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Climb the Mountains and Get Their Good Tidings

I love Yosemite.

Seriously.

Amazing views, beautiful waterfalls, huge trees, ancient granite peaks.

And March is the best time of year to visit! The weather’s warm, even balmy, in the valley around the middle of March and all of the ice has nearly melted from the lower portion of Yosemite Falls. Lots of deer and coyotes.

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Not that I’d want to run into a coyote.

We had a few hours in the park before dinner at the Ahwahnee Dining Room, so we “hiked” to Bridalveil Falls, Lower Yosemite Falls, the Meadow Loop, Visitor Center and finally the Ahwahnee Hotel.

Notice the quotations aroundΒ hiked. These trails are so impeccable, level and paved that I feel a little embarrassed to consider them “hiking trails”. More like a nice, long walk. We even ran into a member of the hard-working Trail Crew clearing the paved paths of leaves and loose gravel. Crazy!

We had Coach with us and he had a blast! We wore him out and he slept in the car through dinner. Have you seen the dining room before? Beautiful!

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I had the chicken, JBoat had prime rib. And we split a caesar salad, an endive and blue cheese salad, a French onion soup (made with vegetable broth – major score!) and a cheese cake.

I feel gross admitting that. But I definitely walked enough to cover it πŸ˜‰

Such a great day. I hope we can get back soon to check out Mirror Lake and Happy Isles!

Here’s the latest print, by the way. Again, click and print at 100% for 5x3in! Enjoy πŸ™‚

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Sick and Tired

If you don’t want to read my whining, skip the next few lines πŸ˜‰

So things have been stupid busy lately.

Ya. Stupid.

And I’ve had a terrible cold. Really has kept me down.

I ran an event a few weeks ago and injured my shoulder. Which is giving me tremors down my right arm.

What? I know.

And I’m just sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Done complaining now. Read on!

I discovered a few things in February:

A tablespoon of honey and a fourth of a teaspoon of cinnamon is better for a cough than any over the counter syrup.

A deep tissue massage can hurt, but is way more beneficial to your health than a wimpy one!

Getting out of town more often will add years to my life.

My dog is super cute, even if he STILL isn’t potty trained. And he makes my husband’s work trips more bearable (because I’m not alone in the house anymore :)).

Can’t wait to share some fun things and catch up.

If you’ve caught whatever funky flu/cold is going around…try the honey. It’s amazing.

I Really Do Believe

So….

I got a new computer!

I’m so excited.

I had a 2008 MacBook Pro. 15 inches. It was a great machine. Until it started to glitch.

Like, the screen would malfunction and the machine would Kernel Panic. About twice an hour.

It’s really difficult to design anything when your computer previews all whites as blues. Ugh.

So my new computer is like a sunny day after a year of terrible weather. Yes. I am that cheap. I waited an entire year and lost lots of work in the process. But that’s all over now and I can see clearly now the rain is gone!

And a new computer calls for a new desktop background. Duh!

This desktop background (obviously) features the Submarines design I posted earlier. It is another free download and is 2880 pixels wide by 1800 pixels tall – enjoy!

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming up! Any plans? I personally love Valentine’s Day. Just romance me and I’ll be the happiest Valentine ever.
I’ve only been asked to be someone’s Valentine once. There was a boy who lived on my street and was a few years younger than me, but he made me the cutest card and everything. I think I was in 5th grade.
Here’s a little number inspired by V-Day:

Valentine's Day

 

Just inspiration. I would never spend $915 on a cardigan…even if it is cashmere πŸ™‚
even&odd summer day dress, $54 / Derek Lam cashmere cardigan, $915 / Accessorize ballerina flat / Wendy Nichol stud earrings / Bangle bracelet / Topshop, $9.48

Frack That

You may (or may not) have heard the rumors.
Hydraulic fracturing has come to California.
Yep. Our geologically delicate, ecologically rich, water-needy, coastal state is preparing for fracking.
I’m no fool, I realize there’s lots of oil to be harvested in California. And I know it won’t be the first time California has faced the rush and consequences that come with the output of natural resources. Gold mining, clear-cut logging and over hunting all supersede fracking and we’re working toward recovering from these incidences. The sea otter population can come back, clear cut forests can be rehabilitated and the ghost towns left behind by gold prospectors can be memorialized. But what exactly are the consequences of fracking for oil?
Or…what is fracking?
First things first. Oil and gas require slightly different fracking methods. Gas wells created by fracking can be “re-fracked” if you will several times. Oil wells – just once. Almost all of the research done on the consequences of hydraulic fracturing involves gas wells.
Great.
Fracking for oil begins with a well drilled 6,000-7,000 feet deep that then continues horizontally along shale formations. Explosives are then set off within the well, causing the rock around the well to fracture. Further fracturing the rock involves forcing hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, chemical compounds (many unidentified by the companies due to their status as ‘trade secrets’) and natural gasses or sand into newly drilled wells. This mixture is commonly referred to as fracking fluid, and many corporations insist they recycle 95% of the produced water (water now polluted with chemicals). How they manage to do so, I’m not sure. Once the produced water is removed from the well, production begins.
Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, there are several issues involving fracking specific to California. Our earthquake-sensitive state could be endangered by the use of explosives and high-pressure streams of fluid being set off thousands of feet below the surface. And because companies employing fracking methods are not required to give local governments (state or otherwise) fair warning as to their activities, how can Californians be sure these companies have done the research necessary to avoid sensitive fault areas? Fracking is also unmanaged by the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act or the Clean Air Act.
Sounds about as un-Californian as an operation can get.
Most of California’s water is snow melt off from the Sierras or groundwater. The produced water left over from fracking isn’t always stored so properly. Take a look at how it’s being stored in Pennsylvania:

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If antifreeze can seep out of septic tanks and into groundwater, just imagine what’s happening to the earth surrounding the plastic-lined “pond”.
Central California is home to some of the most beautiful spaces in our state.

