March Recap + Favorites

Can you believe today is the last day of March? I know the months seem to fly by faster and faster, but it really seems like the single-digit days were just yesterday and now it’s the 31st!

March is usually when things pick up in pace for me, as spring tries to spring and activities are on the uptick! So here’s a little recap of how my month went:

I started the month with a sleep study It was a bit strange, but I’ve been having a lot of sleep issues for the past few years and thought it was high time I asked my doctor about them. The sleep study was definitely interesting, so let me know if you’d like to hear more about that experience!

In general, I re-prioritized my health. I have been making my doctor’s appointments instead of putting them off, and even though I am missing time at work (that I make up by coming in early and staying late), it’s good to know that I’m getting care, especially because not everyone is currently insured and able to do so. I’ve seen several different doctors this month and will be seeing many more with the appointments I’ve made, and this is mostly to maintain good health and as follow-ups to past appointments. I do think it’s important for me to think of these visits as health maintenance, rather than think of visiting the doctor as something I only do when I think something is wrong. Prevention is key! I have also been exercising and I gave up fried foods for Lent, so it’s been a healthy month!

I visited San Francisco! I will be putting up recaps from my time there shortly (I swear!), but I made solo trips to museums during the day, caught up with friends for dinner, and was able to support my boyfriend after he gave his first big conference talk. I also got to see Christine (and meet her boyfriend!) while I was out there, my first time visiting her in SF since we became friends!

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Um, it snowed for the first time all winter in DC. We’ve had an unseasonably warm winter this year. Like actually warm many days, and no where near as brutally cold as it usually is. It’s been comfortable for us as humans but very worrying, especially given that the cherry blossoms seemed poised to peak weeks earlier than usual. Then it snowed and dipped below 30 for the first time in weeks and we were all very scared for the cherry blossoms. I only wish we got more snow, as the initial predictions for this Stella were much higher than anyone experienced. Oh well! It looks like that is all DC will be getting this winter and we’ll have to wait until the next one.

I met Danny Boyle at an early screening of T2 Trainspotting. He was such a sweet man, honestly, and I really have a renewed respect for him and his films after hearing his Q&A and being able to meet him. I haven’t seen all of his films yet, but you can bet that will change soon!

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I got to see the Instagram-famous cherry blossom + Super Mario pop-up bar! This was an awesome Instameet, so we were actually able to sample the cocktails free of charge an hour before the bar opened to the public. This bar is as cool as they say, and here’s my friend Andy‘s video to prove it!

Fun fact: I actually met Andy for the first time over 2 years ago and hadn’t seen him since until this Instameet! He’s an amazing photographer and vlogger and overall dude, definitely check him out on Instagram.

I was able to experience Yayoi Kusama’s Infinite Kusama exhibit and the Hirshhorn. The same week, I got to see another Instagram-famous DC happening and it was pretty spectacular. As stressful as it was to be rushed through the infinity rooms (20 seconds to try to take in… infinity?!), I really enjoyed this exhibit and really hope I can come back before the exhibit goes to the next city.

You know what, here’s another one of Andy’s videos because I just have not edited my videos or footage together yet!

Christine and Phil visited DC! The weekend after my SF trip was Christine’s birthday, and then the weekend after that, she and Phil actually came to my city and visited DC! It was so great to be reunited with Christine and to spend more time hanging out with Phil.

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Reunited and it feels so good!

I attended the second Women in Tech Summit DC in a row. Last year was the first year of the DC Women in Tech Summit and I was able to come back for another year, this time at the new(ish) Washington Post building! (The last time I was at WaPo, it was for a hackathon in the old building. The old building is now completely gone!) It was fun to see some great women in tech that I haven’t seen in a while and also to just be surrounded by so many awesome ladies and supportive men. It’s hard not to feel motivated and inspired after events like this.

I saw my first Wizards game! And they were playing the Nets, so it was my first time seeing Jeremy Lin (and his terrible hair), too! This was a work outing and it was a lot of fun, minus the part where I didn’t know where the free food + drinks were for a long time while watching the game alone (because everyone else was eating free food and drinking free drinks).

