Monthly Archives: November 2015

Wine Tasting

I hope everyone has had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend! I just got back from Napa!

Friday in Napa was my first wine tasting experience! After a room service breakfast, we stopped at Ross for our annual shopping trip there. The Ross in Napa is by far superior to other Ross’s. For lunch we headed across the street to the Genova Delicatessen-if you’re ever in Napa I highly recommend stopping in! The egg salad is to die for. For my meal I had a hunk of Polenta plus some egg salad and veggie sides.


After lunch, we headed to Yountville to visit Domain Chandon, which makes sparkling wine (not technically champagne because it’s not made in Champagne, France).

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We went on a tour that included a tasting. On the tour we got to see the big vats where the grapes are squeezed, and learn about the champagne process from grape to bottling.


Then, it was tasting time! We got to try 4 different varieties. I’m doing my best to learn some wine descriptor words so it was nice to have a side by side comparison!

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My favorite was the etoile rosé.


My Black Friday shopping consisted of taking advantage of the 50% off champagne sale!

After tasting, we headed back to Napa to Oxbow market downtown. My favorite place, the arepa place, is not longer there, but I was excited to try the gluten free bakery! I and the avocado smash on gluten free sourdough and it was perfect.

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For dessert, I tried lemon vanilla bean tea cake and chocolate cake. Both were good but not exceptional-the sourdough was definitely the star of the show.

On Saturday morning, I was up early to run the resort grounds in frigid temperatures. So worth it-the run is beautiful! It’s a nice fish mile loop around the property. After breakfast, my mom and I had some spa treatments. My 21st birthday present was wine tasting and spa treatments in Napa, and we finally made it out a little over 6 months later! I started with a massage, which was fantastic. You never realize how sore you actually are! Then I had my first ever facial. It was definitely a different experience, but my skin felt completely different afterwords. I definitely understand that people glow after a facial!


After our treatments, we drove to St. Helena for lunch.


We stop in St. Helena any time we come to Napa ( and we come every year for Thanksgiving). One of my favorite restaurants is the St. Helena Bistro for their avocado salad.

As an appetizer, we shared a grilled artichoke and had wine to go around because when in Napa!


My main course was clearly avocado salad. I added chicken this time for a little more protein. The salad is so simple but has the freshest flavors. It’s simply lettuce with fresh mozzarella, avocado, quality olive oil, and sea salt.


In St. Helena, we stopped in a pet store for adorable toys for my puppy (she likes really loud things and already loves her squaking rubber chicken) and into Olivier for olive oil and tapenade tasting (including their amazing lemon curds and caramel sauces!) One of the main St. Helena stops was Woodhouse Chocolates for amazing Belgian style chocolates. The flavors are so unique and fresh, and the mint tastes exactly like fresh mint leaves.


Then, it was time for wine tasting! We decided to stop into a winery in St. Helena that we’ve passed many times, distinctive because it has a giant sparkly rabbit structure in front.

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The winery had a very modern style, and the fall views were beautiful.

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Their specialties are red wine. I tend to prefer white wine, but I did my best to appreciate the high quality wine we were tasting! The first was a chardonnay, which was my favorite, but the next 4 were reds.

While I may not be a wine connoisseur just yet, I can appreciate that this was in a different universe from the last red wine I had, 2 Buck Chuck (which is quite offensive to the taste buds).


I could appreciate the $125 wine, but I don’t think I’m quite sophisticated enough yet to enjoy it as much as whites. I loved the big flawless glasses though!

We managed to time our trip perfectly and make it back to our room in time for the Stanford Notre Dame game. We ordered room service for dinner, and were on the edge of our seats the entire time. The game was intense, with a small lead being passed around. The end was epic-we lost our lead to a controversial touchdown in the last minute, and had the ball back with just 30 seconds to go. Stanford drove down the field and we made a long field goal to win it in the last seconds of the game! AHH! GO STANFORD!

To celebrate, we broke out the champagne bought the day prior. Cardinal (red) sparkly to celebrate the win!


