Monday, May 28, 2012

Life Reflections on Memorial Weekend

Hanging around town
Delicious Daphne's. Starter Sampler: Fire Feta//Original Hummus// Guacamole 
A small wave
Parmesan Risotto
Beach party
Birthday boy
I learned to surf below these cliffs
Another small wave
Mediterranean Salad with avocado on toast 
     The air smells sweet this time of year. Jasmine and Plumeria are blooming all around our neighborhood. Even in the calm of darkness their scents slip into the house. It's so warm, I even wore a dress one night. I love that. The waves have been small, the windows have been open, letting that fragrant air in, baseball and surf movie's have been on our TV and we've been working in the backyard. Summer seems to be in full swing around here and I'm in heaven.
     I always feel the most free this time of year, not that I haven't been feeling more free since I quit my previous job. It's been almost a year since that happened, and I can't believe how much happier I have become as a person since that change took place. How much more enriching my life is now that I have really put my energy into my passions. In leaving that job, I felt I was giving myself a big hug, allowing myself to embrace the things in life that were meant for me, rather than the ones that seemed forced upon me. By who? I don't really know. Not my parent's or Scott. Society? I doubt it. I think the coercion really came from me. I think I felt I had to keep that teaching job because it seemed appropriate. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't the perfect fit and I felt unsatisfied knowing that; laying awake at night much more curious about other potential careers and roads for my wandering feet to explore. I felt like I was wearing clothes that didn't fit. I don't feel like that now. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Barbecued Tofu

     Summer is around the corner. I love a good barbecue almost as much as I love a good summer south swell, but I don't want to miss out on barbecues now that I'm a vegetarian. Over the past few months we have been learning how to barbecue tofu. It is really very easy! Here's how we've done it...
2 packages of extra/super firm organic tofu
teriyaki sauce/marinade of your choice

Press your tofu before cooking it (place between a clean kitchen towel and press down to soak up excess water). Marinate the tofu for at least 30 minutes before grilling in teriyaki sauce or a marinade of your choice. I like to marinate my tofu in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator for around two hours. Preheat the barbecue to a medium heat. It works best to grill the tofu on a vegetable grill pan or on bamboo skewers.  If you use the grill pan, make sure to lightly spray it with oil to prevent sticking. Grill for six-eight minutes on each side. 

Easy right?


We had it with barbecued pineapple, salad and parmesan risotto
What are your plans this memorial weekend? 
I'm making tofu and will hopefully do lots of surfing!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Another Door Opens...

I just had to use this song for this post. HAD TO
Shake It Out by Florence and the Machine on Grooveshark
 The saying is familiar to us all. "When one door closes, another door opens".  But I have never found it to be as true as I did Thursday afternoon. 
     On the day I found out about the Roxy contest I was at story hour with the 17 month old I watch, when my phone began to vibrate. It was a number I didn't recognize; the person left a message. A few hours later, the little dude and I returned home, enjoyed lunch, and then I put him down for a nap. 
    I was moving on from the defeat, but it still stung a little and I couldn't help feeling a tad bit rejected. The way I used to feel when I didn't get the role I wanted in a school play. The way I used to feel when a high school crush completely ignored me. 
     As I began to wash the dishes from our lunch, I checked the message on my phone to see who had called earlier. It was a man I had met a few nights ago at the San Diego Surf Film Festival. His name, which he left in the message, is Craig and he is a representative from the California Greek restaurant chain Daphne's.
     At the film festival I had helped Craig set up. As we did so, he told me about all the healthy (and vegetarian!) options Daphne's offered. I brought up how I'm a vegetarian constantly searching for plant based food options when I'm out to eat and briefly mentioned my blog. It was a great conversation that finished just as the festival was about to start.
     As he mentioned in the message, Craig was calling because he checked out my blog and wanted to have me become a sponsored ambassador for Daphne's. I about dropped my phone in the basin of water I was washing dishes in. 
     Craig and I met later that afternoon and I learned more about my new role as an ambassador for the brand. My heart heard every word he spoke as clear as day and seemed to be dancing at each one.
     That night, Scott and I returned to Daphne's and feasted on an assortment of tasty items from their menu (all of which I am craving as I write this). Eating this meal felt similar to eating the meal I was treated to by my family after graduating. It felt like someone noticed the efforts I had made and was honoring them. 
     You know when for just a moment you feel like your life is a movie? Well, I was having one of those moments. I felt I was the protagonist having flashbacks about all the moments in my life when things didn't go my way, until these memories brought me to the present moment where I was eating free delicious greek food because I had given my heart to surfing and set my mind on doing it professionally. Typical of movie-like moments, the Florence and the Machine song "Shake it Out" began to play and I looked down at my phone to see a text from my friend Roberta. She had found five copies of the issue of Surf Girl at Barnes and Nobel, even though they told me they didn't carry it. It was the very same issue that held my first published interview, the one I had missed and had never seen in print. We went to the bookstore after dinner and brought them all. 
     Many sayings can apply to this situation and I happen to be someone who enjoys inspirational quotes, so bear with me. 
~"When one door closes, another door opens."

