LA Grow! An Evening at the Wiltern

LA Grow! An Evening at the Wiltern

Last weekend was unlike any other that I’ve experienced so far in LA, and one word sums it all up: humidity

I had to go into lab on Saturday morning, but not until later in the morning. The sky was cloudy and gray like it had been the few days prior, but the Saturday morning news alerted me about thunderstorms that would occur later in the day. Still, I left my apartment in shorts and a t-shirt since it felt warm outside, and made the mistake of “forgetting” my umbrella. 

Fortunately, I was able to take cover during the intermittent moments of downpour/thunder, but it certainly slowed me down schedule-wise. It even caused a mini power outtage in my lab building, but I was able to resume my experiments without there being any major crisis!

I finished up mid-afternoon, and made the swift decision to walk over to the grocery store before another predicted downpour. I managed to make it back to the apartment just before thunder was heard again, and saved myself from an unwanted shower. 

I spent the rest of the day/evening inputing data and working on an document with a Monday deadline (Saturday nights of a grad student…what can I say?), but at least I was able to include a celebratory pint in all of this. The featured flavor of this weekend was B&J’s Strawberry Cheesecake:

 Strawberry Shortcake -
Strawberry Cheesecake – strawberry cheesecake ice cream with strawberries & a thick graham cracker swirl

I’m normally not a die-hard cheesecake fan, but the graham-cracker swirl intrigued me and pulled me in to buy this flavor. I guess I could tolerate some cheesecake if it means there’s a sweet and crunchy swirl!

 I'm amazed by how patient I am to take these'd think that upon ripping the lid off I wouldn't think twice about stopping to take pictures.  :P
I’m amazed by how patient I am to take these pictures…you’d think that upon ripping the lid off I wouldn’t think twice about stopping to take pictures. πŸ˜›

The cheesecake ice cream actually wasn’t that bad, and tasted more like vanilla. There were some frozen strawberries mixed in, and of course the graham cracker swirl is what brought this flavor to the top…managing to keep its crunchy texture and sweet flavor.

 Inside the pint.
Inside the pint.

Sunday morning was when I experienced the aftermath humidity from Saturday’s tropical rainshowers. While it was nice to listen to the rainfall in the evening, the humidity was such a pain to deal with on my long run the next morning! After mile 6, I was pushing through with all my might to just keep going and not stop. I did make a stop at a nearby Starbucks though, to get some ice water which I held onto for dear life from mile 9 to the finish!

I was a sticky mess when I came back to the apartment, but had to get ready quickly in order to move on and get my lab work done for the day. I had exciting plans that evening, and I wasn’t going to let the humidity stop me from following through with them!

Fortunately, after getting onto the train a little after 3:30PM, I was able to keep cool in air-conditioned spaces as I made my way to Wilshire and Western. This is a stop that I have made frequent visits to, but I had never paid attention to the dark teal building right across the street—the Wiltern.

 The Wiltern Theater
The Wiltern Theater

That is, until now!

The event I was attending was the cocktail hour of LA Grow!, sponsored by Whole Foods and benefiting RootDown LA, a youth-run non-profit organization that focuses on promoting healthy food and nutrition education in South LA.

 LA Grow! event poster.
LA Grow! event poster.

Inside the theater, I picked up my drink tickets from will call (even though I didn’t use them that night since I don’t drink…), and then proceeded to the actual fest set-up in a hallway, ballroom-like area.

 Things getting started.
Things getting started.

Exhibitors were lined up along the sides of the hallway, and the first food-related booth I noticed was being run by the main sponsor, Whole Foods.

 Avocado toasts!
Avocado toasts!

The table featured mashed avocados, which we could top on thick, cracker round toasts. Additional toppings included sea salt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sundried pesto. I loved the sea salt and pesto + avo combination, and made frequent visits to this table over the course of the evening. 

For those of us attending who don’t drink alcohol, there were several non-alcoholic drink samples for us to taste. Harmless Harvest was giving out pink coconut water (!!) and Rebbl Tonic had a massive spread of elixirs and tonics spread out. The exotic tonics included Maca Mocha, Reishi Chocolate, and Ashwagandha Chai…all of which I tried multiple times, and found myself to be a fan of the chocolate one the most.

