Turmeric Almond Milk

TurmericMilk

I find it so fascinating when Indian home remedies become main-stream. A perfect example is turmeric milk, or “haldi ka doodh” as I knew it while growing up. I used to cringe at the sound of it. Whenever I had a cold my mom would make me drink turmeric milk and I would plug my nose and chug it like medicine.

Now here I am drinking it BY CHOICE on a relaxing Monday night.

I gave the drink a second chance when I started seeing cold-pressed turmeric almond milk at juice shops, and reading nutrition bloggers rave about the health benefits of turmeric milk.

Turmeric milk is nutty, earthy, spicy and a little sweet. It’s a perfect cure for a hangover, cold, indigestion. It also makes a great bedtime drink if you want to replace your cup of tea with something non-caffeinated.

I have adapted this recipe from the blog Nutrition Stripped to obtain measurements because frankly, I usually just eyeball the ingredients.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
½ tsp turmeric powder (or to taste)
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger (freshly grated is the best!)
1 tsp of honey

Other options:
¼ tsp of ground cardamom
A pinch of black pepper
A pinch of saffron

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a slow boil. Stir occasionally and remove from heat after 3-5 minutes or until warm.

And there you have it! Making Indian moms and nutritionists all over the world proud.

For more Indian home remedies, check out my post on Natural Face Cleansers!

Alone Time

Fort_Mason

I was on my way back from work and my mind sank back into its usual routine. What should I eat for dinner? What should I do this evening to feel productive?

As I pondered these questions, I looked outside and noticed the clear skies and the sun shining brightly. I needed to be get outside of my house. I wanted to do something different with my Thursday evening but I did not want to go out and socialize. No, I had no social energy. I needed some enjoyable alone time.

I decided to go on a walk. My original thought was to go down to the Marina, watch the sunset, and then pick up groceries to feel productive. After thinking about it, I realized I didn’t want to pollute my pleasant walk with mundane chores, so I quickly canned the grocery shopping idea.

I walked to Fort Mason, paused, and took a long deep breath. Wow this feels nice. I strolled down the hill and hiked back up. Then, I proceeded out to the Marina to watch sun set. I tried to capture the beauty by furiously taking pictures on my phone. My pictures didn’t do it justice and I was disappointed at first, but sometimes beauty is best preserved in our thoughts.

A cup of coffee or hot tea would make this evening complete, I thought to myself. I walked down to the Starbucks but much to my dismay, it was closed! Then it dawned on me…there is a cute cafe/gallery/bar in Fort Mason. I couldn’t recall the name but I knew exactly where to go. My leisurely stroll finally had a mission.

It’s hard to describe this venue. The Interval feels like an old library with its tall bookshelves and spiraling staircase, but it has a bar/cafe tucked in the corner. It neighbors the restaurant Greens, and has a beautiful view of the bay from the back window.

the intervalphoto via Meetup.com

There were decent amount of visitors that evening but by no means was the place crowded. I took a seat at the bar and ordered a drink. I made small talk with my neighbor, asked the bartender a few questions, and then enjoyed my drink while I people-watched.

Why don’t I do this more often? It’s extremely liberating when you finally feel comfortable being alone. Being alone doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is when I have no one to share my experiences with post-adventure, which is why I turn to you guys! I think sharing is what completes lone explorations.

An Acknowledgement

hinge

I think this article has received enough publicity so rather than advertise it, I want to comment on my experiences.

First of all, if I’m never on Business Insider again for anything worthy, I can at least look back on this article to relive the glory days. Just kidding. In fact, this is my second on Business Insider! The first time, I was featured in a video with a bunch of LinkedIn interns singing acapella at one of our company all hands (if you would like to check it out, here it is – but be warned the singing is awful). Yep, true life accomplishments.

A few thoughts and comments…

1. My dad is buying a shot-gun and my mom is going to have more sleepless nights worrying about me. Ah, classic Indian parents.

2. The photoshoot was staged and awkward. They were reading pick-up lines to me to capture a candid reaction but I wouldn’t have it. All I know how to do is look straight at the camera and smile.

3. Yes there were some creepy messages and random friend requests but to counter that, I got friend requests from the other awesome candidates. I’ve gotten to know some of them and they are funny, smart, and overall great (I have so many new girl crushes!).

4. I had someone commend me for being bold enough to be on the list being a South Asian female. That kind of irked me but I also knew what she meant. There is this pressure in Indian societies to be the perfect, good, conformist girl and it can be frustrating. I could go on this topic for a while, but I’ll drop it for now.

5. What does this mean for my dating life? I don’t know. Probably nada.

To top it off, here is an awkward, staged photo:

Hine_Candidate21_060

My Starter Home

Reading

A starter home: your first apartment, home, roof over your head that gave you a fresh start. I decided to participate in the Starter Stories project organized by Compass, a real-estate startup company based in New York. Starter Stories is series of blog posts where bloggers share their very own starter home experiences and I’m excited to share mine!

