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Archive for May, 2014|Monthly archive page

Foodie Friday: Asian Heritage Month Edition

In Community, Foodie Friday, Health, Higher Ed, Pro-DiSPO, Public Interest, Weekly Wonders, Workin' Woman, Yours Truly on 05/16/2014 at 19:00

Happy Asian Heritage Month!

What’s in our fortune on this fine Friday? Here I’ll feature two Asian family-owned eateries in Abilene, Texas, complete with photos. Both of them have been known to consistently earn the Reader’s Choice Award from Abilene Reporter-News voters.

AM Donuts

AM Donuts

AM Donuts, Reader’s Choice Award winner, courtesy Elaine Dispo

AM Donuts & Croissants on Grape Street, only Abilene eatery to serve Boba Tea

Reader’s Choice Award-winning donut shop values customers, provides high quality  

AM Donuts

AM Donuts has assortment of flavors, courtesy Elaine Dispo

 By Elaine Dispo

AM Donuts

AM Donuts, the only Bubble Tea vendor in Abilene

AM Donuts & Croissants’ 1902 Grape Street location is thinking outside the bubble by being the only known public establishment in Abilene to offer boba tea. AM Donuts

Also known as “bubble tea,” this beverage that traces its origin to Taiwan has tapioca pearls of various flavors, like strawberry, lychee, taro, coconut and coffee.

AM Donuts

“It is healthy and adds more flavor,” said Sokol Kim, the wife of owner George Kim, about AM’s smoothie-like drink.

AM Donuts

George Kim, AM Donuts & Croissants owner, shows special straws for Boba Tea, courtesy Elaine Dispo

A 16-ounce bubble tea at AM on Grape costs $3.75, which is less expensive than bubble tea in larger markets and other frozen blended drinks of the same size or smaller at other vendors.

AM Donuts

The Kims’ business has its loyal customers, many of whom meet at AM Donuts on a daily basis, and take advantage of coffee, baklava, kolaches or other popular pastries, such as cheese sticks and cream horns.

AM Donuts

With bubble tea in the mix, Abileneans and visitors alike can be introduced to a commodity from a different part of the world.

AM Donuts has been widely-acclaimed by the city for over a decade, as it happens to be ranked No. 1 in the Readers Choice Awards for several years running.

“We like to take care of the people,” George Kim said. “It is nice to know that the city supports our product and knows it’s good and for our business to grow.”

AM Donuts also has shops on Willis Street, its original store, as well as Treadaway Boulevard and Pine Street. What makes AM on Grape so unique are the boba tea, as well as red velvet cake donuts and chocolate cherry fritters.

Aside from classic glazed donuts, AM also offers the maple bacon bars and an array of new baked goods. George Kim, coined the “AM Delight Do-sant,” inspired by the New York-style cronuts.

“The kitchen is my department,” George Kim said. He pointed out that AM’s efforts “to be as smooth and quick as possible to maintain the quality” pays off because “people like fast service and quality.”

AM Donuts

Since AM on Grape opens as early as 5:30 a.m. and closes as late as 5 p.m., Kim and his team “make that commitment to do it.” DSC00328

Chocolate-filled croissants recently joined their bakery selection of both savory and sweet treats. AM Donuts

Sokol Kim, brought up the idea of the chocolate-filled croissants from her time in France back in 2003, after she earned her bachelor’s degree in Cambodia. Her tour of Europe also led her to Denmark, and after she completed her master’s degree, she moved to the U.S. while pregnant with their daughter.

Previously, Sokol Kim’s career was in law that involved human rights at the international level. Now she works at AM Grape while attending school to become a Registered Nurse.

“Education changes life,” said Sokol Kim, who appreciates the support of her husband’s family and her family in Cambodia in her pursuit of a health care career while still supporting her husband’s business.

Many of the AM Donuts customers can agree . After all, the Grape branch is conveniently set on the north side of Abilene near Abilene Christian University, Hardin-Simmons University and Hendrick Medical Center. Therefore, Wi-Fi comes in handy for students and workers alike, and the TV provides a relaxing environment.

