Tag Archives: food

20 Weeks! Halfway There!

Twenty weeks is a wonderful milestone in pregnancy so I thought I’d post an update!

I honestly can’t believe I’m already halfway there. I don’t even know where the time went. Half of the time I didn’t even feel pregnant. If it weren’t for my belly growing, prenatal appointments, and my little snowpea rolling all over the place in my tummy, it wouldn’t sink in me that there’s really a growing human being inside me. Oh, I love those little kicks. It’s such a lovely feeling. 🙂

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How far along? 20 weeks!!!

Gender? Boy! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Baby BOY on “board”

Stretch marks? none (yet)

Belly Button? still in. 🙂

Maternity clothes? My normal clothes are already feeling too tight around the boobs and tummy. I splurged mostly on maternity workout clothes since I figured it will be the clothes that I’ll be wearing for the most part of my pregnancy. I got them from this online company called For Two Fitness. 

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I love them that I wear them even when I’m just lounging around at home or going out in the mall. They’re so soft and comfy.

I also got a pair of maternity jeans – AG jeans from Destination Maternity.

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Oh boy, these jeans are wonderful! It felt soooo right! I was actually insisting on buying maternity clothes but when I bought these, I began to understand the logic behind maternity clothes – how they were made to accommodate the ever-changing growth happening around the belly area. It was instant relief from the discomfort I’d feel as I continued to force myself into regular pants.

It’s nice to have a pair of maternity jeans but when they’re in the laundry I use these gems!

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I got these extenders and belly band from Amazon and they work wonders. They allow me to continue wearing my normal non-maternity pants. They’re a real blessing!

It’s still around 20 degrees here! :/ I can’t wait for spring so I can wear some of my looser dresses for casual day time.

Sleep? My full sized pregnancy pillow is a life saver! It’s shaped like a big squidgy letter “C” that I can hug when I’m sleeping on my side. It’s an awesome pillow and very beneficial for my  body to support the growing bump.

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Food Cravings? Lately, I have been craving for milk chocolate candies and chocolate cookies! And because it’s still cold, I crave for ramen and pho noodle soup too! 🙂

Miss anything? Red wine!!! …But upon seeing posts about Shirley Temple’s death, I remembered this non-alcoholic drink made with lemon-lime soda and grenadine. I searched for the recipe online and made it. The best non-alcoholic beverage ever!

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Anyone tried this drink?

What I’m looking forward to? Getting a proper looking bump so I’d look really pregnant instead of just a bloated looking tummy. 🙂 LOL!

What I wish people knew? Hmm… this is going to be a long one.

When I had friends who got pregnant before me, I remember how I used to comfort them (though I couldn’t relate to them at that time yet) when they opened up their feelings of how they got affected towards comments of some people. People may think their comments may seem like a compliment or showing care but some can really make pregnant women paranoid and worried.

I now know and feel what my friends felt. I, myself, pregnant, am experiencing a lot of those weird statements and I get so affected easily. It seems as if society has this way of discouraging women, scaring us with horror stories instead of encouraging us welcome, embrace, and look at pregnancy, birth, and having a newborn, more positively. For some, to be a first, second, third time mom already brings more than enough concerns on its own. I just wish they don’t put more to that anymore.

I’m going to share a couple of statements I got so far from my 20 weeks of being pregnant. I know I’ll get more ’til the end of my term, and up to how I raise my kids. People will always have something to say. It will never end. There are certain comments that we’ll never get used to even if we have learned to laugh them off. But I’m glad I am now learning to put my emotions aside and shrug these things off. As I knew whom to and not to believe, whom to take seriously, from those who deserve attention and consideration. And if there’s one thing I picked up from talking to my mom friends from all walks of life, is: every pregnancy, every woman, every child is different …TRUE!

STATEMENT 1: “You’re blooming, you’re going to have a baby girl. You become ugly if it’s a boy.” (Yikes!)

Me: Uhm, thanks! But, I’m having a boy. I hope you still think I’m blooming. LOL!

Of course, I appreciate these remarks. Compliments never felt this good! But basing the gender on how you look during pregnancy? I say, don’t believe in this. Our looks change because of the way our hormones affect us, as well as our diet. Whatever physical changes you go through are caused by the way you carry the baby and not because of its gender. I have a lot of friends who carried baby boys and were very gorgeous throughout their pregnancy. It’s common for pregnant women to get the unwanted fat and dark lines and these things will go away after the term. They’re not only specific for moms carrying baby boys. The other thing is, I learned to put extra effort to my looks ever since I found out I was pregnant. The bump can be pretty awkward sometimes so I really take time to fix myself and pick clothes that will make it look better. I make sure to put some effort into things that will help me feel good about my pregnant self. 🙂

STATEMENT 2: “What?! You’re still running?”
“You should take a break, it’s 
dangerous for the baby.”

I get bombarded with these comments when I post pictures of me running while pregnant on Instagram. Apparently some of the people over there become experts and perfect. That comment to me sounded like I am the worst mom-to-be in the world. I just want to say that I am NOT going to do anything that will harm my baby. According to what I learned in my years in Medical School, exercise is incredibly beneficial to the health of pregnant women and baby. If you ran/exercised regularly BEFORE getting pregnant, it’s fine to continue – as long as you take some precautions and FIRST CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR. It is recommended to eat healthy and exercise during pregnancy BUT, it’s NOT the time to try a new fitness routine.  I have a “go” signal from my OB and from my husband who’s also a medical doctor. I have all the medical guidance I can get, so it’s OKAY! 🙂 For me, exercise not only helped me a lot with my nausea during my first trimester, but it kept me sane, with energy and no aches and pains.

STATEMENT 3: “Enjoy (insert activity) while you still can.”
You will never again have time to (insert activity) once the baby comes. In fact, you’ll never have time to do ANYTHING. You’ll simply be a shell of your former self.” 

Haha. 🙂 Yup I get this …A LOT! 🙂

I happen to know plenty of awesome parents who still watch movies, play sports, and enjoy dinners at restaurants. I know many working moms with successful careers and happy children. So I’m not buying this whole idea that life suddenly ends when you have a baby. Sure, life changes a lot!  Maybe my new exercise routine will be pushing my babies around the neighborhood in their jogging stroller (which I am very much looking forward to! :)) My night outs with my husband will have to be planned instead of spontaneous. But neither of us would have it any other way. We know that we’ll just have to adjust everything accordingly. 🙂

There’s more but I’ll end it here. I think I said more than enough. 🙂 Really, there’s more I can think of that people and social media can do to paint a horrible picture of pregnancy, birth and motherhood in general. I am in favor of good and enjoyable pregnancy (and delivery, and motherhood) and that starts with the act of choosing to listen to the better, positive, more encouraging, realistic side of things. I think that’s what really is helping me more now to focus on the blessing of having such a wonderful miracle. On the one hand, it is reading stories and talking to my wonderful mom friends that boost faith and courage, and be inspired by them. Pregnancy does not necessarily have to be restricting and burdensome. God designed it to be 40 weeks so we can muster enough knowledge, courage, and faith to bring about the wonders and challenges of a new life.  I still have a halfway to go and I pray for even more vibrant pregnancy.

