Definition of a best friend

July 27, 2010 § 23 Comments

A best friend is someone who you know inside out and upside down.

A best friend is someone who knows you inside out and upside down.

A best friend is someone who doesn’t judge you.

A best friend is someone who you know for sure was your sister/brother in your past life.

A best friend is someone who you may not always hang out with, but know that she/he is always there when you need her/him.

A best friend is someone who points out your mistakes and flaws in the kindest, nonjudgamental ways.

A best friend is someone who you can trust your life with.

A best friend is someone who you can talk with for hours and hours on little and big things.

A best friend is someone who you share all your dreams with.

A best friend is someone who knows when to listen and when to talk.

A best friend is the first person who you tell or call if you’ve had a bad day, good news, or just because.

A best friend is someone who you can sit beside in silence and have the greatest conversation ever.

A best friend is someone who can almost always read your thoughts, and you hers/his.

A best friend is someone who you’d like to see and hug everyday.

A best friend is someone who’s left footprints in your heart.

Yesterday while Dmitri was on Kramster (a website where kids can ask any questions, ranging from math problems to proofreading an essay, and others answer), he came across a kid asking, “What is the definition of a best friend?” Whether the kid was fooling around or he really doesn’t know, I have no idea. How sad would it be to not know what a best friend is? I met my best friend when I was 10, and we’re still as tight as ever even if we’re 400 miles apart. Meeting my best friend was the best thing that happened to me.

+ Feel free to add to the list!


Quickie post of today’s eats:

Oats with almond milk and egg whites beat in. Oh my , egg whites made everything sooo voluminous! It was almost twice the volume of yesterday’s oats!

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg white
  • half a peach, chopped
  • 2 dried apricots, chopped
  • salt
  • cinnamon

The toppings today were the other half of the peach, passion mango butter, and a blob of sunflower seed butter.

Okay, seriously, why did I wait so long to try chopped dried apricots in oats? I think Jess had already raved about them countless times. Now I truly know how amazing they are in hot oatmeal!

I enjoyed every last bite of it with some tea…

…which came with a really nice quote!

You’ll be seeing alot of mish-mash of foods because I’m trying to clean out the fridge before I leave for Taiwan tomorrow!

Random salad with spinach and arugula, mashed sweet potato with black beans, leftover veggies from yesterday, roasted zucchini and roasted eggplants, and humnut dressing.

When I came home today, there was total power outage throughout the entire apartment community! Bummer ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I had dinner planned and marinating in the fridge, but no oven or stove! We decided to pull the emergency plan: Souplantation! It was good that we had a coupon too, so the buffet for two came down to $15 total.

They were supposed to get the power fixed by 8pm, but didn’t come on till about half an hour ago! We were living in the dark for an hour or so. Well, with a flashlight. We proceeded to playing this cute little game in the dark (with flashlight):

Halfway through, the light came on.

Check out Dmitri’s hands…


Okay. It’s way past my bedtime! Need to hit the sack soon! Nighty night!

Chirpy Monday + Kardea Bar Review

July 12, 2010 § 19 Comments

Today is one of those Mondays where I am absolutely upbeat, chirpy, and perky. While my research advisor and my lab mate were feelin’ the Monday blue’s, I was full of energy! Which is kind of weird since I only got 7 hours of sleep last night. Maybe it was the kite-flying on Saturday that lifted my spirits for the week, or the ample amount of rest I got on Sunday. No matter what it was, it was one of the best Mondays I’ve ever had! If that’s even possible..haha. ๐Ÿ˜€

Wait a minute, I think I know why. Nothing like a fantabulous breakfast to start a Monday!

A blueberry Alternative Bagel with rasperry jam, cottage cheese, and sliced strawberries.

Brekkie also included half a mango (unpictured).

Well, apparently my swellin’ mood didn’t stop after breakfast, because Christmas came early this year!!! I went to pick up my present at the campus mailbox during my lunch break.

Nutrition Bar Lemon GingerNutrition Bar Cranberry Almond
Nutrition Bar Chai SpiceNutrition Bar Banana Nut

A few weeks back, Nancy from Kardea Nutrition offered to send me some samples of their Kardea Nutrition Bars. Of course I said yes! I was particularly inspired by the history behind the origins of Kardea.

From the website:

Rob Leighton founded Kardea as part of a personal mission to lower his own cholesterol.

