Using plants to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Plants have been shown in studies by the NIH and in Psychology Today to have a variety of positive effects on mental health. During the colder months where the days are shorter and we are forced inside for longer periods of time, plants can help ease the transition that often comes with depression for a lot of people. 

Plants have been shown to: 

  • Lower levels of anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase attentiveness
  • Improve well being

These are just a few of the benefits of simply having plants in your environment. One of the main functions of plants is the production of oxygen. Oxygen is considered a "waste" product as it is what is left when plants convert light energy into chemical energy. 

Benefits of increased oxygen in your environment and your body include: 

  • Improves sleep
  • Clears toxins
  • Improves cell regeneration
  • Improves immunity
  • Aids in digestion

Most people can't afford "oxygen therapy," but we can afford a plant or two and may have a friend or family member willing to share.

There are several that are easy to care for and can increase the oxygen output in your home.

Here are my top 3 plants for easy home care:

Spider Plant

This plant enjoys bright areas and do not require direct sunlight. With minimal care they will can and will produce baby spider plants that you can share with friends or family or pot in other areas of your home. Spider plants like moderate watering which means keeping the soil moist, not wet and do not allow it to dry out.

Spider Plant

Spider Plant

Baby Spider Plants

Baby Spider Plants

Snake plant aka Mother-in-Law's Tongue

This plant is practically kill-proof. It prefers drier conditions and will work well in bright to partially dark areas. It is a slow growing plant, so good for folks who are in it for the long haul. This plant prefers dry soil so allow it to be mostly dry before watering. Take care to water direct to the soil and avoid wetting the leaves. 

Mother-In-Law Tongue

Mother-In-Law Tongue

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera comes in a multitude of varieties from small to large. The common aloe (aloe barbadensis miller) is one of 100s available and is one of the two types of aloe; green and blue. Either way, aloe does better in dry conditions and prefer soil similar to that of cactus. They do not like to be standing water of any sort. The top 1-2 inches of soil should be dry before watering again. Aloe also does not like direct sunlight. If you find the leaves turning orange or brown, move it to a bright are out of direct sunlight. 

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

All of the plants listed are my personal plants.

If you found this information helpful, please fill out the interest form for future information. I promise I will not spam you. You can also follow me on social media as Bytes and Buds.

 

 

#EvernoteEveryDay - Day 8: Integrate with Microsoft

The ability to integrate products and work with your info seamlessly is invaluable. Last year Evernote for Outlook was added to the Microsoft app store. The add on allows you to attach Evernote notes to an email and send email from Outlook to Evernote. Later in the year they rolled out the capability to sync Evernote reminders to the Outlook calendar app. This means that your Evernote reminders will appear in your Outlook calendar giving you a single source to keep track of what you need to do.

You have Outlook or you've been using it. Now get Evernote here.

If you think you missed #EvernoteEveryDay - Day 7, you didn't. It was a throw back to How to "Brain Dump" with Evernote - 15 minutes or less.

Note: The links to sign up for Evernote above are affiliate links.

#EvernoteEveryDay - Day 6: Doodling

Doodling is one of the most common and best habits you can have. Many reports and studies agree that doodling has many benefits including: 

  • Helps to generate ideas
  • Provides an outlet for creativity
  • Help you concentrate
  • Keep you present in the moment

If you want to keep your doodles close and handy Evernote is for you. If you have a stylus or smart pen you likely can have more control over your doodles. I like pens with a comfort grip like these stylus pens from Amazon. If you do not have a stylus you can still doodle with your finger. 

To doodle inside of your Evernote you can start with a Handwriting note from the add note button:

upload.png

Or you can select the paperclip icon from inside an existing note and select Handwriting from the pop up menu:

upload.png

Evernote will show a grid like background to let you know you are on a handwriting page. Once on this page you have a toolbar with 5 options:  

upload.png
  • Pen color and weight - black, blue, red and green and small, medium and thick
  • Eraser
  • Select tool - Allows you to select a portion of what you have drawn and move it to another part of the page
  • Undo
  • Redo 

To see how doodles appear in Evernote click here. DISCLAIMER: I am not a good doodler, LOL!

BONUS:

Evernote will try and help you if you are attempting to draw standard shapes like circles, squares, triangles, etc. If you draw an imperfect circle, it will pop up a gray icon with a circle. If you select the icon it will correct your drawing to a perfect circle. Same holds true for other shapes as well.

You can view examples in the Sample Doodles page.

If you are looking forward to trying out doodling make sure you sign up with Evernote via Bytes and Buds and get started with using #EvernoteEveryDay

NOTE: The links included in this post are affiliate links.

 

#EvernoteEveryDay - Day 5: Student Success

The largest population that has a need for keeping thorough and accessible notes is students. It does not matter if you are a traditional student, continuing education or mature student while working. The fact remains you need a central place to keep not only your notes, but also any documents associated with a course. 

