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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

September 11, 2015Butterfly bushes hang limp in the breeze. Dead grass crunches when walked upon. It’s obvious that the drought conditions in California have wreaked havoc in my yard. The only things flourishing in it right now are the spiders. In lieu of masses of pretty white flowers, I now have a generous sprinkling of white spider webs. With its areas of tight gossamer weave and its immense size, this spider web is a masterpiece – a different type of gift from Mother Nature.

#1 – Bioinspiration
Strongest Natural Material Spider webs have long been considered to be the strongest organic material, but now a challenger has arrived on the scene – limpet teeth. Researchers from the University of Portsmouth have found that the material in tiny limpet teeth “contain a hard mineral known as goethite, which forms in the limpet as it grows.” Engineers will try to mimic the structure and find practical applications for it. The article Scientists Find Strongest Natural Material describes bioinspiration as “Finding out about effective designs in nature and then making structures based on these designs.”

#2 – Glamorous Decorations
20 Glam Halloween Ideas If you don’t have fancy spider webs like mine, you can make your own decorative ones in time for Halloween. Check out these 20 Ideas for Glam Halloween decorations.

#3 – Words of Wisdom
Words of Wisdom from Author Kurt Vonnegut Eight years ago, some students in a high school class wrote letters to their favorite authors. Only one author replied. To see which author took the time to respond to them and to read the inspirational words he shared, click on the photo to enlarge it.

#4 – Tips for Life and for Traveling
99 Travel and Life Tips Having traveled around the world for the last nine years, Sherry of Otts World offers a plethora of great life and travel tips in her blog post 99 Best Life and Travel Tips.

#5 – Bound Together
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” Chief Seattle

Now go and spread joy!

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July 31, 2015 Edition Shapes, curves, and lines make up our world, but we often don’t notice or acknowledge them. Going through life on autopilot or in a state of distraction causes many of us to miss out on seeing some of the truth of what’s in front of our eyes. For example, this echeveria plant has an interesting ruffled appearance and a nice medium green color. But when using the power of black and white photography, the elements of the plant are stripped down to their essence. The dramatic shapes, curves, and lines of the plant now stand out and beg our eyes to take note. So, the next time you’re out and about, stop and look at something around you. In your mind, imagine what that item would look like if it were in black and white. You may discover that you appreciate it in a different way.

#1 – The Power of Black and White

100+ Awe-Inspiring Black & White Photographs

Berenger

The dramatic power of black and photography can be seen 100 times over in 100+ Awe Inspiring Black & White Photographs. Which photo is your favorite?

#2 – Display Those Photos
Creative Ways to Display Photos Taking photographs is one thing, but displaying them is another. If you store photographs in shoe boxes like me (bad, bad, bad idea!), get them out and and try using one of the creative ideas from Buzzfeed’s 27 Unique Photo Display Ideas That Will Bring Your Memories To Life.

#3 – Architectural Winners
The Coolest Buildings on the Planet, According to Architecture Fans Architects play with lines, shapes, and forms for structural and interesting effects. To see some incredible award-winning architectural designs from around the world check out, The Coolest New Buildings On The Planet, According to Architecture Fans.

#4 – Sweet Black and White
Chocolate Icebox Cakes Not everything in the world of black and white is austere. Take this icebox cake for instance. Layers of chocolate wafers and whipped cream, make for one sweet treat. Click here for the recipe.

#5 – Clothes or Souls?
“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!”
Ted Grant

Now go and spread joy!

 

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June 19, 2015 Edition The journey my dad took as a young boy from China to the United States amazes me every time I think about it. Consider his story of leaving his mother and walking barefoot to a neighboring village to catch a junk, of sailing down a pirate-infested river, of staying alone in Hong Kong while waiting to catch a steamer ship that would take him one step closer to his father, and of enduring the prison-like internment at Angel Island. I often wonder if I would have had the courage to do what he did. The experiences of leaving his mother and of the traumatic journey are forever etched in his soul. They influence him everyday of his life. They molded him into a determined, hard-working man of integrity and, more importantly, a loving husband, father, brother, and loyal friend. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

#1 – Sacrifices
I cried while watching this video, because I could relate to the sacrifices identified. They are similar, if not identical, to the ones my parents and my grandparents made in order for their children’s lives to be better than their own. We should remember and be grateful everyday for all the sacrifices made for us, and not just on Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Veteran’s Day, or Memorial Day.

