Pending Travel

Pending Travel

This post was written weeks ago, but with all the traveling I’ve been doing and no time to sit down and post, here it finally is with no edits to verb tense, haha!

These past two weeks have been on hyperdrive! Even my efforts in running seemed to be sub-par in comparison to my performance in previous weeks. Stress has been subconsciously hitting me I guess!

I’ve been scrambling putting together stuff at work, as well as prepping for two weeks of international travel. I haven’t packed yet (no surprise) but I do have a list going. Things are going to be coming back-to-back with no pause in between—sister’s graduation, traveling in Europe, my marathon in San Diego—this time off seems to be like it’s a lot more work than intended.

Salted Caramel Cluster...it blew me away in a good way. A mild, creamy base with a super salty caramel swirl, rich chocolate chunks and CASHEW pieces. So many more @so_delicious flavors to try 😩 it may take me forever but it should be a fun quest to complete πŸ˜‹ #WhereIsMySponsorship #JkJk #Sorta πŸ˜‰
Salted Caramel Cluster…it blew me away in a good way. A mild, creamy base with a super salty caramel swirl, rich chocolate chunks and CASHEW pieces. So many more @so_delicious flavors to try 😩 it may take me forever but it should be a fun quest to complete πŸ˜‹ #WhereIsMySponsorship #JkJk #Sorta πŸ˜‰

But hopefully the payoff is good. I’m anxious-excited about seeing my cousin, whom I haven’t seen in 17 years, and her 13 and 9 year old daughters I haven’t met yet, at all!

I went to the Westfield mall in Culver City last weekend with E to shop for said daughters. My cousin enlightened me on what they would really like as gifts and I was ready to have fun with it. I bought the younger one two cute dresses from Old Navy and The Children’s Place. I remember my wardrobe was literally all TCP from ages 7-10, and I was taller-than-average for my age lol.

Gifts!
I come with gifts!

For the older daughter, I got two pieces from Hollister…hard to believe (or is it?) that the brand is still popular among teens. Man, I remember feeling SO much unspoken peer pressure to wear Hollister and Abercrombie, haha.

After buying some chocolates from Target, and a cookie butter jar from Trader Joe’s (which I’m hoping they’ll love since Trader Joe’s isn’t available in Wales!), E and I decided to take a lunch break at the happening food court.

I spotted Bibigo down the walkway, and headed towards it while E went next door to Burger King.

Bibigo, Westfield Culver City
Bibigo, Westfield Culver City

A nice, warm veggie bowl with cool toppings sounded so appetizing at the time. So for my base, I had a bowl with salad greens. On top of that went pickled veggies like onions and slaw, and of course kimchi.

Side of wontons, warm tofu, and fres, cold veggies!
Side of wontons, warm tofu, and fres, cold veggies!

To finish it off, warm tofu cubes added a nice touch along with seaweed flakes. Even a guy who was behind me in line commented on how good it looked, haha.

A fantastic creation.
A fantastic creation.

The bowl was just filling enough to get my energy spent from shopping back up, and to power me to get back home. E and I had a fun bus ride back to the train station, and from there I traveled my usual commute home.

Couldn't resist snapping this pic of my city <3
Couldn’t resist snapping this pic of my city <3

It was too late to take a nap when I got home, but I tried to turn in early enough so that I could catch up on some sleep. At least it was a productive day overall though!

Do you like planning for trips?

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. πŸ˜œπŸ‘πŸ½

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 πŸ’€ 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 πŸ’•

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.

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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

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

I’d say the first week of April got off to a good start. I felt like I was able to start fresh, and even began the first week of training with a running coach. Since I plan to run a marathon in San Diego at the beginning of June, we are piggybacking off my training from the LA Marathon, and using the next couple of weeks as an introduction of sorts to his coaching style. 

After San Diego, we plan to reevaluate training and prepare for a fall marathon with the goal of racing a Boston Qualifying time.  Right now I’m looking at running the Route 66 in Tulsa, but nothing has been finalized yet. Since it falls on the weekend right before Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun to run the race, and then spend the following week with family for Thanksgiving. 
 
On Saturday, I ran a long run workout that was fartlek in style: I had to run 5 minutes easy, followed by 1 minute fast. With my current coach, he emphasizes incorporating speed into long runs, rather than the “long slow distance” approach, at least if the end goal is running a fast marathon. 
 
I was able to complete the workout for 11 miles, running it at a sub-8:00 pace. I noted feeling fatigue towards the end, and stopping to take water breaks at some points (especially right after the one minute fast), but I’m glad to see that the workout did its job. 
 
When I got home from the run, I got ready as soon as I could in order to meet my friend E for a hike at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook.  It was the first time I actually went out for a hike in LA (lol, I still need to do the Runyon Canyon thing), and after climbing stairs that were as tall as E (she’s on the shorter side, haha), we made it to the top and were treated to some fabulous views of the city
 
As we made our descent, we chatted and walked back to the La Cienega/Jefferson train stop. From there, we thought we might as well walk over to Culver City on the bike path since the Culver City station was the next stop. We also contemplated lunch, and I figured we could get some nourishing Mexican food from a recently-established eatery in The Platform, the same place Sweetgreen is located. 
 
Inside Loqui
Inside Loqui
 
Loqui had a limited menu of soft tortilla tacos, bowls, and quesadillas, but E and I figured we’d order what looked to be a filling mushroom bowl. 
 
Ordering our bowls (mocajeltes)
Ordering our bowls (molcajetes)
 
It was served Chipotle-style, with grilled onions, beans, and guac were piled high on green colored rice. I had two corn tortillas on the side while E had two flour ones.
 
