Tag Archives: beach

Bonfire At The Beach (or A Winter Birthday That Feels Like Summer)

My friend Dani had a  birthday celebration at Disneyland last week, but she was celebrating a milestone birthday so she had to do multiple birthday parties (which I totally support!). She had been trying to figure out what to do for her birthday and she finally decided on a beach bonfire! I hadn’t done one of those in a while, so I was super excited to get to celebrate with her that way.

I had a few things to do before meeting everyone at the beach and the sun was setting as I arrived. It was a gorgeous sunset and I’m glad I didn’t miss it!

And since we’ve been having a bit of a heat wave lately, it wasn’t that cool on the beach when the sun set. Dani and her friends had gotten there much earlier so they already claimed a bonfire pit and had everything set up. It was a much better setup than when I’ve gone before. They had chairs, blankets, and a table for all the food. And the fire was going by the time I joined them all.

It was just a good old-fashioned classic beach bonfire. They had hot dogs that we roasted over the fire and lots of snacks to have with them. And we also had s’mores. Dani recently got nice roasting skewers so we didn’t have to search the beach for sticks or anything. And all the food was so good, even if I did burn a hot dog or two. There were a few hot dogs and hot dog buns that fell into the fire, but it just added to the flames. But watching everyone have random fails with trying to cook the food gave us all a good laugh.

From the beach, we were actually able to see the glow from the fire in Ventura County. It was weird to see that and it reminded me how close the fires are to us. The fire closest to me is not as bad as it used to be, but the fires that are a bit further are still not contained and houses are burning down. And we also saw fireworks from Marina Del Rey from our beach. It was a weird juxtaposition to see the glow from flames plus fireworks and having a bonfire on the beach. I think we were all a bit weirded out by that, but we tried to not think about it too much.

But what was best about Dani’s birthday party was just getting to have a fun nice relaxing on the beach with awesome people. I didn’t know a lot of the people who were at the party so it was nice to get to meet new people. And Dani was just so happy to see people from different parts of her life joined together and having a good time. I can totally relate to that feeling because that’s what makes me so happy when I’m hosting a party too.

I had a date about a month ago where I was telling the guy I was with that I never made it out to the beach during the summer and I figured it would be a while until I made it out there. I never thought I’d have a bonfire on the beach during the winter but it really was awesome and I’m glad I got to get to the beach. I know I need to take advantage of being so close to the beach more often but it’s not something I think of doing on my own. So I’m glad that Dani wanted a beach bonfire birthday so I got out to the beach at some point this year!

Representing For My Union On Labor Day (or A Beach Day Fail)

This past Labor Day I didn’t really have any plans. Mondays are my days off anyway so I knew I’d be going to workout in the morning and needing to do errands at some point that day. But since I knew most of my friends had the day off as well I figured I should try to make some plans. But of course, I procrastinated until the last minute and the night before I was trying to figure out what to do.

I texted a few friends to see if anyone was free, and only my friend Dani got back to me. We decided that even though the beach would be really crowded, we should try to go to the beach for a few hours. I hadn’t been to the beach this entire summer and figured it was a perfect thing to do for the day. Plus, it had been so hot and I knew the beach would be a bit cooler than where I live.

We decided to meet up around 1pm at her place because she lives closer to the beach. I was going to pick her up and then we were going to try to find somewhere to park near the beach that wasn’t too expensive. I packed up some magazines, sunscreen, and a towel and got into the car to drive over. And when I got to Dani’s house, she opened the door and had a better suggestion than going to the beach.

Dani recently moved to a new place and she suggested that we just hang out at the pool at her apartment complex. There wasn’t anyone there, we wouldn’t have to deal with the sand, and if one of us had to run to the bathroom there was a clean place to go (and not have to deal with gross dirty beach bathrooms). It sounded like a perfect plan and I happened to find a parking spot right in front of her place.

Once I parked and we got inside, we grabbed some lounge chairs and got ready to have a nice afternoon of relaxing. There were a few other people at the pool once we got there, but it was still pretty peaceful and felt like a nice mini-vacation in a way.

