59. Friday Things!

It’s Friday!

My last blog entry was on a Friday (at the end of May?! Okay, let’s not go 10 months between posts again), so what better way to get back into posting than on a Friday?

I love Friday. The entire weekend is ahead of you. Endless possibilities! I think, “Now is the time to try out all those recipes I read during the week,” or “I should start watching that show…,” or “The weather is nice – time for a hike!” or “I’ll finally organize that stack of boxes in my room.” That last one rarely happens.

I think back to the fun things I did, watched, made or read during the week, and I want to share! Here we go – Friday Things!

  1. A thought. I want to start an additional blog, based more around food, overall wellness and balance. I’ve brainstormed names, trying to encompass my lifestyle and feelings about eating, food and health, but I think I’ve settled on something like “Ridiculissa Eats,” mostly because I’ve used “Ridiculissa” for multiple social media platforms to identify myself. Thoughts?
  2. I finally got a new yoga mat! When I first started yoga back in December, my best friend (thank you, lovely!) gave me a mat. I was thrilled! You can’t beat a free mat, but I practice yoga regularly now and wanted something a little more substantial. After much deliberation (internet research, asking everyone in yoga class, and basically becoming close friends will the entire floor staff at the sporting goods store), I got a Manduka, from their PRO Mat series. It’s HUGE and heavy, but I wanted a mat that I wouldn’t slide on and that was nice and squishy. My boney back would always hurt during floor work on the other mat.
    Image

    New and old! Manduka on the left, my first yoga mat on the right.

    I’m still breaking in the Manduka, but I already like it. To care for it, I wipe it down with a blend of these three oils and water.Image

  3. Something that everyone should read –> “Explore.
  4. A super silly card game cover I saw at work. I would play it just because of the art! Sheep Impact. Anyone ever played it?Image
  5. This week’s breakfast obsession? Baked Oatmeal. One of my favorites was my own version of the Deep Dish Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie from the Nutritious Kitchen! I strayed from her recipe a bit…but maybe I’ll save that for when I start a food blog :)Image
    I also made a version of Once Upon a Cutting Board’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Baked Oatmeal and Fit Mama Real Food’s Blueberry Chia Seed Baked Oatmeal last week and this week.
  6. ORPHAN BLACK STARTS ON SATURDAY. TOMORROW. Does that still count as a “Friday Thing?”

What would your “Friday Things” be for this week?


58. Foodie Friday – Foodie Penpals!

Seeing as my last post was a “Foodie Friday” post, is it not SO appropriate that today, Friday, is the reveal day for this month’s Foodie Penpals? Amazing!

The Lean Green Bean

Never heard of Foodie Penpals? It’s an awesomely fun program that Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean started. I’ve been eyeballing the sign-up form for months and finally decided to do it! Each month, you sign up to be paired with two penpals: One penpal you send foodie goodies to while the other sends stuff to you! It’s a great way to meet fellow food fans and build the online community of foodies! Sounds fun, right?

I sent goodies off to a gal in California (she doesn’t have a blog so I can’t link over to her, but she was a great penpal!). The penpal sending me goodies was Hindy from Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker! I’d highly suggest taking a look at her recipes. Delicious! I find her blog so unique. As you can see in her “About” section, she prefers vegetarian meals for herself, while her family eats meat. Combine that with preparing kosher meals and you’ve got a wide range of recipes to look through! I’ve already spotted a few that I’d like to try (Hello there, baked salmon patties).

After letting Hindy know some food preferences, I waited impatiently for my goodies to arrive! When the package showed up in the mailbox, I was BEYOND thrilled! Here’s what I got.

Goodies

  • Oats Ingredients

WAHOO! So much foodie goodness. I’ve eaten the freeze-dried fruit (on top of some cottage cheese! Perfection) and am planning on cooking some couscous very soon! Unfortunately, the seal was broken on the hot cereal, and since I didn’t know how long it had been open or if it had been tampered with, I decided to throw it out. BUT. I was so stoked to try it that I ordered some for myself. I can’t wait for it to arrive.

Many thanks to Hindy for sending me such a great package! Everything she sent me fit in with the food preferences I gave her. Even better! This was an awesome first Foodie Penpal experience for me. A HUGE thank you to Lindsay as well for running this unique program! I can imagine it’s difficult organzing so many people to make Foodie Penpals run as smoothly as it does. Interested in participating next month? It isn’t too late to sign up! Visit Lindsay’s Foodie Penpal page for more details, rules and a link to the sign-up page.


