Congrats, Charley!

It’s hard to believe that it has been only 4.5 months since we adopted Charley. She has come so far in such a short amount of time! Yesterday morning, she was certified by the American Kennel Club as a Canine Good Citizen…basically a fancy title for being a well-behaved little lady. She earned that shiny blue ribbon because she was able to prove that she could:

  • sit well for grooming
  • react well to distractions (like big, scary umbrellas!)
  • sit, stay, come, and lie down on command
  • be friendly to a stranger and a new dog
  • walk nicely through a crowd
  • walk with a loose leash
  • “supervised separation” for 3 minutes

…and no treats allowed during the test, which is the hardest part! If you are a dog owner, you’ll know that this list is a tall order…but she passed!

As soon as Charley completed her basic obedience classes, we wanted to get her certified. It is the prerequisite to becoming a therapy dog and also since we are apartment dwellers (and no where close to being able to buy a house), we figured certification would be a good idea so that we can show potential new landlords that she is well behaved and trained. Plus, she really is such an angel, why not have the title to prove it?

Although this is “my” blog, Jackie really should get all the credit for this one. I just got back from a short trip to Europe (more on that later!) and before I left, we were nervous that Charley wouldn’t pass. During her mock tests, her biggest challenge was the grass (out of all things!) — something about the grass in that park is sooo tempting and delicious and when she loses her focus, she lets her nose take over and we can’t get any work done. Well, apparently the key to solving this issue was me leaving for 10 days because when I got back, Charley seemed more focused than ever! On the actual test day, she was distracted with me there so I had to cheer her on from the car, getting updates via thumbs up and texts. Oh well, I’m okay with taking the back seat on this one.

We’ll be taking a little bit of a breather for these next few months, but the training never ends! Maybe we have some agility classes in our future…something to help her gain more endurance. Or maybe we go straight into therapy dog training. Who knows! I’m just happy to record this fun little milestone.

PS: If you’re reading this and considering getting your dog AKC Canine Good Citizen certified, we went through Karma Dog Training and our “coach”, Chelsea, was awesome!

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Behold!

Juicer + Vitamix

Soda Stream + Espresso Machine

…our new kitchen toys in all of their glory.

On her journey back to Australia, Jackie’s mom spent a few more days with us and in one foul swoop, she turned our 2-star B&B into a 3-star B&B (guests still have to sleep on the couch, sorry!) Now when you book a few nights at Cuba Libre, you can expect to be woken up by the aroma of freshly ground “Black Cat” espresso, your choice of a greek yogurt bowl with fresh fruit, granola and honey or a healthy protein-packed breakfast smoothie! Throughout the day, enjoy unlimited access to soda water and organic veggies grown from our garden. Your stay also includes the company of 2 adorable kittens and a dose of allergy medicine if needed. Friends and family – we’re taking reservations now! Please come visit!

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When I was in college, I became quite the smoothie connoisseur. I worked behind the smoothie bar at Vitamin Barn, the local spot for acai bowls, smoothies, juices, and wheat grass shots! It was at Vitamin Barn that I was first introduced to stuff like “The Wellness Shot” (a crazy ounce of ginger, echinacea, lemon and oregano oil), fish oil, Bio-K, and protein powder. I still remember the recipe for my favorite smoothie, the “Pamela” (rumored to be named after Pamela Anderson, hah!) — we tried recreating it this morning and it’s just as amazing as I remember it. Ginger fans, you must give this a try. It’s refreshing on a hot, summery day and a great way to kick-start your day with a boost of energy.

The Pamela

– Coconut milk (the diluted kind, not the coconut cream that you buy in a can) (1 cup)

– Frozen Strawberries (1 cup)

– Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (1 scoop)

– Juiced Ginger (1 oz.)

*Optional 1 oz of Flaxseed oil for some good fats, Glutamine for immune health and muscle recovery, Acidophilus for some probiotics, and/or Choline Cocktail for energy…*

Morimoto, Napa with the Eatons

After a long series of unfortunate events, I found myself in beautiful Napa Valley with not much to do.

What does one do when one can’t enjoy the wine in Napa? Well, one enjoys the food in Napa!

