Watch Americans Eat Canadian Snacks You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

“I didn’t know Canada had a cuisine,” starts this Buzzfeed video, making Americans officially look like the ignorant a-holes  I mean,  culinary geniuses we’re known to be.

That aside, this video is pretty entertaining and informative even for those of us that try to be culturally aware. Besides Poutine and Maple Candies, I can’t say that I’ve heard of or eaten a majority of these Canadian snacks! I grew up in Ann Arbor, MI, a whopping 50 minute drive away from Canada. We had Tim Hortons before the rest of the U.S. and I frequented the great city of Toronto from my early childhood all the way until I ventured there in college to buy a fake (super, super fake) ID that said I was from Montreal. I figured if it was in French, they wouldn’t know if it was real! I overlooked the small detail that I can’t speak French either. Oh well – Long Live French Canada!

All in French. V. French.

I did eventually make it to Montreal, now more than once, and it’s an absolutely fantastic spot. The point is, I thought I knew lots of things about Canada. Not so! In addition to (some, not all) Canadians buying their milk in bags and not in cartons, I can add things like the all dressed chip and Nanaimo bars (reallllly want) to my list of Canadian things to try!


How To Make A Living Drinking Wine: Sommelier 101

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I’m no wine connoisseur, or even wine enthusiast. A $10 bottle is more than fine by me. Yet, there’s certainly something intriguing and coveted about knowing things about wine.

There are a few ways you can make a living drinking wine. One is owning a vineyard, I’m sure you thought of that one on your own. The other is by becoming Marissa A. Ross, who has popularized the “Ross Test” which is basically getting together with your friends (who sometimes happen to be Mindy Kahling) and drinking wine straight from the bottle. She also has some great thoughts on L.A. which I’ve detailed here.

But, the most prestigious and rigorous way to make a living off of drinking wine is to become a sommelier.

What is a Sommelier?

Continue reading

Forest Man: A Documentary that Beautifully Sums Up Humanity

Beautifully shot and artfully narrated, this short (it’s only 16 minutes) documentary showcases a man named Jadav Payeng.

Since the 1970’s Payeng has been planting trees in order to save Majuli island, the largest river island in the world. Now, he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC.

His story is both riveting and simple at the same time. His thoughts on humanity and his restoration plan is incredibly insightful. A 16 minutes well spent.

Boyhood: The First Movie Filmed Over 12 Years

A super interesting concept – this movie uses the same cast over 12 years to convey the universal act of growing up. It was written and directed by Richard Linklater who brought you Dazed and Confused, Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly, School of Rock, and Before Sunrise and its sequels.

While the cast and Linklater are all very qualified, I’m still skeptical about the film. This could either be super interesting and touching or just another movie about white people by white people. It’s not likely that every person in the world could “universally” relate to the experience of this specific family due to socioeconomic and racial differences. However, I don’t want to speak too soon. I’ll certainly go see it!

What do you think?


If you’re in the NYC area, you can go see Boyhood at BAM with an intro by Linklater and the star, Ellar Coltrane in person on July 10 & 12th. Details here>>

“Following two sold-out screenings on opening night of BAMcinemaFest, Richard Linklater’s ambitious coming-of-age epic Boyhood returns to the BAM Harvey Theater for its premiere theatrical run. See this groundbreaking family portrait at the film’s exclusive Brooklyn venue.”

There are a ton of facts presented in this video that are pretty crazy when quantified.

- More than 4 in 10 of Millenials are not White
– They are the most Democratic voting body but still claim Independent
– Very socially liberal on issues like Gay Marriage and Marijuana
– Less are married than previous generations
– It is the first generation to be doing “worse” than their parents

So while it’s not all roses, it’s pretty cool to see changes on a great scale!

Millennials 101 – This Video Makes Millenials Look Pretty Good!

Beethoven Discovered the Best Ideas Come in the Shower Before the Shower Existed:


Beethoven was Just like you and me! OMG!

