Sunday, February 11, 2018


I like to collect things and I think it is because growing up, my mother loved her “whatnots,” as she called them. She had shelves full of figurines and items I was never allowed to touch as a kid. I think I spent half my childhood with my hands behind my back and still do that when I’m around something expensive.

However, her love of collecting things made an impression on me and when I was younger I started collecting too. Maybe it was because we enjoyed doing it together, or maybe it’s something I would have done anyway but it was such fun. I started with bear collectibles simply because I loved bears. Usually they were inexpensive and cute – nothing that would cost of lot if it was broken.

Right after high school, I started collecting carousel horses; my first one was bought at a drugstore and seemed expensive to me at the time. I think I remember it was close to $40 or so, but with inflation that same item will set you back around $90. It was my first bigger purchase for something just to sit on a shelf to admire and it made me proud to have bought it with my own money.

When I was in high school, my best friend Janet and I went to World Bazaar in the mall and spent hours filling up an entire shadow box with tiny glass animals as a gift for my mom, all painstakingly chosen. Tiny elephants, little dogs, cute bears – a myriad of glass creatures with every piece having significance behind why we chose it. My mom cherished that and had it on the wall up until her death – 27 years later.

She also collected angels and kept them in a heavy, lighted curio cabinet with glass doors that kept them dust-free and away from her grandchildren’s sticky fingers and clumsy hands. Glass angels, porcelain ones with feathery adorned wings, and even whimsical ones with honey hair that looked childlike and full of saccharine. Every holiday I would try to get her something for that collection and after her death it moved to my dining room, so now I’m the gatherer of angels.

My mother also had a salt and pepper collection that would rival any country store or antique shop. Once she got started, everyone would buy her a set when they went on vacation or simply saw something they knew she’d like. The last set I got her was of Ricky and Lucy because she absolutely loved the I LOVE LUCY show – those too are in my home now.

Over the years I’ve collected many things – cigar boxes that sometimes still smell like tobacco, snow globes that create a blizzard in a tiny world once you shake them, decorative bottles filled with peppers I’ll never eat, honey colored oils, or amber colored vinegar, and wine that is never opened but instead displayed for their unique labels of dapper dogs or my favorite rock star’s brand. My interests have changed throughout the years but whatever I have collected in the past is still just as special to me.

Part of the wonder of cherished items is that something you loved is passed down to someone else, like my mother’s angels. I don’t have children so when I die, I imagine these things won’t be important to anyone else or then again, maybe someone will be able to enjoy it as much as I have and they will find a new home where someone else cherishes their presence.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Genome Link - Use Your DNA Raw Data

Back a couple of years ago I had a DNA test done by and along with the information about my ancestry, I also got my raw data which can be uploaded to learn more about traits and personality. One of the places I recently tried out is GENOME LINK which is based on the power of the data you upload which gives us even more information about our DNA. The reason they can provide you with more data on various genetic traits is that they read more various research papers about genetic traits. And also they can read whole genome data only if you upload whole genome data but again 23andme or only read the limited parts of your DNA so the data that you download is not whole genome.

I actually found GENOME LINK through an advertisement on Facebook and thought why not try it out? I uploaded my raw data I got from This part is really easy. You get your raw data and it is usually a text file or something similar. You then upload it and the results are pretty immediate.

The kind of information you get are 26 traits like eye color, skin pigmentation, weight, hair color, caffeine consumption and if you upgrade to Premium plan, you get additional 40 traits, even things like longevity, sleep duration and excessive daytime sleepiness based on your genome data. Now, keep in mind that some things won’t be exact and there is a reason for this.

The insights derived from the research studies used to interpret your DNA data is based on population studies whereby they recruit research participants who all have the same trait (eg. have a certain eye color). Then they compare all their DNA data and see where in the genome they are aligned, or have the same nucleotide (DNA letter). This, combined with other studies, allows researchers to conclude that MOST people who have a certain nucleotide at a specific position in the genome have this trait (eg. brown eye color) that they are researching. And that MOST people who have other nucleotides at this specific position have another variant of the trait (eg. other eye colors). In short, they identify which variants in DNA are associated with traits. You can link to these research papers by clicking a certain SNP on each traits card on GENOME LINK.

SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) is a DNA sequence variation occurring when a single nucleotide adenine(A), thymine(T),cytosine(C),or guanine(G) in the genome(or other share sequence) differs between members of a species or paired chromosomes in an individual. For example, two sequenced DNA fragments from different individual, AAGCCTA to AAGCTTA, contain a difference in a single nucleotide. In this case we say that there are two alleles: C and T. Almost all common SNPs have only two alleles.

