Thursday, February 28, 2013

I EAT: BluePrint Juice Cleanse

Or should I say "I DRINK: Blueprint Juice Cleanse"? As those of you who follow me on Instagram know, I decided to jump aboard the juice cleanse bandwagon and give up solid foods for three days. I've had a lot of questions about my experience so I thought I'd dedicate a post to it.

First things first, selection. When I was asking around for recommendations, the three brands that kept popping up were BluePrint, Cooler Cleanse, and Organic Avenue. There are so many articles out there comparing the three with regards to delivery logistics, flavor variety, calorie count, etc., but my personal priority was taste. Prior to this cleanse, I wasn't a fan of green juices; in my opinion, they all tasted like grass. So when I heard BluePrint had found a way to make "grass" delectable, the choice was clear. BluePrint has three different cleanses: the Renovation/Beginner, Foundation/Intermediate, and Excavation/Expert. The difficulty levels correspond to the amount of green juices in the regimen; the idea is that beginners might want to ease their way into juicing by chosing a regimen with more tasty fruit juices than green juices (all/mostly vegetable and thus containing less sugar). I decided to be daring and selected the Foundation/Intermediate Cleanse.

Second, logistics. BluePrint stresses the importance of fresh juices, so upon delivery, you get three days' worth. My cleanse lasted for three days so that worked perfectly, but if you chose a longer duration, you'll have to schedule multiple deliveries. Once you get them, stick them in the fridge to keep them cool! And if they aren't evenly-colored or the solid bits fall to the bottom, don't get too grossed out; they're fresh juices so that's natural. Each cleanse consists of six juices per day, to be consumed in regular intervals throughout the day, the last two hours before heading to bed.

Third, flavors. The daily Foundation cleanse menu consists of the same green juice three times a day, two different fruit juices, and a protein "juice" to round the day off. The green juice is a cocktail of salad ingredients- romaine, celery, cucumber, spinach, kale, and parsley- sweetened with apple and lemon. It wasn't love at first sip, but a quarter of the way through my first bottle, I found myself warming up to it. It tasted refreshing, light, and downright healthy without the expected unsettling grassy flavor. If green juices aren't exactly up your alley, try gulping it down when its fresh out of the fridge; for some reason, I find the cold helps with the taste. The two fruit juices are masterpieces. I sincerely wish BluePrint would stock them at Duane Reades throughout the city. The first is pineapple, apple, and mint. The second is my ultimate favorite- lemonade with a cayenne pepper kick. The last juice in the regimen is actually a milk, cashew milk with vanilla and cinnamon. Many of my friends that did the BluePrint Cleanse fell madly in love with the cashew milk, but I found it overwhelmingly sweet. Matter of personal preference.

Last notes. The thought of giving up solid food for days may seem daunting, but six juices a day ended up being more than enough to keep me full. That said, you can still unknowingly trick yourself into thinking you're hungry. For people like myself, who regularly snack, the feeling of hunger is connected to the physical act of eating; so during the cleanse, I found myself craving food more than usual because I was restraining myself from an essentially reflexive act. But that's part of the benefit of going on a juice cleanse. It can break bad habits, re-training you to listen to your body, to know when to fuel up and when to lay off the unnecessary binge-eating. Which, in turn, is a sustainable way to make one's diet more amenable to weight loss and an infinitely more reasonable approach than expecting to drop a pant size after three days of juicing. Slow and steady, people.

Annnndddd, I think that's it. Hope that was helpful for anyone considering starting a juice cleanse of their own. Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I EAT: More Seafood at Durgin-Park!

Last Boston post, last post on my winter break travels, and here we are at another centuries-old Bostonian seafood restaurant! Like the Union Oyster House, Durgin-Park is actually situated along the Freedom Trail, in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. We happened to tumble into the restaurant awkwardly early for dinner so we had the place to ourselves. But once the dinner rush started, Durgin-Park transformed into a large, lively seafood picnic.

More after the jump!



Sunday, February 24, 2013

I EAT: Union Oyster House

After walking the Freedom Trail, my friend T took me to the Union Oyster House for dinner. The Union Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in Boston, its upper floors once home to Louis Phillipe who later returned to France to become king. More recently, it's home to some of the best seafood in town.

More after the jump!


