What a child sees | a heartwarming video about children & animals

I watched this heartwarming, hope-inducing video yesterday and just had to share with all of you. Two minutes I wish the whole world could see. These children are so compassionate, it really filled my heart and the video, by Compassion Over Killing was so well made!

Why I drink warm lemon water every single day

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This post has been a long time coming and I actually feel bad for not sharing it as soon as I discovered the awesome benefits I get from doing this! Almost every single day for the last few years, I’ve started my morning with a big ol’ cup of warm lemon water.

Ever since I started this, I get sick so much less! I used to not remember a time when I didn’t have a stuffed up or runny nose, but thanks to warm lemon water (and I am very grateful), I don’t ever have this issue anymore! The big boost of vitamin c and a good amount of water, first thing in the morning, was apparently just what my body needed to keep the sniffles at bay.

I ran out of lemons last week and thought I’d give the warm lemon water a break, but my throat started to itch a little bit after only a couple days. Once I got back on the warm lemon water train, my throat got better and it never developed any further. And! My mood is better when I drink warm lemon water, too!

I just use the juice of half of a large lemon or one whole small lemon and a big mug of filtered, boiled (and then cooled a little bit) water. But it’s really up to you and how much lemon you can handle. Lemons are one of my very favorite fruits, so it was easy to jump on this bandwagon. I’ve also heard of putting ginger and cayenne, among other things, into the mix. Putting those in makes the lemon almost taste like it’s gone off, for me, so I only mix those in when I’m feeling brave :P

Top 3 most common benefits of drinking warm lemon water:

lemons Helps aid digestion

lemons Boosts immune system

lemons Helps cleanse the body

If you’re interested in more, check out this video from Leaf.TV that I saw the other day (another sign to me that I just had to get this post out already, haha!):

Do you drink warm lemon water? If so, what benefits have you noticed?

If you’re on SnapChat, let’s connect! Follow me @koalaeva – I’d love to see your snaps!

It just doesn’t feel like winter without snow

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Thank you so much to everyone who commented, snapchatted or messaged me feedback to my last post! If you haven’t checked it out and told me what you think of my early 2016 blog plans, please let me know what you think! I’ve gotta be honest with you, the idea of making videos and posting them online for anyone to see is kind of scary, but they say you should conquer your fears, right? :)

I finally got my winter wonderland this week! If you’ve been following along on my blog for a while now, you’ll know that I absolutely love snow. It just isn’t winter for me without it.

One reason I chose the apartment complex I currently live in is because it has a little nature trail along the apartments so I went on a walk as soon as the snow arrived and snapped a few photos. I’m sure I’ve said this a million times before, but there’s just something so magical about snow! The first dusting makes everything automatically beautiful. “What’s the point of the cold without snow?” I say!

What do you think about snow? Are you a lover or a hater? Do you feel the magic when it arrives, too?

I had a bit of a headache with this post. I’ve gotten a new laptop with retina display and now it seems difficult to get my photos to be focused. How do these photos show up for you? I tried my best to make them look as presentable as possible, but I’ll keep trying – photos and the layout!

2016 | What I’ve got planned for Four Leaf Clover & wanting your input

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Happy 2016! I’m feeling really good about this year and I hope you are, too! I’ve got a lot of things planned out for this year (and not planned, but I know they’re going to happen…sooometiiime…) in life and for Four Leaf Clover! No, I don’t really make resolutions anymore, but it’s a pretty good excuse to start (or re-start) something and stick to it!

I’m a little superstitious so I try to bring in the new year joyfully and I did this year and so far every day has been really good! I’ve picked running back up and hope to run Monday-Friday (writing it down and telling people is said to make you more accountable and more likely to stick to something, right?), I’ve been doing 30 days of YOGA CAMP(!) with Yoga With Adriene, I’ve been meditating every day, and I’ve started journaling from the start of the day with my intention for the day. It’s almost like a to-do list, but I write what I will do and so far I’ve been doing all that I write down and more! I always make sure to write that it’ll be a great day, too, and it’s been working so far and it will continue working ;)

I wanted to give you a little insight into what to expect from me and this space at least for the time being. I want more structure here and I’ve finally gotten into posting once a week and giving myself a little bit of a deadline and it’s stuck!

