Another Saturday of biking!

It seems like our weekend ritual is to bike somewhere–anywhere! Today we biked from our place to Point Loma. We biked for Brunch at the Naked Cafe it’s a vegetarian brunch cafe. A nice break from the usual brunch places (Broken Yolk, Original House of Pancakes) I use to go with my girlfriends when I was single AND when my girlfriends DID use to live in San Diego.

*sighs*

Forgot to bring my camera (darn it!) and my phone was dying. But I’ll tell you that my boyfriend got the Buff Breakfast burrito and I got the Yin and Yang with a side of eggs. I should’ve gotten the coconut French Toast though. There’s always next time or I’ll try to make some. My friend from LA is coming down to San Diego for the La Jolla half marathon — maybe we’ll take her there.

It was a good bike ride despite the drizzling on the way home.

I dislike extreme couponers and…possibly aspiring ones

Damn those extreme couponers and crazy bargain hunter!

There isn’t a week that goes by and when this scenario happens:

On Farmer’s Market Hummus

Person: You got that at the Farmer’s Market?

Me: Yeah I got that at the Farmer’s Market.  It was 3 for 12 dollars.

Person: You got jipped. It’s usually 3 for 10 dollars.

Me: Umm…no. I’ve been to all the Farmer’s Markets in the neighborhood and it’s always been 3 for 12. Maybe 5 years ago it was 3 for 10.

(Besides, me and my friends split between the 3 hummus)

To me, why freak out over 2 dollars?

Or… the scenario where everyone gets all excited about getting that 25 dollar gift card if you spend a 100 dollars or more at El Torito’s (or whatever the deal was). In the end we end up spending more so really, was that 25 dollar gift card worth it?

I tried my share of extreme coupon-ing for a day but then I found out it wasn’t for me when I was grocery shopping. I didn’t save as much as I thought I would with the coupons and I’m found myself stuck with food I normally don’t eat and will go bad anyways.

In general I save money without the coupons because I come in shopping with a plan and a good idea what’s in the pantry. There would be SOME things I would get a coupon for but…then I get to the aisle to get that national brand of marinara sauce with my get two for 1, and then I realized generic brand is good enough for me. Though with the generic brand of marinara sauce, I get only 1 jar — it’s cheaper than buying ONE jar of the national brand AND it’s BIGGER. I buy two jars of generic brand marinara sauce and I’m only paying one dollar more than the coupon price for the national brand. But yet according to my calculations, I am still paying less because I base my choices on the lowest cost per ounce.

Yes I know it’s nerdy but that’s what my final choice boils down too.

It felt so good to get this out. I am a frugal person myself or maybe I’m just getting smarter with my money. But I never try to coupon and haggle every single item I see.

Another advice to extreme coupon-ers, barganistas, hagglers  is if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Simple as that. Maybe if you’re buying 70 boxes of cereal for 5 dollars, 100 cans of tomato sauce, and pretty much the whole store and giving it to charity–that’s great. Otherwise you’re just hoarding a bunch of food.

One more week!

One week until my trip to South East Asia. Don’t want to call it a “vacation” — more like “mini-Sabbatical”.

The trip hasn’t started yet but I’m also planning other  trips to NYC with my boyfriend for a weekend this summer. I’m looking shortly after he’s finished with his quarter in school.

And…Summer 2013 — Europe. When my boyfriend first joined the army, he was hoping he’d see the world. But instead he saw the worst of the world: Iraq and Afghanistan. He always wants to go Europe and even though it’s going to be more than a year from now, I’m currently writing up countries I like to visit (he’s only interested in checking out France–I’ve already been to France though) and looking up tour operators for the Europe trip.

Yeah…I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’m sure plenty of us already have travel plans writing in our heads.

For my third weigh-in, I lost only 1 lb.

Which I guess isn’t bad since I was freaking out for the past two days trying to figure out how to get rid of this PMS water weight gain.

Speaking of which, I learned if you work out during your ladies week, you actually burn more calories. The problem is during my ladies week, I don’t have the motivation to work out. But as of lately with my walks around the business park and training in the park, I think I’ll have a better ladies week.

3rd weigh-in

Not sure what to expect tomorrow. Today and yesterday I feel bloated… That’s what stinks about being a woman and heading towards your ladies week.

