A Day at the Dog Beach

Today I took my dog to the dog beach. I was very happy to find out from a coworker that there is a dog beach close to my house. Simon has been to other beaches a few times and I guess he remembered cause when he saw me grab his towel and shampoo he started bouncing all over the place. (A bath at home would result in the opposite reaction so he knew something.)

The beach was perfect. The water was a clear blue. There wasn’t a lot of seaweed. And even though we got there late, it wasn’t overly crowded. There were a lot of dogs there too. I kept Simon on the leash. I want to take him a few times and make sure he is a good citizen before I let him run around with the dogs.

His favorite thing was to dig the sand. Sometimes he laid on his side and dug. I’m not sure if he likes the water. The waves made him uncomfortable and he kept as close to land as possible with an, “Are you kidding me look?” He also liked to sit in the wet sand and dig.

I am very excited to take him back again. My intention is to go to the beach every week this summer and now I can share that with my dog. I hope one day it won’t be so wavy and he will give the water more of a chance. Sometimes we are turned off by things that seem difficult but if we stick with it for awhile and develop our skills we might really enjoy it.

Kiwi Pear Smoothie

Today I experimented. Instead of using milk, I used  1/2 a cup of water and 4 ice cubes.
1 pear
1 kiwi (no skin)
1 tbsp Greek yogurt
Chocolate chips
Blueberries 
Whipped cream for a topping

I wouldn’t say I especially enjoyed this combination but I would be willing to drink it again. I pretty much chose pear and kiwi because I hadn’t used these fruits during the week and didn’t want to leave them too long. At first I made it without the blueberries but it was a weird green color. The blueberries made it purple and more appealing. By using water I was hoping this smoothie would be a little icy but I am probably blending it too much. It might have beeen better with milk.

South Beach

I had a great day today!

It started out with my database class. It may not sound cool to have a class on a Saturday morning, but it forces me out in the world and then I usually do something interesting after class.

Today, I went to South Beach. I had lunch at my favorite pizza place, Pizza Rustica (I posted a picture on Facebook to make my cousins who live far away jealous 🙂 ). I browsed through some stores and found birthday presents for two of my friends. And then I visited the beach.

Although this is South Florida and it’s generally warm most of the year- especially compared to a lot of other places, it is now hot enough for me to want to go to the beach. I didn’t take my stuff to go swimming today, but I did enjoy a nice stroll on the shore.

If you’ve never been there, you might be surprised to find it different than you’ve heard. Yes, there are night clubs and celebrities, but regular people with regular lives also live and work there. There are a lot of restaurants, stores, and of course the beach. It is an adventure to just wander around and discover new things.

People are always out and about walking, riding, running, walking their dogs- its very active. I can’t imagine living somewhere where there is no beach. There’s something cathartic about walking barefooted in the sand, breathing in the salty air, feeling the warmth of the sun on your body and having the water wash over you.

It was one of those days that was good for the soul. I have to go back soon.

Breakfast Smoothies

I’m beginning week three of my new smoothies for breakfast lifestyle. It seems like something I’m going to stick with. I went to Whole Foods and the regular grocery last week and bought  some things to dress up my smoothies. I’m going to share my discoveries.

Yogurt- the first day I substituted a 1/4 cup of greek yogurt with 1/4 cup of milk instead of using 1/2 cup of milk like I had been doing. It made my smoothie a lot thicker than I like so I switched to adding a tablespoon or two for the rest of the week. This made the smoothies a little thicker without being an effort to suck up though a straw.

Chocolate protein powder- I bought this to make the smoothies more filling. I used a full scoop the first day along with the yogurt which may have contributed to the thickness. Since then I’ve been using half a scoop. Maybe I’ll work my way up to a full scoop eventually. This also comes in vanilla, but how can you not get chocolate?

Frozen wheat grass cubes- I’ve heard wheat grass is very good for you and helps fight cancer. It has a weird green color that can turn people off but it is tasteless. I’ve made my smoothies with mixed berries so they’re purple and not green.

Kiwi- I blended this with the skin, but I think I will have to work my way up to that. I’m not fond of the fuzziness.

Chocolate chips- I’m trying not to consume too much sugar, but on the other hand I’m trying to be successful in this change. Throwing in a few chocolate chips on occasion is a nice treat.

I’m not a big fan of coffee but during Christmas I bought peppermint mocha instant coffee from Starbucks. I used one packet and it has just been sitting in my kitchen since. I included a portion of a packet in one of my smoothies and it gave it a little minty coffee kick. The packets also have 15 grams of sugar so just using a portion is a little healthier. 

