Saturday, August 31, 2013

Making the move...

Made the move! Head over to my new blog at Wordpress -- it's a work-in-progress: The Audrey Project

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Months later I'm in the same place...

Definitely my current fave from Macklemore. A drug by any other name. Learn your lessons.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Dreaming of Dim Sum

I love dim sum. It's one of the few Chinese dishes (technically, it's an entire meal) that I can't live without. I remember being a kid that absolutely hated the fact that my dad would drag me out of bed on a weekend morning to have go "yum cha" (literally means to drink tea) with my grandfather who's daily morning ritual involved going to Tai Tong, a Chinese restaurant for dim sum. As much as I hated giving up my precious weekend sleep-ins, my crabbyness would usually be traded in for a hot, steaming, basket of shrimp dumplings "har gow" and BBQ pork buns "char siew pau."

I'm a picky eater and one that wants to try a little of everything. And dim sum lets me do just that. Tapas doesn't really do it for me because I still find their portions slightly too big. Dim sum is perfect. Even the name is perfect. "Dim sum" I believe means to touch the heart, but in my head, it means little parcels of goodness that make you go mmmmm!

I've had some of the best dim sum in San Francisco (Koi Palace!) and Hong Kong (Lei Garden, Maxim) and always on the look out for more. Everyone has a favorite dim sum dish. For me, it's tough picking one, so I always tell people that I'll eat anything with shrimp it it (any steamed dumplings with shrimp or crab, deep fried shrimp in beancurd skin, steamed shrimp rice roll "cheung fun"), followed by BBQ pork "char siew" (steamed BBQ pork bun, baked BBQ pork pastry "char siew soh"). For dessert, one way to tell the quality of the dim sum chef is the steamed custard bun or "lai wong pau" or "lau sar pau" which is custard with yolk. Also, nothing beats a warm egg tart "dan tat."

Best way to eat dim sum is a with a big group of friends, so you can have everything on the menu! So whether you're new to dim sum or a dim sum veteran, check out The Essential Guide to Dim Sum -- lots of photos and even how to pronounce the dishes in Cantonese and Mandarin!

Monday, December 17, 2012

GM Diet Day 7: Brown rice, veggie & fruits

Last day, last day! I still can't believe that I made it this so far. The good news is, although I'm not supposed to have any meat today, I found out that (a) I can have some chicken and (b) I can have fish because iti doesn't affect the diet.

The diet plan recommends starting the day with brown rice, which looking back, I wish I did. I only had a fruit salad with coffee for breakfast, followed by a bowl of soup for lunch. The problem with that is that by 4:30pm, I was starving -- like hands shaking, lightheaded starving. Unfortunately, we were also doing a grocery run at the Asian supermarket at Irving Street, which only has bubble tea shops! Never knew how difficult it was to eat healthy until I had to go searching for a snack here. I was hoping to find herbal tea eggs but ended up sharing a portion of salt and pepper chicken with the boyf instead. This was probably my only slip-up this week, resorting to eating fried chicken pieces -- sigh, that's what hunger does to you.

I felt really gross and fat after the chicken, so decided to have healthy dinner instead. I had brown rice with vegetables and seared ahi tuna. So good I wished I had it for lunch instead! Never knew brown rice would be so satisfying!

  • Breakfast: Persimmon, mango, orange
  • Lunch: Chicken soup without chicken
  • Snack: Salt and pepper "popcorn" chicken
  • Dinner: Brown rice with seared ahi tuna, served with seaweed, mixed veggies and pickled ginger from Pacific Catch

So what's my verdict on the GM Diet?

It's a tough diet. It may not sound tough and 7 days may not sound that long if you've never tried it, but be prepared for a week like no other. Be prepared to go to sleep hungry, have out-of-control cravings for chocolate, desserts, grilled meat and eggs (at least I craved for everything mentioned!) and be prepared to feel lethargic and lightheaded, especially the first 2-3 days. Physically, Day 2 was the toughest because I was tired, hungry and lightheaded. Mentally, near the end of Day 6 was the most difficult for me because I didn't have anything sweet for 2 straight days and my craving for a Snickers or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups was totally out of control.

