Week-End Link Love… [July 18 2013]

I was going through my draft posts and came across a link love that I never put up. Thought I would share now, because though these articles may be a year old, they are still interesting and relevant. Since we are at the end of the week it’s kind of still “week end” link love.


The Case Against Kids. About a year ago (when I compiled these links) was around the time when I fully changed my mind about having kids (to YES, definitely). If you’d asked me a few years before, I was very much anti-kid (at least for me). Now – I hope to have one or two soon. Still a good read.

Why do zoo apes get heart disease? It could be diet, lifestyle, or stress. Interesting read.

Is Sugar Toxic? Probably, yes! Did you know the average American consumes 130 pounds of sugar per year? This is an interview between Sanjay Gupta (a doctor who is a public health advocate) and Robert Lustig (an anti-sugar doctor who is famous with the paleo/primal/low-carb crowd).

Ova Ova. A really innovative (woman-founded) start-up that helps you (women) track your ovulation and fertility naturally (temperature, etc) via something called the Fertility Awareness Method. FAM can be used to get pregnant or to not get pregnant, ha.

Learning to Walk: How America Can Start Walking Again. Re: the lack of walking / public transportation here in the states.

Recipe: Paleo Singapore Street Noodles. Looks delish!

Homemade Deodorant. A simple recipe: baking soda, cornstarch or arrowroot, coconut oil, Tea Tree Oil (optional). I currently use Soapwalla’s deodorant (which recently raised in price from $12 to $14! and I thought it was expensive before). Love Soapwalla, but it’s very pricey. I may try this next time I run out (very soon).


That’s all I have! Have you read anything good online lately?

Tarafu Ku Manma Hijiki – Hijiki and Roe {Macrobiotics}

Today I want to spotlight on one of my favorite styles of eating – macrobiotics. (Remember Macrobiotic March?)

When Bobby and I were in Japan, Bobby’s mom bought us this package of hijiki and roe:

otyashizuoka komochihijiki - hijiki and roe japanese food

(I think you can buy it online, {HERE}.)

If I am not mistaken (I could very well be), it is called “tarafu ku manma hijiki”, but it might also be called “otyashizuoka komochihijiki”, or たらふくまんま. (Yeah, I really don’t know if I’m right on this – any Japanese speakers care to help me out?)

It comes in a sealed plastic bag inside of a pretty paper one.


(You may also be able to buy it {HERE}.)

Here are various flavors of tarafu ku:



By the way, {THIS} is the google search I used to find more about tarafu ku manma hijiki.

And here it is at our house:

tarafu ku manma hijiki roe

After we got back from Japan (this was back in October), we got into the habit of eating a Japanese breakfast every morning. We had this side dish simply, just over white rice. It lasted a few days because we wanted to spread it out – it was delicious!

This dish is certainly macrobiotic. It combines seaweed (hijiki), which is a macrobiotic superfood, along with roe, which counts as seafood, and thus is an “occasional” food by the macrobiotic style of eating. Occasional is defined by you – that could mean a few times a week or a few times a month. Tarafu ku manma hijiki is slightly sweet though I am not sure what the sweetener is. In general, those following a macrobiotic diet shy away from anything sweet, so ideally you could make this yourself at home and use a macrobiotic-approved sweetener (brown rice syrup) or omit it entirely.

Have you ever seen this dish? Would you try it?

I have not been able to find this in any stores here in NYC. I suppose I need to keep looking, or attempt to make my own! (If I do I will share the recipe.)

The End is Near! {Google Reader Replacements}

So… Google Reader will no longer be available after July 1st, 2013.


{image source}

I have experimented with a whole bunch of Google Reader alternatives, and these are my favorites. I’m still kind of undecided as to which I will end up sticking with, but I wanted to let you guys know my findings. There are a lot of Google Reader alternatives and most of them are pretty crappy – but not these! I will list 2 alternatives that I did not like at the end of this post.

Best Google Reader Replacements / Alternatives

Digg Reader.
I only just started using Digg’s reader this week, but so far it is actually my favorite. They have an iPad and iPhone app as well, which is key for me.  The Digg Reader layout is simple – similar to Google Reader, but  cleaner and easier to navigate. There is no bugginess with dragging and dropping feeds between folders which used to drive me crazy with GR.


