Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

Digg thisPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedIn

Trevor Noah Born A Crime“Where most children are proof of their parents love, I was the proof of their criminality.” So says Trevor Noah in his wonderful book, Born A Crime. Trevor, who was born in South Africa during apartheid, details brilliant and terrible stories from his childhood.

Trevor’s childhood was rough, to say the least. His white father had to walk on the other side of the street to take him to the park. His black mother had to make believe she was the maid when she went out of the house with him. His grandmother wouldn’t discipline him because she wouldn’t hit a white person and his grandfather called him Master.

15258175376_7d6303ea11_zsource: Niko Knigge

But none of this made Trevor Noah a bitter person. Instead, it made him surprisingly insightful and introspective.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:

“We live in a world where we don’t see the ramifications of what we do to others because we don’t live with them. It would be a whole lot harder for an investment banker to rip off people with subprime mortgages if he actually had to live with the people he was ripping off.
If we could see one another’s pain and empathize with one another, it would never be worth it to us to commit the crimes in the first place.”

“You want to live in a world where someone is good or bad. Where you either hate them or love them. But that’s not how people are.”

“People always lecture the poor: “Take responsibility for yourself! Make something of yourself!” But with what raw materials are the poor to make something of themselves?”

“People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.”

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

“We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.”

“Comfort can be dangerous. Comfort provides a floor but also a ceiling.”

 

21121817164_5f8f6df292_zsource: Dan Mitler

Almost all of what Trevor speaks of is universal in one way or another. Trevor speaks of the betrayal by authority figures, the horrors of domestic abuse, the loneliness of a life without friends. Though most of us don’t live in South Africa, we have had similar experiences in our own lives or seen those experiences in the lives of people around us.

5322400475_cd3a698f00_zsource: Steve Evans

I’ve read a lot of memoirs, but this is by far the most important. Not only is it an informative exploration of apartheid, but it is also a mirror of the human condition.

3311469717_f26310acbc_zsource: United Nations

Even if your not a fan of Trevor Noah’s comedy, this is an absolutely must-read book. Please don’t delay in buying, borrowing or begging for Born A Crime.

Read More: Book Reviews or Home

Save

Save

Japanese Gardens

Digg thisPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedIn

8439070389_570f07caf5_zsource: swiftjetsum626

30953267595_2e51f5b960_zsource: Matheus Swanson

9395131723_f8643990f8_zsource: Chris Weber

16265627689_1e4bf16894_zsource: Russ Allison Loar

14034272472_fba18b80d3_zsource: novofotoo

Read More: Beautiful Spaces or Home

Why We Love DIY

Digg thisPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedIn

6682450721_cc676aea66_zsource: Natalia Wilson

A friend of mine gave me a window cling set the last week. It came with four outline-printed window clings and a set of puffy paints.

At first, the set reminded me of coloring I did as a child, and I thought it juvenile. But later that evening, before going to bed, I tried it out.

Two minutes in, and I was completed addicted.

For the next three days I spent all my free time working on the project. The result, when completed, went proudly onto the front of my fridge.

As much as I enjoyed the project, it got me thinking: Why would an adult enjoy such a mundane activity? In fact, why do adults enjoy DIY at all?

This is what I realized –

  • DIY offers us an opportunity to be creative. Even the window clings, with their pre-chosen paints, was an opportunity for creativity. I chose the color combination to use on each cling. I decided where the colors would be placed.
  • DIY offers us an opportunity for problem solving. I had only the palette my friend had chosen. I didn’t love the colors but I wasn’t about to purchase more. I had to deal with the problem of making something beautiful from very limited resources (Solution: I blended the puffy paints).
  • DIY offers us a way to relax. Once the colors were chosen, there was something very mindless about applying them to the clings. I felt myself drifting into a kind of alternate state.
  • DIY offers us a feeling of accomplishment. I felt good that I was able to keep the paint within the intricate line drawing. I enjoyed feeling that I had very steady hands. It’s a small ability, but it still makes me feel special.
  • DIY allows us the opportunity for social approval. I placed the clings in a public spot. I have already received compliments on them several times and I expect to get quite a few more. Even as an adult, compliments feel nice.

Why We Love DIYsource: Kat Stan

Why is any of this important?

It’s useful for DIYers to realize that there are ways of increasing the enjoyment they get from their hobbies. Hobbies, by their nature are fun, but there are things we can choose to do that can make them even more fun.

Here a couple of basic principles:

1 – Make sure the project has at least one creative element. Even if you are following written instructions, or a pattern, there is always something you can do to put your own distinctive “signature” on the project.

I once made a lime green tunic shirt from a purchased pattern (back when that color was still popular).  I didn’t know enough about sewing to alter the pattern, but I did choose to go against the pattern suggestions, and use a contrasting trim. I chose black fabric for the pockets and collar and black buttons for the closures.

2 – Add a problem solving element to the project, if it doesn’t come naturally. To do this, make artificial restrictions on either materials, time frame, size, etc.

My favorite class in college was 3D Design. Instead of just giving us projects to complete, the teacher would assign parameters that required real thought to work around. For instance, a sculpture couldn’t be touched with human hands; only with plastic bags. Or, an art kite had to actually be able to fly.

