The Greenest of Smoothies

Need a way to get a jump on your fruits and veggies for the day, in a delicious way? (I swear I wasn’t trying to make that rhyme) Throw all dis stuff in a blender… (serves 2)

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup milk (I prefer 2% for a creamier consistency)
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 peach
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s (or your favorite) nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • honey for taste
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1 scoop Arbonne Greens Balance (for ordering information, contact me or click here for my direct Arbonne consultant site)

Directions: Start by crushing the ice, milk, and banana to build a creamy base. Next, add the kale and spinach and push them down a bit into the base before mixing. I drizzled the honey on top of the spinach and kale so I could see how much I was putting in. Next, I skinned the peach and sliced the body (sounds gruesome) into the blender, scooped the yogurt and chia seeds in, then mixed. The final addition was the Arbonne Greens Balance, which gave the smoothie the most of its very green color. Blend well, and serve! Best if served out of a Skyline High School (Go Spartans!) football beer stein, apparently…

Enjoy!

Bedwell Bayfront Park

The exploration of California continued today with a trip to Bedwell Bayfront Park, which is about 20 minutes from our apartment. While we walked around the park, which is surrounded by salt flats up until the ocean, Nathaniel asked me what my expectations for a shooting location were. Essentially, he asked me if I was ever disappointed by the lack of beauty somewhere or if I get frustrated if there doesn’t seem like there is much to capture. What I told him, which I think is most likely a sentiment shared by anyone who enjoys photography- amateur and professional alike- is that the enjoyment in taking pictures comes from finding beauty in the things one might not otherwise notice. So, in these pictures, you’ll see a variety of far off scenery pictures, but also the up-close details of the park- the details which reveal its true beauty.

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The Giants Hosted the Cardinals (And Won in Style)

Last night I witnessed one of the most exciting wins all season for the Giants, in my opinion. The first three innings went by without any runs, and a few hits (by the Giants, that is). Mike Leake was 4 innings into a no-no when the Cardinals got their first hit.


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Posey and Leake conversing in warm-ups
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Starting pitcher Mike Leake warming up
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The famous Coke bottle in Center Field
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Marlon Byrd warming up pre-game. Prior to the game, he was 0 for 13 against the Cardinals’ starting pitcher Michael Wacha.
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Mike Leake in action
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Giants’ third baseman Matt Duffy
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Marlon Byrd, visibly pissed off after bringing his record against Wacha to 0 for 14
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Giants’ Left Fielder Nori Aoki keeping his arm warm between innings
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Cardinals’ right fielder Stephen Piscotti at the plate. Later in the game, he would have a spectacular diving-sliding catch, right into the bullpen mound.
I really wanted to yell at Moss to stop biting his thumb...gross.
Every time Brandon Moss started biting his nails/fingers, I wanted to yell to him that “THAT’S NOT HEALTHY!”
Lou Seal takes a couple of birthday gals for a ride, tossing goodies into the stands for fans
Lou Seal takes a couple of birthday gals for a ride, tossing goodies into the stands for fans
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Matt Carpenter drops a routine catch much to the delight of the Giants’ fans looking on
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Nori Aoki slides into second (safe!)

Then, we had an explosive 3rd inning. With the bases loaded, Marlon Byrd, who had previous gone 0 for 14 in the past 5 years against Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha, ended his .000 streak with a beautiful grand slam.

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I’m so happy to have caught such a great moment on camera. Unfortunately, after this inning, my battery ran out. After the 3rd, the Cardinals came back to tie the game up in the 4th. They failed to take a lead for the rest of the game however, and in the bottom of the 9th, The Kid Kelby Tomlinson, affectionately nicknamed Clark Kent by fans (due to a pretty spot-on resemblance- see below) hit a walk-off single to finish the game off.

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It has been thrilling watching his progression since his MLB debut on August 3rd, becoming a crucial part of the success of the team. We’re about to take the turn into the back-end of the season, and it’s about to heat up. The Dodgers unfortunately won last night as well, so we maintain our position 2.5 games back from them. I can’t wait to see what we can do with the rest of the season. Orange October is coming!

Two-a-Day Sunday

On Sunday morning, Nathaniel and I went to Orangetheory Fitness, which he is a seasoned veteran in and I was a newbie (and it showed!) It’s an intense hour-long workout involving treadmill, stationary rowing, and weights. Each workout is different, so you never do the same routine twice. Prior to the workout, you are provided a heart monitor, which is to be worn throughout the class. On large screens throughout the studio, live results of each attendee’s heart monitors are up on the screen.

Orangetheory

Your heart rate either falls in grey (resting), blue (warming up), green (base exercise) , orange (push), or red (maxed out). The goal is to spend 12-20 cumulative minutes throughout the whole workout in the orange and red zone combined. You can read about their philosophy here.

It was definitely the most brutal workout I’ve had in a very long time- probably since conditioning practices when I was on the crew team at WSU!

Later that afternoon, we made our way south to his parents’ house, for a big family dinner. Before dinner, we took a hike on the trail that goes through the backyard and up into the rolling hills of Los Gatos. Words can’t describe how drained I was, doing my second workout of the day, but the views were absolutely worth it!

