food

Food Review: Tsubi Soup

Hi everyone! It’s Friday, so let’s have a little fun and do a food review.

I recently ordered some vegan miso soup from Amazon because so many of the instant miso options available in stores contain bonito (a type of fish that is a traditional miso ingredient). Previously, I tried Miyasaka miso soup, which was tasty but lacked the flavorful “punch” I craved.

While searching through the miso mixes, I came across Tsubi Soup, a soup company that prides itself on using simple, fresh, authentic ingredients to create superbly flavored soups. I was really impressed by the fact that the company has such high standards for its ingredients, so I decided to give it a try.

I ordered the spicy red miso soup with mushrooms (the company offers several other flavors). The soup mix arrived in two days because I have Amazon Prime.

I made the soup by adding hot water and allowing the ingredients to re-hydrate. After about two minutes, it was ready to eat.

OMG, this was delicious! I didn’t miss the bonito flavor at all. This has to be one of the most delicious vegan miso soups I’ve ever tasted. I ended up each the entire box within 3 days LOL! The spice is abundant but not too hot. The mushrooms plumped up perfectly and give the soup great variety in texture.

Now, one major difference with this and the previously reviewed miso soup mix is the price. Tsubi Soups has 4 packets for $12.99, while Miyasaka Soups has 12 packets for nearly the same price ($14.28). But, you get what you pay for. Tsubi Soups are far tastier than Miyasaka Soups and, in my humble opinion, worth every penny.

I haven’t tried the other Tsubi Soup flavors but I intend to. If the spicy red miso with mushrooms is any indication, the other flavors are probably excellent, as well.

That’s my review for today. If you love Japanese foods or curious about them, let me know in the comments below. Thanks, and have a great Friday!

 

art

Online Courses for Creating Art

Happy Thursday, beloveds! I am getting excited for the upcoming weekend – how about you? I hope your day is going well and I also hope that you have a lot to look forward to in the days ahead.

I know that I write a lot about the arts, because art is one of my passions. However, I tend to write from the perspective of the art appreciator/collector. As a result, I think that I may have neglected some of the aspiring artists that might be reading this blog and wanting more information about honing their craft.

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Well, that comes to an end today! This post is all about free online courses for aspiring artists. Yes, the art instruction that you may need to close the knowledge gap for certain techniques and skills can be found online, for free. This is especially useful if you are trying to keep educational costs low while you practice your art.

The first link I’m sharing is Artyfactory, where aspiring artists can learn techniques for working with different media (pencil, charcoal, acrylic and more) as well as how to create different types of art (portraits, still drawing, animals, etc.,). The website looks very minimal, but since the courses are free, I’m sure the owners of the site would appreciate visitors clicking on the ads and supporting in any way that you can.

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The next site, Art Prof, was first highlighted in this article on Artsy (one of my favorite sites!). I really like the format of Art Prof, and the courses are especially useful for artists that are trying to master more advanced techniques (like oil painting, working with balsa wood, stop motion animation, and more). Art Prof has a Patreon page so it’s easy to donate and keep this website free for all users.

I hope you all find these resources useful! Enjoy, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

style

Social Wardrobe for Soft Classics

During the holiday season, you all may find that you have more invitations that you expected . . . At least, that’s been my experience. With all of the parties, galas, and gatherings this season, I realize I needed to assess my wardrobe and see if I had the clothing I needed to stylishly sail through it.

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I figured that it’s important to have a basic “social wardrobe” that flatters my Soft Classic Kibbe type (more about my Kibbe type here and here; click here for general information about body typing). My social wardrobe takes into account my Kibbe type so if you have a different type, you may want to ignore some of the highly personal suggestions and just think about the concepts overall. Even if you have a different Kibbe type, you still will likely benefit from assessing your social calendar and what few items you’ll need to look your best.

  • A fitted sheath

The silhouette should be fitted but not tight: the goal is a structured look that emphasizes the waist without looking overly exaggerated. I really like this very affordable option by Muxxn: it comes in a variety of colors, and it’s easy to dress this up with glamorous jewelry and ornate shoes. However, there’s always the possibility of wearing this with a blazer and nude pumps and then you have a great ready-for-work ensemble.

