Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sailing in the Past

 As you read this, we are on to a new adventure sailing in the Seychelles for my dad's 60th birthday, hopefully not wanting to throw each other overboard. Because, you know, it's not totally out of the question.  

I'll miss you guys, but hopefully not the internet (if I'm missing that, I must be missing something!)

While I'm away, I thought I'd share some of the tales from the last time we did a trip like this. From eating it while surfing, to sailing in gale force winds, to getting in a family fight and all the beautiful scenery and memories in between, I hope it paints a portrait of our family when we travel. I'm not sure how I'll share our story this time around. Sometimes it's weird for me to look back on things I've written in the past. I feel like I might do it differently now, but it's all part of the journey, all part of my story. So here it is, something I wrote a year and a half ago about our 
trip to the West Indies. We sailed from St. Lucia to Grenada for two weeks on a chartered sailboat through The Moorings (which is the same company we are using this time). It's a great way to go if you want to sail the world without sailing around the whole thing, you know?

Catch you later!


"Wind Writing"

Monday, June 17, 2013

This, Too Handmade Giveaway!

     Many of you may already know Kari from This, Too a lovely space she has created online to document the adventures and dreams she shares with her husband, Wade. If you don't know Kari, you should definitely stop by her blog. She is one of the most genuine and thoughtful people I have had the privilege of connecting with online or otherwise. And really, when I think about the value of blogging, it all comes down to the connections you make, don't you agree?

     Aside from exploring her local surroundings in Kansas and creating some fun DIY projects in her series "Projects Even I Can Do", Kari has an Etsy shop for her unique handmade jewelry and today she is offering the necklace and bracelet pictured below to one of you! Aren't they cool? She sent me a necklace and bracelet very similar to these for my birthday and they are unlike anything I have. When I wear them people always ask where I got them. Enter below...

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Keeping the Peace

our last sailing trip

     My family? I couldn't love one thing more. They're the only family I'd ever want and I consider each one of them my best friend in different ways, but we're part Italian and nearly 100% feisty. If we were a pack of dogs, we'd probably be terriers (except Scott, he'd probably be a lab). Being on a 40 foot boat for two weeks, spending every waking minute together is going to be awesome, but it is also going to be a test in patience and love. To prepare for the long voyage (and this test), I sent everyone an email with a few little prompts so we can get our little quirks and needs out in the open before we pull up the anchor. I decided to share it here in case any of you might find it useful. ~

Hello family, 

I'm getting so freaking excited for the trip! I really think this is going to be one of the best ones yet and I can't wait to spend time with you all as a group and individually. I've been thinking a lot lately about things we can do to avoid family fights and creating tension on the trip. I thought it might be a good idea for each of us to fill out this little questionnaire so we can gain more insight and understanding about each other and the things that push our buttons before we set sail. You don't have to do it, but it might help! Don't be afraid to be really honest. And feel free to add any other questions and notes.

Here's Mine:

Things That Will Bother Me:

+ Dad and Scott leaving me out of boating activities. I'm happy with my position as second mate, but I like to be involved in the experience of sailing, learning what I don't know and being a part of the boating team. Don't forget about me! 

If I am in a bad mood...

+ Joke about it or give me space (or food). Criticize me in the moment, and I'm likely to turn on you or not hear what you have to say. I know I should "let it go", "keep little things little" and so on and I like being given credit for knowing these things. I will move on in time, but please try not to point out how annoying it is that I'm feeling however I'm feeling. There's a good chance I already know it's not cool and if you don't think I know, let's talk about it when you can tell I'm more clearheaded. 

My Love language: Time 

The Love Language(s) that Speaks to Me: Words of Affirmation / Time


+ I like being given little jobs. I think it is important that during clean up time, sailing, etc. we give people little tasks that are theirs so no one feels lost, left out or blamed for being idle.

+ I think, in general, it's a good idea not to label each other as "cranky", "lazy", "mean" etc.

