Thursday, July 23, 2009

Best Day Ever: Sky Diving and Super Rica


So Saturday, July 18, was my big day jumping out of a plane from 18,000 feet. I was doing it at Skydive Santa Barbara. I was actually really excited about driving up to Santa Barbara by myself, making it this sort of pilgrimage of courage. My parents refused to let me drive and take such a leap of faith without some guidance and company. So my mom joined me. It's been a really interesting year and I wanted to make this symbolic gesture to mark my growth from all that has occurred these past months by flinging myself from a plane from thousands of feet above ground. People have asked me why there wasn't some other way to be symbolic. :D

I rented a car last Friday after work. This was my first time driving since my car was totaled in March. I left the rental lot, headed to the gas station, and within seconds witnessed a car accident in front me. I can't escape them. Anyway, I shook that off, got gas, and headed home. Driving seemed easy again. I went to bed relatively early... that's a lie. I went to bed around 4am after spending all evening on youtube watching ballet videos to inspire me. Finally went to bed. I woke up, picked up my mother from her house and headed towards Lompoc, CA a town one hour north of Santa Barbara. Nothing too special about Lompoc, except for the US Naval Base and Penitentiary. But I could tell that once up in the air, the views from 18,000 feet would be magnificent. So I started to prepare for my journey: watched a safety video, filled out legal paperwork, and all that jazz when I realized something. I turned to my mother and asked, "Mom, why don't you jump with me?!" I have had discussions with my mom about her dreams of flying and her urge in her youth to skydive. She showed signs of reluctance, but not disdain to the idea. So I continued, "MOM! You have to jump!!!!" It took me all of about five minutes and running across the street to Ross to buy her some $17 tennis shoes before she said "ALRIGHT!" I couldn't believe it. She was going to jump from 13,500 feet. The clouds, from this height, are below you. OMG!

So my mom wore a parachute suit, I wore my regular clothes so that I could get that raw feeling of falling. We boarded the small plane. Both of us felt extremely calm. Not sure why. I felt safe. The guy who was jumping with me had done this around 9,000 times. The guy who was jumping with my mom, he just had his four year anniversary the month prior and had actually jumped naked on his special day. But unlucky for my mom, he was fully clothed when they jumped together.

I'm really not sure how to describe the feeling of saying "I love you" to your mother just before she's about to jump out of a plane. There's really no way to describe seeing your mother jump out a plane period. It's surreal. The whole day I was laughing hysterically from nervousness and total disbelief that I was actually crazy enough to do this and then when my mom decided to join, I had my hand over my mouth just giggling. My mom is just like me....or rather, I am just like her. Who would have thought? I giggled the entire plane ride.

Once my mom jumped it meant it was my turn to fly. But first the plane had to reach our height of 18,000 feet which meant we had to slap on the oxygen masks. When you hit 14,000 feet, oxygen changes and gets thinner, making it harder to breathe. I wore my oxygen mask upside down and was unaware of this until my guide said "Ok... time to jump. And by the way, your mask is on wrong."

I was the only person the entire day who jumped from this height. I found this out before I jumped and felt really special.

Jumping out of a plane.... hmmm. Yeah. No words can describe it. Your stomach is in your mouth, no doubt, but it's a great feeling. I felt totally helpless and out of control and for me, that's an accomplishment. I liked it. I liked this "not-knowing" feeling. For about 40 seconds I was free-falling at 120 miles per hour. It's unreal. The ground seemed sooo far away, but that at any second you could be colliding with it. I just couldn't grasp the reality of all this. Once the parachute imploded, we were falling at 10 mph and I felt like a bird. I could see the ocean, wild flower fields, just beauty all around. It was so quiet; the kind of quiet you never know actually exists until you experience it. Quiet, no noise, you can only hear the parachute wave in the breeze. It's the only kind of quiet that nature offers you when you become one with it.

I hit the ground with a new sense of self. When you do something this extreme, you realize that anything is possible. I'm already researching a new adventure. My mother thought the experience was a scream and can't wait to do it again with my dad for their 40th anniversary in May! I can't believe how cool they are. My mother and I celebrated with tequila shots and drove back to Santa Barbara to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Super Rica and stuffed our faces. It was the most exquisite day ever.

I can't wait to post my video... I need to first get a friend to transfer files and all that jazz.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What is in your shower curtain?

