Friday, February 13, 2015

Its time for a Birthday!!

So today is Carlo's birthday. Wow, its been a long time and it certainly never gets boring. I think that is part of the magic, never let it get boring. Try to somehow keep things fresh and new... Explore different places, enjoy just being quiet with each other... learn from your mistakes and figure out how to move forward so those mistakes are never repeated.

Sometimes love is unspoken
Sometimes love is loud
Sometimes love is hard
Sometimes love is angry
Sometimes love is sad
Sometimes love is funny
But love is always fantastic

When I look at Carlo, I see a shining light of happiness, a beacon of friendship with a smile that could melt the ice caps. His beautiful eyes, full of life and emotion. His lust for life and new things. His curious nature, his drive to learn and to teach and to be open to new and different experiences.

One lesson I have learned over the last 6 years, the best revenge is to be loved and to love back. Its not about money as everyone goes through good and bad times, its about how you help each other get through those times that matter. When you have someone in your life, you can accomplish anything.

What we both learned what real triumph is...   being happy, healthy and successful. Of knowing what really matters, of knowing what true love is.

Carlo is an amazing person, always there for me, always my rock and always with a smile.

We have a love that is strong, a love that knows no boundaries. A love based on trust and mutual respect and intense friendship.  

So, I lift my glass tonight to the one and only Carlo!  Happy Birthday Babe!!!


PS: I got one....

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Urban life of Downtown Los Angeles - from the eye of an amateur street photographer

Carlo and I ventured to Little Tokyo recently for a great night of fun, food & laughter with family!  Since I was going to be down there anyway, I thought I would indulge in my new found past time of street photography.

I have come to love street scenes, the mood, capturing a moment and a feeling.  All these photos are unedited and exactly what I saw and felt at the time.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves and let the reader imagine what was going on at the time!  More to come soon!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Life, Love, Turning 41 & what really matters....

So, I turned 41 this week.  It is an awkward age.  40 seems to be the year everyone expects you to celebrate, 41 not so much.  To me, it feels like the beginning of the second act.  I guess that is good and bad - the second act is always much more exciting, as if I could stand any more "excitement..."  41 also marks the beginning of the end of a few terrible chapters of my life, so that is excellent.  The older you get, the more one reflects on what really matters.  I know for me it has taken a few kick's in the but to put me in the correct direction.  Those kicks have mainly come from Carlo, the one who keeps me grounded and one of the few people who were there for me at my darkest moments.  If there was ever anyone who ended up riding the bus once the Limo broke down, that is him.

He has got to be one of the most grounded, intelligent and perceptive people I know.  Leave it to him to let me know when I have fucked up, somehow always guiding me along the correct path. Carlo has put it all in perspective for me about what really matters after 40.  Its not fancy things, expensive dinners and big homes, its about family. Up until a few years ago, family was admittedly not the most important thing in my life. I had somehow lost my way and not realized that even though family is always there you must work on those relationships.  It is like a garden that needs water and care to grow.  These things just don't grow on their own.

I am proud to say that I have grown much closer to my Brother in recent years.  We finally see eye to eye and he now realizes how very proud I am of his immense accomplishments.  We have even begun to "hang out" on a regular basis.  Carlo and I ventured to Laguna Beach just a few weeks ago for dinner, drinks and a walk on the beach.  I love being able to talk to him about his most current project, his amazing gardening and his intense spirituality among other things  I am so proud of my Brother and his Girlfriend Conor and honored to have them as such an important part of our lives.  I look forward to having them both be an integral part of the next 41 years!

The most important part of our family is my Mom.  My Mom has always been there for us, through thick and thin.  Truly no matter what the issue she has always been there to lend a hand, or an ear....  Doing her best to not be too judgmental and never afraid to express her opinion.  I don't say it enough but I certainly admire and look up to her for her strength and character, her sense of adventure, her determination, her sense of humor and her business acumen.  She is beautiful beyond description and ages like a fine wine, only getting better.  When I get angry or upset and take it out on her, she just smiles and lets it roll off her back - an amazing trait in anyone. When people ask who my hero is or who I look up to, I no longer need to hesitate because the answer will always be her....  My Mom.  

The smiles in this photo tell the true story of love....

So, that is what 41 looks like...  Life, Love & family...  It's what really matters and sometimes we need a gentle (or more than gentle) push in the right direction because at the end of the day it's all we have.

My actual Birthday itself this year was filled with love and family.  Who in the world would drive 80 miles round trip to deliver flowers to me at work....  Carlo....  The love of my life.  He cooked me an amazing dinner and even baked a cake.  Honestly I had to dig through the trash because I had no idea he could bake a cake from scratch.  As you can see from the picture, I had the biggest genuine smile I've had in years.  Life just couldn't get any better at that moment... 

