Archive for July, 2008

Making Homemade Yogurt

Grace: In case you haven’t noticed, there’s nothing in this world that I enjoy more than food, but it’s unfortunately difficult to find food that is both delicious and healthy. One food item that is getting a lot of press for its health benefits is yogurt.

According to various studies, the heath benefits of yogurt are not only due to its calcium content and other properties it gains from being a milk product, but also because of the bacteria that is used to make it. This bacteria hinders the growth of harmful bacteria, therefore protecting the body against harmful bacterial infections and diseases. Also, the bacteria promotes a healthy digestive system, making yogurt a fan of dieters. For a more extensive and thorough explanation of yogurt’s health benefits, I would suggest downloading the Yogurt Encyclopedia (it sounds silly, I know, but it was actually quite informative and interesting!)

Although yogurt is something that can be bought at your regular grocery store, the health benefits of inorganic yogurt are debatable. This debate has made organic and natural yogurts more popular, but they are also incredibly expensive. I personally love organic yogurt, but it’s difficult to bring myself to shell out all the cash for something that’s going to disappear in two spoonfuls.

Luckily for me, I found this convenient, homemade yogurt maker. You get all the health benefits of yogurt right at home, and it’s easy and cheap compared to going out and buying organic yogurt all the time. It’s especially nice that this yogurt maker actually comes with cups, so you don’t have to search your house for Tupperware like I do. The end result is absolutely delicious, although you may want to sweeten it with some honey because plain yogurt doesn’t have much flavor.

This gift may seem a little odd, but it is perfect for someone who loves anything organic and homemade.

Dan: Yuck! I am quite a funny eater pertaining to my likes and dislikes but yogurt is a no-no for me. I love other dairy products such as milk and ice cream but there is something about the texture of yogurt that turns me off. However, I understand that yogurt is truly a healthy snack if made/bought correctly. Some of the inorganic yogurts found in the grocery store can really do more harm than good because of all the artificial flavoring; this is why I believe this gift idea is one for the yogurt lover in you (not me!). This gift idea is also one to cherish because you can use it forever, something that would be great as a housewarming gift!

The Most Useful Portfolio

Dan: This coming school year I will find myself listening to the same speeches from the University of Delaware career center that I did when I was a freshman. “Be presentable, talk slowly and alliterate, study before hand…” when talking to representatives from all the large and unattainable corporations. As a student and having been to career fairs, what they do not tell you is that you need a presentable and quick way to write down important information during the process.

I have learned that it is very hard to look graceful when trying to write down information and take out your important resume at the same time. This is why I bought a Foray Leather Bifold Padfolio. It is a presentable leather portfolio that allows you to take out your resume, cover letter, letter of recommendation etc. and write down important information such as contact numbers simultaneously. In addition to its uses, it looks “presentable” and really tells the representative that you came prepared. It has come to my aid plenty of times, and any of my peers at school would agree.

I want to now share a few resources on the business interviewing process that are truly great. One way to prepare for an interview/talk to a business representative is to anticipate their questions. If you look at what they might need to know about you, you will not be so surprised as to the responses you will have to give in return. The Virginia Tech career center’s home page has a lot of great information about interviewing. Everything from dining etiquette to speech is covered on their site and has really guided me through this process while at school.

Trying to get an internship or a job is becoming harder and harder every day. Some jobs more than others have become slim pickings due to the current state of the economy therefore inadvertently making the interview process even more of a challenge!

If there is someone you know who has to deal with these difficult events, ease the process with the Foray portfolio. It is a gift that will continuously come in handy and will never be neglected. Unless that is; you land that DREAM JOB!

Grace: As someone who freaks out during interviews, I have to say that I think Dan’s gift is a great idea. The last thing I need during an interview is for papers to be flying all over the place. The portfolio also looks very professional and organized. I also really liked the interview advice! Unlike Dan, I don’t speak very eloquently and get really nervous, so I really needed those tips!

Gift for the Tea Lover

Over the past several years, people have started to recognize the health benefits of tea, especially green tea. Tea has the potential to increase metabolic rate, boost mental awareness and the immune system, lower stress hormones, and may even have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes effects. In fact, recent studies have shown that green tea may help fight against HIV.

