Monthly Archives: July 2010

Princess Mononoke

PG-13        2 hours 14 minutes

As a supporting and loving fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s, watching this film came naturally to me. After checking the mailbox several times a day, my heart finally skipped I beat when I  found the movie awaiting me in the familiar red Netflix envelope. Princess Mononoke was the last movie I had to watch before I could officially say that I have watched all of Miyazaki’s directed movies, and it was on the “Top 100 Movies to See Before You Die” List. This movie was a two-in-one dream! So, that just proved that I didn’t want to watch it, but that I needed to.

What can I say? Hayao’s stories are always so original, wonderful, and creative, with stunning animation. It’s like his mind is endlessly overflowing with fantastical stories. You can tell that his imagination truly has no walls, and is just as big as a child’s in the age of fairytales and pirates.

I’ve always enjoyed trying to find the perfect words to describe things, because I’ve always wanted others to understand my point of view. But sometimes you have to have the experience to truly follow what I’m trying to get at. Now, Hayao Miyazaki’s movies may be one of those things, because I’m sure having a heck of a hard time finding my perfect words! Let me try to describe this movie as a simile:

Princess Mononoke is long and hearty like a bowl of noodles.

Ok. That’s a start.

Well, the movie is long, like how noodles are suppose to represent a long and happy life. It’s a little more than two hours, because there’s a lot of detail going into the storyline. There are demons, tree spirits, talking animals, red elks, fortune telling, decapitation(no joke.), gods, princes, and princesses, which all make for a pretty enchanting 2 hours. On the other hand, it’s hearty, because it has everything you could ask for in a movie- adventure, humor, action, romance, evil, good, mystery, wonder, and even a little violence mixed in (note back to word decapitation). I was pleasantly surprised, because I’ve never seen his more serious and deeper side of storytelling. It also portrays a really important message he make very clear. So if you were even the least bit interested in what I wrote, go see it. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.

Still need more convincing? Princess Mononoke made critic Roger Ebert’s list of 1999’s 10 Best Films and is considered an anime epic.

My Neighbor Totoro

Being a die-hard fan on a mission to watch all of Hayao Miyazaki’s enchanting and charming stories, I have finally checked off from my list My Neighbor Totoro!

The story is about two sisters, little Mei and older sister Satsuki, who move to the wide-open Japanese countryside with their father along side them. They want to be closer to their sick mother in the hospital, who is especially dear to the duo. Instantly, Hayao Miyazaki perfectly expresses a “stunningly realistic portrayal” of the laid back life amidst a sea of rice fields, plains, and surprisingly cute and cuddly forest spirits. The sisters have all the space in the world to run around and play, and while doing so, they befriend a large, friendly spirit who goes by the name of Totoro. Totoro then slowly unfolds a mystical and hidden world to Satsuki and Mei, where large cat buses ride the wind  and soot sprites scurry about. My Friend Totoro is a heartfelt tale about breathtaking adventures, unsuspecting friendships, and the true essence of being a kid.

Somehow, Hayao Miyazaki’s movies always evoke so much emotion in me, it’s RI-DI-CU-LUS. After only one viewing, it has given me a sudden urge to move to the countryside and have my very own Totoro. I’ve already been imagining myself retiring to a peaceful cottage nestled on scenic rolling fields growing gardens and baking cookies, just like in the movie. It’s making me feel all warm and fuzzy. And frankly, it’s almost impossible not to feel that way after you watch this movie, or at least start cranking out that rusty imagination of yours like you used to when you were younger. You’d be lying if you said that Totoro didn’t influence you at all. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wandering around in the woods looking for a tunnel. And most of all, don’t be afraid to completely surrender your newfound love for this movie.

a little thing I made 🙂

Nice nail steals

When I’m at the mall, I could literally go 5 hours there without buying a single thing. And frankly, it’s kind of annoying. This is probably the outcome of 4 factors:

1) my mom’s fruggleness has rubbed off on me

2) I’m picky when it comes to shopping because this whole thought process starts going on in my head about whether or not I REALLY want the product or if I am just impulsive

3) I feel guilty when  I buy expensive things

4)most of the time I wander aimlessly through the aisles not really knowing what I want

So it surprised me when I was able to easily buy something at the mall without all those other factors interfering!! And at the FIRST store I went to! Usually it’s at the 4th of 5th store in, but not this time. VICTORY SCREECH! I’m so proud of myself.

