Thursday, June 30, 2011

Self portrait Thursday - W26/11

Woah, last week of June already! Time just flies by!
this week's self portrait was called "dogs, feathers and flowers", but now I actually think I'd rather call it "dog love".

I will tell you a bit more about Tschumi and how we get in trouble together and how he 'saved me' from some bad people the other day. ;o)

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Creating success around the world: A new blog hop!

Hello my lovelies,
aaawh, how can I break it to you? *hopping up and down with a gleeful grin*

There's a really exciting new blog feature coming up next week. I teamed up with four other blogs and we are launching a blog hop called "Creating Success around the World".

Inspiration - information - new friends: What could be better? 

We have spent  a lot of time planning this and we are all so excited to cast this circle and reach out to all you wonderful people.

We will start "Creating Success around the World" on Wednesday, 6th July.

Are you curious? Use the time left until our first round of the fun to check out my partners in crime:

Suzy from "Suzy's Sitcom"
Janelle from "Of Pinks and Fairytales"
Adepeju from "Peekadot"
Jill from "Creating my way to Success"

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Encouraging words

Yesterday evening on a little walk I calculated my current expenses in my head and realised that it is time to get a job again.
On on side it makes me sad that I hve to go and do something that I surely like, but that does not have my whole heart, just to get money that I don't really wanna spend. But well, since I'm not a hermit (yet ^^), I do need some of that stuff...
On the other hand, I think the time that I took off really brought me forward such a big step on my way, gave me so much confidence and enough enthusiasm to be sure what I want. I am certain that these will be very, very useful on pursuing all the things that I love now besides a 'real' job, too.

It is really, really hot here today and Trev is not feeling too well, so we're heading out to catch some fresh air and dip our feet in some cold water.

I would like to share this list with you today because it made me think a lot yesterday before going to sleep.

Have a great afternoon!

Monday, June 27, 2011

***Monday Friend*** - Rachael °2

Hello hello on this Monday! I'm so excited to share a new friend with you this week. She is an artist I really admire and I can't believe she agreed to be on my blog.
It seems that adorable bloggers all go by the same names... today's Monday Friend is our second Rachael. But both her and her blog are so unique you don't have to be scared to mix her up.

Rachael Caringella writes talk2thetrees - a blog about creating, adventures, wise words and other interesting things in her life.
Rachael sent me the sweetest list and since I've been reading her blog for ages it wasn't difficult for me to come up with a picture of her and her most important things:

This is Rach's list:

1. Nature, I love to be outside playing barefoot in the forests. Climbing trees, climbing mountains and walking in the grass are delightful. I love trees. (As you can tell by my name!) I used to talk to trees when I was little.. I probably still do. It's healthy for you AND the tree. I love to go out playing with my little puppy Wicket. He is a silly guy who loves to run around outside! Mother Earth is beautiful and I try to never forget that.

2.  I love to create. I always have ideas in my head and tons and tons of projects going on. Painting is my favorite form of creating, next would be knitting/crochet. My favorite subjects to paint are trees and people. I love to paint people with big wide wondering eyes and little pixie hats. (I also make and sell matching pixie hats!)
Creating is a great outlet for me.. it keeps me crazy. Everyone needs a little crazy in their life.

3. I love taking photos. Sometimes after an outing or adventure my boyfriend asks if I had fun... My answer is always, "You saw me taking pictures right?" That normally means I had fun. I bring my big camera everywhere and I am constantly snapping photos. I think it's important to take photos and "document" your life.

4. I LOVE adventure
. I love to explore and travel. I love new and exciting things. I often go on adventures with friends. I'm always the one to go in the abandoned house first. We travel to ghost towns, forests and caves. I plan on traveling the world once I can afford it a bit more. Exploring is a very important thing to me. I get bored very easily, especially when I stay in one place. Life should be an adventure. People should be adventurous.

5. Positivity is a huge thing for me
. I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I used to take pills for it, but they didn't seem to help. For a while I was in a very low place. I was with a person who was very abusive and negative and I had to break free. I did my very best to not express any negativity on my blog. I tried to get through it by finding happiness and beauty. Then I got hit again when my darling Mowgli passed away. This hit me harder than the divorce did. Mowgli was my everything.. and I was devastated. But I had to pick myself up and find beauty and happiness again. I try to never complain on my blog. I only try to post positive things... because I'm sure there is someone out there who is going through similar things I went through. They need to be lifted up, not dragged down.

