Monday, July 30, 2012


The monotony of being a summer bum goes on... Though of course peppered with weekday prep for a couple AP courses and impinged on by drivers ed classes that practically sanctify human hypocrisy. At least this means I've got no excuses to skip workouts ;p

(Correction- Will be doing ZWOW #19 + 20 minute jumprope intervals instead on Wed.)
Links: POP workouts, ZWOW #15

Monday, July 23, 2012

WWS (Blogilates)

After intensive round with the Iron Body Club, I feel like doing something girlier. Plus, I've got school dance line auditions coming up and I've got to prep for that. I'll be doing kickline routines on my cardio days about three times per week in addition to Blogilates vids. To anybody who isn't familiar with Blogilates, it's a website and blog by Pilates trainer Cassey Ho who makes absolutely fantastic POP Pilates and HIIT videos. I love them because it's so much easier to work out and be inspired when you've got a super hot trainer with your dream bod guiding you through it.
As for the kickline routines, I'll just be working on form and technique with a couple of super simple routines. Also, tons of stretching; gotta be able to hold the splits all three ways for a minute each! It's a great workout nonetheless and my legs really feel it afterwards.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

How to get rid of Menstrual Bloating

Ahhhh, the cramps, the feeling of wearing a diaper, and the gross bloated stomach- aren't they all just beautiful gifts mother nature bestows upon us females? And for the guys reading this, did you know there's actually an ipone app for tracking your spouse's monthly cycle so that you know which days to be a bit more considerate and actually put the toilet seat down after you take a piss?

These are some tips that I've garnered through personal experimentation. I've read a lot of articles on this, and each woman is different, but for most women employing the following tips will be a surefire way to get rid of the gross bloating and cramps. When I follow these rules, my bloating is greatly reduced and there are hardly any cramps at all.

Hope these help!
1.) Don't drink or eat anything ice cold. This is an old Chinese edict that may have some scientific backing to it. I just know that although at first I thought this was just an old wive's tale from my mom, I found myself getting cramps every time I ate a popsicle or drank anything icey during my period. Whether you believe this or not, it's still probably better to not eat anything that will shock or upset your stomach.

2.) Eat often, and eat a hot breakfast. Having 5-6 small, evenly spaced meals a day will help prevent dips and spikes in blood sugar, easing the mood swings. Also, cramps don't hit as hard when your stomach is full.

3.) Avoid refined carbs. White carbs have little nutritional value and can cause bloating by themselves. By eating more fiber, your digestive system will thank you by not making your stomach swell. Steer clear of "whole wheat" bread or pasta unless you're 100% sure it actually contains a significant amount of whole wheat. I don't eat refined carbs 90% of the time, but my carb choices are still wide- fruits, brown rice, oatmeal, various grains, beans...

4.) Move more. Combat PMS with exercise endorphins. As they say- "Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don't commit murder. They just don't." ... No matter how tempting it is at times, i.e the time my brother spilled coffee on the sketch I had worked over three hours on.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

China Part 3: Xiamen & Beijing

The beautiful city of Xiamen is situated on an island in southern China, close to Taiwan. In fact, you can even see the coast of Taiwan from the beach. (This is actually a shot of Xiamen University from the topmost floor, but you can still sort of see the coast in the background.)

Street eats on Gulangyu island, a small island that's about 5 minutes by boat from Xiamen

Sesame balls, a specialty from Taiwan. And yes I said "sesame balls" with a straight face."

Pics from a famous temple near the university

Beijing: The air was smoggy the whole time we were there, and I felt like I was swimming in pollution. But apparently it's better now than a couple years ago...? My little brother got sick the day after we got there thanks to the condition of the air. I didn't get any ill effects but it just felt icky. The city itself is pretty much how I remembered it from my last visit- busy, busy, busy. I'm not going to lecture about the crazy societal norms there, but it was definitely very different from the more laid-back cities we've been spending most of our time in.

The Bird's Nest and the Cube

Blown-sugar creations

This is fast food in China:

Ooo I loved these...
(Pic actually taken in Xiamen but the same brand is sold all over the country.)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cherry mini-cakes + WWS

These are NOT muffins.
They are miniature cakes made to celebrate the day on which my younger sibling was born.
Yes, they are may look like muffins with the top sawed off but it is a subject like that of chick flicks. According to my English teacher, somebody has to die a tragic death with lots of female tears + desperation for a movie to be called a chick flick (a.k.a a movie no self-respecting heterosexual man would ever pick out on his own), a definition I disagree with. I wouldn't call a guy who voluntarily picks out Mean Girls for a date night/cuddle session self-respecting, or heterosexual. What do y'all think?

