7 Things I’m Loving Lately (Spring Edition!)

Hi everyone! Happy Tuesday morning :)

This past weekend in NYC was absolutely beautiful. We took advantage by having a nice picnic in Central Park with some friends who were visiting from out of town. I packed a big tupperware of my go-to kale salad, made green smoothies for everyone, and together we walked to the park and laid out a picnic blanket and relaxed for most of Sunday afternoon. Feeling the sun on my skin after a very long, brutal winter was amazing!

In anticipation of spring, I’ve been playing around with all kinds of new produce, ingredients, and products. Below are the 7 things that rocking my world lately. I hope you give them a try too, and of course, let me know what you think!

Asparagus

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Now that asparagus season is officially ON, I can’t wait to make one of my favorite pizzas, asparagus pizza. Only this time, to veganize it, I will omit the cheese and try making it more like a flat bread. Another way I want to enjoy it is by making use of my mandoline and thinly slicing asparagus into ribbons and tossing with good olive oil, lemon juice, pinenuts, sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Do you guys have any good asparagus recipes to share? :)

MD Solar Sciences Mineral Creme Broad Spectrum SPF 50

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This sunscreen has knocked my previous favorite sunscreen (by Clarins) out of the park. I am very particular about sunscreens: they must absorb instantly, provide a physical block (versus a chemical one), and have a non-greasy, matte finish. This one not only meets all of those criteria, but it also moisturizes, repairs, and goes on silky smooth. And at $30 for 1.7 oz, a little goes a long way. Also important to note: this sunscreen is ”rated among the top broad spectrum sunscreens by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) and carry the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Approval.”

Sonoma Farms Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

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I recently picked up two jars of this coconut oil from TJ Maxx and I am obsessed with it! I put in a tablespoon in my green smoothies every morning, I add a tablespoon to my frying pan and make delicious coconut infused stir fries with it, I add a teaspoon to my morning vegan overnight oats, I dab some on my lips and other dry parts of my skin and massage it in for super soft skin… the possibilities are endless. It adds a deep, creamy, rich and nutty coconut flavor to everything!

Mary’s Gone Crackers

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I know I am very late in the game to be discovering the awesomeness of these crackers just now, but OMG they are delicious! My sister has been eating these for ages but I never had any interest. I just don’t like dry, crumbly foods such as crackers, but when I saw these were on sale at Whole Foods (2 for $7) I decided to give the black pepper and onion flavors a try. One bite and I was smitten. It is not dry or crumbly at all, in fact it is full of rich, nutty flavors that would go well with everything. So far I’ve dipped it in hummus and almond butter, crumbled it over savory oatmeal and soups, topped it with olive tapenade and cherry tomatoes for a quick entertaining appetizer, etc. I’m pretty sure this will be a new staple in our household!

Running

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Since I quit Physique 57, I’ve been running everyday. When I was younger, I used to run quite a bit and I really enjoyed it. However, since grad school and discovering group fitness classes, I’ve completely stopped. I definitely enjoy the dynamic of group fitness, I find it very motivating. But sometimes it’s nice to just do your own thing, and running definitely fits that bill. So far I’ve been running 4 miles everyday, with Sunday as a rest day. My average mph started at about 9 min 45 sec per mile, now it is down to 9 minutes. I am very happy with my progress and I always look forward to a good run after a long day! I am thinking about signing up for a half marathon in NYC, does anyone have a good one they recommend?

Equinox

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Also along the lines of fitness, I absolutely LOVE Equinox. My whole gripe with P57 (aside from the very bad customer service @ reception) is that the same old fitness routine got very boring after nearly two years and I felt like my body wasn’t responding the way I wanted it to. It was often stiff and I would have bad leg and back pains from too much barre work. Equinox interested me because they have a variety of yoga, cycling, pilates, stretching, barre, zumba, and kickboxing classes, just to name a few. And those classes are rarely waitlisted so you can always pop by last minute, even after the class starts, which is great for people with busy, unpredictable schedules! P57 used to charge a $30 penalty if you didn’t show up to a class or were late!! Also, there are tons of machines at your disposal and there is never a wait for a certain machine. Other great amenities include great towel service (there is a fridge full of cold, refreshing towels soaked in eucalyptus oil – amazing after a long run!), two free sessions with a personal trainer, a spacious and clean women’s locker room complete with Kiehl’s products (shampoo, conditioner and body lotion), and my personal favorite: saunas and steam rooms, which I take advantage of every night after my workout. It is such a treat for my sore muscles and so very relaxing.

Spinach, Pineapple, Mint and Kale Juice

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Inspired by a drink at Juice Generation, Get Your Green On, this is my new favorite juice for warmer weather. Refreshing, naturally sweet, and invigorating, I usually make one after a good workout on the weekends. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 spring mint
  • 5 large kale leaves, de-stemmed
  • 1 large handful spinach
  • 1 granny smith apple, core removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 pineapple, roughly chopped

Instructions:

  1. Juice everything in the order listed above. Alternatively, if you don’t have a juicer, you can blend all of the ingredients and pour content through a sieves. Enjoy!

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this and are even more excited about Spring and the warmer weather to come!

Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Love,
Ting

Photo credits: Smitten Kitchen (asparagus pizza), Sephora (MD Solar Science SPF 50), Sonoma Harvest (coconut oil), Mary’s Crackers, NYC City Pudding (running), Equinox, Juice Generation (Get Your Green On Juice)

A Most Trying Month

New-York-spring

Hi everyone!

Yes, I am still alive.

I am very, deeply sorry for the prolonged absence. To say that this was a stressful and frustrating month is an understatement. It definitely put my patience to the test and forced me to manage my time in a completely different manner. And quite honestly, it really drained me and left me with very little to give back outside of work.

To make a long story short, I started on a project that is very unpleasant in every aspect, from the people to the actual work involved. After this past business trip, things got to a breaking point for me. I decided to take drastic action that resulted in exactly what I wanted. A lot of changes will be happening, all good ones, so there is indeed a bright light at the end of this tunnel.

Some key career lessons I learned throughout this trying month:

  • If you’re struggling, say something. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to be viewed as a complainer or weak employee who couldn’t get things done, so I just sucked it up and did it. Speak up if you feel overwhelmed, don’t just suck it up. Nobody will view you as a complainer, in fact you are doing them a favor by pointing these things out.
  • Be honest about your aspirations. I started with this company in a finance and supply chain role because of my background, but this sort of work was never my passion. I took the role because it was a way to get my foot in the door in the beauty and cosmetics industry. I figured I could do this role for a year or so and then reapply to a creative product marketing role, but I had never shared my goals with management because it didn’t seem feasible. Boy was I wrong. Things are not always as institutionalized as they seem. It’s true, the more senior you get, the more difficult it is to completely change career paths. But if you show that you are capable, adaptable, hard-working, and reasonable, people will take notice and help you to create that path.
  • In with the good, out with the bad. There are so many, many, many, many, bad, horrible things I’ve had to endure throughout this project that literally brought me to a breaking point. Even though I’ve been given a really great alternate path, it doesn’t start until a couple months later. I’ve still got to wrap this whole mess up, which feels unbearable, because I am so over it. But there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. There always HAS to be. If you don’t see one, create one. And focus on it. Do not spend a second of your time thinking about the bad situations or people that you’ve encountered. Feel sorry for them and move on. In with the good, out with the bad!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to lately and why I haven’t been blogging. I felt very bad about completely neglecting the blog, but as you can sense from this post, I was not in a good place.

Now that things have more or less been “resolved” and I am a more mature person for it, I feel back to my old self again :) Happy Ting is waaaaaaay better than Pist-off Ting, I am sure Tats would agree ;)

Even throughout this very trying month, there were some highlights, such as my travels throughout Europe and the chance to take a vegan cooking class at the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe, Hiltl. I have sooo many blog ideas and posts I want to share, they’ve just been accumulating inside my head and now it is about to burst!!!

The first of these ideas? I want to have a challenge for each month of the year. Whether it be around fitness goals, healthier eating, or overcoming certain fears, I want to do one thing each day to make these challenges manageable and conquerable. This month of April, my challenge is career happiness. In addition to the steps I took to move my career in a happier direction, I will continue to do one thing each day to further it along and share it on the blog. Please join me on this challenge and leave a comment about what you did and how you did it!

Well, this was a looong post. Thank you for reading it all the way to the end! I really must get going now.

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday, and see you tomorrow!

Love,
Ting

Photo credits: Spring time in NYC (NY PR Girls)

Paris + Feusisberg

Hi everyone! Happy Wednesday!

I just learned that my subscribers were not properly migrated from my old website to my new one, so you may have missed some of my recent posts. Everything is working properly now, so you should be able to see updates as they come in – yay! :)

Moving forward: I’m here in Feusisberg, Switzerland awaiting my room service salad and catching up on my favorite sites. It’s been a very, very busy couple of days.

First, let me say that I absolutely LOVED my weekend in Paris! Not only was it gorgeous weather out, the two colleagues I traveled with got along naturally and we had a fantastic time. One of them has a very nice SLR camera and took tons of photos which she will be sharing, so I will be sure to update with photos.

In the meantime, here are some iPhone pictures I took from the trip:

At the Louvre

At the Louvre

With my colleague, whose name is Ling :)

With my colleague, whose name is Ling :)

A fancy dining room in Versailles

A fancy dining room in Versailles

Sacre Couer - I went to mass there with my colleagues who are Catholic. It was SUCH  a beautiful day + view!

Sacre Couer – I went to mass there with my colleagues who are Catholic. It was SUCH a beautiful day + view!

A most charming building. Dream apartment!

A most charming building. Dream apartment!

At our favorite restaurant in Montmatre: La Balancoire!

At our favorite restaurant in Montmatre: La Balancoire! Here we are astonished over a fork that floats mid-air. Actually it is done through magnets.

The cute and affordable wine menu

The cute and affordable wine menu

Cheers~!

Cheers~!

My colleague got braised leeks with grainy dijon mustard and a poached egg. I tried a leek - it was amazing!

My colleague got braised leeks with grainy dijon mustard and a poached egg. I tried a leek – it was amazing!

Another colleague got a sampler plate of 3 appetizers: coconut curry risotto, red pepper soup, and pate.

Another colleague got a sampler plate of 3 appetizers: coconut curry risotto, red pepper soup, and pate.

Another colleague got a baked potato with sausage, braised leeks, and fried potatoes.

