Lifestyle

How To Make Bubble Tea at Home

Bubble tea is a fun drink–and I’m an avid tea drinker.  But not all bubble tea locations use real tea in their beverages!  I noticed a few shops use artificial powders and as an avid tea drinker, this bummed me out a bit, as there wasn’t really ‘tea’ in my drink! I’ve tried a few methods at home, finally coming up with a recipe I can make…with real tea! 

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Lifestyle

The Gluten Free Allergy Stigma

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I wasn’t sure what to title this at first. This is mainly about my experiences going gluten free a few months ago when I discovered I had a wheat allergy and the slight hurdles that come with it. I am not severely allergic to wheat and to my knowledge, do not have celiacs, but eating wheat products does cause some stomach aches and discomfort. Sometimes I can be sick for a whole day or two just for eating wheat bread. When I got the results for my allergy test, I was in a bit of denial until I put two and two together: the correlation between my stomach aches and the wheat. I’ve found that most gluten free products are also wheat free and I decided to change my diet.

My allergies were pretty much a conga-line, a long list of things ranging from peanuts, to shrimp and sesame seeds. I found that people took my peanut allergy very seriously, but my allergy to wheat? Not so much.

At first, it was very difficult, in particular at my job which I’m occasionally stationed at a deli and make delicious- looking sandwiches which of course, consist of wheat.  Plus, as an avid foodie, it was also rather disappointing to go down the grocery aisles and sort of make mental notes on all the things I couldn’t eat. Being part Italian and being surrounded by bread and pasta during family gatherings made things a little challenging. Sometimes I worry about hurting other’s feelings due to the things I’m allergic to. But after explaining the allergies to family before gatherings, they understand and know that my own health is important.

I’ve had to relearn how to cook some of my favorite meals but that comes with a huge plus: I have gotten much better at cooking and can make more of a variety of meals than ever before.

Gluten free foods have been a fad in recent years, even with people who do not have the allergy. This is a way, both a blessing and a curse for people who have the allergy: there’s more gluten free foods readily available in super markets but at the same time, there is a stigma and even assumption that someone is eating gluten free for the sake of the fad.

It can be a little frustrating, especially at restaurants and food courts. If a place offers gluten free bread, I jump right onto the opportunity, as I find things such as sandwiches and burgers to be a special treat. I’ve found that a few servers assume that my allergy is more of a preference…and I end up getting regular bread. Either that, or there have been some mix ups back in the kitchen. This happened at multiple restaurants, and once at a convention.  I get sick hours later, when I’m away from any sort of eatery. I feel like I need to explain my allergy and tell people that having wheat can make me feel sick. Just like any other allergy, an allergy to wheat/gluten is just as valid and I think they should be taken seriously.

 

 

Cute · Fashion · Lifestyle

Saving Money on Ita Bag Merchandise

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What are ita bags?

Ita bags are gaining in popularity. They’re bags which often have transparent flaps–people use them to display merchandise of their favorite character or series. The word ita is short for the word itai (痛い) meaning painful. The bags can be painful to look at and perhaps a little painful in the  money department, but people still love them. But ita bags don’t have to be expensive! Here’s some ways you can save money on ita bag merchandise. This is a broad guide that isn’t for any particular series, but I hope it helps!

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1.) Resist the urge to buy merchandise in bulk in the dealers room. 

Many items in ita bags are found in blind boxes/bags. Items are typically are more easy to access in conventions, but are usually significantly marked up from the original price: you’re also  not guaranteed to get your favorite character. It is okay to treat yourself every so often, but try not to get carried away.

2.) Import your merchandise

Believe it or not, importing merchandise is cheaper. I’ve had so much luck on Yahoo Japan Auctions. I bought about a dozen keychains for my Kotori Minami ita bag for a cheap price! You’ll need a shopping service to use Yahoo Auctions. To search on Yahoo Auctions, simply search your character’s name and find it in Japanese, (usually it’s on fan wikias), and paste it into the search engine.

But if you want to import without a shopping service, websites like Ami Ami and Hobby Search offer international shipping and are English friendly.

3.) Support Artists:

Artists make adorable fan-made merchandise of popular (and sometimes more obscure) ,characters. Buttons and pins are  something I recommend in particular because they’re usually cheap and great to buy in bulk!

Lifestyle

Benefits of Tea!

Feeling sick? Have an exam coming up and feel stressed? Tea doesn’t have to be an acquired taste. If you are hesitant to try teas there are many varieties and flavors of tea available  and as an added plus, tea has its own benefits.

Stressed? 

Chamomile and Lavender:

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Image via brambleberry.com

Both teas have a mild flavor and help alleviate stress. It is great to have right before bed, especially if you are feeling restless.

Have a cold, or Feel Tired?

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Image by Aleksandrs Kosarevs via Getty Images

Black tea contains antioxidants which  not only reduces congestion, but also the length of a cold. Adding lemon or honey as a bonus, to it relieves congestion. Black tea also has a high concentration of caffeine, but not as much as a cup of coffee.

Menstrual Cramps? Bloated?

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Image via teamajesty.net

Drink a cup of peppermint tea! Mint alleviates cramps and reduces bloat. If you want a stronger mint flavor, toss a small peppermint in your tea.

Want to Lower Your Cholesterol?

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Image via Shutterstock

Green tea has been proven to lower bad cholesterol…bottoms up!

Craving Something Sweet?

Sometimes sweet, prepackaged teas can have high amounts of sugar, so be careful! It is usually better to make your tea at home and use a minimal amount of sweetener. Honey and agave are a few common tea sweeteners. But sometimes there are teas that are naturally sweet and do not need anything extra. There are a wide variety of sweeter teas to choose from, ranging from fruit teas, matcha tea, and even chocolate teas

 

If you would like to learn about more of the health benefits (and types) of tea, there is a very helpful article on Webmd.