Mid-Autumn Festival

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, friends!

Moon CakeHot, hot, hot!

You know our family loves our Chinese lunar celebrations! Technically, Monday was the actual date of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is a Chinese lunar harvest festival. Since our family wasn’t able to do anything on Monday, we made Tuesday the day to celebrate instead!

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The ‘rents, the bro, Taylor and I all ventured out to the Hong Kong Palace in Seven Corners for dins. Mom was naturally in charge of ordering, and we ended up with quite a spread!

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Spicy lamb dish

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Bok choy with mushrooms

I didn’t take pictures of all of it (there was also fried fish, giant prawns with spinach, and kung pao chicken!), but suffice it to say it was good eats.

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My (first) plate, hehe.

Unfortunately, I’m feeling a little under the weather (yet again) and my throat was/is literally on fire (perhaps I wore it out vlogging? Haha) so I didn’t get to eat as much Kung Pao as I would have under normal circumstances.

Luckily, my favorite part of the Mid-Autumn Festival is not spicy in the least!

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MOONCAKE!!!

Mooncake is a traditional festival treat made with a filling of sugar and lotus seed paste (sounds so appetizing, I know, but I love it!) and sometimes baked with an egg yolk inside (the “moon”, which I don’t actually like, so fortunately this one didn’t have one.)

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My mama brought one to the restaurant for us to share! Which is necessary, because just one of these little 4-inch suckers could set you back at least 800 calories! Yikes.

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I think NOM pretty much covers it.

Don’t worry though. Even though dessert was mooncake, I couldn’t end my night at a Chinese restaurant without a proper Chinese fortune:

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Finally, the Deus Ex Fortune Cookie I’ve been waiting for to answer all of the “what am I going to do with my life?” questions! I wish there were such a thing as a food lawyer. I think I would be really great at defending the peas. 😉

Are there any less-mainstream holidays or traditions that you celebrate? I love my Whasian heritage because it lets me run the gamut in terms of holidays to celebrate. Plus, I get two New Years!

Daily Eats – 9/8/11

So I was going to do a legit Daily Eats post, full of complete calorie counts and details explanations… and then our basement flooded. Best week ever. So you know… take what you can get.

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Starbucks
I finally succumbed…

Not me, couldn't be!
Yes. More natural disaster cookies. No, I didn’t eat that whole stack.

More details on the epic fail that is this entire week tomorrow. After the carpet has dried out a little more, hopefully.

Daily Eats – 9/7/11

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Whole wheat toast (100) with 1/2 tablespoon dark chocolate dreams PB (45)

Chobanical
Half a 6 oz. pineapple 2% Chobani (80)

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A medium banana (70) and a cup of Kix cereal (100)

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20 baked salt & vinegar kettle chips (120)

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Whole wheat rotini with basil-avocado sauce, chicken sausage, and grape tomatoes. “Recipe” tomorrow. Calories uncalculated, haha.

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Grrrrrrapes (~80)

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1/2 a cup Cracklin’ Oat Bran cereal (100) with 1/4 cup Silk Pure Coconutmilk (20)

Plus 2 unpictured pizza rolls, an unpictured lunchtime hodgepodge of deli hot bar (sushi, some noodles, etc.), and the rest of yesterday’s Kombucha.

I was staying on track with counting pretty well until my day started going down the crapper and I stopped being motivated to keep it up. I do recognize that this is admittedly very half-assed. Sorry, it’s been a stressssssful day. Be proud I didn’t binge! More on that tomorrow. (Oh the suspense!)

Why I Love Blogging

I have to be honest with you guys. I hate the word “blog”. Don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of portmanteau words (as well as more than the occasional abbrev, bahaha), but every time I tell someone that I’m a “blogger” I feel like a giant toolbag.

Maybe it’s just the stigma that’s associated with blogging as it formerly was; in the days of Geocities, then Xanga, then LiveJournal, blogging brought out the worst and whiniest in us. Everyone’s personal blog was just a way to participate in memes or gripe (with poor grammar) about utter unfairness of life:

omg my moms went like totally psycho when she found out i got a c- on mr bowmans history test even tho i totally told her about how me and my so-called friend got in a HUGE fight the night before (i mean wtf! she heard us on the fone!!!!) so i couldnt study so it totally wasnt my fault but i still got grounded anyway!!!!!!!!1!! im so depressed.

