Ooh, my favorite!

Birds of Paradise
February 28, 2013, 8:02 am
Filed under: Nature

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a fascinating project on the beautiful birds of New Guinea. The Birds of Paradise project documents 39 different species and the principles of their evolution. Their extraordinary colors, plumes, sounds, and shape-shifting dances are fascinating! You might remember some of them from one of the Planet Earth episodes, but here there are many videos and they are all addicting. This is the introduction, but here are some of my faves: shape-shifting, dance, the Ribbon-tailed Astrapia,

Winter Garden at the Arboretum
February 25, 2013, 10:30 am
Filed under: Beauty, Clean, Green, Health, Nature, Seattle


I’d never seen a Witch Hazel blossom before last year (god, I love this shot!), and ever since I’ve been dying for its return in the Winter Garden at  the Arboretum. I’m kind of ashamed to say that it never dawned on me to think beyond the magic tincture I splash on my face each night, but behind the natural toner is a wonderfully fragrant and vibrant tree that blooms in winter. So if you’re in need of a floral fix and can find an upcoming dry day you should head into the Winter Garden for a quiet stroll and a few deep breaths of the Witch Hazel blossoms. (It makes for a great little date too!)

Oh, and can we just talk about the rules of visiting public gardens for a moment? Let’s all agree not to snap off a branch or blossom to take away. Didn’t we cover this in Kindergarten? I seem to remember the lesson, but sadly so many others we saw didn’t. Savor and share. 

How I use Witch Hazel toner 

After cleansing, the purpose of a toner is to remove excess oil and dirt, and also to close the pores and restore pH balance. Witch Hazel is a natural antiseptic, so if you make sure the product you’re getting is alcohol free, it can perform all the functions of a conventional toner, but without the added preservatives and chemicals. After that you’re free and clear to lotion it up.

Bottom line: it’s natural, it works, it’s cheap, and it will last you quite a long time.

I use Thayer’s. Different varieties here for about $6.

Animal Camouflage
January 29, 2013, 10:38 am
Filed under: Nature

camouflaged_bitternCan you see the hidden bittern here? Check out the original image on Flickr and it’s even more difficult to see.

[via The Conservation Report, image by Lisa Lawley on Flickr]

Dancing Sea Dragons
November 19, 2012, 11:45 am
Filed under: Nature

A must watch!

[From BBC's Life Series]

Animal Camouflage
November 15, 2012, 7:10 am
Filed under: Nature

There’s a marmot hiding in here. Can you see him? (Click on the image to make it bigger.)

[Image by flickr user Photo Phiend]

The Known Universe
October 30, 2012, 10:08 am
Filed under: Compassion, Green, Nature, Videos

If you watch one thing this week, it should be this. Chills.

From the American Museum of Natural History:

The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world’s most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.

I wonder where this exhibition is now. (Still have chills.)

[via LikeCool]

Animal Camouflage
October 16, 2012, 9:19 am
Filed under: Nature

These are good ones. Can you see the Chiffchaff bird and the grasshopper? The coolest thing about these types of images is that this isn’t some crazy expedition for a Discovery Channel documentary, it’s an everyday photographer capturing an animal (or insect) that has developed these physical traits to survive in its everyday environment. I find that to be fascinating.

[Image via Flickr user Joffley]

[Image via flickr user normalityrelief]

Whip it
September 6, 2012, 10:42 am
Filed under: Nature

NASA has just released photos and video of the sun and the giant solar flare that happened on August, 31. The “solar whip” was 500,000 miles long and travelled at over 900 miles per second. Also worth a peek is the resulting aurora that was seen from the Yukon. Just a little reminder of how tiny we really are. For more check it out here.

And be sure to check out the video with different filters for all sorts of pretty.



Ribbon Eel
August 28, 2012, 8:59 am
Filed under: Nature, Videos

I’ve never seen this guy before but he’s super cool. A ribbon eel from the oceans of Indonesia.


Local honey
August 8, 2012, 9:52 am
Filed under: Clean, Farmer's Market, Food, Green, Health, Nature, Seattle

My honey inventory (for now at least)

If you’re getting your honey out of a container that resembles a bear you’re missing out on what honey really and truly is. After a brief stint experimenting with the god-awful Tasmanian honey I vowed to support my local apiary’s raw organic honey.

Honey is all the best parts of the season in a jar: whatever pollens the bee’s have collected are what is going to flavor the honey. It’s miraculous, natural process that we’ve completely lost touch with. If you’re fortunate enough to find an apiarist that pulls honey from the hives in the spring you’ll find the only pollens that bees have collected are from spring’s first flowers. It’s the most soft, silky, and fragrant honey you’ll ever have. And if you buy this past spring’s honey and save it for next year you can take a spoonful each day to work as a natural anti-histamine. Awesome, right?!

As the season progresses the honey flavors and consistency change. From the first spring honey we moved into apple blossoms, and soon to come are raspberry, then blackberry. We have our weekly trips to the honey stand planned for the next few weeks to add to our collection so far this year.

Aside from allergy relief, honey is pretty much the only sweetener I use. Try switching and you’ll taste and feel the difference, as you’re literally eating from the flowers of the land around you. Truly a small but important way to feel “connected”.

Colony Collapse Disorder is still a threat for bee colonies, so be sure to talk to your apiarist about where the bees are collecting. If you’re curious to learn more about colony collapse disorder read about how genetically modified corn (containing pesticides from Bayer) are contributing to the decline of the bees.

(Posting from my phone on the road/ferry today. Pardon the errors…more errors than usual at least.)


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