Monthly Archives: April 2014

3 extraordinary hotels

Searching the internet for something, I came upon these absolutely spectacular hotels. Making a mental note to put them on my bucket list, I decided to write about them here as well!

1. Marques de Riscal, Spain

lux1539ex_109637_xxLocated in the Vinos de los Herederos del Marques de Riscal vineyard near the medieval village of Elciego, this beautiful hotel is a wine connoisseur’s dream. The wine cellars at the bottom of the hotel were designed in 1858 by the architect Ricardo Bellsola.

The hotel has 43 luxury rooms, each unique and different in their shapes due to the outlandish structure of the building. Thus, each room offers a different view out into the spectacular vineyards.

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I am quite frankly, stunned by the architecture, which is at once absolutely gorgeous, and yet surreal! I thought I had already seen the best of Frank Gehry’s architectural feats but for me, this beats them all! I can not find enough adjectives to describe it!

2. Desert Lotus Hotel, Mongolia

untitledIn the isolated Xiangshawan Desert in Mongolia lies a magnificent hotel surrounded by a circle of white tents. The tents were rotated at 45 degrees and connected together to look like a lotus flower.

The resort was built without tiles and bricks due to the rugged climate, and instead with ‘greener’ materials that take advantage of the solar, water and wind energy in the desert. The tents were erected to protect the hotel against the elements.

Due to its difficult geographic condition, a new structural system was developed by the builders of the hotel to keep it in place. Instead of using concrete or water, the building is fixed with steel panels with sand at its base.

3.  Lake Palace, India

JamesBondLocations04_CNT_24Aug12_istock_b_646x430A hotel floating on water, the Lake Palace has 83 rooms and suites all decked with marble floors. The hotel is located on a large rock called Jag Niwas Island, in Lake Pichola.

The hotel has a speed boat that transports guests to and fro. It has many times been voted the most romantic hotel in India, and in the world, and the James Bond movie Octopussy, made it famous all over the world. It was built between 1743-1746 under the direction of Maharana Jagat Singh II, the 62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar. It was meant to be a royal summer palace and was originally called Jag Niwas after its founder.

lw1891_28050970_720x450And lastly, never forget to keep dreaming of experiences you’d like to have… write them down on a piece of paper… allow yourself to feel the energy of what it would be like to have this dream come true, and then relax and allow it to manifest… It may take a while but it will show up… just believe and trust :)!

If any reader has been to an extraordinary place they would like me to write about, please let me know… thank you! 🙂

 

C’est la vie :)

Saw these great jokes (even if they’re old, good jokes always need a repeat), and wanted them on the blog! They were under the heading ‘British Humor’, and we do know that their humor is a world apart :)!

****************

*FREE YORKSHIRE TERRIER*
8 years old, Hateful little bugger. Bites!!

*FREE PUPPIES*
1/2  Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbor’s dog.

*FREE PUPPIES*
Mother is a Kennel Club registered German  Shepherd.  Father is a Super
Dog,  able to leap tall fences in a single bound.

*COWS, CALVES:
NEVER BRED.*
Also 1 gay bull for  sale.

*JOINING NUDIST COLONY*
Must sell washer and dryer;  £100.*

*WEDDING DRESS  FOR SALE*
Worn once by  mistake. Call Stephanie.

And the WINNER is…
*FOR SALE BY OWNER*
Complete set of Encyclopaedia  Britannica, 45 volumes. Excellent
condition, £200 or best offer. No longer needed Got married. Wife knows
everything.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Here are some more to tickle your funny bone 🙂

TEACHER: Why are you late?
STUDENT: Class started before I  got here.
____________________________________

TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell  ‘crocodile?’
GLENN: K-R-O-K-O-D-I- A-L’
TEACHER: No, that’s wrong
GLENN: But you  asked me how I spell it.  (I Love  this
child)
___________________________________________

TEACHER: Winnie, name one  important thing we have today that  we didn’t
have ten years ago.
WINNIE: Me! (Love this child too)
__________________________________________

