"Food is culture, habit and identity."


I don't know about you, but those words ring very true to my ears. 
Eating is a big part of who we are.
 I'm proud to say I've been a vegetarian for a full year (as of January 2012). I'd dabbled into it a couple of times, but was always hesitant due to the unbearable question: What about protein? (I say unbearable because it's a vegetarian FAQ). People don't believe in grain or plant protein. I didn't either.
I hadn't educated myself enough and believed all this "You need animal protein"talk. You'll find once you start doing your research that it's not true.
I feel like the tables have turned now- I'm more concerned about all those eating meat and their well being.*

"Well planned vegetarian diets are apropriate for all individuals during all stages of life cycles, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes" - American Dietetic Association

Like J.S.Foer, I'm not advocating vegetarianism and imposing it upon you as the right thing to do. People need to be informed, be willing to face facts and do.

What baffles me all the time is how we, as the 'higher species' are so insensitive, so inhumane to the 'lesser species'- why aren't we using all technological advances  for the good of the world? It seems to me we're only making things worse and harder to live in...

"[...] being human, being humane, is more than exercie of reason."

Not only are the animals being tortured (there is no other word to how they are being handled), they're also being fed unnatural things: antibiotics, faeces, blood, supplements, you get the picture. I'm sure it's not something you want as part of your diet.

What I liked about 'Eating Animals' is that Foer gets both sides of the ordeal. He isn't lecturing at all, rather it's a personal journey (as it also was for me, reading it) to further reason a life choice.
"If nothing matters, there's nothing to save."
I would also recommend Cher Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet.
Picture from Peas in a Blog 
Not only does it talk about the advantages of a plant/grain based diet in an easy-to-follow 'voice', it's also packed with delicious recipes too! Some of which you can also find on her website: thekindlife.com

On another (lighter) note
Now reading: Without Feathers by Woody Allen
(I figured I needed something a little more fun!)

What is everyone reading nowadays?

* There are still some family farms who are anti-factory farms worth mentioning (and were mentioned in the book): Paradise Locker Meats, Niman Ranch, Good Shepherd Poultry


Oh no she didn't!

I'm not exactly sure why I'm giving the Oscars more time from my life, but here I go anyway!
(Any excuse to post the pretties of Hollywood, eh)
It used to be I'd anxiously anticipate the awards. Now I just can't be 'bovvered', really. 
The Academy Awards were serious. Not that they weren't funny too, but at least they weren't trying to be funny (which is the worst thing you can do). They were the real deal.
I can't quite put into words how I feel about it and why it has changed-- the movies chosen for Best Picture year after year have something to do with it (and now they have to decide between 9 films- wtf).

The Ones I saw: 'The Help', solely because it was playing on the plane.  'Midnight in Paris'- which I did actually like. A lot. Very much so. 'Bridesmaids' was surprised to see was nominated. It is good to see female comedy out there but it annoys me how everyone acts like its a new thing. There has always been funny women- it's just now they've the power to take over. 'Beginners' I also liked very much- I thought it was cute! And I love Ewan McGregor, but he really needs to work on his American accent. His rather weird southern drawl worked on 'Down with Love', but when it's a serious film...

 'Tree of Life' is still on my To-See list, as is ... 'Hugo'. And 'The Artist' (wah-wah).  
I saw wah-wah because this is what a friend has to say about it...
And 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'. Just because. (And 'Melancholia', 'Drive', 'Shame', 'Jane Eyre','Biutiful', 'Somewhere','Salvation Road', 'Inception' - wait, now I'm going too far back...)
Et bon.
This is the part where I just start posting pictures to make it easier on the eyes.
Penelope Cruz looked like a Princess- a Spanish Grace Kelly, if you will. That tone of blue (or what colour is it?) works on her. 'Cause if you're planning on wearing a ball gown, you save it for Oscar night.
Gwyneth girl, you need to smile more naturally and not be afraid of whatever it is you're afraid of. You's an Oscar winner! I loved this dress- the cape, the jewelry, the whiteness of it all embellished its simplicity. See gals, sometimes less really is more.

You know, now that I've put these two dresses together, they kind of look the same. Kind of.

