You're about to find out

Author Archives: Jess

Hello!  I’ve been away from blogging just because I haven’t gotten much interesting stuff to share.   I thought I would pop in here and update on how I’m doing with my goals for 2017.

1) Read 25 books this year 

I’ve read 18 books so far in 2017 so I’m definitely on track. I love how easily I’m reaching this goal. I have been lucky with discovering good books lately and when a book is good, I finish in a couple of days so this goal has been pretty easy to reach.  A few friends have asked me how I find time to read books… I don’t watch TV so that frees me up for reading!   I have a few favorite books from past few weeks:

1) Dark Matter.  Read this if you like actions and sci-fi.  It’s about a man who travels through parallel universe, it’ll really make you THINK what your life would’ve become if you had chosen certain paths.  I could not put this down and couldn’t wait to read it each day.

2) Orphan Train


It’s not as depressing as it sounds.  Trust me!   It is actually a feel-good read!  If you like Angela’s Ashes, you WILL love this.  The story takes place around the depression era and I admit, that era really really fascinates me and I love reading anything, everything about it.   Read this! This is not a depressing read!

2) Take 15000 steps each day on average 

I’m doing very well with this goal since I’ve been running 30+ miles a week.   Also I walk a lot on my commute to work.  I don’t feel like I even have to think about this goal.  It just happens with my lifestyle.  

I lost my Garmin watch recently.  After much much much comptemplating (do I really want to complicate my life further with another gadget?), I decided to buy an Apple Watch.   Literally a day after I got my Apple Watch, I found my Garmin in a purse I hadn’t used in a while  😭

Average steps this month = 17000 (or 8.5 miles a day on average)



3) Try a new Instant Pot recipe each month

Major fail on this goal.  I’ve been using my instant pot to make beans but not trying new recipes.  I have not been in the mood to explore new recipes. I’ve been sticking to the basic recipes like soup/stews and stir-fries where I can just throw in a bunch of random stuff.   Also, I’ve been seeing lots of Instant pot recipes for meat dishes but our household (my husband and I) rarely cooks meat at home.  I’ve bookmarked some meat recipes to try in instapot though. It’s just that we don’t crave or want to cook meat at home,  is it weird? We are omnivores.  We do enjoy eating meat when we eat out but we just don’t cook meat at home. Instapot is amazing to cook meat dishes. I should really try some new recipes!  I still love having instant pot at home to make beans.  They taste much better than canned beans.

Some updates from past few weeks or months:

We went to Portland (I shall write a post about this fun-filled weekend). 

Bay Area stuff:

Fourth of July at A’s game


Poutine!

Eating with the fam bam:

Cooking at home:

My cousin’s baby shower (I made the diaper cakes to add to the existing beautiful decorations – she’s having twins so TWO CAKES :))


Some trail running:

Damn I lost so much fitness. This route was a breeze 2 years ago but I was dying on this run.  


See you on next post 🙂


We had our first and only full day in DC today!  First time in the whole week, we ran.  We ran from our hotel to National Mall and back, totaling 7 miles.

It was 6am and we totally beat the crowd.

Running was the best way to tour this morning.  We ran by White House, WWII Memorial, Reflection Pool, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Korean Memorial.  This gave us the rest of the day to tour the inside of buildings and museums.

Lincoln Memorial had no crowd at 6:30am! Here is an awkward self-timer selfie.  We circled back to this area in 15 mins and tour groups were arriving already.

Korean Memorial

We got back to hotel after running exactly 7 miles.   Pit stop at Au Bon Pain for breakfast.

After washing up, we came back on Metro back to National Mall.  The Capitol looks magnificent close up.  It blows SF city hall out of the water.  It is the US Capitol after all.

We had a reservation for 1:30pm to tour the Capitol but the time conflicted with the White House tour time we got.  

The line without reservation was too long, we decided against visiting the inside. I heard the rotunda looks beautiful.  We will have to save it for next time!

There is a tunnel that connects the Capitol to the Library of Congress.  Inside of the Library looks like something you would see in old time Europe.  Such a beauty.

