Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swap-a-palooza Tonight!

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I'm modeling in the annual Swap-a-palooza tonight! I've modeled in the show for the past four years, modeling for AuH2O, designed by my friend, Kate Goldwater. I actually met her four years ago on an audition to walk in her show. Luckily, I was picked as one of the models and have been working with her ever since! This is my first time to be on a show flyer (see above)!

What is Swap-a-palooza? It's an eco-friendly fashion show. Basically, the entrance fee is a bag of your clothing. In return, you get to go through tables of other people's clothing, alter them, and bring home new pieces! The event lasts all day at NYU's Kimmel Center and ends with the fashion show at 5pm, brought to you by AuH2O.

So, why AuH2O? Well, AuH2O is an eco-friendly and socially conscious clothing store owned by Kate Goldwater. AuH2O is “Goldwater” in chemical symbols: Au=Gold, H2O=water. Clever, right? Kate makes all AuH2O clothing from recycled materials, sewn right on site. AuH2O also carries other eco-friendly designers, and vintage and consignment clothing, jewelry and handbags.

You should all come out! Check the Facebook invite or the AuH2O blog for more details!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jet Blue Sale! Today Only! Fares Start at $29!

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Hey everyone! Jet Blue is having an awesome Sample Sale today! Flights are as low as $29!

Fares from New York City have been reduced to $29-$99 each way in this 1-day sale announced
by JetBlue today. Flights to the West Coast are as low as $79.

The sale is for travel April 30 - June 10, but only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Tickets must be booked by 11:59PM MST tonight.

Sample fares from JFK (each way):
- Boston ... $29
- Washington, D.C. ... $29
- Charlotte ... $29
- Pittsburgh ... $29
- Bermuda ... $69
- Cancun ... $71
- Oakland ... $79
- San Francisco ... $79
- St. Maarten ... $79
- Burbank ... $99

Hope some of you can skip out of work to get some sun!!!


Burnt out? Final Exams? Summer Internships? Smoking Pot?

On April 20th I received another compelling email from the NYU Wellness Exchange, titled "Burnt out?". Last time the Wellness Exchange sent out one of these emails it was about over-drinking. This time, on the national high holiday (4/20), it was only fitting for it to be about smoking pot. Read the image above, which was the body of the email.

Wow, seriously, who makes these PSAs? I wasn't expecting that at all. Somehow, I didn't get the flow from papers, final exams, internships... to smoking pot.

But, whatever, it caught my attention.

It was also fitting that on April 20th, the New York Times ran an article entitled Marijuana Advocates Point to Signs of Change. Ever wonder where the term "420" originated? According to this NYTimes article:
Mr. Hager said the significance of April 20 dates to a ritual begun in the early 1970s in which a group of Northern California teenagers smoked marijuana every day at 4:20 p.m. Word of the ritual spread and expanded to a yearly event in various places. Soon, marijuana aficionados were using “420” as a code for smoking and using it as a sign-off on fliers for concerts where the drug would be plentiful.
In the end, I think the day went over well. The NYU Wellness Exchange would be happy to know that I didn't hear of any students smoking up on the notorious holiday, although I'm sure there were plenty of festivities behind closed doors. What can ya do?


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

FACES: Forum for American/Chinese Exchange at Stanford: On Common Grounds 2009 (Part II)

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The second half of FACES (Forum for American/Chinese Exchange at Stanford) was excellent! We had great discussions among delegates and even had some top-notch keynote speakers! Here's a taste of the last few days at FACES 2009.

Above: Condoleezza Rice (Former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, Current Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow, Stanford University)

Condoleezza Rice was our keynote speaker for the week. She spoke eloquently about Chinese and American relations, touching on four key topics:

1.) The need for Americans to fully recognize and promote the domestic transition that China is facing during a time of vast economic growth within the country.

2.) The need for regional cooperation between Asian countries and the United States. She made reference to the success of the Six-Party Talks (North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Russia, China and the U.S.) and Friends of Pakistan and said there was a need for progress in regards to China-Taiwan relations.

3.) The need for the world to fully recognize China as a global power. Citing the facts that China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a big player in many other organizations, she urged us to place China on the same level as other global powers.

4.) The importance of realizing that China makes a huge and necessary contribution to the world economy.

