Tuesday, January 31, 2012

10 Reasons Why Traveling to Tibet is a MUST - Listable Life

Still playing along with Nicole 

So here we go:
10 Reasons Why Traveling to Tibet is a Must

The shopping

We traveled to Tibet via Beijing.
The markets in Beijing are OUT OF CONTROL.
I would go back just to shop for gorgeous blinged out statues, fantastic fabrics and, of course, vintage cameras.

The Facilities
(or lack thereof)

These are pretty self explanatory.  
And if that second photo doesn't demonstrate what you are NOT
to do (do) in public restrooms, then click on the first photo and enlarge it.
And that is all.

The tea leaves

I didn't truly know what tea was until we drank the most delicious stuff on earth.
In the dining car/viewing car.
Chinese breakfast...that was something else entirely.

The Incense


You have NOT LIVED until you smell a yak butter candle.
You can skip the yak butter tea. Or live dangerously...
Seriously one of the most delicious smells I've ever smelled.
(the candles, that is)
And it gets sickening after a while.
But don't worry, every day, multiple times a day,
in the middle of Lhassa, they will light up the biggest incense burner you have ever seen.
And singe the smell of yak butter candles from your nostrils.

The Stylists


The shop owners are fantastic!
From the prayer flag ladies who will tend the jewelry shops and style you pretty,
to the little boys who come equipped w/comb to try to brush
that strange looking woman's (that is a woman right??) hair.

The Faith

Prayer wheels everywhere.  
The sounds of them spinning (wheels) and flapping (flags)
still rings in my ears.

The Architecture


The first photo is actually Nepal.
Which we exited through and was HIGHLY worth it.
The second photo is why you really go to Tibet.
Lhassa in particular. Potala Palace.

The Perspective



Americans are really tall.
And warm blooded.
And rich.
And, did I mention, tall?

The Unspoiled Beauty

On the plateau, you come across deep valleys,
farm land,
and spectacular peeks at that amazing peak.

It's Tibetan name is

Which our guide kept saying to me,
and I could not, for the life of me,
figure out what he was talking about.

Which was a bit unusual (he had impeccable English),
given that it was usually the driver that I totally could not understand.
Especially when he started chanting over the high altitude passes

When you are going over the passes, you are closer to God
 and he can hear your prayers more clearly. 
Clearly, that is why it was necessary to shout them at the top of your lungs. 
Which scared the pee out of me (maybe literally) the first time our driver did it.

The Paparazzi

Have you ever wondered 
what it was like to be Beyonce?
Maybe just for a day?

Well, in Beijing and then ESPECIALLY in Tibet,
I imagine I got a glimpse of that.

People couldn't figure out if I was a girl or a guy 
(upper bouyancy is the first thing to go when I'm in shape)
and not only did I have black girl hair,
I had WEIRD black girl hair.

And I'm black.
there have only been 4 black people in Tibet.
And because they don't really have much TV,
they don't even get to know my people via Cosby.

It was intimidating.
Which is why I have to go back.
I was so busy avoiding the cell phones 
and crowds that were dragged clear across city squares
to "meet" me,
that I completely missed out on experiencing some cool stuff.

The Bucket List


Is that wild or WHAT?!

Of course, I had to add to my postcard collection
and ended up sending lots of loved ones
postcards from the highest post office on earth.

I got into the best shape of my life
(and need to do it again).

I researched the cultural history of an area 
and then went and lived it.

We went to Tibet in April of 2007.
You can see more of our photos
and read our diary

It was truly the trip of a lifetime.
I hope to go back.
Once we have kids.


Linking up at the Listable Life Meme again.


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 57 Random Pinehurst

Staying toasty when the heat goes out.
Thankfully, puppy daddy is a handy dude like that.


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Unpaid Review: Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, & Sorbet Maker

I was not paid a dime or given free product for this review. 
So it's going to be truth serum to your ever loving ice cream soul.
Grab a spoon and dig in.

Cuisinart Pistachio Ice Cream
slightly modified recipe

One of the many things I love about my husband,
is that he is a good great listener.

And he will drop a dime on a quality, name brand any day.
So long as he reads up on all the product reviews and see that half the world is satisfied with their get.

So was the case when he bought me a Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker.

