Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Super Sweet Frewsnawesome Birthday!

Yesterday I celebrated my 27th birthday, and I did it with some of the best that Fresno has to offer.

First, a few of my friends from NoTown dropped by for Burlycise (meaning 30 minutes of cardio that we couldn't wimp out on like we probably would have done if we had been on our own) and we now have... Burly's of Steel....

Then I headed over to KYNO to chat with Bill McEwen. KYNO is kind of a valley legend, playing top 40 when my parents were kids, and now it's a news-talk station. And its in a really cool building downtown- you can check it out for youself, KYNO and KJWL participate in art hop once a month. Bill McEwen was pretty great, I left there with a silly 'ol grin on my face.

Immediately I headed over to Cosmopolitan. What else do you do on your birthday when you find yourself downtown at lunch time? Declaring that calories can definitely spill over the daily allotment on my birthday, I ordered my dear and precious Cheddar Burger, and some sweet potato fries. (Yes, I do realize that the calories burned in Burlycize barely even covered the amount in the bun. shut up.)

Doug was wonderful and had taken the day off, so we enjoyed our lunch and then decided to give the zoo a shot, even though it was still pretty dark and stormy looking outside.

Best decision ever. If you ever want to get the whole zoo to yourself, go when it has just stopped raining. The animals were all active, the staff were ready to answer any questions because, hey- we had the zoo to ourselves, and the kids had a blast alternating admiring the animals with puddle-hopping.

Afterward we tried a new Mexican restaurant, La Kebrada. It was killing me knowing I had Mexican food within arm's reach but we hadn't tried it yet, so I told my whole family it was time to try something new. It was great!

La Kebrada has been open for about 2 months, they aren't serving beer yet, but that's just a matter of time. Its located on the corner of Belmont and Marks, and the inside is really cute, very clean and neat, with some really cool wooden table tops on the booths. I had to ask about the name, and it is after a place in Acapulco famous for cliff diving, which is where the restaurant owners are from.

I topped the evening off with my favorite drink at Teazer (Cherry Monks Blend, if you must know. Tastes like a cupcake!) and a teapot cookie, and my favorite photographer-wiz-kid, Jennifer Emerling. And now I'm basically still very full from all day yesterday, but also very happy. Probably one of the best birthdays I've ever celebrated, and all local! (Even my trip to Save Mart for formula technically fits that bill, since Save Mart is a Central Valley owned business!)

(Photo by Doug and his trusty Doug magic, of Cary and I hanging out and watching the orangutans do their orangutan thing.)

Hopefully this will hold you all over, I probably won't be blogging on Saturday, instead, look for my real blog to hit next Wednesday or Thursday. This one will take a little more effort and time and maybe just a touch of Fresninsanity.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 32, Week 3- Fresno is great for making healthy lifestle choices

Obesity is a real problem in the United States and especially here in the San Joaquin Valley. It is affecting our children and youth more than ever and is causing major health problems for our adults. Clearly this is one of Fresno's greatest challenges.

Luckily, we also live in an area where it is easy to adapt to a new and healthier lifestyle- Fresno is made for outdoor play! In fact, it is one of the main components of the Fresno Brand Platform- California's Year-Round Playground.

Spring seems to hit Fresno a month early every year and lasts into May and those sunny and gorgeous days just beg to be played in.

Summers can be hot- and for a few weeks there in July and August downright scorching, but they're also great for evening swimming. Summer mornings are beautiful and perfect for a walk or run.

Our Autumn season seems to last for only a few fleeting moments when the heat turns down a notch in October, in a week of crisp but still manageable-in-a-t-shirt weather before the chill comes in. However- our Winters are so mild that they're really like Autumn everywhere else, so of course outdoor fitness is great all Fall and Winter too.

We have biking trails, walking trails, and playgrounds galore - just like adults, kids need that 30 minutes or more of physical activity!

Starting a new healthy routine can seem daunting, but Fresno also has several supportive communities to help get your program up and running- many of them free or cheap. Spark People is a huge website for calorie counting, tracking fitness and connecting with other people trying to lose weight, and SparkFresno is the official spark team of Fresno. They have meet ups monthly, and chat in message boards offering support and advice all for FREE! There are also always programs like Central Valley's Greatest Loser, Team in Training, and joining your local roller derby team *ahem* to get support and make friends while getting in shape.