It was a bit overcast and significantly cooler than it had been all weekend, so we just spent time reading on the lounge chairs and didn’t go into the pool. Plus, I didn’t want to have to drive home in a wet bathing suit. But I wasn’t going to go into the ocean either, so relaxing on a towel was exactly how I had been planning on being on the beach too.

Since it was Labor Day and that day is about unions, I decided that I was going to wear my Union Working hat. It seemed perfect to be supportive of my union and other unions that day, plus it is a really great hat too!

We briefly talked about maybe getting some food (all I had packed for the beach was water), but we ended up not really caring too much about getting anything. It was just nice having several hours laying by the pool and not having a care in the world. My only regret was that I didn’t have my Kindle with me. I didn’t pack it because I didn’t want it to get sand it in, but that wasn’t a worry at the pool. Fortunately, I can use the Kindle app on my phone so after I was done reading magazines I started working on some books.

I ended up being at the pool for about 4 hours. Because of it being overcast (and maybe a bit because I was super careful about putting on a ton of sunscreen), I didn’t get sunburnt at all. I was actually a bit surprised by that and was worried that the next morning I would look like a lobster. But I guess that I lucked out and even though I don’t ever tan, I am always worried about burning. It was like it was a sign that us hanging out by the pool instead of going to the beach was the right choice.

I still haven’t made it out to the beach this summer and I really don’t know if I will go. I don’t always go each summer, but I feel like since I live so close it’s silly for me not to take advantage of that. But honestly, hanging out at a pool where I didn’t feel sandy and gross when I left was so much better for me and made my Labor Day a pretty awesome day!

Workout On The Beach (or Meeting The TIU Trainers)

A little while ago, I saw an event on Facebook for the Summer Shape Up that Shape Magazine was doing in Hermosa Beach. The event seemed pretty cool on its own. But when I saw that Katrina and Karena, the trainers who created Tone It Up, were teaching 2 different workout classes, I knew I had to go!

I really wanted to go to a bunch of classes (included both of the Tone It Up ones), but due to my work schedule, I was only able to make it for the final class of the event which was the second Tone It Up workout.

I drove down to Hermosa Beach right after my work shift ended. It was a gorgeous Saturday at the beach, so of course parking was very difficult to find. I searched for about 90 minutes before I managed to find a space. But the space I found was in the shade and less than a block from the event space.

Hermosa Beach Summer Shape Up

I got checked it really quickly and got my wristband for my class. Then I went in search for some of my TIU friends. I found them about 10 minutes later in line for the meet and greet with Katrina and Karena. My meet and greet time was after my class, so I stood off to the side while my friends did the meet and greets and took some photos for them.

Since everyone else had just finished a workout in the hot sun, they all wanted to get something refreshing to eat before the next class. So a bunch of us walked a few blocks away to a juice bar where we got some really delicious smoothies. And by the time we all finished our drinks, it was time to head back over to the workout area to line up for our class.

We ended up being toward the back of the line, but we were able to find spaces to put our things down almost dead center of the workout space.


I liked being at the back because I didn’t feel too claustrophobic. But as one of my TIU friends mentioned, being at the back meant while we did squat work that everyone on the pathway behind us were looking at our butts.

I really tried my best with the workout. A lot of things were things that I couldn’t do because of my hips, but I made my own modifications. Also, the sun was very strong and I was sweating like crazy and feeling a little sick from the heat. But even with those issues, I feel like a got a very nice workout in.

And Katrina and Karena were so fun teaching the class! They had great energy and were very encouraging of all of us. It’s one thing doing workout videos that they have posted online, but to do one in person is a whole other thing!

After the workout was done, those of us who didn’t do the earlier meet and greet (or who did the earlier one and wanted to do the second one) lined up. Again, we were toward the back of the line, but it worked to our advantage.

Katrina and Karena

When it was my turn, I got to tell Katrina and Karena about my blog and how I blog about my fitness journey. They seemed to love the name of my blog and said that they wanted to check it out. There were professional photos taken as well, but since I haven’t gotten them yet I just have the photo that my TIU friend took for me.

