3 Tips for a Rejuvenating Staycation

As a teacher at an independent school, the name of the game is as follows— work hard like crazy… here’s your vacation… work hard like crazy… surprise here’s another vacation… work hard like crazy… got ya’ again- yet another vacay comin’ at ya’!

My career as a middle school Spanish teacher sets me up for a lifestyle where I get to travel – A LOT. I’ve made the most of it by primarily visiting Spanish-speaking locations, and so my students get to benefit from a refreshed teacher who has real-world experience in eleven of the world’s Spanish-speaking countries.

One downside is that with such frequent traveling, every few cycles of vacation leads to an upcoming vacation for which there are no available funds! This just so happens to be one of those times, and I’m making the most of it. (Glass half full New Year’s Resolutions!) Frankly, I am so exhausted from all the wonderful things that have been happening this year like my engagement to Shane, completing my 200-hour yoga teacher training program, among other things, that I was not so keen on the idea of packing up and dragging myself somewhere. And I’m not gonna’ lie— living in San Francisco is kind of like a trendy vacation all the time, so it was time for a reality check and for me to enjoy my own neighborhood. PS Shane, like most humans this week, had Monday off, but is at work the rest of the week per usual.

This has been the BUSIEST week ever. Here’s what you can get up to if you are a San Franciscan on staycation. Heads up— if you know me, then NONE of these are a surprise.

1. CATCH UP ON YOUR READING (beach optional)

Seeing as it’s mid-February, I didn’t think the beach was in the cards, but then the sun smiled down upon us and I got to trot the five blocks from my apartment in my bikini to Baker Beach on February 15th. I got to enjoy the warm spell with my copy of If the Oceans Were Ink in hand.

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Baker Beach on Feb. 15th was like the Jersey Shore in any given July.

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Vegan “untuna wraps” at Baker Beach in February. More info later in post.

Seeing as I minored in Arabic in college, I like to keep my eyes peeled for any new books that come out pertaining to Middle Eastern culture. I don’t think she intended it to be an autobiographical account, but England-dwelling journalist Carla Power offers an enlightening peek into her life as an American girl who grew up in the 70s and 80s living for stints all over the Middle East (Afghanistan and Egypt to name only a few places) with itinerant professors for parents.

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Maybe because I had a lot of alone time as an only child, I’ve always been a voracious reader. I love it!

Here’s a close-up of everything else I keep constantly in my reading stack. I haven’t gotten to all my magazines seeing as I just finished the book this morning! What an accomplishment, since I actually started it over the December break and kept getting interrupted in my progress! I’ve been intentionally stretching out my reading of the Bhagavad Gita to allow it time to sink in. I read one section to open up my practice when I sit down for at-home meditation or asanas. I imagine when I finish it, I’ll restart it, unless I find some other yoga books that are beckoning. Please leave any recommendations in comments!

2. #YOGAEVERYDAMNDAY

There were a bunch of “firsts” this week in terms of yoga. On Sunday for Valentine’s day, my Valentine Shane allowed me to drag him to our first-ever Acro workshop at Yoga Tree Castro. He is really quite a trooper. I’m sure he didn’t really want to go and was also aware ahead of time that he would be doing the majority of the heavy lifting. Fortunately towards the end there was a portion providing an intro to Thai massage, so he got to relax. Thank you Shane!

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Next time I’ll tie my hair properly.

Today I tried out Yoga Garden SF for the first time ever on Divisadero. I’ve been practicing yoga for three and a half years in San Francisco, and I’ve really only begun to scratch the surface in terms of the city’s yoga offerings. I went to Laurie’s alignment vinyasa class, and she looked familiar. After talking to her afterwards, we were able to determine that we looked familiar to each other probably because she also teaches at Yoga Works where I have my membership. So, I’ll probably be dropping into her classes there, too, from now on!

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My practice of astavakrasana will be life-long. I’d say it’s 100% more developed from where I started, which was essentially- not happening at all! Next step is to relax my expression and not bulge out the vein in my neck! And breathe! Jheesh!

 

Of course, I’ve kept up with my daily personal practice as well. I can never get enough of this lookout point, and I can never get enough of this arm balance. Even its name is cool- astavakrasana– seriously people? You can also call it eight-angle-pose. I definitely struggled with this pose for a long time and am still working on it. (Before I couldn’t even achieve liftoff! That backdrop though…) Yoga asanas are, after all, a life-long work in progress!

Astavakrasana proved super-tiring, so I opted for something more grace-invoking. These photos show how the sides of the body are different. Almost like two different yoginis, as the expression of the pose is so different on each side!

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Again, the backdrop is nuts per usual. I need to be more grateful. The scenery around SF is something I really take for granted.

3. COOK!- COLORFULLY AND CREATIVELY

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A perfect option pre- or post-yoga in the Ninja to-go cup!

By now you’ve worked up an appetite. If you’re starving after yoga (which I always am), whip up yourself a quick vegan smoothie for antioxidants and energy while you cook. In this simple, easy, quick pink berry smoothie I used:

4 frozen organic strawberries
handful frozen organic raspberries
juice 1/2 lime
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp maple syrup

Now that you’ve expanded your mind and stretched your body, you don’t want to fill up on unhealthy food. I’ve continued cooking from The Plantpower Way by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt, putting my own spin and revisions on the recipes.

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My spin on the slaw. I didn’t have any ginger on hand  : (

 

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Walnut-based filling used in the earlier photo of collard green wraps.

Here I used the filling from their vegan “untuna wraps” and paired it with their “cabbage beet ginger slaw.” My “untuna” filling comes out more like a delicious walnut-based olive tapenade. They came out so beautiful served side-by-side on top of fresh curly organic kale from my corner market. The dressing you see there all over the plate is apple cider vinegar, gluten-free tamari, and lemon juice.

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Beet carrot cabbage slaw and walnut tapenade mixture atop fresh kale

I also finally had time to cook with the casserole dish sent to us from Shane’s godmother Karen back in December as a Christmas gift. I made a gluten-free dairy-free green bean casserole with homemade crispy fried onions and chicken. I love meals that have enough leftovers to last a few days, especially when I’m home and needing to eat lunch!

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Homemade casserole in the dish from Karen!

NB: Bloggers can get really annoying, myself included, because we only ever showcase our “highlight reel.” I’ve made my “staycation” look really restorative, revitalizing, and rejuvenating, which it totally has been, but rest assured that I’ve spent the rest of my time in the 15-minute line outside the TJ’s on Masonic, bringing repairs to the tailor, getting new tires on my Honda, vacuuming the car, vacuuming the apartment, buying Q-Tips and laundry detergent at Target, dusting the baseboards in the apartment, plucking my eyebrows, and scrubbing the toilet, all of these things not necessarily in that order. #reallife

(For anyone interested in car care, the Q-tips will be used in between each and every slat in the air vents and between buttons on the console when I finish detailing my car with a chamois cloth and copious amount of Armor All. You can take the girl out of Jersey, but you can’t take Jersey out of the girl.)

Please leave in comments below— What are the top three things you would like to do if you had an upcoming “staycation?” : )

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3 Comments on “3 Tips for a Rejuvenating Staycation”

  1. Karen February 18, 2016 at 19:59 #

    Organize all of my closets!!!!

  2. Marisa LaValette February 19, 2016 at 11:39 #

    Karen I did that too! We’re on the same wavelength!

  3. Lisa March 9, 2016 at 11:00 #

    You are too funny with your Jersey girl line 🙂

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