Lady Birds

Lady Birds

I wasn’t able to hang out with my sis over the holidays, but we were quickly able to make that up last weekend! With the holiday shopping craze out of the way, she didn’t have to work and was able to spend the entire weekend with me.

We met up on Saturday and drove straight to NoHo for lunch. We had tried to eat at Black Bottom Southern Cafe over the summer, but we came on a Sunday (when they are closed), and so they were off our immediate radar for some time. Six months later isn’t too long of a wait, I’d say…

J'eet Yet?
J’eet Yet?

I wouldn’t even call BB a restaurant. The yellow building behind the “J’eet Yet?” billboard was actually a video store, and the actual “restaurant” was a small square order counter.

My sister and I were greeted immediately and were directed toward the laminated menus. We couldn’t decide what to order right away, and despite being a Southern food restaurant, they did have a couple vegetarian and vegan options that sounded delicious.

CA Veggie Bowl
CA SoulVeggie Bowl

I finally decided on the CA Soul Veggie Bowl, which had a cheesy grits base, topped with pickled black eyed peas (Texas Caviar, lol), greens, and fried okra.


My sister got the Portabello “Sliders”, and I joked that it should be in quotes since her sliders looked like a regular sandwich…it wasn’t even served on a mini hamburger bun like you’d expect.

Portabello "Sliders"...
Portabello “Sliders”…

Rather, it was a sandwich made on a Schiacciata (new word of the day!) roll filled with onion, garlic, cheese, pesto, and balsamic glaze. At least she got some crisp sweet potato fried on the side.

We took our time eating (we found seats outside near the back wall of the restaurant) and spent even more time chatting after we finished all of our food. It was weird dining in with take-out boxes, but I guess BB is primarily used to processing to-go orders, explaining the lack of washable dishwear.

After our lunch we decided to check out a movie and we agreed on Lady Bird. I was mainly intrigued by the plot because the protagonist is a high school girl living in the early 2000s in Sacramento. The movie was particularly relatable to us since my sis and I spent most of our lives growing up in Nor Cal, in a city very close to Sacramento. Actually, we unapollegetically call it Suckramento because it really was the most boring place ever, haha! But I will admit that we have a lot of good memories growing up in our small-town city.

We ended up watching the movie in an overpriced theater in Santa Monica, and getting out of the parking garage was a nightmare. Before heading home, we made a quick Target stop in Westwood to pick up some items for a care package my sis is making for her BF. She’s planning to give it to him for Valentine’s Day, basically a box containing all sorts of “care” things he may need but doesn’t have around, like first-aid kit items, cough drops, ibuprofen, etc. When she told me about it, I was literally dying from the cuteness of it all, haha!

Eventually we made it back home but I was dog-tired. Maybe it was sitting in the dark theater, but I just could not keep my eyes open. My sis was skyping her BF and told me the next day that even though she was talking pretty loudly, I was pretty much unconscious. I get serious when it comes to sleep, lol.

The next morning, we agreed to find a coffee shop close by and get some work done. She’s been doing some summer internship research and so I helped her polish off her CV.

Love Coffee Bar
Love Coffee Bar

We parked ourselves at Love Coffee Bar which was a coffee shop I’ve been wanting to check out ever since I moved to SaMo. I’ll admit it was overpriced, but I loved my spiced latte with almond milk.

Spiced Latte Love
Spiced Latte Love

And having Emmy’s Organics Lemon Ginger Coconut Cookies on the side made for a perfect pairing.

Cookies on the side.

My sis had yet another sandwich, but it was that cute, cafe-sized mini baguette sandwich that went well with a huge cup of coffee.

Sunday coffee mornings.
Sunday coffee mornings.

We were working right outside the coffee shop for a while, and surprisingly didn’t get too distracted by the people coming and going…when it came to well-behaved, regal-looking dogs however…that was another story.

Later on we moved inside, and then in the early afternoon decided to walk to another place close by for lunch.

We walked through Santa Monica College to get to good ol’ Pico, in order to cross another place off my foodie list—Grey Block Pizza!

Grey Block Pizza, literally in a gray building.
Grey Block Pizza, literally in a gray building.

To be honest, the interior of the restaurant was quite depressing (I mean, it was gray after all…), but our pizzas weren’t.

Pizza at its finest.
Pizza at its finest.