Katrina and Karena

After my turn was over, I was chatting with some people right next to the meet and greet area. One of the people in the group is the boyfriend of one of the trainers and he was very nice. We chatted about Disneyland a bit. Since I was toward the end of the line, Katrina and Karena finished the meet and greets while I was still standing there. And they came over to me to confirm the name of my blog so they could check it out. I gave them one of my cards so they could have that as a reminder (Hi Katrina and Karena if you are reading this!).

After that, it was time for me to head home. I had a bunch of stuff I needed to get done. So as much as I wanted to turn the afternoon into a beach day (I do keep an emergency beach kit in my car), I had to make the drive home.

As soon as I got home, I checked out the swag bag that Shape gave us.

Swag Bag

It is pretty awesome! I’m really looking forward to checking out the workout DVDs and trying Shakeology again (last time I tried, it made me very sick).

The only negative to the entire adventure was that despite putting sunscreen on and reapplying a few times while I was outside, I still ended up looking like this.


Definitely not as bad as my last bad burn, but I hate knowing that I did damage to my skin. I’m not sure why I’m burning easier than I have in the past, but I’m going to see my dermatologist at the end of summer for a mole check (there are a couple that have been watched for a couple of years) and see if there is something I can do to help prevent this (other than staying out of the sun completely or being totally covered up).

I’m so glad that I had a chance to do the workout with Katrina and Karena. Not only was it a fun workout, I got to have a fun adventure and see my TIU friends. It looks like this event is an annual one, and I hope that Tone It Up is a part of it again next year!

San Diego Beach Lunch (or Having Some Of My Grandparents’ Things In My House)

I hadn’t seen my grandma in a few weeks, so I knew it was time to get back down to San Diego to see her. Also, my grandma is downsizing to a smaller apartment in the community that she and my grandpa moved to about 3 years ago so I’m inheriting some things that won’t fit in the new apartment. I already have my mattress and my parents brought me a few things, but there was a box that didn’t fit into my parents’ car as well as some other things that my parents wanted me to look at.

So I decided to head down to San Diego on Sunday to visit with my grandma as well as get the things that were waiting for me there.

I was pretty lucky and made it down to San Diego in just under 2 hours, so I was at my grandma’s place a bit earlier than I planned. The plan for the day was for my grandma, my Aunt Nancy, and I to go to lunch and then my aunt and I would go to the old apartment on our own. Shortly after I arrived, my aunt got there and we headed in the car to go to lunch.

We went to Poseidon in Del Mar which was right on the beach. There was a bit of a wait for a table, so we sat outside and enjoyed the beach from the sidewalk (I didn’t want to get sandy).

With Grandma

After about 15 minutes, a table on the patio was ready for us. It wasn’t right at the edge overlooking the beach, but we could still see the beach and water from our table.

San Diego Lunch

Lunch was pretty good. We had a long wait for our meal. It took them over an hour to bring our food to us and tables who were seated 15 or 20 minutes after us got their food first, but they were very apologetic about it and comped one of the entrees. I had gotten so hungry that when they brought my sandwich I started eating it right away without taking a photo (sorry). But I had a very nice turkey sandwich.

When we got back to my grandma’s apartment, I said goodbye to my grandma and my aunt and I headed back to the old apartment. My Aunt Cindy had warned me that I might be upset because the apartment looked empty and weird, but shockingly it didn’t bother me. I think I had prepared myself for it to look worse, so it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be.

The box that my parents had left for me was there and my aunt asked me to go around the apartment to see if there was anything else that I wanted to keep. All the stuff that was left in the apartment was going to be donated to charity, so I could take whatever I wanted.

It felt a little weird and almost like stealing from my grandparents, but I knew that if I didn’t take stuff, nobody in my family would have it. So I found a couple of things that I wanted like a purse, some quartz bookends, a lucite vanity chair, napkin rings, and a vase. And my aunt had found my grandparents’ copy of my parents’ wedding album along with their wedding invitation so I got that as well.

