Thursday, July 30, 2009

Banning myself to the bike...

So this is really what 27 feels like....painful :)...haha, it's not really that bad, just did something weird to my foot at Yoga the other night. So here I am surfing all of my favorite food blogs for new inspiration, I'm feeling in a bit of a food rut lately and icing my poor little foot and thinking lots of good thoughts about it healing so I can get back out and hit the pavement, I have a serious hankering to start training for something again :).

Here is what I am listening tonight...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another year older...another year wiser...right?

I actually think the title of this blog holds some truth for me this year, I do feel a little bit wiser these days. Don't get me wrong, I'm obviously no Dalai Lama or anything, but I do feel that this past year has been a really big learning one for me---not textbook or academic learning---just a whole lot of life, love and relationship learning---the most important kind. And although the process it took to acquire some of my new found wisdom has not always been a pleasant one, I do have to say that I feel like the experiences of this past year have really helped to awaken me to some new ways of thinking--especially about love. A couple of simple quotes that have really hit home for me in the past year are the following;

At one of my best friend's weddings last spring, the groom's mother stood up to give a toast and she ended her toast with the simplest, yet most true statements, she simply said, through all the ups and downs of marriage, to remember one thing above all and that was, "Be kind." I remember thinking that it was such a beautiful thing to say at the moment, but it wasn't until a year later that the truth in that simple statement would ring through for me. I find it a little embarrassing, actually A LOT embarrassing that I don't feel that I had truly taken those words to heart until I was about 26.5---but I suppose it is better to learn the importance of those words a little late than never, right? At any rate, with the events of the past year, these words have been burned into my brain and I am now conciously working to remember to just "Be Kind," whatever the situation--whether I am stressed, in a hurry, talking with someone I disagree with or am upset with. I don't expect any pats on the back for this new effort and to be honest, I feel pretty ignorant to have just had this kindness epiphany this past year, but I will say that I am very happy to have had the epiphany, even if it is a little late---and I am hoping that it will be the kind of lesson that will help me to grow into a better person, a better sister, a better daughter, a better friend, a better partner and maybe even a better mother one day.

Another quote that has struck home for me is from a James Taylor song, "Shower the people you love with love." I think this quote sums up the big lesson I am taking away from year 26. I had to learn it the hard way, but when it comes down to it, I don't regret any of the pain that came along with learning the lessong because when it comes down to it, I can't think of anything more important in the world to learn and really understand.

One thing that my ex-boyfriend really got, was how to support the people that he loved--I really loved this quality of his. I think it's an Italian mafiosa gene or something...haha. While we were together he made me feel like he would always be there to be my biggest advocate no matter what I did. He's a lover by nature and more loyal to the people that he loves than anyone I have ever known. On the other hand, I tend to be more of a fighter--yes for one reason or another, I like to argue and make my point and not always in the nicest of terms. I am still not sure what it is inside of me that drives me to this, but I have made a comittment to myself to be concious of when I start to fall into fighter mode and to work to embrace supportive, loving and loyal qualities instead.

My friends and family have stepped up for me big time this year and I am excited about a year of being able to do the same for all of them!

Okay enough of my rambling about serious life lessons.

On a lighter note, I am happy to report that I had a truly lovely 27th birthday. I have to say I was a little nervous about how I would feel and whether or not "happy" would be a genuine feeling on the day, but I have to say I had many moments of genuine "happy" feelings yesterday and this year more than ever before, I know that I owe these feelings to the love and support of all the wonderful people in my life.

So here is how I spent my day.....

I relished in the peace, strength and balance I find in yoga.

I did what I do best --- Sweat! @ Spin Class.

I drank a BIG cuppa Vanilla Chai tea at my fav. little coffee shop in Palo Alto (full of stanford doctors he he).

I bought fun cards at Paper Source, now in Palo Alto...wahoo! journaled, wrote letters and listened to my favorite tunes...

I got beautiful flowers from beautiful people (thanks Kat and Erik!)

and last but not least, I indulged in BIG BOWLS of ICE CREAM, with people who have been so important to me this year :).

