A Simple Apology… And Then Some…

image

Once again, I’m writing a post to apologize for my lack of attention to this blog which many of you have taken the time to read and follow.

Very soon, there will be several changes in the dynamic of Simplicity∞Beyond.

Let me begin by congratulating Javny715, our secret helper, for becoming an aunt this summer!

Secondly, I shall continue my congratulations with MrCooki. It’s his birthday today! Thank you MrCooki for staying true to Simplicity∞Beyond. Best wishes to you and unlimited health and prosperity. My buddy is growing up so fast. :’-)

Lastly, yours truly, will be departing this September to begin a new stage of his life. I enlisted into the United States Air Force this past January and basic military training awaits. I will be absent for a period of nearly two to three months. I don’t know exactly when I’ll be able to post again, but wait patiently for a simple description of my experience during basic training.

Wrapping things up, MrCooki and Javny715 will take care of the blog (as they have been doing this entire time) during my justified absence. Again, thank you so much for supporting Simplicity∞Beyond. We truly appreciate each and every one of you.

P. S. If anyone has any doubts or concerns about the enlistment process for the USAF, leave a comment below or on our Facebook page. I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions to the best of my knowledge.

Advertisements

The Talking Tree…

I’d like to begin this post by apologizing for not posting for such a long period of time. I’d also like to thank all of you for taking part in our blogging experience. These past few weeks, there have been a series of monumental changes in my life, so I had to take some time to adjust, re-prioritize,  and what not.  I’ve had this beautiful poem by Ilan Shamir sitting in my drafts for a while, but I never got around to publishing it. There’s a lot that I’d like to say about this poem, but what’s clearly evident in this poem is the simplicity behind the wisdom of an old tree’s words. Enjoy! 

Advice from a Tree
By: Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots

Enjoy the view!

P.S. I’d like to give a shout out to my newly engaged friends–Anibal and Danielle! I wish you only happiness and prosperity! I love you guys! Remember, simplicity is the key.  

Buns…

20120813-190546.jpg

This past Saturday my mother, sister, and I had dinner with a very nice couple from our church at P. F. Chang’s China Bistro . During the course of our meal we somehow ended up talking about the import role women’s hair play in their appeal–at least to us. Irving and I–the only guys in the table–were especially passionate about this topic. When I mentioned to him that buns were one of my favorite hairstyles, everything suddenly changed: I LOVE buns, but he PASSIONATELY dislikes them. Sure, there are some type of buns that are actually very unappealing, but that depends on how they are made. After a long and heated–yet friendly and hilarious–argument, Irving suggested that I make a poll in “my” blog to see how many people consider buns to be appealing and/or attractive.

As some of you may already know, I’m obsessed with elegant and rather simple things. Buns bring together the best of both worlds. GOSH! Even Audrey Hepburn–the dictionary definition of beauty and elegance–rocked a bun!

EDIT:
After Irving and Laura read this, they brought up a good point: these are all salon-type buns that not every girl can afford to use every day. So, here are some simpler buns that still remain simple and elegant. I’ve also included pictures of TERRIBLE buns which is why I’d imagine why my friend could possibly believe buns are not attractive.
Note: It doesn’t matter if one’s hair is loose, straight, long, short, curly, or whatever. As long it’s well taken care of and groomed properly, any style will look beautiful. It’s that simple.

Average/typical buns:
20120816-103541.jpg

Failed buns:
20120816-103609.jpg

Small Living…

20120725-122746.jpg

“Step 1. Buy land up north.
Step 2. Buy a yurt.
Step 3. Surround it by alpacas or goats… I am thinking goats.”

I’ve heard of yurts before, but I’ve never been too interested in them. That is, until I read my friend’s–Elizabeth–Facebook status update. In one of the comments that followed, Liz confessed that, “having a life that is simple would be peaceful. Unplugged and uncomplicated.” What truly astonished me was her next sentence: “It kind of makes me doubtful of what I want.”

As a child, I used to make huge mansions and grandiose cities from Legos. However, what I enjoyed playing with the most were the small and simple houses where a tiny Lego man would live all by himself with only the essentials. Now, as a young man, I aspire having a high-paying job that could sustain a luxurious condo equipped with state of the art computers, home entertainment systems, appliances, and so on. However, what I enjoy dreaming of the most is living (along with a dog) in a small hut in some faraway mountain with a stupendous scenery.

As I browsed the web for pictures of yurts, I ran into Designboom’s Tiny Houses. It listed various types of, well, tiny houses! My favorite house from the list is probably the Micro Compact Home (M-CH). I can easily picture this house right in the middle of some vast and beautiful land. The best part is that it’s roughly $46,000 USD. This leaves one with enough money to invest into purchasing a nice piece of land with a killer view. I’ve never wanted to admit this to myself, but “it kind of makes me doubtful of what I [really] want.” Maybe that deep innate desire to live as simple as possible is not too far-fetched.