Another colleague got a baked potato with sausage, braised leeks, and fried potatoes.

I got spiraled vegetables (zucchini and carrots), a baked eggplant, and potatoes. It was incredibly rich and tasty!

I got spiraled vegetables (zucchini and carrots), a baked eggplant, and potatoes. It was incredibly rich and tasty!

The [cute] water gave us a bottle of caramel chocolate vodka for dessert. LOL. So healthy.

The [cute] water gave us a bottle of caramel chocolate vodka for dessert. LOL. So healthy.

And of course we got our own desserts to share: creme brulee, tiramisu, and coconut papaya pudding (my fav!!)

And of course we got our own desserts to share: creme brulee, tiramisu, and coconut papaya pudding (my fav!!)

 

It was such a fun time!

After we left Paris on Sunday, we arrived in the early evening in Feusisberg, unpacked, and had a group dinner with 30 other colleagues. It was a nice but definitely a “working” dinner if ya know what I mean!

Since then, we’ve had non-stop orientation, group outings, and group dinners and rarely any private time. We actually had another group dinner planned for tonight in Rappersvill but I opted out. To say that our dinners are decadent is an understatement. 

Yesterday we went to La Casa Italian Restaurant in Feusisberg and amongst 7 people, we ordered 5 pizzas, 5 salads, 3 pastas, and drank 4 bottles of wine. This is just ONE example!

Luckily these dinners are not mandatory. Of course, they are fun and a great way to get to know your colleagues, but I just can’t do this every night. Instead, I ordered a salad, busted out my Whole Foods almonds, and am enjoying some solace while watching TV and blogging. I plan to go to the gym for a long run afterwards at the gym.

Check out these pictures I took of the hotel gym. There’s an infinity pool overlooking Lake Zurich connects to the inside of the hotel, several hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms. The gym itself is somewhat smaller than I remember, with only two treadmills, but it doesn’t seem like anyone uses it so there is never a wait!

Some relaxation beds by the pool

Some relaxation beds by the pool

Indoor pool that connects to the infinity pool outside

Indoor pool that connects to the infinity pool outside

This picture does not do the pool justice - it is huge!

This picture does not do the pool justice – it is huge!

Lounge chairs

Lounge chairs

The infinity pool

The infinity pool

More lounge chairs overlooking Lake Zurich

More lounge chairs overlooking Lake Zurich

The gym: only 2 treadmills!

The gym: only 2 treadmills!

A variety of weights

A variety of weights

Bikes!

Bikes!

Me sneaking in a photo

Me, sneaking in a photo

A fridge full of free waters, featuring sparkling, flat, and fruit flavored!

A fridge full of free waters, featuring sparkling, flat, and fruit flavored!

Check out this mint + rhubarb flavored sparking water. DELISH!

Check out this mint + rhubarb flavored sparkling water. DELISH!

 

All in all, things are going well. At least, definitely better than last time. I have a new attitude, more things to keep me company, and lots of colleagues who are all in the same boat, so we’re all in it together :)

How are you guys doing?

Goals while Travelling

Hi everyone! Happy Friday :)

I’m at the United Lounge in Newark Airport awaiting my flight to Paris.

My snacks of choice from the lounge

My snacks of choice from the lounge

 

My suitcase weighed in at 61 lbs, at least 10 lbs of which was food. LOL. I brought:

Oh, and I also have some clothes and shoes with me… ;)

Also, an update:

I cut bangs again!

I cut bangs again!

 

If you’re ever in NYC and want the name of a good but reasonably priced hair dresser, email me!

Moving forward: I have NO IDEA what we’ll be doing in Paris but my colleagues thankfully planned a few things. Question: how do you feel about leisurely travel with colleagues? I’ve actually never done it before and I was feeling anxious because at the end of the day, they are still people you work with and you can’t just do whatever. But, I’m trying this new thing called: don’t predict a situation before it happens. It could be (and will likely be) an amazing time for all, so I just need to chill :)

Anyhow, your personal life can take a backseat when travelling for work, as I know from many years of experience, and rather than always saying it, this time I want do this things differently, once and for all.

I have set some personal goals that I will do my very best to meet over the next three weeks. Instead of doing my weekly series, the week ahead, this will be more like, the next three weeks ahead :P

Daily Goals

  • Eat a big, green salad with protein every day for lunch
  • Eat a big vegetable plate with whole grains every day for dinner
  • Run for 45 minutes every evening after dinner
  • Weight train for 20 minutes every evening after dinner
  • Have protein drink every evening after workout
  • Stretch and do some light yoga for 15 minutes every evening before bed
  • Take a hot soak in the bath (with my new yogi bath oil from my goodie bag!)
  • Skype with Tats every evening before bed
  • Prepare overnight oats for breakfast every evening before bed
  • Read for at least 30 minutes every evening before bed
  • Jot down thoughts in journal when feeling stressed instead of internalizing it
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night

Weekly Goals

  • Skype with Mama & Baba every evening before bed
  • Blog at least 4-5 times/ week
    • Write product reviews for items in beauty goodie bag
    • Share pictures of daily meals and tips for how to eat a healthy, plant-based diet while travelling (don’t feel embarrassed of taking too many pictures!)
    • Share learnings from the week
  • Go for walks or runs outside the hotel on days when the weather permits
  • Attend group dinner at least once a week
  • Minimize drinking to 1-2 glasses of wine when eating out

Weekend Goals (when travelling with colleagues)

  • Wear comfortable shoes; this means no heels!
  • Low maintenance packing
  • Zero expectations or assumptions; just look forward to a good time
  • Organize and coordinate at least one or two meals; propose at least one of those meals be at a vegan restaurant!
  • Pack almonds, fruits, and Think Thin bars (at least 2) in purse (nothing is worse than a hangry Ting!)
  • No shopping, especially for shoes, even if it is the deal of the century (a shelf in my shoe closet recently collapsed due to sheer weight)
  • Make vegan choices at restaurants and don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed if it takes extra instruction or effort by the restaurant

WHEW. I tell you: once I start typing, the flood gates open!

