Weekend One with the Sis

Weekend One with the Sis

The first weekend my sister stayed over was spent apartment scoping, food tasting, and shopping (for her, while I anxiously tried to plan my upcoming week in lab/submit a very important email…). It’s funny how this was a weekend in early June, and this post is only going live in mid-July… #PhDStudentLife

We drove down to Irvine after we went to lab. She was able to help me finish faster and with lab experience of her own, I could tell her to do something without worrying if she knew how to do it accurately, haha. We were on the road before noon, and had enough time to stop for lunch before her apartment viewing appointment. So Veggie Grill at the Irvine Spectrum it was!

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Because my visits to Veggie Grill have encompassed many of their locations, I like to visit when they have seasonal specials just so I can make sure I am trying something completely new. Their summer menu was featured this time around, and the Super Rica burger was calling my name…

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My sister went with her favorite Southern Fried Chik’n plate, as usual, but I did not regret my choice.

The Super Rica Burger, made with Beyond burger, chorizo queso, fire-roasted poblanos, cherry pepper, charred onions, lettuce, tomato, house made "corn nuts" + crispy fries
The Super Rica Burger, made with Beyond burger, chorizo queso, fire-roasted poblanos, cherry pepper, charred onions, lettuce, tomato, house made “corn nuts” + crispy fries

It had the perfect blend of spicy, creamy, and crunchy. I didn’t have fries on the side, but the coleslaw was not some poorly made side dish—it brought it’s out flavorful punch too!

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I guess I was hungrier than I thought, because I finished my plate entirely and helped my sister out with hers.

It was soon approaching 1pm so we made our way back to the car and drove towards the apartment complex she booked a tour at. The visit was alright, but the cons definitely outweighed the pros. Finding a place in the OC that was decently priced and clean was surprisingly not too easy a task, and I could tell my sister was feeling frustrated. I was able to propose a solution for her that didn’t solve the housing problem, but at least it took her mind off the issue for a little bit.

Churned Creamery, Cypress
Churned Creamery, Cypress

We were able to stop by Churned Creamery in Cypress for a tasting of their constantly-churning ice cream (the ice cream is in huge vats that are consistently being mixed through). They had number of options, including their unique CroCream: a croissant stuffed with ice cream and toppings.

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The servers were all super sweet ladies enthusiastic about ice cream. After sampling a few flavors, I went with one of their recommendations—Whiskey cream ice cream stuffed in a warm, crispy croissant and topped with Mochi cubes.

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The croissant was a flaky, golden brown on the outside and edges, but perfectly soft on the inside.

Whiskey Cream Crocone with mochi and strawberries ♥
Whiskey Cream CroCream with mochi and strawberries ♥

My sister of course got her chocolate fix with an ice cold, thick chocolate milkshake mixed with a scoop of Oreo ice cream. She could not deny that it was quite a dense and thick shake indeed.

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Looking at all the flavors of ice cream they offered, the possibilities seemed endless! It just so happened that we could have gone by their Irvine location (their grand opening was that day…), but the Cypress staff accommodated us on short-notice without a doubt.

We were back on the road and headed home soon after. Our plans the following day turned out to be similar—woke up, long run before going to lab, getting out and feeling crazy ravenous, and driving up to NoHo only to find out the restaurant we were planning to have lunch at was closed on Sundays…

We ended up getting veggie burgers at a chain restaurant, and then driving to the Glendale Galleria to find a graduation gift for our friend who graduated at the end of June. While at the mall, I made a stop at GNC and picked up the new Quest Hero bars.

Blueberry Cobbler was my favorite, with a vanilla yogurt coating and a fruity, chewy filling.

Blueberry Cobbler
Blueberry Cobbler

Vanilla Caramel was decent, but I thought the texture of the filling was pretty dry.

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Vanilla Caramel

I could go without having another of the Chocolate Caramel Pecan flavor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a chocolate lover (such as my sister) found this to be their favorite of the three.

Chocolate
Chocolate Caramel Pecan

Even though apartment hunting was a bust on this particular weekend, at least we made the most of our dining out choices. And just having my sister for company made the weekend all the more enjoyable.

Veggie Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Time Flies When You’re Living Life

Time Flies When You’re Living Life

Ahhh, no post for about two weeks! I kind of needed the break, and life has been “much too distracting” to find the time and patience to put a post together. I haven’t even been perusing through the ‘gram much lately either. It makes me happy that I’m busy/engaged enough with life right now to not be glued to a screen.

I didn’t even go out for lunch or dinner over Easter weekend. That Saturday, I was extremely exhausted and ended up taking naps in the afternoon in addition to “sleeping in” until 7:30am. I did get some new flavors of bars to try and a jar of D’s Naturals spread…

salted-caramel
Post run noms from this morning! Got around to trying the Salted Caramel Oh Yeah! One bar and thought it tasted fantastic! Definitely has a salty kick, but the caramel-flavored shell coating and fudge-like center of the bar helped to balance it all out. And there’s something about that purple-colored wrapper that’s just so eye-catching. 😜👍🏽

I did force myself to get out of the house to go see a critically-acclaimed anime movie called Your Name. I went to a late afternoon showing at an indie film place in Santa Monica, and did not regret it! The movie was fantastic—the animation, storytelling, plot twists—critics say the director of this movie is the next Hayao Miyazaki and if they are coming to that conclusion based on this movie alone, I feel they are right on the money!