 Pink coconut water and exotic elixirs.
Pink coconut water and exotic elixirs.

I only tried the Ginger Citrus tonic, even though Hibsicus Mint and Forest Berry were also available. I attribute it to the fact that the citrus drink was literally glowing with a bright yellow hue, and that made it difficult to walk away from it πŸ˜‰

I also passed by the Casamor Farm table, and it looked like the chef was plating small dishes featuring edible flowers! I didn’t get up close to see what exactly was going on since the area was too popular, but it looked quite intriguing from what I could tell. 

 Edible flowers?!
Edible flowers?!

Another popular table was Kye’s, a to-go food shop that sells unique nori wrap burritos…rather “Kyeritos”! They had both non-veg and vegan flavors available, and you know I definitely got the vegan one to try!

The Nahm Jim Kyerito - Seven Different Veggies, Herbs, Lotus Root, Woodear, Thai-inspired Fish Sauce, Hemp Seeds, Macadamia Nuts, Sliced Almonds, White Rice Blend, Vegan Nahm Jim Sauce
The Nahm Jim Kyerito – Seven Different Veggies, Herbs, Lotus Root, Woodear, Thai-inspired
Fish Sauce, Hemp Seeds, Macadamia Nuts, Sliced Almonds, White Rice Blend, Vegan Nahm Jim Sauce

To keep on with the vegan theme, I drifted over to the Cafe Gratitude table, and helped myself to these yam/cauliflower filled savory fold-overs. There was also a green chutney and fruit jam available to coat over as a topping!

 Yam = yum!
Yam = yum!

I also took some time to check out the pop-up garden/RootDown LA exhibit in the patio area. I was pleased to learn that a program that is invested in the overall health and wellness of urban neighborhoods exists in an area so close to where I live. Kids living in these neighborhoods, and who are involved in this program, are trained to eat and grow their own produce. They are also encouraged to get other members of their community to follow suit. It truly is change happening at the ground level, and based on the display, RootDown LA seems to be meeting their goals!

 Pop-Up Garden featuring RootDown LA's work
Pop-Up Garden featuring RootDown LA’s work

I also visited the tables of Slow Food Los Angeles, Farm Fresh to You, and Lasan (from who I grabbed a free reusable shopping bag to add to my growing collection)! Rustic Canyon’s table was another favorite of mine.

 Rustic Canyon
Rustic Canyon

Marcona almonds coated with lavendar sugar-–need I say more??

 I totally went back for seconds...and um, thirds.
I totally went back for seconds…and um, thirds.

I ended up going to many of the tables more than once, trying to avoid awkwardly bumping into others as I was eating. A communal dinner was planned to follow the cocktail hour for those who purchased tickets. It was around 6PM when the announcement to head over to dinner was heard, and that was my signal to head on home.

The air still felt warm outside, but at least now there was a cooler breeze.

 Just another cloudy summer day in LA.
Just another cloudy summer day in LA.

As I headed home, my weekend ended just like it had started—I fell asleep to the sound of rain tapping at my window that night πŸ™‚

Are there local youth-driven food and nutrition training programs for kids in your area?

MTR: Week 11

MTR: Week 11

This week in marathon training brought about some temporal changes—afternoon/early evening runs shook up my usual morning run routine, and a busy day on Wednesday called for an early morning run.

Saturday’s run ended up being more of an impromptu run, since I needed to go by the grocery store to pick up some much-needed essentials for dinner. In total, I was able to run a speedy 2 miles while checking-off an errand πŸ˜‰

 Needed to grab some dinner essentials on Saturday night so...running was obviously the way to go ;)
Needed to grab some dinner essentials on Saturday night so…running was obviously the way to go πŸ˜‰

Sunday – LSD 10 miler afternoon solo run at 9:28/mi

Monday5 miler morning solo run at 9:13/mi

Tuesday Rest

Wednesday –  5 miler early morning solo run at 9:18/mi

Thursday –  Rest

Friday –  5 miler morning solo run at 9:18/mi

Saturday –   2 miles total (run to the grocery store in the early evening!)

