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 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 😋 #WhereIsMySponsorship #JkJk #Sorta 😉
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 😋 #WhereIsMySponsorship #JkJk #Sorta 😉

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.

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?

On the Horizon

On the Horizon

It’s hard to believe that in about two weeks, I’ll be walking, running, and skipping (maybe? haha!) across Europe. The plan is to start in Iceland, fly across the pond to the UK, and then end the journey in Paris. It’ll be quite a way to celebrate my sister’s upcoming graduation from her undergraduate university!

Hello Pizza Studio!

But what I’m most excited for is her move this fall to Irvine. Yes, she’ll be about 60 min away from me by car, and I could not be more excited. We may not be moving in together right away, but I foresee a bunch of weekend adventures with her, and hopefully we’ll be able to find a place to live together when she gets more settled in!

Pizza Studio, South Los Angeles

In the meantime, work has been keeping me busy, and weekends in lab have become commonplace again. Obviously all that work stirs up an appetite, and pizza has been my carb craving as of late.

I’ve finally been getting on board with the popularity behind the whole make-your-own-pizza trend. First it was Blaze, and now I got around to trying out Pizza Studio.

I could have gotten creative and really asked to make up my own combo—perhaps even have it all on a spicy pizza crust—but one of the ready-made combos, Truffled Mushroom, seemed to sound quite appetizing.

The Truffled Mushroom

This magical combo was composed of a rosemary herb crust, garlic alfredo, freshly grated mozzarella, truffle roasted mushrooms, fresh parmesan, and baby spinach. It came out soooo warm and with the cheese all melty, I had to be incredibly careful when picking up the slices because it was hot to the touch.

All those mushrooms and that cheezzzzzz…

But the taste was all worth it. I’m thinking with all the things planned and events coming up, my carb cravings are only going to get stronger…and I think more pizza places are going to be crossed off my list in the process 😉

What do you crave the most when you are super busy and get super hungry?

The Pizza Studio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yes, It’s Done!

Yes, It’s Done!

It’s so hard to believe that the past couple of months had me so anxious/stressed all over one little day. Well, on Tuesday I passed my qualifying exam, and it literally felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. I had been working on it for so long that I forgot what it felt like to go out on the weekends and explore the city.

Now the only major thing left in this whole grad school thing is getting to the end—defending a dissertation and graduating! That won’t be for at least another 2.5 years, but I honestly think the hard part is over, at least in terms of academic requirements.

Last week however, I was feeling 10x more stress and anxiety compared to how I feel now.

Last Thursday, I stayed home to work from home. I was glad to save time from commuting, and I even squeezed in a run and Whole Foods/Vitamin Shoppe stop before heading home to work.

RX Bars

To my surprise, I found two new-to-me RX bars at Whole Foods, and snacked on them at the store.

Coffe Chocolate had a rough texture and the chocolate chips against the coffee flavor was strong, and overall I thought it was alright. I truly loved Apple Cinnamon though—tasted like Apple Pie if one added nuts into the crust!

Coffee Chocolate // Apple Cinnamon

I also had a Smores flavored Combat Crunch bar that I picked up from Vitamin Shoppe, and it tasted like a higher-quality Milky Way bar. Basically a Milky Way bar with a thicker, crispier, crunchier chocolate-coating shell.

Smores Combat Crunch

On Saturday, we got a day break from the rain. I used that to my advantage and went out for a ~11 mi run. I was thinking about attending the women’s march taking place in downtown, but my priority was working on my PowerPoint presentations.

Uplifter’s Kitchen

Before heading to work, I had to get some breakfast in me. I ended up going to Uplifter’s Kitchen for a quick, small bite in a cozy atmosphere. Despite it being sunny, the temperature was still chilly from the rain.

Where to order

I ended up getting a seasonal mixed berry scone with a cafe latte on the side made with almond milk. I could have consumed this on the go, but I truly did want to give myself a break before transitioning to work mode.

A seasonal mixed berry scone with juicy fruit!

This scone was encrusted with sugar crystals, and the blackberries and strawberries were so juicy!

Also got a latte with my scone 🙂

The latte on the other hand, was sub-par. Maybe because they hadn’t sweetened it themselves, and when I got it I was too lazy to figure the right amount of sweetener to add. At least the frothy part looked pretty, and it was made from locally-sources almond milk? That is a plus, right 😉 ?

