Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Ginger Tea with Lemon: Delicious, Metabolism-Boosting, and Cleansing


I no longer partake in the flesh of sea beast (though I acknowledge it is the healthiest beast to eat, and tasty, too) but was once a sushi-phile. My frequent stops in St. Augustine often led me to Fushion Point, a charming sushi joint.

Photo I shot of Club Fusion 3 years ago. I believe it's a sister joint to Fushion Point. Their interiors and exteriors are similar.

The dark interior was illuminated by red paper lanterns and Dragon Ball Z anime banners hung beside Hakusai wood block prints. My kind of place. A favorite element of the experience was their delicious ginger tea. I'll visit again to see if the tea is the same combo of sweet, spice, and everything nice. Until then, I enjoy making my own ginger tea in the summer. Here's a recipe to help you make your own version:


Ingredients:  1/4 cup freshly grated or thinly sliced ginger, juice of 1 lemon, 1 quart of water, 1/4 cup honey or agave preferably. Stevia works, too. (Zero calorie.)

Directions: Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Turn off the heat, then add your lemon juice and ginger and let steep for 20 minutes. Stir in your sweetener, then strain your tea. Serve it iced with lemon slices as garnish.


Some may be reminded of winter and cold season when drinking this tea. Served warm with ample honey it's the perfect brew to clear up congestion with anti-microbial properties for fighting bugs. And it feels amazing on a sore throat! Served iced this drink is just pure summer bliss. It's a little like a "master cleanse" drink and has the same metabolism boosting and internal cleansing properties. (Great to drink a big glass first thing in the morning if you get my drift.) Ginger is also excellent for nausea and tummy aches.

But most importantly, this drink is just damn delicious. It's a bit spicy so you may want to water yours down a little or add more sweetener or lemon juice to arrive at the taste you like. I like to stir cayenne pepper into mine for extra kick! I'll be back to share more of my favorite nostalgic drinks for summer.

/comments off Btw... I'm on an impromptu boat ride today! I hope I'll be back to share photos. I do believe this is my first private boat ride today...with someone who says he doesn't have his boat license yet, is that what I heard?! Well. Good thing I know how to swim... 
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mid Century Modern Kitsch at the Magic Beach Motel: Vilano Beach, Florida

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It's hard to believe it's been about 7 or 8 years since I stayed the night at The Magic Beach Motel, Vilano Beach. I look at the sign and flash back to those lackadaisical times. My friend (later boyfriend) Mike and I acted at random. Recite bad poetry and reenact scenes from Thriller in a graveyard at midnight dressed in dark costumes? Done. Seriously.


Drive aimlessly for hours until we find a good tea joint? This is how we found the delicious Aroma Corner. Load a huge bottle of illegally obtained 99 Bananas into the trunk and buy a kitschy $60 motel room? Of course.


I miss the carefree days when I was 19 with low overhead. I'd let my free spirit drift from one weird adventure (and work gig) to the next. I practically lived out of my car. You can tell when you look at it, my 'ole Suzuki's banged up like a middle-aged Las Vegas hooker. She's got the look in her eyes like she's circled the drain a few times. Sorry, pulpy language must follow with kitschy neon light decadence like you're seeing in these photos.


When the opportunity for a hotel stay came up again I had to seize the opportunity to relive the, ha, Magic and return to my favorite motel which its enchanting tongue-in-cheek mod sign. The motel's had a complete make-over since then with the price tag to go with it. This time a room cost $181.00 after taxes!


Granted, we settled for their last-room last-second so it had 2 "rooms" (not really divided), 2 beds, and 2 TVs. When I first stayed at the motel around 2007 there was a tiny, dated 90s TV on a dresser, a lumpy bed, and little else. Now the room has a little stove, mini fridge, tiny table and microwave. The new beds and pillows were very comfortable.


I was grateful they kept the gorgeous murals intact! Each room has a unique one. I wonder if our room had more on the walls that was painted over? This was the only painted bit in our "second" (really, connected) room. I remember our room from seven years ago was an explosion of neon pink flamingos and tropical green foliage. It was glorious.

An authentic mid century modern The Little Mermaid mural. I kid.