My sis and I got a 20″ slice each. I’m not sure exactly which veggie-friendly flavors we got, since it was whatever they had on display. Mine had cheese olives, onions, and tomatoes while my sister’s looked to be like a slice with mostly mushroom, onion, and spinach. I was a fan of the crust, which was thinly rolled but, had a sesame seed coating at the edge.

After our bites of pizza, we walked back, and my sister drove me to Sprouts for a quick grocery stop before dropping me off and heading back to the OC.

I was glad to spend the first weekend of the new year with my lady bird 🙂

Grey Block Pizza Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

April Degustabox

April Degustabox

This month’s Degustabox had a mix of familiar favorites and interesting new ones! Laying everything out, I couldn’t decide what to try first!

April's surprises!
April’s surprises!

I decided to try the Lovely Candy Co. Caramels first, since I remembered how much I loved the fruit chews from this brand when I first had them back in October.

When has a caramel NOT made a day a little bit sweeter? 🍬 🍭 ☺️

They were easy to chew, had a gentle sweet flavor, and were so irresistible that it was impossible to refrain from eating the whole bag in one go.

The PR Bar was also a product I was familiar with.

PR Bar Yogurt Berry

I was a fan of the Chocolate Peanut flavor, and found this Yogurt Berry flavor just as enticing. It had a subtle vanilla coating with a melt-in-your-mouth texture filled with berry pieces, almost like having berry cream-filled cookies!

I’ve also had the Better Oats oatmeal brand in the past, but it was the first time I’ve seen their new packaging. At first I didn’t realize it was the same Better Oats company I was used to seeing being sold in green-and-white colored packaging.

How to amplify your oats.

The flavor of the oats was Maple & Brown Sugar, but I added some pumpkin spice-flavored greens protein (which mixed well with the oats, and allowed for a thicker texture which I love!) and some Lingonberry jam for a more hearty, sweeter bowl of warmth.

A Europe trip is in the cards later next month (!!) but I’m wondering if we should stop in Sweden 🇸🇪 🤔…this Lingonberry jam (a Swedish delicacy) is very convincing #ImaginingBreakfastsInSweden

The Lingonberry jam was definitely a new try for me, but after reading more about it I learned it was a Swedish delicacy. The flavor of the jam itself was not too sweet, and even though it had a fair mix of plump red berries, the consistency was smooth, pourable, and not too thick at all!

These Wilton Candy Salted Caramel Drops were also a new find for me, and certainly a winner.

“Straight up ate these little Wilton Candy Melts, because what PhD student has the time (and the patience) to melt candy 🍬😂??”

One could display patience, melt them to a more liquid consistency and pour it over delicate and already-beautiful looking desserts, but a hungry girl like me prefers to eat them drop by drop. Each drop packs a huge punch—I found them to be REALLY salty, and they even had a slight crunch to them also.

Dinners this month had some flavor help thanks to Nando’s. I loved seeing a bottle of Nando’s in a Degustabox again, and was eager to try this garlic flavor.

“When you mix a baked sweet potato with garlic Nando’s Peri-Peru sauce, your tastebuds are in a treat for something both nourishing and magical 🍠🌶😋”

It was labeled as being “medium spicy”, and doused over a hot sweet potato, it definitely had a kick to it. The bowl also featured cooked cabbage, sliced carrots and yellow squash discs. Yum!

Another condiment product featured in this month’s box was a fancy squeezeable tomato paste.

Looks like paint—but this is edible!!

I had not heard of the Mutti brand previously, but according to the old school toothpaste/paint packaging, this double concentrated tomato paste was made purely from tomatoes of Italian origin. The tomato paste could have even passed as a dark crimson colored paint!

This month’s box also featured a number of drink items. Depending on what subscribers prefer, this month’s box either included Skinnygirl Peach Bellini Green Tea K-Cups, or instant coffee from Cafe Bustello and a can of Zenify natural energy drink.

Tea anyone?

I took the K-Cups with me to lab since I could make use of them there with our Keurig. I’m mostly a coffee drinker nowadays, so I didn’t think I’d be in love with a green tea K-Cup, but I have to say this flavor won me over. When prepared hot and with a packet of stevia, it’s certainly a sweet treat! There’s nothing green about it—certainly all peach!

