Friday, July 29, 2011

Bra-Snatcher on the Loose

I woke up this morning with this gem from my Mom hangin' out in my inbox:

Possible captions (as per my Mom's suggestion):
  • Izzy misses you!
  • Julia forgot to close her bedroom door :(
  • Trade you!
"Trade you" has become our favorite command as it is the only way to get Izzy to let go of anything she puts in her mouth. Of course, she's learned to milk the system by picking up anything and everything that may end in a trade for her favorite treat. Freakin' sneaky bugger.

Tonight I'm going to San Jose to hang out with 3 of my amazing friends from college. We've decided to get a hotel room for the night so we can get ready together and pretend that we're either still in college or about to hit up the Vegas strip.

The four of us during rush in 2007 (sophomore year!)
Left to right: ME!, Sarah, Kat, and Chelsea

Us during the last gameday season - Go Beers! Oh whoops, I mean Bears.

I am SO excited to see these little hoodlums! The schedule for tonight is looking like 1) get ready 2) get dinner 3) get drinks 4) get ridiculous. Not like it actually matters what we do considering we will find a way to entertain ourselves regardless.

After the craziness of tonight, we are hoping to head out bright 'n early to go to San Jose's greatest theme park...

Okay, so it may be SJ's only theme park, but it's still pretty bitchin'.

And then hopefully we'll be back at the hotel with plenty of time for loungin by the pool a la Caesar's Palace.

Ahhh, the good life.


What would be your caption for the above Izzy picture??

Have you ever been to Vegas? What is your favorite thing about the Sin City?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sugar Low and (Not) To-Dos

I intended this post to cover one of my favorite cookie recipes, but after downing a shameful amount of dough and a couple baked cookies (what can I say, I like it raw) my focus began to shift. All I could think about was how crappy I felt. Just an hour prior, I was literally frolicking around the house and jumping around like a crazy person.

Note: This is not me. Obviously.

After stuffing my face with refined sugars, fat, and salt, I started feeling sluggish, irritable, and just plain icky.

This is why I'm a dog person.

This got me thinking about how much our moods and emotions are linked to food. Usually any crap-like feelings I have after a pseudo-binge are feelings of guilt and disgust with myself. This time, however, I was only focused on how my body felt instead of beating myself up over something stupid like cookie dough.

The dough is not your foe.

For me - a girl that spent a majority of her adult life obsessing over her body - this represents a huge accomplishment. I have had lots of ups and downs trying to eat like a "normal person," i.e. no diets (never ever ever) and no forbidden foods. The fact that I focused on food as a total body/mind fuel, rather than something that is out to destroy me, symbolizes a huge step in the right direction.

And now that I'm done tooting my own horn, I'll take this opportunity to toot the horn of 3 amazing bloggers that I just found:

1) Chocolate-Covered Katie: I'm excited to try her amazingly decadent indulgences that are good for your body and won't leave you with that don't-f**k-with-me attitude.

2) Chef Katelyn: I have linked directly to one of the best blog posts I've ever seen: a How-To on showing the world how amazing you are. This is a huge step in overcoming any food demons that you may have and is really just so much more fun than hating yourself. Shake it if yo' got it gurl!

3) The Tie Dye Files: I just discovered this baby and I am loving it so far. She had an AWESOME giveaway yesterday, so I'm sure more amazing things are sure to come.

Beating Insomni-ahhh

Lately I've had so much trouble falling asleep because my mind has been occupied with all of the things I have to accomplish in the next 2 months, including my physical therapy applications and prepping for my trip to Peru .

Finally, I said eff you to insomnia and started to make a huge To-Do list, complete with little stars next to the most important things. (Don't make fun of my 4th grade tip, this is a huge step in my disorganized life).

The most important part, however, is my tiny NOT To-Do list scribbled at the bottom of the page.

Things not to do: watch mindless (HG)TV, eat my feelings, stress or lose sleep, procrastinate.

Whadya think?


What would be on your Not-To-Do list? Do you have any guilty pleasures that are taking up a little too much of your time?
I have been watching house hunting shows on HGTV non-stop and I actually got a headache from one yesterday. Could have been the wine (see below) or the cookies (see above), but I couldn't hear one more person talk about granite counter tops.

What foods make you feel your best? What foods make you feel like sh*t?

Random Fact #18: I love wine but I am wayyy too cheap to buy the good stuff. I've been in a loving, long term relationship with Charles Shaw ever since I turned 21 (and maybe a little before). You may know him by his nickname, "Two-Buck Chuck."

