Life Lately

5-3-30-1Does anyone else, particularly any Californian, feel guilt every time you enjoy those early, early, early hot, hot, hot rays of sunshine or smile when you drive with the windows down because it’s so balmy and beautiful? I do. I feel like an awful, naive human for loving the sunshine when our state is bone dry and knowing that the summer is probably going to be a killer.

But what are you going to do? Not enjoy it? I figure we may as well enjoy it before we’re hiding from it in July and seeking A/C anywhere we can duck in.

I’ve been enjoying it with evening walks around our little lake and along our little river. I’ve been teasing the dogs with words like “pool?” “swim?” and “go?” and make them get a little antsy before I finally mean “go” and send them diving into the still-frigid pool. But they love it. And it means summer for my family. I’ve been enjoying drives through orchards and vineyards, even if it means taking the long way home. And those late-lit evenings. I do love those so, so much.

Life’s been quiet lately, which is rare. And an answered prayer and an accomplished goal. I don’t like when I can’t have my introvert time to recharge. It feels like the busy is trying to creep back in, and I’m having to learn how much of that I can/want to/need to allow. It’s always an interesting balance, isn’t it?

But anywhoo, here is a little peak at life lately. What’s been going on in your life?

A smoothie with some vitamin D:5-3-30-3

Driving with the windows down:5-3-30-2

Sleep style: All paws up: 5-3-30-4 

Jet bath and coconut milk ice cream. I believe it was just a Monday: 5-3-30-5

 No-guilt Saturday morning – coffee and a good read:5-3-30-6

The first caprese of the year. And a visit with a friend’s pooch: 5-3-30-7

A little journaling. A little planning:5-3-30-95-3-30-8 

I got new sunnies for summer:5-3-30-12 

This is them when I get home from work. Girl (and a boy) talk:5-3-30-13

I wanted some earrings I didn’t want to buy: IMG_4850

 Recipe planning:  IMG_5022

Where I sleep:IMG_5190

 Things may or may not happen:IMG_5649

I wanted to buy all the brown leather jackets at the thrift store:IMG_4762



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Five Senses Monday


Good morning, friends. It seems that everyone everywhere is getting a little taste of springtime (maybe even summer) lately. I spent much of the weekend outside, soaking up as much of this wintery sunshine as I could.

I wanted to bring back Five Senses Monday, where I reflect on the last few days through the five senses. It’s always heartwarming to hear from readers who prefer these posts of reflection and little moments more than anything else. I like them too.

So here we go.

Five Senses Monday

Tasting: A roasted chicken sandwich on homemade onion-cauliflower “bread”. My mom made the bread for her Whole 30 clean-eating plan, and I made an amazing sandwich with roasted turkey, spinach-feta hummus from the farmers market and lotsa cheese. I also had a side of organic strawberries that were perfection.

Hearing: Raindrops splashing in the pool and thumping on my succulents.

Feeling: So much sunshine the day after the rain. I took a drive on country roads to visit my dad. We sat outside in the sun, and it was like medicine.

Seeing: Lots of family lately. It’s been nice and comforting.

Smelling: Coffee. Always coffee. I’ve been off of caffeine for a while now, and I miss Starbucks. I hate that I just said I miss Starbucks.

Play along if you feel like it. I’m looking forward to writing down my little moments throughout the week so I can share, share, share.

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Well, hello again

back_1Wow, how I’ve missed this space. How 2015 has been flying. How it seems that focus is a fleeting thing sometimes. Is it just me? I don’t think so. But I do this break is over. I have so much to share here and I hate that I’m behind. Thank you friends I have never met who have sent emails and messages about my whereabouts. Those touch me deeply. I am well. Just adjusting to new grooves and swings and all those little things that make life interesting.
back_2I’m excited to share little trips I’ve taken recently, like to the aquarium and to Capitola and the roller rink. I’ve had dinners at friends’ houses and cooked many soups in my own kitchen. I’ve been quiet at home a lot, and enjoying plants on the windowsill and figuring out how to hang succulents in different ways. It’s been simple. But I think that’s what everyone likes best. I’ll be back with a ton more.  back_5
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Roaming Nicaragua

nic_8639nic_8644nic_8668I fell in love with Nicaragua early in the morning. We hopped on a bus in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica, long before sunrise. We were the first to be picked up, the first to meet our guide, Marco, and our driver, Johnny. We were groggy and shy at first, but by the end of the day, we were calling each other family and sharing street food wrapped in banana leaves together. That’s just how I remember Nicaragua. Comfort. Smiles. Warmth. A strawberry-shake sunset. And leaving, unsure you’ll ever see Nicaragua or Johnny or Marco again, is a little heartbreaking.

Taking one day out of my Costa Rica vacation to see Nicaragua was entirely worth it. It’s been several months now, and I have such fond memories of that single day. I don’t know how to explain it, but I felt very free that day; I felt lucky and exhilarated. I smiled through every one of Johnny’s close calls when his risky passes jerked everyone from their seats. I didn’t mind that the a/c stopped working a few hours in; it just meant it was time to braid my hair. I felt safe, even when the Americans were made to get off the bus at the border to be questioned and have their temperatures taken to make sure we weren’t bringing Ebola into the country.