Not for smoothies but one of the recipes for the Magic Bullet is chocolate mousse. Which uses heavy whipping cream- I blended this with a melted chocolate chips instead of buying chocolate syrup and made chocolate mousse which is a nice, simple but satisfying dessert. I added a few drops of peppermint extract and this was a delight. Be sure to only blend for a few seconds. If you do it too long it liquifies.

There are so many combinations of fruits and other things that I am enjoying making smoothies for breakfast. It’s much better than having cereal or oatmeal like I used to have.

Funny Words

Tonight I went to a comedy show in the private area called the “Backroom” of a restaurant/bar. This gathering occurs once a month. I couldn’t help but feel this experience as being similar to attending book readings by authors at the independent bookstore since we were a captive audience waiting to be whisked away by someone’s words.  

I want to say we saw six comedians but it might have even been more. I was invited by my dance instructor who is now my good friend. Her chiropractor was one of the comediennes. I share these details because it’s interesting how connections lead you to unexpected places. 

You could see the experience level of the comedians progress with each performer. The last two guys were able to make anything funny. One of them did a bit with a woman in the audience from Oxford, England that went on for ten minutes. He was very a good at doing accents and his just talking in the various accents amused me. At the end he said he had to get back to the material he wrote. 

Imagine writing material. I can be funny in the moment, but they have to pay attention to life, recall it, and try to make it both meaningful and funny is a whole other level, but I imagine you can develop this skill if you work at it.

That is the other thing I appreciated about tonight. Now that I have a hobby that has its own social network, I see hobbies and artistic endeavors differently. I was never good at joining clubs in high school and college. I’d go for a few weeks and not feel connected and then disappear. But much like dancing, I could see how there is a circuit and how people develop and advance. And how people gather and support each other.

Magic Birthday Cake

It’s birthday season! My three friends and I all have birthdays that are two weeks  (or less) apart so it feels like one continuous party until June.

The pre-celebration began with Taco night at D’s house on the eve of K’s birthday. (We are also Men in Black agents). D usually has “Taco Tuesdays” which is an open invitation for her family and friends to come over. D likes to cook and bake so all the times I’ve been there there have been really nice desserts. She made a banana cake last night with a peace sign on it because that’s what K likes.

So all of the birthday girls and D got together. (Unfortunately D’s birthday is in December, but we are still friends with her.) It was actually our first Taco  night all together. It was special being together- joking around and talking. We’ve only been a friends for a year, so we’re still getting to know each other. Up until a few years ago I mostly spent time with my high school friends or people from work so it’s a big deal to me to have found a brand new group of friends. Since we all like to dance, we usually see each other a few times a week. 

And tonight D, K, and I went dancing so it was a good night. There was leftover dessert from a party prior to the club opening and a waiter brought out shots of cake- pieces of cake in tiny cups! I called it K’s magic birthday cake because it just appeared out of thin air. I can’t wait to see what other birthday surprises come our way!

Have you had any birthday surprises? What do you like to do for your birthday?

One Step at a Time

I get overwhelmed easily. I’ll have an idea and then I’ll plan things out ahead and get to a certain point and decide it’s just too much and I’ll just let it go. 

I have had various hobbies that I have been good at and hoped to make money from such as photographing events or selling paintings (the painting idea is more of a fantasy). I have an idea now that I have actually been working toward for a few years. I’ve been waiting to feel less green before I officially begin this one. 

I love to dance. I’m not going to be teaching at the Joffrey, but I have gotten good enough to assist my dance instructor at parties and lead some parties at my job. I had an idea to make some business cards and give the out to the new dancers. I was actually approached by a lady a few months ago who gave me HER business card because she wanted me to give her private lessons. I was lazy and did not follow up. I tried to I imagine when I would make time for her and I didn’t want to give up my free time.

But this weekend I thought if I got ten people a week and charged  $10 I could make $400 extra a month, which is the magic number for me to achieve a particular goal. Then I thought, where would I do this? Can I charge people to do this at a park? Which park would be best? What time? Suppose they get lazy and don’t bother to come? Do I have to claim this on my taxes? Will I be taking business away from my instructor friend?

Dancing has been the one area of my life where I go with the flow instead of planning and having an outcome in  mind. It has been an amazing adventure of meeting new people and other adventures. So when I was tempted to give up on the idea, I thought about it again and decided I should make business cards and see what transpires. Step one.