I really think this list speaks all for itself and I don't want to talk it dead with tedious descriptions of things that will be much more delightful for you to discover on her blog. I'll give you a secret tip though: She sells all her wonderful artwork: Paintings, hats and jewelry on etsy and I would totally recommend you to have a look at it, it's amazing!

What I love about Rach's blog is that it shows a lot of both; her personal and her artistic life. In fact, it is hard to take any aspect of her personality of blog or the list that she made and look at it as something isolated. It seems like it is all linked and woven into each other - just like nature. I guess that's what makes her blog so authentic.

Thanks a million Rachael, for being my Monday Friend, it was very special to me!

Check out my previous Monday Friends!

Do you wanna be a Monday Friend? Please contact me and I will be very happy to include you in a future post! Email me at shinybubble (at)

Like ***Monday Friend***? Please support me by grabbing the button from my sidebar for your blog. If you drop me a line I'll link back to you!

Oh girl... another makeover?

Well, they are cheaper than plastic surgery ^^ *lol*
Just cost a loot of time.

No seriously, I just needed a new color scheme for the blog, the old one was so heavy. And then you start googling and looking at pretty blogs and one thing leads to the next... Well, I'm not quite finished yet, and yes, the pages will come back.

I hope you aren't too confused. :o)

Stay tuned for Monday Friend later, don't miss that girl!

Until then...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ralph Waldo Emerson #2: Call to action!

The prompts in my emails from the Trust30 challenge were all very inspiring. 
First there were several emails that contained ideas to motivate you to take action towards your dreams.

Can you sit down and write your top three dreams on a sheet of paper just like that? I tell you, I had quite a hard time. Not choosing what my top three dreams would be, actually - but coming up to three! I know that sounds pretty crazy, since dreaming up dreams is my declared hobby. But well, they're bubble dreams, plans, things that would be great... but really, really, hardcore life dreams - it's hard to see those when your life is changing all the time.
I got three in the end though.

1. Live from illustrating and writing. - That one was easy because it really is my number one dream at the moment.
2. See the world. - I'm always really excited to explore a new place and I would really like to slowly travel the world by making a new home in a new place every few years.
3. Have a big family. - I always knew that if I ever have kids, I want many. :o)

Here's something encouraging: There's nothing (or not much) holding me back from these dreams, I'm doing my best to make all of them come true. Phew, what a cool feeling ^^

Do you feel a bit overwhelmed by all this talking about big dreams? Maybe you need something a bit more hands-on:

I'm in contact with most of the people that I admire and who inspire me at the moment. It's quite a cool feeling. Actually, I might try something a bit more bold for a new project.
But I'm like a bubble-machine, bubbling over with so many new ideas, that I actually have to hold them back because it will be too much if I start and launch them all at the same time. You guys would have to stay here and read and look all day to keep up to date, hehe ;o)
But no worries, they are all written down and I think all of them have big potential and will spring to life eventually.

There's a few more that I'd like to give to you to read just like that:

"“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” is a great line from Emerson. If there’s no enthusiasm in what you do, it won’t be remarkable and certainly won’t connect with people on an emotional basis. But, if you put that magic energy into all of your work, you can create something that touches people on a deeper level. How can you bring MORE enthusiasm into your work? What do you have to think or believe about your work to be totally excited about it?"

"What if today, right now, no jokes at all, you were actually in charge, the boss, the Head Honcho. Write the “call to arms” note you’re sending to everyone (staff, customers, suppliers, Board) charting the path ahead for the next 12 months and the next 5 years. Now take this manifesto, print it out somewhere you can see, preferably in big letters you can read from your chair. "

I really tried that one because I think it's a fabulous idea, but I don't really know how to write a manifesto... and 12 months in my life is a really long time ahead, not to mention 5 years! I'm not really enthusiastic about what I came up with. But I might work on it. Could you write a 5- year-plan for your life on a sheet of A4 paper?

