Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vacation Shopping Temptations & Decorating

We have all made the same mistake, c’mon admit it. While on that recent relaxing holiday you bought something you thought would capture that holiday feeling when you returned home to your regular routine. It might have been in a bustling local market, maybe it was something you saw created in front of you by a local craftsperson or an item spotted in a tiny shop presided over by an old stooped woman who smiled charmingly at you.

You were excited about your treasure and made sure it was wrapped and bundled securely for the trip back. Once home you unwrapped the gem eagerly with your mind racing as to where it would look best in your house. In the bright light of day you flinched when you saw your precious vacation souvenir in its new surroundings. Suddenly the colors of your prize, that seemed so bright and cheerful in its native land, only look garish to you now. The details on the pottery you found so charming and quaint clash with your post modern furniture. The tribal mask that seemed primitive ironic while trekking scare your children when they walk by it. What on earth possessed you to buy these things?

The desire to bring back an object to represent your vacation bliss is a natural one that everyone falls prey to on some vacation in their life. So how do you do vacation decorating right? Follow these few simple rules and you will won’t have another vacation decorating disaster.

Textiles – textiles are a great way to bring a splash of your adventures into the home in a subtle way. The textile can be hung, framed, made into a pillow, used to upholster a furniture piece or used as a table runner. A glimpse will still remind you of the village woman who wove the beautiful fabric but not be as jarring as hanging a Swiss cuckoo clock on your minimalist walls.
Photos – Travel photos are wonderful souvenirs. Don’t put them in a variety of mismatching frames or your walls and surfaces will look like one big photo album.Choose an odd number of the best ones and frame in the same simple frames, preferably black with a large mat, and wall mount giving an art gallery effect. To blend with any interior, have the photos developed in black and white.
Bowls – Bowls are functional, attractive and easy to find in any part of the world. You can buy a bamboo lacquered one in Vietnam, a pewter bowl in Norway, a pottery one from Portugal or a rustic wooden bowl from Africa. Lined up on a display shelf they will complement each other as well as telling the story of your journeys.
Artwork – Unless you are an investor, choosing art is always a personal thing. That watercolor from France would be a great addition to your guest bathroom.Or the large brightly colored painting can add the spice to your neutral interior.

So the next time you find yourself standing in front of that four foot fertility statue in some faraway place telling yourself it could go in that empty corner in the living room – just walk away.

Modern Living Room Interiors Ideas

Your living room is one of the most important rooms in the entire house, and most of the people spend a lot of time in their living room. A living room is not just a relaxing space that welcomes guests and visitors, it also serves as the focal point and acts as a showcase for the entire house. In simple terms, the living room is the focal point of a home, and a place that will bring comfort and joy to all of its inhabitants. Now we all know that when we have a guest the living room is usually the first room that your guests see, and I think that we should take care of how this place look by creating something that will reflect our own style. There are many decorating styles that you can choose from, and the most popular are traditional, country, contemporary, and transitional. Personally I prefer the contemporary style, and for those of you who look for a little inspiration on contemporary living room design here are six pictures that might inspire you.

Kitchen Interior Design Photos

John Lum Architecture , a firm based in San Francisco located in a converted laundry machine factory. I’ve studied their portfolio for a few minutes, and what got my attention was the kitchens that they designed, and I’ve thought to make another collection of inspirational kitchen pictures. Their work is can be characterized as timeless, distinctive and elegantly modern, and I can say that the first kitchen is my favorite.

Twins Furniture by Daniele Lago

Twins is a piece of furniture designed by Daniele Lago. This piece is composed of two elements shaped as “L’s” and they can be adapted to create two different pieces of furniture according to your needs. In conclusion this piece is great especially if you want a new look in your home from time to time. You can find more informations about the piece of furniture from here.

