Category Archives: favorites

NPR: Summer Sounds Series

I love NPR’s current series on the sounds of summer; it reminds us all to appreciate the little things in life that make us happy. Below are a few of my favorites (click on the links to listen to the NPR story — each is between 1-3minutes long):

What sounds do you hear when you think of summer?
  • water splashing
  • waves crashing
  • ice cubes
  • bike wheels spinning
Who knew summer could be so fun to listen to! I can’t help but think of the Beach Boys when writing this. I did just see a Beach Boys cover band live…
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Surreality

For May 17th, 2011, National Geographic’s Photo of the Day was of camel thorn trees in Namibia by Frans Lanting. [Official caption: Tinted orange by the morning sun, a soaring dune is the backdrop for the hulks of camel thorn trees in Namib-Naukluft Park.]


I’ve become drawn to this photo, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot get my mind to wrap around it. At first glance, it looks like a simple, yet gorgeous painting. If you view it moving slowly from the bottom going up, the ground and the bottoms of the trees look real. As the trees start to curve in seemingly unnatural directions and the orange hue of the sun sets in, this is when my brain begins to misinterpret what my eyes are showing me. I JUST DON’T GET IT and yet, I think I am in love with it. Perhaps this is the beauty and essence of art. Simultaneously captivating and provoking. This is photography and nature at it’s absolute best.

I visited Frans Lanting’s website and found a plethora of his other work. I’ve selected a few to show here. If I’m ever in Santa Barbara, I will make it a point to visit his gallery.

[Review] Merrell Women’s Pace Glove

Back in March, I named four running shoes I would keep my eye on this year as I was on the market for a pair of minimalist trail running/hiking shoes. After two months of deliberation, I picked the Merrell Women’s Pace Glove. I think Merrell, as a shoe company, is one of the few that has truly embraced the minimalist movement (rather than other companies that are just following the market). They’ve started their own barefoot race series (The Merrell Naked Foot 5k) and maintain a blog dedicated to barefoot running. At the beginning of this year they introduced a great barefoot/minimalist shoe line. One plus (for me) is that they’ve collaborated with Vibram to manufacture the rubber soles for the entire line; it makes me feel like I’m not cheating on my Bikilas!

Here’s a snippet from the website:

Merrell Barefoot (Trail and Pace Glove) named Best Debut by Runner’s World Magazine, April 2011.

Best Trail Running Shoe: Shape Magazine, 2011 Shoe Guide

Designed specifically for women, less is definitely more when exploring with our Vibram®-soled Pace Glove natural adventure shoe. All the protection your feet need from rocks and roots, and an ultra-lightweight upper with a synthetic leather foot sling for stability fits like a glove.

Construction:
Heel-Forefoot-Drop: The pace glove is categorized as a “zero-drop” shoe. This means that there is 0mm from the ball to the heel (no raised heel) — just like the way your feet are naturally designed!

Toe-box: When I first tried them on at the store, I thought it was a bit strange how much room there was in the toe-box. My feet fit them lengthwise perfectly and I knew that they were designed to be worn without socks. So it wasn’t until I finally ran in them, that it clicked why there was so much space. The extra room gives your toes a certain kind of freedom similar to that felt in Vibram FiveFingers. In this way, because the toes are not strapped down too tightly, it functions nicely to emulate barefoot running.

Other Concerns: I have seen complaints that the elastic heel can create blisters or cut into the heel. I personally haven’t run into any issues like that at all; I find it rather comfortable, actually. There’s always moleskin available for the rescue if that does end up happening.

Look
There are four available colorways on the website: Lavender-Lustre, Chili Pepper, Yellow, and Black. All are very pretty, in my humble opinion. Local REI stores currently only offer Black and Lavender-Luster for the women’s line. The male equivalent, the Trail Glove, is offered at REI in Smoke-Adventure Yellow and Black/Red. Note: if you’re used to the attention that VFF’s inevitably bring, you will not be getting it while wearing the Pace Glove. Perhaps people will be looking at my face more now as opposed to my feet!

Feel
I test drove them out on both treadmill and pavement this past week and they felt great; beautifully light, springy, and flexible. Surprisingly, it was quite a comparable experience to running in the Bikilas and will serve as a great alternative. What does set it apart is that I know I’ll be able to use these for trail running; I stepped on all sorts of surfaces and wasn’t phased by any of the changes. I’m really impressed by Merrell in their first line of barefoot shoes, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll continue to give us in the future.

PHOTOSHOOT

Flexibility Test: Pass

Top

Top 2

Elastic Heel

Lateral

Sole

Vibram Logo


NOODS

I am absolutely loving the DC food scene right now or rather, what it is evolving into. And this is particularly due to one single reason: Noodles. So versatile, so warm for the soul, and oh so delicious.