My new "brother" and "sister"! And Carlos in the back, sniffing around for dropped toppings!
Jen, Sierra and I.
Jerikah, Laura, Me, Erik and Kat.

These people have so kindly taken me under their wings in the past 6 months and I am so grateful for each of them! It was a truly happy birthday, having all of the love and support of these people together in one spot yesterday. And to all of the friends and family who called and wished me well from afar, I couldn't be more grateful for the amazing ways you have supported me even though we are separated by hundreds of miles.

Here's to a 27th year full of joy, peace, laughter and love!

Oh and P.S. - Kat is a great photographer and took a lot of fun photos of our evening :).
Check them out here;

Kat's Flickr Photostream

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Simple Pleasures...

Why is it that the simplest things are the most beautiful to me?

1) Good Quotes --
Don't ask yourself, why is this happening to me? Ask yourself, how is this making me change
for the better?

Recognize that it's temporary and begin to visualize what life will look like when you have
passed through this moment.

2) Having good friends to pour my heart out to.

3) Lots of positive response to my heart pour - a text from Whit, a text from Amber, a phone call from Niki, a phone call from Rana, a phone call from Maria, an email from Audie, an email from Jenny, and another one from Christina. It's amazing what a difference these small gestures made today :). Thank you girls!

4) Getting the sweetest comment from my good blogging buddy about how she was day tripping in the bay area and shouted a great big hello to me, even though we have never met ;).

5) Feeling like you are receiving positive energy from the people in your life and sending some to them as well.

6) Getting to see my wonderful co-workers after a long weekend away.

7) Reporting to my co-workers on my Vegas winnings (They pooled together $27 for me to gamble with in Vegas---how cool is that!?)

8) Setting a goal and telling my sister and friends and having their support to work towards accomplishing it.

9) Making dinner plans with Kat to catch up :).

Final closing thought:

What in the world would I do without all the wonderful people I have in my life?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer-ish Succotash Salad Recipe

After a couple of weeks of travel and eating out for nearly every meal, I am in a serious mood for fresh salads this week. I tried a Rachel Ray recipe today for a Summer-ish Succotash Salad Recipe. I give it 3 stars out of 5. If I were to do it over, I would use less parsley (Joe try to control yourself---I know this is an unimaginable concept for you), or cook it with the sausage and I would roast the bell pepper instead of just chopping it up and adding it raw.

Here are the ingredients..
1 red bell pepper
a handful of italian flat leaf parsley
half of an avocado
half of a red onion
2 mango chicken sausages
1 can corn
1 can butter beans
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1tbsp olive oil

Chop up all the veggies (I would chop everything a bit smaller than I did here).
Drain and rinse the beans and corn.

Saute the sausage in some olive oil for about 10 minutes on medium low heat.Add the red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Mix it all together and enjoy.

Viva Las Vegas!

Oh how I love getting home from vacation and having one more day off to get my life back in order and of course to FINALLY have some solid blogging time after being on the road for the past couple of weeks. After sleeping in this morning I went for a nice long run, took a nice, long, hot shower and am now sitting at the kitchen table with the windows open listening to the water from the fountain in the side yard and sipping some chai tea and just relishing all the fun new memories that were created this weekend with the F4L (stands for Friends for Life---the term we coined for our high school girl group during our senior year---we are such dorks, I know, but I love us! Our families and college friends now know us as this :)- they even refer to us as the F4L now...he he.)

So yes, I just got back from a weekend in Sin City with my best girl friends in all the world and as expected, we had the time of our lives. We've been getting together every year now since we graduated from high school (that makes 9 years now!). Our usual vacation destination is Catalina--the F4L mecca if you will. We made our first trip to Catalina the summer after we graduated and have been faithfully getting together each year since, usually in the same destination, but this year we decided it was time for a change. So we booked two rooms (yes just two rooms for 11 girls, we joked that maybe next year we'll be able to afford 3 rooms, but quickly decided that it wouldn't be nearly as fun to have more rooms because we like the big sleepover feel and getting ready all together) at the Paris and painted the town red for a couple of nights.

