Last Weekend Home

I can’t believe my 18 day spring break is already over!!!!! (insert wailing emoji face here)

When I came down home on March 2nd, I was so happy, excited for all the fun and lazy things I would be doing over the 18-day break. The first few days are always spent wasteful, while the last few days are crammed and jammed with lots of events and friends. This weekend was exactly that: my last weekend home was probably the most jam-packed weekend I’ve ever had.

In imitation of one of my FAVE bloggers and girlfriends I’ve been blessed to find through blogging, Mackenzie, I decided to do a little weekend recap. While it’s not as interesting and fun as her weekend recaps, hopefully I can show you how much I crammed it during these last few days.

Throughout the whole weekend, I managed to “finish” one KDrama series. Now don’t think I watched all 16 episodes in a span of two/three days. Nah. I decided on Friday night that I wanted to watch this drama called “Weightlifting Fairy Nam Bok Joo.”I watched in total 4 episodes in total and most of the other episodes I watched clips on YouTube or inferred (it was quite a mental game to guess what happened in prior episodes I didn’t watch haha).

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Here’s the direct link to watch it in Viki. Beware! Warning!

I was intrigued at the plot synopsis as many people praised how it spread such a positive message of just being yourself and never be ashamed of who you are and to love yourself and those around you. As the title shows, the female lead was a collegiate weightlifter training to be an Olympic weightlifter. Due to her athletic commitments, she has a heavier build, has callouses on her hands, does not have a lot of time to spare, and eats a lot – things that make it hard for her to date guys unlike the stick-skinny gymnasts across her dormitory. But her best guy-friend (later turned boyfriend) emphasizes how important the INSIDE is rather than the outside.

This drama was really such a perfect drama for me since I’ve been struggling and dealing with that EXACT topic this week (as you could obviously tell from the ‘deeper’ blog posts I’ve been posting). So all in all, it was a light and airy drama which had characters that were very real and problems that were very real and understandable. If you are a KDrama fan, I highly recommend! (If you’re a newbie to KDrama I recommend “My Love from Another Star”).

Besides walking around the house holding my iPad watching KDrama (I don’t watch TV sitting down, I try to fit in some walking while I watch TV – efficiency my friends!), I did play some golf. I spent the entire Saturday morning from 8am to noon golfing with my dad. Although I’m not the most skilled player, it was a great time to catch up with my dad and have so fun. Oh and the weather was perfect this weekend.

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After our golf round, my dad and I went to my favorite Japanese restaurant. I ordered my favorite meal “chirashi.” It’s a combination of rice and sashimi.

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After our hearty lunch, my dad and I went back home and we relaxed a bit (aka he and my mom took a nap while I did some blog work) and then in the evening we went out to a Thai restaurant with our family friends.

It was great to meet up with one of my first friends I made in the States. While we weren’t exactly close when we were young, I think as time goes by, that one common thread of that we knew each other and went to the same school when we were young, allow us to be much closer now and have such a fun time laughing and talking. We caught up on a lot of things and we promised we would catch up again once I came back home.

Sunday morning was another golf round. It was much quicker because I had church. Church is such a huge and integral part of my life. I was born and raised in a church, yes, but I dedicate all the successful and good things that happened in my life to God and His glory. My church friends are literally friends that I’ve known since 1st grade and while we’ve grown up and changed, it was so great to hang out with them again. We are quite diverse group – but somehow, our personalities match.

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After church, my two of my best friends and I headed to the mall to watch Beauty and the Beast. Oh my goodness. My two friends and I had such a hard time reserving movie tickets last night. The entire back section was taken and there was only the front section open. We were debating whether or not if we would not break our neck sitting in the last row in the front section. During that time, the entire last row in the front section got taken! So we acted fast and sat in the second to last row.

I’m always grateful to these two. These two always had my back when I had a hard time adjusting to boarding school, and these two know my health journey very well (they’ve seen my physical body and my mental state fluctuate back and forth). And of course, they respect my eating habits so much, they always offer to eat at my favorite salad place when we go to the mall. Aren’t they the best?

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Our salads from sweetgreen. Let me tell you, it’s one thing to sneak in food into the movies. It’s another to try to eat it in the dark. 

