Write it Down: Get Started on a Journaling Voyage for your Health


How many times a day do you use a pen and paper? Is your penmanship used predominantly on signing credit card receipts, writing to-do lists, or jotting down illegible notes? We type, text and click faster than we could ever write, but are we leaving something special behind in the dust?

Talia Tugman of Bite Size Wellness is bringing back pen-therapy. There’s a connection from mind to hand to paper that is something you can’t get with the useful, yet impersonal, keyboard and screen. Writing down your thoughts may feel foreign, but think of a hand cramp and a loss for words like working out some muscles you haven’t in a while.


By Talia Tugman

Remember the days of passing notes in class and hiding a diary under your bed? There was always something cathartic about venting via your teenaged, unfiltered self. These days you are probably lucky to even hear yourself think let alone share any thoughts with a piece of paper. Rekindle your love with your old sweethearts: a pen and paper.

You don’t need to be coined a “writer” or get all mushy and gushy with a notebook to reap the benefits of journaling. The act of writing in privacy is a space to cope with feelings, work through a difficult time or come to unexpected (but healing) realization which can be emotionally therapeutic in a way that even your BFF can’t help you attain. Physically, keeping a journal is known to be an outlet to counteract stress, strengthen your immune system and get your intellectual wheels spinning. And, the easiest to achieve for a die-hard with a diary or a newbie remembering how to hold a pen, is to use your journal to help you problem solve in a safe spot without judgment for those sometimes maniac-esque ideas. You’ll be surprised how much that little black book (not that one guys…that is the color of MY journal!) can pull out of you and how easily it can put you on the path to discovery. All this and it is sans doctor plus it is FREE! The point is to let it all go, grammar and chicken scratch handwriting aside, through a vehicle that allows you to self-reflect, manage your stress and seek personal growth.

Oh, and did I mention, journaling can assist you in untangling some of those nagging thoughts that keep you awake at night which equals more sleeping…and we all need that!

Here are 5 steps to getting acquainted with your paper and pencil (you know those things with the eraser on the end that we used to use before we got all techy and iPad-like):

1. Invest in a Journal: This may seem like a “duh” part of the process, but the type of journal you choose to purchase is an important decision. Do you want a notebook that is uniquely yours or are you a loose leaf type person? Perhaps you would prefer to type your thoughts in an online journal like Penzu or Diary. Do you like lines or blank pages? You want your journal to reflect your personality and bestow creativity, but also be functional to your needs.

2. Set Aside the Time: Having a journal that shows your character won’t do any good if you let it become table décor. Often times it isn’t the act of journaling that is difficult, but finding the time to write. Block off around 10 minutes every day to let your thoughts flow. Make it routine at a time that works best for you such as first thing in the morning, during your lunch break or as a time to reflect before bed.

3. P ut the Pen to Paper (or your fingers to the keyboard): When you get started stay far away from overthinking. This is not going to be graded or reviewed. Simply w rite whatever comes to you in the moment. Since your journal is for your eyes only, leave the judgments at the door. Perfection should not be expected, spelling errors or grammar issues do not matter and neatness is not important.

4. Share your Feelings: Don’t be afraid to get personal. This is a space where to-do lists or a catalog of the day’s events are welcome, but more importantly share how these activities make you feel on an emotional and physical level. Vent about negative emotions. Share positive thoughts. Really get at the life lessons whether good, bad or ugly. Those who really reach into their inner self have the most success with the health benefits that the written word can provide.

5. Keep it Private: Save the self-censoring for the times when you are in front of the kids or at the office. You should not need to worry about anyone reading your work or you won’t achieve the same liberating benefits that someone who keeps their journal private. This does not mean your journaling habits need to be kept secret, however, if you need to get a lock and key or password protect your journal to guard your privacy than do so.  Feeling confident that your words are for only you is a sure way to be authentic and candid with yourself.

Writer’s Block? Here are some “Dear Diary” starter ideas:

  • If you could have anything this moment, what would you wish for?
  • Discuss your most recent dream.
  • Make a list of what you are grateful for.
  • What are your challenges at work? At home?
  • If you could mend or strengthen a relationship who would it be with and why?
  • Talk about your best day. Your worst day.
  • Where would you like to be in 2 years? 5 years?
  • What makes you laugh?
  • Share childhood memories or adult experiences.
  • Write a letter to a loved one.
  • Or don’t think too hard about a topic and just let your stream of consciousness take you away!

Whether you are left-brained or on the creative carousal all the time, there is nothing like processing and recording your ups-and-downs in written form. Get friendly with pen and paper again (daily if you can). You won’t regret it!


