What’s for lunch? Vietnamese vermicelli bowls at Old Saigon Cafe on Westheimer

By Ciara Rouege

I couldn’t be prouder of myself; I’ve almost eliminated fast-food and take-out from my lunch menu options during the workdays. It’s a soup or salad in the breakroom fridge for me!

But, girl! When Friday comes around and those coins drop into my bank account, IT’S TAKE OUT TIME! Since it opened in January 2017, I’ve fallen in love with a little place called Old Saigon Cafe Vietnamese Cuisine on Westheimer Road.

It has kind of become my go-to.

Old Saigon

I’m always rushing back to work and totally forget to grab a picture of the outside…so shout out to Jaime Diep for sharing this awesome photo on Google Reviews!

The attraction is simple: the food is well-seasoned and perfectly cooked.

I’ve had all the vermicelli bowls, Ramen and Pho menu options and can confirm, they’re all absolutely delicious! The Pho broth — which is the make-or-break for a Pho dish in my opinion — is the best I’ve had in Houston.

I recommend the vermicelli bowl with spicy chicken lemongrass. I didn’t find it spicy without extra sauce, but it does have a flavorful little kick.

If they offer you their hot sauce, SAY YES! Now, I pride myself in having a high spice tolerance— but this had my nose snuffling. You only need a super, small amount.

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Vermicelli Bowl with Spicy Chicken Lemongrass

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Vermicelli Bowl with Spicy Chicken Lemongrass

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Psh! Those appetizers though…

While I’m a big fan of Old Saigon Cafe, the appetizers can use a little work— except the fresh spring and Vietnamese egg rolls. Actually, I don’t eat spring rolls anywhere else.

The Coconut Shrimp left me a bit disappointed. First, it tasted overcooked. I was expecting a crispy crunch with the shrimp and was left with a hard, burnt coconut taste. It also wasn’t very flavorful.

The kitchen isn’t blowing minds with its Chinese-style egg rolls, artichokes and Edamame. But it isn’t a bad start if you’re looking for something to munch on while you’re waiting for the main course.

The same goes for the Vietnamese Shrimp crackers. It’s airy, crispy chips…so it’s good snack food.

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Coconut Shrimp with sweet chili sauce.

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Oh, my absolute favorite! Spring rolls stuffed with fresh lettuce, rice noodles, cilantro, shallots and shrimp.

The food is definitely worth recommending, but what keeps me coming back is the service.

creme brule

Each meals ends with a sweet spoonful of crème brûlée.

Old Saigon Cafe has a quaint seating area for about 30 people, including its limited outdoor seating— I’m talking a table and a half. But the environment is open and welcoming.

I’m always greeted with a smile and great hospitality. The staff is personable and tentative— something I always look for from family-owned business.

They’re also quick! I’ve managed to pull off two-course, sit down meals at Old Saigon Cafe during my one-hour lunch break.

The cafe isn’t the cheapest lunch in town; be prepared to spend between $15 – $25.

However, you will leave satisfied…and with a spoon of crème brûlée! It’s the sweetest little touch…verses sending customers off with a peppermint.

Old Saigon Cafe Vietnamese Cuisine

6383 Westheimer Road

Houston, Texas 77057

Hours: Mon. Closed; Tue. – Sun. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Take Out Number: 832-668-5270

Linkin Park singer, Chester Bennington, commits suicide at age 41

Chester Bennington, the lead singer of the popular alt-rock band Linkin Park, died Thursday morning after taking his own life while at a private home in Los Angeles, TMZ reported.

The singer reportedly hung himself. He was found shortly before 9 a.m, the report said.

The most tortured souls often bring us strength; it breaks my heart when they can no longer bare their struggle.

Like many, I was heartbroken after the death of Robin Williams.

And now, Bennington.

Europe rehearsals 🌅

A post shared by Chester Bennington (@chesterbe) on

Bennington was a 41-year-old father of six children.

The news comes just days before the Linkin Park: One More Light World Tour was set to begin on July 27 at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Michigan, with special guests Machine Gun Kelly and ONE OK ROCK.

Linkin Park has dropped numerous hits since releasing its first album Hybrid Theory in October 2000. The band’s most popular songs include “Somewhere I Belong,” “Numb,” “Paper Cut,” “In the End” and “What I’ve Down.”

Linkin Park was scheduled to visit Houston on Aug. 22.

Fans are still awaiting an official confirmation that the tour has been canceled.

Bennington battled with drug and alcohol addiction. He also struggled with suicidal thoughts as a result of being abused by an older man in his childhood.