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The Wizards are currently the #3 team in the NBA Eastern Conference! The Nets are the lowest ranked team, so we beat them easily. Probably because of Jeremy Lin’s hair.

I watched the Hamburg Ballet’s production of The Little Mermaid at the Kennedy Center. The tickets were on sale so I had to snag one for myself, starting a pattern of me seeing ballets at the Kennedy Center solo. This one wasn’t quite my cup of tea (I wasn’t a fan of the choreography, as it was distracting…? and was so abstract that it was difficult to suss out the actual story) but I still really enjoyed seeing these incredible dancers. This production in particular had a lot of male dancers, and I was reminded at how stunningly athletic male ballet dancers are. (Two words: six-packs.) (Everywhere.) It’s fun to take myself to see a show every now and then, and the Kennedy Center remains one of my favorite venues to do so!

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I was also crazy close! Maybe too close, the dancers occasionally were out of my field of vision…

I am seeing results after working out for 2 months. I always heard that it takes 6-8 weeks to see any semblance of progress when it comes to exercise. About 2 months ago, I decided enough was enough, I need to stop struggling to lift things and open that heavy glass door to my office building. (Look, it’s really heavy and sometimes the wind catches it, which makes it harder to open and… I mean you get the picture, small arms, heavy door.) I got a ClassPass membership back in January, which I’ll be telling you guys all about really soon here on the blog, and have also been doing some very casual/haphazard strength-training and running at my office gym so that I can eventually accomplish those resolutions I set at the beginning of the year. This past week, after a day where I somehow squeezed 2 intense workouts into one day, I got home and could see tiny signs of progress! It was really exciting to not only look stronger but to feel a little bit stronger, too. (That being said, I still huff and puff up the stairs and I struggled with a heavy glass door this week, so I have a lot more progress still to make!)


To wrap things up, I wanted to share some things I’ve been loving this past month:

Jidenna’s album, The Chief: I have been waiting for Jidenna’s debut album for a long time, ever since I saw him open for Stromae. That was almost 2 years ago and I’m really enjoying the album. I highly recommend having a listen because it’s very likely you’ll find at least one song you like, given how flexible Jidenna is with the genres that he plays around with on this album. I watched his music video for “Bambi” when it was still just in the tens of thousands of views on Youtube and I’ve had the song stuck in my head ever since.

Jordan Peele’s Get Out: This movie is as good as the hype. I was too scared to see any of the press screenings, even with Annie telling me it was sooooo good and that I have to see it. STILL I was much too scared to see it, until she sent me this article where the author is a self-professed wimp but didn’t find the movie too scary. Ultimately, I went when Annie invited me and my boyfriend to see the movie with her and her boyfriend, because we don’t get to see the two of them that often and they were really close to where we live. I was SO NERVOUS to see it, but it really is a tour de force and you really should watch it. It’s masterfully done and, you know what, not really that scary! In the traditional horror movie way. (Maybe it’s scarier because… the horrors of the movie are not too far from reality.)

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The March Disneybound Challenge: I’ll be posting up my annual March Disneybound Challenge recap but this was a lot of fun! This year was different because Leslie actually posted a day-by-day challenge guide, so I was able to lean on that for inspiration rather than thinking of something from scratch every day. I did feel like it was harder to break that guide to go with outfits that I had that didn’t fall neatly into them, but overall, it was good to have some structure to the challenge. Also, I got to see some really incredible outfits on Instagram and this challenge reaffirms how much I love the Instagram Disney community every single year. These folks are amazing.

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A little preview of some of my #disneyboundchallenge posts on Instagram

How has your month been? Any highlights to share?
What are you looking forward to in April?

March Favorites

With spring kicking off in March, I have a rather long post for you all this month. Lots of good things going on is a good sign, right?

7 Minute Workout [App]

I’ve been trying to find ways to make it easier for me to commit to fitness. Right now, I’m really enjoying the 7 Minutes app (I use this one on Google Play, but there are many that have slightly different UIs and several available on iTunes as well). I picked this one over some other popular ones (like Nike’s N+TC) because I don’t need any equipment for the exercises as 7 Minute uses only body weight exercises.