If all this thinking and dreaming and planning seems to dry for you, there are a few things for the likes of you, too.

One prompt challenged you to be aware that you are the number one expert who knows how to live your life. Even if advice columns, self help books and talkshows seem to tell you that there is always someone who knows better than you: That is not true if it comes to decisions in your life.

For today, try asking yourself often, especially before you make a choice, “What do I know about this?”

I tried this today and it was quite interesting. I thought I was pretty much doing what I want all day, but I discovered that a lot of my decisions have to do with my sensing of what other people expect me to do. And it's pretty hard to act against this inner compass that seems to have grown very strong. But really, what do other people know about what I need?

I kept my favourite prompt until now. It's a little imagination experiment, and I love these.

If you could picture your intuition as a person, what would he or she look like? If you sat down together for dinner, what is the first thing he or she would tell you?

Here's what I jotted down in my notebook. I think that's pretty much her!

A little girl with wild hair, running without shoes and with a stick in her hand, marveling at a pebble that she just found... jap, intuition, no doubt.
And what she would say to me? One of the first things definitely would be: "I like it here!"

That was your fill of philosophical self reliance for this Sunday! I hope it will give you some food for thought for the next week and maybe you can try one or two of the prompts that seem interesting to you. I'd be really curious to hear what your thoughts on them are. Thanks for leaving so many inspiring and thoughtful comments last week, they really made me very happy. I was afraid the post would be much too long and complicated and I was so thrilled to see that people actually read it to the end - and then even took the time to tell me about their thoughts!

See you all tomorrow for a Monday Friend who is so very special to me I have bubbles in my tummy every time I think of the fact that she agreed to be on my blog! :o)

More about the Ralph Waldo Emerson Pledge.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shopping lists

Here's something I made just because I thought it was really funny. When I ask people here what I should bring when we go shopping, this is what I end up with:

Hehe, such is life here: Full of tractors, chainsaws and flies! :o)

I thought since I'm on the topic I'd share a little personal shopping list - or more a wishlist, since I'm not gonna be able to afford any of these things anytime soon. But they are prettyyyy, so here we go:

1. Tiger Lily Moccasin in Teal from Darlingtonia

I so dig these moccasins, the color, the flowers, the shape... they are awesome!!

2. New TOM's

Blegh, the red TOM's that I bought in London just never stretched as much as I thought and are still too tight to be really comfy... I would so love to get a new pair, but they are just not affordable here in Switzerland.

3. Fairy dress

That one goes without explanation... I'm wearing my golden tutu today, but a fairy dress would just be even better!

4. Rapunzel dreads - just like this awesome lady!

My dreads are growing out and I'll take them away as soon as I have time. I'm already thinking about my next batch though... there's so many possibilities! Well, I had enough money for some hairdye so I'm settled for a little bit longer. ;o)

Tomorrow I'll post another roundup of this week's Ralph Waldo Emerson Pledge. From what I've seen so far, it will be all about intuition, courage and being in charge. How exciting!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Grateful for: Mail

Coming to you from Maxabella loves...

If you think about it, mail service is actually a really cool invention.
Sure, everybody loves getting pretty things and cards and nice letters in the mail. Older people often complain that our generation is only communicating via email, but I think a lot of young people actually treasure "snailmail" a lot because it is so special for us.


Here in our little village, the postman comes by the house and hands you the mail when he sees you about. Also, we have a pretty romantic letterbox:

I not only love to receive mail though, I also like to send it off occasionally (especially if I know the receipient is not expecting it. No pressure and double surprise - win-win! ^^).
We have this funny little thing here. If this little sign is on the letterbox, the postman will ring at the door instead of just dropping the mail.

 You can then give him mail to send off or buy stamps from him. Isn't that sweet? I think it's great and I definitely want to try it! ^^

What have you been grateful for this week?
Here are many more posts about what makes people grateful:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Self portrait Thursday - W25/11

I do think that my life is quite colorful in general. But this week is hard to beat when it comes to color.
The fields here are full of flowers. I like to pick some for on the table or beside the bed. Lavender is blooming in our neighbour's garden. I got to paint a very colorful Monday Friend this week. Oh and on Sunday we took out the pois and juggling balls. Colorful circus... We're thinking about painting our garden fence in the colors of the rainbow. How great would that be?

