Tuesday, December 30, 2014

NatureBox Review

Hey guys! Happy holidays! This is a bit of a late review, but I ordered a NatureBox free trial last month. However, until now, I haven't had the time to review it.

What is NatureBox?
NatureBox is a monthly subscription site where your choice of healthy snacks delivered straight to your door. There are different subscription plans and over 100 different snacks to choose from.

NatureBox Review
The trial box comes with four sample-sized snacks and one full-sized snack, and each of the samples I received have between 100 and 140 calories. Overall, I really enjoyed these samples. Not only did they taste really good, they also came in small and convenient packages, which makes them really easy to bring around. The full membership, however, doesn't come in small packs, but includes five full-snack bags a month.

Individual Snack Review
When I first opened it, I was surprised to see that there were only cranberries! I thought since the product name was cranberry medley, there would be more than just cranberries. But then I read that they were "pomegranate and acai flavored dried cranberries with blueberries." (I should probably read that first, haha!) Anyhow, they were really good! I could definitely taste some of the pomegranate and acai flavor, and what's awesome is that it's packaged into a 100 calorie serving.

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I saw sea salt sun-crunch, but they turned out to be super adorable, bite-sized crackers! For 140 calories, there were only about 10 crackers, which to a big snacker like me was kind of disappointing, but they were nevertheless delicious! I really enjoyed the crunchy texture and nutty flavor. However, after five cookies, I began to think they were a bit too salty? Then again, they are sea salt sun-crunches, haha, and I have a pretty low tolerance for saltiness anyways.

Yum! These were definitely one of my favorites! I could definitely taste a mix of cashew and coconut. In fact, it tasted like I was biting into macaroons (with two Os! the coconut cookies!). The texture of these cashews was softer than that of regular cashews too, so you don't get the typical crunch but that added to the eating-a-cookie feel haha. It was good! 140 calories for a big handful of "cookies." YESS.

I've never had anything like these, but they were quite good! They have an incredible crunchy texture, which made them really fun to eat! I could taste the cinnamon-sugar coating, but it was actually really light so it didn't actually add too much flavor-wise. It was good nonetheless--again, really fun to eat!

This was the full size item that I received for the sample box. They were really good and I could taste the spices really well, but what freaked me out was that each ~1in diameter cookie was 100 calories! Eeks, and that was after I already ate three cookies, haha. Oops! Must have better self control next time~

Would I continue my subscription? Yes definitely. However, being a jobless college student in the midst of the holiday seasons, I decided to halt my subscription. I think I'll try starting up again in January or February? So yummy~

The pictures above belong to NatureBox. I simply added text to the images. (All the pictures on my phone got deleted. heh... heh... SOB)

Monday, December 22, 2014

30-day Bikram Yoga pass!

I'm usually not that interested in yoga and prefer running or doing using the elliptical when I exercise (which isn't often o__o). However, I found out that a Bikram Yoga studio near my house has a new-student promotion that offers unlimited classes for 30 days for $35, and me being the typical Asian I am, calculated that if I went five to six times a week then that would be less than two dollars per class! I couldn't let this opportunity go by, so I signed up last Wednesday and went to class the next morning.

Bikram Yoga, for those of you who don't know is a sequence of 26 yoga postures performed in a heated room of about 105°F. I don't know about you, but I would feel pretty nervous about doing anything in 105°F temperature! Of course, I went in there not knowing either of these, haha.

Here's a little infographic I found online regarding the different poses:
Bikram Yoga Pose Sequence
Infographic by Cherie_bon 

My Opinion:
To tell the truth, the Bikram Yoga session actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. There was a lot of balancing and flexibility required, but having done ballet from elementary school to the end of high school, these two came pretty naturally to me.

As for the heat, I actually didn't even realize it was 105°F! It was definitely warm, but not suffocating. I sweated A TON, but the heat actually felt pretty nice in my opinion~ I just need to invest in nicer yoga activewear <3

Bikram Yoga Benefits:
There are a lot of benefits to Bikram Yoga. In addition to the overall benefits of Bikram Yoga and yoga, the 12 standing poses and the 14 floor poses have their individual benefits.
Overall benefits of Bikram Yoga:
  • Improves posture
  • Increases flexibility and balance
  • Builds muscle strength
  • Improves circulation and immune function
  • Removes toxins from the body
  • Reduces stress
  • Aids in weight loss
Benefits of standing poses:
  • Opens pelvic area
  • Relieves sciatica and arthritis
  • Improves circulation
Benefits of floor poses:
  • Improves function of the central nervous system, digestive system, and reproductive system
  • Relieves lower back pain
  • Eases constipation
  • Lessens symptoms of scoliosis
Anyhow, that's all I have for now!