Total Mileage ->  27 miles

Since I had company over until Sunday afternoon, my 10 mile run had to be squeezed in sometime in the afternoon. Despite there being a rainy forecast, the rain subsided for me long enough to get in my long run. I felt super accomplished after this run, for sure πŸ˜€ !

It was harder for me to get in my 5 mile runs as the week went on, but I’m glad I was able to in the end, and keep in line with my team’s training plan. Rest days were more than necessary this week, since I felt myself wanting to sleep in for longer than usual. I also feel like this has something to do with my added emphasis on weight training. I’m also continuing to keep an eye on my food intake, especially my protein content, as according to everything I described in this post.

This coming Sunday’s run is a 13 miler welcome-back run with my team, but we have a 16 miler planned for the following week! Marathon training is approaching the ‘serious threshold’, folks—soon it will be time to nail some PDRs πŸ˜€

MTR: Week 10

MTR: Week 10

This week turned out to be quite interesting—I ended up streaking! Run streaking, that is.


Sunday – LSD 10 miler morning solo run at 9:20/mi

Monday – 3.2 miler morning solo run at 8:54/mi

Tuesday 5.6 miler morning solo run at 9:16/mi

Wednesday –  4 miler morning solo run at 9:19/mi

Thursday –  4 miler morning solo run at 9:19/mi

Friday –  2 miler morning solo run at 9:25/mi

Saturday –  Rest (finally)

Total Mileage ->  28.8 miles

This week turned out to be a slow one in regards to work. Since everyone is slowly getting back to the grind, that meant a lot more free time in the mornings for me this week. And since I was up for it, I ended up running each morning at a pace I felt comfortable with. The weather was pretty nice too, and may have also been influential πŸ˜‰

Sunday’s long run was a harder one to get through because I had just come back from my visit with family. The feeling of homesickness (almost) had me skip out on the run altogether, but luckily after the run, I felt better. On Monday, I felt quite speedy and it showed with my pace. On the days following, I mentally felt ready to run, but my pace began to slow as the days went on—with Friday’s being my slowest for the week. I also focused a lot on weight training and began altering my food intake this week—topics which I plan to go into detail about in a separate post. 

For the first week of January, I’m pretty happy with my efforts, but it would be nice to turn those ‘solos’ into ‘group runs’ again. Thankfully since my running group will be back in session starting this week, there should be a lot more help in the motivation department. I’m also looking forward to the changing scenery of Sunday long runs!

What has been the duration of your longest running streak? 



How did I ring in the New Year? In the most simple way possible…

A simple breakfast, a simple shopping trip, a simple drive home from the mall at night

It was nothing fancy, but NYE—and the entire week and a half that I was back with my family—was the perfect time for me to hibernate, enjoy home-cooked meals, and have nothing to worry about in particular πŸ™‚

So I was obviously feeling a little down when I had to bus back down to LA over the weekend, since I felt my family-time was being cut to a length that was shorter than what I preferred. I felt homesick the evening of my arrival back at the apartment, and this carried over to the following morning. Still, I was able to push aside those feelings to make room for a 10 mile run and a grocery shopping trip. I even planned it so that I could do my errands in Brentwood, so that I could visit this vegan-friendly establishment that I passed by on one of the long runs I had last semester with the team:

 Entrance to A Votre Sante.
Entrance to A Votre Sante.

The door had a knob as if it were the entrance to a small house, and upon entering, I was greeted with by a waitress who was all smiles. She found me a seat in the overflow room near the back wall, and I enjoyed people-watching for a little bit before being handed the menu.


I immediately skipped over to the vegan and signature entrees selection, and found something that fit the wholesome and nourishing bill: the Dragontail.

SAMSUNGI found the decorations to be aesthetically pleasing…


…especially the Buddha on the far wall.


I felt at peace while I sipped on my water and waited for my late lunch to arrive.

 Pretty lighting!
Pretty lighting!

