Tag Archives: how to

How To Travel During a Pandemic

traveling during covid

We all miss traveling and hope that by the summer, with active vaccination, we’ll be able to take at least some shorter trips to select destinations. But even today, some people need to take flights for work or drive to visit relatives they care for. Whether you’re planning your vacation, or just want to feel safer on a business trip, there are a few precautions you can take in these difficult times.

Here’s how to travel during a pandemic.

The Basic Rules

When traveling, make sure you learn the destination’s safety requirements, but even if the place, e.g., doesn’t call for wearing a mask at all times, you might want to use common sense and put one on when in busy spots.

Maintaining social distance will remain a good idea for some time even with the pandemic situation getting better, so keep 6 feet apart when possible.

The same goes for avoiding sick people, washing and sanitizing hands, not touching your face, and covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing.

Lodging

When choosing a hotel or other accommodation, make sure you check their website or call ahead to learn about their safety protocols.

Things to look for are wearing masks and using gloves for staff, advanced cleaning procedures, social distancing, set protocols if someone gets sick, contactless check-in and payment, and hand sanitizer available at all places. It’s also essential to have enough time between guests in the room to get it cleaned and aired properly.

It will not hurt if you disinfect the doorknobs, countertops, faucets, and other high-touch surfaces when you arrive yourself. Make sure you pack alcohol sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, gloves, and masks.

Also, pack enough changes of clothes to avoid bringing in germs from outside. High-quality v-neck shirts, like the ones from Fresh Clean Tees, will be perfect for any trip as they come in multiple colors and go with everything.

Flying

Flying can feel a little scary. Even if summer sees things getting much better, it’s smart to take extra precautions. Choose the airlines that are clear about their safety protocols and implement them throughout the entire process from check-in, boarding to the flight itself.

Wear a mask at all times and have a few of them to switch if your flight is longer. Minimize the interaction with other passengers, use hand sanitizers and bring your own food on the plane.

Car Travel

If you’re traveling by car, you might feel safer, and it’s highly recommended if there’s an option to do so. Depending on your location, you might need to be more or less vigilant about minimizing your stops and activities. However, pack all the proper supplies and some food for the road, so you don’t have to stop to eat too often.

If you choose to eat on the road, opt for restaurants that offer a drive-thru, curbside service, or have outdoor seating. We also recommend stocking up on water if you’re driving to remote locations and suggests investing in good quality water cans instead of plastic bottles.

Plan, Plan, Plan

You probably have your usual routines during holidays, but currently, you might need to reconsider some of them. Skip the indoor theme parks, big crowded squares, shops, bars, and clubs. Focus on outdoor activities, nature parks, drive-in movie theaters, outdoor dining, picnicking, and entertainment venues you know have taken all the needed safety measures.

There might be an app available in your destination that updates on the COVID-19 situation, so you can check which areas are safe and which to avoid.

Be Flexible

We all want to return to making plans and enjoying our lives, but we still need to be flexible and cancel certain activities if needed. If you don’t feel comfortable, or you learn about health risks in certain destinations, cancel those plans and opt for another activity. Even in cases where you already paid for, e.g., a tour, you should still cancel if you don’t feel safe.

Lastly, if you or your family member feels unwell, just stay home. Don’t forget to check the recommendations of the U.S. CDC before traveling.

Tips To Finding Your Food Photography Inspiration

latte with camera foam
Image Source

Actress Jamie Chung once jokingly said, “If acting doesn’t work out, I plan to do food photography and just eat my way through the entire world! I’m a big foodie, and if I could make some career out of it, that would be fantastic.” She’s probably in good company. In a world that’s overwhelmed with smartphones and picture-apps like Instagram, you’d think everyone is a passionate food photographer! However, few are aware of just how difficult it is to sustain the drive. We’re giving you a few tips on re-igniting your passion and finding your food photography inspiration. Here we go!

1. Invest in a few renowned cookbooks and magazines

Where do the best food photographers ply their trade? Well in cookbooks and magazines of course! Granted, these resources aren’t free and you may have to shell out a couple of dollars to access these books, but its’ money well spent. Fortunately, you don’t have to purchase actual hard-copies which tend to be more expensive. The digital versions do nicely.