 Okay, not that much. Let's stop looking into it...
Je crois qui Michelle Williams has really been gracing the red carpets  tres chic-ly this past Awards season. Pixie cut cuteness overload- it's almost just too much to bear. She's come a long way from Dawson's Creek days (and we'll never let her forget that).
Natalie Portman looked flawless in that gown- her makeup also gets thumbs up from me!

If you've never seen or heard any Flight of the Conchords, do your sad-self a favour and watch.
Actions speak louder than words sometimes. This is one of those times.
Booya. He's an Academy Award winner.

Jessica Chastain is FLAWLESS. And this won't be the last time we'll be seeing her at the Academy Awards. I hate her 'cause not only is she graced with stunning good looks, but she's a fuckin' great actress.**
And so we come to The Streep. 'Bout time she won another Oscar. Meryl owned the moment in her gold dress (she knew she was taking the gold man home...). I cried during her speech. But I also cried during Octavia Spencer's and the 'In Memoriam'... 
Technically I have no say in saying who deserved the statuette for Best Actress as I've no knowledge of any of the performances, but when Meryl is involved, you know it's good. Hell, it's fantastic. She delivers. Viola Davis I did watch kill the screen on 'The Help', actually. Her face says so much on screen.

Sorry for taking some more of your time. If anything, this was just self-gratifying. Babble, babble from someone who calls herself an actress (oh, you better believe it!). I've done the 'shampoo-in-hands-in-front-of-the-mirror' speech. 

So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, adieu!
I think Uggie needs deserves a break. A vacay.

 * All images found on the Internet (mostly via Tumblr).
** For the record, I don't really hate her. Au contraire. She's fabulous.


Of Workshops and Brush Strokes

Before I begin, let me just say this: I wish you could all see the way Gi-ok Jeon (artist and workshop leader) handles the brush. The 'grip', the way she smoothly slides the brush on the rice paper (ironically made from bamboo pulp, I learned).

It's like I'm living 'Zen in the Art of Archery', minus the archery, of course, and a little less Zen...
I thought I understood the concept of 'being one with your instrument' but today I actually lived it. I mean, just the concept itself became alive in me. To actually truly live it, it takes years. Practice. Patience. 

Other than art classes in middle/high school, I've never actually done any real painting.  I've given it a go in my spare time, but rarely in depth and I always end up frustrated... 

This workshop, in its first session, has already taught me about patience. About control. Maybe it's to do with having the teacher around as a sort of safety net- encouraging you, guiding you, that makes it all better- but I felt good about my mistakes, about how difficult it all actually was.
The teacher makes everything look SO easy. That, my friend, is skill (and years of practice).

The materials used today: Paper. Brush. (Chinese) Ink.
[Freakin' amazing what these three combined can do]

There are 3 types of brush strokes: 
line stroke
wipe stroke
dot stroke
Add to that the different lines: dark, light, thick, thin, dry, fast, slow, etc...
Oh, the possibilities!
Right: The stem on the far right was done by Gi-ok; the others were stroke practices by yours truly.
We first learned about the aforementioned brush strokes, tried them out and attempted to paint grass/leaves. Easy, right? Not so much. There's a correct way of holding the brush- it's not all in the flick of the wrist, like cracking an egg (Sabrina, anyone?). The movement of a brush stroke is done with your whole arm- the brush is an extension of limb, as I see it.

Then, we moved on to something a little  more challenging: the Chinese Orchid.  
Gi-ok says she spends a full month of practicing/learning with her students when it comes to the Chinese Orchid, just to give you an idea.

Next came the bamboo. 
I don't think I need to tell you it's not as easy as it looks either. Especially the leaves! 
All photos taken by me using a Nikon D3000
I can't even begin to imagine how those big & thick brushes are to work with...

Instagram of a couple pieces I did
Have a look at this to really get a feel of it.
Check out Galerie N's website to read more about Gi-ok Jeon. Here's a glimpse at her amazing work.
From her collection, Dwelling in a Space (using mixed media)
So if you're in Bangkok and fancy a fun thing to do on a Saturday, you should sign up for a session or two!


