Sometimes you run out of energy. Sometimes you have so much on your plate you think it will topple over at any minute. Sometimes you just need a moment to live in the pause between things. Whatever the reason, we all need a moment to breathe sometimes. This is my moment.
I have been preparing for a pretty big exam and I'm exhausted. I can't even hold a pen long enough to write the word "hello" in a letter. So I'm taking this moment to pause and reflect. And what do most of us do when we pause? We browse memes and read motivational quotes! Don't pretend you don't.... we all do it, even if we don't want to admit it. So don't play dumb. We all know you clicked "Pin". Even if you put it on your "hidden" board. We know.
So whether you're in denial about reading them or not, take a moment to yourself and enjoy eight great quotes, from some of my favorite funny people, about trying new things! Don't worry if you feel tempted to tweet, your secret is safe with me.
Origami is the art of paper folding. It can be found in many cultures including Japan, China, and Spain. Researchers have shown that origami can engage your brain and enhance your motor skills.
Here are three ways that practicing this art form can improve your thinking abilities!
I get PMS.
Was that enough to scare off the men? Probably. Look, this sort of thing happens to the most respectable and flawless of women. And it definitely happens to us trailer-trash divorcees! One day we're fine, and the next day all of that emotional baggage we're trying to deny starts creeping into view. Next thing you know you're crying because a song came on the radio. Damn you, Sarah... now I can't separate your music from the sorrow of animal neglect. I used to love that song too.
Anyway, while these days of the month are not my favorite they do trigger my brain and body to gear up for what some Native American cultures refer to as "moon time". Moon time is the sacred time of the month when a woman gets her period. Obviously referring to the cycle of the moon, this is a time of spiritual cleansing. Of purifying from the inside out. According to my research, during this time women do not participate in rituals or work, and are usually given this opportunity to be alone or with other women. During a woman's moon time it is important to stay away from negative people and situations. It's also a good time to work on art work or writing, as you're at your most creative during this time.
We have all heard the good news by now-- drinking wine (in moderation) is good for your health! In fact recent studies are showing that moderate wine drinkers have a 34% lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers.
My go-to wine is Cabernet Sauvignon, and out here on the west coast the big name in the game is Napa Valley. While Napa Valley definitely produces some stellar Cabernets I don't really want to spend that kind of money on something to sip on an average Monday night. So here are my six great alternatives to Napa Valley Cabernet. Because let's face it, Napa Valley Cabernet is delicious but far too expensive to waste on a Monday night Netflix binge!
Wine #1: Malbec.
Argentina produces about 90% of the world’s Malbec. Crazy, right?! Crazy but true. Malbec is a grape variety that carries a bold spicy tone, and a dark richness, that stands up great against the competition of the Napa Cabernets. And usually for at least half the price!
True healthy living is not just about what you are eating, it is a holistic approach to living that involves diet, lifestyle, activities, and emotions. In the last couple years I have tried to take an honest look at some of the people in my life, and how I have been making excuses for them. If you find yourself constantly defending someone’s behavior there is a very good chance that this person is a toxic influence in your life. This may be hard to hear. You may be thinking of someone right now as you read this. It stings to think about because some of these people may be very close to you. You love them. You care about them. You may even tell yourself that they need you to speak up and defend them. Excuse their actions. If you don’t have their back, who will?
The process of quitting any habit is hard. And quitting the habit of making excuses for the toxic behavior of a loved one may be one the hardest things you have to do. It’s easy to identify toxic people. There are a dozen lists on a dozen sites breaking down each type of toxic person. Negative Nancys, and Debbie Downers. Narcissists and Victims. It’s easy for a cute image on Pinterest to tell you not to let these people affect you. While “Don’t Let Toxic People Bring You Down” is a great poster slogan, there is very little content there to instruct you how to stop letting them bring you down. And honestly, I don’t know for sure either. I don’t have any answers here, and I won’t claim to. Despite my own work on distancing myself from toxic people I still find moments when they affect me. I've over-analyzed. I've worried. I've gone back and forth too many times to count. I regularly have arguments in my head with people I will probably never see again. All I know is that we all have been guilty of defending toxic behavior when it’s someone we care about, so let’s at least admit that we do it. Maybe we can all work through this bad habit together.