I’ve had Cafe Bustelo coffee before, but it was my first time trying out their instant packs.

Easy as 1-2-3!

It’s almost too simple to prepare, as I literally have been heating up a mug of water for about 2 minutes, then add a packet of the intant coffee with stevia, and voila! A smooth, flavorful cup of coffee that’s easy on the wallet.

How to make coffee, fast.

The Zenify drink I sampled was the “Zero” version, which contains 0g of sugar. The ingredients are basically sparkling water, erythritol, citric/ascorbic acid, and added vitamins. In addition to being sugar-free, it also contains no caffeine (to balance out the instant coffee I suppose!).

Zenify Zero

I love how it had a refreshing taste to it due to the carbonation, but knowing that it also served to work like green tea due to it containing a similar combination of antioxidants made me appreciative of it a bit more. I also think it’s pretty cool that the company pledges to work against polarization and intolerance by donating 5% of its profits to the Coexist Foundation.

 As for the products I was unable to try, the Chiridos cricket snacks and Wild Planet canned chicken since they obviously contain meat products. My labmates enjoyed them though!

Garbanzo bean hummus I have yet to make.

I could have made some garbanzo hummus this month to share with my co-workers as well, but didn’t get a chance to in time for this post! Seems easy enough though—the hummus flavor packet simply says to add a can of Bush’s Garbanzos.

Coffee or tea?

Do you prefer jam or nut butter on oats?

March DegustaBox

March DegustaBox

How is March ALREADY AT ITS END?! How is my visit to see my cousin an event that occurred a little over a month ago, and did I really just run a sub-4:00 hour marathon only this past Sunday

Well, I guess we truly are approaching the end of March, seeing as I’m writing up another DegustaBox review! My box for March came packed with a bunch of goodies!

DegustaBox for March '17
DegustaBox for March ’17

There was a a good balance of sweet snacks and savory staples. Of course, I went for the sweet-flavored stuff first! This time, I went straight for the Loacker biscuits—“Gran Pasticceria Tortina Dark”

A “Hazelnut Tartlet?”

This wafer-based biscuit is described as a “hazelnut tartlet” and has a smooth, creamy dark chocolate shell over a melt-in-your-mouth wafer cookie.

The chocolate is so smooth, you can read the lettering on the shell!
The chocolate is so smooth, you can read the lettering on the shell!

The other cookie-based snack was this bag of Mrs. Thinster’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Thins. Apparently more exotic flavors like Key Lime Pie and Cake Batter are available, but these chocolate chip crispy cookies irresistible.

Mrs. Thinster’s Chhocolate Chip Cookie Thins

The chocolate in these cookies had a mild, sweet flavor, and a buttery, crisp cookie base.

Mrs. Thinster’s Chhocolate Chip Cookie Thins Close-Up

I was pleasantly surprised to find a full-sized, peanut butter and jelly-filled croissant among this month’s mix of items! The bread itself was sweet and soft, and reminded me of a cake you’d find in an Asian bakery.

7 Days Croissant Peanut Butter and Jelly

The filling on the inside didn’t look like a lot, but it was just enough.

A PB&J Croissant?? Which master genius came up with this idea 💡?!

I remember having the Sweet Oat & Flax Good Thins crisps as part of my December DegustaBox, and so I was elated to see that the sweet potato flavored ones were included in this month’s box.

Nabisco Good Thins The Potato One ~ Sweet Potato

The sweet potato chips were light, crispy, sweet, and extremely light in density.

Boboli Pizza Crust was also included, and at first I was like, what am I going to do with this? Since I share a kitchen with an elderly couple (my landlords), I don’t do much heavy cooking. Plus, I wanted to see if I could utilize this large, dense disc of bread for a meal besides pizza…

It’s hard to tell but there’s about half of a 12″ Boboli pizza crust at the bottom of this (what seems like) a veggie-dense bowl!

As a result, I added it to my usual veggie-dense crockpot dinner bowl, as well as into some split pea soup that also had tofu cubes thrown in.

soupand veg
Boboli crust in soup and with veggies (topped with mustard)

The crust was soft, chewy, not super cheesy (even though cheese strands were clearly visible), and I even had portions of this 12″ crust on its own when not thrown into the dinners seen above.