AM DonutsA visit to AM not only appeals to the taste buds, but eye candy also surrounds the space. AM DonutsThe storefront has Asian-inspired pieces, such as the welcoming Buddha and a bamboo wall, in addition to classic art and recognized superheroes, including Batman, Superman and Marvel Comics characters. AM Donuts Some memorabilia have even come from the customers as gifts. AM Donuts

Due to the abundant space of the building as well as generous parking, George Kim envisioned “potential” of “not only a business but also a social network to hang out: an environment for everyone to enjoy, feel comfort. I think it’s important.”

Other than the boba tea and other special menu items exclusive to AM Donuts on Grape, George Kim’s service philosophy may be another reason why AM has earned the Readers Choice Award: to have “a relationship with our customers, make them feel connected.”

China Star

China Star

Beef & Broccoli + Kung Pao Chicken in the House!

Ever since my family moved to Abilene, my parents have frequented this Chinese buffet place for lunch or dinner.

China Star

Succulent Spring Rolls

Many of our family friends have held parties there, and my parents love to pick up take-out from there.

China Star

Hot & Sour Soup Warms the Soul!

The owners still recognize us when we go there for Sunday brunch after church.

China Star

Mocha Cake is my fave!

Enjoy eating!

More Asian Persuasion up in this Noodle House!

Thirsty Thursday: Communicate with CHRIST

In ♥ & Soul, Community, Home Sweet Home, Public Interest, Relationships, Thirsty Thursday, Weekly Wonders, What's Hot, Yours Truly on 05/15/2014 at 19:30

Happy Birthday to Evie today & Early Birthday to Nanay!

Evie & Me

Evie the Princess draped the robe on the Queen Mother after Sacred Heart‘s Corpus Christi Procession!

GOD works in miraculous and mysterious ways, giving us unasked-for prayers and blessings-in-disguise. When we reach a birthday or a milestone, He deserves our praise for getting us through our highway to Heaven…

At Mass last weekend, Father Bob said during his homily that the majority of our communication with the LORD is through listening to Him. This reminds me of the communication models that I studied and taught in college. Our interaction is not simply one-way ~ it is dynamic and involves all parties in the process. When we pray, we don’t simply tell GOD what is going on or ask Him to grant our wishes. During our days, He speaks to us in different ways, so we must use all of our senses to find out what He says… through

  • other people
  • circumstances
  • our dreams

As we help those who are in need, whether it is clothing the naked, donating to the poor, feeding to the hungry, hugging the abandoned, teaching the ignorant, visiting the imprisoned, we are doing as JESUS did… But think about it in these terms: we could be doing these things to JESUS! He could be living on in areas where we least expect it, and we could be looking at His face! We could live in His image, yet to take this a step further, we could treat others as we would treat Him: with kindness and mercy.

PTL

ALLELUIA!

GOD Bless Y’all!!!

Foodie Friday: Strawberry Month in May

In ♥ & Soul, Community, Foodie Friday, Health, Home Sweet Home, Public Interest, Relationships, Weekly Wonders, Yours Truly on 05/09/2014 at 23:17

Strawberry Wine … Seventeen … Hot July moon … Saw everything…

How about this?

Strawberry Month … Thirty-two … Warm May sunshine … Tasted sweet!

Happy National Strawberry Month!

Now that strawberries are in season, they’re the perfect sweet treat that’s low in calories, fat free, good with other food …

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or drinks …

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or flying solo …

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and a great palette cleanser.

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Flashback Friday: the Strawberry Parade in Baguio City, Philippines [2010]

Enjoy your Mother’s Day weekend!!!

Thirsty Thursday: Pray on It

In ♥ & Soul, Community, Health, Higher Ed, Home Sweet Home, Politics, Pro-DiSPO, Public Interest, Relationships, Sports, Thirsty Thursday, Travel, Weekly Wonders, What's Hot, Workin' Woman, Yours Truly on 05/08/2014 at 13:00

Sleep on it … Drink on it …

When the going gets tough, we’ve heard the first tip and the second one as a cowboy song by country star Blake Shelton. So, how about you pray, both as a form of praise and as a form of guidance? Hey, it may even help you sleep at night.

