HOT in London!

One of the hottest days in London during my stay was Sunday, June 26th. Days before the main topic of conversation was the temperature — a whopping 28 degrees Celsius. Being a lover of nature, I was eager to visit grass and trees that day so we walked to Hampstead Heath Park from Camden Market What a BEAUTIFUL DAY!!

Noticed this guy outside the park - RELAX!!

Giraffe Restaurant - Smiling is infectious ๐Ÿ™‚

Love - Eat - Live

And many thanks to Fola and Joel for great conversation and laughter. Happy Sunday!

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left coast loving

yesterday in the bay, it rained and rained and rained some more but the temperature was a delightful 60 degrees Fahrenheit. i am loving the west coast or the left coast, a political expression that has been re-purposed in the art world on this side of america. it has everything to do with being in a new environment after nearly one year in NYC. what can i say, i am inspired by traveling and new experiences!

you ask, hey Lala! why do you love San Francisco so much?

1. FOOD – healthy, whole and heavenly. today we had lunch at Gracias Madre, an organic vegan Mexican restaurant in the Mission district. i nearly broke down and cried. yum yum! 3 words: Butternut Squash Quesadillas (with pumpkin seed salsa)

2. PEOPLE – easy, breezy, and friendly. many people greet each other on the street and everyone has been super helpful when approached (i’ve gotten lost a few times already ๐Ÿ™‚

3. WEATHER – it’s not hot or even warm but it’s not freezing ๐Ÿ™‚ need i say more?

4. LANDSCAPE – breathtakingly (is that a word?) gorgeous!! the architecture and surrounding mountains lift my spirit and my calves.

5. CLEANLINESS – i looked up in the subway station and was not horrified plus my allergic reaction to cheese pizza is non-existent here.

6. NATURE-ORIENTED – aren’t most Californians?

7. INTELLIGENT – in quoting the NY Times, San Francisco ranked in the top 3 of book sales around the country in 2009. reading is fundamental. i visited 4 or 5 bookstores within blocks of each other today and to my surprise, each were bustling with curious readers.

8. ARTSY – this post pays homage to the amazing 3 day art festival art called, Left Coast Leaning. my hosts, bryant and jidan got tickets for saturday night’s performance. each piece was engaging, meaningful and vibrant. this event was held at the Yerba Bueno Center for the Arts. a lovely evening which began with another fantastic meal at Osha, a thai restaurant owned by two sisters.

9. GREEN – there are recycle bins everywhere and reminders to conserve too.

10. ENTREPRENEURIAL – San Fran is a city full of boutiques, thrift shops, cafes and bars run by young, progressive types.

this is not a “dis” against NYC, my hometown. my love for the Big Apple is deep and undeniable. however, i can see san fran in my near future.

i should really go to bed now. i trust that you are keeping warm, drinking loads of herbal tea and eating hearty and whole food! winter is right around the corner!

love and light and more love

*Lala*

i’m flying! i’m flying!

Hey people! It’s summertime! And like my main man, Stevie Wonder, said back in 1980, it’s Hotter than July! and I am loving it!

Bear Mountain Park, July 2010

At least 3 times a month, I have dreams of flying. It is the ultimate sleeping activity. There were times when I awoke in a foggy haze and thought for sure I could fly if I simply concentrated. This past weekend I was given this opportunity, and needless to say, I jumped on it. To celebrate a friend’s 36th birthday, the six of us (old and new friends) ventured to Middletown, New York for a brief camping trip. However, the main purpose of this adventure was to FLY HIGH. Can anyone say, HANG GLIDING?!

Hangar 3, Middletown, NY

Saturday. We spent most of the afternoon in the car jamming to beats and making jokes until we found the camp site reserved by my friend’s wife (she is my friend too but his wife first :). The night before our hang gliding adventure, we set up our tents, danced to the music blaring from the car speaker, shared wine and cheese, played hide n’ seek in the pitch darkness of night, then had a BBQ over a make-shift grill. By 1:30 am we were exhausted. The night was filled with laughter, spontaneity, and pure funtastic-ness.

Dancing in the dark - July 3, 2010

Middletown, NY - July 3, 2010

On various holidays or rare occasions, I often reflect upon where I was last year at that very moment. Last year on the 4th of July, my eyes were flooded with tears and my heart was overwhelmed with sorrow. I was also in a great deal of pain. A long and private story that will only distract from this one so I will move forward. The point is I survived and I am stronger for it.

our fun-loving hosts and friends, Jas and Cisco

our fun-loving hosts and friends, Jas and Cisco - July 4, 2010

Sunday morning. We arrived at the hangar at 9:59 am. I was eager to experience the feeling of being in mid-air supported only by spirit and wind. If you don’t have a license to fly solo, you must be accompanied by a licensed instructor. Our instructor’s name was Thomas, a twenty-year veteran who prefers hang gliding to sky diving and loves the ladies. Once we reached 2900 feet, Thomas, repeatedly said to me, “don’t worry, you’re going to be okay!” Perhaps he was concerned by my calm exterior and lack of speech. He could not see me grinning from ear to ear. My face sported a vibrant glow and smile the entire ride. See for yourself:

I yelled into his right ear, “I’m not afraid! I’m flying! I’m flying!” What an amazing adventure! It lasted all of fifteen minutes but it was the most surreal fifteen minutes of my life.

