|A Slower Pace Today|
Paul and I are very lucky that Dante is one of the healthiest and happiest kids we have ever been around. So, when he is sick, it really throws us for a loop. At the ripe old age of four years old he had his first fever ever this week. For a kid that hasn't been feeling well since Monday, he is a trooper - never whining or complaining.
He has been watching a steady stream of original Looney Tunes (thank you again Uncle Kevin for gifting him the entire DVD collection over the last four birthdays) and recovering on the couch with plenty of fluids and a steady dose of children's Tylenol.
If there is one bright side to kids being sick its that it slows down your pace. Although the newsletter is typically scheduled to go out today, I have put it on hold. Instead, of pulling it together as I do every Friday morning, I am making breakfast, fluffing pillows and enjoying focusing all of my attention on my kid. In fact, I am going to get off the computer right now and go back to it.
That's all folks!
This Saturday is my birthday and I'm trying to decide how to celebrate. I'm a little bummed that Paul will be at a Mixed Martial Arts seminar in Brea, CA for the weekend. However, this is an event he looks forward to every year as it gives him an opportunity to train with some of the top coaches in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). I did tease him that he needs to tell Erik Paulson, the coach that runs the event, that I'm usually pretty easy going about this kind of stuff, but this is the third year in a row he has scheduled this seminar on my birhday!
The one thing I am looking forward to is taking the entire day off from FFIT, Fearless & Savvy and spending it with Dante. The problem is, I can't figure out exactly what I want to do.
I'd love any suggestions you may have for what I should do to celebrate the day! My only restrictions are that I would prefer not to drive more than an hour and it has to be something Dante can do too - i.e. no wine tasting.
By the way, it's my mom's birthday on Saturday too (I was her 25th birthday gift) so if you see her, wish her a happy birthday as well!
|Thank You Easter Bunny...|
In a few minutes, I will pack Paul, Dante and 48 plastic, candy filled eggs into the Nissan for the two hour drive to my Tia (Aunt) Francis' ranch in Snelling, CA. Once there, we will celebrate the holiday with food, conversation and one of the biggest Easter Egg hunts imaginable.
I am blessed and grateful to be a member of this warm and loving family. Some of my happiest memories are of times spent at Tia Francis' ranch. I am so excited that today, Dante will have a chance to forge his own memories of time with the family.
I wish you and your family a very happy Easter. If you do not celebrate the holiday, I wish you a wonderful Sunday!
|Goodwill & Old Navy - Success!|
I had an unexpected break in my schedule yesterday, so I stopped in at my favorite Goodwill store in San Mateo. After dashing and grabbing about 10 items to try on, I finally settled on a pair of brand new Ralph Lauren jeans that I purchased for $7.49. The color and fit are perfect to dress up with a pair of heels or dress down with sneakers or sandals.
I blew through Goodwill so quickly that I decided to head to Old Navy to see if I could pick up a MUCH NEEDED pair of yoga pants for Fearless. I lucked out there as well and found a new pair of workout pants for $19.50, plus I found three tank tops for just $4.25 each. I grabbed one in white, one in dark gray and one in a beautiful burgundy. During the summer I live in tank tops so I am happy to add a few new colors to my wardrobe. For a total of $39.74, I added five new workhorse items to my wardrobe.
|Speaking of Clutter...|
I just posted an article from a site that alleges Jennifer Aniston is selling her home as a way to declutter her life. Whether it’s true or not, I imagine that celebrities struggle with clutter issues like the rest of us.
My office has become a clutter hotspot recently. As I wrote in my entry, Not-So-Patiently Waiting for Target, I am in desperate need of a new bookcase. Until my coveted furniture item goes on sale, I try not to look at the books stacked in the corner.
Another clutter issue I have is the items for my seminars and speaking engagements. Since Living the Savvy Life came out, I have been doing an increasing number of events so the materials I need have also increased. The loveseat in my office is slowly disappearing beneath a pile of posters, handouts, book holders, tripods and other items. Unfortunately, I haven't found a permanent, easily accessible home for these supplies.
