Tuesday, July 30, 2013

This week's obsession: cold brew coffee

This cold brewed coffee from Cleveland's artisan roaster comes in a nifty
amber glass bottle. Kinda has that old school apothecary feel.   

A sucker for good packaging, I spied this simple amber glass bottle at Phoenix Coffee and fell in love. Even better was the delicious cold brewed coffee inside.

Now I can pour myself a glass every morning.



Monday, July 29, 2013

Links jul29

"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"
--Pope Francis to a group of reporters on his plane returning from a papal visit to Brazil.
(Photo: EWA)

What's trending today in matters of God, Jesus and religion:


  • Millennials are not leaving the church because they don't find the cool factor there; they're leaving the church because they don't find Jesus there. (Rachel Held Evans, CNN)
  • Pope Francis on gay priests: "Who am I to judge?" (The New York Times)
  • Next on my must-read list is religion scholar Reza Aslan's new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Somehow, I don't think it's on Fox News reporter Lauren Green's nightstand. (BuzzFeed)
  • Rick Warren speaks up about mental illness in his first sermon since his son's suicide. (ABC News)
  • A great review of Woody Allen's latest film. (Christianity Today)

On my nightstand: The Collective

Started this and now I can't put it down.

I heard this great interview on NPR with author Don Lee and immediately had to pick up his book, The Collective. In the interview with "Here & Now" host Robin Young, Lee discusses the young Asian American experience-- both his characters' and his own-- and of course my ears perked up.

"Eric is third generation Korean American. He grew up in Mission Viejo and thinks of himself as American," Young says at the beginning of the interview. Wait, what? Mission Viejo? One of the characters is from Orange County?

Now I really have to read this, I thought.

So that afternoon, I called my local library and reserved my copy of The Collective. I'm on chapter eight and totally engrossed with Eric, Joshua and Jessica -- the threesome who create The 3AC (Asian American Artists Collective). 

As an Orange County girl and second generation Korean American, I feel like I know these characters because in a way, I am these characters.

Love, friendship and, I am told, betrayal ensue. I can't wait to read how the story ends...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wanted: Beer cart girl

What makes a good beer cart girl? A "great personality," someone who's
around the golf course often and keeps the beer ice cold. It also helps
if you look like a Playboy centerfold and have big boobs. 

As an out-of-work, unemployed journalist working toward my New York City dream job, I've been on the hunt for a writing gig while here in Cleveland. Let me tell you, the pickings are slim [insert frowny face here].

Though times are tough, both on my ego and my skinny pocketbook, I've managed to cobble together a sense of humor about my job search. While freelancing, networking and searching the Internet for editorial positions and pay-the-bills/part-time type jobs, I've come across some winners. Check out these gems from Craigslist.**

For those with no self-respect:

What this posting really wants to say: "A nice rack will help you get the job."

"Join our exciting team and start making lots of money!" while bouncing around half naked.

I love how a "national magazine" has contracted this person to shoot a layout for there
their November 2013 issue. By the way, race, color and nationality "dont matter."

For those who have fast fingers and want it "too easy":

I'm convinced the person who posted this is a failed poet or really bad rapper. Or both.

For bloggers (which includes everyone and their dog): 

What exactly makes someone an "energetic blogger?"

For those who don't mind exposure to a rare, but often fatal, paralytic illness:  

Firstly, this poor soul needs some serious help with capital letters, punctuation,
spelling and run-on sentences. Secondly, is botulism contagious?

And finally, for those who are bootylicious:

Girls with flat asses need not apply...

**Note to readers: Never look for a legitimate job on Craigslist. But you knew that already.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The bravest girl on the planet

Portrait of Malala Yousafzai by artist Penelope Dullaghan
for Save the Children. (penelopeillustration.com)

Malala Yousafzai is my hero. 

I've been following the 16-year-old education and women's rights activist ever since I watched New York Times journalist Adam B. Ellick's fantastic documentary, "Class Dismissed," which profiles the life of this extraordinary human being.