One item I didn’t particularly favor was this Lemoncocco drink:


It has Italian origins, but the drink itself has a “milky” appearance. It is essentially coconut water with a hint of lemon, but I thought the citrus flavor was overwhelming and made the drink taste slightly bitter.

Another product I had an adverse reaction to were these Energems. At least I did at a previous time. With this in mind, I decided not to give these a try. I brought and left them in lab, and my co-workers made use of them—I think some of them benefited from the caffeine boost!

Energems, eh no thanks!

These quinoa bars were a favorite of mine!

Such pretty packaging colors & font!

They were lightly sweetened, and had a mix of textures, but they were still easy to eat. Not only were they easy to consume, but they were also colorful and the box had the most gorgeous packaging!

This Paul’s Finest Quinoa bar dazzles like a gem. And the fact that it’s sweetened with honey 🍯🍯🍯 ??? Aw man, so good!

The small box of Goya Quinoa Blend that contained black beans, bell peppers, and spices mixed with white quinoa and brown rice held enough grains to make four weekday lunches.

Goya Quinoa Blend

It was very simple to prepare with the microwave. I simply added a serving of the mix into a bowl, filled it to the level of the grains with water, and simply microwaved it from 7-12 minutes. I added a small, sliced Yukon gold potato that was also microwaved ~2 minutes. I cooled off the mix in the fridge in lab, took it out around lunch time, and any excess water that was there right after microwaving had been absorbed by the rice.

Taking some days off from running has helped me in regards to gaining some free time for meal prep! Vegetarian quinoa by Goya, mixed with a boiled potato has been working as a satisfying lunch 😋 helping me power through the rest of my work day 💪🏽

The potatoes did a good job of absorbing the flavors, and overall made for a nourishing lunch!

The last product in this month’s box I have yet to try is this chickpea pasta:

Tolerant Foods Organic Chickpea Pasta

I plan to soak a serving in water overnight before I plan to use it for lunch, so that it can respond well to a spin in the microwave. I’ll have to add my own spices and toppings, but I think this pasta will be a new favorite of mine since I expect it to have a naturally nutty, rich flavor thanks to those baby chickpeas 🙂 !

Which would you rather try from the following: the quinoa snack bars or the quinoa-rice mix?

February’s Degustabox

February’s Degustabox

This month’s Degustabox didn’t feature any snacks directly-associated with Valentine’s day, but could have easily fit the profile of sweet-flavored snacks and savory ingredients to make a meal worth making a loved one.

February's Degustabox
February’s Degustabox

Among the savory snacks, there were two packets of PopChips Ridges that I quickly picked to try first.

degusta_february (13)
Popchips Ridges – Salted

Salted had a drier texture, and Tangy Barbecue had a similar texture except flavored so slightly to help with the unpreventable dryness.

degusta_february (11)
Popchips Ridges – Tangy Barbecue

Definitely felt like I needed dip with these to make them more enjoyable, but perhaps I should have used the two packets of Bandar Spicy Mango Chili Sauce for a quick fix…

degusta_february (5)
Continuing to add flavor & spice to crockpot dinner bowls!

I instead used them to flavor a crockpot veggie bowl with cooked bell pepper, zucchini squash, and cabbage, also topped with pepper.

degusta_february (2)
Nando’s (Hot) Peri-Peri Sauce

I also had a bottle of Nando’s Peri-Peri Hot Sauce, and used it douse some cooked sweet potato discs in a similar crockpot dinner bowl I had one night.

Favorite meal from the week!

On nights I don’t have a crockpot veggie bowl, I usually throw shiritake noodles into soup or a stew for a quick meal followed by a yogurt bowl or a protein-rich sweet snack. I have not heard of the Slendier Calorie Clever brand, but was eager to try it cooked with a grilled eggplant wrap (that I also happened to pair with another Degustabox item last month).

degusta_february (4)
A texture-varying combo!

The wrap came with a tahini sauce cup that I used to coat the noodles after nuking them to a warmer temperature in the microwave. I then added the wrap halves into the bowl for a filling, texture-varying meal.

degusta_february (3)
Literally just like candy.

