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Gratitude

My husband went all out for my 40th birthday. And it was great. We indulged in luxury and relaxation with some of our favorite people. We spent memorial day weekend in the California desert at the Ritz-Carlton.

Some years back, my old work partnered with Ritz-Carlton to develop a program for the organization. And I heard a lot about the Ritz-Carlton experience. It planted a seed that one day I wanted to stay at a RC property. Back in January, we visited the NOLA property to listen to jazz and have drinks. And I remembered my desire to stay at one. So we decided to plan a trip for my big 4-0.

We chose the Ranch Mirage location because we could make it a weekend that included friends. This way some friends could stay at the resort with us. The others stayed locally at a condo they owned.

We barely left the resort except to drop our kids (and the dog) off at the Holiday Inn Express and to go to the spa at the JW resort (it’s cheaper). We didn’t splurge for the adult children, but I think they still had fun coming back to the RC for breakfast.

The property is situated up on a hill overlooking Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and the other desert cities. It was actually great to be off away from the busier Memorial weekend crowds. The weather was unusually cooler all week in Southern California, which was great for our trip. Cooler meaning it was in the 90s in the desert. Our room was next to the adult pool which meant less kids and more lounging. Our room had a patio, a fire pit, and a deep soaking bath tub that I made a point to enjoy!

The service was the highlight of the property. Everyone went out of their way to be friendly and helpful. It was an exceptional customer service experience. Service like laying out towels on the longer chairs before you sit down by the pool. At check in, spending 15 min showing us the map of the property, getting ice for the wine we had brought, and putting our luggage away for us. There were a lot of kind greetings and helpful staff.

Our dinner was on the property at State Fare. We had great service and everyone loved their food. I was bummed that they had run out of the specific vegetarian meal on the menu. I got pasta primavera and it was decent. But most of all, I had great company and felt very grateful for my husband, my kids, and my friends.

My friend Kristin said she felt so grateful for our weekend trip to the desert. I told her she deserved to relax. She answered by saying that there are so many people who work hard and deserve it, so she knows she is lucky. And it’s true. We are very lucky to have been able to have a weekend like this.

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Self Care Saturdays

When I was planning my transition out of my weekend job, I started thinking about taking some time for myself. It was something I started calling self care Saturday. I usually left for work at 0540 in the mornings on Saturday and finished up at three in the afternoon. I realized I was pretty tired on the weekends. Most days, I took a 15 minute nap when I got home.

But when I found another job during the week, I was able to plan leaving my weekend job. At the same time I had been thinking about how I needed to take care of myself. On a weekend that my daughter was home from college, she and I got some face masks to do one Saturday. I also bought some tea treat oil and started doing a foot soak on Saturdays. Sitting in my back yard for 15 minutes with my feet soaking in warm water with the smell of tea tree oil is really relaxing.

I have also started a exercise routine with my running buddy, Teddy. I drag myself out because I know it makes me feel better. It helps my mood. And I know there is tons of evidence that exercise is beneficial for your mood, but sometimes I really forget how true it is.

I really want to continue this kind of self care into my 40s. I’d like to do more things to honor myself and my time instead of watching TV or scrolling through the internet. What are you doing for self care? Do you have a routine?

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One Last Foot In

I mentioned last post, I have 3 jobs. One is on the weekend. It’s teaching nursing. But I am about 2 weeks away from being done with nursing. In fact, today I took my stash of scrubs from the job I had for 8 years and put them in the goodwill pile. I decided I don’t have to hang onto them just in case.

I have a hard time explaining to people why I changed careers. It seems confusing to everyone, even though it makes sense for me. I liked helping people. I was good at it. But nursing wasn’t my passion. It wasn’t my dream job. It was something I did because, I needed a job, I was good at math and science, and I liked helping people. I don’t resent it. Even my therapist was like, but why did you quit.

Because I want to pursue things I have loved for my whole life that are not a part of nursing. Words. Language. Writing. Literature. Critical analysis of all of the above.

It’s kind of scary leaving an economically stable field like nursing. Union wages. Hospital benefits. Yearly raises. Teaching adults is a field of mostly part time jobs, which is why I have 3. Hopefully this year I can whittle that down to one.

Menu Highlights from NYC

When we went to France, I wrote about this realization I had about the food. More specifically the cafes. Prior to the trip, I would see articles or pictures of cafes on corners in France and I would make a mental note of it. Because I imagined when I was in Paris, I would eat there. When I got to Paris, I realized those cafes were pretty much on every corner. And with that volume of cafes, I didn’t need to remember specific ones. There was good food in so many places. It turned out to be a choice of which good food we would eat in which neighborhood on a particular day. 

In large cities, like Paris or Los Angeles, there is no shortage of good food. And there is also some amazing food and some crappy food. I think we tend to worry, especially with social media these days, that we will end up with crappy food if we don’t go to the places that instagrammers or bloggers tell us to go to. But there is still so much good food. 

In New York, I didn’t end up at most of the places I wrote down as recommended by other people. But I ate so much. And some of it was amazing, a lot of was good, and a few things were meh. And I didn’t even scratch the surface. So next time you’re in a big city. Don’t worry if you miss momofuku or that amazing tiny food truck everyone said was THE best. You will still be able to eat well.

Things I loved in NYC

Irving Farm Coffee

I always enjoy a good coffee, in Grand Central, you can get some at Irving farms

Little Collins

Still loving the avocado toast fad, and along with my amazing latte, this was a good stop on our first day in the city.

The Russian Tea Room

The Russian Tea room was totally worth it. We did the pre-theater meal and enjoyed every course including this delicious dessert. This was a highlight of my trip. The great service, the good company, amazing food and topping it off with Fiddler on the Roof! Perfect.

Urbanspace Vanderbilt 

Loved this market near our hotel with all Brooklyn based companies selling yummy foods. 

Ferrara

Sometimes you gotta do the touristy thing and line up for cannoli. 

Laudaree


Also, I love a little Paris if I can get it. And I tried their financiers to compare to my homemade ones. I decided that I did a good job. 

And that isn’t even everything we ate. We had Shake Shack (the line was insane-the line for seating crazier), Magnolia bakery (too dry) ate Mexican food at the Chelsea Market (not authentic quesadillas ) and more. But even the food that wasn’t the best wasn’t crappy.