Man, I’ve missed cardio. Seven months after my half marathon (mistake), I can finally say that my knee is basically fully healed and I can now run and hike and yoga without any hindrances. Well, still taking it easy on my knees in yoga (virasana and related postures) but this week I ran 2.5 miles and hiked 5 miles without any issues. :) Hurrah! Thank you, body, for doing what you do even though it took awhile. I’m only getting older though, so I think it’s time to be more careful with my body, since it’s only going to take longer and longer to heal these types of injuries from now on. 😐

Tomorrow’s Mother’s Day, so I’m throwing a celebratory brunch at the house for all the extended family, with all the next generation too. I’m making roasted potatoes, french toast, avocado toast, cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, bacon, omelettes, and eggs-of-all-kinds. Except poached, I’m not really into poached eggs. Also I’m making cold brew coffee, though it’s taking forever to drip, and I’m not sure if I did it correctly… but coffee drinkers will be coffee drinkers, so I’m not too worried heh.

Anyway, other than work and yoga, not much is going on lately. Stanley and I threw a 2016 birthday party at our new place, and I’d say it was a total success! For future reference, we made tacos, and made about 12-16 cups “sides” (slaw, corn, kimchi), and ended up cooking about 9 lb of meat for about 20 attendees. More seating would probably be nice, but our space was big enough to fit everyone seated on the ground like true Asians. Looking forward to next year’s birthday party already!!!

wordpress 2015

Ok so I noticed my layout on this page got funky with the sidebar getting pushed down to the bottom, and I was too lazy to fix it so instead I updated to the new WordPress Twenty Fifteen default layout. I feel ok about it except there’s too much padding and why are the fonts so big? Except since I use RSS anyway, and rarely visit this page, it doesn’t really matter. Is there anyone out there who actually types this url and visits this page in their web browser other than when they’re writing a comment? Also whatever because the demographic of this blog is like three people. Hi!

Other than that, nothing new in my life lately. Work is same-same, relationship same-same… Stanley came up to Norcal for about a month for Valentine’s day and interviews in SF and it was really nice to be around each other. I tried to learn Android Studio but it was too hard so I quit after like two days. I bought a Moka Pot and made coffee in it twice the last two days. Not bad for an amateur rare coffee drinker like me. (Forgot I wanted to try making tea in it… maybe tonight.)


Stanley and I went to Seoul over Winter break with Kristen and Steph. He wrote about it here. I posted a few pictures here.

I planned the trip many many months in advance, when I had some slow days at work. I found out that I’m a pretty detailed trip planner; In general, I like to have most of each day planned (80%?) and have addresses, directions, etc. detailed out before even getting on the plane. I don’t know if this is normal or not. But it’s definitely in line with my detail-oriented like-to-be-in-control personality. You can see our itinerary here.

We were able to follow the planned schedule pretty well, with only a few issues. On 12/24, we rushed through Gyeongbokgung palace to make sure we could get lunch at Ssalgage, which only serves 100 meals a day. The rush was unnecessary though, since we arrived right at 11am and were the first 4 people served. On 12/27, we ended up going to Insadong for fried chicken dinner at Han Chu. And then late 12/28 Stanley got food poisoning, so I swapped and simplified the plans for 12/29 and 12/30. On the 29th, Koh brought the 3 of us (Stan stayed in bed all day) to Hongdae for lunch (gamjatang), a bike tour, and delicious pastries. We ended the day early again around 3pm because of lingering stomach discomfort for Steph and myself. On 12/30 we went to Suwon around 11am and only stayed a few hours. We skipped dinner on both days because of fragile stomachs. On the 31st, our last day, we just stayed in Itaewon and got bbq at a local place (after finding out Orum was closed for lunch), which was pretty delicious and a nice way to finish the trip.