TEACHER: Glen, why do you always  get so dirty?
GLEN: Well, I’m a  lot closer to the ground than you are.
_______________________________________

TEACHER: Now, Simon , tell me  frankly, do you say prayers before  eating?
SIMON: No sir, I don’t  have to, my Mum is a good cook.
______________________________

TEACHER: __Clyde__ , your composition on ‘My Dog’  is exactly the same as
your  brother’s… Did you copy his?
CLYDE : No, sir. It’s the same  dog.
(I want to adopt this  kid!!!)
___________________________________

And last but not least 🙂

Due to current economic conditions,  the light at the end of the tunnel  has
been turned off!!!

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Food as medicine (4) — managing blood sugar levels

High Blood Sugar is one of the most common health menaces today. Here are some natural ways to keep it in balance, and prevent and manage diabetes. Eating the right foods can certainly go a long way to stabilize blood sugar levels, protect our heart, and even save our vision from the harmful effects of diabetes.

The following nine foods can be very effective in helping us balance our blood sugar levels, and avoiding, or managing, diabetes:

1. Apples

At a long-term research in Finland, researchers found that men who ate the
largest amount of apples had 20% less diabetes or heart associated death.
Their research indicated that the active ingredient responsible for this was
quercetin. If you can’t find apples or don’t like them, other lesser but still good sources of quercetin are onions, tomatos, green vegtables and forest berries.

2. Cinnamon

A research at the Human Nutrition Institute, Maryland, found that if you add just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day to your diet, your cells will gradually become more sensitive to insulin, metabolizing sugar into energy more efficiently, and controlling blood sugar levels better.

Diabetes patients who received an extract of cinnamon every day for forty days
straight, experienced a noticeable reduction of blood sugar levels after a meal, as well as marked improvement in their cardiovascular health.

Cinnamon can be added to almost anything, so keep it handy and add just a bit every day to cooked or uncooked food — it may prolong your life!

3. Citrus Fruits

People suffering from diabetes often have a shortage of vitamin C in their bodies. Citrus fruits are chock full of vitamin C and antioxidants — making them a wonderful addition to your daily diet!

4. Cold Water Fish

Diabetics in general have a higher incidence of heart disease — as such, a diet rich in  Omega-3 amino acids, also known as ‘the good fat’ and found in cold water fish, can reduce the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol while raising the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol.

5. Fiber rich foods

Not only does it help reduce those frequent trips to the bathroom, but research at the university of Texas found that people who raised their daily fiber intake from 24 grams to 50, experienced dramatic improvements in their blood sugar levels. In fact, the fiber rich diet is considered no less effective than certain diabetes medicines.

6. Legumes

Legumes are a great addition to soups, salads and a variety of other foods. This low fat, low calorie ingredient is also rich in fiber and proteins, helping to reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Fibers slow the release of glucose in the blood, which prevents the rise in blood sugar levels.

8. Dark Chocolate

Researchers at Tufts university found that dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can improve a cell’s sensitivity to insulin (much like cinnamon does) and may reduce the risk of diabetes.

7. Green Tea

Research shows that chronic inflammation caused by fat-rich foods, little to no exercise and a diet lacking in proper amounts of fruits, vegetables, and ‘good fats’
can increase your chances of getting hit with cardiovascular disease and sabotage the body’s attempts to absorb the sugar in your blood.

A simple solution to this problem is to drink green tea and orange juice. They are replete with substances that prevent and fight inflammation. Green tea is also a wonderful source of antioxidants.

9. Apple-cider vinegar

Two spoons of apple-cider vinegar taken before a meal can help reduce blood sugar levels, according to a research done at university of Arizona. The study tested three groups of people: healthy,  those showing early diabetes, and full on diabetes.

The results: An hour after taking the apple-cider vinegar, the patients with diabetes had a 25% reduction in their blood sugar levels; the healthy and those with early signs of diabetes showed a 50% reduction in their blood sugar levels.