On Sunday morning we returned home. It wasn’t quite back to reality yet-my mom and I attended a holiday shopping faire at a historic house that was totally decked out for the holidays.

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The decorations were beautiful, and it was a great way to enjoy the house and get into the Christmas spirit!

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We came home with a few items (most notable is a squirrel ornament) and lots of holiday cheer!

Dinner was at Whole Foods, where we picked out a tree. I highly highly recommend their trees. They stay fresh longer than any lot tree and are luscious and beautiful.


Our tree is going to be decorated a bit differently this year. We switched to mostly unbreakable ornaments when my fairly agile cats were young, but this year we’re going to go ornament-less because of a certain puppy who loves putting things in her mouth and carrying them around. I have visions of a knocked over tree as a result. The plan is to do lights and maybe wrap a big ribbon around. Possibly some big flowers. Any suggestions?

But now it’s back to reality. I’m at school and already sweating over the amount I have to do in the next 11 days before Christmas Break!

Have you ever been wine tasting? What’s your favorite type of wine?

Thanksgiving Week

Hello! I’m currently in Napa. My parents are watching basketball-not really my thing. I’m all about baseball! But the Warriors are currently making history so that’s cool.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I’ve had a great week so far.

Tuesday I picked up my Turkey Trot bib!


I also went to home Crossfit, which is always fun! The WOD was a length chipper: 100 double unders, 50 deadlifts (95#), 50 burpees, 50 kb swings.

For dinner, we had a crockpot meal-chicken caccitore! Served over a bed of spinach.


I also made some persimmon bread. I used my classic banana bread recipe, but substituted 6 peeled and blended persimmons.

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Wednesday was spent at a killer spin class, and then relaxing with my kitty. He’s a fan of my heated blanket!


For dinner, we made salad with persimmons and goat cheese, and then a spaghetti squash “macaroni” and cheese. Topped with lightly roasted tomatoes and basil.

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My Thanksgiving began with a 10k Turkey Trot! This is my 3rd year doing the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. It’s the biggest in the world!


It was quite chilly-low 30s on the drive up. I came prepared.


A minute before the race started, I dropped my layers minus some ear warmers and gloves.


This race was fun! I tried to keep a pace that was challenging but not so uncomfortable that the race wouldn’t be fun. 2 days ago I realized I ran this race 2 minutes faster than I had been thinking. I remembered 1/3 of the way into the race was that was because my last 10k over the summer was at that slower pace! I realized this as I was cruising at a much faster pace than that haha.

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30 seconds faster than last year-I’ll take it!

After the race, we had a snack and then cleaned up before heading up to Napa.

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We met my grandpa and uncle there, and then it was time for the buffet!

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The highlight, as always, was the butternut squash soup. It’s ridiculously creamy and tastes just like fall. My salad plate featured vegetarian sushi, beet salad which I added goat cheese to, and some cheeses with grapes and honey.

I didn’t catch a picture of my main plain but I has some turkey, mashed potatoes, a taste of sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and roasted carrots.

Dessert was exciting as always.

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My dessert was the inside of white chocolate cranberry cheesecake, the inside of pumpkin pie, chocolate covered strawberries, and a little chocolate cup with raspberry mousse.


After the big meal, we gelled out in our hotel room watching The Good Wife.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?

Puppy Photo Shoot

My Friday afternoon was spent doing a little photo shoot in the quad with my little psycho puppy. Puppy-ish. She looks like  dog now-so grown up!

For this post, I’m going to go over weekend things and then do a little puppy photo dump at the end.


Friday night, I went to my school’s annual performance where we make fun of Cal, our rivals. Saturday was our rival game. I think pretty much every group on our campus is also made fun of, and it’s a good time. So crazy this is my last one though! I also got a free facial with my sister. She won one at a bridal fair, and I got to try all kinds of new skin care products. My skin care routine is very basic-soap-and it made me think about taking better care of my skin in the future. Friday also consisted of me sort of learning to salsa (not well).

