Saturday, 26 February 2011

Vegetarian Restaurant Review: Zinc Café and Market, Corona del Mar, So. California

After meeting up and celebrating with friends and family, I, most of the time, walk away feeling good after reconnecting,  reminiscing, and simply talking about the present. The problem is there is always too much to eat. And it can get really decadent. What I do after is to go light for a couple of days and indulge in my raw-food diet or in other vegetarian fixings. 

When the invitation came to meet up with another friend, last week, I was so happy that she had suggested a vegetarian place, Zinc Café and Market, along the East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar.
The food was all prepared and set up on a counter. The cold section consisted mostly of fresh and cooked salads,  priced at $10.95 per pound. The hot food items were portions which could be ordered a la carte at $8.25 or in combo with mixed greens, tomato, Feta cheese dressed with the Zinc Café vinaigrette for $10.25, or with a deli salad, instead, for an additional price of $1.95. To order, I pointed out my choices. 

There are other items that can be ordered on the a la carte menu.
I went with a plate of 3 salads: Fresh Avocado Salad with diced red onions, celery, and cucumbers - very refreshing; Green-String Bean Salad - quite filling; and cooked  Red Beet Salad with carrots and yam -  savory. The combination of ingredients in the salads was healthy and they came in a rainbow of vegetable colors. 
From the hot food section, my friend chose the Vegetarian Lasagna with layers of eggplant and ricotta cheese, topped with diced-tomato sauce. This was very delicious. 
We could not resist, and therefore, indulged ourselves with some desserts: Chocolate and  Coconut cupcakes. Chocolate is always good but I liked the Coconut cupcake with a lemony filling - this had a unique,  pleasing combination of flavors.
After more than an hour of eating and catching up, my friend and I walked around the little market area. There was a selection of wine...
some things for the kitchen, pantry and the home...
and some cheeses, beverages, sandwiches, and salads to pick up to go for a quick lunch, a picnic, or a hustle-free meal for later in the day. We left feeling full and well nourished, but yet, light. 

This is a lacto-vegetarian restaurant as they use dairy products in their meal preparations. There are other locations to this restaurant chain. We enjoyed our time at -

Zinc Café and Market
3222 E. Coast Hwy. Corona del Mar, CA  92625
Tel. no. 949-719-9462

Friday, 25 February 2011

Window Shopping Along Avenue Montaigne, Paris: Valentino Spring-Summer Colletion 2011

The Valentino Spring-Summer 2011 Collection was previewed last fall, featuring the designs of  creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli. In the video, most of the fabrics were soft and sheer, from chiffons, silk organzas, to laces, in light colors and muted tones, with the exception of the use of black and red. The  designs were mostly fluid, simply flattering and feminine. 
Situated between the Theatre des Champs Elysées and the Plaza Athenée Hotel on Avenue Montaigne, I decided to walk by to take a closer look at the Valentino window displays.  To my surprise, the pieces showcased were none among the featured items in the fashion show, but just as beautiful and appealing.

Valentino's spring and summer theme is "Garden Party." "Discover Garden Party - a secret party where seductive flower prints spring to life." It's all about flowers in the clothes' designs and fashion accessories. 

This short spring dress is elegantly casual for daytime or early evening wear. The impressionistic style plants and flowers grow on a background from light to dark. It looks romantic and dramatic.
The Garden Party look is in some of the fashion accessories of matching shoes and bag. This ensemble will dress up other casual-wear pieces you may have in your wardrobe.
Here is one long gown where the leaf-clover designs are hand painted (or possibly silk-screened) in varied shades of green,  with one section embroidered in pink silk thread, and in the middle of each is a rhinestone to give it some bling. The effect is like having fresh flowers cascade all over the dress, in random pattern.

The cut is simple - round neckline, a long-torso bodice joined below the waist by a skirt cut on the bias to an A-line shape. The corded belt accentuates the waistline without distracting from the overall design and adding to that feminine touch. 
In this creation, the bodice is petaled in single layer. From the waist down are different muted colors until it ends with the dramatic black along the hemline of multiple layers of cut-up fabric, thinly corded along the edging, forming the flower-shaped appliqués that are sewn to the skirt, in graduated sizes, giving it a three-dimensional finish.

