Sometimes I take myself too seriously. Sometimes its good to just sit back and laugh at your failures instead of dwelling on them. I am clumsy as shit, and pretty darned uncoordinated to boot. Ever see those videos of cats wearing socks trying to walk? That’s how I feel like I go through a lot of life. Fact. No biggie, though. It is what it is. I invite you to check out a couple of my less than perfect moments in surfing….. or maybe we should just call it falling? Cuz man, these are just no good at all. Enjoy and have a laugh!
I love me my daily walks. Every day I make it a point to get out and about and explore this town and really open my eyes to the world around me. I look for beauty in things I pass, and I especially appreciate graffiti and art in unexpected places. I also really dig that on my daily walks (generally on the beach) I am usually joined by beach dog or 2. Canine company is nice. Every day I seem find something new and unexpected.
Sayulita, Mexico is a quiet little fishing village/surf town on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It’s about a 40 minute drive north of the touristy hubbub of Puerto Vallarta, and seemingly a perfect place to start our first attempt at living a more expat kinda lifestyle. Devon and I arrived here 5 days ago, and so far its been everything that I’ve hoped for. It’s off season here, so maybe only a third of the local businesses are open, but I am truly a happy chica with at least 3 fish taco stands to choose from for dining options. That was one of the major things I was looking forward to out of this adventure. Fish tacos, surfing on the regular, bangin’ margaritas, writing more, swimming as much as humanly possible, improving my Español, earning some more freckles on my pasty white skin (cuz you know mamacita is physically incapable of taking a tan).
So, I’ve been doing pretty well with my goals. With the exception of yesterday. I kinda earned myself a bit of heatstroke/exhaustion yesterday with an overzealous hike on the beach in the 90 degree sun with no water. Also, heat exhaustion = not fun = totally terrifying! Hydration is key, yo. So after spending most of the afternoon in bed with lots of ice water and Mexican real life crime documentaries on the tele, I woke up this morning raring to go. And then the sky opened up and it has been a torrential downpour ever since. Of course. But really, sitting on an open air covered patio, with temperature in the high 70s, watching and listening to the rain, hearing los gallos down the block, and smelling the sweet ocean air, life doesn’t suck.
The past few months have been kinda crazy; stressful and emotionally difficult for me, and it’s nice to be able to hit reset and start recharging in such a peaceful, quiet place.
I haven’t written in a hot minute, and generally I try to keep things upbeat on here. But I’ve have a bunch of things swirling around in my mind recently, and thought that it might be helpful to pick up the keyboard again. Just a heads up.
When I’m feeling sad and alone, when life feels too loud and bright and like its spinning out of control, when I feel helpless in taming things I try to go to my happy place. It’s a beach about and hour and a quarter from my house. It’s a place I feel safe and comfortable. Where I run into good people that I know who do good things. Where I can strike up a conversation, or keep to myself if I’m having a day that I want to be alone. I feel like it’s my home away from home. The best time to visit is between September and May when its cool and quiet, and most of the summer crowds have left. I surf when the surf is good. I walk the beach when the waves are flat. I take in the beauty of nature and relax into the calm of thinking only in the present.
I watch the gulls splash and bathe in the shallow shore water and soar overhead. And while they are normally little bastards who try and steal my loaded bagels, those birds make me happy to watch them doing their normal goofy seagull things. Watching the sets roll in over and over and crashing with the most calming regularity. Way better than any artificial white noise machine.
In September the air has started to cool and it feels like fall. Luckily the sun is still bright and warm and feels good on my skin. It takes me away from all the dark that has seeped into my life and that I am now stuck with the complicated task of figuring out how to replace it with goodness, and then growing from this whole thing. All of the hurt and loss and guilt. Disappointment and that which I have tried to grasp, but have been unable to thoroughly understand. So I walk and think and stop to write; to get things out of my head; to keep them from bouncing around.
Collecting bits of scattered sea glass brings back a tinge of an old fond memory, which is now too painful to dwell on. What do you do with all of those feelings, or do they just fade and you have to suck it up and deal with them until they do?