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This Maple Glazed Donut Oh Yeah! One nutrition bar definitely hits you with the scent of maple syrup when opened, but the flavor is quite bland in comparison to the other new flavors I tried in my previous recent posts. Be wary of delicious sounding flavor names!

Because I felt so exhausted on Saturday, I moved my long run workout for the week to Sunday. My coach usually has me doing Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday workouts as my “key” workouts, while the rest of the days are easy aerobic recovery days. So on Sunday, I set out to do a mix up long run that was 30k in distance, with fast intervals thrown in. Since the workout was broken up in 5k chunks, it was mentally manageable.

blueberry-cobbler
This Blueberry Cobbler Oh Yeah! One nutrition bar may be one of my new favorites. Served cold, it tastes like a blueberry ice cream bar. 🍦

Obviously, I was ravenous and smelly by the time that was over. I quickly showered and took the train over to E’s place since she invited me to her landlords’ Easter brunch. I didn’t have pics from the event since I wasn’t in a phone picture-taking mood, but we were fed well. I was also introduced to the delicious treat that is a Ferrero Egg. Where can I get more of them??

cocoa-glazed-cinnamon-roll-
On Saturday, I felt dead exhausted 💀 sleep 😴…the kind of tired that makes you feel like staying in bed ALL DAY is a very good idea…but I did manage to have this Cocoa Glazed Cinnamon Roll @dsnaturals Fluffbutter from Vitamin Shoppe. After snacking on this, and taking yet another nap, at least I had enough energy to go see @yourname.movie ! Loved this cocoa scented jar that had a soft butter texture just as much as I loved the movie 💕

Afterwards, E and I spent the rest of the day in downtown SaMo, walking down the pier and laughing at a sign that said “Weed Week” that was flying through the sky attached to a plane. We then walked in circles around the promenade only to sit down for coffee and later Pinkberry. When I got home, I crashed and fell into a glorious night’s worth of sleep!

The following week kept me busy—I honestly can’t recall all of the things I did, but there was so much done, yet so much left to do! #LifeofAResearcher . I was so exhausted by Friday night, and a new pint flavor was exactly what I was craving:

justlike a milkshake
This legit tastes like a {vegan} melty chocolate milkshake with cream-filled cookie chunks. Sometimes it pays off to try a new flavor—I was about to buy Snickerdoodle (which I know I love), but felt a little daring on a recent trip to Ralph’s. Now I think I may have another new So Delicious favorite…

It was also an interesting week for my training program too! My coach had me try a double run on Saturday…15.5 miles in the morning and 10 miles in the PM. It sounded daunting at first, but I was also looking forward to the challenge! I ran the morning run with one of my marathon team teammates, but the weather was not in our favor. It got hot really quickly, with temperatures reaching the 80s by 8AM. It was a tough workout for sure, but having someone to run the longer run of the day with certainly helped!

I noticed that my upper left calf started to feel sore, so I made sure to spend some time rolling it out/massaging it when I got home. Before getting in some hours of rest and recovery, I stopped in Culver City to address the other “R”: REFUEL.

Tender Greens seems to have locations all over So Cal, and in my two and half years living here I had yet to visit…somehow a Saturday that got into the 90s persuaded me to walk through the doors of their Culver City location…

Tender Greens, Culver City
Tender Greens, Culver City

The set-up was ordering at the front, and then walking towards the back to pay and get your meal. I found it odd that you had to pay in the back, and then even more awkward waiting around the front to pick up your meal, since they could have easily handed you a number placard to place on your table and have them find you. At least there was ample, spacious seating at this location, and some spots out on the patio as well.

sit
Very spacious

The unusual set-up didn’t bother me too much in the end though, because the giant Falafel Plate I ordered hit the spot and vanquished my hanger.

falafel plate
Falafel plate with side kale salad (garlic dressing + parmesan), a green dollop of hummus that looked like guacamole, tahini sauce, and a crisp crostini bread.

After eating everything though, I wondered how it would affect my PM run. When I did go out for my 10 miler in the evening, I was relieved that the temperature was much cooler. It helped that it was a beach run and that the sun was setting. I felt great for the first half, but then tummy issues slowed me down for the last half. I did make it home in one piece though, and was proud of myself for conquering my first long run double.

falafel_plate
Close-up of everythang.

After talking to my coach, he affirmed that practice makes perfect and that I’ll get used to these the more I do them. He also recommended that I try refueling with foods that are simple in carbs, some fats, and low protein no more than two hours before the PM run—recommendations that I’ll definitely put into practice for the next time!