I am making it my mission this week to get these items organized and find a home for them in my office. To ensure it gets done, I am making myself accountable by telling all of you that I’m going to do it. If by Saturday I don’t post that this task has been completed, please send me a barrage of emails encouraging me to – just do it!
|Not-So-Patiently Waiting for Target|
One of the things my husband Paul teases me about is my lack of patience. I like to think of it as an asset because I won't wait around for things to happen. I'll do what I can to make things happen. But, occasionally, it's a nuisance. For example, I've spent the last four Sunday mornings anxiously sifting through Target's Weekly Ad hoping the bookcase I want to purchase for my office goes on sale. Target, like most grocery stores tends to rotate through sale items on a six week basis. If the bookcase is going to go on sale again, hopefully it will happen within the next two weeks. The waiting is driving me CRAZY! I'm almost convinced Target is teasing me! As I not-so-patiently wait, I'll just have to continue to ignore the books stacked in the corner of my office waiting for a permanent home.
|Strawberries and Homemade Whipped Cream|
I know better than to buy strawberries in April. It's not the season. Yet, somehow I was wooed by the bright red berries in the plastic container. Strawberries are Dante's absolute favorite fruit so I thought it would be a nice treat for him.
As I anticipated, the strawberries had no flavor. So, I decided to use a trick my grandmother taught me to liven them up. I sliced the berries, added a tablespoon of sugar and let them sit for a few hours. Last night when we got home from Fearless I made homemade whipped cream (which took less than 3 minutes) and made a simple layered dessert of whipped cream and berries. Dante and I thoroughly enjoyed our decadent and mildly-healthy dessert!
|Quinoa for Breakfast and Dinner|
I think my habit of cooking large batches of food comes from growing up on a farm. As a rule, my mom and grandmother would cook for 10 even if there were only three of us for dinner. Every day I would come home from school and know there were delicious leftovers from the previous night's meal waiting for me as an after school snack.
Now, as a mom and the owner of several businesses, cooking in bulk continues to pay off. Just this morning I cooked a large batch of quinoa, enough for 3 – 4 meals. I immediately ate a serving for breakfast with a teaspoon of heavy cream to add a little fat and creaminess and a teaspoon of Agave syrup for sweetness.
When I get home after teaching at Fearless tonight, I’ll likely have another serving. This time, I’ll add little butter and a few dashes of salt to make it a savory dish. I'm already looking forward to it.
|Act 4: Sunday, March 27th – Celebrity Spotting?|
After three days of nonstop moving, I blissfully slept in Sunday morning until 7am. After a shower and a few cups of coffee I felt more like myself than I had in a few days.
Paul and I lead a very funny life. Between The Savvy Life and Fearless Fitness, it seems that at least one of us is in a constant state of either preparing for a seminar or actually giving a seminar. As much as I love teaching, I was happy that today was Paul’s turn. I looked forward to a day of hanging out with Dante exploring the town of Ojai.
After dropping Kevin and Paul off at the high school, Dante and I headed into town for breakfast. One of Dante’s favorite things to do is to eat at a restaurant. He has very good manners, especially for a four year old, so I was also looking forward to our meal together. We stopped in at a cute place called Bonnie Lu’s Country Café. I had the waffles and turkey sausage which were both outstanding! Dante opted for a hot dog for breakfast. It must have been good because he ate the whole thing!
We then spent the next few hours cruising around. We toured the Farmer’s Market and stopped in at Serendipity Toys. We spent a fair amount of time climbing on the play structures at the local park.
The highlight of our tour for me was a visit to Janis' Art Garden Gallery. It is obvious before you ever get out of your car that this whimsical garden shop is the outlet for a very creative and resourceful artist. Dante and I took our time touring the store, the garden and the art studio in the back. As we were leaving, we met Janis and her daughter and talked to them for a few minutes. If you find yourself in Ojai, you have to stop in and see this shop. It’s like taking a vacation while taking your vacation.
Unfortunately, no matter where we went, there wasn’t a celebrity to be seen. The closest we got was the front desk manager telling us how Alyssa Milano purchased Girl Scout cookies from her friend’s daughter. That’s ok. Paul and I have a policy that we never approach celebrities who aren’t officially promoting themselves. Weird enough, the place we usually run into celebrities is at martial arts tournaments. Most recently, we saw James Hetfield of Metallica at a tournament in San Jose. In retrospect, if I ran into Robert Downey, Jr. at the ice cream shop in Ojai, I’m afraid I would have a hard time not telling him how much I loved his rendition of Sherlock Homes! Although it’s a compliment, it would be intrusive to do while he tried to buy a simple ice cream cone on his day off.
