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How Often You Should Clean Your Bathroom Drain

How Often You Should Clean Your Bathroom Drain
Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven. All rights reserved.

Proper home care is essential to extend the life of plumbing.  Beyond heeding to the warnings of not shoving nails, glue, tacks, paper, and automobile oil down your sink there are a few other things to do.

First, once a week slowly pour a quart of boiling water down the sink.  Of course it is vital to use great care with boiling water.  My plumber recommended this method.  

The second item is the  P-Trap under your sink (pictured above).  Each sink should be connected to a P-Trap, as it keeps sewer gases and rodents from entering from the drain.  If water is not draining from your sink you may need to clean out the U-shaped portion of the P-Trap.  If there is a leak in the P-Trap, then it will need to be replaced.


To Clean the U-shaped Pipe or Remove the P-Trap 

The first step before the first step:  Purchase a P-Trap, thread seal tape, bottle-brush, and a plumbing snake.  This will lower the stress level of the non-professional plumber.  No need to make several trips to the store or to have your sink bathroom out of commission for a long time.  

1.  Clean out the area under the sink so you have room to work.
2.  Place a layer of towels under the sink and shutoff valves.
3.  Place a large bucket or pan under the pipes, this will catch water and debris.  Make sure to have an extra pan in case more water comes out of the pipe than expected.
4.  Locate the slip-nuts on the P-Trap and unscrew them by hand.
5.  After the slip-nuts are unscrewed you will then place the U-shaped portion in the bucket and remove any water and debris.  This will require a bottle-brush or maybe a screwdriver.  Do not rinse out the debris into a sink, instead rinse it out over the bucket. 
6.  Place a clean rag into the pipe coming from the wall to prevent sewer gases from coming into your bathroom.
7.  Replace the U-shaped pipe and screw back on by hand.  It is easy to break plastic pipes, that is the frustrating part for the non-professional.  

Move on to step 8 if removing the entire P-Trap 

8.  If the sink is still not draining follow steps 1 through 7 again, then unscrew and remove the pipe leading from the U-shaped pipe to the wall. 
9.  Inspect for any other clogs to remove leading to the wall.
10.  Put the pipes back together or place a new P-Trap on, tighten the slip nuts by hand, and test for leaks.  Sometimes thread seal tape is needed before screwing the pipes back on under the sink.  If this does not work it may be time to snake the drain.
11.  Follow the manufacturer's instructions to snake the pipe.  Caution:  If you have another sink on the other side of the wall in your home, condominium, or apartment, use the snake slowly and have someone monitor the sink on the other side.  Sometimes snakes can go through to the neighboring pipes.
12.  If this process does not clear the drain it is probably time for a plumber.

*Reminder:  take a moment right now to mark your calendar with the day each week you will flush the drain with a quart of boiling water.  This is also essential to demonstrate to your older children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.  A good thing to know for when they move into their own place.

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What to Do About a Flash Mob Robbery

 What to Do About a Flash Mob Robbery 
Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven. All rights reserved.

It is important in instances of criminal acts to be reasonable, responsible, and look at the large picture.  Important questions to consider if you find yourself in a similar event.

What is proper to do in a situation like the one in the video?

How should you respond?

What should you say and not say?

Whom should you contact?

What other actions could have been taken?

Is there a lesson in all of this to learn?

Emotions run strong in public discourse.  It is important for all parties to make good choices and follow the Golden Rule.  Also important is paying attention to these stories and following them through the legal system.  Getting all the facts and information is essential.

For example, a reporter for the Daily News reported, "A clothing store in a trendy Chicago neighborhood is one of the latest victims of a so-called flash mob robbery — when a large group storms into a shop to collectively rip off a retailer.  About 20 people entered the Mildblend Supply Co. in Wicker Park on Saturday afternoon, together grabbing more than $3,000 worth of high-priced denim jeans, according to police."

If you recognize anybody in this video, please call Chicago police at 312-744-8290.
Police report no. HV-404817.  If any of these are your children, grandchildren, or "friends", contact the police.  Please share this information on your social networking sites.  It is the right thing to do.

For the complete story see

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Beverly Hills Hotel: Bar Nineteen 12 Review by Jesse Bluma

Beverly Hills Hotel:  Bar Nineteen 12
Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven. All rights reserved.

*Update:  After giving it a few weeks, I am putting on hold further recommendation of The Beverly Hills Hotel, Bar Nineteen 12.  The sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, instituted Sharia law limiting the freedoms and rights of all the people in their county.  His ownership interest in the hotel continues and after weeks of pressure he has not reversed his decision.  

