August 27, 2008

Bike to work

Being conscious of gas prices and the impact of vehicles on the environment, I have been thinking about riding my bike to work a couple times a week. I had been contemplating this idea for the last couple of months and finally decided that I just needed to go and do it. So last week, I rode my bike to work, twice! It was great and something I plan to continue to do 1-2 times a week. I actually rode my bike to work today!

I am fortunate to live about 5 miles from work and to have a bike path that is near my house and near my work. It takes me about 30 minutes to bike to work, so I leave about 15 minutes earlier than I usually do when I drive. Not only is it good for the environment, it is great for my health and keeps me fit. I get an hour of cardio in when I bike to work just for going to work and not really trying. I am not able to do this every morning at this point, but every little bit helps. Plus, now I can take advantage of my employer's transportation reduction incentive program that pays $1.50 each day I bike to work. So I save money on gas and I get paid. (Sure it is not much, but it is something!)

It is nice and cool in the mornings but I do get a little sweaty so I bring with me a change of clothes. I also keep a towel, baby wipes, deodorant, and make-up in my office to freshen up when I get into the office in the morning. It has worked out really well in the first week. I also keep a pair of shoes at work so that I have one less thing to carry with me on my commute.

There is actually quite a bit of information on the internet about bike commuters that is quite helpful. Here are some great tips I found from the Commute by Bike website (with some of my own commentary):
  • Store hygienic necessities (e.g., deodorant, towels, wipes, etc) at the office - less stuff to carry back and forth
  • Leave a pair of shoes at the office - then you won't have to transport it back and forth
  • Take all your clothes for the week on Monday - I haven't done this yet but what a great tip especially if you only bike to work a few days. Drive to work on Monday with clothes for the week and you won't have to transport it with you on the days you bike to work.
  • Always keep an extra set of clothes at the office - I need to do this. You never know when you might forget an essential item.
  • Pack the night before - This is quite helpful so that you are not rushed and stress in the morning which may make you forget something important.

August 26, 2008

Tuesday Thoughts: Nothing wrong with being a girl

You can be girly and strong
Have careers and go far
And when you get married
Not lose who you are

From the book Just Who Will You Be? by Maria Shriver.

This is a quote to live by!

August 25, 2008

Rumbly Tumbly Treats Update: Beef, it's whats for dinner

Last week, I made some beef stew after buying some beef on sale. Yay for sales! I had never made beef stew and was really pleased with this recipe. I made this in the crock pot and came home to some yummy dinner. Gotta love having a reason to use the crock pot!

For the recipe check out my food blog: Rumbly Tumbly Treats

August 22, 2008

The Very Talented Mr. Bear

My wonderful husband is a finish carpenter and a very talented one at that. Often when we are in social situations and we are asked what we do, Mr. Bear likes to say "I cut wood." And indeed he does, but he doesn't just cut wood he creates beauty and art in his work. I have seen him at work and sometimes he looks at a project like an artist looks at a canvas. He has such a great eye for beauty and is very detailed oriented that his work is always very beautiful. I just have to brag about his work because I think he is absolutely awesome and I am just so proud of the work he does. Here is a house he worked on in the past and he was asked to come back to do some additional work just recently.

August 21, 2008

You can't trust the scale

Weight is just a number. I have learned that that is really true from my experience this weekend. I had to make a visit to urgent care on Sunday because I woke up with pink eye (I had a really eventful weekend!).

Well, as they always do at the doctor's office they weigh you. If you might recall, I was just at my doctor's office last week and I mentioned that I lost a few pounds from my last doctor's visit, which was a nice little bonus. Well, when I was weighed on Sunday morning (at a different doctor's office since this was urgent care) I was 6 pound less. Now that is great, but it is highly unlikely that I lost 6 pounds in the span of 3 days. Not to mention that it is not healthy to lose weight that quickly. Interestingly, I had weighed myself at home that same morning and my scale has me weighing in the middle of the two scales (3 pounds less than Thursday's weigh in and 3 pounds more than urgent care). It just goes to show you that you can't always trust the scale. Not all scales are created equally.

