health

The Hills Are Alive!

What meant to be a hike turned into a show. Charlotte and I ran through a field of grass and started singing, “The hills are alive!” from the top of our lungs. We threw our arms into the air and started dancing across the fields. I think we did pretty well acting out the scene. It probably should’ve been us in that musical.

If only we were performing that scene in Germany! If only. Instead, we were at Quail Hill Trailhead in Orange County. You can see the hills and trails right off the 405 freeway going down San Diego. You can’t miss it especially when the grass is bright green.

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Did I ever tell you that I’m a triplet? I probably never did because I’m not.

Aside from singing our hearts out, we had some good conversations during our actual hike. By the way, the hike wasn’t a strenuous one. It was flat for 2 miles and easy to get around. Take it as a walk in the park kind of thing. It’s a great place to get a quick and simple work out, but also for some breath of fresh air.

On Yelp, this trail has 4 out 5 stars with 42 reviews. Though there may not be a lot of reviews, it definitely doesn’t hurt to check this beauty out when it’s sunny and the grass is green.

Thanks Charlotte for taking me to Germany! I mean, to Quail Hill Trailhead. You should bring your guitar and I’ll bring a picnic blanket and basket to make it more like the Sound Of Music.

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Life After Rhabdomyolysis

A little more than a year ago, I received a call from my doctor urgently requesting me to rush to the ER. I later found out that I was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis. Ever since then, my life has completely changed. I ask myself every day, “Why me? Why? Will I ever get better?”

Just kidding. I never asked myself any of that within the past year. Sorry if I scared you with that introduction. I just wanted to be a little dramatic with this since I’m not a dramatic person in general.

All kidding aside, it has been a little more than a year since I was told by my doctor that I had rhabdomyolysis. My friends like to say that I had robocop on my arms. No one really knows how to say rhabdomyolysis so they say robocop.

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If you have no idea what I’m talking about right now, check out my original post called I Have Rhabdomyolysis.

After leaving the ER, I was required to not work out for two to three months. I was only allowed to go for short walks but nothing too strenuous. Hearing that made me feel physically paralyzed.

So what happened exactly after rhabdomyolysis? Well, first thing was first. I wanted my money back from the crossfit gym! I sure got a full refund once I gave them my doctor’s note that I had rhabdomyolysis. Then I started to hydrate myself more. I was more conscious about drinking enough water to just hydrate myself on a daily basis.

Ever since then, I stopped believing in working out. Just kidding. There was a long period where I didn’t work out intensely. Instead, I did some brisk walks around the lake and took dance classes like tap and hip-hop. Majority of my time in 2014 was focused on food and social media. I may have gone out to eat a little too much but hey, I always had a good time eating with my friends and created countless memorable moments!

I must tell you that something always happens to me when I work out. For example in 2012, I did a 10k run in Chino Hills. I wrote a post about this race and how my foot was swollen from training. I may have overworked out or I was running improperly so that may have caused inflammation in my foot. At the end, my foot healed on time for me to survive the 10k run without having to call an ambulance in the middle of the race. After that, I never wanted to commit to a 10k.

Then 2013 was the year of crossfit. You all know what happened there. No need to explain much.

Now, there’s 2014. In the fall, I decided to get back in shape. I started doing Blogilates, hiking every morning at 7am, and running throughout the week. Thankfully, I haven’t had any injuries since I started being active again for the third year in a row.

I just realized that I always start working out in the fall. It just happens subconsciously and coincidentally, I guess.

After being injured two years in a row, I knew I couldn’t get hurt for the third time. I can’t afford it anymore! I love working out and pushing myself hard to find the most satisfaction, but that’s not always healthy. This time around, I just had to be easy on myself, listen to my body, and respect its limits. And what do you know, I’m feeling healthy!

Let me be clear that I’m not against doing 10ks or crossfit. I’m an advocate of working out as long as you know how much you can actually handle. I still think crossfit is great because of the various workout combinations you go through and there’s always someone to push you compared to going to a gym. When you have a gym pass, it’s usually you and yourself, and you can easily cheat your way through without solid accountability.

