Monday, March 13, 2017

Kombucha

My co-worker Becca is basically the coolest person ever. She's a yoga instructor who does things like bake bread when she has spare time that's not spent working out. I really enjoy her, even though she has RBF and I have to make certain she's not judging me (j/k Becca you're gorgeous). Anyhow I was of course super jealous of her when she let me taste her home made kombucha and it was delicious. I immediately wanted to copy her and make my own at home. She was kind enough to bring me a SCOBY and guide me through the process. If you aren't familiar with Kombucha it's a fermented tea that is a probiotic elixir of health. It's sweet and sour and carbonated and I'm doing a terrible job of explaining it so you can read more here: http://whatiskombucha.com/
 
The SCOBY is akin to a sourdough starter. It is the magic that makes the kombucha happen. It also looks like a body part in formaldehyde. Thirsty yet? I like kombucha because I really like the flavor. It's similar to a ginger ale and I find it to be refreshing. I also the think the benefits of the probiotics (in digestion, fighting off viruses and overall cleansing of the body) are essential. I currently take a daily probiotic supplement and have noticed a huge different physically since starting it. I feel less bloated and my stomach can take on foods that used to make me feel sick (certain dairy and meat products) without the pain. When I drink kombucha I'm able to skip taking my pill that day. It's cheap to make at home and makes me feel incredibly industrious.
 
Okay so I decided to make my first batch a small batch just to see how it goes. I bought a gallon jar at the co-op. After a simple rinse with white vinegar and water I made a sweet tea of only black tea and organic sugar.
 
Here are the EXACT products I used.
Then I dumped in the SCOBY and some of Becca's kombucha as a starter. I covered it with a coffee filter and a rubber band and let it sit on my counter.
Just chillin.
After 2 weeks I put a straw in and started tasting every couple of days. At first it was way too sweet and I didn't taste any of the vinegar bite I like so much. Ultimately it took about 3 weeks to get to the taste that I like. I was surprised at how perfect it tasted. I've paid way too much to buy this in a bottle at the co-op and here I'd cheaply and with little effort made it just as well in my own kitchen. Besides being entirely impressed with myself I was happy at the control I had over the balance of sweet and sour.
I had enough to put in 3 bottles. My husband (who was supportive but seemed skeptical) loves it too. Since my first test batch turned out so great it was a no-brainer to have another go with a full gallon. I did everything exactly the same and am anxiously awaiting this finished product. If all goes well I plan to start brewing two at a time as soon as my SCOBY is big enough. I'm going to try experimenting with different tea flavors and if that goes well I'll experiment with adding some fruit juice. The future holds many kombucha adventures.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Podcast Obsession

My 33rd birthday is a couple of months away and for some reason I've had it in my head for a few years now that my 33rd year would be my best year ever. I don't really know why I thought I had to wait until I'm 33 to be my best but that's just how my brain works. So now that it is creeping up I'm getting a head start- which is totally a thing that I would do. I've been making some slow and steady life changes since the new year to spend my time more wisely. I found that I was getting pretty phone addicted and spending a lot of mindless time that could be better spent on things I love doing. The first thing I did was delete my Facebook and commit to spending that time in different ways.  Increasing the frequency of blog posting is something I've been wanting to make a priority, for instance, and I hope to post about more of these changes to my life in the near future. This post is dedicated to one of my new habits, which is devouring podcasts. I found I was getting angry at the radio for playing the same stupid songs over and over and I was also angry at talk radio for being too political, too depressing, too celebrity gossip. For all the time I spend in my car I figured I could listen to something that taught me about new things or at the very least didn't make me mad. I'm a podcast addict now. I wanted to share the ones that I can't get enough of. If you know of any great podcasts please share them with me, too! I don't know how many more my phone can hold but I'll give it my best shot.  
 
 
My friends Kelsey and Erik make this podcast with their friend Ryan. It's about Ryan's mom Suzanne who is a psychic and energy healer. Each episode explores these gifts from a different angle. It's creepy and fascinating and really well done and I'm so proud of my friends for making this. Bowie is also featured in an episode...

If you've read the books this is the podcast version. People talk about embarrassing moments from growing up and read old diaries and love letters and stuff. It's hilarious and totally relatable.

This is a local team who also do Darkness Radio. It's totally hit or miss but it's definitely all things paranormal. I'm a junkie.

This is my favorite way to hear new music. Josh has the philosophy that you have to listen to every song they play and not skip them because if you've got time to listen to a podcast you've got the time to hear it all the way through. This is a good way to think about it because I'm quick to make judgments but listening to stuff I would normally ignore has been enlightening. Everything that makes it on this show is good, too. Right now I'm a couple episodes behind and trying to catch up fast because they just announced the Tiny Desk Concert winner and I'm dying to hear them.