Last weekend, our Deacon proclaimed the Gospel (Luke 24 ~ which I also read at our Anniversary mass) about the Walk to Emmaus, in which Father Bob emphasized the significance during his homily: the 11 Apostles ran in the dark during a time when there were no sources of light to see where they were going. If we believe in the midst of darkness, we can see the light of the Holy Spirit leading the way. That being said, my student pointed out the importance of the Holy Spirit:

Let us always keep The Lord in our hearts, for He will move us if we remain open to Him. We can reach peace as a result of giving our all to GOD, leaving everything in His hands. By accepting His will above our own, we can maintain faith that He will see us through.

Earlier this week, I experienced a most sorrowful circumstance, it was an example of how good He is despite that His plan may go beyond our understanding. It reminded me of the last time I saw my paternal grandmother alive three years ago this month. That was the most humbling time of my life because I realized how much compassion I felt for my helpless Mama Eufemia, who I gave a sponge bath in her death bed, that even in her dying days, she comforted me by hugging and rubbing my back when I cried on my last night with her.

Speaking of my love for my grandparents, I’m grateful to GOD for giving me all of mine and my parents to influence me. Here are Throwbacks for National Nurses and Teacher Appreciation Week. Through prayer, my grandparents and parents have done well in their lives, not just for themselves and our families ~ for GOD.

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My LOLA ROSA the Teacher & my LOLO TICO the Nurse

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My NANAY AYA the Graduate Nurse

GOD Bless You & Happy Mother’s Day, especially to MAMA MARY!!!

Workout Wednesday: 2014 Total Body Blast-Off

In Health, Higher Ed, Home Sweet Home, Pro-DiSPO, Public Interest, Sports, Travel, Weekly Wonders, Workin' Woman, Workout Wednesday, Yours Truly on 05/07/2014 at 23:50

Happy Week of Star Wars Day (May the 4th Be with You), Cinco de Mayo (May 5th), National Nurses Day (May 6th) plus overall Nurses and Teacher Appreciation!

May the force be with you in this powerful session that will train you in a dynamic way, through cardio, toning and stretching for endurance, strength and flexibility. Since it works the entire body in minimal time, it’s perfect for those of you on the go, such as you nurses and teachers who we’re celebrating this week!

Recommended Resistance: wrap around weights for your ankles or resistance bands

Props: mat for laying exercise {4-7}

Please refer to my Double Whammy workout for the technique of these toning moves {8-13}

Like all of Pretty Fit E‘s 2014 routines, these involve 20 reps (x) or secs (s) in each of the 14 steps.

Rock & Roll Warm-Up
1. Neck & Shoulder Rolls: roll neck clockwise then counter-clockwise, followed by shoulder rolls forward and backward (5x for each = 20x)
2. Forward Rolls/Circles (20x)
3. Backward Rolls/Circles (20x)
4. Roll-Ups: lay on back with hands holding onto tush and legs extended, roll both legs backward overhead (20x)
5. Ab Rolls: lay on back with arms and legs extended, bring arms and legs together in one motion to work upper and lower abs (20x)
6. Body Rock: lay on back with arms and legs extended, rock back and forth (20x)
7. Hip Rock: lay on back with arms at your side and feet flat on mat, lift pelvis up and sway from side to side (20x)

Two Birds, One Stone Tone-Up
8. Curls [biceps and hamstrings] (20x)
9. Extensions [triceps and quadriceps] (20x)
10. Presses [chest and legs] (20x)
11. Raises [shoulders and calves] (20x)
12. Deadlift [back and glutes] (20x)
13. Renegade Rows [back] (20x)

Grande Finale
14. Cardio Choice:
* Jumping Jacks [chant or mantra optional like spelling STAR WARS, CINCO DE MAYO, GO NURSES or GO TEACHERS] (20x)
* Quick Feet/Football Run (20s)
* Freestyle Dance [music optional or sing for further challenge] (20s)
* or ALL of the above

Have fun on the run in the sun or do these indoors for power during rain showers!

Here’s yours truly playing disc golf outdoors! ⛳️

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For the remaining 2014 routines, please click on the following links:

Beauty Tuesday: Spring & Summer Skin Safety

In Beauty Tuesday, Weekly Wonders on 05/07/2014 at 01:50

Happy National Nurses Day and Week plus Teacher Appreciation Week! 

