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?

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Goodbye Bay | SF 2016

Last time on SF 2016, I cherished my last hours with Christine with San Francisco coffee, delicious food, and the Lands End hike before going to karaoke and getting ready to leave the city by the bay.


We allowed ourselves to sleep in a little bit on Monday morning, our last morning in San Francisco, before Labor Day weekend came to an end and we had to go back to work. Our roommates were headed out because they were continuing their vacation by seeing some friends at Stanford, so Ben and I were able to take our time packing and eat the doughnuts that were brought over by one of Ben’s friends from the previous day. (Yum!)

There was still plenty of time before our flight, so we grabbed our bags and walked out in search of just a little more to eat. After realizing some spots were closed for Sunday or the holiday, we wound up at a Blue Bottle Coffee, which is renowned to me even though I’ve never seen a location. (There are no Blue Bottle locations in DC, although there are a few in New York now.) It was still a really lovely day, so we got some avocado toast, in true Instagram fashion, an iced coffee, and an affogato.

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Classic blue bottle logo and blue straw
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Loved how creamy this tasted but… I think it was salted caramel ice cream? And that’s not what I wanted. (Something salted was in this drink.)
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It felt right ordering avo-toast in SF. Ridiculous, but right.

Freshly caffeinated, we headed out to do just one more bit of sightseeing at Embarcadero, which Ben’s friends got to see the day before while he was hiking Lands End with us. It was nice seeing the Bay Bridge (give that other one a little break, ya know) and to do a bit of people watching while dragging our suitcases behind us.

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“Port of San Francisco”
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Not pictured: Ben’s hand getting pooped on by a seagull
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Ferry Building Marketplace views

Before we knew it, we were chatting with another great Lyft driver on the way back to SFO, watching the very cute TSA videos featuring Lou Seal from the SF Giants and Sourdough Sam from the 49ers.

After a little mishap where Ben and I weren’t seated next to each other for the flight, a short nap, and some reading (I was reading A Game of Thrones the book to tide me over before the next season of the show), we were home.

As much as I’ve become very cynical of what San Francisco is and what it stands for, from far away on the East Coast, I really loved my time there. If you asked me before Labor Day if I would consider moving there, I would have scoffed. But now… I’ll think about it.

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Peace out San Fran (PC: Christine)

What are things we should see the next time we’re in San Francisco? And eat?? I definitely dropped the ball as far as making time for myself to see the Walt Disney Family Museum, which I completely forgot was in SF. And I guess I wish I had tried more seafood? Like maybe try cioppino in the city where the dish was invented!

Where should I visit next?

San Francisco part 5

Eat, Hike, Sing | SF 2016

Last time on SF 2016, I woke up with the sunrise after taking a little 2-hour post-clubbing nap to meet Christine for breakfast! Then we enjoyed a really leisurely, gorgeous stroll through the Palace of Fine Arts and Crissy Field. After enjoying the scenery for a bit, it was time for a little pick-me-up!


After basking in sunshine, sea air, and people+doggy-watching, I felt my 2.5 hours of sleep catch up to me and was slammed with a wall of exhaustion. It was time for my first San Francisco cup of coffee!

Christine and I had passed several very educational signs at Chrissy Field, one of which was describing the snowy plover, a very cute little bird. It is also the name of a trendy coffee beverage at Andytown Coffee Roasters (review), which turned out to be a really refreshing drink at exactly the kind of coffee shop I expected to visit in San Francisco.dsc01659dsc01662

At Andytown, Ben joined us to perk up himself and to join us for lunch at San Tung for some delicious Chinese food. Unfortunately, Christine and I were still pretty stuffed from breakfast and Ben was too sleepy to feel hungry. But the food was really delicious.

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Original dry-fried chicken wings
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Dried sauteed string beans
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Black bean noodles

From there, it was time for us to work off all that food with the Lands End Hike. We started at the Sutro Baths, or more accurately the ruins of the baths. dsc01673

It was a beautiful, beautiful hike. A bit strenuous for sure (and all the more difficult holding our leftovers from lunch) but it was really lovely to see the views and to breathe the fresh air. This whole day was really invigorating and I was so happy to spend it with Christine and Ben.dsc01672dsc01695

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I took a LOT of photos of the Golden Gate Bridge, of the baths, of the water… but I’ll spare you for now.

The timing fairies were in our favor and, by skipping the Lands End Labyrinth, we were able to finish the hike in time to get Ben over to Japantown to meet back up with his friends for dinner. In fact, we were a bit early, so we browsed around Daiso (which we don’t have on the East Coast) and a little shopping center before splitting up for dinner.

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Greeted at the end of our hike with an affirmation that we did, in fact, hike Lands End.