Saturday was very low key thanks to Thanksgiving break. I finally made it out for a run around noon, and did a 6.4 mile route in preparation for the turkey trot. I looked at my post from last year…apparently I ran it 2 minutes faster than I had remembered, which means I have to run it fast again this year….although we’ll see. Overall I’m faster than a year ago but I’ll see how I’m feeling. Saturday night was the big game! It was fun and we won! I also stopped by a tailgate beforehand.

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^Obnoxious snap sent to Cal friends.


Sunday morning started with a quick workout-6x200m on the track, abs, and some good mornings. Quick and efficient! Then, I headed home for break. The highlight of the day was heading up to SF to watch a tree lighting a Pier 39. It was an absolutely beautiful night-not too cold!

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On the way, I stopped at the Ferry Building for some gluten free goods: focaccia and ginger molasses cookies!

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The lighting itself was quite festive! Beforehand, a mariachi band played which was awesome. There were disney characters there, and they along with another group sang to light the tree.

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What a fun way to start Thanksgiving break!

Monday morning started with a workout at a nearby college-stairs. I did single leg hops, jumps, and running up the stairs. It’s been a while, and my legs were absolute jello, to the point it was hard to drink because my legs were shaking!

It was a pretty low key day-I spent some time with a new book, a purring kitty, and a heated blanket.


That evening I taught my Thanksgiving spin class. For Thanksgiving, I go all out. I showed up to teach in a turkey hat.

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I wore it for about a quarter of the class. It quickly became sweaty and itchy, and was about ready to fly away. For the class itself, I continued with the Thanksgiving theme. I decided to simulate a Thanksgiving day. A turkey trot, mimosas, then a trip to the grocery. At the grocery, we had to battle crowds in order to grab the last turkey in the store. Carrying a 20 lb turkey, we made the heavy trek home. At home, we played a little football (we were wide receivers), and then made mashed potatoes. Finally, dinner was served and we were able to enjoy the fruits of our labors, along with dessert (I played the song Dessert by Dawin), and then it was time to slow it down. Food coma, or the calm after the storm. A chance to reflect on this special day, to let go of stress, to just be.

After class, I stopped at jamba juice for a pumpkin smash smoothie. This is like half ice cream, but it’s one of my favorite pumpkin items of the season!


After that, I had softball playoffs in the frigid weather. Unfortunately, we lost the quarter finals and didn’t advance.

And finally-as promised, puppy overload! All photos courtesy of my fantastic roommate.

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New Fitness Routine

Hello! Look at this-back again already! Guess what? I’m officially on Thanksgiving break! To be fair my week was pretty low-key so it’s not THAT big of a deal but still.

I want to do some fitness updates today. And catch up on food. We’re losing our chef. Again. The new one ended up begin really good after adapting to the needs of the house, but now he’s leaving for a different job. So the search begins again.

In essays, I know you’re never actually supposed to flat out say the structure of how you’re going to prove an argument, but I’m still going to go right out and say-this is the structure of today’s post: Fitness thoughts with food pictures interspersed. Because I have lots of food pictures an don fitness pictures.


Is this not just the most amazing thing ever?? I went back to my favorite coffeeshop for the first time this year after a track workout and was treated to this. 

After half marathon training, I was tired. I felt like I had 1000 aches and pains, and I was tired a lot. I felt like my body was put under a lot of stress (um, because it was). At the same time, I was rehabbing my shoulder. Prior to even hurting it, I felt like I had a lot of tightness/tiny aches building up.


Carrot ginger soup with gluten free ciabatta.

When I first returned to Crossfit, back when my shoulder was really touchy, I was really careful not to overdo it. After my half, I decided to make some changes. I want to be the fittest I can be, but I also want to be the fittest I can be for the longest time. I started to realize that I can’t put so much stress on my body. If I want to be running half marathons in 10 years, I need to put in fewer footsteps now.

