I first read this piece last week while I was completely overwhelmed with quarantine and caring for my husband. While it has been great that people are finding ways to cope and even thrive during shelter-in-place (Instagram Live workouts! sourdough starters! Zoom happy hours!), I was really struggling and doing much less than I ordinarily do with my time at home, even before my husband got sick.
Even though this whipped coffee beverage has gone beyond viral, just a month ago, as an Internet trend, it was still localized primarily in South Korea. (Dalgona is the name of a Korean street candy that the whipped concoction closely resembles.) However, an artist I follow — Dami Lee — posted this video, and it looked so achievable that I was inspired to immediately try making my own.
“But Starr, you don’t even drink coffee?”, some of you may be wondering.
This is very true. BUT even I had some instant coffee packets that I’ve pocketed from hotel stays abroad, and they came in very handy for this.
A post shared by Jenn Starr (@everythingineverfedyou) on
Here was my first attempt from literally a day after Dami Lee posted her video. (Oh, by the way, I have a kind of foodstagram on the side that I run with a friend?) It was delicious and, yes, very caffeinated. I have a low tolerance for caffeine so this is a lot for a non-coffee drinker but it’s still really pleasant! I’ve since purchased instant coffee expressly for the purpose of making more whipped coffee but will probably go with decaf in the future.
Rainych’s cover of “Say So”
Indonesian singer Rainych recorded this cover of Doja Cat’s hit song “Say So” in Japanese and, to be honest, I like it better than the original. I regularly vibe to her viral cover, which Doja Cat saw and loved, and hope it opens the doors for cool things in the future!
Zefrank made a short and silly video that brought me some needed smiles. I thought maybe it could do the same for you.
Headspace is a popular meditation app that has guided meditations for different situations, like helping you sleep or managing anxiety. They have responded to the coronavirus pandemic by adding additional resources like their “Weathering the Storm” series and giving healthcare providers free access to their premium app.
New York state is currently the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with my home of New York City having one of the highest confirmed case counts per capita in the world. So, Headspace has put together a page of resources for New Yorkers to take advantage of, with free guided meditations, sleep sounds, and even meditations for kids. This has been a nice reprieve.
Ideal Asian Breakfasts
I was recommended these videos by Party Kitchen, and they are on the same chill frequency as my Calm Foods video playlist, which I love. I love all breakfast food, and Asian breakfasts are especially comforting to me. I hope they bring you some comfort, too, and maybe inspire a breakfast for you to come.
I didn’t mean for this Friday Favorites to be so video-oriented, it’s almost another video playlist. It’s not on the list up there but today Instagram allowed users to access Direct Messages from the web app, which is great because I really have been cherishing the ability to DM people, especially now, but I hate spending so much time sucked into my phone.
It feels a little weird to just toss out a salad post (see what I did there) when I have a backlog of recaps I still owe. There’s my friend’s wedding I attended at the beginning of the month (waiting on photos from the official photographer, so waiting for the couple to return from their honeymoon) and my annual trip to New York (which I just want to wait because, chronologically, it happened after the wedding).
So I want to talk a little bit about salads real quick.
Back on my old blog (RIP Xanga), I wrote an entire post about how I construct salads and what my favorite restaurant salads were. I don’t think that ever made it here, but in light of how many salads I’ve been eating during DC’s recent heat bubble, I figured it was a good time to revisit salads.
While some people may think of summer as cookout time, a time to eat copious fried foods and barbecued meats, I always think about the fresh, raw foods I crave in the summer. It gets to the point where I am almost offended when someone invites me to eat salad or sushi in the winter. (Are you saying my winter coat of blubber doesn’t look good???) On days when you get covered in a layer of sweat or the moisture in the air or both within seconds of walking outside, a beautiful, crisp salad really hits the spot. The things I look for when I am glancing over salad menus are textures, flavors, and colors. I also take into consideration heaviness/freshness, which is hard to describe but I think you probably understand it? Citrus adds freshness. Avocado and bacon add heaviness.