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Accidental Whale Watching

On Saturday afternoon, we made our way out to the coast (where I’m from!) and went to Half Moon Bay State Beach. We brought along the football and my camera, hoping for a good game of catch and maybe some decent pictures that might end up on some of our blank apartment walls. When we got there, the weather was much more overcast than we had read it would be, but we both found the grey to be somehow quite soothing…maybe that’s our inner Seattle coming through. First, we walked along the beach, taking many pictures of birds and the scenery, tossing the pigskin around in between shots.

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After a while, we hiked up onto the ledge overlooking the beach, where there was a walking path and several benches dispersed along it. We picked a bench, where we sat, talking and enjoying the view- when all of a sudden, Nathaniel said something along the lines of “I could be losing it, but I swear I just saw a whale blow-hole!” I doubted it at first, but soon thereafter we saw it again, together. Hence, the following pictures are of two separate pods of humpback whales we were lucky enough to capture on film. If you zoom in, you can clearly see the tale and in some pictures a dorsal fin as a whale jumps out of the water.

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It was an extraordinary experience that we felt very lucky to have had!

Saturday on The Farm

Yesterday, Stanford’s football program had an open house for the fans- primarily the miniature ones- to go on the field, interact with the players and get autographs, and do some “drills”. I had no idea when I got there what role Nathaniel would have, so I wandered around for a bit on the field until I found him running diving catch drills with a long line of kids, excited to get their turn. My inner photographer was thrilled at the opportunity to catch their grinning faces as they ran (some hobbled, with the help of parents’ hands) up for their turn to dive for the ball. Then there was the girlfriend side of me, who was smiling ear to ear the whole time, watching Nathaniel be so good with all of the kiddos- It was so heart-warming!

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Coach David Shaw answering questions for a crowd of reporters.

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Look at the looks of anticipation on their faces!

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An Evening in Twin Pines Park

Last night, Nathaniel and I took a walk to a park close by our house to throw the baseball around. Naturally, I brought my camera with me in case I saw anything noteworthy. The stars of the shoot ended up being a few birds and a squirrel which were less than pleased to have us tromping through their living rooms.

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This guy was particularly angry about it… I managed to catch him screaming at me on camera…

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When I saw the black squirrel, I gasped and said, “Nathaniel, there’s a black squirrel!!” I thought I was making some monumental discovery and found a new species of squirrel. He said, “yeah…”, wondering why I was so amazed. Oh California, how little I know thee…

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How Did We Let This Happen?

There’s something I’ve been thinking about since I moved to San Francisco, that I really can’t keep ignoring or bottling up. Never have I ever seen so many homeless people in my life. I’ve been in the inner cities of Seattle, Anchorage, Lima (Peru), New York, and many more, and I can’t remember there being so many displaced people. I don’t remember the stench of human waste being so overwhelming on any other city’s streets. It’s floating around in the air on my morning commute, when I run down the block to grab a salad at lunch time, and when I make my way home for the evening.

I can’t help feeling like we are all failing them. Our system has failed these people who slipped through the cracks. Sometimes, when I see someone begging for money or food on the street, I have ugly internal moments where I think “you should get a job”. But then I realize that they may have already tried that, but couldn’t be employed without a valid home address. Or, they don’t have the money to buy clothes appropriate for any job. “They must have options”, I think to myself. But in reality, they have to either a) not have any options left or b) they don’t know what their options are.

Now that I have started working in a tech venture firm, I am constantly dreaming up new apps for people to use. I came up with several ideas for apps that could benefit transients, but then realized that -duh- they probably don’t have internet access or phones. Some do (it’s odd seeing a homeless person playing with a cell phone, that’s for sure), but the majority don’t.

Since getting my camera, I have been wanting to bring it to the city for a day, to take pictures of everything and anything. One thought I had was that it could be interesting to take pictures of, and talk to the homeless I encounter. I’m sure they have some wonderful stories. In the fast pace of the city, those stories get lost. Businesswomen and women walking quickly toward their looming office buildings have developed blinders that only phase out those who are dirty, pushing carts, or carrying bags of clothes.

This is one of those things that I talk about doing, while knowing that I have already made up my mind- I want to push myself to do it. I’m going to pick a weekend day and pack a bag of snacks and drinks (no money), bring my camera, and talk to those who could use my help. I’ll talk to them first, learn about their story, taking notes, then take a picture or two of them, with their permission. It would be a bit like “Humans of New York”, how I envision it.

If nothing else, I want to help make those who have no where to go at night feel like they are not invisible, and that there is at least one person out there who wants to hear their stories.

Sunday Swelter

Today I spent most of the day cleaning the apartment and relaxing, trying to keep cool. The Bay was in some kind of pressure cooker- it hit 97 at one point!  This evening, we went to my Grandfather’s retirement home for dinner. It was a night of story-telling, family updates, and great food. On our way back, Nathaniel and I stopped at the top of one of the hills of Belmont so that I could capture a few shots of the beautiful sunset. It proved to be a great backsplash as well for a mini photo-shoot. Seriously, what a model…I don’t think he even knows how handsome he is! 