I’m glad I had planned the trip to the details I did, since we ended up not having portable wifi. Most places around the city (and even the city itself) had free wifi available, but it wasn’t guaranteed. The subway system was amazing – super convenient, cheap, and easy to get around. We took the bus a few times but they’re much less suited for foreigners, as the announcements for each stop are unclear and really quick. I was so thankful that I knew how to read Korean (it’s phonetic and super easy, I picked it up in middle/high school) because it helped a lot to be able to read street signs, restaurant signs, and in general prevented us from getting lost.

But overall, my impression of the city was nothing special. I was disappointed to find that typical South Korean citizens have the same priorities and similar moral character to us typical Americans – we’re all heavily influenced by the media, social media is big, consumerism is part of life at every age. It was a fun trip, and I’m glad we went… but food costs were about the same, even food tastes were on par with Korean restaurants in California. Korea checked off my list. What’s next?

road trip

This post has gotten ridiculously belated (about a month and a half) because of a major change in priorities in my life. I need to figure some things out…

Stanley and my first stop up the coast of California was Santa Barbara! I had only ever been when Je was visiting colleges (2003?) so I was kind of excited to see what the area was actually like, having heard of the amazingness that was SB by the ocean. Because of LA traffic, we arrived later than expected and missed our tour of the Santa Barbara Courthouse. We walked around and enjoyed the weather and took some photos at the top of the tower.

Since Stanley and I were both vegan during our trip, there was a dearth of appropriate eateries :( In Santa Barbara, we had an average kale salad and an above average vegan+gf “thin mint.” I should have gotten more of those thin mints… We stopped by Mission Santa Barbara (without going in…) before heading to Solvang!

We walked around Solvang, being unhappy that we couldn’t eat any Danish danishes. The Hans Christian Andersen museum was a tiny room with old books in all languages. I didn’t know that he wrote some of the stories that were there!

We stayed the night in San Luis Obispo, and woke up early the next day to go hiking!

We went to Bishop Peak around 9am – the weather was nice, and it was a really nice day for a hike. The trail was about half shaded, and we saw a good number of people also hiking that day. And even a few people running up and down! (I think the total hike was about 4 miles, don’t remember.)

Super annoying thing: On our way down, we saw a couple girls with a dog on their way up. They weren’t carrying any water bottles or anything, and their dog was obviously parched. As we walked by, the dog sat down and didn’t want to keep going – obviously tired and thirsty. The (presumed) owner was getting frustrated at her dog, trying to pull it to keep walking. I offered some water for the dog, and told her to make a bowl with her hands. The dog drank it up and probably could have used much more. I mean, you don’t have to bring water for yourself if you’re lazy, but please, please always take care of your dog. Made me super sad.

After our hike, we went to Big Sky Cafe in downtown SLO for lunch. We were starving! We filled our stomachs and water bottles and got back in the car to continue our way up the coast.

I had considered stopping at Big Sur, but it didn’t really seem convenient. Instead, we went to the teeny tiny Limekiln State Park. It was a quaint little campground with two short (5 minutes?) hikes. One went to the lime kilns in question (used to purify? lime that was mined from the mountain/vein) and the other to a waterfall. We rested here (I needed a break from the curvy PCH) and ate some snacks by the ocean. When we were about to head out, a couple of guys came back from their kayaking with their day’s catch in haul! They had caught maybe 20 or so giant fish. They were super ugly and amazing, and I wondered what it’d be like to roast a fish you just plucked out of the ocean. Possibly made it a bucket list item.

Our last city stop of the road trip was Santa Cruz. We spent nearly a full day hanging out at the Natural Bridges State Park and Boardwalk. At the Boardwalk, Stanley and I got the most amazing salad ever at The Picnic Basket. It had olive tapenade, avocados, asparagus, citrus dressing, pistachios, kumquats… and some how worked together spectacularly. It was the market salad of the day, but I do plan on going back there for another go at their salads someday soon.

