ordinary and oddinary

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Archive for the category “Todo Sobre España”

Eat before 3pm?

I think there are very few people who are absolutely free from weight issues. Most of us try to lose some kilos here and there, however I see there is a sizeable number of people who are dying to steal some from ‘most of us’.

I ran into this article on abc.es and to me it is depressing. I’ve heard about the infamous ‘nothing after 6pm’ diet but ‘nothing after 3pm’ is way too harsh! No matter how much you eat before 3pm, you will get hungry at night. Nights are too long and boring to refrain from all the goodies.

From my experiences, eating less is the only sure-fire way to win the battle of weight loss. Doing regular exercises makes your body toned and firm ‘after eating less’, but it alone doesn’t help much. As for what to eat, I feel a lot less bloated if I don’t eat much of carbs (rice, bread, potatoes etc) and sweet fruits (no no to oranges).

I’m starving and it’s already 5.30pm, well past 3pm!

***This is how this study was conducted. To reach these conclusions, the researchers studied 420 overweight persons who followed a 20-week treatment in Spain for weight loss. Participants were divided into two groups: those who ate before three and they did later. The timing of the day was lunch, as it is at this meal where you eat 40% of total daily calories. They found that those who eat later than three p.m. lost significantly less weight than those who ate soon. Those who ate later also had sensitivity to insulin estimated lower, a risk factor for diabetes. Other curious facts from this study is that the time for the other meals (breakfast and dinner) did not play a decisive role in the success of a weight loss program. In fact, late diners ate fewer calories at breakfast and were more likely to skip it, and yet the least weight were lost.***

This is a ‘wow’ research for Spaniards as it is normal for them to eat lunch after 3pm. However, the rest of us who tend to eat lunch before 3pm..what shall we do?! We’re already losing weight- supposedely-, right?


Gangnam Style

Is there anybody who still hasn’t seen ‘Gangnam Style’ video?

It’s a hilarious music video you can easily find on youtube.com. Apparently over 140 million people have viewed this one and I must admit that 10 of them is mine. lol

‘Gangnam’ literally means ‘South (nam) of River (gang) and ‘Gang’ pronounces as ‘gahng’ as in ‘garden (but without the prolonged ‘r’ sound)’ not ‘gang’ as in gangster. This is located in the south part of Han river (Han-Gang), which runs across Seoul, and represents the richest town of Seoul. People who live in Gangnam are considered a bit self-important and haughty and they tend to stay in their own ‘league’. Unless you’re born there and have inherited the family wealth, buying a property in Gangnam area from scratch is almost impossible. Moving (=breaking) into Gangnam area equtes to ‘you made it!’. Parents want to move there because kids have the highest record of going to top universities, which inevitably links to their future career choices, and young couples want to live there because it will make others go green.

There are many derivative words from Gangnam, which mostly imply a slight negative (plus jealous) tone. For example, Gangnam umma (gangnam mum) is a mum who dedicates her life to find out and collect privileged study-related information for their kids. Gangnam umma forms a group of fellow selected mums to exchange information and recruits a private tutor , or goes to see (or bribe?) her kid’s teacher at school. They spend loads of £££ to increase a chance of sending their kids to the best unis. In Gangnam area, it is said that whether a kid goes to a good university or not is totally dependent upon his mum’s info-money-power.

People also say ‘She’s Gangnam choolsin (born & bred hardcore Gangnam girl).’ and it implies ‘money, typical character, outstanding appearances thanks to plastic surgery and maybe a different level. Gangnam doesn’t necessarily represent high integrity or class but mostly money and money-driven stuff. Of course there is always an exception to the rule and I’m pretty sure that there are plenty of Gangnam-ians who are just as humble as the rest of us! 🙂

Anyway this song makes a light-hearted joke about Gangnam style. As the singer Psy said in one of his interviews, ‘I don’t look like Gangnam style’, I don’t dress like Gangnam style but I keep on saying I’m Gangnam style in the music video – that’s the whole point!’. You can see different sites of Gangnam in the video. The music is catchy and the signature ‘invisible horseriding’ dance is easy to follow. It’s simply a genius!

