Monthly Archives: April 2013

Coffee Pot Cleaner Alternative – Week 6

I’ve had my Mr. Coffee 4-cup coffeemaker for probably over two years. I’m ashamed to say but I’ve never done the suggested manufacturer maintenance to keep the coffee tasting delicious. I’ve blamed the coffee for the nasty burnt flavor. What a shame to have wasted delicious coffee since I brewed it with my dirty coffeemaker! Seeing how vinegar is the all-purpose solution to all cleaning problems, I tested this eco-friendly coffee pot cleaner alternative.

Why Vinegar as a Coffee Pot Cleaner Alternative?

–          Cheap

–          Leaves zero toxic residues inside your coffeemaker

–          Environmentally friendly

When Are You Due for Coffeemaker Maintenance?

Manufacturers recommend decalcifying, every 80 cycles when using soft water and every 40 cycles when using hard water (most of us, use filtered tap water, which has tons of stuff that result in mineral deposits). This means that depending on how often you brew, you would do maintenance every three months when using soft water (who uses soft water treatment? I heard it’s good for your hair) and every month and a half when using hard water (AKA tap water).

Some signs that your coffeemaker is due for maintenance:

–          Increase in time it takes to brew

–          Excessive steaming

–          Build up of white deposits on the surface

–          Nasty tasting coffee, regardless of what type of coffee you buy

What You’ll Need

Coffee Pot Cleaner

For this “DIY” project (let’s consider this a DIY…) all you need is:

–           White vinegar

–          Water

–          Time

Steps to Remove Mineral Deposit Build-up in the Water Reservoir

  1. Pour a mix of ½ white vinegar and ½ water to the top of the water reservoir.
  2. Let the unit sit for 2 hours. The vinegar will break down the lime and mineral deposits.
  3. Place a coffee filter like usual.
  4. After 2 hours, brew the vinegar and water mix.
  5. For those of us that have neglected our coffeemakers for years, repeat steps 1 – 3 above two more times, and just let it sit for 20 minutes instead of 2 hours. **Make sure you let the decanter cool before pouring cold water to avoid cracking of the glass.
  6. Trash the used coffee filters and make sure to use a new one each time you brew.
  7. After the vinegar mix brews, pour fresh water and fill the water reservoir to the top.
  8. Brew fresh water 2-3 times to rinse out the vinegar from the coffeemaker (or as many as you think you need).
  9. Clean the decanter following the steps below while you let the unit sit for 2 hours.

Steps to Remove Mineral Deposit Build-up in the Decanter

  1. Pour equal parts of white vinegar and hot water inside your decanter to the top.
  2. Find a bowl that will let the decanter’s bottom fit nicely in a vinegar solution. Just pour enough vinegar to cover the bottom part of the decanter (where the hard minerals are built-up).
  3. Let the decanter sit for 2 hours. The vinegar will break down the lime and mineral deposits.
  4. After 2 hours, empty the decanter and rinse with clean water.
  5. Clean the removable filter basket at the same time you clean the decanter (see below).

Steps to Remove Build-up in the Removable Filter Basket

  1. Place the filter basket in a bowl where you can immerse it in vinegar mix to the top.
  2. Pour equal parts of white vinegar and hot water inside the bowl to the cover the filter basket.
  3. Let the decanter sit for 2 hours. The vinegar will break down the lime and mineral deposits.
  4. After 2 hours, rinse with clean water.
  5. You can wash inside the basket with a new toothbrush or q-tips to keep the coffee oil and coffee grime from building up between the crevices.
  6. Follow the steps below to clean the exterior of your coffeemaker.

Steps to Clean the Exterior of Your Coffeemaker and Under the Top Lid

  1. Wipe down all the areas with 100% vinegar using a cloth or paper towel. You can use q-tips for tight spots.
  2. Wipe down the area under the top lid. Mine has accumulated lots of coffee stains but I read that placing a second filter on top of the coffee ground will keep the spattering to a minimum.
  3. For the warming plate, you might have to place a cotton cloth / paper towel soaked in vinegar and let it sit for 2 hours (depending on the hardness of the build-up). Then, once softened, it will a little easier to wipe.

Results

–          Better-tasting coffee

–          Coffeemaker will last you longer

–          Faster brews

–          No embarrassing dirty coffeemaker

Coffee Pot Cleaner How much cleaner the water is in the before/after picture??

 

Coffee Pot Cleaner Did you see that nasty bug that came out from my coffeemaker???

 

I did the test, and coffee definitely tastes much better! And I feel much cleaner.