Stylish Prefab Homes Units by Toyota

Toyota is a well known brand when we speak about cars, and is best known for its top-selling cars like the Prius and Corolla, but did you knew that Toyota also makes homes ? Until now I didn’t know that, and they’ve been in the business of making homes for over 20 years! Right now Toyota is looking to apply its eco friendly image and technical know-how to help boost sales of its small and little-known prefabricated-housing division. The Toyota Homes unit accounts for only 0.5% of the company’s $262 billion in annual sales, and Toyota would like to beef that up a little bit.

Toyota’s aspirations as a home builder are also gaining new importance with the planned launch by 2010 of its plug-in vehicles, gas-electric hybrid cars with powerful lithium-ion batteries that drivers will need to recharge at home. The car maker is testing an electricity-monitoring system in its homes that would charge the vehicle during off-peak hours to keep utility bills low, while the car’s battery can serve as an electrical backup, powering the home during blackouts. According to the Wall Street Journal, Toyota Homes are built from six or more modules in under 45 days. They have a conservative home model called the Smart Stage that sells for $200k. It’s about a 1000 sf, two-story home. There’s also a more expensive, custom-built 2600 sf home that sells for around $800k. Toyota Homes are strong and guaranteed for about 60 years, which is twice the average lifespan of a home in Japan. Find more about Toyota homes on their website.

Defenestration - House of Falling Furniture

Called “DEFENESTRATION” the abandoned four-story tenement building sitting at the corner of 6th st. and howard st. in San Fransiscio, California has been a sculptural mural since 1997. This multi-disciplinary sculptural mural involves seemingly animated furniture : tables, chairs, lamps, grandfather clocks, a refrigerator, and couches, their bodies bent like centipedes, fastened to the walls and window-sills, their insect-like legs seeming to grasp the surfaces.

Against society’s expectations, these everyday objects flood out of windows like escapees, out onto available ledges, up and down the walls, onto the fire escapes and off the roof.”DEFENESTRATION” was created with the help of over 100 volunteers. The concept of “DEFENESTRATION”, a word literally meaning “to throw out of a window,” is embodied by the both the site and staging of this installation. Finally I can say that if you have some time and you don’t know what to do and a few pieces of old furniture you can also create a project similar with this, and get some attention.

Illumination with Style - Birds On A Wire

For those who want things that are a little bit out of common, here is a great and beautiful example of how you can use illumination with style. Javier Henriquez and Sebastian Lara from the Mexican design studio eos méxico got inspired by the suburb afternoons and came up with this beautiful birds on a wire illumination. A simple design, but the effect is very interesting, and I’m sure that is not to much work to build yourself one of these.

Matsyasana - The Fish Pose

"Matsya" means "fish" in Sanskrit. If a person lies steadily on water in this posture, he can keep floating on it easily like a fish without the help of the hands and legs, as the name of the asana suggests.


1. Form a footlock in Padmasana with the knees touching the ground.
2. Lean hack gradually on your elbows and lie flat on your back with the support of the hands and elbows.
3. Bring the hands backward towards the head and place your palms flat on the floor under the corresponding shoulders in the reverse direction.
4. Pressing down the knees and palms and pushing your chest and abdomen forward, raise the shoulders, back and hips from the floor, supporting the body with your hands. While raising them, make an arch of the spine and, simultaneously, bend your head and neck backward as far as you can to place the crown of your head perpendicularly on the floor.
5. Bring your hands forward and grasp the back of your thighs with your palms.
6. Using your elbows for leverage, raise your chest and abdomen and, accentuating the arch of the spine, place the crown of your head in position on the floor.
7. Make hooks of the index finger, the middle finger and thumb of each hand and catch in each of them the opposite big toes and pull them gently.
8. Maintain this position comfortably, breathing deeply and rhythmically.
9. Return slowly in the reverse order to the starting position of Padmasana.


* Matsyasana tones up the spinal column.
* The cervical and dorsal regions are fully extended and become more flexible. If the spine has become habitually curved by sitting incorrectly, it will again become straight by the regular practice of this asana.
* The chest expands and the capacity of the lungs increases by the abundant supply of fresh air.