I found this article on ABC.es and it’s great to see Psy is beginning to make it here in Europe. I hope to hear his song Gangnam style on Radio Gibraltar (Gibraltar) or Cadena Dial (Spain) very soon!

Most Influential Entrepreneurs in Spain

Well, I’m not surprised at all with the results. I admire these mega successful Spanish entrepreneurs. They are very different from those in the UK or US. They still keep their roots and humble minds per my observation. Since I’ve read Amancio Ortega’s biography (Así es Amancio Ortega, el hombre que creó ZARA by Covadonga O’Shea – see below image), I’m more convinced about that. 

Check out the link to read the full article. I will list the names only.


1. Emilio Botin (Banco Santander’s Chairman)
2. Amancio Ortega (the largest shareholder of Inditex)
3. Joan Roig (the president of Mercadona)
4. Cesar Alierta (Telefonica’s Chairman)
5. Pablo Isla (Inditex’s current president) 
6. Florentino Perez (ACS president)
7. Francisco González (the President of BBVA)
8. Antonio Brufau (Repsol’s president)
9. Isidro Faine (CaixaBank’s president)
10. Isidoro Alvarex (the presidnet of El Corte Inglés)

VAT in Spain is going up from tommorrow!

Oh dear, I hope I can squeeze into Mercadona this evening and buy all the ingredients I need for tomorrow’s party. The increase list seems quite long. Apart from basic foodstuffs, everything will go up by 2-4%. Will this increase be borne by the consumers only? Or will there be some retailers who are generous enough to absorb the increase? I’m not positive about that.


Personally, the impact will be tangible in supermarkets, casual journeys (train, hotel & flight),  Zara, Mago, El Corte Ingles, etc., you know what I mean. Sigh. 


Icons of Madrid

Which building / monument should be the icon of Madrid? ABC.es has set out the following 10 candidates to pick the simbol of the city like Paris’s Eiffel Tower or New York’s Statue of Liberty.

For me, Palacio de Telecomunicaciones de Cibeles was the most impressive. Therefore she’s got my vote! How about you? Click the link below and cast your vote.


Puerta de Alcalá
Puerta de Alcalá

El Oso y el Madroño
Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol
Palacio Real
Palacio Real
Plaza de toros de Las Ventas
Las Ventas
Palacio de Telecomunicaciones
Palacio de Telecomunicaciones de Cibeles
Fuente de Cibeles
Fuente de Cibeles
Las Cuatro Torres
Las Cuatro Torres
Estadio Santiago Bernabéu
Estadio Santiago Bernabéu
Museo del Prado
Museo del Prado

Michelle Obama’s Diet Secret

Well, the title itself is self-contradictory because we all know that there is no secret in a diet. Eat less, move more, right?

However, this kind of headline always catches my attention. I can’t help it. I’m not on a diet and maintain a slim figure, because I am conscious of what I eat. I mean I eat light the next day if I had a big dinner. I avoid carb-loaded food (can’t digest very well) and sugary drinks (never liked since child).

This is an article I came across last week. It’s not a secret but there are some good advice we all can make note of. Click here for the full article (in Spanish).

Per Mrs Obama,

1. Eat vegetables, and if from your own garden, better.
2. Many foods in small quantity.
3. Don’t look at the calories.
4. Meal plan to delegate to chefs (not applicable to all!)
5. excercise daily.
6. Stretching.

Sound and simple, right? 🙂


Madrid para siempre.

The highlights of my Madrid trip were two things.

The first one was undoubtedly Edward Hopper(1882 – 1967)’s temporary exhibition at Thyssen-Bornemisza. I spent there 4 hours to feel and ponder through his paintings. Not every painting of his was on display but it was more than enough to enjoy and observe his painting interests and styles chronically. These two were my favourites at the exhibition. As you see there is a gap of 52 years between two. When he finished ‘Soir Bleu’, he had not yet defined his style and was getting inspirations from all prominent artists in Europe.  However, it shows he already had ambition and vision to express for the future works.

