The Most Important Item in your Home

Friday, October 31, 2014

When I began to stock my house full of what  I thought were essentials, I didn't realize the most important thing I need in my house until one fateful day at the Dry Bar. I was thoroughly enjoying myself; I had sparking limeade in hand, Legally Blonde was on the TV and I was flipping through the pages of Vogue all simultaneously getting my hair blown out to look gorgeous! Then, this girl came out of the bathroom with this panicked look on her face. She stood there awkwardly, blocking the door yet trying to get someones attention. She found the manager and embarrassingly tried to explain the situation in the lowest possible voice but without too many gory details. "The toilet... clogged... I didn't.. It won't flush... overflowing..." The lady politely told her it's fine she'll handle it and the girl sauntered back to her seat, trying not to draw attention to herself.

I thought to myself how I would handle the situation. I came to the conclusion that I would plunge that mother until the situation fixed itself, or I would run far far away. Then I thought, what if I was at someones house, and the toilet was clogged, what would I do. It's very embarrassing to let someone know that you clogged their toilet and you need help. Essentially showing them what you just did in private. Awkward!That's when I realized the most important item you have in your home is a plunger, it will save you and your guests from some quite mortifying moments.

What do you think the most important item in your home is?

xColl

Renter Insurance... Is it worth it?



I moved into my post-college apartment almost a year ago in December. I was eager, nervous, and excited because this was going to be the first time I had an apartment all to myself. Having some interesting roommate situations, I thought it was best to take the chance and skip the Craigslist stranger. The day I was supposed to move into my apartment my whole family and I headed to my storage unit to begin the moving process. We park the moving van, climbed out and headed to my storage unit. With pure excitement I rustled through my bag to find my keys and am ready to unlock my lock but the storage unit that I thought was mine, didn't have my lock on it. So I tried a few more locks just in case I was crazy and was at the wrong unit. Still didn't work. I headed to the management and said there is another lock on my unit. I sat there antsy, signing papers to authorize someone to cut the deadbolt. Asking why there is another lock on my unit. This man with bolt cutters escorted me back to my unit where he proceeded to chomp away at the lock. He took off the lock and I rolled up the door and my heart stopped beating. Everything was gone. Absolutely everything. I, of course, immediately burst into tears and ran to the office. I shouted that everything was gone, and asking a million questions. Did you foreclose my unit? I've been on auto-payment. Wouldn't you have contacted me? Everything was stolen and I wasn't getting it back. This extremely nice police women informed me that are "professionals" (more like horrible people) who do this for a living. They steal from others because they think they deserve what I worked extremely hard for. I was heartbroken and felt absolutely violated.

 I never understood why I had rental insurance until later that day. I have an amazing mom who always thinks, plans ahead and is very organized. Turned out my mom never cancelled my renters insurance and it covered the loss of items in a storage unit. I was able to replace almost everything that I has accumulated over the years in college. The $500+ a year I was paying for renters insurance covered $10,000 worth of the stolen property. I was able to purchase the necessities, like a bed, table, kitchen supplies to get me on my feet, but unfortunately some personal items like pictures etc were lost.

Here are some tips to protect yourself in the future when storing items;
1. Buy Renters Insurance - I know this is obvious - worth the money ten-fold.
2. State the Replacement Value - When buying insurance and you are asked what the value of your items are, be sure to say the replacement value! Not the depreciated value. - For example, if you bought a bed for $800 5 years ago, say it is worth $800 even though if you were to sell it you would only get $200  because to get the same bed it would cost you $800.
3. Document prized possessions  - I never thought taking pictures of my cat would be so beneficial. Most people rarely take pictures of their couches, dressers, tables etc. When trying to document what was stolen, I searched though all of my pictures and because of that stinking cute cat I had pictures of my bed, my dresser, my desk, my bookshelves, my table, my expensive upholstered chairs etc. Also, thanks to instagramming photos of my food, I was able to document my dinner plates! After you get settled into a new place, or currently living somewhere. Take date stamped photos of your possessions, and make a list of documented items, and save them to a cloud. This can come in handy if there are any disasters or theft.
4. Keep prized possessions close - Growing up with 2 sisters, I was very territorial about my stuff since it seemed to disappear and re-appear on them two weeks later. When I was packing up my room before storing it at the storage unit, I actually thought "what if my stuff gets stolen" (I always watch Storage Wars and often play worst case scenarios in my head). I packed up all of my electronics, most personal mementos, and all jewelry or anything extremely expensive.
5. Take a Photo of what is in your storage unit.
6. Minimize the clutter and items you would store
7. Pay a friend to store your items (up to 6 months seems appropriate).