A thin cord tied into a bow on the side cinches the waistline. 

In this short cocktail dress, little flower lace pieces have been appliqued and embellished with silver glass beads around the flower patterns to adorn the bodice. A fur shrug or a bolero - I would call it a "shrap" a shoulder wrap - of the same tint is part of the design, to be worn on cool evenings. The skirt is beflowered with the same material as the basic dress, of petal-shaped pieces, gathered in multi layers and sewn to form the bigger flowers. 

There are also long-gown versions constructed in this same manner.

This  straw-like bag, made with a woven natural material of braided natural fibers (possibly abaca) and leather and metal furnishings, is ornamented with different pastel shades of soft leather, shaped into different flowers. There are pairs of sandals  and ballerina shoes to match. An all-leather bag version with the same flower motif is available, too.

These multi-colored fabric roses, with pinked edges (cut with pinking shears), cover every inch of this bag, big enough to be a carry-all bag,  except for the leather handles, the clasp and the metal furnishings. 
The sunglasses for the season are white framed, in this collection.

You need not travel far to get some of these fashion pieces. They now have an online store. After seeing this collection, I am getting ideas on how to be in step with the Valentino design ideas this spring.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Spring Cleaning: How to Dispose of Household Hazardous Materials

Through the years, we end up accumulating toxic products in our homes. In an effort to clean out my environment as part of making myself healthy again, I decided to take care of hazardous materials lying around the side of my house,  inside the house, and in my garage. These are things that cannot just be thrown out into the trash bins because of their toxic components. 

I did some research to find out how to properly dispose of my hazardous household materials, which were remnants of materials used in the last remodeling project, plus the other things I had been using at home. If you are from Orange County, CA, visit for the disposal of these items. Or, google "how to dispose of household hazardous waste" and look for the information for where you live. Here is the information I gathered from this link:

What is Household Hazardous Waste? "Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be 'household hazardous waste' or 'HHW.'... require special care when you dispose of them. Improper disposal of household hazardous wastes can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases putting them out with the trash...improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health. Additional HHW services may be available through your City. Contact your City’s Recycling Coordinator to find out other ways to dispose of your household hazardous waste items in your community." Here is their list of items.
What to bring to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center:

Cleaning Products 
Bleach (laundry)                        Toilet cleaners
Drain cleaners                           Tub, tile, shower cleaners
Oven cleaners                            Wood and metal cleaners and polishes
Pool chemicals                           
Lawn and Garden Products 
Fungicides/wood preservatives      Herbicides     Insecticides
Workshop/Painting Supplies 
Adhesives and glues                   Paint strippers and removers 
Aerosol cans                               Paint thinners and turpentine
Fixatives and other solvents       Photographic chemicals 
Furniture strippers                      Stains and finishes 
Oil or enamel-based paint 
Batteries                                          Mercury thermostats or thermometers
thermometers                                  Sharps (hypodermic needles, pen 
Compact Fluorescent Tubes               needles, intravenous needles,
Driveway sealer                                   lancets)
Fluorescent light bulbs 
Automotive Products
Air conditioning refrigerants                     Fuel additives
Antifreeze                                                 Motor oil 
Automotive batteries                                Starter fluids 
Carburetor and fuel injection cleaners     Transmission and brake fluid 
Indoor Pesticides
Ant sprays and baits                         Houseplant insecticides
Bug sprays                                        Moth repellents
Cockroach sprays and baits              Mouse and rat poisons and baits
Flea repellents and shampoos 
Other Flammable Products 
CO2 cartridges (lecture bottle or smaller)  Home heating oil
Diesel fuel                                                   Kerosene  
Fire Extinguishers under 40 lbs.                 Lighter fluid
Gas/oil mix                                                  Propane tanks (5-gallon or smaller)
Helium tanks
Alarm clocks                                             Microwave ovens (home use)
Blood glucose monitors (sterilized)           PDAs 
Camcorders                                              Programmable kitchen appliances 
CD players                                                Pagers
Cell phones                                               Printer/scanner/fax
Computer monitors (CRTs & flat               Radios of all types (car & home)
screens)                                                    Stereos (no speakers)
Computers/CPUs/laptops*                        Telephones & answering machines
Copiers (home use, desktop)                    Televisions (CRTs & flat screens)
Digital cameras*                                        VCRs
Digital thermometers                                 Home-use medical monitors
Display boards on exercise equipment      Walkie-talkies
DVD players                                               I-Pods & MP3 players*
Hand-held electronic devices                   
Video game consoles & accessories
Remove data before disposal. 
HHW Collection Centers cannot accept the following items:
Asbestos                            High-pressure cylinders (acetylene,
Ammunition                           oxygen, air tanks—SCUBA or SCBA)
Biological waste                Radioactive materials
Commercial Waste            Tires 

