Cycling Across Golden Gate Bridge

One of our favorite things to do in San Francisco is riding bikes across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. We did this for the first time a couple of years ago when Lisa lived in the city. We had such a great experience, we knew we had to do it again on our trip there!

Fun facts:
1) At the time of its opening, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world.
2) Instead of the widely recognizable “international orange” color the bridge is today, it was almost painted yellow and black to make it easily visible for naval ships to pass. However, the bridge was painted orange to compliment the natural surroundings and enhance the bridges visibility in fog.

It’s not often that we ride bicycles (in fact, we don’t own any here in Arizona), but there isn’t anything like riding freely, hair flowing through the wind, on one of the most well-recognized bridges in the world. It brings Lisa back to simpler times when she was in a bike gang in elementary school (story for another time).

We always rent from Sports Basement because of its proximity to Golden Gate Bridge, reasonable pricing and their staff is always helpful in adjusting our bicycles to our specified needs. They also have an extensive collection of outdoor clothing and equipment. If you’re planning on cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge, make sure to rent from the Presidio location as they have another one located in the Mission District. We paid $24 each for our bike (helmet included) and our friends Grant and Summer paid $50 to ride on a tandem bike together for 3 hours.

If you start your route from Sports Basement, you will pass Crissy Field, a former U.S. Army airfield. This is a perfect spot for picnics, playing frisbee, walking your dog and getting that Instagram-worthy picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. From there, you can head down Marine Drive where you’ll be riding along the coast and approaching the bridge. At this point, you’ll need to bike up a fairly steep hill, so make sure to change your gears as needed.

Crissy Field

The Golden Gate Bridge is 1.7 miles across and has east and west sidewalks. We spent approximately 30 minutes crossing the bridge each way (including stops to take pictures). The east side walk (bay side) are open to pedestrians and cyclists on weekdays until 3:30 P.M. On weekdays and holidays, it’s pedestrian only. Since we biked on a Friday, we shared the east sidewalk with pedestrians. Luckily this day wasn’t crowded compared to the last time when there was an anti-vaccination rally being held (again, story for another time). Be mindful when riding your bike and make sure to always be aware of pedestrians. Always stay to the left side of the sidewalk and tell pedestrians when you are passing. There are a lot of seasoned cyclists out there, some who think they are the next Lance Armstrong, but don’t let them intimidate you. Once you cross the bridge, you can ride to the Golden Gate Bridge View Point for another spectacular view of the bay and bridge from another perspective. The west sidewalk opened around 4 P.M. for bicyclists only, so there was more more room to cycle freely. On your way back, you’ll see the other side of the bridge (not as scenic but extremely relaxing with breathtaking views of the Marin Headlands. Once you’re back on the other side of the bridge, you can return your bike and make sure you have all of your belongings.

Golden Gate Bridge View Point

Whether it’s your first time riding or a seasoned cyclists, make sure to appreciate your surroundings, take memorable pictures on the bridge and most importantly have the time of your life cycling across one of the wonders of the modern world. The Tanners would be proud (hope you’re old enough to get that reference)

– Colin

Brooks or Bust

Between being on our feet for work/school all day, cardio, weight training and walking numerous miles when we travel, having a shoe we can count on is extremely important to us.

Both of us have had big name brand shoes (Adidas, New Balance, Nike, etc.), but out Brooks shoes have been the most comfortable, durable and functional shoe we have had yet.

I bought my first pair of Brooks Ghost 10 running shoes 2 years ago after a recommendation from a sales associate at Tortoise & Hare Sports. Once I tried on my first pair of Brooks, I haven’t looked back.

Brooks started in 1914 as a small family-owned shoe factory in Philadelphia and has a long history of making a variety of quality shoes worn by professional football players and Major League baseball players. Have you ever seen the rubber stopper on the front of roller skates? You can thank Brooks for that too!

In 2001, Brooks geared its focus solely on running. Now they are some of the industry leaders in fit, feel, ride, style and performance in running gear.

One of my favorite aspects of Brooks running shoes is that they are really comfortable for people with wider feet. I struggled with my previous Nike shoes that always fit on the narrower side and would give me discomfort after a long hike or run. Even “wide” shoes just never fit quite right. Brooks uses a revolutionary 3D fit print (maintains structure, flexibility and lighter weight), guide rails (allowing hips, knees and joints to move your with your specific motions), full integrated shock absorbers, Brooks DNA (specifically provides cushioning specific to your needs), a rounded heel (reduce stress on your body), etc. That’s just a few aspects of the shoe, here’s more of the benefits below!