Other crafts, especially on the internet, focus on using found objects or recycled materials only.

3 – Pick a project that varies levels of difficulty throughout. This way you alternate periods of hard work, moderate, and easy work, during the same session.

That’s what I like about ceramics. You start by pounding the clay. Then you build a rough basic form. Only at the end, does the clay require real detail and thought as you put on the finishing touches.

4 – Use your skills. You’ll feel better about your work if it uses some level of skill.  Notice I said skill, not talent. Usable skills can consist of the ability to follow intricate directions, to measure and cut wood accurately,  or in my case with the window clings, simply to stay within the lines.

5 – Allow others to view your finished project. I once made a needlepoint for my son and his new wife. The kit itself was probably only a 20-30 dollars, but I spent over a $100 to frame it.

The reason? I didn’t want the needlepoint shoved into the closet and forgotten. Instead, I wanted it on a wall, where it could be admired.

Why We Love DIYsource: J. Feist

What tips did I miss? Please share your tip by adding a comment below!

Read More: Good Reads or Home

Reducing The Fat In Quiche

Digg thisPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedIn

8006177545_ed525f2158_zsource: US Dept of Agriculture

I love quiche but the fat count makes me feel guilty every time I bite into it. The eggs and cheese are bad enough, but even the crust is full of calories.

Thankfully, David Joachim’s Brilliant, came to the rescue again.

According to Brilliant, hollowed out vegetables can be substituted for the crust in quiche. Mr. Joachim recommends potatoes, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, but I’m sure plenty of other veggies would also work. What about large mushrooms for instance?

To try this tip out, I made a spinach quiche in a whole onion.

First, I combined a small amount of cooked spinach, a beaten egg, shredded cheese, a heaping tbsp. of 5% g’vina lavana, and salt in a bowl. Then, I grabbed a large onion, remove the skin and roughly scooped out the inner layers with a knife. When I only had 2-3 outside layers left, I spooned the quiche mix into the onion very carefully. I baked the onion at 350 degrees till done.

The result?

The dish tasted different from the quiche I’m used to, but extremely delicious. I ate the onion as I devoured the quiche and I loved it. This tip was a real winner.

By the way, Brilliant is quickly becoming my go-to book for kitchen tips. You should definitely check it out.

Read More: Amazing Food Hacks or Home

Save

Michal’s Deli Wraps

Digg thisPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedIn

2731224987_a109dea7b5_osource: Annette Young

There are probably as many ways to make deli wraps as there are people who eat them. However, I got the basic idea for this versatile deli wrap sandwich from my friend Michal. I like it because it looks fancy, but can be made in minutes.

Ingredients

flour tortillas

2 slices deli per wrap

mustard

ketchup

Directions

Mix together a ratio of 2 parts mustard to 1 part ketchup.

Place wrap on a plate. Spread mustard/ketchup mixture over wrap, using slightly less than you would use on a typical sandwich.

Layer on the 2 slices of deli (I use turkey roll), overlapping where needed.

Roll sandwich up. Cut into thirds or fourths. If needed use toothpicks to keep rolls from coming apart.

Variations: Instead of the mustard/ketchup sauce,  try garlic dressing, honey mustard dressing, or even a mix of mayonnaise and mustard. Or, add lettuce, vegan cheese, thinly sliced pickles (as pictured in the photo above).

Read More: Recipes or Home

Best Food Writing by Holly Hughes

Digg thisPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedIn

Best Food Writing by Holly HughesI love to read good quality food essays and my book collection proves it. I own books from the vintage Time Life series Foods Of The World, volumes by Jane and Michael Stern and chef memoirs.

My favorite is the series Best Food Writing edited by Holly Hughes.

This series has been published yearly since 2000 and includes articles from many of the most famous food authorities of our generation. To name a few: Amanda Hesser, Alice Waters, Madhur Jaffrey, Nigela Lawson, Ruth Reichl, Calvin Trillin.

There are generally about 50 essays in each book and they usually run 5-6 pages. As to the subject matter, it runs the gamut from restaurant articles, to recipes, to famous cooks, and everything in between.

51SFYZ1FJKL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_My favorite volume is 2000. There are essays in there that I have read, literally, over a dozen times. Here are some of my favorites from that volume.

Vegetarian Turkey by Fran Gage. When the kids all became vegetarians the parents work courageously to find a vegetarian turkey that wouldn’t detract from Thanksgiving. After much thought, they rent the movie Big Night, and duplicate the timpano by rewatching the kitchen scenes.

Dinner For 7 by William Grimes. William and his wife decide to create an authentic Alsatian meal for a group of select guests. However, since Mr. Grimes is a food critic, the bar must be set very high.

The Cook, Her Son, and a Secret by Maya Angelou. The story of how a non-cook surprised her friends (with the help of Craig Claiborne) with a unexpectedly gourmet meal. The writing is almost poetic, just as you’d expect from Maya Angelou.

