Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ink Session: Getting Ready for Your First Tattoo

The decision to get your first tattoo is not an easy one, but when you're finally ready to take the plunge, there are a lot of things you have to think about. Tattoos are permanent and the getting inked is a very serious commitment. Here are a few tips to avoid regretting your first ink:  

Do your research on tattoo parlors, artists, and prices Getting a tattoo can be expensive, especially if you're getting it from big shot tattoo artists. However, you don’t want to choose the cheapest route right away. You have to do your research on the safety and skill of the artist and the parlor you're going to.  

Image sourcepixabay.com

 Decide on the tattoo design and location carefully Tattoos don’t always have to mean anything. If you really like a design, you don't have to have any special attachment or sentimentality toward it. You can get a tattoo just because. However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't think it through. Finding the perfect design and where to get it inked are very important decisions to make.

Do not drink alcohol beforehand You might have the urge to drink alcohol to take the edge off the idea of getting your first tattoo, but don’t do it. Alcohol will make your blood thinner, making it easier for you to bleed. This may ruin your tattoo and won't make the process hurt any less.  

Image sourcetattisfaction.com

 Prepare for pain Getting inked is no walk in the park. While some locations hurt less or more than others (depending on your pain threshold), the fact is it will hurt. Be prepared for it and know that it's okay to cry (or pass out).  

Hi! My name is Pamela Rothe and I'm a tattoo enthusiast with a dozen inks and counting. Follow me on Facebook for more articles on tattoos and body art.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Doughnuts, crullers, beignets: A roundup of fried pastries to salivate over

While I like to think that loving deep-fried dough treats is as American as apple pie and baseball, especially if I'm just basing it on the whole panoply of greasy goodies available in our fairs, there's actually an entire world of fried pastries waiting to be eaten.

In North America, we have the plainly named "fried dough," also known as elephant ears, doughboys, or beaver tails. This fairground staple is, as its name describes it, fried bread that can be served savory or sweet. Popular sweet toppings are powdered sugar, chocolate sauce, and the Canadian favorite, maple syrup. Tomato sauce, garlic butter, or cheese varieties are also well-liked.

Image source: en.wikipedia.org

Coming to us from France by way of New Orleans are the pillowy beignets. Made from choux pastry, the beignet is often sprinkled with powdered sugar and may sometimes be filled with jam or preserved fruit.

Also from Europe are the churro, typically eaten in Spain, Portugal, and their former colonies, and the Greek loukoumades. The former comes in stick or pretzel form, and can be eaten with a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon, or dipped in hot chocolate or coffee, while the latter is drenched in sweet syrup or honey, with a dash of cinnamon powder.

Image source: en.wikipedia.org

Fried pastries are also well-represented in Asia and Africa. There are the beloved Indian dessert, gulab jamun, made from fried milk solids and sweetened with syrup infused with rose fragrance or cardamom, and the light, crisp, and soft Thai crullers called pa thong ko, which are sometimes dipped in fresh soy milk or pandan cream. Meanwhile South Africans enjoy their vetkoek filled with beef or jam while their neighbors in West Africa have the black-eyed pea flour-based akara, which bears similarities to the Brazilian acaraje.

There are still many more fried pastries around the world, but truly, the American penchant for deep-frying batter is a different (but tasty) beast of its own. While we do have the aforementioned fried dough, crullers, and the ubiquitous but truly magical doughnuts, we've also come up with some truly bizarre fried foods ranging from candy bars, cheesecake, to even soda. They're not strictly pastries on their own, but I'd argue that adding dough or batter makes them more pastry-like, delicious, and worth braving the carnival crowds for.

Hello! My name is Pamela Rothe and I'm a big fan of artisan breads and pastries, doughnuts included. Learn more about my favorite baked treats by reading my blog.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

REPOST: Tips to Consider When Planning for Home Renovation

Remodeling your home requires extensive planning and a great deal of energy and patience. Hence, it is best to delegate the majority of the job to an experienced contractor so that time, effort, and resources will not go to waste. The article below has some interesting ideas to share about this matter.

Home renovation augments the value of your entire home, and also makes it a more comfy place to reside. You might be planning to sell your home or move to a new place, but the lack of proper planning has put a constraint on that initiative. Whatever the motive may be, you need to have an arrangement before you take part into the factual renovation process. Major home improvement projects like changing your floor tiles, adding a new bathroom, kitchen renovation or building new floors are somewhat complex, unless realized with the help of a skilled person. The service provider who is a professional in this arena can eradicate all the hassle in your renovation project.

