I am a sucker for a good love story. I adore hearing about how the girl became a princess and is swept off her feet by her one true love.

But then I have the urge to vomit when I watch movies like Cinderella or Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. Yes. The same tales I adore make me physically ill.

And simply because they feature the damsel in distress and teach girls that they need to be weak to be desired.

This photo belongs to The New Yorker and is part of the article, "If The Shoe Fits" by Michael Schulman

This photo belongs to The New Yorker and is part of the article, “If The Shoe Fits” by Michael Schulman

The New Yorker changed that today. Today they told a tale about a shoe designer, who literally created Cinderella’ slipper. And man. I dream of the moment I can see that shoe encrusted with crystals that change colors in the light as she dances.

Yet I digress.

You see, this designer creates the most magical shoes that dance down the red carpet. But it isn’t the shoes he creates that is the most fascinating about the article. Rather it is the simple observation that has me spellbound:

Not every pumpkin is meant to become a coach.

And now, that’s not to say that it means every little girl can’t have a happily ever after.

No. It means that not every happily ever results in the little girl being a damsel in distress. That sometimes there’s more to the story than finding a man who kisses a corpse that you then can to ride behind him on a white stallion into the sunset.


So often we talk about passion and how passion can change the way we do things. It’s pretty magical stuff–that “P” word.

Passion can be anything. It can be music or running or glitter. Whatever floats your fancy. But when passion becomes super awesome, is when it literally takes you places.

And that’s what is happening with a dear friend of mine.

He is a very talented designer–that’s how we met. And passion to him is like glitter to me. He leaves a trail of it. And he puts it into everything he does.

But why talk about him? Because he is doing something to push his normal limits.

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So this is him. I might have stolen this from his Facebook. Hope he doesn’t mind…

Apparently the Olympics are adding a “climbing” edition to the competition. And my dear friend is literally climbing his way to the Olympics.

I will give you time to explore the beautiful metaphors that evokes.

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Alright.

Now in addition to climbing his way to the Olympics, my dear friend is blogging about it (oh yes, I just got giddy). And so, I invite all you seekers of passion. Lovers of the “underdog.” And folks just interested in fitness to check him out.

He’s pretty awesome. And definitely worth the gander.


Me and the kitchen aren’t always besties, but we have our moments. The roomie and I have been talking about our traditional Christmas dinners since we, well, missed ours this year.

So I told her how mom would cook creamed onions and taters and candied sweet potatoes. And not just candied, but covered in marshmallows. And that’s when Meg’s mouth began to drool.

It was then we decided we would make them at our apartment. And that’s what we did tonight.

Now cooking in the apartment means we make traditionally non-vegan foods, well, vegan.

So I found a recipe online for candied sweet potatoes and played with it. By played with it, I mean I didn’t measure a thing and I took out ingredients.

The result: Heaven.

Vegan Candied Sweet Potatoes

Vegan Candied Sweet Potatoes

What I did:

For the Filling:

  • Cubed* sweet potatoes (1″cubes)
  • Maple syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Dairy-free soy magarine, softened
  • Pepper

For the Pecan Topping:

  • Brown sugar
  • Wheat flower
  • Chopped candied pecans (we had candied all of our pecans already)
  • Soy margarine, softened

Secret Ingredient: Vegan Marshmallows

From there, I cooked the potatoes as directed and mixed the ingredients. Added what I decided it needed based on overcorrecting what I did before. Then I added the topping and stuck it in the oven.

About 30 minutes later, I added the vegan marshmallows to learn they melt differently (I should have known). So after about 5-ish minutes, I turned the oven to broil and let it be until they were puffy and brown and looked like they would pop. Turned out pretty dandy.


On a good day if you asked me if I cooked, I would tell you one of two tales:

  1. The time I attempted eggplant parmesan and had to leave my apartment because I couldn’t see the fellow a foot away from me. It was wretched. I might have snapped at the waitress and refused to look at the menu until after I consumed my first margarita of the evening. (Oh, and in case I forgot a part, no, we did not eat at home that night–did I mention my friend was a FOOT away and I couldn’t see his face?).
  2. The time I evacuated a 200-person building and 2 firetrucks showed up. The RD was mad at me. Not because of my inability to cook, but rather because I didn’t pick up a fireman. Did I mention that I hid in the building next to mine when the trucks showed up? And as I told my RD, what kind of man wants a woman who can evacuate a building when attempting to cook. (And in my defense, NOTHING was burnt that time).

But no. Cooking and I do not get along well. My idea of dinning in is delivery or inviting a friend over to cook. But I have a new apartment. And I have a small, but nice, kitchen. And a roommate who wants to eat in (for reals) a lot.

So I am attempting to cook.

So far things have turned out well. I have made vegan spagetti, tofu curry, and cornbread and chili. And did I mention that was all from scratch? Yes, It’s kinda a big deal.

