Saturday, December 14, 2013

End of the School Quarter

Hi everyone!  Long time no see.  As of this week, school is over, until January.  So to celebrate, I would just like to catch up on my blog.  I have much to say.  For Thanksgiving, Brandon and I didn't have a large dinner.  Instead, we did hot pot, then went Black Friday shopping at H&M.  We scored a bunch of good stuff.

We went to Vancouver, BC the next day.  The weather was cold, in fact it was FREEZING.  But it was sweet to get away with Brandon and spend quality time with him.  We discovered that Vancouver has lots of Japanese restaurants everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE.  We only actually went to one in the three days that we were there, but were impressed with it.  I ordered a seaweed roll that had no rice in the middle, but only vegetables and mango in the middle, with this incredible ginger soy dipping sauce.  I wish I took a picture, but it was raining so much that we decided to ditch the camera for most of the trip.

We were staying at a four star hotel, and the entrance was very beautiful.  The hotel was downtown and within walking distance of everything.  Right across the street from us was a grocery store that had quite a variety of good foods, from organic Kombucha to ketchup chips.  I will have you know that I bought plenty of wine gums, and discovered a new kind of Cadbury chocolate bar - cookies and cream I think it was... anyway, it is my new favorite (right up there with Top Deck).  Also, nearby was a movie theater, where we saw Ender's Game.  By the way, that movie ROCKS!

A few highlights of the trip included hanging out with our friends Alvin and Olivia, eating a really good French breakfast with them, discovering smoothie places and taking wheatgrass shots to attempt to be healthy, and most of all, I loved getting a Thai couples massage on the last day that we were there.  It was one of the BEST massages of my life, seriously.  The only pictures we took were of the breakfast we had with Alvin and Olivia.

I got fruit, lamb+beef meatballs with hummus, poached eggs, and toasted bread to dip in everything.

Brandon got this.  My only complaint: the servings were WAY too small.

Olivia's looked good.  I liked how they used fresh herbs and everything.

Alvin got this bruschetta with a soft-boiled egg.  They served us tea as well. :-)

Overall, that trip was nice, but I would definitely rather go there in the late spring or early fall instead of the dead of winter.  In other news, SCHOOL IS OVER!!! Yes, I mentioned that, but I have to say I am truly going to miss the new friends I made in my Japanese class, Mashu-san, Ashu-san, Chris-san, Greg-san, Sara-san, Zachu-san, and Mayu-san.  I will miss my teacher too.  He was really good.  

Lastly, Brandon and I are attempting to be more health-conscious.  So far, he is a lot better at it than I am, but here are some things that we have been trying to do:

1) Educate ourselves on nutrition more.  I have been watching documentaries like crazy on Netflix and it has really opened my eyes to the problem of obesity in America.

2) Take vitamins and supplements.  I take a multivitamin, biotin, St. John's Wort, Fish oil, Super B Complex, Apple Cider Vinegar, Red Ginseng, and Chlorophyll.  In addition to that I like to incorporate Chia seeds and Flax seeds in my diet.  Brandon takes other things that are vital to his exercise plan and health goals.  I do not claim to be an expert on health but I do know that when I keep on top of these things I feel a lot better and a lot more energetic.

3) Drink enough water and eat the right kind of nutritional foods.  I have been purposefully adding more vegetables in my diet.  I have become more aware of how important eating salads is to my own personal health, as well as juicing and making healthy smoothies.

4) Brandon has been good at exercising.  He wakes up at the crack of dawn to work out.  I, on the other hand, am not the best, but I am working on it. ;-)

5) Getting to bed earlier.  This has made a big difference and I value sleep very much.  It is so important to be well-rested.  

Here is an example of a snack I have been loving: salad, a clementine, and a cup of red tea. 

I am the queen of making good salads.  This is something my mom has taught me well, and I thank her for teaching me right.  Some of my favorite tips about healthy salad are:

1) A good salad base is a green leafy vegetable such as romaine, green leaf, red leaf, or butter leaf lettuce.  I like my lettuce to not be wilted in the least.  For this reason I try not to get the packaged kind of lettuce, but lettuce that I cut myself.

2) For nutrition, on top of the salad base of choice, add a dark green leafy vegetable (or add more than one), such as spinach, collared greens, spring mix, etc.  

3) For crunch, add cabbage.  I like to use both green and purple cabbage.  

4) The more colorful the salad, the more appealing it is to eat.  Add sliced or cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, avocados, shredded carrot, cucumber slices, and perhaps even diced up fruit.  I really enjoy adding sliced strawberries, diced apple or asian pear to my salads.  

5) Do not add too much dressing to your salad.  Just a small drizzle is enough.  Also, choose a dressing that is either homemade, or made with good quality ingredients.  Avoid MSG if at all possible.

HA!  I don't really know how I got to spilling my secret about my famous salads, but it is really simple if you follow those 5 steps.  

As for Christmas coming up, I am done with most all of my Christmas shopping.  I would show you what I got for everyone, but I don't want to give away the surprise!  Just wait until later.  This year, we are visiting Las Vegas and Utah to see family.  That is going to be super nice.  I will try to take pictures of everything. :-) xoxox

~Sincerely, Ashleigh Son