Friday, April 30, 2010

Me and my girl

I love this brown-eyed girl. She is forever my heart.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I (heart) Paper Heart

Last night, we watched the cutest film called Paper Heart. It's about comedienne/musician/artist Charlyne Yi's quest to find answers to what most eludes her: love. She travels across the country, from Las Vegas and Los Angeles to Nashville and Oklahoma City, interviewing everyone--friends, strangers, scientists, preschoolers, bikers, single people, gay couples, married folks who have been together for years-- asking, "Does true love really exist?"

Twenty-four year-old Charlyne doesn't know if she's ever been in love, or ever will be. Along the way, she meets and unexpectedly falls for tween poster boy Michael Cera (of "Superbad," "Juno" and "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist" fame). We follow them through the awkward get-to-know-you phase and tag along on various dates. It's obvious they have chemistry. Very cute.

The filmmakers describe the movie as a "hybrid documentary" (or mockumentary) and you wonder what parts are real and what parts are contrived. Does Charlyne play a fictionalized version of herself? Are the people she interviews reading from a script or speaking from the heart? Perhaps the big question is, "Are Charlyne and Michael really falling in love?"

It's cute. Fun. Super creative. I heart Paper Heart. Maybe you will, too.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cool cat/kitten of the week

Name: Jessica Pierce

Age: 30

Occupation: Hair and make-up artist

Hometown: Los Angeles

What she's wearing: XXI (dress); Jimmy Choo (heels); Vintage (jewelry)

How she would describe her style: "My style is glam girl with a touch of bohemian."

Name: Curtis Pierce

Age: 32

Occupation: Film Editor

Hometown: Los Angeles
What he's wearing: H&M (jacket); American Apparel (t-shirt); Zara (pants); Urban Outfitters (shoes); scarf from a trip to Italy; necklace from the swap meet in Norwalk

How he would describe his style: "Chic rock star... not the dirty kind."

South Korean sailors: RIP

Forty-six South Korean sailors were killed in the sinking of a warship on March 26 and today, families of the victims mourned the dead. A very sad occasion for a very troubling event. The South Korean government suspects their North Korean brothers are responsible. But even if President Lee Myung-Bak finds evidence of North Korea's involvement, he's in a pickle: his country is walking on eggshells with an unpredictable dictator like Kim Jong-Il.

What will happen next in the country of my forefathers? The chapter unfolds...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Why I'm glad I'm not a pig

We visited the farm this week and met this sow. Look at her. She had just given birth to 11 (yes, ELEVEN) piglets. The poor thing is just lying there, probably from utter (and udder) exhaustion. Can you imagine simultaneously nursing a dozen babies? I prefer to do it one at a time, thank you very much.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The new face of homelessness

In today's New York Times, there's an article called "Handing Out Money to Stave Off Homelessness." Times reporter Peter S. Goodman writes about the rising number of homeless middle-class Americans resulting from this horrid economy.

"The plight...has little to do with the complex intertwined causes of homelessness of decades past, such as substance abuse, mental illness and domestic violence. The current surge stems directly from the recession: Millions have lost their jobs or suffered a sharp drop in earnings. They have drained their savings, losing the ability to pay their rent."

Homelessness has now reached crisis proportions not seen since the Great Depression, according to the article. The severity of the situation has prompted the government to step in with intervention programs to help families gain independence again. Without assistance, many are at risk of slipping permanently into poverty, experts say.

I was struck by this article because I lost my job a year ago and joined some 15 million Americans who are unemployed. My lay off caught me completely by surprise (imagine, letting go of the editor of a magazine). I thought I had job security, but in this economy there's no such thing.

We now live on an income that's been slashed by almost a third (times were much more comfortable on a dual income) and a few unpaid bills nag at us each month. Even though we're feeling the pinch, I'm still thankful: I have a husband who has a job and we are able to pay our mortgage and put food on the table. And life hasn't changed too much for our two children.

I come across stories like the one in today's Times and I'm reminded of the millions of Americans who are on the brink of poverty. The once-breadwinning husband, the single mother, the young children who look forward to school lunch (perhaps their only meal of the day). The talking heads say the economy's getting better. Well, until we see the jobs come back (anyone looking for a magazine editor?), a recovery hasn't become a reality for too many of us.

