April 24, 2018

I miss this life with you.. I like this life with you // 021

"There's no place like home."
 -- The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

April 19, 2018

New spot for Piri and Bartles and Thursday evening ramblings

Yesterday I rearranged the bedroom. Actually I've been rearranging the bedroom for two straight days because I can't seem to find a groove I like. 

This all started because I told Yangkyu how it would be nice to watch movies from our bedroom from a projector during summer nights. And so I was trying to find a good spot for the bed where it would be convenient to watch facing an empty wall. And the only wall that ended up working was the one where I had hung the Night Sky prints of when Piri and Bartles crossed the rainbow bridge. So I said a huge apology to the boys and gave them a new spot in the room. Which was refreshing nonetheless.

But it brings me to my second random rambling. 

See, I began this whole food journey last November and in the new year I actually started another journey. A journey to spend less and not buy things I don't need. It all stems from trying to consume less to produce less waste. And it began with not buying personal items for me (things that I want to buy like clothes, make up, accessories and other random things).

So how have I been doing? 

Ehh... I thought I was doing pretty well and so I tracked what I spent so far and well, the list was longer than I thought. Some items I think were good buys while others were definitely a waste (womp womp womp).

All in all, for the past four months I purchased - 

1. Two pairs of pants and 1 pair of jeans - I regret one of the pants I bought. It was in the boho style that I thought would be hard to come by so I bought them. They are also really flowy, which is perfect for days when I'm caring for dogs. But when I bought them I couldn't wear them because it was too cold and the pants are thin. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I'm not sure if I will actually wear them. *sigh*

2. Two books - I couldn't find them in the library and I was interested in the content and so I bought them. One book was good while the other wasn't. *shrug, although Yangkyu always tells me to never hold back from buying books if I really want to read them* 

3. Digital files which I realized I didn't need as soon as I bought them. *sigh*

4. Four hair treatment products - I've been using three of them well and one I haven't used yet. 

5. Two apps - using well 

6. Vitamin - don't need *double sigh*

7. iPhone tripod - don't need and haven't even used yet *wasteful*

8. Vinyl record - don't need but I really liked the music *shrug*

Which brings me to this projector.

I already made space for the room but do we really need a projector? Will we use it for a long time? I'm not really sure. And so it's currently on our wish list along with a few other things. I've been into Kaico products lately and wanted to purchase a pot and also a kettle and a food processor to cook more vegan food. The food processor I plan on buying next month because I've been keeping up cooking often at home and am very much interested in continuing to cook more vegan as well. The Kaico products are more on the "not really necessary" list. I told myself I would buy them when spring comes but I'm pushing it back again to the fall. Or perhaps pushing it back until I think I need them. Whenever our kettle gives out and whenever it's time to switch out one of our pots perhaps that's when I'll buy.

At first I wasn't sure how I would do not buying things. I was so used to just buying with a simple click, but I haven't even touched Amazon and we are even planning on getting rid of our Prime membership. 

Four months in, I am just really curious to see if this mentality will last an entire year and I wonder what it would like to look back in December. So while it began as my contribution to be less wasteful in a very materialistic world, it is pretty much driven by my own curiosity at my will power and a little bit of stubbornness, too.

April 16, 2018

Shiraegi-guk and other happenings in the kitchen

I am finding that lately my blog posts are repeats of what I put on Instagram. In the past I have been so very mindful to not do this but lately the line between Instagram and blog has been a bit blurry.

I'm trying to find what I want from each space. Being on Instagram for what is now my 8th year, I felt as though I needed to do new things all the time. New content, new angles, new stories, new places, new experiences. I worried about being boring and what I thought people wanted to see came first before what made me happy. It's been a long detour to find my footing again but I think I'm slowly getting there.

I have also cleaned out my Instagram following list. Not entirely because it's a bit tedious to do, but I have deleted about 3,000 accounts. Being on Instagram for so long now there were too many inactive accounts and I hated the inflated follower number. I think there are still thousands more that are inactive but I'll get to them. One year, Instagram actually cleaned out the inactive accounts for us. I lost about 2,000 accounts then. I secretly wish they would do it again.

Anyway, I've digressed a bit too much. 

I wanted to talk to you about what's been going on in my kitchen lately.

I am still very much meat free. That includes meat and bone based soups. I cook with meat though, for Yangkyu and also for Lady, and it hasn't been difficult, meaning I haven't been tempted to eat it. Yangkyu also doesn't ask for meat and is completely ok with whatever I prepare, but sometimes I feel bad and include it for just his portion of his dinner.

Dairy products has still been one and off, but 95% non-consuming and the rest consuming. And I am still very much eating seafood. But I am beginning to get more and more interested in plant based diets and have been more proactive about incorporating them into our meals plans. 

