March 2012 Wrap Up
If I were to describe the past month in one word, it would have to be change. The mild winter has gone and spring is certainly welcome in my books. We actually had a few days with temperatures in the 70s but this past week it's been back to 50 degree days.
Midway through the month I left my part time job as a sales associate mainly because I felt that I should be using my time more effectively in terms of pursuing my actual hobbies and goals. I had been with the company for eight months and it was fun while it lasted with a few hiccups here and there. Above you can see how damaged my nails get after a weekend of non stop folding. The worst part of being in retail was definitely having to stand all day long. There were many nights where I limped home because my feet hurt from standing for too long. Nonetheless I met a lot of wonderful people and improved my social skills. Not to mention I can fold clothes pretty darn well despite never really folding anything before this.
I go to school for around 20 hours a week, my internship for about 12 hours a week, and when I used to work it usually averaged at 20 hours a week. This meant in an average week I would work for over 50 hours not including my daily commute which averages to about 14 hours a week. As soon as I left my job and had some free time I organized my vanity area which was looking like a hot mess. I actually changed up the set up by moving around somethings because I needed some sort of visual change. This is the area where I get ready every morning and it makes me feel a lot more relaxed when everything is neat and clean. The rest of my makeup collection is in another part of my room that always stays organized and tidy since I'm not always rummaging through it.
I also went ahead and organized the bin the bin that holds most of my warm weather shorts, skirts, and sweaters I do not hang up. I used to hate folding clothes but now it kind of calms me down and relaxes me.... Or maybe it's just that organizing in general helps me feel more calm because mess tends to bother me.
I was quite excited for The Hunger Games movie when I first heard about it many months ago since I read all of the books last summer. Unfortunately the movie has been constantly linked to Twilight which I have to say I am not a fan of at all. I debated over whether I should watch The Hunger Games and as you can see, I obviously did. The movie was okay but nothing special. I think you could enjoy it if you never read the books and don't care to learn more about the characters. Die hard fans of the book would probably be disappointed because a lot of details were cut out probably to keep the movie within it's more than 2 hour run time.
I put off jumping on the smart phone bandwagon for a long time. In fact, I can be quite old fashioned and I refuse to become attached to the internet and technology 24/7. Cost is also a big factor of my lack of upgrades as monthly expenses can add up! My current phone is one of those free phones that I only use to call and text (I didn't even get texting until the end of the senior year in high school). But in the last few months I realized that I needed a smart phone because I would definitely be at a disadvantage in the communications world if I had no idea how to use a phone.... So I got an iPhone. I'm not as excited as most people probably are when they get one because this is not a toy but a tool. Who knows, maybe it will grow on me. At the moment it's still in it's dainty little box because I'm waiting for the case I ordered to arrive. I hate scratches so I'm perfectly fine using my dingy free phone until my shiny new cover comes in the mail!
At my internship I got the chance to set up, assist, and break down the set of a photo shoot for a certain boy band from across the pond. The photographer, assistant editor, my fellow intern and I created this backdrop which turned out to be really cool. Before we had to take down the backdrop my friend (the other intern) and I took turns snapping pictures of each other in front of the set. It just so happened that I overslept majorly that day (which NEVER happens I swear!) and did not have time to put in contacts or slap on any makeup which explains my scrubby appearance. The members of the boy band who will not be named were all very polite and each member took the time to introduce themselves while giving us handshakes. From my experience the up and coming artists tend to be more friendly to the "nobodies" like the interns whereas the established artists seem to look right through you. Of course there are exceptions but like I said, this is what I have encountered. I also stayed to watch the boy band sing afterward and I was pleasantly surprised by their amazing vocals. I tend to associate Western boybands with pretty faces and lack of actual talent but these guys really proved me wrong.
Onto the food highlights of the month! What monthly wrap up post would be complete without food pictures? I usually try to write my wrapups in chronological order to take you through the month as I experienced it but this time I wanted to try something a bit different. I think I prefer the old way as opposed to this miscellaneous then food format.
Anyways.... I try to visit my boyfriend at his college once a semester and every time I go I have to eat the red velvet cake that they sell at the California Pizza Kitchen on campus. This cake is perfect because it has just the right amount of sweetness and the icing is not overly sweet either. As a commuter student, I don't really have a typical college experience so when I visit I like to pretend that I'm a student at the school. I walk around in sweat pants and a hoodie (something I would never where to my actual school) and eat the overpriced food that most students have to settle for. The school, like most away schools, is in a relatively suburban area so it is a nice contrast to the usual hustle and bustle that I am acquainted with.
Clyde Frazier, former member of the New York Knicks and current commentator for the team, recently opened up a restaurant in the city. Through a family friend connection I was able to go check out the restaurant before it officially opened. The restaurant features exotic prints throughout its decor from the menus to the fur lined walls which is representative of Frazier's unique fashion sense. The restaurant is very spacious, featuring a very large bar area as well as a free throw room where guests can shoot some hoops.
Our group consisted of 12 people so we ordered almost everything on the menu (although I did not photograph everything) and I got to try a variety of the food. Overall, the appetizers were mostly a miss for me but the entrees made up for the meal.
