Friday, May 30, 2014

Cutest sound ever and what I'm reading this week

The weekend is upon us!  Woot!

I'm ready to get out there and well, I don't know what yet, I'll formulate a plan of attack but while I'm doing that, you can take a peep at...

Six 'Bad' Carbs that Are Actually Good for You  (Good because I'm not cutting any of 'em out)

10 Real-Life Locations of Fictional Television Hangouts  (I don't watch most of these but in case anyone else is interested)

13 Hairstyles to Tame Your Mane in Humidity  (Long haired girls, this is for you!)

Best Workout for Men Over 40  (Video with annoying intro music starts on landing but good info for the dudes)

Bill Murray Crashes Bachelor Party, Gives Awesome Speech  (He didn't "crash" it but it is a good speech!)

How to Plan the Perfect Road Trip  (I'm ready!)

The 16 Best Healthy, Edible Plants to Grow Indoors  (Is there an article showing how to not bring those nasty bugs inside?)

Meet the Man Who Had His Heart Ripped Out in 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom'  (For the Mr)

This Dachshund Is Extremely Jealous Of An Adorable Toddler  (SOOO funny!  Pay attention to MEEEE!)

The 15 Most Ridiculous Things People Say on a Plane  (We've heard some doozies in our day as well)

Where Do Burpees Come From? (Spoiler Alert: Not Hell)

Why Do Students Get Summers Off?  (Summers off for everyone!)

Top 5 Fitness Myths - Best Tips for Losing Weight for Good - Staying Fit While Traveling  (Video) 

The Wonder Years Reunion in Pics  (Can't WAIT for the DVD to finally come out!)

So This is What Hedgehog Snoring Sounds Like  (Courtesy of the Mr.  I have watched this well over 10x...cutest. sound. ever.)

Okay, so I still haven't formulated that plan yet because I just watched the hedgehog again...three times.  I'll get to it though.  I'm sure the Mr is afraid anticipating awesomeness.

What's on your agenda for the weekend?  

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Personal Goal...Achieved!

When I booked our trip to San Francisco, I had always dreamed of walking from our home in Pacific Heights down to the Ferry Building around the wharf to Ghirardelli Square and back to the home in Pac Heights.  Now if you've never been to the city, here is a map of the route I was thinking of...


That route, minus shopping, meals, wandering down piers I forgot to mark, more shopping, etc is 8 miles.  Now, I did not figure that out when I first came up with that plan.  I just knew that we could comfortably walk three miles at home and be good to go and the route from our home to the Ferry Building was almost three miles.  Thankfully, I didn't calculate the rest of it or I might've talked myself out of it but I set the goal and there was never a time I didn't think we'd reach it.  Well, except when I screwed myself over the holidays by ditching physical therapy for a month or so but I trained hard, I was diligent about my PT and knew I was as ready as I was going to be for the trip.  The only major difference was we're in relatively flatter terrain and San Francisco is nothing but steep streets up or down.  You're rarely level for long.

I think staying in Carmel the first week was good training for me to round out my readiness for this SF route because there is a considerable slope to the entire town and we walked everywhere there.  On day two, the front of my legs (my weakest area) were sore and then the day after that, we walked 8 miles in Santa Cruz and I had to raise the white flag because I was done.  That night I did heavy massage on the legs and I wasn't as sore as I thought I'd be the next day.  I felt as ready as I could be for this dream of mine to come true.    Unfortunately for the Mr, he had to be dragged along for the ride walk.

After carbing up for breakfast, we headed to Clay Street which would be our main route to the Ferry Building.  This picture doesn't convey the slope at all but trust me, it was steep and I was trying to not look like a noob at the end of each block when we'd reach riders waiting for their bus.

As steep as it was going up, it was equally steep going down and that REALLY screwed with my legs.  By the time we got to Chinatown, I was worried how much it was going to throw me for the rest of the day but in the meantime, we just enjoyed strolling the empty streets before the stores opened.

By the time we reached the Financial District, both of us were feeling the pain.  We'd walked 2 miles on extreme slopes (for us...hell, for anyone) and we needed to take a break to stretch.  Luckily, the Transamerica Pyramid was the perfect stopping point to stretch our legs with various moves that probably made us look like dorks.  I hope we gave the office peeps a good show!

You have no idea how happy we were to reach our first goal...The Ferry Building at the Embarcadero.  We instantly high fived when we saw this...

We probably added another mile on just wandering the inside of the Ferry Building into each little shop or restaurant as well as the back pier area and then trying a few places like Cowgirl Creamery and Miette.

We got to sit for about thirty minutes while we were eating in the building and that helped to be off of our feet after about four miles of walking.  Then it was time to walk the wharf area.  I had to walk down Pier 7 to the faux restaurant location at the end of The Sweetest Thing.  It had a nice view to take in, then we continued to walk toward the touristy Fisherman's Wharf area.

