Caribbean Parade with Michelle Wu

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This past Saturday, I spent the day walking with Michelle Wu at the Caribbean Carnival parade. We had a great turn out of volunteers and campaign staffers in getting Michelle’s name out there. The weather was bright and sunny but not too hot, perfect parade weather. The parade trek was about two miles, not too long. However, by the time we reached the finish line, I was exhausted. Fortunately, our positive team boasted a strong, energetic, and motivating spirit all the way through the walk that kept us going. We definitely Wu Wu Wued throughout the entire journey. The team passed out campaign literature on what Michelle plans to do for the city of Boston. We also reminded people to vote for Michelle on September 24th.

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  I really applaud Michelle though. She was walking in heels first of all compared to the rest of us in sneakers and flip flops. Michelle did not show any sign of tiredness. There was a big smile on her face as she was waving to the crowd. In addition, she ran up to parade watchers (in her heels!) and hugged them and shook hands and took pictures. Michelle truly proves she wants to be people accessible and an active public servant. 

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What I’ve Been Up To…..

Sorry I have taken hiatus since the last blog post. So here is a little update on what I’ve been up to.

I got to see comedian Aparna Nancherla along with the rest of the Totally Biased w/ Kamau Bell cast who is just downright hilarious and amazing talented with the material she comes up with in her act. And she is such a sweet individual in person. She is just confident and has this amazing attitude when she performs and Aparna clearly does not care what others think of her. I was really impressed with her talent!

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And here is why (click the picture)

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And I’m ecstatic that Totally Biased will be airing five nights a week on FXX!

I’ve also been volunteering with the Michelle Wu Campaign. Michelle Wu is currently running for Boston City Council at Large. I first met her at an Ed Markey Campaign event when he was running for the Senate at the time. I remember sitting in a corner chair, staring at my phone while waiting for Ed Markey to speak. She then came up to me and introduced herself and stating she is running for Boston City Council at Large. Michelle further identified herself as South End Resident who is a legal guardian of her two younger sisters. I was personally impressed that she just came up to me, not knowing who I was, and just introduced herself.

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I met her again at a women and politics event. She impressed me more with her determination, confidence and dedication to the city of Boston. She has actually worked for Boston Mayor Tom Menino and was Elizabeth Warren’s law student at Harvard and has been a small business owner (Michelle is only 27!). So I decided to learn more about her and what she plans to do as Boston City Councilor.

Here are some of her plans:

  • Expand early childhood education in the Boston Public Schools Introduce healthy & locally grown foods in Boston Public School lunches
  • Support safe spaces to fight LGBT youth homelessness
  • Advocate for late night public transit.
  •  dedicated tech czar within CIty Hall could help coordinate resources for entrepreneurship, promote this city as a hub of innovation, and facilitate conferences and reporting to strengthen our innovation ecosystem.

After reading some of her plans and attending her Campaign HQ Launch Party and being inspired at her goal of being an effective public servant at the local level, I decided I want to do my part in helping her out and volunteer and spread her message! And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Expect to see more blog updates on Michelle’s campaign.

Mindy Kaling “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)”

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I’ve recently finished Mindy Kaling’s book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”. This not-so-typical autobiography actually embodies collections of random thoughts that come to Mindy’s mind and chooses to tell. As you read the book, you could definitely hear Mindy’s voice inside your head.

In the book, she does describe her passion and journey in developing her career in becoming a comedy writer/actress from filming short comedy skits with her high school best friend to co-writing a 2-woman act play with her roommate of entitled “Matt and Ben” and eventually becoming a writer for NBC’s “the Office”.  In addition, Mindy talks about her challenges with her weight and beauty throughout her life. For example, during her childhood, she recalls being made fun of being the fat kid by the school bully. Then later when she becomes a cast member of the Office, she faces another challenge of not being able to fit into a designer dress for People’s Most Beautiful magazine photo shoot.

My favorite part of the book is her sweet and star-struck moment with Amy Poehler. During one summer, Mindy had a one-time stint writing for SNL during the summer break of the Office. Although Mindy’s actual skit did not make the SNL line-up, she got to meet the infamous Amy Poehler. Mindy first thought Amy wanted to see Kristen Wiig since Mindy shared a small office with her. But Amy said she wanted to talk to Mindy and asked if Mindy was going to go hang out with the cast after work. Amy also offered warmly to walk with her. As you read this passage, you can tell that Mindy is genuinely in awe of her as she reminisce her admiration of Amy and watching her on Conan O’Brien’s show. She describes Amy’s laugh as “a warm intoxicating cackle”. She also felt that Amy, in that moment, became a mentor/role model to her as a woman in comedy. I hope in the future they star in a movie together or Amy makes a guest appearance on the Mindy project.