  • A sleek turtleneck

This is a versatile piece that goes from work to social settings with ease. I love turtlenecks with little extra details that make it look festive. I recently got a turtleneck from White House Black Market that is positively divine. It has small buttons on the sleeves that add a feminine touch. This looks great paired with ankle-length pants or tucked into a voluminous skirt in a dressy-looking fabric (like faille or satin). Sadly, my turtleneck has since sold out, but perhaps they will eventually make it available again. . . Until then, this lovely turtleneck with inset sleeves by PattyBoutik is a pretty, unique interpretation of the traditional turtleneck.

  • 1950s style dress

Fitted bodice, A-line (or fuller) skirt – think swing dresses – and perfectly coiffed hair are all timelessly chic elements of some of my favorite looks from previous social events. I really love how Amazon has a lot of 1950s-inspired styles for reasonable prices. I wore a lacy blush dress by Dressystar when I was a bridesmaid this summer, and I fell in love with the design. However, if you’d like something a little more luxurious, there are many vintage-inspired retailers that have incredible offerings. Unique Vintage has a great swing style coat dress that would look elegant at a variety of events. If coat dresses aren’t your thing, then check out Scarlet Rage, Modcloth and Bitter Root Vintage (full disclosure – many of the dresses on Bitter Root are identical to designs being sold for much less on Amazon. So if the designs start looking similar . . . That may be why).

Dressystar Floral Lace Dress

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Retro Style Black Double Breasted Swing Coat Dress by Unique Vintage

Full skirt (any length)

The trick with full skirts is to make sure that the top you pair them with is fitted. The contrast of a fitted top with a full skirt can give you the look of a 1950s-style dress (discussed above) but it allows you to customize it more. The full skirt can have any color or print that you like, and you can easily pair it with tops that have different colors, sleeve lengths, necklines, etc.,. The options are endless! I really like this pleated skirt by Girstunm, which comes in over 40 designs.

Those are some of the basics that I think would be a good starting point for creating a solid social wardrobe. There are probably a few more pieces you’d recommend – if so, let me know in the comments below.

Take care, and enjoy your Tuesday!

life curation

Writing Out My Bucket List

After a few weeks of feeling uninspired and restless, I finally started getting back to my “normal”. I’m not 100% back but I’m on my way. As part of my recent burst of inspiration, I started writing out my bucket list.

checklistNow, I’ve done this before (multiple times, actually). But funny enough, I can’t find any of my old copies. I take that as a sign that I need new dreams. NO surprise there: I’ve already accomplished a lot of what I’ve wanted to do (as I mentioned in a previous post).

So I’m starting all over again. And I needed some ideas to help get my creativity flowing. I found this great list on Celestine Chua’s website that has 101 things everyone should try. She also makes this fabulous list available as a free PDF so you can get a printable version if you’d like. Between this list, Write It Down Make It Happen, and this incredible book I’ll be reviewing soon (more about that later), I expect to be absolutely unstoppable next year.

To our continued success! I hope your Monday is happy, productive and everything else you want it to be. Take care, and talk to you all tomorrow!

art

Art Basel Miami 2018: Beginner’s Guides from All Over the Web

Happy Sunday, friends! I’m currently watching snow fall outside of my window (an unseasonably early snowfall for central Virginia) and wishing I had made the trek to Art Basel in Miami! 81 degree temperatures sound like heaven right now!

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I couldn’t make the trip but I’m living vicariously through the videos I’ve seen and articles I’ve read about the event. If you too couldn’t attend, here are some of my favorite Art Basel Miami guides for this year. Enjoy!

Here’s a basic guide for those new to Art Basel:

And here is an etiquette-specific guide for newbies:

A recent article by Vox provides a great written summary of what to expect from Art Basel Miami 2018. I sometimes find it helpful to have a written guide that I can compare with audio/video information and that I can scribble on to capture additional notes.

