This weekend I’m going to the Yoga Journal Live! SF event, as a volunteer. Kind of a silly work-exchange program where the volunteers still have to pay $100 to go (actually $200 with a $100 refund?)… but considering that’s basically how much one class costs, I thought I’d see what all the fuss is about. And maybe learn a thing or two while hanging out in SF. I’m pretty excited to spend an extended amount of time in the city, which I’ve never done before. Staycation, kind of?

Last Friday Stanley and I had dinner with Jenn Song and Nick at Kyusu, and then dropped by the mall afterwards to look at rings at Tiffany’s. I was so sad that the torque ring was discontinued and needed a replacement “over-yonder” ring to fawn over. BUT it closed before we got there. So instead we just wandered around to get me a dark chocolate soft serve from Godiva (soo yummy) and into J Crew to check out the sale section. I found these pants for $29.99 in store, plus 50% off final sale, plus 15% student discount per Stanley, which meant A $14 pair of black pants for me! I’ve been wearing them every day since I got them (lol) so I figured it was ok if I went back to the mall and picked up another pair. Hehe. No shame. I’m happy to have found these new-favorite pants because my old-favorite grey Uniqlo pants (from 2008!) finally gave out with a broken butt-seam. Good-bye, old pants. Hello, new pants! (I mean, everyone has a favorite pair of pants that they want to wear every day right? I just allow myself to follow through with it. Laundry smaundry.)

Other thing – Sophie and I found Crispy M&Ms at Walmart last weekend! Apparently they’re back back for 2015. Now in light green packaging instead of blue. Why the change? No idea – apparently blue is now pretzel. So I got two packs. And have eaten them both.

Happy 2015!

Besides my poop being uniquely pungent, I’ve been totally fine transitioning from vegetarian to carnivorous. I’m surprised but also not surprised, since I was fine going from gf+vegan to vegetarian as well. I guess the trend is that my reactions are all personal so I should stop attempting to mimic studies/anecdotes from the internet.

I’ve been off methotrexate and enbrel for about a month now, and haven’t felt any major changes. I have been noticing morning stiffness in my hands in the morning (about 30 min) but that may also be an effect of weather changes up here. It’s been getting chilly up here these past few weeks… Four blanket weather for me. Love being cozy in bed with my blankets :)

Other than that, nothing new in my life. I had my first design review at work and it went well. I was barely nervous which I guess means my coworkers have done a good job making me feel comfortable with things. I remember always reading about how female engineers get stepped on in work because they’re too shy to express their opinions strongly, or even to ask questions and be judged unpreparedly, whereas men tend to have no qualms asking questions without thinking them through first. I think I’m in a happy medium place and I’m glad.

Coming up on my 24th birthday soon!

gluteus, gluten, gluttony

I’ve been really consistent with exercising since moving to Norcal, which I’m really glad about. There’s that fear of starting “the daily grind” and having to sit on one’s ass the entire day, then being too pooped when the work day ends to do anything but sit on one’s ass some more. I signed up for a six-month membership of eight yoga classes a month, which means at a minimum I’ll be doing that almost twice a week. I finally understand the appeal of gym memberships; gotta get my $$$ worth and not skip. Eight times a month is definitely doable, and it may be a good thing that I get some rest days.

Even if I’m not cycling to work yet, I’m still glad to have that option for cardio. I ran for 20 minutes on the treadmill today and felt my knees starting to give out, so I guess that’s still not a viable option. But I really missed running – maybe I’ll try inserting a few miles a month into my routine :)

BUT ANYWAY I went to the gym today because of yesterday and today’s carb loading. Yesterday was my first day of gluten in eight months, and ate more than half a loaf of sourdough. It was freaking delicious and I couldn’t stop. Today, my manager brought donuts and bagels to work… so I had a few of those too. And then my coworker Ben gave me his Monopoly McFlurry coupon so I treated myself to that too. And then I felt sad about the impending loss of my almost-abs (I can almost, almost see subtle side shadows in the mornings!) so I had some motivation to do some cardio. Not bad, right? Everything in moderation?

Re: losing my gluten free and vegan dietary restrictions and turning vegetarian –
I’m happy that I don’t have to consciously omit things from my daily eats, but I think I’ll still try to keep relatively low levels of empty gluten and carbs in my diet. Going to make a conscious effort to maintain meals consisting of more vegetables than grains… after my party next week. I mean, a girl’s gotta live a little right? Heh. I’m going to commit to a vegetarian diet for either 6 or 9 months. Since I’m a “diet non-responder,” i.e. my RA didn’t go away on the most restrictive diet, it’s unlikely that it’ll get any better on less restrictions (only no meat). But seeing as I’m used to a vegan diet right now and I’m still enjoying the resurrection of my relationship with bread, I might as well stay on the healthy side and avoid meats for as long as I can manage. Unless I see/feel iron or B12 deficiencies, I see myself staying vegetarian for awhile. (Pescetarian is highly likely though – I miss fish.)

People need to stop giving me dietary advice that they don’t follow themselves. You can spew as much information as you want at me but I’m only going to accept the ones that you have actually made a priority in your life – the ones that you honestly believe are good for you, not the ones you read about online or saw on TV.