Some more insane tiny houses:

Log House

Garbage Truck House

Ramen to the Rescue…

Let me tell you the story of a simple guy who lived very humbly. He was checking his email when he the phone began to ring.  His friend’s sweet and gentle voice instantly greeted him. She told him she was driving down for a job interview; and that she would take him up on his offer to visit him at any time. The simple guy was glad to hear that his good friend would take some time off her busy schedule to visit him.

However, after the simple guy hung up the phone, he realized that he was running on $12 for the rest of the month. Earlier that month, he sent a large part of his money back home for his mother’s medical treatments and the rest was used to pay his rent and bills. He couldn’t even afford to take her out to a descent restaurant! Luckily, he remembered what his mother told him before he moved out, “cook simple, affordable, but healthy my son.” With this is mind, he remembered several recipes he’d stumbled upon online. He knew all of his friend’s favorite dishes consisted of salmon, so it narrowed the list down to two affordable dishes–he still had two frozen salmon fillets in his freezer.

Dish #1: Salmon Ramen with Fresh Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ramen bricks
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1 cup zucchini, julienned
  • 2 cans (6.5 oz each) salmon (the “low sodium” kind), drained and broken into chunks

Preparation:

  • Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped onion.
  • Saute the onion for 2 minutes.
  • Add milk, cream cheese and 1 flavor packet.
  • Cook and stir until mixture is smooth. Do not boil.
  • Add carrots, zucchini and salmon and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta with the flavor seasoning packet lasts for 3 minutes.
  • Drain the liquid.
  • Add ramen noodles to the salmon mixture and vegetables. Mix gently and serve immediately.

This dish seemed perfect: the sweet and gentle flavor of the dish matched his friend’s voice. However, he knew that she was making a big change in her life. For this reason, he decided to further motivate her bravery and boldness with…

Dish #2: Ramen Noodles with Chilli Salmon

Ingredients:

  •  1 pack ramen or instant egg noodles
  • 750ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 pieces skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • soy sauce
  • ½ bunch coriander (I call it cilantro), chopped
  • 1 lime, quartered

Preparation:

  • Cook the noodles following the pack instructions and divide between 2 noodle bowls.
  • Heat the stock in a deep frying pan and when it is simmering, slip in the salmon.
  • Cook for 2 minutes
  • Add the chilli and spring onions and a dash of soy and cook for 3 minutes or until the salmon is firm to the touch.
  • Lift a piece of salmon into each bowl and divide the broth between them.
  • Add some coriander to each and squeeze over some lime or lemon juice.

When the simple guy’s friend arrived to his apartment, she was delighted by the zesty aroma that cheerfully caressed her nose. She enthusiastically hugged the simple guy while saying, “I’m so glad to see you again!” He was shocked at first, but with a smile emerging on his face, the simple guy asked his friend: “Are you hungry?”

NOTE: In order for his meal to be somewhat healthy, the simple guy used air-dried instant ramen noodles and did not use the seasoning packet that comes with each noodle brick. This lowers the fat and sodium contents. Also, Maruchan is not an air-dried instant ramen brand; the logo just looked nice.

Stripping Down to Essentials…

Several weeks ago, my judo sensei (teacher)–Scott–talked a group from our judo class into running. Ever since then, we’ve been training for several running events such as Tough Mudder, Walt Disney World Marathon, and so on. During one of our night runs, Scott sensei recommended all of us to read Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall–let me mention it was an excellent read. One of the many topics Born to Run covers is minimalist/barefoot running–a rapidly growing style of running. To be honest, I find minimalist running quite attractive. I’m not one myself, but Scott sensei’s been running with minimalist footwear for nearly two-and-a-half years and, so far, it’s worked out well for him.

Before any controversy may arise, let me make one thing clear from the beginning: there’s a lot of debate in the running world weather minimalist/barefoot running is better than shod (your typical running shoes) running or not.  I AM NOT SAYING MINIMALIST/BAREFOOT RUNNING IS BETTER THAN SHOD RUNNING. My only intention  is to highlight the simplicity of running with minimalist/barefoot footwear.

In an introductory video of the new NB Minimus, Ultramarathoner  Anton (Tony) Krupicka said:

“My philosophy of running–and even life–is stripping down the amount of gear to the very essentials. The main piece of gear as a runner is the shoe: it’s the point of contact between you and the ground […] If you can make that as natural as possible, I think it enhances the overall experience of […] running.”

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, “less is more.” With a similar philosophy, Anton’s quote says that increased foot sensory perception is achieved through less gear (minimalist/barefoot running styles). I find it most fascinating how the intricate human foot is able to continually adapt to its surroundings when it’s in is most “primal” and simplest state.

There’s a time and a place for everything. Shall we spice things up now?