Train Yourself to Wake Up Early

So lately I’ve been seriously considering waking up earlier in the morning.  Normally I stay in bed until about 7:30am and rush to make it out of the house by 8:00am and get to work to beat the traffic.  I’m usually able to make it to work 20 minutes early but at the expense of that early stress.

Sometimes I take the time to buy breakfast which usually consists of a breakfast taco and large coffee and costs me $4.  Other times I go without breakfast and wait until lunch to have my first meal of the day and ultimately killing my metabolism in the process.

I’ve been wanting to lead a more active lifestyle but am usually too tired to do anything by the end of the day and wearing myself out during the pm road traffic.

The daily grind of waking up, rushing to work, then going home, eat dinner, then go to sleep gets pretty old by Wednesday morning – I know waking up earlier will grant me time to spend doing something I enjoy. Ultimately though waking up means gaining more personal time.

I know it won’t happen overnight but ultimately my goal is to be OK with getting up at 5am, every day.  I know the key thing is to do something that I enjoy first thing to motivate me to leave my warm bed.

How much time of our weekends are taken up by laundry or general house cleaning?  A lot of time can be saved by cleaning up little by little during the week which can be achieved 5-10 minutes every morning.

So just to recap… the advantages of training yourself to wake up early in the morning…

  • More time to do what you like/love
  • Eat breakfast
  • Exercise
  • Save money
  • Save time
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Discount Tire to the Rescue!

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My tire pressure light came on in my dashboard driving to work today.  I pulled into the parking lot at my job and checked out my tires and sure enough I had somehow managed to run over a nail.  My boss told me to go to Discount Tire because if the tire isn’t flat chances are it’s in a spot that can be repaired.  So that’s how I spent the first part of my morning.  Three things about today’s experience:

  1. It took an hour to do.
    This is because there were 4 other customers in front of me yet they were still able to take care of me within the hour.
  2. Workers were friendly and efficient.
    In the hour as was sipping coffee and watching everyone not a single employee was just standing around…everyone was working on something. It took them a few minutes to take care of the people in front of me before I even got to the counter but they made sure to greet me and assured me that they would be right with me soon.
  3. IT WAS FREE!
    I really thought I was going to have to come out of pocket for the repair but it didn’t cost me a dime!  They did try to offer me a warranty for all of my tires considering they were all relatively new but I decided to opt out of the warranty.  If I do end up having tire problems again within the next 6 months, I may have to consider it though.

Overall it was a fantastic experience – I made it a point to not stress and just get it done so I’m really glad it all worked out. 🙂

My new ride…the Mazda CX-5 (Grand Touring)

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2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring FWD

I’ve had this car for about three weeks and I must say I ABSOLUTELY love it.  In my life I’ve had two other cars…

First it was a 2001 Kia Rio (aka Josh the green dragon as my friends dubbed it) which sported a fluorescent green color.  The driver’s side door did not open from the inside and the window did not roll down (I know, totally unsafe!) and when getting food from a Drive Thru require the person behind the driver to place and receive the order. Fun times.

Second car was a white 2003 Ford Focus  who spent her last days with my brother in law. (Not quite sure the status of that car or if she has any life left.) I put a lot of miles in that vehicle.  I traveled from Texas to South Carolina in that car to visit my husband after he graduated from boot camp (boyfriend at the time) accompanied by my best friends Isabela and Megan. Fond memories.

NOW we’re going to talk about the newest addition to the family… My Titanium Flash Mica 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring FWD with parchment color interior. She is a beauty.  (If you’re in San Antonio and are in the market for a new vehicle go see Joey Esparza at IPAC Mazda. No he did not pay me to mention him but I thought I’d do him this favor since he had to deal with us and treated us quite well actually.  Not your typical car sales person…no intimidation, no gimmicks, just honest, just facts, good customer service. You’re welcome Joey!)  This is officially the largest purchase my husband and I had ever made together however there is absolutely no buyer’s remorse going on whatsoever.  Note to self: must activate 4 months free trial with XM/Sirius satellite radio.

