Reconnecting with An Old Gadget (Magic Bullet) to Explore a New Ingredient (Purple Sweet Potato)

Image from HK2046 Flickr

Sometimes I forget how useful a gadget is.  After we moved out of our last apartment, I stashed the Magic Bullet away.  It was only when we mistakenly bought whole beans instead of ground did I realize that I could use the Magic Bullet for grinding coffee beans  and since then, it’s been on the kitchen counter and used everyday (not only for coffee beans but for blended drinks).  A good and accurate infomercial of the Magic Bullet is at InfoNotmercial.  The Magic Bullet can’t do EVERYTHING as the regular infomercial claimed but does an exceptional job with some uses (grinding coffee, blending shakes).  It is also very convenient with preparing servings for personal meals.

We have also been using the Magic Bullet for blending purple sweet potato shakes.  I know that it sounds disgusting but with a little bit of soymilk and ice, it tastes like a taro smoothie.

Purple sweet potatoes are loaded with anthocynanin, an antioxidant with anti-cancer properties.  A really good description on the nutritional benefits of purple sweet potatoes is here.  Purple sweet potato is one of the five superfoods to eat now per Dr. Oz .  The article featured the dietary lifestyles of other cultures worth noting.  The women of Okinawa, Japan eat purple sweet potato on a daily basis. They are also some of the longest living females in the world.  According to Dr. Oz, purple sweet potatoes have high beta-carotene content and 150% more antioxidants than blueberries.  Worth noting is that the Stokes Purple potatoes have purple skin and flesh (instead of just white skin in Okinawa potatoes) and therefore four times the anthocyanin than Okinawan sweet potatoes (Truong, 2009).

It also looks like another blogger had tried making regular sweet potato shake and its looks amazing.  She adds cinnamon.  I did some research on cinnamon just now and learned that it has reduces blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol levels.  Here is all the health benefits of cinnamon from authors of books from my library (Tim Ferris (Four Hour Body and Four Hour Work Week) and Dr. Mehmet Oz (You Staying Young)).

After writing this blog, I am inspired to have a page on gadgets.   And when trying to find the association of the theme of a gadget to the theme of happyconnected, I realize that connection may not be just connection to the internet, to data, but to electricity.  Well, the day to day convenience of modern civilization!!


Pinterest’s Secret Board, a Feature Already in Springpad, Made Me Realize Pinterest’s Priceless “Pretty Factor”

I see in my email today a notice from the Pinterest team about its new Secret Board feature.  Isn’t that just Springpad? Except that Springpad ALSO enables multiple users to share a board, store checklists/tasks, add multiple photos onto in a gallery, add reminders, and finally add an item onto multiple notebooks.  And then right is when I realize that there is a component here that is beyond just features, there is the  “pretty factor.”

It’s the white dreamy layout , the white border around each image, juxtaposed against a gray canvas Pinterest has.  And I realize that Pinterest also applies some processing to its images. I love Springpad but I would continue to use Pinterest as a window to all things beautiful…..I hope that Springpad up the game with its design!! Or perhaps, Springpad is the Type A OCD equivalent to the more dreamy  elusive inspirational Pinterest. Looking at Pinterest is a guilty pleasure that is not going away because it’s so darn pretty!!!

Using Springpad to Gather Inspirations for a Backyard Wedding

One of the challenges with using a blank canvas, such as a house that is not typically rented out for weddings, is coming up with a vision.  The more I work on wedding planning, the more convinced that it is an exercise of creating a vision that is right for you, and using that vision to make choices  in the midst of countless options avail to you.  I used the Springpad clipper to quickly capture images that I like from Google images and pinterest.

I was able to come up a few that my fiancee agrees with.   After a few of these, I think both of us have a more concrete idea of how we want the house to look like on our big day, candles around the edge of the pool, paper lanterns hanging across strings of light, and intimate table arrangements.

I’ve included these images on the below slideshow (I have to save the images from Springpad onto my computer and upload them onto wordpress).  In a Spring item, you can also upload multiple images and scroll through them,  similar to the slideshow here.

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This exercise of gathering inspirations took less than thirty minutes!  I believe that planning is by leaps and bounds easier with inspirational tools like Google images, pinterest, and Springpad.

Researching for a Wedding Venue using Springpad

My fiancé and I started doing research last week on houses to have our wedding (we’re hoping to have our wedding in first week of June 2013 so we have roughly six months to plan).  We envision our wedding to be at the backyard of a house where we can have his family stay with us a few days prior to the wedding.  We decided to rent a home since we want to bring our caterer (vegetarian Chinese food, vegetarian Indian food), provide our guests with open bar all night, and have flexibility on how we structure our program.

We used the following websites: airbnbvrbo, and homeway.  The process of researching seemed pretty daunting at first.  Both of us needed a way to look at the results of each other’s finds in real time.  It was helpful to have him see the items I researched so that he can provide his opinion before I contacted the owners.  There were a few listings that he thought were completely out of budget or the location too small.

To share the results of our research effectively, we reverted back to the Wedding notebook we opened in Springpad a few months ago (both of us have springpad accounts online and on our phone).  We made sure we had the Springpad web clipper installed on our web browser (we currently use Chrome).

When either one of us finds a listing we like, we would launch the clipper icon and press the scissor icon to clip the page into a spring item (the process is called springing; and once is is saved into Springpad, it’s considered sprung.

The beauty in using Springpad is that you can see the corresponding photo on the page (a photo of the house of a particular listing).  The photo shows up as an icon when you show multiple Spring items on a list or a full photo when you’re open up the Spring item.  The Spring item also shows a map of the location.  You can click on the web address in the item to navigate to the page.  There is also an opportunity for users of the notebook (private) to comment.  This feature is particularly helpful for multiple reasons.  My fiancée copied and pasted the message he sent to a owner of a listing so that I can use the same message when I emailed owners of the listings I found.  We also use the comment feature to take notes on a particular listing (for example, when I saw the outdoor sauna of a house I like, I immediately thought of converting that into a photobooth!).

We stayed up to 3AM Sunday morning doing research. It was the first time we spent more than an hour on researching since we became engaged.  He had a couple of responses within twenty four hours and we were able to identify which listings were feasible.  And this morning (one week later), we saw one of the houses we found last weekend and the location seems like it can be a great canvas for something amazing.  The challenge we notice is that we have to do some leg work to transform what we see into our vision.

Tools Couldn’t Live Without: Astrid, Springpad, and XMind

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