I still continue to work out 4 days a week.  Eating healthy and growing stronger and bigger (in the right way) every day.  In the last 2 months I am proud to say I have lost 3 inches in my waist, and have grown my arms from 14 inches to 16 inches - a huge accomplishment for me.  My BMI has come down, and my weight is steadily dropping as well.  I am very excited as to what the future brings, and if this is 41, I think I will take it!

So, from my love Carlo and myself - until next time!

Dont forget to check out my YouTube channel.   Much more music coming in the weeks ahead!!  And also, check out Carlo's amazing new website showcasing his amazing photography.  So very proud his pictures are so beautiful.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

From The Beautiful Town of Sedona

As I write this, I am sitting in front of a roaring fire in a beautiful rustic cabin nestled deep in the woods of Sedona Arizona.  The air is crisp and cool- perfumed with the familiar scent of the majestic Ponderosa Pine and the stately Arizona White Oak Tree.

I was ecstatic when we first started planning to take this trip.  Carlo, myself, Carlo's brother Gio & wife Krystle decided we were going to see what this "vortex" was all about.  We packed our bags, piled in the car, and started out on what would be an unforgettable road-trip.  We stopped at several places along the way enjoying the new sights and laughing non stop. 

My friends who love and respect me for who I am, not for who I've known or what I've done in life. If there is one thing I've learned in the last few years, true friends do not care what you have, or don't have - they care about you.  Friends I have lost over the years, were never friends to begin with. Quick to judge, to take sides, and to make fools of themselves. 

Sedona is an amazing location.  Gorgeous landscapes and colorful residents always willing to offer a kind "hello..." and offer up an interesting local anecdote.  We traveled to several of the popular vortex locations, and kept hearing the hardest one to get to was Cathedral Rock.  

Cathedral Rock is one of the most photographed sights in Arizona, soaring to a height of 4,921 feet.  It is considered a tough hike, short but very steep with patches of almost shear cliff side.  Although I am in the best physical shape I have been in years, to say I was a little apprehensive would be an understatement.

When we finally made it to the top of the great mountain the view from the top was breathtaking - figuratively and literally!!  The clouds had started to form and the the sun had started its long decent orchestrating the entire sky into a swirling mass of mandarin and deep purple.  The breeze cools my face and the smell of the desert pines is intoxicating.  Far off in the distance, one lone tree glowed like the brightest emerald you have ever seen.  It was almost as if this one tree was announcing to the world that we had made it - we were all alone at the top.  We came here to find the vortex of legend - and we came to find that and much much more.  The beauty around us was quietly exploding before our very eyes - and I began to realize this is what is sacred...  

As the old saying goes however, what goes up must come down and in this case going down was much more difficult than going up.  As you can see in the picture, there is almost no trail really, just a large crevice. But thanks to Carlo, my partner in crime - my best friend - and my partner, I made it down in one piece!! 

We were definitely sore the next day, but an experience like this happens once in a lifetime - as if all the stars were aligned and pointing us in the direction of amazement and discovery. 

Our trip is not over yet...  We still have many things to see, and tomorrow head to Jerome Arizona to experience a true "Haunted" town.  I will certainly update my blog to reflect our next adventure.  And thank you to Carlo Bautista for being the official photographer - and the biggest support I have!  

Carlo and myself say hello from Arizona!

I would like to end with my inspiration - Carlo - He said a most amazing thing to me... 

In the mountains there are only two grades: You can either do it, or you can't

"Don't fail now - fail tomorrow"

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Weekend adventure to Santa Barbara!

Spur of the moment trips can sometimes be the most fun!  Carlo and I decided to go on an adventure and take the train to Santa Barbara for the day.  I had not been on a long train trip for over 20 years, so this was going to be a lot of fun.

We set out early, on the 8:00 am train since it is a good 3 hour trip.  It was a great experience, taking the train.  No worries of driving, just sitting back and watching the scenery flash by your window.  The colors of the coast are always so beautiful, any time of day!

Santa Barbara is a great place to relax and walk around, however the weather is a little touch and go.  Most of the day, the weather was cool and overcast but perfect for walking around.  We started with a nice lunch and a walk along the pier.  The pier offers a leisurely stroll, and we watch the bird swoop down and the fishermen cast their lines - the salt air was crisp and clean, the white caps of the slight waves were visible for as far as the eye could see.

We decided to take a walk into town - looking at the stores along the way.  Everything and everyone so different in this town.  From the rich of Montecito to the homeless who are so prevalent as you walk the streets, talk about a melting pot.  We stopped at a few place, and I still marvel at being able to shop at a normal store and buy normal clothes off the rack!!  I even walked right buy a french bakery as the smell of baking bread wafted out the door - I saw the eclairs in the window the cakes and tortes piled high with whipped cream - and I passed them all up.  Before we knew it, it was time to meet up with a relative who lives close to the area.  We had drinks and shared lots of laughs which was nice.  If there is nothing I have learned in the last few years, family & friend is the most important thing.  Never forget that!

