These New Feelings

These New Feelings

After coming back from the East Bay last weekend, I felt unusually happy/self-confident/optimistic about life. I say “unusually” only because honestly, it has been a rarity for me to have these feelings hit me on a consistent basis. After years of dealing with depression and an eating disorder, as well as starting my recovery journey and really giving myself time to heal, grow, and learn about myself, I am now starting to feel ready to reach out and challenge myself with new and exciting things. I don’t feel as though I’m 100% recovered, but I feel I have improved SO much even after a little over a year of “real recovery”.

I feel ready to form more friendships and social relationships, to put myself out there and show the world who I really am. This readiness feels so thrilling and exciting, but at the same time I’m not sure what to expect. I’m putting myself in a really vulnerable position, but to be honest I’m not too afraid about that. In fact, I kind of want to challenge myself and shake things up from their current routine.

It’s going to be a slow process, but I think taking things slow is a wise decision for me at this point. If I want these changes to be sustainable and rooted, then I have to go about it carefully. But since it is all so new, it will feel like I have something to look forward to everyday 🙂

I can see I’m being vague about these “new and exciting changes”, but I just wanted to express how I’ve been feeling lately without going into TOO much detail…if things look promising, I’ll be able to disclose more ;)!

Besides embracing these all too-new feelings, I’ve also been embracing some new flavors of some recently tried and reviewed products. Before Vitamin Shoppe ended their BOGO 50% off D’s Naturals products promotion, I got the Raspberry Lava Cake and Salted Caramel Sundae flavors to try over the week. I go through jars of nut butters like nobody’s business so getting two for the week was just standard protocol 😛

D's Naturals Raspberry Lava Cake
D’s Naturals Raspberry Lava Cake

The Raspberry Lava Cake D’s Naturals spread tasted like mild chocolate peanut butter with a hint of fruit . A lot of the oil settled at the top and it was hard to get some to mix well at the bottom, but nevertheless it was a good flavor

The Salted Caramel Sundae had a smooth texture and taste that was easy on the palate. It From the two, I thought I would like RLC more, but I ended up having a stronger preference for SCS due to the fact that it has a smoother texture and flavor, and a mild caramel scent.

Salted Caramel Sundae D's Naturals Spread
Salted Caramel Sundae D’s Naturals Spread

During the same trip to Vitamin Shoppe, I also found the birthday cake flavor of Optimum Nutrition’s cake bites. While I thought the other two flavors were alright, I thought these bites were perfection.

Optimum Nutrition Cake Bites - Birthday Cake
Optimum Nutrition Cake Bites – Birthday Cake

The white chocolate coating had a firm enough texture to allow for it to have some crunch. And the sprinkles…it was like these three little bites were designed to be served as kid-friendly petit fours.

On Saturday, I had to make a trek to the downtown area (haha, I remember when it was pretty much my backyard…). I was starving by the time 2pm hit, and pizza sounded like the best idea ever.

Blaze Pizza near DTLA
Blaze Pizza near DTLA

It was my first time checking out Blaze Pizza, and I knew from the likes of the menu that the Art Lover sounded the most appetizing.

Time to add some toppings.
Time to add some toppings.

After laying out my crust, the woman behind the counter added the essentials: … Yeah, I could have made a completely different pizza that was customized to my design, but I found comfort in the description of the Art Lover.

Cookies!
Cookies!

Ricotta & mozzarella. ’nuff said.

Art Lover - artichokes, mozzarella, ricotta, chopped garlic, red sauce dollops
Art Lover – artichokes, mozzarella, ricotta, chopped garlic, red sauce dollops

I saw people around me feeling too full, having to carry-out half eaten pizzas. I was able to stomach the whole thing and not feel like I was going to burst! I may have had Italian seasoning-breath for the rest of the day, but a good pizza pie is worth it.

Can I have 3 more of these??
Can I have 3 more of these??

What good things have happened to you recently?

Blaze Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Buff Bake Protein Cookie Review

Buff Bake Protein Cookie Review

Disclaimer: I was provided samples from Buff Bake and all opinions are my own.

I’ve had Buff Bake spreads before, but when I tried my first Buff Bake protein cookie, I wasn’t sure what I had put in my mouth…

buffbake_wcpb
I thought a cup of coffee would work well with this Buff Bake WCPB protein cookie, but sadly this cookie was pretty stale 😑… definitely does not have soft status like @lennyandlarrys

I didn’t want to waste it, but as I was eating it I couldn’t help but think I had made a mistake in my choice of a morning snack. I thought I was being adventurous for trying a protein cookie different from the likes of Lenny & Larry’s, but to my disappointment, I regretted not picking up their white chocolate macadamia flavor from the campus bookstore…

I expressed my dissatisfaction on Instagram, and to my surprise, Buff Bake actually reached out with a response to immediately send over some fresh cookies to try! They commented that the cookie I had purchased had an older packaging, and that I needed a proper introduction to their product (okay, so I added the last part, but I’m sure they wanted to redo the first impression…)

They immediately sent over five different cookies in crisp, colorful packaging. I was shocked by how quickly they came too…within two days of their commenting on my Instagram! Oh, which flavor to begin with?!

cookies
The colors just popped out at me!!

