November 13, 2013

Hiking Volcanoes

View down towards the city of Usulutan after climbing the Usulutan Volcano

Crater lake of the Santa Ana Volcano. Largest volcano in El Salvador. Most recently erupted in 2005.

Vegetation gaining ground on the slopes of the Santa Ana volcano.

January 10, 2012

give yourself a theme for this year

I've been thinking a lot about being mindful. And I think I need to be more mindful. Why? Because it's not thinking! Thinking is too chaotic. The negative thoughts are dangerous. During the day it's - ideas, rushing, chaos, problems, solutions, doubts, concerns. And while thinking about these things is very important, on occasion, I would like to replace some of my thinking with mindfulness.
What is mindfulness? I'm not exactly sure, but I know it's not thinking! Mindfulness just feels different. It feels better. It feels awake, conscious, aware. Feeling instead of thinking. Recognizing and observing. I think a big component of mindfulness is the acceptance. If I am mindful, I am accepting. Accepting of myself, of those around me, of my current situation.
It's not exactly a New Year's resolution, but more of a theme for this year. I will try to be more mindful, and will start by playing this song on repeat, as my personal mantra - thoughts, get outa my head!

December 22, 2011

a recipe for a better day

Sometimes it's hard to stay positive, especially when people you know, neighbors, and people you don't even know are verbally attacking you. So how do you stay positive? Well, here's how I do it. (Or attempt to do it.)
  • I think about my good, close friends and all the fun, ridiculous times we've spent together. (Facebook's new Activity Log is actually a pretty good way to do that!)
  • I take care of myself - go running, make a good dinner, or go to bed early.
  • I treat myself to a little pick me up - nice piece of chocolate, cold beer, lunch with a friend.
  • If I feel like I need to vent or say something to someone, I write it in my journal first, or think about what exactly I would say. (And depending on the situation, follow through and actually talk with the person.)
  • I look through photos, read a good book or watch a movie. Anything to think about something completely different.
  • I listen to ridiculous music and sing along. And dance. Like a buffoon. 
Here's to hoping that your bad days are few and far between!

December 11, 2011


I love discovering cute little hole-in-the-wall type places. And what's better than finding a couple city blocks lined with them!?
I'm obviously not the first person to discover Paseo El Carmen but it is a relatively new place for hanging out, and therefore it feels like I'm "discovering" it with everyone else. The Paseo is a couple blocks of walking friendly streets, lined with small bars, restaurants, art galleries, cafes, stores etc. and it's about a 5 minute drive away from my new house. About a year ago, the mayor began encouraging development of this area, complete with wide sidewalks, nice street lamps etc. And the change has been incredible.
Last night some friends and I went out to try a new bar and the whole Paseo was packed! The streets were closed to car traffic, so food vendors had set up in the street, along with artists, used book sellers, and street performers. There was a constant flow of people walking around, exploring, and greeting one another. Families, foreigners, locals, couples, youth and older people - all enjoying the incredibly pleasant atmosphere. Most of the bars and restaurants set up some additional tables and chairs in the street, so the whole area had the feel of a street fair.  There was live music on lots of street corners. It's really nice to find a place that feels homey, comfortable, and walkable. A nice treat in any city! I'll definitely be exploring it more.

November 23, 2011

donate it if you got it

I have always wanted to donate my hair. I have so much of it, I figure someone could probably benefit from it! So when I arrived at my grandparent's house for vacation and everyone commented on my really long hair - I haven't had a hair cut since last year - I mentioned that maybe it was time to donate it. Well, my grandma took that as "go" and she immediately called her stylist. I was having second doubts, but she already made the appointment. So I went for it. I chickened out a little bit and didn't donate all 10 inches - I found a different charity that accepts 8 inches or more. But still, that was a lot of hair! So now I'm back to the bob style that I had in early college. I'll probably keep growing my hair out and donate in another year. Wish me luck!

ready to "snip". She had to kind of saw away for a couple seconds. I'm telling you, I have LOTS of hair.

all done!

November 22, 2011

lime leader

do you remember kindergarten? Do you remember walking in lines with your classmates to get places? Were you ever the line leader? Every once and awhile, I got to be line leader and it just made me day! My parents especially love to talk about how excited I would get because I would say "lime" leader instead of line. Don't know why. Maybe it was just an early manifestation of my future preference for all things lime - lime tostitos, lime-ade, mojitos.... you know!
So you can imagine my excitement when we got off the plane in Fort Lauderdale and I was the first. one. off. the. plane! We had seats in first class - it was on Spirit so it wasn't a huge deal or anything. So that's why I got to walk off the plane first. It was a big day, it was a big day!
I get easily excited. Sometimes it's almost too easy.