We did a bit of window shopping and needed sunscreen because while it was still somewhat cool, we could feel the sun beating down and needed to reapply.  We walked all over the area trying to find a place that didn't sell generic looking sunscreen and ended up at a drug store, applied and went on with our day.

One thing I wanted to check out that I knew the Mr would enjoy would be this spot, Musee' Mecanique, an antique museum where you could play old video games and see antique entertainment gaming.  We spent about an hour in there.

By this time, we'd walked more than half of our route for the day.  I spotted three of those awesome foot vibration machines you see at zoos or amusement parks and we popped in our $.50 (twice!) and got some much needed relief to our barking dogs.  The Mr said wasn't sure he would be able to make it the rest of the way without them.

We continued wandering around shops and the shore then started an upward trek toward our second to last goal for the day...Ghirardelli Square.

We bought a few things there and struck up a conversation with a guy in a boutique there who was writing down some suggestions for us.  He pulled out a map and as he was writing things down, I said I knew he would tell me the truth and told him the route we walked that day and asked if that was good or is that something locals just walk all the time.  He shook his head and said "wait, you walked from Pacific Heights to the Ferry Building????"  I said "yeah, then we walked the wharf area to here and are about to walk back up to Pac Heights.  Is that good?"  He said "honey, that's f*cking INSANE!  Most people would walk half the route to the Ferry Building and then take a cab where they needed to go from there!"  So, that made me feel like I wasn't thinking I was walking some awesome route when locals did it all the time.  It really was as insane as the Mr thought it was when I suggested it.  From there, we made our way to Gough Street where we would take that all the way back home.  The red arrow shows the hill we'd need to climb and then begin our downward descent about 6-7 blocks from there.

There were some SERIOUSLY steep hills, particularly those last three blocks before the sharp crest at the top but I just took it block by block and if we'd need to give it one traffic light cycle to stop in the shade before continuing on, we did.  When we approached the Clay Street area, I began to cry a little, knowing we were in the home stretch.

When we took the FitBit off, we checked our steps for the route

We walked a little more just lollygagging for a total of 12 miles for the day.  Needless to say, when we grabbed the leftover bag of ice for the cooler and slapped our aching feet onto it in the tub, it was welcome relief and I think it made a huge difference in how we felt the next day!

I cannot believe we did it.  Well, I can because not finishing just never entered my mind.  But I couldn't help but think back to what I was facing this time last year in just trying to finish the 3 mile charity walk on Kauai and the amount of horrible pain I was in.  The next day, I was sore but it was this weird bone in my inner ankles and my left quad and it was nothing ibuprofen didn't help ease and was leaps and bounds better than last year with walking 4x the distance.  It proves to me that keeping up with my physical therapy is something I need to continue to do and I will be able to reach almost any goal I set.

What goals have you reached that you thought the year before would've been impossible?

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How quickly it goes

Last week was what I call "assessment week."

While we got in some great walking on our vacation, our strength workouts were nil.  Oh don't get me wrong, we took our resistance bands and told ourselves we were going to do two strength workouts per week to maintain the muscle we worked so hard for, but they never saw the light of day.  When you're as sore as we would be at the end of the day from walking an average of seven miles per day, busting out a strength workout wasn't high on the priority list.  I knew we would pay for it when we came back and we did.

I will do a low weight free weight session for our first workout after every vacation to see where I am. Before we left, I was using 15's to warm up and using 20's and the occasional 25 lb dumbbell depending on the exercise.  For the assessment workout, I used 10's to warm up and 15's for the rest.  If I tried going right back into it using the weights pre-vacation, I would've seriously risked injury or being so sore I couldn't do much else.  The next day, I was sore.  Not so much that I couldn't move or anything but enough to know that I made the right decision in going slow.  We did a hike the following day, then did a Fitness Blender workout to see how we'd do with something a little more "formal" but I stuck to mostly 15's, one 20 and I think two exercises with 10's like reverse flies so I could still have good form.    We got through two rounds and when she said time to repeat for round three, we had to check out.  We instead took the same amount of time doing stretching and light yoga.  Then the next day came and I could barely walk.  We didn't stretch on vacation either so going back into a stretchy pigeon pose, while it felt good at the time, did not bode well for the next day.  We did Walk Away the Pounds for that day's workout and it felt like it was dragggggging. We both commented on how it felt like she slipped an extra segment in on us.

When the next day came, I was not in great shape.  I didn't want to take a rest day but the Mr said we should think about it.  I decided after his telework day was done, we could do some work on the patio to get it ready.  I think doing Turbo Fire would've been easier at that point!  Three hours of scrubbing, running around and such and I felt whooped.  Come the next day, I needed the Mr to give me a deep tissue massage on the back of my legs so I could function.

