Category Archives: Fun

Check this section out for new music, smile-inducing comedy, film reviews and all things yay!

Broke da Mouth Matcha Shake

No joke, brah.

Here be the super simple list of ingredients in perhaps my favorite shake of all time:

  • Soy milk (or, if you prefer, hemp, quinoa, almond, cashew, or some other nutty milk)
  • A few handfuls of spinach (mmhmm, I said spinach, baby)
  • ½ teaspoon (or more – vroom vroom!) of matcha, powdered green tea
  • Hemp seeds (or hemp protein powder)
  • Cashew butter (basically, just ground up raw cashews)
  • ¼ (ish) of a banana
  • ¼ (ish) of an avocado
  • Agave (or honey, maple syrup, etc. Click on the links to check out the mineral content and glycemic index for each natural sweetener. Note the agave numbers are for just 28g, while the honey and maple syrup figures are for over 300g.)
  • Vanilla or almond extract

If you’re a fan of creaminess and matcha (together, at long last!), this is a pretty killer combo, especially in the morning. The matcha is chock full of antioxidants and caffeine to get your day started off bright (sans the acidity and nervousness coffee can create), and there’s a whole lotta protein to kick start your metabolism, thanks to the soy, cashews, hemp, and avocado.

If you’re concerned about how fatty avocados and nuts are, rest assured, the kind of fats contained in these foods are your friends – they actually help to improve your cholesterol levels (and are much easier to digest than animal fats).

If you dig on sweet . . .

All ingredients at the end of the ingredients list in this shake of joy are really just a matter of taste. The suggested proportions should definitely be fiddled around with, and you might have some other sweetener, spice, or herb you could throw into the mix. I’m a big fan of caramely vanilla tones, so I tend to use almond, vanilla, agave, honey, and maple syrup on solid rotation. Maple syrup is the most nutritionally valuable sweetener, thanks to its manganese and zinc reserves, but the agave has an extremely low glycemic index. Honey’s biggest selling points are probably the anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties so effective in soothing respiratory and digestive discomfort. At the end of the day, I tend to choose a natural sweetener that tastes best for the brew!

Deja vu?

If you’re following the blog, you know I have a special place in my heart for matcha (and taro … mmm … taro…), and, technically, I’ve written about matcha shakes before. This week’s version, however, is new and improved, with lots of spinach and hemp to make it uber nutritious.

So here’s to honoring your body with the freshness and tasty love a divine temple deserves … kampai!


* Poptastic Invasion *

I’m not proud.  For the last week or so, I’ve immersed myself in a world of pop.  No jazz, no yoga tunes, no hip hop.  Just straight up, main stream, radio friendly ear candy.  Here are the gems I’ve been singing to – when no one’s looking, of course…

A livelier version of the original Rhianna ditty, “Stay” … best heard with the bass in full effect

Heart wrenching … and so bloody sweet.

More tunes from the morning drive.  Catchy.  Cute.  Is she seriously sixteen??

Showing my age a bit.  You know when you move back home and all the old school tracks start popping up?

Heard this ‘lil gem at a volleyball game the other day.  Oh my…

Meet the Blobfish

Poor Mr. Blobfish.  He has the unfortunate claim to being the ugliest animal on the planet, at least according to The Ugly Animal Preservation Society.  Today I’m grateful for both his awesomely ugly face (not a bad giggle for a Monday!), and for being born a human!


Blobfish wins ugliest animal vote

By Victoria Gill Science reporter, BBC News

The grumpy-looking, gelatinous blobfish has won a public vote to become the official mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society.

This gives the fish the unofficial title of world’s ugliest animal.

The society began as a science-themed comedy night and devised its mascot campaign to draw attention to “aesthetically challenged” threatened species.

The winner was announced at the British Science Festival in Newcastle.

The blobfish tops a list that includes the huge-nosed proboscis monkey, the similarly afflicted pig-nosed turtle, an amphibian affectionately known as a “scrotum frog” and pubic lice.

Biologist and TV presenter Simon Watt, president of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, said he hoped the campaign would draw attention to the threats facing these weird and wonderful creatures.

