LA Times Festival of Books

My stash of books at the SCBWI booth

"A thrilling time is in your immediate future." The last time I went to the Festival of Books, it was held at the UCLA campus (go, Bruins!). Most recently, though, the event occurred at USC. A weekend-long event (April 22&23), it gathered together readers, writers, and book-lovers. There were sessions for listening to speakers and opportunities to get signed books. Rows of booths (I was at the SCBWI one) provided a chance to hobnob with authors and also seek out services: the library … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Yellow Sweet Potato

sweet potato

Yellow sweet potato: starchy, sweet root vegetable Now I've eaten yams in the U.S. (although actually, true yams are bland-tasting) and sweet potatoes (with very pale inner flesh)...But in Taiwan, I ate yellow sweet potatoes. They're definitely a lot sweeter than the American pale version--more akin to the bright orange counterparts used in Thanksgiving cooking. Eating them steamed results in a quick and delicious snack or breakfast! Fun fact: Sweet potato plants grow beautiful … [Read more...]

Freebies

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"A friend asks only for your time and not money." Who doesn't love free? This is a quick post to let you know that Dragonfly Dreams is free on iTunes (my Apple friends) and only 99 cents on Amazon for a short time. Enjoy! What other nice freebies have I scored before? Free museum days Free birthday treats (usually a dessert of some kind) Free goldfish (see my 626 fairy tale) What's your favorite freebie? … [Read more...]

Moon Viewing

moon

“You will soon witness a miracle.” Okay, so it’s not quite a miracle, but it hasn’t happened in 33 years. I was already primed to watch the night sky because of the Mid-Autumn Festival, when the moon is supposed to be big and bright. (It's also a fun time to eat moon cakes.) The blood moon was just one more reason to take a peek last night. As an aside, friends tell me they can see the lady in the moon when they look up. There's a Chinese myth that says the lovely … [Read more...]

Senior Living, Star-Trek Style

robot

"Tomorrow your creative side will shine forth with exceptional ideas." Okay, maybe not exactly like Star Trek, but there are some cool developments for senior living. When your entire apartment is a medical monitor, can robust health be maintained? One new live-in-laboratory in Texas examines this idea. It boasts amenities, like: face recognition software (to analyze skin color and potential health issues) keyless entry sensors-studded floor (monitors the body 50 times a … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday First: Mochi Sesame Ball

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Mochi sesame ball: a sesame ball made mochi-like You would think this would be a big hit with me. I've blogged before about how I enjoy both mochi and sesame balls. I picked up this treat at the local bakery, but it didn't pass with flying colors. The big disappointment was the texture of the mochi. It didn't have the chewy consistency. Instead, it was harder and drier. I'm also used to the bright pop of white sesame seeds, and it didn't deliver on that either. Verdict: A thumbs-down … [Read more...]

Lucky Dollar

dollar

"Your luck will soon be at a high point." When is a dollar worth more than a dollar? This lucky bill was given to me by a family friend. Look closely at the serial number. Do you see the row of 8's? Since the Chinese for "eight" sounds like the word for "wealth," people think it's quite lucky. These special dollar bills were snatched up by those looking for prosperity in their near future. Fun fact: Opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in China happened on 8/8/08 at 8 seconds and 8 … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Roti Revisited

roti with beef

Curry roti with beef: roti stuffed with ground beef One of my favorite Malaysian treats is roti canai. I recently tried a new version of it: roti filled with beef. Kind of like a Malaysian calzone. Sadly, I was underwhelmed--even with the winning curry sauce. It's because the meat ends up overpowering the flavor. Also, the filling reduces the light and flaky texture that's a key element of the flatbread. Next time, I'm going for the original! Fun fact: Roti is also known as "flying … [Read more...]

Off the Grid

towel elephant

"From the floors of the ocean, the waves of the tide, a vacation awaits you far and wide." Those of you following my blog know it went dark last week. Why? I was out cruising to Alaska. I've been writing this blog since 2012, and I usually pre-schedule posts during holidays and vacations. This time around, I took a true break. So if you're looking to do some virtual escaping, here are a few highlights from my trip: 1) Animals. Every night we got a special towel animal in the … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Blood Rice Cake

blood rice cake

Blood rice cake: mochi-like rice popsicle Sometimes I try not to think too much about what I'm actually eating. Especially when it comes to stuff like pigs' blood. Blood rice cake is sticky rice mixed with pigs' blood. Thankfully, it's covered in peanut powder and garnished with cilantro. It's jello-like in its consistency (which is what I pretended I was really eating). There's a very subtle pork flavor to it. Definitely an interesting eat...as long as you don't think too much about … [Read more...]

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