But really, back on the roller derby thing- I know I harp on it a lot- its my passion- BUT there are all kinds of fun sports to get into here even as an adult. Rugby, Kickball, Roller Derby, Petanque, If you're game, there probably is a sport for you to play. If you love to ride your bike, you can find a likeminded community in iBike Fresno. We have great BMX Track at Woodward Park, too!

Trails, teams, and beautiful sunny days aside, there is one more reason why Fresno is conducive to making healthy changes, and I've touched on it before- the produce!

Everyone knows that the foundation of a good diet lies in getting full servings of veggies and fruit. We live somewhere where making this happen can never get boring. You can join a CSA if you're adventurous and want a variety of fresh fruits and veggies every week- even in the dead of winter your box will be filled with beautiful treats all in season and filled with nutrients that you probably can't even pronounce.

Finally, we're close to some of the most beautiful places in the united states for skiing, hiking, cycling and surfing. I don't like to point people out of Fresno, but in this case it can't be overlooked. Within a few hours you can be skiing Sierra Summit or hiking Half Dome. You can be enjoying the surf at the beach of your choice in anywhere from 2 hours to 8, try doing that in Iowa.

Sure, we have tasty hamburgers*, but we have the perfect places to work off the calories, whats not to love about Fresno?

(Photo stolen from... somewhere.)
*I am a firm believer in moderation not restriction. If I had to live life knowing I could never taste a cheeseburger again I probably wouldn't live long enough to see another day of Fiber One cereal. Fresno has definitely done me right on the healthy lifestyle front, i don't like to pay much for anything so the walking trails are a godsend. If you're looking to start down a healthier path but don't know where to start or need support I'm always down to be a buddy!
**I didn't mean to get all preachy or anything, I know there is nothing more irritating than an enthusiastic dork.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 32, Week 2- We're a Parade of Drunkards. I mean, we have busy weekends!

I am sitting here on the cusp of yet another weekend where I can't possibly fit in everything that I want to do. This is something that always happens here in Fresno, and its almost every night of the week, not just weekends.

This weekend seems like its extra-filled with great stuff, though. First of all, my sweet little Mollie is turning one today. Last year, had I been blogging, I would have been singing the praises of the anesthesiologists of Fresno. Of course, to add to the crazy weekend is Valentine's Day on Sunday- these two non-Fresno related events are already making for a scheduling nightmare.

But then you bring out ALL OF THE STUFF TO DO on top of everything else, and well- you know how Hermione is able to be in multiple places at once in Harry Potter? Yeah, lets make that happen, please.

Specifically, I want to talk about two things that I think are awesome taking place this weekend.

First is the Wine and Chocolate Lovers Weekend. I'm sure that by now you've all heard that another highly reputable source has ranked Fresno on a list as the Drunkest City in America. Okay, guilty as charged- we have some kick ass wineries here, whats not to be drunk over? What I think is great about the Wine and Chocolate Lovers Weekend is that it is free, so if you know nothing about wine you don't have to spend your child's college fund to get a little taste of everything to figure out what you love. Its a little bit of Napa or Paso Robles, but without having to travel. And your designated driver doesn't get the fuzzy end of the lollipop either, its wine and chocolate. Everyone wins! The Doug and I are hoping to find a sitter for just a few hours to be able to hit up a few of the spots and taste a little bit of Fresno's best. You can also get seats on their wine trolley so you don't even have to worry about getting from place to place.

Also happening this weekend is the annual Mardi Gras Parade in Tower. I'm a sucker for parades, they're so much fun and they bring out all kind of folk from all over the community to come and see the floats and feel the excitement. If you have never made it out to the Mardi Gras parade, you should definitely check it out. It starts at 1:00 and it goes through the entire stretch of the Tower District along Olive. The floats are made by different local organizations, and it is always so cool to see what different clubs, sports teams and activities there are here. (to add further to the scheduling issues) I'll be out there with my NoTown girls skating around throwing beads and candy and meeting as many people as possible. If you make it out there, be sure to say hi if you see me! Free hugs!

