Why water is amazing

Thursday, July 30, 2015

It's hot out. You're caked in a thick layer of gooey sweat despite the five fans going off in your room. Your tongue feels dry and out of place in your mouth: you need a drink. You force yourself upstairs and open the fridge.
A lone bottle of water is the only drink you see.


You take it, unscrew the cap and take a sip. It's so cool to the touch and immediately your tongue starts to feel less like an awkward piece of cardboard sitting in your mouth.
You drink more and more and more until you realize- oh crap- it's all gone.

In hot weather like today, water is so essential to staying functional. While you could get away with iced teas, lemonades and Gatorades all day you'd certainly be missing out.

On what you ask? Health benefits, that's what!

Here are some reasons why water is something to be drunk every day and not just when you're sweaty and delirious:

Good for your skin 

  • I've had a million relatives come up to me and say, "Is that water you're drinking? Oh that's great, it's so good for your skin!" And they're right! By drinking water you help improve the appearance of your skin. It makes sense since we're made up of mostly water. Models have even admitted their biggest secret to amazing skin is drinking a ton load of water. So to reduce the risk of pimples, drink up! 

Washes out toxins

  • So many things we eat are processed, unnatural and simply put- not good for us. Thankfully, water can help release all the toxins we ingest from these foods. It is the best digestive aid to drink when your stomach is in knots. One of my favorite methods to relieve gas is to heat up water and place a dry bay leaf in it. Sometimes I'll add a pinch of honey but nothing more. These two combined together have helped soothe my stomach countless times in the past.

Aids weight loss 

  • Empty calories aren't good for anybody and most "soft drinks" have exactly that. You might think you're getting away with something by having an iced tea with that salad but you're not. Albiet, that's better than soda which can be used to remove blood stains from fabric, eh heh. With water, you don't have to worry about any added calories sneaking in and here's a plus: the more you drink the more full you feel.

Brain booster and mood lifter

I've always found that when I'm cranky, drinking water helps. It clears my mind and helps me re-focus on whatever it is I'm doing. I can't say the same for soda: as soon as I drink that stuff I'll either find myself getting gas- excuse my frankness- or a sugar rush. Trust me when I say I don't need either and I doubt you do too. Not convinced? According to the University of East London (UEL), bringing water into exams can actually improve your grade. Just as long as that's not the only thing you rely on of course!

Hopefully you knew most of these things innately. Still, it's always good to beat an old drum every once and a while. And by the way, as I typed this, do you know what I drank?

A soda.

Just kidding. It was a water. Stay thirsty my friends.

How to make banana pancakes

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How to make banana pancakes (out of an actual banana)


  
You wake up and your stomach rumbles. You walk into the kitchen groggily and open the fridge door. There's a bunch of ingredients at your disposal but now your sleep-ridden mind has to figure out: what do I want to eat?

If you're in the same predicament as me, but want to eat something a little healthier than Lucky Charms, why not give pancakes a try? Or better yet: banana pancakes.

They're super simple to make and so good for you! All you need are two basic ingredients: one banana and two eggs.

Banana's provide your body with vital energy needed to start the day as well as a good dosage of potassium. Potassium helps keep oxygen and nutrition in your body circulating which can actually help your beauty routine as well, according to Eat Pretty by Jolene Hart. They also contain silicon which is great for hair, nails and collagen. lets not forget they can help sooth an upset stomach!

Eggs are great energy boosters as well. They can help support your metabolism, brain and nervous system all while giving you a mood booster to jump start your day. The best sort of eggs to eat are pastured eggs.

Convinced? Lets get cooking!

You will need:

1 Banana
2 eggs
Vanilla (optional: for flavoring)
Coconut oil (optional but recommended: to put in pan to help prevent burning)

Utensils:

A pan
A spatula
A fork
A spoon
A plate
At least 2 bowls
A whisk
Something to spread the oil on the pan with

Directions:

1. Peel the banana and cut it up. Place the pieces in a bowl. Take the fork and to the best of your ability mash it up. It's going to look gross but do it. Trust me. Don't worry about the small clumps. Just focus on getting the big clumps mashed. It'll look something like this when you're done:

Mushy banana. Yum. 

2. Add vanilla extract to the mashed banana. I used one spoonful but you can use as much as you like. This is just for added flavor. You can add other things too: berries, honey, or even sugar if you're feeling daring. This would be the time to mix anything else you want to add into your batter. I just kept mine simple and added vanilla:

 
Here's where I added the vanilla extract. It looks like teriyaki sauce but I promise you it's not.

3. Take the two eggs and crack them in a separate bowl. Use a whisk or a fork to whisk them together. Then, add them into your separate banana mix. Stir together until it looks well combined:


A goopy blend of egg and banana. Just wait, it gets better.

