Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My New Favorite Book: "Don'ts for Husbands & Don'ts for Wives"

Okay...here's another book for the blog! "Don'ts for Husbands & Don'ts for Wives" is a quick little read I picked up in the bargain section of Barnes & Nobles this afternoon for like $4.95. The book was originally written in 1913 by Blanche Ebbutt and was basically a guidebook to keep a new marriage a long lasting marriage. Some of the "advice" is somewhat outdated, but many of the principles can still be applied today. The book is written from the perspective of an era when people didn't live together before marriage, so for those of us in the post World War II world, the advice can seem like a "duh" moment. But if you look at it from the perspective of a new relationship or a "we're-just-moving-in-together" stage, Mrs. Ebbutt was spot on in her advice!

Some goodie goodies were:

Don'ts for Husbands:

"Don't tease your wife about every pretty girl you meet. She may not be jealous to begin with, but after a while she may begin to think that there is something in it"

"Don't dole out money for your wife's personal use in sixpences on the ground that, as you pay the bills, she can't really require any money. It is hateful to a woman to have to ask for what should be hers by right."

"Don't think your business worries are ever so much more important. The others are her business worries, and just as real to her as yours are to you."

Don'ts for Wives:

"Don't be talked down by your husband when you want to express your views on any subject. You have a right to be heard."

"Don't pose as a helpless creature who can do nothing for herself; don't drag your husband away from the office to see you across a street; don't profess to be unable to understand Bradshaw [no not Carrie Bradshaw!], or to take a journey alone. It is true that the weak, clinging wife is often a favourite, but she is equally often a nuisance."

"Don't wash your dirty linen in public, or even before your most intimate friends. If there are certain disagreeable matters to discuss, take care to discuss them in complete privacy."

Obviously, this book is written during a time when wives stayed home, so much of it is written from this perspective...but it still has some great knowledge to share with newlyweds or couples that have been living together for an extended period of time! It's a quick read - I finished it in under an hour...and it's so funny that you'll fly through the pages without any effort. I highly recommend it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My K-Drama Obsession Continues - 나쁜 남자




So...

Last week I finished watching my second K-Drama - 나쁜 남자/Nappeun Namja (Bad Guy/Bad Boy) and I must say, as hooked as this drama had me...it was a tad bit disappointing how the show ended. Once again, I chose a drama...but this one was much grittier than 검사 프린세스/Gomsa Princess (Prosecutor Princess) - which focused much more on fashion and the whimsical personality of the leading lady than on the (actually) very dark storyline that drove one of the other main character's actions.

Bad Guy is a 17 episode series that focused on the lead character Gun-Wook (center in the picture who I'll refer to as GW) who was cruelly ripped from what he thought was his "real" parents as a child and forced to assimilate into a new über rich family (the Hongs) as the accepted-yet-illegitamite son of the rich father (who also changes GW's name to Tae-Sung). Somehow, word gets out that he's not actually the illegitimate son, but just some random boy & poor GW is kicked out of the house and replaced by the "real" Tae-Sung (the other man in the pic above). Being overly dramatic as most dramas are around the world, poor GW's real parents rush to try to get him back only to die tragically in a car crash on the way, while (in the first episode no less) we watch GW shivering in the rain, sitting outside of the Hong residence with the few possessions he came with. So, fast forward to present day where adorable & cute little GW has turned into the hottie above, and we find a very determined & angry man who wants to get revenge on the Hong family for allowing their decadence to overshadow common sense/decency and ultimately forever negatively changing his life. Of course, his plan includes bringing down the family via ruining their family firm Haeshin, and creating impossible love triangles that pit two sisters against each other, while also mentally messing with the man who replaced him as Tae-Sung.

Okay, so with a quick plot teaser like that, you would think the show would have been awesome - and it did have great potential - but it definitely fell flat towards the ending episodes. We spent so much time watching GW push the Hong family like puppets, and even going to some really crazy lengths (i.e. one scene where he tries to drown the real Tae-Sung just to make him vulnerable enough to want to deal with GW in the future). And then, GW went from being cold and calculating to being this man who faltered from time to time. I understand that the producers wanted to make the main character still somewhat likable, but sometimes the route they took to get to the final conclusions was difficult to "suspend my disbelief" so that I could accept what I was watching. And often, there were characters with too much focus given to them that were either not really relevant to the total picture, or were not believable with their interactions with other characters.

For example, there are two female characters that (IMO) were vying for the lead female role...one of them was GW's older half sister, Tae-Ra (immediately right of GW in the pic above). Now, they're chemistry was awesome...he seduces her even though she's married and because she's in a loveless marriage, her desire for him is so believable and intriguing. Now, contrast that with the other leading female, Jae-In (to the left of GW in the pic) who literally was stuck with a role that really didn't make sense. She was in no way related to the Hong family, but at the same time she's very involved. It's hard to believe that in real life she would be able to take the overreaching actions that she does in this series. She's dating the real Tae-Sung, she works for the Hong family, and she is very friendly with GW. The producers kept trying to make her this possible GW love interest, but I don't think anyone was buying it. Their romantic exchanges were awkward and stiff, and by the time they finally admit that they have feelings for each other, it's the last episode and you already got the vibe that this wasn't going to be a happy ending like in Prosecutor Princess.

But, to be fair, some of the problems regarding the writing of 나쁜 남자 are because it was supposed to be a 20 episode series, but then was truncated to 17 because the actor who played lead character, GW, had to serve his mandatory 2 years in the military, and was unable to get yet another extension. Although, let's be real...with the plot holes this show had, even if they had those extra 3 episodes, I don't think they would have been able to neatly wrap the show.

So, I give this one a C, it had great potential, but too many minor characters really had roles that would effect the major characters, but weren't developed enough to make the drama more intriguing. The music was amazing, the characters were attractive, the scenes were shot perfectly (placement/staging/etc) and for the most part, the interactions were great. But poor writing/planning held the show back.

If you're interested in watching a K-Drama (regardless of whether you speak Korean or not), I definitely recommend checking out the super awesome blog, DramaBeans. If you're like me and are trying to learn Korean, they offer great episode recaps for all the major dramas that are currently (or have been in the past) airing - allowing you to confirm whether or not you really understood what was happening in the show. Also, they have links to other sites where you can watch the actual dramas - either with or without subtitles. If you're like me and don't want subtitles, I definitely recommend bada.us which has all the episodes for all types of Korean TV content ranging from music, to television, sports and news.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My New Favorite iPhone App: Expensify!

So, it's been a while since I've written a "my favorite iPhone app" segment...but this one was enough to make me revisit this segment. Last week I was having drinks with a friend when he mentioned an app called "Expensify". This is a handy app that helps you keep track of all of your expenses. And, if you're like me, you can pretty much find a reason to expense almost anything!

So basically, it works like this:

Instead of having bags/boxes full of expenses, you can easily add an expense within the app. Take a picture of the receipt, and then enter in the correct information in the corresponding fields: Date, Amount, Merchant, Category (transportation, meals, lodging, mileage, etc.). Then you click "Add" and now you have the receipt logged into your account.

