Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy National Coffee Day!

- Hand-pulled Latte from Zibetto -

In celebration of National Coffee Day, I'm going to tell you about the best coffee experience I've ever had. Zibetto Expresso Bar in New York City has both the best coffee and the most interesting coffee-shop atmosphere I've ever experienced.

I guess the reason it has the most interesting coffee-shop atmosphere is that it's not really a "coffee shop." It's an expresso bar. You open the door and walk into an etremely narrow, extremely white room. There's one long marble bar along the wall and no seating at all. Customers stand at the bar and sip their expresso.

It's evident from the hand-pulled expresso and homemade croissants and paninis that Zibetto really cares about quality. If you want a break from the fast-paced streets of NYC and generic ubiquity of Starbucks, do yourself a favor and check out Zibetto on 6th and 56th.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


- Pensacola Beach, Dec. 30, 2009 -

"People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you're fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly."

- Eat, Pray, Love

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sugar-Coating Corn

I recently read an article about corn refiners petitioning the FDA to rename High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) "Corn Sugar." Sounds healthy and natural, right? I, like many others, was NOT a fan of the idea.

Well earlier tonight I saw another one of those irritating HFCS commercials, but this time they were calling it "Corn Sugar," and that definitely pushed my buttons. It's not approved for our food labels, but it's being used as an advertising tool?!

Corn refiners want the name change because HFCS now has a negative reputation, and for good reason. Manufacturers are picking up on that negative reputation and switching to alternative sweeteners, so corn refiners are losing money. In hopes of making a bigger profit, corn refiners want to use the term "Corn Sugar" to trick consumers into either
  1. Thinking more positively about their product or
  2. Buying their product just because they don't know HFCS and Corn Sugar are the same thing.

Corn refiners are utilizing the "ignorance is bliss" mentality. Except this time, your ignorance is their bliss.


Many people simply aren't educated about High Fructose Corn Syrup, so they don't understand that the negative reputation is a valid one. I don't want you to be one of those people, so here are the facts:

Yes, HFCS is a mixture of glucose and fructose.
Yes, HFCS is nutritionally equivalent to table sugar.
Yes, HFCS is in almost everything you eat.

But HFCS is digested and absorbed differently than table sugar. It skips glycolysis and travels straight to the liver. In laymen's terms, HFCS is turned directly into fat. And unlike other carbs, HFCS doesn't cause the pancreas to produce insulin, so your brain doesn't get those "I'm full" signals.

Not to mention, HFCS is one of the primary causes of our nation's dependence on corn, which leads to health risks, obesity, monoculture, soil erosion, runoff, eutrophication... Check out the documentary King Corn, because it is excellent and describes everything WAY better than I could!

It's nearly impossible to avoid HFCS all together, but it's important to know what it is and how it effects your body and our environment. It's also important to recognize the motives behind advertising strategies like this. I don't like being conned, and you shouldn't either.

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 10, 2010

  • Flakey Professors
  • Purchasing 18 binders at once
  • Beginning of decision-making
  • Random acts of kindness

- Instead of charging me for 20 stamps, the Staples guy gave me 2 out of his wallet. -

September 9, 2010

  • Threading - Beauty is pain?
  • Sushi with Juli
  • Mock Trial Tryouts
  • Losing my Jersey Shore virginity

- Futomaki Roll and California Roll from Jasmine Cafe -

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 8, 2010

  • Emotional overload
  • Stuffed shells with friends
  • Too much lemon zest
  • Reading about sustainable agriculture with a fuzzy brain
  • BBM is my new BFF.

- Empty wine glass. Very empty. -

Eggs, Salmonella, and Propaganda, Oh My!

The front page of today's USA Today issue invites readers to "take a peek inside a henhouse." Henhouse is a gross understatement. Pearl Valley Eggs is a HUGE facility with several football-field size houses filled with countless 27-inch cages. They produce up to 850,000 eggs a day... That's a whole lot of eggs, and a whole lot of hens. And USA Today makes it seem like heaven on earth for those "healthy and disease-free" hens.

The point of the article is to dissuade readers from believing "animal rights groups and organic supporters [who] have pointed a finger of blame at this kind of industrial agriculture." Hmm...

Unless you've been living under a rock, you should know that we're up to 550 million eggs that have been recalled for salmonella. Seriously, think about that number. 550 MILLION. This is the largest egg recall in history, and it's made many Americans actually start thinking about what's going onto their plates.

Instead of trying to sugar coat industrial agriculture like USA Today did today, let's take a quick look at some facts:
  • Eggs become infected with salmonella because hens become infected. Once the hen is exposed to salmonella through dust, feces, insects, etc. the egg is infected before the shell is even formed.
  • Large scale facilities have hundreds of thousands of hens in extremely confined spaces. Once one hen is infected, the overall rate of exposure and overall infection increases exponentially.
  • Large-scale egg operations with 100,000+ hens are 4 times more likely to have a salmonella issue than smaller-scale, non-organic operations.
  • Egg production facilities are not required to test for salmonella.

If you just take a look at these facts, common sense will tell you that large-scale factory farming obviously results in a higher risk of salmonella.
I have an clear bias toward local and/or organic eggs for various reasons, but as far as salmonella goes, it's simple. Smaller-scale farms have fewer hens in a larger space. The risk of salmonella exposure in these farms is significantly lower than the risk in industrial egg operations.

So I guess the real question is, why is USA Today trying to discourage its readers from buying local and/or organic? Maybe it has something to do with agricultural biotech machine Monsanto's "Dairy Coalition" that was created to pressure editors of major news sources to keep negative press out of the papers... Just a thought.

Anyway, the moral of the story is to read critically and think about the factors that might be influencing what you read. And buy local. :) Thoughts on industrial agriculture versus local and organic agriculture? Salmonella? Monsanto? Administrative regulation?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Septemebr 7, 2010

  • Nonstop Mock Trial
  • Sneezes galore
  • Fluffy robes make everything better.

- At my desk "working..." -

Monday, September 6, 2010

365 Project

First, I don't claim to have come up with this idea. A few people I know have decided to partake in 365 Project, where you take one photo every day for a year. I'm just following the trend. This is going to be a big year for me. Senior year of college, big decisions coming up, etc. So here goes Day 1!

- My Filofax. My Life. I can't function without lists. -

September 6, 2010
  • Pajamas all day
  • Kardashians for procrastination
  • Catching up on my to-do list
  • Brownies with roommates