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Take a Picture, It’ll Last Longer

Last week, Originate spent half the week/weekend in beautiful f#cking hot Las Vegas, for our annual retreat- well, Attack, actually. “We don’t retreat, we attack”, I was told in my initial interviews. What I was promised was 3 days of face-to-face interaction with everyone in the company (our offices are all over the world, not just the nation), with quite a bit of time spent primarily socializing. I heard some wild stories from last year, which certainly set the stage for what turned out to be an eventful trip. I would tell some of the better stories but, (excuse the cliché) what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

What didn’t stay in Vegas was my new-found interest in photography. I know, quite a jump there…

On my first day in Vegas, the day before the Attack officially started, my coworker Amanda (“Attack CEO”) asked if I would mind being in charge of the video camera we were going to rent. The idea was to just capture the talks on Friday in the ballroom of the hotel we were staying at. So, without having any background, other than taking super high-quality selfies with drunk sorority sisters at frat parties in college, I said I was up for the task. We rented a Canon eos 5d for the task, which had a huge lens on it. To get acclimated to it for Friday, I experimented with the camera all of Thursday. I took hundreds of pictures of all of the Originators working in groups (basically an hour-long hackathon), and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how well they came out. Here are a few of my favorites:

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I texted Nathaniel excitedly at one point, saying how much I was enjoying creeping on everyone, taking pictures. Okay, that’s not how I said it. But there were definitely moments where I felt like I was stalking my coworkers. Either way, there was something very intriguing about finding the right angle and lighting and making sure the focus was just right. I had never given someone taking a picture much thought, but when you’re behind the lens you understand that there are good and bad ways to frame a shot. Bottom line? I want more! Nathaniel said that as soon as I told him how much fun I was having, he started looking at beginner cameras. I have been doing the same (almost daily) since returning, and I am pretty set on learning more. I would love nothing more than to take a high-end camera to a baseball game and capture spectacular action shots or players’ pensive moments between plays. I’m sure a lot of my test period would be spent with my favorite subject- my handsome roommate…Anyways, I have a birthday coming up next month so maybe I’ll have to treat myself to one of these bad boys-

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DC4BRMQ/ref=asc_df_B00DC4BRMQ3838987/?tag=hawk-future-20&creative=394997&creativeASIN=B00DC4BRMQ&linkCode=df0&ascsubtag=hawk-270234088-20

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/nikon-d3200-dslr-camera-with-18-55mm-and-55-200mm-lenses-black/3643029.p?id=1219092579150&skuId=3643029

http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-2007987/canon-eos-rebel-t5-digital-slr-18mp-camera-with-18-55mm-75-300mm-lenses.jsp?gclid=Cj0KEQjw3auuBRDj1LnQyLjy-4sBEiQAKPU_vbLpEpBUUdjq2wzeZgX3ntMbAFU-xeA4r8ZHCHT6-kgaAjd78P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=COr757vtpMcCFc8JRQodv_IBJA

Any and all suggestions for a photography wannabe-newbie like me are not just welcomed but greatly appreciated!

Waking up in San Francisco

As anyone quickly figures out about me, I thrive off of change. Change, Challenge, and Champagne.

Last week, Nathaniel and I moved to San Francisco. Well, we moved to an apartment about 45 minutes south of San Francisco, that is. However, each day I trek into the city via train along with all of the other energetic young professionals, hoping I don’t spill my coffee on myself with each bump in the track. I come up out of the Montgomery Street station, breathe in the city air, and try to avoid mystery spills on the sidewalk on the way to the front door of the Originate office.
Originate is the new company I’m working for. We are, in my own half-hearted elevator pitch, a product development company, constantly looking for the newest and most innovative ideas that benefit the greater good. While I have only been here 3.75 days thus far, my impression is that the company and the people who work here genuinely care about innovation, and making the world a better place. My position is Executive Assistant, which means I support two C-level executives in the office, but I’m also filling the position of Office Manager. I get to interact with, and help people, in a very wide array of ways, and get paid for it. Also, I can participate in any project I want, essentially, which could mean many different things. A lot of the developers are working on development projects in their 20% time (the company allows one day a week, or one out of every 5 weeks, to be dedicated to a project near and dear to your heart, as long as it benefits the company or the world at large)- some of which I’m very intrigued by. I won’t say what they are, due to the confidential nature of them, but I can say that most passions would be represented by the projects currently in the works here at Originate, whether personal or for clients.
I’m ecstatic to be here…I am the happiest I have ever been in my whole life, without a doubt. My coworker in my past job once told me that she once was very unhappy in her marriage, but happy at work. She described going to work as the best part of her day, and coming home being the worst. She advised me to find someone I love, whom I love coming home to, and also a job I love, so that no part of my day is the part I dread.
I have that now. I wake up excited to go to work, and by the end of the day, I’m itching to get home to the man I love, who makes me laugh to no end.
I’m currently reading the autobiography of Mariano Rivera (retired pitcher for the Yankees), called “The Closer”. I want to take a page out of his book, so to speak, and just say that I thank god for how blessed I am. I do not take a single second of this for granted. Each day is a gift, for which I am endlessly grateful.