But I do have to admit that I did feel really good during the week. I felt lighter, slimmer and more active. I wanted to go out and do stuff. I've also learnt that some things were easy to give up, like sugar in my coffee.

Would I do the GM Diet again? Probably not. But I would definitely try a clean/detox diet the next time round. Feels good to know that the body can feel this good just by controling what you eat.

Posted via email from I am Audrey.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

GM Diet Day 5 & 6: Beef, tomatoes & veggies

Day 5: Beef and tomatoes
Again, odd combination day. I knew Friday and the weekends was going to be tough just because we would be out and about most of the weekend, and the diet does limit your food options if you're eating out, so choosing the right restaurant is key.
  • Breakfast: Black coffee
  • Lunch: Beef and vegetable stew (I cheated slightly by adding carrots and onions, but there were a ton of tomatoes in the stew, so I guess it's still okay. Also, since Day 6 was beef and veggie day, I figured I would make enough for 2 days.
  • Mid-day snack: 1 fresh campari tomato
  • Dinner: Bite-size appetizers from the office holiday party ranging from tomatoes from bruschetta (just push everything off the bread!), a slice of tri-tip and slice of roast chiecken. Also had an all-beef hot dog without the bun because we were catching a movie. Finished off with 2 fresh campari tomatoes.
In the beginning of the week, I was worried about how I was going to attend the company holiday party on Friday and keep only beef and tomatoes, but this being San Francisco, the spread had options for everyone on absolutely any kind of diet: low-fat, gluten-free, carb-free, protein only. Amazeballs.
The past me would have kicked myself for saying this, but you would think that the beef would taste soooo good after 4 days of going meat-free, but suprisingly, the veggie in the soup tasted better than the beef and it was a tad odd to have meat.

Oh yes, you get really thirsty today -- apparently it's because your body needs the water to help digest the protein that's being introduced to your body -- so stay hydrated. I made myself drink glasses and glasses of water today.

The one craving I did have was for something sweet, like fruits. The smores station at the company party probably didn't help either. Trust me, it took A LOT of willpower to will myself to stay away.

Day 6: Beef and vegetables
The GM Diet web site calls this "feast day" -- don't ask me why because I can't have fruits, sugar, dairy or carbs, ain't no feast day for me! To be honest though, while I don't know if I've lost weight (it obviously wasn't very bright of me to start the diet without a weighing scale at home), but I do feel better. I feel lighter and not as bloated but considering my body's been put on a rigid food regimen for the past 5 days and surviving on limited calories, I guess that's expected.

You can also substitute the beef with chicken, as long as the skin is removed -- which is what I did for dinner.
  • Breakfast: Black coffee, beef and veggie stew made on Day 5
  • Lunch: 3 pieces of chicken wings, half a steak sandwich without the bread
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken with salt & pepper, baked asparagus, pea sprouts with shrimp (pictured above)
Again, eating out is tough if you're on this diet. I was at the Renegade Craft Fair and we were hungry, it was a miserable day (read: cold & rainy, I could never live in Seattle) and the only restaurant nearby was a bar. So the boyf and I shared buffalo wings and a steak sandwich for lunch. For once, I was glad that the buffalo wings wasn't slathered in sauce. It was easy to skip the ranch dipping sauce and the bread from the steak sandwich but I lliterally had to avert my keys from the giant side of fries that came with the sandwich. We wanted salad as a side but our server got our order wrong -- poor girl was probably not used to the crowd, a bar serving meals on a Saturday afternoon, imagine that! So because of the super unhealthy meal over lunch, I decided to eat super healthy for dinner -- grilled chicken breast with no oil, asparagus and sitr-fry pea sprouts.