This week, we were doing a lot of busy work and yesterday was our first "okay, we're back at this full force" kind of workout.  We did Turbo Fire 45 that we did quite a bit beforehand and man, we were beat.  The Mr said it took a lot out of him and I agree, it was tiring.  Tonight will be a strength workout and I want to try to shed the 10 pounders if I feel comfortable with it but I'll let my body dictate that.

Maybe I'm a weirdo, but I always kind of look forward to this part after a vacation where you're rebuilding your strength and endurance.  It makes you not take that stuff for granted as much because you know how quickly it goes.

When you're out of your fitness routine for any period of time, have you ever tried to jump back in the routine you had or ease yourself back in?

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Need a rest day from our rest days!

This weekend we were bound and determined to get our patio ready for prime time.  The last time I paid any attention to it, it looked like this...

Not that I mind snow but I think I could hear my cushions begging to be released from their canvas bag prison o' winter.  It was going to take a pretty fantastic breakfast to motivate us to do all of that...

We're going to pretend I didn't recreate and beat our favorite breakfast in San Francisco.  Croissant French toast with bananas and pecan sauce and millionaire's bacon.  Look away, you might gain a pound just looking at it.

We busted our butts and scrubbed the patio carpet, replaced an umbrella, bought a bluetooth speaker, spiffed up the grill and now it looks ready to party...

Matter of fact, I just HAD to show it off so we invited my mom over for an impromptu cookout and then realized we still had a lot to do and worked to the bone until the second she got here.  Don't worry, it included a little healthier fare...

Okay, maybe we had to put this stupid s'mores grill thingy that I got duped into buying to the test and it did not resemble the perfectly cooked s'more on the box.

I think we'll stick with a campfire or sterno can, thanks.

We are WHOOPED!!  The Mr keeps giving me a sideways looks of slight irritation...then he thinks of the food I made this weekend and forgives me.  :-)

What did you guys do this holiday weekend?

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Vacation recap: Week 2

Even though our time in Carmel had a lot of road trips, we did have a day or two to soak up strolling the streets and beautiful views.  It was very relaxing.  Looking back, if we ever did it again, we definitely would've flip flopped the weeks.  We went from being chilled out to the fast pace of the city.  There were two very different feels to each week and we'll be getting into that tomorrow when we go over the things we loved and loathed.  (Sorry, no real time to peruse the internet this week so no links tomorrow.  Wah waaaah)

We stayed in Pacific Heights.  We actually stayed at this place before but in the lower unit.  I'm going to refrain commenting freely on this place until I get my security deposit back.  LOL  The location is perfect because it's close to Japantown which we love for some reason.  Very close to Fillmore Street and has some great walkable food options and that was my goal to walk the city as much as possible.  The Mr gets very frustrated with their traffic and I get very panicky at him getting frustrated because there are some things they do out there that you would NEVER get away with here but again I'll address that tomorrow.  So I wanted to keep us both as relaxed as possible and hopefully help stave off the extreme weight gain we experienced last year.  This proved to be something that would become one of the favorite parts of our trip!

We did have a few road trips planned as well.  Our first one was to Pleasanton/Danville.

We were looking for something to do on Saturday where we didn't have to be stuck with locals and tourists all flocking to some of the same places (hiking, places with pretty views, etc) so I found the May Day Festival in Pleasanton.  If we weren't going to Hawaii this year, I was going to get my Hawaii fix if possible!  It was a nice drive over the bridge and some beautiful rolling hills.  The festival had lots of Hawaii vendors, crafts, a little food and lots of hula dancers.  It was a nice way to spend an hour or two.  I don't know if it was worth $30 by the time you paid for parking in addition to the admission but we still enjoyed ourselves and picked up a few things.  We went to Bridges Restaurant (yes, the one from Mrs Doubtfire) for lunch.  The last time we went, I was sick and couldn't taste but I knew from the wee bit I could smell, the Mr's burger was amazing and it was.  The server was nice and we got an anniversary cupcake just like last time.  We did a little browsing around town and had a nice time stopping in all the different shops.  People were so nice there too!  We rounded out the day at the East Bay SPCA where we visited with Cooper and he was adopted.  Such a cutie and they didn't have many dogs at all so that's a good thing!    Then we headed back to the city in hellish traffic.  That's the one thing, regardless of where you go, if you're leaving the city, be prepared for traffic anywhere even when there's nothing of note backing things up.

We did a road trip to Napa.

