not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Last Day of 2008

Today was the last day of 2008, and I think I had a pretty damn good year. Surfed this morning and this evening - took a trip to Jaco with the boys this afternoon and ate some good grub, and as always - read for a bit, then took a nap. After I woke up from my nap I thought about all of the amazing places I've been this past year, the wonderful friends that I have made and I'm 100% satisfied with how I spent my time, and proud of the decision that I've made. This year I have reconnected with old friends (Julisa), made new friends (Jeff & Sharon), and fell in love. It's exciting and fulfilling, and I hope that 2009 brings just as many joys.

Tonight I watched the sun set while I was out in the water with the whole Soda Mary crew and Shawn. The waves were only about waist high, but I couldn't have been with a better group of people, all laughing and cheering eachother into waves. The last wave of 2008 I got a fabulous, lined-up noseride all the way to the beach. MmmMm good. I'm ready for 2009.

"For last years words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning." - T.S. Eliot



5am: Coffee Time
Esterillos, Costa Rica 5am, dec 31:

It's 5am. I'm having coffee, from my BIALETTI of course. It travels well and now I never have to worry about having a bad cup of cafe. Feeling a bit off this morning. I didn't sleep too well, and neither did Shawn. We put the fan on us to cool us down and keep the mosquitoes off. Well, I like that it keeps the mosquitoes off, but I'm FREEZING at night. I know, laugh. But I'm fuckin cold!! Shawn sleeps in shorts and maybe with a sheet and I sleep in the only warm clothes I have - sweats and a long sleeve shirt, then I bundle up with a towel. Also, I got a little sick last night. Our dinner that started out Cam, Shawn and I...then later adding Noah, then became a dinner party - with Pat, Ben, Olivia, Jody, Brett, and friends joining as well. I'm always down for a dinner party, don't get me wrong- I love the group gatherings, sometimes it's nice to just have a few though. Also, I would have liked Cam or I to cook. Oh well. Now I know. I got sick after dinner - and once somethings in my stomach, it never leaves- So it was surprising, and gross, and left me feeling icky. It's the first time I've ever gotten sick from eating in Costa Rica - and it was a homemade meal! I think that we are going to go and surf Bejuco again today. Only a few more days of small waves and then this weekend a big 6-9' swell is pushing in. I can't wait! Also, tonight is the party - New Year's Eve @ the big house on the hill! It's animal themed - and I'm going as a peacock!!

As of now I think that the plan is to head down to Dominical on Jan 5th (monday). Meet up with Billy Herr for a few days and then Shawn's gotta go back to the (COLD) states.

Cam just got back and said that it is FLAT. I don't know how he can see anything, it's still pitch black out - but I never question the wisdom of Cam. ha. Write more later.

...and remember - "The best plan is to have no plan at all".

Pura Vida.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mahi, Curry and Small Waves

Mahi, Curry and Small Waves: Day 3
Esterillos, Costa Rica 6:30pm dec 30th

Today was another great day. Woke up early and surfed, came home, ate some breakfast, and played Dominoes. Apparently Cam is a world domination domino champ - he kicked our asses. Then I headed down the beach to get some bronze on my pale ass. I brought my book (Water For Elephants) with me and finished it. SO wonderful. SO charming. Great Great Great! I'm so sad that I read it so quickly and it's over. I'm definitely going to check out other books by Sara. Shawn and Noah met me down the beach and headed out with snorkels, fins and spear guns. I swam. I had loaded up, LOADED UP, on sunscreen, but still ended up with a shoobie burn. Hopefully it will fade by tomorrow. Came home and took a power nap, then Shawn and I headed out front here in Esterillo's for a surf. It was only about waist high but it was clean, fun and long. One of the locals on the beach, who is friends with Brett (the guy we are staying with), got some video of us surfing - so she is going to send it to us! We stayed in the water til the sunset, then came back, played some dominoes and now we are waiting for dinner to be finished. It smells delicious so I gotta go...

Eating at the Casa.