… And $300 Fed a Crowd by Eric Asimov. Mr. Asimov sets off Ginza Sushiko to discover if any restaurant meal is really worth 300 dollars. Sushi lovers will drool over the descriptions of the food.

A Day In The Life by Anthony Bourdain. An insiders view of what really happens in the kitchens of our favorite restaurants. Anthony Bourdain tells all, and it’s both scary and funny.

The Waiting Game by Ruth Reichl. Ms. Reichl can never resist an unknown food stall with a long line in front. The surprising dish at the end of the line is a perfect example of how simple but perfect ingredients create delicious results.

The Magic Bagel by Calvin Trillin. Dad wants his daughter to move back to New York. She agrees, but only if he can find the perfect New York bagel from her childhood. Beautiful story of nostalgia and love.

Best Food WritingIf you own this series, or plan to purchase it, please send a comment letting me know which essays are your favorites. I would love to hear from you.

Read More: Book Reviews or Home

Stocking Up

Digg thisPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedIn

Stocking Upsource: jjkbach

Our apartment is about the size of a bird cage, and yet we’re meticulous about stocking up on bargains. Why? Because running out and paying full price the minute you need something is a tremendous time and money waster.

Instead, we buy in quantity as we come across a bargain.

For instance, when cat food was on sale, we bought ten big bags.  I kept them in our basement storage room and we used them up over a period of 8 months. Yes, it was a large initial outlay of cash, but it was also a large savings.

We buy clothes the same way.  Because we live in the Middle East, local clothes are both expensive and poorly made.  Therefore, when I went to the US this summer, I came home with boxes full shirts, pants, night gowns, underwear and socks…enough to last till my next visit.

What are some other ways we stock up?

  • When we make a trip to the local farmer’s market, we don’t just buy fruits and vegetables.  We also check out the prices for less perishable items and take those home too.
  • When the library had novels on sale for 4/$1, stacks of new books showed up on our shelves. We knew that even if we didn’t read the books for a year, it’s was still worth it to buy them.
  • When the grocery store has cases of tuna on sale, we buy enough to last close to a year. My husband only likes expensive white tuna, so good sale prices are vital to us.
  • When I found a source of inexpensive scrapbooking supplies, I bought a complete selection of papers and embellishments. Years later, I don’t do much scrapbooking, but I still use the supplies for packages, greeting cards and art journaling.
  • When a neighborhood store was running a 50% off sale last month, I bought small boxes for food gifts at rock bottom prices. I bought enough for several years, because I use these boxes a lot, and I knew I would never find prices like that again.

Here’s a story about what happens when we don’t stock up!

Years ago, we purchased a dozen Staples brand mouse pads for a buck each. We had so many stored up, we didn’t think to keep an eye out for other bargains. Today, when my last mouse pad was ruined, my husband had to make an emergency run to the office supply store.  Instead of costing $1.00, the new mouse pad cost $7.50, because we didn’t shop ahead. So much for careful planning!

7627955892_65033c60f0_zsource: Travis Juntara

Tips for stocking up

  • Don’t buy a lot of something you’ve never tried. 12 boxes of cereal, that your family decides they hate, is a complete waste of money no matter how cheap they were.
  • Make sure the last of the purchase will be used up before the expiration date. A friend once offered me a fantastic deal on potatoes, but most of them spoiled before we were able to use them.
  • Remember, quality does matter. The enormous case of tissues at the warehouse store isn’t such a bargain, if the rolls are only one ply instead of your usual two ply.
  • Do your math to make sure the super cheap price is actually a bargain. I once bought a half dozen large boxes of Mike and Ike for what I thought was an amazing price, and then found them cheaper at the dollar store.
  • Designate storage space before making a large purchase. Under the bed, inside the sleep sofa, down in the basement and up in the attic are all good if at first you don’t appear to have room.
  • Review your budget. Be sure stocking up isn’t going to stop you from having enough money for the rest of your expenses. Unless you know you will have enough money for food and bills, consider passing even on a great bargain.
  • Don’t limit your bulk purchases to just food and clothes. When my kids were young, I bought birthday gifts at great prices throughout the year. I stored them in my car trunk till they were needed.

A Word Of Warning

Though stocking up can save you loads of money, do be careful. I have made some major. I’m going to share three, so you don’t repeat my bad experiences.

1) I once bought enough discounted price printer ink to last for 5-6 years. The sale was amazing, so I figured, why not? Six months later, the printer broke and was impossible to repair. We wound up giving the ink away.

2) Last year I stocked up on enough cheap frozen broccoli to last for years. I figured if it was kept in the freezer, it would be fine even if it passed the expiration date. I was very, very wrong. Now, only a year later, the broccoli is freezer burnt and unusable.

3) When my daughter was twelve, I once stocked up on about $60 worth of good quality used clothes at the thrift store. The clothes was beautiful and identical to the styles I always bought her. However, when I got the clothes home, she decided she hated every piece and for now on wanted to pick out her own clothes.

Did I leave anything out? Please hare your best tips, mistakes, or stories by adding a comment below!

Save

Save

Save

  • General
  • Food
  • Thrifty Living
  • Crafts
  • Homeschooling
  • Meta Information