57. Foodie Friday – Pizza!

Until about two weeks ago, the last time I ate pizza was when I was in New York City last May for Creative Week with fellow U of O classmates! We ate at a Brooklyn restaurant called Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. If you like thin crust pizza, this is definitely the place! Don’t plan on going there if you’re about to keel over from hunger, however, because there is usually a line outside. Luckily when we went, there was hardly a wait. We sat at a big table, but if you’re a smaller party they have bar seating where you can watch the pizzas and calzones baking away in the oven.

DSC_0131During the same trip, my week-long roommates and I ordered pizza for a lazy girls’ night in. It was surprisingly hard to find a delivery place that was open late, so we were thrilled when we stumbled upon Famous Amadeus Pizza. The delivery was relatively fast, and the deep dish pizza we ordered was sinfully delectable. Cheese for days, I’m telling you.

(After writing that paragraph, I realized the real last time I ate pizza was in July with my internship boss. Oops! Ah well, the paragraph stays!)

Recently, I’v been wanting to possibly reintroduce pizza into my diet, but all the cheese and grease from your average pizza delivery place always left me feeling queasy (that NYC deep dish was special…). I’ve wanted to make homemade pizza for a while, but wasn’t quite sure how to best go about it. I wanted it to be healthy! I’d thought about making cauliflower crust pizza and using my own toppings, but the crust-making part of it always seemed like more work than it was worth. I’ll admit I’ve never tried it, but I will someday. Because of all this, I was more than thrilled when I saw foodie blogger STUFT Mama‘s post about Flatout Bread homemade pizza! Not only did they look delicious, healthy and versatile, but they looked extremely easy. Off to the store I went!

I purchased a pack of Hungry Girl’s Foldit! Flatout Bread, perfect for a single-serving side dish pizza. Following directions from the Flatout Bread site (they have tons of great recipes!), I baked the bread in the oven at 350 for a mere 4 minutes, all the while carefully prepping my toppings.

We’ve got:

Toppings
Basil leaves, 1 piece of marinated artichoke heart, a couple tomato slices chopped up, and 2 TBSP of goat cheese. Mmmm, locally made goat cheese. Once the flatbread bakes for 4 minutes, take it out and pile the toppings on.

Topped!
The directions I was looking at said to just bake your pizza with toppings for 4 more minutes – I ended up baking mine for about 8. After that, I turned on the broiler and crisp-ified the bread and toppings just a bit. Ohhh yeah.

Crispy
All done! I ate mine as a side with some turkey and cucumber slices for lunch. Mmmmm. I think the basil was my favorite part! I made this on a Friday a few weeks ago, then the next Friday I made it again. Twice makes it a tradition, right? ;) So today, it once again graced my lunch plate, inspiring this post today. I’m quite happy I’ve decided to venture back into the land of pizza every once and a while.

Bites!

Another foodie thing! This month, I’m participating in Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean‘s Foodie Penpals program. I’M SO EXCITED. I’ve met both my penals (you have one penpal who is sending you goodies and a different penpal that you send goodies to) via email, and I can’t wait to send off some goodies and receive mine near the end of the month. This is my first time participating in Foodie Penpals. I can already see how it has grown to be such a big program. It’s a fun and easy way to meet fellow food lovers from around the country and to try out new and unique foods. Look forward to a guest post on the blog from my penpal at the end of the month.

Do you like trying new and interesting foods from different places? And what’s your favorite recipe of the moment?
Until next time – this has been Foodie Friday!


56. Whatever Wednesday – Media edition!

After a slight leave of absence, I’m back with a “Whatever Wednesday” post! This Wednesday is all about media!

When people ask you – “What’s your favorite _____?” – do you have an immediate answer? I’ve NEVER been able to shout out a favorite book, movie, band or anything without taking some serious time to think about it. When I was little (okay, and even now), I was always concerned about what others would think of my favorites. Perhaps that hindered my speedy decision making. But today I shall toss aside that fear! :P Besides, peoples’ favorites are what make them so interesting! Discovering or remember what your favorite things are can also help reignite an interest or passion. I want to share some current media favorites.

I’m excited to say that I’m pretty sure I have a favorite song. Not just a favorite song of the moment, but a FOREVER favorite song. I realized this while driving to work this morning. Drum roll!

Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.”

No matter how I’m feeling, this song puts me in a great mood! I workout to it, I sing along with it and I can’t help but tap my feet to it whenever I hear it. It makes me happy, and it has for years! Plus, how can you not love MJ and his stop-a-girl-in-her-tracks voice (cue video!)?! I think those are good enough reasons as any to dub this My Favorite Song!

Okay, now for some current, favorites of the moment. My current favorite gym jam would have to be Korean boyband SHINee’s “Why So Serious?” It has a good beat and you can lift weights to it dance to it. While member Jonghyun is missing in the video due to an injury, he and his powerful voice are very present in the CD recording.

TV time! My favorite sitcom of the moment would be NBC’s Parks & Recreation. Clever writing combined with a wide range of lovable character personalities, this show is hilarious. It’s not without its tender, touching moments as well. Each character is so distinct! I think everyone who watches will be able to find a character to relate to. I personally adore both Chris Traeger and Tom Haverford. Since this post is all about media, I must mention the episode where Tom is forced to go without technology.  The season finale aired last week. Why must sitcom season come to an end?!

But! As sitcom season ends, the summer season of shows begins. And thanks to BBC America‘s Orphan Black, I’ll happily survive the sitcom drought. Orphan Black. Oh. My. Goodness. I’ll admit, when I first saw the previews, I had no intention of watching it. But I decided to give it a shot on a whim – am I ever glad I did! I’m addicted. Seriously addicted. It’s about a troubled woman who discovers that she has clones – not twins – clones! She doesn’t know how many there are or why someone cloned her. I’m excited to say that it’s already been renewed for a 2nd season! Lead actress Tatiana Maslany is incredible. I forget that she is of course playing all of the clones. She portrays each one so distinctly and uniquely, it’s easy to forget. The show airs every Saturday. You won’t regret checking it out!

Lastly, my favorite video game of the moment is Adventure Time for the 3DS.

With the same quirky humor as the television show, the character dialogue always has me giggling. The side-scrolling AND overworld game play style is very reminiscent of Zelda II on the NES. Being a Zelda fan myself, I pretty much squealed with joy when I took Finn and Jake out onto the field for the first time. The game is rather simple, but very fun! I do wish, however, that the player had the ability to write on the map, like in Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass on the 3DS.

Thus concludes this edition of Whatever Wednesday. Maybe you’ll feel inclined to check out one of my favorite songs, shows or games. I hope that you do!


55. Forget “plum perfect.” It’s POM Wonderful!

Zipping through the produce section the other day, I was stopped by this nifty in-store display by POM Wonderful.


I’ve never eaten a pomegranate before (does pomegranate yogurt count?) and was very intruiged. They seem to be all the rage as a new super fruit lately, but they look a little intimidating! Very hard outside, super-delicious looking inside. How do you get to the deliciousness?!

I’m obviously not the only person intimidated by this unique fruit. What really drew me in to this display was the little “how to” manual, containing information about pomegranates, how to cut them, and even some recipes. Just like the POM Wonderful website and product designs, this display was very crisp, clean and simple – just the way a natural pomegranate juice and fruit company should be! Very pure. Even with a simple and transparent design, POM Wonderful successfully elevates the pomegranate to a high level of sophistication (see video at the end for a giggle). POM products are often placed with the higher priced juices and health “smoothie” drinks in store as well, evoking a feeling of being a higher class sort of drink.

And while I didn’t take a fancy pomegranate home with me, POM Wonderful captured my curiosity with this display. It interrupted my speedy shopping trip and stopped me for a few minutes. It made me wonder…how DO you open one of these fruits? Next time I’m at the store, I might just throw caution to the wind and try one out. Great job, POM!

Now, grab your finest dinner party attire, some classical music and a sharp knife. Get slicing!


54. November = Christmas.

If you haven’t noticed it yet, it’s here. Lurking, sneaking, waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting.
If you haven’t noticed it yet…IT MIGHT BE TOO LATE!

Melodrama aside, the holiday season is here! Sure, it’s only November 2nd, but in the blink of an eye you’ll be making that mad, last-minute dash to the store for wrapping paper, that present you forgot about, or Christmas cookie mix for a potluck. I’ve already seen Christmas in-store displays, slowly appearing.

I stumbled upon this post on Ad Week yesterday, which shares a lovely infographic about the way people shop and interact with stores via multiple digital devices during the holiday shopping histeria season.

