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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.

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.

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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!!

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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!

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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!





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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!

June 6, 2014

Progress Report: June 2014

Goal #7. Dine at Noma (Chef René Redzepi), Copenhagen, Denmark.

Noma has reclaimed the no.1 restaurant in the world title this year.

Third time’s the charm. Got out of bed at 3am to book a table at Noma. I’ve learned from past experience. You have to be at the booking site just a little bit before it opens and they assign you a random number in line to get in. I was the 135th person to get in. Phew! There were more than a 1200 people in line! I was so excited, I couldn’t fall back asleep for a long time! 

The reservation is for September 10, 2014, which means I have to go to the EuroSense Conference in Copenhagen. I just hope the presentation proposal gets accepted.

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Goal # 16 – Learn Thai Massage  – COMPLETED May 9th, 2014

It was an intense 5 day. At least 8 hrs a day of class, and then another couple of hours of practice every night.

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Goal #27: Give Thai massage to at least 5 people (for free). – COMPLETED June 6th, 2014.

I have actually given massage 6 times to 5 people, including my masseuse, as I wanted some professional feedback. It seems that everyone really liked it. My masseuse even offered me to work at her place. I’m seriously considering it!

Giving a Thai massage is actually hard work. In many ways, you’re helping the receive do yoga as you put them into many yoga poses. But at the same time, the practitioner is also doing a kind of therapeutic, yoga-like exercise. There is a neat little article in the American Massage Therapy Association website recently, which says, “Even though Thai massage requires specific physical strength, stamina and flexibility of the practitioner, the focus on good body mechanics, alignment, stretching with gravity, and mindful breath can actually help the practitioner develop the very qualities it requires. ”




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