How about you, pregnant or planning to be, have you ever encountered these statements? What do you wish people knew?  

Thanks for listening to my rants, confessions and hormonal monologues. LOL! :) 

To end this post, I’d like to share our baby website here

(http://Ja-and-Leo.ourbabychannel.com/). 


Feel free to sign our guestbook as you check in! 🙂

Have a great week!XoXo,
Ja
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Thanksgiving Weekend 2013!

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Well, hello winter! Nice to see you so soon! I know that technically the first day of winter isn’t until December 21st, but I think that it hit us here in Cincinnati a little early this year. We got a little bit of snow on Thanksgiving morning.

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Happy White Thanksgiving! 🙂

Phew! The four-day Thanksgiving weekend flew by! But I guess that happens when you have tons of fun, yummy food, and awesome people around you. It was absolutely fabulous! I got so much things done and had a blast with my family!

On Thursday, we drove up to Indiana to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with my aunt’s family. 🙂 My uncle started cooking the turkey early that morning so it was done by afternoon. We started early with our Thanksgiving meal that day.

Here are some of our mandatory holiday photos:

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We were so stuffed that we decided to go to one of the nearby trails where my aunt and uncle go for their runs. We took a nice walk to help ease us through the food coma. 🙂

It was a nice Thanksgiving walk after a hearty and heavy meal.

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When we got back to the house, I had more room for dessert! 🙂

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MMMmmm… yum pumpkin pie! 🙂

I’m a sucker for anything pumpkin so this is what we attacked the next day for breakfast! 🙂 It’s yummy and fluffy. I am a fan!

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For lunch, my aunt made a casserole from the leftover turkey, mashed potato, stuffing and gravy. It was yummy that my camera wasn’t able to make it until it was almost gone.

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After all the cooking and eating, who would want to go shopping? We decided to skip Black Friday madness that day and went to Indianapolis Fountain Square to go duckpin bowling. 🙂

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It’s so cool that the facility has been a continuously operating bowling alley since 1920s (Woah!)!

It was my first time ever playing duckpin bowling and I found out that I suck! LOL! But it was fun and we had a great time! I never had that much fun losing in my life! Haha. For me, duckpin bowling is MUCH harder than regular bowling, but I think the novelty of it adds to the experience. I will definitely do it again. 🙂

After losing at the duckpin bowling, we headed downtown to watch the Circle of Lights. It’s a tradition for the entire city of Indianapolis where they light up and turn their giant monument into a huge Christmas tree. There were live shows and entertainment before the actual lighting of the monument. It was a pretty cool experience. It put me in the Christmas season mood. 🙂

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Saturday was pretty much a relaxed day and still with more eating! 🙂 My aunt and I attended yoga class in the morning to counter-balance the over eating…

… and, so we can have this for dinner! We had yummy grilled lobster, grilled steak and twice-baked potato fries! 🙂 YUM!

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We left Indiana around 1pm on Sunday and headed back to Ohio.

We made it home easily, unpacked, and got to putting up our tree since there were only 24 days left before Christmas!

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I love ornaments! I especially love ornaments that represent a special trip or season of life.

Here are some ornaments we’ve accumulated from our trips and happenings of our lives. 🙂

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Our first Christmas together as husband and wife. 🙂

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Hubby and I love snowboarding! 🙂

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For our love of coffee. 🙂

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Fresh seafood! YUM!

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Happiest place on earth! 🙂

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Memorable city. Chicago Half Marathon, where my husband and I PR’d.

The weather was stunning and the weekend was filled with fun. I’m blessed with such wonderful husband and great family and I’m thankful for every single one of them.

And, oh my gosh, it’s DECEMBER! I’m so thrilled that it is December. It is one of my favorite months and I can’t wait to continue decorating our house more! We are just THAT much closer to Christmas now! 🙂

How was your Thanksgiving weekend?

XoXo,

Ja

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Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 4: Jackson Hole, WY

Hi everyone! How’s September treating you? For me, I am loving it! I love running in cooler weather!

I’m excited for this next recap. This is my most favorite part of our trip!

Our next stop…

Orlando, FL  {recap here}
Los Angeles, CA {recap here}
Boulder & Las Vegas, NV (& a little bit of Arizona :P ) {recap here
> Jackson Hole, WY —> BREATHTAKING!!!
Seattle, WA
Spokane, WA
Vancouver, BC (Canada)

Jackson Hole, WY

WARNING: Words like …AMAZING, …BREATHTAKING, …BEAUTIFUL, …GORGEOUS will be used a lot in this post! 🙂 I can’t even begin to put into words how BEAUTIFUL this place was.

We included Jackson Hole to our Coast-to-Coast trip ’cause my mom was going to be there with her friends for a vacation. When she told me about that, my husband and I decided to take a trip to Jackson Hole too and meet my mom there. 🙂

So, after LA, we flew in to Jackson Hole! 🙂 Unfortunately, our flight was delayed. Our supposedly brief layover in Salt Lake City became an overnight stay. Our flight the next day to Jackson Hole was at noon so, there went our day for the supposed Yellowstone National Park tour. Delayed flight sucks! 😦 What could we do? 😦

Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole is about a 45-minute flight. I recommend a seat by the window so you can look out and see those fabulous Tetons when you land <– AMAZING! We flew in on just a small airplane (puddle jumper). When we exited the plane, there was no jet bridge. Instead we took the stairs to the airport entrance. The moment we stepped out of the airplane, we immediately smelled  the crisp mountain air of Jackson Hole along with the beautiful scenery of the Tetons around you. I loved it!!!)

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After getting our luggage, we took one of the shuttle buses to the rental car place (we rented a car from Alamo) which was in the city proper, about 15 minutes away from the airport.

After picking up our rental car, we headed to our hotel and checked-in. We stayed at Wyoming Inn and it was a GORGEOUS hotel. Aside from the Keurig coffee maker in our room (ah, perfect for a coffee lover like me), we also had the most BEAUTIFUL view of the mountains from our window. Can’t complain! 🙂

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The day we arrived was actually the day we were supposed to do the Yellowstone tour. Since our flight was delayed we already missed half day of the tour. After we settled in, we still went ahead and drove to Yellowstone and just met my mom and her friends to the place where they were already at from the tour.

On our way to Yellowstone, we had to drive through parts of the Grand Teton National Park.
The scenery didn’t disappoint. 🙂 Absolutely BREATHTAKING! I was speechless! 🙂

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As we drove along, we were on the lookout for wild animals. I was hopeful that I’d see a bear crossing the road. The only animals we saw were horses from the horseback riders and an elk that was running like a Kenyan that my Iphone camera wasn’t able to catch up for a picture. 🙂

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The drive to Yellowstone from downtown Jackson was approximately 3 hours. We met up with my mom and her friends at one of the parks in Yellow Stone called Mud Volcano and Sulphur Cauldron – which were exactly what they sound like – muddy, sulfury and smelly geysers and mud pits.

