Motivational Monday….The Journey

Here are a few that I like about “the journey”……

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  • “To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping”….Chinese Proverb
  • It’s your road, and yours alone.  Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.
  • Never compare your journey with others.  Your path is unique.  Own it and make the best of it.

(I was going to also going to add “Focus on the journey, not the destination.” but I think you should enjoy the journey AND love the destination!)

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Book Review: Elon Musk

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When my book club chose Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance as our monthly read I was less than thrilled about diving into it.  I do love non-fiction, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, kind of books, but I’m not a big car fan and I don’t really car about space travel, although the solar energy component I thought might be interesting.

WOW, was I pleasantly surprised.  It was written so well and in such a way that you wanted to know what was going to happen next, almost like a bit of mystery novel….will he make it or not??  Obviously there are Tesla’s on the road and Space X has launched rockets, but the journey to this end and the incredible man behind it, is what this book is about.  The tenacity with which he goes after his goals is admirable and inspiring.  Here are two of my highlights from the book…

  • “As (Larry) Page puts it, “Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.”
  • “He feels that the suffering helped to make him who he is and gave him extra reserves of strength and will.  “They might have a little adversity at school, but these days schools re so protective,” he said.  “If you call someone a name, you get sent home.  When I was going to school, if they punched you and there was no blood, it was like, ‘Whatever. Shake it off.'”

I’m sure everyone thought the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were crazy….until they weren’t!  Elon Musk is a force to be reckoned with and I loved reading about his journey to the success he’s had.  Yes, it was a bit of a “pull yourself up from the bootstraps” kind of book.  He came from humble beginnings, leveraged himself heavily financially, but he believed in what he was doing and persevered.

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In a nutshell, I’d really recommend this book!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Up the Coast…Wine Tasting in Orcutt

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I love packing in a bunch of great activities in quick weekend trip.  My friend’s Dan & Jerry picked me up early last Saturday morning for a ride up the California coast to Santa Maria for our friends, Courtney, Mark and Brian’s, family wine tasting…and what a fun 24 hours it was!  I’d had a crazy week of unpacking and moving and I told Jerry that I would probably sleep the whole way up the coast, but, no, we talked the entire time. There’s nothing like a long car ride to catch up on each other’s lives and families…and the view of the water from Hwy 101 doesn’t hurt either!

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We arrived in Santa Maria around 11:30, just in time to find somewhere to sample the famous Santa Maria tri-tip. We stopped at Rancho Nipomo BBQ for lunch and we were not disappointed.  The tri-tip sandwich was yummy, as were the fries, although we had mixed opinions on the BBQ sauce.

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Our next stop was the main event for the weekend…..the open house and wine tasting of the Aether Wine Company in nearby Orcutt. As we arrived and checked in, we were given beautiful wine goblets with a custom made Aether logo, made by Courtney, affixed to each glass.  It was a gorgeous day among the vineyard at C2 Cellars, with the perfect breeze blowing, tasty bites to nibble on, soothing live music and the atmosphere was just so cool!  We sampled the 2013 bottles, one-Chardonnay and four-Pinot Noirs.  I had already purchased a couple of bottles of Chardonnay a few months back so knew what to expect.  It’s light and leans toward a European Chardonnay….perfect for a summer evening.  I mostly drink & prefer Chardonnay, but when I do drink red, it’s usually a Pinot, as it’s a little lighter in the red family…as opposed to a Cabernet or a Merlot.  The Pinots were quite different, and all yummy. The Santa Barbara County Pinot is a blend from three wineries, while the other three, Pence, Matrix and La Colline are single vineyard varietals.  I’m no wine expert, so I’m not going to try to explain the nuances of each Pinot, but I can tell you that I liked the La Colline the best.  If you’re a real oenophile and need a more in-depth explanation of each, just click on the links to check out each one…and buy a bottle or two.  We continued our wine journey in the cellar with some barrel tastings that were so different and some so complex that it really made you notice the distinct contrasts in the wines and understand how people get so entranced with the whole wine world.  It’s pretty interesting stuff!