Make a list of these nine foods and add them to your grocery shopping regularly, whether or not you have the blood sugar problem. They are also preventives!

Don’t sleep on Monday night :) — April 15th

140411163359-01-lunar-eclipse-0414-horizontal-galleryI just read some very interesting news, and thought to share here! There is a phenomenon related to Lunar Eclipses called Blood Moons, when during a total lunar eclipse the shadow of the earth makes the moon appear a beautiful coppery red, the color of a desert sunset. Starting tomorrow night there are going to be four blood moons in a period of a year and a half.

first_0

This phenomenon is going to repeat itself in this century several times. We are fortunate to be able to see this, because their appearance is not regular, in fact there was one period of 300 years that the blood moons didn’t occur.

The picture on the left has several overlapping images of the moon, during an eclipse, in a few different shades it might appear in.

This time four of them will appear approximately each six months, starting April 15, then on October 8, April 4, 2015, September 28, 2015. So, get those telescopes out, and get prepared to forego sleep!

A very special cheese called DOUANIER

1622830_10152326162046327_8680752664535244644_nToday was turning out to be a normal Saturday after I adjusted to a change in my schedule. My afternoon flamenco class had got canceled at the last minute, and then I received the surprise of an unexpected gift of an assortment of cheeses. One of these was called Le Douanier (the Custom’s agent 🙂 )… apparently named so because the Fromagerie (the cheese farm) is located near the US/Canada border, in Quebec. Wanting to try them with good bread, something crusty and chewy, and some wine that would pair well, I decided to first go shopping. This is how everything looked!

To try the cheeses I opened the Douanier first, I enjoyed its beautiful nutty flavor, specifically pine nuts, so much that I decided not to open the others, not wanting to mix the different flavors. Having loved it so much I decided to google and get more information about the Douanier, and this is what I found:

untitled“Semi-soft cheese with a washed and brushed rind, refined by leaving in a drying room for more than nine weeks. It is separated in the middle by an edible vegetable ash, which is supposed to represent the ‘wall’, or the ‘Customs’ at the border, between Quebec and the U.S.

With aromas of the ‘terroir’ (the earth) and of vegetal growth, Douanier has hints of nuts and green apples on the palate.”

Other details:

Producer: Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser
Origin: Montérégie, Quebec
Rind: Washed
Milk: Cow pasteurized 
Texture: Semi-soft pressed
Fat: 24%
Humidity: 48%

I found it to be a truly lovely cheese, to be eaten on its own, if the subtle falvors are to be enjoyed! 🙂

LAVENDER – the ‘mother’ of all essential oils

untitledLAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL (produced from Lavandula Augustifolia) is the most versatile of all, and is rightly called the ‘mother of essential oils’!

Therapeutic-grade Lavender oil is highly regarded for all skin issues. In addition to that, its fragrance is calming, and emotionally balancing. However, all the benefits are only possible from high grade, cold distilled essential oils with no chemicals used in their production. I get mine from Young Living Essential Oils*, a Utah-based company, renowned for oils so pure that they can be ingested. For this post I have compiled a list of 15 uses of the Lavender Essential Oil that make is a ‘must have’ oil in a home.

1. To reduce and minimize scar tissue form forming, massage the area with Lavender oil.

2. Putting a drop of Lavender on a bee sting or an insect bite may soothe the itching, stinging, and the discomfort.

3. Putting 2-3 drops of Lavender oil may soothe a burn, and prevent blisters from forming.

4. Dropping the oil on a cut may soothe it, preventing infection, inflammation and the forming of a scar. Using on a skin rash may provide relief.

5. To alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness, place a drop of Lavender oil on the tongue, in ad around the navel, and rub some behind the ears.

6. Rubbing the oil on dry, chapped hands, on dry, sunburned lips and on cold sores will bring relief and will heal them fast.

7. Rubbing Lavender oil on the soles of feet may result in a calming effect and smoothening some on your pillow can lead to a good night’s sleep.