But onto the muffin cake-baking. The original recipe was for a strawberry yogurt bundt cake, which I pretty much stuck with except to swap cherries for the strawberries, plain yogurt for the greek, and to halve it (though I posted the full version) and bake it in muffin cups instead of a bundt pan.

This cake is pretty phenomenal, and was a hit with my family. It's super buttery and the salt balances out the tartness of the cherries perfectly. Definitely recommended for tea time... or anytime, really.

I used cherries because we happened to have a bunch on hand, and because my little brother loves them.

RECIPE (adapted from
*1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
*2 cups sugar
*3 eggs
*3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided use
*1 teaspoon vanilla
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*2 and 1/2 cups flour
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*8 ounces plain yogurt (or greek)
*12 ounces fresh cherries (or strawberries) pitted and halved
*1 cup confectioner's sugar

PREPERATION (copied from
1.) Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
2.) Sift together 2-1/4 cups of flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3.) With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4.) Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and vanilla extract.
5.) In thirds, alternate beating in flour mixture and yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.
6.) Toss strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Gently mix them into batter.
7.) Scrape the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
8.) Remove from oven and allow cake to cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
9.) Once cooled, combine confectioners’ sugar and reserved 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over top of cake. (MAKE SURE THE CAKE IS COMPLETELY COOL BEFORE DRIZZLING- that's where I got too impatient and the sugar melted all over, making a dent on the visual effect.

The glaze looks like... (ahem)

After that delicious carb-bomb, I'm sure we're all itching to check out the latest in workouts: I'm workin' on week 2 of the Iron Body 700 workout from SOA.
BTW: the Cardio kickboxing link in the schedule

Sunday, July 15, 2012

China Part 2: Shandong

I experimented this morning with making cream cheese pancakes and it turned out meh-ish. Too much flour and cream cheese. I'll have to work on it. I didn't bother taking a pic because they were so mediocre in both look and taste. Do you guys have a low-cal pancake recipe you would like to share?

Trying to find a sentence that ties pancakes into my trip in Shandong and failing. So just pretend I did that cleverly.
More pics of China:
I went to two cities in the Shandong province, Ji nan and Ru shan. Ru shan is a vacation town by the sea, so lots and lots of seafood! We went down to the beach every day with my grandparents, who rented a house there and who will be staying there for the next five months or so.
Ru shan:

Seafood in raw form; that morning's catch

Sea cucumbers (above)

And on my plate. I apologize for the less-than-stellar photography; my hands get shaky around right before I eat due to carb deprivation ;p

Tourist sites by the coast- a temple the Qing emperor supposedly built, and many statuaries engraved by famous characters like Deng Xiao Ping as well as poets.

And then some other mystical temple complex. Everything in China has tons of history (like any millenia-old civilization) but most feel ruined by all the tourists and all the "remodeling."

Oh yeah, and if you're a traitor to the nation then you get put into Fifty Shades of Grey.

Seagull Island- a breeding ground for the seagulls. The ground is littered with baby birds who got nudged off of the cliffs before they knew how to fly and thus waxed the poetic

The contributor for 90% of ancient chinese (and a good portion of modern) society. The place where Confuscious was born and where his descendents lived in palatial splendor. You can trace his family tree back over 80 generations and today several of his family are still alive. This is where a man who impacted and shaped society forever was born over a thousand years ago.

And then on to the place where emperors all went to connect with the heavens, Tai Shan. Or Mt. Tai
We got driven to the halfway point and then took over two hours to climb 800 meters (vertically, people.) Killer quads, baby. They were killing me.

And then we stayed for the night in a roach-infested hotel at the very top of the mountain. The very best, we are assured. And for a place like that, it's true- you really weren't going to get any better than that. My spoiled Americanized ass should not be complaining. But it was all worth it the next morning watching the sun rise

We were lucky to get a seat so high up; if you looked down the stairs...

The scenery back down the mountain was amazing too

And now more scenes from Ji nan, various parks

Shandong is a province rich with history, as it is close to the south. I recommend anybody with an interest in Chinese calligraphy (or just calligraphy) to visit.

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