22 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you, Auntie Sandy and Uncle Grant, for hosting us this holiday!

08 November 2012

A Thankful Run

As mentioned in my last post, I volunteered to come up with a running route and blog about it for Steve Good's AGoodRun.com project. 

It's a pretty nifty concept - for a full calendar year he is asking runners to choose a city, document their running route, donate to a cause of their choice and give thanks along the way.  He'd also like to get representation from each state in the US through the course of the project. 

Check out my post and share with others!

05 November 2012

Paper Cranes & Song Lyrics

Someone gave the Elliot Smith wall an update featuring paper cranes and his song lyrics.  I noticed it along my run for AGoodRun.com and had to stop to take a picture.

03 November 2012

Food Love

Papa Barin flew into town today, and our first stop was for some foods at A-Frame.  An order of furikake kettle corn, baby back ribs and cracklin beer can chicken later...and we were stuffed and ready for the remaining trek from the westside back to Los Feliz.

05 October 2012

Food Love

With the move to California, I was sure that I would never be able to find a place with Neapolitan pizza quite like the kind you find in New York (or, if lucky, in Europe).  I was proven wrong when I got the chance to try out Mother Dough's sausage pie.  A bit steep on the price range but totally worth the splurge.

03 October 2012

Tengo hambre.

Ah, Mexico. 

You created a special place in my heart for agua fresca tamarindo and tacos al pastor.  As much as I had enjoyed my share of late night kebabs during the Euro-living days, I was never quite as enthralled at a carver whittling away paper-thin slices of meat off a spit until I was introduced to tacos al pastor at El Fogon in Playa del Carmen.

The food that would get me back to Mexico in a heartbeat?  The fresh seafood at El Camello Jr in Tulum.  While their fish, shrimp and octopus tacos were nothing to write home about, my life has been forever changed and no salsa and chips combo will ever top their stewed shark and corn chips.

I could have lived off the addictive shark stew/salsa and fresh guac alone with their corn chips.
Glorious, glorious ceviche mixto.

01 October 2012

Oh hello, October.

After an [unplanned] summer hiatus from blogging and just like the return of the fall network television season, I'm back!  I'm surprised Uncle G2 didn't kick me off his blogroll.  Like most returning series are doing for their season premieres, a brief recap is in order:

After running a full marathon (San Diego Rock n Roll), completing one of Camp Pendleton's World Famous mud runs, and conquering the Hollywood Sign Run with A Runner's Circle...all in the month of June, mind you, the summer of visitors and travels was in full swing.  Jasen returned from deployment.  Feven came to visit for her introduction the best coast. 

I went to Maine to celebrate the wedding of one of my closest college friends from UMBC XC, Blakeslee.  Lots of lobster and many local microbrews were consumed.

Hands down, my favorite lobster roll was actually consumed in Boston at Belle Isle Seafood.

From there, I spent a week in Boston working remotely and catching up with the former ATL roomie before we headed off to meet the rest of the LP fun crew in Mexico for a wedding in Cancun and vacation days in Playa del Carmen.

Food adventures in Mexico will surely get its own post.  Pronto, lo prometo para ti, Uncle G2.

Until then, I present you with a photo of Tulum.

Then Mama Barin visited Los Angeles. Followed by Vegas 24-hour trip #1 of the summer with Nancy & Anh.  I was in a flash mob as a bridesmaid for one of my college roommate's weddings in Maryland.  That same week, I ended up attending the MTV VMAs in LA Live before heading up the coast to Santa Barbara for Maj's Dirty Thirty.  I participated in my very first triathlon relay.  Then balanced out the healthy adventures with Vegas 24-hour trip #2 of the summer with Jen & Maj. 

And now we find ourselves on the first day of October.


Now you kind of see why I resorted to Twitter, eh?

15 June 2012

Food Love

Lavender Duck Confit sandwich at Sweetsalt Food Shop in Toluca Lake.

Sweetsalt is a quick 5 minute drive from the office - and I could probably spend all day there, trying each and every one of their menu options.  Thankfully for the people in line behind me, I quickly decided upon duck confit (blame my time in France for my continued obsession) sandwich on my first visit.  Looking forward to going back now that I am done with marathon training and can be a little more adventurous with my food choices!

12 June 2012

Twenty-six Point Two

"It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through." 
-Zig Ziglar

26.2 miles is a long.  It will make you run (pun-intended) the gamut of human emotion.  

