Monday, February 23, 2015

How's that for irony?

Not too long ago, in fact only 2 posts ago, I mentioned a little book called "The Art of Stillness," and how I craved being able to stay still. Well as luck would have it, I just spent one week and one day "going nowhere,"and being very, very still. Literally not even moving an inch at times, others only five steps (between the bed and the bathroom). I'm not exactly sure this is what I had in mind when I pictured "stillness" and silence, but hey, it is what it is! You can't go asking for things and then changing your mind about it right in the middle of it, just because you didn't like how things turned out.

Not exactly sure the book mentions being sick and still at the same time. I think it has more to do with stillness of mind,  more than anything else. Don't they say; "if life throws you lemons, then…. something, something. That is exactly what I did. Nothing, nothing and nothing. It wasn't easy, I don't do "nothing" easily. There is always something that needs to be done, finished, cleaned, picked up. I didn't even read, watch T.V, looked at the computer or phone. I just stared long enough into things, until they changed a bit.

The thing is, if you're sick your body pretty much dictates what needs to be done, and you better listen. Nobody likes to get sick, and nobody likes to feel like a useless sack of rocks, but it might be the only chance you get to sit still. I got my chance (a very weird one). Basically this has been a very interesting week for me, even if I've done absolutely nothing at all, and even if the only 2 things I can show you are a view from my bed, and my actual bed.

Enough of illnesses and stillness and nothingness. I promise this is the last time I mention any of those words. Now onto more exciting things, whatever those may be.

Wishing you an exciting week ahead,
Giova

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Love and Brownies

"Sure," you'll say. 
"Why not?" I would say.
"What do brownies have to do with love?" you'll say.
"Everything!" I would say.

There is chocolate for one thing, the baking part and love you put in counts as 10 things. Then the way you wrap it, also with love, counts as other 10 things. Voilà!! You have a total of 21 things, that is a lot in my opinion. So you see? Brownies and love do go well together.


 If maybe you still don't agree, perhaps you can do any of these things:

  1. Hold hands
  2. Watch a very romantic movie
  3. Have a pic-nic in the living room, if it is warm where you are, have it at the park
  4. Bake something (check)
  5. Write a love letter
  6. Cut out paper hearts- glitter optional (check)
  7. Give a book of poems (Love poems)
  8. Better yet write a love poem, or haiku, something
  9. Buy or make- heart shape cookies, pancakes, waffles, sandwiches, etc...
  10. Say, I LOVE YOU to as many people as you can. Not randomly, because you're going to get the "weird eye."

The recipe for the brownies shown, which is the only recipe  I've ever used, so maybe you shouldn't trust me, because I haven't tried others, but then again, these really are amazing brownies, that's what everyone says.

Oh, yeah! The recipe is from Green and Black's, but I don't put cherries in it. Very easy to make and so yummy.

I really hope you can find the time to be a little romantic (anytime of the year certainly), but I do love Valentine's day, because if you're not romantic on that day, when there is a reminder in every corner, then when will you be?

How do you spell love? asked Piglet
You don't spell it, you feel it, answered Pooh

Sending you lots of love,
Giova
P.S: I recently added some of my favorite things here. Perhaps you would like to join this wonderful project? I hope you do. Let me know if you do?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Going Nowhere

As someone who is constantly writing lists of all the places I need to visit someday and constantly day dreaming about these 'future" trips, the concept of "going nowhere" is not one that sits well with me.

In 2008 I read an article by Pico Iyer for Yoga Plus magazine. I remember many things about the article, but especially the fact that he took a week off once a year to stay at a monastery in California. It sounded like a dream to be able to do that.

"The art of stillness," is finally in my hands. It has been read, more like devoured, and I think this book was born out of that article that I read before, only now more in-depth. As always with books, it was just what I was hoping to read. There is a Ted talk that accompanies the book, you can listen to it here.

I Went looking for some information on the article mentioned above and somehow wound up reading about this workshop that I wish I could take. (My brain works in mysterious ways). I told you thinking about my next trip is a constant hobby of mine.

Any way, back to the book: I really hope you get a chance to read it. I loved it and I'm glad I could revisit that never forgotten article again.