At 47, Rob found himself moving from โ€œborder lineโ€ high cholesterol to outright high cholesterol. Rob notes that โ€œit was not simply a matter of what I ate. It was a matter of genetics. Without medication, my momโ€™s cholesterol had exceeded 400mg/dl, and she found herself in early clinical tests for one of todayโ€™s leading cholesterol lowering medication.โ€

โ€œI was not ready to start down a pharmacological road.โ€ Rob recalls. Bringing a love of culinary creations and a belief in the science of natural cholesterol management, Rob founded Kardea to create great tasting, natural foods that enable daily compliance to heart healthy therapeutic nutrition.

Mission statement:

Kardea enables and empowers people to manage their cholesterol naturally and nutritiously.

We celebrate living life well and living life naturally. We create and market the delicious natural foods, quality supplements and educational materials that allow each of us to better manage our cholesterol levels and improve our overall cardiovascular health.

Weโ€™re committed to a deep and honest understanding of the evolving science supporting natural cholesterol management. To that end, we will actively partner with and support research that furthers the understanding of the power of nutrition to actively improve cardiovascular health.

There are four flavors, as picture above:

  • Cranberry Almond — recalls the taste of an almond croissant
  • Banana Nut — warmth of the home baked banana bread
  • Chai Spice — as flavorful as the tea, suggestions of pumpkin pie
  • Lemon ginger — with the zing of a lemon square
I’m also absolutely digging the nutritional stats of these bars! At 150 calories, one bar contains 7g fiber, 7g protein, 1 g of plant sterols (helps reduce risk of heart disease).
Other facts:
  • 2.5 Weight Watcher Points
  • 1 Diabetic Starch Exchange
  • Low glycemic
  • Kosher-Certified
  • Vegan

So which one did I pick as my afternoon snack today?

Warmth of the home-baked banana bread…”

They definitely got that right! It was very bananalicious and I love the nutty crunch and flavors from the walnuts in there. You can even see the walnut bits! The bar was also very dense, moist, and chewy–all things that I like! I think it might have even been more filling than a Luna bar :-D.

Down side? It kind of had a weird aftertaste though. But the pro’s definitely win the con’s! Over the next three days I will be sampling the other three bars as my afternoon snack, and I’ll be reporting back to ya!

So with a bomb breakfast, free Kardea bars, what else was in store for this already awesome Monday?


I first saw this sweet-potato and black bean ravioli on Jenny’s blog, which she got from Caitlin’s blog. Caitlin boiled hers like a ravioli while Jenny baked hers to crispy wonton-like raviolis. I opted for the second method ’cause I was in a crunchy

mood ๐Ÿ™‚

I used one large sweet potato and about 1.5 cup of black beans. After skinning and cutting the potato into bite sizes, I popped them into the microwave to cook. I was “too lazy” to mash the potatoes and beans by hand, so I whipped out my handy-dandy food processor to do the job.

Here was where I strayed from the recipe. I seasoned the mash with some salt & pepper, about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, and this spice that my mom got awhile ago. I don’t remember what exactly it was, because I threw its original container away, but it’s red, a little spicy, and so good with veggies and whatnots.

Stuffed about one tablespoon-ful of the filling into a wonton wrapper and sealed with a little water. I got Dmitri to help me with this ๐Ÿ™‚

I baked ’em at 400 degrees for about 20 min till nice and brown.

Ta-daa! Topped with some fire-roasted tomato salsa and feta cheese.


This made alot! I think I ate about 7 of those and Dmitri about 12? We still had 7 left which I divided between the two of us to bring as lunch/snack for tomorrow. This recipe was no doubt worth the time.

Alright you lovely people, I’m off to devour some H2O melon! (yesyes, what a nerd I am)


+ Have you ever had a Monday that was just impossibly good?

+ Okay, this is important (to me)! I’m planning on getting a new phone sometime in the near future. I was considering getting the new iPhone 4, but have also heard great things about the HTC Aria and the Spring EVO 4G. Any suggestions/advices/comments? Any of you using one of those three phones or have friends who own them?

6/31 + EcoEd Thursdays: Baking Soda

July 1, 2010 § 18 Comments

Hello lovepies!

First of all, thanks for those comments! Sometimes I just need a reminder that I am human and humans make mistakes. Eating is especially hard since there are just so much glorious-tasting food around!

So what’s up with 6/31? Helloooo Elaine it’s July 1st! It is standard lab etiquette to date every page of our lab notebook as well as all the tubes, containers, etc, we used that day. Today I kept dating my stuff 6/31/10 and having to go back and change it. I need to get with the days.

