Tuesday, June 30, 2009

MySims Racing is Keeping the Peace in My House

I have two daughters, ages 10 and 13. When it comes to playing video games, the scenario goes like this: The 10-year-old spends a huge amount of time begging the 13-year-old to play with her, while the 13-year-old does her best to ignore her and then finally promises to play with her as soon as she's done updating her Facebook page, re-charging her iPod and IM'ing with her 75 closest friends that are usually online at any given time. Because discussing the latest Gossip Girl episode is apparently more important than crushing your little sister in a video game any day.

But all that changed when we got a copy of MySims Racing for Wii to review. My 13-year-old? Suddenly a world-class racer who is determined to conquer the Burning Lap Challenge no matter how many of her friends are waiting for her to text them back. She's a fan of the Story Mode version of the game, where you can customize your car and chart your own course. In fact, she was so engrossed in a race through a snowy field the other day that she was unplugged from her iPod for an entire 30 minutes, a record. And crushing her little sister in a race has once again become a priority. I'm so proud.

The 10-year-old, who was already a fan of all things MySims and Sims, didn't need any convincing. and is expertly racing her customized kart around the track. And now, she's happy to have her sister along for the ride.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Zojirushi: A Love Story

zojirushi-rice-maker-thermos-bread-maker-sur-la-tableSixteen years ago my husband and I got married. As is customary, we spent an afternoon before our wedding rushing around a department store greedily pointing to things we wanted people to buy for us in that bizarre American ritual known as 'Registering for gifts.' While I pondered the necessity of a lead crystal butter dish, my husband had the wisdom to add two of these Zojirushi stainless steel thermoses to our list. Those thermoses, like our marriage, have stood the test of time. (Insert "Keeping it hot!" joke here.)

And what awesome thermoses they are, able to keep our coffee hot for up to 7 hours during numerous road trips and still look stylish at the same time. And I've never spilled a drop with the ingenious pouring spout, even when my husband went over that curb that he thought was a speed bump. At some point we lost track of one of our trusty thermoses - probably pilfered by a jealous friend or 'borrowed' by a co-worker - but the one remaining still accompanies us on all of our trips. Is it the secret to our lasting marriage? I don't want to give it too much credit, but let's just say I'm much easier to get along with when I've got a cup of hot coffee in my hand.

So I was excited when Zojirushi invited me to a cooking demo to check out a couple of their new products being held at one of my favorite stores - Sur La Table. Here was a chance to see if anything else from their line could hold a candle to my stealth, 16-year-old thermos - perhaps something I could trade in my lead crystal butter dish for.

Once there we were treated to a great demo by one of their professional chefs who started off by showing us the Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Warmer. (Best. Name. Ever.) Now, being Japanese-American, my rice cooker is something that gets used pretty frequently in my house, but like my thermos it's an older model and couldn't hold a candle to the space-age looking machine they were demonstrating. The Neuro Fuzzy has separate settings for cooking long grain, short grain and brown rice, an automatic keep-warm feature and even plays a little song when the rice is done. Do YOU have any appliances that sing to you? I didn't think so.

Next up was the Home Bakery Supreme Bread Maker. I've never owned a bread maker since it isn't something I ever thought I'd use - I prefer to pick up my bread in those gigantic economy packs at Costco like normal people do. But then they showed us how you can make meat loaf in this thing. Yes, they also told us about all the varieties of white, wheat, and rye bread you could make, but I have to admit that after I heard about the meat loaf everything else was a blur. We had a taste of one they had made earlier and it was delicious - moist and flavorful. Did you hear me - MEAT LOAF! IN A BREAD MAKER! Personally I think they should re-name it the Meat Loaf Machine and it would fly off the shelves.

Our session ended with a sushi making lesson, and we had opportunity to make our own custom rolls. My fellow bloggers Kim, Heather and FujiMama and I were set loose with sushi mats, fresh rice from the Neuro Fuzzy and bowls of ingredients and by the end of the session we were all rolling like pros. They even taught us how to make a BLT sushi roll, which is just as heavenly and delicious as it sounds. And while I didn't splurge on any of the shiny new appliances they showed us, I'm putting them both on my list - I've heard people are even registering for anniversary gifts these days.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Milking It

A few weeks ago I was invited to a blogging event at Estilo Salon sponsored by the Toma Leche (Got Milk) campaign. Yes, you heard me right - I did say a 'a few weeks ago' and I'm just getting to writing about it now due to this weird affliction I have called procrastinationitis. Because apparently while Milk Does a Body Good, it does nothing for my laziness and slothness.

The party (they call it an event, I call it a party because there was food and a DJ there) was to call attention to the role milk plays in a healthy diet. As you can imagine, this made me feel a lot better about the six to seven cappuccinos I consume during the average week. Speaking of cappuccinos, they had their own personal barista there, whipping up all sorts of coffee drinks, and I had one of the best iced cappuccinos I've ever had. I had to have three of them, just to make sure I wasn't dreaming. And speaking of gluttony, there were some amazing desserts provided by MILK, a café/bakeshop owned by Bret Thompson, formerly of Patina.

Here's the barista. I think he's trying to ignore me after I got in line for the fourth time.

Here are some of the amazing pastries from MILK. They are saying, "EAT ME" so I did.

On hand at the event was stylist-to-the-stars Robert Ramos, who was giving free hair consultations. I never got around to getting mine, partly because I was a little afraid of what he might say. My follicles aren't in the best shape these days, and I imagined him running his fingers through it, stepping back, saying a little prayer and then bolting from the room screaming that his fingers were bleeding.

But there was other fun to be had! The event organizers had the brilliant, insightful, savvy idea of having manicurists on hand to pamper the hands of all the weary women there. I took my daughters to the event, and this was definitely the highlight of the day for them, as I usually do their manicures for them at home while eating a sandwich, talking on the telephone and blogging at the same time. I could tell they were a little confused, since the manicurists weren't yelling at them to keep their hands still and when they were done they didn't have mustard smeared all over them.

Here's a short video that my 10-year-old shot. She got a little footage of her older sister getting a manicure, and also of blogger Tara (Tara Met Blog) getting her hair consultation. As you can see, she also got a lot of footage of people from the neck down, but in her defense it was the first time using my new Flip video camera:

It was a great event - a nice chance to mingle with other bloggers, get pampered, get some beauty tips and hang with my daughters all at the same time. Got Milk? Absolutely.

Thanks to Angelina Valencia for making this wonderful afternoon possible!

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tags: got milk | | | toma leche

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