs up. Elongate your back, lift your breastbone and lengthen through the hamstrings.

Energy Flow

Feel life force extend through your head and feet. Keep your heart lifted; don’t let your rib cage collapse onto your stomach or round your back. Hold for six deep breaths or longer and enjoy this energizing yoga posture.

“Every posture has important principles of structure, alignment, and kinesiology. But learning to cultivate internal energy flow is just as important as mastering these mechanical aspects,” – Ganga White

Happy yoga day and May God bless you with His life-giving energy.

With gratitude, Linda

 

“For He who is Almighty has done great things for me and holy is His name.” – Luke 1:14

 

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Dean Martin’s 100th Birthday!

Dean Martin would have celebrated 100 years on June 7th. His wit, humor, talent and style are renowned around the world. And his talent and fame still transcends the generations.

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Dean Martin with two of his Golddiggers, the Alberici Sisters, backstage at the MGM.

Some of you may already know I had the honor of working with Dean Martin as one of his “Golddiggers” for almost two decades. And yes, he was a cool as he appeared to be on television.

The Vegas Years

When The Golddiggers we were not making TV appearances with Dean, we were touring the world with our stage act. Some of our first gigs were at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where we opened for Petula Clark and then again for Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme. I still remember how extremely protective Edie was of Steve when we were around. I don’t know what she was thinking but her reaction was pretty funny. After all, we weren’t those kind of gold diggers.

In the 1970’s, in between taping television shows, we were frequently head-liners with Bobby Goldsboro at the Thunderbird Hotel. The Golddiggers were also the opening act for Joan Rivers and regulars at the MGM Grand with Dean.

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The “king of cool” was always charming and generous in sharing his funny banter with us.

 

Vegas was very hip and glamorous in those days. In the 1980’s Dean Martin and The Golddiggers became a regular act at Bally’s Las Vegas, breaking box office records. More than just work partners, like a family we shared special occasions like birthdays and Christmas together, even some heartbreaking times.

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Celebrating Dean’s birthday about 32 Years ago! Dean Martin and The Golddiggers at Bally’s, circa 1985 – 86. From left to right: Patti Gribow, Maria (Alberici) Lauren, Dean Martin, Robyn Whatley and Linda (Alberici) Eichberg

 

Dean’s Softer Side

Dean was sensitive and caring. When we were performing at Bally’s in the 1980’s, I had a medical emergency and had to be hospitalized. Dean was so sweet; he surprised my mom and my husband, who had to fly in and stay with me in Vegas, by paying their hotel bill. He also called and sent me the most beautiful red roses, two dozen! He was a gentleman, a class act all the way. The Golddiggers were too, what pros! Twenty minutes before show time they found out I was on my way to the hospital. In that short time they were able to re-choreograph the show and cover my solo’s. No one in the audience was the wiser.

Dean Martin Ann Margret Collage

The phrasing and delivery of Dean’s quips are so clear in my mind. He had the perfect comedic timing!

 

The Dean Martin Show Years

We put together some television clips of songs from The Dean Martin Show along with some of our fondest photo memories. I hope our heartfelt birthday tribute to Dean brings a smile to your face! Enjoy a look back at a sweet time in television history.

 

Happy 100th birthday Dean!

Love, Linda and “Your Golddiggers”!

Dean Martin & The Golddiggers backstage at the MGM with the Alberici Sisters

Dean Martin and The Golddiggers, circa 1975

 

Read about our adventures with Dean Martin, The Golddiggers and the ‘Legends of Las Vegas’ in our book Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, available on Amazon!

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Finding the Balance to Stay Strong and Carry On

 

It may seem that I’m sitting on the rock, but look closer and you will see my body is floating, hovering above it.

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Floating Stick Pose – Utpluti Dandasana

The goal of this exercise is to explore how changing your center of gravity affects how well you can balance. It would be almost impossible for me to support all my body weight, as I am in the photo, if I didn’t find the perfect spot to place my hands to balance evenly front to back.

