Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chip Tuesday: Ikea's LantChips

**This post was originally posted on the Spatula Underground.

This past weekend, my roommate Cassie, Christopher, and I went on an epic trip to Ikea. In need of random furnishings, rugs, and accessories for our cozy new home, we decided to borrow a coworkers van, get up early, and go to yuppy mecca, pay homage to the scandinavian demigods who create furniture that can be built and broken down with great efficiency, and come home to make our lovely home even lovelier. It was a good plan.

If only things had run so smoothly.

On the way there, driving on the highway, Sassie Cassie approached stopped traffic but was not able to slow down. "Omigod you guys, the brakes! the brakes are not working!" She immediately swerved off an exit and pulled the emergency break. She handled it like a champ, but we were definitely shaken up. Nervous laughter, a detour back onto the highway, a tenuous exit and we were finally at Ikea all in one piece.

Nothing like facing the hooded face and shiny sickle of black death to get you in the mood for some crispy chips that affirm that you are indeed still alive with every crunchy bite. So where else did we go but the Ikea food court? Is there anything better than commercial scandinavian food? No, there isn't.

Behold, I give you Ikea's LantChips.

Thankfully, I didn't have to use a cute little wrench to put this bag together. The flavor is spot on, not too salted, just greasy enough. The texture of the chips are much like kettle-cooked chips-- thick skin, very potato-ey, but not as greasy or heavy as American chips. As a person of the Asian persuasion, I was grateful for the mild flavor. Eaten with a big cup of Lingonberry juice on ice, it was, HAUW YOU SAY ... PERFEKT!

Till next time, everybody.

Monday, August 24, 2009

my place

Here are photos of my new room. Sorry for the crappy photobooth quality. It's also really difficult to get good photos with photo booth, and also the images are all reversed, argh. A new camera might be in store for me in the future (see below), but right now I need to save them Benjamins!

Eventually I will give you a video tour :) The kitchen is the best part of the apartment!

(Shout out to Christopher who helped put most of this furniture together and who ventured with me on an epic trip to Ikea this weekend. I know it was painful, sweets. I'm forever grateful!)

***update, more photos!

dining room


kitchen II

view from our balcony

view from balcony II

falling for fall

I cannot wait for fall. The first warm day to hit D.C. last spring, my attitude immediately turned sour. Summer in D.C. has a lot of great qualities, but many more awful ones. It is insanely humid, with flash thunder storms, and killer mosquitoes that absolutely love to feast on me. I got three mosquito bites on my legs yesterday (despite the fact that I had on mosquito repellent!) and they are currently swelling up as I type. Dangnabit!

It's cooler today though and it reminds me that September is just one week away, which means fall is just around the corner. I can't wait. Bring on the sweaters, squash, and soup.

I saw this color pallet somewhere and fell in love. It's very fall-y. I've especially gone gaga over mustard yellow. I am on the hunt for anything mustard yellow: sweaters, pillows, shoes, curry, nail polish, book covers, etc. I think it's a lovely color and when paired with grey and maroon, can make for a really tasty combination.

Friday, August 21, 2009


sometimes i want things

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chip Tuesdays: Sweet Maui Onion

**This blog was originally posted on The Spatula Underground, a new collaborative food blog that friends and I started. This is the first in a series of installments called "Chip Tuesdays." Every Tuesday, someone will review a flavor or brand of chips. Why, you ask? Well, because ... chips are the bomb.

After heading down to the optometrist near George Washington University yesterday, I walked out of the medical center with a pair of dilated eyes and a rumbling stomach.

That's when I decided, well by golly, it's almost Chip Tuesday so I better get a move on and eat some chips. I went to the deli next door -- you know, the insanely bougie kind that you would only find downtown, with $8.95 paninis and $1.50 bananas that are still green. My disdain for the place was immediate. That is, until I saw their glorious rack of chips.

Imagine if you will an entire wall rack filled with various kinds of chips. The exotic flavors were abundant: thai chili and lime, southern barbeque, curry, etc. My faint heart leaped for joy. I reached for the bag that appealed to me most: Sweet Maui Onion.

Purchased with an Odwalla smoothie, I was good to go. I hopped in a cab, ripped open the bag, and popped the first chip in my mouth.

Delicious. Amazing. Flavor explosions in my mouth. I couldn't get enough. Sweet overtones of carmelized onion and mango, with a solid base of onion salt, wrapped around perfectly crunchy, kettled cooked chips ... it was as if I had been fed only liquids for my entire life and this was the first time in 26 years that I was given solid foods.

I couldn't even bare to look the cabbie in his rear view mirror as he asked for directives. I just kept stuffing the chips in my mouth, one after another, crunch crunch crunch, mumbling the cross streets I needed to get to with my mouth still full.

And then ... I stopped.

You know how sometimes you just don't listen to your body? I was so hungry and enjoying the crunchy texture of the chips so much that I had completely ignored my taste buds, which, after a while, screamed out, OMG STOP! TOO MUCH!

That's right folks. The romance was that brief. I went from LOVE to HATE in a manner of minutes. The flavor was so overwhelming that I almost gagged. And that's what these chips will do to you. Some bags, you can never have just one (sun chips plain, pringles sour cream and onion, kettle cooked salt and pepper), but others ... one or two is about all you can take.