I personally have used Evernote for my traditional Biology course as well as to study for the PMP exam for example. It allowed me to have everything with me all the time so that I could study whenever I had a free moment. You can keep copies of handouts and other course related documents in a note. If you are a person who prefers to take notes on paper initially you can still get the advantages of having notes in Evernote. You can take a picture/scan your paper notes and keep them in notebook. If the instructor draws images on the board, you can snap those and keep those pictures in Evernote as well. 

Take a look at examples of how I used Evernote to take notes: 

In addition to keeping the notes in Evernote you can use reminders to help you remember what to study. If you missed how to use reminders, check out the post #EvernoteEveryDay - Reminders

Now if you still haven't gotten Evernote, go ahead and sign up here: Evernote via Bytes and Buds and get started with using #EvernoteEveryDay. If you are a student, sign up with your school email for a chance for a discount.

Want to know how you can save on Evernote Premium after signing up for the Basic version? Click Here.

NOTE: The link to sign up for Evernote above is an affiliate link.

#EvernoteEveryDay - Day 4: Reminders

This is a feature that everyone can and should use. Need to remember to write/publish that blog post? Need to pick up the items from the grocery store? Need to remember to call and check if you have to report for jury duty?

You can create a reminder in as little as 5 steps.

  1. Click on the clock icon
  2. Select Set DateDate
  3. Select the date
  4. Select the time
  5. Select Save

That's it and that's all folks. Take any note and make a reminder of it. No need to clutter up your calendar or download another app. Let Evernote help you every day!

Now if you still haven't gotten Evernote, go ahead and sign up here: Evernote via Bytes and Buds and get started with using #EvernoteEveryDay

NOTE: The link to sign up for Evernote above is an affiliate link.

 

#EvernoteEveryDay - Day 3: Email

Find yourself spending time combing through email to look for directions, documents or just stuff? Have several email accounts and can't remember which account had the info? Need a reminder to complete a task for your to do list? Then the email to Evernote feature is for you! 

It is really simple.

  1. Find your Evernote email (requires a paid subscription)
  2. Android: Settings > Account Info > Evernote email is in the list
  3. IPhone: Settings (select your username) > General > Evernote email
  4. Mac: Username > Account info > Email notes to > Evernote email
  5. Windows: Tools > Account Info > Email notes to > Evernote email

Now you have your Evernote email add it as a contact to whatever email accounts you use. 

To save the email to Evernote, forward the email to the Evernote address. The subject becomes the title for the note. If you want the note to go somewhere other than the default notebook, use the following in the subject to customize: 

  • @notebook - where you use the notebook name you want the email to be saved to
  • #tag - to put the tags you want on the note
  • !date - to add a reminder for the note at a later time

BONUS: You can add an email to an existing note with +ExistingNoteTitle at the end of the subject line. 

Here are a few examples:

Home Depot fans @Rehab Project #receipt #living room - Keep all your electronic receipts for a project or tax purposes

Social media training trial @Training #Instagram !10/30/17 - Cancel a trial if you don't want to keep the service

Basketball physical needed @David !11/1/17 - Schedule a physical for your son so he can participate in sports

Now if you still haven't gotten Evernote, go ahead and sign up here: Evernote via Bytes and Buds and get started with using #EvernoteEveryDay

NOTE: The link to sign up for Evernote above is an affiliate link.

Tweet: #EvernoteEveryDay - Email with #BytesandBuds http://bit.ly/eedemail

#EvernoteEveryDay - Day 2: Evernote Webclipper

What is it? 

One of the greatest features of Evernote is the web clipper. The web clipper allows you to save content from the web to your notebooks. It is an extension for your web browser. It is not a separate application, so you do not have to worry about installing an additional application. You use this feature right inside the browser that you already use.

Browsers you can use

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Opera
  • Safari

All of the above browsers are supported on both Windows and Mac computers except Internet Explorer.

Why is this a benefit?

  • One place to go for all saved information - No more searching around for which browser you bookmarked the page, what application you copied and pasted the content or where in your 8,542 pictures you took a screenshot
  • Access content no matter what device you are using
  • Save different types of content, from a simple web page to a PDF attachments

What can I save? 

  • Article - Web content without the navigation panes and is adjustable. The area not saved is grayed out on your preview
  • Simplified article - Web content without the navigation panes, menus or ads. The areas not saved is deleted in your preview
  • Full page - The entire contents of a web page indicated by a green border around the content.
  • Bookmark - Saves the title of the page, a link for the URL and a short description
  • Screenshot - Allows you to select a portion of the page to save

What else can I do?

  • Change the name of my note
  • Change the account to save the note to
  • Select the notebook to save to
  • Add tags
  • Add comments
  • General options

What are these general options? 

  • Notebook selection
  • Tag Selection
  • Default clip action
  • After clip
  • Related results
  • PDF page button
  • Error logs

See the Evernote gallery for screenshots of what these options look like.

Check out this video from Evernote to see it in action: The Evernote Web Clipper

Now if you still haven't gotten Evernote, go ahead and sign up here: Evernote via Bytes and Buds and get started with using #EvernoteEveryDay

P.S. The Evernote Web Clipper works on your mobile browsers too!

NOTE: The link to sign up for Evernote above is an affiliate link.

