Couch Week


Couch Week selfies... the blurrier the better. 

Ah, the end of Couch Week(s).

Ever since 2008, I've had the foresight and fortune to take the last week and a half of the year off from my job. And over the years this magical time has become known as Couch Week. Mostly, because I don't like to go too far from my couch. This is a time for naps, TV, cuddling with the dogs, TV, crocheting, TV, crafts, TV, reading, TV, and eating. And TV.

During this year's festivities I've watched about 20 episodes of guilty pleasure television, 5 movies, and the new Britney Spears documentary. I baked some sugar cookies (with a nutella surprise), made a giant dream catcher, got halfway through a book, did a TON of laundry and thought. A lot.

The one thing that I didn't do? Blog. I put it off to take a step back and plan for what I'd like to see this blog become in 2014. It's time for a fresh look, fresh outlook, and a new focus. And right now? It's also time to get off the couch, throw on a sparkly dress and prepare for our friends to head to our place for New Year's Eve.

Hope you ring in the New Year with someone special!!! And get ready for a bunch of surprises in 2014!

On Dasher, On Dancer, and ...


This morning, I'm sharing my favorite holiday memory over on the lovely Devon's blog, The Tale of a Mermaid. As I told Devon, a major part of our holiday traditions each year when my brother and I were kids was watching "Prancer" at my dad's house on Christmas Eve. Lo and behold, I found out that the whole thing is on YouTube. Which may or may not have made my Christmas this year.

I know what I'll be doing later. :)

Gifts for the Boho Beach Babe


Luxury Beach Towels // $149 from Fresco Towels - If there's one thing your surfer girl could use it's a new beach towel. The luxuriously huge Fresco Towels are made here in the U.S.A. with 100% Turkish Cotton and they really are the softest, fluffiest towels around. With over 50 designs to choose from, there's a dreamy pattern for everyone.

Billabong Secret Moon Boho Top // $54 from Swell - Minimalist boho at it's best. Loose and lovely, you can't go wrong with sizing on this one.

Mermaid Towel Hooks Trio // $36 from Boldhouse - Between bikinis, towels and wetsuits, your beach bum could use one or two of these adorable mermaid hooks.. so why not get her three?

Foam Magazine Subscription // $9.99 from Foam Magazine - FOAM ("Fashion Ocean Art Music") has been my favorite magazine since I came across my first issue in 2004. It's a great beach read and an endless source of inspiration for all things foamy.

Pura Vida Feather Charm Bracelet // $20 from Swell - I drive past Pura Vida's offices in La Jolla every night on my way to Bikram Yoga and I wish more people knew about the great mission behind this local company. Give with a purpose: every bracelet purchased helps to provide jobs for full-time artisans in Costa Rica.

Island Girl Sunglasses // $18 from Free People - Free People has surprisingly durable and affordable sunglasses, like these cute sunnies with a pop of island blue.

Mermaid Mala // $108 from Tiny Devotions - Made from Amazonite and Ocean Jasper, the Mermaid Mala is described as an "extremely calming stone that strives to align one’s center through love." I own this one and I wear all the time so the ocean never feels far away.

RVCA Khan Woven Cover Up // $49.50 from Swell - It may be cold outside now, but this sunny cover-up will give her something to look forward to or inspire a getaway to warmer weather.

Lifeproof iPhone Case // $79.99 from LifeProof - Let her Instagram, Tweet and Facebook her heart out at the beach without worrying about getting sand or water in her phone. The LifeProof case is dirt, shock and waterproof, making it beach-proof too.

Seashell Wine Glass Charms // $14 from Zealand Boutique - For your Sunday brunch hostess, these adorable seashell glass charms are made for her bubbly-popping household!

2-Person Cotton Hammock // $61 from hamanica - For some, the beach may be farther away than they'd like. Bring a little aloha to their backyard with a gorgeous boho hammock. I love, love, love our hamanica hammock but even if you order now, be warned that it may not get there in time for the holidays. Print out an image of the hammock and gift it with a couple of outdoor throw pillows to let them know it's on it's way.

Sun Bum Moisturizing SPF // $15.99 from SunBum - If she's a sun worshipper, there's one thing she'll never have enough of: sunscreen. Get her the best!

Surfrider Foundation Membership // $49 from Surfrider - The Surfrider Foundation works hard to protect the beaches, waves and oceans she loves the most. This year, with a $49 membership, she'll also get a $50 giftcard to!

September and October Reads


buy: 1 | 2

September and October were pretty nonfiction heavy, what with reading my beautiful cousin's anorexia memoir and with Ryan and I listening to the audiobook version of the biography of Steve Jobs. September and October were also over a month ago... something I only realized today when I was trying to remember if I did my reading wrap-up from the fall (Spoiler alert: I didn't).

I did however break into the double digits for books read, which sadly, is better than I did in 2011 and 2012 combined. Now that I have my iPad and am furiously trying to finish up a final couple of books on my Kindle app, I think that I will finish out the year with a decent number of books under my belt, but no where near my #50Books goal for the year. There's always 2014!

