Saturday, June 20, 2015
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Today I had an extra day off of work so I decided to take advantage of the great weather and go on a long hike. I headed to Nicene Marks State Park and parked at the entrance station. I hiked up to the trailhead which is about a mile and a half from the parking lot. The West Ridge Trail is a little under seven miles and has a steep ascent of over 1000 feet over 4 miles. The mild downhill joins up with the Loma Prieta Grade trail and eventually with Aptos Creek Road about 2 miles from the entrance station. Altogether I covered about 10 miles in a little over four hours.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Monday, September 22, 2014
|Project 365 Days 1-30|
Monday, September 1, 2014
ETA: So, I figured out what happened. Apparently all pictures that are uploaded to blogger are stored in Picasa web albums. As part of cleaning up my online photos I accidentally went overboard and deleted crucial Picasa albums, not realizing they hosted my blog photos. So I'm slowly replacing the more current and popular blog photos from my archive, but unfortunately some of the originals were not stored on my hard drive and I may not have them backed up. Lesson learned, and a head's up for all you other bloggers out there... Picasa=blogger!
Sunday, August 17, 2014
I have been practicing a modified version of Project 333 since February of 2013, and I have blogged about my journey during each phase. Every season has brought new insights and challenges. My lifestyle has changed, my body has changed, and my relationship to clothing has changed over the past 18 months. I have let the project be fluid, changing the rules to meet the evolving needs of real life. Today, as I prepared my 33 items to last until the end of September, I struggled with the following dilemmas:
- I am currently between jobs. For the past decade I have been a public high school teacher, but I recently decided to make a radical life change and search for a new career. I have no idea what my new job will be or what wardrobe it will require. Until the right job comes along, I am working as a substitute teacher, so I chose my clothing accordingly. When I do find the right job, I may have to switch up my wardrobe.
- I rarely buy new clothes anymore, but I did go to a clothing swap for the first time last month. It was awesome, and I found some great "new to me" clothes, but it resulted in me having more than 33 things in my closet. I decided to put a good number of things away for the next phase, to be rediscovered when I open my clothing storage box in September.
- I am probably going to return to working at at least one job site where the average temperature can be 20-30 degrees hotter than where I live. I chose clothing that can be easily layered and included lots of dresses (which I can add some leggings to if I'm cold at home) and cardigans (for the early morning chill before I get to work).
- Be flexible! If something doesn't work, swap it out for something that does. If an item wears out, replace it. If you change jobs, or move, or have another major life event don't be afraid to reevaluate your closet along with everything else that is bound to be changing in your life during a time of transition.
- Be surprised! If you are afraid of releasing seasonal clothing that you won't include in this year's wardrobe, and you have the space, just tuck it away until next time. You might find, as I did, that you don't need to buy new clothing when you open your storage bin next spring, or fall, and delightedly find several items that you literally forgot you owned.
- Be creative! Having only 33 items means that you wear EVERYTHING. You won't get stuck in a rut, but you will find out what works for you, your body type, and your personal style. If you find yourself avoiding that same sweater or pair of pants each time you get dressed, that piece of clothing is not your friend and should probably be passed on to a better home.
- Change the rules! I have made modifications to the project that make it work for me. For example, I no longer count my sunglasses or purse in my 33 items. I don't count layering pieces such as leggings, tights, or tank tops. I don't include outerwear like sun hats or rain gear in the total, either. And I have about 6-8 pieces of decent "loungewear" (yoga pants, tank dresses, older T-shirts) that I can throw on to run to the store or wear around the house during the weekend or after work. You can even modify the dates of each phase to meet your needs: when I was teaching full time I changed my clothes more with the changing school year than with the quarterly seasonal change.
|2||blue dangle earrings|
|3||turquoise and coral earrings|
|4||coral beaded earrings|
|5||silver bracelet (*gift from mom)|
|7||leopard print scarf|
|9||light blue scarf (*swap)|
|10||white ss tee|
|11||grey ss tee|
|13||blue jeans (*swap)|
|14||black dockers pants (*new)|
|15||long black skirt|
|17||tan skirt (*swap)|
|18||red sailboat skirt|
|21||brown and white dress|
|23||blue and white dress|
|24||blue long tank dress|
|25||tan loose knit shrug|
|26||black tie front shrug|
|27||denim crop jacket|
|28||coral crop sweater|
|29||blue long loose cardigan|
|32||cork mary janes|
Sunday, July 27, 2014
First, Jason and I celebrated the actual date of our 10 year anniversary (July 3) with our traditional picnic at the site of our wedding, Quail Hollow Ranch. We hiked the vista point trail, had an amazing picnic, and took what I think is probably one of our best anniversary photos ever! We certainly have come a long way in terms of health and fitness, especially in the last few years!
