Yearly Archives

2013

Work and Life

My New Gadget: The Nike+ Fuelband

nike+ fuelband white ice

June 26th, 2013 Update: Before you buy yours, read first Why I returned my Fuelband

It has been a while since I had my eye on a Nike+ Fuelband. Yesterday, I took the plunge. The reason why I bought a Fuelband is to help be more active. Yes, I wish to look better in my bikini but my real motivation is to stay healthy. Following my toddler boy around helps me but I want to do more. For the past 6 months, I try, without success, to add a daily yoga session to my routine. Between my work schedule, the household tasks and making dinner, I don’t seem to find the time to squeeze a yoga break. I wish that by raising the bar of my Fuel goal, I would have no choice but to integrate yoga in my life. Continue Reading

Social Media

Seven Writing Tips for Bloggers to Convey Your Message

tips for editing your blog posts

Every blogger develops their own writing style. This is a part of the attraction of reading a blog. If we were to examine your writing style, we will probably find that reflects the type of person that we are in real life. Loyal readers can discover some of your character traits and your skills just by reading your blog. For instance, I like to get to the point, which is why I prefer shorter posts to long ones. Continue Reading

FAMILY

I Am Proud to Be An Older Mom

proud to be an older mom

I became a mom after 40s. I gave birth so late that my age group doesn’t appear in fertility tables. I was 47 years old when I gave birth to my beautiful son. For readers who are aware of the congenital heart defects of my son, it has nothing to do with my age. I don’t have any fertility stories to share since my son was conceived naturally. What I want to do here is addressing misconceptions about midlife parenting.

Some call us selfish to have waited so long, others assume that we do it to fill void in our life. Personally, I feel that it is better for everyone — that is, you and your kids — when you are ready to be a parent. Continue Reading

Work and Life

At Last, The New At Home with Kim Vallée and a Business Lesson

making life easier for

Today marks a great day for me. At last, a new chapter of my blogging career is starting. Starting today, At home with Kim Vallee becomes a blog about Making life easier for entrepreneurs and parents.

I passed half of the year reinventing, redefining and rebranding what is, at the end, the new At Home with Kim Vallee. The funny thing is that a key element changed last night. That important detail makes today’s reveal possible thanks to my mentor and to my little boy. Continue Reading

GIFT IDEAS

Want a Unique iPhone Case? Draw It with a Krillz Set

sketch an iphone case krillz

If you dream of showing off your own drawings, you will love this next idea. Designed for iPhone 4 and 5, a Krillz iPhone set comes with a 40 page drawing and a clear iPhone case.  There is a dye-cut iPhone cutout, that fits your model, on every page. 

Krizzl iphone case and drawing block
Where to buy: Krillz iPhone case for creative people at Neo-utility $35 USD

Keep it in mind for a creative gift for a teenager, for graduation or Father Day. If you draw well, why not customize the gift even further by sketch a case in the book?

+ photo credits: Krillz

BEVERAGE FOOD + DRINK

Easy Tips for Brewing a Good French Press Coffee

brew french press pot tips

brew french press pot tips

I always start my day of work by brewing a pot of French Press coffee. I am picky about which coffee beans I buy. It has to taste fresh and strong. If it is not, I will throw it away. I will take extra steps to ensure a great cup of joe but I am not a coffee snob. Although I grind my own beans right before brewing my coffee, I won’t make a fuss if some grounded beans from yesterday are in the pot.

coffee french press pot

Here are the few essential steps to brew a robust French Press pot.

1. A coarse grind

The larger particules eliminate the unpleasant sludge caused by the fine grit. I take that with caution. The coarser setting of my old entry-level grinder does produce some powder and tiny coffee bits. But the metal filter of my Bodum pot doesn’t a decent job at keeping them out. I found that pouring the coffee into a carafe as soon as it is ready diminishes the effect.

If you are on the market for a coffee grinder, go for a burr grinder instead of a blade one. Be prepared to invest $300 or more for a grinder that will produce an even grind time after time. Remember that an entry-level burr coffee grinder will always beat the best blade coffee grinder. Fopr the moment, I will continue to use my 25 years old grinder.

2. The right amount of coffee

Personally, I put 2 rounded tablespoons for 2 mugs and a half of coffee. I have an 8-cup model but I don’t fill it up. Find what works for you and for the coffee beans that you use.

3. The water temperature

Water should be about 200ºF (anything between 195-205ºF is fine). I don’t need a thermometer since my Breville electric kettle has a French Press setting. Otherwise, know that the right temperature is slightly lower than boiling temperature. It is because you don’t want to burn your coffee.

4. Pour a Little, Stir and Set the Timer

I initially pour a third of the total water that I will use to make a press pot. I stir with chopsticks until I create a small foam. I set my stove the timer to 3:40 minutes. Since I aim for a total  brewing time of 4 minutes, I offset the stirring time and the time it will take me to cancel the timer and reach the pot.

5. Fill the Pot

Pour the hot water. Add the filter assembly. I put down the filter a little, just enough to make sure that the coffee is fully immersed.

french press coffee pour in mason jar

6. Pour into a Carafe

As soon as the timer rings, I pour me a cup and pour the rest into a Mason jar. To avoid the sludge, don’t pour every sip of liquid. I also throw away the bottom of every mug. Maybe, it is time that I invest in a better coffee grinder after all.