A beautifully-paced mushroom bowl with tons of rice and guac // two soft corn tortillas
A beautifully-paced mushroom bowl with tons of rice and guac // two soft corn tortillas
 
The restaurant/cafe was very small, and there was limited seating on the patio in the back. The “chairs” were small stools and the tables were pretty tiny as well. 
 
After getting our fill of lunch, E and I didn’t really know what else to do…so we walked some more. I’d say we ended up walking for another hour and a half total, eventually getting back to the Culver City Station stop, but not before a trip to Sprouts. I got some essentials for the week, and then we parted ways. 
 
And then we walked some more.
And then we walked some more.
 
When I got home, I needed a nap to recuperate from all the running, hiking, and walking from the day. Needless to say, I slept pretty well that night! 

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

What I’ve Gained

What I’ve Gained

I honestly can’t believe that March flew by so fast…to be honest, I’ve been in an emotional whirlwind for almost a month and a half! I sort of hinted at these feelings in an earlier post (that I literally feel like I wrote yesterday…), but now I feel like I’m comfortable with going more in detail.

My eating disorder first plagued me when I was in my senior year of high school, and I would say it had a firm grasp on me up until late 2015, when I finally started making steps towards real recovery. For 5 1/2 years, the only relationship I cared about was the one I had with food: how I could control it, make certain foods fit into a day, nap away hours in the afternoon just so I could eat again for dinner…it was barely an existence. 

havingmultipleplates offood
With each day passing day, it slowly becomes easier to push those thoughts and honor/respect my body enough to go back for seconds, thirds, and fourths at a dinner, even after a full day of eating. Starving all day just to save my calories for the end of the day doesn’t make sense to me anymore…

When they say an ED becomes your one and only relationship, nothing could be truer. Yes, my Dad and close friends were still nearby, but food took priority no matter what. I would sacrifice going out to a restaurant to hang out with my sister and our close friends just to avoid the calories. I would shout at my Dad for buying too many yogurts or granola canisters because they tempted me to binge. All because I had to live by a number, and ANYONE who got in the way of that would see the worst of me…

So to say that taking the plunge and going into recovery full force only helped me physically would be an understatement. I repaired not only a relationship with myself over the course of 2016, but I also repaired old relationships as well as planted the seeds for new ones. Therapy helped me to understand why I thought about things a certain way, as well as find ways to be okay with things as they are.

When my sister and I saw my Dad over the holidays this past year, the three of us had an emotional, yet necessary, talk about the future. It was the first time we heard all the details of my Dad’s story, and having such a deep, emotionally-revealing discussion with both my Dad and sister made me feel so much more grateful for them. The discussion also helped to make me feel more comfortable with the idea of being open to pursuing a romantic relationship, or at least taking the steps to get to such a relationship in the future.

So that’s when I began to feel all the feels…and the first guy I thought about was That Tall Guy…let’s call him TTG (name changed for privacy, chose to go with the first thing my guy friend from my lab said when I told him about this whole thing, lol).

IMG_0057
The Culver City Stairs at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook—a challenge E and I took on this weekend in order to be rewarded with glorious views of the city from the top.

Preparing for my qualifying exam in January was enough to keep my feelings in check, as stress for that took over. But once that was taken care of, those flitter-flutter butterfly feelings started to come up again, and I couldn’t shake the thoughts of trying to see if something with That Tall Guy could work.

Around the time I visited my cousin, these feelings were growing even more, and I felt like I just HAD to tell someone or I would burst. My sister was the first one to know since we talk about everything as it comes up in our lives, but my friend E was the first one I told among the people I see on a daily basis (actually on my bus ride back after visiting my cousin) and since she has been actively trying to get her love life together too (lol), we thought these would be “fun distractions” to have while we continued on with our mundane lab lives πŸ˜›

Funny thing was, I started to see TTG a lot more frequently since my confession to E. He started using the same facility that I use for some of my experiments. He is a quiet/shy person in general, and I think that’s one of the things that attracted me to him. This also made things quite complicated as I soon learned. I knew that the first step in this whole process was to make him aware of my existence, so I began initiating conversations. Being the first one to say hello, how’s it going, following up on something that he may have mentioned in previous days…

IMG_0059
Hello LA.

But it wasn’t like I was starting from scratch. Just a year ago, we were in the same class, and saw each other at least 2-3x a week for a two hour lecture. I thought he was attractive then too, but the feelings weren’t as strong (or I made myself ignore them/not allow myself to sit with them). I was also working on myself (recovery, body image issues, starting therapy) and so my thoughts were more focused on myself than seeking out a relationship. Then summer, fall, and winter came, and I rarely saw him for the rest of the year since I became plenty busy with lab/my qualifying exam.

So when I did have time to start thinking about him again, on top of the fact that I was now seeing him again on a close to daily basis, I couldn’t deny that I had feelings for him. These feelings felt so new and exhilarating—I was feeling euphoric for the first time in a long while! I didn’t mind staying in lab longer, and since my experiments weren’t time-sensitive, I tried to match my schedule to his so as not to be too obvious, but still increase the likelihood I’d encounter him. I was the first one to say hi, ask how he was/how his project was going, and smile a lot. It was so unlike me, but I was feeling adventurous and ready to get out of my comfort zone.

IMG_0061
Reflecting on things after the ascent.

I started leaving lab later because I learned mid-way through this whole lovesick journey that he took the same train I did, except in the opposite direction. One day, E and I secretly followed him (lol) just to see where he was going when leaving for the day, and that’s when we confirmed he didn’t drive to work. I felt like I had found a hidden clue to solving this β€œguy mystery”.