Do you have any Art Basel guides to share? Please feel free to post them in the comments below!

 

life curation

Let Inspiration Lead You

Happy Saturday, friends! I recently experienced a major positive shift in my energy, and I wanted to share what happened that turned things around a bit. Now, the positive shift doesn’t mean that things are completely perfect; in fact, nothing is truly perfect in my life right now. However, this shift was powerful enough to give me a significant “push” when I wasn’t feeling inspired to do anything at all.

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Letting inspiration guide you is as simple as letting go

Earlier this week, the word “lagniappe” crossed my mind. Lagniappe is a Creole term meaning “a little something extra”. It’s a little gift or token that may be given for anything or nothing. Usually, little shops in New Orleans (though this might also happen in other parts of Louisiana, I’m specifically referring to New Orleans because I’ve been there) will throw in a little extra gift when you purchase something, or even give you a little token just for stopping by and chatting with the staff for a bit.

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A common sight in many shops in New Orleans – masks with all sorts of fancy designs

I hadn’t thought of the word in years but here it was, on my mind. I just figured that meant it was time to plan another trip to New Orleans (which would be fabulous!) and let the thought pass. I went on with my day as normal and didn’t think any more of it.

Two days later, I went online and read some posts in one of my coaching groups. I saw a post from a member that was unclear on what she needed to do to resolve the issue that she was facing. I thought a writing technique that I first read in Write It Down, Make It Happen by Dr. Henriette Anne Klauser. I flipped through the book, located the technique I wanted to describe to her, and posted my response.

After writing the response, I flipped to the back of the book, right before the bibliography. Right there, in the middle of the page, was the word “lagniappe”. For clarity, Dr. Klauser is not Creole nor does she write about life in Louisiana or anything else related to that part of the world. Literally, the word was on the page, like a beacon, telling me that what I needed was sitting on my bookshelf all along.

I’ve been languishing a bit because my dreams need fine tuning. It’s funny: I actually have almost everything that I want. I’ve spent years getting clear on my desires and successfully co-creating everything that I’ve wanted. I’ve traveled to places that I couldn’t imagine that I’d ever see in person. I’m in my dream field: the one that took me NINE years to get into. My family is healthy and happy, and I earn enough to do everything that I want to do (with proper planning, of course). By all accounts, I’m happy with my life and everything is great.

But my daily passion is lacking. I knew that I needed to get clearer about my art career goals as well as a few other “bucket list” items. I didn’t realize how much being “comfortable” and uninspired could negatively affect me, but now I know. So the next few weeks will be all about getting clear and finding my passion again. Now, don’t get me wrong: I love my life and find a lot of joy in it daily. But my drive was gone because I’ve already gotten so many of the things that I wanted.

I mean, what do you do when you got everything you wanted?

It’s simple: you find new dreams. You get some new goals. You find a new passion because that passion is what keeps us going.

So I’m taking some time to get quiet and let inspiration lead me. I think I know where it’s going to take me: there’s a dream that I’ve been tossing around for a bit, but I needed a little extra clarity on how I’d like for it to look in my real life. So I’m going to reread Write It Down, Make It Happen, spend some time just doing what sounds like fun (because having fun is great for setting things in motion), and allowing my new dreams to reveal themselves to me.

Have you all had to “recalibrate” your dreams? I’d love to hear how you did it: feel free to comment below and let me know how you tapped back into your passion after a period of feeling uninspired.

Take care, and enjoy your Saturday!

Uncategorized

Instagram Experiment Underway …

This post is late but I wanted to check in and let you all know what’s going on.

Over on my Instagram profile, I’ve been adding more content and seeing the result of being more active on that platform. If you aren’t already following me on Instagram, make sure that you go ahead and hit that follow button.

My experiment involves learning what it takes to have true engagement on that platform and whether it would be better for me to spend more time over there or whether I need to pour more energy into the blog. I want to make sure I’m connecting with my audience in the channel that they prefer, so I’ll continue to tinker with it until I find a good formula.

I’ll keep you all posted on what I learn from my experiment: stay tuned!