Author Archives: Andi Perullo de Ledesma

About Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

How Granny Hair Is Paving The Way For Going Grey

Going grey is something that must happen to all of us in our lives; for some it happens sooner than others and when that time comes it can be a mix of emotions. The majority of us will dread the onset of greying locks, but how does the greying of our hair affect our overall appearance?

The UK’s leading hair transplant clinic, Crown Clinic, recently conducted a survey to find out exactly what it means to go grey and how it actually alters the way we see ourselves. They looked at a sample of 1,000 individuals, both men and women, and discovered that going grey does in fact add years to our appearance.

We have all heard the term ‘silver fox’ when referring to an older gentlemen with grey hair and good looks, but for women it can be a completely different story. Society has made it acceptable for men to age gracefully and for women to fear growing old and looking their age or even older. However, ever changing trends can help to change this perception.

Women are more prone to the fear of the first grey hair, with 72% of the female survey participants claiming they dread the sight of their first grey. This was a complete contrast to the male respondents, of which only a tiny 36% said they feared going grey.

When you look at the fact that on average, going grey adds six years to a woman’s appearance and only three years to a man’s, is it hard to see why more women want to avoid the inevitable? More women start to dye their hair at a younger age and therefore delay the process for years, however 72% of women end up dying their hair from the very first grey hair.

The stigma around grey haired women looking older is currently being challenged by young women around the world adopting the trend of “granny hair”. Stars like Rihanna and YouTube star Zoella sparked the new color trend and now more and more young women are sporting grey locks. Instagram is now a sea of grey selfies and the outpouring of love for the silver look is allowing older women to embrace the grey.

However, men are not completely exempt from the fear of their follicular status ageing them beyond their years. 71% of men said that balding and a receding hairline is the main cause of premature ageing. With footballers and popular main celebrities all opting for hair transplants, the pressure for men to sport a good head of hair is stronger than ever.

To further show how much going grey can affect our appearance and how we see ourselves ageing, Crown Clinic have created this simple infographic to highlight some of the biggest issues we have with going grey. The infographic shows the difference between women and men and their perception on what ages them and how it affects their self-esteem:

Teaching Your Kids

Teaching Your Kids The Importance Of Volunteering

There is one sure path to making sure that you end up with a child who becomes a socially responsible adult and that is teaching them the importance of volunteering!

Kids are smart — they intuitively grasp concepts with speed most of us envy — and if you teach them from a young age they can grow up to do great things. It is really just a matter of getting them involved as soon as possible and helping them to grow into healthy adults who know the importance of helping others.

Lead By Example

The first thing that any parent should do is to lead their children to understand the nature of volunteering by example. This means that you will have to do some volunteering of your own, of course, but it also means sitting down and explaining why you do these things to your children.

If you spend some of your time volunteering and tell your kids about it, then you are off to a great start. Each time you head out, tell them about your day, about what you did, and how it made you feel.

If they can see the way it changes your life and how you help others, then they are much more likely to want to get involved.

Explain The Benefits

Some children might not see the advantages in spending their time helping others, especially with the bevy of entertainment options available in the modern world. Instead of forcing them out, show them how they are not just exchanging their time for nothing.

While the benefits of volunteering are rarely material, they are very real. Spending time volunteering can lead to improved self-esteem, a greater feeling of belonging in the community, and even result in improved health.

You should also show them that volunteering can be fun, whether it is just an afternoon in the spring sun during a park clean-up, spending time with animals while working with a shelter, or getting to paint during a community art project.

Helping others is great, but volunteering is also helping yourself at the end of the day!

Get Them Started

Getting them involved as soon as you can is probably the best way to make sure they develop a lasting love for volunteering. You would be surprised at how many ways there are for the young ones to help out.

With small, simple community projects it is easy to take the kids along. Have them come out with you and make a day of it, show them how much fun it can be and let them see that their actions have a direct impact on the world. Even if they are at the age where their help is mostly just bumbling, they will feel important at the end of the day since they have made a real impact in the world.

Conclusion

Rather than just teaching them, if you focus on getting your children actively involved as they get older they are sure to seek out their own opportunities to do some good with their time.