This mural was in the room next to ours. Our nice, middle-aged fellow Floridian neighbors (from Coco Beach) were chilling outside with their adorable Welch Corgi, Mango, when I interrupted with a plaintive plea to photography The Little Mermaid Mural I saw peeking out from beyond their open room door.  It's so bad and so good. Their room was thick with the nostalgic aroma of Coppertone sunblock.


Look how drab our digs were by comparison! Where's my Little Mermaid!? Where's my Under the Sea Dammit? I don't want your two (two!) fancy flat screen TVs I want color on these walls!


Vilano was decaying the last time I stayed here, now it's been painted and preened. It's nice to see authentic mod attractions getting a face lift instead of being bulldozed. This has been my main go-to beach destination for years (more family, less frat-party like the closer-to-me and avoided Jacksonville Beach) and it's been nice to watch it return to its former glory.


The rest of the hotel is a bit of Miami Beach Art Deco in North Florida. They could film a period picture here, it's so pretty. Holy shit, I need to do that before anyone else gets the idea. It'll be a sequel to Faster Pussycat Kill, Kill! I'd much rather stay here than the boring Hampton or whatever-the-hell across the street. At least the most expensive rooms at The Magic Beach Motel are slightly cheaper and you get your own kitchen. Our room would be a good deal for friends to split. With the mini kitchen you can walk to the nearby Publix (literally a few minutes away walking) and cook grub to save money.


For enlightenment on just how naughty the sign is, ever wonder why the old "Pull the Rabbit out of the Hat" magic trick is performed by a sly, winking magician in front of a laughing audience? I read that this was a reference to Mary Toft, who had creative ways of fooling doctors into believing she was giving birth to live rabbits! This sign may be my favorite design ever. I love bold simple typography  (Scroll to the top and compare that first photo and my website logo!  Damn! I swear that wasn't done on purpose.) That type of leaping rabbit silhouette and star motif is a favorite. (This was theme of Usagi Tsukino's- who's name translates to Rabbit of the Moon Kingdom- bedspread. Behold. I wanted those sheets badly in middle school. Of course Sailor Moon would have moons and bunnies on her sheets.)

I'm a cat lady but I've also always been big on bunnies, I've had a couple and they're wonderful pets. That sign makes me really want another one. Even my friend AJ was reminded of his furry pet while looking at the sign.


You can see they were dedicated to keeping their 1950s theme consistent throughout with some Elvis and Marilyn cardboard cut-outs and gorgeous vintage shell art in the lobby. And it's fun that my clothing matched the hotel curtains perfectly. Meant to be, I should stay forever.


And their pool was incredibly relaxing! Can I have this in my back yard, please? (Can I have a back yard, while I'm at it?) It had beautiful landscaping and fun tiki-style thatched umbrellas, too. I was dying to get a shot of the leaping rabbit sign in pitch black now that I have an SLR (you can see my old pre-SLR shots of the glory of the sign at night here- and a sad rant about how I thought the sign was gone, turns out it was just being repaired) but the sign was turned off when we go back from strolling the Old City around midnight or so. I'll  be back to record some video and take photos because their whimsical leaping will charm your pants off. It's that sexy.


The Magic Beach Motel is of course, situated right in front of beautiful Vilano Beach. There's a nearby pier (with restored  kitschy "Bluebird of Happiness") and amazing houses to explore. It's a short drive away from St. Augustine's Old City and my favorite raw vegan restaurant Present Moment Cafe (which we explored that night, of course!) I highly recommended stopping by the area if you're ever in North Florida. From the waters in front of The Reef seafood restaurant you can see Castle Otttis (yes, three Ts) a structure resembling an exact replica of a medieval castle sticking out of the trees! It was built in the 1980s and made it to page 140 of Weird Florida! 

I'll share more shots and stories from the wonderful mod and weird wonders hiding in Vilano beach and beyond. Next time I want to document a stay at The Hostel in the Woods (I left my memory card at home the first time!) and have a couple of camp-outs on different beaches! I love summer.