During the Q&A section, she said two things that really stuck with me:

On Taiwan's political status of "Status Quo":
"Status Quo" is a political device used to manage a problem so no one has to solve it.
On democracy:
The absence of democracy in countries is dangerous.
I was very surprised with her candidness to answer questions with real passion, feeling and bias. All too often, we get the political answer from current and past politicians. Yet, Rice told it like it was. Impressive.

Above: Christian Kaas and Alex Metelitsa sign the China-Taiwan agreement during our Paracel Islands simulation.

I had the chance to participate in a political crisis simulation, much like those that take place in Model UN. My group worked on the "Paracel Islands simulation". The Paracel Islands are a chain of small islands and reefs in the South China Sea, off the coast of Hainan and Vietnam. These islands are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam. During our simulation, control of the islands was being disbuted by China, Taiwan and Vietnam. The premise of interest in the islands was that the extraction of oil would begin in 5 years and last for decades. All three countries had particular interest in the oil, as natural resources are valuable, especially in this day of age.

I was a part of the Taiwanese delegation in the simulation and played the role of Chief of Energy Department. The simulation was eye-opening to what really goes on in politics! We had an extreme amount of information a-symmetry going on and were constantly making side-deals throughout the simulation. We had to play hardball to get the Chinese delegation to even consider Taiwan as a valid player, because we first had to get past the political issues. I really enjoyed it!

Above: Abby (Zhang Fuyang) played the role of a reporter from "The Vietnamese Times" (a ficticious newspaper) during our Mach Press Conference, where Christian and Alex (playing Chiefs of the Taiwanese and Chinese National Security Advisory Boards, respectively) announced and signed our agreement.

Towards the end of the day, the entire FACES delegation competed in "Iron Chef". We were given an arrangement of foods, including ketchup, mustard, squash, avocado, Spam, hotdogs, fish, crabmeat, sourkraut, radishes, oatmeal, yogurt, tangerines, cheese, mushrooms and grapes. Each food had to be used in at least one of three dishes, and grapes had to be used in all three dishes. The catch? We had 45 minutes.

My team's final menu was as follows:

Appetizer: Squash soup
Main dish: Sauteed fish over salad
Dessert: Oatmeal and yogurt mixed with freeze-squeezed grape juice and tangerines
(See below)

Above: My "Iron Chef" team created three amazing dishes!

Above: My teammates and I were quite proud of our creations!

Above: The FACES Executive Team were real sports for trying EVERYTHING! Yuck!

In the end, our team came in 3rd place (out of five teams). I guess that's not too bad... We saw some crazy dishes, and I was amazed at the true bravery of the FACES Executive Team for trying every dish presented to them. I saw what went on in our kitchen, and it wasn't pretty! I'm sending my best wishes to the execs in hope for survival after such trauma!!!

I want to thank all of the American and Chinese delegates, the entire FACES Executive Team, all of the speakers, and the entire Stanford campus for a great week at FACES 2009! I'm looking forward to the Beijing forum in November!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

FACES: Forum for American/Chinese Exchange at Stanford: On Common Grounds 2009

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For the past few days, I've been at the Forum for American/Chinese Exchange at Stanford FACES. The mission statement of FACES is:
The Forum for American/Chinese Exchange at Stanford (FACES) is a student led group started at Stanford University dedicated to fostering personal relationships and understanding among future leaders in the United States and China. Through its presence on college campuses, FACES strives to promote interest and awareness in U.S.-China relations, building the foundation for a more constructive bilateral future.

Here's a little taste of what we've been up to:

Above: Discussion about "Taiwan: Major Anniversaries and Potential Breakthroughs in Cross-Straight Relations, featuring Thomas Gold (Associate Professor of Sociology, UC Berkeley, Executive Director of the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies), Sam Zhao (Professor, Execuitive Director of the Center for China-U.S. Cooperation, University of Denver, Founder and Editor of the Journal of Contemporary China); and Eric Yu (Research Fellow & Program Manager for Democracy in Taiwan at Stanford's CDDRL).

Above: David Straub (Acting Director of the Korean Studies Program at The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center of Stanford, Former U.S. State Department Korean Affairs Director); Sigfried Hecker (Professor of Mangement Science and Engineering, Senior Fellow at FSI, Co-Director of CISAC, Stanford University; Emeritus Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory); and Michael Armacost (Sorenstein Distinguished Fellow at APARC) discuss "China, the United States, and the Future of the Korean Peninsula".

Above: Michael Armacost makes a valid point on North Korea's treatment of South Korea: "South Korea has an economy that is 50 times that of North Korea, yet North Korea treats South Korea with utter disrespect."