Friday, February 22, 2013

I GO: Walking Boston's Freedom Trail

We're at the last leg of my winter break posts! And I can honestly say I'm excited to be able to start blogging somewhat contemporaneously again. My January trip to Boston was my first visit ever. And, excitingly enough (though I'm not a football fan), it coincided with the New England Patriots' game against the Baltimore Ravens, the game that decided who would proceed to the Super Bowl! The Ravens won, but I still found it fun watching the Bostonians get patriotic over the Patriots. See what I did there? 

My friend T decided to introduce me to Boston by walking the Freedom Trail, a brick line that connects Boston's historical landmarks. The blog's been food-heavy lately, so I decided to start by sharing a few snippets from this stroll. Although then it's back to the unavoidable "I EAT" programming, I'm afraid, since I spent most of my time in Boston (and recently, my time here in NY) eating really good food. In fact, even at the end of this post, you see one food-related non-Freedom Trail landmark: Mike's Pastry, which serves up famously mean cannolis. That's right, mean.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I EAT: Red and Blue Velvet Pancakes

Last LA post and I'm almost done sharing all my pictures from winter break! I know, I know, about time; it's basically spring!

One sunny morning in LA, my mom managed to drag me out of bed early enough to eat breakfast. Based on dietary habits alone, her and I should be from different planets. My mother eats like a goat. I, on the other hand, seem to have a second stomach for the stampede of desserts I manage to inhale daily. Which was why Larchmont Bungalow was the perfect breakfast spot. She could order an egg white omelet with sauteed spinach, grilled zucchini and asparagus, and fresh goat cheese, served with wholewheat toast and fresh fruits. I could order the infamous red and blue velvet pancakes.

A few words about the pancakes: they are stupendously mindblowingly lifechanging. More cake than pancake but perfectly crisp on the outside. Topped with a dollop of cream cheese spread, walnuts, and powdered sugar. I ordered the half-size and found myself unable to finish the plate, but I tend to be a "gajillion of mini meals a day" type of gal.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

I EAT: James' Beach Fish Tacos

As far as seafood goes, when I'm in LA, it's all about sushi. But, seeing as how James' Beach's mahi mahi tacos are A-list culinary celebrities, my friend G and I decided to make the trip out to Venice Beach to try them out.

James' Beach's ambiance is decidedly beachy, for lack of a better word. Airy, casual, and bright. The perfect place to grab lunch before spending the day strolling Venice Beach. The Fontina mac & cheese with a gruyere crust and light sprinkling of chives was killer, albeit incredibly filling. But to be very honest, I found the fish tacos underwhelming. Our mahi mahi was overly dry, a meal killer because- let's face it- if the star's a dud, the whole shebang's a dud. That said, I'm inclined to cede that my dining experience might have been an unfortunate exception. After all, deluges swear by James' Beach. If you happen to drop by for a meal, let me know what you thought of it.

And, in the meantime, enjoy the pictures after the jump! You gotta give it to the fish taco- it's certainly photogenic!


Friday, February 15, 2013

I GO: Hey, Hollywood!

After the biting cold English weather, I couldn't have been more excited to fly to LA for some sun and family bonding. Since I can remember, LA has felt like a home away from home. My parents met in college there and, despite moving away after graduation, boomeranged back every chance they could, kids and all. I grew up snoozing in the backseat while we flew down freeways, eating at hole-in-the-wall Asian eateries, and watching the 9 PM fireworks at Disneyland. But since studying abroad and moving to New York, I hadn't ventured back to Southern California.

So during my first visit to LA in nearly 2 years, I decided to head up to the Hollywood Bowl Overlook off Mulholland Drive. In Manhattan, the best view is from the top of a skyscraper (Top of the Rock > Empire State, in my opinion). In LA, the best view is from the top of a tall, weedy hill, at the apex of a steep but lovely hike. Fitting. Yes, from the Hollywood Bowl Overlook the Hollywood sign is irritatingly far (though clearly visible), but there's no better vantage point for marveling at the way LA seems to sprawl infinitely in every direction. A jumbling mess as wide as the blue above it.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

I GO: Turning 22 (London Video)

My my, has it been a full week since my last entry? Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Hope you're spending this splendidly cheesy holiday surrounded by love. Sorry for blocking off comments for the last few posts; for some reason, Blogger kept deleting all the comments I approved so it made more sense to turn the function off until it was, well, functioning. Hopefully, that time is NOW on THIS POST.

