Saturday, April 25, 2015

Life Lately...

…has consisted of strolling under majestic redwoods, sipping wine while taking in a phenomenal view, bottle feeding adorable otter pups, and watching the sun set into the Pacific with my love. 

I still terribly miss parts of my old life…talking to friends every day, just hanging out, getting together for book club, beer club, or whatever other clubs I may concoct. Seeing family, playing with my nephew and watching his daily growth and development. Having a fulfilling career, doing work that I care about, connecting with people and touching lives.

Yes, I miss all that. I have to remind myself that it's okay to miss it all, as long as I don't wallow in that longing. So even though there are things that I miss, I am  now surrounded by the smell of pines and the sound of waves. I hang out with nature, the trees, bay and beach are my friends. I am able to volunteer my time and do work that is important, rewarding, and unlike anything else I have done before. I am building a home with the wonderful man that I love. These are the beautiful experiences filling up my new life and I am thankful for them every day. 

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Patience has never been one of my strengths...

I have been waiting, waiting, WAITING.
I am restless and disheartened, bound by the unknown.
Being in this state is suffocating.
I am lingering in the darkness of possibility
I just need to know…
YES or NO?!

Okay, now that I've expressed some frustrations and released negative energy from my system, I'm going to try a new approach to get me through this period of anxious waiting...some positivity, gratitude, and a new mantra:

Breathe in, breathe out. My life is abundant and full of love and wonderful experiences. I am thankful for family, friendships, and connections with others. More wonderful things will come in their own time. I trust my journey...

Sunday, April 05, 2015


"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, 

and to have my senses put in order." 

-John Burroughs

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Wildflower Season

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” -John Burroughs, Leaf and Tendril

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ever Grateful

That I call this home...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

Morning View

Heading to work in the mornings, this is my view when I park and step out of the car--adorable homes and a peek of the bay. It's such a lovely way to start out the work day! I heart living here.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Satisfying a Craving

I don't miss the traffic or lines or lack of trees, but I sure do miss the LA food scene! What does it take to satisfy a craving for a warm bowl of delicious ramen? Well, in LA, it takes the effort to make several decisions: what kind of ramen do you want, which restaurant do you want to try, or how far are you willing to drive? When one lives in a town lacking in the quantity of cuisine choices, and sometimes quality of cuisine, you don't have a choice. This is what it takes:

1.5 hours of driving + 1 hour of waiting (on a list behind 25 other groups)

And was this effort worth it? Oh boy, yes it was. I won't be making a trek like that very often, but it was so worth it this one time to satisfy a craving that has been nagging at me for a while now (I blame watching too many episodes of The Mind of a Chef: Season 1!) 

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Crafting lately

I hadn't sewn anything in a very long while, so a recent request from my sister was great motivation to dust off the sewing machine again. She wanted a pillow case for her eye pillow, and without a pattern to follow, I had to create my own. It was challenging and fun and I'm pretty happy with the results! I couldn't decide between two different designs, so went ahead and made both pillow cases--one with a button closing the top and one with an envelope flap...

With the machine out and ready to be used again, I plunged into my basket full of untouched fabrics to see what I could sew for my next project. I had totally forgotten about this fun camping-themed fabric I bought a while back! It was perfect for a project that had been at the back of my mind for a while--a bag to hang on the side of my camping chair. I always have books, magazines, and other miscellaneous things that I want within reaching distance while sitting in my chair and wanted to make a vessel to hold it all. This was another good project to flex my pattern-making and sewing skills, and below is the result of my creation. The straps button onto the arm of my chair and there's even a pocket inside for my phone, which you can't see in this picture. I'm pretty happy with how this turned out too!

Well, with two projects under my belt, I was getting on a roll and plunged into a few more. Made a hat for my nephew, which has become an annual tradition--he has gotten a new hat every year for three years now. Here's the beginnings of fabrics!

Tried making mary janes for a friend who was pregnant with a little baby girl. I downloaded a free pattern from the internet and didn't quite love the results. The sizing was a bit off (which may have been my fault, I forgot to check the printing settings) and there were exposed seams. At least they still look pretty cute in this picture...

And lastly, I made another sunhat, for a friend's little boy. I think the quality of my work and my skills have been improving with every project I've made. Now, what shall I make next?!...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


A few critters from the sea...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Book Club

I came across this card years ago and it gave me a little chuckle because it described our book club perfectly. Many of us didn't read the books but still showed up to meetings to hang out (and eat snacks, of course!) And others read the books but then didn't show up to meetings (to their credit, they sometimes wrote up book reports to make up for not being there in person.)

I started the little book club back in 2005. Even with busy schedules, and folks not reading or not attending meetings, we still had a solid group that continued to read (or at least attempt to) 3-6 books per year. We managed to keep this club going for 9 years and I loved it. Being part of the group encouraged me to pick up books that I would not have initially been interested in or even known about. It was also gratifying to be surrounded with friends that enjoyed reading as much as I did. And most importantly, it was just so much fun getting together to socialize, nerd out on books, and eat yummy snacks several times a year. After I moved, we attempted to continue the group for a short while with two reads, Gulp and The Cuckoo's Calling. I attended meetings via video chat, but it just wasn't the same anymore. Sadly, the book club has fizzled since then, and I am so bummed about it.

