Happy New Year, 2021!


Well, I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog/website. In all honesty, 2020 was a very stressful and chaotic year not only for everyone else, but also for myself. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ™

2020 started off rather quiet. For those who donโ€™t know, since July 2015, Iโ€™ve been a caregiver to my parents and brother, so I donโ€™t always get an opportunity to take some time for self care. However, my No. 1 BFF (LM) and I had spoken for months about taking a road trip together in March. Although I was a little hesitant to go on this trip because COVID-19 was at its beginning stages, my friend convinced me that we should go because I would regret it later on.

Somewhere in California.

 

The Brady Bunch home in Studio City. Exterior shots of this real home were used for the series.

 

Portraits of actress Rita Hayworth at the Hollywood Museum.

 

One of my favorites, Natalie Wood, at the Hollywood Museum.

 

Paid my respect to one of my other favorite actresses.

 

Olvera Street is a wonderful place to visit for some great food and souvenirs!

 

A quote as you enter the Getty Villa.

 

One of the beautiful pools located at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.


We originally had tickets to see Carol Burnett speak in Los Angeles, but the day before LM and I were to leave, a spokeswoman from the venue called me stating the show was going to be rescheduled in the fall and if I wanted to save my tickets for thenโ€”which I quickly said โ€œnoโ€ since I already knew my schedule was going to be hectic. As we proceeded to L.A., we had intentions of visiting many familiar attractions, like the Santa Monica Pier and The Grove, but we ended up cutting our trip short. The fact was that it was raining the entire time we were there and the COVID virus was playing more of a prevalent role in our minds, which is why we drive home a day early.

The stay-at-home order, which was implemented the Tuesday we returned home, certainly put a damper on our future plans, as well as everyone elseโ€™s. I still continued with my role as caregiver, which meant going grocery shopping (sometimes to multiple stores) and running errands for my family, amongst other things.

In the midst of the pandemic, Iโ€™m very grateful to the โ€˜man upstairsโ€™ that none of my friends and family have gotten sick. I do know extended family members and other friendsโ€”who live elsewhereโ€”who had COVID symptoms, but thankfully are feeling better now.

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a complete dud! ๐Ÿ’ฉ One thing is for certain: Iโ€™m eternally grateful for my parents, brother, sister, nieces, nephew and closest friendsโ€”who are pretty much like family. Iโ€™m also thankful for my health, for having a roof over my head and food on the table, and for the support and love of my family and friends. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝโค๏ธ๐Ÿ™‚

My intentions for 2021 are to take some more ME time. These last couple of years have been difficult for me because I havenโ€™t been able to work nor pursue my passion for writing. Nonetheless, I intend to work on my goals (again) and pray 2021 will provide me with more opportunities, which will benefit my future.

Hereโ€™s to good health, happiness, new ventures, love and prosperity in 2021! ย ๐Ÿ’‰๐Ÿ“โค๏ธ๐Ÿ“…๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿ™‚

Remembering My Grandma

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Your strength, courage and perseverance is what pushed you to emigrate to this country.

Raising six children alone was not easy. ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿฝ

The sacrifices you made and the risks you took to give them and your grandchildren a better life did not go unseen.

I will be forever indebted to you for what you did for all of us: to provide a better, enriching life. ย ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝโค๏ธ

I take pride in having known you for just a short time.

But it was in that short time that I discovered your strength, determination, hard work and never giving up are all traits you have passed down to me.

I will continue to push towards achieving my goals and dreams, and will always look above to say “thank you” for being a part of my life and for guiding me in to who I am today. ๐Ÿ™‚

Goodbye 2019. Welcome 2020!

 

Happy New Year! May you have an amazing year…one filled with joy, good health, love and prosperity! ๐Ÿ“…๐ŸŽ‰

Well, a new decade is upon us and I have neglected updating my blog/website. The fact is, I just haven’t had much time to do so…until now.