You can also link your credit or check card to your Expensify account so that it will automatically keep track of all your purchases. And, with all the receipts/expenses that you track, you can create detailed reports which can be exported to programs like Quickbooks. It's a super easy app and is free for iPhones! The app is also available for other phone platforms...but check the website, www.expensify.com for details!

My Love Affair With Black Shoes!

I highly doubt that I'm the only woman in the world with an inordinate and disproportionate amount of black shoes (as compared to all the other colors I have). So, I posted this on my facebook page earlier this week, but I just got in two new pairs of shoes - both black heels!


How awesome are these? They're Vivian Westwoods...I know they're very "avante" but they have a super low heel, making them ideal for city walking haha! They come in a number of colors, but I decided to try to be somewhat realistic and get them in black with red heart appliques. 



















I'm in love  with these shoes! They're so amazing! ^_^ I wore them out to an event the other week and got quite a few compliments on them! 












Another view of the same shoe! Love them....'tis all for now!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Another Recipe! Spicy Shrimp Noodle Soup ^_^

Yet another yummy recipe! This time, I got the recipe from an Asian cookbook I have, and then I modified it a bit. Oddly enough, I'm writing this while watching "Julie & Julia"...very inspiring. I'm actually tempted to try that beef stew recipe (actually with a French name for the recipe...but I didn't take French in school...so there! ^_^). Anywho...this recipe really only takes like 30 minutes to make, and about 30 minutes of prep time. So...here's the recipe:







Ingredients:

1 package of pre-cooked shrimp (thawed)
2 cups of fresh spinach
2 garlic cloves minced
1 package of Shanghai noodles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 tspn ginger powder
1 1/2 tspns crushed rep pepper seeds
6 cups of chicken stock
2 tblspns soft soy sauce
2 tspns soft brown sugar
1 tblspn of sweet chili sauce
1/4 tspn basil
1 cup mushrooms
1 scallion sprout - chopped

Shrimp Marinade:

1. Combine olive oil, garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper seeds, sweet chili sauce, salt, whole black pepper and basil. Mix thoroughly.
2. In a leak proof bag, combine the thawed pre-cooked shrimp in the marinade. Let sit (refridgerated) for at least 30 minutes.

Cooking:
1. In a pot, combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, brown sugar, onions and mushrooms. Let come to a boil.
2. In a skillet combine the shrimp, remaining marinade, and spinach. Let simmer.
3. In a separate pot, bring water to a boil and cook noodles until tender (or to taste).
4. **Optional Step!!** I chose to serve this dish with rice as an aside. So, you can cook the rice in a rice cooker. ^_^

Place noodles in a soup bowl. Add the soup base and veggies followed by the spinach and shrimp. Garnish with the chopped scallions. Serve with a side of rice.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Funny Commentary On a Great Post from the Ask A Korean Blog

Okay, so recently I started following a blog I came across called "Ask a Korean". It's a great little blog written from the perspective of a Korean American guy and covers everything from Korean culture to little random posts. Well, today I came across a post on AAK's blog called "Open letter to non Asian-American People" which was basically a listing of how not to make an ass out of yourself when approaching and interacting with Asian Americans.

I love this blog...but with this post, I think it would honestly apply to any group of people. It reminded me of the number of times I've experienced that "did this joker really say this retarded crap to me and think that they're cute?!" moment. So, I decided to compile a personal list of things I've experienced as an African American woman that might help some non-black people learn how to better interact with their peers! And this is just for fun...so please don't write me a 20 page dissertation on how what I said was offensive. The Internet is free...start your own blog and type away if you don't like what's in this list.

Nothing is more obnoxious than people saying things like:  


1. "You speak so clearly!" No, not all of us sound like Lil Wayne, and the underlying implication that you didn't think smart AA's existed until you met me is extremely insulting. I went to an Ivy League school, why would I sound like Lil Wayne.  


2. Trying to talk to me in a hood slang accent. I should let you know I grew up in one of the whitest neighborhoods in Indianapolis...in fact, I'm probably more preppy or suburban than you, so please stop trying to relate to me under the assumption that every black person grew up in "tha hood". Unless you're Eminem, or someone who truly grew up in "tha hood"...talk normal.

3. Giving me the look of shock if I tell you I got a sunburn at the beach. Contrary to popular belief, a higher percentage of melanin in your skin isn't a guarantee that you won't get burned.

4. "You're so pretty, are you mixed or something?" Now in fairness, yes I have a lot, and I do mean A LOT going on in my family tree. But whether you meant to or not (and most of the time I'm sure people don't when they say this to me) you're also implying that by default, if I'm "just black" that I wouldn't be pretty. Unfortunately, that plays to a huge cultural thing in the AA community about skin color and its equivalence with beauty - you don't want to go there with a black person. It's a foot in mouth thing...just say I'm pretty, and if I choose to give you the break down on my family tree then so be it.

5. "You look just like that one actress/singer/chick down the street." Much like #4, I'm sure you're not implying it, but seriously, we don't all look alike. I don't look like Janet Jackson from Good Times, and just because I sometimes go blonde doesn't make me Beyonce either.

6. "I know you can show us how to dance!" Said to me at a frat party in college...actually I've seen some pretty rhythm-less black people...so once again...don't let the stereotype get your head twisted. Although yes, I can dance! ^_^

7. "I know all about black women and their hair." Sorry, just because you watched Chris Rock's movie "Good Hair" doesn't mean you know jack about black women and their hair and the cultural significance it plays in our society. You watched a movie...that's it...don't let it go to your head.

8. "Can I touch your hair?!" No jackass, you can't. Just for reference...asking to touch anything on anyone who you don't really know is much like non-verbally saying "I look at you as if you're something strange and odd...so I must inspect it". Inspect from afar...and silently.

9. "My neighbor/mailman/person-down-the-block-who-I-don't-really-know is black". This is cringe-worthy. Please, I totally get it that a lot of people don't actually spend a lot of time around people of color just because of the composition of their town. But saying this, makes you seem really out of touch.

10. "You must get mad when you see a black man with a white woman" Ummm actually no...I have been happily in an interracial relationship with a Puerto Rican man for the last 5 years. So, why would I be worrying about what some random man who I don't know is doing or who he's dating. Don't let the 1990's urban "African American themed" movies get to your head...I don't care what the next man is doing as long as he's doing it for love and not for "status" or to fill a fetish.

11. Speaking of fetishes...don't assume that all AA women are freaks or like the video chicks on late night BET & will welcome advances from anything male...I know some serious prudes out there. And it's insulting to have men come up to you trying to be wayyy too familiar. Unless you want me to mace you...keep your thoughts to yourself.

12. "Why do black people do (insert subject here)?" How the hell would I know?! I'm one black woman...I do not speak for all black people around the world. I don't ask you to rep your race/ethnicity...please don't ask me to quantify an entire group of people.

13. "Are you an 'angry black woman'?" Seriously?! AA women are in a "damned if we do damned if we don't" position wayyyy too many times. I'm not an angry black woman but this question tries my patience...just because you've watched "Diary of a Mad Black Woman", "Waiting to Exhale" or any other "AA oriented female empowerment movie" doesn't make you an expert on black women and our love/hate relationship in our overall community. I would have to say, no, I'm not an angry black woman...but this question makes me want to slap you.