Here’s my process, in order, of when I construct my own salads…Read More »
I’m trying to ease my way back into my regular schedule… or at least posting at all… it’s obviously not going great. (As per usual, my roadblock in getting Florida posts up is the photo editing/uploading. LE SIGH.)
Before I even realized what was happening, July ended, and then August skipped by? Whoa. It’s been yet another crazy summer for me, so I thought I’d share a few things that have helped me through the chaos.
I first heard about this new Netflix Original Series at the beginning of June and was instantly interested. The trailer was super cool and I was immediately drawn in by the premise of these 8 people in 8 different cities who are emotionally and mentally connected.
This is maybe my new favorite show to push other people to watch. It is really unlike most other shows that I’ve seen. First of all, the characters are incredibly interesting. They’re so different from each other and have amazing depth to each and every one. You really feel very committed and invested in all 8 of them and their individual stories. But what is even more interesting is how the show links the characters together. Two characters on opposite sides of the world may be facing completely different circumstances, but they share a core dilemma and that brings them together. The show also deals with a lot of issues that more mainstream shows shy away from. The emotional stakes are really high, and even though the overarching story of the season doesn’t really kick off until episode 9 (it’s ridiculous, I know), I promise you it’s worth that slow burn.
PLUS the show is gorgeous. The cinematography is beautiful. You have this wanderlust from visiting Berlin and Mumbai and Nairobi and Iceland and Chicago and Mexico City and more. And it’s a really cool blend of different cinematic styles. You want a Bollywood dance sequence? Done. Excessive action sequence? Okay. Buddy cop? There’s a bit of that. Comedy? EDM? Done, done. Whatever you want, this show HAS IT. God, it’s such a good show. I’m tempted every day to rewatch the season.
New Phone Apps
When I downloaded these apps at the beginning of the summer, I had planned on doing a post about them but that’s one of many drafts that I started this summer and never got out. I think it was actually meant to be one of the monthly favorites, oops. (Let me know if this is one of the posts you still want me to publish?) Essentially, I decided to shake up some of most-used apps by switching to better-looking ones that had better features.
Sunrise Calendar: This is a really great-looking calendar app that has great external app integration (in fact, Sunrise is what led me to get Wunderlist) and a superb Android widget
Wunderlist: Even though I’ve been using the same to-do website/app for over 10 years, it was time to move on to one that better suited my needs. Wunderlist has a great user interface and features that I regularly use like repeating tasks, separate reminders and due dates, and more.
1Weather: In the midst of switching apps, I decided I needed a better-looking weather app also and was led to 1Weather by the folks at Lifehacker. 1Weather is simple but looks so good and tells me everything I need and more without inundating my screen with meteorological data.
Honestly, even if you have no interest in watching Ant-Man (which I would recommend you do watch, it was a fun movie), you should just watch this trailer. It’s 15 seconds of your life that you won’t want back, featuring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. Enjoy.
Vanilla Milk Alternatives
This seems very specific, but basically I really liked vanilla-flavored soy and almond milks, and I feel like I would probably like other vanilla-flavored products as well? (I know I’ve seen cashew and coconut milk in the same section.) I don’t like milk very much at all, but I tried some vanilla soy creamer at the beginning of the summer and really loved it with:
Javazen Original, cold-brewed, for a delicious iced coffee
Buying a big ol’ carton just to flavor tea or iced coffee seemed a bit silly, but so did repeatedly buying the tiny cartons of creamer. So, I now have a big ol’ carton and am able to drink it straight up or use it for…
Basically, I’ve been really curious about this “super food” trend for a while now because it seemed like the gelatinous form that chia seeds take on in puddings would be yummy. I bought a bag when it was on sale and it was the perfect time to use my new milk alternatives. This is a super winner in my book as a breakfast, dessert, snack, whatever. It feels healthy, it tastes great, it keeps me filled… what’s not to love? I am still working on the right ratio of seeds to milk, but I’ve been really enjoying chia pudding the past few weeks with my vanilla milk alternatives and chocolate soy milk, which I am really happy to be able to find as a lot of stores have stopped stocking the one I always get.