A quick look at the time, we knew we better head back to the train station.  While at the station, we ran into someone named Kate...  Well, to keep things suspenseful, I will devote an entire blog about Kate - and the heroism I saw displayed on this early evening.  We just had enough time to hop on the train for the long trip back. The bright sky which had been following us around all day had started to turn orange and then red as the sun was setting over the water.

A quick funny story....  Later at night, the Amtrak is able to travel at a higher speed (90+ MPH).  Carlo and I laughed that we were traveling so fast that we may be bending time and who knows what we may see once we stopped.  We had visions of Twilight Zone, and the Train to Willoughby...  Well, as the train pulls in, and the coach doors open, low and behold in front of us stood about 30 people waiting to get on the train - ALL in 1700 period clothing!!!!  Seriously, men and women decked out in their "finest" standing there.  Obviously, they had come from an even at Disneyland, but image our initial shock.... An amazing way to end an wonderful day!!  Cant wait for our next adventure!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Weekend Fun!!

We decided to head to Palm Springs for the weekend - do a little shopping, dinner & drinks.  It has been awhile since I have been to Palm Springs and I was a bit anxious about the trip.  We first hit the outlet stores where Carlo did some serious damage.  Its a  truly amazing feeling to be able to walk into a store and try something on - not a "Big & Tall" store.  But alas, after a few hours of shopping it was lunch time!  For lunch, we headed to Native Foods in Palm Springs.  Another terrific lunch at what is quickly becoming one of our most favorite places!  After lunch, we decided to hit some of the local "drinking establishments" which was interesting.  It was cool day in the desert but after a long day it was time to head home.

We both had such a terrific time, it allowed me to reflect on how fortunate I am!  Sometimes, we forget to thank those who are closest to us, people like Carlo, my Mom, My Brother and all my friends - I feel so blessed that people have stood by me trough thick and thin...  Sometimes I wonder, "how much more weirdness can they take" but they keep going.... and going.... And for that, I simply say "Thank you!"

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Vegan?? Me a vegan??

It's no big secret that I have a weight problem...  Although it's no excuse, it didn't help that I surrounded myself with people who embraced my size...  In fact, they did more than embrace it, they celebrated it - had parties about it, formed clubs because of it and have websites devoted to it.  I guess I never identified with those groups, not because I thought I was not heavy, but just because I didn't understand it.  Everyone wants to be wanted, but I certainly didn't want to be wanted because I was fat - that makes no sense.  I wasn't always huge, but I certainly had gotten out of control.

I have blogged before about depression, and why I started to loose weight, however after a certain period of time I started to remember what it was like to be healthy and feel healthy, and it started to feel good!  Although I had lost a good deal of weight (100 plus pounds) I still was not as healthy as I could be.  During an annual physical, I got a clean bill of health aside from my blood pressure which routinely ran around 200/110 - much too high.  The doctor surmised that it was a combination of stress, weight, food choices and genetics which were contributing to my blood pressure issue.  At that point, I made a decision that although I had lost a good deal of weight, I was still not living a healthy life - I drank too much coffee, too much soda, and ate all the wrong things.  

I started slowly at first, no soda, cutting back on the coffee, trying to not take stress so seriously...  and from there it just snowballed out of control - and that was a great thing!  I stopped eating read meat, and then stopped eating meat all together...  I cut back on cheese, and finally stopped that all together too.  And it was not easy but I do have to give credit where credit is due as my partner Carlo was the single biggest encouragement anyone could have asked for.  He is a vegan now as well, starting a bit before I did - and there was no one who was as supportive in this journey as he was.  

So now, its all about eating healthy, staying active, and not sweating the small (and big) stuff!  Life is just too short to be unhealthy and unhappy and certain too short to let specific people bother me.  Carlo and myself make it a point to search out the best options for us, and you would be very surprised at how easy it is to eat  like this.  This weekend, we went to a new place for us, Native Foods, and the food was amazing.  Who would have thought vegan food could taste so delicious and for those who may think they need animal protein to be healthy, do a little research and watch Forks Over Knives - it was a transforming experience.

So, today my blood pressure is more controlled and I feel better than ever!  I am going to start doing blog posts about the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle and I welcome you to join my in my journey!

Here is a sample of the delicious food at Native Foods - it's the "Chic'kan Run Ranch Burger" with Sweet Potato fries.  We ate at the Costa Mesa location, but there are several around Southern California.  Try it once, and I promise you won't be disappointed!