To this day, I believe renters insurance was and is a great investment. After this eye opening experience, I am happy I had myself covered.

Do you have renters or homeowners insurance?

xColl

image via

Maple Water - The New Coconut Water?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I just recently hopped upon the coconut water train after a few previous experiences temporarily scarred me. Now with the fad is in full force in my fridge, my ears perked up when I heard about maple water. As you may know, I am a sugar addict and I am not biased when it comes to what type of sugar item I am being offered - I will accept them all. The thought of maple water doesn't sound appealing to me. Maple syrup? Yeah, I am guilty of pouring some onto a spoon when I have a  a sugar craving. I also will eat a spoonful of sugar, but that's a side note and yes I know, I have issues.



After researching Maple Water this is what I found out, when you tap a maple tree, maple syrup does not come out. I feel pretty stupid because I expected to one day go to Vermont and open my mouth under a spile of insanely fresh maple syrup and thoroughly enjoy myself. Turns out that dream is now crushed.  What actually comes out looks a lot like water but is actually a more thinner/liquid sap. In order to change the thin liquid sap to the delicious pancake topper, one must boil down the properties to remove the excess water concentrating it into a syrup. 

How does the water and the sap get mixed together and why doesn't this happen to other trees? The tree harvests its water from the ground and brings it up. All trees produce sap and that usually occurs when the tree is injured (like when you stick a spile into it) or pruned. However, not all sap is sweet, but some sap can be used for beer!

I really wonder what the health benefits are do drinking diluted maple syrup. People claim that thyroid, bone strength, anti inflammatory, increase absorption of vitamins and magnesium are some of the benefits. Do I really believe them? No. 

I think it's safe to say this fad is just a fad. Until I see other studies showing the benefits of maple water, I'll  continue to drink plain water and coconut water.




Daytime Travels to Point Reyes Station, CA

Monday, October 27, 2014


My boyfriend and I were in North Marin one weekend when our previous engagement ended early; it was one heck of a trek to get here and we decided we needed to make the trip worth it. After a turning down my multiple requests to go wine tasting we decided to drive to the Lagunita's Brewery and go beer tasting. Unbeknownst to me, I happened to get us lost, like really lost. We opted to get some local fair at the closest town.

After a half hour of driving we ended in Point Reyes Station. Our first stop was to get him a beer (to cope with my bad sense of direction) at the local, oldest, and only bar; The Old Western Saloon. (Other places in PRS serve alcohol, but they also serve food; so to me, it doesn't qualify as a "bar".)

Front door, hasn't changed for years.


 This bar was full of characters, relics of rowdy nights, and pieces of history. Did you know (probably not, why would you?) that Prince Charles came to this pub with Camilla? I like to think we sat in the same seat, but I tend to be delusional. Check out this old register! When stopping here, chat with the bartender for some old history about the bar and the area. Don't forget to order a local IPA!


Our next stop was an absolute mandatory and frankly a staple in my house; Cowgirl Creamery.

Holy smokes this cheese is amazing! Go up to the cheese counter and ask for samples (there is no limit, but you may need to take a number and wait). They have all sorts of cheeses ranging from goat to cow, from hard to soft, from stinky to not stinky. Whatever your preferences are, they have it! My favorite is Mt. Tam but Red Hawk comes in at a close second. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
I'd like to take all of these home, please!

Point Reyes is a great place to bring the family and spend the day. Fun activities, fun places to see and great history. You can even head over to the light house! It's a little bit of a hike but the view is worth it. We didn't go this time but I have gone in the past with my family. You'll love it! Find all the information about visiting here!

xColl

Nekter Juice Bar's 4th Birthday

I love to celebrate birthdays, the fun, excitement, happiness its all contagious. Today is Nekter Juice Bar's 4th birthday and they are celebrating their birthday with a discounted 1 Day Cleanse! I know a juice cleanse can seem a little daunting but it really isn't that bad. I have already completed Pressed Juicery's Cleanse and it was a breeze! The day after I felt slimmer, healthier, and my skin felt amazing!