8. Rubbing a drop of Lavender oil between your palms and inhaling deeply may help in alleviating the discomfort of allergy reactions from air borne pollen and/or dust.

9. Rubbing several drops into the scalp may help with flaking.

10. Placing a few drops on a cotton ball and placing in your linen closet will pleasantly scent the linen and may help repel moths and insects.

11. A few drops on a wet wash cloth, thrown into the dryer will deodorize your laundry.

12. Diffusing Lavender oil in your home will support the immune system and the body’s natural defences against allergens.

13. Spritzing several drops of Lavender oil mixed with distilled water on a sunburn may calm it down.

14. Apply a couple of drops to the armpits as a deodrant.

15. Having a bottle on you at all times ensures that you never have to suffer the discomfort of finding yourself in malodorous environments.

In such situations, I just open my bottle and inhale deeply. Doing this also provides relief to the lungs when noxious substances such as second hand smoke have been inhaled!

*I must reiterate that if desired results are expected, it is essential that the oils are of a high quality. Very few companies in the world can match the purity of Young Living Essential Oils. To learn more, and to educate yourself, you may click on this link https://www.youngliving.org/kikibakshiSee More

The rhythm of Life

I have found: Life is a wave; it ebbs and flows…ebbs and flows…and people, mostly, don’t like the ebbing. Left to themselves, they’d just like it to flow, evenly and smoothly, at all times.
Coaching Clients ask me: “Ok–now that I’m doing the work,… when will the ups and downs in my life stop? When will it all flow straight?” I find that that’s a good time to tell them: “Ever seen the reading on an ECG machine? Do you know when the line shows all straight, without the curves?” The question makes them smile, because that line is all straight when someone is dead—otherwise the line must keep curving, like a wave, up and down, ebbing and flowing!What is true, however, is that the more work one does on oneself, the better we get at managing the downs! When we do ‘the work’, our downs don’t last too long; they aren’t too intense, and not unmanageably painful; when we fall, we know how to pick ourselves up again; and we know how to bring life back to a state of balance. The more we do this, the better we get at it and the deeper the peace within. The more peace there is, the harder it is to fall, and stay down too long!

This above is my post on my Facebook Page The Radiant Self www.facebook.com/theradiantself

Have questions, and need clarity about this inner work I write about? Please check out http://kikibakshi.com/ for help with a deeper understanding of yourself and the possibilities for you.See More

Very innovative food ideas — SIAL* 2014

[SIAL* — Salon international l’alimentation — an annual Food Tradeshow recently held in Montreal, on April 2, 3 and 4. Please read the last four posts here (if you missed them) to learn more about my visit there.]

As may be expected, a tradeshow of this caliber has very innovative and creative food ideas on display! Some things that left me gasping were the following — either for appearance, or taste, or both taste and appearance :)!


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The first of these fantastic displays of ‘caviar’ made with sea-weed! No need to cut up sturgeons and salmon for their roe (fish eggs), in fact being made of seaweed makes this product healthier! The four tumblers have four different flavors… the dark-colored one in the foreground is the sturgeon flavored caviar, the dark one in the back is truffle-flavored, the green is wasabi flavored and the red, salmon-flavored…on a party-table, these would certainly be the ‘pièce de résistance’, the conversation piece!


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Next is an almost empty tray of sesame cookies from a company in Jordan. I have yet to eat a sesame product which is so delicious :)! As you can tell, people come from very far to attend this show! At this kiosk I was offered another product, a small ball-like shape — dates covered with pastry, very delicious too.
 
 


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And the last was something tasty with a very appetizing appearance. It’s a recipe you all may try. Take good quality olive oil, add chopped up sun-dried tomatoes preserved in oil, add small sized bread croutons and serve them in individual servings on spoons. Mamma mia 🙂 — delizioso**!!!
 
 

**Delicious in Italian 🙂

 

Chocolate — SIAL* 2014

[SIAL* — Salon international l’alimentation — an annual Food Tradeshow recently held in Montreal, on April 2, 3 and 4. Please read the last three posts here (if you missed them) to learn more about my visit there.]