When I was younger, I never really liked putting anything on my skin, like tattoos, stickers, makeup, and nail polish. (But then again, I also didn’t like eggs, meat, milk, soda, and chocolate. I was a weird child) But then one day, everything turned upside down, and now I love all of those things! (except for the tattoos, stickers, and soda. I still don’t like those.) I’ve especially taken a liking to nail polish lately.

I found these N.Y.C. nail colors at Target, for just 99 cents each! They’re names are 112A-Times Square Tangerine Creme and 105A-Starry Silver Glitter, and they are both long wearing nail enamel. I love to paint the bold and striking tangerine color on first, and then layering the glitter on top. I love how it gives color and interest, and it’s cute and fun!

I also got a mini pack of 3 polishes in feminine shades of pink at Forever 21 for $2.50. It comes in a tiny package perfect for traveling and a pretty jewel chain that I took off and put on my wallet.

Besides that, I bought a Solid Rose Headband Set at Forever 21 too, because I was tired of my usual dull and black headband. The floral pattern really pops against the black cloth. It comes with 2 headbands, one black and the other floral.

My first Pigout and One Day Lemon Cleanse

Today I have decided to do the One Day Lemon Cleanse. And like for everything, I have a pretty reasonable reason for doing this. Well, yesterday my family and I had decided to try this restaurant called Cheeburger Cheeburger. It’s this awesome place that is set up like a fifties diner, and let me tell you, ordering there is a lot of fun too! What makes this place so fun is that you get to concoct your own burger, and who wouldn’t want their own personalized piece of heaven? I mean, c’mon people. Anyway, you first have to pick your burger size and how you cook it. I got the smallest, which is The Classic, cooked to medium, the juiciest (Sounding good already). Next, you pick your cheese. I picked pepper jack. And finally, you pick the toppings. This is where the pandemonium begins. You get to pick AS MANY toppings as you want.(Including peanut butter on your hamburger!) And as first-timers, we were all pretty overwhelmed. They even had specialty toppings like bacon, which you had to pay extra for. (Because bacon just comes naturally to everyone). I decided to start out small though, so I got some honey mustard with lettuce and roasted red peppers. But making good stuff takes time, so they remind you to be patient and wait about 15 minutes for your burger. Okay, so I ate the burger, and it was delicious, as suspected. But the real reason I decided to take the lemon cleanse was because because of the dessert. For their milkshakes, you get to mix as many different flavors as you want! And they had about 70 flavors or so, which also equaled up to 3,000+ combinations. So I thought, “What the heck? Lets do it!”

Yeah, not so smart. It’s not like the milkshake wasn’t good, cause it was a dream come true. My combination was cinnamon bun and cookie dough, two of my favorite things. But about a quarter of the way through, I felt full. That cup was huge! And I’m not use to chugging stuff down all at once. That’s why I felt full when I had barely gone through half of it. So what did I do? I just kept on chugging.

And chugging.

And chugging.

After I finally devoured the remaining pieces of cookie dough at the bottom, my body basically slapped me in the face for not obeying it’s “I’m full you can stop feeding me now” signs. Long story short, I felt like I had to throw up. I didn’t feel like I wanted to, I felt like I had to. And being in that car didn’t really do any justice. I was like those kids at amusement parks who eat to many hot dogs, ride a roller coaster, and run to the trash can all green in the face, I felt so sickly and a little light-headed that I started tearing up.(I know have a new-found respect for that guy on Man vs. Food) I couldn’t eat another piece of food, especially something sweet. So what did I do? I laid like a potato on my bed trying to wait out this horrible feeling in my body while watching Kid in a Candy Store on Food Network (out of all the other channels on direct tv). Turns out that nothing can take away my love for food and cooking after all!

