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Modern Furniture Blog
Modern Design Blog

A blog about thought-provoking, forward-thinking modern furniture, lighting & decor.

Japanese Ice Cream: How to Make Azuki Red Bean Ice Cream

If you’ve ever been to a sushi restaurant chances are you’ve skimmed the dessert menu to see only a few options available- while ice cream made with beans or tea may have seemed strange or even appealing – both red bean ice cream and green tea ice cream have a subtly sweet taste that is not too overpowering. Below is an easy red bean ice cream recipe you can make at home.

What you’ll need:

  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 can red bean paste (anko) or 2 cups – you can make your own by
  • ? cup of milk
  • 4 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 bowls (one large and one small)
  • wooden spoon
  • medium pot or saucepan
  • ice
  • ice cream maker (a whisk, electric whisk or electric mixer)
  • red or pink food coloring (optional)

How to Make Red Bean Ice Cream:

Turn your stove to medium heat and add sugar and water to a medium pot. Occasionally stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until all the sugar has melted. Next, add the bean paste and vigorously mix until the mixture becomes smooth. Once the paste has thoroughly mixed, add the mix and stir all the ingredients together. Raise the heat on the stove until it comes to a boil. Once it reaches boiling point, remove the pot from the stove. Fill the large bowl with water and ice, place the smaller bowl inside of the larger bowl. Pour the mixture into the small bowl and stir the mixture so it cools evenly. Once the mixture is cooled, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and place in the freezer for a few hours before serving with condensed milk.

Option for those without an ice cream maker: the reason we use ice cream makers is because we don’t want large ice crystals to form in the ice cream making it crunchy. An option is to freeze the ice cream once it has cooled in a glass or stainless steel dish (casserole dishes work fine). Freeze it for about 30 minutes, then take it out and hand whisk or use an electric mixer to smooth out the crystals. Repeat this process freezing and mixing 1 or 2 more times.

Love this Look? Classic Contemporary Living Room

Elegance with a touch of character without all the ornate accents, this classic contemporary living room combines sophistication and class.


This look is very clean, it uses a neutral color palette with mostly pale shades of gray with splashes of color here and there. The Vera Sofa and Loveseat set has a smooth leatherette upholstery in a light grey color with a shiny chrome sled base design. Tufted details accent the set along the backrest, seat cushions and sides giving it a charming appeal. The large rug is cream colored with a modern pattern of chocolate brown swirls along the edges it. There are very few decorations or wall art in the space.

A tall black shelving unit with a closed back creates a lovely contrast from the rest of the pieces in the space. A brilliant splash of green is added by the tree between the sofa and loveseat. The large glass paneled windows bring natural light into the space making it easy to avoid having any light fixtures or lamps cluttering the space.

Bringing the outdoors in with natural light using large glass panel windows and decluttering the space by using only the necessary furniture and decor items thus keeping an open space environment are a few of the staples of mid century modern design.

Classic, clean, contemporary – a minimalist design with quality pieces.

3 Ways to Heal Abdominal Pain Without Ingesting Anything

When suffering from abdominal pain, if our stomach is cramping it can be difficult to want eat, drink or ingest anything especially if the pain is overwhelming. Even if the causes are unknown, here are 3 ways to easily help both external and internal abdominal pain without digesting anything.


1. Acupressure – The “abdomen 36” is an acupressure point found by placing your palms on both kneecaps. Use your ring finger and press the bony protrusions to the side of the head of the shin bone. Using strong pressure massage the area just below it on both legs. This can also be used to help relieve stress which is a possible cause of frequent abdominal pain.


2. Heating Pad, Tummy Rub and Fennel Essential Oil Combo – Gently rub your abdominal area with essential oil in a circular motion with a few drops of fennel, peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil diluted with 1 tsp of oil such as jojoba, sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil. Make sure to not use too much of the essential oil as they are very potent and can irritate the skin. Place a heating pad over your hand and stomach to warm the area at the same time. Play a gentle guided meditation or soothing music to help you relax.

3. Posture – Sometimes cramping occurs in the abdominal area because of the surrounding muscles cause by poor posture, sleeping alignment or lack of stretching and movement. You can remedy this by laying on the floor or a flat surface for 30 minutes to an hour a day flat on your back to realign the spin. During the day, check your posture especially when you are in movement. Look at a full body profile view of yourself in a mirror or a reflection if you aren’t sure. Stretch in the morning before you start your day. Make sure to not be stationary all day and at least get up to take a walk even if its only for 10 minutes – it can be difficult to want to move around when your stomach hurts but it could be the very thing that alleviates the pain.

Self-care can heal our stomach issues often deemed incurable or unable to heal using at home treatment. Give these a try and keep exploring different at home solutions to help with frequent stomach pain.

Take A Moment to Breathe: Helpful Tips for Exhausted Parents and Overworked Nannys

The boiling water is overflowing on the stove, one of the kids is screaming in the other room, the garbage stinks to high heaven, the dog just took a piss on floor, the other two are pulling each others hair and going at it, you can’t hear a word the person is saying on the other line while you are trying to set up a play date and you just stepped on a loose Lego piece! OW!