2. Dabble and experiment with other forms of photography

The world of photography is vast with numerous genres – wedding photography, product photography, fashion photography, aerial photography to name a few. What’s interesting is what you can learn from each genre. Lighting, composition, and editing are all done differently. The skills you learn by dabbling with other types of photography can give you the inspiration you’re looking for with your own food photography.

3. Study light, airy, bright photos to understand aesthetics

What makes one photo breathtaking and another bland? A quick scroll through Instagram and you’ll notice something remarkable. The most popular food photos are almost always light and bright. This is achieved largely by employing three concepts: white balance, neutral color filters, and bokeh. White balance, to quote Photography Life, is simply “adjusting colors so that the image looks more natural”. Neutral color filters help the images retain their natural look as well, while bokeh  (from the Japanese word meaning ‘to blur’) is simply the technical term for blurring out elements such as the background in your pictures. Studying beautiful photos can invoke the inspiration you’re after.

4. Look beyond food images at what’s around you

Perhaps you need to stop looking at food images for a while. You see, inspiration can come to you when you’re not even thinking about it; when you’re simply out and about living life. It may be that the more you obsess over your food photos the less likely you’ll find pleasure in your own work. Instead, look beyond food photography itself. Go visit a museum, watch an old movie, and look at some classical art. You never know where you’ll find food photography inspiration

5. Join a few social media groups and follow fellow food bloggers

The tech-centric nature of our world and globalization means you can follow anyone from anywhere. You can join social media food photography groups such as Food Bloggers Central to connect with like-minded people. With plenty of food photography inspiration to be had and conversations with photographers from all walks of life, you’re likely to have your own fire re-ignited quickly.

I hope these tips will help you find inspiration for your food photography. Still, if you would like to find further inspiration, you can also check out professional food photographers portfolio websites.

One final word: don’t worry about every photo being perfect. As Henri Cartier-Bresson laughingly remarked, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” Just remember that with every photo you snap, your skills will improve!

How to Get The Most Out Of Your Kitchen!

Woman in Kitchen
Image Source

Your Kitchen should be so much more than a space for chores and microwave meals: it should also be a place in your home that you go to for fun and relaxation. It  If you feel guilty about leaving your kitchen in neglect, now is the time to turn things around. There are plenty of exciting ways for you to engage with this space. Below are four suggestions to get you started!

Making Cocktails

Prepare Your Own Cocktails

If you are someone who loves to spend time socializing with your friends, you should think about making your own cocktails. This is a brilliant way for you to save money and to create drinks that are perfectly suited to your tastes. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be a complicated process. You can start off with incredibly simple recipes and then work your way up to more complicated concoctions. If you have an eye for interior design, you could even treat yourself to a vintage drinks cart or invest in beautiful glassware. Many Los Angeles custom closets are made of glass, not just for the kitchen but even in the bedroom. Just imagine how impressed your loved ones will be if you are able to prepare their beverages from scratch.

Home Brewing

Make Your Own Beer

Another great idea, for lovers of alcohol, is to use your kitchen to brew your own beer. Home Brewing is a wonderfully creative opportunity for you to make a product that you are truly proud of. Once you are happy with your recipe, you should consider sharing your beer with your loved ones. You could even think about setting up your own business. Why not start by designing custom beer labels online? This is a free and simple way for you to upgrade your bottles.

Prepare Your Meals From Scratch

Even if you are far from a culinary expert, you should still have a go at preparing your meals from scratch. There are plenty of cost-effective and simple dishes that you can prepare in under ten minutes. Once you have mastered the basics, you can start experimenting with unusual flavors and ingredients. You could also start to create your own recipes instead of following someone else’s. Then, you could celebrate your progress by hosting a dinner party or throwing a party!

Edible Gifts

Make Your Own Edible Gifts

Alternatively, you could spend time in your kitchen making edible gifts. Home-made gifts the perfect option for anyone who is operating on a tight budget. However, even if money is no object, home-made gifts are still a brilliant way for you to show your loved ones just how much you care. You could start by preparing do-it-yourself kits for hot chocolates, gingerbread houses, and cookies. Then, you could have fun completing your own projects. Finally, you should have a go at combining all of your skills. Why not create a gift basket that is filled with a DIY cocktail set, a selection of your home-made brews, your favorite recipe cards, and a generous helping of edible treats? What better way to get the most out of your kitchen?