At some point, we all obsess about weight. There are so many weight loss products on the market and our nation is so focused on weight. This experience helped me realize that weight is just a single number and although it is unhealthy to be overweight and obese, we really should not obsess with the number on the scale.

Weight is not the only health and fitness measure.

Weight is only one number and should not be the only measure of health and fitness especially since we see in my experience how inaccurate it can be depending on the scale you are using (you would think doctors offices would have calibrated scales). There are also many factors that weight does not take into account such as height, gender, and muscle mass. Unfortunately, women have a higher percentage of body fat than men on average, so weight can vary among women and men of the same height. Muscle mass should also be considered. Sometimes when you first begin to exercise, you may gain some weight or remain the same when in fact you are losing fat. Some people often experience their clothes feeling looser but the scale not budging. That can often be discouraging but it is important to realize that you are losing fat and the lack of weight loss may be due to increased muscle mass or water weight.

Weight is not the only gauge of health and fitness and should not be used as the only measure. Other measures include BMI, inches lost, body fat percentage, heart rate, strength, exercise levels, blood pressure, etc. It is so important to look at other measurements of health and fitness as well. We are not one dimensional beings and we shouldn't look at health as a one dimensional factor that is measure by a single number. We are multi-dimensional and so we should look at our health in that same way.

August 20, 2008

Unwanted squatter in our garage

Well, I talked about the good part of the weekend. So as promised here is one of the bad parts of the weekend. On Saturday I found out that we had an unwanted squatter living in our garage. I was in and out of our detached garage on Saturday doing laundry and searching through Mr. Bear's tools to hang up a few pictures on the wall. Well, after several visits to the garage to put away some tools I noticed something furry on one of the shelves. I thought to myself, what does Mr. Bear have in this garage. So, I looked a little closely to the other side of the shelf and it was a possum! Eeek!! It was curled up in a ball sleeping and I supposed I made some noise when I was trying to get a look at what it was when it moved, looked at me, and made a noise. I screamed and ran out of the garage leaving the door opened.

Immediately, I called Mr. Bear (he was working) to let him know. He was on his way home. I found my father-in-law and told him about it. I was so freaked out! I did not like the idea of a possum on our property at all. Well, Mr. Bear and my father-in-law went into the garage and saw the possum. I had them deal with it from there on. We decided to leave the door open and since it is a nocturnal animal, we hoped that in evening it would leave. I did not leave the house the rest of the day for fear that it would be out there.

Early in the evening my father-in-law went in and saw it was still there. He poked it with a long stick and it hissed at him and was pretty angry. So he left it alone, he didn't want to get bit or anythign like that. Later that night, the possum had finally left. We figured out how it could have gotten in. There is a pretty large gap beneath the door that it could have easily squeezed through. Mr. Bear placed a barricade so that it could not get back in. Well, so far it hasn't been back and my father-in-law placed something more permanent on the bottom of the door to keep this from happening in the future. I hope that the unwanted squatter is gone for good and doesn't bring any friends back with it. Yikes, I really do NOT like possums!! They freak me out, I was still freaked out the next day when I had to go in the garage to get the laundry. No pictures for this post, because they just creep me out.

August 19, 2008

Wings of an Angel made It Time to Shine

We had a very eventful weekend, good and bad. This post will be about the good, tomorrow I'll share with you the bad.

On Sunday, Mr. Bear and I went to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club with his parents to watch the horse races. We had such a blast! It was a beautiful day in Del Mar, the sun was shining and the weather was gorgeous.

Our betting adventures started off not so exciting. After several losses, we got to the 4th race and horse Wings of an Angel started it all. I learned that my sister-in-law, Tricia loved the horse races and used to come to Del Mar when she used to live in the area. Well, Tricia was truly our angel and ended our losing streak. Thanks Tricia!!

For me, the 7th race was most notable when I put down a bet on two horses to win and place, America's Friend and Lightmyfirebaby! I didn't bet big but I won and that was so exciting!! I was screaming and rooting for them to win, it was so much fun.