The three sisters garden is a Native American gardening practice. This type of garden consists of corn, beans and some type of gourd. I will be planting heirloom golden bantam sweet corn, blue lake bush beans, and howden pumpkins in a 4 foot round above ground fabric planter. Those are also the seeds that the lucky winner of my contest will be receiving as well. According to my research, the corn grows tall and straight providing the perfect climbing pole for the beans to grow and climb up. The beans provide nitrogen to the soil, that benefit both the corn and the pumpkins. The pumpkins spread out around the base of the two other plants acting as a weed barrier. Now let's lay this plan out in a few easy to follow steps.
#1. Pick a a section of your garden (preferably at least 4 feet wide) for your three sisters garden layout. As I stated before, I'm using an above ground planter. This is partially because the soil out here is just packed desert dust and partially because of my roommate that can't seem to help but dig enormous holes everywhere she goes. I think she is trying to dig to China. If she makes it there I have requested some steamed buns upon her return.
Now I have a reputation for having a black thumb, but regrowing plants from cooking scraps is something I have always had success with. Being able to regrow veggies from scraps is a great way to save money and keep you enthusiastic about including healthy foods in your diet. These are my top three foods that you can regrow from scraps, and why they are beneficial to your health!
#1. Scallions/Green Onions/Spring Onions:
These onions are by far the easiest thing to regrow. I usually get two to three months of produce come from my $1 onions. Just cut off the portion you want to use in your cooking and place the bottom bulb in a glass of water. Place your glass in a window and watch it grow! I recommend rinsing out the water daily to keep them fresh and thriving!
You can start with the whole ball of garlic clove, or just break off a few cloves. I prefer to break off a few cloves and let them sprout individually. Place them in water just like the green onions and soon they will produce green sprouts. Garlic sprouts are more mild in flavor than the clove part. I prefer this since I like to put them raw in salads and sandwiches. I also get quite a few months of regrowth out of my little cups of garlic before I need to start again!
Now this one I haven't actually tried yet but I hear it's as easy as it is beautiful! All you need to do is take a piece of fresh ginger that you buy at the grocery store and plant it in a pot of soil. Water it just like you would a house plant and soon you’ll see a pretty green plant sprouting out from the dirt. Once the plant is a decent size you can actually pull it up out of the dirt, chop off a piece of the root to cook with, and then replant it. Any time you need some fresh ginger you can yank it up and do it again!
Let's not forget that the real joy of these three plants is that they are easy enough for even us black thumb folks to grow! Happy planting everyone!
Bored in the kitchen?
Looking to scare the neighbors?
Sword swallowing becoming too mundane?
Throw a knife!
**Note: Throw wisely, safely and legally!
Bex and Bexercise are not to be held responsible for any legal repercussions resulting from dangerous or threatening acts related to you beginning this hobby!
I thought I would give a very quick lesson on how to throw a knife. Take everything I tell you with a grain of salt though-- I'm NOT an expert, and have been doing this less than a year. My wonderful boyfriend is the one who introduced me to this hobby, and I just can't thank him enough! But I definitely have a lot of room for improvement before I go calling myself a "pro". So here is what I know:
Step 1: Pick a knife.
Don't go raiding the kitchen drawer-- those knives are not built for this hobby! Find yourself a good balanced knife designed for throwing. There are also throwing knives that are blade heavy and handle heavy, but the more balanced ones are easier for beginners to learn with.
Step 2: Hold the knife.
Hold your knife either by the blade or handle depending on your personal preferences and where the weight is in the knife. You will want to throw the more weighted end first. Be sure to have a firm but light hold on the knife. Gripping it too tight will throw off your release, and holding it too light might cause you to slip and drop it or release it too early.
Step 3: Angle your throw.