Nicaragua blew my mind and made me realize I’m not the open-minded traveler I always imagined I was. It was beautiful, whereas I imagined hills of dirt and filth. I expected to be scared, but we were welcomed. I imagined I’d find ramshackle-life, and mostly, it was simple living surrounded by beauty.

These, my friends, are the nearly 20 hours I spent in Nicaragua. I hope you enjoy. 
nic-001 nic_8739 nic_8738 nic_8735 nic_8734 nic_8726 nic_8724 nic_8713 nic_8710 nic_8708 nic_8705 nic_8699 nic_8692 nic_8684 nic_8682 nic_8679 nic_8677 nic_8676 nic_8671Many of these photos were taken from the bus, but I quite enjoy their feel:
nic_8666 nic_8664 nic_8663 nic_8662 nic_8660 nic_8659 nic_8656Here, we hopped on a boat to explore Lake Nicaragua, a giant fresh-water later with sharks! Oh, and monkeys!
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It makes me want to go back.

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Walking in the treetops | Costa Rican jungle bridges

forest_9405forest_9469forest_9395forest_9111Hi friends. There aren’t many words to say, except, let’s get lost in the jungle …

This was one of my favorite days in Costa Rica. Here, I wrote about the roadtrip to get here.

There wasn’t a lot of chatter. Just the pitter-patter of a few raindrops. The ruffling of leaves as monkeys swung from branches. The teasing hoot of birds in the distance.

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Roadtrip to the Jungle | Costa Rica

forest_8993forest_9013Mostly, we drove quietly to the rainforest. Watching the wind blow the palms outside. Watching the clothes lines zoom by. Watching the already lush countryside turn even more green, thick and tropical.

Because we were a small group — only four of us — our tour guide took us to his favorite restaurant on the mountaintop, just before the entrance to the jungle. We drove for miles up a steam hill paved with golf ball and baseball-sized rocks. The van’s motor died only once, and we all had to hop in the back seat to balance the weight to make it to the top of the hill.

After we passed homes surrounded by their own jungles of tropical fruit trees and flower gardens, we arrived in time for lunch. It was one of the freshest meals I had in Costa Rica, and the mountain view was one I could have stared at for days. forest_9009


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My Costa Rican neighborhood

hood_2hood_1hood_7I like that I’ve been home from Costa Rica for two weeks, and it still feels fresh in my mind. I hate when you return to normal life after something amazing and it starts to fade into dream mode. If I think about it, there’s almost a sadness that Tico life is not my actual life, that I was just a seven-day visitor in a place and a community that felt so comfortable.

One thing I did not want to be in Costa Rica was a tourist who stayed in an all-inclusive resort only eating resort food and only talking to people who don’t live in Costa Rica. Granted, I really want to do this someday, like stay on white sandy beaches somewhere like Playa del Carmen and let someone bring me fruity drinks around the clock. But this was not that.

We stayed in a condo a few blocks from the beach and about a mile walk to downtown. We were in a neighborhood with locals living in apartments, timeshare owners visiting for their so-many-weeks out of the year and business owners running small cafes and consignment shops. It felt homey and safe, not something my terrified mother expected me to report from the streets of a third world country (gosh, doesn’t that sound so negative?).

Speaking of my terrified mother, I promised to never tell her the story of the time we got lost after dark in Costa Rica, but now that I’ve been home for a few weeks, that promise feels a little less important. And I’m home safe, so I think that speaks for enough, right? But, yes, lost happened. And it happened all over these streets in these pictures. It was in the dark on our first night in Costa Rica — after we’d only been in the country for a few hours, really — and after we walked to downtown in middle of a monsoon and then ate fish tacos at a sports bar while were were dripping wet and wiping smeared mascara from our cheeks.

We decided to walk home because it was before midnight — that’s the specific hour our shuttle driver said it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for us to be out walking around. But we forgot the street we were supposed to turn on and somehow we ended up a lot farther away than we wanted to be. It wasn’t so much scary, but annoying after a full day of flying, it made falling into our rental beds that much more awesome when we did finally find our way home in the nighttime rain.

Over the week, the neighborhood began to feel like home. I found myself walking alone and not minding sitting alone at cafes and restaurants to people watch and check email. It reminded me of college, in a strange and comforting way.

These are the majority of my neighborhood photos, the ones I took while I was walking home from someplace or just when I would wander when nothing else was planned.  hood_3 hood_3c hood_4 hood_5 hood_6  hood_8 hood_9 hood_10 hood_11 hood_12 hood_13 hood_14 hood_15 hood_16 hood_17 hood_22 hood_23 hood_24 hood_25 hood_26 hood_27 hood_28 hood_29 hood_30 hood_31 hood_32 hood_33 hood_34 hood_35 hood_36 hood_37 hood_39 hood_40 hood_41 hood_42 hood_43 hood_44 hood_45 hood_47 hood_49 hood_50 hood_51 hood_52 hood_53 hood_54hood_001

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