Then, last week, I got the unexpected opportunity to go to LA for a couple of days with my friend Christy. We stayed in a hotel downtown, and managed to get over to 3rd Street to visit my brother Kyle at The Proper Barbershop where he works. He took us on a mini tour of the area, including the LA Farmer's Market and The Grove, both of which are scenic retail districts where you're likely to spot a movie being filmed or sight a celebrity while shopping.
Also this month, I started a new job working the front desk at a local fitness club, to compliment my Zumba teaching and create an opportunity for growth as a group exercise instructor. I got to see my nephews again this week as they visited with my brother George who is racing at Laguna Seca this weekend. Summer, as usual, continues to fly by and I hope to continue taking advantage of the long beautiful days as we round the corner into August.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
There were a few other exhibits at the museum while we were there, but the other one that I completely loved was SKULLS, which displayed a selection of 200 of the museum's most unusual animal skulls from its vast archive. There were skulls from the tiniest mouse all the way up to an elephant. My favorites were the bighorn sheep (of course, I'm an Aries!), the flamingo and the anteater. The dolphin was also interesting because it was surprising how large the brain cavity is in comparison to the rest of the animal's skull.
After our tour we found a nice shady spot under a tree for our picnic. There's not a bad spot in that park for picnicking... it's full of gorgeous old trees and lush, perfectly manicured lawns. We enjoyed our food and people watching for about an hour. The final place we wanted to visit was the Botanical Building, but we discovered that it was closed on Thursdays. Oh well! Since it was close to check-in time we decided to head downtown where we would spend out last night at the Embassy Suites on the Embarcadero.
Since we stayed at this same hotel on our honeymoon, we wanted to visit it again 10 years later. Last time we were here, however, we didn't have a car with us and instead relied on public transportation. This time, arriving at the hotel was probably the biggest logistical difficulty we had during the whole trip. I had been pretty calm and going with the flow, but I was not expecting to have to valet park the car when we arrived! We were not prepared, and I had a mini freak-out about having to get everything out of the car on the spur of the moment, and about the $40 nightly valet parking fee. We are total "country mice" when it comes to how things are done in the city! We had two coolers of food, bedding, yoga mats, unwieldy baggage, you name it that we were expecting to be able to carry in ourselves. So we decided to prioritize, and left the coolers since we would be getting the car to go out again later that evening. We grabbed what we could carry, checked in, and headed up to the room. I was still upset about the parking cost but quickly relaxed since the view from our room was spectacular.
We had plans that evening to meet my brother George and his youngest son Alex, as well as George's fiancee Danielle and her daughter Lauren for mini golf in Belmont Park. We had time to kill before meeting up, so we grabbed some coffee and walked around Seaport Village, which is right across from the Embassy Suites. Jason picked out a new hat from the Village Hat Shop, a store we remembered from our honeymoon trip.
Later that evening we met my brother for a round of mini-golf in Mission Bay. It was great to see my nephew Alex (and shout out to his older brother, Ryan, for house-sitting for us while we were on the trip! You did a great job!). After saying goodbye to the family we stopped by the Whole Foods in Hillcrest for dinner and then headed back to the hotel, where we enjoyed the city lights before turning in for the last night of the trip.
Overall, this vacation was more than we ever expected. We have changed so much in the decade that we have been married. We have weathered the ups and downs of marriage and of life in general, and we are all the stronger for it. We are healthier and happier than ever before, and throughout the trip we kept reflecting on how much calmer, more centered, more present in the moment and more joyful we are now than our younger selves were a decade ago. We both hope that it won't be another 10 years before we are able to go on vacation again, but I know that the memories from this trip are as spectacular as, and perhaps even better than, our honeymoon adventure.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
We were able to arrange for an early check in so we arrived at our hotel around noon. We opted for a boutique hotel with a kitchen so that we could do some additional food prep and restock our stash of gluten-free vegan eats. We stayed at the Inn at Sunset Cliffs, which proved to be even better in person than in the pictures! The gardens, pool and terraces were amazing. It is one of the few hotels in the area that is actually "waterfront" meaning that waves wash right up onto the lower terrace. I imagine that they probably have to close part of the deck off in the winter months. Our room was just as nice, with a fully-stocked kitchen, sitting room, bedroom and elegant bathroom with a large shower.
The first thing we did was get in the pool, spend some time soaking in the sun and the gorgeous view, and relax after spending 16 hours at Disneyland! Jason, of course, got in a few rounds of poolside golf.
