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Today is Sunday. Many businesses are closed today. But we are staying in La Marais and it’s still as crowded as ever in a good way.

We woke up to heavy rain pouring down at 5am but it eventually stop. We went for a run.

At 7am there was literally no one around at Louvre.

We got some goodies from the bakery downstairs of our apt. They were delish!

We went to Franprix supermarket to buy more snacks and souvenirs.

European pasta jars are so small, maybe they’re made for one person? I didn’t see any American sized jars of pasta!

We only had one thing on our agenda today and it was to go on a lunch cruise by Bateaux Parisiens. The lunch was gifted by my SIL last Christmas, what a wonderful gift!

Menu for four courses

We upgraded to a window table (“Privilege Service”) and it was so worth it.

The boat wasn’t full. Many empty seats especially for middle seats.

Food was plentiful and drinks were poured generously.

Starters: beef terrine (top) and fish (bottom)

Entrees: chicken and prawns

Cheese course (included with upgrade, otherwise extra)

Desserts: parfait (top) and pudding crumbs (bottom)

Coffee was strong!

We had a really lovely romantique time!

We walked around the Eiffel Tower after we got off the boat. We even rode the carousel again!

Husband wanted to eat more so we stopped by a crepe place for a savory crepe of ham, egg, and cheese. I was way too full already but still ended up helping myself to about 1/3 of it.

La Marais was quite busy for a Sunday!

I decided to get icecream from supermarket for dinner.

Husband made a ham baguette sandwich with ingredients we bought from market and bread from Boulangerie downstairs. I couldn’t eat any, I was still too full! They looked pretty good though!

At 7pm, after a bit of resting, we went to a Caudalie boutique store nearby so I could buy some gifts (mostly for myself) ha!

Looking forward to the weather in the 50s tomorrow!

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I woke up feeling really, really tired so no running this morning!

Portuguese tart as morning snack.

We went to a farmers market but it wasn’t ready yet. Not all the food stands were open yet.

So we settled for a small cafe next door for breakfast. Croque Madam and cafe creme please!

Gum jar…. So nostalgic, it reminded me of my childhood gum with temporary tattoos of Donald Duck on the wrappers.

Galeries Lafayette for some shopping.

Terrace was pretty nice

Bought a little something

Palai Garnier opera house. Gorgeous inside.

Especially this room. It took my breath away.

Today was what I called a “free day” to do whatever we want without an itinerary. So we took it pretty easy. We went to Angelina because we keep hearing about it from friends and tv shows.

They’re famous for their thick, rich hot chocolate made with wild African chocolate.

We decided this is gonna be our big meal of the day.

Little pastries to start with hot chocolate.

Onion soup (omg forget the onion soup we had last two nights, this was the best) and croissant sandwich with egg and ham

And last course was some kind of brioche toast soaked in creamy milky broth and caramel sauce.

After getting our sugar fix, we decided to walk home. Google Maps says half hour walk. It took us nearly 2 hours because the route home had so many shops to browse. We had nothing left on agenda today anyways.

We passed by Louvre and it was a zoo.

I saw this perfume at a department store and it was the only high-end perfume available in Burma when I was young (I think) and my mom had a bottle that she kept in her closet to make her clothes smell good 🙂 Another nostalgia.

We went back to air bnb for rest again! It was that peak high temp time of the day again.

Then we went back outside for grocery and food. We got dinner takeouts from an asian place, rotisserie chicken from a butcher shop, and salad and smoked salmon from Monoprix supermarket!

It’s gonna be an early night! So tired! (I hate hot temps and too much sun)


We started out with a 4.5 mile run to Louvre and Tuileries garden this morning. Weather was perfect!

I was just posing 🙂

Then washed up and went to get breakfast. We had croissants at this Jewish bakery but almond croissant was the only good item here.

Still needed to fulfill my croissant craving, we went to another cafe for a mini croissant and it hit the spot. Look at the size of that “medium” latte though. It’s much smaller than Starbucks “tall” size.

A metro ride later…

Our first stop was Musee de L’Orangerie which houses a bunch of paintings by Monet and other artists from Impressionism era.

Our next stop was to Rue Cler (street with many food vendors and stands). We stopped by 4 or 5 places to pick up the picnic essentials: bread, cold cut meats, cheeses, sparkling water, etc!

We walked to Champs de Mars park by Eiffel Tower to picnic. But because neither of us love sitting under the sun, we sat on a bench in the shade lol. Everyone else who were picnicking sat on the grass in the sun.

The picnic items we got were perfect! We had some leftovers.

Then we took approximately 50 selfies in front of Eiffel Tower because… when in Paris!

We walked over to the exact spot where we got engaged and took more selfies (tip: use the timer for best selfies but make sure no one will snatch your phone and run)

Paris is having issues (strikes) with public transit. It took us a while but we made it to Notre Dame next.

Cherry blossoms!

So tired from walking all day so we went back to air bnb to nap and snack (chicken rotisserie and potatoes from Franprix supermarket…. we had been meaning to try this since our last Paris trip) Another side note: 2 chicken legs and potatoes were 3.9 euros. What?!! It’s like Costco price.

After a nap (jet lag), it was about 4:30pm and we went back out into the heat (83 degrees at that time) to walk to Saint Chapelle.

We both literally said wow when we saw the massive stained glass windows.

Saw a flower market/nursery nearby.

Then we walked back to La Marais for dinner. I wasn’t hungry after that chicken but still wanted to eat. We shared a falafel pita pocket. This wasn’t from the famous place but actually tasted A LOT BETTER. It’s from a place called Chez Hanna.

We had 2 sugar/butter crepes for dessert.

Husband still wanted to eat so he got a lamb shawarma but I was done with eating after crepe tonight.

This was a long tiring day but we did a lot and ate a lot so it was a successful 2nd day in Paris!


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!


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.


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!


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:

 


Goal #2: Average 15000 steps a steps per day on AVERAGE

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


Cannot wait to start running in shorts again!

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! 

Another batch:

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!

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 🙂