After Santa Cruz, we headed to SJ. Home sweet home!

leaving LA

Backtracking a bit in the timeline of my life to get my blog caught up…

I accepted the offer from MiaSolĂ© (Alt-0233 to get e avec accent aigu Ă©) at the end of April. It was a bit of a rush, since I had also gotten an internship offer from Baxter for which I needed to respond ASAP, while still waiting on MiaSolĂ© to go through second and third round interviews, and decisions. To save time, we conducted Skype and phone interviews so I didn’t have to fly up to norcal for a day. It all worked out, and I heard back in time to not be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Happy! Everything worked out pretty much perfectly, and I set my start date for 5/29.

I spent the majority of May in LA packing up my apartment, having lunches and dinners with some LA peeps (Phyllis, Frances, Daniel, Layla, Dorothy. Neel…) and finishing up some research things. I had started my vegan + gf diet May first, but I was wary about buying a bunch of groceries right before moving out, so the first couple weeks of my new eating regime pretty much sucked. Now that more than a month has passed though, things are a lot better. But not to get distracted, back to my last month in LA.

One of my weekends was spent hitting up my LA bucket list spots with Stanley (Beverly Hills sign and farmer’s market, Culver City Steps). The BHFM was pretty big; some things seemed a bit overpriced but not unexpectedly so for BH. We picked up some cherries and fresh squeezed OJ (yummm) and I don’t remember what else, and headed to Century City to watch the matinee (11:30ish!) Iron Man 3. During the movie I ate like two pounds of cherries and didn’t get allergic, which was amazing and I loved it. But then my stomach was full of cherries…

Culver city steps was pretty awesome, much more intense than I had expected. Instead of parking on the bottom and actually perusing the steps like normal people, we drove to the top and just took a look at the view. We went a few flights of stairs down and up, and I was surprisingly tired after just a few steps! I think because the delta elevation is really high with the taller-than-normal steps, I was out of breath in just a few seconds. Seriously would have been a great workout had Stanley and I been prepared. Oh well, next time!

During the last LA weekend, I went hiking with the MAE boys (Lucas, Cristhian, Raymond, Grant + Grant’s brother)) to the Hollywood sign. The trail we chose (starting at Canyon drive) was probably around 6 miles round trip with all our extra excursions.

It took us about four and a half hours from start to finish, hilariously long, because we lunched at the top and took a million breaks in between. Grant’s brother also has juvenile arthritis so he was hurting; we waiting for him and rested a lot. (But he seemed to be in a much worse condition than I was, I wonder what made him think hiking was a good idea?) We went to the peak to see the back of the sign, and then to the front for a more scenic view.

(You can see DTLA and Griffith Observatory in the background of the above picture!) I’m glad I finally did this trail, but probably wouldn’t do it ever again. Recommended as a one-time adventure.

The next day was spent in Arcadia – I hung out with Stan, Wes and Yao getting boba and other misc things. We stumbled upon a batting range + miniature arcade which was fantastic! Since it was a super small arcade (which still had the essentials) the machines were really cheap and we spent a little more than an hour there. We played air hockey, pacman, DDR (I missed it, I used to play daily during my summer in RISD) wrestling, and skeeball. Pretty much all my favorites. And all for less than five bucks! Skeeball was only 25c! What a deal, seriously.

The last weekend of May, Stanley and I road tripped up the 101 and 1 from LA to Sunnyvale, stopping at SB, Solvang, SLO and SC on our way up. Still editing pictures so that post will be next :)

new chapter

There have been all sorts of happenings in my life lately. I’m currently in limbo in between LA and Cupertino, started my job last week (feels like I’ve been there for months already, in a good way) and have been having lots of fun times with my bffs in my (surprisingly not scarce) down time. I’ve been putting off all the things that would put me into the “settled” category, IE bike purchasing, yoga studio joining, furniture buying… Because I haven’t quite moved into my next residence yet. But I really don’t mind how things have been for the last week and a half; so far I’m adjusting well and having a great time at work :)

I can’t find my card reader so I can’t edit pictures from Stan and my great trip up via PCH, but that post will probably come in a short summary version and then I’ll be busy busy settling into the next chapter of my life. All sorts of yay!

