Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Big 2-4

Last year for my 23rd birthday, I shared 23 random facts about myself. This year I wanted to do something similar, so I'm sharing 24 personal goals for the following year!

1. Run another marathon and ultra marathon.
2. Blog at least 5 times each month.
3. Sew every month.
4. Use up the majority of my stashed fabric (so I can buy more, of course) ;)
5. Knit and finish at least one project. (I must get back into knitting!)
6. Mail at least one letter each month.
7. Take lots of pictures with my big camera as a way of exploring my "neighborhood".
8. Finish my Summer Sampler cross stitch pattern.
9. Read at least one book per month.
10. Sew at least two dresses, and actually wear them.
11. Try at least one new food item each month.
12. Read through all of the magazines I own to clear up some much needed space.
13. Catch up on all of the birthday presents I owe people.
14. Run under an eight minute mile.
15. Go through and clean up my room at my parents' house.
16. Create an art/gallery wall.
17. Keep plants alive.
18. Have at least one vegetable every night for dinner.
19. Set a monthly budget and stick to it.
20. Weed through my belongings and donate items I no longer need.
21. Get a hair cut!
22. Make sure I get my daily 10,000 steps, but not make it a chore.
23. Try a new physical activity, like yoga.
24. Ride my bike often, while I have the opportunity.

To keep me in check with achieving these goals, I'm going to restart making a list and blogging about monthly goals. Hey, lists work for me. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Not your Typical Las Vegas Trip

A few weeks ago I flew to Las Vegas for a long weekend with several of my family members. No, I didn't spend the weekend partying like most people my age, but opted for more family-friendly activities. I didn't even gamble! Since we stayed at the Bellagio, most of the things we did that weekend centered around the hotel, for convenience.

* My siblings, little cousin, and I spent a lot of time in the kids' arcade, winning dozens (I kid you not) of stuffed animals.

* I enjoyed a relaxing pedicure with Marissa at Bellagio's spa.

* We went to Bellagio's buffet every night for dinner. I also snacked on some delicious berry sorbet for a pre-dinner treat.

* One evening we rode on the High Roller observation ride and saw the strip all lit up.

* We spent some time in the pools (and took lots of selfies).

* We walked along the strip for a little bit, but it was so hot!

* Watched the Bellagio water show several times.

* Picked up the Las Vegas "You are Here" Starbucks mug.

* Dined on steel cut oatmeal with brown sugar and berries every morning. I was just starting to get used to room service.

It's nice to be home and back into my normal daily routine, but I definitely miss the relaxation aspect of being on vacation!

Monday, July 14, 2014


Our drive from Portland to Corvallis was only about one and a half hours, but it still gave me a significant amount of time to work on my Summer Sampler cross stitch project. Hey, I'm only a year behind! The 18 hour car rides from Sacramento to Oregon and back home also helped.

Anyways, once we arrived in Corvallis and met up with the rest of Lauren's family, we went to dinner at Pastini Pastaria. I ordered the farfalle primavera with marinara sauce, no cheese. Well, they put cheese on pasta (nothing new, no big deal), but when they brought out my dish the second time, there was still cheese on it, and it was obvious that it was the same exact plate they initially brought out, and simply tried to scrape the cheese off. Not okay. The manager ended up coming to our table, apologized and comped my meal. I wasn't expecting this, but I greatly respect the manager's commitment to great customer service.

Despite the cold weather, Kevin's graduation went off without a hitch, although many people were upset that each students' name was not individually announced. Regardless, congratulations Kevin!

After his graduation we went to Laughing Planet for lunch in downtown Corvallis. We were all starving at that point and thoroughly enjoyed all of our food. I ordered the Che Guevara burrito and the Berry Berry Good smoothie, and appreciated the great quality of the food. Leti, Lauren, and I also picked up several vegan cookies for later. I demolished the vegan snickerdoodle in no time!

Lauren's grandma treated us to gelato and sorbet at Francesco's Gelato Caffe following lunch. I was stuffed at that point, but I quickly noticed the plethora of vegan sorbets! I tried some of Lauren's berry sorbet and it was delicious.

The next morning we all went to New Morning Bakery for breakfast. I had a bowl of mixed fruit and the vegan muffin; I'm pretty sure it was of the carrot cake-like variety. Initially I was frustrated that there wasn't a wider selection to choose from (I'm a little spoiled in the vegan department), but the muffin was really tasty and had a good consistency, so I was pleased.

So afterwards, we made the long drive back to Sacramento. A long road trip wouldn't be complete without several stops at Dutch Brothers (in the span of a week) and a stop at Taco Bell for some bean burritos!

Until next time, Oregon!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


A few weeks ago I drove up to Oregon with Lauren's family for her brother, Kevin's graduation from Oregon State. We spent several days in Portland before heading back down to Corvallis for the ceremony. I mean, come on, Portland is the vegan capital of America, we just had to!

We went to my favorite restaurant in the world, twice! Both times, I ordered the chicken ranch burger with sweet potato fries from Native Foods Cafe. So, so good!