(Hi Biz!)

The only thing Digg Reader is missing so far for me is the ability to only view unread – however, it is in their feature list and should be released soon. I’m okay with waiting because I really like the rest of their interface.

How to import – login with Google and they will import your feeds for you.

The Old Reader.

I also really like The Old Reader. Their interface is great, and has just about everything that GR had.


Issues? 1) No iPhone or iPad apps, and I don’t think they plan on making these anytime soon. 2) Another issue I had was that when I was scrolling down to see all the unread posts in my list, they would automatically get marked as “read” if I scrolled over it – even if the post wasn’t actually opened. There is a setting that you can switch that disables this “feature” – but it’s kind of hidden. You have to uncheck the option “Scrolling through posts marks them as read” in the settings.

How to import – you can login with Google, but you have to download your GR file from Google Takeout and then upload it to import your feeds.

Yoleo Reader.

Yoleo is also quite good; actually I would like it the best out of the three here except for the fact that it doesn’t have an app yet. Same look and feel as GR / Digg / TheOldReader. Easy to navigate and read your feeds.


Issues? Again, no iPhone/iPad app. I really need to have an app because I like reading my feeds on the iPad Mini and my phone.

How to import – login with Google and they will import your feeds for you.

Overall, there is one main issue with all of these Google Reader replacements – they are slow to update feeds. If someone publishes a post it could be hours before it shows up in your unread list, whereas with Google Reader it was always almost instantaneous.

The 2 other readers I have tried that I didn’t like (and don’t understand the hype at all) are: Feedly and BlogLovin.

Feedly has Mac apps which is good, but I can’t stand the way they show your feeds.

1) In Feedly, It’s hard to tell what is current, what is unread, and what is read. This should be a simple binary switch – read or unread. If there are unread posts from a day ago they don’t show up because they only show you today’s posts.

2) I do not like the look and feel of Feedly’s interface.

3) Feedly would continually log me out and re-request permission to access/modify my GR data, which is not cool. If I allow it once, that should be it. This last point won’t be an issue after GR does its disappearing act, but it was enough to turn me off of Feedly.

As for BlogLovin – the only way to login is to make a new account or login with Facebook. 1) I don’t like to login to sites with Facebook and 2) I don’t like even more having to create a new account when I already have 13280829013 accounts at various sites online. Their interface is pretty simple, but for some reason I just wasn’t able to get into it.

What are you using for your Google Reader replacement? The google reader apocalypse is extremely f*ing nigh and everyone is scrambling to find a replacement.


Summer Solstice Surf & Turf

Last night Bobby and I celebrated the end of this week + the summer solstice with a delicious home-cooked surf & turf dinner. And I even made it to yoga beforehand (Friday Night Flow @ Pure Yoga).


I posted this on Instagram (@magpie707) last night. It’s a small piece of filet migon (right), scallops & shrimp, and a side of kale + shiitake mushrooms. The recipes were all super simple. They aren’t even recipes, really.

Filet Mignon:

  • olive oil
  • steak (this one was small – 3.5 ounces. it’s about 2cm thick.)
  • butter (optional)

Heat a nonstick pan until it’s screaming hot. Drizzle your steak with olive oil on both sides, and also put a little in the pan. Cook the steak ~3-4 minutes on each side (3 on each side is medium; 4 on each side is done – I did about 3.5 on each side). Done! Serve with a pat of butter on top (optional).

Shrimp & Scallops:

  • big scallops (I did 5)
  • big, cleaned shrimp (6)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Heat a nonstick pan until it’s screaming hot. Season the shrimp and scallops with salt and pepper and put some olive oil in the pan. Cook the shrimp & scallops about 2.5 minutes on each side. Done!

Kale & Shiitake Mushrooms Asian Style:

  • olive oil and a little bit of sesame oil
  • salt
  • garlic powder
  • sesame seeds
  • 1 head of red kale
  • 1 box of shiitake mushrooms
  • balsamic vinegar (I used a cherry infused one)

Wash and dry the kale. Chop the mushrooms and kale. Heat a wok to high heat and add the olive oil (1-2 tablespoons) and sesame oil (2-3 teaspoons). Add the mushrooms and kale. Add garlic powder, salt and sesame seeds. Cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes, then turn it to medium and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the kale is tender (stirring occasionally). Add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. Stir it around and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add more salt, if it needs it.