At an age when most young girls are on the brink of puberty and concerning themselves with boys, cliques and what to wear, then 11-year-old Malala took on the Taliban -- with her words. She wrote a blog for the BBC chronicling the Taliban's attempt to take control of her home, the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan. She shared her views about every child's right to an education (the Taliban had already blown up more than a hundred girls' schools). She spoke against the group's systematic reign of terror (it was commonplace to find the bodies of beheaded dissenters hanging in town squares). 

Malala got noticed. People around the world read her blog. She gave interviews in print and on television. The New York Times filmed a documentary about her. She was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.

The Taliban noticed, too. Something had to be done, their leaders argued. So they unanimously agreed to kill her. Malala was on her way back home from school when Taliban gunman shot her in the head at point-blank range.

"Dear friends, on the 9th of October, 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too," Malala said on the world stage at the United Nations on July 12, which was also her 16th birthday. "They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed."

"And out of that silence came thousands of voices," she continued. "The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions. But nothing changed in my life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born."

In her moving speech, Malala said she had no desire for revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. "I do not even hate the Talib who shot me," she said. "Even if there was a gun in my hand and he stands before me, I would not shoot him."

Speaking not for herself but for those without a voice, "those who have fought for their rights-- their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated," Malala urged world leaders to introduce "free, compulsory education" for all children across the globe and added that "all peace deals must protect women's and children's rights. A deal that goes against the rights of women is unacceptable." 

Watch her speech at the UN. This girl is changing the world.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Links jul21

"Justice for Trayvon" rallies were held yesterday in 100 cities across the US.
(Photo: Fight Back! News)

I found these links worth reading. I think you will, too.


  • How people around the country are taking a stand for Trayvon. (BuzzFeed)
  • This will put your faith back in humanity. (Citizens Awareness Vanguard)
  • When friends come together to take care of one of their own, it's a beautiful thing. (Give Forward)
  • One of the ballsiest broads I know. And I'm lucky enough to call her my friend. (Case and Point)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This week's obsession: Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae can do no wrong. As evidenced by the video for Q.U.E.E.N. (featuring Erykah Badu) which has been nominated for Best Art Direction for the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.   

Keep the good stuff comin' Janelle. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wednesday selfie

Today's look: The power of makeup.

I love before and after photos, especially when it comes to makeup. I mean, look at the above pics. Is that the same girl? The snapshot on the left is me with a naked face (just moisturizer). The one on the right is my face after makeup application (and in just seven minutes!).

Here's how I got the look.

I prep my face with these awesome products.

Step one: To prep my face (after I've washed it), I use SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel to get rid of the redness around my mouth and nose area, followed by Origins Youthtopia Lift Firming Cream. I love this rich-yet-absorbent moisturizer-- feels nourishing and not greasy.

A good canvas requires great coverage. And great tools.

Step two: You gotta have a good canvas to work with. For foundation, I really like Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover makeup. It's got SPF (a MUST) and helps even out my skin. I use MAC's Foundation Brush #190 to help create a smooth, even finish. Then I set the foundation with Make Up Forever's HD High Definition Powder

Step three: OK, now on to the fun stuff. I use Clinique's Brow Shaper (in Shaping Taupe) for my eyebrows. It gives your brows a natural finish without looking "painted on." Benefit's Bad Gal eye pencil on my lids (I think this product may be discontinued, but I found it on eBay) followed by L'Oreal's HiP Metallic Shadow Duo in Gilded. For my lashes, I'm addicted to a Japanese product called Majolica Majorca (Shiseido's drugstore brand). Their Lash Expander Frame Plus is the best mascara I've ever used.

With makeup, I'm like a kid in a candy shop. 

Step four: I normally love wearing blush (Nars Orgasm Blush is my go-to for everyday wear). But when I'm wearing a heavy pigment on my lips, I forego color on my cheeks. Today, I opted for my new favorite lipstick: Nars Semi-Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave.     

