Month: January 2017

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta

 

Ingredients

8 ounces Linguine Pasta

2 Tablespoons olive oil

6 Tablespoons butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 pound medium shrimp

salt and pepper to taste

4 cups baby spinach

½ cup parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped

4 lemons

 

Instructions

1. In a large pot, cook the pasta in boiling water according to package directions. 10 minutes is usually the magic number that works for me. Add 2 tbsp salt and cooking oil. Salted water flavors the pasta from the inside out as the pasta absorbs the water, leading to tastier pasta. When it comes to adding olive oil, there are different opinion about this. Here's what I learned from watching Food Network when it comes to putting oil in your pasta water:

Rule of thumb: If you are making a thick sauce- including tomato paste, creamy mushroom, lots of cheese- for your pasta, DO NOT put oil in pasta water. It will prevent your pasta from absorbing your sauce. If your sauce is olive oil-based, YOU CAN ADD olive oil in your pasta water.

 

2. Drain and set aside.

3. Using the same pan, heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant.

4. Add the shrimp and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the shrimp start to turn pink.

5. Add spinach and cook until wilted.

6. Add the pasta back to the pot with the remaining butter, parmesan, and parsley. Still until mixed and butter is melted.

7. Add the lemon juice before serving and serve while hot.

Let me know if you tried this recipe. 🙂

OMG I Got A Letter: ONE BRAVE LITTLE BOY

 

Ann's Photo

By Ann Leghorn

THE STORY:

My sister’s life was forever changed during the winter of 2011, when she and her husband went for a regularly scheduled ultrasound while pregnant with their first-born child and was told their baby was critically ill and would need multiple lifesaving procedures. This was the first of unending life altering news in their new family’s life. On July 1st, 2011, Asher Levy-Dahl, was born at 8:48 PM in Maria Ferrari Children’s Hospital in Westchester, NY. As soon as he was born, the medical adventures began.

Although Asher’s family knew he would have some surgical needs after the fetal echocardiogram showed he had several congenital heart defects and complex Heterotaxy Syndrome, they never expected the insurmountable medical obstacles he now faces. The birth defects were just the beginning of what is now an ongoing battle with several rare chronic illnesses, including Congenital Heart Disease, Heterotaxy Syndrome, Hydrocephalus, and Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia.

Initially, the fetal echocardiogram showed Asher’s tiny heart contained eight congenital heart defects. The cardiologist told Asher’s family he had 4 holes, 2 ASD’s, 2 VSD’s, coarctation of the aorta, partial anomalous pulmonary venus return in which 2 of his pulmonary veins are draining to his coronary sinus, interrupted inferior vena cava, and an unroofed coronary sinus. These congenital heart defects resulted in a massive 17-hour surgery on his little walnut sized heart when he was just 2 weeks old. As he healed in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), his family sat by his bed side watching his tiny heart fight for its life while he was in a medically induced coma with his chest cavity still open due to swelling. Five days after the initial open heart surgery he underwent another surgery to close the chest cavity.

Another of Asher’s major lifelong illnesses is Heterotaxy Syndrome. There are 16 babies born a year in the United States with Heterotaxy Syndrome. Of those 16 babies, less than 15% make it to their 1st birthday. Asher is one of the fortunate 15%. Heterotaxy Syndrome occurs when the internal organs form in different areas than they normally do and results in a variety of medical issues. For Asher, this has created a malrotation of the intestines and bowel; right sided stomach; midline liver; and seven spleens, none of which function to the capabilities of an anatomically average spleen. This has resulted in a diminished immune system and constant bouts of illness during Asher’s 5 years. To address some of the issues that Heterotaxy created, Asher underwent an hours long LADS procedure when he was just 18 months old. The surgery fixed the malrotation and placed a permanent feeding tube in his stomach to provide nourishment and medicine.