14. "You must be great at sports" I'm not Venus or Serena or Sheryl Swoops. In fact, I was happy to get a C in gym class. Please don't assume things.

15. Fried chicken, watermelon & chitlins. Okay yes I like fried chicken, but who doesn't? (besides a vegetarian!) Watermelon? Not a fan of the consistency....and the thought of eating pig intestines is too gross for words.

16. The assumption that all black people (African, W. Indian, AA's, black Brits, etc.) are all the same. FAIL FAIL FAIL...it's a night and day kind of thing. The only thing we share is melanin and a shared general ancestry...please don't lump us all in the same category. Some people take HUGE offense to this...much like saying a Mexican is the same as a PRican as a Dominican as a Spaniard...I've seen people get into huge arguments over being lumped into the same ethnicity...don't go there!

Okay...so those are my pet peeves...anyone else experienced anything like this? Doesn't have to be just black people...share your comments and again, this was all in fun so please don't send me hate mail over this! ^_^

Monday, July 5, 2010

More Cooking Goodness - Chicken Satay w/Peanut Sauce & a Green Bean & Cucumber Sweet Chili Sauce Salad

So, as most people know I'm a foodie...I love food especially when I can replicate dishes that are some of my faves. Today is one of those recipes. I LOVE Chicken Satay...and until today, I never realized how easy it was to make. So...I'm putting two recipes up today:

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Green Bean & Cucumber Salad with Sweet Chili Sauce




Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

8 chicken breasts
1 onion roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/4 tspn crushed red pepper seeds
1 tspn ground cumin
1/4 tspn salt
1 tblspn soy sauce
1/4 cup oil
1 tbspn soft brown sugar
cucumber slices

Peanut Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup water
2 tbspns sweet chili sauce
1 tbspn soy sauce
2 tspns lemon juice

Chicken:
1. Combine onions, garlic, red pepper seeds, cumin, salt, soy sauce, oil & brown sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
2. In a bowl or plastic bag combine the marinade and chicken and let sit for 2 hours.
3. On a skillet or in a pan, heat the chicken thoroughly.
4. After the chicken is browned on both sides, remove from heat and cut into strips.
5. Any chicken that is still undercooked (inspect each strip for pink areas) should be returned to the skillet or pan to finish cooking.

Peanut Sauce:
1. Combine peanut butter, coconut milk, water, chili sauce, soy sauce and lemon juice in a pan.
2. Mix thoroughly and place over a low to medium heat.
3. Once the mixture begins to bubble, remove from heat and stir.
4. The sauce should begin to thicken as it cools.

Serve chicken with drizzles of the peanut sauce over it and with sauce on the side.

Green Bean & Cucumber Salad with Sweet Chili Sauce

Ingredients:
1 package of fresh green beans with the ends cut off
1 cucumber peeled and chopped
1/2 tspn of black pepper
1/4 tspn of salt
1/2 tspn of garlic
1 tbspn olive oil
1 tbspn sweet chili sauce

1. In a bowl combine the green beans, black pepper, salt, garlic and olive oil in a bowl and toss.
2. In a pan, heat the green beans until they become a bright green color and tender.
3. Remove from the stove and let cool in the fridge.
4. After chilling the green beans, add the cucumbers and sweet chili sauce. Add additional olive oil if needed. Toss & serve.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Interesting Bit o' History & A Good Read - Black Indians

So,

Today I went to the Smithsonian National Museum of American Indians down in Bowling Green here in NYC. To be honest, the museum was a bit of a "womp womp" moment as it only had 5 exhibit halls in total and one of them wasn't even dedicated to American Indians and the other was an "eccentric" art exhibit reflecting Skin both as a metaphor and a literal meaning...but the art pieces were just odd with the exception of one that had to do with beading. (But I've never been one for eccentric slashes of paint as art kind of person - give me a real painting...but that's a topic for another day).

People who are close to me know that I have American Indian heritage, in total I'm a quarter American Indian - a combo of Cherokee and Black Crow. So, there was a very personal reason for why I wanted to go to the museum, I'm a history buff specifically as it relates to US history and I wanted to see what this museum had to offer on a topic that hits close to home. But, even though the NYC version of this museum wasn't quite what I was hoping for, I found an interesting book in the gift shop entitled "Black Indians" by African American historian William Loren Katz (read that as he studies AA history...not that he is AA). He writes about other things besides black history, but if you check out his website, he does quite a bit of coverage of the role, marginalization and and eventual progression of African Americans in US history. I found the book interesting enough that I bought it this afternoon and couldn't wait to get home, read it, and finished it.

Well this book peels back a layer on a really forgotten portion of US history - the symbiotic and intermingled relationship of Africans and Indians in the Americas (North, South, Caribbean and Central) and the various contributions that Black Indians (either described as Africans/former slaves who were adopted into Indian nations or as offspring who were the product of an interracial relationship) made in society. Many of the African American heroes that the average black child grows up hearing about can trace some form of Indian ancestry...Langston Hughes, Crispus Attucks, and Frederick Douglass to name a few.

But more than just beating us over the head by saying "hey Black Indians exist in real life", the book "Black Indians" also really highlighted how much two very distinct and definitely marginalized cultures - through which the "awesomeness" that is America was achieved on their misfortunes - relied so much on each other and when combined ended up being some of the most difficult foes that an expansionist/Manifest Destiny focused US government would ever face. Before reading this book tonight, I never knew how many Africans (i.e former slaves or free-born blacks) actually assimilated into Seminole culture and various Indian nations, and actually helped to lead during peace time and lead successful counter attacks in the years leading up to the Trail of Tears - these things aren't taught in traditional history classes which often present a very narrow minded view of US history and the roles of minorities within it.

But Katz also touches on something which is very huge in the African American community - that to embrace any other culture as a part of your heritage rather than being "just black" is to reject your "blackness":

"When Black Americans have pursued their genealogy, they have focused on their African roots and sought a meaningful black heritage. Children of the black awareness of the 1960s have rarely cared to mention an Indian ancestry because this might be seen as a denial of their African origins and the value of blackness. All this is part of a racial nightmare we have inherited."

 I've always embraced the variety in my background that is evident through the diversity in my family tree. Whether it's West Indian, American Indian, Creole or just plain white and black (all things in my heritage), I've never felt like identifying with one made me any less of an African American (I've always done a o_0 face to people who feel that way). To quote Katz again:

"Today just about every African-Amercan family tree has an Indian branch...Native Americans and Africans merged by choice, invitation, and love...and it explains why families who share this biracial inheritance feel so much solace and pride."