We also tried a new-to-us restaurant, Veggie Grill, all vegan as well! I got the grillin' chickin' burger minus the avocado (what is it with me and chicken burgers?), with chili. My meal was good, but what I really enjoyed was the sample of chocolate pudding they handed out. Ahhh, I want to swim in that chocolate pudding! They're opening up a Veggie Grill in Walnut Creek soon, which isn't super far from Sacramento, so that's exciting.

Craving donuts one morning, we had to try Blue Star Donuts. Their vegan donut was so good, probably the best vegan donut I've ever had, but there was only one vegan flavor. I really did like their blueberry vegan version, but I wish they had other vegan options as well.

Since we weren't full after our single donut, we stopped for brunch at Paradox Cafe. So many vegan options! I ordered the country comfort with tempeh, sauteed veggies, breakfast potatoes, and a biscuit with gravy. My meal was okay, but I really liked Lauren's order of french toast!

Because Dan wasn't with us on our last Oregon trip, we had to take him to the iconic Slappy Cakes for breakfast one morning. I'm thrilled they offer vegan pancake batter and even more amused that you get to cook your own pancakes at your table, whatever shapes/characters you desire. The wait for a table is pretty long, but you have to go here at least once, just for the experience.

After all of the food we consumed, we needed to get out and find some activities to do. Being the avid knitter Lauren is, we hit up two yarn stores where I scoured the shops looking to buy yarn from local dyers. At For Yarn's Sake, I bought Knitted Wit's sport weight yarn in "Hot Cocoa" and size 3 Cubics circular needles, and from Twisted I purchased Blissful Knits' sock yarn in "Platinum". Both are excellent yarn shops with friendly employees! I must say, these are my favorite needles I've knit with so far.

Since we were bored and in the mood to relax yet get out of our hotel room, we decided to see a movie, and I got to choose which one. I'm pretty certain that I'll never be allowed to select a movie again, as everyone was in tears throughout "The Fault in Our Stars". But, it was a good movie and an even better book.

Leti and I were also interested in hiking/running tails, and so we forced Lauren and Dan into it as well. Leti found the Tryon State Park and we set off there. I was expecting large hills and rocky terrain, like I'm used to running in the Sacramento area. The Tryon Trail we chose to walk however, happened to be mainly flat, which I'm sure Lauren was happy about. Despite its lack of mountainous terrain, this nature area was so green and beautiful, and it was nice to do some sort of physical activity.

After our Portland escapade, we made the one and a half hour drive back down to Corvallis for Kevin's graduation.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Women's Fitness Festival Half Marathon

In the beginning of June, Lauren, Leti, and I ran the Women's Fitness Festival Half Marathon. I'd been dreading running this race because of my lack of training. Our SacFit season ended in April, and I haven't run consistently since. I knew this was going to be a difficult race.

The morning started off well, wearing my new hot pink race shirt. I normally don't wear the race shirt until after I finish the race, but I broke my own rule this time.

I started the race running with Lauren and Leti, but I had planned ahead of time on running on my own the majority of the race. People always say, "train together, but run your own race", so I gave it a shot. I ended up leaving them after about half a mile. While I was running by myself, I raced with 8:1 intervals. I think this ratio of running to walking works really well for me, and I'll most likely continue this setup for future half marathons.

This was one of the hottest weekends of the year so far, and the heat made this a tough run. I did however love the course. It's my favorite half marathon race route I've completed thus far, running through downtown and East Sacramento neighborhoods.

A few weeks prior to race day, I started having knee pain after a short treadmill run. I thought my injury healed, but boy was I wrong. I started noticing pain around mile 3 throughout he lateral part of my thigh and down to my knee, which I quickly identified as IT band issues. I tried to run through the pain, but around mile 11 I couldn't take it anymore and had to walk for almost two miles straight. Even walking hurt at that point.

Even though I didn't PR, I learned a few things from this race:

Had I kept up with my training, I'm pretty sure I could've PR'ed, and I wouldn't have dreaded waking up that morning to run.

I shouldn't have ditched Lauren and Leti at the beginning of the race. It's not like I'm trying to place, I'm just there to exercise and enjoy myself. It's much more fun to run with people you know, even despite my competitive nature.

I'm almost certain that my IT/knee injury started because I was running with older shoes. They say running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles, and if you surpass that, you're at a much greater risk for injury. I'm so stubborn and really wanted to make it to 500 miles with my shoes, but after 420 miles and pain, I'm throwing the towel in, sucking it up, and purchasing new shoes ASAP.

Yes, there were ample aid stations and they didn't run out of water (as far as I know), but it was a hot day and I don't see how all of those runners and walkers finished that race without their own hydration supplies. I applaud you all, but thin you're crazy and strongly urge you o start carrying your own water and snacks :)

Even though I didn't PR, I liked this race. The course was great, the people were super cheerful, and it was fun participating in an all-female event. We also enjoyed the post-race food with the multiple vegan options (thank you Whole Foods!) and spent a ridiculous amount of time at Kaiser's large booth learning about different aspects of health and meeting two doctors who truly support a vegan diet!

My overall time was 2:21:19, and while I'm currently not signed up for any other races, I'm considering a 50K race in August...a new distance for me! I ran a 50 mile race in April, but skipped over the 50K. Also, sorry for the lack of photos, I'll do better next time, promise!