Study at coffee shop at home

Depending on the task at hand or content of material, sometimes I’m the most efficient when surrounded by the positive peer pressure of other people also working. Typically libraries are best for this, but when I also want to snack and drink guilt-free or shuffle around in my chair every 20 minutes without someone staring at me, a good Starbucks or coffee shop is my go to.

To hunt down that “one” go to place in a new neighborhood usually involves me yelp searching for the words “outlets” or “plugs” and looking at pictures to see the table arrangements. But even after finding that “one” place that suits your needs, sometimes it feels almost not worth it if you need to go during peak hours, when you risk showing up without a table for yourself.

When I need that positive peer pressure, I just make that coffee shop atmosphere at home! is what I’ve been using to study at home with those coffee shop feels of white ambient noise of muffled conversations, clinking of cups, and strangers tap-tapping on their laptops. They have enough tracks to make it not obvious that you’re listening to a loop. The best part? You’re the DJ of your own coffee shop at home experience. No longer needing to bump up the volume of my earbuds to drown out the meh playlist of the month that corporate Starbucks has agreed to pump through their speakers.

I’ve personally been really into layering Coffitivity with chill background music. As someone who is too lazy to curate my own playlist and too cheap to pay for ad-less Spotify, I’ve found some really good YouTube 24/7 live videos.

Ambiance + good cup of coffee = instant custom coffee shop at home!

Upbeat, with dance vibes, frequently has words


Relaxed, a little jazzy, mostly instrumental with 20% words


Relaxed, a little jazzy, mostly instrumental with 20% words


Relaxed, sometimes Asian inspired mixed with jazzy hip hop



Bring on the Next 5 Day Challenge!

Even though it took me almost 2 weeks, I completed Fitness Blender’s 5 day challenge for busy people! I surprisingly enjoyed the weightlifting component and wanted to move on to a slightly longer workout. I just started Fitness Blender’s 5 Day Workout Challenge to Burn Fat and Build Lean Muscle and completed day 2 today!

Because their series mix up cardio and weight training, the workouts are never boring. Plus, since 5 days is such a short time committment, the challenges feel achievable, as opposed to a 30 day or 90 day workout series. I’m looking forward to Day 3, which looks like an abs day!


FitBit Flex Coming

FitBit Flex

Because my work place is striving to promote “wellness,” it worked out a deal with FitBit to provide a limited quantity of free and discounted FitBits! I jumped on this opportunity, and my FitBit arrived a couple days ago!

I could have paid more for a discounted version with more features, however, with my reputation for a) losing things b) destroying things c) not charginging things, I figured I should just stick with the basic Fitbit Flex version rather than spend $50 on something that I may not end up liking that much, or worse breaking.

I’m excited to start seeing my steps per day, whether I’m actually sedentary or quite active at work. It sounds kind of stupid, being curious how much you are walking a day. But who knows? Maybe being aware of my steps may encourage me to tack on a run with my exercising regimen? (haha likely not).

Either way it was free! I will be reviewing it soon. Preliminary thoughts are positive so far!

Got to Day 3!

I admit it. I skipped a day. But I did not let the guilt preclude me from picking up where I left off. I completed Fitness Blender’s Day 3 of their 5 day challenge for busy people. I absolutely recommend this series if you’re jumping back into working out for the first time.

Firstly, there is a great mix of different moves. Just when you begin to feel bored or unmotivated to do another repetition, FB switches it up on you! Also this particular 5 day challenge (among their many other ones) is great because the workout are all ~30 min with warm up and cool down included! I particularly like that their videos have no background music, so I can play my own Spotify workout playlist while watching their videos. It’s just long enough for a returning novice like myself for me to feel like I did a significant workout where I’m sore the next day, but short enough where I don’t feel like exercising takes up a large portion of my day.

I’m so glad that I made it to my goal of working out 3 times a week! Looking forward to next week.

Recipe: Drunken Noodles aka Pad Kee Mao

I absolutely love Thai food, but I’ve realized one of my guilty pleasures at Thai restaurants isn’t even a traditional Thai dish, but a fusion Thai Chinese dish that Jet Tila made famous!. The other day, while browsing my local Asian market, I remembered one of the reasons I”ve hesitated to make this dish at home was because I didn’t have dark soy sauce.

After finding a generic Lee Kum Kee premium dark soy, I did Jet Tila’s recipe with substituting the fresh wide rice noodles for some leftover Korean sweet potato noodles (the kind used in jap chae). The other key ingredient that prevented me from making this dish in the past was Thai basil. Firstly, basil at the grocery store is always so expensive for how much you get. Secondly, all the basil at American grocery stores are sweet basil or the Italian kind, which is not nearly as pungent or flavorful. Luckily, in the past 8 months or so I’ve nurtured a few leftover Thai basil clippings from a pho restaurant, and have successfully grown a nice sized Thai basil plant! From weekly prunings, I knew I had enough basil to make this dish and sprung for a whole bottle of dark soy!

