Life Lately

It’s been a busy month! I was looking back at recent pictures to see what I’ve been up to since I last posted in November…here’s a summary:

Went to Korea! It was my first visit since 2009 or so.  More on that in a future post.

Thanksgiving at our place.  Mike made an excellent turkey, we ordered sides from the local market, and relaxed at Spa World on Friday :)

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Threw a bridal shower for a small group member, Anne.  Mike and I took care of the food, minus dessert – we set up a pasta bar with several kinds of pasta, sauce, toppings, and salad.  It was a huge hit and pretty easy to put together!

Decorated for Christmas – we don’t put up our tree every year since we’re never here for the holiday, but I decided to put it up this year, along with a few other Christmas decorations (a lantern I won at our holiday party, Christmas kitchen towels, and other small decorations).  It’s nice to have our place feeling so warm and festive.

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I’ve also been cooking a little more lately (this chicken dish is phenomenal), climbing pretty regularly, and starting to run a little more – I love winter running this year :) Good way to work off some of the extra sweets and treats that seem to be in abundance this time of year.

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(Vacation} 5 Things We Did in Vancouver

Continuing my vacation recap to Canada earlier this month, after we spent a few days in Whistler, we drove back down to Vancouver to finish out our vacation.  Vancouver was definitely the relaxing half of our trip – we spent plenty of time in the mornings and evenings relaxing in our hotel room, and even got a massage in the hotel’s spa facilities.  I love baths, so I couldn’t resist soaking in this glorious tub just about everyday:DSC04868.jpgBut here are a few of the fun things we did in the city:

1. Biked around Stanley Park – Mike had the great idea that we should borrow bikes from the hotel and bike around Stanley Park! Given the fact that I haven’t ridden a bike in over a decade (almost two), I was a little nervous about my ability to stay upright, but after a few wobbly minutes, I picked it up right away.  This was one of the highlights of our time in Vancouver for me, and I enjoyed our 1-hour bike ride around the park so much.

2. Visited Vancouver Aquarium – You’d think after visiting probably a dozen aquariums world-wide, I’d be tired of them.  But no.  We spent hours at the Vancouver Aquarium –  looking at the jellyfish, watching the whale show, and…the otters.  I almost took one home.

3. Ran near the waterfront – I didn’t really feel like running in Whistler with all the physical activity we were doing, but I ran almost every day in Vancouver! The weather was perfect, and there’s a running path right near the water.

4. Visited a Chinese garden – This was a little random, but one of our last days there we were looking for things to do, and we came across Dr. Sun-Yat-Sen’s classical chinese garden in the middle of the city.  To be honest, I didn’t think the garden was worth the $12 entry fee (it’s pretty small), but the space was beautiful and tranquil.IMG_20171006_155800.jpgIMG_20171006_154801-EFFECTS.jpg

5. Ate…a lot – now for the REAL highlight of our Vancouver stay – the food! Some favorites below:

  • Japadog – Asian-style hot dogs and flavored fries.  SO good.
  • Crackle Creme – Flavored creme brulee! The macarons were also adorable – we brought some home for the kids in our small group
  • Chambar – really interesting drinks and great mussels
  • Dinesty Dumpling House – Shanghai soup dumplings and other Chinese food.  Basically the same as Din Tai Fung
  • Fanny Bay Oyster Bar – great seafood, but expensive and very slow service

And that’s a wrap from our Canada trip! We had such a good time – Canada is beautiful, has tasty food, and is easy to get to/ navigate due to proximity to the U.S. I think we’ll be taking more trips to Canada in the coming years.

{Weekend Fun} A Bridal Shower at AR Workshop

Hi friends! Hope you had a great weekend.  Mine started out with Bible study on Friday night (I led! Think it went well) and a a 5 mile run on Saturday morning.  I’ve been troubleshooting my new watch – more on that during Friday Faves – and it worked pretty well during the run.

fitbit_sharing_7727197213997673855After I got back, I took a quick shower and headed over to Old Town Alexandria for a bridal shower for one of our small group members, Anne! The planners picked such a fun venue for the party – AR Workshop, a wood project studio.  We all got to design a project beforehand, and then create it in the studio with the instructors’ help.

IMG_20171028_112151.jpgI picked a wooden sign to put up in our living room – this is the finished project, with some of the intermediate steps below it.  We started by sanding the wood and then  staining and/or painting the boards – I used a dark stain with a white-wash on top to get that “Joanna Gaines” look ;) After the paint dried, we applied the stencil and dabbed paint to create the design.

In between steps, we nibbled on cheese, sandwiches and fruit, as well as these gorgeous shortbread cookies provided by the studio!IMG_20171028_135948.jpgAnd here’s a picture of all of us with our finished projects! It was late afternoon when we finished, so I came home and spent the rest of the day hanging out with Mike (he was in Tampa for work all last week).  Sunday was the usual – sunday school, cooking, a little work, and prep for the week.