It’s been a little over a year since I’ve been living in the city, (post of my move here) and I thought this would be a good time to reflect on my time here so far. I personally celebrate the fact that I was able to even find an apartment in the city. I’m sure some of you know, apartment-hunting in San Francisco is worse than dating and job-interviewing combined, and not to mention extremely pricey.

I traded some of the suburban comforts for city experiences. I’ll admit, my apartment isn’t perfect. The fuse blows if someone is using a space heater and a hair-dryer, our roof leaked during the “hella storm”, and there are always random fixes needed in this 100-year old Victorian.

But I sleep to the soft-sound of foghorns, take jogs to the Golden Gate bridge, and live in an apartment with character. And it’s been completely worth it.

Porch

I was blessed with roommates with amazing home-decorating style and they were able transform this forlorn-looking apartment into a home within a week. If it were just me, I bet this place would still need a lot of work. To put it into perspective, I bought picture frames to hang in my room when I moved into this apartment over a year ago, and I just hung them up a few weeks back.

Bookshelf

Bedroom

As paradoxical as it may sound, I feel more connected with those in my community living in a large city than in a small suburb. Just two doors down from my place, there is a nail salon owned by a sweet older couple. Their daughter goes to Cal (go Bears!) and I’ve become her mentor by helping her out with internship applications! Also on my block, there is an awesome fitness/personal training studio co-owned by a woman named Nilu. I’ve gotten to get to know her, and she’s bad-ass.

I love having the option to wind down the day with yoga, start the weekend with a boozy brunch; there are endless possibilities within the realms of my neighborhood.

Who knows where my next home will take me, but for now, I am extremely content with where I am.

Portland

Thinking about the Pacific Northwest makes me feel calm and content. It reminds me of my childhood, those glorious days where I lived carefree in Seattle. It makes me appreciate nature beauty to a whole different level. and it even makes me miss listening to the sound of rain.

Those thoughts are what I took to me on my trip to Portland. I passed my time by going to one coffee shop to another, reading books at Powell’s Books, and enjoying the nature around me. It was a fun-filled yet relaxing trip with my family and I do have to admit, that I actually did enjoy the Portland in the winter. It was kind of fun bundling up and experiencing winter (I know everyone in the east coast/midwest is probably laughing at me).

We stayed at the Riverplace Hotel on the Waterfront. The staff was wonderful, it was close enough to downtown but still set apart for some quiet and privacy.

Side note: Almost all the pic credits go to my brother..I really failed at taking pictures on my phone.

boat on waterfront

There some some cute cafes near the waterfront. There was one that I was particularly fond of because they had games and crayons. I diligently started making a to-do list but then proceeded to doodling instead.

cafe

My family loves to read so we could not have been more excited to check out Powell’s. Let’s just say a lot of Christmas shopping was done at there in the bookstore.

After Powell’s, we paused for a bit at Courier Coffee we ended up staying for a couple hours and enjoyed a nice long chat over a few lattes.

courier_coffee

courier_tree

Despite the winter cold, we made sure to enjoy Portland’s natural beauty by visiting the Multnomah Falls and Japanese Tea Garden.

multnomah

top_of_fall
pagoda
Next time, I’m visiting Portland in the summer to another kind of charm!

Vegan Mondays

vegan salad
Two years and some months ago, I came back home from studying abroad in Barcelona filled with great memories and joy. But with the good came the bad: I caught a stomach bug that made me lactose-intolerant, I had eaten so much jamon that the sight of meat made me weary, and I was just downright unhealthy. I knew I needed to change my lifestyle by focusing on my nutrition.

The thought of being completely vegan was too drastic for me so I challenged myself to eat vegan just once a week. I chose Monday because…

  1. Mondays already aren’t the most exciting day of the week so why spoil a perfectly good day, like a Friday?
  2. It gave me a chance to “cleanse” myself after a not-so-healthy weekend.
  3. In theory, I would have enough time to cook and prep on the weekends.

Eating vegan foods was challenging at first, but it pushed me to make more long-term changes to my diet. I switched from dairy milk to almond milk, started paying attention to ingredients in foods I would buy, and discovered the wonders of vegan chocolate.

Now, you can totally mess up the whole point of vegan mondays by eating oreos all day (yep, vegan), bread with margarine (yuck), and then washed that all down with high-sugar fruit juice. Trust me, I have found many loopholes. However, the reason I started this was to pay attention to my health by eating more wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables.

I continued with vegan mondays for about a year and stopped when I felt like I had a pretty solid grasp on a healthy lifestyle. However, recently I started to slip up again and needed a jump-start. Hence, the reason vegan mondays are back!

The Mission

As a “lifestyle” blogger, I’m ashamedly bad at taking pictures of myself. It’s something I conveniently forget to do.  I decided it was time to stop making excuses and get some high-quality shots.

I went for the cliched hipster photo shoot: I had such a great time wandering The Mission with Adrienne Young, my accomplice and photographer for the day.

At Tartine’s we started off the day with creamy lattes and mouth-watering morning buns.