When I put Floating Stick Pose into one of my yoga fitness classes, it invokes some giggles because at first, my students think it’s impossible to do. But once the foundation of the fulcrum is placed in the right spot, it is possible.

Exploring Balancing Poses

Most of the women I teach like to follow me as I go through my yoga postures, this is fine, but sometimes I need to challenge them to find their own way in balancing postures. Balancing poses cannot be achieve by just watching, you must listen to your own body and discover the way. It is not only how far you stretch into a yoga pose that matters but also how you engage your body’s dynamic energy. 

Benefits

Balancing requires that we tighten our core, and lengthen outward, as a result it tones the whole body.

Working to stabilize a balancing posture burns calories and improves cardio vascular function.

Holding your balance teaches the interplay of concentration and focus.

In learning to balance, you will perfect control and develop an understanding of lines of energy.

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Balancing Stick Pose -Tuladandasana

Other names for this posture include warrior three pose, one-legged pose & balancing staff pose.

“If I am loosing balance in a pose, I stretch higher and God reaches down to steady me. It works every time, and not just in yoga.” – Terri Guillemets

Soul Yoga

Balance is the foundation of all movement and helps to develop coordination and grace that carries over to everything you do. Finding the right balance and the right purpose is one of the secrets to a long fulfilling life and when life’s storms come, you will know how to stand. 

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” – Barbara De Angeles

Mindfulness, prayer and meditation releases God’s wisdom into our circumstances. If we continue to feel for the vibration of our true essence as daughters of God and align our thoughts to Him, we will find balance and energy.

I reflect on the many blessings God has given me and my family. His blessings are my inheritance. I am here for a purpose. God is within me.

With gratitude ~ Linda

 

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” – Matthew 7: 24 – 25

 

The Love of Trees

I couldn’t see it at first. From the trail it just looked like a gnarly old oak tree but something beckoned me to take a closer look. I thought I should beware of rattlesnakes in the grass but my curiosity got the best of me. I walked off the trail through the thick wild grass and stood before the tree’s massive form. And there it was, staring at me with a gaping mouth, like it was trying to speak!

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“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues,” – Dr. Seuss

 

TREES ARE VITAL TO OUR HEALTH AND THE HEALTH OF OUR PLANET.

As stewards of the Earth, Earth Day is a good time to renew our commitments to the Earth and give thanks for its constant support, beauty and inspiration. This year I honor the trees.

Trees are beautiful and make people feel good.

Exposure to trees and nature has a positive effect on our health and mental attitude. Recent research has shown that trees not only filter pollutants from the air so we breathe easier, but they help make us feel better emotionally as well. ¹

Research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology shows that trees help people to feel more alive. And another study, in the Journal Landscape and Urban Planning, shows evidence that being around trees could actually decrease levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Acacia-yellow-flower_I planted a variety of drought tolerant trees around my home including this attractive flowering Acacia tree. I enjoy its beauty so much. It’s the first tree to bloom in late winter. With a burst of color it offers the hope of Springs eminent arrival.

Laboratory research shows visual exposure to settings with trees, produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension. – Dr. Roger Ulrich Texas A&M University ²

Trees conserve energy.

Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can lower summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants. If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%. – Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research ²

Trees increase property value.

The majority of realtors believe that having well cared for trees in your yard, will have a significant impact on the value and salability of your home. Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value. – USDA Forest Service.

Trees cool our cities.

Average temperatures in Los Angeles have risen 6°F in the last 50 years as tree coverage has declined and the number of heat-absorbing roads and buildings has increased. ³ The net cooling effect of a healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. – U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Trees combat climate change.

Excess carbon dioxide contributes to climate change. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs, six tons of carbon dioxide, the amount of carbon dioxide produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles. ³

Trees provide oxygen and clean the air.

One acre of forest puts out four tons of oxygen. According to the U.S.D.A., this is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people. Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

“In a study published in 2014, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidents of acute respiratory symptoms. The researchers valued the human health effects of the reduced air pollution at nearly $7 billion every year.” ¹

I love trees. Trees are an amazing creation. Let us show our gratitude with action by protecting our trees and rainforests, for they are the lungs of the earth. Together we live or together we die. – Linda Eichberg

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Love our earth and be blessed, Happy Earth Day!