What I Want to Get Out of the Trip:

+ I want to feel like dad had the time of his life. He earned it and he deserves it. I want us to work as a team. I want to learn things I don't know about each of you. I want to see things I've never seen before. I want to relax and read a lot. I want to swim, surf and explore a lot. I want to try new foods and help in the kitchen. I want to shop a little. I want to see animals!

My family's response:

Scott: You're so low maintenance. 

Dad: I guess we know who's going overboard first.

Danielle: I want to see animals too! LOL!


At least everyone knows what to do to avoid pissing me off! After talking to a friend about this whole thing and specifically how it's a good idea to warn those around you when you're not in the best mood, I said "It's kind of like a rattle snake shaking its tail, advising potential victims to beware." She said "You should do that! You should bring rattles so when people are not in a mood to be bothered they can shake their rattle and let other people know. It'd be kind of funny!" 
Well guess what? I'm going to do exactly that!

What do you do to keep the peace in your family? During vacations or otherwise?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

From the South + Pom Pom Giveaway!

     Friday and Saturday the waves punched me around. A decent south swell came to town bringing 6-10 foot waves to our coast. I'd watch them march in and explode down the beach, knowing full and well that they were coming for me next. I felt like clothes waiting to go into the washer. Before I could make it outside, that set would arrive, tossing me around like a dog does a chew toy. One wave hit me so hard, it cracked my neck. I haven't been able to look left for the past three days. 

    Monday morning was more relaxing. Monday morning was perfect. Just me and a few friends taking turns on some perfectly shaped three footers. But I have to admit, I did miss that adrenaline rush from the previous sessions just a little bit. When you get a wave on one of those big days you really feel like you earned it. When you're walking up from the beach soaking wet with your board in hand, you feel like you accomplished something great even though you were only riding waves.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Our Summer Adventure

     Where are we headed? Probably about as far from home as we can get. My dad is turning 60. His mom only lived to 56, his birth father only lived into his 20s. He wants to celebrate his life, but not in a surprise party kind of way, you know? He's not the type. He loves adventure and I love that about him. He's a big part of why I love it, too. 

    To honor his adventurous spirit, we are flying to the Seychelles and chartering a sailboat as a family for two weeks. We've done this a few times before, but usually to safer destinations in the Caribbean. Where are the Seychelles? 

They're here:
Right next to Somalia. You know, where all the pirates are. 

     I have fears. Some of them are so scary I don't even want to mention them. One of them is the pirates kidnapping our whole family. There, I said it. Crap. I hope that doesn't happen. 

    I think I always have fears when I travel, though. Remember last year when I was freaking out about losing my mind on our road trip? That trip turned out to be one of the best trips we've ever done. I have my routine at home and I find a lot of comfort in it, but that is exactly the reason traveling is so important. I need to get away from comfortable for a while. I need to see new things, different ways and places people live, the ways I will react in new situations and the ways the people I will, too. Hiking a long hike, making dinner as a group, sailing in troubled waters. All of these experiences help you know more about life. There's a lot that goes into shipping yourself off for two weeks, but even if I'm not physically prepared, I think I've been mentally ready for this journey for a while.

I want a lot of things for myself on this vacation:
  • Less need for instant gratification (as it is, I can't even stand around and wait for the Brita to filter a cup of water!). I think being away from blogging and social media will help with this. Thank you all for your input on this topic! It really helped convince me that I should take a true vacation-a vacation from everything, and not feel bad about it.
  • Freedom to just be. I don't want to feel self-inflicted pressure to constantly be working on or achieving something (unless it's just a nice tan!)
  • Real presence in moments where I'm able to focus on one thing at a time. My sister in-law took me meditating once and this was the goal. She told me, "Pick one intention for your day and then think only about that while you meditate for 15 minutes." She picked listening and I copied her because I thought it sounded like a good one for me too. I lasted about three minutes thinking about listening before my mind wandered to how I needed to make a dentist appointment when we got back. 
     I'm sure the trip won't be able to deliver on all of this, but I know some progress is possible. Some progress is always possible. I think that's one of the things I love most about life. No matter what, you always have the ability to make things better. And that is an adventure in itself.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Thankful Things

bag c/o Pom Pom, shades c/o Zories, clothes Roxy

     Thank goodness for flowers. And for first-day-of-summer beach days. And for trees and birds and bikes. For surfing with my dad. For new projects for the house, for old projects for the house that have helped make it our home and for dinners together. 