We went there in 2011 and were debating whether or not we needed to go back (we're not drinkers) but I found a few cute antique shops I wanted to hit up and some other places so we were good to go. The drive is a pretty one so we enjoyed that and went to Oxbow Public Market and grabbed breakfast at Model Bakery.  They're known for their English Muffins and they succeed.  The Mr said I should grab a bag of them to take back home but I couldn't bring myself to at $14 for six of them.  Of course later I wished I had.  So just do it if you go.  We did a little shopping in St. Helena and made a dessert stop at Cindy's Backstreet Cafe for some campfire pie.  Delish!  We stopped at a winery we liked before that is a big castle and man has it changed for the worse.  There's some lame petting zoo there now that totally takes away from the charm of the place and they planted a lot more vines in places that were nice green spaces so it just felt very cramped.  We didn't spend much time there and will choose to remember it the way it was in 2011.  We missed downtown Calistoga last time but made the turn this time and found some cute shops.  I got a few great little French tins from this one shop and the owner had some recommendations in the city.  We stopped by an estate sale store off the side of the road that had some cool things but I couldn't bring myself to pay the prices.  Oh to be independently wealthy.  We tried to see this old mill not too far from that place but when we drove back to the parking lot they wanted a fee to see it.  This became a recurring theme during this trip and I was done getting bent over on fees, so we skipped it.  It was another traffic ridden ride back to the city but we got take out from Z&Y in Chinatown and sought refuge in our temporary home.  It was good stuff, better fresh but you know, that's how take out is.

We went over the Golden Gate Bridge and that damn new Garmin with "real voice" had it's head up its real ass and sent us back over the bridge which is a $7 fee.  We plan to send Garmin the bill for that one when it comes.

So back over the bridge we went up in the Marin Headlands around the Point Bonita lighthouse area.  We explored the Battery's we missed the last time.  They are old abandoned lookouts from the war era and are super creepy with their graffiti.  But we love creeping around old buildings so it was fun for us.  The drive in that area is spectacular and one that should not be missed.  We made the mistake of going back to Sausalito and won't make that mistake again.  It's a tourist trap with mediocre food, overpriced shopping and yes a great view of the city but you can get the same view at Fort Baker for free and not have to pay for parking.

The one great thing we did see in Sausalito was The Plant Recording Studio.  It was sold and they're about to gut it or something but I was desperate for pics before they did.  Fleetwood Mac recorded Rumours there as well as Huey Lewis and the News Sports album.  Greats like Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, John Lennon and others stepped through those doors and I pray to God they save those doors or at least auction them off to people who will appreciate them.  I'd buy them in a heartbeat.  We did the drive to Stinson Beach which is winding, beautiful and can induce car sickness.  (Raising hand)  But some great stop offs and honestly the beach, while long and expansive from afar, felt kind of skeezy.  When a half dead old man crisping in the sun is the first thing that greets you, you're not exactly jazzed about hanging around.  So I closed my eyes for the ride back instead of white knuckling it and we made a stop for some supplies.  As we were waiting to turn, some jerk disobeyed the crossing guard completely screwing up traffic and smiling at her the whole time he did it.  As we turned, I rolled down the window and yelled "DOUCHE!" at the top of my lungs at him, quietly rolled it back up and sank back in my seat.  I had about 14 days of pent up frustration from people that came out in that one word.  So, you're welcome lady.  I said what you probably couldn't.

Some other places we hit of mention were the Sutro Bath ruins.

Such a great hike, best done early and the little cave at the bottom was a nice respite from the scorching heat.  (A rarity that we got treated to for 2-3 days of our a house with no air and rules about opening windows because they suck and refuse to provide windows with screens)  I can tell you this, do NOT get sucked into having lunch at the famous Cliff House.  Peruse the gift shop, enjoy the views, even go into the hokey old timey attraction on the back patio. We did not have a good experience there and there are far better ways to spend your time.

Obviously we hit places to see the Golden Gate Bridge like Crissy Field, Fort Baker, Battery Spencer and Baker Beach.  Any of those places will give you amazing views of the bridge if you're going anytime in the future.  Or you could be like the Mr and just go on the bridge either by walking or renting a bike.  (I wasn't up to it by the time we got to it and it wasn't on my bucket list.)

If you want great views of the city, a few places that are our favorites.

Twin Peaks, Crissy Field, Alamo Square, Coit Tower is supposed to have a great view but I haven't seen it, if you're going across the bridge and strolling Sausalito (don't) there's a decent but farther city view there.  Heck even the Bay Bridge if you're coming back from Napa is a pretty view.  If you want a peek a boo view of Alcatraz and the water when you're nowhere near it, Lafayette Park is a great place for a picnic and if you're traveling with kids, it's got an enviable playground.

We also did this walking route that had a local call us "effing insane" for just doing the first quarter of the journey much less any other part but I want to do a separate post on that so look for that probably Tuesday.