While I'm a sucker for some really great ice cream and was pining away for an old fashioned ice cream maker,
my sorbet-loving better half knew he wouldn't be getting any iced treats anytime soon
if he relied on me to hand crank something out.

So, when December 4th rolled around, I said "no parties, just us."
And he might have mumbled, "Well, and the ice cream maker."

Like many things in this here house,
they get delivered and relegated off to the room of shame.
Sherry, over at Young House Love has a Self-Imposed "Dude, Get On That Already" Challenge going on.
I. Can. So. Relate.

So, finally, just before the power went out, 
I broke out my automatic ice cream maker
for the second time.

The first time, we made Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
with this really simple recipe from the Cuisinart Recipe Booklet.
You can find lots of Cuisinart dessert recipes here.

It was so easy, I of COURSE had to try something a bit more fru fru.
And here is where I commit to the world
that I, Bernadette Merikle
will in deed make a new wonderful flavor of ice cream
for each month of 2012.

Hold me to it.

Before we get to the ice cream though, let's review the machine.

Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker

1. It is a pretty sturdy little dude 
(he's white, so all things white in this house are dudes...all things black are gals...just saying).

2. Unfortunately...this dude is not very well endowed in the cord department. 6 inches long.
Okay, slightly longer than that.  But ridiculously short for a counter top appliance.
There's a blurb on nanny-state safety reasons for this.
blah,blah, blah.  Just give me a longer cord alredy.

3. LOVE the double-insulated freezer bowl.  Down with ICE! Just make sure to clear a (small) but dedicated space in your freezer to make sure it sits flat. You'll do this because you're going to want to use it all the time and who likes having to wait for the bowl to freeze? Not. it.

4. The mixing paddle is actually patent pending.  Probably, because it is magic.  
I've never (in two tries, so I'm an expert on this, trust me!), had to wait longer than 18 minutes 
for my ice cream to be ready.

5. Super simple "this goes in here, goes in here" assembly.  
Meaning, even my dog who clearly has no thumbs, can get the ice cream maker going for me.

6. No mess, no fuss super easy lock lid keeps it all tight.
No, I did not try to play football with it.
Yet. Superbowl is almost here.
Come to think of it, ice cream will be the PERFECT Super Bowl treat.

7. One button operation. Click it on, click it off.
I like simple.

Overall, I would say that I love this little workhorse.  For $60, it really cannot be beat.
The cons?  Because, of course there are some.

Aside from the super short cord...

** freezer bowl wait times are patience inducing **
** most recipes take a few (yes, a few) hours to complete **
** no arm twisting workout involved to assuage your guilty ice cream pleasures **
** no stainless steel color scheme; unless you upgrade to the Pure Indulgence version **

Their website is super user friendly
Cuisinart is a quality name.
The price is great.

So far, I'd give this cutie an 8 out of 10.
I'll withhold final judgement until we make some frozen yogurt
and the all too anticipated Raspberry Sorbet.

Here's January's flavor in pictures:

Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker

You'll want to open that recipe link above in a new window to follow along for the readers:

Pre #1. Freeze the freezer bowl  overnight. Or you will have sad, sad no ice cream faces.

1. Steep a lot of stuff in a lot of milk.  I actually used non-fat milk.  Whole milk is for babies.
2 & 3. Hours later, reheat stuff you just chilled and add a whole lot of cream.

4. Whip eggs & sugar by hand to kid yourself into burning off the calories you're about to consume.

5. Add Almond extract which, shockingly, tastes just like Pistachio Ice Cream. Just. Saying.
6. Strain out the chunks, but save the pistachios! Those bad boys are EXPENSIVE.

7. Plug in your super short cord, 
turn on the Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker.
I had to go there.  The name is just ridiculously long.

8.Slowly pour cream into freezer bowl to be iced (about 20 minutes).
9. With 5 minutes left, add the chunks and pray they don't break your awesome ice cream maker.

Voila.  Pure heaven.  Or hell. Depending on your perspective I suppose.
What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
Any requests for altered recipes?
Any suggestions for my list of 11 more flavors I need to undertake?
Raspberry Sorbet, Peanut Butter Cup, Salted Caramel, Butter Pecan and Chai are all on the list.
Unless you have better ideas...


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