A couple flying kites. The wind messing up my hair. The creepy old shirtless man wearing guyliner, who asks to take a picture of me shortly after I’ve finishing crying behind my sunglasses and keeps making small talk about the Blondie concert he just went to.. These things bring me back into the present and remind me to keep going. To try to replace the bad thoughts with the good. There is no good result that will come from dwelling on things that I can’t control or change. My control freak self needs to just settle down in the sand, feel the wind in my hair, the sun on my face and sit back and take in the beautiful sets of waves rolling in and crashing over and over. Wonderfully consistent, steadily.
Time is ticking by. I’m behind on documenting my 30 by 30, and I’m falling behind on actually doing 30 by 30. To make excuses, I’ve been traveling alot. Like I haven’t slept in my own bed at least 58 days out of the first 5 months of this year. That just ain’t right. So I’m in Amsterdam, trying to figure out how I’ll be able to complete the goal that I’ve set for myself. I’m walking through a carnival set up in Dam Square, which was right next to my hotel. There are a bunch of food vendors selling any type of meat on a stick that your heart could desire, as well as sweet fluffy confections, and sugary, chocolatey waffles that you wish that your parents would have made you growing up and hadn’t cared about early onsets of childhood diabetes. There are also a bunch of rides that look about as shady as the carnies running them, as well as some games of chance that looked kinda weak-sauce. And then I came across the Bow & Arrow Game.
Yes. I havent touched a bow or arrow, probably since I was a summer camp counselor, 12 years ago? And I didn’t shoot arrows as much as try to prevent my campers from shooting other campers in the face during their archery class. I didn’t learn much, so much as act like a bouncer for a group of 7 year olds, who made sure that noone ended up with an arrow through the face for 40 minutes twice a week. Before that my only experience with bows an arrows was when I was 7 or so, and a camper at a sports focused summer camp. During which I dont remember shooting tagets with arrows, but rather how I narrowly avoided shooting my archery instructor as well as my fellow campers. So yeah. I don’t really know what the hell to do when I pick up a bow and arrow, i mostly just know what not to do.
So, I walk past this carnival booth, where you get 6 arrows (probably dull and totally not straight) to try to break 4 balloons at a target 20 or 30 feet away. This sounded slightly dangerous, the regulations seemed really loose, and the girl working the booth seemed totally bored and uninterested in policing us goofing around, so Bam! a 30 by 30 adventure just popped into my life. Devon and I slap some euros down & I go first……
I have no clue what I’m doing…. I was aiming in the right direction at least….. But I think I originally(before this first picture was taken) had the bow turned around or something…It was a shit show. After some helpful pointers from Devon as well as the booth girl, I was good to go!
Elbow up looks way better…. And Honestly for it being a rigged carnival game, and the first time that I’ve actually shot a bow & arrow since I was 7, I think I did pretty well, and shot 1 out of the 4 balloons on the target. And no innocent bystanders, which I consider to be my greatest achievement…. And I got a stuffed tiger!!!!
Poor Devon, the boy from Vermont (who basically spent his entire youth filled with target practices of all types and styles) popped 3 out of 4 balloons, but didn’t do well enough to get his own stuffed animal… Bummer. Must be hard to deal with having such a talented wife who excels at everything and always wins the awesome prizes at carnival games. (Thanks babe!)
Alrighty, 13 of 30 Completed!!!!
I love meat. I’m actually currently on a quest to eat my way through the animal kingdom. I particularly love red meat. Beef. The meat of kings, heros and champions. (Although, I don’t actually have any real proof to back that up…) Unfortunately I suck at cooking beef. I can grill a steak up pretty decently, but Devon doesn’t eat meat other than poultry and fish, so I really don’t have a ton of opportunities to cook up some fileted cow. But oh my christ do I love eating that rich juicy goodness. So it’s been a goal of mine to learn how to braise beef. I love how, if done correctly, it just melts in your mouth, and hell, if I feel so passionate about the deliciousness of braised beef, then learning how to recreate that myself is a very important life skill that I ought to learn.
Luckily my big bro, Seth is a super awesome chef, who is totally experienced at this sort of thing. I provide a kitchen and raw ingredients, and he teaches me how to make magic happen. First things first. You gotta have a huge fricking hunk of meat. We went with a cut of brisket. Brisket is perfect for this type of cooking. Generally pretty tough, but breaks down nicely when braised. Lots of fat (FLAVOR!!!) and one of the most reasonably priced cuts of meat out there (without getting into the freaky-deaky offals).
