Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Baby Got Back (Bay): Becoming a Nature Person

I spy myself and the boys.

I am so jealous of those outdoorsy types- so I’ve decided to become one of them. Now, I’m not going to get all Man vs. Wild about it and I can assure you, there is no Tough Mudder in my future. But I want to be a person that is connected with myself and nature. I want to be a person that owns functional outdoor stuff who is not limited to the little league t-shirt section of Sports Chalet. Last month I was really consistent about walking 3-4 miles every day on the trails around Back Bay in Newport Beach about a half-mile from my house. I would even like to brag that I started doing the whole “Couch to 5K” program, but I don’t think doing it twice in the past month really counts. I've been walking the bay and last week I totally did a Yoga class at 24 Hour Fitness- so this is going to happen, ya'll.

Such a great view.

It’s just been great to get outside and go on adventures with the boys. Now, there were certain issues that did arise. I had to pull a HUGE tick off of Nigel’s face and it turns out that Henry is my special Hollywood dog who along with his corn, chicken, grain and flea-bite allergy is ALSO having terrible topical allergic reactions to grass and the brush along the hiking trail. Oy vey! When did dogs develop all of these afflictions? I’ve been researching and finding various ways of keeping them pest-free and non-itchy because they LOVE nature walks.

Only a few miles from the beach.
Orange County residents and visitors alike should definitely check out the Upper Newport Bay/Back Bay area. If you’ve got kiddos or an inquisitive disposition, there’s the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center or the Back Bay Science Center. If you want adventure in general there are a bunch of great trails that are good for people, pups, bikes and horses. It’s so easy to get lost in the flash and forget how beautiful Orange County really is. We all know the beaches and coastline are gorgeous, but it’s really breathtaking to see acres of preserved marsh and wildlife in such a thoroughly developed community like Newport Beach.

Another thing, nature people are so nice. The little old ladies love Henry and Nigel. The cyclists are considerate. People wave, nod, smile, etc... It’s because getting out there and exercising feels great, being in the sunshine feels great and participating in a community feels great. People are up early and happy to be there- it's definitely motivation for being consistent. 

What’s next on the docket? Hayley and I have been talking about Paddle Boarding. I’d also like to do some camping, outdoor yoga or maybe hitting the stairs in Corona Del Mar once a week.

I’m determined to enjoy the sweet Southern California weather and natural habitat- and I plan to do this while resisting the urge to ask a stranger to take a photo of me holding up Nigel, Lion King style, while saying “everything the light touches is our kingdom!”. Stay tuned.

Insert Schnauzer and Lion King theme.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

When the Cats are Away, the Mice Will Throw Out Your Leftovers: Things I Do When I’m Home Alone

My housemate has been out of town for the better part of a week and it’s been glorious. Not because I don’t like him or anything like that. I actually like him a lot. Remember that episode of Sex and the City (of course you do) about the “Secret Single Behavior”, it’s kind of like that. There’s just some things that I just can’t get done with other people around and some things I just won’t do at all unless it’s just me in the house. So as Christian and his girlfriend, Brittany boarded that 12pm flight to Panama City- I started to consider all of the things and habits that I reserve for times when I have at least forty-eight hours to myself. Whether it’s a roommate, parents, boyfriend, husband, wife, kids or partner- it’s always nice to have alone time in your personal space.

Ta-Dah! Magical Clean House:
Well, not so magical. In this scenario there were no cartoon woodland creatures to help me out Disney-princess style. In this scenario, I did all the cleaning. Either way, it’s nice to come home to a pristine house- where everything is in it’s place and when you do a little every day- it really makes a difference.

Tools of the trade.

Rachel, In Concert:
Being alone means never having to apologize for doing full renditions of Lady Gaga songs for your dogs. When I’m home alone, the whole house is my karaoke stage.

Underwear Central:
Being the boundaries oriented person that I am, I don’t spend a lot of time roaming around the house half dressed. Many times I’ve heard the argument that underwear are “the same as a bathing suit”- it is not and even then, I wouldn’t really walk around just leisurely in a bathing suit in my living room. However, when I’m home alone, I’m a little more likely to dart to and from different corners of the house in my underwear. Which I consider to be huge progress.

The fridge.

Leftovers: You’re Outta Here!:
My refrigerator and I have an interesting relationship. I’m kind of obsessed with it being organized and I’m also super crazy about expiration dates. Having time off of work and an empty house allows me to really go through and “Tetris” everything. I throw out the leftovers that have been forgotten, wipe everything down and check every. single. expiration date. It’s now organized and glorious. I did the same thing with my pantry.

Projects, Projects, Projects:
Christian’s yearly pilgrimage just happened to take place during a week that I had a lot of time off. I’m a crafty person. I have a cabinet full of spray paints, fabric, glue guns, etc... so it’s not super difficult to get me going on a project and most of the time I don’t have to go to the supply store to buy stuff. I utilized this time to work in my garden, hang some pictures and take on a couple of creative endeavors.

Last minute project. Using chalkboard spray paint to label some spice jars.

While I do very well in solitude, I actually prefer having a housemate and being around people. I love to entertain and have fun debates and conversation. While there are things that can drive people bananas, they are all just things that come along with sharing a living space with another person. It’s nice to have somebody around. So Suffice it to say, I will enjoy my leisure time, the house looks awesome- but, I’ll be ready to have some people around the house again.