Food is such a delight. While some people eat for function, I prefer to enjoy every single bite. Meals are a bonding experience, a token of love, and the foundation of some of the best memories! Even though our original plans for that weekend were tossed out the window, this was not a terrible back up plan.

The culinary gods were definitely smiling down on me the night we walked past Morimoto. Before I could even express how Morimoto was my favorite Iron Chef (Food Network nerd alert!), Jackie’s mom was already wandering inside the restaurant snapping photos of the interior decor. Her dad? Well, he immediately made his way towards the bar. Fast forward 3 hours and we were still seated on the stools, enjoying small appetizers and drooling as all the amazing dishes come out of the kitchen. That evening, Jackie’s dad made a reservation for a “proper meal” the next night. The Eatons don’t take the words “proper meal” lightly — let’s just say the dishes you’re about to see are only a sampling of what we tried!

If only I could put my taste buds in a time machine…

Luck was on our side as our server confused our order and brought out a sushi platter instead of the sashimi platter … a certain someone already had her chopsticks on the yellow tail before we even noticed the mistake so the waitress was gracious enough to let us have both! Win! Because I’m on a roll, I’ll continue to brag…we all shared a crazy selection of hot appetizers: grilled hamachi, steamed scallops, sushi and sashimi, rock shrimp tempura, spicy king crab, kakuni and I had to taste Morimoto’s ramen. Ahh!

File this under the category “I died”.

What a Week!

Hellen Keller Quote (Illustration by Lisa Congdon) - See How I Run Blog{illustration by the amazing Lisa Congdon as part of her Reconstructionists Project}

Last Wednesday, I woke up with a cat on my face and Jackie yelling at me from the kitchen. She had KCRW on full blast and was hanging on to every word of the morning news report.

“DOMA HAS BEEN OVERRULED…waiting on Prop 8 but they’re going to make their decision today!”

Needless to say, I shot out of bed with a huge smile on my face. It took me a few moments to process that what I was hearing was real.

SCOTUS sure made us wait, but I’m so so so so so happy that we won this one. I spent the rest of the week reading more about Edie Windsor and getting soggy eyed over every photo of same sex couples who rushed to the city hall to make their love official in the eyes of the government.

At its very core, love is such a simple concept. You love who you love and why should anyone else care? …And then life kicks in and shame, guilt and self-consciousness complicate what used to be so clear and easy. As a law abiding individual, I find that it’s easy to forget government. I’ll be the first to admit that I take both the rules and freedoms of democracy for granted because they have been woven into the life I have always known. That said, when the government tells you that you don’t have the same rights as your equals because of your sexuality, it plants a seed of doubt and silently affirms the message that you’re an outsider. Now that the government has changed it’s tune, I’m hoping that this means that love can be simple again for people on the LGBT spectrum.

Smiles all around and an open heart for the future.

Weekend Vacation: Trekking About

Oh yes, summer! Well, not technically, but it definitely feels like it and that’s good enough for me.

Weekend Vacations are back on in full force. We got a little lazy this winter but now that the weather is warming up, weekends = adventures. Even though I’ve lived in LA for 7ish years (whoa), there are so many nooks and crannies that I haven’t explored. How did I live in Malibu and never venture up to Malibu Creek State Park?! This changes now.

On the topic of hikes: One of the best feelings is waking up early and squeezing in some exercise before noon. Maybe it’s because I grew up in beautiful WA State, I just can’t bring myself to call LA hiking, “hiking”. The dry, dusty paths just don’t elicit the lush, green, bark mulched trails that I associate with the term, hike. Jocelyn, another native Washingtonian, agreed so we dubbed our adventures “treks” instead.

Our little crew warmed up two weekends ago with a quick trek in Los Liones (Topanga Canyon). It was a relatively easy one that we finished by accidentally adding on a looooong detour through some fancy Pacific Palisade neighborhood. Urban trekking! Last weekend, we drove up through Malibu Canyon to find the rock ponds in Malibu Creek State park. I’ve never been one to seek the thrill of cliff jumping but it was so fun to just splash around and get some use out of my waterproof camera. We shall be back!

(uhh seriously, these two are just too good lookin’ to handle)