Because the snickerdoodle Lenny & Larry’s has my heart, I had to try Buff Bake’s version for comparison’s sake.

snickerdoodle
This Snickerdoodle one immediately became a favorite of mine. To me, it looks more like a dense, puffy cake than a cookie (like one of those Pfeffernusse cookies), but it’s incredibly chewy and has a nice cinnamon/nutmeg aroma to it. Oh, and then there’s the nice addition of a thin glaze on top! I’m glad I got the opportunity to give these cookies-more-like-cakes another shot 😉

I would say the Lenny & Larry’s version is still my favorite (specifically if it comes out dense and chewy in the middle, because sometimes even they come out with fluke cookies…), but Buff Bake’s version was pretty good too. Definitely could see this paired with a glass of hot chocolate—the perfect sitting-by-the-fireplace holiday snack.

I then moved on to the birthday cake flavor. This one came with frosting on the top as well, but only a little in the middle? I don’t have an explanation…

birthday_Cake
I love it when birthday cake-themed foods are colorful, mixed with sprinkles, and come with a generous amount of frosting on top. The birthday cake @buffcake cookie is another dense, puffy cake-like flavor. It had a slight dry flavor (wasn’t as moist as snickerdoodle), but the frosting on top helped to some extent 😀🍰🍪

I’d say my second most favorite was Chocolate Donut.

chocolate_donut
I’m a bit surprised as to how this is not the @buffbake Birthday Cake protein cookie flavor. With frosting and sprinkles like this, this is Chocolate Donut?! Well whatever its name is, I’ll take it 😉🍩🍪 #teamfrosting

If I have to pick between team vanilla or team chocolate, I’d go with vanilla only because I can’t handle dark chocolate or chocolate on chocolate on chocolate. That was the case with Chocolate Chocolate Chip. While it had a dense texture and was full-flavored, it was just too much chocolate. There, I said it.

chocolate-chocolate-chip
There is such a thing as too much chocolate, sorry!

And finally, I gave WCPB another shot. I still found it slightly drier and stiffer compared to the other flavors, but compare to the one I originally had, it fared much better.

WCPB
Alien cookie, 😛

It had a quirky shape and lotsa chocolate chips, but it added character.

Which of these cookie flavors speaks out to you?

Last Road Trip of 2016

Last Road Trip of 2016

Last year, we had a Christmas Day lunch since our Christmas Eve dinner was spent with family friends. This time, our schedule was flipped so that Christmas Eve was spent at home and the dinner-turned-lunch on Christmas Day was spent with the same family friends as last year.

dinner
Plate #1 of my Christmas Eve dinner and a bird’s eye view of our feast.

Our menu was usual as years past, but now, it’s given us the opportunity to make up for Thanksgiving (at least in food). While my sis and I enjoyed this year’s humble Thanksgiving, it was nice to have Dad cook for us again, haha!

lemon_meringue_pie
I also did well in eating when I felt hungry throughout the day on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I didn’t “save” all my calories for the evening feast, like I would have in the past. When I felt like having a melty Lemon Meringue No Cow Bar with a melted L&L Snickerdoodle cookie, I did just that.

We exchanged gifts after our dinner, and had a relaxing day the day after. After lunch at our friends’ house, all of us collapsed into a deep nap.

snack
Another bar and snack combo—Chocolate Banana Bread No Cow Bar was a new try for me. Didn’t like the banana odor of course, but the bar texture stayed true in comparison to all of the other No Cow Bars.
dark-raspberry-truffle
I accidentally deleted the unwrapped picture of the Chocolate Banana Bread flavor, but the Dark Raspberry Truffle one pictured here was pretty much identical in appearance. Not a huge fan of this one either!

We had an extra day to run errands/prepare for our short road trip on the day after Christmas. I also stocked up on some bars at GNC, including some new FitJoy bars. I tried the Birthday Cake flavor and immediately was a fan. I haven’t been a returning customer of FitJoy (except maybe for their chocolate chip cookie dough flavor), but their Birthday Cake flavor has a nice balance of vanilla cream coating with confetti crisps in the center. Something I can return to and enjoy!

birthdaycake
I can get along with this FitJoy!

Tuesday was a travel day on the road with a stop in Dallas to see a cousin we haven’t seen in YEARS and her newborn. Before leaving, I had the two seasonal FitJoy flavors I picked up: Iced Gingerbread and Winter Peppermint Bark.

iced_ginger
I love the dark green color on the wrapper!

I was a fan of both, and while Birthday Cake still “took the cake” in comparison, I couldn’t help but appreciate the cinnamon-looking flakes atop the Iced Gingerbread bar, and it’s holiday aroma. The Winter Peppermint Bark bar looked festive, as well as having a minty fresh taste.

winterpeppermint
Pink peppermint pieces! A white icing swirl! Why aren’t all their bars like this??