What summer shenanigans are you up to this season? This short break was only for half of Saturday and some of Sunday but it was so relaxing to change-up the environment a bit. Just what I needed to recharge my creative juice.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Freshly Curated: Vintage Illustrations, Colorful Tins, A Sneak Peek at a New Shop

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After a fun slightly "off" Saturday it feels good to dig back into creative projects! I hate to pull myself away but 'tis true, you have to complete unplug from work to come back with a fresh perspective. I'm working behind-the-scenes on an additional online shop where I can stage and sell non-vintage quirky merchandise. Here's a look at some of my progress and some vintage finds I finally time to curate properly:


I found this gorgeous set of vintage tea tins at a yard sale, the home owners had saved them from when they lived in Japan. The graphic design, typography and colors are beautiful!

Here's a selection of a few, more will be photographed and added to the shop. They'll be listed from about $5.00 each, let me know if you'd like any or a group deal before they go up.

I enjoyed staging them with the little Usagi-chan (bunny). Most of them have their seal intact so you can use them to store food, keep cookies and other edibles safe (these make fun and easy "gift wrapping" for homemade goodies) or use them to store supplies.


Another collection that's evaded capture are these gorgeous laminated vintage illustrations. They were lost in my white background and didn't look great with gray, either. They were they type of item that looked best staged in an environment.


I like that there are letters on the back for a front-and-back deal. These will also be listed for around $5.00 each.


These illustrations are so weird and fun, almost uncanny valley odd in the best way. They look gorgeous framed.


They'd make great gifts as well. Let me know if you'd like any of these or if you'd like to discuss a group deal on the lot. Each card is 13" x 10" and can easily be cut to fit more conventional frames.

Update: You can now buy these signs from my Etsy shop


And now a funny random behind-the-scenes shot! I love catching mid-shot funny-faces on this animal. She follows me everywhere when she's hungry. Which is always.


And now I must go out for a swim and then get back home and continue to clean/organize/curate. I've been trying to exercise more not only for fitness but the mental clarity it's supposed to bring. I'd say it's worthing thus far. Send me an e-mail if you'd like to buy anything you see. I'm excited to work hard on getting my "secret shops" up!

Go Shop, I Say! I still have lots for sale in my Etsy shop and I'm adding more items daily. If you're local I can put items aside for you, if you're not I can calculate a low group shipping rate.

Linked to: [Nifty Thrifty] [Thrifter|Maker|Fixer] [Sir Thrift a Lot]
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

My 10 Blogging Vows. Improvement Prompts for Writers, Artists, and Makers.

[I have piles of post-its and notebooks full of post ideas. I 'll research, explore, and interview to make unique content. ]

Everyone should have a journal because daily writing is key for self-discovery. Writing daily is also phenomenally good for your health (read: health benefits of journaling) helping mood, long-term memory retention, and much more. These alone are good reasons to blog and I have another one, it's a journey to self-improvement.

I started a blog for an outlet and because making websites has always been an innate perfect fit. This blog has single-handedly led me to blissful self-employment and daily blogging continues to help me improve as a copywriter and photographer. When I first saw beautiful blog photos I thought, "I want my work to be that good" and seeing amazing work on other blogs and websites continues to fill me with aspirations.

Looking back through over a 1,000 posts from the past five years I saw a lot of filler (I valued getting posts out daily over getting quality posts out) and want to make every post count going forward. I invite you to join and make these solemn vows along with me. I feel like they will help anyone who's using their blog as a way to curate and improve (or as an income source).

Vow 1. I will avoid "filler" posts. Every post I write will have a thesis, a point to convey.

Vow 2. I will read blogs, newspapers, books, magazines because you must read to be a good writer and keep informed to be a good blogger.

Vow 3. I won't publish a post until I am 100% sure it's well-researched, aesthetically pleasing, and "ready".

Vow 4. I won't let it bother me if there are time gaps between posting. Quality trumps quantity.

Vow 5. I will always post exactly what I want to post, unswayed by popular opinion or controversy.

Vow 6. I will plan ahead with my editorial calendar and stick to it.

Vow 7. I will set aside dedicated time to work on my posts (research, photos, writing, etc.) without straying to keep quality high and so I don't spend too much time on it. More work in less time.

Vow 8. I will challenge myself to improve with every single post and photograph.

Vow 9. I will continue to refine and edit to produce a clear blog with crystal clear focus.

Vow 10. I will strive to bring a new prescriptive to every topic, particularly previously visited ones. I will try to produce unique content and images that haven't been seen before.