Mr. Bear's step-father and his friend knew one of the horse owners. It's Time to Shine raced in the 9th race. The owner invited us to the paddock to see the horse before the race started. That was a real treat.

Of course, we placed some bets on It's Time to Shine. And low and behold, It's Time to Shine won!!! We got to go to the Winner's Circle and we were winners!! Wohoo! That was an exciting race.

We celebrated by going to one of Tricia's favorite restaurants, The Beach House, and having lobster dinners.

Lobster is soooo yummy. Dinner was excellent dinner. A great restaurant right on the beach with a gorgeous view. Our winnings paid for our dinner. What a wonderful end to a great day!

August 18, 2008

Rumbly Tumbly Treat Update: 1934 Chocolate Cupcakes

My father in law got a Hershey's cookbook with recipes from 1934 and I promised him that I would make something from the book.

Two Saturdays ago, we had a family BBQ and I decided this was a great time to try a recipe from the cookbook. Cupcakes sounded yummy and I found a pink mint frosting recipe to go along with it. The chocolate cupcake itself was quite yummy, however, I think the frosting was a little too minty and took away from the cupcake rather than compliment it. So that was a little disappointing. I will have to give it another try with a different frosting recipe.

For the recipe, see my food blog: Rumbly Tumbly Treats

August 15, 2008

Being a Healthy Bear

I had a doctors appointment today as a follow-up to some foot pain that I have been experiencing. I thought that I needed new running new shoes and that the pain would subside, but when it didn't I went to see my doctor a couple of weeks ago. It turns out the pain that I have been experiencing is plantar fasciitis. Apparently, this is something common among runners, I have never considered myself a runner but I have been training and doing more running, so I guess I am. From the Mayo Clinic website:
Most commonly, heel pain is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia — the tissue along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes. The condition is called plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis).

Plantar fasciitis causes stabbing or burning pain that's usually worse in the morning because the fascia tightens (contracts) overnight. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.

In most cases, you can overcome the pain of plantar fasciitis without surgery or other invasive treatments. And you can take steps to prevent plantar fasciitis from recurring.
That totally describes the pain I experience, I only experience the pain in the mornings and then it goes away. Fortunately, I can continue to train for my triathlon and my regular physical activities. There are stretches that I can do to help treat it.

I also had blood work done and I am quite healthy. My cholesterol is healthy on all aspects, which is wonderful news for me. Both my parents have high cholesterol and my daddy has heart disease (neither of my parents are heavy people nor do they eat badly). So there is the hereditary component that I have to worry about, plus when I was in high school I had high cholesterol, which I lowered with a low sodium diet. So it has always been very important for me to watch my diet and exercise in order to keep my cholesterol down and my heart healthy since I have a history and genes working against me. Eating healthy and exercise has really paid off. Going over my results with my doctor, she went through all the numbers and told me what they mean and praised me for having such great numbers. I workout 5-6 days a week and I try to eat healthy, so it is nice to see some results from my efforts. On top of that I lost a few pounds from the last visit I had just a few weeks ago. That was a nice little bonus, even though I have not been focusing on losing weight.

August 14, 2008

Olympics good and bad

The Olympics have definitely been very interesting. Swimming has been absolutely exciting with Michael Phelps and his record 11 gold medals! He is an amazing dolphin in the water! The 4X swimming teams have been awesome for the US.

But some things have not been so great.

Spain - what were you thinking. Did you really think this was not offensive?? I can't believe this was a publicity photo. As someone who is part Chinese, I am definitely offended. And I love the Spanish people, so I know this not a reflection of all Spanish but it is a shame.

China - Okay you outperformed the US in gymnastics (maybe the girls were underaged, but you still would have won since we had a few falls). But was it really okay to have a "prettier girl" lip-synch to another girl's voice at the Olympics opening ceremonies? This is just awful, both girls are beautiful. The Chinese officials are the ones who are ugly! That was just the most awful thing to do. I can deal with the fake fireworks that were pre-recorded but telling a little girl she is not pretty enough to sing is absolutely awful. She will always remember that she was not pretty enough to sing on front of her country. That poor young girl is very cute (not that it should matter) and now her self-esteem will be shot. You just don't do that to people, least of all children!!