It was a four hour trip to my cousin’s apartment, but it was so nice to catch up. The last time we saw her, my sister and I were in elementary school and she was 12! Her baby boy was adorable, and we had a humble lunch before leaving for Houston. It was another four hours from Dallas, and I gave my Dad a break from driving by taking the wheel. When we got to Houston that evening, we encountered intermittent but harsh rainstorms! It was an adventure to drive through for sure, so it was nice to have my Dad alongside me to guide me through it, haha.

mall_
A fancy mall/apartment complex in the Upper Kirby area of Houston.

We reached my cousin’s place around 8pm, chatted for a bit, and had some pumpkin chili with bread rolls before going to bed. The next morning, I ran in the humid Houston weather and was drenched in sweat after five miles…was it really still winter? Haha, I did get a bit lost after taking a wrong turn, so I actually ended up having a 30 min cool-down walk before getting back to my cousin’s house.

pondicheri
Pondicheri

We didn’t have any set plans, but we did finally leave for lunch once my cousin’s son and husband were ready. For lunch, we went over to a trendy Indo-fusion place called Pondicheri (not to be confused with Pondicherry, an actual city in India).

interior
Love the India decor!

The interior was colorful, with reds, yellows, and blues thrown everywhere like no tomorrow. The seating arrangements were slightly crowded though, and for a group of six we had to squeeze two small tables together.

curry
Rajma (what I got) description, and a colorful wordy wall by the restrooms.

All of us had a paneer cheese and spinach samosa to start off with as an appetizer. Hot sauce was used for dipping, and added some chemical heat to the temperature heat that was still stored inside the golden crust of the samosa. Steam came out so rapidly that it fogged up my phone camera!

paneer_samosa
Aww, it looks so cute too!

For my entree, I had some rice with spicy vegetable rajma, which was basically a curry type dish that was spicy and bean-rich. I ultimately mixed the rice into this and had is as one combined bowl. I also picked at. T Dad’s morning thali, which had a variety of different sides, including oddly enough, oatmeal topped with pistachio!

bowl
Rajma & tumeric rice

Everyone else had dosa, burgers, or a wrap called a Frankie, which is apparently a common street food Mumbai-style stuffed roti & egg wash wrap with cilantro chutney & marinated cabbage.

After filling up on lunch, we walked back to the van we drove in and made our way to a temple. The drive was long with traffic, so I dozed off along with everyone else in a passenger seat. We spent a good hour at the temple, and even took a moment to check out the peacock garden. There were four fluorescent blue males busy grooming their extravagant tails, and three bored females.

It was 4:30pm when we left, and we stopped at a strip mall with some Indian grocery stores and restaurants for some late afternoon coffee. The coffee was too milky for me, but it was enough to keep me slightly awake until we got back to my cousin’s house. We spent another two hours in the area for some Indian grocery shopping. Then another hour or so in traffic! Needless to say, at least my sister and I were exhausted by he time we got back. I immediately changed into my pajamas and did some data analysis on my laptop until dinner was ready.

We concluded the day with a spaghetti dinner, dessert from the bake shop Pondicheri that my cousin picked up when we were still at the restaurant earlier in the day, and board game playing. My cousin’s son had a board game called “Ticket to Ride” that he insisted we all participate in together. My sister compared it to the game Risk, and while it was a fun game, I honestly wanted to just head to my room and sleep since it had been a long day. We finished up around midnight, and I couldn’t have been more ready to land on my pillow! But at least I was the fun kind of exhausted.

Pondicheri Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Lion’s Pack Cookie Dough Review & An Overdue Survey

The Lion’s Pack Cookie Dough Review & An Overdue Survey

Disclaimer: I was not provided compensation or product samples from The Lion’s Pack. The products were purchased by me, and all opinions are my own.

After hearing so many positive reviews about The Lion’s Pack (previously The Lion’s Choice), I decided that now was a better time than any to make my first purchase and try one of their most raved about products—their high-protein, vegan-friendly edible cookie dough! I was already spending money online with online gift shopping for friends and family, so I thought why not just get a 4-pack of the cookie dough, ignore the fact I was paying $45 for said cookie dough, and “act pleasantly surprised” when it arrived at my doorstep.

I later learned that it takes at least two weeks for an order to arrive, since it takes a week to get onto the production line (they make all of their orders fresh), and then another week to package and ship out. The USPS tracking was a mess too. I ended up going to the post office because I received a tracking notification that said the postman tried to deliver the package but the receptacle was blocked? It made no sense since the mailbox I use is right by the front door. I ended up going to the post office the next day, but they didn’t have my package either. Fortunately, it was waiting for me that evening on the doorstep.