Tender Greens Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lotsa Snackin’ and the Expo

Lotsa Snackin’ and the Expo

In the days leading up to my second marathon (!!!), I honestly did not feel as amped or excited as I did for my first marathon. Part of it was due to the fact that it all felt rushed. The race itself (LA Marathon) was pushed up to Valentine’s this year instead of its usual date in March. I also felt like my training runs didn’t feel as accomplishing (even though I should have felt accomplished!) because I was going through a lot of changes with my body in regards to my eating disorder recovery. I plan to write a more detailed post about this in the future, when I have more time to organize my thoughts and piece everything together.

But even though I wasn’t feeling 100% positive about this race, I did my best to enjoy the fact that I was opening new doors for myself, and that by going through the tough challenges now, I (and my body) would be so much more grateful in the future.

So in the few days before the race, I munched on some new-to-me bars and tried new snack combos.

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D’s Naturals – No Cow Bar – Blueberry Cobbler

I tried No Cow Bars for the first time, in two different flavors.

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D’s Naturals – No Cow Bar – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Upon opening each flavor, I found that the bars were quite limp! Peanut butter chocolate chip had a chunky texture to it, while blueberry cobbler had a smooth, but grainy aftertaste. I ended up liking PBCC more, but I’m looking forward to trying this brand’s other flavors!

I mixed in this Mission1 protein bar with an Arctic Zero pint and a generous serving of macaroon cookie butter from Ralph’s, which made for the most excellent Monday night dessert! The bar was supposedly “chocolate chip cookie dough”, but it mainly tasted like a chewy chocolate protein bar throughout. It was nothing spectacular, and actually may have tasted slightly better if it had been warmed up in the microwave for a little bit.

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Mission1 – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Other snacks during this week included a jar of Buff Bake Cookie almond spread, chock-full of chia and flax seeds, which meant it was supercharged with protein.

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Buff Bake Cookie Almond Spread

Another bar also made its appearance later on in the week—Combat Crunch’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup. When I had this bar before, I believe prior to a team long run actually, I found it too hard to chew on and less than appetizing, but this time around it wasn’t too bad.

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Combat Crunch Bar – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

When the weekend finally arrived, the first thing I did was dash on over to the race expo. There was a line that curved around the entrance area, but when the expo officially opened at 8:00am, we were able to enter in an orderly fashion.

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LA Marathon Expo

The first thing I did was collect my bib, shirt, and bag, admiring this year’s shirt design inspired by Valentine’s Day.

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Race shirt

I then ventured into the expo, and took in my surroundings. I noticed a life-size piece of Quench gum casually walking around 😛

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Quench gum walking.

The first booth I visited was the KT booth. They were applying one free taping, and I asked for one for my right foot, since the “top of my foot” tendinitis migrated to the top-middle of my arch…weird. The taping seemed to help at first, but when I bent my foot outwards to see if I still felt sore, the soreness was still there…oh well, at least now my feet were shiny pink?

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KT Tape!

After doing some more exploring, I got my picture taken and tacked it onto the photomural board. We even got two Polaroid copies so we could keep one. Last year, it was a board with all of the participants names.

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Photo-mural

I soon got bored with the expo (within an hour…shows how my attention span really is!!), and ventured outside onto Figueroa. The Olympic Trials were about to begin, but I still had to pop into lab that day! I didn’t get to see any of the celeb elites in action, but I did see some runners warming-up down the street. It was refreshing to see a race taking place on the downtown LA roads I frequently run myself…yeah, I may not run as fast as these elites (yet), but one can hope and dream about it 🙂

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Olympic Trials about to start!!

After finishing up some morning lab work, I immediately got myself out to get some grocery shopping done. I obviously wouldn’t have time on Marathon Sunday, and since I had to go into lab on President’s Day, it was just easier to get the grocery shopping done and in bed all by 7pm.

Since I wanted to go to Sprouts, I ventured to the Westwood location and even sat down for a quick bite to eat at Tacos tu Madre. It was more like a little food shack than a restaurant, but there were some veggie-friendly options on the menu.

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Menu

Because the inside of the “food shack” was incredibly small, I was awkwardly standing by the door for a few minutes before finding a seat and actually sitting down.

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Inside Tacos tu Madre

I could have sat outside, but I also wanted a break from the hot sun.

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Decorations!

My huevos rancheros dish came out in a small tin bowl, and featured two stacked fried tortillas with beans, cheese, and guac, and two fried eggs. It was satisfying enough to get me to Sprouts a few blocks up ahead.

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Huevos Rancheros in a bowl

When I finally made it home, it was almost 5pm! I quickly got all of my race gear for the marathon ready, and had a pint of Arctic Zero that I picked up from Sprouts. It was a new exclusive chunky flavor, Snickerdoodle Dandy. It was a cute flavor idea, but I wish there had been more sugar cookie chunks. I feel like it’s a similar issue with the cookie dough flavor. Still, it’s a flavor worth trying!

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Arctic Zero – Snickerdoodle Dandy

What have you been snacking on lately?

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