I have been away from home for the last 2 weeks, one week in Vegas for work and the next week in Portland and the Oregon coast. It was good to spend some time away from the office as work has recently been weighing on me. I am trying hard to avoid a burn-out. From previous experience, burn-outs are no fun, to say the least!
My time at the work conference was ironically inspiring. I love the product that I support and work with, it’s always good to bond with likeminded people. What I enjoyed even more was the company of my coworkers as well as a very inspiring talk by Sal Khan, found of Khan Academy. I’ve been trained in Arts and Social Sciences all my life, but now I feel there is a chance for me to learn about physics, chemistry and astronomy!
Even while traveling, I tried to keep up with my meditative practice. I think that it has kept me sane thus far.
The time on the Oregon Coast was short but it was just a joy to see S run all over the beach, chasing gulls, picking up shells and running through frigid waves.
Here are some of my recent favorites:
Gnocchi with any kind of sauce – creamy crab parmesan sauce last week and bacon arrabbiata last night
Pear Cider – any brand
Lush’s The Comforter Shower Cream – berries, bergamot and vanilla, need I say more?
Rimmel Oh My Gloss in Snog – not sticky, smells good, lovely pigments
1940s big band music
The Martian – I saw the movie this week and I am going to start reading the book tonight!
There is a trip to the pumpkin patch in the books and more fall loves. Stay tuned!
It’s suddenly fall here in the PNW. I imagined that the transition would be slower but it just became. I’m not complaining. I can smell the warm spices, feel the cool air in the evenings and see the beautiful changing colors. I said it before but I’ll say it again, this is my favorite time of the year!
“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.” – from You Got Mail
Dreamy. Stationery in a romantic fashion. It’s time to watch this movie again. Do you have a favorite movie for this time of the year?
This morning, I had one of those green chile chicken tamales and I wanted to whisk my family off to New Mexico for some green chile goodness. I want this.
I feel like I’m floating on a cloud this morning. A happy one even though works has been increasingly busy and stress-filled. I think it’s partly to do with my meditative practice, I really cannot expound the benefits of it more. 10-15 minutes of my day for clarity.
This animation from Headspace about the blue sky has been one that has helped me through some foggy days lately.
As for other fall loves, I’m not a fan of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes but am glad they arrive to announce the season. I also think that one can over-“pumpkin spice”. I look forward to jumping in leave piles with Sagan, holding Mike’s hand to feel warmer in the cold and snuggling up with a throw on our sofa to binge watch Downton Abbey (I have not been up to speed with the episodes) or the Star Wars trilogy (the ones that only really count).
If you have heard about the new organization movement (KonMari) by Marie Kondo, you would understand the title of my post. My main take from her method is that you would want to only keep or obtain things that spark joy in your life.
Everyone, these are my current sparks:
Borns – I love 10,000 Emerald Pools and of course, Electric Love. But one of my favorites is Seeing Stars and his new single (The Emotion) from the upcoming album (Oct 16), Dopamine, has been on repeat.
Cassava Tortillas made with cassava flour (not the same as tapioca starch which is more chewy and gummy). Grain-free, gluten-free and nut-free. Amazing texture.
Journal prompts – I wake up and write down 3 things that I am grateful for, ask myself how I am feeling and at the end of the day, write down my favorite part of the day.
Boxing – Mike installed the heavy bag he got me a few years ago in the garage and I am going to put on these pretty pink gloves and show it who’s boss. Ha! Really, I’m starting slow at a moderate pace. Three to Four 2-minute rounds of basic punches, such as jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts, with one minute rest in between rounds.
I finally completed my 30-day foundation course with Headspace and have recently begun a new pack. This has helped me so much.
What are your current sparks?
I have been loving green smoothies lately. My favorite recipes include spinach, ginger, pear and coconut water. When I want something creamier, I add a couple of spoons of dried milk powder (full fat, of course!). It gives me protein without the fake sweetness of protein powders. This is the one that I use.
I recently found out that I am sensitive to gluten. Not so sensitive that I would be sick eating it but enough so that my gut would be bloated and inflamed. I love gluten, but am thankful to live in an age where gluten-free is widely available.
I did mention loving The Mind of a Chef (PBS) on Netflix. The episodes in Season 3 with Magnus Nilsson most intrigued me. I have to try a Mahogany Clam in this lifetime.