From my calculations, it took ~16 days for a 4-pack order to arrive from the day of order to the day of delivery. My anticipations and temporary frustrations vanished when I opened the parcel:

dough____
The Lion’s Pack Edible Cookie Dough

I ordered the Birthday Cake, Snickerdoodle, Samoa Cookie, and Oreo Cookie flavors. I twisted open the birthday cake flavor first, and after gazing into the confetti-mixed concoction, I grabbed a spoon and dug in. Honestly, I had high hopes but the flavor didn’t match my expectations. It tasted like vanilla dough with sprinkles…no magical frosting swirl or cake bits like one would imagine.

birthday_cookie
Birthday Cake

Snickerdoodle was similar in that sense, but it did have a cinnamon-like flavor and what tasted like crystallized sugar beads.

snickerdoodle
Snickerdoodle

Oreo cookie was amazing. It literally had oreo cookie pieces with the cream filling still intact.

lionspack_oreo
Oreo Cookie

I mean, wow.

oreo_
Hello 🙂

And finally, Samoa Cookie. There were coconut flakes immersed throughout and chocolate chips to accompany them. Out of the four, this tasted the most like the type of cookie dough you would roll into balls for baking, and chewy, textured cookies would result.

samoa_cookie_dough
Samoa cookie dough with coconut flakes peeking out 🙂

I love how all of the flavors are vegan-friendly, and one jar is ~1000 calories, which is about what a Ben and Jerry’s pint would come out to. They can easily fit into one’s meal plan for the day, and they have a good amount of probiotics too!

Because it does take two weeks for an order to arrive, I already placed my second order so that it will arrive a few days after I come back to LA 😉

Now, time for a survey because it’s been way too long. Found this one first on Irina’s blog :

1. Do you eat blue cheese?
I love blue cheese in salads (I’m a fan of feta), and as a special add-in ingredient in sandwiches or Mediterranean plates with falafel, but I wouldn’t say it’s my go-to cheese. Actually, I don’t find myself eating dairy-based cheese on its own as much as I used to.

beanitos
I will have it if it coats some white bean-based chip puffs that are >> than Cheetos Puffs.

2. Can you whistle?
No, not really. I can blow a bubble with chewing gum.

3. Do you get nervous before a doctor’s appointment?
It depends on the type of visit. Usually no, but it depends.

4. How many televisions do you have?
One, but I predominatly use my humble laptop to mostly watch YouTube and Netflix. I did have a TV in my old apartment that belonged to the apartment complex, and since moving, now have a TV in the room I rent.

5. What do you think of hot dogs?
How about veggie dogs? I love veggie dogs!

6. Do you do push-ups?
Yeaaaa-no. LOL!

7. Favorite girl’s and boy’s names?
I don’t really have favorites. Never given it much thought actually.

8. Do you have ADD?
No, probably the opposite! I’m always complaining of being tired/needing more sleep.

9. What is one thing you dislike about yourself?
I feel like this is an un-motivating question…

10. What’s in your pocket right now?
Nothing because I am wearing my pajama pants with cupcakes and macaroons on them 🙂

fitjoy
If I did have pockets, they would be holding bars for sure. Maybe not these ones because these Fitjoy Bars were sub-par…
barz
Chocolate Peanut Butter (top) & Mint Chocolate Crisp (bottom)

11. Do you own slippers?
Yes! Bunny ones in fact, but I haven’t worn them since moving since my room is carpeted. My old apartment had “wood” flooring so I wore slippers so my feet wouldn’t get dirty.

12. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
I’ve had some annoying running-related injuries (groin pull and a posterior shin splint, ugghhh), but I think the worst injury that I remember was when a girl threw a softball at me in my middle school P.E. class and it hit me right on the mouth. I had braces, so my lips were swollen and bruised for like a week. Needless to say, that girl became my enemy…

13. Favorite flavor of ice cream?
This is the hardest question ever. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Birthday Cake, Strawberry, Cookies & Cream, the Ben and Jerry’s core pints…I could go on…

chocolate_sea_salt
It would also be hard question to answer if it was changed to which flavor RX Bar is my favorite. Chocolate Sea Salt is a contender though!

14. How do you ring in the New Year?
Drinking sparkling cider and going to bed right after the ball drops.

15. Favorite month?
August because 1) birthday month and 2) summer weather at its finest.

Take a spin at this survey! 😉

Easy-goin’ Okie Eats

Easy-goin’ Okie Eats

It felt so freeing to be able to take a break from being a “city girl”, and take a week off to go to my first home of Tulsa, OK. It was an easy-going week filled with naps, cuddling with my cat, runs at River Park (though they were shorter than what I’m used to doing, due to some shin pain I’ve been having), ice cream and custard runs, get-togethers, shopping, movie and Olympics-watching, and getting in as much home-cooked dinners as possible.

I had this Chobani Flip flavor (Chocolate Haze Craze) with hazelnut pieces and chocolate as a snack my second night there.
I had this Chobani Flip flavor (Chocolate Haze Craze) with hazelnut pieces and chocolate as a snack my second night there.