Picked a seat by the wall.

I also later found out that my scone made a difference! Haha, apparently, the proceeds that Day were going towards organizations that support women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ equality and protection from discrimination for immigrants. I was thrilled to hear that, and safely came to the conclusion that I was able to contribute to the day despite my own personal to-do list 🙂 !

Well—since my quals trials are over, I am overwhelmed (with happiness) thinking about what I could do this weekend! Ah, it feels like I need to catch up with the entire world, haha.

Uplifters Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’m Exhausted (An Understatement)

I’m Exhausted (An Understatement)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birthday Cake
Birthday Cake

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

Chocolate Coconut
Chocolate Coconut

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

Chocolate Banana
Chocolate Banana

So it was no surprise Chocolate Coconut was my winner 😉

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

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

Yalla Mediterranean
Yalla Mediterranean

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

My beautiful platter
My beautiful platter

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

Aided by baby falafels
Aided by baby falafels

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

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

MTR: Week 18

MTR: Week 18

This week’s long run was actually one I was looking forward to. I mean, after you run 22 miles, 12 miles seems like such a reward! I was also looking to the run as a way to ‘de-stress’ since my weekend was an exhausting/stress-inducing one. It was something I touched upon in my last post, and I can’t get into details for privacy reasons, but I was feeling so anxious about the situation that it was costing me quality sleep.

Even though the ‘issues’ didn’t resolve overnight (they did resolve by the end of the week though 🙂 ), Sunday’s run certainly helped. We ran a 6 mile out-and-back starting from near the Santa Monica Pier, and while I started off slowly, I had negative splits towards the end of the run. My teammates poked fun at the fact that I didn’t even look like I was out of breath or sweaty. I guess the fun thing about tapering is being able to see how much you’ve improved in your ‘old’ long distances.

I celebrated my 9:23/mi pace on the inside, but figuring out how to maintain the endurance/speed I’ve developed during this course of marathon training is something that’s been brewing in my mind as of late.

Walking east from the beach on Wilshire, towards my lunch destination.

I also learned after the run that this would be our last team carpool for training! Our final long run before the marathon is next week, but we are staying local for that 8 miler. As for the rest of the week in running, here’s how it turned out:

Sunday12 mile group LSD run at  9:23/mi

Monday – Rest

Tuesday6 mile morning solo run at  8:57/mi

Wednesday –  6 mile morning solo run at  9:20/mi

Thursday6 mile morning solo run at  9:08/mi

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Rest

Total Mileage ->   30 miles

Despite having to deal with a stressful situation, I was happy to not give in to the anxiety and sacrifice my morning runs and lifting workouts. Working out in the weekday mornings is best for my schedule, and I think I can safetly say that this has become a healthy habit. I feel so much better and ready to conquer the day after busting out some miles/pumping up my muscles in the morning 🙂

So now it looks like I’m down to one more week before the big day. The 26.2. I plan for this final week in marathon training to be a light one, with 3-4 milers during the week and Friday/Saturday as rest days. I also have to remind myself not to get too carried away at the expo…just get my bib, whatever samples I’m able to scour, and run walk home to rest 😉

Do you enjoy taking it easy the last one-two weeks before a big race, or do you find yourself feeling anxious about the big day?

Back to Work

Back to Work

This past month has been a greatly busy time for me, but I like to think that what I am doing right now will be a wise investment for me in the coming months.

It’s been four months since I was awarded my Bachelor’s degree, and my plan has always been to go on to graduate school. The “type” of graduate school changed over the years, but in the end, I decided that a PhD is something I truly want to pursue. Over the summer, I narrowed down the list of programs I plan to apply to and spoke with some professors, pretty much asking them if I was on the right track.

Was in a Sunflower Seed Butter daze a few weeks ago: sunbutter on toast, and a generous dollop in hot grains cereal.
Was in a sunflower seed butter daze a few weeks ago: sunbutter on toast, and a generous dollop in hot grains cereal.