I’ve got to get going now because I have an hour before my flight boards and I want to read my book, The Body Book, by my girl, Cameron D. I haven’t cracked it open yet but I am really excited to start reading, so it’s time to sign off.

See you all later, in Paris!!

Love,
Ting

Euro-Trip Packing List

Hi everyone! Happy Thursday :)

So I’m finally back in my office after a 3 day trip to Long Island. Let me tell you something: I feel so lucky to be able to walk to work in 10 minutes everyday. I do NOT like commuting by train!

It’s funny, I used to think I was the most flexible, adaptable, laid back person in the world who would say “sure!” to anything. Now that I’m older and am asked to do things like: take a train to work, or carry an ugly and bulky laptop shoulder bag, I get all worked up and cranky. LOL.

Anyhow, I take off for my month long business trip tomorrow and have decided this time to do some travelling on the weekends. After coordinating with other colleagues, my travel plans have finally been finalized:

  • 3/7 Friday – 3/10 Monday: Paris, France
  • 3/11 Tuesday – 3/14 Friday: Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3/15 – 3/16: Davos, Switzerland
  • 3/17 – 3/21: Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3/22 – 3/23: Prague, Czechoslovakia
  • 3/24 – 3/28: Zurich Switzerland
  • 3/29: Back in NY

The dread of long-term travel has long since worn off and I’m starting to get excited!! Of course, I haven’t PACKED anything at all and seriously need to get a move on. Luckily I am leaving work at 3pm today to pack and get in any last minute errands, so here is my plan:

  • 3:00pm Doctor’s appointment
  • 4:00pm: Hair cut
  • 5:00pm: Shopping for new coat and jeans
  • 6:00pm: Gym
  • 7:00pm Pack
  • 8:00pm Sister coming over to hang out and say good-bye

Let’s see if anything falls through the crack. Fingers crossed~

Even though I haven’t physically packed yet, I have packed, mentally. Make sense? :P Here’s what I plan on bringing:

Essentials (aka without these I’m a goner)

  • Passport
  • My 3 cell phones (sigh… don’t ask)
  • All 3 cell phone chargers (they happen to be different models, too…)
  • Laptop
  • Laptop charger

Clothing

  • 15 sweaters
  • 5 skirts
  • 5 dresses
  • 3 pairs of leggings
  • 2 of jeans
  • 1 down coat
  • 1 trench coat
  • PJs
  • 2 Gym Tops
  • 2 Gym Bottoms
  • 10 pairs of socks
  • 3 weeks of under garments

Shoes (I had to practice a lot of restraint here… originally I planned for 7 pairs!)

  • 1 pair sneakers
  • 1 pair high-heeled boots
  • 1 pair hiking boots (we are going hiking in Davos)
  • 1 pair heels

Toiletries

  • Toothbrush/ tooth paste
  • Kinerase cleanser from gift bag (I got 50 lbs worth of free cosmetics yesterday! I am bringing a bunch of stuff with me over the trip to sample and will share product reviews)
  • Plantscriptives Anti-Aging SPF25 moisturizer
  • Hada Labo night-time moisturizer
  • Shiseido eye cream
  • Bumble & Bumble semi-sumo hair wax
  • Bubble bath
  • Bumble & Bumble Super Rich Shampoo + Conditioner

Make-Up

  • ELF under-eye concealer
  • Poppy King lipsticks
  • Tom Ford lipsticks
  • Benefit eyeliner
  • Estee Lauder long-wear shadow in Mochachino
  • Estee Lauder eye shadow in Mulberry
  • Estee Lauder Magnasopic mascara
  • ELF lip exfoliator (miracle dry lip product for only $3!)
  • Benefit blush in Dandelion

Food/ Snacks

  • 1 lb gluten-free, rolled oats
  • 1 lb chia seeds
  • 1 lb soy milk powder (the top 3 ingredients are to make my overnight oatmeal)
  • 3 lbs almonds (for snacking)
  • 1 box Think Thin bars in White Chocolate

Books

In addition to the books I listed in my last post about extended business travel, I just got some new, long awaited books in the mail, including my beloved Oh She Glows cookbook, which is even better than I anticipated!

This will be prime reading material on the plane ride to Paris

This will be prime reading material on the plane ride to Paris

 

Okay and don’t laugh: I also got The Body Book by Cameron Diaz! I read many great reviews for this book, including one review that touted it as “possibly the smartest celebrity health book ever”. Anyhow, it was only $15 on Amazon!

I can't wait to start reading this. I will share anything interesting I read/ learn!