Purged by Shane K. Rotkis - Throughout my preteen and teenage years, I had no need to be concerned about weight. After all, I hovered around 100 lbs. Yet I was very worried that all my friends were on "diets" and I wasn't. I remember thinking that they knew something that I didn't... that we were all going to suddenly gain 20 lbs soon or that I should be skinnier. I struggled on and off with how I was supposed to feel about my size, but thankfully, I never developed anything close to resembling an eating disorder. My friends, however, did. And after reading my cousin Shane's memoir, "Purged" about her own struggles with anorexia and bulimia, I could see how easily things could have been very different for me. I read "Purged" as both a family member and as a woman who has seen several loved ones affected by various eating disorders and self-esteem issues. As a family member, I was stunned by how many thought impulses and viewpoints Shane and I have in common, despite the distance between us growing up (both in time and in age). Her courage to be transparent about her life reminded me that it's important to be transparent about my own - you never know who you'll connect with that way. As a woman, this book was eye-opening in so many ways to the brutal nature of these diseases. Shane captures them viscerally and it is a must-read for parents, friends and family of those who are currently battling anorexia or bulimia.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson - I have to say, this biography has been as inspiring as it has at times been surprising. I worked for Apple Retail for a while when Jobs was alive and it was his sister Mona Simpson's novel "Anywhere But Here" that first showed me the freedom and power to be found in storytelling. In these seemingly little ways, my life has been affected by him far past the larger impact he had on society through the innovations he led in technology, music, and design. That connection, however small, is what encouraged me to start this 630 page / 25 hour undertaking in the first place. But it was worth it. This biography was great and chock full of perspectives and anecdotes that I absolutely loved. I also think it's a great read for anyone pursuing a dream - whether they are an entrepreneur or artist, his story has something to inspire everyone. The book really helps to illustrate Jobs's flaws and failings in a way that shows how they led to his successes and the lessons there alone make it worth reading. But the journey through contemporary history and the detailed insight into the life of a modern da Vinci is just as enjoyable on its own accord.

'50 Books' Progress: 11/50

(Un)Motivation Thursday: My Carlsbad (Not) Training Plan


The Carlsbad Marathon is 6 weeks away and I haven't been running at all.

Like at all. My last logged runs were in the first week of November. Before that it was sporadic over the course of September and October. Before that.... was 26.2 miles on June 2nd.

I think I'm in trouble.

By this point in my training for the Rock N Roll, I had logged about 200 miles. Obviously I can't pull those miles out of thin air now. Truthfully? I don't want to. It's dark by the time I get home at night and I don't feel safe running alone in the dark. And with the holiday season, it feels like there is so much to do after work and no time to do it. Running just doesn't seem to fit into the plan. Plus... it's cold out.

You know what's not cold? The Bikram studio. Which is where I've been hiding while I haven't been running. It feels necessary to go there this time of year, not only for the warmth, but for the way it slows down life for 90 minutes. As I spend more time back in the studio, I remember why I fell in love with it in the first place. I had the chance to go on Thanksgiving morning last week (above) and it was so nice to be able to start my day that way. I wish I had the flexibility in my schedule to start every day with bikram.

But back to the marathon: I had a moment of panic over the weekend and looked into switching to the half but it's too late. So I have a Plan B: I'm going to start training for LA and just pretend Carlsbad is one of my long runs for that training. Either way, I have to let go of any stress I have over it and focus on what I can achieve before then.

Am I the only one who's ever been totally unprepared for an upcoming marathon? Probably.

11/18/13 - 11/24/13 Health and Fitness Stats:
  • 3-Day recovery / rest week 
11/25/13 - 12/1/13 Health and Fitness Stats:
  • bikram x3

Car Camping Checklist


Yesterday evening we got a text from our friend Heather asking us to join her and some friends who were camping up in Carlsbad. The sun was setting and we had no plans for the evening so within about an hour we were dressed, packed and on the road with the dogs. Nights like these are part of why I moved to California: last minute adventures outdoors, winter bonfires on the beach...

I also was looking for an excuse to really put my new favorite tote bag, the Santa Fe Gold Tote from Fresco Towels, to good use. I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to travel, so a giant tote is all I really need to pack for a night or two away. Here are my go-to essentials for an impromptu car camping trip:

-Pillows and blankets
-3-4 large pashminas to hang as curtains for privacy
-Phone charger
-Water bottle
-Toothbrush and toothpaste
-Dry shampoo (I love Sachajuan Volume Powder) and a brush 
-Toilet paper
-Hand sanitizer
-Food / snacks
-Wine and/or beer
-Wine key / corkscrew / bottle opener
-Fireball whiskey
-Solo cups
-Duct tape
-Lighter / matches
-Book or eReader
-Plastic bags for trash
-Dog food and bowls

It was actually my first time camping in Carlsbad and it was dark when we finally got to the campsite, so waking up next to these gorgeous coastal views was a bit of a surprise for me. But it was also a perfect start to the out-of-nowhere arrival of December (December?!), all snuggled up in the Versa with Ryan, Brewer and Banjo. 

As we were driving home early this morning, I thought about how grateful I am that we can do stuff like this. It's days like these that I remember you should never take your health or your lifestyle or your circumstances for granted. If you can, while you can... take advantage of your ability to drop everything and have a last minute adventure. Pack a bag, hop in the car and just go. Sometimes waking up with the person (and animals) you love somewhere new in the great outdoors is a necessary reminder of how beautiful things can be.