Mealworm Mondays: Beetle Inlet Tray – Livin Farm’s Hive

This week’s Mealworm Monday features the function of the beetle inlet tray of the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives…

This week’s Mealworm Monday features the function of the beetle inlet tray of the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives. You can read more about the Hive in my past articles or on the Livin Farms website. Check out the video below!

 

Buying Carnivorous Plants in NYC

Amazon was an obvious option but the plants there were expensive and didn’t always have the best reviews. Plus ordering a plant online is risky in case it’s not handled correctly. Does any package deliverer look at “fragile” or “this way up signs”? Not in my experience…

I’ve always been a fan of carnivorous plants and had a bunch in Prague. After the move I got back on the hunt and I started searching in for some hungry plants. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any even though I’ve heard of them being sold everywhere including Walmart.

Amazon was an obvious option but the plants there were expensive and didn’t always have the best reviews. Plus ordering a plant online is risky in case it’s not handled correctly. Does any package deliverer look at “fragile” or “this way up signs”? Not in my experience…

Finally I found a place, Midtown Carnivores, but didn’t have a storefront which made me nervous. I emailed the owner with my order and some questions and he answered me almost immediately. He was friendly, communicative and offered to meet me in Brooklyn with wide range of possible times.

He arrived on time with the plants well-packed and healthy. He provided an info packet on care and said to email him any time with any questions. Although I haven’t had any yet, I am confident that he would answer quickly and help me if I did. If you live in NYC and want a carnivorous plant friend, I definitely recommend Midtown Carnivores. The prices are great, the owner is professional and the plants won’t disappoint!

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The Best Ice Cream on Phi Phi is Vegan

You can’t spend time on a tropical island without eating ice cream. But vegans can’t eat ice cream… right? Wrong!

You can’t spend time on a tropical island without eating ice cream. But vegans can’t eat ice cream… right? Wrong! All the big ice cream companies have released vegan versions of all the tasty frozen treats. Most recently, Magnum came out with one following Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s. While these are widely available in many western countries, Asia has yet to catch up. So we were worried that we’d have to spend out time in Thailand ice-cream less. We did a quick Google search and turned out that Phi Phi’s most famous coconut ice cream was 100% vegan!

Nowadays: Pet-Friendly Bar

Their already great beer prices are even more exciting during their 2-for-1 happy hour which runs from 5pm to 8pm on Thursdays and Fridays. It only works for select beers, but where else in NYC can you get a draft beer for $3? 

I am lucky to live next to two great dog-friendly bars with amazing beer prices! One is the Bridge and Tunnel Brewery and the other is Nowadays. Nowadays is located in Ridgewood, Queens but is right next to Bushwick, Brooklyn. It’s just a five minute walk from Wilson Avenue subway (L).

Nowadays has an indoor and and outdoor area. The indoor area is fancier, doesn’t allow dogs and has a cover fee to enter after certain hours. The outdoor area is dog friendly, free and has a relaxed vibe that I love. Nowadays is open Thursday – Sunday, sometimes also on Wednesdays and they are open year round. Make sure to check on Facebook to see if they are open.

Their already great beer prices are even more exciting during their 2-for-1 happy hour which runs from 5pm to 8pm on Thursdays and Fridays. It only works for select beers, but where else in NYC can you get a draft beer for $3?

As mentioned before, they are open year round! So when it gets cold, the outdoor area is heated with chic round fire pits! I was there on a particularly cold October day and the fire was much needed, plus it added to the great atmosphere. I’m not sure if I’ll enjoy it in the snow, but we’ll find out.

In addition to a great space and atmosphere, the staff is also pretty amazing. They are always friendly and let you try the beers, offer shots of mulled wine (that make you end up buying a cup for $11). I’m from Europe, where mulled wine was born and Nowadays made it so surprisingly good that I almost forgot I wasn’t in Prague’s Old Town Square.