Now, go have fun with your own "before and after" selfies!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The divine Ms. Iz

"The only real elegance is in the mind; if you've got that, the rest really comes from it."
--Fashion legend Diana Vreeland

Sexist Scrabble tote bag

According to Scrabble, girls shop and boys bike.
Are they having fun with words or just plain sexist?
(Photo: Jeff Goodman)

Not sure who at Scrabble approved this tote, but it sure made my eyebrows furrow. Really? In 2013, the best word combinations they could come up with to describe girls and boys was "girls shop" and "boys bike?" 
The blatant sexism displayed on this bag reminds me of that JC Penney fiasco a few years ago. Remember this ridiculous t-shirt?

According to JC Penney, it's a girl's job to be
eye candy and it's a boy's job to be smart.

What kind of message are we sending with statements like, "I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me"? That girls are valued by their physical appearance and those who are considered "pretty" are essentially dumb and boys will ultimately save them from their intellectual inferiority.

To quote Alicia Silverstone's character, Cher, from the movie Clueless: "AS IF!"

I also want to point out on the Scrabble bag the words, "Never enough Toys R Us." Thank you, Hasbro (the makers of Scrabble) and Toys R Us, for continuing to feed our children the message that more is never enough. You are effectively shaping the next generation into weapons of mass consumption.  

If you're just as ticked off as I am, consider writing to Toys R Us (click here) and Hasbro (click here). Let's stand up for our kids and make change for the better!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Equal rights for all

"My devotion to my faith does not mean I have the right to make anyone else's faith
or marriage illegal." --Beth Hopkins, blogger @ In Case of Fire, Use Stairs 

I don't have many regrets in life. Just three, really. 

Regret #1: Allowed my childhood bully to push me around, making my experience during ballet class absolutely excruciating. What my nerdy, skinny, 8-year-old self should have done was dig deep to find my inner grrrl power and kick that bully's tutu-wearing ass. (I'm not one for condoning violence, but there will be times in life when standing up for yourself will require a bit of sh*t kicking.)

Regret #2: Shopped at Wal-Mart. I did it out of desperation. Once. And I will never do it again. Ever.

Regret #3: Voted for Prop 8. 

The night of the November 2008 election in California, I wrestled long and hard with the decision to support or oppose same-sex marriage. As a Christ-follower, the mandate I live by is simple: love God and love others. As someone who cherishes the Bible (for me, it's not a "book of rules," but rather a love letter from God to humans), I know what it says about homosexuality (Leviticus 18 is pretty explicit, for example). But I was torn. "Who am I to judge who others choose to love?" I thought as I stared at my ballot. And I kept thinking about one of my best and dearest friends, who is gay. "When he finds someone he wants to spend the rest of his life with, who am I to deny him this right-- the same right I enjoy with my spouse?" In the end, I decided to support how I believe marriage was designed-- as a sacred spiritual and physical union between a man and a woman.

Years later, my definition of marriage hasn't changed. But I definitely would have voted differently on November 4, 2008. To me, the way Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act have played out has less to do with protecting the sanctity of marriage and more to do with discrimination, hate and venom-spewing. Right-wing conservatives, the Tea Party and the detestable folks at the Westboro Baptist Church have convinced me of this.  

"I just don't like seeing those signs and I kind of wanted to put a stop to that,"
9-year-old Josef Miles of Topeka, Kansas told NPR. Well said, Josef.  

Blogger Beth Hopkins echoes my sentiment perfectly:

     "As much as I love my Church and my Faith [a lot, 
     you guys, it's changed my life in the most beautiful 
     ways possible], I cannot find within it anything that 
     says I should impose or enforce my own moral code on 
     someone who is not choosing to be a part of my Faith. 
     And as an American citizen, I can't find a place in 
     the Constitution where it says I have a legal right 
     or civil obligation to do that, either... My devotion 
     to my Faith and its teaching about marriage does not 
     mean I have the right to make anyone else's faith or      
     marriage illegal. And it does not mean I should be 
     unkind, rude, or unloving toward anyone, whether my 
     theology agrees with their lifestyle choices or not."