When my plate came to the table, I admired the presentation—the grains and protein were perfectly portioned-off to one side, while the veggies marinated in tamari sauce were positioned immediately opposite:

Fresh vegetables, hijiki, organic tofu, organic tamari sauce, ginger, organic quinoa or brown rice, organic black beans, tahini.
Fresh vegetables, hijiki (brown sea vegetables), organic tofu, organic tamari sauce, ginger, organic quinoa or brown rice, organic black beans, tahini.

The tahini sauce blended well with the quinoa and black beans.

dragontail_A Votre Sante_close-up

I was able to finish my lunch just as the crowds were leaving, and as the staff was getting ready for the folks coming in for dinner. In order to get to the nearest grocery store, I walked back in the direction of the country club, and spotted this on the same road that I scrapped my hand on:

 I'm guessing other runners are trying to fuel with Quest bars mid-run!
I’m guessing other runners are trying to fuel with Quest bars mid-run!

It was around 6:30pm when I returned home, and I was able to have a good phone call with my Dad. We commiserated over the fact that my stay was too short, and that neither of us were ready to go back to work, but we also knew that once our routines were established again, we would be okay. I also realized that even though it would be quieter and lonelier around these parts for another week, since the hustle and bustle of campus activity doesn’t officially resume until then, I could at least take my time with establishing a new schedule and transition into things at a non-overwhelming pace.

How do you handle homesickness?

A Votre Sante on Urbanspoon

MTR: Week 9

MTR: Week 9

Cold weather + sore legs from running in the wrong shoes does not equal the most fun running week ever (why didn’t I pack my Hokas?!)…but being able to hibernate and have home-cooked meals most certainly makes up for whatever running workouts I could muster this week πŸ˜›

 Thursday's "race": a freezin' 5k
Thursday’s “race”: a freezin’ 5k

Sunday – LSD 12 miler morning solo run at 9:29/mi

Monday –  Rest

Tuesday 1.5 miles on treadmill 

Wednesday –  6.5 miler evening solo run at 9:24/mi

Thursday –  3.1 miler at a NYD Race (!!) at 8:55/mi

Friday –  Rest

Saturday –  Rest

Total Mileage ->  23.1 miles

Sunday’s 12 miler gave me an opportunity to do a little bit of exploring…since I sort of got lost, haha. I planned to originally meet my Dad at his gym, but he actually had to pick me up from the grocery store near where I ended! We did drive back to the gym though, and I was able to soak my sore legs in the hot tub spa—and my legs required that for sure!

Wednesday’s run was a relaxing (mentally) evening run, but my legs still felt sore, particularly my calves and the sides of my quads. It made me yearn to get back to my “real” running shoes, but I kept telling myself things would get back to normal starting next week…I hope πŸ˜› ! It felt nice to kick-off the new year on Thursday with a 5k, and since I was able to run it with a close friend, it made the event much more enjoyable—even in the 43 degree weather (not considering the nasty-cold 14mph wind chill!!).

Friday and Saturday were rest days due to it being my last day with the fam and a travel day. I also used the “free” time to reflect over my schedule for the coming semester, and to see how my running schedule will fit in. Classes don’t start for another week or so, but this week marks the beginning of my second lab rotation. Still, I do think that morning runs will be manageable—along with designating days for cross-training, stretching/yoga, and weight training. I aim on delving into the details regarding my plans about the things I plan to do in support of my running in a separate post, but for now, I know they are some things that have just got to be done πŸ˜‰

LA (+ Friends) Part 3

LA (+ Friends) Part 3

On the third day I had company, I made plans for us to visit the Santa Monica Pier together, as well as stop by the Hammer Museum. The museum plans never came to fruition, since everyone got up late (with the exception of me, miss early bird!), but we did make it out to the pier…after the bus ride that seemed to take longer than usual!

Santa Monica Pier…in December!!

It was warmer during the day compared to the previous few days of my friends’ stay. We took pictures on the boardwalk, and sat down for a coffee break while Friend #1 and brother got burgers and fries for lunch. I got an iced Americano from The Coffee Bean nearby, and after taking one sip, immediately poured in some sweetner to mask the bitterness!