I initially hesitated writing this post because I thought I’d be perceived as complaining. Recently, three people I know advised me that I should share more of my experiences here because I could perhaps help someone; maybe they’re also going through something similar. You see, in July 2015, my life was ‘turned upside down’ when my parents and brother each dealt with their own health crisis. At the time, I was two semesters away from completing my university studies. Thankfully, in May 2016, I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies as scheduled and believed I would find my ‘dream’ career, and that my parents and brother would be healthy again. Sadly, none of that happened. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

 

Applying for multiple jobs quickly became a ‘full-time’ job. Then came the numerous rejection emails I received for these jobs, which then became very taxing. I didn’t know what my next step would be. Since I wasn’t getting hired, the dutiful daughter and sister in me stepped in and became their caregiver. Honestly, I had NO idea what to expect in my new role. There were some days I’d find myself taking my brother to an appointment in the morning and then taking my father to his appointment in the afternoon. Add in running errands for them and then alternating between my father and brother in taking them grocery shopping because 1) it gives them personal autonomy and 2) it also gives them an opportunity to get out of the house for a bit. However, the going back and forth has made me feel like a ping pong ball and has worn me out. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

I’m extremely close to my parents and older brother, and I’ll do just about anything for them. But there have been several occasions where I just can’t keep up with everything because Iโ€™m tired–tired to the point that my own โ€˜to doโ€™ lists never get done. ๐Ÿ˜” Sometimes I don’t think they realize that I need MY own time and space to recharge, and to take care of myself. For four years now, I’ve placed my life on hold so I can be available to them. However, trying to juggle my own needs and problems (yes, we all have them), well, it’s taken a toll on me…emotionally, mentally and physically. I try to find time for myself, such as going for a walk or treating myself to something I enjoy doing, but it can be difficult sometimes. This reminds me of the quote by Eleanor Brownn, “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” It’s also difficult asking my older sister for help because she work full-time. If I let her know ahead of time, she can usually take my father or brother to their appointments. I’ll continue to ask my sister for assistance in the hopes that I can take more breaks. Another solution is having someone else come in and help my parents and brother a few times a week for a few hours. This will give me some respite so I can pursue other things.

I’m constantly thinking about the goals I haven’t accomplished. In 2020, I plan to develop more content and work on some writing projects, which I’ve had to put off. I pray this new decade will provide me with new opportunities (yes, a career is still at the top of my list) so that I don’t have to worry (much) about my future. โœ๐Ÿฝ

I’m grateful that my parents and brother are doing fine right now (thank goodness). ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ They know I’ll always be there for them. But from this day forward, I need to put myself first and work on the life I was intended for.

These two quotes will be my constant reminder to live MY life and to take care of myself.

 

 

 

A classic song to welcome 2020. ๐ŸŽฉ๐Ÿ™‚

Intro to Vedic Cooking

This beautiful piece is located at the dhyana Center.

 

Last Saturday, I was fortunate to take a two-day course, titled Edible Ayurveda, with my brother at the Dhyana Center, which is located in downtown Sebastopol. My brother’s friend, DeAnna Batdorff, is the owner of the center. My brother and DeAnna have been good friends for about 20 years, which is around the same time he began studying Ayurveda. Seeing my brother with DeAnna warms my heart because he loves studying with her! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ“š

 

The Root Beer Float, a popular drink found at the dhyana Center’s Apothecary Bar. Finally, I got my hands on this drink!

 

 

The best of friends: DeAnna and my brother.

 

Our weekend actually started Friday, which was when my brother and I stopped by the dhyana Center to say hello to DeAnna. It also gave me the opportunity to meet Mary Sheila Gonnella, a certified nutrition consultant and Ayurvedic practitioner, who was also going to teach the course with DeAnna. Mary Sheila runs Occidental Nutrition.

 

Mary Sheila Gonnella, one of the instructors of Edible Ayurveda.