Historic books on display

A couple was doing a wedding photo shoot! So pretty.

Next, Air and Space museum.  Nothing here caught my attention really.  I heard the Air and Space museum in Virginia is much better.

For lunch, we went a mile away to Nando peri peri chicken.  It was SO good!  We need this chain in SF!

Good spices and sauces to complement the moist chicken.

During lunch I found out that I am not allowed to bring my purse inside White House.  So we went back to hotel to drop off my purse and went to White House to tour INSIDE!

We went through a few layers of security.  Then we got inside just past East Wing.   Many photographs of recent First Ladies were displayed in this room.

This display shows china sets used at State Dinner Services by various presidents.

Obama’s set.  Good color!

Green Room

The rooms we toured today are still being used for events.

And my favorite part of the tour was coming out of the front door of the White House! 

I could see crowds of people by the fence, taking pics of the White House.  I’m not gonna lie, I felt special standing on the front steps of the White House and seeing the crowd!

It was such a cool experience to set foot in there and see it up close!

I highly recommend this tour.  You just need to book it 2 months in advance through your Congressman. 

Our next and finally stop was Museum of Natural History. 

Hope Diamond… a rare blue diamond with so much history.

But I found this sapphire to be a lot prettier and shinier.  Love this!!

We came back to hotel after the museum and it was already 4pm.

Later, we went out to dinner with husband’s friend who lives in DC.  Nice bar bites at a British pub called The Alibi.  My first time trying Scotch Egg and it’s good!

Beef Wellington with filet mignon was my fav.

Random sign 🙂

We hung out til 9ish which is pretty late for us 🙂


Tomorrow we are going back to NY>SF!


We checked out of our air bnb at 8am and said goodbye to Brooklyn.   We went to the BoltBus stop in Manhattan for our 9:30am ride and spent half hour before boarding looking for restroom in the rain 😑

The bus ride was decent yet uneventful. It was comfortable enough and took exactly 4 hours to get to D.C. today.

I love how clean DC metro station and trains are!

We had a late lunch at a fast/casual Korean fusion place near our hotel.  It’s called SeoulSpice.


Then we checked into our hotel and rested for a couple of hours.  Then we headed back out for dinner in Georgetown.  First we rode metro to DuPont Circle.  

Last time I was in DC was 13 years ago.   The only thing I remembered about DuPont Circle was its super tall escalators at the metro.  I was glad to see today that it’s still the same as I remember it to be!


We walked to the Circle. The weather was in low 70s and slightly humid.  Pretty comfortable temps to walk.


So we decided to walk to Georgetown from there. It just took under half hour.


The red-bricked sidewalks and walls were beautiful and very east coasty.  We popped into some stores for shopping.


Then it started to rain so we decided to have dinner at Clyde’s.  

 

The restaurant has an old-time feel to it.  The food was delicious.

Squid appetizer


Ribeye steak


Crab cake (mostly crab meat and was bigger than appeared in pic) — best thing we ate today 

After dinner, we went to Sprinkles cupcake shop a few blocks down and shared two cupcakes.

Then we called a Lyft to go back to our hotel.  Our driver was a really nice man and gave us a tour of D.C. while driving through the historic buildings and monuments.  


It’s been a pleasant stay in DC so far and I’m looking forward a good nights sleep without the sounds of the train!!!


Today was our last full day here in Big Apple.  We’re still working on the dozen bagels from Zucker 😉


I tried going for a run this early AM but it was sprinkling and chilly and I started shivering so I turned around after 3 minutes. No point in running on vacation if I can’t enjoy the run. I will run when I CAN enjoy it.

Later in the morning,  we walked over to the murals in Bushwick neighborhood (Thank you for the suggestion!!) since we are staying nearby!  

Amazing outdoor gallery!

We stopped by one of several hip(ster) cafes.  

I just wanted to use their bathroom… but we came out of the cafe with some delicious pastries! At AP Cafe:

Then we said our goodbyes to Diana and the gang.  They went back to Chicago today.

DH and I set off on our own to the ferry terminal to visit the Statue of Liberty.  

