Meet Fred-My New Scoby

This is Fred. He’s a scoby (bacteria) that is used to make Kombucha.

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Kombucha tea is a fermented tea that dates WAY back to China and Russia. It has scads of health benefits such as probiotics, detox, improves digestion, alkalizes the body, etc. I recently ordered a Kombucha starter kit from getkombucha.com. Here’s Fred feasting on some sugared tea. He’s at the bottom of the jar and his newly made offspring is at the top (Fred Jr. I guess).

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After about 16 days, I did a taste test and checked the ph and it was all signs Go! Next, I bottled the tea in individual jars straining out all the Fred bits. I will leave them in the pantry for two more days to get carbonation.

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Next step is¨”Cheers”! Fred’s back in freshly brewed tea to start the process again.  This second batch I will be experimenting with flavors, especially ginger since that is my favorite store bought Kombucha. Side note: Kombucha is not cheap here in Mexico. I will have paid for my kit with the second batch, and then it’s a free lifelong supply.

Best Pilaf Ever-Trust

This is my moms recipe. She always called it French Pilaf because the recipe came from a next door neighbor (when she was younger) who was French. She always served it when we were having steak or some kind of red meat. It was delicious when I was 10 years old and it still is.

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  • 3/4 cup white rice
  • 2 handfuls of twisty vermicelli
  • 2tbsp-1/2 cube of butter (based on preference)
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes

Fry the rice and vermicelli in the butter until the rice is white and the vermicelli is brown. Meanwhile, boil 2 1/2 cups of water with the bouillon cubes.

Pour the the water into the rice and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover for 20 minutes on low heat.

Do Not lift the lid!

(After 20 minutes if you like your pilaf drier, you can put the lid back on and set it aside for another 10 min)

 

Souvenir Buying

When buying travel souvenirs for myself, I stay away from the souvenir trinket stores. Inevitably, the sombrero from Mexico ends up in the garage sale, the metal Eiffel tower disappears and I couldn’t care less, or the sarongs bought from a beach vacation go into a drawer….forever.

I usually do some research. What the country/area is known for. I will often have one or two things that I want to buy for sure. But mostly, what I buy just happens. You’re walking down the street and see an artist painting a pic that captures the moment. Or you stroll into a shop and see something that you love. My advice is when this happens, to buy. I find I rarely go back when I say I will. And then I’m back at home regretting the non purchase.

Here are some things I’ve bought from my travels that I love.

  1. London- I bought teas in tins and I still use the tins today 20 years later.
  2. Ireland- Pottery from the Kylemore Abbey that was made by the nuns.
  3. Paris – Street art, perfume, beauty items from the pharmacy, jewelry. (Next visit, I definitely want something vintage from a street market.)
  4. Prague- A military jacket that fits me perfectly and was only $4.00!
  5. Barcelona – Espadrilles
  6. Vienna- A little music box that plays Mozart
  7. Venice- Street art and a venetian glass pendant
  8. Turkey- Pillow slipcovers, a pair of earrings that are one of my favorites to wear
  9. Mexico City- A table runner that I use on a shelf as décor
  10. Playa del Carmen- A decoupage chubby angel covered in cartoon with gold wings. ( My latest acquisition.)
  11. And from everywhere, I always buy a rosary.

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The best part of buying a souvenir is when I’m at  home and I walk by the painting, or wear the piece of jewelry I bought from another part of the world, there is a memory flash of my time there.

 

Countdown to Remodel Begins

I live in a modern three story home. The bottom floor is currently being used as a studio apt for my couple’s son. He is moving next week and we will be remodeling the entire floor to be one open space for entertaining and hanging out. So first things first. We will be clearing out the floor and taking out a wall next weekend. (Pics to come) Then the fun will begin! Here are some rooms I’ve been eyeing.

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How to Clean Out Your Closet

It’s a lot of time, like an entire intensive weekend, but totally worth it in the end when you look at your neat, organized closet.

So here’s how I de-cluttered my wardrobe:

1. Tossed the following items:

  • Organized Elfa ClosetTorn
  • Stained
  • Irreparable beyond belief
  • Unwearable

2. Sorted the rest into two piles:

  • Sell/Donate
  • Keep

3. I sold/donated the following items:

  • Items that didn’t fit
  • Colours I don’t wear any longer (like black)
  • Duplicates

The questions I asked while going through the rest of the pile:

I allowed myself to keep only 5 sentimental items – baby blanket, hand-painted t-shirts made by my mother, and hand-tailored garments she had tailored for me when I was born.

  • Is it something I’d really wear again? No – Sell/Donate.
  • Does it look good on me and my body type? No – Sell/Donate.
  • Does it fit any longer? No – Sell/Donate.
  • Have I worn this in the last year? No – Sell/Donate.
  • Is there a duplicate that I can get rid of? Yes – Sell/Donate.
  • Are there tags still on it? Yes – Sell/Donate.
  • Am I keeping it just for sentimental reasons?* Yes – Sell/Donate.

Padma Lakshmi's Closet

The sentimental part was difficult so I had another set of questions:

  • Do I really need to keep this?
  • Why am I keeping this?
  • Can I just photograph it?

4. I set the items to donate/sell out of sight and out of mind.

I didn’t donate or try to sell the items until a month or so later, just to make sure I didn’t want to wear it again. If I kept it out of sight, I wouldn’t be tempted to pull it back into my wardrobe.

5. I re-sorted again going through those questions above:

I went through the process again and again until I was satisfied with my super small keep pile’s goal of cutting it down by 50%.

6. I re-sorted my keep pile into:

  • Kept for sentimental reasons
  • Take to tailor (taking in the darts to make it fit better on the bust)
  • Repair at home (sewing button on)
  • Keep as a favourite

The result was that I’d keep only pieces that I’d truly wear on a regular basis, which is the main goal of any minimalist’s closet.

via: everydayminimalist.com

Websites to Help Start Your New Year Right

Goalcast.com

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This site is full of videos and quotes of inspiration, motivation, entrepreneurship, and self improvement from different individuals. Think Ted Talks, but alot more.

Brainpickings.org

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This site is one of my favorites. “An inventory for the meaningful life”.  Brainpickings takes excerpts from art, science, philosophy, etc , along with the creator’s thoughts and opinions. This is a crude description on my part. You need to check this website for yourself to see what it’s all about.