Chicago Botanic Gardens

Do you find varieties of blooming flowers irresistible? Is horticulture your middle name? If so, I would suggest you sometime visit a local garden or if you’re in the area visit the Chicago Botanic Gardens located in Glencoe, Illinois.

There you will find 23 formal display gardens and 3 native habitats that are situated on 385 acres of land. You can explore the gardens either by walking of by taking the tram. With either option you are guaranteed to take in the beautifully well-designed and landscaped gardens.

Some of my favorite (of the 23 gardens) to enjoy are:

English Walled Garden

Walledgarden

Here you find fountains, roses and a pond of water lilies

Waterfall Garden

waterfallgarden

In this garden trees and rocks composite the base of this cool shade garden. While the sounds of the mini waterfalls add to its atmosphere.

The fruit & vegetable garden

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In this unique garden you may discover the beauty in a head of growing cabbage or see new ways to grow apple trees.

Here are a few more images to take in from a recent visit to the gardens:

flowers

bonsai

pyramid

Cleaning your pearly whites

oralbtriumphIn the age of HDTVs, i-pods and Kindle is the electric toothbrush. Yet, did you know one toothbrush out there would display a smiley face for you if you brush your teeth for 2 minutes? This toothbrush is Oral-B Triumph 9900. This toothbrush though costly is a favorite of mine.

First the toothbrush has a built in sensor so that you are warned when you brush too hard. There are also a couple of different modes to choose from for brushing. What makes this toothbrush unique is the Smart Guide; a devise separate from the toothbrush. This guide walks you through the 2 minutes of brushing your teeth with a counter and clock. It also divides the mouth into four quadrants so you are aware every 30 seconds (by a small

pulse by your toothbrush) to continue onward in a new region.

Brushing is comfortable with this toothbrush and can almost seem fun. You just have to remember to put the toothbrush in your mouth before turning it on (otherwise you may loose your toothpaste). So if you are looking for something new for those pearly whites, I would point you to try Oral-B Triumph 9900. It will challenge you to brush for the recommended 2 minutes, but will give you a smiley reward for brushing!

The Nintendo Wii

secondary-3I have caught the Wii bug. As a birthday gift I received a Nintendo Wii and a few games for said Wii. Hands down the greatest thing about this console is the way you are able to interact with it. It’s more than just button mashing as you find with other console’s controllers. For this gaming system it’s about aiming and positioning combined with some button pressing.

Yet, I shouldn’t just talk about the console; I should also talk about the games. The top two (from the five that I have) that I would recommend is Wii Sports and Boom Blox.

511vBBiKpGL._SL500_AA280_Wii Sports has a collaborative mode where you can bowl, play tennis, baseball, golf or even box with one or multiple friends. Out of the five sports I enjoying tennis and bowling the best as they have the most realistic motions for the sport they are trying to portray. 5120wA4BGBL._SL500_AA280_

Boom Blox, is a close second. The object of the game is to shoot, pull, and destroy boxes. The developers have creatively made this simple premise into a fun filled game, where the more you play the more game options you unlock. One of my favorites is a Jenga-like set of boxes where you have to pull out a set number of boxes before the structure may fall. This game also has collaborative/combative modes.

So if you’re looking to take a stab at some expensive but fun entertainment check out the Nintendo Wii and a few of the above game options.

A new plant for you

houseplantRecently I purchased a very unique houseplant. It is sensitive to the touch and in the evening folds its leaves together until sunrise of the next day. Its common name is the sensitive plant but its scientific name is Mimosa pudica. Mimosa in Greek means mimic and pudica in Latin means bashful, retiring.

According to sources there are over 300 different species of Mimosa, which belong to the (pea) Leguminosae family. This species, Mimosa pudica, is native to Brazil.

Mimosa pudica is considered a perennial, growing 18 inches outdoors. It is characterized by its hairy and spiny stems

and also produces a purple flower which gives rise to a small pod.

The plant’s unusual movement has fascinated people throughout time. At one point it was hypothesized that these plants had nerve and muscle tissue. A more realistic theory is that the movements are the result of a rapid loss of pressure in strategically situated cells that cause the leaves to droop. The exact mechanism of how the leaves loose their internal pressure has still yet to be discovered.

If you are looking to expand your plant collection consider the sensitive plant.

Source consulted: http://faculty.ucc.edu/biology-ombrello/pow/sensitive_plant.htm

Watch this plant in action:

An Inspiring Castle

Where does inspiration come from? Different people would probably give you varying answers. Life is full of inspiration.  One castle in Germany, the Neuschwanstein castle, seems to have inspired the look of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle along with the castle found at Disneyland theme park.

This enchanted 19th century Bavarian castle is found on a rugged hillside near the town of Fussen. The castle was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and homage to Richard Wagner. This palace is considered to be one of the most photographed buildings in Germany, along with popular tourist destination.

The outer castle walls are covered with slabs of limestone, while the inner supporting walls are built of brick. This castle is surprisingly equipped with many modern conveniences such as running water, and flushing toilets. Yet, these are not the attributes that have inspired artists to mirror their works after; it is rather this castle’s beautiful spires and pinnacle setting.