Have you guys tried Bikram Yoga before? What do you think about it?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Delicious Curls - KISS InstaWave Review

Hey guys! Today, instead of a food-related post today, I wanted to share with you all a new hair curler I’ve been using! It’s called the KISS InstaWave, and it’s super fun and easy to use.

At first I was kind of skeptical about the InstaWave because I’ve always been the kind of person who was too lazy to curl her hair, even when I was using the relatively easier straightening-iron-method. However, the KISS InstaWave sported a really good rating on Amazon (13 out of 14 raters gave it a 5 star rating), so I was like okay! Let’s try this out~

About the product: 
According to the website, the KISS InstaWave is a "fully automatic tangle-free curler that instantly creates beautiful, long-lasting curls with ease.” There are:
  • Two temperature settings (high and low),
  • A right/left directional switch, and
  • A 1” ceramic ionic barrel with prongs at the end that catch and hold your hair around the barrel
Another feature that I thought was really cool about the InstaWave is that it automatically shuts off after 90 minutes. That way, if I’m ever in a rush, I’ll never have to worry about whether I forgot to turn out my curler, which being the forgetful person I am, I’m very prone to doing.

What I liked about the product:
In my opinion, the InstaWave is very innovative, especially with the automatic curling action and the left/right directional switch.

After some getting used to, the InstaWave makes curling hardly any work at all! All of the rotating is controlled by the two buttons, which allows me to use either hand when curling. Basically the only work I had to do was hold the curler close to my head and it does all the work!

What I thought could be improved:
The first thing is that the InstaWave does take some time to get used to. The first time I used it, I found it really confusing which direction I was supposed to place my hair in relation to the barrel and when I was used to use the left verses right directional switches.

Another thing is that there is some minor buzzing noise that comes from the iron. The company did say that the noise was normal and nothing to worry about. However, you do have to hold it next to your head for the entirely of the curling process, so if that does irritate you... that's something else to consider when buying the product.

Overall, I really liked the KISS InstaWave. I thought it was really convenient and easy to use (after the initial learning-process). Because I didn't have to do any physical labor, the InstaWave makes curling my hair super easy and fast. I don’t have to know what’s going on behind my head, and I can just let the curler do all of the work!

Rating: 4.5/5

How to use:
  1. Hold the InstaWave vertically and place a small section of hair on the curling rod between the barrel and the prongs.
  2. Press either the left or right directional switch. The InstaWave will automatically catch and wrap the hair around the barrel.
    • If you want to curl your hair away form your face, then start your hair in front of the barrel and push the arrow that points away from your face.
    • If you want to curl your hair towards your face, then start your hair behind the barrel and push the arrow that points toward your face.
  3. Hold the hair against the barrel for 5-10 seconds depending on how tight you want your curls to be.
  4. Pull the Instawave down for beautiful curls!

Note: If you’re interested in purchasing the product, you can go to http://KISSInstaWave.com, which will direct you to different locations/websites that you can purchase the product! Enjoy~

sponsored post. personal review.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November is the season for pumpkin! A day's worth of pumpkin recipes to try~

My favorite thing about NOVEMBER is all of the food, family, and warm thoughts associated with the Thanksgiving season. However, one of the first things that comes to mind when I think November is without-a-doubt pumpkin! 

So below is a list of five pumpkin recipes that I can't wait to try! And hey, I just bought five cans of PUMPKIN PUREE. Yay!

EGG WHITES? I know that sounds kind of odd in oatmeal, but doesn't Brittany from Eating Bird Food's recipe look absolutely delicious? Furthermore, the egg whites give you an extra boost of protein in the morning--perfect as a POST-WORKOUT MEAL... that is, if you can wake up that early!

Although I typically think of desserts when it comes to pumpkin, Anne from Fannetastic Food manages to combine black beans and pumpkin into a totally HEALTHY and DELICIOUS-LOOKING veggie burger! I can't wait to try it out~ 

PUMPKIN and CHEESECAKE! What could be better than this? When I first saw Ashton from Something Swanky's recipe, the first thought that came to mind was, "I can't wait for my afternoon snack."