Iced Americano from Coffee Bean –> not bad, after adding sweetener!

We chatted and people-watched: both of which are fun activities to do with friends πŸ˜‰ . Confident seagulls stood on guard on top of umbrellas, while pigeons did much of their “ruling” on the boardwalk floor.

Chillin’ at SM Pier. Seagulls rule.

We decided to leave soon after our short break since it was actually getting hotter, and taking a ride on the ferris wheel didn’t seem like such a fun idea after learning about the $6/person price.

Instead, we walked over to the Promenade (which I have come to know well…), so that Friend #2 could finally finish her list of christmas shopping for others.

Time seemed to be going by so slowly though, and we were all counting down the hours until we could finally have dinner at Veggie Grill! I promised everyone we would go there for the day, and so we now had to find ways to kill time πŸ˜‰ . The museum idea was scrapped after we spent a little too much time than planned at the mall, and so once 2pm struck, we decided to just stick around until it was a more decent time to head on out to dinner. This meant more walking, sitting, standing, and selfie-taking πŸ˜›

Around 4:30pm, we took a bus to get closer to Veggie Grill on Wilshire. This saved us some time, and also gave us a chance to rest our feet from walking for another 30-40 minutes. At the stop we were dropped off at, we only had to walk one block to reach the restaurant.

Veggie Grill, on Wilshire πŸ™‚

I let everyone know that dinner was on me πŸ˜€ . The free entree with the purchase of a $30 giftcard promo helped me in that regard πŸ˜‰

One of the smaller VG locations.

Friend #2 and I got the all-new Sonoran Winter Bowl. I was excited to try the myriad of textures and flavors in this dish—especially the fire-roasted carrots. We both agreed that the spiciness from the sauce and jalapenos cleared our sinuses!

The ALL NEW Sonoran Winter Bowl –> this bowl of beauty had spiced and fire-roasted carrots, seasoned black beans, avocado chunks, tomato corn salsa, jalapeΓ±os, tortilla strips, roasted red pepper sauce (so hot btw) all of which was stacked on quinoa pilaf with dried grapes & almonds!!

The rest of the group got the burger/sandwich and fries kind of fare, which were nothing short of tasty!

Other food at the table. Friend #2 got the Sonoran Winter Bowl, like me πŸ™‚

Once our meals were eaten, we had another adventure getting back home courtesy of public transit. We were supposed to transfer over to a bus that stops at the corner of my apartment, but when that bus completely passed our stop—right in front of us—we actually had to transfer back to the first bus, and then use the rail to get home! So even though getting home took longer than planned, we still made a fun time out of it. There was a guy on the rail jammin’ it out (and then soliciting tips afterwards, haha), and then when my sister learned that she got straight A’s for the semester (after she deliberately avoided checking her grades online for days…), we made a huge scene congratulating her for it.

The next day mainly involved packing, cleaning up the apartment (Swifer time!), and making the drive back up north to spend some time with our respective families. We got back around 6pm, and even though I had a great time with my best friends in the city, I was glad to be able to fully relax in my childhood home and completely de-stress…if only for a week and a half!!

Veggie Grill on Urbanspoon

MTR: Week 8

MTR: Week 8

This week in marathon training I would say was better than last week’s—at least in terms of my overall mood and expectations during and after each run.

Sunday’s long run was a solo run that I was able to squeeze in despite having company over πŸ™‚ . I just did a repeat loop of last week’s long run and added an extra 0.7 miles to make it a real 10 miles. I ran in my Hoka’s again, and had to walk with sore calves throughout The Grove for the rest of the day, but it was an soreness I didn’t mind dealing with.

Actually, my sore calves seemed to stick around for the entire week, even when I switched to running in my old gym shoes. I didn’t want to pack my Hoka’s when I came up to my parents’ house for the holidays, so I ran my Thursday and Friday runs in my old gym shoes as well. Despite the soreness, I was able to clock in some paces I was proud of.

 Morning of my trail run.
Morning of my trail run.