$3.50 A Day
Esterillos, Costa Rica 9am, dec 30th

Eating out is cheap in Costa Rica. Good and cheap. If you are going to local spots, not expensive touristy spots, then you can get a good meal from around 1300 to 3800 colones - which is around $2.50 to $7. But Shawn needs to save money, and so do I, and groceries here are cheap - IF you are buying locally eaten stuff - not cereal or pasta. So every day Shawn and I walk down to the store and spend about 7 bucks total. That feeds us breakfast AND lunch, for the both of us. So figure $3.5 a day a piece, and that's buying us breakfast and lunch ($1.75 a meal). For breakfast we have Cam and Eggs (see recipe below), or some concoction. It's almost always in a tortilla. This morning for breakfast I fried an egg and put it in a tortilla with beans, avocado, tomato and onion, and some hot sauce. Always hot sauce. Washed it down with some hot tea and coconut cookies. Costa Rica has the most delicious cookies in all the world - and a very wide assortment. Today I loaded up on my favorites, COCANAS. They are muy deliciouso. I also got Galletas con crema and Tuareg - natural coconut cream filled cookies. We have been going out to dinner at night - I think more as something to do than anything.

Last night the "fish truck" went by. It's on no schedule (surprise surprise, tico time) so if you catch it you are lucky. They drive by with the days catch of fresh fish. For 4,000 colones...around 8 bucks, we got a HUGE filet of fresh mahi mahi, cleaned and all. Tonight Cam is going to cook dinner. Sauteed fish with coconut curry rice. Cam is who Shawn and I spend most of our time with. Everyone else around here is very nice, but Cam is the best for sure. His mother is Colombian, so he looks like one of the locals and obviously speaks flawless spanish. He is very well educated, but fell in love with Costa Rica and was over the hustle and grind of the States. So now he lives in Costa, teaching English in San Jose. He comes down to Esterillos on the weekends, though he is on holiday at the moment. He's fun to eat with, surf with, and hang with. Good people.

Right now we are just hanging at the house. It's only 9am and already so much done. The swell is dwindling but I can't complain because the water is beautiful. We surfed Bejuca, a few minutes up the road, this morning. Just cam, shawnie and me. Bout waist to chest high, super clean, super blue water, but 20 minutes between sets. Going to lounge around, read, swim, listen to music, play music and nap. Pura Vida.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Warm Water & Tortilla's

Warm Water & Tortillas
Esterillos, Costa RIca 3pm, dec 29th

After our breakfast of Cam and Eggs, I laid down and read more of my book, Water for Elephants. I bought it on the second leg of my flight to Costa, and I'm almost finished it already. It's being told by Jacob, who is now 90 (or 93, he's not sure) living in an old folks home, reflecting on his past when he worked in the circus. Its delightful in its description, a captivating story that you cant help to feel connected with. Very good - I fully recommend. I love reading in Costa...there are no distractions.

After that I joined in the "Soda Mary's Social Club" (aka the front porch...brett, adam, noah, cam and the lovely pat). We chatted, laughed and talked trash. Then Shawnee and I ventured down to the beach. He went snorkeling with the spear gun (visibility was awful though) and I cruised the beach, checking out this foreign town, and swam around. Met back up with Shawn and we just floated in the small pools of very hot water that have collected around the reef. We came home and napped. For almost 2 hours. Sound sleep. I needed it...I had a difficult time sleeping last night, still too excited to sleep. Woke up and made some lunch. I fried an egg and put it in a tortilla with avocado, black bean puree, some onion, and tomatoe. Shawn made some kind of other tortilla. Everything in tortillas! I love it!! We scarfed them down, still bleary eyed from our nap, and then I made some tea and decided to blog!! It's a little after 3pm as I write this, and I believe that we are getting ready to head down to the beach soon for a sunset session with the Soda Marys' crew. All of the winter surfing and going to the gym STILL hasn't prepped me for surfing - I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't exhausted, spent, aching all over. Another week though and I will be in the groove. Today is Adam's birthday, one of the Texas guys that's been living/working in costa for years. We are going to go out to one of the bars for some celebratory drinks. I'm gonna take it easy though, I definitely need my rest for tomorrow's session. I hope that all is well on the east coast.

Pura Vida.


Shawn made CAM and EGGS for a post-surf breakfast. It's called CAM and eggs, because Cam is one of the guys who lives here and he taught Shawn how to make it. It sounds random, but it is SOOO SOOOO SOOO delicious.

-hot sauce

Sautee diced plantains and a little bit of onions in butter until browned
Add in eggs and scramble
Serve in a tortilla -- top with some hot sauce.

SOO Good. Muy deliciouso

COSTA RICA, days 1 & 2

And so it's begun...
Newark, NJ 6:43 am, dec 28th:

The journey has begun. I'm in the Newark Intl Airport sitting in Dick Clark's American Bandstand Cafe eatting some overpriced, unethusiastic breakfast and sipping some tea from a styrafoam cup.