I carried immense responsibility as a teenager. When I found myself completely overwhelmed, I turned to artist like Michelle Branch, Avril Lavigne, Billie Joe Armstrong for escape.

I hope he finds peace in the next life. He will be greatly missed in this one.

‘How do you like my new look?’ White model makes dramatic transformation into ‘black woman’

By Ciara Rouege

Somebody call Rachael! Y’all, I can’t make this ‘ish up!

Pictures of a model-actress from Germany have been trending across the internet for a couple months now, but I saw them for the first time on Tuesday. I’m not sure if I’m more thrown off by the over-inflated air balloons in her chest region or her dramatic transformation into a dark-skinned woman.

Martina BIG said she’s all about the extreme look in a Facebook post a few months ago. She has decided to take it to the next level, subjecting herself to tanning injections for several months as a means of making her skin darker— like as dark as possible!

“To become more and more a black woman, that is such a wonderful feeling. I’m so happy,” Martina said in a status update posted June 22.

In the post, the model also talked about her visit to an African hairdresser and her “transformation to a black woman.” A transformation that includes, in her words, more cosmetic surgery for African facial features and consultations for butt enlargement.

Earlier photos of Martina shows a young, slim-figured woman with moderate-sized breast and bleached blonde hair.

german woman transform

But today, she holds 250 cc implants and a British bra size of 32 (70) — that’s American for crazy, doing-the-most cups! Martina has the largest breast in all of Europe, according to numerous sources.

“But that’s not enough for me yet! My motto is: ‘BIG IS NOT BIG ENOUGH!'” she said in her website bio.

It appears her original goal was to look like Barbie, but somewhere down the road — she decided that wasn’t enough— and wanted to be Christie instead.

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Barbie’s best friend Christie. (Photo source: Barbie.wikia.com/christie)

“In the video you can see how difficult today was my journey and the hotel check [in] as a black woman,” a caption reads on one of Martina’s videos.

Rest assured, Martina does have emotional support as she undergoes the transition; a boyfriends she’s had since she was 17 years old, the model’s website states. She was born in a small western German town, but her profession has taken her across Europe and the United States, mainly Florida, California and Nevada.

Martina also dabbles in music, claiming she’s “not a professional singer, but [will] keep practicing!”

Well, then.

I’m nothing short of flabbergasted, taken aback, disgusted and ultimately offended.

First, I don’t think black, or African-American, women have a biological patent on dark skin or curvaceous bodies.

However, this woman has transformed herself into a living caricature of a stereotypical black woman— a permanent pickaninny, a Jim Crow and an eternal Zip Coon — and is calling herself a ‘black woman.’

It’s a demonstration of society’s disregard for the life, struggles, achievements and contributions of black women. It’s disconcerting.

That’s all I can say, but as Martina often says in her post, “What do you think of [her] new look?”

Martina cover

#BlackWomenAtWork will go mute if society doesn’t find a term stronger than ‘racism’

By Ciara Rouege

I’m uncomfortable having conversations about the discrimination facing black women with people who aren’t black, especially if the person is not a minority.

It just always feels like a waste of time because I can’t find…the words or even the hand gestures to express myself. It’s a socioeconomic cluster bang, trying to explain experiences tied to elaborate institutions built on racist, ageist, religious and sexist principles and then translating that into simple words.

Especially when, like most English speakers, the only word I’m able to use is: racism.

Racism, a topic or term that studies show a significant number of white social media users filter out of their feeds.

When I learned #BlackWomenAtWork was trending, I didn’t have to drop it into the search box to have an exact idea of what to expect. It’s a conversation I’m constantly having with other black women.

Activist Brittany Packnett popped the bottle on this hot-button issue after she tweeted Tuesday in response to inappropriate comments U.S. Press Sec. Sean Spicer and conservative news commentator Bill Reilly made regarding the hair of prominent black female professionals.

O’Reilly made a tongue-in-cheek comment about ignoring black Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ latest comments about Trump because, as he said:  “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig,”

During a White House press conference later that day, Spicer angrily told black veteran journalist April Ryan to stop shaking her head in response to everything he said.

Two assholes. One shit stain on the internet: racism.

Of course, Packnett’s invitation was met with great support. Black women started pouring in and sharing their workplaces stories because, whether you’re first lady of the United States or a cashier at DD’s Discounts, you probably have a whole bibles worth of testimonies.

Our workplace experiences — both blatant and passive-aggressive — are about more than black women being misunderstood or losing out on opportunities they deserve. 

