The backyard beautiful

Years ago I read somewhere in an article, whether it was a newspaper or somewhere online, that people who lived in social housing or cramped living spaces (like we do in HK) committed suicide because they were depressed.   Somewhere on the same page, there was another article that said maintaining plants at home or being near a garden helped with keeping morale or spirits up.

The idea of trees, flowering bushes, hearing birds chirp and seeing butterflies flutter around – lifts my spirits for sure.  So it must be true for others.  Plus small and frequent patches of green which includes high carbon storing trees – could improve air quality especially in cities that generate high volumes of heat and provide shelter from the sweltering tropical sunshine.  Isn’t that what we want our governments to do for us?  To actually give a $h!t about their voting tax payers.  Surely.

Here in Hong Kong, we have so many unused, filthy, dilapidated areas in cities that are an absolute dump with metal mesh surrounding the space with ugly “for sale” banners littering the area.  Its horribly unsightly.

And then I fell upon an article on http://www.thespritscience.net site and absolutely loved reading about this man who decided to change his backyard into something beautiful.

Check out the article.

If only more dilapidated spaces in concrete jungles were converted into beautiful green spaces that can change and, in fact, uplift a person’s mood and improve the quality of air – then we can actually applaud our governments for actually thinking about their voters and how our taxes come into use.

Happy greener environments create happy people.  Happy people = high productivity.  High productivity = higher GDP.  Higher GDP means a wealthier government voted by happy people who are happy about what their governments are doing for them.

Surely its not that difficult.

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To clean… or not to clean (and organise and clear out crap…)

The nice thing about monsoon season in Asia is that you can spend most weekends tossing things out and cleaning up your home.

Having said that, I have not even ventured into cupboards and storage areas that require serious re-organisation or binning but for all the money I spent buying stuff to make either my wardrobe pretty or my home pretty or my kitchen more useful – I have over the years accumulated a lot of crap.

Marketing departments must get paid a lot because they are *GOOD* at convincing women, more than men, to buy things they may or may not need.  (Damn you marketing department!)

So I have decided it would be wise to do a really massive clean and instead of filling up the landfills with my trash.  My husband and I have decided to giveaway stuff to friends or put it in the clothes recycle bin at the local library in town.  Much much better than literally a guilt free way for getting rid of stuff that has not been used in 6 months or more.

Now my husband came up with a brilliant idea.

An “Honesty Sale”.

What on earth is an Honesty Sale, you ask?  Well, an honesty sale is leaving an item you feel has some worth, outside your front door/gate.  With word of mouth in the neighborhood, if an interested person wishes to leave some money, whatever they think is fair or the object is worth, that money is then donated to a charity (animal rescue, spay/neuter program, breast cancer fund, whatever you wish)

Genius or what??

Until I have managed to separate items for their intended destinations/purposes, etc, I decided to create my own colour-coded labels.

Here is a freebie if you want to print your own labels when you get around to cleaning your home and they come in two languages.  English only and bi-lingual (English/Simplified Chinese)  Right click and save to your intended destination.

I just hope there is nothing lost in translation from English to Simplified Chinese 🙂
Enjoy

K

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Vegetarian “Airbnb” ~ Vegvisits.com

The summer is upon us and that means planning summer holiday travels. Where to go? What to pack 3 weeks ahead of time? Unlike some people who like to pack last minute. Printing off our favorite travel checklist, etc but there’s a problem… where is a good vegetarian restaurant?

You’re a vegetarian.

You won’t even touch vegetables that have been on the same plate or frying pan as fish/meat or the sauce.

So.  What do you do?

Well, the concept of travel has come a LONG way.  These constant changes of personal needs, “types” of travel is constantly evolving to people’s personal tastes.  One such need is vegetarian travel.

My own personal experience of bad vegetarian travel was 2 years after converting (I had also given up cigarettes and alcohol, all within days of each other) and traveling to Berlin, Germany for the Love Parade.  This was around 1999.

It was so long ago now and I couldn’t remember the name if I tried but I remembered my experience of asking for vegetarian food in an Italian restaurant.  After looking through the menu extensively and asking my then future brother-in-law what each dish was, I gave up.  I requested to the waitress if something delicious and vegetarian could be made, and her response “we have boiled broccolli and mashed potatoes” WHAT??  I was disappointed but more than disappointed I was disheartened that this lady didn’t even *try* to help.

Back then, vegetarian travel also meant going to India and eating an array of delicious vegetarian dishes like masala dosas, vadas, dhals, garlic naans, etc. But how much curry can one person have? Morning, noon and night? If your digestive system isn’t used to it, Delhi belly, is quite fitting for the untrained.

Anywho! Fast forward 16years and the world is more vegetarian friendly.

There is a large percentage of the global human population who are actively changing their lifestyle to be more conscious whether its the clothes on their back, the shoes on their feet, the cosmetics they apply on their face – lifestyles are changing because people want to change.  Its a personal choice, whether its for religious or personal reasons.  More people are changing.

So, what is vegetarian travel?  Well for one, Google boasts an insane 108million searches on vegetarian travel alone.  Whether that 108million accurately lists travel locations, travel sites and other vegetarian related travel.  Who knows?!

According to Happy Cow, vegetarian or vegan travel is traveling to an unfamiliar city or country and looking forward to trying to local vegetarian and vegan food, visit ancient sites or learning a new language. Staying at guesthouses & accommodation, travel guides and travel planners, top-rated cities for vegetarian cuisine, and other amazing travel discoveries catered specifically for the vegetarian/vegan traveler. This is great!

One such site that made its debut *drumroll please* Vegvisits.  A site dedicated to vegans and vegetarians that links a host offering accommodation in their own home and basically experience the local area, food and convenience of a healthy vegan/vegetarian holiday.

How perfect!  Now we can only hope that awesome Vegan famous folks would open their homes for veg-travellers like myself 🙂 Moby..? Brad? *sigh*