August 13, 2008

Rumbly Tumbly Treat Update: Spanish Gourmet Club

Sunday was my gourmet club get together. The theme was Spanish cuisine. I absolutely loved Spain and Spanish food, so I was very excited!

When I was an undergrad at UC Irvine, I studied Spanish in Spain for 2 months. Spain is a beautiful country with such kind and generous people. While in Spain, I lived in Granada with a host family and every morning my senora would get up early and make me breakfast with fresh squeezed orange juice. She didn't just make my breakfast, she would bring the breakfast to my room to me. I felt so bad and told her she did not have to do that but she insisted, so eventually I would get up a little early so that I could go to the kitchen and have breakfast there instead. She was an excellent cook and also made lunch and dinner for me everyday. She made such delicious paella and other yummy dishes. It was such a wonderful experience to be able to live in Spain. I loved coming home for lunch and having a siesta, I loved being able to walk everywhere, I loved that strangers were so kind to me as I traveled by myself around Spain, and I love how forgiving and patient they were with my broken Spanish. I never did become fluent in Spanish, although I know enough to get by when people speak slowly.

I was very excited that our theme was Spanish cuisine. I decided try making one of my favorite tapa dishes. I decided to make Tortilla Espanola, also known as Tortilla de patatas or in English, Spanish Omelette. This recipe requires sliced potatoes, it was during the preparation process that I sliced my thumb. Ouch! This tapa was made with my blood and sweat.

For the recipe and more picture from my gourmet club go to my food blog, Rumbly Tumbly Treats.

August 12, 2008

Lunch Break: I am not so alone

Thank you to those who left a comment to my post a couple weeks ago about taking a lonely lunch break. I've been so busy with life and work that I haven't had a chance to thank everyone for commenting.

I am glad to know that I am not alone. Thanks for the great ideas: reading a book and going for a walk. I do have some books I have been dying to read on my bookshelf, so this is a great opportunity to do that. I read so much in my work that I often do not have time to read for pleasure. I used to really enjoy reading for pleasure, so here is my chance. I've had this book on my bookshelf for a while:

It is by the same author as Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which I really enjoyed reading. (I haven't seen the musical Wicked and I am dying to see it!! Unfortunately, I don't think it is in our budget to see it. I am so sad that it will be leaving Los Angeles and that I am not going to get to see it before it goes, sigh! It is times like this that I hate being financially responsible and living on a budget. Oh bother.)

Thanks again for the suggestions!

August 11, 2008

Opposable thumb

I know that having an opposable thumb is what separates humans from other animals. But I didn't realize how important it was and how much I actually use my thumb in everyday activities. I had a busy weekend cooking for a family BBQ and my gourmet club (will share some yummy recipes later). During the process of cooking, I sliced my right thumb instead of slicing some potatoes! Ouch! All by myself (Mr. Bear was out of town and Chase Monster was too busy sleeping in the living room) with lots of blood I tried to control the bleeding and bandage myself. I managed to do so and continue cooking. It didn't hurt too much or maybe because I was so busy cooking that I didn't realize the pain. But later on when I finally got to sit and relax and enjoy the company of friends was it that I realized the pain! Yikes the throbbing!! And simple tasks such as using a fork or using a toothbrush was a little difficult without the use of a thumb. Every time I put too much pressure on my thumb, the pain reminded me of the accident. Even now as I attempt to type do I realize how much I use my thumb. Wow, who knew such a small part of me was so important in my everyday life!

August 8, 2008

Fashion Olympics by Lucy Liu

I am definitely excited for the Olympics. I love gymnastics and can't wait to watch the competition. When I was little I wanted to be a gymnast (I had the height, LOL). My neighbor and I would do gymnastics on our front lawns and pretend we were gymnasts in the Olympics. What fun times!