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This place was pretty cool! There were bubbling mudpots, splashing hot springs, and the large, steaming Dragon’s Mouth Spring which is a cave that has boiling water coming out of it

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I read somewhere there that it was called Dragon’s Mouth because when the original settlers of the area came upon this cave, they had thought that there was a dragon that lived inside because of the steam coming out of it and the roaring noise that the boiling water was making as it was coming out. Pretty cool. It’s amazing that boiling water can actually come out of the Earth, naturally. 🙂

This place has a short trail (1/2 mile) that loops around and passes through more mud geysers and mud volcano.

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Ja on the RUN

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Unfortunately for us, this was already the last leg of my mom and her friends’ Yellowstone tour (ugh flight delays!). But it’s ok. At least we got to see a little bit of Yellow Stone. I was looking forward on seeing more like the Old Faithful but they say, it’s another hour to get there and it’s already getting late. Oh well, next time! And please no more delayed flights!

On our way back to our hotel, we stopped at several spots to admire the views and take photos.

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You can see the mountains pretty much the whole time you’re driving through the main highway.

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We were surrounded by beauty everywhere we looked!

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The Tetons were so majestic and this was our view the whole time we were here. 🙂

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DAY 2:

My husband and I woke up early the next day and started our day with a morning run. We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to go for a run in this BEAUTIFUL place. Had to be done! 🙂

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We ran at the National Elk Refuge, located just at the edge of downtown Jackson. It’s a nice paved pathway that runs several miles long. It is wide open and next to the main road where a lot of cars pass by so, I didn’t have to worry much about startling wildlife. Yes, it would be awesome to see some wild animals (far away from me),  but I don’t fancy elks and grizzly bears joining me on my run! LOL!. 🙂

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It was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL run. We got in a nice little 4-mile out-and-back and took in a lot of BEAUTIFUL sights. This pathway goes a long stretch, so you can easily go for more if you want to. We just had to go back right away to our hotel and get ready for the day’s planned activities.

That day, we rode the Jackson Hole Tram up to the Rendezvous Mountain.

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This place is actually a ski resort in the winter. We are definitely putting this place on our list to go for our snowboarding trip! Jackson Hole ski area boasts the largest vertical drop, double black diamond trail in the US. The trail is called “The Peak” of Rendezvous Mountain. You canNOT make me go snowboard down that trail even if you pay me millions of dollars. No way! That thing is very high and very steep. I’ll leave that to Travis Rice! LOL! Definitely not for the faint of heart like me. It’s worth the trip up there though if you are for nothing else than the views. 🙂

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The tram was about 9-minute ride from the base of the ski resort and glides 4,139 vertical feet to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. To really appreciate just how big the Jackson Hole Valley is, you need to ride this tram.

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The views were AMAZING on the way to the top!

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And views got even better as we made it to the top!

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GORGEOUS view!

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Once you are on top, it will give you a bird’s eye view of the region and trails that offer some great day hiking opportunities. Don’t forget your bear spray! 🙂

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We spent the whole morning exploring the mountain

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Words are inadequate to describe how AMAZING this place was!

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Also, on top of this mountain, you’ll find a casual dining restaurant called, The Deck and a fine dining, Couloir. I read good reviews about these restaurants. We will have to try them next time. Just imagine dining-in with awesome views on top of the mountain – MUST DO!

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For our next adventure, we went horseback riding. 🙂
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In the pic below, our guide was just telling me (casually, like it was no biggie) that we’re going to climb to an elevation of 8,000ft up the mountain. Say wah?! Uhhhhm, I, who have never been on a horse, and here you are telling me we are climbing those steep mountains – that kinda freaked me out! LOL! Then, I asked him if I can back-out. 😛

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Well, as you can see in the pic below, I’m still there …looking so helpless. LOL! 🙂

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I am glad our guide didn’t let me back-out or I would miss this AMAZING experience. He probably knew I would regret it had I chosen to be left behind. It was definitely a wonderful two-hour ride with everyone  (my husband, my mom, and her friends). My nervousness went away and got the hang of it as we went on. The steep up and down was manageable and enjoyable for all of us.

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The part where we were literally climbing up by the cliffside was a little scary for me but I learned to calm myself down. Deep breaths! I had to woooooosah a few times. Haha. 🙂

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Once we reached the top, the view again was of course LOVELY! 🙂

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I love the experience. It kinda made me feel a little like real cowgirl! 🙂 I already miss my horse, Clinton. He was very good and so gentle to me. I barely needed to guide him because he was trained and knew the trail so well.

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After that, we had dinner at the barn included in the package for the horseback riding. Then, everyone called it a day, back to our hotels, and end of DAY 2. 🙂

Onto our Day 3!: 🙂

We went to the visitor center to ask for an easy, short, and nice scenic trail to go for hiking. They highly recommended the Jenny Lake Trail.

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There’s so much to do in Jackson Hole! Can’t decide which one to do first!

Jenny Lake is not far from the city proper and is located just inside the Grand Teton National Park. It is one of the most popular trails that it was crowded when we went. So much so that we couldn’t even find a parking spot after multiple orbits of the main lots down near the campground.

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Once parked, we paid for a shuttle boat to take us across the lake to the trail.

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From there, we started hiking up to Inspiration Point

The hike followed this river/stream.

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Half way through the hike, you’ll pass the Hidden Falls. I really love waterfalls, so I loved seeing this gem! So BEAUTIFUL!

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The pic below was a spot where people climb up to get the best view of the falls.

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After Hidden Falls, we continued our hike up to the Inspiration Point.

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We allowed ourselves to rest during the hike and enjoy the scenery.

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It was a bit of a strenuous climb and might be quite a challenge for some, but it was a lot of fun! My husband and I got some good exercise that day. 🙂

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And finally, we made it to the Inspiration Point at 7200ft.

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With a BEAUTIFUL view like this, definitely worth the hike. 🙂

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We stayed for a while to enjoy the GORGEOUS GORGEOUS view!

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Back down to the trail head, we took the shuttle boat again back to the parking lot. The ride across Jenny Lake was definitely lovely and refreshing. 🙂 It was hot that day but the hike was a lot of fun!

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After our hike and much needed lunch (whew, that hike made us really hungry), we were then off to our next adventure.

We went White Water Rafting! YEAH!!! THAT ONE WAS SOOO MUCH FUN and probably the highlight of our Jackson Hole trip. 🙂

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For the whitewater rafting, we were 9 on the boat including our guide and each were given a paddle.

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After being given a short lesson on paddling, we were off down the Snake River.

In case you are wondering, whitewater rapids fall into 6 different classes/categories. 6 is the toughest. This one we did was Category 3.

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Our guide gave us instructions on what signals he would give us at the appropriate time in the rapids.

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Everyone in the boat, including me, was a first timer. In situation like this, I can’t help but feel anxious. Naturally, I didn’t know what to expect.