I got a box of Ricola lozenges in last month’s box, but seeing that people are still getting sick around me, it made sense to get another box. This month’s flavor was Citrus Herb, didn’t have an overbearing menthol taste, and was easy on the palate.

degusta_february (6)
I’ve always loved the plaid packaging

These Walker’s shortbread rounds were also easy on the palate. They’re dense, buttery biscuits that I actually remember from my childhood. I lived in England for two years when I was 4-6 years old, and I remember having these around (the Scottie dogs especially). They were probably made for the intention of having them with tea, but they carry a soft, melt-in-your-mouth flavor even when consumed on their own.

degusta_february (10)
Even the shortbread biscuits have a seal.

I am not a fan of dark chocolate, so I wasn’t particularly blown away by the Green & Black’s pure dark chocolate sea salt bar. It had a beautiful ombre design on paper packaging…

degusta_february (8)
Such a pretty blue ombre.

…and golden foil encasing the chocolate, but I just couldn’t stomach more than half the bar. I can handle dark chocolate in small increments, but 70% dark cacao, no thank you.

degusta_february (14)
Gorgeous packaging…I just don’t have the palate for dark chocolate 🙁

A chocolate-based snack I could handle was this PR Bar in chocolate peanut flavor. PR Bar stands for “personal record nutrition bar”, contains 15 grams of protein/bar, and is gluten-free.

degusta_february (12)
Hello, peanut 🙂

The texture reminded me of that of a brownie-flavored thinkThin bar, and had a soft, chewy consistency. It was easy to chow down on, perhaps due to the thin chocolate coating and smooth filling. The peanuts were also finely ground, so there weren’t any off-sized peanut chunks.

degusta_february (15)
“I’m in love with the coco…”

When I saw this bag of Grace Coco Chips, I immediately was reminded of the song lyric “I’m in love with the coco”…this coco is MUCH healthier, and less dangerous, compared to the one fawned about in the song though 😉 . I’ve had coconut chips before, but these had a sweeter flavor and a rougher texture. I had them on their own, but they could have easily been sturdy as flavor-holding toppings atop yogurt, oatmeal, or baked into bread or cookies 🙂

degusta_february (1)
This bottle is literally glowing.

I am not a sugar-soda drinker, and have even only recently started to enjoy carbonated water drinks like La Croix and Zevia. But since a bottle of Jone’s soda was once again provided in the box, I had to try it out. It didn’t have a strong orange punch of flavor like that of the Fanta I used to drink in the past, rather the flavor was smoother, certainly frothier/creamier, and had a mild orange scent. Not sure how I could fit this bottle into a Valentine’s theme though…with a strong orange hue emanating from it and all 😛

degusta_february (7)
Bottlecap wisdom ~

Would you use any of these items to make a Valentine’s Day-themed dish? What would you make?

Fala Me to Fala Bar

Fala Me to Fala Bar

Last week was crazy busy, and on more nights than usual, I ended up coming back to my apartment close to 8pm, even with my early morning start to the day. But I’ve always preferred being busy over being too relaxed, so while at times it did feel exhausting, at least it kept my mind occupied.

Because we have a couple students graduating/people leaving from my lab this year, we decided to go out as a lab for lunch on Thursday. It was the first time we had everyone together (well, almost…since my boss was out of town and we were missing one person…haha, the day we actually have EVERYONE together in the same room will be some kind of miracle!!). Spicy Indian buffet food was on the menu, and surprisingly, I didn’t nod off in class later despite it!

One of the plates I had on Thursday...super spicy, and used unpictured naan to mop up all of that!
One of the plates I had on Thursday…super spicy, and used unpictured naan to mop up all of that!

When I got home that night, I decided to kick-off the weekend earlier than usual with a THURSDAY night pint, a So Delicious one in fact. I’ve gotta say…this pint rocks! Since it’s made with coconut milk, you can actually taste the slivers of coconut mixed in with the cookie dough chunks. How have I gone this long avoiding these So Delicious pints?! I’m glad that even though I took a break from Snickerdoodle, this flavor was right up there with it!

Coconut milk + cookie dough = perfection
Coconut milk + cookie dough = perfection

Friday ended up being less busy, and I got home at a decent time. To celebrate the end of this busy week, I made myself a protein-rich snack plate featuring some of my favorites (once warmed up in the microwaved for ~20 seconds).

