Travel+Eats+Emotions in Northern California 

My mom and I booked a last minute trip to visit San Mateo after learning this will be my new home! After leaving the house at 4AM Tuesday morning, we arrived in San Francisco exhausted, but ready to explore.

 

We took it easy and explored the area and looked at a few potential housing options before grabbing a late dinner in downtown San Mateo at Hummus. I thought it was just okay–nothing too special!

The next day just so happened to be my birthday, and yes I am feeling 22! So we went to Half Moon Bay, enjoyed artisan tea at the cutest coffee shop, went thrifting, and finally stopped at an adorable produce stand on the side of the road.

We also stopped at this great restaurant called Tres Amigos! I got the grilled chicken salad–I loved the addition of jicama and orange slices!

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Doesn’t this look so fresh?

That night we drove to Mountain View and met up with a dear friend who works at Google. He gave us a tour of the incredible campus–from snack bars to arcade rooms! After the tour, we grabbed a delicious dinner together.

A plate of goodies from the buffet style cafeteria!


The next day, Thursday, was just as busy with apartment hunting! After scoping out a few places I found one I loved and submitted an application, which was followed by a celebratory Whole Foods lunch! We went back to our hotel exhausted later that evening, got a quick dinner, then enjoyed popcorn, Questbars, and the show “Girlboss” on Netflix (we were not big fans of the show).

Delicious fresh lunch from the Whole Foods hot bar!


We certainly needed the night of R&R before our last day. We got up and went to more apartment viewings and then got the wonderful news that I had an apartment secured! I was so excited, but that also meant the move actually felt real…

*cue the water works*

So I completely lost it in the Smart & Final parking lot for a solid 30 minutes, but I am SO beyond excited for this new adventure. After my mini-meltdown, we got a delicious lunch in cutesy downtown Burlingame and eventually went into the city to see a show called Mortified before our red eye back home.

Thai Chicken Salad–this chicken was some of the best I’ve had in my life!


So much has happened within the past week; it is mind-boggling, but in the best of ways.

I think this sign I saw in San Francisco sums it up pretty well.

Ted Talk Friday: How Airbnb designs for trust

The idea of Airbnb sounds  horrifying at face value; you’re letting random strangers come into the most personal intimate space you have–your home. Yes, the strangers are paying to stay there, but it still sounds bizarre and generally surprising that so many of us take this leap of faith. Joe Gebbia does a great job explaining how the platform builds this trust:

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I’ve stayed at Airbnbs and have always had a great experience. Have you tried Airbnb?

Mindful Monday: Memorial Day 

What does Memorial Day make you think of?

I always think of warm weather, swimming, grilling out, and parties. 


The weather forecast predicted cloudy, dreary all day, we don’t like grilling, and we have no party plans. While that might sound sad, it’s all about mindset. For my family, we will stay in and spend quality time together and cook a relaxing indoor meal! There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what we enjoy versus the typical Memorial Day festivities.


Do you find yourself succumbing to larger expectation instead of doing what you want? It’s easy to fall into this trap, but as one of my favorite sayings goes, “low expectations, high serenity.”

I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day holiday if you celebrate!

Ted Talk Friday: The secret to creating the beloved community

I recently had the pleasure of hearing Doug Shipman give two keynote addresses and was enthralled by his engaging style. He is an alum of my own college and he speaks to values like community and social justice; this talk address the importance of building community physically, not just through social media or the façade of community. It saddens me to think that we might slowly be losing this sense of connection. I deeply appreciate this talk, especially the advice to lessen the fear associated with cultural differences; sometimes we will offend people, but it is worth it when we are pursuing open, deep connections. As an introvert, I can relate to why this might feel easier, but Shipman explains the problems that can, and will, arise as a result.

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Do you think we (as a society) have a problem with community?

Mindful Monday: A First

I’ve decided to introduce a new staple to my blog–Mindful Monday! This series will be focused on living mindfully and what that means day to day. Mindfulness is a huge buzzword, but what does it really mean? There are dozens of definitions out there…

According to google,

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Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center describes mindfulness as “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.” The site goes on to mention the importance of acceptance of self, thoughts, and feelings.

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Merriam-Webster defines it as ” 1. the quality or state of being mindful 2. the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also:  such a state of awareness.”

I think mindfulness can be achieved in almost any moment, yet it is still so challenging. I find it particularly challenging in that I have a mind that does not turn off, which is something I think many of us can relate to! I am always thinking about things on my to-do list, worries, or things in the future–which is certainly far from mindfulness. While I have not started a mindfulness meditation practice, I am working to incorporate mindfulness more naturally into my life.