Getting here was a breeze. Stayed at my old roomates place, with my old roomate Rocky, in North Jersey. Woke up at 4:30am, hopped a shower, then by 5am Rocky and I were trying to load my obnoxiously large 10 foot boardbad into her Nissan Extera. My dad hooked me up with some rope and a little knot lesson: the rabbit hops over the log, into the hole, then comes back around. I'm a master knotswoman. Boom. We arrived at newark airport in 20min. I checked in, went through security and arrived at my gate 20 minutes after that which brings me to my mediocre meal, trying to kill the 2 hours I have until I board. Ha. I've never had an airport adventure go so smoothly and so quickly. The travel Gods must be happy with me. Also, USAirways only nailed me for $100 for my big board bag. More money for fish tacos now!

I'm not in Costa yet but I feel like I'm already there. I feel "tico time" setting in, and these flip flops are feeling all too familiar and fabulous. Pura Vida.

Shoes: Those Goddamn Sneakers
Newark, NJ 7:30am, dec 18th:
I hate shoes. Especially sneakers. ESPECIALLY sneakers. It takes everything inside of my being to lace up those shitty uncomfortable terrors everyday at the gym. If I could work out in my uggs, or preferably my bare feet, I would be a happy camper. But I cant. Don't think this is one of my mad rambles, this is tying into a story about what I packed, or didn't for that matter. My luggage includes a few skirts, shorts, tank tops, towels, wax, 3 pairs of flip flops, and 25 bathingsuits...and I forgot sneakers. I {subconciously} forgot sneakers. I'm going to try and bribe my dad into bringing them down for me when he heads south in Feb - I think he'll do it, I'm his favorite daughter...barefeet and all.

Tico Time
Esterillos, Costa Rica 9:30pm, dec 28th:
Arrived in costa about an hour and a half late. Shawn got to the airport about an hour and a half before my scheduled arrival time. Figures. Ha. I went through immigration, then hauled my 10 foot boardbag, 30lb duffel bag, guitar, and purse an agonizing, extremely hot 30 yards to the exit. Shawnee was there, dripping in sweat, waiting for me. We packied up and headed south. I rinsed off then we went to dinner at a cute place down the street with some people that stay at the same place we are. A couple from Switzerland (Nico and Michelle), Noah from Florida and John from North Carolina. They're all living in Costa Rica, a life on tico time.

I don't know if you've heard, but soup in costa is AMAZING. Its spiced to perfection and served with an egg ,and rice on the side. SO delectable and just enough. SO I had some Sopa NEgra, drank some agua, then retreated back to the casa. Going to bed to wake up @ 5am for surf. Heading to hermosa. Buenos Noches.

Surf and Sun, Day 2
Esterillos, Costa RIca, 12:13pm dec 29th:

Went surfing with Cam, Noah, and Shawn in hermosa. It was about chest high and clean. Kinda few and far between but thats because the swell is dropping. Some more swell should fill in tomorrow. So far, so good. Shawns cooking me some grub, so I gotta go now. Ciao.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wax, Costa Rica and Mad Ramblin'

I am a wax whore - hoarding large amounts of the deliciously scented squares, putting up to 5 bars on each 9 foot board. My wax preference is Sticky Bumps - and I try not to stray from my tried and true brand. I was cursing this obsession while trying to clean up my boards yesterday, prepping them for travel. See, the weather outside was very chilly, not conducive to warming the wax on the board for an easy removal. So after battling the chilled wax for a while, a little {brilliant} voice in my head told me to bring the board inside the house, next to the woodstove. My mother wasn't so thrilled about it, but within minutes the wax was gliding off the board. Being a wax-fanatic isn't so bad afterall. Almost 2 hours later, I had two cleaned boards and a mountain of old wax (measuring about 10 inches tall, and 6 inches in diameter). Seriously - if you threw this wax ball at someone or something you could do some serious damage. What follows is what felt like days of applying basecoat and bars of tropical wax. Bars. And more bars. I like to stick to my board. You would never know that my purple board was purple upon looking at the deck -- it's pure white, caked with wax! Just the way I like it!!

I began packing my two longboards into the double travel boardbag I have. I get some serious stares walking through the airport with this thing -- it's ginormous, and I'm so....midget-like. In the case I packed 2 towels, my yoga mat, some bathingsuits, and 20 bars of tropical wax. The thought of being stranded with no wax in Costa makes me really anxious, so every time I would stop at the surf shop I would pick up a few more bars...just in case.