You will probably have to throw a few times to determine the angle needed. The angle on your release will depend on the distance between you and the target and how you are holding your knife. A knife held by the handle will need to turn over at least once in the air to land, However, a knife held by its point will need to turn over at least one and a half times to land.
Step 4: Position yourself.
You will want your weight on your dominant leg. Your non-dominant foot will be in front of you with little to no weight on it. Hold your knife in your dominant hand and raise your arm in front of you so that it's perpendicular to the floor. Bend your elbow so that your knife is back by your head.
Step 5: Throw it!
Move your body and shift your weight from your dominant leg to your non-dominant leg. This creates a forward momentum. While shifting your weight forward, release your arm forward from the elbow, stretching it out straight in front of you. Release the knife when your arm is stretched out straight. Throw your knife as straight out from your body as possible, don't swing your arm across in front of your body -- like with a baseball pitch. Assuming you have the right grip on the knife it should release from your hand easily under the momentum of your body.
Now whether your knife hit the target or not you can pat yourself on the back-- you just threw a knife! Have fun-- and throw with care!
By Alyssa Thayne of Alyssathayne.com
Shakshuka is a delicious dish of eggs poached in tomato broth. It is incredibly easy to make and comes together quickly—all positives in my book.
I first saw a recipe for, what I can only assume was a non-traditionally name shakshuka in a food magazine a few years ago. It boasted a tomato soup topped with a poached egg. At the time, I was very inexperienced when it came to cooking (and was also living in the dorms at my university, i.e. I had no kitchen), so I went to the store, grabbed my trusted can of Campbell’s tomato soup and went home to create this recipe the easy way. Let’s just say that poaching an egg in tomato soup in a $10 electric kettle was not my best culinary moment. After that, I decided it was something I would just come back to in the future.
Well, the future has officially arrived. I was perusing Instagram, trying to get some inspiration for a clean eating recipe because apparently, my brain goes into panic mode when I attempt to intentionally plan a clean recipe. During this time, I stumbled across this beautiful photo of a friend’s dish of shakshuka in my feed. I immediately went to my kitchen and decided to make a version of this for myself. I was out of a couple of the items that I wanted to include, but even so, the first attempt was so tasty, I decided that this was the one that I desperately needed to make!
In my experimentation with this dish, I found that in addition to being clean and easy to make, it has a couple of my other favorite virtues—it’s easy to scale and it is easy to customize. During my testing phase, I made much smaller pans of this dish because no one wants to eat a giant pan of something that didn’t pass muster. When I made the version that you see photographed in this post, I simply took my ratios and sized up, which was incredibly easy. Also, the first time I made this, it was completely by taste. Once you have the general idea of how the recipe works and what your ingredients are, it is so easy to adjust for different flavors by adjusting the amount of an ingredient or adding something new. Ultimately, this is meant to be convenient because eating well shouldn’t be stressful. I hope you enjoy and make sure to read a couple other tips in the recipe before you get started!
1. Keeping separate, dice onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes. Mince garlic.
2. In a large pan, heat olive oil. Add onions and sauté until soft. About 1 minute before done, add garlic.
3. Add bell pepper to the pan and sauté until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
4. Add red pepper flakes, cumin, and paprika and sauté until fragrant to activate the spices.
5. Once fragrant, add your chopped tomatoes and tomato paste to the pan and bring to a simmer. If your tomatoes did not include enough juice to make the broth to your liking, add a splash of water to thin your broth. This is also a great time to add some salt and pepper to taste.
6. Once simmering, if the consistency of the broth is to your liking, taste and add any final seasonings desired. If it is too thin for your preference, simmer for a little while uncovered. Be mindful of the fact that you will be simmering your broth for about 5-15 minutes in a future step, so you don’t want it to be too dry or it will burn.
7. Crack eggs into your pan, directly on top of your tomato mixture. They will run together; however, it is easier to divide them in the future if you crack each egg into its own section of the pan.
8. Cover and simmer for 5-15 minutes depending on desired egg consistency. For a runny yolk, remove from heat as soon as the whites are cooked through and the egg has a gelatinous consistency (it cooks further after removing from the heat) and cook longer for a more solid yolk.