~"Defeat is simply a signal to press onward" ~Helen Keller. 

And my personal favorite?
"Never give up on what matters to you!"

Friday, May 18, 2012

You Win Some...

I don't know how long it took me to realize that I didn't win. 
      When I couldn't sleep anymore I wandered into the living room around 5am, the day the Roxy contest finalists would be announced. I turned on my computer, clicked the Roxy website and found the link to the contest. "Finalists" was written across a red button. I'm not even sure I was breathing when I clicked it. I've ridden for Roxy for the last three years, but I wanted to win this contest so I could travel to France with them and work more closely with the team.
     I scrolled over the videos with cloudy morning eyes. At first glance I didn't see my video. I studied each one to make sure I didn't miss it. This part was sad. I got to the bottom and none of them seemed to be mine. For good measure, I did a search on the page for my name. There were no matches. This part was sadder. I turned off the bright computer screen and walked back into my room. I crawled carefully into bed so as not to awaken Scott. I lay there for a few moments. I think this was when the realization really hit me: I didn't win. I didn't advance. I wouldn't go to France or the surprise trip with the team. 
     I let myself use all those excuses I had conjured up for this exact scenario sometime after I entered the contest. I'm a planner, after all. And there they were, swirling around my head. It was a good experience. Not getting what you want builds character (thank you for that advice, Bridget). It was so nice to have the support of all of those who care about me. At least I'm still sponsored by Roxy. I'll go on a surf trip to France some other time. 
    Sometime during all of this reasoning I started crying and sometime after that Scott woke up. I almost felt bad about this, but I needed him in this moment. I know, it's just a silly contest. I've entered many before and this was the usual result. I don't say that so you will feel bad for me. I feel like I am lucky blessed enough in this life already. This is simply how life goes. You win some, you don't win others. You have to go for it in any way you can, always with the hope in mind that something great might come out of taking that risk. If you don't win, you can grow from the experience, if you allow yourself to. My friend Roberta told me the other day "Even if you don't win, it doesn't mean you lost." I really believe that's true. Since the first day I entered this contest quit my job I felt this voice telling me something good will come of this. And so many good things already have come out of me following my dreams. Mostly, the realization that I have the audacity to do just that. 
   The sun started to rise and more and more birds began to chirp. This day was moving on, now so should I. I got up to find my notebook in the living room. With my number two pencil in hand I began to write because it has always made me feel better. And it did. 
     Following that, I drafted up a quick email to Roxy, while Scott sipped cereal milk in the background, submitting my wave watching tips to them for their blog. I don't know what it will take, if anything, to get me off track on my quest for my dreams, but this wasn't it. I will keep representing their brand the best way I know how because I feel so passionately about what they offer and represent. I feel very blessed to be tied a company that has such significance in the history of women's surfing. True, I won't be traveling around with them this summer, but I will make the best of what I have here at home.
     Thank you to anyone out there who has helped me on my journey. Your support is part of the good that came out of this. 

p.s. on to the next thing! I'm off to SF this weekend. How about you?
p.p.s. now I will have the chance to vote for the other contestants haha :). In reference to this

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My 1st Publication!

     Here it is! My 1st magazine feature! You can imagine my surprise when I opened the recent issue of Surf Girl and saw that... it wasn't in there.
     Well, I'm that dummy who missed the very first time they were published. Yes, I missed it. This interview was published in February and I didn't know it. I didn't buy it. I subscribed too late. Fortunately, the editor was nice and, although the issue sold out, she sent me a PDF of the interview. 
So here is my first publication. Yew! (surf lingo for Yay!)
You can click on it to see it larger, if you like. 

p.s. the pic of the tattoo is not me! ;)

Monday, May 14, 2012

How to: Watch the Waves and Become a Student of the Sea

The most important thing I think I can pass on to anyone about surfing is that you must become a student of the ocean. This means using every opportunity you have when you are down by the water to study what goes on. For example,

Know the beach
  • Is it a point break, beach break or reef break?
  • Notice where to get in and out safely.
  • What is below the waves you want to surf?
    • Sandy bottoms are softer, but reefs and rock bottoms are more predictable.
Read Surf and Tide Forecasts
  • Know the direction of the swell and the tide before you arrive.
  • Develop an understanding of what the swell direction and tides mean for the spot you plan to surf.
Watch Other People
  • How do they get in and out?
  • Assess the skills of those out so you can avoid hazardous surfers and be mindful of experienced ones.
  • If you plan to surf a more localized spot, try to learn who the locals are. It is respectful to give them priority on waves.
Watch the Waves
  • Are there only rights, only lefts, or both?
  • Estimate wave size and difficulty.
  • Identify hazards such as rip currents or sharp rocks.
  • Understand where the small, medium and larger waves break.
  • Determine which waves you will most likely want to ride and where you need to sit to catch them.
  • Is there a channel you can paddle out in or sit in if a set comes?