In the beginning of the week, I spent most of my time at home, and when my Dad got off work, we would go grocery shopping or to River Park for some breath of fresh air. After familiarizing myself with the area, I went to River Park in the following days for morning runs. My left posterior shin was acting up, so my runs ended up being short and semi-sweet.

Braum's Dairy
Braum’s Dairy

On one night, we went stopped by Braum’s—a ubiquitous dairy shop in Oklahoma—for some late night ice cream. It’s almost like the dessert version of McDonald’s in Oklahoma. I got a cup of birthday cake ice cream, which ended up being a bright blue scoop with soft chunks of vanilla pound cake mixed in.

Braum's Birthday Cake
Braum’s Birthday Cake

Since my Dad had a free pastry to redeem at Panera, we went there for breakfast. We split a coffee, an egg sandwich with cheese and avocado, and a sugary-sweet bearclaw.

Panera Breakfast with Dad!
Panera Breakfast with Dad!

We didn’t eat out much on this trip because I wanted to take advantage of having home-cooked meals prepared (with love J ) and we also ate at get-togethers at friends’ houses. For lunch on my last full day in Tulsa, we went to a housewarming of one of my dad’s co-workers. They had Desi food catered, and we piled on the trays as we made our way down the marble countertop in the kitchen of their new home.

Desi food!!
Desi food!!

Later that day, my Dad and I went to the movies to watch Ghostbusters (while I love the SNL ladies, the movie was ‘meh’), and afterwards, had a treat to cool-off that’s favored in the Midwest and South over froyo! I think there is only about two froyo places in all of Tulsa, and if you have a craving for something sweet, frozen, but not ice cream, your next best thing is frozen custard.

Welcome to Andy's!
Welcome to Andy’s!

Andy’s Frozen Custard was very close to the theater we went to, and I told my Dad I would pay for the both of us. My way of saying thanks for not having to buy groceries that week 😉

How is custard made?
How is custard made?

They had so many variations on frozen custard available. While vanilla and chocolate are the main base flavors, they can be included in the creation of a sundae or concrete, the latter of which involves a crazy amount of mix-ins and sauces depending on what combination caught your eye.

Chocolate & Vanilla Frozen Custard
Chocolate & Vanilla Frozen Custard

My Dad and I decided to keep it simple and just get a cone/cup of the base flavors chocolate and vanilla. We enjoyed our desserts outside, and I took note of the smooth, creamy taste of my custard. It was light, but not froyo-light. It actually had the creaminess of a soft-serve you’d get at a fast food restaurant.

I knew that after giving one of the base flavors a try, I would have to come back to try a concrete. Seeing as my next trip won’t be until December, I’ll probably have the chance to choose from seasonal flavors…like candy cane!

Overall, my six-day trip to Oklahoma was a good one. I was sad to leave so soon, and honestly wouldn’t have mind staying another week. Time will fly by before I know it though, and I am planning to make my winter stay a longer one.

Until Next Time...
Until Next Time…

Andy's Frozen Custard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’m Exhausted (An Understatement)

I’m Exhausted (An Understatement)

I’ve been sooo behind on blogging, but I have my legitimate reasons…how’s about moving, a birthday, and 24 hr+ working day/night for starters?

The week before my birthday/last week in my now-ex-apartment was a very rough one. My emotions were raw, and dealing with certain people with these already broiling emotions had me on the verge of waterworks. I did end up crying, but one of my co-workers was there to talk me through it and calm me down.

Even though tension was at an all-time high, I had some comforting snacks to get me through the tormenting week.

A Promax bar mixed with four flavors of froyo and mochi pieces because mochi is life <3
A Promax bar mixed with four flavors of froyo and mochi pieces because mochi is life <3
Bar + pint
Bar + pint
Green pro-frosting made with a free tub of Vega protein powder I got from the blogger expo, mixed with a crumbled L&L birthday cookie.
Green pro-frosting made with a free tub of Vega protein powder I got from the blogger expo, mixed with a crumbled L&L birthday cookie.
A Lenny & Larry's lemon Poppyseed Cookie---so underrated, yet soooo good!
A Lenny & Larry’s lemon Poppyseed Cookie—so underrated, yet soooo good!

A shipment of ANSI Nutrition’s newest protein cheesecake bar flavors was a pleasant surprise to receive in the mail. Funny thing was, I first tried these on one of the worst work days of the week, so they just so happened to be the highlight of that particular day 😉

The Birthday Cake flavor was soft, and had a mild vanilla flavor to it. It could have used some sprinkles, but it was not overwhelming.

Birthday Cake
Birthday Cake

Chocolate Coconut was my favorite flavor from the three newest flavors. It had a tougher texture with the coconut flakes and chocolate coating, and to me, was more pleasant than the Chocolate Banana flavor.

Chocolate Coconut
Chocolate Coconut

The latter was decent, but since I’m not a fan of raw bananas, there was only so much banana flavor I could handle.

