Tag Archives: 45things
May 21, 2017

Goal 11: Compete in a cooking contest – DONE!

Goal #11 Compete in a cooking contest – Done!
Submitted this Chicken Stroganoff recipe to a contest.


– 1 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 ½ lbs of Chicken breasts
– Salt & Pepper
– 2 teaspoons of Paprika
– 1 large red onion, sliced
– 1 tablespoon minced garlic
– 1 cup of Creme fraiche or sour cream
– 2 (8-oz.) pkg. presliced cremini mushrooms
– 1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
– 1 cup dry white wine
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, and more for garnish.
– 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
– 1 tablespoon of Dijion mustard
– 1 tablespoon of Butter
– 8 ounces uncooked wide egg noodles

1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in Dutch oven or any other heavy bottom skillet at medium high heat
3. When the oil is hot, place chicken in Dutch oven to sear, about 3-4 mins for each side. Remove and set aside. Let stand for at least 5 mins. Cut into strips.
4. Add mushrooms to Dutch oven. Saute for about 10 mins, until the mushrooms have released liquid and started browning.
5. Add onions, saute for about 3-4 mins, until soft.
6. Add garlic, and stir for 1 min.
7. Add white wine, and deglaze any browned bits that are stuck to the Dutch oven.
8. Add chicken stock, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium low.
9. Add chicken and any juice from the plate. Cook for another 10 mins until everything is heated through.
10. Meanwhile, cook egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Off the heat, add butter and stir to melt.
11. Add creme fraiche, and parsley to the Stroganoff. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
12. Serve over egg noodles. Garnish with parsley.

January 6, 2017

Goal #36: Achieve and maintain ideal weight – ACHIEVED!!

Goal #36: Achieve and maintain ideal weight – ACHIEVED!!

In 2011, I was 243lbs. Then I started yoga, and I started this project. The goal was get to within the healthy weight range of my height and frame, and the target weight was set at 185lbs (which was also my weight when I was in my mid 20’s).
Current weight: 184.8lbs. Total weight loss: 58.2lbs.
Lessons learned: 1) it’s better to go slow, and gradually change your lifestyle and eating habits, rather than going on those crash diets to get instant but usually short lived results. 2) It’s much easier to change your lifestyle and eating habits if you’re comfortable/enjoy cooking your own food.

January 2, 2017

About 3 months left!

It’s the beginning of 2017, and it’s about 3 months or so away from my 45th birthday, so this is a good time to have a review of my project so far. Of the 45 things:

  • Completed: 30
    Tango in Buenos Aires (completed: 18th March, 2016)
  • See a football match at Estádio do Maracanã, Rio, Brazil (completed: 14th August, 2013)
  • Practice yoga in India (completed: 17th November, 2013)
  • Dine at Noma (Chef René Redzepi), Copenhagen, Denmark (completed: 10th September, 2014)
  • Eat Tai Ping Koon’s Portuguese Chicken, Hong Kong (my childhood favorite) (completed: 18th March, 2015)
  • Try vegetarianism for a month (completed: 1st March, 2013)
  • Get tenure or promotion (completed: 1st August, 2014)
  • Give a kickass presentation (completed)
  • Learn Thai massage (completed: 9th May, 2014)
  • Be confident (and proficient) in driving a stick shift (completed: 5th March, 2016)
  • Learn how to iron a shirt (trousers and jackets would a bonus) (blog posts) (completed: 18th May, 2015)
  • Be comfortable at at least one ballroom dance (completed: 18th March, 2016)
    Learn CPR (completed: 24th April, 2013)
  • Conquer the fear of doing a handstand (completed: 5th May, 2015)
  • Jump out of a plane (preferably with a parachute) (completed: 21st March, 2013)
  • Give camping a try (completed: 23rd December, 2014)
  • Give Thai massage to at least 5 people (for free) (completed: 6th, June, 2014)
  • Give money to RadioLab at least once a year (completed: 11th December, 2012)
  • Mentor someone (Started and now ongoing)
  • Volunteer for worthy causes (blog post) (completed: 21st October, 2015)
  • Be aware of praiseworthy situations and efforts, and pay sincere compliments to people
  • Create a photo-essay or a video-essay (amended June, 2013) (completed: 14th June, 2013)
  • Be able to do splits (completed: 21st March, 2014)
  • Completely revamp my wardrobe (Completed 1st, January 2017)
  • Run a 5K (completed: 31st August, 2013)
  • Play Football Manager for 80 hours (=2 work weeks’ worth) (Completed 2nd, January, 2017)
  • Hold a baby panda while wearing my panda t-shirt (and take a picture of this special occasion) (completed: 21st October, 2015)
  • Value chance encounters and take initiatives to get to know interesting people (Completed)
  • See Leo Messi play in person (completed: 10th June, 2016)
  • Have my portrait painted Have myself 3D printed (amended May, 2015) (completed: 21st July, 2015)

