MATCHA Green Tea

24 Feb

1. You need: Matcha, hot water and a whisk!

2. Put 1/4 tbsp Matcha in hot water. Mix with whisk, lightly.

Pour and EnjoY!

Matcha was brought to Japan from China by a Buddist monk named Eisai in 1100 AD. This type of tea was made to support the monks in their endeavours by keeping them alert, focused and also relaxed. Monks meditate for extended periods of time and the green tea is responsible for assisting them.

Uji, the Kyoto region of Japan is considered the mecca of Japanese Green Tea. It is the best producer of the famous Matcha in the world. Uji has renowned tea because of its climate, warm days and cool nights, its rolling hills and its rich soil. This environment produces high quality tea plants which in turn become high quality tea.

Matcha is made from the same tea plant as regular green tea however, it is cultivated differently to produce its unique flavour. The plant is grown under diffused sunlight for a month prior to their harvest. This increases their chlorophyll content, a natural chemical that creates its green colour and also detoxifies the body. Once harvested, the leaves are steamed, dried and then all the stems are removed. Next, the leaves are ground by stone into a fine powder. This is the final product, ready to be used by the consumer.

Spring 2012 – The Peplum Skirt

17 Feb

This is my favorite trend this Spring/Summer 2012. I think the peplum skirt brings fun and youthful vigor to any closet because you can wear it in any colour or pattern, it is an accent piece that you can rock to most functions. The layered look can be transfered to a blouse or dress and is easy to make. You do not need a pattern to create this look, just search “peplum skirt how to” on youtube and you will find some videos on how to make one easily yourself.

There are a great deal of celebrities who are wearing the peplum skirt, I have seen it at the Grammy’s and the Billboard awards. It can be cute or formal, depending on how you style the separate. I like basic black with a white tank but I would punch colour with a fun statement necklace. I am on the look out for colourful and funky floral concept statement necklaces. A new trend perhaps? It started with the peplum skirt!

90% cocoa – Lindt Dark Chocolate

17 Feb

Lindt understands chocolate. They have degrees of cocoa content, going up by 5% all the way to 90%! The higher the cocoa content, the darker and gritty the chocolate. If you like espresso or tobacco the more likely you are to like high cocoa content. You cannot  scarf down the whole chocolate bar like you would a milk chocolate Cadbury’s but, if you love dense taste then you can take little nibbles and enjoy the darkness of this chocolate.

You can find this particular brand at any supermarket or Walmart. It’s a bit on the expensive side but you can take small bites, it will last longer than a regular KitKat. I have had my chocolate bar for five days going strong!

I know its terrible but having all three of these dark vices is a treat like no other. Try it if you dare!

Even if not…happy nibbles!

The elegant camellia flower!

16 Feb

 

I stayed up late tonight thinking about flowers. The camellia flower represents a lot of things to me like; fashion, beauty, and peace. I decided to make a video on facts about the camellia. Its short and sweet so check it out and let me know what you think!

DKNY shows her gritty side Fall/Winter 2012

13 Feb

This collection puts me right in the streets of New York. The dense crowds, the thick smoggy air and the gridlocked traffic! With all the bustle and grime, I think DKNY is right on target, it’s best to wear black. Note how the models have their hair pulled back, that’s very practical given the environment. This is a no-nonsense, polished look that exudes female poweress! I will probably model this look today, with a nod to Donna Karan, I will wear my black leather jacket! I’ll be going to the Pickering city centre, perhaps I’ll check out the DKNY collection at the Bay…

Good Gosh! I am shocked at the state of the fashion go-to department store of the suburbs! The Bay has failed in the city of Pickering. DKNY was looking very bland and not very couture. And, after seeing this video of her latest collection, I feel like slapping the merchandiser at the Bay! The clothes they pick for retail sale are not at all representative of DKNY effort and charisma. The department stores need to step up their game if they are going to represent high fashion brands! Completely silly, and don’t give me the “you have to pay the big bucks to get the good stuff” speal…it is still DKNY for gosh sake, present it like you know about the time it takes to create high quality clothing!

Hello Kitty, HELLO!

