Thursday, January 29, 2015

Urban jungle bloggers, Plants and coffee and tea

I thought I'd join Igor and Judith once again, in their endeavor to bring back more plants into our lives.
It has been almost a year since I last joined this series, and I thought January's theme of plants and coffee and tea (in my case) was  a very good idea.

I'm always curious to see what kind of teas people like, or how they prefer their coffee. It is one of the questions I always ask on my crafty people series.

 I love coffee (I am Colombian after all), but I love tea just as much. I prefer herbal teas like; Pukka, Yogi Tea or Shotimaa. And there is always a cup with me while I'm doing crafts, writing letters or sitting in front of the computer.

Then again, I do start my day with a nice cup of coffee. Not black like shown here (I completely forgot to put in the milk (rice milk in my case) for the pictures. But don't fret, this particular batch of coffee was used to dye some fabric. That is what I usually do with strong coffee ;)

Most of my plants are succulents that I've bought when we moved to Amsterdam 3 years ago. And now some babies are happily growing and healthy.

Plants and coffee and tea is a great combination, it makes the setting more lively and cozy at the same time. So tell me what is your favorite kind of tea or how do you like your coffee?? I would really love to know!

Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series with the idea to get some green into our homes. Every month they invite bloggers to share ideas for creating an urban jungle through styling challenges, DIYs, green tips and tricks. Every month there is a different theme on the topic.
You can follow and get more inspiration on Pinterest and Facebook.

Wishing you a lovely day,
Giova

Monday, January 26, 2015

To jet lag or not to jet lag

Here on the title, I am assuming jet lag is a "verb," which in my case feels more like being possessed of mind and body by a "life that does not originate from Earth," i.e: Alien!

A few days ago I typed on google "beating jet lag" and read all the articles that appear on the first page of results, 10 to be exact.  Feeling like a zombie possessed by an alien and a bit frustrated, I wanted something that helped me get out of the jet lag curse right there and then.

Guess what? Nada, zilch, zero! Unless you want to learn what jet lag is, what causes it and all the effects it has on your body. If that is your case, these were the best ones I read, here and here.
Disruption of your circadian rhythms anyone?? Sounds like you missed a bunch of dancing lessons instead of many hours of sleep.

Somewhere in Canada
Some recommendations that did NOT work for me:

  • Adjust your schedule before leaving - No way! Who has time to start pretending 2 days before leaving?
  • Take Melatonin - Nope! Both of the side effects occurred to me, nausea and headaches, plus I felt the "zombiness" effect was enhanced by this pill.
  • Try to sleep on the plane - Seriously? Have you flown economy lately? With kids? I can't even breathe back there, much less sleep.  But when I win the lottery and start flying first class I promise I will sleep while the kids are being taken care off by the nanny!
  • Try not to sleep after arrival- I'm laughing here! I don't sleep on the plane, if I'm traveling with the kids then not even a tiny bit. They seriously expect me not to dose off after arriving at 7am? This is the one thing I've never been able to do.

Somewhere in Colombia
 Some things that DO work, during the flight: (even if they just make the flight more comfortable):

  • Staying hydrated - this is the number one thing in my opinion, even if you end up going to that tiny toilet 20 times, just do it! Just don't drink any alcohol otherwise you'll be more than hammered when you reach your destination.
  • Moving around - I get up at least 2 times (on an 8 hour flight) and stretch, plus all the times I go to the toilet. Don't even bother with the funny looks, just bend down and reach up.
  • Carrying my own food - easier said than done, but the times I've managed to do this, my body has felt so much better
  • Carrying a "comfort bag" - Mine has: sweat pants, a scarf, neck pillow, eye mask, tooth brush, tooth paste and my favorite tea. Without these, those 8 hours would be endless, believe me, I know!
  • Don't watch too many movies or any screen for that matter - Out of boredom I've watched 4 movies in a row when I've traveled with no kids and the time allowed it. When I tell you a massive headache was had, think about it in the worst possible way.

Boats reaching the Panama Canal
Things that have helped when the destination is reached:

  • Relaxing yoga poses, especially legs up the wall pose
  • Drinking lots of water, and also teas like this one or this other one.
  • Eating light nourishing meals, after all that salt and crap carbohydrates from the flight, this is the least you can do.
  • Taking short walks, and if there is sun… well, enjoy it!
  • Be patient! OK, I'm laughing again, sorry!
  • Count the time zones you've flown and that is how many days your body will take to go back to "normal" -usually. No promises here!