The IT Crowd
This is another show that is available on Netflix. I first heard about it on Tumblr from folks who were complaining that The Big Bang Theory was actually mocking the nerds rather than celebrating them through comedy, which I really can’t disagree with. Plus, Tumblr is a huge fan of Richard Ayoade, one of the stars of the show. His character, Moss, can be likened to Sheldon on BBT, except he’s a lot more clever and a lot funnier, to me. (I love Richard Ayoade.)
Even though I started the show a long while back, it wasn’t until this summer that I finished it, laughing aloud through most of the episodes. I highly recommend this as a lighthearted comedy about the workplace and how dumb the workplace can be. You get a fun dose of British humor while you’re at it, as well. (Also, about the struggles that IT people face when people don’t have their computers plugged in.)
Game of Thrones
OKAY INTERNET, YOU WIN. I finally watched Game of Thrones. After having most of the show spoiled rotten for me, I’ve decided to get some context on events like the Red Wedding and now I have it. I think I’m more interested in reading the books now, if anything, because I’m really drawn in by the world that George R. R. Martin has created, but I also really have to commend the cast for their portrayals of these characters and the crew for literally building this world. I love fantasy as a genre and obviously GoT is a great fantasy series. I am glad that this show is no longer a blind spot when it comes to nerdy and/or television trivia. Really excited for season 6, as the show has now caught up with (and in some cases, eclipsed) the book series. No one knows what’s coming next and a lot of storylines are building up to some exciting climaxes!
And that’s just a few of the things that have been keeping me sane and generally in good spirits this summer. Sometimes the summer seems so short, but then I realize I finished Game of Thrones 2 weeks ago and finished Sense8 2 months ago and it seems like such a long time…
I’m looking forward to a lot of fall favorites to come!
What kept you happy this summer?
Have you watched any of the shows I mentioned? Or should I watch something different?
I would never claim to be an expert in anything. I wouldn’t even call myself particularly passionate about any single thing.
Instead, I refer to myself as an enthusiast of many things. I get very enthused about many things.
One of these things is cute animal videos.
Let’s just cut to the chase, okay? I’m not here to waste your time. I’m here to show you my surefire, go-to cute animal videos and what I call them.
Official title: 2 Rabbits 2 Cups コップにはいった子うさぎ 漫才編 Also known as: “Bunnies in Cups!!!” Video length: 1 minute Featured animal(s): 2 adorable little bunnies that do the thing that bunnies do with their noses for a full minute – instant classic
Original: https://vine.co/v/ME16mjEaPEY Official title: Prancing through the grass 🐷😭😻 #piggy #piglet #cute#baby Also known as: “Tiny pig in grass that’s bigger than it!” Video length: 6 seconds Featured animal(s): A teeny pig that is smaller than the blades of grass it runs through and that makes a tiny, precious oinking sound
Official title: baby monkey nala gets a bath Also known as: “Teeny monkey gets a bath!!!” Video length: 2 minutes 19 seconds Featured animal(s): Baby monkey hugging a little plush toy as it gets washed in a sink under a faucet while also making adorable squeaking noises
Official title: Ducks blown off their feet by wind Also known as: “OMG duckies getting blown across a roof!!!” Video length: 45 seconds Featured animal(s): Mama Duck and her ducklings tumbling across a roof after a few strong gusts get them
Official title: Ducklings vs. Stairs Also known as: “Duckies trying sooooo hard to climb the stairs!!!” Video length: 2 minutes 31 seconds Featured animal(s): Mama Duck waiting for her dozen cheep-cheep-ing ducklings to hop up the stairs to her
Official title: Surprised Kitty (Original) Also known as: “AW the kitty is surprised!” Video length: 16 seconds Featured animal(s): Small kitten that is playing with owner and makes an adorable gesture+face in doing so – another classic
Official title: Cat mom hugs baby kitten Also known as: Mommy squeeeeezes baby kitteh squee~ Video length: 1 minute Featured animal: Baby kitten sleeping next to mama cat, making little sounds and movements, being pulled into a hug
I know I don’t have any puppy videos… this time. This is probably not the last you’ve heard from me regarding cute videos of animals, but I figured that our hearts could only take so much cute in one dose, ya know?