All told, this meal cost about $31 from the grocery store. (Filet mignon = $7, scallops = $14, shrimp = $3.50, organic kale = $2.50, organic mushrooms = $4.) A little pricey for 2 people, but much cheaper than it would be at a restaurant! I’m not including the cost of the pantry items I already had (olive oil, salt, etc…).

Bobby had the steak (I had a bite) and we split the rest, but I got an extra scallop. He was a very happy husband :)

Do you like surf & turf? What’s the most expensive meal you cook at home?

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day!


Best Dad Ever.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads: past, present, future.


JP Morgan Corporate Challenge: Race Recap

On Wednesday night I ran in JP Morgan’s Corporate Challenge. It’s a 3.5 mile race in Central Park.


Wednesday night was also Bobby’s birthday and his band (The Balls) had a show in Brooklyn.

The race started at the 72nd Street Transverse, wound up above and around the reservoir to about 104th street, and then came down on the east side. I finished the race in 35:51.


I have to be honest, when other people write “race recaps” I usually end up skimming them. So I will not be offended if you skim this.

In the beginning there were a lot of people and we were getting shuffled around (7pm). I was in the blue group, which was the slowest of the faster groups (the first waves to go). We had all submitted time estimates in advance, which is how we got grouped – red was the fastest, then yellow, then green, then blue. Orange and white (white is walking) were separate from us and started once red/yellow/green/blue had all gone.


We shuffled towards the starting line for almost 15 minutes after the 7pm starting time passed, and when I passed the starting line I began to jog (around 7:14pm). The first mile was my fastest. I think I kept about an 8.5-minute pace. There were only a few uphills and a couple of fortuitous downhills. At the water station after mile 1 I drank a cup and poured some water on my head.

Mile two was a little slower, probably a 9.5-minute mile. This mile started getting hilly and I realized that my training runs had been slower than I was running now. I didn’t stop though, and ran past the 2-mile mark.

Mile 3. There was no water in sight after the mile 2 mark and my chest was begging me for a break, so I started walking. I didn’t walk for long, maybe 30 seconds, but it was enough for me to get some energy back and continue. I took a slow jog up to the next water station, and drank some more. After that I felt great but then we hit some hills. I had to walk I think 2 more times and my time probably ended up being over 12 minutes for this mile.

Last half mile. I was jogging slowly at this point, but I knew I was close so I kept going. I walked once for about 15 seconds. When I got close to the finish line I picked up the pace, saw Bobby on the sideline, and ran past him for a high five. I sprinted after that, maybe 100 yards, and crossed the finish! I felt like I was going to puke but I didn’t. 😀

Lessons learned:

  1. I love racing! There is something so exciting and fun about running in such a large group of people.
  2. I am slower than I thought, but I think I can improve. I didn’t train for this except for a couple 2-3 mile runs over the last two months. On those runs I didn’t check my time and I did not run on hills.
  3. Running can be really fun. It’s also challenging.
  4. Water stations are great.

After the race I met up with Bobby and we booked it to Brooklyn for his show. He was supposed to go on at 8:45 and we made it just before 8:40 with just enough time to set up his keys. After the show we had a fantastic dinner at this place: The Anchored Inn. There are so many good cheap places to eat in Brooklyn. Sometimes it makes me wonder why I still live in Manhattan and pay $15 for a salad…

I got a delicious large $9 salad: radish, cucumber, avocado, queso fresco, pumpkin seed, pickled onion, chile vinaigrette. Bobby got the bacon wrapped hot dog. We split roasted Brussels sprouts: brussels with pickled apple, serrano, horsey sauce.

Yesterday I was a bit sore but nothing terrible. Last night I ended up going out with coworkers + Bobby and didn’t sleep well afterwards so I was up early today. This morning I went for a nice slow walk over to Central Park where I saw this weird pink fluffy tree (what is it?):


Have you ever raced before?

