San Diego Sunshine

I just returned from an amazing, sun filled week in San Diego. You would think that, living in Canada, I travel to the United States all the time, but I usually go as far as possible when I travel, so I haven’t been to many states. To be fair, San Diego is really far, probably the furthest place in the States from where I live, so it’s not like I stuck close to home this time either!

I traveled with one of my best friends. She and I went to Spain nine years ago, so I knew we would travel well together! We also have our freak out moments at different times, which is a definite plus while traveling (her: can’t find the bus stop, me: too many people and someone touched me.)

We had originally booked a hostel, but ended up staying in an airbnb house, which was much better. I learned many things on this trip, the most important one being that I’m so done with hostels. I’m a grown-up now, no more sharing a bathroom with 13 people.

San Diego is a big city, and I’m sure we didn’t see everything, but we did as much as we could, and that included relaxing on the many beautiful beaches!

Day 1

We started with mimosas for breakfast, then we walked and walked and walked (over 21 000 steps, according to my fitbit!) We took a guided tour of the city on a trolley and stopped in several interesting places, including Old Town, Coronado and Seaport village.

Day 1

Day 2

We went to the zoo! I was so excited! I have a love affair with giraffes and they were amazing. There was a baby giraffe too. We also saw elephants, koalas, pink flamingos and pandas. There were plenty of other animals too. In the evening, we were so exhausted and were wondering what to do. We didn’t want to go out, but we didn’t want to just hang out around the house either. Someone gave us tickets to an advanced screening of Antman, so we ended up going to the movies!

Day 2

Day 3

Our first beach day. We went to Pacific beach and it was wonderful. There was quite a bit more seaweed than I would have liked, but it was the ocean, so I’m not really complaining. We had Mexican food for lunch, ate gelato and relaxed in the sun. It was a perfect day.

Day 3

Day 4

We took a trip to La Jolla to see the seals. They just lay out on the rocks, sunning themselves and pay no attention whatsoever to the people walking around them taking pictures. It was surreal to get so close to them. Also, they smell really bad. After lunch we left the cove and went to the beach. Less seaweed this time. I bought a hat and it made me feel fabulous.

Day 4

Day 5

Before we left, we booked a culinary walking tour of downtown for day 5. What we didn’t know was that it was the Pride parade, right in our neighbourhood! We missed the parade, but still saw plenty of colour and partying going on. Also, strangely enough, it rained! There was a huge thunderstorm, which is very unusual for San Diego. The end of our tour got canceled, so we got to go on another one the next day.

Day 5

Day 6

We started the day off at the Hillcrest farmer’s market. It was so cool to see people selling food they grow themselves, and there was definitely a different variety than what we have at home. On the way, I stopped at an atm, and it was covered in glitter! The Pride festivities were still going strong. After the market, we headed to North Park for our second culinary walking tour. There was wine. Bliss.

Day 6

Day 7

Our last day was spent in Balboa Park. There are lots of museums in the park, but we wanted to enjoy our last day of beautiful San Diego weather outdoors. We visited the botanical garden, the rose garden and the desert garden. We had to leave in the afternoon to make our flight, but it was the perfect last day in this amazing city.

Day 7

I loved San Diego and I would definitely go back. I enjoy spending a whole week in one city, because it gives me a better feel for a place and I don’t have to pick one or two things to see, I can do it all (almost).

Where to next?

Lake Muskoka

I just spent a weekend, the first of my summer holidays, in a cottage on Lake Muskoka. The cottage belongs to a friend’s family, and she assembled a hodge-podge of friends and family to enjoy the sun, the lake and the laughs over the weekend.

It was a four and a half hour drive up. I’m not always a good road tripper, but I enjoyed spending time with my friend Kara as she told me about her cottage and how she used to live there when she was in high school. She had to cross the lake by boat to go to school. How awesome is that?

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We spent a lot of time on the boat, a lot of time on the dock and a lot of time in the water.

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There were a lot of people around, all the time. The first night, the girls decided to go out to the mainland for drinks and I stayed at the cottage. A few years ago, I would have gone with them, even if I didn’t want to. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss anything, or look like I was being a party pooper. I love the freedom that comes from not caring what other people think.

The second night, there were, again, many people at the cottage. We wanted to make a fire, but it rained, so we stayed in. Late in the evening, everyone decided to play a game. Sometimes, when I’m around people I don’t know very well, I get uncomfortable. It’s all very well and good not to care what people think if I don’t go drinking at a bar, but I also don’t want to be rude. I don’t think the term anxious is the right one here to describe how I feel, because I know people suffer from anxiety, while I mostly feel uncomfortable. I decided to remove myself from the party and go to bed.

While I’m completely fine with my choices, I do feel like not everyone understands them. Some people are naturally outgoing and talk easily to everyone, regardless of the situation. Some people need a lot of time alone. I, like a lot of people, need a mix of both. I’m not anti-social or super-social, I’m regular-social.

All that being said, I had a good weekend at a wonderful cottage. There were magical sunsets and adorable 2 year olds singing Let it go. There were cookies and boat rides, suntans and swimming. The summer is off to a great start!

