Making a Perfect Personal Space

“A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever“-- John Keats

You need your own personal space – a special area that reflects your personality, uniqueness, and personal tastes.

Why a personal space? To re-energize yourself, at least 10-15 minutes daily. Whether it’s a corner of a room, an entire room or a house, it should be as private as you can make it.

Your personal space is a place to relax, feel warm, listen to your favorite music, and be surrounded by your favorite things: photos of family and friends, art work, collections, books, etc. Adding a pot of fresh flowers will bring charm and outdoor aroma into your private life.

Your personal space should not only be comfortable and pleasing, but also beautiful to inspire your inner sense to bring out the best in you. Though beauty is subjective - it means different things to different people - try filling your personal space with anything and everything that pleases you. Beauty could be found in art objects, books of poetry, photos, flowers, furniture, etc. but the key is that it should appeal to your senses and make a statement about you.

You can actually transform your space into your dream world in a short amount of time, and quite affordable all on your own without a lot of skill, tools or decorating expertise.

Here a few suggestions for making your personal space perfect for you:

1. Colors – bright colors make your room look warm and cheerful. If your favorite color, like purple or black, is too strong for the room, then paint the interior of a cabinet in your favorite color.

2. Statement – your uniqueness can be shown in a statement piece. Make your statement piece bright and bold. If you’re proud of your artwork or hobby, display it as a room centerpiece. If you have a favorite armchair, adorn it with an attractive, cozy seat covering. And if you like animals, paint your furniture in zebra stripes, cheetah spots or penguin tuxedo.

3. Hiding clutter - To make your personal space inviting and spacious, use ottomans, window seats, armoires, and bookcases with enclosed compartments to hide everyday clutter.

4. Freshness – focus on bringing fresh energy into your space, whether it’s fresh air, flowers, fruits, recent photos, new books, etc.

By making your private world roomy, beautiful and personal, the quality of your life will considerably improve and you’ll feel healthier and happier.

Mushroom Home: Art in Nature

As one of the most fascinating homes in the world, the Mushroom house not only demonstrates an architect's ingenuity in creating a beautiful and comfortable home but also in blending art with nature in its unique design. The result is a dream home made up of five interconnected pods, in a natural environment surrounded by trees.

Built in 1971 by James H. Johnson, the five pods sit on concrete and steel "stems". Two pods are used as bedrooms, the center pod holds the kitchen and sitting room, the fourth pod serves as a living and dining area with a fireplace, and the fifth pod is used as a deck.

As a local landmark in Perinton, New York, the Mushroom Home attracted the attention of several artists who contributed 9,000 ceramic tiles for the interior of the home.

This home may not be totally eco-friendly, but the concept of building a home that blends in with nature is indeed inspirational. It's possible to build a beautiful home without destroying the natural surrounding. We should have more homes like this!

Best dancing on ice: Daisuke Takahashi at GPF 2011

One of the most impressive men's figure skating ever was by Daisuke Takahashi of Japan in the Men's Final Grand Prix 2011. He performed brilliantly - dancing on ice!

The music itself was not the ordinary classical but the blues (Blues for Klook). Takahashi captured the feel of the blues with smooth and expressive moves, high jumps and timely gestures beautifully. It's rare nowadays to watch figure skaters perform their numbers as though they are REALLY dancing, not just doing their routine of jumps, spins and footsteps.

Though he messed up the quad jump at the beginning, but for the rest of the program he made everyone in the audience feel the music through his skating. He was sensational! It's no wonder that he received a standing ovation for his great performance.

What an inspirational skater!

Winter art of Nature: Snowflakes

Winter is here. In some colder places, snow quietly falls from the sky.

Snow consists of millions and millions of snowflakes which are crafted by the elements of weather. Each snowflake is as individual and unique as people are or any living thing on this planet.

Though as common as raindrops from the clouds or sand grains on the beach, snowflakes seem to be shrouded in mystery. Scientists have tried to solve the puzzle: "Is it really true that no two snowflakes are alike?"

The birth of a snowflake begins when a tiny dust or pollen particle comes into contact with water vapor. Then, the water vapor freezes the particle as a tiny crystal of ice high up in Earth's atmosphere.

Interestingly, the molecules of water that form each ice crystal naturally arrange themselves into a hexagonal shape. All snowflakes start out as a hexagonal crystal of ice and then "grow" delicate extensions (arms) forming intricate patterns. As snow crystals tumble through the air, they enlarge their shapes in an infinite number of ways of being six-sided.

The patterns of snowflakes can be grouped into the following:

1. Hexagonal plate - six-sided flat shapes, sometimes with a star pattern in the center of a hexagonal plate

2. Stellar plate: hexagonal plates that have bumps or unbranched arms, giving the snowflake a "star" appearance

3. Stellar dendrite: branching six-sided shapes

4. Fernlike stellar dendrite: branches of a snowflake that look feathery or like the fronds of a fern

5. Needles: look like needles which may be solid, hollow, or partially hollow

6. Column: six-sided columns that may be short and wide, long and thin, capped or even twisted

7. Bullets: column-shaped snowflakes tapered at one end, forming a bullet shape

8. Irregular: snowflakes that may have grown unevenly, broken, melted, or stuck to other snow crystals

What researchers know is that snowflakes form different shapes at different temperatures. In addition, pollution and other impurities in the air may contribute to the shape of a snow crystal. Believe it or not, most snowflakes are imperfect!

The weather temperature plays a major role in shaping the snowflakes. Here's a list of different temperatures that influence the patterns of ice crystal growth:

thin plates: 32-25F
needles: 25-21F
hollow columns: 21-14F
sector plates: 14-10F
dendrites: 10-3F

So, back to the question: "Is it really true that no two snowflakes are alike?"

What do you think?

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