Also I am as busy as ever now that I’m working full time!!! Not a bad thing, but I’m excited to get into a more regular routine after July 4th weekend.

I just gotta say that after two weeks of being vegan + gf I definitely do not have more energy than when I was only gf. And I’ve found it to be immensely difficult to accommodate for my double dietary restrictions. I just went to Whole Foods to look for a gluten free vegan pizza because Daiya (dairy free cheese brand) makes one, but they didn’t have it. Everything that’s gf has eggs, and everything that’s vegan has wheat.

I’ve said this before but again, I need to stop trying to find alternatives to the things I miss; I’ll just have to accept my tofu and broccoli stir fries for the next two and a half months…

non dairy milks

Bought “smooth almond milk – original” and “soy milk original” from Trader Joe’s, since I’ve been eating cereal dry and I’ve been feeling a little bit sad about it. Each were like $1.20 so I figured it’d be worth getting both to try. They both have added Vitamins A, D and E and they both suck.

The soy milk has a weird aftertaste that reminds me of protein powder and makes me feel gaggy. Maybe it’s the added supplements? I mean, I don’t have a problem with regular Chinese soy milk. Also it’s sweetened (9g/serving).

The almond milk tastes like almonds. Which most people probably have no problem with but I just don’t like it. I expected a milk nutty aftertaste but no, it’s pretty much full on NUTS. Being picky is probably not helping my search for alternative foods for my new diet. But basically they’re both yucky and I suppose I’ll just stop eating cereal for breakfast…

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.

tried and true

I keep procrastinating these posts, because I took a bunch of process/experimental pictures but hate them all and don’t know what to do about them. So I’m trimming the excess and just sharing the information! OK! Just two things:


I bought this Kuhn Rikon whisk after I started making small one-egg batches of flourless chocolate cake every week or so, and it’s awesome. I did a timed comparison whipping one egg white and the spring whisk took less than three minutes to whip to soft peaks while my traditional whisk took 6 minutes and was barely there. Plus, the spring whisk seemed to do a better job with egg whites keeping their texture; the old whisk’ whites kept falling flat during their 30-second breaks (while switching off). I also considered the Double Balloon Whisk but when I saw it at Sur La Table I realized it was way too big to whisk just one white. It’s like 2+ inches in diameter, which probably makes it better for large batches of whipping instead.


This is still an incomplete work in progress, but one step at a time. I’ve been curious about the best way to boil eggs SUCH THAT they are easy to peel, because I hate peeling hard-boiled eggs. There are a number of methods/ideas, like old eggs being easier to peel than new, putting vinegar in the water, etc but in this blog Marc Matsumoto seems to reason out his method pretty well so I decided to give it a try. He says that making a small crack in the air-bubble-side of the egg, breaking the shell but not the membrane, lets a small amount of water between the semi-permeable membrane and egg white, which makes the peels come off easier. I tried three eggs with cracks (in the back) and two without (front), and found that indeed the ones with cracks were easier to peel. Also a side note that while boiling, the ones with cracks fostered additional, large cracks in the shell (not destructive ones, but surface fractures), maybe because of the slight extra space caused by expanding the area between egg white and membrane? The shell pieces came off in big chunks which lessened the stupid picking-at-egg-white-or-is-it-membrane? happenings on the control eggs. When I’m nearly done with this carton of eggs, I’ll buy a fresh carton and test the old-vs-new egg theory. Except if I can only fit five eggs in my saucepan, then I have to figure out which to crack and which to leave…

2013-02-26

breakfast:
1.5 c rice krispies cereal – 150
0.5 c corn flakes – 50
3/4 c horizon 2% – 100
– total – 300

lunch:
2.5? oz quinoa pasta – 250
? mozz balls – 100
365 pasta sauce – 50
– total – 400

snacks:
orange – 70
two slices udi’s gf bread – 130
1/3 tbsp butter – 30
16 choco chips – 80
– total – 310

dinner:
4 oz tilapia filet – 110
some olive oil – 30
4 oz gailan – 30
– total – 170

dessert:
1/4 c yuzu sorbet – 45
-total – 45

– – grand total – – 1225 +/- 100

This surprises me a lot and a little at the same time. I saw on an online fitness thing that girls wanting to lose weight should consume no more than 1200 cal a day, and guys 1800. Since I’m a small Asian I assumed my counts would be lower than average. Also I pretty much don’t do anything but sit at my computer all day, so this veg-lifestyle doesn’t need much. This happened to be the day after I made lemon tarts, but I didn’t eat them because I was too lazy to calculate their calories. Maybe like 1/4 of all my days I eat an extra 200 cal of chocolate cake. Or like today I had three giant macarons (omg so good). And on weekends and/or if I’m spending time with Stanley, I also tend to eat more. So this is a snapshot of a random day of counted-calorie eating.

On a related note, I also told Wesley to estimate what he ate that day, and he predicted 2500 but came way short at around 1900. So even for a normal sized adult male, the 2000 cal/day % diet estimate might not be so great.