I am so glad that I wasn't sick this time and got to taste the pounds I put on!  HA!  I was glad to see old favorites and make new ones.  I don't know when we'll make it back that way but I'm glad we were able to experience such a great city again and live like a local in a Painted Lady and walk to our meals most of the time.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I sum up our loves and hates about both places for anyone who is looking for an honest opinion about them and what we consider our top picks.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Vacay Recap week one

Welp, back to the grind!

Let me sum up this year's vacation choice, adventures and such.  When we were on Kauai for 16 days last year, we were doing good but then halfway through we started to get a little bored.  It was our 10th trip to Kauai and we pretty much saw everything especially with the addition of paddleboarding and kayaking and walking a charity 5K, we felt like maybe things were getting a little stale.  We went to San Francisco in 2011 and had a wonderful time except for one big thing...I was sick the entire trip and the Mr was only a day behind me in the cold department.  So I missed out on tasting most of what we ate.  We wanted a do over, so that's how this years trip came to be.

Now obviously about 6 months in, we started to panic.  Hawaii fever was setting in and when you realize you aren't going, you start to throw the words cancel and re-book around.  Even more so when a friend's daughter comes back from there and shows pics of their honeymoon.  We were at the point we would've forfeited $1250 for the Carmel house if we did that...we were THISCLOSE to doing it.  But we hung in and had a completely different kind of vacation than we're used to.  This vacation was going to consist of walking a LOT.  Around the holidays, I started slacking on physical therapy and really set myself back.  I rehabbed hard to get ready for this trip because the places I booked were close enough to the action that unless we had a road trip planned, I wanted to walk it as many places as possible.

Our first week was spent in Carmel.  Carmel would act as our home base for several road trips I planned.  The Mr was a wannabe skater dude when he was a teen so Santa Cruz had always been a dream for him and being a Lost Boys fan, (affiliate link)  he also wanted to see the Boardwalk.  I also planned a trip to Big Sur because that's where Jack Tripper always took his most special dates and I said one day I would go to Big Sur.  So many people said Cannery Row, the Monterey Aquarium and such were big draws so I planned a trip to Monterey which was just the next town over.

Our house in Carmel was beautiful.  I would recommend it to anyone as it's 2 1/2 blocks from the main drag, easy to walk to everything, 1/2 mile from the Pebble Beach golf course/17 mile drive gate and reasonably priced considering the area.  My only beef with it is there are no blinds/window coverings on any windows except the bedroom and bathroom.  The neighbors are right on top of you and they could literally see inside the kitchen straight into the living room.  Not cool with that.  I made a makeshift solution for privacy but other than that, all was good.  Here's our take on our first road trip to Monterey.

Monterey is a pretty water town but it's a lot like any other water town.  It smells of ocean, dead fish, you risk getting crapped on by gulls and it is the biggest tourist trap in the area.  Don't get me wrong, if you've never been, you should make it a stop if you have the time but it's the first place I would cut knowing what I know now.  I can't count how many people tout the Monterey Aquarium and people say it's a must do.  Well, we're going against popular opinion and saying, if you're comfortable paying $80 for two people to get in and aren't going to get pissed off that you can walk 1/2 mile up the street to the Naval Point Pier and see half the animals (including huge jelly fish) for free, then this place is for you.  Seriously, we weren't impressed and we were there for an hour and saw everything we needed to see.  Everything surrounding it is basically overpriced tourist shops where we literally saw the same pattern shirts with different location filled in that they sell at the ABC stores in Hawaii.  The food stops are all overpriced and from what I read, underwhelming.  We did make a stop at Ghirardelli Ice Cream shop for some sundaes in case the one at Ghirardelli Square was crowded and we could bypass it the following week.  They were good but so filling and just sat there so luckily I had a bit of a walk planned on the Monterey Coastal Trail which you should totally do.  It's a well marked urban trail and we walked from Monterey to Old Fisherman's Wharf.  I'd already done my research and decided on Old Fisherman's Grotto for lunch.  I tried sand dabs which is a mild, local fish much like flounder.  It was good but the Mr's really had my mouth watering, with this great halibut.  But the true star of the lunch was their clam chowder.  Holy hell man.  SOOO delicious!  I would go back for the chowder in a heartbeat.  It wasn't the lightest on the wallet but didn't care.  We went to a nice antique store or two in the area and just had a nice day taking in the ocean and getting some walking in.  Again, I'd say go there if you're a Steinbeck fan (affiliate link) or a fan of little touristy beach towns, but if you have limited time within a 1 hour drive of Carmel, skip it.