I tell my boyfriend all the time it’s that feeling where your pants suddenly don’t fit anymore. Damn you water retention! No matter how much I run it seems like this bloated belly appeared all of the suddenly.

Now I’m trying to think of a way to get rid of this water weight before the weigh in tomorrow morning. I don’t want to pay a dollar for every pound for this week especially since I worked so hard for those 4 pounds.

I really do think this contest is a bit unfair to girls. The week of your ladies days and you gain all this water weight.

Other than that, for the week I’ve been pretty good with food. On Saturday, me and my friends went to the Farmers Market and we bike around downtown and Hillcrest. Then after that we went and saw The Hunger Games, which was a good movie for an adaptation. Then after The Hunger Games was my coworker’s birthday in downtown–there was pizza and drinks. I avoided drinking beer that night.

The following day was another friend’s birthday. We went wine-tasting in Temecula. After wine-tasting was dinner and cake.

Good news was that I was less obsessive with food and also I felt I had more control with my eating portions this week. So we’ll see if I did something right!

Packing list III: They arrived!!

3/27/2012 – Some of my picture links were broken but I just fixed it :-P.

So I went to Sports Chalet one weekend and saw a Pacsafe bag and it was  70+ dollars. I used Google Shopper on my phone and happened to find the same bag almost half the price on ebags.com.

I went on ebags.com ordered the bag plus two RFID-blocking wallets (one for me and one for bf) and after shipping, it was still less than MSRP than the bag I found at Sports Chalet.

So…introducing…the Pacsafe Metrosafe 200  and Traveleon RFID Blocking Ladies Wallet.

And these are going with me on my upcoming trip!

The wallet is suprising slim yet roomy. It’s not bulky and awkward or take up room in my purse. I stuffed my wallet with my debit card, my credit card, my frequent Tea N’ More card, my grocery rewards cards, cash, loose change, my passport and my Vietnam Visa and two copes of my Vietnam Visa and it still looks slim :-).

Plus it’s RFID-Blocking to protect me from electronic pick-pocketing.

And now my PacSafe.

I love this bag. The design and the material is amazing. (I love the color too!) It’s hard to slash, steal, and pick pocket. Bonus: there’s a lock on the strap so someone can’t just clip off the bag. Unlocking the snap is a little bit tricky but it’s a good thing. This bag can hold a lot of stuff too as you can see from my many takes. Still figuring out what to put inside my personal carry-on.

FYI: I do like ebags.com for their low prices but the thing that bothered me was that all three things came in shipped separately. A little bit cumbersome but all the items came in within a week I ordered. So great for fast shipping!

Farmer’s Market Purchases :-)

No recipes this week but I like to show off our recent Farmer’s Market Purchase!

On Saturday I went biking from Hillcrest to Little Italy and we went to the Farmer’s Market. I love going to this one because it runs three blocks of the city. A lot of the same booths come back week after week but it’s enough to make me come back because I always tell myself “I’ll buy it next time.”

Or I keep getting samples from the same booths every week and almost never buy anything. Actually when I get out of Farmer’s Market after taking samples from 10 to 15 booths, I usually come out buying 1 or 2 items. Not bad…

I know shame on me…

But like I tell myself “I’ll come back.”

The two items my boyfriend purchased was quark and the three layer dip from Baba foods.

I think the quark was worth it :-).

What is quark?

Quark is a type of fresh cheese, also known as tvorog (from the Russian творог),topfen (from the Austrian name), biezpiens (from Latvian), and varškė (from Lithuanian). It is made by warming soured milk until the desired degree of denaturation of milk proteins is met, and then strained. Dictionaries usually translate it as curd cheese orcottage cheese, although most commercial varieties of cottage cheese are made withrennet, whereas traditional quark is not. It is soft, white and unaged, similar to some types of fromage frais. It is distinct from ricotta because ricotta (Italian: recooked) is made from scalded whey. Quark usually has no salt added.

(Source)

According to wikipedia, quark is pretty hard to find in America. As I said, I think the quark was worth it!

The three layer dip from Baba Foods is pesto, feta cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s their best seller but I’ll try to make some of my own.

Probably for my next trip, I’d buy some avocado oil and actually some help with my cactus.

Any finds you got at the Farmer’s Market?