9. Remove from heat. Garnish with a sprinkle of feta cheese and cilantro or parsley if desired and enjoy!
Alyssa authors her blog, www.alyssathayne.com, where she is passionate about providing easy and mostly healthy recipes as well as some fun wellness and lifestyle tips. Her goal it to help people find balance in their lives while eating delicious meals! Alyssa plans to pursue a career as a registered dietician after finishing school. In her free time, she loves yoga, hiking, cooking, eating, and spending time with her husband, friends, and family. To find out more, you can find her on her blog or social media.
This is a bit of a re-post of a blog post I did earlier this year for my 17 in '17 journey. My 17 in '17 is where I blog about my adventures and experiences as I attempt 17 new things in 2017. This was one of my favorite projects, and I use this all-natural pain cream frequently, so I thought it was time to share the recipe with you as well!
I love the idea of using homemade natural ingredients. Makes me feel like one of those women you see in the natural living magazines. You know the type-- flawless, casually cool hair. Cup of jasmine tea cooling near by. Picture perfect in a mostly bare, dust free room while an ethereal golden sun sets outside their window. Don't we all secretly want to be that woman. Well for now I will happily settle for my hair being in a crooked ponytail while I whip up some pain relief lotion in my desert-dusty kitchen.
Warming Pain Lotion Recipe:
.65 oz of white willow extract
3 tbs of cayenne pepper
12 oz - 15 oz of lotion**
**This can be pretty much any rich lotion of your choosing. Or, if you're feeling more adventurous, there are many good resources online for recipes on how to make your own lotion. I will be using cocoa butter lotion for mine.
For anyone that may not know, capsaicin is the heat producing component of chili peppers such as cayenne and habanero. Capsaicin has been found to reduce the amount of Substance P, a chemical that delivers the pain message to the brain. Along with the cayenne pepper I will also be adding in white willow bark extract. Willow bark contains a precursor to aspirin and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent and pain reliever. According to the various essential oil and homemade lotion guides I've been browsing, the white willow extract needs to be about 5% of the total mixture. I will be mixing up a 13oz jar of lotion. This means that I need .65oz of white willow. That works out to roughly 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the liquid.
If I have measured and mixed this right, this lotion should be great for all sorts of aches, pains and inflammation. A word of warning, due to the bold color of the cayenne, there is a chance that this lotion may stain your skin and clothing. I'm hoping that the lotion will dilute it enough, but be mindful of getting it on your clothing either way. The color will clean off of skin fairly easily but I don't know of the long term damage it may have on fabric. Also, be careful using this on or near open wounds, because it will sting like a mother f*cker. Cayenne pepper on a paper cut burns hotter than the hinges to the gates of hell!
So now that all of the informative stuff is out of the way let's mix these ingredients together and see what we get! Since the cocoa butter is so solid I had to warm it up a bit in the microwave to soften it. After about 20 seconds it was soft enough to blend. As cute as my vintage cut-glass bowl and spoon is, I should have busted out the electric food processor. I didn't think this would be so tiresome to do by hand. Looking at it now that it's mixed it's hard to think that it won't stain my skin. Also, it smells a little like cookies. Must be the warm cocoa butter. After applying it to my skin, I had to wipe off the excess with a paper towel, but I do feel a bit of a burning, warming sensation. If nothing else, my arm is soft and smells like cookies now... so that's a bonus. It does not seem to stain my skin, but I do still think it would stain clothing so be careful. I think I do like the heat sensation I'm getting from it too. After about ten minutes my arm feels relaxed and warm. I think I will count this one as a success. I rubbed a little into my arm then cleaned my arm (and everything else) thoroughly with Pure + Clean Palmolive. And despite all of that cleaning I still feel a very warm, relaxed sensation on my arm. I think if this were a sore muscle I would be in heaven! Having no injuries or ailments though it feels ever so slightly out of place. None the less, I recommend you give this one a whirl and see what you think.