Birthday Weekend, Day 1

Birthday Weekend, Day 1

After my birthday, my work week continued on as usual—long days filled with experiments, coffee breaks, and moments of eye droopiness at the computer, haha!

When Friday night rolled around, I was so excited for my friend’s arrival! She’s the one my sister and I visited during Thanksgiving,  and she came around 10pm. We stayed up till midnight just catching up and talking. We planned to stay local on Saturday, and then venture out to the OC on Sunday.

She woke up leisurely, while I got up a little earlier to get a morning run in. I also had to go by lab, so we did that, and then drove back to Santa Monica for lunch…at Bondi Harvest.

Bondi Harvest
Bondi Harvest

It’s a relatively new establishment, with the inside and exterior decor carrying themes of the Australian coast. Many of the menu items were small, brunch-like items with unique ingredient combinations of fresh quality.

Friend's eggs, tomato, and toast.
Friend’s eggs, tomato, and toast.

My friend got a simple plate of toast with a poached egg and roasted tomato. She was an immediate fan of the tomato, because of how proportionately seasoned it was.

I chose to get something that had a prominent feature in their menu: Whirley’s Bowl.

Whirley's Bowl
Whirley’s Bowl

It was a bowl containing chimichurri, dressed cauliflower rice, slaw, avocado, yogurt tartar and salsa…I said no thank you to the fish!

An interesting combo of flavors and textures...
An interesting combo of flavors and textures…

The slaw was a fruity, citrus slaw, and definitely elevated the flavor profile of the bowl. The large half of avocado also seemed like an overwhelming addition. I’m not sure I’d order this again if I ever came back to BH, but I didn’t regret my decision too much. Though I did doubt my decision NOT to get eggs and toast (and tomato).

After lunch, we tried to figure out what else to do in SaMo besides shop and go to the beach. I did want to see what the Santa Monica Stairs was all about (thinking it featured a colorful, painted outdoor staircase), but when we made the drive up to north of Brentwood, it was literally just a steep, wooden staircase with a bunch of buff guys and gals running reps up and down in Lululemon and Nike.

Santa Monica Stairs
Santa Monica Stairs

We climbed on flight just to say “we did it”, and then drove off to Brentwood.

We didn’t do much in Brentwood either, just walk up and down San Vicente. Because of the heat, heading back home to rest up and figure out dinner plans seemed like such a reasonable idea.

Once at home, we turned on the fan (because my room was like a sauna, ughhh), and made the executive decision to get coffee (after 4pm, haha) and read/do work at a coffee shop before having dinner.

This wasn’t a bad idea at all, since it was the perfect opportunity to try Phillz Coffee, and get caught up on some data analysis.

Phillz Coffee, 3rd St. Promenade
Phillz Coffee, 3rd St. Promenade

I was surprised that there was such a demand for Phillz Coffee after 4pm, on a Saturday, but this was the case as we soon figured from the long line trailing towards the front entrance.

Honestly, it was just for the iced coffee topped with mint leaves…another capture for the ‘gram…because based on my experience, the coffee was too bitter and nothing special.

Agh, couldn't finish this...
Agh, couldn’t finish this…

I couldn’t stomach the whole cup. Perhaps if I had had the barista pour some milk or cream, it could have made a difference, but Phillz was so not worth the hype.

But I did get some data analysis done, so there’s that!

And to conclude our eating adventures for the day, we stumbled upon CAVA, a fast-growing, Chipotle-for-Mediteranean-food kind of place. I first came across it in Culver City, but was ecstatic to try it for the first time with the company of my friend.

CAVA, Santa Monica
CAVA, Santa Monica

She got a bowl for her base, but I wanted some bready carbs, so I chose to get a pita stuffed with falafel, veggies, and apricot sriracha…yesssss.

That. Sauce. Though.
That. Sauce. Though.

We were able to enjoy our meal outside since it was finally starting to cool down, and after gobbling down everything to the last morsel, we headed back home and relaxed for the rest of the night with a movie on Netflix.

Another shot from CAVA
Another shot from CAVA

I probably would have died of boredom if I had stayed local the entire day (since I practically run the same roads everyday, the scenery had become too familiar, haha!), but having my friend by my side certainly made it a fantastic day 🙂

Philz Coffee 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).

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 😛

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…

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.

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 “guy 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.

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.

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 😋😋😋”

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.


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.

Newton Mens Motion Stability Trainer 11 Running Shoes

Newton Mens Motion Stability Trainer 11 Running Shoes

This post is actually MONTHS overdue, but here it is. I retired my Hokas after pounding them through some serious mileage for the past year. I also realized that even though the maximalist shoe style may have been trendy, they were causing me to develop some deep calluses on the sides of my feet and toes.