P1020141We drifted for a while to become acclimated, but as we got closer to the rapids we were instructed to paddle through it. We went down a total of eight miles of the snake river.

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Some waves were stronger than others that felt like I was going to fall off the boat. LOL!

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But our guide had instructed us on how we should position our feet underneath the folds of the raft so that we’d be less likely to fall overboard. And oh, we got really soaked! Our group was laughing and getting drenched happily as we rode wave after wave.

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We were also fortunate enough to see bald eagles, ospreys, and their nests along the way. Our entire trip through the snake river was like a picture postcard….BEAUTIFUL!

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About 3/4 through the ride, our guide took us to a nice spot for a picnic-style-BBQ-dinner-by-the-river which was already included in the price.

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Dinner included a 9oz. sirloin steak or trout, potato salad, pasta salad, garlic bread, corn on the cob, dutch oven cobbler and hot/cold beverages.  My husband got the steak and I got the trout and both were exceptionally tasty. I love the peach cobbler too! Everything was actually good! 🙂 $80 for 3-4 hours and a solid dinner is definitely well worth the price! We also had a chance to get to know our fellow raft mates during the picnic and ruminate about how great the day was. We stayed there for about 30-45 minutes and then off to hit the water again. 🙂

Ja on the RUNThe rapids along the Snake River each have different names. I forgot the other ones but what I remember the most was the “Champagne”. It’s the deepest part of the river and the oxygen in the water bubbles up like champagne. Pretty cool!

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The entire journey lasted about 4 hours. All in all, it was a great and exhilarating experience.

I couldn’t resist buying these photos for $45/each (notice that I’m not really paddling, LOL :P).

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I can now cross this off of my bucket list! And I will definitely do it again!

Another nice thing, there were bathrooms and changing rooms in the parking area. So, I grabbed my dry clothes from the bus and changed. 🙂  It was nice that I didn’t have to be soaking wet and shiver in the cold on the way back to the city proper. So, BRING EXTRA CLOTHES!

Mad River let us rent their waterproof camera which had like a floating device attached to it so it just floats in the water if you accidentally drop it. You can ask for one If you plan to take pictures. 🙂

It really was a fantastic experience and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I challenge anyone who for whatever reason tend to play it safe by sticking with the usual mundane activities on holidays to TRY THIS! Dare to try something different!

Day 4: Last day 😦

We spent our last day exploring downtown Jackson. 🙂

Our flight that day was not until later in the afternoon. We decided to check-in our luggage first thing in the morning at the airport. We did that so we didn’t have to worry about getting late for our flight while we explore and make the most of our last few remaining hours in Jackson Hole.
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Jackson Hole Airport and the Tetons in the background! GORGEOUS!

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IMG_3764After checking-in our luggage, we were off to check out downtown Jackson.

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There were lots of t-shirt stores, souvenir shops, bars, and restaurants.

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And if you missed your chance to get a photo of the antler arch at the airport, there are 4 antler arches in the town square.

_MG_8307We searched in Yelp for good restaurants in the area for lunch. We decided to try Sweetwater. We went there and got a table at their patio outside. We were in the middle of summer days that time and it was extremely hot. So, I asked if we could be seated in the dining room inside where it’s cooler with a ceiling fan on. Unfortunately, they weren’t opening that inside area for that day. So, all diners had to be seated outside and sweat in the blazing heat! Combine that with a waiter who was lacking in interpersonal skills, not to mention SSSSLOWWW. :/

Ja on the RUN

Anyway, I ordered their Veggie Wrap and Vanilla Pear soup which was yummy! So, that kinda compensated the situation. Ha! Just feed the hungry lady already so she can stop complaining! LOL! 😛

IMG_3791

Last meal in Jackson Hole!

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After lunch, we roamed around some more, bought souvenir stuff, returned our rental car, and
took the shuttle bus to the airport. 😦
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It was hard saying goodbye to this BEAUTIFUL place. We had a bit of rough start with our flights being delayed but we definitely had a wonderful time! There were no dull moments. We were on the go from morning-to-dark everyday taking in all the Jackson Hole area has to offer and we still didn’t get to do everything! There’s so much to do! Now, that we finally got a taste of it, we are definitely going back!

Ja on the RUN

So long Jackson Hole! It was one helluvah fun adventure!

If you have never been to Jackson Hole before, go there! I highly recommend it. Prepare for your first visit to be mind-blowing. The people are AMAZING and the scenery is out of this world!

There you go! Three more stops to go and I am completely finish with my vacation recaps. Then back to my regular postings! 🙂 STAY TUNED!

Have you been to Jackson Hole before? Which one is your favorite activity?

Xoxo, Ja

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Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 3: Hoover Dam & Las Vegas

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Well, hello everyone!

It’s time again for another recap of my coast-to-coast trip! 🙂

Catch up on part 1 here  and part 2 here in case you missed it.

Our next stop…

July 6-9: Orlando, FL  {recap here –> Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 1: Orlando, FL}
July 9-11,14-15: Los Angeles, CA {recap here –> Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 2: Los Angeles, CA}
> July 12-13: Boulder & Las Vegas, NV (& a little bit of Arizona :P )

July 16-19: Jackson Hole, WY —> BREATHTAKING!!!
July 20, 26-27: Seattle, WA
July 21-23: Spokane, WA
July 23-25: Vancouver, BC (Canada)

Hoover Dam & Las Vegas

On our 3rd day in LA, my hubby’s aunt and uncle took us for a road trip to Las Vegas!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Before heading to Las Vegas, we dropped by Boulder first to check out Hoover Dam! It was about a 45-minute drive from Las Vegas.

On the way, we passed by Lake Mead which offered some lovely views from the road.

Ja on the RUN

We didn’t go on the Hoover Dam tours due to time constraint. I’m sure it would be awesome to know more about the history and to see what’s underground. The tour lets you go underground and walk thru the whole power plant. Sounds pretty interesting.

Ja on the RUN

I was in awe of this enormous bypass that connected both sides of the canyon. It was the first thing I saw as we reached the dam.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

This was my first real glimpse of the dam. It was really neat. I had only seen this place before in pictures and they don’t do it justice. This thing is massive in person! I felt so small the moment we arrived at this place.

I first heard about this place from my parents when I was still in the Philippines. I was busy in med school and couldn’t join them when they visited. I’ll admit it though, when my parents mentioned about this part of their Vegas trip, I was like, really? A dam? That’s lame.

Well boy was I wrong! The scenery was astounding! I gave myself a bonk in the head for thinking it was nothing. I definitely recommend to include this place on your “must visit” checklist.
Ja on the RUN
Ja on the RUN
I was even able to time travel between Arizona and Nevada. Thank you. LOL!

Ja on the RUN

It was a different time on the Arizona side than it was in Nevada. Arizona is in the Mountain Time Zone, while Nevada is in the Pacific Time Zone. To add to the confusion, Arizona does not use Daylight Savings Time. Interesting! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

The rock discoloration indicates the former water level and shows that large quantity of water has been lost in the past couple of decades.

