Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

One thing I always find myself struggling with when it comes to buying a bunch of bananas is how fast they ripen. I’ll come home with beautiful yellow-green bananas, and the next thing I know? BAM. They’re brown and squishy and it’s party time for the oh so pleasant fruit flies we all love. But when I’ve got a whole bunch of brown and very very ripe bananas, there’s only one logical thing to do- MAKE BANANA BREAD!!

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Gaviota Peak

If hiking is a metaphor for life, then there’s quite a lot that I have to look forward to. During spring break, I went on a hike with my parents in Santa Barbara, and this hike was an intense 6 miles that couldn’t have been more tiring and exhausting. But as with many things in life, great labor is often accompanied by an even greater reward.

I’m reminded of one of the inspirational quotes that my 7th grade science teacher hung up in her room, “If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view!” Just like hiking, life can turn out to be pretty great even after all the labor and trials you have to go through.

This 6 mile hike on Gaviota Peak trail was so dry and just steep incline for the first 3 miles, we were seriously considering just turning back instead of finishing the trail. But, Dad doesn’t think too much like me. He’s stubborn, but driven and goes after his goal without fail. And if his goal is to finish the trail, then we’re all finishing the trail. Throughout the first half of the hike (complete with my endless complaining about how it was too hot and dry and I had no energy left in me), he kept pushing me by saying that this hike was like my journey to dental school. Hard, difficult, a pretty big struggle, but you have to keep going. And as exhausting as it was, getting to the peak of the mountain and hiking down the other side of the peak was probably one of the most beautiful sights of coastal California I have ever seen. So yeah, that’s what I was trying to get at with this whole hiking-is-a-metaphor-for-life-or-dental-school thing. It’s a bit of a stretch, but that’s my motivational spiel of the day.

And now, for some gorgeous pictures of the beautiful Santa Barbara.

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5 Things

Since the start of spring quarter, I’ve been trying to change my mindset and perspectives with a lot of things. One thing I’ve always known about myself but sometimes fail to realize is that I can be pretty pessimistic in that I set my expectations low so that I don’t end up being disappointed. I also tend to be easily affected by stress, bottle up my feelings so that I don’t make my problems another person’s burden, and don’t really properly communicate how I feel. I have to admit that last quarter was probably one of the most unhappiest quarters I’ve had, and a lot of it simply has to do with how I choose to approach certain situations. Though we will never probably go through life problem-free, there are so many better ways to handle problems and conflict, and it doesn’t always have to be so hard. Lately, I’ve been trying to make a more conscious effort to make these changes, and it’s quite amazing how powerful your mentality can be on your overall happiness. You’d be surprised by how significantly things can take a turn the moment you decide to change your attitude. Though it’s still the beginning of the quarter and it’s naturally more stress-free, I find myself feeling a lot less anxious, resentful, lonely, and unhappy.

With that being said, I thought I would take this moment to share little snippets of my life that I’ve really been appreciating this past week.

1. Quality time with my apartment-mates. It’s been a good while since we’ve been able to go out together as a suite and just enjoy our time together because we’re so often caught up in our busy schedules, work, practice, or whatever else it may be. I’m so grateful that I get to share such a solid friendship with all of the girls I live with and though we may all be so busy, even the little time that we’re able to spend together is so precious.

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2. I’m STOKED to say that I will be joining the navy on a humanitarian mission trip for the summer!! Being in Pre-Dental Society has given me so many incredible opportunities, and this is yet another one of them that I couldn’t be more grateful for. I feel so lucky to have this privilege to use my skills and experience to serve others, and continue learning from all the amazing and passionate individuals who, likewise, give their time and energy to bring a positive impact to those around them and change lives.

3. Talking to old friends never fails to make me happy. I’ve been able to keep in touch with my friends more this quarter, and even if it’s through a simple text, seeing that we’ve managed to maintain such a great friendship with each other is one of the most special blessings in life and I am forever grateful for the beautiful ways they have changed my life.

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4. Sometimes it’s the people closest to you that you find it hardest to directly express the love and appreciation you have for them. Though I hardly ever outwardly state this, I feel truly blessed to have such a wonderful roommate, but an even better friend in my life. They say some of the friendships you have in college are some of the best friendships you will ever have, and I can say, without a doubt, that this has been 100% true when it comes to my friendship with Mai. I’ve seen it in the way that she always listens to my problems, the way that I’m able to put an insane amount of trust in her and she is one of my biggest confidantes, the fact that she tells me she hates “seeing me like this” without me having even told her yet what’s been going through my mind, and just how her carefree and happy-go-lucky personality inspires me to let loose a little and stop worrying so much and stressing over the little things. These are the rare and valuable friendships that you know you want to hold on to forever.