Bar Nineteen 12 is located in the storied Beverly Hills Hotel.  The live music the night we went, by Luca Ellis, made this bar worthwhile.  Check to see if there is live music beforehand, as you may want to arrive early enough to get a good seat.  Parking:  Self parking past the valet, Valet, and Street parking is available--read the signs carefully.  The drinks we ordered were good and strong and the waiter was attentive.  A nice touch was the truffle popcorn and marinated olives served at our low table.  The night I was there the clientele consisted of hotel guests, business seminar goers, a twenty something birthday crowd, single guys and their wingmen, and older men with female miners (think about that one).     

Bar Nineteen12 Summer Music Series from Dan Wally on Vimeo.

"Named in honor of the year the hotel first opened, Bar Nineteen12 offers two distinct settings; an elegant indoor bar and a beautiful terrace overlooking the pool, gardens and towering palms of Beverly Hills.  Featuring light fare and unique cocktails from 6:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M. daily, and the best sunset in Beverly Hills.  See why Los Angeles Magazine readers voted us 'Best in L.A.'"

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Firenze Osteria: Fabio Viviani and Jacopo Falleni

Firenze Osteria:  Fabio Viviani and Jacopo Falleni
Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven. All rights reserved.

I recently dined at Firenze Osteria with a couple friends for my birthday.  Our dinner started with the house tapenade and focaccia.  It was delicious, made with olives and sun dried tomatoes.  Careful not to fill up on the tapenade before dinner.  I ordered the cheese plate for my starter, which included Humboldt Fog, Gorgonzola, Fresh Mozzarella, and Condiments (candied walnuts and olives).  

My entree:  Baked Truffle Parmesan Polenta, Sautéed Wild Arugula, and Gorgonzola Fondue.  My dessert:  Strawberry Shortcake.  My meal was the trifecta of being flavorful, satisfying, and light.  Our waitress and bus boy were attentive and friendly.  

Parking in the city can be difficult, so as always give yourself time before your reservation to find a space.  Or utilize the valet service. (Side note:  I know some Italian and Firenze refers to Florence, Italy and an osteria refers to a place that serves wine and food.)

“A stone's throw from Universal Studios, Firenze Osteria is setting the standard for Italian cuisine in Los Angeles.  Fabio Viviani, Fan Favorite of Top Chef Season 5, brings 500 year old recipes from Florence to Los Angeles. Firenze Osteria's high quality and commitment to excellence makes every dining experience memorable.  Our delicious menu includes, homemade pastas, dry aged meats, imported cheeses, an extensive wine list and unique martinis by Award Winning Mixologist, Jacopo Falleni.  A night at Firenze Osteria will take you to Italy without needing a passport.”

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Firenze Osteria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


About Jesse

About Jesse

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have been loyal supporters and fans of my baked goods. My original business started around age 10, when I started selling homemade chocolates.  Jesse Bluma at Point Viven liberates taste in cookery, culture, and community, provides gourmet goods made with organic ingredients, inspired by the culinary worlds of California, Central, and South America, and engages in a community of customers and readers with lifestyle content, reviews, and expertise.

How do you liberate food and taste in your everyday?  Location…follow…Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven offers gourmet morsels made with high standards.  Quality, respect for local, fresh, and organic ingredients is the recipe for success.  Artisanal goods are lightly sweetened, using natural ingredients and thoughtfully created.

My Experience and Education

Hillsdale College
California State University, Fullerton
Orange Coast College
Santa Monica College
University of San Diego
Honors: Visual and Fine Arts
Honors: Industrial Technology
Marquis Who's Who in America

Media Appearances, Features, and Acknowledgements

Huffington Post
Los Angeles Times
Orange County Register
New York Times
Edible Front Range
Titan Magazine
Daily Titan
NEA Today Magazine
Saddleback Valley Newspaper
Daily Pilot
Riviera Magazine
Primera Hora (Puerto Rico)

Crier Today, Catherine Crier
KFWB News Talk 890, Chef Jamie Gwen
KABC 790 TalkRadio, John Phillips
KCRW 88.9
Featured in Etsy Google Ads
Etsy Organic
Etsy Treasuries
Carole's Chatter
Danny Boome, chef
Chef Lala
Wine Dine Daily
Andrea’s Wellness Notes
David Venable, QVC host
Doris Roberts, actress
Kimberly Jessy, CNN iReporter
Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri, Kitchen Cousins
Laurie Sontag, Maniac Motherhood
Luca Ellis, singer
Matt Muenster, host of DIY Network's BATHtastic!
Sharone Hakman, chef
Janice Whitby, actress
Andy Gibson, singer
Adam Mendes, candy mechanic
Chris Crary, chef
Dr. Brent Ridge, Beekman 1802
Dax Holt, TMZ producer and reporter
Antonio Ballatore, HGTV
Sargento Cheese
Lightlife Foods
L.A. Times Food
Foodie in Disguise
Orange County Newschannel (OCN)
Worldwide Recipe Exchange