> I want to change my layout and make it user-friendly for all devices
> I’d like to finish off my Lake Como posts and go into other travel posts
> I want to build more of a community here. I felt like I really had that before I left for university, but when I “came back” to the blogosphere, so many bloggers had stopped blogging. I love this space, though, and I’m not ready to give it up!

My favorite space online, for the past year, has been YouTube. I use it and check it more often than I use any other site or app. For the longest time, I’ve been considering starting videos of my own, but I have no clue how to go about making a good quality video that I would feel okay publishing online (I’m a bit of a perfectionist). What do you guys think? Would you be interested in watching videos of mine? Do you make your own videos? Is there anything you’d like for me to cover either in a video or just on Four Leaf Clover in general?

I want to hear from you! What brought you here and what posts have got you coming back? What would you like to see more of? And what have you got planned (or not planned, but you know it’s gonna happen!) for 2016? Thank you for being here!

Wishing all of you a peaceful winter and a merry Christmas ❤

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I’ve been meaning to share this beautiful “Peaceful Winter” Christmas card illustration by Katharina Rot Illustration with all of you for a while now… and what better time than right now? :) Katharina Rot is a vegan illustrator and animal rights activist from Hamburg, Germany. She illustrates images with messages of love and protecting animals. I love that she shares her talent with the world and uses it to spread a kind message to help animals. And it’s also on 100% recycled paper!
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All of the illustrations featured here are available on the Katharina Rot Illustration Etsy page. I hope she releases these as a Christmas card in a pack of a few because then I’d definitely buy them for next year!
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Aren’t they gorgeous? I love all the detail!
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❤ I wish every single one of you a very merry Christmas! Thank you so much for stopping by, reading, sharing, commenting… it means so much to me and is a gift in itself. May you all have an amazing next few days full of peace, love, and joy! ❤

(These illustrations have been used with permission from the artist and are all clickable to the Etsy page where you may purchase them. Please do not use without permission from Katharina Rot Illustration. Thank you, Katharina, for letting me share your artwork on Four Leaf Clover!)

A town in Japan is on their way to producing ZERO waste

This is so impressive and inspiring! Kamikatsu, Japan is a small town of 1,700 people and ever since 2003 they’ve been working towards their goal of producing absolutely no waste by 2020. They currently separate all their trash into 34 different categories, composting their food waste. They have to wash everything, which is a hassle, but after a while they say it becomes second nature.

Can you imagine if the whole world followed by example?! Finding out about this town today made me so happy and I hope it’s the way of the future with many other towns and countries to follow in their footsteps and making the process more and more efficient as it gains popularity.

Our planet is not full of magical holes that make our trash disappear and so much of what we throw out stays in landfills for longer than we are alive. It sounds like this could possibly be the much needed and long overdue solution!

What do you think about Kamikatsu’s current recycling system and their almost-zero waste production? Would you participate in this type of recycling if it were available to you? I’m ready to get on board and start sorting now!

Yoga! | How to finally get into yoga and stick to doing it every damn day

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I’ve been interested in yoga for years. I dabbled in it here and there, and even took some lessons during my last year of university. But it’s pretty pricey for a university student who wanted to practice every single day or, at the very least, a couple times a week. But, I’ve learned that things come into your life when you’re ready for them… no later, no sooner. In comes Yoga With Adriene.

I found out about Yoga With Adriene back in January and have been in love with yoga and trying to do it every day since! It was the perfect time for me to discover her channel, because she had just begun her 30 Days of Yoga challenge. If you’re looking into finally getting into yoga or sticking to it “every damn day” (as the hashtag catchphrase goes), something like a 30 day challenge is an awesome way to get into it!