Over the course of several weeks, my mind may have exaggerated things to mean more than what they were, but I couldn’t help but think these coincidental (and intentional, lol) encounters, exchanged smiles, and reaching out for help meant something more. He sent me a very thoughtful email asking to borrow an item from our lab, and E and I were practically squealing when writing up a reply. Infatuation at its peak I suppose.

IMG_0080
When you reach the climax.

After weeks of trying to time my Monday morning train ride with his, both our trains ended up at the stop at the same time. I literally had to power walk behind him just to catch up, but once I did, I initiated conversation. After asking how his project was going, he asked how my weekend was. When I asked the same question in return, that’s when he dropped the G word. I hadn’t seen him over the weekend because his GF was in town.

I played it cool, wished him a good day, and as soon as I got to lab I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. I then texted E and my sister. The game was over.

But because he is such a nice guy, I wanted to keep things as normal as possible. I still said hey to him when I saw him, and asked how is project was going. As the days went by, my feelings calmed down and in their place emotional exhaustion set in. I left lab early on some days, just to get home and rest up. I drifted from disappointment, sadness, irritation, anger, and fatigue.

RX_mintchocolate
I left lab very early one day during the week, due to just feeling emotionally exhausted. Stopped by Sprouts and bought this bar. Instagram review —> “So happy to see that Sprouts has started to carry more RX Bars…including the Mint Chocolate flavor! It’s the last one I’ve been needing to try, and upon opening it, I was hit by a friendly peppermint-y aroma. Other than that, it pretty much tasted like the coconut flavor only because of it’s mixed-up texture, with the chocolate chunks and chopped nuts and all that πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹”

Overall, I see this as a life lesson. I’m grateful that I experienced such euphoria for six weeks. It proved to me—if anything—that I am continuing to push away from my eating disorder past and seek relationships. Even after hearing TTG had a GF, I did not feel the need to go to a mirror and body check. I knew that there was nothing wrong with ME, and that for whatever reason, the timing wasn’t right.

Yeah, we never went out for coffee. There was no first date, and I didn’t learn anything new about him besides what he does in his lab, but I held my head high and carried on as usual. I felt exhausted, but the self-confidence I gained over the past six weeks still seemed to stick around. I may have not gotten the guy, but this chase has rewarded me with so much more.

IMG_0060
β™₯β™₯β™₯

I honored myself with time to sit with my feelings, but then I respected myself to move forward from this experience. I’m just going to continue to keep doing what’s right for me. Continue to shower myself with lots of love, doing what makes me happy, making sure I feel my best…when the time is right, and when I am at my happiest, that one person will be there.

When I least expect it.

Repeat of 2016?

Repeat of 2016?

I returned to California early last week, and I was in a deep funk for a couple days. My two weeks off from lab, spent with family, was JUST what I needed and my only regret was that it wasn’t longer!

At least I had a surprise package waiting for me…I tried Enlightened Roasted Broad Bean Crisps for the first time thanks to a little box with some fun-flavored goods:

crisps
Enlightened saved me from the doldrums!

They were the dessert flavors: Cocoa Dusted and Sweet Cinnamon.

cocoa_dusted
Cocoa Dusted description

I had both flavors straight out of the bag. Out of the two, I loved the cinnamon-flavored ones the most since they reminded me of those churro twists from Taco Bell I had long ago…

sweet-cinnamon
Sweet Cinnamon

Cocoa Dusted was good too, I just preferred cinnamon over chocolate coating πŸ˜›

cocoadust
Cocoa Dusted up close & personal

I decided to keep close to West LA since I knew DTLA would be abuzz with the LA Fit Expo going on. I also had to go into lab, which would have cut into any day plans if I had scheduled any. So after lab, I came back to Culver City and had lunch literally across the street from the train station…at Sweetgreen! I find it hilarious that my first outing to a restaurant for 2017 is Sweetgreen once again…I dined at a Sweetgreen in Mid-City last year as my first outing in 2016! I wonder if it will become tradition…

sweetgreen
Sweetgreen’s newest—Culver City

They recently opened up shop here in a complex called The Platform. It was already in full swing with customers eating outside even though it was cloudy out.

food_
Order at the counter

The seating arrangements inside were too small, and if everyone in line had decided to dine in, there would have been no way. I did get a seat however, by the window. It was just a table that wasn’t wiped clean since the last customer, and only had one chair so I had to sit with my bag on my lap, haha!

menu
Lot’s to choose from!

When it was my turn to order, I decided to get a warm bowl. The Shroomami sounded amazing, with glazed tofu, rice, kale, …, and it was vegan so even more of a plus!

lookatdatbowl
My Shroomami bowl [vegan] ~ organic wild rice, shredded kale, raw beets, bean sprouts, basil, spicy sunflower seeds, roasted sesame tofu, warm portobello mix, miso sesame ginger dressing
I also got a slice of bread on the side, and enjoyed the bowl while people/train watching through the window.

sideofbread_tofu
Slice of bread, and look at that tofu!

After eating lunch, I got grocery shopping done at Sprouts. I love it when restaurants/grocery stores are all in one area since it makes running weekend errands so much easier.

While picking up staples for the week, I came across another RX Bar flavor I have yet to try—Peanut Butter! When I was checking out in line, there was a guy in front of me who noticed my purchase-to-be, and asked where he could find them. As soon as I told him, he dashed over to the bar aisle while the cashier began to check out his items!

rx_pb
RX Peanut Butter bar…has exactly 14 peanuts?

