Dec 23, 2008

Pork dumplings (Home-cooking)

I volunteer with a group teaching teen girls how to live a healthy life through exercise, self-image, and healthy eating. During one of our cooking classes, the instructor made dumplings. That inspired me to reach back into my youth when my mom and siblings and I would all make dumplings from scratch. Plus, since we are facing tough economic times, these little babies are inexpensive and can be frozen and enjoyed at a later time! Hooray!


The meat mixture

Little dumplings all stacked up

Dec 11, 2008

Workout: Gio's Brooklyn Boxing Club (Los Angeles)

I had the chance to take a boxing class at Gio's Brooklyn Boxing Club in Burbank. Let it be known that I would NEVER EVER just walk into a boxing club and be comfortable saying, "So, can I take a class here?" But this was a special circumstance with a group of women all coming together for a group outing so it was hugely less intimidating than it should have been.

*photo from Gio's website

When I arrived, I had to buy hand wraps and then had one of the guys wrap up both of my hands with the following result:

Our class was taught in stations with Christopher Hicks and his wife Stephanie instructing. We started out learning our punches and kicks, followed by some cardio work on stairs, treadmill, and elliptical. After that, we put on the gloves for some punching on the bags! Then we did some kicking on the bags and then put the gloves back on for some sparing! That was the most fun. We ended the day with more cardio (jumping jacks, lunges, and push ups). It was a great work out and so much fun to hit and kick and yell! Only thing that kind of put me off is that those gloves do not smell good! I'll have to buy my own if I ever decide to take up boxing!

Punching bags
*photo from Gio's website

Boxing ring that we didn't use
*photo from Gio's website

Gio's Brooklyn Boxing Club
116 S. San Fernando Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91502

Dec 3, 2008

Explore: Centennial Olympic Park (Atlanta)

The revitalization of downtown Atlanta probably began with the building of Centennial Park for the 1996 Olympic Games. Parts of the original park remain and is a nice central spot in the middle of the urban landscape for Atlanta residents to enjoy a little greenery.

I spent quite a long time watching the Fountain of Rings and those who gathered around it on my last day in Atlanta. Although the air was cold, the sun shined the entire day, so it was perfect weather to just sit and enjoy the outdoors.

Still can't get enough of the fall colors

Centennial Olympic Park
265 Park Ave West N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30313-1591

Dec 1, 2008

Explore: World of Coca-Cola (Atlanta)

I admit it. I'm an addict. A Coca-cola addict. Regular, not diet. As a self-professing addict, I absolutely had to go to the marketing extravaganza that is the WORLD OF COCA-COLA!! I wasn't completely convinced that I should go after reading reviews, but I managed to convince myself that the Tasting Room alone would be worth the $15 admission charge.

Exterior of the building

Welcomed by giant Coca-Cola bottles

The tour begins in a room that contains the largest collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia and represents advertising from all over the world.

Next, we watched a short film called "Inside the Happiness Factory," which was a cartoon documenting what goes on inside a Coke machine. It was a little too cutesy for me. Little puppies kiss the bottles to give the drink "love", the bottles go through a snow storm to get chilled. Blahblahblah....

After that, we got to take pictures with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear. He blinks and opens and closes his mouth. Here he is looking pissed off and grumbling.

The rest of the experience is self-guided and starts off with a history of Coca-Cola: how it was invented and then went on to become a global commodity. There was also a gallery of pop culture art that shows pieces of artwork made from or featuring Coke products. They had some of the pieces that are very common in South Africa, the cars made from Coke cans and the like! We also watched a horrible "4-D" film with 3-D glasses and moving seats and terrible acting.

In addition, there was a fully-functioning bottling line, but I don't think it was functioning when I went through.

Finally, I reached the piece de resistance: The Tasting Room! I thought that what we would be tasting is different formulas of Coca-Cola from around the world, but really it was different Coca-Cola products from around the world. My favorite was the Apple Kiwi Fanta from Thailand.

Tasting Room

At the end of the tour, we were given a souvenir bottle of Coke, which was subsequently confiscated by airport security. Le sigh...

World of Coca-Cola
121 Baker Street NW
Atlanta, Georgia

Oct 22, 2008

Festival Fun: Los Angeles BBQ Festival

The first Los Angeles BBQ Festival took place on September 13th and 14th at the Santa Monica Pier. Admission was supposed to be $10, but I found a coupon code online and paid a little over $6 including service charges. Admission also did not include food and each plate cost an additional $10.

Overall, I was not impressed with the event or the food. Since there were only eight vendors, the lines were insanely long which made it impossible to walk around. The concept was really cool though, in that out of town pitmasters were showing off their food!

Elgin hot sausage and bbq brisket
Southside Market and BBQ, Elgin, Texas

Kansas City spareribs and baked beans
LC's BBQ, Kansas City, Missouri