Above: Ronald McKinnon (Senior Fellow at the Stanford Center for International Development at SIEPR, Stanford University) and Jean Oi (William Haas Professor in Chinese Politics: Professor of Political Science, Stanford University) discuss "The Future of Economic Growth in China".

Above: Thomas Fingar (Payne Distinguished Lecturer for International Studies, Stanford University) revives a new thought on the exportation of democracy: "Democracy is not exportable. If it is not indigenous, it is not real."

Above: Yiqun Zhou (Professor in Asian Languages, Stanford University) discusses "New Confucianism in China" with the American and Chinese delegates.

Above: Stephen Schneider (Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Senior Fellow in the Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University); Jeremy Carl (Research Fellow at PESD, Ph.D. Candidate in the Emmit Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Stanford University); and Michael Wara (Assistant Professor of Law, Stanford Law School) discuss "Intergovernmental Cooperation & Technology for Climate Change".

Above: Robert Baensch (President of the Baensch International Group Ltd., Academic Director and Faculty Director of the Stanford University Professor Publishing Course) and Charles McCullagh (Senior Vice President, Member Services, Magazine Publishers of America) discuss "Capitalism and International Media".

Above: Richard Williams (Former U.S. Consul Gernal in Hong Kong, Former U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia, Former Country Director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs, U.S. Department of State) (far left) discusses Tiananmen, 20 years later.

FACES has been such a valuable conference so far. I can't wait to attend more seminars and panel discussions. Tomorrow, are conducting simulations, which are much like Model UN. My team is in debate over the Paracel Islands. One team will play Taiwan, while the other will play China. We will enter negotiations to try to find the best solution. I'll let you all know how it goes! Wish my team (Taiwan!) luck!

Yuan Express 2009

This year marked the last year of my official student participation in my favorite NYU event, Yuan. Yuan is an event hosted by the Chinese Mei Society (CMS) to promote Chinese culture. At the same time, Yuan is a charitable event; for the past four years, CMS has donated the profits of Yuan to China Care, to help disabled Chinese orphans receive life-saving surgeries.

For at least the past three years, Yuan has been a fashion and culture show, based mostly on fashion. This year, however, Yuan focused on a "cultural and dining experience". I must say that I was quite impressed with the setup. The talents exhibited were amazing.

Furthermore, they had great raffle prizes! Guess what I won... an autographed Wang Lee Hom CD!!!!!!! Can you believe it??!?!!

I was glad that China Care got to take a more active role this year. We helped get raffle prizes, and we had a great turn out for volunteers.

I'm glad to say that this year was one of my favorite years at Yuan. I can't wait to be involved as an alumna next year!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Marmite, Promite, and Vegemite Comparison

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A while ago, my Australian friend, Jordan, told me about Vegemite, a concentrated yeast extract spread loved by Australians. Its popularity in Australia is similar to the popularity of peanut butter in American.

In my International Marketing Management course, we learned about it's British counterpart, Marmite. This whole new introduction into the yeast extract spread world got me curious about the differences between Vegemite and Marmite. While doing some research, I discovered Promite. So, let's do a little comparison between the three!

Marmite: Originally from the UK and now in both the UK and New Zealand, Marmite is made from yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing, and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Some say it tastes similar to beef bouillon. Marmite is the French term for a large, covered earthenware or metal cooking pot. Marmite used to be served in glass jars that resembled such jars.

Promite: Promite is made from vegetables and yeast extract. Originally an Australia brand, it was acquired by Mars Incorporated, an American company. Dispite it's U.S. ownership, Promite is still manufactured and sold in Australia. It appears that Promite is the underdog of the three brands.

Vegemite: Vegemite, an Australian treat manufactured by U.S. giant Kraft, is made from yeast extract, and various vegetable and spice additives. Many Australians consider a national food and cultural icon.

Well, I'm not sure if that clears things up, but at least it's a start!

Chonga. Chola. Cafre. Chusma.

Today, I discovered the Chonga Girls and their viral hit "Chongalicious", the video seen above that was apparently based on a song by Fergie. My friend, Rogelio, taught me the many synonyms to "chonga" in the various Spanish dialects. Let's review.

