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Tucson Gem Show

The Tucson Gem Show. It is the name used referring to a multitude of large gem shows, along with a satellite of smaller gem shows that take over Tucson around the last week of January and the first week of February. It’s the biggest to do of the gem show world, and the largest convergence of crystals and gems from around the planet. About 65,000 people visit for the show, and has an economic impact of about 120 million dollars.

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Balboa Park, San Diego

Planning a trip to San Diego? Besides the beautiful beaches and boutiques, spend a day exploring one of the areas most impressive destinations! It’s a pretty wild city park with a lot of amazing stuff to see and do!

El Prado theater, san diego
El Prado theater, balboa park
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Joshua tree national park

joshua tree

It seems everybody wants to go to Joshua tree national park. Why? It’s practically an obligation these days, the Studio 54 of national parks. The place to see and be seen. The mere mention of this location will return a “yeah, i was just there” or an ” it’s on my bucket list” response. It’s become a right of passage. But, is it really that great? What’s the fuss all about?

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amazing crystals – rutilated quartz

an essential crystal for your collection

one of the most unique and amazing crystals found in nature is rutilated quartz. an essential piece for anyone’s collection. but what is it? rutilated quartz is a common quartz, but with some special attributes. other common quartz you may be familiar with are amethyst, rose, citrine and smoky quartz. but, what sets this variety apart, are the finely colored threads of needle-like hairs of ‘rutil’ that accent each specimen in a distinctive way.

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amazing vegetables! yu choi sum will rock your ramen!

Yu Choi or yo choy


Yo choy sum, or Yu Choi sum is one of my staple vegetables, similar to Gailaan (Chinese broccoli) but, it’s a tad sweeter + with a light mustardy flavor.

available at almost all Asian markets, it belongs to the brassica family, and is related to other Choi type vegetables. It’s characteristics closely resemble gailaan. A stalk around 6″ a few leaves, and a tiny brassica floret. Yu Choi is usually harvested once one or two flowers pop. So you may see a few little flowers!

Most of the the vegetables that hail from Asia, are the products of centuries of remarkable breeding. Taking up much less space in a garden plot, they typically mature at a much faster rate, giving the farmer opportunity for higher turnover. Thus, producing more tender and often sweeter varieties than Thier distant brassica relatives in Europe. The produce sections of Asian Groceries are usually swimming in all kind of lesser known, but totally valuable veggies. Yu Choi is one of the most popular. And with good reason.

flavor is one, with it’s slightly sweet and lightly mustard undertones. Slide it right into a soup, add a handful to a stir-fry, tasty side dish or prepare it with garlic and serve with noodles.

Being a mustard family member, a good starting recommendation for how to season Yu Choi would be all the alliums you can throw at it. The flavors of garlic and mustards are always a mutually supportive pairing. Other things to consider would be toasted sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, Korean red pepper flakes, rice vinegar, shoyu sauce and garlic chives. Ałl available at Asian grocery stores. Be aware that Yu Choi cooks fast. Only a minute or two of steaming or boiling, and three minutes in a pan. A little more time than that won’t ruin it, but experiment and be cautious! I’ll be adding recipes soon, in the meantime, if these things sound good and give you some ideas, experiment away!

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essential Camping gear – sand free mat

campsite

cgear original sand mat

want to transform your camping, picnicking, beach, yoga experience, or any outdoor adventure? If your into almost any outdoor based activity, a cgear sand-free mat can eradicate many of the subtle annoyances that can plague an excursion. You can create a 10 x 10 instant clean zone outside your tent, van or RV. Bring it to the beach, or on a hike. Take it canoeing or kayaking and and bust it out on the riverbank for an immediate welcome mat. I ordered mine from Backcountry.

its basically two separate + durable woven polypropylene fabrics, sewn together and including grommets for staking if needed. The unique weave allows particles of sand and smaller debris to fall through and not come back up. Anything else that happens to show up, simply can get swept off easily. I’ve used it all over the country for a year now, and I’m convinced of it’s durability and longevity. it’s polypropylene, so avoid placing it where campfire embers may pop onto.

ive found it enormously useful for keeping outdoor litter and debris from getting into tents and vehicles when placed next to them. It’s been great to pull out and do yoga on, fix a flat bike tire on and general hanging out. Fixing the flat tire was really nice to be able to set small parts and tools on without losing them in the sand and gravel. It also creates a sort of living room feel inviting you to chill out.

it does not work well for fine mud or in puddles. But, site selection is an art, and you really should try for a sandy, gravely spot anyways. However, it still cleans off easily and dries Fairly quick. One more thing to always avoid or anticipate is pine sap. I’ve put the mat on pine needles and reduced the amount of sap i would be tracking in everywhere. It can get on the mat as it would get on anything. That is the nature of tree sap after all. But, it cleaned off easily later washing it with pine oil based cleaner. It’s machine washable, packs up about the size of a sleeping bag and comes in a few sizes.

About the author: stelae travels the US, camping, cooking and van living, while working as a silversmith and lapidary artist. You can view his creations here

cgear sand free mat, perfect for a clean campsite