I decided not to be too harsh on myself and still keep the meat-free lifestyle as my hard boundary to never cross. 

A few weeks ago at our local Korean grocery market, they were selling stems from radishes. You might be scratching your head like, what? That's edible? Isn't that part something you just throw out?

I thought so as well until a few years ago when I learned that one of my favorite soups is made with this. It's called shiraegi-guk and is made with ingredients that you might as well throw out - stems from radishes or even the outer most leaves on Napa cabbages. 

I love the concept of not throwing any part of the vegetable out. I think it originates from back in the days when people were poor and they weren't wasteful with food because it was just so hard to feed mouths back then. And so people found ways to use everything, including scraps to cook.

I love that my favorite dish has these roots. (Don't you love stories behind food?! I just love it. I wish there was a Korean cookbook with stories like this.)

My neighbor who is Korean, grows her own radishes and she dries these stems and cooks with them at home. She even grows her own red peppers, dries them and makes her own finely ground pepper flakes. She's kind of hardcore. Perhaps one day I'll be just as hardcore, too.

If you're ever interested in seeing what is on our table, you can following along at #janeandyangkyustable on Instagram for a glimpse of our meals.

March 30, 2018

Bringing back the functionality of floors

I had a crazy idea the other day (one I haven't shared with Yangkyu yet because he needs to be eased into my craziness). 

Why don't we get rid of our sofa in our living room and in its place get a few extra large sized cushions? My mom had these wonderfully huge cushions and had custom made covers for them. She stacked them up in a corner when they weren't being used and when we had family night or guests over, they were taken out to use. She took such good care of them that they never looked worn or dirty. She made use of the sunlight to dry them and patted them outside to get rid of dust.

We definitely had a sofa in our home and a dining table, but the floor was also a very inviting place to eat, sit, talk, watch TV and more. Whether there was extra space on the sofa or not, people opted for the floors. It was just so natural for us.

It got me thinking - where did this joy go?

I grew up in a family that made use of our floors. As I mentioned before, we always had furniture that made living away from the floors possible (sofa, dining table, beds) but the floor was always an option to sleep and converse and converge. 

Back in Korea, in my grandparents' home, and many of the older homes in Korea primarily away from the city (although I don't think it's the case now), the floors were even heated and so it was the best place to socialize with family after dinner in front of the TV during the cold months. I remember snuggling next to my grandma under the covers, feeling the warmth of her hand and also the floors. We ate apples and oranges and kids finally dozed off to sleep while the adults enjoyed their favorite dramas.

I miss this terribly. And I wonder why I don't have this anymore. 

Perhaps culturally I've lived without the notion of including floors as part of a living space for so long that I've grown accustomed to it. 

Yangkyu and I have never worn shoes inside the house all our life and I always ask my friends and guests to remove their shoes before coming into our home. I also ask all our Piri's Place clients to do so as well, a concept that is not very familiar to some.

There are a few exceptions that I do make with elderly people who need to wear shoes for support and people who weren't given proper heads up that we take our shoes off and come with a pair that is hard to take off (knee high boots with laces, etc). And sometimes if they just need to do something quick or take a peek inside the living room, they would tip toe in with their shoes. That's ok. I just wipe down the area afterwards. We've made it a lot easier for our clients though in that the entryway is walkable with shoes and the area is wiped down frequently.

We even wipe dogs paws after each bathroom break and if their paws are extra dirty after a walk, I wash them. 

So for us, the floors were and are never considered dirty and only used just to walk, whether with shoes or not.


Big, crazy thoughts. And I am heading into the weekend imagining the possibility. Although it may end up being too crazy even for me. 

There is some wear and tear with our couch but it's in pretty ok shape. I wash the covers frequently, have blankets over them when we have guest dogs and vacuum frequently so that there are no crumbs that live between the cracks. I am thinking that there might be someone who is willing to buy it. Who knows. My problem is, I just never know how to price used furniture.

In any case, what do you think about floors and what was your relation to it?

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! 

March 29, 2018

Meals with NHV Supplements

This isn't a sponsored post. I just like to write about certain pet products that we love and go back to time and time again in hopes that it may be helpful to someone or prompt them to research on they own.

We were introduced to NHV Natural Pet Products two years ago when Piri was battling cancer and a host of other medical issues including kidney disease. They were kind enough to send us a few bottles to try to help with his cancer, old age, kidneys and borderline pancreatitis. At first I was a little skeptical because I wasn't sure if I needed to write a review or say good things about them. They made sure that there were no strings attached and that after seeing Piri battle one medical issue after another,  they didn't want to just continue and stand by, watch and leave comments wishing us good luck. They wanted to  do something to help. I appreciated their gesture and so started our trust and amazing relationship with NHV.