References: International Society Of Genetic Genealogy

Just because the data does not return what you believe to be your trait, it does not mean that it is wrong. It is likely that you are statistically one of the few people who have the trait regardless of the nucleotide letter, for some reason unknown to science, or that it was affected by other factors such as epigenetics, the environment or other. Remember that the bulk of these studies only show correlation and not causation. It is unsettling that science cannot be more conclusive, but that's how far science is at this point.

There is a raw data tab in the left corner of the screen that allows you view your raw data where you can link to public databases on research papers. This is especially important because it is another factor in having the most information possible and I don’t know of any other place where you upload raw data that actually links to outside resources.

DNA and genomes are pretty exciting in my opinion – especially since I am adopted and have no family history. The technology will continue to grow and at some point in the future, you will pretty much know everything you need to know in order to make good decisions on what to eat and things that will help you live longer and healthier.

If any of my friends have done a DNA test and would like to try out the premium version of Genome Link, I have five premium versions to offer. Just let me know. Either way, check it out and see how cool it is to learn more about your genome.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The 5 Best Miami Steakhouses

Miami is one of the top destinations for both tourists and those looking to buy Miami real estate and become permanent residents. The weather is tropical and whether you want to visit the latest art exhibit, enjoy exciting night life, take your family to the aquarium, or bask in the sun – you won’t find a place quite like it.

That isn’t all that Miami is known for; with a blend of cultural specific cuisine and American fare, the choices are endless. But if you’re looking for a prime cut of beef or the freshest accompaniments you can find, here are the 5 best steak houses in the Miami area. 

Bourbon Steak
19999 W. Country Club Dr. Aventura

Bourbon Steak is a Michael Mina restaurant that serves all-natural, organic, hormone-free cuts of beef grilled over wood after being tempered with herb infused butter. The fresh market ingredients include sides like truffle mac and cheese and roasted mushrooms and herbs. The main attraction are the prime cuts of American beef like 16 oz Delmonico ribeye or the 32 oz porterhouse. Of course, you can always get the Japanese Wagyu A5 New York strip or the American Wagyu, which is less expensive. Accompaniments include delicacies such as grilled tiger prawns, butter poached half main lobster, Alaskan king crab bearnaise, and Hudson Valley foie gras. There are also seafood dishes for those who prefer something different. Bourbon Steak is one of Miami’s go-to places and a South Beach Favorite.

Meat Market
915 Lincoln Rd. Miami Beach

Meat Market touts their restaurant as sexy and sophisticated and if the crowds are any indication, that is true. With the acclaimed Executive Chef Sean Brasel, offers both signature steaks as well as reserved cuts. Choose a 22 oz bone-in ribeye for example or pick from reserved cuts like the 30 oz Wagyu beef tomahawk ribeye or the 32 oz center cut prime porterhouse. You will also savor the choices of plenty of sides, accompaniments, crudos, tiraditos, appetizers, and choose between 10 sauces for your steak like wild mushroom and truffle sauce, Jack Daniels pasilla garlic sauce, and peppercorn cognac sauce. Voted best steakhouse in South Florida, one of the 14 hottest steakhouses in South Florida by Zaggat, and one of Miami’s best 11 steakhouses in Thrillist – it’s obvious this is the place to experience phenomenal food.

Edge Steak & Bar
1435 Brickell Avenue in the Four Seasons Hotel

Edge Steak & Bar has flawless food prepared by Executive Chef Aaron Brooks and the choices are many, the d├ęcor is luxurious, yet the prices are reasonable. There are approximately nine steaks to choose from and they are 100% black angus beef by Creekstone Farms in Arkansas City, Kansas. Although you might want to try the grass fed, pasture raised all-natural Australia 24 oz saw cut ribeye or Thomas Farms New York strip with waygu beef. Edge Steak & Bar also offers sauces like edge chimichurri and tamarind BBQ. The sides may includes seemingly simple choices like house cut fries but these are truffle aoili fries. One of the unique things offered is American bean to bar chocolate where you can choose your favorite from choices like 70% Guatemala, Fleur De Sel from Dick Taylor in Eureka, California or 72% Wild Cacao, Venezuela from Castronovo in Stuart, Florida.