It’s never easy pushing through the tourist crowds at world famous sites like this one. We had to test our patience more than a few times in lines and with annoying people without common decency.

We had a reservation to go up all the way to the statue’s Crown.  (I strangely felt touched to see the statue up close again.  I was an immigrant after all ;))

We were lucky enough to snatch some tickets 3 months ago for crown access.   

The coolest part of this experience was the narrow spiral staircase that got narrower as we reached to the top.  I felt slightly claustrophobic while climbing because it was so narrow and dark.

View from bottom.

The crown itself was pretty small. It can probably fit 6 standing people.  There was not much to see but to look down by the window.

We spent not more than a few minutes there and came back down.

The view from the Pedestal was almost the same as ground level.  I think most visitors were just like us, they just wanted to see and touch the statue up close.

On a random note, do you remember how hard it was to take pics of tall towers before the selfie mode was invented? 😉 Now it’s a breeze.

I ❤️ NY!

We went back to Manhattan after that.  We walked by Charging Bull at Wall Street.   Can you even see the bull in the crowd?!  

NYSE…. where the bell rings at 6:30am PST every weekday.

We went back to Katz’s for lunch today!  Yesterday after eating half a pastrami sandwich from there (and still hungry), I couldn’t stop thinking about it for 10 blocks.  We had to go back for more 🙂 and this time we each got a sandwich! 

Whole sandwich was a lot for one person though. We managed to polish off the plates.  I felt so stuffed afterwards.

It’s 4pm when we finished our late lunch so it was almost like dinner. I had Crack Pie when we got home and DH had fried chicken (whyyy, howwww…??). And that was the end of our hurrah in NY… for now.

Now, we will enjoy the rest of our stay in this $1.2 mil Brooklyn apartment! (Not exaggerating about 1.2 mil)

 

Off to D.C. tomorrow!


Our journey through Manhattan continued on our Day 3.

We got a dozen of bagels with lox and shmear from Zucker the day before. So we had that for breakfast.  We might have gotten too many bagels for 4 adults, a toddler, and an infant 😉

We first took subway to Central Park.  My DH snacked on chicken kebabs in a bun from a stand.

And we visited CENTRAL PARK

Beautiful green scenery in middle of a busy city.  I would’ve loved to run here today but we are staying far from Central Park on this trip.  I love NY running culture… a lot more runners than SF and it just seems like a united and welcoming community.

After walking in Central Park for some hours, we got hungry and subwayed to the famed Katz’s.  The lunch crowd:

Their pastrami was melt-in-mouth juicy!

I only wished we ordered more!

On the same block, there’s Russ & Daughter (a famous bagel shop) and they also sell candies fruits.

We got a few bags of fruits including those:

Today’s weather was so beautiful.  We enjoyed walking for hours.  After Russ, we walked about half hour up East Village to Momofuku Milk Bar.  Their softserve was really awesome (I had cereal milk and birthday cake flavors swirled together)

Thanks for the pic, Diana 😉


And we got some treats to eat after dinner.  (Their cookies are better than the pies, btw.  I think that was our final verdict after eating them)

We literally snacked our way through the city.  Nutella filled churros….Mmmm…

Papaya King’s hotdog (I didnt have any)

Baohaus buns

Walked through Little Italy

Shared a cannolo (singular for cannoli but who knew?) 

Little Italy is really cute!

It was past 5:15pm and we walked all day since 9:30am. It was time to pick up dinner and relax back at our apt. 

We yelped a halal cart close by in Soho and got our food to go.   The original Halal Guys would’ve tempted us if it weren’t for all their franchised locations all around the US now. This cart was as good as the original Halal Guys!

I got chicken and lamb over rice and I loved it.

There’ve been so much walking past 3 days. Time to rest my feet!


Our second day’s itinerary was a visit to Manhattan.  So this included taking the subway with the little ones.  We (or was it just me) didn’t know that subway system here is not stroller- and handicap-friendly.  Most stations had no elevators or escalators.  So the adventure.

We got to Chelsea Market by 10am.

It’s quiet at 10 (people started pouring in after 11)

It’s a food market so we snacked our way through the vendors.

