Thursday, September 30, 2010

Decisions Decisions

My IPod Shuffle has been acting up lately. It does weird things like shut off in the middle of a song, even when fully charged and it will only turn back on again when I press the play button really hard and hold it down for multiply seconds. Sometimes I turn it on and it shuts off by itself 5 minutes into my workout and never comes back on again. I've fiddled with it for the past month now and have gotten it to work to get me through the tail end of my marathon training. One time it crapped out on my on a 20 mile run and I was so mad. So I think after 3 years of keeping me company on my runs, it is time to retire the old girl and get something I can depend on again. The last thing I need is for it to crap out on my trip to Chicago. So, I was thinking of getting another Shuffle to replace the one I have. I currently have a pink one and was thinking of getting a green one, just to mix things up a bit. I went on the Apple website and right next to the Shuffle was the new and improved Nano. So I  read up on it and noticed that it is almost if not the same size as the Shuffle, also with an attached clip but it holds so much more songs, plus it has a touch screen and a built in pedometer. The Shuffle is currently going for $49 and the Nano is $149...I think all the new feature is worth the extra hundred. Don't you? Don't answer that because I'm already sold!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Flashback to Last Year

I was looking through my photo stash recently and noticed that I had not used the photos from last year's trip that I took right around this time of year. Sister K, MC and I had gone to Vegas to spectate the Mr. Olympia Competition and there may have been some buffet eating. But who can say? I was really into pumping iron at the time so this event was very appealing to me. I got to see and meet a lot of fitness personalities, people who's physique I had admired in the magazines. It was a fun trip, but it was so hot there, but expected. Unlike the crazy heat we've been having here in SoCal. I could have baked some bread in that 113 degree heat the other day. 

Sorry, this is such a dark photo.
Bikini & Figure competition - those ladies were just so fit.
This is Jennifer Nicole Lee. She has an amazing story. Google her if you are interested. She lost a ton of weight and won a bikini competition. Inspirational! She is also the inventor of the Ab Circle.
I also met Forrest Griffin, the UFC fighter.
MC, trying to win some stuff in an arm strength demo. That thing is heavier than it looks.
I'm sorry Sister K, I had to use this photo because you look so cute!
We also went to see the Penn & Teller Show. Even though I look sleepy in this photo, the show was pretty interesting!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pick Up Stix

It was so hot yesterday that after work, the last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner. I actually contemplated a big bowl of ice for dinner but I settled for something closer to where I ended up after running some errands....Pick Up Stix. I haven't been to Pick Up Stix in years. After last night's dinner, I remembered why I no longer eat there anymore. The food is extremely salty and everything is coated in this salty brown sauce. They've also redecorated the inside with some modern decor and bright primary colors.

Felt weird about snapping a photo of the store front since there was a lot of foot traffic last night so I snapped this photo instead.
Cute new lighting
Artsy Double Happiness word
This was Tofu and Broccoli in a very salty brown sauce. Yuck!
Side of brown rice
Need lots of brown rice to even out the salty food. @_@
I never eat fortune cookies but I needed something to get the salty taste out of my mouth!
Yeah right!
I must've been having a weird night because I NEVER eat donuts.
Somehow these ended up in my belly. Three glazed donut holes. We will be back to our regularly schedule healthy eating soon.

Sprinkles Cupcake

Cupcakes...what can I say, I love 'em! I love them so much that I actually went online to see who invented them. At last, I still am not sure. The history of cupcakes is very vague at best. It seems like it was one of those items that sort of evolved over time to what it is known as today. A small self portioning portable cake to take and eat wherever.

My favorite flavor is red velvet but I'll eat just about any cupcake within reach. I'm on a quest to sample as much red velvet cupcakes as possible. It's a daunting and delicious task but someone has to do it.

Over the years, I've eaten a lot of cakes. I should do a post of all the cake photos that I have. Perhaps I might. I've only recently developed an obsession with cupcakes. I've made a couple of batches of cupcakes, both from the box and from scratch. One time, I made a batch from the box and it was a hot day and by the time I got them to a party, all the frosting melted off. I have no photos of that disaster.

Here is a batch of red velvet I made from scratch back in 2008. I don't think I liked them because I never made them again. I used so much red food coloring to get this color, it scared me to eat it.
Then a few years ago Sprinkles Cupcake came into town selling their $3+ cupcakes. I thought that was insane but it seems like that is the going price for cupcakes these days and no one seems to bat an eye at that price down here in the OC. On my first visit to Sprinkles, I went with the Sisters to the original location in Beverly Hills.

