doing good

RECAP // October 2014 on Dig This Jive

| October 31, 2014

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Trippin’. I was straight trippin’ this month, but in a completely literal sense.

Between South Pasadena, Santa Barbara, and Joshua Tree, my husband, me and my growing bump logged in some awesome miles around the southern half of our beloved Golden State. We brunched in a hidden city in LA County and admired classic cars painted in saturated colors of the spectrum. We took in views of the ocean from a part of the coast I hadn’t visited before and picnicked in a park with a fine view of a historic mission. We relived the quiet and calm of sitting for hours in the shade of towering monzogranite boulders. And we did it all just as thermostats began to fall under the 80-degree mark.

October is a great time to hit the road. Does that mean November is ideal for nesting? I guess we’ll see.

TOC-Features

10 THINGS: CRAVINGS | What a preggo wants to eat, a preggo gets, even if she regrets it later.

TEN-MINUTE TRIVIA: HAVE A HORRORIFIC HALLOWEEN | Sharpen your horror film knowledge with this 10-question quiz.

TOC-Food-and-Drink

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS | When pumpkin meets chocolate, it’s a very good thing.

TOC-Travel

MY GO-TO SPOT FOR PAN DE SAL IN SAN DIEGO | The Ranchos Peñasquitos bakery I hit up for Filipino baked goods.

4 SAN DIEGO SPOTS FOR PUMPKIN TREATS | What Bread & Cie, Big Joy Family, Bake Sale Bakery, and Bear Buns Bakery have in store to satisfy your taste for pumpkin.

SOUTH PASADENA | Taking in coffee, brunch and a classic car show on Mission Street in South Pas.

SANTA BARBARA | Places to eat and relax like a Santa Barbara local.

JOSHUA TREE 2014 | Camping and climbing in Joshua Tree National Park, California.

TOC-Philanthropy-Charity

BIKE MS BAY TO BAY TOUR 2014 | My husband goes the distance–150 miles–to help raise awareness about multiple sclerosis.

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Bike MS Bay to Bay Tour 2014

| October 29, 2014

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A couple of weekends ago, my husband rode in the Bike MS Bay to Bay Tour. It was his third year participating, and the second time he committed to the 150-mile route. The Saturday leg of the ride was 100 miles (aka a century); it started in Irvine and traveled south to Solana Beach, then east through Rancho Santa Fe to Lake Hodges, north to San Marcos and the 78 highway, and then west to the Sheraton Carlsbad. The Sunday leg was 50 miles and ended in Mission Bay.

I’m damn proud of him.

His training began some time in June and consisted of riding to work while the summer days were still long, riding on Saturday mornings with a local Trek Group, and riding on his own on Sunday mornings. The rides would take between one to a few hours, depending on the length of the course and whether or not there were hills. And, yup: He trained through the crazy summer heat waves, when the temperature at 7:00 a.m. was a muggy 75 degrees and went nowhere but up and up (and up) as the mornings turned into afternoons.

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When the Bike MS weekend finally arrived, my husband prepped that Friday night to reduce the amount of thinking needed Saturday morning. You see, he and other SD riders who didn’t book a hotel in Irvine had to catch a charter bus at 4:30 a.m. that Saturday to get themselves, their gear, and their bikes to the starting line. And, when you aren’t used to being somewhat level-headed at that hour, you devise a plan the night before that’s, hopefully, foolproof.

He cleaned his bike, oiled its gears, and placed it in his car. He set up his water bottles on the kitchen counter to remind himself to fill and pack them in the morning. He packed three bags, one of which included his breakfast and went up with him while the other two went up with me when I drove up to Carlsbad later Saturday morning. After checking, double-checking, and running it all by me in case I could think of anything he’d forgotten, we went to bed at 10:30 p.m.

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On Saturday morning, my phone alarm went off at 3:30 a.m., followed by his clock radio five minutes later. He dressed, then prepped the water and sports drink he’d later pack onto his bike. After graciously posing for a few photos, he left for Mission Bay to catch the charter bus, and I went back to bed to sleep until a reasonable Saturday morning hour.

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I made it to Carlsbad around 11:00 a.m. and was joined by my parents and in-laws at the Day 1 finish line to cheer on the riders and keep a look out for my husband.

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After starting the ride around 8:00 a.m., my husband flew past us and up to the finish about six hours later!

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He and I stayed in Carlsbad overnight so that he could sleep in a little longer on Sunday morning, i.e., until 7:00 a.m. After a quick continental breakfast at our hotel, I dropped him off at the starting line at 7:30 a.m. and then took a leisurely drive down the PCH, eventually heading to Hospitality Point in Mission Bay to wait for him to cross the final finish line.

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I admire the man I married. When he makes up his mind to attack a goal, especially one meant to take its toll physically, he’s all in. He doesn’t flake on his commitment no matter how hard it becomes to reach the finish line. He has an amazing ability to push through self-doubt in order to visualize the end, not because he feels entitled to win, but because he trusts himself to work hard to get where he wants to go.

My husband described the 150-mile ride as a challenge that was often times what-the-hell-was-I-thinking painful, but overall exhilarating. So, of course, he plans to relive that bittersweet feeling next year. Come the end of May 2015, he’ll participate in AIDS Life Cycle, a 7-day journey that starts in San Francisco and ends in Los Angeles. Joining him on that trek will be his older sister, Anne, and our friend Dre.