The downside to juice cleanses is the affordability factor. I can't justify spending $50 for 1 day's worth of juice; that is 1/3 of my grocery budget for the month! 

I can't tell you how ecstatic I was to see that Nekter is putting their 1 day cleanse on sale for $40! I mean, it's still expensive, but it's more reasonable.

For $40 you get 6 juices, you can either choose the classic cleanse or the advanced cleanse.
The classic is meant to reset your body, remove toxins and curb the sugar cravings, the advanced uses beets to clean the blood and ginger lemonade to remove even more toxins. Your caloric intake does not vary as much between the two cleanses, but you are sure to feel like a new girl the next day!

Still nervous about cleansing? Check out these links;

Head over to Nekter Juice Bar and use code "Nekter4" at checkout to receive the discount. Can't wait to buy mine!




{images c/o Nekter Juice Bar}

6 Ways to Manage Work Related Stress

Have you ever been so stressed out at work where you feel like you kind of just want to quit and walk dogs all day? Lately, I've had my fair share of work blues. I'm exhausted, occasionally unmotivated, incredibly stressed, and dropping the ball on some tasks. Granted, one of the reasons is attributed to the fact that I cannot say no, but I've been working on it. I decided to share the top 5 ways I have, and am currently using to battle these work blues.

1. Talk to your Boss
I know this is hard, especially if you are not close with your boss. I work far too many hours to not be close with the people I work with. Frankly, I wouldn't enjoy my job if I didn't like and trust the people I work with. When I am too overloaded, I explain what I am going through. I actually cried once, haha, but I explained what I am feeling. Usually, if approached correctly, they are very receptive. I explained that I feel like I am not crossing anything off my todo list, and that incredibly frustrates me. I like to work on a task and get it done, and cross that off my list. That accomplishment is a great feeling, however, I often get sucked into the 200 e-mails that come to me before 4pm.

2. Prioritize
Some stressful and hectic days, I make my list and prioritize. Once I do my own prioritizing, I run it by my boss and see what he needs and adjust my list from there

3. "Treat yo self"
My usual lunch spot is at my desk. Pathetic, I know, but I feel like I need to stay in and get it done. Which, I guess can be honorable, but there are many days where I don't go outside from 6am to 5pm. It's not healthy and really gets me down. I started to treat myself to a walk to grab a latte, a trip to the mall (I try not to buy anything),  grabbing lunch with co-workers, and even sometimes massages etc. I know those add up but sometimes you just need that mental break!

4. Have Fun
I am pretty sure people would categorize me as someone who is pretty much upbeat a majority of the time at work. Laughing at work usually helps reduce stress and makes me enjoy being there. I often like to listen to funny clips, watch a youtube video or two or just joke around with a coworker.

5. Don't Take Work Personally
Do your best, don't take it personally. I struggle with this but I tell myself this constantly.

6. Find an Outlet
I find that if I workout 3 times a week, I generally can regulate my emotions and feelings a lot better than when I am stressed. This really helps me stay sharp and awake so I can tackle any task!

{image c/o huffington post}

Water Challenge

Day 1
Now that the fall is officially here in the Bay Area, I have started to notice that my hands are drier than usual. While I have found an amazing hand creme (found here), I realized I need to start nourishing my body from the inside out. I decided to take a challenge to drink at least 85 oz of water every day for the next month. Not only will this help with my weight-loss, but the theory is that it will help benefit my skin in ways I've never experienced before.

Now I don't want to change too much in my routine, as to limit the variables that could possibly contribute to  beautiful health skin but my action plan is as follows. 
1. Aim for being half way done with daily intake by lunch.
2. Find great alternatives to just plain water (infused or tea)
3. Limit the alcohol intake as that will only dehydrate you
4. Take before and after pictures
5. Note changes in my body, skin and mood
6. Be Positive!

I'm a little nervous as this may require me to have access to a bathroom at all times which can be hard on a construction site, but I can do it!

I'll post photos later this week. I can't wait to see the difference!

xColl

12 Weekend Habits of Highly Sucessful People

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wow, I love this article. Usually articles that contain lists don't have much substance but I think everyone can take a few things from this article.

Next weekend, I'll get up early and be active. I'll see if I can knock out all 12 and start making them my own habits in the next few weeks.

Find the article here!