We also walked to People's Organic Food Market, which we had tagged on the map as a destination for getting groceries for the second part of our trip. We decided to get stuff for dinner and then come back the next day for any other supplies. We got fixings for tacos and headed back to the hotel, where we made dinner in our room and ate al fresco on the terrace overlooking the sunset.
Check out day 4: downtown San Diego and Balboa Park
Sunday, July 6, 2014
We started out from the hotel in search of a Starbucks that, according to my phone navigation, was in Downtown Disney. We really had no idea where that was, however, so after walking about a quarter mile out of the way we decided to follow the couples with strollers and would our way between the Disney hotels to what is basically a shopping center adjacent to the park entrance. Sure enough, there was Starbucks but by this time in the morning, about 8:30 am, the line for coffee was as long as a ride, reaching nearly out the door. As much as we were craving caffeine we decided to forgo a 20 minute wait and continued on toward the park. Right before we left Downtown Disney, however, we saw a little bakery that had no line so Jason decided to try to get coffee there. No waiting, and they were serving Starbucks brand anyway! Don't get me wrong, Starbucks is OK but definitely not our favorite, it's just reliable while travelling. They didn't have any kind of non-dairy milk or creamer so we had it black but we took this as a good sign that things would work out well that day. I'm sure all you coffee drinkers out there understand how significant successful procurement of "black water" can be!
It was on to the park were our good luck continued. As soon as we entered and took the obligatory photo right inside the front gate we headed to Adventureland. Right away someone handed us a fast pass to go on Indiana Jones so we were able to walk into the fast pass entrance and only waited about 10 minutes to get on the ride. We barely had time to finish our coffee! Since it was built, this has been one of my favorite rides and I was stoked that Jason would get to experience it as his first Disney ride. I could tell that he was overwhelmed by everything, and I tried to imagine seeing it all for the first time.
Even though I hadn't been to the park for nearly 20 years, I went several times a year as a child and in my teens and early twenties. Living in Southern California, Disneyland is much more accessible. I even went there for grad night, leaving on a bus directly from my high school graduation. Jason, who grew up in Santa Cruz, found this hard to believe! It was so fun to see everything that I remembered and had experienced so many times as brand new through his eyes. He was only four the one and only time he had ever been, over 40 years ago. There were a few changes, updates, and new rides but for the most part it was familiar and nostalgic for me. It sounds cliché, but the day was really as magical and exciting as when I was a child.
I think one of the reasons that Disneyland is so fun to visit as adults without kids is that the park enables you to suspend the demands of real life for the hours that you spend there. Everything is clean, the workers act happy, and the attention to detail ensures that you can get lost in an imaginary world. It lets you play, be childlike, and forget the responsibilities of adulthood for a while.
We took full advantage of the opportunity, hitting all the major rides. Two of my favorites were closed for renovation: Alice in Wonderland and Space Mountain, but we still had a full day. We caught on to the fast pass system pretty quickly and used it to shorten the wait time for some of the big-ticket rides. Before lunch, in addition to Indiana Jones, we hit Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise, and Splash Mountain. We left at about noon and walked back to the room to rest and eat lunch from the stash of food we brought on the trip. We returned at about 2 pm and went on Thunder Mountain, the Haunted Manson, the Tiki Room, and Autopia. We has a pretty silly experience seeing Thor, which we thought was a stage show of some sort but turned out to be a "meet and greet" with Thor himself. We waited way too long in line for this privilege, but it was hysterical when the doors opened and there he stood, waiting to take pictures with the crowd.
We took another break around 6 and returned around 9 for a final session. We got back just as the fireworks were starting and Fantasyland was closed, so we went on Pirates and Thunder Mountain again. We waited at the entrance to Sleeping Beauty's Castle until they re-opened the "kiddy rides", and then rushed to get on Peter Pan which is surprisingly popular and apparently always has a pretty long line. We also got on Sleeping Beauty and It's a Small World. By this time it was nearing midnight. We had gotten a tip from a regular the the Tiki Room that the best way to get on the Matterhorn, which doesn't have a fast pass option, is to get in line right before the park closes so we ran over to the snow-covered icon and got in line at 11:55. We were nearly the last ones in line as they closed it a few people behind us. So we brought the day to a close with a visit to the Abominable Snowman!
As Jason said, we killed it! We had a blast and are pretty much addicted. We can't wait to go back. I want to take Jason there during the holidays when it gets dark earlier and the park is full of lights and holiday decorations. I was kind of skeptical that it would be as much fun to go as an adult as it was when I was a kid, but I was wrong. It was better because we could do whatever we wanted and we got to do it together, which was the best way to celebrate 10 years of partnership and marriage. Here's to the "Happiest Place on Earth!"
Next: Day 3 - Sunset Cliffs and Ocean Beach