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Category Archives: Weekend

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.

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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!

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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)

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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
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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.


Spring is here!

I haven’t run a good race in over 1.5 years and I’m bored of running slow.  I’m going to change things up a bit with my running!

Ever since I started running five years ago, I focused on running long distance races.  Now to change things up, I am signed up to do a 5K race 7 weeks from now.  Because I did no speed workouts for the last 1.5 years, I’ve lost quite a bit of running fitness.  Track workouts and tempo runs will be back in my life again.  They are keys to getting faster.

My (preliminary) goal for this upcoming 5K is 23 minutes or under.  That’s 7:23 pace.  I’m not in shape now but I think it’s doable.  The only other short race I’ve run was a 10K and I ran a 7:26 pace… two years ago when I was much fitter.

I will document my training journey for the next seven weeks.  Writing about it on the blog will hold me accountable to continue training hard 🙂

Today (Saturday), I squeezed in a short track workout during my 10 miler.  I warmed up with 5 miles easy then did 10 x 1 minute at my neighborhood track.  I ran 1 minute fast, 1 minute of jog/recovery, and repeated 10 times.  I set my Garmin to beep every minute at track and I didn’t even look at my watch for pace.  My FAVORITE part of each speed workout is reading the pace afterward!  It’s so satisfying.

garmin

It’s my first track workout in a long time so short intervals were a good start.  There’s much progress to be made in the next few weeks.  I’m excited for the new training cycle!

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A brief race report:

I ran Rock n Roll San Francisco half marathon three weeks ago.  I ran 1:59 and it was my second slowest half marathon to date!!!  My slowest was my first ever half marathon in 2012 and finished at 2:01.  This shows how unfit I’ve become (and it kicked me in the rear to train again.)

My favorite part of the course was this….  there was a major hill to climb toward Golden Gate Bridge, and there were pictures of fallen soldiers lining the course for a good half mile or longer.  It’s such an emotional, touching part of the race.

My second favorite part of the race course was running on Golden Gate Bridge.  The highlight for me was seeing my dad on my return route on the bridge.  We highfived each other but our hands missed and we just kept running.

Finish line was pretty crowded but it’s normal.

My dad finishing his very first half marathon!  We couldn’t be more proud.

He has his eyes on a PR in his next race in August!

Have a nice weekend, and Happy Easter to those who celebrate!


We enjoyed the sunny San Diego for a long weekend a few weekends ago.  It was such a nice break from a streak of heavy rains in the Bay Area that seemed to last forever.

We used our frequent flyer miles to fly free for this trip! Thank you, United! 

We did a little bit of (mostly window) shopping at Fashion Valley Mall.

It was the Lunar New Year’s Day!

Went to this cute part of town. No idea what else was there.

We yelped some taco places and ended up here as our first meal: El Zarape

We had some time to kill before checking into hotel so we checked out Ocean Beach and the pier.  There was a small yoga fair happening…


For dinner, we found this carribean restaurant called Embargo Grill and checked it out. It was so delicious and the pisco sours I had was strong! 


Then we stopped by Hammond’s Ice Cream for a little sampler of scones. They were so small and not enough to be shared.

So we drove to a nearby mall to look for more treats! (Somebody wanted DQ… ahem) 

Both malls we went to were outdoor and they’re both nice and airy.  Considering how nice San Diego weather is year round, I can see why the malls are outdoor.

Next morning, I went on a semi long run from our hotel to Balboa Park.  V went running on his own and we ran into each other at the park. (This happens a lot back home too.) The pic below was taken with a self-timer on my phone 😄

Balboa Park has a bunch of small museums grouped together. Really beautiful architecture!

After the run and washing up, we went out for brunch at another taco place: Oscar’s.  We both agreed the food here was even better than the previous day.

We figured we should squeeze in a little sightseeing on this trip (having been to the zoo and Seaworld years ago and didn’t want to go again) so we decided to check out La Jolla Cove. 

We didn’t know what to expect to see at La Jolla, but we were both so wowed by many sea lions there. 

They were napping so close to the parking lot! They didn’t give a damn about people watching them.

