Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spring Dress

The weather is starting to warm just enough to make me think Spring may really be on the way, and that means it's nearly time for dresses again. How cute is this floral flock? I like that it's not overly flower powered, and it looks perfect for a Parisian printemps* stroll (that's spring in french... at least according to Google translator).

Spring Dress

Monday, February 22, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Martin Amm

Photo by Martin Amm

If you could not tell from my previous posts, I love animal art and animal photography. So when I stumbled upon the insect close-up portfolio of Martin Amm, I knew I'd found my kind of photog. Originally from Kronach, Germany, Amm also has some stunning landscape work - those shown here are from Sweden. There isn't too much info about this young artist online, but you can check out a wider range of his work here, which is where all of these photos are found.

Photo by Martin Amm

Photo by Martin Amm

Photo by Martin Amm

Photo by Martin Amm

Photo by Martin Amm

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fresh Idea

I read a statistic today that I had heard before but had since put to the back of my mind - 95% of our thoughts are repetitive. Wow. That certainly helps explain why making progress can sometimes seem so difficult. And it's no wonder why negative thoughts can be so debilitating - they could quickly become a skipping record, playing over and over in our heads.

I started to wonder what the cause of this high rate of repetitive thought is. Perhaps it's just the human wiring, the way our synapses fire reaffirming our thought process. Or maybe it has more to do with our 21st century culture, with the inundation of information which is often very repetitive in nature (who hasn't heard the robotic Tiger Woods apology by now?).

But regardless of the cause, who wants 95% of their musings to be unoriginal? We may not be able to actually change the percentage of our thoughts which are repetitive or not (that's for the neuroscientists to analyze), but I know I spend a lot of time pondering, discussing, and wearing out the same tired topics and I will bet I'm not the only one. So what are you doing to inspire fresh ideas, new experiences, untrodden paths, and original thoughts in your life?

Just a question to take into the new week...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

So Grateful For

I have been feeling so fortunate this week and genuinely excited about so many things that it seems the perfect time to write out a little love list to the galaxy. What about you? Even if it's been a rough week, especially if it's been a rough week, take a minute to voice out a few things that you're grateful for... be it by writing a list in a journal, telling a friend about what's got you grinning, or speaking it aloud on your drive to work. It might seem like a silly activity, but focusing some positive energy on the things that we're content with is a simple way to raise our spirits, lessen our stresses, and remind us that there are good things going on in this wacky world. Here's what's got me buzzing this week...

Discovering the wonder of the food processor (it turns cauliflower into fluffy pillowy heaven!), and making this yummy, healthy, and satisfying raw version of veggie fried rice.

Moving forward with projects at work.

Finding a face wash I can identify every single ingredient in. It's remarkably soft and luscious, and it smells so good I want to eat it (and so natural I could).

45 degree weather melting away the snow from Tuesday.

Venturing to a new yoga studio... that has two free 90 minute classes a week and a $5 community class on Sundays! Anybody who's paid $15 drop-in rate for a 60 minute class knows what a rarity this is.

Planning weekend getaways.

Being inspired by the Olympics, and not just that saddened that I missed my calling as a professional curling player (curler?). I've got men's figure skating on in the backgrounds as I type..

Firing up my trusty Excalibur for some tasty treat making this week.

Guiltlessly slowing down, and spending more time doing the things I really want.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow Storm!

The 12 mile drive from work to my parents house took exactly 90 minutes, and according to several weather dedicated websites, it will continue snowing all night. Maybe it's the cold long winter but my creativity and desire to write lately have been a bit... low. So, today, I bring you - visions of spring!

What I wouldn't give to be riding a bike down a winding country path right now, or going for a hike through a flower-strewn valley. Fortunately the Olympics provide for some distraction from the falling mess outside (a pretty mess, but a mess none the less).


