Category Archives: General
Spring weather has been kind of all over the place in SF so far, but there have seen some gorgeous sunny days for sure. Yufei and I picked 2 of these days to visit the San Francisco Botanical Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers, both located in Golden Gate Park.
The botanical garden is free for SF residents, which is awesome. Check out these pretty flower we saw when we were there.
There’s a little lake in the middle, and we spent some time enjoying the sun on a bench and watching the ducks.
It was also magnolia season when we visited.
I can imagine myself coming here with a blanket and a good book and just spend all afternoon lying on the grass reading. I will definitely be back in the future!
And here is the beautiful Conservatory of Flowers! The building itself is really gorgeous, and there is lots of lawns space outside for lazing around.
It costs money to go inside, but again there is a discount for residents which is great. There are a lot of really cool plants inside, including many species of pitcher plants.
The flowerbeds outside make for a beautiful backdrop for photos!
It’s about time I did a quick update about the status of my dental school apps. Since I last posted on the subject, I’ve decided to put my deposit down for UCSF. I’ve been wait-listed at Harvard, and rejected by Columbia (no love from the alma mater). I’m really excited about UCSF though, and I’m very happy with my choice. I think of all the interviews I went on, UCSF left me with the best impression. I think the program is a good fit for me and I can’t wait to start in September. I’m not holding out for Harvard, but if a miracle happens and I get in, I’m really not sure what I’ll do. But for now I’m happy just focusing on moving things forward with UCSF.
Now, for the real subject of this post. Ever since I decided to go into dentistry, I’ve been on the look out for teeth-related things. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think teeth-shaped stuff are actually pretty cute. They make awesome home accessories, like these salt and pepper shakers:
Or this cookie jar:
Or this toothbrush holder:
Am I right? So cute. In addition to home decor, they also make for cute and unique jewelry. Like this cool necklace:
Or these new earrings that I bought a few weeks ago:
They also come in gold:
How awesome are these? Such unique pieces sure to be conversation starters. I can’t wait to add to my collection of teeth-related items in the future!
I have always loved reading. But reading for pleasure had become a thing of the past during my 4 years of college. Honestly, the only books I remember having read just for my personal enjoyment was the Hunger Games series, which I read over the summer before senior year. However, since I graduated and have been working only part-time over the past half a year or so, I suddenly found myself with more free time than I have had in years. And what else to do with all this time but read for pleasure?
I really began to read a lot since I found out that I can borrow free Kindle books from the San Francisco Public Library through Overdrive. What an amazing thing! I love my Kindle, but I didn’t always like having to pay to get e-books. I’m also a huge fan of libraries, so I was so happy when I found out that I can borrow e-books from the library. Of course, the library doesn’t have all the books I want to read, or they might not have it in the e-book format, but they have a pretty great collection going! So far I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction (ha, maybe college did change my reading preferences after all), including a lot of Malcom Gladwell and Oliver Sacks. Right now I’m working my way through Susan Cain’s Quiet and really enjoying it so far.
It feels amazing to read for pleasure again. I had forgotten how good it feels to curl up with a good book in bed at night (or all day for that matter). I hope that even when life gets busy again in the near future, I will find time to read. Not for school, not for work, just for myself.
What good books have you read recently? Any recommendations for me?
Yufei and I celebrated Valentine’s Day on the Monday after this year, and it was fantastic! I made us brunch with pancakes, eggs, toast, and chocolate covered strawberries in the morning:
Yufei got me flowers. Aww…
And at night we went out to Dixie for dinner. We had a voucher for a 5-course dinner with wine pairings for two, which was a great deal. The restaurant is located in the Presidio, surrounded by trees. It was dark when we got there, but I can imagine that it’s a pretty setting. The interiors of the restaurant was warmly lit. It was also really spacious, which I liked, and we got seated in a booth.
The kinds of food they serve I guess can be classified as new American with a southern twist. We started off with some canapés, which included hush puppies, deviled eggs, cured ham, and pickled okra.
The first course was a sunchoke panna cotta with smoked oysters, crispy fried brussel sprouts leaves & dandelions. Since Yufei does not eat shellfish, they made his without oysters. We were a little disappointed that they did not substitute something for the oysters, but oh well.
It was an interesting dish, unlike anything I’ve ever had before. I liked the crispy brussel sprout leaves, which kind of reminded my of kale chips. It was an interesting blend of textures and flavors. In the back of the photo you can also see their bread service of the night, a wild rive lavash flatbread served with black eyed peas. It was really good!
The next course was acorn grits with a soft poached egg, duck skin crackling and sea urchin butter. This time they replaced the sea urchin butter with regular butter for Yufei.
