Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Beauty Products I'm Loving Right Now

As the world turns, and the seasons change, so do my beauty and skincare products.  I've got caboodles of them, which I keep in a very cool container with lid made of palm leaf ribs.  In the summer months, I will incorporate extra sunscreen under and in my daily moisturizer.  In the winter months, I like using lip balm in between lip gloss or lipstick applications.  Most times, I have all three in my handbag!

Anyway, I am really loving these particular products.  I am a big fan of Clarins skincare.  I've been using the products for five years now, and I'm frequently complimented on the youthful appearance of my skin.  It looks rested, toned and glows.  I am currently using the Clarins Super Restorative Day and Night Creams, and the Double Serum applied morning and evening.  In my opinion, these are the best for the mature skin.

Need an extra boost to get you going with your day?  I like using the Origins Ginger Burst Savory Body Wash.  The scent of lemon, lime and bergamot lift listless spirits.  What a great way to shoo away those blues.

I recently discovered the LOreal Lash Boosting Serum 585.  After four days of applying this to my upper and lower lashes in the morning and at bedtime, there is a noticeable difference in my lashes.  The serum boosts natural lash health.  My lashes look long, strong and healthy.  What a great find!

I can't sail through my day without a good lip balm.  I have all different kinds of balm spread throughout my house, but the Burt's Bees Replenishing Lip Balm pretty much goes where I go.  It goes on the lips so effortlessly, and it leaves a nice healthy-looking tint, too.

What beauty products are you using these days?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Alluring Landscapes Series: Tom & Joy Riley Campanero's Home

What makes a landscape so special, that it makes you want to come back time and time again for the simple joy of looking at what it has to offer? I love looking through large picture books showing photos of gardens, landscapes and the most unique furniture and decorative items. I love it more when I can see those awesome spaces in person.

Last summer, I was invited to an incredible event where the guests celebrated the recent around-the-world trip of friends from our high school days, who also happen to be married.  The event was hosted by Tom and Joy Riley Campanaro, President and CEO, and Senior Vice-President respectively, of Total Gym.  It was a spectacular event.  I may never come back to this backyard to take in its beauty ever again, but perhaps that's why I took my time to pause and really appreciate the beauty of each nook and cranny.  This place is really that special. Joy claims Tom to be the designer and laborer over every inch of that backyard. That's talent!

Many thanks to Joy and Tom for allowing me to share this with my readers.

Please enjoy the photos, and see why I nearly drooled over this special backyard landscape!

Left to right:  Tom Capanaro, Pam Maki Shetler (guest of honor), Joy Riley, Mike Shetler (guest of honor)
A backyard is so special when it beckons you from every nook and cranny.  
Guests got to participate in a drumming session with a multinational performance group.  So cool!
No matter where you were in the backyard, there was always a place to sit.  I liked that!

A solitary place.

Other photos worth sharing:
A visual presentation with comprehensive texts of Mike & Pam's trip around the world.

A lovely tipi for Joy and Tom's grand kids.  Very cool!

Thanks for visiting today,

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The North Shore, Oahu

Anywhere you drive in Hawaii can be considered a scenic drive because there's usually a mountain or ocean nearby.  However, certain routes are better than others because of its unique beauty.  Hawaii's most beautiful byways must be appreciated, not sped through.  Take your time, smell the salty air or the fragrance of an exotic flower.  Stop at a fruit vendor along the road, or that food truck selling yummy food from crepes to pad thai to hot & spicy shrimp. Take the time to park and look at old historical churches, or the old shops that sell second-hand clothing, surfboards, and island antiques.

Welcome to the country!  The North Shore, in Oahu, is a world-famous surfing destination.  The Kamehameha Highway runs along Oahu's North Shore, bathed in laid-back ambiance.  Here you will discover the Hawaiian culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center and Waimea Valley, the famous surfing beaches (Sunset, Banzai Pipeline and more), nine beach parks all along the byway, miles of undeveloped sandy beach shoreline, plus all the water sports you can ever imagine.  My favorites in the North Shore are the Turtle Bay Resort and Turtle Beach, properly known as the giant sea turtles at Laniakea Beach.