So here I am, sitting in my old apartment in North Jersey, about 30 minutes from the Newark airport. My landlord, who lives on the floor below, is probably shaking his head at my 10 foot boardbag that's downstairs in the middle of the aisle (we wouldn't even dream of trying to get it UP the stairs) and I'm sure I will get similar reactions tomorrow at the airport. I'm locked and loaded - ready to go. I'll be missing all of you on the East Coast, but not to worry, I'll be having enough fun for all of us combined!! hahaha. Sorry. I hope that everyone had a great Holiday -- I'll see you in March!!

"If you don't know where you are going, then you can never get lost."
-Herb Cohen

Twas The Night AFTER Christmas...

Last night Christian and I played at our old stomping grounds, the Trinity Pub. It was a fabulous time, and we had a good crew of people come out for the show. It was a great way to spend my last night down the shore! If you want to check out Christmas picture from all the holiday festivities, including last nights show, go to this link(you do NOT need facebook to view this album):

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas: Word of the Day: Crazy

"Of course I'm crazy, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong."

Hey everyone. Wednesday's Word of the Day coming to you today... Thursday - Christmas. The word that I chose today is "crazy", because it is a frequently used word in my vocabulary and I often use it to refer to myself. I also found that I used "crazy" a lot around this holiday --referring to christmas shopping, prepping for travel, family. So I figured that I would do some digging and get you the technical, literal definition -- because if someone ask's you what "Crazy" means, you can't just reply with "cailin"....


1.mentally deranged; demented; insane.
2.senseless; impractical; totally unsound: a crazy scheme.
3.Informalintensely enthusiastic; passionately excited: crazy about baseball.
4.Informalvery enamored or infatuated (usually fol. by about):He was crazy about her.
5.Informalintensely anxious or eager; impatient: I'm crazy to try those new skis.
6.Informalunusual; bizarre; singular: She always wears a crazy hat.
7.Slangwonderful; excellent; perfect: That's crazy, man, crazy.
8.likely to break or fall to pieces.
9.weak, infirm, or sickly.
10.having an unusual, unexpected, or random quality, behavior, result, pattern, etc.: a crazy reel that spins in either direction.
11.Slangan unpredictable, nonconforming person; oddball: a house full of crazies who wear weird clothes and come in at all hours.
12.the crazies, Slanga sense of extreme unease, nervousness, or panic; extreme jitters: The crew was starting to get the crazies from being cooped up belowdecks for so long. crazy,
a.Slangwith great enthusiasm or energy; to an extreme:We shopped like crazy and bought all our Christmas gifts in one afternoon.
b.with great speed or recklessness: He drives like crazy once he's out on the highway.
Here are some crazies in my life:
My family (myself included, and my dad in particular)

Chino, our very insane Vizsla

And Sven, my very colorful, eccentric, excitable drumming friend

"Some people never go crazy, what truly horrible lives they must live."
(Charles Bukowski)

So go ahead - go crazy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Word Wednesday

I should just call Word Wednesday "Word THURSDAY" because with the hectic holiday season I have not been getting around to my word until the evening -- and then I'm too tired to give my beloved Word Wednesday the attention it deserves. So you will get your word....for Christmas. Open this blog tomorrow and you will find your fabulous word. I promise. Just call me Santa...Ho Ho Ho. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cave Sweet Cave - Eco Friendly Homes.

I always get excited about new ways of living green. I am particularly interested in eco-friendly homes, because really, there is no way that this house I'm sitting in right now makes any sense at all. I often watch Planet Green, one of the only watchable channels aside from Discovery, National Geographic and occasionally Bravo (Top Chef!). From watching Planet Green I have made some huge discoveries about how ungreen I live and simple ways to have a smaller carbon-footprint. The beauty and selling point of these 'green houses' is that they are trying to make them available for the SAME price as a new, ungreen house would cost. That way there is more of an incentive to go green. They have...

Straw Bale Homes:

Hillside Stone and Mud Homes:

Free Spirit Spheres:

I could go on and on. These are bit a extreme, but I find them interesting. This brings me to this mornings newspaper. There was an article that I'd like to share with you "There's No Place Like Cave", and it's about these cave homes in China that have been around for thousands of years. I always laugh when people talk about green this and green that - because my Dad has been living green for years. He had an acre of every kind of vegetable, fruit, and herb and he farmed "green", before it was called "green" though of course. It's the same with these people in China. Everyone is applauding them for living in an eco-friendly home, and they've just been doing it for years! These caves are fireproof, sound proof, warm in the winter, cool in the summer and cheap (everyone knows I love something with a small price tag). They are easy and cheap to construct and shields from the extreme weather. Currently, upwards of 20 million people live in these dirt-dwellings. The Chinese love anything modern, which is why the cave-dwelling population has almost dropped by 50% now that it was not economically necesarry for them to live there. But now, the Chinese government is starting to promote cave-living due to their efficiency.