Anywho, I didn't mean to turn this into the super long post that it became, but books like this are essential...not just for African Americans with American Indian ancestry such as myself, but for all Americans. The other reason this book gave me an "ah-ha" moment was because all my life, I assumed Black Crow referred to a nation in general, but after reading this book and noting how Katz distinguishes between the "full blooded" indians versus those intermingled with African ancestry (referred to as Black Seminole/Black Cherokee/etc.), I now have to wonder if Black Crow refers to an actual subset of the Crow nation (blacks who had assimilated and probably later intermarried and had children) versus the entire Crow nation*.
*And if you're wondering why I refer to American Indians as nations vs. tribes...tribes makes a group sound archaic or barbaric, nations pays tribute to the fact that the various peoples had entire hierarchies and prosperous societies that existed & continue to survive today.

No one group's contributions and turmoil in this nation's history should be marginalized or ignored just to create a glossy "we all love each other" ideal; especially when reality and history have proven that this wasn't the case back in the day. And this is a huge concern with the amount of educational boards around the country who are choosing to "revise" text books to create an idealized form of US history. The purpose of books like Black Indians isn't to continue division, but to shed light on topics which are gritty, harsh, but a true reality. They put a face to a whole subset of people who haven't been officially recognized by the mainstream media for centuries.

Monday, June 21, 2010

BzzAgent: Got2b Smooth Operator

Surprise surprise, you guys know that I'm a BzzAgent. I agree to do product reviews, get shipped the product for free in exchange for letting all of you good people know what I think of it. So, anything hair and make up related is definitely something that I'm up for.

This time, I'm reviewing the hair line "got2b's" new cashmere line, and specifically their smoothing lotion "Smooth Operator". So the deal is that it helps to tame fly aways and keep your hair looking shiny & well moisturized.

I preface this by saying, normally I don't use products that contain alcohol because ultimately, alcohol dries out your hair (and many hair products have alcohol in them!). But I have to say, got2b's "Smooth Operator" was a good product. I received 6 sample packs about a week or so ago and at first I wasn't terribly excited once I saw that alcohol was an ingredient. But, now I only have about 2 left so...I think I might actually go purchase a full bottle when my samples run out!

So, to use this product, you pump a quarter size amount (depending on how much hair you have you might need more) and evenly distribute it onto towel-dried hair or dry hair. I put it on my hair after I spritzed it with a bit of water and detangling leave in conditioner. The sample packs actually have a lot of product in them...don't think the average person would need quite that much as it might cause build up. After it dried a bit, I combed it out so it was fluffy and not so flat.






So, this was the end result, I know the pic doesn't show my entire hair, but the curls stayed soft and bouncy all day! (Yes, my dog Jimmy Choo wanted to get into the mix too) But the luster was great and my hair felt light and bouncy without feeling weighed down, so got2b's "Smooth Operater" is definitely a keeper!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My New Favorite Word - Wonky!

Yup...I have a new favorite word - Epic Fail has been bumped to my 2nd favorite word. My new word is (imagine drum roll) "wonky"!

According to Urban Dictionary, the top entry for "wonky" is "weird, whacked out, messed up, not working for no definable reason. Usually applied to technology."

*Although I've heard it applied to fashion don'ts, bad hairstyles & everything in between...*

Basically, I love this word because:

1. It sounds funny! ^_^
2. It's a good description for when voice mail messages disappear into the ether, your email account flips out, or any other mess up that you couldn't find the perfect word to use to describe it!

This is the Hotness...

So...

Normally, I'm not a Snow White fan...for some reason she was one Disney princess I just couldn't like. She sang in annoyingly high tones & was just overall - a dumb chick.

Anywho...I saw this vinyl decal sticker on Etsy and I had to have it! It's Snow White, but she's a badass...note the awesome gloves and mask...

And of course, how awesome is it that the decal is created perfectly so that she's holding the Apple logo...

I bought it in white (I have a black MacBook). For only $8.99 + $3.00 shipping, this is a must have. To snag your own custom/stock vinyl decals, shimmy on over to Etsy. There are a lot of vendors who are selling them, but I bought mine from "Crafty Gal Decals"!

**And yes, I posted a pic with a watermark - it's not mine, and I don't have the goods yet! Once I get my product in, I'll update this post to show how the white looks on a black MacBook...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My New Favorite iPhone App (Weekend Edition) - Pen Pals

Keeping it short and sweet...

I just got this app last night, Pen Pals, and I'm already addicted. Okay, so I love meeting new people. And I especially love meeting new people from other countries because you never know when you'll get the chance to visit that country. And then, you'll have an instant friend. :)

So, last night I downloaded PenPals..I think it was like $1.99 but I decided to give it a try (although to be fair, it's getting mixed reviews because of connectivity issues with the Dos Hombres' server).

The deal is that you can create a random greeting message (either text or with audio & pics too) and then send it out to the ether. It will be sent randomly to someone else who's also using the Pen Pals app and then they can choose to either reply back to you or delete it. And from there you two can either continue chatting through Pen Pals or make arrangements to chat elsewhere (Skype, AIM, etc.).

So, I decided not to write a random greeting but to wait and see who might send me a random greeting. As of now, I've gotten 8 or 9 greetings. Half of them I tossed just because I wasn't interested and their greeting wasn't all that persuasive. But the others were interesting. And, get this, two of the people who's greetings I kept are from - yup you guessed it, South Korea! And one of the two also works in entertainment too...too funny.

So, I highly recommend picking up this app if you have an Apple compatible device. I haven't had any connectivity issues so far & you never know who you may meet! Plus the graphics on this thing are so cute...it's worth the $1.99!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

My K-Novella Obsession - 검사 프린세스

Yup...I'm going through a bit of a K-Novella obsession at the moment - especially since now the plot is finally getting juicy. So, obviously, as you guys know, I'm studying Korean right now and one of my tutors suggested that I watch Korean shows (without subtitles) to help with my listening comprehension. It seemed like a good idea, especially since I don't really have anyone in my close social circle who speaks Korean. 


Most of my friends and my boyfriend are Spanish, so there's no help there (I already speak passable Spanish). So, I went on www.bada.us and managed to catch a show at the very beginning of its first season - 검사 프린세스 (Prosecutor Princess). I only missed one or two shows, but 검사 프린세스 is about a privileged girl (Ma-Hye-Ri - who I will later just refer to as Hye Ri - also pictured in the show poster at left) who manages to pass the Korean version of the Bar and begins working in the prosecutor's office. At first she's at somewhat of a clerk position under the ultra yummy prosecutor Se-Joon...pause for yumminess... (no that's not Se-Joon in the pic - that's another guy who's part of the love square I mention below)


Okay, anyway Hye Ri is initially not really concerned with her job - and why should she be, she's privileged - living a life that the other prosecutors couldn't even begin to afford on a state salary. But eventually (and I forget the reason why because the first few episodes are honestly a tad bit silly) she becomes a full fledged prosecutor - but since she's been so flighty, the cases that are given to her are fluff. But eventually she takes herself (and her jobs) more seriously and proves that she really is the stuff that good attorneys/prosecutors are made of. 


