Modern Small Apartment With Delightul Details

•08/01/2012 • 1 Comment


Looking planning solutions for tight spaces? Development of a small apartment with a modest surface is always a challenge for anyone. The experience and professionalism of designers, but also the original concept, creativity and imagination put their stamp on the work done over time. Economy, functionality and privacy describe perfectly this project. Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture (JPDA) find a great solution to transform a sixth floor small home office studio from East Village neighbourhood in New York into an area both functional and aesthetically attractive. This brilliant design provides a very relaxing, comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. They create important links between elements that influence each other and put them in value. Every inch of space  has been efficiently exploited, so the space is open and airy.


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It displays interesting features that range from the floor plan and sculpted-wooden volume that contrasts very well with beautiful minimalist furniture. The wooden volume separates the apartment into various zones: kitchen, bathroom, work space and sleeping loft. We like the simple, yet very practical built-in workspace to hide and organize the clutter, as well as the contemporary custom lofted bed  and the stair risers that reveal hidden drawers detail. Both white painted walls and natural light visually enlarge the space and provide a pleasant light impression.

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How to make a “smiley face” of the watermelon

•08/01/2012 • Leave a Comment

Funny photo instructions on how to make a smiley face of the watermelon.

It’s A Beer, It’s A Pint… It’s Superman!

•07/31/2012 • Leave a Comment

by Jenni Chasteen

It’s A Beer, It’s A Pint… It’s Superman!

Take it from someone who’s been banned from Comic Con for life, drinking while wearing a cape is generally not a great idea. And despite how you feel, neither will actually make you invincible. Plus, the mug shots are waaaaay embarrassing. Instead of being that drunk Batman guy, dress up your glass with a DC Comics Caped Pint Glass. Available in Batman and Superman styles, the glasses come with emblems and capes that can be removed for washing. They make a great gift for DC Comics fans who already have Superhero caped socks.

10 places to move abroad and extend your life

•07/30/2012 • Leave a Comment
Throughout history, people have been intrigued by legends of societies where residents thrived well past 100 years old.

Today, there is skepticism whether any such place exists, but health scientists do scour the globe in search of medicinal remedies and other lifespan enhancements.

In fact, many “pockets” around the world have been identified as “Blue Zones,” where locals enjoy high quality of life and health in old age.

While failing to offer one “secret,” these regions share community factors such as diet, social integration, activity level, and outlook on life. While genetics plays a role in how long we live, researchers believe lifestyle factors account for 75% of our longevity.

1. Okinawa, Japan

Japanese rank high in lifespan studies, but Okinawans boast exceptional health. Inhabiting a tiny island in the East China Sea, locals have low rates of alzheimers, heart disease, and breast cancer, with 80% fewer cases of heart attacks and cancer than Americans.

Okinawan cuisine, Photo: pelican

The Okinawa diet has been studied intensely. Staples include fresh island fruits like pineapple and shikuwasa, bitter melon, sweet potato, seaweed, tofu, tea, green leafy vegetables, pork, and fish. Locals also follow the cultural tradition of hara hachi bu, or eating only until 80% full. The elderly are active, working on farms and exercising for leisure. Many live independent of nursing homes and daily connect with community.

2. Andorra

Situated between Spain and France, this small principality of 84,000 people has one of the longest life expectancies in world. Residents enjoy good water, a top-notch health care system, and Mediterranean diet. It is believed that stress levels are low due to Andorra’s remarkable social stability. There has been no standing army there for 700 years, and the region currently boasts full employment. Seniors take full advantage of public leisure centers, enrolling in art lessons and recreation classes.

3. Ikaria, Greece

Today people living on Ikaria, a mountainous Greek isle in the Aegean, reach the age of 90 at 4 times the rate of the average American. Their fitness is attributed to their activity level and unhurried lifestyle. Naps are taken regularly as locals have a laid back concept of time. The diet is low in meat, fish, and sugar and high in whole grains, potatoes, and green vegetables. People also regularly consume goat milk and herbal teas over their lifetime.

4. Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

For the 75,000 people who live in the Nicoya Peninsula, modern life closely resembles that of a century ago. Residents maintain solid relationships, eat a plant-based diet, and recognize active work as essential to quality of life. Many residents are sabaneros (cowboys who work on ranches) and small farmers. It’s not uncommon for food to be cooked on wood-burning stoves.

Locals eat a “Mesoamerican Trifecta” diet, consisting of corn tortillas, beans, and squash. The water supply is high in minerals that increase bone health. Because of the dry sunny climate, locals suffer from few respiratory diseases and get plenty of Vitamin D.

