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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 🙂

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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 😊 


What is old? What is Aging? What do you considered as “old”?

I truly believe you are what you feel inside. If you feel young inside, you’re truly young.

But this week, I started to ponder if I am truly crossing the bridge to the “old” side.  My old boss passed away this week.  

Normally a former coworker passing wouldn’t have caused me to think much (as we have had news like this about retirees in recent years) but this time its making me think a little deeper.  For one, I’ve taken over his office space 8 years ago.  He retired in 2009 and I had taken over his role in the program and crawled my way up to his position.  And as I was sitting in his former office, which is now mine for the past 7+ years, I started to reminisce about my former boss.

He was a good man and a good manager.  He was 70+ when he retired.  After his retirement, he came to visit our group for lunch once in 2009 or 2010. That was when I last spoken to him.   I would’ve kept in touch with him but we had nothing else in common except our research program and I had a feeling he would rather enjoy his retirement and not be associated it with our program anymore.

So this got me to thinking about aging and getting old.  

Sure, age is just a number and we all say that, but there are certain events in life that make you feel older than you feel. It could be your closest friend getting married but you’re not; maybe your friend giving birth to their third child, or spotting that first gray hair or the first time noticing those deep crow’s feet around your eyes; or it could also be the people you crossed path in your life starting to die.

To me, the deaths of people I know is what makes me feel old.   Death is just a part of life… the end of life… and we all struggle to accept it for what it is.  

I am approaching 33 years old, and I just found out from my dentist today that I need to take out my 4th wisdom tooth. I got 3 wisdom teeth taken out many years ago and thought I could get away with not getting the 4th taken out, but what could I say… that 4th wisdom tooth is poking out of my gum at this ripe old age of 33.

So yes I will be getting my wisdom tooth pulled out some time at the age of 33.

So this is enough thoughts for today.  I think I will continue to write picture-less posts in the future.


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!


I was just looking through my Instagram pics and realized that I sort of have a green theme going on. Kind of sort of 🙂

  

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 

It is probably too late to say this now because it’s almost 9pm, but stay out of trouble, folks 😏


It’s been 3 days since I’m back from my trip and I’m settling back into my routine.

I flew over 30,000 miles in the last 1.5 months and checked off many things from my travel bucket list!  I am taking my time to go back to my normal here 🙂

I compiled a list of my Travel Entries since my blog is hard to scroll back to old entries so I organized the links there.

SF > Chicago > Paris/Belgium > SF > New Mexico > SF > Myanmar > Vietnam > Singapore > Cambodia > Thailand > SF

I’m glad I kept a journal here.  It really helped me remember many things that I would’ve forgotten if I didn’t write them down.  We saw some travelers who journaled in physical books but I had the advantage of posting pictures along with my thoughts…. A picture is worth a thousand words right? 🙂 I normally take too many random pictures on trips, but they are usually forgotten and saved forever on my computer and never seen the light of day again.  I’m glad to have the blog to share our experiences with my family and friends and those from the web who found my entries interesting.

Paris holds a special place in my heart since V and I got engaged there on New Year’s Eve.  But for the purpose of this post, I’ve put more thoughts on the Asia trip alone, and here are some of my opinions on the countries we visited on our Asia trip (minus Taipei because it’s a layover.)  Keep in mind that we were there for only three weeks total, so my opinion of each country was based on the short amount of time I spent in each place.  So please don’t be offended if you feel differently about the place and I would love to hear your thoughts especially if you disagree with something I wrote.

Countries I visited: Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand

Most exciting country to try new food: Vietnam

Favorite food in general:  Myanmar (always ;))

Most scenic: Phi Phi Islands

Least favorite destination: Phuket island

Dirtiest in general: Myanmar

Cleanest: Singapore

Most developed: Singapore

Most underdeveloped: Can Tho and Bagan (Myanmar)

Worst traffic: Phuket

Least favorite thing ever on trip: Squat toilets and toilets without paper OR water. Luckily I didn’t have to use any sh**hole toilets on this trip.

Least amount of international tourists: Yangon and Can Tho

Friendliest, most helpful locals: Myanmar and Vietnam

Friendliest tourists: Americans without a doubt

Cheapest alcoholic drink: 50 cents for a draft beer in Cambodia

Most expensive alcoholic drink: $15US for a draft beer and $17US for a glass of house wine in Singapore (I would be forever sober if I live there)

Cheapest food: Bagan (Myanmar)

Most expensive food: Singapore

What I missed the most about SF/home: family, friends, cleanliness, cool weather, home-cooked vegetarian meals, running routine, and just not having to live out of my luggage.