I can’t wait to start reading this. I will share anything interesting I read/ learn!

I am sure I am missing some very obvious, important category in my packing list, but for now, it appears complete to me. Does it look like I’m missing something to you??

Okay gotta jet and get some work done before I take off. I will be sure to post from the lounge tomorrow before I take off for Paris, and of course, will share pictures and details of my trip throughout.

Have a wonderful Thursday everyone!!

Love,
Ting

Playing Catch Up

Hi everyone! Happy Tuesday~

I am so sorry about the blogging absence! There is a very good reason for it, I promise. Just take a look at the last couple of days:

Friday: Packed 1 month’s worth of clothing, snacks, and work materials into a beast of a suitcase, made a big pot of vegan chili, opened a bottle of red wine, and watched season 1 of The OC with Tats (not that he likes the show or anything…) It’s our last weekend together before I am gone for a month so I wanted to make this an extra cozy and special weekend, just the two of us :)

Saturday: Last Saturday in town so I decided to “live it up” by doing all the things I love and take a break from cooking all the time! I worked out with Tats, had vegan ramen (very gross, actually) from Ippudo for brunch, and had dinner at ABC Cocina (decent vegan options). At ABC Cocina, we ordered the shaved brussels sprouts salad with marcona almonds, mushroom and kale tacos, guacamole, and roasted ruby red grapefruit salsa. YUM!!! The food was absolutely amazing, but the service was very much lacking. When we asked our waiter what he recommended off the menu, he replied “Food”. Gee, thanks guy.

Anyhow, we didn’t let a mean server ruin our night. Afterwards we went to Blue Smoke to watch a live jazz band, the Houston Person band, and it was awesome. We stayed for two consecutive shows and I had two dirty martinis :P

This was actually offensively bad. First of all, it was served in a witch's cauldron! And it contained under-cooked red rice, taro balls that were frozen in the middle, a sickeningly sweet vegan broth made from who knows what, about 10 noodles, and a random handful of goji berries. And it was $18 a bowl!! Someone call the nasty food police!

This vegan ramen from Ippudo was actually offensively bad. First of all, it was served in a witch’s cauldron. Second, it contained under-cooked red rice, taro balls that were frozen in the middle, a sickeningly sweet vegan broth made from who knows what, about 10 noodles, and a random handful of goji berries. And it was $18 a bowl!! Someone call the nasty food police!

 

These vegetable buns from Ippudo were not bad, at least, but they weren't great either. They are made of deep fried mushrooms and eggplant with a sweet and sour sauce. $10? No, sir.

These vegetable buns from Ippudo were not bad at least, but they weren’t great either. They are made of deep fried mushrooms and eggplant with a sweet and sour sauce. $10? No, sir. Ippudo, what happened to you? You used to be so… good… 

 

Sunday: I slashed my mobile plan by 2/3 by switching from AT&T to T-Mobile (more on how to do this later, this is a great idea for anyone on AT&T!). Then I had brunch with my sister and Tats at Bareburger in the Lower East Side, shopped at the Eyes Lip Face concept store ($3 for makeup!) and worked out at P57.

FYI – Bareburger is a fantastic, affordable place for a healthy and filling meal that will satisfy all kinds of eaters. Tats and my sister, who are both carnivores, had meat burgers while I had a black bean burger, and everyone was very happy with their selection. In addition to our burgers we also got fries and onion rings to share. It was around $17/ person, tax and tip all in! And they have locations all over NYC.

Now THIS was a good burger! It's a vegan black bean burger with cilantro, tomatoes, vegan cheese, lettuce, red onion and portobello mushroom. It was DELICIOUS! I highly recommend this place.

Now THIS was a good burger! It’s a vegan black bean burger with cilantro, tomatoes, vegan cheese, lettuce, red onion and portobello mushroom. It was DELICIOUS! I highly recommend this place.

 

Monday – Tuesday: Commuting to Long Island for work! And I am sharing my screen with many other people so it’s near impossible to do a lunch-time post. I’m also working about 12 hours a day trying to wrap everything up before my business trip, during which I’ll be in training all day and won’t have time for daily business.

As you can see, these past couple days have been jam packed, and I really haven’t had the time to sit down and write a meaningful post! Even this one, as I’m writing it, is rushed because I have a 4 pm deadline.

But, I just wanted to say hello and let you know that I’m still putzing around, just very busy. I should get a break after this Wednesday, when I will be back on my regular schedule and no longer commuting to Long Island. Then, I will be able to share recipes and more pictures from the week in detail :)

Anyhow, how have you guys been doing?

Love,
Ting

Extended Business Travel & How to Stay Healthy

Hi everyone :) Happy Thursday! I cannot WAIT for the weekend.

So… I just realized today that starting next Friday, I’ll be overseas for one month. Of course I already knew about this trip and had it scheduled months ago, but it just suddenly crept up on me. I feel like I just returned from my last trip and was finally getting settled back into my routine – and just like THAT, I have to go back again!

This time though, no complaining. I will not, I REFUSE, to complain and feel down about it. I definitely feel lucky to have the chance to experience another culture and live in Europe for a month. The downsides are that I: a) have to go alone and will have no one to travel with, b) will really miss everyone back home, and c) have to find ways to maintain a positive attitude and healthy lifestye while eating hotel and restaurant food everyday.