There is no heating or air conditioning in the caves, though the bed is heated in the winter. Kang is a a huge stone bed that is linked to an indoor stove warmed by the heat of cooking. People who have moved out of the caves, perhaps to move closer to the city for jobs, said that they certainly plan on returning to the cave. The air is fresh, the living is inexpensive, and it's a more comfortable, social environment for them and their families.

The cave homes are like a loaf of bread in shape, and they generally range from about 10 to 13 feet wide and 20 to 25 feet deep. Doors have also been cut to link to another dwelling, increasing the caves size. People have toilets and TV's, anything that you'd need to be comfortable. The eart is hard-packed, so no additional support is needed. They are painted, decorated and accessorized just like any regular home.

This is a fabulous piece of journalism, and GREAT videography:

I want to live in a CAVE!

"Live Simply that others may Simply Live"

Gandhi (1869 - 1948)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fitness is FUN??

-Thomas Carlyle

If you told me a few months ago that the gym would become my home-away-from-home, my "happy place", I would have laughed at you in the face. I might have even punched you in the arm (what can I say, I'm a hands-on kinda gal). Present day I go to the gym six out of every seven days in the week. Yoga with Hope on Mondays and Wednesdays, Pilates with Robin on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then Saturday and Sunday just plain old gym days. Sometimes I double up classes on Wednesdays and do an "On The Ball" class before Yoga. Friday is my day of rest. After my classes I always pop into the cardio room for about 30 minutes on the Elliptical runner. On my "gym days" (Saturday and Sunday), I do 30 on the Elliptical and 30 on the bike. The bike is fabulous - because it has a personal TV that you can plug your headphones into (and it gets ALL channels) and a cool fan that blows on you, coolin' you off. I also use the rowing machine here and there - they are rather popular at the gym and getting on one is a crap-shoot. Where I'm getting with all of this is -- FITNESS is FUN. Fuck. I never thought that I'd say that. But I love it. I feel great, I look great, and I'm having a great time. I use to look at the gym like a chore, and now it's where I go to release stress, relax and have a good time.

I became frustrated with the gym when I was diagnosed with Lymes Disease years ago. I woke up one morning when I was a teenager and half my face was paralyzed. A frightening thing to happen PERIOD - let alone it happening OVERNIGHT. I never had a "bulls-eye" tick bite -- only a small percentage of lymes disease sufferers had a rash. After many tests at the neurosurgeons we found out that I was in stage 2 (there are 3 stages) of Lymes. It's a sneaky disease - with beginning symptoms being pain in the jaw, depression, severe exhaustion, and achy joints. Well I talk a lot - so I thought that was what caused my jaw hurting - I'm crazy with my ups and downs so when I felt depressed I just thought it was normal. And I work like a crazy lady and push my body, so I thought that explained me being so tired that I would fall asleep anytime, anywhere. If you go to the doctor with those symptoms - they are going to tell you to take some Vitamin C and get some rest. Lymes is on the back-burner medically for some reason - I don't quite understand. My very healthy, very active 50 year old mother has had Lymes for years, and recently was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (caused by the Lymes). She suffers with horrible joint pains every day of the week. Suffers. And they don't think that Lymes is a real illness? There are others who feel as frustrated with how Lymes is treated aside from myself - someone who actually works for Philadelphia Weekly, and published a (cover) article this summer. PLEASE read this article. It is informative, eye-opening, and a must-read.

Okay, bringing it full circle. Sorry about that - went on a tangent. I ache. All over. I am 21 years old!!! An active, healthy 21 year old female. And when I walk around the block or am on my feet for a few hours, my ankles swell up. My knees hurt, my elbows, my wrists. So any kind of working out hurt me. I would go to the gym and push my body - walk/run on the treadmill and treat my body like I had in the past -- with little concern. When I began at the Ocean City Community Center I went because the extra weight I put on wasn't good for my joints - I figured I'd give the dreaded-gym a second chance. I started small, just going to Yoga and Pilates. I noticed a change in my energy, my skin, and my body within the first 3 weeks. My energy in the first week! These low-impact workouts, working my core and building strength, were just what my body needed. I have lost more weight doing these two classes and adding in light cardio than I ever did in "training". If anyone is looking for a change this new year - I encourage you to join the Community Center. There are old people, young people, fat, skinny, men, and women -- all there trying to do the same thing as you - get healthy and stay healthy! It is an encouraging environment, with everyone motivating each other. They have great classes, awesome equipment, and a pool (and sauna)! I'm not saying that you have to go the gym - I'm just saying get active. Go for a surf, a swim, a walk, or kayak. Get movin'!I'm sure that my gym schedule will scale back eventually, but I'm glad that I gave the gym a second chance. Seeing what my parents are going through, both victims of Lymes, I know that getting older isn't going to be the most comfortable, so I'm taking every effort I can to make sure that I take care of my body now. HEALTH is all you have --- you have one body. Cherish it. Treat it. Your body is only as good as what you put into it - and what you do with it.

