Friday, January 31, 2014

Thankful Things

This week I'm thankful for…

window seats
I never thought I'd like knitting, but I'm excited I do
art that makes me laugh 
celebrating birthdays 
one last wave before dark
cloudy days, blurry waves 
real life paintings 
Have a great weekend!

p.sDo you have any favorite yarns you'd recommend? I just ordered this one to finish the scarf above (as you may have noticed, I made it pretty wide!) and I'm looking for another kind so I can make something else (most likely another scarf…maybe narrower this time) 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum Soup has been a favorite of ours since we went to Thailand on our honeymoon. I was just writing about that the other day and it made me really hungry for this hot and sour soup. It's one of those things I've been convinced is only good when it's made by someone else (like lasagna or french fries), but I think that was an excuse. There are a lot of recipes out there. Here's mine. Have you had Tom Yum Soup before? 

2 stalks of lemons grass
4 cups vegetable broth or stock
4-5 lime leaves 
2 tablespoons chili paste 
2 tablespoons soy sauce or vegetarian fish sauce 
1/2 a cup of cilantro 
1 1/2 cups white mushrooms, sliced 
1 cup tomato wedges 
1 can of Asian baby corn 
3-5 red peppers, pounded (amount based on how spicy you like it)

Trim the ends off of the lemongrass and peel away the first two layers. With the back of your knife or a frying pan, beat the lemongrass until it splinters. Cut into 4 pieces. In a medium sauce pan bring the vegetable broth to a boil with the chili paste, lemongrass, lime leaves, a pinch of cilantro and soy sauce to get all the flavors into the broth. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Strain out the solids and add the white mushrooms, tomato and baby corn and cook until heated through. Take off the heat, squeeze fresh lime and top with more fresh cilantro. Add another red chili pepper for garnish. Enjoy!

In case you'd like one with this meal, our favorite Thai beers are Chang and Singha.
The napkin is  c/o Dot and Army

Monday, January 27, 2014

January Sponsors

This month I would like to welcome new sponsor:
Morning Glory ~a blog by Heather, a recent post-grad navigating the wave pool that is life. She has been blogging every day in January. Some posts include...

and returning sponsors:
Daphne's ~ feeding mind, body and soul. 
::new menu items...I love the classic greek salad with falafel!::

Pom Pom ~ The first surf, skate and snow company for girls. All natural wax for your surf or snowboard. How do you wax a snowboard? read about it here...

Matsumoto Studio ~ design + paper goods by sisters Jen and Jes. 
::I love these happy looking thank you cards::

Sam en Croute ~a blog by a culinary student, Sam. I've been really interested in her shakshuka recipe. She explains "shakshuka is basically eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. It’s super simple, but hearty enough for dinner and it’s even better when you mop up all the extra sauce with naan." Yes. That sounds good. Check it out...

This, Too ~ an adventure log by Kari, an optimist on a quest for inspiration, adventure and vintage-y goodness. Kari planned a murder mystery party for her husband. How nice (and awesome)!
:: +use the code MERMAID15 for 15% off at Kari's Shop::

Dot and Army ~ one of a kind handmade cloth napkins made from vintage and eco-friendly fabrics.
::stripes! (on sale) \\ florals!::

Roxy ~ bringing inspiration to girls to dream big and have fun in and out of the water. 

San Briego ~ a fitness, food and fashion blog written in America's finest city.
::Sayulita Dreaming…me too::

Marolsha ~  a collection of vintage style, nature inspired jewelry including bridal and modern designs.

Repreve recycle ~turning plastic bottles into outdoor clothing.

JettyGirl ~ get up close and personal with today's female surfers.

If you are interested in sponsorship for your blog or business, please contact me!

I want to thank you readers and sponsors for your support. It means so much! 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Mermaids and Vampires

Surfing is a sport for Peter Pans. 
And the ocean is magical.
 Still, a lot people don't believe that. 
But I will never stop.

I remember this time in seventh grade. 
I went with my friend to visit the adoption counselor she was assigned right around the time she started wanting to know her birth mother. 
We were really into Buffy The Vampire Slayer and vampires, so we told the appointed counselor we believed in them, just to see what she'd say.  

She told us how she'd heard stories of ghosts at The Beach House restaurant down the street; flying around breaking the plates at midnight when the workers were cleaning up. 