Harper's Bazaar did a photo shoot with Lucy Liu that is a fun, different take on the Olympics. I love Lucy Liu. One, because she is a Charlie's Angel and I wanted to be a Charlie's Angel when I was little and two, because it is nice to see an Asian woman in movies and TV (I do realize they probably chose her to do this photo spread because she is Chinese, but so what!). I remember being a little girl and wondering why no one on TV or in the movies looked like me. No one had my black hair or my Asian features. So I wanted to be a blond and blue-eyed girl like the actresses I saw. I thought that is what I should look like to be beautiful and special. I have since learned to appreciate myself for who I am and my Asian background. It makes me beautiful and special. Hollywood has made some changes but there is still little diversity on television. Young people need to see people on TV and in movies who are representative of them.

Photo spread from Harper's Bazaar.

08.08.08 = prosperity

The number 8 in the Chinese culture is of prosperity and money. In Mandarin, it sounds very similar to the word "prosper" or "wealth." Today happens to the the 8th day of the 8th month in the 8th year of the century. The symbolism of this number is one of the reasons why the opening ceremonies for the Olympics in Beijing begins today. It is a lucky day!

While, I don't totally believe in these things, I am part Chinese (my daddy is half Chinese). In fact, today I found a dollar bill in the parking lot. No one around to claim it. I think that was pretty lucky. If you might remember, a few months back I found a $10 bill when I saw a rainbow in the sky. I thought that was a pretty special thing. It was indeed a lucky day for me. I hope it was lucky for you!

August 6, 2008

How to save/earn money while shopping online

There are many ways to save money when you are shopping online. And everyone wants to save money! You just have to be willing to look for online resources to save money and spend a little time searching before you click the final payment button. It's really easy!

Always google for coupon codes.

All you have to do is google and you can save $10 here or 20% there. You can even save on shipping as well. You never know where you can save so it doesn't hurt to do a quick search before making the final purchase. Many times you can find coupon codes for many websites just by googling the website name + coupons. For example, if you are shopping at, just enter "shutterfly coupons" or shutterfly coupons codes" and you will see several hits that offer coupons codes you can enter with your order.

There are websites like and Moms View that list current coupon codes for many online stores such as and You can also find great deals on forums such as Slickdeals and Deal Catcher.

Shop through cashback portals.

There are also websites, like Ebates and Live Search, that offer you cashback rebates simply by having an account and shopping through their portals. These portals offer a large list of featured online shops, so you can save even more.

I have talked about Ebates here before. It is one of the most well known websites to find rebate savings for just about anything you are looking for. You can shop at a number of online sites through their portal and earn rebates just for having an account with them and shopping through their portal. Plus, Ebates offers referral bonuses to new members and the person who referred them. If you sign up through this link and make a purchase by August 14, 2008, we both get $10! (It is usually $5 but they are running a promotion right now.) You can refer family and friends and get $10 referral bonus as well! Keep shopping through Ebates and you continue to save on your online purchases.

Another website that offers cashback rebates is Live Search. You receive cashback rebates from many of their features stores by shopping through their portal. Right now they are having a Back To School Deal Days with some extra saving. I just bought some shoes from and shopped through their portal and I received a 32% cashback rebate! The only catch is that it takes 60 days to get the rebate, but that is quite a rebate. Much more than Ebates offers. You have a choice of getting your cashback via, paypal, check, or transferred to your bank account. Not a bad way to save some money.

Combine coupons and cashback portal shopping for larger savings.

I try to shop through one of the above portals and I also look for coupons codes to increase my savings. I don't do a lot of shopping but it is nice to know that when I do I try to shop smart so that I can save big.

Happy Savings!!

August 1, 2008

Welcome to August

July seemed to fly right by! Mr. Bear and I have been having a great summer. It has been filled with lots of fun (Hawaii, the river, Catalina Ski race, BBQs, etc.) and has also been pretty busy (still playing catch up at work after 2 weeks off and a move to another office). I can't believe it is already August, that means one month of summer left (although it stays hot in So Cal for a while!) and some really hot months ahead.