Funny Friday: A little day brighten up-er

Even though I don't watch Ellen's show that much (not living in the US has something to do with that), I think she's a great host to one of the better talk shows.
I mean, she pulls pranks. What's not to like?

This Dennis Quaid one is my favourite.

If you didn't laugh out loud a couple of times then, lighten up, man. 
Here are two more involving Mr.Quaid: one & two
It helps that he's SO GOOD at what he's doing. He would've fooled me.

Have a funny Friday, everyone!

Wool of the King

(See what I did there? Being bilingual has so many advantages...)

I'm a bit late on the LdR bandwagon.
A couple of weeks ago I had no idea who Lana del Rey was. <- That is me being honest.

Lana del Rey this and Lana del Rey that - even Kristen Wiig parodied her (fabulously, I might add) on SNL. Who was this Lana del Rey and what's the deal with her?

Yesterday, I finally decided to look up some of her songs on youtube. To my surprise, I've discovered her music isn't half bad. (Of course, that's just my opinion)

My two favourites, so far? Blue Jeans* and Kinda Outta Luck

So if you were like me, I dare you to check her music out.
Are you a hater or a lover?

* I think I've listened to Blue Jeans more than 10 times today. Oh dear.


Alexa Chung for Superga

I'm really loving the new Superga ads with Alexa Chung.

I'd love to have a pair in every colour, but right now, the green pine ones are tugging at my heart strings... 


And I was like, Baby, Baby, Baby Oh.

My hair is long enough now to pull off the Justin Bieber look- it's kind of a big deal and pretty exciting! If only I could pull off his dance moves too...
I want to cut it off soon and begin the "re-growing" process again. I've never had so much fun with my hair before.
I know I'm not wearing it in correct Bieber style
On a side note: it's good to know what I'd look like with a 'stache. 


The Favourites - Day 9: Movies

I grew up watching movies and television, I'm not afraid to admit it. But I was also a child of the great outdoors. All I watched helped me be alone- my siblings are 7+ years older than me, and they didn't always want to play with me.*
Let's get down to it.

1. Wall-E (Dir. Andrew Stanton)
Not since R2D2 has there been a robot so cuddly! Pixar/Disney never disappoint- and Wall-E is no exception. The dialogue is minimum and the basic storyline pretty simple, but it still manages to evoke meaning and sentimentality. 
It only, takes a moment...

2. Moulin Rouge (Dir. Baz Luhrman)
Ewan McGregor singing and making young girls feel things they've never felt before. Is that good enough reason? It's fast paced, colourful and the lavish sets make me feel like I'm living in black & white.
I can quote this movie front to back and obviously sing along to all songs. 
The only other movie that had such a strong effect on me and required to be viewed numerous times in one day was Babe. But I won't get into that...

3. Singin' in the Rain (Dir. Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly)
Sure, Gene Kelly's an amazing dancer but Donald O'Connor will make you laugh with his incredible stunts, dancing and facial expressions (How does he 'twist' his nose like that?!). Jean Hagen (who plays Lina Lamont) does one hell of a job and is one of the greatest supporting actress performances, in my opinion. 
It's THIS performance that made me go, "Hey, I want to do that (tap dance)"

4. Benny & Joon (Dir. Jeremiah S. Chechik)
"It's a shame about raisins."
And so my love of all things quirky and witty finds its way home. It never occurred to me that Joon was "sick"- in fact, I always thought her to be rather cool and smart.
A young Julianne Moore, a good looking Aidan Quinn and an incomparable romance between Sam (Johnny Depp) & Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson).
 This scene is, of course, one of my favourites. You need to watch it if you haven't already.

5. Amadeus (Dir. Milos Forman)
You know you're in for a treat when the opening Mozart number is Symphony No. 25 in G minor.
From then on, it just gets better and better- the film, that is. Mozart's life, not so much (if you don't count his musical genius). This Academy Award winner x8 does not fall short in anything. Filmed in Prague, at the time still under Communist rule, actual locations are like secondary characters. 
The supporting cast includes Christine Ebersole, Jeffrey Jones, a very young Cynthia Nixon, and Vincent Schiavelli, among others. Tom Hulce should have tied with F. Murray Abraham for Best Actor.
Favourite lines? Easy. Peter Shaffer, you make words melt in my ear, taste sweet in my mouth.

