Pantene ShineStrong TV Advertisment Commercial

Impactful. Brilliant. Simple. Strong. These are all words I though of while watching this captivating advertisement by shampoo company Pantene. I am loving all of the recent commercials that are empowering women and focusing on how to change the way women are viewed in society. This short TV spot by ad agency Grey New York highlighting Pantene’s new Shine Strong campaign is a clear winner in terms of actual change and strong brand messaging.

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What’s Cooking #2: Spring rolls, U-picking, & Theo Chocolate

Happy halfway through summer! Trying new foods and recipes has always been a passion of mine. One of my favorite parts is searching out recipes online on food blogs, or in magazines or cookbooks and seeing all the beautiful recipes come to life in a photograph. Food photography has become huge within the past couple of years and I continue to be amazed how bloggers capture food in beautiful ways. It takes skills to have the correct lighting and make food look appetizing. No way am I even close to even passing yet, but it is fun to try and capture the beauty of food. Anyways, here are five things what I have been cooking and loving last week in food:

Spring Rolls via Heather Christo

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I made these for a pot-luck shabbat dinner for my friends-and they were a huge hit! I was inspired to make a variety of spring rolls after eating some at my favorite Thai restaurant, Sabai, in Eugene. The rolls at the restaurant were delicious and I was determined to make some of my own. As with most Asian food, spring rolls and their sticky-cellophane-like wrappers intimidated me. However multiple links online including this one, which demonstrates how to roll–eased my tension. I used two recipes by Heather Christo, one of my favorite food bloggers. THIS spring roll recipe minus the chicken with the addition of avocado and mango + THIS soy sauce recipe with added chopped ginger and jalapeno! Also important to note that most grocery stores carry spring roll wrapper and rice noodles in their Asian food section-no need to make a special trip!

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Summer Loving: House of Cards + Iggy + BITE Beauty

It is extremely hot in Eugene-95 degrees and summer is in full swing. Luckily I work indoors with air-conditioning, so I do not have to suffer too much wrath of the sun. But heat can sometimes get in the way, similar to an annoying little sibling.  I had plans of baking gorgeous blueberry muffins last night but the sweltering sunshine won this round, so no muffins for me. However I think Sun and I have made up, as I love getting tan and biking outdoors in the morning sunshine. My last post included  food related things I have been adoring. Today, is everything I have been loving non-food related. Enjoy!

TV: House of Cards

I’m addicted. After having a friend tell me it was the best TV show on television I had to give it a try. I am so glad I did because I absolutely love it. The writing is so outstanding and  smartly written and the plot lines keep me intrigued every episode. I love that they incorporate journalism and hard news reporting into the back-stabbing political drama filled plot.  I finished the first season over a couple of weeks. Definitely one to get hooked on!

Music: Fancy-Iggy Azalea

This Aussie knows what she is doing-music wise. “Fancy” is super catchy and has been on constant repeat on my summer playlist. I also love the nod to the movie “Clueless” in her music video. Azalea was also just nominated for 7 Video Music Awards earlier this week. Although I am conflicted since she is up against my all time favorite singer/Diva extraordinaire-Beyonce(Rolling Stones) . An article by Ann Powers for NPR says, “The life story she relates on The New Classic is one of unremitting toil: On its first single, actually called “Work,” she raps about scrubbing floors as a teen maid, emigrating to America with no money and staying up night after night to master her flow.” (NPR) Check out the sassy Iggy Azalea HERE.

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Summer Cooking: Ideas + Recipes

Summer Food: Fresh juicy berries, beautiful sunset colors of stone fruit, Saturday farmers markets stacked high with leafy vegetables, citrus popsicles, and home-brewed sun tea are just a handful of my summer essentials. Schools out, and I am finding myself with more free time to enjoy the little things and truly appreciate the season; which includes having time to cook up a storm and enjoy summer’s beautiful bounty! Lately my cooking routine includes blasting my Shania Twain Pandora station and singing out to some country while chopping, dicing, and slicing. Here is what I have been cooking and eating lately:

Chicken Tamale Bowls via Half Baked Harvestunnamed1

These bowls are deliciously Tex-Mex perfect! It starts with a creamy cheesy layer of Polenta covered in spicy shredded chicken, then topped off with a layer of stir-fried veggies and of course guac. Polenta kind of reminds me of grits and it is a nice change from the usual carbs such as pasta and rice. Polenta is definitely worth a try and makes a perfect first layer for this dish. Also bonus-you get an arm workout from all of the whisking you do. The flavors are bursting with summery goodness. Half Baked Harvest is one of my favorite foodie blogs, and her unusual combinations are mouthwatering. Recipe HERE

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Gatorade Sweat. It + Guinness #MadeofMore

Two commercials have grabbed my attention this week. As an advertising and journalism student, I try to pay attention to all media in my life including the commercials, billboards, viral videos, print ads, and even tweets. With a steady flow of  ‘bad advertising’ constantly hogging media outlets, it proves harder to distinguish the true gems in between the many Comcast cable ads or frozen breakfast entrees commercials.  Even though ‘bad advertising’ does exist, it is the gems such as the ones below that keep me exited and hopeful about the advertising world.

Guinness Empty Chair #MadeofMore Ad Campaign

This is the newest installation in Guinness’s Made of More Campaign.  The slogan establishes,  “The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character. Guinness proudly raises a glass to those who are #MadeOfMore”(Guiness).  Back to the commercial-I absolute love it and it made me cry in public. The ad is touching, sweet, and tells a terrific compelling story. A lot of beer companies are trying to connect with their audiences. Budweiser uses friendship showcasing the #bestbuds of  the Budwiser Clydesdale and the puppy, while Heineken demonstrates the free spirit of Departure Roulette. But I think Guinness blows other beer companies out of the water. Clear and captivating-Guinness is a clear winner in advertising and I couldn’t help but smile at this one!

Gatorade Sweat It. Get it. Ad Campaign

This short 30 second advertisment for Gatorade by TBWA\CHIAT\DAY  is straightforward and to the point. It takes a gross negative and transforms it to a positive. As a female, I have always thought sweating was gross and smelly. No one really likes sweating. However, as I watched this commercial while on the elliptical working out- I felt empowered. Sweat confirms a great workout. Smart work.

-Rachel

 

 

 

Chinese Food + A TED Talk

I love Chinese food… I mean Americanized Chinese food. I have not really given the Chinese food that I have consumed in the past much thought before. Its quick, delicious, sinfully sweet, and my future can be predicted at the end of a meal. I always knew that what I was eating was not traditional, but had no idea of its historical importance nor the political connections.

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As it turns out, a majority of the Chinese food in the US does not even come close to representing Chinese food in China. Should I be ashamed of eating the delectably sweet dishes and referencing that it anyhow related to China by calling it Chinese along with the rest of the population? Maybe. Jennifer 8. Lee, American journalist and Ted Talk speaker, describes the main appeal, its “Fried, Sweet, has chicken, and is delicious”

I remember watching this Ted talk below on the origins of classic Chinese dishes awhile ago and decided to re-watch it. The speaker-Jennifer 8. Lee is fantastic and brings up several great historical comparisons in this 2008 Ted Talk. As with many other Ted talks, Lee is captivating and I learned so much about a food industry I knew nothing about. Highly recommend-Watch it!!

Great right? One of my favorite quotes is how Lee states that “Chinese food is more American than apple pie”. If I think about it, I eat Chinese food regularly and even have my favorite restaurants , while my consumption of apple pie falls strictly to one day-Thanksgiving. Mind blown.

As it turns out, Lee continued her search for the origin of General Tso’s chicken and was the producer of  2014 Tribecca Film Festival Documentary “The Search for General Tso”(Trailer Here). Hopefully I can watch this sometime soon.

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Americans love Chinese food so much that they are often disappointed when visiting China and seeing frog legs on a menu instead of sweet and sour pork or Lo Mein.  So much so that two entrepreneurs opened an Americanized Chinese food restaurant called Fortune Cookie in Shanghai just over a year ago. (Link) Fortune Cookie restaurant highlights classic sweet dishes, red and white to-go boxes, and of course fortune cookies. This NPR article by Frank Langfitt analyzes Fortune Cookie’s success, their primary customer base, and why it really wasn’t that absurd of an idea.

Should I be embarrassed that sesame chicken or lo mein are delicious and bring me joy? Probably. However, this is just the continuing evolution and transcendence of food and its many quirks.

-Rachel