If you end up joining a crossfit gym, make sure the facility is spacious and safe. It’s important that there’s enough space for you to workout with the equipments and the people around you. Hopefully, your class isn’t big or else that can affect how effectively you can workout. Also, it’s important that the instructors are good. Good as in they know how to take care of their athletes physically and mentally. They know how to listen, motivate, and push the athletes to a certain extent. They too should know their limits.

I’m sure you won’t get rhabdomyolysis like I did unless you’re in beast mode-level 10 when you’re working out. If somehow you end up getting rhabdomyolysis and end up with similar symptoms I had, you will most likely survive from it. Remember, I’m a survivor, I’m not gon give up, I’m not gon stop, I’m gon work harder! Once again, that was a Destiny’s Child reference if you didn’t get it from the original  post.

I really appreciate everyone’s concern about my health condition when all of this happened. Everyone was shocked when they heard my story which is understandable. I still don’t think it was that big of a deal because I have yet to tell my mom about it. This whole thing is funny because anytime I’m feeling sick, my friends will somehow revert back to my robocop days. I’ll usually say, “Um…that happened a year ago. I just have the cold, bro.” Rhabdomyolysis in my case was only temporary. So temporary that I’m perfectly fine to run 5 miles now! No joke.

With the new year here, you may be setting new fitness goals or renewing them. Whatever you do, please don’t be so hard on yourself! Everyone needs to take a break here and there so make sure to take care of yourself. I do and don’t believe in new years resolutions but my lifetime goal is to stay healthy. I hope that is your lifetime goal also!

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Eat Pray Love Journey – Day 8 – Saint Paul, Minnesota

I skipped breakfast and decided to go on a morning walk before meeting up with Mark. I said bye to my host family and went off into the neighborhood for a walk. Once again, I saw more quaint little homes that I adored.

There were train tracks in the middle of the neighborhood which I thought was odd. The tracks looked so old that I wasn’t sure if they were in use anymore.

After walking around several blocks, I noticed from my peripheral vision that a car was following me. I avoided eye contact with the car and tried to play it cool. They were driving so slowly next to me that I had to look up out of curiosity. It ended up being my host family in the car. Ha! I didn’t realize that I was walking back towards their house. The lady asked if I needed a ride or if I was lost. I told her, “Oh no! I’m exercising!” I didn’t know how else to explain exercising to her so I just moved my arms back and forth. She laughed and then drove off. Language barrier, I love it! That was somewhat sarcasm but not. It’s kind of fun trying to figure out how to communicate effectively when there’s no common language.

When Mark picked me up, we were off to Saint Paul! Whee! We grabbed lunch at a popular dive bar called The Nook.

Yelp gives them 4.5 stars with more than 450 reviews. This little place gets packed pretty quickly because of how good the food is and the service too! It’s such a popular place that even Guy Fieri from Food Network has made a visit here!

The Nook is known for their Homemade Wisconsin Cheese Curds for $7.95 that is always at the State Fair. What State Fair? Apparently, people in Minnesota will take time off from work and take their whole family to the State Fair! It’s a big deal there! Here in Southern California, we have county fairs. We don’t necessarily plan to go until the week before or maybe even until the day of!

So we started off with these finger food, deep fried cheese curds that were awesome! There was a crispy texture on the outside like onion rings or tater tots.

Then the inside was all cheesy like a mozzarella stick.

These little poppers can be addicting and fill you up easily so make sure to share!

For the real meal deal, I ordered their one of a kind Juicy Nookie Burger that is a stuffed cheeseburger served only as medium for $9.25.

The best part about this cheeseburger was this:

Dun, dun, dun! The patty was stuffed with cheese that was oozing out of it! The waiter told me that I had to wait for the burger cool down or else I would burn myself! Even after I waited for a few minutes, it was still pretty hot but it was darn good!

With the cheese curd and this burger, it’s really best to eat them when they’re fresh. Once it’s cold, it’s just not the same. Eating these two can be pretty heavy and savory, so make sure to treat yourself to some salad or some sweets to balance things out.

So we did just that! We got some sweets from Cossetta. I got myself a mini peanut butter chocolate brownie cake and a mini chocolate covered cheesecake. They were both pretty rich and sweet but it evened out our tastebuds from lunch. The bakery is a little pricey but the presentation and quality makes it worth the purchase.