I'm leaving a lot of the plot out just because, there's a whole love square going on as well as the usual dramatic shenannigans for a love/work drama such as this one. Even if you don't understand Korean (or much of it - as is my case with this show) you can pretty much glean a lot of what's going on from watching it. And there are sites that offer the shows with English subtitles. I'm just purposely not watching those versions so my Korean can improve. :) Of course, if you don't want to watch with subtitles, yet aren't understanding everything that's being said (like me) then I highly recommend that you follow up the shows with an awesome blog I came across a couple weeks ago - www.dramabeans.com. They give a full recap (in English!) for all the major K-Dramas (fyi: K-novella is just what I call it because after studying Spanish for so many years, their word for TV drama is "novella"). So, you won't miss out on anything - or in my case, you can confirm that what you thought you heard was right!


The Skinny:  검사 프린세스
When: **If you actually get SBS then it airs Wed & Thurs at 9:55pm local (Korea) time - otherwise you can check out sites like www.bada.us where the latest episodes are posted every Wed & Thurs
Recaps: www.dramabeans.com - just do a search for Prosecutor Princess, it takes a week sometimes for the latest recap to be posted 

My New Favorite iPhone Game App - Doodle Jump

Yup, it's that time of the week again...time for my favorite iPhone app.

Well this week, we're talking games and the winner is....Doodle Jump! I love this game because it's simple, fast paced and helps pass away the time on a long commute. The goal is to get the little Doodle Jump guy to jump on little platforms as high as you can without getting snagged by any of the obstacles.

Along the way there are little helpful things you come across that help your Doodle Jump guy jump higher, fly farther or protects him from being hurt by the weird creatures that might get in the way. My favorite is the rocket pack. Another added bonus is this game is always being updated - so there are always new themes, weird creatures and helps that show up from time to time.

Doodle Jump is only $0.99 for iPhone and iPod Touch users so I highly recommend it.

FYI, Lima Sky (the makers of Doodle Jump) also have another awesome app that I love called Flags Fun...definitely recommend it if you're in the mood for a fun brain teaser that also teaches you a 'lil something about which flags belong to which countries.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Social Media = Convos, Not Monologues

So, every once in a while, I get into these great discussions on LinkedIn (my business social network site) and it always gets me thinking on how much social media is misused in the business sphere. Yesterday (Tuesday) I replied to a post where someone was asking if joining a bunch of social networking sites was effective. And the original poster (OP) cited a friend of their's who joined like 10 - 15 sites, posted content daily and upgraded their page rank to the 2nd page. That's awesome right? No not really, and here's how I explained my reasoning:

That's not an effective use of time nor does it mean that your social campaign is truly effective. Yes, he gained rank, but that doesn't mean that people really know who he or his company is and what they do, and why they should want to use his company. I'm a social marketer, and I wouldn't recommend that someone use more than two or three social sites. For example, I have a FB, Twitter and LinkedIn account. My FB is linked to my Twitter so I'm not racing back and forth between the two. Everytime I make a tweet, it automatically goes to my FB page.

Yes, being active on a social site will increase your Google rankings, but I was able to push my rank to dominating page 1 (as well as doing that for some of my clients) without going on every social page. The reality is that social pages shouldn't be dominating your time - otherwise when are you getting real work done? And, how can you really have "conversations" with people if you're on every site known to man? That's the whole point of businesses using social media - to put a face to the company/to connect directly with consumers. If you're on all the social sites, then you're spending two or three hours doing mundane updates and not focusing on the response rates to your posts.

Plus, there's also the issue that not every social site will really address your demographic. For example, if you're marketing to people in the older half of Gen Y, why are you on Myspace? Myspace has essentially become the teenage playground (and young teens at that 13 - 15 year olds). So, I think your friend did a shot in the dark. It was effective in that it increased his Google page rank, but he probably could have gotten similar & more meaningful results with a bit less effort and more targeting.

And then I got a private inMail from a group member who read my response and asked specifically why they weren't receiving results for some of their social media campaigns for their company. They were posting to quite a few different networks, knew that it probably wasn't the best use of their time/efforts, but wasn't sure how to approach management with their feelings. So, I said: 

Hi [name withheld for privacy!],

It's about frequency & conversation, not just the total placements. Besides the fact that posting all over the place is just exhausting, you're not giving yourself the chance to see what the response rates are to your content/updates. One thing I noticed when I first started on Twitter (long before I jumped on the FB craze) was that the people who seemed to have the most followers & the most influence (when you hubspot someone's name) were the people who seemed to be "regulars" on Twitter. Maybe they posted about work things, but then they also posted nice random posts about just whatever they're doing. And most importantly, they replied to other people's posts. That's a conversation - rather than just posting content which comes across as a one way monologue.

Social media is supposed to humanize a brand - so if a company is just doing shot in the dark approaches by posting to too many services at once, it's disorienting to consumers and also makes them feel like the company is somewhat of a fraud. That you don't really want to connect with them, but just have an online presence (sort of a "me too" effect). It's a fine line with social media, and that's also a reason why I don't recommend that people post to more than 2 or 3 sites. If you spread yourself too thin, it shows and in turn makes it harder to connect with your consumer base. Of course, you can also link your services together to save time (much like I linked my Twitter to my FB account) but that still isn't an excuse to join too many sites at once.

Keep in mind page rank means nothing other than the Google/search engine crawler came across your name or meta tags that much more often than your competitors - it doesn't mean that consumers are actually searching you. Conversations will get you high ranks & more importantly, consumer recognition. Otherwise, you run the risk like the guy in the OP's post. Yes, he got page rank, but he got page 2 even after being on all those sites, and yet he still doesn't know whether or not consumers know who he is. And in the end, that's the point of social media, to get others to sing your praises and recommend you or relay your info to others without you having to pay for an expensive campaign.

Let your bosses know that a huge roster of social pages doesn't equal an effective campaign. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Yummy Stuffed Shells Recipe

More awesome recipes from me! So today I decided to make a tray of Stuffed Shells! Total time to prepare (prep & cook) 1 1/2 hours.







Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 package of ground beef
1 package of fresh asparagus
1 package of fresh mushrooms
1 red onion
1 box of jumbo shell pasta
1 container of ricotta cheese
2 packages of shredded mozzarella
fresh mozzarella (optional)
1/4 tspn basil
1/4 tspn oregano
1/4 tspn salt
1/4 tspn pepper
1/4 tspn garlic powder (or 2 fresh cloves of garlic)
1/4 tspn Goya Adobo
1 package Goya "Beef Bullion"
2 jars of Tomato Basil sauce (from Ragu)
Olive Oil

This recipe is done in three stages...listed  below:

*The Veggies:
1. Cut up the onions and mushrooms and store in a separate container.
2. Rinse the asparagus and trim the ends. Combine with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic and saute over medium heat until asparagus is tender.  (The salt, pepper and garlic powder used in this step is just to taste - not in reference to the 1/4 tspn sizes listed in the ingredients list)
3. Cut the asparagus into small pieces and store with the onions and mushrooms.

The Beef & Pasta:
1. Combine all of the 1/4 tspn ingredients and beef bullion with the raw ground beef and mix thoroughly. Brown in a skillet until the juices run clear.
2. While the beef is browning, heat the shells  and cook until al dente. (if you cook the shells too long, they'll be too soft to handle in the next step & might even fall apart - which will really suck! ^_^)
3. Once the shells are soft (yet still firm), remove from heat and drain. Let them sit under cool running water to keep the shells from sticking & to cool them down so you can handle them in the next step.

