Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Food Review: Evvia Estiatorio, Contemporary Hellenic Cuisine, Palo Alto, CA

During a rough day, you want to treat yourself to a nice lunch.  After all, work can be hard =)  After an attempt to go get Burmese Food at Rangoon Ruby, making a rookie mistake by not making a reservation in Palo Alto at 12:00 PM, we wandered into Evvia Estiatorio.  When you walk into the restaurant, you are greeted with a pleasant aroma.  You cannot quite put your finger on it because there are so many dishes blending together.  The hostess and host are equally pleasant, asking us if we had a reservation.  Since their faces didn't drop immediately, I knew we had a chance to be seated.  As I waited 2 minutes, I surveyed the restaurant.  There appeared to be intimate lunches (e.g., families) and business lunches.  There was a small furnace lined against the wall of the bar.  The wine was gorgeously stacked in diamond shaped slots.

Seating includes the most comfortable booths I have ever been in.  I wanted to take a nap before and after lunch!  The cushions were soft and allowed you to sink in.  They felt like what you would imagine clouds feeling like.  There are many people that dine here, but the noise level isn't unbearable.  You can carry on a conversation.  I ordered the Moussaka which is described as a "baked casserole with eggplant, lamb ragout, potatoes, & yogurt bechamel."

The Moussaka melts in your mouth!  If you enjoy lamb, this casserole is for you!  I devoured the entire helping.  It was warm and was loaded with ingredients. Although there was an abundance of ingredients, the yogurt bechamel gave it a light feel.  I savored every bite, finishing last.  Let's just say I cleaned the dish for Evvia staff.

Here is the business card for reference.  The bottom picture is another one of their restaurants in San Francisco.  If I ever have a bad day, particularly on a cold day, I'm going to get out of the office to go to Evvia!!

American Music Awards (AMA): Katy Perry's Racial Boo-Boo, Nelly & FGL, Macklemore/Ryan Lewis!

It has been several days since the American Music Awards, but the opening act still gets me thinking.  First off, the AMAs was one of the best awards shows in awhile.  I actually watched every performance and award presentation.  What served as a cue to watch the show was that applauded Ariana Grande for her flawless performance.  I turned on the television in anticipation, and then my stomach dropped...Katy Perry, Ms. California Girl, a person who I said can do no wrong, as she pumped out hit after hit, appeared as a Geisha!   Let me preface this by saying that this is solely my opinion and perspective.  I have made several presentations on multi-cultural diversity and what Katy Perry presented to the world maybe perceived as a racial insult.  Thinking of the history of people painting their faces to look like other ethnic groups, I always hoped that we were past this.  I would at least hope that a famous celebrity would have someone on her team to say, "Hey, I'm pretty sure people may take offense to this!"  Gwen Stefani danced with Harajuku girls, but Katy Perry took it to another level.  Dressing up as a Geisha perpetuates the stereotype that Asians are exotic or in their own right "quirky."  By no means should she present a parallel between her quirky persona and her performance.  Now, there is a distinction between a racial insult and racism.  I obviously don't know Katy Perry to know her perspective on other cultures, but she definitely needs a consultant on multi-cultural diversity issues (I would have definitely told her that would not be well received, and what the implications are of dressing this way).

The rest of the night was fantastic.  What I love about Macklemore is that when he wins awards, he sends a message of social justice.  This time, he quoted MLK, Jr., "An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!"  This is ironic considering Katy Perry's performance.  Mark Anthony also provided us with an inspiring quote, You maybe alive but you're not always living (paraphrased).  Performance after performance captivated me...Ariana Grande with her velveteen voice should be crowned the young Mariah Carey.  FGL and Nelly performed their hit "Crusin," but the best part of it all was when Nelly went throwback on us, performing "Ride with Me."  TLC also performed with Lil Mama rapping Left Eye's part. It was an awkward performance, but always good to see them remembering Left Eye. Breakout band, Imagine Dragons rocked it with their two hits! Rihanna was awarded an icon award, and I always forget that she is only 25 y/o.  Her voice is so unique.  Her movements on the microphone looked like she was possessed, but I guess this is the look she was going for.    Lastly, Miley Cyrus performed with an enlarged app on the big screen; every time she sang, the mouth of the animal sang.   Oh what a great night of pop culture.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Divergent Series: Allegiant Review

The trilogy of Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant are by Veronica Roth and it was supposed to be the new Hunger Games. The premise is a dystopian society set in Chicago. It is a society divided into factions, each representing a core value including selflessness, knowledge, honesty, bravery, and peace. Factions are meant to keep societal order.  You are born into a faction, and each individual takes a test that indicates an aptitude for a faction. This maybe the one you were born into or another faction. During the Choosing Ceremony, you can choose to remain in the faction you were born into or the one that the test indicates would be a good fit.  The story centers around a heroine, Tris who is Divergent, or who has an aptitude for multiple factions. This is not taken lightly by the society's leaders, as it threatens the system.

Tris eventually chooses Dauntless, the faction that values bravery. She therefore leaves her family to join this faction. Here, she learns to fight, handle weapons, and to fall in love with her instructor, Four.  The first two books weave their growing and complicated love throughout. They battle leaders that wish to exert control over the people of the society, and lose many loved ones along the way. Sure, their cat and mouse love story was at times irritating, but you can't help but root for them to stay together.