4. Put the coconut oil on the pan and spread it out as evenly as possible. Turn the heat on low. Let it simmer for a little while. Then take a spoonful or two of your batter and put it on the pan. I didn't add too much because the bigger they are the more likely they are to crumble when you try to flip them. Don't let it stay like that for too long: use your judgment and decide when you think it's best to flip the pancake. I did so every two to three minutes, if that long, depending on how much it started to sizzle.

Feel like I belong in the Krusty Krab with this much flipping skill. 
 
5. Use up the entire batter. Transfer all pancakes onto a plate before making another. I made one pancake at a time but if you have a big enough pan you could make at least two at a time because these are small. When they're all done you should have about 5-7 pancakes depending on how much batter you used to make each one. Feel free to dress it up with maple syrup, butter, or powdered sugar!

The deed is done!

The end result was a light, melt-in-your-mouth flavor. Did it taste like regular pancakes? A little. Did it look like regular pancakes? Definitely. But was it worth it? Yes!!! I'm sure I'll experiment more with these in the future and try adding different things but I'm satisfied with the results.

Got a healthy breakfast recipe you like to make? Share it below!

My container garden: growing roses

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

By: Ariana Palmieri


Ahhh, the red, red rose. These, are by far my favorite flowers of all time. From their fragrance to their symbolism, roses fail to grow boring in my eyes. My dream is to one day own a garden and grow several things, but above all else it will certainly be a rose garden.

I've read time and time again that roses are difficult to grow. While I've experienced some...set backs, I don't necessarily agree. Granted, I only have space to grow mini ones, they have never demanded much more than love, sunlight, and water. If you want to grow roses, don't be intimidated by what you read online. You can do it!

I have to be honest: I've tried growing them from seed and failed. It was very disappointing. For Valentines day I received a cute rose growing kit but it just never bloomed despite me following the directions. I'm assuming it was just too cold to grow even though I kept it under my snake's personal lamp light- YES, I HAVE A SNAKE and I assure you I'll be writing about him on this blog eventually.

I would love to try and grow roses from seed again. Maybe now that it's summer they'll actually grow and have the right conditions to flourish.

My mini-rose tradition

For me, summer and spring do not officially start until I put potted mini roses on my windowsill. It's like a necessity: the warm weather rolls around and I start staring at my windowsill, wondering where the heck my roses are. As if they should just materialize out of thin air.

It's quite the opposite actually- picking my mini-roses is a big deal. They have to be perfect and epitomize exactly what I want to draw into my life. Let me explain: according to symbolism, every rose color means something different. You probably innately know that the red rose symbolizes love and romance. But did you know that yellow roses can symbolize joy and friendship? Or that pink roses symbolize love, gratitude and appreciation? Eventually, I will delve into this symbolism, as well as more fun facts about the rose, on this blog but for now I'll keep it short and sweet.

The point is, every year since I started doing this I carefully decided which color rose I wanted based on what I was drawn to, feeling and what the rose color meant. It wasn't like I was going to the store and grabbing the first rose I saw. I put a lot of time into thinking it over, which may sound silly to some.

Yet here's the ironic part: those that really think about the plants they want produce better plants. You'd think it'd be common sense but it's not.

Too often do I hear about people receiving plants as gifts they don't really want and too often do I hear about it dying. If you don't care for the plant or don't truly want it like you thought you did, chances are it won't stick around very long.

My first roses



One rainy day I decided I wanted to finally grow something. My windowsill was empty and before that moment I had never grown anything. I was a complete novice. But I needed to try.

I went to the Pathmark right by my house and walked around the small area where all the plants are sold. Immediately my eyes gravitated towards the pink mini-roses. It's funny: most people don't think plants can communicate with you but at that very moment I felt like, more than anything, those roses wanted me to take them home. So I did.

I felt so happy. Just holding the roses close to me and staring at their cute pink buds that promised life was so invigorating. I had purchased my first plant and to top it all off it was my favorite color.




You want to know what?

Out of all the roses I've bought, they were the ones that grew the best so far. I still find myself missing them. I felt a bond with that plant and I could tell it was happy because it lasted so long: straight into Fall actually. It tore me apart to get rid of it but I knew I had to since it became infested and overrun with spider webs.

Yet it was that plant that got me started on gardening. When you garden, no matter the space you choose to do it in, it is so much more than just sowing and watering some seeds. It's forming a bond with the plant that not even you can fully understand.

My second rose plant

My second rose plant didn't do nearly as well. The second year I decided to buy another one but this time I wanted a yellow one. Unfortunately it didn't last throughout the whole summer.

 Despite me watering it the same exact way (once a day, everyday) just like the other plant, it ceased to thrive. I'm convinced it was because I didn't give it enough attention. I used to talk more to the pink flowers and science has proven plants grow better when they're talked to in a soothing way.