You’ll know that you’re doing it right when you smoke out your kitchen and make the smoke detector in your kitchen start screaching. (FYI: its at this point when your kitchen will start smelling like “OMFG beefy-delicious get-in-my-face-now!!!”)
After the meat is done being seared on both sides, take them off the heat to let them rest. In the same cooking pan start sauteeing a mixture of mirepoix. Then throw in some fresh chopped herbs, like rosemary, parsley, bay leaves, etc…
Then add some red wine and a bunch of of beef stock, and add back in the seared brisket. Pour yourself a glass of wine (because not only is it crucial to the cooking process, but also -hey!- you deserve it!) and pose for a picture.
Bring meat to a low simmer and then throw it in the oven for an hour or 2. Drink more wine. When you take it out of the oven it should look like this:
Take out about half of the liquid, and boil it down in a sauce pan (as shown). Try to reduce it by about half. Let the meat rest, but always keep it in the cooking liquid and veggies, because the beef will get dry out and get tough if its not kept happy in liquid. While you’re boiling down the sauce, you can roast an assortment of root veggies in the oven, and whip up some blue cheese mashed potatoes. You know, easy peasy. And slice up the brisket, slicing against the grain, and of course returning the meat to the cooking liquid to keep it moist and happy.
Put a pile of mashed ‘taters on a plate, top with a few sliced of the braised beef, throw on some roasted root veggies, and sauce liberally with some of the reduced juices, sprinkle some fresh herbs on top and BAM!!! The delicious, delicious result!
I ate so much that night, it was just obscene. But oh man, was this one of the best meals of my life, and now I (and you!) know how to recreate this magical meal of beefy goodness!
You can tell from my hair color (that has changed about 4 times since these pictures), that this all took place a few months ago. But it’s still winter, and a fantastic time to make a great warm filling meal like this. Thanks to my big bro for just being awesome in general, and also, for being a really super chef, and sharing a few tricks of the trade with me.
12 of 30 completed!
Did you know that the official scientific name for a Sabretoothed Cat is Smilodon Fatalis? That leads me to think that someone had a pretty awesome sense of humor.
I believe that I’ve always been somewhat fashion forward. One time in high school I was wandering through an alleyway in Southie (South Boston for you non Bostonians) and I came across a crumpled up paper bag on the ground. Upon picking up the bag and opening it (don’t judge me!!!) I found 3 cloth napkins in a really rad red plaid print. I had been wanting a plaid mini-skirt for a while and the napkins looked relatively clean enough, so I took those puppies home, stitched them together and sewed in a zipper. The skirt barely covered my derriere, but that thing looked so punk rock deluxely awesome and I rocked the shit out of it. (Until a few months later when I acted like a typical out of control asshole teenager, broke some house rules and my mom shredded and trashed it as my punishment.)
From a very young age I was super particular about the clothing that I wanted to wear, much to the chagrin of my mom-dukes. Mini-skirts, faux fur jackets and anything with sequins is my idea of a dream outfit. I’m wicked into the costume aspect of clothing. I’m not really a huge fan of Lady Gaga, but I’m all about the idea of wearing costumes for daily wear. In the past my friends have enjoyed shopping in my closet for Halloween costumes. For a hot minute I was a fashion major during my time at Mass College of Art.
I’ve never really had a huge classic designer fashion affinity, but, I always dig watching runways shows and whatnot. I’ve always thought that it would be totally awesome to be a runway model. People cheering as you prance in the limelight? That sounds pretty cool, right? I mean, I’m not particularly proud of that, but whatever. And then one day stuff randomly started falling into place. Through Facebook, I came across an open casting for a fashion show called Catwalk for a Cure that would be taking place at the State Room. I figured at the very least, it would be fun and get me out of my comfort zone. I arrive and there’s about 200 other ladies auditioning. I turn in my application and head shot, get my photo and measurements taken, meet the Catwalk for a Cure organizers and do a little runway strut for them. They say they’ll call me if they’re interested. Ok….. After about a month, I figure that they’ve passed on me, and almost a month later, I get an email on my 29th birthday saying that they’ve chosen me along with about 20 other women.. Holy crap! Out of 200! What an ego boost when I was bumming about entering my last year of my wild and crazy 20s. Some time goes by, and I do a fitting with my designer, which is cool to meet her and some other models. See what I’ll be wearing and what one of the collections look like.