We were rolling deep that day so we racked up quite a bill. Look how cute they are though. I forget what flavors these were. I'm just going to call them Mysterious Deliciousness.
3 red velvet and I forget what the chocolate one was. Apparently they have many chocolate variations.
Then recently this running machine reminded me about Sprinkles Cupcake and I in the name of science...oh ok, I was hungry and wanted a cupcake badly, so I headed over to the Sprinkles in Newport Beach and purchased a red velvet so that I could better write this post.

The things I do for this blog. What a life! @_@
Something delicious is hiding inside.
Here it is...a Sprinkles cupcake! It is very moist and the frosting is very sweet but you can't help but eat it anyways. It is a work of art. Expensive at $3.75 each. But it is really very good. Sprinkles have perfected what they do and it is tasty!
Sprinkles Cupcake (Beverly Hills)
9635 S. Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 274-8765


Sprinkles Cupcake (Newport Beach)
Corona Del Mar Plaza
944 Avocado Ave
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 760-0003

Monday, September 27, 2010

Summer is Not Leaving Without a Fight

Looks like Summer decided to have one last harrah here in SoCal. While I do enjoy the nice warm evenings, the heat can be unbearable for long runs and midday runs. In fact, I think it's insane to be running midday this past week. Nonetheless, this past Saturday, I got to the Back Bay around 7am for what was my final 20 miler. It was already warm by the time we headed out for the 2 loops but I do well in the heat so for once I was actually the front runner of the pack; or it could have been that it was so unpleasant that I was just running fast to get it done. Possibly a combination of both. In any case, I am done with the long runs. Feels like I've done so many long runs. I think I've trained just the right amount because any more long runs and I think I would have mentally lost it.

After my 20-miler on Saturday, I had some frozen blueberry waffles from Van's. They hit the spot.

Then my sisters came to visit. We all went swimming because it was so hot.
We had some snacks of champions: chips, salsa, salami & cheese, pickles, crackers and pate.
Mixture of carbonated lemonade and blood orange juice.
Sunday dinner at MC's parents house. It's the place to be for nothing green or multi-grain.
For those keeping track of my blanket progress. This is what I have so far. It's is about 75% done. I'm very close!

On Sunday, it was even hotter than Saturday so we ventured out in search of Shaved Hawaiian Ice, I found this place casually searching the web but they had Italian Ice...not Hawaiian Ice. I need to read more carefully next time. This is Frostbites in Cypress. As the signs says, they have crepes and frozen delights.
Feasts your eyes on this frozen delight! This is called a Sorbet Cream - layers of Italian Ice and Vanilla Ice Cream. Amazing!
This was my dairy-free one called Sorbet Chill, Mango and Coconut! Really tasty.
Menu on LCD monitors.
Lots of tasty flavors and the samples were free flowing.
The crepe making side of the store.
That's my order being made.
A Nutella Crepe! I think I like the way the Japanese make it because it is crispier.
Frostbites - Crepes & Frozen Delights
9111 Valley View St., Suite 103
Cypress, CA 90630
(714) 484-1577
Mon-Thu 11a - 10p
Fri-Sat 11a-11p
Sun 12p - 10p


Note: SkinnyRunner is giving away Mission Skincare Products so go and check it out:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Origin of My Running

I don't know what it is about running that keeps me coming back. I want to run when I am not running and then when I am running, I want to stop and what's even worse is that even after all the wear and tear of training and the actual running of each race, I am at the computer the very next day looking to see what race will be in my future.

I was a really hyper child and my favorite time of day was recess. I use to love to play sports like it was nobody's business. I was good at it too. I was usually either the captain or first pick. I remember the day when I realized that I did not like running. I was a high school freshman and we had to run a mile for the President's Fitness Test or something like that and although I can't remember how fast I did it in, I remember that it was unpleasant and that I didn't want to do it again. In fact, it was right around that time that puberty really hit me hard. I was no longer this thin and quick kid with endless amount of energy. I was actually really inactive during my high school years. I didn't play sports because my parents thought it would interrupt my school work. I didn't really think much about my sedentary lifestyle until one day when I looked in the mirror and realized that I had really let myself go. By then I think I was already a junior and I started wanting to workout but I didn't really know how and for some reason I really wanted to join a gym but could not afford it at the time.