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Dedicated volunteers observe the turtles for research.  It is prohibited to touch or feed the turtles.  A safe distance of at least 6 feet from the turtles is reinforced.
The North Shore remains mostly undeveloped, but on a recent visit in August 2014, a new Marriott property was going up across the street from the Polynesian Cultural Center, and a little strip mall is situated where there used to be trees and old houses.  Now you can shop at the CVS, dine at Pizza Hut, or socialize at the Coffee Bean.  Tourists new to the North Shore might think it's a seedy area, but that's the beauty of this one-road-wide community, and residents seem to want it to stay that way.  Seedy?  I call it rustic. A little change along this byway is good because it's serving the needs of the community.

Photo Source
In the surfing town of Haleiwa, things are changing, however. As I continue to write, I feel my blood pressure rising because I can't believe that the citizens of this authentically rustic community would approve of the Haleiwa Commercial Redevelopment Project.  The reason for wanting to live in this sleepy town is to get away from the hustle and bustle of city and suburban life, right?  Without getting into the politics and the negotiations of Haleiwa's future, a shopping mall is going up next door to the iconic Matsumoto's Shaved Ice shop. Aoki's Shave Ice, Iwa Gallery and the twin Yoshida buildings, long considered the cultural hub of this town, have already been torn down.  Before this bohemian island town goes through a complete transformation, I encourage everyone to visit this town with the nostalgic charm.  Right away!

Back to the North Shore.  Despite pockets of ramshackle houses and rickety store fronts, the combination of mountain, ocean and rural scenery make the driving on Kamehameha Highway one of Hawaii's best scenic drives.  So get into your car, settle back, relax and enjoy the ride!

Photo Source
Please visit the North Shore before the big change.  I want you to remember this place in its most authentic, gritty and romantic phase.  Let me know when you plan to go so I can recommend some great eateries and places to visit!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Review of My Year in 2014: Blog Edition

Wow, what a year 2014 has been!

I had to make a big decision at the end of 2013, and when I did, it changed my life for the better.  I owed it to myself to put an end to the daily grind, make time for deep breaths because there were too many times when I was so stressed, I would literally forget to breathe. Now I will just enjoy the small things that each day brings.

Here's the good, the bad, and more good from 2014:


Spending the day at Disneyland with this adorable boy made my month.  Kyle was 8 months old at the time, and this marks his first trip to the Happiest Place on Earth.  My husband and I had such a good time with our grandson, we decided to buy annual passes to the parks knowing we'd be with him on future visits!  FYI - I used to work here backstage years ago in the Planning Department.  I was an executive assistant to the director.  Basically, I followed him and his team to the rides, took notes on things that needed fixing, and when done, rode them to make sure they were in tip-top shape!

With so much free time now, Gerry and I decided it was time to play tourist in our own city, San Diego! We hadn't been to the zoo in ages, and it was time to see the big changes to the animal exhibits.  See-through panels were changed-out, pens were enlarged, more flora and fauna added to the enclosures, extensive flowing rivers and waterfalls added.  They were beautiful! We also make it a point to dine at places we'd never been and to go out to the cinema more.

Samantha Brown is my go-to girl for lots of travel information.  She inspires me.  I had the opportunity to hear her speak at the San Diego Travel Show, and I have to say that Samantha is pretty, witty and has lots of wonderful stories to tell.  I also have wonderful stories to tell and I began to seriously think about blogging.  I shared in an earlier post why.  I want her life!  For now, I'll share my stories on my blog.

My husband and I do our best to live a green lifestyle.  We care about our environment so we recycle, reuse and reduce. Every day.  For years we've been doing this, and our children (now adults) do this, too.  We don't think about it.  We just do it.

We went a step further and decided to learn how to compost.  The Master Composting class was a six-week course sponsored by our city. We now have a compost bin in our backyard that is making great soil for our garden.  A bin full of red worms sits on our back patio, too. The wrigglers are making great liquid fertilizer with their poop!

Gerry and I flew to Knoxville, Tennessee, to visit our daughter, Lindsay and her husband. They live in a beautiful home, in a beautiful state.  I felt right at home.  The true purpose of the visit was to do a road trip through Tennessee: Knoxville, the Smoky Mountains, Nashville and Memphis, and to see many interesting places in between.  The trip was easy, educational and wonderful!