“Our traditional approach to conservation is egotistical,” he told BBC News.

“We only protect the animals that we relate to because they’re cute, like pandas.

“If extinction threats are as bad as they seem, then focusing just on very charismatic megafauna is completely missing the point.

“I have nothing against pandas,” he added, “but they have their supporters. These species need help.”

‘What died today?’

Mr Watt said he hoped the vote would also bring a lighter side to conservation.

“It’s the most depressing type of science to be involved with,” he said. “It’s basically working out: What died today?”

For this campaign, Mr Watt worked with comedians, each of whom created a campaign message on YouTube for their chosen creature. The society asked the public to vote for their favourite.

The blobfish eventually won by almost 10,000 votes.

The bizarre creature lives off the coast of south-eastern Australia and Tasmania, at depths of between 600 and 1,200m, where atmospheric pressure is several dozen times higher than at sea level.

Its gelatinous body is just slightly more dense than water, and it spends its life “bobbing around” in the depths.

It feeds on crabs and lobsters and so suffers a significant threat from fishing trawlers. Although it is inedible itself, it gets caught up in the nets.

Other animals on the shortlist face similar threats to their habitats and Mr Watt hopes that this campaign will highlight the fact that conservation should focus on the protection of habitats rather than specific species.

proboscis_monkeyThe remaining animals in the top five were:

  • The kakapo: The world’s only flightless parrot. This heavy bird evolved in an island “bubble”, with no natural predators. But its New Zealand home now has many mammals, including humans, that have decimated the population of the famously curious kakapo. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there were just 126 of the birds remaining in the wild in early 2012.
  • The axolotl: This is the salamander that never grows up. The amphibian spends its entire life underwater, unlike other salamanders, which develop the ability to breathe out of the water when they mature. The axolotl’s perpetual state of larval development means that it is able to regrow lost limbs. It also means the creatures are of huge interest to scientists; the salamanders are studied for their apparent natural resistance to ageing and cancer. They live only in a small cluster of lakes in Mexico that are now becoming dangerously polluted.
  • The Titicaca ‘scrotum’ water frog: This amphibian lives only in Lake Titicaca in the Andes. It has evolved a reduced lung capacity, so its many skin folds help it to breathe. According to some researchers’ accounts, the frogs do “press-ups” at the bottom of the lake to create disturbances in the water that increase oxygen flow.
  • The proboscis monkey: As well as a very oversized nose, this primate also has a rotund appearance, which is a by-product of its diet of unripe fruit. Only the males have such large noses and, although they might look odd to us, it is thought that they make the primates more attractive to potential mates.

Carly Waterman from the Zoological Society of London’s Edge species programme, which aims to highlight and conserve evolutionary “one of a kind” species, praised the campaign, saying it was important to raise awareness of less “traditionally charismatic animals”.

“A large proportion of the world’s biodiversity is being overlooked,” Dr Waterman told BBC News. “So flying the flag for these species is a really positive thing.”

The campaign was run in conjunction with the National Science and Engineering Competition.

Celebrate Brooklyn!

Fabulous free music?  Surrounded by trees and big open sky?  Just two blocks from my house, you say?  Now *that* is a sweet way to bring in the summer (and say goodbye to New York)!

Celebrate Brooklyn! is one of New York City’s longest running, free, outdoor performing arts festivals. Launched in 1979 as a catalyst for a Brooklyn performing arts scene and to bring people back into Prospect Park after years of neglect, Celebrate Brooklyn! was an early anchor in the park’s revitalization and has become one of the city’s foremost summer cultural attractions. Over its history, the Festival has presented over 2,000 artists and ensembles reflective of the borough’s diversity, ranging from internationally acclaimed performers to emerging, cutting-edge artists. All Celebrate Brooklyn! performances are free! The festival attracts upwards of 250,000 attendees from across New York City to the Prospect Park Bandshell each summer. Friends of Celebrate Brooklyn! membership benefits include express entry, reserved seating, pre-concert receptions and more. (from the official site)

Last Friday I hit up an Irish band at the Prospect Park Bandshell with two good friends and a few cold brewskies – a jovial recipe indeed.  And though I did not join my audience brethren in their adorable American homage to the Riverdance, we did bust a move for the band’s final encore, a rockin’ rendition of an old folk classic, featuring a violinist who would have no trouble sharing a stage with the likes of AC/DC.

