Tuesday, October 13, 2015

10 Reasons NOT To Give Up Caffeine

Oil and coffee are the two most important products to the global economy. So I think it's worth talking about. That and I love all things coffee. There are plenty of reasons to stop the caffeine intake anything from dehydration to the shakes to insomnia. But what about reasons to not give up? Never ever ever ever give up I say. Here are the reasons why you can happily embrace your cup of coffee today. 

  • According to Mayo Clinic studies, coffee appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk for depression.
  • Antioxidants. Coffee is loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants. Coffee is the leading source of antioxidants in American diets according to The Buzz On Coffee article.
  • According to both the above articles, recent research is showing that coffee can reduce the risk of Parkinsons disease, type 2 diabetes, and a number of different cancers (including colon and liver)
  • It helps keep you awake. If you drink coffee excessively it might keep you awake all night, but I have found 1-2 cups of coffee before noon to be extremely helpful to jumpstart my day. Since coffee is known to boosts the activity of brain cells, it helps keeps me alert and focused on my morning commute and energizes me for the day ahead.
  • Yummy
  • It helps people to bond. It seems that people are interested in people’s caffeine use. Do you drink tea? Coffee? Soda? Why? And if you don’t drink caffeine people are equally as interested to know your reasons why! One of my first conversations with Scott was when we were in class together and we discussed the why or why not we didn’t drink coffee.
  • It helps to relieve headaches. I know this is a big controversial issue because caffeine can cause them especially when it comes to withdrawals. However, the flip side of the coin is that they help you feel better according to research done by the Headache Clinic at Vermont Medical School. One thought is that caffeine cause blood vessels to constrict, thus helping to relieve the pressure that causes pain. 
  • Recent research is finding that caffeine might be good for our skin according to Live Strong. Apparently since caffeine constricts blood vessels, it can decrease inflammation thus making our skin more healthy. Apparently there is caffeine in many anti-anging products and skin care products. I feel a little bit weird about this as I don't want my goal in life to be about reversing my age and growth. However, less inflammation seems like a good thing.
  • It helps give me a routine and rhythm to my mornings. I like having the morning tradition of coffee. It helps me to take a minute for myself before I pour out to the world. I like how it causes me to slow down and be present. There's something about drinking something that requires your attention. You can't multi-task too much or my coffee cup is left lukewarm (this happens more often than I like to embrace)
  • It has given me a hobby. I love going to new coffee shops. Whenever Scott and I travel, our favorite thing is exploring the local coffee shops. Scott is much better at the actual learning and making-coffee-part. I am much better at the-soaking-up-the-environment part. He has made us some really good cold brew lattes! I like having a coffee drink to go with all four seasons. Someday I want to visit a coffee farm. 
*or, coffee

Thursday, October 8, 2015

How To Grow An Urban Garden*

*Disclaimer: This is to be read in a sarcastic tone. Please don't attempt to try this at home.

Don’t you just love nature? I love the way things grow and sprout up from the ground. I like the smell of fresh leaves after a rain. I adore the way I feel free and alive when I am near flowers and trees. My husband and I are both a bit of a contradiction. We love urban living and we love nature. We so value being able to walk to coffee shops, eateries, bookstores but we also love getting away into the wildness of nature.

So I’ve decided to have both. To live in mid San Diego, soak up the urban life and YES have a garden. I’m bringing the nature to me you guys.

In fact since we are so limited on space, we have decided to have an urban garden in my closet. Yes, MY CLOSET. 

We checked out the community gardens nearby but they had a waiting list and we aren’t patient so it’s happening now.

So listen. Here are the steps to getting an urban garden in YOUR CLOSET in just 7 days..
  1. Most importantly you need to have a neglectful property management. If you want to grow anything apartment style you better hope they don’t notice anything.
  2. Make sure you have an apartment that has lots of leaks/floods and a fragile pipe system preferably. After all, anything that wants to grow NEEDS WATER YOU GUYS. No brainer.
  3. After you have secured a place that offers the potential of a hot water pipe break, then just wait for the magic to get started!
  4. Once your closet has successfully flooded and you have taken all your clothes out (sustainable food is more important than clothes people!) make sure the plumber makes a sizable hole in the wall to reach the pipe. Your garden needs room to grow!
  5. Now is the hard part, just wait a couple days, let the moisture, heat and hole just hang out together.  Once you’ve planted the “seeds” this is a waiting game.
  6. In a few days (day 7 specifically) if you’re lucky and the conditions are right you will start to see MUSHROOMS sprouting up. Right there, in your closet.  URBAN GARDEN WIN.
It’s up to you how you want to use your produce. Mushrooms can be put on your steak, pizza or in your salad. Get creative! You can also sell your produce like farmers market style and set up a little stand in your local town.

I’m considering selling my little mushrooms for about 100 bucks a piece. They are very special mushrooms. I’m not really sure but they just don’t strike me as your typical garden mushrooms. These mushrooms grew out of a wall so they are pretty resilient and I think probably full of magical potions.  They grew like 6 inches overnight. That’s pretty incredible if you ask me.

I can’t stress enough how organic these mushrooms are. At times I had the urge to dump a bucket of bleach all over them because my clothes missed their closet home but I persevered!

It may take discipline and time to build your own urban garden but I’m here to tell you it can happen. You are worth it. Together we can make the world a better place.