                                                                      Soir Bleu (1914)

                                                         Two Comedians (1966)  

And ‘Two Comedians’ made me think a lot about life. It was painted just a year before he died. He was believed to portrait himself and his wife Jo here. His lifelong admiration for theatre, where two comedians finished their show and were bowing to the audience. The show is over. Is life a comedy or a tragedy? For him it must have been a comedy and a funny show which he enjoyed a lot but knew it would come to an end. And he accepted it graciously. 

On another pleasant note, the ratatouille I had at the restaurant on the 5th floor of the museum was by far the best one I’ve had in my entire life. 🙂

The second one was a ballet-flameco show ‘Carmen‘.

What can I say? This has finally completed a missing jigsaw piece that I was looking for. The opera version I saw a while ago did not capture the passionate ‘gitana’ Carmen perfectly. Carmen sings and dances. Carmen expresses her feelings with the whole body movement. Without her flamenco, you cannot understand her 100%. Wow.

Now I feel so content and alive.
Confirmation: I need cultural/artistic blood transfusion on a regular basis.

Edward Hopper

I have been always attracted to female portraits which are painted in an interesting setting. I love the ones which show subtle expressions and emotions to the surroundings they are in. The painting ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring (Dutch: Het Meisje met de Parel) by Dutch Painter Johannes Vermeer was one of those. I think it was probably year 1999 or 2000 while I was visiting Paris. Luckily I was able to see Vermeer’s temporary exhibition in one of the great museums. Not knowing who the painter was and how famous he was, I was instantly drawn to his collection. I literally stared at some of his paintings for hours and the most striking piece was the aforementioned. The facial expression on the girl’s face was so deep and intense. 

Then some time later I first saw Hopper’s paintings at Tate Modern Gallery in London. Before I met his paintings, my preference was more on a piece basis. Hence it was an exciting discovery as Hopper’s main theme was exactly what I adored. I bought a large print of ‘New York Movie (1939)’ and a collection of his postcards. For the same favoritism, I also purchased a large print of Henri Mattisse’s ‘The Inattentive Reader (1919)’. These two paintings are still hanging on the wall in my study and I never get bored appreciating them.

The reason I like Hopper’s painting is that I totally ‘get’ it. Every single piece of them.
I can immerse myself in each painting and become the woman. Call me unsophisticated, but I’m being honest – I find it difficult to relate myself to some art movements (cubism, surrealism, you know what I mean) and to appreciate as much as I would like to.

I’m indescribably excited to go to the special exhibition on Edward Hopper in Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. As seen on the home page, ‘The exhibition brings together the largest and most ambitious selection of works by the US artist ever to be shown in Europe, with loans from major museums and institutions including the MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, in addition to various private collections and with a particularly generous loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. The latter is sending 14 works from the Bequest of Josephine N. Hopper, the artist’s wife.’.

What can I say more? I feel so privileged.:-)

Smartphone addiction

It’s been more than a month since I posted a new post.

In my defence, my communication need has been met perfectly by other sources, that fact that I had a blog completely slipped my mind! 🙂

I had a two-week’s wonderful holiday at my house in Spain and threw loads of party. I practised my cooking skills and attempted new dishes with unfamiliar ingredients. Cooking and baking inspires me. I’m now seriously considering embarking on a culinary career when the time is right. 🙂 I already started checking some cooking schools in San Sebastian (FYI, this city is the top gourmet place in Spain). We will see.

Today, this headline from ABC.es has captured my attention. Oh dear, I’m one of them.