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It sounds like you need a break. In the busy world of parents, nannys and caretakers, they can be far and few between, so take a breather instead.

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Sometimes, the number one thing we forget when taking care of someone else is taking care of ourselves. Taking care of another person can be a lot of work and if we take our job seriously we want to do this to the best of our ability. A great way to accomplish this is by remembering to take care of ourselves first! This doesn’t mean let a dirty diaper sit for 3 days on end or let every dish in the house pile up until we can’t see the faucet (i said faucet, not drain!) but it means prioritizing and rearranging the flow and structure of the environment to better fit everyone’s needs and if possible, some of their wants.

I don’t have any children of my own yet, but as a nanny I had the unique opportunity of providing comfort, care and support to children while not having a biological tie to them which allowed me to observe and structure things differently.

Related imageWe want to be the best parents and caretakers we can possibly be. When I was a nanny for two boys, one 3 years old and the other 7 years old, there was a lot to take care of and I only had 3 hours with the youngest and about 1 to 2 hours with the oldest a day. However, I had to pack a whole lot into that short time spent to meet the parents expectations. Additionally, all of the household tasks and errands that were asked of me prior to seeing the boys later in the day, which could be pretty overwhelming sometimes. It being my paid job I didn’t necessarily have the luxury of not completing what was expected to be done without a possible serious drawback.

So what did I do? Well, after some trial and error, I decided that I was going to do what I could to the best of my ability while still taking breathers in between. My main priority was always the children which included the nurturing of myself so before I saw the boys later that day, I focused on them when they got home while making sure to combine our flow. I did this in what i felt was the same way any parent would, because for me, this wasn’t just a paycheck these were other peoples lives, including my own.

Making lists and dividing up my time helped but I knew certain tasks were just not as pressing as others. For example, maybe there is a ton of laundry all of the time – well, throw in a load and then go work on something else or go take a bubble bath! If the little ones are home for the day – make sure everyone is fed, clean diapers and something to preoccupy themselves – this doesn’t mean I just plopped them in front of the television but some days you gotta do that and if that happens more often than you’d like, find something that mixes interests – educational with entertaining? YES!

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If there is laundry in the dryer and you don’t have the time or energy to fold it, leave it in there! You can reset the dryer to wrinkle-free or reheat the clothes the next day before you decide to fold.

Plan your meals before the week begins – maybe save something a little bit more creative or time consuming for a day with less on your duty plate and always have your go-to backups because let’s face it, you could make an award winning casserole with 3 side dishes and two desserts and they still want dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets for dinner and a Popsicle for dessert.

I recall actually forgetting to eat because I had so much on my mind and so many tasks to accomplish. Imagine making meals fit for at least 8 hungry mouths and never taking a bite of what you cooked? Even if that phone is ringing off the hook, the laundry buzzer is going off or one of the kids is screaming about a spider in the shower, sit down and eat if you are hungry, take a bath if you need to get clean or have a glass of wine if you want to relax.

relaxing mom

Some kids need to unwind for a bit after a long structured day in school while others need to stay in that structured mindset, if your kid comes home everyday and runs around like a maniac even though you’ve told them about a 100 times to do their homework, find a way to steer that energy into something productive that keeps their minds active – a great activity I did with my 7 year old is paint together (along with his 3 year old brother) or come up with a cool craft to do before homework so that they could channel some of that pent up energy and maybe find a new hobby or interest as a result. This was a fun and relaxing time for all of us.

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I understand it can be challenging some days, especially if you put a lot of pressure on yourself or have a very demanding family.  I’ll admit there were days when things got too overwhelming I  would sneak into the bathroom to cry for a few minutes even if I could hear them pulling each others hair in the other room.

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We all need basic essentials like food, water and shelter. Those things can be taken care of, when a child is old enough by themselves. Trust them to get their own water, grab their own snack and allow them to do so. Guide them in the right direction but also don’t consistently not get them what they ask for as a means to teach them. It helps to explain why you can’t do it but sometimes no explanation is needed, sometimes you don’t have time to explain or sometimes your reason is that you are very tired. Being tired or wanting to take a moment to yourself is an okay reason to not do something.

Be honest, open and direct. If they trust you, chances are they trust you have a good reason for doing or not doing what it is you do or do not do for them. If they are upset or angry about it, it is always good to ask them why but if they won’t communicate with you, then don’t force the matter, do exactly what it is you were going to do. Remember, it is okay to say “No.”

A double bonus to that practice is by allowing them to take initiative for their own needs and wants, it can help to empower them plus give you a a break in the meantime. As I said before, not doing something for them if you have the ability to do so doesn’t make you a bad parent or nanny especially if the reason behind it is stemming from a place of self love.