Miami Beach
I've flown back and forth between Europe and the US countless of times. My mother lives in Florida, and I moved to Europe 15 years ago. It hasn't gotten any easier. Apparently the older you get, the harder jet lag gets (so there you go). It is also much harder coming back to Europe, according to one of those articles I read;  "flying west is best, flying east is beast."

Is there one solution to the jet lag problem? The only one that comes to mind is not traveling, and it is the only one I'm not willing to commit to. I actually love traveling, and come to think of it, jet lag is a small price to pay when you get to see, enjoy, breathe, this beautiful world we live in, so just suck it up!

Disclaimer: This post was actually written under the influence of such a jet lag

Happy travels and may you always find beauty in the little things,
Giova

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Picking and collecting shells, and counting to 15

We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary at the beginning of January. For two blissful days (the first without kids in 5 years) we enjoyed the beach and picked shells (my favorite activity of all).

Sanibel Island had been in the back of my mind for the past 20 years, I really don't know why I never made it there since it is only 3 and something hours away from Miami. I guess there is a time for everything under the sun, and you just have to patiently wait until the things you dream and want happen. Either that or really take all your energy (and money) to make it true. I guess the second one applies best here.

I am happiest walking down the beach, looking down for shells, looking up for birds and looking straight at the ocean. I could've just said looking, but it is so much more than looking. It is just being there at that very moment, soaking it all in.

I don't look for perfect shells, in fact I don't even know what I'm looking for, until I'm holding it in my hand, and I say "My God, how beautiful and perfect you are," and then I know it is coming home with me. The one on the lower bottom corner was my anniversary present.

The scallops above are common to the west Florida coast, and I'm in love with those colors and patterns.

I found these three "Fighting Conchs" in the space of an hour, and my husband still can't believe he didn't even find one. They were meant for me only and I'm much faster than you; I told him ;)

And tiny little shells are the best because…

…they fit perfectly in my glass jars. This is how I usually store my shells. From left to right: Clearwater (Florida), Taba (Egypt), Ijmuiden (Netherlands), and Cadaques (Spain).

I never bring more than what will fit in those jars, except of course this time. I went completely crazy and now I have a box full of shells and absolutely no idea where to put them.

Here I am, hoping that not another 15 years go by, until I can go back to Sanibel. That island was all I had dreamt it would be and then some more. But who knows really? Except, 15 years do go by faster than a heartbeat… that is all I really know!

Lots of love,
Giova

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Being faithful

faithful  (adj)  having faith; remaining true, constant or loyal

Health wise for me, last year was a strange one. Nothing major (thankful for that), but I kept getting one thing after another. Mostly digestive related, which is where I tend to internalize my feelings. I came to the conclusion (finally I heard the voice yelling at me), that I should start to meditate (again). It is one of my resolutions, and I hope I didn't jinx it by making it one.

I was introduced to the art of meditation when I was 14 years old, thanks to one of my mother's friends.  Unfortunately, I didn't quite understand it at that time and struggled with many aspects of it, for instance; I thought it was supposed to calm me and it didn't, and I was even more restless. So to make a long story short, the seed was planted at that time, but it would take me a while until I could properly understand it.

I think we all have issues, right?  I'm not getting into mine here (most are still painful, plus I'm not ready to share), but I do have a lot of them.  Meditation helps me in a way that no other thing does. It has been 5 years since the last time I sat to meditate, and I really need to find the balance of mind and body. Every little helps in my case, and it became quite clear why my illnesses happened and what I need to do about it.

Not that meditation has anything to do with religion, but I will just explain a bit because in my case I do find that they go together (meditation and buddhism that is).

I was raised catholic (btw), but since a very young age I became completely attracted to buddhism, which was a big NO in my house. I learned to pray the rosary with my grandmother (it is something I still do, occasionally), and my interest in buddhism never left me. It has been a "constant" in my life. I am not a buddhist btw (I do have dreams about it, but that will be for another post, someday). I do read a lot of books related to it because they help me, they give me tools I can work with, and I need a lot of those tools. A LOT!

I felt guilty many times. How can I possibly believe in God and Buddha at the same time? I actually do, and I don't question myself anymore. I am faithful to my beliefs, which are mine and only mine, and I've come to terms with all of them.  I've actually thought the same thing for the longest time; "Do whatever you have to do to become a better human, the road to get there is not the point." Isn't the point of this life to be better, or to at least try?

Since last week, with all that happened in Paris, I've been thinking quite a lot about religion and beliefs. Religion is not something I write about here or even discuss outside of my home, but it is something I've wanted to share for a while, just a tiny bit of what I'm made up of. I think the world would be a much nicer place if we all stopped judging each other's views. Every one has the right to believe in whatever they choose, and no one should think their point of view, religion, political inclination is better than others. That is just not the way. It is so simple, and yet so complicated. Why?