Sunday – LSD 10 miler solo run at 9:20/mi

Monday3 miler morning solo run at 9:17/mi

Tuesday –   Rest

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday –  4 miler mid-morning solo run at 9:09/mi (it was quite a windy run!)

Friday –  4 miler evening solo run at 9:17/mi 

Saturday – 6.4 miler trail race at 10:29/mi  (steep and killer hills = not fun)

Total Mileage ->  27.4 miles

Saturday’s run was my last official race of 2014! It was a trail race, so it included some pretty nasty steep hills that eventually got me to let go of my I-have-to-run attitude and just walk up. After the 3 mile turnaround, it was all downhill which meant gaining back some time I had lost.

It was a good challenge and humbling experience though, and the race also gave me an excuse to meet up with my cousin for lunch right after πŸ˜‰ !

Runners—how do you handle calf soreness?

LA (+ Friends) Part 1

LA (+ Friends) Part 1

My sister, two best friends, and Friend #1’s younger brother, arrived in LA on Saturday night—and I couldn’t wait to start the party with them πŸ˜› 

I ended up showing them around my apartment, apartment complex, and showing them the gorgeous DTLA skyline at night before having tea and settling in for a mini chat-fest. 

The next morning, after I went out for a 10 mile run and after we all casually got ready, I herded the flock towards a nearby Metro rail stop to get TAP cards. We made an adventure out of taking the Expo Line and transferring to the crowded (and often smelly) Red Line to get to the Mid-City area. We got off at the closest stop to catch the bus where we needed to transfer to make our way further west, and after 20 minutes of riding in the bus, we finished our public transit trek across town. We walked down towards 3rd Street, and found LA’s single location of Magnolia Bakery waiting for us on the corner. 

 The interior of Magnolia Bakery---so lacy and cute!!
The interior of Magnolia Bakery—so lacy and cute!!

We were distracted by the sparkly blue & white table display of winter wonderland-themed cupcakes, that we didn’t know where to orient ourselves in order to make our purchases!


Sitting at a table close to the tower of cupcakes didn’t help…

What does that tiny “For display only” sign plan to accomplish?

My friends and sister got coffee and/or tea to accompany their desserts. My sister and Friend #2 got the famous banana pudding. The apparently “small” size was a good amount to share between two (maybe three) people—it was so thick and rich with banana flavor of course. In other words, it wasn’t my style.

I did have some of the custard though, just so I could say I tried the dessert Magnolia Bakery is recognized for! There were also chunks of bread (or cake?) mixed in for some added texture. 


I kept things simple and sweet, and got a simple vanilla buttercream cupcake. I was hoping the girl behind the counter would hand me the purple-frosted one, but I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it when she pulled out this light and fresh cutie instead.

It ain’t no Crumbs Bakeshop cupcake, but it is adorable!

As we sat at our table eating and drinking our late morning snackables, we kept admiring the interior and fun decorations. My (banana pudding) friend and I wondered how much this vintage coffee sign should have cost…originally, and now!

 Large ceiling fans, and vintage coffee signs.
Large ceiling fans, and vintage coffee signs.

Overall, I thought the bakery was a cute and homey one, and I’m glad to have “checked it off” my LA foodie bucket list, but I wouldn’t say it was one of my favorites, or that I would seek out this particular location again. I guess it was because I would have preferred a wider variety of cupcakes and different kinds of cupcakes (such as some with cream fillings!!)

Once we were all ready to go, we continued to walk down 3rd Street until we reached The Grove. We popped into some shops along the way before reaching the Farmer’s Market, and hitting up Topshop as soon as we saw it. 

Blue cow statue in front of Mendocino Farms // The Grove four days before Christmas // We were in Dylan’s Candy Bar for five minutes before walking out with a headache—screaming, excited children that are 1/4 of your height and are running all over the place can do that to a person…

We spent the rest of the afternoon (window) shopping, shopping at stores within our budget, and then taking a break at the Farmer’s Market before walking over to our dinner location.