I currently have the Brooks Ghost 11 and have used them during cardio, weight training and traveling in San Francisco. The Ghost 11 has a slightly softer midsole, more flexible in the upper and a fraction wider compared with my previous Ghost 10 shoes. The Brooks Ghost 11 currently retails for $120.

Lisa has had the Brooks PureFlow 6 since April of last year. To this day, her shoes look like it just came out of the box. She has a bad habit of stepping into her shoes (just like me), yet they’re still able to hold there shape, unlike other shoes she’s had where they get deformed over time. They are tremendously comfortable for her when she’s in sim lab doing her dental procedures, at the gym on an intense leg day or walking around the city when we go on vacation. A vast majority of faculty at her school also claim Brooks shoes are their favorite, especially since they’re always on the move.

There’s no one shoe fits all when it comes to brand preference, but we can’t imagine going back to any other brand of shoes for everyday wear. I would highly recommend trying them and checking out their shoe finder function to see which shoe fits your intended goals https://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/ShoeFinder! We don’t have any financial ties to Brooks, but we wanted to share our experience because we’re so excited to have found our perfect shoe. Let us know if you get a pair!

Colin

It’s Gonna Be a Gudapati

Her Perspective: 

Not many people can say they get to take engagement photos for their best friends… but I can! 

I met Annie back in 6th grade (19ish years ago) and she’s been one of my best friends since then. We went from taking sticky film photos at Kim’s parents’ house using her piano bench as a prop, to actual photo booth photos in the mall, Star Image photos, to photos in front of my parents’ yard to this. Needless to say it’s been a very memorable journey with this one.

I wish I still had some of our childhood photos to look back and laugh at, but it’s okay, we’ll always have the memories. 

When I saw the opportunity to take Annie and her fiancée, Sri’s engagement photos, I went for it! I didn’t want to miss out on documenting such an important event of her life with the man she loves.

We spent a few hours at his place in Fullerton, CA taking photos and doing a few outfit changes. It was so much fun because it made me nostalgic about our photo shoots from when we were kids except now our teeth are straighter, there’s a guy involved, and we have better photography equipment. 

Here are some of the photos from today’s shoot. It was an honor taking your photos Annie and Sri! Can’t wait to celebrate your wedding in May! #ItsGonnaBeAGudapati

– Lisa

Date Night

We have been making these bite sized snacks made with dates, apricots, oats, cocoa powder, peanut butter, coconut flakes and maple syrup for quite a while as a quick and easy snack to provide ample nutrients and bring with you if you’re on the go!

Dates have an abundance of nutritional benefits due to the number of nutrients and vitamins they contain. Dates are high in dietary fiber which are beneficial for your digestive health (especially if you’re prone to constipation – no one wants that) and assist in controlling blood sugar levels. They also contain vitamin A (maintains healthy skin and mucous membranes) and vitamin K (blood coagulant that helps metabolize bones). Dates contain pigments called carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin that play a role in the health of the retinal tissue in your eyes. I always recommend patients to include these carotenoids in their diet when they have a strong family history or are already diagnosed with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

Fun fact: Certain studies have shown that dates may promote natural labor when consumed during the last few weeks of pregnancy. The theory is that compounds in dates mimic oxytocin, a hormone that causes labor contractions during childbirth. More studies are needed on the affects of dates and childbirth, but may be worth a shot if you’re past your due date.

Apricots are another fruit that have health benefits. They are high in dietary fiber, vitamin A and C along with antioxidants.

Oats are something we eat quite often, whether it’s in oatmeal or sprinkled on some greek yogurt (providing a variety of textures). Oats are a great source of fiber, similar to that of dates. Compared to other grains, oats contain more soluble fiber, leading to slower digestion and suppression of appetite (keeps you fuller, longer)! Most of the fiber in oats are called beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are unique in that they have been found to lower cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease (the leading cause of death worldwide). With type 2 diabetes being on the rise, oats have been studied to see if their beta-glucans can assist in lowering blood sugar levels. More studies need to be done, but the results have been overall promising. This would be a great natural way to assist diabetics with their nutrition and controlling their blood sugar levels. If you’re looking for a source of protein, oats are also your friend.