Signature

DIY Bathroom Window Privacy Film – Week 5

Our downstairs dungeon bathroom has been privacy-less for years and years, as you can see from the before picture. Inspired by the window privacy film DIY from our kitchen, I found this perfect post on 7th House on the Left that shared a Moroccan pattern stencil perfect for contact paper. So using the left over contact paper from the Kitchen Window Privacy Film DIY from week 2, I added much needed privacy to that bathroom (disregard the poopoo color wall, it will leave the bathroom soon, forever).

DIY window privacy film

So this project will really cost only $8! I used the Con-Tact Frosty 288 in. x 18 in. Clear Liner that I got at Home Depot: Con-Tact Frost Clear Liner.

supplies diy window privacy film

Then I used this handy Moroccan Pattern Stencil (click on the pdf link) that 7th House on the Left sweetly provided for all of us to use.

There aren’t any real instructions needed. Just measure your window to the contact paper, trace away using the stencil, then cut them up, and stick them to the window following your pattern.

The window privacy film DIY has been there three months and it looks the same as the first day – meaning, the contact paper has stuck very nicely (along with the kitchen one). Yay!

Best of all, I still have tons of contact paper… : P

Signature

PS: I’m 11 weeks behind… But I will eventually catch up!

Goodbye, Taiwan.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 – Day 36

ruyi chinese

A gift from Amà.

如意 (rú yì) as one wants / according to one’s wishes

Favorite Picture-Memories from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The day before our departure, we did last shopping and dinner with family. My grandma invited me to her bedroom to show me all her arts and crafts projects and old pictures she has. I was so touched that she invited me to see her bedroom because I know it is a very private place to anybody. Then, my dad came in too and I could tell he was also very touched. These are the type of favorite moments of my trip that a photograph can’t capture. But I thought I’d compile favorites of those memories that I did get a picture of in chronological order with a link to the corresponding blog post : )

 

First Day in Taiwan Lost in a Bustling Neighborhood

Getting lost on our first day in Taiwan with my dad and walking around for 45 minutes following people’s directions was fun.

Dad

 

The Mountain and Please No Pee Splashing

Eating, Eating, and More Eating

Spending time in the mountain, hiking and eating lunch with my aunt/her husband/grandma’s friends.

mountain kaohsiung

Grandma Leg Lift

 

Sad Beginning at Guanyin to Happy Ending at Xiziwan

Our visit to my grandfather’s resting place and then enjoying a family outing biking at Sizihwan.

inside columbarium

taiwanese hot dog

 

Can You Say Awk-Waaard

Spending the day watching my dad play golf and being his paparazzi.

golf

 

Hot Sping-ing in Zhiben, Taitung

Visiting hot springs for the very first time! This is also the only picture I have of just my granma and me (I think).

Fengshan Station Taiwan

 

Grandma is Like the Energizer Bunny

Just Arrived to Hong Kong

Dad and I driving around on the moped a few times (and getting lost).

moped kaohsiung

 

A Different Side of Sizihwan

After being stood up, my dad wanted to make it up to me (even though I was stood up by someone else) so we went out the whole day to Sizihwan with my cousin as our “tour guide.”

jumping cijin tunnel

 

Salvador Dali Art Exhibition in Kaoshiung

Seeing the Salvador Dali exhibition in Kaohsiung with my cousin was a lot of fun too. I realized that I have a tendency for abstract art and Dali is now one of my favorites.

salvador dali art exhibit

 

Self-Guided Tour of Lotus Pond in Kaohsiung

Video of orchestra: Orchestra at Lotus Pond, Kaohsiung for Chinese New Year

Going out by myself to explore Lotus Pond was unforgettable. I enjoy solo-touring. I take my sweet time taking pictures and walking around.

Spring and Autumn Pavilion

 

Finding Fo Guang Shan Monastery

Fo Guang Shan Videos – favorite is the ending : ) Fireworks at Fo Guang Shan

The biggest adventure was finding Fo Guang Shan Monastery and spending the entire day by myself. One of the most unforgettable experiences in Taiwan.

Fo Guang Shan Monastery Taiwan Fo Guang Shan Monastery Taiwan Fo Guang Shan Monastery Taiwan Fo Guang Shan Monastery Taiwan

 

What Happened to the Taiwan Trip Posts?

Riding the Maokong gondola and finding out that my dad is scared of heights.

maokong gondola taipei

 

Hello, Hong Kong!

Having the freshest of them seafoods I’ve ever had!