After Piri crossed the rainbow bridge, we adopted Bartles who had his own medical battles including Cushing's Disease, early stage kidney disease, arthritis, skin infections and later thyroid issues as well. And so along with the medications he was on, we also included a few bottles from NHV and also a skin salve, which was applied topically.

I had been meaning to write a post about this salve for so long but I just kept missing the opportunity. I even took pictures of Mr. Bartles' skin improvement but those are long gone now or buried somewhere in my external hard drive.

But, without getting too detailed (watch... it's going to get detailed), Mr. Bartles' skin issue was pretty rough. It felt as though he had a full armor underneath his beautiful coat. He was itchy too. I thought perhaps the scabs were caused by his Cushing's but I was told by the vet it was allergies.

Because he was dealing with other serious conditions, I wasn't going to tackle his skin issue but decided that perhaps it would help him be a bit more comfortable. And so I ordered the All Clear Ointment for Dogs and started with a small patch on his neck. I picked away the scabs that were willing to come off by themselves, shaved down his neck and applied the ointment. Every three-five days, I washed the area and watched as some of the more stubborn scabs began falling off and re-applied the ointment. And then I noticed that new fur started to grow back. And his skin was baby soft. And he wasn't itchy around his neck.

I moved to his head then his upper torso and the same thing happened. New fur started to grow back.  His skin was soft. And the itchiness all but disappeared. 

For people who saw him for the first time though, they might have seen him and still thought that he was in pretty rough shape. That was because by the time I had moved to his legs, he was totally shaven down so that I can apply the ointment directly to his skin and he had uneven patches of fur because they were growing back at different speeds. Some areas on his skin were still scabbing while other areas were flaky. But to me it was a huge, humongous, gigantic improvement. 

The whole process was definitely a bit messy and you really have to be diligent. But perhaps it was a bit more messy for us as we were working to treat his entire body and not just one area. And while the ointment isn't sticky, it goes on a little like royal jelly? I can't describe it exactly but it can definitely get on blankets and such. And again, it was probably more so for us since I was using large amounts of the salve.

I was washing him every 3-5 days and going a day without applying the ointment just so he can have a break day then reapplying it and then repeating the process all over again. Even friends who saw him were amazed by the new fur growing in and how he was 80% scab free. 

So when we adopted Lady, we made sure to include some NHV supplements to her daily meals. 

Currently she takes Milk Thistle and Old Timer and we plan on adding Turmeric, too. We also have Echo Gold for her ears which we use every once in a while just to clean them out, although unlike Bartles and Piri, she isn't plagued with recurrent ear infections which are prone for cocker spaniels.

Lady was found with high liver enzyme values. She was put on medication and her levels normalized and it was found that the condition wasn't permanent and was probably high because she was foraging for food as a stray. But for precaution and maintenance purposes we decided to put her on Milk Thistle to help keep her liver healthy. 

Bartles was also on Milk Thistle as his liver values were also high (because of his Cushing's) and his values significantly decreased while on this supplement. It is a highly effective and respected supplement. 

Old Timer is just for her to keep her spunk. At age 15 she definitely has some and more.

Turmeric we plan on adding as we are seeing that she has a slight limps with her front leg when she just gets up from the bed (she's fine afterwards). She is on additional joint supplements (Nupro and also Green Lipped Mussel powder) and we thought to add something to help with inflammation.

With Piri and Bartles it was more difficult to add the supplements to their food, as they took many and some do have a strong herbal smell (including, Supraglan for Cushing's and Es-Clear for cancer). Bartles loved food but when the supplements were added to his meals, he was like no thanks!

With Piri because he had trouble with his appetite, he was extra sensitive with what went into his food.

So with my boys I ended up taking their NHV supplements, mixing in a small dog bowl, adding just a little water to dilute it, taking a dropper and squirting little bits directly into their mouth. They hated it but were good sports about it. And they always got a yummy piece of treat afterwards. 

With Lady, it's super easy. I just squirt it right into her food (she eats Stella and Chewy's Frozen Raw but on this day - her birthday - she got a home cooked meal of chicken and vegetables) and she will gobble it up. Lady too picks out certain things, like her Proin pills for incontinence, but she seems ok with the NHV supplements. The recommended dosage is by weight and it is given two times a day. The bottles also need to be refrigerated and has a life span of 6 months.

Other suggestions to give NHV supplements include adding to yogurt if they eat it as a treat. 

I'm not against medicine and I do believe it does help but I am also wary of over medication. I was looking through Piri's old vet records (I kept all of them since he was a puppy) and am shocked at how many antibiotics he has taken for skin and ears. I wish I had known more about natural, holistic methods and included them in his daily maintenance routine. But I guess it is never too late to learn and include what works for us.

You an see all that NHV has to offer for dogs and pets here

Another resource we really love is this video on making bone broth for your dogs. 

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