If you’re ever in the area or feel like venturing over to this part of town, make sure to check out Nowadays! It doesn’t get hopping until later at night but if you come early you can grab the best spots while enjoying cheap drinks! Feel free to bring your pets as long as you don’t mind staying outside.

My only complaint: the beers come in single-use plastic. However they will let you re-use the same cup all night.

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Don’t Trash those Pumpkins – Smash them into the Compost instead

Composting will make sure your pumpkin decomposes and the nutrients will benefit a tree, flower or someone’s crops. When food is thrown in to the regular trash, it can’t decompose properly and will release gasses that will poison the environment.

Halloween is so much fun! It is also a very wasteful holiday with millions of pumpkins going to waste and rotting away in junk yards. Now I’m not telling you to stop making jack-o-lanterns, that would be blasphemous! I’m just asking you to think about how to dispose of them properly.

No matter where you live, there is a compost somewhere near you. Here in NYC there’s an entire event on November 11th dedicated to smashing and then composting pumpkins! If you don’t have time to smash, then take a detour on your way to work and drop off your pumpkin at any garden or business that will help you compost it.

Composting will make sure your pumpkin decomposes and the nutrients will benefit a tree, flower or someone’s crops. When food is thrown in to the regular trash, it can’t decompose properly and will release gasses that will poison the environment. I’m no scientist so I might not be making sense, you can read about it here.

Go compost those pumpkins! The planet will thank you.

Dow: Vegan Restaurant on Phi Phi Island, Thailand

Phi Phi is a great island with so many food options! We tried a whole bunch but kept coming back to Dow, a vegan restaurant (with a seperate non-vegan menu too). Great prices, cold draft beers and a wide selection of food is only a little part of why we loved this place. They had a lot of second hand books on sale, had games for us to play while waiting for our food and the staff was friendly and professional.

Phi Phi is a great island with so many food options! We tried a whole bunch but kept coming back to Dow, a vegan restaurant (with a seperate non-vegan menu too). Great prices, cold draft beers and a wide selection of food is only a little part of why we loved this place. They had a lot of second hand books on sale, had games for us to play while waiting for our food and the staff was friendly and professional.

Happy Halloween: Smiley’s Dog Costumes!

Our first event came up unexpectedly, the Bridge and Tunnel Brewery was just a five minute walk from our apartment but we had no costume! I quickly cut out an avocado out of Dollar Tree cardboard paper and it was a success! Smiley won some toys and we got a growler for our fun last-minute costume. 

You may have noticed the dog pictures on my Instagram, or read the two posts I wrote about our rescue Smiley – you may have even read the viral Dodo article about his rescue story! Our unexpected adoption (it only took two weeks of fostering to realize that Smiley belonged with us forever) changed all our plans. All those crazy Halloween parties we wanted to go to turned into us going to dog-friendly pub events, the dog parade and tonight we’ll be going to the big NYC Halloween Parade with Smiley in tow.

Our first event came up unexpectedly, the Bridge and Tunnel Brewery was just a five minute walk from our apartment but we had no costume! I quickly cut out an avocado out of Dollar Tree cardboard paper and it was a success! Smiley won some toys and we got a growler for our fun last-minute costume.

We ended up going to another last minute event, the Tompkins Square dog parade, so Smiley wore his same avocadog costume and got outshined by popes and other crazy intricate creative costumes! It was a lot of fun and we’re definitely going again next year with a better costume. Although most dogs wore hot dogs, delivery costumes and they rocked them, as a crafter I got inspired to do something a little more creative!

Tonight, the parade is mainly for people but Smiley will hopefully steal the show – as long as he actually wears the costume I made him and it doesn’t fall apart. Stay tuned for photos of tonights shenanigans.

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Mealworm Mondays: Moisture Overflow – Livin Farm’s Hive

This week’s Mealworm Monday features a moisture overflow disaster in the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives…

This week’s Mealworm Monday features a moisture overflow disaster in the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives. You can read more about the Hive in my past articles or on the Livin Farms website. Check out the video below!

