Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday #65: Treat Yo Self

Galentine's Day with mi amor.

"Treat yo self!"  If you've seen Parks and Recreation, then you know the reference!  In my opinion, treating yourself is about more than buying yourself things.  It's also about self-care, good company, and cutting yourself a break when you need it.  At the moment, I have a birch-scented candle burning as I write this post.  I've given myself a pedicure and manicure for the first time in months.  I have Parks and Recreation playing whilst I write this post.  Do I have to work this Sunday?  Yes.  Absolutely.  But I'm going to take a moment for myself before I put nose to grindstone!

GALENTINE'S DAY


Valentine's Day was this past week.  I don't really celebrate so my boyfriend and I had a homecooked meal of chicken paprikash followed by watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  It's my signature dish and my rendition was so good that I only got to eat one serving before my boyfriend polished it all off!  Pretty low key which is exactly how I like it, minus having just one serving of the stew.  Harumph.  

On Saturday, I was invited by Ana to a Galentine's Day party.  It started pretty early so I have to give her props on coaxing me to (a) wake up early on a weekend and (b) convincing this hermit-crab-introverted-loner to go out and meet new people.  And, lady, am I glad that I went!  I got to meet a lot of people outside of my immediate graduate school community.  The host had prepared a lovely brunch from scratch.  I was in awe and appreciative of the amount of time and energy she put into the event.  There were homemade frittatas, brussel sprouts, pancakes, mini-pies, and more!  I loved the warmth and energy of the women I got to meet.  Plus, there was a super cute doggo running around us and the location overlooked Eagle Rock, LA!  I'm really glad I went.   


CHANGES


I recently had my annual checkup which included blood tests, assays, and the usual.  I'm thankful to have a pretty clean bill of health with the exception of allergies.  My health professionals saw nothing to be concerned about, but I think I'm going to step up taking care of my health.  I've gained about ten pounds in the past few months, which a lot of people have attributed to muscle weight, because no one guesses my weight properly!  I've managed to exercise 3-4 times a week for awhile, but I plan to step that up to 5.  I'm also planning to cut down on the refined carbohydrates (pastries, pasta, bread).  I've had some requests on social media for fitness posts.  I'm thinking a bi-weekly check in to keep myself on track.  

YEAR OF THE DOG


Gung hay fat choy!  It's the year of the dog.  I'm separated from my family by the width of the country.  There wasn't much of a celebration of Chinese Lunar New Year for me.  However, our lab organized a group lunch the day before and we all went out for dim sum.  I haven't had authentic Chinese food in a long time so this was tasty!  I always went with a lot of Chinese people and got the chance to speak Cantonese more than I do normally.  I miss speaking my native tongue sometimes.  Anybody else have that problem?


Questions for this week: 
Did you celebrate Lunar New Year?
Would you be interested in seeing a bi-weekly health/fitness series?

RECOMMENDED


•  This low-carb shepherd's pie from Ditch The Carbs.
•  My photographs from La Jolla, CA.  Yes, self-plug.  

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tidepools and Anemones

Seal Beach, La Jolla

As mentioned in my Sunday post, I went to La Jolla, CA over the weekend.  I brought my DSLR with me because it's been neglected while I work.  The pictures I'm sharing today will be of the La Jolla coast.  If you haven't guessed by now, I love cold, the water, and being surrounded by a marine environment.  It's natural for humans to be calmed by the sea, isn't it?  Rather than filling this post with my verbosity, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.  Succinctly: here are the moments I captured while tidepooling, walking the coast, and stopping by Seal Beach.  Hope you enjoy!  

Anemone.
Hermit crabs.
Dive shoes for tidepooling.
Lone white crane at low tide.

Close up of barnacles.
Barnacles and marine flora exposed at low tide.
Algae and sea anemone. 
Mussels and barnacles visible at low tide on private pier.
"God" rays.
Seal Beach, La Jolla.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday #64: Changing Tides

La Jolla, CA

Greetings from Los Angeles, my friends!  I feel the need to say this as I won't be saying it for very much longer in 2018.  I've just gotten back tonight after a weekend in La Jolla, CA visiting friends.  Luckily, La Jolla is just two hours away by Amtrak so it was a (relatively) short three hour commute each way to get out there.  Now that I'm back, let's catch up!

TEA AND COMPANY

I got into La Jolla on Friday evening and met up with my friend (also my partner's sister).  We had a lovely dinner of pho, followed by catching up, and a home screening of Finding Dory over Chinese tea.  Over the weekend, I had the chance to spend time in her company, try out a new sushi place, and explore the tidepools on La Jolla shores.  I'll share the photos of the tidepools in a future post, but you can see sneak peeks over on my Instagram.  On my last afternoon, I met up with my friend, who is an alumni of the lab in which I work -- it's wonderful to see old labmates in new places and growing! 

Jasmine flower green tea.

The weather down in La Jolla was perfect.  The air was cleaner right by the coast, the temperature didn't go above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the night air was crisp.  The chronic, dry cough I've had all winter was absent and I had no allergies!  How wonderful it was to feel cold and shiver again.  In case you didn't know: I strongly dislike heat.  The climate made coming back to Los Angeles -- to the arid air and smog -- more difficult.  I also had such a wonderful time that it was harder to come back, knowing the mountain of work that remains to be completed.  In many ways, I'm ready for the next few months to be finished and to leave Los Angeles.  

LEAVING LOS ANGELES

Speaking of leaving Los Angeles . . . I have big news!  I've recently taken an offer to work in Seattle for the coming year and I'm so excited!  My parents will be visiting me during and after my defense in March so I'm slated to move after their departure.  Three and a half years ago, I went to Seattle on a work meeting and fell in love with the city.  A woman at this conference told me that she could tell I was in love and would one day be back there.  I reflect on that now because in less than two months, this will be a reality.  I'm ready to leave Los Angeles, to live in a coastal region, and to live alone (hopefully) for the first time.  I'll keep y'all posted, but in the meantime, I have to finish my thesis and downsize.  

Today's questions and food for thought:  
What is your ideal climate to live in? 
Do you prefer to be hot or cold? 
Inland or coastal regions?