… Er, yeah.

Thankfully, blogging isn’t like that anymore! Well, not all blogging, anyway. And especially not in the healthy living blogosphere (another word I frequently use now that just screams douchebaggery to me, hahaha.) Since beginning this blog, I have never felt so inspired, motivated, or supported. So thank you all for that. Really.

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Is this post cheesy enough for you yet?

And because the one thing that hasn’t changed when it comes to blogging is a blogger’s ability to talk incessantly about him or herself, let me go ahead and break down exactly why I love blogging so much.

The obvious.


I only look happy because I know there’s 10,000 calories worth of coconut shrimp coming.

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Oh, right. Life can be healthy AND awesome. Who knew?

Writing this blog has given me the accountability and motivation to lose 57 lbs on my health journey so far! I completely credit blogging with keeping me on track for over a year now (when is the last time I kept ANYTHING up for that long?) Taking back control of my life has been the hardest and best thing that I’ve ever done, and I am so, so glad I have this standing record of every part.

I’m in the know.

I must confess, I’ve never been one that you could rely on for current events. Fitting, given that I live in the political (and actual) capital of our country, isn’t it? But c’mon, are you really that surprised? As a byproduct of blogging, I’ve become much more active on Twitter and Facebook, so I feel like I’m constantly tuned into what’s going down! While I may be a little more technologically dependent than is good for me, overall this is a positive thing.

I’ve become more social.

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I used to have this image of bloggers hunched over their keyboards for hours on end (well, actually…) with absolutely no social life. Imagine my shock and delight when I suddenly realized that I’m now more social than ever! Between my fellow DC bloggers, local readers I’ve met up with, and, of course, the incredible conferences I’ve attended, I’m forging new relationships all over the place.

I’ve come to the realization that part of the reason I got to 246 pounds is because I really wasn’t very social. Of course I had friends who have always been very supportive (and continue to be!) but the sad truth of it was that more often that not I would rather have stayed in, stuffed my face with crap, and watched TV than have fun with them. How messed up is that? I can’t lie, there are still times when I’m feeling lazy and flake out on the fun stuff, but the difference now is that I regret it when I do. (Now if only I could make myself feel the same way about exercising…) I have made so many new friends through blogging: some online, some in real life, and many that I know will be in my life for the long haul.

I’ve become a better cook.

IMG_9718.jpgMango Guacamole
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I love to cook, and have always been passionate about good food, but my laziness and preference for convenience would always get in my way. Now I’m a true kitchen adventurer, and am constantly finding inspiration for new recipes on other blogs, at restaurants, and at the grocery store!

I’ve become a photographer.

Purple flower eaters.Take your places!Let them eat (wedding) cake!

There was a point in time when the extend of my photography knowledge was to try not not to get your thumb in the way of the flash on your camera phone. (Need proof? Just read some of my earliest posts, haha!) While my older brother, Ben, may be the true artiste in the family (musician and songwriter, photographer, entrepreneur… no big deal.) blogging has seriously sparked my love of photography. Getting to capture the world through the lens of my camera is fun, and hearing from you guys that you like what you see is just really just gravy.

It’s my creative outlet.

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Cooking, photography, and writing. Blog has literally combined the best of these worlds for me.

I’ve always loved to write. When I was 9, I used to write stories in black and white composition notebooks a la Harriet the Spy (I was OBSESSED with that movie, btw. Just ask my family how many tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches I demanded in 1996.) I made up entire worlds of faeries and gnomes and teeny tiny people, and I loved it! To this day (nerdy confession alert!) I still love coming up with story ideas (but unfortunately, have not developed the follow-through to actually write them down quite yet.) Blogging gives me the opportunity to write, plain and simple. And I may not be crafting any elaborate potentially best-selling fiction, but it’s helping me hone my skills nonetheless. Besides, to write well, you should write what you know. Well, this is what I know. (Who can name that movie reference?)