-William Arthur Ward

Sunday, December 21, 2008

cold weather sucks ass.

Pardon my language, but I just CANNOT get down with cold weather. Packing my bags for Costa Rica is the only thing getting me through this cold, rainy East Coast winter weather. To add insult to injury, I stopped by Shawn's house today before the gym and realized that the power was out in half the house - thanks to the weather, a fuse was blown. The fridge was out and things were starting to get mighty warm, and the freezer was beginning to defrost. I searched all over the damn house for the electrical box and couldn't find it anywhere. I then bundled up and searched the exterior of the house for a long time before climbing over double-seater bikes, beach chairs and scrap wood to find that the electric box was on the OUTSIDE of the house. The wood that covered it was rotten and had fallen off -- so it was just getting rained on. Me, not thinking things through (i could be electrocuted and DIE), started flipping switches. I flipped every one- once to the right, then back to the left. SUCCESS! The fridge started running, lights came back on, and the coffee pot came back to life (thank GOD). Now the problem was this shitty rain that was bombarding the electric box. Now I don't know much when it comes to this kind of stuff, but I'm sure that water and electricity don't mix. So I cut open a trash bag, found some Tac's, and stood out in the pouring rain tackin' up the electric box. Shawn, you're welcome. Add two fish taco dinners to the list for Costa Rica.

Now I'm really cold. To the core. And when I'm that cold I want two things: tea and soup. It's the only cure for crappy weather. Right now my favorite is a Thai twist on Split Pea Soup, something that my mom introduced me to. It's a hearty soup, with just the right amount of spice to warm you up.
Thai Pea Soup

1 Can Campell's Green Pea Soup
1/2 to 3/4 can of water

peas (frozen)
(about a handful of each - use your discretion, however much you would personally like)

turmeric - 2 teaspoons
cayenne pepper
caraway seeds
lime juice (1/2 lime)
(use about 1 generous teaspoon of each spice - varying for some with the cayenne pepper. personally, I like it spicy!)

*Top with some sliced up (red) cabbage. It adds some great color and texture. MmMmM.

And that's it. Put it all into a soup pot, and mix it up. The veggies will cook just enough in the soup. If you'd like to sautee them for a minute or so before adding them to the soup then you can do that -- but I like my veggies with a bit of a crunch.

Now for the tea! I hate when people microwave the water and then throw in a tea bag. It makes me cringe. There is an art to making tea, a process that I enjoy just as much as drinking it. Each type of tea has it's own method, timing and temperature. I prefer loose leaf tea, but the convenience of the teabag, and the lack of actual tea stores around South Jersey keep me away. I love all sorts of tea - but on cold days I usually stick to green. It has a clean, healthy, warmness to it that is just right.

When starting the tea process, start with cold water because it has the most oxygen. As soon as the water starts to boil, pull the teapot off the heat - because the longer it boils the less and less oxygen the water will have. Also, the only tea that you would actually want boiled water for are black teas. White and green teas require cooler water -- it's not recommended to heat the water above 180 degrees. Black teas steep for around 5 minutes, I usually let them steep for about 7. Whites and greens are steeped for about 2-3 minutes, any longer and they will get a bitter taste. If you like a strong cup of tea, do not add time to the steeping period -- add more tea, or an additional tea bag.

The Guywan (or Gaiwan) is a tea brewing system used in China for green and oolong teas.

"The gaiwan is considered by many tea connoisseurs to be the preferred method for brewing teas with delicate flavors and aromas, such as green tea and white tea. The versatility of the gaiwan is also noted in the preparation of oolong infusions because of this particular tea's ability to be infused multiple times, but the gaiwan is suitable for any type of tea. The gaiwan is important in tea tasting due to its open and glazed surfaces, the former allowing the tea to be viewed while brewing, and the latter not altering the taste and flavours of the tea. The gaiwan consists of a saucer, bowl, and lid. The lid allows the tea to be infused right in the bowl and either be drunk right from the bowl (traditionally using the lid to block the leaves for ease of consumption), or decanted into another container. The gaiwan itself can be made from myriad materials, from porcelain to glass. Gaiwans made from Yixing clay or jade are particularly prized by collectors of tea paraphernalia.