Friday Night Snack Plate featuring: Lenny & Larrys, Quest, and Combat Crunch. Melted for 20 seconds <3
Friday Night Snack Plate featuring: Lenny & Larrys, Quest, and Combat Crunch. Melted for 20 seconds <3

On Saturday, I had to go into lab for just two hours, and from there made it over to Melrose to see what little food shop was causing excitement on the ‘gram. Fala Bar, a Mediterranean food place that has locations on Melrose and Abbot Kinney in Venice, offers five varieties (!!) of falafel, but is popular because of their falafel burger offerings. Not only are they creative in their menu items and falafel flavors (original, sweet potato  what??, spicy, crunchy, and kale), they also are all-vegan, giving all the more reason to go falafel-crazy!

Fala Bar: vegan-friendly, and in a happening part of town!
Fala Bar: vegan-friendly, and in a happening part of town!

Because I rarely ever stray from ordering similar types of foods at restaurants, I got the fala plate even though the falafel burgers sounded mouth-watering. Definitely getting that when I visit the Venice location (yes, when 😉 ). For my plate, I had to choose one flavor of falafel for the four falafel balls that came with the plate. I went with ‘crunchy’, even though looking back, it would have been more fun to try sweet potato or kale. Maybe my intuitive choice for ‘crunchy’ meant I had some pent up anger I needed to get out? Haha, or maybe I just wanted some crunchy falafel!

Fala Bar's menu
Fala Bar’s menu

Since the storefront is very small, there is no indoor seating…just a couple tables outside under some shade. At least it was all taking place on Melrose Ave., so people-watching was at its prime.

GIGI---they have your snack mix, haha.
GIGI—they have your snack mix, haha.

One of the employees was nice enough to bring out my plate, and it was not skimpy by any means! Underneath my artistically-placed falafel were two kinds of cabbage slaw, and tabouli. Tahini and hummus were in the corners, and a soft, warm pocket of pita bread was served on the side.

Fala Plate ft. crunchy falafel
Fala Plate ft. crunchy falafel

At first I was saving the spreads for the falafel and pita bread, but in the end I just mixed everything all up because it was all so good, and good together. For the price, the plate was very filling and substantial. I did notice that the burgers were cheaper however, and I wonder if they would be just as filling. That’s my mission for next time!

Close-up of this flavor-packed plate.
Close-up of this flavor-packed plate.

Just like last weekend, pints were raised up (for pictures) and dug into 🙂

Because the So Delicious pint from Thursday blew me away, I decided to keep venturing into the flavor offerings of this brand. The almond milk offering of cookies ‘n cream had me very excited about trying at first, but unfortunately it was a disappointment. The cookie chunks were small, sparse, and did not carry much flavor. I’m not even sure what flavor the ice cream was supposed to be because it was lacking that much! Oh well, not everything can be a winner!

Eh, not worth the price...
Eh, not worth the price…

The Caramel Coffee Fudge flavor Ben & Jerry’s from their non-dairy frozen dessert line was also something I was looking forward to, after PB & Cookies proved itself, but was another disappointment as well. One unsual thing about this flavor was the crunchiness of the fudge blocks. They were fudge chunks, but they made a potato chip-like crunching sound when I ate them. It was odd, but very intriguing, haha.

I'd pass on this one.
I’d pass on this one.

Have you ever tried a falafel made with the not-so-normal ingredients?

Fala Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



My weekend in Vegas was much needed, and much fun, but I didn’t go for the usual reasons people go. There were food, drinks (if you exclude alcohol and include water), and much revelry, and I was 100% sober throughout it all. 😉

After about a year and a half of fundraising with a local organization in Nor Cal near where I used to live, I was able to raise enough funds to run the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half with Team Challenge, a group that fundraises for Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).

In the days leading up to my weekend “off” (every single weekend since visiting my sister in September involved a trip to lab…), I enjoyed some new-to-me snacks that fueled my weekday morning runs.

 This Combat Crunch Cinnamon Twist bar tasted like it was filled with cinnamon sugar! Protein bar churro?
This Combat Crunch Cinnamon Twist bar tasted like it was filled with cinnamon sugar! Protein bar churro?
 I only got these since they were free (Ralph's Friday Freebies!), but they were useful as running fuel.
I only got these since they were free (Ralph’s Friday Freebies!), but they were useful as running fuel.

I managed to stay alert in school and work-related things, just so that nothing would seem amiss 😉

 Proyo bowls at night, salads and sandwiches by day!
Proyo bowls at night, salads and sandwiches by day!