30 Jan

Since my childhood in Japan, I have always adored Hello Kitty. She has always been a bright emblem of kawaii (cute) and super sparkle girlie-ness. Hello Kitty is a character created by Sanrio ans was introduced in the 1970s. The brand has reached over a billion dollars in sales (2003) and has flagship retail stores all over the world. Kimmora Lee Simmons (Baby Phat) has done a high end jewelry line featuring Hello Kitty, the Bank of America has chequing accounts with matching credit cards with Hello, and she even has her own airplane!

Now in my late twenties, I still love the colourful and pretty designs Sanrio puts forth. They have other characters as well but, Hello Kitty is my favorite. Check out the Hello Kitty blog at www.sanrio.com/hellokittyblog! Happy Smiles Happy Day! 🙂

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Mental Workouts are a Good Stretch

29 Jan

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Homer: What’s wrong, old friend? Can’t sleep? (his stomach is rumbling) Aww. Would some warm beer settle you down? (his stomach continues rumbling) Uh-oh. (gets up and runs off) Those barley burgers were tainted! Why did I eat twelve of them?! Why?!

(runs to a bathroom door, only to find Marge using it)

Marge: Taken!

[Homer shuts the bathroom door, and runs upstairs to another bathroom door, only to find Bart using it.]

Bart: Occupied!

[Homer runs to another bathroom door, only to find Lisa using it.]

Lisa: Hurling!

[Homer runs, looks both ways, runs into Lisa’s bedroom, and vomits into her saxophone; his mouth gets stuck trying to get it out.]

Homer: Uh-oh!

– Season 20, Episode 21: “Coming to Homerica”

 

 

Sometimes my mind is foggy and full of cobwebs. The feeling is very uncomfortable. I am not focused and I bumble through my duties completely inept. What I’ve found is something perhaps obvious. Going to the pub the night before, eating a greasy burger before I pop into bed and sleeping the whole day after is not good for the brain. It is a silly routine people do, just to have a little fun. Like most good things, we should indulge sparingly.

I find that a quick mental workout during the day helps enormously. What you can do is switch a detail of your routine to something different. Examples include: eating your breakfast with the other hand, taking a different route to work, walking a bus stop or two, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Physical exercise helps the flow of blood to your brain, which helps the bolts and cogs in it to work more efficiently.

Also, eating nutritious food helps to keep your brain in top form. Whole foods like rice, lentils, bread, milk and eggs are a good foundation. Meat rich in proteins and fatty acids are good too. Fish and chicken being slightly better than red meat. Veggies have to be included in the diet because they offer other nutrients which help with the functioning of the body. Leafy greens, carrots, potatoe, and broccoli are yummy side dishes. It is important to feed your body with foods that are rich in nutrition. You will notice a happier more youthful self!

I also recommend hobbies as a great way to keep your mind active. Puzzles, sewing, sports and drama are fun and are an enjoyable way to spend time. My happy happy hobby is writing and reading comprehension. I love the way I can organize my thoughts and then go over them instantly so I can make sense of what I had been thinking. I highly recommend spending about ten minutes or more a day on your hobby. The point is to try and always be mentally active. If all else fails and your turning into sludge, just pop a movie in the bluray…pay a small degree of attention…and slowly notice the brightly flickering beautiful range of colours and lights. And that’s enough. LoL! Have a pleasant and thought-filled day!

Volver – A film review

27 Jan

Penelope Cruz in "Volver"

 

I picked up a Spanish foreign film from the library a few days ago. It stars Penelope Cruz, the 2011 face of Lancome. This 2006 film is titled “Volver” and has English subtitles. I have always liked Penelope and have watched several of her movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Blow, Banditas (which is not listed on IMDB but I have a copy and she is great alongside Salma Hayek!) and Vanilla Sky. Those are the movies she is best known for but, she has been in a great deal of others. “Volver” is one such movie that is not a box office best. It is an independent film, directed by Pedro Almodovar.