Check out Cossetta if you want to make a one stop Italian shop. For example, they have a bakery, market, casual dining and a fancy restaurant all in one building! They have 4 out of 5 stars with more than 300 reviews on Yelp.

Ok, enough about food for now. We went to Cathedral of Saint Paul where it brought back memories of when I went to Europe.

 

It was peaceful to just sit there in the empty cathedral and be in awe of this building. We sat there and listened to the organist practice playing and then walked around the cathedral.

I think no matter how many cathedrals I’ve been to, I’ll always be amazed of its intricate artwork displayed in the stained glass windows or the sculptures of Jesus on the cross.

We went to Minnehaha Park for a mini walk. Minne what? Minnie-ha-ha. Yup, that’s the name of the park. I know, I was confused too. This isn’t your everyday park with a playground. It has the Minnehaha Fall that is a 53 foot waterfall. This Minnehaha Park is on Minnehaha Creek that connects to the Mississippi River.

We hiked until we saw the end of the Minnehaha Creek.

In the picture below, the left side is where the Mississippi River merges with the Minnehaha Creek from the right side.

I was definitely so much closer to the Mississippi River once I got here! On our way back, I saw these naked trees! They looked so eerie since they had no leaves!

By the time we got back to our car, the temperature had dropped down pretty drastically. I saw a group of kids running in shorts around this park! I have no idea how they were running in that kind of attire in 30 degrees weather! Minnesotans are so strong!

After the park, we had some time to kill before dinner so we went back to Minneapolis to check out a museum called Walker Art Center. Thanks to Target admission was free! This art gallery has 4 stars with 129 reviews on Yelp.

There were some artworks that may have seem a little too explicit where viewers’ discretion may be advised, but overall, the museum had some eccentric artwork that I myself would have never imagined could be created.

Afterwards we went to Fulton Brewery that has 4 stars with 69 reviews on Yelp. This brewery is in a warehouse where it has a pretty young and hip vibe to it. It’s a great place to hang out with friends after work to relax and have some beer. You can play a bunch of card games or board games with your friends which is just what Mark and I did. We played a few games of Scrabble. I don’t know any places that lets you play some classic board games while you drink beer in this kind of environment. Fulton Brewery actually reminded me of the American version of boba shops. People go to boba shops to drink milk tea and play board games! Well, at least in SoCal. Anyways, sorry I somewhat got sidetracked.

Outside of Fulton Brewery there was Hibachi Daruma, a Japanese teppanyaki food truck. Teppanyaki basically means using iron griddle to cook food. Because we didn’t want to drive elsewhere for food, we decided to get some food truck food. So I just got myself a simple beef teriyaki with rice and veggies for $9. There was a sweet and juicy flavor from the teriyaki sauce and the beef was perfectly cooked. It did the job of filling me up and keeping me warm!

One last thing we did after dinner was to drop off my post cards! We had the hardest time finding a mailbox throughout the day for some odd reason but thank you Cub Foods for having a mailbox in front of your market!

Thank you so much Mark for showing me around in Saint Paul and Minneapolis! I didn’t know Minnesota had so much beauty and soul to it! I’m going to miss the cold weather, the food, and the people!

Bellingham, Washington – Part 3

Eat Pray Love Journey – Day 5 – Bellingham, Washington – Part 3

What I love about Bellingham is how there are so many different characteristics to it. There’s the old town and downtown sceneries but the best part is how in the midst of that there are so many spots to simply breathe the clean and fresh air while you’re standing in the forest!

We grabbed a drink from one of Christian’s favorite coffee shop called The Woods Coffee on Bay View Drive. Yelp gives them 4 stars for all of their locations in Washington. I loved the location we were at because we were able to see a clear view of the water from the inside.

They’re known for their cold brew coffee. I got their seasonal apple cider which made feel like I was fully experiencing the festivities of the fall and winter season.

Right by the coffee shop there was a boardwalk! It was so nice to sip my apple cider while enjoying the view of the water and feeling the cold breeze!