Pop Artist Jim McKenzie Announces Art Tutorial Video Series: Makin’ Things!

Jim McKenzie With Scarecrow
Artist and “Young Paul McCartney” Impersonator Jim McKenzie, with his Scarecrow Creation (Image Source)

Regular readers of this rad blog may already be familiar with the New York Art Scene’s Favorite Teen Idol, AKA Jim McKenzie, because we’ve written about his amazing art Here and Here. Jim creates sculptures of whimsical hybrid creatures not entirely dissimilar to the work of Ron English, whom we also love. Now, Jim is bringing the love back to his fans with a weekly how-to video series called Makin’ Things With Jim McKenzie. Check out the Video Preview below:

Oh boy oh boy, this sounds like fun. Jim will debut the first episode of Makin’ Things with Jim McKenzie this coming Saturday, December 3rd, 2016, which will be airing on his personal pages at Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram! Produced by Aardman Nathan Love and Aardman Animations, Makin’ Things is an informative art web series that dives deep into the processes of creating wondrous works of art. Jim will be covering all sorts of art-making topics, such as sculpting, drawing, painting, and even how to critique your own work. Get your clay, paints, and pencils out and follow along at home every Saturday morning at 8AM EST.

Watch and participate in Makin’ Things at any of the Internet-based locations listed below:

http://www.youtube.com/user/JimMcKenzie
http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJimMcKenzie
http://www.instagram.com/JimMcKenzie

Even if you don’t want to make any art, you can watch it with the sound off, and still enjoy Makin’ Things, because, gee wiz, what a handsome man he is. Jim McKenzie!

Cooking With Gail Presents: Chicken Stifado

Kaldi Sauce and Bag of Rice
All Photos By Gail

Hello and welcome to another exciting installment of Cooking with Gail: the series that is all about me making a delicious dish from whatever I already have on hand in my apartment! Today we are making something I call Chicken Stifado, mostly because it features the Stifado variety of Kaldi’s All-Natural Mediterranean Cooking Sauces, which I was turned on to at a recent Editor Showcase.

Kaldi Olive Oli

Shortly after meeting the nice folks at Kaldi, they sent me a care package of sauces, and a bottle of both their lovely Extra Virgin Olive Oil and also one of their Organic EVOO. Excellent.

Kaldi’s Stifado cooking sauce, made from a traditional Greek recipe, contains a delicious blend of Red Wine, Onions and Allspice, along with other natural ingredients, and while it is generally suggested that this sauce best compliments a Beef dish, we are using chicken because that is what I had in the freezer.

What’s really great about these Kaldi sauces is that you just add meat or vegetables, and it makes an authentic tasting dish that people will think you slaved over instead of just opening a jar — which is my kind of cooking! So, this is how we do easy Chicken Stifado ala Gail!

(Note: before you even start your chicken, put a pot of rice on to cook, because that takes about 45 minutes, and you want the dishes to be done at the same time. Time management!)

Raw Chicken

Whatever type of chicken you are using, make sure it is washed, thawed and ready to go in the oven. I cut up a chicken breast into a few pieces, sprinkled some salt on it and put it in a 425 degree oven in a pan with a little EVOO in the bottom to prevent sticking. I let the chicken spend about 10 minutes in the oven before I took it out and then poured the sauce on it. No particular reason, it just seemed like the thing to do.

Chicken with Sauce

This is what the chicken looks like with the sauce on it. That’s right: yummy. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how to cook a piece of chicken, but for this dish I stuck to about 30 minutes (cooking time will depend on the thickness of your cut of meat) in a 425 degree oven, turning each piece at the halfway mark and basting it with more sauce. It smelled amazing!

Chicken with Green Olives

Garnish with sliced green olives, if you like, and throw it on the plate with some brown basmati rice, or the starchy side of your choice.

Chicken Dish on Tray

And don’t forget a glass of wine! I like a Cab-Shiraz myself.