I should have taken the photo a few second earlier before the butter shavings all melted. They looked really pretty. It was a pretty good dish, not too memorable though.
Here are the first of the two wine pairings, a sparkling wine and a sherry. The last wine we got was a Malbec (not shown).
The next course was my favorite, the chicken fried quail with king trumpet mushrooms, spiced pecans, and bourbon butter. It was crispy and delicious and left me wanting more. But it was a 5-course meal after all so I guess the serving size was perfect.
And the final savory course for the night, grass fed beef with a red wine, mushroom & coffee sauce.
This was Yufei’s favorite course (not surprising since he’s a big fan of beef). I don’t really eat a lot of red meat but the portion was small and I enjoyed it. It was tender and pretty flavorful.
After the savory courses, we were presented with a small citrus granita palate cleaner before dessert. I kind of wanted a full serving of this, haha. So sweet and refreshing!
The dessert course, a banana foster soufflé with malted milk chocolate ice cream.
It was a nice light dessert to finish the meal. The little espresso cup the soufflé came in was too cute!
The meal overall was very good. The food was great and the service was very attentive. We tipped generously and even with the voucher, it was a pretty expensive meal. Everything was great, but I’m not sure if I would pay full price to come again.
After we got back home, we exchanged our presents for each other. Yufei got me chocolate truffles and these super cute foldable figures of us from foldable.me! Aren’t they adorable and funny? (Foldable Yufei is even wearing the same purple shirt as in the previous picture!)
Thanks to Yufei for spending this awesome day with me celebrating our 5th Valentine’s Day togehter :)
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is having a good start to the new year! I was quite busy the past 2 weeks teaching SAT classes over winter break, so I haven’t had the chance to write new blog posts. Thank goodness that’s over now (today was the last day I am going to get up at 7am in a very long time).
My Christmas and new year were great! For the first time in over 4 years, I was finally able to spend the holidays with Yufei as well as my family, so that was wonderful. Here I will are some of the photos of the various holidays events.
This was at Twitter’s annual holiday party back in mid-December. It was San Francisco-themed and the space was set up with structures and booths representing different neighborhoods and places in SF. For example, the entrance was set up like the Golden Gate Bridge, and the ramps up to the stage looked like Lombard Street. The food stations were also neighborhood-themed, like this Chinatown one, which served up dumpling, ribs, and noodle salad. I thought the whole set up was really cute and creative!
A professional photo taken at the party.
They also had a photobooth!! So much fun!
Pretty holidays lights in Pacific Heights, aka the neighborhood of mansions of epic proportions that I dream of living in some day.
SF City Hall all lit up.
Not really holiday related, but Yufei and I went to Oakland for a night on Dec. 30, and we had this amazing view of SF from our hotel window. Doesn’t it look dreamy?
In Jack London Square in Oakland.
Christmas tree in Jack London Square.
New Year’s Eve. We went down to the bay to watch the fireworks and ring in the new year.
Looking back, 2012 has been quite a year for me. In no particular order, these are some of the biggest things that happened in the past 12 months:
- I graduated magna cum laude from Columbia.
- I moved across the country to SF and began living with Yufei.
- I aced my DAT, went through the dental school application process, and got accepted to some amazing schools!
- I traveled to many new places, including the US Virgin Islands and Las Vegas.
And just for fun, I looked up my new year’s post from last year to see how I did on my resolutions for 2012. Well, here’s the verdict:
1. To lose weight and stay healthy.
Well, I think I did ok. I kind of slacked off during the middle of the year but picked it up again in the winter. Definitely still need to work on it.
2. To take control of my finances.
I think I did pretty well on this one. I opened a savings account after I got a job in SF, and I even spent a whole month without shopping online (!!!).
3. To make an effort to dress up nicely everyday.
Ugh, total fail on this after moving to SF. Like I explained in this post, there have been some obstacles to dressing nicely since the move. But yesterday one of my students said that I looked “very New York”, which was encouraging!
4. To make the most out of my last semester in college.
Achieved! My last semester in college was awesome. Wish I could go back sometimes.
5. To keep a positive outlook, no matter where life takes me.
I think I have gotten a lot better at this actually. I read this advice last year and simple as it sounds, it actually works for me.
Looking forward to 2013, there are of course things that I want to accomplish. They’re not really resolutions per se, but just things that I hope to do. Here are a few of them:
- Work out more! I finally found something that works for me so I’m going to try to keep it up.
- Travel more! Especially since I will be starting dental school in the fall and won’t really have time to travel. So before school begins there will be one epic trip and many small trips to new and exciting places.