We even snuck our salads into the theater because we were crammed for time. I love these guys so so much.

After the movie, we hung around in the mall shopping and then we parted ways. It was so sad having to say bye.

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Kimchi + tofu? Always makes for a great dinner 😉

After I got home, I had my last home-cooked dinner, and currently I am writing this blog post. After this blog post, I’ll take my last shower at home and soon after that, my last night at home.

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It’s going to be so long until I eat this salad at work. 😦

A lot of “last” today, but I’m trying not to be too sad because I know spring term will whiz by me and I’ll be on summer break hopefully soon.

How was your weekend?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Do I have to do rigorous exercise to stay fit?

Do I have to do rigorous exercise to stay fit?

This is definitely a question, actually more of a belief that I would have held last year.

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Golfing with my dad during the weekend. The sun was out, the sky was clear, perfect weather!

As much as I loved running and the feeling you get after a nice long run, I do have to admit that I did run for the sake of staying fit. My thought process was this: if I run, then that means I’m burning more calories, building up more stamina and endurance, yeah, I’m going to keep on running.

And this mindset would be the driving force despite the pain I felt in my knees, the heaviness in my quads, the limping after my run.

Now this isn’t to say that running is bad, no that’s not it. After taking a break from running and simply “intuitively exercising” I’ve realized that I’ve been extreme in my attitude towards exercise.

I reasoned that if you don’t exercise, namely rigorous exercise (which means lots of sweating, lots of heavy panting, frequent thoughts of “I can’t do this. I want to give up”), then I won’t be fit.

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I’m always up for a walk with my friends or family. Catching up while exercising! Best of both worlds!

However, as I continue to consistently do yoga, walk a lot, and go golfing, I realize that exercise doesn’t have to be necessarily rigorous to make an impact.

It’s just a matter of efficiency. Running, HIIT (High intensity interval training), boxing require a lot of energy but in a short burst of time. Yoga, golf, walking, hiking require much less energy, but during a longer period of time. Now, long distance running has both the energy and the length aspect, which is probably why the bodies of long distance runners is generally referred to as #bodygoals.

However, I think the key to exercise is not about the intensity or about the length, but about how much you enjoy it.

My dad personally hates running (yet he was my buddy runner for all my 5K GOTR races when I was in middle school – thanks dad!!! <3), but he LOOOVES golfing. He claims that he’s not good (I don’t know about that since he’s waaaay better than me lol) but he enjoys the sport so much. Now, there’s no point in him to run since he literally only goes to the gym once or twice a month to run on the treadmill. What good is that? Yeah, even if one mile is nearly 100 calories, what good is it if he only runs 4 miles ONCE a month? Just 400 calories.

But he almost golfing every weekend with his friends. And I mean every weekend. Minus the weekends that he’s visiting me that is. Even during the winter, he would go out with a million of layers and lots of heat packs. He even did a golf outing with his friends for a long weekend where for two days, they played 36 holes each. 18 holes before lunch and 18 holes after lunch. I know, extreme.

But despite the less energy golf requires, my dad does it in such high frequency that in the long run, golf is the exercise that makes him fit. And let me tell you, don’t regard golf lightly. All the times I’ve gone golfing with my dad, walking the full course is a lot of work. I had my phone in my pocket the whole time and after the course, I checked my phone and it was already over 10,000 steps. Think about it! I just walked the recommended number of steps by doing a round of golf! It definitely requires less energy BUT it’s for a prolonged time so it definitely does train you.

Sorry for this long rant – these days, I’ve been getting a lot of “aha!” moments about eating and exercise. And I wanted to spread this “wisdom” I’ve been getting with you all.

What’s your favorite form of exercise?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

“Healthy”

Today was sort of a scary day for me.

I had a massive stomach ache.

Now usually, stomach aches are normal for me. I’ve had gas problems as a child so my tolerance for stomach aches are quite quite high.

However, today, after having lunch with my mom, I had a massive stomach ache. Something that I was not used to tolerating.

Initially, I thought it was just that I ate a lot. That what I was feeling was fullness. Like literally as we drove out of the restaurant I was like, “Darn it, Stephanie. Why did you eat so much? Remember: hara hachi bu! Only eat until 80% full. You stuffed yourself.”