Gosh… where do I start?  I haven’t really talked about the car much and I’m already at 300 words.  Oh well, I hope this post helps you out if you are considering the CX-5.  When it comes to car shopping it’s important to establish what is exactly important to you.  For my husband and I… considering how many miles we travel per month (at least 800 miles) – we needed a car that has great fuel economy. The idea of a cross over or a SUV appealed to us because we liked the idea of having plenty of storage space.  After research we narrowed down our options to the Honda CRV EX-L and the Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring.  Something to note for you taller people (I’m 4’11” so it’s not a problem at all for me) but the CX-5 has more headroom than the CRV.  The Honda CRV EX-L was great and had a very luxurious feel with the leather interior and it had FANTASTIC lumbar support that made driving it extremely comfortable.  It was the Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring though that offered little things that ultimately won us over and in this post I will cover the features that attracted me the most.

The Command Control
By the armrest there is a multifunction control center where you are able to easily navigate through the functions displayed on the touchscreen monitor. The touch-screen display is deactivated while in motion so the commander allows you to toggle through available options while you’re driving.  Because of its convenient positioning and ease of use it is relatively safe to use while driving.  The steering wheel has multifunction capabilities as well as far as changing tracks, volume adjusting, etc however personally I like to use the phone options and cruise control adjusting exclusively available on the steering wheel while leaving the commander control to assist me in controlling the radio and navigation system.

Ample Cargo Room
Because my husband and I enjoy camping, visiting Costco, and traveling (usually with our dogs) we were most interested in getting a vehicle with loads of cargo space without being required to sacrifice fuel economy. The 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring offers PLENTY of cargo room and features an easy release 40/20/40 fold down rear seats.  It’s incredibly roomie back there.

Bose Center Point Surround Sound System
This is by far the nicest sound system I’ve personally ever had in a car. The 9 speaker setup allows me to hear parts of songs that I didn’t even know existed!

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° Fold Down Seating
Have you ever found yourself in a position where you needed to take a power nap in the car?  We regularly take long trips so sometimes yes we do find ourselves needing to pull into the nearest rest stop to re-energize and this vehicle conveniently offers the ability to lay the driver and front passenger seat all the way back.  Note: I don’t know the exact angle the seats fall at but I thought I’d throw 180° in the description to try and help you paint a picture.

Blind Spot Monitoring
The 2015 Honda CRV EX-L also had a lane departure warning system however it required you to view the display which just felt unnatural to me.  I’m sure in time I could have gotten used to it but this is such a large purchase why settle?  In the CX-5 you are given an audible and visual warning light (on side view mirrors) if there is another vehicle in your right or left blind spots.  You definitely can’t ignore but it’s relatively subtle as to not be distracting either.

Mazda CX-5 Wheels (19-inch Alloy)
I just about died yesterday when I popped a curb but was relieved to find that my rims remained unharmed.  I know this is strictly cosmetic here but I can’t help but ADORE these wheels.  The Sport model’s 17-inch Alloy wheels are cool and attractive (and some say the riding experience is smoother with the smaller wheels) but these 19-inch alloy ones are just plain SEXY.

IMG_20160114_182402Rearview Camera
I don’t know how I managed to get by without this awesome feature all these years.  I was reading on a forum the other about someone complaining that the camera isn’t HD quality.  I found that topic very amusing – I simply need to see if there is anything or anyone behind the car while I’m reversing.  When there is a car moving behind the car a clear warning alert sounds off just in case  you are not looking.

4 Months Free XM/Sirius Radio
I probably will cancel the service near the end of the free trial (because they will charge you as soon as it is over if you don’t) but satellite radio is AWESOME. I probably won’t listen to the 100 sports stations they have available on there but I’m sure the option is ideal for some individuals out there.  There are at least 15 stations that I like so I’ll definitely be taking advantage of this feature during the rest of the next 4 month free trial.