A and B really can’t be helped, but C… mark my words, I will make it happen. If you travel a lot for work and are looking for some ideas that will help you stay healthy (and keep your sanity) while on the road, look no further. I’ve thought about this long and hard over the past couple weeks and have insight to share about what I could have done better the first time around.

Here are my best tips that I fully plan to follow!

Bring personal items that remind you of home

voluspa-2_wick_candle-saijo_persimmon1

Before we got Gizzy, I would love to light a candle and read. It has been one of my favorite ways to relax, and I am very drawn to warm, familiar scents. One time, after we got Gizzy, I lit a candle and put hiiiigh up on a shelf thinking he wouldn’t take notice, left the room for a hot minute, came back, and saw him perched on the shelf right by the candle. I shooed him off and noticed that his eye brows were singed!!! Ever since then, I haven’t so much as thought about candles. Even thinking about candles was a TABOO in our house. But since Gizzy won’t be travelling with me (I wish he could!) I will bust out my favorite persimmon scented candle by Voluspa and read some favorite books, which takes me to my next tip!

Bring books and movies that remind you of happier times

the_joy_luck_club

LOL I sound as if I’m going to prison! But seriously, it can be very lonely living in a hotel by yourself in a remote foreign city where you don’t speak the language. My favorite books and movies always, without exception, raise my spirits and I look forward to diving into them at the end of a long work day. Now, I’m one of those people that like to re-read and re-watch the same things over and over again. I never get tired of them because each time I find new meaning or clarity that I didn’t take notice of before. My go-to favorite books are: The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami; Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows by J.K. Rowling; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams; and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (like you need wikipedia links to know what these books are, LOL).

What does this seemingly random selection of favorite books say about me? I have zero idea. :P Someone should really create a book personality test. Or does one already exist??

Eat a healthy breakfast

In my healthy eating tips, I mentioned breakfast as my personal #1 driver for eating healthy and staying energized throughout the day. How I start my day is how I will likely end it. On my last trip, I packed what I thought was a decent amount of oats, chia seeds, and protein powders to make my favorite overnight oats, but apparently not because I ran out half way through my trip! This time, that won’t be happening. I already placed my order on Amazon for a 4 lb shipment of Bob’s Red Mill chia seeds ($30), a 2 lb shipment Raw Food World’s maca powder ($14), and 1.5 lb container of Better Than Milk Vegan Soy Milk Powder ($30). Obviously I will not be taking the entire shipments LOL but I plan to bring 1 lb of chia seeds, 2 cups of maca powder, and 1 lb dry soy milk powder. Excessive? Likely. But I can always bring the remainders back!

Why the soy milk powder? Well, I called ahead to the hotel we’re staying at and they do not have non-dairy milk. Since I’m pretty sure cold water mixed with chia seeds and oats would fall under the category of soooo very not good, I did some research on non-dairy powders and that particular brand received glowing reviews. I will be sure to share my product review once I try it!

Healthy Snacks

Larabar-Uber-1

Snacking is essential for me. I usually have a snack between lunch and breakfast (something savory), another snack a couple hours after lunch (something sweet), and depending on my appetite, sometimes one after dinner (wildcard). I plan to pack my usual snacks: roasted almonds, apples and some bars. Typically I eat GoMacro bars in my favorite flavor, Sunflower Butter + Chocolate, but I do like variety so I’m going to try some different bars over the next couple of days. Do you know I’ve never tried a Larabar before? I know they have a cult following, so I am going to Whole Foods to buy a couple different flavors. I’ve heard especially good things about the new uber bars. Do you guys have any recommendations on good flavors, or other bars you like?

Call Ahead and Ask

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We are going to be Feusisberg, which is only a 30 minute drive from Zurich but I since won’t have a car, this eliminates grocery shopping. My only option is therefore hotel dining & room service. I called ahead to discuss dining options and they were very amenable to my requests for a vegetable plate with grains. Simple enough right? This is not something on the menu but you never know what you can be done unless you call ahead and ask!

Sweat it out

gym

Luckily, this hotel we are staying at has a nice, new gym and huge outdoors pool overlooking Lake Zurich, so I can try all different kinds of fitness. I haven’t swam since… actually I can’t even remember! So I’m going to bring my bathing suit, running shoes, workout clothes, and do an around-the-world-tour. If I can I sweat once a day, I’m a happy gal. As a famous Harvard law student once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t!”. (So, don’t worry Tats).

Take a hot bath

bathtub

Our sad excuse for a bathtub in NYC just won’t do it so I rarely have a chance to submerge in a hot, steaming bath. It is such a luxury! Hot baths relax tight and cramped muscles (hello, aching neck and shoulders) and are the ultimate treat after a long day. I plan to take one every single night I’m there and indulge. Before I know it, my month will up and I’ll be back in the states, wishing I could take a hot soak every night.

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Well everyone, these are my best tips, for now. I’m sure I’ll come up with a couple more right before I take off. I’ll be sure to update this as post as the ideas come in. Please feel free to share any tips you might have as well, it’s always interesting to hear what other people do!

I hope you have a productive and happy Thursday! The weekend awaits!

Love,
Ting

Soy Radish, Watercress and Kale Salad

Happy hump day everyone!

