The Pursuit of Life

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Month: October 2015

The Pursuit of Healthy: Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco

Nike Womens 2


I didn’t grow up running, and didn’t start really until I was in my mid-twenties.  But one day I decided I’d start running, and after hours and hours and miles and miles of training, I’ve finally become a runner.  I sign up for races from time to time, to keep myself running because I certainly get burned out.

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The Pursuit of Wanderlust: The Biltmore Hotel in Miami

Biltmore 1

A weekend getaway is necessary from time to time.  It’s good for the health, for the imagination and for the soul.  If it can involve a little bit of luxury, all the better!  Our weekend getaways almost always involve the opposite of luxury, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  However, staying in a swanky hotel from time to time isn’t too bad either.  And it’s good for the beauty sleep in a way that sleeping in a tent will never be!

This weekend we headed on the red eye from San Francisco to Miami.  Some dear friends of ours got married Friday night and they were so kind as to choose The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables as the home base for all of the wedding guests.  What a treat it was to stay there, and I only wish we could have stayed longer.  It is a lovely hotel, with beautiful architecture and thoughtful touches that make it feel so much like a Mediterranean getaway.

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The Pursuit of Delish: Bundt Cake


I’ve never made a bundt cake before, but I’ve had the pan for years.  I love the shape of a bundt cake, and I love that the cake comes out looking the exact same way every time.  So when I needed to bring something over to a friend’s dinner party I thought I’d finally try it out.  Most bundt cake recipes call for buttermilk or milk, neither of which I had at home, so I searched around for a recipe that used Greek yogurt – a favorite of mine and staple in my fridge.  I found a recipe here and spiced it up with some blueberries that I had in the fridge and wanted to use.


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The Pursuit of Wanderlust: Fly Fishing in Patagonia Video


Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit. – Edward Abbey

To travel is an essential element of life.  It doesn’t have to be epic, cross the world, hop around from luxury hotel to luxury hotel kind of travel.  To see new places, meet new people, learn about other cultures and experience things that you would never be exposed to at home – these are surefire ways to open your mind and live with intention.  We travel often – many, many weekends out of the year are spent in little adventures around the west coast, but we also love to see the world when we can get away from work for a bit.  Our most recent big international trip was to Patagonia, and one of our favorite activities while we were there was a fly fishing float trip down the Caleufu River in Argentina, near Bariloche (which I mentioned briefly here).  After months of anticipation, R.Swig has finally put together a Go Pro video of that part of our trip! Read more

The Pursuit of Happy: Snail Mail

Who doesn’t love to get mail?  The real kind of mail, snail mail, the walk to your mailbox at the end of the driveway (or the lobby of your apartment building) kind of mail.  I think it’s programmed in us from a very young age to get excited about mail.  My nephew and niece are ecstatic when checking the mailbox.  It’s the anticipation that something good is in there.  Sadly enough, these days most of our mail is filled with junk mail, promotional flyers, piles upon piles of catalogs (stop sending me catalogs!), and bills.  Bills are the worst.  And so getting a nice note or a card or a postcard in the mail is such a treasure. One of the reasons that I love the months of November and December is because there is an influx of happy mail and holiday cards.  But it shouldn’t be limited to just the end of the year I think.
McDowell 1

love cards and stationary and letters and everything about personalized, happy little notes to remind people that you are thinking of them.  For our wedding a few years ago, I bought a little table top card holder and filled it with vintage postcards for people to sign in lieu of a guestbook.  I treasure the postcards, and you better believe I kept that cardholder.  And despite living in a small, oftentimes crowded apartment, I insisted that we keep the holder so that I can keep it stocked with cards and stationary.  Poor Ryan, it’s not exactly the decor that he would go for on top of the dresser in our bedroom.


