The joy of life with plants

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My overwhelming pot of Oxalis Triangularis

 

” A life with plants is vibrant and full of joy “…

I go by these words nowadays.This is the reason why I respect the social media that I am engaged into right now especially the platforms that I am sharing this Blog and my artworks as a self-taught artist. Instagram , for example  have made me  discover the beautiful side of loving plants.Talented photographers, gardeners, home makers and all these crazy plant people have created a whole new definition of indoor gardening .You think it’s just a new trend,  I tend to disagree, for me it has become a lifestyle. The kind of inspiration that I love. If you love nature overall ,  I guess its very difficult to not appreciate the primitive and raw forms of life that surrounds us— plants! Come to think of it, when people wants to feel better, or release some tension, they go to nature.  I live in a very green city, I have an access to green parks and forest within 5 minutes away from my doorstep. I always visit parks with beautiful landscapes, with blooming flowers and plants, or simply taking a walk into green forests to have a quiet time and nature always do me good. I am so thankful that my new home now, Bavaria, is an oasis of nature. It is no wonder I wrote many things about nature here.

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Oxalis Triangularis

It’s a natural stigma, like an old adage. Even from the beginning, people gravitate to something that make them feel good, an addiction in a good way. Studies shows the many health benefits of simply getting your hands dirty by gardening. Its one proven way to release chemicals Dopamine and Serotonin. It’s not just for old people. Now I understand the joy we had while “Strawberry picking” last Summer or just by drooling over the new sprout of leaves from my plants.

It’s like seeing the eyes of my daughter when she smiles— its beautiful!

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Little tiny friend : Dypsis Lutescens (gold fruit Palm)
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Plants can make an empty corner looks alive

This post is very personal to me since this is the story of how I find an outlet of happiness by “nurturing” plants. I have shared to you how I’ve felt when I sold my first painting. It’s a moment of  pure joy, a newfound purpose. When I have “revived”a dying plant,  something left with only few leaves, but then grows back and bloom, the feeling is the same. My journey as a crazy plant lady started with a small pot of Chrysanthemums I placed in the garden, plants some stem cuttings of Jade plants ( I didn’t even know how to grow them, I just tried my luck!)  followed by few succulents and cactus, then the addiction began. There can never be enough. I am always on the look out of houseplants that are both beneficial and gives aesthetic boost to my home. With this, I involved my husband and my daughter. They know how crazy I am with plants because they know plants make me happy. Here in Germany, where the level of self-wellness is very high, it becomes a second nature now for me to create a lifestyle for a better quality of life.

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Sustainable Life : Plants and Painting goes well

Just like parenting, plant nurturing is a journey of self-discovery of how much love you are willing to give. It’s way more than just watering them. You’ve got to feel your plants, getting to know them, and watching over them like a mother. I am a first time mother and nurturing is something that I am continuously learning up until now. Being an Expat-mama where I don’t have the luxury of  having my immediate relatives for support have forced me to discover myself through the ups and downs of motherhood. It was not easy, there were sad days and tears were shed, especially when my daughter is sick or facing developmental delays. But there were also tears of joy, a sense of being needed, of being loved-back in return. It’s priceless. I know many mothers & parents can relate to this feeling.

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Plant envy : Pilea Piperomioides

Plants have helped me in the process of learning how to nourish  a life entrusted to your hands—and let yourself be nurtured in return. This an important part of fostering a strong, secure sustainability practice or else you will just waste money. Plants are no cheap and requires maintenance just like having a pet. It’s a beautiful purpose in life. I’ve lived in 4 different apartments in the last years and every time I build a new “home” for myself. Each one is a different surrounding and Expat life is like camping. A modern-day nomad.  When you are new to a foreign place, or unsure where you are going in life, I find ways to fully integrate as much as possible. This is the reason why I always try to find beauty here in Bavaria. I focus on the positive side and making this place feels like home. Being a crazy plant mama helps me refocus my energy on staying grateful, abundance, presence, and manage my stress accordingly. My plants have help me “set my roots” here in Germany.My plants have taught me how to become a better person! And they remind me that my actions have a significant effect on them. I don’t think that I can make a single plant alive if I am neglectful. Having houseplants requires responsibility.

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Green is the new Black for Green Interiors

Just like Painting, colors, shades of paint and the medium that I use allow me to embrace every shape and form to create an art composition. I’ve become fascinated with plants and colors that I usually see in my surroundings. Germans are good home makers. I love the way they make their gardens and decorate their balconies with houseplants. From large curtain-less windows, I got a chance to sneak peek on their huge planters, with cascading plants all over. There’s something about the way a place looks so peaceful and cozy when it’s adorned with plants. I noticed that Germans also love fresh flowers.They have different plants and flowers for each season and one of the things I love about visiting the Fresh market is the fresh blooms in display! And speaking of Bavaria, here, almost, or at least from what I see, no matter how tiny your  apartment is, there is always a pot of plant or flower in it.