4. DESSERTHealthy Pumpkin Pie

PUMPKIN PIE is a must-have staple during the Thanksgiving season, and I'm sure thankful for Chocolate-Covered Katie's recipe. Not only is it DIET-FRIENDLY, the pie looks absolutely mouth-watering!

The word HEALTHY always catches my eye! After all, who wouldn't want to "INDULGE" in a healthy treat? Megan from the Detoxinista has the perfect recipe for pumpkin spice latte~

Hope you guys enjoyed this post! 

Let me know what your favorite part about November is!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Home Sweet Home: Mom's (& Dad's) Cooking!

Hey guys! Wow, it's been forever since my last post.

School has been super crazy. I don't know why, but I thought I could take on 20 units (as opposed to the typical 16 units most students take) and still handle grad school interviews. Well, I definitely got under three to four hours of sleep at least four days a week. However, things are getting better now; grad school interviews are over! So thankful and so relieved!

Anyways, last weekend I went home to Portland to celebrate my birthday with family! (...I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22.... eh sorry, lol) It was such a blessing after all those weeks of stressing over interviews and school. Although I still had a lot of homework to do, there's just something about being at home that makes everything better.

As expected, we went out to eat a lot. On the night we got back, we went to a steakhouse called Ringside Steakhouse. I'm no expert when it comes to steak, but I thought it was pretty good! I got the dry aged New York with a baked potato as a side. Dessert was their cheesecake. It was overall a very delicious and flavorful meal. Sadly, I don't have any good pictures because my iPhone's picture quality is absolute horrendous when it comes to dark lighting.

However, my favorite thing about going home is still definitely home-cooked meals. What can beat the taste of mom's (and dad's) cooking, right?

Don't they look adorable together? <3 <3 <3 I love my parents, haha.
Tofu Shrimp with Wood Ear Mushrooms
Radish with Oyster Mushrooms
Some dishes even came with love from my grandma (奶奶 - "nainai"), who lives in China! My dad had just come back from a trip to China, and he brought back a glutinous rice product that my nainai made and dried herself! Yay~ This is the end product:

This pancake (饼 - "bing") is made of the glutinous rice product--sorry! not sure what it's called--and the inside is a filling of tofu, egg, and salted vegetables. It's pan-fried, which makes the outside kind of crunchy but leaves the inside chewy. Super delicious!

The weekend definitely passed way too fast! I love LA and all, but I feel like every time I go home to the Pacific Northwest, it gets harder and harder to go back to LA. :( Does anyone else feel the same way?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Burnt Toast and Beard Papa's?

I burned six slices of bread the last couple days! I'm too lazy to turn on the oven, so I usually just toast my toast on the stove. But more often than not, I forget about it.... and why hello Mr. Burnt Toast!

Lol, don't ask...
Anyways!! My post today is on Beard Papa's. I didn't realize until this summer that this was an international chain. I saw it when I was in Shanghai, and my roommate said she's been to the Beard Papa's in South Korea too! When I checked out their website, I saw they even have locations in Russia, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. Cool eh?

Earlier this week, my sister bought a Groupon, which gave us a $10 for $16 discount. Since Beard Papa's is best known for their cream puffs, we decided to get $16 worth of cream puffs! We bought three very berry ones and five vanilla ones.

The Making Process:
Seeing them make the cream puffs was really cool. Although the dough part was already made, they add the filling when you order! They stick a tube into the puff and "inject" it with the cream filling.

The Review:
To tell the truth, I was slightly disappointed with this Beard Papa's. I didn't like how the bakery only had two flavors available when I went: the very berry one and the vanilla one. I thought there would have be more options, but I guess they only have strawberry (which they didn't have at the time) and vanilla daily with one specialty flavor each week. Today, it was the very berry cream puff.
Vanilla Cream Puff
Furthermore, the cream puffs themselves weren't as good as I thought. That's not to say I didn't enjoy them, but my expectations were definitely built really high after hearing so many people rave about them. I tried both the vanilla and the very berry one, but I liked the berry one better.

(Sorry, I ate the very berry cream puff before I took a picture!!)

But the reason why I liked the berry one better is probably because the vanilla filling had a slightly more milky flavor, which I'm not a huge fan of. Nevertheless, I loved--LOVED--the creamy, smooth texture of the cream and how the cream puffs aren't overly sweet.