I wanted to do a lunchtime post but things kept coming up at work. Let’s just say “programming” is not my strong suit. *Shiver*

Finally I can take a breather and share a recipe for a salad I made on Sunday evening to pack for this week’s lunches. I usually eat my go-to kale salad for lunch but this time I decided to switch it up since I’ve literally been eating it for almost 3 weeks straight now. Plus I had leftover watercress (from making my lightened tahini vegtable soup) and some beautiful red radishes.

I also switched up the dressing a bit and included soy sauce! I know it sounds a little random to toss in considering my other ingredients include olive oil and lemon juice, but it added a great smokiness and lots of umami flavor.

Here’s the recipe! 

Soy Radish, Watercress and Kale Salad

by Ting Ba

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Keywords: raw appetizer entree salad side sugar-free vegan vegetarian low-carb nut-free gluten-free radish hemp hearts watercress soy sauce

 

Ingredients (Serves 4)

    For the Dressing

    • 2 tbs olive oil
    • 1 1/2 tbs soy sauce
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon

    For the Salad

    • 1 bundle kale, stems removed and shredded
    • 2 large handfuls watercress
    • 6-7 red radishes, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
    • 3/4 cup mushrooms, diced
    • 3 tbs hemp hearts
    • 1-2 pinches salt

    Instructions

    For the Dressing

    Combine dressing ingredients and whisk till emulsified. Alternatively you can use a food processor.

    For the Salad

    In a large bowl, pour dressing over shredded kale, massage dressing into kale and set aside while chopping other ingredients.

    Add the remaining salad ingredients to shredded kale and toss well to combine.

    Allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving for flavors to develop. Taste again and adjust for seasoning.

    Cooking Notes

    Start with just one pinch of salt. After resting for an hour in the fridge, re-taste to determine if another pinch or so is needed.

    Use gluten-free soy sauce if necessary.

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    All packed for lunch!

    All packed for lunch!

    FYI – this mason jar of mine holds two cups, which I always jam-pack to the brim and then literally force the cap down. I usually eat around 12pm and a salad of this size keeps me full till about 3pm or so when I snack on an apple and almonds.

    Even in the dead of winter (can you BELIEVE it’s snowing again today???) I eat salads for lunch everyday. Before whenever it got cold I used to crave hot chocolate, hot chocolate and more chocolate :P Not that I don’t crave it anymore… but I also crave big veggie salads! Progress!

    Okay I gotta run. Stay tuned for a post about my upcoming month-long business trip to Switzerland and my healthy eating strategies!

    Love,
    Ting

     

    Lightened Tahini Vegetable Soup

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    Good morning everyone! Happy Tuesday!

    So over this past weekend, the weather was wonderful. That picture above is of our apartment basking in the sunlight! It was still chilly and windy outside, but the sun was out and the skies were clear blue. After a good workout on Saturday morning, I stopped by Westerly Market and bought some provisions to make a soup that reflected the weather and my high spirits.

    I didn’t have a recipe in mind at all, I just had a general sense of what I wanted to eat: a light soup featuring fresh vegetables with a hint of creaminess. I shopped around for ingredients until an idea started to form, then quickly went home and got to work because I was starving.

    After 30 minutes or so of chopping ingredients and cooking, the soup was done and the result was a flavorful, light yet creamy vegetable soup that is sure to be part of my repertoire.

    Lightened Tahini Vegetable Soup

    by Ting Ba

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 30 minutes

    Keywords: blender saute entree soup/stew gluten-free nut-free soy-free sugar-free vegan vegetarian low-carb watercress scallions tahini mushrooms spring

     

    Ingredients (Serves 4)

    • 2 tbs olive oil
    • 1 small red onion, quartered
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped into uniform, bite-sized pieces
    • 3 scallion stalks, chopped into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 cup white button mushrooms, quartered
    • 4 cups vegetable stock
    • 2 tbs tahini
    • 1 handful of watercress
    • Salt & pepper

    Instructions

    For the creamy soup base

    Combine tahini and 1 cup of vegetable broth in a blender and blend till smooth and creamy. Make sure tahini is dissolved and there is no separation.

    For the vegetable soup

    Heat oil in a dutch oven or medium-sized stockpot over medium heat till shimmering. Add onions and cook till softened and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook and stir another 2 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.

    To the dutch oven, add carrots and stir for 2 minutes, add scallions and stir for 2 minutes, and finally add mushrooms and stir till they have released their liquids, about 3-4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.

    Pour creamy soup base and remaining 3 cups of vegetable stock into dutch oven, bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 20 minutes. Make sure to check halfway in between to stir and adjust for seasoning.

    After 20 minutes, throw in handful of watercress and simmer for another 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Serve immediately with a piece of crusty bread and your favorite glass of white wine.

    Cooking Notes

    Feel free to substitute the vegetables for whatever is in season. I highly recommend throwing in a handful of watercress towards the end, it not only lends a earthy flavor but watercress is so very good for you!

    If you want a creamier soup base, add more tahini. This is meant to be a lighter soup, but if you want, you can add up to a 1/4 cup.

    Powered by Recipage
    Key ingredients. Feel free to substitute these vegetables for whatever is in season!

    Key ingredients. Feel free to substitute these vegetables for whatever is in season!