Nine years was a good run, and I am proud that I kept a club going for that long. I will always cherish the wonderful times I had with my own little "Bad Girls Book Club."

Saturday, January 17, 2015

First Hike of the Year

I've been itching to go on a hike lately, so we finally got out and explored a new area today--a 6.5 mile trail in Toro County Park. Since I'm very out of hiking shape, the uphill climb was quite a challenge. It reminded me that I need to go hiking more often and get back into shape! It was a sunny day and we were surrounded by lush green hills and an expansive blue sky. We continued the trek at a slow and manageable pace and finally made it to the top of Eagle Peak, which rewarded us with a wonderful view. Sitting at 1600', Eagle Peak overlooks Monterey Bay and the Salinas Valley. It was a bit hazy over the bay so we couldn't see clear across to Santa Cruz, but I was excited about being able to spot Pt. Pinos and Moss Landing. What a lovely way to spend a Saturday!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Morning Stroll

Grateful for another magically beautiful day in the neighborhood…

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Morning Stroll

This morning was cool and foggy. It's the type of weather that this area is known for, although we have seen little of it since moving here. The sunny blue-skyed days have far outnumbered the foggy ones, so it was a nice change to have a blanket of gray-white enveloping of for a little while. There's a special kind of calm that settles over the landscape, and it was perfect for taking a stroll through the neighborhood park with a friend. Fresh air, surrounded by majestic trees and shades of green, hearing birds chirping and fluttering and woodpeckers drumming away. I was once again filled with gratitude to be living in such a wonderful place, one that reveals its beauty in so many different ways. I hope to always continue to discover and appreciate this magic.

We chatted, strolled, and collected pine cones for a project at work. A lovely way to spend a Sunday morning!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Monday, January 05, 2015

Back to Reading

Besides picking up our book club selections, I had taken a bit of a break from reading for the past few years. With more time on my hands recently, and a lovely well-stocked library in town, I actually read 14 books in 2014. That's probably more than I read in the past several years combined! Sadly, I didn't keep track of my reads during that time, so I don't have an accurate list between 2011-2013.  But I'm finally tracking my reads again, so here's my 2014 list. As you can tell, I still have a love for YA novels. I know, I know, my reading tastes should be more sophisticated now that I'm older. I should be reading the classics or thought provoking novels, biographies, current events…not fluff. But YA fiction, there's just something about it. The books are such fun, quick, and enjoyable reads that I just can't help it!

2014 books

1. The Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)
This was a book club selection. Most of us are Harry Potter fans and were curious about the book JK Rowling wrote under a pseudonym. It was fairly enjoyable, but was nowhere close to the epic HP world. A little slow at times, and a tad predictable, but not a bad read overall.

2. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I really liked this book and have been recommending it to friends. It has a strong and likable main female character and an interesting storyline. I just wish this was turned into a series! Although there are two other books in the "Graceling Realm"--Bitterblue and Fire--those can be read as stand-alone stories and do not feature Katsa as the main character. I would love to hear (read) more from Katsa.

3. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
An adorable short and very quick read by the quirky Neil Gaiman. Yes, I would recommend it!

4. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
I'm a little on the fence about this one. It has an interesting premise and wasn't a bad read, but I don't know, I just didn't love the writing or storyline. I enjoyed it for what it was, but don't think I liked it enough to recommend to others.

5. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
This totally hooked me at the beginning but started to fall flat as the story went on, I wish it could have kept the momentum. Not bad overall though, I enjoyed it well enough.

I enjoyed it enough to be intrigued and went on to read the second one.

I didn't enjoy this next book in the series enough to continue on. 

8. Matched by Ally Condie
Underwhelmed by this book, although it seems to get fairly good reviews. I think it was a little predictable and reminded me of other dystopian worlds I've already read, including Delirium by Lauren Oliver.

9. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
This book kept me engaged and was a page turner. Although I didn't like it as much as Graceling, I still enjoyed this read.

10. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Really loved this book and would totally recommend it. Likable characters and just a fun read. Plus, how can you not love it when it has such a great title!

11. Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Along with another great title, the second book in this series was just as enjoyable as the first. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the third book, Waistcoats and Weaponry!

12. The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
I loved Ann Brashares' "Sisterhood" series. Although this book doesn't quite reach the charm of the sisterhood stories, I enjoyed the time-traveling element in the plot.

13. Atlantia by Ally Condie
Underwhelmed by this one too. Not much to say about it, but it was good enough to finish at least!

14. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
Very different from Ender's Game, but wonderful in it's own way. Speaker for the Dead was such a page turner, I kept reading because I had to know more about what was happening. I really liked the writing style and how story slowly unfolded. 

And, for the list of books I didn't finish. These are the ones I tried reading, but just gave up partway through. They were that bad... 
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Feed by M.T. Anderson