On October 13th (I know, I’m still really behind in updating!!!) I show up for hair and makeup before the show and am assigned to a hair team from Dellaria Salons. My team was the alterna team or something because they had the most tattoos and piercings and were rocking the skinny jeans, and they were psyched to be doing hair for “the pink haired chick”. They were awesome and made me look like a million bucks! Thanks guys!! (The picture on the right was taken by fellow model Jill, who was super nice & friendly! Click on the pic to make it bigger.)
The venue, The State Room in Boston was absolutely gorgeous. The venue is huge. 2 Stories of open space on the 33rd floor of a building in the middle of downtown. The windows are floor to ceiling and you have an amazing view of the city and the harbor. Big space. Lots of people….
Luckily all my immediate family had come out, as well as a bunch of my close friends, so I was feeling the madd love which made me less nervous. The models were able to practice a run-through, which also helped, but I was still a pretty jittery… The fashion show go-ers were seated after a delicious sounding cocktail hour. The models lined up, and then the music started and after a few moments I standing on the platform, making my way down the runway. It’s weird. I was super nervous before hand. But as soon as the spotlight hit, I had to do my thing. Fight or flight, baby. And then I heard my people cheering me on, and that was totally awesome and amazing and I love them so much for that. They always know how to make a scene. I had to do them proud, so I worked it as best as I knew how, lol. Here’s my “blue steel”.
I made it to the end of the runway, did my spiffy model turn, and then walked back to the start and stepped off… And then I had to do that 2 more times. So yeah. It was pretty awesome. A bunch of fun. A huge burst of adrenaline. And the event was a benefit for a great charity: The Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a breast cancer education and research group. No wonder they didn’t ask me to change my hair color.
My friends and family had a great time, I was super happy to be part of such a great event! Although I am bummed to have missed out on the free samples from Pinkberry, one of the sponsors for the event.
Hopefully I’ll get the chance to work with Catwalk for a Cure again!
11 of 30 Completed!
I’m part homebody, part nomad. I get itchy, twitchy and bitchy and yearn to travel if I’m home for longer than 2 months. (And then I’m generally ready to be back home after 2 to 3 weeks.) A decent portion of my friends are pretty vocal about their hatred of modern air travel and they generally try to avoid it whenever possible, but honestly if I could get somewhere interesting by flying cargo with donkeys and chickens or whatever with 30 layovers, I’d totally do it, no ifs, ands or buts. Sometimes airplanes suck, but the amazing experiences that they make possible have always made up for a few hours of discomfort.
This year my parents totally spoiled us & decided to take us to South Africa for our family vacation as our Birthday and Christmas presents for the next 127 years.. . I guess the nomadic thing kinda runs in the family. My parents visited the country last year, had a totally amazing time and thought that we would love it as well. Luckily I’m related to these awesome generous people so I was in for the trip of a lifetime!
So in September (I know I’m WAY behind in updating this blog) after about 36 hours of air travel, layovers in multiple countries, and car travel, we ended up in a swanky guest house in Marloth Park on the Southern edge of Kruger National Park, and Northeast-ish region of the country.We stayed in an awesome house/lodge? called Kahya Umdami that was owned by some super friendly people from Cape Town. There was a ton of wildlife that roamed the area & could come around looking for handouts. Guinea fowl (who looked like they would make delicious hot wings!), kudu (only try to feed the young ones, fyi) ,warthogs (omg, so cute!!!), giraffes, bushbabies (the itty-bitty tweaked-out speed freaks of the animal kingdom), hoards of banded mongeese, and tons of crazy looking colorful birds were just some of our regular visitors.
Luckily we had brought a huge crate of fresh papaya or papaw, so the critters loved us, and we got to hand feed a ton of warthogs and kudu. I actually ended up with the nickname Angelina Jolie for threatening to smuggle/adopt half of the visiting warthogs.
This video was made by some friends of the surf shop that I spend way too much time & money at: Summer Sessions in Rye, NH. The recent Noreaster that passed through New England last weekend made for some epic surf and ski conditions on Halloween & these hombres decided to take advantage of the storm’s leftovers. Some super cool cinematography & a rad soundtrack. This video totally gives the the warm fuzzies for being from a region that is home to so much awesomeness.
There’s also a cool article/write up thingie here that explains the situation with a bit more flair than me.