“Volver” features the lives of a family completely made of females. Penelope plays the lead character, the eldest sister, Raimunda. Raimunda is a mother, sister, daughter, and friend. She works hard at providing for her family and has an uncanny way of making the best out of situations. When her mother seemingly comes back from the dead, there is confusion and rumours from superstitious villagers. Which does not make her life any easier! It is a modern film in which the characters tangle with some pretty taboo subjects; infidelity, drugs, and even murder. Raimunda is strong and has a good sense on how to deal discretely with issues like these! I found the film funny, heartwarming, and full of emotion.

It is rare that I see any media featuring strong everyday women, having regular and frank conversations with each other. Volver is a gem that shines light on how strong women stick together and support each other, even in the face of public humiliation or dirty family laundry. I find it strongly empowering because the women are so powerful even with their trust in emotions and feelings. There is no romantic sub-plot either! This film is a definite serenity ritual, it reminds me to always keep family near. 🙂

Arghawan Pure Green Tea

26 Jan

The first and last serenity ritual I have in my day is a pot of green tea. I like the fact that the tea is organic and contains a slight amount of caffeine. The tea is soothing and has a distinct flavour that tastes fresh and light, its aroma is very pleasant.  I like to drink green tea after yoga and before or during my daily email/twitter/blog check in the morning.  And of course….at night I like the warm liquid to put me in sleepy mode and relax my senses after the days work.

The pot I use gives me around 3-4 cups of green tea, which lasts a good 15 minutes with me. The fluid intake is a good amount and I feel like I am doing good for my body. After all, my doctor tells me its beneficial to drink at least a gallon/3 litres of water a day and I feel this gets me a good amount of fluid into my blood stream. Water is essential to good digestion, without it the immune system would weaken and the body would not receive vital energy at the cellular level.

Green tea comes in different forms. The regular bag type, the powder matcha, the matcha paste and the loose leaf form. I like all of them and think each has their place on my shelf. Their usage depends on how much time I have to enjoy the different qualities of tea.

The matcha is the best form of green tea, it is used primarily in tea ceremonies which are prevalent in asian culture. The leaves of the plant are machine ground to a fine powder which is dissolved by whisk into hot water. It takes time and patience. The making of the matcha green tea has evolved into an art form in Japan. The tea ceremonies are elaborate and are primarily a custom for business relationships. Housewives in Japan also observe the tea ceremony. Sort of like tea time in England. An inexpensive and quick way to get matcha green tea is to use the paste, which can be found at a local market. The matcha paste is a quick way of achieving similar quality. Matcha is considered luxurious and has a matching price tag. About $6 for 50 grams.

As I live in the modern world of convenience, the loose leaf green tea or the regular bag does the job. Just add boiling water, simmer, and drink up! None of that time consuming whisking! I use the loose leaf green tea daily. If I plan to leave the house immediately, I tuck a tea bag into my purse. The delicate flavour of natural plant extracts is enough for a timely serenity ritual, no matter where in the world I am…

The key to good health is to treat your body with care, kindness and respect.

Protect your Pranayama

24 Jan

Digestion

Pranayama is a word for life essence, which is your breath…your breathing. It is the most basic serenity ritual. It takes energy (oxygen) from the air, plants, and animals around you in the world and gives back energy (carbon dioxide) to those exact same sources.  How does it relate to your everyday life? It helps you digest the food you consume.

Digestion is basically the processing of natural energy through the body. Your prana (breath) fuels the agni (fire or burning of energy) within the stomach, digesting your food and then processing the apana (waste) through your intestines. This is a simple way of seeing the complex process of digestion. Please refer to the diagram above this post.

I started with yoga May 2011 because I wanted to correct my posture. I felt that I was slouching and looked very lazy. I approached yoga with hope that it would get me on the road to becoming more disciplined. I started with a quick google search. After much browsing I found Esther Ekhart. She is a savvy modern yogi and her asanas (routines) are easy to follow and easy to remember as well. I began with her morning routine which I found on youtube. It is called “Wake up Happy with Esther“!

I kept up with it and became disciplined because I enjoyed the morning stretch. I found that almost immediately the yoga had an effect on my life. I could reach my arms out farther and more gracefully. I can squat to pick objects up from the floor and not hurt myself! Yoga is also very therapeutic. I can work on my coordination through simple breathing and stretching.

Through yoga I gained knowledge of pranayama which is key to digestion and a healthy body.