Weekend Reading

Today I am linking up with my friend James over at James and Jax for her first blog hop. I am still a novice blogger so I am hoping to do this correctly. If not, I am sure someone (James) can tell me how to fix it 😉

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The blog hop topic is weekend reading and we are supposed to write about what we’re reading, places we like to read, favorite thing to read, etc. So here is my post dedicated to reading, or really the lack thereof, going on in my life these days.

What I’m currently reading: Nothing. Well at least not in the traditional sense of the term. Right now the only things I seem to be reading are Twitter, cookbooks/blogs for recipes, and websites for product reviews because I want to buy an additional yoga mat. It has probably been at least six weeks since I have actually read from a book. It’s embarrassing to admit.

Last thing I’ve read: I thought that the last thing I read was the Hunger Games Trilogy but then I realized I read ‘My Horizontal Life’ by Chelsea Handler when we were home when my Dad was in the hospital. That was two months ago. So, yeah; it’s been awhile. Yikes!

What I wish I was reading: The next book I plan on reading (hopefully soon) is ‘The Laughing Sutra’ by Mark Salzman. It’s short and I know I could easily read it over a weekend if only I just made some time to do so. Who knows, maybe the next time I will be writing about my thoughts on the book. Note to self: take book from bookshelf and put on bedside table 🙂

My favorite thing to read: Right now my favorite thing to read is blogs. I have been really crappy about not commenting, or waiting a few days or so and then going back to comment, but please know I am reading your blogs all the time. I usually read them as soon as they pop up in my email. I love reading about your lives and seeing into your world. It’s an amazing connection and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

My favorite place to read: I love reading outside. I am not too particular where outside just outside. There is something synergistic about the calming effect of reading paired with the relaxation I feel being in nature that is truly amazing.

If you want to write about what you’ve been reading lately and link up to the blog hop please head over to this post for instructions on what you need to do. As always, thanks for reading!

October 10, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Reading, Relaxation. 4 comments.

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday: Phil Hardberger Park

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to spend some time at Phil Hardberger Park here in San Antonio. Phase two (out of five) was just completed and opened on May 21st so I was anxious to go explore. Sunday morning was spent walking with KJ and our dogs, I only brought my lab Maggie that day, around the trails that opened with Phase 1. It was my first time on those trails as I usually only go there to take the dogs to the dog park so it was nice to explore another part of the park. On Sunday, I returned to the park with my other dog, Ruby, and we hit the trails over on phase 1 of the park before heading over to check out phase 2. Phase 2 also has a dog park, so of course I had to take Ruby to check it out, as well as brand new basketball courts, playground, picnic tables, trails and gigantic hay sculptures. Yes, you read that right- gigantic hay sculptures. It’s pretty fantastic.

Phil Hardberger Park Phase 1

 

 

 

This is called the ‘Water Loop’ trail. There are three bridges that you cross while on the trail. Sadly, there is no water under any of the bridges. It really gives you an idea of how bad the drought is here in San Antonio already.

 

We stopped for a water break. Ruby certainly loved being out on the trails!

 

 

 

Phil Hardberger Park Phase 2

 

 

 

It looks like the weather was gray and overcast and the pictures came out kind of dark but really it was because it was so sunny I had to hold my hand over the lens on my iPhone just to be able to somewhat see what I was taking a picture of. It was crazy sunny! Next time I am back there I promise to take some better pictures!

 

 

Ruby loved checking out the new dog park. Just like on the other side, this dog park had one section for small dogs and another for large dogs. We were in the large dog section because Ruby thinks she is a Lab not a Boston Terrier 🙂

 

My friend KJ says her favorite thing about San Antonio is the parks. There are so many parks within the city limits and she is always amazed at how once you step foot inside and are surrounded by nature it is hard to believe you are still in the city. I agree with her completely, the parks are one of my favorite things about San Antonio, too. I feel so lucky that I get to spend time exploring these little pieces of country living, inside the city.

Thanks for reading!

June 1, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Life, Relaxation, San Antonio, wordless wednesday. 4 comments.

New Orleans- Day 2

Day 2 in New Orleans was amazing! I am in love with this place. I took 5 million pictures so I won’t share them all but here is my best editors cut of the day. We started off at Cafe Beignet and indulged in beignets (Paul and I split an order), coffee and chicory, and a veggie omelet for Paul.