Hunza woman, Photo: Shawn D Metcalfe

5. Hunza Valley, Pakistan

Surrounded by the Himalayas in Northeast Pakistan, the Hunza Valley was historically thought to be the mythical Shangri La. There is no evidence that residents live to 150 years old as claimed in the 1970s, but modern research supports that Hunza elderly boast enviable fitness levels. The diet is plant based, consisting mainly of wheat and barley and antioxidant fruits like cherries and plums. The rough terrain encourages high activity level among residents, leading to increased agility in old age. Residents are also known to have very positive outlooks on life and strong family ties.

6. Vilcambamba, Ecuador

Vilcambamba is often referred to as the “Valley of Longevity” for its remote location and lifespan of residents. Beginning in the 1950s, locals have been studied for their low rates of chronic illness and claims of living to 120. Although researchers debunked some claims as exaggerations, they concede that the activity level and diet of residents does offer them extraordinary health.

Seniors commonly work on ranches, performing manual tasks and riding horses. They eat almost no animal products and rely on fresh organic vegetables with medicinal properties. Their fresh water from nearby mountains has high concentration of healthy minerals.

7. Sardinia, Italy

Unlike much of the world, where average gender lifespan is different, men and women in Sardinia share equal longevity estimates. In addition, they reach 100 years old at twice the average than the rest of the world. A common saying on this Italian island is a kent’ annos, or “May you live to 100.”

The cuisine consists of raw milk and cheese, fresh vegetables, and small amounts of lamb, pork, and oily fish. Residents are family oriented and very active well into old age. Some research on Sardinian longevity links it to genetics. Few Sardinians marry outsiders and there appears to be a genetic basis for men suffering fewer cases of heart disease and stroke.

Sardinia, Photo: bitter like a coffee

8. Abkhasia, Georgia

Almost 100,000 people live in the mountainous region of Abkhasia, a breakaway region of Georgia. Locals have been studied with interest for their fantastic claims of lifespans reaching 150 years old. Although researchers cast doubt on those figures, they concede that elderly suffer low rates of disease and enjoy high quality of life.

The Abkhasian diet consists of locally grown vegetables, beans, and grains, moderate vodka intake, and low meat, fish, and sugar consumption. They have extensive family networks believed to reduce stress, and status is conferred by age, rather than wealth or achievement. In addition, culturally, locals believe events derive from their own actions, rather than outside forces. In this way, they feel greater control over the lives.

9. Macau, China

Although not identified as Blue Zones per se, Macau and San Marino, Italy also rank high on longevity estimates around the world. Macanese live on average to 84.38 years, one of the longest expectancies in the world. Although not studied extensively, features of this unique former Portuguese colony stand out to researchers. The diet is plant and seafood based, drawing on cuisine traditions of China and Portugal. The city is relatively wealthy, given its status as the newest gambling capitol of the world. Social welfare programs are well funded, giving residents many recreation opportunities. Health care is a priority with dozens of western and Chinese medical centers and a doctor density of 1.5 doctors per thousand people.

10. San Marino

San Marino is a rugged tiny republic situated in the Apennine Mountains within the boundaries of Italy. Studies report that the average male in this region lives to age 81. Employment rates are high and the standard of living averages $32,000 US per year. It is believed that stress levels are low here because of little economic social division, low divorce rates, and high integration of elders into society. Seniors often live with younger family members rather than nursing homes or hospitals.

This list of regions with high average lifespan is certainly not exhaustive. Depending on the study, others areas (and countries as a whole rank) high in longevity rates. Other notable places in CIA 2010 assessments include Monaco, the UK’s Guernsey Channel Islands, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada.

While it may not be realistic to live the rest of your days in a Blue Zone, it is certainly possible to adapt the healthy habits of their residents into your lifestyle in whatever country you’re living in.

Baked Egg Cups

•07/29/2012 • 2 Comments

Even though I have had some rough egg experiences lately…the century egg, and little birdie fetus…I have not given up on one of my favorite foods.  While eggs can be made to taste more disgusting than I ever thought possible, they can also be creamy, protein packed perfection and in the case of the baked egg cup, they are just that!

The other morning, we had our friend Zach and one of his friends over for breakfast.  Zach was our travel partner in Cambodia, and he is moving to South Africa on Monday, so we are trying to soak up as much Zach time as possible!  Gavin made some delicious whole wheat banana’s foster pancakes (I think I should enlist him has a guest blogger to share his pancake secrets!) and I made baked eggs in ham cups.  These little cups are the perfect pairing with any breakfast…they are SUPER easy to make, and packed full of healthy lean protein…one lovely little cup has only 100 calories and 17.6 grams of protein…not to mention lots of creamy, dreamy cheesy flavors.  So, whether it is Saturday morning brunch, or a quick grab-and-go Monday morning breakfast (you can throw one of these egg cups in a whole wheat english muffin for good food on the go) these egg cups are a definite winner in my book.