I tried the bar as I was waiting for the train to go home. I like the smooth texture of the bar, and it kind of made me think of the Chocolate Coconut flavor without coconut, and with a mild peanut scent reminiscent of how the maple scent defined the Maple Sea Salt flavor. I guess I could understand why that guy at Sprouts was in such a mad dash to get those bars for himself?

Have you eaten out since the new year began?

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

Make Out Everyday

Make Out Everyday

Last week was a shocker and after Tuesday, it seemed like there was a cloud of sadness everywhere that just would not dissipate. I am glad that people are still talking about politics, since I honestly believe that despite the strong emotions it can bring up, it is extremely important to bring awareness and question things that have a huge impact on how we live our lives.

cccd
Something that picked me up during this somber week ~ I seriously had a loss of appetite after Tuesday’s events, so I’m glad its back and roared up again, haha. Despite the sadness that creeped up over me yesterday, I had to be happy about one small thing…finding the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Eatenlightened pint! I’ve been complaining about how it’s been hard to locate anywhere in LA, but I happened to find these stocked on the shelves at a Bristol Farms in Santa Monica (on Wilshire, right across from Petco, for those who are local and have been trying to find this elusive flavor yourself)! Sometimes it helps to eat your sorrows away, if it involves cookie dough chunks and a smooth, creamy ice cream πŸ˜‰

I also was feeling from physical exhaustion that prevented me from running higher mileage that week. My body craved extra rest, and I obliged. I’ve been pulling long hours in lab as well, so the extra rest was welcomed on all fronts.

mexican-hot-chocolate
Also was happy to find this ~ What could be more thrilling than walking into your local Trader Joe’s and finding that they have the new seasonal Clif Bar, Mexican Hot Chocolate, in stock πŸ˜„ πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ β˜•οΈ 🍫?!? It didn’t have the extreme chocolate profile that is more evident in their other chocolate flavors, but it did have a spicy kick 🌢 to it which I felt about five seconds after the first bite! And with all the overpriced energy bars out there, purchasing this for only $0.99 was such a steal πŸ˜…. I also love how a portion of the sales from this flavor go towards an organization that is working to protect our winters and fight climate change πŸ‘ŠπŸ½πŸ—»

Saturday ended up being a rest day, and a day that my running team and I scheduled as a day for volunteering. We helped organize maternal and baby goods for a non-profit that distributes these items to low income expecting and first-time moms. It was a Saturday morning well spent, and obviously I had worked long enough to build up a strong appetite for lunch.

make_out_everyday
Make Out Everyday, Culver City

Since I did want to go home as soon as I could, and face plant into a pillow for nap time, I decided to stop by a plant-based foods cafe in Culver City since it was on the way. I originally came by Make Out Everyday over Labor Day Weekend, but they were unfortunately closed at that time.

food
Mexican Brown Rice πŸ™‚

I was in luck this time however. I used my ninja photography skills (haha) to capture the elegant interior decor, but the cashier had noticed a man outside who was going out of his way to get the perfect picture capturing the cafe’s logo from outside! I’m so glad that wasn’t me, haha!

every-day
Interior of Make Out Everyday

It took a while for me to decide what I wanted to get, as there were all sorts of smoothies, latte “potions”, wraps, salads, sandwiches, small bites, bowls…I went with a bowl (no surprise) even though I was debating between that and one of the wraps.

My bowl of choice was the Mexican bowl, which had chopped lettuce, quinoa and rice mixed with chipotle crema, sunflower chorizo, and a dollop of mashed avocado. The garnish was fabulous too…I’m not sure what that watermelon-colored root vegetable is called, but it certainly looked pretty!

mexican-bowl
Mexican Brown Rice bowl with guacamole, sunflower chorizo, rice with chipotle crema, salad

The portion sizes are small, so I wouldn’t recommend coming in with a voracious appetite. If you do, you may have to order multiple plates which doesn’t sound bad, but this place isn’t McDonald’s cheap either…

rice
It’s all in the details…

Sunday was a long run day in Santa Monica so I didn’t have to worry about waking up super early to carpool with my running team. After the run, I immediately went home and crashed. I planned to get some work done, but that didn’t happen to the extent that I had wished to. Oh well, I don’t think the time went to waste since I slept so soundly throughout the day and was sleepy enough to go to bed (for real) around 8:30pm.

I’m not surprised one bit that I craved so much sleep this week. I don’t see how anyone could have issue with that πŸ˜‰

Make Out Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gross & Great

Gross & Great

After finishing up our final rounds of apartment cleaning on Sunday morning, my Dad and I were ready to drop off my keys by noon. It was hard to believe that it was two years ago that I moved into my first apartment, and while there were some things I would miss about it, I was very much looking forward to living in and exploring a new LA neighborhood.

I had to drop into lab even though I was starving, and during this time, my Dad helped to move the remainder of my boxes to my new place. When I finished up two hours later, my Dad was ready to pick me up and was just as hungry as I was! We ended up in Culver City again, checking out another vegan spot in the area.

veganjoint_menu
A hole-in-the-wall kinda place.

The Vegan Joint has been on my list for a while, but it was a little out of the way for me/never really a sole spot of interest to make it a worthwhile trip. And after finally going there, I realized I probably didn’t miss out on anything for not dining there sooner…

veganjointtt
Calming greens?