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If you’re unfamiliar with tabata or circuit/interval training, the default 7 Minutes workout involves 13 different workouts that you do for 30 seconds each with 10 seconds of rest in-between. The science backing this workout says that intense bursts of activity followed by shorter intervals of rest are super effective in working your muscles, and you’re able to maximize the benefits of exercise in only 7 minutes.

As someone who often has a hard time committing to fitness regimens that aren’t a paid-for group class, finding 7 minutes to do something, no matter how painful those 7 minutes may be, seems much more doable than doing half an hour of exercise three times a week. I am trying to do as many days in a row as I can without taking breaks while completing one circuit, since the app tracks how many days in a row you’ve done the exercises, how far into the exercises you got, how many times (if any) you paused, and how many days of exercise you’ve done in the past 30 days. If you’re a fan of the “Don’t Break the Chain” method of forming habits popularized by Jerry Seinfeld, you’ll love that feature.

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(Images from Google Play store)

Misfit [app]

Along the same vein, my boyfriend and I recently decided to give fitness trackers a try. Not wanting to commit a lot, we found one of the most affordable options out there: the Misfit Flash, which is a lower-end tracker made by the folks who also make the Misfit Shine. The tracker itself is whatever to me: it’s made of cheaper materials but gets the job done and has an option for you to clip it or wear it on your wrist.

The app is what I like. The UI is really nice, although I wish the Android one was as nice/robust as the iOS one. I can connect it to RunKeeper, for the handful of times I decide to run, and MyFitnessPal, because I understand that being aware of what I eat is really important to my overall fitness.

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You earn “points” for your physical activity (so mostly for walking, as it counts your steps) and I like the social element if only so I can compete with my boyfriend. One thing I also like is that it shows how you rank with the average males/females using the app. “Missfit” is on my leaderboard and I think that’s a neat feature.

Also, we really wanted to look into sleep tracking. I used a sleep tracking app, but I don’t like keeping my phone on my bed, so this is a nice alternative. It has issues as far as not being able to track naps, not tracking if you wake up and go back to sleep, if you have irregular sleep hours, etc., but it’s a nice way to get more data about my sleep habits. And I’m all about dat data.

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(Images from Google Play store)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 

I usually don’t watch super trendy shows (see: Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, etc.), usually because I don’t know about them when they premiere and then because I feel like I am being peer-pressured to start watching it. (Looking at you, Doctor Who and the Tumblr propaganda that eventually got me to watch.) This definitely applies to Netflix shows, because I don’t really like the idea of sitting down and binge-watching a season of a show the day it is released to the public. (See: why I don’t watch House of Cards despite the fact that, as a show about DC, I have friends who can be seen as extras.)

When Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was announced a short while back, I fully intended to not watch it. I like Tina Fey (the producer) and all, but I didn’t watch 30 Rock, I’m not a die-hard Tina Fey fan, I don’t feel anything about Ellie Kemper or Jane Krakowski, the premise was quirky but not enough where I felt really compelled to watch it… I just didn’t really have any motive to watch. But then I heard that Ki-Hong Lee was on the show… as a love interest, no less! I love Ki-Hong (his smile takes over his whole face… and yours) and I am all for Asian male love interests.

So, I sat down to watch the show and really liked it! It’s 30-minute episodes, which made the 12-episode season much more digestible than shows where the run-time lasts closer to an hour. It’s a light-hearted comedy, which meant that I was able to breeze through episodes not only without being stressed and tense for the next one but while laughing as well. It’s definitely a bit too edgy/quirky for television and perfect for the Internet. It’s super self-aware and smartly written. I recommend it if you’ve been wondering about this show.

23 Perfect Jokes From "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

Spring Cleaning

Even though it snowed half a foot the first week of March (… you think I’m joking), the weekend immediately following that storm gave us our first taste of spring weather. I had my windows open! The snow thawed almost immediately and left immense puddles everywhere! I went outside in jeans without a pair of leggings underneath them!