 

I had individual consultations with both DeAnna and Mary Sheila, and both made the same helpful suggestion: to spend more time on myself–including plenty of self-care. You see, four years ago, I stepped in and became a caregiver to three family members: my parents and older brother. They are all okay right now, but taking them to doctors appointments, running errands for them, going grocery shopping, etc., can get very taxing on me. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ I’m attempting to work through my challenges and what better way than with the help of DeAnna and Mary Sheila. I’d also like to give some credit to my brother, who ‘started the ball rolling’ a while ago when he suggested I seek some holistic assistance at the dhyana Center. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝโค๏ธ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Every student taking the course received this study guide.

 

The first day of class had a lot of great information. During the six-hour course, we learned about Balanced Nutrition, Elemental Theory–including Ether (Cold), Air (Dry), Fire/Water (Hot) and Water/Earth (Wet)–Mindful Eating, Micronutrients and Macronutrients, amongst other, interesting topics. The main idea of the course is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to maintain your doshas (body constitution).

 

 

Sprouted Chickpeas

 

On Sunday (the second day of class), the class met at the Ceres Community Project, a local business with a kitchen accommodating about 15 or more people. The Ceres Project is located in Sebastopol, but also has offices in Santa Rosa and San Rafael. They provide healthy meals for those who are challenged with cancerโ€”including meals for the person’s family too. The meals from Ceres are organic, fresh, sustainable and locally grown–whenever possible. DeAnna and Mary Sheila utilized Ceres’s kitchen to show us hands-on how to make some of the recipes (located in our guidebook) and how this food is beneficial to your health. ๐ŸŽ

 

 

Coconut for the Chutney that was made during Sunday’s class.

 

In between the time DeAnna and Mary Sheila were cooking, we all assisted in either grating and cutting up vegetables, adding spices to a specific dish, preparing the main dish or washing and drying dishes. It was heartwarming to see everyone come together for a common goal. And I know each student was looking forward to tasting the different items DeAnna and Sheila were putting together.

 

Before fermentation:: the Raspberry Shrub.

 

 

After fermentation: Behold, the Raspberry Shrub.

 

 

Just some of the ingredients used for the Chile Verde salsa rub for the chicken.

 

 

Chicken with Chile Verde salsa.

 

Hands down, the chicken with Chile Verde sauce was so delicious and very simple to make! I’m not a fan of super spicy food, so it surprised me that I couldn’t tell that the sauce had a few Serrano chilis in it.ย  ๐ŸŒถ๏ธ๐Ÿ—๐Ÿค”

 

I ๐Ÿ’š Kale!

 

Kale was used to make the stuffing that was placed inside and around the chicken. This was an awesome addition to the chicken, which I intend to repeat when I make this recipe at home.

 

The final product, which also included a tasty salad.

 

 

Someone really enjoyed his meal!

 

 

A probiotic dessert. It includes pistachios, raisins, kefir and nectarine chutney

 

For those who have very little experience in the kitchen, this course is user-friendlyโ€”and a must!

My purpose for taking the course was to learn about Ayurveda and the benefits it provides. I know that by incorporating some Ayurvedic practices into my life, it will help my overall health. โค๏ธ

For more information on the Edible Aryuveda course or on the center, visit the website at The dhyana Center or call (707) 823-8818.

A Day In San Francisco

 

The ‘Open Heart’ sculpture at Pier 39.

 

About a week ago, my friend Eva invited me to spend a day with her in San Francisco. Other than having a tremendous heart, she is a great friend. The history behind our friendship goes way back to when we worked together (she was once my manager). We’ve actually known each other a lot longer than that because her mother’s younger sister is married to my father’s younger brother. Although we live in the same town, we don’t always get to see or talk to each other every day or every week.

On Saturday, Eva picked me up around 10:30 a.m. and as we drove in to San Francisco, it dawned on me that she wasn’t using the map on her cell phone. I asked her about it and was told she wouldn’t have any problem finding her way around the city because she was familiar with the area.