I remember picturing how the plates would be the only things you could see. How they would gleam before they smashed into thousands of pieces against the cupboards. How the ghosts would have secrets between each other like my friend and I did.

The counselor could have told us that supernatural things weren't real. She could have made my friend talk only about her feelings related to adoption. She could have referred us to a specialist. But she didn't. 
I like to think she was a believer in believers. 

When I'm surfing, sometimes I forget everything except for being. 
The feeling of a good ride, like the ones we've had over the past few days, washes over me like a white-wash hurricane of all the best emotions.
And that feels magical.

No one can know everything. 
There is an undeniable unseen world. 
So maybe there are vampires…and mermaids.
Surfing reminds me of the magic in the world.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Surf Q & A: Can You Teach Yourself to Surf?

I want to make a point to answer more questions about surfing and add them to the Surf Q & A section in the future. So far, I've only answered one. I've gotten this question a few times, so I figured I'd share the answer here.

Q: Can you teach yourself to surf?

A: Yes. I like to think you can teach yourself to do just about anything. I actually tried hard to think of things you can't teach yourself just to counter my point, but the only thing I came up with is maybe flying to outer space. I think you might need some people to help teach you to do that. I'm sure there are other things too...

Is it your best option? To me, it depends on your experience with the ocean and your knowledge of the surfing world. Are you brand new or have you been around, kind of on the sidelines?

The truth is, there are probably a million intricacies about surfing and surf culture that are hard to pick up on after a few years, let alone on your first session. The ocean isn't the only element that can be unpredictable and hard to read. Quality teachers and camps can be the right option, especially if you have little knowledge of the ocean and need some guidance. Plus, sometimes it's nice to learn with other people who are on the same page, as opposed to a crowd of lifelong surfers who can spot a beginner pulling into the parking lot. 

I remember when I was about eleven years old. I had caught what I claimed was "the best wave possibly ever!" at my Junior Lifeguards Camp one morning in early July. I came home, insisting my dad take me to the beach right then so I could show him my *mad skills*. He took me to Doheny, a gentler, beginner friendly spot in Orange County at around 6 p.m. I paddled straight out and caught the first wave that came to me. A tiny little brown and green one. The problem was, someone else was already on it and he was pissed I decided to join him. The man surfed past me and shouted back, "This one's mine, go get your own!". 

The idea that someone could claim a wave was a whole new concept to me and, although I'd never say anyone can call a wave their own, I understand now that this principle tends to make riding waves safer and often more enjoyable for all surfers (although the value of an old fashioned party wave is not to be underestimated). When I came in, my dad explained to me how the surfer closest to the peak, or whitewater, has the right of way and after that humbling experience, I never forgot (not that I haven't dropped in on anyone since. Sometimes, I think people deserve it. See? There are so many intricacies). 

It's probably better to learn the rules from someone in the know than learn the hard way and embarrass yourself at a spot you might like to frequent in the future. If you don't want to hire an instructor, go with someone knowledgeable who can show you what to do to have a good time and surf respectfully. You'll be so thankful for this knowledge in the long run and will hopefully pass it on to someone else some day.

Personally, I'd probably attempt to teach myself if I were to learn today. Although, I did try that with snowboarding and it didn't go so well. If you choose this option, spend a lot of time observing the waves and the lineup before paddling out. Drive around to many spots. Check them all out. Watch the waves. Consider surfing near a lifeguard and definitely away from other surfers. The picture above demonstrates some beginners getting a little too close. 

You may  also be interested in reading:

Monday, January 20, 2014

January Not June: When to Visit California

June is gloomy. May is gray. During the early summer months there is almost a perpetual marine layer along the coast and temperatures, while comfortable, can be too mild for tanning and swimming; hovering, like the fog, in the mid to low 60ºs. Sometimes I love it, but it's no usually what people are anticipating when they visit the golden state. And somehow, no one seems to tell you this because people still come to coastal California in early summer expecting to get sunburnt and drink frozen beverages on the beach. They look disappointed when they have to buy sweat pants at the local surf shop.
January, while close to freezing at night, has random heat waves and is said to be our sunniest month of the year. Sure, we're all hoping for rain. We need it. But sometimes, it's much further away than the sun is this time of year. 
And so, I think I should tell you, a good time to consider visiting the coast of California is January, not June. 

p.s. other great months to visit? September and October. Sometimes November and December are really nice, too. February-June, sometimes even July, are hit or miss with sunny, warm, clear weather.