    Saute your vegetables till mushrooms have released their liquid

    Saute your vegetables till mushrooms have released their liquid

    Add vegetable stock and creamy soup base.

    Add vegetable stock and creamy soup base.

    Boil then bring to a simmer for 20 minutes. Finally add watercress and simmer for another 5 minutes.

    Boil then bring to a simmer for 20 minutes. Finally add watercress and simmer for another 5 minutes.

    The watercress will become bright green and wilted.

    The watercress will become bright green and wilted.

    This was the perfect lunch for the first "spring" like day we've had in almost 6 months!

    This was the perfect lunch for the first “spring” like day we’ve had in almost 6 months!

    You can add noodles, vermicelli or tofu cubes if you crave something heavier.

    You can add noodles, vermicelli or tofu cubes if you crave something heavier.

    Note that I did not blend my tahini with 1 cup vegetable stock in a blender, I mixed it by hand because my blender was in the dishwasher – DOH! Homer Simpson moment. Definitely do not mix by hand and expect it to fully dissolve. The taste will still be great, but it won’t look quite as pretty ;)

    I’m on a real spring bender right now. I’m switching out my wardrobe and putting away the heavy grey sweaters for brighter colored cardigans. And yes, I do realize that the forecast says it will snow tomorrow. LOL. I swear, one weekend of blue skies is all it takes for me to get excited! Sigh… did I tell you I’m originally from California??

    Have a great Tuesday everyone! See you later today :) I have yet another salad recipe to share!

    Love,
    Ting

    The Week Ahead

    Spring in NYC_NEW

    Hi everyone! Happy Monday!

    Notice anything different? And no, I don’t mean the weather (which is finally starting to resemble spring here in NYC!) LOL.

    What do you think of the new site design?

    Since I spend so much time blogging everyday I figure I should take the next step and design a site I really love. Unfortunately, I am horrible at HTML/ programming/ anything tech-related but with a lot of time, effort and cursing, I did manage to make the following updates:

    First update: I updated my color scheme, banner, and blog layout! I like the new layout because it is more organized, compact, and easier to navigate – especially with the revamped side-bar, where you’ll notice new social media buttons. I’ve actually been maintaining a Pinterest board since forever ago and recently started up with Instagram (I know, I am WAY behind) so please check them out if you’re curious!

    social media

    Second update: I organized my recipes! I’m still working on indexing all of them and hope to get that done by the end of this week, but FYI – you can search and browse through all of my recipes by clicking on the recipe link. I am using Recipage to power my indexing and it is super easy and convenient to use!

    recipe link

    Clicking that link will take you to my recipes page below, where you can see my featured + recent recipes, browse or search by diet, season, key ingredient, etc.

    recipage link

    Third update: I added a daily quotes section to the side bar. I really like the idea of picking a theme or mantra for the day to remind me of what’s important and help me stay motivated. Each day brings a new set of challenges and I personally find that having a mantra helps me maintain a consistent point of view.

    new
    Fourth update: I reformatted my recipes into recipe cards so you can email/ text/ print them for convenience! This formatting is also thanks to Recipage.
    recipe card

    And lastly… please pardon the craziness. If you see some images that are broken or do not match the post topic (for example, I checked a post I wrote about creamy sesame slaw and there were pictures of Japanese noodles in it!), please let me know I will fix it. Blog migrations are a headache, to put it mildly. I’m currently combing through each post to make sure everything is exactly the way it should be, but do let me know if I missed something.

    So: What do you think? Like/ DislikeThe jury is out… :)

    Moving forward: this is what I hope to get accomplished this week!

    Blog:

    • Index all recipes by the end of the week
    • Share three new recipes from the weekend :)

    Work:

    • Meet deadlines by at least 3pm everyday so you can review work quality with remaining time
    • Focus on one thing at time, do not multi-task
    • Patience and positivity with all tasks + people!

    Health:

    Fitness:

    • Monday: 6:15pm Intermediate class @ P57 (turns out my membership expires 3/13/14 so I have 2 more weeks!)
    • Tuesday: 6:30pm Intermediate class
    • Wednesday: 6:15pm Advanced class
    • Thursday: 6:00pm Mixed class
    • Friday: 5:30pm Formula class
    • Saturday: 11:30am Intermediate class
    • Sunday: 10am Advanced class

    Finances:

    Home:

    • Wipe counters immediately after usage
    • Empty sink everynight
    • Keep living room clutter-free by putting things away after usage or tossing old things out!

    Mental (LOL, new category):

    • Take at least 10 minutes at the end of your day to quiet your mind and medidate

    Despite a productive and fun weekend, most of which was spent working on my blog, there were some moments that really stressed me out. I find that running errands and checking things off my never-ending to-do list does not stress me out, it’s the relationships that do. Specifically, my family (in case you’re wondering where the “mental” category came from… LOL).

    Communicating with my family can be very, very difficult at times, due to generation gaps, language, lifestyle choices, different agendas, etc. After spinning my head and spending a good chunk of time in absolute frustration, I came to the conclusion that I just have to get past it because nothing is going to change. It also gets real tiring having to deal with certain personalities after a while and it’s just not worth it. I’d rather focus on myself and be happy :)

    I hope you guys have a very productive & happy Monday. And don’t forget to please let me know what you think of the new site!

    Love,
    Ting

    Photo credits: David Craig (Spring in NYC)