5. And last but not least, this past spring break has made me filled with so much appreciation for my mother. Like I said before, I’ve always found it so hard to tell the people I love most how I actually feel. I guess for me it’s an unsaid thing that I hope that they already know without me ever having to tell them directly, “I love you”, “I care a lot about you”, “You mean a lot to me”, and so on and so forth. And I hardly ever tell my mom enough, but deep down I hope she knows that she is one of the biggest role models in my life, she inspires me to be happy with the many blessings I have in life, and that despite all the disappointments and failures we sometimes face, it’s not necessarily the end of the world. Things are bound to get hard, but we just have to keep trying, and never give up on whatever it is that we find passion in, making time for the things that make us happy, and stop concerning ourselves so much with what happens in our future and instead focus on what we have right now. After several meaningful conversations I had with her this past spring break, I kind of was in disbelief that second year of college is almost over. Of course I want to do well in school and put my effort into academics and have great success in the future, but is it all that worth it if I go through the rest of college resenting school and not enjoying where I am and what I’m doing? My mom just knows how put things into perspective for me sometimes because I always manage to allow my problems to block my view of the bigger picture. Life shouldn’t be just about getting into dental school, making a lot of money, trying to be so independent, or trying to avoid all problems. Maybe it’s okay to try new things-whether it’s a new club, a hobby, letting yourself fall in love, opening up to friends, talking to new people and just be happy in the moment.

I know this was quite a lengthy “5 Things”, but with all of the stress and unhappiness that came along with changes I’ve had to adjust to all of this year, I figured it was time for a change in my mindset as well. Looks like it did me well.

Thanks for reading ♥

Healthy Veggie Egg Scramble

Food is like fashion. Like clothes, you have different ingredients that you can mix and match, you prepare differently, have with different seasons/seasonings (hehe see what I did there), and everyone is allowed to have their own taste. BOOM. That was such a clever metaphor, I’m quite proud of myself for thinking of something in the midst of my half-dead and uninspired, unmotivated brain post-midterms.

So, with this original recipe, I just decided to scramble a bunch of eggs with vegetables. I’ve never been a big fan of eggs, but it’s bearable with delicious veggies and all the right seasonings. Perfect for any college student like me who doesn’t have the time to be making gourmet meals but still needs all the proper nutrients. Like I mentioned earlier, this recipe allows for a lot of flexibility-don’t like your pee smelling all weird? Swap out asparagus with some carrots or string beans. Love bell peppers? Add in your green, your red, your yellows. Want corn? Add it in. Love cheese? Sprinkle it on top. Serve with some avocadoes. You, my friend, have as much control over this recipe as you wish.

Although, I must admit, I don’t put half of the effort in my fashion as I do my cooking. But hey, it’s college. And comfort is more important than looking cute. Now go enjoy some of this delicious comfort food in your comfortable sweats.

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Pan-Seared Salmon Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Eating salad can be a pain sometimes when all you crave is a warm bowl of pasta or a big old hamburger. Am I the only person that has dangerous cravings for junk food? But as much as I do like to pig out on some junk food here and there, I still try to eat as healthy as I can when I can. In college, it can definitely be a lot harder to eat healthy because it takes more time and can also be more expensive.

Thankfully, at home, it’s a lot easier to maintain a healthier lifestyle and even better, there’s SALMON. The closest I can get to salmon in the college markets are frozen fillets…and that doesn’t sound too appetizing at around $12 per packet. Here’s a salmon salad that will leave you feeling full and content!

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新年快樂!Lunar New Year

Happy Year of the Sheep! It’s been nearly 2 years since my last Chinese New Year post, and I’ve been missing how blogging used to be back when I was in high school and I would always be so excited to share my day and daily events. Of course, I still try to do that as much as I can, but it’s a lot more difficult in college with classes, work and all the time I spend studying.

Anyways, this weekend I got the chance to head home this past weekend to be with relatives as I mentioned here, and this is actually the first time we’ve been able to celebrate Lunar New Year with our relatives since they all live in Taiwan. And let me just say that it was AMAAAAZING! SO much good food that my aunt cooked for all of us-I mean, it was basically a feast. There’s nothing better than a home-cooked feast.

All of us helping out in the kitchen! (Well, most of us…minus two because they’re busy keeping Twinkie company haha!)

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Love Love Love

Valentine’s Day. Or what some might call “Single Awareness Day”. Dreaded by the majority of single people, highly anticipated and romanticized for couples and lovebirds of the kind.

Of course there are plenty of people who also seem to agree that this holiday has become highly commercialized, laden with bouquets and bouquets of flowers, expensive dinners, fancy bottles of champagne and wine, boxes of chocolates, over-the-top dates, gifts involving expensive jewelry, greeting cards, stuffed animals, lingerie, and who knows what else. Yet for some reason it seems that there is still the pressure to do all of these things and expectations to outdo all of the past dates and exes.

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