Adrienne captured a insta-worthy shot of latte art and pure deliciousness.

tartine

blue wall scaffold

 

walking in mission

The lighting in this at Happy Moose was absolutely stunning! Their juices were pretty bomb too.

window

Ah! A classic mural shot.

nural

A perfect picture moment at Craftsman and Wolves. Shh don’t tell them we only went inside to take pictures…

craftsnwolves

It was a productive morning exploring one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods. And hey we got in a couple of good shots, right?

Nike Half Marathon

Last year around this time, I ran my first half marathon and this past week, I completed my third at the Nike Women Half Marathon! I don’t think any race matches the energy of the Nike Half – the loads of free samples, the expotique, and the lovely necklace at the end make this event more than just a race.

Knowing that I already have two half marathons under my belt, I was a little less nervous this time around but equally as excited. To be fair, I was a little over-confident in my running abilities and slacked on on my training this time. I was also experiencing a lot of hip and other joint pain during my runs so I took it easy.

First off, the expotique; I stocked up with enough chocolate truffles, luna bars, and Neutrogena products to last me a while :).

We were forced to take a cheesy coursemap picture.

cheesy_coursemap

werunsf

The Race

I don’t know why but I didn’t bring my A-game to the race. It could have been a combination of fatigue, mental exhaustion (two half marathons in 3 months is a first for me), and the weather to be honest. It was surprisingly warm for SF and that threw me off. Regardless, it was still fun and here’s a quick recap.

Mile 0-2.9: Unlike last year where the race went through the Embarcadero, this time it went through downtown and then the Tenderloin which made me chuckle a little bit – not the most scenic beginning. We started with some mild hills which were a good way to warm up but then…mile 2 we hit a decent-sized hill and I started to think “ I’m not ready for this yet!”. It was only mile 2 and I was already breathing heavy – this was not looking good.

Mile 3-7.9: A majority of this was through the Golden Gate Park which was beautiful. What I mainly remember from was the time was thinking “Keep up with the pacers – don’t let them get away!” At one point during these miles, I already felt like taking a short break (what was happening to me!) but I kept on going.

Miles 8-Finish: Through the Presidio, the Marina and DONE! I could start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel  at mile 8 but it was no time to rejoice as I still had 5 miles left. All was going well until I hit the largest hill that came at mile 10! I’m already pretty tired and then I’m faced with this giant hurdle. Once that was over, it was all downhill/flat from here. The last two miles were fine but I didn’t really have enough energy to sprint. With mascara smeared all of over my face (thanks sweat) and legs feeling like jello, the end had finally come.

What differs drastically from last year’s race and this year’s race is that last year I had no expectations in regards to my time but this year I did. I was hoping for PR but I’ll take what I got; I ended finishing in 2:05:39 . This just means I have a goal to works towards for next year.

To wrap it up, I received my coveted Tiffany’s necklace, took my oh-so-necessary picture with the firefighters, and grabbed some more free food before I was ready to leave.

firefighters

Same as last year, I thought I’d share my running playlist from this race.

Three Years Later

It’s funny to think about how many seemingly-useless facts we store deep in the repository of our brains. These facts stay hidden for the most part, but they are brought to life at the perfect moments.

It’s those moments when you are catching-up with a friend after three years that you all of a sudden remember the name of the adorable dog that your Spanish teacher would bring to class. Or you remember the time you hosted a gongfucha tea session in the dorms. And on a more nostalgic note, remember the last time you saw each other: at FSM sitting outside in the cold during dead week.

I hadn’t seen Ruri since she graduated and moved back to Japan. However, a few weeks ago she IMed me saying “Akansha I am in Canada!” Although normally I wouldn’t think Canada is close to California, I was so stoked because it was a lot closer than Japan and made it much easier for her to visit!

Since we only had a day to explore the city – we made sure to make it meaningful.
From Fort Mason to Dolores Park, we covered a lot of ground. Our first stop was Delarosa. We shared a feast of mussels, meatballs, pasta, and salad!

delarosa

After meandering for a while in the Marina we decided it was time for dessert which leads us to our next stop: Tartine. Not only are their pastries delicious, they are also perfect for hipster instagram shots.

tartine

Ruri_Akansha

One thing Ruri reminded me not to do is take this city for granted. After playing tourist for a day, I was almost mad of myself for binge-watching Netflix for five hours the weekend before. This place is beautiful and I vow to take full-advantage of it!

Good company, good food and soon-to-be great memories!

-Akansha

My Go-To-Breakfast: Oatmeal

oatmeal

Yep, I’m writing a post about oatmeal because it is that good. Sometimes my bowl of oats in the morning is my motivation to get out of bed. I personally think that some people get the wrong idea of oatmeal because they associate it with mushy, overly-sweet instant oatmeal.

Let me teach you how to do it right:

  • ½ cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Almond milk (I like to cook my oats in water + almond milk)
  • Berries
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Sliced almonds
  • A pinch of cinnamon

The best part is that oatmeal is good for you! Oats are high in soluble fiber, berries are loaded with antioxidants, almonds are a great source of vitamins, and flaxseeds give you your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids!

If I feel like I need more protein in my diet, I add a couple of eggs to my breakfast and I am good to go!

Hopefully I can convert you into an oatmeal lover like me.

Happy Monday :)