Mandukasana - The Frog Pose

"Manduk" means "frog" in Sanskrit. The arrangement of the legs in this posture resembles the hind legs of a frog. Hence the name.

1. Assume the Vajrasana posture with the posterior planted firmly on the floor between the upturned feet.
2. The inner edges of the feet should encircle the posterior.
3. Spread the knees as wide apart as possible and rest them on the floor.
4. The feet should point towards each other with the soles facing upwards.
5. Heels must point towards each other and the edges of the feet must touch the floor.
6. The feet should be at right angles to the legs and the toes pointing outward.
7. The big toes should touch each other behind the posterior.
8. You will now be squatting between your heels.
9. Rest the hands, palms down, on the respective knees.
10. Straighten the spine and look straight ahead.
11. Sit erect in this position for about ten seconds without strain.


* People suffering from peptic or duodenal ulcer, severe back pain and cardiac problem, and patients who have undergone abdominal surgery should avoid this exercise.


* Mandukasana improves functions of all organs.
* It benefits people suffering from constipation, diabetes and digestive disorders.
* It improves the lungpower, circulation in the walls of the chest and abdomen and tone of the abdominal and shoulder muscles.
* It also improves sciatica in some people.
* The asana acts especially in the joints of the knees and ankles improving coordination and fluidity of movement.

Makarasana - The Crocodile Pose

"Makar" means "crocodile" in Sanskrit.


1. Lie flat on the carpet with the chin, chest and abdomen touching the ground.
2. Stretch out the legs together at full length.
3. Keep the arms on their respective sides.
4. Spread the legs comfortably apart and rest them on the floor.
5. Heels must point towards each other and the edges of the feet must touch the floor.
6. The feet should be at right angles to the legs and the toes pointing outward.
7. Raise your trunk and head.
8. Bring one hand beneath the opposite shoulder and grasp it lightly and place the other hand on the opposite shoulder and grasp it lightly. Do this in such a way that a 'double triangle is formed with the folded elbows resting exactly above one another and the forearms crossing the opposite upper arms.
9. Rest your forehead on this 'double triangle' and dip your face in the space in between.
10. Close your eyes and relax.
11. Do abdominal breathing and maintain this position as long as comfortable.
12. Lie on your back and resume.


* Makarasana induces a complete relaxation of the body and mind.
* It relaxes the muscles and relieves the fatigue after a strenuous asana.
* The asana relieves and helps correct many breathing troubles and disorders in the genito-urinary system.
* It helps to reduce high blood pressure.
* Makarasana stimulates the small intestines which, in helps the digestive processes.
* It prevents scoliosis and flatulence

Janusirasana - The Head-to-Knee Pose

"Janu" means "knee" and "Siras" means "head" in Sanskrit. The head is made to rest on the knee in this posture, hence the name.


1. Sit erect in Sukhasana.
2. Stretch the legs forward.
3. Spread the legs and keep the heels about fifteen inches apart.
4. Bending the right knee outward and sliding the outer edge of the right foot along the floor, draw it in towards the left thigh.
5. With the help of the hands, press flat the right sole against the inside of the left thigh. The upper end of the right heel must press the perineal space and the bent right knee must rest on the floor.
6. Keep the trunk and head erect.
7. Inhaling, raise the hands above the head with the palms facing outwards.
8. Exhale completely.
9. Keep the knees stiff.
10. Take a deep breath.
11. Exhaling, draw in your abdomen and bend the trunk and head forward and downward from the waist against the left thigh, keeping the head between the upper arms. While doing so, extend forward the forearms and fingers towards the extended left foot and clasp the ball of the foot firmly with the interlaced fingers of both hands.
12. Inhale deeply again.
13. Exhaling, press the knee of the extended left leg on the floor and bending the elbows outward, slowly bend down the head and trunk further.
14. Pulling the trunk forward, rest your forehead on the left knee-joint.
15. Lower the elbows gradually and rest them on the floor.
16. The entire back of the stretched leg and the back of the knees must touch the floor closely.
17. Maintain this position comfortably as long as you can hold out your breath or until any strain is felt at the back of the extended leg.
18. Inhaling, get back slowly to the starting position in the reverse order.
19. Repeat the identical movements with the right leg stretched out.