Seafood market 

Lobster bisque… oh so rich.

Pies from Tuck Shop.  One pie with Guinness steak and another with chicken green curry. Both were very good.

A place called “Very Fresh Noodle” that serves very fresh handpulled noodles.

It’s one long piece of noodle in the bowl!

Walked and walked and walked….

The weather was so icky.  My shoes were soaked the whole time.

Thanks to the shower, Time Square was not crowded!

We came across Wafels and Dings by Bryant Park so we had to get some Belgium waffles with spekaloo spreads.  I love them!!  

Bryant Park was lush and green.

Next stop was NY public library.

It was such a zoo inside with so many tourists (like us) taking pics, how are these people even studying or reading?  Visitors were not allowed to enter the reading area but were allowed to stand by the door to take pics (like how I took those pictures)

 

Marble columns on first and second floors 

A quick visit to Grand Central Terminal

And a visit to Grand Central Market

And we subwayed back to Brooklyn to our apt and got some Mediterranean food to go from a neighborhood takeout place.

Yes!!!


When I was in my 20’s, I always thought that if I were to move away from the Bay Area, it would be to New York City.   Now that I’m older, I can’t say the same anymore.  But I still love the big apple.  I’m on my 5th visit to the city for vacation.   My last visit was over 5-6 years ago.

 In my previous visits, I’ve stayed in Queens, Manhattan’s Chinatown, and Upper West Side (twice).  This visit, I’m staying in Brooklyn for the first time. And it’s bringing me lots of new sights and experiences.

We are staying in one of the streets by Broadway which has a train track right on top for miles. 

The neighborhood scared me a little to be honest. It looks rough.  After a red-eye flight from San Francisco, we were really tired.  And our air bnb’s check-in time was not until 3pm.  Luckily, our host let us drop off the bags early while she cleaned the place.

Our first stop was Equilibria cafe in Williamsburg. (First cafe we found with a lot of seats.)

O M G.  I am familiar with the hipster culture in San Francisco but Brooklyn’s Williamsburg takes Hipsters to a whole new level.   Everyone dresses alike in certain ways…. really quirky to my fashion-conservative eyes.   I obviously couldn’t take pics of strangers but I took mental notes.

We spent over 2 hours at the cafe, tried to wake ourselves up from the lack of sleep from our red-eyed flight.  We each had 2 cups of coffee and stuffed our face with copious amount of pastries to hold us over til late lunch later.

There was even a french bull dog residing in the cafe.

I love that the cafe offers adult coloring books and color pencils.  So hip?!?

Later, we checked into our air bnb and Diana and company (my in-laws) arrived from Chicago!  We headed out to the super hip and famous Roberta’s for pizza.  

Their outdoor space looked like the stuff from a junkyard put together but they made it work.

I was starving by then but honestly I think the pizzas were really, really, really good.  The crusts were charred to just the right amount and it was thin without being soggy in the center.

After pizzas, we went to Brooklyn Bridge to walk.  

It was late in the day and lots of people were out.

The whole gang… with two little ones in the big stroller.

For dinner we got take-outs from Little Mo for Korean-Vietnamese fusion food.  We ordered 8 buns, 3 rice bowls, pho, and wings. 

And we all went to bed early.   Brooklyn has shown a lot of characters so far.


So remember two posts ago, I wrote about my glittery phone case? 

On my birthday a few days ago, I took a day off from work and got nails done at a salon for a change.   Out of the blue, I chose to do a purple gel glitter gradients.  


Not until a day later I realized that my nails are dead-on matching my phone case!


Love ❤️❤️❤️


It’s the little things in life that gives you the OOMPH 😊 


4:40am:  Woke up before alarm went off at 4:45. Made coffee and ate a few pieces of brownies I baked last night. 


I watched some random YouTube videos while drinking coffee before husband wakes up…  I like watching inspiring and uplifting videos in the mornings.  They put me in the right mood to start off a productive day.  This morning I watched about bullet journaling and how it improves productivity and lifestyle.  I’ve been thinking about starting one but I don’t think I have the patience.

