2019 Favorites!

Howdy everyone! I hope 2019 treated you well. This past year has been interesting, to say the least. I experienced a few changes that helped me find some bliss and focus. Did anyone else go through something similar?

In a few days, it will be a new decade. Queue Jonathan Van Ness saying “can you believe?” With that said, it’s that time of year to talk about things that brought me joy.

  1. Ireland. Let’s be real, Ireland always brings me joy. It’s where my lineage comes from. My soul and heart belong there. Last May, after my mother retired, my parents headed over there to live. My mother’s parents’ house was passed on to my parents, so they are happily shacked up, living a lovely life of rest and relaxation. Over the summer, I went to stay with them for a couple weeks. During my time there, I applied for citizenship. Hopefully, it will be finalized sometime in the middle to end of 2020. I am looking forward to finally having an Irish passport and remaining part of the EU (currently, I am a UK citizen and US permanent resident). Also, I got the ball rolling on getting set up to be a student and a legal part of the Irish workforce. With all the upward movement, I plan on moving to Ireland in the next few months! It will be nice to not have an entire country and ocean between my parents and me. I am looking forward to this new adventure. Whilst I am there, I plan on doing a part-time online “coding bootcamp” to give my resume more oomph. This adventure will be awesome.
  2. Yoga. Part of me finding some bliss this year was taking a job at a yoga studio. For the past 11 or so years, I’ve done yoga off and on. After leaving an emotionally exhausting job doing retail management, I felt a bit lost. I picked up hours doing Instacart, which was even more emotionally taxing than working retail. While scouring job hunting sites, I decided to type in “yoga studio” just for giggles. I didn’t expect anything to come of the search. Lo and behold, a studio close enough to public transit was hiring front desk people. I applied, and a week or so later, I was hired. The experience has been amazing so far. I am constantly learning, meeting amazing people from all walks of life, and getting to practice yoga for free. Because of this experience, it has become clear that yoga and I go together. Once I get to Ireland and find a studio (or studios) to practice at, I will eventually do my RYT-200, adding another skill to my resume. I will be able to have a “day job” and teach on the side. I’ve always loved yoga and it is a physical activity that came naturally from the first class I attended. Not only does it help my physical health, it works wonders for my mental health. I can’t wait to share the benefits of yoga with people.
  3. Aromatherapy. My sense of smell has always been strong, and it has played a huge part in my decision to eat vegetarian at a young age. I’ve used essential oils for years, primarily as one part of my whole treatment of depression (medication, nutrition, exercise, and therapy are the other parts). Because I am such a fan of the therapeutic benefit essential oils, I jumped on the doTERRA bandwagon. Let me put a little disclaimer here: essential oils should never replace tried and true medicine and science. EOs can’t cure serious health issues, and I stand firm with that fact. EOs can do certain minor things, like boost mood, neutralize funky smells, freshen breath, act as mild antibacterial agents, add flavor to dishes, and calm mild anxiety, for example. If you have a serious medical issue, please consult with an educated, licensed medical professional. With that out of the way, I do urge anyone interested to check out the benefits of essential oils. Swing by my doTERRA site. It’s loaded with information, like how EOs are created and what they can be used for. My personal favorite EOs are Lime, Rosemary, Grapefruit, Lavender, Bergamot, and Peppermint. I often add a couple drops of any of these to my laundry, have made bathroom refreshing sprays, and always have a diffuser going while at home. I’ve also added Tea Tree to my hand wash and shampoo to help fight off bacteria.
  4. Loom Knitting. A couple years ago, I finally tried knitting a hat with a circular loom. I found LoomaHat on YouTube, and her tutorials are easy to follow and very informative. I’ve been hooked since then. I’ve knitted myself a few hats and headband, as well as a really cute hat for my mum. This year, I started many projects, mostly scarves. Loom knitting is extremely easy, and a wonderful form of meditation. Seriously, if you are looking for something to do to help take breaks from technology, I highly suggest knitting or crocheting of any kind! Not only are you helping calm and reset your mind, you are able to make functional art! I love that the lady who runs LoomaHat loom knits a lot of beanies and donates them to homeless shelters. We should all aspire to giving like her. I’m almost done with most of my scarves, and plan on finishing the hat I’m making within the next week. A week ago, I got most of my hair chopped off and need more than two beanies to add to the bad hair day mix.
  5. Reading. I’ve always loved reading. That’s not news. This year, I fell back in love. I finally dove headfirst into Armistead Maupain’s Tales of the City series, after attempting to start it years ago. Currently, I am on the third installment, Further Tales of the City, and am deeply absorbed in the hilarity and history of the Bay Area (my home for most of my life). If any of you didn’t know what TotC is prior to Netflix creating a series, I highly suggest reading the series. Also, watch the original series. This year, I’ve also discovered new authors, as well as finally reading books on my years old TBR list. And, because I plan on completing yoga teacher training next year, I have a stack of books that are essentials in the yoga sphere. I’m excited to power through those in the new year. I have a subscription to Book of the Month, and love that I can get my hands on beautiful hardbacks for $14.99/month. Do you love reading? Do you enjoy a hardback book that’s $14.99? Check out BOTM and sign up! If you sign up through my link, your first month is only $5! Five dollars for a hardback book? Yes, please.
  6. My loved ones. I miss my parents. A lot. I can’t wait to join them in Ireland next year. They are genuinely amazing people, and they have been an amazing support duo for me. Also, I am a huge fan of my friends who’ve I shared my life with for 31 years. Childhood friends who you are still friends in your adult life are gems. My childhood friend, Kristi, got married to her love, Ben, this summer. They had an awesome wedding party, and were kind enough to include me. There were 14 of us, and we were all super happy to support them! The wedding was amazing, and I was so honored to be part of it. My parents were in attendance as well, and it was fun for all of us. I got to see one of my other good childhood friends (who I had the honor of being a bridesmaid for, as well). It was a great summer, and I love celebrating the people in my life!

