April 28, 2013 § Leave a Comment
April 23, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Here are a few things I do to keep my spending in check so I can enjoy a trip away from home once in a while.
1. Save. Make a game out of not spending. Look around your house and see all of the stuff you don’t need. Then the next time you want to buy something, think first… Where am I going to put it when I stop needing it. This helps me not spend. The less stuff I have the free-er I feel. It is liberating to give stuff away. I like to tell people, “rich people don’t spend money, they will repair things before they buy new”.
2. Online Banking. I can move money fast and if I move it out of my checking it helps me to save.
3. No Cash. I never carry cash because if I have it I will spend it. I only use credit cards and I pay them off every month. I will also look at my online credit card postings a few times a month just to stay on top of the spending.
4. Examine your Bills. We canceled our long distance, we still have a local phone and our cells. It turns out calling from my iPad Mini via Skype with one ear bud is better quality than using AT&T! This saves us $100. Look at AAA insurance, their house and car insurance is really cheap!
5. Winter Vacationing. Did you know you could rent a vacation house for a month in Dec-Mar for the same price as if you rented it a week in the summer? Your family can all pool your money and rent a place for a Christmas vacation. The owners even hang Christmas decorations for you. Some places even allow your pets to tag along!
6. Don’t eat out. Cook at home and buy Kashi bars and eat one for lunch.
7. Make friends. Make friends with people from the locations you want to visit. Be curious and learn what it will be like when you visit.
8. Be Green. Put heavy shades on your windows to block the hot sun in the summer so you use less AC. There are a lot of green solutions, see which ones you can do cheaply.
9. No more specialty drinks. Buy coffee beans and make it at home and then drink filtered water the rest of the day.
10. No gifts. Take the money you would spend on all gifts and put it in the savings account. You are giving the gift of travel, this includes Christmas gifts. This is hard but you can do it. I have one concession, you are allowed to buy special ingredients for a tasty meal and then enjoy a long meal together.
Bonus. Eat vegan. Not only will you look great you will feel awesome. Every Monday is Meatless Monday at my house, so I make the really tasty bean dip:
Michele’s Bean Dip
I’ve had this recipe for years, we eat this dish about once a week, it is easy and tasty. We use the ingredients we have on hand so the taste differs week by week.
1 chopped onion fried
1 tablespoon extra virgin light tasting olive oil
2 small diced jalapenos (opt)
1 small zucchini peeled and diced (opt)
1 small can LaVictoria Hot Green Peppers, fire roasted
1 can Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained (opt)
1 can La Perferrda Refried Beans (pinto or black)
1/2 a block of Kraft Cheddar Jack Jalapeno Cheese, cubed
1 tsp of chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (opt)
Corn Chips ( Crispy Rounds or Blue Chips)
FRY onions in oil on medium heat, when brown add veggies (opt) and cook until wilted. Turn down the heat, add tomatoes and refried beans and mix until smooth. Add the cubed cheese stir and cook til melted. Add spices and fresh cilantro (opt) and mix well. Serve in a bowl and use corn chips to eat.
*Please note, lately I have been just using dried onion, the canned peppers and re-fried beans. I throw them all into a sauce pan, heat and then add the cheese and melt it, then I mix in fresh cracked black pepper and chipotle pepper. serve. So simple. (I love chipotle pepper)
March 28, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Do you have a “go to” folder for saving all of your documents because it is easy?
AND It is probably full of files and has no order, right?
Here is one very useful trick my twin sister Melanie Bock taught me years ago, and I teach it to everyone I meet. You probably have a folder on your computer for Clients, another for Family and another for Recipes. Open your Client Folder > Inside it you should have separate folders for each: Client 1, Client 2, Client 3 and so on.
You see the side bar on the left? (Both Mac and PC’s have this)
On a Mac you just take Client 1 Folder and move it to this bar and place it where you like. Repeat with the other folders.
Then move the recipe and family folders onto this bar.
(What this does is it creates shortcuts to these folders on your harddrive.)
Now this is where it will save you a lot of time and helps keep you organized.
When you open a photoshop file or doc in MS Word and you save it, the “save” screen opens up and it has the same side bar on it! And all you have to do is click on the correct folder and it saves it there! It helps you keep all of your client information organized and the best part is you can save all family pictures to the “Family Folder and as well as your recipes. Every once in a while rearrange the order so the most used ones are on top, because it is a lot less scrolling for you.
