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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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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.  


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!


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! 


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 🍷


I was in Vegas for a bachelorette party for my girl friend.  I didn’t take many photos but I did take a lot of selfies on this trip 😁 Here are some snap shots.  

Corgi slot. I didn’t get a chance to play this but it looks cute.

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Mirror selfie while in line at Bachannal Buffet. I’ve had brunch here a few times already so next time I’m definitely trying their dinner buffet.

Good seafood selection at the buffet. I had several plates of these and half dozen of oyster shooters.  Enough seafood for me for a few weeks 😀

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Later in the day, we went to dinner at Julian Serrano which has pretty amazing tapas.

Cheers🍸

Lobster paella was so good. img_5723

And we ended the night at Omnia night club. We grandmas went back to hotel after midnight. Everyone was pooped!

I can’t believe how different the club scenes are nowadays. I can’t say for the clubs in SF since I haven’t been to one in many years. But the Vegas clubs are all about the light show, confetti, fake fog and wind effects, some special equipment for effects (here at Omnia the chandelier was moving up and down in spiral), EDM, and world’s top DJs.  Disco lights and hip-hop are out.  It’s a really different vibe now.

Now I’m under the weather from the weekend and must rest. Good night!


A few weekends ago, I went on a little hike in the Marin Headlands (north of San Framcisco.)  I had been to certain parts of the Marin but not this.   

One of my bros was visiting from out of country so it was nice catching up 🙂 even though I saw him back in January in Singapore.
  

I really like the idea of “nature walks” aka hiking.  I don’t think I can do this alone because I would lose patience and start running only because it’d be done faster. But as a family outting, it was fun to chitchat, walk, and get lost in the scenery.

 

Then the following weekend, I went to Berkeley’s Tilden park to watch a trail race.  

I love the energy of a trail race. It’s much more intimate than a normal road race.  

While the race was happening, I walked around alone. I didn’t think I could walk alone for long but I did.  I didn’t run since I was running a half marathon a day after in SF.  I wandered around Lake Anza. It’s probably a one-mile lap but involved some climbing on the tree roots by the water to complete a loop. 
   

# no filter.  Everything was so GREEN. El Niño, you are amazing. It was so serene and not a soul in sight.

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Some parts of the lake had 50 shades of green since its spring! ☘

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But we are still in a drought…

  

And this is pretty cool. If I ran 100 miles, maybe I’d want to put these on my bumper too. I don’t care if people think I’m a nerd.

Then I saw V finish his race. I was inspired to do more trail running.

   

Or any kind of sweating will do.  Spinning has been fun. I don’t think I can make it a part of my weekly routine but I’ll try to enjoy it whenever I can make it there. Good music and lots of sweat = good endorphins = happy Jess.

 

I should end the post with something food related 😁 I made a poke bowl at home and it’s so good. Chop up some sushi-grade tuna (I used half pound here) and toss them in soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and hot sauce. Serve over rice with any toppings you like! So easy.
 


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!
 



Individual hotpot at The Flame in Richmond District.  So perfect for a cold night!


Such a treat to see the Golden Gate Bridge from the bottom. This spot is the half-way turnaround point of my favorite half marathon (Giant Race) but I usually don’t pay attention to the surrounding and scenery when I race. This time I was running aimlessly and leisurely in the area and had to stop for photos.


Also ran into a pack of runners doing a city trail race.

Lagoon at Crissy Field.

Fun fact: I was a volunteer in 10th grade (year  2000) to clean up and pot new plants there before it was open to the public.

Maple Bacon GU? Yuck! I got myself some Salted Caramel GU instead. (Clif Shots are still my fav though 😉)

Fall in Oakland

Tried a new-to-me Vietnamese noodle soup called Bun Mam.   So good!!  Tastes a lot more complex than pho.