Did I not already mention what I intend my last meal on Earth to be? I clearly am not in the minority here either > http://fuckyeahnoodles.tumblr.com/

Back to the topic at hand — noodles in DC. To my absolute gastronomic pleasure, a few places have been popping up lately and a few more will be popping up in our near future. I’m excited especially because our area had been severely lacking in noodles of several cuisines (phở, being the fine exception). You may ask, “Well, what about Thai? There is plenty of pad thai and pad see ew to go around.” Why yes, there sure is. But what is truly lacking are Thai noodle soup shops, which are in exuberant abundance in Thailand. When I think of Thailand, I think of the noodle soups.

Ok here we go.

  • Toki Underground | Ramen | 1234 H Street, NE Washington, DC | Opens April 1st
  • DC Noodles | Thai Noodle Soups and Combinations | 1410 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
  • BaBay | Modern Vietnamese (pho, bun bo hue) | 633 Pennsylvania Ave., SE Washington, DC 20003
  • Nooshi | Noodles and Sushi | 1120 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20039
  • Noodles on 11 | Asian Noodles | 1100 New York Ave., NW Washington, DC 20005

In the News:

  • Unnamed Ramen Shop from the owners of Sushiko [article] | Ramen | Chinatown/Verizon Center, Washington, DC | Unknown opening date.
  • Word on the street, Kushi‘s next restaurant idea will be noodles! [article]

Non-DC Points of Interest:

  • Thai Square | Yen Ta Fo on Thai menu| 3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204 (this is my go-to for one of my favorite Thai seafood noodle soups)
  • Ren’s Ramen [info] | Ramen | Wheaton, MD | Opens Spring 2011
  • Temari Japanese Cafe | Ramen | 1043 Rockville Pike Rockville, MD 20852 | Yelp
  • Pho Sate | Vietnamese Noodle Soups with Sate sauce | 2814 Graham Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042

I LOVE NOODS!

CB2

Do you remember that 25 things list on FB that I said I would never do? Yeah, well… I ended up caving. I’m bringing it up two years after the fact because I’m currently in house-deco mode and I was reminded of one of my 25 things:

4. I used to love baking. I collected recipes and cookbooks all through high school while Crate & Barrel and Williams-Sonoma were my favorite stores. I even got a KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas one year… one of the best presents ever! Unfortunately, my passion faded when I started college because I didn’t have an oven my first year. I now fail at pie crusts. I am sorry my roommates never got to see this side of me

Although I do not intend to resurrect that passion, I have been looking at these types of stores a lot lately. Most notably: CB2 aka Crate & Barrel for young people. Although the first DC store is opening sometime next month, I’m about to purchase these oliver appetizer plates online for PV’s new home; they are just too darn cute to resist.

The Daily Mile

While geeking around the web reading runblogger.com, I saw that the writer, very fittingly, has an account with The Daily Mile. I decided to give the site a try and, so far, I love it. Social media for runners? Yes please. Similar to Gmaps Pedometer, you can map out your outdoor route and calculate how many miles you’ve run. I could very easily accomplish this using an iPhone app (eg. iMapMyRun, RunKeeper, Nike+), but having my iPhone strapped to my arm during a long run can get pretty annoying. I’d rather just plan out my route beforehand or put my great memory to use and figure it out afterward

In 2010, I logged my miles using a Google Docs spreadsheet. See below for the first half of my last year in running.

Although this was adequate for my purposes, I think it’s time I welcomed my active self to the 21st century. With The Daily Mile, I can view an aggregate of the miles I’ve run this past month, this past year, as well as lifetime miles. Other features available are: amount of time spent, calories burned, the farthest distance, the fastest pace, number of TV’s I’ve powered, and the number of donuts I’ve burned. If I also decide to use a heart rate monitor, I could log that too! You know I’m all about functionality. Also note that you can absolutely use this for hiking, cycling, swimming, and other fitness activities.

See a screen shot of The Daily Mile’s Training page here:

What say you? Join and be my friend! http://www.dailymile.com/people/PearM

post-script: In case you were curious, there is a free iPhone app for The Daily Mile: Electric Miles.

Lights

I’m a little bit obsessed with Ellie Goulding right now. Although I first heard her name over a year ago when the Chiddy Bang remix of Under the Sheets was released, I didn’t really get a good listen of her full album, Lights, until this year. This is in part due to the fact that I had only listened to remixes of her songs that popped up on hypem.com. Now I can’t stop listening to it. It’s been a while since I’ve found an album of which I actually like every single song.

One of her less popular songs that I love: Animal

I want to fall in love with you
again and again, again, again, again…

You have stolen all my senses
There’s a fever in my heart
amd you are taking my defences
You are pulling me apart

And another, because they’re all so good: The Writer, Live at Metropolis