But after a couple of minutes, I felt a pang in my stomach. It was different to fullness – no, I’m a common customer for fullness. I literally stuff myself full like every other meal lol. No, it wasn’t fullness.Was it gas? No – I’ve been having gas problems since 5 years old and this was definitely not gas. Then what was it?

It was really hard to diagnose what I had and even looking at water made me want to vomit. I just couldn’t fathom putting anything in my mouth.

Short end of long story, the pain decreased after 30 minutes. By then, I could tolerate it. And this again, remind you, is my high tolerance for stomach pains. But after about 2 hours, it was completely gone.

I still don’t know what that incident was and I probably won’t know in the near future, but what I do know is that my wellbeing is the utmost priority.

It’s at times like this that I realize I take too many things for granted. I nitpick at the thickness of my thighs, the “wings” on my arms, the flab on my stomach. I suck in my stomach whenever I pass the mirror. But at times like this, I realize that I was shallow.

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If you couldn’t tell…my fingers are forming a heart. Giving much love and kisses to those who need love because we are all beautiful.

As mentioned in my self-love post a few days ago, I’m still in the process of loving my body. Loving it truly the way it is right now. That the reason I’m eating healthy and that I exercise is NOT because I hate how my body looks and I want it to look a certain way, but because I want to feel nourished and empowered and healthy. That word, healthy is abused so much here, but today, this incident reminded me what healthy meant.

Healthy does not mean a certain number on the scale. A certain number on the label of your clothes. A certain number of how many calories you’ve eaten. Healthy does not mean your appearance. For the better or worse, healthy means different to everyone. It’s such a relative term which is why I think it’s been abused so much.

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But as I’m slowly moving forward in my self-love journey, I start to build my own definition of healthy. And so far this is what I have: being healthy means to enjoy life without any limitations.

I really don’t want to get that stomach ache ever again – a stomach ache that I could barely sit still with. A stomach ache that I truly felt helpless and out of control with my body.

So yep. That’s what healthy means to me thus far. I’m sure as I add more years and experience to my life, this definition will change. But so far, that’s it: to enjoy life without any limitation. To feel powerful and confident.

What does healthy mean to you?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Quick and Easy Fried Rice

Sometimes, I’m just too tired to cook. I know, shocking, but after a long afternoon of shopping, all I want to do is lay down. So, on these days, I usually  just take whatever I have in the fridge. throw it all together, and call it a meal. But there are times when these haphazard cooking days actually turn out amazing. One example of this is my spiced fried rice.

I’m not going to lie, there were a lot of ingredients I used (mainly from spices) as this is a spiced Fried Rice. But trust me, it is good. Especially when you’re tired because the heartiness of this dish just warms you right up.

Also, each spice that I use has a plethora of health benefits associated with it. For example, turmeric is strongly anti0inflammatory, has powerful antioxidant effects, and prevents common diseases overall. I use pepper in this recipe because it helps the body absorb the turmeric more effectively.

Servings:2
Ingredients:
-2 eggs
– 2 cloves garlic minced
-1 tsp ginger
-1 carrot chopped
-1 stalk celery chopped
– 2 handfuls dark leafy greens
– 1 tbsp soy sauce
– 1 tsp turmeric
– 1/2 tsp pepper
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
-2 tsp olive oil
-1/4 cup broth or water as needed
-1/4 cup cashews
– 2 tbsp sesame seeds
-2 cups brown rice
– optional: any type of meat/meat substitute leftover, I used 2 scallops, chopped up
Note: These ingredients can be substituted for other similar ingredients! This recipe is meant to be a clean-out-the-fridge, whatever-you-have-on-hand type of recipe. For example, you can switch out brown rice for white rice, or the dark leafy greens for broccoli. The possibilities are endless.
Procedure:
1.) Heat half of the olive oil (1tsp) in a pan, and then scramble the two eggs. Remove from pan.
2.) Heat the remaining olive oil on high heat with the minced garlic and ginger
3.) Once the aromatics smell fragrant, add the chopped carrot, celery, and meat leftover and sautée everything for about 2 minutes. The meat should be heated through, and the carrots and celery should be a bit crunchy
4.) Add the leafy greens and sautée until wilted. Meanwhile, add the scrambled eggs, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, and Chinese five spice
5.) Add the rice, and some liquid to help break up any clumps. I used bone broth that I of course had leftover, but you can also use water or another type of broth. Add the soy sauce, cashews, and sesame seeds.
6.) Give everything a good mix and you’re done!
What is your favorite leftover recipe?
Love,
Serena

Nom. Nom. Nom.