I won't get into the nitty gritty details of our Vegas escapades, but I will tell you that we laughed until our stomachs hurt (I think I pulled a muscle in my stomach from laughing so hard), we partied like VIP rock stars until the wee hours of the morning, we had our very own VIP table with a platform that you better believe we danced on, we shopped, we ate, we laughed some more, we sat by the pool, we gambled, we wore dresses that were way too short and then we laughed some more!

I've gotta say that I feel so blessed to have such a strong, intelligent and beautiful group of women to share life with and I love the way that our bond has grown stronger over the years. We have seen each other through high school drama, the college years, a multitude of good and bad relationships with boys, family etc, marriage and most recently motherhood and I can't wait to share the rest of life's stages with these women. They are an endless source of joy and inspiration for me and I thank my lucky starts that I get to call them friends!

Here are some pics of our trip!

Ten of us, we're missing Jenny and it's a bit blurry but it's the best one I got of us.

A toast to the F4L!

Just hanging out and getting ready.

In the cluub he he.

Heading into Prive with our pre-party hotel drinks :).

The Water Show at the Belaggio.

One end of the table.

Our fav dining experience at Sushi Samba - A Japanese, Brazillian, Peruvian Fusion restaurant. What a fun combo of cultures!

Amber and her meat skewers.

Whit's Veggie Tempura.

Rana's Oysters at Sushi Samba.

Group pic at the Venetian.

Pretty display in the Palazzo.

Whoa little blurry shot of the Eiffel Tower.

Rackin up the dough at the Roulette table. I won $20!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oh business trips :)

Haha, it still feels kind of funny to say that I went on a business trip....sounds so grown up, especially for a girl who still feels 16 at times :). In any event, my first business trip was an all around success. I have to say that I am pretty darn lucky to have such a wonderful boss. It was wonderful to spend one on one time with her, talking about ideas for work, life, love and everything else you can imagine. She is probably about 25 years older than me, however, despite the age difference, spending time with her never felt awkward. Ever since I was first hired a year and 4 months ago (who's counting :)) I have felt this familiar connection with her and I can't count the number of times I have thanked my lucky stars to be working for a woman who so graciously shares her knowledge of the publishing industry and who also shares a lot of the life wisdom with me.
I have been kind of lucky in my life with the different women role models I have had and Jennifer is definitely one of them.

We spent a total of about 6.5 days in Chicago --- 4 of which we were participating in the American Library Association Conference and the other 2.5 were filled with meetings at the University of Chicago Press - Journals Division and the Chicago Distribution Center. (We are out sourcing a lot of our work to these places.) We made some really great connections for the Press and got to know the folks at the University of Chicago a bit better -- they have so much expertise to offer our little press!

In our spare time we managed to get to the Art Institute, have dinner at a great French American Bistro called Gage, mingle around Millenium Park, take jump pics in front of the bean, walk through the city staring in awe of the amazing architecture, have a girls night with one of Jennifer's best friends and her co-worker from Nolo Press at Ralph Lauren's restaurant, had pizza in Wicker Park, and dropped a couple hundred dollars on the most fabulous dinner of our trip at Rick Bayless's restaurant Topolombopo.

And I have to say that my fav. thing about business trips is being able to just expense things. If you know me, you know that I tend to stress (probably WAY too much) about money and for the first time in my life, I felt completely care free about the money I was spending and it was one the most liberating things I have every experienced. It's amazing the amount of energy that stressing about money can drain out of you!

In no particular order (sorry for the blogging laziness, between un-packing, re-packing for Vegas and trying to blog, I'm not being very detail oriented tonight) enjoy a few more scenes from Chicago.

Millenium Park.
One of the many beautiful shots of the skyline.
The Trump Tower.
Tompolobombo - Rick Bayless Restaurant.
Just being silly :)
Crepes in raspberry and chocolate sauce.
Kaleidescope view in the bean.
This sign made me happy to just be visiting.
Check out the air on this one!
The lovely Chicago Art Institute.
A yummy beer.

Lemon Bluebery Tart with a crystallized Lemon.
Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta with chocolate crumbles. I love pretty desserts!
Marina Twin Towers on the Chicago River.
Good ol' Barak eating at the very deli that we had our first lunch at. Yummy corned beef sandwiches, root beer and cherry pie!