Fun fact: Oats are naturally gluten-free. However, if you have celiacs or a gluten sensitivity, make sure the oats are labeled “pure” or “gluten-free” due to possible contamination with other wheats.

Nutritional Breakdown (Approximate)
Makes ~ 15 balls
Per ball – Calories: 57, Carbs: 13g, Fats: 2g, Proteins: 2.5g

Ingredients:
10 pitted dates
10 apricots (Sunsweet Mediterranean brand, okay to substitute)
1/2 cup of oats
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
unsweetened coconut flakes

Recipe:
1) Put dates, apricots, oats, cocoa powder and peanut butter in food processor until all ingredients blend together
2) Add maple syrup and run food processor again
3) Scoop out mixture and roll in coconut flakes
4) Refrigerate and enjoy!
5) Store in air tight container in fridge if you keeping for later

Side notes:
– Adjust ingredients to your liking
– Possible substitutes:

  • Almond butter/cashew butter in place of peanut butter
  • Honey instead of maple syrup
  • Cocoa powder in place of cinnamon
  • Oats in place of coconut flakes

Photo Shoot: Full Time Friends, Part Time Models

Her perspective:

I have always enjoyed taking photos whether it be on my Motorola Razr, point and shoot cameras, GoPro or iPhone. My husband and I started taking more and more photos throughout the years and we finally took the leap and invested in a Sony A7iii mirrorless camera with some great prime and zoom lenses.

We love taking scenic landscape photos when we travel back home to Hawai’i and recently ventured into portrait photography.

I asked two of my beautiful classmates, Amber and Christy if they would let me photograph them after finals and they agreed to be my first models! As dental school students, we live in our scrubs, so they were certainly excited to dress up and let their hair down.

We did the shoot at Sahuaro Ranch at golden hour. It was really a fun experience photographing them. To be fair, they made it super easy for me! They were able to show off their personalities and the strong bond they share with each other. Both Amber and Christy are perfect examples of strong, beautiful women in the healthcare field. I still have a lot to learn, but I really enjoyed the experience and looking forward to improving my craft!

Your Health’s Best Friend

His perspective:

We all know the saying “a dog is man’s best friend.” As true as that might be, owning a dog/pet can have substantial benefits on your overall health. These benefits include improving cardiovascular health, decreasing stress hormones, improving physical activity and unique therapies for those diagnosed with Alzheimers’ disease and autism.

A correlation has been found between owning a pet and a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease. In a 2017 retrospective study done in Sweden, people who lived alone and owned a dog had a 36% lower risk of dying from a cardiovascular-related problems compared to those who didn’t (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-16118-6).

Whether you’re anxious for a major exam or stressed out from a big project at work, pets can counteract these emotions by helping to lower cortisol levels (a.k.a stress hormones) and decreasing heart rate.

Secondly, we all know that it’s easy to get lazy and rush to the nearest couch in sight after a long day of work. Owning a dog helps you stay accountable by walking with your favorite canine and getting some cardiovascular activity into your day.

There are a few benefits of owning a pet that I found especially fascinating. For instance, several canine caregiver programs exist that assist dementia patients with day to day tasks. These tasks can include helping to retrieve medication, reminding them to eat and guiding them home when they’re lost. Here’s a great article if you want to learn more or are interested in getting a service dog for a friend or family member with dementia (https://www.rover.com/canine-caregivers-dementia-alzheimers/).

With the increasing prevalence of children being diagnosed with autism (approximately 1 in 59 children), improving social skills has become  essential. Various animal-assisted therapy programs currently exist to enhance social skills in children and help them interact with their peers.

I remember a specific time when I realized the powerful affects animals can play in our lives. Before I started optometry school, I volunteered at Braille Institute in Anaheim, California (yes, there is more in Anaheim than Disneyland). I started off assisting visually impaired students with using computers (checking email, using search engines, etc.). This was an immensely rewarding experience where i met some of the most inspiring people. The teacher of our class was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (an inherited disease causing degeneration of the retinal tissue). He had a guide dog, Tuesday, that reminds me of Oliver (golden retriever pictured above), with a slightly more mellow demeanor. Whenever Tuesday entered the room you could feel him bring in such a vibrant energy and everyone was instantly in a better mood.