Only the classiest of ladies drink their wine on the rocks.

Me 'n my baby having a cozy night in.

P.S. I will be posting the cookie recipe, I just don't want those delicious babies to be associated with anything negative :-)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Probiotics: Pros and Cons

Awamaki, the nonprofit organization I will be volunteering for in Peru, suggested that I start taking probiotics a few weeks before and during my trip to ward off "Montezuma's Revenge." (For those of you that don't know, the less cute nickname for this illness is "Traveller's Diarrhea." Hot, I know.)

I swear Monte, if you get me sick you'll be the one taking care of my infected self.

Probiotics are supplements of "good" bacteria which are supposed to boost the beneficial bacteria already existing in your gut. When you consume water or produce rinsed in water that's contaminated, the "bad" bacteria can overwhelm the "good", causing you to get sick in the most unattractive of ways.

Since I'm a (cheap) Berkeley nerd at heart, I just had to check some scientific publications to see if it was worth spending the whole $8.99 on a bacterial supplement. Here's a synopsis of what I found:
  • Probiotics may reduce the severity of the symptoms of TD in humans. Source
  • The chance that you will contract TD ranges from 5-50% depends on where you go. Source
  • Mixtures of different probiotics tends to be the most effective. Look for names like L. acidophilus and B. bifidum. Source
  • Taking probiotics before a trip to a less developed country may reduce your chance of getting TD in the first place. Source
  • The effectiveness of the probiotics also depends on the location that you visit. Source

Sound great? Keep in mind that the jury is still out, and these are all based on scientific studies that are not 100% immune to bias. Probiotics are safe to use and relatively inexpensive, so they really can't hurt and can provide some peace of mind.

Do not, however, use this as an excuse to get lazy with your water sources. Make sure that all drinking water is boiled or decontaminated before consumption. Also beware of fresh fruits and veggies - play it safe by making sure they're either cooked or peeled.

After checking out all the information, I finally settled on Natural Factors Acidophilus and Bifidus because it was 1) cheap 2) had 90 tablets and 3) provided a combination of 2 probiotics.

Here's hopin'!

I'm not supposed to start taking these babies for a few weeks before I leave for my trip, so I will update you with the efficacy later. Don't worry, I promise to leave out as many unnecessary details as possible.


Have you ever been sick on a trip? How did you deal with it?
I got Montezuma's Revenge after a spring break trip to Mexico. Luckily, it didn't hit me until I got home but it was still pretty miserable.

Do you take probiotics or eat yogurt with probiotics? What do you think?
I eat regular yogurt, but I don't eat the yogurt supplemented with extra probies (my cute little nickname for 'em - you like?)

Random Fact #17: I have a designated "dog hair" sweatshirt that I wear at home because Izzy sheds so effin' much. Sometimes I forget that I'm wearing it and actually wear it in public. And that's when Daniel starts to pretend he doesn't know me.

A Waste of a Weekend

I literally did nothing this weekend. Well, not literally, but it felt that way considering how busy I've been the past few weekends.

On Saturday, Daniel dragged my butt out of bed at the ripe hour of 11 AM to hit the gym. I had asked him earlier in the week to show me how to lift weights like a man instead of a pansy. The amount of weight I could lift was dismal compared to him, but I still got some good ideas for my own weight lifting routine.

Yeah, I pretty much look like this now.

The rest of my day was a waste until Daniel and I hit up Crystal Fish, an amazing sushi restaurant in Monterey. There was a motorcycle race in town so we decided to walk down to Cannery Row to see if we could find some biker freaks/get giant cups of fro-yo.

Ahhh, the sweet aroma of gasoline and air pollution.

Way too many people are into this.

We hit up the bars on Saturday night out of sheer boredom. I was hit on by way too many bikers but sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet for those free beers.

I wouldn't bite the bullet this hard.
P.S. I found this picture at Wow, Internet. Just wow.

Apparently I spend way too much time with my boyfriend because we also ended up getting hangover brunch at First Awakenings in Pacific Grove. The wait (albeit well worth it) was 40 minutes, so we decided to play tourist and go hang out with the smelly seals.

It's amazing how many cuteness points they lose once they get on land.

One Spanish omelet, a heap of potatoes, and an English muffin later and I was ready for a 3 hour nap. What good is Sunday if you can't use it to catch up on sleep from the last 7 days?


How was your weekend? Did you add anything to your workout routine?

