30 March 2015

Sacramento's Farm To Fork Foodie's Paradise

Last week I had the great pleasure of attending a tourism tech conference in Sacramento. It was inspiring to hear from some of the most forward thinking marketers in the industry. What I wasn't expecting was to get to experience Sacramento's Farm To Fork mission.


It's no secret that the central California valleys produce a wide variety of foods that feed not only our country but the world. The restaurant and catered meals we experienced were amazing with such a huge array of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, fungi and nuts. Every meal was amazing.

We enjoyed several different kinds of citrus and fresh berries and breads for breakfast. For lunch there were salads piled high with vegetables including some we didn't even recognize. There were fresh almonds and walnuts sprinkled on everything from cereal to pizza. For receptions and happy hours we ate from taco and pizza bars and enjoyed fruit and cheese plates and chicken & waffle kebabs.

By our second day there we were so full we didn't think we could eat another meal. One night we went to a large reception where we ate what amounted to a full dinner of finger foods and then went to a full four course meal directly after. A little intense, but every food offering was amazing and delicious. Nearly everything we ate including the meats were local, farm-raised. Talk about fresh and vitality-rich foods! (For more about vitality-rich food here's a post from the archives about the importance of food vitality.)

If you value fresh, high-quality, fabulous-tasting food, Sacramento is definitely a place to explore. Of course, there is much more to experience in Sacramento than just the food culture. It's one of the great historic cities of the United States and it's a city with a fun vibe too. You can find out all about Sacramento's food culture here including itinerary ideas, tours, restaurants and hotel package deals. For basic details of travel to Sacramento, check out the Visit Sacramento.

16 March 2015

SHINE: A Smile Goes A Long Way

Over the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to be in a lot different environments. Lots of business meetings with new people in beautiful offices, hotels and restaurants. I've been on a lot of airplane flights and in quite a few different airports. And when you've moved to a new place, everywhere you go from the grocery store to the bank is new and different too. So I've been crossing paths with a lot of new people.

It's reminded me again how far a smile and cheerful attitude can go when you are out and about. I'm not one to chat it up with strangers but for some reason just smiling and being kind has drawn me in to some really amazing conversations with seatmates on airplanes, with new business associates and meeting new friends. When I am boarding flights I try to smile at people who make eye contact with me. I smile and acknowledge the flight attendants, tell them and the pilots thank you when I disembark.

In short I've been trying to let my shine be seen wherever I go. Sometimes I'm tired, or distracted or don't feel great. Sometimes it's been a terribly long day, sometimes it's the middle of the night. But it's always a reminder to have that little theme for the year SHINE in the back of my head reminding me to put my focus on making the world a little bit of a better place by shining wherever I go.

It's amazing how little energy it really takes to spur myself to be a little brighter and a little more conscious about the energy I give out into the world. A smile doesn't take much effort and it's clearly proven by science that a smile on your face lifts your own energy too.

I have loved having a theme for each of the last two years. it's not like a goal list or task sheet I have to accomplish and check off. It's just a way of living that directs me towards what is most important to me in life for that year. It's something you can step into in any time and place and when you hit a hard day or a hard patch of days it's something simple to hang onto and to let guide you when you don't have the direction or energy  you wish you did.

Shine is just a great little reminder for me to be who I want to be in my life and how I want to represent myself out in the world. It feels so true and authentic to me and it's so very simple. Last year my theme was "It's my time." You can read all about it here.

Here are a couple of favorite links to posts about the power of a smile and a good word.
Bring A Little Sunshine
The Aloha Spirit

Here's wishing you a SHINY week to come. See you back here soon. I have a bunch of posts lined up so I think I'm back on schedule to be posting more regularly here. Looking forward to sharing some fun finds as I've been transitioning into all the new family and work stuff.

13 March 2015

Decorating My New Office: Part One - Tables

With my lovely new job comes a nice office in need of decorating. For the first couple of weeks I just worked in my office the way it was and got a feel for the space. I knew there were some things I wanted to change and I knew there were some that I would be able to change and some that I wouldn't. 

The two things I most wanted to change were the paint on one accent wall and curtains in the windows. Thankfully there are also blinds to you don't really notice the short, aged curtains. But oh, wouldn't I love to get some new ones and hang them in their place!

Whao - as I was writing that, an idea came to me -- a way I can camouflage them so they won't be seen but I won't have to deal with taking them down, etc. I'm liking this idea. Will have to take some measurements and do some looking at the window sill tomorrow! Cool.