I was still feeling very out of it from the lack of sleep, the hike, the abundance of food, and maybe even from the caffeine since I don’t drink a lot of caffeine at all, so I was having a hard time deciding where to eat. We finally decided on Shabuzen, where we nommed on a delicious shabu-shabu meal together. It was bittersweet for me because, with Christine headed to San Jose to see her bestie, it meant that our magical day together was coming to a close. I felt especially bad/sad about it because I was so out of it at this point in the day and was being a bit of a drag, to be super honest. (Man, 1000 props to Christine for putting up with how indecisive I was about what to eat for dinner.) (And to Ben, who puts up with that on a too-regular basis.)dsc01711

We said our goodbyes, and I still had some time before Ben’s group wrapped up at Korean BBQ, so I walked around the closing shops that we had browsed together just a little while earlier. My first walk-through, I felt sensory overload by all the things and prices and wowowowow factor, but with the shops emptying out and the sky getting darker, I was finally able to re-center and re-focus on the present and feel just a little less dead. I also got to try out this fun liquid nitrogen dessert from Chocolate Chair that was like a giant Cap’n Crunch Crunchberry (sorta) that let you breathe out dragon’s breath when you ate it. Very drying but super fun to play around with once you get used to it!

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I posted Snapchat and Instagram stories of me trying to look like a dragon! There are folks on Youtube who did a much better job than me, though.

And then our group ended the evening with karaoke because of course we did! My favorite thing! Even though I was really struggling at this point — 2.5 hours of sleep and it being about 4AM Eastern time when we finished — I still had a lot of fun at karaoke. A highlight was hearing one of Ben’s friends do a Tupac song, because I don’t know him too well and no one has ever heard him rap before, let alone go through an entire Tupac Shakur song! It was a beautiful moment, I will treasure it forever, along with the time that me and another person simultaneously put “Careless Whisper” (aka the sexy sax song) on the karaoke queue. (It literally came up twice in a row because we both entered it around the same time. It was destiny.) (Also, we wound up forgetting our leftovers at karaoke. After I forgot to hand them back to Christine. After carrying them around for our entire hike. Womp womp, that was an epic fail.)

Our last full day in San Francisco finally came to a close, and honestly, I had a really amazing time. I only started fading around dinner, but the energy of the Bay really kept me going. We had so many amazing Lyft and Uber drivers throughout the day. The weather was absolutely perfect.

It was going to be hard to say goodbye to this wonderful weekend.

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I love this photo.

Did we miss any major sights while we were in San Francisco?
What are your favorite Japantown eats?
And what’s the last super-hyped food you tried? Was it worth it?
The dragon’s breath dessert was… just okay. Really drying, not particularly tasty, and the effect of the liquid nitrogen doesn’t last very long. But it’s fun to try once and to split it with a bunch of friends!

CS-SC Reunion | SF 2016

Last time on SF 2016, we had a Big Night Out with Ben’s college friends that began with a fancy steakhouse dinner and ended with clubbing. And then actually ended with taking care of folks who had a bit too much to drink. I was finally able to go to sleep at 3:30AM… Pacific time…, which really made my 5AM alarm feel extra special.


I wasn’t even mad when my alarm rang Sunday morning because it was my big day with Christine! You may remember that she visited me last year for her first-ever trip to the East Coast and our first-ever in-person meeting. (#blogfriendsarerealfriends) I was so excited to finally revisit San Francisco primarily because it meant I could see Christine, who had graciously turned down many awesome Labor Day weekend plans to spend time with me.

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Thank you for a wonderful day, love! ❤

Also, one of the best things about Christine is that she basically planned our whole day! Oh man, I was in heaven. It felt so nice to be on a vacation and to not have planned it. Plus, I trust Christine’s judgment with her home city and the best things to see, do, and eat!

(As for the title of this post: Christine’s initials are my initials reversed! Fate!)

Her first item on our itinerary was breakfast at Mama’s on Washington Square. Mama’s is a tiny restaurant that only seats about 30 people and opens at 8AM. So Christine and I agreed to start lining up at 6AM. Yep, you read that right. I got in a Lyft with the license plate “PHARAOH” and found Christine already waiting at Mama’s.

She was 2nd in line.

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The woman who was first in line didn’t want to be in any of the photos of the line hahaha

The food was good but if you see a line as long as it was, don’t feel bad about skipping it. We got the famed Monte Cristo sandwich and the bay shrimp Benedict we saw on the specials menu. (Also, it is cash or debit only; no credit cards.) It was a very cute restaurant and it felt cozy, almost like someone’s personal dining room rather than a restaurant with hungry diners all staring in through the windows at you, willing you to eat faster and shut up so they could get their breakfast on.

