The Best Things In Life Are Free

I typically put on music for Orelia when I leave her home on her own.  It’s usually R&B or Smooth Jazz.  A friend recently recommended I shake it up and try Country.  Listening to classic country songs totally brought me back to growing up in the South.

One song in particular called “Stay Young” by Don Williams has been playing in my head a lot.  The lyrics echo exactly what I’ve been feeling these days.  All the best things in life are free.  Here are a few free things that are making me happy these days.

1)    Heartland:  I’m addicted to watching this TV series filmed in the Canadian Rockies on Netflix. Stunning scenery and a wholesome family drama set on a beautiful horse ranch has me hooked.

Heartland

2)    Fort Point: Going for a walk or drive down there to watch the waves roll in makes me feel even more grateful to live in this gorgeous city.

Fort-Point

3)    Napping with Orelia:  Snuggling with her and waking up to her beautiful sweet little face is the purest form of love and happiness I’ve ever known.

Orelia

Over the weekend

The weekend was absolutely fantastic.  The weather was sunny and warm.  I spent time with my favorite people and ate delicious food.  I even did a little dancing on Saturday night.  And after a year and a half of wearing custom orthotic inserts due to a stress fracture, I was finally able to wear high heels again.  2013 is already turning out to be a great year!

Donut-holes

{Donut holes at Elite Cafe}

Alta-Plaza

{My favorite neighborhood spot for a stroll with Orelia: Alta Plaza Park}

Alta

{Sunny day at Alta Plaza}

Orelia-Shadow

{Orelia and her shadow at Alta Plaza}

Me-and-Orelia

{Me and my favorite shadow, Orelia}

On top of the world

Mt-Tam

On a bright, sunny day there’s nothing I love more than driving across the Golden Gate Bridge for a hike at Mt. Tam.  Another bonus is that my BFF recently moved to Mill Valley.  Now I can hike, meet her for lunch at Mountain Home Inn and enjoy the sanctuary like peacefulness of her home surrounded by redwood trees.  It’s just 20 minutes from San Francisco, but it feels like a world away.  Bring on the weekend!

Mt-Tam

Hiking-boots

Curvy-Road-Mt-Tam

Mt-Tam

Beyond Savannah

Bonaventure-Cemetery

Towards the end of our trip, we rented a car to venture out to Bonaventure Cemetery and Tybee Island. Even though I was nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes at the cemetery, I’m glad we made the trip.  The statues and Spanish moss were just as lovely as in the guidebooks.  But admittedly, it wasn’t the most beautiful cemetery. That award surely goes to Pere Lachaise in Paris.

I wish we had spent more time in Tybee Island.  I think next time we’ll spend a few days in Savannah and rent a cottage by the water in Tybee so we can really soak up the white sand beaches.  I was surprised by how clean and beautiful the stretches of sand were down there.  It was like a little slice of California in Georgia. Hope to see you again soon, Savannah.

Bonaventure-Statue

Tybee-Lighthouse

Lighthouse

Tybee-Beach

Southern Comfort

Savannah

Last spring, I met my mom in Savannah, Georgia for a long weekend.  It was a first visit for both of us; and we absolutely loved the city.  The historic district is organized around a series of 22 beautiful park-like squares filled with majestic live oak trees, charming statues and park benches that invite you to laze away a spring afternoon and watch the world go by.

The architecture took my breath away.  From the Victorian homes to the Cathedrals that have been around since the 1700s, the city is a feast for the eyes.  And the food, oh the food.  Just thinking about it makes me want to hop on a plane right now.

The most memorable meal was at The Olde Pink House.  Housed in the lovely former home of General James Habersham, it’s the first place the Declaration of Independence was read aloud in Savannah.  However, the only declarations we heard that night were the oh-la-la’s we made over the fried green tomatoes and cornbread fried oysters.

And of course, we couldn’t go to Savannah without visiting Paula Deen’s legendary The Lady and Sons restaurant.  Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting too much and really thought it would turn out to be overhyped.  However, one taste of the fried chicken and mac n’ cheese made me a believer.

The only thing I would change about the weekend was our hotel. We stayed at the Avia downtown.  The location was fantastic, but the service at the hotel was lacking in so many ways.  We had to call multiple times to remind them to clean our room and the ventilation was quite poor.  And to top it off, we got lazy and had dinner in the hotel restaurant our last night.  While the burgers were tasty, we both ended up with food poisoning on the plane ride home.  Sorry, Avia, but we won’t be coming back.

Next time, I’d love to stay at one of the many beautiful bed and breakfasts around town.  The Kehoe House, known for it’s charm and attention to guests, is located on a quiet historic square and the rocking chairs on the veranda are calling my name as I write this post. The Gastonian looks pretty fabulous too.  Any place that offers high tea on a daily basis can’t be bad.  Until next time, Savannah…

(p.s. Now that I’m working again, it’s becoming quite a challenge to post every day.  So, I’m going to move to 3 times a week.  Quality over quantity is always a good idea, right?! Hope everyone has a fantastic week!)

Savannah

Savannah-Square

Savannah

Savannah-House

Savannah-Homes

Cathedral

Savannah-Square

Oak-Trees

Cathedral-Inside

Lovely Beyond the Ordinary

My dad recently used this phrase to sum up how he felt about everything associated with a loved one who passed away many years ago.  The words kept playing in my head.  Walking Orelia to the park this morning, I was smiling from ear to ear at all the “lovely beyond the ordinary” things that caught my eye and ran through my mind.

  1. Man, Orelia is one beautiful individual.  I just love the way she prances to the park every morning with her tail wagging as if to say “Bring it on, day.  I’m ready for this!”
  2. It’s finally warming up in San Francisco.  The skies are blue and the birds are chirping with joy that the temperatures are back to 60+ degrees.  I’m pumped to spend more time outdoors this weekend.
  3. I can’t wait to head to Petaluma for another horseback riding lesson this afternoon.  Giddy up!
  4. I’m excited to spend the weekend celebrating the birthday of a good friend. Birthday cake, anyone?!
  5. Life is indeed lovely beyond the ordinary these days.

Have a great weekend!

Petaluma(Petaluma – lovely beyond the ordinary indeed)

Petaluma-Barn

(Love the colorful reins lined up at the barn in Petaluma)

Orelia

(Orelia – the loveliest of all things in my book)

Women Who Make Beautiful Lives

Victoria-Zenoff

Victoria Zenoff doesn’t actually create beautiful things.  She does something far more valuable.  She creates beautiful lives for her clients.

I went to see Victoria back in January 2012 when I was so depressed to return to work after the holidays that I actually cried.  Working with Victoria was like opening a door to my dreams and realizing that I had the power to make them come true.  She’s worked as a career/life coach for 35+ years.  It’s not some hobby that she just picked up on the side when she got bored with her day job.  It’s her life’s work, her passion and she excels at it in every way.

She’s helped countless people find more meaning in their daily lives and make career and industry transitions.  She helped me find an exit out of a dead end job and worked with several of my friends to help them find more meaningful work.  I recently went to a dinner party where another one of her clients and I went on and on for 30 minutes singing her praises.  If you’re lost, in doubt about what will make you happy and/or how to get it, go see Victoria.  You’ll be happy you did.