Anyway, without further delay I would like to inform you that I will be back soon, but not so soon. I will be trying to get my meditation act together.

I wish you all the very best,
Giova


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Birds and thoughts

Hello there! I hope all is well and you've had a wonderful start of the year. Even if I never do anything special for New Year's, there are always many thoughts in the back of my mind. Some sort of revision of the things that happened and the ones I still want to accomplish. 

Somehow the list of things I would like to do, always end up looking quite similar as the previous years. Hoping to do some of these:

- read more (this year I would like to start re-reading some old favorites)
- travel more (visit new places, there are so many)
- learn something new (like wheel pottery)
- take a workshop (I've signed up for this one, and I'm counting the days)
- exercise (this one never ends up happening, but I always write it down)
-start meditating (I really need to do this again, it has been 4 years since the last time)
- let go of some baggage (I do try this every year, but somehow there are still a lot of things I need to work on).

How does your list look like? Is there one thing or a bunch of things on it?? One thing in particular that you really want to make it happen? Mine will be, to find a new place to live!






As you can see by the pictures, I'm in love, fascinated and obsessed with birds. Ever since I got here they seem to be every where or at least I've been paying more attention. I've also been lucky enough to be holding my camera (phone btw) when they are passing through. How to be unaware? Not possible!

I still have one more week to go here, and it is for sure that I won't sit here before I leave. So I would like to take this chance to wish you a beautiful year ahead, full of love and filled with many exciting adventures.

Sending you lots of love,
Giova
P.S: Sorry for my absence, but the blog has been the last thing on my mind.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sunny with a chance of ...

I knew it! Somehow deep inside, I knew I wasn't going to be able to write any posts. I've had intentions, but the reality always seems to be completely different from what I have in my mind.

First comes the jet lag, then the kids over excitement, followed by finding a computer that works (I don't travel with mine), then finding what I would like to say or show (which is the tricky part).

We are now slowly getting into a routine, which means going every morning to the pool followed by various activities which basically, mean not much, but enough.

Staring at palm trees and the always present blue skies (thank you Miami weather!! I think you are absolutely gorgeous, and I feel so blessed to be able to feel warm at this time of the year).

 Visiting colorful markets and wandering aimlessly throughout.

 Lounging at this time of the year? Pinch me please!

 Oh, the sunsets!! Everyday there is a new show. Free!

And of course some very yummy food, dairy is a major group right? Jaxon's is a favorite, and we don't miss the chance to go there. I did manage to finish this Rocky Road with marshmallow fluff and hot fudge. My absolute favorite!!

So far it has been very sunny with a chance of palm trees, sunsets, ice-creams, bookshops, toy stores, walks, and a movie with the husband (which I loved). That seems plenty to me, so far. If something else comes up, I'll be sure to pop in here, but I will just leave it at "I'm not sure."

I hope all is wonderful at your end and it has started to feel a lot like Christmas,
Giova

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Warm vs Cold, Blue vs Grey

How about it, what do you think?? I hear all the time, "I'm wishing for a white Christmas," but I don't really know whether they're stuck with that song in their heads or they really mean it. 

Me?  I didn't grow up with a "white Christmas," but I left where I was born more than 20 years ago, so I've had my share of all that white, very cold, freezing, numbness...

I love grey, it is actually one of my favorite colors (that is, for sweaters, shirts, etc...) and even gloomy days have their appeal… then not so much after you've had them without interruption for weeks.

Blue skies on the other hand brighten the soul, bring smiles to bitter faces, and make everything more hopeful.

I'm not trying to fight nature, it is what it is, really. But when you come up with really, really cheap tickets to a warm place, you proceed to buy them immediately! Even more if the place you're going to is where your mother lives and you haven't spent a Christmas with her in 9 years!

So that is that and this above is what my little one wishes everyday could be. He comes from school everyday and puts on his swimming trunks and thinks he will be able to go out like that… no way!

We leave tomorrow, and I'm hoping not to take any blogging breaks, but who knows, I always have something in my head and the outcome is something else entirely.

For now I'm finishing this book (which I'm loving), and hoping to start this other one soon. I'm also soooo very excited about this online course, I can't wait for it to start. Other than that, I have grand plans of staring into sunsets and walking on the beach. And you? Are you wishing for a white Christmas or not??

Have a lovely weekend, and hopefully see you back here on monday,
Giova
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