Santa Cruz was not a big priority for me but I didn't mind coming up with a little road trip for the Mr to realize his Gleaming the Cube (affiliate link)  dreams.  We stopped at the Natural Bridges Park and drove along West Cliff Drive which is beautiful.  We stopped at the little surfing museum lighthouse and walked a good portion of area and saw the boardwalk in the distance.  We parked a little closer but nowhere near the boardwalk so we didn't get suckered into their ridiculous prices.  I'll walk if it means parking for free.  I also knew not much was going to be open and I was right.  We were greeted at the front of some hotel by a chick sobbing on the sidewalk and three uninterested cops gabbing.  No clue what happened there.  As we made it closer to the Wharf, there were the typical panhandlers but not out in full force yet since the tourists hadn't made their way down for the day.  We walked the wharf and heard the call of the seals which were said to be congregating at the end of the wharf.  We got there and yep, there they were!  LOTS of 'em!  They would sleep in a big pod and a few would swim around the perimeter like they were either wrangling them or searching for predators.  We spent about an hour there then headed to the boardwalk.  Oh man, you know when you get that skeezy feeling?  Like you have that instinct in you that says to be aware, walk a little taller, suck it in and puff it out in all the right places.  This was that time.  At one point a group of four late teens all looked up to no good and kept stopping a bit so we would catch up to them so I told the Mr to come over to the rail and I let them get a good distance ahead.  It just felt like a set up to something.  We went in the arcade and had fun playing the old school video games and skee ball.  We went out to where the opening of Lost Boys was filmed on the Boardwalk and it was neat to see but about half of it was closed.  It was really windy that day and people were on the beach but the only ones in the water were surfers in wetsuits.  We walked around for about 15 minutes and then noticed little pockets of 15-20 people all eyeing the other groups giving each other the kind of greetings you'd see on Beyond Scared Straight in the yard.  You could feel a change in the air and we saw everything we needed to see and that whole spidey sense thing started tingling again.  As we were on the way out with a bag in our hand and me on edge, an old smart ass panhandler comes up and asks for money since we obviously were able to buy a shirt and the Mr says we don't have any cash and he says "can I have your credit card and PIN number?" to which I replied a pissy "are you f**king kidding me with this sh*t!?!"  He shut up real quick.  I was about done with my time in Santa Cruz but we headed over to a nicer section nowhere near the water and wandered the outdoor mall and had lunch at Pono Hawaiian Grill on the patio.  That was as close to Hawaii as I was going to taste this trip.  I'm glad the Mr got to see it but he agreed he'd never have to go back.  LOL

Our final road trip was our best by far...Big Sur.  Driving south on Highway 1 is like heaven (it's also a quick way to get there if you're not paying attention.  Lots of blind curves and such)  We've driven the Hana Highway and over one lane lava roads, not much really stirs us emotionally on the road anymore.  It seems like it's not a vacation for us unless we're driving some road that makes others want to pass out or turn around.  We got some wonderful views of the Bixby Bridge, gorgeous coastline, the hippie town of Big Sur and the beautiful McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  We packed a picnic and let the road take us as far as we wanted...we both regret not just going down to Hearst Castle but we didn't have tickets and I don't think spur of the moment is recommended with them.  We are all about coastal views, hikes and little spots to just appreciate the beauty of God's country.  There's not many services or restaurants that aren't high priced but it's within 25 miles of Carmel so fuel up there, make a picnic and explore early.  On our way back there were tons more people and we were done by 1pm and still had a good portion of the day for tomfoolery!

That tomfoolery came in the form of Point Lobos State Park.  We were here in 2011 and it was so beautiful, we couldn't wait to go back.  We ran into one of the begging squirrels (I don't think he's a squirrel but maybe the closest they have there?  It didn't have a big ol' bushy tail), saw the beautiful coastline and hiked the haunting cypress trail.  If you're ever in the area, it's within 5 miles of Carmel and worth every second you have to spend there.  It's $10 but people park outside and walk in for free which irritates me.  I'll gladly pay for certain things that look like they're using the money properly.  Besides, you can't put a price on watching an otter bang clams and oysters against a rock on his belly for well over 45 minutes!

Carmel-by-the-Sea is the town we stayed in and it's a very high falootin' kind of town.  The people are very into themselves, showing off their dogs and generally disregarding anyone but their friends.  But if you can peek past the self centered pricks you pass, you'll see enchanting architecture in their storybook cottage design and that is why we fell in love with the place.  You can certainly pay the $10 to see the 17 Mile Drive like we did and with Spanish Bay and Pescadero Point, it's worth it but if you drive to just before the beach and turn left off of Ocean Ave onto Scenic Road, you will pass some of the most breathtaking coastline, adorable and massive homes in a culmination of beauty that is Carmel River State Park and the beginning of Mission Ranch, which Clint Eastwood saved when they wanted to turn that gorgeous land into condos back in the day.  Mission Ranch is where we had the best meal of our trip and a sheep threw us a bone and got up from his comfy grass patch to let us pet him.  There are so many wonderful shops.  Most are was far more expensive than San Francisco but you could find some great gems like Flanagan's Pub and RG Burgers if you didn't want to pay out the butt for a meal.  Carmel was a great home base for our adventures in the area.

