Showing posts with label life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts

Jun 8, 2014

San Diego Baby!

To say that we loved San Diego is a bit of an understatement. Throughout our week there we periodically had conversations along the lines of: "when are we moving here? how will we transport the cats?" Maybe it's because I was born in CA, but I've always felt a connection to the ocean and the west coast. I can't believe this is the first time I've been there since I was a baby! I was lovestruck. The ocean views. The warm and friendly people. The weather. The sun. The sunsets. The fact that gay couples can be legally married there.

It was the busiest vacation I've ever had. Katrina and I didn't want to waste a single moment there. We went to bed late and got up early, scheduling out our days in order to maximize our limited time. Our trip also included attending our first ever gay wedding (beautiful!) and a road trip down to Mexico to meet Katrina's relatives (unforgettable), but I'll be doing separate posts on those topics.

The best way to tell you about our time is to show you!

we've arrived!
La Jolla, Scripps park
lunch in Old Town
Coronado hotel
feet in the sand and ocean at Coronado beach
coffee and exploring Hillcrest (the gayborhood of San Diego)

dinner in Little Italy
hiking at Cedar Creek Falls
and finding the Devil's Punchbowl
watching the sunset from Sunset Cliffs
and stealing a kiss

sushi at The Joint in Ocean Beach
The view from Palomar Mountain (smoke in the distance from a wildfire)
I loved the big trees
my little bird nerd
picnic by Doane pond
the beautiful Balboa park

I love the architecture
playing in the fountain
Dr. Seuss trees in the cactus gardens
always take time to stop at fruit & vegetable stands--CA has the best produce!
Gaslamp district
Belmont park
La Jolla cove!
We did a kayaking tour and loved it

passing by Dr. Seuss' house
sea lions
snorkeling at La Jolla
one fish, two fish...
underwater selfie
the long climb down to Black's Beach, scary as hell but worth it
Black's Beach is the largest nude beach in North America
being completely nude and swimming in the ocean was such a freeing experience!

great way to end our time in San Diego

I am the luckiest.

Looking through these photos floods me with so my happiness. I feel so lucky I got to go on this trip, and I'm thinking "why didn't I do this sooner??" This was Katrina and I's first big trip together, aside from our little road trips to Toronto and Louisville. It's the first time we've flown anywhere together in all of our six years! I loved traveling with her. I think it made us both realize we want to do more of this. There will always be excuses not to go, but in the end... money is just money and life is short, let's enjoy every moment and explore together. Experiences like these are priceless.

Apr 27, 2014

Fundamentals for Delicious Living

It is a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. The sun is shining, it's a perfect 64 degrees and the breeze is blowing softly through open windows. Freshly baked mini-cheesecakes are cooling on the stovetop, the cats are both napping on the couch, and I just finished listening to Nick Offerman's "Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living", the audiobook version.

Offerman is an actor on Katrina & I's favorite show, Parks and Recreation. His book was brilliant: humorous, thoughtful and an overall zen perspective on life and it's purpose. Not your typical hollywood guy, Offerman is a midwesterner at heart that values hard work, honesty, handmade gifts and the great outdoors. He adores his wife, still goes home to Illinois to see his family, and spends his free time in his wood shop handcrafting beautiful things.

Katrina is kind of in love with him and I can't really blame her. He's at the top of her celebrity list.

I've been thinking about this delicious living. Living a quality life full of simple pleasures, hard work and personal fulfillment. This is going to look different for every person. I've been more distant from the online world ever since moving to live with Katrina, but I've been filling up my free time with things that are making my heart feel full and my spirit happy. My resolution this year was to find balance in life, and I feel I've been making good progress.

Here are some of my personal fundamentals for delicious living (in no particular order):

1. good food
This is probably at the top of my list because food is always on my mind. Eat good food, real food--fresh ingredients. Know what you're eating. Try preparing it yourself! Eating is such an integral, beautiful, enjoyable part of life. Don't just eat to eat, eat thoughtfully and purposefully and enjoy it to the utmost. Life can be so full of flavor!

carne guisada topped with aji picante, served over brown rice

2. work with your hands
There is something so satisfying about making something all by yourself. I joined a craft exchange this year and it's been a good motivation to keep trying new things! I've also been trying more and more to make gifts instead of buying them. Not because I'm cheap, but because I think they mean so much more!

working on some mason-jar lanterns, my first attempt at coloring glass

3. develop a skill & follow your passions
Work at something until you're good at it. Maybe it's playing the guitar or identifying birds (like Katrina), or dusting off your piano books from elementary school (like me). Or working at writing, baking, photography, teaching--go back to your first love! Find those things that make your heart beat a little faster and devote time to them. If you're not sure what that thing is for you--go out and discover it!

our recently acquired piano Katrina got for me as a gift

4. spend quality time with your loved one
Few things do my heart & soul better than quality time with Katrina. She balances me out in every way and helps me focus on what's important. Any time spent with her never is wasted in my mind. Whether we're grocery shopping, cuddled close on the couch, trying out a new restaurant, or going on a bike ride together. That person who makes you your best self, loves you just as you are, and renews your soul when you spend time together -- it doesn't necessarily need to be your "other half". Maybe it's your best friend, a sibling, a parent. Never let that go.

5. soul-warmers aka furry little creatures
After I spent a couple years living alone in a no-pets-allowed apartment, I have come to realize more than ever how much joy little animals add to life. I love our two cats so much, they make me laugh, they keep me company, they welcome me home. There are few happier feelings than your cat (or dog) coming up and snuggling you--trusting you completely and loving you back (in their own way). Our pets possess an innocence and sincerity that human beings lack, and it's good to be around that.

6. exercise in fresh air & enjoy nature
Whenever it's reasonably possible, leave the car at home and ride a bike or take a walk. I have been relishing the spring weather--walking to the coffee shop, the library, the nearby university. Katrina & I love taking bike rides down to get ice cream or coffee. Breathe fresh air, get your heart rate up a little. Discover nearby parks and maybe venture out to some new places! The great thing about nature is it's almost always free, beautiful, and constantly changing. It's hard to spend time in nature and not come home in a better mood. You don't have to go far, either. Spending even 15-30 minutes a day in your back yard or garden can do a world of good.

Worked outside yesterday to get our outdoor space ready for summer!

7. read aka feed your brain
You may think you're not a reader. But reading isn't about reading. How can I explain this? It's about connections with humans through time and space and understanding life better. As an individual, you can only experience so much--but through reading, you can experience hundreds other lifetimes. Not only will you learn more in relating to people and the world around you, books have a magical power of helping us know ourselves better. There are books out there for everyone, find someone or something that interests you and read. Your life will be richer for it. Tip: If you find it hard to sit still and read, or if you feel you don't have the time, try audiobooks! I'm a huge audiobook fan, you can listen to a book while taking a walk, doing the dishes, or driving. Your local library likely has a nice selection.

I'm half-way through Ali Smith's "Like" and really loving it

8. good people
Fill your life up with quality people. It may take time to find them, but don't give up. And once you do find them, be deliberate about spending time with them. You'll know them when you find them. They're the people who follow through. The ones who ask you the real questions and listen for the real answers. The ones you can let down your guard around. They are out there! Find them and then build those relationships. Always remember, it's about quality, not quantity when it comes to friends.

Visiting a friend of ours in Chicago last month

What are your fundamentals for delicious living? What makes your heart happy and your spirit renewed? What brings balance to your life?

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