Writers Monthly

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Handmade Boho Chic Home Decor is the New Craze

Boho chic is one of the hottest new trends in decorating.  It incorporates an eclectic mix of styles, colors and patterns to create a warm and laid back look.  While bohemian used to be the realm of hippies from the 60′s, today’s generation of millennials are flocking to this style.

Ancient Fabric Techniques

One of the most popular forms of fabric dying techniques is Shibori.  This type of dying has been around for thousands of years.  Originally it was developed by the Japanese using indigo.  Tie dye is a similar style of fabric dying.  The fabric designer places string, twine, rope, or even rubber bands around the fabric at strategic locations.  This part of the fabric is then dipped in dye for a specific amount of time.  Once it’s allowed to dry, the restrictions are removed and the fabric takes on interesting shapes and patterns due to the way in which it was tied.

While the Japanese used only indigo in this technique, it’s possible to use a wide variety of colors and dying materials to achieve the look you want.

Handmade Custom Pieces

One great thing about the Internet is that it has provided a storefront for thousands of entrepreneurial individuals who make these sorts of items at home.  If you’re looking for something in a particular style or color and are having trouble finding exactly what you’re looking for, you can actually solicit bids from designers.  They can then custom make the piece you want to match the look of your room.

Keep in mind that bohemian home decor doesn’t have to match exactly.  That’s the whole idea behind the movement.

One Artist in Particular

One such store in which you can find these sorts of goods is the Tangled Path.  This artist is continuously producing new pieces that personify the boho chic look.  She makes everything from Shibori pillows to custom handmade gold napkins.  All of her products are available on her website http://thetangledpath.com.  Be sure to check out some of her work.

They will be the perfect compliment to your boho chic room decor.

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Keeping Your Kitchen Knives Sharp

Now that the holidays are past, many people are in the midst of learning how to use the gifts they received.  For those that enjoy spending time in the kitchen, you know that keeping your knives sharp is essential to maintaining their life as well as keeping them safe to use.

And if you received a knife sharpener for Christmas, there are a few things you should know before attempting to use it.

Your Knives

First and foremost you need to verify that your knives are compatible with the sharpener you received.  Western style knives and Japanese style knives are not only very different in their design, they are also very expensive.  And not knowing which type you have can cause considerable damage to the blade.

Let’s start by taking a look at Japanese style knives.  These kitchen knives are designed with an edge on only one side.  Additionally the blade angle is much steeper.  Usually a Japanese-style blade will be somewhere around 11-15 degrees.

Because of the steeper angle, most blades are made of considerably harder steel than their Western counterparts.  And when it comes to sharpening these blades, there are some definite differences.

Most importantly, a Japanese knife is ONLY sharpened on one side of the blade.  If you run it through a sharpener on both sides, it will severely damage the blade.  At this point you’ll most likely need to have it repaired by a professional.

Secondly, you need to ensure the sharpener that you choose is capable of working on Japanese knives with their steep blade angles.  Electric knife sharpener reviews are available on a multitude of websites.  You want to match as closely as possible the blade angle from the factory.

Western Style Knives

Western style kitchen knives are designed with a bevel on both sides of the blade.  The angle on each side is steeper than that of a Japanese style knife, but in combination they are higher overall by about 10 degrees.  This means that Western style knives are generally not quite as sharp.

While they may not be as sharp, they do tend to be more durable.  This is especially the case in the hands of amateur chef’s who may not be properly educated on knife use and care.

Western style knives use a softer steel, so the blade is more prone to nicks and damage when used improperly.  But these sorts of imperfections are easy to repair because of the softer nature of the steel.

When sharpening a Western-style knife, you need to sharpen both sides of the blade.  In most cases, this means turning the sharpener around, although some modes do have notches for both sides of the blade.

If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between Western and Japanese style knives, here is a great article that explains everything you need to know.

Follow Instructions

While many knife sharpening professionals maintain that sharpening stones are the best way to sharpen any knife, for the amateur cook the process of learning to use a sharpening stone can be very tedious and time consuming.  You can also cause damage to your blades if the stones are used improperly.

Most damage to knives caused by sharpening systems is due to user error.  The instructions included with any sharpener are very clear, and should be followed closely.  This will insure that you can quickly and easily keep your knives in top condition.

If you don’t actually have a knife sharpener yet, Make It Sharp has a great guide for selecting the perfect model for your needs.

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A New Diet for the New Year

Far and a way the most popular New Years Resolution year in and year out is the choice to lose weight and get in shape.  Unfortunately for 90% of people that make this their resolution it ends up in failure.  But there is a very simple explanation for this.

The Problems with Most Diets

The biggest problem with most diets is that they rely upon calorie restriction to lose help people lose weight.  The results from calorie restriction are often very encouraging in the short term.  Most individuals will see results within a week of starting such a diet.