Image source: designlike.com

The following tips can assist you guide your home renovation project:

Image source: designlike.com

Supervise the renovation project

Though you will possibly have a service provider managing the various renovation activities, you will have to supervise the entire renovation work. Acting as the head manager, you should know how to converse and act efficiently so as to resolve problems that may take place. Always be sincere with yourself and choose how you will be able to hold the unavoidable tension with home reconstruction. You can also take consultation of your friend or family member to help you manage your renovation project.

Proper planning and allocation

You should be able to plan how you will make improvements to the renovation. It all depends on your home reformation project, and you may have to reside elsewhere while the repair is being done. An option exists for those who would like to renovate the complete home or some areas of their home in a little time. If you arrange to renovate only one area at a time, you have to think in advance how you will handle this. Always ensure how will stop the dust and other waste from settling into your residing areas. Generally, kitchen renovations will have greater impact on your daily activities, so utilize sufficient time planning strategies for residing with or without kitchen.

Image source: designlike.com

Obtain necessary permits, if needed

Endeavor to take the necessary permits for the home renovation job you plan to accomplish. The rules about building permits may vary from state to state, so verify for building laws covering your place of residence. In case, a contractor is handling the entire project, he will be accountable for obtaining any permits. It’s your duty to confirm that all the paperwork is fulfilled well on time. If you belong to a homeowner’s association, take care your home renovation does not breach any of the prescribed rules. If you have any doubt about anything, hire a professional to get the permit for you.

Image source: designlike.com

Services of a contractor

Prior to renovating your home, you should discuss with a reliable contractor about the extent of renovation you wish for. Get an estimate of the renovation cost, and see how much you can easily afford. It is important to confirm about any unexpected cost linked with the job and the time duration required. Trustworthy contractors can offer you services, as per your budget and likeliness. They will tailor their services as per your particular renovation requirements. There are several contractors available in the market, and it is significant to pick the one who can convey an affordable and triumphant home renovation project. You can get suggestions from your relatives or friends who have utilized the services of a contractor in the past. Make sure to verify the license of the contractor you would like to hire. An experienced home renovation service provider not only saves you enough money and time, but he can propose some excellent designs that you might not have considered.

Hi there! Pam Rothe here. I am a part of a team of expert home renovators who have extensive experience of turning simple looking homes into sleek and stunning modern abodes. Follow me on Twitter to get started.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A home restorer's dream projects: Whimsical, historical, and mind-blowing houses from all over

Working as a member of a home restoration crew, I've been exposed to all kinds of home designs which range from charming to traditional to futuristic to downright zany. Naturally, I've formed an opinion on the types of houses I'd like to work on or build from the ground up if I had a chance.

Image Source: pinterest.com
Working on a centuries-old home sounds like it might be a worthwhile challenge, with the special care one has to take to maintain the spirit and history of the antique home. I'd love to be involved in restoring homes like Ernest “Papa” Hemingway's Key West abode and George Washington's Mount Vernon because it will feel like I'm a vanguard of America's past by helping preserve these homes.

Being part of the crew constructing or restoring structures designed by world-renowned architectural geniuses such as Frank Lloyd Wright, IM Pei, or Zaha Hadid will also be a realization of my dreams. Imagining being one of the people hammering nails onto the floorboards at Fallingwater gives me goosebumps.

Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
Homes designed with whimsy, adventure, and unparalleled creativity are also on my list. I'd love to try building a storybook house just like the popular Spadena House in Beverly Hills, California, which came out of art director Harry Oliver's brain looking like a fairytale witch's cottage. I'd even jump at the chance at spackling walls for novelty structures like Dick Clark's Malibu home that looks like it once belonged to Fred Flintstone and the coffee pot-shaped diner, The Coffee Pot, in Bedford California.

Treehouses also seem like they'd be fun to work on. Whether they're the like the Zen and almost spiritual, arboreal masterpieces self-taught builder Takashi Kobayashi's been installing around Japan, or the sleek, modern tree-level homes by German design firm Baumraum, or even just like a stepped-up version of the treetop forts we all used to have as kids, I'd love to get a whack at constructing a few.

Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

The homes I've mentioned all have unique attributes going for them, making them exciting projects for a home restorer like myself. I hope I'm able to build or restore places similar to these in the future.  

Hi! I'm Pamela Rothe and I work for a home restoration crew down here in Austin, Texas. Read my blog for ideas on how to bring your home back to its former glory.