What's brewing at California State Parks.

So there I was camping at the beach. I was freezing after a morning surf session. And then drives by the Camp Host yelling out, "Free coffee." The coffee wagon was sponsored by Yuban Pacific Coast Blend. They donate to the California State Parks and the camp host serves it.

Of course, being the interactive copywriter that I am, I went to the Yuban site to look up the blend. No mention. Apparently the Pacific Coast Blend is available only through office supply stores and commercial vendors. It gets some bad reviews too taste wise.

Maybe that's why they're giving it away for free.

Learning the value of water.

In support of Blog Action Day 2010 Water

Here in the paradise known as San Diego, we live in a desert, importing up to 80% of our water. Yet it’s easy to take water for granted.

You turn on the tap and water comes out. Right?

But would we use water differently if we had to go to a well and carry our water? I remember backpacking as a Girl Scout and planning how much water we would have to carry on weekend trips in the desert. The recommended amount for a strenuous trip was one gallon of water a day. But one gallon of water is eight pounds.

In many places of the world, fetching fresh water is the primary task of women and children. A 2000 report by the Asian Development Bank stated that of the 300 million people living in the Asia–Pacific region, one person out of three have no access to sources of safe drinking water within 200 meters (that's 655 feet) of their homes.

So the next time you want a nice workout, go fill up an empty milk jug with water, stick it in your backpack and then go walk around the block. Add in a couple of steep hills and you just might work up a sweat. And hopefully you’ll also gain a greater understand what many people have to do for the water we take for granted.

Here's a couple of ways how you can help conserve water:

Helpful tips on how to save water. San Diego Water Authority

Ways you can help protect our coastline and water supply.

Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Chapter

How to plant a native plant garden. Because green lawns are so overrated. The Water Conservation Garden, Cuyamaca College

The Power of a Creative Sabbatical: Off to New York City.

As creatives, it’s our job to remain fresh and creatively inspired. How do you do that? Hang out with other artists? Go see a new band? Take a new route to work? Spend your lunch hour browsing in a bookstore?

Well, how about closing up shop for two months and going to New York City with the sole intention of soaking up the atmosphere and working only on personal projects?

That’s exactly what photographer and HIVE resident Chaz Cruz is planning to do. For the last few years, Chaz has run a thriving portrait and wedding photography business and has developed a reputation for getting shots that no one else does.

“I always ask my clients what make you you? What makes you tick?” he explains. “And then try to capture that.”

But Chaz felt in need for a little creative rejuvenation so he’s planning a two-month sabbatical to New York. “For the last two years I’ve only shot people. For these next two months, I want to shoot everything but people and do totally personal work."

Chaz was inspired by a TED talk given by noted designer Stefan Sagmeister who proposes the concept of the creative sabbatical. Sagmeister says taking time off from work to explore new avenues of inspiration can have big pay-offs in the form of higher levels of creativity and a renewed passion for your work.

Chaz is excited about the next two months. “I’ve already contacted a lot of photographers that I want to meet for coffee. I’ve seen their work and just want to get insights into how they work.”

Spending time on personal project should be a liberating experience. “Right now I just want to go out and shoot for myself,” says Chaz. “I want to grow as a person and an artist. Then my business can catch up.”

We’ll look forward from hearing from Chaz and seeing some work from his time off.

You can follow Chaz’s New York adventures at @chazcruz

Girl, You’ve Got Cojones: Life Lessons Learned Surfing.

During a surf session out in the big and mushy waves last week, a crusty old fellow gave me the best compliment I could ever receive:

“Girl, you’ve got cojones.”

On my previous wave, I took a late takeoff and went straight down the face for Mr.-Toad’s-Wild-Ride. I barely made it. But sometimes, barely is good enough. That’s one of the valuable lessons I learn over and over surfing.

It always amazes me how much the ocean and surfing can teach me:

Live life. Now. Surfing isn’t like tennis or basketball where the courts are always available for a practice session. Wave conditions are a temperamental thing. When there are waves, you surf today. They may not be there tomorrow. The takeaway – don’t live life in the future, waiting for the time until you graduate, get that job, get that promotion, get that house. Life happens right now.

Live on the edge. A wave is a precious commodity. Yet, if you don’t push yourself, you’ll never get better. So when the board is locked in the face, it’s time to cross step and make your way towards the nose. (Guess what my New Year’s resolution is.) What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll fall and waste a perfectly good wave. But there’s always another wave coming.

Let it roll over you. A big holy-mother-of-god mountain of water appears right before you. What do you do? Turtle roll you and your board over and let the wave pass over you. Then you paddle like hell to get out of the way before the next one hits. Things in life don’t always run smooth, but the ability to let things roll by, then try to improve the situation is a nice skill to cultivate.

Sometimes you just have to go for it. If you think too much, you’ll miss out. A moment’s hesitation on the paddle and the wave can pass you by. Yes, it’s advisable to put a little forethought into things like having a kid or starting a business. But if you waited until you were 100% sure, nothing would ever happen.

Don't be afraid to look like an idiot. Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons I've ever learned. If I was that self-conscious, I would have aborted at my attempts at surfing years ago. It’s taken me years to become socially mediocre at the sport. And usually, people are encouraging. (Just don’t get in the way of their waves.)

Enjoy the downtime. Sometimes when you’re in between sets, you just have to sit, watch the horizon and wait. This is when the magic occurs. A young inquisitive seal may pop his head out of the water for a closer look or a pod of dolphins may swim by. You never know what might happen.

Savor the bliss. Feeling the wave behind you, carving down a face, it’s 10, 20 or 30 seconds of sheer heaven. After a wonderful morning session, I never feel more alive, more joyous or more blessed. And that’s the attitude I try carry with me throughout the day.

Starbucks Via

I am a lazy coffee drinker.via_package

Face it, I’m not going to make coffee. At home I would have to clean up. At work, I would have to clean up after myself and somehow feel compelled to clean up the rest of the mess in the communal kitchen.


So I thought I would give Starbucks Via a try. It’s packaging isn’t much more earth friendly than disposable cups. But it comes in these convenient little tubes like Pixie sticks and you can pour it into a cup of hot water or hot milk.

Works for me, even camping.