After getting our table, my Dad and I were given PLENTY of time to look over the menu…and at least ten more times over. I literally had to get up after almost twenty minutes to walk over to the counter and remind the lady who had seated us that we were ready to order. I was pretty hangry at that point so I’m glad I didn’t bite off her head for not coming sooner…

My order was actually not so great. I chose to get the Tofu Larb not truly knowing what it was, and I guess that was a decision that backfired on me. Normally, Larb is a meat-based salad of Laos origin—marinated meat grounds mixed with greens and lemon juice. My tofu version was certainly marinated and over-flowing, but it was far from being an aesthetic, picturesque example of a delicious vegan meal.

tofu_larb
Tofu Larb…so gross

After two bites, I was thinking “eww, why did I pick this??”, but since I was hungry/didn’t want to make a big deal over it, I finished the dish and definitely felt full afterwards (soy protein’s effects I suppose)!

After our very late lunch, my Dad and I drove to my new place to unpack. It took me almost 3 hours to get everything in order and in place. From there, my Dad and I made the long-ish drive to Cerritos for Indian grocery shopping and for a free dinner!

Luna Grill, a fast casual Mediterranean restaurant contacted me a few weeks ago to check out their Cerritos location. I knew that the perfect time to stop by would be when my Dad was in town, since he’s always wanting to go to Cerritos whenever he is in town!

lunagrillfront
Luna Grill entrance

We had dinner close to 8pm, and there were still people inside enjoying large platters of kebabs, rice, and all of those tasty Medi-fixin’s.

lunaaaa
Ordering at the counter. The lamps are beautiful!
luna_grill
Luna Grill in Cerritos Menu ~ Veggie Kabob

My Dad and I were able to enjoy two entrees on the house, and we paid for the grape leaf roll appetizers to share between the both of us.

grapeleaf
Grape leaf rolls

For my entree, I ordered the Veggie Kabob which came with rice, spicy cilantro hummus, pita bread, boiled carrots, and salad.

veggie kebab platter
A gorgeous, full plate and Dad’s salad.

My oh my was this good, and it certainly made up for my disaster of a lunch that day…my Dad loved his crisp, refreshing salad, but was in love with the basmati rice. I had to agree with him, as the rice was so fluffy and flavorful.

After finishing up dinner close to closing time for the restaurant, we were on the road again to our hotel to finally meet up with my sister and our friend. Both of them made the trip down to LA to hang out with me for my birthday, and I was beyond excited to meet them!

If you ever ordered something disgusting from a restaurant before, were you so hungry you ate it or did you remedy the situation?

Vegan Joint Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Natural Beauty

Natural Beauty

Last Friday was certainly one of the best days I’ve had in a while. It was the example of a perfect summer (and birthday) weekend. I still had lab duties during the day, but Fridays tend to be less-demanding, and I was able to meet my Dad a little after 3PM. We made our way over to Culver City, and took a short nap in the parking lot of a grocery store before heading over to the Hare Krishna Temple.

We’ve been wanting to pay the temple a visit since learning about its existence in LA. Since this would be my Dad’s last visit to SoCal before moving out-of-state, it was obviously a no-brainer to make the visit a priority this time.

The whole block by the temple is a quiet, residential area of condos/apartments that I later learned were mostly occupied by members and volunteers of the temple.

 Quiet stretch of apartments.
Quiet stretch of apartments.

The temple itself was a small, clean, and peaceful place for worship. One of the head patrons of the temple even spent a good half hour with us, explaining the history of this particular temple. We also took some time for ourselves for personal worship, and were amazed by the extremely diverse community visiting the temple. There didn’t seem to be any exclusivity, and everyone that came in was greeted warmly and with respect.

 Front of temple.
Front of temple.

Dinner was being served right next door, at Govinda’s Natural Food Buffet…a local favorite just based on the crowd.

 Small and cozy.
Small and cozy.

Inside, there was a humble-sized buffet line serving cold and hot foods, which change daily. There were even desserts and pizza being sold separately!

 Delicious looking line-up!
Delicious looking line-up!

The menu that night included a salad bar, brown and basmati ric, lentil soup, whole mung daal, chow mein, steamed cauliflower and carrots, sweet & sour steamed veggies with tofu sausage pieces, and apple halavah for dessert.

 Menu up above.
Menu up above.

I started off with a loaded salad, and a balanced plate of hot foods.

 Buffet Round 1 - Loaded salad with hot food plate including steamed carrots and cauliflower, brown rice, and sweet n sour veggies.
Buffet Round 1 – Loaded salad with hot food plate including steamed carrots and cauliflower, brown rice, and sweet n sour veggies.

I went back for another loaded plate, and unpictured dinner roll, and a sampling of the apple halavah.

 Buffet Round 2 - Loaded hot food plate including steamed carrots and cauliflower, shredded beets, tofu salad, mung daal, brown rice, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
Buffet Round 2 – Loaded hot food plate including steamed carrots and cauliflower, shredded beets, tofu salad, mung daal, brown rice, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
 Apple halawah - not too sweet, and had a mild apple flavor.
Apple halawah – not too sweet, and had a mild apple flavor.

After dinner, we stopped by Sprouts so I wouldn’t have to worry about grocery shopping for the week later. Then we drove over to Dockweiler just as the sun was starting to set. Perfection.

aintitbeautiful
Beauty and the beach.

The weather was just right. The moment was just right. The Friday night crowd was just right (mini beach bonfires everywhere!). And being able to enjoy this natural beauty with my Dad—who I probably won’t see until winter—made it all the more perfect.

Of course, getting back home was far from being perfect because TRAFFIC. By the time I was all good and settled back at the apartment, it was almost 9:40PM. Still, I made time for B&J’s while watching The Daily Show with Dad before going to bed.