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We went back to our hotel for a much needed nap before dinner at Trattoria Uliveto in Orcutt.  We had already been tempted with the food of Chef Alonso Curti earlier in the day, as he had catered the wine tasting, so we knew it would be good.  There was quite a large group of us, so he suggested that we allow him to choose our meal and serve it family style.  Great idea and great food…from the salad to the lamb chop to the dessert, I can’t even remember how many courses we had.  The wine….some from Aether’s barrels that I can’t wait to buy next year….was flowing, the conversation and company stellar and just a great end to the day.

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IMAG4870We woke up and got on the road early to check out the “best breakfast ever” (quote from Sharon) at Kay’s Orcutt Country Kitchen.  It was really good & I’d recommend it…the best ever we’d have to debate (although I’m not much of a breakfast aficionado, so don’t pay attention to me on this one.)  After breakfast we took a quick stroll in old downtown Orcutt and checked out a couple of cool vintage/antique stores (I got this past “motivational monday” wall hanging here) before starting the journey back down the 101 home.

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Thanks to Aether Wines for a great weekend and the perfect reason to head up the California coast with friends.

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You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Mondays…DREAM

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I’ve made the accent colors in my bedroom orange & aqua and this just seemed too perfect not to purchase….and I get to see it every morning when I wake up.  I think my daughter and future son-in-law are thinking “enough with the inspirational sayings!”  They are everywhere…and I love them. (Apparently this is a little tweak on one from the movie Inception, which I never saw.)

Have a FABULOUS week!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Gut Bacteria and Your Weight

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I’ve read some interesting articles lately in the NY Times and More Magazine about the relationship between your gut health and your weight.  Basically the gist is that the amount of bacteria in your gut (intestines, etc) may determine whether you’re lean or obese and may be passed on when you’re born (oh great, one more thing kid’s can blame on their parents!)

The common perception is that the secret to being leaner…or naturally thin…is “eat less, move more,” (which, in general, is definitely a good idea & works!) but science is now discovering that there may be other factors in play.  It seems that everybody’s gut microbes are different and determined from an early age…even as early as birth.  There have been studies done with identical twins, one thin & one obese, comparing their gut bacteria.  The thin twin had a more diverse bacterial makeup in his/her gut compared with the obese twin.  So…what to do?

One suggestion is to transfer some of the good gut bacteria from one subject (thin person) into the gut of the other heavier person.  This has successfully been done on mice with amazing results.  In Amsterdam they are investigating whether transferring the feces from lean people to overweight people will lead to weight loss…known as Fecal Microbiota Transplant or FMT (the visual on that is just icky.)  They’ve already done this procedure for other health reasons and are have done studies on mice, concluding that it might be beneficial for weight loss.  Diet is also an obvious factor in shaping how your gut health looks….less processed foods leads to better gut health…and probiotics and fermented drinks, such as kombucha (although controversial), seem to help balance our intestinal health….hence the surge in probiotic products on the market.  I can see the Activia commercial in my head right now!  So, it’s worth a try to get your gut health in order, which could increase your overall health and help you lose weight in the process.  For more information read the articles referenced at the beginning of this post…or read a book on the subject…. The Skinny Gut Diet by Brenda Watson.   My personal take on it is that it’s quite a strict diet to have to stick to, but if you’re up for it, your gut will thank you!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Mondays…Destiny

Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved….William Jennings Bryan

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Goodbye Newport…it’s been a blast!

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….hello old/new home…it’s good to be back!

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I love when I get an inspiring fortune at that perfect moment….destiny!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Steinart of racing in the rain

I LOVED this book!  It’s a lovely story told from the viewpoint of a much-loved family dog.  It’s been out since 2008 and recommended by many friends, so when I saw it at a garage sale I snatched it up quickly….and I’m so glad I did.  It was a pretty quick read and the perfect summer book.