Stuffing the Shells!:
1. In a big bowl combine the veggies, cooked beef, the entire tub of ricotta cheese and half a bag of the shredded mozarella. Mix thoroughly.While you're at this step, preheat your oven to 425F.
2. In a 12x9 pan, spread a base of the tomato sauce to completely cover the bottom of the pan.
3. Begin stuffing a tablespoon of mixture into each shell and place on top of the tomato sauce in the pan.
4. Once all of the shells are stuffed, (note! I used an entire box of shells, and only ended up not using 5 of them) put another layer of tomato sauce to completely cover the shells. If you like your pasta extra saucy, feel free to add as much sauce as you please. I bought 2 jars to be safe and ended up using 1 1/2 jars of sauce.
**The shells can be visible, but none of them should look dry like no sauce has touched them.**
5. Take the remaining shredded cheese from the first package and sprinkle a layer over the shells. Again, if you like a lot of cheese, feel free to use the 2nd package.
6. If you opted to also use fresh mozzarella, place pieces of mozzarella at random over the top of the shells. You don't need a lot - unless you're really going for a super cheesy experience!
**if you used a disposable pan like I did, make sure you place the pan on a cookie sheet to give it support**
7. Place the pan of stuffed shells in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. 5 shells should be a good serving amount! Serve with garlic bread and a little parmesan cheese...enjoy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Shoes, Shoes & More Shoes!

Of course I love shoes, what woman doesn't?!




Anyway, I was in the city today and I bought this cute pair of shoes. They're pseudo classic looking but at the same time are super comfortable. It's almost a 3 inch heel but even as I walked around the city with them on this afternoon, my feet didn't hurt at all! Got them at the DSW in Union Square for $49.95...I love that store! ^_^






**I have long legs haha!**






**I love how classic these look, they go great with jeans, shorts (which was what I was wearing today) or a skirt!**









And I love the contrasting strap-work! Super cute!! ^_^ They also had this in a nautical navy stripe with red accent straps and silver hardware instead of the tortoiseshell on my version - but I decided to skip the nautical theme.

BzzAgent: Hills Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dog Food Pt 2

So, I mentioned earlier this week that I was doing a BzzAgent survey for Hill's Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food. Well, today I went out at picked up a bag (comped by BzzAgent/Hill's Science). If you remember, I have a 2 year old Yorkie who we currently feed the Eukanuba Yorkshire Terrier Formula kibble.

**The Hills Science is 4.5lbs vs the 7lb Eukanuba bag on the left.**


For starters, the Hill's Science Diet food comes in a resealable bag - which is nice, since we have to use a clip to keep our Eukanuba closed. The only draw back is that the Ziploc-like seal opening is so small that we can't use a scoop/cup to put food in the bowl but would actually have to take the entire bag to Jimmy's bowl and pour it.



Well, after putting the food out Jimmy seemed to like it - which made us happy because he's quite picky. He's free fed so we didn't expect him to demolish the bowl, but he ate for about 3 or 4 minutes.




But then it went downhill from there. About thirty minutes after being fed, Jimmy ran under the couch and started whimpering - which makes me think that the Hill's Science Diet didn't agree with him. Since about almost 7pm my poor furbaby has been very lethargic - nothing has motivated him to get up - so he must have a stomach ache. I know for a fact he's sick since as I type, I'm eating a bowl of pasta and normally the sight of human food is enough to energize him to beg for scraps while we eat. No begging tonight - he's been laying on the couch resting.

**Poor Jimmy has been whimpering for the last hour and a half...**



Verdict: I'm kicking myself for deciding to try out this product. I'm not saying that Hill's Science is a bad product because I'm sure that this isn't the outcome for everyone else. But I should have considered the old saying "if it ain't broke...". Jimmy Choo has been eating Eukanuba since he was 2 months old with no issues whatsoever. There are some foods that don't agree with him and ultimately when it comes to buying food (much like with babies), it's a trial and error. But at least I didn't have to come out of pocket. Although, the product is fairly cheap - $8.99 for a 4.5lb bag from PetLand (at least that's the price here in the Bx...)

So, now I'm feeding my pup a little plain white rice to calm his stomach which he is responding to. And now he's resting in his bed...I did this test because I thought it would be a graet alternative, but to be honest, when it comes to your pet's food (much like if you have children) don't go messing around unless you absolutely have to. -_- It's one thing to do a cosmetics review, it's quite another to mess with my pet's tummy - especially when the poor thing suffers as a result of it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Yummy Spicy Shrimp Salad

Yes, I love to cook - but only if there's people to cook for, otherwise it's just no fun. So, today I didn't feel like cooking anything that would require a lot of time at the stove/oven considering that it's still really warm out and I haven't entirely acclamated myself to the weather change. So, I decided to make a shrimp salad - it turned out a bit spicier than I had intended but it was awesome. The recipe is below and should make about 4 - 6 servings depending on how generous you are with your portions:

 **See my little Yorkie in the bottom left corner wishing he could have some! But this is too spicy for him!!!***


Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 5 - 10 minutes

Ingredients:
30 - 40 Shrimp (either fresh raw or pre-cooked frozen)
1 avacado
1 can mandarin oranges
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup thawed frozen/drained canned loose kernel corn
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls
1 1/2 heads of romaine lettuce
1/4 tspn cayenne pepper
1/4 tspn Jamaican curry powder
1/4 tspn oregano
1/4 tspn basil
1/4 tspn black pepper
1/4 tspn salt
1/2 tspn garlic
olive oil (I didn't measure the amount of olive oil I used, but put enough to liberally marinate the shrimp - which will later be used as the dressing)

Shrimp Marinade:
After thawing and peeling shrimp (as necessary) combine cayenne pepper, black pepper, oregano, basil, salt, garlic, curry and olive oil in a plastic bag with the shrimp. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for at least 20 - 30 minutes.

Salad:
Chop the lettuce and place into a large bowl. Drain the mandarin oranges and add to the lettuce. Combine dried cranberries, corn and mozzarella to the lettuce and toss. After 20 - 30 minutes has passed place shrimp and marinade in heated skillet. If using pre-cooked shrimp cook for 5 minutes, no more than 10 if using raw shrimp (until it turns pinkish). Add shrimp and marinade to the salad and toss. Plate the salad and garnish with wedges of avacado.

Enjoy!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My New Favorite iPhone Korean Learning App - LingoPal

Yup, I'm doing it again...it's time for the "My New Favorite iPhone App" segment! Last week it was a game, this time, it's something educational (yet fun at the same time).

If you've been reading my blog or just know me personally, you know that I'm learning Korean. I watch my K-novellas (검사 프린세스), I have language apps on my iPhone, learning websites I use and I've run through a number of tutors (one of which is coming back this month - yay!). But I came across an app that is actually intended for you to use when you're actually in a situation where conversing in a foreign language would be extremely useful. It's LingoPal's Korean app on iTunes. They're a language company that produces apps and products for all different types of languages, but obviously, I was only really interested in their Korean content.