The worst part about Day 6 though was that because I haven't had anything sweet for the past 2 days -- tomatoes don't count -- my body was literally shutting down around 9:30pm. I had an insane craving for chocolate and when I say insane, I felt like my body was shaking all over and needed either a Snickers bar or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, thank gawd there wasn't a Walgreens near my house. It's like my body was sick and tired of not having any sugar for 6 days and this was its way of revolting. I had to curl up into a ball under a blanket. The boyf suggested a cup of Milo (chocolate malt drink) without sugar but obviously that wouldn't do. So I resorted to several sips of coconut water instead and felt way better after that. My body desperately needed some sugar, that was for sure. I'm making a list of every candy and dessert item that I'm craving right now to make up for this week of insane and unnecessary torture.

More on the GM Diet here:
See the rest of GM Diet here: Day 1 & 2, Day 3 & 4


Thursday, December 13, 2012

GM Diet Day 3 & 4: Fruits & veggies; Bananas & milk

Day 3: Combination of fruit & veggies

The headaches and light-headedness are gone -- thank goodness for that. The cravings are getting worse: eggs, Pinkberry yogurt, herb bread, Arizmendi chocolate cake. Too lazy to think of new meals to throw together today, so since it's fruit & veggie day, I basically combined stuff I was eating on Day 1 and 2 together. The one luxury though was having a grilled veggie salad with "beef" from a vegan place down the street, Herbivore (photo above). The strange thing is, my appetite was tiny even though I was hungry and I only managed to finish half the salad. The only thing I have to say is, "give me some real meat!"
  • Breakfast: Black coffee; Baked fingerling potatoes with a dash of butter, cantaloupe and pineapple
  • Lunch: Veggie soup, sauteed mushrooms, 1 persimmon, several pieces of cantaluope and pineapple
  • Dinner: Grilled veggie salad with "beef" from Herbivore, freshly squeeze carrot ginger juice, 1/2 glass of coconut water
Still no clue why I'm doing this diet, especially considering I don't even own a scale. I'm making dinner reservations for Crustacean for Monday.

Day 4: Bananas, milk and soup

Talk about an odd combination. All I can have for today is bananas and non-fat milk and the cabbage soup from Day 2. I thought today was going to be tough considering I can only have bananas and milk, like hello! Surprisingly, the day went by quite fast -- probably helped that I forced myself to go shopping (yes, forced -- didn't buy anything though). My stomach protested everytime I walked by a hot dog cart and Auntie Anne's Pretzels smelled divine, oh baked dough and cinammon and sugar! It's not the smartest idea to walk around for 4 hours without a snack -- a lesson that I learnt when I started feeling lightheaded halfway through.
  • Breakfast: Coffee with milk, 1 banana
  • Lunch: 1 banana, 1 cup hot milk
  • Mid-day snack: 1 cup coconut water, 1 small bowl of split pea soup from SF Soup Company. I made sure that it was vegan, gluten-free, low-fat and low-carb.
  • Dinner: Veggie soup from Day 2, grilled bananas with a dash of milk
The grilled bananas with milk was a heavenly treat for dessert and while savoring it, part of me almost forgot that I was on a diet, until the dear boyf decided to use my diet for an excuse to eat Popeye's fried chicken, with mashed potatoes, biscuits and soda -- traitor. All in front of me, mind you.
PS: So I found out that apparently you can have eggs on some of the days! Grrr! Apparently you can have eggs on Day 2 and 7. And some chicken on Day 2. I totally feel cheated. Tomorrow is beef and tomato day, but I can also subsitute beef with chicken and even seafood. Yay!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Ahh, clients. I've been in agency all my working life and understanding your cilents is just as important as understanding your team -- now if you're able to do both and still manage to set time aside for lunch away from your desk, dinner appointments and yoga classes -- you deserve a huge pat on the back. It's a tough balancing act making sure everyone's happy while you (and your team) stay sane, but I personally find that by consciously putting yourself in your client's shoes, is sometimes half the battle won.


Link courtesy of a fellow infographic-loving colleague and friend.

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