YIKES! I'm currently looking to find a PVC free curtain. The heat from the shower releases all these chemicals... CLICK BELOW!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sky Diving...

Is the most intense, radical, unbelievable experience EVER! More on this tomorrow when I post the video of my fall.

:D

Friday, July 17, 2009

Quote of the Day!



"The most important relationship you have
is the one you have with yourself."


- DVF
and my mom

As a girl in my mid-twenties this is something I struggle with. I'm learning that in the end, we only have ourselves to depend on. Treat yourself well. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WHERE DOES MEAT COME FROM?

Do you know where your meat comes from? Have you ever thought about the amount of hormones, steroids and other additives injected into the animal and what that does to your body? Do you know how the animals were treated before they died? Is the meat your eating coming from a malnourished, sick or overfed animal? Trust me, sick animals are used for consumption. Nothing in the meat industry goes to waste - - it's all turned into a profit.

So do you REALLY know what you're eating?

Two nights ago, per the suggestion of my friend Danielle, I rented Earthlings, a documentary about human dependence on non-human animals for pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and science. POWERFUL stuff. More on that movie in a future entry. I want to focus on the topic of WHERE DOES OUR FOOD COME FROM... specifically meat. But after watching most of Earthlings, I felt compelled to re-watch the trailer for Food, Inc., which I have posted before. Please watch again:



After watching these films, some of you may feel compelled to become vegetarian or vegan, and good for you for doing that, if that's what you want. For me, I feel don't feel the need to stop eating meat. I respect the choices of others, but I feel and believe that meat offers nutritional value that vitamins and veggies cannot duplicate or supply the body with. I'm not a scientist, but that's what I believe. I do, however, feel it necessary after seeing these films to make the honest effort to know where my meat comes from before I put it in my mouth.

My perfect ideal: I want meat from a company that has respect for the earth and all living creatures inhabiting it. I want meat from a company that allows the natural processes of life to take place and not force drugs to make their animals grow bigger and yield whatever they yield faster, at rates that are totally unrealistic, making it very dangerous for human consumption. I WANT a company that does not use hormones, pesticides or fear as a way of producing a product to benefit their profit. I want meat from a company that puts the health and well-being of their customers FIRST!

Most of you, if I am not mistaken, would rather not know where your food comes from. Out of sight, out of mind. But people, we MUST FACE THE FACTS. The food industry only cares about one thing - MONEY. They don't really care about your health, your children, the increase of obesity rates in America, the increase of cancer rates, etc. They don't care that when they inject a cow with hormones that those hormones don't disappear when the cow is milked. And they still don't disappear when the milk is being packaged and put on supermarket shelves. And they don't care that those hormones are still there when your child is eating his pb&j with his/her glass of milk. And once the milk is in your child's body, in their digestive system, being distributed to all the cells in their body, many times many times a day or week, do you realize that you are actually poisoning your child with some REALLY heavy duty toxins?. The same goes for steroids and antibiotics. There is evidence that consumption of meat containing antibiotics or hormones can lead to infertility. Just read this article from TimesOnline.com UK:

And that's just one of the many possible side effects of additives. MILK, IT DOES A BODY GOOD... IF you know where it comes from.

When you go to the grocery store to purchase your bacon, eggs, steaks, turkey burgers, milk, etc. are you aware of the conditions these animals lived, and more specifically, how they were treated? Now why is this important? Why does that matter? How the animal you're about to eat was treated doesn't directly effect you, right? NO! Not right. This guy Jonathan once said to me, "If you eat meat, you may very well be eating FEAR." While that sounds a bit phony baloney, Jonathan was absolutely right!

What is fear and what happens anatomically when a human-animal is succumbed to fear?

Fear
, according to Wikipedia* is an emotional response to threats and danger. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of pain.

Depending on the severity of the fear, a person may experience anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, severe stress, etc. Wikipedia furthers that inappropriate activation of the stress response in humans can cause negative physiological and psychological effects. I want to focus on the physiological changes. When the body becomes anxious and fearful, the stress response halts or slows down various processes... and typically causes negative effects like, constipation, anorexia, erectile dysfunction, difficulty urinating, and difficulty maintaining sexual arousal... Prolonged stress responses may result in chronic suppression of the immune system, leaving the body open to infections...

