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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why Korean?

Why Korean?? (왜 한국어)

안녕하세요 ! (Hello)

I recently have started learning a new language- Korean (한국어) !  I have been taking Korean classes for the past month with my roommate at a local Korean Church. Every Friday evening we meet for three hours with our 선생님 (Korean teacher),  learn new vocabulary and grammar, and have an overall good time.  During the week I study all the things I learned in class and return excited for class the following week.

When I tell people that I have learning Korean, their initial response is puzzlement.  Why would I need to know Korean? What use does that have for me and my life?  Do I plan on visiting Korean soon?  Is there some mysterious Korean guy in my life I'm trying to impress?

Sure, I have some somewhat legitimate reasons- my sister in law in Korean-American and my roommate has hooked me on Korean tv online--- another post altogether.   But the true reason is  Why Not?  My roommate presented me with this opportunity, it fit in my schedule, didn't cost much, and sounded like something new and fun to learn.

When I started learning Spanish, no one questioned my decision.  No one ever asked why or how I was going to use it.  Everyone had already assumed the reason- its a practical language that I can use for the rest of my life with the Spanish speaking population here.  Yes, when I think back on my decision to study Spanish these thoughts did cross my mind. However, they are not why I continued studying and ended up with a level of fluency that could be used in my job.  I would never have gotten so far if the reasons were purely practical.   I studied because I enjoyed it. Not because I just needed another practical skill.  

The same could be said for studying abroad.  During high school and college I went abroad several times to many different countries.  I learned about different cultures, how people live, made new friends, and improved my Spanish skills.  The experiences were positive and enriching. However,  I once remember feeling sad for one of my classmates who explained to me why she was studying abroad. "I just want something to look good on my medical school application.  I don't like Spanish and I don't like this country".  This girl's attitude was the opposite of mine and I am sure her entire experience was vastly different.  It was really sad.

Anyhow, back to Korean. Yes, I am learning Korean.  No, it is not hard to read (honest, you could probably learn in a day if you tried hard).  Yes, some aspects of it are very difficult, but some aspects are also simple. No, I have no intentions of using it in my everyday life. Yes, I enjoy learning it.   Yes, it would be great to visit Korea someday but I have no immediate plans.  No, I do not have a Korean boyfriend (I think this is the funniest).

I do not know how long I will continue to study Korean but I currently have no intentions of stopping soon.  It is fun and brings joy into my life!

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Walking. Something we (almost) all do. Some of us walk a lot, some walk to just to go from point A to point B.  But walking is park of our life.  Most of us do not work out much outside of our jobs- thus the amount of activity we do at work is a huge part of our daily activity.  Americans average about 3000-6000 steps per day. Research shows that 10,000 steps (5 miles) is the recommended amount for improved health and reduced disease risk.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about walking and doing a lot of walking. Why? One word: competition.  At work we are having a walking competition.  They issued all of us pedometers to track our steps during the workday.  We work desk jobs with some minor walking to fetch charts and printed documents.

The first week of the competition we obtained our baseline walking levels. Incredibly, I had the highest levels in the entire office, about 8500 steps in an 8 hr day (plus 1 hr lunch).  Most of my coworkers averaged around 3000.  They all wanted to know what my "trick" was. I had no trick.  I simply got up often. I walked to fetch documents. I walked to move my car from my 2 hr parking spot.  I walked to buy lunch down the street. I walked to take regular bathroom breaks.  Simply put, I didn't sit at my desk all day.

This we we have been trying improve from our baselines.  I did similar on the first day, about 8600 steps. Everyone else improved by doing lunch-time walking or walking around the office more. The second day (yesterday) I saw the most dramatic improvements- 12000 steps!   I spent almost the whole day on my feet. When I wasn't busy with a client, I did laps around the office, danced around my desk, hopped, paced back and forth, and topped off the day with a 3 minute jog in place. We also went on a short walk during our lunch break.  The craziest part about this was how I felt when I got home.  I was SORE.  My legs hurt, my feet hurt.  I couldn't believe that I got such a good workout during my day at my desk job.

Today is the third day of the challenge.  I am trying to stay as active as possible. It is a challenge. My goal is 15000 steps or 7.5 miles.  My feet hurt, my legs hurt. But it hurts so good.

How much do you walk per day? Try getting a pedometer. Set some goals.  You will be amazed!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thoughts on Traffic

My current job's schedule is kind of crazy- in one week I may work in up to 4 different clinics- either in Hillsboro, Northeast Portland, East Portland, or Gresham. Theoretically, I might also end up in Beaverton or Tigard as well. This adds some great variety to my week. Each clinic is different, with different demographics, and different office culture.