Chonga: According to Urban Dictionary, a chonga is
Primarily found in Miami (most famously, in Hialeah), the chonga is known for her cheap form of dress, a combination of the so-called gangsta look and that of a prostitute, but can vary between the two. She wears ridiculously large hoop earrings large enough to be bracelets, which are usually gold and have their name written in them, and diamond studs high up on her ears.

Other key factors that identify a chonga are the excessive use of makeups (including eyebrow and lip liners), name brand hip hop clothing (Baby Phat, Sean Jean, Ecko, etc) and sneakers (Air Force Ones or Reeboks), an attraction to malls, tight jeans, large amounts of hair gel, and a liberal use of Spanglish.

The variants of chonga include:

Chola: A Mexican variant of chonga. The chola style is common in southern California like east LA, San Diego, OC, and also NYC.
Cafre: A Puerto Rican variant of chonga.
Chusma: A Cuban variant. In Cuban Spanish, this is a vulgar word.

Thank you, Rogelio, for teaching me the slight variations existing between chongas, cholas, cafres and chusmas.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stealing Chinese Kids

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One of the many things I noticed while in China was that kids are precious. Because of the One Child Policy, children are treated with great care, often becoming the "Little Emperors and Empresses" of the family. As a result of the One Child Policy and the cultural importance of passing on one's name, boys have historically been preferred among the Chinese. This trend is dying out as many urban Chinese become exposed to international world views and leave behind strict traditional mindsets. But some Chinese still place a high value on sons and would give anything to have one, especially if their first child (and thus, only legal child) doesn't measure up to expectations.

The New York Times recently reported on the kidnapping and selling of kids as another result of these traditional Chinese values. The video above does a great job of conveying this problem in rural China.

On another note, it is stories like these that fuel my belief in organizations like China Care, a non-profit organization that helps provide life-saving surgeries for disabled Chinese orphans. Many of these orphans are abandoned for the same reasons why children are stolen and sold. Because of the One Child Policy, the Chinese place a high value on healthy children. If it turns out that their child is disabled, there is a higher probability that the child will be abandoned. That's where China Care comes in, and it's a good thing that they're there to help out, because the number one reason that children become orphaned in China is due to health issues or disabilities.

Unfortunately, social policies and traditional family beliefs in China have led to the existence of child trafficking of healthy boys and higher-than-average abandonment rates for disabled children.

Hopefully the Chinese government will turn its focus towards these issues and create a sustainable solution. Until then, we can only hope that news coverage of these tragedies will continue to draw attention to the problems.

YouTube Discovery: Kid with Crazy Dance Moves

While on Twitter, I saw a tweet about some dancing kids... Followed the link and found ArchiPug2, as shown above. Wow, these kids are kind of amazing. Well, the sister has some problems, but I'm sure she'll find her way. :-)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Vicks and Ricola

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It's official. I'm sick. For the past few days, I've tried to get by without taking much medication, but today it all went up in smoke. I had the honor of presenting as a panelist at the NYU Stern Open House for prospective students. I was on hand to share my experiences as a Stern student, along with my classmate Sandeep. With all of the talking required, I had to do something about my tragic coughing / man voice. Let me explain my systems... First of all, I sound like a man. Some of my roommates have called it my "sexy voice", interestingly enough. My throat is scratchy, dry and evil, and I have wheezing coughs. Worst of all, the phlem family has invited itself over for the past week.

So, I turned to the trusted cough allies: Vicks and Ricola. Why did I pick these two?

1.) They're recognizable. Like many consumers out there, I went for the ones that I thought seemed most respectable.

2.) Ricola used the word "Natural", and we all know that's a buzz word that works on my demographic! Plus, they have the whole Swiss thing going for them.

3.) They're both pink/red!

It's good to know that I have my healthcare down to a meticulous and well-thought-out system, right?

Just two hours after taking some Vicks and two Ricolas later, I'm still not feeling any better. But I have hope!

For all of you out there who are in the same shoes as me, hats off. And if you'd like to share some Vicks or Ricola with me, you know where to find me!

Stern Semi-Formal 2009

Weikai accompanied me to the NYU Stern Semi-Formal last night. The venue, Capitale, was amazing. Dinner, on the other hand, was not so great. I had a rice pattie with vegetables... not as appealing as it might sound to my fellow vegetarians. The dancing was great, for the most part, though. The DJ wasn't anything to rave about, but any dance with Weikai is a ball. He's such a good dancer, that I couldn't care less what was going on around us!

We staked out a VIP area where no one was dancing and claimed it for ourselves. We danced the night away until my little feetsies hurt. Then, we called it a night and went back to his place for a well-deserved slumber.