I feel this happened because I kind of still missed my pink roses and couldn't bring myself to love the yellow ones nearly as much. I'm sure they could sense that, somehow. Plus, I sort of rushed getting them. It wasn't as well thought out.

My third (and current) rose plant

Now these are really something. I bought them at Trader Joe's. The only thing I don't like about
buying roses off the shelves is how they tend to not label the species I'm buying. There are a lot of different rose types and I can tell by the shape, color, foliage and scent of my roses that they're different species each year.

I've run into a few problems with them (gnats, yellowing leaves, foliage losing vibrancy) but they're still pulling through. They share the windowsill with my basil and I feel that the two of them are a nice pair.

Some plants, I've read, aren't compatible with other plants while others compliment each other. That's why a lot of people like to grow cooking herbs together because they compliment each other and grow well.

If anything, sometimes my basil outshines my roses because of how tall and fragrant it is! But I make sure to give them equal attention. At first this beautiful plant wowed me with 16 buds growing at once! I made sure to collect all their dried flowers and saved them. Eventually, since they're so fragrant, I plan on using them in a DIY project.

They don't produce as many flowers now but I'm still so happy to see them every time I look on my windowsill. Their vibrant color and sweet smell always puts a smile on my face.

My advice to you

Give growing roses a shot. Don't be afraid- except for their thorns of course! If you run into problems, don't give up and toss them out.

 If you're not sure how much water they need, how big a pot they need, or how to get rid of pests, don't sweat it. The internet is full of great gardening resources and one of my favorite websites to utilize is gardeningknowhow.com.

Personally, I water my roses based on the soil: if it's still damp from yesterday's watering, I'll leave it alone or add a drop. Don't even bother with a watering can: I just fill up empty water bottles and go to town.

I never bother to transfer my roses into another container, although I'm sure you could. They always grow pretty big and branch out so you probably could if you wanted a bigger bush. I just know I've had success keeping them in their normal containers, despite most of the containers not having drainage holes.

You're bound to make some mistakes as a beginner in any plant you choose to care for but don't let that discourage you. All you really need is love, water, and a little sunshine.

Do you grow roses? What are some of the things you do to keep them flourishing? Share your tips below!


My container garden: growing basil

Thursday, July 16, 2015

                       My container garden: growing basil



I'm not an authority. I don't know all the rules to gardening and there are lots of things I haven't tried to plant yet. This being said, I certainly have grown things quite successfully so far and will continue to do so.

This summer, I decided to actually give gardening a try. Every summer I always purchase mini roses to put on my windowsill but other than that I've never tried growing something from seed before. That needed to change. Luckily I have a windowsill that gets a lot of sun (it's a West facing window- South is best for starting seedlings from what I heard but mine still did fine.)

My first plant from seed: Basil

The first plant I chose to start to cultivate was basil. I had done my research and quickly realized, based on every article I read, that basil was a simple plant to care for and grew quickly.




 How to get started

Here's what I used:
  •  A big bag of average soil from Pathmark (I forget the brand- sorry! I'm all out of it.)
  •  Organic basil seeds from Burpee.
  •  An assortment of terra cotta pots I had lying around the house.
  • Some rocks (you can literally use any you find outside- just make sure you wash them off first!)
  • Plastic drainage dishes from Pathmark.
First, I started the basil seeds in small terra cotta pots. There were three pots and I put small rocks at the bottom of each. I had heard adding rocks to the bottom helped filter the water and provided better drainage to the plant.

Here's what I did:
  • I added the small rocks into the three little pots so that they were circling the drainage hole.
  • Then, I added about half a cup of soil due to how small the pots were.
  • I placed two seeds into the smaller pots and four seeds into the slightly bigger pot.
  • I covered the seeds with some more soil
  • I watered it.



And that was it! It was really simple to set up. I recommend you place something beneath you when you scoop the soil into the pots, like old newspapers, in order to avoid dirtying your table.

The back of the Burpee seed pack says to expect sprouts within 7-10 days. Within just 6 days 6 out of 10 of the basil sprouts I planted popped up! I had planted two extra seeds in my mom's basil - she had got it as a gift from my aunt on mother's day- just to see what would happen. Eventually one of the seeds in my mom's pot sprouted but it didn't do as well as the ones in my pots and eventually died.


The only step left was to transplant them. They were doing so well that I could tell they needed a new, bigger container. I chose a nice ceramic blue pot I found at Michael's. It wasn't easy to do because, as a beginner, I was afraid to harm and traumatize my plant. In fact, I had to spend several minutes trying to make sure each basil sprout wasn't lopsided.