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Bringing the tropical feel with Ferns

 

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I love the way the sunshine flooded our living room 

I’m telling you, my biggest expenditures lately are my Plants and painting materials. The two important things that gravitates me to living a less-stress life.Living with plants in every room of our apartment  have become a new natural for me in a short period of time. Some have stayed, and some have had to go, but the best part overall is seeing a growth happening, right before my eyes. I killed many of them , I was sad, disappointed at my self and blamed my “overwatering” nature. I am no expert, nor a green thumb. I just experiment, follow the rhythm of nature, researching about how to care for each type of plant, and this actually works for me to keep them alive, and especially —thriving.

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Alocasia’s charm

My daily routine includes tending to  my plants, as I tend to my love ones, feeding them & nurturing them. I am grateful every time  I roll down the roller shutters from our living room to let the sun floods the entire house, giving the golden sunshine to my plants.Through the days, I dream of  new ways to grow green life indoors and cultivating new plant sprouts. I clean the house surrounded by pots of  Jade plants, ferns, Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (  or lucky feather),Monstera deliciosa, and Alocasia. I prepare meals for my family in the view of my stunning Oxalis Triangularis, and Snake plant ( Mother-in Law tongue plant) . We share sumptuous meals as a family in the dining area with my Lily ( my Fiddle leaf fig tree) , Calatheas, and spider plant. In our garden, I plant herbs, and grow tomatoes, leeks, rosemary, basil and paprika from leftover veggies. Plants bring beauty into our lives and illuminate for us just what that kind of beauty can do to change the texture of our days and reconnect us to the cycles of the moon and stars and sun. If you are searching to live a more meaningful life, search for more beauty. Stop the negativity. And that begins, as all life does, with plants.

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The number one houseplant : Ficus Lyrata ( Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree plant)

I read in one article that house plants reflect how you feel as a person because they are completely dependent on you. You can tell by the state of your houseplants whether you feel good about yourself or not.

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Monstera Deliciosa 

Plant addiction or not, it really doesn’t matter. If you love what you do and you have joy in your life with whatever you fill it with—-it’s your choice. All addiction pathways are the same no matter what the chemical.

As long as you feel rewarded you reinforce the behavior to get the reward.”

So in other words it all comes down to the fact that we can’t change our craving nature but we CAN change the nature of what we crave.

What do you crave for in life?

I am curious to know, what is your channel of happiness at this moment?

Do you also love plants? How was your experience?

Please feel free to share your opinion of this post and if you are thinking of starting an indoor garden for yourself, you might want to check out what I’ve written on Houseplants that I actually didn’t kill.

Thank you once again for reading my friends. A long weekend is coming up over here in Germany and I am already busy thinking how to spend those days! Can’t imagine that within a month, I’m going back to school and start a whole new routine! Until next time.

 

Tschüss!

Creating Ambience in your Home

Are you familiar with the good feeling when you finally got home from a long day?

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What’s the aura of your home?

You open the windows and soak the view outside and after kicking your shoes, you lounge in your favorite chair. The familiar scent of your home fills your nostrils. You breathe in and the feeling of sense of belonging…the relaxed feeling, the calmness, right in your cozy own place. Even the taste of your home- made tea , your own favorite mug, the flavor is different from the ones you buy from cafes. It’s all about personal space. I am self-confessed homemaker and for me, creating an aura, a cozy atmosphere in my own place is very important.

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A corner  in our kitchen where we have soothing views of the garden and  ample natural light

Just like style, I believe that creating your own ambience is totally personal. I love it when a simple detail can enhance the overall feel of a room. Be it a lamp shade, a picture frame or a vase full of flowers, it doesn’t matter, the effect always affects your mood. That is why I am a fan of neutral colors and natural lighting from the sun. This is why I love our new home here where we have large windows & doors made of glass.In Germany, curtains are almost rare, totally opposite from the norms in Kuwait where dark,patterned heavy curtains are essential because of the harsh sun.

I can’t claim our home to be completely minimalist ,but it’s almost livable even without the technology disturbances. This works for me since I have a 2 year old kid, where de-cluttering with tons of baby stuff and toys is almost impossible to achieve. Not at the moment. So by keeping things less, it’s less stressful,more appealing and most important –Easy to clean

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A Corner of fond memories of travel and Expat life
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A bathroom with the calmness of greens.It’s only here in Germany where bathroom windows are placed directly facing main streets.