Another thing about the month of May:  I decided to become a blogger!

The month of June was a very sad time for my family, and for all of San Diego.  Our beloved San Diego Padres baseball superstar, Tony Gwynn passed away.  He was full of life, full of laughter, charitable, he was Mr. San Diego.  We have fond memories watching him play baseball and coaching the San Diego State University baseball team.  The moment we learned of his death, we dropped everything and headed to Petco Park where a grieving crowd was growing.  It was 10am.

So in the month of July, we found yet another set of kittens in our backyard!  For the past several months, we'd been hard at work trapping cats and kittens - all in the same family - so that they could be spayed or neutered.  This feral colony just kept multiplying faster than we could trap. Crazy!  But finally, with this last litter, I took lots of time off from work to arrange the pick-up of traps, set them up, and pray that any remaining non-sterilized cat or kitten would wander into the traps, then drive miles and miles to whatever locations volunteers were set up to do the surgeries.  Our diligence paid off.  After devoting a lot of time to the task, and having lots of patience, all eighteen feral cats were finally caught and sterilized!!

Gerry discovered, through a Facebook contact, that he and I were qualified to receive space available airline tickets to anywhere in the world!  That meant we no longer had to pay full fare or use any of our airline points for travel.  We're ex-flight attendants with Braniff International (no longer operating) and I was also with American Airlines, and this qualified us.  Woohoo!  So to celebrate my birthday, Gerry whisked us off to Hawaii, Oahu to be exact, and we had a fabulous time!

I had my fourth foot surgery, and it wasn't fun.  The worst part of this whole process was having to be on my butt for weeks, except to use the bathroom.  To learn more about my different foot surgeries, read about it here.  It's so important to take care of your feet.  They are what carries you through each day of your life.

In September, my family and I suffered a tremendous loss.  Our beautiful and sweet cat, Quincy, crossed the Rainbow Bridge and so now he is pain-free.  Quincy died on the first day of the fall season.  I can see him running free with his buddies, Big Paw and Yankee, and chasing those fiery red and golden leaves falling from the trees, and with the sun always on his back.  Quincy, so shy but so loving, just loved the sun!  We love and miss him so much.

A group of us decided to explore two popular wineries in Guadalupe Valley, Mexico.  Most of us had not gone across the Mexican border in years, even though it is just minutes from our homes in the South Bay area. Needless to say, I was excited.  I love visiting wineries and coming back with beautiful bottles of wine, and participating in tastings and enjoying a delicious lunch is always fun, especially when you're doing it with good people.  We visited L.A. Cetto and La Casa de Dona Lupe.  Great wineries!

Dias de Los Muertos in San Diego is a November highlight.  Celebrations happen all over the city, but my go-to choice of location is to Old Town.  It's a family tradition to meet up in Old Town early in the morning, grab the free public parking spaces before the city puts up the "pay for parking" signs.  We take a leisurely stroll, grab a cup of coffee and chat before the festivities officially begin.  People also arrive early to get their faces painted in the traditional skull face designs or to get dressed in their dance attire for dance performances throughout the day.  The restaurants and bars fill up with patrons, and the day ends with a Day of the Dead procession to the cemetery.  I celebrate Dias de Los Muertos more than I celebrate Halloween Day.  So much fun!

December was filled with parties - two birthdays, a baby shower and three family Christmas events.  Wow! My side of the family, including the babies, is huge.  My husband's side of the family is even more huge!  It's so awesome to be surrounded by family and friends.  This is my own family.  The only missing member is Kyle, 18 months old, who is taking a well-deserved nap!

Well, that's my year, in a big nutshell.   What's yours been like?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Winter Day in San Diego

My chiropractor's office was closed when I arrived for my appointment at 9:15am this morning. Strange, because they're always open at 7am.  Did I miss an e-mail notification or something? No matter.  Gerry and I decided we'd go for a walk somewhere.  We parked the car at Spanish Landing and started charting our course using the MapMyWalk app.

