Sunday, July 31, 2011

The beauty of free Photoshop downloads

I recently went on a kick of downloading fonts, brushes, and shapes for Photoshop. They are so cool! Why did I go so long using only the ones that came with it?

Made with a new-to-me watercolor brush package and "Speedball No 2 NF" font!
(You can get the brushes here)

There's so much to create!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Healthful sleeping

I have been a devout on-belly sleeper for many many years. This began in childhood as a precaution against being horrifically murdered in the middle of the night. I thought that if I was face-down I could avoid the terror of awakening to the sight of my killer (though I didn't think it would help me survive the attack). Another step I took to avoid this problem was covering myself in dozens of stuffed animals, with the reasoning that this would confuse the murderer into not knowing where exactly to point his or her gun. Unlike the belly-sleeping, this habit was quickly shaken (it was a hassle). Now, with my perceived likelihood of  dying at gunpoint lessening by the day, I think that it's about time for me to reassess my sleeping position as well.

Me sleeping at an airport at the age of 18. This was not staged--I was really sleeping, face down.

"Most experts agree that sleeping on your back with no pillow under your head is the ideal position. This allows your spine to maintain its three natural curves at the lower and middle back and near the neck. It also encourages deep breathing."
(from Personal Development Master's article)

"[Back sleeping is] good for: Preventing neck and back pain, reducing acid reflux, minimizing wrinkles, maintaining perky breasts."
(from The Huffington Post's article)

Very important things!

Now that I'm sleeping on my back I have to wrap my face in a blanket to block the early morning light

Also, I wake up with a very dry mouth since I can't seem to sleep with my mouth closed

I recently read that sleeping on a hard surface helps your body to rejuvenate itself far better than sleeping on a mattress does. So I tried sleeping on the floor for a few nights and it actually felt good. It felt like everything in my body was falling back into the correct place. I had trouble falling asleep the first night, but the next few went well.

I've read that it is normal for sleeping on a hard surface to make you sore for the first week, but then once your body gets used to it it will feel good and sleeping on a soft surface might make you feel sore.

On the other hand, I don't like sleeping far away from my Nate, and beds are more cozy, even if they don't make my body feel as good afterward. So I haven't yet committed to floor-sleeping.
"Adult sleepers in traditional societies recline on skins, mats, wooden platforms, the ground, or just about anything except a thick, springy mattress."
(from Science New's article)
"It might be hard to believe, but sleeping on a warm wooden surface creates the sweetest, most restful feeling I regret that many people would never have dared to experience."
(from Green Smoothie Blog's article by Victoria Boutenko, who wrote the book I just finished reading, 12 Steps to Raw Foods)

A wooden sleeping platform from Body Friendly Furniture

In many traditional societies, sleep occurs in a communal setting, which tends to be noisy. Balinese infants in Indonesia are constantly held so they learn to fall asleep despite noise and disruption. This is thought to help people become better at sleeping and relaxing.

Without the influence of artificial light, people in traditional societies have often gone to sleep in the evening when it becomes dark. This leads to a cycle of sleeping called "segmented sleep" where a person goes to sleep around 6, sleeps for 3-5 hours ("first sleep"), wakes up for 1-2 hours in a semiconscious, relaxed state of thinking, dream reflection, conversation, or sex ("watching period"), and then sleeps again for about 4 more hours until early morning ("second sleep").

Maybe getting better sleep can help you kick that caffeine addiction (almost everyone I know is addicted to caffeine). See this article on the health effects of caffeine.

Stretching before bed can help you to relax and release muscle tension that has built up during the day. This kind of stretching should feel good--don't push yourself to go further each day.

Here is an article that has some good pre-sleep stretches with photos and instructions.

"I slept so well last night--I'm ready for anything!"

Monday, July 18, 2011

My boyfriend shows me ridiculous things

Here is a picture that Nate showed me recently. He knows what kinds of things I get excited about.

Baby pig with rain boots

Friday, July 8, 2011

Naked outdoor yoga

A few weeks ago I went to Maine with two friends, Regina and Amanda. The trip was a 4-day cleanse during which we ate only raw foods (I wasn't as strict as them though) and read and thought a lot.

Since we were staying in a very secluded house surrounded by woods, I had the idea to do yoga naked in the front lawn, facing the woods.

I actually have no idea how to do yoga and have only been to one yoga class, but I made it up as I went along.

Me making up a yoga pose in the front yard

1. You get to watch nature's beauty (especially trees and birds)

2. Fresh air brushes past and massages every inch of your skin while simultaneously flowing in and out of your lungs

3. The sun warms every inch of your skin (but be careful not to get overheated)

4. The lack of clothing on your body helps you to relate to other animals

5. It is thrilling to be constantly prepared for the slight chance of being seen

Mint in my belly button

Walden Pond, the only place I've ever skinny dipped

Friday, July 1, 2011

Raw fooding

I started eating mostly raw foods about three weeks ago, and I'm starting to notice health benefits! I wasn't really counting on this happening; I just wanted to feel good about what I was eating.

1. I am more hydrated. I am peeing clearer and much more often.

2. I am breathing easier. For at least a year, I've often been unable to catch my breath once or twice a day. This would happen at random times, when I was just sitting around, not related to exercising. Now it seems to be totally gone.

3. My mouth/tongue are cleaner. I don't get a bad taste in my mouth, which used to often happen to me after eating, especially when I ate dairy and chocolate.
(Also, Nate is experiencing the same thing. He has told me that he, who has always been very adamant about frequent and thorough teeth-brushing, barely sees the need to brush his teeth anymore.)

Update: some health concerns I have since "going raw":

1. I am losing weight

2. My back teeth have been sporadically very sensitive to cold (but this could be because of a recent injury).


Collard greens
An onion
Olive oil (cold pressed--it's not raw otherwise)
Sesame oil (don't know if this is raw)
Fig-infused vinegar (or other interesting sounding vinegar)
Ginger root
Garlic clove


First, make the marinade:
Combine olive oil, vinegar, and sesame oil. Sweet lime juice in to mixture. Mince garlic and ginger. Add to mixture.

Then, chop (washed) carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, onion, and celery into sticks (or something like sticks). Sometime before these are all chopped, immerse the chopped mushrooms into the marinade. Leave them in there for about 10 minutes.

Then, cut the collard greens on either side of the stem so you just have the soft leaf part. This will make each leaf into two thin, spineless leaves. Eat the stems.

Remove the mushrooms from the marinade. Lay out the collard leaves. Add about a couple sticks of each vegetable to the middle of a leaf. Roll the leaf around the vegetables so it holds them. Put a toothpick through the roll so it stays together. Continue until all the vegetables are used.

Serve with the marinade for dipping.


I had extra vegetables, so I chopped them into squares and ate them as a salad