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20110423-065740.jpg We walked around the area a bit before heading back to our hotel to freshen up.

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20110423-070030.jpg For lunch we headed to John Besh’s Restaurant August. The restaurant offers a $20.11 three course lunch fixed price lunch menu Monday-Friday which all of us ate from. Definitely the best meal I have had so far. Amuse bouche

20110423-070344.jpg Appetizers in French on the menu- my basic description is carrot soup, beet salad, and pig pate. Lol!

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20110423-070602.jpg Entrees: squid pasta filled with salted cod and veal with ricotta dumplings

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20110423-070815.jpg Dessert: panna cotta in strawberry sauce and chocolate peanut butter bars with popcorn ice cream

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20110423-070935.jpg After lunch we headed down to the Mississippi river to go on a steamboat ride. According to the captain, this is the last real steamboat operating on the Mississippi.

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20110423-071235.jpg For dinner we headed to Domilise’s for po’ boys. This is where Anthony Bourdain
ate on his show No Reservations so I had to check it out. I had the shrimp po’ boy and it did not disappoint. Pretty big sandwich- Paul kindly ate 1/3 of it for me.

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20110423-071524.jpg After dinner, and a nap, it was time to explore Bourbon St. The best music spot is in front of a Foot Locker store- these guys are awesome. The lowball glass is an absinthe drink- frappe at tujague’s- from the absinthe house. We have crossed off three of the ten ‘big easy libations’ off our list; the hurricane, the hand grenade, and the frappe at tujague’s, with hopes we will try all ten before we leave.

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20110423-072140.jpg Thanks for reading!

April 23, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Relaxation, Travel. 3 comments.

New Orleans- Day 1

Day 1 was primarily spent on the road. Paul and I headed out of San Antonio at 3:30am in order to avoid Houston rush hour traffic. Once we got through Houston we took our time and tried to have a fun, relaxing day. We even stopped at a casino in Lake Charles, LA and played some slots.

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During the drive we crossed the tenth longest bridge in the world at 18.2 miles which was pretty crazy. It was magnificent and scary at the same time.

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We made it into New Orleans and headed over to the airport to pick up my parents and the four of us headed to the hotel to check-in. We are very, very fortunate to be able to take advantage of the military discounted rates the Marriott company offers and so we are staying at the Ritz-Carlton which otherwise would be well outside of our price range- thank you Marriott! This hotel is amazeballs! I definitely could get used to this!

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After a quick shower, which was pure heaven, we headed out into the city. Mom wanted to go to Brennan’s for her birthday dinner- she loves bananas foster! Dinner was very, very good and the bananas foster did not disappoint.

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Dinner was followed by some walking around the French Quarter and then an early night for Paul and I- well at least for me. Paul went downstairs to the patio to enjoy a beer and cigar. Also out at the patio- some of the LA Lakers. Yeah, they are staying in our hotel. Crazy!!!

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Thanks for reading!

April 22, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Relaxation, Travel. 6 comments.

Friday Favorites

I am mentally and physically drained from this week and just don’t think I can pull together a quality post today so instead you get a list of some of my favorite things which will hopefully put me in a better mood for the weekend.    

My iPhone: I do not how I survived without one. Although I had wanted one since it first came out, I could not convince myself it was worth spending the money on- I can be quite frugal sometimes. I am so happy Paul helped coax me into getting one, good move hubby, but am pretty sure he regretted that decision once he realized it meant I would ignore him 24/7 because of it. I love how easy it is for me to stay connected to my friends who are all over the country. I also love the Face Time feature. It makes me feel like I am right there having a face to face conversation instead of feeling separated by thousands of miles. 

Music: I have been a music junky since birth and was raised by parents who are even more hardcore music lovers than me. Both in their retirement, all my parents do is watch Netflix and go to concerts. Growing up my dad was pretty tight with the money except for when it came to things like going to concerts or sporting events, any activity that created a memory. They were always more about the experiences than the tangible stuff and I am pretty much the same. I have only been to a couple of concerts since I moved to SA, one was with my parents in Austin, and it has been a rough adjustment for me. I have found solace in my iPod and Pandora and am lucky I can listen to music all day long at my desk. Some of my favorite bands currently in my rotation are: Mumford & Sons, Arcade Fire, The Airborne Toxic Event, Phoenix, Warpaint (thanks JH) and The Black Keys.

