Category Archives: Life

A Visit to San Fran and some Instagrams

It’s somewhat embarrassing to admit that we live 30 minutes from San Francisco and only make it there once a month, if we’re lucky. The same thing happened when I lived on Long Island. New York City was just a train ride away but often I took it for granted and chose to stay local.

Fortunately, one of the great things about living near such a great destination city like San Fran is that people like to visit which gives us added opportunities to venture in.

This week the All-Star’s hip younger cousin (a.k.a. Sad Cheerleader) came to visit us with her boyfriend and Tuesday we hopped in the car to scoop them up and grab some chow after their long day of sightseeing. It’s always an experience when venturing into any city and of course this was no different. We were there just before sunset so we caught the beauty that is dusk and of course all the lights coming alive. San Francisco with its steep hills and valleys reveals many fantastic vistas and peeks of twinkling night life.

I didn’t take a lot of shots, but here are a few that I Instagrammed. I love Instagram (follow me!). It makes me feel like I can actually take good photos.

This snap was taken midway down the crooked part of Lombard Street. See the full moon rising over the Bay Bridge? Pretty awesome.

san francisco moonrise

Here we have the Palace of Fine Arts Rotunda. I just love this place. The All-Star always likes to point out that a scene from The Rock was filmed in there. No one ever seems to care. Poor guy.

presidio

And what visit to San Francisco is complete without a peek at the Golden Gate Bridge. We made a stop at the Golden Gate Promenade to grab this one. Not my favorite, but I have others. 🙂

golden gate bridge

So that was our Tuesday evening. It really was the perfect day to go in.

Last night it rained and now everything is wet and was awoken way too early by rain water dripping onto the air conditioner. From 5:30 to 6:30am I lay there pretending I couldn’t here it. Yay, life. 😉

Just for fun, here’s a wet look at my favorite tree(s) in the yard. I thought the red leaves were its “flowers” but it looks like now some kind of seed is sprouting. I’m excited to see what they mature into! I’m guessing bigger seeds.

our yard

I’m hoping the sun will come out soon so I can get to work on my garden. There’s some herbs growing wild out there that I’d like to get into pots, mostly for esthetic purposes and so I can feel more in control (the mint is actually overstepping its bounds). I think the weed whacker also needs to make an appearance.

Happy Holy Week! (Is that an oxymoron?) 😉

Laura

“Yay, it’s the first day of Lent,” said no one ever…

Yup, it’s that time again. Time to string up the lights, and sing Lenten carols. Oh wait. No. It’s a time of giving up the things we love and experiencing guilt. Ho hum.

Growing up Catholic, my siblings and I dreaded this time of year. Lenten sacrifice and no meat on Fridays, although mom often bought us pizza or made fish sticks so I guess it wasn’t all bad. And since we usually gave up chocolate or candy, that led to stuffing our faces with sweets and honey baked ham on Easter Sunday until we put ourselves into a Paschal coma. Alleluia!

Though some of my past Christian traditions have fallen to the wayside, sorry mom, sacrifice during Lent is one of the things I still strive to do/think about/attempt/fail miserably at for 40 days (not counting Sundays) before the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. (Yup, that’s how Ash Wednesday is determined). I like to think of it as a way to better myself…and this year will be no different.

It wasn’t difficult to decide what to give up this year. I’m ashamed to admit but I’ve developed somewhat of a dirty little shopping habit. It became even more clear to me yesterday when I set out to buy a heart shaped cookie cutter and came home with $123.38 worth of merchandise, including 12 assorted cookie cutters and a cookie jar. In my defense I visited 9 stores before finding said cookie cutter and when I finally found a store that had one, it was part of a 12 piece set and I figured, why go through this again, and bought the whole darn thing. $21.65 WITH a cookie jar. I’ll call that a score! So as you can see I definitely have a little bit of a problem tendency and I’m giving up shopping for Lent.

There, I said it. Now it is so. (sign)

The “rules” of the sacrifice? Obviously food and household items are excluded. And there are a few birthdays coming up which I’ve already received gift requests for, one being the All-Star’s. And I surely can’t disappoint my Pisces compadres (they’re so sensitive – shhh).

So that’s about it. It’s in writing so there’s no turning back. We’ll see how long I last. I’m thinking I can do it. We’ll just have to live without new throw pillows and fragrant candles for the next six weeks. Fortunately, I recently purchased both so I think we’ll be ok.

What would be/is your Lenten sacrifice??

Laura

Keeping the Christmas Cheer

I love Christmas time. The carols,  the lights; they bring a joy into my heart that I could soak in forever. The rest of the year is just sort of blah. And alas, with February closing in fast,  it was definitely time to take down the last remnants of yuletide cheer, the wreath.

wpid-IMG_20130123_100509.jpg

A wreath on a front door seems warm and welcoming to me. It says, home is where my heart is and I welcome you in!  A wreath also symbolizes eternity (I learned that from religion class) and being a newlywed, I like being reminded that the man I promised forever to is in our home waiting for me. Yes, I get all that from a wreath! Of course even evergreen eventually dies and once the wreath came down, life just started to feel regular again. And regular isn’t good enough for me.  Fortunately I am resourceful (thanks dad) and creative (thanks mom). wpid-IMG_20130123_101630.jpg

The Christmas wreath I bought way back in December for about $12 had a great metal frame which, although the pine needles that adorned it were dry and yellowing, definitely had some life left in it. I made a trip around our yard to see if I could find some appropriate branches to replace the tennanbaum remnants.