What are you favorite cute animal videos? Please share, I can’t get enough.
With spring kicking off in March, I have a rather long post for you all this month. Lots of good things going on is a good sign, right?
7 Minute Workout [App]
I’ve been trying to find ways to make it easier for me to commit to fitness. Right now, I’m really enjoying the 7 Minutes app (I use this one on Google Play, but there are many that have slightly different UIs and several available on iTunes as well). I picked this one over some other popular ones (like Nike’s N+TC) because I don’t need any equipment for the exercises as 7 Minute uses only body weight exercises.
If you’re unfamiliar with tabata or circuit/interval training, the default 7 Minutes workout involves 13 different workouts that you do for 30 seconds each with 10 seconds of rest in-between. The science backing this workout says that intense bursts of activity followed by shorter intervals of rest are super effective in working your muscles, and you’re able to maximize the benefits of exercise in only 7 minutes.
As someone who often has a hard time committing to fitness regimens that aren’t a paid-for group class, finding 7 minutes to do something, no matter how painful those 7 minutes may be, seems much more doable than doing half an hour of exercise three times a week. I am trying to do as many days in a row as I can without taking breaks while completing one circuit, since the app tracks how many days in a row you’ve done the exercises, how far into the exercises you got, how many times (if any) you paused, and how many days of exercise you’ve done in the past 30 days. If you’re a fan of the “Don’t Break the Chain” method of forming habits popularized by Jerry Seinfeld, you’ll love that feature.
(Images from Google Play store)
Along the same vein, my boyfriend and I recently decided to give fitness trackers a try. Not wanting to commit a lot, we found one of the most affordable options out there: the Misfit Flash, which is a lower-end tracker made by the folks who also make the Misfit Shine. The tracker itself is whatever to me: it’s made of cheaper materials but gets the job done and has an option for you to clip it or wear it on your wrist.
The app is what I like. The UI is really nice, although I wish the Android one was as nice/robust as the iOS one. I can connect it to RunKeeper, for the handful of times I decide to run, and MyFitnessPal, because I understand that being aware of what I eat is really important to my overall fitness.
You earn “points” for your physical activity (so mostly for walking, as it counts your steps) and I like the social element if only so I can compete with my boyfriend. One thing I also like is that it shows how you rank with the average males/females using the app. “Missfit” is on my leaderboard and I think that’s a neat feature.
Also, we really wanted to look into sleep tracking. I used a sleep tracking app, but I don’t like keeping my phone on my bed, so this is a nice alternative. It has issues as far as not being able to track naps, not tracking if you wake up and go back to sleep, if you have irregular sleep hours, etc., but it’s a nice way to get more data about my sleep habits. And I’m all about dat data.
(Images from Google Play store)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
I usually don’t watch super trendy shows (see: Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, etc.), usually because I don’t know about them when they premiere and then because I feel like I am being peer-pressured to start watching it. (Looking at you, Doctor Who and the Tumblr propaganda that eventually got me to watch.) This definitely applies to Netflix shows, because I don’t really like the idea of sitting down and binge-watching a season of a show the day it is released to the public. (See: why I don’t watch House of Cards despite the fact that, as a show about DC, I have friends who can be seen as extras.)
When Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was announced a short while back, I fully intended to not watch it. I like Tina Fey (the producer) and all, but I didn’t watch 30 Rock, I’m not a die-hard Tina Fey fan, I don’t feel anything about Ellie Kemper or Jane Krakowski, the premise was quirky but not enough where I felt really compelled to watch it… I just didn’t really have any motive to watch. But then I heard that Ki-Hong Lee was on the show… as a love interest, no less! I love Ki-Hong (his smile takes over his whole face… and yours) and I am all for Asian male love interests.
So, I sat down to watch the show and really liked it! It’s 30-minute episodes, which made the 12-episode season much more digestible than shows where the run-time lasts closer to an hour. It’s a light-hearted comedy, which meant that I was able to breeze through episodes not only without being stressed and tense for the next one but while laughing as well. It’s definitely a bit too edgy/quirky for television and perfect for the Internet. It’s super self-aware and smartly written. I recommend it if you’ve been wondering about this show.