Most unusual things seen: dead kitten on the street in Phuket, many “no durian” signs posted in public areas in many of the countries we visited, hundreds of rats being sold in a big cage on a street of Can Tho, motorcycles driving against traffic and not getting hit in Saigon, having live-in maids in Yangon homes at most of my relatives (not unusual to me since its normal in Yangon but may be so weird to others), snail face cream (popular in Thailand and sold everywhere)

Favorite food items I ate on the entire Asia trip: See below. These food stood out to me the MOST and I would eat them over and over and over again!

Pae Palata (refried peas with flat roti)img_0398

Seafood in Yangonimg_0879

Kaya Toast in Singapore
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SO GOOOOOOOOOD – sweet cream butter  with pineapple jam insideimg_1063

Dry Hu Tieu in Saigon w/ blanched Tong Oh vegetables on the side.
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Banh Cuon in Saigonimg_1262

Rice dumpling at Rex Hotelimg_1421

Roasted rice paper snack in Can Thoimg_2247

Green curry in Phuket
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Several people asked me what my favorite country was on my Asia trip.  It’s very hard to answer this because every country we went to were different in big ways.  There were temples, beaches, urban cities, rural towns, etc.  and I have sentimental attachment to certain places and V was the same with certain places. I cannot pick one favorite place because they all have their own charms.  My least favorite was easily Phuket and I’m so glad we weren’t there for our honeymoon because it would’ve disappointed us greatly.  (But we LOVED Phi Phi Islands.)  I enjoyed Vietnam more than I expected.  I enjoyed Thailand less than I expected.  But then Thailand was my last stop after a very long trip and I had food poisoning there, so I may be biased with my opinion there.  I would definitely go back to Thailand some day.

This wraps up my travel posts for now.  Mission accomplished 😉 !

 


I am back in San Francisco. It’s amazing how quickly I had to get back into my routine. Back to reality!  I’m no longer taking pics of my food 😀

Here is a glimpse into our apartment in Paris.   I left a piece of my heart in Paris and in this flat.  The place is for four guests, so it’s quite spacious for the two of us.

This is just the living room. We have a bedroom that is smaller and simple and has a big bed, night stands, and a closet. I forgot to take a pic of the bedroom.


The kitchen and bathroom are very, very small considering how spacious the living room is. It’s equipped with the basic appliances plus a washing machine.

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It’s on the 6th floor so it’s a struggle to come home with tired heavy legs every night. It’s common in Paris to have super old apartments with no elevator.  It makes the place more Parisian, I should say.

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Since we were on the top floor, the views were phenomenal. There are windows in every room.  And they all look out to other  buildings.

    

The view from the bathroom was the best but I lost the pictures from my phone when I was cleaning it out… it looks out to a clock tower and a dome of a church closeby.  Here’s a pic from the apt’s air bnb page of the exact view.  Sigh.

air bnb

And we walked through this little court yard to enter our building.

If any of you need a recommendation for a place to stay, message me. I highly recommend this place.

And some of my random thoughts from the trip:

  • Paris is really THE most romantic city on the planet.  All the buildings are old and charming (stealing Rick Steve’s word now)  I don’t know if it’s because of winter and was pleasant for leisurely walks.  Walking hand-in-hand with someone you love for hours down the streets of Paris is something you would never forget.  I tried to take as many mental snapshots as I could because I never want to forget these moments ever.
  • Paris Metro system is so confusing.  All these French names don’t help!
  • French and Vietnamese are two most difficult languages for me.  The phonetics are very different from English and Burmese (my native tongue)
  • I can spend a month in Paris and will not get bored.  There are SO many things to do.
  • Paris has so many Michelin-starred restaurants but the thought of trying one in Paris never crossed my mind while I was there.  We enjoyed stumbling upon random restaurants when we got hungry, in my yoga pants and running shoes and all.  I love that the law there mandates the restaurants to post their menus outside so you know what you can expect before entering.
  • Getting lost in a foreign country is a part of the fun and it sure is an adventure.  There is a Burmese proverb that you will never be lost if you are willing to ask for directions.  I stand by that proverb.
  • We were at a metro station after lunch time and there were a TON of people catching trains…. siesta time???
  • I left a piece of my heart in Paris ❤