Weight loss can occur relatively quickly for the first couple of weeks.  But this is often as far as many people get.  This is the point at which the body’s natural instincts kick in.  Cravings for high carbohydrate and high calorie foods are a first sign that this is occurring.

Once this happens, most people quickly give in to the cravings and then the diet is over.

A Better Alternative

Enter the Paleo diet.  A diet in the traditional since, or at least in America, has come to mean a dramatic shift in eating habits in an attempt to lose weight.  Historically, diet has meant the foods one consumes on a regular basis.  This can vary greatly depending on where you are from.  But it has more to do with food that is available in your environment that makes up the majority of your calories.

The Paleo diet consists of foods that humans ate during the Paleolithic era.  Modern processed foods are the first things to be discarded when you choose this lifestyle.  Another staple of the modern human diet, wheat, is also a no no on the Paleo diet.

Humans only began eating wheat within the last 12,000 years, and while that may seem like a long time, on the evolutionary timeline it’s actually quite brief.  And as a result, our bodies haven’t yet adapted to eating wheat and other grains.  And any number of health issues can be related back to wheat and other grain consumption.

In fact, our bodies were designed to operate on FAR fewer carbohydrates than we consume in our modern diet.  Fats and proteins made up the majority of our calories for hundreds of thousands of years.  But modern nutrition has turned fat into a boogeyman.  But it is the most efficient source of energy in nature.

What to Eat On the Paleo Diet

If you decide to give the Paleo diet a try, here are some of the things you can look forward to.  First and foremost is satiation.  Fats, proteins, and leafy green proteins make you full.  And not just in the short term.  Fats take a long time to digest, and therefore make you feel full longer.

They also cause the release of hormones that control hunger.  That’s why you’ll see so many high fat meals in a Paleo cookbook.  And while treats and desserts shouldn’t play a huge role in a Paleo style diet those that you will find typically have a decent amount of healthy fats in them.  Check out this page on Amazon.com for a good example of Paleo treats.

Those particular cookies are from Gourmet Paleo.  This company makes treats that conform to those living the Paleo lifestyle.

But the basis of the diet is healthy grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, pasture raised pork, and free range chickens.  Eggs, including the yolk, are good for you and should make up a good portion of your weekly calories.

If this sounds too good to be true, you should read more about the Paleo diet at this website.  Here you’ll find everything you need to know about what you should and shouldn’t be eating to lose weight, become healthier, and feel better all around.

Another great resource is Marks Daily Apple.  Mark Sisson is a pioneer of not only eating, but living the Paleo lifestyle.

The best part about this particular diet is that it satisfies your cravings by having you eat the foods that your body needs to thrive.  It makes it by far the easiest diet to maintain of anything that’s out there.  Give it a try.  You’ll love it.…

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Fitness and Nutrition Article Writing

These days there are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs and websites dedicated to nutrition, exercise, and diet.  Much of this is due to the general explosion of blogs and other methods of voicing one’s self online.  One of the benefits of this recent phenomenon is the proliferation of excellent writers and great content.

True there is still a lot of garbage out there.  And you certainly can’t believe everything you read, but there are quite a few amazing, budding writers out there that are well worth the read.

The Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet has experienced a dramatic rise in popularity in recent years.  As more and more people are trying it, they are writing about their experiences.  The Paleo Mom is a great example.  Started by a young mom in Atlanta, Georgia, the Paleo Mom is also a PHD.  She suffers from autoimmune difficulties which in turn force her to limit the foods she eats.

For several years she has been posting recipes, ideas, and discussing the causes of her health problems.  And in the process she has garnered a loyal following.  In fact, she has even signed a book deal.  It is due to be released on Christmas Eve of this year.

CrossFit

A closely related subject to the Paleo Diet is CrossFit.  This exercise routine has taken the workout world by storm since it was founded by Greg Glassman in 2000.  It’s currently estimated that there are over 7,000 CrossFit gyms around the world.

And of course this phenomenon has spawned any number of commercial products directly related to CrossFit.  All of the major manufacturers are now making shoes for CrossFit, including Nike, Reebok, and Merrell.

You don’t even have to be a member of a CrossFit gym (called a ‘box’ by those in the know), to perform the workouts.  Every day, the workout of the day or WOD as it’s called is posted on the official website at www.crossfit.com.

Even if you’re in pretty decent shape, these workout will push you like nothing before.

And just like with the Paleo diet, bloggers that are passionate about CrossFit have sprung up all over the place.  Many have turned them into decent websites with a range of interesting posts and information.

One thing is for certain, the Internet has created a wealth of information from which to read.  It offers essentially unlimited viewpoints and opinions, some good, some bad.  It gives voice to those who might never had attempted to write otherwise.…

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