Friday, January 18, 2013

Take 18 - A New Year with New Toys !


Happy New Year to all of you ! And what a great year it will be if only for the fact that during the Holidays in Monterey (more on that later), I discovered the online game, Words with Friends. I knew of the game through the Alec Baldwin incident on a plane and all, but until I actually tried it, I hadn't experienced the thrill. Total disclosure ? I am lousy at it. Oh, I come up with great words but I am no strategist. David, on the other hand, is a great strategist, with simpler words.  So, most of the time I lose but still, I love the game and I am probably slightly addicted to it. Ok, totally addicted to it. I will keep at it and hopefully, I will improve and beat my husband at it.

So now on to Monterey. I know, at the risk of boring some of you to tears, we love our Golden Retriever, Taylor and we often plan our free time with him in mind. So this time we headed to Monterey (next to Carmel). While I would not recommend the hotel I chose (Mariposa Inn)  with creaky floors and a huge charge ($40 a night) to have Taylor stay with us, I highly recommend Monterey where your dog, large or small is welcome into almost all stores including Crate & Barrel, H&M, Pottery Barn and too many other stores to list here. I think it's wonderful to be able to go on short vacations and to include your dog. To walk the streets, stop for a coffee or a meal at a terrace, stroll parks and visit sites with your pooch is a great thing.

For Christmas I was given a Fitbit. Ok,  I asked for a Fitbit as a Christmas present and frankly, here is another thing that is totally addictive. Fitbit is a device that tracks all kinds of things you do from the number of steps you take, the calories you burn, the stairs you climb, etc. you clip it to your t-shirt or bra, you sync it with your laptop or pad or both and this way every day you get a full report of your physical activities. The aim is to reach or do better than 10,000 steps a day. Steps can be reached through walking, of course, but also if you are pedaling on a bike at the gym or if you are standing you can step, discreetly or not while you wait around, so why not step and be active. And while we are on the subject of fitness, I have joined a gym. A recent bone density test forced me to finally take the plunge. I had looked into joining a gym since I moved here to California but I was not satisfied with what I saw while visiting several places. I didn't want the usual muscle building factory. I wanted something better. So, one day,I came across Club One at Santana Row here in San Jose. OMG, I fell hard and with good reasons. Located on the third floor of a building in fantastic Santana Row, the elevator doors opened into a huge reception area with large windows that let the sun shine in. The place is clean and modern and looks more like a spa than a gym. The ladies' locker room is great with all you could need to get ready after your workout. Everything is supplied including cotton balls, Q-tips, mouthwash, body wash and lots more. This locker room also includes also includes a sauna and a steam room. There are loads of classes, the equipment is top of the line and at the time I go, there are no waiting lines for any machine. Anyway, what I'm getting at is, I started in mid-December and love going there. I believe the trick is, choose your gym carefully. Visit many and choose the best you can afford. This place isn't cheap, but if you love it you'll go. At least, that is my philosophy. It's simply a pleasure each time. The minute I walk in, you feel like getting on with business.  And did I mention the personnel is outstanding. Ok, enough on my wonderful gym !

To help you get through Winter, how about a warming drink ? This is Dr. Sanjay Gupta's favorite concoction and it's also good for your brain. I tried it and loved it.

Dr. Gupta's Creamy Turmeric Tea
(1 serving)

1 cup almond milk
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ginger
1 teaspoon Honey to drizzle on top

Pour milk in a saucepan and add the spices. Over medium heat and as the milk warms, whisk it all together. When milk is warm enough to drink and before boiling, pour into a mug. Drizzle honey on top.