Dishes served cold (Eat Around the World)

I think I am caught up on posts for the most part. Summertime in my section in LA gets unbearably hot. I try to limit my stove and oven use in the summer when it get really hot. I crave for cold dishes and the leftovers from the fridge and *shocker* not reheat them.

Continue reading Dishes served cold (Eat Around the World)

Selection process

Brace yourselves, it’s going to be another hot weekend! It’s a good day for a nice cold cider.

Our electricity bill came and it is unusually high. Aside from the obvious culprit, the air conditioner, I have not been as mindful turning off the lights before I leave a room lately especially when I’ve been occupied with Lana. In the past I’ve been comically vigilant unplugging unused appliances like the rice cooker. If we were leaving town, we would unplug everything except the refrigerator.

Continue reading Selection process

Making and eating ice cream (Eat around the World challenge)

I thought this would be a fun recap of all the ice cream I tried this past month for July. Since August is a hotter month, you’ll still find me eating some more ice cream…maybe I’ll find some time to make more ice cream and popsicles. Don’t forget — I’m also going to be experimenting with tomatoes and looking for dishes that incorporate tomatoes. That will be fun!

I’m pretty much writing this post almost half asleep. This week has been chaotic and incredibly energy-sucking. I’m surprised I am even able to squeeze some time to blog. I’ll share more for this upcoming weekend coffee share.

Continue reading Making and eating ice cream (Eat around the World challenge)

Travel Tuesday: Along the Central Coast

For years when I go to the Bay Area, I would take a plane ride. It only took 45 minutes from LA to SJC.

Then again, most of my trips to the Bay Area were related to work. When I had to work somewhere in Southern California, I drove a lot. My long travels for work made me hate driving.

When I went to Hearst Castle at the beginning of the month, we drove. I almost dreaded the idea of driving so many hours because it brought back a lot of irritating memories of driving long distances everywhere. But I no longer work there, and I now take public transit for work. I need to remind myself that I can now drive for fun.

But also I forgot how wonderful the central coast is.

We get to pass by the cute Danish town of Solvang. Enjoy split-pea soup for lunch at Buelton.

Admire the golden hills in San Simeon.

…and of course, admire the coastlines. We passed by a cute little beach town called Cayucos.  We did not spend too much time there. We stopped by for a bathroom break and got some coffee at Cayucos Coffee before heading back home.


My summer will mostly consist of reading, writing, final grad school project, and home remodeling. Somehow we were able to fit in some excursions too. They’re not too far… One is even 30 minutes away from us.

My Favorite Things About Summer

Sometimes I like to draw instead of write listicles of everything.

sketch summer favorite things

What are your favorite things about summer?

The part about hunting for AC is no joke. Because our house has no central AC, it gives me an excuse to go out whether it’s the mall, barre, grocery store, or ice cream parlor — it’s cooler to spend an afternoon there than home. Especially when it’s 95+ degrees!

I do like longer days because at least when it’s too hot to walk my dogs or garden in the afternoon, I can still wait until 8 PM and still enjoy being outside.

Amarinyo Gelato

It is hotter in the Valley compared to other places in Los Angeles. Maybe not as hot as Palmdale, but the weather here is surely not West Los Angeles because the hills and mountains separate us from the beach. As soon as you go over the hills, the weather is a 20 degree difference.

With that being said, the Valley needs to have amazing ice cream everywhere you go.  Gladly Amarinyo Gelataria is close by our house.

I was not kidding that I needed ice cream. It’s 7:30 PM and it’s 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Amarinyo gelato

Ferraro Rocher (top) and Pistachio (bottom) gelato.

Amarinyo Gelataria

15355 Sherman Way e,
Van Nuys, CA 91406

#WeekendCoffeeShare: How far do I lean in?

If we were having coffee, we would meet at Groundworks in North Hollywood off Chandler and Lankershim. I’d have a coffee cake and an iced coffee because it’s another hot day. It’s going to be high as 110 degrees (43 Celsius!).

To start off, I am happy to say I finished my grad school items. I finished my personal statement, my CV, and my transcripts. I can breath easy…for now. One less thing and a million more things to go.

Summer just begun but I felt the past couple of weeks, summer was excited to arrive early. I love the longer sunny days and the busy social calendar and of course, ice cream.

Lean in, lean in, lean in.  I love Lean In — it’s one of the most influential books I’ve read. I urge all people to read it because it’s got timeless advice you can carry through your life like “don’t leave before you leave” and “what would you do if you were not afraid?” I focus on my potential rather than my past accomplishments.

I carried this advice through my personal and professional life — it launched me out of my comfort zone and changed the way I approach opportunities.

As of recently, I feel I am up to my eyeballs. I asked myself “how far do I need to lean in?” Until my nose hits grindstone? Until I fall over?

Hello, I think I found my bandwidth — it just took a while to get to capacity. I’ve been pulling back a little bit just so I can make room for things I need to do. I tell myself, it’s only temporary. It’s good for my mental health. I’m not pulling back to stay away from it. I’m pulling back just so I don’t become resentful.

But the funny thing about pulling back is every time you pull back, something or someone pulls you in like you’re in demand. Ideas for projects spark with this sense of urgency and immediacy to pursue because you worry you’ll forget. As a person who is always brimming with ideas, doing this in a reactionary fashion with no end goal, no path to get to the goal leaves a lot of unfinished projects and walking in circles.

When I have ideas, but I am out of bandwidth, I write them down so at least I can remember it. I always go back to my “drawing board” to see these ideas, think to myself “why did I come up with it?” What were the goals of these ideas, what did I want to get out of it? What is the path? Is it something worth pursuing? Nowadays, I look to treat my energy like I treat my bank account.

What’s up for the coming week?

My timetable looked open this past week, but I felt I spent time putting out fires. I’m not sure about this week will look. It’s likely I’ll be making a day trip to San Jose this week. I’m not sure yet.

I am also planning our upcoming trip to Lake Naciemento for the 4th of July weekend.

Stay cool, everyone! Mud Cave

In honor of today being so hot, here’s a photo of a trip to when we exploring mud caves in Anza Borrego (2012). The natives stayed in mud caves when it was hot in the late spring and summer time. It’s also 110 degrees in Anza Borrego.

Julie Weekend Coffee Share

Credit: The Smushed Peach

Interested in participating in the Weekend Coffee Share yourself? Come on over to Nerd in the Brain for more details! Check out the link party page or this wordpress tag for inspiration.