The summer before I started college, I remember I went to student orientation and they gave us a tour of the school and took us into the gym. The person giving the tour made some comment about how we were probably not going to be using it much since there was so many other things going on at the school. But I was so excited to finally have access to a gym. A really big newly built gym! Sure enough, a month after I moved into the dorms and had a chance to settle in, I changed into some shorts and a t-shirt and headed to the gym for the first time and I went every single day possible. I remember that was where I got acquainted with the good old treadmill. It took me a few months to work up to running but eventually I was running 3 miles every day. Many students often talk about "the freshman 15"...the act of gaining 15 pounds the first year of college. But I actually lost weight that year. Come to think of it, probably 15 pounds. When I saw my high school friends again that summer after my freshman year, they all noticed that I had lost weight, it was a good feeling. For the most part, I've stayed at that weight. I ran throughout college, some years more, some less...I ran hard when I was stressed, so there was a lot of running during finals. I think it was there that my running confidence was built.

When I finished college, I got a desk job and running become more important than before because I wasn't walking around as much from class to class. I was sitting at a desk all day. It felt good to go for a run after work. I started to run outside too, which I did very little of at college. Not sure why. Maybe just embarrassed of my running form. The winter after I graduated from college, I remember seeing a flyer for a 10K in the spring and decided to sign up. It was a big deal for me because back then 6 miles was a lot of running for me.

I have very fond memories of my training for that race. Signing up for that race kept me committed to lacing up my shoes and heading out the door every day. I was so excited on race day to be standing there with other runners. I had always felt like running was such a lonely sport until I saw all those people out there. That first race was not spectacular, I ran 6.2 miles in 58:37 but what I gained was a new respect for running and fell in love with racing. I haven't stopped since. I took a year off from running here and there but for the most part have been running all these years and don't regret it for a second. It all started with the desire to finish a 10K race and has grown into a passion to one day find myself standing at the starting line of the Boston Marathon. Until then, it will be one step after the other. 

My very first race bib!

Wonderland Bakery - Newport Beach, CA

I have a cupcake addiction! To the point where I would go around town looking for places to get my cupcake fix. I almost know everyplace I can get cupcakes now within a certain radius of my work and home. Wonderland Bakery is one of those places but strangely this was my first time buying anything from them. I've gone in their store once, and noticed that the inside looks like Tinkerbell's house but I didn't buy any cupcakes. I didn't even know they sold food. Everything in there is really girly and cutsy, it's a bit clustered in there. Might have been why I missed their case of desserts when I first went into the store. My sister went here once and blogged about buying a cupcake which was why I even know of cupcakes being sold here.

Here is the store front, cute right? You haven't seen anything yet!
Look at all this stuff. The best word I can use to describe all this stuff is "princess".
More cupcake and cutsy items for purchase.
This is what I had come here for. Looks really cute. I thought it was just ok. The cake didn't really taste fresh and it was a bit dry. The frosting was good but it did not make up for the lackluster cake. I'm planning on visiting Sprinkles Cupcake next week and write up a long over due post on them. I had it once and remembered that it was really good.

Wonderland Bakery
1314 Bison Ave
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 640-9095

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Countdown to Chicago

The countdown to the Chicago Marathon started last Saturday for me after I completed what was suppose to be my final 20 miler training run. However, since my training this season has been lackluster, I feel uncomfortable going to Chicago without just one more long run. So this coming Saturday, I will be going out for my final long run of 21 miles. Let's hope everything goes well. I am going into this race with a lot of mixed emotions. Currently I am just taking it day-by-day. I want to go out there and run my best possible race. Anything near a 3:50 would make my day, anything near a 3:40 would be a miracle. I believe in miracles! ;)

Anyways, after I get back from Chicago, I have about a month to prepare for the running of the Malibu Marathon. I am planning to just run that one for fun so I am really looking forward to that one. Then it will be back to the grind with training. So far I am only committed to the Surf City Half Marathon. I realized that I haven't signed up for any other Spring race. I will reevaluate after Chicago.

I got my participation guide in the mail the other day. I guess this means I am deep in it now.
I managed to get into a corral! I am really happy about this because I am small and was afraid of getting lost in the crowd of the open corral.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Britta's Cafe - Irvine, CA

About a month ago, I was shopping at the UCI Farmers Market when I suddenly got really hungry. So instead of driving around looking for a place to get some breakfast, I remembered that Britta's Cafe was around the corner within walking distance from where the Farmers' market was. I love the eggs benedict here. It is one of my favorite breakfast items lately and it is very good here. This place gets mixed reviews mainly because of the lack of service but if you are having a leisurely breakfast you won't even notice, plus eggs benedict is something they do right at this place.

Coconut cake!
Some lovely flowers as you enter the restaurant.
More flowers on each table.
Complimentary, warm and lovely scones. Served with butter and jam.
Really good Eggs Benedict with a side of mixed field greens in a light vinaigrette.
So good!
Scrambled eggs, ham and breakfast potatoes.

Britta's Cafe
4245 Campus Drive #B165
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 509-1211