Lifestyle

I Hope You Are All Doing Great!

By Cheryl Ryan

We’re in that busy time of year.  No, it’s not the holidays but it is busy. It’s that time when everyone is scheduling those final end-of-summer events and we’re all trying to squeeze in those activities that we didn’t get to before school and fall sets in. And we here at Zest & Aplomb are no exception.

Gwen Dawkins is just wrapping up her epic Mt. Whitney hiking adventure and I cannot wait to hear all about it. She will be sharing with all of us soon.

I just finished my first ever backpacking trip and am heading to my daughter’s wedding.  I hope to share that with you all as well.

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Lifestyle

Hurry Up And Live Your Summer – Before Fall Comes Knocking

By Cheryl Ryan

I hope your summer is going swimmingly!  Speaking of swimming, the Olympics are happening. I was getting impatient looking for my favorite events and then I found this live event schedule with daily highlights so that I can get right to the good stuff that I want to see.

I may be the only one that didn’t embrace the redecorate your home during the COVID movement. I actually took the opportunity to do nothing since nobody was coming into my house anyway. But now my house is in desperate need of some care before the holidays hit. As inspiration, I’ve been checking out these 2021 colors trends. And while searching for colors I stumbled upon this cool list of Etsy home decor and antique suppliers. I’m especially smitten with the Retro Daisy Girl and White Wall Sconce shops. 

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Wellness

Hiking In The City — Sightseeing And Exercise All In One

By Gwen Dawkins

Hopefully, you read my previous post about my Prepping To Hike Mt. Whitney. We are less than a month away from our trek up the highest peak in the continental US, and we continue to hike, hike, hike. Most of the time, we are out in nature, climbing hills and mountains. But somebody made the suggestion of “hiking” around San Francisco. We LOVED it!

In fact, this was the only long hike we’ve done (20-ish miles) that seemed to fly by. We decided that it must be because there was something new and exciting to see around every corner. We also ditched our hiking poles and stuck to sneakers instead of hiking boots. As a result, we were lighter on our feet and minds. 

We absolutely wanted to include some of San Francisco’s famous staircases in our route and some tourist stops like “the most crooked street in the world,” Lombard Street.

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Travel

Oakland Just May Surprise You

By Cheryl Ryan

California is a large, diverse state with so much to see. From coastlines, forests, deserts, urban cities and agricultural towns I know I’ll never see all of it. But I can share the little bit that I do see along the way.

I’m only an hour from my daughter’s home in Oakland but our neighborhoods are wildly different. I live in a buttoned-up suburban town at the base of mountains leading to Santa Cruz beaches.  Oakland is an urban city originating at the San Francisco Bay waters. These waters are host to the fifth busiest seaport in the US. It then winds along Lake Merritt, through downtown and spreads across neighborhoods and parks culminating in the steep Oakland Hills. The vistas from these hills offer spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline and Bay Bride all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The average temperature range is 44 to 75 degrees. It is a short BART ride, part of which runs under the bay, to the center of downtown San Francisco.

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Wellness

What Happens During A Bone Density Test?

By Gwen Dawkins

Have you had a DEXA or bone density test? Women’s health professionals advise getting one at approximately age 65 (men at age 70) and older to track bone strength/density over time. But, of course, if you’ve had broken bones or a family history of osteoporosis, sooner is better. Because I already know that I have osteoarthritis in my knees and have lost at least one and a half inches in height, I got mine at age 58. And guess what? I already have mild bone loss.

I had a DEXA Scan a few weeks ago. It’s just another one of those things I hadn’t gotten around to doing. But it was quick, easy and painless.

The X-ray machine arm hovers over your lower spine and hips, beaming low level radiation to measure bone density in the center of your skeleton. Other bones such as knees, legs and arms may be scanned as well.

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Create

Summer Time And the Livin Is Yummy…

By Cheryl Ryan

My first summer harvests are coming in hot!  Last year, the squirrels got every single peach and I was ready to go Caddyshack on them. But for some unknown reason, they don’t care this year. It’s Squirrels zero and me with all the peaches.

So now I’ve got to figure out what the heck to do with them. Because of my obsession with homesteaders, especially @ruthannzimm, I’ll be trying my hand at canning. Then I can whip up a peach pie whenever I want all winter long. But before that, I’ll be making all the good fresh peach stuff, like this roasted corn and peach salad, this peach bruschetta and maybe even this peach cobbler.

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Lifestyle

Cake, facials and some 4th Of July fun

By Cheryl Ryan

In case you missed it Wasabi wins big!!

While riding my Peloton, for the first time in weeks, the woman coaching the class reminded us to cherish our blessings.  Then she asked us whether or not we hang on tight to our blessings. After a long pause, she asked, “Or do you share them?” I love this so much. I had immediately gone to yes, of course, I need to hang on tight to my blessings but then realized how much better it would be if we all shared them. 

Did you know…that Sephora offers free hydrating facials with a $75 dollar purchase of products at participating locations? As anyone who has ever shopped at a Sephora knows you can drop $75 in a nanosecond which makes this a pretty sweet deal. You just let them know the type of products you’re interested in (I like natural products) and they’ll use those during your facial. It’s a great demo and exfoliating opportunity. 

And if you are pulling together your 4th of July party (because we can) here are some recipes. This flag cake and these salads all look delish.

Fleeting moments that make me happy: driving with my music cranked up high (there may be some bad singing involved), when a family of turkeys unexpectedly crosses the road and we all stop until they’re safely across, when I’m outside and a chance breeze demands my attention — reminding me to pause and breath it in.

What makes you happy?  I hope you have many happy, fleeting moments this week!

Travel

Prepping To Hike Mt. Whitney –– Hope, Grit, & Dark Chocolate will get me there!

By Gwen Dawkins

Hiking Mt. Whitney has been on my bucket list for a while — for 20 years to be exact — but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Either I couldn’t find people to commit to it, or didn’t win a permit in the lottery, or missed the narrow permit window entirely, blah, blah, blah. My friend Deb and I share the Mt. Whitney goal, and this year, we are determined to make it happen! In our quest to try new things, do big things and celebrate our girl power we decided to make it a girls’ trip. We put the opening day for the permit lottery on our calendars and asked a few friends whom we thought could and would want to do it. We applied and won permits for the first week of August. And now seven of us are committed and excited! And nervous. Be careful what you ask for.

Mt. Whitney is the highest mountain peak in the continental United States. At 14,505’, Mt. Whitney takes the top spot among close competitors Mt. Ranier, Washington (14,411’) and Pikes Peak, Colorado (14,115’). Of course, Alaska’s Denali takes the cake in the U.S. at 20,310’ — but, you know, that’s in Alaska.

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