Here are a couple of the excerpts that I highlighted

  • “That which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves”
  • “Learn to listen! I beg of you.  Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people rather than steal their stories” (I need to get better at this one!)
  • “The race is long.  It is better to drive within oneself and finish the race behind the others than it is to drive too hard and crash.”

What a smart dog…such wisdom in his words!  Happy weekend to you!  It’s my last here in Newport…movers come on Monday..woohooo!!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

A Whirlwind 21 hours in New York City

IMAG4607Lincoln Center…UWS, NYC

After my visit to LBI and Cape May, I spent 21 hours in my home away from home, NYC!  I arrived by train at 8pm on Saturday and was at the airport the following day by 5:15pm for my flight home.  It’s amazing how much activity can be packed into a day!

First stop was The Smith Restaurant on the UWS for some people watching, a glass of wine and these amazing hot potato chips with bleu cheese fondue….totally wrong, exceptionally good, get it!IMAG4618

Next stop was Empire Szechuan, meeting my sister and her family for a late night dinner of sesame noodles and crispy prawns.  Always a must do restaurant when in NYC.IMAG4614_1Started Sunday bright and early with an Uber ride over to my son & daughter-in-law’s apartment in Brooklyn to drop off my very heavy bag and then breakfast at Cafe Mogador, an adorable little place right around the corner.

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Kate recommended I take the water ferry/taxi over to Wall Street and what a fun ride it was! It’s like a mini Circle Line Tour (which I highly recommend if it’s your first trip to NYC) of the east side of Manhattan with great views, going under three bridges.

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I got off at Wall Street and meandered lower Manhattan for my 11:30 reservation at One World Observatory.  It’s a bit pricey at $32 a pop but it’s pretty spectacular!  The line was crazy long (I assume those were people who didn’t have a timed reservation?), but I went up to the usher at the front of the line and showed him my ticket and he opened the rope and let me go through…I felt so important!  Shout out to my very talented nephew, Brian Egan, who worked on the 3D animation that you’ll enjoy throughout the experience….he also worked on the animation for the new Disneyland Paint the Night Parade.so talentedIt took about an hour from the time I entered to the time I left.  There are really interesting displays and exhibitions to watch as you wait for the elevator…then a cool elevator ride and finally the breathtaking views from the top.  You can also stay a bit longer at the top and dine at the cafe or restaurant....but I had other plans for lunch.

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On a clear day you can see forever!

My next stops took me across the street to Hudson Eats and then the Irish Hunger Memorial right around the corner.  Hudson Eats is a glorified food court type of eating establishment with yummy, trendy choices for eating with great views of the Hudson River.

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They have concerts next to Hudson Eats.

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The Irish Hunger Memorial is just what it sounds like, a memorial to the Irish people who lost their lives during the Great Famine….as well as present day hunger around the world.  It looks like a mini landscape of Ireland with stones from each of Ireland’s 32 counties (although I couldn’t find Mayo, where my grandmother was born.)  It’s a small, but moving memorial.

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I continued my meandering up the Hudson via the River Terrace walkway, stopping in Nelson A. Rockefeller Park with it’s whimsical bronze sculptures and people playing games of all kinds.

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I took a right on Houston, a left on Hudson, then another right on Grove to make it my destination…a little French bistro called Buvette.  I’ve had it on my “places to go” list since it opened in 2011 and it didn’t disappoint.  It’s adorable…with the charm and crowded ambiance you’d expect from a French bistro and includes a little outdoor garden too.

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Yummy Country Pate

So, basically I ate my way through NYC in 21 hours…but I walked for miles and miles (actually, around 4+ miles total), so it really doesn’t count, right?!!  I then hopped on the subway and Austin & Kate took me to the airport.  Can’t wait to see what adventures NYC has in store for me next time!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Mondays…Go For It!

I just read this article in Oprah Magazine about a woman windsurfing later in life…..

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She goes out with a friend & 15 yr old son who says “if you go out there knowing that you’re going to rock it,you will…but if you go out there afraid you’ll get hurt, you will”  So awesome…the wisdom of a 15 yo!  Believe in yourself…just go for it!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!