Now my goal as I continue my job hunt is to continue becoming more of a culinary master. And so I pose this question: who has some good vegan recipes they would like to share? (not vegan? That’s ok. If it’s good, send it anyways. I might be able to make it work)


chili cookoff

06Jan13

One of my favorite foods might be chili, but I have two problems:

  1. I don’t eat meat
  2. I loathe beans

So I can never really eat chili unless I cook it–which let’s be honest, cooking for one is just no fun.

But I am on a mission to cook more, and so on this cold and rainy day, I took out my giant pot and gave a crack to homemade cornbread and chili. The catch? Had to be vegan and couldn’t be too spicy (the roommate cannot handle spice).

So I went on the Internet looking for recipes to make the ideal chili that wasn’t “lame” by being “vegetarian,” etc. (Apparently the best way to make vegetarian chili is to weaken it and have it be less awesome or load it up with beans).

I found one at a “man’s site” that looked pretty great. And from there I tweaked it.

The result: sex sounds in the kitchen.

Vegan cornbread and chili

Vegan cornbread and chili

What I did:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Packages of veggie beef
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes (the Trader Joe’s ones with the kick to ‘em)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 big bottle beer
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Carrots, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 zucchinis, cubed
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 jalopeno peppers, minced
  • 1 block veggie bouillon
  • Orange pepper
  • chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
  • brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper

I started by heating the meat in a pan with one clove of crushed garlic, while I mixed the paste, beer and tomatos in a big pot. After added the “meat,” I started adding veggies as I cut them with the sauce on a low boil with the lid on. It takes me a while to cut veggies, so it was about an hour. I started with the onion and pepper, then went through the veggies. Stirring randomly. After all the veggies were added, I added the spices and a lot of brown sugar. Then I let it simmer for about an hour.

We combined it with brown rice and cornbread with agave nectar, and topped it with cheese (and the roomie added vegan sour cream).

All in all, it was a wonderful meal.


pretty woman

01Dec12

Oh pretty woman

Once hearing that song or seeing the movie, very few women don’t dream
of that moment when they walk down the street as that infamous chorus
echoes in the backdrop, while their hair flutters in the breeze and
their eyes twinkle just right at the slightest glimmer of the sun.

And that’s about the point they roll out of the bed and think, “Dear
God, that’s what I have to deal with today?”

Women have developed a unique relationship with their makeup bags.
Makeup bags become the proverbial Mary Poppin’s Bag filled with
infamous tricks and tips to get them through the day. They have
learned how to nip this, tuck that and minimize those, while adding
just the right amount of color to make their eyes pop.

So when Lancôme looks at their online sales and questions why 68
percent* of their users are not purchasing the product online, it’s
time to start evaluating that relationship.

This information was collected from women across the country and beauty sales associates.

Women stand, on average, 15 minutes a day in front of their mirrors
primping and polishing–using the techniques that were passed on from
mother to mother about the secrets of true beauty. Each woman has
developed a “go to” item that becomes her standby through her early
morning struggles. For some it is that perfect tube of mascara, while
others it is their handy-dandy tube of Chapstick or gloss.
Nonetheless, they each see that item as the little pick-me-up to get
through the day.

Women visit and share with their friends via Facebook and Pinterest.
But when it comes to purchasing their makeup, women would prefer to
make it an in-person experience. They want their individual senses to
experience the product unhindered by a computer screen. They want to
feel the creams as they absorb into their skins and brush the slew of
powders across their wrists.

So as Lancôme explores their online presence, they need to look more
at that individual relationship with each product instead of merely
the product itself. Lancôme has the opportunity to develop a trusting
relationship with women rooted on their desire for that personal
connection and individual definition of beauty. They can create that
in-person experience within a digital atmosphere. Let that be with
live spoken chats with consultants or digital “spa days” using video
conferencing technology.

*This statistic was provided by a Lancôme representative at Macy’s
from a Lancôme conference.

Above is a project assigned by Senior Strategist Virginia Lu at AKQA during my Creative Thinking and Problem Solving class from the summer.


guess who?

19Nov12

Growing up, I was always the kind of girl that wanted to be “a girl” when I played games. But there was one game that was never the case. You see, while I like my gender and like “pretty characters,” I also have an infatuation with winning.

And as a young girl, I knew you didn’t win being a girl.

And that’s what Hasbro’s Guess Who? game teaches. Now, as they told a six year old who had the courage to write to them about this inequality:

Guess Who? is a guessing game based on a numerical equation. If you take a look at the characters in the game, you will notice that there are five of any given characteristics. The idea of the game is, that by process of elimination, you narrow down who it isn’t, thus determining who it is. The game is not weighted in favour of any particular character, male or female. Another aspect of the game is to draw attention away from using gender or ethnicity as the focal point, and to concentrate on those things that we all have in common, rather than focus on our differences.

But Hasbro, that’s not good enough. As the girl’s mother pointed out, just as masculinity isn’t a “characteristic,” neither is femininity.

