Posted in family and home, Lifestyle, Motivation, Travel Log

Geneva: Who knew traveling and dining in the City could give us the best souvenir we could ever imagine?

Night or day, transportation and food in Geneva did not disappoint.
While it was easy, it was still COLD.
After all, we were in Geneva in the winter!

In preparing for my family’s trip to Geneva, one of the things I repeatedly came across was how expensive the city was. And really, the cost of food was a bit of a shock; however, it was worth it. Oh. So. Worth. It.

Perhaps to offset that, Geneva provides some of the most efficient and wide-spread public transportation I have ever experienced. Now don’t get me wrong, I live in a small town in Northern California where public transportation isn’t really a thing. But even with my relatively limited experiences with big-city transport (think San Francisco, Boston, Chicago), I was impressed.

As an added bonus, most hotels in Geneva, including ours, provided public transportation passes to their guests during the duration of your stay. This was especially important to us as we were technically staying outside of Geneva proper, in the smaller township of Meryn. Daily trips into the city only took us about 20 minutes, or perhaps a little longer if we were going outside the main area of the city.

The transportation system was entirely in French, however, the lines running in and out of the city on both the trams and buses were super easy to understand…and since I’m a bit of a Type A personality, Google Maps also kept us on track.

Once inside the main part of the City, the Jet D’Eau (or “Old Spouty”) really acted as a gauge for where we were. This fountain, located in Lake Leman, started out as a pressure release valve for the City’s water system. Now, it is a giant symbol of Geneva proper and can be seen throughout the entire city for the most part. We had fun trying to find it where ever we were and often used it to walk back to the tram station we used most often called “Bel Air.”

Jet D’Eau in the morning

One of our favorite thing to do as a family was to meet up with Jason after he was done with work to eat a meal at a cafe or restaurant. We would often pick a small eatery close to where-ever the kids and I had been that day and Jason would hop on the tram to meet us.

A word of caution, food is on a strict schedule in Geneva.

Fondue on our final night

Breakfast is typically open from 7am to about 9am

Lunch from 12pm to about 2:30pm

One of our favorite cafes had a
rabbit theme. How could you
resist taking photos?

Dinner starts at 6pm and goes until about 2am

These were not negotiable. So we learned rather quickly to time our meals to the schedule of the restaurants.

However, dining in Geneva was so much different than what my family typically experiences. Usually we eat a meal in 20 minutes to 45 minutes at a restaurant. In Geneva we were expected to be there at least an hour or two. I got the impression that we could have stayed for 3 hours and still have been fine. And we would always have to ask for the bill; once you were there to eat, you were there for the duration. My family really embraced this style of eating. In fact, now that we are home, the kids have asked for us to have a longer meal once a month so we can spend some time at the table “like Geneva” and just catch up with one another.

These two aspects of any city are essential to having a smooth and pleasant vacation and my family was more than pleasantly surprised by both. More importantly, these practical and necessary parts of our trip gave us one of the most valuable things we brought home. A genuine understanding of why slow family meals are important; a cultural insight that I am so glad we have brought home to our little family.

Posted in HD You, Lifestyle, Motivation, Self Care, Year of Self Love

Week 23: Change your space, change your perspective

In law school I would find myself spending an obnoxious amount of time, right around finals, cleaning my apartment. At the time I thought it was a classic avoidance technique…I will clean so I don’t need to focus on what really matters, my studies.

Today I think what was really going on was much different. You see, in law school, I would spend an entire semester cramming my head full of terminology, case law, statutes, common law and the like into my brain. My brain would be full by the end of the semester. No more penguins could fit on that iceberg come May.

In fact, towards the end of the semester I was known for forgetting the name to common household items (it was a spoon) AND for putting stamps on the wrong side of the envelope. Too many penguins on the iceberg resulted in good penguins jumping ship!

Anyway, what I really think was going on during these cleaning frenzies was that my mind needed a fresh perspective and by cleaning and reorganizing my living space, it was allowed to take a breather and have a fresh perspective, so that my brain could organize and focus.

That is what the year of self love challenge is focusing on this week. Take some time to rearrange your living space. It could be your bedroom, office or even the bathroom. Buy a new bedspread. Get out a different set of dishes.