~ Linda

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. – Psalm 33: 8-9

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-being-around-trees-help-people-feel-good/
  2. https://www.arborday.org/trees/benefits.cfm
  3. https://www.treepeople.org/resources/tree-benefits

European Adventure Part 4 – Hungary

Budapest

Budapest at last, the final stop on our Danube river cruise. I was very excited to see the homeland of my maternal grandparents and walk the streets where my Magyar ancestors walked. My great grandfather was a judge in Budapest and I was eager to experience it’s history and culture.

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One of the most striking sights on our cruise in to Budapest was the incredible Parliament building shooting up from the bank of the Danube! The Gothic style exterior, coupled with the Renaissance Revival style of it’s dome, gave promise of the wonderful visions to come.

Our first land tour was a bus ride trough the city, a very interesting overview where we saw memorials, statues, parks, the Turkish baths, famous buildings and more. It wet my appetite to see more. I was so glad we extended our stay in Hungary. We did some shopping near our docking spot and before we knew it, it was time for dinner.

After dressing for dinner, I took in the perspective from our balcony. The Budapest University of Technology and Economics was sparkling on the water. It’s the oldest institute of technology in the world.

Budapest University of Technology and Economics

Our first night, we were treated to an amazing night cruise on the Danube. Budapest is stunning at night.

Liberty Bridge

The next morning, we said our goodbyes to the crew of the Avalon Expression and checked in to the very chic InterContinental hotel. Within walking distance of our hotel there was a lot to do and see. As I came around a corner to the sight of Saint Steven’s Basilica, I was awed by its monumental presence in the distance.

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This Neo-classical wonder drew me in like a magnet to take a closer look.

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My travel companions had no desire to see the inside of another church so I ventured inside alone. It was stunning!

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Budapest Jewish District

I enjoyed the walking tours best, especially the Budapest Jewish quarter tour. I recommend it for anybody who wants to get an insight to Jewish Budapest. During the tour, you will also discover the cool party district of Budapest and the “Ruins Bars”.

While we walk my companions and I learned about Jewish memorials, fascinating old buildings and experience the unique, special atmosphere of this multicultural district of Budapest. Especially interesting was hearing the history of the Budapest ghetto and the Hungarian holocaust from an expert in Jewish history.

I thought The Great Synagogue or Dohány Street Synagogue was spectacular. My photo only shows a small portion of the exterior so you can see the architectural detail, topped with copper onion domes. The Great Synagogue, in Moorish revival style, is one of the largest Synagogues in the world!

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The interior of the Synagogue was also very grand and impressive. It can hold nearly 3,000 people with it’s two levels of seating.

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The Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Memorial Center

Next to the Great Synagogue is the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Here we saw Jewish religious objects and historical items like the uniforms worn by the Jews in concentration camps. It’s heartbreaking, almost 600,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered by the Nazis and Arrow Cross Party.

From there we made our way to the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, named after Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews. The park honored Jewish and non-Jewish alike, righteous heroes who sacrificed their lives or put their lives at risk to save victims of the Hungarian Holocaust. The memorial also reminded us of all of the hundreds of thousands of Jewish martyrs and labour-camp inmates who died unknown. It was clear that Hungarians were ashamed of their past alliance with Nazi Germany. The persecution, suffering and murdering claimed over half million Hungarian citizens. 

tree-of-life-holocaust-memorial

One of the stand-out’s in the park is a large metal sculpture, the “Tree of Life.” Also called the Weeping Willow Tree Memorial. Engraved on each individual leaf is the name of one of 5,000 victims or families. At the front of the Tree is a black double archway memorial with the words – “Is there a bigger pain than mine?”

Experiencing the Synagogue, museum and memorial park was a deeply moving experience. If it wasn’t for the uplifting stories about the many Holocaust heroes, our professional guide disclosed to us, it would have been very depressing.