The dishes were a mix of typical American favorites such as hamburgers and steak as well as many dishes with Asian elements. Pictured above is the calamari salad which was not what I had in mind when we were ordering. I always assumed that calamari was fried but in this case it was not and hardly detectable amongst the vegetables.
I found the shu-mai amusing but I do not recommend getting this appetizer as it is downright gimmicky. If you want to eat dimsum go to Flushing to get better food for a much lower price. Honestly I can't remember how most of the appetizers tasted which attests to the lackluster flavor of the dishes.
The mini pizza topped with chorizo and avacado was one of the better appetizers that I tried. This makes a great finger food for a group whilst waiting for your main courses. Many of the foods here tend to be children friendly which is good for young basketball fans.
I chose the seafood skewers for my entree and the tuna and shrimp were very flavorful and filling. The two skewers were generously loaded with thick cuts of seafood and the sauce was light yet flavorful. I actually had trouble finishing this dish but I did a lot of dish swapping so I could try other entrees as well.
My cousin opted for the cheeseburger which came quite rare. I took a few nibbles from her burger and I have not tasted a better burger bun than this one. The bread was soft without being mushy and had an aromatic taste to it. I feel like I say it at least once in every wrap up that I love carbs and this bun was heaven! Other entree items ranged from mushroom pasta to curry with rice so there is quite a bit of variety to choose from.
The manager of the restaurant was gushing over the dessert menu so of course I had to try something. All of their ice creams are home made and I chose the most unique flavor on the menu, lavender. The texture of the ice cream was very smooth, rich and decadent but the flavor reminded me too much of something I would shower with. It is a very unique taste but with every bite I felt like I was eating a bar of soap. If you love lavender and think it would taste really good, you should check this out.
I joined a few old friends for lunch at Shorty's, a Philly Cheesesteak eatery that ships in fresh hoagies from Philly daily. I love a good cheesesteak so I was excited to try this place out as the Yelp reviews were mostly positive.
I chose the Steak Special which includes broccoli rabe with provolone cheese. I found the bread to be a bit on the mushy side probably because the sandwich was wrapped in paper. I prefer my cheesesteak hoagies to be a bit on the crusty side so this was a disappointment. The broccoli rabe was a tad bland and overall I expected more flavor.
I stole a few Italian Fries from my friend and these were packed with flavor albeit a little heavy on the salt. These were a guilty treat but beware if you're trying to watch your sodium intake!
My friends and I were tired of eating at the same few restaurants in Flushing so we decided to check out a relatively new place called 101 Taiwanese. It is located where the Fire Ice Hot Pot restaurant used to be. I had somewhat high hopes for this place because I usually like Taiwanese food but I was somewhat disappointed.
We ordered two oyster pancakes as appetizers and we were all expecting something... different. Their oyster pancake was very goo-y and jello like. The oyster pancakes I have had before were a bit more firm and savory.
I almost forgot to take a photo of the cashew shrimp because it was the first thing to arrive and I was too busy eating to remember before half the plate was gone. This dish was quite good and the shrimps were the perfect size. I really like eating dishes like this with rice.
Sanbei Chicken (or three cup chicken) seems to be a favorite for many people so we ordered a bowl to try. I only ate one piece of chicken mainly because I was too lazy to pick out the bones. Overall it was a good dish but nothing unlike anything I eat elsewhere.
Lastly we had the seafood casserole which I did not know meant a soup with noodles. I really liked this hot soup to end the meal. Overall the food at 101 Taiwanese was nothing remarkable and I have other favorite eateries in Flushing.
After our "meh" dinner at 101 Taiwanese, we decided to take an impromptu trip to Brooklyn. I almost never go to Brooklyn because it's a long trip by public transportation but most of my friends have licenses now and they like to practice their driving skills. So thirty minutes later we had arrived in Brooklyn from Flushing (it probably would have taken me 2 hours by subway) at a little dessert shop called Kulu. It's a very trendy place which serves traditional Chinese sweet dessert soups (I have no idea how to describe it in English but if you're Chinese you probably know what I mean) as well as their own special concoctions. My friend and I shared one of the fruit bowl ones which comes with fresh fruit, a dollop of vanilla ice cream, a blend of fruity cold liquid, and lots of pearl bubbles. At $6 a bowl this stuff is not something I would eat on a normal basis but it was quite good. The ice cream paired surprisingly well with the sweet, cold liquid. If you're around 8th Ave Brooklyn Chinatown this would be a great place to get a refreshing dessert.
When in doubt my mom cooks salmon for dinner because it's something I always enjoy eating and it's relatively easy to cook. Here the salmon is paired with some quinoa cooked with carrots and herbs. I still prefer good ole' white rice over quinoa but quinoa is certainly a lot better than brown rice. Quinoa has a funny texture which reminds me of caviar and the flavor is very nutty.
So that's about all the semi-interesting things that I've done and eaten for the past month. Mostly my months revolve around things that I'd rather not go into depth about such as school and stress but that's a given for almost everyone. What were the highlights of your March?