As someone who loves God, loves people and values equality for all, I've sought to articulate my views about same-sex marriage. Thanks to Hopkins, all I need to do is cut and paste. 

Posted on June 29, 2013
In Case of Fire, Use Stairs

With the DOMA decision hot off the presses this week, my Facebook news feed has been fascinating. I just sit and watch the screen refresh with anticipation; waiting for the gloves to come off.
And about every half hour: Something about Jesus, churches or the Bible, and how they feel about “The Gays” getting married.
As an Orthodox Christian, I view marriage [which my Church defines as being a physical and spiritual union between a man and a woman] as a Sacrament. Something spiritual and supernatural happens during a wedding for an Orthodox Christian: Christ is the Celebrant, He joins the couple together. And in a Mystery, they become one person. Because of this, sex is meant for marriage because it is a participation in that oneness. It is meant to be experienced within the context. So, taken together: having a wedding, being married, and having sex are beautiful, holy, and sacred.
Marriage is also known as the White Martyrdom within the Orthodox Church: you are giving your life for your spouse before God; this is represented by the “crowning” part of the marriage ceremony [Yep, those are Martyrs' Crowns. Intense, right?!].
I cherish this view of marriage and sex as a healthy, full one. I look forward to experiencing it; I believe it is truth, and I believe this because I trust my Faith. It’s not an easy thing to believe, wait for, or live by, believe me. [White Martyrdom does not exactly come up as a topic of conversation at most parties these days.]  But I know it’s worth it.
However, I don’t expect every single person in the United States of America to have the same beliefs I do about marriage any more than I expect them all to show up at my Church on Sunday morning.
To follow the teachings of Jesus or the Church is now, and always has been, a choice, not a legislation or ruling. Jesus has never been shy; He has never been a shrinking violet, but He has never been a politician, either. He loves, He teaches and lives from Love; we choose how to respond.
Jesus never ran for President, and America is not now, nor has it ever been, an exclusively Christian nation. The Founding Fathers did not all go to the same Church together. They did not pen the Constitution at a Small Group at Bible Camp, and they never intended for a particular brand of religion to be legislated from Capitol Hill. In fact, the need for Freedom of Religion [any, not just mine] is what brought those rowdy ex-Brits here in the first place. That’s why it’s [still] in our constitution [right now, actually]. So, because the Constitution is what guides our law/political process, DOMA shouldn’t be discussed in terms of religion, because Church and State are separate here. And that’s where it gets tricksy, my little hobbitses.
See, within the American political sphere, marriage can’t be viewed as religious, because there is a legal component to it [and Church and State are separate]. So, the real question behind whether or not the Supreme Court should’ve upheld DOMA is not “Is it Christian for people who are in same-sex relationships to get married?” it’s “Should they have the Constitutional right to do so, based on what the rest of our law and Constitution says?” When marriage is being debated in politics, it’s a civil issue, not a theological one.
As much as I love my Church and my Faith [a lot, you guys, it's changed my life in the most beautiful ways possible], I cannot find within it anything that says I should impose or enforce my own moral code on someone who is not choosing to be a part of my Faith. And  as an American citizen, I can’t find a place in the Constitution where it says I  have the legal right or civil obligation to do that, either.
So, yes, I am a straight, heterosexual Orthodox Christian. That means a someday I will marry a man in my Church: we’ll put on Martyrs’ Crowns and kiss dramatically in front of all our relatives [awkward!], and then we’ll dance the night away. And you’re all invited. Because it will be a beautiful, real experience, with a great party to follow.
My devotion to my Faith and its teachings about marriage does not mean I have the right to make anyone else’s faith or marriage illegal. And it doesn’t mean I should be unkind, rude, or unloving toward anyone, whether my theology agrees with their lifestyle choices or not.
I pray I have spoken the Truth in love, and that I can live it the same way. And I hope for your patience and respect as I spend my life figuring out the best way to do so.

Originally posted @ In Case of Fire, Use Stairs by Beth Hopkins.

Chasing waves

Caden gets chased by the California surf @ Balboa Beach (6/19/13). #nofilter.