Monday, November 8, 2010

Self Improvements

Well, well! I've neglected this little blog somewhat bad. Shame on me, I know. And not only that, but I recently (umm, yesterday) started a cooking blog over at Wordpress. I know, I know: can I possibly keep up with two blogs when I gave up on one after a handfull of posts? You know what? I think I can!

I recently finished grad school, and I'm currently unemployed and unemployable, due to the fact that I'm a German citizen in the US and currently working on getting my Green Card. I should have it in a few months, hopefully, but the process is complicated and drawn-out. In the meantime, I'm stuck not being able to work. Well, not for money, anyway.

I've decided to make the best of it. Hell, when am I ever gonna have this much free time on my hands? Now that I think of it, it might be the last time in my life, at least until retirement. I realized that I could use all this time to consciously improve the way I live, to grow, to learn new things, form new habits, change things that I can change, and come out a happier person for it.

I'm certainly not unhappy with who I am, but I like a challenge, and I do believe there is room for improvement in the way I live my life. Here are the four areas I'd like to focus on:

1. Writing. I love to write, but I don't do it enough.
2. Eating/cooking. I love to cook, and I'm usually health conscious, but I can also be lazy and careless with what I eat.
3. Exercising. I don't do it. I should. Because when I do, it makes me feel good.
4. Enhancing my living space. This covers everything from developing better cleaning/tidying habits to regular and diligent plant care, to investing in things that will make our house more beautiful and livable. It's nice now, but it's also chaotic and not very restful.

Since I'm not working (at least not in the 9-5 sense), I should have the time to devote a little bit of time to each of those four areas every single day. It shouldn't be hard: I cook anyway, so that's not much extra time - I just need to plan better. Writing can take 5 minutes if I want, or two hours. No stress. Same with my living space: whether it's 10 minutes of tidying an area or spending an afternoon picking out some new wall art, I'll always be happier afterwards. Exercising will be the tough one, but on days where I can't do any actual work at the gym or on the Wii Fit, I'll accept a half hour walk. We have some great trails near the house, and I should be taking advantage of them more often. I also recently got one of those big exercise balls, and I better start using it.

Anyway, that's the plan. It's written down, publicly on the internet, so I better stick with it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Alright, so let's talk about food for a second. In my in introductory post I said I'm a pescetarian, but I feel like I should talk about this a bit more. So, here we go:

Until April of 2008, I ate everything! I couldn't ever imagine giving up meat, even though my boyfriend B is a (very easy-going and meat tolerant) vegetarian. Then one of my best friends decided to give up meat, and I though: if she can do it, so can I!

So, what were my original reasons? I have to admit, my initial reason was pretty superficial: I wanted to lose weight. I'm not overweight, but ever since moving to the States from Germany, my diet had changed in a way that made me put on weight a lot faster. Well, since I cut out meat, I discovered that this alone is not gonna make you lose weight, haha! But it had the awesome side effect that I pretty much stopped eating fast food. I also feel a lot better, and I pay more attention to what I eat. I'm surprised how easy it was to give up meat; I don't crave it at all. Having said that, I don't know that I could ever give up seafood. I love all of it, no exceptions! I don't have it often, just once or twice a week, usually in the form of salmon or shrimp.

Here's another thing: I'm not vegan, but vegan cooking fascinates me to no end! When I look for fun new recipes, I do so mostly on vegan blogs. I think it's because I really appreciate the creativity that goes into cooking when you're vegan. Some vegetarians I know are pretty happy with eating just grains and vegetables, but I love cooking (and eating!) way too much). Plus, I'm a big fan of making my own seitan!

I think ultimately, I'd like to think I'm on the (rather slow) path to considering self-sufficiency and sustainability more and more. Yes, I eat eggs, but at this point we get them from B's co-worker who has a little chicken farm. I try to shop at the co-op as much as I can. I realize that some people complain about how eating more consciously might be more expensive, but I'm lucky enough to have places to get affordable food in bulk (and that is often locally produced). So actually, I think I spend less money on food now than I did before, especially since I recently started making my own bread and growing my own sprouts.

I don't have a garden, which makes me sad. But on day, hopefully, that will change. When we move to the new house in a few weeks, I'll have a little porch, and I might try to grow some veggies on the little front porch. It's not gonna be much, but it's a start!


I just played around with the TiltShiftMaker I saw on Craftzine this morning.... awesome fun! I used some pictures from my parents' driveway and backyard in Germany, taken this past December when I visited.


Monday, May 11, 2009

PLANT POST: Plant Mail!