Classes and Demonstrations:  Cooking, Baking, Health, and Nutrition

Chef Fabio Viciani
Chef Thanitra “T” Pichedvanichok, Tspoons Cooking School
Sharone Hakman, MasterChef™
Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Border Grill
Chef Christopher Michael, Christopher Michael Chocolates
Chef Tony Corke, Chaparosa Grill
Martha Stewart Workshops for Cooking and Entertaining
Bristol Farms
California State University Fullerton
Fountain Valley High School
Coastline Community College

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FIKISHA: Steps Toward Change

FIKISHA:  Steps Toward Change

I was recently told by my friend and top soccer athlete David Garcia about FIKISHA, an organization he works with to help street children in Africa.  Street child is a term used for a homeless child residing in the streets of a city (typically in a developing country).  In most of the cases they have no adult supervision or care.  They are often subject to abuse, neglect, exploitation, or in extreme cases, murder by “cleanup squads” hired by local business or police.  In every developing country the rights of the children is well respected, the same does not apply when it comes to street children.  This clearly indicates how they are ignored, not only with their families, also by the government policies.

A group of street children and youth at where they sleep and spend most of their time.

The general community has the perception that street children are lazy individuals who depends on handouts.  This is not the reality as most of them stay awake at night until the streets are clear and soundless.  If they are lucky to close their eyes, then their minds have to stay alert, to dodge the police who come battering at night or the older street youths who take advantage of darkness to sexually molest them.  When it rains at night they cuddle themselves together, or sleep standing with their feet soaking in the cold water.  Before they can take a nap, the sound of the hooting cars wakes them up at 4 A.M. Soon they grab their rucksack and head to the garbage to look for something to eat or sell.

The rising sun doesn’t give them hope to realize their dreams.  It only enables them to watch helplessly as other kids go to school, while their own lives erodes by every single shot of harmful drugs that they are taking.

FIKISHA is a Swahili word which means -  Enable to reach.  FIKISHA assists in bringing restoration, independence, and hope through Christ to the homeless youth in the slums of Nairobi.  The ministry exists to care for and rehabilitate vulnerable youth through the promotion and actualization of physical stability, educational opportunity, emotional maturity and spiritual identity.  FIKISHA serves through existing community organizations in Kenya and America to connect those in need with opportunities to become self-reliant and socially responsible individuals. 

The members of FIKISHA have supported boys to go back to formal education.  Acquired preparation room for boys who are ready to go back to school.   Constructed a shower block in partnership with Heart-to-Heart Orphan Children Centre.  Established mentorship program whereby boys have specific mentors.  Created two days rehabilitation program meant to change the boys negative habits while providing them with opportunities to gain life skills, human skills and other skills that would be necessary for their personal development.  Reconnected some boys with their families. Transformed some boys into independent and responsible individuals.  Established legal aid and advocacy programs.  Their future plans include:  Supporting more boys to go back to formal school.  Offering technical and vocational trainings to the older boys.  Involve and empower the community.  Having foster families.  Establish income generating activities for self-reliance and  sustainability.  Increase resource mobilization activities, locally and internationally.  Own a rehabilitation centre.

The story of Fikisha

Sam Bretzmann is the executive director of FIKISHA and you may join in helping by visiting the sites below.  

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Credits:  facebook,

Big Fish Tavern Review by Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven

Big Fish Tavern Review

I recently went to lunch with my friends Judy and Tammy to Big Fish Tavern.  

“The name says it all.  This Laguna Beach neighborhood favorite restaurant features an exciting wide-ranged menu of fresh fish, seafood and casual fare perfectly paired with the best ice cold beer selection in town.  Our informal (laid-back/energetic/) fish-house overlooks the ocean and serves up great appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrées featuring seafood, steak, chicken, and the freshest produce. 

Start with a dozen fresh oysters, ahi sashimi or a cup of chowder.  Craving Alaskan King Crab legs or Maine lobster?  We’ve got them waiting for you.  Or choose from our long list of sustainable local and imported fish prepared to your liking with sauces like sweet Thai chili, mango chutney, pico de gallo and more.  We also have an assortment of Hawaiian-style pokes, juicy burgers, rice bowls, and Baja specialties. 