I realize I never did a "happy birthday to me" blog post this year! So for those of you that don't already know, here is the big announcement: I am now 22 (and have been for over a month)! I've decided 22's a strange age, because as often as I feel young and fresh, I feel older than I really am. Partly because I'm simply no longer 21. And partly because I'm in my 20s- that mythical time when one's supposed to live too fast and burn too bright- and yet happily opt to curl up in bed with "Doctor Who" re-runs rather than bust out my party heels. Grandma status. But I suppose that's also the sweetest part of the deal, of "growing up". You get to admit you'd rather be happy than be a "cool kid".

Enjoy the video! And to check out all my London blog posts (from my year abroad and my recent trip) individually, just use my nifty map index.


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Thursday, February 7, 2013

I GO: Portobello Road

One of my favorite London spots is a large tourist trap: Portobello Market.  Portobello Market always reminds of Ariel from The Little Mermaid's treasure trove of human gizmos. To some, it's a packed road lined with vendors peddling teetering jumbles of overpriced trash. To others, myself included, it's a goldmine of surprising deals, food stalls, and one-of-a-kind antique trinkets. When I was living in London, I spent many Saturdays shuffling up and down the street, finding some new treasure every visit. This visit was no exception.

In a hidden corner of a gallery whose entrance was completely blocked by a street stall, I found an antique book salesman with a 16th century copy of Justinian's Civil Code printed in Lyon. A smidgeon of background information to clarify why this had me so awestruck. In the 6th century, the Byzantine emperor Justinian issued the first major codification of Roman law, solidifying the concept of law as an institution and body of rules to be uniformly applied. Coming out of the Middle Ages in the 11th century, the re-discovery of Justinian's Corpus Juris Civilis sparked a renaissance of Roman law. And though leading up to the 19th century Napoleonic codification that forms the basis for most modern civil law systems, humanism, the Enlightenment, and a whole host of other social and intellectual movements heavily influenced the civil law tradition, an argument can be made that it all started with the Corpus Juris Civilis. Kind of a big deal. Well, to a law student anyways.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump! 


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I EAT: Meringue Girls

Just a short "I EAT" post! As you probably know, I have a massive sweet tooth. So when I heard about Meringue Girls and their adorable creations, I dragged my friend B to the Harvey Nichols food hall to try them out. I got one in every flavor- blueberry, pistachio, 70% chocolate, raspberry, orange, and coconut- and gobbled them down in under a minute. My favorite of the bunch was the raspberry meringue; the slight sourness of the fruit gently cut through all the sugar. Perfect combination. 

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

I GO: Little Venice (in London)

One of my favorite things about London is how distinct each of its neighborhoods feel. Not unlike New York, moving from post code to post code, you can sometimes feel like you're city-hopping. So on a dreary day, when most things were still shut for the winter holidays, my friend B and I decided to go wandering in an area of north London neither of us had been to before- Little Venice. In terms of ambiance, appearance, and well everything, it's a far cry from its namesake city. But if you're looking for a picturesque spot in London to perch and girltalk, it's perfect.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Friday, February 1, 2013

I WEAR: Chillin' like a Villain

I have a confession: come winter weather, I give up on dressing well altogether. My go-to fall combinations provide insufficient insulation so I'm forced to layer up to the point where I look/feel like the Michelin man. And while a chunky knit might allow for the skipping of a layer, I find I'm unable to wear a chunky knit without looking, well, chunky. I like to blame this inability on the fact that I grew up in Southeast Asia, where winter doesn't exist and there was therefore never a reason to practice the art of dressing for biting winds, icy rain, and impending frostbite. But the more likely truth is the cold makes me lazy.

All this is just a roundabout way of saying outfit posts may be sparse until spring weather comes around. But in the meantime, here's my attempt at a winter outfit post! Taken in Battersea Park on a not-so-cold winter day. 

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


I GO: Random International's Rain Room

After spending the day strolling East London, my friend B and I decided to head to the Barbican to check out Random International's Rain Room exhibit. In a nutshell, the Rain Room is a large space from whose ceiling a heavy downpour of "rain" falls. As you walk through the room, the rain strategically stops, crashing down everywhere except where you're standing. 

The wait was horrendously long- about 2 hours, as forewarned on the website- but the exhibit is free and, for a few minutes, you get to feel like Moses parting the Red Sea. Apparently it works best if you're wearing lighter-colored clothing, but even with my dark wardrobe, I managed to circle around the room, flowers and all, without getting indecently wet. A strangely empowering experience. Now if only it worked that way in real life.

Enjoy the pictures (and video) after the jump!


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