I am a Mac person so I don’t know the steps to do this exactly but I have done it on PC’s. Tomorrow I will update this post with the PC directions.
March 9, 2013 § 1 Comment
I visit Japan regularly and I have a list of things I do to make the transition as painless as possible:
Please note: I am not a doctor so please speak with your doctor before taking anything new.
Before your Flight:
- Do not take anything on your trip that has special meaning, because half the time you are dealing with jet lag which makes you kind of goofy and you may forget or misplace items. Leave all heirloom jewelry in your bank safety deposit box.
- When you pack make sure you don’t forget your passport. Put money and passport together in a small bag, like a fanny pack and attach it to the suitcase. When you leave for your trip put it on.
- When you make flight arrangements double check that your passport hasn’t expired. (better safe than sorry)
- Buy and use those inflatable pillows and get some ear plugs.
- Buy those expensive $20 or $30 dollar socks at the airport, they are worth it, your legs and feet don’t get as swollen. Or I would suggest buying some long socks for the flight at your favorite store.
- If you are going to see family or friends go out and buy some small cute picture frames as gifts.
Important! Buy these two items and take on your trip(s):
- Bromelain (pineapple enzyme) This helps with digestion, take this when you eat something and you feel uneasy. Please ask your doctor before taking anything new.
- Activated Charcoal This helps with food poisoning, it coats the bad food and keeps you from getting sick. You can get this from any drug store. Please ask your doctor before taking anything new.
On the Flight:
- I take an Advil to relax my muscles as soon as I get on the flight. Please ask your doctor before taking Advil.
- Try to sleep on the flight over, or just rest your eyes.
- Do not drink alcohol on the flights. It makes it harder to get a good nights sleep.
- Always wear layers on the flight, sometimes it can get really cold.
- Try to wear cotton or other natural fabrics, in case of a fire.
- Wear comfortable clothes and be comfortable.
- 4 oz bottle is still in effect, so buy some at Target and fill them with your favorite products and put them in a quart sized freezer bag when you pack.
- Take hand washies (WetOnes) in those little packets and just use them through out the trip. FYI You can not buy them in Japan, so be sure to take enough. When you sit down in your seat wash the tray and arm rests with one.
- We try not to eat on flights over to Japan, but on the way home the meals are always good. Soba noodles and other fun stuff. So share a “nice” meal with your companion at the airport before you leave, that way you can pick at the food or not eat at all.
When you Arrive in Japan:
- If you are a coffee drinker we recommend drinking a cup right before you land because you will get a headache from withdrawal symptoms. (even though you are going to sleep in 6 hours) The one cup of coffee will not keep you up at all.
- Shower as soon as you get to your room.
- I take another Advil when I go to bed, to help my muscles relax – please ask your doctor before taking Advil.
- During your stay in Japan, drink coffee to stay awake, but no later than 2 pm, so you can sleep at night.
- Use the hotel laundry for your airplane clothes. We use the hotel laundry for everything so then we don’t have to take much luggage, we just take carry ons.
- If you are staying at a hotel, stop at a convenience store and get drinks like Evian and Vit C water, because you will get thirsty during the night and the hotel won’t have enough stocked in your fridge, plus it will be less expensive.
- Take lots of pictures and have a great trip. Don’t forget your camera or if you take your phone put it in “airport mode” so you don’t get roaming charges.
A word of caution: on all trips, look for bed bugs, even if you are not leaving the country, because you don’t want to bring anything home.
* I am not a doctor so consult with your physician before taking anything new. I do not claim to cure any cause or condition. I do not provide medical aid for the purpose of health or to claim to be a doctor. This is merely an opinion blog.
March 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I was out at Eastland Mall celebrating Dr Seuss’ Birthday last weekend. I was helping out a client, Aunty Tammie and they had a table set up in the Courtyard. We provided a Cat In the Hat Drawing for kids to color. I thought it was great that so many children (and parents) stopped by to color in the picture. Aunty Tammie also wanted me to help her with another project for advertising, she needed table tents made with her information on it and this idea just came to me. Why not make something useful that kids would enjoy and take home with them? So I made a tent that has advertising on one side and drawings on the other, attach a crayon and place it on tables for kids to color in and stay busy while the parents can chat. Make it educational so when they are coloring it in they are learning at the same time.