Benefit Advent Calendar

The Christmas season is rapidly approaching, I am beginning to think about Christmas presents, holiday fashion and the countdown to Christmas morning. I'm a big fan of advent calendars, as a child I was often deprived of a daily chocolate because my mother felt that I was too hyper without the small piece.

Benefit came out with an alternative to the traditional chocolate countdown, and this made me even more excited for the holiday season!

In your advent calendar you will find;

- 0.25 oz “That gal” brightening face primer 
- 0.25 oz the POREfessional pore minimizer 
- 0.08 oz Benetint cheek and lip stain in Rose 
- 0.08 oz High beam liquid highlighter 
- 0.08 oz Chachatint lip and cheek stain in Sheer Mango 
- 0.08 oz Posietint lip and cheek stain in Poppy Pink 
- 0.04 oz Stay flawless foundation primer 
- 0.1 oz They’re real! mascara 
- 0.22 oz Ultra plush lip gloss in Dandelion 
- 0.22 oz Ultra plush lip gloss in A-lister 
- 0.22 oz Ultra plush lip gloss in Fauxmance 
- 0.14 oz BADgal lash mascara 
- 0.08 oz Stay don’t stray concealer and eye shadow primer in Light/Medium 
- 0.1 oz Fakeup concealer in 02 Medium 
- 0.1 oz It’s potent! eye cream 
- 0.3 oz Total moisture facial cream 
- 0.08 oz Ooh la lift eye cream 
- 0.08 oz Watt’s up! highlighter 
- Beauty sticky notes 
- Doodle pad 
- Heart-shaped paperclips 
- Pinky, polka-dot hair tie 
- Elastic hair band with bow charm 
- Metallic silvery hair tie


Purchase here!

The TMI Blogger

1: What are you wearing? Skinny Jeans and a purple T
2: Ever been in love? Yes
3: Ever had a terrible breakup? Ha only one, but it was terrible.
4: How tall are you? "but only if she five-three." - sir mix-a-lot
5: How much do you weigh? Just as much as I should.
6: Any tattoos? nope
7: Any piercings? One in each ear.8: OTP? (one true pairing) - uhm pass 
9: Favorite show? I Love Lucy and The Office
10: Favorite bands? Frank Sinatra, Spice Girls, Beach Boys to name a few
11: Something you miss? My grandpa

12: Favorite song? "Baby Got Back"
13: How old are you? 25
14: Zodiac sign? Pisces

15: Quality you look for in a partner? Someone who makes me laugh, pushes me to be a better person, and is a constant support.
16: Favorite Quote? "There are no strangers, just friends we haven't met."
17: Favorite actor? Reese Witherspoon and Lucille Ball... Probably forgetting someone
18: Favorite color? Pink, duh.
19: Loud music or soft? Depends on the mood.
20: Where do you go when you're sad? My bed and watch The Office
21: How long does it take you to shower? Probably 10-15 minutes
22: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? 30 minutes to an hour. Depends how slow I'm moving. 
23: Ever been in a physical fight? Not really.
24: Turn on? Humor

25: Turn off? Rudeness and liars
26: The reason I started a blog? Creative Outlet
27: Fears? food poisoning
28: Last thing that made you cry? Work!
29: Last time you said you loved someone? 10 minutes ago
30: Meaning behind your Blog Name? My family Calls me "Coll" and I couldn't think of a creative one.
31: Last book you read? Meh, does a picture book count? I know I gotta step it up.

32: The book you're currently reading? I've been "currently" reading "8 Ways to manage stress" for 8 months.
33: Last show you watched? The Office

34: Last person you talked to? My boyfriend 
35: The relationship between you and the person you last texted? I've known her since I was 5
36: Favorite food? Pizza, Thai, or Sushi
37: Place you want to visit? Ireland
38: Last place you were? The market
39: Do you have a crush? Dating him.
40: Last time you kissed someone? 10 minutes ago
41: Last time you were insulted? Not sure.
42: Favorite flavor of sweet? Vanilla or Watermelon
43: What instruments do you play? I used to play the electric bass and the piano.

44: Favorite piece of jewelry? My diamond pave cross over ring from David Yurman and my 1/2 marathon Tiffany necklaces.
45: Last sport you played? Marathon-ing.... does that count?
46: Last song you sang? Title by Megan Trainor
47: Favorite chat up line? I just start talking
48: Have you ever used it? Nope

49: Last time you hung out with anyone? Right now!
50: Who should answer these questions next? Anyone!