With all that being said, an obvious gift idea would be to buy someone tea, but that can get a little redundant. Maybe it’s just because we’re Asian and hey, we love tea, but my house is literally overrun by it. We even have a special closet for all our tea! Instead, I would recommend buying a tea set. What good is delicious tea if you have nothing to put it in? This is the perfect gift idea for someone like your mother (if she doesn’t already have one) or any other avid tea-drinker.

If you’re looking for a fancier, more flashy tea set, I would recommend this Wild Roses Bone China Tea Set. It has a beautiful rose motif with some touches of gold. It’s flashy but not overwhelmingly so (I actually think my mom owns this set). If you want a simpler, more everyday tea set, I found this Blue Line Tea Set. It’s white with just a touch of blue lining.

~ Grace

High End Guitar For a Low Price

How about the gift of music? I have been playing guitar since the sixth grade and will always love to make music with my own hands. It is one thing to listen to music, but it is completely different to be able to say, “I did that!” If there is someone you need a gift for who loves listening to music but does not know how to play an instrument, I highly recommend buying them a guitar for the occasion.

Guitars come in all different shapes and sizes (and price ranges). I began playing a bass guitar and eventually taught myself how to play the acoustic guitar. Guitars range between $100 to anything you can imagine; but, you can find very playable and durable quality guitars at any price range. If you want to check out a wide variety of guitars (pretty much all different brands) check out GuitarCenter (they typically have the lowest prices and match competitor prices if you push them).

If it’s that Jimmy Hendrix/Clapton sound you think they want…I recommend a standard American stratocaster. This guitar is great sounding and will last forever; it is a great guitar to have for your first instrument. Does Pantera or Metallica suit their fancy…go with any ESP for sure. Is Led Zeppelin their favorite band…go with a Gibson or Epiphone. The list can go on, but keep in mind when shopping for guitars that they all have their own sound. If you are buying someone a guitar for a gift, have them go with you or make sure you have really checked it out before you make the purchase.

I personally recommend that if the person is going to start out on the electric guitar to get a standard Fender strat. If they want an electric bass guitar, go with either an Ibanez bass or Fender jazz bass. The guitar is the ultimate gift of music. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to pay a lot of money for a teacher; a book, video, etc will do just fine! 

-Dan

Summer Fun Gifts

I got a question just the other day from someone about summer gift ideas for kids. If you have a pool or have access to a pool, beach, or lake, this is the ultimate gift idea! Imagine cruising on a skateboard underwater, seamlessly gliding as if you were a dolphin. The toy, known as the subskate, is designed for children. Most likely though, if you were to see me at the pool I would be taking it from some helpless kid so that I could play with it.

This toy is perfect for any and all ages and will keep any child (or adult) busy for hours. As a warning, I would not recommend this toy to little children or inexperienced swimmers, as it is a toy made for underwater play. So if your kids are getting bored at the pool and you have run out of ideas check out the subskate. The best deal that I could find for the subskate is at Toys R’ Us.

– Dan

A Summer Dress and Sunny Silver Jewelry

This is my first post, so let’s see how it goes. I, for one, love summer dresses and cannot get enough of them. I found this great gift for a girlfriend; it’s a dress at Anthropologie. I would buy it for myself and actually think it would make a great gift for anyone who loves “dressing up.” It has a simple look to it, which I love, and a cinched waist. It’s sexy but not over-the-top…perfect for a garden party or just walking around town.

Guys, if you really want to spoil your girlfriend, you can complete the outfit with a one-of-a-kind accesory like handcrafted jewelry. I am always so impressed when my boyfriend manages to put together an entire outfit for me on his own. My recommendation is a handcrafted silver bracelet. It’ll look like you came up with it all by yourself, and your special someone will truly appreciate the effort. I think that no outfit is complete without a piece of jewelry, and this silver opal bracelet would compliment the dress. It is made out of Peruvian opal and 950 sterling silver beads that dangle gracefully and have great movement, making this unique bracelet a fun piece that’s also elegant. And don’t forget to tell her that opal has a symbolism attached to it, the reputed power to bring serenity to the person who wears it. This is a significance that won’t be lost on her. You’ll love the thanks you receive for choosing such a unique jewelry gift.

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~Grace