A Hui Hou Kauai (Until we meet again)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ah hello. Long time no see. I've been in Never Never Land for a while, taking a looong break from everything (except my partner in crime of course). It was wonderful! But I'm glad to be back, fully refreshed.

We were in Kauai, Hawaii (aka paradise), for two glorious weeks. Since then I've been on a week-long vacation hangover - my brain waking up slowly each day, my fingers feeling too jello-ey to type, my skin aching for warm waves and my tongue having daily cravings for poke and lau lau. Any tips on how to get (mentally) back to real life??

Well a photo share probably won't help matters, but I just can't help it. I might share some of the real camera pics later, we'll see (no promises until my Hawaiian brain wakes up thoroughly), but here are some iPhone captures::

Please, no trashum. 
So much plumeria. 
Polihale beach. 
Waimea Canyon
Kalalau lookout.

Aaaamazing breakfast bowl at Java Kai
Exploring Hanapepe. 
I saw all of my favorite sunsets. 
Our absolute favorite lunch stop (we went 5 times): Hanalei Taro and Juice Co.

I hope you're all able to shut off for a week or two this summer as well - it's oh so good for the soul :). 

Getaway Weekend :: Truckee for the 4th

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It's hard to come back from a weekend like this. I already miss the life of lazy coffee mornings and exercise that feels like play and wearing the same outfit for 3 days straight and sunshine and beach games and fresh air and big laughter.

We visited our bests up in Truckee for the long weekend, spending time on all sorts of lakes. We stayed away from the big lake (Tahoe) in favor of lakes Donner, Serene, and Independence. We paddled, boated, swam and soaked in the sun. I realized that I love beach volleyball and can manage to stay on a paddle board.  We made fancy cocktails and not-fancy (but yummy) BBQ fare. I finished my book. We found secret spots with free boat rentals and rope swings. I bought a cute dress for Kauai and the comfiest shirt ever. Jim and I celebrated an anniversary.  It was the summeriest of summer weekends. 

Hope you're all recovering better than I am from your long weekends - cheers to July! 

Love It List :: June

Monday, June 30, 2014

It's the last day of June, folks...yeeks! What are your plans for the holiday weekend?

I haven't done a favorites post in a long while. Let's do it.

Clarisonic Mia. Yep, I finally bit the bullet on this one. Skincare is my weak spot! So far I'm loving it, mostly for how it energizes my face in the morning and makes my skin feel ultimately clean and ready to soak in my other skincare splurges (magic potions and stuff). It also makes my face feel like babies' bums.

Nixon watch. Yeeeyyy this one makes me so happy! This is actually the watch that Jimbo gave me for my b-day more than two years ago, but I've been living without it for months and months now simply due to laziness (it needed a new battery). I got it back this month and it's happily back on my wrist each day. Nixon, I promise it won't happen again!

Clean perfume. I snagged a few samples from this perfume line at Sephora the other day, and I'm absolutely loving it. I adore clean scents for the hot summer, don't you? Many of the Clean scents are fresh and cool smelling. I especially like Rain and Summer Sailing.

The Goldfinch. I'm finally making headway in this book after getting it for my birthday in April. It's a slower read for me than usual, but I enjoy every line. Her writing is so descriptive and unique... I love a book where I: a) learn about a particular subject (in this case, art and antiques) b) re-read lines because they're so poetic and c) am surprised. This book has all three. It's been reviewed to death so I won't go any further but my vote is yes - a good beach read!

Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. It's been making me sleep like a baby.

First Aid Kit, particularly their new album Stay Gold. It's great, I've been listening obsessively! I tend to enjoy sister duos because I can daydream the whole time about my sis and I creating a duo and making it big, plus they're all about great harmonies which are my favorite part to sing along to ;). I saw someone say they're like the lovechild of Johnny Cash and Fleetwood Mac - how can that be a bad thing??

Kauai. Jimmy and I are heading to Kauai for almost two weeks in July so I've been poring over travel websites and blogs, preparing, planning and drooling :). Have you been there?? We would love tips on places to go and things to do!

Mindful 05 :: on the Job

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ciao my friends! It's been awhile since we talked mindfulness, but I think it's appropriate that I get back into it this week since I'll be attending a Mindfulness, Compassion and Regeneration Retreat this weekend.

