How to Start a Video Blog or Vlog

I reworked this article from a couple of past articles because I decided to give “vlogging” another try!

There have been quite few awesome recommendations for the DO IT OURSELVES feature on Miseducated (suggest to us what you’d like us to both make and share the process of making) and so I decided I would try something I was asked about years ago.. mostly because I’m a bit shy/critical of myself and it’s VERY hard for me to force myself to make a video blog. I’ve done a couple through the years but I’ve deleted or never published most of them.

What I’ve been trying to do is to be as relaxed as I am when I’m writing.. as though I’m just hanging out with my friends and you’re coming along on the sugar trolly.

This first try is my new vlog introduction. It’s not perfect, it’s not even that great but I did check off my long list of basics such as finding a setting (key!), making the intro using an image and the custom theme (I got tired of the animation — maybe later) and having an idea of what I might say (but not scripted and slow!). I tried to put forth the basic tips I’ve collected throughout the internet years when creating this quick and dirty video show introduction. Stay tuned for both my notes and steps to try it yourself!

Notes

1. Theme Visual & Theme Song (or voiceover)
2. Introduction
3. Video Blog
4. End / Bloopers / Goodbye / Theme Close (with a cute animation??)
5. Credits (if needed)

Theme

What do you need to do this? Do you have any friends that compose original music? Can you use music that is free for public use? The possibilities are endless.

Video Editing

Again you can use and get creative with videos of public domain or grab your webcam and record some. You can settle for Quicktime Pro for quick and easy editing such as cutting, copying and pasting clips. If you’re interested in more advanced video editing software you should try Final Cut Pro~ for quick and easy editing I used iMovie.

Content

Of course this depends on what kind of video blog you’re making — if you’re interviewing a guest or featuring an event then obviously you would prepare questions and feature them as much as, if not more than, yourself.

AND if Miseducated has taught you anything it’s to pay attention to your mise-en-scene. Actually pay attention to what’s in the frame. If you’re filming in front of a pile of dirty laundry it probably wont have the same effect as in your local soda-shop or your cute office.

So if you want to start, read the following steps and join me in this fun medium of communication.

STEPS: Try it Yourself!

1. Watch a lot of video blogs.

Check out your friend’s blogs, their friend’s blogs, you favorite model’s blog and more. Surf around Flickr and Youtube and see how other’s carry out their video blogs. Pay attention to the content, length and format. Note what you like and don’t like about them.

2. Create the actual content.

Write down what you plan to talk about, keep it short and to the point so you can freely elaborate on video. Make sure you don’t look like you’re actually reading the notes to yourself; make it spontaneous but don’t get too lengthy. I think the best videos are short and sweet.

3. Practice makes perfect.

Practice in front of the camera. Take long videos, short videos, videos of you talking with your best friend, whatever video ideas you have practice them. Pay attention to how you present yourself in front of the camera and take notes. Re-record re-record re-record.

4. Post your video.

After following all the above steps you may or may not be ready to post your video. Post it anyway. We all have to start somewhere and that only leaves room for improvement.

Don’t worry about getting it right your first video. It will probably be too long, you’ll look like a huge dork, and the guys building a hotel next door will probably take the exact moment you’re recording to use their jackhammer. Whatever.” – Kontrary

Have you given it a try? Are you considering it now? Do you think we should further investigate this form of blogging?

How to Create Your Own Signature Smoothie


Smoothies have been all the rage for many years now and healthy smoothies are only becoming more appreciated in this drink/dessert niche. Upon staying with my best friend in California and having her craft the tastiest protein smoothies for lunch and then moving in with my health-conscious soul mate and watching him prepare his own green smoothies I started to really appreciate the craft and every unique technique. Fruit or vegetables? Protein powder or vitamin powder? Honey or sugar? Ice cubes or frozen fruit? Milk, water or tea? So I decided it would be fun to discuss the basic craft of the smoothie and all of the ways you can change it up to fit your own specialized taste so that you too will have a signature smoothie recipe! I’ll even throw in my own go-to smoothie recipe at the end.

First you need to have a blender or a food processor. I use a blender at home but have tried both.

Next you’ll probably want to select some fruit which will likely be one of the main parts of your smoothie. Use fresh (if so you’ll later add some ice cubes) or frozen, one fruit or several. Have fun blending your fruit and creating new favorite flavors.

Fruity ideas: Mangos, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, bananas, apples, kiwi, avocados, pomegranates, oranges, watermelon and pineapple.

Next you’ll want to select a liquid or semi-liquid to add so you can blend your smoothie. There are obvious ideas and some creative ideas to create a more unique smoothie.

Liquid ideas: Milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, greek yogurt, tea, fruit juice, ice cream, sherbet, frozen yogurt, sparkling water or water.