Fostering through Pound Hounds Res-Q: Smiley’s Story

Two days ago we sent a $300 adoption fee to Pound Hounds Res-Q, the place that pulled Smiley from Brooklyn’s high kill shelter, NYACC. We had originally planned on fostering Smiley, the cute 6 year old pit mix who was abandoned because his former owners got pregnant…

Two days ago we sent a $300 adoption fee to Pound Hounds Res-Q, the place that pulled Smiley from Brooklyn’s high kill shelter, NYACC. We had originally planned on fostering Smiley, the cute 6 year old pit mix who was abandoned because his former owners got pregnant. We were in no position to get a dog – we don’t make enough money and live in a small apartment, but we couldn’t let Smiley die.

We ended up adopting Smiley after just two weeks of fostering, mostly because we fell in love with our foster boy and also because of Pound Hounds Res-Q. In addition to the fee, we also gave a small donation because of everything the rescue has done for us. Donating to rescues helps them save more dogs so I encourage everyone to do the same!

The amazing thing about fostering, is that it’s practically free and saves lives! Shelters such as the NYACC become overcrowded and put animals on the kill list very quickly. They barely get a chance to get adopted! If you foster a dog, a rescue will cover the vet bills and any necessary training. Then you help the dog get decompressed, preferably crate trained and then you help them find a new forever home.

Fostering is a great way to help animals without making a lifetime commitment, that many people can’t do. If we hadn’t ended up adopting Smiley, we would have likely kept fostering, because it has been so rewarding. Let me tell you a bit about it!

Smiley went from the NYACC to the vet to get neutered, then a special service was hired to bring him to us. We had never met him or even see him in real life! Smiley was friendly and curious but he wouldn’t look up at me or make eye contact. He also didn’t respond to commands, although we were told that he knew to sit, stay and come.

When I brought him inside, he explored the place, sniffing every corner and demanding to know what was behind every door. It took over an hour to get him to slow down and rest on his doggy bed. He lay there for a while until I tried to put his harness on for a walk. He wouldn’t let me put it on I’m and bared his teeth, so I backed off and let him sleep. A few hours later, after my husband came home, he let us put the harness on without any fuss.

On his first walk with us, he pulled like crazy, giving us rope burn. He was so strong and wouldn’t listen at all outside. We immediately ordered a front pulling harness, but got dragged around painfully for three whole days. We also watched some videos on how to get a dogs attention on walks and we tried to implement them, which only half worked.

The first evening while we watched TV, we saw him watching us from his bed. It was the first time he looked at us. Not surprising after being handed off from one person to another for ten days. He was scared and confused.

We crated him that first night as instructed by the rescue. People want to adopt crate trained dogs and we had to try our best although we didn’t like the idea of him being in a small cage. He barked a bit but quickly went to sleep. The next morning he woke up wagging his tail at us, it was progress!

The second day he acted like a spoiled child, pushing his boundaries. He would jump on the sofa, demand treats and he pulled me even harder outside. I may have had one or two breakdowns that day because I couldn’t connect with him. I couldn’t see anyone adopting a dog that was this crazy and I also didn’t know how long I could spend with him, but I didn’t want to disappoint him like humans have in the past.

That night he barked more in his crate at night, and I was stressed knowing that we would have to leave him alone for up to six hours the next day. Everyone reassured me that he would be okay, as long as he wore a cone – he was recently neutered and could rip his stitches.

When we came home after our trip, that we couldn’t cancel although we had wanted to, we found his cone out of shape and he was practically hanging by it because a piece got stuck in his crate. It was around his neck so tight that he coughed when I cut it off. He seemed fine otherwise and extra friendly, but I was traumatized by the experience. I was too scared of putting him back in the crate while he had his cone, so we let him sleep in our bedroom on his bed.

When he woke up that Sunday (we had gotten him in the afternoon on Thursday) he was a completely different dog. He was so calm at home, looked at us, asked us for pats and actually listened when we gave him commands. That day we took him to a beer festival because we didn’t want to leave him home alone.