All things color

And because I feel so picnik-y today, having designed a crapload of blog buttons lately, I added a very tacky daisy frame. I love this feature, but it's normally much too kitchy so you can't use it seriously. But hey, it's my self portrait, so I can add a little kitchyness, can't I? ;o)

My creative space: Beedling... errr... doodling!

Jap, bees have infested my creative space!

It's ok though, the little guys are quite fun!

Trying to design a little bee character for my housemate's beeschool project (I'll tell you more about that soon). We haven't found one that's perfect yet because he has very specific expectations... hoping I'll get it right at some point.

Are you doing anything creative this week? Maybe something that doesn't quite go how you want it to? Or have you had a great success? I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday hugs

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Let me show you our room

Hello everybody,
I thought I'd show you a little before-and-after of our room here at the new house.
When we first arrived it was full of matresses, old bedframes and other stuff. After we'd chucked it all out (most of the bedframes went out through the window), there was at least space to put our boxes.

There was also that very ugly wardrobe full of bed covers and blankets.
It was veeery heavy. I know that because I dragged it into the small room all by myself. I spent the better part of a day putting everything in place and unpacking the most important boxes.

I had to wait until everybody was up to put some big nails in the wall to be able to hang our clothes. I made some kind of shelves with the empty moving boxes. I really like having a walk-in closet ;o)

I added some decorations and hung some of my favourite posters bit by bit after that.

Now yesterday the boys gave me a really sweet little red table I can use for working when I'm up in the room. We still have to put it together, but then we're all set in our little space.

'Till next time! :o)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

30 days without sugar - the why, what and how to

Be warned, people. This is a jumbo post! I didn't intend for it to be that long, but proper documenting sometimes just needs space. :o)

As you can see from the ticker at the very bottom of this page, I have been living sugar free for exactly 1month, 1week and 1day now.

Why no sugar?

Around that time, I had a big downer and I just didn't feel like I was myself for a variety of reasons. I then decided to make some changes to my life in order to have more energy and feel more in charge of things. One of the changes was going completely off refined (white and brown) sugar.

I set myself a period of 30 days to test this. I've done 30day-trials very successfully before (for example, to get in the habit of flossing) and I knew that I could get through this period even if it would be hard.

I am a total sweets-junkie. I love choccolate and if there's cookies around I really can't hold myself back and take just one and then forget about the half-opened pack in the cupboard.

I think this compulsive way of eating has a lot to do with other things like how you grew up and your psychological relationship to food. But I'll leave such insights for another post.
Fact is, however, that we are not the only ones to blame for our issues with food cravings. I have been reading and hearing a lot about research that found certain additives in food products to cause addiction-like reactions in our bodies.
One of these additives is sugar.
Sugar has also been linked to bad skin, ADS, mood swings, depression, PMS...I guess you can see why I wanted to give it a try.

What does that mean?
So I'm not eating any refined sugar. What does that mean? It means I can't eat sweets, white bread, and most pre-processed foods (like fastfood, lasagne, salsa, bread spreads, yogurts...).

Once you've developed a feeling for it, it is actually quite easy and now that I'm writing it down I feel like it's actually not so much that I have to stay away from.
I braced myself for an extensive period of cravings. I've had experience with such days even before I started adjusting my diet - when you just can't think of anything else than the next snack and your mouth is constantly bored. It sometimes went so far that I found myself staring into the empty fridge without knowing how I'd got there and then some minutes later I would go back just to check if there really wasn't anything to eat in there. (The fridge wasn't empty because I was broke, but because I know myself well enough not to leave any snacky things lying around ^^ )

But, oh miracle, I actually went through the first two weeks like a breeze. I think that being well prepared helped a lot - I'll talk about that later. For my birthday dinner, I had a tiny portion of sorbet and the day after that, when I graduated in my nature teacher's course, I had one toffiffee.
The five days after that were pure horror. I was back to my darkest nightmares of craving hell. I really know how a recovering junkie must feel now.
But these days passed, and I slowly got back into non-sweet life.