Here is the template I made Tammie and below the jpg is the word doc, you should be able to download and modify it:
This is the word doc:
January 24, 2013 § 2 Comments
I have been making sushi for a long time and let me tell you you do not need to have raw fish to have a great sushi dinner. Our sushi features a lot of veggies, if you don’t care for traditional sushi you may like this recipe. This sushi method is also different because it is a kind of maki-style, a wrap of seaweed, not a roll. The nice thing about it is everyone gets to make their own and there is no waiting. It is excellent. Here is a pdf the recipe:MakeSushiRecipe
(Please click on the pictures to see the entire snapshot)
Sushi rice (short and round)
1 Tbls rice vinegar
1 Tbls rice wine
2 packages of seaweed paper (1 package for 2-3 people)
1 Tbls toasted sesame oil
1 Tbls chipotle pepper (to taste)
1 Tbls soy sauce
1 large package of cold smoked salmon or 2 small packages for 2 people)
1 large warm smoked white fish or trout
1 tube of wasabi paste
2 avocados (1 avocado for 2 people)
1 english cucumber
1 red pepper
2 green onions
1 jar of pickled ginger, drained
4 cloves of raw garlic
(optional: crab (this lump crab shown was disappointing, I usually buy king crab legs and harvest the meat), warm smoked salmon, scallops, shrimp – Fry both in butter, caviar (any type of fish eggs, ie. salmon roe), asparagus, shitake mushroom – fry in butter, do not eat raw, pickled japanese daikon, bonita flakes, gobo, soft-shell crab, ) Serves about 4 people.
Cut up the green onions
Slightly fry in butter and remove from pan
Add egg to the left over butter and cook lightly until done
Gently cut into rectangles and divvy them up between the plates, and do the same for the next steps. It will be a very crowded plate when you are done.
Cut up the red pepper into strips
Cut up the jalapeños into tiny strips
Cut up the cuke into medium strips
You need some raw garlic, pressed in a garlic press. The raw garlic is for the white fish but it tastes great with everything
Cut up the smoked white fish (shown below) or trout (shown here)
I prefer Morey’s smoked white fish to trout
Make two cuts on a large slab of cold smoked sliced salmon. Please do not buy cheap salmon, it won’t taste as good. I heard Sam’s Club sells large slabs like this one shown above.
Take about half of the salmon, separate the layers and make “spicy tuna” with it
Use a larger bowl (larger than the one shown) and add 1 tablepoon of soy sauce, chipotle pepper and toasted sesame oil and mix well. Then gently mix them with the salmon (add as much as you like) *I should mention, I was on vacation when I was making this sushi and was “making due” with this plastic container
The last veggie to cut up is the avocado, so it doesn’t turn brown sitting out in the open air
Your plate should look something like this.
Ours has some smoked and re- fried korean beef pictured on the center right that was a left overs from another meal
Make some sushi rice, add 1 tablespoon of the rice wine and vinegar to it and stir it up
While you are stirring it up, someone should use a paper plate and fan the rice. Do this for about 1 minute or until the rice becomes shiny
While you are cutting up the veggies and fish have someone cut up the seaweed into rectangle strips. Open the seaweed and pull out all of the leaves, cut down the middle. then stack them and cut them in half again, and repeat one more time.
In a small bowl add wasabi and soy sauce together and mix. Taste to see if you need more soy sauce. It is my opinion this needs more soy sauce. Every one should have their own bowl
Add the picked ginger to your plate (it helps with your digestion and it is really tasty
Grab a piece of seaweed and add a small amount to rice
Add your toppings and fold over to make it bite sized
Dip into the sauce and enjoy!
I made three full plates of sushi ingredients and there were some leftovers (shown without the pickled ginger)
Here are some pictures of previous sushi extravaganzas:
The ingredients are limitless, here are some optional ones: apple, mango lettuce, cream cheese, carrot, cooked spinach, parsley, fried asparagus, shrimp, scallops, sesame seeds, shitake Mushroom (fry in butter, do not eat raw), pickled japanese daikon, bonita flakes, natto, gobo, soft-shell crab and caviar