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Jamie Oliver's TED Video

Everyone's favorite Swiss blogger, swissmiss, posted this video the other day and it's so good it warrants re-posting. Jamie Oliver not only knows his way around a kitchen, he's also been doing some incredible work promoting health and nutrition both here in the states and all over the world. The video below is of Jamie's recent TED presentation where he explains his wish "to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again, and empower people everywhere to fight obesity". You can find more videos about "ideas worth spreading" (TED's motto) and what this unique nonprofit does here. You can also check out Jamie's website here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy Thursday!

As far as days go, Friday gets a lot of love in our culture. The end of the standard work-week elicits many a "TGIF" from weary employees and school kids (and adults) alike. But Thursday holds a charm all its own. It may not mean bolting from the office as soon as possible for all-you-drink Margaritas and 18-layer nachos, staggering home in the wee hours of Saturday morning, but Thursday does mean you've almost made it. Without the finality of Friday, Thursday suggests you still could cross off that long list of to-dos staring at you from your day planner. And, since there's only one work day left, it's alright if you stay up later than normal - we can all handle one groggy day. Thursday means comedy night on NBC, and settling in for Parks and Rec, the Office, and 30 Rock is the reason to own a television. Plus, Thursdays tend to be pretty good days. So even if you're ready for the weekend, rejoice that it's Thursday, and not that other capital T day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Convenient Guacamole

As a general practice I try to stay away from your standard gas station "convenience foods" and grocery-side "100 calorie packs" as much as possible. These seemingly innocuous quick-consumption treats typically bring zero nutritional value to the table, do nothing to curb our appetite for genuine sustenance, and are a waste of wrapper. After all, fruit is nature's own 100-calorie (or less!) pack chock full of fiber and nutrients and it comes in a biodegradable (nay, soil sustaining) wrapper. But there's one convenience product I have been loving lately and thought I should share - Wholly Guacamole 100 Calorie Snack Packs. The ingredients are simple and recognizable (Avocados, Jalapeno Puree (White Vinegar, Jalapeno Peppers), Dehydrated Onion, Salt, Granulated Garlic) and the result is delicious. Since guacamole is pretty messy and tends to go brown and inedible if made in advance, the single serving packs are a great way to get some more avo into a busy lifestyle. Many people don't realize that avocados are high in fiber, Vitamin K, Folate and contain heart-healthy fats. Of course, eating fresh, raw avocado is best, but when your day calls for a more convenient option, the Wholly Guacamole packs are a good choice. Lately, I've been squeezing them on top of salads as a dressing, scooping them over bowls of brown rice and sauteed veggies, and plunging carrots and pepper strips into them. Yum! What's your favorite nutritional convenience food?

PS - For fellow raw-foods enthusiasts, I just discovered the Raw on $10 a Day (or Less!) blog and have been drooling over the menus all evening. You've got to check this one out!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Design Inspiration: Bookshelves

Bookshelves and cases are not only the perfect places to house your most prized literary classics (or guilty pleasure gossip rags and romance novels, we won’t judge) but when used strategically they can be ideal design inspiration for your home. A carefully placed bookshelf can stand on it’s own as a focal point and conversation piece. Depending on the space you’re working with, bookshelves can serve to break-up the space and even create a room within a room. They’re a quick way to make any room a bit cozier too, adding visual elements of depth and color. Not sure how to incorporate these hardcover holders into your place? Check out these read-ready rooms.

A definite focal piece from Home Interior Designs.

An industrial twist from Furniture Fashion.

Read the rainbow! Found on Freshome.

A luxurious look, easily hidden, found here.

Floating bookshelves from Ikea found here.

A warm reading corner from BHG.

A modern option from Toxel.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Nathan Sawaya

Who knew Legos could be so emotional? So provocative? So... artsy? Lego artist Nathan Sawaya sculpts, depicts, and creates with the colorful little childhood building blocks and the results are surprisingly cool. Sifting through his website (which you can peruse yourself here) I discovered that the self-proclaimed brick artist has, in the past, offered to do life-sized replicas of yourself or someone you know for purchase through the Neiman Marcus holiday gift book. I can't say that a 6 foot Lego-rendition of your loved one is the perfect gift for everybody... but I can guarantee they won't already have it! Check out his take on Stephen Colbert below.