Before I start with EcoEd Thursdays, I have a funny story to share with you guys. I was at a talk yesterday, and this professor, let’s call him Prof X, was talking about green fluorescent proteins, which basically are these proteins (a type of macromolecule) that fluoresces when exposed to blue light. Many marine creatures have these proteins in them or on their skins, giving them the “glowy” look, kind of like these jellyfish!

Or, in Prof X’s example…

True story. No offense to those Twilight fans out there!

Anyways, on to today’s special feature of EcoEd Thursdays. Our star today is baking soda.


EcoEd Thursdays!

For those of you bakers out there, baking soda isn’t just a staple to add into breads, cakes, cookies, and muffins. They can serve as handy-dandy household cleaners, deodorizers, beauty product, personal care product, and much more!

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate (if you want to be more scientific), helps maintain the pH in a neutral position. In other words, when it comes into contact with a substance that is either to acidic or alkaline, baking soda will naturally neutralize the pH, which is about 7. For example, water has a neutral pH of 7.

You probably already know some of the uses of baking soda, such as neutralizing the acidic odors in your refrigerator, or mix it in with a little hot water to clean dishware. Here are some of my favorites that I just learned recently of what baking soda can do:

  1. Make toothpaste. Mix together baking soda and 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to make a paste. It can be substituted for your commercial non-fluoride toothpaste!
  2. Get rid of bad breath! Mix a tsp with 1/2 glass water. Swish, gurgle, spit, and rinse. What better way to prep yourself for a date?
  3. At home spa. Why spend money on commercial exfoliants or splurging on a $90 spa session when you can experience it at home? Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Rub onto your skin (face or body) in gentle, circular motion. Rinse to clean. Gentle enough for daily use!
  4. At home spa # 2. Soak your feet after a long day in a tub of warm water with 3 tbsp of baking soda dissolved in it. Scrub gently.
  5. Scrub away on surfaces. Useful for cleaning bathroom tiles, tubs, sinks, even fiberglass or glossy tiles. Simply sprinkle baking soda onto a clean, damp sponge and clean as usual. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.
  6. End those smelly sponges day. Ever get those nasty-smelling sponges sitting on your sink? I do. Here’s a solution: Soak the sponges in a strong baking soda solution made of 4 parts baking soda and 1 part water.
  7. Clean furnitures. You know how kids love crayons. Love them so much that they gotta use ’em everywhere–on furnitures, floors, and walls. You can remedy this by apply baking soda to a damp sponge and rub lightly. Wipe off with a clean, dry towel.
  8. Get fresher, brighter, and cleaner clothes. Simply add 1/2 cup baking soda to your laundry to make your liquid detergent work harder. It balances out the pH!
  9. Get a sweet, clean ride. You can clean your car lights, chrome, windows, tires, vinyl seats and floor mats without worrying about leaving scratch marks by combining 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 quart warm water. Apply onto a sponge or soft cloth to remove road grime, tree sap, bugs, and tar.
  10. Smelly stuff go away. You can deodorize pretty much anything with just a sprinkle of baking soda, from refrigerators, shoes (especially flats, girls!), drains, garbage disposals, lunch boxes, cutting board, trashcans, cars, and cat litter boxes (cover bottom of pan with baking soda).
  11. Give your fav stuffed animals a dry shower. Sprinkle baking soda on your cuddly toys. Let sit for 15 min before brushing it off.
  12. Scrub your fruits & veggies! A very food-safe way to clean dirt and residues off your produces. Simply sprinkle some on a damp sponge. Scrub. Rinse.
  13. Remedy insect bites and itchy skin. For insect bites, make a paste out of baking soda and water. Apply onto your skin. For itchy skin, shake some baking soda onto your hand and rub over the itchy area after a shower or bath.
  14. Clean and soften your hands. Some soaps can be harsh on the skin, but not baking soda! Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub onto hands as usual. Then rinse clean.

There are lots of other way to use baking soda in your daily lives, which you can find here. Not only is using baking soda as your household cleaning detergent more environmental-friendly, it is also less hazardous to your overall health (no harsh chemicals!). You can multitask with just one little box of baking soda. Save the environment, save some money!


I’ll leave you guys with some of my nom’s from the past couple of days.

Spiced apple-curry couscous tossed with pine nuts, cumin-lime baked to (from Eat Drink, & Be Vegan), some steamed broc with nutritional yeast.

Chinese cabbage cooked in veggie broth.

Microwaved then baked sweet potato. 1/2 topped with Sunflower butter and cinnamon, the other 1/2 with yogurt and TJ's spicy hummus.

If you haven’t yet tried sweet potato with Sunflower butter (or Almond butter), it’s high time that you do! Soooooo good!