 Buffet Round 1 - Loaded salad with hot food plate including steamed carrots and cauliflower, brown rice, and sweet n sour veggies.
Chocolate ice cream? Tasted more like a frozen chocolate mint  bar, so all was good. The swirls were barely there, but at least the cookie balls made up for it! They also kept their firm crunch too!

It’s days like these that make me wish every evening could end the same way β™₯

What is your best summer evening memory?

Click to add a blog post for Govinda's Natural Food on Zomato

Busy Busy!

Busy Busy!

Last week was one of my busiest, but I’ve always been a person who prefers productivity…even if it means having to work harder for my free time. However, one of the things I don’t like about being busy over several consecutive days is having to force myself to sleep early enough so that I am able to do all the things I need and want to do in a functional manner πŸ˜›

Since the lab work I’ve been doing as of late has been quite time-consuming, I have been coming home anywhere from 5-7pm during the week, and usually making sure I get to bed sometime between 9-10pm. I’ve tried to utilize the time in between getting home and going to bed for “productive” things as well, but honestly, all I want to do is have dinner, lounge on the couch, and watch mindless TV. There is nothing wrong with that though…a hard day”s work should be rewarded with a few hours rest at the end of the day in my opinion! πŸ™‚

To keep things short & sweet, here are some highlights from my busy last week

MoNdAy

[X] Woke up ~6am to prep dinner, head to the gym for an upper-body workout, and then back at the apartment to make it into lab by 9am. Dad spent the weekend before visiting me and staying at my apartment, so he was able to make us some coffee before I was out the door πŸ™‚

[X] I was in lab until ~5:30PM. When I felt like I could no longer comprehend the data I was analyzing, I decided it was time to go home and rest my weary brain.

[X] After a crockpot dinner, I had two new-to-me cold treats!

artic_Zero_butter_peacn

Another one of Artic Zero’s chunky pints to check off the list (Butter Pecan!) It pretty much was their Vanilla Maple “ice cream” as the base with candied pieces of pecans thrown in for good measure. The pint was a delicious treat to eat while watching The Good Wife though!

chobani_clover_honey

This Chobani Flip reminded me of Fage’s honey flip cup, which has been my favorite since day 1. The Chobani version isn’t too bad, but the yogurt is thinner when compared to Fage’s, that’s for sure!

TuEsDaY

[X] Another long morning in lab…but I was still able to squeeze in a 6 mile run and a lower-body workout with squats thrown in!

[X] And meet up with my Dad again one last time before his business trip was over. We had dinner at Vegi Wokery—a vegan-Asian fusion place we visited some time ago…

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And it looked exactly the same from the inside as it did three-four years ago!

vw_interior

To start off, we (more like just me πŸ˜› ) had kimchi, and my Dad went ahead and ordered his favorite lettuce wraps.

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Kimchi!
SAMSUNG
Filling for lettuce wraps!!

 For our main courses, we got the Vege Chicken Curry, which was the special of the day according to the sweet lady owner, and the Kung Pao Vegi Chicken.

kungpaovegichicken

vegechickencurry

Both dishes were nothing but flavorful, warm, and perfectly-portioned for a weeknight meal shared between two people.

 Close-up of what both dishes looked like.
Close-up of what both dishes looked like.

[X] Spent the rest of the evening in Artesia hopping to and from different Indian grocery stores, where I found this:

cadbury_dairymilk_oreo

It immediately became a go-to add-in for my my yogurt bowl dessert creations for the remainder of the week, and I also managed to save enough to eat before morning long runs as well. As a whole, it reminded me of a Hershey’s Cookies & Cream bar, except more emphasis on the milk versus white chocolate, obviously πŸ˜›

wEdNeSdAy

[X] More of the same, except I had to get to lab an hour earlier due to the status of the experiment!

[X] Felt exhausted earlier in the day!

[X] Winding down with an evening routine that included  a Wink Dessert Pint topped with yogurt mixed with coconut flour and chocolate…

 Talk about YUM...
Talk about YUM…

ThUrSdAy

[X] I think I’m working my tail off, but after I’m done with my morning experiment, I come back to lab and see that everyone is scrambling to get some serious work done. Grant deadlines will do that to people…and even though no input is required from me as of right now, I’m thinking that will change very, very soon πŸ˜› 

[X] Meeting with my boss in the midst of all this “chaos”. The meeting did go well though, and despite always having that “overwhelmed” feeling after these kinds of meetings, this one was more narrow in topic, and focused on the immediate steps I need to take to get going on project #2. Exciting stuff…

[X] Leaving lab later than usual –> eating and just going to bed cause I just can’t stay up past 10pm. 

FriDAy

[X] Running against the backdrop of gray, cloudy skies and looming rains…one of the best morning runs of the week, for sure.

[X] Seeing so many people on campus due to graduation. Still can’t believe another academic year has gone by…

[X]  Everyone in lab is still scrambling by the time I come back after finishing up my experiment for the day. When other people are so hard at work around you, you can’t help but want to keep working yourself. So despite feeling hungry/sleepy, I stay a little longer to get some data analysis done. This definitely makes time go by fast, but I don’t 

saTUrDay

[X] Waking up naturally (without an alarm clock πŸ˜› ) around 6AM, and then getting ready to head out to lab.

[X] Finishing in the early afternoon, and then hanging out on campus until it was party time!

[X] Party? What party? Yes—my first-year PhD program director hosted a get-together at her house, and it was one of those sit back-and-chat get-togethers so there was no pressure. It was real nice.