It feels amazing to be in an all together different space this year compared to last. Life is wonderful and special. Do you know this? I sincerely hope you do!

Live for today and give thanks for every breath that you take. With gratitude, peace and respect.

Have a beautiful and productive week filled with peace and love. (i couldn’t stop taking photos…see more below ๐Ÿ™‚

*Lala*

go where the love is

Happy Earth Day!

What is love?

It is one of those meaningful questions that is sure to stir up feelings. It is the reason why most of us are here. I haven’t been able to write for days now because I have been in a love haze of sorts. However, this morning I was reflecting back to last Saturday when I felt a surge of love and I wanted to share it with you. After a breakfast of french toast and turkey sausage, I walked my friend to the train station and as we said our goodbyes, she smiled and said: I am so happy to have had such a large dose of Lala this weekend (well, she used my real name but anyway). I remember holding back my tears; I didn’t wish to cause a scene. As soon as I entered the doors of my apartment building, I began to cry. I was so overwhelmed by her words and generosity that day. Thank you Mitsue for being a wonderful friend.

Today I feel good, stronger than I’ve been in awhile. But yesterday was a different story so I’ll tell you what I did. An hour before the rain had fallen, I knelt down and dug deep into the earth then planted tomatoes, carrots, sage, and 3 different flowers in my brother and his girlfriend’s garden. ย Nature is a cure-all for me and when I am in need of some natural loving, I seek out grass, branches, the moon, or sand for re-assurance that love is abundant and everything is perfectly magnificent.

Where I planted the tomatoes and carrots

If you are in a place that is draining the love out of you, then go where the love is. If you are not getting enough love in your life, then go for a walk, call someone and tell them you love them, sit under a tree, pay a compliment to a complete stranger, or volunteer to help someone in need. And If that doesn’t work, buy a train or plane ticket!

Speaking of plane tickets, I feel an adventure coming on, especially since the FAA has resumed flights throughout Europe. In my next post, I will include an interview with a fellow Sunchaser and superstar, Dar Riser, about his latest trip to Thailand. I haven’t been there yet but I am definitely going soon. Here is a photo of his new signature dish, mango sticky rice – delici-o-cious!

Enjoy your weekend and get some sunshine!

and eat something green today – how about some AVOCADO ๐Ÿ™‚

hummus avocado wrap courtesy of Mr. Holt

Are you feeling loved today? I hope so becauseย WE ARE LOVE!

*Lala*

friendspiration

Friends come and go but great friends are harder to come by so when your spirits collide, hold on for dear life because there is no such thing as a coincidence. My life would not be half as interesting if it wasn’t for the amazing, beautiful, intelligent, funny, dynamic friends who inspire me on a weekly — and sometimes daily basis. This past week has been incredible in the friend category and it was just what the doctor ordered: a huge dose of love, support, and encouragement encased in smiles, hugs and laughter punctuated by food and drink ๐Ÿ™‚ At the start of the week, I had no major plans besides to volunteer at the Gen Art Film Festival for two days. This is where I watched the feel-good film, happythankyoumoreplease, an absolutely perfect title to describe this past week. When my spirit is low (which it had been lately), I reach into my cure-all box in an effort to revitalize. In this box is a list of TEN THINGS that MAKE ME HAPPY plus a few items to help facilitate that process:

1. Hoola Hooping (I also like playing jacks but rarely do)

2. Watching films (movies)

3. Writing (and Reading)

4. Bike riding or walking

5. Experiencing Nature

6. Cooking/Preparing yummy healthy food/Eating!

7. Getting together with friends/hosting dinner parties

8. Traveling

9. Making photographs, and

10. Dancing ย (listening to music which makes me dance)

These are in no particular order. Essentially, they are the activities that enhance my life stupendously. Oh, and I forgot 2 others : kissing (loving) and volunteering.

IF you haven’t made one of these list, try it so that when you are feeling a little lost, hurt, or low, you have a reminder of how magnificent and full your life can be at any given moment. If any of my friends are reading, I want to say THANK YOU for BEING in MY LIFE. You are an inspiration to me. I am so grateful that we have met and I will do my very best to keep you in my life for always.

So by week’s end, having had no other plans, I was blessed with an unexpected visit from an old friend who is moving to San Francisco and wanted to share the news with me first-hand about her transformation, an old friend who currently lives in the Bay area visited because he had been invited to appear on the Martha Stewart Show next month (go Bryant!), a dear friend who had recently returned from a month-long journey in South East Asia brought gifts and stories, a cousin from Texas called via skype just to see my face, plus I hosted an impromptu dinner party. All of this punctuated by a long walk in Prospect Park, a Food Coop shift, loads of productivity, and several mini-visits from friends in the neighborhood who were just passing by. I also indulged at two of my favorite Senegalese restaurants in Brooklyn: a bistro and Joloff.

As the commercial says, Who Could Ask for Anything More? I am giving thanks for a new day, new opportunities, new beginnings, and most importantly, to FRIENDSPIRATION ! Thank you! Thank you!

Enjoy the week and keep smiling! and remember to eat something GREEN today ๐Ÿ™‚

OH YES!!! notice the SUBSCRIBE button at the top right, if you want to be sent an email when I update my blog, please add your email to the subscription list. Muchas gracias! Obrigada! Merci! Arigato! Thank you!

*Lala* the Sunchaser