The day that I had been training for since February 11th came quickly.  Pre-race OCD and jitters had slowly set in the week prior, mainly with my constant refreshing of the San Diego forecast and googling of prior-year race recaps on running blogs and forums.  Staring at the course map and elevation chart was clearly not enough, but the thought of utilizing Google street view or watching the course tour video would be a little too obsessive.  Blame it on my college years of day-before course preview runs.  They usually resulted in great visualization prep or horrid anticipation leading to difficulty sleeping.  (On this note, I should probably remind you that I love running.  I really do.  99% of the time it results in me being a more relaxed and happy person.)

My favorite (and probably clearest) memory of pre-race day was the welcome at Inspiration Dinner.  Over 3,000 participants were representing TNT chapters from around the US and Canada, and the support staff from each chapter lined the expo hallways cheering each of us as we walked from the entrance to the dinner. 

We could not have been blessed with better running weather on race day - overcast but not too cold or windy.  The first half flew by with excitement of all the other runners (and due to the fact that I was going a bit too fast of a pace...but hey, I'm a marathon newbie.), and the vanilla and peanut butter Gu had me feeling pretty darn good.  I had a slight sinking feeling when I realized I had gone through the half marathon mark in my fourth-fastest time for 13.1 miles ever, but any downed spirits were continuously revived at the sight of more purple and green jerseys and the cheers of "Go TEAM!" or for my name.  Note to all: ALWAYS put your name on your shirt if possible, even strangers will cheer for you, and that does wonders.

Somewhere between mile 16 and 17 is where the roads really started to kick my butt and my mind and body started griping at me for my earlier pace.  The Penguin (and all others who had described their experiences with the Wall and latter parts of marathon running) was quite accurate in the description of the "Bite Me" phase - I'm pretty sure I was in a partly hazy and delusional, partly enraged state during most of the final 10K.  Coach Kevin came flying out of nowhere at my time of most need during my last mile and (bless his soul) attempted to calm me down and get me focused on my final kick to the finish line.  

I wish I had a picture of what it looked like at mile 25 when he found me at the end of Fiesta Island.
Instead, I present you with Coach Kevin and his stash of bananas at Inspiration Dinner.

I'm not sure of the best way to describe my feelings as soon as I finished.  Overwhelmed.  Amazed that my hip was still connected to my body and functioning, despite its strong will and best attempts to secede from my moving body during the last few miles.  Bitterness towards Fiesta Island which will now forever be known to a few of my teammates and me as "the Island from Hell."  Happy to see my family members.  Proud that I had accomplished a feat that I had always insisted I would never do in my lifetime.  Grateful for all of the TNT participants, coaches and mentors that cheered and ran with me along the way.

Shoes, off. Bib, off. Medal, check!

Do I have the (marathon) bug?  Not in the slightest.  Still no desire to chase down a BQ time.  But I am amazed and grateful for the experience.  It has helped me to connect my passion for running to a wonderful group of people and meaningful cause.  I am incredibly thankful to all of my family and friends that have supported my efforts through the entire journey - I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but it truly has made a difference in many lives.

One particular life that I would like to mention is that of Alessandra Nicole Sanchez, one of our SGV TNT Honored Teammates.  Ale had been one of the biggest inspirations through training - having being diagnosed with her third relapse right before the season, she wasn't able to join us in person but she was always with us in spirit and her determination and courage kept us going.  Unfortunately, she lost her three year battle against Hodgkins lymphoma last night.  Please keep her mother Mirella and the rest of their family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. 


In case you didn't get enough post-race goodies, there's free beer too.
So very glad that I had my SD fam to entertain me after all was said and done.

28 May 2012

Less Than a Week!

It's almost here!  Four months of training later - I am about to embark on the longest run I've ever done.  I'll be bib #14046 for any of those that want to follow :)

25 May 2012

The Upstate

For Mothers Day weekend, I flew back to South Carolina and enjoyed some good quality time with family and friends back in the Midlands and Upstate.  It also happened to be Artisphere weekend, so that meant even more fun walking around the ever-charming Downtown Greenville Main Street and exploring all of the visiting artists' booths and live demos. 

Downtown Greenville during Artisphere 2011

Black chocolate sorbetto = pure joy.
Love and miss you (and Stitch)!

Greenville will always have a special place in my heart.  I first moved there for a summer internship with GE in 2007 then returned during my time on program with IMLP in 2010, where it remained my home-base during my expat and repat time.  The Upstate is a beautiful, growing area of South Carolina, and there plenty of gems to discover. 