Kazinczy Street

The neo-renaissance Orthodox Synagogue was another landmark we saw. It stood imposing on Kazinczy Street along with the old buildings. We ended our tour experiencing a ruin pub or ‘ruin bar’. That was fun and memorable.

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Szimpla Kert, Ruin Bar

The rickety furnishing, multi colored interiors, and hipster crowd make these ramshackle properties popular.

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The legendary Szimpla Kert is the best-known ruin pub in Budapest. It holds a mix of eclectic styles and an a vibe of urban life. The dilapidated edifice also boasts a distinct charm.

Nightlife in Budapest

The ruin pub phenomenon is a big part of Budapest’s unique nightlife. Fine dining and music is also plentiful. What I enjoyed that night was right at our hotel. We had a fantastic location on the Danube.

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Me, Debbie and Alison enjoying the night life!

The InterContinental had a stylish bar and restaurant with a spectacular views of the Buda Palace and Chain Bridge.

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Peter, Steven and Joey at one of the InterContinental restaurants.

In the background, Castle Hill and Saint Matthias looked magical in the shadows of dusk.

Buda Castle

The tour of the Buda Castle complex offered wonderful vistas and photo opportunities. The famous Chain Bridge spans the Danube below.

Castle Hill is a great place to pick up souvenirs. I bought a lovely table cloth for my mother that was embellished with colorful embroidery. The Hungarians do excellent needlework and embroidery is a popular textile art in their communities. My Hungarian grandmother use to make beautiful clothes for me and my sisters.

Take a closer look at the gothic details in the architecture of Saint Matthias!

Inside Parliament

The day before we left we took a fantastic tour of the interior of the Parliament building. The guide was filled with fascinating historical information. I enjoyed the stories about how the Hungarian crown jewels were lost or stolen a number of times. For a while they were held in the U.S. at Fort Knox.

The National Assembly of Hungary was not in session so we had the unique opportunity to see their legislative chambers.

Assembly hall of the House of Magnates

The council chambers were gilded with gold so was the Main Hall and it was magnificent!

Steve and I standing at the Main Staircase of the Parliament building.

Across from Parliament is the Budapest Museum of Ethnography. It was a beauty with astounding artistic and architectural appointments!

On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at the Shoes on the Danube Memorial on the Pest side of the Danube Promenade.

Shoes on the Danube Bank Memorial

It was a stark and sickening reminder of the cruelty of the Arrow Cross terror where 3,500 people, 800 of them Jews, who were shot into the Danube River during the dark winter of 1944 -1945 at the end of World War II. That winter the Danube was known as the Jewish cemetery. ¹

“…what I saw was worse than anything I had ever seen before, worse than the most frightening accounts I had ever witnessed. Two Arrow Cross men were standing on the embankment of the river, aiming at and shooting a group of men, women and children into the Danube – one after the other, on their coats the Yellow Star. I looked at the Danube. It was neither blue nor gray but red. With a throbbing heart, I ran back to the room in the middle of the apartment and sat on the floor, gasping for air.” ²

This trip unveiled so much of man’s inhumanity to man during World War II but also the courage of the many brave hero’s who overcame the evil. There was an abundance rich history, local color, art and beauty. I highly recommend this European river cruise down the Danube from Prague to Hungary. Avalon Waterways was marvelous!

See also:

European Adventure Part 1 – Czech Republic  

European Adventure Part 2 – Germany and Cesky Krumlov

European Adventure Part 3 – Austria

Many blessings, Linda

 

“I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me.” – Psalm 13: 5-6

 

References:

1. T. Zane Reeves, Ph.D., Shoes Along the Danube: Based on a True Story (Durham: Strategic Book Group, 2011)
2. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth, “From Country to Country: My Search for Home” in Alvin Rosenfeld, ed., The Writer Uprooted: Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008)

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European Adventure Part 3 – Austria

I have been feeling the travel bug lately. Europe is calling and inspiring me to finish blogging about my last trip to Europe, a wonderful riverboat cruise down the Danube. In part one of our European adventure we explored Prague and the Czech Republic. Part two of our cruise took us to Germany and beyond.