What are some of the highlights of 2019? Do you have any hopes for 2020 and the next decade? I hope you all reveled in simple joys like me. And, may the new year treat you well! Sending you all lots of love.

Walking Backwards

For those of you who aren’t close, personal friends, I’m going to let you in on a lil’ secret. I’m finally running my first official half-marathon. Official? I’ve managed to run 13 miles once in my life, back in my varsity cross country heyday when 4-6 miles was the (almost) daily norm. I trained for a solid six years of my life and ran competitively almost that entire time. When I was a teenager, I dreamed of running a half marathon, even possibly doing a triathalon. The triathalon idea was a result of working at the local pool as a lifeguard. My two modes of transportation to begin with were jogging or cycling there. On down time, I got to swim for free, developing stronger swimming skills.

Cut 13 years later (wait, I just got that, YIKES!), and I’m finally doing something I wanted to do all those years ago when I had the body & stamina (but no emotional drive) to do so. I was approximately 50-60 pounds lighter than I am now and was exercising somehow six days a week. I will admit, my training for this half marathon started with a bang, then slowly dwindled…

Today, my passion to get in shape and finish something I started was reignited. I made my way to a famous “landmark” & frequented recreational trail, known fondly to Peninsula denizens as The Dish. This huge chunk of land is used for research by Stanford University (and other scientific orgs., I believe), as it is home to a rather sizeable radiotelescope dish (hence, the name) and a few smaller ones. The acreage also serves as an environmental restoration and habitat conservation area, allowing Stanford biology students to learn. What the rest of use use it for is to get a healthy dose of vitamin D & some milage under our belts. The complete “trail” is approximately 3.5-4 miles, but where I park, at least half to three-quarters of a mile is added on. I think I covered about 4.5-ish miles while at The Dish today. I jogged some flat and downhill bits, walked most of it, and when no one was near, I even walked backwards up some of the hills. I hadn’t planned on doing the entire thing, just up & over, then back. I got two thirds of the way around and decided to keep going, and I am so happy I did.

I’ve been so used to training on a treadmill. Treadmills give the ultimate control and I can force myself to run at a certain pace. Running outside without stats blinking in front of me is so much harder to control when I am training. But, I’ve decided that once a week, I am going to make myself train outside, whether it be at a track or to the library & back or at The Dish. All I need to do now is invest in some high quality running socks that don’t scrunch or chafe or wear thin. My shoes are top notch. Now I need socks to match. Our feet are extremely important, especially when they are pounding away on cement. So, if any of you have suggestions for some great quality running socks, I welcome them!

If you can’t guess, my favorite for today is The Dish. If you live in the Bay Area, I do suggest you utilize this area while the open hours are still extended! Once Autumn & Winter come, the access is limited to reflect the amount of daylight hours. Plan accordingly!