My 32nd Birthday 🎉

HAPPY 32nd BIRTHDAY to ME! My birthday was actually on February 17th…I’m a little late in posting. So here we go!

2.17.16 🎉 🎉 

When I arrived at work my office was completely decorated for my birthday. My friend/co-worker Cynthia is really into decorating for birthdays, which makes it really fun and festive in the office. This year was extra special because I share my birthday with my work wife/bestie Ashley! I knew I loved this girl from the start so it’s only fitting that we share the same birthday. I was surprised at how much festivities there was for our birthdays… Not only were both of our offices decorated, but our co-worker/friend Leanna brought in donuts, Rima made cupcakes and we received a bunch of gifts from people! I left so special and I know Ashley did too!

Another friend/co-worker, Sara took us both to lunch at this new pizza place close to campus which was delicious! OMG they have TOT-CHOS!!! Yes you read that correct, TOT-CHOS! So yummy!

1503841_10104436174163247_5674833449134545444_n

Overall it was a really great day celebrating with coworkers!

2.18.16 🎉 🎉 

Here’s a picture of the bday twins with the party-planner Cynthia! Thanks for all the decorations and making us feel so special! Thursday night we decided to continue the celebrations by going to dinner as a group at Benihana’s! We had a blast! And check out that sweet group/family photo. THANK YOU everyone for making our birthdays so special and oh so much fun!

4d452656-027e-489a-8c46-699f33378515

My birthday night at home was very relaxing and low-key. My poor hubby was fighting off a nasty cold so we decided to just hang out at home with the pups. Totally perfect for me. We had dinner, opened a few gifts and had cupcakes from my favorite place Susie Cakes! I’m so excited they opened a store close to us in Willow Glen and that I got a FREE cupcake for my birthday!

2.20.16 🎉 🎉

On Saturday we got together with my family to celebrate! For dinner we went to this great sushi place in downtown San Carlos called Shiki Bistro. My mom had a gift certificate so we went a little crazy with all the drinks and sushi! At the end of dinner they brought out fried bananas and sang to me. Once we finished dinner and dessert we headed back to the house for cake and presents. My family knows that I love Susie Cakes, so that was what I got for my bday cake! The decorations, especially the writing on the cake was stunning! They did a really great job and the ‘Vanilla Celebration’ cake was delicious. Yum, yum. I had a wonderful time celebrating with my family and love spending time together! It’s really nice that we get together to celebrate birthdays and other occasions as a family; love that!  I LOVE my family more than words can truly say! ❤ ❤ ❤

2.21.16

We wrapped up our weekend with an awesome, but long and very up hill hike at Santa Teresa County Park. It was absolutely gorgeous out and our pups had a blast! They got super muddy, but loved exploring a new hiking place. Funny how they didn’t seem to mind all the up-hills as much as I did haha. They were troopers and really enjoy being outdoors. Can’t wait to explore this area more and do another hike!

Hope you all had a great weekend and your week is off to a great start!

XoXo

Valentine’s Day Weekend Update ❤️🌹❤

Happy Tuesday everyone! So glad to be starting this week on a Tuesday and for it being a short one! Here’s a recap of our weekend:

Saturday 2.13.16 ☀️ 🍷 ☀️ 🍷 ☀️

On Saturday we headed to the wine country to spend the day at one of our favorite wineries, Bella. We are currently club members here, so tasting is FREE. Over the weekend, Bella was going to be pouring their 2015 Late Harvest barrel samples in the wine caves! Yes this winery has wine caves! The Late Harvest Zinfandel sells out every year, so it was awesome to try it before we made a purchase (which we did!). I absolutely LOVE this winery and Saturday ended up being just the most perfect day ever!

Bella is an awesome winery and we seriously LOVE it! They farm some of the most distinct vineyards in Sonoma County; two in Dry Creek Valley and one in Alexander Valley on the edge of the Russian River. Both my hubby and I really prefer the Dry Creek and Alexander Valley over Napa. This side of wine country is just more calm, relaxed and easy going. Now, I still like a lot of wineries on the Napa side, but don’t really love all the crowds of people any more. I could seriously spend every day hanging out at Bella or anywhere along the Dry Creek/Alexander Valley side. Maybe some day we can move to the Healdsberg area and I can work at a winery. How awesome would it be to spend your day talking with people and pouring wine?! I’m totally down!!

My good friend Maddy (from UCSB) was in town from Rhode Island just for the night/day before going off to Davis to visit with the rest of her family. It was so great to see her even if it was for a short visit! Since she’s been living on the east coast, I haven’t seen much of her. One thing that I love is that when we get together it’s just like old times! We pick up right where we left of. I’m so glad we took her to Bella and spent the day drinking good wine, taking in the gorgeous views, picnicking on the lawn and just enjoying each others company. My bestie from middle school, Ashley also came with us and we had a blast!