We always think of school, work, fitness, diet, personal issues, etc. affecting our mental and personal health, but our pets can also play a vital role. If you have a pet, make sure to spend some quality time together and if not, definitely consider getting one! Your mind and body will thank you.

Shakshuka Sunday

Shakshuka! Fun to say, easy to make and delicious to eat. When we told friends and family that we were going to make this meal, we got a lot of blank stares. They had never heard of this dish and didn’t know what they were missing! Shakshuka is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine and essentially means “mixed up.” The dish was introduced to Israel by immigrants from North Africa and has become a household favorite because of its heartiness and simplicity. Not to mention how easy it is to make! There are a variety of ways to prepare shakshuka. We used eggs, tomatoes, bell peppers, feta cheese, garlic, onions and some essential seasonings. Shakshuka is served in an iron skillet and enjoyed with slices of bread; making it the perfect healthy meal to have all to yourself or to share with friends and family. It’s a great dish to serve at brunch with friends or have a little “breakfast” at dinner. Give it a try, we think this dish will become a staple of yours too!

Nutritional Breakdown (Approximate):
Feeds 4 people
Per person (not including baguette)- Calories: 160, Carbs: 8g, Fats: 0.75g, Proteins: 9g

Ingredients:
1 tbsp ghee or olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes with juices
4 eggs
1 bell pepper (diced)
3 tbsp fat free feta cheese
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 onion (diced)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Trader Joe’s Habanero Hot Sauce
Baguette

Recipe:
1) Heat cast iron skillet to warm and add ghee or olive oil
2) Add onions, garlic, bell peppers
3) Add cumin, paprika, tomatoes and let simmer for about 15 minutes
4) Preheat oven to 375F
5) Add habanero sauce, salt, and pepper to taste
6) Stir in feta cheese and crack eggs on top
7) Place skillet in oven and bake for 10 minutes
8) Enjoy with baguettes!

Bully Love!

This is our buddy Basil!  She just turned 6 months old. We both love english bulldogs and their laid back, loving personalities. Also, who doesn’t love a bunch of rolls? You have to love a dog who can always put a smile on your face. Bulldogs often have a stigma of looking mean and dangerous. However, if you’ve ever owned or play with a bulldog, you know that nothing can be further from the truth. They are dependable, predictable and great with kids! We aren’t able to own a dog in the apartment we currently live in, so we play with Basil every chance we get.

Lisa enjoys crocheting hats, tops, etc. and used to do it as a business during high school and undergrad. We decided to make Basil a hat to keep her warm during the cold winter season (plus we thought she would look great in it). We made a few hats for Basil to match any occasion. Let us know which hat is your favorite!

Quadruple Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies

Quadruple chocolate chip brownie cookies… One of our favorite pick me up snacks! Made with Ghiradelli triple chocolate premium brownie mix and mini M&M’s. If you’re looking for a soft, chewy cookie packed with mouth-watering chocolatey goodness, this is the cookie for you! We’ve made this cookie for many of our friends and it is a crowd pleaser. The recipe is incredibly easy to make, even if it’s your first time baking. We’ll post a mix of our favorite sweet tooth deserts and healthy alternatives that will satisfy your taste buds! Here’s the nutrition breakdown for our quadruple chocolate chip brownie cookie.

Nutritional Breakdown (Approximate):
1 batch yields approximately 23 cookies
Per cookie – Calories: 105, Carbs: 20g, Fat: 3g, Protein: 1g

Ingredients:
1 package of Ghiradelli Premium Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix
Mini M&M’s
1 egg
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
2 tbsp water

Recipe
1) Pre-heat oven to 375 °F
2) Combine brownie mix, egg, vegetable oil and water
3) Line cookie sheet with parchment paper (we prefer parchment paper over our silicone baking mats to get the right texture and a crispy bottom – because who doesn’t love crispy bottoms?)
4) Use an ice cream scooper to scoop out the mix and place the balls approximately 2 inches apart from each other (we use the ice cream scooper for sizing consistency).
5) Place mini M&M’s onto the cookie balls
6) Once the oven has completed pre-heating, place the tray in the middle rack of the oven
7) Bake at 375 °F for 9 minutes
8) Takes cookies out of the oven and let them rest for 10 minutes
9) Enjoy the ooey gooey chocolatey goodness!