Example A: Last summer (1.5 years ago to clarify), I was in pretty great shape. I ran a TON. I was half marathon training, and adding other running workouts on top of that. The result? I DEMOLISHED my feet. I could barely walk for a while. My half was far slower than it should have been. I had to take a while off of running completely, and my feet were still a problem for a long time afterwards. This year? I’m not overdoing the running, and my feet have essentially not been a problem (plus I’ve gotten better shoes).


Gluten free veggie panini and vegetable soup with my parents after seeing The Martian.

After my October half, I took it easy with the running. I ran consistently, but I didn’t follow a schedule. I fell in love with my 2.5 mile loop. As a result, it was casual and since my half I’ve been able to run whenever I want, without worrying about hurting myself. At the same time, I’ve also been doing lots of track workouts. Distance wise, they’re nothing. But in terms of intensity…man. (Sidenote-I’m officially done with my class project, and I will do a full write up of that.)


This was make your own burritos-I did a salad. Guac=life. 

Additionally, I decided I would only go to Crossfit 3x a week. My shoulder doesn’t need more than this, and my joints don’t either. Every week, I go online and pick and choose which workouts I want to do most (which will be better for my shoulder and which lifts I should practice more), and then go on those days. I don’t need to go every day-I do enough other things.

And honestly? My body feels so much better. My runs don’t feel sluggish. I feel strong. I’m not less fit-there are some things I definitely still want to work on and improve, but with a well-scheduled week of workouts I can do that without stressing my body.


BBQ chicken over a salad with ranch+gluten free toast.

There are times when I feel like I can push myself more and want to do more-which is great! I just have to be smart about how I’m going about it. I want to get some more rowing in. Maybe more spin. Stick to track workouts. It’s all about efficiency and getting the more out of less!

Since this seems relevant-here’s my week of workouts thus far!

Monday: AM run 4 miles, PM teach spin+softball

Tuesday: AM timed 400m trial (plus 800m warm up), PM Crossfit:

At 0:00, 9:00, 18:00, 27:00, 36:00

5 Box Jump Over
200m Sprint
7 Thruster (95/75)
12 Cal Row

Wednesday: AM 5 mile run, PM teach spin+softball

Thursday: AM Crossfit (This one was killer):

5 Min AMRAP @85%-90% x 5 rest 3 between sets

Round 1, 3, 5

4 Burpee
8 Push Press
12 KBS

Round 2, 4

4 No Push Up Burpee
8 Front Squat
24 Double Under

Friday: AM Crossfit:

A: Back Squat @21×1 – 75-80% x 2 x 5; rest 2-3 min
B: BB Reverse Lunge – 6-8/leg alternating x 3; rest 2
Alternate OTM x 12

5 DB Row/side
30s Hollow Rock
In 40s – 15 squats + double under

I may do a short little run this evening, or may walk the pup (she’s visiting). Saturday or Sunday will probably be a rest day-depending on how I’m feeling/what my schedule is each day. I want to get a longish run in one of those days though because I’m doing a 10k on Thanksgiving and I haven’t done more than 5 miles in a while (aka my half).

What does your week of workouts look like?

Pineapple Zucchini Bread

So here’s the thing. Apparently I’ve been withholding a recipe from you guys. Since…the summer. I made it right before coming back to school. I think I originally intended to tweak it, but after eating it from the freezer for the past few months, I think it’s finally about time I shared it!

This was made during my quick bread frenzy at the end of summer. I was DYING to try a pineapple zucchini bread healthified (aka with my banana bread recipe that I use as a base for everything).

So here it is!



2 bananas, mashed

1 c pineapple puree (lightly chopped in a food processor or blender)

1 c grated zucchini

1/4 c honey

1 t cinnamon

1 t vanilla

1 egg

2 T oil (I used avocado)

1 t salt

1 t baking soda

1/2 t baking powder

1.5 c flour (I used a gluten free blend)


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix all ingredients together and pout into a 4×8 loaf pan.
  3. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center does out clean!