Sai Kung Promenade

 

Highest Viewing Platform in Hong Kong

Enjoying a yummy latte at The Peak in Hong Kong and taking in the 360 degree view of Hong Kong.

victoria peak hong kong

 

Dongguan, Guangdong Province, China

I got to see a more relaxed side of my dad and even karaoke’d with him and his friends. I think he’s fun to hang out with and I can see how his friends enjoy his company because he’s always down to do anything. But with family, we see a more serious side of him so this was another priceless experience.

dongguang karaoke

 

A Little Sightseeing in China

During this trip, I found out my dad really enjoys biking. We rode the bike three times and each time, I would see a big smile on his face and him saying how much he missed riding a bike.

biking in dongguan

 

Last Day in China – Xiqiao Mountain

Sightseeing with my dad’s friends was fun. One of them got a calf cramp from walking up the stairs so my dad told him to sit on the floor and stretch his leg. Then, my dad kicked the sole of his foot hard and the cramp was gone. My dad starts joking around saying that he came to China just so that he could kick his friend. And what an expensive kick that was LOL Everyone was cracking up hard.

nanhai guanyin xiqiao mountain
Seeing my third auntie (right) at night for dinner after she got off work was nice. On our day back from China, she came over to have dinner and I finally took a picture of her, my sixth auntie, and my dad.

family in taiwan

 

Photo Nostalgia

One my most favorite things about my trip was seeing old pictures. I love all of them but if I had to choose one, it would be seeing my three oldest siblings riding one bike while my second oldest sister is hauling them lol

siblings biking

 

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Lastly, visiting Chung Tai Chan Monastery was nice. But meeting the nuns was even better. Monks and nuns are so mysterious. They have such different energy than other people like us and I loved meeting them.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

I only have one last post of my trip. I can’t believe I posted about every single day I spent there. That would be 36 days!

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Monday, March 4, 2013

We squeezed in our last sightseeing of Taiwan before returning home and visited Chung Tai Chan Monastery in Puli, Nantou County in Central Taiwan. My dad and I hopped on the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) from Zuoying Station to Taichung Station where we met with my dad’s friend and his family. The same fun family that took us sightseeing in Taipei – A Day in Taipei. The bullet train ride from Kaohsiung to Taichung was about one hour each way and the cost was about $50 USD per person round trip. Nantou County was about 40 minutes away from Taichung and it was a beautiful drive. There was barely any traffic, there were clean spacious highways, surrounded by mountains from both sides. Everything was very green and the sky was clear and blue. Temperature was a bit cooler than Kaohsiung but comfortable and refreshing.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery is a fairly new temple and was completed in September 2001 but construction took a decade long. It is considered the tallest Buddhist temple at almost 450 feet (or 135 meters) and second largest monastery in the world. The largest monastery is Fo Guang Shan. The construction of this monastery took so long because they were very meticulous about every material used and craftsmanship. For example, they collected marble from 15 different countries and imported pure teak for their seven story indoor pagoda. The pagoda was built in the traditional way, without metal nails and screws. We arrived too late so I didn’t get to see the famous indoor pagoda. (Remember what pagodas are? Lotus Pond Pagodas)

This temple is very different compared to Fo Guang ShanChun Tai Chan has a huge building with seven floors! The very entrance to the temple has these ginormous doors and inside, there are four gigantic statues at nearly 40 feet high (or 12 meters)! As tall as the doors! Everything inside is very big!

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

The entrance is called the Hall of the Four Heavenly Kings surrounding the future Buddha.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Then, as you walk up the stairs, you enter The Great Majestic Hall, which is one of three Buddha halls. It is a red granite statue of the transformation of Buddha.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Chung Tai Chan has a modern feel and the outside design reminds of a temple from the movie, Aladdin. The gardens are breathtaking – beautifully decorated, quiet, relaxing, and solitary.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery

I caught a couple of pictures of a nun while she was exercising/meditating? She saw me and walked away. Sorry! I couldn’t help myself, she seemed so in the moment and she was right below the elephant statue from my view…

Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery

There is also a bell you can ring. Unlike Xiqiao Mountain in China, they don’t charge you here or at Fo Guang Shan to ring the bell. We all rang it three times. We did it totally wrong though. I remember at Fo Guang Shan, everyone would first vow, close their eyes, chant something, and ring the bell. Hello, tourists! Yes, that would be us. Even locals can be part of the tourists haha

Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Chung Tai Chan also has an amazing view of the mountains and there is a GIGANTIC Buddha statue that is clearly visible. The view is seriously unbelievable.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

While we were there we met a couple of nuns and they were super duper friendly. They went out of their way to give us information on their California branch in Pomona: Middle Land Chan Monastery. I would love to go to their weekly classes but it’s over an hour away!

If interested or curious, this website explains Chung Tai Chan Monastery practices thoroughly: Chung Tai Zen Center of Sunnyvale.

After the monastery, we stopped by a delicious vegetarian restaurant that curves down the street. One of the people from the restaurant was passing out menu flyers at the parking lot and was very nice. The place didn’t disappoint, I fell in love with Taiwanese vegetarian food! So gooooood!

Well, I’ve been back to LA for a while now and I’m still eating meat. That’s a hard lifestyle change lol But I have the thoughts in my head… One day maybe?