And that’s the story of my first serious pigout.

Big is most certainly NOT better......oi....

Now I do this cleanse to rid of all the bad stuff in my body and to leave me feeling new once again. Basically, the lemon cleanse is a drink made out of lemons, honey, white pepper, and water. It tastes pretty good, like a less sweeter version of lemonade. And the pepper gives it this tingle at the back of your throat. What is supposed to happen is that I’m only supposed to drink this drink every 1-2 hours without eating solid foods. It will then clean your body of harmful toxins and leave you feeling great!(That’ the part I’m looking forward to). I’m very curious as to how I’ll feel though, because I’ve never gone a day without eating solid food.(Except when I was a baby, but that doesn’t count) Most people think that this gives them an easy excuse to not eat anything and lose weight fast, but it’s not.(to be healthy, you have to change your lifestyle, and I don’t think you want to drink only lemonade for the rest of your life) It’s about the wellbeing of your body and how you feel ultimately feel, to make yourself feel fresh inside and out. (and if you really want to be serious, they even have a 10 day cleanse) Wish me luck!

You can get the instructions for the One Day Lemon Cleanse here.

Books on my desk.

On my desk, there is a pile of books. That pile consists of:

  1. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  2. The Success Principles for Teens by Jack Canfield and Kent Healy
  3. Year Million edited by Damien Broderick
  4. Seventeen Magazine August 2010

Let me explain to you my connection with each one of these books.

  1. To tell you the truth, I am hopelessly confused on my summer reading book, Treasure Island. (refer to Summer Reading post) In an attempt to try and make the reading more understandable, I bought the audiobook from one of my iTouch apps, hoping to listen to the story rather than read it. Well, that proved to be a rather unaffective idea. This is why. Sometimes I would play the audiobook while I was reading along inside Treasure Island, which gave my mind something to concentrate on. By both reading and listening, I was able to really understand what was happening. Other times though, I would close my eyes and listen to the audiobook, hoping to imagine what was happening in the story  inside my head. Not such a good idea. The first few minutes would be fine, and I would be following along with the narrator just dandy. But then, my mind would start to wander off unintentionally. Here are the internal thoughts I am having in my head as I try to listen to my summer reading, but utterly fail: OK, so Jim Hawkins is suspecting Israel Hands to attack him….right……uhuh…..hmmm…(mind starts wandering right now) I wonder what I’m going to have for breakfast tomorrow? Maybe some oatmeal? What do I feel like…Ohh, this bed is so comfy, I had such a long day….(realizes that I’m not listening to the book) Wait, the story!! So now Jim and Mr. Hands are fighting…..Just stare at the ceiling so you don’t fall asleep…….wait, what is Jim talking about? Something about a dirk? What’s a dirk?…….(dozing off) won’t fall asleep…won’t.. fall…(sound asleep)  Finally, twenty minutes later, I awaken, only to find out that the narrator is 4 chapters ahead from where I started, and I have lost my place in the book. Because of this, I have to reread the whole chapter again, to get what’s going on. It seems that I’m more for the old-fashioned reading than listening! Either that, or audiobooks are meant for when you’re washing the dishes or sitting in the car, not tucked in in your warm bed, a little sleepy, at 10 pm, in your pajamas. I really believe that Treasure Island is a great classic, but I just wish that I had been able to understand it better!
  2. “You can achieve anything if you put your mind into it.” Everyone’s familiar with those kinds of inspiring quotes and statements that make you want to work for something in life. Well, The Success Principles:For Teens (they also have one for adults) are all those quotes and more wrapped up into one big hunk of a package! Basically, the 2 authors lay out the 20 Success Principles needed to, well, become successful. Trust me, after you’re done reading this, you’ll feel like you can become and succeed anything. It’s like an adrenaline rush FOR YOUR MIND!(isn’t that awesome?) Kent Healy and Jack Canfield’s book shows you just how to “get from where you are to where you want to be.”
  3. Even though I’ve only gotten the chance to read part of the introduction for this book, it is already extremely thought-provoking. It predicts how humanity will be doing in a couple hundred years, and how we would have evolved. It’s hard to wrap your mind around the whole idea, though, but imagination can only take us so far. And apparently, we might even end up looking like “The Gray” alien. Weird, right?
  4. 4. Seventeen Magazines are one of my favorite magazines. (The same goes to millions of other teenage girls!) They give you fashion, beauty, celebrities, advice, and health tips. What more could a typical teenage girl ask for? Every week, they give you a really helpful section which provides workout and eating plans to help you get and stay fit. But this week, I hit the jack pot. Instead of the usual fold-out 1 week workout plan, they made a fun and different 6 week workout plan complete with eating tips and success stories from three inspiring girls! It was a bonus mag, I think is what they called it. What they do is that they give you 6 very distinct and varied workouts, one for each week, and also some cardio and “17 tips”. The success stories I mentioned earlier really motivates you to get into your best shape, too. Some of the workouts include yoga, dancing, and piloxing (a cross between pilates and boxing=piloxing) The true purpose of this though is to whip you into shape without getting boring and monotonous. It’s very rewarding when you’ve finished!