There are a lot of things out there about the routines of famous creative people. Some of them I find pretty boring, mostly I’m shocked at how rigid their routines are, but sometimes you realize that even with years and years of difference between the times they roamed the earth and now, they still got ideas the exact same way the rest of us do.

Beethoven is one of them. Besides his crazy “wake up and count out exactly sixty beans of coffee for his cup of coffee” thing, he still started his morning with coffee in the 1800s, just like most people do today. Furthermore, this description of his obsession with bathing, and the running back and forth to write ideas down that came to him while “showering” himself with pitchers of water and singing, is something I’m sure we all can relate to:

“Washing and bathing were among the most pressing necessities of Beethoven’s life. In this respect he was indeed an Oriental: to his way of thinking Mohammed did not exaggerate a whit in the number of ablutions he prescribed. If he did not dress to go out during the morning working hours, he would stand … at his washstand and pour large pitchers of water over his hands, bellowing up and down the scale or sometimes humming loudly to himself. Then he would stride around his room with rolling or staring eyes, jot something down, then resume his pouring of water and loud singing. These were moments of deep meditation, to which no one could have objected but for two unfortunate consequences.”

Beethoven in the shower

Here the account begins to show age. Hopefully no one has servants anymore and showering often might be a sign of a good tenant now a days!

“First of all, the servants would often burst out laughing. This made the master angry and he would sometimes assault them in language that made him cut an even more ridiculous figure. Or, secondly, he would come into conflict with the landlord, for all too often so much water was spilled that it went right through the floor. This was one of the main reasons for Beethoven’s unpopularity as a tenant. The floor of his living room would have had to be covered with asphalt to prevent all that water from seeping through. And the master was totally unaware of the excess of inspiration under his feet!”

Anton Schindler in the biography Beethoven As I Knew Him

I also find it funny that they attribute the urgency to bathe as an “Oriental” feature. What can I say, us Asians like to be clean! This is from a book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work but was transcribed on a blog with some other people’s routines like Maya Angelou which you can read here: The Blog of Tim Ferriss

This little boy is so cute. You’ll laugh at his spirit, his spunk, and of course his dance moves. I loved the female judge’s disdain at being referred to as “grandma.” The ending is no doubt touching for everyone and you can’t help but feel it too despite trying to fight the cheesy music that is cued. Many of you may have seen this video before, but I wonder if you ever considered the following:

At the same time that this video makes me very happy, it makes me very sad. I can’t deny that it’s a very entertaining 9 minutes, yet I almost feel bad for buying into it. Who knows if he actually likes to dance on the plaza everyday. I imagine before his father joins them dancing on the plaza, that he goes to a factory or construction job, making a meager wage assembling our iPhones and so this little boy goes to the Plaza to dance with his mom, grandma, aunts, and cousins to make some extra money. One day he will become too old to dance on the plaza and will probably have to get a job just like his dad’s. If he is a full-time street performer, income is probably pretty unstable.

Maybe I am completely wrong and making wild assumptions. While I’ve been to China, I’ve never been to the little boy’s specific provence. Maybe he truly is happy. We can only hope.

Are You Happy? This Dancing 3 Year Old Might Make You Think Twice:

This Describes A Good Bit of Millennials & Also Shows You How to Save the Rainforest

Apparently I’m behind on this one as it was published in 2012, but regardless, this is awesome – Especially the “cliche gringo fantasy of becoming an honorary native and leading the resistant forces” part. More great marketing – proven by the fact it’s still being seen two years later.

Shout out to Diesel Jeans. This video is awesome. Not only are they capitalizing on the current obsession with (or really the move into pop culture of) the Harlem Shake and Twerking, but dance is a pretty entertaining and legitimate way to show off jeans. Usually I think break dancing in urban settings to repetitive music is incredibly cliche, or at least it tends to be too “West Coast” in aesthetic for my liking, but this is different. They’ve reappropiated some classic and ethnic forms of dances to fit into the aesthetic of now, and they did it well.