Whether they are volunteering at an animalrescue, working with a homeless shelter, or even getting ready to spend time volunteering abroad when they get out of high school, you will know for a fact that you have raised a child with an invested interest in changing the world!

Cahuita

(Even More) Reasons To Visit Costa Rica: Walk On The Wild(life) Side

Following up from my recent post about why Costa Rica is the perfect family vacation destination, I feel that the rich coast (which is what Costa Rica means in Spanish), has even more to offer, especially for the nature lovers, the eco-tourists, and even the inner child within us! A tropical playground of fauna, flora, and wildlife, its terrain occupies only 0.1% of the world’s landmass and in that 0.1% it nurtures 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Just think about the density of wildlife per square foot that awaits to be discovered. On top of that, Costa Rica is considered a very happy nation, scoring high on well-being indexes. Plus, it is best explored during their dry summer season: December to April.

Incredible Wildlife Beyond Belief

Costa Rica has countless natural reserves and national parks that proudly showcase the strangest, the most peculiar, and the most majestic of creatures. It is also known as the hummingbird capital. With over twenty parks to choose from, these are the six (plus one)  that make the must-see list together with their greatest highlights. **

Fiery Throated Hummingbird

Jaguar At Las Pumas

Corvacado

You will find big cats such as jaguars, pumas, ocelots, margays, jaguarundi, and oncillas here, as well as tapirs and all four indigenous monkey species such as white headed capuchins, mantled howlers, central american squirrels, and Geoffroy’s spider monkeys.

Tortuguero

Meaning “full of turtles” is an official nesting ground for the green turtles species, but is also a frequent place for rare kinds of leatherbacks, hawksbills, and loggerhead sea turtles. It additionally has a number of monkey species, two species of sloths, 320 species of birds, plus a number of reptiles.

Cocos

An island of oceanic and volcanic origin, it is solely used as a national park with no permanent inhabitants apart from the rangers. Most of its wealth is found underwater, in its marine habitats. Scuba diving is highly recommended here.

Cahuita

Another top location for scouting Costa Rica’s marine wealth and pristine shores. Snorkeling here reveals stunning coral reefs, while there are various animal sightings to be had while hiking.

Braulio Carrillo

Rainforests are a large part of Costa Rica’s biodiversity. If you visit this park, you can also experience the Barva volcano, plus a few dormant ones, as well as get the opportunity to try zip lining.

Manuel Antonio

For a little bit of everything plus some amazing beaches to just chill on.

(Plus 1) Monte Verde Cloud Forest

The best known cloud forest in the world is truly something out of this world, like a verdant maze of paths and trails, where there are so many things to see and do, that you can easily spend a whole day there.

**Sighting tip: Due to the fact that wild cats are primarily nocturnal, they are most active during the night and tend to snooze during the day. The fact that they are in their natural habitat means they each has its own lair, usually hidden within the dense foliage, which decreases the chance of a sighting during the day. To avoid disappointment, and to increase your chances for a definite wild cat sighting, you can visit one of the comendable rescue centers of Las Pumas and Foundation Jaguar.

Leading The ‘Living Well’ Concept

With so much to admire all around them, it is no wonder why Costa Ricans score highly on the well being scale. Their motto is “Pura Vida”, which cannot be translated precisely in English; it is rather more loosely translated to mean life at its absolute best. Some inspiring statistics show something which you may not know; Costa Rica has been ranked the happiest country of the developing world (appearing at #14 in the whole world) by the World Happiness Report for 2016, while the Happy Planet Index ranks it at #1. They have abolished military since the 1940’s, redistributing this budget for other needs in education, health and pensions. Their life expectancy is higher than that of the USA, while they are very keen on environmental protection, recognizing the unfathomable wealth of the country, which cannot be valued monetarily. There is a special ecological tax the locals pay to cover their carbon footprint and for preserving the protected areas. Last year in 2015, it was recorded that 99% of Costa Rica’s electricity was produced from renewable resources, with the aim that by 2021 they will be a carbon neutral nation.