From the list, I dentified the things I had no longer any use for. To start with I gathered the  cans of left-over paint; polyurethane to seal concrete patio (which I decided not to use); hydrochloric acid for cleaning stains on concrete surfaces; barbecue fluid lighter; natural stone sealant; some cleaning (chemical) agents; a bagful of dead batteries; some incandescent light bulbs and a fluorescent bar light.

When going to the landfill,  there is a procedure to follow. In the one I went to, I had to drive up to the gate, turned off the engine of the car, opened the trunk, and remained in the vehicle. A technician came around to unload the stuff from my trunk. Then I drove away. Or, park if you want to check a section - Materials Exchange Program - where you can take up to 5 free items from a selection of partially used containers of products  for  the house, the yard, and car care.

There is another carload waiting to be transported. In the meantime, I am using more natural, healthier, environmentally friendlier materials to clean my house. This is part of my effort to minimize inhaling or having contact with chemicals, as much as possible, which have been killing some of my brain cells and settling in and delibitating my liver. Hopefully, my memory will reverse it's forgetful trend, soon.

Among the manufacturers of environmentally friendly household cleaning products are Seventh Generation and Melaleuca. Or, you can start making your own. There are recipes and instructions in these sites:

Let's all take the steps in making the air we breath cleaner, at least, in our homes. 

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

"World of Color," Disneyland, Anaheim, California

Gone are the days of the Disney Electrical Parade.  World of Color is the latest nighttime finale show at Disneyland's California Adventure, which premiered last June 11, 2010. The entire show, designed by the Walt Disney Creative Entertainment cost $75,000,000.
The tables are turned. Now it is my daughter who takes me to Disneyland. To be a kid again for 2 hours, I willingly dropped everything to catch  the finale show for the day, "World of Color!" 
Paradise Bay is the setting for this much-awaited, daily evening show. We had situated ourselves in a pretty good place, going early enough to find our spot, heeding the warning that we would get wet. 
The show has been designed with the use of more than 1,200 fountainsincluding "lights, water, fire, fog, and lasers, with high-definition projections on mist screens," with music performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, as arranged by  Mark Hammond and Dave Hamilton. 

Showtime - 8:15 p.m. First the fanfare, then the  water from the fountains shot up to as high as 200 feet, dancing in prismatic colors  to the music and the light settings...
 then, the images were projected on the high-definition mist screens. 

Excerpts of the popular themes of the  Disney stories were shown, one after another. Here is a snippet - an excerpt from Pocahontas: It was one of my favorite parts of the show.
Projection globes came up, from time to time, with images of the characters of the featured stories.

Here is the finale number I filmed As the show went on, building up to a climax, more water was shooting up and the misty rain started reaching the crowd closes to the water. We came prepared for this. 
Little by little the image projections, the fountain's activities, the sounds, the light programs all came to an end. What a production that was. I was in awe and amazed at the creativity of all the geniuses behind this project.

Soon, California Adventure will undergo a refacing and be transformed into another era. While the show will continue to go on, it might be good to go and see the show now before the detours are set into place, due to the construction.

In the forthcoming project, the new theme will be reminiscent of the time when Walt Disney came to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams, circa 1920s. This will be a totally new place to look forward to. When it is all built, it will be another good reason to visit Disneyland. 


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