How to do it?
Here are some tips I think might be useful if you ever consider changing your diet:

- Give yourself a trial period. Restraints are much easier to bear if you can see the end of them. After 30 days, you can still decide to go for another 30 days, and then another... or quit without feeling bad, because you accomplished the challenge.

- Do your homework: For the first few times of shopping or eating out, it might be useful to write down a list of things that contain sugar. Later you will automatically check the label of products that contain more than the obvious ingredients, but at the beginning we are often not aware that sugar is hidden in even the unlikeliest products. (Like pesto sauce, crackers or tortillas!)

- Make a list of alternatives: Instead of your favourite soft drink, you can drink shorley, or maybe - as a special treat - a diet version of it (I try to avoid sweetening subsitutes, too). If you are a snacky person like me, consider dried fruits or healthy things like selfmade popcorn. Fresh fruits are my first choice, but sometimes they're just not sweet enough. I started making my own bread (especially white bread in the shops often contains sugar), using honey instead of sugar.

- Try different sweet substitutes like stevia, honey or pear syrup. Don't delude yourself though: They should be used carefully and sparsely. Honey is very sugary and sweeteners can be bad for your blood sugar system, leading to more cravings. You'll have to find out what works for you.
If you like baking, there are a lot of great sugar free recipes out there. I tried it, but there hasn't been a major breakthrough yet.That is certainly due to my lack of experience though. ;o)

- Consider the social part of your dietary choice: People might want to invite you for icecream dates or cookie baking. If you don't feel like you're strong enough to say no, try to avoid these in the beginning, or let your friends know you are restricted with your eating choices at the moment. Telling them that this is a thing for a limited time often makes it easier for them to accept. Otherwise they might think you're too extreme and try to talk you out of it.
For people who aren't that close to you, I felt like they often find it easier to accept your choice if you don't tell them the whole story and instead simply inform them that because of your health you are momentarily not allowed to eat sugar.

And how do you feel now?
I am now in the very lucky position to live with people who also make conscious dietary choices. Partly because they have to and partly because they know that you are what you eat. Meat is a kind of no-go around here... There are hardly any readymade foods in our kitchen and our fridge is full of fresh things - I find that very inspiring.

Felix' breakfast treat

Coconut milk and rice drink

To suit everybody's needs we mostly eat gluten free, sugar free and vegan stuff if we cook together. Trev and I have been eating meat very rarely before we moved here and now we don't miss it much. The new place has also helped me cut my dairy intake down even more. Cheese is now a very special treat for me and I like it like that. We do have dairy products in the kitchen, but they are not a big favorite. Most of the time we struggle to finish them. The bottle of milk in this picture is still sealed:

My cravings really are down to a bare minimum. Now we even have choccolate cake lying around or I watch the boys eat icecream without even considering having any. I know I'm on a delicate balance here and I really don't wanna destroy it, so I decided to keep this diet for as long as possible. Maybe one day I will feel like I can risk a piece of choccolate without going back to the beginning, but that still seems far away.

What are the benefits so far?
I am not saying that this diet is THE thing and everybody should eat like I do. I believe everybody has to find the diet choices that work best with their body and mind.
I personally feel much lighter in my mind and more aware and in harmony with my body and mind since I've changed my eating habits.
I'm not an expert, but I feel that eating less milk and cheese goes easier on my digestive system and makes my whole body feel less lethargic.

Cutting out sugar has made me more aware of my eating habits. I know when I've had enough, although I sometimes make a deliberate choice to have some more, because the food is just so good. The difference is: I don't feel helpless anymore, I can decide by myself and with reason if and how much more I want of what, I don't just HAVE to eat.

My psyche feels more stable than a month ago, but after hardly 40 days I don't think I can say it will stay like this. I do, however, feel like I can take things like moods more easy and look at them with a certain distance. If I feel frustrated or down or generally vulnerable like yesterday for example, I can accept those feelings but at the same time I know that I am having a bad day. I can also feel the connection between my gloomy mind and my body that is fighting off a cold at the moment and I know that if I take care of my throat and get some sleep I will feel brighter soon.

I hope I could paint you a picture of how interesting it can be to experiment with your diet and challenge your eating habits. I'm off for some yummy dinner, then! ;o)

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