We had been told that he shouldn’t be around other dogs or kids so we were extra careful. But he was calm around kids, accepting treats gently and he wagged his tail when he saw other dogs. We let him sniff a few and it seemed fine, we were starting to doubt everything that the kill shelter had said about him. We found a quiet spot at the chaotic festival and he sat with us, observing. People came over to meet him and he was so friendly and loving to everyone. No one believed that we had just rescued him.

The next day we had received a front clipping harness and the moment we put it on him, he stopped pulling on walks. He still got distracted outside but he was so much better at walking calmly. We let him sniff more dogs and discovered that he was super friendly but couldn’t tell between dogs that wanted to play or fight.

The following week he started to feel at home. We let him sit with us on the couch but still kept him out of bed. He behaved better every day. Except the one time he jumped on the bed when I screamed because I saw a spider – but that’s because I screamed and I assume that he was trying to protect me.

During the week we also let him play with some dogs while leashed. He seemed to get along with everyone, ignoring the dogs who were aggressive and he backed away when an angry cat jumped out at him. He was clearly a good gentle boy!

We also took him to the vet that week to check his ears (he was super itchy) and his stitches that he had licked more than he should have. He was so calm and let the vet do very invasive things to him without showing an ounce of aggressive – and I grew up with labs that growled at the vet…

That second weekend we had him, we took him to an amazing day care Petbuddy Services for a trial day. We were nervous to see how he would get a long with other dogs but it went really well! After a day of playing with dogs, he was even calmer on walks and less jumpy when he met new dogs.

The day he spent at doggy daycare we went out, but came home before picking Smiley up. Our home felt so empty without him even though he had only been there for ten days! That’s when we decided that we’d be keeping him. But we wanted to wait in case there were any issues with our landlord, although those were unlikely.

On Wednesday we took him to the vet again, and even though the rescue knew we were 99% likely to adopt him, Pound Hounds Res-Q paid his bill. Later that evening, we officially paid his adoption fee and he became a part of our family. The next day, I let him play off leash with a bunch of friendly dogs at the park and he did so well, people didn’t believe me that he was a new rescue.

Since getting Smiley there has been more stress in my life – we need to figure out where he will be while we’re on holiday. We need to worry about him getting sick, hurting himself or feeling lonely when he’s alone at home. I also have a companion at home now,  a smiling face that makes me happier and I can’t walk him down the street without him getting compliments left and right. Oh, he also gets me out of the house more and breathing that fresh New York air! I’ve even met a few local dog owners that are quickly becoming friends.

Of course I’m already worrying about Smiley dying one day, but that’s just how my brain works. He has already made my life so much better and more worthwhile. As much as I think that everyone should adopt a dog, or five, immediately, I understand that not everyone is int he position to do so.

Foster! If you can’t adopt. Donate to rescues, if you want to help but can’t foster. Dogs, and animals in general, bring so much happiness and unconditional love to our hectic lives. They deserve our help and love, they should all feel safe and happy – the same way they make us feel. Please consider donating to Pound Hounds Res-Q today, without them we wouldn’t have this beautiful dog as a part of our family!

Tonsai Sucks During Monsoon Season, Thailand 2018

While it’s the perfect getaway during high (and dry) season, it’s really not enjoyable during the low (monsoon) season. Unless you enjoy being one of 10 tourists on a hard to get to spot with only two available restaurants that mainly serve fried food…

We’ve been to Tonsai twice now – once in December and the second time in July. December was hot, dry, lively and exciting! In July it was dead, everything was closed, the weather was miserable! Tonsai is a great place that’s still pretty empty compared to Phi Phi Island and even neighboring beaches.

While it’s the perfect getaway during high (and dry) season, it’s really not enjoyable during the low (monsoon) season. Unless you enjoy being one of 10 tourists on a hard to get to spot with only two available restaurants that mainly serve fried food. If you come any other time, you can enjoy a long tail boat ride to the beach, a choice of many restaurants, food vendors and bars, there are lots of people hanging out on the beach or at the hostels but there are also thieving mischievous monkeys!