Asher also faces the problems that come with Hydrocephalus, an illness in which the water around the brain cannot absorb or drain properly leading to pressure on the brain. As with all of Asher’s medical diagnoses, this diagnosis has come with many complications. Asher underwent an endoscopic third ventriculostomy while simultaneously placing an Ommaya reservoir in his brain in hopes to avoid the placement of a shunt. Unfortunately, two weeks later it completely failed and Asher needed emergency surgery to place a VP shunt in his brain. This was only the first of 8 more brain surgeries that were needed to fix numerous shunt malfunctions. Asher’s ninth brain surgery was just yesterday, January 6th, 2017, and he will need countless more brain surgeries as he continues to grow. Currently, there is no cure for Hydrocephalus and the only treatment requires invasive, life-threatening brain surgeries.

Asher’s other major disease is Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia, a progressive lung disease that causes an excess buildup of mucous in his lungs which leads to excessive respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and upper respiratory infections. This is exacerbated by his severe asthma. Because Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia affects all the cilia in the body, Asher also suffers from frequent and severe ear and sinus infections. Thus, he has had his tonsils and adenoids removed as well as four different sets of tubes put in to try to stop some of the ear infections.

In just 5 short years, Asher has faced unbelievable odds and continues to beat them all. Much to all his doctors’ surprise, he laughs and plays like any average child. Underneath his silly façade, lies a medically complex and fragile child who will need many more painful and life-threatening surgeries and procedures. None of Asher’s diagnoses currently have a cure and can only be maintained through further surgeries, medical procedures, and invasive intervention. Asher’s mother and father have been by his side every moment of his tumultuous journey and thus now need financial assistance. Because of all the therapy and doctor appointments, Asher’s mother is unable to maintain a full-time job and had to leave college, leaving only Asher’s father to earn money for their family, including Asher and their 19-month-old daughter, Quinn.

My sister and her family have spent the past 5 years battling alongside their son and have never asked anyone for help. Through all of this, they have strived to maintain normality for their family. Now I am asking you to donate to help them pay for some of the medical costs and life costs that come with being parents of a medically needy child. Asher’s parents will never be able to pay off all of Asher’s medical bills because they continually grow as Asher’s needs escalate and change, resulting in more surgeries and hospital stays. Any money you donate will help cover excessive medical costs, their apartment, necessary and expensive repairs for their minivan to ensure safe and reliable transportation, gas for the frequent trips to doctors, hospitals, and specialists, and give Asher and his little sister a chance to have a fulfilled life with their parents.


To donate, click >>here.<<<

This story is part of OMG I Got A Letter series curated by Gelli. Gelli partnered with Crowdrise to help raise funds for people/charity groups in need. Every month, we’ll feature at least one story that needs sharing. The writer nor the blog host gets commission from this. This is pure charity. Aside from monetary contribution, we also welcome letters of encouragement from people like you. Let us know in the comments section what you want to tell Asher and his family. We’ll make sure he reads this! Thank you for your help.

Hello, January!

Last year has been a bit of a doozy, with an icky election, scandal-plagued Olympics, war in Syria, and the loss of far too many beloved celebrities. We mourned Prince, Bowie, Ali, Leonard, and Merle, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t celebrate all the good stuff! Sure, even Willy Wonka, Mrs. Brady, and Mr. Seaver shuffled off this mortal coil in 2016, but I suggest you turn that frown upside down, channel your positive energy, because there's a lot in store for us this 2017!

OK I am not really into trends but recently, I've been tracking every social media post that has likes and engagements for more follows and collaborations. I don't know if it's just me or other bloggers and people from sales feel the same way. There's just something about trends that helps you with your planning. I think it's safe to say that the magic word is algorithms. For many years, researchers have used people's interactions and way of life as their bases for a new study. These tracks and breadcrumbs also help our government agents in tracking a criminal's next move. Sometimes, these trends make or break a company. You remember what happened to Nokia? I loved that brand. My first cellphone was with them, and I guess they will always have a special place in my heart. "We didn't do anything wrong. We just failed at evolving and trying new things." I don't know if that's what the company's CEO said, but it's something close to that. Apple is yesterday's Nokia, and if they don't up their game this year, Samsung will. Just saying.

