What Valentine’s Day is all about + Chinese New Year festivities + family dinner

Between Valentines Day and Chinese New Year, last week was quite the festive one!

On Tuesday, Kim organized a “galentines day” potluck with some girlfriends (channeling our Leslie Knope πŸ™‚ ). There were a lot of new faces among each other, but all of Kim’s friends were super down to earth, and we all clicked instantly. It turned out to be the perfect, love-filled mid-week event. πŸ™‚

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I was so incredibly happy that Kim got everyone together for valentine’s day. Valentine’s day is all about celebrating love, no matter which “kind.” Looking back, my favorite valentine’s days were the ones spent getting boozy brunch with girlfriends, watching How To Be Single with my roommates (ha), passing out candy to friends college, and now this galentine’s dinner too! No matter whether you have someone in your life or not, going out of your way to show a friend/ parent/ siblings/ teacher/ coworker / anyone that you care about them is what this holiday is all about ❀

Following this dinner were a few very good days at work, and then switching gears to celebrate Chinese New Year this weekend. SF is actually a fantastic place to ring in Chinese New Year, as the whole city lights up with festive decor and lots of people in the city go out of their way to get together and celebrate.

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Friday: hot pot + new favorite mai tai bar

Julia had a friend visiting for the weekend, and so on Friday, she got a group of us together for Mongolian hot pot and a night out. Our reservation for hot pot was pretty late, and so we went to happy hour first at Mikkeller bar in the Tenderloin. We joked that we were “pregaming hot pot,” as if the family-oriented dinner activity needed that πŸ˜›

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Ironically, Julia didn’t even know it was Chinese New Year, and so we killed two birds with one stone there by choosing hot pot.Β My family is very big on it, butΒ this was my first time doing it at any restaurant – they made two yummy, flavorful broths (one spicy) to dip all the ingredients into and so everything basically ends up tasting like that. I think you definitely pay more for the experience of gathering around the hot pot than the actual food, but overall it was a joyful way to ring in the CNY πŸ™‚

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Following, we kept with the CNY theme and went to a bar in Chinatown called Lo Pi Lounge. Julia is a bay area native and ALWAYS chooses the best local-gems to go, and this place was no exception. Inside the grungy exterior felt straight-up like the basement inside of a frat party, with decorations as if your mom was decorating a 12 year old’s birthday party. The bartender was an old Chinese woman who ran the joint and served her signature Chinese mai tais (which were to DIE FOR). They were so good tasting but secretly VERY strong. Our group ordered rounds and rounds of them, and made ourselves at home for the night. We just loved the bar-bones feel of the bar, and the music was bumpin’ too!

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Saturday: Castro exploring + dumpling party

Despite having one-too-many mai tais the night before, I woke up on the early side and had a few productive hours of studying at my favorite cafe in the Marina. After cooking some lunch for myself, it was time to meet up with Julia and her visiting friend once again for an afternoon of exploring SF –> having visitors = an excuse to check out neighborhoods you haven’t yet, and for me and Julia, that was the Castro πŸ™‚

We took the long way there to also walk through Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero. The lovely view of the bay and fun shops along the way make it a must for first-time visitors. Along the way, the three of us girls chatted away about everything under the sun. Time flew and before we knew it, we were down in the Castro.

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The Castro is SF’s famous, lively LGBT neighborhood. One thing that surprised me was how great the shopping was down there! The three of us were drawn into almost every shop, andΒ I bought some accessories myself.

After conquering the Castro, we walked next door to the Mission where I bid the two farewell to go to a dumpling-making part hosted by Anna’s cousin, another CNY festivity. We made the dumplings completely from scratch, including the skins –> my mom would be so proud πŸ™‚

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While making them, we streamed the popular Chinese New Year performance that takes place in China – it felt like home.

Anna’s cousin owned an erhu! I was dying to try it out. My violin-playing skills came in handy πŸ™‚

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The whole evening was the perfect balance of festive CNY traditions while keeping things low-key after a pretty aggressive night the night before. Ben, Anna and I got ice cream afterwards at Mitchell’s Ice Cream close by – the week isn’t complete without a triple date with the two πŸ™‚

Anna and I both got ube and macapuno ice cream – aren’t Asian flavors the best?

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Sunday: trail run + dinner with the fam

After 10 hours of sleep, I woke up refreshed and tackled another few hours of studying. Then it was time to meet up with Rahul for a trail run in the Presidio. This was the first time Rahul and I ran together and I definitely see more in the future as we were super compatible with our paces, and time flew as we were both chatty ones.

6 miles on my favorite/usual trail in the Presidio – it was a super windy day!

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Following, I took the afternoon for myself: lunch, nap, afternoon walk, and some Thailand planning at my favorite kava cafe πŸ™‚

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The whole weekend ended with a family dinner with, of course, “the fam.” We all ventured out to the Richmond to try and get a spot at Burma Superstar – one of SF’s most popular Burmese restaurants, but given the 2 hour wait, we settled for their sister restaurant next door, B Star. Their tea leaf salad was feature on Food Network so we got a whole round of those.Β It had surprisingly been weeks since the whole fam got together, so this was a real treat. ❀

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Have a good one, friends!!


 

Workouts this week:

Monday: 90-minutes of vinyasa yoga

Tuesday: 4 miles

Wednesday: REST

Thursday: 4 miles

Friday: 60 minutes of hot vinyasa yoga

Saturday: REST

Sunday: 6 miles on the trails with Rahul

 

 


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