Calexico, Mavis Staples, Wynton Marsalis, Blackalicious, and Cody Chestnutt have already played this year, all for the suggested donation price of $3.  There are still quite a few more performances to go, so hit it up while there’s still time!  (I can’t believe I’m missing Jamie Lidell and Beck!)


Robert Plant

Benefit Concert: Robert Plant presents The Sensational Space Shifters

July 27, 2013 · 7:00 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

$80 Reserved / $50 GA

Barenaked Ladies

Benefit Concert: Barenaked Ladies/Ben Folds Five/Guster

July 30, 2013 · 6:30 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

$55 Reserved / $49.50 GA lawn

Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal

Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal

August 1, 2013 · 8:00 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Free/$3 (suggested)

Jamie Lidell

Jamie Lidell / Dan Deacon / The Stepkids

August 2, 2013 · 7:30 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Free/$3 (suggested)

Eddie Palmieri

Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra / Banda Magda

August 3, 2013 · 7:30 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Free/$3 (suggested)


Beck Benefit Concert at Celebrate Brooklyn!

August 4, 2013 · 7:00 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell


Beasts of the Southern Wild

Live score to BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD by Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin, & The Wordless Music Orchestra / Slavic Soul Party

August 8, 2013 · 8:00 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Free/$3 (suggested)


Shaggy / TK Wonder

August 9, 2013 · 7:30 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Free/$3 (suggested)

They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants / Moon Hooch

August 10, 2013 · 7:30 PM
CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Free/$3 (suggested)

Trinity of Thanks

The weekend round up!

Friday: Train Rides

If you’ve never been on a long train ride, I highly recommend it.  You’ll have oodles of spare contemplation time and the potential for meeting random strangers for a nice chat is as infinite as you are garrulous.  Long train rides also allow for heavy journaling sessions, delving deeply into your music collection, tasty home-made picnics, and as much pranayam as your heart desires!  I found myself on a nine hour train journey earlier this week and will be on another one soon.  I’m actually really looking forward to having all the down time for reading and catching up on a few work projects.  Oh long train ride, sweet symbol of change.  One minute the trees are whizzing by, the  next, a pair of horses swish tails in a field.  Yup, that’s good stuff.

Saturday: My Manduka Travel Mat

It’s so light and thin I can fold it up and put it in my handbag.  My handbag. 

Sunday: Miniature Golf

Why has it been SO long since I’ve played miniature golf???  This game just rocks.  Especially when the sun is out and the company is awesome.  Happy days.


Popping the Aerial Yoga Cherry

Not a bad way to get over a fear of heights!  Today I’m grateful for my first aerial yoga experience – inverted badha konasana and full splits six feet off the ground were fun highlights.  The swinging back and forth was *not!*

It was a nuanced brew of Cirque du Soleil, pranayam, asana, and a call to integrate grace outside the studio as well – not much more of a modern hybrid yoga experience than that.  Of course there is some part of me that once cringed when I heard about the “tainting” of yoga’s purity.  And then I think to myself, wait just a minute, *I’m* a hybrid, or a “hapa,” as we say in Hawaiian.  Because I’m only part Japanese, Irish, Portuguese, Hawaiian, German Jew, does that make me a diluted version of something else?  And since yoga is so much more than asana, does it really matter how we exercise our sacred physical temples, so long as it’s mindfully and with intention?

Yoga’s roots are strong, and a little bit of cross-breeding is bound to occur after so many thousands of years . . . so long as we’re careful not to go all “GMO” on the practice.

All in all, the aerial yoga experience (at Om Factory in NYC)  was far from meditative, what with all the semi-constant fear of falling and wondering where to put my hands to avoid such a tragedy!   Though at the same time, I learned quite a bit about my limits, and was able to trump the temptation of ignorant judgement by jumping in with a beginner’s mind and simply trying it out.

So, cheers, Aerial Yoga!  I won’t be back soon, but it was a fulfilling experience . . .