This section of the infographic is my favorite.

Generally, I think I fall into the tiny 17% category of visiting the store first. This is especially true when it comes to clothes. I like to be able to try on an outfit, get a feel for it, then browse the retailer website to see different colors, sizes and other options. If the product is something like a CD or book, I’m more likely to research online and buy online. I guess I’m a category jumper in this poll.

My mom says for her, it’s all about availability and price. She’d rather buy it online for less and wait a week to get it than go to a store just because it’s only 5 minutes away.

Since quite a few people seem to research online, visit the store, then return home to buy online, it seems like it would be beneficial for stores to set up an online ordering station in the store. Of course many clothing stores are happy to order something for you on the spot, but you have to talk to one of the store clerks to set it up. People could also just carry their smart phones and tablets to the store with them, then place the order on their device in the store. If a store could provide a quick and convenient way for people to place an order online as they leave the store, I think customers would definitely use it! It would also need to be more convenient than just whipping out your smart phone and pulling up the company web site.

What  category do you fall into?

P.S. At the grocery store today, ALL the Halloween decorations were on sale and the store clerks were hauling out crates of Christmas candy and a few Holiday Barbies. It’s starting!


53. 日本のシーエム!Daily dose of Japanese advertising.

AdFreak is one of my favorite sections of Adweek‘s website. Today, this post caught the attention of the Japanese major in me. I proceeded to spend 5 minutes with a big grin on my face. I most likely displayed a slightly confused expression for the other 51 seconds…

Crazy? Normal? To Americans, it probably seems a little chaotic! I’ve spoken with Japanese ad students before, and they generally agree that Japanese commercials are a bit quirkier and more bizarre than American commercials. I think it depends on which commercials you’re looking at. Who could forget American commercials like the dancing hamsters and robots? Definitely quirky.

With this particular compilation of current Japanese commercials, there were a few that jumped out to me. The ユニクロ/UNIQLO ad that begins at 2:19 is very similar to any other trendy clothing brand commercial in the US. The music is in English and the models are all of different ethnicity. Is this because UNIQLO is an international brand? I wonder if Japanese consumers who shop at UNIQLO are more internationally curious. This ad was also the most revealing of all the ads, showing the models in undergarments as they slip on their jeans. Also – just a fun side-note – I totally tried on a pair of the jeans in the  commercial when I visited UNIQLO in New York City earlier this month. So nice~

The ad at 4:05 for the Japanese rock band, Ace of Spades, is also interesting. It’s all in English! Other than their song, that is. All the text is in English, and the narrator speaks only in English. Could Ace of Spades be trying to attract an international audience? The mood of the ad reminds me of some sort of ad for a metal rock band in the US.

Quickly skipping over the creepy soda gum ad (toddler bodies with grown-up heads…appealing?), starring massive pop girl-group AKB48, we get to the Coke Zero ad. Featuring a soccer team, the ad is all about living on the wild side! Hence the slogan “Wild Health.” This ad reminded me of Chevy Sonic’s skydive ad, upside down shots and all. I noticed in the bottom right corner in tiiiiiiny text, there is a little message urging people to recycle. In Japan, recycling and garbage disposal is something fierce. When I studied abroad there, figuring out which can to put different trash items in was a challenge. Also, the background music is in English. Other Japanese Coke Zero ads use English songs, like this one. Fun fact: The song in that commercial was performed by Terry McDermott, a current contestant on this season of The Voice. These Coke Zero ads also display just how popular soccer is in Japan.

My favorite commercial in this compilation is definitely the one for the job recruitment company with the panda. It’s just plain cute.

I would love to someday be able to learn the strategies behind these Japanese ads, especially the ads trying to appeal to a more international audience. Are they trying to imitate other American ads to draw in consumers who are attracted to the US or other cultures? The more I watch, the more curious I become. While it of course depends on the brand, what does this mean for American companies who want to advertise in Asia? How much should they alter their advertising when many Japanese brands are advertising like American brands? How far can they afford to stray from the brand message/identity? And who are we to say that these Japanese ads are weird or bizarre? In Japan, it’s just normal television. Perhaps Japanese people find our ads boring and plain.

I leave you with more questions and musings than answers…and my favorite collection of Japanese commercials. These Fanta commercials were done by ad agency Hakuhodo. またね!


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