Excuses

This past week, my computer has been acting really funny. Every time I try to upload or download, this pop-up comes up and matter-of-factly states, “Start-up disk is almost full; delete some files to free up some space.”

What in the world does this mean! Yup, it’s certainly stumped me. From my eyes, it’s like an omen saying, “you are doomed to never upload any more photos on your blog. EVER.” (But then again, that’s just me overreacting.) So, giving up oh so easily, I have stopped blogging for a number of days. I figured that I’ll just get back to it when mom calls Apple and fixes the problem. That gave me a fairly good reason for my “break”. But then, my mind started wandering back to the book, The Success Principles for Teens by Jack Canfield and Kent Healy. Given to me from my mom, this book has continually been  proving to be a motivational, inspirational, and priceless tool to work for the life I’ve always dreamed of; to be successful in my own view. And in one of the 20 Success Principles, I remembered a lesson about taking responsibility for my life, which explained how excuses just slow you down. I realized that I was using this glitch in my computer as a reason to stop writing, but then I realized how lazy and silly I was being. I don’t need pictures to blog! The main idea I started this blog was to simply write. Images are just a bonus :).

Leftover Stir-Fry Mac and Cheese

If you’re anything like me, Macaroni and Cheese is your go-to comfort food, no questions asked. There’s just something about the savory, melty cheese and the al dente macaroni that just clicks. Like they were destined to be together, like Bella and Edward (I’m guessing Bella is the macaroni and Edward the cheese?). And there’s certainly nothing greater than freshly made warm mac and cheese! Who can think of an excuse not to eat that masterpiece? The only excuse would be that you were allergic (and if you really are, I feel for you)

But oh yes, there is definitely a way to revive the leftover mac and cheese in your fridge to its former glory! No more gunky cheese for you! It’s fairly simple: all you need is leftover mac and cheese (I used kraft) some olive, garlic, and veggies. That’s how easy it is! See, macaroni and cheese makes everything better.

Just chop the veggies and cook them, and then add the good stuff. As how the Kraft dinosaur would say it, CHEESE ME!

Leftover Stir-Fry Mac and Cheese

  • leftover macaroni and cheese (preferably a day old)
  • roughly chopped garlic or onion (I used garlic)
  • as much chopped vegetables as you want (I had some scallions, asparagus, and carrots available)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Heat a skillet or wok on medium heat. Add the oil.
  2. Cook the garlic in the oil until it becomes slightly aromatic, about 1 minute
  3. Add the vegetables, stir, and then cover and cook until tender (mine took 5 minutes, but depending on the vegetables and the amount, it may take a different amount of time)
  4. Add the macaroni, stir for a few minutes until it is heated, and serve