Archive for May, 2014

RECAP // May 2014 on Dig This Jive

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“There’s no shortcut to a dream. / It’s all blood and sweat / And life is what you manage in-between.”
- Lyric from “October” by Broken Bells

I feel as though I’ve fallen short this month. I didn’t post as many articles as I had originally planned for May. I tried breaking into a regional travel magazine, but the editors passed on my story ideas. Lately, these setbacks have made me feel like I’ve been walking ankle-deep in warm sand: I know I should get to firmer ground, but the warmth is so comforting that I wonder what it might be like to just stand around for a bit.

Then, I remember that I’ve also been fortunate many times this month. I celebrated my eighth wedding anniversary, I was published in JEMS, and I finished the 100 Happy Days challenge. Some zucchini and cucumber seeds I planted only a week ago have sprouted. When it was unbearably hot outside during that horrific wildfire week, my home was safe and it stayed cool sans the use of an air-conditioner (we don’t have one).

So, it’s okay that I didn’t make it quite as far as I would have liked to in the marathon that is this blog and my freelance writing career. I made progress (rejection means that I tried). Sure, it didn’t lead to immediate success, but it was enough.

Now it’s time to regain momentum.

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10 THINGS: MARRIAGE | In honor of my wedding anniversary, I dedicated this month’s 10 Things list to a few of the reasons why I love being married to my best friend.

PUBLISHED: JEMS’ MAY 2014 ISSUE | I don’t only write about food, local events, and travel. My latest articles in print, which covered the topics of ambulance backboards and an ambulance outfitted with a CT scanner, appeared in the May 2014 issue of JEMS, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services.

100 HAPPY DAYS: THE FINISH LINE | What you can learn about yourself from taking on (and completing!) the 100 Happy Days challenge.

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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T GO OUT FOR MOTHER’S DAY | A photo essay of the multicultural afternoon tea my husband and I hosted for our moms on Mother’s Day.

LUNCH BOX LIFT: PESTO PENNE WITH CHICKEN SAUSAGE | Add pesto, then presto! How to fancy up your work lunch with an all-too-easy blend of basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan.

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SUNSET CLIFFS: A WALK WORTH REPEATING | Why a stroll along Sunset Cliffs should be a regular activity for every San Diegan.

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PURPLE WITH A PURPOSE | To raise awareness of Lupus, a disease affecting an estimated 1.5 million Americans alone, May 16 was designated as Put on Purple Day. In order to encourage readers to join me in wearing purple on that day and throughout the month, I shared a catalog of clothes and accessories in purple.

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100 Happy Days: The Finish Line

| May 27, 2014

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This challenge started with a simple question, “Can you be happy for 100 days in a row?” Answering “yes” was quick and easy. Backing up my answer took a lot more effort.

I had to find something every day for 100 days that made me smile, feel good, or chuckle. If I was on a 100-day adventure somewhere out in the world and exposed to food, environments, cultures, and people I’ve never known before, finding happy wouldn’t have been hard.

But I wasn’t. Sure, there were the occasional extraordinary events that made the challenge easier: the engagement of two awesome friends, birthday celebrations, a trip to San Francisco, weekends with my cousins and my nephews, reaching Day 50, WonderCon, my wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day. But in-between those instances, I split my time between home and work, which meant I literally had to search for a detail, any detail, that I may not have otherwise realized helps me enjoy my life.

Now, as I look back, I realize that happiness doesn’t only exist in-between the regular, humdrum moments of my life. It doesn’t only live in life-altering events or in places far away from home. Happiness can be found in the hydrangeas my mom gifted to my husband and I this past weekend; in anything I cook, bake, and eat; in the buildings I walk past on my way to work; or on my bookshelf. It’s always around me, especially if I look for it.

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Sunset Cliffs, San Diego: A Walk Worth Repeating

| May 26, 2014

Despite living in San Diego for 17 years, there are still streets I haven’t driven down, neighborhoods I’ve yet to fully explore. I’m still a tourist in the city I’ve adopted as my home town, and I like it that way. It means that there are still opportunities to seek out the unfamiliar, to feel alive with new experiences, to discover things that I’ll add to my “Why I love San Diego” list.