Being a black woman in the workplace is pushing to accomplish more — or even small things — in a world that beats you down without remorse through double standards and contradictions.

https://twitter.com/QueenTasiaMay/status/846897096506597376

While we tweet our fingers off and chuckle in response to our shared injustice, the world watches on thinking what’s racist about hair?  Or responds in rage because even though most have no clue what black women are experiencing in the workplace, they know ‘racism’ is the multicultural, liberal community’s cue to flip out.

Racism equals bad.

It’s 2017, and #BlackWomenAtWork is a social media trend, seriously! Despite people talking about the problem on Twitter, the complaints are falling on death ears.

Your hair isn’t just hair, it’s a spectacle because it’s ‘exotic,’ ‘unprofessional’ or ‘interesting.’ Who wouldn’t be uncomfortable in such an environment?

It’s a social oppression whose enforcement goes beyond ideologies or political affiliation. Because, let’s face it, the solution exists beyond the law.

Over past generations, we’ve watched society unclothe its racial consciousness. First, allowing blacks citizenship, and then permitting them the right to vote, and soon the right to sit among others in restaurants and to live in their neighborhoods — all problems that were reversed with legality.

In 2017, ‘racism’ has become a supercharged and overused word that overlooks the subtle prejudice present in social interactions because it doesn’t distinguish between malicious and non-malicious intent.

Hundreds of women speaking out in unison is empowering, but if the ultimate goal is change, those words must speak to the masses.

We’re hiking the same mountain as our mothers and grandmothers, but as we get closer to the top, the climate changes and so must our tools.

Trey Songz arrested after outburst at concert in Detroit, sources say

By Ciara Rouege

DETROIT — Delivering a crowd-wowing mic drop: bad ass! On the other hand, delivering a mic cut…could earn you a bad ass whopping.

TMZ reports Trey Songz was arrested Wednesday night after damaging several pieces of equipment while performing on stage at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The report said Songz was provoked after someone at the venue told the star his set was going too long — but Songz wasn’t ready to drop the mic.

He dared them to cut his microphone, promising to flip out if they did, TMZ said.

And when they did — baby! Trey came through.

TMZ said he started destroying everything in sight, flinging objects in the air. The debris hit an officer who was trying to subdue him, the report said.

He’s been charged with resisting arrest and malicious destruction of property, TMZ said.

Click here for TMZ’s original report.

How Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Should Have Answered

When a man makes a naive comment in a room full of more than 7,000 tech-savvy women, he should apologize. And quickly.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently apologized for a borderline sexist comment he made at a women’s computer science conference in Arizona last week. He was giving advice on how women should approach wage negotiations—specifically how should women go about requesting higher wages.

He told the audience, with less than 500 men in attendance, that not asking for a raise is “good karma” and the system would deliver pay increases when warranted.

It wasn’t long before the Twitter-verse was in a frenzy, criticizing Nadella for promoting a serious issue for women across all industries. The responses reflected a combination of anger, disgust and thankfulness.

The smartest and most charismatic man couldn’t have survived a women-focused conference without making at least one flop. Women should understand Nadella couldn’t possibly give relevant advice to people struggling in a system that has lifted him up.

In a strange twist of events, Nadella’s failure has given feminist success in bringing wage disparity based on gender to the front line.

Economist Linda Babcock from Carnegie Mellon University says men are four times more likely to negotiate higher pay than women. According to her research, men and women are equally harsh towards women who ask for pay raises. It’s become a crucial issue in bridging the wage gap. Babcock discovered women often receive backlash for deviating from the social script.

Nadella runs a multi-billion dollar technology corporation. The sorry letter was a great move in image management, but his sentiments were dishonest. Many high powered men (and women) start to view women as combative when they fight for the salary they deserve.

Those women in the audience were looking for encouragement. He should have been able to give it to them. In his letter, Nadella retracted his entire statement about women and pay raises. He said women should ask for pay raises if they think they deserve it.

Wish Nadella would have thought of this before he opened his mouth in Arizona a few days ago.

Mrs.StealYourGrandpa, are you out there?

By Ciara Rouege

I can’t be the only person who thinks #MrStealYourGrandma could probably steal your mother if he wanted to. Damn! He could probably have me if he wanted to.

Irvin Randale is a 54-year-old grandfather of two children and the latest social media trend after an editorial was posted about him on Bossip a few days ago. This sexy grandfather not only dresses five times better and more stylishly than your average 25-year-old man, he is also a third-grade teacher.

Panties. Dropped.