 

The Transamerica Pyramid in downtown San Francisco

 

Eva proceeded to drive to an area of San Francisco where I probably last visited about 10 years ago. We pulled into a motel’s somewhat small, cramped parking garage just about a block north of Chinatown. Note to self: the next time I know I’m going to be walking non-stop along several, narrow and somewhat uneven blocks, please do some stretching before I start walking! ๐Ÿšถโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜

 

Francis Ford Coppola’s restaurant in North Beach.

 

I forgot just how many tourists visit here during the weekend and summer! Various crowds of people flocked along the narrow streets of Chinatown, walking in and out of different businesses and soaking in the beautiful, sunny San Francisco skyline. A smell that often resonated with me during our time in Chinatown was of fish, which we smelled as we walked by some of the shops. ๐ŸŸ We walked in to some different shops and found items, like a Bruce Lee t-shirt for Eva’s brother, a doll for her granddaughter and personalized keychains for her two sons.

We must have walked for about two and a half hours around Chinatown. By now it was 1:15 p.m. and we were both in search of a bathroom and food! We walked around hoping we’d remember our way back to Eva’s car. At that point, I turned on my phone’s map, which was taking forever to load. Finally, as we got closer to North Beach, she pulled out her parking ticket and looked at the address. We walked in the opposite direction of where we were and within a matter of eight minutes, we were reunited with her car! ๐Ÿš—

Next, Eva drove to our next destination, Pier 39. Thankfully we found parking in the garage located across the pier. Another note to self: if we can make it happen next time, go to San Francisco during the week–NOT during the weekend! Let’s just say there were LOTS of tourists there! I found it more bearable to walk around here than Chinatown because there was ample space–except for when someone stood right, smack in the middle of where we wanted to walk through. ๐Ÿ™„

 

Looking out towards the bay from Pier 39.

 

We had discussed eating lunch at the Hard Rock Cafรฉ. As we got in line outside of the cafe’s entrance, we overheard the woman in front of us say it would take an hour to be seated and an additional 25 minutes to wait for your order’s arrival. ๐Ÿ™„ Yeah, we weren’t going to wait that long, so we walked around some more until we came across Luigi’s Pizzeria, which Eva had initially suggested. We were seated within five minutes; I then ordered a small, pesto pizza, while Eva ordered a small, mushroom pizza. ๐Ÿ• The pizza here was very tasty (it somewhat reminded me of La Vera’s Pizza in Santa Rosa, which I just discovered closed its doors last month). After we finished lunch, we walked towards The Candy Baron, which is a candy store filled with nostalgic candy, as well as candy you can normally find at your local Safeway or Rite Aid. I found one of my favorite chocolate bars there, the Curly Wurly. The deliciousness of milk chocolate and caramel together is what I love! ๐Ÿซ

About 30 minutes later, we left Pier 39 and walked across the street to check out some of the other shops. I had been craving some ice cream since we first arrived, so the search was on! We walked in to The San Francisco Chocolate Store, which sells chocolates of different variations and Eva wondered if maybe they sold ice cream. Sure enough, as we were almost out the door, we noticed the ice cream, as well as custard. Eva ordered Rocky Road and Mexican Vanilla Custard, while I ordered the Mexican Vanilla and Chocolate Custard. OMG!! The custard was so delicious!! ๐Ÿ˜‹ย ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿจ

 

Mexican Vanilla and Chocolate Custard for dessert.

 

 

My friend Eva.

 

After dessert, we decided it was finally time to wrap up our visit and head back home, where the weather was still hot. โ˜€๏ธ We had a great day playing tourists in the city! I’m so grateful to Eva for her kind gesture and friendship. โค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

 

The area in front of the tan wall once housed Tower Records. The street’s name reminded me of singer and teen idol Davy Jones of The Monkees.

 

 

The Golden Gate Bridge hiding behind the fog’s haze as we headed back north.

 

 

The tunnel named after former, longtime Marin County resident, actor and comedian Robin Williams.