As much as I love plants, here's the sad thing: most of my plants, I buy at department stores and Lowe's. =( Yeah, I know. It's sad. But I try to catch them on the days when they have a new shipment coming in from a nursery, which is ALL THE TIME at the moment!

However, sometimes I can't stop myself from buying plants from private sellers on Etsy. Most recently, someone was selling a Jatropha podagrica, and after reading up on them, I really wanted one! It came in the mail the other day and looked a little worn, but after potting it up, it has recovered pretty well!

(The leaves look funny because I just misted them! I swear they're not blotchy and weird!) It's about a foot tall and probably still pretty young; as they grow older, the stem will become more bottle-shaped, which I look forward to! It's apparently pretty normal for it not to have a lot of leaves; in winter, all of them actually fall off! However, eventually it's supposed to produce strange, coral-looking flowers for most of the year, even in winter. Awesome!!

I love how symmetrical it looks from the top! AND it's already growing a new little baby leaf, so I"ll soon find out how fast of a grower this guy is.

Now, here's the cool thing: I ordered just this one plant, but the seller sent me a bunch of goodies! Firstly, a Kalanchoe daigremontiana, of which I already have a bunch and who are taking over my home, haha! So, not as exciting, but still supernice. But I also got two little succulents, which I absolutely love!

Here they are, potted up in their new home. A few leaves fell off during transport, so I stuck them in the soil, hoping to get some growth out of them. I'll keep you guys updated! =)

Ooh, and one last thing: Someone else on Etsy is giving away Agave pups for almost free, go take a look! I think they have a ton of them, and they're pretty eager to give them good, new homes. I don't even know how I'm gonna grow these in WV, but I'll sure give it my damnedest! =) Anyway, if you're interested at all, head over there! Mine arrived today, and they're adorable!

And tomorrow, more about how I can't stop making (and worse: eating!) bread, and about my new rice cooker!

... in which I talk about a LOT more than plants!

Alright, after months (months!) of procrastination, I'm finally ready to start this blog up! And what better place to start than ... a bit about myself!

I'm Cait, and I'm a 28 year old graduate student. I'm originally from Germany, and I moved to West Virginia three years ago for an M.A. degree in TESOL (Teaching Enlish to Students of Other Languages), which I've since completed. I'm now on my second M.A., this one in English literature. These past three years, I've also been teaching undergrad German, which has been a lot of fun. I don't know yet whether I'll be teaching this next year or whether I'll just focus on my studies. Oh well..... we'll see!

I started being obsessed with houseplants about a year ago, so I'm pretty far from an expert. But most of my plants are doing well, and I love them dearly. Some of them I've grown from seed... this past December, I planted some Rainbox Mix Coleus, look how cute they were when they were all little!

Here are some of those same plants a few months later, one of them actually flowering. Yay!

They live in a southeast facing window in my kitchen, and seem pretty happy.

Now, the current excitement in my life is that om May 31st, I'll be moving from my tiny apartment with very few good windows into a house (with my boyfriend) that has TONS of windows, MUCH better light, and even a little front porch. Whooo!! Man, you have no idea how much worse my plant obsession is gonna get.

Hmm. So when I started this blog, I really thought I'd want to talk mostly about plants. However, I'm a person who is easily excited by stuff and who loves to try out new things! So... I might have to either start another blog connected to this one, or else just ramble about EVERYTHING in here. Hehe. Just to give you an idea, here is an incomplete list of other stuff I do/would post about:

- I'm a pescetarian, and I LOVE to cook. So most likely you'll find a lot of recipes and food experiments on here. Particularly, I've recently gotten into making my own meat substitutes instead of buying expensive, mass-produces crap. It doesn't always turn out right, but that's what experimenting is for!

- I also just started sprouting! I'm a sprouting newbie and have only tried lentils so far, but they are DELICIOUS! Once I move, I'll be sprouting a bunch of stuff, and I'll document it here!

- I just bought a bread machine, and holy crap! It's my new favorite toy. I make tons of bread now, and I'll certainly share recipes and mouth-watering pictures of my successes!

- I'm a big fan of cultured foods, and I make my own kefir and kombucha at home. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, There's gonna be a post coming up on those soon!

- I got into roasting green coffee beans at home, which is much tastier and cheaper than buying good coffee. And guess what: you can do that with a cheap old popcorn air popper! Tutorial coming soon! =)

Alright.... This shall be it for now, even though there's tons more! Let's see whether I get any sort of response to this, I'm new at this whole blog thing! See ya's!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I just created this blog, because I've been obsessing over my plants a little too much. We all like to feed our obsessions, right? So I decided to make matters worse by having a place to document all the plants I grow and plant. Yay!