Last Week’s Workouts

It’s been a while since I posted a workout log! I haven’t been that consistent thanks to work and random illnesses, but I’m finally over my colds and starting to get back to AM workouts again.  Here’s how last week went:

Tues: 4 mile workout on T/M – this was an OTF-inspired workout.  I started with a 5 min warmup, then jumped into a 3 min workset at 6.6 pace with the second minute at 4% incline, followed by a 90 sec recovery, then 90 sec back at 6.6 with incline starting at 4% and decreasing every 30 seconds.  After a 2 minute recovery, I did 2 more worksets at 5% incline and then 6%.

Thurs: 4 miles workout on T/M – I can’t remember what I did, but I think it was mostly speed variations.

Fri: 4 miles easy outside (~9:50 pace) – my new watch was measuring really long.  I knew where the 2 mile mark was, but the watch had me go another .2 miles or so.  I was annoyed because a total error of .4 miles on a 4 mile run is a pretty high margin of error.

Sat: 5 miles easy (9:18 pace) – watch behaved much better today, only off by ~.1 miles.  I think sometimes the GPS tracking gets better the more you run in an area…or it was user error yesterday, lol.

Weekly mileage: 17 miles

The other days were rest days.  I would have liked to get in a few orangetheory classes and some climbing, but I cut my finger pretty badly on Sunday night while chopping vegetables, and my left index finger wasn’t in any shape to grip weights or climbing holds :( Good news is I think it’s better this week!

{Vacation} 5 Things We Did in Whistler

Mike and I got back a few weeks ago from an amazing trip to Vancouver/ Whistler and I finally found some time to write a short recap! I love writing trip recaps to re-live the fun memories and share our favorite activities/ restaurants with you all.  We flew into Vancouver and drove up to Whistler a few hours later.  These were some of the highlights from our four days up there:

1. Hiked Garibaldi Lake – there’s a ton of amazing hikes in Whistler, and I really wanted to try a long day hike.  Garibaldi Lake is a really popular one in the area, and takes about 4-5 hours to do.  The first couple miles or so are a steep incline through a forest, but you’re rewarded at the top with stunning views of the lake.  We went right after breakfast and brought along some pastries to eat along the way.

We went on several other hikes in the area too – we started the cedar trails hike, and also walked around Green Lake.  The water everywhere was this stunning turquoise or sage green/ blue cloudy color from melting glacial water.


2. Tried outdoor climbing – I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve done a lot of indoor rock-climbing over the last couple of months, and Mike thought it would be fun to try outdoor rock-climbing! We signed up for a half-day climb with Mountain Skills Academy and had an amazing time.  We learned how to crack climb (sticking feet and hands into long cracks in the rock) and slab climb (up what looked like a sheer wall of granite).  It was exhausting and hard and probably the highlight of our trip for me.

3. Axe throwing – This is apparently somewhat of a sport in Canada, and Mike found a place nearby to try it out! The axes are much smaller than the kind you use to chop wood and are pretty easy to handle.  We learned how to throw the axes overhead, underhand, backwards, and even double handed (two axes at once).  It’s surprisingly gratifying to hear the axe thunk deep into the wood and land a good throw.

4. ATVing – Okay, I lied – THIS was the highlight of the trip for me.  I’ve never gone ATVing before, but after a short learning curve, we were trekking up the side of a mountain! The views were incredible and the ATV was so much fun to drive.  We wore helmets and gear over our clothing to keep us warm and dry.IMG_20170930_123446 5. Ate some good ramen – We found the restaurants in Whistler to be of moderate quality, but the ramen at Fuji Market was really, really good.  So much so that we went back for it another night :) More on our favorite restaurants below.IMG_20170929_183413

Where we stayed: We got an AirBnB in Whistler Village and it was so cute and cozy! It came with a small fridge and a washing machine (we needed this after all the hiking/ climbing we did) and the location was perfect with lots of restaurants and the Olympic Plaza within walking distance.IMG_20170930_202316IMG_20170930_072806-EFFECTSIMG_20170930_072703

Good eats in Whistler:

  • Fuji Market – great ramen
  • Peaked Pies – Australian meat pies
  • Mount Currie Coffee Company – amazing lattes (we got one every day)
  • Bar Oso – warm and cozy space with great drinks and appetizers

I’ll post highlights from our time in Vancouver next week!

Weekend Fun: Billy Goat Trail

I’m back! I had a really intense couple of months at work, but it all ended on Sept 14 :) I spent the afternoon giving blood for the first time.IMG_20170914_150337

I had wanted to give blood before, but I didn’t meet the weight limits until a couple of years ago, and I wasn’t comfortably over the limit until last year.  One of the benefits of gaining weight, lol. The process was surprisingly fast (about 5 min?) and not terribly uncomfortable – definitely bearable, especially given the fact that my blood could save up to three lives! The Red Cross workers/ volunteers were so kind, and they had awesome snacks in the break area for afterwards.