Chocolate Banana
Chocolate Banana

So it was no surprise Chocolate Coconut was my winner 😉

When move out day finally came around, I was successfully able to round up an army to help me move out…well, a one man army a.k.a. my Dad, who I hadn’t seen in 8 months!! Honestly, I don’t know how I would have moved OR cleaned my apartment without him.

Before any of the hard work though, we had dinner together at Yalla Mediterranean in Culver City. It replaced Daphne’s Greek, which I had intentions on visiting someday but I guess that just won’t happen.

Yalla Mediterranean
Yalla Mediterranean

Yalla was great though. After waiting in line behind a lady who wanted to sample everythannnnng, my Dad and I were finally able to order our plates. We both got the falafel plate and got to choose from plenty of sides colorfully placed alongside eachother at the counter bar. I picked the steamed veggies to pair with my falafel, along with a slaw, babaganoush, and a dressed beets and kale salad. There was some unpictured pita side, and a whole lotta YUM.

My beautiful platter
My beautiful platter

Our trays were incredibly nourishing, and enough to get us started with cleaning my apartment…at 9pm. We even managed to get my roommate to work, with all of us retiring at midnight. BUT, we continued to work as soon as we got up the next morning…

Aided by baby falafels
Aided by baby falafels

Have you ever had to move? What was your experience like?

Yalla Mediterranean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

All-Nighters and All the Freebies

All-Nighters and All the Freebies

This past week has tested my endurance, patience, and energy levels…between pulling an all-nighter in lab to attending my first bloggers conference, I was on my feet from pretty much the break of dawn till night.

A visit to the new The Halal Guys location in Koreatown wasn’t enough to fuel me (or prepare me) for my all-nighter on Monday. It was good enough for a Saturday afternoon lunch, but I feel like I needed a much longer break than that! Well, at least I did get some kind of break that weekend!

The Halal Guys, Koreatown
The Halal Guys, Koreatown

I first visited The Halal Guys with my sister at their new-at-the-time Costa Mesa location over Thanksgiving break last year. Our Airbnb was a few blocks away, so it was a serendipitous encounter indeed.

Waiting in line...finally made it inside!
Waiting in line…finally made it inside!

As expected, there was a line out the door, and I estimate that there was at least a 30 minute wait from when I first got in line to when I got a seat inside. So, not TOO bad, but in some places, even those that are not considered “fast food” restaurants, I’ve ordered and received food in half that time.

The Halal Guys - Falafel Platter
The Halal Guys – Falafel Platter

I ordered the falafel plate like last time, which came with lettuce, orange rice, five falafel, and sauces. There was some miscommunication at the register about my pita bread, so I ended up missing that. The next time I visit a Halal Guys I’ll have to remember to try the falafel sandwich, as that’s my other only option as a vegetarian :/

The Halal Guys - Falafel Platter
The Halal Guys – Falafel Platter

I didn’t enjoy this platter as much as I did the first time since everything tasted drier than what I remembered. Perhaps it was due to there being less sauce than usually administered, and I attribute that to a distracted employee. It was opening weekend, so I don’t blame her!

And even though I was feeling anxious all weekend about Monday’s upcoming events, I tried to keep my mind at ease with Halo Top and new-to-me Combat Crunch bars: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Coconut.

New Bar!
New Bar!

I topped the birthday cake Halo Top with the CCCD flavor, and I immediately wondered why I had not done this sooner?!

Combination Pint Nights!
Combination Pint Nights!

The bar itself wasn’t my absolute favorite, but the thing I like about Combat Crunch bars is the coated-crispies on the top of their bars. I repeated this combination with their newer Chocolate Coconut flavor with vanilla bean Halo Top, and found this to be the winning combination.

Better combination for pint night!
Better combination for pint night!

I prefer the white chocolate coating of the bar, and was able to detect the coconut flakes inside the bar. It seemed to mesh well with the soft, creamy, but not too overpowering vanilla bean flavor of the light ice cream.

Monday-Wednesday were far from enjoyable, but when Thursday came around, I had something fun to look forward to—Blogfest! I was able to attend this year because I was able to get my registration waived AND it was in LA, so it made it so much easier to attend and work around my lab schedule.

Idea World/BlogFest 2016
Idea World/BlogFest 2016

Gigi invited me to have lunch at Spitz with some other bloggers in downtown/Little Tokyo before heading over to the expo, and this served as my incentive to get through my morning lab work as quickly as possible!

Spitz, Little Tokyo
Spitz, Little Tokyo

Even though it was a weekday, Spitz was packed and busy catering to downtown office workers on their lunch break. I ordered the Garden Bowl, which made for an appropriate light lunch so I would have room for expo samples later!

Garden Platter: raw veggies with roasted chickpeas, hummus, tahini, and three falafel
Garden Platter: raw veggies with roasted chickpeas, hummus, tahini, and three falafel

A short Uber ride later, we arrived at the Convention Center where the expo was taking place. Since Thursday was the first full day the expo was open and all the activities were in full swing, many of the vendors had freebies galore and there were so many eager recepients wandering around.