* Janusirasana has a beneficial effect on the sciatic nerve and on the solar plexus.

Januhastasana - Hand to Knee Pose

"Janu" means "knee" and "hasta" means "hand" in Sanskrit. The hand is made to rest near the knee in this posture, hence the name.


1. First take the sitting position where you sit with both legs together and stretched, toes erect, spine erect and both hands straight and palms resting on the floor.
2. Then, like in Vajrasana, place both the palms on the ground ahead of knees touching each other, push neck backwards and chest forward with waist pushed downwards, in this posture relax all the muscles.
3. Continue normal breathing.


* It promotes proper blood circulation around the waistline and downwards.


* People having stiff joints and have difficulty in movement should perform with utmost care.
* They should perform it when their joints are free and relaxed.

Halasana - The Plough Pose

"Hala" means "Plough" in Sanskrit. This posture is called 'Halasana' because in the final position the body resembles the Indian plough.

1. Assume the Ardha Halasana posture without much support from the hands.
2. Exhaling slowly, press the palms on the floor and raise your posterior, hips and lower back off the floor and, simultaneously, lower and move your legs right over your head without bending the knees until the toes touch the ground at the nearest point beyond your head.
3. Inhale and breathe freely.
4. Slide away the toes together straight along the floor, curving the spine to the maximum extent.
5. Stabilize yourself in this position and complete the exhalation.
6. Take a deep breath.
7. Exhaling slowly, straighten the legs and slide away the toes together straight along the ground and away from the head till the lower parts of the thighs are brought opposite the forehead.
8. Inhale and breathe normally.
9. Press the chest against the chin and form a firm chin-lock.
10. Lift your arms and move them slowly until they rest on the floor on either side of your head.
11. Form a finger-lock and keep the clasped hands encircling the top of your head.
12. Take a deep breath.
13. Exhaling, slide the toes forward as far away from the head as possible.
14. Keep the legs straight and together.
15. Keep the knees stiff and the toes pressing the ground.
16. Hold this position as long as comfortable, breathing freely.
17. Restore the arms to their original position on the respective sides.
18. Inhaling, bring back the legs together to the perpendicular position without bending the knees.
19. Exhaling, bring down the legs until the heels rest on the floor.
20. Breathe normally and relax completely in Savasana.


* Practice this asana on an empty stomach.
* This asana should be stopped if it causes pain continuously in the liver or spleen or exerts excessive pressure on the abdomen.
* Persons suffering from hernia, high blood pressure or heart ailments must not practice it.
* Women should not practice it during menstruation and after the third month of pregnancy.


* Systematic practice of Halasana releases the tension in the back, neck and legs and helps to cure various kinds of rheumatism.
* It alleviates pain in the shoulders and the waist.
* It helps to eradicate belching, gastritis, flatulence and enteroptosis.
* It gives relief in cases of headache, bronchitis and asthma.
* Disorders of the uterus and ovaries and menstrual ailments are set right by the regular practice of this asana.
* Halasana stretches and exercises the posterior muscles of the entire body. The asana keeps the intercostal muscles healthy. The asana exerts alternate pressure on the heart muscle and thus strengthens the heart and improves circulation.
* The muscles at the back of the neck are stretched and relaxed.
* The alternate contraction, relaxation, stretching and the slow unwinding of the spinal column provide complete exercise for the different areas. If practiced slowly and smoothly, the entire spine becomes flexible and the spinal nerves, muscles and ligaments are toned up and fed with extra supply of arterial blood.
* This asana develops healthy thyroid and parathyroid.
* It will also keep the gonad glands healthy.
* Musicians and teachers benefit by performing this asana as the region of the throat is given a good massage. The throat gets cleared up after the practice and the neck muscles become strong.
* Persons desirous of reducing deposits of fat in the chest, lower abdomen, hips, thighs, legs and the backside may practice this asana regularly. It will help them to reduce weight and trim a flabby abdomen.
* It helps a person to maintain a correct standing posture and grow to his full stature.