One less fun part of this schedule, however, is the different commutes.  Did you know that Portland is ranked as the 6th worst place to be during rush hour?(Oregonian Article).  I believe this to be true.

I currently live in Beaverton right off of highway 26, a major highway that connects downtown Portland to Beaverton, Hillsboro, and ultimately the Oregon coast.  In non-rush hour times, the drive from my house to downtown Portland is 10-15 minutes- all on pure freeway.  During rush-hour this commute turns into a nightmare, stop-and-go sometimes the whole way.  The job I work at in Northeast Portland takes me 20 minutes to get to during non-rush hour, 45 minutes during rush hour. My Gresham job takes 40-45 minutes to get to during non-rush hour, 1 hour+ during rush hour.  The Hillsboro Clinic, which is theoretically the closest, takes 20 minutes in non-rush hour, who knows how much during rush hour (I take a back road that is 25 minutes, out of sheer fear of the freeway).

The rush hour delays are okay if you know that they are coming. You mentally prepare for stop-and-go and also leave a little early.  The stressful part is when there are non-predicted delays.  And I have noticed that Portland traffic can occur for sometimes the silliest reasons. Examples:

  • Broken down car on the side of the road-  someone who has pulled off to the side of the road because their car has broken down can cause the freeway to come to almost a complete stop for miles.  This is silly because the car isn't even blocking the lane. People just slow down to see what's happening
  • Car wreck- this makes sense that it would jam up the freeway... when a lane is being blocked. This makes less sense when it is also pulled off to the side of the road.  Delays are insane with lane blocking and just ridiculous when pulled off.  This is when you pass the wreck and think "that is what caused me to be 45 minutes late?????"
  • Police- this seems to be counterproductive.  This morning my commute was delayed 10 minutes because of a police officer that he decided he needed to pass the traffic with his sirens.  He wasn't pulling anyone over.  I hope he was heading to an emergency because this immediately jammed up the freeway for a couple of exits.  I've noticed that traffic stops and police officers waiting on the side of the road can also cause traffic delays.
  •  Signs- this was something I encountered yesterday. In Portland we have electronic signs above the freeway with announcements.  There was an amber alert for a child on the sign yesterday.  I understand the need to get this information out to the public, but it seemed a little strange that it caused such a huge traffic delay. There was traffic all the way from my job in Northeast Portland to the sign in Beaverton. It took me over an hr to get home (instead of 20 minutes...).  Traffic immediately cleared after the sign
What are your experiences with traffic and commutes?? What crazy stories do you have

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A few thoughts on fruit


Recently my good friend Lauren told me that when she thinks of me, she thinks of fruit. Surprised by this, I asked her what she meant.
She said "Well you are always eating fruit, buying fruit, sharing fruit, bringing fruit to potlucks... you just always have fruit.."  

This made me extremely happy. As a registered dietitian, I try my best to incorporate healthy foods in my diet. When you talk to other people all day about how they are eating, you can't help but start to reconsider what goes in your mouth as well.  And definitely one of my favorite things about Oregon Summers are our abundance of amazing delicious fruits. 

There are many fruits I love, some fruits I tolerate, and some fruits I just don't care for. Ideally, one should make about 1/4 of your food should consist of fruit and you should aim to get a good variety of fruits- not all fruits are equal as far as nutrients are concerned.  

Local Fruits

In my opinion, there is no contest- fresh local fruits are amazing compared to non-local fruits.  This is because non-local fruits ripen long after they are picked to prevent them from spoiling too quickly.  

  • Oregon Strawberry:My absolute favorite local fruit is the Oregon Strawberry.  If you have never had one of these, you do not know what strawberries should really taste like.  Instead of a hard white inner shell, they are juicy red throughout and just melt in your mouth.  Unfortunately, they are rather fragile and as a result only available at farmers markets for a few weeks each Summer. This is when I gorge on strawberries. I can eat a whole half flat of strawberries in a day, no problem.
  • Oregon Peaches: Peaches are currently in season here and available at farmers markets. I believe that there are two kinds of peaches- hard flavorless peaches and amazing sweet juicy melt-in-your mouth peaches. Fresh peaches are the second kind.  Non-fresh peaches can be good, but you have to let them sit out to ripen and then you might get lucky- but its all a risk

  • Oregon Blueberries: Fresh blueberries are a yummy antioxidant loaded treat that can also be bought locally.  I prefer the big fat juicy blueberries to the dried small ones.