I also had brought my gardening shears and a plastic bag for a specific project. My grandparents had some amazing succulent plants on their balcony and because the planters they were in were so heavy, they were just going to be thrown out. But if you cut a succulent and let it dry a little, you can plant it and it will grow. So I cut a bunch of pieces and will be planting half for me and half for my parents.

Succulent Clippings

By then, it was after 3pm and I wanted to head home. So we got a luggage cart from the concierge at the building and I brought down the things I was bringing home.

New Things

My drive home was a bit longer than my drive down, but it was still uneventful. And as soon as I got home I unpacked the box that my parents had packed and sealed for me. There were a couple of things that I knew they were giving me (like new sheets and some of my grandparents’ serving platters), but there was one thing that was so special to me.

I’ve mentioned my grandpa’s love of martinis and how he got me to love martinis as well. And a few years ago I got him hooked on blue cheese olives. My grandpa always used these really cool swords to keep his olives in his martinis and I always thought that that was the most amazing thing. So when my parents had asked me if there was anything from my grandparents’ apartment that I wanted that my grandma wasn’t taking to her new apartment, the only thing I could think of was those swords. Those were in the sealed box along with the last jar of olives from the case that I brought my grandpa last year.

Martini Swords and Olives

Those swords are so special to me. I have them on display in my dining room now and they make me smile when I walk past them. While I’ve gotten lots of cool stuff from my grandparents’ old apartment, those swords are the most sentimental to me.

I’m still finding places for some of the other things that I brought back with me, but I’m so grateful that I have things that remind me of my grandparents in my house now. I don’t get to see my grandma as often as I’d like (the 4 hour round trip makes it tough to do too many day trips), but having some of their things in  my house makes me feel closer to my grandma and helps me not miss her as much.

TIU Beach Morning (or Sunscreen Failure)

This past Sunday was the Tone It Up Regional Meeting for Southern California. There was going to be women from LA to San Diego coming to hang out at the event and I knew that I wanted to be there.

I carpooled with a couple of other LA ladies to the event which was held in Newport (about an hour away). The location where the event was going to be held was awesome and it was a gorgeous day!

Newport Beach

The plan for the event was pretty simple. There was going to be a 5K run/walk followed by brunch. And everyone brought their own meals, so brunch was going to be pretty casual.

The car I was in was actually the first group there, but pretty quickly other ladies were arriving. I knew a couple of people from some of other events I’ve done with TIU, but most of them were new to me. It was really awesome getting to meet so many other women who are dedicated to eating better and working out. It was so inspiring.

When the 5K started, I stepped away. I had woken up with a bad hip day and didn’t want to risk more pain. So while everyone else did the run/walk, I walked up and down the beach. I got about a mile of walking done before the pain was getting too bad, but that’s better than nothing. Plus, I got to watch everyone cross the finish line!

After the 5K, people started to settle down in various areas to eat the food that they brought with them.


I had brought a banana, peanut butter, a rice cake, and a protein bar; but I wasn’t feeling hungry at all. So I just hung out and caught up with some of the women who did the 5K with me recently.

Of course, before anyone was allowed to leave, we had to take a group picture. In the event invite we were all asked to wear black bottoms and pink tops if we had them. Most of us did and we looked pretty coordinated as a group.


The drive home was pretty quick (Sunday mornings don’t usually have too bad of traffic) and when I got home I changed in to some junky clothes so I could do my laundry.

Only when I changed did I realize that my skin looked like this.


Before getting dressed, I had covered myself head to toe in SPF 70. But I guess either it rubbed off of my clothes or some other sort of sunscreen failure happened. Since taking that picture my sunburn seems to have gotten worse. My chest is even redder and my forehead and nose are pretty burnt too.

I hate getting sunburnt. I’m so good about wearing sunscreen and everything, but my skin just doesn’t like the sun. I know that maybe I should have worn a hat, but that wouldn’t have protected my chest. And maybe I should have reapplied the sunscreen a few times, but I don’t usually reapply within 4 hours unless I’ve been in the water (which I didn’t do).