It helped that we had two talks that week, meaning free lunch 😛

On Friday of that weekend though, I was OUT—but not without stopping by lab an hour before I had to catch my MegaBus. #lifeofagradstudent

The ride took about six hours, but with naps and a footlong Subway sandwich, the time passed by relatively quickly. I made it to the RTC (regional transit center) around 5pm, where I met my Dad, whom I haven’t seen since August…

We caught a bus that took us to the least exciting part of Vegas, where we would stay for Friday night since Team Challenge only covers hotel rooms for Saturday and Sunday. Our hotel was not luxurious, but it did have a kitchen?! So we ended up going to the Albertson’s next door and having a humble supper 😛

 A humble meal, featuring Gardein-stuffed buns.
A humble meal, featuring Gardein-stuffed buns.

I was feeling extremely exhausted and went to bed about an hour later.

The next morning, we got ready as soon as possible, and caught a bus that was headed straight to the Strip. We even got off right near the LINQ, where Team Challenge was gathering its members.

 The LINQ is that little LEGO-looking cube nestled in between those buidlings...
The LINQ is that little LEGO-looking cube nestled in between those buidlings…

We couldn’t check-in until noon, so we left our stuff at the bell hop and then headed over to the convention center for the race expo. It was ~2 mile walk, and more walking was to be done once we got inside…

 LV Convention Center.
LV Convention Center.

After getting my bib, confirming my corral change, and receiving my (ugly yellow neon) race-themed shirt, we made our way past the pop-up shop in order to access the sponsor booths and to collect as many freebies as possible!

 Yes, I am a big deal.
Yes, I am a big deal.
 RUN away from the pop-up shop and TOWARDS the samplesssss
RUN away from the pop-up shop and TOWARDS the samplesssss

During this exploratory time, I even walked past Meb, who was signing copies of his latest book!


We spent about an hour and a half at the expo, and soon it was time for lunch!

 Of course, I went searching for the food samples.
Of course, I went searching for the food samples.

I wasn’t in the mood to navigate the Strip just yet, and actually, I wanted to visit at least one vegan-themed restaurant during this visit. Fortunately, Vegenation was nearby and close to downtown/Fremont St.

Once again, we hopped on the bus, which dropped us off in front of the downtown casinos (including the Golden Nugget, haha). From there, we walked towards glorious food.


Vegenation reminded me of Native Foods, and I guess it was because of the font.

 Such a cute restaurant inside!
Such a cute restaurant inside!

Their menu had an extensive selection, but I wanted something warm to counteract with the cool Las Vegas chill (at least it was cold…LA needs to take a hint 😉 ).

 Cute menu!
Cute menu!

My Dad and I shared the vegetable potstickers, which were far from stellar, but at least the Out of Africa Stew made up for it.

 Boring potstickers.
Boring potstickers.

It was an entire bowl of quinoa topped with spiced veggies from okra to sweet potato.

 Out of Africa stew!
Out of Africa stew!

Dad got a “meatball” parm sandwich which he didn’t like in the end, but it was satisfactory for lunch.

 It looked good, but Dad didn't think so :/
It looked good, but Dad didn’t think so :/

After getting our fill, we made our way to Fremont St. and stopped to watch people flying from the sky.

 SLOTZILLA! Shooting people out, flying through the air!
SLOTZILLA! Shooting people out, flying through the air!

We also played some slots at one of the casinos, but I soon got fed up with the bright lights/cough-inducing cigarette smoke (and the occasional cigar, ick), so we didn’t stick around too long. Plus, we weren’t too lucky 😛

On our way back to the bus stop, I realized why this area was also known as the Arts District.

 Art in LV!
Art in LV!

By the time we got back to the hotel, we were able to check-in. The first thing I did was use the bathroom (duh), lay out all my freebies, and then take a short nap until the Team Challenge Pasta Party that was being held at 7pm.

 Bars galore, and a super comfy bed with squishy pillows.
Bars galore, and a super comfy bed with squishy pillows.

Even though I was on my feet all day the day before my race, it was all in good fun. And it didn’t stop, as evidenced by the next morning/early afternoon before the famous night race!

Have you ever been to Vegas?

Are you a fan of slots/casino games?

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

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?

What’s In My Fridge?

What’s In My Fridge?