Talia Tugman lives in New York City with her nearly new husband. In an effort to be in touch with living a healthy lifestyle in a new city, Talia is sharing enlightened wellness living information with others served in bite size portions on her blog BiteSizeWellness.com.





Letter via, Writing via, Tangled pencil via, Inspirational Quote Photos via

9 Ways to Keep It Organized – The Almighty Feat for a Stress-Free Bride

Has daydreaming about your engagement ring at work turned into dress shopping, registry browsing, planning, organizing and – face it – stressing about the details of your upcoming wedding? This Wedding Wednesday, hyper-organized newlywed Talia Tugman of Bite Size Wellness issues a wedding plan of attack without the anxiety attack.

By Talia Tugman

Love is in the air. Okay, let’s face it… it is in the air because it is all you can talk about and think about. Suddenly Facebook is replaced by wedding dress websites on your work computer, your home computer is overflowing with bookmarked pages that include everything that has the word “wedding” on it and your fiancé needs to pull you away from the magazine aisle as your frantically browse through a wedding mag that is showcasing your colors. Wedding planning is a glorious time, but it can completely take over your mind if you don’t come up with an organized plan that leaves you centered and sane. You want your love planning experience to be stress-free as you add yet another to-do to your agenda.

Being recently married myself (my one year anniversary is just around the corner!) I know about all about planning woes that come along with arranging your day of love, but for the most part, my planning experience was amazing. How did I manage to make my planning a memorable and happy undertaking? Use these simple tips to stay on track as you plan your big day that without being a harried whirlwind in a white dress.

1. Become a List Person

If there is any time in your life to pick up the list habit, the time is now. Checklists, to-do lists, electronic lists, hand written lists… any and all of them should become a part of your wedding planning ritual. Not only will the lists keep you on track, but you will want to reference them as you move forward in your plans. Lists were an important part of my wedding planning ritual because they helped me rank what was important to me, were the home of late night reminders or and the spot where I shared what I liked or didn’t like about my test tasting extravaganza or vendor searching. At some point everything starts to blur together and you need lists to keep things clear. Plus, what was the point of your hours of internet stalking for photographers if you end up forgetting the names of everyone you like. Put them on a list! My favorite list ended up being WeddingWire’s checklist that was customizable and helped me manage my tasks, appointments and to-dos. There is a mobile version too which was great for the on-the-go bride like me.

2. Embrace an Excel Sheet

I was a bride on a MAJOR budget, so keeping track of my expenses and payments was a major part of my planning process. We were paying for our wedding mostly on our own, but even if you are lucky enough to have a family member helping you out they will definitely appreciate your attention to detail when it comes to their dime. Money can be one of the biggest worries of your otherwise stress-free experience, so keeping the budget component at bay leaves you cool, calm and collected. My Excel expense sheet made it so that there were no lingering costs on the day I said “I do” and helped me prioritize my important charges. WeddingWire and The Knot have similar budgeting options, but my excel sheet was always my trusted go to!

3. Folders are your Friends

There are many books about staying organized while planning your wedding that have a couple of pockets included in the binder, but for me, separate folders kept me most organized. I had one that was full of initial ideas, pictures and inspiration. And, as the process moved forward I had additional folders for vendors I visited, contracts I had signed or receipts of payments. On that note, keep copies of everything you sign and all payments you make. During the planning process you will want to reference what negotiations you made in your contracts so that everything you expect on your wedding day is set in stone per your vendor discussions. Or, you may need to remind a vendor of an edit or change and you want to have proof of this. After I was married my photographer forgot about a “deal” we had made and I was glad to have kept my contracts folder so that I could discuss the terms we had agreed to. How fun will it be to get folders in your wedding colors?? Too much?

4. Utilize Pinterest (or other sources of inspiration)

If I would have known about the wonders of this electronic pin board I could have saved a ton of money on my wedding magazine obsession (which would have led me to save a tree or two from all the ripping and cutting I did). There is even a special wedding category for you to browse through!  Pinterest is a great space to put all of your ideas out there and save what you would desire if your wildest wedding dreams could come true. You can easily edit your thoughts down by adding a “Realistic Wedding” pin board or simply hitting delete on a link that really isn’t feasible to your budget. If you are more of the hands on type you can make your own inspiration board at home. I did a lot of printing, gluing and cutting and have no shame about my marriage masterpiece! A visual understanding of how your day will look can bring a sense of calm to an otherwise dream-like day that is 365 days away.

