Eating SF 2.2: Napa

I guess technically this entry should’ve been titled “Eating Napa,” but there’s going to be a little bit of SF in it, too–namely the airport. Did you know the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is working towards becoming accessible for blind travelers by using localization technology? These days, technology has granted so many visually impaired people more independence. When I travel alone, I depend on guidance and assistance from airport employees, but will take travel to another level for those with vision loss.

Until then, let’s get back to talking about some of life’s pleasures that currently do exists: food, drink, and fellowship.

In recent posts, I wrote about my trip to the Bay area, during which we spent a couple of days in wine country. I co-hosted the Guide Dogs for the Blind dinner with the GDB chef, David Wilson, and Joan Boyd of Boyd Family Vineyards. Joan’s kitchen housed a massive woodburning oven, and her patio where we dined had a gorgeous view of Napa Valley’s sunset (as told to me by the hubs). Even though I couldn’t enjoy the visual beauty, I could absorb the peaceful natural surroundings as we sat around the table and sipped on some Boyd wines over spicy salads and masalas. This is the stuff life is made of.
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Eating SF 2.1: Comfort foods

I visited the Bay area last year to host a fun, interactive dinner on behalf of the Guide Dogs for the Blind. During my trip, I got to walk with a guide dog and play with the puppies—catch my GDB adventures in Blind Life episode 9.

As always, my not-so-secret agenda with all travels is to EAT. Because the GDB is located in San Raffael, a township to where I’ve never been, I was looking forward to trying something new. The hubs and I asked our favorite food friend from SF for recommendations, and his suggestion did not disappoint.
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Blind Life episode 9: Visiting Guide Dogs for the Blind

Last time I was in the Bay area, I visited the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus in San Rafael. The GDB is a beautiful campus located in northern California. The hubs strapped a GoPro camera to my head as I got a crash course on how to work with a guide dog. Watch how I did in Blind Life episode 9.
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3 things I do to stay, feel, be young

I turned 36 Saturday. I still consider 36 mid-thirties, but the hubs likes to annoy me and say I’m in my upper thirties now. When I was young, 36 sounded so grown-up. Now that I’m actually a grown-up, I don’t feel much like an adult at all. Example: I still shudder when someone refers to me or my girlfriends as women.

“You mean us girls?” I’d say.

At family weddings, I’ll ask, “Where’s the kids table?” because I still classify myself separately from the adults/parents.

Age is often a state of mind. I’m happier now than I was in my twenties because I am more grounded and self aware. Even so, aging does concern me. I actually think I might be better off blind since I’ll never know how many wrinkles have formed. The downside is if I miraculously regain vision one day, I’m in for a total shocker.

But because I want to be young as long as possible, there are a few pillars to my “youth.” (Like how I put that word in quotes?)
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What to cook/eat on a camping trip

Back in January, I wrote a post about what to cook and eat on a ski/snowboard trip—basically foods that were easy to prepare, provided ample sustenance, and could warm you from the outside in.

It’s May now, and summer is officially a few weeks away. In Houston, where temperatures have reached the lower nineties on occasion, summer’s already here. This means it’s camp time!
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40 years: A brief remembrance of the Fall of Saigon

April 30, 2015, marks the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. I was not alive then, but the figment of it swirled around my life nonetheless, mostly in the form of a movie and a book.
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LookTel Money Reader, KNFB Reader & Be My Eyes: Apps that help the blind

Without asking a sighted person, how does a blind individual differentiate between a $1 bill and a $100? How does a visually impaired person read their prescription labels?

No, this is not one of those Singaporean logic problems that recently took the world by storm. They’re common questions I and other visually impaired people get whenever we meet sighted people who are curious about how we go about our mundane everyday tasks.

I say, thank God for technology.

Technology is a big part of our lives, and perhaps those of us without sight depend on it even more. I use my Macbook to write, email, create recipes, and curate menus. I use JAWS to post blog entries and conduct web research, among other work. I use my iPhone to post on social media, communicate (obviously), and read the news. I also utilize a few specialized apps designed with the blind in mind. Life ain’t easy when you’re blind, but it’s made just a tad easier with the help of certain technologies.
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12 tips for a healthier, happier life

**This post was originally published on NMO Diaries and has been slightly edited for this blog.

Many who have watched me on “MasterChef” or listened to me speak or follow me on social media often wonder what’s my secret to life. Unfortunately, like any other human being (except for maybe the Dalai Lama), I have no key to the universe. I don’t know what the hell is going on half the time, and the other half, I spend wondering how I’m going to make it through the hour, day, week, or year.

In spite of never having complete control over my life (which, if you are human, chances are you don’t either), I’ve been doing my best to control what I can. That is, I’ve been on a steady (albeit slow) path towards healthier living for almost two years now, and here are twelve tips I’ve picked up along the way. I must insert a caveat first: I am not going to pretend I have it all together and follow all twelve rules 100% of the time. But I do try to follow them to the best of my ability given the particular circumstance at any given moment. I’m no sage when it comes to enlightenment—even though we know what we should do, we often don’t do it—but these are twelve things I’ve been giving more thought to ever since: (1) being healthy got trendy, (2) I realized I wasn’t getting any younger, and (3) I became more proactive at improving my standard of living.
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Everything you ever wanted to know about cutting boards

Having first learned to cook as a college student with very limited funds, I’ve had my fair share of crappy cutting boards. Moreover, as a novice cook, I did not know how to take care of these cutting boards, thereby contributing to their crappiness. My first cutting board was wooden, and although I knew not to run it through the dishwasher—oh wait, my first college apartment didn’t have a dishwasher—I had no idea wooden boards needed to be oiled to keep from splitting.

So for a long time, I used these dry, cracked wooden boards, ignoring the idea of bacteria teeming from within. I sliced raw beef on the same board I’d use to chop spinach. I left the board sitting in the wet sink until my roommates and I had our weekly argument about whose turn it was to do the dishes.
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Eating Saigon 3.0: Love the Lunch Lady & hanging with my pops

For now, this is the last in my Saigon series, covering my most recent trip to HCMC in January. (Read about my eats from early July 2014 and late July 2014.) This time, as usual, I ate more street food, but I also ventured to less traditional places and had lunch outings with my pops, who has since moved back to Vietnam after retirement.
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