Browsing Tag:



A little fresh-air for today.  These buggers have been hopping all over the tomatoes at my CSA.  Lately, I’ve taken up a bit of a fascination with them.  If you follow me on Instagram (@gracedi), you’ve probably noticed this.  Photo-shooting grasshoppers on my iPhone has become a bit of a new hobby of mine at work.  Hey, I’ve got to do something to get me through all those tomato-picking hours.

These guys can jump 20 times their body length, so it’s quite an interesting few minutes whenever I attempt to follow them with my phone/camera.

Did you know that grasshopper have 5 eyes?  Pretty cool, right?  Yet, they’re both ear-less and nose-less.  Instead, little breathing holes line the sides of their bodies.  And as for their hearing, with all the chirping they make, you know that can’t be missing.  Rather than ears, grasshoppers have little spots on the sides of their abdomen, which are said to be their eardrums.  Fascinating stuff.

I also hear they have a lot of protein in them.  Up to 20.6 grams of protein in a large one, and 14.3 grams in a small one…not that I’d ever eat one.  Or would I?

A little crunchy.  A little grassy.  A little earthy.  Highly unrecommended.

Spring Earth Day

I’ve left North Philly for the weekend and am already feeling entirely refreshed. The flowers are blooming in bunches and gracing the air with their sweet perfume. The grass seems to be growing greener by the minute, and the birds are at work replacing my normal symphony of traffic with a harmonious melody of chirps.  As Earth Day elapses, I am happy to be alive and able to enjoy all of the beauty our planet has to offer. Living in a fairly dirty city (and in my case, impoverished), where so many simply disregard their surroundings, tossing litter to the curb and spewing exhaust from unchecked cars, after awhile I find myself disheartened, desensitized, unable to remember what clean surroundings feel like. Look like. Smell like.  It’s inspiring and uplifting to be able to face such natural beauty once again, and know that even in the most tarnished of places, with enough work and education, similar surroundings for everyone are achievable. The beauty simply needs to be uncovered, and with a conscious awareness and helping hand from everyone, I have no doubt this is attainable.

Happy Earth Day!!

While we should honor our Earth everyday, I hope all of you get a chance to do something special today to celebrate and help nourish our planet. I had the opportunity to lend a hand the other weekend in constructing a number of beehives, which served as a fantastic learning experience.

Bees are essential for pollinating many of the crops that feed us. They bring us blueberries, alfalfa, apples, berries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, avocados, squash, broccoli, onions, and many more plants of which can’t survive without the buzzing farmworkers. In fact, $15 billion worth of U.S. crops per year are pollinated by bees, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sadly, since the 1940s, the amount of managed honey bee colonies has dropped from 5 million to just 2.5 million today.  A phenomena known as Colony Collapse Disorder seems to be overtaking a significant portion of the bee population, which you can read more about here.

Helping to support bee growth is super important. There are many ways to do this, including reducing our reliance on pesticides, one of the factors believed to play a role in CCD. Building beehives can also help foster homes for bees within designated areas.

To check out some photos of beehive building in action in which I was able to take part, click here

Happy First Day of Spring!

Spring is finally here! Hallelujah. You know what that means? It’s time to ditch the treadmill and get outside. Thank god. If you’ve been bearing the cold and have already been running/walking/enjoying the outdoors, good for you. But for the rest of us, pretty soon there will be no more room for excuses. It’s action time. Time to really bring that fitness routine to life, alongside the rest of the living entities that will soon be emerging outdoors (like cherry blossoms, and asparagus, and fireflies, and the many other things I love about the sunny season).

For me, spring re-inspires me. It stimulates me to challenge myself and try new things. Maybe I’ll change my running route/routine, wake up a little bit earlier for an early morning yoga practice and try tackling some new moves, plant something totally unfamiliar in the garden, etc. etc.

My advice: Use spring as an excuse to challenge yourself, both physically and mentally, letting the warm weather that’s hopefully soon to come be a motivator for you to be the best that you can be. Try a new activity. Rock climbing anyone? Or maybe revisit a forgotten one, like tree climbing, letting your inner youth freely flow out.  Branch out and meet a new person. Maybe it’s the guy sitting on the bench next to you at the park. Or maybe you join a service organization and meet new friends while giving back to the community. Either way, challenge yourself to go out of your comfort zone, and approach the changing of the seasons by getting active.

In challenging yourself, do so in a way that keeps you present. Tune in to each moment and notice the subtle nuances that come with each challenge or change you might decide to take on this spring. Rather than letting your mind immediately jump to the next challenge or the next step of the change, embrace the transitions that lie within. Consciously keep yourself grounded into each moment. One of the easiest and best ways to do this is to simply take a deep breathe every so often. Whenever you notice your mind running away from you, leaving the task at hand, take a minute to stop. Inhale. Exhale. Release. Center your mind back to what lies in front of you, within the present moment, the only moment where you can really be.

Spring doesn’t last long, so make the best of it as you challenge yourself to blossom into your best.

More food for thought: As you start planning your next outdoor escapade/challenge, check out this NY Times article that says why you might really want to ditch the treadmill. Oh, and get a dog too.