Buzz words

I learned travelers are very good entrepreneurs and networkers. I think I am building up to that :-) and I still work on it!

I guess you can say, my upcoming trip is more like a reflection time. Time to figure out my marketability. I graduated in 2009 and luckily I did get a job about two weeks after I finish college. But it’s been almost three years and I feel I hit a road block. Trying to go around this road block but I feel it’s going to take a while. Might get lost for a bit and I guess all I’m doing is crossing my fingers until I find it.

But..it would help if I had a map. Even easier if Google Maps can guide me.

10 words you should never use on LinkedIn or actually on any resume for that matter. I’m guilty on all counts. What words should I use then? I don’t know yet. Trying to make a mental list (when I jotting them down on my Evernote or a food napkin) on what makes me marketable and what direction I want to take. Also I make a mental list of what I do and how I have contributed my employer and how I can contribute to whoever. I feel this is a pretty overwhelming mental list.

I’m hoping this trip can somehow inspire me.

Why does The Hunger Games matter

It is clearly not a stupid book. Maybe it might get people into reading. Maybe…

Almost everyday me and a couple of my friends like to talk about The Hunger Games where we say things like “which book are you on? And what chapter?” or “which of the books did you like better?” In the conversation, there will always be somebody who will say “What is the book about?” and I give the short answer “It’s about children that kill each other.” They either don’t say anything or tell me back “Oh, I don’t even like reading.” I give the short answer because there’s no point in giving a long answer about the trilogy if I were to get such a reply like that anyway. And I get that type of reply most of the time or the conversation turns into Twilight.

I got my boyfriend into reading The Hunger Games, then I bought Catching Fire and Mockingjay. He really enjoyed The Hunger Games because after every chapter he’ll ask me a question or make a comment or predict what’s going to happen next.

I read an article what happens to brain when reading fiction. It promotes empathy because when reading fiction, we get the opportunity to go inside someone’s thoughts and persepective and somehow find ourselves practicing empathy outside of a book.

When my boyfriend was reading Catching Fire (warning: SPOILER!), he asked me “why did the Peacekeeper shoot the man from District 11? Was it because he was whistling?” He thought it was ridiculous and I told him “It’s not too different in the real world. People get killed for doing seemingly innocent actions all the time.” Then the following day, we were watching CNN and there was a clip on an American teacher killed in Yemen. After the clip was over I told him “see? No different here!”

The best thing I like out of The Hunger Games Trilogy is inspiring people like my boyfriend to not just get into reading, but be more aware.

Still to this day, I’ll don’t understand people who don’t like to read. No matter how much I convinced them a good book. I don’t think I’ll ever understand.

Second week weigh-in!

I lost almost four pounds this week and I’m in the top five for the contest!

To be exact, I’m in last place in the top five but still I’m in the top five!

Not bad since I don’t have a gym membership, didn’t hire a personal trainer, join a cross fit gym, and/or some crazy diet. I still can’t believe I’m in the top 5. I just hang out at the park jogging, sprinting, and exercise drills from my boyfriend. FYI, my boyfriend has been in the army for 7 years so his drills are military style. Some days we ride our bikes. I’m hoping to get around buying a racket so we can play racket sports in the park. When the weather is bad (such as the past weekend) and I couldn’t go outside in the park, I just do some workouts in the living room :-P. On days when I know I’m going to be so busy that I WON’T have time to work out, on my mid morning break I go on a very brisk walk since I shouldn’t run around the business park in ballet flats.

And I was obsessing over my last entry on social eating with the pizza and beer. It was hard to keep my eating in control. Actually speaking of which, Cristina from My Thin Eats wrote a blog post on Eating Habits of Naturally Thin People. It made me smile. I will tell myself to not be obsessive and not NOT NOT overeat (and over-drink on beers).

Honestly it does feel good that I am in the lead. It means I have to keep it up. When I told people I wanted to participate before the event started, they all told me “It’s to lose weight when you cook for people” or “It’s hard to lose weight when you’re with your friends” or “it’s hard to lose weight.” It was discouraging and I wasn’t sure if participating in the contest was going to be a good idea. It’s been a week and I still cook for people and as you can see, still hang out with friends.

I guess my dad was right, there is no excuse now to live healthy. Healthy food and living is so accessible now!