Books: I love reading; it goes hand in hand with my love for music. My father was an English teacher and always encouraged me to explore the world and the lives of others, real or fiction, through books. I don’t get to spend as much time reading as I would like. The amount I read definitely fluctuates with the amount of time Paul is at home. Reading is the perfect escape for me when he is off doing Army stuff. There is nothing quite like getting lost in the imagery or fantasy of a story. I also love the personal connection you can make with characters or authors. I love to read Jen Lancaster because her stories are super funny and very relatable. Currently in my queue: Anthology of an American Girl: A Novel by Hilary Thayer Hamann, Dreaming in French by Megan McAndrew and My Life in France by Julia Child.

Photography: I love photography even though I am not very good at it. It is one of my favorite things to do in my free time. I like photographing anything but if I had to choose what I like best I would say nature. For me, nature photography is a great reason to go and wander through some beautiful parks and gardens and it brings calm to the chaos of every day life. It slows down the mind and brings focus on the beauty of your surroundings. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Cooking: My love for cooking probably comes from my Italian upbringing. My mother and grandmother are both great cooks and both tend to go overboard with the amount of food being served, especially during the holidays. I am pretty much the same way. I always take on crazy menus and cook way too much. I love having friends and family over for meals, there is definitely a different level of intimacy you gain when you engage in a meal together. I can see why dieting is so hard for me because I only have happy, warm feelings towards food. Life would be easier if I hated to eat and was a super picky eater but that is not the way I am so that is why I am trying to practice moderation and portion control.

Weekends: Who doesn’t love weekends??? As I write this post I am getting happier and happier because the weekend is quickly approaching. The weekend provides you with endless possibilities and I am always excited to see what new adventure I will partake in. I love staying up past 10p and being able to sleep in. I love late breakfasts and multiple cups of coffee, strolling with the dogs on the paved trails near our apartment, Rampage hockey and Spurs basketball games, book sales at the libraries, and unexpected zoo trips, to name a few. I hope that your weekend is an awesome adventure or a relaxing retreat from the week. Either way, enjoy it!

Thanks for reading!

March 11, 2011. Tags: , , , . Friendship, Life, Relaxation. 1 comment.

Just thought you should know- today sucks!

Today has been one of those days where every little thing is frustrating me. It was a combination of condescending remarks, irritating know-it-alls, and unruly small appliances all mixed in with my raging PMS. It’s truly been a thrill a minute. It has seemed to go by in a rushed blur and it is nice to sit down in the peace and quiet of my empty apartment and relax a bit while I type this up. However, there is no calm going on in this mind. My body may have stopped moving but my mind just won’t turn off.

My mind was so scattered today that I unsuccessfully wrote up seven different blog posts. I don’t know if I was frustrated because I couldn’t concentrate or I couldn’t concentrate because I was frustrated but whatever was going on in my head was not working. Days like these are the worst and I am thankful when they are over. Sometimes I feel more worn out from mentally stressful days than from physically stressful days.

As I type this I can’t help but still feel the same stress I left work with. All of my anxiety of the day is being further compounded by the fact that in a few minutes I will leave to go to the gym; a place where I do not feel comfortable going.  It’s not even the working out part that bothers me; it is the feeling that everyone is judging me.

My inability to relax and my sometimes crippling insecurities have really taken a toll on my life. I tend to be extra bitchy towards my husband and my parents- sometimes even my friends get a dose of it, too. I have been known to cancel plans because I feel so shitty about myself I cannot rationalize why anyone would want to spend time with me. And I have let my fear of the gym, well really the fear of judgment from healthy fit people; stop me from taking care of myself.  

Since the intention of this blog is to help me improve my life I am turning to you for advice and guidance on this. So today I ask you, my loyal band of readers, how do you relax? How do you let go of your stressors? What makes you feel comfortable in your own skin?

February 24, 2011. Tags: , , . Relaxation. 7 comments.