As may be expected at a tradeshow for fine foods, there was lots of chocolate to be found at SIAL. I could hardly believe I was actually refusing offers to taste all sorts of fabulous creations, but after a while I couldn’t ingest any more sweet stuff.

2014-04-04 12_04_40However, one product that impressed me a great deal was ki’XOCOLATL — chocolate from Mexico! I couldn’t do better than to copy directly from their supplier’s website www.origenes.ca as to the secret behind their fabulous product.

“In the Mayan and the Nahuatl languages, the word Ki-xocolatl means: delectable chocolate. This name was chosen in honor of the two great pre-Hispanic cultures that dominated the cultivation of cocoa plants, and passed it on to modern man. The Olmecs as well as the Mayas were the first to cultivate cocoa, which was used to prepare a drink offered in their religious ceremonies. Cocoa beans were later used as a monetary medium of exchange in commercial dealings. The Aztecs mixed cocoa with spices to convert it into a drink for Gods and Kings.

Ki-xocolatl is the result of various years of collaboration between the Belgian Chocolatiers Mathieu Brees and Stephanie Verbrugge the cocoa producers of Chiapas and Tabasco in Mexico. It was a perfect blend of work and strong emotions that contributed to the cultivation of an exceptional cocoa from the forests where wild animals and plants co-exist in perfect harmony.

The carefully selected criollo beans are toasted and refined until a fine paste is obtained. Then based in the European tradition the paste is carefully blended for a minimum of twelve hours. Ki-xocolatl uses the best ingredients in preparing its products, such as sugar from local cane and organic vanilla from Veracruz.”

In the picture one can see the full range of their chocolates, with bowls of various kinds of chocolate for taste. My favorite was the one in the bright pink label, 72% dark chocolate with pink peppers — it was simply divine!

 

Olive Oils — SIAL* 2014

[SIAL* — Salon international l’alimentation — an annual Food Tradeshow recently held in Montreal, on April 2, 3 and 4. Please read the last two posts here (if you missed them) to learn more about my visit there.]

Logo_Olive_d_Or_2013OLIVE d’OR (Golden Olive) is a leading international olive oil contest held in Canada through the SIAL Tradeshow — a perfect place for someone like me to be, who is always on a quest for the best and the finest in olive oils, amongst some other food products!

It was very pleasant, therefore, to have a few minutes with one of the representatives of the Silver winners of the 2014 Olive d’Or Prize at SIAL, the Oleiva premium oil. This oil is produced by Slama Huiles**, aTunisian company, Tunisia today being one of the largest producers of olive oil in the world.

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The gentleman I spoke with was, of course, disappointed that they didn’t win the gold prize, having won it in another international competition in New York, some years ago. I tasted and loved the Oleiva oil. When they saw the look on my face as I savored the taste, and then asked where I could buy more, they told me they would send me the information soon, and gave me a few small sample bottles, since no selling is permitted at Tradeshows. I’m relishing it at home, treating it like liquid gold, which it is :)! They asked me if I would do an interview with them, which I readily agreed to, so, please stand by for more on Oleiva!

 

2014-04-06 12.39.11-1The pamphlets they gave me have some rich and useful information. The olive tree has a very long history in the Mediterranean region. The culture of olive oil goes back to years BC. It was first brought to Tunisia from the Middle East by the ancient Phoenician founders of Carthage. From ancient times Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs and all civilizations in the region have been passing the olive oil cultivation and production know-how down to the successive generations.

Slama Huiles has been in the hands of the same family for three generations, continuing a 2000 year old tradition from their ancient olive grove “Domaine Le Baron”.

Besides it use in food, especially as a dipping oil with crusty breads (my favorite), olive oil is full of medicinal and nutritional value, which I’ll be writing about at a later date!

**The word ‘Huiles’ means oils in French. The French influence in Tunisia comes from the French colonial Empire era when Tunisia was under the French Protectorate from 1881 to 1956.