Next you may choose to add protein or extra vitamins to your smoothie by using any number of protein powders or vitamin powders. We have a few here that are chocolate and vanilla flavored that adds a bit of sweetness and more vitamins to the smoothie making it more like a meal.

Next you may want to add some greens or vegetables to your smoothie to add some more healthy benefits. Some greens, such as spinach, don’t change the flavor and contain more nutrients. Others to try are kale, carrots, celery, beet root or green powder made from an array of green plants. When using veggies be sure to blend alone with water to make sure your smoothie is smooth and not like a cold vegetable soup.

You can add a sweetener to your smoothie if you feel it will not be as sweet as you would prefer. Try ripe bananas, sugar, honey, agave nectar or, if you must, artificial sweeteners. For me the vanilla protein powders or vitamin powders sweeten the smoothie enough.

To change the taste of your smoothie you can also add different flavor enhancements such as vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt, coconut shavings, peanut butter, nutella, chocolate syrup and any number of extracts and flavorings you may have or prefer.

When everything is in the blender add a few ice cubes on top. I like my smoothies to be really smooth and icey almost like a smooth sherbet but some just use frozen fruit.

It’s time to mix the ingredients together and create your smoothie! Put the lid on the blender and turn it on medium until the blender starts to smoothen the ingredients then slowly turn it up one notch at a time. Start slow and let the blender work the ingredients for a minute until they are as smooth as you would like and pour into a glass. If you’d like to garnish your smoothie use slices of fruit, skewers of fruit, loose berries, a wedge of citrus fruit, a sprig of mint, flat-leaf parsley, a few leaves of lemon verbena or even a little umbrella. If you’re feeling in a bubble tea mood try to add some BOBA or small jellies to your glass before you add your blended smoothie and garnish with a wide smoothie straw.


My Own Recipe

Add these ingredients to the blender as noted, blend and enjoy!

  • Fresh spinach leaves (blend with cup of water until smooth)
  • Ice (as needed, might need to add more water to blend)
  • Mango chunks
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Apple chunks
  • Strawberry slices
  • Scoop of vanilla vitamin powder (may substitute protein powder)
  • If you like add boba to the smoothie glass and pour in your smoothie after it has been blended smoothly and enjoy with a wide straw!

All About Tea and Tea Time Talk

There’s nothing that fills my beating heart with as much happiness as a steamy cup of hot tea and the soft pages of a new book. Lucky for me, tea comes in a multitude of flavors, styles and pretty little boxes, all the more reason to spend hours admiring my options in the tea aisle of my local grocery.

Now, I’ve tried a variety of teas in my day, from strawberry iced goodness to chocolate-lovers delight. All have proven to be extraordinary! So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered the positive, health benefits associated with sipping the delicious beverage! And, imagine my double delight as I discovered that each kind of tea has its own benefits to boast! Let me share:

tea time talk

Rooibos (or Red Bush) Tea

This red tea comes from Africa and can do a body good. It is a pure tea, meaning there are no additives, and it helps slow the aging process. This non-caffeinated tea is great to drink before bedtime because it helps with insomnia, headaches, nausea and heartburn!

Herbal Tea

One of the best things about herbal tea is that you can drink it before bedtime (or if you just want to refrain from caffeine in general).

One of the most popular herbal tea’s is world-approved Chamomile. There’s a reason your mother served you chamomile before you laid your sleepy head to rest. One of its most obvious effects is that it is a muscle relaxant! It also helps with skin issues (from rashes to burns to irritation to acne) and fights off all kinds of unwanted illnesses and diseases. Not to mention it smells heavenly…

Anyway, some other great herbal tea’s include: Ginseng (Chinese, cures just about everything just as its name implies: “all heal.”), Ginger (helps with motion sickness/nausea/indigestion), Peppermint (muscle relaxer, stomach cramps, freshens breath), Cinnamon (lowers cholesterol/blood sugar),

Black Tea

I enjoy a Black tea to help wake me up in the morning. I appreciate how stable my body is throughout the day after a hot cup, as opposed to the high and low I get with coffee. Black tea is especially great for cardiovascular issues and is rich in antioxidants and cancer-fighting agents. According to TeaBenefits.com, “Recent studies in leading medical journals declare black tea a potential heart tonic, cancer blocker, fat buster, immune stimulant, arthritis soother, virus fighter and cholesterol detoxifier.”

Some great Black tea’s to try include: Darjeeling and Nilgiri (both from India), Yunnan (Chinese) and Keemun (also from China).

Green Tea

Green tea is famous for its beneficial effects, so it should come as no surprise when I tell you it’s probably the healthiest kind of tea for you! In fact, it’s commonly believed that by drinking more green tea you can increase your longevity and lead a happier life. So what, exactly, are the great benefits? Let me get you started.