Ja on the RUN

In the pic below, I was wondering there what would happen if you let a rock roll down the dam. I was sooo tempted to do that. LOL!  I was also holding my phone so tight like crazy. I was too scared I’d drop my phone while taking pictures. YIKES!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Another new thing I learned that day, that gigantic bridge, the Hoover Dam Bypass, was only recently completed in 2010. My next thought was – it would be amazing to run a race here. I googled it online that night and found this – Hoover Dam Marathon. Cool!

Ja on the RUN

This place is beautiful. We could just stare at it for ages! It’s amazing!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

I was so impressed that a “Hoover Dam selfie” had to be done! LOL! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

We made our way to the Hoover Dam bypass to see what the dam would look like from up there!

This bridge connects Arizona and Nevada.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

If you walk towards the middle of the bridge, you get this kind of view (pic below). When the bypass wasn’t built yet, the cars had to wind down the road and cross the dam to get to the other side.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

This is definitely a well worth the short trip before heading to Las Vegas. I’m glad we went ’cause we enjoyed the “dam” thing! LOL! 😛

Then, we headed to Las Vegas. It was my first time there along with Tammy and Paul, and my husband’s second time.

Well, what happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas because I’m going to share every amazing second we spent in Sin City!

Ja on the RUN

Hoover Dam drained our energy and made us hungry. We first checked out Vegas style buffets for an early dinner.  I’m not a buffet fan but I figured I had to try one in Vegas!

We went to Carnival World Buffet in Rio Hotel. We had to wait for a while to be seated ’cause there was a long line. This buffet place must be one of the best since it seemed popular.

Ja on the RUN

And finally we were in. This buffet place is huge. I’m actually still in the process of recovering from the effects of eating so much from this trip. LOL!

The food was separated by continents and each continent section had specialty food from each part of the world, like Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean,  etc. The food was greasy, fattening, and deep fried. In other words, it was delicious! LOL! I actually enjoyed the farmed crab legs and shrimps the most! There was also huge salad bar and fruit section! Oh, and the desserts and gelato section, that was AMAZINGLY GOOD! The price was $50 per head which was pricey but that was already expected in Vegas.

Even this souvenir mug agrees! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

The buffet restaurant is located inside Rio Hotel. We parked at the roof deck level at one of the parking lots at Rio, which had a beautiful panoramic view of the vegas hotels. Pretty awesome! My hubby’s aunt and uncle said that they would go at this parking lot and watch fireworks on fourth of July. Nice!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

After our super-duper stuffed full of delicious food dinner, we hopped in the car and headed to Freemont Street. When we arrived, the Beatles show was on. They say every night on the hour, they play music and have a light show on the ceiling.

Ja on the RUN

It was pretty cool. It felt like you are sort of outdoors and sort of indoors. Since the place was packed, we only stayed for just half an hour and then decided to roam around the Vegas strip.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

You probably should think twice going to Vegas in July, unless you enjoy sweating profusely. This city is in the middle of dusty desert and IT WAS SO HOT! And if you’ve never been to Vegas, you don’t realize how much walking is involved! And it’s not just a straight shoot down the street walk. There were lots of stairs, escalators and bridges which resulted in lots of zig-zagging to get to where you want to go.

After a very HOT walk around the strip, we made it to Caesar’s Palace where we spent most of our time.

Ja on the RUN

We spent a lot of time wandering through the stores. They have every expensive store you can imagine here. From Gucci to Celine, YSL, Chanel, Hermes, Christian Louboutin and more! It is definitely a designer lover’s heaven! And it just goes on and on and on!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Then, we headed to the hotel’s casino and played the slot machines.I find the slot machines aren’t as cool as they really look. Haha!

Then we went to Bellagio and hit the roulette tables. My husband and I lost $100 in just two minutes. Gone, right away, and just like that! LOL! I realized I have no luck in gambling. Plus, I found the table games intimidating. I guess that’s how it is when you’re really not a gambler.

After our failed attempt of trying our luck in gambling, we decided to sit, grab some cocktails and relax for a bit.

We stayed so long in the Bellagio Hotel that we missed the fountain show outside. I heard awesome things about it.

Ja on the RUN

We continued to walk some more, hopped across the street (and by ‘hopped across the street,’ I mean took a series of four escalators and multiple pedestrian bridges over 6 lanes of traffic) until we became pretty exhausted and decided to pack it in for the night. We drove back to LA the next day. 🙂

It was really cool to finally go to Vegas. It is definitely like a big adult theme park. Although we really didn’t have much time there, it was still a blast. We actually did a lot in one day!!! 🙂

My husband and I had a fantastic time with Paul and Tammy. They were awesome traveling buddies. We talked about going on another trip together …soon! Yay! Though I didn’t come away with any winnings, I came away with memories that will last a lifetime. 🙂

Well, that’s a wrap for now! I have few more recaps coming! Stay tuned! 🙂

Xoxo, Ja

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Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 2: Los Angeles, CA

{Part I here}

Hi all!  Hope you’re having a great day!

Gosh these past few days have just flown by. Since I had been eating like there’s no tomorrow during our month long vacation, I’m back to working out and running again! Yup, back to our normal routine and I have so much catching up to do!

Ok so here’s a recap of our next stop…

July 6-9: Orlando, FL  {recap here –> Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 1: Orlando, FL}
> July 9-11,14-15: Los Angeles, CA
July 12-13: Boulder & Las Vegas, NV (& a little bit of Arizona :P )
July 16-19: Jackson Hole, WY —> BREATHTAKING!!!
July 20, 26-27: Seattle, WA
July 21-23: Spokane, WA
July 23-25: Vancouver, BC (Canada)

Los Angeles, CA

After our fun trip to Orlando, we flew to La La Land next. 🙂

I’ve been to L.A. several times long time ago before I even moved to the U.S. During my vacation from school in the Philippines, my family and I would fly to the US for vacation and California was one of the places we would visit. I had a lot of fond memories back then. After many years, it was nice to visit LA again. Going back this time with my husband and friends was definitely exciting. New set of people, new memories! 🙂

We landed at LAX late at night and starving. Our first stop in Cali…

In N Out Burger!
ja-ontherun.com

Hmm …fast food, while on vacation? Sorry, but it had to be done. There wasn’t much open  in Palmdale after 10pm. Plus I had to try this fast food chain from all the hype I’ve heard. I got the double cheeseburger which was ok. I don’t exactly know what I’m missing here but in all honesty, it was just a burger. There wasn’t anything too special about it or maybe the built up expectations from all the rave reviews let me down. People seem to love it as if this would be some blow your mind, can’t live without, amazingly delish burger. But …it’s not. I’m sorry to those who loves it but for me it was just an average burger. It’s decent, but no more, no less. (*sorry* :|) Well, at least I got to try it …and that’s enough for me. 🙂
Related: Great American Bites: Is In-N-Out Burger overhyped?