A few of my favorite places in Greenville:
  • Henry's Smokehouse off Wade Hampton for pulled pork and ribs. Peach cobbler or banana pudding - if I get there before it's sold out for the day!
  • Luna Rosa for gelato.  Each new flavor I try, I'm blown away.  I could eat a black chocolate sorbetto and almond gelato waffle cone each day and never get tired.
  • Falls Park on the Reedy River. The nearby gardens were beautiful in bloom.
Places from this trip that make me wish I could visit more often:
  • Pedal Chic - I could have spent all day browsing their shop/boutique and LOVE their slogan "Roadways are the new runways." Not only have they brought in a great selection of bikes and activewear, but it sounds like they've got an awesome calendar of events ranging from clinics to rides.  Open one in the LA-area, please!
  • Kitchen Arts & Pottery - Liz has put together an amazing shop full of foodie treasures.  I'm jealous of her collection of vintage prints and tea towels and wish I could be there for the tea (towel) party for the Queen's jubilee! 
  • Art Crossing galleries - specifically Patti Rishforth's silhouette work, Guy Stevens' paintings and Christina Nicole's jewelry.

23 May 2012

What I've Been Doing & Not Blogging

Lots of running.

Family time in San Diego.

Quality time with friends in PA/NYC.

...and Mothers Day in South Carolina, which will be the subject of my next post.  Get ready blogoverse, I'm baaack!

02 April 2012

Localizing: Team in Training Greater LA Chapter

I started training with the San Gabriel Valley summer marathon team of Team in Training's Greater LA chapter in the beginning of February.  Halfway through the season, I've already learned a lot about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's impact that they've made in the lives of patients and their families and built up my running endurance into double-digit long run mileage.  The people I've met through TNT are an amazing group with powerful and inspirational stories - all working toward a common goal of finding cures and better treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma.

Returning to a proper training regimen for the first time since college has reignited my excitement about racing and reaching my running goals.  The furthest I've ever raced has been 13.1 miles - in June, I'll double that at the San Diego Rock N Roll full marathon.  The SGV coaches and mentors have been greatly supportive in training and advising on gear & nutrition.  I ran my first 5K in a few years on St. Patrick's Day weekend comfortably just under 23 minutes, and I'll be racing the inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon on Saturday - hopefully hitting my goal time which will also mean I'm on track for my goal pace for the Full :)

Follow the rest of my season on my TNT blog!

23 March 2012

Localizing - Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race

26.2 miles blocked off for the LA Marathon. What better to do than crash it on your bike before dusk in whatever weather it may be with 900+ other people?

As someone more comfortable racing on her two feet than her bike, I partook in this year's Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race as a volunteer during the rego party and spectator at the finish.

Next year? I'll be braving the roads :)

SO many props to Roadblock, all the other members of Wolfpack Hustle and LA cycling community that make this event possible, LAPD etc for being [un]officially supportive...it was all truly amazing.

16 March 2012

Food Love

Lobsta Truck was over at On the Lot LA a few Mondays ago. Nabbed a lobsta roll with mayo, real cape cod kettle chips and a whoopie pie. YUM.

13 March 2012

Localizing - LA Derby Dolls

When was the last time you were on roller-skates? Actual 2x2 roller-skates with the front break. For me, probably elementary school. Last Saturday, we went to go watch the LA vs SD jam at the LA Derby Dolls' Doll Factory - located in the Historic Filipinotown neighborhood. Two of us were able to score a sweet deal through Thrillist Rewards for a discount on general admission tickets plus one PBR.

The match itself was fast-paced, exciting and the packed house was just as entertaining as the teams competing - aside from the competition, there were a range of food trucks outside and several different vendors in the adjoining part of the factory. For us newbies that missed the rules video, it took a little while to understand the strategy, but we were able to catch on by the second half. We'll definitely be back again to watch another bout!

09 March 2012

Food Love

Coolhaus LA never fails to appease regardless of what season it is. Hot? Come up with an awesome homemade cookie and ice-cream sandwich collaboration. Freezing cold? Pick one of their hot chocolate blends. Southern California bi-polar winter-spring? Hot chocolate floated with a scoop of ice cream!

06 March 2012

Three Things

My (favorite) latest apps:
  1. Venmo - Like their website points out, it's like your smartphone and wallet had a beautiful baby. This free app makes it incredibly easy (and secure and quick) to settle split bills between friends.

  2. Tiny Review - Developed to be a platform to "caption the world" and post succinct photo reviews linked to locations. My initial reaction was moreso "Great! Easy instagram-like memes." I foresee much random fun to be had and wit to be spread via this app.

  3. HeyTell - Who wouldn't want to turn their smartphone into a walkie-talkie?