Green tea is linked with weight loss, reduces the risk of all types of cancers and lowers cholesterol levels. In addition, it prevents/helps rheumatoid arthritis, infections and inhibits blood clots! All because of a very powerful antioxidant called EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) that stops cancer cells from growing (by killing them), all the while nurturing healthy body tissues. Sweet!

TIP #1: Let your tea bag, or tea strainer for loose tea, steep for at least 3-6 minutes in order to get the most out of it (taste wise and health wise).

TIP #2: Add a slice of lemon to your tea and be amazed as your headache eases (or even melts away completely).

Thrifting and Touring Bloomington, Indiana

If you’ve ever been to Bloomington, Indiana you know there’s no shortage on fun places to explore. It’s absolutely bustling with thrift shops, cute cafes and anything you could ever want to eat. The ever-growing small businesses are always changing for the thousands of college students which attend Indiana University nearby. It’s a great spot to find one-of-a-kind thrifty goodies and delicious food. Whether you’re looking for food to find old favorites in restaurants or to try something new, you’ll more than likely find what you’re looking for in Bloomington.

rosey outlook

follow the leader

enlightenment

My mother grew up in Bloomington and has always had a soft spot for the college town. She loves to see the new changes and reminisce about her old favorite hot spots. Luckily she wanted to take me around to some of her favorite places, recently, and I took my camera along for the ride. Feel free to skip along my steps and enjoy thrifting, international markets and fun for many.

Chow Bar

216 South Indiana Ave

Amazing buffet with delicious Chinese food and tons of bubble tea flavors/options! Better yet, the fortune cookie at the end of this meal is chocolate flavored.

bubble horizon

chow bar

Cactus Flower

322 East Kirkwood Ave # 202

this way

hotrod sinners

rainbow wave

heart string

on sale

step in time

heart sale

hidden away

looking in

see you

dressing

jewelery stand

Soma Coffee House

322 East Kirkwood Ave

soma

soma's tv

Vintage Warehouse

401 East Fourth Street

to the shop

array of clothing

Sahara Mart

106 East Second Street

In the market for chocolate? a new teapot or tea cup? Wine? Tea? Go here no matter what market goods you’re looking for because you’ll find it and a whole bunch of other things you always wished existed here.

chocoholic

dressing up

tea crazy

Oriental International Market

408 East 4th St

tasty joy

.. and as I traveled Bloomington, Indiana…
stumped

laughing planet

pick your poison

How to Make and Enjoy Bubble (Boba) Tea

Bubble tea/boba tea, is usually a milk tea drink with tapioca pearls sitting on the bottom, waiting to be slurped up a large, colorful straw. Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s, pearl milk tea is the direct translation from Chinese. Thanks to Taiwan, bubble tea is now available all over the world.

Know of a great bubble tea spot? Post it! There are three I know of in the Indy-area. Strange Brew, a cafe in Greenwood, serves bubble tea as well as a Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Indy and a fast-food Chinese stand in the Washington Square Mall. If you know of any spots in your neighborhood you should list them, bubble tea is a fun, tasty drink that should be shared with friends.

bubble tea feature

Bubbles

The ratio should be about 7:1 (water to tapioca pearls).
Boil water in a large saucepan.
Add tapioca pearls to boiling water.
The pearls should float.
Continue boiling for about 25 minutes (depending on the tapioca pearl type) covered.
Turn off the heat and let the pearls cool.
Rinse the cooked tapioca pearls in warm water and drain out the water.
Cover with syrup and add some to your favorite drink.

Syrup

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups water

Mix sugar and water in a large pot.
Cook at medium to high heat.
Once the mixture boils remove from stove immediately.
Let cool; to be used for bubble tea and similarly sweetened drinks.

Rainbowlicious Bubble Tea

1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup pineapple
1/2 cup rice milk
1/4 cup syrup
1 cup ice
2 cups of cooked tapioca pearls

Place all ingredients minus the tapioca pearls into a blender and blend well.
Blend it to desired consistency.
In the a glass, pour some cooled bubbles.
Pour your blended smoothie on top.
Cover the top of the smoothie with strawberry slices and pineapple chunks.

* I had this piled high like and covered in strawberries and pineapples at the E-Zone cafe in Toronto with my best friend. Too bad the cafe has since closed and I have never found anywhere even comparable!

Iced Bubble Coffee

1/4 cup non-dairy powder creamer
1/4 cup bubble tea sugar syrup
3/4 cup desired strength coffee (cool)
1 cup ice
2 cups of cooked tapioca pearls

Put coffee, creamer, and bubble tea sugar syrup in a shaker and mix well.
Add ice, cover shaker and shake until blended and frothy.
Add tapioca pearls into your desired glass, pour the coffee on top and enjoy!

➡ No bubbles? Try coconut meat or a thick-set flavored gelatin for substitutes!