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Okay, okay, so my point is – life is ever-changing, free flowing and a lot of times completely spontaneous and unpredictable. You don’t know when you or your little one is going to get some awful stomach virus and be bed ridden for a week, you don’t know if your kid is going to be a sports athlete or have two left feet, you don’t know if your kid is going to love playing Pokemon, reading science fiction or running around in their underwear! Balance doesn’t necessarily come from structure, balance for your health and well being as well as for the ones in your life you love and care for comes from harmonizing with one another and combining interests and sharing experiences.

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Your children are like adults only smaller and with less time under their belt. Everyone needs to feel supported, whether you are a child or an adult. If you can take care of yourself in a way that isn’t selfish but is self nurturing and self caring while at the same time allowing your children to think for themselves and care for themselves through support, love and trust – with guidance and help along the way, you will be able to take a real breather, meaning you will feel at peace during those moments when the whole world feels like its falling a part around you.

Love this Look? Conventional Scandinavian Meets Abstract Expression

Comfort mixed with intelligent form and artistic style, this look combines the fundamentals of Scandinavian design with a touch contemporary flair.

Scandinavian Abstract Expressionism – The Flo Sofa & The Trumpet Oval Coffee Table

Our eyes are immediately drawn to the attention grabbing Flo Sofa featuring a vivid green fabric upholstery with classic button accents along the backrest and square tufting covering the seat cushions. The tapered wooden legs are elegantly splayed creating a subtle softness to its bold rectangular shape.

The Trumpet Oval Coffee Table enhances the contrasting forms and materials even further with its oval shape and crystal clear glass top while at the same time its frame and base is a perfect match to the sofas medium brown colored wood. A uniquely shaped based resembling a horn instrument hence the name Trumpet Coffee Table, turns this furnishing into a functional work of art. On the back wall, a large, abstract acrylic painting with splashes of green, cream, brown and red hues streaming throughout it gently complement the other furnishings and decor.

The rectangular shape of the painting reflects the shape of the sofa while its fluid paint strokes reflect the curvaceous design of the coffee tables base. A small side table with a dark finished square shaped top and stainless steel metal base sits off to one side of the sofa with a touch of the outdoors resting atop of it in a beautifully rounded cream colored vase. This look plays with shape and abstract expression by mixing and matching structure with free flow form. A modern mid century living room design for the more conventional lover of the arts.

Simple Acupressure Techniques You Can Do Anywhere

Acupressure is an ancient healing method practiced in china for over 5,000 years. Two traditional tenets of Chinese medicine are that energy flows through visually invisible channels in the body called meridians and that illness comes from imbalances in this flow of energy.

acupressure meridian points

Acupressure involves applying pressure to or massaging a specific point on the skin of the body to restore this flow of energy to eliminate disease, alleviate pain and help regulate stress.

The best practice is to locate the acupressure point desired then press firmly or massage the point with your fingertips for 15 – 30 seconds, ease up slightly and then resume the pressure. Each point should be focused on for about 1 – 3 minutes.


A few quick and simple acupressure techniques you can do on yourself or others:

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cure motion sickness – acupressure meridian

Stop Motion Sickness – using the tips of your fingers, massage the skin situated between the eyebrows and the middle of the lower arm between the tendons. The location of the lower arm is approximately 3 finger widths above the crease where the wrist joins the hand.

Treatment for Headaches – Apply pressure and gently massage above and center of the eyebrow. The do the same in the center of the bridge of your nose, about a 1 finger width above the nostrils.

Next gently massage your inner left wrist, on the side closest to your thumb right below where the wrist meets the hand. Do the same on the right hand. Move down to your left foot, apply pressure to top of your big toe where the toe meets the foot. Do the same on your right foot.

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Alleviate headaches – acupressure meridian

Cure Pain in the Back of the Head – Apply pressure and gently massage below both ears, towards the back where the neck meets the head.

Heal Pain on the Sides of the Head – Gently massage on both sides of the head, the soft area at the end of your eyebrows near the hairline.

Alleviate Pain in the Forehead – On both sides of the jawline close to where your jaw meets your neck but not directly on the neck, apply pressure and massage both sides.

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Relieve Panic Attacks, Stress and Anxiety – acupressure meridian

Relieve Stress and Panic Attacks – Use acupressure on the tip of the chin, move just below the middle of the chest, rub gently. Next, move towards your tibia bone which is the bone between the inner knee and ankle. Locate this acupressure point by using the palm of your hand and placing it on your kneecap. Then using your ring finger locate the top of the bone. Massage this area exerting stronger pressure until the anxiety subsides.

Improve Circulation – Restore circulation by exerting strong pressure for 30 seconds on the inside of the tip of the little finger, right next to the groove on the nailbed.

These are just a few ways to use acupressure to benefit your health, life and well-being. Using these techniques in combination with essential oils can enhances the results, check out my blog on essential oils to find out which might work best for you.


There are many acupressure points on the body so continue to explore and educate yourself on the different techniques if you found any of these acupressure methods helpful!

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