AUSTRIA

Our first stop in Austria was Linz, home of the delicious Linzer Torte.

linz-downtown

The town was very charming with beautiful restored buildings and electric trolleys.

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Hauptplatz, Linz, In the back ground is the famous Dreifaltigkeitssaule statue of 1723. It commemorates Linz’s delivery from war, fire and plague.

We only had time for a quick visit to downtown for our half day visit. Before we knew it we were on our way to Melk.

melk-abbey

Melk Abbey is one of Europe’s archetectural treasures. The inside of the Abbey was even more stunning than the palatial Baroque exterior.

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Melk Abbey Church

The grounds and gardens of the Abbey were lovely, lush with plants and flowers. What started out as a cloudy morning, turned into a perfect July day.

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It was on to the Wachau Valley and then Vienna. We were just past the halfway point of the river cruise portion of our vacation.

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Several small castles an ruins of castles graced the shores of Wachau.

wachau-valley

We arrived in Vienna and docked in front of the striking sight of the Franz of Assisi Church. also called, Kaiser Jubilee Church.

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We went through a quick drive through the city and my eyes were bathed with the most beautiful sites and architecture.

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I was captivated by the Imperial Hofburg Palace Complex.

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The green and gold of copper dome was stunning!

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Albertina Museum fountain

The buildings were displays of art, adorned with statuaries and gold.

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National Library and Equestrian statue of Joseph II, Josefsplatz

Excited by what we saw, walked the rest of the way through the city. There were many outdoor cafes to choose from to enjoy lunch and people watching.

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Steven standing in front of The Holy Trinity Column

The Pestsäule (English: Plague Column) or Dreifaltigkeitssäule (English: Trinity Column) is  located in the inner city of Vienna. Erected after the Great Plague epidemic in 1679, the Baroque memorial is one of the most well-known and prominent sculptural pieces of art in the city.

My husband Steven and I both agreed, Vienna was a cultural and architectural delight!

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The tall Romanesque and Gothic form of the Saint Stephen’s Cathedral punctuated the city landscape. I was enchanted by the colorful tile roof.

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The evening festivities were highlighted by a tasty dinner and night of music, opera and dance at one of Vienna’s concert halls, Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna’s City Centre. “Salute to Vienna” was a heavenly experience of Waltzes and the music of famous Austria classical composers, brought to life by a talented orchestra and cast.

Vienna is art; you see it around every corner. Many of the greatest artists and composers spent their professional careers in Vienna. I would have liked to have spent a few more days in Vienna but I was also looking forward to the wonders of Hungary. Hope to share that experience with you soon.

Gratefully yours, Linda

“‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.'” – Numbers 6: 24-26

See also:

European Adventure Part 1 – Czech Republic 

European Adventure Part 2 – Germany and Cesky Krumlov

European Adventure Part 4 – Hungary

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Energize and Turn Up Your Body Heat With Inversions

SIX GREAT REASONS TO DO INVERSIONS

The world seems a little upside down lately. The tide has turned in politics and it’s really shaking things up. I’m feeling like I need to ward off some sensory pollution and get a renewed mindset on taking care of my wellbeing.

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Standing Split

By shaking things up in your yoga practice, you can refresh your body, mind and spirit. When you’re feeling weighed down or sluggish, inversions are wonderful for bursting through the blahs, especially in the winter months when you need increased circulation to stay warm.

1) Improve circulation and stimulate the blood flow in the body. In inverted yoga poses, the head is below the heart. This boosts your vascular system, helping the blood to circulate and stabilize body temperature. Inversions aid the body in transporting nutrients (such as amino acids and electrolytes), oxygen, carbon dioxide and hormones to and from the cells in the body.

2) Strengthen your upper body and core. The standing split I am doing in the photo, supports a good deal of body weight on the shoulders and triceps. It takes a considerable amount core strength to hold your balance in inversions like headstands and handstands.