With spring in full swing and summer on the way, I have these two tips for this Beauty Tuesday on: how to make (not cake) your face after lack of sleep ~ like what some of us teachers experience ~ and protection to beat spring showers and the summer heat …  

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I brush on this Neutrogena bronzing powder around my face and concealer under my eyes.

 As a teacher, I’ve stayed up late creating assignments and grading on many nights, and as a graduate student, I’ve burned the midnight oil studying and writing research papers (now on my final one for my Ph.D.: the dissertation). That being said, I must combat the dark circles under my eyes, and what better new way for me to do that than this Neutrogena Healthy Skin Brightening Eye Perfector Broad Spectrum SPF 25 that not only conceals the puffiness but also postpones the aging process. Over the concealer (and sometimes sheer foundation during these hotter seasons), I can dust this Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Powder for a light finish. For more of my favorite Neutrogena and other cosmetic and skin care products, please check out my Beauty Tuesday debut.

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I apply these sweet-smelling oils and lotions from the Philippines to protect myself from bug bites.

With mosquitoes and the like swarming around, especially in the aftermath of storms, we must prevent ourselves from unwanted pests who feast on our flesh.

SPF

No beach bag is complete without sunscreen, like these sunblock sprays and suntan lotion.

☼Sunshine☼ is sublime, and we can get our share of Vitamin D, but to reduce the risk of skin cancer, we need the SPF, as well as limited time under the sun.

Now look and feel your best this season, whether you Train in the Rain or have ☼Fun in the Sun☼ ~ yep, I’m a poet & don’t know it!

Thirsty Thursday: Think like JESUS

In ♥ & Soul, Community, Health, Higher Ed, Home Sweet Home, Politics, Pro-DiSPO, Public Interest, Relationships, Sports, Technology, Thirsty Thursday, Travel, Weekly Wonders, What's Hot, Workin' Woman, Yours Truly on 05/01/2014 at 07:33

And DO like JESUS!

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Wouldn’t life be so much more peaceful, pleasant and positive if we lead our lives like Him?

I admit that I’ve watched and enjoyed the movie Think Like a Man and the recent episode of The Mindy Project entitled Think Like Peter, and on top of that have taken those approaches to value: accomplishment, success and pride. Now instead of being self-serving, I’ve realized that I have much less stress when I concern myself less with success and more with serving the LORD, following His will and His way.

So how about we live our lives for Him and be happier by being holy? Just consider the popular acronym: WWJD ~ not because it was trending, but because we’ll be closer to the LORD if we put this into practice.

Here are words that we can add to our vocabulary and actions that we can apply to our daily lives:

Faith • Hope • Love • Patience • Kind • Merciful • Righteousness • Just

Challenge: next time you feel like someone is crossing you, instead of reacting with retaliation, forgive. When JESUS was condemned to the cross, He forgave all who scrutinized Him.

Lately, I’ve appreciated and celebrated, rather than hated (I do my best not to hate anyway). The reason why I’ve found a greater appreciation for my blessings is because I celebrate GOD first and foremost. Thanks to Him, I’ve had the most positive experience in my new job, where my leaders and teammates have exerted positive energy, praise and encouragement that motivate me to embrace and enhance my photography and people skills even more. The other day, my GODdaughter’s mother/Prima Monalisa moved my heart by calling me selfless. Last night, my former student McAwesome Ruben thanked me for believing in him.

Most of all, I give glory to GOD for my gifts to serve Him, including my Adoration Hour this morning and every Thursday, as well as anytime I visit the Blessed Sacrament, in addition to my ministry as lector doing the readings and as commentator soon leading the Mass. On Monday, my church celebrated our 83rd anniversary, when I proclaimed the word of GOD:

* Revelation 21
* Hebrews 12

This weekend, I’m preparing to deliver from the following Bible books and verses:

* Acts of the Apostles 2:14, 22-33
* Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (11a)
* 1 Peter 1:17-21

May GOD bless and keep y’all!!!

3:33 ~ make a wish, actually a prayer to fulfill GOD’s wish!!!