Review: Manduka unBLOK

I have a juicy product review for you guys today. I tend to be choosy about which products I will accept for review on the blog, because I want to keep it honest. I do review most yoga products, so when Manduka contacted me about reviewing their new yoga block, I was psyched.

unBLOK_BreezeThunder_In Packaging_Angled (2pcs)

Here are the details about the unBLOK:

  • Made of over 50% recycled material (foam)
  • Rounded shape
  • Slip-resistant

I was skeptical about the shape when I first saw the unBLOK because I’m so used to the normal, rectangular block shape that most other yoga blocks have. But I actually think I preferred using the unBLOK. I tried some supported chest and shoulder openers (supported fish, supported bridge), and this block was great. It’s much nicer to have a slightly rounded curve supporting your back than a straight block.


Supported Fish Pose – put a block under your upper back and let your arms fall open. You can also put a rolled up blanket underneath your knees for extra low-back support. (Image source.)

I also tried out some standard poses that might require a block – Virasana (hero’s pose) and Artichandrasana (half moon pose) and the unBLOK worked very well. It really is slip resistant, and it’s sturdy like a cork block is, but still light, because it’s foam. It’s more grippy than most foam blocks I’ve used, which is good for poses like half moon.

The unBLOK Party:

You can nominate a local studio that helped you “unblock” your practice for a chance to win prizes. You can nominate your studio {HERE}. Be sure to do it today, if you want to enter, because the campaign ends today, May 28th.

I just nominated my studio, Pure. And I got a 15% off discount code at the end after I submitted.

Do you use a block for your yoga practice? What is your favorite local studio?

I don’t use a block that often, but I love using blocks for supported, restorative postures. I have a lot of favorite studios in NYC. The two that I have been to the most are Pure and Yoga Vida (where I did my training).

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!


February 2008 in NJ, about to drive cross-country to CA. Can you tell it was freezing out?


Mom watching as Bobby and I say our real I do‘s in City Hall. (A few days before our “wedding”. Few people knew we were already married when we walked down the aisle.)


Wedding day, summer 2010.

Wish I had more recent pictures of us together… I think I have more, but they must be on my phone / Bobby’s phone / who knows where!

It was great seeing you yesterday Mom, and I am very happy we will see each other this coming weekend too :)

{Macrobiotic March} What is a Macro Plate?

A Macro Plate is the quintessential macrobiotic meal.


It’s a perfectly balanced plate of macrobiotic foods. My favorite macro plate consists of…

10 macro plate souen extra kabocha

  • Brown rice
  • Beans or tofu
  • Seaweed (hijiki is probably the most common)
  • Steamed greens (kale, collards, chard)
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Steamed carrot or sweet potato
  • KABOCHA or other squash
  • Dipping sauce (I like tahini-based ones)

What does perfectly balanced mean exactly? This goes back to the concept of yin and yang that I touched on earlier this month. Foods (and everything, really) can have yin qualities (expansive, cooling, moist) or yang qualities (contractive, warming, dry). We should try to avoid things that are way off on either side of the spectrum. Let’s go through the list of foods in a macro plate…

  • Brown rice –> this whole grain has almost equal parts yin and yang.
  • Beans, tofu, and tempeh –> these foods are also in the middle of the yin to yang spectrum.
  • Sea vegetables –> in the middle of the spectrum.
  • Leafy green vegetables (greens) and round vegetables (I guess broccoli?) –> in the middle.
  • Root vegetables –> in the middle of the spectrum.
  • Kabocha / squash –> Do these count as ’round’ veggies? They are also in the midde.
  • Tahini dipping sauce –> nuts are in the middle, but miso (salty – which I like in dipping sauce as well) starts to veer to the yang side of the spectrum.

Overall, a very balanced plate. If you were wondering, fish is a moderate food, though other meats (poultry, red meat, and eggs) are yang. Dairy is on the yin side.

I made a semi-macro plate just last night. I say semi because it had a fried egg on it and as I noted above, eggs are yang. Eggs are even more yang than poultry because they compress all the energy of a chicken into one small egg. That makes sense, right?


This was…

  • Sauteed greens
  • Brown rice (hiding)
  • Avocado
  • Kabocha squash
  • Fried egg + ground sesame on top (it had a runny yolk – it’s not popped in the picture though)
  • 2 umeboshi plums (top right)
  • Tahini drizzzzzled on top

Tonight I had a macro-ish meal from the nearby Chinese takeout place. It was just scallops and veggies in a very light white sauce over white rice.