Baked Egg Cups

12 Eggs

12 thin slices of deli ham (round)

1/2 Cup of your favorite cheese (I used Parmesan)

1/2 Cup diced scallions

Fresh cracked Sea Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400.  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.  Lay a piece of ham in each hole creating a little ham cup.  Crack one egg into each hole and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake the eggs for about 12 minutes…until the white is firm and the yolk is still nice and runny.

Carefully remove each egg from the muffin tin and top with grated cheese and scallions.  Serve hot!  Yield: 12

Piña Colada for Beautiful Skin

•07/28/2012 • 1 Comment
Photo credit.

Did you know that a Piña Colada is good to drink to keep beautiful skin? If you find your skin breaking out, getting blotchy or looking discolored than this is a great drink for you.

According to my research, a Piña Colada has a ton of delectable ingredients that have skin soothing benefits. It can give “hydration, an Omega buzz that ups detoxification, boosts blood circulation, and raises energy levels & medium-chain fatty acids that make the complexion glow.” This drink mixed with almond and avocados can also help you lose weight, lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

This drink – whether virgin or not – is not only tasty, but healthy as well. I can personally agree with the above because I have been drinking Piña Coladas for as long as I can remember and I always seem to have a good amount of energy, weight is always low and my complexion definitely does glow.

Photo credit.

I never knew that drinking a Piña Colada had much to do with it, but I’m happy it did. Now, even drinking a Piña Colada is healthy – keep in mind that too much of a good thing is BAD for you.

Here are the ingredients for a Piña Colada:

  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup of sliced pineapples
  • 1 small piece of avocado
  • 1 tablespoon shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • 2-4 ice cubes
  • Half a cup of water
  • Alcohol of choice (optional for people 21+)

After you have all of the said ingredients:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a blender
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy
  3. Pour into glass/cup of choice
  4. Add a cherry (or fruit of choice) – completely optional
  5. Serve or drink up!
Picture credit.
A second use for this delicious drink is as a soft skin remedy. The ingredients are below:
  • 1 can of pineapple rings or crushed
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 2 cups of powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup of soy milk

The bromelain in pineapples are used as an anti-inflammatory agent and calms your skin. Soy milk contains vitamin E which helps to prevent sun damage and coconut is an anti-oxidant that fights off free-radicals.

Here are the directions:

  1. Fill your tub with warm water.
  2. Add the pineapples and milks (coconut, powdered and soy) to the bath.
  3. Allow the ingredients to mix for at least 5-8mins
  4. Get into the bath and relax

Keep in mind, you don’t have to do a big bath — you can do this in smaller portion inside of a bowel or bucket. You can even do this as a facial mask by mixing the ingredients in a blender until it’s a smooth paste and then applying to your face.

There are many other uses for a Piña Colada, so stay tuned to learn new ways…

BIG architects: st. petersburg pier competition shortlist

•07/28/2012 • Leave a Comment

‘st. petersburg pier’ by BIG architects, st. petersburg, florida
all images © BIG architects
all images courtesy of the st. petersburg design competition

the proposal created by danish firm BIG architects is one of three shortlisted submissions for
the st. petersburg pier international design competition. the masterplan will organize and harmonize
a variety of individual events along a network of paths, merging to form the iconic pier structure
which will gradually flow into the waters of tampa bay. the branching pattern will collectively form
the ‘tributary park’ containing native plantings of diverse color schemes. the gardens will highlight
the programmatic sectors of the park including the museum, observation deck, playgrounds and natural
forested areas.

aerial view

bustling activity will be channeled towards the ‘wave walk’ which undulates to dip and rise from the water,
framing a swimming pool and small holding area for kayaks, canoes and small scale boats. similar to the waves
of the ocean, the increasing momentum generated by the volumes of people circulating onto the pier culminates
by looping the promenade overhead, sheltering people underneath and providing elevated views from the
generated roof terrace.

the plaza below the arch may be used for outdoor markets and as a band shell pavilion for concerts. the public spaces
terminate with a platform which submerges into the bay creating an additional view towards the city. exhibition spaces,
banquet halls and other public spaces will by placed inside the sculptural building.

view from the bay

wave walk

the wave

promenade loops into an arch to create outdoor seating

the wave can host a variety of public events

parade along the pier

atrium climbing wall inside the wave

inflatable bubble room for children

roof terrace on top of the looping structure

view from water

view of the wave from the tributary park

at sunset

concert viewing the city

at night



context plan

site plan

programmatic spaces along the wave walk


wave walk section

wave walk section

wave walk section

(left) seating oriented to view the city
(right) concert oriented to face the city

(left) concert oriented to overlook the water


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