Afterwards, Christian took me to a place where he and his friends would hang out during the summer. The parking area was so hidden on the side of the road that we missed it! It looked like we were going to an undiscovered area that seemed illegal to enter but luckily there was a sign that said Teddy Bear Cove where it made it official and safe to walk around.

There was a long trail that went down to the forest. It really felt like I was in the middle of nowhere.

At bottom, we crossed over the train tracks to see the water.

We were trying to look for some mermaids but none showed up at the hour. So we took another trail nearby that led us to a cliff for a better view of mermaids. Again, we saw no mermaids but it was a peaceful view of the water.

We walked so much that we were pretty tired and needed to rest somewhere. So we went over to Pure Bliss Desserts. Ok, I know what you’re thinking right now. “What? She’s getting dessert after a long walk in the forest?” Mhm. That sure did happen.

On Yelp, this sweet spot has 4.5 stars with 47 reviews. We got there at a perfect day and time where we were able to get a happy hour deal! Because it was Monday, we got a dollar off on a slice of cake. We shared the last slice of the Almond Mocha cake for $5.

The chocolate and vanilla cake texture had just the right amount of moisture to it. The frosting is what carried the Almond Mocha flavor. It wasn’t too heavy or too thick. The cake overall had a good balance of everything. I definitely recommend you sharing this slice of cake. I mean, if you have a huge sweet tooth, maybe treat yourself to a whole slice.

Finally, to end the day I got a tour of Western Washington University and had dinner from their dining hall! This school is fortunate to have nature right next door!

Thank you so much Christian for a scenic tour of Bellingham! I miss seeing trees and breathing the cold crisp air! Thanks so much for showing me around in Washington and Canada! I can’t wait to come back here and hopefully show others the beauty of Bellingham!

Future Dr. Wu

I am so thankful for my friendship with Kat! She is so loving, giving, great listener, adventurous, artistic, intelligent, understanding, and the list goes on! I’m so glad that we were able to go on a Spontaneous Road Trip. We didn’t go just for one day. Nope, not two days but for three days! It was so much fun traveling with her before she had to start medical school. I’m really proud to see where she’s at and can’t wait to see where the future takes her!

Here are some photos of my dear friend Kat, I mean future Dr. Wu, in her fancy white coat!

Kat! I’m ready to eat some good food, explore, and take artsy pictures with you whenever you have free time from studying! I miss you a lot and can’t wait to see you again soon!

Fun Friday!

I recently injured my neck pretty badly to the point where I couldn’t get out of my bed and had to call in sick. So I told my friend, Phil, about my neck situation and his response was that I have TNS aka Taco Neck Syndrome. As weird as it may sound, TNS is real, my friend. It’s so real that there’s a commercial about it and therapy for it! But what is TNS? Yeah, that’s what I asked myself when I first heard of it from Phil. Here’s what it is:

Wasn’t that hilarious? I’ve watched it several times by now but it somehow cracks me up every time.

Ok, TNS isn’t that real but I did strain my neck somehow and felt like I had TNS. Luckily, I’m doing a lot better now compared to earlier this week so I’m ready for the weekend!

I hope this commercial starts your weekend off with a good laugh. Have a fun filled weekend and treat yourself to a Big Beef Burrito from Taco Bell!

Kevin Garcia | Hunter by Pharrell

I took another class from Kaba Modern at Focus Dance Center but this time Kevin Garcia taught the class! We learned a dance to Hunter by Pharrell. The choreography and the music itself had an old funk soul to it which made it more fun to dance in that style.

The class was pretty challenging because there were some intricate parts to that choreography! When everyone was dancing downwards, I was the one who was up. I was pretty much all over the place as the choreography became more difficult. In the midst of that though, I had a lot of fun and was inspired by the other dancers in that room! Check out what we learned and please don’t look for me but it might not be hard to find me, heh…

Kevin Garcia mentioned how dope Pharrell’s new album, Girl, is. Right after that class, I started listening to his album and I must say, it is dope! There’s a new taste to his style that I’m really digging!

K-Gar aka Kevin Garcia said that he’s more on the quiet side but when you see him dance, you definitely see his personality come out. Watch his group audition in the video below. He’s the one who starts on the right side.

I hope Kevin Garcia teaches more in the future! I’m looking forward to seeing him perform live and on YouTube!