Read the article here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cool kitten of the week

Name: Gwenyth Thomas

Age: 26

Occupation: Student

Hometown: Newport Beach, CA

What she's wearing: Maeve (dress); Assets (tights); vintage 

How she describes her style: A mixture of thrift store finds, trendy, preppy and classic 50s.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Smell like a celebrity

These days if you're a celebrity, seems like a pre-requisite to offer the world your B-O. Your body odor in the form of a perfume or cologne, that is. I flip through my fashion magazines and see that everybody's doing it: Sarah Jessica Parker, Paris Hilton, Halle Berry, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Usher, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Antonio Banderas, Faith Hill, Gwen Stefani, Reese Witherspoon, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Eva Longoria, Zoe Saldana, Tim McGraw, Carlos Santana, David Beckham and the newest member of the olfactory brigade-- Bruce Willis (hopefully, it won't be called "Die Hard").

As much as I hate the idea of buying a "celebrity perfume" (why would I want to smell like Paris Hilton?), I admit I have one sitting in my vanity. A few years ago, I was curious about Sarah Jessica Parker's debut fragrance, "Lovely" and found that it was, in fact, lovely.

I guess for a celebrity it makes sense: you're not only an actor/musician/athlete/reality-star/socialite, but you're also a brand. If everyone wants a piece of you, you might as well cash in. I call it low-hanging fruit. Plus, if the actor/musician/athlete/reality-star/socialite thing doesn't work out, you'll always have your B-O.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oishii is delicious!

We live downtown where there's a Farmers Market every Thursday. I love walking past the different tents and surveying the variety of goods: organic fruits and vegetables, fresh-picked flowers (tulips, daisies, sunflowers galore), homemade tamales, tasty cookies and breads, honey, hummus, nuts...

My son loves going to the Farmers Market for lunch. He's tried the Polish sausages, fire-roasted corn, spinach-and-cheese crepes and artery-clogging pastrami sandwiches. But this past Thursday, we made our favorite culinary discovery to date: Japanese tacos.

It was the first time the Oishii Tacos truck made an appearance at our Farmers Market, and wow! We were impressed! A delicious (or "oishii") meld of Japanese and Mexican ingredients, Oishii Tacos offers up specialities like shiitake mushroom quesadillas and fish tempura platters. My favorite were the shrimp tacos-- perfectly deep-fried tempura shrimp, finely-shredded cabbage, spicy pico de gallo wrapped in warm corn tortillas and topped off with their signature spicy sauce and sesame seeds. OISHII!

My son loved the shrimp quesadilla and quickly became friends with Oishii Tacos chef and founder Claudia Naffa. I found out Claudia wakes up at 5 a.m. every day to prep the truck. She chops vegetables, mixes tempura batter, prepares the seafood... No wonder the food tasted so good!

I've noticed the cross-cultural traveling food truck is becoming somewhat of a phenomenon. Gone are yesterday's "roach coaches" selling grease-soaked burritos and heart-attacks on a bun. They're being replaced by the likes of the Kogi truck (Korean-Mexican tacos), Mama Koh's Chicken (a fusion of Korean and Southern cooking) and now Oishii Tacos.

I say, keep the moveable feast coming! (

Friday, April 16, 2010

I can't wait for "Sex!"

I LOVED LOVED LOVED Sex and the City when it first premiered on HBO twelve years ago. Then the movie came out and it didn't disappoint. Now the sequel. Carrie Bradshaw and her girlfriends can do no wrong in my eyes.

Counting down 'til May 28...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The power of the boob

I was at a meeting yesterday morning while the husband stayed home with the kids. On my way back, I called to check-in. "Hi hon, I'm coming home now," I told him. "Oh, good!" he said as our baby wailed in the background. "I gave her the bottle but she just didn't want it. I think she needs the boob."

Ah... the boob. Ask any newborn and she will tell you (if she could) that there's nothing like mommy's bosom. Imagine being tucked away in a safe place, tummy to tummy, cheek pressed against a warm breast, milk flowing abundantly, always satisfying hunger and thirst. If you've ever witnessed a baby right after she breastfeeds, you know the face-- complete and utter peacefulness.

I'm convinced many of the planet's ills could be cured by the boob. In fact, maybe what the world needs is a giant cosmic teat. On a creative quest but can't find inspiration? Go to the boob for a clear mind. Want to love thy neighbor but can't stand him? Nurse and meditate. Having a sh*tty day? Just suckle.

We adults have it all wrong. The babies are trying to tell us... there's real power behind the boob.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cool cat of the week

Name: Caden S.