Prime One Twelve
112 Ocean Dr Miami Beach

This is the first modern steakhouse in the United States and is a chef-driven boutique steakhouse that has an energetic environment and innovative menu. On the menu you’ll find cuts of meat like the 48 oz porterhouse or the Japanese A5 Kobe in filets, ribeyes, and New York strips. Specialty sauces, butters, and chapeaux are all available to liven up your meal and you’ll find 10 ways of different potatoes as well as over 20 accessories such as rum baked sweet plantains, Kobe beef and sausage stuffing, and spinach and Parmesan stuffed tomatoes. If you’re lucky, you just might spot an NBA player or a celebrity while you’re dining.

The Forge
432 W 41st St Miami Beach

The Forge’s menus is inspired by fresh ingredients and fresh open markets. The largest steak is a 35 oz porterhouse for two and you can rub your steak with a variety of seasonings such as The Forge’s signature blend, smoky Portuguese, blackened Cajun, and 4 peppercorn medley. You can also accessorize your steak with duck egg and smoked bacon, and more – even Alaskan king crab. And there are specialty sauces like cognac sauce or black truffle jus.

All of these steakhouse restaurants offer something unique that you’ll enjoy. Even if someone in your party isn’t fond of steak, there are plenty of other choices like freshly caught seafood, crisp, fresh salads, and yummy desserts when you think you can’t eat another bite.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


I didn’t always take my mother’s advice and truth be told, we didn’t always get along. However, there is one thing that she said that I never forgot. She said to take trips, enjoy vacations, and go places because you can’t take back a memory. She was absolutely right.

Growing up, we weren’t wealthy by any means but my parents would save up all year long to take a trip in the summer. Some years it was heading “down south” to one of the theme parks and other years we would head up north as far as Tennessee or sometimes all the way to New York.

We’d always have to get up before dawn to head out so my dad could drive during daylight hours. The night before, my mom saved money by cooking things to take on the trip like potato salad and fried chicken carefully packed in tinfoil. For hours you could smell the scent of fried chicken and the tin foil would make popping noises from the heat. Somewhere along the way we would stop at a rest stop and have lunch, which was like the best picnic ever.

We never stayed in the actual town we were visiting because motels outside of the city limits were cheaper. So after we arrived, the next morning would mean another long drive to the actual destination. I also remember them getting lost sometimes because back then we didn’t have GPS systems or Smartphones – we had a map that my dad would use to carefully highlight the route the week before. There was also a lot of stopping at gas stations to ask for directions.

Sometimes it was a magical trip and sometimes the transmission might go out and you were stuck at a repair shop all day long in the middle of nowhere because cars never break down next to Pep Boys, only in small towns where the people are friendly and there’s nothing to see but dirt roads and trees.

When I was a kid I’d get crayons and coloring books to keep me entertained and I remember it getting so hot in Orlando that my crayons melted all over the dash of the rental car. As I got a little older, I was taken to the store to pick out books to read. I loved reading and would sometimes read a book or two every day so this was one of my favorite parts of the trip. As a teen, it was headphones and my radio and when I say headphones I mean one tiny little earbud on a flimsy white cord so only one ear got to enjoy the music.

One memory that still stands out is hearing “City of New Orleans” by Arlo Guthrie. Back then I thought it was about the city itself, not a train ride but whenever I hear that song, which I still love, I think back to riding in the back of the car on a trip to somewhere.

Take those vacations – take photos, do things that are a little different than they are back home, eat food you wouldn’t normally enjoy, and meet people – some who you’ll never forget.

I know that not everyone can afford to take a trip. Some people can barely afford to pay their mortgage or buy groceries – believe me, I’ve been there. The point is that if you can, then do it. You won’t ever forget the places you’ve been and the memories last a lifetime. If you’re lucky, you get to visit a lot of places but whether it’s just down the road a ways to get out of town or you can go to another country, the trip is always worth the ride.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

LVG All Natural Hemp Back and Body Scrubber

We all know how important it is to exfoliate but how often do you get to do your back as well as the rest of your body?If you're looking for a product that not only works well but promotes green living, the LVG All Natural Hemp Back and Body Scrubber is for you. 

This back and body scrubber uses sustainable hemp and allows you to reach your entire back area with the roped handles that are conveniently placed.

It exfoliates your skin and is hypoallergenic and antibacterial so you don't have to worry about it getting full of bacteria and germs when you're not using it. 

Of course, just as important as making your skin soft is the fact that this is a green product that helps contribute to making the earth a greener place. Natural hemp is made from crops that are eco-friendly and pesticide free and that's something you don't hear every day when it comes to beauty products.

Get your own LVG All Natural Hemp Back and Body Scrubber here and let me know how it works for you. 


Creative Commons License
Karsuns World by Karsun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

About This Blog

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP