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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 🙂


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!


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.


Hi all!

There are just so much going on with life, I’m not even gonna try to explain.

Promise me you will try these chips if you can find them. They are so good, I was dangerously close to finishing a big bag in one sitting. It’s not as spicy as I expected but still really good and addicting! Even if you don’t like Lays’ thinness, you may like the flavor of this one if you like spicy stuff.

 

Spent a Saturday morning in Berkeley with interesting sights like this one:

Tasty Pot in Berkeley makes the best individual hot pot I’ve had!  I have yet to try Boiling Point but I really want to.img_4558

I’ve been spinning again. I find that it really helps with my running and is my favorite cardio cross-training. I’m not training for any races now but I want to regain some fitness I lost over past several months!  Here we go. 

But it’s always hard for me to go to a studio/gym. There’s so much time wasted in driving to/from the place and I’d rather spend that time running. It’s the easiest for me physically and mentally. That’s why I can’t stick to any other workouts.  With running, I don’t need to think about it. I just change and go. The world is my gym! 

Let me rant for a minute about taking public transportation to work.  

Usually the Muni line I take is pretty good and reliable. It’s almost always on time and people riding it during rush hour are mostly working professionals.  But at my Muni station, the escalator has been out of service for two weeks. During the morning rush hour, there’s a LINE to go up the stairs.  Since both sides of escalators are down, everyone has to use the stairs. And some people are naturally slow with going up the stairs but the faster people can’t pass the slower persons since we have to go up in single files. 

Ugh, if they can’t fix the escalators in two weeks, when will they ever fix them?

And to end the post on a positive note, let’s talk more food.  I had an amazing burger at Grand Tavern in Oakland past weekend ❤️ I hadn’t had one in a while so it hit the spot. 

And today I discovered a hidden gem of a Vietnamese food in SF. It has some dishes that you don’t normally see.  It’s a scary walk to get there but I think it’s worth the risk 😉 Go at your own risk though. Pictured here are Bun Mam, Hu Tieu, and Banh Mi Xiu Mai. I miss the food in Vietnam!

 

It’s almost end of March. It is true when people say time passes by faster when you’re old.  They aren’t just making small talks, it’s actually true!