Hopefully those who were hit by Storm Stella are all safe and sound with no power outages!

Nothing screams snow days more than food. And lots of food to be exact.

Just like I do over every break, here’s what I’ve been eating lately.

Beware: picture overload

As much as I consider myself a self-educated health nut, I do think that my mom is a health-nut in her own ways. I was never allowed to eat McDonalds, juice was banned from my house when I was in fourth grade, instant noodles were never allowed, etc.

So when I come back home, it’s great that while I crave my mom’s cooked meals, the meals are healthy as well! Here is one meal for example:

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From top left: my mom’s kimchi and kkakdugi and picked perilla leaves; scallops with arugula and pork and vegetable stir-fry

I’ve also had a lot of salads coming back home:

My mom and I also tried out this new pizza from the “healthy” aisle of our supermarket.

My mom and I agreed it was a 10/10. It was super delicious and super easy to make (less than 10 minutes!)

I, of course, went to Costco (aka my happy place). I love that feeling when you’re literally giving in all your weight as you push that Costco cart brimmed with good food 🙂

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And for miscellaneous: I’ve been having my favorite breakfast cereal/oatmeal combo, lots of avocado.

And last but not least, before Storm Stella hit us, my mom and I went on another much-needed lunch date. I got the salmon terriyaki lunch box and my mom got the pork lunch box. They were very good – we finished it all!

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So that’s it for this week! As you can see, break so far has been filled with wonderful food and family time.

What are your favorite eats?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Walkers high?

Am I making this term up? I don’t know.

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There’s such thing as a runner’s high, and let me tell you, it’s real. Now, I’m not a professional runner, let alone a varsity runner at my school, but I sure did love running winter of 2015 all the way to fall 2016.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m taking a break from running as I’m just not feeling it (#intuitive exercise).

Anywho, I’ve been walking a lot more in response. Apparently, you’re supposed to walk 10,000 steps a day. Now, in a culture where we sit down to study, sit down to eat, sit down in the car, sit down just everywhere, that’s hard.

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But…getting those steps gets addictive. At least for me as a Type-A, workaholic, and perfectionist. I’ve been going upstairs and downstairs getting my mom’s bag for her, getting my dad’s keys, just to log more steps. I’ve been running in place while I’m brushing my teeth and flossing. I’ve been walking to and fro in the house while I watch YouTube videos or read a book.

It’s kind of insane and silly to watch me like that in the house, but overall, I’ve been able to log in more steps and truth be told, I do feel like I’m getting enough exercise but just spread over time. So call me someone on walkers high, because honestly, I really just might.

Have you had walkers’ high before?

xoxo,

Stephanie

VIDEO: Avocado Toast

I decided during lunch today (while my parents were out attending a wedding), to film a video of how I make my avocado toast lunch.

As you can see from the video, it’s super duper simple to make this lunch! Let me know of what you think of the video. I really want to start doing more video content so if you have a suggestion for a type of video you’d like to see me do, leave the suggestion in a comment!

Enjoy!

 

How do you like to eat your avocados?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Secret to weight loss? Act as if you already lost that weight.

Sounds counterintuitive right?

I’ve recently been listening to the Jess Lively podcast. Truth be told, I’ve always been wanting to be that girl listens to podcasts. Serial was the first podcast that was introduced to me. However, 10 minutes into the first episode I had to stop because the locations that were being mentioned were very close to where I was living and I knew that this would freak me out and make me paranoid later on into the podcast. Other podcasts, I was annoyed at the lack of focus and how the people would go off on random tangents, and just as they were about to get to the sweet spot, there would be a commercial break – go figure, right?

