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)
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
The rooms we toured today are still being used for events.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 ;))
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 😉
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.
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 😉
Papaya King’s hotdog (I didnt have any)
Walked through Little Italy
Shared a cannolo (singular for cannoli but who knew?)
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.
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.
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?!?
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.
March is here! A few posts back, I wrote about setting 3 goals for 2017. Let’s see how I’m doing…
Goal #1: Read 25 books in 2017
I finished 6 books so far in 2017. I’ve been enjoying all the books I’ve been reading, but my favorite one has to be this book written by J.K. Rowling, published under pseunonyn Robert Galbraith.
As someone who was obsessed with the entire Harry Potter series many years ago, I was thrilled to find a new series of adult books under the same author. I was also worried that this would not live up to the expectation of Harry Potter’s awesomeness. It was different from HP (of course) and still perfectly written. J K Rowling does not disappoint. Never a dull moment with her writings. There were clues given throughout the book and they were unraveled in the final pages. And I’m sure more clues will be given throughout the series that will continue to connect the dots and solve the mysteries… I hope this is gonna be a long series!
And I made an effort to pick up a real book (versus reading it on my kindle :))
I am currently reading:
I knew this was going to be a difficult goal to achieve especially with the nonstop rains in the last few months. My year-to-date average right now is almost 13000 steps a day (6.5 miles roughly) according to my iPhone’s built-in app. Weather has gotten better since last week and I’ve been more active outdoor since. So I will be slowly increasing my average going into warmer months in the spring! Slowly but surely!
Year to date = 12900 average
February average = 13700 average
Last week average = 17300 average
Goal #3: Try one new Instant Pot recipe each month
I’ve been doing pretty well with this goal!
So far this year, I’ve used my Instant Pot to make steel cut oats, garbanzo beans (from dry beans), black eyes peas, and a variety of stews. I love the convenience of just turning it on and forget about it until the timer beeps.
Chickpeas after pressurecooked for 35 minutes. (Tea bag was used for color for a curry recipe) A year or so ago I boiled dry chickpeas on stovetop for 2 hours and they were not nearly as soft as the pressure cooker method!
Having these goals is really motivating me to keep reading, cooking, and staying active 🙂
See you next post!
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!
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 😄
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!)
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 🙂