I don't think I will ever stop dreaming of new places. It is in my nature, in my DNA. My father is the same way, and he is also the reason why I've been lucky enough to see a lot of this world. Then again...

I like this idea of going nowhere, of being still and embracing that stillness. I crave it. Silence, a quiet mind, a peaceful heart. Can't I have both? The going nowhere and going to all places. There must be a place in the middle, a balance to all of it, no? Oh, the search! It continues.

I hope you have a very beautiful week,
Giova

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mini Buntings for Valentine's day

At one point I had the intention of doing last years heart project again. Who knows where the time went? Did you know it was already february? I just realized it two days ago, when I received the most amazing Valentine's package. I'm still blown away by how beautiful and kind people are, so Julia if you are reading this, thank you so, so much! I am deeply touched by your thoughtful gift.

That package (you can see it at the end of this page), made me realize I have done nothing for my favorite holiday of all. I also realized that I haven't done many normal buntings (triangular ones), for the blog, and so I thought "now is the time."  You can read last year's Valentine's day manifesto here or take a look at the heart project here.


I made these little buntings in no time, so if you haven't done anything (like me), maybe this is the perfect craft for you.

As it is pretty straight forward I'll skip the instructions. But I do have one tip; fold the paper and then cut the triangles, don't cut 2 triangles and then paste, believe me, it is much easier the other way.



What I've used:

  • old paper (from an old book I got in France)
  • glue stick
  • glitter (mine is this one)
  • glue for glitter (I used this one)
  • twine (I used this one)
  • alphabet rubber stamps  (I've had mine for a really long time, but they have similar here)
  • blank cards


I had to show you a fabric version as well. Tiny diamond shapes sewn together. They measure more or less 3 cms each. Obviously the paper ones are quicker, but these ones take just 10 more minutes to make.

Gather some blank cards in your preferred color and simply tie the bunting around it. This way you'll be sending a greeting with a little handmade gift.

Lately time passes through me so quickly that an entire month just goes away without me realizing that it did. I do hope that my Valentine's greeting reach their destination, if not by the 14th at least in February.

And this is the beautiful package that found it's way to my mailbox!

I wish you a lovely weekend ahead, filled with hearts, and all things crafty!
And if by any chance you want to see this movie thinking it will be a romantic one, as it says on the description, please don't. There is nothing romantic about it. Serves me well for not reading the whole synopsis.
Giova

Monday, February 2, 2015

Wynwood Walls and Street art (sort of)

I thought I show you these before more than a month passes and I don't see the point in showing you these. I'm having mixed feelings about this area of Miami, which has now become yet another tourist attraction. Long gone are the days when no one dared walk on this part of the city. You might be thinking isn't it a good idea the area got "cleaned up?" 
Well, that is where my mixed feelings fall. Quite contradictory I know, but it will soon become yet another strip mall,, and that is what I don't like about it. Plus apparently rents are becoming ridiculously high, and all the galleries that were here before all the "street art" took over, now have to relocate.

Is it worth it? Not sure. Is it still street art? No way!  My favorite part about street art was the element of surprise, and that is gone. Is it art? I would say some of them are, and I think I would go with the term "mural." instead. You're also not charged to see the walls (at least not yet), which is another thing I like about street art.

This particular wall made a great backdrop for this family picture.

I'm always curious to see what captures my attention, and I think this time it was color and the setting. I was much more interested in the whole context and not just the particular wall.

There is an overload of painted walls in Wynwood (I think that is the main attraction), but the day was pretty so why not?

This building was entirely covered (on the other sides), but I like how this one looked from the parking lot.

Gate, color, color, color, dumpster, tree!

Lately, I'm much more interested in this sort of wall, and the fact that they haven't chopped the palm trees down to paint another wall!  To me, this is the perfect wall.


This was the wall I wanted to see and the reason for visiting Wynwood this time. I have encountered Swoon's work in the past and have been an avid admirer ever since. This entire wall was quite impressive, and I'm glad I got to see it in person.

Pavement, lines, curb, grass, hybrids!

And of course it is almost "obligatory" to take a picture in front of Maya Hayuk's very famous wall. I almost blend in ;)

Wishing you a very colorful week ahead,
Giova
P.S: I really hope whoever owns this piece of land, keeps it this way, untouched, intact, etc... (below)

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
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