  • Raspberries: Fresh raspberries are also a good treat. They can be fragile, however. And I am always afraid of finding bugs inside of them so I over-wash them, which results in them falling apart.  But they are still good

  • Blackberries: I refuse to buy these because they grow wild like weeds here. Nothing is a better treat during a long dog walk than some freshly picked berries you found on the way

  • Other: There are plenty of other good fresh fruits- pears, apples, cherries-  we are so lucky to live in a place where yummy fruit grows so easily!
Foreign Fruits

Did you know that a fresh mango, banana, or fresh pineapple tastes incredibly better and sweeter than the versions that we have shipped here?  A few years when I spent a Summer in Mexico I had a huge plate of fresh tropical fruits every day- I couldn't get enough of it. This is where I learned that pineapples can be sweet rather than tart and that mangoes may simply be the best thing ever! 

  • Pineapple: Here in Oregon I do not even bother buying pineapple- I can't stand it.  I will eat it while I am traveling- it is so sweet and non-bitter.

  • Bananas: Bananas are a good low cost fruit staple.  You can buy a dozen for a 1.99 at Costco and they keep for about a week. When in doubt- eat a banana!  Fresh bananas from tropical countries are better, however.

  • Mangoes:  Even though they are not nearly as good as fresh mangoes, it is possible to get some decent mangoes here. I've recently discovered some imported mangoes at Costco that are delicious after sitting out to ripen for a week. My co-workers, many of whom are Latino, let me know that in their homes the best-part/most desired-part of the mango is the pit.  I tried this- messy but yummy
Ways to Eat Different Fruits
  • Snacks: Instead of snacking on crackers, chips, or other unhealthy things- try grabbing a banana or a bowl of fruit.  If you want to get really adventurous, mix it with some yogurt to get some protein and calcium in your diet as well.
  • Side: Fruits can be side dishes with your meals. Eat a sandwich with a bowl of strawberries and some veggies
  • Dessert: Fruits can make desserts healthier. For example, you want ice cream? Fill a bowl with fruit and then put a small scoop of ice cream on top. This will cut down on calories, fat, and sugar found in a full bowl of ice cream.  Or try making fruit pops- blend fruits into a smoothie and freeze in popsickle molds.
  • Smoothies: Smoothies can be an easy way to increase your fruit intake. Blend together your favorite fruits with ice, yogurt, milk, or juice to make a delicious treat. Do not overdo it and drink it all day long- too much of any caloric beverage can cause weight gain
  • Potlucks: I believe this is why my friend says I remind of her fruit. I am always that person who brings a fruit salad or a bowl of fruit instead of chips- and people enjoy it! 
So there is my fruit post!  Enjoy your fruit!!  

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Princess Suite

I've moved apartments almost every year since high school.  As a result,  I have become a pro at apartment hunting, roommate finding, moving, assembling and disassembling. I have lived in dorm rooms, scary run-down college houses and apartments, townhomes, Portland and Beaverton nice apartments.

Despite all of this- I never really was super interested in interior decorating.  To me- this meant bedding that mostly matched with a few paintings thrown on the wall.  Then enter Pinterest and Ikea (plus a slightly higher income).  Suddenly- I became very interested in decorating.  

Currently I live in a beautiful townhome apartment in Beaverton near Tanasbourne.  It is a newer clean two story apartment that almost feels like a house.  I have two amazing lovely roommates and everything is great.  And I live in, what I call, the "Princess Suite".  The main attraction in the "Princess Suite" is my Princess Bed.  

The Princess Bed was developed in several stages and steps, basically as I purchased the different components.

Stage 1: Initial Set Up
Stage 2: Expand Canopy

Stage 3: Load With Pillows

- Bed-  
The bed frame was an old frame I bought on clearance at Ikea.  It is a black wooden frame that has since been discontinued.  The Hemnes frame is probably the most similar one currently available at Ikea.  I don't think I ever set this up in the most stable manner- I woke one night on the floor as my mattress crashed through!  Therefore I now have a cheap metal frame underneath with the Ikea frame surrounding it just for decoration

When I got my first "big girl bed" (queen bed) a couple of years ago my parents bought me my fantastic bedding.  I wanted something "classier" and "more grown up" that what I had before (my previous bedding was my college twin bright orange and pink bedding).  We went to Macy's, where they have model beds set up, and I picked out the set I wanted and we bought everything on the model bed.  They don't make it anymore but I think the most similar bedding set is the CalvinKlein Briar.  I have loved this bed set so much.  The comforter is fluffy warm down comforter. When I went Europe a few years back I noticed that people sleep without top sheets, just a duvet. This is much more comfortable, your sheets don't get tangled, and making the bed is a breeze. Since then I have slept with just a bottom sheet and the down comforter.  I wash the duvet cover when I wash my bottom sheets.  I highly recommend this set up.