Farmer Heather

Monday, October 5, 2015

A 24-hour Guide To Enjoying Fall In San Diego

Lower temperatures. Leaves changing color. The smell of pumpkin spice. Fall is in the air. Its finally October! Since I gush about fall all the time I figured it is high time I put together a 24-hour guide to enjoying fall in San Diego.

I have some strong Midwest roots, as that is where my childhood took place. When I moved to San Diego and the temperatures didn’t exactly drop 20-30 degrees I had to get creative to feel festive. I like to go all out. As soon as I can I am buying miniature pumpkins and headed to Trader Joes to get their pumpkin bread mix and Marshalls to stock up on kitchen towels and apple and pumpkin spice candles.

Yet time seems to be a sneaky thing and sometimes I feel like my ability to enjoy fall is limited. So, if I only had 24-hours to experience all of what fall has to offer in San Diego, here is what I would do:

The first thing my husband and I would do would walk to our favorite local coffee shop, Dark Horse Coffee. They specialize in pour-overs, cold brews and French presses at their Normal Heights location. Ever since it opened a couple years ago we have been hooked! They have a cozy space with a large window that overlooks bustling Adams Avenue. The costumer service is amazing. They are friendly and they know their coffee. Come fall I am very excited about what Dark Horse has in store. My fall favorite is their Pumpkin Spice Latte but they also have a Dirty Pumpkin Space Latte as well as their brand new Salted Maple Latte. We would pick up or drink and our donuts (yes their donuts are amazing. I usually get the French Toast) and head on out to our car to drive up to Bates Nut Farm.

Bates Nut Farm is 100 acres of sprawling land, pumpkins and nuts. They roast and package their own nuts and have everything from walnuts, pistachios, and pecans to cashews. They also have homemade fudge.  The first time my husband and I went here it was 80 degrees out still and we wore shorts. But just being in this area made me feel very festive and full of magical fall feelings. They have a picnic area, a petting zoo and plenty of food vendors, which give it a farmer’s market type feel. My favorite part is their huge pumpkin patch. They have gourds, miniature pumpkins, huge orange pumpkins and little white pumpkins. It is a dream come true for a pumpkin lover such as myself. My husband and I were determined to find just the right pumpkin. We ended up getting a little carried away and got one that weighed 46-pounds! We needed a wheelbarrow to maneuver it the half mile to our car! It sat in our small one bedroom apartment all fall looking huge and glorious and made me smile every time I passed by.

After this we would probably drive back to our neighborhood and maybe take a “nature walk”. I love going on walks around our neighborhood especially in the fall. The leaves are falling and their brilliant colors cover the sidewalks and streets. During this season, I notice a fresh earthy smell in the air.

We would probably get hungry for dinner and probably walk to one of our favorite locale eateries called Soda and Swine. It’s a hip and casual restaurant with a retractable roof. It has a cozy fireplace that makes it feel very inviting during the fall months. It is filled with wood, brick and bright red stools. They have chalkboard menus and craft bottled soda to consider as you wait in line. I usually order a Cheerwine soda to start. They specialize in gourmet meatballs. You first select your meatball and then whether you would like it as slide, a submarine or on spaghetti. I go back and forth between the Bovine (beef with marinara and mozzarella) and the Hen (chicken with mushroom cream and provolone) and have it with spaghetti.

For me though, the sides are where it’s at. I’ve been a “side girl.” For much of my life I’ve genuinely felt like a sidekick to other people’s entertaining and dramatic lives. I’ve secretly felt that sidekicks have more fun though and I guess I have taken this theory into the way I eat. I don’t eat at places for their main dish. I go for the sides and drinks.  Here they have an array of options and I have gotten anything from hand cut twice cooked fries, to their apple salad to their garlic lemon parmesan broccolini, to their macaroni and cheese with aged cheddar.

For desert they have a Classic Apple Pie and a Carmel Pecan Apple Pie. They also have a seasonal pie special, which I am guessing is going to be pumpkin something.  My whole life growing up around the holidays especially in the fall my mom makes pies. She makes the crust from scratch. I mean she is legit. So when she told me Soda and Swine’s Classic Apple Pie was the best she’s ever had in her 59 years I really believed her.

Considering it’s Sunday we head on over to Balboa Park Spreckel’s Organ Pavilion. This very special organ contains 5,005 pipes! If you don’t know much about organs you are not alone! My husband and I decided to check out these concerts one day impulsively and now we just love them. They will have concerts every Sunday all throughout October 31st they have a special Halloween 2015 Silent Movie. They are going to be showing the classic 1925 silent film Phantom of the Opera accompanied with organ. Honestly the first time I went to a silent film at the Spreckel’s Pavilion I was afraid I would be bored. But honestly it was so interesting and fun! The organist was so skilled and made me feel sad, sorrow and humor whenever I was supposed to during the course of the film! Now that it’s fall it’s a perfect time to grab a hot chocolate or hot tea and visit Balboa Park!

After the concert, Scott and I would head to Ballast Point Brewery in Little Italy and grab a  Pumpkin Down, which is a Scottish ale with pumpkin,toffee and caramel flavor. I just tried it this weekend and was pleasantly surprised as I am picky about my beer. My mother-in-law and I both loved it! 

After our nightcap we would go home and if we aren’t too tired watch It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and fall asleep content and happy after our day of fall festivities. 

For any other fall happenings or events make sure to check out Eventbrite to help figure out what autumn festivities you might want to incorporate in your day. I’ve used them numerous times to purchase tickets for events and they have been fabulous! You can also use their event management software to really get your fall event going!