We're in an era where content is constantly streaming. It's at our fingertips nearly 24/7, each voice clamoring to be the loudest in the crowd. Quality and timelessness will always outshine novelty, let's all work our hardest to produce the best with our photos and words. We should push through to put out fresh perspectives, not follow the crowd.

(PS: My long-worked-on blog archive is live! If you're reading this post via e-mail click through to see it in the top navigation, it makes it easier to read all of my posts of various topics from the past 5 years. Many of the earliest posts had to be removed due to lost photos.)

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Freshly Curated: Polaroid Land Cameras, Kitschy Illustrations and Toy Furniture

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I'm on a "Thrifting Fast" but those yard sale signs will get me every time. Luckily I haven't had the time to stop save for a vintage sale I actually participated in and another neighborhood sale I had some time to stop at on the way back from the post office. For a mere two stops I was able to curate an abundance of inspiring finds, observe!

This yard sale was off of Park St. across from my favorite house in the neighborhood- which is, appropriately, Japanese-styled. There were stacks of the type of oxidized, super-shabby finds the "American Pickers" non-reselling audience thinks you can sell for $1,000 each on eBay...haha, no. I resisted most of it but the vintage "Wet The Brush" set above got me! 

First off, that box design! So kawaii, so ominous! It's like those Ren & Stimpy 1950s toy commercial parodies. A perfect mix of 100% accurate design and homage and unsettling uncanny valley weirdness? It's that lettering. It looks like an artistic ejaculation. Sorry, I've been watching weird indie cartoons since the nineties, I can see nothing else. It's too drippy, almost sinister. Horror movie cover here! Enough of that case though, on to the books within...


Now these are perfectly Leave it to Beaver innocent American fun. Check out Forest Families / Lucky Find / Color Surprise and Let's Ride. I wish I had time to document every single illustration inside. May have to come back to these for sure.

And to complete the innocent fun theme we have some beautiful dollhouse furniture.

Dollhouse furniture can do well for me so I had to scoop them up. But not merely for that reason.


These make excellent photo props. I adore the clean lines and bright solid colors.

Great for illustrating scale or re-arranging on a shelf in your home for inspiration. As weirdo creatives are want to do. My favorite is the vanity with the round mirror! Buy the whole gorgeous set On Etsy.

The furniture was in a pile with this pan and plate.


I can't help but love "smalls".

And they we have a little train.



Held up for scale. It want to Choo-Choo-Choose You. Remember that Simpsons episode? No? Well, damn.

This "Fun Book" was indeed just that, so many beautiful illustrations!

If I had time I'd have scanned every single illustration ASAP. Each one is a gem. It's awaiting it's new home with another design fetishist on Etsy


This little tartan elephant and mouse plate had a gorgeous illustration too. Love the rust on this piece. Chillin' On Etsy

And how about 'dem polaroid Land Cameras? I have one with flash and a polaroid bag and one without for sale.


These are wonderfully iconic and lovely to behold. If either one sticks around for long I may have to order some film and play around. By the way, I want to write some detailed photography composition and equipment tips. Any photographers wanna get with me on this? Hit me up, please! 
These creepy babies were thrown in with the doll house furniture! I assume they went with the original set? $5.00 to anyone who's interested? See what I mean by shabby old stuff? Old and tattered does not equal valuable. Usually quite the opposite from my selling experience but people don't believe me!

SALE SALE SALE!!! Off to work with me. I want to clean-up the work mess I made yesterday before my kitchen shift and put the finishing touches on my blog archive/the week's post. (I abandoned both projects last night in favor of a night dip at the beach...because you have to live and stop working a tiny bit, right? Yes. The answer is yes.) EVERYTHING in my Etsy shop is ON SALE so stock up on that quality vintage goodness. I'm trying get a fresh start with merchandise!

Shipping: I can do group shipping if you're interested in a group of items. I can reduce shipping if you're international, I just have to overestimate to cover my bases. I always refund overages. I'm totally willing to do group deals, too. Gotta clear out this stash! 

Did you find anything interesting this weekend? To tell of your thrifting/finding adventures in the comments.

Linked to: [Nifty Thrifty] [Thrifter|Maker|Fixer] [Sir Thrift a Lot]
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.
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