Trying on rings at Topshop (I like the boxy style, but I didn’t buy them…) // a pricey store of Indian goods at a shop on 3rd St. // a hot sauce store in the Farmer’s Market —> my friend took a picture of these πŸ˜›

For dinner, I gave my friends many options and put the decision-making task on them! In the end, I was pleased they decided to go for Inaka Natural Foods since it seemed like the perfect place to conclude the day’s adventures.


I made a reservation for five people right at their opening for dinner. They open at 5:30pm for dinner, and have limited lunch hours, so we took our time walking over so we wouldn’t look to desperate for food πŸ˜‰ . We almost passed the place at first because the door was literally closed, and we had to open it as if we were entering someone’s house. And the restaurant workers made eye contact with us through the window as we were doing this, so it was awk-ward

The lighting was dim, and while it was the perfect environment for having dinner, it did not help with picture-taking.


The restaurant is based on macrobiotic food, and the menu items are composed of simple but nutritionally-dense ingredients like seasonal vegetables from land and sea, grains, and protein (vegan-friendly tofu or pescatarian-friendly crustacean and fish).

There was a placard that outlined the main ingredient stars of the Inaka Plate, which is eventually what I decided to get (more specifically it was the Inaka Bowl, which was a smaller version of the plate. Our server said that the bowl was just enough for one person)!


When my Inaka Bowl came out, it was a bowl that I couldn’t wait to dig into!

The brown rice was nestled at the bottom, covered by generous portions of butter beans (the day’s bean), tofu dipp (mashed tofu salad mixed with green onions—looked like cottage cheese spread or something!), kabocha πŸ™‚ , stewed veggies, sea veggies just oozing out with minerals, kale, lotus root, burdock, daikon, bean sprouts, and pickled cabbage. No soy sauce was needed to flavor this dish πŸ˜‰

INAKA BOWL small inaka plate

Going around the table, the others ordered dishes that included the Inaka Salad (like the bowl, but with salad instead of rice), a shrimp plate with similar assortment of veggies, and a hefty bowl of miso noodle soup.


We left the restaurant with warm + nourished bellies, and walked north on La Brea to get to the bus stop. The ride back was a crowded one, but we were able to make a fun 1 hour ride out of it. Normally, long bus rides are sleep-inducing ways to kill time when I go out on solo weekend adventures, but it’s a completely different experience when out with friends…and I loved the change in routine πŸ™‚ !

Do you like doing things, or going to places you normally would do/go by yourself, with friends?

Magnolia Bakery on Urbanspoon Inaka Natural Foods on Urbanspoon

Making Do, and Finding New

Making Do, and Finding New

I planned to have the fun weekend with my girls start on Friday night, but due to circumstances out of our control, we had to push back our plans an extra day. That left me with another [lonely] day on my own.

I’m all about organizing and planning, and so when things don’t happen according to plan, it can throw me off guard. But I knew that it would be in my best interest to just treat this day as an extra opportunity for “me” time, before I had to gather up my energy to play hostess.

On Thursday night, I felt sore and achy and just wasn’t in an overall great mood because of all the changes happening, and so after taking some Tylenol, I went to bed early and decided to figure out my Friday solo plans in the morning.

Upon waking, I figured that a nice, long walk starting from Marina Del Rey and ending in Santa Monica would be a super mood booster, as well as a source for light activity, since I wanted to take a break from running due to the achiness I was feeling.

I also wanted Santa Monica’s Vitamin Shoppe to be my final destination because after visiting them on Tuesday, I found a Quest Bar representative living out my dream—she was handing out free Quest bars!!! I was able to grab at least five that day, and overheard her telling some other bar enthusiasts that she would be back on Friday with “more product”. Little did I know that that “more product” meant NEW product…

The new flavor does have a lengthier list of ingredients compared to the other flavors—but there is no gelatin (from marshmallows)

Yes, a serendipitous Friday it was. She introduced me to their newest flavor—S’mores! It’s not even in stores yet, and it’s barely a month old.


It was a tougher bar to chew compared to Cookies and Cream or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but I would say it’s a fair representation of the s’mores flavor without any marshmallows in sight or taste. But then again…I may be biased πŸ˜‰

She also asked if I had been able to try their Protein Chips.