So! There you have it. All the reasons why, even if I do hate the word itself, I love to blog. And now it’s your turn:

Why do you love blogging? Or, if you aren’t a blogger, why do you love to read them?

Adjusting

So as most of you are aware, I recently started a new job in our glorious nation’s capital. This means, however, that I have to somehow get from Point A (Falls Church) to Point B (DC) and back every day. Both of my other post-college jobs were roughly 4.5 miles down a single road from where I live (coincidentally down the street from each other.) And while my new work location is actually only 10 miles away now, it’s 10 miles into the CITY. BUM BUM BUM.

As if this is any great surprise, I don’t like driving in DC. Well actually, I don’t really like to drive PERIOD, but I especially don’t like driving in DC. It’s scary. The traffic signals are on the sides of the road. I’m not good at it. Enter: Metro. My house is a good mile and a half from the nearest metro station, which is definitely walkable but not enjoyable. My parents live half a mile closer, so for the past few days I’ve been driving to their house and walking from there. Naturally I thought I would absolutely dread it, but it actually hasn’t been that bad! While I’m a little sweatier than I’d like to be by the time I get to the station, it’s kind of invigorating. I’m sure I’ll be singing a VASTLY different tune the first time it rains or snows, but for now I think I’m adjusting well.

Plus, check out what I stumbled upon on the walk home yesterday:

Summerscape

Or should I say, stumbled into me. I was attacked by mutant butterflies on the sidewalk as I was strolling home! These were the biggest butterflies I have ever seen outside of an arboretum or museum. They were enormous! And totally unphased as I spent like 16 minutes taking pictures of them. Not bad for an iPhone pic, eh?

Mutant Butterfly.

Another thing that I’m adjusting to is the whole actually-working-in-the-city thing. I’m kinda digging it! I mean, for one thing, we certainly didn’t have food trucks in Tysons:

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Am I the only person that didn’t know that my beloved Sweetgreen has a food truck? I was ecstatic! I foresee many more lunchtime froyo excursions to come.

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Hehe.

I will admit that the one other downside of working in the city is simply that I get home later. I know it’s really not that bad, but when you’re used to it taking 20 minutes door-to-door and you suddenly have to factor in trains and planes walking and automobiles, the whole package becomes a whoooole lot longer. Which, of course, means less precious time with these goofballs:

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IMG_0690.jpgYawn.

Yes, I’m one of those dog owners (which we already knew) but c’mon: who wouldn’t want to spend more time with this face?

Puppy Dog Eyes.

Yesterday’s home arrival was even later than usual, since I went, er, “grocery shopping” at the store that is my parents’ fridge. I came home with a bag bursting with produce that would have gone south reeeeeal quickly if I hadn’t stolen it stepped in. You’re welcome, parents.

Some of it was already going bad! So as soon as I stepped in my own front door I set to work to use up a squishy-around-the-edges eggplant of theirs, as well as a tiny CSA eggplant my sister gave me last week. Not really knowing what to do with two eggplants, I did what any other sensible person would: smothered it in cheese and baked it for an hour.

There's eggplant in there?

There really is eggplant under there, I swear!

Eggplantia.

The size difference between the conventional eggplant from the ‘rents and the CSA eggplant from the sis (honestly, who actually BUYS groceries?) was kinda ridic. Both were equally delicious though!

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On the side (using the term “side” loosely since I had to use an entirely separate plate) was a salad with lettuce, red onion and mandarin orange wedges, an apple (drizzled with lemon juice to keep from browning!), and a slice of crusty seven-grain bread from a local vendor — with a smear of Earth Balance and strawberry jam, DUH.

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Tasty and HEALTHY. I really need to make sure that with my new schedule I get my eating back on track. Especially since I tend to justify ANY added activity in my schedule (like walking to/from the metro each day) as an excuse to eat whatever I want. Yesterday was good though. In retrospect, I realized I even had a totally meatless day. Go me!

What’s your commute to work like? If you have a lengthy commute, or work long hours, do you find it’s harder to motivate yourself to eat healthy?

PS: Don’t forget that you only have until tomorrow night to enter my Adora chocolate giveaway!