- Learn to play the ukelele. I’ve always wanted to learn an instrument and I love the sound of the ukelele. Yufei got me one for Christmas (along with a shiny new website) so I’m going to learn to play it.
- Learn to drive and get my driver’s license. Because it’s about time and I’m tired of the nagging from Yufei and my parents.
- Save up $10k for dental school. 65% there so far.
- Start dental school, do well, and make new friends!
2013 is going to be an awesome year, I can feel it! What are some of your biggest events/accomplishments in 2012? What are you looking forward to in 2013? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
Okay, time for another update on the state of my dental school apps. As I mentioned in my last post, I was fortunate enough to receive acceptances to all three of the dental schools I interviewed at pre-December: NYU, UCSF, and UoP. I also had my Harvard interview last week, which was my last interview since I decided to cancel my UPenn one. So, so far I’ve applied to 6 schools, got interviews at 5, attended 4, and received acceptances to 3. Not bad!
My Harvard interview went pretty well I think. There were 2 interviews, and mine were with a fourth year student and the director of admissions. Everyone I met at the school was very friendly, and everything was great. Here’s a photo of me in front of the dental building:
However, I’m still not convinced that Harvard is the right school for me. For one, I don’t know if I want to live in Boston for 4 years. It would be nice to be back on the east coast, closer to a lot of my friends, but Boston didn’t seem that exciting to me. A current student told me that everyone at Harvard loved Boston except people from NYC. It’s true that I’d been spoiled to spend 4 years in NYC and nowhere else can really compare. The area around the medical campus has nothing, and even downtown was kind of small. And also I’m not sure if I like HSDM’s program. Dental students take classes with the med students in the first 2 years, and pre-clinic doesn’t even start until third year. I’m not sure if I like that. And it seems like the majority of students there want to specialize, but I’m undecided about that right now. On the other hand, it’s P/F, everyone seemed very happy to be there, and I’m sure that Harvard will provide unlimited opportunities. Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself, since I won’t receive a decision until January at the earliest.
Which brings me to the next step, making a decision of where to put down my deposit. Right now I’m deciding between UCSF and UoP since NYU is expensive and I liked the atmosphere the least of the 3 schools. And since my parents just moved down to the Bay Area and Yufei and I are just getting settled here, it’s easier to just stay. But UCSF vs. UoP is proving to be a very difficult choice. I am truly torn! I’ve down pros and cons lists, asked friends’ opinions, consulted the internet… I still need to discuss it more with my parents and think about it in depth some more. But a choice will be made very soon, and I will keep you guys posted!
So I’ve decided that it’s time to start getting healthier again! I know that this sounds like an odd time to do this, right before the holidays, but hopefully it will have a preventative effect and stop me from getting fat over Christmas and New Years hahah. I also have gotten sick twice in the last couple of months so I think it’s time I strengthen my immune system too.
I already watch what I eat (at least most of the time) and I think I eat a pretty healthy and balanced diet, so not too much will change in terms of that. I did start drinking green tea everyday; not sure if it actually does me any good but it makes me feel healthy, ha! Also will start cutting back on starches a bit more and eat more fruits and veggies.
I do, however, plan to start exercising more. I’m kind of a yo-yo exerciser; I will do it diligently for a couple of weeks and then give up and then start again and stop again. The only time I’ve consistently exercised for longer than a month was when I was taking PE classes in college. But I’ve started a new fitness program that I can do right in my bedroom (this is super helpful if you’re lazy like me!). I got some weights and a mat and new workout clothes. So I’m trying really hard to keep it going this time. So far I’ve been getting my butt kicked by this new program but I feel great!
Speaking of getting healthy, I got contacted by Sue from Slimkicker. Slimkicker is a website that turns fitness into a level-up game. You can track your food and exercise and get points for doing healthy things like eating veggies or working out. You can set a reward for yourself for reaching the next level too, to get you to stay motivated. You can also join challenges, like “no snacking after dinner” and “replace soda”. Slimkicker is also coming out with a new fitness tracker next year that I will be testing and reviewing, so that’s going to be exciting!
I find that it’s really helpful just to write down what you eat everyday. And just the sheer fact that you have to write it down makes you less inclined to snack mindlessly. It’s like, “ugh, I really want a bag of chips, but I have to put it on my food log and it will push my carb intake over the limit!” So far it looks like my daily calorie intake is fine, but I eat too much carbs and sometimes sugar. Sigh.. I love my carbs though! Anyway, its great to have a site like Slimkicker to make getting healthy easier and more fun, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s trying to lose weight or just trying to live a healthier lifestyle!