Having an active toddler ushered us to live in simplicity. With the daily chaos and noise from playing, screaming &  running, we’ve been trying as much as possible to bring in the calmness by putting more green plants, keeping our ornaments and decorations to minimum, and keeping our furniture simple and natural. Truly, less becomes more.

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How to create homes with an Ambience .

Our kitchen has the most amazing natural light and I love the views I have when I’m cooking. I watched the sun rises & sets here while I do the dishes,listen to the raindrops, the swaying of the trees, and now, the magical snowfall. Most of the pieces we keep have a sentimental value and putting them in the right places draws us to fond memories of our Expat life.

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What’s the aura of your home?

Ambience is the feeling that you’re creating in which ever place you’re in. Either it has been created by others for you, or self-imposed, you allow that feeling to manifest in your system and to others. As for me, the best ambience to languish is the one coming from your own home. Nevermind the noise, the clutter and the mess–because really, there’s no place like home.

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Our garden in complete whiteness of snow

What about you, what do you think is the impression that others get from your home?

This post is in response to this week’s WP Photo Challenge |Ambience

Are you on Twitter?  follow me on my  Twitter  and my Instagram  for more updates on my Expat Life in Bavaria.Thank you so much for dropping by!

Solar Eclipse in our Living Room!

Have you ever witnessed a Solar Eclipse?

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* 1999 Solar Eclipse viewed in Salzburg,Austria  (Photo Credit to my amazing Dutchie  Husband)

I did, but I was too young to document or even photographed it. I remember in grade school that we are advised to wear dark sunglasses and spread ourselves outside to watch a solar eclipse.Then we need to write something about it just how we have seen it. I grew up in South Pacific area where there are notably numbers of Solar eclipses have been visible. It was a great childhood memory.

An eclipse is a natural phenomenon. Nevertheless, in some ancient and modern cultures, solar eclipses have been attributed to supernatural causes or regarded as bad omens. A total solar eclipse can be frightening to people who are unaware of its astronomical explanation, as the Sun seems to disappear during the day and the sky darkens in a matter of minutes.I remember that when I was small, we have stories that monsters appears during Eclipses!!

My husband spent his holidays mostly in Austria. Other than skiing, He just enjoy it there and a pure wanderer. On his vacation, it just happened that He was one fine lucky Dutchie who witnessed the Solar Eclipse in Salzburg, Austria last 1999 among thousands of tourists who flew over just for this event.

This is one of the most-viewed Solar Eclipse in the history !

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The DOM in Salzburg where reflection of the sun  can be seen during partial eclipse,1999,Salzburg Austria

It was the first total eclipse visible from Europe since 22 July 1990, and the first visible in the United Kingdom since 29 June 1927.It lasted of about 2 minutes and 23 seconds from Romania with the greatest Eclipse point.

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The view of the partly hidden sun in the walls of the cathedral. (Photo credits to my awesome Husband for capturing all these photos!)
The solar eclipse was seen in a central part of Europe, such as Southern Germany, Austria and further eastwards.
He chose to be going to Salzburg for that day, knowing that the solar  eclipse would be totally 100% visible there, unlike further north and south where the eclipse would be partial. Like many others , He was lucky enough to find a spot  on the bleachers in front of the Dom in Salzburg. The bleachers were placed for the annual ‘Festspiele’.
The weather that day started with some drizzle, but the time the eclipse was about to start, the sky was clear.Then the show begins.
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1999 Solar Eclipse (Photo credit to one lucky Dutchie)
During the time the eclipse was not yet 100%, it was possible to see the reflection of the partly hidden sun on the Dom, as it was not possible to look directly at this without special glasses, which are like extremely dark sunglasses. During the few minutes the eclipse was 100% is was possible to look at the ” WONDER” of seeing the
 Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks (“occults“) the Sun. This can happen only at new moon, when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth in an alignment referred to as syzygy. In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon. In partial and annular eclipses, only part of the Sun is obscured.
Only for those who have been so lucky or fortunate to have seen a full solar eclipse can understand why people fly over the world to experience one. Sighs!
Indeed witnessing something as spectacular as this could change your view about astronomy, space, the earth and your own life.
This is indeed  one beautiful experience that is just worthy of remembering every now & then. In our new living room now hangs 4 of the fine shots of this wonderful event that would be remembered forever. My husband framed it and now we have a full view of it everyday!
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Framed memoirs of a Solar Eclipse ,Salzburg-Austria 1999
Do you like this idea? How do you keep your travel memories alive?
It’s still in my wish list to watch another Solar Eclipse like this with my daughter. I’m sure it’s going to be a great experience as well.
For those who wants to have this kind of experience, The next Solar Eclipse will be on August 21, 2017. The total solar eclipse will be visible from most locations in the United States. This eclipse will be the first total solar eclipse visible from contiguous United States since 1979.
You can check out Here to find out more.
Again, thank you for reading my friends!