#2 – Camping Out In Style
Amazing Camping Trailer Because my parents worked just about everyday of the week, camping didn’t fit into our family’s schedule. That’s not to say we didn’t own camping supplies or enjoy the great outdoors. If we had a camper like the one in When Their Trailer Transforms Into a House . . . , camping out might have been more of a priority!

#3 – Two Kinds of People
Clever Illustrations Reveal the Two Kinds of People There Are in the World I laughed when I viewed the article, Clever Illustrations Reveal the Two Kinds of People There Are in the World, because it reminded me of some of the differences between me and my husband. He sets multiple annoying alarms on his digital watch and he bends back pages in books to mark his place. I, on the other hand, rarely set an alarm (because his alarms wake me up), wear a traditional dial watch, and would never dream of defacing a book. What kind of person are you?

#4 – Ways to Repurpose Bottles!
23 Ways to Repurpose Plastic Bottles I grew up in my parents’ grocery store. Literally. My sister and I played hide and seek in the warehouse, scaling tall stacks of cardboard boxes. We also helped sort coupons and soda pop bottles, while our parents worked. Back in the day, soda pop bottles were made of glass. These days, as we all know, most are made of plastic, a substance with which the world has a love-hate relationship. In an effort to find ways to repurpose plastic bottles, here are 23 Insanely Creative Ways to Recycle Plastic Bottles Into DIY Projects.

#5 – Five for Fathers
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
Jim Valvano

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
Clarence Budington Kelland

“I decided in my life that I would do nothing that did not reflect positively on my father’s life.”
Sidney Poitier

“In our house, Mother’s Day is every day. Father’s Day, too. In our house, parents count. They do important work and that work matters. One day just doesn’t cut for us.”
Margaret Heffernan

“Son, brother, father, lover, friend. There is room in the heart for all the affections, as there is room in heaven for all the stars.”
Victor Hugo

Happy Father’s Day to all the deserving fathers out there!

Now go and spread joy!

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May 29, 2015 Edition In a center that provides services for women and children in need, a small floral bouquet sits in a vase. Sunlight streams in from a window and illuminates a rose, making its outer petals glow. Incredibly, this beautiful example of nature transforms an old fire station, which houses the center, into a cozy and joyful place. Joy is everywhere, if you look for it. It’s in the little things in life.

#1 – Spread Joy
Finding joy makes for a life of never-ending gratitude. Don’t limit yourself to just looking for joy, however. How about spreading some? Here is a little booklet that lists 150 Ways to Spread Joy. Indeed, what goes around, comes around.Spreading Joy

#2 – Kitchen Help
Kitchen Infographics Imagine my joy when I found all of these cooking infographics on one site! Almost everything anyone needs to know about cooking and baking can be found on one of these 25 Must-See Diagrams That Will Make Cooking Super Easy.

#3 – Norway Calls
27 Reasons Why You Must Visit Norway
After looking at the photos in 27 Reasons Why You Must Visit Norway in 2015, I had to add another country to my bucket list. I’m positive there must be more than 27 reasons to visit Norway!

#4 – Starfish Story
Starfish Story This story speaks of the power of one. We each possess the power to enact positive change in the world:

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

Adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

#5 – Joy
“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”
Karl Barth

Now go and spread joy!

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May 15, 2015 Edition Cursing myself for deciding to update my computer software on a day I normally post to my blog, I tried to relax and redirect my self-talk. While faced with an unfamiliar computer application that the update forced on me, I remembered the words on a street sign I photographed in Los Angeles last week. Immediately, I turned off the negative self-talk and told myself, “Everything will be fine. You’re a smart gal. You’ll figure it out.” Life can be stressful, frustrating, and challenging at times, but at the heart of it all is you. You are the main character in your play. You write the script. You control character development. It’s your happy ending or not. Do you love yourself enough to let your light shine and be the hero of your life story?

#1 – Love Yourself
Love Yourself To some people, self-love does not come easy. “How To Love Yourself in 17 Ways” provides introspective and empowering suggestions.

#2 – Tea and Thee
Tea and Thee “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” This quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, introduces Leo Babuta’s post Create a Sacred Space in Your Heart. The article is not so much about drinking tea as it is about recognizing the need to create sacred spaces in your heart for those things in your life that matter most.

#3 – Love That Traveling Dog
Maddie the Traveling DogA couple of things strike me as I look through the photos in Photographer Takes His Rescued Dog Maddie On Epic Adventures. First off, I admire the ability of some people to pick up and go. Secondly, I like the composition of Theron Humphries’s photos – especially the images of Maddie in front of captivating scenery. And finally, I realize how much I miss my dog and having the love of a good dog.