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The Pursuit of Knowledge: Podcasts

I am somewhat technologically challenged.  I realize that sounds ridiculous: I live in the Bay Area epicenter of the tech world, I cut my teeth as a lawyer doing tech IPOs, and I spend probably 70% of my waking hours in front of a screen of some sort (yikes!).  But it’s true.  I have a love/hate relationship with technology.  So I was way late to the game in discovering podcasts.  Consistent with how I reacted initially to much of the technology that inundates our lives today (facebook, smart phones, you name it), I held out on adding another distraction to my life.  I gave in and finally downloaded the podcast app so that I could listen to Serial, which everyone was raving about.  But here’s the thing: podcasts are amazing!  Why did I wait so long?!  … Same thing my college roommate said when I finally signed up for Facebook.  So anyway, now I’m hooked.  I’m listening to podcasts on my walk to and from work, or on my bus ride if I get lazy and don’t walk to work, and basically any other time I’m walking or commuting somewhere, which is often.

For those of you out there who don’t like to read (I do not understand you but I will attempt to sympathize with you), or those of you with long commutes, or even those of you who get tired of TV and music at times, podcasts are a magical thing.  What I love most about podcasts is that they are such an easy and quick tool for learning new things.  I am that nerd who loved school because I love to learn new things.  Yep, that girl.  If I could go back to school I most certainly would but R. Swig has put the kibosh on that idea.  What a killjoy (just kidding – love you!).  So I will just have to satisfy my quest for learning new things, mostly random things, through reading and podcasts.  And podcasts are particularly wonderful if reading isn’t an option.

So, here are a few of my favorite podcasts lately:

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The Pursuit of Wanderlust: San Diego

For Labor Day weekend, we headed south to San Diego to visit one of my besties from law school and her husband, who have newly relocated from New York to San Diego – quite a change for them!  I haven’t ever been to San Diego, so I was looking forward to exploring a new part of California and looking forward to seeing two of our favorite people in their new home.  Lots of people have said that we’d love San Diego – it’s a bit of a mix of California and Florida, where we grew up.  While we were only there for a couple days, I’d say that I agree.  Beachy and laid back like Florida, but with California’s mountains and the Pacific that I love so much.

We drove all the way from San Francisco to San Diego – unfortunately not along the beautiful coast, but through the dusty middle of the state, down the 5.  Particularly dusty with the terrible drought we are in.  We of course brought our furbaby Coconut with us – if we can bring her somewhere, she always comes with us, and she loves a good roadtrip, especially if she can stick her head out the window.  The drive was long but not too bad and we were so happy to finally get there without too much traffic.


Coconut – the ultimate road tripper

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The Pursuit of Happy: Work

Let’s talk about work.  It’s something we all have to do (well, almost all of us, aside from those lucky few).  It is often the activity that we do more than any other activity in our day.  More than spending time with our families, children, friends, more than eating, more than any hobby that we have.  And even more than sleeping.  Yes, partner at my firm who shall not be named but who looked at me like I was insane when I said this:  I spend far more time each day in my office than I do getting the much needed sleep that will keep my brain functioning through that next turn of the merger agreement.  I often spend more hours in any given 24-hour period in my office than I do at all other places in the world outside of that building combined.

Our work/job/career (the name that you give it probably depends how you feel about it) is not only the activity that takes up the biggest part of our day, but it also often takes up the biggest part of our self identity. Our job sometimes [most times?] defines who we are and a huge portion of our self satisfaction, happiness and confidence comes from “what we do for a living.”  Within 10 minutes of meeting someone new, no matter who it is that you are meeting or in what context you have met them, they will almost always ask: so, what do you do?  We’ve all been there.  We all do it.  I am guilty of this just as much as anyone else.  And so with such a big chunk of ourselves wrapped up in our careers, why is it that so many people are not happy or satisfied with their work?  Is it that they like their job function, but don’t like the particular company or organization that they work for?  Or perhaps it is their co-workers, managers or bosses that they don’t like?  Or is it that so many people are simply working for the weekend?  Picking up that paycheck so that they can really live the lives that they love in the book ends of each work week?

The answer to that question, of course, will differ for everyone.  And certainly not everyone is unhappy with his or her job.  But in my circle of friends and in my professional circle, most people would and do report not being fully happy with or fulfilled by their work.

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