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I take a shower mindfully, I try to practice mindfulness in bad traffic, I cook a meal mindfully. All of these moments, however small, punctuate my day and add a moment of calm and a sense of being even just slightly more centered. I think the key lies in taking baby steps. Adding a twenty minute mindfulness meditation every morning to start is just a little too ambitious for me and where I am in my life right now, but these little moments count. For me, it is more about sustainability and quality rather than going all out–and I am okay with that.

In an effort to share my practice, and hold myself accountable, I am going to begin a weekly series focusing on mindfulness and reflections of my mindfulness practice.

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Do you practice mindfulness? What does your practice look like?

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Ted Talk Friday: Know your worth, and then ask for it

Time and time again I have received the same advice from mentors, supervisors, and business-oriented friends…know your worth and ask for it. After listening to a Freakonomics podcast on the gender wage gap a few years ago, I have been thinking more about the reasons why. There are two major narratives: 1) We are a sexist society and thus pay women less because we believe they are worth less 2) Women don’t ask for higher salaries

I think it is a combination of both and this Ted Talk by Casey Brown is a wonderful reflection on this problem. I hope you enjoy!

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What do you think? Do you know how to communicate your value?

Coach Training Accelerator: A Review

I love learning, but I’ve always been a bit skeptical about online learning courses. When Coach Training Accelerator gave me the opportunity to complete their Certified Coach online training, I couldn’t turn it down–I had to try online learning for myself!

Confession: I was wrong about online learning.

This was amazing.

I was so surprised by how much I learned through the series of 20 lessons. The content is a supplement for the CTA Certified Coach Program and is delivered through audio and transcribed lectures that covers content ranging from interpersonal skills to financial decision making. As a psychology major, I thought I had a fairly good knowledge base on how to motivate and change behavior, but I learned so much more during this 20 class graduate-level online course series.

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I have never thought about the idea of self-employment, or taking on coaching as a part time job, but I am deeply interested (and qualified!) after taking this course. Coaching is not just weight loss or career focused; coaching can extend to a variety of unique domains. This course explained that you can become a coach for whatever you see yourself as an expert in; for example, I feel very connected to college aged women seeking holistic wellbeing. My knowledge and skills align with this population and I can relate well to them, which would make me a more helpful coach that I might be for a busy mom looking to lose weight.

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Beyond the basics, the course really goes step by step through what it takes to get your business started. These lessons were some of the most technically helpful and the weekly timeline is perfect. Every lesson has direct, clear goal-focused “homework” to help you get your business started and avoid the endless “I’ll do it later” excuses. I would recommend sticking to a routine when taking the course; putting the weekly lesson in your calendar and sticking to it is so helpful. Some days I honestly struggled to stop at just one lesson!

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When I missed a week in the midst of finals and my college graduation, I received an encouraging email from the program checking in on my progress and making sure I didn’t have any questions. I think this is one of the most unique aspects of the program; there is a clear line of communication to a support system within the program for questions, mentorship, and advice. Plus, this connection is not just while you are taking the course, it is a life-long connection.

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I learned strategies that will be immensely useful both in coaching, and in my everyday relationships and business endeavors on the whole. This course is unique in that it goes beyond basic coaching content–it includes so much about the business side of coaching and the importance of professional development. I’ve gained so much unexpected knowledge and I love knowing that I’ll always have access to the resources of CTA. Please let me know if you have any questions about my experience or any specific aspects of the program!

Click here to try the course!

Royal Hideaway Playacar

My parents were so generous and kind enough to book us a trip to Playa del Carmen as a congratulatory graduation gift! It was something of a mess getting there in one piece (I discovered my passport was missing only days before my flight!), but stepping off the plane into a cool Mexican evening felt spectacular.

We stayed at Royal Hideaway two years ago, but it has completely changed–and not for the better. I hate to sound ungrateful, travel is such an amazing opportunity, but I just want to share my experiences so you can choose a different hotel if you choose to travel to Playa del Carmen.

First, given that this is a food blog, let’s talk food. I remember delicious fresh salads, ceviches, afternoon snack buffets full of tasty, healthy options. Now the menu consists of hamburgers, French fries, and the “catch of the day” is always a (somewhat questionable) sea bass. Don’t be fooled by appearances, this fish tastes bland and was doused in heavy butter sauce (as were the steamed vegetables). 