They have phrases that can be used in any situation from getting around the city, ordering food and flirting - and better yet - learning how to properly reject someone in Korean. ^_^ My favorite rejection lines are the following (things I wouldn't mind telling some obnoxious dude on the subway):

Leave me alone: 저를 혼자 두세요 (jeo-reul-hon-ja-doo-se-yo)
I don't like you: 난 너가싫어 (nan-neo-ga-sil-heo)
Fuck off: 꺼져 (keo-jyeo)
(Because seriously, after I say I have a bf, I'm not interested in you telling me "well why can't we be friends" - I don't want to be your friend. I have plenty of friends & they don't look at me like I'm the last rib on the plate)

Anyway, the app is free (a huge bonus when dealing with learning apps) for those with iPhones/iPod Touches. If you're wondering why I said it's a huge bonus when trying to learn or make an application part of your daily life, the reason is nothing is worse than paying for an application with limited functionality - especially when trying to learn a language. I usually don't "buy" language apps just because I hate to be disappointed, but the most I've ever spent on a language app is $1.99.

The other useful thing is, it has a pronunciation guide that you can play for each phrase as well as showing you what the phrase is supposed to look like (extremely useful for languages like Korean where the writing system is entirely different from Romance languages). A word of warning, you need to have at least a basic knowledge of the Hangul (Korean) writing system and pronunciation for this to be an extremely useful app because there is no romanization available. If you don't know what "romanization" is, go back to the list of Korean phrases I wrote above (the pronunciations I made for each one is considered "romanizing" the phrase to make it easier for non-Korean speaking people to understand how to pronounce the word).

BzzAgent: Hills Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dog Food

As many of you know, I'm a BzzAgent. I get to test out new products and services for free in exchange for offering my opinion on them and spreading the word to all of you readers out there in cyberspace. So I have two upcoming BzzReports that I need to do, one for Cover Girl & another one for Hill's Science Diet - the pet food company.

Well this post is about Hill's Science Diet. I just got my BzzKit for the program, and unlike normally where the product is delivered directly to me, this time, I've been given a coupon to redeem for a free bag of Hill's Science Diet Small & Toy Breed dry dog food.

A bit of background info: I have a Yorkie - Jimmy Choo. He's just over 2 years old, about 6.3lbs and is somewhat of a picky eater. Since my boyfriend and I got him when he was just two months old, we've been feeding him Eukanuba kibble. Of course, we give him other things too (Mighty Dog and the occasional treat of chicken, rice, cheese or turkey), but the Eukanuba kibble is the mainstay.

 **Our Jimmy Choo...in a rare moment of inactivity**




At first we gave him the Eukanuba Puppy Lamb & Rice Formula but then once he was a year, we switched to Eukanuba Yorkshire Terrier Formula. The Yorkie specific formula is specially created to address the nutritional needs for not just Yorkies but a few other toy breeds as well as addressing the special needs of their coats, dental care and probiotics for healthy digestive tracts. So, I can't really complain with the Eukanuba formula, it's been good so far.

 **Our current dry dog food of choice. You can't see the green sticker (hidden by the clip) but it lists that the food has probiotics in it. **



But when I saw the offer on BzzAgent, I had to give it a try. However, our Jimmy is a picky eater, so it will be interesting to see if he likes this new formula from Hill's Science Diet. But, I just refilled his bowl this morning (we free feed our pup) so, I won't be able to try out the Hill's Science until probably Tuesday when Jimmy finishes what's in his bowl right now.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My New Favorite iPhone Game App - The Impossible Test

Yes, I have an iPhone - as if you didn't already know if you're following me on Facebook or Twitter. My app selections usually fall into a few categories:

Social Apps (FB, Twitter, HootSuite, Four Square, etc.)
Korean Learning Apps (WordPower, KC101, LingoPal, etc.)
Games (DoodleJump, Sheep Launcher, Flags Fun, Unblock Me, etc.)
Travel: (Zipcar, Expedia)
Randoms: (Currency Converter, All Recipes, Shazam, eBay)

And now I have a new "must have" to write about for the Games category. Last week I bought "Impossible Test" which is a free* app made by Pixel Cube. This game is addictive, short and definitely a brain teaser. There are about 40 - 50 (you lose count after a while) quiz screens. Nothing is inherently hard, but it makes you think through and actually read and digest every little thing that you see. The goal, once you finally make it through all the quizzes, is to try to get the fastest time. My fastest time so far has been 235 seconds. ^_^
*incidentally it looks like there's a charge for the game on the actual website - so non Apple product holders may have to pay to check out this game...

If you have an iPhone, iTouch or iPad (although I don't know if it's free on the iPad), I highly recommend you get it! Especially since it's free, you have nothing to lose by downloading it!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Is It Just Me Or Is This a Marketing Ploy?

A random rant...

Okay so I've seen this commercial for the Lysol "No Touch Hand Soap System" a number of times, but the more I see it, the more I feel like it doesn't make sense.

The premise is that, with all the dirty/germy things that you can touch in a day, your hand soap pump can get really germy from multiple touches in a day. To fix this problem, they've created a touchless dispenser that is motion activated - to keep you from getting any more germs on yourself or on the soap pump. Okay, what's confusing me is, if you have antibacterial soap anyway, then it really doesn't matter if you touch the germy soap pump.

This feels more like a marketing ploy than a common sense idea. In theory, it sounds awesome - have a touchless soap dispenser so that you don't continue to contaminate surfaces. But come on, if the motion sensor in that dispenser is as "accurate" as a number of the motion sensory based dispensers in public restrooms around the country, then I can imagine myself standing there waving my hand like a moron trying to get a bit of soap to come out. ^_^

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My New Favorite Korean Learning Guide

Okay....unless you've been living under a rock and don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I'm studying Korean. This time last year, everyone was scratching their heads trying to understand why I would even try to learn a language where I had no real reason to (as opposed to say Japanese - or enhancing my passable Spanish skills). Fast forward to 2010 and now I do business with Korean entertainment firms - so apparently it wasn't such a bad idea for me to learn the language! Haha! ^_^

Anyway, the Korean learning curve has been a rocky one. At first my work schedule made it tiresome for me to make time for tutoring lessons or to study when I got home. Then my first tutor moved home to South Korea before returning to the States to go to school at the University of Minnesota. Then my 2nd tutor got too busy with classes at Columbia University's Business School to meet up with me anymore. And finally the third one was somewhat of a bust as we only met twice and he's going back to South Korea in May.

Finally I realized that much like learning to run my own business, if I wanted to learn to speak Korean, I was going to have to take it upon myself. So, I stumbled upon (no not through using Stumbleupon.com) a website that was developed by a (I'm assuming former) guy who used to work with KoreanClass101.com. If you're familiar with KC101 then you probably either really love it or are ambivilant to it. I'm ambivilant to the website but do like the iPhone apps!