At 2pm, it was time to pick up Paul and Kevin. I accepted that I would have no celebrity encounter that weekend and drove to the high school to get my husband and friend.
It was an easy and enjoyable drive back. When we got home, I realized that my back didn’t hurt from being in the car for almost six hours. Usually, when I am driving mine or Paul’s car, I start having to shift in my seat about an hour and a half into the drive. With the Rav 4, I never even thought about my back. Sadly, Paul did not have as easy of a drive. His 6’ tall frame was not as comfortable so he isn’t as sold on making the Rav 4 our next car.
Getting home on Sunday night and not being beaten down by the drive was an excellent way to wrap up an intensive four day travel schedule. While I don’t wish that all of my weeks include that many miles, I did thoroughly enjoy my adventures!
Savvy Note: During the weekend, there were a few moments that I worried about the possibility of being dissatisfied with my Nissan after driving the new car. After getting a taste of what it’s like to drive the Rav 4, would I be content to drive the Nissan for the rest of its life? I’m happy to say that sliding into the driver’s seat of my Nissan on Monday morning was a pleasurable experience and I am just as happy driving it now as I was before testing out the Rav 4. May it live a long life!
|Act 3: Saturday, March 26th – Onward to Ojai|
There are a lot of perks to owning a martial arts school and one of them is getting hired to teach seminars outside of the school. In addition to teaching Mixed Martial Arts, Paul is a nationally recognized expert in Western Martial Arts (European Sword Fighting). One of our longtime students attends a private high school in Ojai, CA and invited Paul to teach a three hour seminar to the kids in his sword club. I don’t begrudge my high school education, but what I would have given to be able to have a sword club at my school!
Our friend Kevin, who is also a longtime Western Martial Arts practitioner, offered to join us on the trip to help Paul out. With four of us in the car (including Dante) plus the swords, we decided in advance to rent a car. As much as I love my little Nissan, I am aware that it is 16 years old and has over 200,000 miles on it. At some point in the next year or two I will likely need to replace it. I have had my eye on the RAV 4 and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to see if it is the right car for our family and lifestyle. A 12 hour round trip road test will be able to tell us so much more than a typical five minute test drive. A few weeks before our trip I logged onto Hotwire.com and found a RAV 4 for just $35.95 per day at Hertz Rent a Car. Their regular price for the RAV 4 is $47.49. Booking through Hotwire saved me 25%.
On the day of our trip, the rain I had been driving in for the last two days (to PG&E and Fresno on Thursday and back on Friday) continued as I pulled out of the Hertz Rent a Car location and headed to the house to pick up my traveling companions. Once everyone settled in, I found myself back on Highway 101, but this time I didn’t have the stress of a hard deadline. Paul didn’t have to teach until the following day so we had plenty of time to relax and enjoy the drive.
About half way to our destination, we stopped at Pismo Beach to have breakfast at a funky little place called the Shell Café. The food and service were great. I will definitely go back the next time we head to Pismo.
A few hours later we stopped in Santa Barbara and spent a leisurely afternoon touring the shops. The people watching in Santa Barbara is fantastic. Such an eclectic group of – individuals! One disappointing aspect of the shopping district we were in was the amount of chain retail establishments. I find if unfortunate that most of the places we visit in the United States include the same stores we can shop in at home. There were a few exceptions including a well-cared for game store where we purchased a checkers set. I had promised Dante several weeks back that we would teach him how to play.
After window shopping for several more hours, the four of us piled back in the car to make the final segment of our journey to Ojai. When we arrived at our hotel, we could see a helicopter hovering about a mile away. I confirmed at the front desk that it was indeed the paparazzi trying to get photos of Reese Witherspoon’s wedding which was going on at that very moment. I was excited at the thought of potentially spotting a celebrity or two while we were in town.
After taking a few minutes to rest and recuperate at the hotel, we regrouped with Kevin and headed to dinner at The Village Jester pub. I was disappointed in my fish and chips, but Kevin really enjoyed his Mediterranean plate and Paul raved about his shepard’s pie.
At this point, the three days of driving and the Newcastle I had for dinner caught up with me so we headed back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep.
In my next entry, I’ll write about our celebrity hunt and whether or not the Rav 4 lived up to our expectations.