Let’s just say I didn’t leave many meals satisfied and am grateful I brought a large stash of snacks.


There was a large corporate group at the hotel during our stay, which meant we had to eat at the same restaurant twice a day, every day. We were not told about this when we booked, which makes sense, but it really took away from our trip–and the food! My friends even remember my rants about the amazing options from my trip two years ago, but so much has changed.


The hot tub closest to our room was broken the whole time and my mom was scalded in the shower by temperatures that switched from hot to cold without warning. In addition, one of our sinks broke!

I have to say the general wait staff has stayed as wonderful as ever–the waiters, Concierges, and maintenance staff are so thoughtful and helpful. I would say all of these issues link back to corporate changes and attempts to cut cost at the expense of quality. All in all, the quality of the hotel has really decreased (while price has not!) so save your frustration and I definitely you go somewhere else. The beach is beautiful, but you can get the same beach somewhere else in Playacar. 

We met with management (Sergio was very receptive), but I’ll be curious to see if anything changes before we leave tomorrow. I’ll definitely keep you updated if things improve! 

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 Do you have any Playa del  Carmen hotel recommendations? 

Is Glycemic Index Useful?

“Glycemic index” is a common indicator of how a food impacts blood sugar, or how quickly blood sugar rises after consumption. High glycemic diets are linked with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, a variety of cancers, and cardiovascular disease.[1] Glycemic index helps classify carbohydrates beyond the categories of simple or complex; simple carbohydrates are sugars or highly refined grains compared to complex carbohydrates, which include unrefined grains, whole grains.[2] This has led to recent trends focused on “low glycemic” foods and sweeteners, like agave syrup or coconut sugar.

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The glycemic index (GI) is based from the glycemic impact of glucose, or simple sugar, which has a has variable GI depending on the GI reference list used. GI scores differ across different sources, but always use glucose and white bread as reference points within the index. While this variability in scores has been attributed to methodological differences in the past, it is becoming more clear that GI may be more complicated than researchers once believed.[1]

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A recent study at Tufts University found that GI can differ as much as 25% among individuals and 20% within an individual. This study found the same food can have low, moderate, and high glycemic impact, which makes it difficult to create categories that are accurate across individuals. The study used white bread, which is often villainized as a high glycemic food, yet in the study it had moderate to low impact for a number of participants. Additionally, the same foods have variable impact even within the same individual. The results suggest that glycemic index has far less value than was previously believed.[3]

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While glycemic index promotes healthy choice in theory, it is not a reliable measure. A senior author of the study suggests that individuals should choose whole foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and lean meats. Glycemic index also only observes the impact of carbohydrates in isolation, rather than looking at the effects of a whole meal; individuals eat more than carbohydrates in any given meal, which renders the isolated effects of a single carbohydrate source far less meaningful in real life situations. While advertisements may continue to tout the benefits of low GI food products, research has shown that the benefits are limited.

References: 
1: Foster-Powell, K., Holt, S. H., & Brand-Miller, J. C. (2002). International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002. The American journal of clinical nutrition76(1), 5-56.
2: Saris, W. H. M., Astrup, A., Prentice, A. M., Zunft, H. J. F., Formiguera, X., Verboeket-van de Venne, W. P. H. G., … & Vasilaras, T. H. (2000). Randomized controlled trial of changes in dietary carbohydrate/fat ratio and simple vs complex carbohydrates on body weight and blood lipids: the CARMEN study. International journal of obesity24(10), 1310.
3: Matthan, N. R., Ausman, L. M., Meng, H., Tighiouart, H., & Lichtenstein, A. H. (2016). Estimating the reliability of glycemic index values and potential sources of methodological and biological variability. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition104(4), 1004-1013.

This post was originally featured here on 03/29/17. 

Easy Amore Spring Pasta

Everyone knows that familiar feeling…it’s 6PM, your stomach is growling, you have no idea what to make for dinner…

An easy option is pasta, but then comes another question…what kind of pasta? Amore has tons of solutions! Our family loves using the Amore herb paste (a tasty mix of fresh herbs in olive oil) to toss the pasta and some freshly sautéed spring veggies! 

The paste is vegan, all natural, and tastes just like fresh herbs! A little goes a long way and adds the perfect light flavor to a pasta dish. A mix of whole grain pasta, herb paste to taste (2 tsp or so), and sautéed asparagus, bell peppers, and yellow summer squash is colorful, flavorful and healthy! 

The perfect side for salmon, or a tasty light dinner on its own!

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What’s your favorite easy go-to dinner?