The temperature was in the high 70s as we began walking.  What a beautiful day!  And to think we had rain and snowfall just last week.  That's what's so great about San Diego. Expect the unexpected!

Solitary standup paddleboarder in Harbor Island

Harbor Island is where we headed.  It was getting warmer by the minute, and I was beginning to feel hot in my sweater, so we stopped for some lunch and water at Papanani's Deli & Sundries next to the Sheraton Hotel (the first Sheraton as you enter Harbor Island).

We stared at the yachts anchored in the marina.  Wouldn't it be nice to have one of these?

The boat in the center of the photo caught our attention.  Can you see why?
Over lunch, we talked about the trips we'll be taking this year.  Two domestic and two international.  I just added a GoPro Hero+3 Silver to my stash of electronics that I'll take on my travels.  I've been thinking of adding a basic drone to this stash of mine, but I'm not sure if TSA or Customs approves of them for international travel.

I'm not one to wear clothing with big animals on it, but this one was too cute to pass up. I've been getting compliments on this sweater since buying it off the sales rack at Macy's the day after Christmas, so I think this sweater is kind of special.  Any animal this big on my clothing gets to have a name.  Her name is Rosetta!  

The first trip will be to Memphis to meet the newest member of our family.  Our granddaughter will be born next month. It makes me smile to know we'll be Nonna and Papa to our very own southern belle.  It wasn't even noon yet when I began writing this post, which means I have lots of time to do many other things before sunset.  What a great day! So what are you doing today?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Unboxing my Frosty VoxBox

Influenster honored me with the opportunity to try various products, and to share my thoughts on them.  This is my first time working with Influenster and I didn't know what to expect, but I knew it would be fun!Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

This is the box that arrived in the mail before Christmas Day.  It was a substantial size with lots of goodies inside.

I was pretty excited about these items as I'm already familiar with most of the brands, and I use a couple of them quite often.  Let me share my thoughts on these products with you.

The first item I grabbed out of the box was the Fruit Vines Bites.  Oh my gosh, gotta have them! They are my favorite thing to pop in my mouth when I'm concentrating on something, like perusing my list of blog topics to write about.  Or watching a movie at the cinema.  I love popcorn, but I love Fruit Vines more.  You have to try them!  Influenster sent me the strawberry flavor.

It was so cold the other night, I had to open the Celestial Seasonings Tea packet and brew me a hot cup of tea.  The Green Tea Decaf was soooo good.  My cat, Hero, wanted a taste of it, too.  Do you know you can tour the factory in Denver, Colorado?  I hear that it smells divine, and you get free tea tastings before and after the tour.  The Celestial Seasonings tour is now on my Wanderlust List!

The Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover didn't do it for me.  I wear waterproof mascara and if the eye makeup remover doesn't have a baby oil consistency, I won't use it.  This product says it removes waterproof mascara, but I found myself gently rubbing and rubbing my eyelashes and the mascara wasn't coming off.  It removes all other makeup from my face.

The Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal is really good.  There was no drag on the eyelids when I applied it.  The application was very smooth, and had a velvety feel.  Very nice product.

Another brand that I'm sold on is Boots No7.  No7 just released the Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum.  I love this serum!  You're suppose to give it two weeks to see a huge difference in your skin.  There was enough serum in this little packet to last me five days, used twice a day.  The results in that short time is remarkable.  My fine lines are diminished and my skin glows.  Lovely!

The EcoTools Styler & Smoother Brush couldn't have come to me at a better time!  My hairstyling tools are so outdated and pretty used up.  It was time to refresh!  What's great about this brush is it's three brushes-in-one.  It styles, smoothes and detangles (gently, of course)!  What I love most about EcoTools is their commitment to helping our environment.  This particular brush is crafted with a bamboo handle, repurposed aluminum, and uses recycled and recyclable paper packaging, and helps reduce electricity use.  Their story:  Look Beautiful, Live Beautifully. Another thing I love about this particular brush is the wide handle.  I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and this brush is much easier for me to hold.  

I hope you enjoyed reading my reviews on these wonderful products.  Influenster sent me these complimentary products to test and review and, as always,  my opinions are my own.

If you've tried any of these products, share with me what your likes or dislikes are, won't you?