And cheering with me at the AIDS Life Cycle finish line will be our baby boy! My husband and I can’t wait.

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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.

TOC-Features

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.

TOC-Food-and-Drink

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.

TOC-Travel

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

TOC-Style

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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STYLE // Purple with a Purpose

| May 06, 2014

May is Lupus Awareness Month, an annual call-to-attention to the chronic, autoimmune (and non-contagious) disease affecting an estimated 1.5 million people in America alone.

As explained on the website of the Lupus Foundation of America, a person living with lupus has an immune system that can’t tell the difference between healthy tissue and foreign invaders, such as viruses or bacteria. So, the immune system takes an aggressive approach to defending the body: since it can’t selectively attack pathogens, it assaults everything, including healthy tissue. This autoimmune response causes inflammation, pain, and mild to life-threatening damage to various parts of the body.

To raise awareness of the disease as well as funds to find a cure, May 16 has been designated as Put on Purple Day. On that Friday, I’m going to put on purple in support of “A,” my talented, strong, independent, caring, funny, and beautiful friend who lives (and dances!) with lupus.

If you’d like to join me, but your wardrobe has a purple gap, check out this catalog of frocks and accessories in varying hues of violet. Simply take note: The only item in this list that’s simultaneously a donation to the Lupus Foundation of America is the purple wristband.

You can also donate to the Lupus Foundation of America online. Every little bit helps, from the dollars to the display of support!

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1. Striped Lightweight Sweater in Deep Blue Violet, $54.50 at Loft.com
2. Lupus Awareness Wristband, $10 for 10 wristbands at ShopLupus.org
3. Zoya Nail Polish in Monica, $9 at Zoya.com
4. Fine-Knit Cardigan in Plum, $12.95 at H&M
5. Abiding Beauty Dress in Purple, $44.99 at Modcloth.com
6. Split Neck Tunic, $64 at Nordstrom.com
7. American Apparel bow clip, $10 at AmericanApparel.net
8. Retro Rosie Earrings in Violet, $9.99 at Modcloth.com
(All photos taken from each respective website.)
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RECAP // February 2014 on Dig This Jive

| February 28, 2014

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While sitting on our couch one evening last week, my husband pinched the little bit of roll at his waist. He sighed, looked up at me and said, “This is your fault.”

Over the last four weeks, I baked two types of brownies before I decided to run with the recipe for Rich Cocoa Brownies with Salted Caramel. I made three batches of Lemon, Lime, and Mint Cookies to get the process and timing down. I also bought macaroons from Big Joy Family and a Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Tart from Bread & Cie so that I could take photos of them for the San Diego Pastry Spots post. Even though we brought a lot of the treats to our respective offices to share with co-workers, there were still days worth of dessert waiting for us at home.

So, yes: I suppose I am to blame for the extra bit of weight we’re both carrying into next month. But I’m not worried about it. We’re active people who normally eat a lot of organic fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, so I’m sure we won’t wear the supplementary sugars from this past month for long. Until the handful of pounds melt away, there’s a little bit more of my husband to hug and a little bit more of his cheek to pinch. Such truths may not help his body image, but they sure as heck add to his cuteness.

Beyond the sweets, this month was dedicated to appreciating the people in our lives, whether it by spending time with them, cooking for them, giving them a gift, or rooting for their well-being. I hope at least one post this month inspired you to take advantage of the time you have with the people you love.

TOC-Features

DATE IDEAS IN SAN DIEGO | While you can’t lose with a fancy dinner, there are plenty of others places to take a date San Diego.

4 FAVORITE SAN DIEGO SPOTS FOR FRESH BAKED PASTRIES | Where I like to go in San Diego for delicious baked goods, from macaroons and tarts to doughnuts (which are technically fried) and bread.

10 THINGS: LOVE | Here’s to reserving the word “love” for the times when I truly mean it.

TOC-Travel

100 HAPPY DAYS: AN INTRO | For the next 100 days, I’m going to take and share a photo of something that’s made me happy. Join me!

HAWAII: TANTALUS AND ROUND TOP DRIVE | What it was like to see Honolulu from the back of a scooter.

TOC-Food-and-Drink

RICH COCOA BROWNIES WITH SALTED CARAMEL | For when you want to get real about baking brownies.

LEMON, LIME, AND MINT COOKIES | My variation on a delicious cookie recipe from Bon Appétit.

TOC-DIY

FREE VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT TAGS | Top any present you give to your S.O. with any one of six gift tags, all of which can be printed for free from your home computer.

TOC-Style

CORAL COLLECTIVE | A catalog of coral-colored clothes, accessories, and home goods that caught my website-wandering eye.

VALENTINE’S DAY GIFTS FOR THE FELLAS | All of the items on this gift guide, from a Ron Swanson print to bow ties and pocket squares, are priced under $50 before shipping.

VALENTINE’S DAY GIFTS FOR THE LADIES | Give the woman in your life something classy without breaking the bank.

TOC-Philanthropy-Charity

BECAUSE WOMEN GET HEART DISEASE, TOO | How to raise awareness about the ways women can prevent, and survive, heart disease.

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