I may not be able to blog for the next few days, because I will be spending JULY 4th weekend up in San Francisco with these two lovely faces:

Can’t wait!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Have a GREAT Independence Day weekend everyone! โค


+What are your favorite ways to eat sweet potato? Baked, steamed, mashed, cooked in rice porridge…all so yummy! I’ve seen some sort of sweet potato pie recipe somewhere. Gotta try that sometimes!

Love/Hate relationship with Physics

June 14, 2010 § 19 Comments

This morning while I was sweating like a pig enjoying my bowl of hot oatmeal while reading blogs, a hummingbird came flying right up to the window beside me. The Inland Empire Valley is a place where you frequently see hummingbirds, but I have never seen one so close. For a few seconds I admired its airiness, grace, and beauty before it floated rapidly away again.

A hummingbird I saw when a bunch of us went hiking at 4am to catch the sunrise.

What a perfect start to a Monday morning.

On an irrelevant note to self: do not eat hot oats on a warm morning after a sweaty yoga session. D’oh! What was I thinking?

So let me explain the purpose of the title of this entry. Physics is my worst subject in school. Always have, always will. Period. No offense to any Physicists out there! I squirmed through Physics in high school with the easy way out, taking the General Physics instead of opting for Honors Physics or heck, AP Physics like every other one of my friends. Nope, not me, thank you very much. I refused to suffer through Physics more than I had to, ’cause I sooo rather spend my time on Biology-related courses.

God knows how bummed I was when I found out I had to take 3 semesters of Physics at Harvey Mudd College as a requirement, all within the first two years of college. Okay, we had to take 4 semesters of Math as well, but Math is alright. Not great, but not terrible either. I suffered through those first 3 semesters of college, and I did poorly–as low of a grade as I could ever get. I was so ecstatic when I finally finished all my Physics courses. Never, ever again did I want to see, hear, breathe it.

But yesterday, something miraculous happened, and it changed my mindset about Physics.

A free museum dedicated to astronomy and other physics-related stuff.

Before entering the museum, Dmitri and I had a little picnic at the hilltop overlooking the smoggy beautiful LA city.

Can you see Hollywood in the backdrop? ๐Ÿ™‚

Dmitri requested that I teach him how to make an egg + cheese wrap, while I made myself a sammie.

The creamiest and sweetest sammie I’ve had! I just realized how horribly bright this picture turned out. Anyways, the sandwich was made on Orowheat Multigrain Sandwich Thins. The victims: avocado, apple slices, brie cheese. If you haven’t tried this combination, go make yourself this NOW. I’ve heard from a friend that apples and avocado make heavenly sandwiches, and I also know apples and brie cheese are perfect pairs. Why not make a decadent trio?

Next we hit up the museum. Some pictures from the lawn outside:

A sundial!

Hah! I look tiny! ๐Ÿ˜›

A statue of well-known astronomers and physicists. Staring right at us is Copernicus, who also discovered that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Less well-known than the guy to the right of him (left for us), Galileo.

The museum features some pretty neat stuff, like how the Tesla coil came about and how it works, why we see eclipses, why the tide is governed by the sun but mostly the moon, the physics behind light refraction, the technology used today to measure distances from stars, their intensities, etc, and so on and so forth. Lots of neat stuff! The museum is also open at night for free viewing through their HUMONGOUS telescope!

So back to my story of how much I hate physics, I still do, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate how much it has brought us. Without it, no man would have landed the moon, we would still believe that the sun revolves around us, we would not have discovered galaxies and understood our solar system, we would not have electricity, we would not have airplanes…and I could go on and on.

Bottom point: I hate solving Physics problems, but I do love admiring the contribution it has brought to the science world.

More views from the top of the museum:

I spy with my little eyes…downtown Los Angeles!

Warning: The following contents may nerd you out!

I present to you: The Periodic Table of Elements! Each window has the actual element inside!

Oh hello, random stranger’s hand! ๐Ÿ™‚

I swear I stared at this section of the museum for a whole 5 minutes. Please don’t judge me.

Well after all that learning, we were starving by the time we got back home. We whipped up a quick but filling dinner.

Chinese veggies sauteed with garlic & spring onions, baked sweet potato topped with cottage cheese and LOTS of cinnamon. Oh, and unpictured baked beans on the side.

I may or may not have one (or two) servings of So Delicious Dairy-free Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream.

Have a great Monday! ๐Ÿ˜€


+ What is/was your worst subject(s) in school? You already know my lack of interest in Physics. I often see the trend that Biologists tend to dislike Physics.

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