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Graciela G. RSS Feed (Los Angeles, CA)

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RIP Pure Connect 2, December 20, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Why Brooks? Why do you always discontinue my favorite shoes? First, you got rid of my beloved Green Silence. Now, the Pure Connect 2 is being swapped for the Pure Connect 3, which looks bulkier and the colors are bleh. So while the Pure Connect 2 is still available, I had to order another pair.

On my current Pure Connect 2s, I've ran close to 600 miles. Oops, I didn't realize I was supposed to swap them after 300. But I guess that says something about the quality of the shoe, that I could go almost double the recommended milage and still run comfortably in them. Initially, they did feel a little weird. They're not ideal for walking in but for running, wow, perfection. It's a nimble shoe but it's perfect for half and full marathon training without weight and bells and whistles. I just wish I could have these shoes around forever, without changing anything about them. Sigh. I guess I'll have to try out the 3s after I run the new pair into the ground. Happy running....


Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 2
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 2
by Gene Luen Yang
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.97
118 used & new from $2.67

4.0 out of 5 stars Weaker than Part 1, June 13, 2012
Part 2 is more lighthearted and funnier than Part 1, which is great for kids but maybe a step back for adults. It lingered too much on Toph's zany metalbending school. Don't get me wrong, it was funny but for a 3-part series, I was hoping to tackle a lot more of the main story in this book. Still, it does end on a high note that sets up the conflict in the final book (I hope). I would rate this book more along 3.25 stars but I rounded up since The Promise as a whole tackles interesting subject matter and maintains the integrity of the characters.

As a stand-alone book it's not very strong but within the series, it's a good enough expansion of the Avatar universe for fans who can't let go of Aang and friends.


Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 1
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 1
by Gene Luen Yang
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.70
145 used & new from $0.51

4.0 out of 5 stars Avatar's Reconstruction Era, June 13, 2012
Another huge ATLA fan over here. I rewatched the series recently and jumped into The Promise, literally, a couple of minutes after the series finale. The comic does a great job at maintaining the integrity of the characters that we know and love. I could "hear" Aang on the page and he seemed consistent with who he's always been. It's not easy to take animated characters and maintain their personality in the panels of a comic book but with The Promise, I'd say that they accomplished it. Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that the only character I felt wasn't written consistently with the show was Zuko.

The Promise is a bridge between ATLA and the Legend of Korra. It delves into the tricky topic of rebuilding and figuring out the politics of the world after the Hundred Years War. What do you do with the Fire Nation colonies in the Earth Kingdom? That's the topic of this series, which will lead to the building of The United Republic of Nations (as discussed in LOK's "Welcome to Republic City", not spoiling anything here).

The comic has a great story but is also funny and charming. It's fun for kids who want more of their favorite characters while also tackling heavy subject matter that adults can mull over. In all, it's a great addition to the Avatar cannon and helps flesh out the history between the two Avatars.


Malaka Brand Liquid Vegetarian Rennet, 0.5 Ounce Bottle
Malaka Brand Liquid Vegetarian Rennet, 0.5 Ounce Bottle

4.0 out of 5 stars No problems here, May 30, 2012
I made mozzarella using the Malaka brand liquid vegetable rennet. It worked out fine and I had no issues. I didn't even have citric acid and instead used lemon juice and it still worked.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 1, 2012 1:20 PM PDT


Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home
Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home
by Andrea Nguyen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.06
40 used & new from $15.00

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recipes and information, May 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've had this book for about a week and I've already made block tofu as well as tofu pudding. Both were a success and incredibly easy to make the first time around. All the utensils/cookware/gadgets you need are probably already in your kitchen (large pot, strainer, slotted spoon, blender, etc). You don't even need a thermometer and obsess over hitting the right temperature. So there's no need to buy another thing for your kitchen just to make tofu. The only thing I didn't have was the tofu mold but I fashioned one from a half gallon carton with holes punched on the bottom. I used a jar filled with water as my "weight" for firm block tofu. So that took care of that problem (though now I might buy a proper mold since I'm never buying the supermarket stuff again!).

The instructions are very easy to follow and detailed. The author provides a list of ingredients you will need along with the various options you can use for coagulants. I used food-grade gypsum, which I bought on Amazon, but you can even use Epsom salts. You will need to get dry soybeans, which I haven't seen at my local market so I ordered 4 pounds of organic soybeans online at a reasonable price. I'm sure you can find some at an asian grocery store if you have one available to you.

Now, it's true that there are thousands of instructions on the web to make tofu. But I like that this book goes deeper into some history about tofu. Every chapter opens with the author recounting her travels to a certain place and how tofu is used by various peoples and what it means to them. So it's not just a how-to for tofu making, it also offers good stories and information. I found myself cuddling up to the book and reading it for the sake of just reading it. I especially liked reading about artisans making tofu and families migrating to the US who had to make their own if they wanted to have any tofu.

As far as the recipes go, I have no idea how authentic they are, but the ones I cooked from are delicious! Some are vegetarian, some are not. I, myself, am vegetarian and I think the dishes with meat can easily be adapted with seitan or some other mock meat. If you eat meat, then it might shock you to find meat in a tofu book. Fear not. As the author points out, Asian cuisine doesn't delegate tofu to vegetarian fare, but rather, meat and tofu are used together and play off each other's tastes. So the recipes are great for just about anyone. The instructions for the recipes are also easy to follow and there aren't ingredients that are hard to find.

Overall, a great guide for making tofu, awesome recipes to kick up tofu from bland to ka-pow!, and just plain fun.