 ☀️ 🍷 ☀️ 🍷 ☀️

Sunday 2.14.16 ❤️ 🌹 ❤️ 🌹 ❤️

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

Chris and I realized that this is our 10th Valentine’s Day together! Can you believe it?!?!? We have been together for so long and really don’t need/want to go all big on Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, we still celebrate, but often it’s more low key. Even though it was our 10th vday together we kept it mellow and still had an awesome day. We ran errands, ate lunch at a restuarnat in Santa Row (yummy margaritas and Mexican food), spent time with our pups and watched Bridge of Spies and The Martian in the evening. My guy always sends me the most beautiful roses and this year was no exception! I love you Chris McConnell and am so thankful I get to be your forever valentine! ❤ ❤ ❤

This guy and these pups make my world complete! Love you all!

And just for fun, here’s a picture of us from our very FIRST Valentine’s Day in 2007. We had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants (where we had our first date) called Chad’s on Chapala. Sadly the restaurant is now gone, but we sure had some great times there! OMG we look like such babies!

1923268_512348317737_5356_n.jpg

What did you all do to celebrate?

Monday 2.15.16 🌼☀️🐾🐾🌼☀️

Happy President’s Day! I actually didn’t have the day off from work (boo SJSU for making us work on President’s Day), but decided to take a much needed vacation day! I must say it was the best decision ever!

Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous out and pretty warm for February. Dash had a vet appointment (just some vaccines) up in San Carlos, so we decided to do a hike at a favorite spot, Water Dog Lake. When we used to live in San Mateo, we would take the dogs here all the time! It was super close to our house (and my parents) and is a great place to get outdoors. There are several trails and lots of people walking/hiking/biking/exploring. We miss Water Dog so much now that we live down in San Jose. I think especially since we haven’t found “our” hiking spot in San Jose yet. Whenever we get the chance, we jump at any opportunity to hit up our old favorite places in San Carlos!

Clearly from the photos, our pups had a wonderful time too! Can’t wait until our next family hike.

Well that’s a quick recap of our 3-day weekend. Looking forward to having a short work week even though it’s going to be busy for my hubby and maybe me too! In other news, I’m looking forward to my BIRTHDAY tomorrow!!! Can’t believe another year has come and gone…haha. We will be celebrating on our own tomorrow night, having dinner out with my co-workers on Thursday (yay for Benihana’s) and then celebrating again with my family this weekend!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and that your week is off to a great start!

XoXo

 

365 Days of Meditation 🙏🏻

💕 🙏 💕 🙏 💕 🙏

A day late, but nonetheless…yesterday I reached a BIG goal. ONE YEAR of MEDITATING!!! Waaahoooo what an accomplishment! When I started on this meditation journey one year ago I had no idea where it would take me or if I would even complete this goal. Today I’m so very thankful for how far I’ve come and the goal I’ve reached. I truly feel honored and blessed to have achieved this milestone. Meditation does wonders and I would be so lost without it.

I love these images and quotes below. The statement by Russell Simmons, “Meditation can reintroduce you to the part that’s been missing” really strikes a chord with me. Sometimes that’s exactly how I feel about meditation; that something has been missing in my life and that something simply is meditation. Like many of you may know, my first introduction to mindfulness and meditation was in 2011 when I took a mini-series on stress reduction at my local yoga studio, Butterfly Yoga. The instructor was amazing and I wanted to learn more. At the time, I was also going through a really difficult period personally and felt like I needed to do something. After the mini-series on stress reduction, I decided to take an 8-week  MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) course, where I learned/practiced formal and informal methods of mindfulness including the body scan, sitting meditation, gentle yoga and walking meditation. Taking that course was one of the best decisions! Although I didn’t continue my meditation practice as much as I planned after the 8 weeks, I still tried and often found myself at mini-retreats and special sessions geared towards mindfulness and meditation. All that matters is that you try and show up to your practice. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to get there.

To learn more about MBSR check out the Center for Mindfulness…pretty cool stuff! Serious life changer!

Meditation is wonderful and the best gift I could ever give myself. I have gained so much more than I ever thought possible from my practice! It’s amazing what happens when you fully incorporate something like meditation into your daily life. I feel transformed, very proud that I’ve kept up with my practice, and that meditation is now a priority in my life! There is so much to gain from meditation and I truly feel it’s benefits every day.