Planning to complete before 45th birthday: 4

  • Create my own gourmet 5-course meal and serve it to friends
  • Compete in a cooking contest
  • Record an audio book.
  • Achieve and maintain ideal weight

Planning to complete during my 45th year: 6

  • Visit all 50 states in the US
  • Visit parents’ hometowns
  • Earn an additional graduate degree
  • Become an expert in multiple disciplines – Publish articles or present at conferences in 5 different fields.
  • Learn 150 interesting words
  • Skiing

No idea when: 5

  • Set foot on all 7 continents
  • Publish a short story
  • Write a screenplay
  • Write a book
  • Successfully start a slow clap




July 15, 2016

Goal 43: See Leo Messi play in person – Completed!!

The first time I tried to see Messi play in person ended in failure. I was in Europe and flew to Barcelona to see the last match of the season, when Barca had already won the league. Messi was injured and didn’t played at all. However, I got to experience Nou Camp, which as awesome, so it was not a total waste.

This time, it’s Copa America in the U.S.. Argentina plays Panama in Chicago on June 6th. I bought the match ticket and plane ticket to ORD. And lo and behold, Messi got injured just before the tournament. He missed the first match of the tournament.

2016-06-10 23.58.19

As we settled into our seats, you could just tell that the whole stadium (well, maybe apart from the Panama fans) was there to see Messi. He was on the bench, as a substitute. So, I was hoping that the game would not be too easy for Argentina for them to rest him completely. Luckily, even though Argentina was a goal ahead, it was not really a cakewalk for them. And at the hour mark, it was time for Messi.

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Within 20 mins, he scored 3 goals, and then made another. We got our Messi experience. 🙂

March 31, 2016

Goal #3 Tango in Buenos Aires and Goal #20 Be comfortable at at least one ballroom dance – DONE!

For Spring Break 2016 and my 44th birthday, I went to Buenos Aires and took 2 hours of tango lessons each day for 5 days. At the end, I was nowhere close to being good, but I was comfortable enough. I even danced at a Milonga!

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Here is my 3rd 1-sec everyday diary. From the day after my 43rd birthday to my 44th in Buenos Aires, I filmed one second of video everyday. Here is my year in about 7 mins.

One Second Everyday (My 43rd-44th birthday) from 45before45project.com on Vimeo.

November 4, 2015

Panda Panda Panda!!! Goal 30 & 41 – DONE!

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Oct 21st, 2015. Volunteered for a day at the panda reserve near Chengdu, China. I got to cleaned their cages, and fed them. At the end of the day, a pic with the cutest baby panda cub!!

2015-10-22 22.14.28


July 23, 2015

Goal 44: Have myself 3D Printed – DONE!!

The original goal was to “Have my portrait painted”. But I thought the goal seemed “so last century” and changed it to something a bit more current and decided to “Have myself 3D Printed”. I went to a place when I was in L.A. and had my image scanned. And here it is!!

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I’m going to take pics of Mini-Me everywhere and call the series “Selfless Selfies”.

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May 19, 2015

Goal #19 – Learn how to iron a shirt – DONE!

2015-05-18 18.21.07

Bought my first iron, ironing board and my mom gave me a lesson. I have to say, ironing is good skill to have, but it really isn’t the most efficient use of time. It takes quite long to get a short nice and crisp. I heard that steamers are much better. Still, now if there is an emergency situation when I have to look sharp, I can at least make my shirt wrinkle free!

May 5, 2015

Progress Report: May 2015

8. Eat Tai Ping Koon’s Portuguese Chicken, Hong Kong (my childhood favorite) – CHECK!





2015-03-18 12.56.14



It was still good! Food memory is such a powerful thing. It totally brought me back to my childhood eating that Portuguese Chicken.



23. Conquer the fear of doing a handstand – CHECK!





Practicing handstand this morning before the library opens. Still not great at it at all. I could only hold it for a few seconds. But the fear of going upside down is pretty manageable now, which was the original goal.

September 29, 2014

Goal #7: Dine at Noma – CHECK!

Goal #7. Dine at Noma (Chef René Redzepi), Copenhagen, Denmark – COMPLETED September 10th, 2014.

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It was the most amazing dining experience I’ve ever had for sure. 25 courses, about 10 glasses of wine and champagne, and a fruity espresso later, it has completed transformed the way I think about culinary art.




I even got to tour their kitchen and their R&D Lab!

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