Stay tuned tomorrow when we drive up to San Francisco!

(This post contains a few affiliate links.  Should you choose to buy through them, I'll get a few cents to keep the blog balloon in the air)

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A peek in pics

Well, we had another successful vacation.  Technically we're still on vacation.  This is the Mr's last full day of vacay so I don't want to get too wordy so we can indulge in our new ritual of listening to jazz from San Francisco on 91.1.  We spent one week in Carmel and one week in San Francisco.  It was wonderful, frustrating, inspiring, irritating, awe-inspiring and a host of emotions in between.  Until I gather the words, feast your eyes...Instagram followers, this'll be a recap for you.  ;-)

Our first night, we enjoyed a sunset at Carmel Beach.  So did many doggies. 

The architecture in Carmel is so charming and fairy tale like...dreamy.

A beautiful stop on 17 mile drive on the morning of our anniversary.

We had dinner at Mission Ranch and this beautiful sheep pasture was saved thanks to Clint Eastwood.

McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  Truly breathtaking!

Something else that was breathtaking was my quest to walk  a specific route in San Francisco up and down their severely slanted streets.  There will be a whole post dedicated to this.

But here's a hint how it turned out.

The Plant Recording Studios in Sausalito.  Fleetwood Mac recorded Rumours here and Huey Lewis and the News recorded Sports.  Metallica, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, etc.  

The Sutro Bath ruins.  A beautiful hike with some serious steep inclines.

The view from Crissy Field at the end of the pier.

A shot of the Bay Bridge.  I wish we saw this at night for that light show.  I knew I'd regret not seeing that.

Ever been to San Francisco?  Carmel?  Anywhere in California?

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Best of Fitness Blender: Kettlebells

This is the kettlebell edition of the Best of Fitness Blender.  We added kettlebell workouts in about a year or so ago and it's a great way to get in some alternate strength training.  We don't have actual kettlebells, we use dumbbells which work just fine for us. It's all in what you're comfortable with.  Kettlebell workouts need to be followed to a tee!  Form is very important.  Always start with a low weight the first kettlebell workout or two, even if you lift weights.

Let's get to it!

Beginner Kettlebell Workout – Kells Kettlebells Routine  (33 minutes.  This is the one to do if you're new to kettlebells.  It gets you familiar with the weights and shows some of the basic but core moves in all kettlebell workouts)

Non-Stop Endurance Kettlebell Workout - 33 Minute Total Body Kettlebell Routine  (This is a great one.  I always have trouble with threading from one leg to the other so on that particular move, I'll modify.  Do the same if you need to and go at your own pace)

Kettlebell 'til you Drop – Total Body Kettlebell Workout Video  (40 minutes.  Some of the floor ones are really hard.  Modify if necessary.  Overall a great workout!)

Double Kettlebell Workout - 30 Minute Kettlebell Training Routine  (This workout is HARD.  Use light weights if you're just starting out for sure on this one.

Kettlebell Workout Routine for Strength  (15 minutes.  This is perfect to tack on to another shorter cardio workout for a total body workout)

If you're looking to get started with kettlebells, this is a good place to begin. Kettlebells not for you?  Swing on over to Fitness Blender and find something that is!

(I am in no way affiliated with Fitness Blender, I'm just blogging about them because we use their awesome workouts all the time and in their support us section they encourage word of mouth to keep it free.)
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Friday, May 16, 2014

What I'm Reading This Week - Nostalgia Edition

I gots no time for chit chat, yo.  Let's just get straight to...

Entertainment Geekly: Why are we so obsessed with the 1980s?  (Uh...because they ROCKED!)

The 21 Most Traumatizing Moments From ’80s Kids Films  (Large Marge!)

10 reasons how being a child of the 70’s and teen of the 80’s made me a better adult today  (What she said x 100!)

25 Movies From The ’80s That Every Kid Should See  (Start planning your movie night!)

15 Fashions People Were Rocking in 1983  (I still have my black lace gloves.  Man I miss 80's fashion.  I think I'm one of the few people that does)

11 '80s TV Stars Who Recorded Obscure Albums  (I feel like if I look Phylicia Allen in the eyes, she will steal my soul in that picture!)