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Summer days, drifting away

It’s starting to feel like fall. I love fall. I love sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes. I love wearing skirts and boots with no thights. I love the colours of the leaves. I love the way the air smells and how it’s cool but not cold.

However, I also love summer and I wasn’t quite ready to let go! September is usually a slow transition from one to the other, but it feels like fall is here all of a sudden. I’m not quite ready to give up my sandals and summer dresses.

August was a great month for me. After my yoga-bubble month of July, it was nice to have some time to just hang out. I had no plans, I just kind of floated around from beach to cottage, from yoga class to drinks on a patio.

Doing yoga on a boat. Then falling out of fallen angel pose on a boat!

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Yay, I did it!

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More yoga poses!

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And finally just hanging out on the boat!

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Taking pictures by the lake. (This photo shoot did result in a pulled muscle that’s not completely healed, but the pictures are nice!)

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Yoga on Parliament hill.

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Going out for dinner one last time with my friend Julie before she went back to Abu Dhabi. (Also, I cut my hair!)

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More happy moments at the cottage.

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Enjoying the last little bit of summer on the very last day of August.

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Getting some treasures from my mom’s garden.

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I’ve already made potato-leek soup, apple crisp and apple sauce, a yellow bean casserole that was the most amazing bean dish I’ve ever eaten (not that hard since I didn’t think I liked beans until this summer), not to mention salads and juices!

I’ve had a great summer, so I guess I am ready for fall, hot chocolate, crunchy leaves and pumpkins!

To do: Yoga, Be awesome, Repeat

In my last post, I said it didn’t feel like summer. I take it back. Summer is here and I love it. I just had a four day weekend and it felt so much like summer vacation that I was shocked to realize I had to go to work this morning.

What did I do on this amazing weekend of summery bliss, you ask? The best thing ever: yoga! Six yoga classes, to be exact. And one dance class. Yes, it was exhausting, hot and humid. And yes, I loved every minute of it!

Friday night I went to a flow class where the teacher massaged my feet during pigeon pose. Bliss.

Saturday, I went to a flow class that was hot, hot, hot. Made me feel like I was in Cuba again. Bliss. Then, I went out to dinner with my girlfriends, followed by a night out at a club for a cd release party. Bliss.

Sunday, I made it to a detox class where I twisted out all the bad stuff and inhaled lots of good stuff. Bliss. After class, I went to Chapters to buy a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. I need to read it for my yoga teacher training, which starts in just over a week! Went back to the studio for an intro class. When you do two classes in one day, it’s nice to have one that’s a little easier!

Sunday evening, I was supposed to go to a house dance class with my girlfriends. One friend decided not to go, as she’d had a long day at work. When I got to the studio, my other friend sent me a text to say she wasn’t coming. I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t really want to go alone. I considered leaving, but I’d already paid for my class. I decided to stay and I’m so glad I did! It was so much fun. I’ve tried house dancing before, and I’m not very good, but I loved it. Bliss.

Monday was a holiday, so I went to an early class (9:30 is early, right?). Had the amazing feeling I get when I get something done before noon on a non-work day. Bliss.

Had a lunch and movie date with a friend, then back to yoga for a class called Pure Hips. Now, I’ve avoided this class for a long time, based on it’s name. It just screamed “dragon pose” at me. Fortunately, there was no dragon or gecko to be found. It was a lot of rolling out tissues on balls. Sounds weird. It is. It doesn’t feel great, and that means it’s working. It felt good today. Bliss.

Tonight, I went to a yin class that’s got me feeling all soft and sleepy. I can’t believe it’s almost the end of June and the 30 day challenge is almost over!

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Summer solstice

If you were to image the perfect first day of summer, today would be it. It was sunny and beautiful. It was also the last day of school. Actually, yesterday was my last full day with my students, today was a picnic with all the kids and their parents. It was a lovely day. I’m working next week, but only for four days. Then I’m off for the whole summer.

The strange thing is, it doesn’t feel like summer. It’s not about the weather (which has not been happy lately). I think it’s because normally, at the end of June, I look ahead and see two months of lazy days, beach days and sunny days. This year, however, I’m going to be doing my yoga teacher training from July 4th to the 31st, six days a week. It’s not “time off” like I normally have.

I’m excited about this teacher training, and I can’t wait for it to start, but I’m also nervous and a little worried. I get sweaty palms and my heart beats fast when I picture myself talking in front of a group. It’s not the same as teaching kids. I’m a little scared because I don’t know what to expect.

I wanted to do something special for the summer solstice, because it feels like an important day. This day only happens once a year. But then I thought, all days only happen once. If you waste it, you never get it back. So instead of trying to find some meaningful, first day of summer thing to do, I did what was calling out to me. Reading and yoga.

This is not a very exciting way to spend a Friday, but I am tired. I feel like I just let go of one whole school year of thinking, planning, worrying, laughing, and teaching in just one day.

I went to Sasha’s flow class at Pure tonight, and she massaged my feet during pigeon pose. I could just feel the stress and the weight of the year melt away. I spend so much time standing, and my feet were happy for the love.