Gomukhasana - The Cow-Face Pose

"Go" means "cow" and "Mukha" means "face" in Sanskrit. When this asana is performed, the final position of the legs resembles the face of a cow.

1. Sit erect in Sukhasana.
2. Stretch out the legs straight in front of you.
3. Fold back the left leg a little. Raising the right knee, draw in the left foot beneath the right thigh and set the heel on the side of the right buttock, just touching
4. it.
5. The toes and the lower edge of the left foot must lie flat on the floor with the sole turned upwards and the toes pointing away from the body.
7. Keep the thigh of the folded left leg straight in front of you.
8. Drawing in the right foot and crossing it over the left thigh, set the heel on the side of the left buttock, just touching it.
9. Bring the knees exactly one above the other and both of them should be directly in front of you.
10. Sit erect.
11. Twist the left arm from the elbow and bring the forearm upwards behind the back, moving up the back of the hand along the spine. Push the forearm up as far as it will go.
12. Raise the right arm straight up, the upper arm touching the ear.
13. Folding it back at the elbow, slide down the forearm behind the back over the right shoulder, palm and fingers facing inward, till the right hand meets the left hand.
14. Lock the forefingers of both hands together.
15. Keep the head, neck and spine erect.
16. Look straight ahead.
17. Return to the starting position in the reverse order.
18. Repeat the entire procedure by reversing the positions of the legs and arms.


* The practice of Gomukhasana strengthens the muscles of the upper back, upper arms, shoulders, chest, hips and thighs.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Future Architecture - Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees

According to the less alarming forecasts of the GIEC (Intergovernmental group on the evolution of the climate), the ocean level should rise from 20 to 90 cm during the 21st Century with a status quo by 50 cm (versus 10 cm in the 20th Century). As a solution to this alarming problem architect Vincent Callebaut came up with this ecotectural marvel that could serve as a luxurious future retreat for 50,000 inhabitants seeking refuge from rising waters due to global warming. He believes the world will be desperately seeking shelter from the devastations of climate change, and hopes the auto-sufficient amphibious city will serve as a luxurious solution. To bad that right now we are close to 7 billion people and this luxurious future retreat is just for 50,000 inhabitants ( just for rich people ).

Vincent Callebaut called this project “Lilypad“, but this ecotectural marvel is also called as “Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees”. The whole structure is covered in green walls and roofs, the top portion covered in grasses with the inner portion featuring a palm oasis, and the under portion serving as a bed for natural sea planktons and oceanic plants. Finally if you were already planning to reserve a place to this luxurious future retreat stay calm, because Vincent Callebaut hopes that “Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees” will make the transition from design to reality around the year 2100.

Kids Chair with Roll-Top Storage Space

The Kid’s Roll Top Chair has a sitting surface that works like an old-time roll-top desk, sliding away to reveal storage space where kids can put their toys and other “stuff” while being usable as a chair too. As the name of this chair already suggests, the chair was designed for kids, and it looks like a cool idea, but I think that the chair will be broken in a few hours or maximum days, because as we all know kids love to see how things work, and experiment. If you want it no matter what, and you don’t care that your kids might destroy it quickly you can buy it from here for $168.

Beautifuel Life - Oil Can Coffee Set

Ouch. With oil selling at record prices, filling up our cars at the pump really hurts our wallets these days. Global demand, especially from rapidly growing economies like China and India, is far outstripping our capacity to produce enough oil. So it makes more and more sense to curb our dependence on crude. Perhaps a good way to remind us to change our oil guzzling lifestyle is this gold tone oil can tea set made by Designcommando (Germany). The designers called their creation Beautifuel Life because “We all have a beautiful life that is given to us by oil and fuel.”
The coffee service is porcelain. For the exclusive series, the oil can is covered with real gold. It is painted gold for the normal series. The gold colour serves as a daily reminder that the cost of oil may as well be in the same category as the precious metal itself. So each morning you pour your favourite beverage from the oil can pot, you will be conscious of draining supplies.