3) Increase your mental clarity. Acute focus is needed for most inversions, which helps concentration and calms the mind. Blood and oxygen flow to the brain is stepped-up. Your head will be cleared of negative thoughts, as you feel empowered by your practice and ultimate success.

4) Move out of your comfort zone emotionally and physically. Upside down asanas are some of the most difficult and challenging. You may experience a wide range of feelings, from apprehension to courage about changing your relationship to gravity. But do not fear, you can always start with more gentle inversions, like legs up the wall, standing forward fold or down dog.

linda-eichberg-down-dog

Downward Facing Dog is a good pose to start with to get yourself comfortable with being upside down.

Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana – Half Feather Peacock Pose) is great for toning the arms. It stretches deeply in the upper back, shoulders, hamstrings and calves. Dolphin can flow from Downward Facing Dog by lowering down to your forearms and firmly pressing your heels into the mat. You can also approach Dolphin Pose by starting out on all fours.

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Dolphin Pose

5) Boost your immune system. By turning upside down, you are going against gravity which helps purify the body. The fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system can travel more readily to assist in the elimination of toxins and bacteria and bring you optimal health. Increased blood flow provides extra nourishment to the cells and serves to fight diseases and stabilize pH.

6) Improve balance and coordination. “Learning to find balance in inversions can help bring balance into your life off the mat as well. Holding an inversion requires patience, practice, and being present in the moment; all qualities that can help create balance in your life.” ¹

If you want to be a yoga ‘rock star’, build your flexibility with this yoga wheel.

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Maria Lauren – yoga wheel with leg extension

That’s my sister, Maria. I’m very grateful to have her to inspire my life!

Wishing you love and light and the best in health, Linda

“Light in the messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” – Proverbs 15: 30

Please visit my website!

Disclaimer – Inversions can be harmful to persons with certain medical conditions. Best to consult a doctor before practicing yoga inversions, especially if you have one or more of the following: glaucoma, detached retina, cervical spine or shoulder  injuries, heart disease, stroke and/or high blood pressure.

Footnote

  1. http://www.yogiapproved.com/yoga/10-reasons-to-do-inversions/

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Writing Therapy

PROCESSING GRIEF

At first the pain was too much. I didn’t want to think or feel. I wanted to be numb and repress my emotions. But strangely, now I am now finding comfort in the opposite. I need to talk about him, write down memories and remember the special moments we had together.

Processing grief is like an ocean, rolling up and down unpredictably. Submerged until you can’t breathe, you’re almost drowning and then you are finally able to come up for air, for hope. My brother-in-law, Umberto, passed away this month after a long battle with cancer.

Writing as Therapy

I know writing and journaling is good therapy for many traumatic situations, so why not for loss and death. Actually, there is science behind writing to help with the grieving process. It doesn’t have to be public writing, like a blog. Any kind of writing has therapeutic power.

Umberto

umberto-young-man_He loved cooking, food and people. As a young man, Umberto studied at a culinary school. His passion landed him in Monte Carlo, working as a waiter at the Hotel de Paris. One day, a friend who was on the personal waitstaff of the Royal Family of Monaco became sick and Umberto was asked to take his place. The Royals enjoyed his service so much they ask for him to be their permanent personal waiter. It’s no wonder, Umberto was loaded with good looks, personality and culinary acumen.

Umberto ended up in Philadelphia where he opened a successful restaurant downtown, The Monte Carlo Living Room. The restaurant received much critical acclaim and was known as one of the top restaurants in Philadelphia.

During this time, he met and married my sister, Alane. Alane was a journalist and an assistant editor of an epicurian food magazine. One of her assignments was to write a story about Umberto and his famous restaurant. That was how they met. It was love a first sight. Together they had two boys, Umberto Jr. and Marco.

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Creativity

Umberto was extremely creative: he liked to design. He built and designed an Italian restaurant in Ardmore that he converted from a bank. He retained parts of the bank to give the restaurant a special flair and used the bank’s vault as a private dining area. He had a huge imagination!