Later in the day, we went to V’s cousin’s wedding at a church.

The reason why we went on a somewhat impromptu trip to San Diego: to witness their marriage!

It was a short and sweet dessert reception. It was over by about 4pm.

We went out to dinner later for some drinks and BBQ at Woodranch.

Next morning, on our last day, I went out for a short 3-mile run around the hotel and this was the view from the parking lot!  (I miss Hawaii!)

Mirror selfie #OOTD pose.  Ready for brunch!

Later, we checked out of hotel and drove to Del Mar about 20 minutes north of San Diego to meet up with my cousin and her husband.  It was a warm day and we hadn’t seen this much sun in a while so we soaked it all in.  There was a yoga class in session at the beach! 

Our brunch at Jake’s was very good.

Their take on SF’s ciopinno.  

Then we headed back to the airport to go home. Airport has a Phil’s BBQ location and we didn’t know it’s such a well known place down in SD.  Their original location has over 10,000 reviews on yelp and 4.5 stars!

That’s all for a 3-day trip! 

It’s already February… I will do a 2017 resolution update very soon 🙂 


My husband V and I went to Seattle over the MLK holiday weekend just for two nights. We had some points with Southwest that paid for most of our airfares.   

Since the trip was 2 weeks ago, I’m just going to post some highlights.

It was our second time in Seattle but our first time going there together.  Our goal of the weekend was to relax and eat as much as possible! That can easily be done on any trip 🙂


(I actually DO love Diet Coke)

Our cute air bnb apartment close by Pike’s Place.


We went to Pike’s Place a few times during our stay and tried as much food as we could manage to eat.  


Piroshky Piroshky… warm and buttery.

Beechers‘ Mac and cheese. I thought it was not bad…. but $11 for a small cup where you have to eat by a counter (most ppl had to stand and eat on street) was a highway robbery.

Pike’s Place looked as cute as ever and more fun with many people walking around.

And we got more food to-go to eat at our air bnb.

Next morning, we got up and early to walk to Pike’s Place.

First stop was the famous The Crumpet Shop.  This place gets packed later in the day and usually sells out of crumpets by the late afternoon. We went there at 8am and had the place all to ourselves!



Crumpets were very good, especially the sweet maple butter one.

Then… of course we had to stop by the world’s very first Starbucks location. 

I ordered a chai latte and they made me a regular latte. It’s okay, I forgave them.  

We walked to Space Needle.


I tried to pick a banana from a tree nearby but it was too tall.


Walked up a hill to Kerry Park. Don’t go in the morning, it’s against the sunlight so it’s hard to see the view. 

Then we took uber to another part of town, Fremont. I wanted to see this troll but expected it to be much larger than this.


Food highlight of the trip: this Caribbean meal at Paseo Carribean. Scallops over rice plate and a big fat sandwich.


After lunch, we went back to downtown to do a little bit of (window)shopping and went back to our air bnb to rest.

We really wanted to try Pike Place’s chowder but we didn’t want to wait in line nor we wanted to eat standing up at a corner. So we opted for a restaurant in Bell Town to chow down and the food was good! The place was called Local 360 and they serve locally sourced food.



My favorite thing at this place: Poutine with a twist.


Double chocolate creme brulee 

On our last day, we had to go to Seattle’s most famous donut shop: Top Pot, for breakfast. Might I say, it was 6am. What can you say, we are morning people 🙂 


Maple bar with bacon bits, Bavarian cream filled donut, lemon frosted donut, and our cups of coffee. Mine was ovaltine latte! (I grew up with ovaltine in Burma!)

It was the shortest trip we had even taken together but it was still really nice to have this change of scenery! 


Happy New Year! It’s a new year for new beginnings! So refreshing.

First of all, my husband started a blog on sustainable and healthy living topics. Check it out:  Modest Health.  Several good articles have already been written based on his knowledge of working in a sustainable business environment and his personal experience in a healthy, fitness lifestyle (he’s a marathoner… and a fast one)

Now let’s get to my 2017 goals!

I started working toward these goals since last month already.  I couldn’t wait til a turn of a new calendar to get started.  