So, while there was nothing particularly summer solstice-y about my day, it made me happy.

What made you happy today?

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Midsummer madness

If you read my blog last December, you know that I participated in Dressember, which is the amazing challenge of wearing a dress every day for a month. I loved it! The only thing I didn’t like was that I couldn’t show off my most summery dresses. There’s a Dressember facebook page and it was suggested that we do a mini-Dressember in June so we could show off our summer dresses. I posted a few pictures, but here is the whole week.

Day 1

I love, love, love this dress. I love it so much I kind of wrote it a love letter.

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Day 2

It was a rainy, grey day so I tried to wear as much colour as I could to balance it out!

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Day 3

A dress I’ve had for years. I’ve never worn it with blue shoes before.

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Day 4

My red dress. Probably one of my favourites.

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Day 5

I don’t wear a lot of yellow, because it washes me out and people ask me if I’m feeling ok, but this is a light, sunny yellow, so it’s good.

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Day 6

I had another dress picked out, but I overslept and ran out the door in 10 minutes. No time to iron, do my hair or my makeup. At least I still wore a dress. Also, I made it to work on time!

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Day 7

It was very cold and it was raining, so I had to cover most of my dress up. I took two pictures: how I wanted to wear my dress, and how I actually wore it.

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I didn’t wear a dress today, but I’ve still got plenty. If I can remember to take pictures, I’ll share!

My week in Paradise

I have just spent the most relaxing week of my life in Paradise, also known as Cuba. If you’ve never been there, please, drop everything and go right now. I’ll wait. ( … ) See what I mean? Amazing, right?

I left with my mom last Thursday for what had to be the longest day of traveling ever for a 4 hour flight. Just to give you an idea, we left home around 9:30 am and got to the hotel around 10:30 pm. But everything went smoothly, so it’s all good.

When we first got there, it was dark and my mom did not want to go to the beach. I think she was afraid of sharks or lizards or axe murderers. We explored the hotel a little and we didn’t really know what to think. There weren’t many people there and it felt like a ghost hotel. Like Hotel California, which, incidentally, played on repeat all week.

The next morning, however, we woke up to this.

The beach was incredible. White sand, clear turquoise water, even a few crabs. It felt like being in a postcard. There were a couple of piers not too far away, so we decided to walk over and check them out. Afterwards, we were so hot we decided to fling ourselves into the ocean, which tastes like pretzels, by the way, and have another drink.

On our second day there (I think) we took a bus into Varadero. My favourite part was all the old cars. They call Cuba a “rolling museum”. We walked around for a while and got our first glipse of Cuban culture. Varadero is mainly a tourist town, but there are flashes of the real deal here and there.

My favourite day of the week was when we went on a catamaran cruise. I had never been on a catamaran before, and it was so much fun! The weather was perfect, there was a bar on the boat and the bartender, Elvis, (seriously) made the trip into something awesome. He asked everyone where they were from and kept bringing us more drinks. He even got everyone dancing and singing.

The boat brought us to a dolphinarium where I got to meet Jessica the dolphin. It was surreal to actually touch a dolphin! Her skin felt like rubber and I was so worried I would scratch her, but apparently she wasn’t worried because she came pretty close! I was standing on the tips of my toes on a platform in the sea, trying to keep my head above water and not get in the dolphin’s way, in case she thought my braids were fish or something. I even got a kiss! Best part of the day, for sure!

We got back onto the boat where I liked to pretend I was a movie star and had my own private catamaran. All the other people were my movie star friends.

After I was done being a movie star (for the moment, not forever) we went snorkeling. In my case it meant putting on the floating belt, the mask and the tube thingy, then going into the water very, very slowly. This was followed by my not letting go of the rope, sticking my face in the water for approximately 48 seconds and seeing some cool fish and ocean floor before I said “ok, I did it. I’m done now.” The whole process lasted under five minutes. but I did it!

The rest of the day was spent eating lunch on the beach, swimming and drinking on the boat. Bliss.

The other days seemed to flow into each other as we did a lot of reading, swimming, talking and eating. The food was not incredible, for some reason everything tasted the same, but I had a wonderful time being there with my mom. We had drinks, but not as many as I thought, because the combination of the strong sun and the strong drinks was quite potent!

I even found a tree to climb! If you look hard enough, you will always find a tree to climb. Even in a lace dress, it’s possible.

I loved being in the water most of all. I’m not a strong swimmer, but I am an excellent floater! Plus, this was saltwater, so floating was even easier. I floated on my back, sitting up, even standing. My feet didn’t touch the bottom, but I could see it, since the water was so clear. I was float-walking around all week.

I tried to do a wheel on the beach, but it didn’t work so well, because my hands were sinking into the sand and the waves were pulling me into the ocean. It was the only yoga I did all week. I had brought my mat with me, but it was just too hot to practice. Also, I was quite busy doing nothing.

Really, the best thing of all was being there with my mom. We both like to talk and we both like to read, so we were perfect traveling companions for the week!

We also went to Havana, but such a colourful, vibrant city deserves it’s own post, so that will have to wait!