I am working on a really cool map-related art project for one wall. It's coming together slowly because I haven't quite worked it all out in my head. I have five or ten ways I could go, but I'm just not certain about one yet. So I've been slowly buying the supplies I will need but am not putting anything into play until I'm sure what I want to do. But I am excited about it and I think it will be fun, colorful and will call out nicely to the work I do every day.

During the past few weeks I have been slowly experimenting with new layout options, sketching in my notebook and then moving things around. People stop by and comment and sometimes even move things. I find it entertaining. It's starting to look cozy, which I really like. It's big enough that there is room for a table and two chairs, a small couch with coffee table and side table and a large desk, office chair, bookcase and file cabinet.

I wanted to share my fantastic experience with two ratty old tables with you today. A major victory. Shoved under the window sill was a really hammered old coffee table and it's side table mate was shoved in the opposite corner of my office. Both were stained and gross looking. But the three-inch thick wood and very simple, southwestern-inspired styling intrigued me enough after a few days to start thinking about what I could do to make them look better.

Being in a very dry climate I thought washing them down and oiling them might be a good start to give them new life. So I shopped around a bit for the right wood oil and found some for about four dollars at T.J. Maxx. Good old T.J. Maxx. It took me a few more days before I had time during the day to attempt my project. I found the perfect moment when my head was feeling like it was going to burst from thinking too hard for too long - and I realized a little physical labor would be the perfect break.

Unfortunately I didn't think to bring a good, clean rag with me so I used paper towels from the office kitchen. Immediately above is the original table, dirty, dusty and sticky with some gummy substance on the top. After a good wipe down with a damp paper towel and a little scraping of the sticky stuff, I began applying the oil.

It took a lot of oil. That little side table was thirsty. But it took on an amazing appearance almost instantly. The change was amazing. As I worked, a few coworkers stopped in to check out what I was up to and were stunned at how fantastic the tables looked. You can see the big difference between the finished product at the top and the original finish before I got started.

When I got done, the side table looked so great that it made the coffee table look even more hideous. It took me a few more days before I had the time and energy to tackle the coffee table, but it looks incredible now too.

Now every time I walk into my office I'm just stunned at how beautiful those two tables look and they really do set an amazing tone for the office. They look very rich and fabulous. I'm so happy I didn't discard them and had a sense for what they could be. Now they get a lot of compliments when people walk by too. I hope that makes them feel good. Haha. I'll try to get a good shop of them soon to share with you.

My next project is upstyling the little Chesterfield-style setee. More to come on that. Let's just say I got some help from the country of Turkey. Sounds crazy, right?! More to come. I'm missing spending time with you each day. Hopefully as I get into more of a routine and have a better workspace at home I'll be able to start cranking out a few more posts. Sending you the happiest of wishes!

03 March 2015

Work Wear: Adding Kork-ease Sandals To Wardrobe

After going back to work, I've been slowing building up my work clothes wardrobe. I have several great pairs of black pants but I realized that I am sadly lacking in black shoes except for boot-style shoes. Since I hate wearing socks, it was high time to find some good and very comfortable sandals to sashay through the day in.
I thought long and hard about my work wardrobe style this time around. I really wanted to find clothing that felt authentically me and that I would be very happy wearing each day, rather than settling for clothes that are poorly made  and inexpensive, or that made me unhappy and uncomfortable.

My goal was to maintain a professional look while still being true to my personal style. I focused on colors, fabrics, and materials that work for me, are comfortable, easy to care for and make me feel happy. I decided I didn't want to go with too much black but wanted to get a variety of colors of pants, jackets, sweaters and shoes.

So after buying a few black basic apparel pieces, I realized I desperately needed black sandals. I decided to try look for some classic Kork-ease sandals. I picked up these Bette Vacchetta sandals.
I thought they would be easy to wear, would go with about anything and would be a good classic look. I'm looking forward to getting them in the wardrobe mix.

I got a fantastic deal at 6PM.com for 45% off the retail price too, so a great investment for great quality shoes at a good price. When trying to build a high quality wardrobe it definitely pays to do some smart shopping before paying full price.

I'll share a few other great classic pieces I've been picking up along the way soon. Hope you are well. Miss spending time with you on an almost daily basis, but I'm still here and glad you are too.

image via 6pm.com
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