Hospitality

Some of my fondest memories of Umberto was of him managing at his restaurant, Primavera, or entertaining with his family at his home. Sometimes he would personally craft special off the menu dishes for me in the restaurant’s kitchen. He was an artist with food and he aimed to please. I loved the twinkle in his eye when he would beak out a bottle of rare wine from his cellar to share with us. Umberto’s face would beam joyfully as he described the qualities and nuances of the wine. He was more than a fine restaurateur, he had the gift of hospitality.

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What Say You?

Umberto’s favorite family greeting was, “What say you”? It was customarily delivered with a chuckle and a smile. But it was his Italian accent that made the phrase so charming and memorable. Umberto could light up a room!

IL SUO RETAGGIO E’ ANOCORA TRA NOI – His Legacy Is Still With Us

Friends and Family

Always a jovial host, Umberto delighted in gourmet food, fine wine and conversation. He loved to see people having a good time, eating and enjoying each other’s company. My brother-in-law loved his friends and family.

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His son’s Umberto and Marco

We celebrated many family occasions at Ristorante Primavera in Wayne, Pa. It was the spot for making great memories. Alane and Umberto were so gracious about letting the family use their restaurant.

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Our nephew,Dylan’s Christening party at the Primavera

Not too long ago my brothers and sisters and I, esteemed my mother for her 85th birthday at the restaurant. Here I am enjoying a laugh and a hug with Umberto at her birthday party.

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Umberto’s personality was larger than life!

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It was a rare treat when Umberto and Alane joined my husband, Steven and I on vacation in Kauai. Vacations are extremely difficult to plan for busy restaurant owners. They were both dedicated, hard workers.

Though they lived on different coasts Steve always had a special bond and relationship with his brother-in-law. They were close in age, only a few days apart. They were joined at the heart.

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Steve and Umberto at the reunion

The Final Days

This past summer, my mother surprised me and all my siblings by inviting us, along with our families, to Florida for vacation. There were over thirty people at the gathering. It was a great reunion on the beach!

That get-together was the last quality time my family and I spent with Umberto. It was a gift. It wasn’t too long after, he was diagnosed with stage four cancer and had to be hospitalized. We did fly back to Philadelphia to see him in the hospital but by then he was a different man.

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My daughter, Lindsay with her uncle Umberto in Florida

Words can’t adequately describe what I feel for Umberto but it is a good feeling when I look back at all the beautiful times we had together. He added so much joy to my life. For that I am grateful. I always have the comfort of knowing that we both belong to Christ and we will be in His loving arms for eternity.

As you hold your loved ones close this holiday season, focus on gratitude.

The Eichberg family wishes you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. All the best for 2017.

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~ Blessings, Linda

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” – Psalm 34: 18 NLT

Spread Holiday Cheer With This Easy Fall Decorating Idea

I enjoy the changing seasons, the fresh crisp air and colors of fall, but when November comes around, I turn most of my focus to preparing for the big Thanksgiving dinner. I will be entertaining 18 friends and relatives this year. Weeks ahead I prepare or purchase my table decorations. These are some of my table decor creations.

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I got the idea to make this at a garden store I visited. At first glance, it looked like the pumpkin would have to be scooped out and filled, but when asked, I was told everything was glued to the top. I thought I’d give it a try.

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You too might like to make this centerpiece. Here’s how it’s done.

You will need:

  1. a pumpkin or decorative squash
  2. a few different sized succulent plants (Select plants with different shaped leaves and in a variety of hues.)
  3. a small package of green reindeer moss or Spanish moss
  4. a hot glue gun

First cut off the stem of the pumpkin or squash close to the skin. Then glue a layer of moss to the pumpkin.

Select the largest succulent and apply that first. Cut the stem 1/4 to a 1/2 inch from the base of the plant and glue it to the pumpkin through the moss. Fill in the top with the smaller succulents or cuttings from larger plants. You can add moss to the outside edges for a finishing touch.

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The arrangement will last quite a while, it just needs a spritz of water a couple of times a week. They make great hostess gifts!

