Good Reads: Or, one awesome yoga vid

This past week – between driving to Sacramento, Delano and Santa Cruz for work – I had no time to read. (The closest I came to reading was buying books at Bookshop Santa Cruz, pictured above, to take with me on the Epic Sister Adventure to Joshua Tree.)

So instead of offering you some Good Reads this weekend, I offer you one, awesome Yoga by Equinox video, featuring Briohny Smyth.

Hope you’re having a great weekend! My next post should be from Joshua Tree.

Do what you love, every single day

A Monday morning reminder to do what you love and love what you do – every single day.

Even if it means doing yoga with a rockstar yoga teacher on Superbowl Sunday, and chanting OM instead of cheering on a football team.

Or eating the most special ice cream (pictured: formerly, Ancho Chocolate and Miso Pear ice cream from Humphry Slocomb) on a regular Sunday night.

Happy Monday!

A snow-less holiday in Lake Tahoe

Last year, my family spent Christmas Day on the slopes of a Lake Tahoe ski resort. That was the plan this year – until we realized that there was very little snow in Lake Tahoe.

How little? According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Squaw Valley has received 1.9 inches of snow/water equivalent this season – or just 12 percent of average. In snow report terms, that meant that 15 lifts at Squaw and Alpine were expected to be open on Monday the 26th. In visuals, compare the photo below – taken on this weekend last year, when the heavens dumped snow on the Sierras – with the next photos in this post.

We were disappointed that we couldn’t ski, but you know what they say: When Mother Nature does not give you snow, go for a holiday hike.

So on Christmas Eve morning, we set off to climb the Castle Peak trail, which begins just at the Castle Peak/Boreal ski resort exit off I-80. The trail is billed as being popular year-round, though I suspect that in the winter, people normally travel in snowshoes or skis, and not water-resistant hiking boots.

We began our hike dressed as if we were going to ski – wool socks, long underwear, beanies – but quickly stripped off our layers as we hiked up a path that was part snow, part gravel.

We sat on some rocks to eat lunch, and marveled at the utter lack of snow around us.

When we reached a peak, and began hiking along the Andesite ridge, we had a great view of Tahoe, and the runs of the nearby ski resorts, which were white with man-made snow.

If you find yourself in a snow-less Lake Tahoe this winter season, I highly recommend this adventure!

What else did we do over the Christmas holiday in snow-less Lake Tahoe?

On Christmas Day, we had lunch at Pho Country in Reno, gambled at Harrah’s, and strolled Reno’s pleasant Riverwalk District. Then, we returned to the cabin, where we enjoyed a homemade Happy Hour, and created this video while cooking seafood risotto. Happy holidays!

Green Friday: A new family tradition?

While hordes of people across the country were shopping on Black Friday, our family was doing a seven-mile loop in Mt. Tamalpais State Park.

On Friday morning, we drove to the adorable Stinson Beach, where we began a three-hour hike recommended by both Bay Area Hiker and Weekend Sherpa.

After having consumed two Thanksgiving meals, with two different families, it felt great to hike along the Matt Davis Trail, through green tree groves, singing songs from ‘The Little Mermaid’ with my sister. We eventually emerged from the trees, and walked along a trail shrouded in fog. The last third of the hike was through an enchanting redwood canyon.

I hate to shop, so for me, the three-hour hike was an opportunity to be grateful for what we already have.

I laughed when we came to a trail junction, and didn’t know which way to proceed. Daniel, Julia, and Mama pulled out their iPhones, and tried to decipher the route. It took a fellow hiker – who carried an old-fashioned, fold-up map of Mt. Tam – for us to figure out where to go. Take that, Siri!

And we were all deeply satisfied by the Thanksgiving leftovers – slices of cheese, crackers, nuts and Asian pears – we had packed as mid-hike snacks. This food had tasted great as an appetizer, with fine wine, on Thanksgiving, but they tasted even better on the crisp afternoon when washed down with water from a water bottle.

Well, I guess there was one person who was wanting something new, rather than relishing what she had.

About an hour into the hike, the bottom of Mama’s hiking boot started fish-like flopping off her foot. She was a good sport about it – she tried tying her boot together with her headband, then secured some Duct tape from the Pantoll ranger station, then Danny constructed a shoe bandage out of an empty plastic bag. But I’m sure she is hoping she can find a belated Black Friday sale on these stylish Merrell hiking boots.

We ended our hike at Breaker’s Cafe, where we each savored a spicy Bloody Mary. Cheers to Green Friday – which I hope will become a family tradition!