This recipe did not disappoint at all! It was exactly what I was craving. Since making this for dinner yesterday, I ate the leftovers as a midnight snack and for lunch again today. I can’t get enough!

2 for 2

Second day in a row of working out for 30 min! Somehow I managed to wake up with only 4 1/2 hours of sleep and was still motivated to work out this morning. Day 2 of Fitness Blender’s 5 day challenge for busy people CHECK!

I followed up my morning work out with protein filled breakfast of 3 whites 1 yolk scramble seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder accompanied with a small dollop of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste).

I really should do a post on common Asian hot sauces. I think I have at least 5 different ones that I use for particular dishes. I’m going to pack up and finish up my faux-drunken japchae dish I concocted the other day for lunch and try to boil some veggie potstickers.

Gotta keep moving today! Goal for today is to leave early and get some work done at Starbucks prior to my shift.



Falling back into it

It’s been over a year since my last post. And sadly it probably means it’s been over a year since I’ve been working out regularly. Surprisingly I’ve dropped down to 120lbs without exercising and without actively counting calories. But sadly I have a feeling this 5lbs decrease is more attributed to muscle loss more than anything. Now that it is Fall and the holidays are around the corner, I figured I should get into the habit of exercising to prepare for the upcoming end of year feasts. I’ve started with Fitness Blender’s 5 day challenge series for busy people Day 1, and I feel refreshed and eager to be productive today!

Looking forward to day 2!




Workout – 6.1- 10K Trainer (relapse)

Week 6 Day 1 of my 10K Trainer relapse accomplished! I was able to keep up with the run/walk today and didn’t feel too exhausted after it said “workout complete.” In fact, during my cool down I quickly ran across the street and mindlessly continued to run. For a good while, I forgot that I was supposed to be in the midst of my “cool down.”
As I’m writing this, I’m sipping on my newest veggie + fruit smoothie combo: dinosaur kale, orange, apple, beet, carrot, and MINT! Even though the color turns out to be a purplish brown color, it’s so delicious!! After realizing that dinosaur kale is a tad more pungent than curly kale, I decided to throw in my left over mint from spring roll making. The mint instantly refreshes and masks the strong, leafy kale aftertaste. It might just become a regular in my smoothie rotation!
One tip that is always a must for me with veggie + fruit smoothies is to drink them cold. Believe me I’ve tried them at room temperature and they can taste bleh. Sometimes smelling a juice loaded with leafy greens can take me back to a lawn mower. Not appealing. So, I always blend with a cup of water and a cup of ice. Firstly,  the water liquefies the smoothie into more a juice that is easy to drink through a straw (I’m worried about kale and beets staining my teeth). Secondly, the ice cools the drink down so you can enjoy right away! I always keep a couple one serving glass jars in the fridge of juice for something easy and on the go!.

Workout – 5.3 – 10K Trainer (relapse)

Did I end up doing a morning jog?

Man, my self motivation is really lacking right now. But, I did manage to get out and run in the afternoon. I completed today’s 20min jog (no walking) and felt pretty darn good about it!. After the 10K training, I even did a couple sprints to finish up my loop.
Today, I listened to the Bigger Pockets Podcast ep 108, which was insightful on how Grant Cardone got to where he is now ($350 million in real estate). This podcast isn’t within the realm of “compelling storytelling journalism” that I usually listen to (Serial, This American Life, RadioLab, etc), but it’s more like Nerdist in that the podcast always interviews a guest. Their guests are typically real estate investors of all levels: the guy who is investing for retirement, the couple who invest for supplemental passive income, and the guy who has a real estate empire (like the case of ep 108). The casualness of this podcast can sometimes be quite rambly depending on who they are interviewing, but in the flow of conversation there are some golden nuggets of advice.

Workout – 5.2 – 10K Trainer (relapse)

Yesterday I continued with Week 5 Day 2 of the 10K trainer. I’ve decided that I’ll just redo weeks 5-8, slowly building up my endurance again. It felt like a good walk/run. One thing I want to improve on is working out in the mornings as opposed to 4pm. If I’m able to readjust my workout preferences to before breakfast, my workouts wouldn’t be limited when I have afternoon activities.
So tomorrow, expect a post from me about my morning run! Committing to it on the blog, I’ve realized is like having a workout buddy. It forces me to follow through and not cancel.
Update to my newest podcast addiction: StartUp – already finished episode 8.