Austin trip recap

We drove from Houston back to Austin since we are flying out of there. I glad we did that rather than spend time in Austin and drive to Houston and drive back to Austin to fly home. I felt like we already drove so much in Houston due to its sprawl, it was nice to keep things (relatively) close in Austin. Austin was the more laid-back leg of the trip, we did a lot more walking and food crawling.

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What a week, every week

Hello everyone! Welcome! I’m hosting a virtual trick-or-treat all month long. If you had trick-or-treaters coming to your house, what kind of candy would you give them? To start, I’m giving out a tamarind candy coated in chilli powder. It’s a popular Mexican candy and the taste is a mix of sweet, sour, and spicy.

What a week! I feel like I say this almost every week. My husband has been doing lots of overtime at work this week. I’ve been on overdrive at work pushing out new programs for the hospital.

Continue reading What a week, every week

Go Wild in Los Angeles

Yup, another hiking post. When I first started this blog, it was focused on hiking trails around Los Angeles. But knowing myself, this blog eventually became a place where I wanted to write about things I like aside from hiking. I just could not stick with a niche for too long Anyways, this is one of my favorite trails and it’s located in Encino which is less than 15 minutes from my home. For those not from the area, it’s right off the infamous 101 and 405 freeway.

Upper Canyonback Ridge Santa Monica Mountains Encinvo

I am standing on a trail enjoying the wild rolling green hills on one side.

Upper Canyonback Ridge Santa Monica Mountains Encinvo

Look the other way and you get a view of this polished golf course and some large homes. Plus there’s the 405 freeway, Brentwood, the Getty Center, and Bel Air.

Upper Canyonback Ridge Santa Monica Mountains Encinvo

Lens-Artists Photography Challenge #150: Let’s Get Wild (host: Dianne)

Here are some wild photos I came across the blogosphere:

  • jazziBeeblog – A lovely collection of Scottish wildlife!
  • Space Stories by Gift – A 110,000 year old lake in Hokkaido, Japan. It’s like their Lake Tahoe there.
  • Slow Shutter Speed – Experience the Totality Solar Eclipse without those special sunglasses.
  • scillagrace – A wonderful collection of American wilderness. It takes me back to my teen years when my family and I would roadtrip every summer.
  • Travels and Trifles – Features a lovely photo of Patagonia which is on my travel bucket list.
  • Travel with Me – Torres del Paine National Park — more of Patagonia.
  • TBL – A lovely floor of swamp marigolds found on the trail. They’re such lovely ground cover I’d consider getting some of my front yard.

Five Things Friday: Welcome to 2021

Five things Friday is a post where I share five things that either made my week, what I am thinking about, or would like to share with all of you!

Happy New Year!

1. My Mommies and Me

I found this article on Longreads and to me, it is very telling of a divisive America and also how the internet has transformed the way people think (or not think) for the worst. I have come across a lot of things that Alexandra Tanner has mentioned from lizard people controlling us, the Great Awakening, 5G causes COVID, anti-Semitism, etc. I don’t think it is focused on just moms who use social media, I’ve met a lot of different people spreading crazy misinformation.

2. Cookie swap 2020

Here are the cookies I made. And below are cookies my friends made. Honorary mention to my mom. She made some cookies too.

To be honest, I don’t recall all the cookies. The top left cookie is peanut butter oatmeal. On the second row from left to right: white chocolate chip with almond flour, pecan cookies, and chocolate chip coconut. Bottom row from left to right: matcha rice flour, matcha mochi brownie.

3. First hiking trip as a family of five (dogs count too)

4. My public library

I found out that I can use my library card to access The New York Times. Yes! I don’t need to wait another month to look at five recipes for free!

5. Getting my stimulus check…no matter how little.

During maternity leave, I exhausted my disability insurance a month ago and my paid time off for the year two weeks ago which means I did not have pay for the last two weeks of 2020. When I received my stimulus check yesterday, it lifted my spirits that I did get something.

Since it is a new year, my time off balance is now renewed and ready to be used for the year. I am returning to work in a couple of weeks and I’ll use two weeks of paid time off to cover that — I still have plenty of time off I can use in the event me or my daughter get sick or if I go on a short vacation. To be honest, maternity leave has been a lot of time card gymnastics. I should be grateful I got majority of my maternity leave paid through my disability insurance and that I am healthy enough where I had plenty of paid time off to get paid to be able to extend my leave. Also, I should be grateful I have savings…but I am more glad I did not need it.