These are just two of the things that are filling up my weekend, but there are always a million other things happening. I love that Fresno is a city where there is just no excuse for boredom. You're just making excuses for the sake of making excuses!

(Photo is the flyer for the event. Totes cute!)
(Okay so I'm the girl who needs the wine education. I'm a lot like the guy from Sideways who is all "Mmmm Oak-y"... What? I come from a long line of proud Franzia Boxed Wine drinkers, okay?!)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 32, Week 1. Creative Fresno

I had never been to a Creative Fresno Creative Blender until last month. I don't know if it was the whole "bringing creative professionals together" thing that threw me off- after all, I'm a lot of things, none of them professional. I just had never thought to check it out.

Of course, now that I have I am in love.

(It happens to me all the time when Fresno is involved, I'm such a Fromantic. Okay. Maybe Fresno and Romantic are two words that weren't made to be mashed into one superword. Despite that, I still think that it's Fresnawsome.)

Creative Fresno is great because their whole reason for being is to make Fresno a place that we can be proud of, a place where "smarties" want to be. In addition to the Creative Blenders- which are mixers for these creative folk to make connections and bounce ideas around, held at a variety of locations around the city- CF is behind the Mural Project which brings all of that great public art to Tower and Downtown; Pecha Kucha Night, an evening of presentations made by designers to share their work; the re:FUSE festival, a showcase of Fresno's musical talent; and the Fresno Filmmakers Forum, bringing those who work in the field together. Basically, Creative Fresno has their hands in lots and lots of projects throughout Fresno's creative communities.

I like Creative Fresno because they do all of this without being pretentious. Its a laid back crowd who are all just really excited about the possibilities within Fresno. We live in a city on the verge, and CF recognizes this and is pushing it forward in a very real, tangible way.

(Photos taken by me at the February Creative Blender held on 2/5/10 at Twee Boutique.)
P.S. You'll notice its called "Day 32, Week 1"... That is how I'll be dealing with these weekly postings from here on out. Its gonna be a whole year of Day 32, because I like it to be a little on the ridiculous side. Then next January we'll see how things reinvent themselves!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 32- The Great Thereafter.

All month I've been asked "What happens on day 32?"

I guess an evaluation of the month that just passed. How did this project grow, was it a success? Did I learn anything about Fresno? About myself? Has anything changed over 31 days?

Well, I'm sitting in my GAGAbow and lurking on the Beehive and sipping blueberry tea, so not too much has changed on that front. But beneath the kanekalon hair and tasty tea breath I think there have been some pretty big changes.

On the Love for Fresno front, I started it because I defend my lady's honor when I can,and Fresno is a lady, but after really picking Fresno apart and getting into the meat of why I came back here after living somewhere "cool", it really intensified my devotion to seeing things through with this city and helping to make it a great place to stay. Talk about the mother of run on sentences. Yeesh!

I found a lot of like-minded people who are pretty passionate about Fresno, and I learned some really cool tidbits I didn't know before the 31 Days started- William Saroyan co-wrote Come On A My House? What?! How did I not know this?

I drove around town with more purpose- meaning I was scouring the businesses and buildings wondering how many of these places I've never been would have made it on my list had I known about them. Sounds like a challenge to me. A dare, even.

Aside from the Fresnobsession, it felt really great to write with a purpose every night. Granted, some nights I was pretty tired and would rather gnaw my arms off than have to figure out how to eloquently (or at least coherently) put my thoughts down. Overall, though, it was a wake up call to the excuse I've given myself for years for not writing more- I don't have time to do it. Hopefully I can keep that in mind and make some more time for what used to be my favorite pastime. I definitely know I'll be writing on this 31 days blog at least once a week. You can't keep Fresno in the confines of a month!

I'm really amazed at the response to the blog, and I want to thank everyone who is reading this for being so supportive.

I hope that I can keep up the same spirit of Fresno Adventure throughout the whole year, and I'd love if you could all direct me to some place I'd left off of my list. Number one best thing about Fresno? There is an endless supply of things to do, people to see, places to go. Send me there!

Now... time to go crochet for a few days straight- I didn't get to craft at all last month I was so Fresno-Focused!