Walking around the expo!
Walking around the expo!
One of the BlogFest Sessions
One of the BlogFest Sessions

I literally ended up hauling four full-sized bags of free stuff, and now my fridge is stocked with sparkling water to last me for days…

bags
Free stuff! Woo-hoo!!!!

I attended the expo on Thursday and Friday afternoons, met some new and familiar faces (including Julianna and Kaila), and overall had a fun time. It was what I needed to get over the overexhausted/depressed funk from the all-nighter and long working days earlier in the week.

Have you ever pulled an all-nighter for work?

Spitz Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Springtime Sushi

Springtime Sushi

Is it really already APRIL?! By the way the weather has been acting, it’s pretty real indeed!

Thanks to my tax return, I finally invested in a BedJet, so it looks like a creature from Star Wars is “hiding” under my bed covers…at least I no longer have to worry about participating in A/C Wars with my roommate! I absolutely love this little machine, and the its ability to keep my skin cool throughout the night. Why didn’t I get this sooner when I was going through ED recovery night sweats?!

I also had the urge to let off some steam on Instagram, after being whistled at a couple times last week while running. Some may say it is to be expected when running outdoors in the city, but that is by no means a valid, acceptable reason. I should be able to wear what I want to workout, and not feel ashamed, fearful, or intimidated by others for doing so.

Loving my new BedJet, and still gonna rock my Nike pros!
Loving my new BedJet, and still gonna rock my Nike pros!

Now onto the foodie-things of last weekend. Since I did not have to set one foot into lab over the weekend, I was able to hang out with my roommate on Saturday afternoon. We went to an outdoor music festival, and it was blazing HOT outside. I made the mistake of wearing strappy sandals, taking advantage of the fact I did not have to go into lab, but forgetting that heat + walking + sandals = blisters. UGH.

Jogasaki---my first food truck in LA (besides Waffles de Liege offered at a race I ran in last year...)
Jogasaki—my first food truck in LA (besides Waffles de Liege offered at a race I ran in last year…)

There were food trucks at the venue, and I took it as an opportunity to try my first one (besides the waffle one at a race I went to last year). Jogasaki was the most popular one there, and the only vegetarian dish they had was the veggie burrito.

The truck menu.
The truck menu.

I don’t know why they didn’t just call it a Sushirito though, since the other menu items were variations on the sushirito…

Veggie Burrito---er, Sushirito
Veggie Burrito—er, Sushirito

My sushirito was cylindrical roll of rice, filled with cucumber, avocado, and marinated seaweed, all of which was rolled up in rice paper. My roommate got a grilled cheese and tater tots (and I cannot imagine how she ate that hot food in the blazing hot weather…). We ate our meals on the grass, and then got up afterwards to check out the freebies.

Spring time music, food, and freebies.
Spring time music, food, and freebies.

The live music was pretty lame because there really was no defined set of acts and performers. A couple people got on stage to say “check, check”, and then they reverted to just playing pre-recorded music.

At least the freebies were worth it. I ended up with several shirts, KIND bars, sunglasses, and between my roommate and I, a bouquet of flowers for our apartment.

Free flowers!!
Free flowers!!
Some of dem freebies
Some of dem freebies

On Sunday, I felt the need to go shopping! I ended up going alone to Culver City after my morning long run, and ventured inside the Culver City Mall for the first time. When I lived in NorCal, my local mall got on my nerves after a while because it was pretty much the only place my friends and I would go, but stepping inside the CCM made me remember those good ol’ times and how much I miss those days 😛

I stopped by the Sprouts next to the mall before heading home, and pick up two Enlightened pints that have been all the rage on Instagram.

Those swirls... :D :D :D
Those swirls… 😀 😀 😀

Frozen Hot Cocoa blew me away…probably because the ingredients listed GHEE as an ingredient (which I have never seen as an ice cream ingredient before!!) and the swirls were insanely delicious. Of course I soon got tired of the chocolate, but those swirls!! I topped the pint with a FitElite Birthday Cake bar, which I bought only because a GNC was in the mall and I had not tried this bar flavor yet. I honestly was not a fan, since it tasted like bland vanilla fudge taffy with a smattering of spherical sprinkles :/ .

Frozen Hot Cocoa pint topped with a FitElite Birthday Cake Bar.
Frozen Hot Cocoa pint topped with a FitElite Birthday Cake Bar.
Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch
Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch

Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch on the other hand, made my Monday evening pleasant. After a long day in lab, coming home to this pint mixed with cookie pieces and oatmeal flakes in a caramel base was super comforting. If the other Enlightened ice cream flavors are just as good as these two, I think I’m going to have many worthwhile Sprouts grocery shopping trips in the near future 😉

Have you heard of BedJet?

Would you eat a sushirito?