Let’s talk accessories
So some accessories that we have in the car that we like but are completely optional (but I still recommend):

IMG_20160102_1453040Steering Wheel Cover – I bought this one off of Amazon (Leather Steering Wheel Cover for Mazda CX-5 CX-7 CX-9 Mazda5 Mazda6) which I honestly hesitated to buy because I didn’t know how well it would work for the 2016 Mazda CX-5.  Another buyer did leave the comment that it was perfect for their 2014 CX-5 so I decided to take a change, I mean how much different can steering wheels change from year to year?  I am happy to confirm that it is PERFECT for the 2016 model.  Why get a steering wheel cover?  In my opinion the grip on the steering wheel is MUCH better.  Just a hint to those considering the 2016 Grand Touring black leather interior the red stitching on the steering wheel is brighter compared to the red stitching on the black leather seats.

Roof Rack – offers the foundation to store bikes, snowboards, etc. OK so we don’t ski or snowboard but hey the option is there if we decide to pick up those hobbies!

Navigation System – not 100% reliable I’ve found but is good enough to get to where I need to be.  It also indicates traffic cameras and speed limits, which is nice.

Retractable Cargo Cover – allows us to keep our valuable out of plain sight (not that we keep them regularly in the car but hey the option is nice.

All Weather-Proof Floor Mats – Considering how much rain we’ve encountered and we like to hike on dirt trails these floor mats are a MUST.  We are able to simply hose them down to clean them which is awesome.  The cargo mat especially is a MUST HAVE if you have dogs or do outdoorsy things because it is so easy to keep clean. When you have dogs that shed like crazy like ours this is an awesome investment.  The amount of time you’ll save from cleaning the cargo area is absolutely worth it.

I could probably go on and on about this car but I will wrap it up here considering that I am now over the 1,000 words mark!  Are you considering the Mazda CX-5? Do you own this car?  Chime in with your thoughts and leave me a comment.  Feedback is always appreciated. Thank you for reading!

New Years Resolutions (Thing of the past?)

So looking at social media lately…I was a bit surprised to see so many people…NOT declaring New Years Resolutions.  It seems like there is this unspoken stigma of setting “New Years Resolutions” and that if you do then chances are you will NOT keep up with them.  As a matter of fact, I believe I see more people talking about how they are setting any this year.  I think it’s interesting to see that happening.

I am firm believer that setting goals are important.  In order to know where you’re headed you must have destination.  I also believe in enjoying the ride though.  Goals are important but I think it’s more important that in this moment in time to be happy. To be thankful for all that you do have right now and for all of the things you are able to do right now.  I believe that being happy with yourself in the present can really pave a smooth path for you and your future goals.

Feed the Hungry Experience

I had this expectation in my head of like a soup kitchen type set up before I went to this volunteer opportunity today.  To my surprise it was basically just a hand out of groceries to those that need it.  I happen to score a fantastic parking spot in front of the Salvation Army office on the street with easy access to the building (there were A LOT of people, ‘clients’) and I walked up to the volunteer with the San Antonio Food Bank. (She had to tell me I couldn’t park where I initially parked because that’s where the truck pulls in! Silly me.)

The 18 wheeler sized truck backed in and it was time to work.  We unloaded A LOT of food…crates and crates of dairy, juice, milk, bread, produce, and just a BUNCH of food.  It was a lot of people (volunteers) but somehow the great number of help really worked out although there was no set system in place we managed to make individual bags with various types of food in time to let the clients get in line and take what they need.

The things that I noticed and found a tad bit unsettling was how most of the clients did not smile or seem happy. I mean, it seemed like the volunteers were having a blast helping out and chatting amongst themselves.  …but the workers and the people that were receiving the food… it was almost too… I am lacking the words right now because I am TIRED.  It’s the holidays and I don’t know I guess I was just expecting a whole another level of cheer.  I mean, this is FREE groceries that these people are getting and the workers and the volunteers barely got thank yous and the workers they were friendly enough but I don’t know maybe I was just expecting too much.  That’s the problem with expectations you just leave room to be disappointed.  Anyway, I had a lot of fun and I look forward to the next opportunity to volunteer.  Besides, that was an AWESOME upper body workout!   Yes… I can already tell, I am going to be sore tomorrow. My arms are jello!