#4 – Before I Die . . .
A while back, I took a class on learning how to live a more authentic life. Towards the end of the class, each student was given a piece of paper and asked to write his obituary. The point of the powerful assignment was to shed light on what each of us wanted to be remembered for and to help us focus on what and who were important in our lives. The following TED Talk follows a similar premise. “Before I die . . .” is the unfinished statement that artist Candy Chang asks people to complete. In her interactive public installations, she provides space for people to write down their answers. How would you complete the statement?

#5 – Self-Love and Light
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Loving yourself . . . does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion.”
Margo Anand

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.”
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Now go and spread joy!

 

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May 8, 2015 Edition Despite lugging my suitcase through subway passageways and up and down stairs, traveling by train through Italy surpassed my expectations. Trains take you places sometimes where airplanes don’t go. If time permits, why not try taking the scenic route on your next trip and travel by train?

#1 – Weeklong Train Trips
Europe by Train Now that I’ve got you thinking about train trips, read Europe By Train: Five Great One-Week Rail Trip Routes and start planning a trip.

#2 – The Man in Seat 61
The Man in Seat 61: Help for Traveling by Train or Ferry If you need help planning a train or ferry trip, check out The Man in Seat Sixty-One, an informative site dedicated to worldwide train and ferry travel.

#3 – Pack Your Bags
Packing Tips From the ProsWhen traveling, the adage “less is more” becomes meaningful. Nobody wants to haul large pieces of luggage on to trains or try to fit them in tiny elevators. Real Simple’s Packing Tips From The Pros offers many helpful ideas on how to select your travel wardrobe and then how to pack it efficiently.

#4 – Upcycling Suitcases
Upcycling Suitcases What to do with old suitcases that can only hold memories and not clothing anymore? Upcycle them into something fabulous like these chest of drawers by JAMESPLUMB. Check out these other suitcase transformations.

#5 – The Upside of Traveling
“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”
Danny Kaye

Now go and spread joy!

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Friday's Fresh Five! Oh, we’re going to a hukilau
A huki, huki, huki, huki, hukilau
Ev’rybody loves a hukilau
Where the laulau is the kau kau at the big luau

Oh, we’ll throw our nets out into the sea
And all the ama ama come a-swimming to me
Oh, we’re going to a hukilau
A huki, huki, huki, huki, hukilau

Words and music by Jack Owens

The Hukilau Song can be heard throughout my home, as my husband and I practice playing our new ukuleles together. It all started when my husband asked for a ukulele for Christmas, so that he could sing to our granddaughter. He began taking classes at a local music shop and started spending a lot of time searching for instructional videos on the internet. I felt left out, but being already overextended, I had no intention of learning how to play a new musical instrument. Seeing the joy it brought him, however, I itched to get my hands on a ukulele and try playing its happy music. A few weeks ago, he surprised me with an early Valentine’s Day gift – my very own ukulele. Our mastery of chords and strumming patterns is progressing well, but our singing definitely needs work. Besides learning a new skill together, filling our home with music, and having a ton of fun, we’ve also discovered that it is a great stress reliever. The moral of the story is: the couple that strums together, hums together!

#1 – The Nimble Brain
Ways to Exercise Your Brain Whether you are learning how to play a new musical instrument or learning a new language, your brain thanks you for keeping it nimble. Want to learn more ways to exercise your brain? From mental_floss comes this list of 11 Ingenious Ways to Exercise Your Brain When You’re Stuck Inside.

#2 – Love Is All Around
Hearts In Nature When looking for love, it’s a matter of perspective. See if you can find the hearts in the captivating Hearts In Nature photo series.

#3 – Repurposing Photos
30 Creative Ways to Repurpose Photos If you have boxes of photos taking up space in your home, you might want to repurpose them. I like to use them to make photo mosaics, but so many other clever ideas exist on the internet. To get started, check out Brit + Co’s 30 Creative Ways to Repurpose Photos.

#4 – Rules For Being
12 Rules for Being a Beautiful Human Being “This moment is a gift” is rule number 11 of the 12 Rules For Being a Beautiful Human. They are good reminders for all of us, as we journey through life.

#5 – Making Your Own Music
“Play with your heart, sing with your soul.”
Unknown

Now go and spread joy!

 

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