But Hasbro isn’t the only one reinforcing these unequal gender stereotypes in games. You are too. The mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles and brothers and sisters and neighbors and anyone else who tells a boy he can’t play with glitter or a girl can’t have a Stars Wars Thermos.  You are all enforcing this idea that gender defines you.

And those boundaries later begin to define children as they grow. We can complain about the gender gap within pay, and we can create meme after meme about “binders full of women.”

But is that the root of the problem?

Education is magical thing. And maybe if we start with how we play, with games our children use, we can change the headlines from featuring the record fact that we have 20 women in the senate to something deeper.

If for no other reason than because we are more than x or y chromosomes.

And if one six year old has the courage and the smarts to write a letter, isn’t time that we all started to do something?


I have talked before about looking for passion or the things I am passionate about.

For those unaware, my move to San Francisco meant more than just “starting a new chapter.” It also meant leaving the things I adored behind. For one reason or another, they just didn’t “travel well.”

And so I have spent the past two years trying new things. Or trying to try new things. All in hope that I can find that same something I once enjoyed in something else. (Yes, I also looked at recreating those old somethings, but sometimes it’s just refreshing to start new).

So with that, I have taken my summer jogs and turned them into something that has begun to cover my walls and Facebook. And I think I found a new passion.

Now running for me isn’t about the speed or winning.

If that were the case, I might not cross the starting line. But let’s be honest, being the “best” isn’t something I think you should aspire to. I think it should be the result of being awesome at something you adore.

But I digress.

Running. Now that’s something I have become enamored with.

Running is about the journey. I joke with friends and say my goal is to laugh every mile, and that’s not far from the truth. I might get bored. I might hurt like hell.

But with each mile marker, this sense of pride becomes overpowering. And that moment we cross the finish line and get a medal. It takes at least an hour to wipe that joy off my face.

The things I adore about running:

  • Best sweaty fashion show…EVER! Have you ever noticed how incredibly cute all the running stuff is? It becomes part of the routine before a race to pick your outfit, and then check out the outfits of all the other runners (and for me, look in envy at the folks wearing more neon)
  • Run in full neon. Oh yes. Glitter and neon might be two of my favorite things in life. And when you are running, you get to sport that with pride. I don’t know at what point it became customary for runners’ clothes to be bright and fluorescent, but man do I hope that trend never ceases.
  • Blissful pain. Running hurts. And it hurts in places I never knew were engaged while I ran (like my back). But it’s not the fall on your face kind of pain. It’s the you did something with your life kind of pain. It’s awesome. That’s my favorite post-race moment. And the longer the pain, the more successful the race.
  • Photo opp after photo opp. So if there’s one thing I adore more than glitter and neon, it would be a good photo opp. I have had my share of ridiculous just because it would make a great photo (or a great story). And what’s a better photo than you with your bib and your bestie mid race? Post race? Pre race? Pre pre race?
  • Medals. Perhaps it’s because I never really won anything before, but I think it’s more than that. But I adore the races when I get a medal (or the equivalent). Yea yea, all races have some form of bib (which is totally awesome, especially when it can say “Be Frank”), but everyone gets that. Now I mentioned before that I am not first, but I do finish. And that’s what matters. Crossing the finish line. And then we get a medal. Walking around town sweaty, sore and sportig my medal. I feel like the queen of England. Or at least some star athlete I don’t know.

The list continues, as it should, but that’s the gist.

This weekend I start learning my next potential passion: scuba diving. I say potential because even though it was a childhood dream, I could get in the water and hate it. but we will see. Who knows…fishes might need to look out. They might not be prepared for all the future glitter and neon coming their way.

The bestie and I during the Bridge to Bridge race this fall.


It’s always a little awkward when someone goes, “OH! That reminds me of you!”

Or at least I find it awkward. It’s just that idea of “why.”

So the bestie comes to me telling me of this song that reminders her of me.

IT IS THE MOST AWKWARD SONG!

It’s about romance and the like.

Good song, while awkward. But it wasn’t the “awkward” that was important. It was the line, “have you ever thrown a fistful of glitter in the air?”

Why, you may ask?

Because she is CONVINCED that’s what I do in my free time.*

And with that…let me introduce you to the MOST AMAZING SITE EVER.

It’s about what you can do with glitter. The options are endless, but I am thinking that with the help of this site, I could become one step closer to being a sparkly skittle.

It’s all pretty fun. It shows you all they DIY ways to literally make your life sparkle. (And who wouldn’t want that, right?!)

So on that note, in the middle of finding a job and an apartment, my new goal has become: finding a way to literally make my life sparkle.

I am debating on starting with the sunglasses or coasters. (And if anyone would like to volunteer to glitter my floors…that would be SPECTACULAR!)

 

*Yes, folks literally think I walk into my room and throw glitter in the air proclaiming “I’M HAVING A GREAT DAY.” But no. I do not. My room is currently glitter free. My office on the other hand…that’s a different story.




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