Jogasaki Sushi Burrito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hope on a Cloudy Day

Hope on a Cloudy Day

After weekend out in Westwood and a killer 16 miler in the same area the next day (marathon training yet again!), the week that followed was less thrilling.

The days were quite routine, and not made any better by this Oh Yeah! One Birthday Cake flavored bar. It seems to be getting so much hype on social media, but it was just ‘meh’ to me. Yes, it has sprinkles, and yes, it has a sweet scent reminiscent of a vanilla birthday cake candle, but it’s small size didn’t exactly win me over.

 Sprinkles usually makes everything good, but unfortunately this was a pretty sub-par bar...
Sprinkles usually makes everything good, but unfortunately this was a pretty sub-par bar…

Certainly not worth forking up $24.99 over for a box, on sale. Yeah, I’ve paid that much for Quest bars numerous times, but even they don’t appease my taste buds as much anymore…

By the time Friday rolled around, I was ready to get into weekend mode! I celebrated with an unpictured pint of ice cream, and lots of rest (I was in bed by 9pm, and I don’t feel shameful about it at all 😛 ).

On Saturday, I woke up to cloudy skies and took the red line to Studio City after lab. I had a late lunch at this positively healthy place…

 Healthy Organic Positive Eating
Healthy Organic Positive Eating

This place is so calm on the inside. On first glance, it seems as though everyone was at peace here.

 So zen in here.
So zen in here.

I got a chuckle out of the menu!

 Haha, gotta love the menu!
Haha, gotta love the menu!

It took a while to get a waiter over, but after debating myself over a few choices, I decided to go for the vegan pumpkin curry with seitan as my protein, and with a side of brown rice.

My square bowl came out hot and fresh, with the steam still rising and orange broth so bright.

 Vegan pumpkin curry! All the good stuff is in here...
Vegan pumpkin curry! All the good stuff is in here…

The coconut milk tasted perfect, and my melange of peppers, pumpkin, and seitan mixed with the broth nicely.

 Brown rice in the shape of a ♥
Brown rice in the shape of a ♥

I spent the rest of the afternoon walking a few blocks in Studio City. I stopped in Free People, Urban Outfitters, and Brandy Melville, and ended up making a purchase in the latter of the three 😉 . After one final stop at Trader Joe’s, I lugged my coming week’s worth of groceries back on the train.

I may have ended up buying my routine items for my routine meals, but maybe this coming week will be less routine even though my meals may not be!

Are you a fan of thai curry?

H.O.P.E Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Burgers in Chinatown

Burgers in Chinatown

It’s hard to believe that the LA Marathon is about a month and a half away! I bring this up because I’m running it again with my marathon team, and this Sunday marked the day we get back into increasing long run mileage. We did run 20 miles as our longest run prior to the holidays, but now is when things are getting serious 😉

I had to run today’s 14 miles alone since our team is only going to resume group practices next week, but prior to my run, I fueled up in the very best way—even though it wasn’t my birthday!

Muscle Butter Birthday Cake!
Muscle Butter Birthday Cake!

Despite not being a true fan of the glazed donut Muscle Butter flavor, I picked up this jar along with two boxes of birthday cake Lenny & Larry’s cookies since I had a $50 rewards certificate to redeem from Vitamin Shoppe. I found that both combined together is a combination beyond words. Colorful sprinkles go a long way!

For lunch later that day, it was only a short bus drive away to Chinatown for some burgers!

Chinatown's #1 Burger
Chinatown’s #1 Burger

I’ve walked through Chinatown before to get to a race, but besides that, I never set aside time to explore Chinatown itself. Even so, I find the area charming, and one day I’ll devote a day exploring it fully.

Quaint seating area
Quaint seating area

I ordered my burger at the counter, and went for the vegan cheeseburger because why not have an extra cheese slice? I’m not sure if the cheese slice was vegan, but at least it was vegetarian! Once I made my order, I was given my order number and waited until my box of burger and fries was prepared.

When my number was called, I took my In-N-Out style meal over to the seating area.

Vegan cheeseburger and fries
Vegan cheeseburger and fries

It’s funny how it looks like an In-N-Out burger box, since there was another restaurant patron nearby who commented on how Burgerlords was a “more expensive, less tasty” version of In-N-Out. 😛

Vegan cheeseburger with fries.
Vegan cheeseburger with fries.

The burger was soft, and layered with tomato, cheese, onion, and lettuce with a burger tucked in between two buns spread with thousand island dressing. I attacked the fries with a fork, after squeezing some ketchup on top of course! It came with a cute food flag, and at the bottom of the box, I was reminded where I was 😉

Burgerlords in a box.
Burgerlords in a box.

The location is spot-on as well, right in the heart of Old Chinatown where countless stores are aligned. It makes total sense for hungry shoppers to take a break and purchase a burger to quickly eat before hopping over to the next shop. Since it was getting colder, I didn’t stay too long, but like I said, Chinatown is still a spot I plan to explore thoroughly in time 🙂

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...