Yesterday I went to the 2nd Annual Santa Anita BBQ Competition with Stanley, Wesley and Jeff. The event was held in the open area of the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, where the 626 Night Market was. It was pretty cool – lots of tents set up from different BBQ-ers and you could try samples of BBQ for $1 tickets. I barely was able to spend 13 tickets and was super full, which is a good gauge in case I end up going again next year. Lots of pulled pork, brisket and ribs, and a few other unique things like bacon, bacon-wrapped meatballs, mac-n-cheese. I haven’t eaten that much pulled pork in my life, but I found out that I prefer it to be drier with a more interesting texture rather than soggy and soft. After stuffing ourselves with meat, we dropped by the race track to make some bets on the horse races. I was excited to participate and lost $2 (minimum) in the first race. There were a lot of seasoned gamblers there (as expected) dropping big dollars on the races. Pretty intense. I’m definitely not a big risk-taker though (yet??) so I was content to just watch the next round. Now that I know there’s about 30 minutes of down-time between the short (1-2 minute) races, I’ll be prepared with snacks and books for the in-betweens. It’s a pretty nice atmosphere to hang out in the shade of the stands so I’d probably want to go again.

After the two races, we decided to get our boba fix. After gulping down our cold drinks on the hot (80F high!) day, we decided on doing some recreational activity: either rock climbing or P90X yoga. We decided to do yoga at Stan’s house. We did the entire 90 minutes and I definitely feel it in my muscles today, basically everywhere: hamstrings, obliques, trapezius, triceps. I like feeling sore, it means I’m making improvements to my body :)

I brought my camera with me everywhere this weekend but barely took any pictures. I need to get out of my funk and start taking more pictures. I just haven’t been inspired by anything and I don’t know what to do to improve as a photographer either. I’m not interested in rare-use techniques but just general snapshot photography, so… I guess I just need to be more prolific. I’ve barely taken 100 pictures in 2013 so far.

a bunch of random things

I took this amazingly clear/sharp photo of a dragonfly hanging out with turtles at Caltech’s Throop Memorial Garden last weekend. Stanley, Wesley and I were killing time before our fourth/last session of our motorcycle training class, and I gave them a tour aka showed them the turtles at Tech.

The class (Basic RiderCourse) is an alternative to taking private motorcycle classes and passing the DMV riding test. There was an evaluation at the end of the class, which I guess must satisfy the same requirements as the DMV test, but it is supposedly way easier. The test consists of making two opposite turn U-turns in a box (20 ft x 60 ft), a swerve to avoid an obstacle, an emergency stop, and a 135 degree turn. I pretty much failed the box and passed the rest so I passed! Woooooo soon I’ll have an M on my license instead of a C. Pretty exciting stuff. I would recommend taking the class, especially if you’re under 21, because it was a pretty fun (albeit expensive) weekend adventure. It’s $250 for 21+ and $150 for <21-yo. After taking the class and passing the evaluation, you get a form to turn in to the DMV, at which you take the written DMV test and voila! Motorcycle license! And knowledge about how to ride a motorcycle! In other news, I decided to get my MS via thesis instead of purely coursework. This means that this fall quarter, I won't be taking any coursework and instead be a full time researcher. This extra time will be invested in finishing my research project, and preparing the results for a publication and writing my thesis. Since it's a bit of a late decision, I'm going to not declare my candidacy until winter quarter, for which instead of registering as a student I'll pay a "filing fee" and be an off-campus student who's only thing left to do is turn in her thesis. This gives me a bit more time to figure out what I'm doing for my project, and also I have more of an excuse for not having found a job by March. Yay! My hair is growing out, which means that I have bangs, along which I have fro. I think if I use my blow drier or straightener I can get rid of the fro-ness but I get distracted too easily and I forget to. Whatever, nobody sees me these days except my intern and sometimes my PI. And sometimes Stanley but he says I'm pretty no matter what my hair looks like <3 ALSO useless information that I find faintly significant: I hit the bottom of my MAC gel eyeliner! By the time I reached the bottom of my Bobbi Brown one a few years ago, it had dried out and was annoying to use. But this MAC one has been nice and smooth for at least two years! Good job, MAC. Mos def buying another when I finish. (Plus it's cheaper, $15 instead of BB's $22!) Um another useless thing that I might as well mention as I'm on a roll, is that I got the Essie "no chips ahead" top coat and it seems to work really well. So if you're looking for a top coat that actually works, then I'd recommend it. (Although I haven't tried any other top coat that is specifically formulated to prevent chipping, so maybe it's not better than anything else...)