6. Young Frankenstein (Dir. Mel Brooks)
"What the hell you doing in the bathroom day and night? Why don't you get out and give someone else a chance!"
A tap dancing Frankenstein? Only in a Mel Brooks film. Written by one of my favourite actors, Gene Wilder, this truly is a funny movie. I don't really know what else to say about it, you just have to see it for yourself...
Many-a-night I imagine Frau Blucher (*horse whinny*) stopping by my room to say goodnight.

7. Lord of The Rings Trilogy (Dir. Peter Jackson)
"Suuure I know a Baggins! Frodo Baggins! He's my second cousin twice removed on my mother's side..."
This movie is to me what "The Godfather" is to men (Bazinga- I just went there). Orcs, and Hobbits and Elves- oh my! It doesn't hurt that they're all good looking too. 
The whole trilogy is amazeballs, but my favourite, without a doubt, is 'The Fellowship of the Ring'. The beginning of the journey where you get to know all these characters. Pippin's the comedic relief and because of that my favourite character throughout. 
And what an epic journey it was just waiting for the movies to be released! Needless to say, I'm psyched for "The Hobbit".
I'm also grateful of the movie's existance, because without it we wouldn't have this.**

8. Annie Hall (Dir. Woody Allen)
Annie Hall is every woman. And this is every awkward situation you've had with a guy you like.
Diane Keaton gave us the ultimate Ralph Lauren look and La di da, La di da... While Woody Allen just gave us, well, Woody Allen (which I do enjoy).
To me, this is one of his finest and the recent 'Midnight in Paris' was back on track with classic Allen.
9.  Sabrina (Dir. Billy Wilder)
Audrey Hepburn is all charm, charm, charm! All the while looking beautiful- transforming from girl-next-door to sophisticated-chic. The thing with Audrey Hepburn is she plays naive so convincingly- she was 'cute' before being cute was a thing.
I'm actually a sucker when it comes to romance and love stories and this.... *sigh* It can't get any more romantic than this.

10. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Dir. Stanley Kubrick)
"Uh hello Dimitri?..."
When Theater of the Absurd becomes film.
When watching a Kubrick film it's not hard to see why the man is a legend. Kubrick understood moving pictures so well- every frame is part of the story and not a waste.
 George C. Scott and Peter Sellers (playing 3 different roles) are just more reason to love this film.

Honorable Mention: Die Hard (Dir. John McTiernan)
"Yippie ki yay, Motherfucker."
This movie gets an honorable mention because I don't really do action films. Except Die Hard. Die Hard I can watch dozens of times and not tire of it (Die Hard and Die Hard with a Vengeance, let's pretend No. 2 never existed...).
McClane's a bad ass, il capo di tutti capi. And he's got a wicked sense of humour. 
Honorable Villains: (two brits playing two germans) Alan Rickman and Jeremy Irons. Yum. 

There are many films I keep thinking about that I really love too- but perhaps I'll "fan-out" eventually...

So how about we have a movie night now. I'll get the popcorn ready!
What are some of your favourite movies? 

* Not complaining. They never EVER pushed me aside whenever they had get togethers or parties. Au contraire, to them, their "cute little sister" was a riot.
** Easily my favourite youtube video. Ever.


The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

This collection of photos on a collection of books, strategically taking over an apartment, is my equivalent of porn. I was drooling flipping through the pictures.

Hoarder? Nay, nay.
When it comes to books, there is not limit!

So, I raise my glass and say "Cheers!"
I've got a long way to go with my collection....


I have a photostream!

Spot of TeaWordsFather & SonRawr
MichellePublic Market
The one that started it all...Market
And now, gentle ladies and men, I've gone Pro. Flickr wise, at least.

I've spent most of today uploading photos of the past which I'd been wanting to share and hope to post Bangkok photos tomorrow/this weekend.

I love taking photos, but one thing's for sure: I need to work on taking portraits, photos of people. I can get unnaturally close to an animal for a picture, but when it comes to a person... I get nervous. It's something I need to work on and am willing to overcome.

Anybody want to be my model?