So now I’m spending time helping my skin recover. I’m trying something new because I’m out of aloe. I’m using coconut oil on my skin to help keep it moisturized. I used it the night of the sunburn and while I’m skin red now, it is helping bring down some of the redness and the itchiness of my skin. So hopefully in a few days, my skin will look normal again.

Even with the bad sunburn, I’m so happy that I was able to make it to the meetup. Every time I meet up with women through Tone It Up I get more and more inspired. They are all such a supportive community and I’m lucky to have them in my life!

Attempting Snow And Sand In One Day (or A One Day Road Trip)

Recently in Los Angeles Magazine, there was a list of things that everyone who lives in LA should do. Some things on the list were easy like eating at Pinks Hot Dogs or seeing a celebrity. But others were a bit tougher.

One thing on the list was to see the snow and beach in a single day. It sounded like a fun challenge, so I decided that I wanted to try it.

I asked around to see if anyone would be up for the adventure and my friend Kate said she wanted to come too.

So yesterday morning, we technically started by the beach (or at least pretty close to it). We got into my car and headed up to Mt. Baldy, which is the closest ski place to Los Angeles. It’s under an hour and a half away, so it wasn’t a bad trip (I’m used to the 2 hour long drives to San Diego).

It was an interesting drive. Lots of city stuff in LA, then we got into a rock quarry area, and finally got off the freeway in a nice little community. It didn’t seem like a mountain area, but we were trusting my GPS.

We finally turned onto a road that looked much more like what I’m used to seeing in Lake Tahoe. There were lots of log cabins and signs that talked about the snow plows coming by.

The only thing missing at that point was snow. But Kate and I both said that maybe the snow starts up much higher. We kept climbing in elevation and finally saw the sign for the ski resort.


But sadly, due to the horrible drought here in California, there was seriously no snow anywhere to be found. There was some snow showing on their webcams, but I don’t think it was anywhere we could have walked to.

The parking lot was a little creepy. There was only one other car there besides us. We both thought it looked a little post-apocalyptic when we looked around.


Even though it was a little creepy and there was no snow, it was still a gorgeous day and we both enjoyed our little adventure out of LA.


We started to head back after a little bit since there really wasn’t much for us to do up there. Our original plan was to head straight to the beach and hang out there for the afternoon, but we ended up changing our plans because last night was Drag Queen Bingo (more on that in tomorrow’s post!).

So we didn’t quite make it to the snow and the sand on the same day. But we did make it from 0 feet elevation to 6500 feet elevation and back in one day.

That should count for something, right?

And hopefully next winter will be better and I can make another attempt at this adventure.

Rain In July (or Sometimes Things Just Don’t Go How You Planned Them To)

After the amazing beach day on Saturday, I knew I had to get to the beach more this summer. And yesterday, I happened to have the day off (I had somewhere I had to be during most of my shift), so I figured why not go to the beach?

The morning was a bit gray, but that’s pretty typical for summers here. But when I went outside to get something from my car, I realized that it had been raining all night and it was still drizzling! I don’t ever remember it raining in LA in July since I moved here!

Still, I figured it couldn’t be as bad at the beach. So I picked up a friend, and we headed up the coast to the same beach as last time. The whole drive it was pretty gray and drizzly, but we convinced ourselves that it was looking a bit clearer up ahead.

We finally arrived at the beach, and it looked like this.


While it’s still nice to be at the ocean, it was windy and cold. We tried to wait it out a bit in the car, but it never seemed to look like it was getting better.

After waiting it out about 20 minutes, we decided to cancel the beach day. There’s no reason to be miserable and cold. And there will be plenty of other chances to go to the beach (probably not on a weekday, but that’s ok).

It did kind of suck to drive all the way out there and just turn around, but I wanted to take the chance that maybe the weather was a bit better there.

Oh well. I ended up going home and doing some reading that I’ve been excited about (I recently downloaded several of the book series recommended on this list to my e-reader).