Plus, let’s be real, Memphis Jooking is one of the coolest things ever.

A-Z of Dance: Best Marketing Effort I’ve Seen in A While

The United States of Bros: Where You Are = Which Bro You Are

Jezebel made the world a little easier to understand by posting The United States of Bros: A Map and Field Guide.

Erin Gloria Ryan writes:

“Like “hipster” and “douchebag,” the word “bro” has been applied to such a vast swath of American culture that it seems no one is really sure what it means anymore. Turns out, much of that confusion can be attributed to the fact that a bro is different depending on where in the Bronited States of Bromerica you’re currently bro’ing down. “

Yes Erin, yes. This is something my friends and I have spent endless hours debating – the subsections of bros. While we were mostly going by phases such as post-bro (when you’re a bro who has just discovered Indie music, you love Phoenix and Vampy Weeks, and you went to business school – but at NYU), Erin breaks it down by region. I believe this is another important way to categorize “the bro.”

And so in honor of my location in New York:

The Manhattan Bro

Uniform: Blue button down shirt, grey or black work pants, nice leather Big Time Job Shoes. Good hair.
Intoxicant: Beer/Adderall.
Habitat: The office (they’re all investment bankers), or the bar down the street from the office that is filled with other bros who have identical jobs and identical wardrobes, or the biggest table at a popular but expensive steak house in Brooklyn during the after work hours. Bathroom stalls that lend themselves well to the blowing of lines.
Hobbies: Over-identifying with the really over-the-top scenes from Wolf of Wall Street. Stealing cabs. Eventually marrying women named Claire, and then divorcing her for a woman named Madison (who is 23). Yelling.
Secret shame: Feels bad about small penis.
Celeb brospiration: Alec Baldwin punching a guy”

Nailed it Erin.

There’s also Chicago Bro, Southern Frat Bro, LA Bro, The Masshole, and many more. Read them all on Jezebel!

Listen to the Philosophy of Antony – a Transgender Musician

I love Antony & the Johnsons. Absolutely amazing musicianship.

Listening to Antony’s philosophy on life, death, and the feminization of the world (and outer-world) is rather interesting and entertaining. Even if you don’t agree, or can’t even wrap your head around whats being said, it’s a philosophy filled with kindness, good intent, and infused with a little humor.

I think that comes across in song as well.

You’ve probably seen Kehinde Wiley’s paintings before, at least if you’ve been to an art museum. I’ve seen his large scale Baroque paintings first in the Detroit Institute of Art and again in the Brooklyn Museum. According to Wikipedia you can also see his work at the Minneapolis Institute of Art; Columbus Museum of Art; Kansas City Museum; Oak Park Public Library in Oak Park, Illinois; Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, New York; The Jewish Museum (New York) in New York, New York; High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia; Phoenix Art Museum in Phoenix, Arizona; Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California; Hammer Museum, in Los Angeles, California; Milwaukee Art Museum; and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Many choices!

The piece in the Brooklyn Museum

I remember being very intrigued by the idea of having African American heroes in traditionally White conquest images and thought it was really great. My boyfriend later pointed out at the Brooklyn Museum that the ornate background patterns were mildly unnecessary because the sheer juxtaposition of the modern day garb and the Baroque pose was enough. While I agree I think the pattern just goes with Wiley’s style – however, it wasn’t until that conversation that I took a closer look at the background pattern and realized there were little sperm all over it! WHAT DOES IT MEAN!? I still don’t know.

Nevertheless I find Wiley’s work interesting and am excited to see this documentary! It will be showing at SXSW 2014.

A piece from his new collection, “An Economy of Grace,” his first featuring women.