Here's how I transplanted the basil:

  • I set up all the things I would need and placed them on the table (soil, new pot, plastic cup for scooping the soil, old newspapers for the table, basil sprouts).
  • I poured a decent amount of soil into the new pot- a little over half the pot. This could vary depending on the size of the pot you choose to use but mine was medium sized and pretty even width and height wise.
  • Then, very carefully, I took the plants out of their small terra cotta pots and put them into the bigger pot. In order to get them out, I had to gently flip them upside down, making sure my hand was covering the top if it fell out, and shake the pot to get it lose. Then I quickly inserted the plant into the new pot.
  • I added more soil carefully.
  • This was the tricky part: I had to be so very gentle and I fiddled with my plants a lot. I had to make sure they were surrounded by soil but not overwhelmed by it. I did everything I could so that the soil supported them and kept them upright but it took a while. I had to cover most of their stems to keep them straight, but it worked. If you have to add more soil, use your judgment. Adding more in certain spots can make the plant topple over in another direction.
  • Eventually, once they were straight enough, I watered the plant and put it back on the windowsill.



And then, magic happened. From there, it boomed and skyrocketed upward! I was so surprised and amazed by the beauty of it I almost didn't want to pick it. The scent is incredible too and sometimes I'll go to my window just to stick my nose in it.

Ultimately, I was not disappointed at the results and it's still doing great! I haven't had any problems with it so I highly recommend all beginners to give growing basil a shot. You won't be disappointed as long as you give it love, care, and attention.

I'll be posting more on my other container garden plants soon. Thanks, as always, for stopping by.


About this site (and me!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Well, hi there. I'm Ariana and...



I'm going to share a secret with you: I'm completely new to blogging.
I've wanted to start one for years but never got the chance. Either I was too afraid to, didn't have the time, or just didn't know what to write about.
Then, last night, I sat down and said to myself, "I think I'm gonna make a blog."
So here we are.
I don't know what other people do, or have done, but I felt the best way to start was opening up to all of you- all 5 of you.
Just kidding, I have no idea how many views this will get. But no matter how many it does receive, I'm grateful to those who took the time out of your day to pop by.

So... let me start by answering a few reflective questions:

 

Why did I choose Greenify Me?

I chose that name because it's been floating around my head for a while now. That, and I'm really into healthy, natural living. Plants and animals are my best friends and I feel most at peace when either one is around. I've always been eco-conscious but this year I really made some huge steps forward in that department and I want to continue to progress. I'm on the lookout for new ways to connect to the Earth, beautify it, and live as organically as possible, assuming it fits my college student budget.

How did I get into being eco-friendly?

I've always been a spiritual person and that, to me, goes hand in hand with respecting Mother Nature. Can she be deadly? Yes. But can she be beautiful, giving, and inspirational? Absolutely. Both sides of nature, in my eyes, are something we should respect. In order to do this, I like to research new ways to stay on my game when it comes to eco-friendly living. My latest endeavor was to make a huge switch from regular makeup to organic makeup. Honestly, after finding out what they put in makeup (chemicals you can't even pronounce and crushed beetles sound good to you?) I didn't want to take the chance. My new go-to brand is now 100% Pure and I'm on the lookout for new organic brands all the time.


What are some other actions I've taken to green-ify myself?

Well, I recycle as much as I can and sometimes I will even clean up my neighborhood. I did it last summer and I wouldn't be surprised if I do it again this summer. I literally went around with several plastic bags, hand sanitizer, and gloves, picking up any trash I saw. I must've looked like some weirdo to everyone watching me but I didn't care. I knew no one else would have done it and I felt really great afterwards.
I also treat animals right and do my best to respect their environments. One of my favorite things to do is watch the birds at the train station near my apartment. Most people find starlings, pigeons, and sparrows to be ordinary little birds, but I don't see them like that. They're beautiful and quite capable of adapting to any environment they set foot in, which is pretty inspirational if you let yourself think about it. Pigeons especially aren't afraid of humans, and I think that's what I like best about them because it means I get to observe them even better. They're far more intelligent than most people give them credit for.
I have a growing collection of essential oils and am slowly making the transition to clean up my beauty routine even more (meaning no artificial perfumes, lotions, or shower/bath products.) I grow my own indoor container garden and just started this summer. They're coming along nicely: so far I've grown basil, lettuce, roses, carrots, chives, and zinnia this summer. The lettuce was already harvested but I have several other plant sprouts on the way! I do my best to eat as healthy and organic as possible and try to convince my parents to do the same by buying more organic foods.



What should you expect out of this blog?

I'm aiming for this to be about my journey; DIY projects; organic beauty and food; and the environment. I'll also be sharing my photography and a few nature poems here and there.

I don't know everything there is to know about green living, and maybe I never will. That's okay though, because it leaves room for growth. I want to contribute something other than a carbon footprint to the Earth: I want her to realize she does have people who care about her living here. And one of them is me. Hopefully, this blog can inspire some of you to walk a similar path.

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