Volunteer to make friends?

So I’ve decided to volunteer to help feed the hungry tomorrow.  I have never volunteered before (outside of school and work) so this is officially a first experience for me.  I’ve moved to a new city and have yet to find a new job and friends.  I’m hoping to find a friend while volunteering but at the least I will be helping people and that’s good right?

My desire to interact with people really comes up in the grocery store where I find myself randomly chatting up with others for recipe advice and what-not. I must say it is MUCH easier to do this in Texas than it is in California. Whenever I attempted to start a conversation with someone out there in the store they would just give me this look like “Why are you talking to me?” or “What are you trying to sell me?” Yes in Texas it is much easier to say “Hi how are you?” then carry on a small conversation with someone you completely don’t know.

I remember back in school it was so easy to make friends I mean, you literally could go to another student ask if they have a spare pencil, comment on how cool their notebook looks and BOOM you’re friends!  I remember back in elementary an old school friend literally walked up to me and say do you want to be my friend and I said sure.  This method isn’t applicable in the ‘real/adult’ world is it?  It seems so much more difficult to make friends as an adult.  Can one walk to another person in the produce aisle, comment about fruit, and ask if they want to be friends?  Why not?

The Greatest Parents Will Never Be Famous

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I finished reading a biography of Mahatma Gandhi – no doubt this was a very influential and GOOD man… I could not help but be disappointed with how little time he actually spent with his family. Yes, he changed the world and influenced a lot of people…leaders, the poor, and everyone in between…but again, I could not help but feel almost a sadness for his immediate family.  Gandhi spent YEARS studying different religions and visiting countries and villages helping as many people as he could that were not in the position to help themselves.  He had five children but none of which he could say he was absolutely close to.  After spending so many years away from his family and even when they lived together he was always out trying to help the world – what about his children?  I wonder… did Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi’s father) spend many years away from his children?  Would Mahatma Gandhi become as driven to be as he was had he been raised differently?  Think of the famous and influential people you’ve learned about past as well as present.  Do you know of their parents?  Truth is in most cases, the best parents will never be famous.

What is more important – to leave this world a better place than when you first came into it, or to have off spring and guide them well enough to lead a quality life?  Does it have to be one way or the other?  Every day we are encouraged to spend money and make money so we can continue to spend it on things that we “need” or really want.  I do share the same belief as Gandhi that everyone rich and poor should work for what they need without taking advantage of others to do so.  However, in today’s world it’s not about family and helping each other lead a quality life.

You have people who go to school in hopes of getting a good job, to buy a house, and have a family, and to encourage the next generation to do the same.  Then you have the people that don’t work, that live off of government benefits, that go and have children to get even more benefits, and ultimately influencing the next generation to do the same.  Then you have people who work and don’t have any children. They work to pay for things: their house, cars, bills… everything we are conditioned to think are necessary…but what about family?

If you look up in the sky you’ll see a flock of birds probably flying or hanging out in the trees.  In the sea, fish swim in schools.  Elephants they are usually found to travel in their herd.  Almost every animal in the world stays with their family with exceptions of: panthers, Tazmanian devils, and moose.   Ok so it is argued that humans are not animals but for sake of argument what if we were to say we are ‘smarter’ animals… which one of these animal groups are we most like?

People feel sorry for those in the third world countries because they are starving and have no homes…but are they unhappy?  What if you were born poor, in a family, where you have to work for every meal in order to survive? Those that live in third world countries most likely depend on family and their neighbors, and chances are they are OK – they are surviving.  In fact, if they are surviving with family and friends – it is more than possible for them to say they are happy.  How many people live in our society that have a job, a home, a car, and everything else the media makes us think we need, that actually live unhappily?   Who are really the poor ones in this world – those without steady income or those without steady happiness?