Chronic stress is known to lead to obesity, heart disease,
depression, diabetes and CANCER. It's no news to hear that there is a link between stress and cancer. Stress takes a toll on the body, especially if you have not found a way to channel that stress out of your body. Check out the article below (this is only one of many) that talks about the relationship between stress and cancer:



Now digest all that information for a moment...

Ok... now watch this video (it's tamer than most videos out there
):




Now remembering the knowledge you learned about the anatomical effects fear and anxiety have on the body, apply that to the video you just watched. Fear and anxiety plague these animals on a daily basis and for many years until they are killed for our consumption. Every single day these animals endure abuse to such a degree that most of us could never comprehend what that must be like and what they're going through. Could you imagine what this abuse must do anatomically to an animal's body? The trauma? The stress? The anxiety? The fear!?! Can you imagine the diseases their stress produces? And we want to put this in our bodies? Our children's bodies?


KNOW WHERE YOUR FOOD COMES FROM!



Treat your health, your child's health and all your family's health like a sport's team. Think of life as a game and you want to be the best player you can be so that you're healthy, happy so you can enjoy all the gems life has to offer. Food directly effects our quality of life. We are what we eat. We must not let the food industry hide the Truth from us and dictate what we eat! Only 100 years ago, nearly 90% - 100% of our country were farmers. Today, only about 2% of this country are farmers. The food industry is doing whatever it can to deteriorate small farms so that they can control 100% of where we get our food and what goes in our mouth so they can make money.

What happened to caring? I'm not sure. I think the only way to make changes is to educate ourselves. Most of this knowledge is common sense and it's only a matter of bringing it to someone's attention for the light to go off in their head!

KNOW WHAT YOU'RE EATING!!! Don't kid yourselves. There is a huge difference between:


AND


You have a choice.


Phew... that was a long one!


*I use Wikipedia cause it's pretty damn accurate and I'm doing this during my lunch break and it's the easiest source to use!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Perfect Summer Movie to Make you Happy

And Happiness = Healthy! :D

Biking...

I rode my bike to work today. 12 miles round trip. It took one blissful hour. I am so excited to ride home in the beautiful sun even though I'm wearing non-biking clothes! I have this theory that if I were to wear sweat pants and sneakers every time I went bike riding, only to change again when I arrived at my destination, then I probably wouldn't consider it an everyday possibility. By wearing my fancy work clothes and having makeup on while riding, I feel like it's effortless to ride my bike everywhere. So far, this theory has proved very true.

Dancing with Stars Australia w/ a Blind Man!

Seriously. The tears are flowing. INSPIRATION:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Australia and Obesity

Since we're on the subject of Australia, check out what Forbes.com says about the obesity epidemic there. The article is from 2008:


AUSTRALIAN BELLIES BULGE PAST AMERICA'S


I totally did not see much obesity in Australia, but there were a few reports on the news about the obesity problem in Oz. I definitely see much more in America. I don't judge, I just want to help people realize that being healthy must be a priority!

I love Oz!

LUNCH

Oh dear is it delicious! Made a simple salad with sprouts for protein, paper thin sliced cucumbers to keep cool in the heat, organic spring mix salad, with 1/2 lemon and olive oil for dressing, sea salt for taste and some flax seeds for more protein. MAKE IT!!! It hardly cost a thing!

And now to recap Oz:

I ate soooooo so much in Australia. I seriously had on average at least four meals a day. Restaurant after restaurant after restaurant. I'm in desperate need of detoxing my body from that heavy food and so all I've been nourishing my body with is raw foods, miso soup and other simple foods. I'm starting to feel normal again.

Here's me eating Italian in Australia, for the first time at the wonderful Guiseppe, Arnaldo & Sons - - at least it was Red Snapper and not pasta:


And that was followed by more Italian at Donnini's Restaurant. I was so full from the meal earlier in the day that I could barely bring myself to eat...:

The food was delicious... as was the waiter, Ricardo:

Hubba hubba.

And again Italian in Sydney at Uccello's, one of the prettiest restaurants I've been to. I had the most amazing lightly smoked ocean trout with white asparagus and olive oil, along with a huge salad of rocket, aka arugula, with pear and Parmesan and a bottle of some amazing New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc:


As you can tell, I was quite satisfied with my meal. That's my cousin Dean next to me:


And here's me eating Italian for the millionth time on my last night in Oz at Pellegrini's Espresso Bar in Melbourne, I was starting to feel sick, but managed a few bites of my fabulous pasta and really enjoyed the yummy and oh so sugary watermelon granita:


Trust me, everywhere I went I was trying to eat as healthy as possible, or include salads with my heavy meals. The best Italian is in Australia, well really in Italy, but definitely good stuff in Oz.