What do you guys think of In-N-Out Burgers?
Do you love it? Or do you think it’s overrated?
What’s the best burger place you had so far? Please do share! 🙂
– For me, nothing has yet beaten Wham! Burger. It’s the best I ever had so far!

We stayed at my husband’s aunt’s place in Palmdale. We slept right away after having our “most overhyped” dinner and woke up early the next day – too early because our body clock was still used to Eastern Time. 🙂

I loved the time difference though. It seemed like I was a legit morning person there. Haha. My husband and I would be wide awake by 5am and ready to roll. 😛 So, what did we do wide awake early dawn?

Ja on the RUN

We went for a run.

Hubby and I would go venture out her aunt’s neighborhood streets.

Ja on the RUN

And during our runs we discovered this scenic route that goes up to the desert mountains.
I was pretty amazed of the desert-y landscape you get in the Southern California.

Ja on the RUN

As we reached the top of these desert mountains, we were greeted with
a gorgeous sunrise and a nice view of the neighborhoods of Palmdale.

Ja on the RUN

There’s no better way of touring a new city than running it.  🙂

Ja on the RUN

Then, I had a deep conversation with this dog after our run. I was telling him about this beautiful place I went to. He’s been living in Palmdale all his life and had no clue where that place was. LOL! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

We started off our first two days here meeting up with friends and family. I have a couple of friends and relatives who live in California and one of the things I looked forward to coming to LA was reuniting with them. Since this was only a short visit and our schedule was pretty hectic, we only managed to see a few of them.
(TO THOSE WHOM WE DIDN’T GET TO SEE, NEXT TIME WE VISIT, WE’LL MAKE SURE TO MEET UP WITH YOU. :))

On our way to visit friends and family we had to go through a lot of LA traffic. It’s endless! I lived in the city when I was in the Philippines and I think the traffic in LA is just as crazy as there already. I am not used to it anymore. I would sometimes complain here in Cincinnati about our “traffic” which isn’t bad. After seeing LA’s, I have nothing to complain about! Nothing! LOL!

Ja on the RUN

First, we visited one of my best friends back in the Philippines, Aiko.

Ja on the RUN

Her babies are are too darn cute! Aiko moved to California with her family a few years ago. It was definitely fun seeing and catching up with her and her super kind family. 🙂

Next, hubby and I met up with our dear Godparents. 🙂
(Remember the story about the origin of my name? I wrote about it here.)

Ja on the RUN

Gave them personalized Cincinnati Bengals beer mugs. Gotta represent! 🙂

 They knew we don’t get much Filipino food here in Ohio so they invited us for dinner and prepared delicious Filipino food for us. Awww-some!!!

Ja on the RUN

I had to save my appetite the whole day for that. It’s been quite a while since I had good Filipino food. I can only cook the simplest ones (like adobo) but other Filipino dishes are just too meticulous to make so I don’t cook them. LOL! 🙂

Soo good! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

My favorite was the pancit palabok (bright orange dish in the middle). It’s a Filipino noodle dish with shrimp sauce topped with cooked shrimp, boiled pork, crushed chicharon, and hard boiled eggs. It was very tasty that sure relieved my hunger and cravings. I had a couple of servings of that! So good! Oh and the crispy pata! That one was good too! Mmmm. Creating this post is now making me hungry! LOL!

Our friends, Tammy and Paul arrived that night too. They flew in from Houston to join us on this trip. I was beyond excited when I learned that they were joining us! Our trip was even more memorable with them! We definitely had an awesome time together! 🙂

My husband left for a bit to pick them up at the airport, then back to our Godparent’s place with them.

Ja on the RUN
They too enjoyed some good Filipino food for dinner! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

It was awesome catching up with all of them that night.
Great food, great company, what more can you ask for?! First few days in LA – definitely a thumbs up!!!

Ja on the RUN

The next day was our trip to Hoover Dam and Las Vegas, which I will have to recap on a separate post. 🙂

Before heading to Nevada that day, my husband and I talked about bringing Tammy and Paul to that scenic place we discovered in Palmdale. We just had to bring them there. It was too beautiful for them not to see. 🙂

So we woke up early and we took Tammy and Paul for an early morning desert run and stroll. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

We didn’t stay out too long. We headed back home after a few hours, ate breakfast, freshened up, and prepared our stuff for our trip to Hoover Dam and Las Vegas. We were so excited!

Stay tuned for a separate recap solely dedicated to our adventure in Nevada! 🙂 This post is just all about LA! 🙂

We stayed in Las Vegas overnight and headed back to LA the next day early morning. I told you, our schedule was hectic! We got back in LA and planned to roam around the rest of the day! 🙂

We went to grab some lunch first at a Filipino fast food chain, Jollibee.

Ja on the RUN

I was actually amazed as to how popular this fast food chain was there. They have Jollibee everywhere in the West Coast!

Ja on the RUN

Since my husband and I are so deprived of Filipino goodies here in Ohio, we splurged a little bit here. 😛

Ja on the RUN

Halo-halo 🙂 – so good!

ja on the run
Peach Mango Pie, a dessert made out of baked flaky pastry
filled with mangoes and peaches – YUM!!!

Ja on the RUN

Filipino sweet spaghetti!

My husband got the Amazing Aloha burger which he devoured right away before I could even take a photo of it. That burger was actually featured in Anthony Bourdain’s show <– must watch! …must watch! 🙂

My husband’s uncle and aunt actually took time off from work for us so they can drive and tour us around. Aren’t they amazing?! They were such awesome hosts! They took us around downtown LA, to Beverly Hills and a little tour of some stars’ homes. Yeah, tourist stuff! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

We visited Venice Beach per Paul and Tammy’s request. They have never been and were ecstatic to play in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

It was already late in the afternoon, a little chilly and gloomy. The water was freezing cold, but we enjoyed playing with the waves and walking around on the beach.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

After numbing our toes to cold water, we decided to walk around a bit on the the strip along the shore. There were mini amusement parks, restaurants, and shops around the area. There wasn’t really much to see actually. The street was lined with small shops selling pretty much the same things; clothes, jewelry, and souvenir items. For me, Venice Beach is something I’d go visit just to see, but I wasn’t moved enough that I’d need to go back again. 😐

We had a quick dinner at a Korean restaurant, Genwa, went home and called it a day! 🙂

Ja on the RUN
Onto our last day in LA, we did more tourist stuff!

We had breakfast first at this diner, Crazy Otto’s!

Ja on the RUN

I LOVE this place! I love their decor of license plates all over their walls. I love the ambience, it’s very homey and their food is delicious! I ordered the Chorizo and Egg and was HUGE!!! They have great service too! I love everything about that place. 🙂

Leo’s uncle made everything so convenient and possible for us when we were there. They made sure we hit all of the “Hollywood Must Sees”!

First we headed down to Hollywood Blvd to look at the famous hand prints in the cement and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

The boys are a big fan! 🙂

We also went to Griffith Observatory to get the best view of the Hollywood sign.