Overall... I'd probably go again, not by myself, but definitely if friends wanted to go. I probably won't get the vanilla one a second time, but I really want to try some of their other flavors. Maybe the green tea one?!

Have you been to Beard Papa's? If so, what's your favorite flavor?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Travel: 12 Days in China!

Wow, I can't believe its already been more than two weeks since I've came back from China and more than two weeks since my senior year of undergrad has started! Time passes so fast! Likewise, my visit to China felt just as fast, especially since I was only there for 12 days. However, it was nonetheless the best two weeks of my summer!
Me and my twin sister: can you tell which one is me in this picture?
My family and I arrived in Shanghai at about 5am in the morning, and basically the first thing we did (after a 2-hour-nap) was pick up my maternal grandpa (外公 “waigong”) and have lunch with almost everyone on my mom's side of the family. That meant about 20 people!

The restaurant we went to was inside Crowne Plaza in Lake Marlaren, Shanghai. It was actually a buffet style restaurant. The buffet style meal was a really cool experience since I've actually never encountered one before in China.

After lunch, we drove about two hours to Jinhua, which is in Zhejiang province to meet with our paternal grandparents (爷爷 "yeye" - grandpa and 奶奶 "nainai" - grandma). The rest of the week, we spent visiting family and my dad's business partners! My life those two weeks basically consisted of food, sleep, and car rides!

I won't talk about all of the details of the trip at the moment since that would take hours for you to read, but here are....

Five Crazy Things I Learned About China:
  1. Most nice Chinese restaurants allow you to book individual rooms (包厢 "baoxiang" or "box"). They'll usually have one large dining table, which will comfortably sit eight people, a TV, and maybe a restroom. Each baoxiang is serviced by one or two waiters/waitresses. Sometimes, high-end restaurants will even a separate room with a couch or even pool table!
  2. My sister in front of a poker table!
  3. To be respectful to your host, don't ask and just eat at a high-end restaurant. During my dining experience in China, I've had delicacies such as sea cucumbers and fish lips soup! Sometimes they take a little getting used to, but other times, the flavor is actually pretty good! You never know until you try~

  4. Fish lips soup!
  5. The fruits I ate were incredibly fresh and delicious! With so many markets along the streets, it's really easy to get fresh fruits and vegetables. It also helped that my yeye and nainai were farmers, so we got a lot of fresh watermelon, kiwis, and corn from them! Delicious :)
    Red-centered kiwis!
    Freshly picked corn!
  6. Driving in China is crazy! Not only is there a lot of honking, but also people drive in the middle of two lanes or even driving on the wrong side of the road just to escape traffic.
  7. Owning a car is really expensive in China! There are A LOT of toll booths along the highways. In fact, I read that Chinese toll roads consist of more than 70% of the world’s total toll roads! Incredible right?
Have you been to China? What are some of your favorite things about China?

Friday, August 8, 2014

CHINA!! And Blueberry Chia Overnight Oatmeal!

It's been more than three years, BUT I'M GOING BACK TO CHINA TONIGHT!! If you could see me right now, I'm practically jumping up and down with excitement. I love love LOVE China, Chinese culture, Chinese food, and of course since a lot of my family is still in China, so it's always super fun to visit them!

The sad thing is I'll only be in China for 10 days before I head back to LA and start school! But better a little while then none!

However, on the topic of the overnight oatmeal, I've been super into it recently! In fact, I've been making basically the same recipe every night for the last three days!

Sorry the above picture quality isn't the best, but let me tell you overnight oatmeal is so delicious and super quick and simple to make! Furthermore, you wake up the next day with your breakfast already made! What can be better than that?

The basic overnight oatmeal recipe consists of only four ingredients, the ones pictured above and water! I usually add some fresh fruit as well. Super simple right?

This is what the oatmeal looks like before I put it into the fridge for the night! And the next day it becomes like this.....

Doesn't it look all plump and beautiful now? Haha, OK now onto the recipe! :)
Blueberry Chia Overnight Oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1/2 container greek yogurt (I think my container was about 5.3oz)
  • 1 cup liquid (water and/or soy milk)
  • 1/2 cup fruit (blueberries, peaches, banana, what ever!)
Combine everything and store in fridge for about 8 hours or overnight!
How do you usually eat your oatmeal? What do you usually add in?

