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Monthly Archives: December 2011

I loved reading this opinion piece on npr.org where writer Alan Heathcock shared his story of how reading a poem a day gave him a sense of peace within the grind of his life. With the routine of work, school, responsibilities, and giving in to the surrounding white noise of our lives, sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to reflect and take in the quiet good of every day. For Heathcock, reading a poem every morning gives him the peace to get through the day. I truly believe taking the time to really listen to a song completely; create something with your own hands; or read an inspirational writing or story can greatly enrich your life. If you’re still thinking of a new year’s resolution, doing this would be a good for your life in 2012– tune out all the chaotic white noise around you for just a few minutes a day and take in some nourishing light through art.

Here is one place help you start.

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Terrariums have been all the rage for do-it-yourself and home and garden enthusiasts in the past few years, even getting this article in the New York Times and this past week I finally got around to making my own. A terrarium is a miniature landscape with plants that is displayed in a glass container. It’s an easy way to get into gardening for people like me who have always wanted to grow their own garden but haven’t been able to take the plunge. They only need minimal attention to maintain and are great for sprucing up an office or room. For my first time making one, I think it didn’t turn out too bad.

1. First thing you will need, of course, is a glass container. You can use basically any kind of clear glass container, for my terrarium I used an open container. Thrift shops are the best for finding these kind of glass containers and they are usually only about $2!

2. For the bottom level of your terrarium you will need about an inch of rocks or pebbles, which works as a drainage for the water in the terrarium.

3. If you are making a closed terrarium, you will need a layer of activated charcoal on top of the rocks. This will filter the air in your terrarium and keep it fresh. I made an open terrarium so I skipped this step.

4. Next, add a layer of spaghnum moss to prevent the soil from mixing down into the rocks. I forgot this but it really does help!

5. Now add a layer of soil. This, including the rock layer, should fill up about 1/3 of your container. Regular potting soil is great for most terrariums but it you are using cactuses like I did, you will need special soil or you can just mix coarse sand into the regular potting soil.

6. Time to add the plants! You want to dig small holes in the soil to place the plants in and depending how large or small your container is you might want to use long tweezers in order to get the plants in the right place. At first I used my hands and accidentally broke some of the cactus leaves so then I switched over to chopsticks so I could be more precise in putting in the plants (gotta make do with what you have!). I used succulents for my terrarium because I’ve always loved desert landscapes but you can use basically any small house plant.

7. Some people like to add little ornaments to their terrariums but I prefer to keep things nice and simple.

For my birthday this year, I spent the day with my boyfriend in Los Angeles driving around, eating, shopping, and museum going. Lately I’ve been going to L.A. at least once every other week but it’s been more for thrift shopping for this business/project I’ve got in the works with my cousin so it was nice to go for enjoyment. I also got to finally check out the printmaking exhibit  at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. I’ve always been interested in printmaking so I really loved the exhibit. If you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should go. Admission is free for students with I.D. (I used mine even though I graduated over a year ago– hurray for freebies!)

Ynes Johnston; Voyages IV; color lithograph

For more information on the exhibit click here.

Sadly I missed both the lunar eclipse and meteor shower that occurred this past week but luckily there are amazing pictures of the events all over the web. If I could go back to university, I think I would have taken some astronomy classes (among other things). I am really fascinated by the celestial.

Kurunegala, Sri Lanka:

Selkirk Mountain Range, Idaho

Temple of Hercules in Amman, Jordan


For more great pictures click here.

I came across this post on a blog the other day and wanted to share.

Top Five Regrets of the Dying
By Bronnie Ware

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way.

From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.

Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier
This is a surprisingly common one.

Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.

They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Check out the book THE TOP FIVE REGRETS OF THE DYING by Bronnie Ware.

And the blog I found this post on.

In their most recent daily exclusive, NOWNESS.com spotlights American photographer Taryn Simon and her work. In this short by Matt Black, Simon gives an reflection on the process and meaning of her art that is as interesting and thoughtful as the content of the work itself. With her art, she pushes the bounds of photography and the effects the work can have on its audience. Simon does not merely capture a moment but documents the unknown, deeper story of her subjects for the viewer to see.