What's your favorite brunch food?
I loveee omelets but sometimes I have to go for the WheatBerry Pancakes - pancakes made with wheat germ, topped with strawberries and whipped cream. Amazing!

Random Fact #17: I am obsessed with hummus - it seriously makes the BEST salad dressing.


Thursday, July 21, 2011


After debating back and forth whether or not I should go to Ollanta, Peru as a physical therapy volunteer, I decided to bite the bullet and buy my flight. I really have no idea what to expect, but I've decided it's probably best to not have any expectations when you're traveling somewhere so unpredictable.

Soon I'll be able to take my own landscape photos that you don't care about.

I purchased my flight through, which offers serious discounts on flights for students, faculty, and youth ages 16-25. I got a one-way flight (!) from San Francisco to Cuzco for $750 (which is actually cheap).

Unfortunately, buying my flight was just the tip of the iceberg. Now I have to scramble around to get ready before I leave in 2 months (September 26th!!!)

To-Dos for a Long-Term Trip Abroad
  • Arrange housing. I'm going to be in a homestay through Awamaki, so all I have to do is send over my deposit.
  • Get vaccinated for every obscure disease under the sun.
  • Replace your janky suitcase that you were given for your 8th grade graduation with something that makes you look like a legit traveler. I'm gonna try REI first.
  • Brush up on your Spanish, focusing on commands and medical terms. Of course, this only applies if you'll be working as a physical therapist.
  • Call your orthodontist and replace that disgusting broken retainer so you don't return with a nasty snaggle tooth.
  • Tie up those pesky loose ends like your application to physical therapy school that determines the course of the rest of your life.
  • Get refills of all prescriptions. Build up at least a 3 month stash.
  • Panic.

Or watch Panic Room and laugh at the mini Kristen Stewart to calm your nerves.

Looks like I've got my work cut out for me!


Have you ever taken a long-term trip abroad? If not, where would you want to go if you could?

Are you a To-Do lister?
I try for a little while then fall off the bandwagon because I'm too lazy to write things down.

Random Fact #16: I actually kinda like getting cavities filled...especially when it involved laughing gas :-)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Family-Filled Weekend

As you all know, this past weekend was my sister's birthday. I didn't want to miss a minute of the excitement, so I hopped in my 2001 Toyota Echo (read: the first clown car allowed to be driven legally in the US) and got to LA in 5 hours flat. As soon as I arrived, the party started. Which, of course, is the usual reaction upon my arrival.

The sis and I suited up and hit Downtown Hollywood with her and a few of her friends. We went to Big Wangs, which is actually known for their wings, not wangs. How disappointing.

Lauribear and her special friend Chuck.

Me, being the party-pooper of a vegetarian, had to opt out of the wings but found a suitable replacement in a 1990's cafeteria favorite.


Mind you this was a side of tots. A $3.95 side of tots that was bigger than both of my hands combined (aka colossal). It took everything out of me not to make like Napoleon and do this:

I have so much self control.

Which is probably a good thing considering that the 100 tots (equivalent to half the bowl) actually ended up making me sick. Lesson learned: never drink on a stomach filled entirely with tater tots and ketchup.

The next day was POOL PARTY DAY! Since I basically live in fog 360 days out of the year, I was more than excited to (watch other people) blow up the floaties, sip some bloody marys, and don my "It's cool, I'm on vacation" fedora.

Exhibit A. I swear I have friends they just don't like to be around me that much.

My sister made some amazing appetizers from her Trader Joe's cookbook, so we spent the day rotating between all 4 floaties and making sporadic trips back to the apartment to stuff our faces and mix more drinks. Of course, the day would not be complete without a few double shots of pure 200 proof sisterly love.

Awww yeah that's what I'm talkin' bout.

I know I'm really white in the above picture but I definitely turned that around this weekend. I put on that spray-on sunscreen crap about 5 times, which apparently doesn't work if you jump in the pool immediately upon application. Needless to say, I now look like a splotchy albino lobster which I would actually consider an upgrade from my previous pasty complexion.

We were all pretty much donedies by 6ish PM, so we didn't get to do an official birthday dinner. When we woke up, we decided to go out and get BJs (the restaurant, you sickos) but of course I forgot to take pictures. Thus, I will replace them with the following embarrassing shots of the birthday girl. As far as I'm concerned, I can only embarrass her once a year and I'm not about to waste this opportunity.

Until next year sistahh....

