Thursday, April 24, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookie from Woodmoor Pastry Shop

On Easter Sunday, searching for a lunch spot that was actually open, we ran across Woodmoor Pastry Shop in Silver Spring. They seemed to be doing a bustling business, and though I would conclude from their website that they specialize in wedding cakes, there was a good variety of baked goods at their shop, including several cookies.

There was only one variety, though, that qualified as "giant," and it barely squeaked by at 10.5cm. I have no information about its weight or price, considering my boyfriend bought it, and I ate it at work where there is no scale. So this review will be limited to taste and texture. I also forgot to take its picture, so this will be a very boring review indeed. To go with the boring cookie.

It was dry and floury for a peanut butter cookie, and the flavor didn't wow me. This is the kind of cookie that really needs some kind of icing or filling or embedded chocolate to make it worth eating. Maybe if you're the type who dips your cookies in milk, you'd like it. I just found it acceptable.

Taste: 3 stars
Texture: 3 stars

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fashion Fast: a Recap

Now that Lent is over, I am allowed to go shopping and plan my outfits again. Naturally I'm excited about this—I've already bought a pair of grey pants that fit better than my old ones, a pair of nude pantyhose in a more natural color than my old ones, and a pair of pastel pink sunglasses.

I thought I'd take a moment to share the insights that I have gained from my Lenten "fashion fast."

Speaking of "fashion fast," I've been spending a lot of time thinking about "fast fashion," fair trade, and sustainable clothing. I'd like to start investing in quality clothing that's ethically sourced, and I'm still seeking out the best way to do that. To be continued.

On a more concrete note, Lent was a good opportunity to jettison the ballast from my hot-air balloon of life. I donated 4 boxes (probably about 6 cubic feet total, if you want to be precise), mostly of clothing and shoes, and I still have a full closet. It was kind of liberating, knowing that I really didn't want those red peep-toe shoes taking up space, and that I could just cast off that burden and help other people at the same time!

During Lent, it became obvious what I had kind of already known: eBay shopping was a pastime better left in the past. Before Lent, I shopped on eBay almost every day. Over the month-and-a-half leading up to Easter, I never once performed an eBay search, and I never really felt like I was missing out. eBay has long been my time-killer – a rather expensive one – and it turns out that there are lots of other things I can do to kill time.

However, not everything about my fashion habit is bad. I've also concluded that self-adornment in itself is not a vice—for me, it's an art. I take pride in concocting outfits that are flattering and inventive. Where I used to get my aesthetic kicks from drawing or crafting or desktop backgrounds, I increasingly fill that need with clothing. I am my own personal canvas, and I get to create a new work of art every day! I enjoy that. It doesn't feel like vanity, just a creative activity.

Granted, those times when I spend an hour in front of the closet struggling to find the perfect getup, I think could be better spent doing something else and waiting for the muse to come upon me. Even the most brilliant artist doesn't create a masterpiece daily, and it wouldn't kill me to wear something tried and true once in a while.

In short, I've learned a few things from my month-plus on hiatus from my self-adornment hobby. I don't think I'll be giving it up again any time in the near future (I've got new hair colors to try, at least two outfits already planned, and a small mountain of summer clothes that I acquired over fall and winter to try out!), but I will make a concerted effort to keep the recreational shopping to a minimum.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My choice: Myspace

Sometimes, a friend will ask me, "Hey, want to go this concert?" and I will say, "Uhhhhh..." Even if the artist is a popular musician, it is likely I will only know one of their songs. And I'm certainly not paying exorbitant concert prices without knowing what I'm getting myself into. So I turn to the Internet to help me learn more about the performer. But this is a frustrating exercise indeed.