In Allegiant, we discover that their society is a government experiment to fix so-called genetic deficiencies. Another revolution against the government takes place. I, like many readers have felt very very disappointed by this last book. I read preliminary reviews that the author should have given the readers what they want so I pretty much knew that she wasn't going to give us a happy ending.  Even still, as I read the ending of Tris sacrificing herself to end government control, it left a bitter taste in my mouth.  I read Veronica Roth's philosophical rationale for the ending. Tris fully embodied selflessness which is what her parent tried to instill in her. In fact, it also seems that Veronica was attempting to make parallels between the books' societies  and society in real life. However you want to intellectualize it, analyze it, and  argue that life is messy and we must cope with it, many people read these books to essentially feel hope, believe in love, and that can change can occur.

Now, Tris' sacrifice did result in societal change in many respects, but then why does it feel so unsatisfying when it is all said and done? Oh right, it is because the author killed the main character and left the male lead to live as a grief-stricken bachelor. I don't feel like many readers that state it is a waste of time to read the book because a trilogy means you read three books for a conclusion. However, the conclusion bothered me so much that I felt the need to write about it lol

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Food Review: Hops & Hominy & CocoaBella Chocolates, San Francisco

It was a girls day out to downtown San Francisco.  It was super cold so I wanted to layer up and wear my new neon yellow dress.  I decided to layer a small cream colored trench on top of the yellow dress.  So I wouldn't freeze my butt off, I wore black, stretchy skinnies underneath; All Small everything.  Now that I had my pop of color to make me happy, we wanted to try a new restaurant and window shop.

We chose Hops & Hominy.  It is located in a dead-end alleyway AKA the cuts lol! It has an adorable sign:

Here was the brunch menu.  The waitress said that they print the menu every week.


The appeal of this spot was the environment.  The walls are lined with mason jars and inside are plastic candles.  Water is served in mason jars, and there is a variety of drinks to choose from.  The wall that we were sitting in front of had amazing artwork.  In the bathroom, there is amazing artwork on the walls, too, but I didn't really want to take a pic in the can lol.

           For the Carnivores: Chicken and Waffles.  I was imagining crispy fried chicken and waffles drenched in syrup.  The chicken was fried, but was not really infused with much flavor.  The waffles and chicken were covered in dabs of hot sauce.  There were probably five drops of syrup around the plate.  The waffles alone were buttery and soft.  

For the Vegetarian: Egg Sandwich

Overall, I would give the restaurant a 3/5 stars.  If you want a chill spot to hang out at on a Sunday afternoon, this is the place to go.  

Afterwards, window shopping led us to CocoaBella Chocolates, which has tons of exquisite chocolates.  

I decided on the passion fruit (the chocolate in the middle).  It had a rich, creamy chocolate interior with a hint of passion fruit.  I should have been more mindful about eating it and savored it, but it was so delicious that I devoured it in two seconds.  This is a nice change of pace from the stereotypical chocolate shops.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pinterest Party: DIY Magnetic Make-up Board, Glitter Jars, and Foot Scrub!

Let's face it, I pin so many DIY projects and I haven't done any of them!  If you are like any of my friends and me, we have 100's to 1000's of pins.  My good friend had a brilliant idea of having a Pinterest Party (she has actually done her diy pins).  The rules were simple: Everyone pick their own projects, buy their own supplies, and meet for Pinterest time (AKA girl time).  Here are some of the projects from the day/evening.  

Magnetic Make-up Board

I have wanted to make a magnetic make-up board for days!  The party finally gave me a reason to go through with it.  I followed the instructions from this blog and is credited to:

1) Old picture frame
2) 1 piece of sheet metal
3) Cute fabric (It HAS to be cute lol)
4) Spray Adhesive
5) Magnets
6) Every day use make up
7) Glue gun and glue sticks

I had this old frame lying around the house and I knew one day that I would find the perfect use for it!  I got it several years ago at a thrift shop and have always loved the color of the border (so no spray paint needed).  I went to JoAnn's Fabrics and took my sweet time until I found the perfect fabric for the background.  This bird pattern was $9.99 a yard.  As you can see I used very little.  I bought a piece of sheet metal from Home Depot.  It is notable that these are pre-cut so to fit the frame, my friend had to cut it with his tool.

1) Cut enough fabric to cover the sheet metal.  I used the cardboard in the picture frame to guide me.
2) Cut the sheet metal to fit inside the picture frame.
3) Evenly spray the sheet metal with the spray adhesive.
4) Evenly spread the fabric.  This took me a few times.  I pulled the fabric up a couple times to ensure that it was evenly spread.

5) Heat the glue gun.
6) Glue magnets to the backs of the make-up.  Some heavier items may need two to three magnets.
7) Stick onto the board as desired!

End Result!!  Love it!

My other friends made awesome projects!!

Glitter jars!  Evenly spread mod podge around the jars and coat with glitter!

Foot Scrub! Mix dishwasher soap and sugar.  Neatly place in a mason jar.  Add a cute/funny label!

Scrub those feet!!

My friend took this awesome pic of all the projects.  The one on the left is a button monogram! Glued and hand sewn...Now that is dedication!

I had a blast and now I'm inspired to do more DIY projects!

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