E-Books vs Real Books

It’s no secret that I love to read. Ever since I was little, I’ve spent at least 20 to 30 minutes reading before bed. It started with Berenstain Bears and Clifford to Sweet Valley High and the Baby Sitter’s Club. Now it’s grown into books like Half the Sky, Last Night at Chateau Marmont (both which are reviewed, respectively, here and here) and the most recent Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants novel, Sisterhood Everlasting.

So as you can see, I’ve grown up loving the smell and feel of an actual book. But last December, I ordered an Amazon Kindle. And you know what? I don’t regret my decision.

Here are just some of the reasons why:

My heaven.

  • I loathe buying hardcover books, so it was always a test to my patience to wait for the paperback. (Except for Harry Potter
     books, those are all in hardcover.)  Now with the kindle, I never have to wait.
  • Books are heavy! Growing up I’ve spent entire summers in India, the Middle East, and Singapore. My parents were never too pleased to have to lug mine and my brother’s books across the county. With the Kindle, I no longer have a carry on bag that causes me (or my dad) ridiculous back pain at the end of the journey.
  • It’s so sleek and pretty! Yes, I know this is superficial, but it’s true. I also found a very cute, hot pink case for it.
  • Once you get over the initial cost of buying the e-book device, the books are actually cheaper. You can even get some of the classics for free! Also, there is a way to loan books between Kindle users (I’m not sure about any other e-book devices).
  • I can’t believe this is so low on my list, but e-books are environmentally friendly.
That being said, I am very sad to hear about all these bookstores like Borders and Barnes and Nobles closing. Some of my best memories are sitting in the cafe, eating a warm chocolate chip cookie, and reading a book from cover to cover.
So which do you prefer? A real book or an e-book? Why or why not?

I love pretty things.

Whenever I get stressed or bored, I look at pretty pictures online. It could be of an awesome outfit, a delectable dessert/dish, a wonderfully decorated room or a beach. They all serve as great distractions from whatever issues are occupying my mind and my mood is instantly changed. Well, now enter Pinterest.

Pinterest is site where you can find and share beautiful pictures that you come across on the internet. It could be anything from home

Bliss.

decor, wedding/party planning, food & desserts, to exotic locales. You can then “re-pin” the pictures you see and share them with your friends. It’s a great tool for anyone planning a wedding, re-decorating their house, or looking for inspiration on what to cook for an upcoming dinner party.

Log on to Pinterest and request an invite. (It doesn’t take long- I requested one this afternoon and got an invite just an hour ago.)

You can view my board here. They are still barren as I am just getting started. And if any of you are on it, add me!

Another website I saw today and loved (courtesy of my friend Pari) is Bookshelf Porn. For anyone who is a bookworm and loves pretty pictures like myself, this site is like heaven. It showcases all the best bookshelves from all over the world. I am in lust. I cannot wait to have an awesome bookshelf in my future house (along with a fantastic view of the ocean, of course).

Summer TV Shows

It’s no secret that I am a TV addict. Since I was little, my family used to call me the walking TV guide. Every Sunday, I would devour the TV Guide (remember those?!) that came with our paper, reading it from cover cover. For the following week, I would be able to recite verbatim what time and channel any given show comes on. Now you understand why I got that nickname!

Of course, there was a hiatus of this during the summer. However, now many TV channels are coming out with shows to keep us occupied during the long, hot days of summer.

Alongside White Collar and Royal Pains, here are my favorite summer TV shows.

Suits, airs on Thursday 10 PM USA Network

Suits is a new show on the USA Network that adds a twist to the usual lawyer shows. The characters are great (especially the
bromance between the two main characters) and the dialogue is fast and witty. 

 

 

 

The Lying Game, airs on Monday 9 PM on ABC Family

The Lying Game is only two episodes in on ABC Family, but I was hooked after the pilot. The show is about two twin sisters who were 
separated at birth, now reunited, and searching for their birth parents. (Fun fact: both twins are played by the same actress, Alexandra Chando, who looks like  she is Nina Dobrev, of the Vampire Diaries’ doppleganger.)  One twin lives in a rich neighborhood, while the other has been bouncing around from foster home to foster home. It features great clothing, ridiculously rich people, and a good-looking cast..basically my kryptonite.  The plot is still slowly developing, but I am intrigued to find out what it is.

 

Pretty Little Liars, airs on Tuesday 8 PM on ABC Family. 

This show has been my guilty pleasure since it premiered last summer. The premise is simple: the leader in a group of friends is  suddenly murdered. The four friends begin receiving text messages from an anonymous ‘A’ who knows everything the dead friend knew. The girls are determined to find out who ‘A’ is, as s/he keeps blackmailing them and putting their life in danger.

The show is great replacement for when Gossip Girl is off the air in the summer. However, we are now two seasons in (the summer finale airs tomorrow) and nowhere near finding out who ‘A’ is. I’m getting a little impatient here! Sidenote: for those of you have that read the books or skimmed their summary on Wikipeda like me, don’t worry..the ‘A’ on the show is completely different than the books!