Principles of Anatomy and Physiology
Principles of Anatomy and Physiology
by Gerard J. Tortora
Edition: Hardcover
219 used & new from $24.99

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible, Comprehensive, November 28, 2011
My physiology professor gave us a choice between 3 different textbooks because, in her words, it's all the same. That may be so but there is a world of difference in writing styles and organization of material. I read Tortora's Microbiology text in the past and found his writing to be easy to understand and straightforward. So I went with this textbook and it's been invaluable to me. This book goes in depth into anatomy and physiology. I didn't really need the anatomy portion of it for my class but I was glad to have it there for review. There are a lot of colorful diagrams, illustrations, and tables that organize the material in an accessible way.

I've read textbooks in the past that jump from one topic to another and they don't always bring the material together to give you a better idea of how one process in one system, is important in another system. Tortora's logic is organized neatly. He does a great job at offering basics, building on them to explain more complicated processes, and reminding you of how they interact with other systems. I found that to be extremely helpful when dealing with the nervous system, which is several chapters long. In all, Tortora did a great job at putting all the pieces of the puzzle together for me.

The material is challenging but thankfully Tortora's writing style makes it entertaining to read and easier to understand. I would highly recommend this textbook and would also advise you to visit the publisher's website because they offer flash cards, diagrams, and practice tests that I found helpful when I needed to study for exams.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 24, 2014 10:25 PM PDT


Panaracer Pasela 700x28c Cream/White Kevlar bead
Panaracer Pasela 700x28c Cream/White Kevlar bead

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome tires!, July 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These tires are awesome and beautiful! I was riding on 700x25 slick tires for city commuting and I felt every bump in the road. I was also afraid to ride through debris and random things you find on city streets. Now, I feel like I can better handle the roads and the extra cush of a 28 makes for a more comfortable ride. I've read a lot of reviews in various places stating that Panaracer sizing runs small and is way off the label. Maybe that was a problem in the past but when compared to my 25's, these seem like true 28's.

Now, about the color. They are more white than cream and they will stay nice looking for about a day. That's okay. If you buy white tires you have to be okay with having dirty tires. In a way, they look kind of punk rock with the stains. If you look at the wheels from the sides they'll stay white looking. Just make sure to pay extra care when putting on the tire since grime from your wheel can easily make it from your hands to the sidewalls of the tire. The stains are tough to get out.

Oh and one unexpected benefit of having white tires is visibility. Even when dirty, you can definitely see white tires rolling around the street at night compared to black ones. Overall, I'm very happy with these tires and would recommend them to anyone.


Brooks Saddles B17 Standard S Bicycle Saddle (Women's)
Brooks Saddles B17 Standard S Bicycle Saddle (Women's)
Price: Click here to see our price

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars comfy, even with no break-in period, July 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this saddle in the honey color and right out of the box it was noticeably comfortable and I haven't had any problems with it. I've read so many things about how these saddles are hard as a rock and uncomfortable until you break them in but I found that to be untrue. I'm sure with time it'll better mold to my body but the first ride felt comfy. I didn't have any of that soreness you sometimes have when riding on a new saddle. So if you're considering buying an aged one because you fear the breaking in period, I would say that you should save your money and just buy it brand new.

I've been using this saddle for about a month now and my commute to work just feels so much better.


Congratulations
Congratulations
Price: $8.99
101 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaking Our Expectations in the Best Way, August 13, 2010
This review is from: Congratulations (Audio CD)
To me, MGMT was always two bands trapped inside one. You can clearly hear this through Oracular Spectacular. On the one hand there is a band that likes to be upbeat and give you dancy tunes with a pop sensibility. Then there's the other half of the album, where the band gets into psychedelia and prog rock. Both of them are MGMT and both sounds are great and work well on their debut. Congratulations is an extension of the sound they explored on their first album but a more cohesive one. The sound was already there on songs like "The Handshake". But based on some of the negative reviews, it may feel like it came from left field.

I'm glad these guys put out the album they did because as a complete album from start to finish, it works very well. There is still some pop here (Song for Dan Treacy, Flash Delirium, Brian Eno) but it's more in the vein of twee and 60s pop with an injection of psych. But it's true, this album will take time to appreciate and love since the bulk is more subdued and slow. I can't blame fans for looking for another "Kids" or "Electric Feel". Afterall, they set up that expectation with their first album. So you have to divorce yourself of those expectations and appreciate Congratulations for what it is, not bash it for what it isn't.

Maybe MGMT are even, on some level, acting as music curators on this album by exposing some of those fans that are just looking for the next dance hit to music they may not have heard otherwise. Maybe they'll seek out info on the music that influenced MGMT and find beauty in what Congrats pays homage to. Just maybe a new generation of people will discover Music for Airports and The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Just like Lady Gaga got her fans exploring The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.


Amy Butler Patterns-Frenchy Bag
Amy Butler Patterns-Frenchy Bag
Offered by Creative Crafts
Price: $13.50
5 used & new from $7.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely bag!, August 11, 2010
My bag turned out so nicely. The instructions are easy to follow, though you may have to re-read some parts. Specifically, I had a hard time understanding how to attach the top panel to the main panel since there wasn't a diagram. I eventually figured it out. This is the first bag I've made and I look forward to making more as gifts. Of course, how nicely your bag comes out all depends on your fabric selection. The shape alone can't save it from bad colors or prints. But if you find cute fabrics it shouldn't be too hard to make a beautiful bag.

Something I will change in the future are the inside pockets. I find that two pockets on each side is more compartments than I care to deal with. It makes it hard to look for things in your bag. So a split pocket on just one side is good enough for me. That's just my suggestion.
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