Um, of course not, but I would be happy to if it’s on the house πŸ˜€


I tried their Salt & Vinegar flavor, and was intrigued by how thin and extra crispy they were. In fact, they might have been too thin and crispy because they almost had a melt-in-your-mouth kind of effect. There was a crunch, but then poof! All gone! There was no time to really savor them…


But perhaps with some salsa or dip on top, they may have been more pleasing to eat.

So even though Friday’s original plans didn’t turn out as I wanted them to, the resulting day’s events weren’t so bad πŸ˜‰


Since I had no one to entertain on Saturday morning, I woke up around 8am (which is rare for me…) and as soon as I got ready, made my way to Encino to grab brunch (but what ended up being lunch…) at More Than Waffles.


It took me a few minutes to realize that the restaurant was hidden on the ground floor of a mini shopping plaza across the street. On the outside, it looked like any other strip mall establishment.


But as I got closer, I could sense the theme of warmth and coziness the restaurant works hard to promote as a family-owned business.

Loving the retro font!
not quite noon
So busy at the brink of 11am!

Since it was obviously very busy, I ended up waiting almost forty-five minutes for a table. And since it was in an awkward location, I ended up just standing that entire time. When there finally was a space available for me, I was asked to come inside to sit at a smaller table.

inside more than waffles family restaurant
The indoor decor was adorable—especially the wallpaper!

With all that waiting I ended up doing, I knew exactly what I wanted, and my order landed on my table within minutes! At least I didn’t have to wait that long for my food πŸ˜› !! I ended up ordering a seemingly light, but nutritious Tuscan Benedict. I’ve been on an egg kick lately, and having perfectly poached eggs already done for me seemed like such a treat! Even the fruit tasted sweeter than usual πŸ™‚

tuscan benedict with fruit
Two poached eggs on a 9-grain toast with homemade bruschetta, topped with feta and fresh fruit.

I headed back home soon after to clean up the apartment, and then waited for the arrival of my friends. While it is good to have some quality time of solitude and introspection, too much of it can make one go crazy! I definitely need some friend time, and I’m hoping that the next few days rises up to that…

More Than Waffles on Urbanspoon

How do you react when things don’t go as planned?

MTR: Week 7

MTR: Week 7

This week in running was mild on the miles compared to the last several weeks. I originally thought I would be conquering a PDR on Sunday, but since many of the undergrads still had finals, they made Sunday’s run an optional long run day and reduced the mileage to 10 miles (even though it was less than that realistically). I was kind of bummed that it would be my last run with the team until next year, but at least I achieved a new 5K and 10K PR by running at 8:45/mi during the run! Despite having to stop at so many stoplights, running through downtown was a blast—even the especially challenging Bunker Hill area! It felt like my lungs were on fire!

 I had a "rest day" on Friday...but only from running. A 5 mile walk that took up the majority of my morning still kept me active!
I had a “rest day” on Friday…but only from running. A 5 mile walk that took up the majority of my morning still kept me active!

Sunday – LSD 9.36 miler with the team at 8:45/mi [new 5k and 10k PRs!!]

Monday3.68 miler morning solo run at 9:07/mi 

Tuesday –   0.5 miler treadmill “run” [I. can’t. stand. treadmills.]  

Wednesday – 3.6 miler morning solo run at 9:16/mi 

Thursday –  4 miler morning solo run at 9:32/mi

Friday –  Rest

Saturday – Rest

Total Mileage ->  ~ 21 miles

My legs felt super sore the next day (possibly the effects of still breaking in new shoes), but even so, I managed to get in some more runs early on in the week before I finally gave myself some rest days. Thursday’s 4 miler felt much more tortuous than it should have been, so I cancelled Friday’s run and made it an “active” rest day by walking from Marina Del Rey to Santa Monica. Saturday was a complete rest day (besides the walking needed to get some errands/eating out done), in order to save my energy—and stay on track—with maintaining my long runs on Sunday and my marathon training schedule!

What do you consider an active rest day? 


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