I took Friday off and spent the morning hiking the Billy Goat Trail (A and B) in Great Falls Park.

It was a gorgeous hike, with lots of rock scrambling! I exercised some caution and brought along my mace just in case (for bears or bad dudes), but I felt pretty safe the whole time.  I started at the top of Billy Goat A, went on to finish Billy Goat B, then crossed to the Berma Road for an easy return back.  It was about 7.5 miles round-trip and took me about 4 hours with some short water breaks.

I was so hungry afterwards and craving meat, so I headed down to Annandale for some korean BBQ at Honey Pig.  I got a whole order of galbi for myself and it was amazing.  The ladies gave me extra side dishes for free because they thought I was a starving student, lol.  I waited till the end to let them know I was 30 years old, haha.

The rest of the weekend was pretty restful – I got a massage later that afternoon, church small group started up again, and I was laid up with a cold the rest of the weekend =\ Thankfully I’m feeling better now and ready for some new adventures this week!

Life Lately

I’m still alive!

I know I haven’t blogged in a while – I started a new job (my first job change since 2008!) and my commute went from 10 minutes to 1 hour. The good news is that I really love my new job, and I’ve been fine with the commute thanks to audiobooks I’ve been borrowing from the library. And surprisingly, I’ve grown to love driving – so weird, I would have done anything to avoid having to drive just a few months ago.  Anyway, here’s a few things we’ve been up to lately!

We bought a new (used) car! After tons of research and visits to multiple dealerships, we ended up with a great RAV4.  It’s the car I use to commute everyday, and I’ve come to love driving it.

Lots of delicious home-cooked food, thanks to Mike’s new obsession with sous vide cooking, which is a method that uses a water bath to cook food to a precise temperature.  It’s super time-consuming, but all the meats he’s made have come out perfectly cooked.  My favorite dish so far has been the Asian pork belly buns (top right below).

We went skiing a few weeks ago! Well, sort of – Mike’s coworkers planned a trip to Deep Creek months ago, but the weather has been so freakishly warm here that there was no snow, lol.  No matter, we went hiking instead :)

More food – we discovered UberEATS.  Boru Ramen delivered within 35 minutes to our condo.  I might never leave the house again.

And finally…more food.  We went to Bad Saint in February, a Filipino restaurant that’s gotten tons of buzz in DC.  It also doesn’t take any reservations, so we showed up at 3:30 PM on a Saturday, waited two hours and just barely got into the first seating.  Whew! How was it? Honestly, I’d describe the food as interesting, but any given weekend, I’d rather be eating the bowl of ramen above ;)

On the training front, things were going great – until I injured my left Achilles on a long run about two months ago. Wah wah. I DNSed the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC half last weekend, and I won’t be running Reston in April.  But honestly, I’ve actually been happy doing lots of cross-training, especially now that the weather has finally gotten cold around here.  I’ll talk about what I’ve been doing to stay in shape (and balance out all the eating) next week!

Christmas in Richmond + Temecula

We’ve had a great winter holiday week, sandwiched by a weekend in Richmond over Christmas and now a late Christmas celebration with Mike’s family in southern California! I haven’t been great at remembering to take pictures, but here are a few from our celebrations :)

First Richmond with my family, where highlights included a candlelight Christmas Eve service, gingerbread cookie decorating, Christmas dinner at a random Japanese restaurant (what happens when you don’t make reservations and don’t feel like cooking, lol), and secret santa gifts.

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My Elvis cookie!

dsc04793 We stopped by the Jefferson Hotel, which had a gorgeously decorated lobby! No drinks though – they were really packed on Christmas day. 1225161718_hdrThis was our first year doing Secret Santa, and the results were seriously hilarious.  My brother bought me a single hand towel (I asked for a pair), and my mom ignored the price range completely and bought J a designer bag.  It’s okay T, you can buy me the other hand towel for Christmas next year ;)richmond-collageAnd now we’re in SoCal celebrating a late Christmas and New Years with Mike’s family! Our family has grown to the point that we don’t fit in his parents’ two bedroom condo anymore, so we’ve started a tradition of renting an airbnb with room for all eight of us.  This year, we found a lovely house in Temecula with lots of fun activities nearby; we took an archery lesson, checked out a brewery, opened presents, and ate – a lot.  temecula-collage dsc04798I’m managing to get in a few miles while we’re here too – we went for a run together this morning, and I’m hoping to get in two more runs before we leave – a long run tomorrow and a recovery run on Sunday.  I’ll check back in next week with a training log update – I have two weeks of marathon training under my belt already!