So I decided that my next pair should be “closer” to the ground, a different brand, and $35 for them wasn’t a bad deal either!

Newton Mens Motion Stability Trainer 11 Running Shoes

Brooks, Hoka One One, and now Newton! I ended up getting this bright orange pair that’s meant for men mostly because of the cheap price, but they were described as being perfect for road racing and over-pronators (*waves hand*).

Side of box

And as a budding scientist who moonlights as a foodie/runner, it’s nice to have my worlds mesh though a pair of running shoes…haha.

Newton’s Laws (of Running)

On the bottom of the shoe, there is a hole underneath the heel which supposedly helps with push-off and landing—I think. Well, at least it looks intriguing, and it reminds me of a gecko’s hands 😛

So bright, so orange, so much pop!

As a stability shoe, they have firmer foam underneath the arch. My first couple runs in them helped me to push harder, and I felt much closer to the ground after spending so many months in extra-padded pillow shoes. I did love my time in my Hoka’s, but feeling closer to the ground was probably better for my feet.

Lacing up for the first time!

Can you believe I already have almost 100 miles on these? And it’s only been 2 1/2 months since I purchased them?! Not to mention, they already have scuff marks near the toebox from a rainy day run.

I guess this means another pair will be in my future…hmmm, I’m thinking Vibrams maybe?

I forgot what was so important about this pictures. Just comes to show how long this post has been overdue!!

Have you ever bought running shoes meant for the opposite gender because it was cheaper?

Race Recap – Loop the Lagoon

Race Recap – Loop the Lagoon

Last year was packed with fun races and was a great experience for me as an “official” first-time runner. I knew that coming into 2014, my racing for the year would have a late start, due to interviews and family trips, but once things got settled, I decided to get back into racing. I’ve registered for some really exciting events this summer, including two half marathons next month!

Since I find the 10k distance to be my favorite (though I hope that the 13.1 half marathon distance will be after I get back into the long run swing of things…), I decided that it would be best to have my first race of the year be a 10k, so Loop the Lagoon fit the bill. The only May race I ran last year was the Sunrise Run, and leading up to that, I had run in four 10k races. So having my first race of the year be in May did bring on some doubt as far as my readiness was concerned. It didn’t prove to be a problem however, and I even logged some 6 mile runs in the two weeks prior to the race, after returning from my trip.

This race took place on the same course as this race from last year, but it was organized by the host city’s school district education fund. The 10k course was a flat loop around the lagoon (twice), so I didn’t have to worry about steep hills! They also had pre-race day packet pick-up, so I was able to pick my race shirt and bib the day before.

Pre-race Swag (really it's just the shirt...)
Pre-race Swag (really it’s just the shirt…)

I opted for the “Mother’s Day” edition shirt, since I had a choice. Also because I love the pink color of it 😛

I woke up around 7:00AM the morning of the race, had some coffee and a Quest bar, and noticed that there was a cool breeze outside even though the sun was already out.

The booths were already set up by the time we arrived.

Morning of the race

It was time to do some pre-race swag collection!

The booths were starting to open up, and I wasn’t sure if all of them were handing out free samples…

loopthelagoonpreraceeeee (4)

Fresh and Easy passed out fruit, granola bars, and water.

loopthelagoonpreraceeeee (5)

Walgreens made a stop on their Way to Well Health Tour here, and provided participants with free cholesterol, bp, BMI, and metabolic rate checks!

loopthelagoonpreraceeeee (3)

Jamba Juice was selling (not giving away 🙁 ) morning smoothies for runners who wanted a pre-race smoothie.

loopthelagoonpreraceeeee (6)

The money from this race went towards school/education funding, so it made sense for there to be school-related companies advertising their wares to the public. I thought this car was super adorable:

loopthelagoonpreraceeeee (7)

A hospital was handing out free sunglasses, water bottles, and sunscreen samples. I’ve already collected an innumerable amount of water bottles from previous races, so I stuck with the sunglasses and sunscreen samples.

loopthelagoonpreraceeeee (8)

Someone was already helping themselves to a pre-race massage as well, haha!

loopthelagoonpreraceeeee (9)

There were at least three jumphouses at the event…I almost forgot there was a kids’ race scheduled as well.

loopthelagoonpreraceeeee (15)

The casual strolling from booth-to-booth came to a close when a representative from Gold’s Gym came to the stage and initiated a group warm-up.


After the warm-up, the runners for the 10k Tower Challenge (this included those hills) lined up for the 8:30AM start. Us 10kers were let go from the ring around 8:35AM with the 5kers.