Costco Mattress for the win here. A moving gift from my parents.

-Black Mirrors-
The black square mirrors were an Ikea find I got a few years back (Malma Mirror). They are great, except I had to google how to hang them- they had no clear hanging instructions or method (I stapled a string to them and then tacked them up)

-Yellow Mirror-
I bought this simple yellow bedside mirror from Target to help tie the room together. Another Pinterest inspiration

The canopy is the fun part of this post...  and where I got the most creative.  I have wanted a canopy bed for some time. Nothing sounds more cozy than an enclosed bed.  I kept seeing amazing "fake" canopy beds on pinterest, where people would do things like hang curtain rods from the ceiling and put curtains on them.  I tried this- FAIL- I couldn't get them to stay up. My solution- I simply nailed some Cheap Ikea Curtains to the ceiling and called it good. AMAZING

-Window Curtains-
I nailed (yes nailed- apparently hanging curtain rods isn't my skill) these curtains to the wall and tied them back.  

The final step to my bed was loading it with pillows.  My bed currently has two large oversized square pillows, 6 normal size pillows, and 5 decorative pillows. And yes, I sleep with them ALL in a bill pile of softness in the middle!!!

And that is my bed.  I love it and love sleeping in it. This is the centerpiece of my room.  The other rooms in my home are also decorated- My Bathroom is Paris themed, Living Room is Africa Themed. But I still think my bed is my absolute favorite part of my apartment. A comfortable bed is a happy life!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hello World!

Hello World!
Its been some time.  Sometimes you get distracted with other "important" activities that you simply forget about things you did in the past. That is how it is with this blog.  I occasionally think-- wouldn't it be nice to put my words to my pseudo-online journal once again?? But then I don't.  The excuses and distractions are endless.  I am too busy.  I don't have anything interesting to say.  I have too much to say,  so where to start? Who would want to read this? Would I even want anyone to?
Back when I was more of a regular blogger, about 2 years ago, I had someone tell me a comment that I think was supposed to be helpful advice, but it ended up being discouraging. They asked me why not write about "more serious things" instead of "shallow girl things".  Such as- write about my faith or the news instead of my thoughts on my newest pair of shoes.  After that, every post I wrote I felt "shallow".  I now realize that I can't let that sort of thing get to me.  I will write about what I want to write about. If it doesn't interest you- the reader- then you do not need to read it.
So what DO I want to write about?
-  Things that have happened over the past 2 years that have shaped me and molded me.  a LOT has happened.  I believe that I am finally "growing up"- which is harder to do than I imagined
- Things that are currently happening--- hey just because I now am a "grown up", it doesn't mean that I have a boring life.  I am a strong single young 20-something living in the Portland metro area!
- Occasional "serious" thoughts on things
- More than occasional "fun (shallow)" thoughts on other things.  Clothing, food, decorating, trends
- Anything else on my mind or heart

So tune in... the first step is the hardest and here it is!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What I Love About Summer

Now thats its July, I do believe Summer is finally here.  Summer is my favorite! There is just soo muich to love about it! Here are some things I love about Summer

1. Floating
I love floating on my blow up pool toys on large bodies of water. Summer is not complete without at least one good float. A couple of years ago this meant floating down the Willamette from one side of Corvallis to the other. Pool toys do not count as boats because you are "swimming", thus no life jackets required. It is glorious. This past weekend it was nice and hot and we went floating on Green Peter Lake

2. The sun
At the end of spring/beginning of summer this bright yellow thing appears in the sky.  It makes it very hard to see. Then you remember it is the sun. And the sun is wonderful. It gives us all the Vitamin D we need for several months and washes away any seasonal depression that may be lingering.  I know the sun is bad for my white white skin, but I do not care. I flock to it whenever I can. I may have gone too far this weekend when I got pretty burned, but today at work everyone kept commenting on how good and vibrant I look. You can visibly see me burning in the following picture

3. bonfires
 One of my favorite activities is a good bonfire.  This can occur at the beach or simply in someones backyard. A few marshmallows might be roasted and good conversation takes place

4. Random Parties
People are more social and have more fun random parties
5. Farmers Markets and Fresh Berries
nuff said