Wonderful Weather To Beat The Winter Blues

And as if all the above was not enough to get you worked up about visiting Costa Rica, let me tell you that their winter months December to April are in fact ideal for embarking on a Costa Rican adventure! Interestingly, their wet, winter season is from May to November. So, visiting Costa Rica during our winter means you will be arriving during their summer, with all the treasures of this phenomenal place at your disposal to explore, discover, and experience.

Burr Blade

Perfect Way To Grind Beans For Tasty Coffee

Coffee lovers who need a cup of steaming and tasty coffee for their extravagant mood must know how to prepare it perfectly. And to prepare a perfect cup of coffee, it is really important to know all the steps up to the mark, starting right from grinding the coffee beans to brewing it. Many a times, people make mistake at the very first step of grinding the coffee beans and end up with a disastrous result. Thus, it is very important to begin with the right way and nail the process of grinding the coffee beans perfectly as it is a challenging task. We shall discuss some simple yet amazing ways of grinding coffee beans perfectly for a tasty cup of coffee at your own kitchen.

Tips And Ways

The first and foremost thing about grinding coffee beans is the measurement. An accurate ratio of 16:1 (water to coffee) needs to be measured before grinding the beans. Accurate measurement will lead to a perfect taste and will leave you without any leftover ground coffee.

Another important thing about grinding coffee beans is to grind them fresh each time before use. Grinding coffee beans and storing them will make them stale and it will disrupt the taste thereafter. Hence, you should buy whole coffee beans and grind them accurately with perfect measurement. Even if you grind them beforehand, make sure to store the ground coffee in an air tight container so that the taste remains fresh and enhanced.

One of the most important things about grinding coffee beans is the consistency. There are three types of grinding consistencies which you need to maintain when you want to brew your coffee in a certain brewer. There are different types of machines used for different consistencies of coffee grounds. For instance, a coarse type of consistency in coffee grounds can brew efficiently in percolators or a French Press. Coffee grounds with medium consistency can be brewed properly only in flat bottomed drip coffee makers. Fine ground coffee beans in the consistency of powder can be brewed perfectly in conical drip coffee makers or an espresso pot.

The next important step in grinding coffee beans is choosing the right type of grinder. There are two types of grinders used for grinding coffee beans, blade grinders and burr grinders. Usually, bur grinders are used for grinding coffee beans due to the consistent and precise grinding technique. Burr grinders grind the coffee beans evenly, turning them into a fine powder. Blade grinders are not recommended usually but they are used sometimes. 

Grinding Coffee Beans Using Burr Grinders

Burr grinders can get a bit expensive on your budget limit, but the investment is completely worth it. They use two discs, also known as burrs, to grind the coffee beans. If you need a proper, precise and consistent grinding technique each time, bur grinders the solution for the same. You can achieve a tasty and aromatic cup of coffee just like the one you purchase in a café using a burr grinder. What is more, you can grind according to your required consistency, which can be used in any appliance, ranging from a French Press to espresso. Know more about available conical burr coffee grinders in market.

The distance between the burrs determines the consistency of the coffee ground. So, you can easily set the distance and consistency that you require to prepare your perfect cup of coffee.

Grinding Coffee Beans Using Blade Grinders

Blade grinders use two blades positioned at the bottom of the container and they roughly chop the coffee beans to give an improper consistency. Another drawback with a blade grinder is that it generally has manual operation. Hence, you need to properly measure the coffee beans ratio and work on the settings. The consistency of the coffee beans with a blade grinder can be achieved by trial and error method or by continuously eyeing each step or grind. With regular practice, you can get habituated in grinding coffee beans using a blade grinder with the required consistency each time.

There are many types of grinders available in the market. You just need to research about the type of blades or burrs, the resulting consistency and the cost before investing in one.

The Style Rules And Why You Should Break Them

It happens several times a year through every publication that discusses women’s fashion: the emergence of a new set of style rules.