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I enjoy decorating. It lifts my mood when I spread holiday cheer. Yet, the holidays can be the loneliest and most stressful time of the year for some people. I am holding a heaviness in my heart. My husband, daughter and I made a bittersweet trip to Pennsylvania to visit our brother law, Umberto, in the hospital. He went into the hospital for what was supposed to be a relatively minor cancer treatment and he hasn’t come out. My sister, Alane, will spend her holidays in the hospital by his side. It breaks my heart.

Happy Birthday Mom?

It was also my mom’s birthday while we were visiting. She wouldn’t let us sing “Happy Birthday” to her because of Umberto being so sick. “It’s not happy”, she said.

This is a tough one for the whole family. There is little we can do but rely on God’s grace to get us through this difficult time. We’re very fortunate to have each other to lean on. That is something to be thankful for and to smile about. God is able. We are all praying.

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I am reminded once again to be nice to everyone I meet because they are also carrying a heavy burden that I know nothing about.

Dealing with Holiday ‘Blues’
“You can improve your mood by practicing self-care during the holidays. Eat a healthy diet, and maintain a regular sleep pattern and exercise program. According to the kept Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, as little as 30-minutes of cardiovascular exercise can provide an immediate mood boost similar to the effects of an antidepressant medication. Joining a support group where you talk to people with similar experiences to yours can also help.” ¹

Sometimes these things aren’t enough and medication is necessary for a time. Talk to your doctor if you are feeling sad for long periods. They can refer you to a mental health specialist. Explore every option. Getting your joy back is worth fighting for.

Wishing you all the joys of the season, Linda

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12

Footnote:

  1. http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/holidays#1

 

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Not Our Usual Family Project – Let’s Shoot A Music Video!

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In Memory of Harry Jarvis

This past year, a virtual stranger came into our lives and poured his time and talent into a project for my niece because of his love for the entertainment industry!

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Harry Jarvis, a  videographer from Nashville, approached my niece, Marianna, a talented singer/songwriter and asked if he could shoot a music video of her song “Lady Luck”.

Harry had heard her song about Las Vegas and he also read excerpts of the book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, written by my me and my sister, Maria. A good portion of our book is about our experiences working with the Rat Pack and the entertainment legends of Las Vegas. Marianna’s song about the current ‘Sin City’, as well as our stories from the past, inspired Harry to come up with a concept and financing to produce the music video.

Here I am backstage with my sister and Frank Sinatra in 1977.

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Photo from our tour with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin when my sister Maria and I were members of the famous girl group, “The Golddiggers”

Harry Jarvis had a great sense of humor, as you will see by the outtakes he added at the end of the video. It was fun doing this project with him. I was amazed by what he could create with a camera, lap top and green screen. His imagination was huge!

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Harry Jarvis

With insatiable curiosity to hear about our adventures in Las Vegas with the ‘Stars’, Harry could listen to our stories for hours if we let him. More than once, my sister and I had to snap him out of the spell our tales of the Vegas glory days cast on him, so he could get back to work and finish the project on time.

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Lady Luck

Marianna’s music video was homegrown. It was mostly shot at my home and featured friends and family with a special appearance by the ‘Alberici Sisters’. It was a party every night after the day’s filming was over! Unfortunately, not too long after we shot the video, Harry suddenly passed away from a massive heart attack. This is the last edit he sent us.

Harry was like an angel disguised as a stranger. He became our friend and left us much to quickly. It was shocking and sad. We connected with Harry on many levels. My sister Maria had the opportunity to answer questions he had about Christianity and Jesus. I have to think, in the grand scheme of things, maybe our meeting was not as much about making the video but perhaps more about sharing the gospel? We’ll never know. God bless you and keep you, Harry. Rest in peace.

Grateful for the the time we had together. May his love and passion live on.

~ Linda

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! – Hebrews 13:2 (NLT)

Read stories about vintage Las Vegas in Beyond Our Wildest Dreams by Alberici Sisters on  Amazon

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