Ja on the RUN
Ja on the RUN
You’d also get a nice panoramic views of the whole city from up there. I remembered this place being too crowded when I first went here years ago. Good thing it wasn’t as busy this time. :). We were able take a lot of pictures without other people photobombing our pics. LOL! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on theRUNThe Observatory itself is beautiful, and so were the views. I remembered going to a planetarium here before and they have like an open telescope in the dome to view stars in the sky. We were obviously there during the day, so we missed that, but I’m sure that would be a cool experience with them.

And of course Universal Studios Hollywood! 🙂

I said hello to this place once again. It was like a travel down memory lane. First time I went here was when I was in high school and I remembered the Jurassic Park ride being my favorite back then. It was pretty much the same when I rode it this time. They still used the same mechanical dinosaurs that spit on you and when you look another way, you get spit at from another. Haha. I thought that was pretty funny and entertaining.  I liked it because the ride is pretty lame at first and you won’t expect the big drop at the finale. Of course this time, I knew about it already and that we would end up soaking wet. It was still fun though. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

The crowd that day made us so thankful we got the Front of Line passes. We didn’t have to deal with waiting in long lines in the heat of summer days …of CALIFORNIA!!! We got to do literally everything at a good pace. Front of Line passes are definitely the way to go! 🙂 It definitely saved us a lot of time and got pretty much done early. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Along with In-N-Out, Randy’s is another LA staple. Arriving at Randy’s, we were greeted by this huge donut on top of the place. That was actually very appealing! It makes you wanna get some doughnuts! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

I got the apple fritter which was delicious! That was actually a great way to cap off our long, fun day! 🙂

So that about wraps up our time in LA.

All in all we had a great time exploring the city and spending time with wonderful friends and family. This visit with my husband and friends was definitely a complete different experience from my previous visits.  It was fun, fun, fun!

Bless you for getting to the end of this. That was uuber long! I wanted to get everything of LA into this post. 😛 Stay tuned for the next part!!!

Much love,
Ja

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Banana Split, Running in the Heat …and Going Vegetarian (say wha?!)

I have so many things to share.

Let’s start of with Saturday.

Hubby and I went to the sweetest festival on earth – Banana Split Festival. 🙂

Banana Split Festival

This small town in Ohio claims the origin of the first banana split. They commemorate the event each year in the month of June with a Banana Split Festival in honor of this classic dessert.

Ever since my husband and I lived here in Ohio in 2010, we come to this festival every year for the banana splits, car shows and events. It’s a great place to find local crafts too. I, of course like and support anything local.

A featured attraction at the Festival was the “Make Your Own Banana Split” booth where you choose how many scoops, what flavors of ice cream and toppings you want.

Banana Split Festival

Banana Split Festival

TOP (Mine): I had 2 scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt (uhm, if you haven’t checked out my crazy FroYo addiction, head over to this post). Topped with chocolate syrup, rainbow sprinkles, almond nuts, whipped cream and cherries! YUM!

BOTTOM (Hubby’s): He had 1 scoop of vanilla and 1 scoop of chocolate ice cream, and went crazy with the toppings. 😛

Banana Split Festival

Now dig in – Yum…Yum!

After we devoured our dessert we stayed some more and enjoyed the festive mood. It was really a street fair in nature – just good old fashioned fun. 🙂

I got so excited when I got my Runner’s World in the mail that day! I was touched by this issue’s cover photo. It has a photo of a finisher’s medal with a piece of black tape across it . It portrayed a very powerful message showing support for those affected in the bombing. I thought this issue is mournful but optimistic in a way to remind people to be stronger, move on, and never stop doing what they love. I will treasure this issue forever.

Runner's World July 2013

I wasn’t aware at first that I was wearing the colors of Boston Marathon that day
’til I I saw my copy of the Runner’s World in the mail. Such a coincidence! 🙂

Runner's World July 2013

I was so inspired so I grabbed a copy of one of these too.

People June 2013

Moving on…

I planned a 10-mile run on Sunday but I woke up late again. By the time I got my lazy butt up, it was already close to 8:00 am. I knew it’s going to be hot as hell after 8:00 am. It was supposed to go as high as 82 degrees later that day. I was debating with myself if I’d still manage to run outside or not, but I didn’t give in. I thought of heading to the trails to seek some shade and …. just run!

Just run

Southwest Ohio is generally pretty cool in the mornings for running. Usually, a run before 8:00 a.m is perfect around here. The “getting up really early” part to beat the heat is a challenge for me.

It’s funny that after living here in Ohio, when I hear people who run outside during the winter in negative degree snowbound weather, I don’t react weird about it; but when they tell me they went running during 95 F weather, I’d think they’re crazy I mean, bad ass!

My ideal running temperatures would range from 50º-55º. For me, that’s perfect! I’ll be flashing a big smile on my face throughout my run in that temperature. Greater than that, I’ll have issues… I’ll die! (Lol! Just kidding!) 😛

What is your ideal running temperature? When is it too hot for you to run?

I’ve only been running for just over a year now and within the year I’ve read some useful tips from the running gurus on training during hot days:
– Run really early or later in the day after the sun starts to set to avoid the heat of the sun.
– Avoid getting out there between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
– Wear loose light-colored clothes.
– Run on shady trails or indoors
– Stay hydrated

Just Run

How do you run in the heat and not die? What are your hot weather running tips?
How hot would you say is too hot to run outside?

I usually run with a hand-held water bottle but I knew I wouldn’t get through 10 miles in the heat and humidity with just 8oz. water, so I thought of running with a CamelBak. This was actually my first time I had to bring one on a run. I don’t like carrying stuff with me on my runs, but that day I was thanking myself for thinking of it. I was able to stay hydrated throughout my run and I realized, carrying a CamelBak wasn’t bad after all. 🙂

Just Run

I didn’t have to stop for water but I planned my route where I can stop for water just in case I run out. My husband was on call for work that day so I ran by myself. I did multiple short loops in the trail staying close to where I parked instead of a long run out and back. That way, if I get too exhausted and dizzy, I can head back to my car easily to rest or stop early.

10 miles
Have you ever not run because you thought it was too hot- or what do you do to make sure you’re properly hydrated?

It was exhausting, but I finished 10 miles without collapsing. 🙂 I headed back to my car, rested for a bit, and had my much needed recovery snacks before driving back home.

Post-run fuel

I like to refuel with banana and coconut water/juice. 🙂

What is your favorite way to refuel after a run?

While having lunch at home, I watched this interesting documentary on Netflix titled, Vegucated.

Vegucated
It is about these three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks and learn what it’s all about. The director of this film, Marisa Miller Wolfsonused to make fun of her vegetarian friends until she became one. Like her, I used to never understand why people go meatless. Although I know greens are the way to go for healthy life, I grew up also knowing the importance of the nutrients we get from meat. That thinking slowly changed when I became conscious about my health and watched several documentaries about the importance and benefits of changing our diets to plant-based. I have seen quite a few videos about the meat and dairy industries but they did not affect me like Vegucated did. Among the films I’ve watched, this one, this particular documentary hit home the most for me!