I compiled these emerging trends so that I won't need to bookmark several pages. First week of January and I'm already trying to do everything at once- reading a book, updating my blog, searching for a new travel nursing location, writing goals, ghaaa it's just too much! Once I start mapping everything out, I just can't stop 'til I have a picture of what's likely to happen. I forced myself to stop though because I'll be starting my work again tomorrow and I just want to relax for my last day of our 5-day vacation. But oh well, here I am writing this. It's actually calming on my part. Lol.

OK here goes the long list:

Emerging trends in Health and Wellness

2016 gave us wearable technology aimed at improving our health. Fitbit, Apple and Samsung watches are in demand! Everywhere I go, whenever I see someone jogging, I just know he's wearing a smartwatch or a digital tracker. It was also the year of Apple Cider Vinegar's maximum use (like, seriously, you can put it on everything!) and green teas-oh how I love Matcha!-although it's becoming more of a fad.

The use of Turmeric: Popping Curcumin tabs or drinking turmeric curd or milk is a big trend that is being witnessed across the world. For Indians, Turmeric has been an age old remedy for aches and pains. But, in recent times it is being prescribed as an anti-inflammatory food and is slowly being integrated into one’s lifestyle and diet.

Super Foods: Super Foods are becoming part of daily regular diet. Two years ago, Quinoa, flax seeds, Melon seeds, Pumpkin seeds and Kale were considered exotic and difficult to find in supermarkets. Now however, these super foods have become staples for many and is part of regular daily diet of many. One time I went to Jason's Deli and tried their salad, I just loved how they mixed Quinoa in it! So delish, and it filled me up before getting to the main course, which is a good thing if you're cutting your carbs.

Wellness retreats: Since people have taken to healthy living, their holiday habits are also changing. They are thinking of going for wellness spa holidays, or meditation and yoga retreats in the mountains or go to pure wellness centers that is built amidst nature for detox. People are taking off for a week to be in complete solace with themselves and soak in the good aspects of life and bring in a discipline in their life. Audrey Gelman of The Wing, a space for "women on their way," raised $2.4 million in a short five months this past year. The female founders of super-successful SoulCycle and BBG Ventures, who require at least one female founder, participated in its seed round. The Wing is a members-only gathering space for women who are interested in connecting with other women, want a safe and quiet space to work, or who need a midday touch-up and going home isn't an option. "There is a culture in these co-working spaces that is sort of bro-centric, male-dominated," Gelman says. "There was this blind eye to amenities that were essential for women," Gelman told New York Magazine, on one of the many reasons she founded The Wing. (Mindbodygreen)

Sitting is the new Smoking so walk 10,000 steps daily: If smoking was not bad enough to kill you, here is another lethal habit that can kill you-‘Sitting’. Sitting is known to increase belly fat which in turn is a recipe for disaster as it directly injures the heart. Hence, clocking 10,000 steps on a daily basis has been proved to be good and medically too doctors have accepted that this should be the daily norm. (Goqii)

High-tech diet Increasing attention is being given to the role that technology can play in preserving our food supply system. Biotech companies like Impossible Meats and New Wave Foods are developing fascinating meat alternatives -- respectively, a bloody veggie burger and algae-based shrimp. They have developed prototypes that will hopefully hit mainstream markets this 2017.

On an entirely different note, more basic technology such as online grocery shopping is easier to find. Have you watched Amazon Go's ad? It looks pretty cool! This is promising for the many individuals who struggle to shop in person on a regular basis and will hopefully bring fresher foods into their diets.


Movies, TV shows to Watch

Netflix adds This list may not be a complete list but this is what I was waiting for since last year! I just can't contain the excitement. But before I tell you our must-watch list, (buffer much! lol) just want to let you guys know that some shows are also leaving! Why can't we have it all, right? So let's catch them while they're still rolling!