The Truth About John Oates's Mustache and His New Solo Album

25 Reasons Why Everything Was Better In The 80s  (Word up)

7 Reasons Why Rob Lowe Is the Ultimate '80s Icon  (I wasn't a big fan back in the day but I have to say his book Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography was a great read)

The 10 most influential games of the 1980s   (For the gamers in the crowd)

10 Things You Might Not Know About ‘Police Academy’ On Its 30th Anniversary

Share your favorite bits of nostalgia from "back in the day" in the comments!

(This post contains an affiliate link.  Should you choose to buy through it, I'll get a few cents to go toward keeping the blog train chuggin'.)

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Best of Fitness Blender: Namaste

Here's the next installment of the best of Fitness  This one focuses on stretching and yoga.  Even if you don't embrace yoga philosophies, you should definitely incorporate some of these or similar workouts into your life.  Your body will thank you for it!

Lower Body Stretches – A Stretching Routine for Flexibility  (13 minutes.  This has some great hip openers and stretches for the legs)

Upper Body Stretching Routine  (11 minutes.  This is a perfect addition after a kick butt upper body routine so you don't suffer from as much soreness in the following days)

Fluid Stretching – Toning & Flexibility Workout  (13 minutes.  I don't know that I'd seek out a cliff edge, I think your living room will be just fine.  ;)  Some awesome hip and leg stretches)

Feel Good Stretching Workout - Calming Evening or Morning Stretch Routine  (15 minutes.  If you're looking to stretch in the morning or relieve the day's stress before bed, this is a great one!)

Cool Down Workout – Cool Down Stretching Routine  (13 minutes.  A good total body stretch for after a hard workout.)

As you can see, you don't need a ton of time to improve strength and flexibility. You can even do them during commercial breaks if you want!

That's it for this round up.  If you didn't see anything that appealed to you on this post, check out Fitness and see what does.  Why not, it's free!

(I am in no way affiliated with Fitness Blender, I'm just blogging about them because we use their awesome workouts all the time and in their support us section they encourage word of mouth to keep it free.)
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Glove Box Baggie

Summer vacations are coming up, y'all!


The Mr and I have been traveling together for 20 years from camping to our jaunts to Hawaii and in that time we've learned the things we need to have on hand.  Ever since travel changed after September 11th and we've had to start traveling with all liquids under 3 ounces bagged, I decided that I would have some order to the way I packed them.  I make what I call my...

This is the baggie that the second we get to the rental car, gets transferred from the carry on directly to the glove compartment so we have stuff we may need on hand.  They are all things we've needed in the past and it's just nice to have them all in one spot.

The contents include:

Ink pen (signing rental agreement/inspecting the car.  I'm not using the same pen 500 sick people have used for theirs.  Signing travelers checks if you need them.  Yes, we still occasionally use them as back up.  If your wallet is stolen and your ATM and credit card are gone, you'll be pretty darn happy you went old school and had a couple hundred on hand!  You can cash them back in when you get home if you don't use them.)

Travel size deodorant  (Perfect for when you go on an unexpected hike and get a little more ripe than anticipated.  Or to reapply after swimming.  Trust me, you smell, use it.)

Ibuprofen  (Inevitably the previous day's activity will rear it's ugly head when I'm in the jungle.  This is mandatory for us)

Hand Sanitizer  (So many sick people/gross things to touch, so little hand sanitizer.  Don't think that state park bathroom you just used is going to necessarily have running water)

Toilet Seat Covers (The same thing goes for the toilets in said parks or porta-pots.  I know they're supposedly cleaner than your smart phone keys but if someone has wee'd on the seat, my bare bum isn't touching it)

Travel sized body spray  (This one came from an unfortunate incident in LAX and the fact that men would apparently rather pee all over the floor than in a toilet bowl.  So even though the Mr scrubbed down his shorts that hit the floor, this came in handy.  I get lavender or a unisex scent so either of us can use it.  Also comes in handy in case you need a little freshening up before going out in public after a long day.)

Dental Floss  (Sometimes you just gotta dig out the rogue piece of herb that decides to invade your pearly whites)

Nail File  (Even if you don't have nails, sometimes you hit it just right and there's a chip.  Instead of incessantly grating it against your jeans or running your finger over it, use the file and save your sanity.  Works for the dudes too.)

Small lip gloss and/or SPF 45 lip balm  (Small glosses are perfect for a makeup refresh without reapplying the whole face.  Suncreen lip balm is a must anywhere, not just the tropics.)

Tide Stick  (We inevitably need this...every.  single.  time.)

Soap sheets or sample size of soap  (If you luck out in one of those state park bathrooms and have running water, you rarely have soap.  Water won't remove the grime but you can find these babies at Target or most travel sections)

Band Aids  (From paper cuts to scraping our leg, we've always been relieved to have these in the bag.)

What must haves would be in your baggie?

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