It made me tear up. Next step: Trying to read the original Chinese text! It’ll only take a couple weeks.

What Shih Said

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 11.01.21 PM

Following Ang Lee’s second Best Directing win at the Academy Awards last night, this beautiful essay resurfaced. Here is my translation of Ang Lee’s words, written in 2006 (post-Oscar win). Please credit the translation to Irene Shih (and to this blog), thank you!

In 1978, as I applied to study film at the University of Illinois, my father vehemently objected. He quoted me a statistic: ‘Every year, 50,000 performers compete for 200 available roles on Broadway.’ Against his advice, I boarded a flight to the U.S. This strained our relationship. In the two decades following, we exchanged less than a hundred phrases in conversation.

Some years later, when I graduated film school, I came to comprehend my father’s concern. It was nearly unheard of for a Chinese newcomer to make it in the American film industry. Beginning in 1983, I struggled through six years of agonizing, hopeless uncertainty…

View original post 574 more words


Cardio Barre Beverly Hills class review


Cardio Barre Beverly Hills
Class: Advanced
Instructor: Hannah

This will not be the first time I’m saying this, but the instructor makes the class. Take a studio you don’t normally prefer, add the right instructor and your class suddenly becomes one that’s not just worth taking, but worth taking over a class at your favorite studio (really!).

I tend to try as many different instructors as I can and when I come across someone good, I keep an eye out for their classes. Yesterday was my first class with Hannah, and I found her to be informative and encouraging. Her running explanation included a lot of specificity (great!). She was also good about correcting people’s form, not something that’s typical for CB instructors.

What’s great about Cardio Barre in general:

The incorporation of cardio. Yes, duh, but not easy to find in barre classes. I’m willing to bet there isn’t another barre class where one gets nearly as drenched.

The incorporation of actual ballet moves, including but not limited to:

  • tendus (who knew tendus can be a workout? It’s a simple movement, yes, but it’s difficult to do with a stick straight leg and pointed toe. Also, the move should be sharp)
  • rond de jambs (good quad and hip workout)
  • battements (great cardio, esp. when you’re on the 3rd set)
  • plies and various others mostly focused on the lower body

I do have dislikes, too, but my biggest grievance is the music, which is abysmally bad. To give you an idea of how bad, “Baby got back” was played not once, but twice. Why??? The second time it played was towards the end of class, and one girl apparently agreed with me, so much so that she couldn’t keep her sentiments to herself, sighing loudly, “I HATE that song” during cool down. I’m sure the instructor was thinking, I don’t choose the music! (true). I don’t particularly love that songs are sped up either to get the higher tempo for the cardio portion. Can we not find some up-tempo tracks that can do the trick?

Music aside, I’m constantly on the hunt for that most efficient workout, and a challenge with loving barre is incorporating enough cardio into my routine. They are, by and large, sculpting classes. They can burn up to 500 calories per class, but they don’t sufficiently get your heart rate up. So one has to supplement their barre classes with cardio, and I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to squeeze in two classes in one day (both time-wise and stamina-wise). So for the reason that it effectively combines cardio and sculpting, Cardio Barre will continue to be part of my barre class rotation.

Stay tuned for my review of Bar Method and other studios!


For my sister’s birthday, I wanted to make something for her to take home. I also wanted to try something new since so many of my baking standbys are chocolate-centric (cookies ‘n cream cookies, chocolate chip cookies, brownies).

Enter the blondie. I’ve always thought it must be possible to make a good blondie that’s not saccharine sweet. For my recipe, I went to the authority on all things culinary, Cook’s Illustrated.


Continue reading