Kehinde Wiley (the artist who makes Baroque paintings with African American subjects) Has a New Documentary

Revisiting “The Lorax,” Original Animation from 1972

As I’m sure many people are aware, the beloved story by Dr. Seuss “The Lorax” was remade in 2012 by Universal Pictures. I didn’t see this new version, but I certainly remember seeing the original animation from 1972 even though I wasn’t born until much later. I don’t remember where I saw it, whether it was at home or perhaps they showed it to us at school – it didn’t tend to garner the same repeat airtime that “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” original animation did during the Holiday season. Still, I recall the watching experience as an enjoyable one. I specifically remember the part where the little boy is going to see the Onceler – the long green covered arms, the creaky window, and the platform of stones. Everything is dark, no brightly covered Truffula trees yet. Continue reading

It Turns Out That Stress doesn’t Have to Stress You Out Says This TED Talk

Stress. No one likes that word.

It connotes a fast beating heart, a feeling of panic, and a loss of direction. I’ve always heard that stress is bad for you and certainly believed it to be true. You know what that means? It means I’m going to die earlier according to this video!

That’s not the whole story of course. While stress can be bad for you, the real news is that Psychologist Kelly McGonigal (Harry Potter jokes welcome, especially because her TED talk was in Scotland) says it doesn’t have to be. Your body doesn’t have to have an adverse reaction, in fact stress can even have positive effects – it can make you be a better, more caring person. The game changer?

How you think about the concept of “stress” can literally manipulate your body’s reaction. Pretty cool.

While I’ve always heard stress is bad, I’ve always heard that it’s good to be a little nervous before big moments – an interview, a speech, a big decision etc. I’ve always believed that to be true. I suppose the concepts are fairly similar. If we can make nervousness into something good, why can’t we embrace stress too? Of course she doesn’t go into the more intricate details of the study like control factors and whether they took into account things like socioeconomic status, family health history etc. While it would have been nice to know, the general message is a well-intentioned one. I especially liked the real life application of this theory they discuss at the end. Kelly says:

“Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort and so I would say that’s really the best way to make decisions. Go after what creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.”

That’s nice to know. Follow your dreams guys! That mantra has officially been confirmed by a scientist!

London for $300? Sign Me Up!


Ever heard of Norwegian Airlines? My answer is a pretty wavering maybe but that’s all about to change. The airline will be offering flights to London Gatwick Airport from New York, L.A., and Fort Lauderdale, FL starting at £149 according to The Huffington Post. For us Americans that’s about $246!

However, for a normal flying experience it will end up costing you $300 at least as there is a $50 charge for seat reservations, meals, and luggage. Still, not bad at all compared to a normal flight to London town which usually ranges $550 and up in the off season and closer to the $1000 and above mark in peak season.

Norwegian additionally boasts being “the first airline to offer high-speed broadband on flights within Europe,” which the entire fleet will have by March 2013. It’s apparently free as well, but I can’t guarantee that. They did however promise seat-back in-flight entertainment systems for free so you won’t be bored. For an airline that is compared to Ryanair (which makes your entire flight experience a living advertisement), it sounds like the royal treatment.

Too good to be true? Possibly. While looking at their site I’m running into problems. How about a quick trip to Paris for $300? Sounds awesome! But alas, no return flights (for the next two months). There’s definitely a lack of scheduled flights to certain destinations that makes taking Norwegian during specific dates or even at all a major issue. Perhaps this will improve with time. As for the London flights, Norwegian plans on having three weekly New York to London flights and twice weekly flights to Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, so booking in advance definitely is going to be key.

Worth it? Only time can tell!

Sorry I’m Slow, Here is an Update

I ate a giant calzone with an egg and spinach in it from Motorinos. It came with bacon and sauce and cheese but all on the side. It was strange.

and for good measure, here it is from the other side!

I also went to a party in the Penthouse of the LES Thompson Hotel, which was lovely and had a fireplace.

Selfies were taken

That’s all for now. Promise I’ll be better soon.

Your First World Problems Look Pretty Stupid in Third World Countries

Not to make you feel bad about yourself…but this will probably make you feel bad about yourself.

I of course am just as guilty as the next guy. I do hate it when my phone charger won’t reach my bed, and I feel bad about that sentiment after watching this video. :(

Donate to Water is life here and make yourself feel a little better.