This is basically a dude telling creepy stories but the catch is that he super researches them and they're all historically accurate.

Best interviewer ever. I tried listening to The Nerdist and I felt like Chris Hardwick talked way too much. Marc Maron asks great questions and has great guests. I like his voice a lot, too. If you listen to one podcast in your whole life you MUST listen to the WTF with Barack Obama and then cry your eyes out because he's such an awesome dude.

People telling really, really, really great stories.

This is my FAVORITE podcast of all time and the one that got me interested in podcasts. It's Starlee Kine who is, in my opinion, the star of This American Life and wins the award for most interesting voice. In this show she solves quirky mysteries. There is only one season. The greatest mystery of Mystery Show is why Gimlit cancelled it before season 2 could be released and whether or not there will be a season 2 (fingers crossed so tight).

This show is about internet things but not totally. I don't know how to explain it. Just check it out.

This is by a local gal who has a book and a blog already about miscarrying, losing her father and her husband all within the span of 6 weeks. She talks to guests about super sad and difficult life circumstances that are otherwise really difficult to talk about. It's sad but also really empowering and really, really well done.

All about things you cannot see like courage, sound and norms. It's sciencey and creative and the ladies who make this show are downright cute.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Weyerhauser House

The Witt-Blue-Bachmans completed our annual winter cross country ski extravaganza. This year was very special because there was no snow and we didn't ski at all. Luckily we decided to get an airbnb in Weyerhauser, WI based on it's cool modern look. The weather topped out at 60 degrees so we spent a lot of time eating, playing trains and walking on the lake. And also not wearing much winter clothes. So weird and so fun.
Here are some photos I snapped of the house. It really was just as cool and beautiful as airbnb promised. The location seemed very private and with no motors allowed on the lake (and the fact that there weren't many others staying on the lake) it was very quiet. I hope we can go back in the summer because the little point (that Bowie accurately named "Deer Poop Island") that led to the water seemed like a great spot for a picnic and I would love to utilize the porch and the fire pit.




Here we are pulling Bowie around in a sled on the ice:


The home had some cool features like a ping pong table (which is a sport the Witt's take almost as seriously as cross country skiing) and an old typewriter.


We did manager to get into the closest small town of Chetek. We considered moving there because it had a super cool old time vibe with diners and antique stores and a bakery with, I kid you not, the best donuts I'd had it my entire life. Get the buttermilk donuts if you're ever in Chetek on a Saturday. There was also a creepy artist studio where a woman made paintings of cats and circus freaks. In addition, she had a sculpture of an alien head in a box. I don't have pictures of this so you just need to go there and check it out for yourself.
Here's a link to the home on airbnb. Our only complaint was there was no toaster. If you happen to go please bring us back the top to our martini shaker.



Getting back together with Diana.

It's been a few years since I properly used my Diana. I mainly stopped using it because the photo quality started worsening. It became disappointing to spend a lot of money on the lomo film and end up with very few good photos. I decided the poor quality was due to light leaks and I guess I just thought the cheap camera was toast.

In anticipation of Japan I decided to give Lomography another try; mainly because I can't think of a better place than Japan to take lomos. An additional factor that made my Diana seem more attractive is that lately I've been feeling super overwhelmed by technology. The ease of using the Diana and knowing that you sort of just get what you get with it, rather than taking retakes until a photo is perfect or adding a bunch of filters to it really appealed to my mood lately.

Rather than buy a new Diana I thought I'd tape up my old one and see if it would help with the light leaks. To my (stupid) surprise I noticed that my camera had been set so that the shutter was on manual. Duh. This is definitely why so many photos turned out too bright. That made me hopeful.

Here are some of the better photos from my first roll of Dianas. I'm pleased to see that many turned out. They're not great but I learned a lot from this roll. 1)Don't set the camera to keep the shutter open 2)I need to center my image and then bring the camera up just a titch so as not to cut off the top of the image and 3)Using the flash is really the best way to go no matter what. I'm so excited to practice with a couple more rolls before I bring this baby to Japan. I think I like the quality of the photos even more after they're run through my scanner. Welcome back Diana. I forgot how much I loved you.

I took a ton of photos at the MN Zoo, which was a great opportunity to toy with light. This is the only one that even remotely turned out and I love it because it's creepy flamingos.
Josh and I took a date night to some Japanese restaurants to truly try out the Japanese Diana vibe.

Easily my favorite photo of a crabby Bowie.






Last (but not least) a perfect example of a side by side. I don't know why this turned out like this. As usual my little Diana always has a surprise in store.