Leaving 1/6/17
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Leaving 1/29/17
Stephen King’s A Good Marriage

First on my list: A Series of Unfortunate Events. In the series, Neil Patrick Harris plays Count Olaf, the role Jim Carrey played in the movie. The series is based on the Lemony Snicket novels, written by Daniel Handler, and is available to stream starting on January 13(Heavy.com). Next is The Shining (1980) from my favorite thriller author Stephen King of course! Its genre is psychological horror, so if you're into these kinds, we'd probably enjoy it. Although Stephen King has been quoted as saying that although Kubrick made a film with memorable imagery, it was poor as an adaptation and that it is the only adaptation of his novels that he could "remember hating." But you're still going to watch it, aren't you? Third is The Investigator: A British Crime Story, also a netflix original. Fourth: Real Detective. My netflix line-up is mostly investigative and thrillers, if you want the complete list, click here.

***

Movie train *If you want to watch the trailers, just click on the title* Split (January 20)M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs), having rediscovered his skill at making entertaining horror schlock with 2015’s The Visit, is back for more with a truly absurd high-wire act. (Guys, you should watch the trailer!) Get Out (February 24)- a satirical horror film from the director Jordan Peele, one half of Key & Peele.  Kong: Skull Island (March 10) the latest attempt to revive one of the most famous monsters in Hollywood history, King Kong. Beauty and the Beast (March 17) Disney's live-action remakes of animated classics (Maleficent, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book) have all been colossal successes, so you know, Disney forever! Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5) Guardians of the Galaxy is, pound for pound, the most entertaining film Marvel has ever produced, and its writer-director James Gunn is back on board for the sequel. Wonder Woman (June 2) A period piece, the film will explain how Wonder Woman ended up in the modern world, departing her home island to fight in World War I alongside her love interest Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7).  This iteration of Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) made his debut in Captain America: Civil War last year.

The next list has no trailers yet, so for a breaker, here's the mind-boggling Split's trailer:

 

 

The Dark Tower (July 28) A long-gestating adaptation of Stephen King’s famed Dark Tower series, set in the mythical Mid-World, a magical spin on the Old West. King describes the eight-book saga as his magnum opus, and many directors have taken cracks at adapting it, including J.J. Abrams (who eventually decided he was too fond of the work to take the necessary plot liberties to translate it to screen) and Ron Howard. The Snowman (October 13) An adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s bestselling detective novel, The Snowman follows Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) as he investigates the disappearance of a woman whose scarf is found wrapped around a snowman. Thor: Ragnarok (November 3) Thor series sees the Norse god of thunder (Chris Hemsworth) embark on some sort of intergalactic journey. Thor movies are almost criminally underrated, much happier to indulge in fun mystical antics without too much needless exposition, and anchored by Hemsworth and Hiddleston’s comedic chemistry. Red Sparrow (November 10) A spy thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence, based on the 2013 novel by CIA veteran Jason Matthews that was acclaimed for its attention to detail. Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova, a Russian intelligence officer who matches wits with a hotheaded rookie CIA agent (played by Joel Edgerton). Darkest Hour (November 24) A historical drama focusing on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) as he faces down Nazi Germany and “faces a crucial moment” at the beginning of World War II. Sure to be an Oscar player, given its heavily made-up protagonist and late-November release date. And last but not the least, Star Wars Episode VIII (December 15) The eighth in a popular series of science-fiction films that have been kicking around Hollywood for the last few decades.

Movie dates aren't cheap, especially if you're like us who love to watch movies all the time. Good thing, Luis has his Kodi joystick where we can watch movies for free. Well, not really for free, but at least it's very handy when you have WiFi at home. You might want to check it out if you're one of the practical people like us. Android TV box


Books to Read

I'll be honest here, I haven't finished reading my Christmas book, Woman of God by James Patterson. It's still on my nook and I haven't read it since the start of holiday season. (My bad) But to compensate with that, I created my list of pre-orders, so that by the time I'm done reading, there will be a whole new set waiting for me. Some of the books on this list are arriving this January! Check it out, guys!