I can’t stop wondering if there is a #MrStealYourGrandpa out there. Where is she? I’m not talking about these excessively Photoshopped celebrities making desperate jabs at fabricated youth.

I’m talking hot older laddies.

Flaunting a stunning 58 years, Angela Basset has a banging physique and gorgeous face. Don’t get me started on Jane Fonda — now that’s how you do 79 years old!

One can only hope #MrsStealYourGrandpa is out there somewhere.

A Chicago swimsuit line is turning heads, opening minds

The year can’t come to end without a movement dedicated to preserving the most celebrated feature of the female body — the breast! Ta Ta Tops were designed to fight gender inequality in the form of laws that prohibit women from going topless.

Faux show isn’t a cop out. It’s an interesting way to support #FreetheNipple without baring any skin. We have to keep in mind the goal is gender equality and giving everyone the option to go topless or covered.

The Chicago-based clothing line Ta Ta Tops started after the owner allowed two foreign exchange students she was hosting to visit a local beach.  A male lifeguard quickly pulled the students from the water when he realized the girls were swimming topless. The incident spiraled into a whirlwind of confusion as the lifeguard tried to explain how showing nipples is illegal in America. The students looked at that male guard’s naked chest and were quiet befuddled. Oh, wait because that law only applies to women!

These titillating bikini tops are available in  three distinct flesh tones at the organization website for about $30.

Barbie Uses Her Powers for Good

I hail Barbie as the foremother of bad bitches, but I’ll admit Mattel often missuses her ability to be a constructive inspiration to girls. Parents often attribute her negative influence to her unrealistic body proportions and plastic personality. A recent re-vamp of the blatantly sexist book “Barbie: I can be a Computer Engineer” proves the Malibu princess can be a fashionable representation of feminist prowess. Mattel just needs more designers, who know how to use their Barbie powers for good.

Related: MAKE-UP MEETS METAL – COVER GIRL SUPPORTS GIRLS WHO CODE

In the original book, Barbie and her younger sister Skipper encounter a series of computer flops as they wait for the male characters to come to their rescue. The sexism doesn’t hit you straight out the gate. The story starts with Barbie creating the designs for a laser-eyed puppies video game for a class project. Barbie says she can only make the design and needs Brian and Stephen to do the coding. Oh, no! She did not just say that?!

Georgia Tech doctoral computing student Casey Fiesler recognized Barbie is not a basic bitch.  Fiesler went and wrote the entire book, putting Barbie in charge of coding and helping the guys with their coding problems versus the other way around.

Check it: The Entire “I Can be a Computer Engineer” Remix Book

The remix encourages girls to ignore sexism and be boldly stylish as geniuses in the STEM fields…unlike some dolls who will go unnamed. It is this type of creativity that could be use to transform Barbie’s image and making her a useful tool in shaping capable and well-rounded young women.

Sidenote: We haven’t had Comic Tuesday in a minute. You have to understand– this college life struggle is real! During the midterm exam madness, my good friend Michelle Iracheta brought this gem about Computer Engineering Barbie to my attention. If you have time, you should check her out at tech blog Tronnic. I promise to get back on my Comic Tuesday game!

Covergirl shows the beauty of coding

If you’ve ever been to college, you’ve seen the Mary Kay posters taped to the bathroom mirror with Feminist Society graffiti written all over it. I often stare at these doodles, thanking God my three younger sisters have a few years before they have to stand over public sinks contemplating this crap.

CoverGirl cosmetics has partnered with Girls Who Code to spark an interest in computer coding within girls across the nation. The campaign reaches young women on their level, and doesn’t rumble with traditional beauty stereotypes but focus on the untapped potential of female intellects.

The biggest barrier for young women today are the psychological confinements built from gender roles. It’s a hot mess that even the feminist movement has had trouble sorting through. Are cosmetics the sexualization of women, making them a mindless commodity? Or is makeup a tool for the personal expression and accentuation of feminine prowess?

Covergirl’s Girls Who Code campaign is perfect for approaching this age group. I live in a suburban neighborhood of middle school girls. And I can tell you, whether its poorly applied eye shadow or a smear of cherry scented lip balm these are the years we  explore makeup.

It seems girls are more often tokens in the movement, when these developing divas should become a focus for influence that is suitable to their stage in life. We get into these grand discussions about sexual orientation and political policy, taking less and less time to groom the youngest of the lot.

In a movement that seeks to make every tomorrow a little better, young women should become a bigger focus. Right now, they’re just nosy little mice listening in on the world’s conversation.