She prepared dinner for us—pretty much from scratch—and the feast consisted of snacks like hummus, baby carrots, and blue corn tortilla chips, two kinds of salads, an assortment of pizzas, sauteed kale, and blueberry pie…

dinner

I was at the get-together with a couple of students from my cohort, and it was just one of those social moments I’m glad I didn’t make an excuse to get out of. Lots of memories from the past year was shared, and we were all so excited to finally be DONE with lab rotations. We had “homes” now, and this night was a celebration of that πŸ™‚

SundAY

[X] A 12 mile run before heading into lab.

[X] Able to finish by 2, and used the afternoon to go by a potential rental in Culver City.

[X] Unfortunately someone put in a deposit over the weekend (and the lady never told me in time, let alone told me at all…), so my initial reason for going was a waste. Instead, I ended up walking into a late lunch at Green Peas.

SAMSUNG

I was so hungry at this point, and so I was glad that I made it in time before they closed at 4pm!!

fancy on the inside

There were quesadillas, sandwiches, salads, pizzas, coffees, smoothies, and cakes to choose from, but I ended up going with a Chicken Curry Sandwich that they made vegan. As my bread choice, I chose the sweet pretzel roll because pretzels are just plain awesome πŸ™‚

chicken curry sandwich vegan

On the side, I got a salad that was dressed in balsamic. The cashier almost made mine a to-go order since I ordered 15 minutes before their official closing time, but she allowed me to dine in since she knew my sandwich would be ready before closing. I appreciated that of her since I did not want to go out walking in search of a park bench with a stomach that was ready to gnaw itself from the inside out :/

inside sandwich

The sandwich itself certainly hit the spot. It was slightly heavy on the sauce, but the bread did its job in soaking that in. The creamy sauce was flavored with mustard, cinnamon, raisins, and nuts, so it was an earthy + spicy mix of all sorts of fun ingredients…and it literally took me eight minutes to finish, haha.

[X] Before heading home, I made a quick stop at Culver City Center to stop by the Ralph’s and pick up some produce essentials, as well as my B&J weekend pint:

pbcorefudge

My heart was originally set on finding the Peanut Buttah Cookie Core, but this Ralph’s didn’t have it unfortunately. Oh well, we will eventually unite…

But the Peanut Butter Fudge Core did not disappoint.I found a place to sit at a nearby coffee shop, and dug in with a plastic spoon that I got from the hot bar section of Ralph’s.

I was a fan of the PB ice cream, and noticed that most of the PB mini cups were found at the bottom. I wasn’t too excited about the chocolate ice cream, but the peanut butter fudge core made up for what the chocolate couldn’t meet up to.

yeah!

β™₯

Funny how I consider this a recap…it took me at least two hours to put together this post! But as you can see, this week was a productive one, and one that was not devoid of the “fun stuff” either. And even though the pressure is starting to amp up with certain things in my life (lab, finding a place to live for the next year…), I’m all about taking things day-by-day, week-by-week, and making the best of all 24 hours πŸ˜‰

Vegi Wokery on Urbanspoon Green Peas on Urbanspoon

Let’s Get Together

Let’s Get Together

I would definitely go as far as to count last weekend as being one of my more social weekends of the semester. It’s been hard to get together with a lot of my classmates since the beginning of this year—due to things getting busier in our respective labs, other commitments, etc.—but three of my girl friends and I were able to take time out of our busy schedules to meet up for brunch and see a musical at the Cupcake Theater in Hollywood. One of my friends found a Groupon deal about a month beforehand, and we were able to get tickets to see Avenue Q for $16!

So on Saturday morning, I woke up around 7AM (but I felt like I could sleep in, surprisingly!) and got ready. I hopped on board the Metro Expo, then onto the Metro Red, and got off at Hollywood/Vine. The Hollywood Half was underway, and I walked alongside the course as many half marathoners were finishing up. It was the first time I was witnessing a race I wasn’t part of (as a runner OR volunteer), and part of me wanted to jump in, snag a medal, and grab a couple freebies as well πŸ˜‰

SAMSUNG

BUT—I resisted the temptation, since I was hauling a heavy purse, and was wearing denim shorts & converse, which don’t exactly match the description of running gear all to well!!

My friends and I wanted to have brunch before heading over to the theater at 12pm, so we decided to meet up at Eat This Cafe. It opened at 10AM, and being the early bird that I am, I arrived way too early at 9:20AM. Good thing I packed some notes to review to keep me busy for the next 40 or so minutes. I even found a bench in front of the cafe to comfortably sit on while doing so.

eatthis

 Fun murals and paintings near the cafe.
Fun murals and paintings near the cafe.

When the restaurant did open up, I waited inside since I couldn’t get a table until our full party showed up. The interior space was quite small, but I love the cool shade of blue painted on the walls. There were plenty of tables (but not for long, as I would soon find out!), and even a more intimate, cozy corner booth.

inside_eatthis

My three friends came soon after, and we were all seated at a table by the window. All of us started off with waters, and one of my friends got orange juice while another got a mimosa to start off her day. When she was asked for ID, she gladly handed over her card to the waitress, loving the fact that she looked so young πŸ˜‰

After looking over the menu, we placed orders for a truffle panini, french toast, corned beef hash, and vegan tofu scramble (can you guess which one was mine πŸ˜‰ )? We had no problem getting into a conversation, but when one of my friends noticed a familiar face walking outside the window, we all stopped and tried to figure out who she was pointing at. And surprisingly, it happened to be one of the professors we knew from school—dressed in a simple t-shirt and jeans, just strolling around Hollywood like a regular ol’ person. He even stepped inside the cafe for a moment to make change!

