Friday, September 28, 2012

Photos by: Dad

      My dad took these pictures. I'm always stoked to have surf photos. I guess that's a little self-involved, but there's something so special about having a picture of a moment that felt magical and almost unreal. It's also super neat having my dad experiencing this moment with me. I like to think that when I look back on these pictures, I won't just see my moment, but a moment we shared. I get to see what we both saw at one given time and there's something really remarkable about that.  Sure, I'm in my twenties now, but it's pretty common for me to paddle over to my dad and say "Did ya see that, Dad? Did you see me!?" That's pretty self-involved too, I guess, but I love sharing such a special part of my life with him.

Happy weekend guys!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Grilled Cheese with Sweet Potatoes and Maui Onions

Alright, cold weather or not, I'm celebrating fall already. I put up decorations Monday, lit an apple cinnamon candle and washed our Halloween costume collection (turns out I left a gourd in the costume box which rotted and made the costumes smell like the damp crawl space under our house). Yesterday evening I was convinced I was going to make a fall meal and since it's still a bit hot here for soup, sandwiches it was. Scott loves grilled cheese. Actually, Scott loves just about anything with cheese. I like grilled cheese too, but I wanted to spice up the bread and cheese classic. I have to say, it was pretty good with a glass of wine and an arugula salad.

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients
1 large sweet potato, thinly sliced (approximately 1/4 inch thick) 
8 thick slices of artisan bread
1 sweet or Maui onion, thinly sliced
8 slices of havarti cheese
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 tbs. butter
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tps. chili powder
sea salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
*I try to use organic when I can of all of the above

Instructions
+Preheat the oven to 425 °
+toss sweet potato slices in olive oil, chili powder, and sea salt and pepper to taste on prepared baking sheet. Roast until golden and soft; about 20 minuets. Set aside and let cool.
+toast almonds on another oven shelf for approximately 5-10 minutes.
+Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions  and toss to coat. Cook without stirring until onion begins to brown. Add and stir in balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir for 10-15 more minutes. 
+Building the sandwich- brush olive oil onto the outside of each slice of bread (you could also use butter, but I think olive oil is healthier). 
Build in the following order:
-1 slice of havarti cheese
-slices of sweet potatoes 
-caramelized onions
-toasted almonds
-1 slice havarti cheese
+Heat panini maker, heavy griddle or flat pan (whatever you have) to medium-low heat. Cook each sandwich until the cheese starts to melt (approximately 3-4 minutes each side). 

Enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Derailed

     I've been excited to write lately. Really excited. I feel like I haven't taken time to jot down anything of much substance since we got back from "the trip". I've been so busy trying to settle back into my nest. At least, that's what I keep calling our house and what I'm doing, because that's exactly what it feels like. I feel I need to make this home ours again even though it was never anybody else's while we were gone. I actually went through my closet and gave things away. I never do this. I'm not unorganized about the possessions I hold onto and I honestly use most of my belongings (even the keepsakes in the garage grab a bit of my attention from time to time) so I haven't felt guilty about it, but the second we got back, I started going through things left and right, in some odd effort to feel settled again. Has this ever happened to you? Maybe it's the new season. But really, it's hard to even say it's a new season around here because it's been positively boiling and I've seen little signs of fall. None of the ones I mentioned before have become apparent. I've even been going on walks at night in the neighborhood looking for fall. In the cool of the evening, I thought the signs would be more apparent, but they are no where to be found. It will only get on my nerves if this summer lasts into October, but I have a feeling that fall is right around the corner. I think it might be here next Tuesday (I try to make predictions like this). You just have to be more patient in San Diego, and perhaps that will make its arrival all the more exciting. 
     In other news, I've been surfing my brains out. I surfed for five hours on Saturday. Not in a row, but still, I haven't been frothing like this since my last semester of college when I only had class on Tuesdays and Thursdays and therefore devoted 90% of the rest of my time to surfing. After that craze, an hour and a half of surfing per day has typically been all I've needed. Not lately. I think this has something to do with "the trip" and being away from the ocean for longer periods of time than I ever have been. I'm happy to be so motivated and psyched about surfing, but there's a downside to this, like with anything, and frothing for me isn't always a good thing. Sometimes when I get so focused on one thing it begins to rule my life and when things aren't going well with that one thing, I have trouble getting past it. 
     I have actually been known to have a bit of a one track mind from time to time and it's one of those things I have to try not to have. Don't get me wrong, a one track mind is a good thing to have at the right time. Focusing on school and grades, training for a marathonworking towards a promotion. But when it carries on and on with no end it sight, appropriate measures need to be taken to derail yourself from this single mindedness. This is what I've had to do with surfing, to a degree. Although you may not believe it actually worked considering I quit my job for it. Nevertheless, I like to think I've made some progress. 
     Over the last few years I've had to work on widening my perspective, making time for other interests and not allowing my performance in the water to dictate how I feel about myself on land. All of this was going well and I feel I live a more balanced life as a result of these efforts, but lately I've been slipping back into my old habits. For example, Saturday morning, during my first surf session, I had some of the best waves of my whole summer. I even got barreled. But on Saturday evening we surfed with some neighbors at a new spot and I kept blowing it. I fell so hard on one drop that my legs compressed into the bottom, and I was pretty far off shore. It was miserable and I was mad at myself for most of the evening over this one session. Thank goodness "The Proposal" came on TV or I might have moped around all night. On Sunday morning, I woke at 7 a.m. ready to redeem myself. Scott and I packed up the bikes in the morning haze and rode to the beach. Instead of the rippable rights I had been surfing the previous day, we were greeted by one foot slop that you could barely make out in the thick fog. I was so mad I almost cried and forced myself to go on a run to snap out of it. When I got back, Scott and I sat on the beach and I went into great detail (I tend to do this) about my feelings until I realized I needed to drop kick this one track mind immediately for the sake of our sanity. 
     As I continue to work on this aspect of myself I will keep you posted. Have you ever struggled with something similar?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Marolsha Giveaway: Mermaid's Locket!

Today's giveaway is sweet!
Isn't this necklace charming? 
Naturally, I really want it for myself, but because I like you guys and because Maddy is really cool, it's up for grabs. 
I'm honestly obsessed with Maddy's etsy store Marolsha. I bought both my sister's birthday presents from her shop as well as my cousin's graduation gift, a birthday gift for a friend and something for myself (had to). And guys, Maddy is both incredibly creative and really talented. I love her jewelry because it is so unique.

Today's giveaway is (appropriately) for the
Mermaid's Locket 
(pictured above)

::to enter (mandatory)::
(leave separate comments for each entry)
1. leave a comment including your email address

::additional entries::
(leave separate comments telling me each additional way you entered)
3. <--follow The Mermaid Chronicles on google friend connect
4. like my facebook page
5. pin an item from the shop to your pinterest page and leave the link to your pin
6. favorite Marolsha on etsy

Giveaway closed

The winner is Deborah Streater!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tricks: Casual Floater

I love floaters. 
Lately, I can't do enough. 
Although some surfers only consider them a functional maneuver to get around a section, I think they are playful, look stylish and shouldn't be over-looked.

Situations where you can use a floater:
1. When a section of the wave closesout (crashes) in front of you and you need to do a maneuver that won't spend all your speed to get around it.
2. When you haven't set up properly with a decent bottom turn for a section that breaks in front of you.
3. When you want to do a casual maneuver that allows you to dance on the lip of the wave.

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to do a casual floater.