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Monterey. Big Sur. Santa Cruz. The end of the redwood range (or the beginning, depending how you look at it), countless vineyards. The condor, elephant seal and sea otter all make their homes here and are all recovering species. Why not demand to know what sort of effects fracking could have on their habitats?
Because fracking is monitored solely by its employers. That’s right: the people using fracking for profit are the ones doing the research and releasing their findings. There is no one holding them accountable and Jerry Brown isn’t getting involved.
Geez.
Californians need to stand up and defend what is theirs. Most fracking goes on on public land managed by the BLM. We all have a say in how this land is used because it’s ours. We pay for it. Urge your local government to consider placing strict restrictions on fracking. If it’s really not that bad for the environment and people involved, the corporations using this method should be flexible.
So let’s stretch them.

Submarines

Do you like the Lumineers?

Wait. Rephrase.

Who doesn’t like the Lumineers!

The extreme popularity of the band’s single, “Ho, Hey” (and, in my opinion, an awesome performance on Saturday Night Live πŸ™‚ ) helped propel the Lumineers into mainstream music. And I’m so glad – their self-titled album is my current fave. I listen to it on the way to work, while I’m running errands, while I’m making dinner…my Spotify membership is showing it’s true value!

When I listen to the Lumineers, I can’t help but picture designs inspired by their lyrics. Here’s one for you πŸ™‚ As always, it’s free to download! Simply click on the image below to print the full size (8 in x 5in). And yes, I added a word. “In”. It was just starting to bother me that there was no “in”. So I added it.

But it’s free. So no hard feelings, right? πŸ˜‰

Griffith Quarry

We’ve been having great weather lately, so we took full advantage of a relatively warm Monday and went exploring at Griffith Quarry, a historical landmark and local park in Penryn. This quarry was opened in the 1800s and much of the granite extracted from it was used in the building of the State Capitol building. There a museum on site that once served as the quarry’s office, but it was closed. We picked one of the trailheads and started wandering on our own

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We headed down this set of stairs and I just had to get a picture πŸ™‚
So unusual.
And we followed a trail that lead us around the perimeter of the old quarry. It was so beautiful! Lot of green, even in the winter. I hope to go back again in the springtime, some buds were already visible on tree branches.

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The views were amazing from the tops of the old excavation sites.

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And then, there’s this guy πŸ™‚

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The quarry must be pretty deep and is now filled with water. The color of the algae growing there is a bright green.

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Griffith Quarry is a dog friendly park, so we took Coach along. He had so much fun scampering around.

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We had a great time. I would recommend it to anyone nearby! The museum is only open on Saturdays and Sundays, but it would be nice to go back on one of those days to get some more information about the old quarry.

How to Fake a Clean Home

Every week, JBoat and I have people over.
Yes. Every week.
And when I say people, I mean el pueblo. The village. 35 people on average per week. You could say our home is everyone’s home πŸ™‚
I love hosting. What I don’t love so much is cleaning. Most days, our home is very tidy. But when it comes time for the once a week thorough cleaning, we need at least 3 hours to take on the entire home. So, here are some tricks I use if time is running short.

1. Use a hand vacuum to clean hardwood floors and upholstery
If you don’t have time to sweep (and, like us, your full-sized vacuum kicks up dirt on hardwood), save some time by vacuuming in corners and near countertops, tables or furniture with a hand vac. I also use an upholstery attachment to vacuum pet hair off furniture before having people over!

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2. Use a microfiber rag for dusting
Forget feather or Swiffer dusters. These products simply “remove” dust by spreading it. Then, it’ll settle elsewhere and your home will be as dusty as it was before you dusted! Serious waste of time. Microfiber cloths catch and hold dust in a quick swipe. Much better.

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3. Clear out clutter
Cut your cleaning time way down by eliminating piles of mail, shoes, clothes, etc in advance. When the mail comes inside, I sort it right way and out Jboat’s in his desk. Our clothes go into hampers when dirty and away when clean. Dog toys get put away daily. Keys go on hooks in the kitchen. This means we have less scrambling to do before someone drops by!

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4. Clean all surfaces before cleaning floors
I know it seems silly, but this will save time! Don’t end up repeating cleaning steps because there were crumbs on the table that spilled on your freshly cleaned floors. Clean table tops and counters, dust shelves and shake out rugs before vacuuming or sweeping. And, clean all glass, stone or laminate countertops and tables before moving onto another step. Cleaning by surface type instead of by room means you’ll save time by not having to change out cleaners several times (unless you keep a set of cleaning solutions in each room!).

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5. Get your home smelling clean!
Again, this might seem frivolous, but get some fresh air in your home. Leave windows open in the mornings or afternoons to clear out any “musty” smells. Put a slice of lemon through your food processor. Throw any blankets in the dryer for a quick refresher. Light some candles or turn on a ceiling fan. Ah πŸ™‚

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What do you do to get ready for el pueblo in a hurry?

Warm California Winters

Warm California Winters

 

A.P.C. cropped sweatshirt / J Brand slim jeans / H&M shoes, $13 / Triangle earrings / Mulberry wrap scarve / Wayfarer style sunglasses / Revlon, $6
Winter days are getting warmer here in California! I can even leave the windows of the house open in the afternoons. It’s so nice to get some fresh air after the crazy freezing temperatures we’ve had here over the past several weeks! Here’s an idea of what I’ve been wearing ^. I like to keep my outfits colorful and not too casual.Β And if it’s a little chilly out, I grab a jacket and trade my flats for boots! I love California πŸ™‚