Two Sundays ago, my husband and I strolled along Sunset Cliffs for the first time. It’s a place visited by surfers, joggers, dog walkers, cyclists, recreational fishermen (and their kids), and stand-up paddleboarders, where high schoolers and college students congregate to cliff jump into the high tide even if doing so is prohibited. Every few feet, strangers stop in their tracks to snap a photo of some striking view. Most people keep to the bluff tops, but there are some who go off-trail to sit on the edge of a sandstone formation and stare out to sea.

It’s tough not to become fixated with the changing attitude of the ocean. In one instance it’s rhythmic. Then, in a blink, it’s thunderous. Waves crash against the rocky shores. If you close your eyes, you can hear the fizz of bubbles as the whitewash swirls in turmoil. And for a moment, you push away the mental list of things you need to do that night, tomorrow, or the next day in order to enjoy the present.

Yeah: I look forward to visiting Sunset Cliffs more often.

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Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is located on the Point Loma peninsula, off of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, running from Adair Street to just beyond Ladera Street. The easiest way to get to it is to take Sunset Cliffs Boulevard south off the 5 freeway, through Ocean Beach. // www.sunsetcliffs.info

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LUNCH BOX LIFT // Pesto Penne with Chicken Sausage

| May 22, 2014

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You know those gift box-sized containers of fresh basil at the supermarket? I often wondered how anyone could get through one. This was back when I only used basil as a garnish or in salads, when I would stack the leaves, roll the pile into a cigar shape, and slice strips across the length of the basil cigar for a chiffonade.

Then I learned how to make pesto. Now I get it.

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I follow a Basil Pesto recipe I found on Food Network save two adaptations:

  1. I only use 1/2 cup oil for the entire recipe.
  2. I only add grated parmesan to the pesto when I’m about to use it. This way, the pesto has a longer shelf life in my fridge.

The resulting amount lasts me at least a week as I only need spoonfuls at a time to make quick dinners and lunches like the one pictured.

And I never need to heat it up. I simply add it to hot pasta (either freshly-cooked pasta or heated-in-the-microwave pasta), add a few generous pinches of grated parmesan cheese, and stir. Then, I toss in some cooked chicken sausage (any kind will do) and freshly halved cherry or grape tomatoes. Pack along a piece of organic fruit as well as sticks of carrots, celery, and a helping of my favorite store-bought hummus in a separate container, and I’ve got myself a healthy-enough lunch that’s fancy with flavor.

Should you try making this lunch, I recommend using some kind of open tube, ribbed pasta like penne rigate so that the pesto has something to cling to and fill in.

Buon appetito!

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An Easy Way to Avoid Grill Heat on Memorial Day

| May 20, 2014

It’s simple: Don’t host a Memorial Day barbecue. Instead, find out if there are any Memorial Day events going on in your city, pick one, and roll out to it with some family and friends in tow.

If you’re in San Diego and looking for a spot that will offer prime meats and icy cold craft beers this Memorial Day, consider heading out to Salt & Cleaver in Hillcrest. From 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday, May 26, the kind folk behind The Cleave will offer $2 4-ounce beer tasters, $4 mini sausages, and $10 bottomless mimosas on top of their full menu.

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(Flyer from Salt & Cleaver’s Facebook page.)

My favorite Salt & Cleaver eats so far include the Ribeye, a housemade ribeye sausage that’s laden with goat cheese, roasted Brussels sprouts, and S&C’s secret sauce; and the Duck.Duck.Pig., a housemade duck and bacon sausage topped with duck confit, baconaze, and orange marmalade. You can find both listed under the “Sausages in a Bun” section of the daily menu.

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Salt & Cleaver’s Memorial Day BBQ will take place on Monday, May 26, 2014, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. // 3805 5th Ave., San Diego, CA 92103 // enjoysausage.com

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