Post links to your answers! I'd love to get to know you better!
xColl

Nike Women's Half Marathon

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Well folks, I did it. I ran my second half marathon. I was really worried about the race this year because I didn't train as much as I wanted to. When I first got the notification that I would be running, I was stoked. I immediately went for a 3 mile run, mind you, I wasn't running before I got that e-mail. So true to what happened last year, I got shin splints again. I took 6 weeks off to recover and focused on yoga. Unfortunately, shin splints are a b!tch, are incredibly painful, and take a long time to go away.  I believe mine were attributed to;
1. Not stretching - as I get older I found that I need to stretch more, the young muscles aren't as elastic as they once were. Still, I don't like stretching.
2. Dramatic increase of mileage - Since shin splints are common for me, I really should have taken my time with the increase in mileage. Just because I can run 3 miles, doesn't mean I should. Kind of counter intuitive but oh well.
3. Bad shoes - I got these custom insoles and I think that really attributed to the pain I felt while running.
4. Running on pavement - I should have occasionally ran on a track or grass as the hard surface isn't always ideal.

How I survived the race
I am crediting the success of the race to my KT Tape. This tape worked wonders! I taped my shins and calves prior to running and I have to say, oh my gosh did it help! I am not 100% sure about the science of this KT tape but rumor has it it slightly lifts up your skin so more blood can access the muscles. Regardless of how it works, it just works! I also like to thank my corral 10:00 to 10:59 for pushing me to keep running! Without people running past me, I would have kept walking.  Lastly, I would like to thank my body, I knew we had the endurance to run 13.1 miles but way to go legs for getting me up the hills and not giving up on me!

How I Feel
During the race I had a few pains, one being my hip flexor. I often stopped along the race to stretch that out, which REALLY helped. I don't feel sore in that area anymore. My three middle toes on my left foot sometimes get a sharp pain, not sure if its a stress fracture or plantar faciitis, but I am still watching it to this day. I was really lucky this year when it came to blisters. I felt a blister at mile 4 and got mole skin at mile 7.5, which was probably too late. Right now I am still in some pain as that blister is kind of on the ball but underneath my foot. Definitely no fun! The socks I bought specifically for this race really helped me as they were very cushioned.

After I got home from the race I took a cold cold ice bath. That was painful but I really think it helped my muscles recover. Also, Tiger Balm for the win! Still using it each day before I go to bed to help relax my muscles.

It's been 4 days since my race and my calves are still pretty tight and sore. I haven't started running yet, but I think today I'll muster up the courage to go on a nice walk after work. Moving around really helps!

With this experience being better than my last half marathon, I am already thinking about signing up for my next. I am planning on signing up for Oakland's Disneyland's and Sonoma to Napa, but we'll see what happens!

My Finishing Time!

Golden Gate Peaking Out at Marina Green

My Friends and I Before the Race

My Results!



Urban Hiking in San Francisco

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Over Labor Day Weekend, I was up in San Francisco visiting my friends. I don't get to play tourist that much, or, if at all especially since I grew up on the other side of the Bay Bridge. Prior to this past weekend, I had never been on a SF tour bus, only been to Alcatraz twice (first time was at age 13), have only ventured to Angel Island once, and have never even walked across the Golden Gate. I went through a point where I was sick of San Francisco and just needed to get away. The "hype" was over for me; most likely attributed to the 1:30 round trip commute to SF to just go to high school. Since I have moved back to the Bay Area (a year and a half ago), I definitely do not take the Bay Areas beauty for granted. I can't wait to explore more.

I've spent this past summer going on urban hikes through the city. My friends and I even went on that duck boat tour! It was a little corny but still fun.

Here are some pictures from my urban hikes and some must stops spots if you decide to take your own. I'll be sure to add more to this series so you can continue your exploration!


View of the Bay Bridge from Coit Tower

Coit Tower

The original Irish coffee at The Buena Vista

View along Marina Green 


Old Archway leading to a park

Ferry Building and Coit Tower


Old ship deck where they repair ships

U.S.S 

"A Rebel Within"  from Wolves and Craftmans! Best Breakfast Ever!

More Adventures of San Francisco Urban Hiking to Come! Check out my other Bay Area posts!
Let me know if you have other recommendations or requests of cities you'd like to see!
xColl