It’s all over the news, and boy was it unexpected, tragic, and a lot of other unfortunate things, but after hearing about the events in Boston yesterday, I was speechless…and still am. I watched the elite women start the race on TV around 6:30am, admiring the form of the Kenyans and Ethiopians, while cheering on Goucher and Flanagan. Who knew things would take a drastic turn a few hours later? As a runner, I may not truly know how it feels to accomplish the Boston Marathon, but I understand that it is a momentous event for any runner who qualifies and is able to go and finish the race. It’s upsetting and frustrating to see that a careless and selfish act affected so many people, and also ruined what was supposed to be a treasured day for a lot of people. My goes out to everyone who was affected.

The real purpose of this post is light-hearted, so let me just jump into that…

I saw this survey on a few blogs (particularly Dixya’s and Khushboo’s), and couldn’t resist joining in on the fun.

1) What are the three fave things in your fridge/freezer right now?

1) Limited Edition Skinny Cow CUPCAKE BATTER SUNDAE CUPS (2 for a $1!!), 2) My tub of clearance Fage greek yogurt, 3) Driscoll’s strawberries:

Three amazing things...favorite of the bunch is the cupcake batter ice literally has cake pieces and confetti sprinkles in it!
Three amazing things…favorite of the bunch is the cupcake batter ice cream…it literally has cake pieces and confetti sprinkles in it!

2) What’s the one thing you always have on hand?

Greek yogurt. Well, that’s how it’s been for I dunno…the last six months?

The stash, yo.
The stash, yo.

3) What’s one thing you’d never have?

Meat. I have always been a vegetarian, so seitan, tempeh, and tofu are fine enough for me :)!

4) If you had an unlimited supply of anything, what would that be?

Hmm…if I had to be specific, perhaps Quest Bars! Those babies are expensive (yet so good!) so if I had an unlimited supply, it would give my paycheck I sigh of relief!


5) What’s your go-to market and what do you get there?

GROCERY OUTLET, BARGAIN MARKET :)! I’ll get clearance yogurts (Chobani if I’m lucky), energy bars, ice creams, and sometimes frozen dinners (like vegan evol burritos and wraps :P!)


6) What ingredient are you currently loving?

Hmmm…I wouldn’t say I’m currently loving this, but garlic salt is one of my favorite ingredients. I love the flavor it adds to roasted corn and grilled vegetables!


7) What’s your favorite thing to whip up at home?

One thing fun I whipped up over the weekend was a baked sweet potato coated with a dollop of five spice hummus. It was beyond-words good, and I’ll probably make it again if I’m super hungry and want something quickly. Perhaps I’ll fancy it up a bit so it would be worth posting about ;).

8) Any songs you like cooking to?

I have plenty of songs I like running to! My music taste is all over the map, and it my favorite songs change as quickly as I shed skin cells :P! Right now I’m all about running to ZUMBA music.

9) What are the best items to have on hand for a quick and easy dinner?

Any mix of vegetables, since they can be easily steamed, flavored, microwaved, etc. Slap a slab or two of flatbread on the side, and you’ve got a humble meal.

Bread and vegetables are such a good combo :)
Bread and vegetables are such a good combo 🙂

10) What are your favorite kind of leftovers?

I love bread-based meal leftovers, since they can be stored in the fridge/freezer and are pretty hearty. I also love bottom of jar leftovers (like yogurt containers or nut butter jars) because I love adding toppings to them and eating on the go!

11) Fill in the blank: If I’m cooking to impress, I make….

I don’t think I’ve ever been a situation where I had to cook to impress. If I need to make something for a potluck or similar food-related event, I like to use ingredients I already have, and attempt to make something that tastes like it was planned from the beginning.

12) What’s your condiment of choice?

Ketchup is always a winner in my book, but Braggs Liquid Aminos is pretty awesome too.

That is one huge gallon though…

13) What’s the strangest thing in your fridge at the moment?

It’s not that strange, but this jar has been hiding out in the back of our fridge for quite some time…

Grape Leaves

14) When a midnight snack attack strikes, what’s the plan?

I’m not a midnight snacker since I usually go to bed around 10pm, but these have been tempting me after dinner lately…

Can you guess what they are ;)
Can you guess what they are?? 😉

What’s the strangest thing in YOUR fridge at the moment?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...