Well the new website I found is called "www.TalkToMeInKorean.com" and is entirely different than KC101. First all the lessons are accessible without needing a membership and each one comes with a pdf and podcast that clearly outline what is being learned and how to apply it to regular conversation. And even better, they have these workbooks which help you to quiz yourself on how much you learned from the step by step lessons. I highly recommend this site if you're trying to ease into Korean. :)

And...in addition to that, I've also been spending a lot of time watching Korean TV to help my listening comprehension skills. My last tutor gave me a great site - bada.us which offers streams of all the popular Korean TV shows and movie trailers. I'm partial to the modern day dramas or "novellas" as I like to call them - for those of us familiar with the Spanish versions of soap operas. I'm partial to 검사 프린세스 ( which in Korean means "Kamsa Princess" or "Prosecuting Attorney Princess") which is the story of a well to do woman who (through her father's connections I'm guessing) lands a job working for the State as a prosecutor. Originally she's bratty and doesn't take her job seriously but as the show continues, she begins to mature. But the predictable soap opera-ish plot line is that she has a choice between two men - the silent/stern but well meaning co-worker who she has a crush on (who is a hottie) and her childhood friend who likes her but she doesn't like "in that way".

Anyway...I definitely recommend bada.us (especially since there are no subtitles like on CrunchyRoll.com) and TalkToMeInKorean.com because it clearly explains everything!

감사합니다!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Thought Provoking Post...

Ok...I know, it's almost 4AM on Monday morning, but every once in a while I get inspired. This is a repost of a comment I made on an ezine article...but it was so interesting and the responses to the article were so varied that I thought it deserved to be re-posted.

So, I follow Clutch Magazine (@clutchmagazine) on Twitter and they had an article that I came across called "Where Are Black Men's Voices in Single Black Woman Commentary?"

In case you don't read the article, it's basically highlighting the fact that recently, mainstream media has been focusing on the fact that there is an influx of marrying age SBF's (single black females) who aren't finding their black male counterparts. But these SBF's can be classified as middle class - gainfully employed, college educated, etc. etc. So, the columnist was essentially irritated with the mainstream focus on it - making SBF's sound like an endangered species. And, she wanted to hear the black man's perspective on it - rather than just the mainstream media's sound bites on it.

And this is where it got interesting...

People commented quite a bit - and the opinions were highly varied; some condemning black men for the current status of black on black relationships, and many saying don't just limit yourself to dating black men. Now, this is where it got me thinking...why in 2010 when our president is bi-racial are we (collective we - not personally) as black women still fixated on "The Black Man". We're in a post Loving vs. the State of VA world - where we're not forced to stick to our own. Even though it's been proven time and again through history, we're allowed to love whoever we want. So, why do we as black women only fixate on a black man and worse still become embittered when we see a black man with someone from another race - even when we know for a fact that we wouldn't want that man if he was available and interested in us?!

Having said that, this was my comment, please feel free to weigh in...


"I put this article/argument right along with the statistical evidence that people who come from single parent homes are neither as well adjusted or successful as their two parent family counterparts. If you’re looking for data to support a negative spin, it’s very easy to find it. 

In additional to the overwhelming gender bashing (both obvious and subversive) that I read in this thread I also see an obnoxious sense of entitlement coming from both genders. As a black woman, I just have to put this out there: Black men don’t “owe” you a relationship just because they fulfill a few “must haves” on your list (educated, gainfully employed, etc.) and you made it through college & are upwardly mobile. And likewise, black women aren’t required to play the “submissive Christie doll” routine just because you’re a black man. Respect, loyalty and dedication are earned. Being from the same racial make up as me guarantees you nothing except that we’re both sharing common ancestry.

When it comes to finding an appropriate mate (whether same race or from a different race) you get what you give. If you walk around with a complex saying “I went to college and I have a good job and I’m attractive – black men should just WANT me – but said black man must come with XYZ” then you’re going to end up with shallow jerk offs who wouldn’t support you if you lost it all tomorrow. Likewise, the time you waste worrying about why the random guy you saw in the store was with a white/asian/latin woman is time you’re wasting not meeting the guy you really want. Why waste your time worrying about something that you can’t change? I find many of my black female friends complaining about seeing a black man with a woman of another race. And then, when I ask them if they’re even mildly attracted to the man – 9 times out of 10 they wouldn’t want him if he was single. If the man approached them in the club they would be making a stank face. So, stop complaining. Regardless of whether or not a black man is dating a woman of another race because he really loves her or for status – it doesn’t change the fact that you’re not with him – so stop worrying about him.

We (as a culture) continue to help perpetuate these stereotypes and drama by focusing on things that we can’t change. We write books about it, bring it up in movies (all written by African Americans male & female) and even in comedy skits. Yet, somehow we’re upset when “mainstream” media picks up the soundbite and runs with it. Much like the N word debate and the “bitch” word debate – if you keep making a platform for it, it’s only a matter of time until the people outside of your own community decide to start shedding light on it.

And likewise, I agree with many other women on here who have said that you shouldn’t be limiting your dating pool by just race alone. I’ve been in a healthy, supportive and HAPPY relationship with a hispanic man for the last 5 years – not because I only date Spanish men (although I have dated men of all races) – but because we actually click and connected in ways that I’ve never been able to do with anyone else – regardless of race. We’ve both supported each other in starting our own businesses and have grown as individuals and as a couple. Somehow, I’ve always found that it’s silly to only allow myself to date people based on something as superficial as skin color – especially if my hopes/goals/dreams are more aligned with someone who is from a different race. And especially with the responses I’m seeing from a lot of the women on here – if you REALLY feel black men are so villainous/overbearing/looking for someone who will kowtow to them, then it’s even more of a reason why you should be expanding your horizons, not just sitting there with sand in your mouth.

In other words – if you’re not happy with the results you’re getting, then it’s up to you to make the change. Sitting around complaining about the state of black on black relationships isn’t going to make things any better and isn’t going to get you any closer to a happy & healthy relationship."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Another Multi Post Day? Possibly...

Well...since I'm relegated to sitting home & watching the Food Network on account of me not feeling 100%, I've been doing what I sometimes do best - BSing my time away online.

I'm sure everyone has trivial guilty pleasures, but one of mine was the "Single in the Suburbs" weekly blog/webisode that just finished its last installment this week on MSN's Lifestyle channel. Maybe the reason I liked it so much was because it centered on someone from Indiana (woo-hoo, we Hoosiers don't get a lot of love from the rest of the country, so when we make it into the cyber sphere...I have to take notice) or maybe it was just a nice read. Anyway, the storyline centered around a recently divorced woman who had to leave the idyllic "wife stays home & hubby makes huge money" scenario, move out of her perfect home, and endure being a single parent mom who also works.

For almost 2 and a 1/2 years, I followed poor "Sara's" (the main character) relationship troubles as this Baby Boomer woman tried to emerge into a dating world that had greatly changed since she had first dated before her marriage. Each week there were weekly installments every Thursday to buoy me through my work week and to entertain me even when I left the world of walking stiffs and started my own company. Alas, this week was the final installment. The ending was a bit contrived & too perfect, but I guess it was to be expected considering that MSN only gave a month's notice before winding down the series.