5. Find a go-to sound board

Planning a wedding is not a solo project. Although ultimately the day is all about you there is no reason you should keep your planning a secret or not seek the advice of your friends and family. A lot of decisions will be made along the way and it is healthy to bounce ideas off of your bridesmaids and fiancé rather than internalizing your worries and having haunting nightmares about the wrong cupcake flavors bouncing around to your do-not-play song list. For me, my sound board was a friend who had recently tied the knot. She had been there, done that and it made sense to have her expertise and advice on an otherwise unfamiliar experience. This is what bridesmaids are for!

6. Hire a Day-of-Coordinator

Like I said, I was on a budget so having a full blown wedding coordinator was out of the question in what we could afford. However, as our wedding day approached I started getting anxious about the little things I would not be available to take care of while, say, I am in the middle of smiling my face off for family photos or getting jiggy with it on the dance floor. Hiring a day-of-coordinator was a true blessing and saved me from embarrassing cry sessions if the DJ didn’t show or if it decided to snow a lot on the day of your outdoor wedding (true story… this did happen to me!). Luckily I had the fabulous help of my day-of-coordinators to deal with any day-of mishap or forces of nature that can make even the most organized and prepared bride a hot mess. And, because I originally thought I had to do everything on my own, my coordinators were in awe of my organization skills which made me one of their favorite brides to work with (small brag, but had to do it!).  You can be a favorite too!

7. Turn the Wedding Switch Off

It is so important to set a time limit on your wedding agenda where you take a step back and focus on other aspects of your life. If you need to literally set a timer where the wedding website is put to sleep, than do it! Your social life should still be retained sans wedding where you have a girl’s night out, a date with your fiancé where the wedding magazines are left behind or quality time with your family members (who love their bride-to-be, but may miss their daughter). Your busy wedding schedule can afford a night off where you keep in touch with those you love. Letting your life be overshadowed by wedding planning is a disastrous aisle to walk down (no pun intended).

8. Your Health and Wedding Plans should go Hand-in-Hand

Don’t neglect your gym schedule because you’re too busy with cake flavors and table décor. Make sure you schedule in your work outs just like you do your wedding appointments. This is important for your overall health, but more importantly your sanity. Need another checklist to keep your bridal body on track? Try the 6 month fitness makeover by The Knot.

9. Remember yourself Outside of your Wedding Planning

Pat yourself on the back for staying insanely organized throughout your wedding planning and then sign up for some well-deserved pampering. A trip to the spa, a bubble bath or a long walk with your furry friend is the perfect “me” time you should squeeze into your busy schedule that will leave you feeling great and looking radiant on your big day. DJs, flowers and dress fittings are significant for the look and feel of your wedding but none of that will matter if your well-being isn’t intact. If you are finding it difficult to save room for other activities besides wedding planning it may be necessary to reevaluate your schedule. When you treat yourself well and relax, your big day will be nothing but beautiful (just like the bride!).

See… it is an easy feat after all! Organization is key to a beautiful, well thought out day but it is also the most important way to being a blushing, stress-free bride from beginning to end.

Talia Tugman lives in New York City with her nearly new husband. In an effort to be in touch with living a healthy lifestyle in a new city, Talia is sharing enlightened wellness living information with others served in bite size portions on her blog BiteSizeWellness.com.



Checklist photo via, Wedding book photo via, Phone call photo via, Wedding dress photo via, Relaxing photo via , Holding hands photo via

8-Step Guide To Finding Your Soul Mate Massage Therapist

Massage is wonderful

When it comes to finding your soul mate, there are no rules. When it comes to finding your soul mate massage therapist, however, there are some rules that can be documented. I tapped the woman behind the brand new website Bite Size Wellness, Talia Tugman (totally crushing on her sexy wellness interface and awesome content!) and invited her to blog for you here.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, let’s hear Talia’s 8-step plan to finding the soul mate that matters (almost) the most!

By Talia Tugman

Whether you are a massage newbie or a longtime bodywork patron, you want the same thing: a great massage. The problem is not all massage therapists are created equal, so while sometimes you leave the spa feeling like you died and went to heaven, other times you are wishing you could hit rewind and get your $100 back.

I’ve had quite a few rubdowns in my lifetime, but some have been major pampering disappointments because I was matched with a therapist that didn’t suit my needs. With thousands of therapists out there you need to know a few tricks on how to get kneaded by the best. Here is some massage wisdom to help ensure your next rubdown will be done by the hands of a dream therapist… or maybe even your massage soul mate. (Yes, they do exist!).