Miles 1 & 2 – I was surprisingly able to zone out for the first two miles. Normally, my boredom kicks in around mile 2 and the mental countdown begins, but there were many people going at my pace early on in this race so there was a lot going around me to keep my mind distracted.

Mile 3 – After looping around the lagoon, we were directed to go up alongside a hill, which wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. The long descent down was gratifying, but I grew frustrated when I saw the finish line ahead and knew that I had another loop to finish before I could stop.

Mile 4 – At this point, I was wishing that time flew by faster! The crowds that were around me were spreading out, and so it was harder to stay focused. I was sort of keeping pace with an older man (likely to be in his mid-70’s or so), and made it my “goal” of sorts not to get too much behind him. At least (I think) I had an endorphin kick, because the dull hip and right foot aches I had been feeling earlier on were subsiding.

Mile 5 – Made my way to the hill again, eager to come across the finish line that was in the distance…


Mile 6 +0.2 – The descent was much fun, and I felt a surge of energy that propelled me to take greater strides than the old man I had been running with/against. I finished with a 9:49/mi pace, happy that it was under 10:00/mi, even though I started the race at an easy pace. According to my Garmin, I had negative splits!

The older man that I had been running near the entire time congratulated me on a good race, which I thought was nice. Another woman came from behind us, and thanked us for pacing her! This was the first time anyone has ever come up to me and thanked me for pacing them, so that was pretty awesome as well. I could have shelled out a few bucks for some shave ice, but I quenched my thirst with a full bottle of water—in less than 30 seconds.


As far as the freebies I came home with are concerned, I had a good collection of trail mixes, g-bars, and fruit stashed in my bag. I did come back with much more than is pictured here, of course.

 Sunglasses, trail mix packs, granola bars...
Sunglasses, trail mix packs, granola bars…
 Random frisbee too, haha!
Random frisbee too, haha!

This race was the perfect start to my 2014 racing season, even though we’re almost reaching the middle point of this year! I’m looking forward to the summer races that are taking place in the coming weeks, and am even keeping an eye out for some races in my new home, later on this year.

What was your first race of 2014?



It’s almost the end of the second week of summer, and I’m finally getting into a more relaxed mode.

I think it takes me about three days to feel comfortable with a shifting schedule. Last week was the hardest, because I went from a stress-heavy/event-packed week to a very, very “lazy” one. I felt anxious about not having to go to class, coming to my senses about the fact that I had just graduated and would not be returning to school in the fall, and things I need/want to do before graduate school.

I did my best to just take things day-by-day last week, and tried to carry this relaxed attitude into this week.

  • I let go of the fact that my weekly running mileage was poor to my standards, and kept active through ZUMBA, U-Jam, weights, tennis, and walking instead. I had to remind myself that fatigue and sore legs after running 3+ miles would be expected after a week of not running (thanks to final exams!!)
  • I wasted time enjoyed watching movies and special summer TV series’ (HGTV and Food Network star!)

    I always watch "the star" shows when they premiere every summer. Millionaire Matchmaker has been a show I've recently picked up (what happens when you wake up at 5 am everyday and it's "the only thing good on".
    I always watch “the Star” shows when they premiere every summer. Millionaire Matchmaker has been a show I’ve recently picked up (what happens when you wake up at 5 am everyday and it’s “the only thing good on”). Someone recommended The Newsroom to me, and I HIGHLY recommend it!
  • I kept my brain busy by going to the lab, since I am continuing my internship into the summer. In regards to grad school prep, I began researching schools, programs, and faculty.
  • On the job front…I got a part-time job as a sales associate at a pretty nice clothing store (now I won’t have an excuse not to gradually shift my wardrobe to be more “professional”) that pays more per hour than any job I’ve had so far. I also submitted an application for a job in “my industry”, but we’ll see how that turns out :)!

I think I feel less anxious and more at ease with how things are going right now. I also have some exciting things planned for this summer, and I shouldn’t be worried about anything right now. In fact, I should feel the happiest I have been in a long time.

Food wise, I have been on a strange (but good) pancake kick lately. It’s been a canvas for our frozen bags of blueberries, chocolate peanut butter spread, and $0.66 Chobani cups.

A large blueberry pancake topped with dark cherry Chob. (Rest of the cup not pictured)
A large blueberry pancake topped with dark cherry Chob. (Rest of the cup not pictured)

I also signed up for three races, but am looking for three more to meet my “race for each month of the year” goal. One of them includes this exciting half…


It’s gonna rock!!! is an understatement, for sure.

And to add more excitement to the running fun, I am thinking about running for charity at a destination race sometime early next year. There is still a lot that needs to be worked out, but I am hoping it happens because I believe this is the perfect time to do something like this.

How are you enjoying your summer?

 Are you running the NW(H)M?

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