Even though it snowed half a foot the first week of March (… you think I’m joking), the weekend immediately following that storm gave us our first taste of spring weather. I had my windows open! The snow thawed almost immediately and left immense puddles everywhere! I went outside in jeans without a pair of leggings underneath them!
Cleaning my room has been on my to-do list for a while. When I started getting overwhelmed with my many tasks, I would feel worse about the fact that my room was messy and I hadn’t cleaned it yet. This would drive me into a guilt spiral that was further aggravated by the fact that I can’t actually stand messes. Evidently, my method of coping with a mess is usually to be driven so mad by it that I am reduced to doing… nothing, about the mess or anything else in my life.
But, on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, a breath of fresh air gave me the kick I needed to actually clean. I told myself I would only clean my room and save cleaning the rest of the apartment as a roommate activity, since I don’t get to see my roommate too often. But as soon as I broke out my vacuum, I wound up vacuuming the entire apartment and wiping down almost every surface. Oops! I even (finally) took down my Christmas lights that were in a Christmas tree arrangement and rearranged them in a non-holiday way, as I’ve always liked the look of rooms with soft fairy lights.
Now I walk into my apartment and my room and feel so at peace rather than irritated and angry at myself. It is one fewer obstacle to me actually doing things I need to do. This doesn’t mean I do those things, but I have one fewer excuse now.
With the shift in the weather and a desperate need to do something productive, I have been enjoying cooking even more than I usually do. Not only have I been cooking, I’m cooking less familiar foods. This includes:
Pancakes from scratch and not from a mix! (I almost never have flour and this is my first time having baking powder in the pantry)
Ridiculously fluffy pancakes
Mickey Mouse pancakes!
Mac & cheese with cheese sauce from scratch (I had to purchase cheese???)
Scallion pancakes from scratch
No photos to share this time around, but let me know what you’d like to see me make in the future!
“Chinese Female Bodyguards”
A friend of mine shared this VICE video on Facebook and I soaked up every single one of its 12 minutes. Because of the absurdly fast-growing Chinese upper class, which includes many powerful businesswomen, there is a growing demand for female bodyguards. Not only is it more practical and safe for women to have a female bodyguard, but having a bodyguard is, in and of itself, a status symbol, and the Chinese upper class is obsessed with displaying status symbols.
It resonated with me, personally, because the women are taught “feminine” things such as walking in heels and putting on makeup. This is not because they need to be “more feminine”, but rather, in China, wearing heels and makeup is a way to demonstrate your respect of other people. In this case, the trainees want to show respect to their clients and their clients’ colleagues.
Also, since assault weapons are illegal in China, bodyguards must be highly skilled in martial arts. We’re not talking Jet Li The Bodyguard from Beijing level skills, but those would be really helpful because bodyguards cannot legally carry weapons. (Side note: That is my mom’s favorite Jet Li movie and it’s a good one.)
The movie is from 1994… and it shows. But I love it.
Late Night Happy Hours
I am all about happy hour for one main reason: excellent food deals. In fact, I am really baffled by people who only drink during happy hour? We’re in his bar from 6-8 and you don’t want to eat food? But you had lunch hours ago?
Anyway, what I’m really into right now is late night happy hours, since happy hour can be harder to coordinate in the DC area with folks living in Maryland, the District proper, and Virginia. A Friday night late night menu special is perfect for those situations. I went to the one at City Perch two Fridays in a row and really like the food. The service is another story but the food and drink specials are SUPER GREAT. I have definitely found myself suggesting this as an option more than once to my friends. This is a time in my life when I can really take advantage of the fact that I am more of a night owl, as I’ll only start wanting to sleep at 8 PM more and more as I get older.
I’ve been working on this post all through March and it’s hard to believe how long ago watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or stress-cleaning my entire apartment feels now.
April is shaping up to be jam-packed with lots of fun, and it’s BEDA so you are going to have random things to read whether they’re quality or not!
What were your highlights from March?
What are you looking forward to in April?