I made sure that my goals are MEASURABLErealistic, and attainable.

Goal # 1:  Read at least 25 books in 2017

I somehow slacked off on reading in 2016. Blame it on life changes such as moving and getting married. Also blame it on traveling more than I ever had in my life. I just didn’t find the inspiration to read last year. So I finished only 13 books.  (I list all the books I read on Goodreads so it’s easy to keep track.)


I entered these Reading Challenges on Goodreads.  I read 51 books in 2011, versus  13 books in 2016.  I’m sure I can find more time to read.  I already went to library twice last week to get books so I am on track. 

Goal #2:  Learn at least one new Instant Pot recipe per month

We received an Instapot or IPot from our wedding registry (thanks, jie!) 


(Instant Pot)

So far I’ve used it a few times to make basic stews.  I would like to find new recipes because that thing can do so much more! There are many web forums and blogs dedicated to IPotting and electric pressure cooking.  One new recipe each month with IPot seems doable.  I’ve been in a cooking rut lately so this will be good for me.

Goal #3:  Take 15000 steps per day on average 

I don’t have a Fitbit or Apple Watch and I don’t want to obsess over the numbers on a daily basic.  Having said that, I do look at my iPhone’s built-in Health App once in while to see my activity levels. 

I carry the phone with me on my runs so the steps are counted.  (Since I resetted my phone recently, I lost my data for last year to report).  My typical work days can range anywhere from 10000 to 20000 steps depending on whether I run and how far I run. Weekends are a little more active, around 25000 steps. On average I was around 13000 steps each day in 2016.

Below is an example of my steps yesterday. It’s not accurate sometimes but good enough. I ran 5 miles in the morning,  then walked to a supermarket and a donut shop about 15 minutes away later on in the day. So the numbers should be a little higher… but close enough.


So let’s say my daily average in 2016 was 13000 steps.  I will try to increase it to 15000 steps  in 2017!  I walk a lot on my work commute and I like to run so this is an attainable goal.

If you haven’t tried this app, just open the app and see how much you’ve been walking.  The app is built-in on iPhone 5S and later generations.  The data are at your finger tips!

The App on iPhone >>  

I will try to report my progress on all three of these goals periodically!  So stay tuned for that :). Now that I wrote those down and published the goals, I will have to make these happen!!!

Have a great 2017!


Sorry for lack of posts lately. I’ve been feeling somewhat uninspired to write.

Tomorrow is officially SUMMER. And it is HOT in SF. Surprisingly. People say the coldest summer they’ve ever spent was in San Francisco.  I ran this morning in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt. It was 61 degrees at 5:30am, guys!


Sun’s out, bun’s out?  I’m loving the top knot hair.

I’m kind of tired of my long straight hair.  My hair grows extremely fast… Like one foot each year? (Just a guess, I’ve never measured)  I’m considering a perm. My mom was the one that suggested it!  I’ve never permed my hair ever so it would be kind of fun?  I’m growing my hair out for my wedding 🙂


The second most romantic city I’ve been to is San Franciso. (THE most romantic city is of course PARIS!)

Being tourists in your own city can be real fun.  Two days later, I just realized I forgot to take photos!!!  These are all I have.  I ❤️ SF! 

It was really great to have my future SIL and family here for the weekend! 

Grounds covered past weekend: Ferry Plaza farmers market, the piers, Portero Hills skyline, Marin Headlands, Sausalito, and Mills Valley.  Plus my usual stomping grounds of Outter Sunset and Richmond.

Fun fact: if you google “Jess did what” with spaces between each word, you will get suggestions of Jesus did what…. Hmm 🤔  Just google “jessdidwhat” instead to find my site, ok?


I had never eaten out so much in one week except on vacations! 

Birthday week was fun and busy with family visiting from out of town and then getting together with the loved ones for what we like to do best together — eating!

Turning 32 felt a bit different from the past birthdays.  I definitely do not feel old or wish I were younger. I am approaching middle age though (to me middle age is 35)!  I am happy with where I am in life yet there are still so much more I want to experience in life.  Here is a toast to myself to many more birthdays 😁 Cheers 🍷