Enjoy a large selection of icy cold beer (over 70 choices), a fresh lime margarita or pitcher of Sangrias on our wraparound patio at sunset.  Family friendly atmosphere, great spot for watching sports with friends.  Live entertainment Thursday-Saturday evenings and reggae Sunday afternoons. Late night Happy Hour 7 days a week.”

My Recommendations

1.  Big Fish Tavern can get busy at night and weekends.  Go for lunch or make a reservation.  As of publication Big Fish opens at 11:30 A.M.

2.  The fish tacos are my favorite.  I ordered two, grilled, with cabbage, and pico de gallo.

3.  There is a wide variety of beers, so you may wish to do a little planning before to see which you would like to order.

4.  If you go during lunch you will have a better chance at getting a table with an ocean view.

5.  Parking is located on the street and in a lot behind the restaurant.  Bring money for parking.  If parking on the street, be careful of the high curbs.  

6.  After your meal you may wish to replenish your time on the parking meter and take a short walk over to Main Beach or to the shops on Forest Avenue.

House of Big Fish Video from Myke Lyles on Vimeo.

Chef Craig Connole is the head chef at Big Fish Tavern.  He was voted Chef of the Year for his skill at haute cuisine and inexpensive meals.  He was worked at the Four Seasons, Meridien, and K'ya.  In the video above Chef Connole teaches how to make one of his recipes.  

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Big Fish Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

House of Big Fish & Ice Cold Beer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Credit:  https://www.facebook. com/BigFishTavern/

Chef Dave Arnold "Strive to make yourself better"

Chef Dave Arnold "Strive to make yourself better"

"I accept myself for who I am".  People often express this attitude of personal acceptance.  That is all fine as long as you are Zeus or Empress Wu and everyone has to cower in your presence.  Life's endeavors, such as cooking, sports, career, et cetera, teaches us to liberate ourselves from bad habits, poor ways of thinking, and provides opportunity to improve ourselves, our skills, or challenges our old ways of thinking or not thinking.  As chef Dave Arnold stated, "Strive to make yourself better".  

"Dave Arnold began tinkering with restaurant equipment after earning his MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts.  For an art project that required a 360-degree view of the inside of an oven, he re-fabricated a traditional range with glass walls.  After meeting Chef Wylie Dufresne of wd-50, Dave became even more passionate about culinary sciences and focused his inventive skills on professional and home cooking. 

The French Culinary Institute tapped him to head its new Culinary Technology Department.  As director, Dave is dedicated to helping chefs achieve their most ambitious goals using new technologies, techniques, and ingredients.  He has been featured in multiple publications, including the New York Times, Time, Food and Wine, New York, and Popular Science.  Esquire named him one of the Best and Brightest, and he has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show.  He is a contributing editor for Food Arts magazine, authors the Cooking Issues blog, and is host of the Cooking Issues podcast."

Food for Thought

What do you need to do better?  What can you make better?

What will you specifically do?

What is the first step you will take right now?

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Clarifying Our Misconceptions Regarding Organics

Clarifying Our Misconceptions Regarding Organics

Banishment from the Garden of Eden does not mean we have to toil in synthetic pesticides.  Some individuals doubt the benefits of organic food and resist farmers’ markets.  “How do I present organic pork without disparaging non-organic pork?”, asked House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Oklahoma.

These knee-jerk reactions seem to originate from a deep appreciation and respect for the business and corporate world.  The very utterance of the word “organic” is heard as “I hate food corporations”.  Many Baby Boomers also have a negative reaction, this is the generation that came of age when domesticity, Americana, and working with your hands was pummeled by Arlie Russell Hochschild, Margaret Sanger, and Gloria Steinem.

The resistance to organics and local farms is a peculiar one, as organics and farmers’ markets are identified with small business, appreciation for domesticity, and timeless ideas.  Many Baby Boomers, families with both parents working outside the home, and others have relied upon fast, canned, boxed, and frozen food.  This has caused them to be disconnected from the origins of food, sustainable living, and the gift of sustenance.  All while the health of produce has declined over time.  The creation and use of synthetic fertilizers lead to farming without rotating crops.  Synthetic fertilizers without rotating crops further degraded soil.  Over time these farming practices decreased the amount of microbes, worms, and rich compost.  This degradation of soil affects the nutrition of crops. (M. Pritts, C. Heidenreich, L. McDermott, and J. Miller)

The use of synthetic fertilizers means we must stand in front of large food production plants and protest them. That means we must regulate what fast food restaurants can sell.  That means we must bash parents and guardians that rely heavily and solely on non-organics.  No, actually the militant food police are no better.