Friday, August 1, 2014

DIY: Embroidery Floss iPhone cord

Hey guys! I wanted to share with you a DIY project that I have been working on on-and-off these last few days: Embroidery Floss iPhone cord.

I always hard a hard time back at University trying to figure out which iPhone charger was mine and which ones were my roommates since we all have the same phone. However, with this, there will be no problem telling mine apart from theirs! Yay :)

I won't tell you how to make it on my blog since I found the tutorial on Beauty From Pane. She has a much better explanation than I could possible hope to write, so check it out!

It's really simple to make, but does take time, especially since the cord is so long!

If you want your colors to be in a "random" order, a helpful tip is to choose at least five different colors (for me I used five). Then using three threads at a time, alternate between the five different colors. When I choose which color to use for the next set, I always make sure to keep one color from the previous set. That way, the colors will flow more harmoniously between the sets, but at the same time look like a random assortment of colors!

Yay~ Hope you enjoyed this post!

Let me know if you guys like DIY projects! What do you like to DIY?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bitter Melon Juice?!

Hey everyone! Hope you all have been doing well! I can't believe it's already almost August! Time really does fly doesn't it?

Remember my post on how I got sick after camp and my mom made me drink the radish juice? I'm not sure why, but up until recently I still had a minor cough... I think it could have been because I haven't been getting enough sleep lately.

But my mom decided I needed to try another one of her concoctions! This time it's bitter melon

When I first heard her say this, I was like


Bitter melon?!

This is going to be even worse than the radish juice one you told me to drink!

I usually like radish (cooked at least), but bitter melon is bitter even when cooked! Wouldn't it be worse if I ate it raw??

But like the good girl I am, I listened to my mom and juiced the melon. However, to make it taste better, I juiced two pears along with the melon.

Btw, eating pears is another home remedy my mom swears by, but this one I don't mind~

I've never actually prepared bitter melon by myself before, so I was surprised to find out that it has red seeds O__O

Haha, the other half of the bitter melon is missing because my sister was de-seeding it while I was taking the picture <3

Then I just put everything through the blender, and voila! Done :)

Doesn't the juice look beautiful?? It's even frothy!!

So now I'm sure you're all wondering how this "delightful" concoction tastes right?


It actually tasted really good to my surprise!! The first sip tasted somewhat pear-y with a pretty bitter aftertaste. However, for every sip after, I surprisingly couldn't taste the bitterness. :/ Strange hmm? Maybe my taste buds got used to the bitterness?

I'm not sure if this juice really helped my sickness or not, but I felt a lot better the next day. (I think it was due to getting more sleep though.)

However, I would actually encourage you guys to try this recipe! It was a surprising success :)

What do you think about bitter melon? Do you like it? How do you eat it?


A couple cool facts I just found out about bitter melon from WebMD (***although some studies have suggested the following uses for bitter melon, concrete evidence is still insufficient):
  • Bitter melon contains a chemical that acts like insulin to help reduce blood sugar levels
  • Bitter melon is good for some stomach and intestinal disorders including but not limited to ulcers, constipation, intestinal worms
  • Bitter melon is beneficial for those who have diabetes, HIV/AIDS, kidney stones, and OH WAIT! fever!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

What?! How could I not have known?

So... It's been a while!

I was going to post earlier, but then... I dropped my phone in the toilet, so I didn't have any of my pictures....

JK JK, the part about the toilet was wrong (although I have done that before... Oops!). I actually spilled water over it >__< I usually have a cup of water sitting next to my bedside at night in case I wake up and am thirsty. But when I woke up in Wednesday night, I accidentally spilled the water onto my phone! I forgot my phone was there and kinda left it sitting in that pool of water all night....


Let's just say that phone went into the rice a for a day and a half!

Sunday (I know it's already been almost a full week, sorry!!), I went on a hike today with six of my friends after church! The trail is really pretty so I felt I had to share with you all!

What's surprising is that the trail is really close to my old high school. Although I used to run there a lot for cross country since it was our home turf, I realized I didn't even know most of the trails, some of which are really narrow and steep!

Let's just say some of the trails we traveled we had to crawl on our hands and knees or hold onto the roots that stuck out of ground! However, at the end of each slope down or hill up, there's always some beautiful scenery.

Eh? I didn't notice this picture turned out so blue compared to the rest?