Haha…yeah, we know that professors/teachers are like everyone else, but it’s still strange to see them out of context.

So after that happened, our brunch spread soon arrived. It was no problem getting pictures, because all four of us whipped out our phones at the same time to get pictures of our feast.

BRUNCHSPREAD

Mine was the prettiest though, I must say.

 My gorgeous, healthy, earthy, beautiful vegan scramble.
My gorgeous, healthy, earthy, beautiful vegan scramble.

My scramble was mix of light, chewy tofu pieces, diced peppers, and mostly roasted potatoes. Ketchup was served on the side, and I got full pretty quickly. There is just something so filling about potatoes!

We took out time getting through brunch, and left the cafe close to 11:30AM. Fortunately we were able to find parking, and quickly got in line to get our seats before the show started.

SAMSUNG

Cupcake Theater is pretty much the size of a walk-in closet, and due to the bad lighting it was hard to get any pics, but the show itself was well-put together. One of my friends happened to see the show on Broadway, and thought the execution in this production was on par with the one she saw in NYC.

Now, the show itself…some of the themes of the show weren’t exactly PG, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the actors themselves were quite talented. The production/staging crew also did an excellent job with scene changes, lighting, props, etc. So, at least organization-wise, it was a great showing!

My friends and I split up when the show ended around 2PM, and I decided to head down to The Grove to get some grocery shopping done before calling it a day.

After doing some grocery shopping, I stopped to grab a cool dessert before catching the bus home. I’ve been meaning to try the Halo Top Creamery Pints. The store I was at offered all four flavors, but ‘lemon cake’ sounded the most unique and appealing…

SAMSUNG

The nutritional stats also looked intriguing. The whole pint has 28 grams of protein and is only 280 calories.

lemon__cke

The texture and flavor were simply amazing. It seriously tasted like a cold and creamy iced lemon cake. There was just enough sweetness to balance out the lemon though, so it was far from being sour!

The rest of the evening was spent catching up on homework (oh statistics…), and getting to sleep early because a long run was in the plans for Sunday morning!

β™₯

Yes, I’m still making it a priority to keep up with my long run maintenance goals! On Sunday, I got away from the usual DTLA loop I fall into, and instead ran from Culver City Station to Marina Del Rey and back. I had to take a bathroom break at a nearby Ralph’s around mile 8, but was also able to get a cup of water (with ice!!) from Starbucks before making my way back. Running with a plastic cup wasn’t that bad actually!

 Cool down walk after a 15 mile run. It always feels good to finish a long run!!
Cool down walk after a 15 mile run. It always feels good to finish a long run!!

I finished my 15 mile run close to the restaurant I was meeting a friend from my marathon training group at. The restaurant opened at 11AM, and so I patiently waited by the entrance.

SAMSUNG

After letting the waitress know I was waiting for a friend, I was seated at a table near the cash register, and given the menu.

la_vegan__inside

LA Vegan may be a hole-in-the-wall kind of place, where most of the orders end up being take-out by the residents that live in apartments and houses nearby, but they had a variety of items to pick from their menu—everything from burgers to curry.

SAMSUNG

When my friend joined me, we sipped on some waters and ended up talking about our marathon experience instead of looking at the menu. The waitress politely reminded us while refilling our waters, but we were quick to both order a curry dish.

I ordered the Spicy Pineapple “Shrimp” Curry, which came with a side of brown rice.

 Soy shrimp, fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, basil and pineapple in coconut milk red curry.
Soy shrimp, fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, basil and pineapple in coconut milk red curry.

I remember trying soy shrimp when I found it at a Grocery Outlet long ago…and being absolutely repulsed by it when I had it with a homemade salad. I didn’t think I could ever be a fan, but this curry helped to change my mind.

closeups

The pineapple chunks were a great addition as well, and added some pleasant sweetness to the already-spicy coconut milk-based red curry.

Since my friend had to run some errands soon after our early lunch, she was able to offer me a ride. I asked if I could be dropped off near a ice cream/cookie place that recently-opened, because I obviously couldn’t pass up my long run dessert πŸ˜‰ !

C.R.E.A.M. {cookies rule everything around me πŸ™‚ } was where I ended up concluding my lunch, and after all this time knowing of its existence in Nor Cal (and never having the chance to stop by one of those original locations), I had the chance to try out one of their newer franchises.

counter___

For a basic cookie ice cream sandwich (their specialty), you are able to pick two cookies, and a scoop of ice cream to get sandwiched in the middle. Oh, and of course there are toppings and sauces if you wish for that as well.

toppings&icecream

The girl behind the counter was ready and willing to help, and even though I felt somewhat rushed when reading through all of the cookie and ice cream choices, I was happy with my ice cream-cookie sandwich choice of snickerdoodle + carnival cookie(s), green tea ice cream, and confetti sprinkles.

SAMSUNG

I was able to eat my cookie sandwich conveniently at a table facing the door.

 Just enjoying this beautiful day...
Just enjoying this beautiful day…

The cookies were crispier than I imagined them to be, but the ice cream helped remediate that. The cookies became much more softer, especially in the middle, once in contact with the ice cream.

cookie_closeup

Since there are plans to open up a few more C.R.E.A.M. locations, I think it would be difficult not pay these guys a visit a few more times. I think it would also be wise to keep my schedule more open when I make my visits to Nor Cal, and make time to visit the locations that started it all!

Eat This Cafe on Urbanspoon
Cream on Urbanspoon LA Vegan on Urbanspoon

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