When you think about it, style rules come in all sorts of categories. If you followed every single one, it would be an achievement just to be able to throw any outfit together. They include (but are definitely not limited to) clothes you should not wear depending on:

  • Your body shape. And you do not just have a normal body shape, but one of 70,000 options to choose from. Almost like everyone is different!
  • Your coloring. This tends to involve a lot of umming and ahhing about “warm” and “cool” skin tones, all of which is completely baffling unless you are judging your coloring on a microscopic level.
  • Your age. This is perhaps the most prevalent of the style rules, like the moment it hits 00:01 on the clock on every one of your birthdays, you become a completely different person. It is such a popular theme that it is a wonder manufacturers have not started inventing clothes with age warnings, the way we see in video games and movies.
  • Your parental status. Moms like everything to be practical, while the childfree do not or so these articles would have you believe.
  • Your starsign and whether Mercury is in retrograde. Okay, so that is flippant, but some magazine editor is currently staring at copy and wondering if they can make it fly.

So there are “The Rules” and you have to work to implement them. You cannot just go to Marshalls dresses and find something that you like, buy it, and then wear it! That is just wrong! Something dictated to you by an industry that has nothing whatsoever to gain from marketing specific clothes to just one section of the populace.

Time to get serious! The thing is, as ridiculous as we might dismiss these rules to be, they are invasive. Even if we want to shrug them off, they still play in the back of our mind and in the mind of others.

That is why we have phrases in the general lexicon like “mutton dressed as lamb” to denigrate a woman who is dressing younger than she actually is. These rules are made into rules, because we let them be, because it is constantly reinforced to us that we have to meet a set of criteria. Even if we find the whole concept farcical, we are still aware that other people might judge us for our choices.

When it comes down to it, it is all a matter of confidence. We are not programmed to want to stand out from the crowd, no matter how many motivational posters tell us to do so. There is an in-built desire in the human brain to fit in, to melt into the herd, to make ourselves less obvious. We sacrifice our desire for fabulous fashion at the altar of being one of the insiders.

Is it possible to conquer? Or are we going to spend the rest of our lives behaving in a specific way because we do not know told us to do so?

The Key To Individuality

Have you ever heard someone described as “such an individual” or “so unique”? It is quite strange to label someone with that, since no one else on the planet shares our DNA. (Sidenote: there is an exception for identical twins, but even they may have different fingerprints.)

The difference for the people who are praised for their individuality is that they let it shine. They look at a dress that every style rule says they should hate and they think, “but I like it”. They put it on and is it the best color, the best length, the best style for their body? No, however they feel good in it. They like it, so they celebrate that!

Start Small

If you want to break free from these restrictions, the best way to begin is to start small. Accessories are a great versatile way to play with doing something different without breaking the bank. Hats are mostly worn for formal occasions these days, but not only can they look great, they are a godsend for those bad hair days we all get.

Play around with jewelry — mix metals (even though they say you should not) and wear pink gemstones if you are a redhead (a definite no-no according to them). It may make you feel a little exposed at first, breaking rules that have become so ingrained that you did not even know you were following them.

It will get easier, though! No one is going to pelt you with rotten tomatoes and you may even receive some compliments. From here on, you are flying.

Breaking The Age Barrier

30 seems to be the golden point at which women are expected to pack away anything that reveals their figure and retreat into a twinset and pearls. It is such a constant feature that Tyra Banks (at the time in her 40s) named one of her youthful-looking America’s Next Top Model devotees “30-Never”. Because 30 is a bad thing. 30 is when we are old and ready for the scrap heap, so out go the interesting clothes!

It is a real shame this exists, because study after study has shown that women gain more confidence every year after 30. It is the decade we begin to finally feel comfortable in our own skin.

There is no suggestion that you have to flash flesh in the name of breaking the rules. Just do not let your age be a restriction. Your mantra is no longer “is this age appropriate”, but a simple two-part question:

Do I like it?

and

Would I feel good wearing it?

If the answer to both is a solid “yes”, then go for it! Emboldened by experimentation with accessories, there is nothing to stop you except your own worries about what others will think. And, apologies for the motivational-poster-worthy tone, that is a silly way to live your life. If you like it and it would make you feel good, then wear it. Life is too short to worry about short skirts!