More on that subject, I also enjoyed Mindy’s breakdown of how women are portrayed in romantic comedies and typically categorized. Such examples include “the woman who is obsessed with her career and is no fun at all” (like Miranda in the Devil Wears Prada), “the sassy best friend”, and “the klutz” and “the ethereal weirdo”. Mindy bluntly says these women do not exist in real life and she indicates there is no happy medium among all these characters. They are always on one extreme side of the spectrum. When they are beautiful and drop dead gorgeous, they are total klutzes or sexy and kind of passive. When they are not pictured as “drop dead gorgeous”, they are serious minded and not full of emotion but eventually find their beauty. From reading, I could see Mindy’s determination in breaking all these characters in her show as well as other comics like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. On the Mindy Project, her character Dr. Lahiri has a serious career path, but that does not define her. She is also sassy best  friend who is having problems with dating and she can be a total klutz sometimes. In other words, Mindy’s character is not perfect but is portraying an everyday woman.

Finally, go read the book! It’s a great beach read or reading on the train!

Joanne Chang’s Baking Demonstration of Gougere

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As a foodie, I was excited to meet Joanne Chang today at TAGS Kitchen Hardware store. She is the chef and owner of my favorite bakery/café, Flour and a co-owner/chef of Myers and Chang Restaurant with her husband, Christopher Myers.  She just came out with a new cookbook, Flour Two, a sequel to her first book, Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Café.  Unlike the first book, Flour Two focuses more on savory dishes and less on desserts. During the event at TAGS, Joanne said she decided to write this book because of two reasons. One, she originally wanted to have a savory foods chapter in the first Flour book but the publisher said she did not have enough room. Two, a lot of people have been emailing her requesting that she comes out with Flour book including savory recipes.

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At TAGS Kitchen Hardware store, she did a cooking demonstration of baking Gougeres based on the French pastry pate a choux.  The recipe consists of eggs, flour, water, salt, sugar and the main ingredient, gruyere cheese.  You first mix the flour, water, salt and sugar up in a low heat pan before putting it in a mixer with the eggs. Once the ingredients are well-mixed, you transfer the ingredients to a piping bag and pipe them into a baking sheet. If you don’t have a piping bag, Joanne suggests using an ice-cream scooper.

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During the demonstration, Joanne gave some helpful cooking tips such as measuring all needed ingredients for a recipe and storing them in Tupperware so you would have them ready beforehand when you start cooking/baking. She also suggests when baking the gougeres, to bake them ahead of time and freeze them and warm them up in the oven before the party. Furthermore, Joanne announced that she is writing a third cookbook focusing on low-sugar desserts!

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After the demonstration, me and the other spectators got to taste the gougeres (they were delicious and I ate three!). She also signed her new cookbooks and took some pictures. I ecstatically told Joanne how I love Flour Bakery, her sticky buns, her appearance on Food Network, and how she cleverly uses her math degree to create a math equation for the right stickyness for a sticky bun!

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Pride and Prejudice to a whole new level: Why I Love the Lizzie Bennet Diaries!

I have been obsessed with the Lizzie Bennet Video Diaries (as you have noticed from previous blogs). Having read Pride and Prejudice, watched the movie adaptation with Kiera Knighley, and read the reinterpretations (Mr. Darcy’s Diary) of Jane Austen’s most famous novel, I was primarily quite intrigued by this video diary series. I heard of the Lizzie Bennett video blogs through the rave reviews from Ms.Magazine for its mentions of important subjects such as the Violence Against Women Act. So I was curious and decided to take a little work break, and watch the videos. But when I started with the first video of the diary series, I was immediately hooked!

Besides portraying Lizzie Bennet (played by Ashley Clemens) as an amazing 21st century out-spoken badass chick and Mr. Darcy (Daniel Vincent Gordh) as a totally handsome, misunderstood, yet good-hearted successful CEO of a multimedia company, Pemberley Digital, the video diaries incorporates incredible supporting yet outgoing characters portrayed by Asian Americans, specifically Bing Lee  (played by Christopher Sean), Jane’s love interest, and Charlotte Lu (portrayed by Julia Cho), Lizzie’s best friend…and Caroline Lee, Bing’s sister (even though she is a total backstabber!).