Gaiwan is the preferred method for brewing green and white teas as the gaiwan's porcelain absorbs the heat and do not damage the tea. It is not suitable for Oolong and black teas as the large lid will let the heat out too quickly during the steeping process." - Wikipedia

My favorite green tea is Genmai-Cha, which is Green Tea with Roasted Brown Rice. It has a delicious nutty, earthy flavor. If I'm drinking regular green tea (a teabag...) I will add half a teaspoon of raw honey, and squeeze a bit of lemon into my cup. MMMM. So start brewing and enjoy.

"Time for the weather report. It's cold out folks. Bonecrushing cold. The kind of cold which will wrench the spirit out of a young man, or forge it into steel."

Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, Northern Exposure, Lost and Found, 1992

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Coffee.Comedy with Christian and Cailin

Thanks to everyone who came out the other night to my show at Coffee.Comedy in Sea Isle City. It was a great turn-out, great vibes, and a great audience, making for a FABULOUS show. It filled up so much that there was standing room ONLY! There were about 50 people who came out, and it truly made it a memorable evening.

I've decided that I'm a coffee shop, small venue kinda gal. I think I'm done with playing bars (aside from our last show @ the Trinity Pub, December 26th @ 9pm). The show on Thursday night was a $5 door charge, but once you were in it was BYOB - which saves the listeners a ton of money, and saves me my ego, because people are actually sitting down listening instead of walking back and forth to the bar. The lights were dimmed, candles were lit, and there was silence. It was an amazing show-- this show and our show from The Hinge in Philly being tied for the best show we've ever had. I was really bummed that Sven had to work, but had we had the pleasure of the crazy man on his djembe - the vibe would have been very different overall. I really enjoyed the one on one I had with Christian on stage. Peaceful, enjoyable and beautiful. A big thanks to the owners, Megan and Rachel who opened up Coffee.Comedy JUST for our show. They got there hours early to decorate and stayed hours late to clean up. The coffee was delicious, and the complimentary desserts were fantastic. Thanks Meg and Rach.

To keep in interesting, and captivating I wrote two set lists. Each set list went cover song, original song, cover song, original song, etc., - and I tried vary the tempos of the songs as well - not too many slow songs in a row. I'm still, to this very moment, almost 'tripping out' (for lack of a better term) on how awesome the audience was. They were really into the music.

My mom played Papparazzi and tried to snap a photo of every person, group, couple that came in. You can view her photos here:

Again, THANKS to everyone who came out - I can't think of a better way, or a better group of people, to spend my Holiday's with!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Crazy for GREEN Papaya Salad

Papaya's - hate 'em. My friend Andy and I named them "Poo-Paya's" in Costa Rica last year because we agreed that they taste like a mix of swiss cheese, poo, and fruit. Yuck. I'm a rather adventurous eater, and I enjoy mostly everything that hits my lips, but I just can't get down with the poopaya's. Shawn (my man) and I love to eat Vietnamese food, and whenever we go out he always orders the Green Papaya Salad (Gỏi). I was skeptical at first, given my distaste towards poopaya, but I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious this green papaya was! It has a similar texture to apples, carrots, or pears, that have been julienned. I was convinced that there was NO way that my beloved Green Papaya was any way related to it's poo cousin. So today, I did some research. Well I didn't have to look far to discover that the poo and the delicious green pa are one in the same -- only the green used for the salad is simply unripe.

This is an unripe {green} papaya:

This is a ripe poopaya:

There are two variations of Gỏi: the Vietnamese version and the Thai version. I much prefer the Vietnamese way. Both are somewhat similar, but vary in two or three key ingredients. My favorite is the Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad with Beef Jerky. It may sound odd, but it is a delectable meeting of ingredients. The papaya is julienned, and combined with bits of shredded beef jerky -- SO good. I scoured the world wide web for a recipe that seemed perfect, and I finally found a good one. The recipe comes from Andrea Nguyen, author of "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen".

3 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded,
and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 green papaya
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups loosely packed, roughly
torn Thai basil
4 oz. Asian-style hot fruit beef jerky
(preferably Hsin Tung Yangbrand),
shredded by hand

1. Whisk together fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, chiles, and garlic in a small bowl until sugar dissolves. Set dressing aside.