I can always try YouTube. Find a video that looks like it might be the right artist, watch an ad for a minute, then hear a song that someone recorded with their cell phone at a concert. Or some teenager's basement performance. Or the dreaded acoustic version! Spotify gives a lot more predictable results, but the ads that take over the entire screen every 10 seconds are a dealbreaker for me. Yes, you can buy a subscription, but for someone who only uses the service every couple of weeks for pre-concert research, that's overkill. MOG is a decent alternative, but their spam-your-friends-or-pay pricing structure is a huge turnoff.

That's where Myspace comes in.

Remember MySpace? The site you stopped using in 2007? Well, it's back! Technically, it never left.

After years of languishing in semi-obscurity as the washed-up star of the aughts (broken only by those brief moments when it was resurrected to be the butt of everyone's jokes), Myspace reinvented itself, converting from the Big Social Network That Couldn't into what I'd like to describe as (for the sake of parallelism) the Medium Media Network That Can!

It's not cool these days to use Myspace, but I'm here to tell you why you should! And no, no one's paying me for this endorsement; Myspace is just one of those things that recently made me stop dead and think, wow, I really like it!

Myspace is no longer the crazy cluttered marketplace of narcissism, questionable friend requests, and garish profiles that it used to be. All that has been replaced with cleanliness, simplicity, and what seems to be a single purpose. As far as I can tell now, Myspace is music.

Using this site, you can connect with artists and discover artists, you can get alerted about upcoming concerts, you can even, if you're still into that, post statuses and connect with friends, but most importantly, you can listen to songs. It seems simple, but of all the music sites I've tried, Myspace is the one that makes it easiest to actually listen to music.

It excels at letting you build your own playlist of specific songs from various artists—especially handy when you're thinking of going to a music festival.

Just yesterday, after my friends asked me if I wanted to go to the Equinox music festival here at UMD and I replied with my requisite "Uhhhhh," I pulled up the headliner's profile on Myspace...and I was like, "Wow! I really like Paper Diamond!"

It's been a long time since I discovered new music that I actually love (although since I didn't do a 2013 Musical Revue New Year post, I should at least mention that Martin Garrix's "Animals" was pretty cool, and Avicii's "Wake Me Up" grew to be one of my favorites after I originally dismissed it) so I am thrilled that I finally discovered a new artist to be a fan of, and I'd just like to state again for the record, Myspace made it happen.

P.S: If you become a rabid Myspace user and you figure out how the "affinity score" works, will you please let me know?

Monday, April 7, 2014


I really don't like Asian food. By Asian, I don't mean all the food that originates from the continent of Asia, but more precisely, food from anywhere east of India. There are a number of reasons why Asian food fails to tickle my palate, but I think the main reason is that it seems to be highly lacking in my two favorite food groups: bread and cheese.

Chinese food bores me to pieces. I liked sushi the first time I tried it, but now I'd rather eat anything else. I've tried Thai, but it is a solid meh. My boyfriend is Indonesian, and every time I go to a cultural event with him, I starve a little bit inside because almost everything is too spicy.

These predilections of mine make things difficult when eating with others. Sometimes people want to eat at an Asian restaurant, and I am never happy about it. I usually tolerate it for the sake of the team, but there is one Asian food that I will never bother with again. It's pho.

Have you ever eaten pho? If you are anything like me up through last year, you have not. I had never heard of it until I moved to Maryland, but around here, it seems to be everywhere. I lived here for 7 years without ever trying it (and, knowing how I feel about Asian cuisine in general, I didn't feel any urge to do so), but eventually I was dragged along by some coworkers to a new pho restaurant in town.

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, and apparently it's pronounced "fuh." Basically it consists of rice noodles in water with some vegetables thrown in. If you are a meat eater, you get meat in it, and maybe you will taste something. But if you're a vegetarian, you might as well drink a bowl of hot water. You might be able to get it with tofu, but tofu has no flavor.

My coworkers go out to get pho at least once every couple of weeks. I never go with them. Instead, I sit in my office feeling lonely. Sometimes I write blog posts deriding the food that has ruined my social life. If I had to pick the single Asian food that I dislike more than any other, it is pho. Pho sure.