Like many of us, I work a full time, Monday - Friday job. There are days when I feel completely on top of things; productive, energetic, positive and creative. But some days it's a struggle to stay focused. Between phone calls, texts, lists, drop-in meetings, incoming emails and competing priorities, a whole day of work can pass by without my actually accomplishing what I meant to. Sometimes I start the day with the very best intentions, but just cant muster up the creativity that I need to do my best work.

Well surprise, surprise. When practicing mindfulness regularly (which I admit, I currently am not), I feel much better about my work - more energetic, creative and purposeful. The compassion exercises help me communicate more effectively with colleagues. The focus on my mind and attention allows me to stay on task and therefore complete tasks. Mindfulness practice teaches you to observe and allow unpleasant emotions and find effective ways of managing them, which ends up being helpful in every aspect of life, not least of which being work. My mind "shuts off" at night, allowing me beautiful 8+ hour sleeps that propel me through the next day. 

I'm hoping this weekend will kick me back into my good habits! But in addition to (or instead of) a regular mindfulness practice, there are a few ways you can generally increase your mindfulness at work.

How to Work Mindfully

1. Hourly breathing. If you're not in the habit of doing a daily meditation, try doing 30-60 seconds of mindfulness every hour. It's a nice way to continually "start fresh" throughout the day. I installed the "bell of mindfulness" Chrome add-on which rings a bell every hour reminding me to be mindful of my body and take some deep breaths. Click here for a Chrome add-on, or here for the Firefox version.

2. One thing at a time. You probably have heard by now that multitasking doesn't work. Okay sure we can all sing while we wash the dishes, and many of us (especially women) are skilled at writing an e-mail while talking on the phone, but that doesn't mean we should.  Priorities your activities to ensure you are 100% focused on each task you commit to. Keep the number of windows and tabs that you have open to a minimum. Keep emails in your drafts and websites in your favorites folder rather than out there in front of your face. Try to do one thing at a time.

3. Change it up. Sometimes we go back and forth between tasks because we don't have the right solution to the problem or the right words to start the email you're trying to write. Try changing your environment from time to time throughout the day. Step outside for a moment to take a few deep breaths - it's surprising how often this will readjust your creative juices. 

4. Stand. Breaking news - sitting on our bums for hours on end isn't doing us any favors. I don't have a standing desk (yet) but I try to intersperse my day with conversations with colleagues and phone calls I can have while standing. There has been a lot of research behind the benefits of standing while working. Standing desks can be insanely expensive but I love the looks of the new StorkStand, a mobile standing desk (it attaches to your desk chair!) for under $200 that just got funded on Kickstarter. I can't wait to try one out. 

5. Plan ahead. Do you live by your Outlook/iCal/Google calendar like I do? Well then use it! Schedule a recurring 10-minute "meeting" with yourself to take a break and be mindful. Assess your current state of mind, meditate on your body or your breath, and enjoy some "me" time. 

Do you use any tricks at work (or in life) to keep focused and energized??

Getaway Weekend :: Lost Coast Backpacking

Thursday, June 5, 2014

We had an amazing Memorial Day weekend up on the Lost Coast with Steph & Tyler and the pup. We started at Usal Beach (Sinkyone Wilderness Park) and hiked in about 5 miles to the most adorable little campsite in the world (called Dark Gulch).  There was a clear, cold stream running through it, so with the help of our trusty purifier we had endless fresh water. There were separate little areas for tents, fire and sitting (everything having it's place feels so darn homey). We skipped over a "bridge" of rocks to cross back and forth across the stream, hung our food from a tree (though that's not the recommended mode of bear protection!), and cooked over a tiny flame.

We spent our second night camping right on Usal Beach. There's nothing better than waking up in the middle of the night to let the dog do some business, and hearing the dark ocean crashing beside you and seeing the Milky Way in full force above. Our neighbors on the beach invited us to share their (larger) fire, and we discussed the glory of Route 1 and the happy ability Sinkyone offers to pop up camp without much planning or forethought whatsoever. We fell asleep to puppy snuggles and a crackling fire dying down outside the tent. 

Monday was about taking the long way home (per usual), stopping in Mendocino for brunch and our favorite wineries for "dinner", and rolling into the bed with the exhaustion of a thousand lives. Thanks, Lost Coast - each time is better than the last

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