The mornings are a little darker now and the evenings a little cooler. I’m thinking about spiced cake, warming soups and snuggly evenings.
Currently soundtrack: Lord of the Rings – Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack (it’s getting to be about that time of the year when we re-watch the trilogy) – particularly Concerning Hobbits
“Always wanting things to be different is exhausting…” – Headspace moment
There is much truth in this line. For as much as we always want things to be different, we sure don’t do well with change. But is it possible to learn to accept change as a matter-of-fact and ease into things that happen, as they happen? I know that I am going on about my meditative practice a lot lately but it has amazed me how much difference it has made in my life in just 21 days (so far). Stealing 10 minutes out of everyday for oneself sounded like it would be impossible when I first started out. I cannot tell you how much times I tried to begin the free 10-day Headspace trial but once I pushed through day 6, I felt like I could continue. If you ever feel like anxiety is taking over your life, Headspace is a good method of meditating that is very accessible.
It has been a while since I have traveled to a new place. I miss that sense of adventure. I guess I was born with wanderlust in my soul.
I also find it ironic that in my 40s, I have become sort of a beauty junkie (thank you lovely beauty vloggers of the world!). I find that my interest is less about the many shades of lipstick or eyeshadow but more about how I can take care of my skin. My one and only face. Finding the right skincare has been a fun journey and like most journeys, it often is not about the destination. My skin’s needs change and I am just along for the ride. With that said, I am loving cleansing balm/oil, AHA pads and facial oils instead of creams.
Would like to leave you with a quick simple recipe for my favorite dessert – strawberry chia seed pudding. It’s more of a jam and I eat it on its own like a fruit “jello cup”. I heat up a pound of strawberries (frozen ones will work too), smush them with a potato masher, add some honey (1-2 tbsp depending on how sweet your berries are) then take them off the heat. Once off the heat, sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of chia seeds and stir in. Set it aside to cool and thicken. Sometimes I add more chia seeds because I like their texture. I pop the cooled mixture in little containers in the fridge. I love it for breakfast too.
Lately, almost everyone I meet is reminding me to enjoy the rest of summer; that pretty soon, we will miss these long sun-filled days. Honestly, I am ready for the cool evenings of fall. Is it possible to be sunned-out? I guess having spent 20-something years of my life in a tropical isle with endless sunshine has made me an autumn lover. Still, my meditative practice reminds me that I should embrace life as it unfolds. So, summer, I’m happy you are still here!
I have a few more things that I would like to do this summer:
- Go for a hike
- Pack a picnic in a park
- Go to Portland for some gastronomic adventure that includes ice cream and Thai food
In the meantime, Sagan is spending a week away from preschool while his Mimi is here. He is definitely enjoying his summer. I hope he makes all sorts of wonderful memories that we can revisit when he grows up.
Here he is, exhausted from a fun day exploring science.
My birthday came and went. There was no fanfare but it was a good one. I feel like I’m in a good place in my life right now. My recovery journey is underway and everything is going well.
Part of my recovery has been starting a meditation practice. I am using this app called Headspace and have stuck with it for 9 days now. Just taking the time to quieten the mind does wonders for my mood. You can try it out for 10 days free and see how it goes. I tried to start my practice several times for months now but once I pushed through Day 3, I started looking forward to each day’s session. As soon as I felt that way, I subscribed to a year’s membership. A good investment for my mental well-being.
I am still listening to my favorite podcasts (see previous posts) but I found a new one called Gastropod. I enjoyed an episode yesterday called The Whole Hog. The pig is indeed a fascinating animal. Continue reading Birthday
It’s my favorite month, for obvious reasons. This is the month (many moons ago) that I got to meet this world. There’s much to be thankful for.
Have you ever listened or paid attention to how you breathe? Recently, I started to pay more attention to how I breathe. That has helped me feel calmer. Over the years, I’ve let my breathing shorten and quicken without even giving it a second thought. Now, I try to breathe into my belly. This is part of my recovery journey. There are several breath pacer apps available for smart phones that you can download to help you. Ideally, we should have about 8 breaths per minute.
I’m still enjoying 99% Invisible podcast, there are so many design-related things that I can learn about. I like that each episode is not too long and the topics are so varied. I also particularly enjoy the little bit at the end of episode where Roman Mars lets his boys share something.
Continue reading Hello, August!
Absolutely adore this song by SOAK, she wrote it when she was 14. Amazing.