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Gay has had an enormously successful few years. In 2014, her novel, An Untamed State, and an essay collection, Bad Feminist, met with wide acclaim, and in the wake of unrest over anti-black police violence, hers was one of the clearest voices in the national conversation. While much of Gay’s writing since then has dealt in political thought and cultural criticism, she returns in 2017 with this short story collection exploring the various textures of American women’s experience.

Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh

A long, dull day of jury duty in 2008 was redeemed by a lunchtime discovery of Unsaid magazine and its lead story “Help Yourself!” by Moshfegh, whose characters were alluring and honest and full of contempt. I made a point to remember her name at the time, but now Moshfegh’s stories appear regularly in The Paris Review and The New Yorker, and her novel Eileen was shortlisted for the 2016 Booker Prize. Her debut collection of stories, Homesick for Another World, gathers many of these earlier stories, and is bound to show why she’s considered one of literature’s most striking new voices.

Collected Stories by E.L. Doctorow

Doctorow is known for historical novels like Ragtime and The Book of Daniel, but he also wrote some terrific stories, and shortly before his death in 2015 he selected and revised 15 of his best. Fans who already own his 2011 collection All the Time in the World may want to give this new one a miss, since many of the selections overlap, but readers who only know Doctorow as a novelist may want to check out his classic early story “A Writer in the Family,” as well as others like “The Water Works” and “Liner Notes: The Songs of Billy Bathgate,” which are either precursors of or companion pieces to his novels.

4321 by Paul Auster

Multiple timelines are nothing new at this point, but it’s doubtful they’ve ever been used in quite the way they are in 4321, Auster’s first novel since his 2010 book Sunset Park. In his latest, four timelines branch off the moment the main character is born, introducing four separate Archibald Isaac Fergusons that grow more different as the plot wears on. They’re all, in their own ways, tied up with Amy Schneiderman, who appears throughout the book’s realities.

Human Acts by Han Kang

Korean novelist Kang says all her books are variations on the theme of human violence. The Vegetarian, her first novel translated into English, arrested readers with the contempt showered upon an “unremarkable” wife who became a vegetarian after waking from a nightmare. Kang’s forthcoming Human Acts focuses on the 1980 Korean Gwangju Uprising, when Gwangju locals took up arms in retaliation for the massacre of university students who were protesting. Within Kang tries to unknot “two unsolvable riddles” — the intermingling of two innately human yet disparate tendencies, the capacity for cruelty alongside that for selflessness and dignity.

Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

Set in Berkeley, Sekaran’s novel follows two women: Soli, an undocumented woman from Mexico raising a baby alone while cleaning houses, and an Indian-American woman struggling with infertility who becomes a foster parent to Soli’s son. Kirkus called it “superbly crafted and engrossing.”

Enigma Variations by André Aciman

The CUNY Professor New York magazine called “the most exciting new fiction writer of the 21st century” returns with a romantic/erotic bildungsroman following protagonist Paul from Italy to New York, from adolescence to adulthood. Kirkus called it an “eminently adult look at desire and attachment.”

Transit by Rachel Cusk

Everyone who read and reveled in the nimble formal daring of Outline is giddy to read Transit, which follows the same protagonist, Faye, as she navigates life after separating from her husband. Both Transit and Outline are made up of stories other people tell Faye, and in her rave in The Guardian, Tessa Hadley remarks that Cusk’s structure is “a striking gesture of relinquishment. Faye’s story contends for space against all these others, and the novel’s meaning is devolved out from its centre in her to a succession of characters. It’s a radically different way of imagining a self, too — Faye’s self.”

Hope you guys enjoyed this list!

Let's rock 2017!

❤︎

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