I really enjoyed the night. Now, I'm looking forward to the NYU Senior Formal! So many dances, so little time!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Turnstyle Advertising

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Above: A turnstyle at the 14th Street - Union Square subway stop that advertises

On March 30th, the NYC Health Department began a new campaign for targeting parents who smoke. The official press release points out the danger of smoking as it relates specifically to NYC parents:
About 400,000 New York City adults who smoke live with a child. Sadly, smoking takes the lives of 8,000 adults each year in the city, many of whom leave children behind. New Yorkers are urged to quit smoking and to call 311 if they need help.
The campaign launch a television commercial that "features a young boy in a train station who has lost his mother. He is terrified and begins to cry. This painful moment shows the viewer how vulnerable a child is when a parent risks their life by continuing to smoke – and how scary the death of a parent would be." The commercial is a licensed version of one created months ago in Australia for

You can see the entire campaign on

As a part of the larger campaign, they feature turnstyle advertising, as shown above, in NYC subway stations. The ads are definitely eye-catching, as I've never seen this type of promotion. Furthermore, they feature a prominent comment: "Quit smoking today."

This is definitely a good cause. We'll have to wait to see if other advertisers start using this same medium in the future!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Erica is the New Black

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Above: A subway ad at 71st-Continental Ave for WhatIsTheNewBlack.TV.

After seeing a thousand ads for WhatIsTheNewBlack.TV, I finally checked out the website. As the name suggests, it's a website that sees if you can identify "the new black". You pick one top, one accessory and one bottom, and then see "if your black is the new black". It ranks your picks on Creativity, Wearability and Trendiness. You are then ranked into a fashionista category of either The Futurista, The Eclectic, The Individualist, or The Classic. Here are my interpretations of the fashionista categories:

The Futurist: (They say: No matter what the season you stay a step ahead.) Interpretation: You probably work in the fashion industry or know what's going on in fashion.
The Eclectic: (They say: You mix and match with a style all your own.) Interpretation: You're an odd one..
The Individualist: (They say: You have the confidence to dress to please yourself.) Interpretation: You don't know how to dress yourself.
The Classic: (They say: You know what works and you work it.) Interpretation: You're boring.

After creating an outfit, you can email it to your friends! The email looks something like the one below.

Above: What do you think? I'm definitely all up for a splash of color!

Above: I sent it to myself to see what the email would look like. It was titled "Erica is the New Black". hahaha. Thus, the title of this post.

Overall, it's a great idea, but the flash player takes a really long time to load. But don't take my word for it! Go check it out!

I Love Ice Cream Cake!!!

Above: Ice cream cake! Read below for the full story!

Yesterday, Weily, my boyfriend's sister, mentioned ice cream cake. It was all downhill from there! I couldn't stop thinking about it and talking about it! Weikai, my boyfriend, was plagued with my begging all night long. At one point, though, he snuck off to his room. When I went to see what he was doing, he was looking up locations where we could find an ice cream cake! So sweet! At that time, it was too late, though. So we went to bed, and I awoke to thoughts of ice cream cake.

After class, we met up, napped a bit... and then! ICE CREAM CAKE! We walked to Cold Stone Creamery at Astor Place and Weikai treated me to a "Cake Batter Confetti" ice cream cake. Here's the complete description:

Layers of Moist Red Velvet Cake & Cake Batter Ice Cream with Rainbow Sprinkles, wrapped in Creamy White Frosting
Doesn't it make you want to shout in joy?!?!!?

After eating some of the cake at Cold Stone Creamery, Weikai walked me home while I tried to guilt him into coming up and eating some more cake and then some rice and veggies for dinner at 11pm. He declined, so I said I'd go up and enjoy the cake with my suitemates. After acting like he was going to drop the cake, I said, "Don't give me a heart attack!" In response, he whined, "You love the ice cream cake more than me! If I was going to fall, you'd be like, "Oh well!" I'm jealous of the cake! If you left me alone in the same room with it, I'd drop kick it!" hehehe. He's cute.

Above: After seeing Weikai off, I invited my suitemates (Jess, Neha and Maria) to come enjoy the cake with me! Along the way, we found Weijia and Shipra, too!

Thank you for the cake, Weikai!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you way more than ice cream cake (and chocolate, which you know I love a whole bunch)!!!

Above: The end! Yummm!!!!