After getting some helpful feedback, I decided to take the new GRE, even though I took the older version (before it switched formats) during the summer after my freshman year. It’s been two years since I last took it, so might as well take it and see what happens…

I’m also continuing my lab work rather than looking for a job in industry. I originally thought I would be able to get a job in industry for a couple months before starting school, but the general consensus was lab time >>> working in industry, and so I’m grateful for not halting work in my current lab ;). Rather than making money, I actually had to move my part-time sales associate job availability to weekends. So I’ve had to sacrifice an extra couple dollars every week, but I figure it is what I have to do to reach my real goals.

And then there are the logistical aspects of it all: e-mailing my letter of rec writers, filling out those applications, paying for those applications (my savings account is going to be soooo dry :P!), submitting everything…and then waiting.

The timeline for this takes me to December, so the next few months will be hectic for sure. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about classes on top of all this so I don’t think I’ll be dying of stress. But even so, the anxiety has kicked in, and has caused restless nights and me being sleep-deprived. It comes and goes, but man is it frustrating!

I was soooo excited to try the newest flavor of Questbars that I ordered from iHerb: White Chocolate Raspberry!!
I was soooo excited to try the newest flavor of Questbars that I ordered from iHerb: White Chocolate Raspberry!!

I also have this desire of wanting to move on with my life. Everyone I know has gone/is going back to school, and I feel like the odd one out still living at home just waiting. It’s not like I miss undergrad or anything (far from it…), but I find myself daydreaming of living in the city, in an apartment, within walking distance of everything and anything.

Questbar White Chocolate Raspberry---unwrapped.
Questbar White Chocolate Raspberry—unwrapped.

But even if I’m in a great location, I still have to be happy: happy with the program, and whatever research lab I end up in. From what I’ve researched, the schools I’m applying to have programs that can offer me something, and labs I’d be interested in working in. I only hope they see the same in me ;).

Once I’m done with the whole application submissions process, I hope to outline what I did/needed to apply in a future post. I’m sure others will be in the same boat in the future, and I know it helps me when I hear about how others fared in getting into grad/med/whatever school :P!

Are you in the process of applying to anything (undergrad, grad, med school)?

If you went through the arduous process and made it to the other side, what are some tips you have?

Busy as a Bee!!

Busy as a Bee!!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since I last posted! I’m just so glad the three-day weekend is here. I am truly exhausted since I have been in “non-stop” mode for the past week. Midterms (the crazy take-home kind included), last-minute projects for work, a job interview, and staying up past my natural bedtime have all been the norm this past week.

I am looking to this weekend as a way to relax, recuperate, and recharge my batteries for the final two weeks of classes, and then my last set of finals as an undergrad! I also desperately need to go shopping, so perhaps after some deep, long naps, I’ll have some energy to make it out to the Memorial Day sales happening this weekend? We’ll see…

Anyways, my eyes are starting to droop, so here are some random things I managed to capture this week:

  • After a job interview (for a part-time sales associate position…any money is good at this point for grad school application fees!), I came home and had a hankering for sweet potato. We managed to have one left sitting in the dark corner of our pantry, and it was starting to grow tubers! I peeled ’em off, and then cooked the potato for about 2 minutes in the microwave. I then added some salsa, and Japanese rice seasoning. The result? Tasted amazing, and plan on making this again if we don’t run out of the rice seasoning before then.

Sweet Potato with Salsa and Rice Seasoning

  • After walking back from work yesterday, I couldn’t help but snap a picture of this adorableness: two blue Nissan Versas parked back-to-back! Yes, my life is exciting.

Two True Blue Nissan Versas

  • A few posts back, I said that I had a ~2 year old Nordstrom giftcard and that I was planning on using it to buy some cut-offs to add to my (lack of) shorts collection. Actually, when it occured to me that Nordstrom carries Nike, I was thrilled to see they sold Nike Pro shorts. I wanted to buy a pair before the half marathon anyways! I had my eyes on a solid black pair, but since they were out of stock, this “pink force” just had to do ;). When it came down to the price, I ended up just paying about $2.00 cause of sales tax. Yup, this giftcard played it right by sitting in my wallet for two years :P!
Definitely feel like a pro runner in these :)!
Definitely feel like a pro runner in these :)!


I plan to post a race recap soon from a race I ran last weekend (which went very well by the way), but for now, I’m going to get started on that long nap I mentioned earlier.

Have a lovely weekend everyone 🙂

What are your plans this weekend?

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