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Markers along the Walk of the Gods

When I do long walks or run long distance, I always keep my eyes peeled for any markers. It indicates that I am going on the right path and it is a way of how I measure progress. I remembered when I ran my first half-marathon, each mile marker I crossed meant I was closer to the finish line.

For this week’s theme, Number, I want to feature the Walk of the Gods  (or Sentiero degli Dei in Italian) in the Amalfi Coast. It is a 7 km hike between Bomerano and Nocelle (the town above Positano). My husband and I started from Bomerano. It is a fairly easy hike. Along the way, you will find these numbered markers. From Bomerano, it starts at 15 and counts down. If you are starting from Nocelle, it counts up.

Walk of the Gods sign
Let’s start walking!
We finally arrived to Positano

Weekly Photo Challenge: Number

Mute the noise, turn up the thoughts

I did the 52 Hike Challenge last year because wanted to move more and get more exercise. Through this journey, I found a lot more. Most of the hikes, I hiked alone. I did not mind it. I knew better to pack more than enough for my hikes like water, more water, lots of snacks, and a walking stick. I always started my hikes early in the day so I don’t have to walk around at night.

I did not mind hiking alone. It allowed me to walk at my own pace, enjoy my surroundings, clear my mind. It was the first time in a long time I felt present. The year before I started the 52 Hike Challenge, I was becoming scatter-brained. Following that, my mind became so foggy with piles of things to do “when you get the chance” — they always add that part politely before it gets progressively aggressive — “what you did not get around to it yet? I needed it yesterday!”

I wanted to get out of this fog. Through my year of hiking, most of the fog has cleared away. The fog creeps back into my head once in a while because people like to storm in with stress, stress, stress. I take action to clear it up as soon as possible. I know some people embrace the storms and try to get as close to disaster as possible. Maybe they enjoy the adrenaline, the high they get when there’s high pressure. But remember, it is not sustainable to do this each time.

Tongva Peak Beaudry LoopTongva Peak Beaudry Loop

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence

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The 2017 52-Hike Challenge reflections

I finished the 52 Hike Challenge on December 31st. It really did take me all year to do it. I almost thought I was not going to finish this challenge because in the beginning of December, I was on #43. But another part of me thought it was still possible to power through 9 more hikes because it’s not unbearably hot and a lot of the hikes I’ve done were extremely close.

What have I learned in the 52 Hike Challenge?

I discovered the pockets of green spaces in a large, urban city like Los Angeles.


Franklin Canyon #50 – I can’t believe this is sandwiched between Beverly Hills and Studio City!

Importance of conserving and appreciating nature spaces. Having green spaces creates character in the city and homes to local wild life. To the people who brag about being energy efficient because they have an electric car and they diligently recycle — what good is it to do those things if you don’t go visit the local parks. There are greedy rich bastard (GRBs) who want to take this all away because to them profits are always before parks. To show my support to continue preserving these parks and preserves, I’ll keep on hiking.

Claremont Hills

#6 Claremont Trails

Make better use of my free time. Most of my hikes happened on the weekend so instead of staying in on a Saturday watching TV until the evening, I spend it outside. And I am proud of that. There were some conversations where people have asked “have you seen name-that-TV-show?”Nope, because I spend time outside.Hike 50 Porter Ranch

Hike #52 – Porter Ranch Trails

Taking a break from technology. The 52 Hike Challenge taught me it’s ok to stay away from technology. Jokingly, I’ve said “I think I was smarter before smartphones came out.” It could be true. Some people think their smart phone and mobile devices should be their brains where they could dump their appointments and their notes — only to never be retrieved. For me, technology has been a distraction more than anything. Throughout 2017, I stopped using my phone as my all-in-one entertainment system because it just got distracting. I only use it for making phone calls, sending messages, taking pictures, posting on Instgram, listen to audiobooks when I am doing chores. I occasionally post on Facebook to show I am still alive. I no longer use it to play videos, watch movies, organize my calendar, and even play games. Sorry Candy Crush.

Side note: I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas. I struggle what to do with it. I think I’ll just use it for Pinterest and looking up recipes when I prep meals.

Hike 38 Cave of Muntis.jpg

Hike #38 – Cave of Muntis

I learned there is no rung I can’t reach. In 2017, I also got into graduate school. I did not reach this rung because I said, “I want it”. I reached that rung because I worked for it like how I worked all year to complete 52 hikes.