Tweet: #EvernoteEveryDay - The web clipper with #BytesandBuds http://bit.ly/eedwebclipper

#EvernoteEveryDay - Day 1: Evernote App

Welcome to #EvernoteEveryDay!

To start make sure that you have Evernote on the device you use most. The best thing about Evernote is that it is accessible on all device types:

  • Android devices
  • iPhone/iPad
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Evernote for the web

Having this flexibility is what makes Evernote an invaluable tool. No matter the device or place you can access your information.

To get started sign up on the web here: http://bit.ly/babevernotebasic

This will allow you to use Evernote on the web indefinitely and install Evernote and sync on two devices. It will also allow you to clip web pages, search for text inside images and share notes. This version allows you to have up to 60 MB of uploads a month. I recommend signing up with your Google account so that you have one less password to remember.

If you have more than 2 devices that you regularly use you might consider Evernote Plus. You can sign up here: http://bit.ly/babevernoteplus. The cost is less than 10 cents a day. The Plus version allows you to sync to all your devices. In addition you access notes offline, forward emails into Evernote and lock your mobile Evernote app with a passcode. All great features that will be covered in our #EvernoteEveryDay series. This version allows you to have up to 1 GB of uploads a month.

To take advantage of all of the features of Evernote you can sign up for the Premium version here: http://bit.ly/babevernotepremium. Premium allows you to also search for text in PDFs and Office documents, annotate PDFs and scan and digitize business cards. This version allows you to have up to 10 GB of uploads a month. The cost is less than 20 cents a day.

Once you've signed up Evernote let me know you are on board:

Tweet: I'm ready for #EvernoteEveryDay  #BytesAndBuds

Follow the #EvernoteEveryDay hashtag for chances to win free coaching and a year of Evernote Premium!

Looking forward to interacting with you during #EvernoteEveryDay

NOTE: The links to sign up for Evernote above are affiliate links.

 

9 Great ways to resuse coffee grounds in your home and garden

WAIT! Don't throw those used coffee grounds in trash!

Do your part for the environment and recycle them in the ways that make you happy double time!

  1. Fertilizer - You can easily create fertilizer by mixing about a 4 ounces (half a cup) of coffee grounds to one gallon of water. Let it steep overnight and then use on acid loving plants like roses and gardenias
  2. Compost - This one is easy, just throw it in the compost bin. It provides lots of nitrogen to the mix and to your plants
  3. Plant and boost seed production - Mix your carrot and radish seeds in with coffee grounds for easier sowing and to give these acid loving veggies a boost. You might even double your harvest with this trick! Try it with other seeds too. 
  4. Cat repellent - Sprinkle coffee grounds in the soil to keep them from digging in your plants
  5. Clean grease - use a little bit of the grounds to those tough pots and pans to help remove grease. Make sure that you do not try this on non-stick pans as they have sensitive finishes. 
  6. Remove odors from hands - After some smelly items like fish and onions  and even outdoor odors you can use coffee grounds to minimize the smell. Rubbing the grounds on your hands before the soap helps to absorb odors. Add some liquid soap and now you have a DIY scrub!
  7. Deodorize the garbage disposal - instead of tossing them in trash, put them right in the disposal. You can even let them sit a bit to absorb and mask odors. 
  8. Deodorize the freezer/refrigerator - Have something smelly that you found after weeks, but still can't get rid of the smell. Place a small bowl with coffee grounds in overnight. To give it an extra boost add a couple of drops of vanilla extract to the mix. 
  9. Keep worms alive - Whether you use them for your garden and composting or for fishing, mixing the grounds in with the soil makes for a happy and healthy worm home!

If you have more useful ways to use coffee grounds in your home or garden, please share in the comments below!

5 easy steps for no hassle watering

Most people that I chat with claim they have a "brown: thumb. After a few more minutes I learn the real problem is that most people don't have time or don't remember to water their plants. There are options like watering bulbs and globes, but why spend money when you likely have items in your home that you can use TODAY that you can use.

My personal favorite is a wine bottle! Yep, that's right a good ole empty wine bottle. Now if you aren't a wine drinker and prefer other beverages like soda, beer or cider those containers will work too. I am partial to glass containers, but plastic ones will work as well. The steps are simple:

  1. Drink wine (or other beverage)
  2. Rinse container thoroughly
  3. Fill container with water
  4. Stick bottle in soil neck down at about a 30 degree angle
  5. Relax and enjoy no watering

No strings, no catch that's it! This works for houseplants, outdoor container plants and in-ground plantings as well.

Some additional tips to customize your watering solution:

  • Put a folded coffee filter over the neck of the bottle and secure with a rubber band to slow down the release rate of the water and keep dirt from entering the bottle
  • Spray paint the bottle to match your decor or give it a festive approach
  • Use different sizes and shapes of bottles to provide additional decoration around the plant

If you don't drink coffee, filters are relatively inexpensive or you can try and claim a few of the used filters from your office break room. Used tea bags could work also even though they may be more difficult to secure.

Either way, this solution will allow you minimize your watering troubles indoors and out.

Happy drinking! (for you and the plants!)