By the time I got back to the office, I couldn't even look at them. I felt so betrayed.

Sweet Maui Onion, you were not all you said you'd be. You made empty promises. You built me up and then you tore me down. So in the trash you go. It's like I never even knew you.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Here's a commentary I wrote in this month's issue of Sojourners magazine about the nonprofit, Liberty in North Korea. Sure Laura Ling and Euna Lee are free, but what about the millions of folks left behind, the North Koreans suffering from the worst human rights violations imaginable? My heart hurts for them. They are often ignored or forgotten. But here's one group that refuses to forget.
Begun with just five students, today the organization has around 100 chapters in the U.S. and more than 10 chapters elsewhere in the world. “The focus at the time was predominantly on policy,” says Wheeler. “Students realized that there wasn’t really anyone who was focusing on the crisis, so these students took it upon themselves to spread the word, and that’s what keeps us alive today.” Through protests, campus rallies, and calls to congressional leaders for passage of a reauthorization act for North Korean refugees, LiNK—composed largely of second-generation Asian Americans—has proved to be an effective student movement, bringing attention to the forgotten millions suffering in North Korea.

That beginning year also saw LiNK’s first mission to help North Korean refugees get away from the Chinese border and into shelters throughout Southeast Asia and the United States. LiNK’s founder, Adrian Hong, and five other members travelled to the North Korean/Chinese border and led three unaccompanied minors out of China. Today, the young men are happily resettled in the U.S., and the organization continues to house North Korean refugees in undisclosed shelters throughout China and Southeast Asia (read the rest here).

I had the opportunity to interview one of the resettled minors, Joseph Kim. He's now working for LiNK in Torrance, Calif., sharing his testimony at their events and lobbying for more stringent regulations on the treatment of North Korean refugees in China. Here's just a few lines from his interview.

You were able to escape from North Korea to China. Share with me the story of your escape from North Korea.

It was very dangerous and I was scared. But I crossed the river. It was winter time so I walked on the ice, so that's how I crossed the river, but it was really difficult because there were many soldiers, like river guards. Their job was to catch persons who are trying to escape across the river. So it was very hard, but I can say it was good timing and I got good luck.

Yeah, definitely. You mentioned so your father passed away from starvation and your mother and sister are missing, you don't know what has happened to them. Have you been trying to find them at all?

Yes I was, but as you know China's big and without address, you cannot -- it's very hard to find [people]. But I'm still hoping that one day I can meet them and I'm still trying. (hear or read the rest of the interview)
Most conversations I have with folks about North Korea have to do with how crazy Kim Jong Il is or what will happen if nuclear war breaks out. Rarely are folks like Joseph mentioned.

Monday, August 3, 2009

fleeting foxes

(found here)

So last Wednesday, Chris and I decided we were young and free and fully capable of staying up to see the Fleet Foxes late night show at the 9:30 Club. By late night I mean, doors opened at 10:30 p.m. and the Foxes didn't go on until 12:00 a.m.

Amazing brilliant beautiful show.
Awful terrible horrible idea.

By 9:45 p.m. I was deliriously dancing around in my room to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" trying to stay awake. Not that weird, except that "Single Ladies" was not playing on any one of my music players; rather, it was playing in my head, and I was singing it to Chris. "Chris! Chris! [swivel hips] All you single ladies! (all you single ladies) [toss hair] All you single ladies! (all you single ladies)." He was on the computer trying to ignore me.

10:00 p.m. I have now laid down on my yoga mat to "stretch out my back" a.k.a. lie down and close my eyes because all I want to do is shower and crawl into bed clean and sleepy. Chris knows this trick. Sometimes when he wants to watch The Daily Show at night or listen to a Tim Keller sermon I pull this one on him. "I'm just going to just rest my back for a minute and ..... ..... ..... zzzzzzzzzzzzz."

10:05 p.m. Chris comes over with his computer. He's begun relearning Mandarin on a trial version of Rosetta Stone. To keep me awake, he decides I should go through lesson 1. I rally my strength long enough to learn how to say "This little girl drinks water" in Mandarin. Five minutes later, I promptly forget it.

10:30 p.m. We go out, we are alive, we are happy, we are excited. We are so. damn. tired.

11:00 p.m. It's like bloody hipster-palooza at the 9:30 club. Girls in skinny jeans and headbands, '60s bangs and loose tshirts. Guys in skinnier jeans, flannel shirts, and big plastic pilot lens glasses. Chris and I feel inferior and superior at the same time.

12:00 a.m. Fleet Foxes go on and they are amazing. Truly, if they swing by your part of the world, please go and revel in their harmonies, lyrics, instrumentals, flannel, and beards. They are Seattle grunge reincarnated ... and with any reincarnated life form, they are more lovely and delightful than their '90s visage. Don't believe me? Watch this.

1:00 a.m. We've had enough. We are old. We can no longer do these kinds of things (but did I ever do these kinds of things? Have I missed my chance at reckless youth?) We catch a cab home.

It was fun though. I'm glad we went and my dreams were in four-part harmony all night long. Thanks Fleet Foxes, for the fun. Thanks Chris, for suffering on my behalf.

What did you do this weekend?