Seeking inspiration.

So July is coming to an end. I would really love to start posting regularly on here again.  Today I realized, that I just need to stop thinking about it and just DO IT.

Too much planning can cause one to feel overwhelmed.  Structure is needed though in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed from another perspective.  When I feel stressed out I know creating a list helps me organize my thoughts and it helps me create a game plan.

As for this blog though… I can’t treat this like work or chore.  I ENJOY writing and I love using it as an outlet for expressing my thoughts.  (Even more so when I get comments!) …so I need to just dedicate time to writing.  Whether it be straight on here on the computer or in a notepad. …and I NEED to POST.

So… now that I’ve got that off my chest.  What should I write about? Please feel free to comment and share any ideas of what you’d be interested in reading about.

Thanks!

“Work” should not be split 50/50 in relationships

IMG_20160501_202148In our society we have been conditioned to look at things we are required to do (but don’t necessarily want to) as “work”. It’s true. Has the cat box been cleaned out? Do I want to clean it out? Eh… it needs to be. Are the dishes in the dishwasher? Do I want to rinse them and put them in the dishwasher? Eh… they need to be. Let’s face it, we have TONS of these scenarios going on in our lives but my question is… when it comes to “work” why as a society do we feel we are obligated to split the “work” 50/50?

See… in my strange-way-of-thinking mind, when I hear people say this my thought process is… let’s say a couple has 10 things that needs to be done in the household or in their relationships (with each other or not) when they expect one person to do half of the “work” how is it determined who does what half? Wouldn’t there always be one person waiting to see what the other person is going to do before pulling their own weight? What if both individuals are doing the same thing and suddenly those 10 things are just sitting there… idle?

I’m just saying… if we’re going to talk percentages… what is wrong with one person doing 70% of the “work” and the other person does the other 30% but also invests their time/funds/attention to other things that could benefit their relationship/life experience, e.g. plan vacation, weekend outing, restaurant/movie date night, etc. I think most relationships are strained when the individuals involved are just focusing on the “work” and they forget about fun/leisure the very thing that brought them together in the first place (time, attention, fun).

What if we stopped looking at relationships as a 50/50 type scenario and just focus on doing 150% of quality time/effort together? Just a thought.

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!

Yosemite National State Park – One more for the memory books!

Yosemite National State Park – One more for the memory books!

3 I actually thought that this camping trip was going to be a bit more brutal considering how much travel time we were anticipating.  With my friend flying in from Dallas we had to drive about 2 hours to the San Francisco International Airport then from there drive another 3 hours to Yosemite.  I think it helped that my husband and I got adequate sleep the night before.  We did not book a reservation for a campsite in Yosemite because you have to do that months in advance (and even then you must time it right and be ready to book when the spots open up).  Our hearts dropped a little when we arrived and the sign said “All Camps Full” however after walking around the park we were a bit relieved to find that we didn’t have to stay the night there.  Don’t get me wrong the places is BEAUTIFUL however it was packed with A LOT of tourist and parking was a nightmare.

4 We stopped at a campsite near Yosemite I don’t remember what it was called but we decided not to camp there; not because there weren’t any spots open but simply because it felt like we would be setting up camp in a middle of a field with someone’s generator at a constant hum next to us.  I’m glad we kept going because we ended up staying at a place called “The Pines” and we were able to secure site 8 which was located in the far back and we felt pretty secluded considering no one ended up staying at site 7 which was located closeby.  We were able to set up our tent and get the fire going relatively quickly and I cooked some sausage hot dogs for us.  It was a fantastic night just catching up with food, water, and beer.

2  My dog Kimo scored some pretty awesome points with us.  We discovered that he could be trusted not to wander off on his own (we somehow let the leash get undone from the table leg).  He did wander off momentarily but really impressed us because he managed to find my husband who had went on a walk and discovered that the nearby trail was relatively long and had many different paths and somehow our dog figured out which one  he took and despite the steep inclines he had to endure he found my husband and actually led the way back when Jared suggested to him “C’mon Kimo, let’s go back”.

1 If you enjoy camping as in real camping with tents and sleeping bags and are wondering if it’s a good idea to just ‘wing it’ and visit Yosemite don’t stress about reservation unless you are traveling far and really want to stay IN Yosemite then try to book in advanced. However, if you just want to stop by and spend the day hiking around the park and take pictures and are totally cool with just setting up camp and aren’t too picky about where; you really do have options.  I am so glad we finally got around to going to Yosemite!