renegade craft fair

Stanley and I went to the Renegade Craft Fair in Los Angeles last month. It was the first time in a long time I brought my camera out, and I tried to take a lot of pictures to get back in the game.

I expected the fair to be much bigger than it was, since I heard a lot of hype about it on the internet from previous years. It seemed like most of the goods being sold were jewelry, which I guess is in line for most craft fairs… I just wish there were more inexpensive pieces of craftwork that I wouldn’t feel guilty buying. Most of the stuff wasn’t that unique – typical “modern” and simple pieces of jewelry, but this booth that put constellations on their jewelry definitely caught my eye.

I saw these little crane scissors and thought they were genius. Too bad I’m running out of space for knickknacks in my apartment.

This geometric necklace was hanging with a bunch of compasses and intense watches. I spazzed out when I saw that the watches had a glass back where you could see all the gears moving. Didn’t get a picture though (don’t know why…). I see why steampunk is so popular now – it really seems old school yet “high tech.”

Heh, chicken stuffed animals. Ten times more expensive than the real thing…

I’m a sucker for things that are obviously hand drawn and produced. My favorite magnet here was the octopus on the middle right.

This booth sold bamboo cutting boards and coasters with nerdy pixelated images. Very cool but WAY more expensive than I’d be willing to pay. They have an etsy shop here.

Again, hand painted tableware. Very cute doodles I wouldn’t mind eating off. Even though I didn’t buy anything for myself, I was definitely inspired for my future home and future craft projects! Who knows, maybe I’ll be running one of these booths someday…

When I was perusing the booths, the sellers would verbally advertise their wares. Which is fine, but it was annoying the way they tried to augment the worth and interest of their stuff. “Screenprinted on organic unbleached cotton” and “hand made greeting cards on recycled paper” don’t really make an item appeal to me more. Those are addenda to the product, and don’t help to define whether I want them. Of course the greeting card is hand made, this is a craft fair. And does it matter if the tote bag is organic? I’m not going to eat it. But these are just some silly qualms I have with what I guess is the target demographic of events like these. I wish these types of things (sustainability, etc) were already accepted ways of life, and not fancy/special/hipster things to brag about. I’ll probably visit the fair when it comes back in December for some Christmas shopping… maybe by then I’ll have saved up some cash for some self-gifting :)

boiling crab

Stanley and I went to The Boiling Crab for the first time, for both of us, this weekend. It’s a place that’s famous for its acceptance of messy eating habits and tasty seafood. And we got exactly that. I’m not really a big fan of crab, so we ordered a pound of shrimp and a pound of clams. Both we got flavored with “the whole shebang,” which was a mixture of Cajun, lemon and garlic flavors. The shrimp we got totally not spicy, and the clams mild. I was smart to get the shrimp not spicy, because even the clams were a bit too much for me. Not overwhelmingly spicy, but enough for me to not be able to eat a lot of comfortably. I know, I’m lame. Whatever. The shrimp were just right :)

Of course, I made a giant shrimp out of my shrimp shells. In addition to the heavily marinated seafood, we also got calamari (just okay) and sweet po fries (good! but could use some sugar). And some soggy corn :(.

Basically this entire post is to show off the photo of my giant shrimp made out of shrimp.