Age: 4

Occupation: Student and aspiring race car driver

Hometown: Orange County, CA

What he's wearing: Vans (shoes); Dennis (school uniform shorts); GapKids (vest); Old Navy (shirt); Friar Tux (bow tie); Crocodile Creek (lunch bag).

How he describes his style: Preschool cool.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Why parenting is not for the weak

A snapshot of a typical day in motherhood:

Wake up and don't have time (or motivation) to wash face. Wearing pajamas and don't have time (or motivation) to change clothes. Nurse the baby. Change her into freshly-washed onesie (note: did yet another load of laundry the other day). Five minutes later, baby spits up on onsie. Change her again. Two minutes elapse and baby spits up again (this time, all over above-mentioned pajamas). Change baby (and self).

Five minutes later, hear baby's tummy gurgle. She burps and SPLAT! A pool of spit up on the floor. Grumble a few expletives (but quietly so 4-year-old doesn't hear). Change baby AGAIN. Walk with baby to kitchen to start breakfast. She spits up. Trying to have a sense of humor but it's not funny anymore.

It's only 9 a.m. Hopefully no more spit up in the near future.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Can you say Dduk guk?

I'm at my parents' house (also affectionately dubbed the "Wudan Temple" by my brother) and every time we visit this refuge we FEAST. Yesterday afternoon, filet mignon; this morning, dduk guk-- Korean rice cake soup.

What is Dduk guk? It's a traditional Korean soup made of beef broth and oval- shaped rice cakes (not really cakes but more like chewy discs of rice deliciousness). You may also find ingredients like seaweed, green onions, egg and slices of beef. Koreans typically ring in the New Year by sharing a dduk guk breakfast together. The rice cakes are supposed to symbolize coins, which symbolize "good luck" for the coming year.

We eat dduk guk every time we want to celebrate something. And in this weekend's case, it's my brother's visit back home.

Why I could never be a vegetarian

My dad's steak could convert even the staunchest of vegetarians. Yes, you PETA-following, soy milk-drinking, tempeh/tofu/seitan lovers out there: you are all welcome to the Cho household to try my father's famous filet mignon.

This afternoon, we shared a delicious family meal. A carnivore's delight. Dad's perfectly-seasoned, perfectly-grilled filet melts in your mouth. The meat is so tender you don't need a knife. Each bite is heaven (a bonafide foodgasm). That, coupled with Mom's fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes and salt-and-pepper asparagus... Yum with a side of yum.

"Sharing good food with family, that's what life is all about," Mom said as she finished the last morsel of beef on her plate. "I mean, what else do you need?"
Mom's right (she's also Korean, and in our culture it's nearly sacrilege NOT to eat meat. Have you ever met a Korean vegan/vegetarian? Case in point: Korean BBQ, hello?).

No disrespect to those who follow a strict no-meat code. In fact, I think it's amazing and honorable. I tried vegetarianism for a year during college. But I realized being Korean and vegetarian makes as much sense as Rosie O'Donnell joining the Young Republicans.

At Dad's dinner table, I can't help myself. It's why I could never be a vegetarian.

Friday, April 9, 2010

My two beauties

I thank God every day for these two angels.

Today: you'll never get it back tomorrow

Last night, we got news that a family member has cancer. Today, he will get some more tests done and find out "next steps"-- if the cancer has spread, treatment options, etc. We are hopeful the cancer was detected early and that he will beat it (this type of cancer is 95 percent curable if found early).

It's a shock and quite a wake-up call for us all. He's so young. So full of life and love and creativity. How could he be diagnosed with cancer? This turn of events makes my worries seem small, even insignificant. The overdue bills will get paid. The unreturned phone calls can wait. The career on hold will one day thrive again.

I'm reminded to cherish each day. Because you'll never get it back tomorrow.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My first blogpost

Friends and family have been encouraging me to blog for some time now. I've been avoiding it because it seems so indulgent and self-important. But since the journalism market is depressed and work is slow, I think now may be an opportune time.

It's a Thursday night. A typical evening in the Salaff home. Homemade spaghetti sauce is bubbling on the stovetop. Noodles are cooking and waiting to be perfect (al dente). My 4-year-old is performing air drums for an audience of stuffed animals. My 2-month-old sleeps peacefully, thanks to a white noise machine that arrived yesterday.

Just waiting for the husband to come home...