5:45am:  Went out for a long run.  I ran 11 miles with 5 x 800m.  Satisfied with the splits.  I felt good.  I love track sometimes.


8am: After shower, I made a breakfast taco with eggs and salsa. Ate with beets I roasted last night.  Followed by more brownies 😛  


I don’t remember much what I did between the brownies and 11am.  I read my book, played game on my phone, talked to my husband.  Just stayed on the couch basically.

11:30am:  Walked to Farmers Market with hubby.  We both love this farmers market so much, it’s so lively and has a good variety food stands and a live band. In the summer I go nuts on the stone fruits they sell here.

 

Husband got food from a few food stands and I ate from him.  Samosa, fish taco, hot dog, and boba. 

I got those Lula Roe tights as a gift (thanks, T) and I wore those out today.  And I could not believe how comfy they are!  Soooo soft and stretchy. I just need to figure out what tops to wear with them.  I will love to wear them for traveling and red eyed flights.

12:15pm: Walked to Trader Joe’s for grocery shopping.   Just a few blocks from farmers market. 

A couple of adults and kids were giving free hugs at a street corner.  I hugged 3 strangers and they were so nice 🙂



1pm:  Stayed in the area and watched a movie (Guardian of the Galaxy vol 2) at this historic/old but cool theatre. We saw it on 3D and I think I got a light headache from it.  It’s funny and action packed, lots of computer graphic.  It’s a fun movie!



4pm:  Picked up Ethiopian food from Ensarro for early dinner.  It’s our favorite Ethiopian restaurant.



5pm:  Done with dinner.  Ate icecream and more brownies for dessert…  Hong Kong Milk Tea is a new flavor from Humphrey.  Wish it had more tea flavor.



6pm:  Finished reading Waking Gods… I’m giving it 3 stars.  It’s a sequel to Sleeping Giants which was amazing.  Sequels can be a hit or a miss.  This one is kind of a miss.  But if there’ll be another sequel, I’ll still read it. I need to know what happens!

I actually enjoyed the story and the plot. I’m just not a fan of the writing style.  The whole book is presented as pages of interviews, dialogs, journal entries, and news reports.  

That was the 12th book I read this year.  (I set a goal to read 25 this year.)

7pm:  Cracking open a new book from the library.  It sounds very promising! Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.

8:30pm: Watched the first few minutes of Manchester by the Sea on Amazon Prime then hit the hay.  


Consistency is essential in training.  It’s not a single workout that improves your fitness.  It is a few weeks or months of being consistent with runs and workouts  that brings you closer to your goal.

I’ve been consistent with my tempo runs and track workouts past two weeks and I’m already seeing some improvement in my fitness.  I realized how much I’ve missed speed training!

————————
Week 2:

M – upper body weight (10 mins)

T – 6 miles with 2 mi tempo @ 8:08, 7:54

W – rest

Th – 5 mi w/ 6 x 400m @ 1:52, 1:53, 1:50, 1:50, 1:47, 1:44

F – 3 mi easy

S – 10 mi easy

S – 6 mi easy

Weekly Total = 30 miles 


I ran by this during my 10 mile run and I had to stop to take a picture.  (Golden Gate Park)

—————————
Week 3: 

M – lower body weight (10 mins)

T – 6 miles with 2 mi tempo @ 7:53, 7:46 — improved from last week and felt easier

W – rest

Th – 6 mi slow w/ hills mixed in, 900 ft climb

F – 3 mi easy

S – 10 mi w/ 2x800m @ 3:37, 3:48; 4x400m @ 1:46, 1:46 1:48, 1:42 — another improvement

S – 5 mi easy

Weekly Total = 30 miles
—————————–

I am now ready to increase the volume/length of these speed workouts. 

This morning (week 4, Tuesday) I did a 3 mile tempo run during my 7 miler and the tempo miles averaged 7:45-7:50 pace. Progress! Little at a time.

Summer is approaching and life will get a little busier but I will plow through this 5K training 🙂 just one more month!

On a COMPLETELY unrelated note, how sick is my new phone case?? I may be a case of 33 going on 3, I still love glitter like a little girl.