What are you thankful for this week? Do you feel a transition as we head into summer?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


     On Friday night, Scott and I went over to my parent's house. My dad and Kevin were in the yard, assessing the waves and my mom was inside assessing the groceries my dad and I bought earlier for dinner. It was high tide and the surf was slow, but every 15 minutes or so a few good ones broke right in front of the house. The wind was dying down and the ones that broke peeled gently on the outside until they pounded like angry fists on the shallow sandbar that comes back when the south swells push the sand to the beaches. 

     Scott grabbed his board and his wetsuit and so did Kevin. Kelly and her friend, Sea trickled in and down the stairs. I grabbed some fins from my bag and put them in one of my old Nezzy surfboards I hadn't ridden since last summer. There were two dings in the swallow parts of the tail, but I stuffed wax in them so I could take the board out, vowing only to get a few with the shoddy repair job. My dad said he was too tired after his surf earlier and was content snapping some photos from the yard with a beer in hand. He had been out with Kevin in the morning, but waited for me to get there and because of this he was surfing for three hours! He had a good excuse and I accepted it. I threw on a hat with a neck strap and my swim suit and ran down the stairs with my dinged board.

     We all took turns catching a few waves and even thought there weren't that many, they were fun to ride when they came and the water was warm. I was stoked to see Kevin, Kelly and Sea getting some long rides on their longer boards. Kelly has a real graceful style and I love how she allows the wave to take her where it wants. She doesn't force anything. On one left, I attempted to get barreled in the shore pound and instead found myself slamming feet first into the sandy bottom, my hat ripping completely off from the impact and floating to the sand. Sometimes I loved getting worked. 

     When we came up we helped with dinner. Kelly and Sea chatted for a minute before they left. I love Kelly. I've only known her a few years, but I feel like I could tell her anything and she wouldn't judge me or tell anyone. She knowns a lot of things because she's had a lot of experiences and she's probably fifteen years older than me, but she doesn't act condescending when she gives advice. She's a good one. Kevin packed up and got ready to leave, but we invited him in for wine and then forced him to stay for food. No ones tells a good dirty joke quite like Kevin and even though I usually cover my ears and act like I'm going to puke up my food when he's saying them, I usually tell his jokes again later. He's the least awkward person I know. I told my mom that the other day when we were making up a hypothetical "awkward scale" (10 being really awkward and 1 being not at all. I'm at least a 6 or 7 and Kevin is a 1 or 0). 
     My parent's house is a bit of a community surf shack at times and with me being an introvert, I'm not always thrilled to rock up to their place only to find a full house. But you know what? The people really are what make this place special. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Zories Shop Summer Giveaway

     Carlsbad, California. Home of awesome surf spots, world famous flower fields, one of my favorite surfers, Taylor Knox, and the surf shop Zories. It's a good place, but you don't have to go to Carlsbad to shop there. You can shop on for flip flops, sunglasses and skateboards and get all set up for summer! 

     Zories is offering an awesome giveaway today for a pair of women's Crush sunglasses, a pair of Kreed men's sunglasses and a $20 gift card to the Zories Shop! There will be one winner for each item so three winners total and the winners of the sunglasses get to pick out the pair of shades they want. Sounds pretty good, right? Good luck! 

Use the code "mermaid" to receive 20% off at Zories during the month of June!

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