After Mama’s, we did a quick little stroll around Washington Square, where we saw a lot of middle-aged Chinese ladies doing… something… Seemed like some kind of choreographed exercise, with one lady shouting when to do the next move, but the women were standing so far from each other, spread all over the park. However you get your blood pumping!

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From there, we went to the Palace of Fine Arts, a gorgeous Greco-Roman-inspired structure that was originally built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Expo. Today, its theater is still in use and it is a popular location for weddings and photo shoots for very good reason. Just look at it. It was built to be looked at.

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It was an easy walk to Crissy Field from the Palace of Fine Arts, so after ogling some very expensive houses (very very expensive) we strolled on over. This was one of my favorite parts of the day, because we were able to walk along the water, breathe in the sea breeze, and just relax. I think our sleepiness had caught up to us just a little bit at this point, so Christine and I literally sat and took in the sights for at least 20 minutes, people-watching, dog-watching (there are so many dogs it is glorious), kite-watching, Golden-Gate-Bridge-watching…

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I’m not sure when the last time I felt so at peace was. This is one of my happy places, for sure.


Christine and I had a big day of adventuring, so I’ll leave off here with my rare moment of zen. Our day wasn’t even close to being over though!

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Where is your favorite breakfast spot in San Francisco?
What are the best places for people-watching and Golden-Gate-Bridge-watching?

Our Big Night Out | SF 2016

Last time on SF 2016, we did a walking tour through Chinatown, Nob Hill, and Fisherman’s Wharf. After a lot of steps logged on people’s fitness trackers, it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner…

Also, you may have noticed that I have gone back to my Tuesday/Friday posting schedule. I chose it for a good reason, and the Monday/Thursday was really throwing me off…


After soaking up a little bit of sunshine post-arcade games, we took cars back to our hotel to rest our feet and get ready for dinner. Our reservation wasn’t for a few hours, and we didn’t trust ourselves to actually nap, so our hotel room started watching Netflix’s Stranger Things.

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We got thoroughly heebie-jeebie-ed watching the first episode and only then learning that one of the lamps in our room flickered. A lot. (On the show, the lights flickered when the monster was nearby.) Having the thick curtains drawn and all of the other lights out certainly didn’t help! (Cue me hiding in the blankets.)

Then it was time for dinner! After a group vote, we wound up at Harris, a traditional steakhouse. It was easy to forget that while we were just getting together with friends, this is a formal restaurant, as we were reminded when a waiter asked one of our party to remove his hat. (Yes they did!) Ben and I split the big ol’ porterhouse with foie gras. (Harris will allow you to split a steak and give each person their own plate for sides for an additional charge.) To be honest, I was disappointed with the steak. At this price point, I am expecting a lot more, and I felt a little bit sick after eating. I didn’t want to finish my portion, even though I came into the meal super hungry. (I didn’t even have the opportunity to regret filling up on bread because we were all given one piece per person.)

dsc01584Still wanting to eat and treat myself for our Big Night Out, I knew I had room in my belly for dessert and went for the baked Alaska. Again, it was fine but just not what I was expecting. Baked Alaska  has never been my favorite, and we failed to clean the plate for this one.dsc01585

Afterwards, it was back to the hotel to get ready for part 2 of our Big Night Out: dancing at the club. We pregamed a bit in the hotel room, getting hyped on music videos and touching speeches about friendship. The guys specifically sought out an Asian nightclub for the sake of the bachelors in our group and landed on Origin.

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OH I get it, because Neo goes to that Asian club in the beginning of The Matrix, right?

Unfortunately, I suspect that Origin was too well-known as a hot Asian club, and people didn’t want to go to an established Asian club so when we arrived at 11:30, it was… well… suspiciously empty…

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When we walked in, the people sitting in front of us and the folks standing by the bar weren’t even there…

Luckily, we sprang for table service so we were able to drink and dance and SIT. We were really glad that we didn’t pay the extra $$$ for a table on the dancefloor, because those tables were just a few feet in front of ours and we liked that ours were out of the way enough that we could leave our jackets there without worrying about random people walking by to take them.

Ultimately, some folks drank too much and the rest of us spent end of the evening taking care of them. I was able to climb into bed at the ghastly hour of 3:30AM. (Remember, that’s 6:30 Eastern time…) This was just dandy, as I had a 5AM alarm to look forward to hearing… But it was a fun night out and I was excited for a fun Sunday ahead of me because it was time to be reunited with Christine!!!


Where would you go for dinner and dancing for a Big Night Out? In our ride the day after, our driver told us his recommendations for fancy dinners and nightclubs, even including the new hotness in the Asian clubbing scene. We’ll keep them in mind, but maybe they’ll be out of style by the time we return!

Have you watched Stranger Things? Ben and I finished a few days after returning and I had goosebumps all over my body every episode.