What ever it is rearrange the living spaces in your life differently to allow that fresh perspective to sneak in. Your brain (and those penguins) will thank you for it.

Posted in HD You, Lifestyle, Motivation, Self Care, Uncategorized, Year of Self Love

Week 22: Try a new hairdo or a fresh look

3 inches off the bottom should do it! New hairdo completed; now it’s time to bring on summer!

I’m a firm believer that problems get solved with some fresh perspective. This is true when you are working too hard (just take a walk or run your ideas by someone else) or when you are in a rut (try something new and see how inspired you get).

That’s why I love this week’s challenge so much! In a year devoted to loving yourself as best you can, what better way is there to get a fresh perspective about yourself? Try a new hairstyle or makeup look.

For me that meant cutting a couple inches off the bottom to get ready for summer. My head feels so much lighter now that that dead weight is off. I’m ready to see where the next 6 months of the year takes me for sure.

This doesn’t have to be extreme. Maybe part your hair a different way or try a new style.

Go to a beauty counter and have them give you a new lip or eye option.

The possibilities are as minimal or as extreme as you want them.

Oh, and I also resurrected an old hairstyle this week as well. You have to put on a scrunchie with a high ponytail when you go to see New Kids on the Block!

NKOTB 4EVER!!!
Posted in Ballet, grit and glitter, HD Beauty, HD You, Lifestyle, Motivation, Self Care, Year of Self Love

Week 21: Get up and move!

Tutus on the Barre at Northern California School of Ballet, Oroville

Getting up in the morning and moving a bit has been one of the best things I have done for myself in a long time. It gets my body moving, helps to stretch me out and gets the blood flowing to my brain.

My movement is simple: 30 jumping jacks, 30 second plank and either burpees or kettle-bell swings. It takes me 5-10 minutes, but the effects on my mood are astounding. I am awake, rejuvenated and ready to take on the day.

This week, pick out your favorite exercise outfit and get moving in the morning. It doesn’t have to be long…but it totally can be if you want.

My favorite exercise outfit is my leotard and tights from ballet class! While I don’t wear that during my morning exercise routine, those 2 classes I spend at the barre are the favorite 90 minute blocks I have to myself all week. One day I will be wearing one of those tutus on the bar you see above. For now, I will settle for my black leo’ and my steady improvement in the realm of ballet.

Happy movement this week!

Posted in HD You, Motivation, Self Care, Year of Self Love

Week 17: Year of Self Love-Writing Down Your Greatest Accomplishments

Me in Victorian Costume, standing outside the Northern CA Ballet School's window dressing event.
One of my Five: Taking classes at our Classical Ballet School

This week for the Year of Self Love challenge the act is simple. Write down 5 of your greatest accomplishments. Simple in theory, but painstaking in practice. Since announcing it on Tuesday in the Hopelessly Devoted Group, I’ve already had 2 discussions with friend’s who have expressed to me how hard it has been to come up with this list.

Let me give it to you straight, these friend’s are super successful, professional women…who struggle, just like me, with writing down the things they have done they are proud of.

Why is that? Why is it so hard to acknowledge ourselves for a job well done?

Acknowledging what we are proud of doing throughout the day is important to our mental health. When we acknowledge it by putting it in writing we are in a sense, rewarding ourselves, and that feels good. It boosts our mood and gives our brain a healthy dose of dopamine.

Doing it daily results in a measurable history of our progress, which reminds of us of how well we are really doing. Don’t believe me though, Harvard Business School completed a 15 year longitudinal study which revealed that those who wrote down their daily accomplishments experienced all of the above. Calling it “The Progress Principal” it is an excellent motivator for me to start with my greatest 5 and then work into a daily habit of focusing on my progress.

So back to why some, including myself, are hesitant to engage in this good mood inducing activity. For me, I think it comes from a hesitancy to brag about what I have personally accomplished; it’s so much easier to defer to the accomplishments of others. However, I think it’s time to stop that silly behavior. There is a start distinction between taking a moment and privately recognizing a job well done and forecasting it out to the world.

So take a moment and write down your 5. If you feel brave, share it with me. I’d love to celebrate your accomplishments with you.