Why do you need to own Less Clothes?

How many of you owns more than 7 pairs of Jeans ? and how many of those pairs do you wear regularly?How many of you owns couple of dozen of blouses ? and shirts ? or jackets ? Or do you have any piece of clothing that has been sitting in your wardrobe for so long that you actually forgot that you have it? Does it still have a price tag on it?

If you have new clothes that you bought since last year and haven’t worn yet, then you just Own too much clothes. Really! Toss it!

Have you taken a closer look at your closet ? What do you feel when you see those piles of clothing ? Do you have a hard time dressing up in the morning because you just cannot decide which one to wear ? If you would take an account of how much money you spent on your clothing, would it make a difference to how you feel if it could have been a chunk of your savings? These questions are all elementary and only you know and see how your wardrobe looks like .

Lately, this is the reason why I am so inspired by the thought behind Simplicity to create a Life. If you want to have big changes in your Life, you need to start making small changes. In your habits, lifestyle, & routines on a daily basis. Things doesn’t happen overnight. So i decided to have small steps, starting on one of our basic needs, Clothing.

We, as women are notorious on this . I know for most of us that shopping for clothes is a happy theraphy. In our mind,  we don’t need justification why we own too much clothes…well at least not until you really have a lifestyle check. If you really look deeper on it, owning less clothes doesnt mean that you will have a better life ,No. Its just mean that you can have focus on creating yourself a Life that is less complicated .

“We don’t remove the clutter, reduce the stress, and boycott the busyness to have a simple life. We do it to have a life.When you simplify your wardrobe, you have the freedom to wear clothes that fit you and your lifestyle.” -Courtney Carver of  Be More with Less

When we are constantly defeated by not being simple enough, or decluttered enough, we lose sight of what are really after.

Being Frugal doesn’t mean that you Own Less Clothes 

Do you really need to get the new arrival trends every season?

You do NOT own less clothes in order to become a minimalist. You do that because when you have less stuff, it means more money for worthwhile things. It could be clothes or anything else that is more meaningful to you like Travel, Education, or maybe an investment.

We all know that our self- worth is not measured by the clothes that we wear . High quality and branded clothes can make us feel good, look good and be more confident. It’s human nature. So, why do they need you to go against your nature and complicate simple living? Bottomline is, You shouldn’t buy excess items that are more than you actually need to wear.

H O W  to achieve this ?

1.One Item At a Time

You don’t have to do it all at once.

When you perceive decluttering as a huge bulk of tasks, then you’ll keep on procrastinating every time you see your extremely cluttered and disorganized closet. However, there is no reason to rush at all. Take a look at an example of a Doable strategy in owning less clothes by  Colleen’s approach at 365 Less Things.

Her decluttering philosophy is to LET GO of one item everyday, so that by the end of the year you own 365 less items. It doesn’t sound so heavy right ? Instead of ONE TIME boxing all your clothes and sorting what you actually need.

2. Give it away with a Purpose. Donate.

For new Mamas like me , here’s what I have learned. If you have a baby and have incurred so much Baby clothes and stuff and eventually your child have outgrown it, what do you do with it ? If you had another child then its ok but even then, how do you deal with the full closets & storage?

Donate or Give it Away to someone you know who have a child that could use it . Maybe your friends are shy enough to ask so initiating is always a good way to create deeper connections.Three fourths of my Baby’s wardrobe from birth are all second-hand used clothing and given by my friend. I thought that Its a very grand gesture  and until now I am grateful for it. Those clothes serves another purpose than being in a storage for years.I continue this by giving away & donating the clothes that my baby have outgrown to another friend. I let the chain continues.Kindness begets kindness. It built a deeper connection in my friendships and allow us to focus our expenditures on other baby’s needs.

You can check in your local community to give away your old clothes. ( It means that they are still in good condition ) Or if you knew someone whom to give it then don’t hesitate to donate it . I tell you, they would appreciate what you did.

Another source of Inspiration is Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist  shares the following compelling reasons to own less clothes:

  • You would have more disposable income.
  • You would have more time to live your life.
  • Mornings would feature less stress.
  • Your closets would be well-organized and uncluttered.
  • Packing for trips/vacations would take less time.
  • Laundry days would be easier (not necessarily less, but definitely easier).

If it doesnt sound appealing to you or you haven’t thought of this, then i leave you with this ;

If it doesn’t spark joy – Discard it.

How does the idea of owning less clothes appeal to you?