While I didn’t get to enjoy the beach and sunshine, I did have a nice quiet day off. Which is good because this weekend I have a lot going on! I’ll be writing about it next week on here, so be on the lookout for those posts!

Playing Beach Chicken (or How To Fully Enjoy Only Having To Work A Half Day On Saturdays)

I’m making an effort to fully enjoy the time that I have on Saturdays after I work my half shift at work (my shift then is from 10-2). So this past Saturday, my friend Kate and I made a plan to hang out for the afternoon.

First stop was Monte Alban for lunch. I got fajitas (which were delicious).


But I did notice that on the menu, they had a pretty odd option for a meat.


After lunch, we drove up PCH to go find a fun beach to hang out at. We ended up at Thornhill Broome Beach because the beach was super close to the road (unlike in Santa Monica where it’s 1/4 mile or so from where to park to the water).

It was such a gorgeous day out.


We got our feet in the water a bit.


And then we played beach chicken. Beach chicken is essentially playing chicken with the waves. You go out into the water and only run away when the wave is going to be too big (or for me, when the wave was going to get my clothes wet).

Honestly, it was a lot of fun.

DSCN0214 DSCN0215

At least until a bigger wave came and was higher than my knees.


I really don’t take advantage of living near the water as often as I should. I don’t think I went to the beach at all last summer. And the last time I had my feet in the water was probably 2 or 3 years ago (I’m not a huge fan of the ocean).

But running in and out of the waves really was an awesome way to spend a Saturday afternoon.


Eventually, we had to head back to our part of town. I needed to run errands and Kate had a super early day at work the next day and wanted to go to bed early. On the drive back, we saw a lot of people surfing, and even a kite surfer (who seemed to be going very fast).


It really was a great way to spend a free afternoon. I’m going to make an effort to make it to the beach a few more times this summer. Maybe I’ll start to like the ocean more (which would be helpful before I go to Hawaii).

52 Weeks (or What Can I Do in a Year?)

One year from tomorrow will be my brother’s wedding in Kauai.

I’m excited for their wedding. I really like my brother’s fiancé, Krystle. She’s very nice, and she invited me to come up to San Francisco in April for her dress fitting. I’m excited to have her as my sister next year.

Since the wedding is in Kauai, clearly there will be some activities in the water at some point. Water activities involve swimsuits. The last time I wore a swimsuit was in 2006 and I looked like this:

I was about 100 pounds smaller than I am now. I wish I could go back to this time. I thought I was still so heavy, but looking back now, I know better.

So with the wedding one year away, that’s 52 weeks. And people say that a sensible weight loss is about 2 pounds a week. Therefore, it should be possible for me to lose 100 pounds by the wedding.

I’m not saying that this will definitely happen. I’ve tried to do this a million and a half times. I’ve failed most of those times. And the few times I’ve done it, it hasn’t been a sustainable way.

So I’m not trying to focus on losing 100 pounds. That’s too scary and too big. I’m going to try very hard to focus on losing 2 pounds a week.

That’s a very frustrating thing to do. I partially blame that on the crazy diets I’ve done in the past where having a 10 or 15 pound loss in the first week or two isn’t unreasonable. And most weeks I would lose at least 5 pounds a week. I also blame it on shows like “Biggest Loser” where when contestants lose less than 10 pounds a week, they feel like failures.

2 pounds a week doesn’t seem like enough in my head, even though when you add it up over 52 weeks it will be amazing. But I’ve always had trouble focusing on the small victories instead of the big picture.

The one thing I do have going for me right now to jump-start this is the fact that I’m on a soft food diet due to my temporary crown. So I’m living on a lot of yogurt, cooked veggies, and bananas right now. I know that this weight loss won’t be the norm, but at least it might get me motivated.

I don’t want to make this blog a focus on me losing 100 pounds before the wedding, so I probably won’t do a ton of updates of where my progress is. But I just wanted to share this with all of you. Even if I don’t lose 100 pounds, I’d love to have the confidence in a year to wear a swimsuit. Otherwise, I don’t think I’ll be having a lot of fun at the beach.