February 19, 2010

chinese steamed fish

steamed fish with ginger and scallions is one of my favorite chinese dishes, but it seems impossible to replicate at home. not so, says my lovely friend kristen, who made this great step-by-step how to video.

February 17, 2010

how to give up bags forever

i'm not catholic, but i enjoy the secular challenge of giving up something for lent. in 2007, i decided to give up shopping bags (i.e., any disposable bag given to me when i purchase something). three years later, i've never gone back. and it's actually pretty easy if you follow these four rules...

1. tell cashiers right away
this is the hardest part of living bag-free. cashiers are so well trained to bag your items that they'll slip it in before your good intentions have a chance to react. the only way to prevent this is to get yourself in the habit of saying "i don't need a bag" the second you put your items on the checkout counter. if you forget and they happen to bag your stuff, don't be shy about asking them to take it out. don't worry. the bag isn't sullied. they can use it for the next customer. trust me.

2. always carry your own bag
this part is much easier for women because they usually carry purses, but lots of manufacturers make reusable bags that wad up to the size of a film canister -- easy for pocket portability. i usually carry two reusable bags in my purse for everyday use, and i have a few more in the trunk of my car in case i do a big grocery run. i love my greenaid (photo below) because it zips up into a tiny ball, but i think they're kind of expensive (i got mine as a gift). i also recommend the fold-up bags from modcloth (photo below) -- they fold up really small, but they're very sturdy with comfortable handles.

3. be dexterous
look down. see those five-fingered things sticking out of your arms? they're called hands. use them! i hate to see people get a bag for a pack of gum or a soda or leftovers at a restaurant. if you can put it in your pocket/purse or carry it in your hands, do that. you don't need the extra trash.

4. reuse your mistakes
if you accidentally get a bag, it's not the end of the world. just make sure you don't throw it out right away. i use my roommate's paper bags to collect recyclables in our apartment, so we can just dump the whole bag into the recycling bin every week. plastic grocery bags can replace trash can liners if you buy one of those grocery bag trash cans (available lots of places, but here's one from the container store).

February 15, 2010

"it's complicated"

news flash: open relationships and happiness don't go together.

the team over at facebook did some unscientific analysis comparing the positive/negative tones of users' facebook updates vis-à-vis their relationship status. the purpose: figure out if relationships make people happy. results were mostly what you'd expect, but i thought it was interesting that women who don't disclose their relationship status on facebook (*cough*) tend have more negative facebook updates than others.

(click to enlarge)

February 13, 2010

john mayer: not appealing

lots of outrage about john mayer's playboy interview, since he threw around slurs like they were going out of style. he dropped the n-word and the gay-slur-f-word. he's apologized, but maybe not enough.

john mayer, you're a tool.

February 11, 2010

friendly warning in venice

flower box

although i may be betraying my employer by saying this, i've never been so happy to find a box of flowers on my doorstep as i was when i got home tonight. a difficult week just got more floral.


 spangler basement, HBS, boston

February 10, 2010

i'm going to be a cardinal

although it's very hard to say no to harvard, i'm excited to report that i just accepted my offer to join the class of 2012 at the stanford graduate school of business. it's the perfect fit for me. go cardinal!

February 7, 2010

can i come inside?

name tag: still life on a santa monica parking meter.

February 6, 2010

valentine's day gets de-gayed

valentine's day, the new movie in the the ensemble-cast-style of love actually drops this week, and the ads make it seem like a classic breeder rom-com. turns out, the gayness of the gay characters (dr. mcsteamy and uber-bro bradley cooper) is completely edited out. fmi: CNN.

February 3, 2010

the asian glow and how to prevent it

i am half chinese and half white (mostly german), and i inherited the gene for what is colloquially called "the asian glow." for some people with asian heritage, consuming alcohol will cause their skin, particularly around their face and neck, to become flushed and red. our bodies have this reaction because we are, technically, allergic to alcohol -- we lack the enzymes needed to break it down properly. for those who are interested, here are some of my obervations about the asian glow:

being red does not (necessarily) mean we are drunk
depending on how much i've eaten before and what kind of beverage i drink, i might turn bright red after just one drink. despite the fact that i look intoxicated, i am not. this is why i usually don't drink at workplace happy hours. i just can't handle the "whoa there! maybe you should slow down!" comments when i'm a third of the way through my first glass of chardonnay.

the asian glow affects people differently
some (lucky) asians get just the slightest flush to their cheeks. some, like my little sister, turn noticeably bright red. others, like our chinese dad, will swell up like a strawberry and require immediate medical attention (needless to say, he doesn't drink). my advice to young asians experimenting with alcohol: drink with caution.

it doesn't hurt, but it can be annoying
getting the asian glow isn't painful, but it can be mildly uncomfortable -- like being really flushed after working out. i personally dislike it because it makes me feel childish, like i can't handle an adult beverage. mostly, it just makes me look silly in pictures.

after years of battling the glow, i have finally identified a potential "cure." here today, i'd like to share my trade secret -- my tried-and-true way to prevent the asian glow: two pepto bismols and one maximum strength pepcid AC.

take with at least half a glass of water at least 15 minutes before consuming alcohol. i've had about a 90% success rate with the concoction. don't believe me? here's some unscientific evidence: in the photo below, my little sister and i are 3 hours into a 10-hour boondoggle in vegas. not a glow between us.

i'd like to point out that i am not a doctor, so i'm really in no position to dole out medical advice. that said, these products are available over the counter, and i'm not really recommending them in obscene doses. obviously, there might be some side effects from antacid usage, but occasional use, even daily use, of antacids is generally safe. final thought: if you're drinking so much that your accompanying antacid consumption poses a risk to your health, i think you probably have bigger problems than pepto abuse.

February 1, 2010

the guy paradox

a little satirical levity this monday afternoon...

the simple venn diagram below (hat tip to college candy's "the boy paradox") explains the dating challenges of hetero women.  after seeing this, i'm not above being someone's beard.