Cleaning my room has been on my to-do list for a while. When I started getting overwhelmed with my many tasks, I would feel worse about the fact that my room was messy and I hadn’t cleaned it yet. This would drive me into a guilt spiral that was further aggravated by the fact that I can’t actually stand messes. Evidently, my method of coping with a mess is usually to be driven so mad by it that I am reduced to doing… nothing, about the mess or anything else in my life.

But, on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, a breath of fresh air gave me the kick I needed to actually clean. I told myself I would only clean my room and save cleaning the rest of the apartment as a roommate activity, since I don’t get to see my roommate too often. But as soon as I broke out my vacuum, I wound up vacuuming the entire apartment and wiping down almost every surface. Oops! I even (finally) took down my Christmas lights that were in a Christmas tree arrangement and rearranged them in a non-holiday way, as I’ve always liked the look of rooms with soft fairy lights.

Now I walk into my apartment and my room and feel so at peace rather than irritated and angry at myself. It is one fewer obstacle to me actually doing things I need to do. This doesn’t mean I do those things, but I have one fewer excuse now.

Cooking

With the shift in the weather and a desperate need to do something productive, I have been enjoying cooking even more than I usually do. Not only have I been cooking, I’m cooking less familiar foods. This includes:

  • Pancakes from scratch and not from a mix! (I almost never have flour and this is my first time having baking powder in the pantry)
    • Banana pancakes
    • Ridiculously fluffy pancakes
    • Mickey Mouse pancakes!
  • Mac & cheese with cheese sauce from scratch (I had to purchase cheese???)
  • Scallion pancakes from scratch
  • Banana bread

No photos to share this time around, but let me know what you’d like to see me make in the future!

 “Chinese Female Bodyguards”

A friend of mine shared this VICE video on Facebook and I soaked up every single one of its 12 minutes. Because of the absurdly fast-growing Chinese upper class, which includes many powerful businesswomen, there is a growing demand for female bodyguards. Not only is it more practical and safe for women to have a female bodyguard, but having a bodyguard is, in and of itself, a status symbol, and the Chinese upper class is obsessed with displaying status symbols.

It resonated with me, personally, because the women are taught “feminine” things such as walking in heels and putting on makeup. This is not because they need to be “more feminine”, but rather, in China, wearing heels and makeup is a way to demonstrate your respect of other people. In this case, the trainees want to show respect to their clients and their clients’ colleagues.

Also, since assault weapons are illegal in China, bodyguards must be highly skilled in martial arts. We’re not talking Jet Li The Bodyguard from Beijing level skills, but those would be really helpful because bodyguards cannot legally carry weapons. (Side note: That is my mom’s favorite Jet Li movie and it’s a good one.)


The movie is from 1994… and it shows. But I love it. 

Late Night Happy Hours

I am all about happy hour for one main reason: excellent food deals. In fact, I am really baffled by people who only drink during happy hour? We’re in his bar from 6-8 and you don’t want to eat food? But you had lunch hours ago?

Anyway, what I’m really into right now is late night happy hours, since happy hour can be harder to coordinate in the DC area with folks living in Maryland, the District proper, and Virginia. A Friday night late night menu special is perfect for those situations. I went to the one at City Perch two Fridays in a row and really like the food. The service is another story but the food and drink specials are SUPER GREAT. I have definitely found myself suggesting this as an option more than once to my friends. This is a time in my life when I can really take advantage of the fact that I am more of a night owl, as I’ll only start wanting to sleep at 8 PM more and more as I get older.

Porchtta butter buns with fig jam yum!

 

But seriously, if you can tell me another place in the DMV where I can get oysters for LESS THAN $1 EACH, kindly let me know please.

I’ve been working on this post all through March and it’s hard to believe how long ago watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or stress-cleaning my entire apartment feels now.

April is shaping up to be jam-packed with lots of fun, and it’s BEDA so you are going to have random things to read whether they’re quality or not!

What were your highlights from March?
What are you looking forward to in April?