What are some of your favorite summer shows?

Sweet and Savory

Without fail, after every meal I need to have something sweet. It doesn’t have to be a full on dessert and most of the time it’s not. Rather a stick of Pocky or a chocolate covered almond will do the trick. Soon after that I need to have something salty and the vicious cycle continues on and on!

But recently, I have taken to a liking of foods that have a mix of sweet and savory. I know a lot of people prefer to keep their main food salty and their desserts sweet, but I am all about mixing them (as long as they are within the realm of reason).

Here are my current favorites:

California Pizza Kitchen’s Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza

L: Pear and Gorgonzola R: Tostada Pizza

On my last trip to CPK, we decided to try the pear and gorgonzola pizza along with my all-time favorite, the tostada pizza. The pear added an unexpected sweetness and pleasant crunch to the pizza, which was balanced by the savory gorgonzola.

Another one of my new favorites is sweet potato fries. I don’t know what took me so long to try them, but I am never looking back now. Sweet potatoes have flown up high in the ranks of my favorite vegetables. Paired with ketchup and Sriracha, it puts plain old fries to shame.

Do you like mixing the sweet and salty or are you one of those that prefers to keep them separate? What are some of your favorite sweet and savory dishes?

Food Truckin’

This past year, there has been a rise in food trucks in the Bay Area. The only two that I have had so far are: Tikka Bytes and Cupkates.

Tikka Bytes is like an Indian Chipotle. You can chose what type of style you want, the sauce, and the fillings.I tried the paneer tikka naanwich, which uses naan instead of bread.

My paneer tikka naanwich

I would rate Tikka Bytes at 3 out of 5.

I stumbled upon Cupkates, the Bay Area’s first mobile cupcakery, when I was in downtown Oakland for work one day. As soon as I heard about them, I followed them on Facebook to keep track of their ever changing location. As luck would have it, months later I checked my Facebook feed on my iPhone and found out that the Cupkates truck was only 3 blocks from me! I rushed over the pouring rain, which I think shows my true devotion to cupcakes.

The truck had just gotten there a few minutes prior but there was already a long line. The girl in front of me excitedly asked me what I was going to get. I told her it was my first time and she immediately rattled off flavors for me to try. Clearly they have a loyal fanbase of regulars!

Of course I had to get the red velvet, but I also picked up a s’mores, tiramisu, and chocolate cupcake.

I would rate the Cupkates truck a 4 out of 5. I am a huge cupcake fan (if that has not been made evident enough already) and these were great. Not too sweet and perfectly soft- exactly how I like them! I also enjoyed the novelty of a cupcake truck.

For those of you that reside in the Bay Area, I would suggest that you try the Tikka Bytes and Cupkates food truck if you ever get the chance! Still left on my list to try is Curry Up Now and The Chai Cart.

Do you enjoy going to food trucks? Why or why not? What is your favorite?

To be vegan or not?

This weekend was spent in Seattle and Vancouver, visiting family. The weather was surprisingly great (it only rained at night) and a majority of the trip was spent eating, sleeping, and talking..pretty much the best kind of vacation!

One of the meals was spent at Araya’s Place. Araya’s is a vegan Thai place in downtown Seattle. We opted for the buffet instead of ordering off the menu..and let me tell you, the food was amazing! Thai is one of my favorite cuisines and if I lived in Seattle there’s no doubt that I would be at Araya’s every week. For those that eat meat, you won’t even feel like you are missing anything.

Thai iced coffee, pad thai, fried rice, and green curry.

Araya’s had a lot of pamphlets about the vegan lifestyle, which got me thinking: could I be a vegan? I am already a vegetarian, so it would just mean cutting all dairy products of out my diet. To be honest, I don’t really care much for eggs..I never really crave them. Since I’ve picked up Ener-G Egg Replacer (a boxed, non perishable powder that you can find at Whole Foods or ordered online) I don’t even use eggs when I bake. So really all that I would be giving up is cheese, which I love. Oh, and milk. That would be a big one.

I think I will make an effort to become vegan (or at least eat less dairy products) because the paraphernalia I read indicated that even cage free, free-range, and organic egg farms still engage in inhuman activities to the hens.

Have you gone (or thought about going) vegan? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

In case you are interested, here are some egg replacements for baking:

Energ E Egg Replacer  – My personal favorite choice for egg replacer. It works well with everything, except brownies.

Potato Starch = 2 Teaspoons + 1 Teaspoon water for 1 egg

Corn Starch = 2 teaspoons + I teaspoon water for egg

Soy Powder = 1 teaspoon + 2 teaspoons water for 1 egg

Ground Flax Seed = 1 Teaspoon + 3 teaspoon water for 1 egg

Banana = 1/2 banana for 1 egg

Applesauce = 1/4 cup applesauce for 1 egg