No Sleep, No Coffee and a little Yes

Today is day four of no coffee and I feel no withdrawals, surprisingly. Since my birthday in May I've been pretty addicted to the crack and when I went to Australia, oh my god, the coffee is the best thing ever - - very European, served in short glasses and just divine. I bet the coffee bean itself is better quality than what you find here, that not drinking it doesn't give a person withdrawals. But I cannot tell you how amazing I feel not being dependent on coffee. I'm drinking black tea and green tea instead. I plan to eventually progress to only green tea.

The jet lag hasn't really hit me either. I'm a little tired, but only from not being able to sleep the last few nights and getting home at 2:30am last night after seeing Yes at the Gibson Amphitheater with one of my besties, Summer, for her birthday. One would think the experience of seeing Yes in this day in age would be, well, cheesy. While that is true, I would have to argue that cheesiness makes for the best kind of show.

Prior to the concert, I found it difficult to find the appropriate outfit to wear, not that I was trying to impress anyone, but I like to look my best at all times. I ended up taking so long to get ready that we missed the opening act, Asia... dammit! ;) Some of you may remember their 1980's hit "Heat of the Moment":



Hahahahahaha... sigh.

So we got to Universal City, found parking, did a little birthday pre-concert celebration in the car with some Lindemans black currant beer, fixed our makeup and went to the show. We didn't buy our tickets ahead of time since we knew Yes wouldn't sell out the Gibson (no offense to Yes), and so we scurried to the ticket booth and inquired about the prices for various seats: $135 for the pit area (ummm. no.), $95 for a bit further back (still no), behind that $75 (yeah... still no) and then $35 (seriously?!? ugh!) for the nosebleed section. I appreciate that Yes still tours and have a following, but the band no longer has the same appeal to us as it did in the 60's and 70's; a couple members are gone, including the original singer, so aside from seeing the genius of Steve Howe, we're really only going for the entertainment value. Here is Steve Howe at his best:



After much contemplating and possibly thinking that we would just skip the whole thing entirely and just head to the Sunset Marqui or something like that, the ticket guy slides us two tickets, "Here ladies, these are the $75 tickets. Take them and have fun." Summer and I look at each other... "WHAT!?" We didn't even tell him it was her birthday! I blew him a kiss and thanked him profusely. Yessssssssss (literally!)! We were totally shocked.

The show was VERY entertaining. The new singer had a good presence on stage, but was pretty corny, and he wore the most ridiculous costumes : | and danced very neo-hippy-ish... which aside from the free tix, made the concert sooooooo worth going to!

Enjoy some more vintage Yes!:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Quote of the Day!

I realize that the subject of this quote is a bit random, but "health" incorporates anything that deals with the body, including our feelings. Stress and other emotions effect health... so I want to post quotes from people who discuss and comment on human emotions.

"An uncomfortable feeling is not an enemy.
It's a gift that says, 'Get honest; inquire.'"

Easy, Cheap Snack

Yummmers. I am enjoying a whole avocado, sliced in half with a couple pinches of sea salt and seasoning... and eating it with a spoon. EASY, AFFORDABLE and delicious.

It's almost the end of the work day and today is my friend Summer's birthday! And to celebrate... we are going to see the band YES in concert!!! So like duh, must post a video of theirs... progressive rock!:

CAUSECAST: How to Eat Locally...

NEW AGE-R

From my friend Jeremy Rendina!



Too funny.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bikecology

I just got home after purchasing a new bike! The things I have been doing lately seem to be rather costly - - traveling, plans to sky dive and now a bike, but not having a car saves me heaps and I have been able to save some mula in the bank. Remember, before my car accident in March, money was tight... really tight. It's a sacrifice to not get from one place to another so easily, but really really worth it.