This video diary series smartly depicted Jane Austen’s characters to be extremely relatable to today’s audience. Like many of us millenials, Lizzie Bennet and  Charlotte Lu are struggling grad students with an uncertain future in a bad economy, whose families are facing financial difficulties, strongly emphasizing today’s dwindling middle class in America. In particular, Charlotte’s family used to live in a house, but now they live in a 2-bedroom apartment in order to pay for Charlotte and her sister’s higher education fees.

When Lizzie initially turns down Mr.Collins’s offer to work for his venture capitalist company appropriately entitled Collins & Collins, Charlotte immediately jumps to take the opportunity instead. Lizzie and she have an argument over this where Charlotte then reveals her family’s economic struggles where her sister is about to go college and Charlotte has to drop out of graduate school and take the job at Collins & Collins. Once she starts work at Collins & Collins, Charlotte is put in charge of many projects in the background (this aspect is seen too with Lizzie’s diaries where Charlotte is the video editor) while Mr. Collins constantly goes up to Winnipeg to visit his fiancée even though he is the CEO causing Charlotte to almost miss Thanksgiving. Hence, reviving the idea that Asian American women work hard and just do what they’re told (But thanks to Lizzie Bennet’s genius and sneaky tactics…Charlotte was not only get home but get a huge promotion and be recognized for her amazing hard work).

Simultaneously, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries illustrate the variation of Asian Americans in showing families at different income levels. Whereas Charlotte and her family are at the middle-low income level struggling in debt,  Bing Lee’s family are at the upper high class (maybe close to the 1 percent) where as emphasized by Lizzie, live in a huge mansion with multiple shower heads in one bathroom.

Bing Lee, at first, does represent the Asian American stereotype in that his family expects him to succeed academically and become a medical doctor. However, as the video diaries progress, Bing ends up going against the popular stereotype (and his family) by dropping out of medical school and moves to New York with Jane Bennett (yay for happy inter-racial relationships!) and pursues a career that supposedly puts smiles on children’s faces. What I do LOVE about Bing’s character, though, is this is one of the few times in a romantic comedy/young adult video, an Asian American is the hot-shot jock that girls swoon over and aspire to be with (the other time where this happened to my memory is when Paolo Montalban plays Prince Charming in the Whitney Houston 1997 remake of Cinderella). Often times, Asian American guys play the nerd or the creepy/emo guy in these mediums whereas the hot shot jock is often played by a White guy (sometimes African American). In Lizzie Bennett, he’s not only smart/successful….he’s dashing and devastatingly good looking! It is truly awesome to visualize Jane Austen ‘s handsome charismatic character being portrayed by an Asian American. (Not to say the Charles Bingley portrayed by Simon Woods in the Kiera Knightley version was not as handsome and charming). He’s not only handsome, but he is caring, warm, and doting as we see when Jane gets sick when she stays over at Bing’s house and he goes and finds her favorite movie.

Overall, I loved how this diary series brings Pride and Prejudice to a more modern perspective filled with young women pursuing professional careers and aiming to the top of their fields instead of seeking prospective husbands no matter how hard Mrs. Bennet tries (they do get the guy in the end…but they decide to start slow in their relationships not get married right away!). And more importantly, strong female friendships/relationships where Charlotte and Lizzie actively experience ups and downs and be each other’s support person through thick and thin despite the odds and defend each other (whereas the Charlotte in the original Pride and Prejudice has a more subtle role). In other words, hats off to the Lizzie Bennett Diaries!

Time Magazine’s World’s 100 Most Influential People

Here are some of the big names identified on such a prestigious list! We definitely agree!

Kamala Harris, Attorney General of California

Andrew Ng, founder of Coursera

Perry Chen, CEO of Kickstarter

Erica Kochi, Co-Lead for Tech Innovation at UNICEF

and…..

Mindy Kaling, creator and star of the Mindy Project!

for full list click here:

http://time100.time.com/2013/04/18/time-100/slide/all/

 

Photo of the Day – Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Rep. Judy Chu of California

 at the President’s signing of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act

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