Even when I’m not trying, my dinners end up kind of macrobiotic-ish these days.

SO – Macrobiotic March is wrapping up. I have covered a lot of topics but are there any other questions at all that you guys have about macrobiotics that I haven’t answered yet? Even if I don’t know the answer I’d be happy to research it and give my thoughts.

But don’t worry – just because Macro March is almost over doesn’t mean I won’t be doing macrobiotic posts. I loved posting this month and I will definitely continue to talk about my macro finds.

P.S. I updated my Macrobiotics page – just in time for Macro March to end 😉

{Macrobiotic March} Some Macrobiotic Meals (at home and out!)

Those of you who have been following my blog since the beginning may have noticed the shift from eating at home often (probably 5 nights a week) to eating out… a lot. The shift happened slowly over time as I transitioned from my first job in CA, to freelancing in CA (part time), to working full time again when we moved to NYC, to working more and more! I’m not complaining about work. My career is going better than I could have ever dreamed. I love my job and I love my coworkers. I am challenged every day with real problems that I can solve.

BUT – with working so much, I just don’t make the time to cook at home. While I am sure I could make the time, it’s not a priority for me right now.

So I try to find healthy options for eating out.

Keeping with the theme of Macrobiotic March, here are some of my favorite macro meals I have eaten (out) lately. And one macro meal that I made.

A few weeks ago I got lunch with an internet friend (we go back years now) at a vegetarian restaurant in midtown called Zen Palate. The lunch and the company were great. This is what I ordered:


The dish is called Shredded Melody. It’s shredded soy protein stir-fried with celery, carrots, zucchini and pine nuts in a light garlic sauce. It came with a brown and red rice mix and 2 spring rolls. I ate most at the restuarant and had the leftovers at my desk a few hours later.

Another night, after dinner at Souen, Bobby and I shared the Cocoa Creamy Parfait: cocoa mousse with vanilla soy cream and granola.


Really delicious. I do prefer their scones though…

Another night I got takeout from Souen because I was in a rush. I had this meal after a vigorous yoga class at Pure:


Takeout Macro Plate: an ideal blance of steamed greens (collards usually), vegetables (carrots, broccoli), brown rice, beans (chickpeas here – my favorite), and hijiki seaweed.

I also got this dessert the same night…


A Macrobiotic Scone – the cranberry orange version.

Sometimes I do cook at home. One night I made this healthy fried rice variation:


Homemade macrobiotic fried rice with Trader Joe’s Healthy 8 Veggie Mix, Brussels sprouts, sesame seeds, and some teriyaki sauce. Steamed kabocha on the side, and yes I had seconds. I think this was another post-yoga meal.

Another night Bobby and I went to Hu Kitchen, a new paleo restaurant near his office. Hu Kitchen is on 5th Ave between 13th and 14th streets (right near Souen). Hu says, ‘For us, getting back to eating like humans means eating foods we would find in nature or foods minimally processed using only basic, mechanical methods.


I got The Herbivore: 3 veggie sides of the day. I picked creamed cauliflower with coconut milk, roasted butternut squash, and sauteed greens. That little brown thing you see is grain-free bread. All of it – absolutely amazing. I could have licked the plate. It’s a little pricey – this dish was $10 and it was not that big. We ended up getting a paleo dessert, too (chocolate chia pudding) but the picture didn’t come out well. It looked like ass so you will just have to trust me that it tasted delicious.

SO – that’s what I have been eating lately. I actually have some more macro meals but I will save them for another time. I have to get to work!

Couple other things I wanted to mention:

  • I have accidentally been pescetarian this month except for 1 meal (a pasta dish this weekend).
  • I have had diet soda only 2 times this month. (!) One day that I had it, later on I found myself at the cafe downstairs buying a cookie – the only time I was craving sugar in a few weeks. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I think diet soda makes you crave sweets.
  • Bobby and I are planning on doing vegetarian April! (Vegetarian = pescetarian for us.)
  • Elise @ Hungry Hungry Hippie had a macrobiotic-inspired meal the other day. MMM kale.
  • Heather made those yummy cookies I linked to last week.

Have you had any delicious macrobiotic meals lately? Are you a diet soda person? Do you eat meat and/or fish, or are you vegetarian or vegan?

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