Dhanurasana - The Bow Pose

"Dhanus" means "bow" in Sanskrit. In the final position of this asana, the body takes the shape of a bow, drawn tight to shoot an arrow. The stretched arms and lower legs resemble the taut bowstring, while the trunk and thighs resemble the wooden part of the bow.

1. Lie with your abdomen, chest and chin resting on the ground.
2. Stretch the arms on the sides. Keep the feet a little apart.
3. Bend the legs backwards and grasp the corresponding ankles firmly.
4. Hold the arms stiff and straight. Keep the knees sufficiently apart.
5. Raise your chin and bend your head and neck backward without raising the chest.
6. Inhaling, pull the legs slowly upward towards the ceiling (not the head).
7. While pulling hard against the ankles, raise the knees, thighs, hips, the lower region of the navel, chest, shoulders, chin, neck and head upward all together until the body is balanced on the navel region which alone should touch the floor.
8. Arch the back as much as possible with the arms and legs tugging at each other.
9. Slowly bring the big toes, the inner edges of the feet and the knees closer and join them together.
10. Keep your head up and backward as far as you can and look up.
11. Hold your breath and maintain the posture until you feel the strain.
12. Exhaling, return slowly to the starting position in the reverse order.


* Persons who suffer from high blood pressure, heart ailments, stomach ulcer, colitis, hernia or slipped disc must not attempt this posture.
* Those who have undergone any abdominal operation must give it up until they have recovered fully.
* Women should not practice this asana during pregnancy.


* Dhanurasana helps to cure rheumatism of the legs, knee-joints, hands.
* It relieves pain in the neck and back, and also certain types of lumbar pain.
* It also alleviates sciatica.
* It helps to set right slipped disc.
* It also helps to cure flatulence after meals.
* It will eradicate dyspepsia, sluggishness of the liver and urinary troubles.
* It relieves constipation by improving the peristaltic action of the intestines. It prevents or gives relief in piles.
* It can be specially prescribed for those suffering from diabetes as it stimulates pancreatic action.
* It prevents sterility.
* Dhanurasana strengthens the muscles of the thighs and buttocks. It makes the abdominal, lumbar and pelvic muscles supple and strong.
* This asana has a beneficial effect on the heart, liver, spleen, bladder, the genital organs and the solar plexus.
* Dhanurasana promotes digestion by stimulating gastric secretions and relieves congestion of blood in the abdominal viscera.
* It reduces excess fat around the abdomen, waist, hips and thighs and is specially beneficial to women.
* It improves the posture. It also rectifies slouching.

Dandasana - Staff or Stick Pose

"Danda" means "stick" in Sanskrit.


1. Sit with the legs outstretched in front, feet hip-width apart.
2. Straighten each leg, one at a time, and join the inner sides of your legs and feet.
3. Place your hands on the floor alongside your hips, fingers pointing forward.
4. Lengthen the calf muscles, and stretch your knees and toes.
5. Keep your knees straight.
6. Engage the thigh muscles and flex the feet. The heels may come up off the floor.
7. Press your palms down to stretch your elbows and arms.
8. Stack the shoulders directly on top of the hips.
9. Lift your abdomen, freeing the diaphragm of tension.
10. Breathe smoothly and naturally as you hold the pose.
11. Hold the pose for 1 minute.

Note: Beginners may find it easier to separate their feet slightly, and should hold the pose for just 30 seconds.


* Person having any spinal problem, weak wrists, heart ailment or high blood pressure should not perform this pose.


* Improves digestion.
* Tones the kidneys.
* Helps to prevent sciatic pain.
* Stretches and activates the muscles of the legs.
* Prevents tiredness in the feet by stretching the muscles of the feet.