When I returned home, my aunt and uncle from Kansas were there for a visit. We ended up going out for amazing Indian food, then French food, then pieeeee (surprisingly, all in different meals). For some reason, seeing my family from Kansas will always be equated with amazing food. Yummmm.

Left to right: Moms, Yours Truly, Aunt Evie, Izzy, and Uncle Dan. (I wouldn't say that the boyfriend has a future in photography, would you?)


How was your weekend??

What is your favorite thing to do with family? (Immediate or extended)

Random Fact #15: I follow Cory Matthews on Twitter (Boy Meets World, helloooo) and it's the best decision I've ever made. Check him out @boymeeetsworld. Do it now.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Today is my sister's birthdayyy!! So naturally, I had to reserve today's post to serve as a photo montage of the past 26 years.

The day I was born, Laurel was caught on camera flinging her stuffed monkey around and whining that "we've got a problem."

Luckily she was able to stifle her hatred to take a quality studio photograph. Notice the worry in my eyes.

Soon, she noticed my natural charm and started to warm up to me. She began to teach me how to be a gangsta and sport dem stunna shades.

And, like a true big sister, showed me how to rock the 90's hottest fashions.

Laurel's always been an amazing entrepreneur ...

...But she hasn't always been such a beauty queen...(love you sis!)

Luckily, we both turned out alright in the end. (I don't know about you, but that last picture had me worried a bit.)

There are so many amazing things about my sister, but the #1 thing I love about our relationship the most is that we always always always find a way to have fun together!

This is the first time Laurel came to visit me in Berkeley. Disregard the scar above my lip - that's an entirely different story for an entirely different blog.

Stuntin' at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco - nbd.

New Year's Eve at the W is San Francisco. I ended up slapping a man on the wrist because he grabbed her and wouldn't let her go. Sometime's it's a tough job protecting such a hot sister.

And this was taken on my birthday when we went wine tasting with our Mom. I imagine Laurel's birthday will be just a smidgen wilder.

Now that I've completed my tribute to you, dear sister, let's have some fun!!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Hike at Huckleberry Hill

When I got home from the clinic today, I was in the mood to move but had no desire to work out at my gym. I had already spent 6 hours away from Izzy today and couldn't bear another minute, so I decided to get exercise for the both of us.

My Dad showed me the trails at Huckleberry Hill when I was in high school and I've been hiking them periodically ever since. They're close by, fairly strenuous, and provide an isolated venue to sing along to your workout playlists without your fellow gym-goers giving you the stink eye.

Proof that I am not making this up.

Serving as a welcome mat to the nature preserve is a giant flight of 175 stairs which also happened to be Izzy's favorite part. The best part about bringing a dog on hikes is that you can use them to pull you up the steep parts. Unless, of course, you didn't think this through and adopted a 22 pound dog like I did. Dammit.

After Izzy's 4,000th pit stop, I decided to start filling my downtime with mediocre photography.

After a leisurely jaunt through the woods, we came across everybody's favorite part: The Scenic Trail.

Looks pretty harmless, right?

Wrong. P.S. This is about halfway up.

I spent a majority of the trek up telling Izzy how unfair it is that her paws have built in cleats and I have to struggle in running shoes. (That's normal, right?)

Of course, when you get to the top, the view is absolutely gorgeous. The following mediocre pictures really don't do it justice, but you get the idea.

It was so pretty, even Izzy started smiling. She totally as an RBF (Resting Bitch Face - I'm allowed to say bitch because she is one), so I had to be sure to capture one of the rare smiles to cross her face.

"I'm scowling on the inside."

The best part about hiking Huckleberry Hill during the summer?

Huckleberries! (I'm really concerned if you didn't see that one coming.)

They're still a little on the sour side but that didn't stop me from eating as many as I could get my man hands on.

The view on our way down. Oh heyyy Montereyyy.

Time flew by and we ended up hiking for a grand total of an hour and a half. I was exhausted and Izzy was just getting started. Typical.

Saturday is my SISTER'S BIRTHDAY (!!!!!!!) so I'm making the 6 hour drive down to LA tomorrow night after work. The weekend is rumored to involve 3 of my favorite things: food, drinks, and sister pool time. I toyed with the idea of never coming back, but then I remembered that I will be going through strong Izzy withdrawals which may be detrimental to my health.

Looks like she'll just have to be my copilot. P.S. Notice the RBF??


What are your plans for the weekend?

What's your favorite hiking spot?

Random Fact #14: I am so cheap that I've been using baby shampoo as body wash for the last 2 months. Don't ask me how I acquired baby shampoo in the first place.