Rancho Palos Verdes Hike

Hike #29 Rancho Palos Verdes

I learned the people who belittle me are real trolls. My husband kindly calls these people haters. No, I’ll stick with trolls. Trolls block people from making them cross the bridge, preventing them from succeeeding. Haters sounds too passive, but with trolls it requires a little bit of action — a fight, a push, or something to knock them off the bridge so you can get to your destination. Coming into the new year finishing 52 Hikes makes me feel like a badass. I may have not picked this feeling of newfound confidence 30 hikes ago, but now I’ve got this badge in my head and my heart. For anyone who belittles me, I should ask “well, have you gone on 52 hikes? Oh I’m sorry, no you haven’t? Well you can’t tell me what I can and can’t do!”

You can find some photos of my 52 Hike Challenge journey on my Instagram account.

Ascending to Mt. Lukens

This was from one of my hikes earlier this year. This is Mt. Lukens, the highest point in Los Angeles city limits.

Round trip, this was a 10 mile loop — if you followed the map. I did get lost and a 10 mile hike, became 14 miles.


This was the beggining stages of the hike. I can see the 210 freeway from where I was standing. This was already high for me, I could not imagine how much higher I would go.

Mt. Lukens Rim of the Valley Trail

Then…several miles later, we (me and my miniature schnauzer) reached to the top. That mountain across from me, I was there a few weeks back. Being on top of Mt. Lukens certainly dwarfs it. I hear on a clear day, you could see the west-side.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend

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Hike 35/52: Cave of Munits

Date: September 5th
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Weather: Hot
Distance: 2.53 miles

Say what? A cave in LA? Yes there is a cave in LA and not too far from my house. It was my first time exploring the El Escorpion Park. It’s funny how you come from super suburbs to this vast park in a few steps.

Unfortunately I did not get to explore inside the cave. In this post you’ll just find the entryway. That day I was not ready to go inside because it requires a little bit of climbing. Because I went alone, I did not inside the cave. Remember, safety in a hike ALWAYS comes first.

cave of munits

First of all, I made mistake taking this path for most of the hike. I’m sure it goes further into the mountains.

cave of munits


That slot you see is the cave entrance. I was somewhat disappointed because it did not even look like a cave but I thought, I’ll still check it out anyways. I might be a tiny cave.


Here the cave entrance up close. This required a litle bit of climbing up. Because I went alone and had no spotter, I decided to end the hike and return to my car. I told myself “until next time.”

A few weeks later, I came back with my husband. Stay tuned for more pictures. It’s far more impressive.

Hike 34/52 Exploring along the river

Date: September 3rd
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Weather: Cool, rainy
Distance: 2 miles

We spent our last day in Sequoia and Kings Canyon exploring along the river until it rained. When it rained too hard, we had to stop exploring otherwise it’d be too slippery to hike. I think it’d be impossible to climb back up!

Koda did a fantastic job crossing the river. You showed people you’re not just a pretty Pomeranian, you kind of a BAMF too.



Hike 33/52 – Hume Lake

Date: September 2nd
Difficulty: 1 out of 5
Weather: Hot
Distance: 3.3 mile loop

Hume Lake


Usually Teddy hates being in the water. Because it was so hot, they did not mind taking a dip.


Hike 32/52: Wandering Through a Forest of Giants


The Grant Grove is a popular spot in Sequoia/Kings Canyon because it has the General Grant Grove tree — one of the largest trees in world. Before going to Grant Grove, I thought the trees through our daily drive out of the camp site was huge. These trees in Grant Grove certainly dwarf them all! It was hard taking a photo without looking up, up, up!

Date: September 1st
Difficulty: 1 out of 5
Weather: Hot
Distance: 1 mile loop (with a little bit of wandering)

Sequoia Grant Tree

In the trail, one of the first things we saw was this tree tunnel. If you further venture off the trail teeny bit, you’ll find another less crowded tree tunnel where a little bit of climbing is required.


The second tree tunnel we found.


Inside of the second tree tunnel

And of course I am obsessed with the textures of the tree!

Sequoia Grant Tree

And the obligatory photo of me next to a Sequoia for size comparison. Note: This is not the Grant Tree. Just your average Sequoia.


Also note, not the largest tree in the park. The largest living tree in the park and in the world goes to General Sherman at 275 ft. Unfortunately, we did not go to that part of the park because it was crowded and we could not find any parking. Tip: Find a national park bus that can drop you off ther.e