Monday, March 9, 2009

Flushing Lights, Lights


Yesterday night's dinner at The Grandparents'. Flushing never ceases to delight me with its eats. Tonight's menu: Home-style Cantonese flavor. Represented at the table were...Roasted pork, duck, sesame chicken, soy sauce chicken, tender Chinese pepper steak, fish with fungus, snap peas and chestnuts. I always end up having seconds of Grandma's signature soup. Just wish I knew what was in it...

Chinese pepper steak.

Juicy goodness in every bite.

Grandma slicing oranges.

Grandma claims there's nothing to see here, shooing me away.

"Take pictures later, when the oranges are all cut," she says.

But I like watching her slice, cut and dice. In-motion.

Flowery retro chair.

Flushing at night.

Skin Food: Tom's of Maine Natural Deodorant

Tom's Aluminum-Free Deodorant; Vita Coco hanging out in the back.

Sure, you may slather on loads of SPF 45 daily to protect your skin from melanoma, but did you know that a skincare product you use every day could be contributing to Alzheimer's?

That's right. Deodorant. Most deodorants are made with aluminum, which clogs pores and doesn't allow your skin to 'breathe.' In essence, the toxins that are usually emitted from your sweat are restrained and held in check by antiperspirant deodorants. New research indicates that there may be a link between breast cancer and antiperspirants.

But it's not just our bodies that suffer from aluminum. After you shower, the toxins are released into the water system, contaminating our water and our environment.

You might be thinking to yourself -- Well, the FDA regulates antiperspirant deodorant, so shoudn't it be safe? This is a foolish and dangerous line of reasoning. In actuality, it's considered safe only because it's intended for "external use only." But aluminum absorbs into the skin. Would you entrust the care of your newborn infant to a robot? Of course not! So don't depend on the FDA.

After all, they were also the ones who said that high fructose corn syrup wasn't harmful. Today, we know that high fructose corn syrup is a genetically modified processed sugar that contributes to obesity and causes diabetes, cancer and heart disease, among other illnesses. Please, do your own research! Don't trust the industry at face value.

Perfumes and scented creams aren't immune either. There are components in fragrances that can cause infertility. Makes you think twice before you sniff yourself out, huh?

No trace of aluminum to be found.

On to my experiment: Alzheimer's and infertility aren't on my high list of 'things to experience,' so I went to Whole Foods and picked up some aluminum-free deodorant by Tom's of Maine. I trust this company because their natural products are not tested on animals and their environmentally-friendly packaging is recyclable. Plus, I'm already familiar with Tom's toothpaste, floss and soap, having used them in the past.

The long-lasting care deodorant line professes to keep you odor-free for 12 hours. It's also Kosher and Halal-friendly. I showered at 9:30 p.m. Monday night and hopped into bed. Unfortunately, I forgot to do a sniff-check at 9:30 a.m. so I had to re-do the experiment the next day.

3/09_1 p.m.: Showered after a one-hour dance workout.

3/10_10:30 a.m.: Woke up and conducted a sniff-check. Although I wasn't smelly, my previous Dove deodorant's fragrance is definitely stronger in the scent department. Not that I'd go back to that toxin-infested mess again, which contained 14.8% of Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly. If you can't pronounce it, it's usually not a good thing.

_1 p.m.: So far so good. Although aluminum-free deodorant doesn't work quite the same as antiperspirants, I still detected a faint whiff of apricot. No odor, no skin irritation. I'd use this again. Plus, the long-lasting care line also comes in other delectable scents. Try Lavender, Lemongrass or Unscented/Fragrance-free!

Tom's of Maine long-lasting care aluminum-free deodorant - apricot - 4.5/5 stars

Shake That Sweet Thang

After I tried the famous fruit-filled Foster's Freeze strawberry shake in LA, I had to find out what Wendy's was dishing up. The commercials promised a "hand-spun" milkshake with "real fruit." Now, Foster's Freeze in California prides itself on using real strawberries in their shakes. I even watched as the lady in the back of the kitchen churned up strawberries in the blender. I'm normally not a strawberry ice cream kind of person, but after one slurp of that shake, I was smitten. I downed the whole thing.

Not so with Wendy's.

I watched in horror as the cashier filled the cup one-third of the way with a red, sickeningly sweet-looking substance. Could it be -- NO, not high fructose corn syrup! I just hope there was some sliver of fruit in that sticky substance. Next came the vanilla soft-serve and whipped cream. Alas, no cherry on top.

It was just as I feared. Although I could detect a smidgen of actual strawberry in the milkshake, it was overpowered by the taste of syrupy sugar. My sister, who normally likes sweet things, gave up after a few sips.

"It's too sweet," she said, with a grimace.

Sorry, Wendy's. I'll take one of your Dr. Pepper frosty floats over the strawberry milkshake any day. Other flavors: Chocolate fudge, Vanilla bean.

Foster's Freeze: 5 out of 5 stars
Wendy's: 3/5

Let's Play! Tele(banana)phone

L-R: Lil Jon, A.

Ring! Ring! B-r-riiiiiiiiiing!!!

LJ: Hi! Are you there, sis?
A: Mm hmm..

Lil Jon gets his pout on.

A: Sorry, I'm kind of busy at the moment. Can we talk another time?
LJ: Butttt -- you promised me we could bring Curious George to the zoo and let him play with all the other monkeys. NO FAIR!!

Finalizing plans.

A: Wellll, I can make a special exception for you. But you'll have to wear a monkey suit. Otherwise, the other monkeys will think you're human and they won't trust you.
LJ: Hmm...OK! I'll get my costume ready. You bring the bananas.
A: Got it.

Hangs up.