Surf terms:
Beach Break- a sand bottom surf spot with a combination of left and right breaking waves.
Channel-a deep spot in the lineup where waves break more gently or not at all. 
Point Break- a rock, reef or sand bottom spot where waves wrap around a point and break in the same direction.
Reef break-a reef bottom break which could consist of live or dead coral; may have a combination of lefts and rights or it could be a point break.

Have fun out there and be mindful!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Catalina Was...

Yes, Kate is wearing a mustache. It was cinco de mayo, y'all
Catalina was a calm boat ride and a warm May day (rare on the water, believe me). It was chatting with friends about college memories we've shared and our plans for navigating this new chapter of life as adults (a chapter that, to me, still sometimes seems rather shocking). It was watching my husband and my dad act like friends. And it was experiencing new things in a familiar place.

What are your plans for this weekend?
Also, this is random, but I am very interested in weather and I'd love to hear about what it's like other places right now. So, how is the weather where you live?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Realizations After the Roxy Contest

     The Roxy contest is over and I don't know if I'll ever be able to thank everyone for their kindness. It was scary putting myself out there to be judged and even more uncomfortable asking for your votes, but I appreciate the support like a pat on the back or a loving hug. Putting up my video felt kind of like standing in front of a huge crowd of people, sharing a poem about what's in my heart, and then waiting to see if the audience would applaud at the end or just leave me standing there in an uncomfortable silence. Your votes were like clapping hands to me and for that I am eternally grateful. 
     Now that I write this down, I wish I would have used my ability to vote on other contestants with fewer votes rather than only for myself. And thinking about this makes me sigh out loud, twirl my hair with hasty hands and think, oh selfishness, I hope I distance myself more from you someday
  Although, perhaps a realization like this is what's most important. This deeper awareness  gives me some understanding about the purpose of this contest in my life so far, because there has to be more purpose to it than winning or losing. 
     I believe everything happens for a reason. The reason I did this contest in the first place was because I had to follow any potential path that could lead me to greater fulfillment of my dream--to surf around the world and connect with others by sharing my love and passion for the ocean and for life. I needed to show my sponsor, Roxy, how committed I am to my surfing and their brand. But now that this part of the contest is completed, I realize I needed to experience the selfless support of others (YOU, the kind person spending some of their day encouraging me in my life) so it could inspire me to make sure I'm that person for someone else. 
     I'm sure there's more, many more, realizations and purposes that will come out of me entering this contest. And more important than any victory are these realizations. They give a deeper purpose to me entering the contest and to my life.

Cheers to all of you and thank you!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Billabong XXL Awards Show

Roberta and I
with big wave pioneer and surf legend Shane Dorian. Stoked!
Scott with Shane Dorian
Keala and I// Yikes!
On Friday we attended the Billabong XXL awards show with Roberta, who is back from her time in Canada (Yay!!). You would think the vibes at such an event would be intense as all the nominees spend the year leading up to the awards chasing the biggest waves in the world and risking their lives in the process, but it was anything but. Surfers grace the blue carpet wearing their best flannel shirts and awesome accessories like vintage war goggles. We were especially excited to see Shane Dorian and Keala Kennelly, two of our surf heros. Some of the award categories included biggest wave, monster paddle, biggest tube, worst wipeout and male and female performance of the year. Crazy stuff, huh?

Check out more on the Billabong XXL Awards here
Watch Keala's XXL tube ride here
Follow Keala on Twitter here

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thankful Things

This week I'm thankful for...

Time to relax at home 
 Thank you all for your support in the Roxy contest! No matter the outcome, it feels so good knowing there are so many wonderful people out there who believe in me. 
Cheers and happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Parmesan Risotto Recipe

Did I make this? No, I was surfing. My mom made this Ina Garten risotto recipe the other night when we were over at my parents' house. I came out of the water and was greeted by its delicious smell and her smiling face. Also, my dad barbecued tofu for me. My parents? Well, I love them lots. I immediately became addicted to this risotto and plan to make it next week. I have a feeling you will love it too.  

Serving size: 4-6

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups simmering veggie stock (Ina recommends chicken, though)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup frozen organic peas

+My mom added mushrooms and it was delicious. Saute in a pan and add if you wish.

Place the rice and 4 cups of the vegetable stock in a Dutch oven, such as a Le Creuset. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of vegetable broth, the Parmesan and the white wine, butter, salt and pepper. Stir vigorously for 2-3 minutes until the rice is thick and creamy. Add the peas and mushrooms and stir until heated through. Serve hot.