My new bike is incredible!!!! My previous bike, God rest it's soul, was stolen when I moved into my new apartment and stupidly locked the bike in the back of my apartment building, using one of the cheapest locks I could have purchased. The person who took it must have needed it. But fear no more, my new lock is like kryptonite... sturdy and comes with insurance for the entire amount of the bike if stolen. I'm so happy! I rode home from Doheny and Pico to my apt in the Miracle Mile area, of course while sporting my oh so stylish new helmet. I've had a few accidents on bikes, running into other bikers, running into mail boxes, losing control when going too fast down a hill; and have experienced plenty of accidents in my former set of wheels, the Toyota Rav4 (R.I.P.) ... so I definitely believe in safety first. I rode through the streets of Los Angeles smiling, ringing my bike bell, thinking that there is no other way I love supporting the environment, saving money and getting great amounts of exercise than riding my adorable turquoise and brown Schwinn wheels. Saweet! :D

I encourage all of you to think of ways to cut back on your own personal carbon emissions... it's a great feeling!

There's no band like Belle and Sebastian to express one's feeling of gleeeeee, especially when it's to the visuals of the Charlie Brown:

Watermelon a hero?

I just chugged a glass of green tea like it was beer... and it was just as refreshing as beer, at least I'd like to pretend. :D

I'm back at work... the transition from living the life in Oz to being here is not that hard! I don't feel the jet lag, glad to be home to see my family and hang with my friends, but no doubt I have a broken heart... I miss Australia. I'm eager for a new adventure which is why I just signed myself up to go sky diving. I'm crazy, I'm fully aware of this, but really, I cannot wait!

I'm downloading all 600 pictures from my trip and just laughing my buns off at the glorious moments I had with family and friends. I MISS YOU ALL!

Now attention all you men out there! Check out this article about watermelon and how it promotes a healthy prostate... it's a quick paragraph to read, so read it!


WATERMELON FOR MEN'S HEALTH


And by the way, I'm listening to David Bowie's Heroes. It's a mainstream song, sure, sung by one of the greatest artists of all time. Sometimes we tend to take those for granted since we've heard them a million times on the radio. Of course I always thought it was a brilliant song, but when you finally realize the actual epicness of a song like I have in Heroes, it grabs your soul and shakes it around a bit. I like it when that happens. Heroes - - it inspires me and makes me feel like a hero, indeed. Magical.




Saturday, July 4, 2009

Stars and Stripes, Organic Farming and The Band

I am home, sadly. Australia stole my heart. It's 10:15pm and really could not decide if I wanted to suffer through the jet lag and attend a party... it is Independence Day after all; or enjoy a quiet evening with my kitties, a cup of tea and blogging with the sound of fireworks going off in the background. Clearly, I chose the latter.

My plane ride home from Oz was fantastic. If you are ever looking to go to Australia or New Zealand, Air New Zealand has the best rates, the best service and best tasting food! When you purchase your ticket you can choose the type of meal you want - vegan, vegetarian, macrobiotic... seriously. I was very impressed with the freshness and quality. My breakfast consisted of soba noodles with raw coconut and a garbanzo bean cake with curry, plain yogurt, small bowl of mixed fruit, decent orange juice and fresh coffee. For dinner I had Moroccan lamb with sweet potatoes and peas and a pineapple and cucumber salad. For desert I indulged in organic real vanilla ice cream... like for real? It was damn good considering this is served on a plane!

I tend to not sleep very much on long plane rides, especially when there's the distraction of your own personal movie screen to view. I saw probably 12 films round trip. The movies I thought to be the most entertaining: Phoebe in Wonderland, Sunshine Cleaners (fantastic!), Last Waltz, Magnificent 7, Benny and Joon, Moonstruck (it's like my thousandth time seeing it), Seventeen Again - which isn't really that great, but I'm starting to catch on to the Zac Effron appeal... he's kind of a hunk.

So now I'm just sitting at home, relaxing, watching The Band videos on YouTube, feeling extremely satisfied with my life after a fantastic vacation with my family. I just finished reading about 200 emails and just finished this article my friend Quentin sent me. Really interesting:


ORGANIC FARMS AS SUBDIVISION AMENITIES


... and gotta show The Band:


Friday, July 3, 2009

Regeneration

Still in the land of Oz. Tons to report, but in brief - traveled to Sydney, Byron, went surfing, met Pink, saw WuTang Clan perform (totally random), did some shopping, too much eating, some exercising, more eating, hanging with the family and tons more.

Here's an interesting video to keep you entertained.