Regardless, I’ve recently taken interest in Jess Lively through her YouTube channel. I think she lives a unique and awesome life – like seriously. She sold her home (30 minutes after filming her house tour video) and all the things in her home and currently right now, all her stuff is in her carry-on and suitcase. She’s right now traveling the world – never really knowing where she’s going to be, but simply said going with the flow. Now I haven’t been watching Jess Lively enough to give a thorough introduction about her, but I just wanted to share something from her most recent podcast.

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Jess Lively

During the second half of the interview, Jess and the interviewee Brooke Castillo talk about the mindset of losing weight. And they said that it’s simply NOT thinking about it. To “be the person you think you’ll be when you lose that weight. Act as if you already lost that weight.”

Be the person you think you’ll be when you lose that weight. Act as if you already lost that weight. How would you eat and view your body differently?

Jess and Brooke talked about when we think we’re overweight, we eat more because we say “Oh I’m already fat, so why not just eat some more? Why not continue binging? Why not just eat more even if I’m full? I’m not skinny so I might as well just treat myself because either way, I’m going to be fat.”

Or we think: “I want to be skinny, but I’ll work on that after this meal. I’ll just eat a lot now, and then starting tomorrow I’ll eat healthier.”

Instead, imagine: when you are at the smaller size and you get to your goal weight, will you eat that much? Will you be so lax and hard on your body? No! You’ll be loving your body – how it looks and how it feels.

I think the key is that we should foster and practice those habits that we will be doing after we lose that weight, after we get to our goal weight, after we get to that goal body.

And that makes sense – why do things that will make you gain even more weight when what you want to do is lose weight?

And that makes sense – why do things that will make you gain even more weight when what you want to do is lose weight?

So, in short: Be the person you think you’ll be when you lose that weight.

If it’s hard for you to imagine, think of a friend that you think is a model for the healthy lifestyle or the body that you want. I have one friend, and truth be told, it’s not Serena!!! This friend of mine, actually doesn’t like healthy food. Read: she doesn’t like avocado, almond milk, hummus or chickpeas. BUT… what I admire about her is that she eats slowly, she eats when she’s hungry and stops when she’s full, she eats all the food groups in moderation but she when she indulges, she only takes a small portion.

Thus, that’s why I envision myself and imagine myself to be when I get to my goal weight. So why not practice that right now?

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As we head of this weekend, let’s not think “Cheat meal!” “Let’s indulge!” since is that what our future, weight-loss successful selves would think? NO! Take a moment and think to yourself, “what would I do, how would I act if I was skinner, if I was more toned, if I was more ____?” And that answer is exactly what you do this weekend.

 

What habits do you want to start practicing?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

The Journey to Self-Love

Happy International Women’s Day!

In commemoration of this holiday, I want to talk about self-love. This is a topic that I think that every woman in this world should hear.

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A couple of my friends at school make fun of me that it’s easy to identify which posts are mine because they see the #everythinginmoderation #bodylove #bodyimage whether it’s on this blog or on my Instagram. While they make fun of me and I smile outside, inside, I’m frustrated because they don’t know the struggle I went through and still going through with my body.

I’m embarrassed to say this, but I’m not too confident on my body. There are many times when I stop in front of the mirror and ask why I’m not thin and why I’m not skinny when I eat so healthy and when I exercise often. Perhaps my friends never struggled with their body image. But I have. Loving my body the way it is and loving it from the inside out is something that has been very hard.

So in this post, I’m not going to talk about how to find self-love because I haven’t achieved it or even close to achieving it myself. However, I want to share and how that maybe this could be a platform where other women can share about their struggle and journey to self-love.

I find that it’s hard to open up on my story. As I mentioned above, whenever I post something on Instagram that’s remotely linked to this topic, my friends back at school make fun of me. Only a handful of friends know my story, and only one back at home asks me every time I come home for break and checks up with me. And I’m forever grateful to have such a friend like that.