However, if that’s not your cup of tea or you’re not in a place where you can do yoga so often, Adriene also has videos for beginners, weight loss and an awesome foundations of yoga playlist where she shows you step-by-step how to do certain poses among many other videos for different types of needs. Since January, I’ve done about 99% of all her videos and I’ve done the 30 day challenge three times and I’m about to start my fourth go around.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who has caught on, because when I first noticed her YouTube subscriber number it was just under 500,000 now it’s over 1,000,000! I love how Adriene teaches and that she’s got free videos posted every Wednesday!

Yoga is great not only as an exercise for your body, but it’s also fantastic for your mind! Yoga was initially created so that meditating monks could become more comfortable sitting and meditating for hours at a time. I try to always end my practice with a 10-20 minute meditation session and I feel like yoga is a great warm up for it! Doing yoga is one of my favorite parts of the day and it makes me feel so good and want to be healthier in all areas of my life. I highly recommend it for everyone!

Do any of you do yoga? Have you heard of Yoga With Adriene?

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(Original Adriene image via Yoga With Adriene Facebook page)

Did you know…? | How to stop crying when cutting onions

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So, hey! Happy December! I want to commit to writing more blog posts because I love it and I love the blogging community. I start, stop, start, stop and want to finally get back to posting regularly. I decided to keep myself accountable by starting this ‘did you know’ series (a bit like my ‘life tips‘ and ‘good to know‘ past posts). And hopefully it helps me improve my finger writing and drawing skills, haha!

If you struggle with cutting onions because they always make you tear up to the point where you have to stop what you’re doing and run to get a tissue (this has happened to me… a lot), hopefully this will be your solution like it has been mine. I went my entire life not knowing this until a few years ago when I heard it in a movie. I tried it and it worked! And I’ve been using this method ever since. Placing onions in the fridge helps stop the enzymes from seeping out of the onion as quickly as a fresh, non-refrigerated onion would, which leads to our tears.

I usually have at least one onion in the fridge and just remember to put in a couple more once I use them up, but sometimes I forget. This method usually still works pretty well if you put in your onion first thing when you start cooking and get to the onion fairly late in the game (doing a little search online tells me that 20-30 mins is all that you really need).

I’ve read that it can possibly affect the texture of your onions and/or affect the other produce you have in the fridge, but I’ve never found this to be the case for me. However, if you want to be on the safe side, maybe stick to the 20-30 minute rule or try it out once to see what happens.

Do you tear up when you cut onions? Do you use the fridge method? Another method? What other kitchen tips do you have? Please, do tell!

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The real price of dairy

This short video is so powerful. I couldn’t watch this and not share. How we allow this to happen, all the time, I don’t understand. How this is the norm… I can’t understand. Actually, this is by no means the worst of the dairy industry.

Humans are the only species that drink milk past infancy and the only ones who regularly drink another species’ milk. These poor, sweet, too-trusting-of-us cows. I’m so sorry I ever supported this. My heart breaks for every animal that suffers, especially at the hands of humans.

I hope people realize what they’re doing, what they’re supporting, what they’re paying for and that this becomes a thing of the past soon. Thank you Evolve! Campaigns for sharing this video.

So much to see in Lake Como, Italy

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Surprise! I’m not done with my Lake Como series. I haven’t posted a travel post in a while and I know they’re one of your favorites so I hope you really enjoy this one… I made sure to pick a lot of photos to share. In my last Lake Como post, I mentioned that we visited a villa on the island of Bellagio. That villa was Villa Melzi. While the villa itself was lovely, it was the area surrounding the villa that really stood out to me. Take a look!

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P.S. I went ahead and took the plunge into Instagram Land. I’m thinking of posting “outtakes” from some of my trips there, so check it out and let’s follow each other! :)