We’ve got this tree which I believe is eucalyptus. I could be wrong. I probably am. But since the majority of my bridal bouquet (see above) was made of seeded eucalyptus, it makes me happy to believe that’s what it is. The leaves have turned a beautiful green and the seeds a really pretty purple. Perfect!

I got out my sheers and went to work cutting back some of the branches which were clearly overgrown. Twenty minutes later I had a gorgeous new wreath and I much brighter yard.

Voila! eucalyptus wreath - instagrammed

It was so easy to make. I’m sure I’ll be able to use the frame again and again. Not bad for 12 dollars.

recycled wreath tutorial

Here’s a brief run-down of what I did….

1 – Use pliers to pull back the metal teeth (that’s what I’m calling them b/c I don’t know what they are called.)

2 – remove old branches

3 – cut new branches to desired size and width. Mine as you can see are about a foot but you can make them smaller, as long as they fit into the teeth.

4 – Lay the branches overlapping around the circle.

5 – Tuck the last branch under the first one and close all the teeth and them.

5 – Enjoy the beauty that is your creation!

There’s a picture on Pinterest (feel free to follow me there) that I’ve seen a few times. It says, “Breath, you’re home.”  Hmm…makes you think.

While I’m always happy to be home, I do occasionally bring the stress from the outside world through our door. Without having a sign that blatantly tells me to chill, I’d like to think this simple wreath can be my reminder that I’m home now, safe and sound, it’s warm and cozy inside, and my loved one is waiting for me! Kinda sounds like Christmas right?! Here’s to keeping the cheer year round!

Laura

Getting Fit with with a Fit Tracker

I’ve never had issues with my weight. I fluctuate with the seasons and during times of stress or study but usually I remain the same. As a health care practitioner, I feel that it’s important for me to stay fit and set a good example for my patients. Unfortunately the more people I’m helping and the busier I get, the less time I have for myself! It’s a sad but true fact and nutrition and exercise are always the first to go.

With just six weeks left before my wedding, (EEE) I realized it was time to get a little more serious about my body and create a healthy and wholesome fitness and diet plan. I want to look and feel my best on our big day and I know the only way to do that is to treat my body with the care it deserves!

In the past I’ve jogged, but unfortunately I really don’t like it, so I don’t do it. I’ll go a few times and my knee will start to hurt or I’ll get out of breath, and then there’s the sweating. (I really don’t like to sweat. Some people do. I’m not one of those people). I have a friend who walks every day and instead of doing nothing I decided that walking is a good something, so Tuesday, I began my walking routine. Just around and about the neighborhood. I enjoy it so I know I’ll do it. It helps me clear my head, I am able to enjoy good music, and I can experience the town I live in from a new perspective (not just one I see as I zoom by in my car.)

Also to get with the program I started counting my calories. I’m not trying to loose a ton of weight but a few pounds would be nice. Also counting calories helps me understand what I’m putting in my body and how I can make better choices. If that burrito is 800 calories, and a good healthy dinner consisting of meat, a starch, veggies and even a class of wine is the same amount, the choice is obvious…and my body will thank me.

My skin will thank me too. I’ve been having another little episode of less than clear skin these past few months. I know it’s just a diet too high in fat and salt (we eat out alot!), so I’d like to get that in check.

The last and final reason for all of this is the most important and that is for my digestive system and heart health. When I reach the top of our two flights of stairs and I’m out of breath… When my tummy gets aggravated more than usual,  I know time to get serious about making changes. So serious I will get.

So I’m using a tracker to help me on my journey. CardioTrainer helps me track my fitness and MyFitnessPal for the calorie counting. They both are free and have phone apps and MyFitnessPal even has social networking! Look for me, LauraCYW, so we can help each other achieve our goals together!!

Or at least for the next six weeks. Then we leave on our honeymoon!

Laura

Learning a New Language

Cultivation is all about growth, and part of cultivating your wellness, I think, includes broadening your horizons. This week, I am beginning to broaden my own horizons by finally started to learn Spanish. (It only took 5 years of living in California to convince me that it might be a good idea.) I think learning a second language is something all of us should consider.

A few months ago, while at a Roger Waters concert, a Russian man sitting next to me told me a joke about speaking multiple languages (or the lack of ability too) in which the punch line was “Americans.” While it was just a joke, or perhaps an ice-breaker from this less than cordial man, it left me feeling quite a bit inadequate (and wishing I had a new seat.) But instead of getting mad, I’m getting educated.

My method of instruction is Rosetta Stone and this week I completed Unit 1. There are four units in Level 1. After reading some reviews, I am surprised that I finished it so quickly but perhaps others don’t have quite as much free time as I have or feel less motivated to spend half a Saturday afternoon repeating vocabulary and identifying actions. All in all though, I think my brain has retained quite a bit of information. The milestone was tricky, and I actually did worst the second time around, but I’ve read that this is normal and I feel confident in my future success.

My goal is to one day travel to Argentina and converse with the locals with ease. I don’t think that’s an impossible feat, especially if I stay dedicated to my studies! I’ll keep you updated on my process. Perhaps I’ll even attempt a few bilingual posts. I’m anxious to see how well Rosetta Stone works for me!

Wish me luck!

Laura