Since reaching this year meditation milestone, I’ve reflected a great deal on how I first got introduce to mindfulness and meditation. None of my practice would be worth anything if it hadn’t been for my dear friend and mentor, Cassie Schindler. Of course I have to give a HUGE shout out and THANK YOU to her. I’ve blogged about/mentioned Cassie here probably dozens of times. She is a truly wonderful individual who I hold in the highest regard. I have to give her full credit for my introduction to mindfulness and meditation. THANK YOU Cassie for showing me the way and taking me on this journey with you! I honestly feel like a new person…or at least have re-discovered the person I really, truly am. In some magical way, I feel like Cassie and meditation has saved me! Since getting my first taste of this special world back in 2011 to my newly complete goal of 365 days of meditation, I have absolutely made meditation a part of my life. As a result, I feel so much more balanced, calm, and at peace. Additionally, my stress level has been significantly reduced or at least feels more manageable when I do my practice. Reducing stress and worry is something that I am always working on because I tend to participate in both all too much. Meditation has helped me tremendously to slow down, approach problems differently and really take the time to be present in live in this very moment.

Thanks as always for reading. Namaste! 💕 🙏 💕 🙏 💕 🙏

Remembering Aunt Anora

I’m sad to say, but my aunt passed away back in December 2014. 😦 Our family just finished two weekends of ‘celebrations’ in honor of her. Saturday, January 23 we got together as a family to scatter my aunts ashes at two of her favorite beach spots in northern California. The first place was San Gregorio State Beach near Half Moon Bay, CA. After scattering her ashes there and reading a few poems/words we headed up the coast to the second place, Gray Whale Cove. Both locations were gorgeous and I can totally see why my aunt wanted her ashes to be scattered there. The weather that day was a mix  of clouds, rain, wind and then tons of gorgeous rainbows! We literally saw so many rainbows that seemed to follow us everywhere we went that day. We all knew that was my aunt!

I must admit that it was very surely scattering my aunts ashes…I found it hard to grasp the whole concept that she was actually gone. I have only had a handful of people pass away in my lifetime and only one other time did we scatter someone’s ashes. The whole thing is just really hard to understand and then do. One minute she was with us and then the next…gone. I’m really glad to have seen her before she passed and to have been able to help scatter her ashes. It was also good to be able to support both of my cousins who lost their mom and to support my own mom who lost her sister. Our day was filled with family, love, laughter, tears and of course lots of rainbows wherever we went!

Last Saturday my entire family (there were 20 of us!) met in LA to have lunch at my aunt’s favorite restaurant. We had a fancy steak lunch at Musso & Frank’s in Hollywood, which is one of the oldest restaurants and has been there since 1919. Musso’s is known for their martinis and delicious food. In the 1930’s, the restuarnat was a literary hangout for greats like F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Raymond Chandler. Apparently Fitzgerald was known to proofread his novels while sitting in one of the booths. How totally cool! Others such as T.S. Elliot, William Saroyan, Aldous Huxley, Max Brand, John Steinbeck, John O’Hara and Dorothy Parker also made a home atMusso’s. The literary tradition continued over the years and new generations of writers found themselves at Musso’s following in the footsteps of legends. In doing more research about the restaurant I found that the LA Times once wrote that if you stood in Musso’s Back Room long enough you, “…would have seen every living writer you had ever heard of, and some you would not know until later.” This was seriously the PERFECT place to have lunch and celebrate my aunt!!

My aunt Anora loved music and to read. She listened to and read EVERYTHING! Before she passed away she gave me a bunch of books to read and I can’t wait to start them. She had a big, loud personality and a real passion for life. My aunt loved telling stories, cooking, drinking martinis and on occasion swearing haha. She was a gentle mother, brave sister, loving/caring Bubby (Jewish grandmother) and wonderful person. My aunt taught her siblings about music, life, justice, to stand up for themselves and to never take life too seriously. Aunt Anora did a great job raising her two kids as a single mother and gave them everything she had.

To me, she was a fun loving aunt whom I have so many found memories of…including the time she name our new puppy Dash after her favorite author Dashiell Hammett. I love you so much and will miss you even more! Thank you for letting us celebrate your life in the fanciest of ways! I’ve never had such a delicious steak and the drinks were superb! I hope we did you justice in celebrating YOU. Aunt Anora, you truly picked the most perfect place for us to celebrate and remember you! Love you, always and forever!

Here’s our entire family outside Musso’s! ❤ ❤ ❤ This just makes my heart so full! We were missing a few spouses (including mine), but everyone else was able to make it. I really hope that in the future we see each other more and spend more time together as a family. After all, isn’t family all we have?

img_3953-2

While we were in LA I got to spend some time with these adorable little munchkins, Natan and Guy (my cousin Teddie’s kids). I had a blast sleeping over, eating sushi and playing spaceship! Love you little boys so much!

I love you Aunt Anora!