I want to add that the way the allspice mingles with the tomatoes really gives the sauce, and whatever it cooks with, a fantastic, old world gourmet taste. I want to try it next with beef, because if it tastes this great on chicken, Beef Stifado would probably be mind blowing. Each jar holds 16 ounces of sauce, so that’s enough for a few meals at least!

Find out more about Kaldi Products, get recipes and shop their 50% Off Greek Sumer Sale at Kaldi Tastes Dot Com!

Duncan Hines Spring Velvets Cake Mixes Make Your Perfect Easter Cake!

DH Spring Velvet Front Box

Do you like cake? I sure do. Just recently, I was introduced to two fantastic new cake mixes from Duncan Hines® – a brand you know and trust – Blue Velvet and Pink Velvet, both of which I had the opportunity taste at Winter Food Fete. These mixes really elevate the quality of desserts that you can make conveniently at home.

DH Pink Velvet Cake Mix

Pink Velvet Cake (With Cake Balls) is Introduced at Winter Food Fete in February 2014

Just in time for Easter, Duncan Hines® has introduced Limited Edition Spring Velvets™ Cake Mix as a part of their new velvets line; the first in the baking aisle to extend velvet cake beyond the traditional red velvet. As you can see by these beautiful and tempting photos, Spring Velvets™ provides a uniquely colorful way to brighten up any spring time occasion!

Duncan Hines® Spring Velvets™ Cake Mix will be available at limited retailers nationwide only until May 2014, and has a suggested retail price of $1.99. Check out these two recipes for inspiring, lovely and delicious cakes you can make in time for Easter!

Recipes and More, After The jump!

Continue reading Duncan Hines Spring Velvets Cake Mixes Make Your Perfect Easter Cake!

Celebrate National Cheese Fondue Day on April 11th!

Fondue Party

With our well-publicized love of cheese and home entertainment, we never need an excuse to throw a Fondue Party. But did you know that this classic Swiss meal has its own holiday? Yes, it is true!

April 11th is National Cheese Fondue Day; a time to fire up the fondue pots for food, fun, friends and good conversation. To celebrate the day, Emmi Roth USA, the US division of the premier Swiss dairy company, is sharing the must-know fon-DO’s of fondue – everything from tips for when you dip to the new ways to do fondue.

Be A Delightful Dipper

While fondue is all in good fun, there are a few basic guidelines to follow in consideration of other guests.

  • Skewer like a pro. Be sure your food is secured to your fondue fork or skewer before dipping to avoid losing it in the cheese.
  • If you missed the first step and drop your dipper into the fondue, Swiss tradition says a woman must kiss the person next to her, and a man must buy a round of drinks for everyone. You could also just politely remove it to ensure the pot remains clean for all.
  • Perfect your twirling and swirling. It is polite to make one to two small swirls before removing your food.
  • Resist the urge to double dip. Food that has been bitten should never return to the communal pot.
  • Be a little adventurous by tasting everything you are served (the exception to the rule is a dietary restriction, in which case you may politely decline).
  • Sample before salting. Fondue is already seasoned with spices and wine, so it might be perfect just the way it is. If you do add salt, make sure you do it after you’ve dipped.

Fondue Dipping

Tasting Notes

It’s all in the details, and these simple suggestions will ensure that you keep it classy, but still casually cool, when indulging.

  • Wait your turn. Allow one person to dip at a time and proceed in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion around the table.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Dip larger pieces and then cut them into smaller bits on your own plate.
  • A moment on the lips is frowned upon. Your fondue fork or skewer should never directly touch your mouth. Transfer your food to your plate before indulging.
  • Let it cool. Never blow on freshly dipped hot food. Avoid splatters and allow your food to cool slightly on your plate.

The New Way to Fondue

Fondue is always fun in its traditional form, but these new takes offer creative ways to enjoy the cheese and make it more accessible for everyday meals.

  • Fondue is a fun party meal for special occasions, but also a great weeknight meal for the family. Not to mention it will get your kids to eat their vegetables.
  • It’s great to pay homage to this Swiss dining tradition, but be creative with using the cheese sauce as a dip or in a macaroni and cheese.
  • Feel free to add your own twist with a few dashes of hot sauce or some prepared taco meat.

Shop online for Emmi Fondue Products at This Link!

Emmi Fondue Box