1. Know What You Want

Before you head to the spa ask yourself why do you want bodywork done and what do you expect to gain from your time. Are you going for chronic aches and pains? Do you just need an hour of relaxation? Do you prefer deep-tissue sculpting or a lighter touch? Consider things such as cost, massage style, therapist experience and certifications, personality/attitude and so on. One time I asked the manager who he would schedule a massage with knowing my list of demands, which made my choice much easier and worked out in my favor. Being attentive of your expectations is the first step in scheduling a therapist that fits your needs, so you are not matched based on availability, but rather with the right masseuse. You wouldn’t want to walk in expecting a relaxing massage and leave with a deep tissue disaster. Know what you want and express that accordingly.

2. Don’t Swear off Men

It is important to identify your preferences. My massage past has been mostly full of women therapists, because I didn’t know if having male hands rubbing me down was appropriate and, frankly, I was a little shy. After one too many a complaint about how my massages felt more like back tickles than deep tissue grind downs, someone recommended I try a male therapist. Despite my modesty I tried it out and (oh my gosh) it changed my perspective completely. Typically they have a stronger touch that makes all the difference. So, Dan the Man, if you are reading this, thank you for changing my life. Well, my spa life at least.

3. Ask Your Friends

A good massage therapist is always in the eye of the beholder, but if you have a spa savvy friend it doesn’t hurt to ask for some initial guidance. If anything, your dear companion can suggest a massage studio that is clean and welcoming. He/she may also divulge some personal experiences with certain therapists. Word of mouth is typically the best way to make an informed decision prior to spending your hard earned cash.

4. Test the Waters

Even with your specific questions and recommendations at hand, part of the great therapist quest involves lying on the massage bed and crossing your fingers. You may hit a few duds before you strike gold, but this is all a part of the experience in finding a good therapist-client match. With that being said, if you strike out with one therapist, that doesn’t mean the entire spa is a no-go. Use this information to make better arrangements for your following visit. It is normal (and understandable) to tell the receptionist why you don’t want to reschedule with so-and-so in hopes that they will be able to suggest a better choice. Or ask for a “test” massage with a different therapist — a 10-minute trial that some spas offer. If, after three attempts, you still didn’t find your masseuse match then move on to a new location.

Testing-the-waters Tip from Spa Week: Have yourself the ultimate massage marathon of $50 treatments during Spa Week this spring, April 16-22!

5. Keep a List of the Good, the Bad and the Never Again

Nothing is worse than getting scheduled with “that therapist” again because you blanked on the name when you called to schedule. I keep a small business card in my wallet at all times where I write down the great and not-so-great therapists. When I head back to the spa, I’m then prepared to steer clear of those I’ve already tested out and deemed unsatisfactory. Mental lists are never enough, so write those names down!

6. Speak Up (and Not Behind their Backs)

The number one mistake I used to make was suffering in silence. Some massage therapists may have the magic touch, but that doesn’t mean they are skilled at mind reading. If you are writhing in pain (and doing the silent scream through the face rest) or thinking that you could give a better self-massage yourself, then you MUST inform your therapist. It may feel weird to chitchat in an environment that is library quiet; however, your dream therapist may be one knot release away from getting an A+. They just need to know what you’re thinking. Speak up pre-massage and during the session about your needs and goals. Also, say something to management if your massage was below satisfactory, despite your efforts to communicate your expectations.

7. Try a Longer Massage

Sometimes it takes bit longer to get what you need out of a massage session than the standard 60 minutes. A common phrase of mine is “it’s already over.” No one wants to feel like you were shortchanged due to time constraints. An extended session allows the therapist to get more acquainted with your body and its problem spots. This may be the answer to your therapist blues.

8. Tip Generously When You Find the Diamond in the Rough

Show your appreciation and it is sure to be expressed during your next rubdown! Once you have a favorite therapist pinned, don’t let them slip away. It will continue to be an enjoyable experience if your long searched for therapist knows they are the “chosen one.” Purchasing a monthly massage package is a great investment for your body once you have your match. My favorite is that they know me, the activities I do and what body aches keep creeping up. Often my therapist is telling me what the massage focus points will be without me even having to say a word. They are right on point. Now that’s a keeper!

The goal is to find a therapist that you trust and have professional chemistry with so you can fully embrace relaxation, which may take a little time being picky. Once you find a therapist that is off the charts amazing, you will know that your search was worth the wait and your body will appreciate your hunt for the best. The right massage therapist is right around the corner. Now off to the spa for you!

Talia Tugman lives in New York City with her nearly new husband. In an effort to be in touch with living a healthy lifestyle in a new city, Talia is sharing enlightened wellness living information with others served in bite size portions on her blog BiteSizeWellness.com.


Photos viavia, and via