El 55% de españoles renunciaría a la tele o al coche antes que al smartphone  55% of Spaniards would give up TV or car for smartphone

I did try to put in some control measure to mitigate my addiction. Firstly, I’m not on 3G. My iphone only works (well, does ‘smarts’) on wifi. This helps me abstain from my iphone during working hours. Secondly, I ‘didn’t ‘ have internet connection at my house in Spain so that I had relaxing technology-free weekends. It’s a past tense for a reason. My good friend and neighbour Isabel and I had a little martini session some weekends ago and I casually mentioned that I made a trip to the communal rubbish collection area to upload some photos on my twitter because there was free wifi available around that area. It was meant to be a harmless and funny story without recourse, however Isabel was almost upset and asked me why I didn’t ask for the ‘clave‘ for her wifi. Naturally, oh right, ‘No se por que no pedi!’ tada – I ‘had to(!)’ gratefully accept it. lol

Now more and more restaurants and cafes offer free-wifi connection and I’m sure it will be a basic feature in any commercial premises in a very short space of time. I will not be able to escape unless I put myself on ultra strict abstention, which is quite unlikely.

Smartphone, if used well, is a fantastic little apparatus. I’m always in touch with my family back in Korea or what’s going on in the world. Let’s not forget the Olympics. I almost feel like I’m an Olympian in London!

However it takes up too much of my time. I think I can easily spend 3-4 hours staring at my iphone after I get back home. It’s a total time waster. I’m sometimes disgusted with myself to see that I continuously check email, twitter, facebook and other blogs and even go back at them again and again  like a stalker until my eyes are sore. My iphone totally controls me! Mind you, I was in heaven that I didn’t have access to wifi while I was holidaying in Spain. I read countless books and felt more time on my hand. Honestly nothing happened at all while I didn’t find out breaking news from the social network channels. Now knowing I’ve got the internet on my iphone, I won’t be able to go back to my same old self. My weekends will not be the same again.

Saying that checking if there is a free wifi connection available (and if there is, I feel… high!) is still the first thing I do when I’m sat at any restaurant. I hate the fact that I’m a slave to my iphone but I can’t help it! I’m totally obsessed.

La policía francesa recupera el reloj de Rafa Nadal (French police recovers Nadal’s watch)

Actually I didn’t know that he’d lost his watch at Roland Garros.
How embarrassing for France. Then again, Nadal must not have paid attention to keeping his expensive watch (€300k) safe either.

As the article says, he’d also lost a half-million euro worth watch at Toronto’s Masters 1000, which hadn’t been recovered.

I think a tennis player’s watch is a great target for thieves. He surely won’t wear in a match and leave it at the hotel. Is Nadal a bit too naive?

Oh, by the way, the stolen watch, which Nadal was wearing after his victory on Monday, was lent to the Spanish tennis sensation by the luxury brand Richard Mille for the competition! Oops Sorry Nadal. 🙂  Of course he doesn’t have to buy anything with his own money. He’s a famour superstar. That reminds me of Billy Mack’s quote from the movie ‘Love Actually’. He said in an interview after becoming a Christmas No 1 ” Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!’ HILARIOUS!!!

Aniway, the following is a full article from here.

El ladrón del cronógrafo, valorado en 300.000 euros, era uno de los empleados del hotel donde se alojaba el tenista español
La policía de París ha recuperado el reloj de lujo sustraído a Rafa Nadal en su hotel durante la disputa del torneo de Roland Garros. Un empleado del establecimiento donde se alojaba el campeón español ha confesado el robo a la policía.

Las investigaciones determinaron que el ladrón era este empleado del hotel gracias a que su propia tarjeta de identificación le situaba en el lugar del robo. La confesión llegó tras horas de interrogatorios. El ladrón llevó además a los agentes al lugar donde había escondido el cronógrafo, en una vía férrea al sur de París, muy cerca de su propio domicilio.

No es la primera vez que Nadal es víctima de un robo, ya que en septiembre de 2010 fue objeto del robo de otro reloj exclusivo, valorado en más de medio millón de euros mientras disputaba el Masters 1.000 de Toronto.

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