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I do have to add that when I had my myriad of injuries this fall – including a stress fracture – I was able to gain a new perspective. I realized how blessed and how lucky I am to have a fully functioning and healthy and strong body that allowed me to do whatever I wanted to. Being in that boot for 6 weeks allowed me to gain a new perspective in that being thin, having that thigh gap, having a flat stomach, having slim arms, that’s all OUTSIDE the point. My body for 16 years and counting has been giving me energy to run, walk, sleep, laugh, hang out with my friends, travel, study, dance, and more. And I should be loving my body. Note the word “should.” As soon as I got off that boot, however, I tried to get back into running as soon as I could so I could get back into shape. I know, not much of a progress, but I just wanted to share a little anecdote.

I really hope that our community, our friends, our world can be a more accepting place and a place where all women can share their struggle and journey to self-love. Since I personally think that it’s so black and white. It’s either lose weight! Be like this celebrity! Change your body because it’s not good enough! To the other end of the spectrum which advocates to completely loving every inch of your body. There is no in-between and frankly, a lot of women are in that gray area.

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I know..:) Kind of a funny picture! But just wanted to show my face for once that I’m serious about this post. Dead serious. (Although I had to do the sunglasses b/c my parents are still a bit hesitant of having my face on the blog haha. Hopefully it’ll change)

So while we may never come to achieving complete self-love, I hope that through discussions and transparent blog posts, we can slowly and slowly inch towards that goal.

What has your journey to self-love been like?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Lately Obsessed #5

I’ve been home for spring break for five days now, but these five days have been jam-packed with good food (that’s always the highlight of coming back home 😉 ).

So I decided to share some of the food I’ve been eating in the beginning of break in the “Lately Obsessed” format.

Ready for a picture overload? Let’s go!

ONE // Lunch dates with my mom @ Nordstrom Cafe

Nordstrom Cafe isn’t anything special, but my mom and I have been going there for lunch ever since I was in 3rd grade, so it’s pretty much a staple in our books. Whether it’s lunch after I get let out of break, after a play, after field day, after finals, after a long and tiring shopping trip, my mom and I love to eat at Nordstrom Cafe. There are perennial favorites such as the penne pasta or the vegetable panini. They had a few months ago a kale and mushroom salad special and it was so good! Please bring it back!

This time around (we literally went to Nordstrom Cafe the first full day back home haha), we got the penne pasta but we decided to order the prosciutto arugula salad. We were pleasantly surprised – the pizza was really really delicious! Funny though because both my mom and I took off the prosciutto which we joked was probably why the pizza was on the pricer end, haha.

 

TWO // Healthy snacking

Some say three solid meals a day, some say five to six small meals a day. I go back and forth, ranging from three to six meals, but the past few days, I’ve been snacking on some crackers. I’ve eaten Terra chips before, but these kale crackers!!!! They are soooo good. They have a lot of flavor and are great to go with hummus. My mom and I finished the entire container that afternoon we bought them from the grocery store, haha (although to be fair, there weren’t a lot of crackers to begin with).

 

THREE// The salad bar at my dad’s workplace

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I’ve definitely ranted about this before in previous blog posts and in my Instagram stories (follow us at @avolicious_blog), but my dad’s office has THE BEST salad bar. Like seriously…  Today, I brought an avocado from home since the one thing that the salad bar doesn’t have is avocado, which is understandable (that’s called dedication haha). But otherwise, everything is from this insane salad bar. I have arugula as the base, quinoa, barley, roasted butternut squash, pesto cream chicken, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds drizzled with olive oil. <insert face with heart eyes emoji here>

FOUR// Dinner’s at home

Nothing beats mom’s cooking! My mom makes THE BEST japchae (a Korean noodle dish). She made it the first night back (she knows me and my tastebuds too well haha). And also, despite being allergic to crabs and lobsters, tonight we had crab cakes for dinner. Argh…so good! She also got lots and lots of grapefruit for me from Costco (grapefruits are my favorite winter fruit). So yeah…I’m just in tastebud heaven right now.

 

FIVE// Lots and lots of avocado toast

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What did you expect? Of course, I’m chowing down on my avocado toasts! I think I’ve had one at least once every day I’ve come back home. I mean look at that color! Together with the chia seed (and sometimes smoked salmon if we have it in the house) and perfectly toasted bread, ugh it’s a feast for the stomach!

What are your latest obsessions?

xoxo,

Stephanie