2. Peel papaya and trim ends. Halve papaya lengthwise and, using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and the thin white layer lining the cavity. Using a Japanese mandoline fitted with the julienne blade, cut the papaya into 1/8" thick strips. Transfer papaya to a colander and sprinkle with the salt and sugar; toss to combine. Let sit until juicy and pliant, 30–45 minutes.

3. Rinse papaya under cold water and drain. Working in batches, transfer papaya to a tea towel and wring out excess moisture. Place papaya in a large bowl and toss to separate the strips. Add reserved dressing along with the basil and toss to combine. Serve topped with the shredded beef jerky.

***To SIMPLIFY this Recipe: just prepare the papaya as it says, top with a handful of thai basil leaves, some beef jerky, and then a (premade) chili-soy sauce dressing that can be found at any asian supermarket.

Here's a bit of info about the famous GREEN PAPAYA. When picking one up at the (Asian) Supermarket you want to pick out the most firm fruit available. Mushy or soft in any way is no good. Your best bet on finding unripe papaya's would be in the summer, when they are in season. You want the skin to be green, and the flesh to be very pale green to white in color. The flavor of the unripe papaya is pretty bland, which is why it makes for such a great Vietnamese salad -- it has a great texture, and it absorbs every bit of sweet, spicy, hot, sour, salty spices that are used.

The Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad is packed with amazing flavors, and (thankfully) very low in fat and calories and high in fiber. Throw some crushed cashews or peanuts on top for some added flavor. You don't have to use beef jerky either, you could top with shredded pork, or with shrimp -- or with nothing at all. And don't go using "Wild Bill's Beef Jerky", pick up some Vietnamese spicy beef jerky, called Khô Bò. No matter how you eat it, whatever toppings you select, I KNOW that you will love this dish!!! Hooray for GREEN PAPAYA!

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food"
- George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Word Wednesday...on Thursday!

Due to double classes at the gym, a surf session, dinner, then practicing music with Christian - I didn't have a moment to write my Word Wednesday blog yesterday!!! I could have easily banged one out, but the blog wouldn't have gotten the time and love it deserved! So here we are on Thursday, and I bringing you Wednesday's Word of the Day: Namasté.

We say "namasté" at the end of every Yoga class. I knew that it was a word of respect, but I wasn't sure of it's exact definition. Namasté, in Sanskirt: नमस्ते, is a salutation used in India and Nepal, expressing deep respect. It is mainly used by Hindu's, Buddhists, and Jain's. Other, slightly more informal versions of namasté are namaskar and namaskaram. It directly translate's to "I bow to you", which makes sense because the word is derived from two words in Sanskrit, namas and te. (Sanskrit is the classical language of India, one of the sacred languages of Hinduism and Buddhism) "Namas" means to bow, a gesture to show respect, and "te" means to you. Understand that namasté is not just a word used for greeting, it's also the gesture. Often people will make a silent gesture, without saying the word. In Indian culture it is common that namasté is said upon entrance, and the silent gesture upon departure. Spoken or unspoken, it carries the same meaning....Submitting oneself to another, with complete humility.

To perform Namaste:
Place the hands together at the heart charka, close the eyes, and bow the head. Hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest. To indicate a deeper respect, one can hold hands above the forehead, or in prayer, above the head.

How namasté came to be....

"In a well-known episode it so transpired that the great lover god Krishna made away with the clothes of unmarried maidens, fourteen to seventeen years of age, bathing in the river Yamuna. Their fervent entreaties to him proved of no avail. It was only after they performed before him the eternal gesture of namaste was he satisfied, and agreed to hand back their garments so that they could recover their modesty." {info from:}

Namaste is deeply rich in symbolism. Firstly the proper performance of namaste requires that we blend the five fingers of the left hand exactly with the fingers of the right hand. The significance behind this simple act in fact governs the entire gamut of our active life. The five fingers of the left hand represent the five senses of karma, and those of the right hand the five organs of knowledge. Hence it signifies that our karma or action must be in harmony, and governed by rightful knowledge, prompting us to think and act correctly. By combining the five fingers of each hand, a total of ten is achieved. The number ten is a symbol of perfection, and the mystical number of completion and unity. It is true for all ancient traditions.

Namaste is used in all aspects of Indian life, though in the States it is mostly heard (AND seen, as it is a gesture as well) in Yoga. In Yoga, namaste is meant to mean "The light in me honors the light in you", "I respect that divinity within you that is also within me".

Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one's being, from bodily health to self-realization. Yoga means union - the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one's actions. ~B.K.S. Iyengar, Astadala Yogamala