I’d like for you guys to watch this trailer just to get an idea of what the film is all about.

After watching it, I felt sorry for the fish I just ate for lunch (Ugh! I’m so sorry fish). I was aware of how animals go through in slaughter houses from local news and newspapers but it never really sunk in to me until I watched this documentary. It showed what actually takes place in slaughter houses and how it’s really like for those poor animals. These cows, chickens, and pigs are no way different from the dogs and cats you love in your homes. It’s really emotional to see what these animals have to undergo JUST for us humans. I shed a tear and it opened my eyes to things I had not previously consciously considered. It changed my outlook on a lot of things. It’s been 2 days since I watched the film and I haven’t had a single meat intake since and I am feeling great. 🙂

I just can never look at meats and enjoy my half rack ribs the same way again. I don’t know how long I can handle not eating meats. As of now, my heart is still melting whenever I remember the film. I can’t say it yet if I can go all the way vegan but I know I want to. I am very inspired at the moment by this educational video to become a vegetarian. 🙂

So if you’re thinking or interested to go vegetarian/vegan or adapt a plant-based lifestyle, watch this film! I tell you, this documentary will DEFINITELY inspire you to do it!  It’s available on Netflix. And even if you choose to continue to eat meat, Vegucated will definitely teach you a lot of things. It isn’t the first film I have watched on this subject matter, but it is the first film that changed me.

Do I think everyone should be a vegan? No. Not necessarily. I don’t think vegetarian is for everyone. I think food is a personal choice. However, I do think that everyone could benefit from more plants and less meat and dairy. I totally agree that a mostly plant-based diet is generally better for your health and better for the environment

Have you seen Vegucated? What do you think of the film?

On a last note before I end my post, we recently celebrated National Running Day and enjoyed National Doughnut day, but did you know that it was National Iced Tea Day yesterday? I didn’t ’til I got this email from Dunkin Donuts! 🙂

Well, in this heat, every day is National Iced Tea Day for me!

National Iced Tea Day

Have a great day everyone! Stay cool!

Xoxo, JOTR
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April (and March) Foodie Penpal Reveal Day

I am so excited to be back here on Foodie Penpal. I signed up for this last year in November. Took a break in January and February because my family came over here for vacation and I was super busy.

I missed it so much so I signed up again in March, but my blog was under renovation in time for reveal day.

So I just decided to combine both reveal days for March and April together. 2 in 1! Those are always fun, right?! 🙂

For my March box, my box came from amazing Sylvia Hernandez. 🙂 She doesn’t have a blog but I’m sending her warm hugs via email. Yes, you don’t have to be a blogger to join in the fun. 🙂

She said that she visited my blog to know more about me. She went shopping with something spicy in mind (she must have read this post about me), but changed her mind and shopped something different instead. 🙂

As soon as I saw this paper bag in my box, I knew right away where she went to shop for my goodies. I love Whole Foods Market! 🙂

I love those sticky notes! 🙂

My box was filled with goodies I haven’t tried before. It’s perfect because I love trying new things. After all, this is what the program is about – meeting new people and trying new things! 🙂

First thing that caught my eye was this bag of Kale chips.

I’ve never tried any kale chips before. I took a bite and DIED! These are beyond delicious!

They did not last long and I think I’m hooked on these. I will definitely check out Whole Foods and try other flavors. 🙂

Oooohh this Pumpkin Sprouties did not last long either. My husband and I were munching on these while watching tv and gone …fast!

Photo Mar 16, 8 12 38 PM

These are very delicious. Taste like sunflower seeds. These are great to put on top of salads or just eat by the handfuls.

Next are these muscle brownies.

I am not really into body building but I knew I’ll be 100% guilt-free when I indulge in these brownies. The taste was good, a tad on the too sweet side then I realized they are brownies (not protein bars).

The sugar is a little high so I’d eat just half of the pack after workouts.

I knew my husband would love these Coco-Roons.

He likes anything coconut-y. I had no choice but to share this with him.

I was able to take one piece before he could finish everything. I love it, they are sweet but just enough sweet to complement the coconut.

Now, these Pretzilla mini pretzel buns. I have never seen a pretzel bun before.

These buns came with coarse salt to add to the top if you choose so.

I made a little ham and cheese sliders with the mini buns and I loved it. Yum! This is a great alternative to plain old roll. The buns have such a rich delicious pretzel flavor that is distinct and delicious. YUM!

That’s it for my March box.

Hey Sylvia, if you happen to read this post, thank you so much! I love everything you sent me!”

Oh! Please head over to Karen’s blog (midlifedreaming.wordpress.com), to check out what I sent her! 🙂

Now, let’s move on to my April Box. This box came from Stacie Hoyos all the way from Maryland. She’s not a blogger too like my previous penpal so, no links to their blogs.

When I saw my goodies, I was curious about them. They were all new to me and I was so excited to taste everything. I was looking for her letter, but I didn’t find any. 😦
I was a bit sad when I didn’t find any letter from her. 😦 But I remembered her telling me during our exchange of emails that this was her first time on Foodie Penpals. So I’m guessing she missed the part that says she has to include a letter explaining her goodies.

It would have been nice to read something while devouring my goodies. 🙂

I devoured on these right away.

I see these chocolate bites in Starbucks when I buy my coffee but I’ve never really paid attention to them. These are in small containers which should be located somewhere near the register area. I literally couldn’t stop popping them in my mouth after trying one. These chocolate bites are sooo good!

These corn chips are good too!

They are crispy and crunchy, light and flaky, and still have a bit of texture and depth to them. Sometimes with “healthier” chips I feel like they are almost too light and taste “blah”, but these feel like a REAL snack food.

I threw the greek yogurt bar, Luna bar and Stride gum in my bag for me to eat while on the go.

As you can see, the Luna protein bar did not last long. I unconsciously ate it. Wait, is there such thing? Haha. I honestly don’t remember eating them.

Have you ever unconsciously ate something? LOL! 🙂

The Stride gum has by far the best packaging of any other gum I’ve seen! The actual gum color is purple, tastes fruity like sweet oranges almost, and the flavor and consistency last for a long time.


The greek yogurt bar is absolutely delicious. They are chewy with a good bit of crunch from the oats. The blueberry acai flavor tastes like the real deal. Love these!
I haven’t opened the tea and popcorn yet. The flavors sound intriguing though.

Thank you Stacie for the goodies. 🙂

I sent a package to Emily Gedert who blogs over @EmilyRuns. I’m not sure though if she’ll have time to blog because she’s getting married this week! 🙂 Have fun on your wedding day, Emily! Best Wishes!So there you go!

Thank you Lindsay @The Lean Green Bean for hosting this program. 🙂

I’ve made quite a few friends through food and I can’t wait for next month’s Foodie Penpal. 🙂

You guys may already know how this whole thing goes but here are some of the details about the program.

Please head over to Lindsay’s blog @TheLeanGreenBean for more details! 🙂

Want to see my previous Foodie Penpal posts? Click here.

Xoxo, JOTR

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