Step one:
Bend your knees! There's no need for a bottom turn with this maneuver. Eye the section you are going to float across.
 Step two:
Do a quick pump and aim the nose and inside rail of your board across the top of the oncoming section.
 Step three:
Glide up onto the lip. 
Put your weight on your toes and your front foot. 
For a casual floater, I stand rather straight. You can change your stance based on the look and feel you want your floater to have. This is a small mellow wave, so I can get away with casual posture. Had this wave been larger and more punishing, I would have elected to bend my knees more to maintain speed and prepare for the landing
Step four:
When you are up on the lip, continue to put your weight towards your toes and on your front foot. Doesn't it feel like dancing? Be in the moment, relax and let your personality show. 
Feel the wave under your feet. 
Ultimately, the wave will tell you how long you can float across it. Start coming back down when you feel you are loosing speed, or if you feel the wave is about to cave in on you. 
Step five: 
Look where you want to land. 
Ride down with the white wash, bending your knees to absorb the landing. 
A different floater
Here's a view of a floater on a wave of more consequence. On this wave, I used a more crouched stance to maintain speed and prepare for the landing. 

As always, have fun out there!
+
I learned so much of what I know from Taj Burrow's Book of Hot Surfing
Check it out!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Back to School

    This week I started tutoring from home. I've been in all kinds of denial about summer coming to an end, as I usually am, but starting this new endeavor made it all the more apparent that a new season is almost at our door step. After I quit my teaching job, I had to come up with some creative ways to make a living. This is the most recent job I will be adding to a list of odd ones a surfer must have to stay afloat.   
     To accommodate my new student, Scott built this table and I added the supplies we needed. In my old classroom, one of the women I worked with had been teaching for quite some time and was very specific about how the classroom would be set up and how it would be filled. In a lot of ways, I understood. If I had been teaching for 30 years, I know I'd have some routines and habits I wouldn't be willing to give up, so I tried to let her do her thing. It was hard though, because during the years leading up to my debut as a classroom teacher, I thought about what I would do when I had my own classroom everyday. I had collected a number of things I had hoped to use. Most of these things ended up staying in a box in my garage. Not any more. 

Not any more!

     Since the weather is warm for a good portion of the year in San Diego, I thought there was no better place for this work area than outside under an overhang. I love natural environments the most and feel happy to include mother nature in my new teaching team.

I missed teaching so much. Now I'm reopening that chapter on my terms.

p.s. thank you all for your sweet and supportive comments about my published article!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Second Publication

I wrote this article for Women's Surf Style Magazine right after I quit my job. Getting it in the mail felt so full circle. I feel I am in such a better place one year later doing the things I dreamed of the first time surfing inspired me to write. 
This article is a story about our honeymoon surfing in Thailand. If you'd like to buy the magazine you can get it at your Barnes and Noble, Walden Books and Hollister. If you'd like to subscribe digitally you can do so here. To check out a preview of the magazine click here

Monday, September 10, 2012

Home

     Fall commercials are on, but I'm not buying it. It was 85° at the beach this weekend and even hotter in our house! I'll believe it's fall when I see it. 
     Some people don't think fall is noticeable in Southern California, but I beg to differ. Although the palm trees don't change color, the morning air is chilly, the afternoons are dry and the evenings are clear and crisp. Out in the ocean, the swell direction changes, the water cools down, the waves get bigger, lobster traps are scattered across the kelp beds and the wind blows offshore. I haven't seen any of that yet, so summer it is.
Here's what we did on our first weekend home....
Of course we surfed!
     After mostly being away from the coast for weeks, I feel I have fallen in love with surfing all over again and can't get enough of it. When we weren't at the beach, we were at home watching surf movies. I feel like a grom again. 

     Since we were traveling for the last month, we were thrilled to eat in. Here are some of the things we made (mostly for breakfast)...
Potato Plate aka "Bowl of Life" (a bowl that contains food from all vegetarian food groups): potatoes (sauteed with a little olive oil in a pan), scrambled eggs, avocado, black beans, red onion, tomatoes (from our garden), topped with cheese.
 Cheese, toast and more garden tomatoes with hot-salt and pepper. Plus, a little lemonade on the side to cool down a hot day
 Burrito bowl with chips (a different version of what we call "Bowl of Life"): Brown rice, black beans, scrambled eggs, avocado, cheese, tomato and hot sauce with chips on the side. 
And that was pretty much our weekend. 
Does it feel like summer or fall where you live?