We do not need to bash anyone or regulate the sizes of soda pop sold at fast food restaurants.  We do have to know that parent aspirations and modeling are two of the strongest factors on children.  This imprint on children often sets into place a generational cycle of eating habits.

Yes, industrial food production has provided food at lower costs.  Yes, corporate and fast food production has provided many jobs.  Those two facts do no give reason to brush aside the possible need for improvement in our diets.  This is not a demand, this is not a command, this is a shedding of light.  We humans have a challenging time changing our minds and habits, liberating ourselves is a process.  It can take months to develop a new eating habit.  Some people will and some will not.

The next question is where to go from here.  History sheds sun on the subject.  Early man was nomadic, followed animal herds, and searched for natural crops.  During the Mesolithic Era (10,000 to 5,000 B.C.) people invented better and better tools for hunting and fishing.  Those in Egypt and Asia learned how to grow wheat and barely crops.   Here we see the origins of agriculture and the domestication of animals.  Mesopotamia, “The Fertile Crescent”, was a region in Southwest Asia.  Some historians speculate this was the home of the Garden of Eden.  People living in this area learned to control the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which provided water for more crops and livestock.  The human population grew across the world and by 1000 A.D. horses and plows were utilized for more food production.

As we see people up until this point were still connected to the land and food.  Most people were farmers or peasants and had a working knowledge of food.  Now we do no have to return to being peasants.  The history of early agriculture merely underscores food knowledge is essential to life.  In 1492, Christopher Columbus was the first of the Europeans to explore the Americas.  (Columbus was an experienced sailor.  His trouble, as with other explorers at the time, was his use of an incomplete map of the world designed by Ptolemy).  Columbus' explorations opened up a time period of great trade between the Old World and New World.  The Americas provided beans, cacao, maize, peanuts, pineapples, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, tobacco, tomatoes, and turkeys to Europe.  The Europeans provided bananas, cattle, chickens, citrus, coffee beans, grapes, horses, onions, peaches, pigs, rice, sugarcane, and wheat to the Americas.

The availability of more food was a blessing and essential to survival, population growth, and variety in diets.  In the 1800s machinery was invented to increase food production and this equipment made farming a bit more easy.  At this point in history most people were still farmers or came from a family of farmers.  Again, that does not mean today we need to become peasants, farmers, or Amish.  As we get to the 1900s synthetic fertilizers were developed, many family farms closed, both parents entered the work force, domestic skills were lost, and industrial food production became the norm.

 Banished from the Garden on Eden does not mean man must abandon the totality of human knowledge and experience in order to escape hard work and toiling.  That is the fundamental issue.  If someone does not want to be a peasant, a farmer, or housewife, he or she does not have to eat synthetic pesticides, eat canned food with mega sodium, fast food, and frozen dinners with a long list of ingredients.  If someone is pro-business, that does not mean organic food is not for them and only for hippies and elitist lefties.

Our misconceptions must be clarified before moving forward.  There is a diversity of individuals buying and eating organics.  Politics and food choices do not necessarily align.  According to the Organic Trade Association, “[a]s the availability of organic has become more mainstream and the offerings of organic more varied, there’s more diversity in those choosing organic.  There no longer is a typical organic consumer.  Organic is meeting the needs of a wide and multi-faceted culture, and the faces of organic-buying families now mirror the demographics of the U.S. population in terms of ethnic background.”

Short-sighted views have consequences.  As we study the past we are in awe of great achievements and struggles.  We also laugh and scratch our heads and some of the actions man has taken or was allowed to get away with for far too long.  In 10,000 A.D. how will this time in human history be judged?  What will be said of our food choices?  How much land will be polluted by synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers?  Will there be any family farms?  Eating organic foods, those grown without synthetic pesticides artificial fertilizers, and radiation is a better choice.

Organic farmings, more sustainable living, can be accomplished through natural fertilizers (manure or compost), birds, rotating crops, and feeding livestock with what they would naturally graze upon is all part of the process.  Growing a backyard garden and modeling a good food appreciation to your children is doable.  Maintaining a healthy connection to food, domestic skills, Americana, and working with your hands is important cultural knowledge to keep alive.  What we value as sacred is profound.  This is how you actually liberate yourself; it is not by knee-jerk reactions, The Feminine Mystique, or by joining the Green Party.

For further information you way wish to visit the following sites.

United States Department of Agriculture:  responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food.

Local Harvest:  find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.

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