Happy Monday y'all!
 (I think I can say y'all now that I've been to the south) 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sea to Shining Sea, a Recap


Our American Adventure
7,792 miles
25 days
28 states
6 house stays
4 Walmart parking lot sleepovers
3 campsites 
3 hotels
--------------------------
I can't believe I didn't lose my mind.
    I honestly can't. I told you I thought I would, but instead, this trip gave this mind of mine plenty to hold on to; the exact detour it needed. 
     When we first planned this journey I was so anxious you would have thought I was going to scale Mount Everest or something really significant and frightening. I mentioned that here. I thought I'd be dying to get home, and I was excited as we crossed the state line into California a few days ago, but I knew I'd miss looking out the window at something different every day. Driving into new territory was something we'd been doing for a month and I'd begun to crave it. I'd miss having Scott inches from me at all times, eating all our meals together and looking at the same things he was. It's not like we held hands every second. There were definitely days when I wished I had a partition around me with the words "don't talk to me" written on it and so did he (although his probably would have said please don't talk to me or something nicer). But, like I said before, as the road became more of our home, we became more of a home for each other.
     I have to say, growing up in California and never living outside of it has given me a bit of a one track mind. I'm always so enthralled with what is in front of me- the waves, the beach, the sun. I also feel as though visitors from other places are constantly telling Californians that we are so lucky not to have the humidity or the freezing weather and so onI was thinking about this the other day when we were in the southern part of the country. We drove by a billboard in South Carolina that read "California Dreaming Restaurant- exit 56" and I said, as Scott read it aloud with a smile, "That's silly. It's awesome here."
     California is incredible and I love my home, but after this trip I realized how much I love my country too. I never felt good when I heard about bad weather or tragedies happening in other states, but now when I hear those things I feel an aching in my heart over it because I have loved those places. They have welcomed me, exposed me to different perspectives and have helped me grow. In a small way, it felt like they might have loved me too, like I feel the ocean does in her own mysterious way. 
    I'm a full-on proponent of road tripping these days. It's such a hands-on way to not only see new places, but to interact with and become a part of them. Don't you agree? I would do it again the day after tomorrow if someone asked me (and paid for it). I've done a handful of "hotel" vacations and they're very relaxing and accommodating, but there's nothing like waking up in the back of your car in a Walmart parking lot in a pool of your own sweat then driving to someplace you've never even seen a picture of. And with that, I give you a picture recap of our trip. And a song! Don't be scared off by the title. This song captures the best thing this trip taught me- We never know how much time we have here, so don't waste what time you have being afraid of what you don't know. 

Yellowstone was our first and favorite stop
I've never seen one of these at home
Since we've been home, I go out to our road trip car from time to time to bring miscellaneous things back into the house, but I'm quick about it because I don't want the smell of our road trip memories to escape from the open door (even if that smell is mostly dirt and rotten apples).
this is what I look like when I'm stoked (and haven't had a shower)
Chicago bike ride in the rain with friends. Our friend Mark, who took this photo, runs a bike tour company and showed us a good time, despite the rain. 

there aren't waves in Ohio, I looked

our South Dakota to Pennsylvania adventures (including an argument after sleeping behind Chipotle) can be found HERE
the first time either of us surfed the East Coast was in Rhode Island
Rhode Island wedding with the DeMint family
sisters in the city
I had to turn this photo black and white to make the greasiness of our hair and faces less apparent
Dave is a character and a prankster
North Carolina surf

New Orleans felt like a different country; I've never seen anything quite like the plantation grounds that were covered in these ancient trees

homeward bound
All the stories from our trip can be found HERE. And finally, thanks for caring about our adventures. Really. It's been so fun sharing them with you!

What's your favorite trip or adventure you've been on?

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